Skip to comments.Ma Deuce Replacement Stumbles
Posted on 08/06/2007 5:37:38 PM PDT by Renfield
July 31, 2007: Two years ago, field testing of the XM-312, the replacement for the eighty year old, .50 caliber (12.7mm) M-2 ("Ma Deuce") machine-gun, began, in the United States and overseas. Then, nothing. That's because the test results were not encouraging, the biggest shortcoming being the low rate of fire (about 260 rounds per minute). This is about half the rate of the M2, and was believed adequate for the 25mm smart shells the XM312 was originally designed for (as the XM307). But for 12.7mm bullets, it didn't impress the troops. There were some reliability problems, which could be fixed. The rate-of-fire issue, however, has proved to be more difficult. Meanwhile, a new upgrade for the M2 has been fielded, and Ma Deuce still rules the battlefield. The new M2E2 has a quick change barrel, flash hider and lot of small improvements. It is much in demand.
Originally, the M2 replacement was going to be the M-307, which was designed so it could fire either the computer controlled 25mm "smart shell" of the XM-25, or (by changing the barrel and receiver), .50 caliber ammo. But it was felt that a straight replacement for the M-2 was needed quickly. The original plan was for the troops to begin getting the XM312 in 2008, or sooner.
The M-2, nicknamed "Ma Deuce" by the troops, has been around so long because it was very good at what it did. Accurate, reliable, rugged and easy to use, many of the M-2s currently in use are decades old, and finally wearing out. The army doesn't want to build new ones, and wasn't sure it could do without the venerable, and very useful, Ma Deuce. So it ended up going ahead with the plan to build a new .50 caliber machine-gun (the XM312). Actually, the new Ma Deuce is basically the XM307, but without the ability to fire 25mm rounds. The XM312 weighs 36 pounds (compared to 50 for the M-2), even with the addition of the electronic fire control stuff from the XM307.
The fire control system, especially the range finder, makes the XM312 much more accurate with first shot hits, than the M-2. American troops have been testing the XM312 in the United States and Germany, and have also reacted favorably to the lighter weight of the XM-312. The lighter XM312 will be easier for infantry to manhandle into position (along with its tripod mount.) But the lower rate-of-fire on the XM-312 was particularly disappointing to the many troops who had used the M2 in combat recently.
I watch the television sometimes, and I realize that one of the few things that hasn’t changed since my time as a grunt is the old M-2 .50 caliber.
Long ago, and far away....
Put 4 of those bad boys together in VN and you had
a quad 50,if you had a brave man in the seat it was
astounding what it`d do when there was incoming.
The `45 Colt,Ma Deuce ,B-52,some things just seem to work
He was a Marine hitching a ride on an Army Huey. One of his fellow passengers was a VC colonel being taken for interrogation. The prisoner, his hands still shackled, managed to seize the wait gun and turn it to the inside of the chopper.
You sure that wasn't a M-60? I never saw a .50 cal on any Army bird, of any size. The Marine CH-46 was the only bird I saw (and used) it carried on. And there was no way it could be turned to shoot inside the helo. An M-60 on a bungee certainly could be turned around.
CMOH recipient(posth.) SFC Paul R. Smith used a Ma Deuce to single handedly smoke 50 sandgoblins during the Iraq Invasion.
Six hits with .50 and he lived? I’m sorry to doubt. but I don’t beleive that for a second.
See #23. I’d say it was a M-60, 7.62mm.
Nope...probably a M-60 on a bungi.
LOL. My golden will eat anything - except mcdonalds hamburgers.
Never tried to feed her an MRE.
One of my favorite stories is how Carlos Hathcock modified a .50 in order to take out a particularly loathsome sniper. Hence the Barrett was developed, winning hearts and minds in Afghanistan, Iraq and wherever legs need to be running without their torsos.
Hueys used the .30 cal M60, rather than the .50 M2.
Cool, where can I get one of those? It would go good with my 81mm mortar, and 105 howitzer. Talk about a great 4th of July...
[Sidebar: And no you richard heads reading this, I don't have an 81mm mortar]
During the blitzkrieg on Baghdad I was glued to the tv watching the live footage.
There was a shot taken from about half a mile of a Bradley moving along the river bank. You could just barely see a few troglodytes about 100 yards in front of it. A chaingun tracer made a perfect line to one of the ‘targets’ and he just ceased to exist. Just a white stripe and then a small flash and that dink was a fine mist. It was almost as if he was hit by lightning.
Yes, White Feather bump; the accuracy of the .50 is astounding.
BTW, my dad was injured by a M-2. Hot shell casing rolled up his arm.
Very likely I was wrong on that. I heard the story third-hand and wasn't taking notes. That does seem more plausible, and someone who survives six .30 hits is still a tough old bird.
I am not sure why it took the army so long to adopt the .50 cal. Browning and Colt had it ready in 1917.
If a new design for a heavy machine gun is needed, somebody needs to dig up John Moses Browning. Fortunately it appears as if one isn't really needed. A little updating and the old girl is still good to go. New builds rather than a bunch of weapons that have been through the arsenal to be rebuilt so many times they have more seniority than any of the employees might be nice though. The arsenal *claims* they are as good as new... but I saw the same "claim" 30+ years ago for J-57 turbojets. It was about as far from the truth as "The check is in the mail", or "We're from the BATFE and are here to help you." Same now goes for the J-57's replacement (in non fighter applications) the TF-33.