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Thread: Platoon Weapons

  1. #21
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    One should think that with current ops going on in Iraq & -stan it shouldn't be too difficult to equip a few units with non-standard calibers and simply find out!

    And isn't it, that a soldier's confidence in his weapon influences the way he uses it?

    Funny that "the other side" never seems to have gripes about what caliber to use, even as the composition and fire power of our side changes.

  2. #22
    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Distiller View Post
    One should think that with current ops going on in Iraq & -stan it shouldn't be too difficult to equip a few units with non-standard calibers and simply find out!

    And isn't it, that a soldier's confidence in his weapon influences the way he uses it?

    Funny that "the other side" never seems to have gripes about what caliber to use, even as the composition and fire power of our side changes.
    All the evidence suggests that soldiers confidence in their weapons is a product of the way they use it, and not the other way around as you suggest. EG:- They observe the effect of their weapon, and make a series of what can be flawed judgements

    The key is education. Take them out on the field firing range and show them, using acoustic and sensor based targets, what can and can't be done.
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    Council Member 120mm's Avatar
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    My initial, and lasting negative reaction is something I trust. We could deconstruct it, if you like, and approach it a different way.

    A soldier's IW is a confidence-building tool, and provides emotional security, as well as being a tool for fighting. Dismissing the soldiers' concerns based upon whatever trivia that can be gathered, scientific or not, is the "anti-leader" thing to do.

    We have lots of relevant data: WWII USSR and Korean War-era Chinese/North Korean forces made substantial use of very ballistically similar 7.62 x 25mm submachinegun rounds. And units equipped with light weapons like this, did pretty well combined with heavier support weapons. However, there is also lots of data which suggest the round was not an effective incapacitator.

    But here's some US Army reality for you:

    The rollout of the PDW will be flawed. Training will be flawed. Funds for the sensors and "acoustic targets" will not be produced, (And soldiers will not believe "sensors" anyway) and NCOs who do not believe in the PDW concept will run the training. And the soldier will rightfully decide that the PDW is a piece of crap only good for letting the bad guys know where he is, so they can come kill him. (Which will happen, just often enough to shatter whatever confidence you think can be built up around more lightly armed troops)

    I question the need to save weight by making the bullets smaller. History shows that "Army Leaders" will only make the soldier carry more crap, because they "don't have to carry heavy bullets anymore." Just look at how soldier loadouts went UP when changing from the M14 to the M16.

    I think your concept makes some assumptions about reality, which cannot be easily proven by arranging neat and simple "facts."

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    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 120mm View Post

    1. A soldier's IW is a confidence-building tool, and provides emotional security, as well as being a tool for fighting. Dismissing the soldiers' concerns based upon whatever trivia that can be gathered, scientific or not, is the "anti-leader" thing to do.

    2. We have lots of relevant data: WWII USSR and Korean War-era Chinese/North Korean forces made substantial use of very ballistically similar 7.62 x 25mm submachinegun rounds. And units equipped with light weapons like this, did pretty well combined with heavier support weapons. However, there is also lots of data which suggest the round was not an effective incapacitator.

    3. The rollout of the PDW will be flawed. Training will be flawed. Funds for the sensors and "acoustic targets" will not be produced, (And soldiers will not believe "sensors" anyway) and NCOs who do not believe in the PDW concept will run the training.

    4. I think your concept makes some assumptions about reality, which cannot be easily proven by arranging neat and simple "facts."
    Points 1 and 3. You are absolutely right. All your concerns are ones that I am both aware of and believe to be true.

    However these issues cannot be allowed negate any attempt at improvement. One of my prime motivations to write about what I do and to do presentations to HQs and conferences is to try and demonstrate that there is another way and it might be better. This is why real empirical evidence is so vital.

    Point 2. I am pretty familiar with that round, and am a fan of it. If you have real test data to show its terminal performance in some medium, then please let me know. What criteria are you judging incapacity against, being that it is a very relative term?

