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Military Lessons from Iraq:

Military History Iraq

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#1 CJ AEGIS

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Posted 16 May 2003 - 06:53 AM

First off the following article is worth reading since it provides a lot of details.  I’ll be drawing on it some for this post, from other sources for this post, and my own observations.    
Iraq After The War


Military Winners:



Carriers:
The majority of the strikes were launched off the carriers.  For all the times that the USAF has bragged up their tactical airpower it came up short this time.  It wasn’t so much the fault of the USAF it was more of a case of the inherent inadequacies of tactical land based aircraft when faced with a situation where you have no bases nearby for them to operate out of.  This conflict proved once again the ability of the carrier fleet to deploy anywhere in the world and provide extended striking power.  
    
The problems with the current carrier fleet were indeed also shown by this conflict.  The first is lack of an adequate bomb truck to operate off their decks.  The situation is getting downright pathetic when we have S-3 Vikings carrying out strike missions.  The Navy needs a cheap strike aircraft to operate off the carriers and they needed it yesterday.  Since the retirement of the A-6s and A-4s the Navy has been seriously hurting.  Carriers are operating with airwings are less than full strength and with the Hornet/Tomcat both trying to play fighter/bomber.  In the short term we could probably scrape together enough airframes from the boneyards to fill out a few wings but a lot of the A-6s are artificial reefs right now.  In the long term I’d suggest a new carrier based attack aircraft with a large bomb capacity, made on the cheap compared to fighters, and the capability to attack as a tanker.    

We saw that once all the carriers were deployed to support the conflict in Iraq the US Navy had no carriers in reserve to handle any hotspots that might have erupted in the world.  That is an alarming trend when you consider how often carriers are the force that is called on to respond to a surprise crisis.  The best the Navy could have scrapped together was an ARG or a few of them.  It could handle a minor crisis but it isn’t an adequate replacement for a carrier battlegroup.  The problem is 12 carriers are barely enough to cover a peaceful world and are wholly inadequate for covering the world as it is today.

My suggestions would be to retain the Constellation and run her until she falls apart.  We might be able to keep her going until the Bush is ready in 2008 though it would be an uphill battle.  You toss in the addition of the Reagan and that would bring the carrier fleet up to 13 decks.  Eventually the goal would be to increase the carrier fleet to 14 decks and hold the fleet at that number.  It isn’t the 15 I’d want but it is about the best I think we could do as is.  As a stopgap we make sure we have enough AV-8Bs to operate the Wasps as sea control vessels if it came to that.  At least two of the Iowas should be reactivated to operate as the central components of two Surface Action Groups.  The Iowas would have the capability to handle situations when a carrier isn’t available, assist the carriers, and would be nice in that they can deploy faster than a carrier.  A refit Iowa could carry all most as many T-Hawks as a SSGN-726 Ohio and still retain their 16” guns for fire support missions.  

Heavy Bombers:
They proved their flexibility in carrying out tactical air support over Afghanistan and once again the heavies shinned.  The B-2s lived up to their reputation and were able to go downtown with the Black Jets even early in the conflict.  The B-52s were again showing that despite their age they are capable of putting iron on target and are the workhorse of the USAF.  The main problem I see again cropping up though is the very age of the B-52.  While the BUFF with the recent facelifts and potentially new engines could/will continue serving well into the 21st we need a replacement for when it does get placed out to pasture.  The B-52 could still be going strong in 2040s according to some of the more conservative estimates.  Even with that it is better to get on the ball and start getting some replacements.  The B-1s and B-2s are far too expensive and few in number to ever replace the B-52.  The best shot I see is adapting the C-17 into a bomber.  It wouldn’t be that hard of a capability to add to the airframe and could be done with some redesigning.  The Air Force would also get to eat up the publicity of having the B-17 Flying Fortress II.  


US Army: Heavy Armor:
To say that those (including Rumsfeld) who were pushing for a lighter US Army took a black eye on this is a vast understatement.  The M1A2 Abrams and Bradley Fighting Vehicle proved to be the king and the queen of the battlefield in this showing.  The Abrams despite getting bit by everything from AAA to various antitank weapons pulled through without suffering any losses among the crews.  The only thing that seemed to have any real impact on them was the Iranian knockoffs of the TOW and even those were shots to the rear.  In that situation the crew of nearly any other tank in the world would be either dead or have a dicey prospect of surviving.  The Bradley in this case was simply amazing; an IFV/CFV killing T-72 tanks with 25mm rounds is mind-boggling.  To paraphrase how Jon very eloquently put it what do you do with an IFV that doesn’t carry infantry; you kill tanks.    
    
The current structure of the heavy forces shouldn’t be touched and anyone who wants to mess with it should be slapped alongside the head.   Now what we do need (without educing the heavy forces) though a few air transportable brigades based around the Stryker is needed.  At least then you have a few brigades that can be flown into a remote airstrip by C-130 in the event of a pinch.  The Stryker is no replacement for a tank but it can give as good as a tank even if it can’t come close to taking it.  The Stryker Brigades could hold the area until heavier forces can be lifted in by C-17/C-5 once facilities have been expanded.  


USAF: Transports
I really have this image of the USAF sending the Turks a Christmas card for that stunt they pulled.  Talk about the perfect point to bring up when you want additional C-17s.  Transporting elements of 1 ID into Northern Iraq by air must have really eaten up the number of available aircraft for other missions.  Not too much to say here other than we need more of them.  Though there has been some interesting proposals for a lighter than air zeppelin style heavy lifter that would make the C-5 look like a slouch in terms of payload.  The problem is the thing would be much slower and a sitting duck to any type of enemy fire.


UAVs
The UAVs really shinned during this conflict.  The only real disappointment as noted in the article was Dragon Eye and I think we’ll see that these problems will be fairly easy to resolve.  In terms of short term lesson the Marines should be supplied something newer than the Pioneer, which is going on two decades old.  The Pioneers should be retired to Customs and the USCG for border security while the Marines should receive some new UAVs.  The tiltrotor Eagle Eye UAV has some real potential for being a great UAV for the Marines.  As a interesting note from the article it was Global Hawk that patrolled over the battlefield during the sandstorm and tracked Iraqi movements.  

The Predator once again pulled off another pioneer moment by being the first UAV to carry out a SEAD mission against an Iraqi AAA site.  The expected trend for the future will be UAVs undertaking these types of high-risk missions.  The Boeing X-45 is a step in the right direction and with the recent success of UAVs these programs should be accelerated.  There is the potential that a cannon and hellfire armed UAV might be a good option to replace the attack helicopter on the battlefield.    

      
Patriot Missiles
It looks like this time around the Patriot put up a nice showing though we’ll know more as we get further from the event and the data is reviewed.  According to this article and others the friendly fire incidents seem to be the result of a bug in the software for interpreting the IFF signals from aircraft.  While this is a serious issue that must be dealt with ASAP it doesn’t seem to impair the capability of the Patriot to intercept other missiles.  This success should be followed up by the development of NMD and ABL along with continuing to give the Navy a wider capability against missiles by upgrading the Standard Missiles.      
    


Losers:


USAF Tactical:
Despite putting up a good showing in what they were able to do the basing problem is just becoming too much of a problem.  The problem with land based tactical aircraft is that you need land to base them out of.  That land should happen to be relatively nearby.  I’m figuring we’ll see a  “what you have works just fine for the pay off we get” line applied to USAF tactical air for some time. The F/A-22 is really going to have to shine here or the program is going to take yet more cuts.  Considering how old the F-15 is getting and how advanced some of the foreign competition is growing to be the F/A-22 is needed rather badly.  Some of the next generation Russian fighters are going to be more than capable of giving the F-15 a tough time.  I’m betting the F/A-22 will be deployed but in reduced numbers with the F-35 being deployed in larger numbers to compensate for it.  

Now the USAF did bring a CAS winner to the table.  The A-10 despite many having argued that it was outdated proved to be another real standup.  The real advantage of the A-10 is that to some degree they can overcome the basing issue by operating off fields captured by advancing ground troops.  The nice thing about the A-10 is they aren’t a finicky plane and can operate in those types of conditions.  The one thing the conflict did show is that the A-10 is vulnerable to enemy fire due to the slower speeds it operates at but the redundant systems and armor will keep it in the air long after any other aircraft is a fireball.  


Helicopters
It had been argued for a few years now that the helicopter is being outpaced by technology and is far too vulnerable to damage to last long over a modern battlefield.  Now the Apaches showed a fair amount of success over Iraq but they did take several hard fits with the one crash landing and subsequent capture of the crew.  The problem is an enemy who is fairly low tech in terms of air defense shot the Apaches up pretty badly when they went in close.  If the Iraqis had any large amounts of modern manpads the Apaches would have taken some serious losses, the mission would have been carried out from standoff ranges, or the mission would have never been launched.  A potential alternative is to build an armed tiltrotor UAV that has a fair cannon armament and that can launch Hellfires.

Transports helicopters are even more vulnerable with their slower speed, weaker/no armor, and having to hover or land to recover troops.  The second problem is the American helicopter force seems to be starting to develop the initial stages of what I have dubbed the Canadian Sea King Phenomenon.  That means the helicopters are just plain old and/or have maintenance issues so they have developed a propensity toward exiting the sky in a uncontrolled manner.  The best solution here is to have better maintenance for the birds we have and work on getting the Osprey deployed in larger numbers as soon as possible so the MH-53J, MH-60G, CH-46E, and CH-53D can be replaced.  

Things that need tweaking:



Obviously it can be seen from the article that US troops are having some problems with the NATO 5.56 mm round again.  This one really didn’t surprise me since the same thing sprang up in the aftermath of The Battle of the Black Sea.  The Rangers and Delta Operators were hitting individuals multiple times and failing to take them down.  The round lacks the stopping power and just often tends to punch right through one side of a person and out the other.  So as long as the bullet doesn’t hit anything too vital a person can often survive multiple hits.  I have to wonder if a return to 7.62mm isn’t in order considering the problems with the 5.56mm along with a move toward having more carbines available for urban fighting.    
    
Moving along another slight problem seems to be both the arming of support troops and the M9 pistol.  The question of support troops is that they want a smaller weapon than the M-16 for obvious reasons yet something more capable than a sidearm.  This harkens back to the situation with Private Lynch and the ambush of the support troops in the rear.  I’m still not sure if they were armed with M-16s or just sidearms though the vehicles did have M-2s.  As suggested by the article one potential solution is the M4 carbine, which is slightly smaller.  Another solution I can see is to put out a challenge to FN Manufacturing in regard to their P90.  This SMG is of a fairly compact size, has a nice amount of stopping power, good range for a SMG, and a large magazine capacity.  The main problem is that in it’s current form it just isn’t rugged enough to deployed in the field and is pretty much a weapon for law enforcement or security forces.  I’ll leave the issue of the inadequacies of the M9 to Jon who will be happy to elaborate why the M1911 should be brought back    

Questions?  Comments?  Rotten fruit to throw?  Acronym brain freezes?  :D

Edited by CJ AEGIS, 16 May 2003 - 06:59 AM.

"History has proven too often and too recently that the nation which relaxes its defenses invites attack."
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#2 jon3831

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Posted 16 May 2003 - 08:04 AM

Interesting article. Definately worth the read. I'll probably weigh in with some of my own winners and losers in a little while, I just wanted to comment on a few things...

Quote

My suggestions would be to retain the Constellation and run her until she falls apart. We might be able to keep her going until the Bush is ready in 2008 though it would be an uphill battle. You toss in the addition of the Reagan and that would bring the carrier fleet up to 13 decks. Eventually the goal would be to increase the carrier fleet to 14 decks and hold the fleet at that number. It isn’t the 15 I’d want but it is about the best I think we could do as is.

With the CVX-78 in a few years, you might be able to keep ahead of the retiring Kitty Hawk-class, but I wouldn't rely on it...

Even if you had the decks, you'd still need the air wing, so that means development of new aircraft. (Including that bomb truck we so desparately need)

Quote

The Iowas would have the capability to handle situations when a carrier isn’t available, assist the carriers, and would be nice in that they can deploy faster than a carrier. A refit Iowa could carry all most as many T-Hawks as a SSGN-726 Ohio and still retain their 16” guns for fire support missions.

Perhaps revive the Montana-class? ;)

Quote

The B-52 could still be going strong in 2040s according to some of the more conservative estimates.

As a point of reference, most of the B-52s used in the war were older than the crews flying them.

Quote

So as long as the bullet doesn’t hit anything too vital a person can often survive multiple hits. I have to wonder if a return to 7.62mm isn’t in order considering the problems with the 5.56mm along with a move toward having more carbines available for urban fighting.

As some will tell you, that was one of the reasons to get away from the standard issue .38 Special round during the Phillippine Insurrection and change over to the .45ACP.

And a new service rifle competetion? <shudder>  We'll probably get something that looks like the OICW...

Quote

Another solution I can see is to put out a challenge to FN Manufacturing in regard to their P90. This SMG is of a fairly compact size, has a nice amount of stopping power, good range for a SMG, and a large magazine capacity. The main problem is that in it’s current form it just isn’t rugged enough to deployed in the field and is pretty much a weapon for law enforcement or security forces.

