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  #16  
Old 17 Apr 12, 21:59
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Back in the mid 1980s the Marines issued these to every four man fire team. When the dust settled the squad had in its three fire teams:

Two M16A2 (with iron sights adding up to 750 meters)

One M203 (on a M16A2)

One M249

The squad leaders TE weapon was a M16A2, so thirteen men fielded seven M16A2, three M203, & three M249.

Three of those made up a platoon with three more M16A2. The company weapons platoon had six MMG, three 60mm mortars and a load of AT rockets. AT4s or something, I cant remember. anyway I'll leave it up to the gentle reader to do the math on the total basic firepower of the Marine rifle company back then.

It more or less stayed that way through the Iraqi occupation, but I've no clue what the recent fashion might be.
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  #17  
Old 18 Apr 12, 00:47
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The grenade launcher in the first video is a M320

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  #18  
Old 19 Apr 12, 16:32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cult Icon View Post
Thanks for the Info, I have noticed US troops carrying the M-32. Is this special issue for troops more engaged in close quarters or what?
The M32 was adopted by the USMC as a commander's discretionary weapon. I have yet to determine exactly at what level of command this discretion lies, but it basically means that at some level, a commander can replace an existing system with one of these from a pool of weapons available. The weapon in the picture posted is an M32A1. US Special Operations Forces has adopted a third variant, designated the Mk 14 Mod 0.

They would, however, not likely be issued for close-quarters work. While there are shotgun type rounds available, the use of anything else in a close-quarters environment would be impractical because of the arming distance on the grenades and the effective radius of a round that did detonate. These weapons are issued where there is a need for additional longer ranged firepower, especially in Afghanistan where enemy personnel often hide behind hard natural cover like large rock outcroppings. This was the reason for the US Army to start field testing the XM25 25mm rifle (a grenade launcher by any common definition) there as well.

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Originally Posted by Cult Icon View Post
So squad leaders carry the 203?
In the US Army, according to the TOE, the squad is authorized 2 grenade launchers, one for each fire team, regardless of other differences between squads in the HBCT, IBCT, and SBCT infantry organizations. I have heard that in the field Army squad leaders are often armed with a grenade launcher as well. This appears to be in addition to the existing 2 launchers. Squads also often have a designated marksman with an M14 EBR-RI, which is also not in the TOE. As in most actual combat scenarios, modifications to the paper TOEs rule the day in the field. Until the last couple of years, the launcher was an M203 series, but these are being replaced by the M320 series.

In the USMC, there should still be one launcher (at this point I believe its still the M203 series in the USMC) assigned to each of the squads three fireteams. As noted before, I'm not sure how many M32/M32A1s are authorized and at what level.

US Special Operations Forces using the SCAR family of rifles would make use of another type in service, the Mk 13 Mod 0, which was specifically designed for that family of weapons.
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  #19  
Old 19 Apr 12, 16:44
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I had the 203 and was the M-60's AG for a while. I didn't understand why the platoon leader wanted the two of us in such close proximity, but it worked.
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  #20  
Old 20 Apr 12, 08:19
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Originally Posted by SRV Ron View Post
This version, the over and under, was effective enough in Vietnam to make a soldier carrying one, in my example that I witness on 3-19-67, a prime sniper target in preference to the M-60 machine gunner he was in front of while on a hot patrol. Russel Root was killed instantly by that sniper. Four others were killed by a claymore when the idiot 2nd Lt ordered the squad to sweep ahead. He was one of the casulities.

They were excellent short range direct fire weapons for firing a grenade size blast at half the weight of a hand grenade. Unlike a hand grenade, they armed themselves after reaching a safe distance from the gunner and exploded on contact.

The M-79, also a one shot reload launcher, came with a range finder. It made a pop and kicked like a 12 gauge when fired.

