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Old May 25, 2010, 10:43 AM   #1
JohnH1963
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Field Modified Weapons in Iraq/Afghanistan

When I was reading about the USMC Stinger, a field modified aircraft mounted weapon that could fire at 1200 rpm used during WWII, I was wondering what modified weapons there were in Iraq/Afghanistan...are there any weapons out there that the military modified while in Iraq/Afghanistan just like the Stinger which was originally intended for a fighter plane, but then modified for infantry use...

BTW, I found a picture of the USMC Stinger. This machine gun was originally mounted in a WWII fighter plane and then modified for field use. The Marines, at the time, found it very useful for busting up bunkers.

Oh man, this thing is a beauty...

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Old May 25, 2010, 01:06 PM   #2
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Looks like its made up from like 6 different guns and looking at the ammo box from this angle I'd say 6 guns and an easy-bake oven
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Old May 25, 2010, 02:00 PM   #3
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Quote:
cannonfire Looks like its made up from like 6 different guns and looking at the ammo box from this angle I'd say 6 guns and an easy-bake oven
"Necessity, who is the mother of invention"
Plato, The Republic

Don't really care how it looks if it keeps the other guy from killing me first. Looks like some good old Yankee ingenuity, if you ask me.

Sorry, John H. Don't know of any current field-modified weapons. I'll ask a few friends in the sandbox right now, but I seriously doubt I'll get much of an answer.

~A
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Old May 25, 2010, 03:24 PM   #4
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Well, maybe. The mini-gun was designed for helicopter use primarily but is now being mounted on vehicles, although not US military vehices(or so the boob tube says).
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Old May 25, 2010, 07:55 PM   #5
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1200 RPM eh? Seems like our boys thought the MG42 was a good idea and sought out to make their own version
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Old May 25, 2010, 10:20 PM   #6
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Gotta love GI ingenuity, or Marine, for that matter!

I can give you a few details about the Stinger, and I have a friend who has done some research, but in general, here's what I recall.

Off the top of my head, (and my copy of Small Arms of the World has gone AWOL, currently), I think you may have the cyclic rate a bit too high. Or, at least for the parent gun of the original Stingers.

While I don't have the exact details (maybe I find them, later, eh?), the first reports of a stinger type conversion came from Guadalcanal. And the base guns were Browning .30 cals from wrecked aircraft. But it wasn't the fighter planes guns that were used. Some Marines took a few of the Browning .30s from the wrecked SBD dive bombers, the flex mount rear seat gun (originally a single, but later a double gun mount). Supposedly, because it used a manual trigger, but just as likely because it was what they could get. The fixed, electrically fired .30s from damaged planes would have been grabbed by aircraft armorers, to keep the working fighters shooting.

Those guns were (most likely) Browning .30 cal M2 aircraft machine guns. (not to be confused with the .50 M2 heavy machinegun). That gun has a cyclic rate of 1,000+/- rpm, about double the infantry ground version of the .30 Browning (1917/1919 variants).

There were only a handful of these guns, and were completely "off the books". It created a very useful weapon, for certain situations, being the lightest belt fed full auto available, and with the highest rate of fire. The Marines found a use for this, even if it was frowned on by various commanders, because it wasn't something the Corps provided.

One commander is said to have ordered his battalions to get rid of their stingers (after the battle was over). But the idea had taken hold, and enough of the men who knew about them had been spread around, so the stinger just went into hiding, until the brass looked another way. Until it was needed again, and then a few came back, and more were made, when the chance presented itself.

There been some good articles and research done lately on the Stingers. Really good use of available resources, in spite of the "official" attitude of "if its not issued, its not for us". As far as weapons went, anyway. OF course, the guys in the field did what they had to do, in spite of the "attitude", and especially when supplies are low and infrequent, as was much of the Guadalcanal campaign.

I haven't heard of any field mods like this from ops in Iraq or Afghanistan. It possible there haven't been any, because we have lightweight high volume firepower much more readily available to our ground troops. Remember that the Marines landed on Guadalcanal in Aug 42, and the majority carried 1903 Springfields & a few tommyguns. But they had water cooled Browning .30 cals! Look up what they did on Bloody Ridge.

