Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Small arms

These are some opinions on the usefulness of the small arms used in Iraq (M16, M240, etc). Sounds legit.

Discussions - 6 Comments

And here’s something -from the same site- about the usefulness of SMAW-NEs (Shoulder Mounted Assault Weapons w/ Novel Explosives). Not sure if these qualify as "small arms" or what, but they are being touted here for their ability to completely obliterate and level buildings, and all of the insurgents/terrorists/Muslims/evildoers within. The downside, of course, is having to put up with the liberal whining.

But in an era of precision bombs, where collateral damage is expected to be kept to a minimum, such massively brutal weapons have become highly controversial. These days, every civilian casualty means a few more “hearts and minds” are lost. Thermobaric weapons almost invariable lead to civilian deaths. The Soviet Union was heavily criticized for using thermobaric weapons in Afghanistan because they were held to constitute "disproportionate force..."

I’d bet that more than a few of the NLT crew were among those critics of the USSR’s use of these weapons (Bloodthirsty Commies!!) - (and rightfully so). But now it’s time we reassess!
Not that anyone should listen to them, but (from the same article):

According to Human Rights Watch, thermobaric weapons "kill and injure in a particularly brutal manner over a wide area. In urban settings it is very difficult to limit the effect of this weapon to combatants, and the nature of FAE explosions makes it virtually impossible for civilians to take shelter from their destructive effect."

The article infers that the Marines have already been using these. What happened to our allegedly excessive, debilitating concern for avoiding civilian casualties? The lesson here is that another way to "win the hearts and minds" of these folks is to blow the hearts and minds into a fine powder. "Novel" explosives, indeed.

in the linked material above that the thermobaric bazooka rounds (the SMAW is the modern-day bazooka) were responsible for killing noncombatants. If anything, it sounds like the round may underperform a bit, as the article cites Marines saying that the TB round lacks penetrating power, meaning you have to either use two SMAWs in conjunction (or else use one SMAW and fire two rounds--penetrating and TB--in succession) if you can’t find a window to shoot into.

OTOH, the SMAW/TB-round combo seems to have been very effective at taking out bunkerized buildings with some fairly short-range, precisely aimed fire (the article says that Marines fighting terrorists in Fallujah learned to analyze buildings to figure out which wall to hit so the whole structure would crumple). This would seem perhaps to be actually safer for both our troops and for noncombatants than other, more long-range, options such as large-tube, standoff artillery fire. (To cover a contingency not actually described in the article: Under the Geneva Conventions, any noncombatants held in bunkerized buildings that contained munitions or armed fighters would be the responsibility of those fighters, not us--the GC say that the side which uses human shields bears the moral onus for what could happen to them.)

Much will depend on how the weapon is used. That the Soviets used it indiscriminately (Soviet military practice has never been noted for solicitude about avoiding civilian deaths) does not prove that US Marines will use it the same way.

An interesting article; absolutely right on a lot of points. I definitely disagree with some of the assertions, though.

Which asertions do you disagree with LT Naum?

Most of them are discussed pretty well below the article.

First, the body armor is certainly not 6 lbs. With plates, and a basic load of ammunition and grenades, it comes in at closer to 30-35 lbs (and as much as 50 lbs, depending on other factors). Obviously, you won’t patrol without those things. I didn’t find this to be unbearable, though. Just hot and heavy.

Second, I didn’t experience any weapons malfunctions with either the M16 or the M4. The problem exists, but I’m a firm believer that proper maintenance and cleaning is the cure (and very, very little oil in the desert). There are also great products available to help prevent this. Also, I agree that the 5.56 round is arguably too small - but it is a great round. Its primary problem is that it has such a high velocity that, due to its size, it penetrates too quickly or too far. The problem is not that it doesn’t kill - the problem is that the person killed doesn’t know it for some time. This is why multiple shots are often necessary. I would prefer a larger caliber of bullet - but the velocity of the 5.56 and the weight of the M16/M4 are a better trade-off to current available systems. (And I’m one of the few people that whole-heartedly believe these are better weapons than the AK47).

Next, the M9 pistol is almost universally despised in the military. It is ineffective and inefficient. Personally, I believe the policy decisions that dictated its replacing the M1911 were misplaced and unfortunate.

Last, I didn’t experience any of those problems with the M249 SAW. I love it. It was a life-saver, and I was happy to have as many of them as I could get.

That’s all. Otherwise, I think the article was right on the mark. There is room for a lot of improvement in our small arms - but what we’ve got is pretty good.

I believe that the AK47 is the greatest assault rifle bar none. but theirs two types of combat, geurilla and tatical. ak47 is geurilla and M16 tactical.

Leave a Comment

* denotes a required field

No TrackBacks
TrackBack URL: