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Thread: What are grunts wearing in Afghanistan?

  1. #61
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    Re: What are grunts wearing in Afghanistan?

    [QUOTE=Plate carriers: we had commanders in remote areas eschew plate carriers in favor of IOTV because of the additional protection that IOTV gives against snipers or a well placed DSHKA or PKM round. Food for thought.[/QUOTE]

    I may have to argue that no additional personal armor system is going to protect you against a well placed DSHKA rd. Might be the fluke out there, but as a current I'm going to have to contest it.

    As far as the IOTV being mandated eschew the plate carrier for the added protection being a command decision which IMHO screws that line infantryman doing all the dismount patrols, and once again takes the on the ground decision making out of the hands of those actually conducting operations. As a prior 11B SQD LDR and PSG we would constantly battle BN about us wanting to wear the IBA in the armored vehicles to protect against spalling, but be able to don Plate Carriers when dismounted to actually be able to move somewhat quickly against the enemy in chase, and protect our backs when it came to jumping all those canals. A fight I might add lost, and the Fobbits reigned supreme.

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  3. #62
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    Re: What are grunts wearing in Afghanistan?

    Piggybacking on Punishers comments...

    SAPI plates don't stop .50 cal rounds let alone the .51 cal round of the DSHK. Don't want to go into what the capabilities of plates are or the different versions (SAPI, ESAPI and XSAPI). There's info out there open source for folks interested. I think it's good enough to know that the plates will stop a couple of rifle rounds.

    In conventional units the level of body armor is typically a BDE level decision. Some units have taken that higher to division during desert storm. IMO that's two levels too high. Company Cdrs and their 1SGT should be making that decision. They know the situation and the judgement of their subordinate leaders.

    Not sure at what level special ops units decide but keep in mind those organizations are comparatively rank heavy, mature and they (and their families) understand they are in a dangerous profession. A 12 man SF A tm has ZERO Specialists and Pvts. They are ALL NCOs, experienced soldiers and rarely does a team have a junior sergeant on it (Punisher feel free to chime in). Comparatively, a nine man infantry squad has three NCOs (two being very jumior sergeants) and six enlisted soldiers from pvt to specialist.

    P 2-2 Wasn't there (obviously) but I'd bet you lunch BN had their hands tied (not that they fought the decision much then again it seems to be SOP that BDE CDRs are deciding what individual soldiers carry, a symptom of the CYA and litigous environment even the Army has to operate under.

    Remember all the whining about troops without body armor or uparmored HMMWVs? Politicans turn around and pass the buck. Officers feel like they are being left out to dry (they are) and are reacting poorly. Sad but true up and down the line but responsibility always starts at the top.

  4. #63
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    Re: What are grunts wearing in Afghanistan?

    Just a quick request for a clarification:

    Quote Originally Posted by Buck Owens View Post
    DCUs went out in Jan 05. The 48th IBCT was the first OIF unit to get them.I rember them rolling in to the little pile of dirt Iwas guarding in Kuwait in March 05....they looked ODD lol.
    By "out" you mean the DCUs went out of service (as opposed to "out in the field"), and "them" is referring to the new ACU/UCP uniforms, right? That lines up with the other rough timelines mentioned, but I just wanted to be sure.

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  6. #64
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    Re: What are grunts wearing in Afghanistan?

    Quote Originally Posted by edwick View Post
    Just a quick request for a clarification:


    By "out" you mean the DCUs went out of service (as opposed to "out in the field"), and "them" is referring to the new ACU/UCP uniforms, right? That lines up with the other rough timelines mentioned, but I just wanted to be sure.
    Yes. The Army began transitioning the DCU's out of service in '05, introducing UCP to replace it. Some units still had DCU's (and many SF units still issued DCU's as a matter of preference) but the Army was getting rid of them at that point.
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  7. #65
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    Re: What are grunts wearing in Afghanistan?

    edwick, check with Buck but I think he meant '06. I was at Benning when the 48th got issued ACUs. It was late '05. https://peosoldier.army.mil/faqs/acu.asp (6th ques down)

    They started issuing ACUs in Feb '05 and tier one units were first in line along with the Rangers. Guys were wearing DCUs even into early "06. Troops were only issued four sets. There weren't many replacements and between laundry and wear and tear guys had to default to the occasional DCU. There was a lot of mix & match pouches because of shortages.

  8. #66
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    Re: What are grunts wearing in Afghanistan?

    I know there's a lot of different squad automatic weapons and LMG's: Mk43, Mk46, Mk48, M249, M240 (several variants), and M27 IAR (recent USMC development). I also know that the Mk weapons are mostly SEAL/Navy issue, but Rangers and the regular Army have used Mk46 and Mk48's in the past. Who exactly uses which weapon?
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  9. #67
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    Re: What are grunts wearing in Afghanistan?