Yeah, but the P90 looks like a children's toy! Call me old fashioned, but I think a rifle should look like a rifle. ;)

FN P90 Page

Another alternative would be some of the folding-stock variants of the HK MP5 or UMP 45... They'd use the same ammunition as the sidearms, but provide a bit more punch. (In the form of 3 round bursts, natch)

Problem with the M4 is with the stock... It can be collapsed, but not folded, due to the design of the weapon itself. (The action spring that keeps the bolt closed is housed in the stock)

Quote

I’ll leave the issue of the inadequacies of the M9 to Jon who will be happy to elaborate why the M1911 should be brought back

Am I *that* predictable?  :p   :lol:

Edited by jon3831, 16 May 2003 - 09:11 AM.

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#3 CJ AEGIS

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Posted 16 May 2003 - 09:45 AM

Quote

Jon: I'll probably weigh in with some of my own winners and losers in a little while, I just wanted to comment on a few things...

Nice.  I was hoping others would jump in with theirs.  Saves me from having to kill my fingers typing more. ;)

Quote

Jon: With the CVX-78 in a few years, you might be able to keep ahead of the retiring Kitty Hawk-class, but I wouldn't rely on it...

You might be able to though the piping on Enterprise is getting real bad.  So given some extra loving care and drydock time they might be able to keep Enterprise going for a few more years also.  With a bit of luck she might go through 2018 so you have the Bush replacing Connie, CVX-78 replacing Kitty Hawk, and CVX-79 replacing either JFK or the Big E in 2018.   Hopefully the yard period she is in can negate the neglect she has gone through over the years.    

Quote

Jon: Even if you had the decks, you'd still need the air wing, so that means development of new aircraft. (Including that bomb truck we so desparately need)

Here is where it gets interesting.  First thing is I’d push for a navalized version of the F/A-22 to replace the F-14.  My personal opinion is that neither the Super Hornet nor the F-35 is fully up to the task of defending a CVBG against a concentrated air attack.  I’d also like to see an extended range variant of the AIM-120C to replace the AIM-54.  Losing the Phoenix is going to hurt a lot in terms of standoff capability against an BFR antiship missile toting bomber.  I think I’d like to see a two seat navalized version of the F/A-22 and a two seat strike version for the USAF.  The advantage of the navalized version is the USAF might be able to piggyback and grab a few airframes in the process.  A tad expensive yes but F-4 Phantom anyone?    

The carriers would retain the Super Hornet, which looks to be a good improvement over the current Hornet and more than capable of holding the line with support from a Sea Raptor.  Meanwhile I’d totally can the JSF from the large deck carriers and limit it to a support role operating from the amphibs.  Anything with only one engine shouldn’t be operating over the sea as much as this would be and I’m dubious on certain aspects of the JSF.  I’d rather limit it to the small decks, the Marines, and the USAF.  It also frees up more JSF to act in a Sea Control role as part of an ARG.  

Quote

Jon: Perhaps revive the Montana-class? 

It would have been nice for smacking around other battleships but a tad too much for this day and era.  Anything short of a nuke  (you better get it close to) or torpedo will just bounce off the side of an Iowa so really the extra armor of the Montana wouldn’t be much help.   You also sacrifice far too much speed making it slower than the carriers losing on the great advantages of a battleship in this day and age.  That said I wouldn’t mind seeing the Navy deploy 3 or 4 new “battleships” for when the Iowa reached their limits of service.

I’d retain the two forward triple turrets with 16”/50s and then use the entire aft section for VLS and that hangar space for helicopters than the Iowas never had.  The secondary armament could be in the form of ten to twelve MK 45 5” ERGM.  So basically you have an Iowa and the arsenal ship rolled into one very nice package without the crew intensive requirements of the Iowas. The main problem would be finding someone who could actually make the armor to put on her.  I can imagine the headaches it would cause in this day and age but someone did construct that blast door for Cheyenne mountain…

Quote

Jon: And a new service rifle competetion? <shudder> We'll probably get something that looks like the OICW...

Which still fires the 5.56 rounds that is the heart of the problem on this entire issue.  
    

Quote

Jon: Yeah, but the P90 looks like a children's toy! Call me old fashioned, but I think a rifle should look like a rifle.

It isn’t the most impressive thing out there for looks but it does have the stats for getting the job done.  Assuming you don’t drop it or get it dirty…  There is a serious need for a redesign in regards to that.  It would also be nice to see them add a three round burst rather than the current choice of full auto or single.      
  

Quote

Jon: Another alternative would be some of the folding-stock variants of the HK MP5 or UMP 45... They'd use the same ammunition as the sidearms, but provide a bit more punch. (In the form of 3 round bursts, natch)

The main problem I have with the MP-5 is the effective range is down to 100 meters; which would leave anyone at a significant disadvantage against a carbine or rifle armed opponent when at range. The P90 is effective out to 200 meters and still has a near rifle like impact.  The main advantage I see in the MP-5 is it does use the same ammo as the M9; which makes supply easier and it is a proven weapons system.

The P90 would be better when the enemy was shooting at you assuming you keep it maintained but on the practical side the MP-5 does win out.  Hmmmm      

Quote

Jon: Am I *that* predictable?

When it comes to the M9 vs M1911 yes. ;)
"History has proven too often and too recently that the nation which relaxes its defenses invites attack."
        -Fleet Admiral Nimitz
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#4 Talkie Toaster

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Posted 17 May 2003 - 05:55 AM

CJ AEGIS, on May 16 2003, 04:40 AM, said:

US Army: Heavy Armor:
Pity the British government wasn't paying attention to this- the Challenger fleet is going to be cut; as is the amount of artillery the British army possesses. The government feels the need to modernise the army without increasing the budget. Its going to be fantastic- 2 tanks and 5 million computers to view them on. :angry:
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#5 CJ AEGIS

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Posted 18 May 2003 - 10:06 AM

Talkie Toaster, on May 16 2003, 07:02 PM, said:

Pity the British government wasn't paying attention to this- the Challenger fleet is going to be cut; as is the amount of artillery the British army possesses. The government feels the need to modernise the army without increasing the budget. Its going to be fantastic- 2 tanks and 5 million computers to view them on. :angry:
By exactly how many tanks and how big of a cut to artillery?
"History has proven too often and too recently that the nation which relaxes its defenses invites attack."
        -Fleet Admiral Nimitz
"Their sailors say they should have flight pay and sub pay both -- they're in the air half the time, under the water the other half""
        - Ernie Pyle: Aboard a DE

#6 EvilTree

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Posted 23 May 2003 - 04:55 AM

Quote

US Army: Heavy Armor:
To say that those (including Rumsfeld) who were pushing for a lighter US Army took a black eye on this is a vast understatement.  The M1A2 Abrams and Bradley Fighting Vehicle proved to be the king and the queen of the battlefield in this showing.  The Abrams despite getting bit by everything from AAA to various antitank weapons pulled through without suffering any losses among the crews.  The only thing that seemed to have any real impact on them was the Iranian knockoffs of the TOW and even those were shots to the rear.  In that situation the crew of nearly any other tank in the world would be either dead or have a dicey prospect of surviving.  The Bradley in this case was simply amazing; an IFV/CFV killing T-72 tanks with 25mm rounds is mind-boggling.  To paraphrase how Jon very eloquently put it what do you do with an IFV that doesn’t carry infantry; you kill tanks.     
   
The current structure of the heavy forces shouldn’t be touched and anyone who wants to mess with it should be slapped alongside the head.   Now what we do need (without educing the heavy forces) though a few air transportable brigades based around the Stryker is needed.  At least then you have a few brigades that can be flown into a remote airstrip by C-130 in the event of a pinch.  The Stryker is no replacement for a tank but it can give as good as a tank even if it can’t come close to taking it.  The Stryker Brigades could hold the area until heavier forces can be lifted in by C-17/C-5 once facilities have been expanded. 

Also consider the usefulness of heavy armour depends on the terrain.

Iraq was a large flat area, tanker's dream. In other terrains, heavy armour isn't as useful. Consider terrains such as Korea. In the Korean War, Centurions (then the best tank around) were used basically as mobile pillboxes.

Current mind shift in Canadian Army is also leaning towards lighter, more mobile army, with Leo C2s being kept around sole  for infantry direct fire support, if tanks are to be used at all.

Quote

Obviously it can be seen from the article that US troops are having some problems with the NATO 5.56 mm round again. This one really didn’t surprise me since the same thing sprang up in the aftermath of The Battle of the Black Sea. The Rangers and Delta Operators were hitting individuals multiple times and failing to take them down. The round lacks the stopping power and just often tends to punch right through one side of a person and out the other. So as long as the bullet doesn’t hit anything too vital a person can often survive multiple hits. I have to wonder if a return to 7.62mm isn’t in order considering the problems with the 5.56mm along with a move toward having more carbines available for urban fighting.

Moving along another slight problem seems to be both the arming of support troops and the M9 pistol. The question of support troops is that they want a smaller weapon than the M-16 for obvious reasons yet something more capable than a sidearm. This harkens back to the situation with Private Lynch and the ambush of the support troops in the rear. I’m still not sure if they were armed with M-16s or just sidearms though the vehicles did have M-2s. As suggested by the article one potential solution is the M4 carbine, which is slightly smaller. Another solution I can see is to put out a challenge to FN Manufacturing in regard to their P90. This SMG is of a fairly compact size, has a nice amount of stopping power, good range for a SMG, and a large magazine capacity. The main problem is that in it’s current form it just isn’t rugged enough to deployed in the field and is pretty much a weapon for law enforcement or security forces. I’ll leave the issue of the inadequacies of the M9 to Jon who will be happy to elaborate why the M1911 should be brought back 

I'm pretty sure you've all heard the debate b/w 7.62 vs. 5.56.

I'm in favour of 5.56mm.
It's lighter. You can carry more of them and rely on being resupped less.
Apparently 5.56mm does more damage when it hits a body and riccochets more in the body. You shoot to kill,  yes. But if you wound, well, you take it as it causes the enemy to expense resources to take the wounded out of the fight.Though after hearing stories from Mog, I do have my doubts.
At least in Canadian infantry section, there should be enough firepower to make up for any failings of 5.56. 2x LMG plus 2x M203 grenadiers and 4x M72  can send helluva a lot of firepower down. Platoon support weapons should be able to deal with most other threats, including up to medium armour. (Canadian platoon weapons detachment has 1x C6 GPMG (M240), 1x 60mm mortar, 1x Carl G should be able to handle anything up to medium armour).
And apparently 60% of the kills in WW2 was from artillery and MGs. Shifting rifle calibre won't make much of an impact, IMO.
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#7 Talkie Toaster

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Posted 23 May 2003 - 05:00 AM

CJ AEGIS, on May 17 2003, 11:13 PM, said:

Talkie Toaster, on May 16 2003, 07:02 PM, said:

Pity the British government wasn't paying attention to this- the Challenger fleet is going to be cut; as is the amount of artillery the British army possesses. The government feels the need to modernise the army without increasing the budget. Its going to be fantastic- 2 tanks and 5 million computers to view them on. :angry:
By exactly how many tanks and how big of a cut to artillery?
About a third, IIRC.
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#8 CJ AEGIS

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Posted 24 May 2003 - 12:31 PM

Quote

Eviltree: Also consider the usefulness of heavy armour depends on the terrain.

The usefulness of any military force is dependent on terrain.  It constrains exactly what that force can do and what exactly can be brought up against them in that terrain.  The best light infantry in the world will get rolled over by 1st Armor when in open terrain or any type of terrain that allows a degree of free movement by the armor.  In that type of terrain the infantry ism poorly suited for facing off against heavy forces.

In addition the US has some of the best light forces in the world with the 10th Mountain Division, 101st Airborne, and 82nd Airborne.  The new Stryker Brigades will cover the gap in between.  Still nothing is as good for squashing the opposition as when the heavy forces come rolling in.        

Quote

Eviltree: Current mind shift in Canadian Army is also leaning towards lighter, more mobile army, with Leo C2s being kept around sole for infantry direct fire support, if tanks are to be used at all.

That’s just fine for Canada and their type of commitments but would be a mistake for the US.  Canada can afford to have a military that is inadequate in the area of being able to bring overwhelming firepower to bear on a potential enemy force.  I don’t see too many situations where the Canadian Military will have to face off on it’s own in sustained combat against heavy forces.  Either they’ll be operating within a Coalition that has those heavy forces or doing peacekeeping missions.
"History has proven too often and too recently that the nation which relaxes its defenses invites attack."
        -Fleet Admiral Nimitz
"Their sailors say they should have flight pay and sub pay both -- they're in the air half the time, under the water the other half""
        - Ernie Pyle: Aboard a DE

#9 jon3831

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Posted 25 May 2003 - 07:31 PM

Came across a post called "Equipment feedback from Iraq" at another board I frequent. After wading back through posts on 2-3 other BBSs, I came up with this link.

