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Did Weapons Fail U.S. Troops During Afghanistan Assault?

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Old 10-11-2009, 09:13 AM   #1
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Did Weapons Fail U.S. Troops During Afghanistan Assault?

Sounds like our troops need some LWRCs.


http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,563883,00.html

Quote:
WASHINGTON — In the chaos of an early morning assault on a remote U.S. outpost in eastern Afghanistan, Staff Sgt. Erich Phillips' M4 carbine quit firing as militant forces surrounded the base. The machine gun he grabbed after tossing the rifle aside didn't work either.
When the battle in the small village of Wanat ended, nine U.S. soldiers lay dead and 27 more were wounded. A detailed study of the attack by a military historian found that weapons failed repeatedly at a "critical moment" during the firefight on July 13, 2008, putting the outnumbered American troops at risk of being overrun by nearly 200 insurgents.
Which raises the question: Eight years into the war against the Taliban in Afghanistan, do U.S. armed forces have the best guns money can buy?
Despite the military's insistence that they do, a small but vocal number of troops in Afghanistan and Iraq has complained that the standard-issue M4 rifles need too much maintenance and jam at the worst possible times.
A week ago, eight U.S. troops were killed at a base near Kamdesh, a town near Wanat. There's no immediate evidence of weapons failures at Kamdesh, but the circumstances were eerily similar to the Wanat battle: insurgents stormed an isolated stronghold manned by American forces stretched thin by the demands of war.


Army Col. Wayne Shanks, a military spokesman in Afghanistan, said a review of the battle at Kamdesh is under way. "It is too early to make any assumptions regarding what did or didn't work correctly," he said.
Complaints about the weapons the troops carry, especially the M4, aren't new. Army officials say that when properly cleaned and maintained, the M4 is a quality weapon that can pump out more than 3,000 rounds before any failures occur.
The M4 is a shorter, lighter version of the M16, which made its debut during the Vietnam war. Roughly 500,000 M4s are in service, making it the rifle troops on the front lines trust with their lives.
Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., a leading critic of the M4, said Thursday the Army needs to move quickly to acquire a combat rifle suited for the extreme conditions U.S. troops are fighting in.
U.S. special operations forces, with their own acquisition budget and the latitude to buy gear the other military branches can't, already are replacing their M4s with a new rifle.
"The M4 has served us well but it's not as good as it needs to be," Coburn said.
Battlefield surveys show that nearly 90 percent of soldiers are satisfied with their M4s, according to Brig. Gen. Peter Fuller, head of the Army office that buys soldier gear. Still, the rifle is continually being improved to make it even more reliable and lethal.
Fuller said he's received no official reports of flawed weapons performance at Wanat. "Until it showed up in the news, I was surprised to hear about all this," he said.
The study by Douglas Cubbison of the Army Combat Studies Institute at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., hasn't been publicly released. Copies of the study have been leaked to news organizations and are circulating on the Internet.
Cubbison's study is based on an earlier Army investigation and interviews with soldiers who survived the attack at Wanat. He describes a well-coordinated attack by a highly skilled enemy that unleashed a withering barrage with AK-47 automatic rifles and rocket-propelled grenades.
The soldiers said their weapons were meticulously cared for and routinely inspected by commanders. But still the weapons had breakdowns, especially when the rifles were on full automatic, which allows hundreds of bullets to be fired a minute.
The platoon-sized unit of U.S. soldiers and about two dozen Afghan troops was shooting back with such intensity the barrels on their weapons turned white hot. The high rate of fire appears to have put a number of weapons out of commission, even though the guns are tested and built to operate in extreme conditions.
Cpl. Jonathan Ayers and Spc. Chris McKaig were firing their M4s from a position the soldiers called the "Crow's Nest." The pair would pop up together from cover, fire half a dozen rounds and then drop back down.
On one of these trips up, Ayers was killed instantly by an enemy round. McKaig soon had problems with his M4, which carries a 30-round magazine.
"My weapon was overheating," McKaig said, according to Cubbison's report. "I had shot about 12 magazines by this point already and it had only been about a half hour or so into the fight. I couldn't charge my weapon and put another round in because it was too hot, so I got mad and threw my weapon down."
The soldiers also had trouble with their M249 machine guns, a larger weapon than the M4 that can shoot up to 750 rounds per minute.
Cpl. Jason Bogar fired approximately 600 rounds from his M-249 before the weapon overheated and jammed the weapon.
Bogar was killed during the firefight, but no one saw how he died, according to the report.
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Old 10-11-2009, 09:14 AM   #2
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LWRCs ?
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Old 10-11-2009, 09:37 AM   #4
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this is what the special forces are using.

