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OUR TROOPS UNMET NEEDS or after 40 years the DoD Inspector General will look in to the crappy M-16.
M & C News ^ | Jan 10, 2006 | Winslow T. Wheeler

Posted on 01/11/2006 7:09:45 PM PST by undocumentedrat

WASHINGTON, DC, United States (UPI) -- Many in Congress and the Pentagon boast American troops have the best equipment in the world. But reports from the battlefields in Iraq and Afghanistan say otherwise. The information about the failures is not new; solutions are long overdue. Some of the most worrying questions center on the efficacy and lethality of the firearms U.S. forces are using. Official reports show high levels of dissatisfaction with the M-4 carbine, M16 rifle magazines, and M249 machine gun. The small size of the 5.56mm bullet used in these weapons is also highly controversial among some troops. But problems with weaponry are just a subset of the larger issue: equipment that is not up to scratch. Reports from the Army`s Natick Soldier Center, its Tank-automotive and Armaments Command, and the Marine`s Systems Command Liaison Team in Iraq -- all from 2002 and 2003 -- tell us, for example, troops` 'dislikes.' Among those dislikes: uniforms that rip easily, eyewear that fogs up and fits poorly under helmets, and boots that blister, crack, and burst, and are 'poor for movement,' or as in one soldier`s e-mail are 'truly awful and also painful.' Troops buy some equipment with their own money, usually because government issue performs poorly. Such items include gloves, socks, flashlights, padding for backpacks, 'CamelBak' hydration systems, and weapons cleaning equipment. Banal items? Perhaps to us back home, but certainly not for soldiers fighting in the mountains of Afghanistan and the desert of Iraq, doing whatever it takes to keep their bodies and their weapons working. continue -> http://news.monstersandcritics.com/northamerica/article_1074708.php

(Excerpt) Read more at news.monstersandcritics.com ...


TOPICS:
KEYWORDS: 556; army; bang; banglist; m16; m4; marines
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I've never been a big supporter of the M-16. I was trained in the Marine Corps with a real infantry rifle the M-14. One sad day they took away our M-14's and gave us a toy called the M-16 a-1. It was chamberd to fire the Remington varmint cartage the .223 Rem. ( 5.56 mm) For forty years now our Marines and soldiers have been sent in to combat with a varmint rifle that has always had a problem of stoppages. The 5.56 round doesn't have the man stopping power like the 7.62. In the Nam the 5.56 round would actualy be deflected by the brush. It time for our Marines and soldiers to be equipt with a real infantry rifle chambers with a larger round.
1 posted on 01/11/2006 7:09:50 PM PST by undocumentedrat
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To: undocumentedrat

I have to tell you that I spoke with my cousin the other day and she is very concerned. Her husband is headed back to Afghanistan in 2 weeks and her son just returned from Baghdad. We need the best equipment available and we need to take care of those who serve when they come home.


2 posted on 01/11/2006 7:13:08 PM PST by sageb1 (This is the Final Crusade. There are only 2 sides. Pick one.)
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To: undocumentedrat

I thought the XM-8 was a pretty kick ass piece of equipment, but...still had that 5.56 round in it. I heard they were going to make a 7.62 version, but...the weapon was canned, apparently.

I cannot believe we cannot make the best infantry weapon in the world.


3 posted on 01/11/2006 7:18:07 PM PST by rlmorel ("Innocence seldom utters outraged shrieks. Guilt does." Whittaker Chambers)
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To: undocumentedrat
I read in Popular Mechanics today that SOCOM is switching to an FNH rifle that fires either the 5.56 or the "heavy" version that fires the 7.62. Anything less than .30 caliber unacceptable in this squid's opinion.
4 posted on 01/11/2006 7:18:16 PM PST by kerryusama04 (The Bill of Rights is not occupation specific.)
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To: undocumentedrat

If God had meant us to fire the 5.56 in combat, He would have made all our enemies, 2 feet tall, weighing 40 pounds.


5 posted on 01/11/2006 7:23:41 PM PST by MindBender26 (Having my own CAR-15 in RVN meant never having to say I was sorry....)
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To: undocumentedrat

.308!


