Author Topic: Afghanistan: Lessons Learned (merged)  (Read 192529 times)

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Offline boondocksaint

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Re: Lessons for the Infantry in Afghanistan
« Reply #25 on: September 29, 2006, 11:05:33 »
I believe the most I ever heard him send was our grid- enemy grid and direction- what he wanted done to it and very minor adjustments ( new ammo is great ) several of us in our platoon are old mortar dogs and prior to our string of fights we helped him a bit, he also did some during phase he mentioned

the guns were great about interpreting what was being sent and what needed to be done on the ground.
In the company of soldiers I don't have to pretend to be the person Im not, Or strike that pose, however well intentioned, that is expected by those who have not known me under arms. In the company of soldiers all my crimes are forgiven-I am safe-I am known-I am home-In the company of soldiers.

Offline Journeyman

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Re: Lessons for the Infantry in Afghanistan
« Reply #26 on: September 29, 2006, 11:53:19 »
several of us in our platoon are old mortar dogs and ....we helped him a bit
Yet another reason to bring back a full Combat Support Coy. As troops rotate through, they bring all kinds of skills to the Rifle Coys....and relatively "newby" Platoon Leaders.

(plus allowing more Cbt Sup load stations where the troops can escape from new rifle platoon leaders   ;) )

Offline Colin P

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Re: Lessons for the Infantry in Afghanistan
« Reply #27 on: September 29, 2006, 12:53:46 »
As a couch potato sitting here on the wet coast reading these AAR’s, I am amazed and proud of you guys, glad all arms are working together and it will be interesting to read the AAR’s when the Leo’s are there to help!

The concept of Canadians having pride in our troops is growing slowly but surely again.  :salute:

Offline Technoviking

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Re: Lessons for the Infantry in Afghanistan
« Reply #28 on: September 29, 2006, 16:18:35 »
2-the tac vest-for the love of god the tac vest.....seriously
-i got in a bit of poo early in the tour for saying something about our tac vest only holding 4 mags etc etc
well it only holds 4 mags! and that is NOT enough to fight with, some tic's i only fired 5 mags in 5 hours, in others i fired 10 mags in 5  minutes-i needed to get them quickly- thats why my pl all wore our own various rigs
*it cannot effectively hold enough ammo for a rifleman or a c-9 gunner OR an m-203 gunner( my c-9 gunners both used the old style webbing to hold 4 boxes)
*it doesnt hold enough water if you do somehow cram it full of gear that you need
***there are modular versions out there or quasi modular/fixed rigs that work much better for a great price- or adapt the brit idea of allowing an option between several approved rigs and adapting to the individual soldier-ive used the hockey player analogy before, no 2 guys dress exactly alike but they are all in the same uniform-it has to work for the individual, his life depends on it


I love (and often use) sports analogies.  You make some excellent points, and sure hope that someone "up there" hears you, my earlier posts some time ago about the TV notwithstanding (anyone have a time machine so I can go back and amend what I put?)

DISCLAIMER: Information is power, and I think Boondocksaint has done a great deal to spread knowledge.  The brit idea of allowing an option between several types of rigs (to keep things on the logsitical side somewhat realistic) and having the soldier choose, and making each type modular, may be the way to go?
I think we've all seen the army go through some "mucking around" with ORBATS and stuff (Pioneers to engineers, back, perhaps to infantry, etc).  Some serious thinking is needed, serious solutions as well.  I think boondocksaint has a great idea here.


So, there I was....

Offline boondocksaint

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Re: Lessons for the Infantry in Afghanistan
« Reply #29 on: September 29, 2006, 17:11:20 »
In no particular order, some other ramblings I haven't slotted anywhere, but some of your pm's have prompted more lucid thinking;

1- I mentioned ammo resupply earlier, our PL had various 'Ready' cans on the outside of the Lav's-- each section had 25 ish spare mags ( dont tell CQ) and had them in an ammo can strapped to the Lav- as well as a can of C-9 and M203- grenades were in with the mags- unpackaged with electrical tape around the spoon and body- some fights we used 15 or mags each and grenades.....lots, and M203 as well

