Rifle Combat at Less than 300 Meters


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Timthinker
December 30, 2007, 07:01 AM
During discussions about military rifles, some THR members have stated that studies conducted after World War One demonstrated that most combat infantrymen shot at targets no more than 300 meters away. Yet, these studies are never named nor are any of the persons who presumably participated in them. The historian in me would like some information about this interesting matter.

To avoid any rancor, let me say that I do not doubt the validity of this statistic. Shooting at a hostile, moving target is difficult under the stress and strain of combat. This I readily believe. But I would like some historical information about the research that led to those findings. Thanks.


Timthinker

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Number 6
December 30, 2007, 07:40 AM
I think most people cite the Marshall Report which is present in his book "Men Against Fire." One of these days I want to read it. His study was done on WWII combat.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S._L._A._Marshall
http://www.amazon.com/Men-Against-Fire-Problem-Command/dp/0806132809/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1199014478&sr=8-1

Dionysusigma
December 30, 2007, 07:47 AM
O'Course most combat takes place within 300 meters! Further out, "everyone" calls it sniping... ;) :rolleyes: :D

HorseSoldier
December 30, 2007, 10:20 AM
Operational Requirements for an Infantry Hand Weapon by Norman A. Hitchman at the Army's Operations Research Office (released 1952) is another specific title that reaches the same "most < 100 meters, almost all inside 300 meters" conclusions people usually talk about. His methodology, as I understand it, involved data from both World Wars and more current data from Korea, which all supported the usual range figures.

Max Popenker or Tony Williams, if they happen to join this thread, can probably provide some additional references to other specific studies drawing similar conclusions. If I remember right their book on assault rifles mentions at least the 1920s-30s era Russian researchers who advocated an intermediate .25 caliber rifle for infantry use.

Avenger
December 30, 2007, 11:28 AM
For World War II, I'll believe it. Look at the terrain and vegetation where most of the battles took place. Rifles are line-of-sight weapons, if you can only SEE things out to 100 yards away....

Limeyfellow
December 30, 2007, 12:38 PM
Yes, because it is not like there was battles fought in the deserts of the Middle East and even in Iraq itself or across the steppes and rice paddies in Asia and so on. There were plenty of battles where the terrian allowed longer shots, but still it rarely happened.

HorseSoldier
December 30, 2007, 12:53 PM
There's more to it than just the terrain, like Limeyfellow suggested.

Even in more open terrain, when you factor in the difficulty of acquiring a point target like an individual in drab/camouflage clothing you start losing percentage points off engagements past the 100/300 range figure.

To that add target movement and you lost more % points.

The big kicker, however, on two way rifle ranges are the physiological and psychological effects of life and death confrontation. Even if the target is wearing bright colors and stationary, when you factor in adrenalin surge and maxed out heart and respiration rates, etc., the likelihood of hitting a target drops dramatically. How much it drops will vary from shooter to shooter, but the overall big-picture statistical situation is very poor.

Even without consideration of the (contentious to some) research showing lots of guys historically simply wouldn't shoot at all, it isn't much wonder that most battlefield casaulties are caused by weapons that saturate an area with fire or fragments like artillery or machineguns.

georgeduz
December 30, 2007, 01:06 PM
how far can you see?at 300 yards a person looks like a small dot.

threefeathers
December 30, 2007, 01:33 PM
SLA Marshall was a fraud and made up his stats. I feel robbed because as a young soldier I ate up every thing he had to say. So I seperate his research from his conclusions. His deal that only one in 10 or so shoot is bull****. My experience in combat is that I was always getting my guys to hold their fire and conserve ammo. The WW2 NCO's I grew up with ALL said the swme thing. As for 400 meter shots when avalible many take them. But in most instances you need permission because you don't want to give you own position away. If you are being shot at from that distance I guaranfrackingtee that most will shoot back.

Lucky
December 30, 2007, 02:33 PM
If you were a Russian on the Steppes, and you and few hundred buddies were dug in and an equivalent number of unsuspecting Germans were marching towards you - would you hold your fire and wait for them to get closer, or shoot as soon as you could reliably hit them?

If the only weapons involved are rifles then the farther away the defender engages the better, especially since the guys walking probably have less ammo.

But in reality if the Russians opened fire at half a click, the Germans would have just sat down and let supporting arms blow the Russians away, right?

Conversely the ideal time for the Russians to open fire would be when the Germans are in range of the Russian artillery, but not too close that Russian artillery may hit the Russian position, right?


If you read Rommel's Infanterie greift an there is exactly a rifle-to-rifle engagement in WW1. The French opened fire at long range, maybe 600m or something, but they ALL had their sights way way off.

elmerfudd
December 30, 2007, 02:44 PM
I think HorseSoldier nails it. First off, go without proper sleep for a week, then sprint for 100 yards with 60 pounds on your back, take up a hasty firing position with whatever support you happen to have which is probably nothing and then try to figure out where that camouflaged guy is 400 yards away from you while bullets zing by your head. There are probably a few Sgt. Yorks out there with perfect vision, who can keep their cool under those conditions and respond with precision fire, but they are few and far between.

I read somewhere that the average distance for police to engage a suspect at is 6 feet and that only about 50% of their shots hit their target even at that range.

GunTech
December 30, 2007, 03:08 PM
Hitchman's work was based on data culled from the ALCLAD study, evaluating several million combat casualties from WWI and later Korea, as well as after action reports from same. Most people are unaware of his findindings, which pretty much turn every preconceived notion about infantry small arms combat on its head.

Hitchman's report is virtually impossible to obtain in the original, but extensive quotes can be found in The Great Rifle Controversy, the Black Rifle, SPIW: The Deadliest Weapon That Never Was, US Rifle M14, etc.

Here's a quote from a post I made some time ago on rec.guns. I'm too lazy to retype it all

First, one needs to look at the ALCLAD and later studies, nicely laid
out in the Hall[1] and Hitchman[2] reports of the 1950s. Based on data
collected from WWII (and later Korea). It was determined that
regardless of theatre of operations virtually all rifle fire occurred at
less than 500 meters (yards). Probability of a hit at of ranges 300
meters (yards) or more dropped to 'negligible'. 80% of all effective
rifle _and LMG_ fire occurred at 200 meters (yards) or less. Major
factors cited were terrain, camouflage and exposure target.
Regardless of how much training we give personnel, these factors will
not be changed!

Secondly is the very real situation of reduced accuracy in combat.
Personnel under the very real stress of combat are not able to maintain
the levels of marksmanship shown in a training environment. This was
amply demostrated during the US Army's ACR project of the 1980s where
'expert' rifleman were placed under situations meant to simulate actual
combat conditions. Marksmanship scores dropped to very low levels, and
most personnel were unable to engage targets past 100 meters effectively.
Combat accuracy has nothing to do with ability on the range.
Further, aimed fire has very little impact. Again, the Hitchman report
is illustrative:

"...in combat, hits from bullets are incurred by the body at
random...the same as for fragment missiles which...are not...Exposure
was the chief factor...aimed or directed fire does not influence the
manner in which hits are sustained...[Despite] evidence of prodigious
rifle fire ammunition expenditure per hit,...the comparison of hits from
bullets with those of fragments shows that the rifle bullet is not
actually better directed toward vulnerable parts of the body."

One of the most controversial conclusions of this report was that
accurate, aimed rifle fire was for the most part an idea that only
existed in the minds of ordnance officers back in the pentagon and the
various arsenals.

[1] "An Effectiveness Study of the Infantry Rifle", BRL Memorandum
Report #593, Donald R. Hall, March 1952.
[2] "Operation Requirements for an Infantry Hand Weapon", ORO Technical
Memorandum T-160, Norman Hitchman, June 1952.

Evil Monkey
December 30, 2007, 04:20 PM
Today in the 21st century, there has been a proliferation of optics. They are being used on all infantry weapons imaginable.

There's ACOG, SUSAT, ELCAN, some are 1x red dots, 4x, telescopic, etc.

These pieces of equipment weren't used much when the Hall and Hitchman reports came out. Wouldn't these optical sights (especially the magnified ones) have increased the range of engagements today?

critter
December 30, 2007, 04:37 PM
I knew an old marine (now gone on to his well-deserved reward) who was in the first group to land on Guadalcanal and faced many banzi charges while operating a 1903 springfield.

Some of the charges were across beach flats and river mouth delta flat places while the marines were dug in on elevated places. He reported that they begin shooting (using the standing-ladder volley sight notches) at around 1200 yards.

I had thought they were woefully short of supplies. He said they were short of everything but ammo. His quote was something on the order of they had plenty of ammo-just not enough time to shoot the little yeller (expletive deleted).

SO, there were, apparantly, times when long range engagements WERE used. Other times were in the mountains of the Korean war during the Chosin reservoir part of the campaign.

The relative frequency of such long range shooting, I can not speak to however.

JShirley
December 30, 2007, 05:13 PM
threefeathers is almost entirely correct.

As a history guy (BA, currently working on Master's), and a former infantryman, I can tell you SLA Marshall was bogus. His methodology has been questioned by genuine historians, and the obvious conclusions are that he made up his statistics.

That said, the "myth of the American rifleman" is prevalent in our culture. Yes, many U.S. troops have outshot other troops, but I find no evidence this has ever won wars. Support weapons are almost always the big killers. Our current entanglements may be the closest we've come to individual weapons making higher percentages of kills, but that's because they are more police actions in areas populated by noncombatants.

John

GunTech
December 30, 2007, 05:27 PM
The average range of engagement in the ETO during WWII was 75 yards.

Timthinker
December 30, 2007, 06:10 PM
Guys, thanks for the comments so far. I am hoping to locate some research studies on this topic from immediately after World War One. I believe these studies, and the experiences of those who fought in that war and subsequent ones, eventually paved the way for the smaller rifle cartridges in use today. The problem is locating those initial findings. Thanks once again for the citations and comments.


Timthinker

goon
December 30, 2007, 06:48 PM
I don't have a source to site so if that's all you are interested in just skip this post.
I do have a brother who is in the habit of wearing a surplus woodland camo army jacket. When we go to the range and I walk to the 100 yard berm to put my targets up I can look back at the benches (near the tree line). Often I have a hard time picking him out when he's just standing there in jeans and a camo jacket.
That's with no effort on his part to camoflage himself or avoid being seen.
I can easily see where the 300 meter idea came from.

Thin Black Line
December 30, 2007, 07:04 PM
His deal that only one in 10 or so shoot is bull****.

I've read other places that state 3 to 5 in 10 actually shoot. It's probably
still 1 in 10 (or far less statistically) who actually hit and kill/wound an
enemy in combat.

Bartholomew Roberts
December 30, 2007, 08:33 PM
If you'll look there is also an unclassified report of common engagement ranges from the early portion of OIF. I believe it was a Marine report and is in the THR Archives somewhere.

These pieces of equipment weren't used much when the Hall and Hitchman reports came out. Wouldn't these optical sights (especially the magnified ones) have increased the range of engagements today?

I've wondered the same thing myself; but the Marine report mentioned above pretty much gives the same results as earlier studies. I think they found that 80% of engagements took place at less than 100m and the majority happened at less than 50m. I'm not sure how much rules of engagement and the mix of civilians may play a role in reducing engagement distances despite optics though.

Here is one link I found discussing the Marine report; there are others around though:
http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=25281&highlight=engagement+distance+Marine

daniel (australia)
December 30, 2007, 08:48 PM
There are numerous reports of effective rifle fire at well over 400 yards in the wars of the late 19th century. Much of this was by volley firing admittedly, but casualties were inflicted at ranges out to and past 1000 yards.

Examples include Rorke's Drift, where the British defenders were engaging the enemy at ranges out to 500 yards and more with Martini Henrys; Plevna, where the Turks opened the batting on the assaulting Russians at 1000 yards plus, to great effect, and numerous battles of the Second Boer War, where the Boers were inflicting casualties on the British at 1000 yards and often succeeded in halting attacks by effective rifle fire at 500 yards plus. There was even something of a scandal when it was discovered that the British Lee Enfields' sights were set wrongly in manufacture, which was why they were incapable of hitting at the extreme ranges of the Boers' Mausers (and adverse comments about the L-E Carbines ability to hit at more than a few hundred yards too).

Bartholomew Roberts
December 30, 2007, 09:08 PM
Yes; but every example you gave involved shooting at a massed group of attackers as they assaulted a fortified position over open ground. Typically, that isn't a fight you see much any more.

Even where you do get vast numbers attacking a small fortified position (like say the Blackwater fight in Najaf), they aren't massed in a line and assaulting; but dispersed among the terrain and firing from different positions as individuals and small units.

Here is one link I found discussing the Marine report; there are others around though:
http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=25281&highlight=engagement+distance+Marine

Evil Monkey
December 30, 2007, 09:10 PM
Examples include Rorke's Drift, where the British defenders were engaging the enemy at ranges out to 500 yards and more with Martini Henrys;

Took place in 1879.

and numerous battles of the Second Boer War, where the Boers were inflicting casualties on the British at 1000 yards and often succeeded in halting attacks by effective rifle fire at 500 yards plus.

Wikipedia says 1899-1902



What am I trying to prove? Well, WW1 started in 1914 I believe. It wasn't until near the end where mobile warfare was introduced, which eventually (with the prolific use of the MG) lead to an understanding that long range fire from an infantry rifle became pointless because new doctrine would be to maneuver around to destroy the MG and the enemy riflemen.

How can you make reference to battle tactics used more than 100 years ago to the tactics used today? :confused:

daniel (australia)
December 30, 2007, 09:40 PM
Yes; but every example you gave involved shooting at a massed group of attackers as they assaulted a fortified position over open ground. Typically, that isn't a fight you see much any more.

Even where you do get vast numbers attacking a small fortified position (like say the Blackwater fight in Najaf), they aren't massed in a line and assaulting; but dispersed among the terrain and firing from different positions as individuals and small units.

Yes, tactics have changed. More due to the advent of the machine gun than anything else. What has also changed though, dramatically, is the expectation of the effective range of the rifleman. The examples I cited were, as you said, of fire at massed troops, but there was an expectation that riflemen could engage at those sorts of ranges, and could also make hits on individuals at several hundred yards.

The British (and others) even established rifle ranges as long as 2000 yards and did have their soldiers practice out to 1000 yards. In that period trained soldiers were expected to be able to hit man-sized targets at 600 yards and a target the size of an artillery piece and its crew at considerably greater range. In the Boer war the Boers were very successful in hitting individuals at extremely long range, and the British soldiers expressed frustration that their rifles weren't allowing them to return the favour - they certainly considered that they should be capable of reaching out to these long ranges.

Now WWI was typified by trench warfare, at least in large part, so the requirement for long-range shooting wasn't there - no wonder average engagement ranges were short. It is interesting to note however that Ion Idriess, who served as a sniper and spotter, considered that a trained man should be able to hit enemy soldiers at 500-600 yards with an SMLE (see his "Australian Guerrilla" series).

WWII coloured expectations a great deal too, and the result was a mindset that ranges will be fairly short so rifles need not be capable of long ranges. We saw that here, and our doctrine when I wore a green suit was that the rifle (L1A1 at that time) has an effective range of 300m, and the ordinary rifleman only trained out to 300m. That is all very well where the terrain or cover dictates short ranges, but one must question its value in open terrain, especially if one came up against an enemy capable of shooting at longer ranges.

daniel (australia)
December 30, 2007, 09:45 PM
Evil Monkey

I'm well aware of when Rorke's Drift and the Second Boer War took place. Even Plevna. Here's a hint:

There are numerous reports of effective rifle fire at well over 400 yards in the wars of the late 19th century (emphasis added)

The point is that there was a time when riflemen were expected to and indeed did engage the enemy at ranges far greater than those cited by the much-criticised "Slam" Marshall.

History eh, you just can't learn anything from it:rolleyes:

Double Naught Spy
December 30, 2007, 10:46 PM
Right, so in summary, most combat took place at less than 300 meters for most situatiions, but there were various situations where combat took place at greater distances and was sometimes even effective at greater distances. Soldiers may be capable of shooting and hitting targets at greater than 300 meters, but may not have the opportunity to do so because of terrain, operational parameters/strategy/supplies/etc.

Probably one of the classic examples of multiple range engagements is the Battle of the Bulge where fighting took place at distances ranging from contact to hundreds of meters distant. The GIs had the benefit, part of the time, of being dug in inside of a forest and fending off approaching Germans coming across open fields. It was in their best interest to take advantage of Germans out in the open and to drop them before they made it into the treeline with the US Troops.

rangerruck
December 31, 2007, 06:19 AM
having just read the bool 'the ak 47', it talks about studies going all the way back to the late 1800's , and developing carts for this. The first medium cart design was actually the japanese 6.5 x 50 Arisaka, even though it used a heavy bullet, it was considered effective, because it could be used in all their long or short rifles, and run their MG's. I think his name was Molotov, but as a russian cart designer , was totally stuck on the idea of a 6 or 6.5 intermediate cart, and designed many along the way, before the 8mm kurtz or the 7.62 came around

gunnie
December 31, 2007, 04:41 PM
perhaps we should look into the new commie designated squad marksman idea. they may have more data base to draw upon as they were the ones who came up with the doctrine of radio, suppressive fire until armor / artillery / air can engage.

their new drugunov equivalent scoped squad marksman rifle is back-up for the five mm AK when engaged with superior ballistic endowed weapons. by no means a sniper grade rifle, just able to keep shooters at bay beyond the varmint calibers effective range.

this way only one man per unit needs special training and more expensive weaponry, and the close range effective weapons are still most of the squad's armament. IMO, would perfer two marksmen per squad, in the event one gets hit.

perhaps these are due to lessons they learned in afganistan, as we are in the same nation / region.

gunnie

junyo
December 31, 2007, 07:33 PM
No way to get accurate data, but I wonder whether non-traditional forces (insurgents, partisans, civilian miltias engaged in combat as opposed to simple acts of terror) would tend to engage at longer distances, even now. Large combined arms forces have the capability of using infantry to pin an opponent and then call in artillery/air to destroy. But smaller, more limited forces would have a greater need to use infantry to directly destroy opposition forces, so you'd think they'd place a higher emphasis on being able to do so from the greatest practical range. Long range shooters seemed to be heavily utilized in Bosnia and increasingly in Iraq. of course that theory is contradicted by the fact that areas in Africa that have seen constant low to medium intensity combat for years yet haven't seemed to develop any love of markmanship, nor apparently did the Afghans.

armoredman
December 31, 2007, 08:08 PM
80% of all effective
rifle _and LMG_ fire occurred at 200 meters (yards) or less.
Hmm, don't feel so bad about my 2-3 MOA Mini-14 anymore...4-6 inches wide is still plenty of torso. Not that I will ever have to, or would want to, test that theory under actual wartime conditions, just speaking here as a member of the Chairborne Commandos. :)

Evil Monkey
December 31, 2007, 08:38 PM
But smaller, more limited forces would have a greater need to use infantry to directly destroy opposition forces, so you'd think they'd place a higher emphasis on being able to do so from the greatest practical range.

