So crazy it just might work


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LaEscopeta
November 18, 2010, 01:00 PM
A number of counties that are maybe not the best of buddies with the United States have standard military rounds that are similar to the 5.56x45 mm NATO round the U.S. uses (Russia and other former USSR and Warsaw Pact counties use the 5.45x39 mm round, the Peopleís Republic of China uses the 5.8x42 mm round)

Is it feasible to modify the U.S. small arms currently in service to allow them to function as they do now with 5.56mm NATO ammo, but also work decently with 5.45x39 mm and 5.8x42 mm rounds?

The possible advantage of the above is US troops overrunning an enemy using 5.45x39 mm or 5.8x42 mm rounds can pick up the enemyís ammo and use it in their own weapons, allowing them to press forward an assault without waiting for resupply. But enemy troops will not be able to fire captured 5.56x45 mm NATO rounds in their weapons.

If it is not feasible to set up US rifles and light machine guns to fire all three rounds, perhaps it is possible to have one set of bolts/barrels that work with 5.56mm NATO and 5.45x39 mm, and a second set designed to work with 5.56mm and 5.8x42 mm. The idea being units deploying where they might encounter 5.45x39 mm will have weapons set up to use that ammo, and units deploying where there is 5.8x42 mm will swap out parts before leaving to be able to use that ammo. The idea is NOT to have US troops have to change or modify their weapons in the feild to fire captured ammo.

Taking the above concept one step further, could US weapons be modified to use enemy magazines and ammo belts, as well as the mag/belts currently in use?


(The above idea comes from the urban legend explaining why the Japanese military starting switching their standard ammo from 6.5x50 mm SR to 7.7x58 mm Type 99 just before WWII. The new bullets have a slightly larger diameter than the standard bullets used by potential enemies of the Japanese (.303 British, .30-06 American and 7.62x54 mm Russian) and the new 7.7 mm Type 99 Arisaka rifles could fire all three of the foreign bullets. The legend says the Type 99s could fires captured ammo but in fact this is not true; case differences do not allow it. )

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rcmodel
November 18, 2010, 01:18 PM
advantage of the above is US troops overrunning an enemy using 5.45x39 mm or 5.8x42 mm rounds can pick up the enemy’s ammo and use it in their own weapons, No, its not feasible.
You would have to be very desperate, or a fool to pick up unknown ammo on the battlefield and use it.

During Vietnam for instance, SOG created a top-secret program called Project Eldest Son in which we bobby-trapped 7.62x39, 12.7mm, and 82mm mortar ammo with high-explosives and left it for the enemy to find.

If we could do it, you can bet they can do it too.
Anyone with access to reloading equipment can pull bullets and fill cases with C4 or PETN high explosive and put the bullets back in.

Anyway, if we ever got to the point we had to use "found" or scrounged enemy ammo in combat, we better just fold our tent and come home!

rc

LaEscopeta
November 18, 2010, 01:42 PM
I understand US troops are currently trained to pick up enemy weapons when attacking and use them to press an attack or to fend off counter attacks. I believe standard procedure is to use the captured weapons until you run out of captured ammo then go back to own weapon.

I’ve also have read one reason the US Special Operation Command required a 7.62x39 mm version of the new SCAR they brought is to allow operators deployed behind enemy lines to use captured ammo.

Maybe someone with experience will chime in here…

Anyone with access to reloading equipment can pull bullets and fill cases with C4 or PETN high explosive and put the bullets back in.
Would a case full of high explosives really have more energy/pressure than the smokeless power the ammo comes with? Didn't the caseless ammo H&K developed in the 1980s use C4? I don’t know I’m just asking…

M-Cameron
November 18, 2010, 02:03 PM
yes it would.....ive seen a plastic cup filled less that .5" of c4 punch a hole through a 1" steel plate......

god only knows whst it wouldo to a gun

TheCol.U.S.M.C.
November 18, 2010, 02:05 PM
You can with mortars
Past:
In WWII the germans used a 80mm mortar The U.S. used a 81mm mortar we could use the german ammo in are mortar tubs but the germans could not use U.S. ammo because it was 1mm to big and would not fit down the tube

The Russains use a 82mm mortar can you guess Why ???

