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  #1  
Old 02-07-2011, 12:53 PM
DCnDC DCnDC is offline
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How much ammo do US soldiers usually carry?

This will probably turn into a discussion of the movie and end up in CS, but I'm watching Black Hawk Down right now and I'm wondering how did they have enough ammo to last all that time?

There was a scene at the beginning showing the soldiers preparing and many of them were leaving equipment behind because they only expected to be out for a couple of hours. I'm aware that a bunch of men went back to base and then returned to the fight, but it appeared that most of them only had what they initially brought and ended up out there for more than an entire day, fighting for the majority of that time.

I didn't read the book but I know that it and the movie are a recounting of a real event, so I'm wondering what the reality of it was (I'm aware the movie was not an absolutely accurate portrayal), in particular how much ammo US soldiers would typically carry into a situation like that.
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  #2  
Old 02-07-2011, 01:11 PM
silenus silenus is offline
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The number varies based on projected intensity of combat, availability of resupply, etc. But the last time I looked, the basic load-out was 210 rounds.
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  #3  
Old 02-07-2011, 01:22 PM
SanDiegoTim SanDiegoTim is offline
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Can vary widely depending on the mission. When the M16 was brought into service in the mid 60's its smaller round (5.56 mm) allowed for more to be carried (vs. the 7.62 round used in the M14).
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Old 02-07-2011, 02:32 PM
Todderbob Todderbob is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by silenus View Post
The number varies based on projected intensity of combat, availability of resupply, etc. But the last time I looked, the basic load-out was 210 rounds.
This is what I was lead to believe.

But, because I've heard that typically coupled with the following: much of it is carried in Stripper Clips, not magazines, that way you can carry more ammunition in a smaller space (and it's lighter).

Do you have knowledge of whether that's accurate or not?
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  #5  
Old 02-07-2011, 02:38 PM
hdc_bst hdc_bst is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Todderbob View Post
This is what I was lead to believe.

But, because I've heard that typically coupled with the following: much of it is carried in Stripper Clips, not magazines, that way you can carry more ammunition in a smaller space (and it's lighter).

Do you have knowledge of whether that's accurate or not?
For only the basic load all ammo would be in magazines - load bearing equipment typically has two three magazine pouches + 1 in the weapon. Additional magazines stored in a vehicle are also quite common.

When planning for a multiple day dismounted mission it seems reasonable to bring clips in addition to the basic load, but I've only ever been a commuter.
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Old 02-07-2011, 03:59 PM
srzss05 srzss05 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Todderbob View Post
This is what I was lead to believe.

But, because I've heard that typically coupled with the following: much of it is carried in Stripper Clips, not magazines, that way you can carry more ammunition in a smaller space (and it's lighter).

Do you have knowledge of whether that's accurate or not?
I was never in a combat situation, but the typical loads we would carry back in the 80s was 7 magazines of 30 rounds each.
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  #7  
Old 02-07-2011, 04:40 PM
Mk VII Mk VII is offline
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Depends how far you have to go, how much else you will have to bring, (radio batteries, mortar shells, water, warm clothing, several days rations). This was supposed to be a quick snatch and back in time for tea and medals. If they'd planned for a prolonged fight they would have brought a lot more ammo, as much as you can carry.
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  #8  
Old 02-07-2011, 04:53 PM
Stranger On A Train Stranger On A Train is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Todderbob View Post
This is what I was lead to believe.

But, because I've heard that typically coupled with the following: much of it is carried in Stripper Clips, not magazines, that way you can carry more ammunition in a smaller space (and it's lighter).

Do you have knowledge of whether that's accurate or not?
Do people actually carry 5.56x45mm on stripper clips? I've seen them stored and loaded from strippers, but I think it would be hard to load them in the field, and the clips themselves could be easily damaged. I'd much rather carry the extra weight of a STAANG magazine than try to load from clips.