OK but when you look at Chechnya, the Chechens love to "hug" Russian forces so that their artillery and air support is ineffective. Almost all of their engagements are under 100 meters and revolve primarily around the RPG rocket launchers.

perhaps we should look into the new commie designated squad marksman idea

We already have that. We have the M14 DMR, SAMR, and SDMR. And for the most part, the SVD seems to be obsolete for squad use. Spetznas has been playing around with a bullpup SVD with a shorter, suppressed barrel. It has seen action in Chechnya in as early as 1995 I believe. There has been word that prototype 20 and 30rd magazines were developed but I've never seen any in action. In the US, an equivalent weapon would be something like a 16" barreled M14 with a 20rd mag. Works the same.

Long range shooters seemed to be heavily utilized in Bosnia and increasingly in Iraq.

I'm pretty sure in Iraq, any "long range" shooting being done is probably only 100-200meters maximum. Those "snipers" have used anything from bolt actions, SVD, and even AKM assault rifles with PSO scopes.

JohnKSa
December 31, 2007, 09:22 PM
there was an expectation that riflemen could engage at those sorts of ranges, and could also make hits on individuals at several hundred yards.Those ladder sights marked out to 2000 meters were used for massed fire. The idea of massed fire is not based on the idea that riflemen could make "hits on individuals" but rather the idea that a LOT of people shooting in the same general direction at once were likely to hit a lot of people in that general direction. It's basically the same principle that machineguns use which is why their operators talk about cones of fire and not accuracy. And that's also why machineguns "obsoleted" massed fire and combat rifle sights with markings out to 2000 meters.

In other words, the idea that those soldiers were setting their sights to, say 1000 meters, and aiming at individuals is without merit. There may have been unrealistic expectations, but those ladder sights aren't proof of them, merely evidence of an outdated tactic.

Furthermore, riflemen today are trained to be able to make hits out to "several hundred yards". I think that training programs bear this out. The difference is that the expectation that it will happen in actual combat conditions is now more realistic.

Bartholomew Roberts
December 31, 2007, 09:49 PM
Large combined arms forces have the capability of using infantry to pin an opponent and then call in artillery/air to destroy.

I just wanted to isolate the two elements of this one long quote to make a point.

But smaller, more limited forces would have a greater need to use infantry to directly destroy opposition forces, so you'd think they'd place a higher emphasis on being able to do so from the greatest practical range.

If I only have long range rifle fire to engage the enemy, and the enemy has air and artillery, how is engaging him at the greatest practical range a good idea for me? You always want to be careful about pushing the maximum effective range of your weapon when your enemy has more effective and better ranged weapons. You get in a situation where you are doing minimal effectiveness; but he can hit back at you much harder.

