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Weapons vs Armor. The see saw of history of the infantry.

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posted on Nov, 23 2012 @ 07:28 AM
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reply to post by pheonix358
 


Then I suppose the real question is, why would anyone fight for people who arent prepared to put the saftey of thier troops before the happiness of thier cronies?




posted on Nov, 23 2012 @ 11:47 AM
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The use of body armour as we currently know it is always a trade-off. There is always the ability to completely armour a soldier to the extent where almost no rounds can penetrate. However this means that he will not be able to function as a soldier. He won't be able to carry anything other than the body armour due to the weight and bulk. He won't be able to move in any useful fashion. He won't be able to use his weapon effectively. In essence he becomes a static/slow moving bullet magnet, unable to complete any mission.

Then there is the other viewpoint of having no armour. This means that the soldier will be able to carry more useable weight and be able to move at speed over longer distances in higher heat. However it also means that he will almost certainly suffer a serious injury or death should a projectile hit him or he be caught in a blast. Again not ideal.

Unfortunately we live in an increasingly risk-averse society. We are almost at a stage whereby any death in action is unacceptable. The problem with this is that risk is a defining concept of combat and that deaths are always going to be a part of that

The current amount of personal protective equipment carried by the modern infantryman (both in terms of body armour and electronic devices) is such that it has dramatically reduced his ability to perform the functions of combat. When I first became an infantry soldier the whole focus of training and combat was manoeuvre at speed. The current load we carry has moved us to a point where movement at speed is not possible. We can't patrol in a particularly stealthy manner, we are restricted as to the terrain we can cover and we can't patrol independently for as long because we can't carry as much food, ammunition and water.

A normal contact these days is to be engaged by the enemy, we then fix them in position using small arms and await fast air to perform the strike function that traditionally fell to the infantry section. This is not what we want. It incurs high financial, human and infrastructure costs. This is almost completely down to the excessive weight carried, most notably body armour. Traditional attacks rely on speed.


Originally posted by pheonix358
Looking at warfare today we seem to have come full circle. Many troops now wear body armor that becomes difficult to penetrate. Of course the poorer countries and the freedom fighters can not afford the armor so the battle field is once again ruled by the elite fighting forces.
I think that perhaps the AK47 has had its day. It simply does not have the power to defeat modern equivalents of the armored knights of old. Nor can it penetrate even lightly armored vehicles.


The use of body armour does not make a soldier invincible to small arms threat, including the AK. A typical plate only covers a frontal area of less than a square foot. Most of the body is only covered with Kevlar or other such “soft” armour. This is easily penetrated by any common assault rifle round. The helmet is also penetrated easily by these rounds. The only areas covered by hard armour is the front and back of the torso and the flanks in some types of armour. This leaves the rest of the torso, neck, head, legs, arms, pelvis and groin exposed.


I would suggest that we now need the equivalent of the long bow. What would happen if the other side threw away the AKs and replaced them with a weapon that had sufficient kinetic energy to kill without having to penetrate. That would be a 50 caliber sniper rifle.


Everyone carrying a .50 sniper weapon would simply not work. The size, weight and cost of these weapons as well as the ammunition would make them usable to only a few skilled individuals. Indeed if it were that simple, don’t you think that more financially well-off military forces would be doing this? There is a reason that you can’t carry a .50 for every task.


Imagine if the denizens of Gaza all had 50 caliber sniper rifles. Do you think the IDF would be considering a ground offensive? It would be even deadlier if the 50 calibers fired a single round and then vacated their position. With hundreds of freedom fighters / insurgents using these tactics I think the situation would turn around.


The weapons would be too difficult to control and carry to be effective against a fast-moving and well trained army. In small numbers, well positioned and deployed the .50BMG sniper rifle is a devastating weapon, but it is not fit for general duties. It is difficult to fire accurately without considerable training. Training an individual to shoot with enough precision, as well as the field craft skills to survive undetected after the first shot, is NOT realistic for the masses.



posted on Nov, 23 2012 @ 05:23 PM
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reply to post by PaddyInf
 


Star for you. Nice reply and very much appreciated.

