Skip to comments.GOTTA READ THIS: Wolfowitz Shares Special Forces' Afghanistan Dispatches
Posted on 11/16/2001 1:19:30 PM PST by Diogenesis
Wolfowitz Shares Special Forces' Afghanistan Dispatches
just released by the American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Nov. 15, 2001 -- The Northern Alliance and other opposition groups have made tremendous progress in Afghanistan -- last week, they controlled
about 15 percent of the country and today control about half.
Defense officials said U.S. air support was pivotal in the battle. In his after-dinner keynote address at the Fletcher Conference here Nov. 14, Deputy Defense
Secretary Paul Wolfowitz spread the credit among all those participating.
The Fletcher Conference is jointly sponsored by the Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis and the Army. The theme this year is "National Security for a New Era."
"Success in this campaign has come not just from our remarkable ability to fly bombers from bases in Missouri halfway around the world to strike targets with great
precision," he said. "Success has also come from putting extraordinarily brave men on the ground so they could direct that air power and make it truly effective."
Wolfowitz read to the audience the contents of two situation reports U.S. Special Forces soldiers sent from Afghanistan. The dispatches testify to the role the men
have played and will play in the campaign in Afghanistan, he said. Wolfowitz said he removed all classified information before sharing these dispatches.
The first is dated Oct. 25:
"I am advising a man on how to best employ light infantry and horse cavalry in the attack against Taliban T-55s (tanks) ... mortars, artillery, personnel
carriers and machine guns -- a tactic which I think became outdated with the introduction of the Gatling gun. (The Mujahadeen) have done this every day
we have been on the ground. They have attacked with 10 rounds AK's per man, with PK gunners (snipers) having less than 100 rounds ... little water and
less food. I have observed a PK gunner who walked 10-plus miles to get to the fight, who was proud to show me his artificial right leg from the knee
"We have witnessed the horse cavalry bounding overwatch from spur to spur to attack Taliban strong points -- the last several kilometers under mortar,
artillery ... and PK fire. There is little medical care if injured, only a donkey ride to the aid station, which is a dirt hut. I think (the Mujahadeen) are doing
very well with what they have. They have killed over 125 Taliban ... while losing only eight.
"We couldn't do what we are (doing) without the close air support. ... Everywhere I go the civilians and Mujahadeen soldiers are always telling me they are
glad the USA has come. ... They all speak of their hopes for a better Afghanistan once the Taliban are gone. Better go. (The local commander) is finishing
his phone call with (someone back in the States)."
Wolfowitz said the soldier then went off and joined a cavalry attack on a Taliban position.
The second dispatch is dated Nov. 10:
"Departed position from which I spoke to you last night ... (We left) on horse and linked up with the remainder of (the element). I had meeting with (the
commander). ... We then departed from our initial linkup location and rode into Mazar-e Sharif on begged, borrowed and confiscated transportation.
"While it looked like a rag-tag procession, the morale into Mazar-e Sharif was a triumphal procession. All locals loudly greeted us and thanked all
Americans. Much waving, cheering and clapping even from the women. ... USN/USAF did a great job.
"I am very proud of these men who have performed exceptionally well under very extreme conditions. I have personally witnessed heroism under fire by
(two U.S. NCOs - - one Army, one Air Force) when we came under fire last night, which was less than 50 meters from me. When I ordered them to call
close air support, they did so immediately without flinching even though they were under ... fire. As you know, a (U.S. element) was nearly overrun four
days ago and continued to call close air support and ensured (Mujahadeen) forces did not suffer a defeat. These two examples are typical of the
performance of your soldiers and airmen. Truly uncommon valor has been a common virtue amongst these men."
An old Viet Vet sitting here with tears in his eyes, full of pride for the American Fighting Man.
God Bless America and God Bless the American Fighting Men!
"Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win great triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat." --Theodore Roosevelt
Deserves to be posted again.
