Troops armed with deadly Minimi


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Drizzt
March 18, 2003, 12:08 AM
Troops armed with deadly Minimi

Gethin Chamberlain


BRITISH troops preparing to go into action against the Iraqi army have taken delivery of a powerful new weapon which they believe could play a decisive role in overcoming any opposition they encounter.

The FN Para Minimi 5.56 millimetre light machine gun has already seen service with the Royal Marines and the Parachute Regiment, but yesterday was the first time it had been issued to the men of the 7th Armoured Brigade, better known as the Desert Rats, who will form the main thrust of any British involvement in a military campaign.

Capable of firing 820 rounds of hardened ammunition a minute, it is regarded as a far more potent weapon than the old general purpose machine gun (GPMG) which has been in service since the 1960s.

Lighter and smaller than the GPMG, it can be fired from a standing, kneeling or prone position and troops test-firing it for the first time on a range near the Iraqi border yesterday said they were delighted with the new weapon.

After firing off a series of rounds to calibrate his weapon, Private Stuart Dunning, of the Black Watch, was a convert to the Minimi.

"We’ve had a demonstration of it before from the marines, but this was the first time I’ve fired it. You could run around with this and fire it off, which you couldn’t do with the GPMG, and that’s a big advantage for us.

"It also fires steel core rounds and they can penetrate so I think we all feel pretty confident with this."

Private Kristofer Smith, also of the Black Watch, said he was convinced it was the best weapon available to them.

"Everyone’s been after these and now we’ve tried it, it’s pretty good," he said. "You don’t get a big kick from it so you can fire it standing up and that’s important if we’re moving forward."

There has been controversy about another of the main weapons, the SA-80 rifle, with complaints from soldiers about its reliability and reports of frequent jamming in desert conditions.

But the SA-80 has recently undergone an overhaul and senior weapons instructors are satisfied with its performance, blaming any problems now on poor maintenance by the troops using the rifle.

Warrant Officer QMSI Michael Lynch, one of the instructors given the task of familiarising the men with the Minimi, said the weapon was expected to be highly effective in subduing opposition from Iraqi troops.

He said he was confident that if it did come to military action, the British battle group now have the equipment needed to do its job.

He added: "If we go to war, which looks likely, these lads are going to have to get out of a Warrior [armoured car] and start using these weapons and if you look at them trying them on the ranges today, you wouldn’t want to be on the end of that.

"We are very adept at keeping our soldiers alive and the way we do that is to keep the enemy’s head down. If it does happen, the Black Watch will shower itself in glory as they always have."

http://www.thescotsman.co.uk/index.cfm?id=322072003

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Deadman
March 18, 2003, 12:16 AM
While I can sympathise with the Brit troops in that the Minimi is a damned fun weapon to fire, I somehow think the Iraqi's are more concerned with MOAB bombs and the like. ;)

HABU
March 18, 2003, 12:23 AM
You could run around with this and fire it off, Reminds me of the fat Iraqi thread!:D
I hope it serves them well. I further hope that they know exactly who they are firing upon.:scrutiny:

ahadams
March 18, 2003, 01:40 AM
well in the US it's Known as the M249 I believe and while it certainly appears to be an adequate Squad Automatic Weapon (i.e. one step up from an AR) I still don't see how replacing a 7.62 with a 5.56 and *calling* it a replacement GPMG (the M60 is a more realistic GPMG) makes it a GPMG.

nobody's explained that one so far...

UnknownSailor
March 18, 2003, 01:49 AM
Somebody has to shoot back while everyone clears their SA-80. ;)

Why oh why doesn't the UK just drop that abomination, and go with the M-16?

HABU
March 18, 2003, 02:34 AM
Why oh why doesn't the UK just drop that abomination, and go with the M-16? 'Cuz they have to much money into trying to fix it.:banghead:

Not that you dint already know that.....

Aikibiker
March 18, 2003, 02:48 AM
I don't know much about the minimi/M249, except that it looks like a fun toy to play with.

However I am almost willing to bet that we will hear stories of British troops using captured AK-47s as a field expedient replacement for the SA-80 shortly.

DVDTracker
March 18, 2003, 04:17 AM
I've had the pleasure of shooting one on a couple occasions. Shooting offhand (with an AR mag, not a belt in this case), I could easily put bursts into an Iraqi-sized group at 100yds.

Jim March
March 18, 2003, 04:55 AM
We can sit and quibble about what the SAW is, but every report I've heard on it by any bunch of field troops has been positive. The 223 with the right ammo DOES penetrate light armor better than a 308, if I'm not mistaken (but at the expense of tumbling/wounding).

JoshM
March 18, 2003, 07:28 AM
Ahadams

I still don't see how replacing a 7.62 with a 5.56 and *calling* it a replacement GPMG (the M60 is a more realistic GPMG) makes it a GPMG.

Good point.

The GPMG is not being replaced in British service rather the L86 is.
The L86 is an SA80 configured as a Light Support Weapon [LSW]. Basically it's been a disaster, unlike the GPMG/FN MAG/M240 which has a different role and is now in American service as well.

"We’ve had a demonstration of it before from the marines, but this was the first time I’ve fired it. You could run around with this and fire it off, which you couldn’t do with the GPMG, and that’s a big advantage for us.

Considering that these weapons have different roles, I'm not sure what to make of the above quote ?

