How does a century-old machine gun still prove relevant in the most modern of wars? Former army firearms instructor Craig Allen profiles the venerable Browning M2
Scanning the road through the valley with binoculars, a tired corporal maintained vigil as dawn broke over the hardy landscape surrounding the ridge-top observation post.
Spotting movement through the already present haze, he nudged his comrade to point out the potential threat some 800 yards distant. A battered pick-up trundled round the bend and behind some scrub, an insurgent manned the PKM machine gun atop its cabin while two more dismounted nestling RPGs. Ahead, four insurgents crept into positions about 70ft above the outside curve. Intercepting the ‘chat’ from insurgent comms, the British were ambushing the ambushers. Bombmakers had planted a chain of IEDs, and a particularly brazen Taliban hit squad were hoping to blitz the Ammunition Technical Officers who sortied to clear the path.
Under orders from his NCO, the corporal racked the charging handle on his M2 and opened up.