I think that you are saying that we are back to the Knights of old. Their weight was so great that their horses could no longer function as cavalry and in fact were not much faster than the foot troops.

Now, what is the best way of defeating the modern soldier and if the AK47 can penetrate then why are casualty figures so one sided. Is it possible that a simple addition of a scope on the AK47 would make a fundamental difference or is it a matter of training. 15 minutes to learn how to use any assault rifle is just no where near enough for combat and yet that is the figure being bandied around.

How many trained snipers do you think IRAN (as an example) has. Even as few as 5000 would devastate an occupying force in a city. Thanks again for the input.

P
edit on 23/11/2012 by pheonix358 because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 23 2012 @ 09:58 PM
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Ok your assertions are based off several faulty premises which I'll try to lay out for you one by one.

1. Body armor stops AK rounds: As has been pointed out most body armor has little more than a square foot of protection against AK rounds.

2. You could redesign the AK to somehow shoot .50 caliber: First of all there are dozens of .50 caliber rounds out there and the one you are referring to that cannot realistically be defeated with body armor is the .50 BMG round which is a nearly 5 and a half inch long round that fires 690 to 705 grain rounds. Compare and contrast this with the AK 47's largest chambering which is 7.62x39mm russian which has an overall length of around 2.25 inches and weighs between 125 and 160 grains approximately... Oh did I mention that the base diameter of the 7.62x39 ammo is a little over 11 millimeters while the .50 bmg has a base diameter of a shade under 20 mm? Now if you remember that circumference is determined by the equation Pi times Radius Squared you will see that the AK round has a circumference of around 95 mm while the .50 Bmg case has a circumference of around 315 mm... Are you seeing the issue yet?

If not let me make it a little more clear for you. Look up the Barrett M82a1 wiki and then look up the AKM wiki... now compare and contrast the size of the two different weapons.... They are not even in the same class.

3. It only takes 15 minutes to train someone how to use an assault rifle effectively: While you can physically teach someone enough to keep them from killing themselves with an AK in 15 minutes you will NOT have a combat effective asset. What you will have is someone who can put bullets downrange but it's anyone's guess where it'll end up. Contrast this with the intensive training western militaries put their ground troops through and you will see a large portion of the disparity in force capabilities!

4. Western Soldiers are like the knights of old, so all we need to do is invent the modern equivalent of the longbow to defeat them: The problem with trying to imprint an analogy over reality is that at some point your analogy breaks down usually catastrophically. In some ways you are correct that western soldiers are like the knights of old, but not in the way you think. See the knights of old were professional soldiers who's career was warfare just like our Army's have career soldiers this is both the strength and weakness of western armys. It's a strength in the sense that any one of our soldiers has a DRAMATIC capabilities advantage over the part time guerrilla fighters they face giving them a qualitative advantage that lets 10 of our troops fight and beat 50 of theirs consistently.
Where your analogy really breaks down though is in the assumption that the new longbow or even long daggers of agincourt haven't been invented yet. The reality is the new longbow is the EFP. It doesn't matter how much armor you wear when faced with a 40 dollar EFP that can be manufactured in bulk by any reasonably competent machinist. In addition to EFP's you now have thermobaric warheads which body armor also does not do much to protect you from.

5. It would somehow be a good thing if muj or Hamas or Iran could stand up and fight western powers toe to toe and get us to back down: This to me is your biggest and most egregious thinking error. Unless you have some sort of dislike for women in makeup, antibiotics, electricity in every home, and being able to speak freely and or practice any faith or lifepath you choose. The reality is if the western powers were really as bad as certain people want you to believe they are China and Russia would give these groups the weapons and training they need to at least fight us effectively if not outright win in a fight with us!
The Russians and Chinese both have technologies and tactical doctrines that could lay a serious hurting on westernized military's that are probably 80% as good as front line American or Euro gear while costing 15% of what ours do. Oh and while we manufacture our best gear in the hundreds or thousands of units, they manufacture their almost as good gear by the MILLIONS.
Do you think maybe there's a reason why these groups never get access to what they'd need to fight us effectively? Could it possibly be because the people you are cheering on are not in fact any sort of beneficial to society as you know and love it? A lot of people seem to think the Chinese and the Russians are dumb but from everything i've seen they are exceedingly smart. Not only do they get to constantly test us and wear us down forcing us to spend million dollar missiles to destroy thousand dollar systems but they get paid while they're at it.



