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

BY Herschel Smith
5 years, 11 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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  1. On May 11, 2018 at 1:11 am, Georgiaboy61 said:

    The engagement in question in Niger isn’t the first time the headquarters types have sent a special operations team deep into Indian Country inadequately armed and with badly-designed mission template.

    For heaven’s sake, we’ve been reading about such incidents for years, decades really, since the “Blackhawk Down” incident and the Battle of Mogadishu. More-recently, the ill-fated mission of Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell and his lost team-mates in Operation Red Wings in June, 2005, in Kunar Province, Afghanistan.

    Like a lot of Americans, I went to see the film “Lone Survivor” when it was released in 2013, and also purchased and read Marcus Luttrell’s book of the same name after seeing the film. As I watched the dramatization of the engagement in which his three team-mates lost their lives, I remember thinking how preventable it all would have been if some simple steps had been taken (That is, assuming the film represented events reasonably accurately).

    The mission was compromised by the chance meeting of the squad with an Afghan goatherd and his son. After conferring with one another, Lieutenant Michael Murphy and his team-mates decided to release the Afghans, even though it would almost certainly lead to their discovery.

    An hour later, having retreated to their fallback position, the four man team came under sustained attack by Ahmed Shah and a large force of his men, armed with RPK machine guns, RPG-7 rocket-propelled grenades, AK47s and an 82mm mortar. Cornered, all were killed except Luttrell who escaped and evaded capture in part because of the help of a local villager.

    Why had such a small team been sent into hostile territory, equipped only with small arms? Yes, they were primarily a reconnaissance & surveillance team, but even those need sufficient firepower with which to protect themselves – and Lt. Murphy and his men didn’t have it.

    Having a squad-automatic weapon might had made a difference, but the team didn’t have one of those, let alone a heavier weapon such as an M240 (FN MAG, 7.62×51 NATO). Nor did it have a mortar, or LAW rockets, either of which might have proven to be decisive in saving their lives. Claymore mines? If they had them, they didn’t have enough of them along.

    I fully understand that stealth and secrecy are the bywords of such units, whose job isn’t the engagement the enemy, but conduct covert surveillance and intelligence gathering missions. That said, the unit was too small and too lightly-equipped to withstand even a short engagement against a superior enemy force – as the outcome unfortunately proves.

    Clearly, their discovery by the Afghan goatherds was pivotal. If Corpsman Luttrell had been equipped with the correct kinds of drugs and knew how to administer them, those Afghans could have been sedated, zip-tied and otherwise secured such that they would not wake up until the team had sufficient time to clear the area. Alternatively, they could have taken them along – but lacked enough men to accomplish that task, and no back-up close enough to assist them. They released them, effectively sealing the fate of the Lt. Murphy and his team.

    Look, I’m just a dumb civilian here – but it seems pretty elementary that the Afghan mountains would be crawling with tribesmen herding their sheep and goats. Why hadn’t someone thought that through and come up with some tools to allow these guys to deal with that problem and get out of there alive?

    Senior officers lacking the foresight to take such contingencies into account when planning a mission have no business planning military operations of this kind – period. If the guys back at HQ aren’t competent to plan these ops, then find someone who is.

    Murphy and his team weren’t equipped with communications which were up to the job in the rugged, mountainous terrain of Afghanistan. Assumptions had been made about the team being within line-of-sight and within range of their communications gear, but these proved to be in error, and Lt. Murphy was killed trying to get to high ground so that his comms would work. That’s not good enough – more failures in mission planning. This brave young man lost his life because the planners of the mission didn’t do their jobs.

    Another failure is that the team had no one in an over-watch position to provide covering fire, either via a crew-served automatic weapon, mortar or via precision sniper fire. Command had assumed that air support or drones would supply such, and when these assets didn’t work out as planned, the team got hammered. More mission-planning failures.

    SEALS are elite warriors, we get that – but four men? If we assume that the opposing force had two hundred mujahedeen, then Murphy and his men were outnumbered 50:1 by a force with superior firepower and which was occupying the high ground. Moreover, they were pinned with their backs to a cliff, without an escape route.