As for the loadout, seven magazines is typical, but the real answer is as much as they can beg, borrow, steal, and carry. Nobody ever emerged from a firefight saying, "Gee, I wish I hadn't brought so much ammo."

Stranger
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  #9  
Old 02-07-2011, 05:30 PM
Fubaya Fubaya is offline
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210 rounds is the standard loadout in the Army and Marines, and for all I know probably every government service that carries the M16/M4. It's probably written in stone somewhere that 210 is the lucky number. But that's just the standard minimum number. Any soldier can carry more.
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  #10  
Old 02-07-2011, 05:45 PM
DCnDC DCnDC is offline
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210 seems to be the consensus number. Thanks!

Follow-up question: obviously it will vary from soldier to soldier and situation to situation, but how long could you expect those 210 rounds to last in an extended, Black Hawk Down-type firefight?
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  #11  
Old 02-07-2011, 05:45 PM
MichaelEmouse MichaelEmouse is offline
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Not US but a very similar country: 5 mags of 30 rounds plus 150 in clips for a total of 300.

Stranger: Yep, I'd rather carry the weight of the mag too but often, the number of mags carried is determined by the tactical vest worn. If the procurement people decided you were getting a vest with 4 mag pouches, you get 4+1 (in the weapon) mags. Mags aren't so much heavy as they are awkward to carry unless you have mag pouches.

Also, don't forget that squad members often carry ammo for the MG. For me, it was two belts of 100 rounds of 5.56.



Thread semi-tangent:
How much is typical for 5.56 and 7.62 MGs on the levels of the MGer, his team, squad, platoon?


DC:
What I was taught is that in slow fire, an AR will shoot about 5 rounds per minute. In rapid fire, it's 20. These are very much ballpark numbers.

I would think it has a lot to do with the number of targets and how close they are. I'm sure you can find Youtube videos that will give you an impression of the practical rate of fire.

Last edited by MichaelEmouse; 02-07-2011 at 05:48 PM..
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  #12  
Old 02-07-2011, 05:46 PM
drachillix drachillix is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DCnDC View Post
This will probably turn into a discussion of the movie and end up in CS, but I'm watching Black Hawk Down right now and I'm wondering how did they have enough ammo to last all that time?
210 shots is quite a bit when you are popping off aimed shots at occasional targets. You dont just empty a magazine every time you see something twitch.

I saw a statistic somewhere that about 2% of all rounds fired in war actually hit a target, so that said if the average US soldier kills/incapacitates 4 of the enemy with his 210 rounds expended, 4-1 is one hell of a kill ratio. I would be willing our current forces do better than that on average.
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  #13  
Old 02-07-2011, 08:13 PM
paperbackwriter paperbackwriter is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drachillix View Post
I saw a statistic somewhere that about 2% of all rounds fired in war actually hit a target, so that said if the average US soldier kills/incapacitates 4 of the enemy with his 210 rounds expended, 4-1 is one hell of a kill ratio. I would be willing our current forces do better than that on average.
I don't think you can make the two statistics do that, really. It's not that I doubt that 2% of rounds fired hit a target (I wouldn't even doubt half or a quarter of that), but that most fires are suppressive, not targeted. "Making the other guy keep his head down" isn't really the same thing as "trying to kill the other guy." You use the first to reach a position from which you can achieve the second, certainly, but that doesn't mean that all that lead you're throwing is really expected to find a target.
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  #14  
Old 02-08-2011, 02:12 PM
Bear_Nenno Bear_Nenno is offline
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Forgive my concise answer, but I just spent an hour typing up a response and I just lost the fucking thing. Here's the ammunition load for a basic, 5-6 hour everyday type mission my patrol would carry.
Only the M4s are carrying 210 rounds.