posted on Nov, 23 2012 @ 10:34 PM
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How about sonic emmiters? very high/low frequencies that cause serious damage to organs,brain,eardrums,bypassing armor. No?



posted on Nov, 23 2012 @ 11:47 PM
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reply to post by roguetechie
 


Hi, Thanks for the reply, I did not like the snide remarks but that's OK. I will go by your numbering system.

1. All armor helps to reduce damage, the round will be slowed and do less damage. The protection against AK47 is more than 1 square foot. It is front and back and covers the center of mass. It prevents many kills. The helmet will deflect some incoming 7.62 rounds and also prevents many kills. If the armor did next to nothing the troops would not be wearing it. I do understand and agree that the armor is not perfect.

2. Yes, I am aware of the ballistic difference between the two rounds. Yes I am aware of the measurements. You actually failed to make a point on this one so I am not sure how to answer it but thank you for the work you put in.

3. I agree with much of what you have said. I can train someone in 15 minutes to load, position the body/weapon relationship to take the recoil, then to aim and squeeze the trigger on a 50 cal. Where the round will end up is anyone's guess but then you said that for the AK47. Doesn't seem to be much different really. And if it took two hours instead on 15 minutes, so what? It's not like their on the clock!

4. I agree with some of your points. A modern squad has many advantages including training as a group, communications and air support just to name a few. EFPs, IEDs and other such systems that have had limited success. The major difference seems to be training and yet history shows this to be only partially true. Vietnam and Afghanistan are both examples that show the fallacy of the argument. The US did not win Vietnam, the guys and Gals in black PJs did. The US has not and will not win in Afghanistan. It is different terrain and terrain is critical to warfare.

5. I am not going to answer this one. It is not what this thread is about and I have zero desire to go down that road. Please do not derail a good thread.

Thank you kindly for your input.

P



posted on Nov, 24 2012 @ 12:54 AM
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reply to post by pheonix358
 
It's hard to say whether your OP is a study of the evolving forms of warcraft or a political query about the Gaza/Israel hostilities. I prefer the former


Years ago I read an article about an oil sheik and two of his phrases altered my way thinking. The first was that 'History has always been a battle between the sword and the shield' and the second, 'The Stone Age didn't end for lack of stone.'

That first point applies to so much of life, love and warfare that it struck a chord. It's driven metallurgy and, ironic as it seems, led to a lot of the creature comforts in the modern world - stainless steel, internet, satellite comms etc. Chariots, gunpowder and submarines; we're always evolving defences to cater for new threats. There's an elegant symmetry in there somehow.

As for your 2nd topic? A slightly similar situation could be the The Troubles in Northern Ireland. Here we had a smaller force waging a conflict with a far more superior force. The IRA (and smaller paramilitaries) however were formed by people from stable backgrounds who had access to full-time education and were part of a functioning society - superstores, motorways, airports, taxes, police etc. They also had the tacit support of an even more superior force than the UK...the US.

In contrast, those in Gaza live in a dysfunctional, Third World society with a broken economy and little or no official support from militarily superior nations. They have access to a small selection of weapons (at stupid prices) that have to be smuggled through the tunnels due to the blockades and embargoes. In sword and shield terms, they have no chance of success on their own terms.

