The argument over lethality and wounding continues


PDA






mastiffhound
March 20, 2013, 09:39 PM
From The Firearm Blog:

http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2013/03/19/sas-switching-5-56mm-7-62mm/

The SAS is unhappy it seems with their 5.56 Nato rifles and are lusting after FN SCARs in 7.62 Nato. I see both sides of the discussion, I like my .45 acp handguns for home defense but like the .223/5.56 for my rifles. Of course the SAS and other soldiers are probably shooting at longer ranges than I am. What say you?

If you enjoyed reading about "The argument over lethality and wounding continues" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
JohnBT
March 20, 2013, 11:03 PM
I can understand the concern, it's not legal for whitetails here, not even the little ones.

Nico Testosteros
March 20, 2013, 11:06 PM
I reckon they are the best judges of what fits their needs.

kyhunter
March 20, 2013, 11:07 PM
Makes sense to me. Extra range with 7.62 NATO, more punch, bigger holes, better penetration, sounds more effective to me. But i can see the benefits of a 5.56 as well. But for the sense of discussion i think the 7.62 is a lot more appealing for combat.

jerkface11
March 20, 2013, 11:15 PM
LOL this is just because the current crop of soldiers didn't lug an FAL around the mountains.

Greenmachin3
March 20, 2013, 11:29 PM
I'd be happy with M193. Brutal cartridge out of a 20" barrel. It acts like a little grenade.

M855 is a garbage round in terms of lethality, it's basically awful. I think a poster in the comments said it best. It's the perfect combination of characteristics to make it a poor cartridge. High weight, sturdy construction and low velocity means its reliable fragmentation window out of an 14.5" m4 barrel is a measly 50 yards. Otherwise it's a glorified .22LR.

Honestly the 110 grain TAP is a pretty tempting choice if I wanted high lethality on humans from a .308 cartridge at moderate range.

Ehtereon11B
March 21, 2013, 03:29 AM
5.56mm and the M855 and now M855A1 is a good round when used inside its intended ranges: 50-200 meters. But not out to the 300 the Army qualifies at or 500 that Marines shoot at.

7.62 was not instituted by the US military because at the time the round did not add any extra benefit over 5.56 to justify the added weight. With 5.56, more rounds could be carried than 7.62x39.

So the solution is to combine something that has the long range/short barrel capability of 5.56 without adding weight, ideally something that can be put in an AR platform. Personally I like the 6.5 Grendal.

Handgun ammunition is a moot point. Because if you are within pistol range of a target, then something starting with "h" has already broken loose. There were only 2 instances overseas where a weapon was needed and I did not have my rifle but had my pistol. In one I got to my knife first, it was that close of an encounter. The other I didn't need to pull the trigger because they surrendered.

kyhunter
March 21, 2013, 03:32 AM
11B idlike to personally thank you. And that is an amazing "story" for those who dont consider these things.

I say "story" because its a serious encounter many take with a grain of salt. But for those who have lived it they know the real weight of the statement.

MagnumDweeb
March 21, 2013, 10:01 AM
The SAS are some of the best of the best out there. If they say they need it, then I'll trust that opinion. SAS are not run of the mill front liners. They're hardcore. At ranges less than 400 meters the 7.62 Nato does all that the 5.56 does as far as I know (granted I'm partial to the 7.62 Nato with my beloved FALs and CETMEs that I owned well before I ever bought an AR-15[because of Obama]).

With the 7.62 Nato range, a soldier can engage targets from father out with better results, I think 600 yards would be stretching it but I'm sure there are plenty in the SAS who could pull it off and engaging otherwise irregular forces at that range ought to be pretty intimidating as they try to return fire with the common 7.62x39 which loses a lot of its penetration ability (against solid targets) past 400 meters.

I was under the impression the military went with 5.56 because they found the mass draftee sources they had could better shoot the caliber in an M-16 then a M14 with a 7.62 Nato. The M14 was a better ultimate performer but the M-16 could be more readily learned and become proficient with, and then add in the lighter weight and greater ammunition carrying ability (on person) the 5.56 won out. Also the M-16 fired full auto better and the military was getting hit with human wave attacks on the regular so it probably made sense to have full-auto as a concern. Now it's guerillas popping in and out of windows or being engaged at long ranges in the open.

I think today's battlefield is shaping the requirements of the SAS. Regular first line troops will probably stick with the 5.56 as many of them are shooting for the first time in their lives upon joining the military.

Al Thompson
March 21, 2013, 10:13 AM
The Brits 5.56 ammo was notorious for using thick jackets and low velocities. That's probably one reason they don't care for the 5.56.

IME and IMHO, FMJ just sucks for making critters stop doing what ever it was you shot them for doing. The new (m855A1 & Mk318) 5.56 seems to be a game changer, for US forces. ;)

bassdogs
March 21, 2013, 10:28 AM
Back in 1969, the M-14 was still the primary training rifle but we were also qualified on the M-16. Guess I was one of those "mass draftees" and didn't have much experience with stuff bigger than a 22lr. I remember that the 14 kicked pretty hard and the 16 felt like a plastic toy. I qualified expert on both. I also remember laying the sights on a target out to 300 yards and watching the target drop with the ping of the 223 from the 16. It shocked me to see how accurate the 223 was out to that range, and I only shot it a dozen times or so in training. I can also remember the 5 mile marches to the range carrying the 14 [even with no ammo on the belt] compared to the 16. No question which the troops liked. Never felt under gunned with the M-16 and it seems that it has survived the test of time.

kwguy
March 21, 2013, 10:54 AM
Ehtereon11B has got it right. 5.56 works well within its intended ranges. Especially the 77grain MK262. Within it's frag range, its really good stuff. Getting that performance out to longer ranges would be great, but 5.56 won't do that, so the 7.62 is better at the longer ranges.

The advantages of being able to carry more 5.56 is also great. Like all threads like those before this, it's going to depend upon the intended usage. There really isn't a "perfect" round. It's all up to the intended application.

Prophet
March 21, 2013, 10:57 AM
It depends. I think the .223/5.56 is more properly suited for home defensive use so that's what I went with. But for personal defense I went with .45ACP. I believe the military adopted the .223/5.56 with the intention of providing enough ammunition for rapid suppressive use at the expense of cover penetration and lethality (that's what tanks, artillery and air support are for! Assuming it is available...) In my opinion the suppressive fire doctrine is difficult to apply to a personal sidearm that is more likely to be utilized in high stress close-quarters situations than at longer distances, and obviously you're not going to be utilizing arty/air when the enemy is in your face. I think if our military were outfitted with the 5.56/45ACP combo they would likely be more adequately prepared to handle both situations.

