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I saw active service in conventional, clandestine and covert units of the South African Defence Force. I was the founder of the Private Military Company (PMC) Executive Outcomes in 1989 and its chairman until I left in 1997. Until its closure in 1998, EO operated primarily in Africa helping African governments that had been abandoned by the West and were facing threats from insurgencies, terrorism and organised crime. EO also operated in South America and the Far East. I believe that only Africans (Black and White) can truly solve Africa’s problems. I was appointed Chairman of STTEP International in 2009 and also lecture at military colleges and universities in Africa on defence, intelligence and security issues. Prior to the STTEP International appointment, I served as an independent politico-military advisor to several African governments. I am a contributor to The Counter Terrorist magazine. All comments in line with the topics on this blog are welcome. As I consider this to be a serious look at military and security matters, foul language and political or religious debates will not be entertained on this blog.

Friday, March 13, 2009

REASSESSING SECTION TACTICS WITH THE 20mm PAW

I recently had the opportunity to visit a South African weapons-developer who has designed and built a 20mm Personal Assault Weapon (PAW). The light-weight, shoulder-fired, semi-automatic and devastating 20 x 42mm PAW can – accurately - deliver a variety of 20mm rounds onto a target some 1000m distant. Using either a 7-shot box-magazine or a 6-shot drum-magazine, this weapon has the potential to become an enemy’s worst nightmare.

The PAW weighs in at 6kgs and has the recoil of a 12-gauge shotgun. This is due to the unique recoil-mitigation system that was developed to enable either left-handed or right-handed firing of the weapon. Although it boasts a range of 1000m, it is not always that easy to engage a target at that distance. However, supplementing the section/squad firepower, the PAW will easily allow effective and accurate fire at a range of 800m.


I am a firm believer that terrain is the primary driver of tactics. Furthermore, I believe that tactics should continue to evolve as we get to know and understand the enemy and his weapon systems better. Lessons learnt in combat ought, additionally, to be a contributing factor to our evolving tactics and battlecraft. The arrival of the 20mm PAW will, however, drastically change the combat landscape.

I believe the weapon system should be used at section (squad) level along with the 40mm MGL – another good weapon which is also made in South Africa. Along with the section machinegun, these two weapons are capable of delivering accurate and devastating firepower onto any objective. In turn, this allows for several “new” options during fire-and-manoeuvre.

The weapon can be used in a variety of environments such as open terrain, bush terrain, urban warfare, mountain warfare, and long-range convoy or vehicle ambushes and so on. It is furthermore not restricted to a specific type of operation. It also gives the Infantry section the ability to engage low-flying aircraft and helicopters.
In brief, this is a devastating weapon. I believe that if correctly used, it will enable the infantry section to lay down fire-intensity that has, till now, been unheard of.

74 comments:

Andrea Murrhteyn said...

Eeben,

Not quite on topic of the PAW 20MM, which although the Aparhteid regime allowed my grandmother who lived alone to own her own UZI, unfortuantely the New South African Regime of 'truth and reconciliation' (SIC) deny me the right to own any handgun, no matter how small, let alone a Personal Assault Weapon. This is how you are rewarded and thanked in the new RSA, for making your honest contribution to the TRC.

Anyway, I'm off topic, cause thought I'd share the following two bits of news with anyone interested:

Police Trained Nationwide That Informed Americans Are Domestic Terrorists

A secret report distributed by the Missouri Information Analysis Center lists Ron Paul supporters, libertarians, people who display bumper stickers, people who own gold, or even people who fly a U.S. flag and equates them with radical race hate groups and terrorists. This is merely the latest example in an alarming trend which confirms that law enforcement across the country is being trained that American citizens are a dangerous enemy.

Open 'Birther' Letter to Sec. Defence, from Lt Col David A. Earl-Graef USAFR MC

Once again I find myself at a loss of words to try to explain the abject and total dismay I have at the administration to include the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court to allow the painful division now occurring in our military to proceed unabated. I hope that do not need to remind you that you as well took an Oath to support and defend the Constitution. As a point of honor you are either willing to do this or you are not. If you are not then preserve your honor, resign and let someone who cares more about us than that do what is right.

Lara

Tango said...

"A mean machine" Unbelievable-Local is always lekker!
What next ?
Proudly South African !
Regards

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

It is truly a weapon to behold, Tango. Just think what could have been if we had it during our wars…

Yes, despite all of our problems, I am also still proudly South African.

Rgds,

Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

The current weapon laws are indeed a sore point with many in South Africa, Lara. Ultimately, the aim is to disarm citizens in order to attempt to reduce crime. However, as the criminals are under no obligations to disarm, either willingly or by law, it does cause a huge amount of concern to most citizens in the country. Of even more concern is the fact that many weapons that have been voluntarily handed in have found their way into crime syndicates – an obvious deduction one can make is that the police are arming the criminals with the weapons of disarmed citizens.

