AL TARMIYAH FIREFIGHT!: Lessons Learned The Hard Way

AL TARMIYAH FIREFIGHT!: Lessons Learned The Hard Way

Excellent article about Practical Combat Rifle Skills we need to keep sharp as civilians:


  • Assuming I killed the bad guy with one shot to the torso area

  • Performing a slow reload

  • Retaining my empty magazine during the middle of such an intense firefight

  • Stowing an empty magazine in the same location as my fresh magazines

  • Looking down at my weapon while reloading

  • Having my rifle in the Low Ready while reloading

  • Standing bladed and not taking advantage of my ballistic plates



Range Report: The Iraqi Tabuk Sniper Rifle

Anybody who served in the Iraq War during the height of the insurgency (2005-2007) or are familiar with modern military sniper history know the story of the Iraqi Sniper Juba and his Tabuk Sniper Rifle.

I have to be honest, I was jaw-dropped impressed with the performace of both the shooter and this rifle with Ball ammo and a malfunctioning scope to 500 yards!



Crusader Corner: The Attack On The ISIS Convoy Is a Tactic As Old As War

Personally, I got a lot of satisfaction watching these ISIS camel turds  get wiped off the face of the planet, I hope you do too.-SF


Killing retreating soldiers has a long — and totally legal — history

As the Iraqi army overran the last of Fallujah’s neighborhoods remaining in the Islamic State’s hands this week, more than 500 vehicles left the city and headed toward Syria. Along a desert highway, the convoy came under aerial attack.

What followed now appears to be the destruction of one of the largest single concentrations of Islamic State fighters and equipment seen so far in the war, and may count among the group’s worst defeats.

U.S. and Iraqi officials cited by the Washington Post claim more than 150 vehicles were destroyed in attacks on two separate parts of the convoy.

t’s unclear how many people died, although one estimate from U.S. officials places the number at 250 Islamic State fighters. Some fighters, according to eyewitnesses, stripped off their clothes and fled into the desert.

An Iraqi Mi-28 Havoc gunship, Cessna Caravan ground-attack planes and U.S. warplanes joined in the attack. A video released by the U.S.-led coalition shows bombs hitting one convoy, which strikes in different sections before more bombs and explosive rounds strafe the highway.

Videos and imagery released on Iraqi social media show bodies of men, some wearing camouflage, lying along a road where the second of two convoys was attacked. Abandoned, wrecked civilian vehicles — a few converted into armed “technicals” — littered the road.

Read the Remainder at War is Boring

Military History Book’s Worth A Damn: Pumpkinflowers


Matti Friedman, Pumpkinflowers: A Soldier’s Story (Algonquin Books, 2016).

Iraq veterans finally have their book; a manuscript that really deals with the whole of the Iraq experience. After over a decade at war in Iraq, we now have the best first-person account, not only of fighting against the insurgency, but also what it felt like to come home after. The book gives the most vivid account of what it is like to return to a society that doesn’t understand or support your war. It also draws some conclusions about what this all means for the larger Middle East.

But the best book about the Iraq War isn’t actually about the Iraq War. In Pumpkinflowers, Matti Friedman tells the story of a small outpost — called the Pumpkin, thus the title (“flowers” refers to the code word for wounded soldiers) — during the unnamed Israeli occupation of Lebanon’s “security zone” in the 1990s. The many clear parallels between these two experiences are, quite frankly, haunting. While the two experiences are not identical, they appear plagiarized from each other.

It’s misleading to call Pumpkinflowers first-person, as the book doesn’t slip into personal narration until page 90. The first section is from the perspective of Avi, a soldier who was stationed at the Pumpkin some years before Matti would arrive. The compound literary device works, and provides both a longer historical perspective, and a second viewpoint of the events in Southern Lebanon and the Israeli’s opponents in Lebanese Hezbollah.

Friedman is — of course — hardly oblivious to the parallels with later wars, as he writes with almost two decade’s hindsight and history. In a way, it seems Friedman is haunted not only by his personal experiences in Southern Lebanon, but also the later American experience in Iraq. He sees Israel’s “security zone war” as important if only for being the first such fought by post-colonial Arabs against occupiers (whether this is true, or whether his war is in a long tradition traced to colonial events such as Algeria War of Independence and Iraq’s 1920 Revolution can be argued). Within a few years, elements of the security zone war would appear elsewhere — most notably in Iraq, but also in Afghanistan: “If my ancestors’ great war was the first of the twentieth century, I believe our little one was the first of the twenty-first.”

The little things that the Israeli’s experienced in South Lebanon will also have a ring of familiarity to Iraq’s veterans. I had to laugh at the author’s confusion over his commander’s insistence that they have a Passover seder meal:

It was obvious to us that we would have a seder, that matzah and haroset would appear, that soldiers would risk their lives on the country roads to clean the dishes.

