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Afghan Taliban Small Arms Procurement and Use

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  • astralis
    replied
    gunnut,

    M-16 wasn't badly designed. It was the poor training, rumors about this wonder rifle that didn't need cleaning, and the decision to switch propellant, that generated so much bad press.

    Direct impingement system need way more cleaning to work properly. The tight tolerances produced a very accurate weapon, but not very forgiving. M-16 did everything Eugene Stoner designed it to do.
    read "the gun", by cj chivers.

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  • Bill
    replied
    Originally posted by Mihais View Post
    1. Level 3 and 4 body armor can defeat 7.62x39,7.62x54 and .308.
    Level III will not defeat 5.56mm or most other rifle fire. Class IV will. I have two class IIIA vests, one of which has class IV ceramic trauma plates. Class III is rated to stop 12 gauge "rifled" type slugs, 00 buck, and .44 magnum 240gr JSP, but not rifle fire. There are even a few EA 5.7x28mm rounds that can punch through a Class IIIA vest.

    Class IV will stop anything up to and including US .30-06 AP rounds, or so it is said.

    Originally posted by S-2 View Post
    "The M-16A2/A4 with it's long barrel and rifle sights is very capable against point targets to 400+ meters in the hands of any "expert" rifleman."

    That would describe you. Not me. I was a trained rifleman with a zeroed weapon who saw the range no more than any typical artillery unit. I didn't shoot on my battalion's competition team. Max range on the qual course was 300 meters and I hit my fair share to consistently shoot sharpshooter and twice expert. That would probably reflect the shooting of most conscientous combat arms soldiers who didn't use small arms for a living.

    Never saw 400 meter targets but no reason not to believe you'd drill targets at that range all day long.
    How about 400 meters prone with an M16A1 sir? ;)


    The problem for most troops is one of practice. Most soldiers, as you say, never even get to shoot a 400 meter range, so it's hard to expect them to be competent at that range, even though it's within the capability of the weapon they are employing.

    Honestly though, there were guys way better than me.

    If I was the boss in that theater, i would order the M-16A2/A4 to replace the M4 as the general issue weapon. It is far better suited to the engagement ranges that are reported there.
    Last edited by Bill; 03 Feb 11,, 07:33.

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  • S2
    replied
    "The M-16A2/A4 with it's long barrel and rifle sights is very capable against point targets to 400+ meters in the hands of any "expert" rifleman."

    That would describe you. Not me. I was a trained rifleman with a zeroed weapon who saw the range no more than any typical artillery unit. I didn't shoot on my battalion's competition team. Max range on the qual course was 300 meters and I hit my fair share to consistently shoot sharpshooter and twice expert. That would probably reflect the shooting of most conscientous combat arms soldiers who didn't use small arms for a living.

    Never saw 400 meter targets but no reason not to believe you'd drill targets at that range all day long.

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  • Bill
    replied
    Originally posted by S-2 View Post
    "In a way,Sir, I think we should be very grateful to the Soviets.They saturated the market with AK's that also created a different tactical approach than what was traditional to the area.We managed to neutralize that by training ,tactics and technology.If they would resort to a wider use of trained marksmen and snipers Western losses will soar.So far they didn't managed to do that.Granted,it's not an easy task to build such a force...."

    Basic rifle marksmanship was heavily invested, in my view, by the U.S. Army. By all accounts, the marines take it even more seriously. I really wouldn't speak for foreign armies one way or another. I've not fired an M-4 carbine but the M-16 truly was deadly out to 300 meters with a trained rifleman possessing a zeroed weapon.
    The M-16A2/A4 with it's long barrel and iron carry handle sights is very capable against point targets to 400+ meters in the hands of any "expert" qualified rifleman. With tritium iron sights you don't even need optics, and the A2/A4 is a lethal round the clock weapon. With Mk262 Mod1 ammo, you can add another 50 to maybe even 100yds of practical range IMO.

    Very, very good rifle.

    The M-4 is also an excellent weapon, but it's a harder weapon to shoot well. It has a much shorter barrel, much shorter sight radius, much lighter weight which equates to more recoil and muzzle climb during rapid fire, and that all equates to a much shorter practical max range for all but the best shooters.

    The M-4 was an excellent weapon for Iraq, i don't think it's such a great idea in Afghanistan. It seems to me the M-16A4 would be a significantly superior weapon for that theater with it's longer range engagements.

    The increased velocity would also equate to much more consistent terminal performance even with M193 and M855 ammunition.
    Last edited by Bill; 03 Feb 11,, 07:20.

