Invisio

PEO Soldier Checks Out LSAT

Originally an AAI (now part of Textron Systems) science project, under the auspices of several different government programs, the Lightweight Small Arms Technology weapon and its Cased Telescoped has been under development for decades (and untold millions in development costs).

Here, BG Anthony “Tony” Potts, Program Executive Officer Soldier, fires the 5.56mm Cased Telescoped Light Machine Gun Feb. 14 during a visit to Textron Systems.

The CT LMG with 1,000 rounds weighs 28.5 pounds vs. an M249 with 1,000 rounds weighing 48.9 pounds. That’s pretty impressive. The favored technology for the Army’s upcoming Next Generation Squad Automatic Weapon program, is the TC round which will not fire from existing weapons in the Army’s inventory and current ammunition will not fire from the LSAT weapon. Although, the ammunition is lighter, you’ve got to have the right weapon to fire it. Conversely, current ammunition could also be lightened by going to a polymer case. And then, there’s the whole issue of reducing stoppages on LSAT, which requires the weapon to be dismantled.

Can’t wait to see how it performs in source selection. The IC criteria set the bar pretty high.

35 Responses to “PEO Soldier Checks Out LSAT”

  1. d says:

    Nobody holds onto a gun worse than the crew at PEO Soldier.

  2. Ed says:

    Are they even evaluating the KAC LMG? That guy shouldering whatever system they’re testing looks way to cumbersome and yes, how hard is it to just get REAL grunts in there to do all the manipulation and even provide “god for bid”, operator input?? Talk about fraud, waste and abuse!

  3. BM says:

    From the same people that gave you buckles on your shoulders for the latest armor…

  4. Kirk says:

    And, as always, we are yet again buying the toy before we figure out how we’ll be using it, or how it fits into how we fight.

    If we were still at a point where we were feeling our way into the basic technology, as we were back around the dawn of smokeless powder and the cased rifle cartridge, this would maybe, just maybe, be an acceptable path forward. However, we’re well past that point, and we’re still behaving as though this was entirely unexplored territory.

    The fact is, we have a very good idea of what we need with a squad support weapon, or we should–If we bothered to articulate how the hell we intend to use these things tactically and operationally.

    This is exactly how we blundered into the idea that the M249 was going to be able to replace the M60 in most doctrinal MG roles. Practical, real-world experience taught us better, the hard way. Same way we learned that the M240 was really too damn heavy to be humping around the hills in Afghanistan–Even just doing a survey of the international literature, or just talking to Peter Kokalis would have told the folks behind that bit of genius that the MAG58 had weight issues we’d need to address in the squad/platoon ground support role. Our brilliant minds in procurement did neither.

    Hell, let’s just look at the thing I harp on most–Where the hell is the lighter, more adaptable tripod for these things? You can’t even begin to wring the capability out of a machine gun until you take the thing off the shoulder and bipod, so where are the improved tripods? A machine gun is a system, period, and it’s only as good as the rest of the supporting elements, which include gunner, training, sensors, and all the rest of the gear that goes with the gun team.

    If they go at this the way they’ve done it historically, the whole thing is probably going to prove out to be a waste of time, effort, and money. We certainly aren’t going to see optimum benefit from all of the resources we pour into this particular rat-hole.

    Hell, they recently (in terms of Army doctrine years, which are kinda like “dog years”) decided that the max effective range of the 7.62 MG is actually 1800m vs. the old-school 1200m. Which was cool and all, but tell me… Where the hell are the longer training ranges, improved support tools, and the qual ranges to support that idea…? Aren’t we still firing the gun teams at max ranges well below that 1800m for qualifications?

    Don’t even get me started on how many of our qual ranges look like they’re meant to train people for WWI trench operations, instead of dynamically supporting infantry operations in high-altitude mountains…

    • jbgleason says:

      Possibly the most reasoned comment ever on SSD.

    • Jon Demler says:

      Are you familiar with the M240L, M192 tripods, also the Mk-48? Bottom line is no matter how light a gun is, a crew is loading itself with ammo, other gear, batteries for their sensors – or water. There is nothing that is light enough to hump around mountains of Afghanistan. Not even an Infantryman. Life sucks as a grunt and that’s the point.

      Redesigning military ranges to simulate mountains is not practical. A gun team, instructed well and operating in a Platoon with leaders that know how to utilize their resources, will succeed in any environment because they understand the fundamentals of machinegun theory and can utilize the weapon system properly. They will have learned the muscle memory required by days spent lying on a barracks floor performing various crew drills and entire days of PT spent running around putting the gun in and out of action. Whatever environment they are faced with, not just mountains or dusty cities, they will know how to apply themselves and take the direction of their leaders.

