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"GPMG, LMG and SAW Range with mode of movement" Topic

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515 hits since 6 Oct 2017
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UshCha Supporting Member of TMP06 Oct 2017 1:44 a.m. PST

Moddelling Machine gun and automatic weapons fire has always been difficuly for us. In a very relaxed game a suggestion was made that seemed worthy of considerarion.

A weapom such as the Bren gun has an effective range of about 800m, similar to a SAW. Now that does assume its on a Bipod mount and well sett up. Now if a team is skirmishing forward it will regglarly be lifted and re- positioned. While the situation will vary, typically would it still be possible in the short durations of a skirmish forward or backward to maintain the same effective range.

I have not included this in WWII as a cross post as really fire and movement is a feature of post WW2 in most cases. The "interesting" marching fire beloved by some US units is outside the bounds of this discussion.

The objective is to assess the statement for validity. While skirmishing the range of Bipod automatic weapons is reduced to that of rifle range.

Note for simplicity the options would only be rifle range or normal effective range. In the scale of our simulation and the need for fast play this is the limit. Which is better and why?

pzivh43 Supporting Member of TMP06 Oct 2017 4:02 a.m. PST

Sounds reasonable to me. There should be some reduction in fire due to the time taken to pick up, move and re-position.

Dynaman878906 Oct 2017 4:59 a.m. PST

I'm not quite getting the gist of the question. If it is "Can the weapon maintain the same accuracy while moving" I would say no. If it is "can it maintain the same accuracy after a shot pause to position it" I would say yes.

UshCha Supporting Member of TMP06 Oct 2017 5:06 a.m. PST

pzivh43, the time is immaterial in terms of shhoting. the gun will only be fireing occational bursts, so the odd pause to move has little effect.

Dynaman8789, the issue is about finding a new position to get the bipod set, re-orienting to get an estimate of the change in range, getting settled and aiming. The pause may only be 30 seconds or so. Is that sufficent time?

Personal logo x42brown Supporting Member of TMP06 Oct 2017 5:43 a.m. PST

The setting up is very fast. I'd say less than 30 seconds. I don't think we were ever timed but my own feeling was that it took no time at all to get the first burst of. It was often fired before the second man was fully in position.

It can and was fired on the move but more to get heads down rather than any expectation of hitting.


Daniel8906 Oct 2017 6:07 a.m. PST

Hi chaps,

These are my thoughts on the subject.

I think while skirmishing it would be very difficult to maintain effective fire out to 800m. The objective of skirmishing with infantry is to provide effective covering fire such that the enemy are suppressed and friendly forces can advance unmolested. The main use of the support weapon was to increase the fire-power of the squad and thus increase the chances of suppressing the enemy. You would advance by unit toward the enemy position so that you were in a good position to close-assault, or retire by unit away from the enemy position to be able to leave the area without casualties.

From this I think that assuming they share the same range for wargaming is entirely believable, though they would be capable of a greater rate of fire.

foxweasel Supporting Member of TMP06 Oct 2017 6:09 a.m. PST

It takes less than 30 seconds to get yourself positioned and ready to fire in a new position with a bipod GPMG, the difference in range will be hardly noticeable as each bound will only be a few meters. The biggest issue with what you are asking is that it's rare to skirmish with a section/squad support weapon. Now (and in WW2) the idea is to get the support element of the section into a position where they can put effective fire down onto the enemy, the fire of the assaulting element and fire and manoeuvre will be used to achieve this. Once the support weapon element is in place it will stay there, providing constant fire onto the enemy, while the assault team skirmishes/fire and manoeuvres onto the enemy position.

troopwo Supporting Member of TMP06 Oct 2017 7:03 a.m. PST

A Bren or a SAW or even the L7/M240 are all meant to be fored from thier bipod in the minimum.
While they can be fired from the hip or on the carry, it is not suggested. Accuracy and control suffer incredibly. 50m would be an amazing and controlled shot from the hip with any of them.