    Yiu know Ive heard that Rangers are using M249's now.
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  10. #68
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    Re: What are grunts wearing in Afghanistan?

    Partial answer to a huge and complicated question. Units transition over time so what is true today isn't true for yesterday.

    Example: When the M249 SAW came out everybody used it. Then the Mk46 was introduced around 2001. Rangers went to it around '06 but last year went back to the SAW because the Army had incorporated most of the improvements and it was cheaper. Confusing to someone that doesn't know the ins and outs.

    Might be better to focus this question because it's a real monster depending on the weapon, variant, service and time frame.

    Being I started this talking about the conventional grunt in Afghanistan I can give you some insight. I'm sure vvv can also because of his experience with the M240. You won't see Mk43's, 46's or M27's in Army units except for the exception described above.

    Grunts use the SAW. No Mk46's though depending on the time frame and the unit one will see different stocks, barrel lengths and the appearance of rails

    M240 - this IS the infantry's medium machine gun with one exception. Around 2010 some Mk48's were issued to light infantry units in Afghanistan as a stopgap measure until the M240L was developed and released. This was a limited issue to units who were primarily doing foot mounted patrols (trying to cut some weight from the 30lb M240). They were replaced last year from my understanding with 4000 M240L's the Army purchased (12000 is the target). Again these are mostly seen in ground mounted units. The Mk48 is an excellent weapon but wears out much quicker than the M240 because of a lot of its titanium construction. The M240L has a titanium reciever and shorter barrel.
    Last edited by major.rod; 07-13-2012 at 02:29.

  11. #69
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    Re: What are grunts wearing in Afghanistan?

    "Around 2010 some Mk48's were issued to light infantry units in Afghanistan as a stopgap measure until the M240L was developed and released. This was a limited issue to units who were primarily doing foot mounted patrols (trying to cut some weight from the 30lb M240)"

    Well Will, it appeares I missed out on much more than just getting Multicam and a platecarrier. LOL Just to add something to feel special, the reason the army was looking for a lighter version is because with the stripped down M240B (no ammo, no optic, no laser) it was weighing in at approximately 27.6LBS. Add the starter belt, optic, and yes, even the sling has weight (ounces add up to pounds) and you have a weapon in your hands at well over 30LBS. Then add approximately 7LBS for every 100rnd belt. I personally carried a minumum of 500 rounds of linked 7.62 putting my weapon system alone at well over 60LBS. I'm still on the quest to find the prankster who put the "Light" in "Light Infantry".


    This thread has shed some serious light on questions that I've had also. Lets keep it up!
    Last edited by VeniViciVinci; 07-13-2012 at 05:13.

  12. #70
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    Re: What are grunts wearing in Afghanistan?

    VVV - Not to go too far afield I was never happy with the decision to switch from the M60. Granted we needed new weapons, the Army took the easy way out in adopting the MG mounted on armored vehicles which is a GREAT weapon (had them on my Bradleys). New M60s were quite relaible, a bit lighter and had a slower rate of fire which made a 1000 rounds last a bit longer.

  13. #71
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    Re: What are grunts wearing in Afghanistan?

    Thanks for info guys, that does clarify things.
    I've got a question from our Chinese friends at BBICN. Jackson asks, "[sic] How about the M4's sling and sling adaptor?I see most soldier's M4 use the U.S.G.I. side sling adaptor and 3point sling ,like the CQD Adaptor and their slings are not very Common[.]"
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  14. #72
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    Re: What are grunts wearing in Afghanistan?

    I think the more current vets are going to provide a better answer. Slings are a mixed bag. They're one of the cheapest accessories so buying one's own isn't uncommon. They are also a very personal preference type thing. Units also get various and different issued slings. There isn't one standard.

    3pt slings have been out of favor for awhile though. I get comparatively few requests for them over the last 2-3 years.

  15. #73
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    Re: What are grunts wearing in Afghanistan?

    Quote Originally Posted by major.rod View Post
    I think the more current vets are going to provide a better answer. Slings are a mixed bag. They're one of the cheapest accessories so buying one's own isn't uncommon. They are also a very personal preference type thing. Units also get various and different issued slings. There isn't one standard.

    3pt slings have been out of favor for awhile though. I get comparatively few requests for them over the last 2-3 years.
    I'm going to have to comment on this and say that as far as the Marine Corps goes, I haven't seen very many people in favor of the 3 point. I myself favor the 1 point because of mobility. The 3 point restricts movement in a few different ways, and it also allows for the weapon to accidentally be switched from safe to fire, just by the rubbing of the weapon against the body armor.