      • Kirk says:

        The M192 is a sad joke of a tripod, suited only for use on fighting position firing table. You can’t adjust command height, you can’t vary the length of the tripod legs, and as far as adapting it rapidly to any terrain other than a flat table you’ve dug out…? Yeah; plan on taking a SEE with you. The whole conception of that tripod is primitive as can be, and for us to be issuing it in today’s environment? It’s a sad joke.

        As to your other assertions? You know jack and shit about MG gunnery. You can’t train your gunners effectively for firing downhill, uphill, and judging the likely fall of shot when you’re training them solely on the flat ground that the majority of our MG ranges are set up on. As well, when the training and evaluation scenarios are set up for fixed defensive positions alone, instead of dynamically providing fire support on the move in mountainous terrain…? Yeah. Sure, we’re doing all we can to effectively train troops on these weapons. Not.

        I spent 25 years working the guns, both as a gunner, a trainer, and a maintainer. What we are doing is nowhere near effective in getting the most out of the guns–We’re still locked into a mentality where the ground-mount MG is an afterthought of mechanized warfare, useful mostly in a fixed defense, instead of a key part of the fight for the dismounted soldier. And, from comments like yours, it shows.

        Every time this subject comes up, there are ignoramuses who bring up the M192 as some kind of wonderful improvement on tripod technology, and they aren’t even aware of how inflexible and primitive that POS really is, compared to what is available world-wide. The DISA mounts that the Danes put under their Madsen LMGs back in the 1930s were exponentially better, in terms of capability and the rapidity with which they could be adapted to the terrain the gun crews found themselves on. Germany copied that for the MG34/43 family, in what is known as the Lafette mount. FN and the Soviets built simpler solutions that were just about as capable, and the sad thing is, most US gunners and trainers don’t even grasp how much of a disadvantage that they’re at, trained as they are that the tripod is solely for use in a prepared defensive position. Most of them don’t even bother to take one with them on the move, preferring to limit their capabilities right from the start.

        You can’t effectively answer fire coming at you from outside the 800m band without a tripod, unless the ROE gods have smiled on you and granted you permission to use your full range of supporting fires.

        Flatly blows my mind how few people grasp this shit. Same mentality with the damn XM-25–How the hell did the developers ever think that thing was going to be worth the effort to haul around, when it was fired off the shoulder? Without some kind of steady, adjustable platform, and with the amount of recoil energy inherent to launching a 25mm grenade? How the hell was the average soldier ever expected to hit something with it consistently past the first few hundred meters? Carlos Hathcock would probably have had issues using one to consistently take out the targets it was meant for…

        Use of the MG on the move is a lost art; the lack of refinement in our tripod systems is probably the key reason for that sad fact. Poorly conceived training and qualification standards are others.

        • Mongo says:

          Thank you! Somebody finally gets my supreme frustration with the M249 and M240, as well as our training methodology.

          As a former SAW Gunner, I can attest to how little time I spent maneuvering or shooting that overweight piece of garbage. I sent a total of maybe 1600 rounds through my system, in a calendar year. That is not nearly enough to be precise when shooting on flat level ground, never mind maneuvering up a hill or down.

          When units go to places like 29 Palms, we get told “you may only fire from the from position.” No shoulder firing, no firing from a tripod, no firing from the kneeling. Solely prone, where you can’t see your target properly to engage even for suppressive fire. We aren’t taught how to shoot overhead cover, or plunging fire, or lay in suppressive fire on a target then shift fires when the assault element is closing in on the objective. None of that, because hyper-sensitive helicopter safety regulations prevent proper training. It got old, real quick.

          • Kirk says:

            Coupled with what Stash had to say down lower in this thread…? Y’all are really harshing my mellow. I thought the USMC was doing better than the Army on MG issues, but maybe… Not?

            Ain’t no wonder we’re having issues answering long-range fires in Afghanistan with small arms. Much of the basic technique and skill set appears to have been lost, across the board.

            I’d love to know how many junior leaders actually get taught how to control an MG team, with a live gun crew working for them. Does anyone even get taught how to call the shots, and correct fires using binos anymore?

            I swear to God, I feel like some kind of primordial dinosaur, rising up out of the mud, sometimes. Does nobody train this stuff, anymore?

            • Jon Demler says:

              Catching up with other posts here I can’t speak about what the Marine Corps does.

