The Case Against the 6.8mm Bullet (Sep 9, 2004 entry)
Despite the title, this Strategy Page post’s message seems to be “it’s where you shoot them, not what you shoot them with.” That’s a good point, but I don’t really see how it impacts the 5.56 vs. 6.8 discussion. At least not in a major way.
One thing the post mentions is:
Often troops use ammo just to make the enemy keep their heads down, or prevent them from moving. In these situations, volume is more important that accuracy. No studies have been done of this aspect of combat, although there is much anecdotal evidence showing how important this kind of fire is.
This is something I’ve discussed in the past, though apparently not on my site, is that maybe the SAW gunner would be better off with 5.56. The primary job of the SAW gunner and machine gunner is usually to fix enemy combatants in position with a base of fire so that riflemen can get into position to eliminate them. For this purpose, the additional ammunition load that 5.56 brings is a serious bonus and the lessened capability of the smaller round is not a major detriment because they’re mostly used for covering fire anyway.
Go read the article. I think the issue of round size is far more important to our military than the question of XM8 vs. M16/M4.
UPDATE: James from Hell in a Handbasket posted on the 5.56 round for the squad automatic weapon back in March. I recall the post but it ended up as one of those that I meant to note but never did.
I’m trying to rectify that now.
Go read James’ post, including the comments left by readers. Good stuff.