In November, the 1st Armored Division became the first Army Division to be fielded the new M205 tripod, which is replacing the currently used M3 tripod for the M2/M2A1 and MK19 machine guns. The new M205 provides a strong, stable firing platform at significantly reduced weight and represents a significant design upgrade over the M3 Tripod, which was first put into service in 1934.
Sgt. Tyeron Evans, "Able" Company, 1-41 Infantry, 3/1AD, was impressed by the new tripod's light weight and maneuverability when learning about the tripod at a "Train the Trainer" session at Fort Bliss.
"It has basically the same T&E system as the M192," said Evans, a small arms artillery repairer with a combat tour in Afghanistan under his belt. "This provides some instant familiarity for the Soldier. This tripod would have definitely helped me out in theater."
At 34 pounds, the new M205 is 16 pounds lighter than the 50-pound M3 Tripod. The tripod also has an integrated Traverse & Elevation (T&E) mechanism that allows faster, more accurate target engagement. Soldiers can even operate the T&E with one hand to make bold or fine adjustments. There's also an adjustable traverse limit stop, which controls left and right fields of fire. The T&E's clear, readable scales enable the operator to quickly establish a fighting position's field of fire limits with a properly annotated range card. The lightweight pintle also allows greater weapon elevation and depression than the M3 pintle and the tripod has a built-in pintle storage slot to prevent loss when stowed.
The M205's design makes it a very stable platform, which is a key factor for accurate engagements and conserving ammunition. The front leg rotates in 6 degree increments and, combined with the adjustable rear legs, can accommodate all types of terrain. There are also spades on all three feet, which allow the tripod to dig into dirt and sand while firing.
Sgt. Gary Huerta, E FSC, 1-41 INF, 3/1AD, also attended the "New Equipment Training" event. With his seven years of service in the Infantry, Huerta appreciates the big improvements in the tripod's weight reduction and portability. When stowed, the tripod collapses to 46 inches long, and is just 8 inches high and 12 inches wide -- less than 50 percent of the M205's deployed height and width.
"The M205 has more moving parts, but is pretty strong and portable," said Huerta. "The M3 would flop around on you when you needed to carry it. That doesn't happen with the M205."
The Army will be replacing all M3 tripods over the next several years beginning with near-term deployers. In the coming months, more M205 fieldings are scheduled at installations such as Fort Campbell, Fort Hood, Fort Carson, Fort Richardson, and Fort Riley.