Thank you for the links you sent. In a word, they are terrifying to say the least. But, the US is reaping what it sowed a long time ago by adopting the stance it did towards its allies. Sadly, it was something that was bound to happen. Also, the process has been started – something that will not be easily reserved, if ever.

Rgds,

Eeben

John said...

This weapon will definitely change the battlefield around. I can imagine especially for smaller armies with lack of fire power/equipment or man power.
No need to carry or pull heavy equipment around, as this weapon weighs in at 6kgs, but having all the benefits of them, plus having the accuracy of sniper rifle (nearly)
This weapon will also make a team more maneuverable and more mobile especially for guerilla warfare or counter guerilla warfare.
The application in urban warfare where everyone are wearing body armor will be unsurpassed. No body armor will protect against this weapon, which will in turn have a great demoralizing effect on the receiving end, not to mention the different ammo that is available.
Indeed a weapon to worry about if you’re not in the team using one!!!

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

You are spot-on, John. I for one would rather not encounter such a system, regardless of the terrain I am working in. It will negate all body armour – unless such body armour is built from 40mm armoured- plated steel.

Its application in various operations is unsurpassed. Breaking into a static-defensive position, neutralising a sniper in a building, giving support fire to an assault, and so on are all now much more “safer” to the attacking side and deadlier to the enemy.

I don’t think it will negate the normal heavy weapons but it will certainly compliment them to a large degree and increase the fire-power brought to bear on any target.

Rgds,

Eeben

TCO said...

A truly impressive weapon it would seem. 20mm rounds could serve a real purpose well inside 1k or even 800m. I notice the stock photos include a EOTech site which is really a CQB site? Could the intention be to use this in an anti-armor role in close-in/urban (MOUT) environment? That would be quite novel as the current alternatives are the Barrett .50cal rifle or various rocket propelled devices such as the AT-4 or Javelin. Each of which have their limitations in terms of both range (such as MINIMUM distances) and back-blast considerations. I could definitely see this weapon used by designated marksmen at the squad level given its ideal size/weight. I look forward to hearing more about this one!

Jake

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

It is truly impressive and devastating, Jake.

It comes with a variety of different sights, so the EOTech sight is but one of them. The system has multiple roles and can definitely be used in an anti-armour role in the urban environment. Of course, it does depend on the level or armour threat. The PAW packs a much more devastating punch than the 50 Cal rifle and it does not have the limitations of rocket propelled systems such as you mention. Used in conjunction with the 30mm sniper rifle, it can, in an urban environment, give a peace-of-mind that has to date not existed.

A client of mine is now in the process of purchasing several of these systems for operations in a specific type of terrain. We will then assess the implications on tactics and monitor its deployment and effectiveness for their unique applications.

Rgds,

Eeben

Robby said...

Also slightly off topic just curious how many in SA have taken the position that even with "gun control" restrictions still carry?...

As for "American citizens are a dangerous enemy" article this is based on the fact that not many Americans understand their own constitution,decades of PC indoctrination has left the majority to assume that the 2nd Amendment simple means the citizens have the right to go duck hunting.

Whenever one brings up the true meaning of "the right to bear arms" it shocks them to be told this right is to shoot politicians not ducks ...

Americas founders could not of been more clear in the need for a citizens right to protect themselves from a " tyrannical government" up to and including if the military can use a PAW 20MM so can the citizen.

Ergo calling folks like Ron Paul a terrorist just confirms how bogus this so called "war on terrorism" has become no wonder the marxists love it....terrorism or being called a terrorist today simple means if one is opposed to official government policy you are one.

Once again going off topic thought you would find this article of interest from the left leaning Mother Jones

Blackwater's New Frontier: Their Own Private Africa

"You give me money, I don't care who you are." It was late October, and Zimbabwe's defense attaché, a soft-spoken, thick-shouldered lieutenant colonel, was explaining his country's freewheeling approach to business in the banquet room of the Liaison hotel on Capitol Hill. Mingling around him were representatives from some of the world's best-known private security and military contracting firms, gathered to explore their prospects in the industry's next frontier: Africa. None betrayed any eagerness to do business with Robert Mugabe, notwithstanding assurances from the beaming attaché that Zimbabwe—"the second-largest economy in southern Africa"—remains strong despite 231 million percent annual inflation. But there were plenty of other avenues to explore, including a recent shake-up in the US military's command structure that seemed to promise new demand for firms like Blackwater (which recently changed its name to Xe), Triple Canopy, and DynCorp.

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2009/03/blackwaters-new-frontier-their-own-private-africa

luke said...