P.S. the U.S. still uses 81mm mortars

Tim the student
November 18, 2010, 02:06 PM
I understand US troops are currently trained to pick up enemy weapons when attacking and use them to press an attack or to fend off counter attacks. I believe standard procedure is to use the captured weapons until you run out of captured ammo then go back to own weapon.

I believe this is incorrect. I got out a couple years ago, but I did spent 28 months in Iraq, and haven't ever been told to do that. In fact, that was um, frowned upon.

rcmodel
November 18, 2010, 02:15 PM
I believe standard procedure is to use the captured weapons until you run out of captured ammo then go back to own weapon. That sounds like BS to me.

During WWII, Korea, and Vietnam, the sound of an enemy automatic weapon firing would bring smoke on your azz from every friendly troop within earshot that had a means to return fire.

We were taught in Army training in the 60's to leave enemy weapons where they were found, and not touch them. As they were often, or could be booby-trapped with HE or grenades.

BTW: Smokeless gun powder burns controllably, and produces expanding gas to propel a bullet.

High explosives like C4 or PETN detonate.
Either one would take a rifle apart in very small pieces.

HK's caseless ammo used a smokeless powder compressed into a solid case shaped pellet.
It had nothing at all to do with C4.

rc

kingpin008
November 18, 2010, 02:20 PM
I understand US troops are currently trained to pick up enemy weapons when attacking and use them to press an attack or to fend off counter attacks. I believe standard procedure is to use the captured weapons until you run out of captured ammo then go back to own weapon.

According to my two currently-deployed Marine friends, this is 100% incorrect. If they are able to capture enemy weapons they will, to get them out of circulation. But they are NOT instructed or allowed to use captured weapons during firefights, for the above mentioned reasons.

Chindo18Z
November 18, 2010, 02:22 PM
It's rare that anyone's troops need to resort to using their foe's ammunition due to logistics failure.

If you are winning, your re-supply is working. You have ammo.

If you are losing, there are plenty of battlefield pickups and the ammunition to go with them. You still have ammo.

Using enemy munitions of unknown provenance is generally frowned upon for reasons already discussed.

Isolated or beleaguered elements (e.g., a small reconaissance team deployed deep) might benefit from the ability to switch calibers in midstream, but those same teams could just as easily infiltrate with enemy weaponry already assigned. Alamos and Arnhems are normally decided before the last rounds are expended.

Combat usually involves running out of people or willpower long before running out of bullets. Not saying that you can't occasionally run low or even out of Class V, but it's not actually a common occurence.

The whole "Modular Caliber" concept so beloved of gun forum discussion is an impracticality in actual execution, as no infantry are going to carry around the requisite spare barrels, mags, bolts, etc. needed to reconfigure their weapons in combat. In fact, even were the kits procured, they would reside safely secured in CONEXes, FOBs, shipboard arms lockers, or base arms rooms...far from the hands of those who could use or lose (or even abandon) the extra weighty parts.

Very few militaries actually use the 5.45x39 mm round; even fewer use the 5.8x42 mm round. 7.62 x 39mm & 7.62 x 54mmR continue to be the most commonly encountered military calibers around the world. 5.56 & 7.62 NATO lag not far behind. The Soviets collapsed economically before they could export the newer caliber to all their traditional client states.

NATO & Warsaw Pact based belt-fed automatic weapons do not utilize compatible feed or belt systems (outside of their respective original alliance standardizations). Although NATO weapons can use common ammo (e.g., German MG3 can use UK GPMG belts), the interoperability leap required for use of Soviet 7.62 x 54mm Rimmed non-disintegrating belts and NATO 7.62 x 51mm disintegrating links is a daunting chasm.

During the late 1990s, 5th SFG designed and had produced some 7.62 x 39 / 5.56 NATO M4A1 kits which allowed swapping of uppers to multi-magazine capable lowers. The idea being that our guys could carry their weapon to remote areas where 7.62 x 39 AK usage was the norm, and use AK magazines (while retaining use of familiar optics & rails). A year or so later we were in precisely such a scenario, roaming around the remotest parts of Afghanistan, with all resupply dropped from the air via parachute. No problems with using the 5.56 weapons we inserted with, and the whole modular thing kind of died a natural death. A Solution in Search of a Problem. At the end of the day, it's a lot more practical, cheaper, or easier to equip our allies with our weapons/ammo than to worry about using theirs.

