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Norfolk 12-19-2007 04:13 AM

Infantry Unit Tactics, Tasks, Weapons, and Organization
 
Rex Brynen on the Platoon Weapons Thread made the eminently sensible observation that when we are looking at Squad, Section, and Platoon roles, weapons, and compositions, we should be considering the larger tactical circumstances in which they are operating. Here are Rex's proposals:

http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...1&postcount=32

Distiller 12-19-2007 06:04 AM

I think the allocation of heavier weapons is determined by logistics requirements, system costs and C2/massing.

Since it lacks oversight the squad should have only direct fire weapons (especially when using the German system) - GPMG, automatic rifle, IWs. I'm not sure about the use of UGLs here. Probably not in regular units.

The platoon can handle the light support weapons that are not always needed - RPG, MGL. Here weapons are still handled by just one man.

Company level adds 80mm mortar and man portable guided missile crews, esp light ATGMs.

Such a setup, btw, probably favours light IW (like MP7) as standard equipment, since the weapons crews can carry those in addition to their main weapons, can support the rifles once their heavy stuff is gone, and are already equipped for missions that do not require their special weapons. Up to company level every man should be able to handle every weapon.


On the issue of APC/IMV/MRAP and IFV weaponry, I'd say for APCs and pure IFVs anti-infantry weapons (30cal, 40mm grenade launcher, &c) only.

But then if you go towards cavalry fighting vehicles/light-to-medium-tanks - all based on IFVs - some 25/30mm autocannon/heavier ATGM combo-turrets, 120mm mortar turrets, 40/57mm autocannon turrets (I think a tank-installed Mk110 could be interesting), SHORAD turrets.

I'm not sure how far into MBT territory a cavalry fighting vehicle should go, but mounting a 120mm gun like on the CV90120 I think is over the top and might lead to wrong tactical utilization.

William F. Owen 12-19-2007 07:00 AM

My thoughts are as follows,

Company Weapons.

I can see some merit having a company mortar detachment of 2 tubes. To ease company log issues and to enable dismounted ops, Iíd stick with 60mm.

The company can probably also operate a Tactical UAV. It has the staff and C2 function that may well make that very useful.

The best fire support weapon for Platoons is, IMO, guided weapons like Javelin, Spike, or even an update of the old M47 Dragon.

APCs.

An essential piece of equipment which no infantry unit should be without, if required.
Need to carry 8 men, so as to get a useful Platoon load out of 4 vehicles.
Remote Weapons Stations are extremely useful, and if they can also fire the same guided weapon that the Platoon uses then that is also extremely useful.
I donít care if its wheeled or tracked as long as the mobility capability matches the mission requirement and the most commonly encountered threat, so the same goes for the levels of protection.

I think MICVs are better suited to reconnaissance, so that's a different role.

Distiller 12-19-2007 08:45 AM

Good point about the UAVs.
Didn't think about that while writing, though I'm usually an UAV guy ... :D
But I would not neccessarily integrate an UAV into a company, only give it a data receiver station. Assuming that we talk foot soldiers here only micro/mini-UAVs come into question - they are nice and developing fast, but their capabilities are quite limited so far. And I wouldn't integrate too many non-shooters in too low echelons, also because of ECM/ECCM issues and advanced homing-on-emitter ammo. Of course in the future we're not only talking UAVs, but also UGVs. UAV/UGVs I'd put higher up (battalion level plus), together with ISR assets, like SIGINT. And once they reach autonomy they will filter down through all the echelons, but I'd start with them at battalion level.


Guided missiles on platoon level is not realistic, too expensive. Esp since they are needed only for certain missions. And if organized in fire crews on a higher level they can be distributed downwards if needed, anyways.
Precision-attack capability for squad/platoon level could be realized by targeting capability for PGMMs.


Why only 60mm mortars? The Wehrmacht had quite good experience with the 3-men crew served sGrW34. A lot more punch than 60mm, I think it justifies the higher weight/less rounds ammo. Esp when combined with a MGL at platoon level. To save weapons weight use a short barrel. No need to reach out to 5000M+ in my opinion. How do you ID targets so far out?
(Even though I have to admit that the follow-on to sGrW34, Granatwerfer 37, was designed to reach out to 4500m+; but the reason for that might be non-tactical).