2- the 60mm in our PL was in my Lav, stowed where the winch would go, the base plate and bipod already attached to the tube, all folded up it all fit with 2x 4 packs of HE--with an additional load in our Lav and spare ammo in other cars--deployed it every night-the ILL is great--and in the 'entry phase' of the Garmser fight we deployed the tube beside the Lav and took out a TB spotter who'd been calling in their own 60 mm fire on us ( a JDAM got their tube )

3- Drop bags should be incorporated into a new mag change drill--most of my platoon used drop bags--they're a semi-rigid bag similar to a chalk bag climbers use- instead of trying to put a mag back in its slot, you simply dump it in the bag which is cinched however tight you want the opening--it speeds up a mag change by several seconds
a) several people have said ' why not just drop the mag on the ground?'-- in several fights those empty mags were rebombed and used, so they arent disposable, yes you lose some here and there ( there's spares)
b) the main reason believe it or not, is muscle memory--most of us were incapable of actually just letting the mag fall to the ground--years of putting the damn thing away is ingrained in us--fear of CQ may have something to do with this, but mostly muscle memory

4- I mentioned my P-L earlier ( Platoon Leader, yes it's American, it caught on with some platoons ) I dont want to give the illusion he just sat back and watched the fight or called in fire missions- he was in the thick of the fighting like everyone else-he went in doors- he fought up front and nasty like all the lads--as did our W.O., he was fond of grabbing the C-6 from the poor gunner who humped it ( sangin video ) and fired it--you could hear them bickering and swearing at each other in the middle of a fight
 gunner-' feck you i humped it im shooting it'
WO-' dude come on just let me shoot it a little'
gunner-' did you carry it?'
WO-' i'll carry it next time i promise'
gunner-'you said that last time

5- the Chimo's-- they also fought as hard as everyone else, and hopefully some of them on here can relay some of their experiences as well, when my Lav was broken for awhile, I had my sect in a Chimo Lav with their guys driving-gunning-crew commanding- you dont train for that stuff, it just works out

6- Humour- wasnt sure if I should rank this as postworthy or not, you can decide--Canadians have an odd blend of humour, even in combat, it's a stress reliever, it takes your mind off what is happening etc, I've heard people yell
" where do want your well?"
" is this where the shura is?"
 and a smattering of other things as well that evoked laughter in the middle of a gun fight--it happens, it doesnt make you a freak or abnormal, the Americans we had fighting with us would sometimes look at us and shake their heads, but we'd get them to crack a smile usually--you hit every emotional high and low there is before/during and after a fight, I've never cried or laughed so much in all my life as I have those 7 months ( I didnt cry during fights  ;))

7-The effect of fighting with allies--not sure what it is exactly that makes us ( Canadians ) want to prove our worth when we have Americans or Brits around, but its there.  The biggest compliment to us when Americans would say " thank God you guys were here for this fight", and mean it.

8- Fight harder than the enemy--it sounds obvious--but if you've ever played sports and played a lesser caliber team, you may find yourself playing down to their level. It happens in a fight sometimes also. The more desparate your situation, the harder you fight, but you need to fight like that all the time, not every taliban is a good fighter, many are, but the weaker ones dont deserve any less aggresive destruction just cause they arent fighting well ( you can tell quickly what your up against )
-an American 2 star general visited us before a battle in Panjawi and summed it up by saying " if you kill the crap out of them once, really kill him good, you wont ever have to fight that same guy again"

In the company of soldiers I don't have to pretend to be the person Im not, Or strike that pose, however well intentioned, that is expected by those who have not known me under arms. In the company of soldiers all my crimes are forgiven-I am safe-I am known-I am home-In the company of soldiers.

