Platoon weapons and weight reduction

#1
While surfing the net I came across this paper on reducing the weight carried by infantry on operations:

UK Platoon Weapons and the Weight Capability Myth

The gist of the article is to dump the SA80, but rather than moving to a lighter weapon in 5.56 like an M4, instead going for a smaller calibre and use either an MP7 or a P90 because of the amount of weight saved in the ammo. according to the article the range at which infantry are useful is <200m, and at larger ranges apparently it doesn't matter what calibre the rounds going in are, it'll just keep their heads down anyway. I can't comment on this because i'm at the beginning of my military career and haven't been on the 2-way range.

Anyway what I wanted to ask was, would anyone here feel comfortable with a further reduction in calibre and power, wandering around with essentially a submachine gun?
 
#2
Sounds logical to me but then I am a lazy git .Oh and I am a gpmg gunner so no benefit to me .
I guess they could war game it and see if the concept works .Certainly
would work in fibua and close terrain not sure about more open terrain
but if its that open surely we would have other systems into play.
Always struck me as odd how we get laden down with so much kit to assault .
 
#3
I think the balance needs to be struck somewhere, the lighter the ammuniton the more can be carried agreed but its the weight of the round fired that has the most effect- GPMG v LMG one suppresses the other makes a noise
 
#4
It beats the hell out of me why they didn't get the P90 for armour crews instead of forking out shed loads on developing the SA80 carbine. As for an infantry use? Maybe for FIBUA or other close quarter work but can't see it catching on for use in open ground.
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
#5
The original IW ammo was 4.85mm and was based on West German studies that a round of 5mm was sufficient for modern armoured infantry tactics and would penetrate the Nato tn lid at 400 m or so. I have the book on the trials so I could look it up for you. If I keep surfing I'll be out of work anyway so I may have all the time I need!
 
#6
P90 new ammo ,new ancilliaries ,new manuals , And bitching from rest of army who dont get shiny new gun .
Sa 80 carbine how much do hacksaw blades cost ?
Thats why we got the sa80 carbine oh and £10 for the picatnny thingy to try and make it look gucci .
 
#8
Surely caseless ammo is the way ahead. I know it still has its shortcomings, such as overheating, but the concept is sound. No brass to lug about and more rounds, less air in the magazine.
 
#9
sandmanfez said:
Surely caseless ammo is the way ahead. I know it still has its shortcomings, such as overheating, but the concept is sound. No brass to lug about and more rounds, less air in the magazine.
And no gathering brass come end-ex.
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
#10
I think that failed due to engineering technology not being up to scratch, he yanks have trialed hunting ammo with electrically fired primers, miniscule lock time but an adapted rifleis required. I'm happy to let the yanks do the sci fi development whilst we concentrate on gettin the best from a modern platform using better materials even if the principles are 100 years old!
 
#11
The argument makes perfect sense on paper, but where infantry combat is concerned gut feeling is always going to come into play. How would you feel knowing your weapon is physically incapable of achieving a hit or kill beyond 200m, no matter how good your marksmanship is? Even the AK has an effective range of 300m!

Honestly, I would see PDWs/SMGs like the MP7 and P90 as perfect for AFV/helo crews, infantry heavy weapons operators (like ATGMs and mortars), and others who may be unlikely to need a weapon except for personal defence. Thing is, its not as if support arms are behind the lines and can 'get away' with a lighter weapon, in the insurgencies we see today everywhere is the front line...

SMGs may be the way to go for special forces in some instances, but they generally get carte blanche on whatever they need anyway. In fact theres a discussion that maybe 7.62mm (or the middle ground 6.8mm) is preferable to 5.56, so going smaller and lighter again would seem completely counter to current experiences!

Agree caseless would be gucci but apparently the technology to make it work aint there yet, and youve got to have a workable system in place for now and not 15 yrs time... One to consider for the future though.

Interestingly enough isnt there an Austrian/Israeli weapon that can switch between 5.56/7.62/9mm barrels from a rifle to a SMG combination in a few minutes in the field (as well as the US SCAR)? Basically you get one weapon with 3 changable barrels - could mean you can adapt yourself to the job in hand quite effectively, but ammunition requirements & compatibility are always going to be the dramas there!
 
