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  1. #1
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    Platoon OrBat & the LSW/GPMG debate

    With regard to the concerns raised about the costs per rifle (post 877) and separately, the topic of barrel replacements (post 900), would there be any merit in transferring some of the contract cost, on a Euro-for-Euro basis, to avail of one of the other, original Steyr AUG family upgrade options i.e. the LMG (Light Machine Gun) conversion?

    Steyr may have kits in stock (after an original batch production..?) and the process would be very similar to what is proposed/ongoing now, with only a limited number of parts involved - longer heavier barrels, extended magazines and internal parts alteration for 'open bolt' (machinegun) operation.

    Judging by previous comments on this site, the only proviso may be that the bi-pod at the end of the barrel may make it too accurate for a machinegun that is meant to spread its fire in support... like the experience with the UK's SA80 LMG? (so something more akin to the bi-pod placement of the 'Ultimax', 'Bren' LMG or 'Vz52' MG may be more usefull, (and also dispense with the unique flash hider/muzzle break).

    Would such an LMG upgrade, alongside the general rifle upgrades, be a useful and significant addition for the army (and VRM for the tax payers account) rather then reliance solely on improving the rifles for individual use? (Would it also, in a small measure, bring another element of the Defence Forces armaments closer to those of other European armies - including the Russians!?).

  2. #2
    Lt General apod's Avatar
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    On the contrary the BA have taken a good look at the tactics employed with regards to suppression of the enemy and the type of weapon and the amount of ammunition it takes to do so with regards to weight for the dismounted soldier.Their battle school is advocating a switch to suppression by precision fire rather than beaten zones.So the L85A2 LSW may still have a place.The USMC recently switched from belt fed Minimi SAW's to magazine fed with better optics IAR's.Maybe we are behind the times??
    "Let us be clear about three facts:First of all.All battles and all wars are won in the end by the Infantryman.Secondly the Infantryman bears the brunt of the fighting,his casualties are heavier and he suffers greater extremes of fatigue and discomfort than the other arms.Thirdly,the art of the Infantryman is less stereotyped and harder to acquire than that of any other arm".
    -- Field Marshall Earl Wavell.1948

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  4. #3
    BQMS spider pig's Avatar
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    I think there are sights bought for tge mags as well
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  5. #4
    Non Temetis Messor The real Jack's Avatar
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    There is no merit in tarting up a rifle and pretending it's a machinegun, The USMC still have their M249s in inventory and M240s(GPMG), there is a suspicion that their IAR which is a HK416 was a roundabout way to select a replacement for the M4/16 series avoiding the associated controversy.

    I dunno how much LSWs the Brits actually still have as they've been replaced by their 7.62 LMT rifles, some LSWs were used as donor chassis for making L22s. Were LSWs actually used in Afganistan after the L129 came on stream?
    Everyone who's ever loved you was wrong.

  6. #5
    Commandant Come-quickly's Avatar
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    The L129 has an uncertain future post-Afghan, it was a theatre specific thing, much like the shotguns.

    There's bound to be some mulling over time post Afghan on what kit fits into the broader picture outside of the particular requirements of that environment.

    Nobody likes the L86 though...except maybe RGJ who'd probably profess his love for the mandatory salt and vinegar abrasive buttplug.
    "It is a general popular error to imagine that loudest complainers for the public to be the most anxious for it's welfare" Edmund Burke

  7. #6
    Lt General apod's Avatar
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    The L129's were a UOR purchase and do not form part of the core weapons mix of a non Herrick BA section.The weapons spread in a herrick section puts so much of a burden on the soldiers that they cannot carry out infantry soldiers basic tasks such as crawling,climbing over fences,climbing up ladders etc.Thats why IBS Brecon is advocating a return to one GPMG per platoon and resurrecting the LSW.
    I don't want to drag this thread off topic but you should read the "project payne" doctrine and the vignettes and examples contained therein.Serious food for thought.
    PM me if you want a copy.
    "Let us be clear about three facts:First of all.All battles and all wars are won in the end by the Infantryman.Secondly the Infantryman bears the brunt of the fighting,his casualties are heavier and he suffers greater extremes of fatigue and discomfort than the other arms.Thirdly,the art of the Infantryman is less stereotyped and harder to acquire than that of any other arm".
    -- Field Marshall Earl Wavell.1948

