From the front

Discussion in 'Military' started by CSM, Nov 9, 2005.

  1. CSM

    CSM Senior Member

    Jul 7, 2004
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    Northeast US
    E-mail being passed around the retired military community:

    What you don't see and hear on TV!!

    Subject: : War intel, from owner of bullet company in FL, friend of mine

    The information below if from a close friend of mine personally. Jordan is
    his son. Feel free to pass it along.

    Hello to all my fellow gunners, military buffs, veterans and interested
    guys. A couple of weekends ago I got to spend time with my son Jordan, who
    was on his first leave since returning from Iraq. He is well (a little
    thin), and already bored. He will be returning to Iraq for a second tour in
    early '06 and has already re-enlisted early for 4 more years. He loves the
    Marine Corps and is actually looking forward to returning to Iraq.

    Jordan spent 7 months at "Camp Blue Diamond" in Ramadi. Aka: Fort Apache.
    He saw and did a lot and the following is what he told me about weapons,
    equipment, tactics and other miscellaneous info which may be of interest to
    you. Nothing is by any means classified.&n! bsp; No politics here, just a Marine
    with a bird's eye view's opinions:

    1) The M-16 rifle : Thumbs down. Chronic jamming problems with the talcum
    powder like sand over there. The sand is everywhere. Jordan says you feel
    filthy 2 minutes after coming out of the shower. The M-4 carbine version is
    more popular because it's lighter and shorter, but it has jamming problems
    also. They like the ability to mount the various optical gunsights and
    weapons lights on the picattiny rails, but the weapon itself is not great in
    a desert environment. They all hate the 5.56mm (.223) round. Poor
    penetration on the cinderblock structure common over there and even torso
    hits cant be reliably counted on to put the enemy down. Fun fact: Random
    autopsies on dead insurgents shows a high level of opiate use.

    2) The M243 SAW (squad assault weapon): .223 cal. Drum fed light machine
    gun. Big thumbs down. Universally considered a piece of shit. Chronic
    jamming problems, most of which require partial disassembly. (that's fun in
    the middle of a firefight).

    3) The M9 Beretta 9mm: Mixed bag. Good gun, performs well in desert
    environment; but they all hate the 9mm cartridge. The use of handguns for
    self-defense is actually fairly common. Same old story on the 9mm: Bad
    guys hit multiple times and still in the fight.

    4) Mossberg 12ga. Military shotgun: Works well, used frequently for
    clearing houses to good effect.

    5) The M240 Machine Gun: 7.62 Nato (.308) cal. belt fed machine gun,
    developed to replace the old M-60 (what a beautiful weapon that was!!).
    Thumbs up. Accurate, reliable, and the 7.62 round puts 'em down.
    Originally developed as a vehicle mounted weapon, more and more are being
    dismounted and taken into the field by infantry. The 7.62 round chews up
    the structure over there.

    6) The M2 .50 cal heavy machine gun: Thumbs way, way up. "Ma deuce" is
    still worth her considerable weight in gold. The ultimate fight stopper,
    puts their dicks in the dirt every time. The most coveted weapon

    7) The .45 pistol: Thumbs up. Still the best pistol round out there.
    Everybody authorized to carry a sidearm is trying to get their hands on one.!
    With few exceptions, can reliably be expected to put 'em down with a torso
    hit. The special ops guys (who are doing most of the pistol work) use the
    HK military model and supposedly love it. The old government model .45's
    are being re-issued en masse.

    8) The M-14: Thumbs up. They are being re-issued in bulk, mostly in a
    modified version to special ops guys. Modifications include lightweight
    Kevlar stocks and low power red dot or ACOG sights. Very reliable in the
    sandy environment, and they love the 7.62 round.

    9) The Barrett .50 cal sniper rifle: Thumbs way up. Spectacular range and
    accuracy and hits like a freight train. Used frequently to take out vehicle
    suicide bombers ( we actually stop a lot of them) and barricaded enemy.
    Definitely here to stay.

    10) The M24 sniper rifle: Thumbs up. Mostly in .308 but some in 300 win
    mag. Heavily modi! fied Remington 700's. Great performance. Snipers have
    been used heavily to great effect. Rumor has it that a marine sniper on his
    third tour in Anbar province has actually exceeded Carlos Hathcock's record
    for confirmed kills with OVER 100.