  16. #74
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    Re: What are grunts wearing in Afghanistan?

    You know my friends (both arm and marines) have said the same thing. Mobility was the main issue.
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  17. #75
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    Re: What are grunts wearing in Afghanistan?

    We found that the three point, as stated above, will also interfere with the bolt catch and will also get hung up on gear. The single point has its uses, but I prefered running a two point with a quick adjuster system that would allow my to fasten the rifle to my body or off to my side if I had to climb or go hands on with something or someone. I came out of pocket for that though. Many of the guys who were issues the 3-points modified and cut them to use it as a two point.

  18. #76
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    Re: What are grunts wearing in Afghanistan?

    Thank you major.rod, Matthew2388, silent_05, and VeniViciVinci!

    Another BBICN question: ledmiragea writes: "Talking about the M240L, I have read some information about M240L. It said it works well when dismounted, but it can't be mounted on gun turret on vehicles or other hard points; as the softer titanium construction cannot hold up the gun when firing (as it is rattling itself), it that true?
    And I have read another article that some M240L served together with modified M240B (fixed with collapsible buttstock same as M240L and new retractable bipot [sic] in the front) in field now. Short barreled M240L apears [sic] in trainning [sic] facilities but is that starting to use in field now?"


    I'd heard that bit about the M240L and vehicles before in this article on Kit-Up. I can't find anything on it after that date (though I did see that major.rod is a Kit-Up commenter in addition to being a Kit-Up reader ). I did find this other gem in the comments section though: "We did field a limited number of MK48s in theater. The MK48 has the same problem as is being reported on the M240L; the MK48 is so light that it will self destruct when mounted to a solid mount. The solution is a recoil absorbing mount for either gun (as is designed for the MK48). However, the reason that everyone looked at that SF Soldier like he was crazy is because during tesing [sic] the M240L, no such problems of cracking and wear caused by mounting the weapon were evident. That said, the MK48 is lighter than the M240L but, is also less durable. M240Bs/M240Ls can run 100,000 rds before you have to start replacing major parts: not so with the MK48. I like the MK48 for what it is intended to be: an assault machine gun."

    I'd assume that the version of the M240B he's describing is an interim weapon until the fielding of the M240L is completed - that or it's an alternative GPMG that's being issued to units that do not need the weight-saving advantages of the M240L as severely as others.
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  19. #77
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    Re: What are grunts wearing in Afghanistan?

    Yes, the M240B & M240L serve together. Just like when the M4 was originally fielded (along with the M16A2) one weapon is focused for light infantry use the other for mech. You’ll see mixed issue as units are issued new weapons and there isn’t enough to go around, commanders wrangle an exception to keep extra MGs or light units are temporarily assigned vehicles (think MRAPS and HMMWVs). It will eventually even out.

    The Mk48 is MUCH more “delicate” than an M240B. A Mk48’s bolt needs replacing at 15k rounds. An M240 bolt is good for almost 100k (over six times the life).

    FYI, the Army issued 550 Mk48s compared to the First batch of 4000 M240Ls.

  20. #78
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    Re: What are grunts wearing in Afghanistan?

    And i think i heard the MK48/46 cant switch out barrels like the 240. Like when it gets too hot.
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  21. #79
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    Re: What are grunts wearing in Afghanistan?

    I'm confused on why you would mount the 240L on a vehicle unless that is the only style 240 that you have available. The 240L was designed for a VERY specific use: Dismounted troops in Afghanistan. I'm also not too sure about the L having the same round count lifespan as the B since I remember the original articles, when it was being tested, stated that the life span of the L would be considerably less than the B. Can Someone confirm this?

  22. #80
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    Re: What are grunts wearing in Afghanistan?

    VVV - You're completely right on mounting the M240L but you're forgetting who's asking the question. Most folks aren't familiar with how the military works. One picture is often enough to support an assumption that that's the way it works in the field. (the picture of the guy returning fire in his boxers comes to mind.)



    "See I have a picture. Combat boxers."

    You're remembering right on the M240L life. Read the same thing. I have to research the specifics but the titanium reciever of the M240L doesn't last as long as the M240B. I believe the barrel also has a shorter life.

    silent - you can switch barrels on the Mk46/48
    Last edited by major.rod; 07-18-2012 at 03:31.

  23. #81
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    Re: What are grunts wearing in Afghanistan?

    I must of misunderstood then.
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  24. #82
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    Re: What are grunts wearing in Afghanistan?

