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9/22/2017 12:11:25 AM
Posted: 9/30/2005 6:35:07 PM EDT
These are my impressions of 5.56mm ammo as I saw them in Iraq. First about 90% of our engagements happened near or in structures and the rest near roads thanks to IEDs or vehicle ambushes. We usually had a vehicle of some sort close by whether HMMVW, Bradley, M1 etc. Only rarely were we away on a patrol without a vehicle overwatch, and then we were always within indirect or CAS coverage, so this may affect my views. I have to say that most of the hajis we engaged were killed or stopped by M240, M2, 25mm, MK19 or even 120mm. Since the hajis hide in buildings and behind things like cars, walls, and other junk found on Iraqi streets they can be hard to hit with only things like their head briefly exposed if they feel like aiming that day. The M855 performed well inside where the ranges were 15m or less (except for making me deaf). But in street fights, on rooftops, in alleys etc. it seemed to be wanting. Shooting at cars, walls, doors and things of that sort where haji hides it didn’t perform well. We ended up basically using it to suppress with our M4s and SAWs while a 240 or larger weapon could be brought to bear. On the roof of our CMIC with fields of fire out to 1k in some directions it was about useless to have a 5.56 weapon, even the SAW mostly. Haji rocket and mortar teams would always be several hundred meters away when we could get a fix on them. They would never come up close and most engagements were at night. We hit guys at ranges between 1m and 200-250m with our M4s and the haji usually stopped fighting, but not being able to get hits through barriers was the problem. Some hajis do stand in the open and blaze away on occasion (showing their manhood or stupidity), but not often. They get lit up so when you’re struck with like 40 rounds of anything they get the job done. Having to move up closer to use an M4 is not fun when the hajis are shooting back. Hence our preference to basically suppress them and use a larger caliber weapon to end it. The effect of M855 on doped up hajis is in doubt from what I saw. Its hard to get head shoots in most fights so parts that were exposed is what we aimed at. It also seemed wanting when we looked over a dead guy that had armor on (later turned out he was Chechen) only a head shoot looked to have put him down. This guy was probably 150-200m from us. Speed+armor is a bad recipe in a street fight with M855 unless your close, not where I prefer to be on a two-way range. So I have a basically poor view of M855 except for limited close range use. The redeeming value of the steel penetrator seems to be in question also. I have to say if you’re under 50m with M855 in an M4 you’re good, even on Level III armor, but over that it’s a crap shoot. I’m just glad I didn’t roll snake eyes.

PS-Mk262 is better in some situations, but it’s not that great either. Maybe if I’d had an SPR I’d feel different.
Link Posted: 9/30/2005 6:45:16 PM EDT
Thanks for the report. Definitely food for thought. Do you think a 7.62 NATO rifle--an M14 maybe--would have suited you better?
Link Posted: 9/30/2005 6:49:11 PM EDT
This sounds about right.

The thing is - if you carried a larger-caliber rifle, you'd still want to bring the heavier vehicle-mounted weapons into play. It's all about the bigger hammer....



Link Posted: 10/1/2005 2:18:02 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/1/2005 2:29:32 AM EDT by ChrisGene]

Originally Posted By Stalker3:
The M855 performed well inside where the ranges were 15m or less (except for making me deaf). But in street fights, on rooftops, in alleys etc. it seemed to be wanting......... The effect of M855 on doped up hajis is in doubt from what I saw...... So I have a basically poor view of M855 except for limited close range use.

PS-Mk262 is better in some situations, but it’s not that great either. Maybe if I’d had an SPR I’d feel different.



SIX POINT EIGHT! It really bothers me that we send men into a fight with a gun that instills such little confidence (I hear comments like yours often). If you ever get to shoot some steel targets with a 6.8 and a 5.56 side by side you will instantly know why I am such a big fan of the 6.8. I don't really care about bullet BC, or armour penatrators, the bigger bullet hits with authority that stops fights. The psychological effect on the enemy is a "force multiplier" as well. "What just hit the guy next to me?"

I don't want to imply that the 6.8 is some kind of magic super cartridge. It will not perform like a 7.62 (although it is a lot closer in performance than the 5.56), just like a 7.62 can't touch a .50. It just happens to be the biggest thing you can get in the light small rifles that are suited to our uses.
Link Posted: 10/1/2005 8:35:31 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Saguaro:
Thanks for the report. Definitely food for thought. Do you think a 7.62 NATO rifle--an M14 maybe--would have suited you better?



Good choice! A VW beetle in our city in the Philippines didn't stop at a checkpoint. One of the soldiers manning the checkpoint shot at the fleeing VW. One round hit one cylinder of the engine, effectively slowing the vehicle down, ricocheted, and hit the back of the driver. The driver was brought to the hospital and died later.

I'd go for the M14 anytime. Doesn't matter if I carry less rounds than the M16. In the Southern Philippines, where the muslim rebels/extremists are, soldiers prefer the M14 (and Garands) over the M16. They could flush the enemy out even if they are hiding behind coconut trunks and trees. Not with the 5.56mm rounds, though.
Link Posted: 10/1/2005 8:52:13 PM EDT
BTW, Stalker -- thanks for doing the job, and blessings to you and your family.
Link Posted: 10/1/2005 9:02:46 PM EDT

It also seemed wanting when we looked over a dead guy that had armor on (later turned out he was Chechen)


How did you guys confirm that? Any assessment on how many were in your AO?

Thanks

Jim
Link Posted: 10/1/2005 11:13:10 PM EDT
I won't even get into the 7.62 vs the 5.56 debate b/c I already have my mind made up about that, and this IS ar15.com.

I have seen the penetration of a .308 and a 5.56, at close range and at a couple hundred yards, on mediums such as live wood, dead wood, concrete, brick, culverts, etc.

With that said-

#1- M1A's and M1 Garands are awesome

#2- I wouldn't want to be shot at with a 249 or 240, but I'd much rather NOT be shot at with a 240. Even a 240/M60 with blanks would be enough to make someone pucker at close range, LOL.
Link Posted: 10/2/2005 6:25:30 AM EDT

Originally Posted By omar:

It also seemed wanting when we looked over a dead guy that had armor on (later turned out he was Chechen)


How did you guys confirm that? Any assessment on how many were in your AO?

Thanks

Jim



That’s what the S-2 told us later. We also knew there were Iranian agents operating in our town, but they were hard to find and the exact role they played I don’t know but we started to see more advanced RPG rockets and complex IEDs so We would occasionally find guys that looked like actual soldiers dressed in cammies with gear and stuff, not the average haji that looked like he just picked up a weapon and ran outside his house. When we saw this we knew this guy was probably not from around there. One time we found some AK-74s along with some Russian NVDs in a garage type place. They also had some 5.45 AP ammo there in the cache and we found a SAPI plate they’d somehow gotten and it looked like they were shooting it to see the effects.
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