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Machine gun and rifle ammunition expenditure to achieve one enemy casualty

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  • Machine gun and rifle ammunition expenditure to achieve one enemy casualty

    In the past I've heard some very high numbers for the amount of small arms ammunition required to achieve a hit on an enemy.




    For instance the figure 50,000 rounds for one enemy casualty is often used for U.S. forces in the Vietnam War.




    Then there is this figure for the current conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, 250,000 rounds per casualty!!




    https://jonathanturley.org/2011/01/1...urgent-killed/




    How accurate are these figures?
    "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it" Beatrice Evelyn Hall
    Updated for the 21st century... except if you are criticizing islam, that scares the $hii+e out of me!

  • #2
    How often do you see videos of troops shooting only one round at a time at something they are looking at? Too often we see soldiers sticking their weapon over a wall (whatever) and then emptying a clip with their head down? Odds are the bad guys are under cover and concealed. In WWII, Korea and Vietnam we hardly ever got a good view of something we could shoot at. Back then we could direct HE in the general area or drop some napalm. These days the ROE often rule that out.

    The ratios change whenever the target changes.

    Pruitt
    Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

    Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

    by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"

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    • #3
      Originally posted by 17thfabn View Post
      In the past I've heard some very high numbers for the amount of small arms ammunition required to achieve a hit on an enemy.




      For instance the figure 50,000 rounds for one enemy casualty is often used for U.S. forces in the Vietnam War.




      Then there is this figure for the current conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, 250,000 rounds per casualty!!




      https://jonathanturley.org/2011/01/1...urgent-killed/




      How accurate are these figures?
      Accurate enough. The days of aimed fired by trained marksmen is over and gone long ago, replaced by assault weapons that fire three round bursts and the theory of "suppressive fire". Engagement ranges have also shortened enormously to less than 100 yards in the open and less than fifty yards, often down to ten yards, in urban environments.

      Modern warfare is "spray and pray" followed by "hose and close", and combatants very often never see their targets, or know that they have killed someone.

      Ironically, bombs have gotten smarter and more precise as bullets have gotten dumber and less effective. In 1961, the year I took Basic, we trained with M1 Garands to hit man-sized targets at ranges of up to 300 yards over iron sights. In 1965 at Fort Benning, using the M14, we were still doing that. Then came Viet Nam, an army of draftees, the M16 and spray and pray became military doctrine. And, of course, profits for ammunition manufacturers went sky high.

      Much of the R&D effort to make "smarter weapons" could be cancelled simply by going back to teaching marksmanship and the concept of ID'ing a target and killing it with a precise, aimed shot. That's why a nation of deer hunters will always be able to hold off armies of modern infantry - the infantry will never get close enough to hit the target and the deer hunters can kill them, one shot at a time, from ranges up to 800 yards. Meanwhile, the army needs a truck load of ammo for every 100 yards of advance while the deer hunters can carry a week's worth of defensive ammo in their pockets. And that's why I never wanted to buy an assault rifle for "home defense". It's waaay to innefficient.
      Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Who is watching the watchers?

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      • #4
        Modern assault rifles are fairly accurate when used correctly. I can hit targets at 300 yards with my Galil and I expect to be able to make further shots when I get my AR10 (but I am not receiving fire when I am shooting), but for home defense a shotgun is best in my opinion.

        “Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth.” -- Albert Einstein

        The US Constitution doesn't need to be rewritten it needs to be reread

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        • #5
          Originally posted by 17thfabn View Post
          In the past I've heard some very high numbers for the amount of small arms ammunition required to achieve a hit on an enemy.




          For instance the figure 50,000 rounds for one enemy casualty is often used for U.S. forces in the Vietnam War.




          Then there is this figure for the current conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, 250,000 rounds per casualty!!




          https://jonathanturley.org/2011/01/1...urgent-killed/




          How accurate are these figures?
          I have seen the figures you quote reported in a number of places and I've also seen lower figures quoted as well. What I haven't seen are any detailed explanations as to how these were arrived at and I suspect that the answer is that which sometimes applied to questions asked in the BBC's QI series NOBODY KNOWS.

          I have seen an attempt to analyse casualties per artillery rounds fired by the UNC in the Korean War. This is hedged around with qualifiers such as "assuming that", "estimates of" and "probably not more than". The issue was that having a reliable figure for the total NK casualties from any action was uncertain much less how many were caused by small arms fire, artillery or air delivered munitions. (The figure arrived at was about 100 artillery rounds per casualty but this was heavily caveated. Nevertheless I have seen it quoted as being an inarguable fact!)

          One issue with small arms fire is that large amounts of ammunition may be expended defensively and not aimed at any specific person or target. Thus when the world's first indirect fire machine gun barrage was fired by the British in 1916 over a million rounds were expended. Nobody knows what the German casualties were but the purpose of the barrage was not to cause casualties but to prevent a German counter attack by creating a zone of beaten ground across which the enemy could not pass. in this it was very successful and the tactic was repeated increasingly and adopted by the Germans in 1917. Variations, both direct and indirect, were used by all sides in WW2 and subsequent conflicts and must have accounted for a vast usage of ammo with a relatively poor casualty ratio.Nevertheless this may have achieved a useful outcome in preventing or constraining the enemy's operations.

