Version 1 / 5min read / Updated Tue 25 Feb 2020 / 378 views
While a platoon or company of infantry is a dangerous force to fight, it doesn't always carry the best weapon systems available at all times. Units are task-organized to fit their purpose - if the area of operations does not have enemy armor, why carry heavy anti-tank assets? If no aircraft are known to be operating in the area, nor likely to show up even in the most extreme circumstances, why bring anti-air missiles?
Whenever special weapons are needed to fulfill the mission, they come from higher organizational units and are attached to the company or platoon for specific missions. These heavier and more specialized weapons are significant force multipliers, and in this section we will go over the most common attachments you can expect to see, as well as how to best employ them and their particular skill sets.
Team Organization & Responsibilities
A crew-served weapon team typically consists of a gunner, assistant, and one or more ammo bearers. The exact responsibilities will differ based on the type of weapon it is, but their general responsibilities are as follows.
Gunner / Team Leader
- Senior member of the team.
- Carries the main part of the CSW.
- Chooses where to employ the CSW and directs the a-gunner to deploy the tripod accordingly.
- Responsible for relocating the CSW as required, in coordination with higher leadership.
- Engages targets and listens to his a-gunner's directions.
- Second in command of the team.
- Carries the tripod for the CSW (if applicable) as well as some additional ammo.
- Equipped with binoculars, he acts as a spotter for the gunner.
- Junior member of the team
- Ensures that the CSW is loaded and that ammo is available for reloading.
- Provides security for the gunner/a-gunner when not actively loading the CSW.
A heavy weapon without a tripod to put it on is functionally worthless. The gunner & assistant gunner (who carry the weapon & tripod) should stick close together, with the ammo bearer(s) tagging along behind them.
Know how to deploy/undeploy rapidly.
The crew-served team is most vulnerable while emplacing the weapon or breaking it down. They may have to deploy or displace under fire or on short notice, so it is imperative that the crew be familiar with the process. The gunner removes the gun from the tripod, the assistant gunner takes the tripod, and the ammo bearers act according to the situation. Ammo bearers either provide cover fire for the gunner/a-gunner (if in contact or under fire) or pick up any spare ammunition at the site of the gun (if the situation allows for it - do not grab the ammo if it means you're going to get shot doing so).
The team leader decides on where to emplace the gun, and he coordinates with higher leadership (such as the Weapons Squad Leader or the SL of the squad he's attached to) to get his crew-served teams set up where they can best support the platoon.
He should pick spots from which the weapon can have a good influence on the battlefield without being too exposed to the enemy. Positioning on a prominent, visible terrain feature tends to get crew-served teams wiped out.
When deployed, the ammo bearers act as security for the crew-served weapon.
They should "ground" (drop) some ammo for the two-man gunner/assistant gunner team, then move to positions from which they can protect their gun team.
Heavy Machinegun Team
A heavy machinegun team uses a heavy machine-hun (HMG), a crew-served weapon, using the same guidance outlined above regarding CSWs. Heavy machineguns give infantry a tremendous range and a powerful punch - the Mk30, for instance, is a .50cal machinegun that is capable of defeating light armored vehicles as well as punching through heavy cover. HMG teams look for locations from which the superior range of their weapon allows them to damage the enemy with a lesser risk of effective return fire. These teams carefully evaluate the terrain and enemy situation in order to maximize their concealment until the enemy has committed fully into their kill zones, only then opening fire in order to maximize shock and casualties.
The most lethal heavy machinegun on the battlefield is the grenade machinegun - such as the Mk32 or Mk19.
These launchers fire 20 or 40mm grenades out to a distance of over two kilometers and are devastating when employed against any enemy element up to and including light armor.
Whatever weapon an HMG team might have, it's important for their crews to remember that their extreme lethality makes them a high-priority target for any special assets.
HMG teams must continually assess their position and vulnerability, relocating to alternate positions in order to foil enemy attempts to destroy them.
- Arma 3's crew-served HMGs tend to have magnified optics with thermal and nightvision capabilities, as well as laser rangefinding abilities - all of which serve to make them one of the most feared weapons to encounter on the battlefield for infantry.
UNITAF Standard Operating procedures (SOP) are adapted primarly from US Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC). Our written and audio procedures are a combination of the following primary source materials, as well as our own learnings, modifications and adaptations:
- US Army Techniques Publication, Infantry Platoon and Squad (ATP 3-21.8)
- Soldier’s Manual of Common Tasks Warrior Leader Skills Level 2, 3, and 4 (STP 21-24-SMCT)
- The Warrior Ethos and Soldier Combat Skills (FM 3-21.75 / FM 21-75)
- Leadership Development (FM 6-22)
- Dyslexi's Tactics, Techniques, & Procedures for Arma 3 (TTP3)