FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. -- The Currahees conducted training on the M3 Carl Gustav 84mm Recoilless Rifle, Feb. 20, 2013 at Fort Campbell, Ky., in preparation for their upcoming deployment.
Selected Soldiers from various battalions in 4th Brigade were trained to be certified in its' use because of the weapon's multi-shot capabilities and versatility.
"The AT-4 is a disposable gun, it's a one time shoot," said Christopher Huertanunez, an instructor with the Special Operations Forces Field Training and New Equipment Training Team. "This one, [M3 Carl Gustav] has multiple uses, after you're done shooting it you just pack it away, go draw more ammo and you can fire it multiple times with multiple different rounds."
Shoulder mounted weapons were designed for easy maneuverability and as a way to eliminate designated targets in the heat of battle. They have been utilized since World War II and have given Soldiers an irreplaceable advantage on the battlefield.
The M3 Carl Gustav is an evolution from previous shoulder-fired recoilless weapon systems.
Some advantages it provides over predecessors like the Bazooka, Projector Infantry Anti Tank (PIAT) weapon or RPG-7 is that it can shoot a variety of different rounds, the rounds travel at a faster velocity giving them a greater accuracy over longer distances and it has air-burst capabilities.
"The M3 Carl Gustav gives Soldiers the capability to hit targets in anti-defilade positions at a range of over 1,000 meters," said Maj. Pat Farrell, the Armament Research Development Engineering Center Special Operations Command Cell Chief for SOFFT.
Depending on the round used, the M3 Carl Gustav has an effective range of 200 meters to 1,000 meters.
Certifying to use the M3 Carl Gustav required a morning of classroom exercises covering the weapon's safety and proper use. After a lunch break, the class went out to the range to practice shooting simulated and live rounds.
"What they are learning is the characteristics and components of the weapon system itself," said Huertanunez. "They will learn safety, how to put it in to operation and the rounds that they are going to be utilizing down range."
The capabilities of the rounds for this weapon system can be a big benefit for the Soldiers utilizing this weapon. Familiarization with these rounds is key to using this weapon to its full potential.
"With this weapon system you can fire many different rounds," said Socrates Dominguez, an instructor with the SOFFT and New Equipment Training Team. "You can fire illumination, smoke, high explosive and anti-structure munitions rounds."
"Some of the rounds can fire either direct on-impact or airburst. It's kind of like an internal call for fire capability within the platoon, or company, so they don't have to call for mortars or artillery."
Giving Soldiers not only the tools for immediate response but necessary training with them will help the Currahees accomplish their mission and save lives.
"I've never seen this weapons system before," said Spc. William H. Brown, a Soldier with Company B, 2nd Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, 4th BCT. "The civilians teaching the class are really knowledgeable, they have taught us everything about it and it's been a blast to shoot."
4th Brigade Combat Team, 101 ABN DIV
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