Saturday, May 22, 2010

Empire Again Finds Itself Outgunned By The Wogs

Oh the trevails of conquest. The M16 controversies never die.

US rifles not suited to warfare in Afghan hills

"The U.S. military's workhorse rifle — used in battle for the last 40 years — is proving less effective in Afghanistan against the Taliban's more primitive but longer range weapons.
As a result, the U.S. is reevaluating the performance of its standard M-4 rifle and considering a switch to weapons that fire a larger round largely discarded in the 1960s.
The M-4 is an updated version of the M-16, which was designed for close quarters combat in Vietnam. It worked well in Iraq, where much of the fighting was in cities such as Baghdad, Ramadi and Fallujah.
But a U.S. Army study found that the 5.56 mm bullets fired from M-4s don't retain enough velocity at distances greater than 1,000 feet (300 meters) to kill an adversary. In hilly regions of Afghanistan, NATO and insurgent forces are often 2,000 to 2,500 feet (600-800 meters) apart.
Afghans have a tradition of long-range ambushes against foreign forces. During the 1832-1842 British-Afghan war, the British found that their Brown Bess muskets could not reach insurgent sharpshooters firing higher-caliber Jezzail flintlocks.
Soviet soldiers in the 1980s found that their AK-47 rifles could not match the World War II-era bolt-action Lee-Enfield and Mauser rifles used by mujahedeen rebels.
"These are important considerations in Afghanistan, where NATO forces are frequently attacked by insurgents using ... sharpshooter's rifles, which are all chambered for a full-powered cartridge which dates back to the 1890s," said Paul Cornish, curator of firearms at the Imperial War Museum in London."


Leaving aside the massive immorality of murderous foreign adventurism, any examination of how the military bigwigs go about their various subjugations always show they're not the sharpest tools in the toolbox. They will continue to screw the pooch, repeatedly. Corporate thinking trumps reality every time because the reasons the US military is playing war is all about power politics and corporate bottom line.

They'll throw what they have at the newest manufactured military fight, no matter how innapropriate the tools, and resist change while the pawns suffer and die, until the PR gets too hot to resist. Think body armor, or balsa wood Humvees.

And add the miserable little 5.56 round fired from .223 platforms. It was designed to replace the venerable and much beloved M-14 which shot 30 caliber bullets, and was forced on soldiers in Vietnam with oftentimes disastrous results. It's essentially a speedy .22 caliber round, but .22 caliber has so little mass it quickly loses pounds per square inch punch as it travels, meaning at distance it's little more than a mosquito bite, which is the big complaint in Afghanistan. The AK47 vs. M16 brouhaha has raged since forever. You can bring up pros and cons and cite statistics about each until you're blue in the face, but the fact of the matter is that like hunting in vast open spaces such as the western US or waging war on the locals in the sprawling asian high desert, little bullets don't measure up.

I must have wanted to rant today because this article brought up a peculiarity that's bugged me over the years. America has a firearms tradition of big bore handguns and smaller bore long guns that goes back to the 1800s. ("Here lies Les Moore, shot by a .44. No Les, No More) John Browning's big 1911 .45 caliber pistol is widely praised as the ultimate sidearm and when the US military adopted 9 mm in the 80s to conform to NATO standards, the histrionics and gnashing of teeth over the change to a smaller round was legendary. Resistence to the 9 continues unabated. In the last couple of decades the race was on to churn out bigger and bigger handgun cartridges until now there's any number of hand cannons in both revolvers and semi autos. At the same time, western militaries adopted speedy little rifle cartridges such as the 5.56.

I go in exactly the opposite direction. Minimum long gun shooters in my safe are AK caliber and my favorite handgun is a soviet era 7.62 x 25, a most powerful bottleneck thingy but absolutely miniscule compared to a .45. I very much prefer bigger bore rifles and smaller caliber handguns and I think the article above tends to prove the worth of that long gun point of view, along with very recent developments in handgun manufacture that also buck common assumptions.
A new little pistol caliber, the 5.7 x 28 mm, is gaining popularity and is so effective some ammunition for the guns is reserved only for military and police. You can't just go buy it.
Mrs lipstick shoots a small calibered, but potent, .22 magnum revolver, and next month Kel Tec is debuting a most interesting pistol in that size, the PMR 30, that holds an astonishing 30 rounds per magazine. We'll be taking a good look at that.

You know why I think smaller caliber, high velocity handguns like the above are superior firepower, contrary to tradition, and more people are agreeing all the time?
They slice through type 2 body armor like a hot knife through butter.
Count me among the wogs.
Cost of the War in Iraq
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