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  9. #7
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    The merits, I would argue, for a small shift in part of the upgrades order - to include a portion of the LMG option, would be that it would still be a rifle - though an enhanced one in terms of having a longer, heavier barrel - so lending it an improvement in range, more ability to accurately fire heavier rounds, and more ability to fire automatically, without fear of stoppages, misfires, overheating barrel etc..

    It would [LMG 'version'] still be entirely interchangeable with all the other standard rifles, and require 0-to very little, different training from the ordinary rifle.

    It would still have a short length also - same as the shorter rifles and carbines (but in the more traditional rifle layout) that are being adopted by the major armies, so no disadvantage there.
    It would also have the same or, pretty much same rate of fire as the rest of the rifles in the group, so no waste of rounds either.

    Making the assumption that the bi-pod would be attached to a mini-rail where the folding fore grip is now (admittedly, a small diversion from the rifle order) the LMG would not even look particularly different from the other rifles (I'm assuming retention of the old housing group - but again, these could be interchanged with the other new rifle upgrades).

    Then, all that would have to be decided would be the 'doctrine' applied, that of an LMG, or just an enhanced accuracy rifle... it looks as if the US Marines think there 'IAR' will be both, similar to how the UK flipped their use of their LMG/LSW, and now apparently maybe 'flopping' back... The Army then (here), could perhaps just allow whatever UN missions it embarks on - dictate the employment?

    So, I'm not sure if there is any particular downside to an LMG upgrade option?

    [Also, I barely knew of the new US Marine's IAR, other than it was some kind of rifle/machinegun...though not an LMG. I just read details about it...I didn't see any 'machinegunny' details at all, other than the barrel looks thick(ish)].

    Just to add to the 'Project Payne' reference above (which I have not looked at, yet, the very particular site of 'Quarry Nildram' goes into quite a bit of discussion of the merits/demerits of various rifles, rounds and impacts of theatre experience on the more technical side of rifle and ammunition adoption).

  10. #8
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    Thanks for the project Payne stuff, really interesting

    Anyway, a few thoughts.

    .I would suggest from my reading of it that the brits are looking at the next conflict and they think that it will be more like Iraq than Afghanistan. That makes sense, if you look at conflicts in the past twenty years from Sarajevo onwards they have mostly been fought in cities and I would reckon IBS has worked out that Afghanistan is going to be the exception rather than the norm.

    Firstly putting the GMPG to platoon level as the Americans do and having only one is a good idea. No matter how you look at it, GMPG needs a crew of three men, and possibly a tripod to be used effectively, and is not suitable for a light role use, its too heavy and awkard for an infantry section. No matter how much weight you shave off its still an awkard bulky ****er to move around.

    I also got the impression from the power point that the brits want LSW back , but don’t want the L-86 because it’s a POS, but something along the same lines possibly in 7.62m People are forgetting that the minimi at section level is actually offically an urgent operational requirement. I take from the power point that they've worked out from experience in Afghanistan and Iraq that the original concept of the LSW was essentially a good one. L-86 came out from the experience Northern Ireland and the Bren gun, and realistically you can’t employ the GMPG in an urban battle where there very well might be an insurgent in one room and a family of refugees in the one next door. Hence, the IBS emphasis for precision and a relatively low rate of fire, and an emphasis on suppression by accurate short bursts. The key insight for me was the note about how they tested the Afghanistan platoon assaulting a fire pit position with two insurgents, .the assault startedp with a fire group of three GPMG and a section assaulting with armed two Minimi, fired over 7,000 rounds but analysis showed that the insurgents were killed by the first two rounds. Again, the tactic on Herrick for using section firepowerfire to pin the insurgents down and wait for air or artillery support makes sense for Herrick,, but would be really difficult to do in a city.

