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  • When in Baghdad...

    ...do as the Iraqis do, and pick up an AK-47.

    U.S. Troops Use Confiscated Iraqi AK-47s
    Sun Aug 24, 2:15 PM ET

    By ANDREW ENGLAND, Associated Press Writer

    BAQOUBA, Iraq - An American soldier stands at the side of an Iraqi highway, puts his AK-47 on fully automatic and pulls the trigger.

    Within seconds the assault rifle has blasted out 30 rounds. Puffs of dust dance in the air as the bullets smack into the scrubland dirt. Test fire complete.

    U.S. troops in Iraq may not have found weapons of mass destruction, but they're certainly getting their hands on the country's stock of Kalashnikovs — and, they say, they need them.

    The soldiers based around Baqouba are from an armor battalion, which means they have tanks, Humvees and armored personnel carriers. But they are short on rifles.

    A four-man tank crew is issued two M4 assault rifles and four 9mm pistols, relying mostly on the tank's firepower for protection.

    But now they are engaged in guerrilla warfare, patrolling narrow roads and goat trails where tanks are less effective. Troops often find themselves dismounting to patrol in smaller vehicles, making rifles essential.

    "We just do not have enough rifles to equip all of our soldiers. So in certain circumstances we allow soldiers to have an AK-47. They have to demonstrate some proficiency with the weapon ... demonstrate an ability to use it," said Lt. Col. Mark Young, commander of the 3rd Battalion, 67th Armor Regiment, 4th Infantry Division.

    "Normally an armor battalion is fighting from its tanks. Well, we are not fighting from our tanks right now," Young said. "We are certainly capable of performing the missions that we have been assigned, there's no issue with that, but we do find ourselves somewhat challenged."

    In Humvees, on tanks — but never openly on base — U.S. soldiers are carrying the Cold War-era weapon, first developed in the Soviet Union but now mass produced around the world.

    The AK is favored by many of the world's fighters, from child soldiers in Africa to rebel movements around the world, because it is light, durable and known to jam less frequently.

    Now U.S. troops who have picked up AKs on raids or confiscated them at checkpoints are putting the rifles to use — and they like what they see.

    Some complain that standard U.S. military M16 and M4 rifles jam too easily in Iraq's dusty environment. Many say the AK has better "knockdown" power and can kill with fewer shots.

    "The kind of war we are in now ... you want to be able to stop the enemy quick," said Sgt. 1st Class Tracy S. McCarson of Newport News, Va., an army scout, who carries an AK in his Humvee.

    Some troops say the AK is easier to maintain and a better close-quarters weapon. Also, it has "some psychological affect on the enemy when you fire back on them with their own weapons," McCarson said.

    Most U.S. soldiers agree the M16 and the M4 — a newer, shorter version of the M16 that has been used by American troops since the 1960s — is better for long distance, precision shooting.

    But around Baqouba, troops are finding themselves attacked by assailants hidden deep in date palm groves. Or they are raiding houses, taking on enemies at close-quarters.

    Two weeks ago, Sgt. Sam Bailey of Cedar Falls, Iowa, was in a Humvee when a patrol came under rocket-propelled grenade and heavy machine gun fire. It was dark, the road narrow. On one side, there was a mud wall and palms trees, on the other a canal surrounded by tall grass.

    Bailey, who couldn't see who was firing, had an AK-47 on his lap and his M4 up front. The choice was simple.

    "I put the AK on auto and started spraying," Bailey said.

    Some soldiers also say it's easier to get ammo for the AK — they can pick it up on any raid or from any confiscated weapon.

    "It's plentiful," said Sgt. Eric Harmon, a tanker who has a full 75-round drum, five 30-round magazines, plus 200-300 rounds in boxes for his AK. He has about 120 rounds for his M16.

    Young doesn't carry an AK but has fired one. He's considered banning his troops from carrying AKs, but hasn't yet because "if I take the AK away from some of the soldiers, then they will not have a rifle to carry with them."

    Staff Sgt. Michael Perez, a tanker, said he would take anything over his standard issue 9mm pistol when he's out of his tank.

    And the AK's durability has impressed him.

    "They say you can probably drop this in the water and leave it overnight, pull it out in the morning, put in a magazine and it will work," Perez said.
    I have no problem at all with being proved wrong. Especially when being proved wrong leaves the world a better place, than being proved right...

