Utilizing the M-249 in a suppressed Marine Corps Infantry Battalion

Bob Westermann

Marine Infantry
Verified Military
Joined
Oct 15, 2017
Messages
20
Location
California
#1
I don’t know how I feel about a suppressed Infantry Battalion.

I spent time as an M-249 gunner. I gained that responsibility after leading a Fireteam (i didn’t f*** up, we got an actual fleet Sergeant as squad leader) during OIF I.

“You are the target. Until successfully establishing talking guns.”

After getting some salt on me and before chopping to the 11th MEU (SOC), I was a makeshift* Combat Marksmanship Instructor.

The psychological impact of the MG-42 on the allies was enormous. I made a point of including that lesson with an overview of WWII German Infantry tactics, which supported the machine gun, as opposed to the rifleman. Automatic fire over flanking maneuverability.

American troops called the MG-42 “Hitler’s Zipper.” They resented it. They would seek vengeance on the next one after victory over the first.

It’s a sobering lesson. As technology has advanced, a squad now has the firepower (or more) a platoon had then. You ARE the target.

I surmise that’s about to change, after reading the article I’ve included at the end.

I was unaware that you could suppress a belt fed weapon. I’d like to know how long before the baffles wear out, necessitating a replacement. And if it effects the rate of barrel changes when sustaining 5-15 round bursts.

This is something I assume you tier-1 and tier-2 guys have been doing for years. How do you feel about this?

Marine Corps experiment silences entire infantry battalion’s weapons

*Not an actual school position. If a slapped on title during the scramble for the next pump
 

8482farm

Pharmacy Technician
Verified Military
Joined
Sep 25, 2017
Messages
81
#2
I understand the psychological aspect of the weapon in terms of it spreading fear among enemies. But, we've moved away from the massive personnel trench-fighting style to more guerrilla-type warfare where cover, concealment, superior intelligence, and the element of surprise would be more effective. However, I too, am curious as to how quiet the DoD wants to go, how long the suppressors last, if they will also use subsonic rounds, and how it will affect the machine's overall kill-potential.
 

DA SWO

SOWT
Verified SOF
Joined
Aug 18, 2007
Messages
8,509
Location
San Antonio Texas
#4
Whose suppressing the Marine Corps, should I take a knee when someone plays music?

You do realize a suppressor does not make the weapon silent, just a little quieter.
 

nitrohuck

USAF
Verified Military
Joined
May 15, 2016
Messages
57
#7
I'm sure they'll make beefed up suppressors to handle it better, but they'll still go soon enough... but honestly suppressors are pretty simple hunks of metal... it's not that big of a deal for the military to just slap on a new one compared to your civilian counterpart who has to twiddle his thumbs for 4-6 months waiting for the ATF to, well, do whatever they do...

subsonic 5.56 ammo? I would highly doubt that
 

CDG

Mittens
Verified Military
Joined
Apr 15, 2011
Messages
7,248
Location
Off safe. One away.
#8
The more things you add to the packing list, the more weight and space it takes up, one more part that can break, or be lost, etc. Is it really worth it in this case?
 

Topkick

Verified Military
Joined
Apr 26, 2017
Messages
1,358
#9
I don't see the point unless it's to cut down the number of hearing loss claims.

It might make an infantry battalion a hair stealthier at night, provided you don't load tracer and have effective flash suppression..,Even with suppressed weapons if you get in contact your position's compromised and you'll have to move.

I see the value of suppressors for SOF to limit the carriage of sound during a raid so as not to alert distant enemy react force, etc. And for snipers.

As an 0331 and weapons plt sqdldr I spent a lot of time on MG ranges. I find the sound of belt-fed gas-operated automatic weapons immensely reassuring out-bound and disconcerting and a bit demoralizing inbound.
Agree. Once the first round is fired, the stealth phase is complete. Make as much as noise as you can😉
 

nitrohuck

USAF
Verified Military
Joined
May 15, 2016
Messages
57
#10
Agree. Once the first round is fired, the stealth phase is complete. Make as much as noise as you can😉

Perhaps this isn't for stealth but rather to make communication easier in a firefight and/or not blow out peoples ear drums if they don't have ear pro in? Just an idea,

Oh, I just read the article, yes, that is their intention... increased effectiveness in comms... it isn't about stealth at all.
 

Topkick

Verified Military
Joined
Apr 26, 2017
Messages
1,358
#11
Yeah, I read the article. I was responding to "I don’t know how I feel about a suppressed Infantry Battalion" from the OP. My response wasn't at all about stealth either. In my experience, the sound of an automatic weapon has a demoralizing effect on the enemy. Even if you don't hit the mark, the sound can make the other guy consider a contingency plan. Training/ rehearsals eliminate most communications problems. In all fairness, I don't have any experience with suppressed automatic weapons so I can only speak about what I know.

Edited for grammer
 
Last edited:

Devildoc

Verified Military
Joined
Nov 3, 2015
Messages
2,821
Location
Durham, NC
#12
I shoot a 7.62 with a Surefire suppressor, and it still so loud you need hearing protection. They ain't that quiet.

My understanding is that it is to increase and enhance Communications. I don't know that I know enough yet to make an opinion.
 

SpitfireV

Strike first, strike hard, no mercy!
Member
Joined
Dec 15, 2006
Messages
4,488
Location
New Zealand
#14
Yeah, I read the article. I was responding to "I don’t know how I feel about a suppressed Infantry Battalion" from the OP. My response wasn't at all about stealth either. In my experience, the sound of an automatic weapon has a demoralizing effect on the enemy. Even if you don't hit the mark, the sound can make the other guy consider a contingency plan. Training/ rehearsals eliminate most communications problems. In all fairness, I don't have any experience with suppressed automatic weapons so I can only speak about what I know.

Edited for grammer
SASR and NZSAS in Vietnam used to cut down their SLRs and lay down a whole magazine when they had a contact. This was to make them seem like they were a much bigger unit than they were (5 man patrols usually) and to create a bit of hesitation so they could withdraw.
 

AWP

Formerly Known as Freefalling
Administrator
Joined
Sep 8, 2006
Messages
13,767
Location
Not Afghanistan
#15
I think some of our members with "a few" fights under their belts while using suppressors cited better communication and obfuscation (for lack of a better word) as the primary reasons to run suppressed. Even a 20dB reduction is a big deal
 

Bob Westermann

Marine Infantry
Verified Military
Joined
Oct 15, 2017
Messages
20
Location
California
#17
The infantry is a jack of all trades, at least it felt that way during nation building. Hmmm... maybe more time maintaining exciting new equipment and less rotational guard = better amphibious force in readiness
 
Top