gunnie
December 31, 2007, 09:57 PM
Much like the USMC's Squad Advanced Marksman Rifle (SAM-R), the SDM-R is an accurized AR-15/M16-type rifle (5.56x45mm NATO caliber) built in-house by the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU; this rifle is also known informally as "the AMU rifle"). SDM-R's have only been built for one major Army division and is

~~~not an Army program of record.~~~~

The SDM-R is designed to provide engagement capability at the squad level to 600 meters, similar to the needs expressed by members of USSOCOM that led to the development of weapons like the Mk 12 Mod 0/1 and the SEAL's Recon Rifle. Similar needs have also been identified by the USMC, which led to a similar development to the SDM-R in the USMC SAM-R.

the SVD uses a full power battle rifle load VS the 5.56. without getting this into yet another protracted caliber rant, i feel safe saying their answer to the problem seems better, even with the less than sniper grade accuracy of the platform.

resurection of the M-14 and L1A1 weapons were a step in the right direction. now if these were armory accurized, fitted with good optics, AND placed in the hands of a trained shooter in EACH squad it would be what ivan is trying to do. as it is, spec-ops are geting almost all of the M-14s.

gunnie

Roswell 1847
December 31, 2007, 10:21 PM
Well the Flying Tiger Ace who wrote "God is my Co-pilot" wrote that while straffing a Japanese column the escorting troops stood as if on a parade ground and fired volleys at his P-40 till he had killed them all.

He thought it was rather stupid to expect even massed rile fire would down a then modern fighter. When he returned to base he found his plane was shot to ribbons from just behind the cockpit to the tail surfaces. The Japanese anti-aircraft sight limbs attached to the rear ladder sight were calibrated for the slightly slower P-36 Hawk and similar aircraft.

US Naval personel reported that Japanese survivors of sunken troop ships would gather on floating hatch covers and other large debris and those that had held onto their rifles would fire volley after volley at passing US warships ships till all were killed.

Regardless of the average or expected ranges, battle rifle calibers will chew through cover that defeats assault rifle calibers.
The 7.62X54 machineguns and rifles are making a comeback among Jihadis precisely because that round can defeat almost any body armor at close combat ranges. The round will also defeat almost any executive vehicle armor especially bullet resistent windshields and windows.

elmerfudd
December 31, 2007, 10:49 PM
having just read the bool 'the ak 47', it talks about studies going all the way back to the late 1800's , and developing carts for this. The first medium cart design was actually the japanese 6.5 x 50 Arisaka, even though it used a heavy bullet, it was considered effective, because it could be used in all their long or short rifles, and run their MG's. I think his name was Molotov, but as a russian cart designer , was totally stuck on the idea of a 6 or 6.5 intermediate cart, and designed many along the way, before the 8mm kurtz or the 7.62 came around

I think that intermediate cartridges really were a bit of a disadvantage until the advent of semi-auto and full-auto rifles. With those old bolt action rifles rapid fire and bullet weight were practically non issues. Your rate of fire was determined by how fast you could work the bolt and stuff stripper clips into your 5 round magazine and 80 cartridges would have been a large combat load, so having a cartridge that punched through obstacles better and left a bigger hole in your enemy was much more of an advantage than having a lightweight cartridge with moderate recoil. Both the Japanese and the Italians adopted intermediate cartridges and they both dumped them in favor of full power cartridges after less than stellar reports of the smaller cartridges in combat. Self loading rifles changed all that and personally I think that the 6.5 Arisaka was really a great cartridge, but somewhat ahead of it's time.

Evil Monkey
December 31, 2007, 10:51 PM
Regardless of the average or expected ranges, battle rifle calibers will chew through cover that defeats assault rifle calibers
.

Modern militaries use explosives to deal with hard barriers, not bullets. That's just a waste of ammunition. We've already had this discussion before. In the middle east (both iraq and afghanistan), there are plenty of common barriers that not even 50cal and 25mm automatic cannon can get through with out wasting a bunch of ammo. And even then, the enemy would have probably escaped from that location. In such an environment, 5.56mm and 7.62 are the same.


The 7.62X54 machineguns and rifles are making a comeback among Jihadis precisely because that round can defeat almost any body armor at close combat ranges. The round will also defeat almost any executive vehicle armor especially bullet resistent windshields and windows.

First of ALL.....the only reason these Jihadis use the PKM is because that's the only extremely common belt fed weapon in the soviet arsenal. That's all they have. You mentioned it can defeat body armor? SO CAN THE 5.56. Neither of them can take out a hardened chest plate. I've seen a video of a US soldier being sniped in the chest with a 7.62x54R and he got right back up due to the chest plate stopping the bullet.

I'm also pretty sure that bullet resistant glass on an automobile is no match for even 5.56mm. Now sure, 7.62x54R is great against vehicles. But an RPG-7 or 40mm is too.

HorseSoldier
January 1, 2008, 12:42 AM
These pieces of equipment weren't used much when the Hall and Hitchman reports came out. Wouldn't these optical sights (especially the magnified ones) have increased the range of engagements today?

They help, yes. Target acquisition and identification is definitely boosted by ACOGs and similar sights. I think it is too soon to tell if we're seeing engagement ranges being pushed further out by their adoption, though, or if we're just seeing higher accuracy at the same sort of engagement ranges. An ACOG does make 0-600 on the range just simply easy with an M4, but it doesn't address the limitations of the shooter's psychology and physiology once you make it life and death. We have also tried to improve training to compensate for those issues, though, so it will be interesting to see if we do see an upturn in engagement ranges or kill ratios.

I knew an old marine (now gone on to his well-deserved reward) who was in the first group to land on Guadalcanal and faced many banzi charges while operating a 1903 springfield.

Some of the charges were across beach flats and river mouth delta flat places while the marines were dug in on elevated places. He reported that they begin shooting (using the standing-ladder volley sight notches) at around 1200 yards.

SO, there were, apparantly, times when long range engagements WERE used. Other times were in the mountains of the Korean war during the Chosin reservoir part of the campaign.

Like some other people have said -- a banzai charge (or a Zulu impi) is not a point target, it's an area target. If the bad guys are obliging enough to line up in a big mass and charge from 1000+ meters out, that's a whole different issue and an individual can likely make consistent hits on someone in the assembled mob at ranges where they'd never even be able to pick out an individual or small unit using the cover and concealment the terrain provides, etc.

Bartholomew Roberts
January 1, 2008, 01:26 AM
I'm also pretty sure that bullet resistant glass on an automobile is no match for even 5.56mm.

Actually, regular laminated safety glass on most cars will break up 5.56 FMJ fairly badly.

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=26245&d=1120919535

armoredman
January 1, 2008, 02:02 AM
The glass on my last armored truck was Level 5. 5.56mm wouldn't have fazed it. The newest "glass" is actually transparent armor.

chieftain
January 1, 2008, 02:19 AM
Like some other people have said -- a banzai charge (or a Zulu impi) is not a point target, it's an area target. If the bad guys are obliging enough to line up in a big mass and charge from 1000+ meters out, that's a whole different issue and an individual can likely make consistent hits on someone in the assembled mob at ranges where they'd never even be able to pick out an individual or small unit using the cover and concealment the terrain provides, etc.

The rifle is a point weapon. Poor discipline, training or leadership may lead to rifles used as area weapons. It doesn't change from a Zulu impi, Japanese Banzi, Chinese or North Vietnamese human wave attacks. If you use your rifles as area weapons you are missing the bad guys.

Choose a target and hit him. Keep hitting him until he is down. Pick another target. Repeat until, they go away, die, or over run you.

This from the Korean war.

"Do not attack the First Marine Division. Leave the yellowlegs alone. Strike the American Army."
--Orders given to Communist troops in the Korean War;
shortly afterward, the Marines were ordered to not wear their khaki leggings.


Why? The Army had a lot more supporting arms per unit/man than the Corps has ever had. True we have superior command and control. That was developed because we have a lot less supporting arms than most military units of our size and mission assignments and, to survive had to get real efficient in their deployment and utilization.

but once again the biggest reason was Marine Marksmanship on the battlefield.

In Fallujah, there was an investigation because of all the [non racial or ethnic pejorative for a Jihadist trying to kill American troops, per monitors] shot in the head. The brass thought the Marines were executing all these guys. They learned that the Marines with their new found optics where just making a hell of a lot of head shots. That's called marksmanship. Put that together with optics, and it gets nothing but better.

The fact is that Marine marksmanship has always been a major issue. The Corps expends money and manpower on marksmanship that no other service, world wide does. The difference is in combat. Now up close in CQB, the classic marksmanship usually doesn't make a difference. Different set of skills. (not talking about spooks in SPECOPS outfits either, Aint enough of them for a real fight anyway.)

When you are in positions that allow a little stand off or require the enemy to cover some open ground to close with your position, aimed rifle fire can be very effective, in conjunction with your area weapons and supporting arms.

Several folks have brought up several historical cases.

The British against the Boors. The Boors marksmanship with their superior rifle and caliber 7mm Mauser were their primary edge.

In WWI The old British Army (They were soon destroyed at the Somme, the following year) IIRC at Metz held off the German advance with just rifle fire. In fact the Germans thought they were being fired on by Machine guns.(This happened before the two sides dug in and were still maneuvering) The old pre WW1 British Army had a tactic called the crazy minute. The average trooper had to be able to hit out to 1000 yards, 15 Times in 1 minute a reasonably sized target.

Guadalcanal was mentioned, the Corps Used their '03's. Often at extended ranges. Not shooting into a crowd. Aiming at a specific enemy trooper in that crowd is what got you hits. Machine guns are area weapons, Rifles are point weapons.

Interesting story told by a reporter while in Afghanistan. (paraphrased) "At night I could tell the difference between the Taliban and our boys. The Taliban would empty a magazine, our boys would only shoot 2 or 3 shots."

Combat accuracy, the solution for the battlefield.

Yes Supporting arms does the yeoman work of dispatching our enemies. But put that together with accurate infantry fire, and now you have something. Makes the Communist tactic of "hugging the belt" rather futile. Oh and rifle fire for the infantry, is always there and ready to go.

Go figure.

Fred

Timthinker
January 1, 2008, 02:37 AM
Gentlemen, these discussions certainly raise some very interesting points. They are also very informative. In fact, I would say that we have some first rate military historians here. But let us remember that this thread is an inquiry into research done in the 1920s on the subject of rifle combat. Any citations from that time period would be welcomed. Thanks once again.


Timthinker

daniel (australia)
January 1, 2008, 09:55 AM
Those ladder sights marked out to 2000 meters were used for massed fire. The idea of massed fire is not based on the idea that riflemen could make "hits on individuals" but rather the idea that a LOT of people shooting in the same general direction at once were likely to hit a lot of people in that general direction. It's basically the same principle that machineguns use which is why their operators talk about cones of fire and not accuracy. And that's also why machineguns "obsoleted" massed fire and combat rifle sights with markings out to 2000 meters.

The British soldier of the period from the 1850s right up to WWI had to qualify on targets the size of a man out to 600 yards, and a target somewhat larger out to 900, as well as qualifying in range estimation out to 900 yards. That was to enable the individual to engage the enemy out to those sorts of ranges. Volley fire was also a part of the doctrine, but a separate part, for creating a beaten zone on, say, an attacking force or artillery piece at longer range, but soldiers were indeed expected to use their long-range sights to good effect on individual targets to what would now be considered extreme range. BTW volley fire was still part of military doctrine here as late as the 1990s, the difference being that with the L1A1 it was for ranges from 300m to the maximum marked on the sights, 600m. No-one would argue that the GPMG, or supporting arms when available, didn't do it better though.

In other words, the idea that those soldiers were setting their sights to, say 1000 meters, and aiming at individuals is without merit. There may have been unrealistic expectations, but those ladder sights aren't proof of them, merely evidence of an outdated tactic.

But there are numerous reports of it, right up to WWI. It is worth noting that long-range target shooting was very popular, and so a good number of soldiers had considerable practice at shooting with service rifles at ranges out to 1000 yards. In open terrain like say, South Africa's veldt they put that into practice.

Furthermore, riflemen today are trained to be able to make hits out to "several hundred yards". I think that training programs bear this out. The difference is that the expectation that it will happen in actual combat conditions is now more realistic.

I understand that the USMC is trained to 500 yards, but for a good while both service rifle design, doctrine and training has been predicated on the 300m maximum. That certainly was the case here post 1950s and I understand it still to be the case.

As for "actual combat conditions" that speaks of a wide range of factors. In New Guinea in WWII, and Malaya not long after, actual combat conditions - thick jungle - meant most firefights were at 20-30 yards, and the submachine gun became enormously popular with the soldiers as a result. If you were to take the jungle experience and apply that to service weapon doctrine generally you'd rather fall on your face though, wouldn't you? We've had wars in all sorts of conditions or terrain, cover etc against all sorts of enemies and it seems to me that the mistake is to limit our options based on the particular conditions of one war we've already fought.

Timthinker

Sorry mate. I didn't mean to get off topic. As far as I'm aware the studies of engagement ranges, such as they are, were post WWII. There certainly does not seem to have been much change in tactical doctrine or infantry small arms in the Post WWI period consistent with a view that engagement ranges would generally be short in any future war, at least on the Allied side. Witness the retention of full-power service rifles (after a brief flirtation with such ideas as the .276 Pedersen) with sights still graduated out to many hundreds of yards. A certain amount of infantry tactical doctrine was of course developed in Germany and Russia in the 1930's, and given a test run in Spain, so it might be worth looking for clues there.

HorseSoldier
January 1, 2008, 01:47 PM
The rifle is a point weapon. Poor discipline, training or leadership may lead to rifles used as area weapons. It doesn't change from a Zulu impi, Japanese Banzi, Chinese or North Vietnamese human wave attacks. If you use your rifles as area weapons you are missing the bad guys.

Choose a target and hit him. Keep hitting him until he is down. Pick another target. Repeat until, they go away, die, or over run you.


You're missing the main point -- the problems begin with target acquisition. A single guy or fire team at 1000 meters in drab clothes or camouflage is usually going to be simply invisible even before guys start trying to engage the target. A large formation of troops is first of all something you can acquire at all, and then secondly is a big enough target that even a miss of your actual target may still hit something/someone worth shooting.

The merits of trying to engage a point target at 600-1200 meters (to use some numbers used in this thread) are kind of dodgy on simple mechanical grounds when you have a 2-4 MOA service rifle that is going to be +/- one to four feet at those ranges (assuming you've estimated range correctly at all, and assuming your eyes can draw a bead on one guy with iron sights, and all the other problems).

The British soldier of the period from the 1850s right up to WWI had to qualify on targets the size of a man out to 600 yards, and a target somewhat larger out to 900, as well as qualifying in range estimation out to 900 yards. That was to enable the individual to engage the enemy out to those sorts of ranges.

That was the training. The whole point of the studies referenced in this thread is that on the battlefield the training did not work.

Put another way, the US Marine Corps still requires guys to shoot to 500 meters to qualify with their issue weapons. The US Army only shoots to 300 meters. The difference in actual combat engagement ranges? None.

chieftain
January 1, 2008, 02:16 PM
You're missing the main point -- the problems begin with target acquisition. A single guy or fire team at 1000 meters in drab clothes or camouflage is usually going to be simply invisible even before guys start trying to engage the target. A large formation of troops is first of all something you can acquire at all, and then secondly is a big enough target that even a miss of your actual target may still hit something/someone worth shooting.

The merits of trying to engage a point target at 600-1200 meters (to use some numbers used in this thread) are kind of dodgy on simple mechanical grounds when you have a 2-4 MOA service rifle that is going to be +/- one to four feet at those ranges (assuming you've estimated range correctly at all, and assuming your eyes can draw a bead on one guy with iron sights, and all the other problems).


Many of the troops do have the eyes to do this. Not all. BUT......

One reason the Marine Corps is big on the ACOG is magnification, that allows precise engagement at longer ranges. In fact if you use the 4 power that the Corps is using times the 300 yards that is the holy grail of combat today, you get 1200 yards. Amazing what coincidences pop up when studying this subject.

I agree, the 5.56 at 1200 yards may not pack enough ass to do any or much damage. Of course that was the equipment limitation you were talking about, wasn't it? Maybe the issue service M16/M4 isn't capable of functional accuracy to that range either. I simply don't know. I am not talking about special builds like the Mk 12 or M4's built for SPECOPS.

Maybe along with the reliability issue, we have discovered another 'old' reason to replace the platform and/or cartridge. Some things never change.

That was the training. The whole point of the studies referenced in this thread is that on the battlefield the training did not work.


Can you point out one example where that training 'did not work'? I have already pointed out one example where it did work. There are others.

I was trained and qualified to be expected to get a high percentage of hits at 500meters/600yards. I could. What many folks forget, that ability to see the front sight is much more important than the ability to clearly see that bad guy at 600 yards. Ad blurred vision is in many ways preferred.

Go figure.

Fred

gunnie
January 1, 2008, 02:21 PM
scoured my recources and couldn't find info you requested....

maybe the lack of response is due to skewed sources from the reports you mentioned. maybe it is due to the audience you request the info from being mostly "shooters" who see the need for the military to return to "shooter" training.

perhaps the info you seek is pointless now, even if located. military tactics of just after WWII and WW1 are largely non-effective in the "limited involvement conflict" {LIC} that has prevailed since the advent of nuclear weapons. no longer do the major powers want to commit to all out war, as the obvious outcome is now likely worse than trying to contain political problems to safely distant regions. the stats you seek are based on history of warfare where those involved were TOTALLY involved.

many of the major govt militaries around the world are now grappling with reworking LIC tactics to accomodate the insurgency and guerrilla enemy encountered by the new realities of warfare*. [see: chechnya, afganistan, viet nam, korea, falklands, iraq...etc] oddly, even the US, who won their independence by just such of an involvement, seem ill advised about how to prevail in such conflicts.

one man's rebel is another's freedom fighter. the key to winning an occupation is not obtained by military might.
it is obtained by proving to the indigenous people that they can have a better life than allowed by the previous govt. the very worst enemy one can encounter is one who has nothing to loose. they will die for their beliefs more readily than those who have something to live for.

modern military doctrine has created soldier-policemen. the two roles are not interchangeable. a soldier has to be able to take out an entrenched enemy with ordinance. a policeman can't because he can not function without the support of those who live next door to the house he just blew up to defeat the insurgents.

the current/future soldiers involved in above rules of limited engagement require weapons that are more selective than
explosives. hence the need for precision small arms fire that is able to hit the head that HAS TO rise above a barricade when utilizing the readily hand portable weapons of the guerilla force. from beyond the usable distances of RPGs, AKs, etc. this will force the enemy to engage by nonselective means, and loose the civilian backing required for continued existence.

this, to me is the NEED that has to be addressed in current US military small arms training and squad armament. [in ref to my posting #28, above]

REGAURDLESS OF FINDINGS FROM OUT DATED STATISTICS

gunnie

* see:

http://www.ciaonet.org/cbr/cbr00/video/cbr_ctd/cbr_ctd_52.html

http://adt.waikato.ac.nz/uploads/approved/adt-uow20070312.091218/public/03Chapter2.pdf

http://www.princeton72.org/sites/PU72/edithtml/Files/marshall-afgan-diary.pdf

chieftain
January 1, 2008, 03:08 PM
by the way, I earlier stated it was the Battle of Metz. Wrong war.

It was the first battle of Ypres.

The attacks began along a much narrower front on 31 October when German cavalry drove a smaller British cavalry unit from its position on the Messines Ridge at the southern end of the salient. Shortly thereafter, German forces engaged General Douglas Haig's First Corps further to the north, but a ferocious British counterattack repelled the Germans. Thanks to superior British rifle fire, they were able to hold this sector. The British rifles were so fast and deadly that the Germans mistakenly believed they were facing British machine guns.

Another version

Between 21 and 24 October, whilst the British 7th Division held off repeated German assaults to the east of Ypres, British I Corps to the north-east collided with strong advancing concentrations of German troops around Langemarck. A series of determined defensive actions, in which British rifle fire wreaked havoc against repeated German mass infantry attacks, prevented an enemy breakthrough. The German offensive faltered and on the evening of 24 October preparations were made for a separate great assault on Ypres further south. This new attack between Gheluvelt and Messines, began on 29 October, culminating in a crucial action on the 31st, when the British line was broken. The initiative of local commanders and a bold attack by the 2nd Worcesters restored the situation. A third major German assault on Ypres took place on 11 November when the Prussian Guard Division advanced along the Menin Road. This potentially decisive attack was checked by British field artillery and a hastily improvised rearguard force.


Fred

44AMP
January 1, 2008, 05:10 PM
