Letter from Marine in Iraq
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Thread: Letter from Marine in Iraq

  1. #1

    Letter from Marine in Iraq

    The following I received in an email. I cannot vouch for its accuracy as I have never been in the military. But it all sounds plausible to me, especially the bits about the effectiveness (or lack thereof) of the .223 and 9mm rounds.
    --Avid

    As heard from a Marine who's in Iraq and relating his opinion because the American Press is not telling Americans the whole truth....enjoy and pass on....so all can learn a little bit of truth of how our guys/gals are doing....keep smiling....Ski...;0)

    Subject: Report from Iraq





    This email from a Marine who's in Iraq . No politics here; just a Marine with a bird's eye view opinion:


    US Weapons:

    1) The M-16 rifle: Thumbs down. Chronic jamming problems with the talcum powder like sand over there. The sand is everywhere. Jordan says you feel filthy 2 minutes after coming out of the shower. The M-4 carbine version is more popular because it's lighter and shorter, but it has jamming problems also. They lack the ability to mount the various optical gunsights and weapons lights on the picatinny rails, but the weapon itself is not great in a desert environment. They all hate the 5.56mm (.223) round. Poor penetration on the cinder block structure common over there and even torso hits can't be reliably counted on to put the enemy down. Fun fact: Random autopsies on dead insurgents show a high level of opiate use. 2) The M243 SAW (squad assault weapon): .223 cal. Drum fed light machine gun. Big thumbs down. Universally considered a piece of ****. Chronic jamming problems, most of which require partial disassembly (that's fun in the middle of a firefight). 3) The M9 Beretta 9mm: Mixed bag. Good gun, performs well in desert environment; but they all hate the 9mm cartridge. The use of handguns for self-defense is actually fairly common. Same old story on the 9mm: Bad guys hit multiple times and still in the fight. 4) Mossberg 12ga. Military shotgun: Works well, used frequently for clearing houses to good effect. 5) The M240 Machine Gun: 7.62 NATO (.308) cal. belt fed machine gun, developed to replace the old M-60 (what a beautiful weapon that was!!) Thumbs up. Accurate, reliable, and the 7.62 round puts 'em down. Originally developed as a vehicle mounted weapon, more and more are being dismounted and taken into the field by infantry. The 7.62 round chews up the structure over there. 6) The M2 50 cal heavy machine gun: Thumbs way, way up. "Ma Deuce" is still worth her considerable weight in gold. The ultimate fight stopper - puts their dicks in the dirt very time. The most coveted weapon in-theater. 7) The .45 pistol: Thumbs up. Still the best pistol around out there. Everybody authorized to carry a sidearm is trying to get their hands on one. With few exceptions, can reliably be expected to put 'em down with a torso hit. The special ops guys (who are doing most of the pistol work) use the HK military model and supposedly love it. The old government model .45's are being re-issued en masse. 8) The M-14: Thumbs up. They are being re-issued in bulk, mostly in a modified version to special ops guys. Modifications include lightweight Kevlar stocks and low power red dot or ACOG sights. Very reliable in the sandy environment, and they love the 7.62 round. 9) The Barrett .50 cal sniper rifle: Thumbs way up. Spectacular range and accuracy and hits like a freight train. Used frequently to take out vehicle suicide bombers (we actually stop a lot of them) and barricaded enemy. It is definitely here to stay. 10) The M24 sniper rifle: Thumbs up. Mostly in .308 but some in 300 win mag. Heavily modified Remington 700's. Great performance. Snipers have been used heavily to great effect. Rumor has it a marine sniper on his third tour in Anbar province has actually exceeded Carlos Hathcock's record for confirmed kills with OVER 100. 11) The new body armor: Thumbs up. Relatively light at approx. 6 lbs.and can reliably be expected to soak up small shrapnel and even will stop an AK-47 round. The bad news: Hot as **** to wear, almost unbearable in the summer heat (which averages over 120 degrees). Also, the enemy now goes for head shots whenever possible. All the ******** about the "old" body armor making our guys vulnerable to the IED's was a non-starter. The IED explosions are enormous and body armor doesn't make any difference at all in most cases. 12) Night Vision and Infrared Equipment: Thumbs way up. Spectacular performance. Our guys see in the dark and own the night, period. Very little enemy action after evening prayers. More and more enemy being whacked at night during movement by our hunter-killer teams. We've all seen the videos. 13) Lights: Thumbs up. Most of the weapon mounted and personal lights are Surefire's, and the troops love 'em. Invaluable for night urban operations. Jordan carried a $34 Surefire G2 on a neck lanyard and loved it. I cant help but notice that most of the good fighting weapons and ordnance are 50 or more years old!! With all our technology, it's the WWII and Vietnam era weapons that everybody wants!! The infantry fighting is frequent, up close and brutal. No quarter is given or shown. Bad guy weapons: 1) Mostly AK47's. The entire country is an arsenal. Works better in the desert than the M16 and the .308 Russian round kills reliably. PKM belt fed light machine guns are also common and effective. Luckily, the enemy mostly shoots like ****. Undisciplined "spray and pray" type fire. However, they are seeing more and more precision weapons, especially sniper rifles. ( Iran, again) 2) The RPG: Probably the infantry weapon most feared by our guys. Simple, reliable and as common as dogshit. The enemy responded to our up-armored Humvees by aiming at the windshields, often at point blank range. Still killing a lot of our guys. 3) The IED: The biggest killer of all. Can be anything from old Soviet anti-armor mines to jury rigged artillery shells. A lot found in Jordan 's area were in abandoned cars. The enemy would take 2 or 3 155 mm artillery shells and wire them together. Most were detonated by cell phone and the explosions are enormous. You're not safe in any vehicle, even an M1 tank. Driving is by far the most dangerous thing our guys do over there. Lately, they are much more sophisticated "shape charges" (Iranian) specifically designed to penetrate armor. Fact: Most of the ready made IED's are supplied by Iran, who is also providing terrorists (Hezbollah types) to train the insurgents in their use and tactics. That's why the attacks have been so deadly lately. Their concealment methods are ingenious, the latest being shape charges, in Styrofoam containers spray painted to look like the cinderblocks that litter all Iraqi roads. We find about 40% before they detonate, and the bomb disposal