LSW, LMG and 60mm to go

It's not a burden! When you are blessed with the tender loving care of 'The General' and it's little brass passengers you are merely transporting it and the link to a release point where it transforms the link into noisy & flashy high velocity bundles of '**** off' that merrily whizzes towards the enemy and all of the enemies belongings. Sometimes you get to sit on top of hills and a stream of happy souls bring you boxes or belts of link so you can spread the love towards more of the enemy :)
This I like to hear . always pleased when someone loves their job :-D
 
The LSW was never taught as a marksman weapon being told you can't use the bipod because of its a rifle apwt was annoying. trying to use it as a machine gun it would overheat.
To my mind it was neither beast nor fowl . Still think it should be kept in the system there could be times when it is useful
 

Cutaway

LE
Kit Reviewer
The South African 60mm is in use here in Ireland but some of it's bombs showed an annoying tendency to shed the tail fins (the whole lot) just after the bomb had left the barrel, so the bomb would go for a wander instead of going where it expected to go. In an Army where the original 60mm Brandt was involved in several fatal accidents in it's time, this tends to make the users a bit nervous.
Which rds are you using, and what are the dates ?
 
It's not a burden! When you are blessed with the tender loving care of 'The General' and it's little brass passengers you are merely transporting it and the link to a release point where it transforms the link into noisy & flashy high velocity bundles of '**** off' that merrily whizzes towards the enemy and all of the enemies belongings. Sometimes you get to sit on top of hills and a stream of happy souls bring you boxes or belts of link so you can spread the love towards more of the enemy :)
Another question @CC_TA Do you use the General alone or do you have a No. 2 as an ammo bearer these days to help you spread the joy ?
 

Cutaway

LE
Kit Reviewer
Vice the LSW. Good weapon for what it was designed for.
I'd have said it was an utterly kak item in the rĂ´le for which it was designed.

There again perhaps split groups, overheating and tensioned barrels are your thing.
 

jrwlynch

LE
Book Reviewer
But a GPMG can put more holes in more things than the other systems mentioned and it's loud enough to drown out anyone telling you to stop when you're having fun. :)
Until you have to fire-and-manoeuvre carrying some of the 7.62mm link it's burning through. Or, doing dash-down-crawl-observe-sights-fire with a GPMG trailing linked rounds (that snag on everything) in undergrowth and trying to sort out belt changes while also skirmishing forwards or backwards.

Fantastic weapon for defensive and static warfare, not so good if you ever hope to close with the enemy. It's a platoon's support, not a personal weapon for someone in a rifle section.
 
Until you have to fire-and-manoeuvre carrying some of the 7.62mm link it's burning through. Or, doing dash-down-crawl-observe-sights-fire with a GPMG trailing linked rounds (that snag on everything) in undergrowth and trying to sort out belt changes while also skirmishing forwards or backwards.

Fantastic weapon for defensive and static warfare, not so good if you ever hope to close with the enemy. It's a platoon's support, not a personal weapon for someone in a rifle section.
Cough "Bren" cough...
 

Cutaway

LE
Kit Reviewer
Until you have to fire-and-manoeuvre carrying some of the 7.62mm link it's burning through. Or, doing dash-down-crawl-observe-sights-fire with a GPMG trailing linked rounds (that snag on everything) in undergrowth and trying to sort out belt changes while also skirmishing forwards or backwards.

Fantastic weapon for defensive and static warfare, not so good if you ever hope to close with the enemy. It's a platoon's support, not a personal weapon for someone in a rifle section.
Never used belt bags mounted on the wpn or link bandoliers ?
 
Until you have to fire-and-manoeuvre carrying some of the 7.62mm link it's burning through. Or, doing dash-down-crawl-observe-sights-fire with a GPMG trailing linked rounds (that snag on everything) in undergrowth and trying to sort out belt changes while also skirmishing forwards or backwards.