Sorry I don't have any stats or sources from the post WWI-pre WWII era to add, but I do have a couple of observations that ought to be comsidered as part of the reason we got to where we are today, and why some tings changed and others didn't.

First of all, following WWI, our military was downsized drastically, and with the shortage of funding (maximized by the Great Depression), virtually no new ideas were even considered for several years (if they cost any money), and when new equipment and concepts were finally introduced it was the result of long drawn out struggles by the innovators against the established bureaucracy. The M1 Garand was adopted in .30-06 instead of the .276 round because Gen MacAurthur insisted on being able to use the millions of rounds of .30-06 the military had stockpiled. It was an economy measure, not an effectiveness issue.

Another factor in the supposed irrelevance of long range marksmanship is the fact that from WW I through today, the individuals in uniform have, in general, less and less personal firearms experience prior to joining the service. When rifle shooting was a national pastime, the expected standards of marksmanship were higher. With team sports and the urban environment being the ordinary situation for modern recruits, the old standards are tougher to achieve, and in most cases, the military does not have the time or funds to invest turning the majority of troops into crack marksmen.

Yet another factor is that following WWI, the major conflicts prior to Desert Storm all had the same basic military to work with. A relatively small core of professional soldiers, and the majority of the rest being conscripts. And while individual draftees can be as good an any professional after training, the majority don't have the same underlying motivations. The small numbers of professionals that made up the rifle units back in WW I and before had serious interests in shooting, and in long range rifle shooting. From WWII on, the changing naturre of most combat (because of changing technology), coupled with the large numbers of non-professional citizen soldiers, and the varied terrains changed the results of studies that measured "what most soldiers do in combat".

What was once done by long range rifle fire is now done with machineguns, and artillery or air support whenever possible. The nature of current ops (no cohesive enemy units - not fighting uniformed enemy military, etc.) means that the longer engagement ranges of the past are seldom encountered. So, it becomes a matter or economics again. Is it worth it for the military to train (and equip) soldiers for long range shooting for those increasingly rare times when it is useful, and if so, what percentage of soldiers should be so trained/equipped?

As so many others have said (and justifiably so) that most will not engage at long range, because of tactical factors (lack of target id, giving away position, etc.), but should we not provide the equipment and training to give them the skills needed for long range shooting for those times when they can use it to advantage? I think we should.

JohnKSa
January 1, 2008, 05:40 PM
The British soldier of the period from the 1850s right up to WWI had to qualify on targets the size of a man out to 600 yards,Which compares very well to what is required today. The larger targets used for the longer qualification requirements goes along with the idea of massed fire at long ranges. I can't see how using a larger than man-sized target would support the idea that they were supposed to be able to hit a man at those distances.But there are numerous reports of it, right up to WWI. It is worth noting that long-range target shooting was very popular, and so a good number of soldiers had considerable practice at shooting with service rifles at ranges out to 1000 yards. In open terrain like say, South Africa's veldt they put that into practice.However your information indicates that the soldiers, even under controlled conditions, were not required to demonstrate the ability to hit a man-sized target past 600 yards. What some soldiers chose to do and were capable of doing doesn't reflect on the general expectations of a rifleman's capability, which is how you stated your original assertion.

I certainly agree that level of accuracy is possible past 600 yards but I take issue with the idea that it was expected then or now.

GunTech
January 1, 2008, 07:47 PM
Just to bring the studies up to date, if you look at typical performance of troops during the ACR tests of the 1980s, even the addition of optical sights did not appreciably increase the hit probability of soldiers shooting in simulated combat conditions.

Performance on a target range has little or no relation to combat. The study that is usually quoted is by Norman Hitchman. SLA Marshall had nothing to say on the effectiveness of infantry fir in his work "Men against fire". That work only addressed the participation of soldiers in combat.

The factors that effect rifle fire in combat include intervening terrain. The use of cover and concealment and the sporadic and limited exposure of targets. So what if you can hit a man silhouette at 600 yards. Soldiers taking fire have a nasty tendency to use cover and concealment, and to move.

More quotes from Hitchman (with my own comments)


"Rifle fire and its effects were deficient in some important military respects...in combat, hits from bullets are incurred by the body at random:..the same as for fragment missiles..which are not 'aimed'...Exposure was the chief factor...aimed or directed fire does not influence the manner in which hits are sustained...[Despite] evidence of prodigious rifle ammunition expenditure per hit,..the comparison of hits from bullets with those of fragments shows that the rifle bullet is not actually better directed towards vulnerable parts of the body"

If time and degree of exposure was the chief factor in whether a hit was obtained, what was the point of long range shooting? *Further, analysis of actual combat in showed that 90% of all rifle fire occured at 300 yards or less and that 70% occurs at 100 yards or less. *Interveneing terrain, camouflage and an inability to adequately identify targets were cited. Indeed, the effectiveness of rifle fire drops rapidly to zero at ranges greater than 300 yards.

Hitchman continues:

"It is interesting..that at all common ranges weapons errors are without significance in the man-weapon system...the dispersion of the weapon could be more than double without materially affecting the probability of hitting the target...weapons-design standards which seek perfection by making the rifle more accurate (approach zero dispersion)..are not supported by this analysis as genuine military requirements. *Errors in aiming have been found to be the greatest single factor contributing to the lack of effectiveness of the man-rifle system...[in combat] men who are graded..as expert riflemen do not perform satisfactorily at common battle ranges."

"Either a simultaneous [salvo], or a high cyclic rate burst, with the number of rounds per burst automatically set rather than be dependant on the trigger release. *In the (single barrel burst) design, controlled nutation [nutate: to nod or droop] of the rifle muzzle would provide the desired shot dispersion or pattern; in the..(salvo), the scatter would be obtained and controlled by multiple barrels, a mother-daughter type of projectile, or projection of missiles in the manner of a shotgun."

GunTech
January 1, 2008, 07:54 PM
Here's some interesting data from the ACR report.

Performance of the M16 rifle (fixture mounted)
http://guntech.com/tables/table1.jpg

Performance of M16 rifle, record fire (i.e. range scores by soldiers)
http://guntech.com/tables/table2.jpg

Performance of the M16 in simulated combat conditions
http://guntech.com/tables/table3.jpg

Not what happens to hit probability under simulated combat conditions. It is not unlikely that actual combat conditions would show even poorer performance. Data from Iraq seems to support this, given the number of casualties per number of rounds expended. The average range of engagement is about 50 meters.

Caimlas
January 1, 2008, 08:52 PM
Well, I know for a fact that some rifles were actually designed for long-range shooting (300m+), such as the Swedish Mauser. Though, those are the exception, obviously.

I'm thinking that engagement range is primarily determined by available terrain. Let's envision a battle between two groups in, say, the American Southwest, or even parts of the Northern Plains (like North Dakota, where it's basically a desolate alien wasteland). Wind withstanding, you're likely going to see engagements between infantry at any range where there is line of sight, because there isn't much else. Any infantry battles out here would likely require the combatants to come armed with scoped rifles out of necessity - at least today.

GunTech
January 2, 2008, 12:53 AM
In terrain like that, you'd use artillery and airpower.

Roswell 1847
January 2, 2008, 01:38 AM
First of ALL.....the only reason these Jihadis use the PKM is because that's the only extremely common belt fed weapon in the soviet arsenal. That's all they have.
Soviet manufacture Beltfed Light Machineguns in 7.62X39 have been commonplace since the Viet Nam Era. Those intermediate cartridge weapons are much easier to get on the arms market.

That's all they have. You mentioned it can defeat body armor? SO CAN THE 5.56.
And I've seen 5.56 shed its core in tiny ratshot like droplets after going through two inches of wood. The target we set up behind the stump showed that the jacket hit sideways with barely enough energy to penetrate the cardboard backing and the lead spray wouldn't have penetrated a field jacket.
The .30/06 AP rounds we tested would shoot through a tree nearly two feet thick without noticable deflection. I was able to keep all rounds in the target fifty feet behind the tree aiming only by memory of where it was before side stepping to place the tree in the line of fire. I fired from about fifty feet from the tree.

In actual battles Jihadis have fired through interior walls to kill US troops and the M4 Carbine rounds could not penetrate to strike back at them.

In one such action Jihadis lay on the basement floor firing up to kill several of our troops and return fire was completely ineffective.
Armor had to be diverted from another area to blast the house. While waiting for the Armor to get there several more US troops were killed or wounded while making a brave but fruitless attempt to remove our dead and wounded before the house was blown up.

Jihadis have been paying premium prices for WW2 surplus Machineguns for some time now, because they offer an advantage the intermediate round chambered guns do not. Thats much greater penetration.

PS
On Monday, when the Marine assault on foreign fighters formally began, the young Marines of the squad from the 1st Platoon were already exhausted. Their encounter at the house in Ubaydi that morning and the previous night had been the unintended first clash of the operation, pitting them against insurgents who fired armor-piercing bullets up through the floor. It took 12 hours and five assaults by the squad - plus grenades, bombing by an F/A-18 attack plane, tank rounds and rockets at 20 yards - to kill the insurgents and permit recovery of the dead Marines' bodies.

KW
January 2, 2008, 02:11 AM
Consider that a called artillery strike or HE and cannon fire from armored vehicles and/or aircraft is going to be a lot more effective than some soldiers firing rifles at 600 yards. So if you have access to those, you will call on them instead of wasting ammo to possibly wound a man or two. And if your opponent has access to any of those, its probably not a good idea to open up on some guys at that range and give your position away in exchange for a possible casualty or two. Much better to close the range, do some real damage with a quick ambush and fade away, or hug close enough to neutralize the heavy weapons. Even if there are no heavy weapons, a close range surprise attack will still be much more effective.

So what about when there is no terrain? Soldiers have carried entrenching tools for a long time for just such a reason. What if there are heavy weapons to destroy your entrenchments in this open terrain? Well in that case the open terrain can't be defended and you wind up fighting in the cities where you can blend in with the population and use the buildings as cover. And if there are no heavy weapons, the dug in defensive force is nearly invulnerable to long range fire, and so the offensive force will need to use smoke, dust night, etc to close the distance.

Now obviously, trained snipers are exceptions to this. But for a typical infantry unit, even one armed with rifles in long range calibers, there just isn't much benefit to opening fire at these ranges in most situations.

Evil Monkey
January 2, 2008, 02:23 AM
Soviet manufacture Beltfed Light Machineguns in 7.62X39 have been commonplace since the Viet Nam Era. Those intermediate cartridge weapons are much easier to get on the arms market.

Practically nobody makes RPD's anymore and still the PKM is FAR more common.

And I've seen 5.56 shed its core in tiny ratshot like droplets after going through two inches of wood.

I believe I've seen M855 go through a tree trunk about 10-12 inches thick. I'll try to recover the video.

In actual battles Jihadis have fired through interior walls to kill US troops and the M4 Carbine rounds could not penetrate to strike back at them.

So you're saying we should do the same thing, fire blindly into a wall? LOL!
It's bad enough a larger round would mean a soldier will carry lesser amounts of ammo, we should just waste it firing blindly into a wall like dumb terrorists? That's laughable.

In one such action Jihadis lay on the basement floor firing up to kill several of our troops and return fire was completely ineffective.
Armor had to be diverted from another area to blast the house.

Problem solved.

Jihadis have been paying premium prices for WW2 surplus Machineguns for some time now, because they offer an advantage the intermediate round chambered guns do not. Thats much greater penetration.

That's also laughable. Where's your proof that Jihadis like you say, "pay a premium", for WW2 MG's? All I ever see in their hands are Post-WW2 soviet weapons bought from the black market or stolen from god knows where. It seems like you're just making up stuff.

Roswell 1847
January 2, 2008, 05:04 AM
Problem solved.
It took 12 hours and five assaults by the squad - plus grenades, bombing by an F/A-18 attack plane, tank rounds and rockets at 20 yards - to kill the insurgents and permit recovery of the dead Marines' bodies.
Twelve hours that cost the lives of Marines, and diverted Armor from its intended mission.

we should just waste it firing blindly into a wall
When they knew for a fact the enemy was on the other side of the wall it was exactly what they tried to do with their M4 Carbines and failed because the 5.56 wouldn't penetrate.

Reports from the theatre indicated that the jihadis were making special efforts to obtain the more powerful 7.62X54 Caliber MGs whenever possible.
Discoveries of Caches showed that these weapons were being smuggled in and stockpiled.

LAK
January 2, 2008, 07:08 AM
Even though machineguns as we generally refer to them would come in widespread use later, the Boers did have some Maxim machineguns, and various heavier "quick firing" Maxim type guns. Both were in use during the Great Boer War. Shrapnel artllery shells were also in common use.

Regardless of the number of riflemen involved on any given day, the Boers did not use volley fire, and even the British were not given to that order of fire in that conflict. Even when large numbers of riflemen were firing, were it not accurately directed it would not have had the same effect.

If some say that all or even most of these engagements involved massed rifle fire they would be incorrect. Many of the Boers were simply excellent shooters, and coupled with the mauser they gave the British a real hiding in a number of longer range engagements (The British played catch up with them later on in a similar manner).

Just one example of this was at the battle of Colenso. To quote from Aurthur Conan Doyle's "The Great Boer War":
But his two unhappy batteries were destined not to turn the tide of battle, as he had hoped, but rather to furnish the classic example of the helplessness of artillery against modern rifle fire. Not even Mercer's famous description of the effect of a flank fire upon his troop of horse artillery at Waterloo could do justice to the blizzard of lead which broke over the two doomed batteries. The teams fell in heaps, some dead, some mutilated, and mutilating others in their frantic struggles ......

For two hours the little knot of heart-sick humiliated officers and men lay in the precarious shelter of the donga and looked out at the bullet-swept plain and the line of silent guns. Many of them were wounded. Their chief lay among them, still calling out in his delirium for his guns. They had been joined by the gallant Baptie, a brave surgeon, who rode across to the donga amid a murderous fire, and did what he could for the injured men. Now and then a rush was made into the open, sometimes in the hope of firing another round, sometimes to bring a wounded comrade in from the pitiless pelt of the bullets. How fearful was that lead-storm may be gathered from the fact that one gunner was found with sixty-four wounds in his body. Several men dropped in these sorties, and the disheartened survivors settled down once more in the donga.
http://www.readprint.com/chapter-3731/Arthur-Conan-Doyle

http://www.readprint.com/work-631/Arthur-Conan-Doyle

It has been widely stated that comparing the number of casualties per round of ammmunition fired had decreased from the First to the Second World War, Korean War, on to the Vietnam War. That would tend to indicate that small arms effectiveness - regardless of why - has decreased, and not the opposite, in major conflicts.

chieftain
January 2, 2008, 08:24 AM
Just to bring the studies up to date, if you look at typical performance of troops during the ACR tests of the 1980s, even the addition of optical sights did not appreciably increase the hit probability of soldiers shooting in simulated combat conditions.


This may be true of Army troops. It is not true of Marines. The Corps has always put a premium on the ability of the line troops to shoot at 'long' ranges with the service rifle. Those long ranges are now 500yards with the M16A2.

Now, when you put a scope on that rifle, a rifleman, who has been trained to hit with Iron sights at 500yards, will get better hits with that scope and at longer ranges IF NEEDED. Is CQB skills still needed, of course, most of the fighting will still be at relative close range. But I want our boy's winning those longer fights too, when they happen.

Remember, a rifleman that trains to shoot and hit at 500yds finds the 300yd and closer stuff a relative piece of cake. Now give him a scoped rifle (ACOG) and even better things happen. A trained rifleman can and will make better shots with the superior capabilities of a quality combat optic. Just Like they did in Fallujah.

It has been widely stated that comparing the number of casualties per round of ammmunition fired had decreased from the First to the Second World War, Korean War, on to the Vietnam War. That would tend to indicate that small arms effectiveness - regardless of why - has decreased, and not the opposite, in major conflicts.

Directly in proportion of the use of fully Automatic service weapons in the hands of all troops.

I believe it only proves the general ineffectiveness of full automatic fire in the standard service rifle. It was precisely why the Corps demanded getting rid of full Auto capability. The burst capability was a compromise.

Personally, I do not believe the standard service rifle needs to have full auto capability.

But back to range capability.

Marine history, including Vietnam is replete with reports, stories and 'incidents' of line troops engaging at distances considered 'extended' and hitting the enemy. Sometimes because supporting arms were not available, sometimes because supporting arms were not allowed to be used.

I can see the restrictions to the use of supporting arms becoming more and more prevalent as the fighting evolves into lower intensity combat than we have already seen.

That would place the need 'more' often on rifle accuracy including at longer ranges too. In the foreseeable future it will not replace the preponderance of firefights at closer range. But it will be required more often. The tool needs to be kept in the infantryman's tool box.

Go figure.

Fred

Roswell 1847
January 2, 2008, 08:52 AM
Best 5.56 AP round they've been able to come up with.

Cartridge, 5.56mm, Armor Piercing (AP), M995


The cartridge is used by the M249 machine gun and the M16A2/A3/A4 and M4-series weapons. Procurement is intended for use against current and future light armored targets. The M995 offers the capability to defeat these targets at ranges 2 to 3 times that of currently available 5.56mm ammunition.

The cartridge consists of a projectile and a propelling charge contained in a brass cartridge case to which the projectile is secured. The projectile consists of a dense metal penetrator (tungsten carbide), which is enclosed by a standard gilding metal jacket. An aluminum cup sits at the rear of the projectile for the purpose of properly locating the penetrator within the projectile. The cartridge utilizes a conventional brass case and double base propellant. A standard rifle cartridge primer is used in the case to initiate the propelling charge.

The penetrator is similar to components used in other small caliber cartridges currently used by the US Army, but tungsten has better penetration capabilities than the other materials and is the design feature, which enhances the armor piercing capability of the cartridge.

This cartridge is identified by black bullet tip identification paint.

Type Classification: Std - 29 Mar 96
Unit cost: $1.44 (Fiscal Year 2005).


The penetration that can be achieved with a 5.56mm round depends on the range to the target and the type of material being fired against. The M16A2/A3/A4, M4, and M249 achieve greater penetration than the older M16A1, but only at longer ranges. At close range, the weapons perform the same.

Single 5.56mm rounds are not effective against structural materials (as opposed to partitions) when fired at close range - the closer the range, the less the penetration. The 5.56mm round is affected more by close ranges than the 7.62mm or .50 rounds.

5.56 mm Maximum Penetration. For the 5.56mm round, maximum penetration occurs at 200 meters. At ranges less then 25 meters, penetration is greatly reduced. At 10 meters, penetration by the 5.56mm round is poor due to the tremendous stress placed on this high-speed round, which causes it to yaw upon striking a target. Stress causes the projectile to break up, and the resulting fragments are often too small to penetrate.


Reduced Penetration. Even with reduced penetration at short ranges, interior walls made of thin wood paneling, sheetrock, or plaster are no protection against 5.56mm ball ammunition rounds. Common office furniture, such as desks and chairs, cannot stop these rounds, but a layer of books 18 to 24 inches (457 to 610 mm) thick can.

Not much use against third world building construction now is it, And thats the best they can field for 5.56 weapons.


The closer you are the less likely the round will hold together well enough to defeat the enemy's cover.

chieftain
January 2, 2008, 09:58 AM
Not much use against third world building construction now is it, And thats the best they can field for 5.56 weapons.

The closer you are the less likely the round will hold together well enough to defeat the enemy's cover.

I wonder whether it would work against body armor that way too?

The old 55gr round we used in Vietnam was okay. In side of 125yds +/- it worked on NVA very well. At least as well as the 7.62 NATO ball.

40+ years of trying to get it right. And still the cartridge is in question.

And some folks think this is a good service round.

Why? Probably that river in Egypt.

Go figure.

Fred

Evil Monkey
January 2, 2008, 07:49 PM
So Cheiftain and roswell, what are your arguments?

That we should drop the 5.56mm and go back to the big ol' 7.62x51mm?

Yeah, then we get into a REAL war where logistics are spread too thin and 5.56mm becomes Holy again.

I suspect if we were fighting a REAL, ACTUAL war and not just policing, that house in Roswells story would've just been demolished. No soldier would have gone in there if they knew the target.

I guess it's a battle of concepts. I personally hate the 308 as a general purpose round. I like the idea of a controllable weapon that can shoot a burst of ammo controllably to increase hit probabilities. I believe that was the reason the Germans had created a high cyclic weapon like the MG42. They knew the enemy was only seen briefly so a high volume of ammo was needed to increase casualties. That's the same reason we got into that whole SPIW, ACR thing.

