Monday, April 14, 2008

Show and Tell

Cato: It's so obvious, it's bound to be a trap.
Clouseau: That is why you'll never be a great detective, Cato.
It's so obvious that it could not possibly be a trap
--The Pink Panther Strikes Again (1976)

I'm out of money, I'm out of hope,

It looks like self destruction.

Well how much more can we take,

With all of this corruption?

--Flirtin' With Disaster
, Molly Hatchet

More photo analysis from the aesthetically-inclined Ranger. This time from photos in Dick Couch's book, "Chosen Soldier: The Making of a Special Forces Warrior 2007)." It borders on Rainman's level of intensely minute focus, but that is part of Ranger's Asperger-like charm.

In photo #1 depicting "proper technique for searching an enemy prisoner of war," the caption reads, "VERY CAREFULLY!" However, that is not the way Ranger would "cover" a prisoner being searched.

Prisoner are dangerous even when unarmed. Imagine the prisoner pivoting, rolling and grabbing the searcher. Imagine him twitching -- would you the searcher want somebody firing 5.56 mm rounds into his body when you might catch a stray round or ricochet?

Instead, why not place your rifle muzzle on his back between the shoulder blades? In the eventuality he moves, the blast will go into the ground, and not kill a friendly. This isn't rocket science. If SF is being trained this shoddily, what standards are being used by the rest of the Army?

In the second photo, the machine gun is employed as a medium MG since it is on a tripod. Ranger has never seen a tripod carried on actual offensive operations. The tripod is generally an item used in defensive fires. Imagine running from the ambush to the objective rally point carrying this extra piece of steel.

Ranger will buy the theatrical Ghilly suits on an ambush, but do troopers really carry this kind of gear on extended combat operations which are the hallmark of traditional SF UW/GW operations?

The tripod is superfluous, and causes the gun to be employed too high off the ground. Being high causes the gunner to present a higher profile and therefore be a better target for enemy fire. Additionally, the gunner and assistant gunner are camouflaged, but the gun is not, so what is the point?

Grazing fire should ideally be used in an ambush raking the length of the kill zone. If you must use a tripod, it should be dug into the ground. But the tripod and traversing and elevating mechanism do not allow the gunner to rapidly shift his fire to the rear if the enemy tries an unexpected avenue of approach.

The tripod and T & E must be assembled at the ambush site and disassembled after the ambush. This is unrealistic and it is not reasonable to approach the ambush site or leave it with the gun attached to the tripod and the T & E mechanism. Also, the gun will be hot and difficult to handle after blowing the ambush.

The rule is: keep everything simple. The setup presented does not allow for rapid evacuation of the scene, as it is too unwiel

The belt of the MG is too long and the assistant gunner should be supporting in closer to the gun. The MG is less likely to have a stoppage if the belt feeds directly into the gun without angling up into the feed tray, as seen in the picture.

What is the function of the assistant gunner? He is there to service the gun and to provide last ditch security to the gunner, and to call out targets. The assistant should have his primary or secondary weapon ready to employ if the enemy assaults the ambush site. It is not evident in the photo.

Also, the tree to the left of the gun obstructs the field of fire, which negates the cover that it may provide. Neither the gunner or his assistant can see any threat approaching because they would be masked from sight by the tree. Additionally, the muzzle blast will throw back into the faces of the gunners after hitting the tree.

You would imagine ideal form would be presented for this photo shoot. In actuality, this presents a recipe for disaster.

Well there you have it, SOCNET and SOFORP fans. Close analysis of some "SF warriors" from your favorite son.

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Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

i would not be comfortable at all with the way these guys are doing things. search a prisoner who is not already restrained? with a long gun, right between the shoulder blades has an amazing calming effect. as does a pistol muzzle right up on the base of the skull. it's hard to miss something you're already touching isn't it?

Monday, April 14, 2008 at 5:31:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Publius said...

Picky, picky, picky, Ranger. You might recall the guy who played Ricardo Montalban on "Saturday Night Live" years ago: "I look marvelous."

And isn't that the point?

Monday, April 14, 2008 at 10:10:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

I'd be inclined to stand on a knee or even the neck with my weapon ready.And of course after restaints were applied., excellent point that i glossed over.jim

Tuesday, April 15, 2008 at 9:19:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

I'm actually at he point that i don't know what the point is anymore. jim

Tuesday, April 15, 2008 at 9:20:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

another advantage to only searching prisoners who are already restrained is that it gives the first interrogator a wonderful opportunity to cut the bonds. (in an appropriately guarded situation of course) the act is powerful for bringing the subject into a mindset of both trust and gratitude. trust and gratitude have made many more intelligence breakthroughs than fear and pain.

it's just not as much fun for the folks watching the satellite link back in washington. they like their torture scenes to be sexy and dramatic.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008 at 11:08:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous tw said...

I'm actually at he point that i don't know what the point is anymore.

Damn, that's a song! Can I steal it?

Tuesday, April 15, 2008 at 7:41:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

fortunately my writings are copyrighted but for you i'll make an exception.
i really mean those words. jim

Wednesday, April 16, 2008 at 9:56:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Andy said...

Yeah, this is in stark contrast to how the SEAL's do things - or did things since I last worked with them in the mid 1990's. This video is typical of what I remember of how they employed MG's.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008 at 3:41:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Andy said...

Oh, BTW, I got to play OPFOR for SEAL training a few times and even though I was "dead" I still got the rifle barrel between my shoulder-blades while they searched my corpse for intel.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008 at 4:11:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Andy, thanks for the link which brought back long forgotten memories of drills for breaking contact for a recon team.
Critique; the MG gunner has his sights up moving thru thick undergrowth and this is ideal for snagging. You don't need sights at close quarters.
The individuals with rifles do not train their weapons to their eye movements. You don't look in one direction and point your weapon in another.It's a potentually fatal error.
The military seemingly has lost it's institutional knowledge of things as simple as patrolling and use of weapons by teams AND INDIVIDUAL SO-CALLED WARRIORS.
I did this critique of your film clip to show that the problem goes beyond the individual services.
thanks , jim

Thursday, April 17, 2008 at 9:34:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

i want to come back to our exchange about the fact that i no longer know what the point is.This can be taken on several levels other than the personal.
What indeed is the point?Can anybody define what we are doing as a nation without using propaganda and rah rah statements.?What is there to win and what to lose in these phoney needless wars.We're in the middle of a presidential selection process and the dialogue is wide of the mark.People keep dying and the country(ours) keeps spiralling downward.

Thursday, April 17, 2008 at 3:31:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Andy said...

Just ran across this picture of Russians in Afghanistan.

Friday, April 18, 2008 at 12:32:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Andy, good pic.thanks.obviously posed. jim

Friday, April 18, 2008 at 4:52:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous tw said...


American's are in denial as to what we are doing as a nation. We can't admit that we've swallowed the propaganda hook , line and sinker. After all, stuff like this only happens in the third world, doesn't it.

Awhile back I heard someone comment that most Americans were historically impaired and that those who were not thought that it didn't apply to them. That about sums it up.

Saturday, April 19, 2008 at 12:35:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...


As Gore Vidal (who supported Kucinich, calling him "the most eloquent Democratic candidate of this race") entitled his book, "Imperial America: The United Stets of Denial."

You're correct, we are being led by people indulging in third world behavior.

Saturday, April 19, 2008 at 8:12:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

oops, typo--"United States". . .

At least the name hasn't changed!

Saturday, April 19, 2008 at 8:13:00 AM GMT-5  

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