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Thread: Grendel LMG

  1. #201
    Super Moderator LRRPF52's Avatar
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    The challenges with mag-fed Squad-level Light Support Weapons are:

    * Magazine capacity limits situational awareness and the ability to sustain fire. Belt-fed weapons allow the gunner to focus entirely on the TGT and area around the TGT while firing bursts.

    * Magazines add a lot of weight and bulk to the SAW/Auto Rifleman's load, especially if you try to address the limited magazine capacity with drums.

    * Lack of quick barrel change feature on a weapon intended for higher volume of fire

    With drum mags, they are great to have in the gun for your first mag, but then what do you do with them? With links, I just let the links lay where they fall, no issues. With drums, I now need to retain that drum after it's expended, then reload it once I get resupplied with ammo. When I get resupplied with linked ammo, I either pull the 200rd containers from the ammo can and slap one directly onto the gun, or take the linked ammo out and feed it into one of the Cordura nut sacks that attach to the gun, very fast. If there is a metallic drum, you pull the rear plate off, feed the linked ammo in, close the back, and you're ready to go.

    Linked ammo in soft ammo bags weighs less than magazine contained ammo.



    It helps to better understand some of the challenges if people could see how we employ machine-guns at the Squad level. It's absolutely nothing like the movies, and involves a lot of team work, with SAWs covering specific avenues of approach, manning blocking positions, or setting up in certain positions for ambushes. There is quite a bit of study required to learn Small Unit Tactics to get a better idea of what actually happens.

    The driving force behind the current push for IAR in the Marines is more as a DM and limited burst IAR, with more focus on the precision that optics and accurate barrels allow. What gets overlooked between the Marines and the Army are how USMC Infantry Squads are organized. They have 3 Fire Teams, whereas the US Army went full abortion and did a top-down MTO&E that ignored decades of combat lessons learned from junior leaders, and instead decided to structure all of its Infantry Squads around the Bradley Fighting Vehicle crew and soldier compartment limitations, even though none of the Light Infantry, Airborne, or Airmoblie units have Bradleys anywhere close to them. That means a 9-man Rifle Squad, which is really an oversized Fire Team.



    A Marine Infantry Rifle Squad looks like a small platoon, and their Infantry Platoons look like small companies. There is a significant advantage in flexibility with the USMC MTO&E because as soon as you take casualties, there are plenty of guys in the trail fire team to either CASEVAC them, or fill in the attrited Team's position and continue the momentum of an attack. They have a Rifle Squad Leader and 3 Fire Teams of 4 men each, for a total of 13 pipe swingers.

    The US Army Infantry Squad has no such luck, which is interesting because all of the post-combat (WWII, Korea, Vietnam) AARs that were conducted with combat-experienced junior NCOs and Lieutenants all concluded that 11 men was the bare minimum needed for a capable Infantry Squad. Why the US Army subjects all of its Light, Airmobile, and Airborne forces to the 9-man Bradly Squad has more to do with the ill-conceived "Army of Excellence" initiative of the 1980s and their management of manpower from a top-down approach, rather than building from a Fire Team-up approach as previously done. They didn't care about the Infantry really, since they had so much capability with Armor, Artillery, and Aviation, and figured Infantry was more of an after-thought. Grenada, Panama, Mogadishu, Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq would all expose the folly of that thinking.
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  2. #202
    Chieftain stanc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dobrodan View Post
    Now, that is how not to shoot a machinegun.


    Quote Originally Posted by dobrodan View Post
    Also, if he had to change ammo-boxes, that reload would take a lot longer. Especially if he was on the move...
    Of course.
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  3. #203
    Chieftain stanc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dobrodan View Post
    Standard starting and ending position from prone shooting to allow the shooting instructors to see when everybody are ready to start, and also to see when they are finished firing.
    Thanks!
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  4. #204
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    Quote Originally Posted by LRRPF52 View Post
    With drum mags, they are great to have in the gun for your first mag, but then what do you do with them? With links, I just let the links lay where they fall, no issues. With drums, I now need to retain that drum after it's expended, then reload it once I get resupplied with ammo.
    To be fair, you have to do all of that with nutsacks, too.
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  5. #205
    Super Moderator LRRPF52's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stanc View Post
    To be fair, you have to do all of that with nutsacks, too.
    They collapse and stuff into a much smaller space when they're empty, which is one of the main things I like about them.

    They are also quiet, unlike drums. Drums resonate like a percussion instrument when impacted. We would even silence the 200rd plastic SAW ammo drums with MRE cardboard as a noise dampener.

    The cloth ones are far superior I found.
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  6. #206
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    Well, I am probably a bit more moderate than I was back in the day...

    I think a SAW could very well be mag-fed. It could also be belt-fed as long as it is light enough and easy to operate under difficult conditions.