6 posted on 01/11/2006 7:28:33 PM PST by mylife (The roar of the masses could be farts)
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To: MindBender26
If God had meant us to fire the 5.56 in combat, He would have made all our enemies, 2 feet tall, weighing 40 pounds.

Not that it matters, but what is the weight an individual soldier has to carry around of 5.56 vs. equal number of rounds of 7.62 ammo?

7 posted on 01/11/2006 7:29:37 PM PST by operation clinton cleanup
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To: operation clinton cleanup

The .223 weighs less than half of what a .308 round weighs


8 posted on 01/11/2006 7:31:52 PM PST by mylife (The roar of the masses could be farts)
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To: MindBender26

We have Iran, Syria, and North Korea in the next few years. Do you we have time to make a major logistic change in time to fight these conflicts. To suggests that the 5.56mm is inadequate is rdiciulous. The Israelis use it, in fact, the weapon that OBL carried, or carries, fires a 5.45mm round.


9 posted on 01/11/2006 7:31:55 PM PST by Perdogg ("Facts are stupid things." - President Ronald Wilson Reagan)
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To: MindBender26

We have Iran, Syria, and North Korea in the next few years. Do you we have time to make a major logistic change in time to fight these conflicts. To suggests that the 5.56mm is inadequate is rdiciulous. The Israelis use it, in fact, the weapon that OBL carried, or carries, fires a 5.45mm round.


10 posted on 01/11/2006 7:31:55 PM PST by Perdogg ("Facts are stupid things." - President Ronald Wilson Reagan)
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To: operation clinton cleanup
I only ask because some bean counter probably determined they could carry more rounds of 5.56 ammo back when the M-16 was designed... and ammo resupply was harder to come by in the field.
11 posted on 01/11/2006 7:32:40 PM PST by operation clinton cleanup
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To: operation clinton cleanup

Roughly 300 rounds of 5.56 mm to 180 of 7.62mm.


12 posted on 01/11/2006 7:33:45 PM PST by TXBSAFH ("I would rather be a free man in my grave then living as a puppet or a slave." - Jimmy Cliff)
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To: undocumentedrat
Were I in combat, I'd be carrying an M-14 if I could. It's a fine rifle, replaced by a lousy, plastic .22. You can easily stop a truck with a .308.

There were a LOT of complaints when they made the switch.

13 posted on 01/11/2006 7:34:19 PM PST by GhostofWCooper (enough's enough. Deport them and build the fence.)
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To: undocumentedrat
I loved the M-16 99% of the time and hated it the other 1%. 99% of the time I was carrying it and its ammo and appreciated the weight. The 1% of the time was when I actually had to use it. Give me something with more stopping and penetrating power any day. The M-16 is fine for REMFs and WACS. Those in combat arms need a real weapon.
14 posted on 01/11/2006 7:34:30 PM PST by Natural Law
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To: undocumentedrat

The best thing the Pentagon can do is get our fighting men good quality boots, custom foam padded helmets, and a rifle that will kill a full grown man without needing to empty the entire magazine into him.


15 posted on 01/11/2006 7:35:24 PM PST by EricT. (Posting on FR helped me to quit screaming at the TV.)
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To: undocumentedrat

And we can replace the M9 popgun next...

Bring back the M1911...


16 posted on 01/11/2006 7:36:08 PM PST by AlaninSA (It's one nation under God -- brought to you by the Knights of Columbus)
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To: TXBSAFH
Roughly 300 rounds of 5.56 mm to 180 of 7.62mm.

Thanks for the info... I guess it all depends on the mission you are on for what would be best.

17 posted on 01/11/2006 7:37:24 PM PST by operation clinton cleanup
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To: mylife
Right the 5.56mm S109 has a mass of 3.95 g while the NATO .308 Win / 7.62 NATO (USA) has a mass 9.50 g.

The Russian M74 5.45mm has a mass of 3.25 g.
18 posted on 01/11/2006 7:38:01 PM PST by Perdogg ("Facts are stupid things." - President Ronald Wilson Reagan)
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To: operation clinton cleanup
Not that it matters, but what is the weight an individual soldier has to carry around of 5.56 vs. equal number of rounds of 7.62 ammo?

I think most grunts would happily hump a couple extra pounds if means having an effective weapon.