The command selected FN Herstal to develop SCAR in 2004 after holding a competition to find a reliable, modular weapon system for its elite forces.
The SCAR has a short-stroke, gas-piston operating system. The upper receiver is aluminum and houses a free-floating barrel for improved accuracy. The lower receiver is polymer to help reduce weight. Both versions can be equipped with different barrel lengths to suit missions ranging from close-quarter fights to long-range shooting.
Operators can chose a 10-inch, 14-inch or 18-inch barrel for the MK16 and a 13-inch, 16-inch or 20-inch barrel for the heavier MK17. Each of these can be changed out by the shooter in minutes, FN officials say. The MK16 uses a 30-round magazine; the MK17 uses a 20-rounder. Eighty percent of the parts are common to both the light and heavy versions to reduce long-term maintenance costs, FN officials say.
The SCAR also includes the MK13 40mm grenade launcher, designed to fit on both the MK16 and MK17 or fire in the stand-alone mode.
Like the M4A1, both versions of the SCAR can fire on full automatic. The conventional Army’s M4 carbine uses a three-round burst instead of full auto.
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Old 10-11-2009, 09:39 AM   #5
With sufficient thrust, pigs fly just fine.
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Personally, a 90% satisfaction rating is unacceptable. The troops need a weapon they are 100% comfortable with. This is their weapon to protect/defend lives for Christs sake!
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Old 10-11-2009, 09:42 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chris4x4 View Post
Personally, a 90% satisfaction rating is unacceptable. The troops need a weapon they are 100% comfortable with. This is their weapon to protect/defend lives for Christs sake!
X999999999999999999

They need to be able to depend on their weapon since their lives (as well as others') depends on it working.
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Old 10-11-2009, 09:42 AM   #7
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Hey Packerfan, aren't you over at XD forum's as well?

I just joined here at TacomaWorld. Just purchased a 2010 Black Sand Pearl Toyota Tacoma, short bed, double cab, 4x4, 4.0 liter V6, 5 speed auto, TRD Sports Extra Value Package. I had an 09 Subaru WRX but it was a POS.
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Old 10-11-2009, 09:43 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jnolan88 View Post

this is what the special forces are using.

The command selected FN Herstal to develop SCAR in 2004 after holding a competition to find a reliable, modular weapon system for its elite forces.
The SCAR has a short-stroke, gas-piston operating system. The upper receiver is aluminum and houses a free-floating barrel for improved accuracy. The lower receiver is polymer to help reduce weight. Both versions can be equipped with different barrel lengths to suit missions ranging from close-quarter fights to long-range shooting.
Operators can chose a 10-inch, 14-inch or 18-inch barrel for the MK16 and a 13-inch, 16-inch or 20-inch barrel for the heavier MK17. Each of these can be changed out by the shooter in minutes, FN officials say. The MK16 uses a 30-round magazine; the MK17 uses a 20-rounder. Eighty percent of the parts are common to both the light and heavy versions to reduce long-term maintenance costs, FN officials say.
The SCAR also includes the MK13 40mm grenade launcher, designed to fit on both the MK16 and MK17 or fire in the stand-alone mode.
Like the M4A1, both versions of the SCAR can fire on full automatic. The conventional Army’s M4 carbine uses a three-round burst instead of full auto.
I hear those are sweet but the LWRC is American made and has 80% commonality with the existing M4.
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Old 10-11-2009, 09:44 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ashjwilliams View Post
Hey Packerfan, aren't you over at XD forum's as well?

