Skip to comments.Cover-up? Army historian says report on deadly Afghan battle was altered to absolve faulty gun
Posted on 02/21/2014 3:38:04 AM PST by Timber Rattler
A former Army historian who chronicled the infamous Battle of Wanat in Afghanistan, where nine U.S. soldiers died after their M4 carbines jammed, tells The Washington Times that his official account was altered by higher-ups to absolve the weapons and senior officers.
(Excerpt) Read more at washingtontimes.com ...
It was altered to increase the murders of US Troops.
More treason. Haters-of-Law Issa and Cummings,
busy with their misprisions of felonies,
will get right on it (NOT)!!!!
“But the guns supporters have pointed to a single sentence
in the official Wanat history issued in 2010 by the Armys
Combat Studies Institute at Fort Leavenworth, Kan.
It blamed the guns sustained rapid fire that day,
not its design, for the malfunctions.”
Combat Firearms “Report Card” from Iraq (Google search)
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 gun sights and weapons lights on the picatinny rails, but the weapon itself is not great in a desert environment.
They all hate the 5.56 mm (.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 doo-doo. Chronic jamming problems, most of which require partial dis-assembly (that’s fun in the middle of a firefight).
3) The M9 Beretta 9 mm: Mixed bag. Good gun performs well in desert environment; but they all hate the 9 mm cartridge. The use of handguns for self-defense is actually fairly common. Same old story on the 9 mm: 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. (Great weapon - I used these when transporting prisoners. Bud)
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 appendage in the dirt, every 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, one 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 way 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.
What does the report card look like for the Soviet Bloc weapons?
The fault with the M-4 is mostly carbon build-up in the gas-powered receiver assemblies - the propellant burn causes the piston to jam.
A modification of the gas-powered system, the HK-416, has apparently solved this problem in the field, but it is not standard military issue.
According to the solicitation for the new upper receiver assemblies, the 416 “allows Soldiers to replace the existing M4 upper receiver with an HK proprietary gas system that does not introduce propellant gases and the associated carbon fouling back into the weapon’s interior. This reduces operator cleaning time, and increases the reliability of the M4 Carbine, particularly in an environment in which sand and dust are prevalent.”
One wonders at the priorities of the military procurement system.
Two one hundred year old Browning designs still kicking ass.
Carbon build up was a problem in the M-16 back in RVN! 40 years and no progress?
Google the article. It speaks to some of the Soviet bloc weapons. Nothing beats the RPG still.
Great post. Thanks for posting it.
I couldn’t agree more with the Combat Firearms “Report Card”.
When I first arrived in Vietnam, then gave me an M14. Best firearm that I’ve ever used. A few months later they took it away and handed me an M16. The piece of crap M16 jammed during a fire fight a month later. I had no idea that I could disassemble, fix and reassemble the damn thing as fast as I did.
I own a Mossberg 12Ga. I love it.
Fifty years ago the M16 jamming from jungle crud got a lot of fine men killed. But the powers hat be “fixed the problem”.
Now we hear the M4 version of the M16 jamming from desert sand is getting men killed. But the powers that be are “working on it”.
And the AR15 is the most popular sporting rifle in the US.
Wasn’t that partially related to the use of a different gun powder when they ramped up ammo manufacturing? You would have though they would have learned . Maybe they m-4s were being over lubed?
Geez, some people know nothing of the m4 type rifles or how to keep them clean or the fact the don’t even have pistons.
I do agree 556 is not the best round in the world though.
I want all of you to read this following test from last year. Just read it. If the M4 were such a pos then why did most of these civilian models sustain 10,000 rounds of steady fire without such problems. Certain ammo caused problems and overheated barrels drooped and were shot out but that was from using a weapon far beyond any design parameters.
The military could back-fit the M-4 to use a piston system (like the Garand and M-14) or make the barrel and gas tube a bit longer (mid-length system) and improve things by quite a bit. Unfortunately, we have too much inventory invested in the 5.56 round to make a quick change to anything other than the 6.8 SPC.
Piston gas systems and a change to the 6.8 SPC would get my two votes for improving the current infantry arm. YMMV.
It is not a perfect weapon but yes, you are correct.
It's light, and sportsmen generally don't take it into extreme environments for days at a time, they aren't trying to fire hundreds of rounds through them at a time in a heavy engagement, and the deer are not shooting back.
My AR-15s give me issues and I don't like the mechanism. I frankly hate the charging handle concept. Right handed shooters should have a charging handle on the left side of the receiver (trigger hand never moves on reload/charging) that can be jiggled if there is an issue; it is far and away the best design.
The problem with the 9x19 in military use is mainly the ammunition. Enery is about the same as a .45ACP (if the poster that has an issue with non-SAAMI 'ACP' has an issue with my use of 'ACP', go away), but without hollow-points the parabolic FMJs just punch nice little holes.