    However, if you try to put a mag-fed SAW in the place of a belt-fed SAW, without changing the organization or/and doctrine, you could be in for some trouble.

    Lately, I have been pondering this issue a bit, and to get as much firepower as possible, even the way assault-rifles are being used should be should be reviewed.

    Regarding USMC and the IAR, I think they picked the right question, but the wrong answer(s).

    IMO, The chosen IAR should rather have been the Ultimax, because it allows accurate automatic fire at longer ranges. And the primary firing mode of an IAR should be auto.

    The M27 is a very good infantry-rifle, but not something I would have chosen for automatic fire at longer ranges....

    Also, to exchange the M249 for an IAR on a 1:1 basis is not optimum, because while the belt-fed has more "stamina" when firing, but it takes longer to get back into the fight. the other SAW-gunners try to overlap, so the squad is not left without covering fire, it doesn´t allow each SAW-gunner much time to observe the battle-field. He is always operating the machinegun, and he does not have an assistant.

    When you try to use a mag-fed SAW, they have less "stamina", while it takes shorter time for them to get back into the fight. If you have a pair of SAW-gunners in each sub-section, they can time their mag-changes, and have a better overview of the battle-field, giving them the ability to instantaneously fight targets of opportunity.

    Ideally, I would like every second weapon in the squad to be an IAR (it should have a longer practical range, but similar weight as a regular rifle with a 40mm grenade-launcher)


    Some people are worried that machineguns can be too accurate and controllable.

    I am not.

    The tighter the cone of fire, the more densely saturated the targeted-area will be. If you need to cover a larger area, then move your aim as you fire. If you are unable to hit what you are aiming for, what are the odds that you would with a less saturated target-area...

    But that is machineguns...

    When using an assault-rifle in auto-mode, the range should be short, and it should be critical to hit the targeted area with as much firepower as possible in as short as possible time.
    Most of the time, when those situations appear, the soldiers would fire only rapid single-shots, because that is what they are trained for, and they may also not have time to manipulate the lever to F, or just forgetting that it exists.
    With assault-rifles the rate of fire should be high, and it should have a wider cone of fire, to give a well saturated target-area at closer ranges, because if the enemy is at a short range, chances are that if you are not able to put enough rounds into the target-area fast enough, you may not be able to pull the trigger again. And that may not give you the time to aim properly, or even think about moving the lever to F. Even the process of actually moving the lever that extra notch and move your hand into firing position may be the end of you. But you would still only move it to single. Because that is what you have trained for.

    The solution to that is to adopt the short-pull:single/long-pull:auto function, and the soldiers should be trained to use this functionality instinctively.

    I am of the idea that the IARs and assault-rifles should complement each other:

    Long ranges: IAR gunner fires auto, rifleman spots.
    Medium to short ranges: IAR-gunner fires auto or single shots, rifleman fires single-shots or auto
    CQB/FIBUA: IAR-gunner fires auto, rifleman fires single or auto.

    This of course means that the riflemen needs to be outfitted similarly to the current IAR-gunner, and also with maybe a 40mm UGL per sub-section.

    I hope this makes some sense. This became a bit longer and more complicated than I had intended.

  7. #207
    Appreciate your comments. As LRRPF52 pointed out and as you are doing, the whole issue needs to be viewed in the bigger context.
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  8. #208
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    This is something that has been doing the rounds over my side of the pond as well. Though from a slightly different angle. We ended the second WW with a mag fed LMG (BREN) and a a heavy MG (Vickers) both were kept until we adopted 7.62. Then the LMG was converted to 7.62 and eventually relegated to support arms, though some inf units kept them on. We adopted the FN MAG and fettled with it to make it our own (GPMG). When the dust (or should that be peat settled) after the Falklands operation. Our small unit tactics, were up revised. One of the lessons learned was that units that took both the LMG and GPMG in their sections had an easier time suppressing the enemy and winning the fire fight.

    So when we adopted the 5.56 each 8 man section had two LSWs each gunner had 9x30rnd mags and extra mags carried through out the section. The ammo scale ended up at 15x30rnd mags per LSW. Fast forward a few years, units started to add the GPMG back in to the section organisation, as there was a distinct lack of sustained covering fire from the LSWs. So now we had a mix of ammo in the section 7.62 and 5.56. We eventually gave up the GPMGs and moved them to a dedicated fire support group. We replace the LSW and GPMG with what we call the LMG (FN Minimi).

    So we have gone Mag, belt, mag and back to belt. The decision by the USMC to go to the IAR to us looks like a retrograde step.
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  9. #209
    Super Moderator LRRPF52's Avatar
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    I look at the units that actually have a say in what LMGs they choose for their missions, particularly raids.

