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Did I hear this correctly on "Mail Call??"

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by SteelyDan, Sep 15, 2003.

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  1. SteelyDan

    SteelyDan Member

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    Last night I was playing with the computer, trying to do some work, and kinda watching the History Channel's "Mail Call." I thought I heard R. Lee say that: (1) during World War II, US forces fired about 20,000 rounds for every enemy casualty (or maybe "death," I'm not sure), and (2) during the Vietnam War, US forces fired about 200,000 rounds for every enemy casualty (or death).

    Can that possibly be right, or did I miss something? I mean, I assume there were a lot more misses than hits, but 200,000 to 1??
     
  2. TheLastBoyScout

    TheLastBoyScout Member

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    I've heard that stat before, but I never found out if that included just shots fired in anger or ALL shots, including for example stateside training and weapons qualls during the time pd of the Vietnam War.
     
  3. Doc

    Doc Member

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    simple to verify (but I think that's too high):
    "On Killing" by Col. Grossman.
    He specifically references that 'kill ratio' or whatever it
    is actually called - the statistic for shots fired to enemy KIA or wounded
    it's a great read FYI
     
  4. Pumpkinheaver

    Pumpkinheaver Member

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    I've heard the stat about Vietnam but had never heard the one concerning WWII. It's not hard to beleive when you think about guys spraying full mags from their M-16's not to mention the use of mini guns spewing 3,000+ rounds a minute.
     
  5. OEF_VET

    OEF_VET Member

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    Also, in Vietnam, some genius came up with the idea of a 'Mad Minute', where every gun on the perimeter would open fire for a minute. I believe it was supposed to be a display of force, or possibly to nail anyone skulking around outside the perimeter waiting to make an attack.
     
  6. Rembrandt

    Rembrandt Member

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    ....seems I've heard the same thing, Vietnam was refered to as a "Spray and Pray" tactics...some gun rag stated that's why M16's are now equiped with 3 round burst selectors to reduce ammo consumption....guess we've come a long way since the days of Sargeant Alvin York and marksmen.
     
  7. outfieldjack

    outfieldjack Member

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    I saw it last night.....

    You heard it right..... and I to was like "wow"
     
  8. Mal H

    Mal H Administrator

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    I have heard the same stat about Viet Nam long before the History Channel was even born. It was something like 180,000 rounds IIRC. I also heard that it cost roughly $127,000 to kill each VC. Someone in Congress suggested that we offer $100,000 to each and every VC in the ANVN to turn themselves in to the US troops. It would have saved millions of $$ and many lives on both sides. Most reasonable suggestion from Congress I ever heard. Of course he wasn't serious, but he was pointing out the extreme cost of that war.
     
  9. wingnutx

    wingnutx Member

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    I'm assuming they had 'final protective fire' in vietnam, like we do now. that's basically letting rip until told to knock it off.
     
  10. Cal4D4

    Cal4D4 Member

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    There is also a statistic for the tonnage of explosives dropped per each of those same casualties. Starts to add up.
     
  11. Nando Aqui

    Nando Aqui Member

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    For what it's worth, from: http://www.snipercentral.com/tidbits.htm

    "There is a sign at the USMC sniper school that reads: The average rounds expended per kill with the M16 in Vietnam was 50,000. Snipers averaged 1.3 rounds. The cost difference was $2300 v. 27 cents."

    "The best estimate as to the average amount of rounds expended per kill in the Vietnam Conflict (For U.S. Army Soldiers) is 200,000. The average rounds expended per kill by U.S. Army snipers in Vietnam was 1.3"

    Alex
     
  12. C.R.Sam

    C.R.Sam Moderator Emeritus

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    Like Mal...I heard it long before the history channel.

    Sam
     
  13. Futo Inu

    Futo Inu member

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    Hmmmm

    :scrutiny:

    Nando, so is the conclusion of those 2 paragraphs that Army grunts took 200,000 per kill, and Marine grunts took only 50,000 per kill (4 times the efficiency of the Army soldiers)? The first sentence of the first paragraph doesn't specifically say Marine soldiers, but that seems to be implied, because if it doesn't imply Marine soldiers (non-snipers anyway), then it conflicts with the 2nd paragraph.

    Or, maybe they mean that Army soldiers (NOT counting snipers), took 200,000 shots per kill, whereas in the Marines, the average of BOTH non-sniper and sniper Marines averages out to 50,000, but the non-sniper Marines alone (for which no stat is given), would also be up there close to 200K, but averaging in the 1.3-per sniper kills, it comes down to 50,000. No that's not it, because paragraph one says "with the M16". That must mean that the Marine non-snipers were actually better than 50,000 (less than), because the 1st sentence of the 1st paragraph doesn't distinguish any branches, and thus in order for the average soldier (of any branch) to make a kill per 50K rounds, and if the Army soldiers are firing 200K rounds, then to come up with the average, the Marine (and other branch soldiers) must on average do much better (lower) than 50,000 shots per kill.

    Actually, on second thought, the distinction in the paragraphs could mean 2 things: (1) that Marines didn't expend as many shots per kill from the M16, if you take paragraph 1 to imply Marine soldiers, or (2) that all soldiers using the M16, regardless of branch, took 50K shots per kill, BUT when you factor in mini-guns and other "rounds/shots" from every conceivable piece of armament including chopper door-gunners, Puffs and whatnot - don't know how big you can go and still call it a "round expended" - 20mm?? Bigger?? - then the average raises to 200K. Needs more clarification on the distinctions of Marine/Army (or non-Army/Army), and M16 vs other armament shooting "rounds".
     
