PDA

View Full Version : MAJ Ehrhart - Increasing Small Arms Lethality in Afgh.



Pages : [1] 2 3

SdunnyW506
03-08-2010, 08:50 PM
Has anyone taken a look at the paper "Increasing Small Arms Lethality in Afghanistan: Taking Back the Infantry Half-Kilometer" by MAJ Thomas P. Ehrhart? From what I have heard it has caused something of a stir within the US Army. The debate over replacing US infantry weapons and marksmanship training has gone on for a little, but here someone has finally put it into a serious thesis.

If anyone has taken a serious look at it, what are opinions?

Here's the pdf link.
http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?AD=ADA512331&Location=U2&doc=GetTRDoc.pdf

Also, here is an abstract of his paper. Sums up the intent pretty well.


Operations in Afghanistan frequently require United States ground forces to engage and destroy the enemy at ranges beyond 300 meters. While the infantryman is ideally suited for combat in Afghanistan, his current weapons, doctrine, and marksmanship training do not provide a precise, lethal fire capability to 500 meters and are therefore inappropriate. Comments from returning soldiers reveal that about fifty percent of engagements occur past 300 meters. Current equipment, training, and doctrine are optimized for engagements under 300 meters and on level terrain. This monograph reviews the small arms capability of the infantry squad from World War I to present. It then discusses current shortfalls with cartridge lethality, weapons and optics configurations, the squad designated marksman concept and finally the rifle qualification course. Potential solutions in each of these areas are discussed.

Once again, any thoughts?

Ken White
03-08-2010, 09:22 PM
the good Major's conclusions mirror almost exactly what the report of that test -- which recommended retaining the M-14 for worldwide service while developing a better automatic rifle version and a shortened version for airborne use and buying a few AR-15s for special purpose units -- recommended to DA. I have it on good authority that that report was forward to DoD with a recommendation for approval.

In the event DoD -- Secretary McNamara (assisted by Curtis LeMay, whose troops needed no more capable weapon) -- decided to buy the M-16 and cancel the contract with TRW for the M-14. I'm sure that the fact TRW had contributed to Nixon's campaign while Colt had contributed to Kennedy's had no bearing on that decision. It is noteworthy that the Marines objected and the Army was, as usual, acquiescent...

MAJ Ehrhart's recommendations also track with a number of studies in the 1970-2000 period that found the same problems.

In short, he's right.

Fuchs
03-08-2010, 10:37 PM
I saw test results of a German small arms test in 1991 very recently (not for the first time).
It compared G3 (~M14) and AK-74. The latter (high quality Eastern German licensed copies that were later sold to Turkey) proved to be superior up to 200m, with G3 having advantages beyond that distance in great part thanks to its longer sight line (now irrelevant with standard optics).

The M14 was most likely never even close to an optimum compromise. The magazine capacity is low, recoil is strong, it's heavy, long and the cartridges are heavy & bulky as well.

Almost a hundred years of optimum cartridge finding projects have almost always yielded an optimum cartridge of 6-7 mm calibre for an (assault) rifle, with few exceptions during the 30's and 40's when assault rifle(-like) designs were seen as relatives of submachine guns and rifle-like range not required. Those optimum compromises looked similar to 7.62mmx39.

We would discuss the disadvantages of the M14 and the screwed up 7.62x51 nonsense that was a poor cartridge from the start if there had not been the AR-15 and 5.56mmx45.


Let's get over the loss of M14 and G3 and accept that the next step should be an intermediate bullet (with whatever cartridge design - there's still the telescoped stuff around (http://www.aaicorp.com/pdfs/lsatps09-09-08.pdf), after all).

By the way, PEO soldier has launched a new carbine competition without requiring a specific calibre. (http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2010/03/04/army-improved-carbine-competition-does-not-specify-caliber/)

William F. Owen
03-09-2010, 04:59 AM
Read the report. It's not a document I would cite of feel comfortable doing so.

See my response to this very debate here (http://www.rusi.org/publications/defencesystems/ref:A4B8E8E9B4B8E2/), in article I was asked to right for RUSI (http://www.rusi.org/publications/defencesystems/ref:A4B8E8E9B4B8E2/)

Having now talked to lot of UK guys back from A'stan, I have to say I am very un-surprised at what they actually say, which is that personal weapons are really just for self defence and under 200m and what does the killing is platoon weapons/section weapons, like GPMG, LRR and Projected HE. In other words all the lessons from the past 60 years hold true.

Bob's World
03-09-2010, 08:14 AM
In recent engagements the TB have a very high ratio of PKMs and RPGs to the size of force encountered. Meanwhile our guys are working through tighter and tighter restrictions on the use of heavy firepower, restrictions that are frankly necessary to implement the CG's guidance and change the tenor or the coalition approch in deed as well as word. I agree with what the commander is doing, but it is indeed forcing changes of the dynamics on the battlefield as well.

At this point it is new TTPs more than new rifles that our soldiers need, and as usual they must be developed in-stride. There may be more value in discussing the mix of weapons at the squad level rather than the caliber. (Though I know my uncles who carried M-1 Garrands as infantrymen in the very close fighting of the South Pacific loved the punch that a 30-06 provided...).

Firn
03-09-2010, 09:31 AM
In recent engagements the TB have a very high ratio of PKMs and RPGs to the size of force encountered. Meanwhile our guys are working through tighter and tighter restrictions on the use of heavy firepower, restrictions that are frankly necessary to implement the CG's guidance and change the tenor or the coalition approch in deed as well as word. I agree with what the commander is doing, but it is indeed forcing changes of the dynamics on the battlefield as well.


The article by Major Ehrhardt raises very similar points:


Operations in Afghanistan have exposed weaknesses in our small arms capability, marksmanship training, and doctrine. After-action reviews and comments from returning non-commissioned officers and officers reveal that about fifty percent of engagements occur past 300 meters. The enemy tactics are to engage U.S forces from high ground with medium and heavy weapons, often including mortars, knowing that we are restricted by our equipment limitations and the inability of our overburdened soldiers to maneuver at elevations exceeding 6,000 feet.59 Current equipment, training and doctrine are optimized for engagements under 300 meters and on level terrain.

....



The modern infantryman is burdened with excessive weight in the form of protective gear, communications equipment and weapons systems. He is fighting an enemy conditioned to the elevation and terrain. The enemy travels light and employs supporting weapons from standoff, to include mortars and medium machineguns. Faced with these conditions, the modern infantry attempts to fix the enemy with direct fire and use supporting assets to kill the enemy. Supporting assets, such as close combat attack, close air support or indirect fire, are not always available. Further, their application is often restricted when collateral damage is possible, due to the enemy’s information operations and worldwide media access.


It seems to me that the TB try mostly rather hard to reduce the risks incurring when engaging coalition troops. They can usually initiate the contact on their terms, using terrain, ROE and distance to their advantage and seem to increasingly tailor their forces, as Bob said, to suit this conditions. All those factors buffer them against a "decisive" tactical defeat. This low-risk tactics seem to work well as part of their overall strategy, as it allows them to preserve their fighting forces and still greatly impact the ability of the coalition to fulfill their missions.

A very high ratio of crew-served weapons like GPMG, mortars and RPG could allow them to get a lot more out of their limited pool of better trained men while employing the rest more effectively in their support.


Firn

Infanteer
03-09-2010, 11:12 AM
Read the report. It's not a document I would cite of feel comfortable doing so.

See my response to this very debate here (http://www.rusi.org/publications/defencesystems/ref:A4B8E8E9B4B8E2/), in article I was asked to right for RUSI (http://www.rusi.org/publications/defencesystems/ref:A4B8E8E9B4B8E2/)

Having now talked to lot of UK guys back from A'stan, I have to say I am very un-surprised at what they actually say, which is that personal weapons are really just for self defence and under 200m and what does the killing is platoon weapons/section weapons, like GPMG, LRR and Projected HE. In other words all the lessons from the past 60 years hold true.

Je suis d'accord.

Rifles just protect the guy carrying and extra belt for the GPMG or a mortar bomb. Infact I prefer the 5.56 as it is half the weight of the larger rounds and means soldiers are lighter and:

1. Soldiers are able to carry some (more) support weapon ammo; and
2. Soldiers have more mobility, making it easier to close with the enemy and force him to either stand and die or move into a beaten zone.

Fuchs
03-09-2010, 11:20 AM
Me thinks you assume too much infantry combat in open terrain, in tank or mountainous terrain.

Combat in settlements or forests leads to completely different conclusions - and these are two of the three terrain types that infantry is really needed for (urban / forest / mountain).

This expeditionary nonsense of fighting against poorly trained, equipped, supplied and supported paramilitary forces at the end of the world leads to completely wrong conclusions.

It's like the "The Boers shot at us at 800 m and did hit us (rarely)!" outcry of the early 1900's that was extremely misleading in regard to the REALLY important warfare that took place during 1912-1921 in Europe.

William F. Owen
03-09-2010, 12:09 PM
Me thinks you assume too much infantry combat in open terrain, in tank or mountainous terrain.
If you mean me, you are right. I am assuming that the infantry do not choose when and where they fight - but have to be able to do it.


Combat in settlements or forests leads to completely different conclusions - and these are two of the three terrain types that infantry is really needed for (urban / forest / mountain).
That assumes terrain types are homogeneous. They're not. I live in a Middle-eastern town and I can see terrain well over 600-1000m, in every direction.

This expeditionary nonsense of fighting against poorly trained, equipped, supplied and supported paramilitary forces at the end of the world leads to completely wrong conclusions. What kills and suppresses the Taliban in 2010 did the same to anyone and everyone in 1944.

It's like the "The Boers shot at us at 800 m and did hit us (rarely)!" outcry of the early 1900's that was extremely misleading in regard to the REALLY important warfare that took place during 1912-1921 in Europe. Sure. Terrain, threat, tactics, and policy.

kaur
03-09-2010, 01:20 PM
In the beginning Norwegians had in Afganistan G3 rifles, then they got HK416, but they didn't get rid of G3's. Why? Maybe this is best mix for them, just like US got M14 from warehouses to add long range fire to M4-equipped soldiers.

http://i.imagehost.org/t/0477/HK416G3.jpg (http://i.imagehost.org/view/0477/HK416G3)

William F. Owen
03-09-2010, 01:28 PM
http://i.imagehost.org/t/0477/HK416G3.jpg (http://i.imagehost.org/view/0477/HK416G3)
So many things odd and wrong with that picture, I just do no know where to begin! :D
The world gets stranger and stranger!

kaur
03-09-2010, 01:35 PM
PS Wilf, I was reading your RUSI article and was hoping that you say something about HK MP7. I'm little bit disappointed :)

William F. Owen
03-09-2010, 01:38 PM
PS Wilf, I was reading your RUSI article and was hoping that you say something about HK MP7. I'm little bit disappointed :)
I think I said it all before (http://www.rusi.org/downloads/assets/Owen,_UK_Platoon_Weapons.pdf).

kaur
03-09-2010, 01:41 PM
Wilf, do you dare to suggest this to troops in Afganistan?


The new section could be still be eight
men, all equipped with an MP7 or P-90,
but one man also carrying an MGL, and
another a GPMG or LMG (L7 or L110).

Fuchs
03-09-2010, 01:42 PM
If you mean me, you are right. I am assuming that the infantry do not choose when and where they fight - but have to be able to do it.

We don't have enough of em to waste em in wrong tactical employments once we get into a great war.

That assumes terrain types are homogeneous. They're not. I live in a Middle-eastern town and I can see terrain well over 600-1000m, in every direction.

This is entirely irrelevant, and you should be aware of it. It's not relevant how far you can see, but how well the terrain can be used for cover & concealment. I can see down the road for hundreds of metres, yet someone could easily sneak up to me into hand grenade range without giving me a chance to see (much less identify) him.

What kills and suppresses the Taliban in 2010 did the same to anyone and everyone in 1944.

Except that most of it wouldn't work against a high end opponent, of course. OEF-A and ISAF forces would be slaughtered mercilessly if they used their tactics against the Russians, Chinese or any other halfway effective infantry force.
The behaviour observed in AFG is outright suicidal in modern army-on-army warfare.
The ratio of CAS to ground forces (platoons being able to call in CAS!) is the exception of the rule, as is the 99.9% lack of fire support on the red team.
A few bullet near misses may suppress a real soldier as well as a Taliban - but the chance to score these near misses drops considerably if you face real soldiers because they would kill your battalion in a day at a rate that the whole TB doesn't match in a year, much less with small arms and grenades.

A tripod machine gun team on open terrain would be killed ASAP with mortars and alternatively by a sniper in a European-style war. Alternating concealed and if possible flanking MMG positions are practical, MMG employment as done in AFG is rather not ... against a competent opponent.

Let's face it; the conditions are so extremely different and the competency and capability of the TB is so marginal that almost nothing from AFG will serve us in the next great war. Much will hurt us, though.

About your example "1944"; even 1944 Finns or Germans would easily multiply the losses of ISAF and OEF-A if they replaced TB 1:1. A finnish sniper killed more Russians during the winter '39/'40 than the TB kill Western+Pakistani soldiers in a whole year. The TB are ridiculously harmless and incompetent. German bus drivers are a greater threat.
.

Infanteer
03-09-2010, 02:10 PM
Good to know I'm a suicidal incompetent....


Me thinks you assume too much infantry combat in open terrain, in tank or mountainous terrain.

Combat in settlements or forests leads to completely different conclusions - and these are two of the three terrain types that infantry is really needed for (urban / forest / mountain).

This expeditionary nonsense of fighting against poorly trained, equipped, supplied and supported paramilitary forces at the end of the world leads to completely wrong conclusions.

Well, I've been roaming around grapefields, wadis and villages for the last 5 months, and I think your assessment is wrong. Just because Kandahar is "desert" on the map doesn't mean that the terrain isn't varied.

An insurgent bullet will kill just as good as some Russian conscript's. Although I don't give the insurgents here credit for much, they do know how to use complex terrain (their home turf) to their advantage and understand kill zones.

Please enlighten me on our poor behaviours here - I employ techniques that would work equally well against Russian conscripts and insurgents; they're nothing more than the basics and we use them because they reduce our vulnerability and allow us to bring the right weapons to bear.

Fuchs
03-09-2010, 02:17 PM
Give an example and I'll tell you what could have gone wrong if you had faced a powerful opponent.

William F. Owen
03-09-2010, 02:19 PM
Wilf, do you dare to suggest this to troops in Afganistan?


The new section could be still be eight
men, all equipped with an MP7 or P-90,
but one man also carrying an MGL, and
another a GPMG or LMG (L7 or L110).


I would dare, SUGGEST and without blinking. - Suggest means go work it out, do the trials and do the training. IF it does not work well, DO NOT DO IT!

None of the articles you see written by me (or even Jim Storr) should be taken a doctrine. A lot of the time they seek to be provocative, to get the debate going - because most of the time their simply is no discussion and no debate.

William F. Owen
03-09-2010, 02:40 PM
FUCHS

a. It does matter how far you can see, because you may well be seeing people who are shooting at other people who are closer to them. - or trying to stop them moving around and across terrain you cannot secure, except by fire.

b. Combat has to be accepted as and when it occurs. Terrain is not homogeneous. Even in Jungles you may be engaged by a 14.5 AAMG a 1000m across the other side of the valley - as happened to a friend of mine in Laos.

c. I agree that the Taliban are not a well trained opponent, but you do not have to be that good to be that lethal so that it counts. Combat is not defined by absolutes. It's very context specific and all very relative. Good enough merely has to be "better than."

What is more, NO good Army will take the tactical conduct of operations in A'Stan as being illustrative of anything other than irregular warfare against a 2nd rate opponent.

Infanteer
03-09-2010, 02:40 PM
Give an example and I'll tell you what could have gone wrong if you had faced a powerful opponent.

Since you're making the assertion that we are tactically inept, and I am out here daily generally seeing the opposite, I think the onus is on you to prove it.

Define "a powerful opponent" - enfilading fire from a PKM kills, regardless of what the guy firing it is wearing.

Infanteer
03-09-2010, 02:56 PM
FUCHSc. I agree that the Taliban are not a well trained opponent, but you do not have to be that good to be that lethal so that it counts. Combat is not defined by absolutes. It's very context specific and all very relative. Good enough merely has to be "better than."

What is more, NO good Army will take the tactical conduct of operations in A'Stan as being illustrative of anything other than irregular warfare against a 2nd rate opponent.

Yes. And good enough merely has to be "better than" for a little while.

These guys know their turf, they know killzones and they are persistent. That's enough to be "better than at times" and killing them requires the same skills as facing a regular opponent - only with them you have more considerations to take into account.

Fuchs
03-09-2010, 03:12 PM
Since you're making the assertion that we are tactically inept, and I am out here daily generally seeing the opposite, I think the onus is on you to prove it.

Define "a powerful opponent" - enfilading fire from a PKM kills, regardless of what the guy firing it is wearing.

Don't try to nail me on something that I didn't write.
I wrote "The behaviour observed in AFG is outright suicidal in modern army-on-army warfare."

A patrol moves out in several lightly armoured vehicles in terrain where it's visible beyond 1,000 m and often the convoy is even moving through a valley while surrounding mountain or hill tops are not secured.
A modern army would kill the whole convoy with ease.

An infantry squad comes in contact with the enemy, is pinned down by small arms fire and calls CAS for help.
In high end warfare, it would have been suppressed in the kill zone for 30-120 sec before being killed by mortar fire.


An outpost is established in company strength.
An army opponent would have destroyed it with artillery before its completion.

A civil engineering project is being guarded by infantry and light AFVs in an agricultural area.
Again, arty & good bye.

A patrol conducts a presence patrol.
To show yourself in army-on-army war = suicide. Even 20km deep in the division rear area.

An infantry-on-infantry contact in hilly terrain. One part of the small unit fixes, the other attempts to flank.
Competent armies have a security element in their flanks to stall flanking attempts - a two-man team with LMG suffices.

A house/compound is being assaulted. Suppressive fires + assault.
Again,a competent enemy would defend from more than one position, providing kill zones around the house from detached security elements or other fortified positions.

Infantry calls for helicopters or a Reaper drone for support.
Reaper is an easy target drone for modern battlefield air defences. Helicopters couldn't dare to fly high, much less over enemy-controlled terrain if they faced a modern opponent.

Infantry patrols without (near)permanent concealment or cover.
A sniper pair with a heavy rifle and actual AP cartridges kills them off one by one until they reach cover or concealment. Their vest plates are being penetrated at 500+ m.

A fortified position is being assaulted by TB infantry. The defenders shoot back.
Everyone looking over the wall instead of through a tiny slit or periscope would be shot by snipers. Every position without overhead cover would be a mortar kill zone. Every fortified position that has been identified a few minutes or more ago would already be a death trap, a mere firing mission for the enemy artillery with later mopping up by infantry.

Infantry is carrying M136s on patrol through a barren environment.
An enemy IFV arrives and accepts their surrender.


NATO soldiers expected to die within weeks of WW3 even without any nuclear attacks.
Today ISAF/OEF-A endure a lower attrition rate than a per cent per year.

Any attempt to claim that ISAF/OEF-A meet the survivability demands of modern high end warfare is utterly hopeless. The threat is marginal by comparison. Look at the South Ossetia conflict. More dead than in a year in Afghanistan - in a matter of days. The forces involved were much smaller.
A marginal threat does certainly not lead to the amount of carefulness as necessary in army-on-army warfare.


I know that these statements are not capable of comforting those who serve(d) in AFG, but they're the harsh truth.

Let me refer to this for further explanation. (http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?t=9841)
The TB are far more permissive than an opposing army would be. Naturally, the Western troops use this freedom of action and use tactics that would not be acceptable against a less permissive opponent.

Fuchs
03-09-2010, 03:16 PM
These guys know their turf, they know killzones and they are persistent. That's enough to be "better than at times" and killing them requires the same skills as facing a regular opponent - only with them you have more considerations to take into account.

LESS, not more. You need to take MUCH LESS into account.


The Taliban are like an army of LRR scouts. The can improvise some non-LRR actions.

An army opponent would have much, much more at its disposal than LRR improvising all the time.

Would you really want to suggest that German troops in Russia had more considerations to take into account when fighting against partisans than when fighting against the combined arms Red Army with its air support?

Te best we could do is likely that we agree to disagree.

Ken White
03-09-2010, 04:00 PM
criticizing governments that engage in potentially fruitless nation building wars which rarely work and are terribly wasteful of people.

He is also saying those kinds of wars teach -- embed, even -- bad habits and the purchase of expensive equipment with limited uses (MRAPS, anyone...). I very strongly agree with him.

As Infanteer said and this is really the point:
..killing them requires the same skills as facing a regular opponent - only with them you have more considerations to take into account.(emphasis added / kw)Presuming you mean the "regular" opponent requires more considerations, that's correct. A whole lot more. Artillery just for openers, mass and rapid maneuver capability or two quick additives...

As Fuchs says:
I know that these statements are not capable of comforting those who serve(d) in AFG, but they're the harsh truth.They are indeed truths and he's just scratching the surface. I appreciate and thank everyone now serving but no professional should get lulled into believing that either Afghanistan or Iraq were or are wars in the total sense. They are a series of skirmishes against lightly armed opponents and are a totally different thing to warfare against even a near peer opponent. While major war is itself a series of small unit skirmishes, there are so many more of them and so many more elements come into play that a very different mindset -- and equipment set -- comes into play.

The myth that "COIN is the graduate level of war" is dangerous. It does require a degree of thought and interaction that differs from conventional warfare but it does not require less thought or effort. Indeed, conventional warfare is far, far more demanding on commanders and large units even though it is not much more demanding on individuals and small units.

It is simply a matter of scale. It is also a matter of opponent mass and capability. Governments are at fault for committing their troops to poorly thought out campaigns; Armies are at fault for presuming those campaigns are the future. Every war is different, yet warfare changes little and small wars differ considerably from large ones. :wry:

The US Army picked up a number of bad habits in Viet Nam -- some of those bad habits (micromanagement and lack of trust of subordinates being two big ones, overuse of Artillery in COIN like operations and inadequate and insufficient patrolling being two more) still adversely impact the force 35 years later. In fact, the Small War in Korea still has flawed legacy problems (the one year tour, condensed and 'economical' training) 60 years later... :mad:

Steve Blair
03-09-2010, 04:41 PM
The US Army picked up a number of bad habits in Viet Nam -- some of those bad habits (micromanagement and lack of trust of subordinates being two big ones, overuse of Artillery in COIN like operations and inadequate and insufficient patrolling being two more) still adversely impact the force 35 years later. In fact, the Small War in Korea still has flawed legacy problems (the one year tour, condensed and 'economical' training) 60 years later... :mad:

I would contend that these small wars simply solidified traits and trends that were first formed during the big wars (WW 1 and WW 2), and those traits in turn stem from some of Root's reforms and the historical American reliance on a very small standing army and mass militia in times of conflict (which translates after about 1916 to the draft).

Many of the bad habits the force has been saddled with came from poor planning for the next big war, not from participation in small wars. The failures and omissions run deeper than "small versus big" or caliber debates.

Danny
03-09-2010, 04:57 PM
Ken, I'm glad to see you say that about micromanaging the military. I can't comment on lessons learned from Vietnam, and I'll leave to you where the Army picked it up. I certainly see reflections of corporate America in the Blackberries, instant access to hundreds of e-mails per day, and control over every little jot and tittle of everything that comes up all day every day with the staff level officers. I have even started a category on this:

http://www.captainsjournal.com/category/micromanaging-the-military/

Beginning with one of the most absurd instances I have ever seen in print:

http://www.captainsjournal.com/2009/08/07/seeking-riskless-war/

I'm sure Ken could add several thousand instances from his career. It's disappointing. One of my dislikes of the ROE in Afghanistan is not what it says, although I have my beefs. It is the very notion of a four star general issuing a tactical directive to Lance Corporals and Sergeants in the field under fire. Lord, why can't generals focus in logistics and strategy, and let the boys in the field focus on tactics?

As for the issue of the infantry half-kilometer, there is at least one interesting comment where I weighed in:

http://www.captainsjournal.com/2010/03/08/taking-back-the-infantry-half-kilometer/#comment-29570

This is similar to some comments I am getting to this article via mail. No one in the Army believes that they will ever get the best weapons (or even the best training). It's a matter of making the most of what's there. The Marines do this with their rifle qualifications at 500 yards, and the fact that the Army doesn't do this has to do with strategic choices, not capabilities.

That said, I find it rather criminal that in all these years, the Army / Marines have not seen fit to invest in a replacement for the Stoner system of weapons that at least uses an open bolt system (or better yet, piston), and gives the fire team and squad a more variable choice of weapons at their disposal.

It would appear to me that Major Ehrhart's recommendations are basically correct. Other than money, what reason could there be NOT to implement both better training and more latitude in weapons selection?

Ken White
03-09-2010, 05:02 PM
Each generation sort of gets its own war(s) and thus learns its own lessons -- which we notoriously do not analyze well or successfully pass on to our successors.
I would contend that these small wars simply solidified traits and trends that were first formed during the big wars (WW 1 and WW 2), and those traits in turn stem from some of Root's reforms and the historical American reliance on a very small standing army and mass militia in times of conflict (which translates after about 1916 to the draft).This is not a quibble, it is important:

Each war adds its own fillips to previously absorbed bad lessons.

Many of the bad habits the force has been saddled with came from poor planning for the next big war, not from participation in small wars.With that I totally agree.
The failures and omissions run deeper than "small versus big" or caliber debates.While that is true, it should not be allowed to obscure the fact that bad lessons accrue in all wars for the next one or that small anything cannot totally prepare one for a big anything. one reason for the phenomenon as you state it is that junior leaders in one war mistakenly presume their next war will be like their last where they may be far more senior and thus able to do far more damage (See again Korea and Viet Nam. See also the Powell
Doctrine...).

It is a matter of scale and that is very important. What you say is true at the macro level; at the micro or personal level it is all too easy to base ones future plans and actions -- and thus ones responses to stimuli -- on current experience.

That is rarely wise

Steve Blair
03-09-2010, 05:08 PM
It is a matter of scale and that is very important. What you say is true at the macro level; at the micro or personal level it is all too easy to base ones future plans and actions -- and thus ones responses to stimuli -- on current experience.

That is rarely wise

Agree, but we also tend to obsess on the micro level without making any real attempt to fix the problem (or at least understand it) at the macro level. That's why I like dragging this old rock out from time to time. Fixing (or at least messing with) the micro also makes some people feel like they're accomplishing something, while in fact the bigger problem remains as the elephant in the corner.

When I look at how the institutions of defense respond to external stimuli (in the form of conflicts), it's interesting to see how their responses have hardened and become more strident in the years after World War II. I suspect part of that is a function of sheer size, but it has certainly allowed the macro problems to linger on and multiply at all levels.

And now I'll put the pet rock away and stop derailing the thread...:o

Infanteer
03-09-2010, 07:09 PM
Don't try to nail me on something that I didn't write.
I wrote "The behaviour observed in AFG is outright suicidal in modern army-on-army warfare."

Well, I'd argue that the behaviour in Afghanistan is simply an adjustment of our own TTPs to the enemy. Has anyone seriously argued that we should fight the Warsaw Pact like we'd fight bandits? I don't think anyone would disagree with the point that Ken White raises with the insurgencies and skirmishes.

We were talking about small arms ammunition and what kills in a small-unit engagement. I don't get how a rifle platoon guarding a development project and getting flattened by a brigade of enemy artillery is related to it. I guess I failed to read the intent of your change in topic - mea culpa.

The fact of the matter remains that small unit firefights of 10-40 guys in Afghanistan are much the same as they would be against a regular foe anywhere else. Small groups of guys trying to shoot, move and communicate to kill each other with crew-served weapons doing most of the killing. For me to do so, I still like light rifles, MGs and light mortars (and other HE-senders). Arty or air are just add-ons for either side; having neither air defence nor effective indirect fire is not a characteristic unique to either Afghan insurgents or irregular foes in general and CAS and indirect are not ubiquitous in Afghanistan.

Fuchs
03-09-2010, 07:33 PM
The fact of the matter remains that small unit firefights of 10-40 guys in Afghanistan are much the same as they would be against a regular foe anywhere else. Small groups of guys trying to shoot, move and communicate to kill each other with crew-served weapons doing most of the killing. For me to do so, I still like light rifles, MGs and light mortars. Arty or air are just add-ons for either side; having neither air defence nor effective indirect fire is not a characteristic unique to either Afghan insurgents or irregular foes in general and CAS and indirect are not ubiquitous in Afghanistan.

OK, let's try it this way:

a) You are Inf Plt leader in a great war. Your Plt is in combat with an enemy who's using agricultural walls for cover 400 m ahead of your position. You can call for mortar support.

b) You lead a TB warband in AFG. Your warband has fixed a Canadian patrol 400 m ahead, behind a wall. You have 20 minutes left till enemy air can be expected to intervene. You do not have mortar support available.

c) You are Inf Plt leader in AFG. Your Plt is in combat and fixed behind a wall. You have 20-40 minutes left till air will intervene.

d) You are Inf Plt leader in a great war. You are in combat and fixed behind a wall. The Bn main fight is elsewhere and the Bde main fight isn't in your Bn area. You get no support, but you've got a couple SMK grenades and a large area with much concealment is just 100m to your south. You expect a red mortar attack ion less than two minutes.


Do you get where I see the difference?

Arty and mortars are not "add-ons". They're essential combined arms combat components. The can eradicate your small unit in minutes, something the TB didn't achieve EVER against ANY Western small unit in YEARS of warfare.

Facing such a threat and not being sure that enemy comm is interrupted, you have little other choice than to keep contacts brief and move (disappear) often - while you could sit safely behind the very same cover for hours if in combat against TB.

kaur
03-10-2010, 06:22 AM
Sorry for spoiling, but I'd like to add 1 table to Ken White's comment.


It is simply a matter of scale. It is also a matter of opponent mass and capability.

http://i.imagehost.org/t/0486/beaufre.jpg (http://i.imagehost.org/view/0486/beaufre)

Wilf, said:


I would dare, SUGGEST and without blinking. - Suggest means go work it out, do the trials and do the training. IF it does not work well, DO NOT DO IT!

Has any Red Team ever dared to test this idea?

Ken White
03-10-2010, 07:04 AM
Agree, but we also tend to obsess on the micro level...while in fact the bigger problem remains as the elephant in the corner.Perhaps a bad choice of words on my part; I 've noticed one can educate the young and even the middle aged. However, old Bull elephants are not going to listen or change. So you've got to get the young to think right in hopes that when they get old, they'll be in the habit. Don Vandergriff sent me a briefing he'd presented to the Chief of Staff -- of which nothing had come -- I wrote him back and suggested he edumacate the LTs and they would change the system as the grew in it and pointed out starting at the top and working down does not work, even a really smart guy like Shy Meyer discovered that.
And now I'll put the pet rock away and stop derailing the thread...:oIt's not a derail, it's pertinent and you're correct that some obsess over inconsequentials.

However, the difference between low and high intensity war is quite far from being inconsequential. That point needs emphasis.

Kaur:

I don't see any spoiling effect. Your chart doesn't contradict a thing I've written here. In fact, if it does anything, it backs up my comment that "(Fuchs) is criticizing governments that engage in potentially fruitless nation building wars which rarely work and are terribly wasteful of people" and "Governments are at fault for committing their troops to poorly thought out campaigns; Armies are at fault for presuming those campaigns are the future." :wry:

Bob's World
03-10-2010, 08:42 AM
OK, let's try it this way:

a) You are Inf Plt leader in a great war. Your Plt is in combat with an enemy who's using agricultural walls for cover 400 m ahead of your position. You can call for mortar support.

b) You lead a TB warband in AFG. Your warband has fixed a Canadian patrol 400 m ahead, behind a wall. You have 20 minutes left till enemy air can be expected to intervene. You do not have mortar support available.

c) You are Inf Plt leader in AFG. Your Plt is in combat and fixed behind a wall. You have 20-40 minutes left till air will intervene.

d) You are Inf Plt leader in a great war. You are in combat and fixed behind a wall. The Bn main fight is elsewhere and the Bde main fight isn't in your Bn area. You get no support, but you've got a couple SMK grenades and a large area with much concealment is just 100m to your south. You expect a red mortar attack ion less than two minutes.


Do you get where I see the difference?

Arty and mortars are not "add-ons". They're essential combined arms combat components. The can eradicate your small unit in minutes, something the TB didn't achieve EVER against ANY Western small unit in YEARS of warfare.

Facing such a threat and not being sure that enemy comm is interrupted, you have little other choice than to keep contacts brief and move (disappear) often - while you could sit safely behind the very same cover for hours if in combat against TB.

Such as the Canadian force fixed by the TB force is not authorized to employ CAS or indirect fires due to the Civilian (innocent) populace in and among the civilian (insurgent) populace he is fixed by. The location has a high number of IEDs limiting his freedom of maneuver, but they are known by his opponent so do not affect his maneuver; and because there are no front lines, he can hear over the ICOM radios being used by the insurgent that a complex attack is being pulled together that will likely have him taking fire from 270 degrees on his position with the next 15-20 minutes.

Aerial evacuation is possible, but not until sometime after sunset which is some 7 hours away. All ISR has been pulled to support higher priority operations elsewhere. Nearest QRF is 15 KM away, but will have to clear IEDs and deal with a continuous TIC to get to your location.

Meanwhile your commander is expecting you to "clear" the compounds to your front, while the compounds you "cleared" yesterday to your rear are now reoccupied by insurgents, as well as the innocent civilians who live there.

Oh yes, and your mission is not to defeat the insurgent, but to protect the populace.

It may not be graduate level war, but you better at least have your GED.

Fuchs
03-10-2010, 09:39 AM
Well, we don't seem to argue about the degree of difficulty and whether the same behaviour would be suicidal in a great war anymore (my original points).

You seem to pile on points that need to be considered by a small unit leader instead, and that's really an endless game because - and I think you understand that - it would be no problem to me to add one or two forum pages of things that should be considered (but cannot all be considered) by a small unit leader in a great war.

There would be many things included that are not necessary - at times even contraproductive - in a small war environment. Like minimising the exposure to airborne sensors, radio silence, jammed radio links or being enticed to survive the war by simply becoming a POW.

William F. Owen
03-10-2010, 01:38 PM
Has any Red Team ever dared to test this idea?

No but armies running around with STENs, MP-40's and PPSH have pretty much done a useful level of empirical testing. MP-7 is actually deployed in A'Stan, but I don't know in what form or scale.
The IDF of 1948 had predominantly STEN Guns and MG-34/BRENs and very few rifles. The Arabs in contrast had mostly rifles. Not proof in and of itself but food for thought!

....and as I said, I'd want a lot of testing before being more than provocative with such ideas

Firn
03-10-2010, 03:22 PM
-----------------

Some general thoughts on automatic weapons and support weapons. The machine pistol has just as a rifle a specific set of advantages and disadvantages. One decisive factor in the far greater use and need for MPs in WWII might have been among other ones that it could greatly ease the suppression of the enemy and the employement of the crew-served weapons, tanks or hand-grenades. Soldiers mostly armed with bolt-rifles had a far harder time to suppress and silence under similar situations and had great disadvantag in many combat settings against troops with a high ratio of automatic weapons. Thus they sought to get their hands on automatic weapons. With this kind of "positive feedback" going on, the generally observed trend to increase their ratio seen in pretty much every war in the last 90 years is quite understandable. On the other hand specialists like sipers would try to shield themselve from enemy suppression by cunning, training and camouflage. (Sound suppressors on the "long range" rifles coupled with good training and tactics should lower the suppression of the sharpshooters and thus increase their effectiveness.)

------------

While it seems to me that the article by the MAJ outlined the current situation well, I think there could have been a greater focus on the problems of finding and Identifying the enemy at long ranges. The specific terrain and the part of the enemy tactics might favor the (greater) use the low-level use of spotting scopes, binoculars, high-powered scopes, and perhaps periscopes. Better finding and identifiying should lead to better fixing and easier destruction by the support weapons like mortars, grenades, artillery or CAS.


