Sorry to disappoint you ch1466, but the XM-25 and XM-307 are actually very similar to the M203/Mk.19 pair. Both use the same warheads, but the
cartridge for the XM-25 is shorter than that for the OCSW, very imilar to what was seen with the 40x43mm/40x56mm grenades for the older systems.
I suppose I should have seen that one coming given the effective range differences. However, I will stand behind what I said about the blooper vs.
M203. One gives you aimed fire at relatively rapid rates with a flipup sight if you need it. The other is little more than a slow-rate, hard-wearing
toy that can never exploit the downrange reach you theoretically have but need be saturating multiple rounds on-target with.
What I would like to see, now that they have got the caliber down to infantry useable variable for close range fights, is a weapon which can act as
-either- a CAWS or a Grenade System. At the flick of a button on a dual feed. If you're going to pay for complexity just to make someone else play
Jones' with you, put it IN the gun and ammo. Not ON the rail.
Because if they can't service the mount or buy the bullets, I will not see it coming back at me as often.
Indeed, at that point, I have to wonder if the 'need' to replace the M2(other than for weight) with something that still has only about half the MV
is perhaps coloring the perception of it's little brother's reason for being as well.
An M-14 is the perfect weapon for fighting in Afganistan. It is NOT a good weapon for most of your fighting in some other traditional battlezones,
such as urban combat. (In a house to house fight, gimme rate of fire over range any day!)
IMO, in assault, infantry exist to pin the threat so that you can bring in the heavy platform fires sufficient to level the terrain or structure
around their ears. The Hussein brothers come to mind as an example of what a relatively few men, in a well prepped position, can do to simply make
themselves 'unapproachable' if not taken by surprise.
Having said that, even handheld explosives rule the CQB fight because they specifically exist to _deny the volume_ of spatial occupancy your enemy can
sit in and stick his tongue out at you from behind a wall. Even as they also expand the number of 'instant doors and elevators' (axes of attack)
that he has to worry about in covering his hind parts.
I don't want to get into a cyclic-fight if I can avoid it because that means I've blown it, tactically, a lot earlier on and am in some kind of
'smiling' (all teeth) fight rather than shooting people in the back like a smart warrior should.
What CAWS does is make it easier to stick the gun around a corner and 'loud factor' your way to a clear stair case or hallway, without having to
aim. Just like shotguns from WWI onwards.
What the XM25 /could/ additionally do is let you shoot through walls where you suspect the enemy is and GET HIM, first shot, with a d/a fuzed
microburst that doesn't give him time to swing that rifle around and 'make it a discussion' as you come through the door.
Whether or not it is necessarily wise to channelize yourself in taking those stairs. Or being opposite a room where your enemy has already GOT his
barrel leveled at the wall as you come down the hallway.
Is a matter of tactical difference of opinion I guess.
IMO: Glitz styled SWAT forced entry is dead. Long live the packbot.
In fluid battle situations (leave the damn buildings alone) infantry exist to rapidly swing flanks and create instant defilades as other fires force
the bad guys into vacating fixed positions.
The real challenge is trying to build a weapon that can do everything as well or better than anything in the field now. Generally speaking, that's
been assault rifles for the last 60 years. With a challenge of trying to one up the assault rifle, it's no suprise that some ideas may not work as
well as the theory.
First Order Determinator to projectile weapons: Have to see it (target) to kill with it (gun).
In the last 30 years, 'civilized' man has lost more visual acuity than he ever knew he had.
200 years ago, the only thing which kept snipers from dominating the field with 1,000m kills was the lack of scopes and high energy powder in rifled
100 years ago, you still had a nation 60% of whose farm boys could nail anything that moved from over 400 yards away. Which was a good thing because
we were about to enter a trench war where aimed fires across no man's land (admittedly sometimes as short at 50m) was about the only thing infantry
60 years ago, the demographics were noticeably changing as an industrialized society no longer needed to employ a high percentage of its constituent
population in subsistence agro. Even as mechanized warfare meant that it was better to come to the edge of town, under armor, and debus rather than
try to cross a 3 klick corn field using bounding tactics.
