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militant
August 15, 2012, 03:48 PM
It seems like the standard battle rifles of ww2 packed more punch than modern weapons. What are your thoughts on this. Why did they change?

BlueTrain
August 15, 2012, 04:04 PM
This is going to be a quick reply. It's a long story.

They did, mostly. But it was another 20 to 50 years before there was a change made in most places and even so, it wasn't an overnight change anywhere. For example, the National Guard was armed with M1 rifles and BARs into the 1970s.

Oddly enough, considering the question, the change began during WWII itself when the Germans began issuing a rifle with the first intermediate cartridge. The reasoning was that ordinary infantrymen did not make hits much beyond 300 yards, or in the case of the Germans, meters. The use of a lower power cartridge basically increased the firepower of the individual rifleman. They retained their full power cartridge for machine guns and sniper rifles. Even so, bolt action rifles stayed in production in some places for another ten years or even longer in places.

It was an advance of sorts but it should also be noted that when bolt action and semi-automatic full grown rifles were the normal weapon of an infantryman, submachine guns were in widespread use, more so in some places than in others but the reason was essentially the same as for intermediate cartridge weapons: more firepower for the infantry.

It was really the Soviets who took the ball and ran with it in the late 1940s, although the first weapon fielded that used their version of an intermediate cartridge was just another ten-shot semi-automatic rifle.

Apparently the whole concept of an intermediate cartridge now going on beyond retirement age is still somewhat controversial in some quarters, just like using those new-fangled self-loading pistols.

dahermit
August 15, 2012, 04:46 PM
Why did they change? There were a number of reasons. I read somewhere that the Army concluded that the the standard M1 Garand 30-06 had two problems that became evident in Korea. Firstly, the ammo was too bulky and heavy, limiting the number of rounds a soldier could carry. Secondly, the Army found that in a "target rich" (many charging Chinese), environment, that the cumulative unpleasant heavy recoil of the M1 Garand resulted in some soldiers passing up shots because they were too sore to continue firing. (A side note: When in 1962 Basic Training, the recoil of my M1 beat the heck out of my shoulder to the point where I would have passed on shots in combat.)
In any event, the lesser rounds for assault rifles were born and seem here to stay.

Shotgun693
August 15, 2012, 04:58 PM
Yep, tactics changed. As a general rule when a war starts the forces fight with the type of weapon used or needed in the last war. Even now as we have moved from fighting a Viet Nam type war to a Middle Eastern type war we are looking at changing weapons.

zincwarrior
August 15, 2012, 05:01 PM
This is going to be a quick reply. It's a long story.

They did, mostly. But it was another 20 to 50 years before there was a change made in most places and even so, it wasn't an overnight change anywhere. For example, the National Guard was armed with M1 rifles and BARs into the 1970s.

Oddly enough, considering the question, the change began during WWII itself when the Germans began issuing a rifle with the first intermediate cartridge. The reasoning was that ordinary infantrymen did not make hits much beyond 300 yards, or in the case of the Germans, meters. The use of a lower power cartridge basically increased the firepower of the individual rifleman. They retained their full power cartridge for machine guns and sniper rifles. Even so, bolt action rifles stayed in production in some places for another ten years or even longer in places.

It was an advance of sorts but it should also be noted that when bolt action and semi-automatic full grown rifles were the normal weapon of an infantryman, submachine guns were in widespread use, more so in some places than in others but the reason was essentially the same as for intermediate cartridge weapons: more firepower for the infantry.

It was really the Soviets who took the ball and ran with it in the late 1940s, although the first weapon fielded that used their version of an intermediate cartridge was just another ten-shot semi-automatic rifle.

Apparently the whole concept of an intermediate cartridge now going on beyond retirement age is still somewhat controversial in some quarters, just like using those new-fangled self-loading pistols.

Don't forget the M1 carbine was an intermediate round, and we made more of them than the M1 Garand.

wpsdlrg
August 15, 2012, 05:10 PM
Why they changed, in the end, boils down to the hugely misguided notion that throwing MORE rounds downrange in LESS time would always increase combat effectiveness. All of the other changes (intermediate cartridges, replaceable magazines, select-fire capability, etc. etc.) were simply to further this principle.

What was really accomplished ? Improved combat effectiveness ? NOPE. (The statistic used to rate this is Avg. Rounds Expended per Casualty Produced - this number has only INCREASED, in each succeeding generation. In WW2, it stood at something like 20,000 - 30,000. Now, it stands at well beyond 50,000 - even as much as 100,000, in some conflicts.) Lighter weight ? NOPE (the avg. infantryman today goes into action with a HEAVIER combat load than EVER before - mostly because of having to schlepp MORE ammo, albeit each individual cartridge is somewhat lighter). Reduced costs ? HA HA, OF COURSE NOT - (it's more than 10 times as expensive to equip the avg. infantryman today as in WW2). Better marksmanship ? NOPE. (No better than it ever has been, on avg.)

I could go on and on......but you get the idea.

So, what WAS really accomplished ? NOT MUCH that COUNTS, on the whole, if you ask me. Really, the whole thing came down to a FASHION TREND. Once one nation re-equipped with "modern" weapons.....everybody had to, lest they be at a disadvantage. However, if NO one had, then NO ONE else would have needed to do so. It all amounts to a HUGE waste of resources - much like lots of so-called "improvements" in the "modern" world.

5.56RifleGuy
August 15, 2012, 05:19 PM
I'm not even sure where to start with the last post.

Ill just say this. More ammo for the same amount of weight seems like a good idea to me. I like less weighty rifles also.

Woody55
August 15, 2012, 05:21 PM
The battlefield is not a range. It's hard to see targets - harder the further away they get. They are moving. They are hiding. They are under cover. They (or someone else) is shooting at you. That's why most casualties from small arms fire in WW II were at 200 m or less.

This is mass warfare. Most combatants receive the minimum amount of training their country deems necessary to achieve a slight advantage on the battlefield because the training pipeline costs money, takes time and delays the arrival of new people on the battlefield. So the average guy isn't going to hit an enemy at long range even if he could see it.

As has been pointed out above, ammo with more punch weighs more. So does the rifle with more punch. You spend much more time moving than you do shooting. Every pound you can get rid of helps.

Often the targets appear at very close quarters, very suddenly and very fleetingly. Smaller rifles are handier. With medium power cartridges, they are easier to control and can even fire short bursts which makes it quicker to aim them.

Finally, combat is a team sport. You are not out there by yourself. The rifle is really the short range direct fire weapon. Squad automatic weapons and machine guns are the long range weapons. And if you have a radio, all things are possible.

I haven't addressed the dreaded "stopping power" issue. I have no desire to. Suffice it to say, I've never seen anyone volunteer to stand out around 200 m to 300 m and get shot with an M4 because the round is a joke.

trg42wraglefragle
August 15, 2012, 05:31 PM
With the likes of the Lee Enfield and the Springfield, They were designed with the thought that an individual could make harassing fire out to 1000yards.

That was around the time of WW1, so as WW2 came along it stayed about the same.

Towards the end of the war the Germans decided that majority of fighting an Individual would do most of it within 300meters, that's why they invented the STG/MP 44, and a low kicking, high capacity rifle with an intermediate round.

After WW2 when the M14 was introduced the .308 round was designed to provide the same power as the 3006 by using different powders.
So this basically replaced the M1 Garand and Bar, so the power of an Individuals rifle was about the same.

But as the Russias took on a lesser round the 7.62x39, as they took to the Germans idea of the STG44.

The US was having problems with the M14 having too much kich in full auto, and was a heavy bulky weapon, the sought to make a rifle in a different caliber that was controllable in fulll auto, hence the AR15 and .223 was born.

With the though it mind of the individual mostly fighting within 300m the .223 AR15 is far superior than the M14, lighter gun, less kick, higher magazine capacity, solider able to carry more ammunition, it makes a lot of sense.

It obviously wasn't a bad decision as the Russians went on to create the 5.45x39.

And when it comes down to it, most individual soldiers aren't all good enough shots to engage targets at 300/400m.
If you have seen videos of soldiers fighing in Afghanistan, the way they fight is to basically just pin down the enemy until artillery or air support come to take out the target.
For this a larger caliber would just be a waste of money and weight as the soldier cannot make use of it.

In the 60's the Russians were aware of this, as the individual soldier is effective to around 300m, they invented the SVD Dragunov as Designated marksman rifle to have an effective range of 600/700m.
They had at least one designated marksman rifle in a platoon.

This is the idea the the US and the UK is doing now, with the US M14 EBR, and the UKs L129A1 (an AR10).
It makes a lot of sense to only have more highly trained soldiers with a more powerful weapon.
This idea is a much better idea than to give every soldier a larger rifle with better optics to try engage targets at 300/400m plus.

Everything is a trade off, as a rifle that's good at long range is going to be not so good at room clearing, and maneuvering in and out of vehicles.

Slamfire
August 15, 2012, 05:37 PM
Pre WW1 rifles had a range that far exceeded anything prior and the power of machine guns had not been yet appreciated.

Most of these “full power” rounds have their beginnings in the late 1880’s and by the time you get to WW1, that is what everyone is arming their armies.

Semiautomatics were not of a design maturity to issue something other than low power blow backs to troops.

The military had active shooting programs and courses that emphasized marksmanship at range. Everyone intended to use these high power cartridges at range. The Boer war made a huge impression with the British as Boers were plinking British troops with their 7 mm Mausers at ranges that were far beyond the rifle skills of the British. Attitudes towards marksmanship might have been different had the British used quantities of machine guns against the Boer’s as the machine gun with its high rate of fire and long range capability would have made life very difficult for Boer snipers. After the war, the British did not stock many machine guns but did train their Regular Army troopers to a high level of markmanship, but it was all for naught and a big surprise to them when the Germans used mass quantities of machine guns against them in 1914. Virtually all the highly trained British marksman soldiers were dead within six months due to Sir John French’s poor tactics of sending infantry against machine guns.

The basic problem always comes down to skills, training, or the lack of it. It took years to train a soldier to effectively make use of his high power rifle at distance. This sort of training took time and most importantly, money. And then it could be argued that it was not worth spending this amount of money when machine guns and artillery made the life expectance of a soldier somewhat less than 9 months.

The first generation of intermediate cartridges, which incidentally are in the same power class as the 30-30, are just perfect for untrained cannon fodder. WW2 Infantry training was around four months, depending on the demand for troops, there was not enough time to train soldiers to high level of markmanship:

At the beginning of WWII there was no separate basic and advanced, they were combined into one. Each branch chief (the Chief of Infantry/Cavalry/Artillery/etc), prescribed different length of time for this combined training. I know a little about infantry so I will stick to that. As the US forces got more feedback from the fighting fronts, combined basic/advanced infantry training gradually increased from 8 to 12 to 13 to 15 to 17 weeks in the start of 1944, though this was prescribed, but not totally implemented at all posts. It took time to graduate older classes and implement the new rules.