    Even a force of 10-15 men would have made a difference, since a force of that size could have been split into two or three teams, each of which could have provided mutually-supportive covering fire for the others, or served as a maneuver element, tactical reserve or over-watch. Yes, this is a larger and less-stealthy force, but this drawback could have been mitigated by inserting them at different locations or at different times.

    The planners back at the head shed made another fundamental and very basic error – they underestimated the capabilities of their adversary. I’m old-enough to remember guys like General Westmoreland telling the media during the Vietnam War that his troops would have no trouble besting a bunch of peasants in black pajamas, but it sure didn’t turn out that way, did it? The song remains the same here in the 21st century. Those SEALS lost their lives because someone at HG didn’t take the enemy seriously enough.

    Never mind the fact that some of the mujahedeen have been fighting in wars against either one another, the Soviets or the U.S.-NATO powers, for longer than many of our younger soldiers have been alive!

    The fiasco at Red Wings was just another example of myopic and short-sighted leadership in our recent military history, one of the latest in a long line of such failures going back to the Vietnam era.

    The officer corps of the U.S. military suffers from what might be termed the “cult of special operations,” i.e., the idea that because the SEALs, Green Berets, SOF-D, Rangers, Marine Recon, etc. are elite troops, they are supermen who can overcome any obstacle against even the steepest odds. Sending these fine men – these elite warriors – on missions which have been poorly-planned, inadequately resourced, and crippled by faulty assumptions and idiotic ROEs, is not only criminally stupid and morally wrong, it is tragic.

    Remember, as Patton said, the idea isn’t to die gloriously for your country, it is to make the other guy die gloriously for his.

  2. On May 11, 2018 at 11:21 am, DAN III said:


    Why the hell are American military conducting military operations in Niger or anywhere else for that matter, without declaration of war ?

    The Americans conducting deadly military operations were no less than mercenaries for the New World Order. There was/is no CON-gressional declaration of war. These men were not drafted. They were volunteers. Volunteers who were NOT defending their homeland. They paid with their lives. They made their choice.

    Mind you reader….why were they not defending American borders from invaders and using deadly force to do so ? Instead they were in a foreign land that was not a threat to American National Security.

    Smedley Butler was correct.

  3. On May 11, 2018 at 12:44 pm, Georgiaboy61 said:

    Re: “Why the hell are American military conducting military operations in Niger or anywhere else for that matter, without declaration of war ?”

    A very good question. One whose answer lies partly in the cult of special operations to which I made reference in my previous remarks. Part of the reason the powers-that-be of the deep state love special ops so much is that Spec Ops forces are often completely deniable and operate off-the-books. And if an op goes sideways in some country where we’re not officially supposed to be, the whole thing can be swept under the rug and hidden by the use of secrecy and national security laws. It’s a “get out of jail free card” for policymakers and members of the national security apparatus. And it is all paid for Joe and Jane Sixpack, who are almost always blissfully unaware of the whole thing – “blissfully,” if you are an insider, that is.

    Great reference to the good General Butler. Who said, apropos of nothing whatever, that the only two things for which Americans should fight are to protect their homes and to defend the Bill of Rights. So, say, how’s that going these days??

  4. On May 11, 2018 at 2:50 pm, JoeFour said:

    “Why the hell are American military conducting military operations … without declaration of war ?”

    A C-SPAN discussion I watched back in the mid-1980s matter of factly stated that there have been no declarations of war by any country since WW II because such declarations are not permitted or recognized by the United Nations Charter. I called the program immediately after hearing that and queried the panel as to what was the actual supreme law of the land for the United States–the U.S. Constitution or the United Nations Charter. The panel stumbled and bumbled at my query and never did answer it moving on to some other subject that escapes my memory. From then to now, I’ve never heard another discussion on the use of military force by the United States that addressed the issue of the U.S. Constitution vs. the United Nations Charter…me thinks that such silence speaks loudly.

  5. On May 11, 2018 at 3:40 pm, Longbow said:

    The detachment commander split his team and withdrew in manner which was NOT mutually supporting. That ambush, given what I saw in the helmet-cam video, was survivable.

    If you can un-ass an ambush kill zone, then GTFO! if you cannot, assault through. This is so basic it SHOULD go without saying.

