Are We Sending Troopers Into Battle With A Substandard Rifle?

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On Could 18, retired Military Main Gen. Robert H. Scales submitted a press release to Senate Armed Providers Committee saying that because the finish of World Conflict II, 1000’s of U.S. troopers have died as a result of we have now despatched them into fight with inferior small arms. He’s significantly important of the M4, descendant of the M16.

In 1969, Scales—winner of the Silver Star and former commandant of the U.S. Military Conflict Faculty—was commanding an artillery battery supporting troops on Hamburger Hill in Vietnam. At three a.m., the firebase was attacked by the enemy, which had dragged their AK-47s by means of the mud for hours. Their AKs functioned to devastating impact. His males have been carrying M16s. “To at the present time, I’m haunted by the sight of three of my lifeless troopers mendacity atop rifles damaged open in a frantic try to clear jams.”

The M16 entered service in 1964, greater than 50 years in the past. The transition to the M4 variant has been remarkably sluggish, Scales maintains, and the rifle isn’t a significant enchancment. He faults the 5.56 mm cartridge as being too small for contemporary fight. Its mass limits its efficient vary to lower than 400 meters. If six states contemplate the cartridge ineffective for deer, why would anybody stake a soldier’s life on it? He additionally quotes experiences of troopers within the Center East placing 15 rounds into an approaching suicide bomber earlier than stopping him. However the true downside lies in within the gun’s fundamental design. “Gases touring down a really slim aluminum tube produce an intense ‘puff’ that throws the bolt meeting to the rear, making the bolt meeting a freely shifting object within the physique of the rifle. Any mud or dust or residue from the cartridge would possibly trigger the bolt meeting…to jam.”

In contrast, he notes, the AK-47 cycles utilizing a strong working rod connected to the bolt meeting, so the gases throw the rod and bolt meeting again as one unit. The strong attachment signifies that mud or mud is not going to stop the gun from functioning.

Scales blames a bloated and out-of-touch navy procurement system, which micromanages each facet of recent small arms with tons of of pages of rules, to the extent that technological progress is nearly unattainable. He notes that the Russians proceed to develop improved variations of the AK-47, notably the AK-12, which is barely lighter and shorter than than the M16, and has the next muzzle velocity and longer vary. Its fundamental platform permits for practically 20 completely different modifications.

I’ll defer to fight veterans and gun specialists as to the validity of Gen. Scales’ claims. If he’s proper, it’s a nationwide scandal and shame. If not—and also you don’t see lots of people supporting him—then he’s…what? A extremely embellished crank? I’ll withhold judgement. However I lived by means of the Vietnam period. I’ve seen too many situations of individuals in positions of authority—authorities, navy, you title it—saying “Nothing’s too good for our boys” after which short-changing them. Typically with mortal penalties. You possibly can learn the final’s assertion here.

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