    Point 4. Are you saying that facts or a body of empirical evidence cannot change soldiers minds? EG: They cannot reason, because they believe in articles of faith that do not require proof.
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    Quote Originally Posted by William F. Owen View Post
    Point 4. Are you saying that facts or a body of empirical evidence cannot change soldiers minds? EG: They cannot reason, because they believe in articles of faith that do not require proof.
    Yes. Absolutely. To segue into another subforum, to the typical soldier, his/her IW is a "totem". And the IW system before the current one is a holy relic, without blemish. To hear soldiers speak of the M14 with reverance is amazing, for example, especially since the M14 had some serious drawbacks.

    Now, having said that, I can see a way to make your proposed system "work". I think the way the US Army rolled out the "Stryker" family of vehicles was instructive. They were isolated from the mainstream Army, and were inculcated with a sense of "specialness". By the time they hit Iraq in mid/late '03, they were "true believers".

    I am chagrined that you like the "mid-velocity, low-caliber/weight" carbine rounds. The ONLY thing they are even marginally competent at, imo, is piercing body armor, and it is hard to visualize a guerilla force making the mistake of using body armor, and even harder to imagine a "Fulda Gap" scenario in current, or mid-term future ops.

    I would propose your same system, only using lower speed, heavier projectiles instead of the lightweight, medium-speed projectiles. If you restrict your terminal range to 200m, you can manage the trajectory problem, I think. And, if your military forces SHOULD face an OPFOR wearing body armor, sabot rounds, or changing to a bottlenecked version of the main round wouldn't require replacing all the weapons, just the barrels, and possibly the magazines.

    Lightweight, high speed rounds do an awful job of penetrating mixed media barriers. Lightweight, medium speed rounds do a worse job. Even pistol caliber rounds, fired from a pistol are better at penetrating just about anything except body armor.

    http://www.theboxotruth.com/

    Of course, your "permanent wound channel" stats are really key, if the US Army is ever faced by a military force composed of ballistic gelatinous creatures. Wearing body armor, of course.

    I will admit to being biased in favor of heavier, slower rounds, due to digging a large variety of rounds out of once-living flesh of various sized animals.

  6. #26
    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 120mm View Post

    1. To hear soldiers speak of the M14 with reverance is amazing, for example, especially since the M14 had some serious drawbacks.

    2. Now, having said that, I can see a way to make your proposed system "work". I think the way the US Army rolled out the "Stryker" family of vehicles was instructive.

    3. I am chagrined that you like the "mid-velocity, low-caliber/weight" carbine rounds. The ONLY thing they are even marginally competent at, imo, is piercing body armor....

    4. Of course, your "permanent wound channel" stats are really key, if the US Army is ever faced by a military force composed of ballistic gelatinous creatures. Wearing body armor, of course.

    5. I will admit to being biased in favor of heavier, slower rounds, due to digging a large variety of rounds out of once-living flesh of various sized animals.
    1. Oh yes, and I grew up on the L1A1 SLR that attracted similar silliness.

    2. That is an excellent point. I am Stryker sceptic, but some of the theory that underpinned the concept was very sound - but generally remains hidden.

    3. Well my preference is actually for a "good-enough" round. Not an all around man-stopper that everyone seems to crave. Case telescoped 5.56mm maybe 50% lighter than the current round. Good enough, but not a mature technology right now. Being able to perforate body armour at range is characteristic which buys you more than one might suppose.

    4. If you can show me a better medium for assessing terminal effect than Gelatin, then I'm VERY interested to hear. If you have a round that can perforate 1.6mm of titanium sheet, (NOT CRISAT) backed by 30cm of correlated 10% Gelatin, at 200m, I submit you have an adequate IW round.

    5. I have had some long discussions with the military medicine community on this, and it has merit, except for the fact that animals do not suffer from suppression, and that incapacity in animals is comparatively easy to judge/measure, unlike humans.
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    - The job of the British Army out here is to kill or capture Communist Terrorists in Malaya.
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  7. #27
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    If I were back in the US, I'd be tempted to get a cheap carbine/pistol combo, sharing similar ammunition, and do some testing using full-bore and sabot ammunition.

