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Troops armed with deadly Minimi

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Drizzt, Mar 17, 2003.

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  1. Drizzt

    Drizzt Member

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    Troops armed with deadly Minimi

    Gethin Chamberlain


    BRITISH troops preparing to go into action against the Iraqi army have taken delivery of a powerful new weapon which they believe could play a decisive role in overcoming any opposition they encounter.

    The FN Para Minimi 5.56 millimetre light machine gun has already seen service with the Royal Marines and the Parachute Regiment, but yesterday was the first time it had been issued to the men of the 7th Armoured Brigade, better known as the Desert Rats, who will form the main thrust of any British involvement in a military campaign.

    Capable of firing 820 rounds of hardened ammunition a minute, it is regarded as a far more potent weapon than the old general purpose machine gun (GPMG) which has been in service since the 1960s.

    Lighter and smaller than the GPMG, it can be fired from a standing, kneeling or prone position and troops test-firing it for the first time on a range near the Iraqi border yesterday said they were delighted with the new weapon.

    After firing off a series of rounds to calibrate his weapon, Private Stuart Dunning, of the Black Watch, was a convert to the Minimi.

    "We’ve had a demonstration of it before from the marines, but this was the first time I’ve fired it. You could run around with this and fire it off, which you couldn’t do with the GPMG, and that’s a big advantage for us.

    "It also fires steel core rounds and they can penetrate so I think we all feel pretty confident with this."

    Private Kristofer Smith, also of the Black Watch, said he was convinced it was the best weapon available to them.

    "Everyone’s been after these and now we’ve tried it, it’s pretty good," he said. "You don’t get a big kick from it so you can fire it standing up and that’s important if we’re moving forward."

    There has been controversy about another of the main weapons, the SA-80 rifle, with complaints from soldiers about its reliability and reports of frequent jamming in desert conditions.

    But the SA-80 has recently undergone an overhaul and senior weapons instructors are satisfied with its performance, blaming any problems now on poor maintenance by the troops using the rifle.

    Warrant Officer QMSI Michael Lynch, one of the instructors given the task of familiarising the men with the Minimi, said the weapon was expected to be highly effective in subduing opposition from Iraqi troops.

    He said he was confident that if it did come to military action, the British battle group now have the equipment needed to do its job.

    He added: "If we go to war, which looks likely, these lads are going to have to get out of a Warrior [armoured car] and start using these weapons and if you look at them trying them on the ranges today, you wouldn’t want to be on the end of that.

    "We are very adept at keeping our soldiers alive and the way we do that is to keep the enemy’s head down. If it does happen, the Black Watch will shower itself in glory as they always have."

    http://www.thescotsman.co.uk/index.cfm?id=322072003
     
  2. Deadman

    Deadman Member

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    While I can sympathise with the Brit troops in that the Minimi is a damned fun weapon to fire, I somehow think the Iraqi's are more concerned with MOAB bombs and the like. ;)
     
  3. HABU

    HABU Member

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    Reminds me of the fat Iraqi thread!:D
    I hope it serves them well. I further hope that they know exactly who they are firing upon.:scrutiny:
     
  4. ahadams

    ahadams Member

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    well in the US it's Known as the M249 I believe and while it certainly appears to be an adequate Squad Automatic Weapon (i.e. one step up from an AR) I still don't see how replacing a 7.62 with a 5.56 and *calling* it a replacement GPMG (the M60 is a more realistic GPMG) makes it a GPMG.

    nobody's explained that one so far...
     
  5. UnknownSailor

    UnknownSailor Member

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    Somebody has to shoot back while everyone clears their SA-80. ;)

    Why oh why doesn't the UK just drop that abomination, and go with the M-16?
     
  6. HABU

    HABU Member

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    'Cuz they have to much money into trying to fix it.:banghead:

    Not that you dint already know that.....
     
  7. Aikibiker

    Aikibiker Member

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    I don't know much about the minimi/M249, except that it looks like a fun toy to play with.

    However I am almost willing to bet that we will hear stories of British troops using captured AK-47s as a field expedient replacement for the SA-80 shortly.
     
  8. DVDTracker

    DVDTracker Member

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    I've had the pleasure of shooting one on a couple occasions. Shooting offhand (with an AR mag, not a belt in this case), I could easily put bursts into an Iraqi-sized group at 100yds.
     
