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Infantry Effective Range-request and insight


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Hi,

To everyone who responded to my last question, a big thank you to you. I have another question though. 

I was thinking about the USA infantry in CW. I read that the effective range for an M16 was around 500m. I thought ok great, similar to WW2 titles. But then I read that the effective range for an M4 was around 500m. I know in SF2 that infantry will not open fire unless 300m away. In cold war, will the infantry be able to engage at 500m away? 

 

The longer range firefights are more interesting I find. In 300m firefights, units die quickly and there is just an onslaught of automatic fire. I like the ww2 titles for the pace of firefights, penetrating power, and engagement distances. I was hoping CW would have more in line with the WW2 titles in this manner. The close engagement distances combined with automatic fire make the more modern titles punishing for infantry.  

 

Unrelated to this thread;

 

Does anyone have any thoughts on the sounds of the L85A1 in combat mission shock force 2? Is that a realistic sound? What happened there? 

 

I adore the series. Best games I ever played.

 

Thank you,

 

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The US Army by the book maximum effective range of the M16A1 and A2 is 460 Meters. In reality when we went to the range, the farthest pop up silhouette was at 300 Meters. In Desert Storm I fired my M1

I’d like to add my own USMC and USMCR with the M-14 and  M-16 experiences to this discussion. I qualified with the M-14 every year from 1969 to 1973, and the M-16 from 1975 until 1980. With the M-14,

Guys don’t waste your time scratching your heads on this. In agreement with Splinty. All our USArmy training ranges (typically pop up) had the farthest target out to 300m . With the iron sights it was

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Obviously effective range is somewhat subjective, so it depends what they decide to put in and you can get different numbers from sources (I think the M4 only getting 300m was probably too short).

CMSF marines manual says M16 with ACOG is 550m against point targets, so I'd expect an iron sights M16 to be ~400. I'm assuming the M16 got it's full effective range because of the optic, where as the M4 was reduced from 500m to 300m because of the aimpoint.  

I'd also expect firefights to be more like CMSF, everyone has intermediate caliber automatic weapons. 

Edited by Ryujin
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5 hours ago, Ryujin said:

I'm assuming the M16 got it's full effective range because of the optic, where as the M4 was reduced from 500m to 300m because of the aimpoint. 

It's more to do with the shorter barrel. Firing effectively at more than 300 meters in reality with a 5.56 mm carbine is not easy. 

Edited by LukeFF
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1 hour ago, LukeFF said:

It's more to do with the shorter barrel. Firing effectively at more than 300 meters in reality with a 5.56 mm carbine is not easy. 

Sure but generally its considered to have an effective range of 500m (effective range depending on the definition of effective). By that stricter standard of effective the M16 probably shouldn't have a 550m effective range in game.

The M4 definitely is a 300m rifle that can be stretched to 400/500, but the main issue is in CM the effective range tends to be a hard cutoff, not a suggestion, for AI firing on their own. So probably better to err a little higher. 

Edited by Ryujin
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It wasn't until the M16A2 that the weapon got the 'A2' fully adjustable rear sight useful out to 800m. M16 had a simple 'A1' rear flip sight that was adjusted either 0-300m, or from 300-400m.  so we shouldn't be expecting extreme range fights with our M16A1s.

The more I learn about US infantry between the end of the Vietnam war and... lets say 1985 the stranger it seems. The first thing to confound me was the lack of sniper/sharphooter weapons. More recently I stumbled upon entire infantry squads with no organic mg support (don't worry, mech inf is better equipped). Its as though US infantry in the early 80s was treading water waiting for the new 'transformational' equipment to arrive. Boom! Suddenly they've got body armor, Kevlar helmets, M24 sniper rifles and SAWs. 

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17 minutes ago, MikeyD said:

M16 had a simple 'A1' rear flip sight that was adjusted either 0-300m, or from 300-400m.  so we shouldn't be expecting extreme range fights with our M16A1s.