    But, I was not there, so… words, words, words.

  6. On May 11, 2018 at 7:19 pm, Fred said:

    I’ve not commented on articles like this here or elsewhere because I’m not a combat vet. I don’t want to offend but this really bothered me.

    The ultimate problem wasn’t tactical or equipment. Sure, they might-could have used a better mix of arms and surely could have used a heck of a lot more men with that mix. @Longbow mentioned some battle tactics that might have been used but ultimately these deaths are a systemic problem. @Dan III already mention no declaration of war. This is the heart of the problem.

    “…falsified a document to get approval for a mission to kill or capture a local ISIS leader. That mission was never approved by the proper chain of command…” – CNN

    What the…? Are soldiers filling out request forms to fight a war? This is stated by the report with no sense of irony whatsoever. No contrary point is stated by the investigation either. As the report concludes that, well, you read it for yourself: “AFRICOM has already taken some steps in the wake of the attack, including new guidance on the planning and approval of military operations and a review of equipment requirements.” – Military Times.

    So the problem is that more requests are needed. ‘Sir, may I please fight your NWO banksters war to secure the Nigerian (oops, NWO) minerals for your false gods of power and money? And may I please fight it to a stalemate in the manner, mode, and tactic that you prescribe, oh master?’ Is this what the form says?

    More from CNN;
    “In an operation where you’re under enemy contact, you need to be able to operate like clockwork without having to speak because you know the drills,” Gen. Thomas Waldhauser, the head of US Africa Command, told reporters Thursday.
    “In this particular case, the team did not conduct those basic soldier level skills that would, that are really necessary to go on an operation such as this,” he added. – CNN

    Well I don’t know the first thing about Nigerian forces but I do that 10,000 men under arms could secure Nigeria’s own(oops, NWO) mineral rights and associated territory without us. Of course Ethiopia could help. They have a competent force by Africa standards and it is a Christian nation not known for taking guff from the muz and ISIS. But, not all the Ethiopian and Nigerian tribes get along. Try explaining this to an east coast lefty and watch their head explode. What, they don’t get along, but they’re all black right? Some of them are Christians? Eeeew.

    – Anyway –

    “While returning to their base, the team’s Nigerien partner forces needed water so the convoy stopped near the village of Tongo Tongo to resupply. The team leader also met for several hours with local village leaders.”

    And here was the mistake on the ground. Grabbing water? maybe. Quick hello with the local honcho? It’s a risk. Several HOURS? How did that happen and why? But we do know exactly what happened here. It’s been happening since the days of Abram. Somebody, likely a young male 9 to 14, ran and told his “ISIS” buddies about the US/Nigerian force. I have no proof, but I’m right. And I don’t blame the young commander who was doing what he was, no doubt, trained to do. This is the sad part because it will be the legacy of 4GW. Trying to be friends on the one hand while not appearing to be somewhat corrosive on the other hand while killing some nearby neighbors. Seriously? Is this not a flawed doctrine?

    And here is the real culprit. The DoD took every lesson learned on how to lose a war from Vietnam, apparently, and put them into SOP at AFRICOM and expected to win. The families of these men should burn DC to the ground and see to it that everybody there is hanged from the neck until dead.

    Here we go again: You determine before a Holy and Righteous God that an actual and credible threat exists. You determine before God in your heart that you must defend your nation. Then you turn your entire nation to the Natural Right of armed warfare under His Natural Law. Then you go about to kill the enemy. You kill them some more. You destroy their property and then you kill them some more again until the ones left alive submit. And if they won’t? Then you go OT to ensure the survival of your people, knowing that you made all moral decisions at the outset to save your nation. FUCK A REQUEST FORM.

    When was the last time any one of the “Generals” won anything? Even a flippin’ game of Parcheesi?

    The entire chain of command is infested with traitors to the republic. (even before and after Barry Husein’s purges)

    What happened to unlawful orders?

  7. On May 11, 2018 at 7:33 pm, Fred said:

    I guess that should say Coercive not corrosive…but…maybe not. Smile.

    Oh and yes @JoeFour, UN and the Geneva agreements are designed to prevent a winner.

