I don't normally do this, but I happened to be fucking around on YouTube this evening, and came across this video of Taliban insurgents ambushing a patrol from the 101st Airborne Division (AASLT). I'm posting the link, and I'm going to make some comments in critique of the actions. Call it an armchair AAR, if you will.
Conventional Force (U.S. Actions)
- When the enemy rounds first start impacting, everyone moves to a relative position of cover. Not a bad idea. Rocks are generally better at stopping bullets than body armor, in my experience.
- Communications aren't too bad. The key leaders are trying to communicate to their Joes. Never a bad thing, although I see a whole lot of junior guys who would be getting some serious wall-to-wall counseling upon return to the FOB, since none them seem to give two shits what their leaders are telling them to do.
- At 2:07, the video shows the patrol traipsing down a road, like they are on a fucking walk in the park. It's a good thing Hajji went to AKMs in the 80s, and subsequently loss any cultural heritage of marksmanship. Three well-trained riflemen with decent weapons could have dropped half the patrol in a couple of seconds.
- Nobody is really making any use of cover. Guys are sitting and kneeling on the rocks, or standing around. When bullets fly, your best bet is to hug the ground.
- At around 4:30, when they are being instructed to move the fuck out, or be outmaneuvered, they are too busy looking pitiful to actually do what the fuck they need to do.
Ultimately, while a few guys are trying to return fire, no one in that patrol showed any interest whatsoever, in aggressing forward and taking the fight to the enemy. Instead, they decide to sit on their asses and wait for air support. Even after the Kiowas arrive, they “bound out of the valley to the safety of their vehicles” instead of killing the enemy.
Unconventional Force (Taliban)
- The Talibs wait until the Americans are in a shitty spot to engage. They chose a well-canalized piece of key terrain, with ample fields of fire, and little cover of real value. They chose an ambush site with poor footing that would keep the U.S. Forces from effectively maneuvering well, and chose to assault from the high ground, with stand-off attacks.
- To their detriment, none of them are apparently fuck-all for marksmen, since they didn't hit a single motherfucker, despite the fact that the American soldiers were traipsing down the road out in the open (did I mention the traipsing down the road part already?).
- This lack of marksmanship ability, meant that they ended up staying in the engagement long enough for the U.S. Forces to call for air support. A far more effective method would have been to have a small element of well-trained marksmen to engage the U.S. element, killing or wounding several, then exfil the ambush zone, under cover, as rapidly as tactically possible, while still staying alert for incoming air support. When the air support was inbound, they could have simply disappeared in the rocks (big rocks offer enough of a thermal mass to provide a barrier from FLIR imaging, even at night), until the aircraft left for refueling, then continued their exfiltration.
- Further, consider the implications if the Talibs had used a remote-detonated IED to initiate the ambush (much like American infantry forces have long used the Claymore initiated ambush), followed by a barrage of well-aimed rifle fire....It would not have been hard to hide a well-placed IED/mine in that terrain that would have seriously impacted the Americans' OODA loops, if not killed or wounded several.
(I assume it goes without saying that there are numerous other lessons that can be learned from this video...These are just what jumped out at me in an initial viewing)
This is not intended to be critical of the Puking Buzzards in the video. I'm sincerely glad that none of them were killed or injured, but....next time someone tells you there's no way to beat a conventional military force with the strength and technology of the U.S. Army, consider this video, and the lessons to be learned from it....