Fire and movement is not a modern thing. That is why infantry sections were separated into a rifle team and a Bren gun team. Think of the game of leap frog and now arm the teams accordingly.

Walking fire as you put it, was only done when there was enough supporting fire power that it enabled an organized unit to move under its support. Think of a platoon moving under the support or a pair of well stocked Browning M1919s or Vickers mmg.

Ranges are dependant on a number of matters.
Position, height and view.
Caliber of ammunition.
Terrain and even weather.
Ability to observe tracer rounds and effects of fire.
Type of set up, bipod, tripod, gun controls of a vehicle.

troopwo Supporting Member of TMP06 Oct 2017 7:07 a.m. PST

Start with a simple test.
Stand and ask yourself, how far can you see?
Now kneel and answer the same question.
Lay on the ground and answer it again.

How would tall grass, bushes or the odd fold in the ground change this?
What about being up or down a hill.

Remember that normally the section second in command was in charge of the Bren gun for a reason, experience. It was his job to find the better sites to place the team in order to get better performance out of it.

troopwo Supporting Member of TMP06 Oct 2017 7:13 a.m. PST

Tracer rounds from a cold unfired gun light up 300m down range and typically burn out around 1,200m or so. At extreme ranges of 700m and beyond, they actually hit at from a foot to two feet above where a ball round would hit, their trajectory starts to deviate a touch higher than the other rounds. So most effective fire tends to be limited by the ability to observe the fall of the tracer rounds.

If a gun is warm and has been firing, this all changes. The tracer element starts burning immediately as it goes down the barrel and burns out by 900m.

troopwo Supporting Member of TMP06 Oct 2017 7:20 a.m. PST

How the weapon is fired is pretty important to accuracy.
Off the groun using a bipod and hoping you are pretty strong, or using a tripod and parts of either a traverse and elevation gear or a sustained fire kit.

A Browning M1919 could be fired from a bipod and shoulder stock. I do not recommend it. Having another guy carry the tripod gave it ncredible stability. In addition to the stability it came with a set of mechanical gears that gripped the tripod to the weapon called a traverse and elevation mechanism. A fancy name for a vice grip of two worm screws that locked the barrel in place. By turning the screws a click or two you couladjust fire and hit two foot square falling plates with short three to five round bursts uite easily, even at 800m.

Sounds like you want direct fire only, so I will ignore, sustained fire kits and turret controls. Sorry for going overboard, but it truly is a detailed thing to study and experience.

Apache 606 Oct 2017 8:56 a.m. PST

Effective range of a rifle is the ability to engage point targets, hitting a man sized target.

Effective range of a Machine Guns (including LMGs/SAWs) are the ability to engage an area target.

The effective range of weapons used in fire and movement are significantly decreased by fire and movement. Which is why units use fire and maneuver and support by fire positions.

Fingerspitzengefuhl06 Oct 2017 11:25 a.m. PST

I would ask the question of why am I advancing towards an enemy 800m away in such a way that he can see me and why am I trying to suppress him with my section LMG?
Why am I
A. Not manoeuvring using dead ground so he can't see me to close the range.
B. Why aren't bigger boys with heavy weapons suppressing him
C. Fire and manoeuvring over 800m would be a little tiring and you'd run out of small arms ammunition before you got there!

Infiltrate to an FUP and LOD that's fairly close
guns would shoot you in to 300m -400m depending on danger close
Mortars to about 100m
SF guns depends on type of fire and beaten zone
Then it's your own organic fire support within the rifle company to get you onto the objective

Legion 406 Oct 2017 12:20 p.m. PST

I think you gents pretty much covered it very well ! thumbs up

troopwo Supporting Member of TMP06 Oct 2017 12:45 p.m. PST

Thanks Fingers.

Ammo is heavy, that's why I drive mine from place to place.
My typical conversation to an infantryman would go something like this from the top of my turret,
"I can see for two thousand meters.
The enemy is sixteen hundred meters away.
I can support you from here".