    Common to both the UK and US high priority SOF units who can literally adopt whatever they want, the FN Minimi has been pretty popular dating back into the 1980s.

    They have dedicated, world-class armorer support that conventional units can't even dream of though. Even Ranger Regiment enjoys armorer support that would shock a regular unit's leadership.

    SFOD used them in Panama
    SAS has been using them for decades

    I often wonder what would have happened if they had been able to get the Ultimax or Stoner LMG made in the US or Canada.

    I will say that having served as a SAW gunner in operational units, as well as filling that duty position in one of the Army's premier Small Unit Tactics schools when I wasn't be graded in a leadership position, and later managing my SAW gunners as a Fire Team Leader and Squad Leader, I don't want to lose the belt-fed capability for the reasons stated, but I do want the weapon weight to come down significantly, with constant-recoil principle operation.





    Last edited by LRRPF52; 12-08-2017 at 05:16 AM.
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  10. #210
    Does the Ultimax have a quick-change barrel? If so, convert it to belt feed and call it done. Or have we just re-created the Stoner LMG?
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  11. #211
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    Yes it does have a QCB.

    But I do not believe a QCB should be a requirement for a SAW.

    To have the QCB functionality adds a little bit weight, but to actually bring an extra barrel adds much more weight.

    I would rather double the number of SAWs in the squad. That way the SAW gunners would be a bit more mobile, and the squad would have a bit more firepower.

    Of course this is not a good solution if the SAW is heavy and difficult to handle when standing. But with Ultimax, Stoner LMG, or the lighter Minimi-versions, it should be possible.

    This is BTW how the SAS were outfitted in GW1 (B20).

  12. #212
    Chieftain stanc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dobrodan View Post
    ...I do not believe a QCB should be a requirement for a SAW.
    I strongly disagree.

    Quote Originally Posted by dobrodan View Post
    To have the QCB functionality adds a little bit weight, but to actually bring an extra barrel adds much more weight.
    There's an extremely simple solution to that problem: Don't bring an extra barrel!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by dobrodan View Post
    I would rather double the number of SAWs in the squad. That way the SAW gunners would be a bit more mobile, and the squad would have a bit more firepower.
    That could still be done with a QCB. Having a QCB incurs negligible weight penalty, as proven by the Steyr AUG, Ultimax 100, and Stoner LMG.
    Plus, having a QCB avoids the need to constantly remove SAWs from service to replace worn out barrels, since QCBs can be changed by users.
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  13. #213
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    Quote Originally Posted by BluntForceTrauma View Post
    Does the Ultimax have a quick-change barrel? If so, convert it to belt feed and call it done. Or have we just re-created the Stoner LMG?
    Since both guns weigh about the same, both have quick-change barrels, and both fire the same caliber ammunition, yes, you would essentially have re-created the Stoner LMG...but at very great expenditure of time and $$$$. Why bother?

    P.S. Does this mean you're no longer opposed to a belt-fed SAW? If so, it's ironic, as I was just thinking about building on your idea of having the squad equipped solely with assault rifles, except I would give every man an Ultimax 2000.


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  14. #214
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    Quote Originally Posted by LRRPF52 View Post
    I look at the units that actually have a say in what LMGs they choose for their missions, particularly raids.
    Common to both the UK and US high priority SOF units who can literally adopt whatever they want, the FN Minimi has been pretty popular dating back into the 1980s.
    They have dedicated, world-class armorer support that conventional units can't even dream of though. Even Ranger Regiment enjoys armorer support that would shock a regular unit's leadership.

    SFOD used them in Panama
    SAS has been using them for decades

    I often wonder what would have happened if they had been able to get the Ultimax or Stoner LMG made in the US or Canada.

    I will say that having served as a SAW gunner in operational units, as well as filling that duty position in one of the Army's premier Small Unit Tactics schools when I wasn't be graded in a leadership position, and later managing my SAW gunners as a Fire Team Leader and Squad Leader, I don't want to lose the belt-fed capability for the reasons stated, but I do want the weapon weight to come down significantly, with constant-recoil principle operation.
    Well, since you don't want to give up belt-feed, that rules out the Ultimax, leaving the Stoner as the only option.



    Quote Originally Posted by LRRPF52 View Post
    Interesting to see that Army Special Forces actually used the Ultimax in Iraq. Would be even more interesting to get some feedback from the soldier(s) regarding weapon performance, and his/their thoughts on carrying and using the 100-round drums.
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  15. #215
    Super Moderator LRRPF52's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dobrodan View Post
    Yes it does have a QCB.

    But I do not believe a QCB should be a requirement for a SAW.

    To have the QCB functionality adds a little bit weight, but to actually bring an extra barrel adds much more weight.