That brings up another question: So squads are seldom fighting beyond 200m. Meaning platoons neither. What should then be the reach of an infantry company? I think 2500 to 3000m is realistic. Opinion?

William F. Owen 12-19-2007 09:03 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Distiller (Post 35366)
Good point about the UAVs.

1. Didn't think about that while writing, though I'm usually an UAV guy ., but I'd start with them at battalion level.

2. Guided missiles on platoon level is not realistic, too expensive.

3. Why only 60mm mortars?

4. So squads are seldom fighting beyond 200m.

1. I'm happy with Coy. Gives the Coy Comd a view of each platoon objective and if the company is working away from the Battle Group, it still has a UAV capability. Also the UAV product gets fed to platoons very quickly. If the UAV is at BG level there is a whole new level of command for stuff to jam up in.

2. Most US Squads have Javelin and did have Dragon. Platoon seems ideal. Spike MR is so capable that it requires a whole new view of Platoon weapons.

3. Having carried 2 x 81mm mortar bombs across Germany, Canada, and Cyprus, I am not a fan unless they are vehicle mounted. Also 60mm mortar ammo can be used in light hand held mortars.

4. I don't think squads seldom fight beyond 200m, to the extent we should limit the capability to that other than to recognise the limit of IWs as concerns marksmanship. I'd want a platoon to hit out 1000m min and 2000m better. Javelin goes to 3,200m IIRC and

Distiller 12-19-2007 10:21 AM

@ #1: Hm. I see your point. But: Look here, an advanced system.
http://www.rafael.co.il/marketing/SI...ILES/7/617.pdf
The control station is big as a full-size fridge. No way you can haul that on your back.

@ #2: Since I'm not U.S. I didn't know. You have to be rich to place it on squad level.
The reason I would want to place a Spike-MR on company level, is that I don't want to grow the platoon into a mini-company.
And I mean, how many tanks will you encounter out there that made it through smart stand-off subammo >> fighterbombers >> fast-mover CAS >> a/t-helicopters >> smart artillery rounds, to finally wind up in front of your platoon? And for anti-structure jobs a RPG-style weapon or PGMM seems more cost effective to me.

@ #3: Didn't say it's fun :D. That's why using a MGL at platoon level.

@ #4: Ok, understood - in your platoon 60mm mortars and ATGMs would be capable of doing that.

William F. Owen 12-19-2007 12:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Distiller (Post 35373)
@ #1: Hm. I see your point. But: Look here, an advanced system.
http://www.rafael.co.il/marketing/SI...ILES/7/617.pdf
The control station is big as a full-size fridge. No way you can haul that on your back.

@ #2: Since I'm not U.S. I didn't know. You have to be rich to place it on squad level.
The reason I would want to place a Spike-MR on company level, is that I don't want to grow the platoon into a mini-company.
And I mean, how many tanks will you encounter out there that made it through smart stand-off subammo >> fighterbombers >> fast-mover CAS >> a/t-helicopters >> smart artillery rounds, to finally wind up in front of your platoon? And for anti-structure jobs a RPG-style weapon or PGMM seems more cost effective to me.

@ #3: Didn't say it's fun :D. That's why using a MGL at platoon level.

@ #4: Ok, understood - in your platoon 60mm mortars and ATGMs would be capable of doing that.

1. I know Skylite well. You can carry the control station but not easy. It's best integrated into the Coy CP vehicle. There are lots of these type of UAVs to choose from.

2. How is equipping 1 Fireteam in the Platoon with a Spike MR post and 3 missiles making it into a mini-Coy? Platoon Level Guided weapons are an very valid fire support options. Like I said, my cost preference would be for an updated M47 Dragon and even 9К115-2 Metis-M. -AT-7/13

3. Well if you have an M-32 with Medium Velocity 40mm, then OK, but if I have UGLs in the Fireteams, also with Medium velocity, that's duplication.

Distiller 12-19-2007 01:12 PM

@ 2: What is the notion behind giving your squad/platoon an ATGM, but leaving the 60mm mortar with the company?
If you group different effectors at a certain level, they should be akin in range and impact (RPG - MGL; mortar - ATGM).
And what do you do with those low echelon (platoon) 3-men special weapons shooter team if you don't need their special capability? A fourth mini-squad? Add one man to each existing squad (Then you might run into group-dynamic and transportation problems)? Or leave them at home? Group them one level higher and you have another full squad.
Plus I wouldn't be comfortable with having just one ATGM team out there.

