26 Oct 18
Comment on the Pentagon’s recent decision to move from the 5.56×45 to the 6.8mm, from a comrade who was in RVN about the same time I was:
“I say fifty years too late!
I dumped my M16 while in-country.
We loved our M14s! The ‘new’ M16 was forced upon us. We didn’t want it, and we surely did not give-up our M14s voluntarily!
During one of our first active contacts, I ‘appropriated’ a Chinese-made AK47, along with a supply of magazines and 7.62x.39mm ammunition.
My AK always ran well, never failing to feed nor otherwise function normally.
By western standards, my AK was ‘primitive,’ ‘rough,’ and not nearly as accurate as the M16.
But, all that I could live with!
It was the 7.62×39 cartridge that was so conspicuously superior to the 5.56×45!
My AK out-ranged the M16, and easily penetrated obstacles that provided genuine protection from 5.56×45 rounds.
Between then and recently, DOD has never honestly confronted deficiencies of the 5.56×45 round as a front-line, battle cartridge. As noted above, these deficiencies has been well known, and well documented, at least since 1968!”
It will require the next decade for issues surrounding the new 6.8mm round, and rifles and LMGs that will be chambered for it, to be identified, addressed, and refined.
Issues always develop when new military equipment enters the System (no matter how much “computer simulation” you do), most of which are unforeseeable and will not become visible until millions of weapons have been manufactured and billions of rounds produced and consumed in active training/testing.
Only then will we know, beyond doubt, that we have adequate and reliable weapons that will serve our soldiers, and our mission, satisfactorily.
And, that is exactly why it is such a bad idea to “introduce” a new weapon in the middle of a war, absent adequate testing, nor the “break-in period” mentioned above!
The foregoing was the unhappy fate of the M16, whose various problems were “discovered,” and belatedly “addressed,” during active fighting, and at the expense of lives of our Marines and Soldiers who were doing their best to make the new rifle work!
Let’s now pray that this long-delayed update will go forward with all deliberate speed, and that we don’t find
ourselves embroiled in a major, world conflagration before it’s complete!
“The Tzar’s police had Lenin, but released him!
Bavarian police had Hitler, but released him!
Rhodesia had Mugabe, but released him!
We had Bin Laden, but released him!
We repeatedly fail to learn from history, and we’ll continue to pay for it.
Just ask a Romanov
… if you can find one!”