Military Myth

Military Myth-Conceptions

Stuff you thought was right, but were wrong

Countries

Myth:  British use 'Leftenant' instead of the American Lieutenant.

Truth:  True.  Commonwealth countries use the old English word 'Leftenant' instead of Lieutenant.  Though they are spelled the same.  Think that is odd, then why say Colonel?  As well, no one is quite sure how the Americans got 'Sub-marine-er' from Submariner.  The correct pronunciation is 'Sub-mare-in-er'.

Organizations

Myth:  Military Intelligence is an oxymoron.

Truth:  I love when Civvies say this, without even a hint of what is involved in Mil Intel.  Disregarding movies, Military Intelligence has to extract knowledge from patrols, recces, etc; second hand information which may or may not be accurate or as it seems.  From there, they must draw general conclusions based on nonreliable information for use in a week or so.  So while many platoons had 'bad' information, it was their own faults for taking Intelligence as cannon, and using their own brains to realize that the information was out of date when it was first taken by Military Intelligence.

Policy

Myth:  The Geneva Convention states that use of .50 cal (12.7mm) is illegal against humans.

Truth:  One of the great military myths of the century, this one is false.  Though use of Armour Piercing rounds is not normally permitted, the .50 cal was originally a defence weapon used against people.  Once AFV's came about, they were adapted.  The Geneva Convention never stated that it was wrong to use this weapon against another human (though the results of such a wound are horrific at best).

Ships

Myth:  Nuclear Powered Submarines are the quietest subs in the world.

Truth:  Though I hear the SeaWolf SSN may give Diesel Boats (DB) a run for their money, nothing beats a DB for pure quietness.  When on batteries (and I stress on batts!), they are completely quiet.  When a Nuc dives, her reactor needs constant cooling, and thus she puts much more sound into the water.  Don't believe me?  Read up on it, from a non US/UK site and you will see that a simple patrol DB can wreck havoc even against a Nuc (when on batteries!).

Weapons

Myth:  The M-16, during Vietnam, jammed due to the poor nature of the weapon.

Truth:  In all reality, the newly issued M-16 was toted as a self-cleaning weapon by the US Army, even though the manufacturer stressed that nothing replaced daily cleaning.  The large amount of plastics used in the exterior may have given it a 'toy' look, and thus lead to the myth that it needed less cleaning.  Once the M-16 was cleaned regularly, the amount of problems decreased.

Add-On:  Feed problems were the true bane of the M-16.  The M-16 was designed to use a new type of powder (very accessible) which left little residue in the chamber and barrel.  The US ammo, however, used the older powder (in use with the M-14), which wasn't up to the standards of the M-16.  Colt tried to fix the problem by chrome plating the chamber, though the M-16 still had too high of tolerances.  Thus, even a well kept M-16 would still jam in the field.

Myth:    A missile can be fired from a jet fighter while the aircraft is on the ground  (ie. Iron Eagle)

Truth:    Fighter craft are equipped with a WOW Switch (Weight On Wheels) which prevents weapon fire while the landing gear is down.  Though the switch could be disabled, it would take an avionics specialist to do so, and cannot be done from the cockpit.  So for all intensive purposes, no, a missile cannot be fired from the ground.

Myth:    Silencers make weapons near impossible to hear.

Truth:    Better referred to as Suppressors, weapon silencers do not 'silence' the sound of the weapon being fired, but instead lower and muffle the sound, as not to be heard as a gunshot.  Obviously, the more powerful the weapon, the louder even a suppressed shot would sound.  And although B-rated movies love this trick, it takes a special conversion for a revolver to be 'silenced'.  No empty pop bottles here!