@ 3: The M-32 is what I have in mind. I have no idea how useful/popular UGLs are. I just think that a single dedicated weapon with one characteristic is enough, not two tactics/ballistics/effects for one man. Plus the MGL shooter is probabaly better with his weapon than a stand-in grenadier.

William F. Owen 12-19-2007 01:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Distiller (Post 35395)
@ 2: What is the notion behind giving your squad/platoon an ATGM, but leaving the 60mm mortar with the company?
If you group different effectors at a certain level, they should be akin in range and impact (RPG - MGL; mortar - ATGM).

Assume your 60mm mortar has a 3,200m indirect range. That means two tubes can support any platoon within 2,300m of the base plate position.

ATGM are direct fire weapons so each platoon can have fire support best manifested by weapons teams with ATGMs. There is another aspect here, which is Coy Level Weapons detachments, need extra vehicles. Put the weapons capability in existing groups and you save a lot of bodies, fuel and cost, for good benefit.

Spike can be both direct and indirect, out to 4,000m. However this requires some pretty good C3I work, so not as simple as point and shoot as with Javelin or something similar.

Norfolk 12-19-2007 02:18 PM

I'm not clear that humping a Javelin at ~50 pounds is a real good idea at Platoon Level. Hauling around the M-2 version of the Carl Gustav at ~30 pounds was fun enough, not including additional ammo or the CG's kit; the M-3 version of the Carl Gustav was only ~20 pounds, but it was a Section-level weapon. A Javelin would be far worse, and a Spike MR not much better. 3-man ATGM crew will only be able to carry a handful of rounds (I just don't comprehend notions of a 2-man Javelin crew with just a pair of missiles - it is almost a case of why bother?); a 4-man crew should be able to carry a full load of 8 rounds per launcher.

Four ATGM Launchers, normally held at Company level might be tactically more practical and more effective anyway, particularly as the Company Commander would retain control and be able to coordinate the fires of his main AT capability. The ATGMs could work in pairs, which is the best tactical usage of them anyway. The UK version of Javelin has a range of 2,500 m and a Tripod and Surveillance System that is better than the dedicated surveillance systems presently in use by Surveillance Dets - big capability jump for Companies. As such, ATGMs held at Company should only be attached out to Platoons when and where the tactical circumstances make it appropriate, such as when close terrain or cover make massing at Coy level impracticle. In detaching Company-level weapons out to Platoons and lower, much of the effect of their massing at Company level is lost; efficiencies are poor returns for loss of fire effects.

The 8 cm mortar is much too heavy for Company level, and it is properly a Battalion-level weapon, and best employed there. Even the 5 cm/51 mm mortar was rather limited in its supply of ammunition, and the 60 mm mortar provides a dramatic leap in range and firepower over it, without imposing an increase in ammo burden that is unbearable at Coy or Platoon level. Only Armoured/Mechanized Infantry have ever been able to use the 8 cm/81 mm mortars at Company level more or less successfully, and they could not be attached out to dismounted Platoons when tactical circumstances required it.

Four 60 mm mortars, normally held at Coy level is best, and to be attached out to Platoons (especially in the Hand-Held Role with Light Baseplate) when tactical circumstances so dictate. With 4 Light Mortars at Coy level and a Mortar Fire Controller (MFC) organic to or attached, a full Mortar Group is available for Company Fire Tasks, and especially for on-the-spot Fire Missions that don't require making any requests to Battalion or above; the Company Commander or the Platoon or Section Commanders can request a full barrage right away and get an almost immediate response to fleeting but useful opportunities.

Medium Machine Guns: Again, 4 at Company level, normally operating in two groups of two guns each, with a Gun Controller, to provide the Company Commander with maximum ability to lay down and coordinate Machine Gun Fires for best effect. Attach MMGs out to Platoons when terrain and cover masks their fires at Company level. Nothing less than a 7.62 mm round; to be honest, I'd like a return to the full-power .30-06 (7.62x63 mm) round that many Machine Guns used to use (and were purposely designed to take full advantage of the .30-06's qualities) - effective out to ~2,700 m rather than 1,800 m.

