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RuhrRiver

Brit vehicle MG exposure--why?

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Anyone know why the external machine gunner position on some Brit vehicles is so exposed? That is, why would the designers put someone firing an MG on the top or even the front of the vehicle with little or no armor--I assume that person is an instant target, and in the game he certainly dies quickly. I'm sure there's some rationale beside not liking machine gunners...

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I suspect the rationale was the LMG has double the range of a rifle and that its the firer's own damned fault for blundering into rifle range. :(

This is a classic "between wars" attitude. Between wars vehicle armor tends to get very light and maneuver emphasised. Extra gunshield weight slowed the vehicle down. Another example is the Marine (now Army) TOW Humvee. Of course TOW is looking at a 3000m range advantage over rifles. Do you remember when NATO went into Bosnia in 1999? Their first 'real' war in decades. Everyone scrambled to add extra protection to their vehicles. The "between wars" level of protection just didn't cut it.

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Well, the Jackal isn't a "between wars" design, it was procured specifically for conflicts such as Afghanistan.

Many of the vehicles in this game which are open or exposed are designed to be recce vehicles (light, fast, mobile) or Fire Support Group vehicles. As such it's unlikely they'll get into a close-in fighting scenario. As has been said somewhere on here before, the ranges involved in the scenario in the demo don't seem to take advantage of the MG vs rifles range.

Other vehicles like the Spartan and FV432 which are designed to transport specialist teams and sections of infantry shouldn't really have their top cover exposed when moving into a suspected enemy area, simply because it's an invitation to get one more KIA on your list. The MGs on those types of vehicles are usually just for self-defence.

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I don't think it is weapon ranges (MG vs rifles) it's spotting, it's very hard to spot infantry until you are in the enemies rifle range. It's like bringing a gun to a knife fight only you can't use the gun until you are in knife range.

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I guess that's what MOD is gonna write home to a troopers parents:

"...enemy contact was thought to be unlikely....the vehicle was firing in self-defense..."

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That article also makes the point that Jackal is intended to be an improvement over the WMIK Land Rover, which has similar crew exposure but less armour. The replacement was supposed to increase survivability against IEDs. Evidently crew exposure will be tackled when Jackal is replaced by something else. Typical MoD logic.

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Let's not forget the U.S. army's been having to deal with a lot of humvee failed suspension, reduced performance and and halved carrying capacity issues. There's only so much 'stuff' you can pile on a 4x4 chassis before things start snapping. I'm reminded of the old Henny Youngman joke "I went to my doctor, raised my arm and said 'Doc, it hurts when I do this.' He says 'then don't DO that!'" If you want all your soldiers safe then don't invade Syria!

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Perhaps the Jackal procurement was intended to fend off American requests for Britain to do more of the "heavy lifting" to placate US public opinion about Americans having to do all the work in Iraq and Afghanistan?

US Commander: "How about your boys take that town over there whilst we deal with this one?"

Brit Commander: "Well we'd love to help out old chap but all we've got are these Jackals. Damn fine vehicle out in the desert but not the best of things to be in up close to the enemy. Frightfully sorry old bean but there it is."

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Part of the rationale for the Jackal being open-topped is that the situational awareness is much, much greater than if the gunner/crew is enclosed within gunshields, turrets and armour. It's difficult to tell if this is a good move or not as the MoD is reticent to publish operational analysis data.

Plus the lack of roof armour lightens the vehicle somewhat.

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Just to clarify, my previous post was just a bit of fun. I'm a Brit and am proud of my country's armed forces.

Now back into serious mode, perhaps from a military point of view you should only ever give a vehicle the protection level you think it will require for its designated role. Giving it more only serves to encourage its use in situations and environments it wasn't designed for.

It therefore follows that if you introduce a new vehicle whose designated role is reconnaissance and long-range infantry support it should have very little in the way of crew protection. When your surrounded by little more than roll-bars, that sends you a very strong message that your best defence against the enemy is distance.

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Anyone know why the external machine gunner position on some Brit vehicles is so exposed? That is, why would the designers put someone firing an MG on the top or even the front of the vehicle with little or no armor--I assume that person is an instant target, and in the game he certainly dies quickly. I'm sure there's some rationale beside not liking machine gunners...

This same issue was brought up in the British Jackal thread in February. If you haven't already seen it, you should check out the video Adam linked to which shows the Jackal in action. The video definitely highlights how exposed Jackal gunners are, and in fact one of them gets hit by the Taliban during the filming.

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Wow, I just noticed something in that video.

Quite a lot of the time the Jackals were oriented away from the incoming fire. Sometimes they were side on, and on one occasion I think the rear of the Jackal was facing the enemy.

When side on, the driver and the guy next to him have a lip of armour plate in front of them that isn't in front of them when they are facing the enemy. Likewise, when the rear of the Jackal is facing the enemy, only the top gunner is exposed, protecting the all important driver in case a quick getaway is needed.

I tried doing this in the demo and unfortunately Shock Force's AI automatically starts turning the vehicle to face the enemy again.

It would be interesting to find out if the side and rear orientation is a genuine tactic used by Jackal crews or if it was just luck that they seemed to be oriented that way in the video.

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