    I also like the project Payne comparisons with the near peer opponent and them choosing the waffen SS and Japs from world war two and the Australians from Vietnam. Essentially IBS are stating the the obvious, there is no comparison between third world insurgents and western troops, in terms of weapons, training, tactics and optics the west is light years ahead, and is light years ahead of the Russians as well. So why carry the kitchen sink and in particular too much ammo to engage an enemy who has no training, is unfit, possibly out of their mind on brown?

    From what I’ve heard the insurgents have worked from an early stage that in up close fighting they’re screwed, and turned towards attacking patrols from long ranges with PK and SVD in and even lee enfields, precisely because they know that if they get up close they’re plucked as western troops will massacre them. Hence why the brits brought back the GPMG to section level, introdced marksmen rifles and bought a load of 60mm mortars for use at platoon level.

    Anyway, if you look at our near peer the danes its intresting to look at what they’ve done. They rolled into Iraq in 2003 with a platoon mounted on four mowags with a platoon HQ, (Officer, SNCO, RTO and medic, and three sections with 8 men, along with the AFV crews, 2 men crewing each car. The eight man section was split into two fire teams and had

    2 Cpls with rifles and radios
    2 grenadiers with rifle and m-203
    2 Anti Tank men each with a rifle and an At-4
    GMPG team with 2 men one GMPG and a Rifle

    Fast forward a few years to Helmland and they’ve changes their platoon radically. They’re still using mowags, but they’ve fitted them with a RWS with a three man crew.

    However their eight man section has gone down to six,

    one section commander with a Colt rifle and Radio
    one rifleman with a colt rifle and an AT-4
    2 grenadiers rifle and M-203
    2 LSW men essentially carrying a Colt C 8 with a heavier barrel and a bi pod, (similar in concept to a M-27 IAR.)

    Another change is to the platoon HQ, it still has an officer, SNCO, RTO and medic

    What they done is added a two man weapons team to the platoon that can be armed with either a GMPG or an 84mm carl gustav depending on the situation.

    That change was dictated by two things, firstly six was all you could fit in the back of a CV-90, secondly the section commander found it easier to command a group that size

    Now that don’t work quite work out, Danish troops hated the LSW and the GMPG was re-introduced at section level.

    So a basic Danish section now has one corporal and one 5 privates

    1 Corporal with a c 8 rifle and radio
    1 Anti tank gunner with a rifle and one At-4
    1 LSW gunner with a GPMG
    1 Grenadier with a rifle and a stand alone`40mm
    1 team medic with a rifle and a stand along 40mm along with an enhanced medical kit
    1 LSW with a rifle and spare ammunition for the GMPG

    Three of those form a platoon, and the Platoon HQ has

    One officer
    One RTO for the officer

    1 Sargent
    1 RTO for the Sargent,
    1 medic
    Fire support team with 2 men usually with a carl gustav 84mm but could have a GPMG.

    Four mowags with 12 men to carry the platoon and that gives you a grand total of 36 men

    Three platoons of these in a company and the danes add a manuever support section with two mowags and 4 weapons teams easch with three men, armed with a 60 mm mortar

    Now why this long digression. Well the Danes have just started selected a new version of the M-60E6 from US ordance to replace their GPMG. And I’d reckon thatr something similar to what the brits have in mind as a LSW replacement.
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    Last edited by paul g; 25th April 2014 at 19:16.

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  12. #9
    Commander in Chief hptmurphy's Avatar
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    You mention Bren gun in there..while current thing is coming around to magazine fed Light support weapon, the bren could be revisited. Reduce the weight and its an ideal weapon, but we won't be going any where soon as we off loaded all ours.

    5.56mm bren any one, fit a C Mag sit some nice sights on it, carbon fibre butt...?
    Time for another break I think......

