What is an I&R
I&R Platoons in
What is an I&R Platoon?
I&R Platoon of the 180th
Regiment, 45th Infantry Division in WWII.
From the mid 1930s until the late 1950s, U.S. Army
regiments in each division contained an Intelligence and Reconnaissance
(I&R) platoon as part of the regimental headquarters company. In
1939, the I&R platoon Table of Organization & Equipment
(TO&E) authorized 10 infantrymen to make up the unit. This was
expanded to 18 infantrymen in 1940 and the platoon TO&E, in 1941,
was authorized to include 1/4 ton vehicles (Jeeps).
platoon consists of a platoon headquarters and two reconnaissance
Platoon headquarters consists of the platoon leader, platoon sergeant,
topographic draftsman, radio operator, and scouts and observers. Each
consists of a squad leader, assistant squad leader, radio operator,
scouts and observers. The platoon headquarters had one jeep while each
had three jeeps, some of which carried radios.
made up the platoon are all infantrymen, given additional training by
S-2, as there was no institutional military intelligence school at the
Training of the platoon members focused on operating as scouts along
and aerial photograph reading, conventional signs, military symbols and
abbreviations, sketching, oral and written reporting, scouting and
theory and practice of observation, camouflage and the art of
the collection of information.
equipment for members of the I&R platoon include standard infantry
arms and equipment, though individuals in the field often supplemented
standard issue as they saw fit.. Each squad also had a prismatic
compass, a 20
power monocular telescope and/or a pair of field glasses, and a watch.
platoon members carried notebooks and writing materials and colored
pass along information and mark maps.
War Department FM
7-25, Headquarters Company, Intelligence and Signal Communication,
Regiment, October 7, 1942 states:
mission of the regimental intelligence platoon is to serve as the
intelligence agency of the regimental commander, for the collection,
evaluation and dissemination of information, under the supervision of
regimental intelligence officer (S-2). The platoon is also charged with
counterintelligence measures and surveillance. Actual operations of
platoon are conducted under the immediate control of the platoon
leader. He may
receive his orders directly from the regimental commander, S-2, or S-3.
training periods it may be required to assist the S-2 in conducting
intelligence and counterintelligence instruction within the
The main function
of the I&R platoon was to be the ears and eyes of the regimental
FM 7-25 describes the principle functions of the platoon as:
- Gathering detailed information about the enemy and
terrain in locations that are not readily accessible to the rifle
companies of the battalions or regiment.
- Assemble, evaluate and distribute information and
intelligence gathered by the platoon and by subordinate, higher, or
adjascent friendly units.
- Provide early warning to the regiment on the
presence, disposition, composition and approach of enemy forces of all
types. Operate well in advance of the regiment in order to gain and
maintain contact with the enemy.
- Maintain contact with reconnaissance and security
formations of other, larger formations that are operating forward or to
the flanks of the regiment.
- Regain lost contact with adjascent, attached and
assigned friendly units. Locate and maintain contact with the flanks of
an enemy force when contact is gained by dismounted combat elements of
- Reconnoiter avenues of approach, routes, river
crossings and complex enemy obstacles. Search suspicious, dominating
and criticle areas along the route of march to identify possible ambush
sites, defended road blocks, route classification and contaminated
- Establish and operate 24 hour observation and
- Conduct dismounted patrolling to the front, flanks
and rear of the regiment when terrain or enemy stuation precludes the
use of mounted patrolling.
- Assist the regimental S-2 at the command post or at a
tactical observation/tactical command post by maintaining the
intelligence situation map, and/or keeping an intelligence log, taking
and preparing reports, messages and sketches.
- Carry out such counter-intelligence measures as
directed by the regimental commander or S-2. Provide instruction on the
subject to other units of the regiment. Search undefended or captured
towns and villages and captured enemy equipment and positions.
missions performed by the platoon that were not specifically included
standard doctrine were;
between regiments of the division.
duties between battalions of the regiment.
- Escort and
security for the regimental commander as he moved forward of the main
- Serving as
radio-telephone operators for regimental command in dismounted
- Marking of
route of march for the regiment and providing guides at traffic control
- Accompanying a
combat or reconnaissance patrol conducted by rifle platoons or
companies from subordinate infantry battalions of the regiment in order
to report on tactical progress of intelligence acquired directly to the
ecenomy of force operations on a flank of the regiment in order to
provide early warning and prevent the regiment from being surprised.
trained infantrymen, thus capable of getting involved in direct
against enemy forces, the primary duty of the I&R platoon is to
front line infantry and regimental commander by carrying out the above
missions and not get directly into a firefight. Click on "I&R
Platoons in Action" for stories from the war.