    11) The new body armor: Thumbs up. Relatively light at approx. 6 lbs. and
    can reliably be expected to soak up small shrapnel and even will stop an
    AK-47 round. The bad news: Hot as shit to wear, almost unbearable in the
    summer heat (which averages over 120 degrees). Also, the enemy now goes for
    head shots whenever possible. All the bullshit about the "old" body armor
    making our guys vulnerable to the IED's was a non-starter. The IED
    explosions are enormous and body armor doesn't make any difference at all in
    most cases.

    12) Night Vision and Infrared Equipment: Thumbs way up. Spectacular
    performance. Our guys! see in the dark and own the night, period. Very
    little enemy action after evening prayers. More and more enemy being
    whacked at night during movement by our hunter-killer teams. We've all seen
    the videos.

    13) Lights: Thumbs up. Most of the weapon mounted and personal lights are
    Surefire's, and the troops love 'em. Invaluable for night urban operations.
    Jordan carried a $34 Surefire G2 on a neck lanyard and loved it.

    I cant help but notice that most of the good fighting weapons and ordnance
    are 50 or more years old!!!!!!!!! With all our technology, it's the WWII
    and Vietnam era weapons that everybody wants!!!! The infantry fighting is
    frequent, up close and brutal. No quarter is given or shown.

    Bad guy weapons:

    1) Mostly AK47's The entire country is an arsenal. Works better in the
    desert than the M16 and the .308 Russian round kills reliably. PKM belt fed
    light machine guns are also common and effective. Luckily, the enemy mostly
    shoots like shit. Undisciplined "spray and pray" type fire. However, they
    are seeing more and more precision weapons, especially sniper rifles.
    (Iran, again) Fun fact: Captured enemy have apparently marveled at the
    marksmanship of our guys and how hard they fight. They are apparently told
    in Jihad school that the Americans rely solely on technology, and can be
    easily beaten in close quarters combat for their lack of toughness. Let's
    just say they know better now.

    2) The RPG: Probably the infantry weapon most feared by our guys. Simple,
    reliable and as common as dogshit. The enemy responded to our up-armored
    humvees by aiming at the windshields, often at point blank range. Still
    killing a lot of our guys.

    3) The IED: The biggest killer of all. Can be anything from old Soviet
    anti-armor mines to jury rigged artillery shells. A lot found in Jordan's
    area were in abandoned cars. The enemy would take 2 or 3 155mm artillery
    shells and wire them together. Most were detonated by cell phone, and the
    explosions are enormous. You're not safe in any vehicle, even an M1 tank.
    Driving is by far the most dangerous thing our guys do over there. Lately,
    they are much more sophisticated "shape charges" (Iranian) specifically
    designed to penetrate armor. Fact: Most of the ready made IED's are
    supplied by Iran, who is also providing terrorists (Hezbollah types) to
    train the insurgents in their use and tactics. That's why the attacks have
    been so deadly lately. Their concealment methods are ingenious, the latest
    being shape charges in Styrofoam containers spray painted to look like the
    cinderblocks that litter all Iraqi roads. ! We find about 40% before they
    detonate, and the bomb disposal guys are unsung heroes of this war.

    4) Mortars and rockets: Very prevalent. The soviet era 122mm rockets
    (with an 18km range) are becoming more prevalent. One of Jordan's NCO's
    lost a leg to one. These weapons cause a lot of damage "inside the wire".
    Jordan's base was hit almost daily his entire time there by mortar and
    rocket fire, often at night to disrupt sleep patterns and cause fatigue (It
    did). More of a psychological weapon than anything else. The enemy mortar
    teams would jump out of vehicles, fire a few rounds, and then haul ass in a
    matter of seconds.

    5) Bad guy technology: Simple yet effective. Most communication is by
    cell and satellite phones, and also by email on laptops. They use handheld
    GPS units for navigation and "Google earth" for overhead views of our
    positions. Their weapons are good! , if not fancy, and prevalent. Their
    explosives and bomb technology is TOP OF THE LINE. Night vision is rare.
    They are very careless with their equipment and the captured GPS units and
    laptops are treasure troves of Intel when captured.