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  • gunnut
    replied
    Originally posted by astralis View Post
    mihais,

    of course, there has to be some advantage to being awash in ammo and automatic weapons vice precision shooting, or else people wouldn't transition in the first place. in fact, the US Army went through a similar phase in the 50s. there's always been an obsession/culture within the US armed forces to emphasize precision, which is the reason why the US stuck with the garand/m1 carbine/M14 combo long after the Soviets transitioned to the AK-47. this did not go over well when the US fought the vietnamese with badly-designed M16s.

    moreover, note that the british/french/americans pretty much ran over native opposition armed with bolt action rifles all the way until the 50s, precisely when the transition to automatic arms began.
    M-16 wasn't badly designed. It was the poor training, rumors about this wonder rifle that didn't need cleaning, and the decision to switch propellant, that generated so much bad press.

    Direct impingement system need way more cleaning to work properly. The tight tolerances produced a very accurate weapon, but not very forgiving. M-16 did everything Eugene Stoner designed it to do.

    Leave a comment:


  • Mihais
    replied
    1. Level 3 and 4 body armor can defeat 7.62x39,7.62x54 and .308.

    2.Without getting too much into how Europeans of 3-4 generations ago ruled the world,I'll only say that La Coloniale wasn't ####ing around the natives.In our terms,their ROE's were more laxed and the national will to win was there.That is no amount of marksmanship was going to win the war for the insurgents.It did win engagements,though.
    3.If you look 50-60 years ago,it's the time when the insurgents finally manage to get both a powerful backer and foreign sanctuaries.Weapons,any sort of weapons cease to be scarce.
    4.My point,again ,is not that bolt action wins wars in general.It's that accurate long range fire causes casualties and reduces the options for patrolling in particular and moving around(or just staying in the FOB in relative comfort) in general.Snipers/marksmen aren't invincible,but they are a force multiplier.The rest of the squad armed with AK's and MG's is present anyway,to cover the presence of the sniper and protect him from countermeasures.

    Given the particular ROE's in A-stan and the Byzantine national policies of the gazillion of nations involved we can only be grateful that their ambushes do not manage to actually kill/wound more frequently.And that happens because the Taliban can move and protect it's force,but they can't manage to handle the final phase-shooting straight.Being shot at is stressful.But is less stressful than actually losing people.How more casualties MIGHT have influenced tactics,strategy and national policies is speculative at this point and I'm glad that's the case.

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  • Chogy
    replied
    I don't mean to drift too badly, but I find the concept of U.S. marksmanship to be exemplified by the fact that the vast majority of the M-4 / M-16 platforms in use these days are limited to 3-round burst. No more Rock & Roll / Spray and Pray, depending upon how you look at it.

    Those 7.62 x 39 AK rounds look identical to standard Russian ammo like "Wolf" - steel cased, copper-clad steel projectile. Very inexpensive, yet effective. They won't do the damage that a 5.56 or 5.45mm round will do, but they can penetrate body armor. I'm sure the 7.62 x 54R is still in heavy use as well, a rimmed cartridge that is what? 100 years old?

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  • astralis
    replied
    mihais,

    It's the mindset that matters.Warrior cultures that faced the colonial empires,the Afghans, Berbers or the Boers being the first that comes to my mind were famed for their marksmanship.Skill was born of need.Each round counted.
    of course, there has to be some advantage to being awash in ammo and automatic weapons vice precision shooting, or else people wouldn't transition in the first place. in fact, the US Army went through a similar phase in the 50s. there's always been an obsession/culture within the US armed forces to emphasize precision, which is the reason why the US stuck with the garand/m1 carbine/M14 combo long after the Soviets transitioned to the AK-47. this did not go over well when the US fought the vietnamese with badly-designed M16s.

    moreover, note that the british/french/americans pretty much ran over native opposition armed with bolt action rifles all the way until the 50s, precisely when the transition to automatic arms began.

    Leave a comment:


  • Mihais
    replied
    It's the mindset that matters.Warrior cultures that faced the colonial empires,the Afghans, Berbers or the Boers being the first that comes to my mind were famed for their marksmanship.Skill was born of need.Each round counted.

    If you look at modern marksmanship training,they don't pour bullets in the target,even if the weapon is capable of rapid fire.Each one is calculated and there is even an attempt to simulate scarcity by issuing only a few bullets.

    Modern Afghans(for that matter all third world fighters that have access to AK's and are awash in ammo) replaced that careful approach with posturing.

