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How to employ 63.93 lbs of death spewing awesomeness

vonGarvin

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There is another thread on the C16 AGLS and there are those who suppose that it has a niche within the mechanised infantry platoon.  I argue, vehemently, that it does not.  The capabilities it will offer already exist in terms of the effect you wish to inflict upon the enemy.  Some would argue that in cases where the LAV APC is not available (either its tasked away, or that infantry platoon is dismounted for any reason), then the C16 would provide a capability where none currently exists.
This is bunk for several reasons.  I will attempt to illustrate that now, but please bear with me, don't go on tangents and remember that I am speaking from experience. 

First, my experience.  I will talk only of my time as an NCM in The RCR.  I was in a mechanised battalion as rifleman, section 2IC and section commander of an M113 equipped platoon.  We had with us the M2HB .50 calibre machine gun, mounted on the vehicle.  My section didn't carry a tripod for it (there was one in the platoon), and in my time in that battalion, I saw one instance in which a .50 was dismounted and moved into position to fire.

In that one time, the troops carried it, out of contact, for about 2000m.  They also had ammo for it.  Of the platoon that carried it, fully one half of it was burdened with the extra weight of gun, tripod and ammo.  The ammo was the biggest limitation in terms of weight.  Remember, 4 boxes of ammo weighed the same as the gun and tripod.  (I can't recall how many spare barrels were brought along).

The troops were able to get the gun into position in order to fire, but it was all out of contact.  Once contact was made, moving the gun was out of the question for obvious reasons: it was unwieldy and too heavy to move while maintaining fire on the enemy.

So, moving the .50 cal dismounted was not an option.  I don't have all weights, but the gun weighs around 38kg.  With tripod and ammo, and they were carrying over 100kg just for that one weapon system.

Now, for the C16, the gun weighs around 29 kg.  That does not include tripod or ammo, but suppose just over 90kg for gun, tripod and four belts of ammo (32 rounds per belt box).  The lesson here is that the C16 is as mobile as a .50: it isn't.  So any employment methods that are dismounted are to be discounted outright. 

Yes, it could be used in static locations such as a FOB or a COP, and with great effect, but I can think of better ways of spending procurement cash.  I mean, we already have a proven weapon system, the .50 calibre, that is perfect for such a role. 

Now, mounted, that is where a C16 could earn its pay: and then some.  Remember, it isn't being purchased in any role other than ground mounted, so this is just a thought experiment.  But what a thought!  Given that right now, the infantry have LAV 3 APCs only (with exceptions in theatre: OMLT using RG 31s, other elements using LAV RWS due to combat losses to LAV APCs), this is not a current infantry weapon.  Future systems, such as a TAPV, which as an RWS mount, cry out for a C16.  The LAV ENGR, also with a RWS, also cry out for it.

What is the analogy with the .50?  Well, back in the olden days, we had a very heavy, non-mobile system that could, in theory, be ground mounted.  If we were moving by foot (and we often did even in mechanised battalions), then that .50 didn't move with us.  Now that we have troops moving by foot in combat, even today, it is irresponsible to think that they can carry something as heavy as the C16.  So what?  Mount it, and when you do so, look into our recent history and learn from it.  Use the C16 in fixed, static locations where it won't be moved.  Next, mount it on vehicles with an RWS.  But please, for the love of all that is good in this world, do not burden the mechanised (eg: LAV 3 APC equipped) infantry: we have no room or effective use for it.

(Mod Note: this is a new thread because now that the decision has been made on the system, we can focus from concepts such as high-angled CASW fire and now look at the C16 and say "how do we use it?")
 

a_majoor

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I recall that in WWII the US Army would have dismounted .50 HMG's carried by a three man crew (one carries the body, one the barrel and one the tripod) and a squad of infantry who provided close protection on the move and carried the ammunition for the beast as well. This can be considered the "minimum" for carrying large crew served weapons dismounted (someone with experience with 81mm mortars or dismounted TOW systems care to comment?), which means fully 1/3 of the platoon is consumed by this. This isn't always a bad thing (read this to see why), but consider the circumstances.

Since even the US Army at the hight of WWII didn't have that many men to carry .50 HMG's, most were deployed mounted on various vehicles, changing the manpower bill downwards to about 3 (driver, commander, gunner) on a jeep, as the smallest dedicated weapons carrier.

So do we eat the manpower bill to use the C-16, or consider alternatives? (The manpower bill is even worse than the scenario above. Unless the C-16 is carried strapped to the outside of the LAV, you will probably loose at least two infantrymen in the back to carry the thing). A C-16 mounted on the RWS of a patrol vehicle "could" be dismounted and used like the scenario in the "emma gees", although I would probably take a C-6 to replace the dismounted C-16 in order to maximize my firepower. Unless out of the box thinking is encouraged and supported, we are spending much time, money and effort for very little result.
 

OldSolduer

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The 81 mm Mortar has a characteristic "man portable for short distances" The main constraint is ammo. Its heavy.

An 81 group of four mortars can get quite large. Protection is acheived by shooting and scooting, before the enemy can bring something to bear on you or so the theory says.
 

vonGarvin

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Jim Seggie said:
The 81 mm Mortar has a characteristic "man portable for short distances" The main constraint is ammo. Its heavy.

An 81 group of four mortars can get quite large. Protection is acheived by shooting and scooting, before the enemy can bring something to bear on you or so the theory says.
You said it!  And "short distances" is from the back of the APC to the baseplate!  ;D

But, seriously, the 81 is not man portable for any practicable distance. 
 

OldSolduer

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Technoviking said:
You said it!  And "short distances" is from the back of the APC to the baseplate!  ;D

But, seriously, the 81 is not man portable for any practicable distance.