I'll repost here. I considered putting it in it's own thread, but it probably belongs here, as it directly relates to the topics we've discussed. Of particular interest is the discussion of the M9 magazines and the M16 and M243 problems... Also, the 5.56/7.62 issue is discussed as well.

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Background ~ In support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Marine Corps Systems Command (MCSC) fielded equipment in response to Urgent Universal Need Statements which provided additional capability to I MEF. At the request of the Combat Assessment Team, MCSC provided three officers to assess UNS / legacy system items. This was the second trip supported by MCSC personnel in theatre. The following locations were visited:

An Nasiriyah
Ad Diwaniyah

Observations ~ The following notes are based on discussions with Marines in the field. Accordingly, much of the information provided is subjective and opinion based. I would recommend appropriate and further review before taking action. Intent of this discussion is to highlight those areas where the Marine Corps, as an institution, should consider applying resources in order to improve the identified functional areas. This report is a result of the efforts of Capt Patricia Dienhart (PM, GTES), Capt Shannon Roos (PM, Tanks) and Capt Mike Howard (PM, IWS) who traveled current USMC battlespace to interview the Marines who are currently using the gear. Additionally, I conducted a number of camp interviews; those systems are included in this report:

Dust abatement – remains a high priority for the MEF and affects units throughout the battlespace. My personnel experience suggests that this type of materiel needs to come into theatre ASAP. Dust in certain areas is greater than 6” deep and very much like a fine talcum powder. Foot and vehicle traffic, along with ever-present winds, can reduce visibility to less than 50’ feet in a matter of moments. Convoy operations become exceedingly difficult, air operations come to a halt and living conditions for Marines become intolerable. A bigger concern is that commanders in the field are faced with a Catch-22 situation of spraying oil on the ground (hazmat, environmental issues in a “win the hearts and minds environment”) vs. functioning.

C4I Issues - Interoperability of various Communications equipment was an issue in all C3 vehicles and COCs (Tanks, LAR, AAVs). Marines were overwhelmed with the high number of varied communications equipment they were expected to use. Routinely, communicators, operations officers, and commanders found themselves in information overload as they received information over too many different networks (e.g. an LAV Marine was connected to the intercom via his CVC headset, receiving information on a personal intra squad radio (requiring him to remove his helmet to talk), while also (depending on the particular LAVs configuration) “working” 2-3 man portable radios to communicate with other units (PVC 5 for SEALs, PRC 148 for fellow Marines, etc) and “monitoring” two laptops). This situation was exacerbated in C3 vehicles where I personally saw that every “shelf” was taken up by a radio and seat spaces and floor spaces were taken up with open computers for communications devices such as Blue Force Tracker, MDACT, or Iridium phones. Marines recounted numerous instances where units would call via radio to verify that a message was received over MDACT, while the receiving unit had just put the MDACT aside to monitor BFT since a previous unit had called asking about the receipt of a digital photo over BFT. Consolidation of communications assets / capabilities is an issue that requires review at the institutional level. Commanders want one box that provides multiple capabilities and that is simple and easy to use.
Overwhelmingly, units were in agreement that communications architecture required an overhaul. There were too many different devices that provided redundant capabilities. Additionally, units never seemed to receive enough of ONE communications asset, forcing them to rely on a “hodge-podge” of assets that were not consistent throughout the force. (e.g. some units had only MDACT for digital communication while another unit had only Blue Force Tracker. These units could not talk to each other unless they went through a third party or used a courier system). A specific case occurred between LAR S-2 and the Div G-2, while attempting to send pictures from the Dragon Eye to Division HQ G-2. The S-2 had BFT readily available while the G-2 did not. The G-2 needed to “borrow” the commander’s BFT to receive these messages or simply wait for a courier with a MEMOREX disk to arrive with the pictures. Time lost often rendered the pictures irrelevant in this fast paced fight. As the Operations Officer from 1st LAR stated, “the communications architecture is broken and the interoperability of various communications assets is virtually non-existent.”

Satellite Communications - The only consistently reliable means of communication was “SATCOM.” In this fast paced war, if a communications system was not functioning quickly, alternative methods were employed. This was a specific problem of the EPLRS radio (which relies on Line of Site (LOS)). With units constantly moving, over various terrain, LOS was not possible. Accordingly, any system connected to the EPLRS radio proved unreliable (e.g. MDACT, AFATDS, etc). The only systems consistently praised by the Marines were the Blue Force Tracker (SATCOM- though unsecure) and Iridium Phones (SATCOM). These systems provided reliable communications at all times. In many instances these systems were the sole means of communication.
Many Marines noted MDACT, which has a larger bandwidth and greater capability for sending electronic information was marginalized by its dependence on the EPLRS (LOS) radio. As one commander stated, “Satellite Communications is simply the way of the future and the Marine Corps needs to start focusing on that.” Rumor suggested the Army “gave” the Marine Corps satellite time (note: I believe the USMC contracted bandwidth prior to crossing the LD) in order to use the BFT; had this not been the case, the Marine Corps would have found itself fighting, in several instances, without tactical communication.
There were numerous comments regarding the fielding (plans) of gear. Consistently units felt “forgotten” in the fielding plans of various pieces of equipment. For example, Combat Engineer Battalion was not included in the original SAPI plate distribution; ultimately, they received inadequate numbers of SAPI plates the day prior to crossing the LD. CEB leadership was faced with hard questions from their Marines (e.g. literally, questions such as, “Why is {his} life more important than mine?”). EOD and LAR units consistently felt “left out” of the distribution of the latest combat gear (note: these fielding issues should be reviewed by the appropriate Advocate and Requirements reps). Additionally, if LAR was included in a fielding plan, they were treated similarly to “leg” infantry units; though structured differently (LAR battalions have four companies vice the traditional three of an infantry unit). This caused problems when items were fielded as “one per company” as invariably in a 4-company base one company would go without the newly fielded equipment. This problem became acute when one company was forced to use secondary communications, burdening the COC with monitoring two different radios for all their companies.

Logistics Trains - CSSG resupply trains were fired upon. However, their technology and armor was inferior to that of the divisions’. Marines without SAPI plates in soft skinned vehicles were the norm. “Rear area” units have elements that routinely operate on the “front lines”. Though CSSGs did not face the same intensity and threats of Division units, they received fire and worked in a very hostile environment. As the tempo of the modern fight will cause differences between the front lines and rear areas to blur, Advocate level consideration needs to be given to more equitable fieldings of equipment. FSSG units need to be outfitted with more Blue Force Trackers, more high tech radios, and better-armored protection (SAPI plates, armored HMMWVs, etc).

Preliminary UNS Review ~ The following is a list of UNS / legacy items for which was gathered from the Marines that used them:

Fuel hoses and reels – One of success stories of the conflict and follow on HA mission. Approximately 70 miles of hoses and reel were laid that supported the MEF’s movement without flaw. Despite supporting what were, arguably, the longest LOC’s in recent USMC history, fuel was never a potential limiting feature of the war. The hose reel system outpaced the Army’s installation of IPDS system. However, within the bulk fuel community, there is a concern that the wrong lessons will be learned. The fuel effort required the dedicated use of a bulk fuel company for the duration of the war. Once the lines were laid, they required high maintenance and the constant supervision / over watch of the skill sets resident in the dedicated engineer unit which supported the fuel lines.

TCDL suites - Systems were sent out to various MSCs to include the 1st UK Div and provided real time surveillance of the battlespace. The systems easy to use and proved to be reliable under a very harsh environment. The units requested additional systems as a result of this new capability that it gave the units. However, the limited availability of spares and FSR support for these systems were a concern.

Black Cell Suites – This equipment transmitted UAV video down to the Bn level increasing visibility of the battlespace. The systems were easy to use and set-up. However, the limited availability of spares was a concern. Additionally, due to limited availability, there were not enough Black Cell suites to support every unit that requested one.

Low Cost Receiver – This system proved very easy to use, was lightweight and “Marine Proof”. The system never failed to work and was used to push information around the battlefield and every unit wanted one of these systems.

IOS Suites - Units want a small system during the next upgrade. Additionally, the units request a Windows platform, if available.

RTC – The system was never delivered to I MEF, but should have been procured earlier in the conflict. Could have been used by the Intel Fusion Cell. (note: originally requested but ultimately dropped from the UNS process due to time. This was a recurrent theme. Many never had visibility on the MROC process and did not understand the resultant 60 – 75 day delay that was apparently evident to even the lower levels of the organizational structure. After explanation, many understood, but felt the process could have been expedited. Many could not get past the idea that 60 days was the difference between every UNS fielded vs. most UNS fielded.).

AFATDS – The following insights were drawn from MGySgt Albrecht, an artilleryman with 28 of experience. Until all parties return from the battlespace, I have only one view. Accordingly, issues below should be validated before any action is taken. His thoughts below:
- AFATDS works best when turned on and left on
- As a whole the system was not used as intended (with the exception of the firing batteries)
- 22 systems down before crossing the LD. Apparently the maintenance concept was in place, but force protection issues (2 car, 4 Marine rule coupled with requirement to have an 06 signed letter to get on / off base (Doha) complicated this maintenance cycle
- Dust caused the keyboards to go “down”
- Infantry units did use a fire support control tool.
- Arty units were able to process and clear missions in 45 seconds; Infy units took 25 minutes.
- Infy units cleared all missions by voice (hence the time disparity noted above)
- AFATDS with EPLRS worked perfectly; digital was always “up”
- SINCGARS trouble shooting with AFATDS is timely (15 seconds) and easy
- One comment from 2nd Tanks was that they had problems getting the system to function properly, especially on the move. Once the tank started vibrating the system would stop working; not sure if it was the vibration or loss of Line of Site.
MGySgt Albrecht’s formal after action will be routed via his chain of command at MCSC.

MTVR – apparently there will be a large order of windshields for these assets as they were unable to withstand the overpressure of the Artillery’s higher charges (Charge 8 Super). Comments regarding bed height, as noted in my last report, were the same; bed is too high. Also, a concern was raised that, in the future, as the trucks become older, maintenance will become a critical issue since Marines are not trained to fix the highly sophisticated computerized system. CLS was not seen as a reliable solution. Marines, throughout the battlefield, of all ranks, were not in favor of contracted civilian support.

Heavy Machine Gun (HMG) Mount ~ Both the AVS and MSG brands of HMG mounts worked well. Most reports were favorable. One operator indicated a flaw of the system was the tightness of the pintle. Sand often got in this area, which then locked the machine gun in one position. Operators alleviated the problem with routine PMs, suggesting the issue is likely to be due to the extreme sand problems of this environment.

Forward Air Controller (FAC) Suite/GLTD II ~ Operators who used the designator found that it performed acceptably. Operators in vehicle platforms (to include AAVs and tanks) would like to have a stabilized vehicle mounted variant.
The GLTD II system (non US version) was issued in a configuration that included components necessary for designating targets (a tripod, and a tracking head). The tracking head provided a means to attach the designator to the issued tripod (can’t be done directly) and stabilize the designator for laser safety issues. The tracking head is a bulky, heavy apparatus that functions as the “trigger” for the rest of the system. The desire of the operators is to leave all unnecessary gear behind due to size and weight considerations. Most operators learned that by using the remote trigger cable, they wouldn’t need the tracking head. Many left the tracking head and tripod behind. Many chose to use the tripod from the Viper (could be connected directly to designator) if tripod use was desired.
The FAC suites were not issued as requested in the UNS. The fielding team only issued the GLTD II laser designator suite. The PEQ-4 laser illuminators/markers and AN/PRC-7C night vision goggles went directly to Division and were distributed before the fielding team arrived in country. (note: as the crossing of the LD became imminent, it was decided to field components as they came in, IOT some capability vice no capability. The GLTD II literally “just made it” and was the last item fielded before the LD was crossed). Units already have assets to communicate with the aircraft (PRC-113), night vision devices (AN/PVS-7s, AN/PVS-14s) to spot the laser illumination, and AN/PVS-17C to give the GLTD II a “night sight capability”. The AN/PVS-17C has a maximum effective range of 500m at a point target in ideal/perfect conditions. This distance is within the “danger close” area, and therefore doesn’t give the system a night capability. Units didn’t reallocate the AN/PVS-17’s for the designators as the capability gained is far less than what is lost by taking them off they intended weapon platforms. Operators would like to be able to see the laser “splash” on the target from a piece of gear mounted to the
designator. They were unable to do this with the gear available. They also requested having a thermal site attached or mounted.
Operators were very impressed with the AN/PEQ-4 Laser Illuminator; which was used extensively. It was the primary tool used by the FAC’s, especially when working with Cobras. They illuminated the target and once the pilot spotted it, he was able to control the mission. Many would like these issued beyond the FAC’s. Often, smaller units (platoons, squads, teams) don’t have a school trained FAC with them but need the capability. Users would prefer ISLD 1000 vice AN/PEQ-4 for increased capability; however, the PEQ-4 “answers the mail.”

