Opération “Barkhane”

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Perhaps someone should have thought about putting on a more experienced gunner on the FN. I mean the report /doc does say that they are scouts 15 clicks in front of a convoy. BTW, does everyone get this in English? Not the video obviously, but the write up?
I was wondering it I heard right in the video that the gunner was an lieutenant?

For the article, my phone will translate it to English. I can paste it here.

In the Sahel, the legion tracks Daesh. The exceptional report of our special envoys.

Two men who resume their race after taking out their weapons. Behind them, legionnaires as scouts, 15 kilometers ahead of a convoy. After difficult months, where the jihadists succeeded in deadly attacks against the local armies, the French army goes back to the crenel with reinforced manpower to 5 100 men . That day, leaving from Ménaka in Mali, around twenty heavily armed vehicles were advancing in the Liptako-Gourma region. Objective: to flush out jihadist groups which take their ease around the Nigerien border . In three weeks, this intervention has already eliminated 80 rebels, most often by air strike. This kind of duel on the ground is exceptional.
 

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What is procedure during this kind of malfunction?
From what I can see there is no malfunction. No rounds have been chambered off the tray feed...bolt to the rear, safety catch off to start firing. I’ve always been a big believer in for GPMG‘s to do a test fire before going on patrol. It’s not always possible (you don’t want to give away your location). These guys are mechanised, they should know better. Last thing you want when you have contact is someone not having a clue how to use the gun. A crew of just four 7.62 guns can decimate a company with well directed enfilade fire. The Brits showed that during the Falklands war. Soldiers get killed when not patrolling aggressively. In this case, once the gun didn’t fire, the driver should have put his foot down and run the bastards over. Here’s a photo of the cover assembly up with the belt link on the tray feed. Changing barrels to avoid a ‘cook off’ is why you need a damn good no:2 with you. I hope this has been helpful.
 

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Joseph Cosgrove

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I’ve always been a big believer in for GPMG‘s to do a test fire before going on patrol.
That is what I was going to mention. Why they did not do a 'dry run[ before going out on patrol is the big question. They have miles and miles of shooting range. Their barrels should have been pulled through and the night's sand, even though once it has been cleaned it will be protected, should have been dusted off, The last thing you need is a stoppage with someone who does not know what he's doing.
I was wondering it I heard right in the video that the gunner was an lieutenant?
I'm sorry to say that it does look that way. A bit embarrassing for him.
Just on a lighter note. After the Lt has addressed the detachment, in typical officer style, He takes a step backwards before saluting and handing each element over to its chief. I'll never understand that one step backwards. Check out all the legion videos and see if I'm right.
I've just rewatched the video. I'm not talking about the right foot back before the 'demi tourne' , In fact the Lt takes not one but three steps backwards.
 
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I'm not convinced that the LT actually had a stoppage. You can see him yanking on the charging handle, but it (and thus the bolt) is already locked to the rear. Which means he was rolling around with the bolt locked to the rear, rounds in the feed tray, and the weapon on safe*. In this case, misfire procedures should have been to make sure the weapon wasn't on safe and then attempt to fire again.

But then again, that's me being a bit of a Monday morning quarterback. He did switch to a secondary weapon quickly enough, had his driver stop the vehicle to give himself a stable firing platform from which to engage the lackadaisically fleeing enemy (seriously guys, WTF, you're getting shot at, why are you jogging nonchalantly away?) and then smoked those two peasants. 2x EKIA, no French casualties, is a win in my book.

*Which is one way. One problem is that keeping your bolt locked to the rear for hours every day will, over time, compress the return spring to the point where it's not, well, springy enough to function properly. this goes for the the FN MAG, the Minimi, and the US versions of those two (M240 and M249, respectively), as well as many other MG's that fire from the open bolt and have a return spring. The other problem is that if your driver hits a big enough bump, the seer can disengage and the bolt will slam forward and now you've just had a negligent discharge-- hopefully the weapon wasn't pointed at anything you didn't want to shoot.

The solution is to stretch the spring out a bit when cleaning the weapon, or: Roll with the bolt forward, rounds in the tray, weapon on fire. If you need to fire, just charge the weapon and its ready to rock and roll. Spring stays springy, and less of a chance to have a ND.
 

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And, to show y'all I was young once and likewise did stupid things with LMG's, a couple of photo's:

460919_10151774306730276_781812151_o.jpg
Me in May or of 2003, outside of Fallujah, I think. Wearing my belts Pancho Villa style because i thought it looked cool, and it made the SAW (Minimi) less heavy.