    Who are the bad guys?:

    Most of the carnage is caused by the Zarqawi Al Qaeda group. They operate
    mostly in Anbar province (Fallujah and Ramadi). These are mostly
    "foreigners", non-Iraqi Sunni Arab Jihadists from all over the Muslim world
    (and Europe). Most enter Iraq through Syria (with, of course, the knowledge
    and complicity of the Syrian govt.) , and then travel down the "rat line"
    which is the trail of towns along the Euphrates River that we've been
    hitting hard for the last few months. Some are virtually untrained young
    Jihadists that often end up as suicide bombers or in "sacrifice squads".
    Most, however, are hard core terrorists from all the usual suspects (AlQaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas etc.) These are the guys running around murdering
    civilians en masse and cutting heads off. The Chechens (many of whom are
    Caucasian), are supposedly the most ruthless and the best fighters. (they
    have been fighting the Russians for years). In the Baghdad area and south,
    most of the insurgents are Iranian inspired (and led) Iraqi Shiites. The
    Iranian Shiia have been very adept at infiltrating the Iraqi local govt.'s,
    the police forces and the Army. The have had a massive spy and agitator
    network there since the Iran-Iraq war in the early 80's. Most of the
    Saddam loyalists were killed, captured or gave up long ago.

    Bad Guy Tactics:

    When they are engaged on an infantry level they get their asses kicked every
    time. Brave, but stupid. Suicidal Banzai-type charges were very common
    earlier in the war and still occur. They will literally sacrifice 8-10 man
    te! ams in suicide squads by sending them screaming and firing Ak's and RPG's
    directly at our bases just to probe the defenses. They get mowed down like
    grass every time. ( see the M2 and M240 above). Jordan's base was hit like
    this often. When engaged, they have a tendency to flee to the same
    building, probably for what they think will be a glorious last stand.
    Instead, we call in air and that's the end of that more often than not.
    These hole-ups are referred to as Alpha Whiskey Romeo's (Allah's Waiting
    Room). We have the laser guided ground-air thing down to a science. The
    fast mover's, mostly Marine F-18's, are taking an ever increasing toll on
    the enemy. When caught out in the open, the helicopter gunships and AC-130
    Spectre gunships cut them to ribbons with cannon and rocket fire, especially
    at night. Interestingly, artillery is hardly used at all. Fun fact: The
    enemy death toll is sup! posedly between 45-50 thousand. That is why we're
    seeing less and less infantry attacks and more IED, suicide bomber shit.
    The new strategy is simple: attrition.

    The insurgent tactic most frustrating is their use of civilian
    non-combatants as cover. They know we do all we can to avoid civilian
    casualties and therefore schools, hospitals and (especially) Mosques are
    locations where they meet, stage for attacks, cache weapons and ammo and
    flee to when engaged. They have absolutely no regard whatsoever for
    civilian casualties. They will terrorize locals and murder without
    hesitation anyone believed to be sympathetic to the Americans or the new
    Iraqi govt. Kidnapping of family members (especially children) is common to
    influence people they are trying to influence but cant reach, such as local
    govt. officials, clerics, tribal leaders, etc.).

    The first thing our guys are told is "don't get captured". ! ; They know that
    if captured they will be tortured and beheaded on the internet. Zarqawi
    openly offers bounties for anyone who brings him a live American serviceman.
    This motivates the criminal element who otherwise don't give a shit about
    the war. A lot of the beheading victims were actually kidnapped by common
    criminals and sold to Zarqawi. As such, for our guys, every fight is to the
    death. Surrender is not an option.

    The Iraqi's are a mixed bag. Some fight well, others aren't worth a shit.
    Most do okay with American support. Finding leaders is hard, but they are
    getting better. It is widely viewed that Zarqawi's use of suicide bombers,
    en masse, against the civilian population was a serious tactical mistake.
    Many Iraqi's were galvanized and the caliber of recruits in the Army and the
    police forces went up, along with their motivation. It also led to an
    exponential increase in good intel ! because the Iraqi's are sick of the
    insurgent attacks against civilians. The Kurds are solidly pro-American and
    fearless fighters.

    According to Jordan, morale among our guys is very high. They not only
    believe they are winning, but that they are winning decisively. They are
    stunned and dismayed by what they see in the American press, whom they
    almost universally view as against them. The embedded reporters are
    despised and distrusted. They are inflicting casualties at a rate of 20-1
    and then see shit like "Are we losing in Iraq" on TV and the print media.
    For the most part, they are satisfied with their equipment, food and
    leadership. Bottom line though, and they all say this, there are not enough
    guys there to drive the final stake through the heart of the insurgency,
    primarily because there aren't enough troops in-theater to shut down the
    borders with Iran and Syria. The Iranians and the Syrians ! just cant stand
    the thought of Iraq being an American ally (with, of course, permanent US
    bases there).

    Anyway guys, that's it, hope you found it interesting, I sure did

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