guys are unsung heroes of this war. 4) Mortars and rockets: Very prevalent. The soviet era 122mm rockets (with an 18km range) are becoming more prevalent. One of Jordan 's NCO's lost a leg to one. These weapons cause a lot of damage "inside the wire". Jordan 's base was hit almost daily his entire time there by mortar and rocket fire, often at night to disrupt sleep patterns and cause fatigue (It did). More of a psychological weapon than anything else. The enemy mortar teams would jump out of vehicles, fire a few rounds, and then haul ass in a matter of seconds. Fun fact: Captured enemy have apparently marveled at the marksmanship of our guys and how hard they fight. They are apparently told in Jihad school that the Americans rely solely on technology, and can be easily beaten in close quarters combat for their lack of toughness. Let's just say they know better now. Bad guy technology: Simple yet effective. Most communication is by cell and satellite phones and also by email on laptops. They use handheld GPS units for navigation and "Google Earth" for overhead views of our positions. Their weapons are good, if not fancy, and prevalent. Their explosives and bomb technology is TOP OF THE LINE. Night vision is rare. They are very careless with their equipment and the captured GPS units and laptops are treasure troves of Intel when captured. Who are the bad guys? Most of the carnage is caused by the Zarqawi Al Qaeda group. They operate mostly in Anbar province (Fallujah and Ramadi). These are mostly "foreigners", non-Iraqi Sunni Arab Jihadists from all over the Muslim world (and Europe ). Most enter Iraq through Syria (with, of course, the knowledge and complicity of the Syrian govt.), and then travel down the "rat line" which is the trail of towns along the Euphrates River that we've been hitting hard for the last few months. Some are virtually untrained young Jihadists that often end up as suicide bombers or in various "sacrifice squads". Most, however, are hard core terrorists from all the usual suspects (Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas etc.). These are the guys running around murdering civilians an masse and cutting heads off. The Chechens (many of whom are Caucasian) are supposedly the most ruthless and the best fighters. They have been fighting the Russians for years. In the Baghdad area and south, most of the insurgents are Iranian inspired (and led) Iraqi Shiites. The Iranian Shiia have been very adept at infiltrating the Iraqi local govt.'s, the police forces and the Army. They have had a massive spy and agitator network there since the Iran-Iraq war in the early 80's. Most of the Saddam loyalists were killed, captured, or gave up long ago. Bad Guy Tactics: When they are engaged on an infantry level they get their asses kicked every time! Brave, but stupid. Suicidal Banzai-type charges were very common earlier in the war and still occur. They will literally sacrifice 8-10 man teams in suicide squads by sending them screaming and firing AK's and RPG's directly at our bases just to probe the defenses. They get mowed down like grass every time (see the M2 and M240 above). Jordan 's base was hit like this often. When engaged, they have a tendency to flee to the same building, probably for what they think will be a glorious last stand. Instead, we call in air and that's the end of that more often than not. These hole-ups are referred to as Alpha Whiskey Romeo's (Allah's Waiting Room). We have the laser guided ground-air thing down to a science. The fast mover's, mostly Marine F-18's, are taking an ever increasing toll on the enemy. When caught out in the open, the helicopter gunships and AC-130 Spectre Gunships cut them to ribbons with cannon and rocket fire, especially at night. Interestingly, artillery is hardly used at all. Fun facts: The enemy death toll is supposedly between 45-50 thousand. That is why we're seeing less and less infantry attacks and more IED, suicide bomber ****. The new strategy is just simple: attrition. The insurgent tactic most frustrating is their use of civilian non-combatants as cover. They know we do all we can to avoid civilian casualties and therefore schools, hospitals and especially Mosques are locations where they meet, stage for attacks, cache weapons, and ammo and flee to when engaged. They have absolutely no regard whatsoever for inflicting civilian casualties. They will terrorize locals and murder without hesitation anyone believed to be sympathetic to the Americans or the new Iraqi govt. Kidnapping of family members, especially children, is common to influence people they are trying to influence but can't reach, such as local govt. officials, clerics, tribal leaders, etc.. The first thing our guys are told is "don't get captured". They know that if captured they will be tortured and beheaded on the internet. Zarqawi openly offers bounties for anyone who brings him a live American serviceman. This motivates the criminal element who otherwise don't give a **** about the war. A lot of the beheading victims were actually kidnapped by common criminals and sold to Zarqawi. As such, for our guys, every fight is to the death. Surrender is not an option. The Iraqi's are a mixed bag.. Some fight well; others aren't worth a damn. Most do okay with American support. Finding leaders is hard, but they are getting better. It is widely viewed that Zarqawi's use of suicide bombers, en masse, against the civilian population was a serious tactical mistake. Many Iraqi's were galvanized and the caliber of recruits in the Army and the police forces went right up, along with their motivation. It also led to an exponential increase in good intel because the Iraqi's are sick of the insurgent attacks against civilians. The Kurds are solidly pro-American and fearless fighters. Morale: According to Jordan , morale among our guys is very high.They not only believe that they are winning, but that they are winning decisively. They are stunned and dismayed by what they see in the American press, whom they almost universally view as against them. The embedded reporters are despised and distrusted. They are inflicting casualties at a rate of 20-1 and then see **** like "Are we losing in Iraq " on TV and the print media. For the most part, they are satisfied with their equipment, food, and leadership. Bottom line though, and they all say this, is that there are not enough guys there to drive the final stake through the heart of the insurgency, primarily because there aren't enough troops in-theater to shut down the borders with Iran and Syria. The Iranians and the Syrians just can't stand the thought of Iraq being an American ally (with, of course, permanent US bases there). Anyway, that's it, hope you found it interesting.
    Avidshooter (Texas)
    "The real destroyer of the liberties of the people is he who spreads among them bounties, donations and benefits." -- Plutarch