461996_10151774439705276_145935806_o.jpg

November of '03, in Husaybah. Note that by now, I've switched back to the 200 round drum because, as it turns out, bullets feed better when they aren't exposed to the elements, sweat, and god knows what else.
 

voltigeur

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And, to show y'all I was young once and likewise did stupid things with LMG's, a couple of photo's:

View attachment 6064
Me in May or of 2003, outside of Fallujah, I think. Wearing my belts Pancho Villa style because i thought it looked cool, and it made the SAW (Minimi) less heavy.

View attachment 6063

November of '03, in Husaybah. Note that by now, I've switched back to the 200 round drum because, as it turns out, bullets feed better when they aren't exposed to the elements, sweat, and god knows what else.
Carrying the ammo belts like that is easier than carrying them in a backpack/musette. Particularly when you have to chase the enemy. Each man in our platoon had to carry extra ammo for the LMG gunner.
 

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Carrying the ammo belts like that is easier than carrying them in a backpack/musette. Particularly when you have to chase the enemy. Each man in our platoon had to carry extra ammo for the LMG gunner.
Oh, definitely, which I why I used to do it. In terms of weight distribution, draping belts of linked ammo over yourself just feels much better than keeping it in 200, 100, or 50 round drums and putting those in pouches. (Or keeping all of it in a backpack/sac à dos. I knew one M240B [US version of the FN MAG] gunner who humped all 1200 of his rounds in a backpack-- he wasn't going anywhere in a hurry). The other benefit is that if you have to go prone, draped belts will be easier to get to without increasing your silhouette (i.e., exposing your head and torso to enemy fire) quite as much.

You can indeed get around a lot quicker, too, without having all your rounds weighing down one part of your torso (be it hips, shoulders, or back). But it think it's here our experiences diverge.

As regards pursuing the enemy: In open terrain, unless you pinned him down with fires or just shot him in the back as he fled, we couldn't catch them on foot unless the dude was in pitiful shape. Hajji's fighting load was his weapon and his ammo, and that's it. Ours were 20 kilos at minimum. As a team leader in '08, my loadout was 40 kilos (90 lbs) and that was traveling light (Just my helmet, armor, weapon, ammo, grenades, nvd's, optics, first aid stuff, radio, spare batteries, and water). I wasn't chasing anyone down who could simply jettison his weapon/ammo, kick off his sandals, and hit the afterburners.

I would imagine that your fighting loads were closer to the Fellaghas in terms of weight, and you men were generally quicker on your feet than we were, given that we generally sacrificed mobility in favor of survivability (armor) and lethality (firepower). This is how a nation of hand-wringing soccer mom's and reckless cowboys wages war these days, I reckon.

The other thing is that we didn't distribute our LMG gunner's ammo amongst our squads, though we did for the medium MG's. Hell, our LMG gunners didn't even have Assistant gunners, much less ammo bearers. Which is important as regards the M249 (FN Minimi), because the damned thing doesn't feed well on a good day, especially if you have your belts draped out too long. The feeding mechanism is just too weak, and it's worse because we have noone to hold the belt level for us. I'll show you what I mean:

Notice that the M240B (FN MAG) just eats that whole 200 round belt; pulls it right outta the can, no problem. Compare that to the Minimi in the next post.
 

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Here, he's at least attempting to hold up some of the slack in the belt, but the Minimi's feed mechanism is so weak that he still has 3 misfires in 150 rounds, which is unsat. Not saying that the M249 is a bad gun, but it has it's limitations. The solution is to load the belts into drum magazines.

We had a saying: "The M249 (FN Minimi) is like a wife. You coddle her, pamper her, baby her, and half the time she'll still crap out on you. The 240 (FN MAG) is like a whore; feed her and she'll work for you."
 

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Wow, is that for real?
You're gonna have to elaborate on what you mean, "for real".

The guy in the video is Kyle Myers, an American from Mason, Georgia. So no, he's not really Russian; his accent is obviously fake, and hell, he don't even look slavic.

Is the weapon real? You betcha. Down here, you can own full autos if you have a Class 3 federal firearms license. The explosions you see are probably Tannerite. I'm not sure what type of license you need to purchase/possess it.
 
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dusaboss

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You're gonna have to elaborate on what you mean, "for real".

The guy in the video is Kyle Myers, an American from Mason, Georgia. So no, he's not really Russian; his accent is obviously fake, and hell, he don't even look slavic.