#12
Yeah I was also thinking that if all the infantry were wandering about with what are essentially machine pistols, it's not exactly going to strike fear into the hearts of the 7.62-toting adversaries...
 
#13
Interesting article and makes some good points, some of his statements do not necessarily ring true, the 51mm mortar was not deliberately denigrated in order to introduce the UGL, the UGL came about as a result of comprehensive wargaming, proving itself to be more capable than just about anyother increase in infantry capability, over all scenarios. Both weapons systems were modelled.

Interesting also about 80% of engagements in recent conflicts have been <300m and that historical studies indicate most again 80% are below 200m thefore there is no need for a capability beyond this range for the individual and that section systems are best for this role. However wargaming again indicated that effective section action using IW in conjunction with other systems could readily affect the outcome of engagements when projected beyond this range (200m) do you want to throw out the weapon that is capable of defeating the CRISAT target at 400m in order to save the weight?

Again from wargaming it became apparent that the best form of suppresive fire was that that incapacitated the enemy, not just kept their heads down, and again range was of importance.

I have every sympathy for arguing about trying to keep the weight down that an infantryman has to carry but I am not sure that by reducing the capability of the IW is the way ahead. Exactly what is is I am not sure, but would be willinfg to argue the toss late into the night over a glass or two.
 
#14
Ref the UGL vs 51mm debate, why not both in service? One is a mortar, one is a grenade launcher - different trajectories and different roles that should complement each other, not compete with each other...Give each rifle section a UGL (or 2 or more dependant on threat), and have a 51mm team at platoon level.

Yes I know its a one man operable weapon but an extra bod for ammo bearing, self defence, receiving firing orders and even spotting fall of shot if its in its low-trajectory role... You could even have a 51 in each of the sections if they're vehicle borne, just have it as a 'take it when you need it' extra weapon in the back of the wagon...

If you have a manoeuvre support section with 2 GPMGs, give the Sect Comd a pair of binos and an UGL with smoke so he can mark targets to be engaged by the gunners in case of confusion...

I'd say go for machine pistol/SMG/PDW if you're in an AFV or helo, or crewing a support weapon, or a brigade comd, or all clad in black abseiling down the side of a building to be stormed, but I'm not sure it would work for line infantry. The Soviets kitted up whole regiments of 'tank riders' with SMGs in WW2, don't think it did them much good.

At the end of the day the rifle aint the perfect solution for everything. There'll be some situations where a 7.62 battle rifle may be better, or an SMG, but the rifle is meant to be a decent allrounder. As for 'no point in IWs over 200m, leave it to section weapons', I'd sooner have section/platoon weapons AND IWs working out to these ranges. Means you at least have SOME capability if the gimpy stops firing for some reason.
 

cpunk

LE
Moderator
#15
It's an interesting article with some interesting ideas, but I think it addresses very narrow issues.

I've met the guy who wrote it a couple of times: he's a nice bloke but his military experience is limited to a couple of years in the TA. He's not a practitioner and has never been in combat, so far as I know.
 
#16
Gook said:
Ref the UGL vs 51mm debate, why not both in service? One is a mortar, one is a grenade launcher - different trajectories and different roles that should complement each other, not compete with each other...Give each rifle section a UGL (or 2 or more dependant on threat), and have a 51mm team at platoon level.

Yes I know its a one man operable weapon but an extra bod for ammo bearing, self defence, receiving firing orders and even spotting fall of shot if its in its low-trajectory role... You could even have a 51 in each of the sections if they're vehicle borne, just have it as a 'take it when you need it' extra weapon in the back of the wagon...

If you have a manoeuvre support section with 2 GPMGs, give the Sect Comd a pair of binos and an UGL with smoke so he can mark targets to be engaged by the gunners in case of confusion...

I'd say go for machine pistol/SMG/PDW if you're in an AFV or helo, or crewing a support weapon, or a brigade comd, or all clad in black abseiling down the side of a building to be stormed, but I'm not sure it would work for line infantry. The Soviets kitted up whole regiments of 'tank riders' with SMGs in WW2, don't think it did them much good.

