Comments: Cartel "Anti-aircraft Machine Guns" Neither Anti-aircraft, Nor Machine Guns

Oh Mexico...do they think we find their misrepresentation of the truth cute?

~T the D

Posted by T the D at April 23, 2009 09:52 AM

Um, did you look at all the pictures? In addition to the various rifle and tons of rifle magazines, there was the M1919A4. The statement made no reference as to whether it was automatic or not. I would go with the presumption that it was. But the statement about the .50 is confusing, because in addition to the M2 mounted on the pickup, there was a .50 sniper rifle shown on the table. That was likely the unmodified semi-auto weapon they were talking about. Again, I would go with the presumption that the M2 on the pickup was indeed an automatic weapon.

As to whether the M2 is an anti-aircraft gun, sure it is, or at the very least, can be used in that role. When M2s were mounted on tanks and other armored vehicles and trucks in WW2, the Army's then current doctrine said they were for anti-aircraft use. That they were certainly useful in engaging ground targets was just a bonus.

Posted by XBradTC at April 23, 2009 11:27 PM

Seriously, Brad... did you even read the article?

I clearly stated the firearm on the table was a 1919A4 (and even linked to it), and proved that that M2 was semi-auto by the BATF's own declaration of who the manufacturer was, a company that makes only semi-autos out of parts kits.

You also completely fail to take into account the configuration of the weapons, and how that affects theri ability to perform certain roles.

the M1919A4 is a low-mount tripod cannot be used effectively as an anti aircraft weapon, which I clearly noted. Likewise, while the M2 in various guises was used as both an anti-aircraft gun and an on-aircraft (offensive and defensive) weapon, THIS infantry-vehicle configuration of a semi-auto M2 hidden behind a welded shield that limits vision and may well indeed be semi-rigid or fixed mount precludes use as an AA weapon.

As for the designation of the M2 as an AA weapon on WWII, the "doctrine" was a bit of in-service propaganda to keep soldiers from feeling so vulnerable. True AA versions of the M2 had very different sighting system. Using standard vehicle sights against fighters was pretty much an exercise in futility, but was necessary for morale.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at April 24, 2009 08:53 AM

To use an analogy that Brad might possibly understand (but probably won't): the German 88mm gun was one of the finer anti-aircraft weapons of WWII. It was also used as the main cannon on the Tiger tank. However, it would have been fatuous to claim that the Tiger I was an "anti-aircraft tank" because it mounted an 88.

Similarly, while the .50 cal could be used an an anti-aircraft gun, while on a low-mount tripod it was incapable of being employed in that capacity.

Posted by Mark L at April 24, 2009 09:11 AM

Of course there may be (not sure if it's possible with their copies) the possibility that the TNW M2 copy was modified after delivery to be capable of full automatic.

Of course neither weapon may or may not have come directly from the USA to Mexico, I doubt the Mexican federales found receipts for delivery to prove their assertion of that.

Posted by J.T. Wenting at April 24, 2009 11:15 AM

I don't know why you are hitting this story so hard. The Mexican government and the MSM put forth a factually weak story, with headlines designed to instill fear. Nothing new. However, by criticizing their characterizations of these weapons you are marginalizing the what should be the real story; these drug cartels have some seriously heavy weapons.

It is a sad statement when I believe the BATF's characterization of the M2 as a semi-auto version as little as I believe the Mexican governments story. Its an easy mistake to make, I was a .50 cal gunner overseas, and taught classes on the weapon, but I'm not sure if I would recognize a semi-auto replica from a full-auto without dissassembly. I wouldn't expect mexican law enforcement who have never seen a .50 cal to do much better.

As far as the argument that its not an anti-aircraft gun, thats just symantics and downright silly. A M2, semi-auto or not, is more than capable of shooting down helicopters and light aircraft- the types used by the Mexican LE/Military. A M1919, mounted differently, also poses a threat to these types of aircraft. Arguing that these are not anti-aircraft guns is similar to the classification of the M82 Barret as and Anti-Material rifle. It doesn't mean that its not effective against human targets.

The MSM is bad at its job, nothing new there. There is no need to let new-media get dragged down to their standards.

Posted by LM at April 24, 2009 01:42 PM

MarkL,

Maybe, just maybe in the 12 years I used M2s and worked around armored vehicles, I gleaned just a bit of knowledge and an appreciation for the nuances between anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons. I didn't claim the M1919 was an anti-aircraft weapon. I'm quite familiar with it's low profile tripod mount, and very familiar with it's close cousin, the M-60 when used on the M122 tripod mount.

As to the M2, I'll confess I was a bit of a bonehead there. I had bad connection to PJM and it wouldn't load the second page. Guilty as charged Bob, on the auto vs. semi-auto part.

But, given that the M2 was in fact originally designed as an anti-aircraft weapon for the Army at the tail end of WW1; and given that I live fired trained with them as late as 1991 on RCAT targets with the regular low profile sights on a regular cupola mount on the M113, I'd say, yeah, it's still a pretty formidable AA weapon. The mount on the pickup may or may not be able to elevate to or near the zenith. MarkL note4s that on a low-profile mount it wouldn't be very useful as an AA weapon. True, but it isn't on a low-profile mount, now is it?

Posted by XBradTC at April 24, 2009 05:37 PM