Automatic Grenade Launchers: Once again, 4 at Company level, with a Gun Controller, and the same rules as before about when to attach out to Platoons, when terrain or cover mask their fires at Company level. The Chinese use a 35 mm AGL at Coy level with 6-15 round drum magazines, and the unloaded weapon weighs the same as an MMG. It likewise has an SF Role just as the MMG does, and its range goes from 600 m in the Light Role to 1, 750 m in the SF Role. The new 40 mm Medium-Power Grenade in Western Service would be an ideal round for a Western counterpart to the PLA's Type 87:

http://www.sinodefence.com/army/crew...enade_35mm.asp

A range of 800 m in the Light Role (complementary to the 800 m range of the MMG) is the demonstrated range of the 40 mm Medium Grenade; a Medium AGL based on such a round, with a Tripod for stabilization in the SF role, may achieve rather longer ranges. It would be best for such AGLs to be coordinated with the MMGs just as the Mk 19 GMG and the M-2 HMG are. MGs of course would take the FPF tasks as well as others, while the AGLs (for obvious reasons) would take on Anti-Armour tasks and certain other tasks beyond the FPF.
The M-32 is certainly a useful weapon, but it lacks versatility compared to the Type 87. If the Company possessed a weapon like the Type 87, the M-32 would be redundant; UGLs like the M-203 are quite adequate, and necessary, for dealing with point and area targets by the Squads and Sections, just as LMGs are similarly necessary in Squads and Sections.

Either the M-3 version of the Carl Gustav should be provided to each Squad and Section, or something lighter (~15 pounds) like the RPG should be, for ranges beyond 200 m. Weapons like LAW are useful for individual infantrymen (out to 200 m), but RPGs have proven worthy opponents in the Firefight; our Infantry should not have to face foes whose Squads and Sections use such weapons against us without us being able to respond at least in kind.

I will leave Battalion-level and IFVs for now.

William F. Owen 12-20-2007 12:42 AM

Javelin: - Is that heavy. Rounds are 35lbs approx and the CLU far lighter. The UK version has a tripod for extended surveillance. Yes it is not light, but look at the capability. The Coy commander merely has to have radio contact with the teams in the Platoons (All informed Coy Net?) to control AT fires. He does not need to physically control them. Spike, with 4,000m fibre optic guidance, changes all the rules, including the need for mortars

Restricted terrain, like urban, forest and jungle means that each Platoon has got to fend for itself to a certain extent. Actually getting a weapon to a point and time in space to attack a fleeting target, is not best enabled by grouping weapons at the Coy level, IMO.

I settled for 2 x 60mm at the Coy level, because you can get the both crews into 1 vehicle. I think what a Stryker Company does with mounted (81mm) and dismounted (60mm) mortars is interesting.

For MMG I'd just issues SF kits to the GPMG teams in the platoons.

AGLs -ala Mk19 or H&K GMG can't be man-packed in an effective way. On RWS on an APC they are excellent, but I'd steer clear of them for dismounted ops. - same is true for .50 guns as well.

There is something else about Coy level weapons. For training and all the other issues they need to grouped into a Coy Level Weapons platoon. - That's a huge increase in costs and manpower. Cost is an issue.

William F. Owen 12-20-2007 12:53 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Norfolk (Post 35404)
Nothing less than a 7.62 mm round; to be honest, I'd like a return to the full-power .30-06 (7.62x63 mm) round that many Machine Guns used to use (and were purposely designed to take full advantage of the .30-06's qualities) - effective out to ~2,700 m rather than 1,800 m.

Agreed. The other winner about 7.62mm link, is that if your vehicles have 7.62mm RWS, there is Sh*t loads of ammo swimming about. - which is why the Germans gave their new MICV a 5.56mm co-ax!!! :eek: - you'd expect better from the creators of the Panzer Grenadier myth!

7.62mm in the SF Role is effective far beyond 1,800m. That is just the distance the the SASC in the UK wrote the tables out to. I am trying to use a ballistics program to do a table out to 3,000m, but I am too thinly spread at the moment - and a set of tables out to 3,000m does exist, but I can't find a copy. It was written at the SF Gun Wing at Netheravon in the late 1980's.

SF Gun Wing was interesting. The Wing was also the Close Recce Wing. Same instructors, class rooms etc.