Offline Technoviking

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Re: Lessons for the Infantry in Afghanistan
« Reply #30 on: September 29, 2006, 17:29:02 »
6- Humour- wasnt sure if I should rank this as postworthy or not, you can decide--Canadians have an odd blend of humour, even in combat, it's a stress reliever, it takes your mind off what is happening etc, I've heard people yell
" where do want your well?"
" is this where the shura is?"
 and a smattering of other things as well that evoked laughter in the middle of a gun fight--it happens, it doesnt make you a freak or abnormal, the Americans we had fighting with us would sometimes look at us and shake their heads, but we'd get them to crack a smile usually--you hit every emotional high and low there is before/during and after a fight, I've never cried or laughed so much in all my life as I have those 7 months ( I didnt cry during fights  ;))
Humour, and laughing, are (from evolution, I believe) nature's way of relieving stress. I can not even imagine the stress you guys were under, so, it makes sense.  And I think that once the troops stop laughing, there's something wrong.  Now, I'm not saying that we make light of EVERYTHING, but sometimes the proper Simpson's reference at the right time can make a world of difference.  I can only imagine my reaction on hearing someone say "Is this where the shura is?"  I probably would have bust a gut!
So, there I was....

Offline KevinB

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Re: Lessons for the Infantry in Afghanistan
« Reply #31 on: September 29, 2006, 17:31:26 »
BDS -- great AAR's -- I hope these are getting out (and rammed down peoples throats)

  I'm flying out of Ottawa tomorrow to Ed - so hopefully I can get together with you guys again (this time I will make the Hhour  :-[)
Plus if you guys want to do some shooting I have a tickle trunk of optics and stuff coming out to visit.

Maybe we can work on "#4's" Immediate reaction drills to lost mag
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Offline Technoviking

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Re: Lessons for the Infantry in Afghanistan
« Reply #32 on: September 29, 2006, 17:35:53 »
BDS -- great AAR's -- I hope these are getting out (and rammed down peoples throats)

  I'm flying out of Ottawa tomorrow to Ed - so hopefully I can get together with you guys again (this time I will make the Hhour  :-[)
Plus if you guys want to do some shooting I have a tickle trunk of optics and stuff coming out to visit.

Maybe we can work on "#4's" Immediate reaction drills to lost mag

+1

As a convert (I-6 knows what I mean...hint: TV and feces)

Have a good one, fellas.

:cheers:
So, there I was....

Online GAP

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Re: Lessons for the Infantry in Afghanistan
« Reply #33 on: September 29, 2006, 17:37:36 »
These lessons are invaluable...each will take from it as he can...but all will remember them when the time comes. Excellent.

ps: the black humor is infectious and we loved it as much then as you do now...it is never forgotten and, you are right, there's something about cracking up in the middle of a firefight.  :)
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Offline medicineman

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Re: Lessons for the Infantry in Afghanistan
« Reply #34 on: September 29, 2006, 19:58:52 »
I've always been a firm believer in laughter is the cure all for everything - and one of the top 3 stress relievers around.  Getting someone to crack up while everything is going to shite around you is a good way to get people to refocus, have a big nervous energy dump, and get on with things like it was the normal thing to do.  I do draw the line at practical jokes during minefield breaches/extractions...

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Offline ArmyRick

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Re: Lessons for the Infantry in Afghanistan
« Reply #35 on: September 29, 2006, 23:10:51 »
Boondocksaint, good stuff. I have been talking to the guys in my Platoon and they are all ears witht he stuff I have been passing on.
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Offline MikeH

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Re: Lessons for the Infantry in Afghanistan
« Reply #36 on: September 30, 2006, 12:06:34 »
Quote
-as did our W.O., he was fond of grabbing the C-6 from the poor gunner who humped it ( sangin video ) and fired it--you could hear them bickering and swearing at each other in the middle of a fight
 gunner-' feck you i humped it im shooting it'
WO-' dude come on just let me shoot it a little'
gunner-' did you carry it?'
WO-' i'll carry it next time i promise'
gunner-'you said that last time
LOL
Good stuff Boondocksaint I hope this stuff is passed around and is taught to the guys that are going on the next rotos very valuable stuff. :salute:
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Offline SupersonicMax

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Re: Lessons for the Infantry in Afghanistan
« Reply #37 on: September 30, 2006, 12:19:53 »
Ref the message by the CDS (on Internet communications), maybe we shouldn't discuss those things publicly?

Max

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Re: Lessons for the Infantry in Afghanistan
« Reply #38 on: September 30, 2006, 12:31:26 »
If there is something you think shouldn't be here, report it to a mod. I have just put a post back that had been taken off and subsequently was cleared a few minutes ago by someone with experience in these matters.
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Offline Big Red

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Re: Lessons for the Infantry in Afghanistan
« Reply #39 on: September 30, 2006, 12:49:58 »
Thanks for the AARs, good reading and good job!