AN/PVS- 14 Night Vision Equipment ~ “Great piece of gear, need more.” Some infantry units have one per man, (combined AN/PVS-14 and AN/PVS-7 assets), others, one per squad. Operators are asking to have one set of Night Vision Goggles (NVG’s) per fire team; one per man is preferred. Units who received the M16A4 with ACOG scope/site would like to mount the NVG in front of the ACOG to give them a night shooting capability. For those who did this, they found the capability worked well. Some units couldn’t mount the AN/PVS-14 on the 1913 RAIL (unknown if they had a different model, were missing parts, or lacked training). They taped the NVG on and had limited success. Actual mounting would be better.

Long Range Thermal Imager (SOPHIE) ~ Operators were amazed by the capability. They would like more of the capability but would like to see it in a smaller and lighter package that is vehicle mountable and stabilized. Operators needed more extensive training. They didn’t really know what they were seeing.

AN-PAS 13 Thermal Weapon Site ~ “Amazing, need more.” Many operators were able to see clearly to “10+ kilometers” under good conditions. In mild dust, they were also impressed since they could see “almost as far, 8+.” Most reports were that they worked very well in all but the most extreme dust storms. Highlighted the need for thermal AFVID USMC wide! If PAS-13 gets wide distribution, infantry units will need rigorous AFVID THERMAL training. Currently, Tanks, LAV, Tow, and Air train to such standards. The proliferation of numerous hand held thermal devices without proper training could prove problematic. In addition, infrared can be viewed. Passing lanes proved problematic for some LAR vehicles that relied on thermals. Passives had to be used to spot IR chem.-lights. Thermal chem.-lights or beacons can prove costly.

AN/PVS 17 B and C ~ “Great gear, need more” across the board. Operators impressed with clarity and ability to ID targets. Operators particularly liked red dot reticule for point and shoot capability.

M16A4 with associated combat optic (ACOG 4x), the West Coast’s SAM Rifle ~ All interviewed were extremely pleased with the performance and felt it “answered the mail” for the role of the Squad Advanced Marksman (SAM). All said the fixed 4-power ACOG sight that was included was the perfect solution. It gave them the ability to identify targets at distance, under poor conditions, and maintained ability to quickly acquire the target in the close in (MOUT/room clearing) environment. As above, many “stacked” it with the AN/PVS-14 to get a true night capability. No Marines present in interviews knew of any situation where the shooter could shoot the gun to its full capability or outshoot it. Interviewees included STA platoon leadership and members who are school trained MOS 8541 Snipers. They saw no need for the accuracy and expense involved in the version being built for the “East Coast” SAM Rifle by Precision Weapons Section (PWS), WTBN, Quantico. The standard M16A4 with issued optic more than satisfied their requirements.
Distribution among battalions varied. One battalion received (6), one went to each of the three line companies and three to STA Platoon for the spotters. Other battalions received one per rifle squad.
Regular M16A4’s, no optic, were sent over to theatre to replace M16A2’s. However, they arrived too late to be distributed and BZO’d prior to start of the war. These weapons remained in storage in Kuwait.

M4 Carbine ~ Many Marines commented on desire for the shorter weapon vice the longer M16’s. They say that it would have definitely been better in the urban environment because of the confined spaces. Since most of the operators were operating from a vehicle platform, the smaller weapon would have helped tremendously for mounting and dismounting.
There were numerous comments that the M16 is too long and cumbersome in the urban fight. Several Marines even opted to use the AK-47s that had been captured from Iraqi weapons caches. Others were trading the rifle for pistols to go into buildings to allow mobility in confined spaces.
There has been a push to get M-4’s to crewmen of the mechanized vehicles, LAR in particular. The distribution needs to include LAR, AAV’s, Tanks, Motor Transportation, and any other units that may have a requirement. IWS has fielded some assets to LAR, but not all others. LAR still has mostly M16’s. The M-16’s are too cumbersome/long for crewmen to employ (get out of the cupola or out of a door/window) in a timely manner while under stress such as when receiving fire.

M249 Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW) ~ The SAW’s are worn out and apparently beyond repair. They have far exceeded their service life. Many Marines are duct taping and zip tying the weapons together. Reconnaissance units were requesting parasaw, infantry units requesting collapsible buttstock.

5.56mm vs. 7.62 Lethality ~ 5.56mm “definitely answered the mail” and “as long as the shots were in the head or chest they went down” were typical quotes from several Marines; many who were previously very skeptical of 5.56mm ammunition. Most of the interviewed Marines who reported targets not going down and/or could still fight were referencing non-lethal shots to the extremities. There were reports of targets receiving shots in the vitals and not going down. These stories need not be described, but are of the rare superhuman occurrences that defy logic and caliber of round. Some Marines did ask about getting the heaver-grained 5.56mm rounds, up to 77 grain if possible.

M9 Pistol Magazines ~ The magazines are not working properly. The springs are extremely weak and the follower does not move forward when rounds are removed. If the magazine is in the weapon, malfunctions result. If out of the weapon, remaining rounds fall out of the magazine. Dirt and sand does cause some of the problem with follower movement, but multiple cleanings of the magazine each day does not alleviate the problem. The main problem is the weak/worn springs. (note: I personally encountered this problem as well. Say what you will, but I had to break down all magazines daily to clean them. Despite this effort, rounds routinely “fell” out of the magazine. Forces in contact did not have the time or the luxury to break down each 9mm magazine daily. M16 magazines worked well. Like many officers, I also traded up to a rifle).

Weapon Backup ~ Many infantrymen are requesting that all operators have an issued backup weapon, (i.e. M9 pistol) to augment their T/O weapon. If they can’t get pistols for secondary weapon purposes, they need more pistols available for MOUT operations to operate in very confined spaces, stairwells, etc. They request at least one per squad; minimum, one per fire team; better.

Rifle Propelled Grenade ~ Many Marines are requesting Rifle Propelled grenades to augment or replace the M203. The M203 doesn’t have an adequate range capability. (note: this desire stems from the fact that the most effective weapon employed against coalition forces was the RPG).

M240G Medium Machine Gun ~ Marines who did not really know what to expect were extremely impressed with effects on target.

M203 Load Bearing ~ Grenade bearing vests don’t hold enough ammunition. Rounds don’t fit into many of the pockets, so grenadiers aren’t able to carry as many rounds as the vest is designed to carry. They aren’t able to fit rounds into all of the pouches. Grenadiers are coming up with several different “band-aid” solutions to carry enough ammunition, most of which are not working. The Marines interviewed would like a vest that will hold at least 20 HE rounds plus 4 illumination rounds; 24 total rounds.

Grenade Pouches ~ Marines (at least infantry) need more than the two that are on the load bearing vest and/or issued with MOLLE. The MOLLE pouches aren’t holding the grenades properly, “pins are falling out”.

Viper ~ Operators saying “great gear, need more”. Operators are getting good azimuth and distance to target. However, they are unable to get the target grid location as advertised. “Zero maintenance Problems.” Used with Fire Support Teams. None came in for optics maintenance complaint. Desire for system to be linked to Thermal Imaging System (TIS) Designators. FACs for 2D Tank Battalion highlighted the need for a laser designator specific for moving vehicles with extended range compatible with FEP. GLTD II was useful but not on the move. MULE is obsolete and not practically mountable on tanks without loss of loader’s M240 machine at that station.

TOW 2 ~ Operators are extremely happy with the performance. Several operators reported tank (T-72) catastrophic (K) kills. TOW 2B caused some concern when shooting over any metal (such as around the oil fields) and around “friendlies” because of the one sensor. The operators already knew these factors. The TOW 2A had no such concerns. The one downside comment (a constant theme by all interviewed), had to do with training. For gunners trained on the newer sight, they are great. For the untrained on the new system, gunners are unable to identify and range targets, etc. Many operators are also having a tendency to follow the rocket with the sight when the rocket rises above the gun-target line, instead of leaving the site on target. This causes the rocket to go higher and higher as the operator follows the rocket. Sometimes they recover and hit the target, most of the time they don’t.
Additionally, the TOW sites are being successfully used for surveillance purposes. Operators are impressed with the capabilities the site offers in this area.

PRC-148 and Inter Squad Radios (IRR) ~ “Great gear, need more for everyone”. One problem is that the power switch is prone to breaking off. Great to have capability to talk UHF (line of sight) for inter/intra team communications and to talk to aircraft for FAC/CAS purposes. Users also like VHF capability, especially in environment/terrain that does not allow line of site communications (i.e. urban areas). The ISR radio, operators say it is adequate in the open terrain as long as distance between radios is close enough. The radio is not good in urban environment due to operators’ inability to communicate around corners, between floors or rooms, nor is the range adequate. Marines want VHF capability to talk in urban and other environments. Users would rather have the 148’s across the board. One issue with the PRC 148 radios is the requirement for AC power to recharge. Vehicles use DC power; therefore invertors are needed.

M1014 Joint Service Shotgun / Breaching Kit ~ Units lack a means to mechanically breach in the MOUT environment. Some units bought kits from various vendors with their own funds. Satisfaction with various kits was determined by success of breaching, which is the result of what they were breaching and whether the kit had the right gear for the given situation (usually
dependent on what the unit spent on the kit). Many operators pointed out that battering rams proved ineffective against most doors encountered. A majority of the doors (both interior and exterior) were heavy steel and often reinforced with cross bars. Most agreed that, at a minimum, small units need to have a shotgun to breach the doors. For units both with and without the kits, the shotguns would have made them more successful. Only six (6) M1014 shotguns were issued to each infantry battalion. This quantity is not enough. Operators are asking for at least one per squad at a minimum. The round/ammunition that was needed in this environment was the slug. Units tried using 00 Buck, which did not work well. CEB expressed a desire to have more urban breaching tools (they were always short), more route reconnaissance kits, and more tactical bolt cutters (short version).

SMAW Thermobaric (New) Round ~ Only received reports of two shots. One unit disintegrated a large one-story masonry type building with one round from 100 meters. They were extremely impressed. However, another unit tried to breach a wall of a similar masonry building after being unsuccessful at trying to mechanically breach a door. “The round just bounced off the wall.” They were not so impressed.

Weapon Take-Down Pins ~ Many weapons, M16 and M249 in particular, were having problems with takedown pins breaking and/or falling completely out of the weapons. Marines held weapons together with duct tape and/or zip ties. The problem seems to be that sand would get into the spaces around the pins, grinding down the metal.

Enemy Engagements ~ Almost all interviewed stated all firefight engagements conducted with small arms (5.56mm guns) occurred in the twenty to thirty (20-30) meter range. Shots over 100m were rare. The maximum range was less than 300m. Of those interviewed, most sniper shots were taken at distances well under 300m, only one greater than 300m (608m during the day). After talking to the leadership from various sniper platoons and individuals, there was not enough confidence in the optical gear (Simrad or AN/PVS-10) to take a night shot under the given conditions at ranges over 300m. Most Marines agreed they would “push” a max range of 200m only.

Line Haul ~ Interviews with 15th MEU(SOC) preferred the British “container” method of transport. US Marines (MSSG S-3, S-3A, and MEU S-3) stated that a similar system would be very useful to the USMC. A request for purchases of many more iso-containers and Mk 48-18s was vocalized. Vice using the current system of hauling and offloading gear with 5-tons, LVSs and MHE; the USMC should consider using more MK 48-18 trailers with containers. The idea is to drive loaded containers to their designated site, offload them w/ the crane on the Mk 48-18, and return the trailer to the supply point in order to pick-up the next load. If the using unit had emptied containers these empty containers would be returned to the supply source for reloading. This is the method used by the British, which, according to members of 15th MEU, was at least 3 times as efficient as our current system. There is virtually no reliance on heavy equipment at the offload site and units are immediately provided with a secure storage container. However, this methodology would require an increase in containers and Mk 48-18s throughout the USMC. (note: Line haul was a problem for the USMC given the amount of materiel and increased distances log support had to travel. The MEF G4 was very successful at resolving this issue through careful coordination with all forces in the battlespace. A bigger problem, which remains unsolved, is distribution. There is no control of materiel once a convoy reaches its first destination. The USMC needs to revisit the role TMO Marines can play, as well as improving tools that can effectively track gear from one point to another.)

ROWPUs ~ Reverse Osmosis Water Purification Units received nothing but praise from various members of the 15th MEU(SOC). The only concern raised was that the units were getting old, would run rough at times, and were performing past their life expectancy. There was concern with how much longer they would operate. Accordingly, there were recommendations for fielding the next generation of ROWPUs.

Power Converters ~ A question arose with respect to the purchase of power converters from 220v to 110v and vice versa. This could become a part of the electrician’s T/E. There were numerous instances where local gear could have been used (generators, pumps, etc) however, the lack of power converters prevented use of the gear.

NBC/ Gas Mask Voice Amplifiers ~ This gear received positive feedback. Marines requested that one voice amplifier be issued with each gas mask.

SABRES ~ The current Sabres tend to lose their crypto fill while changing batteries. Marines of 15th MEU stated that the Sabres seem to be “getting old” and should be replaced with a lighter, smaller, more reliable system.