    Look at the problem this way.If the Taliban was capable of fielding any given day 200 trained marksmen that were also experts at fieldcraft and tactics(and a similar number in training or R&R),equipped with Mosins,SVD's or something more modern our casualties would have been easily doubled or tripled.I'm not claiming this force would have been a war winning force in itself.Just an augment to the typical Taliban outfit.
    They tend to start the engagements and thus they usually have the advantage of the opening salvo,but that's most of the time ineffective.If among those PKM 's and Ak's there would be one guy that actually hits something with his first round,it's a game changer.
    For some reasons that I'm still trying to figure,only the Chechens were capable of using these kind of force to it's full capabilities.Perhaps because they were the most educated among the insurgents of the last 2 decades and they had formal military training.

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  • astralis
    replied
    mihais,

    In a way,Sir, I think we should be very grateful to the Soviets.They saturated the market with AK's that also created a different tactical approach than what was traditional to the area.
    i don't know-- i'd rather our troops be facing off against a bunch of taliban armed with old british-empire bolt-action rifles than old soviet-era AK-47s, SKS, etc.

    you don't get trained marksmen and snipers just because you gave them a bolt-action rifle.

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  • Triple C
    replied
    Cool post as ever, S-2.

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  • sappersgt
    replied
    I found the part about ammunition interesting. I always made it a point to collect enemy ammunition for examination. It tells you a lot about who you're fighting and who their friends are. I was amazed at what people will try to shoot in a gun, alarmed when I found new ammunition from previously undisclosed sources.

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  • Cactus
    replied
    Originally posted by Mihais View Post
    In a way,Sir, I think we should be very grateful to the Soviets.They saturated the market with AK's that also created a different tactical approach than what was traditional to the area.We managed to neutralize that by training ,tactics and technology.If they would resort to a wider use of trained marksmen and snipers Western losses will soar.So far they didn't managed to do that.Granted,it's not an easy task to build such a force.
    Look up the terms "jezzail" and "jezzailich"; and speaking of Kipling, the Arithmetic of the Frontier. The Afghans/Pathans were once famous for their marksmen.

    It is tactically cool at the individual level, but it may have become counterproductive for them now: The British started using collective punishment and butcher-and-bolt operations; the Soviets also did that and added a third-dimension to engagement via artillery and air (thats when the Stinger operator toppled the sharpshooter in their popular imagination); the ISAF also has air and artillery to pound them if they get too annoying, as Chivers notes. Nowadays it has just become more practical for them to sneak up as close as possible before opening automatic fire, exploiting their foes' ROE.

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  • Mihais
    replied
    Their use of the rifle gives a big credit to Lt. Col's Dave Grossman theory about the role of posturing in combat.Big noise,little effect.There is also,maybe, a refusal to be effective killers.

    IIRC there was also an article by Chivers about the Afghan marksmanship(both ''ours'' and ''theirs'') in which he identified the root causes of this situation.From I got from our training mission NCO's there is a huge problem with communication.The Afghans simply don't understand how a firearm works.And some of those trainers(granted only a few)even went native and knew the language.The fact the recruits don't read isn't helping either.To be honest,I'm glad they can't shoot straight.The ANA won't be of any use to us in a few years.What they didn't learned they won't be able to use when they will change sides.

    About the frontier,I meant the American people defending the rest of us from whatever rises S. of Rio Grande

    There was an argument by Alvin Toffler about the 21st century being marked by the opposition between North and South instead of the traditional East vs. West.That's even consistent in part with our dear Huntington.It seems to apply equally well to US,Europe and Russia,although the actors are slightly differrent.The Marxists(a pox on 'em) might even say it's class warfare at world level

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  • S2
    replied
    Mihais Reply

    "In a way,Sir, I think we should be very grateful to the Soviets.They saturated the market with AK's that also created a different tactical approach than what was traditional to the area.We managed to neutralize that by training ,tactics and technology.If they would resort to a wider use of trained marksmen and snipers Western losses will soar.So far they didn't managed to do that.Granted,it's not an easy task to build such a force...."

    Basic rifle marksmanship was heavily invested, in my view, by the U.S. Army. By all accounts, the marines take it even more seriously. I really wouldn't speak for foreign armies one way or another. I've not fired an M-4 carbine but the M-16 truly was deadly out to 300 meters with a trained rifleman possessing a zeroed weapon.

    I'm stunned to see Afghan troops in battle using our M-16s. Their basic employment of the weapon is abysmal and differs little, really, from their equally abysmal firing positions with an AK.

    "...About the frontier of freedom,I pray I'm just a lunatic and a paranoid.We've been there a few hundreds years.It's a crappy place to be."

    If by "...we..." you mean the Romanian people, I'd concur. You are my first line of defense.;)

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