Let's say a wealthy Arab supporter gave Hamas 10 Patriot missiles? Israel would annihilate the locations from where they were launched. If Hamas managed to shoot helis down, Israel would level the blocks where the shooters were firing from. If a more powerful nation intervened (Iran, Saudi etc), Israel would remain militarily superior and have the backing of the US and UK.



posted on Nov, 24 2012 @ 01:41 AM
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Originally posted by pheonix358
reply to post by roguetechie
 


1. All armor helps to reduce damage, the round will be slowed and do less damage. The protection against AK47 is more than 1 square foot. It is front and back and covers the center of mass. It prevents many kills. The helmet will deflect some incoming 7.62 rounds and also prevents many kills. If the armor did next to nothing the troops would not be wearing it. I do understand and agree that the armor is not perfect.


The plates on a modern set of body armour are approx 10" x 12" front and back. Side plates are much smaller. They are designed to stop rounds from direct impact to heart and lungs. The soft armour covering the rest of the torso does very little to reduce the effect of rifle rounds, most of which will happily motor through both sides of it and whatever is in between. Helmets are approx the same as the soft armour. Most reported deflections are due to rounds glancing off the lid. Most of these would not have hit the head if the wearer wasn't wearing the helmet.


3. I agree with much of what you have said. I can train someone in 15 minutes to load, position the body/weapon relationship to take the recoil, then to aim and squeeze the trigger on a 50 cal. Where the round will end up is anyone's guess but then you said that for the AK47. Doesn't seem to be much different really. And if it took two hours instead on 15 minutes, so what? It's not like their on the clock!


It is not just a matter of training someone to be able to cycle a weapon. Someone with an AK can put down much more fire than with any sniper rifle. To be effective a sniper rifle needs to be fired accurately. While very poor practice, massed assault rifle fire will have at least SOME effect on an enemy.


4. I agree with some of your points. A modern squad has many advantages including training as a group, communications and air support just to name a few. EFPs, IEDs and other such systems that have had limited success. The major difference seems to be training and yet history shows this to be only partially true. Vietnam and Afghanistan are both examples that show the fallacy of the argument. The US did not win Vietnam, the guys and Gals in black PJs did. The US has not and will not win in Afghanistan. It is different terrain and terrain is critical to warfare.


What we are talking about are the casualty numbers due to body armour. Casualties in Vietnam (and Afghanistan) were very lop sided. The Taliban have sustained considerably more casualties than ISAF. This is usually due to air superiority. However in straight up fights where air is not available the Taliban almost always lose more people than us. This is our training in the relative TTPs that save lives. Currently the biggest killer of ISAF troops is the IED (around 70% of casualties on my last tour) not small arms fire. This is generally not due to body armour, more due to inaccurate incoming fire.

It wasn't the training that lost Vietnam, it was the casualty averse society in the US that didn't want bodies coming home. The VC/NVA lost many more than the US. They were just willing to accept more losses for each gain. The same thing is happening in Afghanistan. These days when we take a casualty then the mission often changes focus to the extraction of that casualty. The Taliban are willing to take more losses than we are.

Winning a war is not just training and technology; it is about a national mindset. How many body bags are you willing to accept to win?
edit on 24-11-2012 by PaddyInf because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 24 2012 @ 02:09 AM
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reply to post by Kandinsky
 


You are correct in that is is the former using the latter as an example and I agree with your thoughts on the matter. Both of the examples you listed are city engagements where the mismatch is slightly evened out. In mountainous terrain or jungle terrain the mismatch is evened out to a greater extent.

I agree that Gaza has the entire deck stacked against it and yet the spirit of survival lives on. If they can only do a little damage then a little damage they will do unless Iran it is using the situation to gather intel on the new defense systems Israel has installed. Probably both!

P



posted on Nov, 24 2012 @ 02:22 AM
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reply to post by PaddyInf
 


I agree completely on your overall point. The Vietnam War was the first war where media images and alternative news paid a major part. One has to accept that politics is now a part of war for the West. Other countries are willing to take more casualties because they have to. For all the unevenness in Afghanistan the US still lost! Yes, your politicians will make sounds like a victory but they are hollow and without substance.

You said "It is not just a matter of training someone to be able to cycle a weapon. Someone with an AK can put down much more fire than with any sniper rifle. To be effective a sniper rifle needs to be fired accurately. While very poor practice, massed assault rifle fire will have at least SOME effect on an enemy."

