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Old April 29, 2012, 06:06 AM   #30
BlueTrain
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Join Date: September 26, 2005
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 5,825
Oh, the posts are getting better (except for mine).

To answer the question, a rifle squad or section (Groupe de combat d'infanterie) will have, on paper, from eight to twelve men, depending on the army. It may or may not be further organized into a fire group and a maneuver group with any number of names. There seems to have always been some kind of heavier automatic weapon within the squad or at least at the platoon level (three or four squads). These days there is typically someone with a rifle with a higher magnification optics, again in most armies.

I say, on paper, because once the fighting starts and there are casualities, it becomes an ad-hoc organization.

There has been a lot of experimentation in squad automatics over the last 50 or 60 years, going from a magazine fed full caliber gun to a intermediate caliber belt-fed gun. The FN 5.56 machine gun seems to be one of the more widely used guns in the West. I don't know if it says more about the gun and what soldiers want or about FN's marketing.

No army lives and fights in a perfect world, as if war could be a perfect thing, so while civilian gun enthusiasts are discussing the fine points of weapons, they go off and do their thing with whatever they have been given, which will be, if what you hear is to be believed, old and worn out, inaccurate, too heavy with a cartridge that is too light, unreliable and in need of replacement.
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