John3921
March 21, 2013, 11:23 AM
As a hunter - and not ever a mil user. I'd think if it was a one shot - one kill situation - I'd want a .308. If it's a suppressing fire, close range lots of bad guys about - then I'd want a lot of bullets. So ultimately I'd think it would depend on the mission profile. Any weapon is a compromise on something, power, range, distance, accuracy, etc.

I like .30 cal rifles for chasing big game - Like I told my son-in-law (retired army) suppressing fire is not something that comes to mind when chasing elk.

Godsgunman
March 21, 2013, 11:28 AM
How about 7.62 Nato and 9mm. 7.62 because of power and range. IMO when it comes to a battle rifle nothing beats 7.62, I'd be happy with either the Nato or x39. Obviously the Nato can reach out longer but the 39 holds its own far better than 5.56. 223 is a wimp round in my opinion but would probably be a more suitable home defense rifle than the rest because of it.

MedWheeler
March 21, 2013, 11:28 AM
I voted based on home and personal defense, not a military or hunting application. I am no longer in the military, and I don't hunt; my guns are for fun shooting ("plinking" and target) and for defense of home, family, and self.
So, I voted with the 5.56/9mm combination, as I am satisfied with expected performances from each round in available modern loads, and because (when the political climate isn't blowing up) of their ready availability and affordability.

alsaqr
March 21, 2013, 12:31 PM
US made 5.56mm M193 and M855 ammo is a different breed of FMJ. At velocities over about 2,500 fps those bullets penetrate about 5-7 inches in flesh, yaw and fragment. i've killed a hundred or two wild hogs using the M193 round: The heart, lungs, liver and diaphragm are often badly damaged by bullet fragments. Most of my hogs were killed at ranges <75 yards. Never had one escape wounded.

Army Colonel (Dr.) Martin Fackler on military small arms wound ballistics:

http://the-puzzle-palace.com/files/military_bullet_wound_patterns.html

481
March 21, 2013, 12:47 PM
Voted 'other'.

My choice is for the 7.62x39 (SAM7) and 9mm (Glock 17).

Of course, I am not likely to be engaging anyone much past 200 yards where I live, so I am happy with an intermediate rifle cartridge.

allaroundhunter
March 21, 2013, 01:25 PM
My AR (5.56) and a 1911 in .45 ACP would be my choice.... But with defensive ammo available to me, I have no hesitation with using my 9mm, either.

MachIVshooter
March 22, 2013, 02:00 AM
Well, I'm not constrained by Hague convention by signature or honorary commitment, so I find the 5.56 a very devastating round with modern expanding bullets. I like my 7.62 battle rifles, but there's no question about getting more rounds on target faster with 5.56. And people are not big game animals; You don't need 20"+ penetration, or a bonded bullet that'll punch through a 4" thick shoulder bone to stop a human attacker.

If I'm forced to do long range anti-personnel work, I have better options than .308.

For handguns, none of the above. 10mm for me.

kwguy
March 22, 2013, 02:09 AM
^^^^ This!

jim243
March 22, 2013, 03:40 AM
What say you?

What say me?? Let's stop kidding ourselves about what is best and what is not. Let us look at history instead. Ever since the introduction of the 5.56 and AR-16 we have had wars that last 10 years or more. The last actual war we won we used what? 30-06, 45 ACP, 303 and 9mm (that was the Brits and they couldn't punch their way out of a paper bag, two wars we had to jump into to save their butts). I am more concern with calibers that actually work in wining wars, not in ones that end up costing us 10s of thousand of soldiers lifes. I don't remember uncle bob complaining about having to carry 30-06 all the way accross the continent of Europe or that 45 Auto wasn't effective in saving his life. Why are we wasting our time and lots of money with wars that drag on and on. Why can't our troops get the job done? It might be the ammo they are using. If it is not the ammo, then it must be they are just incompetent (that I don't believe).

Hell I love the little 223, it is a great target round to shoot just like my 22 LR, and yes the 223 (5.56) is a 22 caliber bullet, but I wouldn't take my 10/22 to war either.

So we need to wake up and stop using our varmint rounds to try to win a war. It is time to go back to the 30 caliber bullets that proved to be most effective. If not 30-06 then at least the 7.62 Nato and the 45 ACP.

Stop wasting time, money and yes lives.
Jim

kwguy
March 22, 2013, 03:52 AM
Wars lasting as long as they do doesn't have anything to do with the calibers used by the military.

SabbathWolf
March 22, 2013, 04:05 AM
I vote "other."
I'm happy with 45acp and 7.62x39

DeepSouth
March 22, 2013, 05:56 AM
I like big bullet's....

If 45 & 45 would have been there I would have picked that. :D

meanmrmustard
March 22, 2013, 06:06 AM
I can understand the concern, it's not legal for whitetails here, not even the little ones.
It is here, and to great effect. Especially for children, recoil sensitive, and me!

Nary a problem killing big deer with fast, little bullets inside 200 yards.

meanmrmustard
March 22, 2013, 06:09 AM
Wars lasting as long as they do doesn't have anything to do with the calibers used by the military.
I kinda see his point to a degree.

If they're merely wounding, as opposed to killing or at least incapacitating, then enemy combatants can come back to fight another day.

Well, that and the fact that the Gubment wants to rebuild and instill democracy in places that don't want it.

Double Naught Spy
March 22, 2013, 08:07 AM
I can understand the concern, it's not legal for whitetails here, not even the little ones.

And we all know how knowledgeable lawmakers are about firearms and ballistics when it comes to legislation, LOL! If the Virginia laws had taken into account warfare, I might see your point, but they don't.

As noted, the replacement for the M855 ammo here in the US is doing some amazing stuff and the soldiers are very happy with it. The Brits would find it a lot easier to change over to a new bullet than to change over to both a new platform and new caliber.

beatledog7
March 22, 2013, 08:34 AM
As a professional logistician, I recognize that wars are won and lost by having the right support structures in place at the right locations and at the right times. The way you win a war is by disrupting the other side's logistics (and by destroying his political support for continuing the fight, but that's another story).

Killing an enemy soldier places minimal strain on the enemy's logistics processes. His body must be eventually recovered and transported, but that's not an immediate requirement. In the immediate sense, a dead soldier requires nothing but a replacement soldier. In the same sense, wounding an enemy soldier badly enough to take him out of action hands the enemy a raft of immediate logistical requirements. A wounded soldier immediately requires field triage, recovery from the battlefield, transportation, medical care, food, and a host of other things, plus the aforementioned replacement soldier.