I just joined here at TacomaWorld. Just purchased a 2010 Black Sand Pearl Toyota Tacoma, short bed, double cab, 4x4, 4.0 liter V6, 5 speed auto, TRD Sports Extra Value Package. I had an 09 Subaru WRX but it was a POS.
I sure am. Welcome to TW.
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Old 10-11-2009, 09:44 AM   #10
With sufficient thrust, pigs fly just fine.
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Fn makes some quality firearms...I would like to see those with our troops.
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Old 10-11-2009, 09:46 AM   #12
With sufficient thrust, pigs fly just fine.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PackerfanXD View Post
Yes...But I havent heard of the LWRC being 100% either.....sorry.
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Old 10-11-2009, 09:50 AM   #13
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i do not get to carry a gun in my job (medic) but if i did i would want the scar. just cause it looks bad ass. i qualify on an m16 every 2 years and have to say it's pretty bad ass as well. i have gotten marksmen 3 out of 4 times with it.
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Old 10-11-2009, 09:52 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chris4x4 View Post
Yes...But I havent heard of the LWRC being 100% either.....sorry.
I have a hard time believing that with 70,000 rounds through test rifles with zero malfunctions.
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Old 10-11-2009, 09:53 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chris4x4 View Post
Personally, a 90% satisfaction rating is unacceptable. The troops need a weapon they are 100% comfortable with. This is their weapon to protect/defend lives for Christs sake!
X10000! Completely agree!
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Old 10-11-2009, 09:59 AM   #16
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That SCAR is a badass weapon. Danger Room reported that this would eventually replace the M4, but it comes down to $$... BS.
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Old 10-11-2009, 10:18 AM   #17
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I have no idea the conditions and free time and maintenance training available over there.. but there is a lot to be said for cleaning and maintaining your weapon. Part of me thinks it may not just be a poor design, but also a lack of proper care.
Again, not to shift blame off the weapon, but the article does mention needing a lot of maintenance (dirty?), a lot of that could be fixed by breaking the weapon down and cleaning it.
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Old 10-11-2009, 10:20 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chris4x4 View Post
Fn makes some quality firearms...I would like to see those with our troops.

My issue weapon is a FN made M16 and I have never had any problems with it. zero malfunctions.
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Old 10-11-2009, 10:22 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnecon2001 View Post
I have no idea the conditions and free time and maintenance training available over there.. but there is a lot to be said for cleaning and maintaining your weapon. Part of me thinks it may not just be a poor design, but also a lack of proper care.
Again, not to shift blame off the weapon, but the article does mention needing a lot of maintenance (dirty?), a lot of that could be fixed by breaking the weapon down and cleaning it.
I can see the need for cleaning, but when you are living in a dust bowl, with lots of blowing sand, keeping anything clean would be next to impossible.
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Old 10-11-2009, 10:37 AM   #20
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U.S. Concealed Carry - The Ultimate Resource for the Armed Citizen
LWRC AR15 bites the Dust
An overview with pictures
This is a 10.5” (SBR) Litner Wise, well it is a LWRC, (Land Warfare Resources Corporation), Which is formerly the Leitner-Wise Rifle Company. We put this rifle in the dirt to test it's function under extreme conditions. Not only did it work, it worked flawlessly each time we preformed the test


We were out at the local shooting spot and decided to see how much abuse this strong, reliable AR15 could take. It took all we gave it and worked through all our tests


The configuration tested. 1. A stock of some kind 2. A V-TAC sling 3. Some kind of an EOtech optic 4 Surefire vert grip w/ lights


To start we gently put the rifle on the ground


After it landed we started the dust portion of the test


Kicking fine dust and dirt into most AR15s is going to stop them from working well for the most part. Although this treatment is not recommended for any rifles.. or most anything else for that matter


Kicking dirt on to most of the gun, not the barrel of course, but being sure to hit the receiver


The gas vents from a hole under the handguards, so extra dirt was kicked here to attempt a failure


Once it was covered in dust we tested function.


A quick slap to remove most of the dust was all to get ready for shooting


Dust was still falling from the rifle as the first test shots were taken.


This LWRC functioned perfectly, with no failures. All the extra dust was thrown off the rifle with the first few shots


Aside from the momentary cloud of dust that stopped after a few shots there was no sign this rifle had been covered in dust just moments before. This kind of reliability is typically thought to be available from only an AK47, but this LWRC may do a lot to change that


After the testing the rifle was dirty but working well. The EOtech needed a cleaning, but was still operable as well. A lens cover for the light and rubber boots over the LEDs kept the lenses in good shape. Nothing else on this AR was effected by our testing. (Our testers face is blurred so that if he ever meets the guys at LWRC they won't know what he did to one of their rifles


For our testing this day we went through every barrel cap we brought with to the range. They are designed to cover the barrel and crown from dirt, rocks and even water to some extent. They are simply plastic so they can be shot through if needed. Here's what they look like before and after


Will this LWRC gas piston AR15 end the debate on which is better the AR15 vs the AK47 ??

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