  9. Jim March

    Jim March Member

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    We can sit and quibble about what the SAW is, but every report I've heard on it by any bunch of field troops has been positive. The 223 with the right ammo DOES penetrate light armor better than a 308, if I'm not mistaken (but at the expense of tumbling/wounding).
     
  10. JoshM

    JoshM Member

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    Ahadams

    Good point.

    The GPMG is not being replaced in British service rather the L86 is.
    The L86 is an SA80 configured as a Light Support Weapon [LSW]. Basically it's been a disaster, unlike the GPMG/FN MAG/M240 which has a different role and is now in American service as well.

    Considering that these weapons have different roles, I'm not sure what to make of the above quote ?

    Either the reporter got it wrong or the British Army hasn't mentioned the replacement of the SA80 based LSW for PR reasons.
     
  11. bogie

    bogie Member

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    Uh... Stupid question here...

    The balloon goes up inside the week, and they just got new toys to play with? No time for training?
     
  12. TechBrute

    TechBrute Member

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    AMEN!!! Couldn't have said it better myself. I bet a .22LR machinegun would be even easier to fire.
     
  13. Dannyboy

    Dannyboy Member

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    Josh, he might have been talking about it being easier running around with the SAW loaded with the magazine as opposed to having an ammo belt trailing you. That's the only thing I can think of because the weight differential isn't all that much.
     
  14. usmcmonty

    usmcmonty Member

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    With the M-249 you don't have ammo hanging out. The linked brass is held in a "box mag" under the weapon. Very compact and easy to employ even standing/moving.

    It's a killer weapon and there were lots of guys trying to get one even though it was not their t/o weapon
     
  15. bogie

    bogie Member

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    IMHO, they're more controllable than an M-60... Also, you can carry about 2x the amount of .223 than you can of .308...
     
  16. Sleeping Dog

    Sleeping Dog Member

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    Almost as bad as the M16 intro in Vietnam ... except that balloon was already flying. "Hey kid, here's a new gun, and a comic book that explains it. Saddle up."

    Regards
     
  17. D.W. Drang

    D.W. Drang Member

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    Or, they were scheduled to receive them , the training is done, and it just wasn't mentioned in the article.
     
  18. Ed

    Ed Member

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    I thought the 249 was a great weapon, The 60 is heavier and would probably be more effective in jungles with the round it fires but the SAW is just fine for the desert. Like someone said, you fire from a "box" for lack of better word that holds the belt, keeping it easily transportable and not likely to bind, same ammo as M-16 and lighter in case we have to go CQB. Plus it is smaller, which doesn't play as big a role for light guys but in a armored vehicle, in Mopp 4 you need all the room you can get.
     
  19. BigG

    BigG Member

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    The M249 SAW (Minimi) uses a box to contain the belt so it's portable. The GPMG (M60, MAG, etc.) is not really portable and capable of fire and movement like the SAW is.

    They are shown in use in Black Hawk Down and (hold on to your hats) 3000 Miles to Graceland. :D
     
  20. blades67

    blades67 Member

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    How much training do you think they need? A few minutes to learn the controls, a hundred rounds to familiarize with and off you go.
     
  21. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam

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    It's always somebody else's fault, right?
     
  22. seeker_two

    seeker_two Member

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    ...which is a whole lot better than shooting the Nerf balls that we allow our own British subjects...:scrutiny:
     
  23. JShirley

    JShirley Administrator Staff Member

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    The only time I got to play with the 249 was in Basic/ITB. Hit all my targets, even the 600 meter ones (wish I could do that with my M4! :D). Loved it.
     
  24. Scott Evans

    Scott Evans Moderator Emeritus

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    I carried an M-249 for almost 2 years while in the Marine Corps. An excellent weapon for base of fire or suppressive fire. Very reliable, excellent accuracy, and it has quick change barrels. It’s a pig to hump but worth its weight in gold in a fire fight.
     
  25. Spark

    Spark Member

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    Better than humping the M240 or M60 though. Only weapon I liked to carry more than the M249 was the M203 - nothing wrong with 200 rounds of SS109 ready to blaze away.

    Light, accurate, tough, & smooth to fire, what more can you ask for out of a SAW?

    Only wish I could get one of the para models....

    Kevin
     
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