Hey Eeben,

That looks a pretty good piece of equipment. Do you like the American Barret 50 caliber sniper rifle? Also do you appreciate the AK-47 design over the American AR-15 and M-16 style weapons.
Thanks
Luke

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

A lot of law-abiding South Africans still carry guns, Robby. Due to the ineffectiveness of our law enforcement agency (read SA Police Service), many people have simply taken it upon themselves to ensure the safety of home and hearth.

Indoctrination is a deadly enemy. Not only as relates to your comments but also where it blurs the line between “acceptable” and “unacceptable”, “right” and “wrong”. When it becomes the norm, it can create huge divisions within a nation. When it is run in parallel with disinformation, it can become a devastating disease.

I have noticed a growing trend in the USA to create divisions between people and beliefs. Anyone who opposes US policy is an enemy of the State. But, as I too have been critical of the US, I am also apparently an enemy. Criticism seems to be something the US government doesn’t tolerate.

Thanks for the link. As I said earlier, many PMCs/PSCs would be without an income if it wasn’t for the US government…

Rgds,

Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

The 20mm PAW is a very good weapon system, Luke. Insofar as sniper rifles are concerned: Although Barrett was a leader in the field a few years ago, they have been overtaken by other manufactures. Personally, I would much rather opt for the 30mm sniper rifle but it depends on the mission, the terrain and the target. All of them have their roles.

As far as assault rifles are concerned, I much prefer the AK-47 as we used it extensively on operations. Its design is much simpler, it is more reliable and more effective than the M-16/AR-15’s 5,56mm.

Rgds,

Eeben

Robby said...

Eeben

The so called "American Dream" is a myth,I'm almost at the point of thinking about returning to SA.

Since Obama was elected gun sales have gone through the roof and ammunition is in short supply at the same time not 200 hundred miles from me there is a full blown border war with Mexico going on in the last year 7000 plus have killed yet the media coverage is almost zero.

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

People such as I are not welcome in the US, Robby. Come home, we need good men, regardless of race, to help the continent and our country on its long road to recovery – and we will still get it right.

The situation with the drug cartels in Mexico and the spill-over into the US seems to be getting worse by the day. If positive intervention isn’t on the cards, the US will soon find itself in a predicament with a southern neighbour.

Rgds,

Eeben

TCO said...

Is there room in SA for for a one disgruntled American?

Jake

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

All are welcome, Jake. When is your plane landing?

Rgds,

Eeben

luke said...

Hey Eeben,

Thanks for your reply, In a close combat terrain do you prefer a assault rifle that is less accurate but can fire at a high rate, or a accurate semi auto rifle that can deliver fewer but more accurate shots. Also do you think the PAW 20mm will start to replace the assault rifle in close combat areas, as a more useful tool. I could imagine it is a decent bit more expensive to fire than a AK-103.

Thanks

Luke

simon said...

Not to get too far afield of this topic but the area of government I work in deals with immigration. Plans are already in the works for a 'mass migration' , read...Mexico, and the word is being passed that all bi lingual workers need to divulge that. The implications are obvious. If the mexicans cant control the drug cartels, Im sure I will be down on the border processing, Refugees.

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

The 20mm PAW is not a replacement for the assault rifle, Luke. The weapon was designed to complement the firepower of the section and to take out specific targets or engage enemy forces hiding behind vehicles, buildings, in caves and so on.

In close-up fighting, I will opt for the AK-47 as it is a weapon I used for a long time. We never fired it on automatic but instead used semi-automatic. A small team cannot afford to waste ammunition by indiscriminate automatic fire. The machineguns are there to give selective automatic fire.

The PAW is more expensive both as a weapon system and in terms of its ammunition but its results exceed that of cost – and lives. It psychological effect will add to the section’s ability to overcome and neutralise the enemy.

Rgds,

Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

A sad situation indeed, Simon. I only hope that the narco-wars can be won quickly and effectively. If not, their hold over governments and people will simply increase. Again, from where I am sitting, it still appears to me as though there is no coherent strategy to fight the drug wars – and they are wars in every sense of the word.

I hope you won’t find yourself down there processing refugees. But if you do, we wish you all the luck and hope you will stay safe.

Rgds,

Eeben

drew8ear said...

The US border strategy should be defensive, i.e., secure the border and only allow crossing at official points of entry. This is considered racist, so the government won't do its job. We already have 20 million refugees here and the Mexican government has never taken care of its people.

The PAW would be a more accurate complement to the M203 gernade launcher since it would be more accurate, but have a similar impact. It is awesome that they have figured out how to fire that caliber from the shoulder instead of from a platform or mounted system.

I've been enjoying your blog and I look forward to your book on Strategy.

Robby said...