19 posted on 01/11/2006 7:38:51 PM PST by EricT. (Posting on FR helped me to quit screaming at the TV.)
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To: Perdogg

The 6.8 SPC and, even better, the 6.5 Grendel use the same mags, lowers, action, in fact, everything but the barrel assembly. The 6.5 is way better than the 5/56, and so good, that in excess of 300 meters, it's better than the 7.62!!!


20 posted on 01/11/2006 7:39:16 PM PST by MindBender26 (Having my own CAR-15 in RVN meant never having to say I was sorry....)
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To: mylife
The .223 weighs less than half of what a .308 round weighs

Which means you can sneak around the desert with twice the ammo per soldier if need be.

21 posted on 01/11/2006 7:39:44 PM PST by krb (ad hominem arguments are for stupid people)
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To: undocumentedrat
I'd like to see them go with the 6.8mm cartridge which is a compromise between the 5.56mm and 7.62mm.

But I doubt any change will occur during wartime.

22 posted on 01/11/2006 7:40:15 PM PST by Mulder (“The spirit of resistance is so valuable, that I wish it to be always kept alive" Thomas Jefferson)
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To: undocumentedrat

Simple solution - replace the uppers and mags with 6.8 SPC ones. Replace the Humvee with the M113A2 as we used to use in the 70s.


23 posted on 01/11/2006 7:40:34 PM PST by rahbert
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To: Perdogg

If you were ever actually in a fire fight you wouldn't make such ignorant statements. The Israeli infantry actually use and prefer the FN FAL which is 7.62 mm and the UZI which is 9 mm. Lastly, OBL was never in a fire fight. He uses his weapon as a fashion accessory.


24 posted on 01/11/2006 7:41:00 PM PST by Natural Law
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To: undocumentedrat

It doesn't matter what you equip our soldiers and Marines with ... it will never be enough. No rifle ever served our military that someone didn't piss and moan about ... it goes with the territory.


25 posted on 01/11/2006 7:42:09 PM PST by BluH2o
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To: operation clinton cleanup

Yes you can carry more rounds of 5.56 than 7.62 ... but, if each soldier was a RIFLEMAN they would only need one or two rounds of 7.62 and not 10 rounds of 5.56.

Ramp up the M14 production lines!!!!! And bring back the M1 Garand as well ... infact bring back that "old stuff". John Browing was way ahead of his time.


26 posted on 01/11/2006 7:42:48 PM PST by MaDeuce (Do it to them, before they do it to you!)
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Wounding an enemy depletes more enemy resources than killing them.


27 posted on 01/11/2006 7:42:52 PM PST by Rodney Dangerfield
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To: TXBSAFH

You consume ammunition much faster with an M-16 because you need 2-3 round bursts to have any affect so you need to carry more.


28 posted on 01/11/2006 7:43:05 PM PST by Natural Law
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To: operation clinton cleanup
Image hosted by Photobucket.com but it generally only takes ONE to put-em down... less is more 8^)
29 posted on 01/11/2006 7:43:19 PM PST by Chode (American Hedonist ©®)
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To: Perdogg
Soldiers` blogs and e-mails report many of them like the lighter weight of the small caliber weapons, and the large amount of ammunition troops can carry, but some say those bullets are 'too small and too stabilized' thus making them 'woefully inadequate as a man stopper.'

The .223 is 5.56mm x 45 mm the soviet version is 5.45x 39 and although it is more compact it has a fatter bottlenecked cartridge and has all the velocity of the .223 The actual bullet is much longer than the .223 and is a tumblin mofo when it strikes. I have AKS chambered for both and prefer the soviet round

30 posted on 01/11/2006 7:46:10 PM PST by mylife (The roar of the masses could be farts)
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To: operation clinton cleanup

Standard load of two full pouches and a full magazine in the rifle:
M-14 - 2 x 20-round mags per pouch and 1 in the piece = 100 rounds
M-16 - 3 x 30-round mags per pouch and 1 in the piece = 210 rounds

The lighter 5.56mm round was adopted for "spray and pray" jungle warfare where the ranges of the firefights was expected to be very close and volume of fire was more important than maximum range.

Also, a loaded M-14 weighs over 12 pounds, an M-16 about 7 1/2.