Firn

Fuchs
03-10-2010, 03:46 PM
A bit small arms history background:

Submachineguns were an stopgap.
Semi-auto rifles and even mroe so automatic rifles weren't reliable until the 1930's (M1 Garand and Vollmer Maschinenkarabiner; the first assault rifle).
This meant that the best way to improve close combat firepower over carbines/rifles were shotguns, hand grenades, pistols and submachineguns.

Today we can easily produce automatic rifles (~M14), automatic carbines (~M4), subcarbines (http://www.personaldefenceweapons.com//subcarbines/subcarbines.htm) (rarely in military), assault rifles (~AKM) and semi-auto sniper rifles (~Dragunov).

Submachineguns are about as heavy and clumsy as assault rifles, yet vastly inferior in effective range and typically also so in regard to penetration. We don't need this stopgap anymore.

Machine pistols are even more inferior in accuracy and range, yet at least they're light and compact. Nevertheless, they're inferior to some PDWs (http://www.personaldefenceweapons.com//SCHV_PDWs/schv_pdws.htm) that offer a much higher velocity bullet.


I'd treat the latter as PDWs, never as a front line infantry primary weapon. A Javelin operator, MG gunner or driver may be issued such a small weapon. They should also be issued a full weapon, such as an assault rifle (to be stored in a vehicle if not needed at the moment).

The firepower in forests and inside buildings is too weak with machine pistols and PDWs.



I'm generally OK with an assault rifle concept that's focused on 200 or 300m combat range with only tripod machine guns, AT weapons and scoped rifles shooting farther. The assault rifle / carbine should be a trust-inspiring and well-selected design, though. I consider the personal weapon to be quite important for the confidence of the individual soldier. That's why I would also consider issuing a light AT weapon and at least one hand and one smoke grenade to every soldier who doesn't use some heavy weapon.
I don't only think of infantry here!

William F. Owen
03-10-2010, 03:58 PM
If someone asked me RIGHT NOW, I wouldn't touch PDWs because there simply isn't the need. They do however produce an interesting set of arguments - why I wrote the article.

I'm pretty much set in my views on platoon weapons right now, mainly because they keep getting validated, but any new information will always make me think again..... hopefully... :wry:

carl
03-10-2010, 03:59 PM
The article calls as strongly for better training as it does for a new infantry rifle or calibre. Without the training no hits will be made at extended ranges no matter what kind of rifle. And improved training will improve the effectiveness of what we have now. Everybody wins, but as I have gathered from reading SWJ over the years, that might be harder to do than getting new equipment.

Also, could the XM-25, if successfully fielded, do a lot to fix the problem? Could the problem also be addressed by increasing the number of GPMGs carried (per Kaur) or 51mm type mortars or even using the M203 for indirect fire?

The above questions are actually questions, not opinions in disguise.

Firn
03-10-2010, 04:35 PM
The above questions are actually questions, not opinions in disguise.

IMHO the biggest nut to crack for a dismounted patrol is to suppress the enemy mortars and their observers when they are used in competent fashion in difficult alpine terrain and if the enemy holds the high ground. A mortar hidden in a ravine or shielded by a crest is pretty much impossible to silence by patrols down in the valley or on the slopes - especially if they get also hit by suppressive AKM and RPG fire. Observers and some boys could shout corrections back to the mortar and avoid so radio chatter. The returning observation and fire effort will almost entirely be directed at the sources of direct fire! With good dispersion chances are high that the (distant) observer (higher up or on the flanks) can keep doing unhindered his job. This reverse slope harassing is easily set up in many regions of Afghanistan. I wonder how often the "reverse slope" is a hamlet.

Mortar bombs and other ammunition and weapons transported by small groups, boys with goats, etc over a long time could have been stashed in suitable places and collected at notice by the shadowing spies and observers. With enough bombs and time to fire them even lesser skilled mortar crews can be very dangerous. If done well, this tactic is, without a lot of resources, hard to tackle.

@Fuchs: I just used the machine pistols as a historic starting point for this very observed "co-evolution".


Firn

William F. Owen
03-10-2010, 07:04 PM
Without the training no hits will be made at extended ranges no matter what kind of rifle. And improved training will improve the effectiveness of what we have now. Everybody wins, but as I have gathered from reading SWJ over the years, that might be harder to do than getting new equipment.
There are real limits to what you can train people to do when it comes to "skills". Some can shoot, some cannot, and some never improve. Plus almost all training is a function of quantity and quality and both of those cost money, so are the first things to get cut.

Could the problem also be addressed by increasing the number of GPMGs carried (per Kaur) or 51mm type mortars or even using the M203 for indirect fire?
If your Platoon has 2-3 GPMG, a 60mm hand-held mortar and some 6-8 M203, I cannot really think what else you can reasonably ask for, bar perhaps 66mm M72s and maybe some ATGM, dependant on need.
The simpler you make the equipment, the easier you make the training reach a higher standard.

Fuchs
03-10-2010, 07:09 PM
If your Platoon has 2-3 GPMG, a 60mm hand-held mortar and some 6-8 M203, I cannot really think what else you can reasonably ask for, bar perhaps 66mm M72s and maybe some ATGM, dependant on need.
The simpler you make the equipment, the easier you make the training reach a higher standard.

It's a bit off the scope because it's just munitions, but I would keep in mind the grenade & mine repertoire.

The German army doesn't use "Claymores", for example - a serious drawback for ambushes in my opinion.

reed11b
03-10-2010, 09:56 PM
An infantry squad comes in contact with the enemy, is pinned down by small arms fire and calls CAS for help.
In high end warfare, it would have been suppressed in the kill zone for 30-120 sec before being killed by mortar fire.


An outpost is established in company strength.
An army opponent would have destroyed it with artillery before its completion.

A civil engineering project is being guarded by infantry and light AFVs in an agricultural area.
Again, arty & good bye.

Sorry Fuchs, but I have read many many AARs that suggest that the "lethality" of arty is not even close to what the manual says. Tima and again, troops that have gone to the ground have survived arty and gotten back in the fight. Example: the actual impact area of an arty round is small and most of the blast energy goes up and is dispersed.



An infantry-on-infantry contact in hilly terrain. One part of the small unit fixes, the other attempts to flank.
Competent armies have a security element in their flanks to stall flanking attempts - a two-man team with LMG suffices.

A house/compound is being assaulted. Suppressive fires + assault.
Again,a competent enemy would defend from more than one position, providing kill zones around the house from detached security elements or other fortified positions.
I actually agree almost 100% on this one. See Wilf's fire team concept for what I would do about it (i.e tactic and training based solutions, not equipment) and add some improved organic HE direct fire capability.



Infantry patrols without (near)permanent concealment or cover.
A sniper pair with a heavy rifle and actual AP cartridges kills them off one by one until they reach cover or concealment. Their vest plates are being penetrated at 500+ m.

A fortified position is being assaulted by TB infantry. The defenders shoot back.
Everyone looking over the wall instead of through a tiny slit or periscope would be shot by snipers. Every position without overhead cover would be a mortar kill zone. Every fortified position that has been identified a few minutes or more ago would already be a death trap, a mere firing mission for the enemy artillery with later mopping up by infantry.
WOW, where do these mega soldiers live and how do we recruit them! :eek:
Seriously now, your concept of lethality is not shared by historic or modern AARs.


Infantry is carrying M136s on patrol through a barren environment.
An enemy IFV arrives and accepts their surrender.

:confused: or not.
Reed

Fuchs
03-10-2010, 10:08 PM
Sorry Fuchs, but I have read many many AARs that suggest that the "lethality" of arty is not even close to what the manual says. Tima and again, troops that have gone to the ground have survived arty and gotten back in the fight. Example: the actual impact area of an arty round is small and most of the blast energy goes up and is dispersed.

You're writing about HE with PD fuse. In other words; you're late by 40-60 years.

Today's arty shells detonate before impact, the effect goes downwards and sidewards.This was first done with 90mm AAA shells in late 1944 Ardennes offensive.

ICM shells (1970's and later tech) lack even the dispersal pattern weakness of HE shells (which left forward and rear quite untouched by fragments).

Your statement sounds as if someone told others in 1914 that arty is harmless based on Crimean War experiences.


Seriously now, your concept of lethality is not shared by historic or modern AARs.

Maybe you should read AARs of armies that did more than mere strategic mopping up or beating up Third World forces during the 20th century.

My concept of lethality fits easily to experiences like the one that the average remaining life expectancy of a newly promoted German Panzergrenadier 2nd Lieutenant was measured in mere weeks (single digit!) during 1943-1945.

And let's not forget that dead people rarely write AARs.

Ken White
03-10-2010, 11:50 PM
Sorry Fuchs, but I have read many many AARs that suggest that the "lethality" of arty is not even close to what the manual says.Sorta make one wonder why the 'manual' would say something different...
Tima and again, troops that have gone to the ground have survived arty and gotten back in the fight.Now that's true. Done it myself. Also have just charged right through it and survived. Unfortunately, I had a number of friends who weren't so lucky.

Combat is weird -- you can find examples to prove almost anything. I saw a guy in Korea take a 76mm round that passed through his stomach, you could literally see through him -- he was back to duty in about six weeks...:confused:

Saw a Viet Namese with an undetonated 40mm Grenade HE round in his thorax, the Medics removed it. Wuithout blowing him or themselves up...:D

On balance, Artillery was the biggest killer in WW I and WW II, averages generally running between 65 and 80% if Artillery was involved in the action. There's this:


""The cause of wounds suffered by soldiers varied widely depending on specific circumstances. A British Corps reported 42.8% wounds caused by bullets during the El Alamein offensive. However the percentage of battle wounds to british soldiers by weapon 1939-45 overall was:

Mortar, grenade, bomb, shell ...........75%
Bullet, AT mine................................10%
mine & booby trap...........................10%
Blast and crush.................................2%
Chemical.......................................... 2%
other............................................. ...1%

from J Ellis WWII Databook table 57 p257""

Recall also that those figures and the ones of which the 'manual' cued were based on those who received medical treatment; in a war, no one does autopsies to determine what killed Johnny. Nor do they do memorial services or ramp ceremonies -- too many casualties for all that stuff.
Example: the actual impact area of an arty round is small and most of the blast energy goes up and is dispersed.Uh, yeah -- unless they're using VT or Proximity fuzes. Then, as Fuchs said, they pop overhead and rain down. Also, don't discount the damage of fragements deflected from that upward dispersion -- or from the rocks and dirt thrown out of the crater at high speed. I've still got little pebbles and flecks of steel that pop out of my bod from Korea. The piece of steel under my kneecap is a handy weather predictor...:D.
WOW, where do these mega soldiers live and how do we recruit them! :eek:No mega bods required. Presented with the opportunity, you'd do it...
Seriously now, your concept of lethality is not shared by historic or modern AARs.If you mean AARs from Afghanistan or Iraq (IIRC, 44% of Medevacs in Iraq during 2003-06 were for disease or accidents) or even Viet Nam, they don't really count cause the bad guys didn't really have much in the way of HE support and were generally outnumbered heavily by us (though one could say that their IEDs are poor mans artillery...). Perhaps you can find me some from Korea or WW II that corroborate what you say?

As UBoat 509 said the other day, anyone who thinks the 60mm mortar isn't dangerous hasn't been on the receiving end.

Kinnison
03-11-2010, 01:38 AM
I wrote on this subject before the Ehrhart article was published, and I agree with him. Go to www.thefreedomcommentaries.com and read "Not Invented Here" under the Weapons category.

Jones_RE
03-11-2010, 05:17 AM
I read the paper. It seems to me that with a combination of 'battle zero' and the fundamentals of marksmanship (stance, grip, sight alignment, sight picture, breath control, trigger control and follow through) you can hit a man sized target at 300m. If you are only training to hit anywhere on a 20" target at that range then you don't even need to be very good at the fundamentals - a 6" group at 100m is good enough. Because the bullet's trajectory with the rifle's basic setup will always be somewhere close enough the soldier never needs to worry about estimating range.

If you want to have a chance at hitting at 500m then not only do you need to be better at the fundamentals - a 4" group at 100m is necessary, you also need to be able to estimate the range to the target, understand the trajectory of the bullet and adjust accordingly. Also, you're going to have to learn to take into account wind and elevation - and this is with a stationary target!

I read the author as recommending a weapon with better long range capability and teaching soldiers to use more than the most basic fundamentals. I can't think of a sufficient reason not to do both immediately.

William F. Owen
03-11-2010, 05:23 AM
I wrote on this subject before the Ehrhart article was published, and I agree with him. Go to www.thefreedomcommentaries.com and read "Not Invented Here" under the Weapons category.

Quote said article:

But the “really fast little bullet” school’s theory that a high-velocity .22 caliber bullet would reliably do the job of dropping an enemy combatant with one round at standard engagement ranges has been proven wrong in the most important laboratory of all, the battlefield.
The aim of SCVH is to reduce hand held dispersion and increase hits. - which it does.
No bullet was ever predicated on "dropping an enemy combatant with one round at standard engagement ranges." That's a pop-fallacy.
The Battlefield does not produce reliable data and therefore is in no way a laboratory. Ops Analysis does produce data. - and there is none I have ever on 5.56mm lethality - or on any "bullet" for that matter for pretty obvious reasons.
Complaints about 5.56mm are almost unique to US Forces, and have been for 40 years. The recent UK issues were not to do with lethality, but range, and based on yet another false set of premises.
All summarised in my article here (http://www.rusi.org/publications/defencesystems/ref:A4B8E8E9B4B8E2/)

William F. Owen
03-11-2010, 05:31 AM
I read the author as recommending a weapon with better long range capability and teaching soldiers to use more than the most basic fundamentals. I can't think of a sufficient reason not to do both immediately.
Vast cost for no proven increase in effectiveness is the best reason not to do it.
I do not doubt you can find better rounds than 5.56mm, but so what? A platoon mix of 5.56mm and 7.62mm is proven to work.
What's wrong with M262-5.56mm and M118-7.62mm?
Better than an M877 and M80 mix? OK - so there's an improvement right there, and the weapons all stay the same.

kaur
03-11-2010, 07:13 AM
Jones RE said:


I read the author as recommending a weapon with better long range capability and teaching soldiers to use more than the most basic fundamentals. I can't think of a sufficient reason not to do both immediately.

I think that US military knows how to train sharpshooters. To improve situation this means that every soldier must pass Squad Sharpshooter program. This adds 1 week to training if I understand correctly.
For a long time there was available "Squad Sharpshooter Concept" in internet by Michael R Harris http://www.dtic.mil/ndia/smallarms/Harris.pdf It has disappeared now :)

About ammo and calibre. For some period I used very often Soviet ammo 5,45x39 (brain child of Soviet engineers that figured out that US new M-16 is "better" than AK-47) and 7,62x39. You can make just one test to compare the effectiveness. Arrange night shooting with tracers on the filed where grass is above the waist. With 5,45x39 you can see nice vertical rocket show in the sky with few holes. With 7,62 the picture is much more horizontal. I presume that you can see the same picture if you test 5,56x45 vs 6,5/6,8.

Fuchs
03-11-2010, 02:55 PM
I recall an exercise in about '96.

We were walking in squad column for just a few hundred metres when suddenly a referee declared us to be dead. 100 m to the left was another squad in ambush - we didn't seem them.

Similarly, I didn't spot well-camouflaged soldiers as close as 20 m at times and most often when someone reported to me that they were expecting an attack I was usually not confident to spot attackers earlier than at 25-100 m due to the terrain.

The emphasis on scoped rifles and such is fine, but let's not fool ourselves; competent opponents would not expose themselves at 200, 300, 400, 500 or 600 m unless they were unaware of our proximity. It would be easy to score a 600 m hit during the very first days of combat against green opponents and also in rather chaotic situations (such as when your Bn was overrun and you're suddenly in the enemy's rear).

Other than that, I expect rifles and scopes to serve you well thanks to their ability to repulse.
Infantry weapons are 99.999% about minimizing the enemy's options in your proximity and 0.001% about actually hitting enemies. The age of rifles ended with rifled, quick loading artillery back in the late 19th century.

I'm not thinking of only suppression here. The mere ability to shoot someone at 400 m will motivate him to avoid any exposure at 400 m (after a few unlucky green soldiers got shot). He won't voluntarily cross open areas that serve as your killing zone - at least not without much support (such as smoke or IFV).


The effect of marksmanship at 200 m is therefore very little more than a mere "keep them away" upgrade to a weapon really meant for the close fight.
The actual mission, no matter what it is - hold or take terrain, make prisoners, kill & wound - would only marginally affected by a difference between two and ten weapons in a squad being capable of effective fire beyond 300 m.

In fact, I like rifles (~G3) more for their ability to penetrate indoor walls and trees than for their sharpshooting suitability.
I do also like scopes (3x - 4x) more for the confidence and target ID capability they give than for their actual advantage in long-range shooting.

It's all quite difficult and different in open mountainous areas. The problem with these is that infantry wouldn't cut it there against a powerful enemy no matter what kind of rifle it uses. Mountain warfare against powerful opposition requires much, much more - and the small arms design plays a very minor role in that orchestra.


The matter is completely different if the opposition lacks
* accurate mortar teams with good mortar ammunition supply,
* single shot firing range training and hunting experience
* body armour (even soft one becomes quite relevant at long range)
* medical support
* artillery
* camouflage equipment and training
* tactically educated & trained leaders



By the way; I'd like to offer a very short & concise summary of how I would write infantry doctrine:
Avoid being seen unless it's necessary for mission accomplishment and change your position ASAP if you assume that your position is compromised. Passive protection and movement techniques won't offer enough survivability. Survivability is the most important precondition for mission accomplishment.

Schmedlap
03-11-2010, 06:21 PM
Quit griping about the weapon (http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showpost.php?p=84769&postcount=219)

Field better ammo (http://tachesdhuile.blogspot.com/2009/11/does-m-16-suck-as-much-as-people-say-it.html?showComment=1257301655037#c557183015519845 6256)

Field better ammo (http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?p=76012#post76012)

Field better ammo (http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?p=49853#post49853)

Field better ammo (http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?p=46289#post46289)

Field better ammo (http://tachesdhuile.blogspot.com/2009/11/does-m-16-suck-as-much-as-people-say-it.html?showComment=1257290875338#c381081464101368 5328)

carl
03-11-2010, 08:56 PM
About ammo and calibre. For some period I used very often Soviet ammo 5,45x39 (brain child of Soviet engineers that figured out that US new M-16 is "better" than AK-47) and 7,62x39. You can make just one test to compare the effectiveness. Arrange night shooting with tracers on the filed where grass is above the waist. With 5,45x39 you can see nice vertical rocket show in the sky with few holes. With 7,62 the picture is much more horizontal. I presume that you can see the same picture if you test 5,56x45 vs 6,5/6,8.

Kaur, forgive me but I don't quite understand what you mean by this.

Also, I am interested in opinions in how the XM-25 will or won't help with the problem outlined by MAJ Ehrhart.

Fuchs
03-11-2010, 11:20 PM
He refers to the greater susceptibility of small calibre bullets to deflection by foliage/grass.

The effect is on the order of a few degrees usually. Deflections on a steep angle up are usually the result of contact with the ground itself, of course.

OfTheTroops
03-12-2010, 01:51 AM
ballistics
small=straighter
every deer hunter knows these things
can i hit what i am aiming at with little training? yes
5.56 is good

Ken White
03-12-2010, 04:38 AM
Big is shock.

A lot of training is always better than a little.

5.56 is good, light and easy to carry and shoot. However, I've seen too many people hit with the little pills who keep on moving, too many bullets not penetrate minor cover and too many rounds deflected in moderate vegetation to agree that 5.56 is a good combat cartridge.

OfTheTroops
03-12-2010, 04:56 AM
Shock is at least as critical in handguns if not more and I still dont have a .45 :( Anyone would have more luck moving that argument than the 30-06 v .223

kaur
03-12-2010, 08:53 AM
carl, Fuchs and Ken White explained my point.

It seems that calibre debate is not over.

Mattis pushed for 6.8mm ammo

http://www.marinecorpstimes.com/news/2010/03/marine_ammo_031010w/

... and I don't understand fully (foliage, ground, wall? aspects) this argument


Does that mean that 7.62 rounds don’t have sufficient stopping power?” Brogan asked about Kasal’s actions. “I submit the answer is no. If there had been a central-nervous shot, it might have dropped him. The same is true with 5.56 ammunition. Location is more important than stopping power.”

after watching this youtube video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NzIOaXlnzxQ&feature=related

Why some people want .45 pistols when they can get hollow point 9 mm ammo?

http://pistol-training.com/archives/2436

Fuchs
03-12-2010, 09:43 AM
...because there's .45ACP hollow point ammo as well.

Terminal ballistics are very complicated, a discussion rarely makes sense because most often most participants know misleading anecdotes and myths while the hard facts are based on imperfect data and testing devices.

Bob's World
03-12-2010, 09:47 AM
(I know you guys are having fun, but you do realize this is like debating about Ford Trucks vs Chevy Trucks; or the virtues of Blondes vs. Brunettes, right?)
:)

kaur
03-12-2010, 12:02 PM
Bob's World said:


Ford Trucks vs Chevy Trucks; or the virtues of Blondes vs. Brunettes

I'm not so sure.

Some time ago there was discussion somewhere about M855 and this poor Volkswagen with lucky passangers.

http://d.imagehost.org/t/0672/VW.jpg (http://d.imagehost.org/view/0672/VW)

If SOST works as promised I may take my words back.

http://e.imagehost.org/t/0073/556_SOST.jpg (http://e.imagehost.org/view/0073/556_SOST)

Firn
03-12-2010, 01:06 PM
I looked a bit around and found this concerning optics, weapons etc. This is of course about snipers in WWII, and rather good ones at that, but I think it is telling about the challenges of accurate rifle fire under "difficult" situations.



Interview von Hans Widhofner (1976) an drei deutsche Scharfschützen (Hetzenauer, Allerberger und Wirnsberger), erschienen in Truppendienst (Autor: Hauptmann WIDHOFNER H., Scharfschützen (I-III); TRUPPENDIENST Ausgabe 1967 Teil I: Seite 109 bis 113, Teil II: Seite 224 bis 229, Teil III: Seite 297 bis 299) - ENGLISH (http://www.snipersparadise.com/history/german.htm)




Widhofner questioned three seasoned snipers individually. They are designated in the order A, B and C. All three were members of the Third Mountain Division of the former German Army. With respect to their person please note the following:

A. Matthäus Hetzenauer of Tyrol fought at the Eastern Front from 1943 to the end of the war, and with 345 certified hits is the most successful German sniper.

B. Sepp Allerberg of Salzburg fought at the Eastern Front from December 1942, to the end of the war, and with 257 certified hits is the second-best German sniper.

C. Helmut Wirnsberger of Styria fought at the Eastern Front from September 1942, to the end of the war and scored 64 certified hits (after being wounded he served for some time as instructor on a sniper training course).



1. Weapons used?

A. K98 with six-power telescopic sights. G43 with four-power telescopic sights.

B. Captured Russian sniper rifle with telescopic sight; I cannot remember power. K98 with six-power telescopic sights.

C. K98 with 1.5-power sights. K98 with four-power telescopic sights. G43 with four-power telescopic sights.


2. Telescopic sights used?

A. Four-power telescopic sight was sufficient up to a range of approximately 400 meters, Six-power telescopic sight was good up to 1,000 meters.

B. Used for two years a captured Russian rifle with telescopic sight; yielded good results, Six-power telescopic sight mounted on K98 was good.

C. 1.5-power telescopic sight was not sufficient; four-power telescopic sight was sufficient and proved good.


3. What is your opinion on increasing the magnification of your telescopic sights?

A. & B. Six-power was sufficient. There was no need for stronger scope. No experience with greater magnification.

C. Four-power is sufficient in both cases.


4. At what range could you hit the following targets without fail?

A. Head up to 400 meters. Breast up to 600 meters. Standing Man up to 700-800 meters.

B. Head up to 400 meters. Breast up to 400 meters. Standing up to 600 meters.

C. Head up to 400 meters. Breast up to 400 meters. Standing Man up to 600 meters.


5. Do the ranges indicated by you apply only to you, i.e. the best snipers, or also to the majority of snipers?

A. & B. Only to the best snipers.

C. To me personally as well as to the majority of snipers. A few outstanding snipers could hit also at longer ranges.

B added: Absolutely positive hitting is possible only up to about 600 meters.


6. What was the range of the furthest target you ever fired at, and what kind of target, size?

A. About 1,000 meters. Standing soldier. Positive hitting not possible, but necessary under the circumstances in order to show enemy that he is not safe even at that distance! Or superior wanted to satisfy himself about capability.

B. 400 to 700 meters.

C. About 600 meters, rarely more. I usually waited until target approached further for better chance of hitting. Also confirmation of successful hit was easier. Used G43 only to about 500 meters because of poor ballistics.


7. How many second shots / Additional shots were necessary per ten hits?

A. Almost never.

B. One to two. Second shot is very dangerous when enemy snipers are in the area.

C. One to two at the most.



The percentage under "realistic" circumstances in a Great war. See also question 4.



13. Percentage of successful hits at various ranges?

Up to 400 meters A. 65 percent C. 80 percent

Up to 600 meters A. 30 percent C. 20 percent

Additional information: A. This is why about 65 percent of my successful hits were made below 400 meters.


B. Do not remember. Mass of hits were below the range of 600 meters.

C. Shot mainly within range of 400 meters due to great possibility of successful hit. Beyond this limit hits could not be confirmed without difficulty.


14. Do these percentages and ranges apply to you personally or are they valid for the majority of snipers?

A. This information is applicable to the majority of snipers as well as to the beat snipers, for: the majority of snipers could hit with absolute certainty only within a range of 400 meters due to their limited skills, the best snipers could hit with reasonable certainty at longer ranges; they in most cases, however, waited until enemy was closer or approaching the enemy in order to better choose the target with respect to its merit


More about optics and their importance:


19. Was it advisable to equip the sniper with a double telescope (binos)? What magnification did the double telescope have?

A. 6 x 30 enlargement was insufficient for longer distances. Later I had a 10 x 50 telescope which was satisfactory.

B. Double telescope was equally important as rifle. No further information.

C. Every sniper was equipped with a double telescope. This was useful and necessary. An enlargement of 6 x 30 was sufficient up to a range of about 500 meters.


20. Would you prefer a periscope which allows observation under full cover?

A. Was very useful as supplement (Russian trench telescope).

B. No.

C. Was used when captured.


21. Were scissor stereo telescopes (positional warfare) used?

A, C. Yes, when available. Was used mutually by sniper and artillery observer.

B. No.


Wind and moving targets.



27. How did you overcome side wind?

A. By my own judgment and experience. When necessary, I used tracer ammunition to determine wind drift. I was well prepared for side wind by my training at Seetaleralpe where we practiced often in strong winds.

B. By own judgment. We did not shoot when side wind was too heavy.

C. No explanation since snipers do not shoot with strong winds.


28. Can you recall the rules pertaining to your behavior when shooting at moving targets?

A, B, C: No; importance is own judgment and experience as well as fast aiming and fast firing.


TO&E and "designated marksmen"


10. Were you incorporated into a troop unit?

All three belonged to the sniper group of the battalion. C was the commander of this group. They numbered up to 22 men; six of them usually stayed with battalion, the rest were assigned to the companies. Observations and use of ammunition as well as successful hits had to be reported daily to the battalion staff. In the beginning, the snipers were called up cut of the battalion, as the war continued and the number of highly-skilled snipers decreased, they were often assigned and given their orders by the division. In addition, a few marksmen in each company were equipped with telescopic sights. These men did not have special training but were able to hit accurately up to about 400 meters and carried out a great deal of the work to be done by "actual snipers". These specially equipped riflemen served in the company as regular soldiers. This is why they could not achieve such high scores as the "snipers".


Recruitment:



17. From what group of persons were snipers selected?

A. Only people born for individual fighting such as hunters, even poachers, forest rangers, etc without taking into consideration their time of service.

B. Do not remember. I had scored 27 successful hits with Russian sniper rifle before I was ordered to participate in sniper training course.

C. Only soldiers with experience at the front who were excellent riflemen; usually after second year of service; had to comply with various shooting requirements to be accepted in the sniper training courses.


To be continued...


Firn

Firn
03-12-2010, 01:19 PM
Interviews with soviet soldiers (http://www.iremember.ru/content/view/52/74/lang,en/) in this case snipers.


Initially the exercises were easy. The size of a target – full-length, half-length, and running targets. Then they complicated the exercises gradually. The most difficult thing was to fire at a “head” target that suddenly appeared for several seconds at a distance about 300-400 meters.




More about distances.


There was another episode when we executed a specific task. A German sniper appeared at our sector of defense and started troubling us. Volodia and I used the same tactics of hunting. There was, however, only one difference: the day was sunny, therefore I slightly rocked my rifle with the optical sight over the parapet to motivate the German to fire.

As a rule, sniper's position lay a bit into the no man's zone. The best distance to fire was some 300–500 meters. We took our positions in the dark. We were allowed to leave them in the daytime only if it was possible to do it imperceptibly. If not – we sat until dark.

To execute a specific order we spent as long time as needed to liquidate the appointed target. More frequently we had free daily hunting and we liked it. You continue fighting from the same position as long as you are sure that it hasn't been discovered. Otherwise you should make off quickly.

Another interview by a female sniper:


But the Germans also put a sniper to watch us. And so I was watching, observing during my shift (because the eyes would get tired), and Marusia said: "Let me take the watch now." She got up, it was a sunny day, and she apparently moved the lens. As soon as she got up, there was a shot, and she fell. Oh, how I cried! The German was 200 meters away from us. I screamed so loud it could be heard all over the trenches, soldiers ran out: "Quiet, quiet, or they'll open mortar fire!" But how could I be quiet? She was my best friend. We sat until the evening, and I kept crying all that time. Then we buried her. I remember there were many wildflowers. It was at Orsha, at the 3rd Belorussian Front. Later her grave was moved to Mogilev, that's where she had been born. Later Nadia Lugina was also wounded from among us. My second partner was also named Marusia, last name Guliakina.


A.D. What were you taught at the school?

They taught us tactics, how to shoot, how to camouflage. Also ballistics, how the bullet flies. Here it flies, here it hits -- I forgot everything already.

A.D. Sniping partner couples were formed at the school?

At the school. When we came as civilians, Marusia Chikhvintseva and I stood next to each other, so we remained partners with her.

A.D. And did you train as partners?

Yes.

A.D. So it seems that the entire group was sent to one sector of the front?

No. Many of us graduated, I couldn't say how many now, but they sent us to all fronts.

A.D. But your group was constant? You had six pairs, right?

About 12 of us, six pairs. Simultaneously. A squad was 10 soldiers, but there were more of us.

A.D. What was the total number of Germans you killed?

I don't remember, Germans killed in battle weren't counted, only in the defense.

A.D. How did you count the kills?

The commander in whose trench we were would write a note. And we would return with it.

A.D. Then it's not clear, what if you only wounded him?

Yes, it could be, but we counted as killed.

A.D. So if he fell, that's a kill?

Yes. How would you check?

A.D. What was the usual distance you fired from?

At the school or at the front?

A.D. At the front.

1200 meters, and 200 meters. Our lines were close. Once Germans attacked our trench and took some girls prisoner, and killed them there. They killed Klava Monakhova. Only one soldier survived, there was an abandoned dug-out, simply a hole in the soil covered with a ground-sheet with snow on top, he hid there. Germans held out for a day, so he spent the day there.

A.D. What was the standard distance from which you fired? Or an optimal one?

Well, what's there to say? The rifle could shoot two kilometers in a straight line. But you could observe up to 800 meters. At the school we fired at 200, and 300. There was night target practice. Different kinds of shooting.

A.D. Even at night?

Even at night. How else?

A.D. Did you shoot at night at the front?

No.

A.D. And in the moonlight?

No. As soon as it dawned we went to our position, as soon as it got dark we returned. We stayed not in the trenches, but at the regiment commander's command post.

A.D. How many shots did you fire from one position?

One. You couldn't do two.

A.D. Or else you'd get killed?

Of course!

A.D. So, in practice that would amount to one shot per day?

Yes, if you kill, otherwise you might not have even one.

A.D. And partners were always next to each other?

Yes, at arm's length. Together all the time. Some went outside the defenses, but we didn't. Why? Because minefields had to be cleared, and that was very difficult and dangerous for the sappers. Then again, we stood as soldiers in the daytime, while the soldiers were resting. There were fifty soldiers in a trench. Ten of them, no more, stood watch at night

...



A.D. Did you use binoculars?

No, only the optical sight.

A.D. But the sight doesn't have a good field of view?

You could see 800 meters very well. You would sit there without moving, and if you moved, then you were noticed. A sniper would lie there quietly and see to the distance of two kilometers, 800 meters wide. He would observe everything. When I got tired, I would say "Marusia, I'm done," -- she would start observing. Because sniper's task was to eliminate commanders, machine gun emplacements, messengers that would be running around. They also had to be eliminated. Soldiers were not necessary, mostly -- officers, commanders. You would fire one shot, let go of the rifle, and lie there. You would wait until your partner fired her shot. When it became dark, we left our position. During the day we walked around, looked for a good spot to lie in wait. Sometimes picked a spot in front of our trenches. After picking a spot, took up the position when it was dark. Then we lay there without moving a muscle until the next evening, because you couldn't crawl away in the daylight. If there was an attack, that was different, then you would get up and run. Otherwise, you would lie in that spot to the end.

A.D. Did you have hand grenades?

Yes. We carried two hand grenades on our belt. One for the fascists, one for yourself, so you wouldn't be captured by the fascists. It was necessary.

A.D. Did you fire in the crosswind?

Yes, we were trained to do that. And firing at moving targets as well. Different things. Some fired, others spun those targets. At our school, there was one good trench, and one small one. God save you from being sent there, you would spend the entire day in the snow. After you returned, you would literally tear your foot bindings off your feet. Everyone's feet hurt.

A.D. Because you had to lie in the snow?

Yes. At the front we also lay in the swamps. Near Leningrad, there were only swamps. If a horse passed by, there was water under the hoofs. You would wash yourself with it, and even drink from that hoof print.

A.D. Did you have a regular Mosin rifle?

Yes, a three-line rifle (line=1/10 inch, 3 lines=7.62 mm - trans.) with a bayonet. Regular one. Always with a bayonet and an optical sight.

A.D. Why the bayonet?

Just in case, if you go on the attack. An entrenching tool, a mess tin, two grenades, ammo, first aid kit.

A.D. What was the farthest target you hit?

Near the Dnieper, a machine gunner and a sniper.

A.D. What was the distance there?

Across a field, they were sitting in a shed. Probably a kilometer, if not more. A target could be hit up to two kilometers.

A.D. You were attached to a regiment? A sniper squad was attached to a regiment?

To a regiment. A trench was given to us. That was the place we went until the offensive began. In a designated area.

A.D. What was the sense in that? If you couldn't occupy the same position?

There was a lot of room there. We had 500 meters, and there were two of us.

..



A.D. Maybe there were some incidents you could talk about in detail?

How I killed? It was horrible. Better not. I told you, Olga and I lay at arm's length from each other. We spoke quietly because the German would be there not far in front of us. They were listening to everything. Their outposts were better organized, after all. We tried not to move, to say something quietly, find a target. Everything would grow so numb! For example, I would say: "Olia, mine." She would already know -- she wouldn't kill that one. After the shot I would only help her observe. I would say, for example: "There, behind that house, behind that bush", and she would already know where to look. We took turns shooting. During the daytime we were always in position, came and left at night. Every day. No days off.

A.D. So you're saying, you couldn't move the rifle?

Absolutely no!

A.D. So how did it lie? Simply against the shoulder?

Against the shoulder and your finger was always on the trigger. Because you might've had to pull it at any moment. The sector of fire was 800 m. And so you would look, and suddenly a target would appear. When the target reached the crosshairs, then I fired. This means that the target walked into the shot on its own. And, of course, that spot would've been ranged.


There is certainly far more to good shooting in war than markmanship...


Firn

Firn
03-12-2010, 01:20 PM
The "Finnish view on sniping (http://www.lonesentry.com/articles/ttt09/finnish.html)" raises some other points, but mostly reinforces the older ones.