If the military goes to a new handgun (and they should) it would be logical for them to move to the .40 S&W round, although I'd want to see the effectiveness of .40 FMJs compared to the .45. One problem with gel wound channel studies is that they look at far to deep of penetration. If the wound channel only starts getting ‘ugly’ after the bullet has penetrated over 6”, its probably not that great, as your average 3rd world human body isn't much thicker than that. Its the first 4” that probably matter most.
Ok, off my soap box.
Its an enclosed, direct impingement gas system. It is designed to foul.
In the trenches of France, it was an unshootable POS and the Canadians swapped them for Lee-Enfields just as fast as they could. Point being that conditions of use matter more than anything else.
I own a few AR-15s, but the things I don't like about them are functions of the basic design:
-I find the charging mechanism to be a pain in the ass, as it requires dismounting the weapon to use.
-I don't like the enclosed receiver that makes dealing with a jam tough (and any weapon will jam when debris gets in it).
-The direct impingement gas system increases the amount of troubles you are going to have to deal with, because it brings everything right back into the receiver and mag.
-The 5.56 is inadequate for shooting through things, which provides a lot more usable cover to the enemy.
Per the tests you referenced, firearms that are shot continually (staying hot) will put through a lot of rounds without issue. While that same gun will jam on a fraction of that many round if allowed to cool off without cleaning in between. Similar to light bulbs and car engines, its the starting and stopping that induces problems.
Is the AR a POS? Well, I wouldn't own several if I thought it was a POS, the recoil is non-existant and volume of fire is high, but its certainly not my all around favorite.
Good food for thought. Thanks for sharing.
RPG would be better than the laws rocket? I have no experience with either.
These weapons did not cool off in the firefight referenced. It was sustained fire that was blamed for the jams. The AR platform is not perfect. I own several myself along with other weapons but Stoner did not design or build a pos. I will take an M4 over an AK any day of the week. I can strip it, clean it and repair it blindfolded and I can keep it clean enough to function in a firefight. I can shoot the eye out of a gnats head with it. My favorite is a 7.62 in the AR platform... scratch that... My Serbu .50BMG is my favorite.
The thinking as I've heard it is, "Screw all this marksmanship stuff. Especially with conscript peasant soldiers, (the same guys who had AKs yesterday), or with just a mob of Somali tribesmen chewing that homegrown loco weed for example, just let 'em launch a fragmentation bomb at the Americans and see if they can hit close enough to frag them. Close with a rifle is a miss; close with a little frag bomb is a hit."
I think that might be what the question was in this case. In our case, our military would probably arm our troops with frag bombs when they can be high-tech frag bombs that cost a lot of money, re the new infantry weapon we've been hearing about, with the 20mm (IIRC) projectile with the time-delay (I think) frag projectile warhead thingie.
There is nothing about a piston rifle design that makes it immune to sand, which according to the article is the primary cause of failure.
What piston? There is no piston in a M4.
“And the AR15 is the most popular sporting rifle in the US.”
Different set of criteria... Also, with the M-16 platform being the basic military rifle for so long the AR-15 is familiar to vets looking for a sport rifle.
That was one flaw in this report.
I challenge all of you to find ONE incidence in the history of warfare where commanders deliberately stationed their troops in a 'fishbowl', surrounded by high ground.
That little firebase was set up on low land with hills around it 380 - for the Tallban, it was like a kids game of shooting fish in a barrel.
In addition, there was no reason not to have spotted the hundred+ tallies coming over the mountain AND the soldiers were DENIED air cover the entire day!
Those in command were just as responsible for those deaths as the Taliban.
Orders from the top turned those little valleys, one by one, deliberately - back to the TAllies, many with caches of ammo/weapons and gas and without a fight, our guys just ordered to pull out - you really do not want to know...
Don't get me started -
Fantastic article! TY!
I’ll bet that you and I could have had fun helping them!
When I was a squad leader in Nam, I was regularly screaming at my guys to lighten up on the “auto” spot on the selector lever.
The M-16 rifle was NOT designed to be a Light Machine Gun. It doesn’t have a quick change barrel and it fires from a closed bolt. There is a time and place for full auto. (Gaining initial fire superiority, suppresive fire, final few yards of an assault, and when final protective fires are ordered.) Sometimes you may be forced into continual rock and roll but most often you are not.
But much of the time full auto is used unnecessarily, and leads to an unnecessary need for resupply and undue wear on overheated barrels. The direct impingement gas system does allow more carbon fouling into the reciever, but it also helps with controllability in full auto fire. The straight line recoil and the lack of a piston slapping back and forth makes it much smoother in that mode.
In Vietnam I carried an M-16A1 with a basic load of 600 rounds plus, often went through much or most of that in a day, and had very few stoppages with my routinely maintained rifle, none of which were not easily cleared with an immediate action drill.
The AK series and the AR platform rifles are both great infantry weapons with their own strengths and weaknesses. I am extremely familiar with it and would not hesitate to select it as an infantry arm. But as I consider their aggregate virtues, I would go with the M16/M4 every time, and I served as infantry in two wars.
Always willing to “help!