However the Philippine invasions in the summer of 1944, caused this training time to slip to 15 weeks. Later that year it went back to 17 weeks, but the Battle of the Bulge casualties in December 1944, again caused the slippage back to 15 weeks again.http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_long_was_World_War_2_basic_training#ixzz23ekH38YN

I found from my Uncle, who was in the 101 Airborne, that he only fired eight rounds out of his M1919 machine gun before dropping on Normandy. That was all the rounds he shot before he went into combat. He and his helper were so ignorant of gun function that they did not know the thing did not have a safety. Uncle said they bumped the gun on the ground, setting the thing up in France, his helper had his hand over the muzzle, and the gun discharged shooting a finger off his friend. A gun club bud, he had two ten round familiarizations with a carbine, before going into the Pacific, with a carbine he had never zeroed. He zeroed the thing in combat.

To compensate for the lack of skills the military decided to go with firepower. And given that spray and pray is not effective except as noise making at long distances, why use full power cartridges.?

Then when you get into post WW2 peacetime, the Military preferentially spends its money on major weapon system acquisitions, not training. There is no advocacy from the military-industrial complex for training. So even though you have the time to train soldiers, they won’t spend the money.

militant
August 15, 2012, 06:06 PM
Another reason I asked is because our enemies tend to use older weapons and seem to be doing just fine. They are using ak's, dragonovs, rpk's ect. It seems like our weapons that do the most are the ones attached to battle ships and helicopters. I hear rumors of the AR adopting the 6.8 for possible future battle. Are they catching on to bigger is better again? I am not going to start a 5.56 hate thread but the older 30 cal rifles seem to be better one shot stoppers.

Quentin2
August 15, 2012, 06:26 PM
The older battle rifles may have had more punch but with the 5.56 you can carry more ammo and get maybe twice as many punches. Trust me, you really don't want to get your ticket punched with a 5.56! :p

Anyway which is better, more punch or more punches!

Crow Hunter
August 15, 2012, 07:24 PM
Another reason I asked is because our enemies tend to use older weapons and seem to be doing just fine.

What is your definition of "just fine"?

Know any battles that they have won?

An insurgency could be fought with single shot rifles "effectively".

IEDs and random terrorist sniper attacks don't really require state of the art rifles and equipment.

I am not aware of any stand up battles in which they have won without overwhelming numbers.

Go out sometime and look at something 300 yards away, or even 200 yards and imagine someone ducking, running and taking cover. Now look at something 600 yards away and do the same thing. Then think to yourself if you would rather have 210 rounds good up to 300 or 80 good to 600 yards.

That was the thought process.

Yes, guys in service rifle competitions regularly shoot to 600 yards.....

At targets the size of a Volkswagen that aren't dodging, running and taking cover while they are doing the same thing.:D

militant
August 15, 2012, 07:47 PM
Well I guess I worded that wrong. We do win but many casualties are taken. I think that the training of opposing troops is more to blame than the weaponry. I really don't believe the the 5.56 platform to be do far superior to 7.62 platforms that it wins wars. As for weight of ammo, dont our troops wear body armor now? I'm sure that adds more weight then the extra weight of ammo. Also, we didn't fair well in the Vietnam war did we?

5.56RifleGuy
August 15, 2012, 07:55 PM
"Also, we didn't fair well in the Vietnam war did we?"

In what respect?

The American people lost the will to be there and we left.

That had little to do with what small arms we were using.

militant
August 15, 2012, 08:14 PM
The American people have lost will to be in Iraq as well...we are getting off topic here. Let us include other technologies that were introduced as well. Uav's, better tanks ect..I was not trying to bash America. I was his stating my opinion on our choice of new weapons.

5.56RifleGuy
August 15, 2012, 08:40 PM
You brought it up, but anyway.

As far as 30 cal rifles being better one shot stoppers, if you are only trying to hit them once, your doing it wrong.

As far as us winning but suffering many casualties, when I looked up the figures for Iraq from 2004 to 2009 I saw that numbers fell at about 24,000 enemy deaths to about 3,800 friendly forces killed.

If you look at stats for WW2 you will find that the Allies and soviets had 11,042,600 military deaths compared to the Axis and Japanese military deaths of 7,946,331.

The new numbers seem a little better to me. I'm sure that it has less to do directly with the type of small arms used, but that factors in there somewhere.

The one shot one kill thing is kind of old hat. Replacing ammo is a lot better than replacing service members.

militant
August 15, 2012, 08:53 PM
On another note, we do have m14 over there too. I always thought of the m4 as a suppression fire gun. I just like the older guns. I love all the ww2 bolt actions including the enemies bolt rifles.

Bob Wright
August 15, 2012, 09:11 PM
War changed. No longer is there the sweeping scale of open plain and forrest. Warfare is closer jungle and/or street fighting.


:)And, I don't think today's soldiers are as matured as I was.:)

Bob Wright

Eghad
August 15, 2012, 09:16 PM
Not all those deaths were by enemy rifle fire in both wars.

Some were in combat with mines, aircrews and pilots ect and some were non battle diseases and injuries.

5.56RifleGuy
August 15, 2012, 10:12 PM
"Not all those deaths were by enemy rifle fire in both wars.

Some were in combat with mines, aircrews and pilots ect and some were non battle diseases and injuries"

Definitely true. I think that today's insurgents have had better luck with boobie traps and IEDs than small arms fire.

Those two methods are way more demoralizing.

militant
August 15, 2012, 10:12 PM
I believe the life altering injuries should be accounted for as well.

5.56RifleGuy
August 15, 2012, 10:15 PM
Look them up then. The ratios are still similar. The data for the more recent conflicts isn't as accurate or agreed upon as the older ones.

kraigwy
August 15, 2012, 11:04 PM
we didn't fair well in the Vietnam war did we?

The hell we didn't.

We never lost a major engagement, and don't say all because of air power. Many a time weather prevented air support.

The NVA weren't stupid, they knew they didn't have to worry about air support during monsoons.

Torques me off when I hear that crap.

Anyway, back on topic. Look at the wight. For just a hair over 10 lbs you could carry 200 rounds of 7.62 or 420 rounds of 5.56. Not to mention the wight of the rifle. Range wasn't a problem in Vietnam, even the average sniper shot was a hair over 400 meters, well within the range of the 5.56.

An now the 5.56's range is extended (because of heavier bullet) to 700 plus yards.

The problem isn't todays rifle, its teaching the soldiers to shoot. Its easier to teach someone to shoot a M16 accurately then the M14 or M1.

militant
August 15, 2012, 11:52 PM
I saw a Modern Weapons episode that was showing the new 6.8 round. I believe the guy said some militarys may adopt this round.

zincwarrior
August 16, 2012, 06:10 AM
I'm not even sure where to start with the last post.

Ill just say this. More ammo for the same amount of weight seems like a good idea to me. I like less weighty rifles also.

If the evil Tahitians invaded California and you had to hop in your truck to help those valiant San Franciscans holed up in their coffee houses, would you rather have an Mosin Nagant or an M-4? ;)

BlueTrain
August 16, 2012, 07:10 AM
I told you it would be controversial. Let me just add here a few more of my own thoughts.

As regarding less powerful weapons, and I hate to write about this because it is actually the topic, first you should only speak of the cartridges themselves. A 7.62x39 is pretty much just as powerful fired from an AKM as from an SKS or an RPD. Or just as weak, if that's the way you see it.

Then there's the typically ignored matter concerning exactly what constitutes an intermediate cartridge, thought it is frequently talked about at some length. Imagine this: if you took all the cartridges used within the last 110 years and at least one of them is still in widespread use, and lined them up according to nothing more than muzzle energy, you might notice there is a wide spread from least to most powerful. The most powerful was probably the .30-06. There were more powerful cartridges but their use in rifles was quite limited and mainly intended for machine guns. I'm thinking here of the 8x63mm Swedish, which was for a machine gun but also chambered in rifles used by machine gun crews.

Now why would they use yet another cartridge when they already had a "more powerful cartridge" anyway? Because their standard cartridge, the 6.5x55, was almost an intermediate cartridge, as were all the other 6.5 cartridges then in use and there were several.

They say if you don't learn from history, you are doomed to repeat it. I think a joker said that. The problem is, which history is it you need to learn? Think WWII for a minute, our base for this discussion.

Some combatants went in wholesale for submachine guns. Others switched, or attempted to switch (a difficult thing in wartime) to a more powerful cartridge. Others adopted for some purposes a less powerful cartridge. Who was right? I mean, they couldn't all be right at the same time, could they?

Someone said battles are no longer fought over wide plains and open forests. Think again. Fighting during WWII took place under every condition that has been fought under since then, sometimes in the same places. Jungle, desert, mountains, urban areas, open plains, open forests, even snowy mountains. Come to think of it, There was a lot of fighting in WWI in most of those places, too. So, mostly the battlefields haven't changed. We still don't know precisely where the next battle will happen. Never did unless we were the ones hosting the battle.

Kill ratios of bullets expended per enemy casualty? I don't think that's such a good measure of efficiency. You don't measure the efficiency of a racing car by it's gas mileage, do you, except maybe in the Le Mans 24 hours. You don't necessarily measure it by how fast it goes. The winner is stil the one that crosses the finish line first. The only measure of efficiency in battle may not even be who wins the most battles. It's the one who wins the war!

Still, you have a point. It's the horseshoe nail theory.

The enemy has old weapons and does all right? Well, how old? Every photo I've seen lately usually shows a Soviet AK weapon of some variety or some variation of an AR-15. The Soviets adopted the AK-47 I think in 1948 (there was an AK-46, too). That makes it 64 years old, the design anyway. The AR-15 was around by at least 1962, making it a young 50 years old. The older brother then is the AR-10. Both were in military use by then, though not by the US. Even the British 5.56 rifle has been around for a while now. No one engaged in much fighting over the last few years is using anything especially new. And seeing as how fighting is winding down, hopefully, by the ones more likely to adopt something new, chances are they won't.

militant
August 16, 2012, 07:57 AM
I'm glad you see my point of view on the enemies still using old weapons not so inferior to ours. I say that not from battle field experience, but from my experienced range time. For example. Take two people who don't have much experience shooting an give them each an ak and an m4. Neither of them will shoot them accurately. My thinking is that if one of them does hit the other, the affects would be close enough, it shouldn't matter. And if someone did envade out country, I'd leave my moron Nagant somewhere descreat to snipe from and grab my cheap Sks over an m4 anyway. I know people sellers by them, and that's fine.my friends all have them. But in my experience with that gun is negative. I can't think of one time everyone went out to shoot and at least one of them jammed up. Never had that happen with my gun worth 1/3 the price.