Eeben I left SA 30 years ago not sure what it is I guess one could say it's a African thing but the urge to return of late has never been stronger also explains in a strange way why I joined your blog.....thanks brother!

He of difficult days said...

Aaaah

I see Tony is at it again with these guns??

Didn't Tony build the NTW too? Great Sniper rifle...

I think Tony Neophytou should go back to his native Cyprus and help the Greeks build guns like this.

Tony should not be building guns like this for the SANDF. The guns will be used against us soon

And why is wikki billing this as a GRENADE launcher?

Just my 2 cents

He of difficult days said...

According to Denel: They are developing a belt fed version of this rifle loaded with HE rounds.

Enough to mash up the enemy

Sigurdur said...

What do you think of the AA-12 shotgun? Especially in conjunction with the Frag-12 explosive round (with 200mm range).

As far as the 40mm MGL goes, the USMC has started testing a variant with a longer cartridge that is effective to 800m, with a 10m radius thermobaric warhead as an option.

The PAW sounds like a great weapon if you're fighting without air or artillery support against an enemy with enough body armor to defeat the ak-47; and could be a good way of destroying drones, and keeping enemy helicopters flying high enough that the fire from helicopter-mounted machineguns is ineffective.

In other words, anyone on the receiving end of a modern, high-tech military, who doesn't care about over-penetration. Presently, the favored weapon in this role is the RPG-7, followed by other standoff weapons such as mortars and command-detonated mines.

The famed 3-man Chechen hunter-killer teams may deploy two PAWs and an automatic such as the PKM or AK instead of two RPGs and an automatic as they do now.

I was under the impression that the posture of advanced military forces with precision artillery, air, and UAV support and body armor enter cities, provoke contacts with entrenched enemies, fix and suppress them, then use combined arms support to destroy the position, meaning that a fully automatic weapon without over-penetration issues accurrate to 600m (the 'danger close' distance for an artillery or air strike) is optimum for infantry.

I bet the PAW would have been awesome in Angola when the SAA had to operate in the face of an enemy who had airpower--what lessons about infantry tactics did you learn from being in a modern military on the receiving end of a modern air force?

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

The defensive border strategy you describe is the ideal but very difficult to implement and monitor, especially if the border length is great, drew8ear.

Yes, a lot of work went into the PAW and I believe that this weapon will soon become “standard” section issue in some armies.

Thanks for your comment re the blog – it is much appreciated.

Rgds,

Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

And there I was thinking you joined the blog as it is such an intellectual and stimulating read, Robby...

Folks either love Africa or hate it. Of course, our problems are multitude but once the continent is in your blood, you are doomed. To us who were born here, no matter where we are in the world, the heartbeat of Africa will call us back.

We’ll be seeing you soon.

Rgds,

Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Tony is a cleaver man, HODD. I know he was deeply involved in the NTW and he better not go back to Cyprus – he is after all a South African.

I am not sure why someone would claim it is a grenade launcher on Wiki – obviously the person doesn’t know the difference. Possibly they believe it a scaled-down version of the Russian AGS-17.

Rgds,

Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Denel do claim a lot of responsibility for something they never did, HODD. Yes, a bellt-fed version may be in thepipeline but it is not there yet.

The current system already fires HE and HEI rounds.

Rgds,

Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

I am always doubtful of a shotgun explosive round Sigurdur, especially as regards the shrapnel spread of such a round. But the shotgun has its place and should not be negated. However, terrain will dictate its deployment.

The extended range 40mm is already been used to great effect and I believe its 10m radius far exceeds that of the shotgun explosive round. But, due to its extended range, it requires a larger shell so the 40mm MGL was redesigned to accommodate it. This MGL is known as the MRGL.

The PAW will never replace the RPG-type weapons but will certainly, as you point out, add enormous flexibility to the forces using it. Fighting in Built-Up areas (FIBUA) presents many challenges but affords the enemy many advantages. I still believe that by-passing such areas offers a good advantage but that is sometimes simply not feasible.

But, like all things, tactics will dictate how the PAW is eventually used. It is however in my opinion an ideal weapon to take over once artillery fire ceases, but instead of being area-bound, it now becomes precision-bound.

Fighting without air superiority is certainly not fun. In my time, the Angolans did not have the technology that exists today and therefore, the night became neutral – but whoever exploited it, was assured of some success. But, tactics at especially mechnaised battle group level were altered to give some security under those conditions.

Rgds,

Eeben

He of difficult days said...

you tube has some footage of this PAW vs some barrels if anyone cares to see what it does.

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Thanks HODD. Unfortunately it is not really good footage but it does give an idea.

Rgds,

Eeben

simon said...

having studied our border issues, its a nice thought to say, put up a fence and keep them out. First off, I have sentiments similar but Im dispassionate about it due to my work.

