LSW, LMG and 60mm to go

Cold_Collation

LE
Book Reviewer
Shades of the US Army in the 1980s, after noticing the difficulties their soldiery were having in making bovine posteriors and ukuleles coincide even in sideshows like Grenada.

Cue a massive "Advanced Combat Rifle" project with various technological marvels, intended to improve the hit probability of the fighting man by 100%. Duplex bullets! Super-rapid three-round bursts! Hypervelocity flechettes! Optical sights! (back when the British were strange aberrations for putting glass on a rifle)

And yet, and yet, most of the various technobabble fell by the wayside compared to the consistent, significant improvement achieved even with the iron-sighted M16A2 when shooters - of a range of backgrounds, militarisation and assumed skill - were simply given a weapon, plenty of ammunition, targets, and feedback on where their rounds were going. Even without coaching, the improvement from "practice and feedback" swamped the improvements offered by the assorted sci-fi projects.

The problem is that we're now in a death spiral where the standard of shooting, and the skills involved, are so low that "because it looks ally" or "because it gets more rounds down" trump actual effects achieved, and as a result myth and prejudice dominate (for instance, rating the LMG as better than the LSW for suppressive fire, simply because it turns more rounds into brass faster).




I'll repost some commentary and linked info from @Gravelbelly a couple of years back on this very thread-

I refer Sir to these posts by the esteemed @dogmonkey, fresh back from operational employment of the then-new L86A2 on TELIC 1 (fifteen years ago...)
"LSW A2 - excellent suppressive to 800m. And by suppressive I do not mean loads of splash landing randomly around your fire trench and making a noise. I mean suppressive by way of bloke next to you pops his head up and gets a smoking third eye. You going to stick your head up now? And with the LSW you can do this with considerably less weight than a GPMG."
"Prior to crossing, we had the ITDU out to 'train the trainer' on the new kit. They were at pains to ensure that we didn't ditch the LSW. Just as well we didn't. The LSWs were excellent weapons which allowed engagements at much longer ranges. The minimis were used to good effect from FSp locs within their shorter range when a large volume of fire was required. Both A2 variants worked exceptionally well and were totally reliable. The desert cleaning regime was not onerous, and when doused in oil there were virtually no stoppages, and none were reported in 3 weeks of fighting which had any serious repercussions. The troops' confidence in the weapon system is now justifiably high. "


But again, misuse the weapon thoroughly enough and it gets a bad reputation, which becomes self-reinforcing (because you've given it to the crows, and not trained its use, and it's just a longer, more awkward rifle...) except for the few times someone manages to (briefly) break the cycle.
A couple or three years back I went up to Ponteland with an old mate, a medal-winning shooter whilst in the army and still a regular on the ranges.

I hadn't shot full-bore in decades. A bit of .22 pest-control on farmland in various places around the world, but that was it.

It came back rather quickly, with bulls starting to happen regularly.

My mate's comment?

"Muscle memory."

The ACR competition you mention is one of several that have failed over the decades to produce enough of an improvement over the AR series. As you say, there are reasons why and they're not technological.
 
Are they just some type of 'flashed up' generic sighting or do they some sort of Fire control system built in too?
As explained by a very, very sweaty Rifleman, lase target, elevate to correct angle, move on as target has moved as it's not as easy/quick as it sounds. "Dogsh1t!" was, I believe, the exact quote.

Apparently brought in as part of the 0/0 so 0 civcas/0 collateral damage drive of later Herricks. I would have thought a smaller warhead than 81 or 60 would have been ideal for such but obviously we had nothing left to fire.
 

Themanwho

LE
Book Reviewer
mussels.jpg


I was hitherto entirely unaware of any mollusc-based, or Belgian culinary issue related to the SRI . . .
Moules fusiliere?
 

Themanwho

LE
Book Reviewer
Whoa there hoss
I did state I had a Stacker moment

Mk4 being that nice bolt action smle

Sometimes I do suffer from memory fade
Today was an example

Elsewhere I have commented about taking great joy in winding up SASC ******* by using colloquial terms for weapons whilst at Brecon (as the Tiffy Weapons I saw it as both my duty and delight), and now here I am hoist by my petard, getting all tooth-grindy about Lee Enfields. So for your edification and my peace of mind here's a rough guide to nomenclature for most things Lee Enfield....