The Russian snipers seem to execute their tasks with extraordinary patience and tenacity and seem to have excellent material at their disposal. This can be concluded from the fact that they were able to discern even the least movement at great distances and that they concentrated their efforts only upon well-selected, sure and visible targets. Generally speaking, they were interested only in sure targets. Also the cooperation between several snipers seems to be smooth and the allocation of the different phases of the work well-organized.

It seems that once in a while two snipers go after the same target, for it happened that two men walking side by side were hit almost at the same time. On another occasion, one of our [Finnish] snipers was taking aim at his opponent when another enemy sniper shot his rifle to pieces. The sniper's mate not only takes care of the observation, but also the deception of the enemy. He tries by all conceivable means to lure lookouts and guards from their protective cover.

Enemy snipers have used "dum-dum" ammunition, which made it more difficult to locate the spot from which the shot was fired but easier for the enemy to observe a hit.



(4) Ranges and Performances

Depending upon the distance between the lines, the ranges run from 100 to 900 yards, but occasionally enemy snipers have tried shots up to 1,400 yards. The usual and most effective distance is 200 to 400 yards, but even at 600 to 700 yards the accuracy of fire has been fairly satisfactory.

The fire readiness and speed of fire have been good even on moving targets, a proof on the one hand of thorough training, and on the other of the indispensability of the telescopic sight.

The speed and accuracy of fire gave rise to the suspicion that snipers posted in buildings made use of special aids. The accuracy of the fire may be illustrated by the following examples:

At 200 to 400 yards several scissors telescopes and periscopes were smashed to pieces. One sniper shot down a small rock which had been placed in an observation slit three times in rapid succession.

When one of our MG platoon commanders lifted his hand just once above the snow-wall to repair the alarm wire a Russian sniper scored a hit on his hand at 100 yards. A sniper was hit several times through an observation slit fashioned into the snow-wall with a stick. Various objects lifted by our men above the parapet, as a trial, were generally hit. It also happened that Finnish observers behind periscopes, were shot at through the snow wall.


To sum it, at least in my humble opinion:

If facing a competent enemy, only an unseen and/or unsuppressed, well-trained and suited soldier with good equipment can kill well at longer ranges with individual rifle-fire.


Firn


P.S: The "scoring system" differed considerably between the Germans and Soviets but there were also similar approaches:


A.D. What was the total number of Germans you killed?

I don't remember, Germans killed in battle weren't counted, only in the defense.

A.D. How did you count the kills?

The commander in whose trench we were would write a note. And we would return with it.

A.D. Then it's not clear, what if you only wounded him?

Yes, it could be, but we counted as killed.

A.D. So if he fell, that's a kill?

Yes. How would you check?






12. In what warfare could the sniper be most successful?

A. The best success for snipers did not reside in the number of hits, but in the damage caused the enemy by shooting commanders or other important men. As to the merit of individual hits, the snipers best results could be obtained in defense since the target could be best recognized with respect to merit by careful observation. Also with respect the numbers, best results could be obtained in defense since the enemy attacked several times during a the day.

B. Defense. Other hits were not certified.

C. Best results during extended positional warfare and during enemy attacks; good results also during delaying action.


30. What was the method by which your hits were certified?

A, B, C, By observation and confirmation by an officer, non-commissioned officer or two soldiers. This is why the number of certified hits is smaller than the actual score.

Both sides didn't "score" during attacks or battles. But the Germans had far more stringent certification requirements. One can easily see that given an equal amount of "success" the overall numbers of certified hits had to be considerably lower for a German sniper compared to a Soviet one.

Ken White
03-12-2010, 02:50 PM
Shock is at least as critical in handguns if not more and I still dont have a .45 :( Anyone would have more luck moving that argument than the 30-06 v .223It's more critical. Apparently, no one is having any luck moving either argument... :D

Kaur: Purely anecdotally, the 7.62x39 is a better cartridge in vegetation than the 5.56x45; penetration and disabling varies. Both are IMO a little weak for a combat cartridge. The .30-06 is overkill and even the 7.62x45 is also a little more than is needed; the two most common are a little less than is desirable IMO. The various 6 - 6+ mm types may have some merit. No test is likely to prove that, combat has a way of overturning test results.

Fuchs: True but the scientific method founders on shooting people -- or even pigs whose body parts are quite close to human densities -- though we did do that in the Troop Test of the AR-25 back in the early 60s before the western world got excessively touchy feely. :cool:

Bob's World: Also true but typically, a person will pick one or the other and will then fight you if you tell him or her they bought a bad truck and the other is better. It all boils down in a sense to personal foibles, likes and dislike and what one is familiar with -- which does not make it unimportant... ;)

Pete
03-13-2010, 12:17 AM
I know you guys are having fun, but you do realize this is like debating about Ford Trucks vs Chevy Trucks ...
Inland Manufacturing Division, General Motors Corporation made more M1 Carbines than any other manufacturer during World War II, so Chevy has the edge when it comes to small arms.

kaur
03-13-2010, 12:15 PM
About Finnish snipers. According to 21th century definition, those guys were more like marksmen. The irony is that most of them fought without optical sights. Simo Häyhä, the soldier who is on the top of world sniper kills list, had rifle without optical sight.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simo_H%C3%A4yh%C3%A4

PS I'd like to ask also advice from you. How sharphooters became snipers during I WW? Their tasks were the same (sharp shooting), but they got new name. Is this just flirt with words by Englishmen? I can't find no explanation to this :(

This is funny picture. Upper picture says that those guys are snipers, but lower picture talks about scharfscütze (which means sharposhooter in German).

http://books.google.ee/books?id=qLCm7-E9DmEC&pg=PA34&lpg=PA34&dq=scharfschutze+1914&source=bl&ots=vLLG24KDyd&sig=tHsayLFkNqan4R_NgV5ELaAhf8Q&hl=ru&ei=QIGbS9i_DoHc-QbU45DPAQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=6&ved=0CB4Q6AEwBQ#v=onepage&q=&f=false

Firn
03-13-2010, 02:05 PM
If we look at the fundamentals I think we can draw several conclusions concerning effective long-range combat shooting against competent opponents.


Some tentative insight:


1) Only men which are not effectively suppressed can kill effectively over long distances (tautology alert)

2) Only tactical skill, care, patience and camouflage can make detection and thus suppression or death difficult enough, but fierce battles and firefights help the sharpshooters to conceal themselves in the fury of battle (but put them at high HE risk).

3) Only optics allow for effective observation and shooting at longer ranges and under difficult light situations. Binoculars are considered by experienced users essential (as well as NV for night combat). A good spotting scope can be of the greatest value and a periscopes a very useful supplement. (Thermal sights could greatly facilitate observation.)

4) Only one or at the very most two shots are advisable (or possible before death) outside a (major) firefight when good true enemy snipers are on the battlefield. (Modern sound suppressors should make a huge difference. Mitigation of the thermal signature could also be of great importance)

5) Only independent positioning and action allows for truly effective observation and rifle fire during "calm" periods and firefights. (This is linked to camouflage, detection and suppression. Sharpshooters who bunches up with a squad which blasts away can be suppressed with far greater ease than somebody working in front, the rear or on the flanks. )

6) Only a team of sharpshooters can keep up a constant, high standard of observation and readiness over a long period of time and deliver effective rifle fire out to extreme ranges and in adverse conditions (changing side winds, etc.)

... Last but not least ...

7) Only well trained and suited men and women with suitable equipment can be effective sharpshooters. Not too many can be trained for this task(s).


Thoughts:

For the reasons mentioned above, accurate long-range shooting might be delivered better by an independent section at platoon level or even company level or higher than by soldiers in a normal rifle squad. This doesn't mean that a "designated marksman" with a versatile weapon is futile at the squad level. Both the cost of the equipment and the training should be prohibitive...



Firn

Kiwigrunt
03-15-2010, 11:48 AM
As has been touched upon before, regardless of calibre and even scopes, if the enemy can’t be seen he can’t be hit. This (http://www.rusi.org/go.php?structureID=articles_defence&ref=A4B8E78DB500B3) could be an interesting development towards coming to grips with that elusive AK trigger puller. It is still in development stage but as it becomes more precise you may not even need to see the shooter. Some HE on an accurately defined spot may do the trick.

carl
03-15-2010, 03:48 PM
PS I'd like to ask also advice from you. How sharphooters became snipers during I WW? Their tasks were the same (sharp shooting), but they got new name. Is this just flirt with words by Englishmen? I can't find no explanation to this :(

Sniping in the Great War by Martin Pegler covers about everything having to with this subject. I thought it quite interesting.

Rifleman
03-18-2010, 02:42 AM
This thread has drifted into thoughts and points that might fit better in the Recon/Sniping and the DM/Sharpshooter threads. Having said that:

Sharpshooting used to be synomimous with skirmishing, not sniping.

The transition from skirmishing to true sniping happened during The Late Unpleasentness when Confederate blockade runners started bringing through small numbers of English target rifles; usually Whitworths but some Kerr rifles were used too. The men who used them continued to be called sharpshooters. Sometimes they were called independent sharpshooters to distinguish them from skirmishers.

Several of the points made in post #68 by Firn were known and practiced by Confederate sharpshooters.

A lot of the success of Alvin York and Sam Woodfill is because of point #2 in post #68.

Night vision and suppressors were frequently used on night operations by 9th ID snipers in the Mekong Delta. I think the suppressors were SIONICS, which is another way of saying the infamous Mitchell WerBell made them.

9th ID sniper operations went back and forth between true sniping and DM employment. Snipers were sometimes indepentent and at other times might be attached to a rifle platoon for something like a night ambush.

William F. Owen
03-18-2010, 06:47 AM
I don't like new military expressions but one here is suitable. During some of the OA and field trials the UK did back in the 1990's they came up with "Close Precision Engagement," CPE. It covers the effect gained by both Sniper and Designated Marksman.

Point being there is no difference, given the same weapon and the same skill. The issue is getting the weapons into positions where they gain effective hits. - after that all the discussion tends to be about supporting the rational for snipers being a better investment than DM's - given the same weapon, and basic equipment.

The arguments all become about things not directly associated with causing enemy casualties.

GI Zhou
03-18-2010, 11:08 AM
Sniping in the Great War by Martin Pegler covers about everything having to with this subject. I thought it quite interesting.

Sniping in France written by the fellow who developed sniping in the British Army in the First World War, Major Hesketh Hesketh-Prichard, is the book to read. If you look him up on Wikipedia there is a link to an on-live version of his book.

Pete
03-19-2010, 04:37 PM
I don't like new military expressions but one here is suitable.
Uh-oh. Either a window of opportunity is causing Wilf to have a paradigm shift or they're having an earthquake in Partachia ...

Firn
03-26-2010, 12:48 PM
Afghan Marksmen — Forget the Fables (http://atwar.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/03/26/afghan-marksmen-forget-the-fables/#more-16713)



For those of you who have served in Afghanistan, or been exposed to gunfighting there via other jobs, your input would be welcome. One of the company commanders shared his insights in an interview soon after the fighting at Marja tapered off. In the annals of the Afghan war, Afghans are supposedly crack shots, some of the best marksmen on earth. Captain Karabin, a veteran of the war in Iraq, summed up neatly a rifle company’s experience that pointed otherwise. “I used to say in Iraq that I’m only alive because Iraqis are such bad shots,” he said. “And now I’ll say it in Afghanistan. I’m only alive because the Afghans are also such bad shots.”

This is one of the reason why they seem to increasingly rely on crew served weapons and IEDs.


When Marines did get hit, it often appeared that the fire came from PK machine guns or the local contingent of snipers – not the riflemen who make the Taliban’s rank-and-file.

Still I find it strange that so many are so bad shots. To much automatic AK fire? All the old poachers grown up with bolt rifles gone? Zero to no training? Messed up rifles and dirty, old and scrambled ammunition from all sources? Knocked up sights?


Firn

P.S: Karabin sounds like a nice name for a soldier and shooter.

Schmedlap
03-26-2010, 02:34 PM
We can equip our Soldiers with the best weapons imaginable and it will have little impact unless we give them the right ammo and - here's a new and novel idea that we've never read on SWC :rolleyes: - actually train them properly. A well trained Soldier with an M4 isn't going to have any problems hitting his target. But if the ammo goes through the enemy's body like a needle, then just hitting the enemy isn't going to be sufficient. You're going to need to put every round directly in the pelvis, knee cap, CT region, or head. That's not always feasible. It's tough to "aim small, miss small" if crazy Akmed is sprinting through a marketplace.

Solution: hollow tipped 72-grain ammo. It works. We already know it works. We already manufacture and field it. But we don't manufacture or field enough of it. Yes, I'm a broken record (http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?p=94891#post94891) on this issue. It seems to be such an easy fix, such a no-brainer, such a straightforward solution. Is there something I'm missing here? Keep the weapon that Soldiers are familiar with and give them better ammo that has already demonstrated its utility. Is this just a horrible idea for some reason that I've overlooked?

Fuchs
03-26-2010, 02:52 PM
Does anybody have a statistic on the percentage of Iraq / AFG enemies killed by
- air attack
- indirect fires
- crew-served weapons fire (maybe excluding SAW)
- AFV fires
- individual weapons fire (maybe including SAW)
- other?

I do somehow doubt that the individual weapons share is a large one.

Schmedlap
03-26-2010, 05:40 PM
Does anybody have a statistic on the percentage of Iraq / AFG enemies killed by
- air attack
- indirect fires
- crew-served weapons fire (maybe excluding SAW)
- AFV fires
- individual weapons fire (maybe including SAW)
- other?

I do somehow doubt that the individual weapons share is a large one.

I don't have country-wide or operation-wide statistics, but I know that my battalion killed nearly 100 and wounded over 200 more in 2005. Off hand, I can't recall an occasion when any were killed by indirect fire. I'd say most (maybe 70%) of KIAs were small arms (mostly M4, M249, but also M24) and 25mm HE and/or 240C. The rest were (from most frequent to least) M240B, 40mm, frag grenade, and AT-4. Similar proportions for WIA (except maybe 25mm HE had a higher share of WIA; believe it or not, 25mm HE probably resulted in a higher ratio of WIAs to KIAs than other weapons). There were a few occasions when Hellfires were launched, but I don't think we ever confirmed whether those resulted in KIA or WIA.

Firn
03-26-2010, 06:23 PM
We can equip our Soldiers with the best weapons imaginable and it will have little impact unless we give them the right ammo and - here's a new and novel idea that we've never read on SWC :rolleyes: - actually train them properly. A well trained Soldier with an M4 isn't going to have any problems hitting his target.


In some instances the deck is also stacked against the soldiers and shooting will necessitate other skills, tools and preparations. Take for example this video (http://www.youtube.com/v/_S9tESiQduM&hl=en_US&fs=1)


The (intrinsic) problems:

a) The enemy overwatch large parts of the COP from the high ground.

b) The enemy can easily initiate the fight and has to observe and attack only a small area.

c) The enemy can be almost everywhere on the surrounding slopes and has excellent concealment

d) The enemy can easily fire from multiple direction

e) The enemy has thus a much easier job at suppressing the unit, because as one soldier sums it nicely up - they can see me and I can't see them.


Some tentative solutions:


a) The paparets are flat and give any movement above them easily away -> this was already deplored in WWI. The messy "German trench" with hidden, low loopholes was considered to be a role model.


At this time the efforts to camouflage our loopholes were extraordinarily primitive—indeed, concealment was nearly impossible in the form of parapet then in use. Many of our units took an actual pride in having an absolutely flat and even parapet, which gave the Germans every opportunity of spotting the smallest movement. The parapets were made of sandbags beaten down with spades, and it is not too much to say that along many of them a mouse could not move without being observed by the most moderate-sighted German sniper. It was curious how some few commanding officers stuck to these flat parapets in the face of all casualties and the dictates of common-sense, even after the High Command had issued orders upon the subject. At a later date a trial was instituted, and proved that in spotting and shooting at a dummy head exposed for two and four seconds over a flat parapet, the number of hits was three to one, as compared with the same a exposure when made over an imitation German parapet.

b) Better training in observation, head and shoulder camouflage, loopholing and in careful movement.

c) The issue and training of periscopes and spotting scopes. The former allow observation under heavy direct fire, the latter can be very valuable to find and ID persons and things.

This actions can only be small parts of the larger effort. All in all I would rank in such specific cases good observation and good mortar fire higher than mere good shooting.


In the long monotony of the trenches during that bleak winter of 1915, the only respite besides work which was possible to our soldiers was the element of sport and excitement introduced by sniping and its more important and elder sister, observation. Sniping in a dangerous sector—and there were many of these— was really neither more nor less than a very high-class form of big game shooting, in which the quarry shot back. As to danger, there are in Africa the lion, the elephant, the buffalo and the rhinoceros, and though the consensus of instructed opinion agrees that in proportion more hunters come back feet foremost from lion hunting than from the pursuit of the three other forms of dangerous game, yet I suppose that no one would dispute that the German sniper, especially when he is supported on either flank by Kamaraden, was far more dangerous in the long run than any lion.

I'm quite sure that it would also boost the morale of the Allies if more of those casual shooters could be killed.


Firn

gute
03-28-2010, 03:18 AM
I recently read Attack State Red, They Fought For Each Other and None Left Behind and do not remember reading complaints about the performance of the the 5.56. In Attack State Red (follows the Anglican Battalion in Helmand Province in 2007) most the kills by the Brits were from mortar, GPMG and snipers. When Taliban was killed in close it was with IW or grenades.

At the end of WWII the U.S. Army did a study about the performance of U.S. infantry in WWII and concluded that squads should be no bigger then 9-10 and a squad should solely be a maneuver element or a base of fire, but not both. There were similar conclusions at the end of the Korean and Vietnam wars.

Eventhough I think the FN P90 would make a great PDW and would be effective in urban combat, I agree with Mr. Owen about costs so there is no need to change the caliber of IWs. Obviously, what hinders the effectiveness of the M4 is the lack of barrel length, which the SA-80 does not lack. The Marine Corps has been pretty happy with the performance of the M16A4. I did talk to a former Marine who fought in Fullajah and he said a lot of the time the 62 grain 5.56 went right through bad guys without causing significant damage, but the 7.62 always crushed. He did say that some guys got a hold of 77 grain and they did not have any problems.

So for some of the more knowledgable members/readers how about re-organizing the U.S. Army platoon and Marine Corps rifle platoons into two 9-man maneuver squads and one 9-man weapons squad? The manuever squad would have IWs, M32s, M72s, DMs, and IARs, and the weapons squad would have two M240s and a mortar. Question: Would a company commander be better off with three platoons of 40-45 or four platoons of 30 (not including weapons platoons) or does it not matter?

Schmedlap
03-28-2010, 04:05 AM
gute,

Of my 3 OIF deployments, my second in 2005 was the longest and entailed more small unit fighting than the other two combined. The overwhelming majority of our missions were fire team level. I think that our doctrine says that shouldn't happen (my memory is fading). It was the norm for us and I know it was also the norm for several other units in other locations.

Regarding barrel length, I never understood that complaint. Shorter barrel has so little impact on long-distance accuracy as to be a non-issue and the shorter barrel is much more preferable in restrictive terrain, whether it be thick vegetation or inside buildings.

Regarding reorganization into 9-man squads and one weapons squad - there is no reason that a platoon cannot task organize this way if the mission and situation dictate it. But even when you have a weapons squad, it is really just adding a WSL to keep track of the guns. Not a huge difference. The guns are still dispersed throughout the platoon formation and will generally only coalesce when placed in a SBF or if the platoon manages to establish a large base of fire on chance contact.

I'm a bit wary of the assertion that squads should not be used for base of fire + assault. I don't think our doctrine accepts that, given the squad attack battle drill. I've seen it occur to great success and mission requirements are often not going to accommodate more than a squad-sized patrol.

jcustis
03-28-2010, 04:28 AM
So for some of the more knowledgable members/readers how about re-organizing the U.S. Army platoon and Marine Corps rifle platoons into two 9-man maneuver squads and one 9-man weapons squad? The manuever squad would have IWs, M32s, M72s, DMs, and IARs, and the weapons squad would have two M240s and a mortar. Question: Would a company commander be better off with three platoons of 40-45 or four platoons of 30 (not including weapons platoons) or does it not matter?

There are already a metric you-know-what ton of threads that pose similar questions in the Trigger Puller room.

William F. Owen
03-28-2010, 06:17 AM
In Attack State Red (follows the Anglican Battalion in Helmand Province in 2007) most the kills by the Brits were from mortar, GPMG and snipers. When Taliban was killed in close it was with IW or grenades.
Has been true since WW1.

At the end of WWII the U.S. Army did a study about the performance of U.S. infantry in WWII and concluded that squads should be no bigger then 9-10 and a squad should solely be a maneuver element or a base of fire, but not both. There were similar conclusions at the end of the Korean and Vietnam wars.
Treat such assertions with extreme caution. How big should the squad be is not a sensible question.

Question: Would a company commander be better off with three platoons of 40-45 or four platoons of 30 (not including weapons platoons) or does it not matter?
IMO, it doesn't really matter. Training and leadership matters more. The good guys would be able to use either organisation as and when it mattered.

kaur
03-28-2010, 08:06 AM
Well, Conway pulled a little "I told you so" on us today in describing the success of the M16A4 in the Afghan theater and his continued advocacy for the platform as the standard for most Marines.

Marines like that M4 carbine because it looks cool. And I've had some Marines complain to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff saying 'you know, the officers are getting these things, but we're still having to carry this rifle.' Well, the Marine Corps will always be a rifle Marine Corps. The carbine is an extension of the pistol, not a reduction of a rifle. And in the Afghanistan scenario where you're shooting long distances you gotta be able to reach out and touch 'em. And a carbine is just not designed to do that.

Except the M4 carbine has a max effective range of 500 meters on point targets, according to the books, as does the M16A4. But we all know the longer-barrelled M16 is better at longer ranges (and the Army admits that too).

So it looks like it's end zone dance time for the Corps in their decision to keep the long rifle. Though if we go back to urban warrens like Ramadi and Fallujah, I'm sure we'll hear the same complaints again.

http://kitup.military.com/2010/03/top-marine-glad-to-have-m16a4-standard.html

gute
03-28-2010, 05:50 PM
There are already a metric you-know-what ton of threads that pose similar questions in the Trigger Puller room.

I know, I've read em.

Schmedlap
03-28-2010, 06:22 PM
The carbine, practically speaking, is no more an extension of the pistol than the Javelin is an extension of the hand grenade.


And in the Afghanistan scenario where you're shooting long distances you gotta be able to reach out and touch 'em. And a carbine is just not designed to do that. Except the M4 carbine has a max effective range of 500 meters on point targets, according to the books, as does the M16A4. But we all know the longer-barrelled M16 is better at longer ranges (and the Army admits that too).

First off, this illustrates the absurdity of characterizing the carbine as an extension of the pistol. Second, how often are we taking 500 meter shots at people with M4 or M16 with the intent and expectation of killing rather than suppressing? Third, if you're concerned about range, give the squad an M240 and/or attach a sniper team.

SethB
03-28-2010, 06:32 PM
The bullet used in M855 has a ballistic coefficient of .304.

With a muzzle velocity of 3,110 feet per second and a zero at 50M, the bullet is all but dead on at 100M, drops by about 14 inches at 300M and drops a whopping 65 inches at 500M.

In comparison, the same bullet at 2,970 from an M4 drops two inches more at 300M and 10 inches more at 500M.

These things always look different with numbers attached...

Schmedlap
03-28-2010, 07:58 PM
At 300 plus meters, does wind have a significantly greater effect on the round fired from the M4?

Do we have similar comparisons for the 72-grain with the hollow tip fired from each weapon?

Ken White
03-28-2010, 08:43 PM
First off, this illustrates the absurdity of characterizing the carbine as an extension of the pistol.I agree, it's a shortened rifle, not an extended pistol (that's what those dippy PDWs are...). Issue is not what it is, it's what it is not. It isn't a rifle...
Second, how often are we taking 500 meter shots at people with M4 or M16 with the intent and expectation of killing rather than suppressing?Probably not often. However suppression against people who know what they're doing is a myth -- and a waste of time. Killing is not mythical and has a far greater deterrent effect than 'suppression.'

The question in Afghanistan as opposed to Iraq is how may shots are not taken due to that range limitation? The follow on question is do the bad guys realize this? :D
Third, if you're concerned about range, give the squad an M240 and/or attach a sniper team.The 240 is a heavy hump to get a capability that an M14 can provide at a third the weight. Plus I doubt there are enough 240s or Snipers to give each Squad one -- or the other. Nor are more Snipers needed, the DM process works.

That lack of an effective weapon is one reason why more Squads are not kicked out on patrols and missions, not only is the lack of training conducive to distrust, so is the known lack of weapon effect capability...

You and I both know that the Army wouldn't be doing this (LINK) (http://www.armytimes.com/news/2010/03/army_m14_032210w/) unless there were valid needs. ;)

(And it's probably overkill for the job, an issue M-14 would be adequate; this mod weighs half as much as a 240; not smart...)

jcustis
03-28-2010, 09:12 PM
The EBR is catching a lot of flak from members at another board I frequent. They ask the simple question of why the USA did not simply invest in procuring a weapon with the ergonomics of the AR-series, and go for something that simply had a better center of gravity and handled more easily.

I haven't had a M14 since I was a Security Forces DM many moons ago, and I haven't handled the other possible battle rifle options out there, but I've wondered if the EBR is simply around because we have so many receivers and components still in stores.

Ken White
03-28-2010, 10:26 PM
I've wondered if the EBR is simply around because we have so many receivers and components still in stores.Big part of it. 'Turf' issues also; can't have a grungy dirty leg Grunt DM carrying the same weepon a highly trained SOF Dude or even a Bn Sniper might have... :rolleyes: .

SethB
03-28-2010, 10:52 PM
At 300 plus meters, does wind have a significantly greater effect on the round fired from the M4?

Do we have similar comparisons for the 72-grain with the hollow tip fired from each weapon?

At 300M the difference is all of 7/10ths of an inch, assuming a full value 10 MPH wind.

Issuing the M14 in any flavor won't really increase range if M80 is used. But ammunition is whole different story.

The best way to compare ballistics is to use a calculator. I use the JBM. You'll need to know the MV and BC of a projectile.

Schmedlap
03-28-2010, 11:19 PM
The 240 is a heavy hump to get a capability that an M14 can provide at a third the weight.

Yeah, but it's a two-fer of range and more firepower. And it's a weapon already organic to the platoon.


You and I both know that the Army wouldn't be doing this (LINK) (http://www.armytimes.com/news/2010/03/army_m14_032210w/) unless there were valid needs. ;)

I never assume a logical nexus between a need and a solution when we're talking about initiatives by the Army. :D

The SDM, I believe, began with Iraq. It was not so much a desire for accuracy at long distances as it was just a general desire for accuracy when operating in an area teeming with civilians. Our original SDM rifles were modified M16A4 rifles that were supposed to use the 72-grain ammo (that's how we got it). Incidentally, my unit never saw a need for them. If you can't hit a human being at 200 meters or less with an M4, then the weapon isn't your problem. But we appreciated the bipods and the (albeit small) authorization for the good ammo.

Ken White
03-29-2010, 12:29 AM
Yeah, but it's a two-fer of range and more firepower.frequently -- no; most often -- wasted on the firepower side? You have to remember, I'm a "belt feds only at Company level" guy. Machine guns are important and have a purpose, going on patrols with them is not smart. :wry:
And it's a weapon already organic to the platoon.So's the EBR -- now. As you've long said the 5.56 problem is the ammo -- always has been. I realize the M4 is light and handy but it also is a defensive weapon and cannot replace a rifle. The cartridge problem just adds to the shortfall.
I never assume a logical nexus between a need and a solution when we're talking about initiatives by the Army. :DQuite wise. Me too. I think in this case it's really a pre-emptive move to keep Coburn quiet when they decide to keep the M4 as the primary issue weapon after the next contract is awarded. I think that's very ill advised but they're unlikely to care what I think... :D
The SDM, I believe, began with Iraq.OEF 2 in Afghanistan, 2002, when the M4 shortfalls were driven home with typical engagement ranges running 4-800m. You can hunt White tails in Maine with a .30-30; go to Colorado for the elusive Wapiti and you'll need something with more range and punch. Mountain fighting has to be expereinced to be appreciated. METT-TC yet again... :eek:
If you can't hit a human being at 200 meters or less with an M4, then the weapon isn't your problem.True but if you cannot sensibly fire at one at something more than 300m away, it is your problem. Bad guys may be bad but they ain't dumb.

GI Zhou
03-29-2010, 12:45 AM
From my readings the issue of a full power 7.62mm light machine gun in the section/squad is as old as the first working light machine gun. The Australian Army in the Malayan Emergency and in Vietnam and afterwards had a section/squad with a two man scout group, a four man rifle group and a three man machine gun group with a Bren in Malaya and a M60 in Vietnam and a rifle group (with a M79 in Vietnam). The siuation is very fluid at the moment regarding weapons inside the section, and depends on the situation, if they are motorised or mechanised and what support weapons are available.

In the early 1980s, the PLA went from two or three fire teams (depending on the unit) to a section/squad with a rifle group wth an RPG, a machine gun group witnh a Type 56 RPD and in the jungle a scout group. They have gone back to two three-man fire teams and a three man HQ group with an RPG, although mechanised units have only seven or eight personnel, and the section commander may stay in the vehicle to direct the vehicle's fire.

All have worked in combat although the US Marine Corps 13-man squad had tactical advantages and the new Australia platoon may end up being near 40 as well. I myself favour four section platoons, especially mechanised, for the flexibility it brings.

Having shot all the 7.62 x 51mm pistol grip weapons, but not a M-14 which I rectify one day, they are all heavy and accurate although the Mk110/SR-25 is in a league of its own. I have shot the old AR-10 and it was beautiful to fire. I understand the EBR was selected because the components were in store and thus quicker to field.

Cheers

Schmedlap
03-29-2010, 03:54 AM
You have to remember, I'm a "belt feds only at Company level" guy. Machine guns are important and have a purpose, going on patrols with them is not smart. :wry:
We'll have to agree to disagree there. I can count the number of company level operations that I've done since 2003 on two hands. The rest was platoon or below and I can't imagine going without the 240s. Fire team missions - perhaps our most common - yeah, I can see leaving the 240 at the PB.


I realize the M4 is light and handy but it also is a defensive weapon and cannot replace a rifle.
Again, I suspect we'll agree to disagree. There were very few occasions when anyone I knew was on the defense. On most of those occasions, their 240s were the defensive weapon. The vast majority of our missions were offensive and M4s did the honors more often than not.


OEF 2 in Afghanistan, 2002, when the M4 shortfalls were driven home with typical engagement ranges running 4-800m... if you cannot sensibly fire at one at something more than 300m away, it is your problem. Bad guys may be bad but they ain't dumb.
Well, if that is the case, then so be it. If they think they need M16 rather than M4, or 7.62 rather than 5.56, give it to 'em. I'm not one to second guess why they're doing what they're doing, but I am genuinely curious how these engagements are unfolding. On the rare occasion that we were shot at from 400 meters or more, there wasn't much thought given to hunting down the perpetrators - even on flat terrain. Our view was that as soon as we start moving in that direction, they're going to disappear. We'd make a cautious bound forward into 40mm range, lob a few rounds (if reasonable METT-TC), and go back to what we were doing. I don't think we would have operated differently if we were packing M16s, M14s, and M24s.

Frankly, I think we've got a knack for invading the wrong types of countries. We need to invade some caribbean island where our primary weapons will be squirt guns, and instead of sitting down for three cups of chai we do jello shots.

Ken White
03-29-2010, 04:47 AM
...The rest was platoon or below and I can't imagine going without the 240s. Fire team missions - perhaps our most common - yeah, I can see leaving the 240 at the PB.Wars differ, it's that METT thing again. Iraq was one war, Afghanistan is yet another.

That said, you're a Mech guy, no Weapons Squad with two MGs and two Javelins. Different ball game when you have to hump everything. Operating 50 clicks from resupply and on foot or by hoptiflopter insertion is also different than was the practice in Iraq.
...The vast majority of our missions were offensive and M4s did the honors more often than not.Of course it did -- it was all you had. That does not change the fact that the weapon was designed to provide a lighter, handier defensive weapon for troops who were not expected to need the more powerful rifle as those troops were not expected to do offensive missions and that for that job a 200 meter true effective range was adequate.

For offensive movement on foot in a mountainous or desert area not totally flat a little more power and range is helpful. The fact that Building 4 and Barry McCaffery screwed up royally and made the M4 the Army weapon doesn't change the designed purpose, it merely changes the usage. We got away with it in Iraq; they are not getting away with it in Afghanistan -- as could have been and was predicted...
On the rare occasion that we were shot at from 400 meters or more, there wasn't much thought given to hunting down the perpetrators - even on flat terrain.Different war, different fighters. The Talibs and their allies are not Iraqis.

I'll forgo commenting on how you handled contacts 'cause I wasn't there. I will suggest though that your method as you describe it against a determined and trained enemy would seem to me to be slightly more than dangerous. I also suspect that if that 400m shooter used an AK, he was even less accurate than an M4 shooter. If, OTOH he used a PKM or an old .303 Enfield or a Nagant and you knew he wasn't a random shooter who got paid to fire off a magazine but was a member of a group of indeterminate size and unknown goals, you might have handled it differently. ;)

GI Zhou:
From my readings the issue of a full power 7.62mm light machine gun in the section/squad is as old as the first working light machine gun. The Australian Army in the Malayan Emergency and in Vietnam and afterwards had a section/squad with a two man scout group, a four man rifle group and a three man machine gun group with a Bren in Malaya and a M60 in Vietnam and a rifle group (with a M79 in Vietnam). The siuation is very fluid at the moment regarding weapons inside the section, and depends on the situation, if they are motorised or mechanised and what support weapons are available.A Bren was and is not a LMG, it's an automatic rifle (AR) -- that's not semantic, it's important. I totally agree with an AR or two or three per Squad / Patrol but a far heavier belt fed machine gun generally has no place in most patrols. It is too prone to malfunction (even the ultra reliable GP MAG / M240 series), ammo gets misaligned in belts too easily, most people waste a LOT of ammo when they have one, it's heavy and if it breaks you still have to carry the heavy motengator.

The Bren and the BAR as well as other magazine fed ARs had a place, adopting the M60/MAG was an effort to emulate the German theory (without the thorough German training...) and just really didn't work too well. However, since they are what's available as de facto replacements for the ARs, they logically get used -- even if they probably should not be as often as they are. Which was my point...

Your comment on motorized or mechanized folks is quite important because those guys do not have Weapons Squads, they pass the MG around and use it as needed. Dedicated gunners and Leaders in light, walking units who are reasonably well trained do things differently. As they should. METT-TC is quite important...

And those factors vary significantly from war to war and enemy to enemy; my purpose in this sub thread is to emphasize that there is no one size fits all and we should be careful to not base decisions for place C with Unit X on what we learned in place A with Unit Y...

kaur
03-29-2010, 06:55 AM
I think that this picture is ok for this thread :)

http://j.imagehost.org/t/0880/hythe_riflemen.jpg (http://j.imagehost.org/view/0880/hythe_riflemen)

Kiwigrunt
03-29-2010, 10:10 AM
A Bren was and is not a LMG, it's an automatic rifle (AR) -- that's not semantic, it's important.


First time I've heard that. :confused::wry:
Knowing how you think about belt feds I can see why you would say that, but I don't think you'll get much support with that opinion. The Bren not being a LMG that is, not where and when it should be employed.

Fuchs
03-29-2010, 03:16 PM
This "automatic rifle" terminology à la BAR seems to be a national American thing.
I've never really seen "automatic rifle" as separate from "light machine gun" or "machine gun" in non-U.S. literature. So for roughly 5.8 billion people the Bren is a LMG if they know it at all.


Pretty much all light machineguns of the pre-RPK period were either slimmed-down belt-fed machine guns (such s MG08/18, MG34 in LMG configuration) or magazine-fed weapons with full calibre cartridges (such as BAR, Bren, SIG KE 7).

