I'm a German. I was trained on MG3. I fully understand the concept of a universal machinegun. My folks kinda invented it. The Bundeswehr hardly knew any other concept of machineguns while I was in uniform.
I mentioned the RPK-74 because it's the light machinegun of the Russians. I mentioned the M240, M60 right away as well. The point is that Russian small arms in themselves don't provide a range advantage over Westerners, something that was kind of asserted here.
"PS, FS squad is nice and good until you get to patrol in squad strength. Then a MG in FS squad that is 3km away (or even closer but at wrong position to bring it in action) is pretty much useless."
Blame that platoon leader or his company CO if that FS squad is needed, or accept that "useless" is just fine if it's not needed. A TO&E does not dictate to keep the fire support squad spaced like that.
Besides, you did not address what I wrote about why long range fires aren't necessary or desirable because of the weight penalty.
"Everyone who went into at least semi-serious war with intermediate cal SAW wanted to have real full power LMG in a squad. Brits did in Afghan, even US carried 240s (about 1.5x heavier than PKM) in squad sized patrols.Soviets did not have PKM in squads before Afghan, after that they did. Yugoslavia did not have PKM in inf squad in '80s, come 1991."
I notice that NONE of them faced an opposition capable of delivering much or any accurate indirect fires.
Sure, soldiers who get annoyed by harassing fires at 300-800 m may desire to be able to shoot back. The extra weight is a pain especially in the hilly and mountainous terrains where such long range small arms harassing fires are most typical, but the primitive desire to return fires is perfectly common and understandable in such situations.
Soldiers who know that they'll be mortared or shelled within 2-4 minutes of being detected and identified have very different priorities. Such as running quick enough to break contact before death arrives. Or avoiding detection, so opposing forces won't shoot at them from more than 100, maybe 30 m distance.
The problem is the serious war, not the semi-serious war. Semi-serious wars are great power gaming bullshit. To deter or if need be defend in a serious war is the only noble purpose of armed services.
Edited by lastdingo, 06 June 2017 - 1820 PM.