Protecting the Gunner, Protects the Ship, Protects the Mission

COLONIA, Yap (July 3, 2019) Mark VI patrol boats, assigned to Coastal Riverine Squadron (CRS) 2, Coastal Riverine Group 1, Det. Guam, arrive to Colonia, Yap. CRG 1, Det. Guam’s visit to Yap, and engagement with the People of Federated States of Micronesia underscores the U.S. Navy’s commitment to partners in the region. The Mark VI patrol boat is an integral part of the expeditionary forces support to 7th Fleet, capability of supporting myriad of missions throughout the Indo-Pacific. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jasen Moreno-Garcia/Released)

OK, This is a pet peeve of mine, but to me, not providing ballistic protection to the crews of deck mounted .50 calibers, that we make a target by putting them on exposed crew served mounts, is irresponsible and frankly, lazy and unconscionable. It is just not that hard.

We have talked about this before, here, and here.

If you look at the photo above, you will see simple flat plates outboard of the .50 caliber mounts. Now look at the photo below (you might need to click on the photo to enlarge it). There is no comparable protection. This does not have to be heavy if you think that might be a problem. Kevlar reinforced plastic can provide protection against machinegun fire.

The Coast Guard Cutter Lawrence Lawson crew mans the rail during sea trials off the coast of Miami, Florida, on Dec. 12, 2016.  (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Eric D. Woodall)

There is talk of escorting merchant ships through the Straits of Hormuz. I don’t know if our WPBs there have any form of ballistic protection, but the pictures I have seen in the past showed no such protection.

This is about more than simply protecting the gunner. The gunner protects the ship; the ship is needed for the mission. Take out the gunner, the ship is vulnerable. If the ship is vulnerable, it may not be able to complete the mission.


9 thoughts on “Protecting the Gunner, Protects the Ship, Protects the Mission

  1. Such protection is long over due, and its lack decreases the survivability of the vessel as well as the success of the mission. It is time for Command to take responsibility and eliminate this woeful situation.

  2. It appears there are shields on the FRC. They, for some reason, are painted black. Frankly, the shield are more for morale and offer little protection. A gun tub with shield would be better not because of protection from incoming rounds but from lack of visibility from the opposition. Frankly, it would be better to take out the bridge first, then the gunners would be panicked and wouldn’t hit anything.

    • The Coast Guard frequently does have the shield mounted with the gun, but it provides no protection to the lower body.

      I am not averse to providing some ballistic protection for the bridge as well.

  3. While the shields mounted provide good protection to the gunner’s torso, the lower plates don’t. It would seem tubs would better protect the gunners? I sent you some examples

  4. It’s time to forgo manually operated .50 cal HMGs in favor of RWS. All patrol craft should have ballistic protection around the bridge and key compartments.

  5. Pingback: Is There a Replacement for the M2 .50 caliber Machine Gun | Chuck Hill's CG Blog

  6. Pingback: Ballistic Protection for .50 Caliber Gun Crews | Chuck Hill's CG Blog

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