Writers question - is it possible to have a small squad led by a colonel? | World Defense

Writers question - is it possible to have a small squad led by a colonel?


Jan 15, 2021
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I apologize in advance if this forum is not the best place for this question. Can a army recon / assault squad consist of 5 troops lead by a colonel? I'm writing a book but according to research a squad consists of 10-11 troops, lead by a staff sergeant. I need to use a smaller force, and a colonel because the pentagon in interested in establishing a forward base in a vast undiscovered land. There are significant hostile forces present (think of the orcs in Hobbit / Lord of the Rings). The military is allowed to go back and forth from this land to earth, and allowed to bring any weaponry that they can carry (M5s yes, grenades yes, but no tanks, planes, or heavy artillery).

In case you are wondering, no the military will not face an enemy force larger than 10-15 combatants at a time (they aren't going to face the nightmare headcount of the forces gathered at the end of the Lord of the Rings). These combatants are armed with crude swords, rusty axes, and some spears and archers. Yes the orcs are toast, but not for long.

The military wouldn't want to send a full squad of 10-11 troops into an unknown situation. The military also wants a commander with enough rank and experience to decide on whether to engage in combat or diplomacy, how to engage, when to withdraw, and be able to fly back to Washington to brief the pentagon on what further steps needs to be taken. Seems like the job for a colonel.

However all research says squads are not that small, nor lead by a colonel. Can anyone advise me what the logical course the military would take on sending 5 troops into this situation?