Either the reporter got it wrong or the British Army hasn't mentioned the replacement of the SA80 based LSW for PR reasons.

bogie
March 18, 2003, 11:48 AM
Uh... Stupid question here...

The balloon goes up inside the week, and they just got new toys to play with? No time for training?

TechBrute
March 18, 2003, 11:54 AM
well in the US it's Known as the M249 I believe and while it certainly appears to be an adequate Squad Automatic Weapon (i.e. one step up from an AR) I still don't see how replacing a 7.62 with a 5.56 and *calling* it a replacement GPMG (the M60 is a more realistic GPMG) makes it a GPMG.

AMEN!!! Couldn't have said it better myself. I bet a .22LR machinegun would be even easier to fire.

Dannyboy
March 18, 2003, 12:45 PM
Josh, he might have been talking about it being easier running around with the SAW loaded with the magazine as opposed to having an ammo belt trailing you. That's the only thing I can think of because the weight differential isn't all that much.

usmcmonty
March 18, 2003, 12:54 PM
he might have been talking about it being easier running around with the SAW loaded with the magazine as opposed to having an ammo belt trailing you

With the M-249 you don't have ammo hanging out. The linked brass is held in a "box mag" under the weapon. Very compact and easy to employ even standing/moving.

It's a killer weapon and there were lots of guys trying to get one even though it was not their t/o weapon

bogie
March 18, 2003, 12:58 PM
IMHO, they're more controllable than an M-60... Also, you can carry about 2x the amount of .223 than you can of .308...

Sleeping Dog
March 18, 2003, 01:05 PM
Stupid question here ... The balloon goes up inside the week, and they just got new toys to play with? No time for training?

Almost as bad as the M16 intro in Vietnam ... except that balloon was already flying. "Hey kid, here's a new gun, and a comic book that explains it. Saddle up."

Regards

D.W. Drang
March 18, 2003, 01:13 PM
Uh... Stupid question here...
The balloon goes up inside the week, and they just got new toys to play with? No time for training?
Or, they were scheduled to receive them , the training is done, and it just wasn't mentioned in the article.

Ed
March 18, 2003, 01:16 PM
I thought the 249 was a great weapon, The 60 is heavier and would probably be more effective in jungles with the round it fires but the SAW is just fine for the desert. Like someone said, you fire from a "box" for lack of better word that holds the belt, keeping it easily transportable and not likely to bind, same ammo as M-16 and lighter in case we have to go CQB. Plus it is smaller, which doesn't play as big a role for light guys but in a armored vehicle, in Mopp 4 you need all the room you can get.

BigG
March 18, 2003, 01:38 PM
The M249 SAW (Minimi) uses a box to contain the belt so it's portable. The GPMG (M60, MAG, etc.) is not really portable and capable of fire and movement like the SAW is.

They are shown in use in Black Hawk Down and (hold on to your hats) 3000 Miles to Graceland. :D

blades67
March 18, 2003, 09:49 PM
The balloon goes up inside the week, and they just got new toys to play with? No time for training?

How much training do you think they need? A few minutes to learn the controls, a hundred rounds to familiarize with and off you go.

Standing Wolf
March 18, 2003, 10:43 PM
There has been controversy about another of the main weapons, the SA-80 rifle, with complaints from soldiers about its reliability and reports of frequent jamming in desert conditions.

It's always somebody else's fault, right?

seeker_two
March 18, 2003, 11:21 PM
Capable of firing 820 rounds of hardened ammunition a minute...

...which is a whole lot better than shooting the Nerf balls that we allow our own British subjects...:scrutiny:

JShirley
March 18, 2003, 11:27 PM
The only time I got to play with the 249 was in Basic/ITB. Hit all my targets, even the 600 meter ones (wish I could do that with my M4! :D). Loved it.

Scott Evans
March 18, 2003, 11:41 PM
I carried an M-249 for almost 2 years while in the Marine Corps. An excellent weapon for base of fire or suppressive fire. Very reliable, excellent accuracy, and it has quick change barrels. It’s a pig to hump but worth its weight in gold in a fire fight.

Spark
March 19, 2003, 12:17 AM
Better than humping the M240 or M60 though. Only weapon I liked to carry more than the M249 was the M203 - nothing wrong with 200 rounds of SS109 ready to blaze away.

Light, accurate, tough, & smooth to fire, what more can you ask for out of a SAW?

Only wish I could get one of the para models....

Kevin

ahadams
March 19, 2003, 12:27 AM
uhm, Scott Evans, Jshirley, et al: part of what you're hearing are a bunch of old soldiers (including yours truly) carping. Don't get me wrong - I had to carry an M60 precisely once on a roadmarch and somewhere before the 15 click mark it turned into a gold plated, lead weighted :cuss: :cuss: :cuss: of a :cuss: even with only 200 rounds of ammo, with a pack and all the other gear on.
None the less, given the fact that 7.62 still has more oomph than 5.56 it was kind of reassuring to have it around.

JShirley
March 19, 2003, 12:53 AM
Hey, I can sympathize. I've been known to carry a M224 60mm mortar on marches, and as the other gunner said,

That was the worst thing ever in life.

Kinda makes a li'l SAW seem liveable. :D

Monte Harrison
March 19, 2003, 10:10 AM
Toted one for a little while in Ronald Reagan's army. It is uncomfortable to carry because it is very front-heavy and has a lot of sticky-outy parts. Fun to fire, but dang, does it go through ammo in a hurry.

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