Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by SmeeAgain, Feb 26, 2022.
Ft. Ord, CA, entered basic Nov. 1967. Looks like you beat me in rank by a month.
It not seen before, I suggest "The Road to Abilene"
It was a very complicated problem. I talked to an individual who claimed to be the last living individual on General Le May's weapon evaluation team. The Air Force wanted a perimeter Guard weapon, better than an M1 carbine of M14. This man happens to be a long range shooting legend. Anyway, he said there were various tests, the one I remember, because I thought it was crazy, was holding the weapon out with one hand, and shooting it into a berm, full auto. Obviously the M14 did not do well. The actual best weapon was the AK47. The USAF had battlefield capture AK47's and ammunition and it was the best, but as he said adopting the AK47 "was not politically possible". The early AR15's had an acceptable reliability with the stick powder, in an Air Force cantonment. You just have to talk to service members to understand the difference between the services, since USAF Officers fly the planes, they take extraordinary measures to ensure that USAF enlisted are kept happy, well fed, and everyone sleeps in clean sheets.
OSD mandated the M16, and what followed can be described as "regulatory capture" and a failure to admit failure.
This is interesting, almost 60 years after the Vietnam War started, the Army still can't admit failure. This was written by a West Point teacher:
The Art of Losing
THE END OF THE WAR IN AFGHANISTAN SHOWS THE DANGER OF OUR COMMITMENT TO PERPETUAL OPTIMISM
ELIZABETH D. SAME
I am going to claim that the military only exists to serve the industrial complex. National Defense is just an excuse to funnel taxpayer money to plutocrats. While this is simplistic, it is actually a robust model of how and why and to predicting how the Department of Defense will act in the future on weapon procurement. None of the services can cancel non performing programs, Congress has to do that. All of the services spend hundreds of billions on programs that never succeed. And they all know the program won't succeed. They also knew, there was no light at the end of the tunnel in Afghanistan, but stayed in. Once a program is adopted, DoD acts to serve the interests of the contractor, over the interests of the nation, and of the individual soldier. And this is what happened with the M16 program. The can't admit failure, and they can't cancel a non performing program.
And the big picture is, if you happen to die with a jammed M16 in your hand, while that is unfortunate, it is not nearly as bad as costing Colt profit.
(Field grade/combat officers with graduate degrees and/or PhDs at the time). Civilians now number ~20% "for balance"
Samet is full professor of English at USMA, and is quite well known/respected -- even liked -- as a "loyal counterbalance"
But don't confuse the 'Counter Balance' with being the core theme of the Liberal Arts (old definition) being taught there.
Big picture across engineering, history, math, foreign language, literature, the arts... is still central.
How to think...not what.
From that we know the American game is never (has never been) clean, never simple, never focused, never underlain with pure objectives -- never consistent.
Like the Pueblo incident in the same timeframe, however, the M-16 debacle had enough blame to go around for everybody involved -- start to finish.
But as far as "...the military only exists to serve the industrial complex...." a bit overstated.
War is politics by other means.
External and internal.
Always will be.
(We just hope our lives are not sold cheaply.)
do the exact same jobs they were doing when they worked for the armory, at the same benches, on the same machines, using the same tools that they had used previously. The govt paid GE cost plus ten percent, which was significantly higher than before. No real savings there, How do I know this you ask! My dad was one of the Armory tool and gauge makers that was so rehired. He worked for GE there for quite a while.
Concur in the big picture.....
McNamara also brought the "War is a Business" model to the Viernam war writ large,
Gradually crank up the price high enough and the enemy will gradually quit.
Unfortunately the North was using different currency.
But I digress....
As to Springfield Armory...
Whiz kids found the management practices of the Department of Defense as Byzantine, illogical, chaotic. And DoD was that and more. One good reform was assigning a Project Manager, a single point of contact, to push a program through to fielding. This was needed as the prior Ordnance Department practice was more or less to play hot potato with a program. All of these men followed the Harvard Business Management philosophy that you did not need to know or understand the product to be a manager of that product. That is managing potato chips is the same as managing computer chips, as chips are chips. These sort of managers are good at optimizing processes, reducing costs, but they are not innovative and tend to be same old, same old when it comes to product lines.
It is too much to expect Robert McNamara to be a small arms specialist. It is, in fact unfair. He had a war going on, lots of planes, tanks, ships, etc under contract and in development. Neither was the Army fully in agreement as to what a service rifle ought to be. From the 18th century past WW2 the Army believed in the gravel belly soldier. That is the expert shot, who with his rifle, controlled a 1000 yard battle radius around his position. It was a dream, clearly shattered by the artillery of WW1, but totally adhered to between WW1 and WW2, and still very influential till the 1950's when it began being questioned.