              The “jack and shit” I know about machineguns provides me with a very intimate understanding of utilizing machineguns in mountainous terrain. The Army has not failed its Soldiers by equipping them with M240Bs and M192 tripods. It has not failed its Soldiers by providing the opportunity to train to high levels of proficiency on flat ranges at distances inside of the stated maximum effective range.

              A unit – whatever size – fails its Soldiers and itself when it doesn’t further develop its Soldiers period. I can only speak from my experience, but a good unit is full of leaders that at all levels effectively share their knowledge and train their subordinates. This is true of everything Army. In terms of machinegun this means that the WSL is training his Squad, the PSG is making sure his Platoon’s guns know what they’re doing to include all his automatic riflemen (a whole other conversation), and the 1SG has his Company conducting collective machinegun training, instructed by skilled trainers. Then the Battalion has a course for its weapons squads and the Brigade is making sure that all its Infantry Battalions are conducting specialized machinegun training. There is even a Division training at the local post schoolhouse for crew-served weapons taught by people who have much to teach.

              This whole getup results in crews who are professional and skilled being able to use the system to its full potential. Major issues arise when a unit doesn’t have the leadership that cares, or most likely is afraid to approach the machinegun because they don’t have the knowledge they should. That is where I find myself talking with people who were “.50 cal gunners” meaning they sat in a turret and free-gunned the side of a mountain with 0% effectiveness.

              • Kirk says:

                That’s a lovely, well-written post, and fully buzz-word compliant. Your prose is both limpid and well-organized.

                The content? Dude, if you’ve ever been closer to doing real MG training than writing the range OPORD in the S-3 shop, I’d be shocked, because you patently have not a fucking clue about what you’re talking about with regards to either the tripod or realistic MG crew training.

                Lemme lay this out for folks as to why the M122/192 family of tripods is inherently FUBAR for dynamic operations anywhere outside a prepared defensive position on real terrain–Which I can bet will come as a bolt of enlightenment to the vast majority of people reading this, because every time I ran training on this issue, the gun crews and leaders were universally shocked and dismayed by what I taught them. “Nobody ever told me that… It’s not in the manual…”.

                The critical issue for the MG tripod, with reference to actually, y’know, using the f**king thing effectively in combat outside the wire, is that the firing plane of the T&E system/tripod needs to be as close to level as humanly possible, if you plan on using the thing effectively under a proficient gun crew leader who is actively directing fires.

                Why? It’s the same reason that a canted or bent sightpost on an M16-series rifle is a problem–If you’re not level, every single change you make to your azimuth translates into creating another simultaneous change to your elevation/depression, proportional to the angle your tripod is canted at. If you know about what this cant is, you can do a Kentucky windage-esque mental adjustment to your commands, and still use the stable consistency of your tripod/T&E system to aid your fire control, but it’s a hell of a hard thing to keep track of.

                For someone who has spent the last 72 hours on three hours of sleep… It is to laugh. Been there, done that, have the T-shirt. I knew what I needed to do, but I could not make my head wrap around the necessary spatial corrections to compensate for the gun’s lie on that terrain.

                That’s the main reason I decry the M122/192: The f**king things are not at all adjustable in either command height or, more importantly, leg lengths/angles. To try to get the M122/192 family of tripods into a somewhat level state, you’re pretty much gonna be digging or piling up rocks, which usually aren’t all that stable for firing an MG off of. And, God help you if you’re on bedrock with nothing available to build up with… You are, in a word, f**ked. Start looking for rucks or bodies to pile up, ‘cos that’s what you’re going to be using. Oh, and do try to remember–Soft shit has problems when it comes to consistently supporting a tripod. It moves and settles, making the tripod move… Oh, why bother explaining, just take my word for it: Don’t do it unless you’ve got no other choice in the matter.

                You cannot adjust the M122/192 tripod itself to the available terrain to get that goddamn T&E plane level and properly oriented on the primary target–You must either adapt the terrain to the tripod, or somehow mentally compensate for the various potential complications presented by an out-of-level-plane tripod system.

                The few times I tried that…? LOL. That’s how I learned the hard way to make good and goddamn sure that my teams had their E-tools, and that I had plenty of time to prep “hasty” MG positions.

                This is the real reason the Germans found the “excessively heavy” Lafette so worth hauling around–The sheer speed with which they could achieve an excellent firing solution, and what that made possible tactically. I’ve seen German newsreel and training films showing the Gebirgsjager up in the Caucasus absolutely destroying Soviet troops on hillsides at insanely long distances, and doing so with ease and aplomb. The Lafette can be set up and dialed in so much more quickly than the US tripods that it’s not even funny, and then you watch the gun crew leaders simply fire a few ranging bursts and correct from those to drop heavy and effective fire on whatever poor Soviet trooper happened to raise their head.