Norfolk 12-20-2007 02:31 AM

Wilf Owen:
Quote:

Javelin: - Is that heavy. Rounds are 35lbs approx and the CLU far lighter. The UK version has a tripod for extended surveillance. Yes it is not light, but look at the capability. The Coy commander merely has to have radio contact with the teams in the Platoons (All informed Coy Net?) to control AT fires. He does not need to physically control them. Spike, with 4,000m fibre optic guidance, changes all the rules, including the need for mortars

Restricted terrain, like urban, forest and jungle means that each Platoon has got to fend for itself to a certain extent. Actually getting a weapon to a point and time in space to attack a fleeting target, is not best enabled by grouping weapons at the Coy level, IMO.

I settled for 2 x 60mm at the Coy level, because you can get the both crews into 1 vehicle. I think what a Stryker Company does with mounted (81mm) and dismounted (60mm) mortars is interesting.

For MMG I'd just issues SF kits to the GPMG teams in the platoons.

AGLs -ala Mk19 or H&K GMG can't be man-packed in an effective way. On RWS on an APC they are excellent, but I'd steer clear of them for dismounted ops. - same is true for .50 guns as well.

There is something else about Coy level weapons. For training and all the other issues they need to grouped into a Coy Level Weapons platoon. - That's a huge increase in costs and manpower. Cost is an issue.
Yes, the Javelin is 49 lbs in total (not including Tripod and Surveillance System, then it's what, 66-70 lbs?). But you are so right about the sheer capability that it provides. I just doubt that it, and the other Heavy Weapons of the Infantry Company should be organic to each Infantry Platoon, especially considering the loss of some of their effects and the increased difficulty in supplying them, when dispersing them to the Platoons. I still suspect that the best place, normally, is for them to be at Company level, unless terrain and cover make that impracticle; then attach them out to the Platoons.

We used organic Weapons Dets in The RCR each with a GPMG, Carl G, and 60 mm Mortar, one Weapons Det in each Platoon and Coy HQ. There was a lot of pressure from inside to form Weapons Platoons at Coy level in order to both faciliate training and to achieve better coordination of fires. Those are my chief concerns there. Having four of each type of weapon allows you to displace by Sections, of course, while still keeping the enemy under fire, or to attach a single weapon of each type to each Platoon and Coy HQ when terrain and cover require such detachments.

I was not recommending Mk 19s or even the new H&K GMG at Coy level;) - those are clearly BN-level; I was using the example of the Chinese Type 87 which is similar to a GPMG in weight (12 kg in Light Role, 20 kg with Tripod in SF Role) to propose a similar weapon based on the 40 mm Medium Grenade (not the full-power round used by the Mk 19 et al.). I would not enjoy humping even the H&K GMG over the boons, never mind the old Mk 19.

I must admit that I find the vision you propose of Javelin Teams attached to each Platoon HQ with their Surveillance Systems and all networked together to the Coy OC, to be quite intriguing. That is a concept pregnant with possibilities.

Now, on to IFV armament: it has been proposed that autocannons are a most usefull and effective main armament for IFVs; by contrast, Ken White and I regard that concept with some suspicion. We contend that the main purpose of the IFV is to get a full-size Infantry Squad or Section as close to its objective as practical, and that pretty much anything that detracts from that should be avoided. Of course, we single out the autocannon as such a detractor, as the internal space that it requires takes up a substantial amount of room that otherwise would seat more infantry.

We have proposed that HMGs are best suited for such vehicles; and I have gone further to propose that such vehicles armed with either an HMG or an AGL (ideally an even mix of such vehicles in each Platoon) and perhaps an ATGM launcher slaved to a Surveillance System are the heaviest practical armament for such vehicles.

That said, there is a strong case to be made for the autocannon. First off, is its snap-shot, hard-kill capability, especially against anything short of an MBT head-on. Second, and this apparently was one of the reasons GEN William E. DePuy wanted the 25 mm Bushmaster on the Bradley MICV in the first place, was to provide a potent capability to suppress ATGM crews at range. Now, of course the 25 mm only has a practical range of ~2,000 m, but there are 30-40 mm guns that are claimed effective out to ~4,000 m. That might make them effective suppressive weapons against infantry firing subsonic ATGMs. Thoughts on this?

William F. Owen 12-20-2007 02:59 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Norfolk (Post 35496)
Wilf Owen:


1. I must admit that I find the vision you propose of Javelin Teams attached to each Platoon HQ with their Surveillance Systems and all networked together to the Coy OC, to be quite intriguing. That is a concept pregnant with possibilities.