BlueTrain
August 16, 2012, 12:06 PM
You know, whatever weapons the enemy is using may not actually be all that old. I'm not referring here to the design but the actual weapon. Or, perhaps, it has sat in a warehouse in a box labeled agricultural equipment for the last twenty years but was otherwise unused. Chances are, no one is using a rifle that's been in use for the last fifty years.

Oh, by the way. San Francisco still has a fully operational disappearing carriage seacoat gun. So I think they're about as ready as they need to be, at least as far as Tahiti goes, but probably not Fiji. Everyone has their limits and a body has to know thheir limits.

Woody55
August 16, 2012, 12:19 PM
"Not all those deaths were by enemy rifle fire in both wars.

Some were in combat with mines, aircrews and pilots ect and some were non battle diseases and injuries"

Definitely true. I think that today's insurgents have had better luck with boobie traps and IEDs than small arms fire.

Those two methods are way more demoralizing.

More casualties were caused by mortars in WW 2 than any other weapon.

Also, if you want to ask why we haven't done as well as we might like, you need to analyze all of the elements of power. Military, economic, political, diplomatic and informational.

Our weak spot is not the military element. It is the political element. That means we have a hard time sustaining the will to fight within our nation.

In terms of this discussion, that translates to it doesn't matter which rifle is the general issue weapon.

cannonfire
August 16, 2012, 12:46 PM
I would just like to add this about the comments about the body armor service members wear.

Just because we wear 40 lbs of armor does not mean that I want to hold extra weight for bigger bullets. Going off what kraigwy said, if I want 400 rds of 7.62, it would be an extra 10 pounds. That may not seem like a lot but add up the rest of what we are carrying...

Armor (including helmet)- 40lbs
Weapon- 10 lbs for an M16A4(thanks to all the attachments)
Water- 2-5 lbs
Ammo- 10 lbs for 556 or 20 lbs for 7.62

That is the bare minimum at around 65-75 lbs

What abound the radio? 10 lbs
Grenades? 5 pounds
C4? I don't know never carried any. 5 lbs?

Then there is food, smoke grenades, side arm with ammo, knife, GPS, maps, 550 cord, perhaps det cord. List goes on and on

So to say "they already carry this, what's a little more weight?" my argument would be "exactly, they already carry this, why add more weight?"

Ounces equal Pounds and Pounds equal Pain.



And BT I think he was saying that we don't fight in open fields anymore since WWII. Which I would say is correct, we don't fight an enemy in open fields like WWII with an enemy face to face. Afghanastan I'd put in the mountain terrain, although open, I wouldn't say it's the same as the fields of Europe.

trg42wraglefragle
August 16, 2012, 03:37 PM
Another way to look at whether or 5.56 is a powerful enough cartridge is to look at the weapons carried by Special forces.

The New Zealand, Australian, aspects of the British SAS and aspects of US special forces, all elite fighting forces who if hated 5.56 and wanted a Garand would no doubt get it. But they all use 5.56.

Also they all use AR15 pattern rifles, so perhaps they are not jamomatics.......

Scorch
August 16, 2012, 04:09 PM
Just a few thought on the topic:
* Yes, smaller ammo weighs less, and that weight translates into carrying more ammo, in some cases a lot more. More ammo per unit means you can send (and risk) fewer people at a time and still have a good amount of firepower. Small unit tactics really took off after WW2. WW2 and prior, there are a lot of squad- or platoon-sized unit tactics, nowadays we use fireteams of 4 men as the basic unit.

* After WW1, tha US Army decided to look at a less powerful cartridge, the 276 Pedersen, and some bright young engineer named John Garand designed a rifle for it. Douglas MacArthur, having lived through the nightmare of the changeover to the 30 US Army (aka 30-40 Krag) and its associated rifle, did not want the same thing to happen again because almost everyone in the US military was sure we were going to be in another war really soon. So the bright young engineer went back to the drawing board, and redesigned his masterpiece to take the overpowered round from the last war.

* The US Army Ordnance Board thought up and deployed the M1 Carnbine because it was lighter and handier than the battle rifle, not because it was lower-powered. Turned out people liked them (lighter, adequate for many combat situations, troops could carry a whole bunch of ammo) and demand was hard to keep up with.

* Training troops to fire rifles is almost humorous (or almost maddening, depending on your temperament). Less recoil means less flinching and better marksmanship quicker, therefore it's better in a training situation.

* Our experiences in South East Asia were based largely in the political nature of the war, it had little to do with the weapons used. I would bet that during WW1 and WW2, US troops talked about how superior the German weapons were, much as our troops talked about the supposed superiority of the Communist bloc weapons in Viet Nam. That kind of talk is defeatist and drags morale down. Interesting point, though, is that our enemy who had the supposedly superior weapons would grab M1 Carbines whenever they could get them. The same way the supposedly superior Japanese army in WW2 tried to copy the Garand, it was the supposedly superior weapon.

Eghad
August 16, 2012, 04:36 PM
In Vietnam the Soldiers won the battles but the politicians lost the war.

cannonfire
August 16, 2012, 05:17 PM
Interestingly enough, in the book The Last Stand of Fox Company which about a company of marines at the Chosin Resevior during Korea said that a lot of marines did not like the M1 carbine because the round would not penetrate the winter coats of the Chinese. The only way they could be sure to put them down were head shots. Interesting thought but I've never heard that arguement since.


Very good book. Probably my favorite book

Jim Watson
August 16, 2012, 05:40 PM
It is interesting to see the change in attitudes over such a short time.
Everybody here is focusing on the reduction in power to gain firepower with the 7.92x33, 7.62x39, and .30 carbine.

But not very long before, the Japanese increased infantry rifle caliber from 6.5 to 7.7mm and the Italians went from 6.5 to 7.35; based on actual experience shooting at Chinese and Ethiopians, respectively.
These were not smart moves after the fighting had already started, the Japanese had to produce and support 6.5s alongside 7.7s and the Italians backed down from 7.35 and largely stuck with the original 6.5. But there was definitely a perceived need for more power per shot not long before there was a move to more shots.

militant
August 16, 2012, 06:39 PM
It's like the replacement of the old .38's to the 1911 .45. I'll bet that was an increase as weight.

5.56RifleGuy
August 16, 2012, 07:33 PM
The old revolvers weighed from 35 to 39oz unloaded, where the 1911a1 was right around 45oz unloaded. Not a huge difference.

Crow Hunter
August 16, 2012, 08:30 PM
But not very long before, the Japanese increased infantry rifle caliber from 6.5 to 7.7mm and the Italians went from 6.5 to 7.35; based on actual experience shooting at Chinese and Ethiopians, respectively.
These were not smart moves after the fighting had already started, the Japanese had to produce and support 6.5s alongside 7.7s and the Italians backed down from 7.35 and largely stuck with the original 6.5. But there was definitely a perceived need for more power per shot not long before there was a move to more shots.

I have always wondered about that.

My theory is that it wasn't a problem with the power of the rifle rounds for the individual rifleman. It was a problem with the power of their machine guns. Machine guns need that extra range and power to extend their beaten zone. I think they found out that the smaller calibers didn't have the effect at range they were looking for. (Just like we and the Russians have with the SAW/RPK vs the MAG 58/PKM)

The machine gun was/is the "killing tool" of the infantry. The bolt action rifles where just there to support the power of the machine gun. So it would make sense to just upgrade the rifle to match the MG to simplify logistics.

I don't know that I have ever read anything other than supposition from gun magazine writers about it, but I like my theory better.:D

Jim Watson
August 16, 2012, 09:14 PM
But the Japanese already had a 7.7mm MG, not the same round as they used in the new rifle.
And the Italians had a pretty good 8mm MG.

tahunua001
August 16, 2012, 09:29 PM
WWII taught the world that it is always best to prepare for the unexpected. during the normandy invasion most of the paratroopers were dropped in the wrong place. some were dropped right into machine gun fire while others missed their targets by several miles. this caused a shift in thinking. the main idea being that it is better to have a gun that shoots smaller, lighter bullets and shoot it accurately rather than a gun that is capable of firing volleys at long distance. this allows the soldier to not only carry more ammo but also encourages him to save his shots for the inside 300 meter bracket rather than firing volleys at 1200 meters. an M1 might pack more whallop but the M16/4/clones are more than sufficient for taking down BGS and I would rather be able to fire 30 rounds before reload with the understanding that some of them may try to get back up than I would 8 rounds from an M1 and know they'll stay down.

ronl
August 16, 2012, 10:17 PM
It all boils down to how many BG's you can put down. Doesn't matter which round you use. As kraigway pointed out, it comes down to who is a better shot. Training is a big part of that. There are too many variables to make a simple assessment as to which weapons are more effective. A .22 can be a highly effective round in the right hands. You can put all the rounds you want downrange, but if they don't hit anything, they mean nothing. BTW, the soldiers who faced the VC in VN were probably the best trained soldiers ever fielded on any battlefield ever in the history of warfare, especially in the first part of the conflict.

militant
August 16, 2012, 10:21 PM
The US did go bigger in sniper and machine gun ammo. The .50 is no joke. That's the kinda round that kills you no matter where it hits.

SIGSHR
August 16, 2012, 10:57 PM
Once smokeless powder was developed, then the machine gun, logistics and the problems of ammo supply became even more critical than before. In addition military organizations are always looking for that elusive concept called the "all around cartridge"-the round that is, say, 90% efficient and eliminates the needs for too many specialized weapons and their ammunition.
FWIW my opinion is that the 7MM Mauser is the smallest "all-around" catridge, the Italians and Japanese found their 6.5MM rounds unsatisfactory in machine guns, in the Battle of Britain the RAF found their 303 machine guns
at best adequate, effectiveness improved only marginally by the use of tracers. And as Rumsfeld noted a few years ago, "You go to war with the army you have, not the one you'd like."
My understanding of MacArthur's rejection of the .276 Pedersen round was that he did it based on logistics-we had our M1903s and M1917s, BARs, M1917 and M1919 machine guns, and millions, if not billions of rounds of 30/06 on hand. Not to mention defense budgets were pretty tight in his day.
Then there's the question of tactics. One problem in Vietnam-which has since been corrected-was that we used the M-16 the way the Soviets used their PPShs and PPSs in WWII-basically short range weapons that conscript soldiers could quickly be trained on and used volume of fire to make up for lack of accuracy-"Spray and Pray". Which works if you can supply your troops.

5.56RifleGuy
August 16, 2012, 10:58 PM
What if it hits you in the fingertip? Or in the Toe?

5.56RifleGuy
August 16, 2012, 11:01 PM
"One problem in Vietnam-which has since been corrected-was that we used the M-16 the way the Soviets used their PPShs and PPSs in WWII-basically short range weapons that conscript soldiers could quickly be trained on and used volume of fire to make up for lack of accuracy-"Spray and Pray"."

Yeah, controlled aimed fire in a densely packed jungle with little to no target visibility is definitely the way to go.

One shot, one kill.