Almighty God Who art the Author of Liberty and the Champion of the oppressed hear our prayer.Take Care,
We the men of Special Forces, acknowledge our dependence upon Thee in the preservation of human freedom. Go with us as we seek to defend the defenseless and to free the enslaved.
May we ever remember that our nation, whose oath "in God We Trust," expects that we shall requit ourselves with honor, that we may never bring shame upon our faith, our families, or our fellow men.
Grant us wisdom from Thy mind, courage from Thine heart, and protection by Thine hand. It is for Thee that we do battle, and to thee belongs the victor's crown. For Thine is the kingdom, and the power and glory forever,
Weight : 4.5 kg
Range : 800 m
Ammunition : 5.45 x 39mm
Magazine : 40/75 rounds
Penetration : 7 mm
The RPK is a variant of the AKM assault rifle. It has a longer, heavier barrel; a stamped metal bipod; and a heavier type of fixed, wooden buttstock. The modified receiver of the RPK can accommodate its larger-diameter barrel. The RPK normally feeds ammunition from either a 40-round curved box magazine or a 75-round spring-loaded drum magazine. However, it can also use the 30-round curved box magazine of the AKM, if necessary. It has a chrome-plated barrel, chamber, and gas piston. It also has a cyclic rate reducer built into the trigger mechanism. The users usually install luminous night sights on the front and rear sights. Some RPKs can mount an infrared night-sighting device. The RPKS is a folding-stock version used by airborne troops. The RPK has a maximum effective range of 800 meters in either automatic or semiautomatic mode. Almost all of the moving parts of the RPK are interchangeable with those of the AK or AKM assault rifles. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
RPK-74 5.45-mm Light Machine Gun
Just as the RPK is the squad machine gun version of the AKM, the RPK-74 is a machine gun version of the AK-74, firing the same ammunition. The RPKS-74 is a folding-stock version of the weapon. Instead of the prominent muzzle brake used on the AK-74, the machine gun has a short flash suppressor. The magazine is longer than that normally used with the AK-74, but the magazines are interchangeable. The RPK-74 has a bipod. The 5.45-mm round of the RPK-74 has a considerably higher muzzle velocity than the 7.62-mm round of the RPK. However, both weapons probably have the same maximum range (2,500 meters) and effective range (800 meters). Unlike the RPK, the RPK-74 is compatible with the front firing ports of the BMP. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
PK Series 7.62-mm General Purpose Machine Guns
The 7.62-mm general-purpose machine gun Pulemyot Kalashnikov (PK) is a gas-operated, belt-fed, sustained-fire weapon. The PKM fires 7.62 x 54R rimmed cartridges using a metal non disintegrating belt. The basic PK model is bipod-mounted. It is fed by a 100-round belt carried in a box fastened to the right side of the receiver. It weighs 9 kilograms and is 1,161 millimeters long. It is constructed partly of stamped metal and partly of forged steel. The PKS is a PK mounted on a lightweight (4.75-kg) tripod. It uses either a 200- or 250-round belt. The belt feeds from a box placed to the right of the weapon. The PKT is the tank-mounted version of the PK. Late-model FSU tanks, turreted APCs and IFVs, and amphibious scout cars mount it as a coaxial machine gun. It has a longer and heavier barrel than the PK. It also lacks the PK's stock, sights, bipod, and trigger mechanism. The PKT has a solenoid at the rear for remote-controlled firing, although it also has an emergency manual trigger. The PKB is a variant of the PKT. It is intended for use as a pintle-mounted gun on APCs and SP guns. It differs from the PKT by having a butterfly trigger rather than a solenoid trigger and by having double space grips and front and rear sights. The PKM is an improved, lighter version (8.4 kilograms) of the PK, using stamped metal components instead of machined metal. Joinable 25-round sections of non-disintegrating metallic belts feed the bipod-mounted PKM. An assault magazine attached to the rails under the receiver can carry 100 cartridges belted in this way. Either 200- or 250-round belt boxes can also feed the PKM. The tripod-mounted PKMS is a lightweight version of the PKS. It has the same characteristics as the PKM, from which it is derived. The effective range of the PK-series machine guns is 1,000 meters. They have a cyclic rate of fire of 650 rounds per minute and a practical rate of fire of 250 rounds per minute. Ammunition types include the following: ball, ball-tracer, armor-piercing incendiary, armor-piercing incendiary-tracer, and incendiary-ranging. It normally fires from its bipod mount but can also fit in vehicle firing ports. The PKS and PKMS are also infantry weapons. Used as heavy machine guns, they provide long-range area fire. Their tripod provides a stable mount for long-range ground fire. The tripod opens quickly to elevate the gun for antiaircraft fire. The machine gun has an effective range of 600 meters against slow-moving aircraft. The PKT serves as a coaxial machine gun on most modern Soviet tanks, IFVs, and APCs. The PKB (PKBM) serves as a pintle-mounted gun on older armored vehicles such as the BRDM, BTR-50, and BTR-60.
