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Old June 17th, 2012, 11:58 AM   #1
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Ratio of enlisted to officers


I read that the ratio of enlisted to officers was 30-1 in the British army in WWI and higher is continental armies. In the U military it is was 10-1 in the 1960s and 5-1 now. I guess a lot of officers are in staff or bureaucratic roles and jet pilots have to be officers. In the US army, an infantry platoon has about 50 men, so I would think it would be hard to have a 30-1 ratio just with normal line commanders.
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Old June 17th, 2012, 12:02 PM   #2

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Quote:
Originally Posted by betgo View Post
I read that the ratio of enlisted to officers was 30-1 in the British army in WWI and higher is continental armies. In the U military it is was 10-1 in the 1960s and 5-1 now. I guess a lot of officers are in staff or bureaucratic roles and jet pilots have to be officers. In the US army, an infantry platoon has about 50 men, so I would think it would be hard to have a 30-1 ratio just with normal line commanders.
A US Army infantry platoon does not have fifty men...

They are authorized 40 ish but usually have somewhere around 35
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Old June 17th, 2012, 12:35 PM   #3

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Quote:
Originally Posted by betgo View Post
I read that the ratio of enlisted to officers was 30-1 in the British army in WWI and higher is continental armies. In the U military it is was 10-1 in the 1960s and 5-1 now. I guess a lot of officers are in staff or bureaucratic roles and jet pilots have to be officers. In the US army, an infantry platoon has about 50 men, so I would think it would be hard to have a 30-1 ratio just with normal line commanders.

The overall figure for the British Army in WWI was 21 Other Ranks (enlisted): 1 officer. In "combat arm" (line) units such as infantry battalions, the ratio was about 30:1. A WWI infantry platoon had (at establishment) 45 ORs and 1 officer, but then there were the company officers and regimental staffs. You are right that there were also officers in staff and specialist roles - all doctors were officers, for instance. The US Army in WW1 had a 15:1 ratio.

The ratio in the German Army was higher. This was mainly due to a difference in philosophy. The British Army believed that even at company level leadership roles should be held by officers (so commissioned a lot of NCOs), whereas the Germans were prepared to let platoons and even companies be commanded by SNCOs, with perhaps only four officers in a wartime battalion.

The current British ratio is something like 9:1 - more specialist officers - but will fall to about 6.5:1 after the restructuring. But in line units it is around 25:1.

Last edited by CuriousHistorian; June 17th, 2012 at 01:31 PM. Reason: additional info
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