Webleymkv
August 16, 2012, 11:02 PM
But not very long before, the Japanese increased infantry rifle caliber from 6.5 to 7.7mm and the Italians went from 6.5 to 7.35; based on actual experience shooting at Chinese and Ethiopians, respectively.

While I can't speak for the Japanese rationale, the decision on the part of the Italians was based on the 6.5x52 Carcano's tendency to simply punch straight through the intended target creating only a small icepick-like hole. The bore diameter of the cartridge was not the only thing that the Italians changed when the designed the 7.35x51 as the bullet weight, velocity, and bullet shape and construction was also changed. The 7.35 Carcano actually uses a relatively light 128gr bullet as opposed to the heavier 162gr bullet of the 6.5 Carcano with a corresponding increase in velocity from 2200-2300fps to 2400-2500fps. Likewise, the 6.5 Carcano used a rather conventional round-nosed lead-core bullet while the 7.35 used a spritzer-type bullet with an alumnum-filled nose ahead of the lead core.

The changes in the 7.35 Carcano were made for two reasons. The lighter, faster bullet flattened the trajectory as that had been one of the complaints about the 6.5 Carcano due to it's heavy-for-caliber bullet and moderate velocity. The change in bullet shape and construction also made the bullet more likely to yaw and thus cause more debilitating wounds than the "icepick" wounds typical of the 6.5 Carcano.

As to the original topic, the primary driving force behind the adoption of intermediate cartridges was the desire for the ability to equip every soldier with a weapon that has select-fire capability. It was an evolutionary process that did not happen overnight. Several select-fire weapons were designed with the idea of being "assault rifles" but retained the use of a full-caliber cartridge. Examples of such weapons include the BAR (Browning originally envisioned it as a general-issue rifle rather than a squad support LMG), FG-42, M14, G3, and Stg. 57.

What was eventually found, however, was that full-auto capability only works well with a fairly large and heavy gun. When the gun was made light enough to be suitable for a regular infantryman, recoil on full-auto was excessive as was the case particularly with the M14 and FG-42. By reducing the power and physical size of the cartridge, it is possible to make a weapon that is controllable in full-auto fire without being overly large and heavy. Likewise, because a larger amount of ammunition is typically expended in full-auto fire than in semi-auto fire, a weapon with full-auto capability requires the user to carry more ammunition than a semi-auto only weapon. By decreasing the physical size of the ammunition, the individual soldier can carry substantially more ammunition without significantly increasing the overall weight of his/her gear.

5.56RifleGuy
August 16, 2012, 11:06 PM
"Likewise, the 6.5 Carcano used a rather conventional round-nosed lead-core bullet while the 7.35 used a spritzer-type bullet with an alumnum-filled nose ahead of the lead core."

What was the reason for filling the nose with aluminum?

militant
August 16, 2012, 11:27 PM
The enemies of today are using old weapons and ammo well. The 7.62x54r was made back in the beginning of the 1900 's and is up to par with our .308. 7.62 and the 5.56 could be debated for ever. I have read About mercenaries that all carry 7.62 weapons because ammo in the middle east is more abundant.

Webleymkv
August 16, 2012, 11:34 PM
Filling the nose with aluminum was supposed to make the bullet destabilize and yaw upon impacting the target. The use of aluminum, wood pulp, and even air pockets in the nose of a bullet to make it base-heavy and more likely to destabilize on impact is an old and proven concept which dates back to at least 1898 with the British adoption of the .303 Mk. VII cartridge. Other notable examples include the 7.62x54R 7N1 cartridge, 7.7 Japanese Ball cartridge, and the 5.45x39 5N7 cartridge.

5.56RifleGuy
August 16, 2012, 11:44 PM
I had heard of the air pocket before (I have about 10,000 rounds of 7n6 sitting in the other room), but not the other material fill. Thank you for the information.

Its always great to learn something new.

trg42wraglefragle
August 16, 2012, 11:52 PM
What if it hits you in the fingertip? Or in the Toe?

I heard a serving soldier who had fought in Afghanistan say that a 50BMG would kill you with the shockwave as it move through the air!

So yes a shot in the toe would most definitely kill you!:D

The same guy also said the AK47 and a British 7.62mm machine gun fired the same round. That's a tad more forgivable though.

militant
August 16, 2012, 11:54 PM
I suppose a finger or toe wouldn't kill you but you get the point.

5.56RifleGuy
August 17, 2012, 12:03 AM
"I suppose a finger or toe wouldn't kill you but you get the point. "

Yes, making baseless generalizations will make you look silly. :)

"The same guy also said the AK47 and a British 7.62mm machine gun fired the same round. That's a tad more forgivable though."

True. He would figure out the difference if he looked at or tried to load one into the other.

militant
August 17, 2012, 12:16 AM
Baseless generalizations? How many people do you know that have taken a .50 in the leg, arm, torso that have lived?

5.56RifleGuy
August 17, 2012, 12:39 AM
"That's the kinda round that kills you no matter where it hits."

That would be a baseless generalization.

"How many people do you know that have taken a .50 in the leg, arm, torso that have lived?"

The same amount of people I know that died from one. None. I don't know anyone who has been shot, as far as I am aware.

There are a lot of people who say they know someone who has, but I can't verify their story.

There is this though.

http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2011/09/01/afghan-soldier-took-14-5mm-bullet-to-head-and-survived/

With the 50 bmg, a lot of the time it isn't just one shot. They tend to come in bursts.

Quincunx
August 17, 2012, 12:48 AM
Interestingly enough, in the book The Last Stand of Fox Company which about a company of marines at the Chosin Resevior during Korea said that a lot of marines did not like the M1 carbine because the round would not penetrate the winter coats of the Chinese. The only way they could be sure to put them down were head shots. Interesting thought but I've never heard that argument since.

For an interesting, though admittedly limited, experiment to investigate the matter, take a look at the Box O' Truth website.

BlueTrain
August 17, 2012, 06:06 AM
This is the first thread where I've seen mercenaries mentioned on this forum. Are there still mercenaries operating around the world?

Here are some more general observations about the situation:

The enemy has better weapons.
You have been issued inferior equipment, all made by the lowest bidder.
The enemy is on drugs.
You're not allowed to smoke.
The enemy uses child soldiers who are forced to fight.
You volunteered just after high school.
The enemy's AK is accurate out to 600 yards.
Your 5.56 is inaccurate beyond 300 yards and is impotent beyond 200 yards.
And the only reason things are going badly is because we don't use the .45 anymore.

Crow Hunter
August 17, 2012, 07:10 AM
Baseless generalizations? How many people do you know that have taken a .50 in the leg, arm, torso that have lived?

This is even bigger than a .50 BMG and more powerful. .50 cal is 12.7mm.

http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2011/09/01/afghan-soldier-took-14-5mm-bullet-to-head-and-survived/

I have read about many others on LF.net.

No matter the cartridge, it is all about shot placement. There is no such thing as a "magic bullet". The more powerful the round, the more "wiggle room" you have with the placement.

The .50 BMG has a tremendous amount of energy, however, the bullets used in them aren't designed as anti-personnel rounds. They have so much mass that hitting something as "small" as a human probably won't cause them to upset and tumble. Especially with AP or API. They often will punch right through a person leaving a .5" dia hole. Of course, that could put a major hurt on someone if it hits a bone or even equipment carried and creates secondary missiles because of the inertia of the round. The bones will possibly transverse the entire torso and maybe even exit the body.:eek:

Hitting someone in an extremity won't kill someone unless they bleed to death anymore than firing a rifle into the water doesn't kill all the fish around where the bullet impacted. (I have done it alot, shoot a .308 or .223 into a pond and fish DON'T come to the surface)

I shot a squirrel a few months ago with a .22 at about 70 yards. I hit it in the gut. It ran off and tried to get up a tree. Proportionally that is the same as a human sized object being hit with a 2" diameter projectile.

militant
August 17, 2012, 07:16 AM
Mercenaries are still or were used in the recent Iraq war. There are documentaries about it.

militant
August 17, 2012, 07:24 AM
When I was referring to the .50, I meant the .50 bmg. I beg to differ on the results of a .50 bmg hit. If one hit solid in the leg, arm or body, it would tear that part in half. I shot a squirrel with a 7.62x54r in the gut and it blew it in half. It didn't zip right threw. Here is a video of goats being shot with a .50. It is graphic and I don't agree with it, but let me use it as an example of this rounds power. If you watch closely, the goats body is literally torn apart and thrown in the air.
http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=pP_KSgmNqRM

Also, if you are shot in the arm or leg with such a round, it would
Most likely take it off or at least sever the main artery in that part. How long do to think it takes do bleed out if such a thing happend?

militant
August 17, 2012, 07:26 AM
A squirrel being shot with a .22 is a poor comparison to a human being shot with a .50 bmg. The video above proves that as well. Do those goats looks like they are going anywhere gut shot or not?

Crow Hunter
August 17, 2012, 10:31 AM
When I was referring to the .50, I meant the .50 bmg. I beg to differ on the results of a .50 bmg hit. If one hit solid in the leg, arm or body, it would tear that part in half. I shot a squirrel with a 7.62x54r in the gut and it blew it in half. It didn't zip right threw. Here is a video of goats being shot with a .50. It is graphic and I don't agree with it, but let me use it as an example of this rounds power. If you watch closely, the goats body is literally torn apart and thrown in the air.

Also, if you are shot in the arm or leg with such a round, it would
Most likely take it off or at least sever the main artery in that part. How long do to think it takes do bleed out if such a thing happend?

Re-read what I posted.

I specifically said BMG. Do you know what a 14.5 mm round is?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/14.5%C3%97114mm

It is even more powerful than a .50 BMG and this guy took one to the head and survived.

Undoubtedly a .50 BMG round will cause a world of hurt to someone. But it doesn't blow them into a fine mist with an extremity shot. Physics just don't work that way. They might even survive a torso shot if the round doesn't hit a vital structure and it was an AP round that just punched right through.

Do a search. There are lots of documented instances of people surviving a .50 BMG shot. Even surviving torso shots. (Granted it is alot fewer than those surviving .22 LR shots)

If it doesn't tear or cut something vital either through direct contact or through temporary wound cavity, it won't be fatal and might not even be incapacitating.

The squirrel I shot had it's entrails trailing behind it and it got hung on the willow tree bark that it was trying to climb. Undoubtedly it would have died eventually, but if it had a gun, I am sure it would have returned fire.:D

The point I am trying to make is that unless you hit something vital (Organ/bone/artery/etc), it doesn't mean instant incapacitation. The advantage of the .50 is that it is a very large round and has an enormous amount of energy that "can" cause tremendous damage. That doesn't mean that it will, every single time guaranteed regardless if shot placement blow a person to bits. Making a blanket statement of That's the kinda round that kills you no matter where it hits. is wrong.

There is no such thing as a magic bullet, it is all about shot placement followed by bullet construction, then bullet energy.