    Quote Originally Posted by major.rod View Post
    VVV - You're completely right on mounting the M240L but you're forgetting who's asking the question. Most folks aren't familiar with how the military works. One picture is often enough to support an assumption that that's the way it works in the field. (the picture of the guy returning fire in his boxers comes to mind.)

    You're remembering right on the M240L life. Read the same thing. I have to research the specifics but the titanium reciever of the M240L doesn't last as long as the M240B. I believe the barrel also has a shorter life.

    silent - you can switch barrels on the Mk46/48
    Yeah, after I re-read how I posted that, I think I did come off as a little harsh. I meant to ask why actual soldiers would do that. LOL

    My issue with giving regular army units weapons that have a limited lifespan is that no one keeps records on how many rounds have been fired through the individual weapons. Also, most soldiers aren't trained in detecting parts that need replacing unless it is obvious (ie: actually broken). Even if they do detect a worn out part, how long would it take to get that piece replaced? I'm hoping someone who has carried the 240L can tell me otherwise to put my mind at ease on this.

  25. #83
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    Re: What are grunts wearing in Afghanistan?

    You didn't seem harsh at all. Heck, you're trying to help!

    Scott that is an accurate description of a problem. My experience was that commanders established maintenance programs and a rotation where 10% of weapons went to the direct support BN for inspection along with the unit armorer inspecting 10% monthly. That would provide each weapon at least two looks by a trained inspector each year. On top of that each platoon's chain of command should be inspecting weapons regularly as well as the individual user. Finally it was very common in units I served in to have a direct support BN contact truck out on unit qualification ranges to address weapon malfunctions. That's twice a year for Infantry units. I've seen many serious deficencies discovered at all these levels and whenever one was found everyone ramped up the inspection. Considering we've rarely heard of catastrophic weapons failures the system seems to be working.

    Have you seen any of this type of attention? Other vets?
    Last edited by major.rod; 07-18-2012 at 03:33.

  26. #84
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    Re: What are grunts wearing in Afghanistan?

    "Have you seen any of this type of attention?"



    Maybe I simply had a serious chain of command issue, but we were on our own while in Afghanistan to fix out own weapons. If it could not be readily fixed, we had to issue the soldier another rifle (from the limited extras that were brought). The M240B that I was issued was TPE (Theatre Provided Equipment) and needed some serious TLC. We ended up having to use power tools to remove the currosion and rust on the gas tube vents and regulator. We got that puppy running good though! I'm sure there was probably some weapon armorers at our larger sister FOB that could have helped, but it was hard enough for us to get our food resupply from them, let alone specifics.

  27. #85
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    Re: What are grunts wearing in Afghanistan?

    Yes, in combat the maintenance program is one of the first casualties but my question was about your garrison experience. That's the time serious weapon issues can be addressed.

    Not a big fan of TPE because no one "owns" the equipment until it's issued and those who are securing TPE before issuing aren't resourced to maintain it (see this with vehicles al the time).

    That said, when the equipment IS issued users typically go over it with a fine toothed comb (like your unit did). It's reasonable to expect you would have found burned out barrels, worn bolts/recievers. As you know you just can't replace a bolt on the M240. let alone switch them between M240s That's DS level maintenance which is why units tend to replace the whole weapon.

    Some of this stuff is obvious to us. Stating it more so for those that don't know.

  28. #86
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    Re: What are grunts wearing in Afghanistan?

    I just want to add that this is a fantastic thread and well needed. There are a lot of people that I see gaining a lot of helpful knowledge from this.

    To the experts, keep it coming!

    Thanks! Nothing else follows.

    Jeff

  29. #87
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    Re: What are grunts wearing in Afghanistan?

    That's very kind Jeff. I hope it's being helpful. Specifics would be good to keep the thread focused.

    I think we need more Marine participation?
    Maybe another thread because so much of the equipment is different?

  30. #88
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    Re: What are grunts wearing in Afghanistan?

    A Marine thread would be cool. Hell a spec ops one would be awesome as well.
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  31. #89
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    Re: What are grunts wearing in Afghanistan?

    I was thinking the same thing the other day, I think it would be very useful to have threads for USMC, 75th Ranger Regt (I know there is kinda one for them already) SEALS etc etc

  32. #90
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    Re: What are grunts wearing in Afghanistan?

    Yeah, I think the Rangers have been done to death.

    USMC should be quite doable like this thread.

    The special ops is almost in the too hard box. Too many services, uniforms, regions, weapons and general equipment. The only way I'd consider approaching the subject is if a specific figure came out and people wanted to discuss that subject matter specifically.

    Glad this has gotten such a great response and been so civil.

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