There isnt a fence long enough or high enough to keep out the flow. Designated points are like locks for honest people. They dont stop the real criminals. Armed to the teeth, high tech equip. Sure you got the mom and pop human traffikers which the BP usually will confront. the real desperadoes are not directly engaged. There outgunning the BP.

The first step and only step that will set in motion reform on our border is getting past the PC establishment which runs so deep and is capable of tying up the govt with lawsuits till hell freezes over is the problem.

Sometimes you got to call a spade a spade and put the 20mm in action and take care of a nasty infection and dont look back when the terrs are lying in piles. There were plenty of 'no tresspassin' signs before you got there.

graycladunits said...

Dear Eeben:

What will the price tag for this new weapon be or what does the designer estimate that it will be?

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

It is the same all over the world, Simon. Honest folks stick to laws and procedures and criminals NEVER will. But, you must also realise that governments have been largely responsible for these mass migration problems and subsequent growth in crime. Because of taking such poor stances towards crime in general, criminals have armed themselves and have out-thought governments at many levels. Part of this has become known as “politically correct”.

Isn’t it strange how when one takes them on, it becomes politically incorrect and is a breach of their human rights but when they do something, there is no thought of human rights or being politically correct. And governments have allowed this.

Rgds,

Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

The arms business is a bit different than normal business, GCU. Whereas it will never be sold as an individual item to a civilian, it will be sold to governments. Prices will vary according to the customer’s requirements, ie sights, magazines, barrels, etc.

Unfortunately, I am not at liberty to give the price of the system. I can only do that if a government approaches me with an official request.

Rgds,

Eeben

matt said...

Very cool, and thanks for the review Eeben. You guys should get a youtube video going for this thing, because I would love to see it in action. Cheers.

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

There is some footage on YouTube Matt. I am not sure of the address but will look for it. The footage is somewhat grainy but it is beyond awesome.

Rgds,

Eeben

He of difficult days said...

dunno : the footage looked reasonable to me when i looked at it

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Our ADSL is pretty bad and when I last looked, it took me quite a while to download - no fault of their video footage but tahter TELKOM.

I will check again, HODD, but it was nevertheless impressive.

Rgds,

Eeben

Lexington Green said...

Here is the YouTube video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eu87AxzBf3Y

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Many thanks, Lexington Green. Much appreciated.

Rgds,

Eeben

Kelly said...

Hi Eeben!

I am not in the security business and probably don't have the sort of experience most of your bloggers do, so i would have preferred to send this directly to you - but i found no contact info., so here we go!

In the short time i have been reading your blog i've always enjoyed the thought provoking points of view expressed here. I don't always agree - but until now i've always respected the arguments given.

Did anybody read the actual document in the link "Police Trained Nationwide" Andrea posted? It looks (to my untrained eye) like a standard profiling document.

I use profiling everyday. A casino invaded my Southern California neighborhood 10 yrs ago, and brought all the riff-raff with it.

Now when i see a woman alone, in her car, sitting on my residential street anxiously calling somebody, i figure she's a prostitute.

I'm using profiling (female, alone, anxious demeanor, cell phone, known location, etc.)

I think profiling is being vilified here, and i really didn't expect that point of view in this forum.

I think it's more likely that somebody read the skewed synopsis (rather than the actual document that was distributed to law-enforcement) and had a knee-jerk reaction to the rhetoric.

For the record, i vote third party, and don't worry about state troopers knocking at my door.

Of course, now that i've posted on your site i'm probably under surveilance by the CIA, FBI, UN, DOD, ATF, and the IRS...

I have had some slight interaction with a few of these paramilitary guys - and my limited experience indicates that the profiling is pretty accurate *grin*

They have a serious preoccupation with owning unregistered illegal weapons so that when the government comes to take their weapons they won't have a list of them all.

Of course, they have a legitimate point - but that's another topic.

And yes, as an American i am very aware that our founding fathers fully expected us to be revolutionaries forever - not the "sleeping dogs" we have become.

However, if a state trooper is to do his job, and protect the people of his state, he should at least be aware of well-armed groups that don't respect the law as any kind of authority.

Profiling seems to be the quickest way to get the word out.

Just my civilian two-cents.

- Kelly

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Thanks for your comments, Kelly. Everyone, regardless of their profession is welcome to add their comments to this blog. I am also pleased to read that you don’t agree with everything I write – if everyone did, what would we be able to learn from one another?

I am a firm believer in profiling, so I actually learnt quite a bit from Andrea’s comment. My only concern is when profiling is used against law abiding citizens. It is then easy to read something else into such actions, but, again, I am no specialist on things in the US and can only equate it to me limited experience. However, we used profiling extensively when recruiting agents in the “old days” and it yielded very good results.