  2.   
  3. #2
    Started reading, couldn't stop. Thanks for this post, ATX. Footnote: I hate thinking that our fighters over there read that defeatist crap in the press. They need to know, in spades, that Patriots here at home support them wholeheartedly.

  4. #3
    Wow. Thanks for the post.
    I cant help but notice that most of the good fighting weapons and ordnance are 50 or more years old!! !
    Semper Fi

  5. #4
    didnt read the whole thing a paragraph in i found many things inconsistent with my experience....we could mount all sorts of stuff on our m4s from optics to whatever...used the wrong nomenclature for the SAW (its 249 not 3) also its not drum fed...its belt fed(or magazine fed it SHTF). And as for insurgents using opiats not so much at least in my old AO if anything it was some sort of synthetic adrenaline and that was on very rare occasions. And never heard anybody in the military refer to a 5.56 as a 223 and as a combat arms guy im surpirised to hear that becuase we all know the correct terms for our weapons their ranges their weights you name it its memorized so to call it a .223 is also a bit suspect...also the USMC dosent use the M24 the use the M40 and im not sure what ao this guy was in but mud structures stop the 7.62 of the 240 they even stop .50 and we recived reports from a-stan that even MK19 HEDP has failed out their. And as far as IEDs...mixed experience on this my truck was hit by two during my last tour one was an efp (explosivley formed penetrator) went right through the armor the second was a 155....anything other than an efp dosnt really do **** to armor especially MRAPs which we got at the end of our tour....NVGs wernt rare at least for my unit everybody had their own set of PVS-14s..all of this just sounds to suspect to me but who knows maybe it was a pogue trying to look like a war hero when he got back over hearing stories in the chow hall...take it for what it is just my .02...also attempted to make a photo album of some stuff but couldnt figure out how to add the pictures is their a post limit or something before your alowed access to that feature or am I just being a jeep?