The Short Magazine Lee Enfield (SMLE) was introduced to British service in 1904, which itself was a development of the Rifle, Magazine Lee Enfield (sometimes known as the "Long Lee" or "Long Tom") incorporating lessons learnt in the Boer Wars. It rapidly ran through three marks, and the standard rifle entering WW1 was the Mk3, which itself was further simplified in 1915 to become the Mark 3*. Apart from some trials weapons, the general recognition features for an SMLE are:
  • Wood for the full length of the barrel
  • Bullnose muzzle, with fitting for P1907 bayonet (grrr)
  • Rear sight forward of the bolt, mounted on top of the barrel
  • Sloped magazine directly in front of the trigger
  • Brass disc on the right hand side of butt
1626956438479.png


In 1926, those lovely people at the Ordnance Board decided that calling the SMLE the SMLE was dashed unmilitary, and the whole shebang was renamed Rifle No1 Mark 3 or 3* (most rifles were retrofitted to the Mark 3* standard).

There was further development of the Lee Enfield between the wars embodying the lessons of WW1 and improvements in manufacturing technology which resulted in the next main version appearing in 1931: the Rifle No4 Mark 1, which due to large stocks of SMLEs wasn't placed into mass production until 1941.

Main recognition features of the No4 Rifle are:
  • Wood for the full length of the barrel
  • Barrel visible at muzzle forward of the foresight with lug fittings for spike bayonet (boo hiss)
  • Sloped magazine directly in front of the trigger
  • Rear sight situated above the bolt.
1626956381386.png


During WW2 there were various modifications and austerity changes, and these were given the identifier of Rifle No4 Mk1*. Post war there was a further design approved known as the Rifle No4 Mark 2.

There was also a requirement for a shorter and handier rifle identified and this resulted in the design and issue of the Rifle No 5 Mark 1 often referred to as the "Jungle carbine" from 1944. Although easily identified as a Lee Enfield it looks markedly different, and it has the following recognition features:

  • 3/4 wood on the shorter barrel
  • Conical flash hider at the muzzle
  • Sloped magazine directly in front of the trigger
  • Rear sight above the bolt
  • Rubber butt pad, and side-mounted rear sling swivel

1626956929560.png

There are multiple other differences and marks but the above covers the main versions of the rifle.

I feel better...
 

Themanwho

LE
Book Reviewer
There was an ex 22 Sgt running Buzzard Ops at Forkhill (1PARA South Armagh tour '88), who in my short sojourn there spent more time on patrols than actually marshalling helis. There was an issue of M79s for each company (replaced by M203s later in the tour), and his firm belief was that rather than strapping it to daysack as most grenadiers did the M79 should be used as the primary weapon for anti ambush. Whilst I can see the tactical reasoning and at the time thought it was reasonable, looking back I do wonder if that was the best idea considering our MACA role. Regardless, it must have scared the crap out of the locals seeing this thousand yard starer taking aim with a bloody grenade launcher....
 
[...] and that the magazine fed LMG concept had gone out of date with the BREN.

If I might make an observation here...

In historical circles there's an age old debate, Bren vs Mg42 (which is diametrically opposite to the Bren in pretty much every way).
If you've got a two man LMG group, in position with their gun braced, which is better?

Obviously the MG42 has the blistering rate of fire, and this is usually the go too answer, that many seem to think ends the argument.
Effective rate of fire, not max, is about the same. A top feed box magazine can be changed pretty quickly by the no2, and if the MG42 utilises its maximum Rof you'll have a molten barrel in seconds few (not to mention sending your no2 racing back to the rear for more belts).
So I don't think the Box magazine is a bad idea, per se, it's more the other technical problems that may (or may not) arise from it. In the case of the L86, there was no way in hell a no2 was going to be able to do a mag change, which is what doomed it in role.
 
If I might make an observation here...

In historical circles there's an age old debate, Bren vs Mg42 (which is diametrically opposite to the Bren in pretty much every way).
If you've got a two man LMG group, in position with their gun braced, which is better?