Ken White
03-29-2010, 03:47 PM
Call a Bren a LMG if you wish. I'd argue that it and the BAR did not have large capacity magazines nor were they belt fed so the AR tag seems appropriate to me and I say that in full realization that most won't agree -- and not really caring as the issue really is employment method(s), not the name. :wry:

As Kiwi Grunt says, the issue is use and I've seen way too many MG34-42-3 / M60 / MAG types have problems on patrols to consider carrying one of them unless I determined an overwhelming need would probably exist; to carry it just because it's available is the norm and it's not, IMO, all that smart. :eek:

I've also seen too many machine gunners -- and even AR men -- and ammo bearers killed or wounded because the heavy weapon and / or ammo slowed them down and was a clumsy load. Not because the weapon was a target, though that too has an impact. There is certainly a place for LMGs and some patrols may need one available -- many will not but it is habit to take it...

Accurate, killing fire suppresses -- a large volume of harmless fire does not, certainly not against people who know what they're doing. It also is not smart to think, train or operate as if all your opponents will be lesser beings. :D

METT is where it's at...

Schmedlap
03-29-2010, 04:35 PM
... you're a Mech guy, no Weapons Squad with two MGs and two Javelins...

I did light and mech. Even when mech, most missions were dismounted patrols at night (rolling around in loud vehicles gave early warning to the enemy).


... the weapon was designed to provide a lighter, handier defensive weapon for troops who were not expected to need the more powerful rifle as those troops were not expected to do offensive missions and that for that job a 200 meter true effective range was adequate.

I guess that was where I didn't get the "defensive" thing. If you mean that is how it was designed, sure. I just don't see the use of referring to a weapon as defensive if it can be used offensively in most situations in a given theater (for example: Iraq). My Glock model 23 is defensive, but if someone steals it and goes on a killing spree, it's sufficiently lethal to get the offensive work done. I think a more useful way to look at it would be "appropriate or inappropriate for the mission." If I'm in built up areas where I'm climbing through narrow doors and windows and engagements are 200 meters or less, then I want a shorter weapon that isn't going to slow me down. If I'm in mountains or open terrain and distances are much longer, then the length of the weapon is no longer a concern in terms of my ability to move across the terrain.


I'll forgo commenting on how you handled contacts 'cause I wasn't there. I will suggest though that your method as you describe it against a determined and trained enemy would seem to me to be slightly more than dangerous.

Agreed. But the jokers we were dealing with weren't very determined or well-trained. The risk of killing civilians wasn't worth responding any other way.

Ken White
03-29-2010, 07:29 PM
I did light and mech.Or darn sure should be...:wry:
...it's sufficiently lethal to get the offensive work done.So's a hammer but...
I think a more useful way to look at it would be "appropriate or inappropriate for the mission."...Agree with all that, METT said a different way. :D
...The risk of killing civilians wasn't worth responding any other way.Understood and I know you're too smart to not realize all enemies and situations differ and different solutions are often required. I just piggyback on your posts to emphasize that point to those who might not realize it. Mostly because I fit in a couple of wars where the major problem and reason for our less than stellar performance was poor training but the second biggest factor for our shortcomings was certainly Commanders who were NOT aware of that simple and seemingly obvious fact. ;)

JMA
03-29-2010, 11:30 PM
The article by Major Ehrhardt raises very similar points:



....




It seems to me that the TB try mostly rather hard to reduce the risks incurring when engaging coalition troops. They can usually initiate the contact on their terms, using terrain, ROE and distance to their advantage and seem to increasingly tailor their forces, as Bob said, to suit this conditions. All those factors buffer them against a "decisive" tactical defeat. This low-risk tactics seem to work well as part of their overall strategy, as it allows them to preserve their fighting forces and still greatly impact the ability of the coalition to fulfill their missions.

A very high ratio of crew-served weapons like GPMG, mortars and RPG could allow them to get a lot more out of their limited pool of better trained men while employing the rest more effectively in their support.


Firn

Why are the TB initiating contact at long ranges? Are they inflicting casualties? Is the fire effective enough to warrant taking cover? Why are patrol moving in the open in the first place? I'm trying to understand the mind set here.

jcustis
03-30-2010, 01:22 AM
Why are the TB initiating contact at long ranges? Are they inflicting casualties? Is the fire effective enough to warrant taking cover? Why are patrol moving in the open in the first place? I'm trying to understand the mind set here.

by engaging at longer range (at least in the south) I suspect that they hope to get lucky every once in a while, or force us to maneuver and be susceptible to pressure plate IEDs along avenues of approach/withdrawal. I also suspect that they aren't comfortable closing the distance with us, where they can be susceptible to our 40mm HE fires.

Ken White
03-30-2010, 01:44 AM
Why are the TB initiating contact at long ranges?Sometimes. They have the same issues with equipment and terrain we do. They did know however that most of our weapons were not terribly effective beyond 2-300m. The Marines changed that with their M16s, good for 3-400m and the Army changed it by issuing a lot 7.62 weapons. Thus what they did do and now do are slightly different.
Are they inflicting casualties? Is the fire effective enough to warrant taking cover?Sometimes to both. Usually not unless the friendly unit is really careless.
Why are patrol moving in the open in the first place?Usually because there is no cover or concealment locally available. Check most of these pictures: (LINK) (http://images.google.com/images?um=1&hl=en&client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&tbs=isch:1&q=afghanistan&ndsp=20&imgtype=i_similar&sa=X&ei=fU2xS63NA4i-MveAwdwD&ct=img-sim-l&oi=image_sil&resnum=13&tbnid=_--5zYvOwQoN5M:).That and the occasional bout of carelessness. :wry:
I'm trying to understand the mind set here.Not much to understand, the Afghans know the terrain and figured out early that a PKM or Enfield could allow them to pot at NATO patrols from beyond retaliation range. That got fixed.

What won't get fixed is their terrain knowledge versus that of most urban-suburban raised NATO troops and their eyesight which is better because they had to have great awareness to survive. The average Afghan will spot an ambush the average westerner will walk into or will with the naked eye spot a person on a distant hill that the westerner has difficulty discerning with binoculars.

That said, there is no "problem," per se just the same old kinds of factors everyone who fights has to deal with, just different enemy, different terrain...

As Jcustis said, they want to avoid closing if possible; they most always get creamed when they do that.

GI Zhou
03-30-2010, 07:38 AM
Ken,

The Australians in Vietnam and afterwards used the M60 with lttle trouble as we carried an assault pack of 100 rounds, as used on the M249 SAW which itsxelf is the epitome of a belt fed assault rifle. They are heavy to carry but provide a devastating base of fire and the Australian Army used them in Vietnam and used the L7/MAG-58 afterwards. The Brits used the L7 in the Falklands and in the dirty little wars they got involved in eg Oman and employed as many they could get their hands on. The BAR isn't much lighter than a M60 and was used a base of fire in three or four man fire teams. The M60/L7 has a three man team for ammuniton, protection of the gunner, and to spread the load of carrying of it and ammo. It is a crew served weapon inside the section/squad.

Firn
03-30-2010, 09:41 AM
By engaging at longer range (at least in the south) I suspect that they hope to get lucky every once in a while, or force us to maneuver and be susceptible to pressure plate IEDs along avenues of approach/withdrawal. I also suspect that they aren't comfortable closing the distance with us, where they can be susceptible to our 40mm HE fires.

Besides the reasons I and others already mentioned they might also want to give green local fighters a shot at the enemy without getting them killed too easily. This way the more experienced guys can observe their performance during their first taste of combat. It also raises morale and perhaps pay.

From their strategic point of view an indecisive firefight against Western soldiers could simply part of their delaying actions and their efforts to make our efforts more difficult, along the "you have the watches, we have the time" theme.


Firn

Ken White
03-30-2010, 02:55 PM
The Australians in Vietnam and afterwards used the M60 with lttle trouble as we carried an assault pack of 100 rounds...As did we also use the M60 at Platoon level as a super-AR. We both used it because it was there, not because it was the best tool for the job. Both 1 and 5 RAR did great work -- in spite of the not always appropriate weapon... :D
... as used on the M249 SAW which itsxelf is the epitome of a belt fed assault rifle.That's a contradiction in terms if I ever saw one. :wry: . The "belt fed" is the problem that imposes most of the reliability and clumsy handling issues MGs have. Plus, the 249 is not a good weapon on several counts...
The BAR isn't much lighter than a M60 and was used a base of fire in three or four man fire teams.Yeah, I know, I carried one in Korea. When you dumped the Bipod and the actuator and sear trip mechanism to get full and semi auto instead of the rather dumb two auto rates, the BAR weighed only about 13-14 pounds and you could fire semi auto at night without giving away the location of an automatic weapon.
The M60/L7 has a three man team for ammuniton, protection of the gunner, and to spread the load of carrying of it and ammo. It is a crew served weapon inside the section/squad.Yes, it is -- and it takes three men to service it? Not too wise IMO, that means two people are for all practical purposes, slaves to the weapon. As a weapon on a patrol, you're adding two more people plus the gunner -- or you're not carrying enough ammo. Either way, you can adversely affect the patrol's capability for little real benefit in most cases. :eek:

I am not saying never take a belt fed MG on a patrol, I am saying it usually goes out of habit and simply because it is there, not need and that it often is unnecessary. METT-TC rules... ;)

We do the same three man thing thing in Light Infantry units and place the guns in a Weapons Squad at Platoon level; in Mechanized units, there are no weapons squads, it's just a weapon that can be carried, mission dependent by each squad. The Marines still (last time I noticed) very wisely have their 240s / MAGs in Machine Gun Platoons at Company level. They can farm them out to Rifle Platoons when required but they also can train their MG Squads (with more than one ammo bearer per gun) in the finer arts of MG employment like indirect and plunging fire. IOW, they wisely use the weapon as it was designed to be used and as it is most effective.

Uboat509
03-30-2010, 03:56 PM
I must have been really deprived when I was still in the infantry. I read about ammo bearers in the FMs. I even heard stories about other units that had them but never once in all the years that I was in the infantry did I ever see an ammo bearer. Perhaps my experience was unique or at least unusual but we never had them at platoon level. I can't imagine having them at squad level.

Ken White
03-30-2010, 06:42 PM
caused by the M60 being placed here and there in the Platoon instead of staying in and with the weapons squad during that war -- the theory was that anyone could carry MG ammo, so no designated spaces were required "After all, Mech Infantry doesn't even have a Weapons Squad..." -- so those paces were available but often not filled because it 'seemed like a wasted space.' That applies to the 11 man squads that were around from the early 50s until the mid 80s. After that, with nine man Squads, the Ammo bearers were (foolishly) deleted. Peace time 'operations' will do that... :D

Not much sense having a weapon that does as much harm as good if it's wrongly located.;)

Schmedlap
03-31-2010, 03:37 AM
I must have been really deprived when I was still in the infantry. I read about ammo bearers in the FMs. I even heard stories about other units that had them but never once in all the years that I was in the infantry did I ever see an ammo bearer. Perhaps my experience was unique or at least unusual but we never had them at platoon level. I can't imagine having them at squad level.

They're not in the MTOE, but we always had them on our "battle roster" (what we called the actual roster of how we actually manned the platoon). Battle roster task org had a weapons squad (there was no weapons squad in the MTOE and, thus, no WSL authorized either, but the PSGs and 1SG worked out something so there was an E6 WSL - not sure how that dope deal went down). Now that I think about it, I'm not even sure if we were authorized 3 M240Bs per platoon. If not, I don't know where the extras came from. Anyone missing some MGs?

Kiwigrunt
03-31-2010, 03:49 AM
Now that I think about it, I'm not even sure if we were authorized 3 M240Bs per platoon. If not, I don't know where the extras came from. Anyone missing some MGs?

Yes, me, give it back!:D

Compost
03-31-2010, 04:10 AM
A Bren was and is not a LMG, it's an automatic rifle (AR) -- that's not semantic, it's important. I totally agree with an AR or two or three per Squad / Patrol but a far heavier belt fed machine gun generally has no place in most patrols. It is too prone to malfunction (even the ultra reliable GP MAG / M240 series), ammo gets misaligned in belts too easily, most people waste a LOT of ammo when they have one, it's heavy and if it breaks you still have to carry the heavy motengator.

The Bren and the BAR as well as other magazine fed ARs had a place, adopting the M60/MAG was an effort to emulate the German theory (without the thorough German training...) and just really didn't work too well. However, since they are what's available as de facto replacements for the ARs, they logically get used -- even if they probably should not be as often as they are. Which was my point...

It is easy to agree with bits of the above paragraphs but other parts aggravate some of my sore spots. The Bren is not an automatic rifle, it is emphatically a light machine gun. LMGs and also belt-fed MGs are both needed by infantry platoons but such weapons have to be well designed and engineered.

That's not just semantics. It's important because - regardless of training - the potential employment of a weapon is determined by the characteristics designed and built into it.

AR automatic rifle -long barrel individual weapon, EG: FAL, M14
+ light, compact, shoulder-fired
+ magazine-fed, self-loading, selective fire
= accurate semi-auto fire to long range, less accurate auto fire at close range

HBAR heavy barrel auto rifle - long barrel individual weapon, EG: BAR, FAL-HB
(aka MR machine rifle)
+ AR modified or designed with heavy barrel and bipod
+ also possibly larger capacity box or drum magazine
= accurate short burst fire over all ranges

LMG light machine gun - light support weapon, one or two-man crew, EG: Bren, HK11
+ robust, compact, shoulder-fired
+ magazine-fed, quick change barrel (QCB), bipod
= frequent short burst fire to long range

MMG medium machine gun - support weapon, two-man crew or vehicle, EG: HK21, MAG58
+ robust
+ open bolt, belt fed
+ belt-fed, QCB or water-cooled, bipod, tripod or pintle
= sustained burst fire to long range, indirect harassing fire

GPMG hybrid LMG/MMG.

Is it difficult to agree with that list ? Well here are some relevant fragments of military history.

In the late-1950s Australia adopted the 7.62mm FAL in two versions: the L1A1 SLR with auto fire disabled weighing about 4.6kg with an empty 20-rd mag, and the L2A1 HBAR weighing about 6.3kg with empty 30-rd mag and bipod.

However the L2A1's lack of a quick change barrel (QCB) capability compounded by its rifle-type closed bolt/breech made the L2A1 liable to cook-off rounds when heated by frequent or lengthy burst fire. Also firing from a prone position with the long 30-rd mag and correspondingly long bipod resulted in a high sightline that made control difficult.

The L2A1 proved unable to supply a reliable base of fire for each infantry section. Hence infantry continued to use the .303in (7.7x56mmR) Bren.

The L2A1 was issued to some Army (mainly combat support) and also Navy units as a light support weapon (LSW). Also used as an individual weapon (usually with a cut-down barrel) by Special Air Service reconnaissance patrols.

In 1960 Australia adopted the M60A1 belt-fed GPMG to succeed the .303in Vickers belt-fed MMG and the Bren top-mounted mag feed LMG.

The M60 had numerous design faults most of which are quite well known. When hot and/or fouled with propellant residue the self-adjusting constant pressure gas and buffer system could drive the bolt carrier with excess force that broke the firing pin. Intermittently the carrier would fail to return as far as the sear resulting in a runaway gun. Both problems could be caused/aggravated by faulty reassembly as design of some parts permitted them to be installed backwards. Lack of readily replaceable belt container or container enabling extension of engaged belt. Reciprocating charge handle. Carry handle on receiver rather than barrel. Bipod on barrel rather than gas tube. Heat cover over barrel/breech interface. Non-adjustable front sight.

However the M60 was fairly compact, well balanced and hence easy to carry in ready mode. Also the barrel change problems were alleviated by the stellite lining of the chamber and lower barrel. Some of the other problems could be reduced by careful maintenance and frequent cleaning. So although widely criticised the M60 avoided becoming a total disaster.

A 1970 project to recondition M60 receivers that had been distorted by intensive use provided the operational justification (and probably also the political motivation) to address problems. As a result in 1970 the Bren was reintroduced in modified form (as developed by Britain in the 1950s) with a 7.62mm barrel and using the 30 and 20-rd mags of the L2A1 and L1A1. It was locally known as the L4A4 Bren and weighed almost 8.9kg with empty 30-rd mag. Thereafter infantry units were issued both the M60 and the L4A4 with the latter particularly employed for patrols. Some other units had their L2A1 weapons replaced by the L4A4.

In late-1982 a small initial batch of MAG58 GPMGs guns was issued to the Operational Deployment Force. In November 1984 after what was apparently an extended trial, it was announced that a further batch of 676 MAG58s were being ordered to replace some proportion of the M60s. The L4A4 Bren and also the L2A1 HBAR continued in service.

In late-1985 an order for 3,400 belt/mag-fed 5.56mm Minimi GPMG was announced as a LSW to replace some M60s and also the L4A4 and L2A1. Delivery from local production commenced in late-1989 or early 1990 and since then more than 8,000 Minimi have been delivered to Army (and also Navy and Air Force) and the L4A4 and L2A1 have been withdrawn from service.

Regardless of what the above may suggest about marketing and the politics of small arms procurement, I believe that it empirically demonstrates in respect of 7.62mm ammunition the utility of three principal weapon types - AR, LMG and MMG – and suggests that most 7.62mm HBARs and GPMGs emerge as awkward hybrids.

In that context the MAG58 is - due to the location of its feed slot well forward of the pistol grip – poorly balanced and overlong for use by light infantry but well suited for use as a MMG and weighs only 11.8kg unloaded without off-gun belt container. The MG42/MG3 is better balanced than the MAG58 but at 11.6kg unloaded is 2.3kg heavier than its nominal successor the belt-fed HK21 weighing 9.3kg unloaded. The HK21 also seems to be well balanced and continues the practice of having an attached refillable belt container where the rump of an engaged belt can be linked to a fresh belt.

The HK21 in HK11 form with underbody box mag module has a low bipod to avoid the stilt affect and normally carries a 20-rd mag. At 8.45kg with empty 20-rd mag the HK11 weighs only marginally less than the L4A4 Bren with empty 30-rd mag at about 8.85kg. Also it is likely that the Bren can be reloaded with a fresh magazine more rapidly than most other LMGs.

Overall it seems that light infantry patrols in theatres such as Afghanistan would in terms of proven 7.62 mm calibre automatic weapons be preferably equipped with the HK11 and HK21. An alternative combination would involve bringing the L4A4 Bren – possibly with a Picatinny sight rail added to each side of the receiver – back into service for use in conjunction with the MAG58. The fire from those weapons may be usefully augmented at shorter ranges by light supporting fire provided by 5.56mm LMGs and GPMGs.

Rigorous training and practice is needed to effectively employ automatic weapons and to conserve ammunition.

The 7.62mm HBAR has limited utility, and then only in unusual circumstances. In terms of weight carried a 7.62mm heavy barrel self-loading sharpshooters rifle would be more useful.

The contingency experts may anyway insist it include selective fire. Possible solutions, build-in 2-rd burst limiter or suggest a sharpshooter rifle in 8.59mm calibre as equally foolish alternatives.

Finally the GPMG concept may be usefully realizeable and realised when 7.62mm and 5.56mm ammunition for rifles (as opposed to 5.56mm for SMGs/PDWs) are succeeded by an intermediate calibre.

Ken White
03-31-2010, 04:55 AM
The Bren is not an automatic rifle, it is emphatically a light machine gun.To you and most people -- and I have no problem with that terminology even if I don't personally use it consistently.
LMGs and also belt-fed MGs are both needed by infantry platoons but such weapons have to be well designed and engineered.Agree but I do not agree that the belt fed MG should be assigned to the infantry platoon. To the infantry Company, yes and available with minimum three man crew to the platoons on loan, yes. :D
the potential employment of a weapon is determined by the characteristics designed and built into it.Totally agree and I thought I'd sorta said that...
LMG light machine gun - light support weapon, one or two-man crew, EG: Bren, HK11
+ robust, compact, shoulder-fired
+ magazine-fed, quick change barrel (QCB), bipod
= frequent short burst fire to long range {emphasis added /kw}Agree! Or you can it an Automatic Rifle to upset Fuchs...
MMG medium machine gun - support weapon, two-man crew or vehicle, EG: HK21, MAG58
+ robust
+ open bolt, belt fed
+ belt-fed, QCB or water-cooled, bipod, tripod or pintle
= sustained burst fire to long range, indirect harassing fireAgree!
The L2A1 proved unable to supply a reliable base of fire for each infantry section. Hence infantry continued to use the .303in (7.7x56mmR) Bren.The Bren and its ZB 28 predecessor (and its Japanese Type 99 copy) was a great weapon and it was a vast improvement over the ZB 28s predecessor with the same toggle locking system, the BAR.

We had one was that was as almost as good in the M1944 Johnson, 30 round mag, semi on closed, full on open bolt and less than 6kg/14lbs -- but it didn't make the political cut.
The M60 had numerous design faults most of which are quite well known.Yep. "So although widely criticised the M60 avoided becoming a total disaster." -- but only barely...:D

As an aside, I served on the Troop Test at Fort Campbell for the M60, we had it and the MG3 and uased the M1919A6 browning (then the issueLMG) as a baseline. We all voted for the MG3 but it wasn't invented here. So...
...I believe that it empirically demonstrates in respect of 7.62mm ammunition the utility of three principal weapon types - AR, LMG and MMG – and suggests that most 7.62mm HBARs and GPMGs emerge as awkward hybrids.Agree.
Also it is likely that the Bren can be reloaded with a fresh magazine more rapidly than most other LMGs.Also agree -- and the Stoner 63 system wisely copied that. Politics again intrude...
An alternative combination would involve bringing the L4A4 Bren – possibly with a Picatinny sight rail added to each side of the receiver – back into service for use in conjunction with the MAG58. The fire from those weapons may be usefully augmented at shorter ranges by light supporting fire provided by 5.56mm LMGs and GPMGs.I totally agree. Not likely to happen, the Generals do not like to admit error...:rolleyes:
Rigorous training and practice is needed to effectively employ automatic weapons and to conserve ammunition.Absolutely correct -- and the US does a very lousy job of it!
Finally the GPMG concept may be usefully realizeable and realised when 7.62mm and 5.56mm ammunition for rifles (as opposed to 5.56mm for SMGs/PDWs) are succeeded by an intermediate calibre.Agree. The 6x45 XM732 round back in the 70s had great potential...

Politics again... :wry:

Ken White
03-31-2010, 05:07 AM
Now that I think about it, I'm not even sure if we were authorized 3 M240Bs per platoon. If not, I don't know where the extras came from. Anyone missing some MGs?Each Mech Squad was authorized one, thus 3 per Mech Platoon versus two per walking infantry Platoon (plus the two Javelins). Ranger Platoons also have three guns (plus the Carl Gustaf -- which is a good deal -- and / or Javelins).

GI Zhou
03-31-2010, 08:25 AM
I just spoke To WO2 Ian Kuring, former curator of the Infantry Museum who wrote the history of the Australian Infantry 'Red Cioats to Cams, and who also served in Vietnam. (He said I could quote his name)

In the Korean War, the Australians carried Bren LMGs outside the wire, as there were M1919A4s available in static positions and when behind the wire the Brens supplemented the M1919A4s. The number is not known as they were not part of the TO&E as the US Army would say.

The Australian Army infantry in Vietnam had a command scout group of section comamnder and two scouts, a three man gun group with a M60 and a four man rifle group with a M79. If the section went down to nine men as happened after Vietnam the gun group stayed at three men.

This structure lasted until the introduction of the Minimi (M249) in the late 1980s/early 1990s which by then saw the M60 replaced by an interim buy of the L7 and then later the the MAG-58.

Fuchs
03-31-2010, 10:22 AM
Section commander and two scouts? Wasn't this proved to be a poor idea back in WW2?
I recall complaints that they were pinned down way too often when they were ahead.

GI Zhou
03-31-2010, 04:07 PM
The two scouts went ahead and the section commander was with the rifle group, as it contained the radio operator, with a PRC-25 for those aged and decrepit amongst us. Excellent idea in the jungle to have scouts and the North Vietnamese Army also used them. One was often equipped with a RPG-2 or equivalent, which was a very effective weapon for breaking contact when surprised.

Schmedlap
04-01-2010, 12:43 AM
Each Mech Squad was authorized one, thus 3 per Mech Platoon versus two per walking infantry Platoon (plus the two Javelins). Ranger Platoons also have three guns (plus the Carl Gustaf -- which is a good deal -- and / or Javelins).

Hmmm. Maybe this was another case of extra MGs, but when I was light (and I mean literally "Light" - not AASLT or ABN) we had 3 MGs. Neat thing was that we started with M60s. When we got tagged for an SFOR rotation, we were bumped up in priority for M240Bs, but nobody asked for the M60s in return. So, we were really heavy of MGs (6 per PLT!). Of course, we didn't really use them in Bosnia for anything other than training. But the older guys were happy to keep their M60s and the younger guys were happy with their new M240Bs. It was one of those rare occasions in the Army where everybody was happy.:) Of course, we did our best to pursue other avenues to crush their enthusiasm, and succeeded spectacularly.:wry:

Ken White
04-01-2010, 01:29 AM
... It was one of those rare occasions in the Army where everybody was happy.:) Of course, we did our best to pursue other avenues to crush their enthusiasm, and succeeded spectacularly.:wry:We certainly cannot allow that! Good job in crushing that undue exuberance... ;)

Did not know the Light TOE had three guns per Rifle platoon. That and enough to fill the Library of Congress are among things I didn't know. Or if I did know at one time, I forgot it -- I'm old...

I did and do know that the Army cut the number of Cooks and bought T-rats in order to fill those Light Divs *... :D

( * Military Trivial Pursuit factoid # 2,961)

Kiwigrunt
04-01-2010, 03:40 AM
Hmmm. Maybe this was another case of extra MGs, but when I was light (and I mean literally "Light" - not AASLT or ABN) we had 3 MGs. Neat thing was that we started with M60s. When we got tagged for an SFOR rotation, we were bumped up in priority for M240Bs, but nobody asked for the M60s in return. So, we were really heavy of MGs (6 per PLT!). Of course, we didn't really use them in Bosnia for anything other than training.

Assuming you still had your 6 x SAW, that would have totalled 12 beltfeds to a platoon. :cool:
Doesn’t look very light to me though.:eek:
Also begs the question (had you carried them all), who would have carried the platoon M16? :confused:Only half kidding.

Schmedlap
04-01-2010, 03:44 AM
Did not know the Light TOE had three guns per Rifle platoon.

I'm not saying that it did. I'm just saying, we had 3 per platoon (at least that company - not sure about the rest of the BN).

JMA
04-01-2010, 05:13 AM
The two scouts went ahead and the section commander was with the rifle group, as it contained the radio operator, with a PRC-25 for those aged and decrepit amongst us. Excellent idea in the jungle to have scouts and the North Vietnamese Army also used them. One was often equipped with a RPG-2 or equivalent, which was a very effective weapon for breaking contact when surprised.

Yes, the tactics for jungle warfare differ from those used in Europe and those used in North Africa.

The one fact remains constant and that is conventional foot patrols in open terrain do just not make sense. Can someone tell me what they achieve other than to provide the enemy target practice at a place and time of HIS choosing?

JMA
04-01-2010, 05:59 AM
I'm not saying that it did. I'm just saying, we had 3 per platoon (at least that company - not sure about the rest of the BN).

Armies need basic establishment and equipment tables during peacetime.

But when war breaks out surely changes should be accepted to cater for enemy and terrain?

The first "kill" in any war should be the staff officer who when asked to release extra machine guns or the like to a battalion replies that he can't because they already have what the equipment tables allow.

Ken White
04-01-2010, 02:52 PM
The one fact remains constant and that is conventional foot patrols in open terrain do just not make sense. Can someone tell me what they achieve other than to provide the enemy target practice at a place and time of HIS choosing?Which is why most units in Iraq and Afghanistan made or make extensive use of vehicles -- lots of vehicles, usually four to six per infantry platoon -- especially issued in excess of normal allowances to generally preclude foot patrols where they are inappropriate.

OTOH, in urban areas and in some mountainous areas as opposed to generally open area, some foot movement is desirable or necessary

The problem in Afghanistan in particular is in the areas of the nation with terrain that is largely mountainous but does have occasional broad valleys. The lack of roads and a conscious and deliberate decision by the US not to use tracked vehicles means that some insertions of infantry units by truck or helicopter are going to occasionally have to cross open ground. More common is foot movement in the mountains themselves where vehicle movement is not possible.

If you have solutions to those two problems, we'd be glad to hear them...

Firn
04-03-2010, 01:01 PM
The Weakness of Taliban Marksmanship (http://atwar.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/04/02/the-weakness-of-taliban-marksmanship/)

Nothing new, besides the interesting focus on the eyesight, but still a very good overview. Some of the Taliban's problems are also an issue for "Western" soldiers, even if less pronounced.



Using the iron sights on an infantry rifle requires a mix of vision-related tasks. A shooter must be able to discern both the rifle’s rear and front sights (directly in front of the shooter’s face) and also see the target (as far as several hundred yards off). Then the former must be aligned with the latter. This is difficult in ideal circumstances for lightly trained gunmen; for some people with bad vision, it might be almost impossible. Over the years many officers and noncommissioned officers who train Afghan police and soldiers have said that a significant number of Afghan recruits struggle because of their eyesight. The Taliban recruit their fighters from the same population; poor vision can be expected to be a factor in their poor riflery.

The overall bad shooting might be, as I said before, one of the root which causes the Taliban to focus on crew served weapons, with many supporting a few better trained, disciplined or more talented fighters. It might also promote, among other things the overall use of IEDs.


Firn

JMA
04-03-2010, 06:35 PM
The Weakness of Taliban Marksmanship (http://atwar.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/04/02/the-weakness-of-taliban-marksmanship/)

Nothing new, besides the interesting focus on the eyesight, but still a very good overview. Some of the Taliban's problems are also an issue for "Western" soldiers, even if less pronounced.



The overall bad shooting might be, as I said before, one of the root which causes the Taliban to focus on crew served weapons, with many supporting a few better trained, disciplined or more talented fighters. It might also promote, among other things the overall use of IEDs.


Firn

Can someone define "suppression" please?

I have learnt something here, I thought the TB could shoot.

But... follow the link to the New York Times and you see a certain Captain quoted as saying: "[Bravo Company] has participated in over 200 patrols and been in countless engagements over the course of six months with actual boots on the ground... [Bravo Company] had no Marines struck by machine-gun or small-arms rounds, some really close calls but no hits."

No hits.

Question. Do the Marines include a 'crack and thump' demonstration in their basic training.

Question. Who gives the order to 'take cover' when contact is made?

I remember back almost 40 years to the section battle drills lesson and no 2 being: "Reaction to effective enemy fire" on the command 'Take Cover' - dash, down, crawl, observe sights, fire.

What is effective enemy fire? 'Enemy small arms fire which would cause heavy casualties should the section continue on its course'. 'Sections must be trained to continue the advance in spite of the noise of fire directed at someone else regardless of stray rounds amongst them.' 'It is very important that at the first sign of effective enemy fire your section does not instantaneously drop to the ground in fright as would be a natural reaction.'
(Brit Infantry Platoon in Battle c1960(I think))

Question: what is the role of the infantry?

Answer: to close with and kill the enemy (from 30-40 years ago - modern role definition likely to be be broad and vague).

How is it possible for a whole company to be 'pinned down' when they have taken no causalities?

I wonder what the good captain's kill rate was for the 'countless engagements' his company had with the TB?

Are the warning bells ringing yet?

...and I ask again (this time with tears in my eyes) what this company was doing in open ground?

Ken White
04-03-2010, 07:37 PM
Can someone define "suppression" please?It's a technique, generally involving a large amount of inaccurate fire that will cause poorly trained fighters to hesitate or do dumb things. Or it's really accurate fire that kills hostiles no matter how well trained and drives them off, induces them to surrender or renders them ineffective.

Actually, suppression varies from time to time, fight to fight and place to place and it generally falls between those two poles...;)
I have learnt something here, I thought the TB could shoot.I suspect they're like most other groups of fighters, some can shoot, most cannot. I also suspect the most of the Enfields, Nagants and Kar98s are dying of old age and that poorly maintained AKs, never very accurate, are the majority of weapons possessed. Eyesight is probably the least of their problems. The most effective weapon they have are the PKMs and variants -- not all that accurate but a lot lead, a lot of range...
Question. Do the Marines include a 'crack and thump' demonstration in their basic training.Dunno, probably not. I told you our training was marginal... :o
Question. Who gives the order to 'take cover' when contact is made?In well trained units -- and we do have some -- no one but well trained troops will do what's right. In poorly trained units -- and by definition, 50% are below average -- no one and everyone will dive for cover usually in the wrong place, thus the success of the IED placement by the bad guys. The VC used to plant Schu mines and bullet mines right where most people would put their foot in crossing a ditch. Good units picked up on that and never had a problem; poor ones suffered casualties.
I remember back almost 40 years to the section battle drills lesson...Good units do that. British and thus Rhodesian and South African training practice places that type of training in the institution and reinforces it frequently. The US wrongly relies on units to conduct such training, it is tedious and boring and therefor many marginal units gloss over it. Dumb, I know but there you are...
What is effective enemy fire? 'Enemy small arms fire which would cause heavy casualties should the section continue on its course'. 'Sections must be trained to continue the advance in spite of the noise of fire directed at someone else regardless of stray rounds amongst them.' 'It is very important that at the first sign of effective enemy fire your section does not instantaneously drop to the ground in fright as would be a natural reaction.'
(Brit Infantry Platoon in Battle c1960(I think))Couldn't agree more. Again, good US units..
Question: what is the role of the infantry?

Answer: to close with and kill the enemy (from 30-40 years ago - modern role definition likely to be be broad and vague).Yes. It is nicer to be vague than to advocate excessive kinetic action (whatever the heck that means...).
How is it possible for a whole company to be 'pinned down' when they have taken no causalities?Wasn't there, can't say -- may or may not have been the whole company and we don't know what someone's definition of 'pinned down' is. What I can say is that the US Armed Forces (NOT the US public) have gotten excessively risk averse because said Forces senior leaders have assumed wrongly that the public is so concerned and have been assured (correctly) that Congress is unduly concerned about casualties (mostly on a partisan basis and dependent upon whether or not some political capital can be garnered by raising the issue...).
Are the warning bells ringing yet?My warning bells went off in 1950, been downhill ever since. Only saving grace is that too many turbines and explosions with no hearing protection (can't really fight while wearing it...) have destroyed my hearing so I no longer hear the ever louder bells.

I do however see on a daily basis the stupidity that is poor training and its results. And that's what you are really addressing; the techniques you cite we know and most get practiced by most units; slug units don't do it -- it is a training quality issue. We're poor.
...and I ask again (this time with tears in my eyes) what this company was doing in open ground?Nothing to cry about. Answer's simple -- they got sent there by their Battalion Commander for some reason. Whether there was an alternative or not, we don't know -- we weren't there. Sometimes one has to cross open ground, that's a military and tactical given. That's why extended order drills are just as important as action on contact drills. All the world is not bush and bush like close range contacts are not the world norm. The real issue is not that one should not ever do so, it is how one goes about it when it is necessary...

Nor do we really know what has happened much of anywhere from that shotgun NYT article which is full of a lot of foolishness. The writer is a former US Marine Officer so has enough knowledge to be dangerous in comparison to most of his media contemporaries but he's still reporting snapshots and his Editors might well have knocked out something he wrote that would be meaningful to thee and me but wasn't to said Editor or the average NYT reader. :rolleyes:

I didn't learn anything from it I haven't seen elsewhere and in more detail.

Regrettably, I've learned it is not a good idea to form firm opinions base on reporting in the US media. Accept it as written or presented but reserve judgment until it gets corroborated by at least three preferably competing sources... :eek:

Schmedlap
04-03-2010, 07:38 PM
Can someone define "suppression" please?

I'm sure some doctrine gurus can give a more book-correct definition. My plain-English definition is that "suppression" is what you attempt to do to the enemy to get him to remain in one location and not fire back at you with "effective fire" (as you correctly defined it) that can prevent you from maneuvering upon him.