31 posted on 01/11/2006 7:46:33 PM PST by RebelBanker (If you can't do something smart, do something right.)
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To: EricT.; operation clinton cleanup
I think most grunts would happily hump a couple extra pounds if means having an effective weapon.

Our Troops aren't doing very many marches in Iraq, however, that might matter more in the mountainous terrain of Afghanistan.
32 posted on 01/11/2006 7:46:51 PM PST by MikefromOhio
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To: GhostofWCooper

I have a 300 mag and now that's a kick ass rifle.


33 posted on 01/11/2006 7:46:54 PM PST by antiunion person (Don't let anyone separate you from your hard earned money.)
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To: undocumentedrat
Possible cyberspace conversation...

M Kehoe: I like these threads.
5.56mm: OK, you might like these threads, but I usually catch hell from all of the armchair warriors, and chickenhawks.
M Kehoe: Well guy, times do change, and we are fighting a different kind of war.
5.56mm: Sure, I know that, but I'd still like to kick some jihadi a$$.
M Kehoe: You and me both brother.

5.56mm

34 posted on 01/11/2006 7:47:09 PM PST by M Kehoe
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To: undocumentedrat; All
McMILLAN'S MFS-14 MODULAR TACTICAL SYSTEM


35 posted on 01/11/2006 7:49:01 PM PST by Conservative Firster
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To: Chode
but it generally only takes ONE to put-em down... less is more

As a former Air Force puke (as we have been called)... I would rather have massive amounts of ammo to spray at an enemy we could not see performing base defense. But, then again, they only ammo I carried was stacking pallets for shipment!

36 posted on 01/11/2006 7:50:12 PM PST by operation clinton cleanup
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To: mylife
The .223 weighs less than half of what a .308 round weighs

But don't our guys carry more rounds if they are equipped with a 223?

37 posted on 01/11/2006 7:59:34 PM PST by kerryusama04 (The Bill of Rights is not occupation specific.)
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To: MaDuce
Read the book "Mobility of a Nation" by the marine corps press and you can see why the concept of the M-16 was considered valid. the Ability of a soldier/marine to carry more rounds per combat load of equipment was the driving force behind the change. I believe in tests the M-16 with their ballistic pattern and "kill ratio" were similar to the 7.62m. Higher speed (FPS)of the M-16 round helped with the internal damage. However, I do know that I would rather carry the pig (M-60) over the M-249 and an M-14 over a M-16. weight was a factor in the choice of the 5.56m round but the ability of the 7.62 for penetration and damage per weight ratio is the best.

p.s. the logistics branch of the military has been providing some of the worst equipment on Americans ever since the Civil War (i.e. fns Italian battle rifle used during the 1898 Spanish war and the French machine gun during WWI)
38 posted on 01/11/2006 8:02:34 PM PST by Liaison (Semper Gumbi- Always Flexible---- ;))
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To: operation clinton cleanup
my personal weapon is an HK91A3 and i have come to accept it's weight and ammo as the price of reliability and survival. my standard load-out is 12 20round mags with one in the rifle.
39 posted on 01/11/2006 8:02:53 PM PST by Chode (American Hedonist ©®)
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To: All

The problem is not with the M-16,per se, but the application and use thereof.

The M-16 was designed as a "meeting engagement weapon", i.e. for a situation in which both sides might be surprised, at short range, and where the ability to spray bullets was typically the deciding factor. Unlike WWII Europe, Vietnam was not the place for a M-1 variant (M-14, although it did have it's uses). Vietnam did not afford open fields of fire. where the enemy could be spotted more easily and at longer ranges (over 100 yards). In urban combat in WWII and Korea, the best weapon was the submachine gun (the M-3 and Thompson were both chambered for .45, ask the Russians who survived Stalingrad how effective their PPsh's were). The M-16, with it's small round does not give our soldiers the benefits of the .30-06 or .45 in the open deserts and urban centers of Iraq, or the hills and mountains of Afghanistan.

It simply does not have the power or range necessary for these enviornments.

It is also a weapon with a very low tolerance for dirt, and the kind of dirt one finds in Iraq (powdery sand and dust) is hard to keep out of the weapon, no matter what precautions are taken. The M-16 always required a great deal of daily maintenace, and requires far more in this kind of enviornment. The numbers of misfires and jammings from Iraq is alarming, and most certainly due to a combination of poor maintenance and the enviornment in which our boys have to operate.

