Are machine guns antiquated?

Discussion in 'Army' started by Ryz05, Aug 15, 2016.

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Are machine guns antiquated?

  1. Yes, there are better options

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  2. Yes, but only in an infantry squad

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  3. No

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  1. Ryz05
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    Ryz05 Junior Member

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    The earliest machine guns were designed for rapid firing, which is an advantage against slower reloading bolt-action rifles. In essence, the machine guns of the past can be considered the earliest designs of a modern assault rifle, just that they are much heavier. After the World Wars, armies used semi-automatic rifles, and thought that machine guns are still needed as a way to keep the enemies pinned down. However, the soldiers in World War I were not pinned down specifically by machine guns, but sharpshooters, and the soldiers of the years following the world wars lacked scopes for better accuracy. In the years since the Iraq War, modern armies have recognized the importance of precision firing, and gave each soldier a scope with their assault rifles. The likelihood of human wave tactics as seen in World War I is nonexistent in the modern era, yet armies are still equipped with machine guns, in the dated belief that the enemies are less likely to fight back when a machine gun is used. On the other hand, there are far better options, like grenade launchers and sniper rifles. While high-caliber machine guns are arguably useful on a moving car, the squad automatic weapon could be better replaced with grenade launchers, like the XM25. An example of a modern replacement of the machine gun is the M27.

    What are your opinions? Thank you for reading.
     
    #1 Ryz05, Aug 15, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2016
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  2. pendragon
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    pendragon Junior Member

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    Due to their specific construction and inherent higher weight, GPMG can deliver accurate and suppresive fire beyond the range of the average assaultrifle; and all of this stil contained in a manportable package.
    You should also read up on military history. In WW1 soldiers were held up by artillery and barbed wire, first generation MG's (Vickers, Schwartzlose, Hotchkiss, firing at an angle instead of head-on can take an entire platoon in a matter of seconds under those circomstances! Snipers were only used to harass the enemy and inflicted only a relatively minor psychological effect in that officers too became personally targeted (good heavens!)!
    WW2 saw the arrival of the offensive MG, manportable (MG34, MG42, DP, BREN , M 1919A6, ...) this freed the MG from it's previous static role.
    In this sence the GPMG still has a vital role to play as a collective weapon, supporting the squad/platoon. Effort to upgun the FN minimi/M249 to .308 caliber or produce lightened FN mag58's bear testimony to this.
    the fate of the .223 MG's is rather a question of inapropriate caliber rather than a discussion on the merit of the MG.
     
  3. vesicles
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    vesicles Major

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    Allied soldiers were pinned down by the infamous MG-42's plenty times in WWII. The sound of a blasting Mg42 was distinct and so much feared. They eventually developed a technique to mount attacks only when the German soldiers switched barrels on their Mg42's.
     
  4. TerraN_EmpirE
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    TerraN_EmpirE Tyrant King

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    No. Dedicated Machine guns are not Obsolete, Military weapons tend to have a slower rate of Evolution then Computer technology and tend to have a long life span.
    What is happening is changes in the way some militaries equip The individual squad due to weight and accuracy limitations of the Existing So called Light Machine gun.
    Well heavier Machine guns like the M240 are moving to a more important role and traditionally Heavy MG's like the M2 are being put on a diet and getting educated.

    Today yes the USMC and now the British army have both been looking to phase down the number of FN Minimi LMG This is as even it's lightest weight infantry version is 14.5 pounds empty.
    http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/...e-to-the-minimi-british-army-to-review-usage/
    In a concept the Russians started moving to at the end of the 1990's Phasing out the RPK 74 and RPK in favor of reduced weight PKM's
    Some western forces like the USMC aim to use systems like the M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle and reduced weight versions of the FN MAG.
    This is as the latest Versions of the venerable FN MAG empty is about the same weight as a fully loaded Minimi. and has a longer range and higher terminal effects, And A assault rifle with the proper build is a infantry friendly 7.9 pounds well still offering a degree of Squad suppressive fire. It would Of course demand that the GPMG be more active and more numerous but the lighter weight IAR weapon allows the LMG gunner to maneuver with the squad and operate in urban or vehicles.
    The trade off is that Assault rifles are not designed for extended Supressive fire and more prone to over heat and issues with high capacity magazines.

    Now at the same time the Minimi has been facing questioning of it's weight other lighter systems are starting to come on line along with other schemes to augment and reduce the weight penalty on the gunner. Systems like the KAC LMG A1 offer a 10 pound weapon with a continuous recoil system offering increased fire control on top of a light weight.
    Simmilar case is the Ultimax 100 again a 10 pound weapon with a constant recoil system only this time with a magazine feed as apposed to the LMG's belt feed. Or the developmental Cased Telescoped systems by Textron a 9.8 pound base weapon yet still belt fed. All three I expect to be offerings for the US Army's Next generation Squad Automatic Rifle.

    Along with new weapons are new or revisited ideas of Ammo carry The Ironman/ Tyr Mico / TML Prime and There Russian Clone all offer a Back pack with ammo Belt Director offering a over 700 round capacity of Ammo belts mounted on a Soldier's Back and hips and off the weapon.
    And concepts to off load the shouldered weight of weapons like the Advanced Armament systems Reaper.

