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This would make a hell of a movie!

My reaction upon reading this story was “wow, this would make a hell of a movie!”

When Mohammed Abu Ali went to bed on August 8, he was living in Makhmour, a Kurdish-populated town near the border of Iraqi Kurdistan. When he woke up the next day, he was in Makhmour, an abandoned town under the control of the Islamic State

Time to stay calm and think very carefully before saying anything!

17 comments to This would make a hell of a movie!

  • Gene

    Looks like it would be an interesting take-off on the original “Die Hard.”

    Or maybe put some twists into place and introduce some elements from “The Metamorphosis.”

  • Maggie K.

    I might have assumed I was still asleep and just having a really vivid nightmare!

  • Paul Marks

    I was just listening to a Kurdish commander (on French English language news) blaming recent defeats on poor equipment.

    For example his comment on his AK47 was “it does not have the range for this type of warfare”.

    A bad workman blaming his tools – or does he have a point?

    After all British troops in Oman defeated enemy forces (who massively outnumbered them) 40 years ago – and they put their victory down (in part) to the enemy being armed with AK47s.

    “Inaccurate at long range” was the comment of the various SAS men.

    Were they mistaken?

  • The reason the Kurds pulled back is not hard to understand. They are under pressure from a more numerous and better armed enemy (who gained a huge stockpile of US weapons that the worthless Iraqi army simply abandoned). Thus the Peshmerga had to consolidate against the main threats to Kirkuk and Erbil. Much as my heart goes out to the Yazidi and the Chaldean Christians who suddenly found the peshmerga had disappeared, but the military reality is the Kurds could barely hold onto those vastly more important objectives, so yeah, sorry guys but thems the breaks.

    This war, like all modern wars that rise above a local skirmish, are not won based on who has the best rifles but rather with heavy weapons. Mortars, Machineguns, ATGWs, Tanks, IFV, Airpower… those are what really matter. It is not better rifles the Kurds need so much as Javelin ATGW, proper artillery and tanks. The Iraqi army more or less gave IS a large stock of US weapons by simply running away (or changing sides). THAT is why the Peshmerga has been having problems.

    “Inaccurate at long range” was the comment of the various SAS men. Were they mistaken?

    Not wrong but it is also why SAS and other elite troops are not always the best guide. The truth is when it comes to long range rifle fire, the thing that makes it largely ineffective is not the choice of rifle but the soldier. 99.9% of soldiers are not in the SAS. The Germans observed in WW2 that very few soldiers could hit anything over 300 metres and so they designed an assault rifle with that in mind. An AK47 also works just fine at 300 metres.

  • My friend who fought in the Royal Marines in Iraq said the accuracy of the SA-80 gave them an enjoyable advantage over their enemies who used the AK-47, because he could shoot them 100-200m before he was in their range.

  • Also, the SAS are no better shots than a standard infantryman. Marksmanship is not one of the criteria on which they are selected, over and above the standard requirements.

  • Also, the SAS are no better shots than a standard infantryman.

    I think you are missing the point… the British army is a small professional army, in a sense an ‘elite’. Even the Germans in WW2, hardly slouches when it comes to the whole war thing, observed that most run-of-the-mill troops cannot hit targets much beyond 300 m and few rifle engagements even happen much beyond the 200-400 m zone, even if their rifles were technically capable of doing the job at up to 1000 m. Hence they came up with weapons like the StG 44. It is not rifles but rather man portable weapons like belt fed machineguns, mortars and ATGW that apply real fire power in an infantry engagement at longer ranges. If all you have is a rifle, then yeah, nice to have a better rifle (my guess is not the the AK47 is inferior design wise but they are probably just clapped out), but it is really the heavier stuff that the Kurds need.