2. : it has been proposed that autocannons are a most usefull and effective main armament for IFVs; by contrast, Ken White and I regard that concept with some suspicion. We contend that the main purpose of the IFV is to get a full-size Infantry Squad or Section as close to its objective as practical, and that pretty much anything that detracts from that should be avoided. Of course, we single out the autocannon as such a detractor, as the internal space that it requires takes up a substantial amount of room that otherwise would seat more infantry.

Thoughts on this?

1. Well it'll be a long and painful pregnancy! That being said, Jav is doing such good work in Helmand, that we may see a change!

2. Agreed. As I said, I think MICVs are Recce Vehicles, or strange hybrids designed by committed. It's possible to have a 35mm or 40mm RWS. Rafael mounted a 35mm GIAT (Nexter) cannon on an old UK FV-432, and no great loss in internal volume. It was very far from perfect but it proved a point. I'd settle for an APC with a combined remote 7.62mm/40mm HV and Javelin/Spike station.

Distiller 12-20-2007 09:53 AM

Couple of comments:

@ ATGM at platoon level: in a jungle or urban setting you don't need the range of a Javelin. Pure waste of money to use a USD75k+ weapon in a scenario when a RPG can do the job. And again: If you give squad leaders a precision targeting capability you have a lot of anti-tank/-structure capability w/o loading up lower formations with weight and weapons they might seldom need.

@ capabilities of Spike-MR: Very impressive, but no substite for the mortars.

@ MG 7.62 in lower formations: What about that FN Mk.48 at squad level? Doesn't have the range of a long-barrel GPMG, but a lot more punch than a Minimi. Coupled with a weapon like HK417 or the SCAT-HLB you'd have volume and precision.

@ using 35/40mm automatic grenade launchers for foot soldiers: I think for the weight a 60mm mortars delivers more capability. A thing like MGL-140 on platoon level looks more intersting to me.

@ my idea of a 80mm mortar at company level: I still like it, but the fact that you can haul only 50% of ammo compared to 60mm is a very strong point. Nevertheless one should look into the option of a short-barrel 80mm with a, say, 3.5kg grenade.

@ using 30mm+ to suppress ATGM crews: First you have to see them. Hard to do from a APC/IFV. When driving around in vehicles a system like AMOS/NEMOS seems more useful for the suppression job. (Besides hopefully having some kind of helicopter escort around, when you're in that situation -- not small war anymore, I guess).

And a question: What about the individual weapons of MG, mortar and missile teams? Nothing, or pistols, or MP7?

William F. Owen 12-20-2007 11:41 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Distiller (Post 35513)
Couple of comments:

@ ATGM at platoon level: in a jungle or urban setting you don't need the range of a Javelin. Pure waste of money to use a USD75k+ weapon in a scenario when a RPG can do the job.

Javelin was used a lot in Fallujah and in the US it is a Squad Weapon. Jungle is more problematic, but I don't see the need to have one weapon for Jungle and one for Urban. Urban can easily produce 2,000m + engagements, and some areas of jungle can produce long range shoots, especially mountains.

BTW, I live in Bangkok, so urban and jungle is something just outside my back door. ;)

Norfolk 12-20-2007 01:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Distiller (Post 35513)
Couple of comments:

@ ATGM at platoon level: in a jungle or urban setting you don't need the range of a Javelin. Pure waste of money to use a USD75k+ weapon in a scenario when a RPG can do the job. And again: If you give squad leaders a precision targeting capability you have a lot of anti-tank/-structure capability w/o loading up lower formations with weight and weapons they might seldom need.

@ capabilities of Spike-MR: Very impressive, but no substite for the mortars.

@ MG 7.62 in lower formations: What about that FN Mk.48 at squad level? Doesn't have the range of a long-barrel GPMG, but a lot more punch than a Minimi. Coupled with a weapon like HK417 or the SCAT-HLB you'd have volume and precision.

@ using 35/40mm automatic grenade launchers for foot soldiers: I think for the weight a 60mm mortars delivers more capability. A thing like MGL-140 on platoon level looks more intersting to me.

@ my idea of a 80mm mortar at company level: I still like it, but the fact that you can haul only 50% of ammo compared to 60mm is a very strong point. Nevertheless one should look into the option of a short-barrel 80mm with a, say, 3.5kg grenade.