If you have been suppressed, then he has done it to you.


Question. Who gives the order to 'take cover' when contact is made?

In my experience, nobody. If your team leader needs to tell you, then he's probably going to be annoyed. Seeing the team leader taking cover should be all the prompting that a member of that team should need. The team leader makes that decision on his own - a fairly simple decision that any rifleman can be trusted to make.


How is it possible for a whole company to be 'pinned down' when they have taken no causalities?

Well, if you're taking a large volume of accurate fire and it is coming from an area full of civilians then it might be wise to hunker down, look for a way to break contact, and take precautions to make sure you are not flanked. But, I think I see your point. Not many units in Iraq or A'Stan have truly been "pinned down."

Added: Looks like Ken White pressed "submit" about one second before me. I agree with his post above.

JMA
04-03-2010, 08:00 PM
Which is why most units in Iraq and Afghanistan made or make extensive use of vehicles -- lots of vehicles, usually four to six per infantry platoon -- especially issued in excess of normal allowances to generally preclude foot patrols where they are inappropriate.

OTOH, in urban areas and in some mountainous areas as opposed to generally open area, some foot movement is desirable or necessary

The problem in Afghanistan in particular is in the areas of the nation with terrain that is largely mountainous but does have occasional broad valleys. The lack of roads and a conscious and deliberate decision by the US not to use tracked vehicles means that some insertions of infantry units by truck or helicopter are going to occasionally have to cross open ground. More common is foot movement in the mountains themselves where vehicle movement is not possible.

If you have solutions to those two problems, we'd be glad to hear them...

I don't claim to have solutions but I do have comments. When I read some of this stuff bells start ringing and lights go on.

It is pointless patrolling open ground on foot or by vehicle unless the enemy are to be found sitting in the open ground.

If one assumes that movement on foot in the open is merely to cross what the commander sees as a "danger area" and where some degree of tactical maneuver procedure is applied then OK. To sweep through open ground is plain ridiculous.

Vehicles. What good is a vehicle 'patrol' confined to a road which gives many minutes of advanced noise warning to the enemy to clear the roads and standby to fire the IEDs? Crazy.

As a 2Lt I learnt this first hand. Not by getting shot up thank heavens but through the futility of it all. (I wish I could attach images to illustrate my point). I spent days patrolling commercial farmland for signs of insurgents having being briefed off a 1:50,000 map. On the ground all the arable land was plowed and at that time fallow. The only areas of bush were rocky outcrops and low lying river lines. The rocky outcrops were in the main surrounded by open plowed land. (yes giving good vision of any approach but effectively trapping insurgents in the 'island' of bush - later during fire force operations where insurgents made such serious mistakes it resulted in a turkey shoot) the river lines likewise allowed for movement only in two directions - up stream of down stream and we always approached from upstream. I started marking up my maps with all the clear areas and bushy areas where there was some potential for a base camp and handing them in during post patrol debriefings. I was wasting my time. It was about the same time I met a young pilot in the officers mess who had recently finished and air recce course and after I told him my frustrations he told me straight out that it would take him a few hours to 'clear' what had taken me days of patrolling to achieve. I was wasting my time. I wanted to go up with him and see what he saw.

It did not take long for us to get a list of possible camps from these recce pilots and would visit them one by one with the fire force to tick them off one way or the other. The success rate got better as the pilots learnt more and especially when the next day they were taken to the sites to briefly walk the ground to convert what they saw with mark one-eyeball into the reality on the ground. Of course nowadays he could take a night flight over the area with a terminal imaging camera to take a look. It would need some interpretation to ensure we were not going to put an attack in on a herd of cattle (we did a few of those - the troopies loved them as we normally took the cow home to roast on the fire - we call it a braaivleis). So effectively blind routine foot and vehicle patrols were not only dangerous but also pretty pointless and not a productive use of resources.

We could still use the roads as the mines were not command detonated. The Pookie was a wonderful little vehicle which detected landmines. On one move at night to collect patrols along the road running West from Victoria Falls we picked up two landmines which we would otherwise have hit either on the outward journey or on the way back. I guess the insurgents sitting and watching from the North bank of the Zambezi were disappointed their efforts came to naught. Now if they were able to detonate the mines on command it would have been a different story. So if you ask me whether it is sane to travel on roads where at any place and at any time some guy with a cell phone can blow you to hell and back... it is not. You just have to make a new plan to get around.

gute
04-03-2010, 09:47 PM
According to the Marine Corps Times General Mattis made a push to get the Marine Corps to switch to 6.8 SPC. The article discusses the use of the 5.56 SOST MK318 MOD 1 round now in use by the Corps in Afghanistan. It will be some time before we know how well the SOST round worked. I think changing to the 6,8 right now would be a huge pain the ass, but down the road when things quiet down a bit a combat cartridge should be adopted that replaces the 5.56 and 7.62x51 - 6.5 Grendel in a low recoil assault rifle. Anyways, at least Mattis is thinking outside the box and hopefully he will be in a position in the next few years (Commandant - depending on his age) to make the change for the Marine Corps. I know it is unlikely because the Corps generally piggybacks off the contracts that the army signs; and the army's willingness to change cartridges.

I read Mr. Owen's article about 5.56 and I agree as it relates to the fight right now.

qp4
04-03-2010, 10:58 PM
Why are the TB initiating contact at long ranges? Are they inflicting casualties? Is the fire effective enough to warrant taking cover? Why are patrol moving in the open in the first place? I'm trying to understand the mind set here.

It's a lot easier to score when you got the drop on somebody. Initiating contact is for all intents and purposes taking a good bead on a target and firing when ready.

One of the most frustrating things we dealt with in OIF (and by we I mean the various units I was with in Iraq) is that nearly every time we had SAF contact it was reacting. By the time we got weapons up and ready to return fire it was gone. Now most of the time it was totally ineffective, but every now and then it wasn't. Keep adding that up over time and ineffective SAF turns into well placed harassing fire.

qp4
04-03-2010, 11:10 PM
If your team leader needs to tell you, then he's probably going to be annoyed.
Or he's out of his mind pissed off that he's risking being shot to walk across the battlefield screaming at someone to get down so he doesn't get hit.

Schmedlap hit it in that the modern Army dismounted teams are trained enough to know when to get down and/or find cover without being told.

There are references above to companies being pinned down. I'm not sure from what war those references are from, because the US Army (and I'm thinking the Marines also) haven't maneuvered companies in a situation to be pinned down in a very long time.

GI Zhou
04-03-2010, 11:18 PM
From studies of guerilla warfare, and speaking to them (jungle warafre), harrassing fire is a good option, and booby traops a better one. Getting into a fire fight/brass up/ whatever term you use generally sees the professional army win, as they have the back up to destroy your means of escape.

Using harassisng fire or booby traps by the time the other professional units arrive; you have hidden your weapon and gone back to farmng, sleeping, doing whatever; left the arae, or hiding. Only the most highly trained units near an area that is booby trapped without pioneer/engineer support.

A marksman is even more effective but the beaten zone of a PK/PKM is not to be sneezed at.

Ken White
04-04-2010, 01:40 AM
I don't claim to have solutions but I do have comments. When I read some of this stuff bells start ringing and lights go on.Comment away, that's why we're here
It is pointless patrolling open ground on foot or by vehicle unless the enemy are to be found sitting in the open ground.Uh. Well, yeah. I think we can all agree with that. However, one may have to cross open ground on foot or by vehicle to get from one's current location to the possible location of the evil enema. What then?
If one assumes that movement on foot in the open is merely to cross what the commander sees as a "danger area" and where some degree of tactical maneuver procedure is applied then OK. To sweep through open ground is plain ridiculous.Well, we can agree on that. That answers my question and trashes your objection, though... :D
.
Vehicles. What good is a vehicle 'patrol' confined to a road which gives many minutes of advanced noise warning to the enemy to clear the roads and standby to fire the IEDs? Crazy.Of course it is. What does one do, however, if one has to move a convoy down such a road for resupply purposes because of a lack of any other way to resupply a location deemed tatically necessary.
As a 2Lt I learnt this first hand...So if you ask me whether it is sane to travel on roads where at any place and at any time some guy with a cell phone can blow you to hell and back... it is not. You just have to make a new plan to get around.Wish it were that simple. While I certainly agree with your statement and I'm sure many folks in Afghanistan also agree, there are times when one has to cross open areas; there are times when one has to travel on roads that are highly probably going to have mines or IEDs. It does the people that have to do those things little good to tell them or the world that it's insane -- they know that. War is insane. However, if you have to fight one do your very best and learn from your experience -- just do not presume that your experience in one war translates well to others. Every war is different. While there are timeless tactical principles that can generally be applied, there are no guarantees that they can always be applied. Or that they'll always work. It is also dangerous to assume from fragmented reporting and a position of less than full knowledge that what appears to have happened actually did happen; often the actuality is totally unlike the initial reports...

Worst thing about wars is not everyone will do it your way. Troops learn that, so they adapt and cope -- just like you did. These kids aren't stupid, they, like you did, are doing what they have to do the best way they can.

Ken White
04-04-2010, 01:42 AM
A marksman is even more effective but the beaten zone of a PK/PKM is not to be sneezed at.are a master of understatement! ;)

JMA
04-04-2010, 12:01 PM
Which is why most units in Iraq and Afghanistan made or make extensive use of vehicles -- lots of vehicles, usually four to six per infantry platoon -- especially issued in excess of normal allowances to generally preclude foot patrols where they are inappropriate.

OTOH, in urban areas and in some mountainous areas as opposed to generally open area, some foot movement is desirable or necessary

The problem in Afghanistan in particular is in the areas of the nation with terrain that is largely mountainous but does have occasional broad valleys. The lack of roads and a conscious and deliberate decision by the US not to use tracked vehicles means that some insertions of infantry units by truck or helicopter are going to occasionally have to cross open ground. More common is foot movement in the mountains themselves where vehicle movement is not possible.

If you have solutions to those two problems, we'd be glad to hear them...

What would be the typical purpose of a vehicle patrol?

Few roads all in the valleys littered with IEDs...

There may be cases where for inexplicable reasons a resupply has to take place via road in a high IED risk area and that takes one back to the Portuguese in Mozambique and their monthly resupply runs which were normally at walking pace and experienced an ambush or a mine incident virtually every time. Like lambs to the slaughter.

I do agree to a large extent that the military has a 'duty of care' towards their men. I believe that the families of troops killed by IEDs should explore their legal options...

JMA
04-04-2010, 12:26 PM
... -- just do not presume that your experience in one war translates well to others. Every war is different. While there are timeless tactical principles that can generally be applied, there are no guarantees that they can always be applied. Or that they'll always work. It is also dangerous to assume from fragmented reporting and a position of less than full knowledge that what appears to have happened actually did happen; often the actuality is totally unlike the initial reports...

Worst thing about wars is not everyone will do it your way. Troops learn that, so they adapt and cope -- just like you did. These kids aren't stupid, they, like you did, are doing what they have to do the best way they can.

Yes exactly, every war is different and that is why historical establishment and equipment tables from some past war, doctrine strategy and tactics from some past wars and all predicated on a very different enemy in very different terrain conditions should be carefully scrutinised and radically changed if necessary.

Simply forcing troops to reinvent the wheel themselves with experience paid for in blood is not in my opinion an intelligent approach nor morally, ethically or even legally defensible.

It is seldom up to the 'kids' to change things that lies with the generals and the colonels. The question is how many 'kids' must die before the generals and the colonels to ring the changes?

JMA
04-04-2010, 12:39 PM
... one may have to cross open ground on foot or by vehicle to get from one's current location to the possible location of the evil enema. What then?Well, we can agree on that. That answers my question and trashes your objection, though... :... While I certainly agree with your statement and I'm sure many folks in Afghanistan also agree, there are times when one has to cross open areas; there are times when one has to travel on roads that are highly probably going to have mines or IEDs. .

By any definition open ground is classed as a 'danger area' which requires tactical maneuver and the positioning of troops/weapons in positions ready to provide covering/supporting fire immediately they be needed. In any war, in any terrain, in any theater it is surely poor/weak/incompetent leadership not to select lines of advance so as to avoid 'danger areas' and if unavoidable to use appropriate tactical maneuver to prevent troops being caught in open ground by enemy fire.

JMA
04-04-2010, 12:58 PM
Or he's out of his mind pissed off that he's risking being shot to walk across the battlefield screaming at someone to get down so he doesn't get hit.

Schmedlap hit it in that the modern Army dismounted teams are trained enough to know when to get down and/or find cover without being told.

There are references above to companies being pinned down. I'm not sure from what war those references are from, because the US Army (and I'm thinking the Marines also) haven't maneuvered companies in a situation to be pinned down in a very long time.

I asked the question earlier somewhere as to whether "crack and thump" demonstrations are a regular part of training and the answer was for the best units yes, for the rest maybe.

So now in a situation where whole raw units are brought in at the same time for a 'tour of duty' it is likely that the vast majority of the soldiers have had no combat experience. So how would they have the experience to know what constitutes 'effective enemy fire' and what constitutes the odd stray or way off target round passing overhead?

It must surely be a concern that raw troops can decide for themselves when to take cover or even open fire (when not at very close range) ... and yes that IS the corporals job being to command his section and not just look after himself. Surely?

Ken White
04-04-2010, 11:23 PM
What would be the typical purpose of a vehicle patrol?To get from point A to point B without walking? To send a unit to conduct a reconnaissance of a designated area? Raid? Troop insertion? Strike on a high value target? Dozens of reasons...
I believe that the families of troops killed by IEDs should explore their legal options...Your prerogative. I think you're quite wrong and it seems speaking without full knowledge -- unless you in ZA have better sources than I do which includes a son with a tour in Iraq and two in Afghanistan and friends and neighbors who are there now.
It is seldom up to the 'kids' to change things that lies with the generals and the colonels. The question is how many 'kids' must die before the generals and the colonels to ring the changes?Wrong. Generals and Colonels are captives of their pasts. LTCs and below not so much; they, the Kids, have have always been the bringers of military change, only rarely does a talented General rise above the mediocrity that is demanded of them in order to survive in a highly competitive environment.

As a former 2d Lieutenant once said: "It did not take long for us to get a list of possible camps from these recce pilots and would visit them one by one with the fire force to tick them off one way or the other."

Fortunately for the kids -- I'm almost 80, so all those 50 year old Colonels and Sergeant Majors are kids to me -- we now have UAVs to do that aerial recce bit. The system works. Imperfectly as always and in every Army the world has ever seen due to human fallibility -- but it works.
In any war, in any terrain, in any theater it is surely poor/weak/incompetent leadership not to select lines of advance so as to avoid 'danger areas' and if unavoidable to use appropriate tactical maneuver to prevent troops being caught in open ground by enemy fire.Again we agree. I have seen no evidence that is not the case in Afghanistan. Do you have evidence to the contrary or is all this based on partial information and speculation?
I asked the question earlier somewhere as to whether "crack and thump" demonstrations are a regular part of training and the answer was for the best units yes, for the rest maybe.Er, no, that's incorrect. What I said was: "Dunno, probably not. I told you our training was marginal..."
So now in a situation where whole raw units are brought in at the same time for a 'tour of duty' it is likely that the vast majority of the soldiers have had no combat experience. So how would they have the experience to know what constitutes 'effective enemy fire' and what constitutes the odd stray or way off target round passing overhead?

It must surely be a concern that raw troops can decide for themselves when to take cover or even open fire (when not at very close range) ... and yes that IS the corporals job being to command his section and not just look after himself. Surely?You take a lot of standing broad jumps at wrong conclusions. Probably about half the Privates in most units rotating to Afghanistan will have a previous combat tour, possibly two. Virtually all the NCOS and Officers above 2d LT will have at least a tour, many will have several -- some folks with six tours are there now.

The US army doesn't use Corporals, the Marines do. Both services use Fire Teams led by a Corporal in the Marines, A Sergeant in the Army. Those Teams are assigned to a Squad (= UK section) led by a marine sergeant or Army Staff Sergeant. Most Fire Team leaders will hav a tour or two, some will have more. The average Squad Leader probably has three or four combat tours (7 months for Marines, a year for the Army).

Our training isn't great (In my opinion) but it is adequate; you asked about crack and thump training -- in US usage that is purely a technique for range estimation. It was taught in WW I and until post Viet Nam -- the ranges in Viet Nam were so short and the number of weapons being fired in most fights made it ineffective. It is often be taught in units and as you inferred, good units will do it and as units go through cycles due to personnel turnover, most are good at one time or another. It may be taught in institutional training now, they've added a bunch of stuff in the last few years. I doubt it, a real fire fight doesn't pose much need for it though it is handy for scouts and to estimate range to artillery or mortars.

So you asked about an esoteric technique which has some value but not enough to warrant spending initial entry time on it for the value derived.

What you did not ask about was live fire training, of which we do a great deal, in initial entry institutional training, in unit sustainment training and heavily in pre-deployment training as well as in refresher training conducted in theater. I suspect US troops fire far more than most armies and there's plenty of training wherein the troops learn to diffrentiate near and far misses from the thud of a hit -- even if they don't do crack and thump routinely to ascertain the approximate range to a fired weapon...

It is not a concern to me that troops can decide for themselves -- occasionally with a little NCO assistance -- to seek cover; in fact, I wouldn't have it any other way. You have to give troops responsibility, no need to treat them like children. We tend to value life so we encourage taking cover then deciding whether one needed to do that. It takes about two firefights for the average person to sort that out properly. As they say, it isn't rocket science . It would concern me a great deal if NCO direction was constantly needed on that and other basic skills. In a real firefight, there's way too much noise and confusion for commands to be heard so the troops have to know what to do. We do generally get them to that point before deploying them.

Somehow you've arrived at a number of erroneous conclusions it seems...

Schmedlap
04-05-2010, 01:18 AM
Not disagreeing with any of that, just throwing one thought out there...


I suspect US troops fire far more than most armies and there's plenty of training wherein the troops learn to diffrentiate near and far misses from the thud of a hit -- even if they don't do crack and thump routinely to ascertain the approximate range to a fired weapon...

Crack thud? I can't recall a single engagement (in Iraq) that didn't sound like really loud popcorn. Near miss was the one that struck something within an arm's length from you. Far miss was the one that didn't. Range approximation was simplified to "within hand grenade range" or "not within hand grenade range."

Regarding Afghanistan specifically (where I have not been - I am speaking solely to videos), the engagements appear to be similar, but from longer distances. Units in static positions being attacked from predictable locations - often repeatedly; units taking fire from likely locations while conducting dismounted patrols in the vicinity of populated areas; units taking fire from relatively short distances while in built-up areas; units taking sniper fire while negotiating danger areas in mountainous terrain. The latter seems the only occasion where crack thud has any serious utility. The rest appear to be mostly traveling overwatch situations where, "hey, that suspected enemy position is firing at us."

JMA
04-05-2010, 10:48 AM
To get from point A to point B without walking? To send a unit to conduct a reconnaissance of a designated area? Raid? Troop insertion? Strike on a high value target? Dozens of reasons...

Well one would have thought that with the IED death rate of 61% of all casualities http://www.icasualties.org and from the Brits side at 80% of all casualties (quoted on TV in "Ross Kemp in Afghanistan") that alternatives to non-vital road and predictable foot movement would have been implemented by now.

It borders on rank incompetence across the board.


Generals and Colonels are captives of their pasts. LTCs and below not so much; they, the Kids, have have always been the bringers of military change, only rarely does a talented General rise above the mediocrity that is demanded of them in order to survive in a highly competitive environment.

Captives of their pasts to the extent that they are happy to sit back and watch the carnage continue to escalate? It is quite criminal.


As a former 2d Lieutenant once said: "It did not take long for us to get a list of possible camps from these recce pilots and would visit them one by one with the fire force to tick them off one way or the other."

Yes, but the list of possible camps was from the recce pilots that 2Lt had no hand in it other than to help by agitating that when all was otherwise quiet we should systematically check the identified sites out.


Fortunately for the kids -- I'm almost 80, so all those 50 year old Colonels and Sergeant Majors are kids to me -- we now have UAVs to do that aerial recce bit. The system works. Imperfectly as always and in every Army the world has ever seen due to human fallibility -- but it works.

The system is not working... soldiers are dying needlessly because their commanders don't have the smarts to out think the IED threat to both vehicles and foot patrols. 62% of all Afghanistan casualties are largely preventable. Incompetence never 'works'.


Again we agree. I have seen no evidence that is not the case in Afghanistan. Do you have evidence to the contrary or is all this based on partial information and speculation?Er, no, that's incorrect. What I said was: "Dunno, probably not. I told you our training was marginal..."You take a lot of standing broad jumps at wrong conclusions.

I believe it is counter productive to protect incompetence.

The question should be asked of every commander as to what counter measures he has implemented (or recommended the implementation of) in the face of the IED threat. As this accounts for at least 60% of all casualties if there is no clear and coherent answer supported his own units casualty stats he should his butt on the next plane home.


Probably about half the Privates in most units rotating to Afghanistan will have a previous combat tour, possibly two. Virtually all the NCOS and Officers above 2d LT will have at least a tour, many will have several -- some folks with six tours are there now.

Well if you don't mind we need to get some better stats than that. The reports of chaotic fire fights does not indicate widespread previous combat experience... or worse still enough tactical nous.


The US army doesn't use Corporals, the Marines do. Both services use Fire Teams led by a Corporal in the Marines, A Sergeant in the Army. Those Teams are assigned to a Squad (= UK section) led by a marine sergeant or Army Staff Sergeant. Most Fire Team leaders will hav a tour or two, some will have more. The average Squad Leader probably has three or four combat tours (7 months for Marines, a year for the Army).

Thanks for clarifying that. You can take it when I use ranks I use the Brit system.

(reply split over two replies)

JMA
04-05-2010, 11:46 AM
Our training isn't great (In my opinion) but it is adequate; you asked about crack and thump training -- in US usage that is purely a technique for range estimation. It was taught in WW I and until post Viet Nam -- the ranges in Viet Nam were so short and the number of weapons being fired in most fights made it ineffective. It is often be taught in units and as you inferred, good units will do it and as units go through cycles due to personnel turnover, most are good at one time or another. It may be taught in institutional training now, they've added a bunch of stuff in the last few years. I doubt it, a real fire fight doesn't pose much need for it though it is handy for scouts and to estimate range to artillery or mortars.

So you asked about an esoteric technique which has some value but not enough to warrant spending initial entry time on it for the value derived.

Not sure mediocrity should ever become acceptable... under any circumstances.

Yes well I should have elaborated. Yes the basic 'crack and thump' takes you only so far. (probably as far as the fieldcraft manual envisaged). Here is what the Canadian fieldcraft manual states:


CRACK AND THUMP

24. When a bullet passes near, one hears two noises: first, the crack of the bullet passing, then the thump of the weapon being fired. The crack is heard before the thump because the bullet travels faster than sound. The thump indicates the direction of the weapon. The
distance to the weapon can be estimated by timing the interval between the crack and the thump. The further away the weapon, the longer the interval between the crack and the thump. The time between the crack and thump at the following ranges is:

a. 300 metres — 2/3 of a second;

b. 600 metres — 1 1/3 seconds; and

c. 900 metres — 2 seconds.

25. Judging the distance to an automatic weapon is slightly more difficult. The last crack and the last thump must be picked out in order to establish the correct automatic weapon range. If the distance is great and the bursts are short, all the cracks of one burst will be heard, followed by the thumps.

Now having found that we needed to train troops in understanding and correctly reacting to the 'crack' we had to take this a stage further and beyond what the fieldcraft manual narrowly envisaged.

Follow this quote from Nick Downie - Brit SAS trained turned war TV camera man. (Who incidentally worked with Lord Richard Cecil the journalist killed while covering operations in Rhodesia:


The standard tactic when 'assaulting' a known or suspected guerilla position is the sweep-line method described above. The advance is carried out at a slow walk, with little or no prophylactic fire, and, unless there is a particularly sinister-looking piece of scrub, the men depend on good observation and fast reactions. If anything moves, or they glimpse a patch of clothing, they will fire perhaps five or six aimed shots, or, in the case of a machine-gunner, a one-second burst. These contacts take place at a range of between two and ten yards. The killing is usually done by one man alone, although occasionally the next man in the line will join in if he too can see the target. As someone opens fire, everybody else pauses. The ones nearest the firing may flinch at the sudden noise, but most of the others do not even turn their heads.
The sweep-line waits while the body is checked and the weapons removed, and the advance then continues at the same measured pace. Once an enemy presence is confirmed, the Rhodesians continue sweeping back and forth until they are certain that all the guerrillas are either dead or have escaped.

Look at the bold type. It was important for all troops to be absolutely comfortable with the type of 'crack' and when the 'crack' indicated something personal. Clearly we could not accept ever man jack deciding when he felt like taking cover and opening fire. It was all about control and discipline and the stick commanders from L/Cpl to Lt had to enforce that. When more than one stick was joined together to sweep an area (normally under a sgt or officer) it was even more important to keep the line straight and maintain the impetus of the advance.

How did we carry out this training? I can only speak for myself.

The textbook crack and thump dem was carried out under basic training to teach first the crack and thump sounds and then to judge distance to weapon based on the interval and then to try to locate the shooter by the location of the thump. That was done.

What we needed to our troops to be able to differentiate between was the differences of crack from our weapons and theirs AK / RPD. Easy lie on the shooting range or in the bush and have those weapons fired over your head. This with the variant of shooting from very close but not directly over ones head to note the difference (in other wards note yes a weapon has been fired at close range but not at you.)

To indicate when it had really become personal we fired over the heads of troops at probably not more than two foot. Starting with high shots and working down closer until the 2 ft 'experience' when yes the soldier could start to dance around without having been ordered to do so.

OK, so part one, to differentiate between their weapons and ours. Two, at close range is the fire in your direction or in someone else's. If not in your direction hold your ground. And three when it moves from a sound to a 'sensation' then he can take the appropriate action.

To us on Fire Force where contact was made at extremely close ranges this training was vital, as said, to keep the line straight and maintain the impetus of the advance.

This training however would be valuable to all infantrymen likely to come into contact with the enemy.


What you did not ask about was live fire training, of which we do a great deal, in initial entry institutional training, in unit sustainment training and heavily in pre-deployment training as well as in refresher training conducted in theater. I suspect US troops fire far more than most armies and there's plenty of training wherein the troops learn to diffrentiate near and far misses from the thud of a hit -- even if they don't do crack and thump routinely to ascertain the approximate range to a fired weapon...

I made a note to avoid this topic with you because of the comment you made which seemed to accept a 1-2% casualty rate during training.

Yes there will be some unintended positive consequence arising from live firing exercises. (depending on the type of firing done)

I my case It was a specific outcome that was required and therefore the training was tailor made to achieve the desired aim.

Which unit, which army shoots more or less is unknown to me. We shot a lot despite being continually on operations and enjoying plenty of action.


It is not a concern to me that troops can decide for themselves -- occasionally with a little NCO assistance -- to seek cover; in fact, I wouldn't have it any other way. You have to give troops responsibility, no need to treat them like children. We tend to value life so we encourage taking cover then deciding whether one needed to do that. It takes about two firefights for the average person to sort that out properly. As they say, it isn't rocket science . It would concern me a great deal if NCO direction was constantly needed on that and other basic skills. In a real firefight, there's way too much noise and confusion for commands to be heard so the troops have to know what to do. We do generally get them to that point before deploying them.

That is obviously a personal opinion.

I couldn't find the US doctrine online and wasn't prepared to pay for a copy of the Brit manual so I settled for the Canadian manual which is available online.

Lets go to Section Battle Drills : Battle Drill Two - Reaction to Effective Enemy Fire (page 5-2-4):


Execution. Effective enemy fire in this situation is enemy small arms fire which would cause casualties if the section continued on its course.

9. Sections must continue the advance in spite of the noise of fire directed at someone else and regardless of stray rounds amongst them. Most soldiers instinctively drop to the ground when under fire. This action is generally wrong because the enemy usually opens fire when a target is in a place offering little or no cover. The best course is to react effectively, as taught in this battle drill.

So it is then agreed (subject to confirmation through sight of the US doctrine) that the 'every man for himself' any time he likes is generally not a good idea. We on the same page now?

I could go on here Ken but I do believe that it is you who is out of step with the doctrine.

To turn your other argument on its head we had a very low casualty rate with a very high kill rate. The doctrine worked, it was not negotiable and the young kids were able to hold their nerve.

JMA
04-05-2010, 11:51 AM
Not disagreeing with any of that, just throwing one thought out there...



Crack thud? I can't recall a single engagement (in Iraq) that didn't sound like really loud popcorn. Near miss was the one that struck something within an arm's length from you. Far miss was the one that didn't. Range approximation was simplified to "within hand grenade range" or "not within hand grenade range."

Regarding Afghanistan specifically (where I have not been - I am speaking solely to videos), the engagements appear to be similar, but from longer distances. Units in static positions being attacked from predictable locations - often repeatedly; units taking fire from likely locations while conducting dismounted patrols in the vicinity of populated areas; units taking fire from relatively short distances while in built-up areas; units taking sniper fire while negotiating danger areas in mountainous terrain. The latter seems the only occasion where crack thud has any serious utility. The rest appear to be mostly traveling overwatch situations where, "hey, that suspected enemy position is firing at us."

I have responded to Ken's comment in post #145

How would you from which "suspected enemy position" the fire is coming from?

82redleg
04-05-2010, 12:12 PM
Well one would have thought that with the IED death rate of 61% of all casualities http://www.icasualties.org and from the Brits side at 80% of all casualties (quoted on TV in "Ross Kemp in Afghanistan") that alternatives to non-vital road and predictable foot movement would have been implemented by now.

It borders on rank incompetence across the board.

Captives of their pasts to the extent that they are happy to sit back and watch the carnage continue to escalate? It is quite criminal.

The system is not working... soldiers are dying needlessly because their commanders don't have the smarts to out think the IED threat to both vehicles and foot patrols. 62% of all Afghanistan casualties are largely preventable. Incompetence never 'works'.

I believe it is counter productive to protect incompetence.

The question should be asked of every commander as to what counter measures he has implemented (or recommended the implementation of) in the face of the IED threat. As this accounts for at least 60% of all casualties if there is no clear and coherent answer supported his own units casualty stats he should his butt on the next plane home.


Well, almost 100% of the casualties to the D-Day assault waves were caused by German defensive positions on the beach, that we knew about. Those generals and colonels should be sued for incompetence, too, right?

Come on, its a war. You have to do some things that you know are going to cause casualties. It sucks, but it needs to be done, so you do it, and do your best to minimize casualties.

In the "Considerable casualties..." thread, JMM99 quoted some statistics that said over 50% of IEDs are found and cleared, and 20% are ineffective (total, 70%), while only 30% cause either casualties or damaged equipment. Some of these (thanks to the equipment we have fielded) total vehicles with everyone inside effectively walking away with bumps and bruises- I don't have any #s to break those incidents out of the 30%. To me, 70%+ success in the face of people that are doing their best to kill you is pretty damn good.

JMA
04-05-2010, 01:36 PM
Well, almost 100% of the casualties to the D-Day assault waves were caused by German defensive positions on the beach, that we knew about. Those generals and colonels should be sued for incompetence, too, right?

Wrong. The general staff planned the invasion of Europe and selected the best place to breach the defences and had the staff tables to calculate the estimated casualties they would take during each phase and by unit type and made a provision for the evacuation and medical treatment (not to mention the reinforcement of to be depleted units) and then went ahead with Overlord.

Also nobody knows where the IEDs are other than they are on the roads yet we keep driving down the roads. Yes there are engineers (brave men) who find 50% of the IEDs but hey 50% is a coin flip so lets keep on using those roads. Russian Roulette has never been such fun... especially because other idiots children are taking the chances.


Come on, its a war. You have to do some things that you know are going to cause casualties. It sucks, but it needs to be done, so you do it, and do your best to minimize casualties.

Sure its a war. Sure if you attempt to close with and kill the enemy there will be casualties (the number of which will depend on your understanding of the enemy and of the terrain and the tactical skill of your junior commanders)...

...and here comes the killer line "do your best to minimize casualties".

What I am saying is that this last bit is not being done. Clearly.

You tell me please how a commander who sends his troops out day after day by vehicle on roads where they have a coin flip chance of hitting an IED or out on foot patrols where they have a coin flip chance of tripping an IED can be in compliance with your statement?

Who is doing his best 'to minimise casualties'?


In the "Considerable casualties..." thread, JMM99 quoted some statistics that said over 50% of IEDs are found and cleared, and 20% are ineffective (total, 70%), while only 30% cause either casualties or damaged equipment. Some of these (thanks to the equipment we have fielded) total vehicles with everyone inside effectively walking away with bumps and bruises- I don't have any #s to break those incidents out of the 30%. To me, 70%+ success in the face of people that are doing their best to kill you is pretty damn good.

OK so your son can take point every day and when he loses out on the flip of the coin one day we can say to you "get over it, after all its a war"?

William F. Owen
04-05-2010, 01:54 PM
Well one would have thought that with the IED death rate of 61% of all casualities http://www.icasualties.org and from the Brits side at 80% of all casualties (quoted on TV in "Ross Kemp in Afghanistan") that alternatives to non-vital road and predictable foot movement would have been implemented by now.

It borders on rank incompetence across the board.
I think that is overly harsh and not correct. Twice this year I have lectured to British Army units, comprising rooms full of men with 2-3 tours under their belts. They are not incompetent.
However they are often being presented with mission and operations where their options are limited. There is something wrong. I'm not sure that it is at the unit level, and it get everybody nowhere to tell folks it is. My opinion based on talking to those at the coal face.

The standard tactic when 'assaulting' a known or suspected guerilla position is the sweep-line method described above. The advance is carried out at a slow walk, with little or no prophylactic fire, and, unless there is a particularly sinister-looking piece of scrub, the men depend on good observation and fast reactions. If anything moves, or they glimpse a patch of clothing, they will fire perhaps five or six aimed shots, or, in the case of a machine-gunner, a one-second burst.
Context. Yes that worked then against those folks. That might have failed badly against the NVA in Laos. It may also not be suited to conditions found elsewhere on the planet.

Steve Blair
04-05-2010, 01:55 PM
Let's all be careful to attack the message and NOT the messenger, shall we? Some comments are drifting very close to the latter mark.

JMA
04-05-2010, 04:43 PM
I think that is overly harsh and not correct. Twice this year I have lectured to British Army units, comprising rooms full of men with 2-3 tours under their belts. They are not incompetent.
However they are often being presented with mission and operations where their options are limited. There is something wrong. I'm not sure that it is at the unit level, and it get everybody nowhere to tell folks it is. My opinion based on talking to those at the coal face.

Context. Yes that worked then against those folks. That might have failed badly against the NVA in Laos. It may also not be suited to conditions found elsewhere on the planet.

Yes a correction is necessary and that is that I meant incompetence across the board at unit command and above. Down at company, platoon and section level they are merely captive to the policy.

There is no question we would have serious problems against NVA sappers but what we had to do was adapt to our enemy and that meant in many cases throwing the old doctrine out the window.

Now what I'm trying to say is that one must be flexible to apply doctrine and tactics and whatever to fit with the enemy and terrain factors. And if that means throwing out some holy cows then sobeit.

Ken White
04-05-2010, 05:48 PM
Well one would have thought that with the IED death rate of 61% of all casualities http://www.icasualties.org and from the Brits side at 80% of all casualties (quoted on TV in "Ross Kemp in Afghanistan") that alternatives to non-vital road and predictable foot movement would have been implemented by now.

It borders on rank incompetence across the board.You assume that nothing has been or is being done and you cite that percentage yet seem unaware of the total casualty rate from all causes. That's quite low, compared to the wars of even the 70s...

