Platoon weapons and weight reduction

Discussion in 'Weapons, Equipment & Rations' started by Timpatient, Sep 4, 2007.

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  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.
  5. ugly

    ugly LE Moderator

    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 .
  7. ugly

    ugly LE Moderator

    So true woody so true!
  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. And no gathering brass come end-ex.
  10. ugly

    ugly LE Moderator

    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.
  15. cpunk

    cpunk LE Moderator

    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.