12 M4s with 210 rounds each
2 M249s with 800-1000 rounds each
1 M240 with 800-1200 rounds
1 M320, and 2 M203 with 84 rounds of 40mm HE/DP total
1 M9 with 30 rounds
2 Anti-Tank or Bunker Busting rockets
1 long range M14 with 40 rounds
ETA: 6 hand grenades

Staying out longer, we would carry more. Obviously. Especially multi-day missions.

Stripper Clips: Never happens. Ammo doesn't leave the wire on stripper clips. Magazines weigh nothing compared to the weight of the ammo. If you're going to bring it, you bring it loaded into a magazine. Put the extra mags in your back pack.
Helicopter resupplies are simple. Ammunition and water can just be kicked out of a bird.

In the movie, remember they specifically left behind extra weight like armor plates and NVGs to carry Extra ammunition.

Numbers above are for a dismounted airborne or light infantry unit. Vehicles can carry a shit ton of extra ammo and supplies.

Last edited by Bear_Nenno; 02-08-2011 at 02:15 PM.. Reason: forgot the grenades
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  #15  
Old 02-08-2011, 02:31 PM
Todderbob Todderbob is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bear_Nenno View Post
Stripper Clips: Never happens. Ammo doesn't leave the wire on stripper clips. Magazines weigh nothing compared to the weight of the ammo. If you're going to bring it, you bring it loaded into a magazine. Put the extra mags in your back pack.
Helicopter resupplies are simple. Ammunition and water can just be kicked out of a bird.
Thanks, that's a question that's been bugging me for a while.
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  #16  
Old 02-08-2011, 02:44 PM
Bear_Nenno Bear_Nenno is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelEmouse View Post
How much is typical for 5.56 and 7.62 MGs on the levels of the MGer, his team, squad, platoon?
We don't consider the M249 a machinegun, just a "Squad Automatic Weapon". Basica combat load for it is 1000 rounds. One 200 round drum in the weapon and 4 more on the kit. In practice, it is usually one 100 round pounch on the weapon and 800 rounds on the person.

For the M240B Machine gun, the basic combat load is 900 rounds. In practice, it is around 1000 rounds divided among the three man gun team. If it's a longer mission, other people will start carrying 100 round belts in their their packs for when the MG team gets low.

Also, some missions have us bringing a mortar team along with us. They don't seem to ever carry ANY of their own rounds. The mortar tube and base plate are pretty heavy themsleves. So almost everyone adds a mortar round to their pack for the mortar team.
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Old 02-08-2011, 03:31 PM
JerseyMarine2092 JerseyMarine2092 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bear_Nenno View Post
We don't consider the M249 a machinegun, just a "Squad Automatic Weapon". Basica combat load for it is 1000 rounds. One 200 round drum in the weapon and 4 more on the kit. In practice, it is usually one 100 round pounch on the weapon and 800 rounds on the person.

For the M240B Machine gun, the basic combat load is 900 rounds. In practice, it is around 1000 rounds divided among the three man gun team. If it's a longer mission, other people will start carrying 100 round belts in their their packs for when the MG team gets low.

Also, some missions have us bringing a mortar team along with us. They don't seem to ever carry ANY of their own rounds. The mortar tube and base plate are pretty heavy themsleves. So almost everyone adds a mortar round to their pack for the mortar team.
On the subject of mortars... the Marine Corps' ILBE packs even have special pouches to carry the mortar rounds while they're still in their cardboard containers.

Last edited by JerseyMarine2092; 02-08-2011 at 03:32 PM..
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  #18  
Old 02-08-2011, 03:43 PM
Irishman Irishman is offline
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With regards to Black Hawk Down, remember that during the nightime, the helicopters went into constant suppression runs. Basically minigunning the opposing force in waves all through the night. That meant the soldiers on the street were largely keeping their heads down and out of sight. There was a little up close action until the helicopter runs kicked off.

Once the caravan showed up, there was ammo resupply.
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  #19  
Old 02-08-2011, 04:04 PM
Tristan Tristan is offline
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I haven't read the book yet (it's on my kindle, just haven't gotten to it) but keep in mind also that the movie is gonna have dramatic firefights, with lots of explosions and cool stuff, because it's a movie.