ETA: Search for Charlie Beckwith (.50 to the chest, continued on as a Special Forces officer and started SFODD).

Mickey Block took a dozen rounds of .50 BMG and lived.

There are probably others but I need to get back to work.:D

militant
August 17, 2012, 10:39 AM
Did you watch that video? Those goats where literally blown apart. I don't see why a goats COM would be anything less then ours. I'm sure there are stories of survivors. Out of curiously, why is the military strictly fmj? It seems like jhp or hp in general could be utilized.

Crow Hunter
August 17, 2012, 11:28 AM
Did you watch that video? Those goats where literally blown apart. I don't see why a goats COM would be anything less then ours. I'm sure there are stories of survivors. Out of curiously, why is the military strictly fmj? It seems like jhp or hp in general could be utilized.

Can't, I am at work.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hague_Conventions_(1899_and_1907)

Declaration III: On the Use of Bullets Which Expand or Flatten Easily in the Human Body

Scorch
August 17, 2012, 11:50 AM
Are there still mercenaries operating around the world?
We call them "consultants" now. What would you call a company like Blackwater? Mercenaries, consultants . . . Mercenaries operate in every war, whether it's good or bad depends on which side you and they are on.

Winchester_73
August 17, 2012, 11:57 AM
Here's the long answer (sorry if someone else said it this way)

The 30-06, 308, etc were found to be unecessary for most combat situations. Check out what the Germans realized when they designed the MP43/44, and the 8mm mauser kurz, which IMO was the greatest arm of WWII.

The G43, SVT40, M1 rifle aka Garand, etc were a solution for combat of WWI moreso than WWII and later. The Garand however was developed before WWII hence its shorter service life. The G43 and SVT40 were even shorter lived as a standard arm. These semi rifles were built around the times, with WWII being a future war. WWII saw closer combat than WWI for a variety of reasons, which meant longer shots were less common, which meant less reloads (due to higher capacity) and quicker reloads with intermediate range ctg's coupled with more ammo for the same volume and weight were the most logical choice(s). For most engagements, the M4 or even M16 is a superior weapon to the M1 rifle or the M14 for all of these reasons and a few more.

The idea of greater firepower (rounds, not power as in ft:lbs) which will likely be used at a closer range became the necessity vs WWI when trench warfare was very distant, with long shots being much more common for any soldier, esp when compared to WWII Vietnam and later. Everyone's long arm at that time also fired at the same slower rate. There were SMGs, but they lacked the effective range. Later designs, MP44, AK47, M16, were concerned with a compromise between power, capacity and effective range.

James K
August 17, 2012, 12:00 PM
When Colt was pushing for adoption of the AR-15, Colt salesmen and flacks claimed that a hit from the .223* anywhere on a person would kill instantly from shock, that the bullet would penetrate 12 inches of reinforced concrete, that a bullet would go completely through a GI helmet** at 1000 yards, that the gun was so accurate that every shot would hit that helmet at 1000 yards, that the rifle never needed cleaning, that use was instinctive and no training was needed, etc.

And folks want to replace such a super rifle? Why?

Jim

*It wasn't the 5.56mm yet.
** The old steel pot, not the new type.

JK

militant
August 17, 2012, 01:26 PM
1000 yard shots from an untrained solder. Lol I actually laughed at this.

Woody55
August 17, 2012, 01:36 PM
Baseless generalizations? How many people do you know that have taken a .50 in the leg, arm, torso that have lived?

I have no idea what this contributes to the discussion, but I know one person who was shot with a Russian .51 and lived. He was on one of those river boats in Vietnam and was hit in the torso. He was in the hospital for over a year.

Winchester_73
August 17, 2012, 01:54 PM
When Colt was pushing for adoption of the AR-15, Colt salesmen and flacks claimed that a hit from the .223* anywhere on a person would kill instantly from shock, that the bullet would penetrate 12 inches of reinforced concrete, that a bullet would go completely through a GI helmet** at 1000 yards, that the gun was so accurate that every shot would hit that helmet at 1000 yards, that the rifle never needed cleaning, that use was instinctive and no training was needed, etc.

And folks want to replace such a super rifle? Why?

Well I'll go out on a limb here and say that the claims by an unknown nameless Colt salesman were found to be untrue and that other designs were found to offer advantages over the "perfect" AR-15 platform.

Sounds to me like that same salesman was in 1955 tasked with getting FFL dealers to buy Colt Pythons.....

:p

militant
August 17, 2012, 02:00 PM
Excuse my ignorance, but I thought the .50bmg round would cause severe hydro shock. Much like a gallon of water being shot. And the video I provided I the goats literally being blown apart by this round. I guess anything is possible.

the rifleer
August 17, 2012, 02:16 PM
the main reason is after ww2, very rarely does a soldier engage a target past 300 yards. Swinging around a m14 house to house isn't ideal. This is the problem that has no answer, you can't have a rifle that does it all, as much as we would all like to.

Venom1956
August 17, 2012, 05:10 PM
you can't have a rifle that does it all

Just wait until we get lasers...

kraigwy
August 17, 2012, 09:28 PM
If I was to desgined what in my opinion would be the perfect infantry rifle, it would be the weight and style of a M16A1, but the barrel would be 1:7 so I could shoot 77 gr bullets. It would also have the rear sights of the M16A2.

It would work for close combat, and long range to about 800 yards.

Also would be super light and reliable. I'd also dump the M9 bayonet and go back to the M7, it's much lighter yet stong enough to dig a hole dern quick.

HistoryNut60
August 18, 2012, 01:24 AM
The OP asks about the reduction in power/size of modern military cartridges versus WWII rounds. The better question might be to ask why were the older rounds so powerful in the first place?

Limiting the discussion to standardized Infantry ammunition only and U.S. rounds as I am most familiar with them, here are some facts:

Our earliest "standard" round was a .69 caliber ball for the standard Infantry Musket of the early days of the Republic. Try bouncing such a lead ball in your hand and you quickly realize that it is 'overkill' for people as you could hurt someone by just throwing it at them much less via long arm.

Skipping a few short-lived ones, in our not-so-Civil War, the "standard" was a .58 caliber "Minie Ball", actually a conical bullet. These also would make great slingshot projectiles.

The latter half of the 19th Century saw first a .50 bullet, then .45 bullet and ending with the first smokeless powder cartridge the .30/40 Krag round. While diameter and weight went down, velocity went up with the new bullets. Energy remained far above anything needed for people.

The classic .30 M1906 was again an extremely powerfull round more than adequate for "big game" like buffalo or bear much less people.

The 7.62mm x 51mm NATO cartridge came into existance due to many factors but mainly due to conservative military thinking and some really outlandish beliefs of the 'planners not fighters'.

Now we have our 5.56mm x 45mm NATO cartridge that most states won't allow to be used to hunt medium game as it is a "varmit" cartridge! However it has proven itself perfectly fine for human "use".

After the advent of standard rifled Infantry arms, long range shooting by troops was adopted. However, it was for "volley fire" at predesignated ranges and against large targets like bodies of troops in the open or artillery batteries which operated in direct fire in those days. Note that this use of Infantry arms doesn't cover the earlier musket period where the Infantry fired at less than 100 yards due to the poor accuracy of the smoothbore musket.

So why did the military chose to have what amounted to a "big game" capable standard Infantry musket or rifle for so many years? The answer is horses or more specifically Cavalry. An Infantryman's standard musket or rifle had to be able to drop a charging horse to stop a Cavalry charge. By 1943, the horse Cavalry was pretty much gone from all armies. As others noted, change in the military takes time so switching to a non "big game" ctg. didn't occur in the majority of the worlds armies until the 1960s. The notable execption was the Soviet Bloc with their adoption of the 7.62mm x 39mm cartridge.

So the excessive power of military Infantry rounds from history is mainly due to the horse. Once the horse left the battlefield, armies could switch to lesser power rounds with all the advantages listed by others already. One thing I didn't see mentioned that also helped the change along was the reduction in raw material costs. Reducing the size of the cartridge also reduces the demand on a country's supplies of raw materials that are required. The same raw materials used in ammunition are often key raw materials in the industrial base of a nation. This can amount to significant numbers when one considers the BILLIONS of rounds of small arms ammunition a major military requires each year even when there isn't a war going on somewhere.

Lastly, people are actually fairly weak animals. It doesn't take much to end our life. I have 25 years in EMS and have seen a lot of people who have suffered gunshots. The variables are seemingly infinite regarding the effect of a bullet on the body. I have seen instances where a bad-guy was dropped instantly and died from one .25 ACP round. I have seen people that took major hits from shotguns and rifles and they talked to me all the way to the hospital. Some died anyway but others lived. The human body is simultaneously very delicate and very rugged.

I hope my little disertation on Infantry ammunition through history has been helpful.

5.56RifleGuy
August 18, 2012, 02:28 AM
"A squirrel being shot with a .22 is a poor comparison to a human being shot with a .50 bmg."

"Did you watch that video? Those goats where literally blown apart. I don't see why a goats COM would be anything less then ours."

Kind of a funny reversal there.

Does the US even use 50 bmg ball ammo for anything other than practice now? My buddy was telling me they always used API and API Tracer in the M2.

5.56RifleGuy
August 18, 2012, 02:31 AM
Thank you for the insightful post HistoryNut60.

I had never thought of the Horse being a major factor in cartridge size.

Didn't most armies use horses through out WW1?

cannonfire
August 18, 2012, 06:54 AM
^^^ I think it was the Polish that tried to use Calvary charges against the invading Nazis in the 30s (1939?), doesn't work well against machine guns. Heck the nazis used horses for the majority of the war but they used them to pull artillery and haul supplies. One of the major reasons I believe they lost the war but that is a story for another day and of course very debatable.


That was a great and informitative read Historynut60. It seems like from the beginning our nation has been decreasing the size of the issued ammunition.

Crosshair
August 18, 2012, 07:45 AM
We never lost a major engagement, and don't say all because of air power. Many a time weather prevented air support.

There were MANY battles that the US lost in Vietnam. Just to list a few.

Battle for LZ Albany - The 1st battalion of the 7th Cavalry barely survived its now famous 1965 battle in the Ia Drang valley. After saving its 1st battalion, the exhausted 2nd battalion headed for LZ Albany for an aerial extraction. It was in a long column in open terrain when it ran into a concealed NVA battalion, which attacked and shot it to pieces during a bloody battle that claimed the lives of 155 Americans, with 124 wounded.

Operation Paul Revere IV - Two cavalry battalions swept the Cambodian border area in search of the enemy. None were found, until Company C ran into a large force near Duc Co. Details are scarce, but two platoons were overrun and destroyed; only one soldier survived. The American dead were so numerous that they were hauled away in external cargo nets by helicopters.

