FRES 2: The Revenge aka MIV

Back to the reason why the SLR didn’t fire automatic but some in the Falklands picked up FALs and why they SA80 does also fire automatic?

FAL might have been simply use and abuse what the enemy has if you feel it ups your firepower. It might also be the fact that Argentine FAL magazines worked properly in them. There are, I believe, slight differences in the magazine between S*R and the FAL which necessitates loading the FAL mag in a S*R in and particular fashion. Perhaps one wot was there can clarify.
Ref 5.56 , you carry more and the fully auto mode is useful if you need short bursts to keep heads down in that dash between doorways. You might not be able to hit much, but the oppo doesn't know that and the rounds bouncing off the window sills and pillars will encourage him to step aside. Also fully auto was the idea that some bloke hanging out his arrse might hit a target at 30m a la SMG rather than adopt and apply marksmanship principles. I don't believe it was for anything more.
 

jrwlynch

LE
Book Reviewer
my initial £0.005 worth:

Hmm. Well FRES remains an abortion so let's do a lap. Herewith my initial £0.005 worth:

1. In latter parts of WW1 Lewis gun teams had many ammunition carriers and if section was (IIRC) about 12 strong. Running low on ammunition in a firefight is not necessarily the fault of the weapon, per se. It may be that people are not carrying enough ammunition, or that there are not enough people to carry ammunition, or that they are unable to assault fast enough.

True, but then a WW1 infantry platoon had one (count it, one) Lewis gun - making it much easier to hand out a Lewis magazine per man as well as having the riflemen in the Lewis section carry multiple spares - to ensure plenty for the gun. (Also, the Lewis didn't have a changeable barrel, so its sustained rate of fire - while much better than a bolt-action rifle - was still constrained).

As you bring more weapons.. weight hits a limit and you end up either overloading the troops, or accepting less ammunition for your supporting firepower. Unlesss...

Of course, an 8 man section with a vehicle can let the wagon carry much of the weight burden. It may be that the FI proved not that GMPG was the wrong section weapon but that light role infantry are obsolete.

Well, the Army apparently decided some time ago that light infantry was the Truth, the Way and the Life and that real infantrymen advance to contact on foot carrying everything they're going to need, so that's the constraint to work with. (Indeed, haven't we just binned Warrior as a wasteful diversion from that aim?)

If you've got vehicles to carry a rifle section's GPMG ammunition... is it worth having the vehicle also carry the GPMG on a stabilised mount with good EO/IR optics, and letting the infantry be lighter-loaded and fleeter of foot while the vehicle provides supporting fire?

2. In the assault is the role of a squad automatic weapon to kill or to suppress? The former is tricky, particularly at night against a well dug in enemy as fall of shot hard to observe and you're shooting at a heat target. The latter just needs rounds close (typically within 1 m) and lots of them. (Aside, modelling suppression is difficult for obvious reasons, and some less obvious ones. e.g. if the targets ears are still ringing from a nearby HE round he won't hear the bullet passing, so it won't frighten him so it won't suppress. Perhaps 1B1T is a better belt than 4B1T?) I have the utmost respect for Jim Storr's work, but he is not always correct.

A massive problem with trying to model suppression is that the range of outcome is so different. Green, poorly-led troops will go to ground when they hear gunfire and be very difficult to get up and moving again. Experienced troops are meant to only react to effective enemy fire. And I recall early US AARs from Afghanistan in 2002-3, saying that the enthusiastic fighters they were facing in the first phases, basically ignored any bullets that didn't actually hit them.

A consistent issue is that hitting is better than missing, and that a near miss is better than rounds "in the general direction of the enemy", but beyond that you need to declare your assumptions very carefully.

4. M79 / M203 is relevant, provided of course one has been able to close to a range at which they are likely to be accurate. Cue discussion on merits of WP smoking a position (possibly with legally "unfortunate" side meffecte) or HE chucking some dirt about but little more if if doesn't slip between the overhead cover and the revettment.

Granted, but this is getting into (relatively) close ranges; my understanding of 40mm UGL-a-likes is that they're useful at SMG-like ranges (100m or so in practice) if you're trying to hit most practical targets rather than just make a small bang in the vague vicinity of the target.

5. Basic skill at arms is putting holes in Fig 11 on a range. Arguably that's supremely unrealistic training for anyone other than a sniper.

And I'd suggest we're not even very good at that introductory skill; let alone the more advanced issues of being able to still get rounds on or close to the target from a hasty fire position, while wearing a couple of dozen kilograms of kit, and trying to suck oxygen into your body through every available orifice after some serious exertion while sweating like a very sweaty thing.