I similarly thought of the logistical mountains moved in Iraq to bring Thanksgiving dinners to the most remote and lonely outposts.

The Israelis who fought in the security zone war also returned to a public unable to understand what they had experienced. One would think that Israel’s conscription policies would have alleviated this issue, but that turns out to be less the case. “Only a fraction of Israeli men serve in combat units, and not all combat units were engaged in Lebanon.” The result was that the discharged, barely-adult Israeli men found that, “back in civilian life the soldiers of the security zone saw no reflection of our experience, no indication that anything important had happened.” I suspect that veterans of the Basra and Mosul streets would have little to add to this sentiment.

Finally, at a more expansive level, the Israelis learned in the 1990s, as the Americans would in 2003-11, that “[w]e might make good choices, or bad choices, but the results are unpredictable and the possibilities limited. The Middle East doesn’t bend to our dictates or our hopes. It won’t change for us.” As America openly debates how — or if — to deal with a post-Arab Spring Middle East, this war-won sentiment is a good, if perhaps incomplete, starting point.

Matti Friedman has done a great service in helping Americans understand our own unpopular and ambiguous war by giving us the lens of Israel’s unpopular and ambiguous war. That his own purpose doubtless has more to do with his own demons is beside the point. I cannot recommend this work enough to those who want to understand the American experience in Iraq through the experience of another nation. This is true regardless of whether one reads despite having no experience in Iraq, or because one is burdened by it.

Read the Original Article at War on the Rocks

Modern War: How Tactics Used in Iraq and A-Stan Can Make The U.S. More Vulnerable in Future Wars

We need to ask ourselves which lessons are worth retaining versus which do we think we should retain but make us more vulnerable.

Editor’s Note: This article is drawn from a talk given by the author to the Special Operations Medical Association Scientific Assembly in Charlotte, North Carolina, on May 24, 2016.

Question: Do the wars of the last 15 years really prefigure the future? Many people think they do. But, the answer is “Yes” only if all future fighting is done in tribal shatter zones, where we retain air dominance. Meanwhile, additional questions that should haunt everyone in uniform for the remainder of their careers are: What is particular to Afghanistan and Iraq, and what is generalizable? What belongs in the lockbox because it won’t apply elsewhere? Or, which lessons are worth retaining versus which will we think we should retain, but will make us more vulnerable?

Historically, being able to reach, keep, and smash objectives so that your forces can move forward without you having to fear for your rear was critical. At the broadest level, no war was deemed over until one side conceded defeat. This required killing your adversary’s hope and not just his will to continue. When your enemy acceded to the terms you dictated, you had finally succeeded.

The piss poor substitute today, given our inexplicable reluctance to declare war, is to talk about end states instead. Yet, if you stop and think about it, there is no such thing as an end state. Time goes on. More events occur. End states don’t end anything. But, repeat “end state” often enough and the term begins to take on a reality of its own.

In my mind, this is similar to invoking “complexity,” which everyone now accepts as a description of today’s reality. Yet nothing we face today is more complicated than World War II. Instead, the scope of what we think we should consider seems to have expanded, thanks to the speed and volume of information flows. On top of that, we think we have the capacity — or will soon develop the ability and/or the software — to help us think through all likely consequences, even though this will only compound paralysis by analysis.

Meanwhile, who are we currently up against? Jihadis, to whom nothing is particularly complex or nuanced, except how long it might take to undermine us. They aren’t encumbered with our same sensibilities: If you’reof us, good. If not, you’re expendable.

To be clear, I am not advocating that we become more like them. Just the opposite. I want us to tilt war back to a format that advantages us, which means we need a 21st century rethink of Just War theory, and of who deserves noncombatant status among other things. We also need to give serious consideration to the following lessons that have emerged out of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

1. More technological innovation is not always a better means of warfare.

But along with this, we need to rethink our conviction that if we just keep on technologically innovating we will retain a sufficient edge. Take improvised explosive devices versus drones. Which have had a more profound psychic effect on people? With precision-strike, the individuals we target change their tactics, techniques, and procedures, and a lot of them get killed. But the pressure is Darwinist and we are helping individuals get smarter faster; drones do not dissuade communities from supporting terrorists. With IEDs, on the other hand, the randomness has been pernicious, forcing us into rolling fortresses and sowing seeds of not-yet-detonated post-traumatic stress disorder.

Meanwhile, in the who-is-out-innovating-whom sphere, we not only overlook innovations in what people are willing to do with and to other human beings at our growing peril, but we ignore the ways in which future adversaries will be able to take greater advantage of our self-inflicted Achilles’ heels. We have quite a few.

Read the Remainder at Task and Purpose

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