Operation Swift - U.S. Marines fought tough battles along the DMZ when NVA units moved across the border to inflict heavy causalities. Marine Generals sent rifle companies with ~140 Marines to search for and destroy the NVA intruders with artillery and airpower. This was effective, but larger NVA units sometimes trapped them in kill zones. In September 1967, they ambushed two Marine companies in the Que Son Valley. Operation Swift was launched to save them from destruction, but the two companies sent to the rescue were mauled. The end result was 127 Marines killed and 362 wounded. The NVA suffered more casualties, but accomplished their mission and withdrew northward.

Battle near Ap Bac - The U.S. Army's 9th Infantry Division operated in the marshy delta region of southern Vietnam, often with Navy river patrol boats. During a routine battalion sweep, Alpha company from the 2nd Brigade crossed an open rice paddy and encountered Viet Cong ready to fight from concrete bunkers. Most of the company was wiped out in the first five minutes, and rest pinned down in the kill zone for hours until other companies arrived. This battle left 40 American dead and 140 wounded.

Know any battles that they have won?

Iraq and Afghanistan.

kraigwy
August 18, 2012, 07:59 AM
Didn't most armies use horses through out WW1?

Interesting story about horses in WWII. My father was in the Idaho National Guard before WWII. Part of the 41st Infantry Division. He was in a Calvary unit.

In fact he worked full time for the Guard tending horses between drills. (Rough job, he had to exercise the horses by riding them in the mountains north of Boise).

Anyway they were activated just prior to Pearl Harbor, In fact when Pearl was attacked he was on a troop ship on the way to re-enforce the Philippines.

But their horses were taken before they were deployed, Didn't need horses in a modern war.

The Philippines fell and he was diverted to New Gina. Then on to Burma. When they got to Burma they were given their horses (mostly mules) back to pack their crap through the jungles.

There were MANY battles that the US lost in Vietnam

It sure as f*** wasn't because the AK was a better rifle then the AR.

Want to talk numbers 1 Mil + VC/NVA KIA vs. 54K Americans. Do the math.

BlueTrain
August 18, 2012, 09:41 AM
I think there were other factors in all of these illustrations. For one thing, in the beginning when single-shot firelocks were the typical infantry, black powder would leave the battlefield in a haze after a few volleys and sighted fire on the enemy would be therefore limited. However, that was still true during the Civil War when rifles were standard. Indeed, casualties went way up more so because of the accuracy than anything else. Loading and firing should have been slightly faster and effective range greater wer also greater.

Volley fire was a conventional tactic up until WWI by which time long range shooting was taken over by the machine gun. At the same time. improved bullet design allowed flatter trajectories and somewhat longer ranges but continual improvement in other weapons tended to decrease the opportunity for both volley fire and any other kind of long range rifle shooting. Even the Boers, who taught the British something about shooting, used heavy artillery. One tends to take the lessons to heart when you're on the receiving end of things.

One of the things the British learned from the Boers but rarely mentioned is the value of firepower. The Boers used mostly clip-fed rifles; the British, single-loading. By the time the Boer War ended, if you didn't have a clip-fed rifle, you were hopelessly old-fashioned. Little incremental improvements like that tend to be overlooked in the latter days of belt-fed squad automatics and telescopic sighted rifles. But progress is not inevitable.

Achilles11B
August 18, 2012, 09:48 AM
We lost major battles in Iraq and Afghanistan?

Please, name one, then tie it in to the discussion.

10mmAuto
August 19, 2012, 01:35 AM
Your 5.56 is inaccurate beyond 300 yards and is impotent beyond 200 yards.
Every one else must have a pretty low quality 5.56 compared to my straight Technical Data Package AR with a low power scope, because I've registered a couple of coyote in the mid 400m range and one lazed at 513m.

Quote:
Know any battles that they have won?
Iraq and Afghanistan.

I didn't realize the Military being unable to accomplish non-military objectives was due to the respective balance of small arms capability between the belligerents. Cool story, tell it again.

Shotgun693
August 19, 2012, 09:48 AM
One of, if not the biggest, reasons for pre-1900 military guns being for such a large bore was the dirty bore clogging nature of black powder. With a .69 caliber bore you can reload your gun many more times than you could a smaller caliber gun. The rifle was also used much the same as the bow. You stand and fire volleys of projectiles at the enemy to breakup his formations. Really the musket replaced the bow and spear, or it did as soon as someone figured out that you could fix a long bladed knife out on the end of the barrel. Advances in propellants has had as much, if not more, to do with the development of military small arms as any other reason. If you doubt this go fire one magazine of black powder loaded ammo through your AR.

militant
August 19, 2012, 10:59 AM
A lot of discussion of the rifles of both eras. What about the side arms? Is the 1911 still the side arm of the USA? I know in ww2, the Germans used the 9mm. Was this due to the more ammo is better mind set?

Ben Towe
August 19, 2012, 02:50 PM
The military now generally issues the Beretta M9 handgun which is 9mm. Some SpecOps guys still use 1911s.

Shotgun693
August 19, 2012, 02:54 PM
The Marine Corps just announced that they are going back to the .45. Likely a good step.

10mmAuto
August 19, 2012, 03:31 PM
Marine Special Operations just announced that they are staying the .45. Likely a good step.

Fixed it for you.

Chuckusaret
August 19, 2012, 04:11 PM
The Marine Corps has ordered 12K 1911's for the MARSOC and does not plan on replacing the remaining 9MM handguns at this time for the remainder of the Corps.

trg42wraglefragle
August 19, 2012, 06:18 PM
That video of goats being shot is most definitely not goats being shot.
Its probably a rock chuck or wood chuck or something small.
There plenty of videos of these being shot with a 223/22-250 which has the same results as that seen in the video.

I once shot a bird (Spur winged Plover) with a 223 40gr Vmax, the bullet went straight thorough the bird and it continued to live.
I definitely hit it as I had to chase it down and shoot it with my 22lr, and it couldn't fly or run very fast.

If that Vmax didn't kill the Plover, then a 50cal can pass through a person with out doing much than leave a small hole.

There is quite a few accounts of people being shot with a 30cal weapon with FMJ bullets at close range and the bullet passing through with little damage, yet as the 223 projectile at close range breaks up as it enters a person and does considerable damage.

This is a bit of a comparison the a larger (45cal) can do less damage than a smaller (223cal) at closer range.
WARNING Graphic.

223
http://www.timawa.net/forum/index.php?topic=17111.0

45
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zYvAxLX6OzE

SIGSHR
August 19, 2012, 06:19 PM
Unfortunately too many of our "victories" in Vietnam were om paper and in reports to MACV-HQ. The Americal Division received a "well done" message after reporting that one of its units killed 128 of the enemy during an all day battle on March 16, 1968.
Regarding the steady reduction in the size of military calibers and the shortcomings of the 5.56, remember military doctrine is simply to wound, the sportsmanlike ethos of a clean kill really does not apply. The problem is the 5.56 is too specialized and is not a satisfactory "all purpose" round, it lacks the range and punch for a MG round, is inadequate IMHO against even think skinned vehicles, light fortifications, etc. Also the greater ranges of more modern firearms, the changes in tactics from close order to open order, the adoption of camouflaged or at least "subdued" uniforms and the recognition of the effectiveness of even temporary fortifications and troops taking cover has led to the modern problem of "the emptiness of the battlefield"-in his memoir of the Cuban Campaign of 1898 Charles Johnson Post says on their way to support US forces at the Battle of Las Guasimas the 71st New York
met a Rough Rider who told them "You can't see' em!"

10mmAuto
August 19, 2012, 06:25 PM
SIGSHR,
The problems with your post are too numerous to bother correcting. Can I just say no?

I once shot a bird (Spur winged Plover) with a 223 40gr Vmax, the bullet went straight thorough the bird and it continued to live.

Yep. Anyone who's varmint hunted using FMJ (I realize your's was a hollow point) should have a similar story or hasn't been out very much. I shot a coyote in what I thought was the heart at 25ish meters with .45 ball from a 1911. He ran a few feet before I shot again from his 6 oclock through his rear and killed him. Turns out my first shot had gone through both lungs (unless it was a magic bullet that entered in front of the left lung, traversed his thoracic cavity around both lungs and then exited behind the right lung) and he still ran off.

Stuff happens. The only thing that guarantees instant incapacity and death from FMJ is destruction of the brain stem, a shot through the heart or multiple rounds to the 'vital area'. Odds improve with hollow points but if you don't get one of those things there's no guaranteeing anything.

kraigwy
August 19, 2012, 07:38 PM
SIGSHR,
The problems with your post are too numerous to bother correcting. Can I just say no?


SIGSHR, as you can see 10MM said it much nicer then I would have

I'm trying to be nice and ignor your rants, but you're pushing.

Lets lay off the Vietnam stuff, I doubt you were there.

militant
August 19, 2012, 07:51 PM
Those were goats in that video. Look closely.

btmj
August 19, 2012, 11:40 PM
I'm trying to be nice and ignor your rants, but you're pushing.


yep... Mr. SIGSHR, I recommend to you three books. I make the recommendation, because your comments lead me to believe you don't really know that much about the 30 year long south-east asia conflict.

The first is "America's Longest War: The United States and Vietnam, 1950-1975" by George Herring. It is one of the best books on the subject.

The next is "The Vietnam War: A Concise International History", by Mark Lawrance. This is another very good book.

The final book is "Dereliction of Duty: Johnson, McNamara, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Lies That Led to Vietnam" by McMaster. Unlike the first two books, this author has a definite point to make.

For the record, the US never lost a MAJOR engagement in Vietnam, but there weren't that many major engagements to begin with.

trg42wraglefragle
August 19, 2012, 11:42 PM
Unless there are giant trees and flat goats then they are definitely not goats.
No goats move the same way the third one did.

militant
August 19, 2012, 11:51 PM
I just found out they were not goats. I thought they were..at a very long distance.

Crosshair
August 20, 2012, 12:22 AM
It sure as f*** wasn't because the AK was a better rifle then the AR.
That can be debated, but the major reasons were because the VC had a robust logistics apparatus, superiority in long range artillery (To counter American Firebases), better tactics, better leadership, and better motivated population/solders.

Want to talk numbers 1 Mil + VC/NVA KIA vs. 54K Americans. Do the math.

Completely irrelevant. The Germans in WWII killed 4 Russians for every German killed all they way until the end of the war. Didn't change the outcome.

We lost major battles in Iraq and Afghanistan?

We've lost both wars. Winning battles is completely irrelevant. That is the point I am trying to get across. Most of the battles the US lost in Vietnam did not become known until years after the war ended. There is a lot we will probably not know for years after we leave the Middle East.

In Iraq we replaced a secular dictator with a government whose constitution states that all laws shall be made in accordance with the Koran and which has friendly leanings toward Iran. The government is also quite weak and will probably not last.

The Afghan government doesn't even control all of Kabul has little to no authority in the vast majority of the country.

We have seriously destabilized Nucular armed Packistan.