From my seat, it's better to wound.

Frank44
March 22, 2013, 08:47 AM
I voted for 7.62 NATO and 45 ACP. I don't believe we should have gone to the 9mm NATO. To me, suppressed fire means keeping the enemy beyond 600 yards where air support could actually do some good. Heck, I would have chosen the 30-06 for that very reason. I think we had it right back in WW-2.

Ehtereon11B
March 22, 2013, 09:56 AM
What say me?? Let's stop kidding ourselves about what is best and what is not. Let us look at history instead. Ever since the introduction of the 5.56 and AR-16 we have had wars that last 10 years or more. The last actual war we won we used what? 30-06, 45 ACP, 303 and 9mm (that was the Brits and they couldn't punch their way out of a paper bag, two wars we had to jump into to save their butts). I am more concern with calibers that actually work in wining wars, not in ones that end up costing us 10s of thousand of soldiers lifes. I don't remember uncle bob complaining about having to carry 30-06 all the way accross the continent of Europe or that 45 Auto wasn't effective in saving his life. Why are we wasting our time and lots of money with wars that drag on and on. Why can't our troops get the job done? It might be the ammo they are using. If it is not the ammo, then it must be they are just incompetent (that I don't believe).

Going to have to semi-disagree with you. WWI and WWII were more or less total annihilation wars. Little regard was considered for civilian causalities from offshore Naval gunfire, bombings, artillery, and even the big bangs that ended WWII. With all the support soldiers had during WWI, WWII and to an extent Vietnam, there wasn't as big a need for the individual soldier to carry large amounts of ammunition. Read most accounts of front line troops in the World Wars. The most recent account I read was of Marine EB Sledge who was part of the Pacific campaign. He carried a Thompson sub machine gun and 1911. Between the two firearms he carried less than 100 rounds of .45ACP.

Now take our modern wars. It takes almost an act of Congress to call in airstrikes, artillery, and other ordinance in theater. Because of what I believe was an overwhelming media involvement in Vietnam, soldiers have to carry more personal ammunition to get the job done because calling in higher assets takes such high approval and time. The standard combat load for most infantry units is 7 magazines at 30 rounds each equaling 210 rounds. 210 rounds of .45ACP would be much heavier (Using the WWII standard of EB Sledge) and not be nearly as effective out to 200 meters. In addition to a 13 pound helmet and 45-55 pound torso armor. That is why the ammo for the individual soldier must be light and effective at range. The whole point of the 5.56 was to an intermediate cartridge for <300 meter engagements because most engagements in WWI, WWII and Vietnam was inside that distance. There was not a need for firearms to reach farther because of artillery, air support etc. Afghans and some Iraqis knew how far our M4s can reach so they could sit just beyond it with PKMs. The vast majority of our engagements were done with crew served weapons with farther ranges and rarely with individual weapons.

Killing an enemy soldier places minimal strain on the enemy's logistics processes. His body must be eventually recovered and transported, but that's not an immediate requirement. In the immediate sense, a dead soldier requires nothing but a replacement soldier. In the same sense, wounding an enemy soldier badly enough to take him out of action hands the enemy a raft of immediate logistical requirements. A wounded soldier immediately requires field triage, recovery from the battlefield, transportation, medical care, food, and a host of other things, plus the aforementioned replacement soldier.

That has been the old wives tale surrounding the development of the 5.56mm, to wound rather than kill to take more enemies out of the fight to tend to wounded. I have never seen any "official" documentation in the military or otherwise to support it but it has always been around. Regardless I have seen enemies hit with M855 and plenty of reactions. Sometimes they die. Sometimes they get wounded and are so strung out on drugs/adrenaline that they keep fighting and need more rounds. Very rarely have I seen other enemy combatants stop fighting to tend to the wounded. When the enemy breaks contact is usually when they tend to wounded or drag off the deceased.

kwguy
March 22, 2013, 10:08 AM
^^^Ehtereon11B has hit the nail on the head, on every point.

Bartholomew Roberts
March 22, 2013, 10:19 AM
1. The British Ministry of Defence takes a different view of the laws of war than the U.S. Department of Defense. Part of that difference is they deliberately chose to use thicker jacketed SS109 ammunition to prevent fragmentation. If they feel that way about normal SS109 ammo, I can only imagine how they would react to M855A1 or Mk318 ammo. Naturally, thisblimits the effectiveness of their 5.56mm weapons.

2. The foundation of this story is the Daily Mail quoting anonymous sources. Not exactly a high-reliability source. Not only that but it quotes the stupid "wound not kill" story... For all we know the "SAS source" was the guy sitting next to the reporter in the pub where they were both drinking. Additionally, the article confuses 7.62x39 and 7.62x51 as being he same round with the same capabilities.

jim243
March 22, 2013, 10:41 AM
I know I am going to get flack on this, but I do not understand why we have such a problem resolving combat conflicts now a days. Lack of leadership (MAYBE), lack of equipment (NO), lack of planning (NO), lack of resolve on the part of the troups (NO), lack of supplies (NO). With todays modern air support, tanks, ships, manufacturing capacity, supply chain and amount of money being spent there should NOT be any excuse for not getting the job done and over. Lack of will on the part of the top leadership to get it over and our troops back MAYBE. I am of the Gereal Sherman school of war, there is no limited war (only total war) the faster it is over the fewer people get killed. If this takes larger bullets and more of them than so be it. Why should the people we are trying to help have to suffer because we can not eradicate the problem. My take on wounding an enemy instead of killing them is it is just plain sillyness, stop the aggressor at all costs. If that means bombs, larger bullets, more troops, more air strikes, more artillary and more tanks than so be it. Don't tell me if I send you to take an objective that we need to dig in and resupply for a counter attack in a couple of hours unless they have a much larger army than we do (they don't). If you can't get the job done then I need a new and/or smarter General, Colonel, Major, Capt, LT. The only thing I can attribute it to is lack of will or leadership.

Jim

kwguy
March 22, 2013, 10:58 AM
Like someone mentioned earlier, the constraints under which the DoD must work are different that what a hunter would need. If one could use hunting type ammunition in the military, then the whole "lethality" issue would probably not even exist. That being said, to make the 5.56 round as lethal as possible, while still remaining within the confines of the 'agreements' (Hague, Geneva, whichever...), things like high velocities and fragmentation need to be used. This gives rise to required barrel lengths for certain 'fragmentation ranges', etc. The MK262 round fired within its fragmentation range is likely to be more 'destructive', or 'lethal', than a non-expanding, non-fragmenting round under the same conditions.

