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What is a Table of Organization and Equipment?
A Table of Organization and Equipment (T/O&E)1 was a chart-like document published by the War Department which prescribed the organic structure and equipment of military units from divisional size and down, but also including the headquarters of corps and armies. The scope and function of a T/O&E was best described by noted military historian Dr. Robert R. Palmer in his study "Reorganization of Ground Troops for Combat":
Prior to 1943 organization and equipment were expressed in Tables of Organization (T/Os) and Tables of Basic Allowances (T/BAs). Unfortunately the T/BAs were not closely coordinated with the T/Os. In October 1942 the Table of Equipment (T/E) was substituted for the T/BA. The difference was that a T/E was set up for each standard unit, whereas there had been a single T/BA for each combat arm, covering all standard units of that arm. To provide complete coordination between organization and equipment, a consolidated T/O&E was issued for each standard unit beginning in August 1943.
The T/O&E prescribed the standard form of the unit, whether stationed in the United States or overseas, for combat or service under normal operating conditions. In the theaters of operation, unit commanders frequently modified their organization, rearranging or adding additional personnel and equipment wherever possible, according to their best judgement of the immediate situation. However, in general, units formed, trained, and operated as prescribed by their T/O&E. It is important to note that formal T/O&Es were not issued for the many provisional units that were organized to meet special combat and service requirements.
T/O&Es were identified by a specified numbering system according to arm or service (which is used by this web site) and by the date which it was published. The War Department frequently published changes (numbered C1, C2, etc.) to the existing T/O&Es when relatively minor changes in organization, weapons, or equipment were required. When a T/O&E became outdated, the old T/O&E was superseded by a new T/O&E using the same number but with a later date.
In addition to T/O&Es of general application, special T/O&Es were authorized for units operating under special conditions. These T/O&Es were identified by the letter "S" immediately after the number (e.g. 7-157S Combat Intelligence Platoon, Alaskan Department). Tentative T/O&Es were also prepared for experimental purposes and for tests of organization, equipment, or both. Upon completion of the tests, standard T/O&Es were to be prepared if the unit concept was approved. These tentative T/O&Es were identified by the letter "T" immediately after the number (e.g. 7-71T Light Infantry Regiment).
Each T/O&E provided the official title and designation of the unit. Section I "Organization" of the T/O&E prescribed the authorized number, grades, and qualifications of personnel, and also showed the number and distribution of weapons, transportation, and principal items of equipment. Where applicable, a remarks column was included to define the unit's capabilities, functions, and normal assignment. Section II "Equipment" of the T/O&E prescribed the authorized allowance of equipment for units organized with the strength provided in Section I except for 1) equipment required for temporary use for special purposes, 2) items of clothing and individual equipment, 3) component parts, spare parts, and accessories of kits and sets, 4) training equipment, and 5) expendable items and ammunition.
An example of an actual T/O&E can be viewed by following the below links. The example T/O&E is one of the most requested T/O&E in the MRS collection: T/O&E 7-87 "Ranger Company, Ranger Infantry Battalion", dated 29 February 1944.
|T/O&E 7-87, Page 1||Title Page with Table of Contents|
|T/O&E 7-87, Page 2||Section I: "Organization"|
|T/O&E 7-87, Page 3||Section I: "Organization" (cont.)|
|T/O&E 7-87, Page 4||Section II: "Equipment" - General|
|T/O&E 7-87, Page 5||Section II : "Equipment" - Army Air Forces, Chemical, Engineer, and Ordnance|
|T/O&E 7-87, Page 6||Section II: "Equipment" - Ordnance (cont.) and Quartermaster|
|T/O&E 7-87, Page 7||Section II: "Equipment" - Quartermaster (cont.)|
|T/O&E 7-87, Page 8||Section II: "Equipment" - Quartermaster (cont.) and Signal|
The success of the T/O&E concept is evidenced in the fact that today's United States Army and United States Marine Corps continue to prepare, revise, and publish T/O&Es at regular intervals.
1 Information obtained from Army Regulations AR 310-60, "Military Publications - Tables of Organization and Equipment, Tables of Clothing and Individual Equipment, Tables of Distribution, and Tables of Allowances", dated 28 August 1943.
2 Page 265 of the volume The Organization of Ground Combat Troops, of the sub-series THE ARMY GROUND FORCES, of the famous "green book" series THE UNITED STATES ARMY IN WORLD WAR II (78 total volumes), published by the Historical Division of the Department of the Army, Washington, D.C., 1947.
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