The system is not working... soldiers are dying needlessly because their commanders don't have the smarts to out think the IED threat to both vehicles and foot patrols. 62% of all Afghanistan casualties are largely preventable. Incompetence never 'works'.You're entitled to your opinion. Forgive me if I listen to people who've been and are there in lieu of relying on uninformed media reports and thus believe your statement is a major oversimplification.
I believe it is counter productive to protect incompetence.I agree. Where we differ is that I also think it counter productive to allege incompetence based on flawed assumptions. I say that as one who routinely castigates senior officers for dumb mistakes...
Well if you don't mind we need to get some better stats than that. The reports of chaotic fire fights does not indicate widespread previous combat experience... or worse still enough tactical nous.If you're gullible enough to accept news reports without a little probing, I suppose that's correct.
...I use the Brit system.Yeah, I'd noticed...
Not sure mediocrity should ever become acceptable... under any circumstances.Probably not -- however, the existence of mediocrity in all fields of human endeavor is reality. To deny it seems to wish for the unattainable; a better solution is to identify it and try to work around it IMO.
So it is then agreed (subject to confirmation through sight of the US doctrine) that the 'every man for himself' any time he likes is generally not a good idea. We on the same page now?Nope. Not at all. We're not even close. In a big fire fight every man 'has to be for himself' as you put it -- My version is they have to know what to do. Leaders often cannot be heard or seen, they get killed, units become separated -- the Troops have to KNOW what to do -- that's the goal of training; not control...

I believe you're stuck on a page based on partial information and experience in one war that does not seem to translate well to other situations. Here are two links for you. This one (LINK {.pdf}) (http://www.operationalmedicine.org/TextbookFiles/CombatSkills.htm) is FM 21-75, a manual for individual soldiers. For movement under fire -- It says indirect but applies to direct fire as well; it also says to move away from the fire but, situation dependent, troops are told and trained to move toward it -- you can see Page 3-4 of the Manual / page 49 of the .pdf. The manual is old and is being revised, unfortunately, this edition was produced at a time when civilian academics were used to write and revise manuals and they had a bad tendency to 'dumb down' the content not having much faith in Joe who didn't have their educational attainments. Newer manuals are better, still excessively wordy but a slight improvement. In many cases, the hard won knowledge of WW II and other wars has been elided as not politically correct. As I said , ALL Armies have problems.

The second LINK {.pdf} (https://rdl.train.army.mil/soldierPortal/atia/adlsc/view/public/23583-1/FM/3-21.8/chap3.htm;jsessionid=1J4BL6ZdnTh1ZfG1DmJpmyPnhfzjB hCjGBFJrvTKT0t2ht1KhdYN!1177942353) is for Field Manual 3-21.8, The Infantry Rifle Platoon and Squad. Movement is covered in Chapter 3.
I could go on here Ken but I do believe that it is you who is out of step with the doctrine.Nah, not really -- I'm not in agreement with some doctrine; I know it, just know it was written by guys who were sitting in air conditioned offices so it is a bit suspect. I am in step with what actually happens and while I sure do not have all the answers, I've been in enough wars and fire fights in enough different countries and terrain types that I know what works under most circumstances. I also know American troops who differ from their foreign counterparts in several ways -- and I've fought with the Australians, Belgiques (in both Korea and the Congo in that order), Brits, Canadians, French, Korean, Thais, Turks and Viet Namese among others. Also trained with a host of others including in the ME and south Asia. Doctrine is simply a start point to combat effectiveness, it is never the be all and end all.

You're entitled to your opinions, we're obviously going to differ on all this so best we let it go and stop boring the others.

Kiwigrunt
04-05-2010, 10:00 PM
It appears that the disconnect in the last number of posts is indeed here:

JMA (http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showpost.php?p=96157&postcount=69):


…we were indeed lucky we probably faced the most incompetent enemy possible…

As Ken, Wilf and others have said, all wars, foes and terrain are different.

To this:


The standard tactic when 'assaulting' a known or suspected guerilla position is the sweep-line method described above. The advance is carried out at a slow walk, with little or no prophylactic fire, and, unless there is a particularly sinister-looking piece of scrub, the men depend on good observation and fast reactions. If anything moves, or they glimpse a patch of clothing, they will fire perhaps five or six aimed shots, or, in the case of a machine-gunner, a one-second burst.

Wilf said:


Context. Yes that worked then against those folks. That might have failed badly against the NVA in Laos. It may also not be suited to conditions found elsewhere on the planet.

Ters allowing a sweep-line to roll them up like that is of course every infantrymen’s dream. I’d like to think that if I was the wearer of that patch of clothing, I wouldn’t be waiting for the sweepline to shoot first. And once that sweep-line becomes established SOP, more competent ters will come up with appropriate ambush techniques.

Also, continuous air support with choppers overhead (and low) is probably not something that many other foes would passively endure, even ignoring availability. Blackhawk Down anyone?

That’s not to devalue your/Rhodesian experiences and tactics. I think I can safely say that most here are fairly impressed with it; I know I am. And there is bound to be a lot that can still be learned from it. But again…..context.




I believe it is counter productive to protect incompetence.

Agree, and added to what Ken and Wilf said, I don’t think that plain incompetence is really the issue in A-stan. There are many complicating factors like ROE, risk adversity (which appears to have become cultural almost more than it is a choice), presence of media and associated (and perhaps skewed) ‘proximity’ and involvement of the home front, and other largely politics driven issues.

And also, it is counter productive to assume incompetence among the enemy based on experienced incompetence with a previous foe. Sure, the TB are not always the most competent, but they are not stupid either.

82redleg
04-05-2010, 10:09 PM
Wrong. The general staff planned the invasion of Europe and selected the best place to breach the defences and had the staff tables to calculate the estimated casualties they would take during each phase and by unit type and made a provision for the evacuation and medical treatment (not to mention the reinforcement of to be depleted units) and then went ahead with Overlord.

Yes. And? We've done the same thing. Our medevac status is a conditions check for every patrol. We've got the country covered- working to get every FOB within the "golden hour" is almost if not completely complete.


Also nobody knows where the IEDs are other than they are on the roads yet we keep driving down the roads. Yes there are engineers (brave men) who find 50% of the IEDs but hey 50% is a coin flip so lets keep on using those roads. Russian Roulette has never been such fun... especially because other idiots children are taking the chances.

Not true- we spend 1000's of man hours tracking and analyzing IEDs, where they are placed, how they are triggered, and how we can defeat them, both at the point of attack and earlier "left of the boom" in the parlance.


Sure its a war. Sure if you attempt to close with and kill the enemy there will be casualties (the number of which will depend on your understanding of the enemy and of the terrain and the tactical skill of your junior commanders)...

...and here comes the killer line "do your best to minimize casualties".

What I am saying is that this last bit is not being done. Clearly.

Why is this so clear to you? I'm telling you, after three tours (yeah, I'm a slacker- the war caught me in Korea when it started) and interactions with hundreds of officers from all over the Army, everyone I've met is doing their best to minimize casualties. Almost to the point that I consider us to be too risk adverse, not cavalier as you assume.


You tell me please how a commander who sends his troops out day after day by vehicle on roads where they have a coin flip chance of hitting an IED or out on foot patrols where they have a coin flip chance of tripping an IED can be in compliance with your statement?

Who is doing his best 'to minimise casualties'?

What if you have to move somewhere, and your AO is too large to walk everywhere you need to? In order to accomplish the mission, you have to use scarce aviation assets when you can get them, and drive when you can't. Simply sitting on the FOB and not doing anything is NOT an option. Neither is only executing missions within walking time/distance of your base.


OK so your son can take point every day and when he loses out on the flip of the coin one day we can say to you "get over it, after all its a war"?

I pray to God every day that my son doesn't have to experience the things I have. I don't believe that it will come true, but it can't hurt to ask. If he has to fight, I expect that his future commanders/leaders are as considerate of him and his future brothers-in-arms as I and my peers/commanders have been of their fathers. "If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace."--Thomas Paine

Kiwigrunt
04-05-2010, 10:41 PM
And we are of course moving further and further off topic.;)

JMA, if I may be so rude as to ask directly, what are your thoughts on the calibre issues, based on your experience? I assume that is FN FAL and MAG 58 versus 7.62 short.
Any thoughts that 7.62 x 51 was overkill/too heavy? Or conversely, that anything less would not have sufficed? Also, what of Bren versus MAG, or whether MAG was essential or luxury at team level?
And, while we're at it, did you use submachine guns?

JMA
04-06-2010, 01:09 AM
And we are of course moving further and further off topic.;)

JMA, if I may be so rude as to ask directly, what are your thoughts on the calibre issues, based on your experience? I assume that is FN FAL and MAG 58 versus 7.62 short.
Any thoughts that 7.62 x 51 was overkill/too heavy? Or conversely, that anything less would not have sufficed? Also, what of Bren versus MAG, or whether MAG was essential or luxury at team level?
And, while we're at it, did you use submachine guns?

Yes and I was 95% through a lengthy response when my computer crashed. So Ill try again tomorrow. Sorry.

JMA
04-06-2010, 04:04 AM
Ters allowing a sweep-line to roll them up like that is of course every infantrymen’s dream. I’d like to think that if I was the wearer of that patch of clothing, I wouldn’t be waiting for the sweepline to shoot first. And once that sweep-line becomes established SOP, more competent ters will come up with appropriate ambush techniques.

Also, continuous air support with choppers overhead (and low) is probably not something that many other foes would passively endure, even ignoring availability. Blackhawk Down anyone?

That’s not to devalue your/Rhodesian experiences and tactics. I think I can safely say that most here are fairly impressed with it; I know I am. And there is bound to be a lot that can still be learned from it. But again…..context.


Yes and no. The simple point of departure is that the sudden violent envelopment of the contact area by the fire force trapped, separated and maybe isolated the insurgents.

Only the K-Car overflew the contact area at a height of 800-1,000 ft. Sure it was fired on often and often hit but because of the green tracer one was able to get a good idea from where the fire was coming from (or the ground troops could assist with the location). Once located the ‘brave’ man who fired on the aircraft was history in seconds (the 20mm HE saw to that). So by a process of natural selection the ‘brave’ died first and the fleetest of foot and the ones who crawled into a hole and hid there survived. After the initial contact sweeps of the area would locate those hiding away and then it was not always a simple ‘turkey shoot’ if he was seen he was dead. If he fired from very close range when he realised he was about to be found he was dead too, but could take one of us with him. The third possibility was that they just lay there. Dead already from the gunship? Paralysed by fear? I don’t know. All I know is that a desperate man with an AK at 2-5 metres can be pretty lethal.

We tried to keep the trooping-choppers away from overflying the contact area. Where that failed and they overflew a group they would get seriously shot up. One chopper got 56 hits, the tech/gunner took three bullets as did the one other passenger and the pilot protected by his armoured seat got minor Perspex fragments in his face and just made a 'hard' landing back at base.

Often the initial contact was ferocious. With the K-Car engaging opportunity targets and the first callsigns on the ground getting into punch-ups straight away. As I said once all the ‘brave’ guys had been accounted for the sweeps were often merely mopping up the contact area to find those not yet accounted for.

If you listen to that Fire Force tape you will see in part 6 almost two hours into the scene the group is finally cornered by the sweep line and they bolt into a stop group with predictable results. Up to that point the concern was that they had got away.

On Op Dingo (the attack on the Chimoio base housing 4,000) the ten K-cars all had hits from small arms and some from anti-aircraft gunfire with one pilot being shot through his helmet and having his forehead grazed. The pilots stayed on station some joisting with the AAA and others having a turkey shoot. One troop carrying chopper was damaged and limped back to the admin base and the 6 para Dakota aircraft were taken on by AAA while running in for the drop. The book by Group Captain Petter-Bowyer “Winds of Destruction” is essential reading. We got 1,200 kills that day for 2 KIA and six wounded. While in any mans language that is a turkey shoot there were moments when things got pretty hairy.

The bottom line is that the Allouette III chopper could take hits so the crews donned flak jackets, stayed overhead and did the business. We had good days when we had a turkey shoot and then we had bad days when we had to earn our pay and sadly lost some friends along the way.

The other important factor was that we accounted for some 84% of insurgents contacted on fire force. These included virtually all the ‘brave’ guys and didn't leave too many ‘leaders’ left to figure out what to do next time.

Chris jM
04-06-2010, 06:42 AM
...the sudden violent envelopment of the contact area by the fire force trapped, separated and maybe isolated the insurgents.


Please excuse my ignorance in this theatre JMA, I have only read Chris Cock's book on the subject and even then have some trouble recalling the way the fire-force tactics worked.

I'm interested in how you guys enveloped a target. A quick internet search tells me that a four man 'sweep' element would be positioned by the K-car as a cut-off. Was this ever done as a standard drill, i.e. a first wave isolates the target by deploying into a cut-off prior to an assault, was this reactive or was the deployment of a cut-off dictated by situation?

JMA
04-06-2010, 09:06 AM
Yes and I was 95% through a lengthy response when my computer crashed. So Ill try again tomorrow. Sorry.

The quick answer is that I do not have a strong position either way over this issue based on calibre only.

We used the 7.62 x 51mm and they used the 7.62 x 39mm which we called long and intermediate respectively.

I was not able to carry out or get sight of any test results indicating the wound ballistics differences between the two.

We did some tests with claymore mines some of which were locally made using ballistic clay but to me such tests would be important when deciding on a weapon for use in a theatre. We really did not have much of a choice but I was not unhappy with the hand we were dealt.

In fact the penetration dems we put on from time to time to prove to troops that our weapons were superior were never absolutely convincing to me one way or the other.

To me the knock down effect of the FN was a big plus. You hit him once and know you got him good. None of this ‘he keeps on coming at you’ stuff. Then again our guys when hit by an AK would go down too.

We had no weight problem with the FN and the ammo that I can remember. The FN weight was fine and we (again my commando) did not allow slings and did “Pokey Drill” (rifle dexterity drill ) everyday after muster parade.

100-200 rounds of ammo was no problem either for young fit and reasonably strong men.

I had no issue with the weight or the length of it but found that we had to make sure that the correct butt length was issue to riflemen.

Can’t remember any stoppage issues either. Maybe when you know you are going to have to use the thing you damn well keep it clean.

I carried a G3 for a short while as a test and had no strong opinion one way or tuther except that it seemed to come in one butt length (or maybe the ones we got for trial did).

I carried an AK on a few special ops and found it a bit ‘light’ after the FN. Also I noted that the change lever (safety catch) was on the wrong side of the weapon and that the first click was auto which may account for why the first shots were uncontrolled bursts going way to high. Seems the thinking is the TB like to fire on auto or is it that they fire after the first click? (which is understandable).

The SAS carried the RPD as the MG of choice so maybe they have more light to shed on the matter which hopefully would be a decision based on more than just the weight issue.

We (my commando) did not want to mix up weapons so as to prevent not being able to identify whether it was friend or foe firing. I have recently seen a photo of other RLI paras before an op where one had an RPD, so clearly not everyone agreed with our position.

We loved the MAG… and the gooks feared it (as a number of interrogation reports confirmed).

If there is any music in war it is the sound of bursts of 2-3 rounds from a MAG with the gas set low.

At twice the weight of the RPD theMAG certainly delivered.

A platoon and in our case a troop was broken down into callsigns of four called ‘sticks’. In 1973 we still had 5 man sticks as the choppers could carry 5 pax. After the added weight of the armoured seat and the fact the Alouette III pulling too much power at the average altitudes they settled on 4 man sticks. So there was no tactical or operational reason for the use of 4 man sticks. (thought that might be interesting).

We carried one MAG per 4 man stick. So the standard 9 man section divided into to sticks one commended by the section commander (corporal) and the other by the lance corporal. The platoon commander and platoon sergeant picked up there sticks from the pl HQ element and any extras from the sections. So theoretically a standard infantry platoon would have 8 MAGs (2 per section and two in Pl HQ – it gets a little confusing with the RAR [Rhodesian African Rifles] as they had the post of Platoon Warrant Officer – a kind of WO3 position.)

The RAR also loved the MAG I remember the case of 5 sticks of RAR being attached to one of the fire forces and out of the 20 that arrived there was 13 MAGs. There we have an illustration of the psychology o that weapon. The positive psychology of that 20 man sweep line having 13 MAGs and the negative psychology of being on the receiving end of that fire power.

In knowing your enemy we knew that when operating against groups of insurgents always outnumbering us we had to take the initiative right from the first seconds through a high volume of fire. The MAG helped to achieve this. With well trained troops when coming under effective enemy fire we tend to take cover and get our heads down. With the other lot when they got freaked out they would jump up and take off. That is exactly what we wanted and those that were not instantly killed became gunship fodder as they ran.

I did training on the Bren in 1973/4 and found it to be fine. The argument I think had by then advanced to being between magazine fed and opposed to belt fed. The decision had already been taken to phase it out so I was not even considered.

In the fire force context the MAG was nearly always fired from the hip unless static in a stop position. Some of the big boys were known to fire it from the shoulder from time to time. One of my gunners a Scotsman (ex-Scots Guards) used to load a 100 round belt (2x50) when on fire force as I used to get him to clear the bush ahead of us when necessary and I suppose also to let any lurkers know what’s coming their way. He wrapped the belt over his left arm somehow.

So effectively we needed the firepower down to stick level.

What if no MAG available per stick? Then I would go for 2 x RPD per stick.

Gunners carried 500 rds as standard and on other ops we would up it and share out the extras. Depending on the type of op we would up it to 800 or 1,000 rds.

Did training on UZI and Sten in 1973 but neither were ever considered a contender. Did see some police carrying them, mainly the UZI, but maybe if needed in house clearing or whatever a folding but AK would have done the trick. (just an opinion)

Finally I had the unfortunate experience when on a scene and was sent to sort a sniper out and the approaching 40 man sweep line had not be warned. As we went into reorg the sweep line took us on and get your head down took on a whole new meaning (10 MAGs firing). Holy s**t! From then on I could understand how and why the gooks just up and took off when under intense fire.

They hit my gunner in the arm but thankfully that was all. That we survived was probably due to the need for those troops in the sweep line to have another Drake Shoot to improve their bush shooting.

That’s it for now.

JMA
04-06-2010, 09:25 AM
Please excuse my ignorance in this theatre JMA, I have only read Chris Cock's book on the subject and even then have some trouble recalling the way the fire-force tactics worked.

I'm interested in how you guys enveloped a target. A quick internet search tells me that a four man 'sweep' element would be positioned by the K-car as a cut-off. Was this ever done as a standard drill, i.e. a first wave isolates the target by deploying into a cut-off prior to an assault, was this reactive or was the deployment of a cut-off dictated by situation?

Yes Chris' book is a good troopies eye view of matters.

But this article with a view diagrams will help you to understand things a lot clearer.

http://www.jrtwood.com/article_fireforce.asp

Also once read download this MP3 file and listen to a recording of part of a fire force call out. Only the commander (c/s 39) and the aircraft transmissions can be heard.

http://www.fileden.com/files/2010/4/2/2814579/3CdoFireForce1976-01.mp3

Enjoy

William F. Owen
04-06-2010, 01:10 PM
The FN weight was fine and we (again my commando) did not allow slings and did “Pokey Drill” (rifle dexterity drill ) everyday after muster parade.


Why no slings? Never understood this. It became a fashion fad in the British Army in the 1980's. Surely better to have a sling than not. If someone uses the sling incorrectly or at the wrong time, address the training or discipline issue. Do not make something "less useful."

The height of dissonance came for me, when doing a patrol competition, we were told "put your slings on to do the assault course, then take them off!!!" HUH!!

JMA
04-06-2010, 06:23 PM
Why no slings? Never understood this. It became a fashion fad in the British Army in the 1980's. Surely better to have a sling than not. If someone uses the sling incorrectly or at the wrong time, address the training or discipline issue. Do not make something "less useful."

The height of dissonance came for me, when doing a patrol competition, we were told "put your slings on to do the assault course, then take them off!!!" HUH!!

Well the one school of thought (practiced by the Israelis) is to sling the weapon (in low gunslinger mode) to free up the hands to do other things while the other is to free up the hands from other tasks to to hold onto and use their personal weapons. The closer you are to combat seems to influence your 'relationship' with your weapon.

The simple matter was that we all had a piece of paracord which we used to tie on the rifle or MAG behind the right shoulder for parajumps. So if needed to use both hands to drag bodies around or collect equipment or chop an LZ it took seconds to tie the paracord on.

The hassle with slings is that they needed to be taped for noise and they got hooked onto all kinds of things. Only the gunners had slings.

Fuchs
04-06-2010, 06:34 PM
The problem is probably that many weapons have 18th century-ish slings. We could do (much) better.
The slings for SWAT teams look different, for example - and in the long run I'd like to see long weapons attached to the upper body/waist carrier system when not in use.

GI Zhou
04-06-2010, 09:42 PM
Slings lost fashion with the SLR (FN-FAL), perhaps before) in the Australian military due to the needs of jungle warafre and their habit of getting caught on anything and everything. With the Syeur AUG certainly slings became more noticeable and more people carried them. On a medium to large frame, the Steyr dosn't get in your way when close to the body. I had a strong web loop sewed onto the top of my 'H' harness, a lockable karabiner put through it, and then the Steyr sling through the karabiner.

I could drive a vehicle yet have it with me within my right arm's reach upon exiting the vehicle, of when I was doing something and needed both hands, or my left hand free but had control of the rifle. Couldn't use it on the range as would send the weapons instructors into apoplexy.

AdamG
04-06-2010, 10:10 PM
http://www.armytimes.com/news/2010/04/army_marksmanship_040410w/


The Army will replace its Cold War marksmanship strategy this summer with one that has basic trainees shooting more rounds, fixing jams and changing magazines — key skills all soldiers need in today’s combat.

“What we’ve learned through eight years of war is that’s now how our soldiers are having to shoot in combat,” Brig. Gen. Richard C. Longo, director of training for the Army’s deputy chief of staff, G-3/5/7, told Army Times. He described the current program, which is geared toward passing a single, live-fire test, as a “very sterile environment and a very predictable marksmanship qualification process.”

Initial Military Training Marksmanship, a program that draws lessons from the war zone, will become the Army standard for teaching new soldiers how to shoot in all five initial entry training centers beginning July 1.

Schmedlap
04-07-2010, 12:08 AM
Regarding the epiphany in the Army Times piece... holy crap.:mad: We're "learning" this???:confused::mad:

Ken White
04-07-2010, 01:46 AM
holy crap.:mad: We're "learning" this???:confused::mad:The Asymmetric Warfare Group (LINK) (http://www.army.mil/-news/2009/03/18/18399-total-impact-leaders-gather-for-outcome-based-training-workshop/) started pushing what is the 'new' BCT / OSUT rifle marksmanship program six or seven years ago through their traveling Combat Applications Training Course. They sold it from the bottom and but it finally took hold when Jackson jumped on it for BCT in '05 or so and Benning followed for infantry OSUT. Last I heard, Leonard Wood wasn't using it, though that may have changed by now.

As always, the impetus for combat application improvements comes from the bottom and works its way up -- the Generals are always the last to accept and acknowledge the changes and then generally only when it's too well embedded to be turned off. They don't want to invent anything in case it doesn't work so they try to deter others from doing so. Some are willing afterward to take credit for 'implementing' a change they fought tooth and nail...

Anyone who thinks armies are improved by actions from the top down hasn't spent a whole lot of time in one...

reed11b
04-07-2010, 02:46 AM
We'll have to agree to disagree there. I can count the number of company level operations that I've done since 2003 on two hands. The rest was platoon or below and I can't imagine going without the 240s. Fire team missions - perhaps our most common - yeah, I can see leaving the 240 at the PB.




Sorry to whip out the time machine, but Schmedlap, could you imagine leaving the 240 behind if you had closer vehicle QRF or better HE projection abilities at the squad and/or platoon level?
Reed

Schmedlap
04-07-2010, 03:52 AM
Sorry to whip out the time machine, but Schmedlap, could you imagine leaving the 240 behind if you had closer vehicle QRF or better HE projection abilities at the squad and/or platoon level?
Reed

It depends.

As a general guide, if they're headed for a static position, okay to leave it home (as noted - most of our missions were fire team level, and those were all static positions, other than insertion and extraction). If they're going to be spending most of their time moving around, bring it unless QRF is really, really close. But, in most instances I'd say bring it.

I don't think HE projection would factor in. 203 and 240 are used for entirely different purposes. Adding one doesn't make up for the other.

reed11b
04-07-2010, 04:25 AM
It depends.

As a general guide, if they're headed for a static position, okay to leave it home (as noted - most of our missions were fire team level, and those were all static positions, other than insertion and extraction). If they're going to be spending most of their time moving around, bring it unless QRF is really, really close. But, in most instances I'd say bring it.

I don't think HE projection would factor in. 203 and 240 are used for entirely different purposes. Adding one doesn't make up for the other.

Just for clarification, I never equate a 203 to better HE projection. More of them would make little differance. The USMC Multishot grenade launcher maybe, though I have never used one. Precision (guided mortars, XM-25), Direct fire (Carl Gustav, XM-109 25mm rifle) or possibly something like the above mentioned multishot GL are more in line of what I was thinking. Whoever decided that the main issued 203 round needed to be DP should slapped. Hard.
Reed
P.S. I do think a better round, sites and more oppertunity to train w/ the 203 would make it more useful, just less then ideal.

Schmedlap
04-07-2010, 04:56 AM
Just for clarification, I never equate a 203 to better HE projection. More of them would make little differance. The USMC Multishot grenade launcher maybe, though I have never used one. Precision (guided mortars, XM-25), Direct fire (Carl Gustav, XM-109 25mm rifle) or possibly something like the above mentioned multishot GL are more in line of what I was thinking.
I haven't used those alternatives. But, I was always happy with the M203. I've long felt that it is the most underutilized and underappreciated weapon that we carry.


P.S. I do think a better round, sites and more oppertunity to train w/ the 203 would make it more useful, just less then ideal.

No ####, there I was. Baghdad in 2003. Some knuckleheads decided hang out on a rooftop about 200 meters from us and spray magazines of 7.62mm at us. Unamused, but concerned that we could not engage them with small arms without putting any civilians behind them at risk, I decided that we would drop 40mm on top of them. One of my team leaders was a crack shot with the M203. I told his squad leader to move to a certain location and start dropping grenades. Apparently, a different team leader overheard this radio transmission, assumed that I just meant for everyone to start lobbing 40mm, and about 10 seconds later, as I moved to his position, I saw him with weapon pointed to the sky, finger on the trigger. I said, "no!" just as he squeezed off the round.

Being directly behind him, I could see as the round sailed through the air. My concern was the mosque and minaret directly between his position and the shooters. Have you ever seen that clip of Carlton Fisk in Game 6 of the 1975 World Series? (If not, see here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ayO-qFyRfpk) @2:55). That was me on the side of a highway in Baghdad at high noon, with 7.62mm impacting on the ground in the general vicinity. I was using every bit of body language, hand waving, and verbal command that I could muster to urge that 40mm round to "stay right, stay right!" Fortunately, it did stay right and missed that minaret by, I'm guessing, less than 10 feet before hitting the rooftop where said knuckleheads were firing at us. We never did find out if we got them, but the shooting stopped.:)

William F. Owen
04-07-2010, 05:55 AM
“What we’ve learned through eight years of war is that’s now how our soldiers are having to shoot in combat,” Brig. Gen. Richard C. Longo, director of training for the Army’s deputy chief of staff, G-3/5/7, told Army Times.
I'd be a lot happier if he had just said, "We used to be very stupid. Now we are changing that."

One of the things that really irritated me about the British Army's very poor formal weapons training of the 1980's and early 90's was it's utter irrelevance to operational conditions. We wasted 1,000s of rounds passing the completely useless APWT, with SLR and SA-80, - then go field firing in Canada and find no one in the Battalion could hit anything with a 66 or 84mm.

JMA
04-07-2010, 06:15 AM
http://www.armytimes.com/news/2010/04/army_marksmanship_040410w/

The quote said:

"... , fixing jams and changing magazines — key skills all soldiers need in today’s combat."

Was there ever a time when these were not key skills?

Can someone direct me to the current training please.

JMA
04-07-2010, 06:31 AM
One of the things that really irritated me about the British Army's very poor formal weapons training of the 1980's and early 90's was it's utter irrelevance to operational conditions. We wasted 1,000s of rounds passing the completely useless APWT, with SLR and SA-80, - then go field firing in Canada and find no one in the Battalion could hit anything with a 66 or 84mm.

I'm trying hard to understand this.

The APWT is for 'personal weapons' so how does that connect to a "66 or 84mm" whatever they be?

William F. Owen
04-07-2010, 07:55 AM
I'm trying hard to understand this.

The APWT is for 'personal weapons' so how does that connect to a "66 or 84mm" whatever they be?
66mm is the M72-LAW and the 84mm is the 84mm Carl-Gustav M2 RRL.
Not much good being marginally skilled with a rifle when you need to be able to use projected HE weapons.
The reason we were not very good with them is we virtually never practised using them. My point being is that you have equally skilled with ALL weapons in the platoon, not just the rifle.

JMA
04-07-2010, 10:24 AM
66mm is the M72-LAW and the 84mm is the 84mm Carl-Gustav M2 RRL.
Not much good being marginally skilled with a rifle when you need to be able to use projected HE weapons.
The reason we were not very good with them is we virtually never practised using them. My point being is that you have equally skilled with ALL weapons in the platoon, not just the rifle.

Marginally skilled with a rifle? Is there a test against which we can objectively evaluate this statement? (I would be horrified if you are correct)

I suggest that there are a number of steps in this process. First is proficiency with ones personal weapon. How we establish proficiency is of course a difficult one to obtain consensus over.

Then we look at the various supporting weapons. Of course for the designated machine gunners it is their personal weapon. Then we ask the question what level of proficiency is required with this 'supporting' weapon from the other members of the section/platoon? Realistically.

Then we can move onto the weapons you mention. I have always found there to be budget or allocation restrictions on ammo use. So what does one do?

Do you take what allocation you have an train up a few soldiers to a reasonable level of proficiency or do you spread out the allocation and end up with nothing more than a familiarisation exercise?

Thinking back we used their weapons like the RPG-7 and when we needed to have them for a particular op we would select the right guys (combat experienced, cool under fire and likely to hit the target in a combat setting) give them 5 rockets each and let them go shoot them in a similar range setting as was operationally expected.

I guess we could have trained more on the RGP-7 as we certainly captured enough weapons and ammo but seemed to settle for this option. Maybe it was the logictics of recovering the ammo some which looked a bit dodgy? I don't know.

Perhaps in peacetime we hype the value of the so-called 'ideal' to much? All the while knowing that we will never get near there. Even in a war we battle to get close to the ideal.

Its like turning a supertanker at sea.

Fuchs
04-07-2010, 10:49 AM
My point being is that you have equally skilled with ALL weapons in the platoon, not just the rifle.

Not everybody needs to be proficient with all weapons of a Plt. Let's say the Plt has two Carl Gustafs. It would be enough to train the men assigned to CGs and all leaders (who tend to have been longer in service than others) with it.
The others can make do with 20 min familiarization with a two sim shots each and observing the firing & effects of live ammo (more for morale purpose than anything else).

The same goes for sniper rifles if you've got them in the Platoon.

Personal weapons, AT munitions (M72, M136, Pzf 3) and machine guns are different. Machine guns are much in use on vehicles and on checkpoints, so at least half of the soldiers should be good at them.


Better qualifications are nice to have, but I wouldn't set them as requirement for readiness.

William F. Owen
04-07-2010, 11:25 AM
Marginally skilled with a rifle? Is there a test against which we can objectively evaluate this statement?
Being able to pass the APWT was proven to have no benefit to shooting conducted under stress. This was confirmed by trials. Most empirical evidence seems to indicate that a "good enough" standard of shooting is all that is required.

I suggest that there are a number of steps in this process. First is proficiency with ones personal weapon. How we establish proficiency is of course a difficult one to obtain consensus over.
Rgr that.

Then we can move onto the weapons you mention. I have always found there to be budget or allocation restrictions on ammo use. So what does one do?
There's sub calibre devices, TPTP rounds, and today you even have simulators.

Perhaps in peacetime we hype the value of the so-called 'ideal' to much? All the while knowing that we will never get near there. Even in a war we battle to get close to the ideal.

Well IIRC Moltke said that in war only the simple succeeds. My whole point is to keep it all very simple. My take is to massively reduce "musketry" to simple operational shooting skills and spend the rest of the time and budget on the other platoon weapons.

William F. Owen
04-07-2010, 11:44 AM
Not everybody needs to be proficient with all weapons of a Plt. Let's say the Plt has two Carl Gustafs. It would be enough to train the men assigned to CGs and all leaders (who tend to have been longer in service than others) with it.
In the 1980's Everybody in a UK Platoon was trained on every weapon in the platoon, and had to pass a TOET (test of elementary training) on that weapon. That was never a problem. Spare afternoon, pull the 84's out of the Armoury and do dry drills till sunset.

The problem was acquiring the skill to shoot them, or even shooting them enough to find out who was actually any good with them. We simply never invested the money in the systems that probably mattered most.

JMA
04-07-2010, 12:05 PM
Being able to pass the APWT was proven to have no benefit to shooting conducted under stress. This was confirmed by trials. Most empirical evidence seems to indicate that a "good enough" standard of shooting is all that is required.

I look at it this way. If a soldier can't group (from the prone position) 5 rounds within 4 inches @ 100m or 1 inch @ 25m then you do two things. You fire his instructor and take his weapon away and issue him with a machette.

All he will do is make the contact area more noisy and be a greater danger to you than the enemy.

Once qualified to marksman level in the equivalent of APWT then the real training can begin.

Remember there is basic training and recruit training and then there is ETS training (exercise trained soldier). In most armies the basic training does not flow directly into being inserted into unit already in a war situation.

In Rhodesia we did and that made the training people get a lot smarter. And in many instances the training instructors were NCOs rotated out of ops to do the training and subsequently were 100% operationally current.


There's sub calibre devices, TPTP rounds, and today you even have simulators.

OK, but that is not live firing. So can we agree then that the live ammo allocated to training will be fired by the selected crews who in turn are probably selected as a result of using the other stuff?


Well IIRC Moltke said that in war only the simple succeeds. My whole point is to keep it all very simple. My take is to massively reduce "musketry" to simple operational shooting skills and spend the rest of the time and budget on the other platoon weapons.

Ok, lets agree on the basics here and they are , aiming , holding, breathing and squeezing. Once this is mastered at the 'entry level' say by score a 4" group @ 100m etc etc then we introduce light variation, moving targets, making the shooter out of breath before having to shoot etc etc. What goes and what stays and what gets added?

But yes... I think I can see where you are coming from. More kills are propably made by weapons other than rifles and so concentrate on where the difference will be made.

William F. Owen
04-07-2010, 12:40 PM
I look at it this way. If a soldier can't group (from the prone position) 5 rounds within 4 inches @ 100m or 1 inch @ 25m then you do two things. You fire his instructor and take his weapon away and issue him with a machette.
Concur. Reducing hand held dispersion is the basis of all else. If he can hit a Fig-11 5-second exposure, at 150m, from standing, firing as many rounds as it takes to get 1 hit, I'm happy as well.

But yes... I think I can see where you are coming from. More kills are propably made by weapons other than rifles and so concentrate on where the difference will be made.
B'Ezrat Ha Shem! Yes, we agree.

JMA
04-07-2010, 12:50 PM
Concur. Reducing hand held dispersion is the basis of all else. If he can hit a Fig-11 5-second exposure, at 150m, from standing, firing as many rounds as it takes to get 1 hit, I'm happy as well.

B'Ezrat Ha Shem! Yes, we agree.

There was at one time a raging debate in Rhodesia over the "one aimed shot" school of thought and the "double tap" school. In the end I just said to my guys to do what works for them.

What about a Fig 11 moving zig-zag at 50m?

What about jungle-lane shooting?

William F. Owen
04-07-2010, 01:17 PM
There was at one time a raging debate in Rhodesia over the "one aimed shot" school of thought and the "double tap" school. In the end I just said to my guys to do what works for them.

What about a Fig 11 moving zig-zag at 50m?

What about jungle-lane shooting?

My experience on Jungle Lanes is that one aimed shot does not work. If the one aimed shot misses, you are going to need to do another very quickly.
Rapid multiple shots seems to work much better. "FFF" "Fire till the F**ker Falls.

Another issue I have with "jungle lanes" is that what you are doing in them, has to work within the Contact Drill SOP you are using.

