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"Ma Deuce" May be Retiring Soon

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posted on Jun, 25 2008 @ 03:02 AM
The Army is considering replacing the Browning .50-caliber M2 machine gun. The most likely replacement will be "...a lightweight .50-caliber machine gun...produced by General Dynamics Armament and Technical Products...."

Currently the M2 has been in service for some ninety years and by the time the replacement model is placed into service Browning's masterpiece will have been in service for some one hundred years.

Probably the longest serving weapon in the U.S. military arsenal is the Browning .50-caliber M2 machine gun. Often referred to as "ma deuce" for its M2 designation, the weapon entered U.S. service at the end of World War I, being scaled up from the Browning .30-caliber M1917 machine gun. The .50-caliber weapon was initially designated M1921.

Using a round designed by Winchester, the .50-caliber machine gun was originally intended for ground troops to use against enemy troops. Subsequently, it was employed as an anti-aircraft weapon and then became the standard armament of U.S. warplanes. In 1932, the design was updated and redesignated M2.

Now, after almost 90 years of service, the U.S. Army has moved to replace Browning's remarkable machine gun.

[edit on 2008/6/25 by GradyPhilpott]

posted on Jun, 25 2008 @ 04:25 AM
They'll need something bloody good to replace the M2. The M2 is the infantry weapon most feared by the Taliban at present, and is causing major casualties at significant ranges.

To be honest I don't understand why the US never took the British route of upgrading the M2. We use a "soft mount" which controls the recoil and harmonizes the rate of fire to increase accuracy. We have also fitted all of our M2s (or L111) with a quick change barrel (QCB) system which removes the need for headspacing - one of the most often cited problems with the Browning.

I suppose the other problem that this weapon aims to address is that of the weapons heavy weight. I would agree that it is a heavy weapon system, but this is really only a problem if you need to man pack the system. Even then the biggest issue with a HMG is the need to feed it. Considering that just 100rds of .50 weighs in at almost 20kg (44lbs), this is always going to be a problem. Reducing the weight of the weapon is not really going to solve many problems.

Then again, I suppose the trend these days is to go for lighter weapon systems rather than rely on one that is doing the job sufficiently.

posted on Jun, 25 2008 @ 07:04 AM
I wholeheartedly agree with Paddy.

The M2 has served all branches of the UK's armed forces over the years with great success.

As others more eloquent than me have said time and time again, when something isn't broken, why fix it? I cannot for the life of me, understand this need to constantly reinvent the wheel.

With modern technology and manufacturing processes, I find it strange that we can manufacture fighter aircraft wings from layered sheets of polycarbonate material, yet we cannot come up with cartridge cases using the same material.

I suppose 'you-know-who' will pipe up about the Kord but lets wait and see what General Dynamics Armament can come up with.

posted on Jun, 25 2008 @ 08:01 AM

Originally posted by fritz
I suppose 'you-know-who' will pipe up about the Kord but lets wait and see what General Dynamics Armament can come up with.

Well, I didn't want to bring up that particular little "discussion", but now that you mention it...

posted on Jun, 25 2008 @ 02:51 PM
The Marine Corps will stay with the "ma duece", why change a good thing?

posted on Jun, 25 2008 @ 03:10 PM
Can't wait, Paddy.

What do you think of my idea to reduce the weight of the cartridges? Do you reckon it would be a starter or not?

I love the M2, although as I have frequently pointed out, I have not fired it in years.

To my recollection, its all about 'balance & timing'. Get that right and I'm pretty sure that you won't get many problems.

Maybe I'm just an old 'fuddy-duddy' but hell! That old boy can sing!

posted on Jun, 26 2008 @ 01:19 AM

Originally posted by fritz

What do you think of my idea to reduce the weight of the cartridges? Do you reckon it would be a starter or not?

Aye, that would be a good starter. I don't know much about materials, but reducing the ammo weight would be much more useful than reducing that of the weapon.

The ammo weight is seriously restrictive, even when vehicle mounted. Suspension can only take so much. If the weight were dropped by 30% say, that would mean 30% more ammo (space permitting), meaning more bang for your buck.

I know people will say "you can do this by reducing the weight of the weapon", but even by halving the weapon weight you still only create enough extra capacity for about 100 extra rounds of 12.7mm - hardly a war winning amount. People underestimate the weight of 12.7mm linked ammo. It's bloody heavy.

Cheers fritzy

[edit on 26-6-2008 by PaddyInf]

posted on Jun, 26 2008 @ 01:22 AM
Newer is NOT always better....

Coming from an old Marine, I really hope we don't find out that this is true in this case...

The M2 is incredible, and there has been some "good" changes in recent armament, and some real disasters...

I guess time will tell...


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