@ using 30mm+ to suppress ATGM crews: First you have to see them. Hard to do from a APC/IFV. When driving around in vehicles a system like AMOS/NEMOS seems more useful for the suppression job. (Besides hopefully having some kind of helicopter escort around, when you're in that situation -- not small war anymore, I guess).

And a question: What about the individual weapons of MG, mortar and missile teams? Nothing, or pistols, or MP7?

Interesting points Distiller.:) I would recommend only Pistols for the Gunners themselves, but Carbines or Rifles for the other members of the Crew.

As to Mk 48: FN Herstal is now offering the Minimi in NATO 7.62, and I believe that, like the Mk 48, is has eliminated the Magazine feed to save weight (and improve reliability):

http://www.fnherstal.com/html/Index.htm

Go down to New MINIMI TM Lightweight Machine Gun 7.62x51mm and
then click on "click here". Very much agreed Distiller. Take the pain and convert to 7.62mm Minimis. Many, many of the 5.56's are too old or worn out and have to be reaplced anyway. And as you pointed out in an earlier post, 5.56 link is effectively a different ammo, unless you've got lots of time to play with it. A 7.62 Minimi would give Squads and Sections the ability to perform true Fire-and-Movement at Platoon Level, with Squads and Sections alternating with each other in those roles - which 5.56 really doesn't provide, not efffectively anyway, notionally perhaps. And you can punch through a lot of things with 7.62 that 5.56 isn't going to touch. Not to mention, with a 7.62 LMG, you don't need even the appearance of a DM at Squad or Section, you've got the range to do it yourself, and leave the DM's at Platoon level, where they properly belong most of the time anyway. .

I am a big proponent of Mortars, especially at Company and Platoon Level. The ability of a 60 mm Mortar to lay down smoke or suppress a Platoon's objective impresses me; the ability of 4 said Mortars to drop nasty Stonks on the enemy at opportune times impresses me even more. I do not see a medium-weight 35-40 mm AGL as a replacement for Mortars, but as a complement to all the other Company and PLatoon Heavy Weapons. AGLs can get into defilades in a way that MGs cannot (especially at shorter ranges) and they provide a Light Anti-Armour capability that spares the ATGMs for use against the MBTs; furthermore, the use of Medium AGLs lessens the pressure on the Mortars (and especially their ammo supply) for certain Fire Tasks, freeing up the Mortars to concentrate more on Smoke, Illumination, and of course, Stonks, when the opportunity arises.

I rather agree about Spike MR used in the pseudo-indirect fire role: it is a useful capability, but I see it as complementing, not partially replacing, Mortars.

Distiller 12-20-2007 02:00 PM

The Mk.48 is the 7.62x51 Minimi :D
http://www.smallarmsreview.com/pdf/jul03.pdf


I don't see a A/MGL as replacement for mortars either. I think at platoon level weapons should be handle-able by just one man w/o special preparations before firing (even if others carry the ammo). And I also agree on the need for indirect fire support at the lowest possible echelon. Furthermore I think UGLs are distractive and don't provide real firepower (esp as only one man in the team has it), and as I said before a dedicated A/MGL man is probabaly more provicient with his weapon than a UGL-part-time-grenadier.

You are familiar with the Norinco QLB06 I assume?
http://www.sinodefence.com/army/crewserved/qlb06.asp
An nice alternative to the MGL-140. Interesting stuff out of China. Wonder at what level they integrate that thing.

William F. Owen 12-20-2007 02:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Distiller (Post 35539)
The Mk.48 is the 7.62x51 Minimi :D
http://www.smallarmsreview.com/pdf/jul03.pdf

No it's not. The Mk48 looks quite different to the 7.62x51mm Minimi - and was built and developed by FN Herstal, not FN Manufacturing.

Norfolk 12-20-2007 02:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Distiller (Post 35539)
You are familiar with the Norinco QLB06 I assume?
http://www.sinodefence.com/army/crewserved/qlb06.asp
An nice alternative to the MGL-140. Interesting stuff out of China. Wonder at what level they integrate that thing.

Oh yes, Distiller, I am. I prefer the Type 87 because of its ability to be used in the SF Role. The QLB06 can only be used in the Light Role. The PLA uses the Type 87 at Company Level I think. The Type 88 5.8 mm LMG was found to be inadequate for Company-level work and pushed down to Platoon.


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