  8. On May 11, 2018 at 9:42 pm, JoeFour said:

    Fred asks, “When was the last time any one of the “Generals” won anything?”

    Great question … I think one has to go back to WW II … which leads me to re-post the following link that explains why we have the lousy generals that we have (Scales being an excellent example):

  9. On May 12, 2018 at 3:00 pm, ROFuher said:

    From my buddy Orlando, who has experience in Central African security operations, “In that situation they should have bugged out… And then counter ambushed but… Not sure if they are taught small unit tactics these days… They rely on support and technology…”

  10. On May 13, 2018 at 1:44 pm, Gryphon said:

    Like several of the Posters above, the Issue is Less one of “What Weapons, Support, TTP, etc. would have Saved these Guys, but WTF were they even Doing in that Country to Begin With???

    I Never want to question the Integrity of Soldiers on the Receiving End of Enemy Fire, but this, like other Instances (the Ones we Know About, at least) Officers from the General Staff Level have, for more than Half a Century, ordered the troops into Combat without:

    1) A Declaration of War
    2) A Mission Objective (in a Strategic Sense)
    3) INFORMED Support by the Majority of Citizens

    Officers have become politicized creatures, who First and Foremost Answer to various Political Agendas (not the Least of which is securing a “Consulting Position in the Military-Industrial Complex upon retirement) and taking that Oath to Defend the United States ‘from Enemies Foreign and Domestic’ seems to have been some kind of Oversight…

    As far as I can tell, the U.S. Military is looking like the Crew of the “Titanic” both before and after the Iceberg; Lack of Planning, Hubris, Denial that there is a Problem, and Re-Arranging the Deck Chairs as the Ship is Sinking.

    What Weapons to Buy is like the Chairs…

  11. On May 13, 2018 at 3:05 pm, Herschel Smith said:

    @Gyphon, et. al.,

    I understand all of the points. The goal here was to learn from errors in TTPs. For educational purposes.

  12. On May 14, 2018 at 1:55 am, james said:

    too small a unit (one vehicle three soldiers), thin skinned vehicle, caught out in the open, cut off, surrounded and killed.

  13. On May 14, 2018 at 8:08 am, Patrice Stanton said:

    Georgiaboy61: You are a far cry from a “dumb civilian.” Your thoughtful comment seemed reasoned and insightful to me and I really like your concept of “The Cult of Special Ops.”

    Why? As time passes, the lowest/mid/ and finally top-brass will have been increasingly stewed in the Marvel/DC superhero/heroine fictions (from birth).

  14. On May 14, 2018 at 8:51 am, Ned said:

    In sum, Major General Bob Scales appears to believe that overmatch with infantry level weapons, and nothing else, neither training not tactics would have changed this outcome.

    “If only our guys had fielded the new 5000Ghz pulse rifle like I wanted, this and other failures wouldn’t have happened.”

    Looks like a total operational breakdown from start to finish to me.

  15. On May 14, 2018 at 9:07 am, RegularGuy said:

    Couple of the vehicles in the convoy did have LMGs. They did have a M240 and employed it until it went Winchester. There was a 40mm grenade launcher, it’s seen in the video at 3mins in, being recovered. There was a precision rifle (.50?) and supposedly some AT4s.
    These guys had equipment and no shortage of bravery. Elementary SUTmistakes and chain of command cost these guys and their families.
    As for why? Legality? Probably isn’t “kosher” but men have the freedom of choice to be warriors. Or not. Died doing who/what they were.

  16. On May 14, 2018 at 9:17 am, RegularGuy said:

    I got my designations mixed, their M2010 precision rifle was .300WinMag, not .50

  17. On May 14, 2018 at 9:53 am, Herschel Smith said:

    If there was a SAW, I missed it. I didn’t see or hear it being deployed, although admittedly the video isn’t comprehensive and complete.

    I’m virtually certain they never deployed the M203.

  18. On May 14, 2018 at 10:08 am, Bram said:

    Back when I was in, Special Forces were there to sneak and peak. They carried enough firepower to ambush or break contact, not win stand-up firefights – that’s what regular Marine and Army Infantry units were built for. Now they are seen as superheroes who can’t lose a fight and this is what happens.

