I was torn whether this should be in Cafe Society or here. I believe it does have a factual answer.
In shooter type video games, e.g. Call of Duty, a big part of the game consists in scavenging weapons and ammo from fallen enemies to use in subsequent battles.
How true to life is this? I would suspect nowadays that soldiers are properly armed and equipped when they go into battle, and searching corpses and boxes on the battlefield for ammo would be a crazy move, not worth the risk of getting shot while fumbling with it. Not to mention they might be booby-trapped. But since I’ve never been anywhere near a real war zone, I have no idea.
So, does this type of thing happen on a modern battlefield? Would it have happened during past conflicts?
Soldiers do scavenge gun and ammo, but usually on a much more controlled basis. Also, they don’t usually have to kill an army of the enemy on their own, so they really won’t need 50,000 rounds over the course of the war.
Sure it happens, but not nearly to the extent in games. Video game weapons always come with a fixed amount of ammo, and magazines don’t need to be refilled. Soldiers might want souvenirs, as happened in WWII. Sometimes enemy weapons might be superior. Generally speaking, opposing troops tend to use completely different weapons and calibers, generally M-16/M-4 vs. AK-47/74 etc. I have heard it said that American troops considered the AK to be much more reliable in jungle conditions in Vietnam. However, the distinct sounds of each weapon tend to cause an increase in friendly fire incidents.
I seem to recall reading, early in the Iraq war, of a decorated soldier who ended up using something like five different scavenged enemy weapons during the course of a single battle. Unfortunately, I can’t remember enough details to search on.
You’re probably thinking specifically of the Battle of Stalingrad, in which the first waves of Soviet reinforcements crossing the Volga were so poorly-equipped that they were instructed to recover weapons from the dead once they reached the other side. Stalingrad was some nasty business.
I was just thinking this exact thing. I’m playing Call of Duty 4 (spoilers in link I think, totally awesome game), and recovering the right weapon sometimes turns the next 5 minutes in to a doable job instead of a tricky nightmare.
For instance, you typically start out with an assault rifle and a pistol. Unless it’s a silenced pistol and you’re going house-to-house, I ditch it right away for an AK or a sniper rifle or something with a grenade launcher 'cause it’s going to be way more useful.
In practice though, this would require abandoning issued gear, trusting in the enemy’s maintenance and ammo supply, ladening yourself with heavy tools you might not need, being familiar with the ranges/trigger operation/etc. of all-and-sundry, and would require you to anticipate needs very accurately. (Which I can do 'cause I got my ass shot up at least 20 times by that point.)
Also I hope the average Marine isn’t being asked to clear a safehouse, destroy a tank, snipe an arms dealer and Sidewinder a helicopter all in an afternoon. :dubious:
But it gets somewhat refuted here by people who claim to be on active duty:
Seems to be that in general, this is for video games only, or at least that’s the impression I’m getting from the military types.
Damn, next you’ll be telling me you can’t pick up a health pack and restore yourself to full strength in the field, or guzzle down a bottle of strange fluid with a red cross on the front and be brought back from the brink of death
I present to you Brian Chontosh. I still don’t know why he was given the NAvy Cross and not the Medal of Honor.
Basic combat load for an M16/M4 is 210 rounds. 6 magazines of 30 rounds plus the one in the weapon. Those going on combat operations try to carry more but it is a weight issue. By the book the last phase of combat involves things like taking care of the wounded, prisoners and also to cross level ammuntion within the unit. So unless it is an emergency that is when the ammo is taken from the wounded and from those that didn’t fire much.
I have been it Iraq for 6 months now and I have never seen an American firing an AK-47 or carrying one around. The only exception was when we took one to the range to burn up some ammo (the picture in the linked article looks like someone at a range). I heard that during the initial phase of the war some tankers were using them because they only had 9mm and a lot of engagements were happening too close to the vehicles to engage with the weapons system. It had been planned to start giving tank crews M4s but it hadn’t happened by the time the war started. Tank crews used to be armed with the old greasegun and then it went to the 9mm. It took about 20 years for them to figure out that wasn’t a great idea. The problem was recitfied as quickly as possible.
The M16 had a lot of problems when it first came out. That was the reason it wasn’t liked. Its been 40 years. The problems were fixed a long time ago. It needs to be maintained by the soldier but it is a far superior weapon to the AK-47. The AK is a cheap piece of shit. The Russians changed to the AK-74 30 years ago. A better weapon with a similar sized round as the M16. The AK-47 is popular because it is cheap and easy to use. If you are untrained and using the spray and pray method of firing then it doesn’t matter how accurate it is.
The other issue that pops up in FPS is “Sniper” or “Silenced” variants of a gun using different ammo than the “Regular” weapon (invariably for gameplay balancing purposes). In Real Life, the only difference between an M91/30 and an M91/30 Sniper Rifle is that the Sniper Rifle has a telescopic sight bolted onto it and a modified bolt handle. It uses exactly the same ammunition as the standard issue M91/30.
Similarly, the Colt M1911A1 and Thompson M1928A1 use the same ammo IRL (but frequently not in computer games), ditto the P08 Luger and the MP40 and Sten Gun (again, frequently not in computer games). Then you get the other extreme, where in a computer game all guns in a particular class (Handgun, SMG, rifle, shotgun) use the same ammo, despite this not being accurate either.
Generally it’s for gameplay purposes, but it’s still a bit slack, IMHO.
I designed the original Rainbow Six and Ghost Recon. Neither game had any weapon or ammo pick-ups because our technical advisors told us that it basically would never be done except in the most desperate circumstances.
We made some interesting design decisions with the Red Storm games in the interests of realism. For example, in Rainbow Six you weren’t allowed to *jump *to reinforce the idea that you were trying to maintain a stable firing stance at all times.
For a while we were considering giving the player a knife for stealthy kills. When we asked our technical advisor about it he said he’d just shoot his target, even with the noise. Trying to quietly slit someone throat was just too risky and slow. They make it look easy in the movies, but in real life it’s a sloppy, dangerous business. I wasn’t sure if he was speaking from personal experience or not … .
As a related item, NATO generally standardized on 81mm for their medium mortars during the Cold War, while the Soviets standardized on 82mm, specifically so that Soviet/WarPac troops could use captured NATO rounds (with a minor loss of accuracy) but NATO troops could not use captured Soviet rounds.