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Honolulu, HI & Salt Lake City, UT
    Posts
    2,797
    Quote Originally Posted by HeadHunter1-3 View Post
    didnt read the whole thing a paragraph in i found many things inconsistent with my experience....we could mount all sorts of stuff on our m4s from optics to whatever...used the wrong nomenclature for the SAW (its 249 not 3) also its not drum fed...its belt fed(or magazine fed it SHTF). And as for insurgents using opiats not so much at least in my old AO if anything it was some sort of synthetic adrenaline and that was on very rare occasions. And never heard anybody in the military refer to a 5.56 as a 223 and as a combat arms guy im surpirised to hear that becuase we all know the correct terms for our weapons their ranges their weights you name it its memorized so to call it a .223 is also a bit suspect...also the USMC dosent use the M24 the use the M40 and im not sure what ao this guy was in but mud structures stop the 7.62 of the 240 they even stop .50 and we recived reports from a-stan that even MK19 HEDP has failed out their. And as far as IEDs...mixed experience on this my truck was hit by two during my last tour one was an efp (explosivley formed penetrator) went right through the armor the second was a 155....anything other than an efp dosnt really do **** to armor especially MRAPs which we got at the end of our tour....NVGs wernt rare at least for my unit everybody had their own set of PVS-14s..all of this just sounds to suspect to me but who knows maybe it was a pogue trying to look like a war hero when he got back over hearing stories in the chow hall...take it for what it is just my .02...also attempted to make a photo album of some stuff but couldnt figure out how to add the pictures is their a post limit or something before your alowed access to that feature or am I just being a jeep?
    +1 on the reference to .223, and the inaccuracy with reference to the SAW. The three common methods I've seen were "belt fed", "box fed" and "magazine fed". YMMV on the penetration of various calibers, though I've seen .50 BMG rounds deflected by concrete.

    To post photos, the easiest way I've found was to set up an account with a service like "photobucket", then link the photo into your post.



    gf
    "A few well placed shots with a .22LR is a lot better than a bunch of solid misses with a .44 mag!" Glock Armorer, NRA Chief RSO, Pistol, Rifle, Shotgun, Muzzleloading Rifle, Muzzleloading Shotgun, and Home Firearm Safety Training Counselor

  7. #6
    OK, I figured someone on this forum would know.
    Avidshooter (Texas)
    "The real destroyer of the liberties of the people is he who spreads among them bounties, donations and benefits." -- Plutarch

  8. #7
    By the way, what's a pogue?
    Avidshooter (Texas)
    "The real destroyer of the liberties of the people is he who spreads among them bounties, donations and benefits." -- Plutarch

  9. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by AvidshooterTX View Post
    By the way, what's a pogue?
    Think of it as the military equivalent of a wannabe.

    Edit- The terms poser and drugstore cowboy also come to mind.

    I also find the article in question to be questionable.

  10. #9
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by HeadHunter1-3 View Post
    also attempted to make a photo album of some stuff but couldnt figure out how to add the pictures is their a post limit or something before your alowed access to that feature or am I just being a jeep?
    In your profile area there is an option for pictures in an album.

    Click on the album link then click on the add album link.

    Create an album name then click on submit.

    Once the album has been created the next screen will have you upload the pictures. Add the pictures you wish to post then upload. It will take a few minutes perhaps more or less depends on connection speed etc..

    Once you have the pictures uploaded open the album to view the pictures. Choose the picture you wish to add to a post. Right click on the picture and choose the option copy image location.

    Then in the reply to thread editor window choose the Insert Image icon (picture of a mountain with yellow background) at the top.

    It will ask you to
    Please enter the URL of your image. Paste the URL that you copied in the above step in which you right clicked on the picture.



    And like so it is done..

    The picture I added to this thread is in my album pictures of well...stuff

    That's how I do it...

    Peace...
    You can give peace a chance alright..

    I'll seek cover in case it goes badly..

  11. #10

    .308 Russian doesn't exsist

    This has been bugging me, and making me question the legitimacy of the article even more. The article refferances a .308 Russian (sic) being fired from the AK-47 rifle. To the best of my knowledge, the AK-47 has never been designed to fire the .308 Winchester, the AK-47 is chambered in the 7.62x39. The closest thing the Russians had to the .308 Winchester is the 7.62x54R which the Mosin-Nagant bolt action rifle and the Draganov sniper rifle were chambered for. The AK-47 was never chambered in 7.62x54R.

    Correct me if I am wrong in the next paragraph. Soldiers and Marines going into a conflict area are typically given "fam-fire" training on the weapons likely to be used by the enemy in that particular conflict. The purpose of this training is to give the soldier or marine enough familiarity with the weapons in question so that they can use them reasonably effectively if needed. The idea is not to qualify every soldier and marine to expert standards, or to teach armorer level maintenance of enemy weapons, but to give just enough training to get the soldier or marine by should the need arise. That being said, a soldier or marine who had fam-fired the AK-47 would know that it was not chambered for the .308.

    This does not add up.

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