The Russians have also been experimenting with AEK-971, AK-107/108/109, and AN-94 assault rifles. The AEK rifles and AK-10789 rifles use a counterbalance to counteract the movement of the bolt carrier and also have an efficient muzzle break to reduce the recoil down to nothing. Because of that, these rifles have a much higher cyclic rate too. The AN-94 uses a very complex system which allows it to shoot 2 5.45mm rounds at 1800rpm. The system is designed so that the second shot is not affected by the firsts recoil, resulting in 2 rounds traveling very close to each other with very little dispersion. The AN-94 I believe is used by elite forces.

Watch this video
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r_kiUdiUyds&feature=related

At the 2:40 mark, You can see the 7.62x39mm version of the AEK. Maybe this is something we both seek for urban combat. The rounds' capability to punch through barriers (it's not a 7.62x54R but oh well) and it's supposedly controllable on full auto bursts. The version they fire is the 5.45mm version.
At 4:35 they have a brief picture of both weapons.
At 5:03 they shoot the 5.45mm AEK again.(looks more controllable than even an M16...)

At 8:07 the AN-94 is shown and fired until the end of the video.

Maybe it's not a 7.62x51mm RIFLE you want, but a 7.62x51mm SAW. That would make more sense for that type of environment. Or just a change in tactics...

Roswell 1847
January 2, 2008, 10:38 PM
I suspect if we were fighting a REAL, ACTUAL war and not just policing
I think I'll let your own words sink in for awhile.


PS
At 8:07 the AN-94
You do realize that the AN-94 is one of the most complex and fragile autoloaders ever devised.
The whole system depends on an aircraft cable which rolls over a pulley.
You can't even reach the trigger when the stock is folded.

Ever wonder why no one is actually using these?

Plus the Soviet 5.45 is even less effective against hardened targets than the 5.56.

RP88
January 2, 2008, 11:44 PM
its kind of hard to get modern statistics because technology has advanced extremely since the last big wars, or period where there were multiple wars to draw information from. Also, the modern war doesnt exactly ever call for engagement in a flat environment with lots of space between you and your target (thats what mobile power like bombers, etc. are the true enforcers nowadays).

The way I see it, anything past 100 meters nowadays is pretty much reserved for DMs/snipers. That range of engagement shrinks when you consider that every war since Vietnam occurred in densely populated, built up, or vegetated areas where you have massive concrete structure or dense trees and growth obscurring and restricting not only your vision, but the area of combat in general. I'd say nowadays being a marine and getting engaged at from 200 meters instead of being shot at within talking distance would sound like a prayer to God to me.

Also, I would say that it doesnt matter which round you choose (762 or 5.56) because both have their plus sides when you think close-range/modern combat/etc. One reliably fragments at that distance and causes horrible wounds, while the other's shorter range but consistent larger amount of impact force and power were pretty much designed for this kind of combat. Then, both have their downsides, like how one has less power and how the other offers a slower rate of fire. It's like they'll never get it right.

/all in matter of my opinion

Evil Monkey
January 3, 2008, 12:42 AM
You do realize that the AN-94 is one of the most complex and fragile autoloaders ever devised.
The whole system depends on an aircraft cable which rolls over a pulley.
You can't even reach the trigger when the stock is folded.

Ever wonder why no one is actually using these?


We are not talking about the mechanism. We are talking about the concept. By that account, you have nothing to say about the AN-94's concept/doctrine/reason/philosophy/etc. And as I've said, some elite russian forces are apparently using it.

Plus the Soviet 5.45 is even less effective against hardened targets than the 5.56.

Which "hard targets"? If you're talking about structural elements then of course, the 5.56mm and 5.45mm are both too light in some instances. However, if you're talking about steel armor, neither of them are weak. Russian 7N22 5.45x39mm and RS-101 5.56x45mm can easily penetrate 10mm BMP armor at 100-200 meters.

GunTech
January 3, 2008, 12:49 AM
This may be true of Army troops. It is not true of Marines. The Corps has always put a premium on the ability of the line troops to shoot at 'long' ranges with the service rifle. Those long ranges are now 500yards with the M16A2.

The key words in the post were 'simulated combat conditions', not shooting on the qualification range. In the case of the ACR tests, this involved shooting at moving targets, while being distracted by whistles, artillery simulators, etc. Soldiers had to fire from hasty positions after doing short bouts of exercise.

I seriously doubt Marines would have done any better.

GunTech
January 3, 2008, 12:52 AM
One thing people neglect when noting the large number of rounds fired in modern war compared to earlier this century. Thanks the the use of suppressive fire, casualty rates for friendlies using fire suppression have gone way down.

I'll gladly trade more ammo used for fewer casualties.

chieftain
January 3, 2008, 03:26 AM
So Cheiftain and roswell, what are your arguments?

That we should drop the 5.56mm and go back to the big ol' 7.62x51mm?

Where did I say that. I did say that in combat I have seen the differences of rifles shooting 7.62 NATO vs. 5.56NATO.


Yeah, then we get into a REAL war where logistics are spread too thin and 5.56mm becomes Holy again.

Actually the size of the war isn’t the issue. It is the intensity of the combat. That intensity varies in all wars too. Some battles are more intense than others. Our adaptation of the 5.56 was a compromise. I believe the compromise we made was a bit to much on the light side. I believe one of the new 6.5 or 6.8 cartridges, would probably be closer to the compromise balance that is needed in an ideal assault rifle.


I suspect if we were fighting a REAL, ACTUAL war and not just policing, that house in Roswells story would've just been demolished. No soldier would have gone in there if they knew the target.

I think we are fighting a real and actual war. It is a relatively low intensity war. I do remember that old saw though. “If you are in the only firefight in the whole war, that is World War IV to you.”

I can’t speak for Roswell. I can say the only MOUT combat I was ever involved with was assisting in the retaking of Hue. We were not allowed to destroy any of the houses, with supporting arms at all in the beginning. If we would have run into a similar problem, we would have blown the floor with a LAW , grenade, or C4 and tossed a bunch of grenades, or possibly some C4 down the hole. Then follow up with an assault. We didn’t have the kool tactics used today. Like the Conga line. We were rather rude, crude, lewd, and socially unacceptable.


the modern war doesnt exactly ever call for engagement in a flat environment with lots of space between you and your target (thats what mobile power like bombers, etc. are the true enforcers nowadays).

I don’t think they got that memo in Afghanistan.


We are not talking about the mechanism. We are talking about the concept. By that account, you have nothing to say about the AN-94's concept/doctrine/reason/philosophy/etc. And as I've said, some elite russian forces are apparently using it.

There is no evidence of Spetsnaz using those weapons in Chechnya. The last place Russian forces were in combat.

This Quote was found

The Groza (Thunderstorm) is manufactured by Tula Sporting and Hunting Guns Central Research and Design Bureau, Russia. Uses a bullpup configuration 75% common parts with the AKS-74U. Available in 7.62mm S, 5.45mm B and 5.56mm N, and 9x39 mm. The 9mm version was introduced by Russia's Interior Ministry (MVD) in April 1994 for service in Chechnya. The 7.62mm model was taken into service by the Russian Airborne forces (including Spetsnaz) and combat engineers in 1998 (available in small qualities in T2K).


The key words in the post were 'simulated combat conditions', not shooting on the qualification range. In the case of the ACR tests, this involved shooting at moving targets, while being distracted by whistles, artillery simulators, etc. Soldiers had to fire from hasty positions after doing short bouts of exercise.

I seriously doubt Marines would have done any better.

The Marines already have done better, in actual combat, not simulated. As stated in the earlier answer. The Corps line infantry had already proven it’s capability of aimed accurate fire in the recent conflict in Fallujah. Done deal.

I believe if the Army placed as much emphasis on aimed accurate fire, their soldiers would be just as capable. They don’t.

This is not just in the present, this difference of the emphasis on combat rifle accuracy has lasted since the existence of the two services. It is not new. Call it a difference of philosophy.


One thing people neglect when noting the large number of rounds fired in modern war compared to earlier this century. Thanks the the use of suppressive fire, casualty rates for friendlies using fire suppression have gone way down.

I disagree. I believe suppressive fire began with the first repeating rifle. In our case the Krag Jorgenson.

I do not believe unaimed fire does much of any good at all. If you are engaging undisciplined troops, it may have some effect. If you engaging trained, disciplined troops it is all but worthless. It is a myth. I believe much of the myth was a rationalization for the M16’s full auto capability.


I'll gladly trade more ammo used for fewer casualties.

Always. That is what supporting arms is for. If you want to lower your casualties in a firefight. Hit the enemy with your rifle fire. Dead and wounded enemies do not inflict many casualties on friendly forces.

Go figure.

Fred

Roswell 1847
January 3, 2008, 04:01 AM
Quote:
I suspect if we were fighting a REAL, ACTUAL war and not just policing, that house in Roswells story would've just been demolished. No soldier would have gone in there if they knew the target.

The reason those Marines made five assaults while waiting twelve hours for Tank backup was because wounded or dead Marines were still trapped in the house.
In the end the Tank blew the House with One Marine still inside, he's believed to have bled out while his buddies were putting their butts on the line trying to reach him through a hail of powerful 7.62X54 automatic weapons fire that their 5.56 couldn't suppress for lack of penetrating power.
The Tank took so long to get there because this incident began during a major assault and the Armor was committed to other objectives miles away.

You can't always expect the Armor and Air Cover to be there to take up your slack.

IN WW2 the BAR was almost always supplied with AP rounds not for use against armor but for chewing through the substantial walls and barricades of dug in snipers and machinegunners in European cities, A job it did quite well.
Log barricades were also easy meat for .30/06 AP and to a lesser extent Nam era 7.62X51 from the M60 and early on the M14.

The 5.56 in the M4 format is nothing more than a jacked up Submachnegun and even less effective in some instances due to the reduced penetration at close range. Its only saving grace is its better than average accuracy.
The short M4 barrel reduces muzzle velocity to such an extent that its true effective range is a great deal less than that of the M16 which in turn loses killing power rapidly at longer ranges.

Wounding the enemy rather than killing him sounds good on paper, but in real life a wounded enemy will still trigger a Claymore or cover his retreating comrades as long as he can pull a trigger.
He won't be a burden to his comrades because they know that carrying him back with them is unlikely to save him if they have no medical supplies. Since they are sworn to Martyr themselves dying in battle is better than surviving with wounds. Only key personnel are carried away for medical treatment if the conditions are dire for them at the time. For every zarqawi smuggled into Iran on to get the best care a hundred more bleed out in the boonies and are left where they fell.

Kill em quick and kill em dead because if they do escape and survive someday they'll get their hands on a gun and start the crap all over again if they have to have a grandson pull them around in cart and prop them up to shoot.

theken206
January 3, 2008, 04:33 AM
"I suspect if we were fighting a REAL, ACTUAL war and not just policing,"

tell that to the ******bags trying to shoot and blow up my good friend over there with the 1st cav'. they didnt get the circular memo as it turns out.

tell that to any poor SOB thats on the other end of him, his SAW and the prototype ACOG mounted on it if they havent gotten a free magic carpet ride courtesy of some 5.56 and a pack of newports{the REAL fuel of infantryman lol}

elmerfudd
January 3, 2008, 05:16 AM
I believe I've seen M855 go through a tree trunk about 10-12 inches thick. I'll try to recover the video.

That's actually not very impressive. I've personally seen 7.62x54R go through a Douglas fir about 2.5' in diameter at a distance of 175 yards. We had a couple of 5.56 rifles there that day as well and there really was no comparison at all in their penetrating power.

The exit holes in the back of that big old tree made me rethink both cover and what constitutes a good backstop.

TimboKhan
January 3, 2008, 07:08 AM
I can't offer any direction towards a study, but I did take the time to find a paper written for the Command and General Staff College titled "Toward Combined Arms Warfare: A Survey of 20th-Century Tactics, Doctrine, and Organization

Here is the link: http://www.cgsc.army.mil/carl/resources/csi/House/House.asp

Anyway, reading the article and looking at some of the maps of various WWI battles, it becomes evident to me where these stats come from. I just scanned the report (although, since I to am an actual historian, I think I am going to go back and read the whole thing!), but it seems clear to me that long distance engagements just didn't make sense. Keep in mind that these are snap conclusions from only scanning the report, but here is what I gleaned:

1. Crossing large expanses of open ground exposed troops to ever improving artillery fire. Thats bad.

2. Trucks allowed for relatively large forces to be shuttled quickly to points for "surprise" attacks. Logically, it follows that they were moved fairly close to the point of attack, much as troops today are.

3. A realization that the attrition was a flawed tactic.

4. Increased use of machinegun fire.

5. Tanks.

Again, I am just sort of shooting from the hip here, but it appears to me that in all of these cases (save attrition), long distance engagements just didn't make sense. Why start shooting far away, when you can draw your enemy into your artillery net and then murder them with small arms fire? Why park a truck a mile away when you can park it 500 yards away and assault from there? Why potshot at troops a long distance away when the machineguns can rake them? In other words, the rifle was just not the best long-range weapon, and so it became a short range weapon, which is still is, more or less, today.

It's a good question, Tim, and hopefully I don't come across as an idiot here, but please keep in mind that I scanned a long report in about 5 minutes and that it's 4:00 in the morning right now! Anyway, I had more to say, but I think I better just read the whole report before I say it to keep from looking dumber than I think I already do!

LAK
January 3, 2008, 08:34 AM
ChieftainNow, when you put a scope on that rifle, a rifleman, who has been trained to hit with Iron sights at 500yards, will get better hits with that scope and at longer ranges IF NEEDED. Is CQB skills still needed, of course, most of the fighting will still be at relative close range. But I want our boy's winning those longer fights too, when they happen.

Remember, a rifleman that trains to shoot and hit at 500yds finds the 300yd and closer stuff a relative piece of cake. Now give him a scoped rifle (ACOG) and even better things happen. A trained rifleman can and will make better shots with the superior capabilities of a quality combat optic
I would agree with this.

GunTechOne thing people neglect when noting the large number of rounds fired in modern war compared to earlier this century. Thanks the the use of suppressive fire, casualty rates for friendlies using fire suppression have gone way down.

I'll gladly trade more ammo used for fewer casualties.
Suppressive fire is as old as artillery and the repeating rifle. The machinegun made it available to individual small units isolated or operating in isolation from other troops.

Fewer casualties is more likely due to the nature of the conflicts - socalled limited war - and the more dominant and effective use and types of heavy weapons. Not just bigger and more powerful; the napalm bomb and the cluster bomb are two examples of air delivery that will do to whole swaths of entrenched troops that regular bombs and artillery shells would not.

The Annoyed Man
January 3, 2008, 11:25 AM
Interesting subject. The Japanese rifleman who shot my dad in the chest at Iwo Jima, did so from probably less than 25 yards away. That was at Cushman's Pocket (http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USMC/USMC-M-IwoJima/USMC-M-IwoJima-9.html). If you look at the accompanying pictures of the terrain, you can see why it was so close. The ETO might have given plenty of opportunity for longer range firefights out to 200-300 yards, but I would be willing to bet that, with the exception of rifle fire along beaches, the vast majority of those that took place in the Pacific island campaigns probably occurred at extremely close ranges for a rifle.

RP88
January 3, 2008, 02:50 PM
I don’t think they got that memo in Afghanistan.

I dont see how the war in Iraq and the campaign in Afghanistan differs. Both have vast ranges of desert landscape between urban areas, save for both countries ranges of mountains. As said before, you have more mobile and superior machine forces like tanks, bombers, etc. taking out basically anything in this area, and better means of traversing or transporting troops.

Maybe if we were in WWII where 500 yards would be fought over for days or weeks between trenchlines or defense lines, long-range rifle fire would be much more common and useful, even though it would still not be responsible for many casaulties until both forces got much closer to each other (ex: trench raids in WWI). However, nowadays, even between smaller, lesser-armed forces, it would only take about a few minutes to cover that much ground and draw ground forces to much closer and deadlier ranges. Thats the thing, and its already been said: why shoot from afar when you'll be in their face in a few short minutes?

Now, dont get me wrong here. I'm not saying rifles should only be effective out to 200 yards or anything. A better effective range usually means better accuracy, which is great regardless of range. However, I'm still saying that--assuming you're with a standard issue rifle with whatever nice optics--you'll seldom if ever need or will have to shoot at anything at such a range. Ever. You'll have choppers, tanks, bombers, snipers, heavy machine guns, and RPG units for that.

groda
January 3, 2008, 02:52 PM
I dont see how the war in Iraq and the campaign in Afghanistan differs.

oh god

JShirley
January 3, 2008, 02:55 PM
In actual battles Jihadis have fired through interior walls to kill US troops and the M4 Carbine rounds could not penetrate to strike back at them.

In one such action Jihadis lay on the basement floor firing up to kill several of our troops and return fire was completely ineffective.
Armor had to be diverted from another area to blast the house. While waiting for the Armor to get there several more US troops were killed or wounded while making a brave but fruitless attempt to remove our dead and wounded before the house was blown up.

Jihadis have been paying premium prices for WW2 surplus Machineguns for some time now, because they offer an advantage the intermediate round chambered guns do not. Thats much greater penetration.


Citations?

I have never seen any evidence that "wounding" instead of killing has been a deliberate design function of any weapon system except for a few small Soviet-era explosive devices.

John

Sunray
January 3, 2008, 03:08 PM
"...not like there was(sic) battles fought in the deserts of the Middle East and even in Iraq itself..." Where do you think T. E. Lawrence(aka Lawrence of Arabia) was?
The Ottoman Empire, aka Turkey, was part of the Central Powers Alliance. Iraq was part of the Ottoman Empire. Baghdad was taken by the British in 1917.
Little or no American involvement though.

Trebor
January 3, 2008, 03:26 PM
To answer your original question, you might have better results if you can find a dedicated "Military Historians" forum.

Seems there are too many shooters and not enough Historians here to help you find what you are looking for.

The other thing you can do is read some books on military rifle design in the 20th Century and look at the references and bibliography. These reports are mentioned and often footnoted in such works and that might help you track down the original reports.

"The Black Rifle" would be a good start, as would anything by Ed Ezell.

"SPIW: The Deadliest Weapon that Never Was" is another good possibility.

I do know that the U.S. wasn't the only country to do studies on rifle effectiveness. I've seen numerous references to a post WWI study conducted by Germany that reached the same conclusions. I have no idea where you would locate that study though.

RockyMtnTactical
January 3, 2008, 03:38 PM
I read somewhere that the average distance for police to engage a suspect at is 6 feet and that only about 50% of their shots hit their target even at that range.

Sounds like an FBI stat... and it's true. I don't know if those are the exact numbers, but they are close...

MrAcheson
January 3, 2008, 04:04 PM
I have never seen any evidence that "wounding" instead of killing has been a deliberate design function of any weapon system except for a few small Soviet-era explosive devices.There are a lot of anti-personnel land mines designed after WWII that are meant to wound. They have enough explosive to destroy feet and legs, but not enough for a clean kill.

But rifle designs? You are correct, I've never heard of that or seen it. To my knowledge, most wargaming doesn't even have the sort of methodology necessary for "take two of his buddies out of the fight with him."

Roswell 1847
January 3, 2008, 05:25 PM
But rifle designs? You are correct, I've never heard of that or seen it.
I heard little else in defense of the 5.56 use during the Viet Nam War.
Everytime someone brought up the subject some War dept suit would drag out that old saw from studies done in WW2.
Maybe you guys should look up some of the literature of the time in which arguments for adopting and keeping the M16 were flying fast and hard.

When fighting Civilized Professionals every wounded soldier is given the best treatment possible and resources and personnel are used to transport him away from the front.
Unfortunately when facing enemies that don't have the means to care for their wounded they just leave them behind to die hopefully taking some more folks with him while he's covering their escape.

At the end of WW2 while retreating from the Russians the NAZI actually scuttled a number of river freighters and barges loaded with their own wounded in order to used the remaining land transport for troops that could still fight.

Timthinker
January 3, 2008, 05:51 PM
Trebor, that is excellent advice. I have begun to explore military history forums for the questions I raised on this thread and one on the Garand rifle I started a few days ago. I am beginning to feel like Dr. Frankenstein in that my creation, this particular thread, has assumed a life far beyond my original intentions.:D


Timthinker

Bartholomew Roberts
January 3, 2008, 09:04 PM
At the end of WW2 while retreating from the Russians the NAZI actually scuttled a number of river freighters and barges loaded with their own wounded in order to used the remaining land transport for troops that could still fight.

How about a documented example of this since you were unable to provide any documented example of the 5.56 "wounding" theory?

chieftain
January 4, 2008, 02:13 AM
…long distance engagements just didn't make sense. Why start shooting far away, when you can draw your enemy into your artillery net and then murder them with small arms fire?

Well my experience is artillery has much greater range than small arms fire. Per the fundamentals I was taught, as the enemy comes to you, you engage each weapon at maximum effective range of that weapon. Artillery, mortars, guns, then Rifles, then your 40mm grenades etc. All employed at each weapons maximum effective range. If your weapon and training allow you to, you would hopefully start your rifle engagement at 1200-1000 yards. Or maybe today with the M16 500 yards would be where you begin accurate fire. That is assuming your troops are trained for it.