Pistols are less effective stoppers than rifles, regardless of the whole .45 vs 9mm debate. With a pistol, shot placement is even more important. If limited to ball ammo in a pistol, the advantage of the higher firepower of the 9mm vs the higher energy of the .45 will have to be weighted against one another. More rounds, or bigger bullets? Both will penetrate, without expanding, since we are only using ball ammo. So, what's better? A greater number of .38 inch diameter (9mm) non-expanding bullets, or a lower number of .45 caliber non-expanding bullets? 'Tis the great question.

Bullet expansion was used to great effect before the advent of smokeless powder, when the bullets were made of lead. They expanded quite effectively. Then, when higher velocities required copper jackets over the lead bullets, they had to be redesigned to expand. Right around this time was when the whole "Hague / Geneva" happened, and, here we are! Weeeee :-)

ATLDave
March 22, 2013, 11:07 AM
That has been the old wives tale surrounding the development of the 5.56mm, to wound rather than kill to take more enemies out of the fight to tend to wounded. I have never seen any "official" documentation in the military or otherwise to support it but it has always been around.

For a great piece of reporting on the development of the AR and 5.56/.223 round, check out CJ Chiver's book The Gun. The topic of the book is the development of the AK, but he spends a chapter or two on the AR and its development.

Suffice it to say, the DoD had the expectation of spectacular wounding/lethality when it moved towards the 5.56 round, with claims of traumatic amputations, etc. They did NOT think it was a wound-not-kill round.

Al Thompson
March 22, 2013, 11:17 AM
Why can't our troops get the job done? It might be the ammo they are using. If it is not the ammo, then it must be they are just incompetent (that I don't believe).

Actually, if you do some reading, one big constant issue for US troops was running out of ammo. Second was that we have never had across the board excellent weapons, with a few exceptions. The M1 at the beginning of WWII, the Abrams tank and various aircraft.

kwguy
March 22, 2013, 11:19 AM
As far as the 'resolution of combat conflicts' nowadays, nobody 'shoots to wound'. The constraints and restrictions under which the military operates falls to the leadership. Leadership starts at the top, and the overall mission and rules come from the top, not from that Captain or Lieutenant or Sergeant crouched down behind that wall trying to call in an airstrike. The small arms that they are using at that point is an extremely small part of that particular equation.

But, to keep to the topic, if I could only have 1 rifle round, it would be 7.62 NATO. I would just wish it were lighter, and that I could carry more. If I could have just 1 pistol round, it would be .45 HP, and again, just wish it were lighter and that I could carry more. But I can definitely live with 5.56 and 9mm.

gym
March 22, 2013, 11:39 AM
I carry a 45 and a 9mm. They are my 2 primary choices for anything that requires a pistol. If I can't get it done with with either, you need a rifle or shotgun. For normal distances under 300 yards a 223/556 is fine, for 3-600 yards a 308 is best. If you are going out further "like a 1000 yards or more, then a 338 lapua. That should about cover it, the 9mm is easier to get 3 or 4 shots off faster than the 45, the 45 is a better stopper if you shoot well. It's you choice. My first shot with a pistol will determine if the recipient is able to shoot back, if so then I failed in stopping him from returning fire, and it's a shoot out.

JohnBiltz
March 22, 2013, 04:44 PM
Well I notice that the Soviets went into Afghanistan with 7.62 and got handed their lunch. So I would say there is more to war than caliber.

For the Brits if your ammo is named ethical I'd say that it should have been named ineffective instead.

Suppressive fire is used to beat down enemy fire by forcing them to keep there heads down and making their fires ineffective. Once fire superiority is gained and they are suppressed they can be maneuvered on and you can close with the enemy and destroy them. Suppressive fire requires a lot of ammo. 1,000 rounds of 5.56 weighs about 25 pounds depending, 1,000 rounds of NATO 7.62 weighs about 62 pounds. The average grunt is probably carrying over a hundred pounds of weapons and gear now. A load the Roman Legionnaires probably would have mutinied over.

beatledog7
March 22, 2013, 06:07 PM
Please note, I didn't comment on whether the 5.56 was designed to wound rather than kill for whatever reason, or whether a soldier should seek to wound his enemy counterpart rather than kill him. I only pointed out that the logistical challenge of dealing with the wounded is far greater than that of dealing with the dead, and that conducting successful logistics operations and disrupting those of the enemy wins wars.

Ed N.
March 22, 2013, 06:32 PM
A few years ago at work I was having a conversation with a reservist Army officer who had done a couple of tours in Iraq. While there, he worked with some combined forces. He told me that the Iraqi forces, shooting the 7.62, had a higher percentage of single shot kills. Our forces, using the 5.56, were shooting 3-round bursts to get approximately the same effectiveness that could be had with a single round of 7.62.

Now this was close range fighting, FWIW. His guys were doing close combat, often inside buildings, trying to take out some high-value bad guys.

Personally, though, I have no worries about the stopping power of my AR. I'm not as constrained in ammo choice as the military, and at any range I'm likely to need my rifle I believe a JHP round will be very effective.

Sam1911
March 22, 2013, 06:59 PM
I know I am going to get flack on this, but I do not understand why we have such a problem resolving combat conflicts now a days. ... If you can't get the job done then I need a new and/or smarter General, Colonel, Major, Capt, LT. The only thing I can attribute it to is lack of will or leadership.Without dragging this latest installment of the most tired argument in the history of gun boards off into the weeds even further...

The reasons we are "not winning" wars these days has NOTHING WHAT SO EVER to do with what equipment our troops are carrying, nor with the quality of soldiers, officers, and general staff we put out in the field. Nothing at all. And focusing on any aspect of the nuts and bolts of how our military operates today as opposed to in other decades as some reason for why we don't achieve unconditional victory, as we became used to in the early 20th Century wars, indicates a quite limited understanding of history and world politics.

We simply do not fight the same kinds of wars with the same kinds of objectives, against the same kinds of enemies, and with anything like a fraction of the investment of our society into the effort as were present during WWI and II. We engage in limited wars now to achieve non-concrete goals which cannot be measured by definitive metrics. We fight groups and movements and even ideas across multiple countries, and often quite selectively choose who we claim to be on our side and who is opposed sometimes regardless of their behavior.

