Got this today from a friend Very interesting report from a grunt to his dad. Sort of interesting to see the M-14 and M-1911-A1 being used by the grunts. >Subject: Battlefield Equipment Report >Date: Sun, 13 Nov 2005 04:54:52 -0800 > >Like he says, we won't see this anywhere!!! > >Interesting read off my PW list, passed on to you, all my "war monger" >buddies. Bet you didn't read this in any of your papers. >--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- > > >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. 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 in-theater. > >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 modified 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 (Al Qaeda, 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 teams 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 supposedly 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.