                I tried setting up a scenario close to that, up in the hills to the north of the Central Corridor at the Yakima Firing Center, and I’m here to tell you, doing that same task with an M60 and an M122? It took us an hour and a half just to get a stable firing solution set up in one hillside hasty position with that ‘effing useless-ass tripod, and I damn near had to call for one of our SEEs to come up and dig for us…

                If I’d had a tripod whose command height and leg elevations/angles were adjustable? Literally the work of moments. Which was about the time I began to seriously doubt the wisdom of those who’d procured the M122, to be quite honest.

                Which is why it’s even more vitally important to get US military gun crews off the flat land, and into the mountains where they can learn these things before having to do OJT on them in the mountains. You can’t learn this shit on the flat, nor can you learn the necessities when it comes to firing up and down hills without actually, y’know… Doing it.

                With a properly situated tripod, one with a level, properly-oriented-to-the-target and stable T&E plane, you only have to fire one ranging burst, and then you can spend the rest of the day dropping rounds at your leisure on whatever target presents itself within the range fan.

                Otherwise, without that set-in tripod? You’re going to have to spend minutes (and, reminder to your aching back, the ammo you hauled with you…) bracketing everything you spot on “yon adjacent hillside”, and letting the enemy run away from your gunners.

                Huge, I repeat, huge waste of ammo, and you’re basically allowing the enemy to get away with murder while your ineptly managed guns waste ammo trying to hit them.

                When you have a properly trained gun team, a leader with a set of reticle-equipped binos, plus a correctly mounted MG?

                Your fire command corrections thus become ludicrously easy to make–“Gunner, 50 mils right, troops in the open, fire for effect…”.

                You can also do hasty TRP’s, using the data off the T&E. Properly mounted, with good gun team? You can do the work of a bunch of bipod-mounted guns, and utterly dominate the terrain. Without an effective tripod or properly trained team? You might as well start planning on hauling along a HEMMT full of ammo, for your dozen guns, in order to achieve the same effects.

                So, yeah… While you write really, really well, I honestly don’t think you really know shit about this subject. The actual content of what you’re writing is self-refuting, on that count.

  5. Strike-Hold says:

    “Science project” – LOL. Nailed it.

  6. Joglee says:

    According to comments made by Ash Hess, LSAT is a dead end. It is the literal science project. The ammunition is to bulky(lighter but bulkier).

    What the Army truly wants doesn’t yet exist.

  7. Joglee says:

    Also yes, a stoppage on the LSAT LMG requires the rifle to be dismantled to clear. Terrible design for actual field use.

    • KP says:

      Not sure where you are getting your information, but a stoppage on the LSAT LMG requires only charging the weapon, just like in any of our current weapon systems. Have you ever fired it, or seen it fired, or are you just spreading nonsense?

      • joglee says:

        SSD also mentioned the stoppage issue just fyi.

        • KP says:

          It wasn’t correct when SSD mentioned it either. Would love to know where this misconception came from. I’ve heard lots of rumors about the system, but this is a new one for me.

          • Joglee says:

            Just a question.

            You wouldn’t happen to be Kori Phillips would you? Seems you would have a vested interest in dismissing any negatives of your system if so.

          • SSD says:

            How it works, from AAI

            When firing, the weapon’s chamber swings around a longitudinal pivot; it swings from horizontally parallel with the pivot (the firing position) to vertically parallel (the feed position), and back again. A long-stroke gas-piston is used to operate this action. A round is fed into the chamber at the feed position using a rammer, and the new round also serves to push a spent or dud round out of the far end of the chamber. Such rounds are pushed forward, parallel to the barrel, and they slide into a separate mechanism that ejects them out of one side of the gun. The advantages of this whole action include its simplicity, its isolation of the chamber from barrel heat, and its positive control of round movement from extraction to ejection.

            How do you reduce a stoppage when the rammer doesn’t ram?

            • KP says:

              For the record, I am Kori Phillips (not trying to hide that). What I am NOT doing is “dismissing any negatives” of the system. I just have no idea why you correlate a rammer not ramming with an ordinary stoppage, which is usually caused by a problem with the ammo. If the rammer wasn’t working, that would cause the same kind of problems as the extractor not working in a M249. Both would require disassembly and repair of the damaged part. And for the record, in all the rounds fired from the LSAT, we never saw a failure of the rammer. In fact, we never saw a failure of any of the weapon mechanism components, period. As stated above, the advantage of the whole action include its simplicity, which is more than I can say about the M249.