JMA
04-07-2010, 01:26 PM
My experience on Jungle Lanes is that one aimed shot does not work. If the one aimed shot misses, you are going to need to do another very quickly.
Rapid multiple shots seems to work much better. "FFF" "Fire till the F**ker Falls.

Another issue I have with "jungle lanes" is that what you are doing in them, has to work within the Contact Drill SOP you are using.

"Rapid multiple shots" equals... a series of single shots... or a series of double taps?

My biggest worry with jungle lanes was that they were one at a time per instructor. Too time consuming.

We tried to get 'stick' jungle-lanes going but found location, safety and that they were pretty quickly 'shot out' almost insurmountable problems.

Maybe just settle for one objective and that is the shooting training with the appropriate post engagement response as in "take cover" with the instructor acting as the stick or section commander.

kaur
04-07-2010, 01:28 PM
Wilf, did you mean ""Fire (aimed shots) till the F**ker Falls"?

kaur
04-09-2010, 05:43 AM
I want to add this video to my last post.

http://www.vikingtactics.com/pop-instr_video13.html

Firn
04-09-2010, 12:07 PM
Afghan Marksmanship: Pointing, Not Aiming (http://atwar.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/04/09/afghan-marksmanship-pointing-not-aiming/#more-17727)

Another piece on (Afghan) Marksmanship, Ken White might not approve, but it offers in any case a good springboard for an discussion, just as the last one did.


This week, the same trainer said that the problems remain, and that after years of working with Afghan soldiers, and an extraordinary investment of American money and soldiers’ time, “two fundamentals are missing from that army. The first is discipline. There really is none. And the second is accountability.”


Regards

Firn

William F. Owen
04-09-2010, 01:16 PM
Wilf, did you mean ""Fire (aimed shots) till the F**ker Falls"?
Merely, if you don't hit, keep shooting and once you hit, keep hitting! The more you shoot, the more you should aim.

Ken White
04-09-2010, 02:15 PM
Another piece on (Afghan) Marksmanship, Ken White might not approve, but it offers in any case a good springboard for an discussion...And we've all seen the same thing on TV -- and in our own services. It's nice to think that we, particularly us gun happy Merkuns, are all great shooters but the reality is most services don't train it very well nowadays and the 'spray and pray' syndrome can strike western units as well. :eek: :D

Like Chivers, apparently, I'm a big fan of really thorough weapons training and aimed fire. The Afghans are not alone in trying to save money and time by doing an inadequate job of training not only marksmanship but the even more important subject of fire control and distribution.

Automatic weapons are a part of the problem; the automatic capability is significantly undertrained and overused for very little if any real benefit...

William F. Owen
04-09-2010, 02:44 PM
Soldiers are not required to qualify on their assigned weapon (M-16) prior to graduation. A fitness test is not required either. The list goes on and on. Soldiers “graduate” from basic and advanced training simply because they did not go AWOL. If they are present on graduation day then off they go to their units.
...so basically they are NOT TRAINED and there would be 1,000% increase in effectiveness if they had a fitness test and a shooting test.

The exact same thing was true of the Cambodian Forces trained by the US. They weren't really trained at all.

Schmedlap
04-10-2010, 12:34 AM
It wouldn't break my heart if IET only included physical fitness, integration into the Army, and some very limited tactical training just for familiarization purposes. Frankly, I always preferred working with Soldiers who had not yet developed bad habits. A blank slate is easier to train. I don't care whether a Soldier qualifies on his weapon at basic. The ability to hit 23 out 40 pop-ups of known distances is meaningless. If anything, it gives the Soldier a false sense that he's well-trained. I want him to be trained by the NCOs. They will prepare him for the missions that he will be expected to stand ready for.

Ken White
04-10-2010, 02:46 AM
I totally agree with it, have trained and retained and had good units -- while that initial set was there. When the replacements came in -- and they always eventually do if not from casualties then from ETS -- things dropped a notch...

If you're deployed when that time hits, you do not have the option of taking a three month break to train every new guy. You have to receive 'trained replacements' and make them work. In Iraq with a low casualty and redeploy for cause rate , that may not have been a problem but at other times I've seen a 25-30 rotation rate in combat per quarter.

There's another problem. I have no doubt the Schmedlap or Sam Damon Co/Bn/Bde would be a great unit. OTOH, I have every reason to suspect that the Heebly or Massengale Co/Bn/Bde would create more problems than either would solve. Heebly makes Courtney Massengale look like the careerist he is and Heebly is a straight arrow who invariably means well -- but he's dumber than a box of hammers. Court is a smart Dude but his, um, priority allocation process is not too good...

You'd also have the problem of getting SSG J. Phugabosky in from the Heebly Bde who's himself only partly trained himself and then getting him up to speed to train your new guys...

For what you suggest to work, the Army would have to be smaller than it is (quality control would excise a bunch of folks), the personnel system would promote only on proven merit and capability, not 'best qualified' and a large bureaucracy that purchases, supplies, maintains, moves, medicates and such like would have to get trained somehow -- just in case they had to deploy. The current Personnel system would have to go; you need water walker leaders; the existing system is geared to provide paper qualified leaders.

There is a way. It's pretty well proven that new organizations, particularly if they are lean, function well. As they age, they become more and more bureaucratic and only a few exceptional outfits are consistently top notch. There is a deterioration curve in effectiveness that is extremely difficult to halt. I seem to recall a study some years ago that posited five years was the norm before inertia set in.

Thus, regeneration has advantages. Now all we have to do is figure out how to regenerate every Brigade at about three to five year intervals -- and convince the Per Weenies to leave everyone in the same job the whole time. Oh yeah -- and find people that'll accept that setup (I think that part is easy and the large number willing might surprise the Per folks who would absolutely hate the idea -- 'cause then, who needs a Per system...).

Yes, I know that means a third of the force would be unavailable at any given time. Nothing really new in that.

Of course, one thing that would be quite helpful is for the Army to realize that the types of unit, organization, training, equipment and even people who can and will soldier around the world in what is nominally peace time are a whole different ball game from the mass Army needed to fight a major war against a near peer. Our big problem is that the US Army, from WW I forward has had a delusion that they can just shrink in peacetime and rapidly expand for a war. Doesn't really work that way. There are those who will say we did it in a few months for WW II. Not really, the Army started pre mobilizing itself in late 1938, the draft was instituted in 1940 as was a massive reequipment program -- yet, the US Army arguably was not really effective prior to late 1943, arguably late 1944. That's really four years, not a few months. Not complaining, that was really a phenomenal performance -- I'm not at all sure we could replicate it today...

Pete
04-11-2010, 05:36 PM
I seem to recall a study some years ago that posited five years was the norm before inertia set in.
Does this mean that White's Battalion of Bluegrass Dragoons would have to disband no later then five years after its first muster?

Ken White
04-11-2010, 09:32 PM
Four might be even better and three better yet... :cool:

Bluegoon Dragasses. I like that. Thanks. Pete...:D

kaur
04-13-2010, 07:07 AM
The Improved Carbine is intended as a no holds barred look at individual small arms in the carbine class. Despite rumors that the Improved Carbine and Squad Individual Marksman variant would share the same requirements document, possibly also with the Personal Defense Weapon, this is not the case. They needed to be broken down into separate requirements although it is possible that the Individual Carbine and Squad Individual Marksman weapons may end up relying on a common weapon. The PDW is a bit more problematic due to the Army’s desired characteristics for the weapon. The Army wants to purchase about 500,000 of the new carbines and has stipulated that they will own the Technical Data Package so that they can award production contracts for the type selected to more than one manufacturer.

http://soldiersystems.net/2010/04/12/the-future-of-us-army-small-arms/

JMA
04-13-2010, 09:03 AM
http://soldiersystems.net/2010/04/12/the-future-of-us-army-small-arms/

Can we weigh all these changes against this...

"We trained hard . . . but it seemed that every time we were beginning to form up into teams we would be reorganized. I was to learn later in life that we tend to meet any new situation by reorganizing; and a wonderful method it can be for creating the illusion of progress while producing confusion, inefficiency, and demoralization." Petronius Arbiter, 210 B.C.

William F. Owen
04-13-2010, 09:26 AM
http://soldiersystems.net/2010/04/12/the-future-of-us-army-small-arms/

Sorry, I just don't see the problem. These problems are entirely self-inflicted and not symptomatic of any real operational problem. The problem is people and stupid ideas.

You need a rifle/Individual weapon - easy! - we can do that. What's the problem?

JMA
04-13-2010, 03:18 PM
Yes Chris' book is a good troopies eye view of matters.

But this article with a view diagrams will help you to understand things a lot clearer.

http://www.jrtwood.com/article_fireforce.asp

Also once read download this MP3 file and listen to a recording of part of a fire force call out. Only the commander (c/s 39) and the aircraft transmissions can be heard.

http://www.fileden.com/files/2010/4/2/2814579/3CdoFireForce1976-01.mp3

Enjoy

Not sure how much following that link clarified matters for you.

The envelopment of a target area was often not quite that. If the Fire Force comprised a K-Car and 3 G-Cars (3 x 4 man sticks) with 20 paras (5 x sticks) following the a Dak (Dakota-DC3) one could rarely seal off an area. The trick was to get a complete and detailed briefing from the call-sign on the ground and select the likely escape routes given the line of approach of the aircraft. The troops in the para-Dak would then be dropped in a cultivated field somewhere close by and ferried in closer by chopper. The Allouette III was great as it could get into a tight LZ and you had to get the pilot, the fuel line or the tail rotor to really put it on its ass.

There was a lot of skill required by the Airborne Commander and the K-Car pilot (the senior pilot) to work the deployment to its best tactically.

I never heard of the paras being dropped in a stop line on the ground where they stayed. It always required movement or ferrying to get into position. And the need for paras was only there because there were not enough choppers to lift enough troops in.

Later in the war there was a increase in the number of choppers through South Africa sending in (I think) 27 choppers and crews so the 'Jumbo' Fire Forces were established (jumbo only in the Rhodesian context) with two k-Cars and 5 G-Cars each with a para Dak (DC3) and two Lynx (Cessna 337 Skymaster) aircraft. The second K-Car was normally what was termed and alpha-fit where insted of the 20mm cannon there were four .30 Browning MGs side mounted. The alpha-fit was actually more lethal than the 20mm cannon because when there was tree cover the rounds would explode on contact with very little resulting penetration and when the ground was soft the rounds would penetrate fractionally before exploding with the resultant limited shrapnel spread. (A 7.62mm minigun would be similar to the alpha-fit)

Chris jM
04-15-2010, 12:23 AM
Not sure how much following that link clarified matters for you.


Thanks for the link/s JMA - that and the content on the related RLI thread provides a lot of good info. I need to read more about the entire period to get an understanding of it though - I still am very ignorant of the guerrilla situation, tactics, aims etc so my current knowledge of fire-force tactics is rather flimsy. It will require a few more books for me to make get to grips with the how's and why's of the war.

Sylvan
04-15-2010, 04:43 PM
Can we weigh all these changes against this...

"We trained hard . . . but it seemed that every time we were beginning to form up into teams we would be reorganized. I was to learn later in life that we tend to meet any new situation by reorganizing; and a wonderful method it can be for creating the illusion of progress while producing confusion, inefficiency, and demoralization." Petronius Arbiter, 210 B.C.
A false attribution.
But an apt quote.

Sylvan
04-15-2010, 04:44 PM
Not sure how much following that link clarified matters for you.

The envelopment of a target area was often not quite that. If the Fire Force comprised a K-Car and 3 G-Cars (3 x 4 man sticks) with 20 paras (5 x sticks) following the a Dak (Dakota-DC3) one could rarely seal off an area. The trick was to get a complete and detailed briefing from the call-sign on the ground and select the likely escape routes given the line of approach of the aircraft. The troops in the para-Dak would then be dropped in a cultivated field somewhere close by and ferried in closer by chopper. The Allouette III was great as it could get into a tight LZ and you had to get the pilot, the fuel line or the tail rotor to really put it on its ass.

There was a lot of skill required by the Airborne Commander and the K-Car pilot (the senior pilot) to work the deployment to its best tactically.

I never heard of the paras being dropped in a stop line on the ground where they stayed. It always required movement or ferrying to get into position. And the need for paras was only there because there were not enough choppers to lift enough troops in.

Later in the war there was a increase in the number of choppers through South Africa sending in (I think) 27 choppers and crews so the 'Jumbo' Fire Forces were established (jumbo only in the Rhodesian context) with two k-Cars and 5 G-Cars each with a para Dak (DC3) and two Lynx (Cessna 337 Skymaster) aircraft. The second K-Car was normally what was termed and alpha-fit where insted of the 20mm cannon there were four .30 Browning MGs side mounted. The alpha-fit was actually more lethal than the 20mm cannon because when there was tree cover the rounds would explode on contact with very little resulting penetration and when the ground was soft the rounds would penetrate fractionally before exploding with the resultant limited shrapnel spread. (A 7.62mm minigun would be similar to the alpha-fit)

30mm is the soft sand is having the same problem. While wonderful for top attack on armored vehicles, a M134 would be much better for what we find ourselves doing now.

JMA
04-15-2010, 08:22 PM
30mm is the soft sand is having the same problem. While wonderful for top attack on armored vehicles, a M134 would be much better for what we find ourselves doing now.

What incidence of stoppages are found with the M134?

With the Alpha-fit (4 x .30 Brownings) if one gun had a stoppage it was not the end of the world as the remaining three were still pretty good. With the 20mm if it had a stoppage then you had nothing.

Ken White
04-15-2010, 08:50 PM
Manufacturer's claims: (LINK) (http://www.dillonaero.com/content/p/8/catid/1/pid/1/Standard_M134D).

More detailed figures, data from the Federation of American Scientists, generally cross checked, fairly objective and reliable:(LINK) (http://www.mindfully.org/Technology/2006/M134-Gatling-Livermore3feb06.htm).

sapperfitz82
04-17-2010, 05:05 PM
The 400m and 600m ranges for Afghan ambushes seems to originate from the max effective range of the PG / MG they are using while allowing them to break contact after the engagement. Their fire is not what we would consider particularly accurate, but in most ambushes the killzone is restrictive and so it funnels the fire any way.

Reasons why their fire is in accurate - I have found in Astan particularly the men have horrible eyesight. They are malnourished from a very young age and develop cataracts early. Few have glasses. Also their is a primitive belief that Allah will guide their bullets, so much so that they feel aiming is questioning his omnipotence. Broad generalities - but then again that is what we are talking in.

Given that we generally want to kill the enemy and avoid over-kill as a principle - why would we not improve the effectiveness of rifles? The argument should be a cost - benefit one. It seems here to have devolved into one about whether we should just call CAS or roll up in our IFV.

If the individual soldier can be made much more lethal through a series of improvements (SA, survivability, ballistics, etc.) and the cost is worth the gain (mobility, financial, etc.) why would one not improve the soldier?

5.56mm has its benefits, soldier's today are not impressed with them (claims the paper [me too by the way]). Ballistics have vastly improved since the 5.56mm's inception and adoption. The Army in general does not believe the gain is worth the cost.

What the hell does a Laotian machine gun have to do with it?!

Yes, give the infantryman a better bullet. No do not adopt a radically different weapon now unless it provides x percentage of benefit over the current platform (think pulse rifle). Hell, improve the artillery and CAS and everything else too.

Also, where is the cost/gain argument with Javelin vs Dragon and Copperhead vs Dumb Hellfire and 155mm vs Excalibur? Is it just me or does it sound as if the Acquisition guys never fought as Infantry?

Pete
04-18-2010, 02:14 AM
Yes, give the infantryman a better bullet. No do not adopt a radically different weapon now unless it provides x percentage of benefit over the current platform (think pulse rifle). Hell, improve the artillery and CAS and everything else too.

Also, where is the cost/gain argument with Javelin vs Dragon and Copperhead vs Dumb Hellfire and 155mm vs Excalibur? Is it just me or does it sound as if the Acquisition guys never fought as Infantry?
The Trade-Off Analysis or Analysis of Alternatives has long been part of the documentation required to justify a new materiel system for DoD. The recommended format for trade-off studies can be found in the DoD 5000 series of publications.

As with almost everything DoD does, trade-off analyses generally reflect the biases of the organization that produces them--often these analyses will show that the preferred alternative is the one that will increase the funding of the organization producing the study. One of the greatests strengths of DoD, as well as one of its greatest weaknesses, is that regardless of the evidence a general officer will think about something for about five seconds before he makes a decision. In the Army a standing joke among officers with alternate specialties in operations research is that once given an assignment to prepare an in-depth study they will politic around to find out what answer the powers that be want to hear.

As I understand it Secretary of Defense Gates turned the whole Army acquisition system upside-down when he ordered procurement of the MRAP. The tank-automotive guys were unresponsive to the idea of doing something in a hurry. If I understand Gates' point of view, the question wasn't what was the best armored vehicle for the mission, it was what could be done now to save lives while he is secretary of defense. It was a bit like the adoption of the M1 Carbine in 1942--with all of its faults, there was a war going on and the best was the enemy of the good. Left to their own devices the DoD acquisition community might come up with a suitable system in 10 to 12 years.

kaur
04-19-2010, 12:00 PM
Members of the 3rd and 7th Commandos assisted by Special Forces move to their objective while receiving enemy gunfire Feb. 25 in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.03.04.2010

SCAR-H, 7,62x51

http://j.imagehost.org/t/0326/SCARH.jpg (http://j.imagehost.org/view/0326/SCARH)

jcustis
04-19-2010, 03:54 PM
I look at it this way. If a soldier can't group (from the prone position) 5 rounds within 4 inches @ 100m or 1 inch @ 25m then you do two things. You fire his instructor and take his weapon away and issue him with a machette.

All he will do is make the contact area more noisy and be a greater danger to you than the enemy.

Once qualified to marksman level in the equivalent of APWT then the real training can begin.

Remember there is basic training and recruit training and then there is ETS training (exercise trained soldier). In most armies the basic training does not flow directly into being inserted into unit already in a war situation.

In Rhodesia we did and that made the training people get a lot smarter. And in many instances the training instructors were NCOs rotated out of ops to do the training and subsequently were 100% operationally current.



OK, but that is not live firing. So can we agree then that the live ammo allocated to training will be fired by the selected crews who in turn are probably selected as a result of using the other stuff?



Ok, lets agree on the basics here and they are , aiming , holding, breathing and squeezing. Once this is mastered at the 'entry level' say by score a 4" group @ 100m etc etc then we introduce light variation, moving targets, making the shooter out of breath before having to shoot etc etc. What goes and what stays and what gets added?

But yes... I think I can see where you are coming from. More kills are propably made by weapons other than rifles and so concentrate on where the difference will be made.

If I could be king for a day, my desire would be to have the ability to take a troop who demonstrated the aptitude and even slightest desire for instructor work, and get them assigned to the business of actually instructing. This would be in stark contrast to the silliness we face within the Corps of screening teams that pull stellar Marines out of a list and say, "you're getting screened for recruiting duty whether you are acutally better suited for another billet or not."

I think we could resolve so many of our instructional systems design and training deficit issues with the flexibility to do that, as well as allow our best and brightest to stay within those field without career impairment simply because they did not get their ticket punched by one of the big three of drill field, recruiter, or MSG duty.

Ken White
04-19-2010, 04:32 PM
select folks that seemed suited for a job and see how they did. If they did well, they stayed there and did that. That process worked. so we don't do that anymore... :rolleyes:

Two things happened. civilian HR practices got introduced to military personnel systems -- no matter how inappropriate they were.

Then Congress got overly involved as a result of not understanding the Armed Forces but instead deciding to listen to whining service folks and parents (as opposed to having to listen to them) and to attempt to reduce their whining workload, dictated 'fairness and equality' would rule all personnel decisions.

Thus as a result, Congress and the Personnel people have totally screwed the services by insisting that one size fits all, that all persons of like education and experience are equal in all respects and that they are thus totally interchangeable. While that is obviously incorrect and is potentially dangerous -- sooner or later, someone not suited for command is going to really screw up badly and get a lot of people killed -- they are simply refusing to do what you sensibly suggest.
as well as allow our best and brightest to stay within those field without career impairment simply because they did not get their ticket punched by one of the big three of drill field, recruiter, or MSG duty.The Drill Field and Recruiting take particular mindsets (and I suggest anyone who excels at one job will be miserable at the other in the case of those two). So does other Instructional work, so does staying in a TOE unit and doing the job called for there, so does command or staff work. :cool:

We ignore that and opt to go for -- even force -- mediocrity and then wonder why performance today is far from stellar and why it take so long to implement change. :rolleyes:

Mediocre loves company and stays mediocre as long as it can possibly do so... :mad:

jcustis
04-19-2010, 04:50 PM
select folks that seemed suited for a job and see how they did. If they did well, they stayed there and did that. That process worked. so we don't do that anymore... :rolleyes:

Two things happened. civilian HR practices got introduced to military personnel systems -- no matter how inappropriate they were.

Then Congress got overly involved as a result of not understanding the Armed Forces but instead deciding to listen to whining service folks and parents (as opposed to having to listen to them) and to attempt to reduce their whining workload, dictated 'fairness and equality' would rule all personnel decisions.

Thus as a result, Congress and the Personnel people have totally screwed the services by insisting that one size fits all, that all persons of like education and experience are equal in all respects and that they are thus totally interchangeable. While that is obviously incorrect and is potentially dangerous -- sooner or later, someone not suited for command is going to really screw up badly and get a lot of people killed -- they are simply refusing to do what you sensibly suggest.The Drill Field and Recruiting take particular mindsets (and I suggest anyone who excels at one job will be miserable at the other in the case of those two). So does other Instructional work, so does staying in a TOE unit and doing the job called for there, so does command or staff work. :cool:

We ignore that and opt to go for -- even force -- mediocrity and then wonder why performance today is far from stellar and why it take so long to implement change. :rolleyes:

Mediocre loves company and stays mediocre as long as it can possibly do so... :mad:

Amen.

Firn
04-20-2010, 04:32 AM
Better than usual (http://atwar.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/04/19/a-firsthand-look-at-firefights-in-marja/), another update about some enemy marksmen and their weapons which seem to shoot better then the poor rest.


First, what exactly is meant by “sniper”? Like many terms used to discuss war fighting, this is a slippery word. In the context of Afghan fighting, American troops tend to talk about a sniper when they encounter an insurgent rifleman who is obviously more skilled and disciplined than the norm, someone who fires with reasonable accuracy at medium and longish ranges, usually using a rifle-and-ammunition combination that can be effective out to 400 or 500 meters or more. But while the Taliban’s “snipers” are not the usual class of Kalashnikov-carrying Afghan fighter, they typically are not what a conventional soldier might think of in relation to the term.

...


Among the captured rifles were two variants of the Lee-Enfield rifle line. These are bolt-action rifles with design roots reaching to the late 19th century, when conventional armies favored heavier, long-barreled rifles that fired more powerful ammunition than what is predominant in military use today.

Good to see that at least most don't have good training, optical sights and consistent good ammunition.


Firn

JMA
04-22-2010, 10:08 AM
A false attribution.
But an apt quote.

and the correct attribution is?

Ken White
04-22-2010, 01:54 PM
LINK (http://www.quotationspage.com/quote/25618.html).

The all knowing seem to constantly stumble over small things. Amazing..:wry:

The false attribution to P. Arbiter is deemed due to the fact that no one likes to credit Americans with capability for original thought. S'Okay, we're used to it and don't mind a bit... :cool: :D

JMA
04-22-2010, 03:37 PM
LINK (http://www.quotationspage.com/quote/25618.html).

The all knowing seem to constantly stumble over small things. Amazing..:wry:

The false attribution to P. Arbiter is deemed due to the fact that no one likes to credit Americans with capability for original thought. S'Okay, we're used to it and don't mind a bit... :cool: :D

Charlton Ogburn, "Merrill's Marauders", thank you I stand corrected.

Now "Merrill's Marauders" was some outfit!

Distinguished Unit Citation: "The unit must display such gallantry, determination, and esprit de corps in accomplishing its mission under extremely difficult and hazardous conditions as to set it apart and above other units participating in the same campaign."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merrill's_Marauders

We need some more of that derring-do in the current conflicts.

Ken White
04-22-2010, 04:38 PM
We need some more of that derring-do in the current conflicts.derring do, no question -- but on balance, they were only marginally effective militarily and what little they did achieve was at excessive cost. I've talked to several former members and most were and are quite proud of their service but have little good to say about the efforts overall effectiveness.

Different time. While daring action occurs on a small scale and locally today, it is not broadly tolerated in the west. Those days are gone, they were killed off by the politically correct movements of the 70s and are highly unlikely to return short of a major, existential war. Risk avoidance is all too prevalent today, a societal (and thus quite difficult to reverse), not a military impact.

jmm99
04-22-2010, 04:38 PM
reading the results of such derring-do at breakfast, would become very upset by the casualties - from the Wiki:


A week after Myitkyina fell, on August 10, 1944, the 5307th was disbanded with a final total of 130 combat-effective officers and men (out of the original 2,997). Of the 2,750 to enter Burma, only 2 were left alive who had never been hospitalized with wounds or major illness.

The cost to the Chindits (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chindits) was as great, but did generate at least two good books by Chindit brigadiers - Bidwell, Shelford (1979). The Chindit war : the campaigns in Burma, 1944. London: Hodder & Stoughton. OCLC 221110416; and Masters, John (2002) [1961]. The Road Past Mandalay. London: Cassel. ISBN 0304361577.

While the campaign exemplified bravery and courage under impossible conditions, its long-term strategic goals never came close to being realized - and a lot of good men were killed for little lasting purpose.

Regards

Mike

JMA
04-23-2010, 12:12 PM
derring do, no question -- but on balance, they were only marginally effective militarily and what little they did achieve was at excessive cost. I've talked to several former members and most were and are quite proud of their service but have little good to say about the efforts overall effectiveness.

Sadly it seems the same will be written about most of the forces deployed in Afghanistan.


Different time. While daring action occurs on a small scale and locally today, it is not broadly tolerated in the west. Those days are gone, they were killed off by the politically correct movements of the 70s and are highly unlikely to return short of a major, existential war. Risk avoidance is all too prevalent today, a societal (and thus quite difficult to reverse), not a military impact.

So exactly is the point of going into action in Afghanistan then?

Ken White
04-23-2010, 01:57 PM
Sadly it seems the same will be written about most of the forces deployed in Afghanistan.Probably not but it today is, as I said, a different time, different even to your and my wars, much less Burma in WW II.
So exactly is the point of going into action in Afghanistan then?I'm the wrong guy to ask. You'll need to ask G. W. Bush who made the determination to stay there or B. H. Obama who made the decision to continue the effort there. I agreed with going and toppling the Taliban. I did not agree with staying. I do now believe we cannot leave to precipitously but neither can we stay indefinitely (which has always been true and is why I didn't and don't agree with the decision to stay...). No win situation -- it always was.

sapperfitz82
04-23-2010, 03:16 PM
I am also in favor of a punitive raid, but if we had funded and led a successful insurgency in Iraq as well (opposed to a conventional war) would those two actions have not put enormous pressure on Iran (which I contend is the true target of GWOT in SW Asia)?

JMA
04-24-2010, 08:20 AM
...on balance, they were only marginally effective militarily and what little they did achieve was at excessive cost.

Is this not accurate of the current forces in Afghanistan?

JMA
04-24-2010, 08:23 AM
...While the campaign exemplified bravery and courage under impossible conditions, its long-term strategic goals never came close to being realized - and a lot of good men were killed for little lasting purpose.

How close it this to an accurate description of the situation in Afghanistan?

Kriegs
04-24-2010, 10:01 AM
I looked through this thread and couldn't find what I needed, hopefully someone knows offhand:

Would there be such things as ballistic tests done on the Mk262 round against the M855 green tip that are available on the interwebs?

Kiwigrunt
04-24-2010, 11:29 AM
I looked through this thread and couldn't find what I needed, hopefully someone knows offhand:

Would there be such things as ballistic tests done on the Mk262 round against the M855 green tip that are available on the interwebs?

There’s a bit on it here (http://ammo.ar15.com/project/AmmoOracle_061808.pdf), with the Mk 262 mentioned on pages 11, 12 and 30. (985 kb pdf)

kaur
04-24-2010, 11:45 AM
Here is M262 vs ...

http://web.archive.org/web/20070804073339/http://www.65grendel.com/graphics/grendelballistics.pdf

Here is M855 from Kyle Lamb's book.

M855.pdf (133 KB) (http://j.imagehost.org/download/0133/M855)

Maybe those links are also interesting.

http://designatedmarksman.com/files/Mk262%20History%20NSWC.pdf

http://www.dtic.mil/ndia/2008Intl/Roberts.pdf

Ken White
04-24-2010, 12:55 PM
Is this not accurate of the current forces in Afghanistan?of three factors which in order of impact are:

Policy, Quality of training, Personnel polices.

None of those the fault of the troops, all effect the quality of their efforts. I'd be very leery of making such a judgment based on media reports and with a lack of direct personal knowledge...

jmm99
04-24-2010, 08:01 PM
from JMA


re: jmm99
...While the campaign exemplified bravery and courage under impossible conditions, its long-term strategic goals never came close to being realized - and a lot of good men were killed for little lasting purpose.

How close it this to an accurate description of the situation in Afghanistan?

I saw the reasonable purpose of OEF as neutralization (kill, capture or convert; of which, kill seemed the most likely probability) of key AQ leadership as retribution for 9/11 and specific deterrence of them from leading future attacks. We came close at Tora Bora.

I still see that as a reasonable long-term strategy, but not at the cost of engagement in "state-building" ("nation-building" seems to be somewhat out of favor, and flavor, this year ;)), and involvement in South Asian and Roof of the World politics, in which we have no existential interest - and only a diluted "vital" interest.

The UN-NATO-ISAF strategy (as it appears to me; e.g., today's news (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/allies-to-turn-blind-eye-to-corruption-as-afghan-exit-strategy-agreed-1952987.html)) is not one that I endorse; but not being on anyone's staff or advisory panel, my opinion is worth spit.

Cheers

Mike

JMA
04-25-2010, 05:15 AM
Merely, if you don't hit, keep shooting and once you hit, keep hitting! The more you shoot, the more you should aim.

I agree but would just add this.

There was a tendency (for soldiers) to develop single target fixation where they ignored other likely positions the enemy may be positioned and kept firing into the known location. This I believe was made worse if the individual soldier did not have confidence in his own shooting ability. Meaning that if he did not have the confidence that by firing 2 or 3 rounds into that piece of likely cover he would kill a person positioned there he was likely to fire more and more and neglect other likely cover. The Drake/Cover shoot if done regularly would deal with this to a certain extent but could not deal with a man's inability to shoot straight. It is a legitimate expectation that a soldier should clear his arc of fire of enemy by firing into likely cover... if he can't do that...

Kriegs
04-25-2010, 12:34 PM
Here is M262 vs ...

http://web.archive.org/web/20070804073339/http://www.65grendel.com/graphics/grendelballistics.pdf

Here is M855 from Kyle Lamb's book.

M855.pdf (133 KB) (http://j.imagehost.org/download/0133/M855)

Maybe those links are also interesting.

http://designatedmarksman.com/files/Mk262%20History%20NSWC.pdf

http://www.dtic.mil/ndia/2008Intl/Roberts.pdf


Thanks for the links. None except the dtic one work on NIPR, so I'll have to look at the rest on civilian internet.

jcustis
04-25-2010, 04:38 PM
The MK318 SOST 5.56 rounds we have on hand have a good ballistics profile for use with M4s. I can't easily view the MK262 profile, and am not even certain we have that over here.

JMA
05-22-2010, 09:46 AM
"The US military thinks it may have got one of the basics wrong: its guns are not good enough. A US Army study found that the M-4 rifle, the workhorse weapon of America's troops, is ineffective at ranges of more then 300m because bullets lose the velocity necessary to kill an enemy."

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/workhorse-rifle-failing-us-troops-in-afghanistan-1979987.html


"US rifles not suited to warfare in Afghan hills"

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jlLE3JHCPYeSFDT1VHCr_U7pJz5QD9FR4EL80

JMA
05-22-2010, 01:24 PM
30 odd years late it is a case of better late than never...

http://www.defencetalk.com/army-issues-instructions-for-painting-m16s-m4s-26507/

Good to see that the soldiers were starting to do it anyway without waiting for permission or instructions. One really needs to get behind the mindset where fancy camo gear is being issued yet a black weapon with straight lines has been acceptable without question.

The last hurdle in this will be from the armies where they just must have blacks weapons for ceremonial drill that the fieldcraft considerations take a poor second place.

Ken White
05-22-2010, 02:53 PM
The Little Black Rifle started being issued in Viet Nam in 1965-6. It was black not due to a parade ground prettiness desire but because the technology of the time could not provide a paint or tape that could take the heat -- jungle or generated. There were several attempts to produce green furniture but none were durable enough to take combat treatment. Still, troops even back then did paint, tape and modify and folks in combat have done so many times and in many places since then. Occasionally units directed it, many just allowed it while some idiots refused to allow it.

I agree with your sentiment. The US in particular has significant problems with that parade ground -- actually, it's an over active control and uniformity issue -- mentality and it really needs to go. That is shown by the fact that the Army elected to issue a technical order to uniformly do what most thinking troops were doing in varied fashions anyway (until confronted with those should be retired CSMs who were overly into 'uniformity.' :mad:).

The US Army Troop test in 1964 that preceded the adoption of the M16 shot a lot of Pigs in the course of the tests; the lethality and range problems of the 5.56 round were quite apparent and were well documented. The result of the tests were that the Army recommended keeping the M-14 in 7.62 for world wide service (to include shortened Jungle, even shorter Parachute and a better automatic rifle versions) and buying a just few then Colt AR-15s for special purpose units (The USAF Air Police and Special Forces wanted the little rifle and light ammo). In the event, the Army was overruled and the US political decision by DoD and the White House was to buy the Colt rifle. The fact that Colt had contributed to the serving Administration's political campaigns I'm sure had little to do with that decision... :rolleyes:

A lot of any soldier's objections to things that impede effectiveness are to politically and societally driven decisions. Not a darn thing one can do about it (lacking an existential war -- those get the Mothers to hush a bit and the Politicians to focus).

Firn
05-22-2010, 05:45 PM
The Little Black Rifle started being issued in Viet Nam in 1965-6. It was black not due to a parade ground prettiness desire but because the technology of the time could not provide a paint or tape that could take the heat -- jungle or generated. There were several attempts to produce green furniture but none were durable enough to take combat treatment. Still, troops even back then did paint, tape and modify and folks in combat have done so many times and in many places since then. Occasionally units directed it, many just allowed it while some idiots refused to allow it.

I agree with your sentiment. The US in particular has significant problems with that parade ground -- actually, it's an over active control and uniformity issue -- mentality and it really needs to go. That is shown by the fact that the Army elected to issue a technical order to uniformly do what most thinking troops were doing in varied fashions anyway (until confronted with those should be retired CSMs who were overly into 'uniformity.' :mad:).


Not only the US. Indeed looking good while marching is a peace time bench mark which sadly beats a lot of a bit more relevant factors. In the Italian army over the arc of the last 20-30 years a lot lot more weapons were cleaned to death than shot out. And it is of course far from the only one.

In the last years of conscription you got recruits in infantry mountain units (Alpini) which never did one single forced mountain march, a single camp outdoor and which had to volunteer to get a real shot off. This is very sadly no joke. Even more sad is the fact that nothing happened to the responibles, at least from what I know. Still their marches through the cities went well, everybody cheered and was happy. I will leave my rant there.

Technology is very important indeed but it always starts with good leadership and training and we always come back to it.


Firn

Kriegs
05-30-2010, 05:47 PM
For anyone interested, request for better ammo was denied.

Schmedlap
05-30-2010, 07:15 PM
For anyone interested, request for better ammo was denied.

When I was an XO, the ODA in our AOR had gobs of the 5.56 MK 262. We traded with them because, like you, we couldn't get it through the supply chain.

Kiwigrunt
05-30-2010, 09:06 PM
For anyone interested, request for better ammo was denied.

