How About a Little Protection?

The Coast Guard is still using a lot of crew served weapons on their ships. I remember doing LE boardings where only a single .50 was manned because manning our 5″ was considered too much trouble. None of the 210s or smaller cutters have any protection for even their main armament gun crews, other than possibly small gun shields. The gun tubs that were once common on US warships no longer exist.

The theory seems to be that if we show up and are armed, the the bad guys will immediately surrender. While that might work in most cases, sooner or later someone may decide to fight. Certainly any suicidal terrorists would fight rather than surrender. If that happens, wouldn’t it be prudent to provide a little protection for the guys behind the mounts? In most cases it seems they are easy targets standing proudly behind their weapons in full view of anyone who might choose to shoot. There are simple things we can do to protect our gunners and make sure they can continue to provide effective fire if they bullets start flying in their direction.
Shipboard Ballistic Weapon Mount

Modular armored security shields capable of defeating a .50 cal. rounds, that can replace existing tripod mounts and can be tailored to the application are in the GSA system. Looks like a typical system for a .50 would weigh about 800-1000 pounds. I don’t think this could cost too much and it might mean the difference between success and failure for an important mission.

12 thoughts on “How About a Little Protection?

  1. I love this idea. Don’t forget you can probably get smaller armor plates the mount on the gun itself (smaller, because with the modular armor, you don’t want them getting caught). This reminds me of the 3 years on FFG-29 where the clowns had us wearing flak vests instead of something like an OTV.

  2. As with any advertising, the more simple the better. This one line is naive, “Just unbolt your existing MK16 tripod and bolt the Ballistic Rated Weapons Stand in it’s place.” Unbolt? All mine were welded to doubler plates on deck. Some mounts are not tripods but integrated into the life line structure. In all the active action in Vietnam only one WPB crewman, that I know of, was wounded on an open mount and that was forward on the 81mm/.50 caliber piggyback.

    Manning the 5″ was not necessarily too much trouble. After all, we did train to use them. The real reason is that is was not an appropriate weapon for the task. I once had CO who wanted me to man up the 5″ to fire and take out the “rudder” of an Eastern-rig side trawler. I reminded him where the engine room was on these trawlers and even if we were lucky enough ti hit the “rudder,” the 55-pound projectile (non-explosive BL&P) may very well sink the cod-catcher. He reconsidered and we brought up the .50 calibers. It all depends on the job task.

    I am surprised that cutters have not been fired at. I suppose the drug operators also make appropriate tactical decisions.

    • Not suggesting we use 5″ (or 76mm or 57mm for taking out a rudder), but I believe it is the sure and certain knowledge that if the drug runner raises the level of violence, we can respond with overwhelming violence in return. When we don’t have that obvious preponderance of means to respond, we put our people at risk and we get this kind of results,, the loss of BMC Horne.

      Anything we can do to make it clear that we have an overwhelming advantage will go a long way toward dissuading a criminal from risking putting up a fight.

      If, on the other hand, the boarding should suddenly discover a terrorist, rather than a typical drug smuggler we may need all the fire power we can muster.

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