Don't get me wrong, the problem is not our troops, the problem is the poor quality of our leaders and the fantasy land they live in.

I didn't realize the Military being unable to accomplish non-military objectives was due to the respective balance of small arms capability between the belligerents. Cool story, tell it again.
I was responding to Crow Hunter, post 13, who actually seemed to be agreeing with me that obsolete weapons can be compensated with via superior tactics. Or in the case of the US, repeating the same tactics that have failed in the past and corrupt military/industrial complex adopting inferior equipment whose weaknesses our enemies exploit. Something I think we all agree is a problem with leaders who don't have a clue. I was simply pointing out, perhaps snarkily, that winning battles is irrelevant. What matters is winning the overall war.

As to get back to the OP. The way the older weapons were made had a lot to do with the industrial base available. Back in the early 1900's capital equipment was still relatively scarce and expensive. Production was limited. You could either make high quality weapons or really poor quality weapons, there really was no middle ground. Therefore weapons the militaries used all the way through WWII tended to be of the high quality variety. With parts interchangeability, making one working weapon from two broken ones conserved industrial capacity.

The industrial technology at the time was also unable to produce autoloading small arms of military grade in the quantities needed. With manual actions, full power cartridges made sense.

10mmAuto
August 20, 2012, 02:21 AM
I was responding to Crow Hunter, post 13, who actually seemed to be agreeing with me that obsolete weapons can be compensated with via superior tactics. Or in the case of the US, repeating the same tactics that have failed in the past and corrupt military/industrial complex adopting inferior equipment whose weaknesses our enemies exploit. Something I think we all agree is a problem with leaders who don't have a clue. I was simply pointing out, perhaps snarkily, that winning battles is irrelevant. What matters is winning the overall war.

I'll leave this as my first and last post on the nature of war in this thread until it goes so far off track we all wake up at 3pm outside a bar half way between Stone Mountain and Savannah wondering what just happened.

You're confusing "tactics" with strategy. When you're unwilling to commit at the strategic level on par with your enemies, expect that you might lose no matter how well things are going or committed you are operationally and tactically. When your enemy is 100% committed to his objectives, will torture/kill/intimidate whenever prudent, is willing to fill every body bag and toe tag you've got and you aren't even willing to hit him on his home turf beyond some minor notional bombing - you are going to get nowhere and end up quitting.

Politicians in the United States were unwilling to take any meaningful action against North Vietnam in North Vietnam, who were the real problem, because of fear of the Soviet Union then feeling threatened and entering the conflict.

Ben Towe
August 20, 2012, 04:40 AM
The problem with U.S. wars isn't our military, it is lack of civilian and political support. Our armed forces are the finest and most powerful military that has ever existed in the history of the earth, but you can't fight with both hands tied behind your back and expect satisfactory results. In the situation we are in in the Middle East, we could take many lessons from the occupation of Japan, which was highly successful. Had that been done we would be out of there long since, leaving stabilized countries in our wake. You can't jack around with these fanatics, you have to use massive and overwhelming force. Rules of engagement that neuter military tactics are idiotic, and we have been operating under those in the Middle East according to my contacts who have actually had boots on the ground.

If I get started on Vietnam then I might have to write a book; so I'll just say that the outcome of that conflict sure wasn't the fault of the men who fought it. Political foolishness combined with left wing media in this country shares most of the blame. We didn't lose, we left. Wow, we've gotten way off topic. On the original topic, give me an M4 over an M1 in combat every time. More ammo is good.

BlueTrain
August 20, 2012, 07:50 AM
What left wing media? The media generally supported the war. The problem was, briefly stated, was we were fighting a post-colonial war. We were supporting the Vietnamese who were fighting the Vietnamese. The Vienamese won. There's a lot more that could be said but it doesn't have anything to do with guns.

And speaking of guns, what are the obsolete weapons still being used that work just as well and the ultra-modern weapons we have? There is a lot of propaganda from our side and has been for a long time that tells you things that aren't all that true with regards to warfare, such as all of that stuff about air power and how great it is or about fortifications and how obsolete they are.

Now, Mr. Crosshair, I disagree with some of your points about technology in the early 1900s.

There was in fact a huge industrial base that armed huge armies in the First World War. We've already talked about what constituted a full-power rifle cartridge and how they weren't all using one in the first place, though they were more powerful than the less powerful ones later on. I rather doubt there are any gaps in the power continium (just made up that expression). I would also challenge the comment that things were either of very high quality or very low quality. How would you describe an Imperial Russian-made rifle?

It would have been possible with the technology available in 1914 to produce a semi-automatic or fully automatic rifle, only no one had designed one yet. Browning's rifle came along a few years later and lasted in service untio the 1970s. Garand didn't perfect his rifle for another 20 years or so but it wasn't production technology that was the limiting factor, it was the limitation of design. Someone had to actually design a working weapon. After all, automatic pistol design was doing just fine in 1914 even by today's standards. There were concepts that had not yet been developed (and as of now, still not fully accepted) in 1914 but it really wasn't industrial technology that was holding things back.

Two more points and then you can criticize what I am saying. One is that there can be a fine line between a good design and a bad design. Sometimes it is a matter of the design itself or something to do with the manufacturing. It's hard to believe from a civilian's point of view, but it is possible to manufacture something to a too high standard of tolerances, which just won't prove reliable in the field, just like your match grade .45 auto.

It is true, however, there are advances which sometimes go unnoticed, probably because they don't carry over too well to the civilian market. Today we might think of polymer-framed pistols. The Glock, after all, was designed to meet military specifications. Between the wars, though it was closer to 1945 than to 1920, stamping technology was a new thing, at least as applied to weapons. It wasn't so much that the technology was new so much as the idea that a quality weapon could be manufactured with stamped parts. The old school designers might look down their nose at such things, while an enthusiast would try to produce everything with stampings, probably, which would be an over reliance on a single technology. I doubt, without a single minute of careful research, that stamping is used any more now than it was in 1945.

Just a few random thoughts.

militant
August 20, 2012, 08:06 AM
I have read that the M16 in the Vietnam war was very prone to jam ups. Also another thing I consider is that the war was fought in dense foilage of the jungle. It seems like a 123gr bullet would penetrate better then a 55gr bullet when shooting threw foilage at enemies. Politics of the war was not a topic I intended to get into. I don't believe media or stories told by our government. The 911 commission report is a good enough reason to second look any report the government report.

BlueTrain
August 20, 2012, 08:46 AM
You are free to disbelieve anything you want, including what you read on this forum. In fact, it might even be advisable.

I understood the problems with the M16 the US used in Vietnam were related to someone telling soldiers they didn't need to be cleaned and that the propellant was changed to something that didn't work as well. I have not read that the British, who used the AR-15 in Malaysia, did not experience those problems. They continued to use AR-15s for the next 30 years.

I haven't read the report of the 911 commission.

militant
August 20, 2012, 08:50 AM
I won't get started on the 911 commission report...that's a can of worms. I just used it as an example of why I dont trust any stories released by our government. I like to hear from those that were there.

kraigwy
August 20, 2012, 09:23 AM
I have read that the M16 in the Vietnam war was very prone to jam ups. .

Yeah I have "read that" too when, in later years the Internet came out. I didn't know that until I got the Internet.

BUT, the difference is I was there, I used the M16a1 in Vietnam as an Infantryman (2/502 Inf 101st Abn Div).

When I got out of the Army I joined the guard. The 38th SF Company. This unit was made up of about 90% of Vietnam Vets. As GIs do, we talked about guns, and the consensus was, the M16a1 was the perfect rifle for the jungles of SE Asia. Got the same consensus from my two brothers, both infantryman in SE Asia.

Yes the M16 had problems (notice I didn't say M16a1), but that problem was address and M16s were being phased out in '66 and 67. ( I was there in 67-68)

It seems like a 123gr bullet would penetrate better then a 55gr bullet when shooting threw foilage

Any bullet, will be deflected by foilage..........but that's a moot point when you consider that 85% of the time, you didn't see who you were shooting at. Most of Vietnam consisted of one group of adversaries from one wood line firing at another group of adversaries in another wood line.

On the occasions you did see the enemy, you didn't see Min of Bandit, you saw a fraction of a bandit, so instead of a 19X30 or 40 inch target, you got maybe a 3-4 inch target. Or you set up a long range ambush covering a trail at 300-400 yards. In both of the two latter cases the M16a1 out shined the AK each and every time.

Too give you an example, we had a "radio relay" station set up near Dak To. When my squad showed up to replace our other squad they pointed out a open spot in a tree line about 350-400 yards away. Every morning a sniper with an AK would pop a couple rounds, we were told to leave him alone, he was harmless. We were afraid if you got him, he would be replace with someone who could shoot.

I mean you could set your watch, 10 O'clock every morning he'd take his shots.

Sure enough a new LT showed up and for kicks took a '60 and killed the guy. He was replaced by a guy with a Mosin. It got real nasty so we had to go get him.

If you read Semich's books on sniping, Limited War Sniping, you'll find out that M16a1's with Colts scopes were used as sniper rifles to an extent. There were confirmed kills to 700 yards. Never heard of a AK sniper rifle that would hit anything at 700 yards.

Lets move closer to home and current activities. Forget about combat or long range target shooting (200-1000 yards). Visit some 3-Gun matches which are fired at relatively short range for a rifle, 10-50 yards or so. See what most people shoot, see whats winning these matches, it certainly isn't the AKs.

militant
August 20, 2012, 09:46 AM
How affective was the M14? I see out guys in Afghanistan with those.

btmj
August 20, 2012, 09:57 AM
corrupt military/industrial complex adopting inferior equipment

You know, this gets mighty annoying after a while. All of us who are involved in weapons design, development, procurement, and planning... we hear this a lot. As a rule, we don't ever question the bravery, commitment, and judgment of soldiers, sailors, pilots, marines, air crew... even when perhaps we should. We give those men and women the benefit of the doubt.

Maybe it is just to much to ask, but it sure would be nice if WE could do our job without constantly having our motives questioned, and being accuses of being corrupt and incompetent.

DMZX
August 20, 2012, 10:13 AM
I have a kid in SE Afghanistan deployed with 20th Infantry Reg'. Even though the unit is part of a Styker Brigade, all operations are conducted with foot patrols by platoons.

Reports most enemy engagements are 300 - 600+ meters.

Most effective weapons are those with good optics.

Weapons most often fired - M249 and M240B.