    There are some decent carbine actions that claim to be able to have automatically adjusting gas systems, which would cycle multiple types and loadings of ammo.

  8. #28
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    Here is a link to illustrate the relative lack of effectiveness of the 5.7 x 28mm round.

    http://lightfighter.net/eve/forums/a...3621062102/p/1

    I would submit that instead of saboting a necked down 9mm round, why not just saboting a regular 9mm round and retaining the original barrel diameter? There is significant hype involving effectiveness of the PDW rounds on soft targets, but I'm not convinced.
    Last edited by 120mm; 12-18-2007 at 02:48 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 120mm View Post
    Here is a link to illustrate the relative lack of effectiveness of the 5.7 x 28mm round.

    http://lightfighter.net/eve/forums/a...3621062102/p/1

    I would submit that instead of saboting a necked down 9mm round, why not just saboting a regular 9mm round and retaining the original barrel diameter? There is significant hype involving effectiveness of the PDW rounds on soft targets, but I'm not convinced.
    I think the amount of testing NATO has done 5.7 and 4.6 is quite conclusive. I have all the PASGT and CRISAT performance data, as well as permanent wound channel performance. The only useful data absent seems to be autopsies.

    ...and fire from a handgun, both rounds suck. Stay with 9mm.
    Infinity Journal "I don't care if this works in practice. I want to see it work in theory!"

    - The job of the British Army out here is to kill or capture Communist Terrorists in Malaya.
    - If we can double the ratio of kills per contact, we will soon put an end to the shooting in Malaya.
    Sir Gerald Templer, foreword to the "Conduct of Anti-Terrorist Operations in Malaya," 1958 Edition

  10. #30
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    Default South Africa has a lot weapons laying about.

    Including a lot of 9mm stuff. I seem to recall reading an article not too long ago that said due to the weapon quantities and routine violence, Hospitals in the RSA treat a lot of gunshot wounds. Most patients walk in. Most were shot with 9mm rounds...

    From the 'Marine Rules of Combat:'

    "1. Bring a gun. Preferably, bring at least two guns. Bring all of your friends who have guns.
    . . .
    6. If you can choose what to bring to a gunfight, bring a long gun and a friend with a long gun.
    . . .
    24. Do not attend a gunfight with a handgun, the caliber of which does not start with a "4."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
    Including a lot of 9mm stuff. I seem to recall reading an article not too long ago that said due to the weapon quantities and routine violence, Hospitals in the RSA treat a lot of gunshot wounds. Most patients walk in. Most were shot with 9mm rounds...

    From the 'Marine Rules of Combat:'
    I was going to say, how many people who take a .40 cal come walking in and walking out of hospitals? Theres seem to be a noticeable difference between the nine milly and even the .40.

    I must say, I retain doubts about the 5.56, and especially in LMGs - effective suppression or not, I still want something that can reliably kill someone out to 800 m, not just keep their heads down. A 5.56 won't do that. Even granting that the 5.56 is an adequate killer out to 200 m (in an M-16, not an M-4), and you can carry plenty of ammo, anything beyond that still needs a substantially more potent round. Suppressing alone is not good enough; when you pull the trigger, you should be able to kill whoever you hit, not just suppress them; otherwise, you just end up having to kill them later during the assault - knife-fighting range, and that leads to a lot of battle losses.

    I'm inclined towards the 6.5 Grendel for carbines, rifles, and LMGs, but if LMGs are to retain 5.56 alongside present carbines and rifles, that can hurt your ability to kill (especially) and to suppress at longer ranges. The latter is particularly important if you have to shoot-in a Section or pair of Sections with Platoon weapons, as the 5.56 just does not have the reach of a 7.62, let alone the killing power at those ranges (200 m+).

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    Default A couple of questions...

    ... occur to me as I follow this thread (avidly, I must say, for a non-infantryman).