In some respects, your proposal is technically feasible, but only at great monetary cost for a return of little actual utility. I imagine that any system allowing interchangeable use of 5.56, 5.45, & 5.8 (without completely changing chambers/barrels) would deliver atrocious accuracy and be prone to reliability issues at high rates of fire. IMHO, not a good idea.

Rail Driver
November 18, 2010, 02:26 PM
There are already 5.45 and 7.62 uppers for AR's for civilians, so while it's not out of the realm of possibility to send troops in with an extra upper (though a bit weighty), using captured ammo is forbidden for the already mentioned reasons.

Anyone that believes our troops are instructed to use captured enemy weapons has been playing too much Call of Duty.

LaEscopeta
November 18, 2010, 04:23 PM
Well, the US Army prints and distributes manual on how to use the foreign (enemy) weapons including how to load, cock, aim, clean and maintain. Here is one for AK-47 type rifles:

http://www.ar15.com/content/manuals/AK47USArmyOperatorManual.pdf

I assume they do this to train US troop on how to use enemy weapons. Iím open to other explanations on why these manuals were produced/distributed.

hardworker
November 18, 2010, 04:25 PM
I'd imagine they make those manuals so that in case things get really bad the troops will know how to use other weapons. That doesn't mean they encourage the activity.

Rail Driver
November 18, 2010, 04:30 PM
Well, the US Army prints and distributes manual on how to use the foreign (enemy) weapons including how to load, cock, aim, clean and maintain. Here is one for AK-47 type rifles:

http://www.ar15.com/content/manuals/...atorManual.pdf

I assume they do this to train US troop on how to use enemy weapons. Iím open to other explanations on why these manuals were produced/distributed.

Have you ever heard of Contingency Plans?

BTW, while those manuals are produced and distributed, they're not distributed to the troops in general, they're distributed to specific units for specific reasons, and in specific situations. It is NOT an accepted or advised practice in the US Military for troops to capture and use enemy weapons and ammunition in the field. My citation for this is the 2 years I was on active duty in the US Army.

I'm sure there are a few hundred thousand US Soldiers that will concur.

I'm willing to put money on the fact that those people stating that the US Military trains their soldiers to use battlefield pick-ups *other than as a last resort* have not spent ANY time in the military in this country, and if they did that they didn't make it past the training phase to even see a battlefield.

I can't speak for the military's policies prior to my time (circa 2000/2001) but the question has been answered quite well by others, along with the many reasons for the answer. Why keep arguing a point that current and former military personnel have already denied and explained?

kingpin008
November 18, 2010, 04:31 PM
I assume they do this to train US troop on how to use enemy weapons. I’m open to other explanations on why these manuals were produced/distributed.

They were produced and distributed for the same reason that my father had to learn how to shoot a rifle and throw hand grenades in basic training, even though he was destined to spend his time in the Army behind a desk. Soldiers are trained for every eventuality, because that's what smart leaders do. That doesn't mean that those tactics will be SOP.

Tim the student
November 18, 2010, 04:34 PM
Show me an FM that says to ditch your rifle, and pick up an AK, and I'll give that thought some more credence.

Mags
November 18, 2010, 04:38 PM
I believe standard procedure is to use the captured weapons until you run out of captured ammo then go back to own weapon. Pure BS.

I’ve also have read one reason the US Special Operation Command required a 7.62x39 mm version of the new SCAR they brought is to allow operators deployed behind enemy lines to use captured ammo. Also BS, they wanted 7.62x51 SCARS also known as 7.62 NATO or just 7.62. Everybody for some unknown reason insists on calling 7.62x39 just 7.62 which is incorrect.

Sky
November 18, 2010, 04:43 PM
Picking up weapons.

Lerp Team was in contact (big no no) with a river separating the two forces. Lerps were out numbered 10 to ? They needed to break contact and get out of the AO asap!

Three frags were unscrewed and the timing fuse was removed with a piece of bamboo. Fuse or head was replaced and with the pins still attached the grenades were thrown across the river.

BDs thought stupid afraid Americans forgot to pull the pins!!

BGs pulled the pins to throw and BOOM!

LERPS made it out of the AO for extraction.

Maybe not a good idea to pick up weapons unless it is from a fresh kill you participated in.

gdcpony
November 18, 2010, 04:52 PM
If one of my Marines picks up an enemy weapon out here, he better be in a firefight and we all better be out of ammo. I will drill him for taking the risk of a booby trap and endangering the lives of his fellow Marines. He might lose some skin with his stripe! And my fellow SNCO's who have read this with me concur.