Obviously the MG42 has the blistering rate of fire, and this is usually the go too answer, that many seem to think ends the argument.
Effective rate of fire, not max, is about the same. A top feed box magazine can be changed pretty quickly by the no2, and if the MG42 utilises its maximum Rof you'll have a molten barrel in seconds few (not to mention sending your no2 racing back to the rear for more belts).
So I don't think the Box magazine is a bad idea, per se, it's more the other technical problems that may (or may not) arise from it. In the case of the L86, there was no way in hell a no2 was going to be able to do a mag change, which is what doomed it in role.
Fair enough, but the Bren/LMG (in 7.62 update) was phased out for that reason.
The GPMG team served weapon replaced it.
Our ugly orphan LSW was box fed (problem) had no No2 (problem) had a less powerful cartridge (problem).
We retired the Bren/LMG then reinvented it . Badly. Without wondering why it had been retired in the first place.
 
In historical circles there's an age old debate, Bren vs Mg42 (which is diametrically opposite to the Bren in pretty much every way).
If you've got a two man LMG group, in position with their gun braced, which is better?
Surely that's not the question, because they shouldn't be compared 1:1 in isolation; Does No.4+Bren+PIAT+2" mortar, backed by Vickers MMG and 3"/4.2" mortar, outperform Kar98 + MG42 + Panzerfaust, backed by 8cm/12cm mortar?

This site is interesting: "Each [German] rifle squad had 1,150 rounds of ammunition for its machine gun. The machine gunner carried a 50-round belt drum loaded for quick reaction to contact. The assistant machine gunner carried 4 additional 50-round belt drums as the first-line ammo load and a 300-round ammo box. Two additional 300-round ammo boxes were carried by the riflemen. Before 1943, these 2 boxes would have been carried by an ammunition bearer (a third member for the LMG Team). Unlike in the U.S. Army and British Army, there were no special pouches or bags for carrying ammo for squad-level automatic weapons or machine gun belts. Thus, the ammo boxes would be carried by hand." AIUI, the MG42 was automatic-only, no repetition. So if it burns through 150rds a minute in bursts of 5-7 rounds, that's not a lot of firing time; and apparently, German doctrine reflected this.

Looking further, "the gun attains a rate of fire of 1,100 to 1,350 rpm which would appear to be unnecessarily high for a ground gun, though of obvious value for AA fire; the cyclic rate of fire of the MG 34 is from 800 to 900 rpm. Preliminary trials show, however, that this high rate of fire has not been obtained without a certain decrease in accuracy compared with the MG 34.". Add in the need to change barrels every 150rds if you want to avoid overheating and damage...

German platoon attacking: three MG42-equipped sections, 250 rounds in magazines per gun, trying to carry all that 7.92 link in boxes; up against dug-in section with their Bren. Was their gun accurate enough to take on a loophole when in the light role, or did it tend to spray the rounds alles uber die platz? Did German doctrine form a gun group to provide fire support, or did they move with their sections? How quickly did the Germans run out of ammunition? What happened if the attack stalled?

British platoon attacking: three Bren-equipped sections, taking on an MG42-equipped section. Would you say that it's easier to move around with a Bren? Does it have the greater ability to put accurate, deliberate fire onto the objective, is it more efficient at suppression? Are the gunners more likely to reach the objective with enough ammunition remaining, that they can hold off the immediate counterattack before their replen?

Let's face it, from 1942 onwards, the likelihood was that the British would be attacking and the Germans defending...
 
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Mölders 1

War Hero
If I might make an observation here...

In historical circles there's an age old debate, Bren vs Mg42 (which is diametrically opposite to the Bren in pretty much every way).
If you've got a two man LMG group, in position with their gun braced, which is better?

Obviously the MG42 has the blistering rate of fire, and this is usually the go too answer, that many seem to think ends the argument.
Effective rate of fire, not max, is about the same. A top feed box magazine can be changed pretty quickly by the no2, and if the MG42 utilises its maximum Rof you'll have a molten barrel in seconds few (not to mention sending your no2 racing back to the rear for more belts).
So I don't think the Box magazine is a bad idea, per se, it's more the other technical problems that may (or may not) arise from it. In the case of the L86, there was no way in hell a no2 was going to be able to do a mag change, which is what doomed it in role.

I always thought that the Top-Mounted Magazine of the Bren Gun was a very good idea for an L.M.G.

Even though l have only seen them in Museums even l noted how easy it must be to reload either by the Gunner or his No 2.
 
Surely that's not the question, because they shouldn't be compared 1:1 in isolation; Does No.4+Bren+PIAT+2" mortar, backed by Vickers MMG and 3"/4.2" mortar, outperform Kar98 + MG42 + Panzerfaust, backed by 8cm/12cm mortar?