At the end of the day the rifle aint the perfect solution for everything. There'll be some situations where a 7.62 battle rifle may be better, or an SMG, but the rifle is meant to be a decent allrounder. As for 'no point in IWs over 200m, leave it to section weapons', I'd sooner have section/platoon weapons AND IWs working out to these ranges. Means you at least have SOME capability if the gimpy stops firing for some reason.
sounds spot on to me. A section of trained rifleman can provide effective harassing fire out to 1000m with the right rifle. I proved this at Sennybridge using a bolt action Lee Enfield with iron sights! Of course 5.56 just hasn't got the range. Everyone in the rifle section ought to be able to reach out and touch someone at range.
 
#17
I still think we need a personal weapon that can engage the enemy up to 300 and beyond as a section. You only have to glance at youtube and see videos of the boys in Helmand to see that a lot of their engagements are at ranges over 200m.
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
#18
merlin162 said:
I still think we need a personal weapon that can engage the enemy up to 300 and beyond as a section. You only have to glance at youtube and see videos of the boys in Helmand to see that a lot of their engagements are at ranges over 200m.[/quote]
Lets ask Fally?
 
#19
merlin162 said:
I still think we need a personal weapon that can engage the enemy up to 300 and beyond as a section. You only have to glance at youtube and see videos of the boys in Helmand to see that a lot of their engagements are at ranges over 200m.
Take a look at some of the Herrick video s here:

http://www.arrse.co.uk/cpgn2/Forums...postdays=0/postorder=asc/vote=viewresult.html

Something that gives a good indication of range in several videos is the rearsight setting on the GPMG. I reckon it's on at least 800m in the light role.
Now 800m is beyond effective range for 5.56 but 7.62 rifles could chip in effectively, especially with optic sights.
 
#20
Hello,
Firstly,was I the only one to notice the apparent contradictions in this article?
He suggests kinetic weapons need only engage at 200 metres or so yet favours heavier mortars and grenade launchers engaging at up to 800 metres.
Despite target aquisition and weapon aiming being manual in all cases and thus hit probability being similarly affected by range for the chemical energy systems systems.
Do not these systems work together?
Rifle and machine gun fire forces the enemy to go to ground where they can be engaged by rocket and mortar.
Rockets and mortars force the enemy to move,exposing them to rifle and machine gun fire.
Surely our kinetic energy engagement ranges should match our chemical energy engagement ranges?
He is also critical of the range and penetration performance of the LMG compared to the LSW and IW.
Despite favouring less powerful,shorter ranged weapons.
The problem with reports like this is that they are based on statistics.
Statistics are usually abused by those who have little understanding of them.
I shall try to exlain the problem without referring to means,modes and moduluses (moduli?).
Firstly we have the figure that 80% of engagements occur at less than 300 metres,does that mean that we do not need to fire back in the 20% of engagements which occur at more than 300 metres?
Would that not encourage our enemy to maintain the range in combat to deny us effective use of our weapons?
Thus leading to an increase in engagement ranges
Does that also mean thet we only need a weapon with a maximum effective range of 300 metres?
A rifles maximum effective range will be much greater than it's most effective range.
Surely we would want our weapons most effective range to correspond to our most common engagement range?
Would we not also want to be able to engage our enemies at those ranges at which they can engage us?
Does that not mean maintaining the ability to kill at all ranges at which we can see and hit the enemy?
Can this be done with a personal defence weapon?
Secondly we must question the figures which these statistics are based on.
It is mentioned that this is from a United States (U.S.) study on engagements in Iraq and Afganistan.
These are the same war zones where U.S. forces have criticised the effective range of their weapons.
There have been complaints that the M4 is not effective beyond 50 metres,for example.
Would this not encourage U.S. infantrymen to engage at short ranges to ensure the effectiveness of their weapons?
Yet despite this the figures state that 20% of engagements are over 300 metres and a further 16% are between 200 and 300 metres.
In both these cases the enemy is engaged in guerilla warfare against an enemy largely equipped with weapons which are ineffective at long ranges,again encouraging shorter engagement ranges.
This would not be the case against a better equipped and trained enemy of course.
Lastly we must consider the effect of the available weapons on engagement ranges.
If the enemy is taking cover in a building and your weapons cannot penetrate that building then you will have to clear it at close quarters.
If your weapon can penetrate the cover,you can do the same job from a safe distance.
In closing any report quoting statistics should be treated with caution.
Statistics do not dictate which weapons should be used.
The weapons used do dictate which statistics result.

tangosix.
 

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