It really seems to me to be a stupid way to make war. It is not as if these guerrilla forces do not have time to train. Much of the overall successful squad tactics can be found (to a limited extent) on any Western war movie. I am just trying to figure out why, as it seems to me, the enemy is so damn stupid.

This question also raises the question of will the same thing happen in Iran or will it be completely different. Getting information on Iranian tactics and such like is very difficult as both sides put disinfo out there by the bucket load.

Thank you for an intelligent reply.

P



posted on Nov, 24 2012 @ 02:50 PM
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Ok so first off my point on the .50 caliber versus 7.62x39 comparison is that there is quite literally no way to just "rebuild the ak 47" to take .50 caliber rounds. Beyond that even if you could do such a thing it would be completely counterproductive to do so. There is a whole host of reasons why the .50 BMG sniper rifle hasn't replaced every other sniper rifle in the inventories of western militaries. Now add into this the fact that you can only carry probably at most 30 rounds for a 50 caliber rifle, and the fact that most engagements happen at ranges under 300 meters, and the fact that in these engagements volume of fire can make up for even extreme tactical disadvantages and you start to see some of the Hundreds of problems it would cause trying to arm everyone or nearly everyone with .50 caliber weapons.


Now onto the training aspect of my commentary. What i was trying to get across is that while you can train someone to fire an Ak 47 in 15 minutes teaching someone to use a sniper rifle effectively can take MONTHS or YEARS. Also when you state that guerrillas have plenty of time to train you are mistaken. Most guerrillas have jobs and lives they must see to on top of their martial duties. And in addition to this most guerrillas do not have access to large enough stocks of ammunition and well equipped firing ranges to get in the amount of practice it takes to make someone a truly proficient shooter. Now if you can't maintain adequate stocks of AK ammunition and set up a firing range for AK practice there is almost NO way you are going to be able to set up a range and provide the ammunition and other consumables it takes to train a sniper.

So when you factor these two things together it becomes readily apparent why guerrillas don't use 50 caliber rifles and just snipe constantly.



posted on Nov, 24 2012 @ 06:36 PM
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reply to post by roguetechie
 


Thanks for that great insight. I put up this thread to try and find out why the forces are so uneven. I have hunted and while the animals didn't shoot back (ever heard the song 'cows with guns' ) I always tried for good bullet placement on the target and a one shot one instant kill mentality.

Do you think the results will be the same with say Iran. We all know that the US vs China vs Russia would be a much more even fight. I remember at the height of the cold war, US vs Russia in Europe, it was anticipated that after 30 days of combat there may well have not been any armor or aircraft remaining and it would come down to troops or Atomic weapons to decide the issue.

P



posted on Nov, 24 2012 @ 08:03 PM
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When it comes down to the whole Iran issue I really don't know what to think.

The Persians have historically been a cagey bunch who have been known to come out with surprises. Then there's the fact that Russia or China or both of them might see fit to pull out all the stops and arm the Iranians with first line equipment. Or Iran could be a walk over. I don't think anyone outside of the NRO and NSA actually has a coherent picture of exactly what the situation might be if that balloon ever goes up.

The one thing I can tell you though is the Iranians are going to have to be willing to take MASSIVE casualties if they want to tangle with the western powers. They'd basically have to accept that they were going to lose 80% of their C3D2 capability as well as a good portion of their basic services infrastructure. If they are willing to accept this and have planned for it accordingly they could conceivably have quietly restructured and fundamentally changed the way they train their forces to accommodate these realities.

What that would entail is a very decentralized command structure with numerous redundant contingency operational plans as well as a very strong focus on training strong independent and smart NCO's and Lieutenants. Historically middle eastern standing armies have been VERY attached to a rigid hierarchy similar to 18th century european force structures.that frown highly on junior officers and NCO's showing initiative and making things happen without SPECIFIC instructions from higher in the food chain.