The official military establishment is still very "down" on troops modifying weapons (that work, if it don't work, have fun), very "officially" restrictive about troops having their own guns (although some commanders are much more lenient than official policy), and they are very down on "war trophies" compared to WWII.

With the level of coverage in our modern ops, I think if there was some kind of useful, needed modification on the scale of the stinger, we would have heard about it by now. You might consider the changes made to M14s (stocks and optics, mostly) as mods, but since they are using manufactured parts and are more officially sanctioned. But not like the stinger, it was, litterally a bootleg gun, seldom were two exactly alike, field made parts for the conversions.

One of the more fascinating things to come out of WWII is the eventual shift in doctrine and attitude between going "by the book" and "start with the book, then do what works" in military operations planning.
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Old May 26, 2010, 09:47 AM   #7
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OPSEC

It's best to not discuss what's going on in-theater with too much detail. We're still at war and Operational Security should be a priority in public forums.

Regarding equipment, every single piece of equipment released to the field has been rigorously tested and retested, for an enormous number of parameters including (but not limited to) lethality, survivability, reliability, maintainability, and safety. We generally don't want Soldiers, Marines, Sailors or Airmen modifying weapons or other equipment and injuring themselves or others, taking them out of the fight and absorbing resources that are needed elsewhere.

During the early days of IED attacks, many Soldiers and Marines were adding "armor" to their HMMWVs and other vehicles. In many cases, this additional material would actually decrease the occupants' chances for survival during an attack (for a host of reasons), in addition to improperly loading the vehicles causing breakages and premature component wear-out. Again, taking them out of the fight and absording maintenance and logistics resources that could have been better utilized.

Necessity might be the mother of invention, but field operators (from 19-year-old kids to field officers) rarely, if ever, have the highly specialized knowledge required to make good engineering decisions regarding their equipment. What is far more effective is for those Warfighters to express their battlefield needs and requirements to their COs, who then direct it through proper channels to the materiel developers and the test community, who will then respond to those requirements by developing and testing a safe, effective solution.

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Old May 26, 2010, 09:15 PM   #8
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Necessity might be the mother of invention, but field operators (from 19-year-old kids to field officers) rarely, if ever, have the highly specialized knowledge required to make good engineering decisions regarding their equipment. What is far more effective is for those Warfighters to express their battlefield needs and requirements to their COs, who then direct it through proper channels to the materiel developers and the test community, who will then respond to those requirements by developing and testing a safe, effective solution.
And with the complexity of today's equipment and it's material construction, I agree completely!

And, this is part of what I am talking about when I refer to the change in attitudes that began during WWII. The equipment side of things has grown and changed so much since then, the need to improvise to come up with what you need is less. The technology of small arms during WWII was close enough to the general level of mechanical knowledge in many of our GIs that coming up with a home made trigger and stock for the Stinger didn't take as much in the way of "good engineering decisions" as our complex systems used today. Lots of our guys tinkered with car, tractors or other mechanisms, so they had a good start.
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Old May 26, 2010, 09:25 PM   #9
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There are unofficial stories of captured PPsh-41's being used for house clearing.



Don't forget that individual troops were putting optics and other accessories onto their guns long before the military even considered them.
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Old May 26, 2010, 09:26 PM   #10
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Look at that unique trigger, I wonder if they have to pull up instead of back?
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Old May 26, 2010, 10:58 PM   #11
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44 Amp; absolutely.

Also, it's worthy to note that the reaction-time for the military to respond to urgent needs statements from the field is rather quick, sometimes measured in hours.

A great example is the SLAT Armor solution for the Stryker; designed, built, tested and rapidly fielded across the fleet in only a few weeks to combat a high incidence of RPG attacks. Not a 100% solution due to differences between RPG variants and improved tactics by the enemy, but it has proven extremely effective and saved hundreds of lives.