I have no doubt in my mind that it was a dramatic sitution, but I doubt those guys were running full rock and roll the whole time.
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  #20  
Old 02-08-2011, 04:26 PM
Throatwarbler Mangrove Throatwarbler Mangrove is offline
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If MichealEMouse is talking about the Canadian army, the stripper clip thing was really more of a peace time training expedient. 30 round magazines are dangerous restricted weapons, after all, and we know that if you give the soldier any more than the bare minimum he needs to get through the exercise, you're just asking him to lose more valuable equipment in the snow and cause more tedious paperwork. I suppose its also possible that some people way up in the chain probably thought we were still running at each other with FN FALs and 5 mags was a reasonable figure for those.

The folks in Afghanistan get as many magazines as they need (see Bear's post).

Last edited by Throatwarbler Mangrove; 02-08-2011 at 04:27 PM..
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  #21  
Old 02-08-2011, 07:35 PM
Ibanez Ibanez is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bear_Nenno View Post
<snip>Forgive my concise answer, but I just spent an hour typing up a response and I just lost the fucking thing. Here's the ammunition load for a basic, 5-6 hour everyday type mission my patrol would carry.
Only the M4s are carrying 210 rounds.

12 M4s with 210 rounds each
2 M249s with 800-1000 rounds each
1 M240 with 800-1200 rounds
1 M320, and 2 M203 with 84 rounds of 40mm HE/DP total
1 M9 with 30 rounds
2 Anti-Tank or Bunker Busting rockets
1 long range M14 with 40 rounds
ETA: 6 hand grenades
You sure you guys should be given out this type of information on the internet ?

[facebook]Julian Assange likes this ![/facebook]
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  #22  
Old 02-08-2011, 08:03 PM
smithsb smithsb is offline
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All that data is available on the intertubes. Also, different missions might dictate additional troops like engineers for demolition, air defense with Stingers, an 81 or 120mm mortar platoon, shotguns, TOW missiles, maybe Javelins, etc... A lot is different for regular infantry, artillery, armor, transportation units, dental and med folks.
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  #23  
Old 02-08-2011, 08:16 PM
Sleel Sleel is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bear_Nenno View Post
We don't consider the M249 a machinegun, just a "Squad Automatic Weapon". Basica combat load for it is 1000 rounds. One 200 round drum in the weapon and 4 more on the kit. In practice, it is usually one 100 round pounch on the weapon and 800 rounds on the person.

For the M240B Machine gun, the basic combat load is 900 rounds. In practice, it is around 1000 rounds divided among the three man gun team. If it's a longer mission, other people will start carrying 100 round belts in their their packs for when the MG team gets low.

Also, some missions have us bringing a mortar team along with us. They don't seem to ever carry ANY of their own rounds. The mortar tube and base plate are pretty heavy themsleves. So almost everyone adds a mortar round to their pack for the mortar team.
The best information I’ve found on modern equipment weight for soldiers says that a combat load maxes out at around 80–90 lbs. which seems pretty damn heavy if you need to be able to move with any kind of speed. The figures I’ve seen for shorter missions is about 1/2 to 2/3 of that.

Is that about right, in your experience? What is your typical loadout weight for patrols vs. longer deployments? I’m guessing that food/water weight is kept pretty minimal considering the weight of all the other equipment, especially ammo; maybe a couple of meals plus about 1–2 days water (3–4 l)?
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  #24  
Old 02-09-2011, 09:50 AM
JerseyMarine2092 JerseyMarine2092 is offline
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Originally Posted by Sleel View Post
The best information I’ve found on modern equipment weight for soldiers says that a combat load maxes out at around 80–90 lbs. which seems pretty damn heavy if you need to be able to move with any kind of speed. The figures I’ve seen for shorter missions is about 1/2 to 2/3 of that.

