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Armies with the Most Versatile Infantry Tactics

Discussion in 'Military Training, Doctrine, and Planning' started by JJWilson, Nov 20, 2017.

  1. the_diego

    the_diego Active Member

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    Well, what weapon would you load up on at company-level for versatility, 1,200 rpm MGs or lots of 60mm mortars? I'm betting on the mortars.
     
  2. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    Well, the "1,200 rpm MG" is greatly overrated. I think it's telling that despite the ability to produce said guns, modern militaries opt for guns in the 650-850 rpm range. In fact, most guns with adjustable gas systems don't in practice use the higher gas/rof option, except to maintain the lower rof when the weapon begins to carbon up with sustained use. Examples: US-M240-E1/C/D/G S1: 650-750rpm S2: 750-850rpm S3: 850-950rpm, Soviet PKP 600-800rpm, German MG5 S1: 640rpm S2: 720rpm S3: 800rpm. (S#=gas port setting-rof=rate of fire-rpm=rounds per minute). In real world tactical employment, the lower gas port setting is normally used and is dialed up to the next setting as the weapon fouls in order to maintain proper function and rof.

    In the US during WWII the M1919A1 air-cooled browning had a rof of 400-600rpm the limiting factor being a lack of a quick-change barrel don't believe me? Well, the aircraft version had a rof of 1200-1500rpm). The advantage of the air-cooled over the water-cooled was lighter weight, greater mobility. However, in the sustained fire/defensive role the M1917 browning water-cooled (400-650) rpm could be fire at sustained near its maximum rate almost indefinitely as long as ammo was available to keep it fed. (Same-same for the British Vickers, 450-500rpm) The way the Marine Corps handled this different advantage/disadvantage was to arm their gun teams with the M-1919 and keep the M-1917 in the company trains to swap out as needed. One thing the British and Americans did that was advantageous was to employ light machine guns Bren/BAR at the squad/fire team level where it's lighter weight and mobility was an advantage over a GPMG. This concept has carried over into modern usage among most of the world's militaries as a squad automatic weapon.

    The MG42 was a great gun, it's just that the high cyclic rate of 1200rpm was not that important. In a mobile environment you couldn't keep it fed (the squad couldn't hump enough ammo to use cyclic). If in a fixed position where ammo could be stockpiled barrel heating and barrel changes dropped the theoretical rate from 1200rpm to a max of about 400rpm, practical. Machine gunners almost never hold the trigger down and go cyclic but, are trained to fire in bursts (3-5 for the M60, 5-7 for the M240, the latter due to a higher max rate) while traversing and searching. I'm not sure of the rounds per burst for the WWII guns because they're not the ones I've trained on like the M60/M240 but, would imagine they are in the same range 3-7.

    Here's a quote from an old post of mine (2015) that illustrates the issue:

    "Think about it. An MG 42 firing at a cyclic rate of 1200 rounds per minute would blow through close to 100 lbs of ammo a minute (250rds. boxed and belted 7.92 x 57 Mauser weighs 18lbs 6.5oz). How much ammo do you think a standard German squad could hump, in addition to their personal equipment, weapon, grenades, rations and ammo for their individual weapon? Then you have the barrel heating/wear aspect, barrel changes were mandated at 200-300 rounds for cooling purposes and to prevent ruining the barrel, so if we go with the upper limit of 300rds per minute you'd have four barrel changes in that one minute. This pretty much negates any appreciable cooling of the unused barrel (assuming the team has the standard two replacement barrels, for a total of three including the one in the gun) between changes. A well trained crew could effect a barrel change in 30 seconds. Now do the math for a theoretical cyclic rate without ruining the barrels. 1200rpm/60 seconds=20rds per second. So you have a 15 second burst (300rds), 30 second barrel change, 15 second burst (we're assuming no pause to re-aim or re-adjust body positioning), so you've used up your minute, but only fired 600 rounds. The first 30 seconds of the next minute would be barrel change, then 15 second burst, the 15 seconds of the next barrel change. Third minute, remaining 15 seconds of barrel change, 15 second burst, 30 second barrel change. So for the second and third minutes you've dropped to 300 rounds per minute, across the three minutes you're averaging 400 rounds per minute.
    That's a partial explanation of why cyclic is not a useable rate in air cooled machine guns except during certain situations where the tactical situation is more important than destroying the gun. Water cooled machine guns are a whole different situation, you can fire them at near cyclic if you have adequate quantities of water available."

    That said, Machine guns, mortars and automatic rifles/LMG's at the squad/fireteam level are all required for flexibility and the US and UK did a good job at this.
     
  3. the_diego

    the_diego Active Member

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    It's good for emplaced positions, like Omaha Beach.
     
  4. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    I read that the most kills were By German mortars in normandy. Unfortunately I don' recall the author.
     
  5. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    You are most likely correct, since post-war studies placed fragmentation weapons as the cause of 70-75 percent of combat casualties.
     
  6. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    The
    Germans also had co-ordinates for every bogace line/zone, so when they retreated to the next line, they called the mortar unit to shoot to from where they just had retreated. Lots of German phone wires Around.
     
  7. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    Well, the first thing you have to consider is that squads and platoons were not considered the basic combat unit. Companies and battalions are. Platoons and squads are simply the maneuver units that the company or battalion is using at the pointy end to do the fighting. A platoon or squad doesn't fight in isolation.

    Take the US infantry company. For overseas deployment into a combat theater it was issued a considerable number of extra weapons for issue as needed. So, the platoons of the company could be issued extra BAR's such that now virtually every squad has 2 instead of one. This was actually standardized in late 1944. The company could issue M1 or M3 submachineguns as needed too. The company held (officially) 12 for issue as needed. Bazookas were used this way as well.

    Then there are attached units from battalion. The heavy machinegun company could be parceled out to companies on an as needed basis so a company could have several attached for a mission. The same goes for other battalion assets like the pioneer section or I&R section in the HQ company.
     

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