Walkabout In The Weminuche Wilderness

Herschel Smith · 05 Aug 2018 · 40 Comments

"There are no socialists in the bush" - HPS All of my physical training only barely prepared me for the difficulty of the Weminuche Wilderness (pronounced with the "e" silent).  It's National Forest land, not National Park.  The Department of Agriculture no longer prints maps of the area, so we relied on NatGeo for the map, and it's good, but not perfect. We have a lot of ground to cover, including traveling with firearms, the modification I made to one of my guns for the trip, the actors…… [read more]

Assessment Of SOF Ambush In Niger, The Gun, And Major General Bob Scales

BY Herschel Smith
1 year, 2 months ago

Whether it’s worth it to the reader notwithstanding, I’m going to give some initial thoughts on the Islamic ambush on the SOF (Green Berets) in Niger in 2017, and then conclude with a few thoughts on guns and generals.  I expect pushback, just as I got with A Marine Corps View Of Tactics In Operation Red Wings, a very well visited post, and also a very controversial one.  With this former post, not very many commenters understood what I and my son were saying concerning the boundary conditions for the fight, i.e., we were questioning not just the weapons and staffing of the operation, but why it was conceived the way it was to begin with.  I expect SF and SOF to disagree with elements of my assessment here too.

First of all, let’s dispense with the preliminary necessities of acknowledging that the operation had a very sad ending, in spite of the heroic efforts of some brave men.  Let’s also stipulate that it was very sad that men had to sustain this sacrifice for an army is Islamists created by George Soros and the CIA (along with DynCorp, the CGI, the deep state and others appurtenant parties).  Now that the preliminaries are out of the way, we need to learn from the operation in a clinical manner.

First of all, read this CNN article, and then read this Military Times article (which is better) for background.  For a redacted DoD assessment, read this document (PDF).  I’ll embed a video later, but for the time being, this is necessary reading in order to understand the context.  Now for my assessment.

[1] There is absolutely no question that they “continued to engage the enemy” throughout the event.  That is stated a number of times in the formal report, and the report is correct and honest about that.

[2] The SOF soldiers had M4 carbines with EOTech holographic sights, not scopes with magnification.

[3] A larger caliber weapon would have been irrelevant without long distance sighting capability.

[4] The M4s they deployed with were sufficient to the task given the distances they were shooting.

[5] A small caliber weapon (5.56mm) was the best choice for the engagement anyway given that they were having to lay down very quick fires and needed rapid recovery of sight picture.

[6] The entire operation was poorly conceived and poorly planned.

[7] It isn’t clear to me why they chose to engage the enemy when they did via dismounted operations rather than evasion, egress and escape more quickly.  The vehicle they were using was driving very slowly, leaving them exposed with no cover or concealment.

[8] When they were laying down the only suppressive fires they could, with M4s, there was no coordination of fires.  One soldier was shooting while another was waving for the driver to hurry, and vice versa.  I understand conservation of ammunition, but this was a high intensity rather than a protracted fire fight.

[9] There was no combined arms fires because there were no combined arms to deploy.

[10] They needed a suppressive weapon and didn’t bring one.

[11] The presence of an M249, while perhaps not changing the outcome, would have made it much more difficult for the enemy.

[12] None of the soldiers in the video had an M203, which has a long range of somewhere around 400 yards and an effective range of somewhere around 150-200 yards.

[13] The presence of an M79 would have made it much more difficult on the enemy.  I understand that M79s are still in use.  It has an effective range of somewhere around 400 yards, which I estimate to be within range of the cover and concealment used by the enemy.

[14] Sadly, they were vastly outnumbered.  Furthermore, the enemy had combined arms.  More specifically, they had a crew served truck mounted machine gun.  This was likely determinative for the engagement.

[15] Finally, the M4s didn’t jam.  They functioned well, they were able to shoot within the range of the cover and concealment used by the enemy, and given the rapid sight picture recovery of the weapon, they were probably the best choice if all you had was a rifle.  This was a high intensity engagement.  There was no time for designated marksmen or snipers.  They needed to break contact more quickly, evade, find concealment, and ensconce with a suppression weapon (which they didn’t have).

In my opinion, the video you are about to watch, combined with the reports I cited, bear out much of what I’m saying.  This video was from a helmet camera, confiscated by an Islamic fighter, and now on YouTube.  I don’t vouch for it’s presence on the internet for any specific length of time.  I cannot say how long it will be available.

Again, this is all so very sad that these men perished the way they did.  It should serve as a warning to American politicians on the dangers of open borders for our own country, but it won’t.

And in spite of all of this, Major General Bob Scales indicated this.

He pointed to lives lost due to small arms and other infantry equipment holes from Vietnam to Afghanistan to last year’s deaths of special operations soldiers in Niger.

If you’d listened to me three years ago, those soldiers in Niger would have had this rifle in their hands,” Scales said. “So, take that to bed tonight.”

He is specifically saying that having a rifle of his own choosing would have changed the outcome of the engagement in Niger.

He is an awful man.  Not only is he an idiot and ass-clown, he’s cravenly using the deaths of soldiers in an operation-gone-wrong (because it was conceived wrong) to push his own agenda.  He’s blood dancing on the graves of those soldiers to get his way.

Bob … Scales … has … no … shame.  He is incapable of shame and has no scruples.

Prior: Wait, Defense Secretary Mattis Put Bob Scales In Charge Of WHAT?


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