THAT SAID... some units have a lot more flexibility than the general force. SOCOM and other special operational units come up with some wild stuff in the field, but eventually it gets reviewed and tested thoroughly before it's authorized for continued use.
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Old May 27, 2010, 03:19 AM   #12
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PPSH

That is the second PPsH I have seen photos of from the middle east in US hands. The first photo was in the hands of Marines, I think, w/ no light or dot sight.

The "stinger" figured in a medal of honor, but at present I cannot think of the Marines name.

44 amp is on target w/ his facts. I think an article ran in "The Rifleman" just a few years back.
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Old May 27, 2010, 06:54 AM   #13
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It was the "experts" that let the equipment out into the field in the first place. Good example is the M-60 machine gun.
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Old May 27, 2010, 09:55 PM   #14
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I used to work on M60s. We don't want to go there in this thread!
or do we?
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Old May 28, 2010, 01:39 AM   #15
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Does not matter to me. I worked on hundreds of M-60s and 60-Ds, maybe I will learn something. Just when you think you saw it all.......
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Old June 6, 2013, 07:33 PM   #16
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Tony Stein was his name

The MoH winner alluded to above (years ago, I know) was Tony Stein. He won it posthumously on Iwo Jima in 1945, apparently while using his Stinger as he attacked Japanese positions.

Thanks, belatedly, for the discussion. I'd never seen a picture of a "Stinger," but I'll never forget the picture & story of Tony Stein. Many years since I read and re-read the book about Iwo Jima, unfortunately can't recall the title.

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Old June 6, 2013, 10:35 PM   #17
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the White Feather, Maj Audie Murphy....

In the non fiction book about USMC sniper; Carlos Hathcock, there is a detailed account of how he & a spotter modified a M2 Browning .50 with a powerful scope to use on a covert op in SE Asia. Hathcock, also called The White Feather would be tasked out by the CIA or MI to track down & smoke-check high value targets.
He shot a NVA(North Vietnam Army) general after waiting 3 days in the jungle with the .50BMG.

I'd add that Major Audie Murphy, the highest decorated soldier of World War II who earned a MoH once said; "There's a thin line between a Medal of Honor & a court martial."

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Old June 6, 2013, 10:53 PM   #18
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Adding armor to vehicles was something done in WWII too.

I remember reading a very interesting book 'Barbara' about a tank crew from D-Day till almost the end of the war.

The tank was a DD (dual drive) tank that was meant to swim ashore and support the invasion. (That didn't work well but they made it thanks to a brave sailor piloting the landing craft their tank was on.)

Later on in the book, weeks after D-Day, they used chicken wire and added sand bags for extra armor to give them more protection from the German tanks.
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Old June 7, 2013, 07:12 AM   #19
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To build upon what Dale said, I seem to recall reading somwhere, that soldiers serving in WWII would also place spare track parts over vulnerable parts of their armor in hopes to help reduce the chances of shells penetrating the steel plates. Ineffectual if memory serves, but it didn't stop the boys out in the field from trying.
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Old June 7, 2013, 12:30 PM   #20
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Many of those add-ons were field expedient attempts to get shaped charge antitank projectiles to detonate before reaching the tank armor, thus diffusing the Munroe Effect and reducing the penetrative capabilities.

Modern HEAT rounds (high explosive antitank) function on the Munroe Effect, which was first used in the WWII bazooka, Panzerfaust, PIAT, subsequently RPG, LAW, etc. A high explosive charge inside the warhead is shaped in such a way that a point-initiated, base-detonating fuze assembly causes the HE detonation to focus directionally and very tightly at the point of impact, with such intensity that it instantly burns through homogeneous armor plate. Different warheads are designed to "focus" at different stand-off distances for optimum effect. Anything triggering a premature detonation will make the warhead focus its penetrative energy at a point short of the vehicle's armor, hopefully making it unable to burn through the armor completely. The RPG screens often used by M113 crews in Vietnam used the same idea.

Since the Munroe Effect is a chemical principle not dependent on the projectile's velocity for its penetrative power, low velocity, even man-portable, weapons can utilize it. Combined with recoilless technology, it has provided much of soldiers' anti-armor capability since WWII.