That;s correct....man portable for 10 metres, 12 if you feel energetic!
 

TangoTwoBravo

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I'm not sure why we have a new thread here, but anyway.

I am not arguing that an AGL should be in a platoon weapons det.  I am suggesting, however, that it could find a very useful home in a Battalion Weapons Platoon.

I wrote on this in the other thread (perhaps some of the bunk of which Techno speaks), but I will bring it up here.  I worked with the Heavy Guns Platoon in the Weapons Company of an infantry battalion.  They had Mk19s and 50 cals.  While they had HMMVWs, they also trained to manpack their weapons (and the Mortar Platoon did the same).  It wasn't pretty, but it could be done.  I even observed on a range exercise where they parked their HMMVWs and lugged everything to the firing position (call it 2 to 3 km) just to keep in practice.

A dedicated heavy weapons platoon manpacking these things is a bit different than a rifle platoon dismounting a vehicle-mounted weapon system and lugging it.  For the weapons guys it is their role.

Consider a TAPV mounted company group operating in a rural area that consists of a network of walled tracks, compounds and fields.  If that company needs to attack something that the vehicles can get close to (say within 1 km) but not be able to observe then having an attached Heavy Guns Platoon that can dismount and trek for a few hundred metres to a firebase could be handy.  While I think that mortars should be the priority, having both mortars and AGLs gives you options.  As I mentioned in the other thread, just as I would time my tank firebase to lay on the firepower when the artillery lifted as the assault force went in so to could an AGL firebase.

 

vonGarvin

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Tango2Bravo said:
I am not arguing that an AGL should be in a platoon weapons det.  I am suggesting, however, that it could find a very useful home in a Battalion Weapons Platoon.
Perhaps even at coy level, given its limited range.  But it comes to PYs.  If one wants a Battalion Weapons Platoon, there are all sorts of "things" we used to have but deemed not to need anymore.
Tango2Bravo said:
I wrote on this in the other thread (perhaps some of the bunk of which Techno speaks), but I will bring it up here.  I worked with the Heavy Guns Platoon in the Weapons Company of an infantry battalion.  They had Mk19s and 50 cals.  While they had HMMVWs, they also trained to manpack their weapons (and the Mortar Platoon did the same).  It wasn't pretty, but it could be done.  I even observed on a range exercise where they parked their HMMVWs and lugged everything to the firing position (call it 2 to 3 km) just to keep in practice.

A dedicated heavy weapons platoon manpacking these things is a bit different than a rifle platoon dismounting a vehicle-mounted weapon system and lugging it.  For the weapons guys it is their role.
And we did the same back when we had combat support platoons.  Just more ammo why this thing has no place in a mechanised infantry platoon.  IF (and that's a big "if") there were a fourth platoon added for "Coy Wpns Det/Platoon", then it would make sense.  But the PYs just aren't there, so...

Tango2Bravo said:
Consider a TAPV mounted company group operating in a rural area that consists of a network of walled tracks, compounds and fields.  If that company needs to attack something that the vehicles can get close to (say within 1 km) but not be able to observe then having an attached Heavy Guns Platoon that can dismount and trek for a few hundred metres to a firebase could be handy.  While I think that mortars should be the priority, having both mortars and AGLs gives you options.  As I mentioned in the other thread, just as I would time my tank firebase to lay on the firepower when the artillery lifted as the assault force went in so to could an AGL firebase.
That makes sense.  The problem is, they are giving it to LAV 3 APC-equipped platoons.  Where the Weapons det is already over-loaded with GPMG, Mortar and 84.
 

Lance Wiebe

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I have extremely limited experience on these matters, being an armoured type guy.  By extremely limited, I can point to the two courses I did with the Infantry, my CLC with the airborne way back in the 70's, and the short lived experiment when a couple of Armour types went on the Small Arms Course.  I was one of them.

So, take whatever I have to say with a huge grain of salt.  I did want to pipe up, however, because I find this talk of the AGL extremely interesting.

Once upon a time I had a chance to play, briefly with an AGL.  It was the one produced by Singapore Industries.  There is no way I would want to have to move that thing around, even for a short distance.  The 50, maybe, setting up in the defense, for example.  And maybe the AGL could be set up for the same reason.  But to lug it a couple of kilometers to provide flanking fire?  Um, no.  What happens when you have to withdraw?  Are the bad guys going to give us the time to move it?  Doubtful

As a side note, has it not been reported that the TAPV will have the AGL in a RWS?  That's another waste.  Recce with an AGL, for crying out loud!  But, I don't want to hijack anything, so I will drop this.
 

daftandbarmy

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Technoviking said:
You said it!  And "short distances" is from the back of the APC to the baseplate!  ;D

But, seriously, the 81 is not man portable for any practicable distance.

I recall 1 PARA mortars jumping with 6 tubes and manpacking them a total of approximately 70kms over a period of 10 days through the mountains of western Scotland during a Bde ex one (very wet) fall. We, of course, carried most of their friggin' ammo (2 greenies per man - total 18 pounds) but, of course, it was 'our' ammo, that would shoot us into our objectives, so we didn't bitch ... too much.

I also recall them doing the standard Para 10 miler in under 3 hours, carrying the full issue 81mm, every Friday while in barracks. We rifle company gazelles finished about 30 minutes ahead of them but, of course, we carried significantly less weight at about 70lbs per man. We regarded them as superhuman, of course.

And the Anti-tanks did the same with the MILAN.

Yes, it's (super) man portable.
 

Miko

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Possibly relevant;
http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=4eb_1283839486
 
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