BA5590s ~ With the obvious shortage of BA5590s the Marines were asking for more alternative sources of power. Rechargeable batteries were requested. There was also discussion of a “radio bank” where 6-7 radios could be run off of one “bank” that received its power directly from a generator source. Also, many of the radios were semi-permanent fixtures to COCs. These radios, had been “jerry-rigged” by the Marines with a device allowing them to receive their power directly from the generator vice a battery. A commercial system with similar capability was requested. (note: SysCom’s international efforts added two DOS to the fight, at a time where it was not clear if we would run out of batteries before we ran out of war. This battery problem affects DoD).

Drop Holsters and “phone dummy chords” ~ Many Marines purchased these items from their own personal funds. Drop holsters (such as the kind purchased through the company, “Special Operations Equipment”) cost approximately $65. Marines would like to see these holsters issued with their pistols. Also, Marines fashioned pistol lanyards from phone chords. These lanyards retract and thus are much less cumbersome or likely to get caught than the current lanyard. Marines would like to see this type of lanyard fielded.

Three-Point Slings ~ Marine unit funds and individual funds were used to purchase three-point slings for M16A2 service rifles. These were used or “fabricated” by numerous Marines and received much praise. Marines requested that each of these be issued with each M16A2. An example of one such sling is the “Giles Tactical Carbine Sling” made by “The Wilderness Tactical Products” (www.thewilderness.com).
Goggles ~ The current goggles used by Marines received very poor feedback. They were too large, did not seal properly, and the lenses often popped out of the frame. Numerous Marines purchased goggles that were smaller and better contoured to the face. One such version is the “Panoptx” brand; Marines were enthusiastic about these goggles and asked for the USMC to field a similar version.

Ruggedized Computers ~ These worked well and received positive feedback. One drawback was that they tended to run very hot; users could not even touch the front area of the keyboard.

Generators ~ Marines from numerous units were requesting more generators and power distribution assets. Units noted that systems (especially Communications systems) were fielded that required much more power than current systems, yet there was no accompanying generator or power distribution gear to supplement the newly fielded system. LAR raised a request for a small generator that could be attached to the side of their C3 LAV.

LMT (Lightweight Mobile Tactical) Water Purification System ~ There were several complaints about the “flimsy” construction of the LMT. Most components were made of easily breakable plastic. Also, the purification of the LMT was not enough to purify the fresh water from the Euphrates River; its’ effectiveness and usefulness was questioned. A small system was a “good concept” however, the purification capability needed to be greater.

3000 gallon Water Bladders ~ Marines in the Utilities field admired the 3000 gallon water bladders used by the Seabees. These bladders were very effective as a sealed water storage capability. The current 3000-gallon “onion skins” were good for raw water storage, but not purified water. Also, the 500-gallon pods were not a large enough storage capability for purified water.

Water Pumps ~ The 165gpm pump was very effective in pulling water from its sources. The 125gpm pump, though intended for this purpose, was ineffective. It lacked the power to draw water from any source that was not completely flat. More 165gpm pumps were requested as a replacement for the ineffective 125gpm pump.

MEP TQ Generators ~ Sand caused many problems with the functioning of the generators. One recommendation by the electricians was to better seal the control panel/cubicle to keep out the sand. The master-switch often broke due to sand getting into the crevices. Also, the air filter system seemed to be ineffective. The electrician stated he would clean the air filter every day and literally shook out handfuls of sand each time. He stated that a more effective system that did not get clogged so quickly should be researched.

MEPDIS (Mobile Electric Power Distribution System) Gear ~ The mix of cables in the MEPDIS gear is not ideal. Electricians were asking for at least double the amount of 25ft extensions that came with the MEPDIS gear. Also, the 30kw power distribution panels need more 20-amp breakers.

SAPI (Small Arms Protective Insert) ~ To no surprise this item was worth its weight in gold. SAPI plates saved lives. In five separate incidents at 2D Tank Battalion the SAPI prevented death or serious injury. In the words of Capt. David Bardorf, 2D Tank Bn., “SAPI is God’s gift to the Marine Corps.”
Marines were hoping that the future could bring a lighter version that was slightly wider in the front, but these requests for modification were minimal and insignificant compared to the positive feedback and effectiveness of the plates.

.50 Caliber Machine Gun ~ Great piece of gear; but would like to see a rail mount on the .50-cal. This is to include the versions outside of M2 for infantry. Tankers and others would like the capability on their guns.

MOLLE Gear ~ Marines uniformly and strongly DISLIKED this item. The pack was considered too loose from the frame allowing it to move too much while the Marines were hiking. Marines asked for a tighter pack similar to the ALICE pack. The plastic frame was labeled “cheap” and broke on numerous occasions. This was especially the case when Marines tied these packs to the outsides of vehicles (LAVs, Tanks, HMMWVs, etc) for transport resulting in broken plastic frames.

Sleeping Bag ~ Several taller Marines complained of the length, stating they could never get fully inside the bag. They requested at least one foot of additional length.

LAVs ~ The LAV community had favorable comments about the LAV. However, the concern was raised that LAVs are getting old, requiring increased maintenance. A replacement was desired for the near future.

Combat ID Panel ~ These were highly desired and utilized. However, they were obtained by borrowing panels from the Army as well as fabricating panels prior to crossing the LD. Several Marines emphasized that Combat ID panels are a necessity for war; the USMC needs to field these critical fratricide prevention devices.

OS-302 Antenna ~ This was labeled as “very effective and reliable but much too big.” Marines pointed out that the CIA and SEALs had a small omni directional antenna that is approximately 1” in diameter and 6” tall that would be much less cumbersome and preferred.

Phrase-later ~ This was another small open purchase item that was purchased through unit funds. It consists of a small “palm pilot” size computer system that translates phrases into the desired language. This was used on numerous occasions to ask simple questions of locals and EPWs (with heavy usage at checkpoints). Recommend C4I or CESS look at providing to deploying units. The system is manufactured by Maine Acoustics.

Iridium Phones ~ There was a lot of positive feedback on the Iridium phone. Due to its ability to be used when not in Line of Site, these phones were often used for communication. It was a highly reliable means for the forces to continually be in contact with one another.

Comm Suite in AAV ~ Not highly received; comments were made that the Comm Suite needed an overhaul. One major downfall of the suite is its lack of capability of HF transmission when on the move.

AAV as Tank’s C3 vehicle ~ A concern was raised with respect to the comparatively lightly armored AAV being the C3 vehicle and thus employed with the Tank battalion. Those in the AAV felt vulnerable to enemy fire when engaged in a battle with the Tank Battalion.

870 Trailers ~ These trailers (both the A1 and A2 version) were found to be too flimsy for hauling assets over long distances, especially when hauling over all-terrain. The tires and rims would routinely going flat and bend
.
D9 Dozer ~ These bulldozers received highly favorable reviews from all that benefited from their use. They were seen clearing a row of buildings effectively within an extremely short period of time. Also, they were used in quickly clearing a highway for use and constructing hasty combat roads. Marines stated that the D9 can do the equivalent of approximately (4) D7 dozers. They would like to see this Dozer employed in more operations in the future.

SEE Tractors ~ A trend in the SEE Tractor was its tendency to roll on embanked terrain. It was also noted that this particular piece of gear was getting old and a replacement was desired. A concern was raised with fielding a backhoe that would not be able to keep up with convoys. Marines relied heavily on gear that was self-moved, due to limited lift assets. A desire for a backhoe capable of maintaining convoy speed was expressed. A backhoe that would require lift was not a desired option.

ACE ~ Although an effective piece of equipment when employed in its role, the ACE was found to have problems keeping up with the Tank battalions. The hydraulics continued to burst, requiring it to be left behind due to maintenance concerns. Modifications conducted on the ACE just prior to deployment reportedly increased their effectiveness and ability to perform.

TRAMS ~ TRAMS continue to prove to be a reliable “workhorse.” This MHE asset is used more than any other. Marines expressed their satisfaction and continued desire for “more TRAMS.”

D7 TPK (Tractor Protection Kit) ~ Although the concept of the TPK was praised, its usefulness was questioned. The visibility of a TPK D7 Dozer was “horrible.” It was noted that the “hole” for vision is ineffective and sight blocks are a “must have” for the TPK to be employed effectively.

Mine Detectors ~ These received poor reviews. They were labeled “flimsy” and “inaccurate.” The Marines of the Combat Engineer Battalion recommended a review of the ANPSC-12 (in Albany). They desired to test these to see if they would be more effective.

Hoses for Heavy Equipment (hydraulic, etc) ~ A desire for screw on hoses was expressed vice the quick connect. These hoses can be quickly fabricated to replace broken hoses thereby immediately returning the equipment to an “up” status. Quick connect hoses are difficult to repair in the field environment.

Gas Mask Carrier ~ The gas mask carrier was not favorably received. When donning a gas mask, many Marines lose the extra injectors or medications they are required to carry. Also, there was not sufficient room for the extra filter. The carrier needs to have more compartments and also needs to be a bit larger in size in order to hold the extra gear that is issued (medications, injectors, TM, filters, etc.)

Maintenance Contact Truck ~ The pneumatic tools in the contact truck were not sufficient to break lug nuts off of vehicle tires. Maintenance Marines expressed a desire to have a larger, sturdier vehicle with heavier, more capable tools. With the amount of gear mechanics are required to fix and the criticality of performing their maintenance in a minimal amount of time heavier tools were a necessity.

Demolition Kits ~ The new electric firing system received “rave reviews.” It was considered safer and more effective. However, the durability of the firing device was poor.

Carpenter’s Tool Kit and Pioneer Tool Kit ~ Numerous comments were received on these kits. The kits need an “overhaul” and need to be “updated to the 21st century.” Marines in the field left at least ½ of the tools behind. In particular the non-power hand cranked tools (e.g. drill) were left behind.

Minefield Marking Kit ~ The kit’s hem spools did not get used. Also the poles did not penetrate the ground very well (they broke or were not in the ground deep enough to stay in place). The poles also took too long to place in the ground. CEB ended up using 100’s of orange cones (such as seen at construction sites) to mark UXOs, vice utilizing the kits.

Anti-Personnel Obstacle Breaching System (APOBS) ~ Each compound is too heavy and the range is considered ineffective. The range of approximately 25 meters was questioned. As one Marine stated, “Why should I lug a 50lb piece of gear around that only clears 25 meters when I can just mark it for EOD and walk around the obstacle?” The bangalore torpedo was still a preferred breaching system for obstacles.

Tents and One-Bag Showers ~ The new tents (2 man) received many compliments. Also, some Marines had purchased one-bag showers prior to deploying. These received favorable reviews and it was suggested that the USMC field them to Marines.

Line Charge Trailers ~ This equipment is “flimsy” and “unreliable.” On rough terrain the trailer can be towed barely over 5 mph before breaking.

DC inverters for HMMWV ~ Marines were very happy with the results of this item. They wanted more fielded (e.g. at least one per vehicle).

GPS ~ Battalions have purchased numerous GPS on the commercial market. The commercial market produced smaller, lighter, and more easily used GPS.

Memory Sticks ~ “Great information transmitting medium”. Often images/intel was passed via courier vice over the net (the net was too slow and unreliable) from the front units to the HQ G-2.

VMU ~ Video feeds were great, however, they needed to have grid coordinates, date, and time on all video feeds or else they are completely useless.

Dragon Eye ~ Division HQ G-2’s Dragon eye was used for a week, prior to crossing the LD. However, prior to crossing the LD the computer went down and there was no maintenance plan in place. (note: there was a maintenance plan in place. It is not clear, however, how much of this plan the operators were aware of). Thus, the HQ G-2 did not utilize the system. However, the week that the Dragon Eye was used it received favorable comments.
Extensive analysis and feedback was received from 1st LAR’s S-2 section on the Dragon Eye. They used this system daily throughout the war. Overall the system was highly regarded and the S-2 section was extremely happy to have it as a tool for their intelligence gathering.
The system’s outer shell was characterized as “flimsy” and not durable enough. The harsh sandy environment immediately caused excessive wear. The rubber bands used for launch of the
system consistently broke. Users stated that at least 10-15 extra launching bands were needed to be fielded with the system. There was no maintenance plan in case of an item breaking. CLS was discussed and immediately disregarded. Contracted civilians were not desired in the battle-space. Training for the Dragon Eye was minimal and all Marines desired more detailed training. They hoped that this training would be incorporated at the schools and throughout the fleet.
Batteries were a critical vulnerability of the dragon eye. Not only did the battery run out, but finding a replacement battery in a timely manner was nearly impossible. The battery used was company specific. Marines desired a rechargeable battery or as a second choice a battery that was easily purchased on the open market.
Night use of the dragon eye was poor. An infrared camera would be a usable addition to the dragon eye. Also some kind of infrared strobe would be helpful, especially in locating the dragon eye upon landing. Marines had trouble finding the small “plane” when it returned from a mission, especially at night.
The range of the dragon eye was acceptable, but as always, more was desired. A desire for retrans was voiced in order to extend the range.
Overall, a recurring concern was communication from the ground with the system. The operators found that the signal received on the computer often “cut out” and no video feed was received. At times the operator desired to abort the mission however he could not “contact” the Dragon Eye. When the system was up and running the video resolution was very clear and easy to read/decipher. However, Marines found the 10km range somewhat insufficient; ideal would be a range of 20km. The current altitude of the system was also found to be insufficient. For clearer pictures and easier deciphering the Marines desired the system to be capable of being flown as low as 100ft. Flight duration (currently 1 hour) was also insufficient; ideal desired time would have been 2 hours.
Finally, the laptop had a few features that could have been a bit more “user friendly.” The method of looking at numerous pictures at one time was very cumbersome and needs to become more “user friendly” (i.e. double click on one icon to open a picture vice filtering through various tool bars). Also, the laptop needs to be plugged in; a rechargeable battery option would be good for an infantry Marine in the field. On a “positive note” the size and weight of the Dragon Eye were considered ideal. If given the choice of keeping the current capability and thus maintaining size and weight or increasing the capability/technology with the result of a dramatically heavier and larger machine the Marines overwhelmingly would choose the former.

