Army Platoon Size

In the Army, the typical Army platoon size is approximately 20-30 Soldiers.

However, the platoon size can fluctuate drastically depending on the mission of the Army platoon.

The largest platoon size I’ve ever seen was approximately 70 Soldiers (maintenance platoon).

And, the smallest platoon size I ever saw was approximately 5-10 Soldiers (EOD).

Each Army platoon normally consists of a Platoon Leader, a Platoon Sergeant, 4 Squad Leaders, 8 Team Leaders and 15 to 20 Soldiers.

In other words, an average platoon has approximately 30 Soldiers.

Nearly one third to one half of an Army Platoon consists of NCOs and officers.

The purpose of these leaders is to supervise the Soldiers.

The Platoon Leader’s duties are to conduct mission planning, write OPORDs, conduct Risk Assessments, manage administrative tasks, and to determine the objectives and goals for the platoon.

Basically, they plan future missions.

The Platoon Leader is normally a newly commissioned Second Lieutenant or junior First Lieutenant.

They work closely with the Company Commander.

The Platoon Sergeant is normally a senior NCO; either a Staff Sergeant or Sergeant First Class.

They normally have 10-15 years of military experience.

The Platoon Sergeant’s duties include individual training, Soldier discipline, work schedules, counseling, and taking care of Soldier issues.

The Platoon Sergeant also teaches and mentors the Platoon Leader.

The number of Squad Leaders varies, depending upon the platoon size.

Normally, there are three to four Squad Leaders.

The Squad Leaders are normally a Sergeant or Staff Sergeant.

Each Squad Leader supervises two Team Leaders.

The Squad Leader is responsible for training their squad and maintaining the health, welfare and morale of their Soldiers.

Next, the amount of Team Leaders varies based upon the number of Squads and Squad Leaders.

Normally, each squad has two Team Leaders.

Most platoons have six to eight Team Leaders. Each Team Leader supervises three to five Soldiers.

The Team Leader is responsible for the health, welfare and morale of their team of Soldiers.

A Team Leader is normally a Corporal or Sergeant.

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Finally, the number of Soldiers in the Army platoon varies, based upon the authorized platoon size.

Each platoon has a manning document dictating the number of troops authorized to serve in the platoon.

As a new Platoon Leader, the size of your Army platoon is irrelevant in my opinion.

It doesn’t matter how big your platoon is.

Don’t worry if your peer has a “larger” platoon than you do.

After all, your job is leadership.

Just because someone leads a larger platoon doesn’t make them a better leader than someone with a smaller platoon.

Leadership is leadership, regardless of how many Soldiers you lead.

The key point to remember is that the job doesn’t make the person.

The person makes the job.platoon size

Your objective is to become an effective leader, regardless of the platoon’s size.

Your job is to accomplish the mission, while taking care of your Soldiers at the same time.

You must also develop your NCOs and prepare them for positions of increased responsibility.

Finally, you must maintain a high level of technical proficiency, tactical proficiency, discipline and morale within your platoon.

Final Thoughts

In summary, a platoon’s size can vary throughout the Army.

Some platoons are large, while others are small.

The mission of the platoon dictates the authorized size of the platoon.

In addition, the actual platoon size is irrelevant.

Your job as a Platoon leader is to ensure your troops are trained to accomplish their wartime mission.

If you are fortunate enough to lead a platoon, consider yourself lucky.

It is a rare privilege that few people get to experience.

What are your thoughts?

How many Soldiers are in your platoon?

Leave a comment below to let us know.

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Chuck Holmes

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12 thoughts on “Army Platoon Size

  1. Jeff Ferry

    One major takeaway for me from this post was this: No matter how many soldiers you supervise, you have to strive to be a great leader.
    The size of the platoon may effect how you interact with your troops, but that is just natural. If you have a very small platoon you will have more one on one time with your troops while a larger platoon will give you more experience in large scale supervision. Both are very important.

    Reply
  2. Amy Skalicky

    A smaller platoon can actually have its advantages. For one thing, more soldiers are harder to manage. In addition, with a smaller platoon, leaders have the opportunity to work a little more closely with them, and to get to know their soldiers better. Some one-on-one mentoring may be more feasible as well. I think the advice is sound to not worry about the the size of the other guy’s platoon.

    Reply
    1. Chuck Holmes Post author

      Good point, Amy. A platoon is a platoon. Your goal is to do the best you can and make the biggest difference you can. If you have a small platoon, you have more time to invest in each subordinate and your job is actually a little bit easier.

      Reply
  3. Rick

    As a civilian, I am really learning a lot on your site. I didn’t know the size of a Platoon could vary so much. Your advice about not getting caught up on the size of your platoon is sounds. Just like the corporate world, it is not so important how many people lead, but that you are a rock star to those that you DO lead.

    Reply
  4. KELVIN KWOK

    Sir, I wonder why your platoon is not a company instead? 96 soldiers in one platoon is huge, especially with you being the only officer in the platoon. One thing I do not understand is how you are a platoon leader as a captain, beside special units that I heard about. I am fortunate to have only 15 soldiers under my command (Armor Officer) because it allows me to focus and develop as a leader when I only do this one weekend a month. I admit it took me a long time to develop my skills, but my time as a platoon leader really changed me as a person.

    Reply
    1. Charles Holmes Post author

      I agree with you Kelvin. 96 Soldiers is a typical sized company, let alone a platoon. I asked the Captain what type of platoon he led but I haven’t heard back from him yet. The largest platoon I’d ever heard of (before the 96) was a maintenance platoon with approximately 60 Soldiers in it.

      Reply
    2. Candace Ginestar

      In Medevac units, the platoon leader is typically a CPT with a couple LTs under them as section leaders. I assume this is because of how many warrant officers there are in the platoon, and how few enlisted.

      My platoon has 24 assigned, authorized 25, but only 10-12 actually are living, breathing bodies that show up to drill on a regular basis! Talk about looking good on paper but having a hard time manning my missions!
      I just lost a few Soldiers to ETS too…ones who actually were part of the group that shows up. Time to recruit!

      Reply
      1. Chuck Holmes Post author

        The “numbers on the book” is normally quite different from who shows up for drill. I’ve seen units that had 100 people assigned, has 100% strength, and only had 25 people at drill weekend. I never really understood that or agree with how the ARNG keeps people on books who are retired, at Basic Training, or unavailable.

        Chuck

        Reply
  5. CPT A

    I’m an O3, have had some PL experience here and there but never for very long as I’ve switched positions and states over the last few years,and deployed on division staff. I’m currently a PL with 96 people in my platoon – yes 96! Although you say the size of the platoon doesn’t matter, I beg to differ. Although I have 4 E-7s in my platoon I’m sure it’s still going to be quite a challenge keeping all these young soldiers in line during a 9 month tour in Kuwait.

    Reply
    1. chuckholmes Post author

      I’ve never heard of such a large platoon. What type of platoon is it? You are fortunate to have four E-7s. I’m assuming your Platoon Sergeant is a Master Sergeant. Is that correct? I would love to learn more about your platoon. Thanks.

      Reply

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