Small Arms Failures Contributed to Wanat Debacle

Discussion in 'Weapons, Equipment & Rations' started by jumpinjarhead, Oct 13, 2009.

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  1. Having seen dead Americans in fighting holes with cleaning rods in the barrels of their M-16 A1 trying ot clear stuck cartrdge cases as the were killed, this makes me angry to think we are still having issues with small arms like this.

  2. A bad workman always blames his tools ;)
  3. The lads at the sharp end will always end up as the scapegoats. Not following prescribed cleaning procedures, poor weapon drills, etc. After all, there couldn't be anything wrong with the weapons themselves, could there?

  4. Well, the Sergeant says he fired 12X 30 rd Magazines= 360 rds in a few minutes.

    According to FM3-22.9 & TM 9-1005-319-10 the Maximum rate of Fire on burst is 90 RPM, after 140 rds the chance of a cookoff is substantially higher.

    Many of the US Army M249 SAW's are approaching the 23 year mark in their lifetimes and just plain wearing out. IIRC there is a rebuild program ongoing, that removes the magazine feature and revamps the bolt and reciever rails, but like the 1911, and M60 the guns are coming to their end of useful lifespan. and its not just the 249, in Baghdad 9 of our 10 M2HB had originally been Watercooled M2's rebuilt in 1943 to HB config. receivers didnt pass Shop B testing in Kuwait, but with 2 days before going over the berm we took them back as there was no replacements and drove on
  5. Thats because the tw*ts that build the weapons write the manuals rarely have to use them in real anger.
  6. Perhaps. My comments were assuming there may be something more than "user error" at play. Also, while not excusing any leadership failures that may have contributed to this sad episode, there is a limit I believe as to how much blame we can place on the soldiers themselves in terms of the proper functioning (and I still contend questionable lethality) of our small arms, particularly the M-16/M-4 platform.

    If you will indulge another Vietnam observation, the severe problems with the M16A1 in terms of bore fouling and failures to eject (due to lack of hard chrome plating of the bore) were certainly exacerbated by anything less than scrupulous and near-fanatical cleaning of the weapons and ammunition. This high maintenance (a bit like SHE WHO MUST BE OBEYED) is difficult enough to achieve in garrison.

    In, however, the humid climate of Vietnam, coupled with the ubiquitous dirt, grime and mud that covers every infantryman wherever he is deployed within minutes of his arrival (I find that you can always tell from looking at warriors how long they have been in the field by checking the extent of grime and never-healing cuts on their hands), this standard was simply unachievable, even with the best leadership. Even if the troops did manage to generally keep their weapons relatively clean, in many firefights they would become fouled (or as perhaps as importantly the magazines and ammo) within seconds, making them very vulnerable to stoppages.

    To some extent, even with the various improvements to the platform over the years (remember this rifle is basically over 40 years old), short of upgrading them with a short-stroke piston operating system like the HK 416 and other similar systems, this rifle is still IMHO too prone to malfunction in the operating environments for which it was intended.

    In any event, it will be interesting to see what comes of the investigation.
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  7. If there is a common gripe I hear from returning Marines (other than desiring a heavier caliber rifle--especially those coming back from Afghanistan) it is that their SAWs needed replacement--either with new ones or something else as good or better. They tell apocryphal stories of barrels that are smooth bores and of repeated breakage of receiver parts from age-induced fatigue (a bit like all my leg joints.)
  8. Even after the chrome bore upgrade, I saw more than one dead GI with a cleaning rod in the muzzle. :evil:
  9. I'd like to think a future with fewer avoidably-dead soldiers. Not holding my breath, though.
  10. As I said on the other thread in the intelligence cell, the M4 is more prone to overheating due to the position and size of the gas port compared to the M-16.

    I also noted that I seem to remember that the M4 was originally intended for vehicle crews and remfs rather than for front-line infantry use, hence it was never intended to put down the volumes of fire for the sustained periods that we are talking about here.

    A separate gas piston does, of course, ameliorate heating issues...
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  11. Only if the son of royalty (official as in the UK or unofficially as in the US). Very few Americans are even aware we are fighting 2 hot wars and politicians only mention it when forced to or when trying to gain some perceived ideo/political advantage over the evil opposition.
  12. our Mini's we're / are fecking useless for jamming, some people put it down to the excessive wear on the extractor pins/claws (trying to get these replaced was impossible), that coupled with the dust made for something incredibly unreliable despite the continued cleaning of the things.
  13. Same with the US variants!
  14. Just to throw some numbers into the debate. From Defence Industry Daily, late Dec 2007 update of an extreme dust test using large amounts of lubricant

    Am i correct in thinking that the HK416 has a drastic drop in jams and it being mechanical similiar to the M4 showing that the design is ok, but the manufacture is not? Or is the HK416 a heavily modified version rather just a retooling? It would be interesting to know how the M16 could compare in this test as its meant to be much more reliable to the point the US Marines will use only it.
  15. I take at a gas piston can afford to rattle - you don't need tight tolerances for it to work - so even if it heats it doesn't stick?

    For all the weight in (presumably) an aluminium piston you'd have thought it was worth it.