Imagery ~ Imagery from various systems did not make it to the HQ G-2 level on numerous occasions due to a lack of bandwidth and electronic imagery transferal means. BFT did not possess the bandwidth for larger files and MDACT was unreliable as a communications means due to its limitation on Line of Site communication with the EPLRS radio.

Ambulance ~ M997 received great reviews and was considered “very sturdy.” A few modifications that were voiced include:
-Corpsmen and Doctors would like to have bullet proof glass in the Ambulance
-A very small refrigerator would be useful for the transport of “immunizations”
-The space inside the ambulance needs to be reworked for greater efficiency; more “shelving and containers for various medical tools and medications” was desired. Also, the racks for the cots were not used, considered too cumbersome.
-Much gear was strapped to the top of the ambulance and a rack system on the roof would be very useful.

Corpsmen’s Medical MOLLE Bag ~ As with the Marines’ MOLLE gear this bag did not receive favorable reviews. Several alternative options were voiced:
-Corpsmen want to see something similar to the old “Unit 1” bag
-Corpsmen would like to see something similar to an LBV with numerous pockets for medications, bandages, etc.
-Corpsmen spoke favorably of something similar to the blackhawk version bag that the Army Medics carry.

Stretchers ~ The NBC stretchers were used often and proved to be sturdy and effective. The older, fabric stretchers tore often and were thrown out.

AMALS ~ The contents of the AMALS was disproportionate to the use. The AMALS kit was designed for severe trauma. However, it was completely inadequate for routine sick-call. Corpsmen quickly ran out of items such as cough syrup, Sudafed, etc. An analysis of what is REALLY used was requested in order to properly outfit the AMALS in the future.

PRC 150 ~ Labeled an “outstanding radio.” It was very effective for long haul digital communications. LAR units desire a vehicle mount and a tie-in with the LAV’s intercom system. Frequency hopping was a very good feature. More of this radio was desired.

IOS/IOW ~ COP- when this gear functioned its features were “great.” However, the EPLRS radio proved to be very sensitive and unreliable. LAR had four that went down prior to crossing the LD (while still in the LSA). The civilian contractors were available for troubleshooting, yet were still not able to get the system to function.

PSC 5D ~ LAR had a few of these radios and found them to be very effective. LAR worked often with the USN SEALs. The SEALs communicated mostly via PSC 5D; LAR was limited to communication with the SEALs due to limited SatCom / limited PSC 5Ds. They would like more of these radios.

Kevlar Helmets ~ Very positive feedback received. During urban fighting in Iraq, a Marine Corporal was struck in the front of his helmet by a 7.62 x 39mm round. The Kevlar PASGT helmet absorbed the impact of the round with no injury to the Marine.

Combat Vehicle Crewman (CVC) Helmets ~ Overall, vehicles crews had favorable response to the CVC helmets. A few keys observations were made, however. Marines pointed out the need for Night Vision Goggle mounts for CVC helmets, a common observation in both LAR and Tanks. CVC helmets were also suggested for Tank Scout Platoon and TOW Marines. The reason cited by First Lieutenant Zumo, Scout Platoon Commander, 2D Tank Battalion, was that noise at high rates of speed presented problems. Crewmen manning heavy weapons ring mount station on HMMWVs had difficulty hearing other crewmen. Problems communicating on radios for the Plt Cmdr/ Plt Sergeant were also noted.

Combat Vehicle Crewman (CVC) “Nomex” Coveralls ~ Several Vehicle crewmen complained that Nomex Combat Vehicle Crewman coveralls need improving. Crews observed that coveralls and gloves easily tore. Replacement garments were in short supply. The requirement exists for a more durable and flame retardant garment for combat vehicle crews.

Flexcell Extended Range External Mount Fuel Bladders (“Flexcells”) ~ “The system is good.” Recommended a mounting system for LAV-25. System was used in the Log variant LAV (by
being placed in rear) and in the beds of rolling stock. Provide additional “in stride” refueling capability that assisted in the long and rapid USMC advance into Iraq. The flexcell allowed 2D Battalion to conduct an in stride refueling of the battalion in less than 90 minutes, 80 kilometers inside Iraqi territory the first night of the ground war. One company reported having a single tank refueled and operational in under 3 minutes. The flexcells aided the battalion in its six hundred mile trek into Iraq. Increased weight of flexcells was a problem, however. The combined weight of the full flexcell bladders mounted to the M1A1 turret and bustle rack extension tended to burn up motor brakes on the tank turrets. One tank company commander said his Marines were going through three to four turret motor brakes per vehicle per week. Also two tanks were lost as result of damage to flexcells. One tank hit a tree causing a flexcell pod to rupture. Fuel leaked into the engine compartment causing the engine to FOD out and the turbine to burn up. The tank had to be evacuated. There were no casualties. Second instance, an M1A1 received small arms fire. Again, fuel leaked into the engine compartment with same result. The tank caught fire and had to be abandoned during combat. The stationary tank remained under small arms and repeated RPG fire at close range. Under cover of darkness, an Iraqi irregular tossed a Molotov cocktail into the empty tank. This coupled with the burning engine and the multiple RPG hits resulted in a total loss of the tank. It is recommended that the bladders be configured for hull mounting along the skirts. However, this configuration could cause track maintenance problems since access would be impeded. Another criticism was the quick release straps. Flexcells were not quick release capable according to Marines.

Full Width Mine Plows (FWMP) “The Pearson Plow” – in my earlier report I wrote, “of the 20 plows procured, only 11 went forward. Of this 11, I saw 3 on the highways of Iraq. Presumably cut lose as units went forward, it appears the plows are now combat losses. The 3 I saw were laying in the highway; burned out.” Apparently, the weld mounts on the plows did not hold and broke from the body of the tank. This may account for the 3 I saw on the highway. The fielding team observed an incidence of this during the application of the hardware and repaired. The 5-ton trucks used to transport the FWMPs broke down. At no time did 2D Tank Battalion employ its FWMP or Track Width Mine Plows.
Even though 2D Tanks did not use the FWMPs, LtCol Oehl, the battalion commander, stated the item had its merits. It “did not drastically reduce the effectiveness of the tank” as implied by junior Marines in 2D Tank Bn. He noted it would have been a valuable asset had the mission called for breaching a minefield. LtCol Oehl also supported the FWMP for use on the Armored Breacher Vehicle (ABV).

Blue Force Tracker (BFT) ~ The Blue Force Tracker proved very popular with Marines from both LAR and 2D Tank Battalion. The 5.1 MB download capability proved to be very useful. Real-time information transfer and satellite imagery was mission critical on several occasions. BFT was considered “very responsive” due to instant messaging capability. Most of the commanders agreed that the pace of the battle required a device similar to Blue Force Tracker. Units were, at times, unable to maintain VHF over distance due to the inability to establish retransmission sites. Potential retrans sites would be forecasted to be located in unsecure areas. In the absence of communications, BFT provided units with responsive message traffic. Tanks and LAR used it in the absence of radios. It was, at times, the only means of communication for dispersed units. BFT was considered very reliable for providing friendly situation reports. Many officers and senior enlisted felt that the Scout Platoon and Alpha and Bravo commands needed this capability. It was recommend that at least 24 systems should be fielded per battalion, two tanks at the platoon level.
(An interesting suggestion made by Capt. Martinez, 2D Tank Battalion supply officer was that some logistics request system utilizing satellite uplink is preferred to line of sight communication system).
Capt. Garcia, CO of Company B, 2D Tank Battalion, voiced one criticism. He stated the method of mounting needs to be revisited. The mount for the M1A1 MBT stands out since it is placed on the rear of the bustle rack extension. One BFT on a Company B tank was lost when
an armored ambulance clipped a tank when its turret was over the side. The BFT itself was rugged and survived but the mount was crushed. Capt. Garcia recommend the mounting system used on the M1A1 Delta variant be considered for USMC tanks.

M-DACT ~ Comments suggest that it was a highly unreliable due to the system’s reliance on having the server up constantly. The system was marginalized when an active server hub went down. There were reported instances of units showing up in the “wrong” country. Some units appeared miles away from their known locations. This effected confidence in the system. Some Marines claimed it was too complicated to use. Windows pull down menus on a small screen made accessing information time consuming and difficult under combat conditions. This feature was also cumbersome while traveling at high rates of speed over difficult terrain. Transmission with the 56K modem took four to five minutes to send out a message. Other concerns included the screen being too small and not being user friendly. The MDACT system was noted to have great capabilities and was considered a “good concept” however, on the user level it was not employed due to its unreliability. BFT was preferred and MDACT was ignored.

Firepower Enhancement Program (FEP) Raytheon/ DRS ~ Comments on the FEP include the following: Position location capability and the ability to range a target and get a ten-digit grid were considered very useful. It proved valuable in fire missions and situation awareness. The fifty-magnification sight needs better resolution but proved useful. Thermal Bloom (washout in the TIS sites from fire trenches and burning vehicles) took one to three minutes of recover. Raytheon FEP site engaged vehicles in excess of 2300m. Was used by Bravo Company to Identify Snipers in buildings. Used as land navigation tool during road marches. Worked well in open terrain and built-up areas. One criticism of the Raytheon FEP was that it took four minutes for the Far Target Locator to align. It was the opinion of the experienced crews that it was impractical to sit idle for that period of time in the combat environment. On several occasions, the crew rolled without FTL alignment due to time constraints. The crew then had no option but to fight the tank in degraded mode. They recommend a 30 second alignment process. In static positions the FEP site was used to provide over watch for the tank company and to friendly infantry patrolling forward of lines. Crews recommended retaining the binocular site at the gunner’s station. The ability to see in both day and night with the GPS and binocular site was very popular and useful to tank gunners.

M88A2 Hercules Tracked Recovery Vehicle ~ The M88A2 was rated as an excellent recovery asset. However, the general comment was that there were not enough of them. The original quantity of two M88A1 was reduced to one M88A2 for each tank company on the T/O. The long trek into Iraq resulted in many self-recovery operations (tank towing tank) due to the lack of recovery assets. This tied up needed combat power. Recommend USMC revisit the T/O of tank battalions to add at least two additional M88A2s per battalion on MPF. Some units used M88A2 as an armored ambulance. Cpl. Myhre, Company A. 2D Tank Bn modified one M88A2 with a loaders M240 7.62mm machine mount from an M1A1 tank. This modification gave the M88A2 another weapons station in addition to its .50 M2 Machine gun. Recommend more tow bars for tank units (note: there are not of enough tow bars of all types to support all equipment in the operating forces. The USMC needs to revisit this issue and invest in acquiring more of these assets). Number of self-recovers demonstrated this requirement. Need vehicle power source to recharge laptop computers containing Technical manuals for the maintenance crews. The pace of the advance did not allow for time to recharge the set with field generators. Track continued to snap on left side. CWO3 Dan Wittcop speculates possible problem is the torque caused by the more powerful engine of the Hercules. Track would simply “pop”. It is recommend at least exploring a sturdier center guide for the track. Winch fragility was also addressed. Some recoveries required off angle approaches outside the recommend 20-degree angle. Recommend that an update to the TM include a reference to use a floating block in recoveries. One snapped cable was repaired in the field. However, at the time of this report a recovery was not attempted with that cable. Skirts on the M88A2 design made it difficult to do rapid track maintenance. During combat operations, removing bolts proved problematic. Recommend exploring a vehicle modification to allow for better access. A Battle Damage Repair (BDR) should, if possible, be developed for fixing cables on M88A2.

Armored Vehicle Launched Bridge (AVLB) AVLB ~ Not employed to any great extent during operations. However, many in the 2D tank battalion cited the need for an improved AVLB variant. Throughout operations, the AVLB was slow, achieving speeds of only 20mph. It was recommended that HETs be used to transport AVLBs. AVLB is at the end of its life cycle. Spares were difficult to get. AVLB track was in short supply. AVLB track was repaired with SL-3 on vehicle. Once that ran out, track from non-operational AVLBs was used. Only two of the battalion’s AVLBs made it to the site at Ad-Diwaniyah at the time of this interview. It is recommended that MCSC should coordinate with Requirements and the Advocate IOT POM for a variant that can keep pace with the M1A1. LAR Marines offered some unique perspectives based on their mission experiences.