Why park a truck a mile away when you can park it 500 yards away and assault from there? Why potshot at troops a long distance away when the machineguns can rake them? In other words, the rifle was just not the best long-range weapon, and so it became a short range weapon, which is still is, more or less, today.

Why not 500 yards? Because your trucks would be shot to pieces by my folks rifle fire. Make them walk more, keep their support further away.

Of course rake them with your guns, which are area weapons. Can we all say beaten zone? While engaging them with your rifles too. It has historically been a longer range weapon, when the troops were trained to use their weapons at the weapons maximum effective range. Carbines are shorter range weapons. The shorter the barrel length, the shorter the effective range of the weapon.

There is a balance, I would propose 16 inch barrels with the 5.56 NATO Cartridge. That could be argued to as long as 20” to as short as 10”. That is my suggestion 16“.

I dont see how the war in Iraq and the campaign in Afghanistan differs.

This is a joke? Right?

Go figure.

Fred

Roswell 1847
January 4, 2008, 02:24 AM
How about a documented example of this since you were unable to provide any documented example of the 5.56 "wounding" theory?
First off theres probably not anyone who was alive in the 60's that didn't hear the "wounding theory" crap evertime the subject of the .223 cartridge came up. Its one of the most commonly quoted of all time when the subject is rehashed, and as I pointed out it sounds good on paper only.

Now if i have to dig through old history books to provide documented evidence of historical events I may as well open an online school.

Read up on the final days of the German retreat from the Soviets.
I'll waste some time looking for an online site for you if you insist, after which you can provide documentary evidence for every comment you make from now on.


Here you go

Last Updated: Friday, 19 September, 2003, 17:24 GMT 18:24 UK

E-mail this to a friend Printable version

Danube reveals its metal graveyard


By David Shukman
BBC science correspondent, in Prehovo


The Danube has fallen to its lowest level for more than 120 years, paralysing shipping and at one stretch, between Serbia and Romania, revealing the wrecks of a long-forgotten fleet of World War II German warships.

The Germans were in fast retreat
You cannot mistake just how dramatically the Danube has dropped when you stand here on the quayside at the Serbian port of Prehovo.

A series of depth markers, some 10 metres in height, slips down towards the river only to run out before the surface of the water.

The harbour master jokes that for the first time in his career there is no point even trying to record the river's depth.

In retreat

But his is the only joke along the banks of what is meant to be Europe's mightiest waterway.

Usually, at least a dozen so-called "convoys" of vessels - massive tugs pulling long lines of barges - plough their way between the Black Sea and the heart of the European continent.

We saw people on board a hospital ship one night and the next morning the ship had been sunk

Vojislav Lapadatavic
The economic loss is incalculable. But there is another reason for the Danube's level to cause concern as well.

Just upstream of Prehovo, a tangle of metal shapes has broken through the rippling surface - the remnants of what was once Hitler's Danube Fleet.

The river was as strategically important then as it is now but when in 1944 the Nazi forces were in retreat, the German admirals felt they had only one option - to scuttle more than 80 of their river-going warships.

No mercy

Now, all because of the drought that has afflicted great swathes of Europe this summer, this footnote in history has resurfaced.

The river authorities were amazed at this discovery and immediately began questioning local people for more information - with startling results.

One old man we spoke to, Vojislav Lapadatavic, who had worked in the German military kitchens, described how the ships were sunk even though there were wounded crewmen on board.

"We saw people on board a hospital ship one night and the next morning the ship had been sunk," he said.

What else?

According to local accounts, as many as 2,000 German sailors who were too badly wounded to be evacuated during the retreat by land would have perished in the operation.


A hazard to modern-day shipping
The thought of so many men doomed in that way - even the enemy - still haunts those who work on the river.

A local TV company hired divers to try to get a look underwater but to no avail - there was too much silt and mud for clear pictures.

Many people in Prehovo blame global warming for what is happening to the Danube.

They also wonder what other grim discoveries there may be before the waters rise again.






You'll find that this was a very well known but seldom talked about incident.

theken206
January 4, 2008, 02:39 AM
"I dont see how the war in Iraq and the campaign in Afghanistan differs."

you cannot be serious

Roswell 1847
January 4, 2008, 02:59 AM
Now to the various wound theories
VI.
In his 1967 paper, the US Army scientist Eugene T. Roecker lamented the fact that bullet designers seldom tried to maximize the wounding effect:

"The design of a rifle bullet for combat purposes has generally been dictated by interior ballistics, exterior ballistics, and manufacturing conveniences. Lethality was rarely considered at the designing stages because of a lack of an adequate theory for lethality prediction".[25]

Roecker proceeded to construct what he described as "a means of designing a more lethal bullet". But if wound ballistics can be used to maximize injury, it can also be applied in reverse for humanitarian purposes.

In 1981, NATO announced its decision to adopt a second standard calibre for small arms, alongside the previous standard calibre of 7.62 mm. The second calibre selected was 5.56 mm, the same as that of the M16 rifle, but a Belgian round, the SS 109, was adopted rather than the M16 round as a basis for standardization of ammunition for NATO rifles.

In a presentation to the fourth International Symposium on Wound Ballistics in 1982, a representative of the Ballistics Laboratory of the Belgian Fabrique Nationale, manufacturer of the SS 109, said that the new bullet had a "high coefficient of essential stability" and a high rate of spin imparted by a rifling twist of one turn in 7 inches, as compared with the M16 twist of one turn in 12 inches.[26] He made it clear that the SS 109 design programme had been heavily influenced by the 1979 resolution of the UN Conference cited above, appealing to governments "to avoid an unnecessary escalation of the injurious effects" of small-calibre weapon systems.[27]

Test results presented by Beat P. Kneubuehl at the ICRC expert meeting in 1994 showed the superiority of the SS 109 over some other bullets in terms of compliance with humanitarian rules. The results were presented in the form of graphs showing the amount of energy transferred to the test medium during each centimetre of penetration. According to the test results, which are based on only a limited number of firings, the SS 109 bullet starts transferring energy rapidly (at a rate of 50 Joules or more per centimetre) only after penetrating 14 centimetres; by the time it penetrates 20 centimetres, it has deposited 600 Joules of energy in the tissues. In contrast, the Russian AK-74 5.45 mm rifle, which for some years had been reported to cause severe wounds, starts transferring energy rapidly after penetrating 9 centimetres and has deposited 600 Joules of energy by the time it penetrates 14 centimetres. The AK-74 bullet will cause a severe wound much closer to the surface of the body than the SS 109.

VII.

http://www.icrc.org/web/eng/siteeng0.nsf/html/57JMMA

One or two sites won't give the whole story of course, but thats a pretty good read for a start.

You remember the "Poison Bullet" don't you?
Mujahadin had to be transported over mountain passes into Pakistan for proper treatment of less than lethal hits from the 5.45mm.
Many survived, though no doubt many more did not.
If the Mujahadin fighting units had not been close kin they would have been less likely to have gone to the effort for a stranger, even a fellow fighter. They weren't that caring about fighters from other clans.

Now for a weapon designed to create a maximum number of less than fatal wounds
U.S. ASSAULT RIFLE SALVO PROJECT .22 T65 Duplex
Manufactured by Winchester, New Haven, Ct. - An experimental, automatic, gas-operated rifle, designed as part of the SALVO project conducted by the Operations Research Office at John Hopkins University. The goal of the project was to develop a new automatic weapon due to dissatisfaction with the M14 and the 7.62x51mm cartridge. This particular piece has two side-by-side barrels, dual magazines and a two faced bolt. Operates on a single gas cylinder (has been plugged). Weapon uses a large volume cartridge. Rubber buttplate. Weapon weighs approximately 11.8 lbs.

Markings:
Receiver cover: (Sticker) U.S. GOVERNMENT PROPERTY/U.S.-01-19-059-2318-2.
Butt: PACHMAYR/GUN WORKS. LOS ANGELES, CALIF. MADE IN U.S.A.

Weapon transferred to the Museum on 7 January 1965. At that time weapon was appraised at $100.00.

Exhibit label: "Salvo Rifle - Studies of combat injuries in several wars indicated that a wound is more likely to be inflicted by a piece of shrapnel or a stray bullet than from an aimed rifle. A project was assigned to Springfield Armory that would have led to a complete revision of infantry tactics and weapons systems. Project 'Salvo' proposed a rifle that would spray a deluge of small caliber, high velocity projectiles from multiple barrels."



There were a bunch of less likely to kill weapons tested during that era.
One I liked was a watercooled beltfed .22 magnum for spraying down entrances to camps in case of night attacks.
No single hit was likely to be fatal but chewing up the legs of dozens of enemy at a time was figured to at least send them packing.
The Germans designed and probably used trapguns rigged to the perimeter wire around some camps. It was a fullauto 7.65 ACP caliber with a cross shaped cutter mounted at the muzzle to cut each bullet into four pieces spraying the area where an inmate would be trying to crawl under the wire.
The torn up and bleeding inmate would of course be dragged around the camp as an example before execution.
Several examples of these weapons survived the war, very crude devices.

TimboKhan
January 4, 2008, 04:21 AM
Well my experience is artillery has much greater range than small arms fire. Per the fundamentals I was taught, as the enemy comes to you, you engage each weapon at maximum effective range of that weapon. Artillery, mortars, guns, then Rifles, then your 40mm grenades etc. All employed at each weapons maximum effective range. If your weapon and training allow you to, you would hopefully start your rifle engagement at 1200-1000 yards. Or maybe today with the M16 500 yards would be where you begin accurate fire. That is assuming your troops are trained for it.

Good points all, but remember we are talking about WWI arty fire, not today. In fact, the paper went on for some time about how poor arty fire was in WWI. It got better as time went by, but at first, it was evidently very, very bad and quite inaccurate.

Your other point about trucks being shot at assumes that the enemy can even see the trucks. Inserting troops as close as possible to the action removes, to a certain degree and depending on the situation, some of the snafus that can occur during an assault over an open field. We don't insert guys directly on top of the action in helicopters, but we sure do drop them as close as possible, as evidenced by helicopters from Vietnam through today getting shot at, and occasionally, down.

Your points are all valid, but I think they are more applicable to todays warfare moreso than WWI, particularly when you mention 40mm grenades, hahaha. That being said, what do I know? I read one article, very quickly, and made some snap judgements. I am a historian, but I am not a military historian!

LAK
January 4, 2008, 10:52 AM
RE: open/desert warfare.

There was also North Africa - WW2. This is nothing new.

HorseSoldier
January 4, 2008, 11:28 AM
One reason the Marine Corps is big on the ACOG is magnification, that allows precise engagement at longer ranges. In fact if you use the 4 power that the Corps is using times the 300 yards that is the holy grail of combat today, you get 1200 yards. Amazing what coincidences pop up when studying this subject.

No one is using an ACOG to shoot to 1200 meters in combat. A four power scope helps with target acquisition and PID, but it certainly doesn't help that much. The number of guys making shots in combat at the bottom of the ACOG reticle at 600 is pretty close to negligible, even if you can hit steel at 600 all day long on the range. Despite going in enthusiastically for the issue of the ACOG, the USMC is still the agency that found average engagement range in Iraq was 100 feet (and I don't think anyone else is finding anything much different).

I simply don't know. I am not talking about special builds like the Mk 12 or M4's built for SPECOPS.


1200 meters is asking a whole lot, even with an SPR with significantly more powerful optics than an ACOG and match grade Mk 262. The SPR has surprisingly long legs, but still . . .

This may be true of Army troops. It is not true of Marines. The Corps has always put a premium on the ability of the line troops to shoot at 'long' ranges with the service rifle. Those long ranges are now 500yards with the M16A2.

Nope, sorry. I know the Corps is culty about its long range target shooting, but in combat Marines aren't engaging/shooting any further than Army troops. And neither are engaging much at all at ranges beyond 300 with individual rifles/carbines with any frequency, and mostly at much, much closer range. GunTech's point, which I know may be painful to some, is that all the NRA style shooting in the world over nicely mowed grass on a KD range translates to exactly zero improved performance in combat shooting. The only real innovation in small arms training in decades has been to recognize how useless that stuff is and to focus on trying to approximate actual combat conditions -- ranges, stress level, etc. -- as much as possible.

The Marines already have done better, in actual combat, not simulated. As stated in the earlier answer. The Corps line infantry had already proven it’s capability of aimed accurate fire in the recent conflict in Fallujah. Done deal.

"Blurb in newspaper with no supporting numbers" does not equal "proof." An especially salient issue would be what ranges this alleged rash of head shots occurred at. Making head shots at 50 meters with a four power scope does not mean every Marine is a steely eyed sniper, or that the Corps' insistence guys waste time shooting past 300 meters under sterile range conditions makes much difference in combat.

I can tell you, though, that being involved in training troops on combat marksmanship and having access to actual reports and analysis or such things . . . you're not correct as far as I am aware.

HorseSoldier
January 4, 2008, 11:47 AM
When they knew for a fact the enemy was on the other side of the wall it was exactly what they tried to do with their M4 Carbines and failed because the 5.56 wouldn't penetrate.

Like the last story bemoaning how our issue infantry weapon won't shoot through entire buildings or whatever, I'm again puzzled by this apparent strange perception that Marine rifle squads and platoons only carry rifles. There's a reason why we issue a whole range of ordnance to the individual and units, and part of that is because unaimed rifle fire through barriers is wasted bullets. That's why guys have access to grenades, rockets, grenade launchers, and everything else.

Reports from the theatre indicated that the jihadis were making special efforts to obtain the more powerful 7.62X54 Caliber MGs whenever possible.
Discoveries of Caches showed that these weapons were being smuggled in and stockpiled.

Saying "World War II surplus machineguns" and then saying they are trying to get 7.62x54 MGs simply is not the same thing. Like Evil Monkey noted, the RPD is an antique, but several nations are cranking out PK and PKM machineguns even as I type. The bad guys want machineguns for the same reasons everyone wants machineguns -- volume of fire, which compensates well for the utter lack of even basic marksmanship skills for the average jihadi. I've never heard any suggestion that they specifically like MGs so they can chew through walls or whatever . . . which makes sense, when you consider that Iraq is mostly built of reinforced concrete and their buildings soak up small arms ammo whether 5.56mm or 7.62mm pretty easily.

I heard little else in defense of the 5.56 use during the Viet Nam War.
Everytime someone brought up the subject some War dept suit would drag out that old saw from studies done in WW2.
Maybe you guys should look up some of the literature of the time in which arguments for adopting and keeping the M16 were flying fast and hard.


I think you'd do well to look up the literature yourself. Quoting one lone Army researcher as "proof" of something is a bit dubious. I can find a number of reputable PhDs who ardently believe the world is only 5000 years old. This doesn't mean they represent the prevailing scientific opinion.

The adoption of a SCHV assault rifle round was predicated on an intent to improve the lethality of the infantryman on the battlefield. "Designed to wound" is an urban myth that started with troops being nervous about the idea of using a smaller bullet, so the urban myth that "the powers that be have a plan" emerged. It says zero about the actual motivations for adopting the round, but much about the difficulty the average soldier (like most average people in general) have reconciling conventional wisdom to some issue that runs counter to it.

Roswell 1847
January 4, 2008, 03:29 PM
First off
My comment.
Wounding the enemy rather than killing him sounds good on paper, but in real life a wounded enemy will still trigger a Claymore or cover his retreating comrades as long as he can pull a trigger.

Since the only comment I made on that subject was that it looked good on paper but not in the real world. Just exactly how would that make me a proponent of that theory?
I think you'd do well to look up the literature yourself
Thats the job of those who believe the theory is still valid.
I have no reason to provide supporting documentation for a theory I do not subscribe to.

That's why guys have access to grenades, rockets, grenade launchers, and everything else.
I see, you prefer to set off a grenade in the room you are in to try to breech the wall, or would you rather have fired an RPG or SMAW inside that room?

Saying "World War II surplus machineguns" and then saying they are trying to get 7.62x54 MGs simply is not the same thing. Like Evil Monkey noted, the RPD is an antique, but several nations are cranking out PK and PKM machineguns even as I type.
Yep because available stocks of the ready to Hand WW2 surplus won't meet the demand and they've been paying as much for the old stuff as they'd expect to pay for more modern equipment less easily obtained and smuggled in. They'll pay for whatever 7.62X54 or equivalent caliber beltfeed or hicap full auto they can get because it offers them the chance to strike the opponent with a high volume of rounds with high penetration power.
Ceramic inserts can take one hit and then have to be replaced, multiple hits from high energy rounds at extreme close ranges will break up those plates.
Soft armor that won't defeat an AK round will at least reduce the wounding effect by scrubbing off velocity , the 7.62X54 can lose that much energy and still deliver as much or more energy than an unimpeded AK round.
Cover that stops a 5.56 cold is still within the capability of heavier .30 rounds.

Also if soldiers only shot at those enemy that exposed themselves long enough for a trooper to draw a bead very few of those enemy would ever get shot.

PS
A round through a vital organ can kill regardless. The objections to excessive wounding effects were that wounds to the extremities which put a man out off action anyway would be a great deal more likely to be fatal or permanently disabling causing unnecessary suffering and tying up medical personnel and resources causing even more suffering.
As far back as Sun Tzu the concept that killing the enemy was of less value than forcing him to retreat thereby demoralizing the enemy population was considered valid. Col. Applegate wrote of something along these lines, the demoralizing effect on the civilian population of seeing large numbers of greviously wounded men brought back from the front.
The Jihadi are making great use of just this principle. Random IEDs accomplish nothing in the way of securing a military objective. What they do accomplish is large numbers of injuries to troops. When a soldier dies the population is angry, when a soldier loses his legs the population is disheartened, when a soldier receives a clean wound and is raring to go back into combat the population is inspired by his courage.

This principle doesn't work on the fanatics, They look to veteran amputees as Martyrs and honored warriors, many gain rank due to the badge of honor of a wooden leg or missing hand. This has been a factor in Muslim cultures for over a thousand years.
A similar pyschological effect can be seen in the ranks of professionals of the 19th century. The Legionaires in Mexico swearing an oath to fight to the death on the wooden hand of their commander. Post Civil War Generals often sported wooden legs or hooks. One old CW General became the lover of the Queen of Spain despite having one leg off at the hip.


Now post Documentary evidence that firing a SMAW or similar weapon into the wall and floor of a room you are in to get the guy in the next room is a bright idea.
Also give your reasons for blowing up a room where wounded Marines are trapped.

JShirley
January 4, 2008, 07:40 PM
Roswell, your quote does not say anything about wounding vs. killing being a deliberate design function. In fact, it says the opposite, that little attention had been given to wounding effects.

I see, you prefer to set off a grenade in the room you are in to try to breech the wall, or would you rather have fired an RPG or SMAW inside that room?

No, you use C4 and saline bags. And yes, you are quite close by when it goes off. :rolleyes:

John

Roswell 1847
January 4, 2008, 08:13 PM
Roswell, your quote does not say anything about wounding vs. killing being a deliberate design function.
So?
Look over my posts and find where I supposedly said it was a Deliberate design Function.
Remember I'm not the one that said the wounding rather than killing was a valid practice in the real world of today.
The DOD Suits are the ones who tried to use the wound rather than kill theory to justify continued use of the M16, not I.

I think someone has had a similar discussion before where the idea of wounding rather than killing was a deliberate design , so someone else here figures to jump in with a pre programed response to an argument that hasn't been made.


No, you use C4 and saline bags. And yes, you are quite close by when it goes off.

John

And how many times were you machinegunned to death blowing that wall while jihadis poured full auto AP through the wall while you were setting up?

And to repeat there have been firearms designed to wound rather than kill.
The Germans designed and probably used trapguns rigged to the perimeter wire around some camps. It was a fullauto 7.65 ACP caliber with a cross shaped cutter mounted at the muzzle to cut each bullet into four pieces spraying the area where an inmate would be trying to crawl under the wire.
The torn up and bleeding inmate would of course be dragged around the camp as an example before execution.
Several examples of these weapons survived the war, very crude devices.

RP88
January 4, 2008, 08:37 PM
how did this go from the difference between average combat range of today and 50 years ago to shooting through walls and the purpose of a rifle and its round?

Last time I checked, new rounds were designed to be as lethal as possible given technological advances and changes in trends. The key word is 'LETHAL'. Just because a 5.56 may wound more often or cause worse wounds doesnt mean that it was meant to just wound someone and let them know that shooting someone isnt nice, because when they say 'wound', they mainly mean 'lethally wound or permanently incapacitate'. Unless we're out there shooting protest signs or greeting cards instead of bullets, the idea in general is to kill someone--one way or the other.

And even though I doubt anyone would ever try blasting through a wall randomly, the ability to do so is nice because it means you can blast through a small brick balcony or fence, or a wall, or a car, or a tree, whatever cover your enemy would be using (either to hit them or scare them out of that position so that you can safely advance or not get shot at yourself). Other than that, I dont see how that subject fits here.