I did some math's about the matter. The 5.56 mm NATO is pushing it at 400mtrs in the energy department. About as effective as a 9 mm at 25 - 50mtrs. Nobody ever hit by one ever complained it was not powerful enough. With 9 mm there is a difference between 9mm for submachine guns and pistols. Over 500mtrs back to 7.62 NATO. Body armor and kevlar makes a lot of sense against 9 mm and 5.56 mm at longer ranges. It stops the 3.57 magnum at 25mtr which is a little bit more powerful than the 9mm. 

Edited by chuckdyke
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12 hours ago, MikeyD said:

The more I learn about US infantry between the end of the Vietnam war and... lets say 1985 the stranger it seems. The first thing to confound me was the lack of sniper/sharphooter weapons. More recently I stumbled upon entire infantry squads with no organic mg support (don't worry, mech inf is better equipped). Its as though US infantry in the early 80s was treading water waiting for the new 'transformational' equipment to arrive. Boom! Suddenly they've got body armor, Kevlar helmets, M24 sniper rifles and SAWs. 

That's not a bad analysis.  The post-Vietnam US Army was not a happy place.  Doctrine was all over the board.  Significant Reductions in Force (RIF's) were decimating the officer corps.  Remaining draftees were just biding their time, waiting to get out.  The NCO corps was in disarray.  Drug abuse was prevalent.  Overall, it was an All-Volunteer army in name and a Category IV army in performance although some units certainly performed more effectively than the general malaise.  The Goldwater-Nicols Department of Defense Reorganization Act did not implement until 1986.  It took the decade from '73-'85 to straighten things out and set them on a better path.

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You burn through a lot of ammo in a 500m firefight with iron sights. Those are protracted fights that go on for a time, then run out of steam and both sides break contact. Would be fun in the game for small unit infantry battles.

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People are the best judge for themselves. If you have access to a firing range, see how well you do over 300mtrs. Remember your targets don't shoot back. With a pistol with service match at the time only the elite at the time could consistently hit the '10' at the international rapid fire UIT target at 50mtrs. With a longarm I would say you push your limits at 300mtrs. I think in the game CM got it more or less spot on in probabilities. To achieve fire superiority longarms at best suppresses only you need ordnance which explode or with plunging fire by well positioned MG's.  

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"effective range" is hard to define. We have had veterans who said they have been able to hit targets reliably at 600 meters with 5.56 mm ammo with ACOG sights. 5.56 ammo can also, in theory, penetrate up to 3 mm of steel at 600 meters, so it has more than enough energy to wound or incapacitate someone at that range.

The 300 meters effective range for 5.56 mmm comes from the fact that the round's trajectory is relatively flat out to 300 meters and then drops off rapidly, so out to 300 meters you can pretty much hit whatever you aim at. This is an important point since in a firefight, everyone will seek cover as soon as they hear gunfire so opportunities to actually target an enemy soldier are over very quickly.

Note that using the same criteria, the effective range of 7.62 mm ammo is only 400 meters, after which the round drops off quickly.

As to why 5.56 mm ammo was adopted, post war studies found that the average firefights in WW2 took place at ranges of 200 meters or less and that relatively few infantry casualties were inflicted by firearms, most were inflicted by mortars/artillery fire. The major role of infantry fire is to pin down enemy troops that can then be broken by mortar/artillery fire.

5.56 ammo weighs roughly half what 7.62 ammmo weighs so, in theory, you can carry 2x as much which gives you more time to fire and pin down enemy units.

Now in theory, it is true that 5.56 mm firerarms can be outranged by 7.62 mm firearms, but in a typical combat scenario, your 5.56 ammo equipped infantry units will be backed up by sufficent longer range heavy weapons to more than make up for the difference.

The problem with many studies critical of 5.56 mm ammo is that they compare 5.56 vs 7.62 in isolation

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Awhile back there was something posted to a chat group on typical Marine combat ranges in Afghanistan. If I recall the numbers correctly, firefights usually occurred at just 80-90 meters. Even snipers, with one or two notable exceptions, weren't attempting shots beyond 300m. 100m is the length of a soccer pitch. An American football field is 330m.