Include the issue of "locating the enemy" as well, and... well...

6. When outside of M79/M203/whatever range belt fed MG are about all a dismounted fire team / section has that might generate supression enough for them to advance. (The same is true if it was mounted in Boxer).

Flicking back to your #1, neither Lewis nor Bren were belt-fed, yet we seemed able to do a decent amount of advancing when using them as section / platoon fire support.

A commentary on the problems we dug ourselves into, appeared in BAR back in 2010...

 

Cynical

LE
Book Reviewer
Flicking back to your #1, neither Lewis nor Bren were belt-fed, yet we seemed able to do a decent amount of advancing when using them as section / platoon fire support.
Indeed, but with levels of artillery support that simply can't be imagined. And it didn't always go well.

Which begs the question as to why the Army is so addicted to dismounted infantry...
 

rampant

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Indeed, but with levels of artillery support that simply can't be imagined. And it didn't always go well.

Which begs the question as to why the Army is so addicted to dismounted infantry...

Cheap and flexible, but mainly Cheap
 

rampant

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Flexible in that there are so many ways they can die?

Can't get much past you...



well maybe a Russian Armoured Division, but still
 

jrwlynch

LE
Book Reviewer
Indeed, but with levels of artillery support that simply can't be imagined. And it didn't always go well.

To be honest, when was the last time we had serious successes for the infantry? I don't doubt the effort put in by the troops at unit level.... but where have the results been?

Which begs the question as to why the Army is so addicted to dismounted infantry...

Cheap, and a way to keep more battalions (i.e. more cap badges) and more notional numbers without much investment in expensive equipment like fighting vehicles. And of course more battalions mean more command roles...

The RN version was the colonial fleet that had accreted through the Victorian era, until Mad Jackie Fisher took an axe to it around the turn of the century; binning lots of old vessels as "too weak to fight and too slow to run away" to free up money and manpower for a more modern fleet of dreadnoughts, destroyers, and submarines (all worryingly novel innovations that had Fisher condemned as a subversive lunatic...)
 
Back to the reason why the SLR didn’t fire automatic but some in the Falklands picked up FALs and why they SA80 does also fire automatic?
Indeed.

Automatic fire certainly makes the firer feel better, but that's kinda unimportant.

Real issue is whether the target feels less enthusiastic.

Single shots will do the job, if they're aimed right

Missing repeatedly, by more than a metre, on the other hand, is an encouragement.
 
To be honest, when was the last time we had serious successes for the infantry? I don't doubt the effort put in by the troops at unit level.... but where have the results been?



Cheap, and a way to keep more battalions (i.e. more cap badges) and more notional numbers without much investment in expensive equipment like fighting vehicles. And of course more battalions mean more command roles...
I suspect the present configuration of the British army had to do with defence and foreign policy being based around the idea that future wars would be colonial punitive expeditions meted out by the RAF and RN followed up by colonial policing actions conducted by the army. If that's what you are doing then light infantry, and as many of them as possible, are a logical conclusion.

The RN version was the colonial fleet that had accreted through the Victorian era, until Mad Jackie Fisher took an axe to it around the turn of the century; binning lots of old vessels as "too weak to fight and too slow to run away" to free up money and manpower for a more modern fleet of dreadnoughts, destroyers, and submarines (all worryingly novel innovations that had Fisher condemned as a subversive lunatic...)
And the army version of that was that before the RN did any such thing the army had completely overhauled itself and pulled in garrisons from the colonies and dominions.

The RN was overhauled under Fisher because there was a clearly defined enemy in the form of Germany. Absent that, there was no need or justification.


In the present day a heavy focus on infantry made sense in the context of the political decision to fight long running, manpower hungry wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The recent focus on being prepared to fight Russia appears to mainly be a reaction to having had unpleasant experiences in Afghanistan and Iraq and a desire to never do such a thing again. Therefore everyone is running back to what they felt more comfortable with, which is the Cold War.


Some people posting on this thread are of the opinion that the upper echelons of the British army "don't understand equipment" (to paraphrase things). However, it is pretty hard to maintain that there is no desire to buy new equipment while simultaneously decrying how much money is being wasted in the process of attempting to buy new armour. You can't have it both ways.

With respect to procurement, the actual problem is the means used to conduct procurement. Needs have been identified and procurement projects initiated. Money has been justified and allocated. The problem is in the management of the actual delivery, and that is not something that I have seen discussed in any detail on this or any other thread on this site. There has been lots of rage and scorn expressed, but not much in the way of inside knowledge of the current process in any of the troubled programs.