HorseSoldier
January 4, 2008, 08:48 PM
And how many times were you machinegunned to death blowing that wall while jihadis poured full auto AP through the wall while you were setting up?


The actual story being referenced here involved some cornered bad guys shooting up through the floor, and was acknowledged by the embedded reporter to have been something the marines involved had not encountered before. The marines entered the building, took some casualties from the enemy firing blindly through the floor (not a recommended technique unless one is cornered in a crawlspace under a house, and even then still not very effective compared to actually seeing the enemy), and ended up pulling back and waiting for fire support to deal with the house rather than risking additional lives, after making an attempt to recover their two dead.

In other words, outside the one-off of hadjis shooting through the floor, it's about as boring an application of American SOPs going back generations as any I can think of -- WW2 veterans should be equally familiar with the "make contact, employ overwhelming fire power to reduce friendly casualties" approach as anybody out there today. This unusual situation is not illustrative of failings in our weapons systems, or doctrine for that matter. Making a big deal out of an isolated event and arguing it proves some sweeping deficiency in equipment is just a bit over the top, particularly one where a determined enemy ended up taking 100% casualties despite their "it shoots through walls" "fire superiority."

And to repeat there have been firearms designed to wound rather than kill.

Making mention of an obscure German mechanical ambush design from World War 2 doesn't demonstrate that the American military has ever had an interest in weapons that are intended to wound rather than kill. It actually doesn't even demonstrate that the Germans had any interest in personal weapons intended to wound rather than kill.

Roswell 1847
January 4, 2008, 09:05 PM
how did this go from the difference between average combat range of today and 50 years ago to shooting through walls and the purpose of a rifle and its round?
Because if you hadn't noticed most combat at under three hundred yards today involves sturdy third world dwelling of one sort or another and/or barricaded diehards that hope to take you with them.
Chechen volunteers with al-Queda trained as many insurgents as they could in the house to house fighting techniques they'd used so well against the Russians, a number of these Chechen commanders and their comrades proved to be the toughest foes faced in Iraq because they knew their (insert S word) from using those tactics sucessfully against a modern army.

Theres a great deal of difference between long range accurate fire and close range fire against dug in diehards with more powerful rifles and machineguns than you have available, plus grenades and RPG out the ying yang.

Operations were stalled , marines were lost needlessly, and the Jihadis had a few more heroic martyrs.

In another Incident two wounded Marines were pinned inside a building by Jihadis on the roof firing down through a skylight and tossing grenades whever anyone tried to enter. 5.56 bullets wouldn't penetrate the roof under them nor the raised parapet around the roof. A brave Marine Bled out while that situation was finally sorted out.

In another instance a Jihadi with a beltfed machinegun held a Marine he'd wounded pinned down because the angle of fire put the edge of the window frame between him and the bulk of the squad who'd taken cover. The momemt one exposed himself to draw a bead the Machinegunner took his head off. The wall around the window the gunner was in would have been easy to chew through with a .30 without exposing anyone to the gunners kill zone.
People die waiting for rocket launchers and armor to show up.



The actual story being referenced here involved some cornered bad guys shooting up through the floor, and was acknowledged by the embedded reporter to have been something the marines involved had not encountered before.
Actually there were two in the Basement firing up and one or more at the eand of a hall firing through the wall and basement door, the story didn't mention the fire coming through the interior walls. I'll try to find a more complete account later.
And if you think no US Troop had ever encountered similar circumstances you don't know much about house to house fighting. General George Patton wrote a pretty good guide to the subject.
In the history of warfare practically every scenario will be repeated sooner or later, there are no one offs. Firing Blind at a area where you know an enemy to be works often enough that it was standard operating procedure in WW2, troops had to be taught to ignore previous training based on WW2 bolt actions and much more limited ammo supplies. They were encouraged to fire as many rounds as they could at where they believed the enemy to be rather than only at enemy they could see.

As for the trap gun that was just to dispell the idea that no firearm had ever been designed to wound rather than kill.

PS
Quote:
Roswell, your quote does not say anything about wounding vs. killing being a deliberate design function.

So?
Look over my posts and find where I supposedly said it was a Deliberate design Function.
Remember I'm not the one that said the wounding rather than killing was a valid practice in the real world of today.

Couldn't find any instance where I said that wounding rather than killing was deliberate design function of any military rifle in use now did you.

RP88
January 4, 2008, 09:38 PM
no need to educate me. I've already made posts about the advantages of shorter-ranged, more powerful rifles like AKs here in today's environment, so I agree with you no doubt. Its just that I could have sworn we were arguing the average engagement range for a rifleman a couple pages ago. If not, then I take it thats its been accepted that longer range is not entirely common, needed, nor accurate even with better technology, and that everyone agrees that a more powerful rifle is more suitable given today's infantry combat environment, since most firefights of the sort happen within ranges suitable for a good submachine gun.

GunTech
January 4, 2008, 10:06 PM
The idea that the 5.56 was designed to wound rather than kill has often been discussed, but I cannot find one single shred of evidence in ordnance records of design specs to support that. Indeed, for the last 10 years I have challenged anyone to find said evidence with no result.

Here are some salient facts.

The idea of a small caliber high velocity round stems from Donald Halls "An effectiveness study of the infantry rifle" where he estimated that a SCHV round would have the same potential to produce a casualty as the then current 30 caliber rifle ammunition.

The 5.56 projectile designed by ArmaLite - specifically Stoner - was simply a scaled down 30 caliber bullet. The fact that it produced superior lethality was mere serendipity.

As far as effectiveness, after action reports from Vietnam showed that the 5.56x45mm was 11% more lethal than the 7.62x51mm. This was do to the performance of the 5.56 bullet in tissue. While the 7.62 tends to go through the target with little deformation, the 5.56 (at shorter ranges typical of jungle combat) tended to fracture at the canneleur, producing several submunitions.

M855 5.56x45mm
http://www.firearmstactical.com/images/Wound%20Profiles/M855.jpg

M43 7.62x39mm
http://www.firearmstactical.com/images/Wound%20Profiles/AK-47%20762x39mm.jpg

M80 7.62x51mm
http://www.firearmstactical.com/images/Wound%20Profiles/M80.jpg

Roswell 1847
January 4, 2008, 10:21 PM
so I agree with you no doubt.
I believe we see eye to eye on that point.

If not, then I take it thats its been accepted that longer range is not entirely common, needed, nor accurate even with better technology,
Unfortunately the enemy adapts his tactics to your strengths. If you give up long range accuracy for convenience in ammo load and handines he can attempt at least to force you into a long range duel such as the mujahadin ambushing soviets in mountain passes and nailing them at long range using bolt action .303 rifles and 7.62X54 machineguns. When the Stinger started drying up Soviet air cover their troops couldn't operate in the mountains at all because their AKs were outranged, and their BMPs couldn't move up to provide cover. The Muji kept the high ground.
The Taleban have been hoping to fight that war over again with the US in the role of the Soviets, but we ain't biting.

In City fighting you have extremes. Either its close in gunfights or longer range sniping and motar and rocket fire.
Though much of a city is crowded there are always areas that are wide open and roof top to roff top duels can measure out to even longer distances than you'd find in some countrysides. Firing on a road block for example could be done from a half mile down the street.

I say a more powerful round with close in penetration of cover and the ability to engage at longer ranges.

If the AR-10 were as reliable in combat as an FAL it would be a perfect choice. Its true utility would rest on alternative ammo types available to the individual trooper.

The three round burst option of the present 5.56 AR types could be done away with. Why carry twice as much ammo if it takes three times as many rounds to do the job?
If you're gonna miss once why miss three times in a row.


PS
As far as effectiveness, after action reports from Vietnam showed that the 5.56x45mm was 11% more lethal than the 7.62x51mm. This was do to the performance of the 5.56 bullet in tissue. While the 7.62 tends to go through the target with little deformation, the 5.56 (at shorter ranges typical of jungle combat) tended to fracture at the canneleur, producing several submunitions.


unfortunately it did the same when it encountered any sort of substantial foliage.
Wound studies of enemy casualties can only be done by postmortem examination of bodies found. Those Enemy that crawl away into the bush to die can't be examined if you can't find them.

If a 7.62 NATO from an M14 hits an enemy at a greater range than the bullet from a 5.56 the extent of the wound would appear less.
Modern European manufactured 7.62 NATO using a brittle steel jacket will also break up inside the body, in fact they've adapted the principle from the 5.56 bullets.

Now if you want a truly hideous wound using a 7.62 bullet copy the .303 Mk 7. It has a lightweight nose insert, variously of aluminum, wood, or paper, according to the manufacturer. I've fired a lot of the paper nose Mk7.
The gilded steel jacket is brittle from work hardening during manufacture.
When fired the rifling marks weaken the jacket. As the bullet begins to tumble inside the body it makes a half turn then the exposed soft lead core opens the base like a bore diameter soft point , the jacket peels back into thins slicing edges and the expanded core travels through the body in a wad of lead as the jacket either spins like a buzz saw or breaks up into slivers.
I've seen photos of a pile of Poachers hit by the Mk7 and you could see the next body through the wound in ones chest, while all the meat had been blown off a survivor's upper arm leaving the bone exposed from shoulder to elbow.

The Mk7 has poor penetration on car bodies through.

Bartholomew Roberts
January 4, 2008, 11:49 PM
Roswell, you are arguing with people who are actually fighting the battles you only hypothesize about. From my perspective you do not appear to know much about the subjects you are discussing.

GunTech
January 5, 2008, 12:55 AM
Wound studies of enemy casualties can only be done by postmortem examination of bodies found. Those Enemy that crawl away into the bush to die can't be examined if you can't find them.

Are you suggesting that those hit by 7.62 crawled away and died and only those hit by 5.56 dies in place? Whether true or not, it still seems to favor 5.56

Modern European manufactured 7.62 NATO using a brittle steel jacket will also break up inside the body, in fact they've adapted the principle from the 5.56 bullets.

Not true. Only an experimental West German round had that ability, and it wasn't adopted. 7.62 NATO of all makes is distinguished by the fact it rarely fragments.

RP88
January 5, 2008, 01:14 AM
I cant really say much for the war scenarios you offered, Roswell. However, I can comment on the guns. Those guns used in the soviet war were specifically designed for those ranges. From what I gather, the problem with the M16 and its 5.56 is that it was designed for all-purpose applications, or at least adapted in a way that made it so. The problem there is that being well-rounded is only good until you go up against something with a specialty, whether if its an AK at 100 yards or an old Mauser at 500 yards.

Which also leads me to jump on that info on the 5.56's 11% improvement. That was all info pulled from 40 years ago, where an NVA soldier (or any soldier for that matter) with body armor was as common as seeing a leprechaun.

That then leads me to my next thing. Rifle fire against troops in Iraq or against forces with crappy or no body armor (unlike us and our dragonskin or defend-x plating) is pretty much effective regardless. If we were to get into a fight with, say, ourselves...then pretty much any kind of gun outside of a heavy MG bullet will not drop anyone unless its a hit to the face or extremeties

If you were to get into a war with someone with similar good armor, then I wonder how redefined rifle combat and ammo would be then. Probably means very soon we may see something along the lines of stronger and more expensive metals used in construction

HorseSoldier
January 5, 2008, 01:49 AM
People die waiting for rocket launchers and armor to show up.

40mm HEDP does more to structural walls than 0.30" ball ammo, and grenade launchers are liberally issued in combat arms units. To say nothing of the vastly superior effects of lobbing one 40mm grenade through a window or doorway rather than trying to blindly guess where the bad guy is.

And if you think no US Troop had ever encountered similar circumstances you don't know much about house to house fighting. General George Patton wrote a pretty good guide to the subject.


Just curious, how much time do you spend in MOUT sites? I spend entirely too much in then.

The reporter who described the incident you're referencing points out in his article that basements in Iraq are almost unknown. I'm sure Patton could teach us all something about moving heavy divisions along unimproved road nets in the middle of a European blizzard . . . but who cares in the context of Iraq?

Couldn't find any instance where I said that wounding rather than killing was deliberate design function of any military rifle in use now did you.


Semantic tap dancing.

If you give up long range accuracy for convenience in ammo load and handines he can attempt at least to force you into a long range duel such as the mujahadin ambushing soviets in mountain passes and nailing them at long range using bolt action .303 rifles and 7.62X54 machineguns.

The mujahedin were getting there backsides handed to them when their main rifle was the SMLE, and the relative effectiveness of this weapon against the Soviets (who issued PKMs and SVDs very liberally, we should recall) is probably aptly summarized by the fact they switched to AKs as fast as they could get them.

I say a more powerful round with close in penetration of cover and the ability to engage at longer ranges.


My ACOG makes my issue M4A1 a 600 meter weapon with boring ease on the range. Not sure how much further we're aspiring for guys to shoot, but regardless, in combat, range for effective engagements is mostly going to be < 100 meters whether we issue 5.56mm weapons, 7.62mm weapons, or .338 Lapua weapons. It's not the limits of the weapons that make longer range shooting difficult under actual combat conditions, it's the limits of the shooters and the human animal.

If a 7.62 NATO from an M14 hits an enemy at a greater range than the bullet from a 5.56 the extent of the wound would appear less.


Not a meaningful claim as far as observed wounds and terminal ballistics, since troops with M14s (and M1 Garands) were still mostly only hitting bad guys inside the usual 100/300 meter ranges.

Roswell 1847
January 5, 2008, 02:26 AM
From my perspective you
I have my doubts about you as well.
Do you doubt the wounding characteristics of the Mk 7 .303?
They are well documented.

Do you doubt the published shortcomings of 5.56 AP at Close range?

Do you doubt eye witness accounts of German Atrocities against their own wounded?

I'm probably old enough to be your grandfather and I've seen men die from gunshot wounds and treated minor gunshot wounds and spoken with survivors of some pretty awesome gunshot wounds to hear how they got them.

As for the terrorist and insurgents prefering to use 7.62X54 whenever they can thats been reported for years now, maybe all the reports from the field are lies but doubt that.

When someone blithly suggested planting demo charges on the floor or walls which the enemy is firing full auto through at the time it just doesn't seem very realistic.

I've fired just enough 5.56 at car bodies, and wood including tree stumps to recognize that its a poor penetrator.
As the specs for 5.56 AP round show it would not penetrate the book cases in any room of my house at close range.

And read up on it, the US Army in WW2 encouraged the troops to take full advantage of the Garand's power and rapid fire by firing at where they believed the enemy to be rather than waiting for a clear shot. And it worked.

Not spray and Pray but filling the enemy's position with lead in sufficient volume as to make that position untenable and produce casualties.

Now as for the attempts to justify the use of the M16, the Wound rather than kill theory was one I never subscribed to, so this bull about demanding that I post evidence to support a theory I don't support is ridiculous.
After looking around they net I find that this has become a new meme, that somehow no one ever tried to claim that the M16 was designed to wound rather than kill. Having been an adult at the time I can remember that they certainly claimed that just about anytime the subject came up. Thats their argument not mine, and as I said it only looks good on paper not in the real world of today.

Since you folks decided you wanted more background on the theory I gave it some thought and I'm looking into where the idea originated.

Sun Tsu recomended that a retreating army be left an avenue of escape, that a defeated and demoralised enemy would demoralise the population when they saw wounded and defeated soldiers. Then Applegate's book was mentioned, I read some of his stuff years ago, I do seem to remember what he said about wounded and maimed coming back demoralizing the civilian population.
Certainly the huge numbers of Mustard gas victims had a demoralizing effect in WW2. Of course the opposite applies to Fanatics, and to some extent the professionals of long ago.

Now if the attempt to build a strawman argument against me had not taken place I might be less suspicious of some of the information posted here.

Since most of what I know about ammunition and shooting comes from hands on experiance over a period of a half a century rather than from reading last months Soldier of Fortune or cruising Youtube my figures may not be exact.

I was not pertrubed to find that the 06 AP was Tungsten Steel (electric furnace whatever)rather than Tungsten carbide as I'd thought, I come to learn not to teach, so finding out something I had not heard before is a plus not a minus. i'd always heard it was tungsten carbide, and I've used AP cores stripped of the jacket by passage through concrete foundations as center punches, pretty hard stuff.

Any way get off my back and either respond in a civilized manner or don't respond at all, My tolerance for bull**** is at low ebb.

PS

Semantic tap dancing.

Thats a Laugh your entire posts amount to little more.
As for a 600 yard shot with an M4 "At the Range" try it with a a stiff and variable crosswind and on a slope.


The mujahedin were getting there backsides handed to them when their main rifle was the SMLE
Because the Soviets had overwhelming air support.

Also just exactly how after WACO could anyone doubt the effectiveness of firing through walls roofs and floor to kill or wound opponents you know to be on the other side?
I'd think the videos from that incident would be a common teaching tool for anyone who'd likely be engaged in house to house fighting.

PPS
This just occurred to me

I'm sure Patton could teach us all something about moving heavy divisions along unimproved road nets in the middle of a European blizzard . . . but who cares in the context of Iraq?

Patton won his spurs fighting in pre WW1 Mexico in close combat among homes and building much like those of Rural Iraq. He shot it out with Pancho Viva's best men at point blank range.
In WW 2 his troops beat the pants off the NAZIs in both open battle and house to house fighting in European cities not unlike much of the more substantial structures in Iraq.
Now who's words would I be expected to trust, some faceless poster on the net that thinks the M4 is a 600 yard gun, or one of the greatest warriors of all time ?


M4 a 600 yard gun, what a laugh. If you managed to hit someone at that range the striking power would be in the pocket pistol range at best considering all the velocity you give up with the shorter barrel, even the full length M16 barrel would give no more than 9mm level energy and that in a .22 bullet that is far below the velocity necessary for fragmentation. A jihadi would be ashamed to show a wound no worse than that much less let it put him out of the fight.
A .30/06 at that distance could go through two men and kill or disable both.

Personally I'll trust those I've known most of my life and of known accomplishments before I'll trust the words of a stranger.
Far too many of my friends and kinfolk ended up on the short end because the M16 couldn't cut the mustard in any way shape or form.

Warbow
January 5, 2008, 04:42 AM
Also just exactly how after WACO could anyone doubt the effectiveness of firing through walls roofs and floor to kill or wound opponents you know to be on the other side?

Becasue they've actually been to Iraq and noticed that the structures there don't follow Texas building codes? That's my guess.

Jenrick
January 5, 2008, 05:17 AM
Any way get off my back and either respond in a civilized manner or don't respond at all, My tolerance for bull**** is at low ebb.

Way to take the high road. Not that my vote counts, but I vote that this thread be closed. I've learned a few interesting things, and saw a lot of ego on all sides go flaring.

-Jenrick

chieftain
January 5, 2008, 05:21 AM
No one is using an ACOG to shoot to 1200 meters in combat. A four power scope helps with target acquisition and PID, but it certainly doesn't help that much. The number of guys making shots in combat at the bottom of the ACOG reticle at 600 is pretty close to negligible, even if you can hit steel at 600 all day long on the range. Despite going in enthusiastically for the issue of the ACOG, the USMC is still the agency that found average engagement range in Iraq was 100 feet (and I don't think anyone else is finding anything much different).

Really beginning to ramble horse. I sure didn’t say anyone is using an ACOG for a 1200 yard shot. You bring up the matter of 1200meter shots. Okay, I am talking about the coincidence of the numbers, just like I stated.

Not being kool like you, I have no idea what PID means. Remember I ain’t kool.

Maybe in your outfit no one is engaging at 600 yards. I believe that 100 feet or 33 yards is probably accurate. Half of the fights are less, half are more.

You do agree with me. The Corps got the ACOG for that half over 100 feet/33 yards.


Nope, sorry. I know the Corps is culty about its long range target shooting, but in combat Marines aren't engaging/shooting any further than Army troops. And neither are engaging much at all at ranges beyond 300 with individual rifles/carbines with any frequency, and mostly at much, much closer range. GunTech's point, which I know may be painful to some, is that all the NRA style shooting in the world over nicely mowed grass on a KD range translates to exactly zero improved performance in combat shooting. The only real innovation in small arms training in decades has been to recognize how useless that stuff is and to focus on trying to approximate actual combat conditions -- ranges, stress level, etc. -- as much as possible.

Sigh, lets repeat it again. Just so you don’t have to try to say it again. I agree most combat is at closer ranges. You seem to be arguing with your self about this. It is that category you seem to define at “not much at all” or “any frequency” is where we differ.

The Marines because of their, to use your term, ‘Culty’ long range target shooting, do successfully engage at those longer ranges WHEN IT HAPPENS. Just another tool in the tool box.