This site is interesting: "Each [German] rifle squad had 1,150 rounds of ammunition for its machine gun. The machine gunner carried a 50-round belt drum loaded for quick reaction to contact. The assistant machine gunner carried 4 additional 50-round belt drums as the first-line ammo load and a 300-round ammo box. Two additional 300-round ammo boxes were carried by the riflemen. Before 1943, these 2 boxes would have been carried by an ammunition bearer (a third member for the LMG Team). Unlike in the U.S. Army and British Army, there were no special pouches or bags for carrying ammo for squad-level automatic weapons or machine gun belts. Thus, the ammo boxes would be carried by hand." AIUI, the MG42 was automatic-only, no repetition. So if it burns through 150rds a minute in bursts of 5-7 rounds, that's not a lot of firing time; and apparently, German doctrine reflected this.

Looking further, "the gun attains a rate of fire of 1,100 to 1,350 rpm which would appear to be unnecessarily high for a ground gun, though of obvious value for AA fire; the cyclic rate of fire of the MG 34 is from 800 to 900 rpm. Preliminary trials show, however, that this high rate of fire has not been obtained without a certain decrease in accuracy compared with the MG 34.". Add in the need to change barrels every 150rds if you want to avoid overheating and damage...

German platoon attacking: three MG42-equipped sections, 250 rounds in magazines per gun, trying to carry all that 7.92 link in boxes; up against dug-in section with their Bren. Was their gun accurate enough to take on a loophole when in the light role, or did it tend to spray the rounds alles uber die platz? Did German doctrine form a gun group to provide fire support, or did they move with their sections? How quickly did the Germans run out of ammunition? What happened if the attack stalled?

British platoon attacking: three Bren-equipped sections, taking on an MG42-equipped section. Would you way that it's easier to move around with a Bren? Does it have the greater ability to put accurate, deliberate fire onto the objective, is it more efficient at suppression? Are the gunners more likely to reach the objective with enough ammunition remaining, that they can hold off the immediate counterattack before their replen?

Let's face it, from 1942 onwards, the likelihood was that the British would be attacking and the Germans defending...

Well the MG42 wasn't noted for its accuracy, while the Bren was. But by you're criteria I suspect the award may have gone to the Bren...

I always thought that the Top-Mounted Magazine of the Bren Gun was a very good idea for an L.M.G.

Even though l have only seen them in Museums even l noted how easy it must be to reload either by the Gunner or his No 2.

Well as it served for 60 odd years in the British Army, it might have been a good thing. But you know, Link is modern! No one these days will suggest a box mag, as it's seen in the all too simplistic view like I suggested not @Gravelbelly's slightly more realistic scenarios.

Right now having proved that all we needed was a midget in a baby carrier to do the quick box changes, to make the L86 an exceptional weapon, what's next?
 
if the MG42 utilises its maximum Rof you'll have a molten barrel in seconds few (not to mention sending your no2 racing back to the rear for more belts).
MG42 teams included a No 3 (often a Volksdeutscher (which if IIRC means a Eurasian ethnic captured on the Ostfront and pressed into German service as some kind of Aryan 3rd class) whose sole job was to fetch and carry boxes of link. Lots of boxes. Big boxes.

There's a brief clip in a 'Normandy fighting' Herman newsreel fillum of an MG42 gang hightailing it to their next position with a short-arrse stumpy Baldrick type in a coal-scuttle hat doing his best to keep up, with all their 'luggage' in his mitts.

Now - Thats What I Call A Proper 'Crow' Job ! :thumleft:
 
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...apart from the USMC with their M27 automatic rifle, and the US Army considering General Dynamics' 6.8mm bullpup magazine-fed entry for the Next-Generation Squad Weapon...
Hey a M27 chambered in 6.8mm might be the answer.
The SiG offer for the NGSW looks like the most promising, suppressors which last barrel life, recoil looks decent.
 
...apart from the USMC with their M27 automatic rifle, and the US Army considering General Dynamics' 6.8mm bullpup magazine-fed entry for the Next-Generation Squad Weapon...

...with us five minutes behind no doubt. The LSW is seen to be so last Tuesday. The M27 tricked out will be just be what a steel eyed dealer of death wants to be seen carrying.
In terms of firepower and portability, I'm not sure what advantage the M27 holds over the LSW.
 

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