SSgt Clayton, G. D.

JohnBiltz
November 18, 2010, 05:15 PM
I think I fired AKs 3 times in the twenty years I was in at ranges and fired RPGs once. It was familiarization. AKs sound very different from M16s. So if you are sending an A-Team deep and are going to be training some mountain clan who are also carrying AKs it may well make sense for them to have 7.62X39 particularly since it simplifies your ammo resupply to only resupply one type of ammo. I still don't think its done much since we own the air. I was Infantry for twenty years been through most of the Infantry schools and I've never heard of the idea the OP proposed. Sounds like a war story to me. Did it start out No #@&T there I was...?

Tim the student
November 18, 2010, 05:25 PM
Did it start out No #@&T there I was...?

And was that followed with "knee deep in ramen wrappers and spent blanks"? :neener:

Chindo18Z
November 18, 2010, 05:56 PM
I assume they do this to train US troop on how to use enemy weapons. I’m open to other explanations on why these manuals were produced/distributed.

To enable OUR troops to...

1. Clear and render safe captured enemy weapons
2. Train & Equip indigenous troops, guerillas, police, or militia (COIN & UW)
3. Utilize an appropriated enemy weapon in the event of escape or evasion
4. Understand the capabilities & limitations of enemy small arms
5. Clear and render safe weapons turned in as part of a UW demobilization
6. Clear and render safe lagered weapons during Peace Keeping Operations

I was once taught to drive a T-34 tank at a rudimentary level. No one ever intended that I'd aquire one for employment on the battlefield. But I could physically get one underway were that necessary or useful.

As several posters have already mentioned, it is not US standard procedure to equip yourself or your troops with enemy small arms in the midst of combat. Individuals occasionally do it under circumstances where either nobody cares (far from harms way) or no experienced Senior NCO is around to kick them in the junk for doing it. ;)

Freedom_fighter_in_IL
November 18, 2010, 06:29 PM
The only time I ever deployed with an AK was when I was going in deep and resupply was not going to be an option in case SHTF. As far as the training on enemy weapons, Others have already made that quite clear. Also as others have stated, if I was to pick up a combatants weapon and my C.O. saw it, well to put it mildly, my gluteus maximus would not be in its familiar location after his size 12 was done. In an emergency situation such as an escape after being captured then I guess "acquiring" a combatant weapon would be needed and I would be glad that I was trained on them.

As to the OP's original question, there are a couple of rigs that were out and actually deployed for a very brief time that did what you were asking about and they did not last long. Just too much extra weight to carry around another upper and barrel. The primary goal of that weapon was to change from a short barreled .223 to a longer barreled .308. Use of said weapon was for one person in a unit to carry for urban combat. Short barrel was for CQC and the longer .308 was for Overwatch LDF. I don't believe it took off well. Was a very quick change and easily done. But I personally wouldn't want the extra weight. If you have ever carried a pack in combat you know exactly what I am talking about. Damn things are heavy enough!

killchain
November 19, 2010, 09:52 PM
I understand US troops are currently trained to pick up enemy weapons when attacking and use them to press an attack or to fend off counter attacks. I believe standard procedure is to use the captured weapons until you run out of captured ammo then go back to own weapon.

I’ve also have read one reason the US Special Operation Command required a 7.62x39 mm version of the new SCAR they brought is to allow operators deployed behind enemy lines to use captured ammo.

Maybe someone with experience will chime in here…


Would a case full of high explosives really have more energy/pressure than the smokeless power the ammo comes with? Didn't the caseless ammo H&K developed in the 1980s use C4? I don’t know I’m just asking…
Yeah, we were only trained to be familiar with them. We were never ordered to use enemy weapons unless it was an absolute dire need. Have you seen some of those rust bucket AK's those people have? I wouldn't trust them to give me tetanus.

Whoever told you that is lying to you. On more than one occasion in Iraq things like MRE's were booby trapped and left to blow some poor Private's fingers off. You don't think they would fill a barrel and watch you shred your face off?

That SCAR horse**** was simply because SOCOM didn't want to field a new round. You can spout any miljargon you want, but Occam's Razor prevails here. It's the exact same reason why they made them 5.56mm as well.

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