Combat lessons from the troops on platoon leadership and NCO efficiency from Combat Lessons No. 9:
Platoon Leadership vs. NCO Efficiency
Orders Must Be Clear
NCO efficiency and squad accomplishment are materially reduced when combat orders fail to give full information and to specify clearly each assignment. Says an Okinawa report: “Junior officers often complicate combat orders. They forget about intermediate objectives which should be the next terrain feature, whether it be a hill, road, or an edge of a rice paddy. They neglect to tell each squad specifically what to do. They take on the responsibilities of NCO’s and scouts and then, finding it impossible to remain continuously in a control position, encourage bunching which results in needless casualties.
Leaders Are Not Scouts.
“In one regiment, five platoon leaders were killed because their scouts were not out. The platoon leader must realize that he is not a scout and that if he attempts to do that work, it will be at the expense of his control responsibility.
“Invariably, when trying to do their own scouting, the platoon leaders allowed their support squads to get too close to the leading squads and thus sacrificed the platoon’s maneuverability.”