  13. #10
    Moderator DeV's Avatar
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    The Brits reintroduced the GPMG, range and penetrating power.

    So much ammo was expended by Minimis due to their higher ROF and the need to suppress waiting for the fast air to take out 2 guys with AKs.

    It sounds like the Brits fighting the last war again, there has been plenty of short range urban (well in compounds) engagements in Afghanistan as well.

    Why are the Brits overloaded?
    - BOWMAN radios
    - Body Armour
    - Heavy rifle
    - Too many types of ammo at platoon level
    - ECM
    - weather = water

  14. #11
    Lieutenant X-RayOne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by apod View Post
    The USMC recently switched from belt fed Minimi SAW's to magazine fed with better optics IAR's.Maybe we are behind the times??
    I think both Apod and PaulG's posts point to two things essentially when it comes to our Section firepower and model:

    1. Although our rifle is being upgraded the firepower and composition in the section is essentially unchanged for past 20+ years. There seems to be a definite place for a heavier rifle/LMG in infantry sections internationally and moving into future. Whatever form it takes still seems to be developing.

    2. Before we get carried away with talk of IARs, etc. we need to take a fundemental look at the make up and strength of our Infantry Section. Is it fit for purpose for what troops might be expected to do at home and overseas at the minute and into future? When we know what that is, then we can seriously talk about what mix of weapons are needed to achieve that. Instead of just wishing or suggesting various bits of gucchi stuff because the rifle is being given a midlife make-over.

    Is our doctrine still looking at hordes of Russians coming over the hill 1980's style or are we truely moving to mechanised light infantry for rapid, mobile ops?
    Last edited by X-RayOne; 26th April 2014 at 09:21.
    The people of England have been led in Mesopotamia into a trap from which it will be hard to escape with dignity and honour. They have been tricked into it by a steady withholding of information. The Baghdad communiqués are belated, insincere, incomplete.....It is a disgrace to our imperial record, and may soon be too inflamed for any ordinary cure.We are to-day not far from a disaster.

    T.E. Lawrence, 2 Aug 1920.

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  16. #12
    Moderator DeV's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by X-RayOne View Post
    I think both Apod and PaulG's posts point to two things essentially when it comes to our Section firepower and model:

    1. Although our rifle is being upgraded the firepower and composition in the section is essentially unchanged for past 20+ years. There seems to be a definite place for a heavier rifle/LMG in infantry sections internationally and moving into future. Whatever form it takes still seems to be developing.

    2. Before we get carried away with talk of IARs, etc. we need to take a fundemental look at the make up and strength of our Infantry Section. Is it fit for purpose for what troops might be expected to do at home and overseas at the minute and into future? When we know what that is, then we can seriously talk about what mix of weapons are needed to achieve that. Instead of just wishing or suggesting various bits of gucchi stuff because the rifle is being given a midlife make-over.

    Is our doctrine still looking at hordes of Russians coming over the hill 1980's style or are we truely moving to mechanised light infantry for rapid, mobile ops?
    The SRAAW and M203 has been added to the Section

    The overseas section is 8 strong

  17. #13
    Viking HavocIRL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeV View Post
    The SRAAW and M203 has been added to the Section

    The overseas section is 8 strong
    According to which mission ORBAT? Chad was 9 per section with a Platoon + Attachments(Drivers/Terp/Medic/MP's) spread across 4 MOWAGs
    To close with and kill the enemy in all weather conditions, night and day and over any terrain

  18. #14
    2/Lt Bam Bam's Avatar
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    Really when the mowag was introduced it should have forced a change at secton level. Should our home sections not be 8 strong as opposed to 9?
    It is only by contemplation of the incompetent that we can appreciate the difficulties and accomplishments of the competent.

  19. #15
    Commandant Come-quickly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bam Bam View Post
    Really when the mowag was introduced it should have forced a change at secton level. Should our home sections not be 8 strong as opposed to 9?
    The idea was reviewed in depth around 2004/2005 afair.