          I find MM's picture of deer hunters holding off a modern army with hunting rifles rather quaint. If the USA ever has to face an invasion it won't be by lines of red coated soldiery and advancing infantry would probably be in APCs or helicopter borne and supported with air cover
          Last edited by MarkV; 29 Jul 18, 07:03.
          Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
          Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

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          • #6
            Originally posted by MarkV View Post

            I have seen the figures you quote reported in a number of places and I've also seen lower figures quoted as well. What I haven't seen are any detailed explanations as to how these were arrived at and I suspect that the answer is that which sometimes applied to questions asked in the BBC's QI series NOBODY KNOWS.

            I have seen an attempt to analyse casualties per artillery rounds fired by the UNC in the Korean War. This is hedged around with qualifiers such as "assuming that", "estimates of" and "probably not more than". The issue was that having a reliable figure for the total NK casualties from any action was uncertain much less how many were caused by small arms fire, artillery or air delivered munitions. (The figure arrived at was about 100 artillery rounds per casualty but this was heavily caveated. Nevertheless I have seen it quoted as being an inarguable fact!)

            One issue with small arms fire is that large amounts of ammunition may be expended defensively and not aimed at any specific person or target. Thus when the world's first indirect fire machine gun barrage was fired by the British in 1916 over a million rounds were expended. Nobody knows what the German casualties were but the purpose of the barrage was not to cause casualties but to prevent a German counter attack by creating a zone of beaten ground across which the enemy could not pass. in this it was very successful and the tactic was repeated increasingly and adopted by the Germans in 1917. Variations, both direct and indirect, were used by all sides in WW2 and subsequent conflicts and must have accounted for a vast usage of ammo with a relatively poor casualty ratio.Nevertheless this may have achieved a useful outcome in preventing or constraining the enemy's operations.

            I find MM's picture of deer hunters holding off a modern army with hunting rifles rather quaint. If the USA ever has to face an invasion it won't be by lines of red coated soldiery and advancing infantry would probably be in APCs or helicopter borne and supported with air cover
            "Quaint" is as good a word as any, but I was making a point about modern warfare - it is now designed and taught as close range warfare, IOW, right back to the days of men in ranks that you refer to.

            On the one hand, you have the spray-and-pray school of modern warfare taking place at close range, and on the other hand you have the school of skillful long-distance killing. And while long range killers can also easily engage at shorter ranges, short range killers cannot easily lengthen their range. Hence the heavy emphasis these days on snipers - the long range killers.

            i was training in the latter school in Basic, and for the first several years of my service, we continued to train that was. When the M14 became our official weapon, while I was with the 11th AAD at Benning, we spent weeks training with them on KD ranges and finally on walk-through pop-up ranges, training to kill with it at ranges of 200 to 300 yds. We were repeatedly told that the longer engagement range gave us an edge over any enemy who had to close in order to engage.

            Not until Viet Nam and the advent of the M16 did the training change to short range burst fire, and our subsequent training on that was brief and simplistic - how to tear it down, clean it and maintain it, the sight picture, and the differences firing in 3-round bursts. There was ZERO emphasis on engaging anything beyond 100 yds, and "marksmanship" became an antiquated word for an obsolete skill. And the ammo load went up exponentially because now the military depended on sheer volume of fire to accomplish anything, rather than precision fire aimed at stooping the enemy before he got close.

            I seriously doubt many Viet Nam veterans ever even saw the enemy they might have killed. Body counts were conducted afterwards, if the enemy left the bodies.

            So bring on the helicopters, terribly vulnerable to high caliber ground fire, BTW, and the modern troops and meet the military veterans trained in killing at long range, and at not being seen by wild animals while they do it. Remember, we'r, talking a whole lot of trained military veterans here, not a bunch of conscripted farmers and shopkeepers using muzzle loaders. And we're talking politically correct 5.56 ammo versus versus high velocity, large caliber one-shot-at-long-range-kill ammo.

            My money is on the guys with the long guns.
            Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Who is watching the watchers?

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            • #7
              Originally posted by MarkV View Post

              I have seen the figures you quote reported in a number of places and I've also seen lower figures quoted as well. What I haven't seen are any detailed explanations as to how these were arrived at and I suspect that the answer is that which sometimes applied to questions asked in the BBC's QI series NOBODY KNOWS.
              r
              I am often suspicious of statistics that are not sourced well.
              "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it" Beatrice Evelyn Hall
              Updated for the 21st century... except if you are criticizing islam, that scares the $hii+e out of me!

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              • #8
                Are there any statistics for other than USA? The USA is an industrial giant that can afford to use this kind of firepower.
                Wisdom is personal

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by 17thfabn View Post

                  I am often suspicious of statistics that are not sourced well.
                  I don't know if this helps, but this guy claims that he gleaned his numbers from the US Army War College study at Carlisle PA, which provides average daily expenditures for two US Army divisions during one month in 1944. Scroll about midway down the page. Can't vouch for its veracity, as the author didn't furnish a link, but he did say that many of the War College's documents were not available online at that time.

                  http://www.socnet.com/archive/index.php/t-47498.html

                  They're talking about 24,000 rds/day of "CAL 30 BALL in 8-rd clip," ie M1 Garand. No mention was made of enemy KIA/WIA.
                  I was married for two ******* years! Hell would be like Club Med! - Sam Kinison

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