  • Sure, rifles are only any use in a professional army. Otherwise, you want an assault rifle like the AK-47. I have another mate who worked as a mercenary in Iraq, and he used to carry an AK-47 out of choice because, with long hair and big beard, he passed as an Arab in dim light which he’d never be able to do with anything else slung on his back. He said when set up properly, maintained, and with sights aligned the AK-47 was plenty accurate. But he also said he felt he had the only AK-47 in the entire Middle East which had been zeroed properly!

  • Yup. I can reliably hit a man sized silhouette target with an AK-anything at 500m + (well back when I was shooting regularly I could, now I could probably reliably frighten a man sized silhouette target at 500m +). But I really do hope it will be belt fed DakkaDakka, mortars and Javelins (the guided kind rather than the pointy thrown kind) that we send to Kurdistan. Armour would be nice too. Some French ERC 90 would probably be very effective.

  • Paul Marks

    Well the Kurds are getting support now (rather late) and they are indeed retaking some villages.

    Air power (and so on) are proving their worth – in a support role.

  • Mr Ed

    The AK-47 was designed for Homo sovieticus and his co-belligerents, e.g. those 1970s-1980s street fighters in the Lebanon who never seemed to worry about ammo, as the Soviets were supplying it, as Suvorov pointed out. The non-Russian Soviet Army soldier might only know ten commands in Russian, up, down, back, forward, stop, shoot etc. It didn’t matter to the Soviets if the Ak-47 was inaccurate, it made noise, it made the enemy keep heads down and if the bearer of one got hit first, the next four might make up the loss. Why waste time and money training a soldier to fire properly, when he is utterly disposable? Why make a few accurate guns if many inaccurate reliable ones can be made? Why train your general population to shoot straight when they might resent you?

    Similarly with Soviet tanks having smooth bores, inaccurate guns but with high velocity, sheer weight of numbers worked. In WW2, 18,000 Soviet tanks to 3,000 German tanks. The ghost division system that meant that one brigade could be hived off a division to form the nucleus of a reservist division, which meant that 180 Divisions became 360, albeit with cannon fodder and obsolete equipment, it nonplussed the Germans and upset their calculations. Perhaps the First Gulf War showed that modern weaponry with high hit rates, air power, missiles and gunnery literally annihilated the Soviet way of war.

    Mind you, poor Mr Abil went through in one night what took about 60 years in the UK.

  • Actually Ed, the Wehrmacht came to pretty much the same design conclusion, so the AK really isn’t the weapon-only-suitable-for-illiterate-proles that people imagine ;-) I mean the basic design has been used by the Israelis too.

    Unless the weapon is clapped out, which they often are it must be said, they are good enough at the distances most troops are capable of shooting at. I once fired a Yugo M70 at 300m and the barrel was so worn could only put 3 rounds out of 90 on the paper. I was then handed a non-knackered Chinese AKM and put most of them in the black, which was not bad considering drinking loza before rifle shooting was de rigueur in Herzegovina in those days ;-)

  • I mean the basic design has been used by the Israelis too.

    And I don’t know of a single Israeli who got to use and didn’t hate its guts.

    Ed, it was designed back in the 40s IIRC, not 70 or 80, but I’m sure you knew that already. It’s just that your comment may be misconstrued as implying the latter.

  • The weird thing about the Galil is they took an inexpensive very reliable light weight assault rifle, in an intermediate calibre, and turned it into an expensive very reliable inexplicably heavy assault rifle, in an even smaller calibre. Go figure! :D

  • nick (natural genius) Gray

    I can’t wait for the new Caliph to command the Djinn to attack all those jets and drones and missiles, thus giving him command of the skies! That will show those Westerners who is the new boss!

  • SC

    “wow, this would make a hell of a movie!”

    No, it would make a terrible movie. It would be exactly like Andy Warhol’s movie “Sleep”.

    Seriously, though, it’s good to see you blogging more, Perry.

  • LOL, I think the movie could fast forward through the bit where he snoozes through the IS attack :D But face it, this is as close real life gets to going to bed then waking up and going outside, only to discover there had been a zombie apocalypse.

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