I started writing a long bit here explaining why projects tend to fail, based on my own observations in civilian industry. I erased that though, as I don't know what parts of that would apply to the situation we are talking about.

If I had to speculate though, I would start looking at whether all the people who had the technical knowledge and the experience to manage projects of this nature were all gotten rid of ten or fifteen years ago in an orgy of cutting of "overheads" and whether things have since then been devolved upon a combination of reluctant amateurs and powerpoint jockeys.
 

Cynical

LE
Book Reviewer
policing actions conducted by the army. If that's what you are doing then light infantry, and as many of them as possible, are a logical conclusion.
Except of course the policing action in the (relatively) benign environment of NI still required vehicles, and those vehicles had to become increasingly armoured. Landrover to macralon (i.e. Snatch) to APV (armoured patrol vehicles) in Belfast and Londonderry.
And of course Crossmaglen was entirely dependent on helicopters for log and movement from the early 1980s due to IED threat.

For sure keeping extra Bns in the hope of reconstituting them if, as and when government got its act together post austerity was part of it.
 
To be honest, when was the last time we had serious successes for the infantry? I don't doubt the effort put in by the troops at unit level.... but where have the results been?



Cheap, and a way to keep more battalions (i.e. more cap badges) and more notional numbers without much investment in expensive equipment like fighting vehicles. And of course more battalions mean more command roles...

The RN version was the colonial fleet that had accreted through the Victorian era, until Mad Jackie Fisher took an axe to it around the turn of the century; binning lots of old vessels as "too weak to fight and too slow to run away" to free up money and manpower for a more modern fleet of dreadnoughts, destroyers, and submarines (all worryingly novel innovations that had Fisher condemned as a subversive lunatic...)
Your highlighting of Fisher is an astute observation. Though, that was fine, when you had the resources to properly plan out a new fleet. But post world war 1, we scrapped properly resourced planning for cost reasons and ended up with an unbalanced fleet for WW2, with global commitments.

The Infantry by itself is the army equivalent of the 'Navy Cruiser' (either the Frigate in Nelson's Time, or the 6-8 Inch variety in the two big wars). They're can go anywhere and do almost any mission, but when it comes to the battle they're need the heavy units and our modern rules of engagement have outlawed war in terms of killing people by accident.

I think your harsh on the Infantry. The rules of engagement have most affected the infantry way of war and their mobility in a hostile environment is curtailed and their support is restricted, with missions that have no clearly defined objective. They're are more like pawns today, than they're were at any time in history.
 
I suspect the present configuration of the British army had to do with defence and foreign policy being based around the idea that future wars would be colonial punitive expeditions meted out by the RAF and RN followed up by colonial policing actions conducted by the army. If that's what you are doing then light infantry, and as many of them as possible, are a logical conclusion.


And the army version of that was that before the RN did any such thing the army had completely overhauled itself and pulled in garrisons from the colonies and dominions.

The RN was overhauled under Fisher because there was a clearly defined enemy in the form of Germany. Absent that, there was no need or justification.


In the present day a heavy focus on infantry made sense in the context of the political decision to fight long running, manpower hungry wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The recent focus on being prepared to fight Russia appears to mainly be a reaction to having had unpleasant experiences in Afghanistan and Iraq and a desire to never do such a thing again. Therefore everyone is running back to what they felt more comfortable with, which is the Cold War.


Some people posting on this thread are of the opinion that the upper echelons of the British army "don't understand equipment" (to paraphrase things). However, it is pretty hard to maintain that there is no desire to buy new equipment while simultaneously decrying how much money is being wasted in the process of attempting to buy new armour. You can't have it both ways.

With respect to procurement, the actual problem is the means used to conduct procurement. Needs have been identified and procurement projects initiated. Money has been justified and allocated. The problem is in the management of the actual delivery, and that is not something that I have seen discussed in any detail on this or any other thread on this site. There has been lots of rage and scorn expressed, but not much in the way of inside knowledge of the current process in any of the troubled programs.

I started writing a long bit here explaining why projects tend to fail, based on my own observations in civilian industry. I erased that though, as I don't know what parts of that would apply to the situation we are talking about.

If I had to speculate though, I would start looking at whether all the people who had the technical knowledge and the experience to manage projects of this nature were all gotten rid of ten or fifteen years ago in an orgy of cutting of "overheads" and whether things have since then been devolved upon a combination of reluctant amateurs and powerpoint jockeys.
Ref the last bit, Rubbish, I have the slides to prove it...
 

rampant

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Your highlighting of Fisher is an astute observation. Though, that was fine, when you had the resources to properly plan out a new fleet. But post world war 1, we scrapped properly resourced planning for cost reasons and ended up with an unbalanced fleet for WW2, with global commitments.