    Grenade launchers like the Xm25, M320, M32 offer HE fire power to the squad which is fine but they Don't suppress the enemy they are designed to body slam a foe but they need to know where the Foe is precisely for best use and have a limited ammo supply in the Squad and long reload vs a Automatic weapon. They are excellent tools but If all you bring is a Hammer every problem looks like a nail... but what do you do if you need to tighten a screw?
     
  5. Iron Man
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    Iron Man Major
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    The answer is definitely NO. Large volume suppressive fire in combination with a flanking engagement is the key to winning a modern firefight.

    One of the primary reasons the US military switched to the 5.56 round instead of staying with the 7.62x51 round is that a soldier can carry more 5.56 ammunition, for the purpose of putting more rounds down range; the other reasons being there was seen to be less need/likelihood for longer range engagements where a heavier bullet would be advantageous, a lighter caliber rifle was easier to control, and of course cost. Their previous analyses of engagements during WWII and the Korean War had indicated that the side with a larger volume of rounds sent down range tended to win more engagements, regardless of the caliber of the round. This is the reason every US fireteam (4 men) includes one automatic rifleman, usually armed with an M249 LMG chambered in 5.56. That's THREE machine guns per squad of 12 men. This ratio holds true across many modern militaries.

    This is not to say that I think the 5.56 round is the ideal choice for modern infantrymen (it really isn't), but that is a topic for another thread.
     
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  6. siegecrossbow
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    siegecrossbow Brigadier
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    I'd like to think of machine guns as something comparable to simple machines at this stage. Take, for instance, a shovel. The design of a shovel hasn't change in the past couple hundred years because it is optimized and functional. The same could be said about antiquated machine guns.
     
  7. Ryz05
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    Ryz05 Junior Member

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    Precision assault rifles and sniper rifles are more than enough to keep the enemy pinned down at long ranges. If that fails, there are still smoke grenades to prevent enemy soldiers from seeing what is happening. What the machine gun does is just making a lot of noise, and telling the enemy where friendly forces are coming from.

    The low caliber guns are designed for shooting enemies with little or no body armor, like against the Vietcongs. With the prevalence of modern body armor, it wouldn't be surprising if more armies decide to move to a higher caliber round, like the 7.62mm. Also, soldiers in the Korean War were still using semiautomatic rifles, which do not have the rate of fire of a machine gun or modern assault rifle. Now that assault rifles are found in every army, the machine gun as a concept is outdated, and would be better replaced by grenade launchers. If a squad with a machine gun is to fight against a squad with a grenade launcher, then the one with the grenade launcher would more likely win.
     
  8. Iron Man
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    Iron Man Major
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    Uhh, no. Just no.

    First, suppressive fire is not merely meant to "prevent enemy soldiers from seeing what is happening". It can of course distract them so that they fail to recognize a flanking attack, but also to prevent them from becoming mobile enough to counter a flanking move or attempt escape even if they do recognize a flanking attack. Smoke grenades will do nothing against an enemy who knows what you're doing and is not pinned down by fire enough to counter you. There is nothing like accurate automatic high volume fire to keep your enemy pinned down. A standard infantryman using a non-bipoded assault rifle not only cannot fire in automatic mode with any kind of accuracy past a few dozen meters, they also do not carry enough ammunition to sustain any kind of high volume suppressive fire.

    Second, the modern body armor typically used by militaries is built to standards that will defeat 30-06 AP rounds, which are not only more penetrative than 5.56 rounds, but they are also more penetrative than 7.62x51 AP rounds, so moving to a "higher" round like the 7.62 is already a non-starter.

    Third, soldiers in WWII were already using assault rifles, to speak nothing of the Korean War. Do you know where the word assault rifle comes from? "Sturmgewehr", literally German for "assault rifle". The first mass-produced and used assault rifle, the StG 44, was used to devastating effect by Nazi soldiers, especially against the Russians, though it entered the war too late to make a difference for Germany. The US itself used both the M2 carbine and various SMGs during both the later parts of WWII and during the Korean War. Not only that, heavy and light machine guns were in use by all modern militaries since the late 1800's and their suppressive effects have been well-documented for over a century.

    Fourth, there is absolutely no reason to limit yourself to either grenadiers or machine gunners. In fact many militaries use both. In each US Army fireteam, for example, there is an "automatic rifleman" AND a "grenadier" whose M16 includes an M203 grenade launcher attachment for indirect fires. Every rifleman of course also carries the usual hand-thrown grenades.

    Finally, there is no modern military (that I've ever heard of) that agrees with your claim that machine guns are outdated. There just isn't. This really should be enough clue for you that your conclusions are just not correct. Assault rifles do not and cannot substitute for machine guns, or they would already have done so long before now.
     
  9. Iron Man
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    Iron Man Major
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    The .50cal machine gun M2 Browning (the famous "Ma deuce") is still used in essentially the same form by the US military even though it was designed in 1918.
     
  10. kwaigonegin
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    kwaigonegin Colonel

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    I think that firearms as we know it today has pretty much reach apogee in it's development. There will be advances in optics, materials and other peripherals maybe ergonomics but the fundamentals of the gun is pretty much it.
    The next revolution in gun advancement would come from the propellants or other methods of propelling an object out of a barrel but that is still many decades away. As far as I know there is NOTHING that can match propelling the bullet out a barrel other than gunpowder w/o making it highly impractical in personal firearms.
    Heck the model 1911 was designed and developed in the 1890s!!! and still widely used today with very very little improvement from the original.
     
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