Infantry Weapons- Follow Up Page
Further Ideas on Infantry Weapons
Soft-Launch Rockets for AFVs
An idea that I didn’t put in the original G2mil article was that of mounting a disposable launcher like the RPO on a bracket on the outside of a vehicle, maybe in an armoured box. This would be fired by cable or electrical circuit and form a sort of “One-shot Assault Gun.”
A variation of this as a light vehicle tank hunter role is shown at
For a modern version of the Wanze I’d include a smoke warhead and at least one HE-Frag rocket to suppress accompanying infantry.
One aspect of mounting infantry anti-tank weapons on AFVs is that some designs use captive piston systems and lightweight countershot to produce a weapon that has very little muzzle or backblast.
The muzzle blast of tank guns and even some light cannon such as the 25mm Bushmaster can be very dangerous to friendly infantry operating close to the vehicle. A pod of “soft-launch” rockets or missiles mounted on the side of a turret gives the vehicle gunner an alternate option for destroying buildings or vehicles when support infantry are in close proximity.
Another idea about grenades using Nipolit can be found here.
The idea of ManDet devices was Carlton Meyer’s and has a lot to recommend it.
“ManDet fuses would be ideal for disposing of captured enemy ammunition, or using them in defensive positions. However, ammunition comes in several different sizes, and supplying the correct sizes of ManDet fuses may cause problems. The solution is for each ManDet fuse kit to include several plastic adapters so it can be screwed into many different types of ammunition. The kit may also include the couple hundred feet of wire needed to fire the fuse. ManDet fuse kits are an extremely low-tech tool which can greatly increase the defensive power in infantrymen. They provide an easy way of disposing of ammunition during a retreat, or commando attack. However, their biggest value would be in regular defensive positions. Infantrymen would become less dependent on artillerymen to deliver accurate fires when needed once grunts could fire their own artillery rounds”.
An obvious choice for constructing ManDet fused charges would be captured munitions that cannot be chambered in friendly weapons.
It occurred to me that the device would have to deal with a great variety of Western and Russian/ Chinese screw threads.
My solution was that the ManDet should take the form of a 1.5-2" diameter hemisphere holding a small shaped charge. On either side of the ManDet would be a spool with about a foot of adhesive tape. The base of the dome is placed on the outside of (say) a shell and secured in place with the two lengths of tape. The power of the charge is sufficient to penetrate the shell’s casing and initiate the primer charge. The soldier will need to have some knowledge of the shell’s construction, but “place the ManDet just behind the pointy bit” is pretty good advice.
As well as being electrically detonated the ManDet should also have a manual pull-igniter with a short delay. This will be useful for applications such as booby traps or converting mortar bombs into hand grenades. Tying a long cord to the pull ring may sometimes be easier than wiring the ManDet to a battery.
It’s pretty obvious that ManDets will find other applications.
- On their own they will probably be ideal for blasting door locks.
- They can be used to initiate charges of plastic explosive or explosive foam.
- Parked aircraft or vehicles would be very vulnerable to ManDets taped over their fuel tanks.
- Heavy infantry weapons or electronic equipment in danger of capture can be destroyed by a correctly placed ManDet.
- Improvised grenades can be made by wrapping the ManDet’s tape around a brick of C4.
ManDets of this pattern would be very versatile and simple to use. Half a dozen would easily fit in a jacket pocket.
As is so often the case, my friend Ed was the first to draw my attention to this concept.
Apparently explosive foam is being considered for the peacetime clearing of mine fields.
Ed’s first idea was of teams of commandos squirting the stuff into the intakes of parked jet fighters. It’s possible, though preferably commandos would use stand-off weapons such as missiles, AMRs and mortars.
Sleeping on the idea, I came up with the possibility of a “High Explosive Squirt Head (HESqH)” or HE-Foam warhead for anti-tank weapons or tank guns. This works rather like a HESH round, but the foam would cover a greater area and tend to seep under the rims of hatches or through engine louvres.
Ed makes the further comments:
“A can of explosive foam, if it was reasonably safe to carry, would be damned handy munition in MOUT or police situations, because you could control the amount of bang.
Spritz just a tiny gob into a padlock and fire it. Run a bead of it down a door jamb and blow the door off its hinges. Whoosh a grapefruit-sized ball of it on the ground as you retreat and touch it off w/ a tracer as the baddies round the corner. If you face a really big demolition task, a squad will be carrying six or seven cans and you can combine them for a proper blam.
Commerce Business Daily re-posted the US Army’s request for a wall-breaching system for MOUT. They want something simple to use, not over 20 lbs, that will blow a man-size gap in at least an 8" concrete wall. They also want it to blow in doors presumably, heavy armored doors.
Seems to me the foam splodge weapon is just right for this, and existing light anti-armour weapons are the ticket for delivering it, w/ say an option for quietly taping the warhead to the barrier; we’ll build in a manual fuse setting for this application.”
The SMAW system that I suggest for infantry platoons would be an ideal system for delivering such HE-foam rounds, the same round being used for both anti-armour and breaching operations.
A standard aerosol-sized can should hold several cubic metres of foam. The foam would have to be pretty gooey to prevent it being blown about in strong winds.