A gatling gun version was made for the first attack helicopters and could saturate an area with explosive rounds in a hurry.
Just today I was reading the autobiography of General Peter Cosgrove, A very distinguished Australian Soldier who Led the Australian Interfet Force in East Timor and later became Chief of the Defence force. In 1969 he was a Platoon Leader in Vietnam and he describes how during one close contact in fairly light jungle at one point one of his soldiers were firing these grenades towards the enemy with great effect. He watched in fascinated, slow motion horror as one grenade hit a clump of bamboo just in front of him. The grenade stuck in the bamboo clump and slithered down the stalks towards him. The young Lt. did not know if the grenade had fused or not, and calmly waited out what might have been his last few seconds on this earth. By the time the grenade fell out of the bamboo clump he realised that it had not fused and he was able to get on with directing his men.
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Old 20 Apr 12, 12:35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cult Icon View Post
So squad leaders carry the 203? How many rounds do they carry and what's the mix between HE and smoke?
My squad leader carried a regular M16A2. It was our team leaders that carried the 203. Since we never left the fob we never loaded up with rounds so I can't tell you the mix of smoke and HE, but that's mission dependant and opsec.
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  #22  
Old 20 Apr 12, 20:21
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Just today I was reading the autobiography of General Peter Cosgrove, A very distinguished Australian Soldier who Led the Australian Interfet Force in East Timor and later became Chief of the Defence force. In 1969 he was a Platoon Leader in Vietnam and he describes how during one close contact in fairly light jungle at one point one of his soldiers were firing these grenades towards the enemy with great effect. He watched in fascinated, slow motion horror as one grenade hit a clump of bamboo just in front of him. The grenade stuck in the bamboo clump and slithered down the stalks towards him. The young Lt. did not know if the grenade had fused or not, and calmly waited out what might have been his last few seconds on this earth. By the time the grenade fell out of the bamboo clump he realised that it had not fused and he was able to get on with directing his men.
Those were probably from M79s. Good system, reliable, but bulky as heck and pretty well needing a dedicated gunner. I ran into a former Army Major when I was doing ACW reenacting. He had commanded a platoon in 'Nam, and had all his M79 gunners train on mass fire with their launchers, and also go to the range and mark the range in increments onto their slings. So that when they got into a big fight he could pull his gunners together as a sort of ad-hoc 'mortar battery' and use indirect fire from behind the riflemen.
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  #23  
Old 20 Apr 12, 20:46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TacCovert4 View Post
Those were probably from M79s. Good system, reliable, but bulky as heck and pretty well needing a dedicated gunner. I ran into a former Army Major when I was doing ACW reenacting. He had commanded a platoon in 'Nam, and had all his M79 gunners train on mass fire with their launchers, and also go to the range and mark the range in increments onto their slings. So that when they got into a big fight he could pull his gunners together as a sort of ad-hoc 'mortar battery' and use indirect fire from behind the riflemen.
My only experience with such weapons was using ye olde M79:-
a most satisfying piece of kit to use.
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  #24  
Old 27 Apr 12, 18:14
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I've always found the 40mm launchers to be very useful. The variety of types of ammo they fire, (HE, Smoke, Illumination, CS/CN, etc) makes them helpful in a great many situations. Like Nic said they cover dead space, and one can't always wait for arty or mortars, if you can get them at all. There were two per army squad when I was serving, and they were usually positioned so they could cover the dead space in the M249 fields of fire.

On a side note, if there is one borderline useless thing about them it's the "buckshot" round which many seem to talk about but is almost never seen. It does not make one the "human claymore" some folks seem to think it does.
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Old 27 Apr 12, 18:49
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If I was an M79 gunner I'd carry exactly 1 of the 'buckshot' rounds, for last-ditch defense or assaulting a room. The rest would be HE, HEDP, or smoke/illum rounds.
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Old 27 Apr 12, 19:38
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In Peter Cosgrove's autobiography he mentions the 40mm buckshot rounds being used to clear poisionous snakes from trees and Bamboo around camps. Aparently they were just the trick.
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Old 17 Aug 12, 03:10
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If I was an M79 gunner I'd carry exactly 1 of the 'buckshot' rounds, for last-ditch defense or assaulting a room. The rest would be HE, HEDP, or smoke/illum rounds.
The M576 buckshot rounds were said to be very effective and probably even more effective in the thick jungle in Vietnam than the HE rounds. Early close range rounds used for the M79 were flechette rounds, but were said to be ineffective because they would often not hit point-first and penetrate through the target. It was replaced in 1966 by the M576, which fired 27 00 buckshot that cast a cone of fire 98 feet wide and 98 feet high and travel at 882 feet per second.
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Old 18 Aug 12, 12:33
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The M576 buckshot rounds were said to be very effective and probably even more effective in the thick jungle in Vietnam than the HE rounds. Early close range rounds used for the M79 were flechette rounds, but were said to be ineffective because they would often not hit point-first and penetrate through the target. It was replaced in 1966 by the M576, which fired 27 00 buckshot that cast a cone of fire 98 feet wide and 98 feet high and travel at 882 feet per second.
98 by 98 feet? So hitting anything with those 27 pellets was sheer luck. That's way too big of a spread to be useful, especially for little .32 caliber 00 buck. That's 33 yards high, after all. What's up there you need to hit (hopefully, luckily?) with your buckshot round. I'm with Tac on this, carry one as a last ditch, or even trade bait for some schmuck, but I almost never saw them when I was serving. Buckshot is best shot from a shotgun, where it can be very useful indeed.
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Old 18 Aug 12, 22:08
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The "buckshot" rounds I saw and fired..........had 16 Steel balls........BIG steel balls...........sarge said they fanned out in a pattern about 8 feet wide,two rows........two feet apart...........
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Old 23 Aug 12, 16:11
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The "buckshot" rounds I saw and fired..........had 16 Steel balls........BIG steel balls...........sarge said they fanned out in a pattern about 8 feet wide,two rows........two feet apart...........
A number of anti-personnel rounds were developed for the M79, which also included the XM678 with 54 tungsten projectiles and the adapter for 18 .22 caliber rounds. An adapter was also made for standard 12-gauge shotgun shells.
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