  14. SteelyDan

    SteelyDan Member

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    I've never served in the armed forces (missed Vietnam by less than a year, thank you), and I'm certainly not passing judgment on those who were there. If I'd been born a year earlier, I probably would have sprayed more lead than most. But still, these figures are amazing. If one goes shooting some afternoon and gets through 500 rounds, that feels like a lot of shooting. I understand it's generally not full auto, but still, the figures say you could do those 500 rounds every day, for a full year, and still not shoot as many rounds as it took for one kill in Vietnam. My initial inclination was to be horrified by the poor marksmanship, but on further reflection, I'm more horrified by what those soldiers must have endured. I would have been spraying ghosts, too.
     
  15. C.R.Sam

    C.R.Sam Moderator Emeritus

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    Ideally...
    A highly skilled rifleman will place the majority of his shots on target.
    If he can see the target.
    Sometimes the incoming is coming from cover and the counter is to put as much fire into that cover as possible. In hopes of either hitting the enemy or convincing them of the wisdom of going elsewhere.

    As the years have gone by, we have obtained the means of putting ever more fire out in a shorter time. So we do.

    But, generally, the number of combatants in a given engagement hasn't changed much......so the rounds per combatant number gets ever larger.

    Or sumpin.

    Even now, there requirements for both capabilities. Carefully and expertly aimed fire and throw out all you got and hope for the best.

    Sam
     
  16. Daniel Watters

    Daniel Watters Member

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    Just today I ran across a claim that during the Revolutionary War, the average trooper had to fire 15 shots per casualty. Somehow I don't think anyone here would suggest that the average smoothbore, blackpowder musket is more accurate or possesses a longer effective range than the average modern rifle, including the worse of the Sturmgewehr.

    Rate of ammo expenditure per enemy casualty has expanded with:

    1) Smarter tactics (Maybe we should take cover and seek concealment instead of advancing shoulder to shoulder in massed ranks)

    2) Longer engagement ranges (Maybe we shouldn't wait until we see the whites of their eyes)

    3) More ammo carried (Between the two World Wars, it was not expected that the average trooper would need to fire more than 100rds a day. As late as Korea, the average US trooper probably would carry no more than 96 to 120rds.)

    4) Higher rates of fire (This includes the speed of loading along with the speed of fire. A well trained shooter with a muzzle-loader could load and fire about 3 shots per minute, at least until fatigue set in. A well-trained shooter with a Springfield M1903 could not last more than 4 minutes of continuous fire until severe fatigue set in.)

    5) Larger magazines

    6) Adoption of cartridges with less recoil

    --------------------

    A basic mastery of marksmanship is necessary, but training on an open, flat rifle range over known distances with bullseye targets and generous exposure times is not the complete end-all/be-all solution.

    Take for instance this quote from the memiors of General George S. Patton, Jr.:

    In 1944, years before studies by the ORO and BRL stated many of the same conclusions, Patton advised:

     
  17. Teufelhunden

    Teufelhunden Member

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    Aside to the thread but,
    The word is MARINES.


    :fire:


    -Teuf
     
  18. HankB

    HankB Member

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    I wonder how many rounds were actually firedfrom rifles at the enemy?

    We had those converted C-47's with three miniguns . . . they sprayed out a LOT of ammo in a hurry, and certainly, most missed the enemy.

    Then there's the ammo we provided to the ARVN troops . . . I wonder how much was simply dumped or sold for scrap, but still added to the total?

    How much ammo was stockpiled or warehoused and later simply abandoned?

    I find it very, very, hard to believe that U.S. troops in combat would have to expend 50,000 rounds - let alone 200,000 - for each enemy casualty. I mean, by these numbers, you'll wear out several rifles before you so much as hit a bad guy!

    There must be something else at work in the way they figure things to generate these kinds of numbers.
     
  19. seeker_two

    seeker_two Member

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    Disappointing, ain't it? :uhoh:

    Fortunately, our enemies have adopted the same "spray & pray" tactics, so we're running about even.

    I wonder what the ratio will be in the 2 Iraq conflicts & Afghanistan?...:scrutiny:
     
  20. BigG

    BigG Member

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    I wonder if, like many stats, they "normed" it by saying, "Well, a pound of TNT has so many joules of energy, a 5.56 has so many joules of energy so they converted all ordnance delivered into the smallest unit, i.e., the 5.56? Cops do it on drug busts all the time. 2 kilos of reefer become $80,000 (or whatever) "street value" of marijuana when broken down to the individual joint. :uhoh: :rolleyes:
     
  21. Futo Inu

    Futo Inu member

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    Teufel

    Oops, Marines...

    I was making a distinction between a Marine SNIPER and a rank-and-file Marine, and mistakenly used "soldier" to mean non-sniper.
     
  22. Double Maduro

    Double Maduro Member

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  23. Teufelhunden

    Teufelhunden Member

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    No harm no foul...

    We're just kinda prickly about being called soldiers :evil:

    -Teuf
     
  24. fourdeuce82d

    fourdeuce82d Member

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    "Ideally...
    A highly skilled rifleman will place the majority of his shots on target.
    If he can see the target."

    Most of E6s & up I met in the army (80-83) were vietnam vets- can't recall one ever saying he saw whom he was shooting at.
     
  25. Ed Straker

    Ed Straker Member

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    Futo, glad to see the Devil Dog got to you. I was going to say, next time just use Marine Rifleman, that's what we all are.
    Anyway, what I heard about the 3 shot Burst on the M16A2 was that the Army was basically unable to teach trigger control to such a large pool of recruits in the time allotted, so, of course, 'technology' is the answer...
     
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