It was the total fault of the Army not to have put money into rifle development post WW2. I recall reading the whole rifle development budget was around $1,000,000. Which would have not met the fuel bill for a month for an Armored Division or an Air Squadron (a guess, but would be true today!) This parsimony is totally the fault of the entire chain of command of the Army, going right to the Army Chief of Staff. Instead of fully fleshing out intermediate round concepts, intermediate round rifles, the Infantry School decided it still needed 30-06 power and range, and with a tiny budget, the Ordnance Department simply product improved the Garand. The Infantry school was so retrogressive, it did not want detectable magazines! It wanted to keep stripper clips. There exists in one book the Infantry School position on box magazines: they are too heavy, they are too expensive, there is nothing good about them. This is the reason in early literature the box magazine on the M14 is called "semi detachable" and why there is a stripper clip slot on top of the receiver. The shooter was to fill the magazine with five round clips, on the rifle. When the rifle was introduced at the National Matches, competitors were told to reload the rapid fire stages with stripper clips! I tried that once, what a malfunction creating nail buster. But it shows just how neolithic the Infantry School was, and is. Yes, Robert McNamara had to force a new rifle down the throats of the Army, because the organization is incapable of self reform.But, he should not have been put into that position. And this is what you get when some manager in a cubicle of the Pentagon has to make an instant call as to what boot the troops should wear. The decision maker is so far removed from the problem, he is out of touch with the realities on the ground.
As much as I loved my M1a, it was not the rifle we should have adopted. The British were on the right track, the Infantry School should have listened to the British, and they should have really looked at the German SIG 44, the SKS, AK47, all of which showed the way to the future. But the Infantry likes what it has, wants something better, but only a little different, and totally rejects revolutionary change. The post WW1 Ordnance Bureau assigned too much weight to the knuckle draggers hopes and desires. The pre WW1 Ordnance Bureau understood, as far back as time itself, that the user was hidebound and moving mountains was easier than changing infantry school opinions. It is certain that pointy sticks had to be wrestled from the grasp of Troglodyte Infantry before they would hold flint tipped spears. And even then, retired Troglodyte Warrant Officers loudly told anyone, that the flint tipped spears were never as good as the old pointy sticks. It is just the way these guys are.
financial management of it. The bean counters cut things without knowing what was what, and when the supply of the stick powder they went with was unreliable, they didn't explore other stick powders very well. IMR 3031 was certainly available then, not sure if 4064 was, but it too would have sufficed better than spherical or flattened ball powder. The (lack of) decision about changing the (non) cleaning regimen is probably on the DoD, but that is why they have ballistics experts, and they should have been able to put their learned observations in.
I'm sure some political finagling was involved also;
Sen. So-and-so, who is on the Senate Procurement Committee, wants Powder plant X to supply the powder, but Sen. Wazzizname, who is on the Senate Intelligence Committee (an oxymoron if I've ever seen one) wants the plant in his state to supply the powder. And so it goes.
Right on! Get it said TerryG!
I Corps Marine 66 and 67. Was issued the M14 but was a radio operator so I carried an M3 at first and later a Swedish K. Bottom line? The M16 was better suited for Vietnam than the M14....and the AK was better suited than either!
do remember why the Garand was issued to fire 30 caliber....
> Twenty gas-operated .276 T3E2 Garands were made and competed with T1 Pedersen rifles in early 1931.
> The .276 Garand was the clear winner of these trials. The .30 caliber Garand was also tested, in the form
> of a single T1E1, but was withdrawn with a cracked bolt on October 9, 1931..
> A January 4, 1932 meeting recommended adoption of the .276 caliber and production of approximately
> 125 T3E2s. Meanwhile, Garand redesigned his bolt and his improved T1E2 rifle was retested.
> The day after the successful conclusion of this test, Army Chief of Staff General Douglas MacArthur
> personally disapproved any caliber change, in part because there were extensive existing stocks of
> .30 M1 ball ammunition. On February 25, 1932, Adjutant General John B. Shuman, speaking for
> the Secretary of War, ordered work on the rifles and ammunition in .276 caliber cease immediately
> and completely, and all resources be directed toward identification and correction of deficiencies in
> the Garand .30 caliber.
Two lessons here:
1. There ain't nothing new re under the table/bureaucratic dealing/decisions as to how the Holy Garand came to be.
2. Google is never wrong
This is often repeated and it is untrue. The M-14 was adopted in 1957 and has been in continuous service ever since. Even when it was no longer the standard issue rifle, it still soldiered on with many special forces and other specialized applications. It still soldiers on today as the EBR.
You must have been in much later than me. I only had to carry a cigarette and cup of coffee on my ships.
We still had Thompson sub machine guns in the armory on my last ship (a minesweeper.)
I was an Army brat in high school there at Fort Bliss during your time there. Those barracks were still there as of 1995 when I finally left town for good. They had kept them in good repair all those years.
Yes they both have their place and this is the answer. VN was a political war and full of ROEs that got a lot of guys wounded or killed. 58,000 guys lost over a police action that was never intended to be won. Don't forget about the guys we are still losing today over this one war...