              So just to be clear, if there is a stoppage of the LSAT, the shooter simply clears the weapon, which ejects the cartridge, and then continues shooting.

              • SSD says:

                So you’re telling me the rammer has never rammed through a case causing a stoppage?

                • Joglee says:

                  She’s saying LSAT has never seen a weapon failure ever.

                  We all know that anything man made fails, so here claim is extravagant and impossible. Remember though she is the program manager of LSAT, she has a vested interest in this.

  8. mark says:

    LSAT is really interesting, and combined with the polymer MG links, it offers the highest overall weight savings. Each steel 5.56 link weighs 2g, 7.62 weighs 4g, so the links are surprisingly important to weight savings. Primary disadvantage is the larger diameter of the telescoped round; a 20rd 6.5 LSAT mag is the length of 25rd .308 PMAG.

    There are two other options that have a lot of weight savings, and will work with conventional firearms.

    True Velocity may have finally “solved” the polymer conventional case; unlike previous cases, theirs has a steel base that is polymer overmoulded which should stop any risk of case head separation seen in previous polymer cases. Overall cartridge weight savings are supposed so be over 30% – making it nearly as light as LSAT (though you are stuck with metal MG links which erodes overall savings)

    Shell Shock has developed the easiest option – hybrid aluminum base / steel body cases. These were displayed at SHOT this year – SS 5.56 cases were 45% lighter then brass, 7.62 were 47% lighter. The weight is not quite as good as polymer, but the advantage is these cases are metal and load nearly identically to legacy brass, making the changeover fairly simple.

  9. Steven S says:

    Does anyone know the projected cost per round?

  10. Stash says:

    Just like cold fusion, LSAT is the technology of the future, and always will be.

    • Kirk says:

      No, no… That’s caseless.

      LSAT hasn’t been around long enough to be included with things like fusion power and Brazil as a superpower…

      Give it a few decades, and maybe we can include it, but caseless clearly has primacy in this regard. After all, it’s been “the coming thing” since at least the late 1970s. Just ask Daisy or Voere…

      • Stash says:

        I stand corrected. For the record, I’m 100% with you on tripods. I didn’t know what I didn’t know about how inadequate the tripods I used and deployed with were until reading your posts.

        • Kirk says:

          I really meant that as humor, but maybe it didn’t quite come across as “funny”…?

          In any event, yeah… The tripod. Dear God, but the lack of sophistication the US military has on the issue. I think most of the problem is that we see the MG as being something solely useful in the prepared defense, and completely forget what you can do with a properly supported one in other contexts.

          Forget everything else: Just consider how much easier it is for the gun crew leader to adjust fire, from a tripod, assuming he’s got a set of binos with the right reticles installed. Instead of telling the gunner to adjust his fall of shot 50 meters left, right, or deeper, and then taking two or more bursts to bracket the desired target, you can use your binos and the tripod to adjust fire from a single ranging burst. Of course, to do that? You’ve got to know that you can, have practiced it, and be able to actually implement those skills in the real world.

          You really don’t even understand the capabilities until you’ve seen them worked out in front of you, and then it’s a f**king revelation; “I can do that, with a machine gun…? Holy balls, this changes everything…”.

          Unfortunately, we never get most of our gun teams past the basics, and do not demand that they get the right training in a realistic fashion on ground similar to which they’ll be fighting. Back when, during Vietnam? Not so big a deal; the MG was used at close range, to blast the shit out of targets close to us. In the mountains…? Different game, and with the ROE we’ve chosen to implement, weeeelll… We badly need to up our MG game.

          I would love to tell the folks at Manfrotto, for example, that we’re looking for something like a cross between a Lafette, and one of the old Japanese ones where the thing can be carried like a stretcher. Do it up in modern materials like carbon fiber and titanium, and I bet we could keep the weight down low enough to keep it easy to carry. The resultant ability to answer fires out to the full potential of the cartridge while on the move would be a real game-changer.

          As well, make the damn thing adaptable to weapons like the Carl Gustav, tie them in with laser range finders and airburst shells…? Yeah; watch the the tactical situation change with access to precision vest-pocket direct-fire artillery.

          Flatly boggles my mind that we haven’t already done this sort of thing. Or, built precision mounts with masts and remote optics into PackBots, as an alternative.

