But in the Russian army it's a completely different ball game.
Completely different ball game here in the British Army too mate we have Fire Teams but they don't do anything on there own they are literally only there to enable the section to perform Fire and Manoeuvre.
Yes, that's why I listed US Army example where FT have more independence (I'd argue how much more) while I think most other armies follow the Russian/German/British model where inner elements are there only for ease of maneuvering.
Bottom line, fireteam exists to help squad leader control the squad. That still doesn't mean they have become an independent element.
If we read carefully the above excerpt from US manual, that fireteam independence is expressed in few very low level tasks:
- choosing the movement technique UNDER FIRE - this is a natural, the leader under fire usually knows best shit in which he is in
- micromanages fireteam soldiers assigning sectors of fire, distribution of fire and targets
Still in every army a general can come to a grunt and override any subordinate order. He doesn't do it because it's bad leadership. On low level like squad, squad leader very often splits teams however he sees fit. Following WW2 US Army infantry training video about Wehrmacht - a gruppe leader is briefing his squad (not fireteams). That gruppe has both MG team (mg34/42) and riflemen team (Kar98) - they even made teams completely asymmetrical to emphasis the usage of teams! That concept is still present in Russian and French Army today (maybe others too). That asymmetrical concept implies the dependency of subelements on command of element commander.