I am sorry to hear that you may now be targeted due to the fact that you visited and posted a comment on the blog. I have purposely refrained from giving my contact details as I receive a lot of mail on a daily basis and sometimes I cannot respond to each mail. Just trying to answer the comments on the blog eats up some time of my days – but I enjoy the comments as I learn a lot from them.

Thanks again for your comments.

Rgds,

Eeben

Steve - London said...

Hi Eeben,

A great weapon, light enough to jump with.

Another link, this one seems to be from Denel ?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=893y5mJe6KU

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Thanks for the link, Steve. Denel doesn’t manufacture anything – they simply market what others produce and claim it as their own – for a large profit, I may add.

Rgds,

Eeben

L said...

This looks nice, and I understand it's supposed to be a support weapon for a section like an M249 or a SMAW, something with punch. Still considering it's 20mm, how much ammo could the gunner carry?

Also, for the Americans who think Mexico is about to become a failed state, it is and it isn't, we've long since grown used to not depending on the authorities for law enforcement, but the situation near the border or along drug traffic routes isn't representative of the whole country. There's quite a bit of boring places in Mexico.

The only places that actually fit the "failed state" description are border towns and cities (North and south), and the state of Sinaloa.

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Carrying ammunition is dependent on the ability of the man carrying the weapon, L. I recall during some of our operations that we carried hundreds of rounds of ammu for ourselves, also carried some for the MGs and still some for the MGLs.

As the weapon is a support weapon to take out strong-points or specific targets, the gunner does not need to be carrying a hundred rounds. If deployed with a mechanised or motorised unit, so much more ammu can be carried as first-line reserve and second-line ammu.

As far as Mexico is concerned – I love the country. During my visit there, everyone was kind and helpful to me, no one gave me any problems and everyone was willing to help me where they could. I also don’t believe it is tottering on the verge of a failed state. Whereas the crime levels may be high – they are equally high if not higher in SA.

Rgds,

Eeben

L said...

Thank you for your well-reasoned response Eeben, I'm glad to see the "failed state" meme isn't as extended as I figured.

YOu mentioned the PAW would not be a replacement for RPG style weapons. Does that mean it wouldn't fare well against say, a BMP/BTR? I'm under the impression that it fulfills a similar niche, delivering explosive and penetrating firepower to counter unarmored/light armor, buttoned up buildings and machinegun positions. I'm also guessing this expands room for application of the mouseholing breaching tactic. So what would be the function that a rocket propelled grenade laucher could do better than the PAW?

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Whereas the PAW will certainly be able to take out light armoured vehicles, L, it does not have the same penetration as for example the RPG-29. It will therefore not be able to deliver the punch one needs to take out heavy armour such as tanks. It will however be highly effective against BTRs, BMPs, Casspirs, Ratels and other mechanised infantry fighting vehicles etc, on condition the round is correctly placed.

It will be able to provide a devastating blow to other softer skinned vehicles, fuel and ammu dumps, buildings, suspect sniper positions, enemy strong-points and such like. Not only that, the blow it will deliver to enemy troops holed up in caves, buildings, dense bush and such like will be devastating, not only in terms of casualties but also in morale.

Another advantage is cost of ammu: Rocket-propelled rounds are much more expensive to fire. Furthermore, the PAW has no back-blast signature to betray the position of the gunner.

Rgds,

Eeben

Tango said...

Todays news report

"US hostage freed unharmed
12/04/2009 21:55
An American ship captain has been freed unharmed in a swift firefight that killed three of the four Somali pirates who'd been holding him for days in a lifeboat"

Eeben,
It would have been nice to see what effect the 20mm PAW would have had in this instance !
An Overkill or just a guarantee that four instead of only three pirates being eliminated !

( I Can see the smile on Jame's face !I wish he was here to comment )

I must say your Blog has made me go back to my "trommel" and take me back to "happy days"paging through my photo albums etc.

I do not usually like reading,but really enjoy following the articles and comments on your blog .
What makes it more interesting is that i have very limited knowledge in the field of a professional soldier and most of your topics !
Regards
Tango

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

I am really happy that something was finally done to free the Captain, Tango. I am sure the PAW would have had some effect had it been available…Yes, James would no doubt have had something to say.

Good for you for going back to your “trommel” – I wish I still had some of my albums but they were all stolen by someone who no doubt had no use for them.

One does not need to have any knowledge on any subject to comment on the blog – everyone’s comments are welcome. So please don’t stop visiting or commenting.

Rgds,

Eeben

Tango said...

Eeben,
I am still enjoying your Blog.I hope you don't mind for me using a photo on our blog today of a group of fine brave soldiers- EO personnel who spearheaded the attack to recapture cacolo- 1994

Regards
Tango

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Thanks for still visiting, Tango. I am honoured to have you place a photo of some very brave EO men on your blog. Thank you for doing so.