These are not things that extra 2.06 mm of bullet diameter would do a whole lot to negate. :scrutiny:

(And if you feel we are "not winning" wars these days, I encourage you to make a much deeper study of the current and recent conflicts -- not just what the news tells you. As we redefine what and how war is fought, we redefine our objectives, and we must evaluate "winning" and "losing" from a pragmatic, rather than a nominal, view.)

Waywatcher
March 22, 2013, 07:30 PM
I picked Other, because I go with the predominant police calibers in my area; 5.56mm and .40 S&W, even though I am not police.

JShirley
March 22, 2013, 07:38 PM
The M16, according to the report that led to its adoption, had more lethality than the 7.62x51mm.

Anyone who thinks we can perform a total war on an enemy we cannot identify, without fixed support structures, and without any locatable government, knows little about war, and even less about our current conflict.

John

mastiffhound
March 22, 2013, 10:29 PM
JohnBiltz said:
Well I notice that the Soviets went into Afghanistan with 7.62 and got handed their lunch. So I would say there is more to war than caliber.



I thought the Soviets were using 5.45x39? The poison dart/bullet as the Mujahideen called it, I thought they were the ones using 7.62x39? The Soviets did use 7.62x54 in their light machine guns and DMRs I think though. It's just what I can remember from the 80's, which is less and less each day.

jmr40
March 22, 2013, 10:30 PM
I can understand the concern, it's not legal for whitetails here, not even the little ones.

You live in one of only about 5 states where rifles are legal, and 223 is not. Even Wyoming, where deer are much larger has now allowed the 223. With bullets designed for deer it is a devastating round. The failures seen with 223 are when used with varmit bullets. Shoot deer with varmit bullets through a 300 mag and you will see failures.

The current 5.56 and 9mm are the best choice for 95% of the situations our troops find themselves in. While a 7.62X51 round would be a better choice in very limited sitations it makes no sense to issue rifles that would be a disadvantage most of the time and be of some advantage in rare cases.

In regards to 9mm vs 45. Despite all the chest pounding I have NEVER, NEVER, seen a single test, study, or research of any type that showed 45 to be more than marginally better, and when it comes to barrier penetration 9mm beats it easily with FMJ ammo. There is no debating that in equal size guns 9mm holds roughly 2X the ammo.

r1derbike
March 22, 2013, 10:44 PM
I carry a .45 and my long gun eats MK262 Mod1 5.56 for HD, XM193 for practice/plinking, Ranger Ts in the XD-S .45. Life is good.

River Wraith
March 22, 2013, 11:15 PM
I think magazine capacity is more important than caliber...just sayin.

kwguy
March 23, 2013, 12:02 AM
Everyone knows that if you hit a guy in the pinky finger with a .45, he will go down instantly and the shock wave will make his head explode, but a center mass hit with a 9mm will just make you a little annoyed!:rolleyes:

HOOfan_1
March 23, 2013, 12:06 AM
Wars lasting as long as they do doesn't have anything to do with the calibers used by the military.

and everything to do with politics and poorly defined enemies

Although the first Gulf war...how long did that last? 6 months?

mastiffhound
March 23, 2013, 01:33 AM
Found this in my inbox today, simulated bone, fat, lung, and heart tissue with most of the calibers we're talking about. Very interesting to say the least, here it is:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wvo9QD0JSFE

ENJOY!

P.S. It really reinforces my idea that I don't ever want to be shot!

HorseSoldier
March 23, 2013, 01:47 AM
The SAS is unhappy it seems with their 5.56 Nato rifles and are lusting after FN SCARs in 7.62 Nato. I see both sides of the discussion, I like my .45 acp handguns for home defense but like the .223/5.56 for my rifles. Of course the SAS and other soldiers are probably shooting at longer ranges than I am. What say you?

Whereas we used to look to the SAS and other foreign elite units, since the GWOT kicked off US Tier One SOF units have increasingly become the trendsetters in that world. SOCOM units found the SCAR H brought something useful to the table as an adjunct to the M4A1, makes perfect sense people who have been working and fighting alongside them for a decade would want to borrow ideas that work.

762 X 54r
March 23, 2013, 11:57 AM
In my opinoin 308 wins all around for eveything but mag capacity and weight.

I have never liked any thing I have ever handled in 556 but in urban combat or police situations the lack of over penetration of it would be nice.

for pistol all calibers suck. its just what you can shoot better

biohazurd
March 23, 2013, 08:40 PM
Id say .300 blackout would be a good compromise for them. I dont think it would be to difficult to convert their existing rifles to that cartridge would it?

mastiffhound
March 23, 2013, 11:56 PM
I find 300 Blackout to be of no use. It doesn't have the range of 7.62 Nato. Within the range of 100 to 300 yards I use expanding .224 bullets for reloading. Far too much hype for a half-a** attempt at improving the .223/5.56. If I want more power I will go with the 6.5 Grendel or the 6.8 SPC, both of them have more power than the 300 BLK and fit in the same magwell. This 300 BLK is just really good marketing for something that doesn't do anything that 99%( +0r minus- 5%) of shooters even need.

From their own (AAC) website in Italic:

Full power 115-125 grain ammunition matches the ballistics of the 7.62x39mm AK

300 BLK 125 grain OTM= 2215 FPS and 1360 Ft lbs(from AAC site) 16" barrel
7.62x39 122 grain FMJ= 2396 FPS and 1555 Ft lbs 16.33" barrel
WRONG

Ammo and brass prices are low - Remington 115 grain UMC ammo is $12.99 a box MSRP

This is plinking ammo. I'm sure this was pre-panic.
I can get plinking 7.62x39 for $5 to $6 a box from Cabelas right now, Panic and all (I just bought some last week)
Is 12.99 a low price then? No, not really.

At 300 meters, 300 BLK has 16.7% more energy than 7.62x39mm.
I find that hard to believe unless the laws of physics changed. A slower moving projectile of the same approximate weight has more energy?

Due to the high efficiency of the cartridge, less powder is used than 5.56mm, which results in a rifle that is a comfortable to shoot - even with a short barrel.

Using less powder than the 5.56 is nice, although not completely true. 300 BLK uses 19 grains per round with most recomended powders. I can do the same with IMR 4198 in .223/5.56, 19 grains per round. Have you ever had someone tell you that your 5.56 AR "kicked" to hard and was uncomfortable to shoot? Oh, and that poorly written sentence"which results in a rifle that is a comfortable to shoot" is copied directly from AAC's sight.

The only thing that it might do better than most is sound suppession. That's all I can find that it might do better.