Even so, you could still find 30-40% of your recruits who had the calloused hands and cold eye to kill at range.
Now, a generation of Nintendo freaks have callouses only on their giant thumbs and are both too twitchy and too locked-focus limited in their visual
depth of field to see anything beyond 20ft as more than an 'infinity blur' against the background.
Which is okay, because we can retrain them, at least a bit (100-150yds). And we have autofire and explosive weapons which compensate for their
general lack of youth physical training.
Even as electromechanical (pedestaled auto-servo) weapon mounts are and always have been superior marksmen to what the best of the best could do, 200
years ago. Given a reliable round ballistic that will reach.
THAT is the point at which you have to start designing a new battle rifle.
And in some ways it will be a good thing. Because waddling around like a 'shining duck' in 40+lbs of IBA and 140` temperatures /inside/ the
vehicle, is hardly the act of an energetic close combat infantry. You come out of the wagon too tired and too blind to fight.
Even as sitting there pretending to be a tank and taking it, from range, because you are afraid of more booby traps/IED as you try and secure the
initial disaster, is only letting the enemy win a freebie caliber trade /anyway/.
Because their aimed fires and bigger bores let them 'chink you' through the gaps between shoulder/side plates, if not the face or groin.
In short range, small unit, combats, especially in built up conditions. I want my team to be able to cover the popup threats I can't beat, on sheer
reflex. That means a short barrel/light weight weapon that we can all get pointed coming through a door.
And a lot of rounds **onboard** so that we can keep up the pace and hold contact _together_, once it's made. Without having to stop for a reload
cycle as we run them down.
Furthermore, I want my own accuracy/round count combination to KILL THE TARGET. First engagement. Preferrably first round. Which means a heavy
bullet coming out of a soft recoil mount. At intermediate velocities.
That's the difference between a MG (linear), RT (box/volume) and rifle systems (point) fires. In that, if everybody shoots _well_ the point fire
system, even semiauto, will kill as many targets as the linear/volume fires do. Because they are far less random in their aimed kill effects and far
more quick to find new targets and reengage.
If they can see them.
Which only leaves auto-sniping and suppression systems to cover your approach to the distance at which your point fires become effective for the
combination of caliber and eyesight. And I see no reason not to yield-the-field to incapacitants, smoke and remote/pedestal weapons to saturate the
target approaches and let me get in tight to the distance at which I can start to do good work.
Because 'if they are there' (heavyweight/platform based fires) that means I am not humping them up hill and down staircase _here_.
And so can concentrate more on just being a good shooter when it comes time for a finger on the trigger.
High MV/High Rate means a tiny ass caliber or a LOT of misses as your infantry can't hack the recoil of a hunting caliber round smashing their
shoulders or destroying their sight picture (large muzzle effects).
It also means IBA works, for them not you.
Intermediate/Low MV lets you put the receiver group itself on a slide while keeping the knockdown and keyhole-equivalent effects of a bigger bullet
(i.e. a round which opens a big body cavity hole which internal muscles cannot reclose and so exsanguinates your target without having to rely on
tumble vs. distance as a function of 'stretch' effects on rifling/high MV mass change inherent to a peashooter round).
And IBA goes out the window.
While a better (lighter, tighter,) case enclosure means more rounds per stack. And a mechanical stripper means less unreliability through a magazine
spring so that the stack feeds well in a deeper format _without_ scraping the ground in prone fires.
It's all there, we have had 20+ years worth of SPIW/G-11 type testbeds which prove the individual concepts, good or bad.
We just never had the 'total picture' (robots and SPR equivalent big bores) that let us make the trades we need to for _mission_.
And the mission of infantry is not long range fighting. Not anymore.
From my laymans perspective (chuckle), the 25mm round doesn't seem to pack much of a whallop compared to the 40mm. What I mean is, the 40mm contains
a larger amount of plactic than the 25mm. The 40mm has a limited blast radius and lethal range, therefore the 25mm lethal range should theoretically
be smaller still, or am I missing something? Serious question.