Is that about right, in your experience? What is your typical loadout weight for patrols vs. longer deployments? I’m guessing that food/water weight is kept pretty minimal considering the weight of all the other equipment, especially ammo; maybe a couple of meals plus about 1–2 days water (3–4 l)?
Here's a good report on this: http://thedonovan.com/archives/moder...LoadReport.pdf

The report talks about 3 types of load: fighting load, approach load, and emergency approach load. They each have more things in them and build on top of the other. The report breaks it down for essentially everyone in the rifle company, but here's the common grunts:



Quote:
Equipment Common to Riflemen:
A. Worn on Body/Uniform:
• M4 Carbine with PEQ-2 Laser/PAQ-4 Laser, ACOG/CCO, and 30 rounds of 5.56mm ball
ammunition.
• Desert Camouflage Uniform with Infrared Tape on left sleeve (1”x1”).
• Desert Combat Boots.
• Dog Tags.
• ID Card.
• Undershirt.
• Socks.
• Tactical gloves.
• Interceptor Body Armor with two Small Arms Protective Inserts.
• Advanced Combat Helmet with night vision mounting plate.
• Rigger belt.
• Notebook and pen.
• Watch.
• Knee and elbow pads.
• Sun, Sand, and Dust type Goggles or Wiley-X Goggles.
• Folding Knife/Multi-tool.
B. Worn on Fighting Load Carrier/Interceptor Body Armor:
• MOLLE Fighting Load Carrier with modular MOLLE pouches.
• 180 rounds of 5.56mm ball ammunition.
• Bayonet.
• Fragmentation grenade.
• 64 ounces of water in two 1-quart canteens.
• 100 ounces of water in a hydration bladder.
• Casualty and witness cards.
• Flex cuffs for personnel under custody.
• Night vision equipment (PVS-14/PVS-7).
• Iodine tablets.
• Lensatic compass.
• Flashlight.
• Chemlight.
• First Aid dressing and pouch.
• Canteen Cup.
• Earplugs.
C. Carried in Assault Rucksack:
• MOLLE Assault Rucksack or commercial assault rucksack, with MOLLE attachments.
• 500ml intravenous fluids bag with starter kit.
• 70 ounces of water in a second hydration bladder.
• Two Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs).
• Poncho and/or Bivy Sack.
• Poncho liner.
• Undershirt.
• Spare batteries.
• Two pair of socks.
• Polypropylene or silk long sleeve undershirt.
• M4/M16 Rifle Cleaning Kit.
• Personal hygiene kit.
• Rubber gloves.
• Sling rope with two snap links.
D. Carried in Main Rucksack: (Main rucksacks were rarely taken on operations during
study)
• MOLLE main rucksack with Sleeping Bag Carrier or Large ALICE rucksack.
• Modular Sleeping Bag (one bag per two men).
• Long Polypropylene Underwear of Fleece Jacket and Bibs.
• Two Undershirts.
• Two pairs of socks.
• Cold Weather Gloves.
• Knit/Fleece Cap.
• Additional ammunition.
• Two Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs).
• Sleeping pad.
Special Equipment:
• Lock pick (B).
• Collapsible Riot Baton (B).
• Bolt cutters (C or D).
• Metal detecting wand (C or D).
• 60mm mortar round (C or D).
• Combat Lifesaver Kit (C).
• Personnel Under Custody (PUC) Kit (sand bags, flex cuffs, trash bags, PUC cards, rubber
gloves) (C).
• AT4 Anti-armor Weapon. (C or D).
• SMAW-D Bunker Defeat Weapon. (C or D).
• Hooligan Tool. (C or D).
• Sledgehammer. (C or D).
• Entrenching Tool. (C or D).
• M18 Claymore Mine. (C or D).
• Pole-less Litter. (C or D).
• 200 rounds of 5.56mm linked ammunition for M249 SAW. (C or D).
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