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From The Front Lines...

Discussion in 'Issues Around the World' started by Sierra Mike, Dec 17, 2002.

  1. Sierra Mike

    Sierra Mike The Dude Abides Staff Member

    This is a fragment of a pretty long email I just received from my friend Perry, who's one of the senior battalion officers of the Apache unit that was deployed to Afghanistan. I have altered it a bit (leaving out names, positions, and such) for OPSEC, but here is the salient and interesting stuff...

    By the way, he's not the greatest writer; spelling errors are his.

    Kind of scary to know the local Afghans might be willing to turn against the Americans for cash. Does put a wrinkle into nation building. :)

  2. ShinyTop

    ShinyTop I know what is right or wrong!

    My understanding is we turned them for cash. What makes me wonder is you would think knowing our fire power might make the bad guys give a lot of money to turn them. Where are they getting that money? Can you say Saudi?
  3. Steve

    Steve Is that it, then?

    What's the ration of guerilla forces to regular forces? Something like 1 to 7, I think? For every 1 guerilla fighter, it takes 7 regular fighters to suppress the guerrilla activity?
  4. Coot

    Coot Passed Away January 7, 2010

    Shock there, the afghans might actually be mercs ;) Weren't we at least partially counting on that when we went in?
  5. Sierra Mike

    Sierra Mike The Dude Abides Staff Member

    Sure, but we were counting on them doing the right thing by their country, not turning around and biting the hand that feeds them. That's just too stupid. :)

  6. Coot

    Coot Passed Away January 7, 2010

    It just might be endemic in a culture where survival often goes to the highest bidder. The concept of country is likely not quite that high on their list of priorities. The warlords and governors have a long history of fighting amongst each other. If nothing else, the Taliban did seem to be able to moderate that to a certain extent.
  7. Frodo Lives

    Frodo Lives Luke, I am NOT your father!

    Nuke 'em.
  8. Sierra Mike

    Sierra Mike The Dude Abides Staff Member

    Well, that's quite true. And it does put the American force there in a rather unenviable position; this is one of the reasons the US pulled out after the Soviet invasion was finally repelled. The tribes broke down along ethnic, religious, and tribal rivalries. And now, the warlords are really eager to get back to the good old drug trade and killing off their compatriots over past grudges, among other things.

    This is going to be a real sticky wicket. US forces have an idea of who their allies are at the moment, but if that changes, deniability among the Afghans is high. Killing Taliban and al Qaeda is one thing; ferreting out who's who among the supposedly friendly Afghani clans in another. And this was always going to be the problem. Karzai's government cannot stay in power without direct US military assistance; at the same time, there are about 100 NGOs waiting to try and stick the US with war crimes if they ever go to guns on brand-new enemies when they pop up.

  9. ShinyTop

    ShinyTop I know what is right or wrong!

    I am upset by apparent bugs with the chain gun when the ammo load is near full. The Apache has been around long enough that a bug like that should be cleared up.
  10. Sierra Mike

    Sierra Mike The Dude Abides Staff Member

    I absolutely agree. The weapon's full load of 30mm is 1,200 rounds, delinked. During the Gulf War, the troops got by with about 600 rounds without jams, which is doable.

    Then the chaingun manufacturer redesigned the flex chutes and electrical motors to try and solve the jamming problems, and now it appears they've succeeded in reducing the jam rate to almost 0...if you only carry 300 rounds.

  11. ShinyTop

    ShinyTop I know what is right or wrong!

    That chain gun is being mounted on many platforms to include smaller ships and vehicles. I thought the reliability was high.
  12. Sierra Mike

    Sierra Mike The Dude Abides Staff Member

    Actually, it is. It's not the gun which is the problem. It's the flex chute array.

    On the DAPs, we can stick two chainguns on the ESSS and fire two thousand rounds without incident. But on the Apache, when moving to engage an off-axis target, the flex chutes can get kinked, a round will somehow get displace, hit the inductor on the gun, and get jammed.

    It's a stupid problem, but mountainous terrain like what's in Afghanistan is what the gun was made for. You can't fire a Hellfire or 2.75-inch rocket at a guy with a machinegun when the matchup is happening at almost 0/0 range.

  13. ShinyTop

    ShinyTop I know what is right or wrong!

    Well, just keep the gun pointing one direction and move the platform. LOL. Damn buying from the lowest bidder.
  14. Sierra Mike

    Sierra Mike The Dude Abides Staff Member

    It does suck, and a lot of $ have been thrown at this solution. If the ammo wasn't delinked, then that would probably solve a lot of problems; but then, what does the Army do with all those damned delinking loaders?

    Linked ammo would run up the effective load to around 875 rounds constant, but the ammo bay configuration wouldn't likely support it...but the pilots sure would be happy. In its current form, all the 30mm rounds are tip-up toward the pilots' butts. ;)

  15. ShinyTop

    ShinyTop I know what is right or wrong!

    Ouch, that would make anybody a tight ass. :)
  16. Jedi Writer

    Jedi Writer Guest

    You know the situation you talk about is probably the least understood and least reported fact about Afghanistan. I guess the latter has something to do with the former. I've always been amazed how it remains almost a secret.

    Afghanistan is not a country in the traditional sense of the word. Not even close. All it is a multitude of warring tribes or clans--period. They will switch allegiance to anyone, Afghan or foreigner if it is in their perceived best interests and those usually translate into power and money. The tribes or clans or dominated by warlords.

    So when we talk about Afghanistan the country and what we should do about it, we are not talking about a country, really. We just don't realize it.

    The fact is there is nothing of substance in the long run we can do for the country--because they aren't a country.

    Oh, yeah a question. They have not obviously solved the problem with the chain gun. But did they ever stop the leaks in the cockpit when it rains?
  17. ShinyTop

    ShinyTop I know what is right or wrong!

    A leaking cockpit would be better than the plane dissolving when it rains like the B2. :)
  18. Sierra Mike

    Sierra Mike The Dude Abides Staff Member

    I've heard nothing about it recently. When I left the 6th Cavalry, they were replacing all the weather stripping on the canopies and even replacing some support members. I know that in 1989 during JUST (BE)CAUSE, there weren't any incidents with rain water leaking in, but there sure was an issue with humidity.


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