    So they are driving around in civilian vehicles, lightly armed, wearing their uniforms. Isn’t that the worst of all worlds? Announcing who they are with little ability to back it up – and no armor on the vehicles.

    As people have noted – something belt-fed would have helped as would some kind of grenade launcher. Makes me wonder if somebody in the chain of command ordered them to be that lightly armed.

  19. On May 14, 2018 at 1:16 pm, RegularGuy said:

    @Herschel (macro overview)
    What that SOFREP video shows is just a shread of what happened from SSG Johnson’s view. Audio was completely scrubbed so I didn’t hear the 240s there either. Or the screaming. Or SSG Johnson’s “guppy breathing”. Yeah, there wasn’t a M203 shown but 3mins in, the HK M320 40mm launcher is being recovered. To what capacity it ultimately served and how many the team had? Don’t know. Moot at this point but what isn’t is the tactical error of not breaking contact and GTFOing.

  20. On May 14, 2018 at 1:30 pm, Herschel Smith said:


    My main problem is that I don’t understand just what the hell they were trying to do.

    If this had been Marines, I would have expected them to assault with squad rushes. Then again, I wouldn’t expect the Marines to deploy a force size where they could have been outgunned.

    It’s commonly understood in the MC that the rifleman is there to protect the SAW gunner and DM, and to ensure that no enemy flanks by laying down enfilade fire first, not last. Fire and maneuver.

    On the other hand, I can understand GTFO. That’s what I think I would have done first. But it seems to me they were neither committed to GTFO nor assault. It’s kind of an odd mixture of the two. And dismounted ops clearly suggests they were trying to assault – or something. I just don’t know what.

  21. On May 14, 2018 at 1:44 pm, Herschel Smith said:

    Addition: If they intended dismounted ops to be laying cover fire for un-assing the situation, why did they go so slowly and why didn’t they coordinate fires, along with using area suppression weapons? And why was the detachment split up, some sent one way, some sent another?

    I don’t claim my assessment to be determinative. I rely on commenters to help. That’s the way this blog works. It’s intended to be that way. I just don’t get it yet.

  22. On May 14, 2018 at 2:10 pm, RegularGuy said:

    I concur, there seems to be a level of confusion at the initial point of the ambush. I speculate that it MAY have been a general lack of combat experience through the team. Perhaps it was conflicting/miscommunication. There have been a couple conflicting stories/reports on what that element was doing in the village. One report stated that water was being acquired in the village over the span of “several hours”. Every soldier being a sensor, I think they were investigating the village leadership/trying to gain intelligence on boogymen; the whole hearts and minds mumbo jumbo. But that size of force, 30indig soldiers, that’s what I’d take on a kill/capture of boogeyman leadership. Maybe the village “pit stop” was after bum intell turned into a bum op. Second story was village leadership reporting the soldiers never stopped in the village, just drove through and that’s when the ambush happened. Spontaneously. Personally, I think that village was patrolled, hearts and minds 4GW and over those couple hours, comms were made to bad guys, coordination made and a very planned ambush was made that took time/effort to establish men/assets to execute. Being American SF in country, in legal tandom with legit indig military, was SOP to look/gear up in typical US SF fashion: making them prime targets of opportunity.

    Going slow, dismounted and uncoordinated(?); I think, again, lack of war experience. Watching the helmit cam footage, the movement and firing/engagement looked like weekend AR15 combat drill class. And when in a fight, you revert to……

    Again, I want to articulate that this isn’t as much of armchair quarterbacking as it is a tactical study of mistakes. No shortage of bravery between those men.

  23. On May 14, 2018 at 10:39 pm, SemperFi, 0321 said:

    Most of you, and most of our nation also, are missing the biggest point. It’s about keeping it a NeverEnding War. Doesn’t matter where or why, just keep it going forever to feed the Military Industrial Complex and keep those War Bucks rolling in indefinitely.
    I doubt there’s a single politician or banker who wants to see an end to our overseas adventures, and sadly, it’s the adrenaline junkies who pay for it with their lives by being sent on mindless missions like Marcus went thru. Half or more of the intel is made up just to send people in, who cares if they come out alive. As long as we expend a lot of ordnance, it was a success.
    I learned my lesson in the early 70’s, and woke up quickly. Sadly, the rest of the nation still feeds on war.