The M-16 was a great jungle weapon (when it was properly maintained and after the initial problems were fixed), but it cannot do the job in an urban, desert of mountain setting.

What we need is a different mix of weapons, I believe. Keep some M-16's (with M-203's attached), but in an urban enviornment, arm at least two members of each squad with a shotgun and an SMG (Uzi sounds good). Add another M-60 to the mix, as well.

When you go out into an enviornment like the Afghan mountains, at least two heavy rifles (7.62 sniper-types, I forget the designation), and an extra M-60 should go along. Keep a bunch of M-16s (again, with an M-203 attached).

Change the tactics and weapons to suit the terrain and conditions!


40 posted on 01/11/2006 8:03:11 PM PST by Wombat101 (Islam: Turning everything it touches to Shi'ite since 632 AD...)
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To: RebelBanker
Since the time of Alexander a grunt will carry as much as a grunt can carry. Roman soldiers were called Marius' Mules because of the amount of equipment each had to carry. The British Brown Bess weighed 14 lbs without the bayonet. Modern soldiers are no different. Most fire fights these days are not sustained events with significant movement and maneuver. More often than not the command "drop your packs, weapons and ammo only" preceded and excitement.
41 posted on 01/11/2006 8:03:18 PM PST by Natural Law
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To: Rodney Dangerfield
Wounding an enemy depletes more enemy resources than killing them.

Not if they are all seeking martyrdom.

42 posted on 01/11/2006 8:04:57 PM PST by EricT. (Posting on FR helped me to quit screaming at the TV.)
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To: rahbert
Replace the Humvee with the M113A2 as we used to use in the 70s.

The Humvee was not the replacement for the M113, but rather for the Jeep. The M113 replacement is the M2/M3 Bradley fighting vehicle. I'm sure you'd much rather be in a Bradley than in an M113. It's faster, has better armor, and is armed with a 25 mm chain gun. It can also carry the TOW, under armor, in case you come up against some Gomer in a tank, AFV, or just need a bunker busted right quick. Of course the Humvee can carry a "naked" TOW as well.

I'm also sure you'd rather be in a Humvee, which can have some armor, than a Jeep, which had none.

43 posted on 01/11/2006 8:05:24 PM PST by El Gato (The Second Amendment is the Reset Button of the U.S. Constitution)
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To: kerryusama04
But don't our guys carry more rounds if they are equipped with a 223?

Yes they do. And the .223 is a very effective round in open desert, but most of that type fighting has long since passed. Reports I am getting are that in urban combat the .223 is insufficiant in mass to penetrate (and kill the bad guy on the other side) cover such as cinderblock walls.

Another problem is that our weapons tend to dislike sand and dirt. The AK is famous for working after dumpin a bucket of sand thru it. On the other hand our weapons are far more precice for targeting.

One fellow I know just reported that 4 insurgents unloaded thier AKs on them and missed them all.

They killed all 4

44 posted on 01/11/2006 8:11:39 PM PST by mylife (The roar of the masses could be farts)
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To: Natural Law
OBL was never in a fire fight

Actually I believe he was, against the Soviets or their puppet Afghan troops, and then later perhaps against everyone else but the Taliban. But against the Soviets and/or Red Afghans for certain.

Not sure he carried that Krinkov then though.

However the Soviets themselves had switched to the 5.45x39 by then. Michail Kalishnikov never liked or approved of the change in cartridge. Of course the change from 7.62x39 to 5.45x39 is not nearly so extreme as going from 7.52 NATO to 5.56 NATO. The 7.62x39 is more akin to the 6.8mm now proposed by some for the M-16 or XM-8.

One of the biggest problems with the M-4 is that the barrel is too short to get the round completely up to speed. I imagine the Krinkov that OBL displays has the same problem.

45 posted on 01/11/2006 8:13:08 PM PST by El Gato (The Second Amendment is the Reset Button of the U.S. Constitution)
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To: Chode

Remind me to call ahead before I drop by for a friendly visit!