The Infantry by itself is the army equivalent of the 'Navy Cruiser' (either the Frigate in Nelson's Time, or the 6-8 Inch variety in the two big wars). They're can go anywhere and do almost any mission, but when it comes to the battle they're need the heavy units and our modern rules of engagement have outlawed war in terms of killing people by accident.

I think your harsh on the Infantry. The rules of engagement have most affected the infantry way of war and their mobility in a hostile environment is curtailed and their support is restricted, with missions that have no clearly defined objective. They're are more like pawns today, than they're were at any time in history.

In what way would you say the RN was unbalanced at the outbreak of the war?
 
In what way would you say the RN was unbalanced at the outbreak of the war?

No doubt this is where the the RN just built capital ships and scrapped escorts after 1918 fallacy gets trotted out.

If we count noses and allowing for the demobilisation of the RN post war then Escorts are an increasing proportion of the fleet from 1920ish onwards at the expense of capital ships.
A case could possibly be made for an excessive number of cruisers - but I would counter that with - a) Escort destroyers couldnt really conduct long patrols like modern escorts do and B) the RN used cruisers instead of big gun destroyers to lead groups.

Once war broke out it was of course escort numbers that needed increasing rapidly - but since you cannot have everything in peacetime and they are quicker to build - that again is a logical decision, not withstanding of course that RN planning didnt account for the basing of Uboats in the Atlantic** which increased their time on station and the resources needed to counter them.


**Again perfectly logical - nobody could forsee Frances collapse
 
In what way would you say the RN was unbalanced at the outbreak of the war?
Have a look at the age of the Capital Ships we entered the war and it was a mixed bag of Great War Capital ships some modernised and more unmodernised, with all the known problems of those designs and entirely reliant on colonial basing rather than fleet replenishment.

For the newer ships we went for numbers and a decision to build 6 inch cruisers I think was actually a good idea because the politicians demanded global reach and an oversized destroyer is better than nothing. Lacking decent carriers, a modernized fleet air arm and a moribund coastal command left the navy to fight the first two years of the war with great war equipment and I wasn't trying to besmirch the fighting reputation they're built up.

My point was simply that 'unbalanced' comes from compromise and was made in relation to the 'Infantry' who have allowed themselves to be wholly compromised, because rules of engagement affect them more than any other arm or service.
 
For the newer ships we went for numbers and a decision to build 6 inch cruisers I think was actually a good idea because the politicians demanded global reach and an oversized destroyer is better than nothing.

Rather unfair view of the 1930s cruisers I feel - Did sterling work - far more capable than the over gunned destroyers others built and unlike some others actually did what they said on the tin.

Likewise Destroyers - Every nation produced destroyers that were better than the RNs at something - so top trumps wise RN destroyers lose - on the other hand they were (deficiences in early war AA aside) good enough at everything with good seakeeping and robust construction whilst cheap enough to be built in numbers.


Lacking decent carriers,

Again unfair - Firstly when comparing wing sizes its worth noting 1940 RN doesnt use deck parking wheras 1941 RN does.
Quite sensible when in the North sea - the chances are that equates to lost aircraft. Move to the pacific and RN wings also grew in size.

It has to be remembered that Everything in the water pre 1940 has been concieved in a world without radar as such for the RN combat was likely to take place at shorter ranges - and inevitably closer to land- the ability to find and strike the enemy was more constrained and thus carriers were going to get hit so were designed with more emphasis on survivability at the expense of capacity.



US and Jap ships were designed around long engagements - because the Pacific enabled this to be the norm - the introduction of radar means they are optimised to exploit this -

a modernized fleet air arm and a moribund coastal command

Some of the issues viz fighters can be explained by the prevailing environmental conditions ie 2 seats long range main role knock down enemy recce before it finds the fleet.

As for Coastal command Not sure I agree - It was in the process of modernising and had had a few false starts in aircraft types which compromised this. Im not sure moribund is a fair term

As for the 1st 2 years again the loss of france increases the pressure on the squadrons and its true that pressure may have been eased with additional aircraft diverted from bomber command* - but until the liberator comes on line there really is nothing that can loiter mid atlantic.

*But only if sent out as bombers to go looksee / frighten the U boats - If were going to actually equip them as MPA then thats going to take longer and realistically isnt going to happen until Wellingtons and stirlings are replaced by Lancs - which is pretty much what happenned
 

rampant

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Rather unfair view of the 1930s cruisers I feel - Did sterling work - far more capable than the over gunned destroyers others built and unlike some others actually did what they said on the tin.

