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Re: Man-portability of heavy weapons

From: Thomas Barclay <Thomas.Barclay@s...>
Date: Sat, 21 Nov 1998 18:26:35 -0500
Subject: Re: Man-portability of heavy weapons

Colfox spake thusly upon matters weighty: 
> *Engage ex-TOW platoon leader mode: (let's see how much I
> remember....hehe...)*

> Now, for the above numbers on the TOW, both numbers above are off, but
> opposite directions.
> A crew of one is needed to assemble and operate a TOW.  The usual crew
is 3
> or 4 (gunner, section leader, driver, loader--last two roles are
> in 3-man crews).  It is possible for a single person to operate
> takes a little longer between shots, and there isn't anyone for local
> security or talking on the radio.

So, a single operator might have to take every second action as a 
load action. 
> By the way, since I mentioned assembly, I think the standard is 2
> for complete assembly, circuit check, missile loaded, and ready to
> fire--for 1 person.

1 action of an activation to setup. (assumes 5 minute turn). 
> Now, the tricky question--man-portability of the TOW:
> If you ask an 11H (Anti-tank specialist) how far a TOW should be
> the answer will be the distance from the armory to the vehicle, and no
> farther.  How far CAN they be carried?  Well, any distance, but be
> for some serious bitching.

Argh! That's worse than an enemy bayonet charge when you are out of 
> I don't remember the exact weights anymore, and I don't have the TM's
> front of me, but the weight of the TOW system, with 1 missile is a
> over 300 pounds.  And none of the pieces are designed for easy
> over long distances.	So,  while it is possible for a 3 man crew to
> the TOW, you're only going to have 1 shot when you get there.  Each
> is about 70 pounds, so adding more to their load quickly gets

So a four man team might carry two shots. Lets assume the future 
means lighter missiles, be generous and call it three. But they'd 
definitely move as encumbered. And if this is a GMS/L, that puts it 
into its proper context. 
> When I made my platoon (6 teams, about 20 soldiers) hump their TOW's,
> took only 2 of the 6 launchers, and everyone not carrying a piece of
> TOW, was carrying a missile (myself included).  This got us to our
> position with about 12 missiles, and everyone dog-tired.  I think the
> farthest we humped like this was 10 miles, up and over the hills of S.
> Korea.

Yuk. I've seen that terrain in several shows lately... yow. Almost as 
inhospitable (in a different way) than the Tundra the Canadian Artic 
Rangers operate across (at up to -115 Celcius).  

> We never actually did this during maneuvers; we would just drive the
> Hummers into place and prepare multiple firing postions.  The
> of dismounting are so numerous that the only time that I would think
> doing so in a combat situation would be in a prepared defense (with
> vehicles nearby), or in some surprise insertion where the enemy would
> expect AT weapons, and the TOW's appearance there would reap great
> benefits.

Or if your vehicles were destroyed for some reason but you wanted to 
keep your GMS systems....
> *Disengage ex-TOW platoon leader mode.*
> Well, if that gives you some general ideas about why things are
classed as
> _Heavy_ weapons, then good.  Obviously, if you assume some things like
> advances in materials composition (lighter equipment), better optics
> (lighter sights), etc....then things will be different.  I won't even
> mention anti-grav sleds....

Well, if you have that kind of AG, then everyone should be in AG 
supported heavy PA. (You obviously have compact power) and all should 
be firing Plasma Guns. Otherwise, Heavy Weapons may be lighter, but 
as in the discussion about infantry, if I could carry 10 mags of 500 
rounds for my rifle for the same weight of 4 30 round mags now, I'd 
do it. So presumably you'd just carry more ammo (so you'd end up 
humping just about as much weight). A good example is the Carl Gustav 
Recoilless Rifle (I think these should be treated as a reloadable 
IAVR or maybe a D12x2* IAVR-like direct fire weaon, FP D8 like an 
IAVR).	They made a lighter one for the Canuck army, but the weight 
(which was lighter) was still anywhere but in the negligible 
category. It was still a pig to carry. 

> Hope this helped,

Good Info. I'm currious, off list, what units you served with. You 
seem to have good solid information. :)

Thomas Barclay		     
Voice: (613) 831-2018 x 4009
Fax: (613) 831-8255

 "C makes it easy to shoot yourself in the foot.  C++ makes
 it harder, but when you do, it blows away your whole leg."
 -Bjarne Stroustrup

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