    There's a lot to be said for the tripartite section structure.
    "It is a general popular error to imagine that loudest complainers for the public to be the most anxious for it's welfare" Edmund Burke

  20. #16
    Moderator DeV's Avatar
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    It was definitely standardised as 8, it may have changed again

    That's why the AW139 only carry 8

  21. #17
    Captain Truck Driver's Avatar
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    Of course, there is also a 42 round mag available for the Steyr, and a 100 round drum magazine (Beta Mag)compatible also, if thinking of going down the LSW route with a Steyr, as
    against having a GPMG as a section weapon

    ... and the drum magine below is $300 from this crowd. Buy in bulk, and the unit cost would surely reduce ?

    Last edited by Truck Driver; 26th April 2014 at 16:27.
    "Well, stone me! We've had cocaine, bribery and Arsenal scoring two goals at home. But just when you thought there were truly no surprises left in football, Vinnie Jones turns out to be an international player!" (Jimmy Greaves)!"

  22. #18
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    Guys we have them magizines

  23. #19
    Commandant Come-quickly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kaiser View Post
    Guys we have them magizines
    I'm surprised on a forum full of spotters (and recovering spotters in my own case) that everyone doesn't remember all of the early pics of the Squirrels with HBARs and C-Mags (prior to getting the minimi for Liberia)
    "It is a general popular error to imagine that loudest complainers for the public to be the most anxious for it's welfare" Edmund Burke

  24. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Come-quickly View Post
    I'm surprised on a forum full of spotters (and recovering spotters in my own case) that everyone doesn't remember all of the early pics of the Squirrels with HBARs and C-Mags (prior to getting the minimi for Liberia)
    Here's one.

    Attached Images Attached Images

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  26. #21
    Moderator DeV's Avatar
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    The squirrels had Minimis long before Liberia

  27. #22
    Lieutenant X-RayOne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeV View Post
    The SRAAW and M203 has been added to the Section

    The overseas section is 8 strong
    True, but theses are minor additions. Despite minor tinkering with numbers over the years and changes in manuover group the principle of a 3 person FSG and 7/6/5 person assault group are fundamentally the same.

    As has been said, Mowag, AW139, etc. introduction would have been perfect opportunities to look at wholesale changes to section structure and following from that the weapons and firepower available/required.
    The people of England have been led in Mesopotamia into a trap from which it will be hard to escape with dignity and honour. They have been tricked into it by a steady withholding of information. The Baghdad communiqués are belated, insincere, incomplete.....It is a disgrace to our imperial record, and may soon be too inflamed for any ordinary cure.We are to-day not far from a disaster.

    T.E. Lawrence, 2 Aug 1920.

  28. #23
    Commandant Come-quickly's Avatar
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    It was looked at, they decided not to change.
    "It is a general popular error to imagine that loudest complainers for the public to be the most anxious for it's welfare" Edmund Burke

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  30. #24
    Captain Truck Driver's Avatar
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    Yes, was gonna say I'd never seen them in every day use - s'pose no real surprise the Wing are using them
    "Well, stone me! We've had cocaine, bribery and Arsenal scoring two goals at home. But just when you thought there were truly no surprises left in football, Vinnie Jones turns out to be an international player!" (Jimmy Greaves)!"

  31. #25
    Lieutenant X-RayOne's Avatar
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    doubt the ARW use them much nowadays......barely using Steyr as a rifle, never mind as LMG/LSW.

    More likely just being stored in the gucchi stores. Probably beside one of these......

    Last edited by X-RayOne; 27th April 2014 at 22:44.
    The people of England have been led in Mesopotamia into a trap from which it will be hard to escape with dignity and honour. They have been tricked into it by a steady withholding of information. The Baghdad communiqués are belated, insincere, incomplete.....It is a disgrace to our imperial record, and may soon be too inflamed for any ordinary cure.We are to-day not far from a disaster.

    T.E. Lawrence, 2 Aug 1920.

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