Outdoors: How fast can you pull the trigger to fire X number of rounds to get Y number of fragments showering down over a defiladed threat?
Indoors: If it beats me having to walk down a corridor and chuck a pineapple through the door, _I will carry more magazines_ for you to shoot through
Also, from what I have seen there are surprisingly few situations that warrant the need for an explosive round like the 40mm or 25mm, never mind 6 of
them! I would find it hard to justify sacrificing one of my rifleman to carry one of these weapons.
And I would like to see the size/weight of grenades reduced by half so that we can carry 12 of them instead of 2-4. Explosive fires indoors are
indeed dangerous. Outdoors, 'it depends'. The big question for me being whether or not even a 400m effective (M203, on a very good day) downrange
distance is going to beat someone with a 60-80mm range knee mortar. Or a Carl Gustav. Or something with enough mass to fly straight. And enough
volume coverage to be worth another lost rifleman carrying half his clipload in extra rockets.
Arming them with a PDW type SMG would only serve for self defence at close range, making the soldier redundant in the majority of real firefights.
OTOH, the question is actually whether or not you think the Uzi vs. AK fight of a 1967 conventional, High Intensity, battle between trained forces is
the same thing as the 'IED pops the turtles out from under their shells to secure the corpses, snipe a few desultory shots at them and then disappear
while the response team/medevac arrives...' fights of today?
IMO, the difference is that if you are fighting a war of maneuver in which you MUST take an objective (a gentle undulance in the terrain becomes an
ATGW ambush with Sagger) to pass through the armor and secure the advance. Then you NEED a fair bit of ballistic reach and spray-n-pray
'suppression' with an SMG is not going to get you even a bounding advance without unacceptable casualties against trained shooters.
OTOH, an insurgent fights within a 10 (Iraq) to 20 (AfG) minute rule of responding air support and so he KNOWS he is in a COE (contempt of engagement)
condition from the moment HE initiates the fight. This means he won't be advancing to overrun you. He will in fact be /running away/. And so he
needs only set his initial fighting/ambush position so that he can safely egress the battlefield with broken LOS and/or a point to get into his own
Now. Let's up the difference to that of an M16 vs. a Dragunov or RPK which you could theoretically expect to encounter under these (Iraqi)
IMO, 90% of the time and 1:1, he is STILL going to beat you. Bigger bullet, better optics, better position and/or potentially a more stable autofire
The only question is whether he can shoot. And has the time to do so, in getting the rest of your team.
If it's Africa he will miss. Because 90% of their courage comes from liquor or drugs and they would rather hack you to death with a big knife at
If it's the ME, you're dead. Because even their irregular forces have usually had at least had Basic level marksmanship training and they are used
to fighting over a great wide nuthin' of battlespace on fleeting-far targets.
Now let's throw in a modifier. If there is a Bradley, his IED may or may not stop or incapacitate a 25mm+TOW weapons system which can readily blow
him to Allah. But a spread of RPGs will even the odds.
OTOH, if there is a Predator or A-45 directly overhead the (M1114 up armored Hummer) patrol, he may not want to take the chance that he will be eating
an airburst GBU-39 or a Viper Strike with 'absolutely nothing he can do about it'. Even if his spotter is lugging an expensive SA-7.
What do you do to tip the odds? You throw out a 50,000 dollar Packbot with a 12.7-25mm SPR and sniper finder optics on it's back.
Because now you don't have to have a 4 million dollar IFV to level the odds, ballistically, in the fight at hand. And so can afford to WAIT for that
airborne, endurance, 1,200 dollar per flight hour, drone to lock in the target coordinates (fed to it by a laser ranger on the packbot and bentpiped
through your Rover laptop). And drop that mini-PGM atop the idiot whose _first shot_ meant he stayed too long.
THAT is warfare today. A war whereby an IED works beyond any infantry capability to avoid a disabled vehicle but cannot reliably kill the meat inside
the shell. And so it requires secondary engagement and a -time- commitment to winning to score more than metal attrition. A commitment which
insurgents cannot afford to make.