Likewise Destroyers - Every nation produced destroyers that were better than the RNs at something - so top trumps wise RN destroyers lose - on the other hand they were (deficiences in early war AA aside) good enough at everything with good seakeeping and robust construction whilst cheap enough to be built in numbers.




Again unfair - Firstly when comparing wing sizes its worth noting 1940 RN doesnt use deck parking wheras 1941 RN does.
Quite sensible when in the North sea - the chances are that equates to lost aircraft. Move to the pacific and RN wings also grew in size.

It has to be remembered that Everything in the water pre 1940 has been concieved in a world without radar as such for the RN combat was likely to take place at shorter ranges - and inevitably closer to land- the ability to find and strike the enemy was more constrained and thus carriers were going to get hit so were designed with more emphasis on survivability at the expense of capacity.



US and Jap ships were designed around long engagements - because the Pacific enabled this to be the norm - the introduction of radar means they are optimised to exploit this -



Some of the issues viz fighters can be explained by the prevailing environmental conditions ie 2 seats long range main role knock down enemy recce before it finds the fleet.

As for Coastal command Not sure I agree - It was in the process of modernising and had had a few false starts in aircraft types which compromised this. Im not sure moribund is a fair term

As for the 1st 2 years again the loss of france increases the pressure on the squadrons and its true that pressure may have been eased with additional aircraft diverted from bomber command* - but until the liberator comes on line there really is nothing that can loiter mid atlantic.

*But only if sent out as bombers to go looksee / frighten the U boats - If were going to actually equip them as MPA then thats going to take longer and realistically isnt going to happen until Wellingtons and stirlings are replaced by Lancs - which is pretty much what happenned

Throw in that for most of the War, but particularly at the start, the RN was the only Navy that could conduct Nightime Operations, and we had better Fighter Control than the USN - they did catch up rapidly though, no slouching there.

In terms of the Carrier fleet, the RN had more Carriers in the Water or in Build than the either the USN or IJN,
Carrier Comparison 1939.png


Aircraft development was behind the curve though, certainly looking at the Japanese (who were by far the most advanced in terms of training and aircraft [quality]). The common mistake that everyone makes is to compare the RN/FAA of 1939/40 to the USN of 1943/4. Things changed rapidly during those years and the Americans had the unhindered breathing space to develope and build, whereas we didn't. The technological gulf between Carrier Aircraft in the early years and the end of the war was huge.

It should also be noted that the RN had to fight a far wider and diverse range of conflict types in a far more dispersed and larger Warzone than any of her opponents (or indeed Allies), the Italians/Germans/Japanese were essential fighting Regional Conflicts whilst the RN was fighting in essentially 7 or 8 different theatres, which each theatre necessitating a different blend of assests, response and tactics. Whereas the USN, and the Axis Powers were fighting specific limited types of warfare, although on a massive scale. The RN was doing all the Naval Things.

Best taken to another thread though
 
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jrwlynch

LE
Book Reviewer
Likewise Destroyers - Every nation produced destroyers that were better than the RNs at something - so top trumps wise RN destroyers lose - on the other hand they were (deficiences in early war AA aside) good enough at everything with good seakeeping and robust construction whilst cheap enough to be built in numbers.

Actually, RN destroyers were better than most for AA defence early on. Much gets made of the lack of a properly dual-purpose gun, but actually experience indicated that (a) the main threat was dive-bombing, (b) without proximity fuzing, medium-calibre gunfire wasn't very effective against dive-bombers. Automatic weapons were better against dive-bombers, and in 1939-40 the UK had the 2pdr pom-pom and the Vickers .50", with 20mm Oerlikons appearing; the US had .50" machineguns, and very occasionally the dismal 1.1" AA; the Germans were using a single-shot, manually-loaded 37mm...

That we weren't great, doesn't mean anyone else was better.
 
...the AN-94 has a two-round burst mechanism that kicks 5.45 x 39MM ammunition out of the barrel at 1800 rounds per minute, meaning the second bullet has exited the muzzle before the recoil impulse from the first bullet has hit the firer's shoulder.

Except it's not really "fires at 1800rpm", it's more accurate to say "can fire two rounds, 30 milliseconds apart" - a very, very, fast double tap. As you say, the idea was to get the second round down the barrel and away, before the recoil takes the aim off target. The USA tried to achieve the same effect with Project SALVO; guess what weapon it lead to?

The limiting factor in all of this is human reaction time; about 200 to 250 milliseconds between "brain decides to pull trigger" and "finger moves on trigger" - you can't really improve on that.
 

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