So ... unless you can gin up a standard Syllabus for their NCO and Junior Officer training courses you might be able to start answering some of these questions... but again like I said not many people outside of the NSA and NRO probably have access to this information.



posted on Nov, 24 2012 @ 08:19 PM
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reply to post by roguetechie
 


I agree completely with your assessment. Having had decades of being forced to design and build their own weapons they may have the odd surprise but when it comes down to technocratic weapons I don't see them having much of a chance. Certainly they cannot win. I think their opening strategy will be to inflict as much damage as possible before they are overwhelmed. This I think they will be successful at.

They have also had decades to study the failings of every one around them. Persians are not stupid by any stretch of anyone's imagination. Knowing that you will be occupied would lead me to the conclusion that they may well train squads to act as cells and use very effective asymmetrical warfare. They certainly do have fully trained snipers and snipers in a city environment do not need to shoot from a mile away. They have also trained others in the use of the media as a weapon and will use this heavily.

Whilst they can be taken, I think that occupying the country will be a disaster for US forces with losses far to great for the public to accept. They have had years to prepare and I doubt that even Western intelligence knows what they have planned.

I also do not think that the US will subdue them in the mountainous regions of the country. The US always wins on the plains but as Afghanistan as shown the mountains are a whole different story.

P



posted on Nov, 25 2012 @ 04:27 PM
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Originally posted by roguetechie
The Persians have historically been a cagey bunch who have been known to come out with surprises.


Like what surprises exactly. In the Iran Iraq War which was a shockingly brutal affair, the Iranians deployed human wave attacks, child soldiers and used children and old men to clear mine fields. No surprises that Iran casualties were so high.

To OP. I am wondering as to the relative weight of (say) 50 cal. Rounds versus the AK’s 7.62 or NATO 5.56 (I think). If 50 cal is the norm then the infantryman would not be able to carry much?

Regards



posted on Dec, 1 2012 @ 08:57 PM
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Well, we didn't have to wait long for the solution did we.

www.abovetopsecret.com...

Available January 2013.

The very first buyers will be consular officials and they will carry them out in diplomatic pouches.

P



posted on Dec, 1 2012 @ 10:07 PM
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reply to post by pheonix358
 


I think armor will enhance to the point that it does less to protect, but more to augment it's wearers physical abilities.

This can be seen in fictions like Halo, Mass Effect, Star Ship Troopers, Star Craft and to some extend the same occurs with the famous Iron Man.

I don't think the AK-47 is usurped just yet. While it is intended as a close range weapon, it can still penetrate the average soldier's body armor over the course of a few rounds and it is still capable of striking in the head or legs with a little work on the part of the shooter.



posted on Dec, 1 2012 @ 11:52 PM
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reply to post by pheonix358
 
Interesting thought that a new weapon should be used to defeat body armor, personal i think the next step would be if a weapon came out , there would be the use of drones , for infantry use. The police use them in hot or bomb situations, why not have a brigade of robots to do the fighting, no one dies, if you lose yours just wait till you new "IRF" that is short Infantry Robotic Fighter is built, say with in an hour. then your back in the fight.



posted on Dec, 2 2012 @ 12:23 AM
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Originally posted by bekod
reply to post by pheonix358
 
Interesting thought that a new weapon should be used to defeat body armor, personal i think the next step would be if a weapon came out , there would be the use of drones , for infantry use. The police use them in hot or bomb situations, why not have a brigade of robots to do the fighting, no one dies, if you lose yours just wait till you new "IRF" that is short Infantry Robotic Fighter is built, say with in an hour. then your back in the fight.



Then China wins the war. Her ability to produce your IRFs combined with the number of operators she has will far outweigh any other country.

Of course each IRF that falls into a nicely dug hole will be simply reprogrammed and used against you.

P



posted on Dec, 2 2012 @ 01:54 AM
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Interesting topic, as far as attacking drones goes I think probably industrial grade lasers would be ideal for destroying their optical and possibly targeting systems. the chinese have been having a great time doing it to US sattelites so its possible that drones would have just as hard a time.www.telegraph.co.uk...
edit on 2-12-2012 by Bilky because: (no reason given)






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