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17 minutes ago, MikeyD said:

firefights usually occurred at just 80-90 meters.

Honestly you can just look at SF2 to see what the effective ranges are going to be. The small arms in CMCW will be p. much identical. The US are theoretically a little more effective at range due to the M16A1 having a 20" barrel (Opposed to 14.5") and the M60 is in 7.62x51 as well.

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39 minutes ago, MikeyD said:

 An American football field is 330m.

Are you sure you didn't mix up your units of measure here? I am pretty certain they are 100 yards, 300 feet, 91.5 meters long.

But I might be wrong as we play real football up here, on a field 110 yards or 101 meters in length with CFL rules, Go Bombers Go!

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This may be what MikeyD was referring to:

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Fact: The national average engagement range for police 'snipers' has, for the past 20 years, been 78 yards.  The FBI Hostage Rescue Team (HRT) snipers are limited to engagement ranges of 200 yards.  The longest recorded shot taken by a police marksman in the US is 97 yards.  (There are some reports that indicate some longer shots, including one alleged 300 yard shot in 1982 by the U.S. Park Police in response to a bombing threat at the Washington Monument- but these are very rare and not confirmed). The FBI's uniform crime report indicates that the average engagement range in a handgun incident is between 7 and 10 feet.

The AR15.com Ammo Oracle (razoreye.net)

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9 hours ago, Sgt Joch said:

The problem with many studies critical of 5.56 mm ammo is that they compare 5.56 vs 7.62 in isolation

5.56 mm are prone to deflect when you fire through shrub. 7.62 mm whether NATO or the 7.62x39 mm SKS or AK47 deflect less. I understand the mass of the 5.56 mm has increased to about 80grain compared to the 55grain previously. The best rounds to compare it with are the ones suited for medium sized game like feral goats or pigs. By the way I don't enjoy shooting animals for fun whether feral or otherwise. We look at .270 and .30 The 5.56 mm task seem to be suppression at 300mtr's its energy is still the same as the 9 mm at point blanc range. In view of the acceptance of body armor small arms have become ineffective beyond 300mtrs.  

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The US Army by the book maximum effective range of the M16A1 and A2 is 460 Meters. In reality when we went to the range, the farthest pop up silhouette was at 300 Meters. In Desert Storm I fired my M16A2 at max 150 Meters. In my 2 tours during Iraqi Freedom I fired my M4 100- 150 Meters max. However both of those were very different from what war in the Fulda Gap would be like. 

Edited by Splinty
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45 minutes ago, Splinty said:

The US Army by the book maximum effective range of the M16A1 and A2 is 460 Meters. In reality when we went to the range, the farthest pop up silhouette was at 300 Meters. In Desert Storm I fired my M16A2 at max 150 Meters. In my 2 tours during Iraqi Freedom I fired my M4 100- 150 Meters max. However both of those were very different from what war in the Fulda Gap would be like. 

Good to get this definitively "from the horse's mouth"/someone who's been and done that.  Thank you...  In the game it seems wise to limit inf weapons to less than max for accuracy's sake.  

Edited by Erwin
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Guys don’t waste your time scratching your heads on this. In agreement with Splinty. All our USArmy training ranges (typically pop up) had the farthest target out to 300m . With the iron sights it was all you could do to even see anything in the peep sight at that range. The AK47 was even crappier in this regard. Apart from my service I also owned an m16a2 and an akm. The M60 was good reliably out to 800m in bipod  configuration and effective with a certain Spread to 1200 in tripod w t&e.

An infantry platoon, rifles firing together are lethal out to 250m , and plinking beyond that. The Squad or platoon MGs extend that touch out to around 800-1000m plinking after that.