46 posted on 01/11/2006 8:14:52 PM PST by operation clinton cleanup
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To: mylife
I was refering to the weight argument. They need more rounds if they are using such a light round. Same goes for the 9mm.

The "lets wound them and stress their resources" argument is gone with our current enemy as well.

I am guessing it's a treaty or something, but why don't we use hollow or soft points? Light, fast, FMJ might be good for venison...

47 posted on 01/11/2006 8:20:01 PM PST by kerryusama04 (The Bill of Rights is not occupation specific.)
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To: undocumentedrat

Dammit. In this day and age, with so much scrutiny, the damned military cannot get our people decent boots?

5.56 to small to not only stop these animals directly, they appear useless through cinderblock walls.


48 posted on 01/11/2006 8:22:17 PM PST by School of Rational Thought (Republican - The thinking people's party)
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To: undocumentedrat

Comments posted earlier to some site. Claimed to be from soldier in Iraq:


1) The M-16 rifle : Thumbs down. Chronic jamming problems with the talcum powder like sand over there. The sand is everywhere. [The Marine] says you feel filthy 2 minutes after coming out of the shower. The M-4 carbine version is more popular because it's lighter and shorter, but it has jamming problems also. They like the ability to mount the various optical gunsights and weapons lights on the picattiny rails, but the weapon itself is not great in a desert environment. They all hate the 5.56mm (.223) round. Poor penetration on the cinderblock structure common over there and even torso hits cant be reliably counted on to put the enemy down. Fun fact: Random autopsies on dead insurgents shows a high level of opiate use.
2) The M243 SAW (squad assault weapon): .223 cal. Drum fed light machine gun. Big thumbs down. Universally considered a piece of shit. Chronic jamming problems, most of which require partial disassembly. (that's fun in the middle of a firefight).
3) The M9 Beretta 9mm: Mixed bag. Good gun, performs well in desert environment; but they all hate the 9mm cartridge. The use of handguns for self-defense is actually fairly common. Same old story on the 9mm: Bad guys hit multiple times and still in the fight
4) Mossberg 12ga. Military shotgun: Works well, used frequently for clearing houses to good effect.
5) The M240 Machine Gun: 7.62 Nato (.308) cal. belt fed machine gun, developed to replace the old M-60 (what a beautiful weapon that was!!). Thumbs up. Accurate, reliable, and the 7.62 round puts 'em down. Originally developed as a vehicle mounted weapon, more and more are being dismounted and taken into the field by infantry. The 7.62 round chews up the structure over there.
6) The M2 .50 cal heavy machine gun: Thumbs way, way up. "Ma deuce" is still worth her considerable weight in gold. The ultimate fight stopper, puts their dicks in the dirt every time. The most coveted weapon in-theater.
7) The ..45 pistol: Thumbs up. Still the best pistol round out there. Everybody authorized to carry a sidearm is trying to get their hands on one. With few exceptions, can reliably be expected to put 'em down with a torso hit. The special ops guys (who are doing most of the pistol work) use the HK military model and supposedly love it. The old government model .45's are being re-issued en masse.
8) The M-14: Thumbs up. They are being re-issued in bulk, mostly in a modified version to special ops guys. Modifications include lightweight Kevlar stocks and low power red dot or ACOG sights. Very reliable in the sandy environment, and they love the 7.62 round.
9) The Barrett .50 cal sniper rifle: Thumbs way up. Spectacular range and accuracy and hits like a freight train. Used frequently to take out vehicle suicide bombers ( we actually stop a lot of them) and barricaded enemy. Definitely here to stay.
10) The M24 sniper rifle: Thumbs up. Mostly in 308 but some in 300 win mag. Heavily modified Remington 700's. Great performance. Snipers have been used heavily to great effect. Rumor has it that a marine sniper on his third tour in Anbar province has actually exceeded Carlos Hathcock's record for confirmed kills with OVER 100.
11) The new body armor: Thumbs up. Relatively light at approx. 6 lbs. and can reliably be expected to soak up small shrapnel and even will stop an AK-47 round. The bad Hot as shit to wear, almost unbearable in the summer heat (which averages over 120 degrees). Also, the enemy now goes for head shots when ever possible. All the bullshit about the "old" body armor making our guys vulnerable to the IED's was a non-starter. The IED explosions are enormous and body armor doesn't make any difference at all in most cases.