Accept this and IMO, you have instantly reduced the infantryman to either a 'diplomat' (SOF) or a force protection (MP) security guard/traffic cop.
And so can afford to fire half of them because there is no need to 'take dirt', by assault, what you can simply render uninhabitable for others.
Platform Fires RULE.
The question is whether you want to pay for a huge infantry establishment as nothing but a media bodybag photop IF you cannot afford the remote-fires
platforms to exploit the enemies view of 'flush rats, see rats run, kill Crusader rats' in protecting what is essentially nothing but a mobile popup
The only alternative (in keeping infantry in the game) is the Russian/French method of 'making examples' out of entire populations for every
uniformed combattant killed. It worked, in Germany, because we were seen as the Good Cop alternative.
Yet with our current world standing being what it is, we cannot afford those kinds of draconian tactics as a 'liberating' force.
I fully support the last couple of posts. The proliferation of technologically advanced area weapons to replace decent riflemen is a demonstration of
the dilution in the quality of the combat infantry skills amongst the modern soldier. Like my old CSM used to say, "All the gear, no idea".
The problem is, it's /still nice/ to have 'the better gear'. And what I see is not coming even close to being more than an inventory replacement
for tired guns. Indeed, if we are at that point whereby the current family of infantry weapons needs replacing for ordnance age alone, there is still
no reason not to do so with a followon that brings new capabilities to the field as a function of redefining how we fight.
An 'Advanced Battle Rifle' (ABR) followon to the Assault Rifle with short length (in-the-door clearance), aft-mass balance (for weak arms) and basic
reddot optical sights (2inches long, tops) plus 60rds onboard and a softrecoil, heavy-bullet combination. DESIGNED to make 'even a truck driver'
capable of point kills (singleshot) at 200m. Yet also a weapon which which is **technology protected** from becoming a new-generation AK. By virtue
of an expensive receiver group (recoil damper is sprung with a high quality, 10,000rd sealed-unit, variable impulse, 'shock absorber'
hydrocylinder). And CT/Caseless rounds (which nobody else can make small enough to match magazine counts, even if they can easily /overmatch/ the
caliber performance, ballistically). That is a good long gun.
Even as a 'Multipurpose Suppression Weapon' (MSW) which packs 20rds onboard and can fire either shotgun or explosive rounds. So that if you are
jumped going down an alley with 20 windows on the 2-story buildings on either side, you can fill each one without overly worrying about WHERE exactly
in each window the shooter is standing. And/or while involuntarily scaring the bodily fluids out of him as his world literally explodes LOUDLY behind
him. That is a good weapon to have as SAW/GL standin.
Such a combination could easily replace the need for on-mount grenade launchers, in-vehicle SMG or handguns (more shots per engagement before reload,
lower webgear weight), 'Carbine' shorties for the SOF and CT/HRT use. And SAWs (continuous high rate but 36lbs heavy means poor marching fire and
rapid depletion of beltmag efficiencies in other troops) as a _not your daddy's M60_ instant-on response to old school ambush tactics.
Past which point, you get Ronnie The Pack Robot to pop smoke and get the heck out (or inside) while he shoots anyone dumb enough to spray into the
obscurrant field with a combination of acoustic and IR sniperfinding finesse.
COE right back atcha.
Infantry guns as I see them are weapons which keep you alive until someone with better sights, payload:weight ratio, 'bravery', and superior
ballistics can blast the snot out of the enemy for thinking he was 'safe' by employing desultory fires (longrange/mine based) random attack. That
doesn't mean that they don't have to be effective killers. What it does mean is that you have to acknowledge the limitations of
biology-under-stress, past which NO HAND WEAPON (105mm rail gun, firing .2KT atomic bullets at 20,000fps) will make you more survivable. Where the
real change in doctrine will come is in the $$ savings from a smaller force of smart shooters that can now be backed up with crewserved or automount
weapons that make up for biology's shortcomings and/or at least ensure the bad guy doesn't get away for free.
Never bleed for dirt, taking or holding. Never die for nothin', fighting the way your enemy expects his side to win.