Fantastic weapon for defensive and static warfare, not so good if you ever hope to close with the enemy. It's a platoon's support, not a personal weapon for someone in a rifle section.
At section/fire team level we (NZ Army) have the 7.62 Minimi that is pretty light and flexible. Even with optics a 75-100 rd belt bag and NVE it is still a comfortable carry and crawl about with. We still have access to MAG 58/GPMG's should we need them i.e. defence or task specific as well as SFMG kit at Coy or Bn. We also have the DMW (same as the L119 but with a longer barrel and larger optic) which is a very good complementary system to either of the guns.
 
At section/fire team level we (NZ Army) have the 7.62 Minimi that is pretty light and flexible. Even with optics a 75-100 rd belt bag and NVE it is still a comfortable carry and crawl about with. We still have access to MAG 58/GPMG's should we need them i.e. defence or task specific as well as SFMG kit at Coy or Bn. We also have the DMW (same as the L119 but with a longer barrel and larger optic) which is a very good complementary system to either of the guns.
You've got an LMT-type direct impingement rifle as your standard weapon now, haven't you?
 
There's a US report (somewhere on DTIC, if I find it I'll link to it) where they investigated reports of barrel explosions in the M4 rifle, when SF were training.

On investigation, they found that if you run nine or ten magazines through an M4 in quick succession, using long bursts (because American SF, speshul, and thus unpunched by the Fun Police and every British DS in history) you can heat the barrel to the point where it bends and does just that; eventually, at white hot, rounds start exiting through the side of the by-now rather droopy barrel.

There was even video...
M4- Safe/Semi/Burst

M4A1- Safe/Semi/ Auto

US SOF use M4A1's like LMG's especially in Break Contact drills (''Aussie''/Center peel) this video gives an idea of the thinking of massive amount of rounds down range quickly and like the SASR in SVN who even removed flash suppressors and cut barrels down to make the weapons louder and also massive muzzle flashes



At Wanat a regular US Army unit used their M4's like belt feds and experienced failures. one NCO had gone through and entire basic load 210 rds in under 2 minutes. The Safe ROF is no more than 90 rds per minute to avoid cookoffs
 
You've got an LMT-type direct impingement rifle as your standard weapon now, haven't you?
Yup, MARS-L as the NZDF standard service rifle and the Infantry also have the DMW (similar to the L119 but with 20inch barrel, suppressor and Leupold 3-18X. We are also about to bring a 60mm into service with both short barrel commando and long barreled bi pod mounted versions.
 
Yup, MARS-L as the NZDF standard service rifle and the Infantry also have the DMW (similar to the L119 but with 20inch barrel, suppressor and Leupold 3-18X. We are also about to bring a 60mm into service with both short barrel commando and long barreled bi pod mounted versions.
Interesting. Is the MARS-L a decent rifle?
 
Most of the reasons for having the L86 is historical..

The L86 was the product of the last gasp of the UK small arms industry which was in process of being abandoned. Enfield was both being starved of resources and fattened up for sale. It was only ever capable of producing one basic design of firearm, with some variation. The L86 is a parts compatible version of the L85 with most of the expensive bits the same.

From a production perspective, both the L1A1 and GPMG fleets were knackered, although because of the drawdown of BAOR, there were more spare GPMG around in the stockpile. Also GPMG/MAG was still in production by FN. The replacement of the L1A1 was inevitable and the US (for other reasons) had changed calibre.. so a window of opportunity was going to occur in the 80s to change the "national rifle"...

Changing the "national rifle" is a big deal with lots at stake and many competing interests. Any cursory examination of history shows it is always a "tar baby", with even the AK going through years of grief until it is sorted out. The problem is how to fund the peak cost of replacing all the rifles and possibly machine guns in as short a time as possible, and if the calibre is to change, what to do with the ammo stockpile..

In the past, UK chickened out of doing both gun and ammo at the same time. The last time we really went for it was in the 1850s when we abandoned the Brown Bess for the P53 rifled muzzle loader. We were at the height of empire at the time, and the workshop of the world, and we screwed it up even then, having to convert all the muzzle loaders to breech loading a few years later. Ever since we have never contemplated changing both calibre and gun at the same time, fighting through both world wars on a mixture of gun types (ME/SMLE/P14/No 4) at the time.

Until, as it happens the 1980s, when as a result of lack of investment, political meddling and prevarication, we decided to do this as the last gasp of the British small arms industry..

We simply did not have the capability of producing a proper open bolt, belt fed light machine gun at the time, and the best we were going to get was an improved version of the rifle. To be honest, the ability of a 6mm type round to produce a proper MMG effect was always going to be a push, and the prospect of two main calibres at squad level brings huge logistical and sustainability problems. The choice was given and it was decided that the common calibre was more important than the MMG effect and hence the L85/L86 decision.

What should have happened was that the doctrine across the army was changed to reflect this, and the fact that you could not achieve the firepower of six/eight riflemen with an L86 accepted. It simply did not happen. Although the Infantry teaching did change to some extent, this was never promulgated across the rest of the Army which still hung on to its GPMG based behaviour.

Technically, it all comes down to physics.. the production of LMG, MMG, HMG performance is mostly down to mass. To fire lots of high energy, long range projectiles creates lots of heat. You need to manage this! Either you put in a heat exchanger (Vickers water jacket) or swap heavy barrels (BREN/MAG). You also need to fire from an open bolt to reduce cookoff and allow heat to dissipate. If you don't do this, then you have to accept a firing rate penalty. We did not do any of this with the L86 yet did not take account of the outcome...

The L86 is not a bad rifle.. it is probably one of the most accurate line 5.56 military rifles around. That said, it is not a machine gun and should never have been used as such. The fact that it was, is a testament to the professional ignorance of those in the skill at arms world who brought it into service. IMHO the words "Remember the L86" should be burned on the grave of the SASC...
 
What should have happened was that the doctrine across the army was changed to reflect this, and the fact that you could not achieve the firepower of six/eight riflemen with an L86 accepted. It simply did not happen. Although the Infantry teaching did change to some extent, this was never promulgated across the rest of the Army which still hung on to its GPMG based behaviour.
Not quite.

To be fair, the Army wasn't trying to replace a GPMG with an LSW - as I've pointed out before, it was trying to replace a single iron-sights GPMG with a pair of optic-sight LSW (the GPMG was then manned by a pair, and the No.2 on the gun is carrying binos to spot, while trying to keep it fed). In the days when the Gun Match at Bisley involved L4 pairs running alongside L7 pairs, you were barred from using single shot - because otherwise the L4 had an unfair advantage. Rapid single shots are more accurate than bursts. If you're delivering the same effect with two weapons, each of them heats up half as much.

As a design aim, you're attempting to replicate the effect of 50 (normal rate) or 100 (rapid rate) rounds per minute in burst of 3-5 rounds, using iron sights. In reality, probably only the first round of a burst is vaguely on target unless you've got an above-average gunner (just ask "how do you balance a GPMG" as a first indicator). So, perhaps twenty to thirty aimed trigger pulls a minute. If you spread that workload across two weapons, and use an optic sight / rapid single shot, you can tan the arse off an L7 in any measure of "killing the enemy". The moment that L86 arrived at the gun match alongside the L7, firing under the same rules and at the same targetry, it cleaned up. Even one of them could hit the target faster and more accurately than an L7, let alone two of them.