Expedients such as sandbags, track sections, RPG screens made of chain-link fencing, etc., provided almost zero protection against kinetic energy anti-armor weapons, i.e. hi-velocity tank and antitank guns. A German 88mm, for instance, could pretty easily shoot through a Sherman tank from front to rear, so I think few American tankers kidded themselves about sandbags. Against a Panzerfaust or Panzerschreck, however, it could be a different story.

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Old June 7, 2013, 01:12 PM   #21
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camping, GI Joe, M134D mini guns.....

I would add to the forum post about the use of mini guns or cannons on vehicles that when I was on active duty in the early 1990s, I never understood the weapons/platforms on the HMMWV or Hummers.
The HMMWV design was unsafe & flawed in peacetime conditions. Combat & missions in SW Asia showed how bad these Hummers were.
The vehicles were good for FTXs or camping but the DoD & DA(Dept of the US Army) really didn't think it through with the HMMWV.

I also never got why the DoD or contractors like Dillon Areo never put a M134D mini gun or a remote cannon on the Hummer like the Marvel Comics GI Joe VAMP.
A team leader or gunner could fire the weapons remotely & safely + the smaller rounds could be stored better than the awful 40mm grenade rounds of the Mk 19 automatic launcher.
Our MP company was issued Mark 19s and cases of training rounds. The huge cans were heavy & a waste of space in the vehicles. The 40mm rounds never worked correctly either.

Overall, I'd be much more happy if the HMMWV was uparmored & armed with a high vel caliber mini gun that had thousands of rounds in drums or cans.

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Old June 7, 2013, 01:13 PM   #22
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Nobody ever modified the gas regulator on a 240B?
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Old June 8, 2013, 10:19 PM   #23
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In the non fiction book about USMC sniper; Carlos Hathcock, there is a detailed account of how he & a spotter modified a M2 Browning .50 with a powerful scope to use on a covert op in SE Asia.
Not sure which book you read, but in 93 Confirmed Kills it describes both the mounting of the optic (10x scope, IIRC) and the covert mission where Hathcock stalked (over several days) and killed the VC general. They were separate incidents.

The scoped M2 was used from its position on a firebase, to get really long range hits on VC that were using a trail beyond the reach of the regular small arms. If I recall correctly there is even a picture of the M2 used, in that book.
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Old June 8, 2013, 11:19 PM   #24
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Apologies in advance but, with the advancements ( and sometimes deevolution) in engineering going through the channels for proper solutions is all well and good and all, but if they sent humvees and troop carriers with insufficient armor to afghanistan in the first place where were the engineers after theyve only had the entire time humvees have been in use to come up with the best armor they could design? My guess is if they couldnt do it by the time they were sent to battle then they probably wont be able to do it within the time frame required by soldiers, and having to wait for "the proper channels" isnt going to help. You need more protection from shrapnel right now, change out parts later. That would be my solution.
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Old June 9, 2013, 04:25 AM   #25
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Field Modified Weapons in Iraq/Afghanistan

Quote:
Originally Posted by ClydeFrog View Post
I would add to the forum post about the use of mini guns or cannons on vehicles that when I was on active duty in the early 1990s, I never understood the weapons/platforms on the HMMWV or Hummers.......I also never got why the DoD or contractors like Dillon Areo never put a M134D mini gun or a remote cannon on the Hummer......Overall, I'd be much more happy if the HMMWV was uparmored & armed with a high vel caliber mini gun that had thousands of rounds in drums or cans.

ClydeFrog
I've not personally operated or seen one, but I've seen videos of a M134 variant mounted on a USMC up-armored HMMWV (wonder who they stole it from, right?) and were using it either in Fallujah or near Abu-Ghraib to great effect. The RAF 1 Squadron guys we worked with had MAG58's mounted on their Panthers that operated via camera by the VC riding shotgun. I've also seen USMC & USA vehicles with either a M240 or M249 independently mounted on the side of the turret in conjunction with the main gun being a Ma Deuce or Mk19. Other than that I've not seen much of any "field expedient" jerry-rigging of weapons or systems.
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