  24. On May 14, 2018 at 10:47 pm, Herschel Smith said:


    I wouldn’t say that I or anyone else is missing the point. As I said earlier, I understand quite well the debate in which folks want to engage. That wasn’t the point of the post.

    The point of the post was to provide a clinical assessment of a military engagement.


  25. On May 14, 2018 at 11:17 pm, MD said:

    Just to clarify, because I think a lot of people misunderstand, the video shows a few minutes from an engagement thar lasted over an hour. There is a lot more going on yhat isn’t seen. Including the fact that French aur support was on scene and refused to engage. Additionally, I believe ammunition was criticallly low at the end, a factor that contributed to the fate of the soldiers.

  26. On May 14, 2018 at 11:36 pm, Herschel Smith said:


    Any additional details are welcome.

  27. On May 15, 2018 at 10:15 am, Dirk Williams said:

    Having not seen, the vid, or followed the article, I forwarded it to my long range shooting partner, a retired SF Col. I know! This guys different, he did four years with SAS, on the exchange, as a young Capt. If you understand that.

    Anyway he read and re read everything Hershel offered up, complimented him on his insightful overview. And thought that the failures on the ground, were avoidable. He was trying to understand how the team WO, or SNCO, on the ODA, screwed the pouch, so badly.

    He was going to contact some of his old fire breathers at CAG or Group and ask objective questions, for his clarification. His point is this. They’re is always an official statement and then theirs the truth.

    If interested, I’ll be happy to share his findings, assuming he can tell me.

    John’s old school a ” quiet professional” not one to talk out of school.

    Anyways Hershel, John felt you, your sons overview was spot on. Wasn’t your kid an 0311? He should get it!.. Congratulations.

    Lastly my friend says like life all SF regardless of service is a roller coaster ride, it’s very very difficult to keep politically motivated leadership out of the loop. Which is why he retired a lite Col, not a full bird.

    Leadership currantly in control of most SF communities are Obama era troops. Trumps folks are slowly weeding these shitbags out.

    Hershel, your sites becoming one of my favorites, what’s wrong with you? Lol. Seriously keep up the good work.

    We may not agree on everything, yet you have the balls to post the truth, I admire that. Should you or your kid ever find yourselves in Southern Oregon,you’ve got a place to stay.


  28. On May 15, 2018 at 5:18 pm, MN Steel said:

    I hung around with 11Bs enough as a 12B20 to figure out this was a Charlie-Foxtrot. Here’s another take on this I found worth checking:

  29. On May 17, 2018 at 8:39 am, Cavguy said:

    That was hard to watch. Probably was a bad idea. I can remember the see, hear and smell it.

    Just fucked my day man.


  30. On March 20, 2019 at 8:55 am, MF said:

    Sorry to come upon this Captains thread so late but…. Up late one night I came across a show on tv that was embedded with this same group of soldiers as they were showing the basic day to day in Niger. It was aired several months ( when I watched it) prior to the above fire fight. Needless to say (taking no bravery away from these men fighting for their lives) after watching this segment I was taken back on how unprepared this whole operation was and, was not surprised at hearing the outcome. From slaughtering cows for meat in what was a three stooges moment to their “out country” CO(?) paying them a 4 hour self serving on camera visit, it had a bad smell to it. I remember the CO asking the kid who gave haircuts (he wore a head lamp on his shaved head day and night) “is their anything you need or we can be doing different here soldier” bullshit camera question. I thought , yes sir, could you take the lead out on the next patrol. CO was a tool and left his men totally ill prepared deep in country with no quick response support. I’m sure this video has been deep sixed. Had Obama’s army written all over it regardless of the date. I pray this ain’t normal but it showed the ‘nam 2nd Lt. is alive and well and still getting men killed.

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You are currently reading "Assessment Of SOF Ambush In Niger, The Gun, And Major General Bob Scales", entry #19199 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) Army,Department of Defense,Firearms,Guns and was published May 10th, 2018 by Herschel Smith.

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