Sunday, June 14, 2015

Marine Snipers...underfunded and outgunned...time for a Ground Combat Element advocate...

MAJOR hat tip to Matthew for this article!

via Washington Post.
It was the summer of 2011 in southern Helmand province, Afghanistan, and mission after mission, Sgt. Ben McCullar of Third Battalion, Second Marines, would insert with his eight-man sniper team into the berms and dunes north of the volatile town of Musa Qala.
Sometimes they would fire at a group of enemy fighters, sometimes the enemy would fire at them first, but almost immediately, McCullar explained, their team would be pinned down by machine guns that outranged almost all of their sniper rifles.
“They’d set up at the max range of their [machine guns] and start firing at us,” McCullar said. “We’d take it until we could call in [close air support] or artillery.”
Then this...
“Sometimes we could see the [Taliban] machine gunners, and we really couldn’t engage them,” McCullar said. He added that if Marines had different weapons, such as a .300 Winchester Magnum or a .338, their accuracy would be much improved.
The Army, for instance, adopted the .300 Win Mag as its primary sniper rifle cartridge in 2011, and it fires 300 yards farther than the Marines’ M40, which uses a lighter .308-caliber bullet.
And finally this...
Sgt. J.D. Montefusco, a former Marine Special Operations Training Group instructor, recounted a mountain sniper course in which he participated with a number of British Royal Marines during training in the rugged terrain of Bridgeport, Calif. Montefusco said the Marine snipers in the course were technically more proficient than their British counterparts, but since the weather was terrible and the British had rifles that fired a heavier bullet, the Marines paid the price.
“Pretty much all the Marines failed,” Montefusco said. “And the Brits just had a heavier round, they didn’t have to worry nearly as much as we did when it came to factoring in the weather.”
Story here.

You know my feelings about Marine Snipers.

I consider them TRUE combat multipliers, guardian angels and an elite within an elite.

But this is disturbing.  This is what happens when you have an aviation Commandant that turned the Marine Corps into an aviation centric organization.

What is the answer to issues like this?

The ground guys need an advocate just like aviation gets.  Its time for an Assistant Commandant for the Ground Combat Element.

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