Denied or slow coming (http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2010/05/27/marines-slow-to-field-new-ammo/)?

AdamG
10-28-2010, 07:56 PM
CJ Chivers weighs in on the AMD-65.


The AMD-65 is a strange-looking and, to hear Afghans tell it, a poor-performing firearm, the product of an arms plant in then-Peoples Republic of Hungary during the cold war. It has been visible in large numbers in Afghan police units since 2006. It remains the predominant weapon of the nation’s police.

http://atwar.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/10/26/one-poor-choice-in-arming-the-afghans-and-its-repercussions/?ref=world

SethB
10-29-2010, 01:08 AM
I can't imagine what would posses someone to buy an AMD-65...

It would actually have been easier to make an export version of the M16 that solves some of the maintenance issues and sell it to our allies.

120mm
10-29-2010, 04:27 AM
The US Army Troop test in 1964 that preceded the adoption of the M16 shot a lot of Pigs in the course of the tests; the lethality and range problems of the 5.56 round were quite apparent and were well documented. The result of the tests were that the Army recommended keeping the M-14 in 7.62 for world wide service (to include shortened Jungle, even shorter Parachute and a better automatic rifle versions) and buying a just few then Colt AR-15s for special purpose units (The USAF Air Police and Special Forces wanted the little rifle and light ammo). In the event, the Army was overruled and the US political decision by DoD and the White House was to buy the Colt rifle. The fact that Colt had contributed to the serving Administration's political campaigns I'm sure had little to do with that decision... :rolleyes:


Actually, the US military rigged those tests to make the M14 look better. In reality, the M16 of the time was much more reliable and just as lethal as the M80 shooting M14. Kind of the reverse of what you just said.

Let me look for the actual test data; I used to keep it on my netbook, but it got fried last month.

Fuchs
10-29-2010, 08:19 AM
The old U.S. 7.62mmx51 was (or is?) actually relatively wimpy in gelatine tests (http://www.bajaarizona.org/fklr/fklr.html).

Ken White
10-29-2010, 03:24 PM
Actually, the US military rigged those tests to make the M14 look better. In reality, the M16 of the time was much more reliable and just as lethal as the M80 shooting M14. Kind of the reverse of what you just said.

Let me look for the actual test data; I used to keep it on my netbook, but it got fried last month.I was in the unit that ran the troop test -- not the Aberdeen foolishness -- and we shot a whole bunch of pigs for the Oscar Mayer plant in Fayetteville. Among other things it was noted that the 5.56 round was easily deflected by vegetation, bone or cartilage and that the 7.62 rarely had those problems. I know what that troop test reported to DA, I do not know precisely what Ordnance said or what DA sent to DoD but I do recall what the rumor mill said at the time. I also know that TRW had the M14 contract and was selling them to the Army for $90.00 apiece -- $4.00 less than the nominal cost of an M1 at the time and that contract was cancelled in midstream with a whopping penalty to buy the M16 ala my comment on the political contributions.

I also was in the first unit to be issued with the M-16 and used it in combat on three tours. Your statement that it was more reliable than the M14 is simply incorrect. It had teething and digestion problems as do most new products...

FWIW, I'm neither an M14 or M16 fan, there were and are better weapons out there but any comparison of combat capability that rates the M16 over the M14 in terms of either wounding / stopping / killing capability or of reliability is more than questionable. Handiness, ease of training and other factors give the M16 an edge but it flat loses on stopping power and reliability (for the early editions).

In any event, this was the point of post from which you extracted that comment:

"A lot of any soldier's objections to things that impede effectiveness are to politically and societally driven decisions. Not a darn thing one can do about it (lacking an existential war -- those get the Mothers to hush a bit and the Politicians to focus)."

120mm
10-29-2010, 04:45 PM
Really, there were/are only two reliability issues with the AR series of arms.

First, there was the decision to go to the cheaper, more available ball powder. Second, there was/is the lack of training on how to make the system work.

The AR works quite well when dirty, despite mythology to the otherwise, but it does like lubrication. The AR does not like worn out or damaged magazines. It's ergonomics are phenomenal in comparison to the M14.

The M14 was an unergonomic, poorly designed, poorly executed, unreliable piece of junk which has somehow gained a halo of perfection by those who used it "once upon a time". It's open action, tinker-toy magazine link-up and awful stock makes it a crappy weapon. The weapons procurement system succeeded in shoving it down the throats of the military after it accepted the FN-FAL as the superior rifle, and almost succeeded after the military accepted the M16 as a superior rifle.

The M16 in all it's guises is far superior in reliability by any objective measure. And it has sufficient and even superior lethality, provided the user does his/her job.

Pete
10-29-2010, 05:04 PM
If I recall correctly the M14 test that is said to have been rigged by U.S. Army Ordnance was the competitive shoot-off between it and the Fabrique Nationale 7.62mm self-loader. McNamara thought private industry could supply small arms more cheaply than Ordnance's several small arms depots, which was one of the reasons he closed Springfield Armory. In all fairness the Ordnance depots had done a good job rebuilding M1 rifles and carbines, and Springfield had developed two legendary rifles, the M1903 and the M1.

Ken White
10-30-2010, 03:10 AM
Really, there were/are only two reliability issues...Second, there was/is the lack of training on how to make the system work.though I'd say three issues with the third being the bolt closure device. Failure to train and over maintenance are still with us...

All that said re: the weapon, the capabilities of the ammunition are the major problem and that has always been true.
The AR works quite well when dirty, despite mythology to the otherwise, but it does like lubrication. The AR does not like worn out or damaged magazines. It's ergonomics are phenomenal in comparison to the M14.All true and as I said, "...Handiness, ease of training and other factors give the M16 an edge but it flat loses on stopping power and reliability (for the early editions)." Handiness equating to ergonomics but not to phenomenal. Ease of training not equating to what actually occurs -- and that, too, is part of the reliability and lethality capability problems.
The M14 was an unergonomic, poorly designed, poorly executed, unreliable piece of junk which has somehow gained a halo of perfection by those who used it "once upon a time". It's open action, tinker-toy magazine link-up and awful stock makes it a crappy weapon.A little hyperbolic but I broadly agree. It was not a great weapon on several counts but I do not nor do I know of anyone who awards it "a halo of perfection." It was a tool, it was adequate, no more. The FAL would have been a better choice -- though it also had some problems. Nor is the M16 / M4 series particularly good.
The weapons procurement system succeeded in shoving it down the throats of the military after it accepted the FN-FAL as the superior rifle, and almost succeeded after the military accepted the M16 as a superior rifle.Same guys that tried to kill the Sharps, Spencer and Gatling. They also, at the same time they foisted the M14 selected the M60 over both the MG3 and the MAG. Unfortunately given all the current day machinations, it appears they're still alive. :rolleyes:
The M16 in all it's guises is far superior in reliability by any objective measure. And it has sufficient and even superior lethality, provided the user does his/her job.We can disagree on that. The various improvements over the past 45 years have made the gross reliability of the 16 family about on par with the M14. The basic problem with lethality is one of practical range capability exacerbated by the fact that the user is sometimes unable to do his or her job properly in combat. The M16 / M4 series are adequate. IMO, that's not good enough.

120mm
10-30-2010, 12:12 PM
We can disagree on that. The various improvements over the past 45 years have made the gross reliability of the 16 family about on par with the M14. The basic problem with lethality is one of practical range capability exacerbated by the fact that the user is sometimes unable to do his or her job properly in combat. The M16 / M4 series are adequate. IMO, that's not good enough.

Meh, we can "disagree" but I am right on reliability.


1958....

March: Ten AR-15 rifles chambered in .222 Special are delivered to Fort Benning for the Infantry Board field trials. Due to the changes required for the new .224E2 Winchester cartridge, the Winchester LWMR is not ready. However, a number of new T44E4 (pre-production M14) rifles are included as a control. Stoner is allowed to participate since no instruction manuals are yet available for the AR-15. Embarrassingly, the T44E4 rifles turn in a malfunction rate of 16 per 1000rds. In contrast, the AR-15 displays a malfunction rate of 6.1/1000. Oddly, after all of the trouble to coordinate the development of the competing cartridges, the .224E2 Winchester still fails the 500 yard helmet penetration requirement. The tests are re-run with the .222 Special, which succeeds.

July: Winchester finally delivers their LWMR to Fort Benning for testing.

During rain tests at Aberdeen, examples of both the AR-15 and the LWMR experience burst barrels. The combination of water in the bore and the heavily fluted barrels used by both candidate rifles prove too much. Both manufacturers respond by providing unfluted barrels for subsequent prototypes. Seizing upon the issue, Dr. Carten begins a campaign to support development of an alternate .256 SCHV (6.35mm) cartridge. (The eventual pair of .256/6.35mm alternates are based on the .25 Remington case.)

August: A supplemental Infantry Board trial is held using AR-15 rifles with modifications based on the earlier Fort Benning and Aberdeen trials.

September: CONARC releases the final report of the Infantry Board's tests: "Evaluation of Small Caliber High Velocity (SCHV) Rifles." The AR-15 is judged to be superior to the M14 and the Winchester LWMR. However, both SCHV candidates are faulted on their burst barrels during rain testing, among other issues. Still, the report recommends that both manufactures be allowed to submit 16 rifles each for further testing by the Infantry Board and the Arctic Test Board.

December: The Army's Combat Development Experimentation Center (CDEC) begins mock combat trials of the AR-15, Winchester LWMR, and the M14. Conducted at Fort Ord, California, the tests cover the effects of the new weapons on squad tactics and organization.

1959....

May: The final report of the CDEC trials, "Rifle Squad Armed with a Lightweight High-Velocity Rifle," is released. It projects that a 5-7 man squad armed with AR-15 rifles would have a higher number of hits and kills than the then current 11 man squad armed with M14 rifles. The report particularly praises the reliability of the tested AR-15 rifles, and suggests that a SCHV design such as the AR-15 or LWMR should be further developed as a replacement for the M14.

1960....

September: Dr. Carten is ordered to provide testing of the Colt AR-15 for the USAF. Ironically, the testing is requested to coincide with Ordnance testing of Dutch-production AR-10 rifles. Moreover, General LeMay and other high ranking officers from the USAF and Army will be in attendance for part of the testing.

November: Ordnance releases the Aberdeen D&PS test results on the AR-10 and AR-15 in separate reports. Once again, Laurence Moore's recommendations and conclusions are missing. However, the remaining data is encouraging. For instance, the Colt AR-15 displays a malfunction rate of 2.5/1000 rounds (less than half of the 1958 Fort Benning tests).

1961...

USAF testing at Lackland AFB continues, pitting the Colt AR-15 versus the M2 Carbine and the M14 rifle. 43% of the AR-15 users score "Expert" in marksmanship qualifications versus 22% of the M14 users. General LeMay requests authority to purchase 80,000 rifles over several years to begin replacement of the M2 Carbine.

1962....

February: Project AGILE begins operational testing of the AR-15 in Vietnam.

May: The USAF's third request for the procurement of 8,500 AR-15 rifles is approved. The rifle and its cartridge are officially adopted for USAF issue. The USAF also plays with prototypes of what becomes known as the M7 Bayonet.

July: Operational testing of the AR-15 in Vietnam ends. ARPA releases "Test of ArmaLite Rifle, AR-15, Report of Task 13A." The report concludes that the AR-15 is superior to the M2 Carbine, and better suited for Vietnamese soldiers than the M1 Garand, the M1918 BAR, and the Thompson SMG. Vietnamese troops and their US advisors reportedly considered the AR-15 "the best 'all around' shoulder weapon" then in use. The report also includes graphic details of the .223 Remington's terminal effects. The results are typically described as "explosive." ARPA recommends that the AR-15 be adopted as the basic weapon for all South Vietnamese forces.

Summer: The commander of the US advisor group in Vietnam requests 20,000 AR-15 rifles for implementation of the Project AGILE recommendations.

The US Navy orders a small quantity of AR-15 rifles for use by its SEAL teams.

September: The Systems Analysis Directorate of the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) finishes a history of intermediate service rifle cartridges and related theory from the .276 Pedersen up to the current AR-15. Known as the Hitch Report (named for Charles Hitch, OSD Comptroller), the study concludes that the AR-15 is superior to the M14 and AK-47. AR-15 equipped squads are theoretically credited with the potential to inflict up to five times more enemy causalities to those issued the M14. The AR-15 is also credited with being more reliable and durable than the M14. The report further suggests that the M14 is inferior to the AK-47 and even the M1 Garand.

October: Pressured by McNamara and Secretary of the Army Cyrus Vance, a series of tactical and technical tests of the relative merits of the M14, AR-15, and AK-47 are ordered by General Earl Wheeler, Army Chief of Staff. Testing was to be performed at bases in the US, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Arctic.

November: President Kennedy is also briefed on the Hitch Report. General Wheeler is given a deadline of January 31, 1963.

1963...

January: Aberdeen's Human Engineering Laboratory releases the report "Summary of Studies Conducted with the AR-15."

General Wheeler reports "The AR-15 is not now acceptable for the Army for universal use." Supporting arguments included that adoption of the .223 Remington cartridge would violate NATO standardization, that the M14 was superior at ranges over 400m, and that the AR-15 design was not completely debugged or reliable. In the trials, the AR-15 suffered a malfunction rate 8 times higher than that of the control M14 rifles. In addition, testing at Aberdeen and Edgewood Arsenal could not duplicate the terminal results reported by ARPA's Project AGILE.

Secretary Vance orders the Inspector General of the Army to review the Army's conduct of the testing. Some questionable decisions and outright skullduggery surfaced. For instance, the AR-15 was judged against M1 Garand-era requirements such as aimed fire out to 800m. The AR-15 rifles were required to fire full automatic, while the M14 rifles were allowed to remain on semi-auto. For comparison testing, the Infantry Board even brought out prototype match rifles and squad automatic versions of the M14 such as the M14(USAIB) (AKA: the M14E2 or M14A1). Most damning was a quote from an Infantry Board memorandum:

"The US Army Infantry Board will conduct only those tests that will reflect adversely on the AR-15..."

Admittedly, some of the AR-15's problems in testing were real, the result of rushed production of the rifles and their ammunition for the rifle trials. The biggest problem experienced was primers blown out of the case upon firing.

In a report to the OSD, Secretary Vance recommends the following: 1) Procure enough rifles converted to the M14(USAIB) standard for issue as automatic rifles to all infantry squads; 2) Procure 50,000-100,00 AR-15 for issue to Air Assault, Airborne, and Special Forces units; 3) Production of standard M14 rifles is to be reduced; and 4) The SPIW program will be scheduled to provide a "follow-on" replacement for the M14 by the end of Fiscal Year 1965. In response, McNamara announces the cancellation of M14 production, with existing contracts to end by the Fall of 1963. A "one-time" purchase of 85,000 AR-15 rifles for the Army is proposed. It is intended as a stopgap measure until the SPIW is ready for fielding.

The USAF type-classifies the .223 Remington as "Cartridge, 5.64 Millimeter Ball MLU-26/P." It also releases the report "Exterior Ballistics of the AR-15 Rifle." The results of cold chamber testing at Eglin Air Force Base indicate that the ammunition cannot meet accuracy requirements in subzero temperatures. A change in the rate of twist from 1-in-14" to 1-in-12" is noted as solving the problem.

http://gunzone.sccltd.net/556dw.html

120mm
10-30-2010, 12:20 PM
From the same source:

1963 cont.....

March: The "Office of Project Manager for AR-15 Rifle Activities" is established. Lt. Colonel Harold Yount is appointed Project Manager. The OSD orders the military services to draft a joint set of requirements for the AR-15 and its ammunition. The number and cost of any improvements and modifications are ordered to be kept to a minimum.

Frankford Arsenal is assigned oversight of the procurement of .223 Remington ammunition. William C. Davis is assigned as "AR-15 Project Director" and is directed to prepare a technical data package.

The Inspector General's findings are released as a six volume report titled: "IG Rifle Evaluation."

April: The "Technical Coordinating Committee" (TCC) is formed, comprised of members of each service branch, LTC Yount, and representatives from the OSD: the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Weapons Acquisition and Industrial Readiness and a program analyst from the Directorate of Major Items, Materiel, Installations and Logistics. While LTC Yount is the titular chair of the committee, the OSD representatives have veto power over any decision made by the TCC. Within the next few months, over 130 changes are proposed for the rifle and ammunition. One of Army recommendations vetoed by the OSD is for chrome plating of the bore and chamber.

Remington is contracted to provide 600,000 rounds of .223 Remington. In addition, Remington is to provide Frankford Arsenal with the Technical Data Package (TDP) for the cartridge. It is discovered that IMR 4475 cannot reliably achieve the quoted muzzle velocity of 3,300fps within the accepted maximum chamber pressure specs.

Aberdeen's D&PS releases the report "Evaluation Test of the Rate of Rifling Twist in Rifle, Caliber .223, AR-15."

Production of Ball ammo with IMR 4475 ends at Remington.

June: William C. Davis files the report "Investigation of Test-Weapon Chamber Configuration." It is found that Colt's chamber tolerances do not mesh with Remington's dimensional specifications for the cartridge. Another report, "Investigation of Bullet Configuration," indicates that Remington is no longer using the original 7-caliber ogive bullet design. Instead, they have switched to a less aerodynamic 5.5-caliber ogive design. The replacement design is claimed to be easier for the company to mass-produce.

July: Deputy Secretary of Defense Roswell Gilpatrick issues a directive to the TCC to speed up the procurement. Quality control, parts interchangeability, and acceptance standards are to be relaxed as necessary.

McNamara signs off on the change of rifling twist from 1-in-14" to 1-in-12."

Summer: The USAF requests an additional 19,000 AR-15.

TCC progress breaks down, as the Army demands a bolt closure device. The USAF strongly objects, while the Navy and Marines consider it "non-essential" but are willing to accept it. Colt and Springfield Armory submit various prototypes. Gene Stoner prefers Springfield's first prototype, as it would only add two parts to the design. The Army prefers Colt second design devised by Colt's Foster E. Sturtevant.

August: The TCC formally approves the change in the AR-15's rate of twist.

September: "Cartridge, 5.56mm Ball, M193" is officially type-classified. Pushed by OSD over the objections of the TCC, it specifies the Remington-designed projectile, a muzzle velocity of 3,250fps, IMR 4475 powder, and the existing average 52,000psi pressure limit. Remington, Olin, and Federal Cartridge all refuse to offer bids.

October: Colt threatens to dismantle the AR-15 production line due to the lack of an official contract for further orders. McNamara allows the Army to order their rifles with the Sturtevant bolt closure device if necessary. The USAF can continue to order their rifles without the device.

The USAF orders 19 million rounds of MLU-26/P from Remington.

November: The Army finally awards Colt with an official contract for 104,000 rifles. DA-11-199-AMC-508 includes the 19,000 M16 ordered by the USAF and 85,000 XM16E1 for the Army and Marines. Eleven modifications are made to the rifle design prior to the start of production. These include the change to black furniture, 1-in-12" rifling, a modified firing pin, the bolt closure device, revised chamber dimensions, the switch from a triangular changing handle to the current T-shape, and the transition from steel to aluminum magazines. (Ironically, this "one-time" buy will be amended fifteen times over the next two years from 104,000 to a grand total of 201,045 rifles.)

1964....

January: M193 specs are given a temporary waiver. The average chamber pressure limit was increased to 53,000psi, with individual rounds allowed to test as high as 60,000psi. Remington and Olin contract to supply 500,000 cartridges apiece under this waiver. Frankford Arsenal receives permission to test production lots of 25,000rds loaded with alternative powders. Candidates include DuPont's CR 8136, Hercules' HPC-10, and Olin's WC846. (The latter was then in use by Olin for military production of 7.62x51mm ammunition, just as Remington had once done with IMR 4475.)

March: Remington and DuPont withdraw IMR 4475 from future use in 5.56mm ammunition.

The first 300 M16-marked rifles are delivered to the USAF.

Colt discovers that six out of 10 XM16E1 rifles will exceed the 650-850rpm cyclic rate requirements when tested with ammunition loaded with WC846. Colt asks that the maximum cyclic rate limit for the XM16E1 be raised to 900rpm. (The USAF has already done so for their M16 rifles, as they had already accepted production lots of ammo from Olin loaded with WC846.)

April: The TCC grants a monthly waiver of the cyclic rate maximum to 900rpm. In an internal company report, "Chamber and Gas Port Pressures," Colt's Foster Sturtevant notes an increase in pressure at the gas port when using WC846 versus IMR 4475. However, this is seen as a potential benefit for reliable function of the rifle.

The USAF rejects a lot of ammunition because it fails to meet their 500yd penetration requirements (0.135" of mild steel). The USAF is urged to reduce the plate penetration requirement to 450 yards.

May: William C. Davis and C.E. Schindler release the report "Investigation of Alternate Propellants For Use in 5.56mm M193 Ball Ammunition." CR 8136 and WC846 are recommended for use. However, they also note that these powders exhibit slightly higher pressure levels at the AR-15's gas port than did IMR 4475. HPC-10 is declined due to excessive pressures at extremely low (Artic) temperatures and previous issues of bore erosion with tubular grain propellants. Before the report is even released, the two recommended powders are approved for use in M193 production. The suggested "None Fire/All Fire" primer tolerance of 12 to 48 inch-ounces is also included in the technical data package, despite Colt's transition to a lighter firing pin.

The Army begins issue of XM16E1 rifles. CONARC and the Combat Developments Command each deny responsibility for developing related training materials.

Colt unveils their "CAR-15 5.56mm Military Weapons System" to Army brass, including General Wheeler. The projected CAR-15 family includes a pair of AR15-HBAR light machineguns (the other magazine-fed M1 and the belt-fed M2), a 15" barreled carbine, a 10" barreled SMG, and a stripped down "survival rifle" for aircrews. The earliest prototypes of the CAR-15 SMG and carbine use cut-down M16 triangular forearms and buttstocks. As an added feature, the chopped buttstock of the SMG has a latch recessed in the buttplate, which allows the buttstock to be extended or retracted. These models retain the early AR15 Model 01's open flashhiders. Colt also introduces the belt-fed "Light Machine Gun 5.56mm CMG-1." However, the CGL-4 40mm grenade launcher, designed Robert E. Roy and Karl R. Lewis, attracts the most favorable attention, particularly from General Wheeler. This official interest starts the ball rolling again for an add-on grenade launcher for the XM16E1, and the Colt CGL-4 is soon pitted against a launcher from the Ford Motor Company and another from Springfield Armory.

June: The first documented incidents of case head separations and rim pull-through are recorded.

August: Remington delivers M193 cartridges loaded with DuPont CR 8136. Testing at Colt results in lower cyclic rates. The monthly acceptance waiver on maximum cyclic rate is rescinded.

September: The 5th Special Forces Airborne Group submit their first monthly field report on the XM16E1. They recommend that the fragile M11 cleaning rod be replaced and that a brush for cleaning the chamber and lug recesses be issued.

October: After Colt once again warns of the termination of rifle production, the option clause of contract "508" is invoked to include an additional 33,500 M16 rifles for the USAF, 240 for the Navy, and 82 for the Coast Guard.

Aberdeen's D&PS releases "Final Report of Comparison Test of Rifle, 5.56mm M16." While only based on a sample of five rifles, it notes that malfunctions tend to occur after 1,000rds are fired with cleaning and lubrication. It also suggests that special brushes be issued for cleaning the chamber, lug recesses, and the inside of the bolt carrier.

December: Remington and DuPont withdraw CR 8136 due to the inability to maintain pressure limits from lot to lot. Remington asks and is granted permission to finish their production run using WC846. XM16E1 acceptance testing at Colt continues with remaining stocks of CR 8136-loaded ammunition.

1965...

February: The TCC requests new sources of powder for the M193 cartridge from DuPont and Hercules. The submitted powders are EX 8208-4 and HPC-11, respectively.

120mm
10-30-2010, 12:20 PM
And finally:


March: The 173rd Airborne Division deploys to Vietnam with XM16E1 rifles.

May: William C. Davis is temporarily assigned to Colt as the "XM16E Engineering Project Manager." On Colt's request, Davis designs the 68 grain GX-6235 projectile. The projectile features a 10-caliber secant ogive. This bullet requires a 1-in-9" twist; however, it shows excessive fouling when tested in a 1-in-7" twist barrel.

May-June: Colt's supply of CR 8136-loaded ammunition runs out. Acceptance testing continues with WC846 loaded cartridges. As result, Colt requests reinstatement of the maximum cyclic rate wavier. The TCC refuses. In response, Colt suspends production of the XM16E1. M16 production for the USAF continues.

June: Olin declines to submit a new powder.

In the report "Study of Current Primer-Sensitivity Criteria for 5.56MM Ammunition," Frankford Arsenal notes that the restrictive primer sensitivity requirements are having the predicted results, causing high rejection rates of primer lots by manufacturers.

July: Commander of US Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (MACV), General William Westmoreland asks Army Material Command to examine the issues necessary to issue M16/XM16E1 rifles to all US troops in Vietnam.

The USAF orders an additional 36,682 M16 rifles.

August: Reports of the XM16E1 bolt and bolt carrier seizing begin to surface from Vietnam.

September: C.E. Schindler releases a report titled "Investigation of Alternate Propellants For Use in 5.56mm Ball and Tracer Ammunition." DuPont's EX 8208-4 is shown to have moderate fouling, but records higher gas port pressures than WC846. Hercules HPC-11 shows the least visible fouling, but further examination shows that heavy fouling has constricted the gas tube. The report recommends that EX 8208-4 be approved for use in M193 Ball and M196 tracer cartridges, that CR 8136 and IMR 4475 be withdrawn, and that Hercules and Olin reduce the fouling characteristics of their respective powders. However, unlike WC846, HPC-11 is not approved for current use.

October: Colt's military sales manager, James B. Hall, informs General Westmoreland's staff that Colt would stop producing XM16E1 rifles in January if no further orders were made.

At Colt, William C. Davis releases the report "Effect of Ammunition Variables on Acceptance testing of XM16E1 Rifles." It notes that half of the XM16E1s accepted with CR 8136-loaded cartridges would fail when tested with WC846-loaded cartridges. It is suggested that the maximum acceptable cyclic rate might need to be raised as high as 1,000rpm. It is also noted that bolt failures and malfunctions are more likely to occur at higher cyclic rates.

December: Bypassing Army chain of command, Westmoreland uses USAF communication assets to contact Senator Russell, Chairman of the Armed Services Committee. Westmoreland requests an additional 100,000 XM16E1 rifles. After Sen. Russell applies pressure on Secretary McNamara, a letter contract for the requested rifles is placed with Colt.

Initial testing in the Small Arms Weapon Systems (SAWS) trials also indicates that XM16E1 rifles are more likely to foul, exhibit high cyclic rates, and suffer more malfunctions as a result when using cartridges loaded with WC846 versus CR 8136.

1966...

Federal begins to offer a 68 grain 5.56mm Ball cartridge.

General Electric designs a tungsten core 5.56mm AP bullet for ArmaLite. FN also produces a tungsten core AP projectile; the cartridge is later designated the P96.

January: Colt presents the TCC with Foster Sturtevant's latest development: the "Buffer Assembly Having a Plurality of Inertial Masses Acting in Delayed Sequence to Oppose Bolt Rebound". While intended primarily to prevent light strike misfires due to bolt bounce in automatic fire, Sturtevant's new buffer unwittingly saves the day on a second front. Since the new buffer weighs roughly three times more than Stoner's original design, it reduces the overall cyclic rate to acceptable levels.

Procurement is authorized for 2,050 CAR-15 "Submachine guns."

The Army's CDC establishes a requirement for 30 round magazines. Ideally, all future production M16-type rifles will come equipped with these. However, Colt has difficulties with their first few designs. Made with a continuous curve, the magazines would not fit properly in some mag wells given the machining tolerances in the lower receiver. (The current straight-then-curved 30 round mag design will not be ready for production until late 1968/early 1969.)

February: The requirement for the Colt CAR-15 "Commando" is increased by 765.

April: In a document titled "Improved Performance of Ammunition for the M16 Rifle," G.A. Gustafson recommends that the 68 grain .224" homologue to the .30 M1 Ball be revived for use in the 5.56mm cartridge. Gustafson suggests that 50,000 bullets of this design be purchased from Sierra for constructing test ammunition. He also recommends using test rifles with both 1-in-12" and 1-in-9" twist barrels. (At the time, Gustafson is assigned to Aberdeen's Test Analysis and Operations Office.)

June: Contract DAAF03-66-C-0018 is signed with Colt for 403,905 XM16E1 rifles. The Army will receive 213,405 (including Westmoreland's request for 100,000). Another 114,000 are earmarked for Military Assistance for the South Vietnamese, and the final 76,500 will go to the USMC. The contract will be amended 256 times before it is complete. One of the first is for an additional 15,372 rifles for the USMC.

Separate contracts for 2,815 Colt Commandos and 19,236 XM148 grenade launchers are also signed.

M193 and M196 cartridges loaded with DuPont EX 8208-4 begin to arrive for issue.

During the Infantry Rifle Unit Study (IRUS), an XM16E1 suffers a casehead rupture, extensively damaging the rifle. This is the third incident recorded during the history of the M16/XM16E1 program. Use of Federal Cartridge lot FC1830 and FC1831 is suspended. Case hardness tolerances are suspected.

July: A casehead rupture damages a fourth rifle, this time with Remington ammo (Lot No. 5189).

August: All US Army units in Vietnam have been issued the XM16E1.

September: The closed-end "birdcage" flash hider is approved to replace the open three-prong model. The latter was prone to snagging and breakage, and was also suspected in assisting the capillary movement of water into the bore.

Rock Island Arsenal releases the Preliminary Operation and Maintenance Manual (POMM 9-1005-294-14) for the "Submachine Gun 5.56mm, CAR-15." Colt introduces multiple improvements including a smaller telescoping stock/buffer assembly, redesigned round handguards, which were held in place with a wedge-shaped slip ring, and the "noise and flash suppressor." The suppressor incorporates multiple expansion chambers to slow and cool the propellant gases, thus reducing the muzzle blast from the short barrel. This is particularly important as safety certification was previously withheld due to the high sound levels recorded during testing at Aberdeen Proving Grounds. (However, the same device is later ruled to be a NFA-restricted "silencer" by the BATF.)

October: After widespread reports of stoppages and other malfunctions, General Westmoreland requests technical assistance. A team including Colonel Yount's assistant LTC Underwood, representatives from WECOM, and Colt are sent to Vietnam to investigate. A near total lack of maintenance and cleaning is blamed. Underwood is so appalled that he insists that Colonel Yount come to Vietnam to witness the conditions himself. Yount complies with the request. Colt's Robert Freemont is sent to Rock Island to examine rifles returned from Vietnam.

Colt reports to the TCC on the issue of reverting to 1-in-14" twist barrels. Colt indicates that existing rifle barrels already have a 10% rejection rate due to tested accuracy, despite meeting physical machining specs. Colt states that a change to the slower rate of twist would require relaxed accuracy standards.

November: The State Department's Office of Munitions Control approves the export sale of 18,000 AR-15 and 2,300 AR-15 HBAR M1 by Colt to the Republic of Singapore. This creates a political firestorm when news of the sale becomes public. While Colt claimed that the export rifles would come from expanded production quotas, this not only angered those who thought these rifles should go to US troops, but also US allies with troops stationed in Vietnam. For instance, South Korean, Philippine, and Thai troops in South Vietnam were all armed with surplus M1 Garands.

General Electric's Chemical Materials Department proposes a disposable polymer-bodied magazine for the M16.

The ACS announces the Army's intent to adopt the XM16E1 for standardization and issue for all US troops stationed outside of Europe.

December: Colt begins equipping new production rifles with Sturtevant's improved buffer. Retrofit of older rifles will not be complete for nearly a year.

Frankford and Rock Island Arsenals report that they cannot find a cause of the reported "blow-ups." Only cartridges loaded with inappropriate powders (handgun or shotgun-type) caused the same level of damage during testing.

The final results of the Small Arms Weapon Systems (SAWS) program are released. While the XM16E1 rifles exhibit one of the highest malfunction rates of the rifles tested (10.6 per 1,000rds), it is deemed superior for Army use. The Stoner 63 is considered attractive, but the report concludes that it does not offer enough of an advantage to warrant current adoption.

Ken White
10-30-2010, 02:12 PM
Meh, we can "disagree" but I am right on reliability.I will point out that you posted three pages of fluff, none of which mentioned the results of the Troop Test -- really strange that, it was the most exhaustive test, running for almost six months using Joe instead of selected shooters (and overseers) and was the basis for Vance's recommendation to OSD which differed little from the recommendation submitted by Division to DA. It is perhaps notable the only time the world reliability appears is at this:
1959...

May: The final report of the CDEC trials, "Rifle Squad Armed with a Lightweight High-Velocity Rifle," is released. It projects that a 5-7 man squad armed with AR-15 rifles would have a higher number of hits and kills than the then current 11 man squad armed with M14 rifles. The report particularly praises the reliability of the tested AR-15 rifles, and suggests that a SCHV design such as the AR-15 or LWMR should be further developed as a replacement for the M14.While they lauded reliability, they also said it should be further developed. I think that equates to the Scots court verdict of 'Not Proven.'

Nor is it likely ever to be. We should be able to disagree on a subjective judgment on an issue that cannot really be proven due to skews of data and events provided by the vagaries of time and place much less ammunition lot differences and user capability and competence. :wry:

CDEC was a fan of the weapon but refused to take any responsibility for it after it was fielded. CONARC took the politically astute position it wasn't their job and thus they had no comment. Benning was not a fan (Benning was and is rarely a fan of much of anything with the word 'change' involved... :mad:). That may be why USAIS did such a poor job of fielding the training on the weapon.

That one bit of praise for reliability is also sort of overruled by the last paragraph quoted in your posts:
The final results of the Small Arms Weapon Systems (SAWS) program are released. While the XM16E1 rifles exhibit one of the highest malfunction rates of the rifles tested (10.6 per 1,000rds), it is deemed superior for Army use. The Stoner 63 is considered attractive, but the report concludes that it does not offer enough of an advantage to warrant current adoption.

All this is really sorta irrelevant but your posts above do illustrate the politicization, in and outside the Army, of the process -- which was my point.

SethB
10-30-2010, 06:15 PM
The modern rifles are very reliable. And cheaper than the M14, FAL, etc. by thousands of dollars.

They also accessorize more easily, and are significantly lighter.

I'd say that you'd have a hell of a time finding a better rifle COTS, and if you further developed it (as the DoD has refused to do for many years) you can improve on what already exists.

The M16A2, M16A4 and M4 all had their genesis in non-DoD projects. The Army in particular is disinterested in change. It took twenty years to upgrade the extractor spring buffer in the M4 because the bean counters didn't want to reduce the parts commonality between the rifles.

Metrics...

Pete
10-30-2010, 08:16 PM
"The Saga of the M16" by Dick Culver (Major, USMC, Ret) can be read at this link (http://www.jouster.com/sagaof16part1.html). One of Major Culver's last assignments in the Corps was running the Sniper School at Quantico.

SethB
10-30-2010, 11:30 PM
There are details in that story that are either wrong or overstated.

I don't doubt that the initial run of weapons didn't work well, but almost every part in the rifle was changed in some substantial way by 1970. The rifle today has a handful of parts that are the same as the initial runs.

This is simply a story of a rifle that was fielded too soon.

As for the complaints about the rim on the cartridge, those are quite valid. The rim should be thicker.

As it stands, I've run up to 3,500 rounds between cleanings before experiencing a malfunction.

Another thing to point out. When the barrel, gas system, spring and buffer were shortened the magazine was not upgraded. Using a modern magazine from Magpul or SAW allows the weapon to feed at cyclic rates that the old magazines can't touch.

The amount of design work that has been done in the last ten years (when I bought my first AR15) is incredible.

ETA: Here (http://www.bravocompanymfg.com/v/vspfiles/assets/images/filthy14_oct10.pdf) is some food for thought. The author is a retired USMC CW5 and NYPD cop. He keeps a very accurate gun book and photographs parts breakages and keeps a book of pictures that illustrate the common failings of the design.