The Sharper Sword And Stronger Shield ~ 1960 US Army; The Big Picture TV-449

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Cold War film on how US Army Pentomic Division organization and modern weapons will defeat the largers Soviet bloc forces. 'An informational film which emphasizes the importance for the continual modernization of the Army for effective national defense. The film portrays the Army's efforts to forge "A Sharper Sword and Stronger Shield" to preserve the peace or win a future war. The presentation describes the pentagonal organization and structural flexibility of the modern Army, new tactical concepts, and technological advancements in weapons and equipment. The presentation then goes on to show the new type of Army weapons, both nuclear and conventional, and the latest developments in air and ground equipment. It describes their use in carrying out the major elements of the modern tactical concept -- dispersion, firepower, mobility, communications and surveillance, and support. A simulated task force then demonstrates the employment of new combat techniques, weapons, and equipment."'

"The Big Picture" episode TV-449

Pentomic (cf.Greek pent(e)- and -tome, "of five parts") refers to a structure for infantry and Airborne divisions adopted by the U.S. Army in 1957 in response to the perceived threat posed by tactical nuclear weapons use on the battlefield.

"Pentomic Division" was "a public relations term designed to combine the concept of five subordinate units ('penta') with the idea of a division that could function on an atomic or nonatomic battlefield."...


The infantry and Airborne division structures commonly known as Pentomic divisions are actually two related organizations, officially known as Reorganization of the Airborne Division (ROTAD) and Reorganization of the Current Infantry Division (ROCID). The Pentomic structure was a reaction to the perceived threat of Atomic weapons on the modern battlefield and a chance for the Army to secure additional funding.

Previously the US Army had fought World War I with the "square" organisation, each division having two brigades, each with two infantry regiments. Prior to American participation in the Second World War the organization was changed to "triangular" with each division directly controlling three regiments, and eliminating the brigade echelon from the division.

The ROTAD was implemented first, with the 101st Airborne Division reorganizing under test tables of organization published on 10 August 1956. The core of the division was five infantry battle groups, each containing five infantry companies, a headquarters and service company, and a mortar battery... Separate signal and engineer battalions completed the organization, which required a total of 11,486 men. After a series of tests by the 101st Airborne Division, the Continental Army Command (CONARC) approved slightly modified tables of organization, and all three airborne divisions (the 11th, 82nd and 101st) were reorganized during 1957.

Shortly after the 101st began testing ROTAD, the CONARC began developing ROCID, forwarding the initial ROCID tables of organization to the Army Staff on 15 October 1956. The core of this initial ROCID organization, similar to ROTAD, consisted of five battle groups... The Army’s nine infantry divisions completed reorganization into the new structure in 1957.

The standard infantry division was seen as being too clumsy in its fixed organization. Units were organized in a system of "5's". A division was organized with five battle groups, each commanded by a colonel. Each battle group consisted of five line (rifle) companies... The 1961 addition of "Davy Crockett" recoilless spigot guns with atomic warheads supplemented the concept of the atomic age army...

The Pentomic systems was found to be flawed in several ways...

In December 1960, the Army began studying proposals to reorganize again that was hastened by newly elected President John F. Kennedy's "Doctrine of Flexible Response". This led to the ROAD (Reorganization Objective Army Division) initiative by 1963...

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