I mentioned in post #107 a report by SLA Marshall on Infanty Operations and Weapons Usage during the first year of the Korean War. Here are excerpts with some of the applicable information. THE BAR THE MAINSTAY Under the conditions of the average infantry fight in Korea, the BAR, even more than the machine gun, provides the fire base around which the action of other infantry weapons builds up and the force expresses itself unitedly. It is not alone the case that analysis of company operations warrants this appreciation of the weapon; the men also make this estimate of its effectiveness; they state frankly that it is the mainspring of their action, and that wherever the BAR moves and fires, it gives fresh impulse to the rifle line. Appreciation of the BAR within Eighth Army therefore reaffirms experience with the same weapon in World War II operations both in the Pacific and in Europe. What makes this reaction all the more noteworthy is that there has been a markedly higher incidence of failure by the BAR in Korean operations than in World War II fighting, for reasons which will be explained later. (USMCPrice note: The reason detailed in a later section had to do with the reconditioning of older weapons in Japan by US Army Ordinance. During the early part of the program this reconditioning was done by local Japanese and apparently they only cleaned but did not replace the recoil springs. Also, te investigation stated that inspection proceedures were technically inadequate and generally weak. The section also states; "Concerning the new BAR, fresh from the factory, there is no problem. Practically without exception, this weapon has met with full success every test which the inclement weather of Korea and the dust and grime of the countryside have imposed upon it. The record is unmarred by any major entry of cold-weather failures." Even so, there is no diminishing of general infantry confidence in the effectiveness of the automatic rifle. It is still considered “indispensable” and troops shudder at any suggestion that it might ultimately be replaced by some other weapon. They cannot imagine having to get along without it. The reason that the BAR is rated as the mainstay of the fire base is because of the greatly modifying influence of the Korean terrain upon the utility of the machinegun. The CCF are good machine gunners; they are more expert in their employment of this weapon than in all else; they are persistent; their guns are of every type under the sun; even so, they have the knack of keeping them going; in the attack, they bring the gun in very close; but they are good at concealment behind brush, thicket, and rock ledge, and therefore the close-in target remains very elusive. The record contains many examples of CCF machine guns bearing on our positions at 30-40 yards range and continuing unseen. To counter this fire with one of our own machine guns usually necessitates bringing it far forward, with consequent sudden death, either in transit or soon after placement. Our MG crews are far more obvious in moving and in setting 72 Pari II UNCLASSIFIED B up. The BAR, which is a lesser target and usually has as its operator an individual who combines boldness with a requisite stealth, is therefore the main counteragent. BAR fire is also the chief depressant of sniper fire delivered from ranges which are too close in for the mortars and too far out for the grenade. One man with a BAR, if he is the right man, will have a stronger neutralizing effect upon a local sniper-infested area than the’ random fire of five or six riflemen. Almost invariably, BAR men are exemplary in their conservation of ammunition. They do not have nervous fingers; they sustain fire only when the situation truly demands it. Why this is so is something of a mystery; it is recorded here as fact because the BAR record in Korea is one of consistently strong performance by the operators. On defense, the machine gun will usually be sited to cover a draw, the gentlest hill facing, or some other avenue of approach which seems particularly favorable to the enemy purpose. Because, as the attack develops, the threat from that quarter will continue more or less constant, even though the enemy does not initially take advantage of it, the employment of the machine gun is more or less rigid. But under attack, the defensive dispositions seldom remain static; the lines contract and expand as the pressure changes; men and weapons are shifted as an excess of danger threatens from a new point. The BAR is the pivotal weapon in this eddying of the tactical situation. Should the rifle line begin to bend at one point, the BARS are sent there to stabilize it. If the machine gun, stopping the enemy frontally, is threatened by flankers circling toward it over dead ground, BAR fire is used to cover the corners and save the gun. During the mop-up, it is the main weapon for neutralizing foxholes; when, on defense, strong out-posting is required, the BAR is also given that assignment. (and from a later portion of the report) AUGMENTATION In the view of the great majority of infantry troops and commanders in Korea, the fighting strength of the infantry company would be greatly increased by doubling the number of BARS, while reducing the number of Ml carriers proportionately. This could be done without adding an upsetting burden to the company load. The final argument for the change is that it would make more perfect the balancing of offensive-defensive strength within the infantry company.