12) Night Vision and Infrared Equipment: Thumbs way up. Spectacular performance. Our guys see in the dark and own the night, period. Very little enemy action after evening prayers. More and more enemy being whacked at night during movement by our hunter-killer teams. We've all seen the videos.
13) Lights: Thumbs up. Most of the weapon mounted and personal lights are Surefire's, and the troops love 'em. Invaluable for night urban operations. [The Marine] carried a $34 Surefire G2 on a neck lanyard and loved it.
I cant help but notice that most of the good fighting weapons and ordnance are 50 or more years old!!!!!!!!! With all our technology, it's the WWII and Vietnam era weapons that everybody wants!!!! The infantry fighting is frequent, up close and brutal. No quarter is given or shown.
Bad guy weapons:
1) Mostly AK47's The entire country is an arsenal. Works better in the desert than the M16 and the .308 Russian round kills reliably. PKM belt fed light machine guns are also common and effective. Luckily, the enemy mostly shoots like shit. Undisciplined "spray and pray" type fire. However, they are seeing more and more precision weapons, especially sniper rifles. (Iran, again)
Fun fact: Captured enemy have apparently marveled at the marksmanship of our guys and how hard they fight. They are apparently told in Jihad school that the Americans rely solely on technology, and can be easily beaten in close quarters combat for their lack of toughness. Let's just say they know better now.
2) The RPG: Probably the infantry weapon most feared by our guys. Simple, reliable and as common as dogshit. The enemy responded to our up-armored humvees by aiming at the windshields, often at point blank range. Still killing a lot of our guys.
3) The IED: The biggest killer of all. Can be anything from old Soviet anti-armor mines to jury rigged artillery shells. A lot found in [The Marine's] area were in abandoned cars. The enemy would take 2 or 3 155mm artillery shells and wire them together. Most were detonated by cell phone, and the explosions are enormous. You're not safe in any vehicle, even an M1 tank. Driving is by far the most dangerous thing our guys do over there. Lately, they are much more sophisticated "shape charges" (Iran ian) specifically designed to penetrate armor.
Fact: Most of the ready made IED's are supplied by Iran, who is also providing terrorists (Hezbollah types) to train the insurgents in their use and tactics. That's why the attacks have been so deadly lately. Their concealment methods are ingenious, the latest being shape charges in Styrofoam containers spray painted to look like the cinderblocks that litter all Iraqi roads. We find about 40% before they detonate, and the bomb disposal guys are unsung heroes of this war.
4) Mortars and rockets: Very prevalent. The soviet era 122mm rockets (with an 18km range) are becoming more prevalent. One of [The Marine's] NCO's lost a leg to one. These weapons cause a lot of damage "inside the wire". [The Marine's] base was hit almost daily his entire time there by mortar and rocket fire, often at night to disrupt sleep patterns and cause fatigue (It did). More of a psychological weapon than anything else. The enemy mortar teams would jump out of vehicles, fire a few rounds, and then haul ass in a matter of seconds.
5) Bad guy technology: Simple yet effective. Most communication is by cell and satellite phones, and also by email on laptops. They use handheld GPS units for navigation and "Google earth" for overhead views of our positions. Their weapons are good, if not fancy, and prevalent.
Their explosives and bomb technology is TOP OF THE LINE. Night vision is rare. They are very careless with their equipment and the captured GPS units and laptops are treasure troves of Intel when captured.
Who are the bad guys?:
Most of the carnage is caused by the Zarqawi Al Qaeda group. They operate mostly in Anbar province (Fallujah and Ramadi). These are mostly "foreigners", non-Iraqi Sunni Arab Jihadists from all over the Muslim world (and Europe). Most enter Iraq through Syria (with, of course, the knowledge and complicity of the Syrian govt.) , and then travel down the "rat line" which is the trail of towns along the Euphrates River that we've been hitting hard for the last few months.
Some are virtually untrained young Jihadists that often end up as suicide bombers or in "sacrifice squads". Most, however, are hard core terrorists from all the usual suspects (Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas etc.) These are the guys running around murdering civilians en masse and cutting heads off. The Chechens (many of whom are Caucasian), are supposedly the most ruthless and the best fighters. (they have been fighting the Russians for years). In the Baghdad area and south, most of the insurgents are Iranian inspired (and led) Iraqi Shiites. The Iranian Shiia have been very adept at infiltrating the Iraqi local govt.'s, the police forces and the Army. The have had a massive spy and agitator network there since the Iran-Iraq war in the early 80's. Most of the Saddam loyalists were killed, captured or gave up long ago.
