Crickets as in “I hear nothing but crickets” is the word of the day for Regimental Combat Team 1 (RCT 1) based in Camp Dwyer and controlling the southern districts of Helmand Province. I needed to do a little district level coordination last weekend and was able to catch a ride to Marjah with my good friend Col Dave Furness USMC, the CO of RCT 1. He was heading there to host a CODEL (congressional delegation) and agreed to let me tag along if I promised to not talk to talk to any congressmen. That’s an easy promise to keep so once again I got to ride with the Marines across the Dasht-i-Margo (desert of death) and into the fertile Helmand Valley River town of Marjah. The chances of us getting attacked while en-route? Zero. Chances of hitting an IED? Just about zero. Crickets – the Taliban have taken the winter off and their stay behind IED teams who are supposed to keep the pressure on with morale and Marine killing IED’s are failing miserably. Know why? Because the Marines when faced with tactical problems have turned to tactical solutions.
How cool is this? The M32 40mm grenade launcher – finally something to replace the M203 which was a dog. Imagine being a young infantry Marine living the dream at the pointy end of the spear and able to walk around with a super high speed low drag weapon. And this is one lethal piece of kit which can shoot 6 well aimed 40mm grenades in 2 seconds. The Taliban learned very quickly not to let Marine infantry get too close to them (which they routinely do anyway) and now when Marine infantry gets within 150 meters they have to contend with dedicated grenadiers who will soon have HELLHOUND and DRACO thermobaric rounds.
The MGL is a multiple-shot weapon, intended to significantly increase a small squad’s firepower when compared to traditional single-shot grenade launchers like the M203. The MGL is designed to be simple, rugged, and reliable. It uses the well-proven revolver principle to achieve a high rate of accurate fire which can be rapidly brought to bear on a target. A variety of rounds such as HE, HEAT, anti-riot baton, irritant, and pyrotechnic can be loaded and fired as fast as the trigger can be pulled; the cylinder can be loaded or unloaded rapidly to maintain a high rate of fire. Although intended primarily for offensive and defensive use with high-explosive rounds, with appropriate ammunition the launcher is suitable for anti-riot and other security operations. A newly patented modification allows the MGL to fire less lethal (very low pressure) rounds.