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10 minutes ago, Los said:

Guys don’t waste your time scratching your heads on this. In agreement with Splinty. All our USArmy training ranges (typically pop up) had the farthest target out to 300m . With the iron sights it was all you could do to even see anything in the peep sight at that range. The AK47 was even crappier in this regard. Apart from my service I also owned an m16a2 and an akm. The M60 was good reliably out to 800m in bipod  configuration and effective with a certain Spread to 1200 in tripod w t&e.

An infantry platoon, rifles firing together are lethal out to 250m , and plinking beyond that. The Squad or platoon MGs extend that touch out to around 800-1000m plinking after that.

Can confirm. Just failed to qualify last week, couldn't hit a 300 to save my life!

😄

 

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On 3/29/2021 at 9:30 PM, Splinty said:

The US Army by the book maximum effective range of the M16A1 and A2 is 460 Meters. In reality when we went to the range, the farthest pop up silhouette was at 300 Meters. In Desert Storm I fired my M16A2 at max 150 Meters. In my 2 tours during Iraqi Freedom I fired my M4 100- 150 Meters max. However both of those were very different from what war in the Fulda Gap would be like. 

I’d like to add my own USMC and USMCR with the M-14 and  M-16 experiences to this discussion. I qualified with the M-14 every year from 1969 to 1973, and the M-16 from 1975 until 1980. With the M-14, we qualified at 200, 300, and 500 yards. With the M-16, we qualified at 360 meters (my memories are up to 50 years old, so please forgive me if I’m off a bit) using known distance (KD) targets. Max effective range was 460 meters (~500 yards) for the M-14, and 360 meters for the M-16. For those who don’t know the term “maximum effective range,” in the USMC it is the range at which any Marine can be expected to inflict a casualty on the enemy (which means hit, but not necessarily kill the target). We qualified with open sights (adjustable aperture and windage on the M-14, and long/short rear flip sight and bullet adjustable front sights on the M-16). We didn’t have any “glass.” Combat ranges are considerably shorter. The max effective range for my trained M-60 gun teams with tripod was 1500 yards. Bipod was probably 500 to 600 yards. In a defensive fixed position, If you can see the enemy at those ranges, you probably want to begin by dropping company level 60mm mortar rounds on them, then your M-203s, and open up with your rifles around 200. Finally, you’ll have your Pigs open up across the line from the flanks. I recommend NEVER opening up with your pigs at range. It just gives the enemy targets.

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500m+ is very, very far. Considering people who are shooting at each other are usually doing so from prone positions and/or behind cover, I can't imagine the targets to hit being particularly easy. My understanding is that they learned very quickly during WWII that such engagements weren't worth the effort. As the fire support tech got really advanced, it became extremely problematic for defenders to engage at such ranges. After all, if you shoot at someone at 500m, and that someone has a radio who can chit-chat with a guy who has a much, much larger gun than yours, or perhaps even an airplane or jet, then you should probably not take that 500m potshot. And so all those visible fortress networks which dominated defense budgets leading up to 1940 quickly fell out of use by the time 1945 rolled around. With static bunkers going the way of the dodo, defensive engagements turned into close-range ambushes or fluid skirmishes meant to draw attackers into counter-punches.

 

As someone who just plays Normandy & Shock Force 2, the primary thing I notice is that the lethality of ambushes has ramped up considerably (which I think is what you're referring to about guys being minced very fast). However, I think you might be running into a smaller scale instead of sheer lethality by itself. Getting shot at in the open is bad for your health whether it's an MG42 or an M249, and the end result as a basis of time when being ambushed by WWII tech or modern tech is mostly a matter of seconds. SF2 feels particularly punishing because the assets on hand aren't so 'epic.' You probably feel the sting of those short-range firefights because you're often operating within the constraints of a smaller engagement, as opposed to Normandy where a typical battle has you maintaining large tactical reserves just cause there's so many bodies available. After all, it's extremely common for SF2 bluefor objectives to be, in essence, don't lose a squad. This is actually why I find the Cold War setting rather appealing -- because we'll basically be seeing those two elements being smooshed together. So instead of fearing lethality, I'm curious about lethality + large peer-to-peer engagements. My opinion, of course.

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