          • Stash says:

            We’re on the same page – I meant “stand corrected” to be humorous as well. Tone doesn’t translate well on the webz.

            As far as binos – I don’t recall ever even using binos in IOC to spot impacts. Coolest thing we “learned” was how to use the Mk19 in an IDF role, which was, of course, essentially a useless skill since clearance of all indirect fires was controlled at division level, so why not just call for an excal round?

            As a platoon commander T/E didn’t include binos for me (much less even MG section leaders), so I just bought my own pair of Leupolds, which of course had no reticle.

            • Kirk says:

              Holy crap… You were a platoon leader, in the Infantry, with no binos on MTOE? Good freakin’ grief. And, I’m guessing from your language that you were USMC? I thought, I say again, I thought they were marginally better than the Army at that stuff. I hauled around a private-purchase set of those Apache binos with the reticle, for just this use. I’m surprised they never even demonstrated that for you guys at IOC, to be honest. WTF, USMC?

              Just goes to show what I’m talking about–We don’t even issue the basic tools of the trade, let alone train on them.

              You look at the wealth of supporting items the Germans issued for their MG teams, like binos, rangefinders, periscopic sights, and all the rest…? It’s like night and day. As well as all the little bits and pieces of spare parts that we don’t even give our armorers at the company level, and which they were hauling around with the gun teams. Kinda goes to show how seriously they took the MG, while our lack of attention to these issues show how little we think of them.

              Found a set of pictures for what might be a good starting point for someone at Manfrotto–The Japanese Type 11 tripod from WWII.

              http://www.sadefensejournal.com/wp/?p=2868

              Scroll down that, and then imagine how effective that little thing would be, in carbon fiber/titanium, and how nice it would be to have it returning high-angle fire in the mountains. We could do a hell of a lot better with these things than we are…

              • Stash says:

                Yeah, 0302. Binos were almost exclusively a FIST leader and FO issue item, at least for the unit I was in. Maybe they were on T/E and we just didn’t have them in the inventory. Rifle platoons, even with machine gunners attached, didn’t get binos. Lots of nice night vision and thermals for the guns, but….yeah no binos or training on them.

                A Laffette or tripod like from your link would have been AMAZING. 3 foot mudwalls were pretty common in southern Helmand and they were an insurmountable obstacle for the issue tripod.

                • Kirk says:

                  Sweet baby Jeebus…

                  I’m curious: Did anyone ever demonstrate how to direct and correct fire with your MG teams? Or, even tell you what those stadia lines were used for, in the reticle of those binos?

                  I swear to God, I really would like to know what the fuck happened to professional training standards, sometimes. The guys who were teaching me to be a soldier, back in the 1980s, all made sure I understood that basic shit myself, as a Combat Engineer private

                  I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that you were never taught any of that stuff about machinegunnery as an Infantry 2LT?

                  Mind-boggling. I’ll bet they made sure you had plenty of stick-time filling out paperwork, and making sure you did all your required EO and COO training, though, didn’t they?

              • Vince says:

                Unfortunately, Infantry officers are not SME’s. Usually, the young Lcpl fireteam leader or Cpl squad leader are much more experienced and knowlegeable of their weapons employment capabilities. A seasoned NCO could easily inform a platoon commander the characteristics of their assigned weapon systems and what could make it better. The only officer that is going to know the in and outs of any given weapon system is going to be the Bn, Reg or Div Gunner. Don’t expect too much detail in IOTC. You have to actually shoot the damn thing to know what works and what doesn’t.

                • Kirk says:

                  Vince, believe me, I know.

                  What I’m surprised at is what Stash is saying about the gun crews and the leadership not having those tools, and not doing that kind of training. If they’re not exposing the young officers to what “right” looks like, or the basic capabilities in IOTC, then… When the hell are they going to learn? If you don’t know enough to ask the questions, like “Hey, where are the binos for the gun crew leaders…?”, the problem then becomes a lot worse, overall.

                  Hell, if I’d been told I was going up into the mountains on foot, with the guns as my main fire support tool? I’d have been raising hell with my seniors about the bino issue before the deployment. If you don’t know, then you’re not going to even identify that as an issue–And, on top of that, you’re going to be going into the fight with your hands tied behind your back.

                  Frankly, in this day and age? It’s a little mind-boggling that every gun team leader isn’t carrying a set of M22 binos–It’s not like they’re that heavy, at one pound, either. But, if you don’t know what you can do with them and a tripod-mounted gun, well… I guess you won’t notice what you ain’t got.