+1 on the concussion grenades. If you can trade for some from the US guys, they are designed for confined spaces, and they are lighter to carry than a frag.


*Still looking for a contract that involves calling in JDAMs and fragging rooms  :crybaby:

Offline boondocksaint

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Re: Lessons for the Infantry in Afghanistan
« Reply #40 on: September 30, 2006, 13:24:22 »
Ref the message by the CDS (on Internet communications), maybe we shouldn't discuss those things publicly?

Nothing contained in the AAR's is Opsec, nor is any of the play by play commentary I've included to show human side to fighting, for the purpose of the forums I've intentionally left out any detailed mention of several things, that most people here with experience can read between the lines.
In the company of soldiers I don't have to pretend to be the person Im not, Or strike that pose, however well intentioned, that is expected by those who have not known me under arms. In the company of soldiers all my crimes are forgiven-I am safe-I am known-I am home-In the company of soldiers.

Offline BulletMagnet

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Re: Lessons for the Infantry in Afghanistan
« Reply #41 on: September 30, 2006, 18:36:31 »
Darn right we can Boondock, please keep adding them.

I have come completely to grips with my large TIC where I was wounded but I have been thinking about many of the points I want to put up when I feel ready, yours have just made me realise how important they are.
"Often have I regretted my speech, never my silence" Cpl Jordan Anderson 1981-2007 RIP

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Offline boondocksaint

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Re: Lessons for the Infantry in Afghanistan
« Reply #42 on: October 01, 2006, 18:12:43 »
Hitormiss, write what you can, when you can, for me these were the easy Tic's to talk about. There are several fights I started to write about and had to walk away from. ( for now ) Your experiences when you post them will help the next folks, and it will help you as well. Things you may have completely forgotten about, or glazed over become fresh again when you put words to paper ( or electronic document )

I also think a diversity of experiences are needed so folks have choices, I've mentioned before this is just our platoons way of working. And something your platoon did will offer a different perspective that can offer new solutions. Before going over I ( alot of us did ) read every AAR I could from the Fallujah battle, IDF Fibua tactics and old school WW2 stuff as well. This is a fresh as it gets as far as passing knowledge, as always bearing in mind Opsec.

For once their is a real chance that change can be made gained by Canadian experiences, not from someone else's armies battles. Don't pass it up, offer what you can.




In the company of soldiers I don't have to pretend to be the person Im not, Or strike that pose, however well intentioned, that is expected by those who have not known me under arms. In the company of soldiers all my crimes are forgiven-I am safe-I am known-I am home-In the company of soldiers.

Offline boondocksaint

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Re: Lessons for the Infantry in Afghanistan
« Reply #43 on: October 07, 2006, 18:11:50 »
http://www.beloblog.com/KGW_Blogs/afghanistan/2006/07/

The above link will take you to Scott Kestersons work hosted by KGW.com, a Dallas news agency. He's the photo journalist we had with our Pl for several fights and he's been in Afghanistan for the better part of a year. Last I heard from him he was going to be there for a few more months before continuing his work back home. He's embedded with ETT's and basically got our story by accident.

His writing is fancier then mine, and from an outside perspective. I generally have very little time for any reporter, but this guy would be 3 feet behind us in a fight, he even got cutoff with us in Sangin. He never intruded, or forced a conversation, or asked a bunch of questions to dig for dirt. He just lived with us, ate with us, and shared our risks.

Hopefully one day soon he'll release more of his footage.
In the company of soldiers I don't have to pretend to be the person Im not, Or strike that pose, however well intentioned, that is expected by those who have not known me under arms. In the company of soldiers all my crimes are forgiven-I am safe-I am known-I am home-In the company of soldiers.