Rgds,

Eeben

Tango said...

"Those men, and so many others like them stood up against tyrany and came home to make a country great. We owe each and every one of them a debt that we can never truly repay... it is because of Human Beings with such bravery, that the Flag still flies for Freedom and Justice ...
May God Bless them All"

Author unknown

I am now feeling homesick although i am home.
Regards
Tango

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

I know the feeling, Tango!

Rgds,

Eeben

goaheadbabe Red Beard said...

Hi Eeben! After several years did you collect impressions and opinions of you clients/partners about Neopup? If you can afford to talk of that. It doesn't seem to make a revolution yet in conservative arms industry where most of the technologies date past 50 years I guess. I was surprised to see 2 manufacturer's public videos displaying live shots at 50 meter distance. And they never reveal the back plate fragmentation effect. Some bitter critics in blogs claim a round have a big chance to deflect surfaces at longer distances provided it's shape and low velocity. One expert also claims SADF liked the weapon mostly as a breaching device with a blue ball round..

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Not really goaheadbabe Red Beard.
I suspect like many new weapon systems, people are somewhat sceptical of giving feedback as they fear it may require them to alter doctrine. Ironic, isn’t it.
Rgds,
Eeben

goaheadbabe Red Beard said...

Oh yes! Absolutely agree. I am sorry for my strange name: google tied together my nick names from YouTube and my e-mail. Actually I am Seryoga with a grey beard already.
I trust that arms industry is a very sophisticated web of connections where people just cannot ignore and damage multi-billion companies in favor of a single bright invention. As far as I know a first grenade launcher similar to MK19 was developed by a Russian designer and was used in a warfare in 1939. The designer was soon charged and sent to jail for false allegations. The weapon disappeared soon then..
And do you have an idea why they don't show the distance and the fragmentation effect on the videos? Could we suspect it would show some inferior results in real?

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

No problem whatsoever with your name, goaheadbabeRedBeard. People have called me stranger things!
I have no idea why they did not include range and fragmentation in their video. However, having fired the weapon myself, I can assure you that it is in no way inferior. I still maintain it is an excellent system and I would be very happy to have one in a small team.
Rgds,
Eeben

goaheadbabe Red Beard said...

Only one in a team? Could it be realistic to use Neopups instead of rifles in a small team? Say 4-6 Neopup soldiers with a support of a supersix MGL (extended range) gunner and a sniper? Neopup is in the middle of bulk and weight between a rifle and an MG. Ammo is expensive but it pays its price.. Sorry for my stupid question but an opinion of a veteran commander is priceless :)

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

There are never stupid questions, Red Beard.
I am a believer that weapons should suit the mission. I fail to see why troops are carrying weapons on missions that they are unlikely to use.
Also, to us a team consists of 4 men ie a stick. That is the building block we use. So in a stick, we would like to see 1 x 20mm assault rifle, 1 x MG, 1 x assault rifle with under-barrel 40mm and 1 x assault rifle. This gives the stick immense firepower and when 2 sticks are operating together, the firepower increases dramatically.
Snipers are utilised in specific missions and are not part of the stick.
Does that make sense?
Rgds,
Eeben

goaheadbabe Red Beard said...

Yes, Eeben, it makes a lot of sense. A man with a rifle can carry extras like a radio and explosives and/or a small drone set: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prioria_Robotics_Maveric.
A rifleman with under-barrel GL can serve special rounds like flares, smoke etc.
I believe SA combatants excel in guerrilla war tactics due to your hard history. And so do SA specially designed weapons such as MGL and PAW-20.
We can often see some sad or funny stories about modern armies when they try to fight rebels. E.g. Ukrainian army desperately fails to take over Chechen pro guerrillas in Eastern regions. And the army started bombarding civilian quarters with cassette air bombs and mortar shells what is just crazy.
As for the weapons you can see an example of a funny story of Carl Gustav tube being promoted as an excellent multi-purpose weapon. Coalition troops use it as a long range air-burst cannon in Afghanistan now. However I read real impressions of British marines in a forum of how bulky and exhausting this weapon is to carry and to crawl with. How deadly dangerous it is with a back blast etc. Then how many rockets you can carry with you into the battle? If only you didn't come in a truck full of ammo to shoot out from a comfortable standing position to a distant far away where there is your vulnerable enemy hopelessly hiding away. Just like in YouTube videos about American heroes fighting Taliban.
And a Bofors promotional video demonstrating Carl Gustav air-burst effect for the group of international experts. They launched some 5 or 6 air-bursting rockets to a small field with plastic containers spread around. 50 percent of containers were perforate (only!) as proudly announced the commentator. And this is probably a full load 2 men can carry..

goaheadbabe Red Beard said...