The unfortunate part is that 300 BLK is advertised as the reinvention of the wheel. Do you have a .223/5.56 AR? Do you have more than one? What are your chances of buying another upper or rifle in .223/5.56? Not very good for most. Well what can we as a company do to make you buy another rifle or upper? If I tell you that I have this new cartridge that is so cool and awesome that you have to have it you will probably blow me off. How about if ten people in sales tell you ten times? How about 100 people in sales tell you 100 times? And so on and so on. Unless you are suppressing the 300 BLK it is useless. You can plink cheaper with .223/5.56, you get more power with 6.5 Grendel or 6.8 SPC.

I always find the biggest defenders of 300 BLK also sell either the ammo, uppers, rifles, or all three. My friend defended his purchase for awhile, then he sold his 300 BLK. His
four main reasons were;

1. .308 Bullets for reloading cost more than .224, so does factory ammo. Slightly less powder used but much more expensive bullets.

2. He already has an AK copy

3. He purchased an upper in 6.5 Grendel, it is a sweet shooter and better for long range.

4. At close range the .223/5.56 55 grain Nosler ballistic tip is 3240 fps with 1282 Ft lbs. 78 Ft lbs of difference between the 300 BLK 125 grain OTM and the .223/5.56. That's less than a standard .22LRs power. Some pellet rifles produce more power.
As my friends favorite band says "Don't belive the hype!".

HorseSoldier
March 24, 2013, 03:49 AM
Id say .300 blackout would be a good compromise for them. I dont think it would be to difficult to convert their existing rifles to that cartridge would it?

The reason they're interested in 7.62x51 rifles is because in Afghanistan these days many fights start at 400+ meters and never get much closer than that. Unlike Vietnam, the bad guys in this one learned early on that attempts to grab ISAF forces by the belt buckle in a firefight is a losing proposition. Since we're incredible restrictive over there with supporting air and artillery, small units are having to fight it out with what they have organic to themselves (I think almost every bad guy killed in the province I was in on my last trip was killed with a .50 cal or either an M240 or the MG3s the Italians used, for instance).

300 Blackout doesn't address the need that's presenting itself in AFG that has guys wanting SCAR Hs.

BigBore44
March 25, 2013, 01:50 AM
The 300 BO is just hype. It's just another "latest and greatest" from the manufacturers. Remember the 300RSAUM's or WSSM's? Everyone HAD to have them. Now? They are just rifles in need of rechambering. I'll still take my SA M1A and XD45 any day for anything from 10ft-500yds with irons, and farther with glass on top. There are better long range calibers out there like 338lap and 50bmg. But those are designated rounds out of designated rifles.

The 556 is great for suppressive fire. It's great for wounding. But it's not great for killing. Another problem is FMJ ammo. You have to have a bigger diameter bullet to have a bigger wound channel.

Sambo82
March 25, 2013, 03:21 AM
This argument has been beat to death, but I just can't help but jump in again. My .02;

The 7.62 NATO and the 5.56 are both more accurate, in general circumstances, than the vast majority of shooters and even of military shooters. The idea that equipping a modern military with 7.62 NATO rifles will suddenly turn every infantryman into the equivalent of a designated marksmen is asinine. In my time in the Marines I learned that the 5.56 is still very accurate at 500 meters which, as I've seen, is beyond the range that most Marines can make consistent hits. This is not to say that the 7.62 round wouldn't be effective in specialized roles, but supposing that an enemy IS at that range and supposing that the average infantryman at that distance misses more often than hits, wouldn't you rather ye average infantryman possess more ammo above a slightly more accurate round?

Some have commented about the supposed superior penetration and lethality characteristics of 7.62 over 5.56. I was never deployed directly in combat so I'll not pretend to have an educated opinion on the matter. I can say that the combat vets that I served with seemed more than happy with their 5.56 M16's (M4's were less loved) paired with ACOG's. One Marine told me that the ACOG was the best piece of equipment the Marine Corps has adopted in a long time, and proceded to describe just how lethal his riflemen were with that platform. His perspective was that the ACOG/5.56/body armor combination made sure that they came out on top of every stand up firefight. I never once got the impression that he was dissatisified with his weapon or round.

About penetration; the 7.62 doesn't necessarily have greater penetration than 5.56, or 5.45x39. My friends and I found this out personally plinking on my farm, and Sturngewehre illustrates this here;

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=547BKysByqM

Also I think this video from a Doctor specializing in treating gunshot wounds is extremely enlightening;

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tku8YI68-JA

The doctor makes the point that pistol wounds, essentially regardless of caliber, are typically not lethal as long as the patient isn't allowed to bleed out. Rifle wounds, essentially regardless of caliber, are absolutely devistating. Scroll to 9:05 to see the tremendous bone damage that the 5.56 can cause.

It's hard to watch the video, but I think that it drives home the point that the human body is extremely fragile when faced with a high velocity rifle round of any caliber. I'm very sceptical of a scenerio where a 5.56 round failed to stop an individual, and an extra 2mm of bullet diameter would magically get the job done.

BigBore44
March 25, 2013, 04:17 AM
Sambo,
The argument over 5.56/7.62x51 is debated constantly in many forms. But there is no denying that (all things being equal) a heavier projectile is going to be less effected by the elements than a smaller, less stable round. That's why the 338lap and 50bmg are designated long range rounds. They simply kill better at range. Whatever it is that they are aimed at.

Now I want to make it clear to all the AR fans out there that I'm not knocking the 5.56. With proper bullets it is a very devastating round. But it's not capable of blowing through a tree or mortar wall and killing the guy on the other side. The 308 can. I have seen it, and I've done it. In CQC the M4 on burst is almost ideal. The M14 is not going to be as fast on the draw due to its weight and length. So the debate continues. Both have clear advantages and disadvantages.

Now as far as pistols go, this guy claims they aren't typically lethal as long as the patient isn't allowed to bleed out. I'm trying not to laugh at that. Other than a shot that shuts down the CNS all wounds require bleeding out to be lethal. The issue is stopping power in an engagement, not lethality. And the round that does the most damage is the one that stops the threat the soonest. So is it your belief that 115 FMJ 9mm is going to stop someone just as fast as a 230 PDX-1 45 with the same (non instantly fatal) shot placement?

