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Mk 19 Grenade Machine Gun

The Mk 19 Mod 3 grenade machine gun, also referred to as an automatic grenade launcher, is a 40x53mm self-powered, air-cooled, belt-fed using disintegrating metallic links, blowback operated, crew-served weapon. The Mk 19's firing rate is over 350 grenades per minute and it is effective to ranges of over 2200 meters. The is crew transportable over short distances with limited amounts of ammunition.

The Mk 19 Mod 3 can fire a variety of 40x53mm grenades. The M430 High-Explosive Dual-Purpose (HEDP) 40mm grenade will pierce armor up to 2 inches thick, and will produce fragments to kill personnel within 5 meters and wound personnel within 15 meters of the point of impact. Associated components of the Mk 19 Mod 3 included: Mk 64 series cradle mount, M3 tripod, and the AN/TVS-5 Night Vision Sight. The Mk 19 Mod 3 was also used in the Up-Gunned Weapons Station used on the LVTP7A1/AAVP7A1 and M1117 Armored Security Vehicle, as well as other vehicle pedestal and ring mounts.

The Mk 19 Mod 3 was effective at 1,500 meters against point targets and out to 2,200 meters against area targets. The weapon has a sustained rate of fire of 40 rounds each minute and a rapid rate of fire of 60 rounds each minute. The weapon system (gun, tripod, and T&E mechanism) weighs about 120 pounds. A container of 48 rounds weighs 64 pounds. The weight of this system precludes manpacking for other than short distances. The AN/TVS-5 can be mounted on the weapon to provide effective night fires.

The standard round of ammunition is HEDP, which can defeat 50mm of rolled homogenous armor (RHA) or 16 inches of concrete. An HE round is also available for engaging troops in the open or other soft targets. Both rounds have a bursting radius of 15 meters and a flat trajectory out to 800 meters. The weapon can be employed in an indirect-fire role to engage targets from 800 meters out to the maximum effective range. The methods of controlling indirect fires is the same as the 60mm mortar: direct lay, direct alignment, or an observer to provide corrections and the use of the T&E mechanism to apply these corrections to the gun.

In the offense, the Mk 19 Mod 3 could be employed similar to the 60mm mortar in the indirect fire role and similar to the TOW missile in the direct-fire role. The Mk 19 Mod 3 could be employed from an overmatch position to provide responsive suppressive fires if enemy contact was made. The weapon could also suppress/destroy enemy weapons and positions on the objective prior to the infantry assault. It might also support the isolation of the objective area by blocking likely avenues of approach with concentrated destructive fires. When employed from the M3 tripod with the T&E mechanism, the gun was very accurate for an area type weapon.

In the defense, the Mk 19 Mod 3 could be effective in both the direct and indirect fire roles. It could be assigned a priority target or an FPF just like a 60mm mortar. The enemy was expected to attempt to locate and destroy these weapons early in his attack. Unless the Mk 19s were employed from defilade/fire from prepared dug-in firing positions, they were very vulnerable. The mobility capability for the Mk 19 Mod 3 when mounted on the HMMWV cold be balanced against the vehicle's vulnerability to detection, and destruction.

Many antiarmor platoons had the capability to replace the TOW weapon system with either an Mk 19 Mod 3 40mm grenade machine gun or M2 .50 caliber machine gun. This allowed the platoon to provide fire support when there wes no threat of enemy armor. Both of these weapon systems could be fired from the HMMWV, using the HMMWV Interchangeable Mount System (HIMS) and also ground mounted on a tripod.

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Page last modified: 07-07-2011 02:47:36 ZULU