Eeben, risking to become a bore let me ask you if MGL (multiple grenade launcher) with extended 800 meter range can be a replacement of MG (machine gun like SS-70) in your stick?

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

I have seen some of these videos Red Beard and can only shake my head.
There is a saying that goes “It is better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it”. However, sometimes this is taken to the extreme, especially in unconventional warfare operations.
I still believe that weapons must be suited to the mission and the mission must not be bent to suit the weapons. That said, if we appreciate that we will encounter hard point-targets, then by all means carry a Carl Gustav or RPG-7.
It is one thing for mobile forces to have these weapons but dismounted infantry should be able to manoeuvre without bulky equipment.
Besides, if we insist on those weapons accompanying dismounted infantry, then deploy them with the reserve forces.
Rgds,
Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

I would not recommend it Red Beard as the MG is a weapon that is used to lay down suppressing fire and take on multiple targets whilst delivering fire support to manoeuvring infantrymen. The 40mm MGL ER does not have that ability.
Rgds,
Eeben

goaheadbabe Red Beard said...

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=_LZn95QumW8
Suppressive fire scene in a classic movie :)
However supersonic bullet bursts outmatch slow flying grenades in open terrain of course. And how did you use MGLs in your real operations, I'm curious?
I wish I could be younger and asked for joining your stick :) Being a sofa combatant is not much fun..

Sincerely,
Red Beard

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

When we were at war Red Beard, we didn’t yet have MGLs and made use of the single-shot M-79. The guy who carried that also carried an AK-47 (We used the weapons of our enemy as we were too far away to get ammunition resupplies). However, he had to use his ammunition sparingly as we could only get 40mm resup when we linked up with other forces. The M-79 was used primarily to take out individual point targets.
At one stage or another, we all become “armchair generals” so no problem in being a “sofa combatant”.
Rgds,
Eeben

goaheadbabe Red Beard said...

Dear Eeben. I'm curious if I can ask you more questions about infantry firearms and tactics how they are practically used? If it would be comfortable for you to waste some time to reply on that?

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

You never waste my time, Red Beard. Sadly though, I am not always able to respond quickly as I am either elsewhere engaged or travelling.
In terms of weapons and tactics, a short answer is that it is dictated by terrain. Terrain either allows us to use a weapon to best effect or it renders the weapon somewhat useless.
Rgds,
Eeben

goaheadbabe Red Beard said...

Thank you Eeeben for your support of my curiosity. And I can't help asking 2 specific questions out of your comments here above:
1. You wrote: The PAW packs a much more devastating punch than the 50 Cal rifle. You can see at neopup.co.za a clear penetration of 8mm RHA at 100 meter with APC round. And pmp.co.za shows a 20x42B data table where we can read the SAPHEI penetrates 6mm of armor plate. Another table there for 12.7x99mm shows that all AP rounds do penetrate 22mm armor plate while other 12.7 rounds do not show any penetration data.
It seems that a PAW rounds doesn't have as much energy as a much smaller 12.7 AP rounds

goaheadbabe Red Beard said...

2. You wrote that AK-47 is a weapon of you choice for several times. And I guess that SA R-5 and R-4 rifles are of better quality and more accurate than Chinese old fashioned AK-47. Then where do R-type rifles fall behind AK-47? 5.56 round vs 7.62? Or else?

As for CR-21 futuristic looking weapon I can assume its the best AK rifle ever. I read several evaluation articles from arms magazines and internet sites that CR-21 is not only lighter than other AK guns but it's very accurate with its x1 monocular sight (you can see a target through the aiming triangle with your both eyes open) and it's comfortable to handle. Only lefties can't use it at all. I'm puzzled why CR-21 didn't find any customers yet but District 9 movie makers?

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...


I am afraid some questions I am not always able to answer Red Beard.
The 20mm round the PAW uses is a short 20mm round. Given that it has a variety of different rounds, the test firing I did was with 20mm HE rounds and not 20mm AP rounds.
Rgds,
Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

I much prefer the 7, 62 x 39mm round to the 5,56 x 45mm round Red Beard.
I was very keen to get an R-4 when I was working on th mine warfare teams as it was much less cumbersome the an the old SADF R1 rifle (FN). However, it did not impress me in operations plus, where we were operating, we could not be resupplied if we used 5,56 weapons as we were often out of reach of air support or resupply. Our resupply was done off enemy bodies and caches.
I suspect that many soldiers in the Middle East have come to realise that a 7, 62 round carries a far better punch that a 5, 56 – especially when range becomes a factor.
Whereas the CR-21 looks kinky, it first needs to prove itself in combat but I doubt that will happen soon. I suspect District 9 used it because of its futuristic looks.
Rgds,
Eeben