    First, what thoughts do people have on what support weapons should be grouped at the platoon level, what should be grouped at company, and what should be grouped at both (or at battalion)? There has been some discussion of this in passing both here and in the thread on squads/sections, but I've yet to see anyone fully articulate a logic for how one would best decide this.

    Second, can we really have a discussion of platoon weapons without more fully discussing APC/IFV issues? Here, I'm less interested in the perennial tracked vs wheeled and heavy versus light issues, and more on the optimal APC/IFV armament. Are 0.50 MGs enough? Should they mount 25/30mm cannon for punching through cover and providing some capability against light AFVs? What about ATGM mounts? (Of course, this also relates to light vs heavy, but let's try to leave that aside for now.)

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    The Hospital in Montgomery,Al. where I am one of the security managers is part of a three Hospital system. We have quite a few that walk in or drive in with handgun wounds. Not that uncommon at all. I was shot with a .44 caliber and didn't even know it for about an hour, true it was only a flesh wound but I was knocked off my feet and then slide about 6 feet downhill.

    First questions the Emergency doctors ask....How big is the bullet? and Where did it hit them? The ones that come in by ambulance are usually multiple gunshot wounds or large caliber wounds or hit in critical areas such as chest,stomach,head.

    A bigger round is better, but it is more about where you hit them and how many times you hit them.

    Real shooting with handguns!!http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature...&v=iJSNDofoOfg
    Last edited by slapout9; 12-19-2007 at 03:58 AM. Reason: add stuff

  14. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rex Brynen View Post
    .
    1. First, what thoughts do people have on what support weapons should be grouped at the platoon level, what should be grouped at company, and what should be grouped at both (or at battalion)?

    2. Second, can we really have a discussion of platoon weapons without more fully discussing APC/IFV issues? Here, I'm less interested in the perennial tracked vs wheeled and heavy versus light issues,
    1. This thread is about Platoon weapons, but excellent question.

    2. Another excellent point. Start another thread and I'll be in there like squirrel on cocaine!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Norfolk View Post

    I'm inclined towards the 6.5 Grendel for carbines, rifles, and LMGs, but if LMGs are to retain 5.56 alongside present carbines and rifles, that can hurt your ability to kill (especially) and to suppress at longer ranges. The latter is particularly important if you have to shoot-in a Section or pair of Sections with Platoon weapons, as the 5.56 just does not have the reach of a 7.62, let alone the killing power at those ranges (200 m+).
    IIRC, the PLA have a a 5.8mm round at the platoon level. They use a light bullet for IWs and a heavy round for MGs and Sniper rifles. 6.5 Grendel (and Grendel was chic according to the movie) has that possibility,

    BUT it will lead to an overall increase in carried weight for IWs. 300 rounds of 5.56 = 9lbs and 300 rounds of 6.5 = 10.8lbs. It may save weight across the platoon. I have still to crunch the numbers on that.

    I do not know how 6.5 compares to 5.56 for a 5-8 round burst dispersion at 25m. With more felt recoil, it probably has higher dispersion.
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    - The job of the British Army out here is to kill or capture Communist Terrorists in Malaya.
    - If we can double the ratio of kills per contact, we will soon put an end to the shooting in Malaya.
    Sir Gerald Templer, foreword to the "Conduct of Anti-Terrorist Operations in Malaya," 1958 Edition

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    Taking about calibers on the section/squad level: I find it interesting that the Japanese changed from their 6.5mm to 7.7mm (a .303 and .30-06 hybride) after their experiences in China, even though it was in widespread (and quite successful) use for more than 30 years.

    The Grendel sure is interesting for the section/squad organisation when using it in IW and LMG. But looking at the case profile - does it feed into a LMG w/o problems?

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    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Distiller View Post
    The Grendel sure is interesting for the section/squad organisation when using it in IW and LMG. But looking at the case profile - does it feed into a LMG w/o problems?
    Interesting point. Firstly there is no 6.5mm link being manufactured that I am aware of and I do not see FN or HK spending any NREs on developing or adapting MG designs until someone does. That leaves it in the hands of the likes of KAC.