The Corps Marksmanship, which has always been over a KD courses and yes the grass is usually mowed, has been going on for over 200 years. For over 200 years the Marines have been noted, world wide for their excellent long range musketry and rifle marksmanship in COMBAT. That continues today. Some of people don't think it is useful. A lot of Marines do. Most of the folks that think it is a waste of time, never did train in that manner. Interesting.

I do believe a lot of the new concepts in CQC are useful and needed too. The KD range is not used exclusively. It is used along with the new techniques. I ain't bright like you, but I have found in my experience, more training with additional techniques will usually be 'better' than less training.

You know, if you train for it, you are ready for it. If you don’t train for it, well…….. I guess you think that is a culty.


"Blurb in newspaper with no supporting numbers" does not equal "proof." An especially salient issue would be what ranges this alleged rash of head shots occurred at. Making head shots at 50 meters with a four power scope does not mean every Marine is a steely eyed sniper, or that the Corps' insistence guys waste time shooting past 300 meters under sterile range conditions makes much difference in combat.

It happened. You don't seem to like stuff that doesn't agree with your view of the world. It's America. You are as entitled to be wrong just like anyone else. And for the record, the ranges that the head shot were made varied. That normally happens in combat.

Interesting response though. No one I know has ever claimed the average Marine is a, how did you put it, “steely eyed sniper”. Just our line units are trained, you know that “waste of time shooting past 300 meters under sterile range conditions.” So a platoon of Marines can send some reasonably accurate small arms fire out to 500 meters. THEY TRAIN FOR IT. Radical concept.

Actually, it does make a difference in combat. Unfortunately, you apparently were not trained that way, and seem to resent those of us that are/were.

Just understand, I agree the long range rifle fight is not common, but does happen. I am glad Marines have the capability to engage in them effectively if and when they need to. You know, something like Amphibious operations.

Go figure.

Fred

Roswell 1847
January 5, 2008, 06:01 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roswell 1847
At the end of WW2 while retreating from the Russians the NAZI actually scuttled a number of river freighters and barges loaded with their own wounded in order to used the remaining land transport for troops that could still fight.

How about a documented example of this since you were unable to provide any documented example of the 5.56 "wounding" theory?

Thats what got my goat right there.
I've seen far too many holocaust deniers in the last few years and skinheads trying to paint the NAZI as better than they were.
Roberts' strawman remark made, and still makes, me wonder if he falls in that category.

As for Texas Building codes I doubt the WACO compound would have met them either. But it doesn't change the scientific fact that 5.56 AP can't shoot through cover that any decent .30 load would walk through and that Jihadis have put that to work as an advantage in street and house to house fighting.

Now its a historical fact that saturating an enemy position produces results whether you can see individual enemy or not.
Its also a fact that if bullets are coming through a wall inside a house then someone is on the other side of the wall.
Whether those who may have been to Iraq were in combat or in the rear with the beer making up stories to tell when they got home facts are facts, they don't change because someone didn't have a personal experiance that brought those facts home to them.

I'm not so cavalier about wounded Marines bleeding out because the 5.56 can't penetrate a bloody floor or interior wall, or the roof and trim around it.
Far too many US troops includin friends and kinfolk have died because the jacked up .22 doesn't do the job its meant to do.

PAOPuke
January 5, 2008, 04:09 PM
"how far can you see?at 300 yards a person looks like a small dot."

That's why my M-4 has an ACOG on it! Most of our effective shooting is done with Machine guns, sniper rifles & mortars over here.

PAOPuke
January 5, 2008, 04:20 PM
"unlike us and our dragonskin or defend-x plating" Where have you seen Dragon Skin worn? By contractors, perhaps??
Most Military are issued E-SAPI and use the new IOTV vest. Dragon Skin isn't issued & weighs several POUNDS more than E-SAPI & IOTV. Belive you me, when humping ammo, water, and mission essential gear in the mountains of the 'Ghan, I have no desire to hump the extra weight of Dragon Skin, too.

KW
January 5, 2008, 05:34 PM
The practical penetration difference between M855 5.56mm and .30 ball isn't that great when you are looking at structures. Most of the buildings in the areas where we are fighting are double or triple brick, thick mud and stone, or 8-10 inch concrete.

The Army's field manual on Combined Arms in Urban terrain has lots of info on this. http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/policy/army/fm/3-06-11/ch7.htm#par1

For instance, to get an initial penetration of a 9 inch double brick wall with a 7.62mm at 25m requires 45 rounds, or 70 rounds of 5.56mm! Thats over 2 mags from either caliber (or around 1/3 of a standard combat loadout), all to get an initial penetration on the weakest type of structure commonly seen. Rifles just aren't good at defeating heavy building materials.

Of course you will encounter some barriers that can be penetrated by a single 7.62 and not by 5.56. But does that balance out the advantage of having a smaller, lighter weapon, with more ammo, that is quicker on target and easier to shoot? Probably not, especially when 7.62mm medium machine guns, hand grenades, and 40mm grenade launchers are commonly available, not to mention .50 cals on humvees, 25mm cannons on Bradleys, 105-120mms on M1s, air power, artillery, anti-tank missiles etc.

chieftain
January 5, 2008, 06:11 PM
That's why my M-4 has an ACOG on it! Most of our effective shooting is done with Machine guns, sniper rifles & mortars over here.

Of course. They have been the most effective weapons at range since their existance. Very effective, When you have them, or have enough of them with you. In most wars one underlying factor is you never have enough of the good stuff with you. Just plenty of the bad stuff.

For instance, to get an initial penetration of a 9 inch double brick wall with a 7.62mm at 25m requires 45 rounds, or 70 rounds of 5.56mm! Thats over 2 mags from either caliber (or around 1/3 of a standard combat loadout), all to get an initial penetration on the weakest type of structure commonly seen. Rifles just aren't good at defeating heavy building materials.


Even CBS block, when set in a proper wall in a structure is much tougher to defeat than just shooting at a few CBS blocks piled on each other at a range.

The wall contributes tensile strength to each block. Add paint or other coverings both inside and out, and the strength is increased.

Of course you will encounter some barriers that can be penetrated by a single 7.62 and not by 5.56. But does that balance out the advantage of having a smaller, lighter weapon, with more ammo, that is quicker on target and easier to shoot? Probably not, especially when 7.62mm medium machine guns, hand grenades, and 40mm grenade launchers are commonly available, not to mention .50 cals on humvees, 25mm cannons on Bradleys, 105-120mms on M1s, air power, artillery, anti-tank missiles etc.

If the guy who shot you is behind such a barrier that can stop a 5.56 NATO round but not a 7.62 Ball or better an AP, YES it does outweigh the negatives. Almost everything in life is a trade off, or balancing act. Combat is particularly such.

I realize in Iraq the supporting arms, hummers, Bardley's, strykers, Abrams, tend to be close by. In Afghanistan it is more like my war was. You usually didn't have your supporting arms with you. Now your radio's become much more important. Can't call that Close air support, Artillery, choppers etc, if for some reason Comm goes down, or is seriously compromised. It happens.

One of my favorite wars stories.....We were trying to get Spooky (C117 dragon ship. first generation, they carried their own flares.) to work out on some NVA in open IIRC North of Camp Carroll one night. I was TACP. The guy kept going trying to start orbiting us. The guy communicating with me, had a heavy spanish accent. He finally told me to make up my mind, about where I wanted the fire placed. I finally figured out the NVA were talking to this guy too.

Well one of our radio operators was a hispanic from Tucson. Gave him the mike and had him hook up with spooky in spanish, and it was off to the races. After that the NVA just tried to jam us by making noise. Spooky got a good body count that night. NVA lost that one big time.

As to supporting arms, About the only thing you could be sure of was the M79. Most patrols did not have guns attached or if you did, it was one gun. No CAS at night, and the artillery requests were prioritized.

TimboKhan
January 5, 2008, 06:28 PM
The three round burst option of the present 5.56 AR types could be done away with

Roswell, I may disagree with some of what you have to say, but on this point, we are in complete agreement.

"how far can you see?at 300 yards a person looks like a small dot."

Let me also add that at 300 yards, the average human is hardly "just a dot", and certainly does not require an ACOG to make hits. A smallish target, to be sure, but by no means an unhittable one with iron sights. I think what comes into play with this attitude is an overestimation at how far 300 yards is. My guess is that you regularly see people at distances up to and over 300 yards, but you don't think about it in terms of range: You look up, see some guy walking along, and look back down at your iPod or whatever.

Think I am wrong? Go to a golf course. A 300 yard par 4 hole is a pretty short hole (and might even be a par 3), and you can easily see players on the green from the tee box. Not just see them, but see exactly what they are wearing, maybe make out a design on the shirt, and you might even be able to see the golf ball get putted if you have really good vision. Now think about the fact that you can stand on the tee box at ANY hole (provided it is straight) and see the people on the green, from short par 3 to a long par 5. In none of those cases are the people "small dots". Greater range certainly decreases the chance of a hit, and certainly makes it harder to acquire a man-sized target, but you have to be pretty far away to be a "small dot". Under perfect conditions (which, granted, are very rare) the average Marine rifleman would be able to make hits consistently at that range, as evidenced by the fact that USMC rifle qualification requires shots to 500 yards. It's a whole different story in combat, and very few Marines are going to take shots at that range (even with the ACOG), but it is possible. Unlikely, but possible.

The ACOG, in my own opinion, is a nice tool to have, represents an advance in rifle combat, and is overall pretty great. What it isn't and never will be is necessary.

Also, let me mount up on my high horse here and say that this thread has veered drastically off course, and should probably be locked. I am as guilty as anyone in doing that, and it's a fun discussion, but no one has addressed the OP's question in about 3 pages or so....

Grendelizer
January 5, 2008, 07:54 PM
I have absolute proof that shooting "blindly" through walls is effective! :evil: Didn't everybody see Saving Private Ryan whereby our guy gets shot in the neck after the German shoots "blindly" through the wall? :D

Seriously, if we agree that almost all infantry firefights take place at less than 300 meters, who is willing to lay their cards on the table and make a concrete and specific recommendation about what our general-purpose rifle cartridge (for use from Iraq to Afghanistan to Colombia to China) should be?

It should be obvious to everybody that I have my own opinion and could go on for days advocating it, but I already know what I think and would rather hear from the many thoughtful and knowledgeable posters in this thread.

We've spun our wheels enough: does anybody dare to actually come up with a specific recommendation?

John

Evil Monkey
January 5, 2008, 08:09 PM
We've spun our wheels enough: does anybody dare to actually come up with a specific recommendation?

A flatter shooting 7.62x39mm with a rifle that has multiple recoil reduction systems.

chieftain
January 5, 2008, 09:22 PM
We've spun our wheels enough: does anybody dare to actually come up with a specific recommendation?
John

I did earlier, but to many religious fanatics here to listen. Folks who 'believe' are very hard to bring light to. Particularly when they choose not to see.

Go figure.

Fred

Fred

Evil Monkey
January 5, 2008, 09:32 PM
I did earlier, but to many religious fanatics here to listen. Folks who 'believe' are very hard to bring light to. Particularly when they choose not to see.

You could have used that post to repeat yourself, or at least quote what you said.

Bart Noir
January 5, 2008, 10:02 PM
the huge numbers of Mustard gas victims had a demoralizing effect in WW2

Something just seems wrong in that statement. Let's see, I almost have it. No, slipped away. Oh well, I'll just keep Googling and trying to find mustard gassing in the Second World War.

Bart Noir

Grendelizer
January 6, 2008, 12:21 AM
I reread Chieftain's posts and I think this is his position:

Our adaptation of the 5.56 was a compromise. I believe the compromise we made was a bit to much on the light side. I believe one of the new 6.5 or 6.8 cartridges, would probably be closer to the compromise balance that is needed in an ideal assault rifle.

I think it's great to examine an issue from all sides, to get the input from all players (because no one person sees the whole "elephant"), but when everyone's had a chance to say their peace, I think you gotta come to a conclusion and make a recommendation. And then the person in charge needs to make a decision.

Congrats to Chieftain for being the first in this thread to cut to the chase. I find these threads most fascinating when a guy says what he thinks and why. Giving the "why" is when the rest of us learn something.

What does everybody else think? Given all the studies in the twentieth century about infantry combat, what should the ideal combat cartridge look like?

John

RP88
January 6, 2008, 12:38 AM
if you could combine the 5.56's range and flat trajectory with the 7.62's consistent power and penetration without gaining too much recoil or losing any rate of fire, then you'd be set.

Or, in other words, something along the lines of an intermediary that follows with the idea of the Grendel 6.5 or 6.8 SPC...or just find a way to make a railgun the size and weight of a normal rifle, and not cost 60,000 dollars a piece :p

Evil Monkey
January 6, 2008, 12:42 AM
Well, considering the 5.56mm was an interim solution until the Project Salvo SPIW/ACR was perfected, we must ask, is the salvo approach still valid?

I see the US military teaches soldiers to fire virtually 99% of the time in semi auto. Therefore, we apparently do not subscribe to the salvo concept anymore.

Result? There is demand for a bigger round. What kind of round?......

That'll be the new chapter in this thread. :D

Grendelizer
January 6, 2008, 02:13 AM
Is the salvo approach still valid?

Can we debate the validity of the "studies"? In other words, do these studies truly invalidate aimed small arms fire?

If a study shows that casualties are as much the result of random shell fragments as aimed small arms fire, does that tell the whole picture? I don't think so, because consider that supporting arms are also "aimed." You've got spotters directing air and artillery to their targets. Thus, even casualties from supporting arms are not as "random" as the studies would have us believe.

Sure, a 95 lb. 155mm artillery shell creates "random" fragments, some of which create casualties. But how many casualties would 95 lbs. of small caliber rifle projectiles create?

So, the conclusions of the studies bear closer examination. My gut feeling is that there is still a place for aimed small arms fire.

Also, it's possible Project Salvo is an attempt to solve with technology a problem that can only be solved with training.

Don't we all agree that combat experience produces "seasoned" veterans that perform to a higher level than "raw" troops? These veterans are better able to perform under the stress and sensory overload of combat. Perhaps it's possible to train soldiers to deal with the stress and sensory overload of combat and thus make them better shots than the studies have traditionally found.

Surely all the MOUT "shoot houses" that have sprung up are not an invalid approach to the problem, are they? Another example: I thought that giving fighter pilots more realistic training via a program like "Top Gun" had a positive effect on their "shooting" scores?

The studies show that soldiers who are normally good shots on a calm, known-distance range are very much worse when stresses are introduced. What if we train soldiers from the start to shoot under stress and then we might find that they're not that much worse when other stresses are introduced?

Sure, you can introduce rifles with magnified optics that fire at a high cyclic rate with zero recoil, but I bet hit probability will be solved on the personnel, rather than the materiel, level.

John

TimboKhan
January 6, 2008, 03:04 AM
I was asked to post a correction to a statement Roswell made, and being a swell guy, here it is:

"The mention of Mustard Gas casualties in WW2 was a Typo due in part to all the other references to WW2, it should have read WW1.
Mustard gas was in fact used in the early stages of WW2 by the Italians against the Ethiopians and by the Japanese against the Chinese, Japanese Mustard gas has been found in recent years in China. The worst accidental gassing before the accident at Bopal India occurred when US transports carry a cargo of Mustard gas to use in case the Germans decided to use nerve gas, was bombed in the harbor at Bari Italy."

There you have it. The only thing different about that qoute is that one of the "2's" in WW2 was accidentally made a @, so I corrected that. Other than that, those are the exact words that I was asked to post.

HorseSoldier
January 6, 2008, 11:02 AM
So, the conclusions of the studies bear closer examination. My gut feeling is that there is still a place for aimed small arms fire.

Also, it's possible Project Salvo is an attempt to solve with technology a problem that can only be solved with training.

I think it should be kept in mind that the Project Salvo study did not just fuel the development of an American assault rifle, it also was part of the motivation for refining training techniques with things like limited exposure pop-up ranges, early permutations of CQC/CQB shooting, etc (note I'm not saying that such things were based purely on Salvo, but it was involved).

Sure, you can introduce rifles with magnified optics that fire at a high cyclic rate with zero recoil, but I bet hit probability will be solved on the personnel, rather than the materiel, level.

+1. While I am a true believer in the benefits of things like the ACOG and AimPoints, EOTechs, etc., no matter how much you refine the weapon, the sights, and the ammunition, the weak link in the whole system will always be the human animal behind the gun. (Barring some technological development that prevents the body from reacting to life and death threats the way it is hard wired to.)

Training has advanced quite a bit in the last 50-60 years, both in terms of orienting towards how and where combat really occurs as well as recognizing the physiological issues involved in marksmanship under combat conditions.

While we probably will see future refinements in technique, the main problem right now is that while we can make some improvements in battlefield performance and results with combat-focused training . . . it just requires a lot of time, money, ammo, etc., to do it, and the actual improvement in performance may or may not look cost effective in the eyes of senior military leadership, political leadership or, for that matter, the average American tax payer -- for better or for worse, an unfortunate fact is that we live in a world of finite resources. The trick is to maximize bang for buck kind of benefits -- and I think we have made a lot of progress in that respect since I joined in the early 90s.

GunTech
January 6, 2008, 12:47 PM
While I am a true believer in the benefits of things like the ACOG and AimPoints, EOTechs, etc., no matter how much you refine the weapon, the sights, and the ammunition, the weak link in the whole system will always be the human animal behind the gun. (Barring some technological development that prevents the body from reacting to life and death threats the way it is hard wired to.)

That is it in a nutshell. Since there only so much we can do on the soldier side, we look for technological solution. But we are at diminishing returns.

Finally, no one seems to recognize that in the 'big army' small arms are a very small factor in combat. Most casualties are produced by air power and artillery, followed by other support weapons. Small arms are at the bottom of the heap, responsible for perhaps 1% of casualties. So improving performance by 100% only results in a 1% total improvement in lethality in the grand scheme of things.

Of course the infantryman armed with his rifle, sees things very differently.

chieftain
January 6, 2008, 04:12 PM
Finally, no one seems to recognize that in the 'big army' small arms are a very small factor in combat. Most casualties are produced by air power and artillery, followed by other support weapons. Small arms are at the bottom of the heap, responsible for perhaps 1% of casualties. So improving performance by 100% only results in a 1% total improvement in lethality in the grand scheme of things.


It may be true in traditional symmetrical warfare. It is not true in asymmetrical warfare.

Iraq, most of our casualties are IED's or small arms. I don't know where it presently stands which of the two is leading right now.

That is the problem of applying one set of criteria to all our troops. Right now we are fighting two totally different asymmetric wars.

That is why more training not less is the answer. It is why any one group of technologies will not solve all problems. It is why many folks don't understand the problem in the other theater of operations.

It is why one group of troops should be dedicated to each theater. The recent suggestion of dedicating the Corps to Afghanistan, and the Army to Iraq made very good strategic and tactical sense. The training could be much more on point. War is a dynamic. That dynamic is ALWAYS changing and evolving, unique to that war/theater.

Unfortunately the other services and DOD didn't want to give the Corps a chance to show what they can do, again. An Air Force General said it best. If the Corps comes in, they will not need much Air Force Support. Yup. Primarily logistic support.

Just as an aside, the Corps dedication to the 20" barreled M16, makes more sense in Afghanistan than Iraq and the Army's desire to go with a short barreled rifle makes more sense in Iraq than Afghanistan. Makes sense to me.

But what does a fat old sucker like me know anyway.

Go figure.

Fred

Evil Monkey
January 6, 2008, 04:45 PM
It is why one group of troops should be dedicated to each theater.

In the context of weaponry, that's saying mountain troops should be issued 7.62mm M14, urban troops should use 5.56mm, special forces should use 6.8mm, add MG's, short bbl weapons, different mags, etc. IT'S A NIGHTMARE!

The military doesn't like that. They want logistical simplicity. They are after whatever is streamlined, easy to supply, easy to maintain, simplifies training, saves money for bigger things, etc.

This concept may be detrimental to individual weapons performance in certain theaters, but that's the military. Watcha' gonna do?

RP88
January 6, 2008, 04:52 PM
isnt the idea to find a medium where both or multiple dynamics would meet, though? Then, maybe designing a rifle based on that would be more effective?

Or perhaps you could modify the idea of the modular weapon system name given to the M4 and such by making MWS's more diverse and used as well as adding the options of converting between ammo and barrel lengths that would be more suitable for whatever dynamic a rifleman would encounter. Granted, the kits would be more expensive than a standard-issue (and mean that we'd have to start producing more than one part/bullet/etc.), but since when was anything in our military cheap?

However, yes, this may be unnecessary in many cases. But perhaps simply giving a rifle more options is a much better idea instead of trying to settle on an 'all-purpose' intermediate

Bartholomew Roberts
January 6, 2008, 06:37 PM
OK, this seems to have wandered far enough afield without addressing the original poster's question. Please start new topic-specific threads if you want to continue the discussion.

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