Ehtereon11B
March 25, 2013, 04:51 AM
The biggest Achilles heal in this discussion is logistics. The military by and large would rather have a one sized fits all solution as far as weapons. For example, a SDM (Squad Designated Marksman) is a shooter who has gone through extra training to farther than the standard 300 meters. The M16 is the preferred weapon for this role because it shares the same round as the M4: 5.56NATO. And depending on which manual you read, the M16 has an effective range of 600 meters over the M4's 550 meters. Now the SDM role could be better suited in 7.62 NATO which would also meat logistic requirements since M240 ammo shoots this round, you would merely unlink the rounds. The military wants a jack of all trades rifle/projectile combination for logistics purposes. On dismounted patrols our 240 gunners doubled as "snipers" for engagements where the M4 could not effectively engage, no M24 was available, but we had 240 gunners that can hit 800-900 meters. Just turned the sniper adage "One Shot, One Kill" to 5-9 round burst, possible kill.

Sambo82
March 25, 2013, 06:18 AM
The argument over 5.56/7.62x51 is debated constantly in many forms. But there is no denying that (all things being equal) a heavier projectile is going to be less effected by the elements than a smaller, less stable round. That's why the 338lap and 50bmg are designated long range rounds. They simply kill better at range.

I understand that, but the core argument seems to be where the benefits of added lethality are negated by the weight of actually carrying that ammo and mags around. Larger rounds = less ammo = less overall hit probability (assuming both the 5.56 and 7.62 are more accurate than the average infantryman). It's for this reason that a standard infantryman does not, for example, carry a handful of .50BMG rounds in lieu of his half a dozen mags of 5.56. If ye average infantryman carries 6 spare mags and one in the weapon, does the 2mm of extra bullet diameter and slightly inproved accuracy justify reducing an infantryman's combat load from 210 rounds to 140?

The issue is stopping power in an engagement, not lethality.

No pistol caliber weapon has true "stopping power" in that the force of the projectile is enough to knock down or knock back an assailant. I believe that the Dr.'s generalization still stands that, a pistol wound isn't typically going to be lethal. Obviously shot placement and medical treatment is the determining factor there, but I don't believe that if both shots are to the same area, that your body will be able to tell much difference between a 1/4 ounce and 1/2 ounce projectile.

BigBore44
March 25, 2013, 07:08 AM
Sambo,
Ok I understand the argument of carry capability. Can't dispute that one. And no reasonable person can make the claim that they just need to be more proficient with their weapons and then the lack of ammo wouldn't matter. They have no idea what "under duress" is. So, more rounds equal more potential hits, or more suppressive fire. But it doesn't equal more lethality. So the solution would be a small case with a bigger bullet. So the 6.5 or 6.8 is a better option. Agreed??

Now, to the body not being able to tell the difference between a hit from a 9mm or a 45....

http://www.chuckhawks.com/45_back_military.htm

Torian
March 25, 2013, 07:22 AM
If we were issued 75 grain BTHPs as our standard 5.56 loading, I would likely be very happy with it. However, since we get the M855, which is great for light armor piercing, but that's about it...I'd go for the 7.62 in an M14/M25 platform.

Since we are also restricted to FMJ for 9mm...I'd swap it out for a .45 in a second.

beatledog7
March 25, 2013, 07:57 AM
The main thing that has caused US forces difficulty in recent armed conflicts is the rules of engagement imposed on them. It doesn't matter what round your gun fires if you're not allowed to shoot.

hentown
March 25, 2013, 08:26 AM
They should seek the "expert" advice of Feinstein and Bloomberg! :evil:

BigBore44
March 25, 2013, 08:29 AM
+1,000,000,000 Beatle. Couldn't agree more. But that's not the threads topic. We have to take ROE's out of the equation on this one. But you are absolutely right.

JShirley
March 26, 2013, 05:04 PM
The 556 is great for suppressive fire. It's great for wounding. But it's not great for killing.

I'll take any proof of this. Thanks.

For the umpteenth time, here's the 1968 report (http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?Location=U2&doc=GetTRDoc.pdf&AD=ADA953117) that led to the adoption of the M16. The Vietnam users not happy with the M16 were typically concerned about reliability, not lethality.

John

Bartholomew Roberts
March 26, 2013, 09:59 PM
I find that hard to believe unless the laws of physics changed. A slower moving projectile of the same approximate weight has more energy?

Different ballistic coefficients mean the 7.62x39 loses energy faster. You notice how they measured at 300m? Laws of physics.

mastiffhound
March 27, 2013, 02:32 AM
Ballistic coefficient of 7.62x39 122 gr fmj .266 BC

Ballistic coefficient of 300 BLK 125 gr otm .338 BC

at 300 meters(FMJ vs OTM) I will use 300 yards because the extra 28 yards are of no consequence(300 meters equals 328 yards)

7.62x39 energy 654 at 300 yards.

300 BLK energy 684 at 300 yards.

Energy difference is 9.5% better for 300 BLK with premium bullets to surplus 7.62x39 fmj not 16.7% as they claim, 9.5% is not that impressive, so yes laws of physics didn't change. Speed is an equalizer in this case. What is 30 ft-lbs of energy going to do so much better?

Now let's make this even, "premium" ammo to "premium" ammo not cheap surplus to "premium" ammo.

Again to repeat from before
Remington Express 300 BLK 125 gr otm 2215 FPS/ BC .338/ 684 ft-lbs at 300 yards/ cost $29.99 per 20 at Brownells

Fiocchi 7.62x39 124 gr fmj 2375 FPS/ BC .295/ 713 ft-lbs at 300 yards/ cost
$11.99 per 20 at Sportsman's Warehouse
(This is per Hornady's ballistic calculator)

Funny, now the 7.62x39 has 9.5% more energy. Ahh yes, the laws of physics indeed. Who would have thought that all things being close to equal would have this outcome? Not only that but the "Premium" brass cased 7.62x39 costs $18 dollars less.

Like has been stated before, the 300 BLK is only useful if it's suppressed. Other than that not only are better rounds available for the STANAG magazine( 6.5 Grendel, 6.8 SPC) it's not superior to 7.62x39 in cost or performance. As many have stated before it's kind of a pointless round, an answer looking for a question that didn't need answered.

BigBore44
March 27, 2013, 02:53 AM
JShirley,
If you're referring to "It's not great at killing", I mean just that. It's not GREAT for killing. There are many rounds that are better suited for killing than the 5.56. Taking a 5.56 to the head or heart will be fatal. So will a 7.62. But the 7.62 causes more trauma to the internal organs than a 5.56 of same bullet design. It simply has to based on bullet diameter, weight, and velocity. More damage=More lethality. Every caliber is potentially lethal. Some are simply MORE lethal than others.