Adhesive Smoke Rounds Revisited
In the TV series “Band of Brothers”, an account of the US 101st Division’s operations in Europe, there is an incident where the paratroop infantry spot a Tiger tank in a town and try to get an approaching British tank to fire upon it. The tank commander comments:
“I don’t disbelieve you old boy, but I can’t shoot at what I can’t see, can I?”
Such situations are just as likely in modern combat, but the results will be different if the infantry have Adhesive Smoke Grenades available. Even if the tank tries to change position after being marked the column of smoke will betray it. This smoke will also obscure the crew’s vision, and if they decide to unbutton the infantry will be certain to take advantage.
I’ve suggested that the Adhesive Smoke Grenade might use napalm, giving it a wider range of uses and making being hit by one even more of a problem for a vehicle.
Ed had his own variation of the adhesive smoke round, which is to use it in higher-velocity weapons rather like spotting rifle rounds, but with contents that stick to the target and emit smoke for a longer duration. The capacity of a rifle or .50 calibre round would be small, but this may be offset by using them in machine guns. Another idea is to create a 20mm version for use with AMRs such as the NTW20. 25mm and 30mm versions could be used in IFV armament and a 40mm shell for Carlton’s 40mm Scout-Snipers.
Mini-Claymore Mines and DGLs
M18 Claymore mines are useful and popular weapons (at least with the side using them!). A smaller version of the Claymore might be acceptable if so dimensioned that one or more would fit in a medium utility pouch. The result would be about the size of a paperback book. The M2 SLAM fills this role, but rightly or wrongly is mainly for issue to special forces.
Novel construction techniques might be used to make a mine that is lighter, simpler and cheaper. The mine might be made from a slab of nipolit with pre-formed fragments embedded in one side. The mine might have flechettes instead. A grey and brown waterproof plastic cover would fit over the explosive slab and the back would have hanging loops, adhesive pads and a simple fold out stand like a picture frame. This stand would use universal joints so the mine can be positioned in a variety of orientations. It would be bored with holes for screws, pegs or nails. The glue used for adhesive mouse traps appears to be very strong but does not dry out quickly, allowing it to be used more than once if the backing is replaced. The mine can therefore be quickly attached to walls or tree trunks or hung over doorways.
These mines might also use the sensor systems suggested for Trip Mines, and might be used in the same way.
Claymores and mini-claymores could be used in conjunction with planted DGLs. The Claymores and mini-claymores blast the closest personnel while the DGLs throw grenades into the more distant parts of the formation.
Claymores are factory-packed “backwards;” i.e., to be emplaced from the firing position to the mine position, with the excess wire left at the mine. This is corrected by removing all the firing wire from the plastic spool, discarding the spool, re-rolling the wire “S”- or “Figure-8”-fashion, and replacing it in the bag so as to enable the mine to be emplaced first and the wire laid back to the firing position. The clacker with circuit tester attached is preconnected to the firing wire and stowed in the mine pouch.’
As well as acting as a trigger mechanism, a motion detector or similar could be positioned on a perimeter to alert a sentry that someone was close to an emplaced Claymore or trip mine. Compact fibre-optic cameras could also be positioned near the mines, allowing a remote operator to trigger mines when they are likely to be most effective. This would feed into devices like laptop computers or video mobile phones.
Since I first wrote this article, a company has offered a “MM-1 Minimore”. Size is 125mm x 75mm x 38mm, mass 0.4 kg/ 14.5 oz, and one third the volume of the M18 Claymore. “It produces a narrower arc of fragments than the claymore mine, according to the manufacturer: at 50 feet (15 m) it produces a pattern 16 feet (4.9 m) wide and two feet high, compared with a 50-foot (15 m) wide pattern for the claymore mine at the same distance.”
I have also come across information on the CDM-1A Claymorette used in Vietnam. A score or more of these two-inch square devices could be fitted to the side of a truck (right).
Improvised “Bouncing Betty”
Bouncing Bettys are mines that fire a fragmentation charge up in the air to explode at chest height. They are most useful if detonated when surrounded by enemy personnel.
A Bouncing Betty can be improvised using a DGL, a few feet of wire and a hand grenade or rifle-handgrenade with the multi-option fuse that I have suggested.
The grenade fuse is set to “booby trap” and a wire tied to the pull-ring. The other end is secured to the DGL and the assembly buried in a hole, with the hand grenade on top.
The firing of the DGL throws the hand grenade up into the air and it detonates when the wire pulls-out the pin. Several seconds later the DGL projectile will fall to earth in the general vicinity, causing more distress for the unit that triggered the Betty.
A similar device can be built by using an inverted ManDet instead of the DGL.
Erik Manders writes:
....explosive foam, in spray cans? While this might work (and if it sticks, so much the better!) it could be improved somewhat. What would you think of a caulking gun filled with an explosive paste that becomes sticky on air exposure? It would allow for precision, to fill locks for instance, and for quick and dirty work, to apply an entry charge. If you need an impromptu demo charge you could use the paste cartridge with a detonator up the spout. Hell, you could even lay down a glue pad for the cartridge first.