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Door Gunner questions


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Hello:

 

I am doing some research for a screenplay. Wanting to know the procedure for reloading a door gun (M240) in a combat situation.

 

How does the door gunner signify he needs to be reloaded? Any term he calls out, or is it a hand signal. What does the crew member say or signify to the gunner when the gun is set to go again?

 

Thank you in advance.

 

Ted Sterns

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Hello:

 

I am doing some research for a screenplay. Wanting to know the procedure for reloading a door gun (M240) in a combat situation.

 

How does the door gunner signify he needs to be reloaded? Any term he calls out, or is it a hand signal. What does the crew member say or signify to the gunner when the gun is set to go again?

 

Thank you in advance.

 

Ted Sterns

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My experience is based on time served in the Army. I can't say the same information is accurate for other services. I was an H-60 Blackhawk crew chief. In the states the aircraft typically flies with three crew members. In combat, that aircraft flies with four. While I crewed for the 101st for the past five years, we used the term "Winchester" as a means to signify we were out of ammo. We also used the terms "Stowed", "Hold", and "Hot" to signify our weapon status. While our weapons were pointed down away from the aircraft and out of our hands (for a takeoff or landing situation), they would be in a "stowed" status. While cruising in flight and while the gunner has control of his/her weapon, they would be in a "hold" status. When preparing to engage a target, the weapon would be in a "hot" status.

 

Most units more or less probably used terms like those. We never did use "Winchester" in combat. We never got into a serious situation where we unloaded a box and had to reload. In all reality if we did, I'm sure we would say over the intercom that right or left gun is dry/out of ammo. Winchester is only a means to simplify communication over the radio so as to take up less time talking, while at the same time getting the point across to your other crew members. We did however use the status terms on a daily basis.

 

When making a radio call pertinent to your weapon, we would use right/left gun. Right/left rear would also signify the same meaning. Right/rear or right/gun pertains to your position in the aircraft.

 

A couple different radio calls relating to the weapon would sound like this :

 

"Right gun's dry ; Reloading"

 

"Right gun has target 2 o'clock 200 meters. Engaging."

 

I was taught to always put the weapon on safe when reloading. I can't say everyone would do that in a no-bullshit situation where your life depended on how fast you reloaded the weapon. For reloading, we'll say we fired the weapon until a 200 round box of ammo was dispensed. At this time, your weapon will be on fire, and the bolt will be forward. You'll remove the used box of ammo from the weapon platform and replace it with a fresh can of ammo. First you will raise the feed-tray cover and sweep for brass links (if any remain) from the feed tray itself so as to prevent a weapons jam after reload. Lay the rounds onto the feed tray, holding them in place as you slap the feed tray cover down to the weapon. You're weapon is already on fire, so the last thing you will need to do is pull the charging handle to the rear and release it. At this point your weapon is ready to fire.

 

A radio call for this would be ; "Right gun's back up" or "Right gun's Hold." If you were to continue engaging, you would just say "Right gun reengaging."

 

Hope this helps.

Edited by RagMan
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RagMan:

 

This info is excellent. From what you told me it looks like the gunner does his own reloading. Thought perhaps a crew member passed the gunner a fresh ammo box. Also wanted to let you know the helicopter in the screenplay is a Sikorsky UH-60M.

 

Sincerely,

Ted Sterns

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RagMan's got it covered. The status calls "Hold", "Hot" etc vary with command. While under 12th CAB we used "Stowed", "Cold" and "Hot", with 1st CAB we use "Green", "Amber" and "Red". Technically the crew chief or gunner should identify the target "Small arms fire, 2 o'clock, 400 yards, engaging." and then fire. In practice it's more likely the call would come as the charging handle is being pulled back and the weapon oriented. If you've really got a target you're probably firing while you're still making the call. We also use Winchester for out of ammo, bent gun for a jam ("Bent gun, left side, clearing") "Up" for the weapon back in service. All of the calls would generally be in the form of location, condition, action. (Left or right side or gun, Winchester, loading.) Generally speaking a UH-60 is not a gun ship, so you shoot to suppress the bad guys and get clear while the gun ships roll in. A belt lasts a long time in that situation. An Air assault into a hot LZ would go through a lot more ammunition, but I haven't been involved in one of those.

 

For a short video of some practice fire from a Black Hawk see

 

http://gallery.me.com/ng.pogue#100145

 

This was done during some qualification fire last year and should give you an idea about reloading, how long a 200 round belt lasts, etc. For the record the guy who says "Right gun, ready to rock." sits in an office too much. That particular call is unlikely. :-)

 

Disclaimer: This isn't definitive, it's just the way one unit does things.

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I'm not sure why you're wasting your time doing a screenplay on this. Real 60 pilots don't carry guns when the fly into LZ's.

 

yeah ok, u must be like "nine lives"

 

Lt. General Norman "nine lives" Anderson (USMC) using his 9mm had 2 confirmed kills thru the chin bubble of his CH-46 during vietnam. His squadron (hmm-269) lost 19 of the 37 pilots that yr. (1967).

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