The 1970's, 1980's, and 1990's after we started getting attacked by terroist. In port at least 8 hours a day every other day when deployed.
Same held true on the Minesweeper from '75 to '77. Just one sailor with a 1911 on the quarterdeck in port.
if you read The Black Rifle carefully, and ignore the bias the authors had against the Ordnance Department (and Dr Carten personally), you will see that Frankford and Olin brought up the need for additional testing of WC846. The OSD felt this was unnecessary and would delay fielding. Colt and Springfield also voiced concerns about certain aspects that needed further development but were over ruled by the OSD.
As to other propellants, The problem is the volume of the .223 case. All propellant has an energy density, the amount of energy per unit weight that fits in a given volume. Some of it is drive by the chemical formula, double base, with nitrocellulose and nitroglycerin, has a higher energy density than single based. But it is also driven by how well the propellant packs in a given volume. The long cylindrical grains of 4064 and 3031 do not pack well in the small volume of the .223 case, and they are single based propellants. You can't stuff enough of it in the case to get the required velocity. Ball propellant packs very well, and because WC 846 is a relatively slow burning propellant the peak pressure is lower. There was a lot of research into alternate propellants, HPC-10, CR 8136 and IMR 8208 were some of them. All of those are double based propellants with small granules, and HPC-10 I believe is a flake propellant. HPC-10 and CR 8136 did not pan out as well as hoped, but IMR 8208 did work pretty well, and you can still get it today (A2015, Benchmark and IMR 8208 XBR).
The funny thing is once they fixed the buffer to solve the bolt bounce problem, IMR 8208, which had pretty much the same port pressure as IMR 4475, had too low of a cyclic rate and was unreliable, so it was withdrawn as a suitable propellant. The M16 with the old Edgewater buffer shooting ammunition loaded with IMR 4476 had a cyclic rate of 750 to 850 rpm (this is the optimum cyclic rate for the AR system), With the Edgewater buffer and ammunition loaded with WC 846 the cyclic rate is 850 to 950 rpm. Once you switch to the new multi-weight buffer and WC 846 the cyclic rate drops back to the acceptable range of 750 to 850 rpm. Ammunition loaded with IMR 8208 and the new buffer saw cyclic rates in the 650 to 750 rpm range, and would often fail to lock, especially when dirty. Oh, and IMR 8208, had trouble passing the 6000 round fouling test, it was a dirty propellant.
And one last thing - The Ordnance Department and the Infantry Board being reactionary and not embracing anything new - FALSE.
The Chief of Ordnance (and Dr Carten, in particular) in 1952 authorized the Small Caliber High Velocity cartridge project, this is the genesis of the .22 caliber infantry rife. Due to limited funding in the 1950s (go Nuke or nothing!) the SCHV project was a back-burner item, but it was always a contender for whatever followed the M14 as a standard infantry rifle, and managed to maintain some funding. As to the Infantry, when they tested the AR-15 in 1957, head-to-head against the M14, their report a fair and generally favorable assessment of the AR-15 in its then state of development, not a dismissive one people like to claim.
The M14 was an improvement /evolution of the M1 Garand. But, it was foolish to think it could also replace the Thompson/M3 grease gun, M1 Carbine, and maybe squad automatic rifles and handguns in service at the time..
The McNamara whiz kids did not have a clue what was needed in battle with the M16. Eventually, clearer heads prevailed and the M16/M4 Carbine were developed and a fine rifle platform was developed.
The bottom line is "one cartridge does not meet all needs".
Not necessarily true.
It depends on what compromises you are willing to accept.
My personal take on either has changed a lot over the years. In mid-80's I used to hate M16:s for no other logical reason other than I thought they're ugly as sin, and that all changed when a LGS had a bunch of AR15A2 HBAR:s on sale right after Full Metal Jacket movie came out and I bought one. Shortly afterwards I had started collecting them - registering as a collector of modern full auto firearms was ridiculously easy back then, gun shops had well worn M16:s, XM-anythings etc. in stock for not much money at all and it was a lot of fun.
As far as M14 is concerned, I can appreciate the design and workmanship, even though I'm not a fan of guns that heavy. A few years ago I passed the opportunity to purchase a mint original (X?)M21, complete with period correct issue scope, and I'm still kicking myself for letting it go. Then again, I have a soft spot for "the b*stard nephews of Garand", Ruger Minis. Go figure.
I've personally never been issued either. On this side of the pond it's been Valmet RK62(/76) and more recently, Sako RK95. Even though I kind-of like them, they're still AK:s. Extremely well made AK deluxe much like top shelf Galils, but still. Now that Finland is finally joining NATO there's a good chance M16/M4 -type rifles will take over, much like the current DMR rifles are already AR10-variants, but I'm getting a bit old for rehearsals and have only a few years of reserve duty left so none will probably be issued to me. So I just have to shoot my own...
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