There's no question though if I'm in a run and gun scenario I want the 5.56 M4. It's simply easier to be more mobile.

kwguy
March 27, 2013, 05:59 AM
One thing to remember about 'lethality' is the construction of the bullet. Since military rounds are limited to FMJ, how they are constructed plays a great deal into the rounds' potential. Here are a few points to consider:

The MK262 77 grain 5.56 will fragment with devastating results when it hits its target, within it's envelope (fragmentation range). The M855 penetrator round leaves a .22 caliber hole (it fragments very little). In this particular case, the MK262 round is more 'lethal', even though they are both 5.56 Nato rounds.

The same holds true for 7.62 nato rounds. Some 7.62 nato rounds fragment more than others, simply because of the construction of the bullet, and the fact that so many countries produce them. I think the West German Patrone 7.62 nato round is known for it's high fragmentation.

If a 7.62 nato round and 5.56 nato round both fragment, of course the 7.62 round will be more lethal. If the 5.56 round fragments, and a 7.62 nato round does not fragment, the 5.56 round will be more lethal. The 7.62 nato round will leave a .30 caliber hole.

If neither round fragments, then of course, the 7.62 round will be more lethal.

The aforementioned points are exclusive of things like temporary and permanent wound cavities, and whether the target is armored. It also assumes either good round fragmentation, or a clean pass through penetration.

JShirley
March 28, 2013, 10:47 AM
No, the 7.62x51mm will not automatically be more lethal- it depends on terminal ballistics. Yaw potentially increases destruction.

That was my point to BigBore. Yes, the 7.62x51mm has a larger bore and more raw energy, but bullet construction makes a huge difference.

InkEd
March 28, 2013, 11:11 AM
I think it depends on the combat theatre and roll of the unit.

There are no perfect for everything calibers. The SAS is an elite group and can get whatever they want anyway.

I don't care for bullpup rifles like the standard British soldiers are issued. However, I would take their new Glock 17s over our M-9s

Bill_Shelton
March 28, 2013, 08:59 PM
The reason they're interested in 7.62x51 rifles is because in Afghanistan these days many fights start at 400+ meters and never get much closer than that. Unlike Vietnam, the bad guys in this one learned early on that attempts to grab ISAF forces by the belt buckle in a firefight is a losing proposition. Since we're incredible restrictive over there with supporting air and artillery, small units are having to fight it out with what they have organic to themselves (I think almost every bad guy killed in the province I was in on my last trip was killed with a .50 cal or either an M240 or the MG3s the Italians used, for instance).

A long while back, I figured this was the case just from watching combat footage posted on Youtube and other sites. Thanks for confirming my suspicions.

As far as comparing Vietnam to Afghanistan, it does seem like they are very different. You said that the Vietnamese fought close where the Afghans fight far out, but also hinted that the Vietcong never figured out that fighting close is a losing proposition. I not so sure. The Vietcong learned that they could surprise American Troops (they took initiative the majority of the time) engage for a few minutes, and then disperse into the jungle before the air support arrived. In this case, if the Vietcong are still there when the air support arrives - if they misjudge the timing, it behooves them to be close because air support does not get credit for hitting their own troops.

kwguy
March 28, 2013, 09:11 PM
The tactics can be strangely 'similar but different'. The ambush ranges are longer than in Vietnam for sure, in many places, hence the reason for 7.62. They still use maneuver, and after they hit, can maneuver very well, and then use terrain to try to retreat (if they intend to do so at all).

Once air power shows up, they can either be gone, or if they misjudge the timing, they can have a bad day. Because of the increased distances though, grabbing U.S. troops 'by the belt buckle' may not be very easy for them to do.

The geography of the country definitely varies, but longer ranges certainly exist.

Bill_Shelton
March 28, 2013, 09:28 PM
kwguy,

Thanks for responding. I'm learning a lot.

BTW, I have see some documentaries about the Afghans (Taliban) that were ambushing American Forces. There was this one documentary where the leader was cool, calm-headed - outstanding. However, the Taliban Leader hinted that his troops were half crazy - and they really were! I'm talking some real brainless fanatics.

In another documentary, I see some Al Qaeda trying to train some Taliban troops on how to make, set and detonate roadside bombs. The Al Qaeda seemed to be pretty smart guys, but the Taliban were a bunch of inept doofuses that angered the Al Qaeda guy so bad that he essentially quit on the job.

Are the Taliban really that fanatic and stupid...or is it "Hollywood" so-to-speak? (actually, these were foreign documentaries).

Thanks.

JShirley
March 30, 2013, 09:50 PM
We are straying, but it's fair to describe many or most people in that area as "less sophisticated" socially. They may believe literally anything told to them.

mastiffhound
April 2, 2013, 08:53 PM
A vote for 7.62 NATO from our own boys!
http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2013/04/01/usaf-eod-adopt-m14-ebr-rifle/

Looks like Air Force EOD is moving to 7.62 NATO. Maybe moving to the 7.62 is best. The main problem was that the loaded mags weighed so much for the M14. With modern polymers and aluminum then you could make considerably lighter mags. You would probably never be able to carry the same load out of the M16 or M4, but you could carry more than with the M14.

HorseSoldier
April 2, 2013, 10:13 PM
As far as comparing Vietnam to Afghanistan, it does seem like they are very different. You said that the Vietnamese fought close where the Afghans fight far out, but also hinted that the Vietcong never figured out that fighting close is a losing proposition. I not so sure. The Vietcong learned that they could surprise American Troops (they took initiative the majority of the time) engage for a few minutes, and then disperse into the jungle before the air support arrived. In this case, if the Vietcong are still there when the air support arrives - if they misjudge the timing, it behooves them to be close because air support does not get credit for hitting their own troops.

I didn't mean to suggest that the Vietcong/NVA strategy back then of closing the distance was an inherently bad one -- in that place and time, with the tools and technology we could bring to bear against them, it was a pretty good way to partially offset our advantages.

In AFG, though, most places you can see for about forever and even when there's good cover to obstruct direct observation from the ground, overhead cover from aerial observation is pretty limited. The terrain is pretty miserable in most of the country, and great for an insurgency, but with air support and aerial observation in the mix, there's not much good terrain for protracted stand up fights.

At least against first rate military formations with (at least theoretically) massive amounts of air support. Once we flip most of the lights off and the ANA and other Afghan security forces are trying to stand on their own, expect to see more real knock down drag out fights. (Where I was on my last trip it was already sliding in that direction -- the bad guys seemed to deliberately avoid ISAF patrols and reserved their ammo and energy for the ANA when they had the ability to call the plays.)

If you enjoyed reading about "The argument over lethality and wounding continues" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!