I felt sorry for them as they lifted their rucksacks and trudged forward the next kilometer and a half towards their start line. Well,,, maybe I didn't feel sorry for them, perhaps I just felt better over selecting armour as my trade,,,.

foxweasel Supporting Member of TMP06 Oct 2017 3:29 p.m. PST

You cheeky monkey Troopwo, everyone knows if you're not infantry you're just a civilian in uniform😝😁

troopwo Supporting Member of TMP06 Oct 2017 4:04 p.m. PST

Cheeky,,,well I'll be.

This is the point when I stand in the turret, pour my beer over the side of the tank in front of all the infantrymen and then scream down to my loader to give me a "cold" beer.

foxweasel Supporting Member of TMP06 Oct 2017 4:26 p.m. PST

Cold beer!! It's hot tea that wins wars old bean, chin chin😁

Windy Miller07 Oct 2017 4:17 a.m. PST

Just because a weapon has an effective range of 800m doesn't mean you're going to use it from that range, especially in the attack. Go for a walk in the countryside, how far can you actually see unimpeded in any direction? Generally 2-300m before there's some form of obstacle. In WW2 a British infantry section typically carried about 1000 rounds for the Bren. If you're putting your fire support 800m from your objective, it's going to take you 15 to 20 minutes to cover that ground and he'll run out of ammunition just when you need him most. No, at section level your LMG will provide you fire support for the last couple of hundred metres at most. Anything over that is what mortars and SF machine guns are for.

troopwo Supporting Member of TMP07 Oct 2017 10:33 a.m. PST

Tea, that is what the boiling vessel was for.

Legion 407 Oct 2017 11:28 a.m. PST

And IIRC, we were trained that generally most firefights take place at 250m or less … Depending on terrain & situation …

maybe I didn't feel sorry for them, perhaps I just felt better over selecting armour as my trade,,,.
Yes, I remember those tankers supporting us Grunts in the Korean Winters. When I was there '84-'85. They were nice, dry and toasty in those iron monsters. The one Cdr, even used his poncho to seal his hatch when he popped his head out. frown I remember him smiling at me as I walked by … snowflake

UshCha Supporting Member of TMP07 Oct 2017 12:35 p.m. PST

In the Falklands the P a r as schemes he'd to we it in 500m of an 20 mm anti aircraft gun but coul D get no closer
As the fire was too accurate. So occasionally you may want to skirmish from a long way off, but I agree it's not typical.

troopwo Supporting Member of TMP07 Oct 2017 3:26 p.m. PST

If you sight in a 20mm in a ground role, you can be assured it will have a maximum field of fire and ranges to see and use.

Lion in the Stars07 Oct 2017 5:57 p.m. PST

The objective is to assess the statement for validity. While skirmishing the range of Bipod automatic weapons is reduced to that of rifle range.

Note for simplicity the options would only be rifle range or normal effective range. In the scale of our simulation and the need for fast play this is the limit. Which is better and why?

Yes, that's about right.

UshCha Supporting Member of TMP10 Oct 2017 1:50 a.m. PST

Thanks Guys,
I hare machine guns they are hard to model. Troop two this makes a lot of sense. I have suspected that sighting a machine gun of any sort is no simple task. Which it cam be a bit variable in its performance. I read somewher with poor troops you put quite a senior officer with them so they don't get carried away and still shoot when there own men are in the way.

Norma;y we would shoot the team in from a distance but you cannot always fight via the text book.
I'm left with a bit of a dilemma. To add a rule or not. Believe it or not I hate rules even though I write them, less is better if it gets the result. So I have decided armed with the information from this thread I will see in my next few games how often the revised short range is has a significant impact. If it has little impact, we try not go in from a long way but sometimes terrain and the enemy don't oblige, I wont change. If I do it may horror of horrors be a bigger change, accounting for selecting a decent pace to shoot from. Thank you all for your contribution.

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