    Do you need 6.5mm link? Well would anyone want to carry a 5.56mm LMG in a 6.5mm squad, and there is no point in having a 7.62mm GPMG in a 6.5mm squad. Sort of defeats the object of the exercise. The 144 grain 6.5mm round is more potent than NATO 7.62mm M80 according to one set of figures I have seen.

    IMO, a 5.56mm and 7.62mm mix is perfectly adequate.
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    Council Member 120mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by William F. Owen View Post
    The 144 grain 6.5mm round is more potent than NATO 7.62mm M80 according to one set of figures I have seen.
    And here is another interesting point: All the data I've seen on the new wunder-cartridges share the same characteristic: They uniformly compare apples to oranges: They compare a specialty cartridge, in a specialty role, against a general purpose, or specialty cartridge OUTSIDE of it's specialty role. What if, instead of buying an entirely new family of weapons, you just reworked already existing cartridges? A 7.62 round with similar bc and sectional density to the 6.5 round will be superior in every way, except weight and weapon weight. A more useful statistic would be to compare like characteristics of similar rounds and honestly accept the compromises in suboptimal solutions.

    And in reference to your earlier post, I reject utterly the utility of CRISAT. A round capable of penetrating well will do minimum damage to flesh, unless you are able to suspend the laws of physics. I have no ideas why the EUROs are so fascinated with poking tiny holes in body armor. (Actually, one idea just came to mind: I would suggest that the lack of a "gun culture" results in a form of "magical thinking" about firearms effectiveness. That is, to a large group of people who view firearms as distant, imaginary objects, having ANY gun creates a perception of vast power.)

    In general, rounds that create good trauma results are not good at penetrating armor, either, unless you scale them up. There is no free lunch, advertising hype notwithstanding.

    One more element to throw into the mix. Small rounds may weigh 1/2 to 1/3 as much as large rounds, but I would suggest that soldiers will use more than three times as many rounds to compensate for their lack of perceived power. Resulting in reduced combat effectiveness for no gain. A "Lite Foods" unintended consequence for combat soldiers, if you will.
    Last edited by Ken White; 12-20-2007 at 05:27 AM. Reason: Correct Quote box

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    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 120mm View Post

    1.) And in reference to your earlier post, I reject utterly the utility of CRISAT.

    2.) One more element to throw into the mix. Small rounds may weigh 1/2 to 1/3 as much as large rounds, but I would suggest that soldiers will use more than three times as many rounds to compensate for their lack of perceived power. Resulting in reduced combat effectiveness for no gain.
    1.) C.R.I.S.A.T = Collaborative Research Into Small Arms Technology. CRISAT is a research analogue based on the requirement that a small arms round has to be able to do more than merely create large wounds. Very useful if it can go through car doors for example, and it has to do it for quite low cost because armies buy millions and millions of rounds. To anyone who criticises CRISAT I say come up with a better test analogue.

    2.) How do soldiers perceive the power of a round, when only a very tiny proportion ever see their rounds hit a target? The highest rates of fire are used for suppression, where they can rarely, if ever, see an effect.

    In terms of gun culture it is interesting to note that the perceived lack of effectiveness of 5.56mm is a mostly a unique US issue. I have asked every Israeli, UK and even South African combat experienced soldier I have interviewed in the last three years, and none of them have said its an issue.
    Only one of the 14 SOG veterans I talked to ever raised it, and the IDF guys only pointed out that they liked 7.62mm for GPMGs because it went through walls better than 5.56mm SAWs - as did the US OIF guys I talked to.
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    "On the Terminal Effectiveness of Small-Arms Ammunition"

    The difficulty with achieving good terminal effectiveness with a PDW round have led some to argue that the whole concept is a waste of time: that everyone, regardless of role, should carry the standard rifle. The risk with this is that non-infantry soldiers, concerned with their primary roles, will stow the rifle somewhere out of the way, where it may not be available when required.
    http://www.quarry.nildram.co.uk/terminal.htm

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