Offline westie47

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Re: Lessons for the Infantry in Afghanistan
« Reply #44 on: October 12, 2006, 00:26:02 »
 BDS -  Good job on the AAr's. I intend to pass some of the lessons along to my troops. Maybe change training a bit. You guys did a stand-up job over there, you should be proud of yourselves. I drank with some of the boys.
« Last Edit: October 12, 2006, 10:36:19 by Mike Bobbitt »
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Re: Lessons for the Infantry in Afghanistan
« Reply #45 on: October 15, 2006, 15:46:12 »
I've taken a lot of out these, really appreciate having them available to read, as I'm going in to the reg inf shortly.  Thanks.

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Offline tlg

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Re: Lessons for the Infantry in Afghanistan
« Reply #46 on: October 15, 2006, 17:02:22 »
Thanks alot guys. These AAR's give us but a tiny glimpse of what you go through over there.

Keep em comin.

Offline silentbutdeadly

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Re: Lessons for the Infantry in Afghanistan
« Reply #47 on: October 17, 2006, 20:10:18 »
Sura LL

- When you stop at a village for a Sura ( meeting) make sure you have cut offs with the Zulu Lavs etc. In Shinkay, we had my callsign 200m down the waddie and we used the ANA as cutoff on the other side. Close protection vehicle at the time where 2 G-wagons GSK's, reason for that is because our 11 callsign was blown up.

- Try to hold the Sura as close to the veh. as possible or at least have them with eyes on and can cover u.
When the shyte went down with Capt Greene the Lav was able to fire at persons in the hilltops also the GSK's moved forward quickly and covered us with there C6's

- Hold it in a open area and something with cover. Again with Capt Greene incident, we had a good distance to the village about 200m and we where on a flat part of the waddie bank, so when we came under contact my C9 gunners dropped down and returned fire with the bank as cover.

- when the locals shown up make sure you only get the village head and maybe one or two others person at the Sura. All bystanders will be kept back at least 50m. Frisk everyone! even up there skinny legs until you touch there you know whats! Hence how an axe got through. Anyone who approaches after that gets frisked and then sent back 50m.

-Once everyone is there (IE. Pl Comdr, Cimic, and village heads) there are two soldiers as close protection for the meeting about 5m from that group the rest of the section will be either half mooned with the veh. to there backs or in all around with the Sect Comdr roaming. This worked the best when we were in Helmend doing Sura's.

-Once the Sura is finish the PL Comdr and his group move back and the rest of the Section moves to there vehicles.

make sure you brief your troops through out there Sura on where and what to do in case of contact, i think that's what helped me once we where ambushed , my guys knew where to go and what to do before it started.

Oh almost forgot and not trying to be a dink here but keep your helmets on and i am not saying this for what happened to Capt Greene, but the story i have of that day. When contact happened the medic was called and was attending to the Sir, under fire i might add very good medic, i was running around controlling my section to return fire without my helmet on, yes i know :blotto:, well my troops said i was running back and forth make sure things were covered all this time bullets were hitting everywhere. One of the my troops said to me " Hey Sarge want your helmet" with me turning to him and saying " F**k no i am to busy".Just after i said that i turned my head an a RPK burst went up this tree about 1 m in front of me. I guess you can imagine what i did next! I turned to that troop and said " Throw me my F**kin helmet"

Offline boondocksaint

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Re: Lessons for the Infantry in Afghanistan
« Reply #48 on: October 18, 2006, 22:07:17 »
Thanks for the above comments, Panjawi report almost done.

SBD brings up a great point about Shura's, as they are an event noone really trains for in detail. They wind up being a combination of several skill sets rolled into one situation.

Lots of rubber gloves
Lots of hand sani
In the company of soldiers I don't have to pretend to be the person Im not, Or strike that pose, however well intentioned, that is expected by those who have not known me under arms. In the company of soldiers all my crimes are forgiven-I am safe-I am known-I am home-In the company of soldiers.

Offline KevinB

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Re: Lessons for the Infantry in Afghanistan
« Reply #49 on: October 18, 2006, 22:16:37 »
Try to get Handheld "Garrett" (IIRC) metal detectors -- a lot of the Afghans are stinky folk -- and they dont appreciate the "handhold" when you search the 'junk'..

Even the "suicide vest" or explosive underwear systems have enough metal in them to set it off (okay so the detector guy gets vaporized -but the need of the many..)
  I did the week long US DOS explosives detection course -- I can offer some ideas offline to guys with a need...
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