  • #2
    Hello,

    All of this is interesting, too bad the Soviet designer who made Ak-47 never made a single cent off his design. Had he been a capitalist, then he would became a filthy wealthy man -- most likely a billioniare. It would have irritated good old Stalin, wouldn't it? Tough break for the guy.

    It's strange that Ak-47 has been with us for over fifty years, it was invented just shortly after WWII ended. It never occurred to me that we haven't really invented a "21st century" automatic rifle with all cool gadgets such as thermal sights, laser-range finder, etc.

    It almost made me want to send the Pentagon a sample of Star Trek phaser technology....

    Dan
    Major James Holden, Georgia Badgers Militia of Rainbow Regiment, American Civil War

    "Aim small, miss small."

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    • #3
      Well, basically what troops want is a reliable, powerfull weapon to get the job done. Nothing worse than having a gadget overloaded gun that jams when you really need it.

      The main maschine gun of the german army is the G3, a successor of the WW2 MG-42. It even still looks like the MG-42!



      So, because of its age, is it considered outdated ? Here is what world.guns.ru has to say about the G3:

      MG3 is one of the most popular universal MGs in the World. In fact, MG3 is modified version of the MG42, German WW2 era machinegun, adopted to fire 7.62mm NATO rounds instead of the 7.92mm Mauser rounds.
      MG42 was worlds first truly "universal" machinegun, designed for use as both light MG on bipods or as heavy MG on tripod or AA or pintle mount. MG3 started as MG42/59 in 1959, and since 1968 MG3 itself is in mass production.
      MG3 is exported to Chile, Dennmark, Italy, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Norway, Austria, Portuguese and Turkey. MG3 clones are built in Yugoslavia and other countries.

      MG3 is belt-fed, air-cooled machinegun. It has short moving barrel with bolt locking into the barrel extension via two rollers (note that MG3 used roller locking, unlike the HK G3 series of the weapons, that used roller delayed blowback). MG3 has quick change barrel, that could be replaced after every 150 rounds fired with practical rate of fire of 200-250 rounds per minute. Weapon fires from open bolt. It has one of the highest rates of fire in its class and rated as extremely reliable (as one may expect from such a time- and war-pro¬en design).
      "The conventional army loses if it does not win. The guerrilla wins if he does not lose."

      Henry Alfred Kissinger

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      • #4
        The funny thing with me is that when we were in the military training back in China, I could do much better shots using AK47 than using the Type56 semi-auto. (Type 56 semi-auto rifle is a long barrel single shot rifle designed for long range precision shots, it has been the standard equipment for PLA since 60's, and now partially fading out of service, being replaced by Type 95.)
        The reason is simple: my eyesight is extremely poor (even after correction by the -5.25 lenses ) (well, barely enough to drive --- so do not be afraid in case you guys visit me here and I offer rides ) ---- and my problem was, for the long barrel, I could not see the aiming stick (I do not know what it is called in english ) clearly at the front end of the rifle, while for the shorter AK47, I can see much better
        Attn to ALL my opponents:

        If you sent me your turn and after 24 hours, you still did not get anything from me, please be sure to post in the forum to ask for what is going on.

        Remember, I ALWAYS reply within 24 hours, even if I do NOT have time to play my turn, in which case I will at least send you email to tell you that I will have to play it later, but I DO receive your turn.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Cheetah772
          Hello,
          All of this is interesting, too bad the Soviet designer who made Ak-47 never made a single cent off his design. Had he been a capitalist, then he would became a filthy wealthy man -- most likely a billioniare. It would have irritated good old Stalin, wouldn't it? Tough break for the guy.
          I know that after the fall of the USSR retired Mr. Kalashnikov was a poor man. However, this may not have been the case under Stalin.

          Obviously under Stalin the designer couldn't just market and sell his weapons but state prizes for gifted weapon designers were pretty spectacular by Soviet standards. The Stalin Prize was the Soviet equivalent of the Nobel Prize.

          For instance, Igor Kurchatov, the "father" of the Soviet A-Bomb (shamelessly copied from the stolen "Fatman" plans actually) and his leading people got very high monetary prizes, apartments, dachas (summer/vacation homes) cars, scholarships for children, lifetime passes for free travel around the country and so on.

          Stalin did reward his favorites.
          Last edited by MonsterZero; 26 Aug 03, 23:54.

          "Artillery adds dignity to what would otherwise be a ugly brawl."
          --Frederick II, King of Prussia

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