Remember, at this point in time, the infantry section either has:
  • non-BAOR: Seven SLR and one LMG(L4A1) or GPMG
  • BAOR: Six SLR and one GPMG, plus an SMG because that's what No.1 on the MAW carries.
The lesson that was reinforced by the Falklands was that small-arms ammunition consumption is huge. Plenty stories of sections desperate for replen, because the first-line scale for a rifleman of that time was 80 rounds (plus fifty for the Gun). Anyone who thinks that three blokes (rather than seven) can really keep a light-role GPMG well-fed for a minimum of twenty minutes firing at normal rate, with occasional trips to the rapid rate, is welcome to spend time carrying a liner or more of 7.62 belt in addition to their own ammunition. The Army already knew this - the shift to 5.56 was driven by weight. Suddenly, every rifleman was carrying four magazines for themselves, two for the gun, and a bandolier of 150.

The doctrine as expressed in the Inf Trg Pam 45 reissue was based around "fire teams", as developed on Op BANNER for the previous decade; each team with an NCO, a radio, and a light support weapon capable out to 800m. It was consistent, you could put one team in a trench and two teams in an APC. If you worked as a section, you now had the option to form a gun group of an NCO and two LSW. You no longer need the 84mm MAW, because you could hand out 94mm LAW according to the ATk threat (scaled at 8 per section worst case - deep joy)

One big problem was that doctrine (as taught at Brecon) appeared to differ from doctrine (as taught at Warminster and documented in the Inf Trg Pamphlets). My NCOs were coming back from SCBC and PSBC muttering about "half-attack" and viewing everything through the filter of the classic Brecon field firing exercise - the section attack. No, they never seemed to be able to explain what "half-attack" actually was, other than "not that pamphlet sh!t". No attempt to assess effectiveness of covering fire, or to develop it. No attempts to teach the use of the LSW as anything other than a bipod-fitted rifle within the fire team. Just "lots of noise and dagga-dagga-dagga"; allied with "it's sh!t, it's not a GPMG".

Another big problem is the transition phase. The doctrine is arriving before the weaponry; so, as a perfectly sensible way to handle students from units that are still using 7.62 and haven't converted to 5.56, the various schools teach the new tactics with the old weapons. Deep joy, I got to do RMAS and PCBC with a GPMG per fire team. Strangely, we never once created a two-GPMG gun group, the better to f**k the enemy right up; it was always "fire and manoeuvre with a GPMG, treating it as a personal weapon" (I always seemed to end up carrying the GPMG because the DS wanted to pick on assess the leadership of someone else, my ten-and-a-half stone frame was really happy). The unfortunate impact of this was historical revisionism, and for Sch Inf to convince everyone that GPMG to LSW was really a one-for-one swap.

So it's a bit cruel to lay the blame solely at the door of the SASC; School of Infantry has to take an awful lot of the blame - for apparently viewing the introduction of a new weapon system as just a weapon-handling problem for the skillies, added to a Pamphlet reissue. It's not really a surprise - I saw the whole Army f**k up the transition from "Group, Tasks, LOE, Reorg" into Mission Command; and from Appreciations to Estimates; and the frankly-incompetent handling of the transition to "7 Questions" / "Combat Estimate".

So, here's the question. If the introduction of a new weapon system was taken seriously, did teaching practice (i.e. LFTT exercises, associated planning and ranges letters) for the NCO courses actually change at Brecon? Or did they just use the same ranges, with the same tactics, in the same way, just with different kit?
 
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ugly

LE
Moderator
Remember, at this point in time, the infantry section either has:
  • non-BAOR: Seven SLR and one LMG(L4A1) or GPMG
  • BAOR: Six SLR and one GPMG, plus an SMG because that's what No.1 on the MAW carries.
The lesson that was reinforced by the Falklands was that small-arms ammunition consumption is huge.
If mech or airportable yes. We did the airmobile trials and it was one gpmg per fire team and an 84 in each section so 2 gpmgs, 4 SLRs and 1 smg. That was something we took with us on return to the UK although the 84 was relegated as a pln weapon on most days we still drew SMGs in case we needed more 84's. In NI we kept the GPMG for rural fire teams and the LMG was backloaded when the L86 arrived (sadly). 1986-1988
 

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