    I would rather double the number of SAWs in the squad. That way the SAW gunners would be a bit more mobile, and the squad would have a bit more firepower.

    Of course this is not a good solution if the SAW is heavy and difficult to handle when standing. But with Ultimax, Stoner LMG, or the lighter Minimi-versions, it should be possible.

    This is BTW how the SAS were outfitted in GW1 (B20).
    SOG did a similar thing with Hatchet Forces when they were expecting contact, or planning to do ambushes. They used cut-down RPDs, XM177E2s, AKs, light mortars, M79s, M203s, and B40s. They had a pretty sick IAD where they would all deploy online upon frontal contact and unleash hell with that weapons mix, then break contact via Aussie Peel. Imagine making contact with that element, even as a Company-size unit filled with conscripts or 1st-term soldiers.



    It is interesting that the Soviets got rid of the RPD in favor of the RPK around the same time they added the SVD to the Infantry Platoon, bringing us back to the discussion about the roles combined weapons play with each other.

    More precise fires from an SVD seemed to offset the need for the RPD, but they still retained the PKM in the LMG role in Motorized Infantry Platoons, with Snipers and PKM gunners often filling the support groups (Support By Fire position in the US) during attacks or ambushes.

    When they switched to the SCHV Rifle cartridge system and dumped the AKM to reserve unit status, they updated the RPK to the RPK-74, kept the SVD and PKM.

    The biggest failure we have in the US in both the Army and USMC is lack of a dedicated, MTO&E'd Squad Designated Marksman with a specific rifle, ammo, optics, and MOS training pipeline.

    Our selection of a 5.56 LMG that weighs as much or more than the 7.62x54R PKM was just another self-inflicted hinderance.

    That 6mm SAW would have been interesting, especially in the Ford Aerospace or Stoner LMG configuration, using constant-recoil instead of AK "beat myself to pieces" operating system, which the SAW does superbly.

    As to Ultimax use by units with short duration mission profiles, it makes a lot of sense even with drums. Peruvian Special Forces used it in a mix with Colt Commandos, USAS-12 Shotguns, and South African rotary grenade launchers in the jungle.

    For conventional forces, I think the QBC makes a lot of sense. You can choose whether or not to take spare barrels or not based on METT-TC. At one time, we had 4 different barrels for the Para-SAWs in 82nd, 2 Commando barrels and 2 20" barrels before the 20s got turned in.

    The Israeli Negev is another great little LMG that can fire from the belt or STANAG 5.56 mags, one-handed QBC, compact little pig. It still weighs about what the original M249E1 weighed though.

    If you could use the Negev feed system on the Ultimax, now we're cooking with crisco. Linked or STANAG mags, constant-recoil, Ultimax lightweight, chambered in something with a much higher BC/SD.
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  16. #216
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    Quote Originally Posted by stanc View Post
    I strongly disagree.


    There's an extremely simple solution to that problem: Don't bring an extra barrel!!!


    That could still be done with a QCB. Having a QCB incurs negligible weight penalty, as proven by the Steyr AUG, Ultimax 100, and Stoner LMG.
    Plus, having a QCB avoids the need to constantly remove SAWs from service to replace worn out barrels, since QCBs can be changed by users.
    What I actually meant was that a QCB-functionality is nice to have, but not strictly necessary. I would like to have a way to swap barrels in the field, but not necessarily while hot.

    I know everything about the simple solution of not bringing the extra barrel. However, when I have mentioned that it is not necessary to bring a spare barrel for a fire-ambush ( surprise the enemy, then get away), I have always been told to toughen the beep up and lift more weights...

    So, my conclusion to that is that if you could mount a kitchen-sink to it, and one was available, you would have to bring that too...

  17. #217
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    Quote Originally Posted by dobrodan View Post
    What I actually meant was that a QCB-functionality is nice to have, but not strictly necessary. I would like to have a way to swap barrels in the field, but not necessarily while hot.
    I see. Yeah, something like the user-changeable barrels of the Zastava 6.5 Grendel rifles would probably be okay for the purpose...most of the time.



    But personally, I still prefer a true QCB, because there will be times when the battle is so intense that a hot barrel must be replaced in order to keep the gun in the fight.

    Quote Originally Posted by dobrodan View Post
    I know everything about the simple solution of not bringing the extra barrel. However, when I have mentioned that it is not necessary to bring a spare barrel for a fire-ambush ( surprise the enemy, then get away), I have always been told to toughen the beep up and lift more weights...

    So, my conclusion to that is that if you could mount a kitchen-sink to it, and one was available, you would have to bring that too...
    Heh, heh. Sounds like your army has mentally rigid leadership.

    I may be mistaken, but I think that in the US Army, SAW gunners can leave the spare barrel at base if the leader judges it to be unnecessary for the mission.
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