>>I've heard from so called experts on other games and weapons forums that soviet mechanized infantry had completely inferior training to all their NATO nation counterparts due to being conscripted and the AK-74, RPK-74 and PKM all supposedly being less accurate than the m60, G3, L1A1, FAMAS, MG3, NF1,etc. Is this true?
You can't really lump all those weapons together and make a valid comparison. However, I can offer you some specific examples where the accuracy argument does not hold:
The M16 series, firing an M855 is ballistically less accurate (has a larger dispersion pattern fired from a bench and clamp) than an AK-74 firing any of the standard Soviet/Russian issue cartridges. The only advantage the M16 has is a longer sight radius, something that the AK-12 corrects, and which is in any case becoming less relevant as optical sights come into common use.
While this has been corrected with the issue of the M855A1 and Mk.318, etc, which are between 1.5 and 4 times more accurate than M855 depending on lots compared, it remains to be seen if these accuracy standards will be maintained. The US government accuracy specification for M855 had to be lowered by 50% when the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were getting under way. Available manufacturers could not simultaneously meet military demand and maintain the original accuracy standard.
The US has greatly reduced it's manufacturing capability since the height of the Cold War, and you can assume that if called upon to fight a major war with a vaguely peer opponent, the volume of production required by combat would cause a marked lowering of standards across the board in weapons systems and especially ammunition.
The L85, firing the British version of the SS109 is also less ballistically accurate than the AK-74 and it's service cartridges. The reputation the L85 has for accuracy comes from it's SUSAT sight, which was issued at a time when most infantryman did not get optical sights. The basic weapon and cartridge, without a human operator and 4x scope, is less accurate than the L1A1 it replaced. Put an equivalent sight on an AK-74 and you get a slightly more accurate weapon than an L85.
The FN Minimi, AKA the M249 SAW is horribly inaccurate. When the USMC conducted trials a few years back to evaluate potential replacements, the M249 was considerably outperformed by the Colt HBAR, Ultimax and G36 in this role, which led to the eventual adoption of the M27 to replace or supplement it at the squad level. In terms of dispersion, a plain old 1947 original AK clearly outperforms the M249, having half the dispersion.
Although individual rounds vary in exact length and shape, and therefore accuracy, the 7.62x54mm Russian is, generally speaking, a longer and more aerodynamic (and therefore more accurate) cartridge than the 7.62x51mm NATO. While various western nations have designed some extremely accurate weapons for the 7.62 NATO (M40, M24 SWS, HK.21), there is absolutely nothing preventing Russia from fielding an equally or more accurate weapon, which, (having not seen the accuracy specifications of Russia's newer sniper rifles), they may already have done.
>>High rate of fire = loads of wasted ammo...For example new HK machine guns have lower firing rates.
That depends on the training of the operator. In theory, if you have two otherwise identical weapons fire the same number of bullets in a burst, the one with the higher cyclic rate will experience less muzzle rise by the time the bullets have left the barrel, and therefore obtain a tighter dispersion pattern. It simply requires that the gunner have sufficient skill to tightly control their bursts. Germans have historically placed more trust in the skill of their troops than other NATO countries. HK's newer guns are designed to appeal to a larger audience than the Bundeswehr (which buys things in ever smaller quantities as it's size and budget shrinks), hence they follow the pattern of more widely used MGs.
The US, by contrast, has historically treated it's lower enlisted ranks like hapless children who needed to be constantly managed and have their hands held, which is why for the 2 decades between the issue of the M16A2 and M4A1 the US was the only nation in NATO whose standard infantry rifle did not possess fully automatic capability (with the British having switched to thee L85 two years after the M16A2 was introduced.)
>>That said, US/NATO basic training was typically longer, anywhere from 2-3 times longer. The British have some of the longest basic training, at least they do these days... Indeed Britain's basic training is about 2 times longer than America's longest basic training... Basic training for the >>Royal Army is about 6.5 months long, compared with 13 weeks for the US Marine Corps. If you want to be in the infantry of the Royal Army, your basic training is about 26 weeks long, at least today.
That's not quite right. First, a month averages 4.3 weeks, not 4.0 so the 26 week Combat Infantryman's Course is almost exactly 6 months, not 6.5. Second, the British do their basic and advanced infantry training together. The USMC does not.
US Army infantry training, which, like the British Army, combines basic and infantry specialist training into one course, is only 13 weeks and 3 days, about half as long as the British version. US Marines, after completing their 13 week recruit training, then go to the School of Infantry for more advanced combat training. Non-infantry Marines attend a 25 day course there, while Marine infantry go to a 45 day Infantry Training Battalion course. British infantry do train longer than US Marine infantry, but not twice as long.
>>West German training was also of a very high quality, to such an extent that some military >>authorities regarded West German training as superior to British, French, or American.
The Soviets certainly regarded it as better than US training. In Soviet wargames, West German troops were rated a 1.0, while US troops were rated only a 0.80 in comparative effectiveness.
Back to the real topic: does anyone know how many rounds Russian troops fire in training, and what the rifle marksmanship standards are to successfully pass out of training? (Rounds required to hit, ranges, targets used, time allowed to aim, etc.)