Most preferred weapon for close engagements 100 - 300 meters - M203.

falnovice
August 20, 2012, 04:06 PM
Regarding the orginal question, people often forget that there was a drastic change in tactics in the between years and during WWII. Massed troops using volley fire on other masses of troops was basically a thing of the past. Static trench warfare that many believed would be the inevitable future of all wars gave way to mobility. Mechanization allowed this change, and it could never have been anticipated four decades earlier when most of these weapons were developed. Technology not only facilitated changes in tactics, but was the only factor that could possibly allow it. But this often has complications, and not just in the military. Often when some piece of technology progresses radically the other complimentary technology has to change too.
I recall a conversation I had (more like butted into) with my grandfather and a couple of this buddies a long long time ago at the VFW. They were discussing some town they had fought in. At the time I was pretty enamored with his Springfield rifle and felt the need to interject that it was the rifle I would want if I was fighting there.
Grandfather said something to the effect that he would trade it to me for a Thompson and a sack of grenades.

On a side note, a lot of time has passed since those day. I sure wish I could go back with the knowledge and maturity I have now and ask better questions.
And listen a bit closer when I was being spoken to.

SIGSHR
August 20, 2012, 04:46 PM
For books on Vietnam, I recommend Vietnam at War by LTG Philip G. Davidson, who was J-2 to both Westmoreland and Abrams, and The War Managers:American Generals reflect on Vietnam by Douglas Kinnard, BG,USA, Ret'd. I also recommend Anthony Herbert's Soldier, he does a great job of capturing the mood, the, the feel, the atmosphere of that conflict. In The War Managers General Kinnard's fellow generals have some very caustic things to say about the body count strategy.
The problems with the M-16 were the lack of the forward assist and that one of the ammo suppliers changed to a powder that generated too much carbon that overwhelmed the M-16's gas system. I have long considered that M-16's gas system a design flaw since unlike the M-1/M-14's it cannot be disassembled for cleaning.
I trained on the M-14 in BCT, started out in-country as an M-60 gunner, when I was promoted to E-5 and made a squad leader I had to trade my M-60 for an M16A1, I took immaculate care of it but never cared for it. My experience was that the main function of the rifleman was to point targets for the machine gunners.
From what I have read of ComBloc training, and the VC/NVA, they did not put much emphasis and marskamnship, their doctrine seems to have been that the AK-47 was basically a PPSh or PPS on steroids, longer range, greater punch but the basic idea was volume of fire rather than accuracy. Also in ComBloc fashion their troops were not led, they were driven.

trg42wraglefragle
August 20, 2012, 05:40 PM
The M14 is not replacing the M16/M4 in Afghanistan it is supplementing it.
Its being used as a Designated Marksman role, an accurized rifle in a larger caliber with some decent long range optics. Given to a soldier who is higher trained in marksman ship.

This idea of Designated Marksman is a brilliant idea that is also being picked up by the British forces.
Instead of giving every soldier a big heavy gun with less ammo than the M4 who can't hit much pass 300/400m, just give it to a few who are trained and can hit targets up to 600m.

The Russians came up with this idea in the 60s with the Dragunov SVD, which was not designed as a sniper rifle but as a Designated Marksman Rifle.

BlueTrain
August 20, 2012, 05:45 PM
I have spoken to only a few WWII veterans and at the time, we all had better things to talk about. I have met some foreign veterans, too, though I believe they're nearly all gone. I knew a British army veteran who took part in the last large-scale mounted (horse mounted) operation conducted by them, in Palestine. I met a veteran, also a horse cavalryman, of the Polish army. And my own father, an infantry veteran of the Italian campaign, and who was captured and spent a year in a POW camp. I was stationed less then 50 miles away when I was in Germany. And finally, my brand new son-in-law's grandmother, still living, served in the RAF during the war. Saw her last Friday, the evening of the wedding. Like I say, we all had better things to talk about, in some cases, horses.

I mention all this because sometimes our picture of the war, battle by battle, theater by theater, is often totally wrong. No one man on the ground has a particularly good picture of what is happening, so it's no wonder that 65 years later people are still arguing about things.

Personally, the only one who has much of an understanding of what the infantryman is trying to live through is his enemy. That's why when there are these meetings between former enemies they get along so well. They have more in common with each other than they do anyone else.

kraigwy
August 20, 2012, 06:07 PM
The M14 is not replacing the M16/M4 in Afghanistan it is supplementing it.
Its being used as a Designated Marksman role, an accurized rifle in a larger caliber with some decent long range optics. Given to a soldier who is higher trained in marksman ship.

And the M14 is being replaced as a SDM rifle by the M16 with heavier bullets, (77 grn SMKs) extending the range of the M16 to 800 meters.

Go to the CMP Books store, you can buy a DVD of training the SDM and use of the M16s for that purpose, for $6.95. It's a must have DVD if one wants to learn extended marksmanship with the M16 series rifle.

trg42wraglefragle
August 21, 2012, 12:49 AM
Quote:
The M14 is not replacing the M16/M4 in Afghanistan it is supplementing it.
Its being used as a Designated Marksman role, an accurized rifle in a larger caliber with some decent long range optics. Given to a soldier who is higher trained in marksman ship.
And the M14 is being replaced as a SDM rifle by the M16 with heavier bullets, (77 grn SMKs) extending the range of the M16 to 800 meters.

Go to the CMP Books store, you can buy a DVD of training the SDM and use of the M16s for that purpose, for $6.95. It's a must have DVD if one wants to learn extended marksmanship with the M16 series rifle.

I don't believe you, the M16 doesn't have the power to kill a flea at four inches let alone a person at 600m. Isn't that what this whole thread is about:D

I've always wondered why they didn't just get a longer barrel for extra velocity and use heavy bullets. Then you can still use your buddies mags and ammo if worst comes to worst.
When did they introduce this?

Slamfire
August 21, 2012, 09:17 AM
corrupt military/industrial complex adopting inferior equipment
You know, this gets mighty annoying after a while. All of us who are involved in weapons design, development, procurement, and planning... we hear this a lot. As a rule, we don't ever question the bravery, commitment, and judgment of soldiers, sailors, pilots, marines, air crew... even when perhaps we should. We give those men and women the benefit of the doubt.

Maybe it is just to much to ask, but it sure would be nice if WE could do our job without constantly having our motives questioned, and being accuses of being corrupt and incompetent.

Just how many Marines have to die to make the V-22 Osprey fly?

The military industrial complex is very corrupt all due to the profits Industry makes and then promises of post career employment opportunities to the Heads of DoD.

If you have never experienced the corruption inherent in DoD procurement it is simply because you are not at a high enough level to influence the money stream.

Eisenhauser coined the phrase “military-industrial” complex because he knew, first hand, how amoral it was. He had first hand information, gained from secret flyovers and other sources which could not be revealed without compromise, about the Soviet nuclear capability. This information was given to top decision makers in the Army, Navy, Air Force, and they all knew we were way ahead of the Soviets. Yet, these same Generals and Admirals were out lobbying with their Industry Counterparts, scaring the public with “missile gap”, guaranteeing the largest defense budget in history for industry and lucrative jobs when the Generals retired.

The revolt of the Admirals was in this time period, the Air Force and Navy trying to kill the other’s projects and steal the money and battle space for themselves.

http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/acsc/98-166.pdf

Mike Cantrell and Doug Ennis showed how the Military-Industrial Complex works. Just keep the campaign money flowing to congress, through military contractors, and you have a guaranteed budget, regardless of performance of the program. Mike Cantrell explains the system in The New York Times article "Insider’s Projects Drained Missile-Defense Millions"

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/12/washington/12missile.html?pagewanted=all

http://www.pressherald.com/archive/fleecing-the-pentagon_2009-03-22.html

The second article,"Fleecing the Pentagon" written by the Portland Maine Press during the trail of the only contractor who went to jail in the Cantrell affair, is a quote from the President:

He also noted a 2008 government study that showed budget overruns of $295 billion in 95 major defense projects.

''Far too often, the spending is plagued by massive cost overruns, outright fraud and the absence of oversight and accountability,'' Obama said. ''The days of giving defense contractors a blank check are over.''


As for the M16, its problems, Just read the book “The Gun” by C. J. Chivers
http://www.amazon.com/The-Gun-C-J-Chivers/dp/0743270762

The section on the procurement of the M16 lays out the corruption that got the M16 adopted and how the military industrial complex hid the problems in Vietnam : media campaigns, cover-ups, pseudo-science, lies. Reading the book, at times I was so mad I wanted to toss the book across the room, lots of good Americans died for Colt profits.

BlueTrain
August 21, 2012, 09:24 AM
You are mostly correct but also over simplifying and over stressing what takes place. M16 rifles are used all over the world and are very popular, juding from what I see in local gun shops, so how bad can they be?

Profit is not a dirty word; but "loss" is, from a business standpoint. Perhaps government should start running their own arms factories again.

There is a certain amount of corruption in government, not to mention in private business. But corruption is nothing more than money talking. I don't know where the money may be going but if it isn't going to some congressman's district, he will want to know why.

Woody55
August 21, 2012, 12:37 PM
It's been said that if the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.

In the context of this thread, if all you know about conflict is firearms, conflict looks like a shooting contest on a range.

We didn't lose any wars because we strayed from battle rifles to assault rifles or from larger caliber rifles to smaller caliber rifles.

Read about elements and instruments of power and look at your favorite wars again.

DMZX
August 21, 2012, 12:59 PM
We didn't lose any wars because we strayed from battle rifles to assault rifles or from larger caliber rifles to smaller caliber rifles.

Read about elements and instruments of power and look at your favorite wars again.

Good post Woody.

BlueTrain
August 21, 2012, 01:01 PM
I'd say a better way of putting it was, if you had more money than you knew what to do with, you'd probably buy a very expensive hammer. Usually, however, there's more discussion of an army's pistols than their rifles, not to mention their machine guns, because more folks go and shoot their pistols at an indoor range. So everyone thinks their an expert on pistols, as well as thinking that pistols are important to the army.

I'm afraid I have no favorite war.

cannonfire
August 21, 2012, 01:38 PM
there's more discussion of an army's pistols than their rifles, not to mention their machine guns,

Because the M2 and M240 are perrrrrfect! :D

Woody55
August 21, 2012, 02:36 PM
Because the M2 and M240 are perrrrrfect!

Sarcasm font is on:

Well, the M240 is a .30 caliber weapon whose design is 40 or so years old. And the B version is heavier than the M60 it replaced. So those are good.

And the M2 is really, really heavy. And it fires a really, really big round. And it was designed by John Browning using early 20th century technology. I mean it's almost given to us by God. (I wish God was around when one had to be moved).

Sarcasm font is off.

trg42wraglefragle
August 21, 2012, 08:43 PM
The trouble when you start bring politics into this kind of thing is that politicians all don't use logic in anything.

They do a series of testing on things find out what works the best, is cheapest long term and then go for the crap cheap option that no one likes and cost twice as much down the track.
Or they get an idea thats doomed to fail from the beginning and pour money into it until it works but cost 400% more than it should.

Also they don't even do whats best for the country/military/anyone. they do what will win them votes. They don't want whats good for Joe tax payer they want to stay in power.

Art Eatman
August 21, 2012, 09:06 PM
Pore ol' hoss needs pity. :)