Bad Guy Tactics:
When they are engaged on an infantry level they get their asses kicked every time. Brave, but stupid. Suicidal Banzai-type charges were very common earlier in the war and still occur. They will literally sacrifice 8-10 man teams in suicide squads by sending them screaming and firing Ak's and RPG's directly at our bases just to probe the defenses.
They get mowed down like grass every time. ( see the M2 and M240 above). [The Marine's] base was hit like this often. When engaged, they have a tendency to flee to the same building, probably for what they think will be a glorious last stand. Instead, we call in air and that's the end of that more often than not. These hole-ups are referred to as Alpha Whiskey Romeo's (Allah's Waiting Room). We have the laser guided ground-air thing down to a science. The fast mover's, mostly Marine F-18's, are taking an ever incr easing toll on the enemy. When caught out in the open, the helicopter gunships and AC-130 Spectre gunships cut them to ribbons with cannon and rocket fire, especially at night.
Interestingly, artillery is hardly used at all.
Fun fact: The enemy death toll is supposedly between 45-50 thousand. That is why we're seeing less and less infantry attacks and more IED, suicide bomber shit.
The new strategy is simple: attrition.
The insurgent tactic most frustrating is their use of civilian non-combatants as cover. They know we do all we can to avoid civilian casualties and therefore schools, hospitals and (especially) Mosques are locations where they meet, stage for attacks, cache weapons and ammo and flee to when engaged. They have absolutely no regard whatsoever for civilian casualties. They will terrorize locals and murder without hesitation anyone believed to be sympathetic to the Americans or the new Iraqi govt. Kidnapping of family members (especially children) is common to influence people they are trying to influence but cant reach, such as local govt. officials, clerics, tribal leaders, etc.).
The first thing our guys are told is "don't get captured". They know that if captured they will be tortured and beheaded on the internet. Zarqawi openly offers bounties for anyone who brings him a live American serviceman. This motivates the criminal element who otherwise don't give a shit about the war. A lot of the beheading victims were actually kidnapped by common criminals and sold to Zarqawi. As such, for our guys, every fight is to the death. Surrender is not an option.
The Iraqi's are a mixed bag. Some fight well, others aren't worth a shit. Most do okay with American support. Finding leaders is hard, but they are getting better. It is widely viewed that Zarqawi's use of suicide bombers, en masse, against the civilian population was a serious tactical mistake. Many Iraqi's were galvanized and the caliber of recruits in the Army and the police forces went up, along with their motivation. It also led to an exponential increase in good intel because the Iraqi's are sick of the insurgent attacks against civilians.
The Kurds are solidly pro-American and fearless fighters.
According to [The Marine], morale among our guys is very high. They not only believe they are winning, but that they are winning decisively. They are stunned and dismayed by what they see in the American press, whom they almost universally view as against them. The embedded reporters are despised and distrusted. They are inflicting casualties at a rate of 20-1 and then see shit like "Are we losing in Iraq" on TV and the print media. For the most part, they are satisfied with their equipment, food and leadership.
Bottom line though, and they all say this, there are not enough guys there to drive the final stake through the heart of the insurgency, primarily because there aren't enough troops in-theater to shut down the borders with Iran and Syria. The Iranians and the Syrians just cant stand the thought of Iraq being an American ally (with, of course, permanent US bases there).
That's it, hope you found it interesting, I sure did.


49 posted on 01/11/2006 8:26:08 PM PST by School of Rational Thought (Republican - The thinking people's party)
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To: El Gato

Assuming you are right that OBL actually participated in a fire fight (which I seriously doubt) short barrel, small caliber weapons do not lend them selves well to the terrain in Afghanistan. I am speaking from the viewpoint of an 11B40 combat vet, not a military theorist or gunsmith.


50 posted on 01/11/2006 8:26:46 PM PST by Natural Law
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