Why is that? It is because unlike a bomber crew, they don’t have a bomber, unlike a tank crew, they don’t have a tank; unlike a howitzer crew, they don’t have a cannon; and unlike the radio section, they haven’t got the VH radio vans.
What have they got? Well, they have got an idea and so a rifle squad consists of a kind of an agreement, a common understanding by a bunch of limited guys about how they are going to go about their business.
So what we have is an intellectual exercise being performed by non-intellectuals. So we have got to help them. We have got to make it a simple, clear system that doesn’t require each member of the squad or the fire team leaders to be eloquent because they are not.
To a certain extent any small unit is imaginary, even if there’s some kind of material focus. Nevertheless, DePuy was probably correct in suggesting that the lack of any material focus for the unit brings makes the imaginary nature of the rifle squad manifest. This has implications for how the unit binds itself together, which of course has implications for how it behaves with respect to the laws and customs of war.