Edited by jon3831, 25 May 2003 - 07:35 PM.

"The issue is not war and peace, rather, how best to   preserve our freedom."
                    --General Russell E. Dougherty, USAF

WWCELeMD?

#10 CJ AEGIS

CJ AEGIS

    Warship Guru!

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  • 6,847 posts

Posted 28 May 2003 - 06:51 PM

I thought I was guilty of posting a long one. :D  Jon that is one long article to digest but very good find and interesting read. ;)


The complex communications issue is interesting.  Irony being is that the very interconnectivity that make US forces so successful is indeed managing to bog them down through sheer complexity.  It looks like we need a more secure and universal SATCOM system along with a streamlining of current communication systems. The success that Blue Force Tracker enjoyed is very refreshing after the recent friendly fire incidents that have occurred.  Other than that this is so something I’ll just leave to the radio buffs. ;)

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M4 Carbine ~ Many Marines commented on desire for the shorter weapon vice the longer M16’s. They say that it would have definitely been better in the urban environment because of the confined spaces. Since most of the operators were operating from a vehicle platform, the smaller weapon would have helped tremendously for mounting and dismounting.
There were numerous comments that the M16 is too long and cumbersome in the urban fight. Several Marines even opted to use the AK-47s that had been captured from Iraqi weapons caches. Others were trading the rifle for pistols to go into buildings to allow mobility in confined spaces.
There has been a push to get M-4’s to crewmen of the mechanized vehicles, LAR in particular. The distribution needs to include LAR, AAV’s, Tanks, Motor Transportation, and any other units that may have a requirement. IWS has fielded some assets to LAR, but not all others. LAR still has mostly M16’s. The M-16’s are too cumbersome/long for crewmen to employ (get out of the cupola or out of a door/window) in a timely manner while under stress such as when receiving fire.

I just have to say it again and especially after reading the ranges that most engagements occurred at.  I think a more rugged variant of the P90 would be very valuable for house clearing and arming vehicle crews. At 20 or 30 meters the near rifle stopping power and size along with magazine capacity of the P90 would be just about perfect.  The M4 though a improvement over the M16 in size is still a fairly large weapons to be handling in house clearing or vehicles.  The MP5 is an option but I don’t like the lost of stopping power as compared to the carbine and rifle.  

Jon, don’t stare at it crooked and break it now. ;)
  

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M9 Pistol Magazines ~ The magazines are not working properly. The springs are extremely weak and the follower does not move forward when rounds are removed. If the magazine is in the weapon, malfunctions result. If out of the weapon, remaining rounds fall out of the magazine. Dirt and sand does cause some of the problem with follower movement, but multiple cleanings of the magazine each day does not alleviate the problem. The main problem is the weak/worn springs. (note: I personally encountered this problem as well. Say what you will, but I had to break down all magazines daily to clean them. Despite this effort, rounds routinely “fell” out of the magazine. Forces in contact did not have the time or the luxury to break down each 9mm magazine daily.

I loved how when the M9 came into service one of the claims I heard floated a few times was the weapon was less maintenance intensive as compared to the M1911.  It looks like the military traded up a real winner in the M1911 for a mediocre weapon in the M9. The prime advantage of the M9 is the larger magazine but I question how great that is considering the small rounds.  Other than that the M9 is more idiot proof in my opinion but then those idiots shouldn’t have the weapon in their hands if they can’t handle it.  I know the Marines modified some M1911s to starve off adopting the M9.  If any leftover M1911s were still floating around the inventory I’m willing to bet enough personnel were trying to get one.          

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Weapon Backup ~ Many infantrymen are requesting that all operators have an issued backup weapon, (i.e. M9 pistol) to augment their T/O weapon. If they can’t get pistols for secondary weapon purposes, they need more pistols available for MOUT operations to operate in very confined spaces, stairwells, etc. They request at least one per squad; minimum, one per fire team; better.

This is just common sense to me to have everyone carrying a sidearm.  The M16 is a pretty reliable weapon but still an inopportune failure and you may end up dead if you don’t have a sidearm to fall back on.  


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The MOLLE pouches aren’t holding the grenades properly, “pins are falling out”.

:blink:  Eep!  That is NOT good….



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AAV as Tank’s C3 vehicle ~ A concern was raised with respect to the comparatively lightly armored AAV being the C3 vehicle and thus employed with the Tank battalion. Those in the AAV felt vulnerable to enemy fire when engaged in a battle with the Tank Battalion.

I really like the idea of getting the Marines some modified Bradley’s for their C3 vehicles.  Sure they aren’t as amphibiously inclined as an AAV.  It looks like the Bradley can slug it out in the midst of tanks with a fair degree of survivability according to reports.  It might be a tad crowded inside but at least the Bradley can defend itself and sprint with the tanks on better conditions.
"History has proven too often and too recently that the nation which relaxes its defenses invites attack."
        -Fleet Admiral Nimitz
"Their sailors say they should have flight pay and sub pay both -- they're in the air half the time, under the water the other half""
        - Ernie Pyle: Aboard a DE

#11 EvilTree

EvilTree

    my silence is my pervading call

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  • 623 posts

Posted 29 May 2003 - 01:35 AM

Quote

Quote

M4 Carbine ~ Many Marines commented on desire for the shorter weapon vice the longer M16’s. They say that it would have definitely been better in the urban environment because of the confined spaces. Since most of the operators were operating from a vehicle platform, the smaller weapon would have helped tremendously for mounting and dismounting.
There were numerous comments that the M16 is too long and cumbersome in the urban fight. Several Marines even opted to use the AK-47s that had been captured from Iraqi weapons caches. Others were trading the rifle for pistols to go into buildings to allow mobility in confined spaces.
There has been a push to get M-4’s to crewmen of the mechanized vehicles, LAR in particular. The distribution needs to include LAR, AAV’s, Tanks, Motor Transportation, and any other units that may have a requirement. IWS has fielded some assets to LAR, but not all others. LAR still has mostly M16’s. The M-16’s are too cumbersome/long for crewmen to employ (get out of the cupola or out of a door/window) in a timely manner while under stress such as when receiving fire.

I just have to say it again and especially after reading the ranges that most engagements occurred at.  I think a more rugged variant of the P90 would be very valuable for house clearing and arming vehicle crews. At 20 or 30 meters the near rifle stopping power and size along with magazine capacity of the P90 would be just about perfect.  The M4 though a improvement over the M16 in size is still a fairly large weapons to be handling in house clearing or vehicles.  The MP5 is an option but I don’t like the lost of stopping power as compared to the carbine and rifle.  

At least in Canadian Army, C8 carbine is the general issue for the crewmen... Surprising that it took Yanks that long...

Consider this though. When will you have the opportunity to swap weapons before going on a mission?
You've been clearing the enemy through some open terrain all day and they retreated to a village. Are you suddenly going to run back to your CQ to get the carbines? Makes no sense to me.
I personally have no problem with doing FIBUA/MOUT training with C7. It would be more comfortable to use a carbine, I suppose, but I see no great need to change from C7/M16.

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Weapon Backup ~ Many infantrymen are requesting that all operators have an issued backup weapon, (i.e. M9 pistol) to augment their T/O weapon. If they can’t get pistols for secondary weapon purposes, they need more pistols available for MOUT operations to operate in very confined spaces, stairwells, etc. They request at least one per squad; minimum, one per fire team; better.

This is just common sense to me to have everyone carrying a sidearm.  The M16 is a pretty reliable weapon but still an inopportune failure and you may end up dead if you don’t have a sidearm to fall back on.  

Again, I don't really see a need for pistols. The time it takes to clear a stoppage and to draw aim and fire a pistol is almost the same, probably. Besides, you always do an entry on a room with a buddy. If you have a stoppage then, hopefully your  buddy can cut down any bad guys inside the room. You having a pistol won't make much of a difference inside a fast and furious room clearing.
In open field, forget using a pistol as a stop gap measure. Pistol has an effective range of 25m, if you're a good shot. Clear the stoppage on your rifle and carry on.

Edited by EvilTree, 29 May 2003 - 01:37 AM.

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"Violence, naked force, has settled more issues in history than has any other factor, and the contrary opinion is wishful thinking at its worst. Breeds that forget this basic truth have always paid for it with their lives and freedoms."
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#12 Rhea

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Posted 29 May 2003 - 01:43 AM

Twilight Zone post.

Edited by Rhea, 29 May 2003 - 01:44 AM.

The future is better than the past. Despite the crepehangers, romanticists, and anti-intellectuals, the world steadily grows better because the human mind, applying itself to environment, makes it better. With hands...with tools...with horse sense and science and engineering.
- Robert A. Heinlein

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Everything is theoretically impossible, until it is done. One could write a history of science in reverse by assembling the solemn pronouncements of highest authority about what could not be done and could never happen.  - RAH

#13 CJ AEGIS

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Posted 29 May 2003 - 04:39 AM

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ET: At least in Canadian Army, C8 carbine is the general issue for the crewmen... Surprising that it took Yanks that long...

I personally I have mixed feelings about trying to arm the entire force with carbines rather than rifles.  The problem is that leaves you at a serious disadvantage once the engagement ranges start to open up and you end up facing off against rifles.  Sure in this conflict the majority of the fighting proved to be up close and personal but the next war might prove to be fought at longer ranges.  I think the issue is that you have to find the right mix of rifles and carbines for you forces.  

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ET: Consider this though. When will you have the opportunity to swap weapons before going on a mission?

You really can’t but you can have those weapons in stock and available then bring them up if you have the time or arm with them prior.  Then that isn’t the whole issue.  One of the big arguments isn’t what to arm your infantry with but what to arm the vehicles crews and forces in the rear with.  A full sized rifle while nice is a rather cumbersome thing to be lugging around on you all the time when you will rarely need it.  In addition the rifles and probably carbines are really just to long for use in the vehicles.  I really tend to think a SMG is better suited for the support troops and vehicle crews than a rifle or carbine.  This is especially true for a bullpup design similar to the P90 that retains similar stopping power to a rifle.  

The major problem there is the weapons tend to be far too delicate in their current form and far too ugly for Jon. ;)

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ET: Again, I don't really see a need for pistols. The time it takes to clear a stoppage and to draw aim and fire a pistol is almost the same, probably.

In most cases that is true though talk about really sucking if you have a stoppage that does takes longer to clear or a more serious failure of the weapon.  The M16 is a very reliable weapons but having a sidearm makes a nice First Aid for those situations that are bound to happen eventually.  A good pistol is also a very useful thing to have when carrying out room clearing or operating in tight quarters where the bulk of a carbine or rifle precludes the rapid use of it.  As you stated above you can’t always trot back to get a SMG to do that type of work whereas you’ll always have your sidearm.  

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ET: In open field, forget using a pistol as a stop gap measure. Pistol has an effective range of 25m, if you're a good shot.

While pistols aren’t exactly suited for engaging enemies armed with rifles in the open that isn’t what they are meant for either.  The sidearm is a first aid stopgap in case something happens to your carbine or rifle.  The other thing that is fairly well documented in With the Old Breed and several other books about the island fighting is the success the M1911 had in this role as a stopgap measure.  Whether it was because enemies attempted to rush the position after the magazine was exhausted in the rifle and the soldier resorted to the pistol rather than reload or in the type of up close fighting that dominated that theater.  

As noted in the article Jon posted most of the fighting that occurred in Iraq was within the ranges where a pistol in the hands of a good shot would be effective.
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#14 jon3831

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Posted 29 May 2003 - 06:30 AM

CJ AEGIS, on May 28 2003, 10:43 AM, said:

I personally I have mixed feelings about trying to arm the entire force with carbines rather than rifles.  The problem is that leaves you at a serious disadvantage once the engagement ranges start to open up and you end up facing off against rifles.
Agreed. Carbines and rifles both have their purposes.

Y'know... I seem to recall seeing a paper on building a 7.62mm rifle using the M16 lower reciever... I'll see if I can't dig it up. That'd make things interesting, and a lot easier from a training perspective if the light and heavy rifles both used the same fire control.

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The major problem there is the weapons tend to be far too delicate in their current form and far too ugly for Jon. ;)

Not to mention the bastardized nonstandard proprietary ammunition it uses. Do we *really* want to be relying on FN to not cut off our supply of 5.7x28mm?

Even though the design of the P90 is beginning to grow on me, there's still the practical issue of training the armorers to fix the things... We already employ MP5s in small numbers with Marine Force Recon and security battalions. That way, you wouldn't have to field test a whole new design.

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In most cases that is true though talk about really sucking if you have a stoppage that does takes longer to clear or a more serious failure of the weapon.

Having the takedown pins fall out and the lower reciever fall off would certainly qualify, in my book. ;)

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Weapon Take-Down Pins ~ Many weapons, M16 and M249 in particular, were having problems with takedown pins breaking and/or falling completely out of the weapons. Marines held weapons together with duct tape and/or zip ties. The problem seems to be that sand would get into the spaces around the pins, grinding down the metal.