An RPK is a squad light machinegun, basically a heavier duty AK47 with a stronger and more durable barrel and a heavier (though still stamped) receiver. It still shoots 7.62x39 (AK) ammunition, same as the 47's. If those guys were down to ten rounds of that stuff per man, they were reusing toilet paper.
I've been wanting to ask a question and now seems like a good time based on this comment from the article:
All locals loudly greeted us and thanked all Americans. Much waving, cheering and clapping even from the women. ... USN/USAF did a great job.
I've been wondering if what we're doing over there will change the way Arabs think of Americans. Will this help us in any way or will hatred for the U.S. continue? I do not know much at all about the different countries in that area, so please forgive my ignorance.
Think O.J. will get to play bin Laden? Not much of a character stretch, not much make-up needed, and they're both convincing liars. Low budget, too. Wardrobe is mostly rags.
It's the 7.62x39mm light machine gun that replaced the RPD. A very good weapon,but hardly a "sniper rifle". I think he's actually talking more about using them as "area fire" weapons to suppress Taliban fire as the calvary charges.
To be honest,I think the 762x54 PK is more correctly refered to as a "medium machine gun" than a "light machine gun".
And, of course, it's the experienced fighters and NCOs who gravitate to the longer-range more specialized weapons, which require more than a rookies attention and for whom an AK is a better and simpler item of issue- particularly for those nighttime situations. It's a good bet that that snakeeater advisor helping those guys by pointing the air support the right way is a heavy weapons NCO....
I seem to recall T.E. Lawrence making the point that it is better that they should do a thing imperfectly, than that you should do it for them perfectly... But directing close air support can be partricularly costly if done inexpertly, even if the locals are fast learners.
You reckon those folks are using the killdots against the bad guys?
Not quite. Since 1994, the SVDS has been the Army standard rifle, with a folding buttstock the most noticable difference, but a few other improvements to be found as well. The SVD remains in widespread use by second-line and reserve units, of course, and in most of the former Soviet Bloc nations.
And many of the Finnish Army troops using the SVD are fond of them, though many also prefer the slightly better range and accuracy of the long-range bolt-action rifles- including the old 1891-designed pystykorvaa Mosin-Nagants.
Gulp. Lump in the throat time for me.
God bless our servicemen, God bless our Commander In Chief and God bless America!
"We have witnessed the horse cavalry bounding overwatch from spur to spur to attack Taliban strong points -- the last several kilometers under mortar, artillery ... and PK fire. There is little medical care if injured, only a donkey ride to the aid station, which is a dirt hut. I think (the Mujahadeen) are doing very well with what they have. They have killed over 125 Taliban ... while losing only eight.
These guys are no slouches either. Anyone that thought they got a free pass to Kabul from the B-52 strikes and Daisy Cutters, had better read this paragraph again.