Makes it nice to have a backup while you duct tape your rifle back together.

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As noted in the article Jon posted most of the fighting that occurred in Iraq was within the ranges where a pistol in the hands of a good shot would be effective.

Indeed. Again, a training issue, but not an insurmountable one.
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#15 CJ AEGIS

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Posted 29 May 2003 - 08:59 AM

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Jon: Agreed. Carbines and rifles both have their purposes.
I’m citing “With the Old Breed” far too much but the account is so relevant.  In at least one situation the author expresses frustration when they became engaged in a long-range gun battle with some Japanese troops.  They M-1 Carbines that they were armed with were wholly unsuited for actually hitting the enemy at that range.  Instead they had to wait until the infantry routed them out with Garands.      

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Jon: Not to mention the bastardized nonstandard proprietary ammunition it uses. Do we *really* want to be relying on FN to not cut off our supply of 5.7x28mm?
That isn’t exactly the best situation is it but I’m betting FN would be drooling at the prospect of that large of a military contract.  The prospect of designing a modified P90 to arm guards, rear support personnel, and replace the current SMGs is one nice fat large contract.  With that in mind I’m betting the US military could get some concessions out of FN including an allowance for the US military to contract out and have other companies produce 5.7x28mm.
The other option is going with a bullpup design with more standard ammunition but then you lose many of the basic advantages that make the P90 such an attractive weapon.  

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Jon: Even though the design of the P90 is beginning to grow on me
It isn’t pretty and look like a toy but the design has lethality to it that you just have to admire.  Someone was really thinking when they dreamed this one up.  

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Jon: there's still the practical issue of training the armorers to fix the things...
On top of that you have the fact that the design would really have to be more rugged than it is currently.  Though this really comes down to a training issue and not insurmountable.

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Jon: We already employ MP5s in small numbers with Marine Force Recon and security battalions. That way, you wouldn't have to field test a whole new design.
The MP-5 is attractive as an established weapons and standard ammunition.  Primary problem I see is the decreased lethality of the weapon and inferior range compared to the P90.  I’m not too sure how much of a loss it is when compared to the standard ammo and established presence.  

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Jon: Makes it nice to have a backup while you duct tape your rifle back together.
“Pardon me!  Time Out!  I have to tape my weapon back together or at least come close enough so I can beat your senseless with the useless parts of it.”   ;)
"History has proven too often and too recently that the nation which relaxes its defenses invites attack."
        -Fleet Admiral Nimitz
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#16 EvilTree

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Posted 29 May 2003 - 03:01 PM

Quote

CJ Aegis said: I personally I have mixed feelings about trying to arm the entire force with carbines rather than rifles. The problem is that leaves you at a serious disadvantage once the engagement ranges start to open up and you end up facing off against rifles. Sure in this conflict the majority of the fighting proved to be up close and personal but the next war might prove to be fought at longer ranges. I think the issue is that you have to find the right mix of rifles and carbines for you forces.
I think you misunderstood me.
I said only crewmen of armour vehicles are equipped with carbines.

Quote

You really can’t but you can have those weapons in stock and available then bring them up if you have the time or arm with them prior. Then that isn’t the whole issue. One of the big arguments isn’t what to arm your infantry with but what to arm the vehicles crews and forces in the rear with. A full sized rifle while nice is a rather cumbersome thing to be lugging around on you all the time when you will rarely need it. In addition the rifles and probably carbines are really just to long for use in the vehicles. I really tend to think a SMG is better suited for the support troops and vehicle crews than a rifle or carbine. This is especially true for a bullpup design similar to the P90 that retains similar stopping power to a rifle.
I don't know if you ever done work with a M16 slung on your back, but it really isn't that bad. The rifle is only a metre long.

Quote

In most cases that is true though talk about really sucking if you have a stoppage that does takes longer to clear or a more serious failure of the weapon. The M16 is a very reliable weapons but having a sidearm makes a nice First Aid for those situations that are bound to happen eventually. A good pistol is also a very useful thing to have when carrying out room clearing or operating in tight quarters where the bulk of a carbine or rifle precludes the rapid use of it. As you stated above you can’t always trot back to get a SMG to do that type of work whereas you’ll always have your sidearm.

Quote

While pistols aren’t exactly suited for engaging enemies armed with rifles in the open that isn’t what they are meant for either. The sidearm is a first aid stopgap in case something happens to your carbine or rifle. The other thing that is fairly well documented in With the Old Breed and several other books about the island fighting is the success the M1911 had in this role as a stopgap measure. Whether it was because enemies attempted to rush the position after the magazine was exhausted in the rifle and the soldier resorted to the pistol rather than reload or in the type of up close fighting that dominated that theater.
What are the odds that you have a really bad stoppage? Yes, M16/C7 is a close bolt rifle so chance of stoppage is more than open bolt weapons system, but in all my days doing range shoots and field exercises, I rarely had stoppages. I never had a stoppage where the rifle became not serviceable. To me the odds of a really bad stoppage is a fraction of a percent.
All the rifle really needs is a careful maintenance and doing the right stoppage drill.
When you change a mag, your fireteam partner is suppose to cover you so that you can change your mag and go on killing the bad guys.

Quote

jon3831 said: QUOTE 
In most cases that is true though talk about really sucking if you have a stoppage that does takes longer to clear or a more serious failure of the weapon.


Having the takedown pins fall out and the lower reciever fall off would certainly qualify, in my book.

QUOTE 
Weapon Take-Down Pins ~ Many weapons, M16 and M249 in particular, were having problems with takedown pins breaking and/or falling completely out of the weapons. Marines held weapons together with duct tape and/or zip ties. The problem seems to be that sand would get into the spaces around the pins, grinding down the metal.


Makes it nice to have a backup while you duct tape your rifle back together.
I'm trying to understand why would takedown pins fall off. It just boggles my mind.
Loyalty, Vigilance, Excellence
-Motto of Imperial Space Marines


"Violence, naked force, has settled more issues in history than has any other factor, and the contrary opinion is wishful thinking at its worst. Breeds that forget this basic truth have always paid for it with their lives and freedoms."
-Robert A. Heinlein

"Self control is chef element in self respect. Self respect is chief element in courage."
-Thucydides

#17 CJ AEGIS

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Posted 29 May 2003 - 03:55 PM

Quote

Eviltree: I think you misunderstood me.
I said only crewmen of armour vehicles are equipped with carbines.

Whoops!  You actually said just crewmen rather than mentioning armor.  I must have just skimmed right over the crewmen with my naval orientated brain. ;)


Quote

Eviltree: I don't know if you ever done work with a M16 slung on your back, but it really isn't that bad. The rifle is only a metre long.

Can’t say I have tried that one.  Still a weapon like the P90 though is still going to be a whole lot handier to carry around on you than a rifle or carbine.  The P90 is something like 50 cm long and will clip right onto many types of body armor or probably be fitted onto load bearing harnesses.  Actually dup up a rather interesting article on the weapon.

On The Edge: With the New FN P90 5.7x28mm

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Eviltree: What are the odds that you have a really bad stoppage?

The odds are probably directly related to the number of people who are trying to kill you at the given moment.  Sure it is an outside chance that the weapon will have such a serious failure to preclude returning it to quick operation but it does happen.  In those cases a good sidearm can mean the difference between life and death.  It is an extra expense to actually ensure that everyone is carrying a sidearm but I for one think that expense is worth it in lives saved for when a primary weapon fails.  

In addition a good sidearm is going to be handy for those situations that calls for a weapons smaller than a carbine or rifle.    

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Eviltree: When you change a mag, your fireteam partner is suppose to cover you so that you can change your mag and go on killing the bad guys.

That works just fine in theory but then combat doesn’t seem to often follow theory.  How about if your partner has already taken a round and is down?  Or they are simply overwhelmed by a rush of enemies.  

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Eviltree: I'm trying to understand why would takedown pins fall off. It just boggles my mind.

Sand really wreaks havoc on just about anything mechanical.
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#18 EvilTree

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Posted 30 May 2003 - 08:18 AM

Quote

The odds are probably directly related to the number of people who are trying to kill you at the given moment. Sure it is an outside chance that the weapon will have such a serious failure to preclude returning it to quick operation but it does happen. In those cases a good sidearm can mean the difference between life and death. It is an extra expense to actually ensure that everyone is carrying a sidearm but I for one think that expense is worth it in lives saved for when a primary weapon fails.

In addition a good sidearm is going to be handy for those situations that calls for a weapons smaller than a carbine or rifle.

I just don't think the odds of needing a sidearm is great enough to warrant carrying one.

It's not like infanteers don't have enough to do than worry about another weapon.

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That works just fine in theory but then combat doesn’t seem to often follow theory. How about if your partner has already taken a round and is down? Or they are simply overwhelmed by a rush of enemies.

If your partner is down, then you communicate with the next fireteam so that they cover you.

If the enemy is about to overwhelm you, well, you're screwed anyways. Or the enemy is really stupid and wants to get mowed down by machineguns.

Quote

Sand really wreaks havoc on just about anything mechanical.

That's why you take proper maintenance of your weapon. You should be cleaning  your weapon every ten minutes of idle time you have, then you get some rest, etc.

Oh, I found something about 5.56mm being used in Mog. Apparently the Delta dudes were using special AP 5.56mm rounds. No wonder they had hard time putting down targets.
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"Self control is chef element in self respect. Self respect is chief element in courage."
-Thucydides

#19 CJ AEGIS

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Posted 30 May 2003 - 08:44 AM

Quote

Eviltree: I just don't think the odds of needing a sidearm is great enough to warrant carrying one.

Apparently the US Marines view the situation in a different light and would like sidearms.  They are useful as both a infantry backup weapon and for those situation where rifles or carbines are far too bulky.  I’d say you could chock it up to the different ideologies of the Canadian and US military especially the Marines; where one is more focused on combat and the other as peacekeepers.  

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Eviltree: It's not like infanteers don't have enough to do than worry about another weapon.

Such as being killed and a sidearm can help prevent that.  

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Eviltree: If your partner is down, then you communicate with the next fireteam so that they cover you.

In the best-case scenario that works just great but then the first rule is don’t count on the best case.  In the real world they could be just as overwhelmed as you are or pinned down by enemy fire.


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Eviltree: If the enemy is about to overwhelm you, well, you're screwed anyways.

That seems like a tad of a defeatist attitude.  Marines in Iraq fought with bayonets when they had to.  Carrying a sidearm gives you that last option before you have to resort to hand to hand combat like that.  

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Eviltree: Or the enemy is really stupid and wants to get mowed down by machineguns.

That’s an instance of counting on the perfect case scenario happening again.  Obviously the machine guns failed to stop the Iraqi irregulars when the Marines had to resort to bayonets.  

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Eviltree: That's why you take proper maintenance of your weapon. You should be cleaning your weapon every ten minutes of idle time you have, then you get some rest, etc.

Then there is the slight problem of actually keeping sand out of the weapon when you are stuck in an environment with sand everywhere and a sandstorm going on to top it all off.  You are assuming the perfect case scenario again.  If US Marines are one thing they are downright anal about maintaining their weapons.  Somehow I doubt these failures of the takedown pins have much to do with poor maintenance on the parts of the Marines.  I’m willing to bet the Black Mattel toy is striking again and the failure is in the design of the rifle itself.

Edited by CJ AEGIS, 30 May 2003 - 08:45 AM.

"History has proven too often and too recently that the nation which relaxes its defenses invites attack."
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#20 EvilTree

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Posted 02 June 2003 - 01:02 PM

Quote

Apparently the US Marines view the situation in a different light and would like sidearms. They are useful as both a infantry backup weapon and for those situation where rifles or carbines are far too bulky. I’d say you could chock it up to the different ideologies of the Canadian and US military especially the Marines; where one is more focused on combat and the other as peacekeepers.
You forget that being an excellent combat soldier means being a good peacekeeper.
Knowing how to blow stuff up is one thing, knowing when to use deadly force in what situations is another.

Quote

Such as being killed and a sidearm can help prevent that.
You know what, I'm going to post this question on military boards and see what response I get. It'd be quite interesting.

Quote

Then there is the slight problem of actually keeping sand out of the weapon when you are stuck in an environment with sand everywhere and a sandstorm going on to top it all off. You are assuming the perfect case scenario again. If US Marines are one thing they are downright anal about maintaining their weapons. Somehow I doubt these failures of the takedown pins have much to do with poor maintenance on the parts of the Marines. I’m willing to bet the Black Mattel toy is striking again and the failure is in the design of the rifle itself.
Hmmm... I've heard stories of how Brits did more careful maintenance of their weapons and their SA80s, which is a more complex rifle than a M16 failed less.
Loyalty, Vigilance, Excellence
-Motto of Imperial Space Marines


"Violence, naked force, has settled more issues in history than has any other factor, and the contrary opinion is wishful thinking at its worst. Breeds that forget this basic truth have always paid for it with their lives and freedoms."
-Robert A. Heinlein

"Self control is chef element in self respect. Self respect is chief element in courage."
-Thucydides



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