Is the weapon real? You betcha. Down here, you can own full autos if you have a Class 3 federal firearms license. The explosions you see are probably Tannerite. I'm not sure what type of license you need to purchase/possess it.
Yeah I heard about that guy that he was debunk like fake Russian. :) Even went to prison I think?

"For real" I think about weapon jamming 3 times in that short period! Would any serious army took that as their official machine gun if that is case? Maybe he was using gun with some malfunction.

And WTF is slavic look? I'm I look slavic? :)
 

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Yeah I heard about that guy that he was debunk like fake Russian. :) Even went to prison I think?

"For real" I think about weapon jamming 3 times in that short period! Would any serious army took that as their official machine gun if that is case? Maybe he was using gun with some malfunction.

And WTF is slavic look? I'm I look slavic? :)
That's my point, Dusa; the M249 (FN Minimi) is a good weapon, but finicky as feck. Like we said, she's like a wife; gotta treat her right if you want her her to work half the time. Abuse her, and she shuts down. Not so her whore big sister, the M240 (FN MAG). Feed her and keep her lubed, and that bitch works for you.

Okay, so maybe there's not a "Slavic look". But there's damn sure a Gallic look. Major Gerald from the fitness thread, for example, looks super French. Or Charles De Gaulle, or even Jean Reno. When you're of French stock, sometimes you just look at someone and can tell, "yeah, that dude is French". Albert Camus, Jacques Chiraq, hell even Manny Macron, Rene Descartes and Justin Trudeau. Maybe Rapace knows what I'm talking about.
 

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Oh, definitely, which I why I used to do it. In terms of weight distribution, draping belts of linked ammo over yourself just feels much better than keeping it in 200, 100, or 50 round drums and putting those in pouches. (Or keeping all of it in a backpack/sac à dos. I knew one M240B [US version of the FN MAG] gunner who humped all 1200 of his rounds in a backpack-- he wasn't going anywhere in a hurry). The other benefit is that if you have to go prone, draped belts will be easier to get to without increasing your silhouette (i.e., exposing your head and torso to enemy fire) quite as much.

You can indeed get around a lot quicker, too, without having all your rounds weighing down one part of your torso (be it hips, shoulders, or back). But it think it's here our experiences diverge.

As regards pursuing the enemy: In open terrain, unless you pinned him down with fires or just shot him in the back as he fled, we couldn't catch them on foot unless the dude was in pitiful shape. Hajji's fighting load was his weapon and his ammo, and that's it. Ours were 20 kilos at minimum. As a team leader in '08, my loadout was 40 kilos (90 lbs) and that was traveling light (Just my helmet, armor, weapon, ammo, grenades, nvd's, optics, first aid stuff, radio, spare batteries, and water). I wasn't chasing anyone down who could simply jettison his weapon/ammo, kick off his sandals, and hit the afterburners.

I would imagine that your fighting loads were closer to the Fellaghas in terms of weight, and you men were generally quicker on your feet than we were, given that we generally sacrificed mobility in favor of survivability (armor) and lethality (firepower). This is how a nation of hand-wringing soccer mom's and reckless cowboys wages war these days, I reckon.

The other thing is that we didn't distribute our LMG gunner's ammo amongst our squads, though we did for the medium MG's. Hell, our LMG gunners didn't even have Assistant gunners, much less ammo bearers. Which is important as regards the M249 (FN Minimi), because the damned thing doesn't feed well on a good day, especially if you have your belts draped out too long. The feeding mechanism is just too weak, and it's worse because we have noone to hold the belt level for us. I'll show you what I mean:

Notice that the M240B (FN MAG) just eats that whole 200 round belt; pulls it right outta the can, no problem. Compare that to the Minimi in the next post.
Most of our operations were not in open terrain, and you are right about not carrying as much weight as soldiers do nowadays.
In the cavalry regiment it was even better than the infantry except in some circumstances, we could leave most of our gear on the 6x6 Dodges.
Generally we were sent in as a intervention regiment, meaning going out on information gathered by whomever.
As you can see in many of the photos on my web site, all I carried was my rifle and loads of ammo (regulatory for my rifle was 90, I carried 350-400 and about 300 for the AA 52). I tell you, whenever we had combined operations with the Paras' and Infantry, I had to smirk about all the crap they had to lug along.
 

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Okay, so maybe there's not a "Slavic look". But there's damn sure a Gallic look. Major Gerald from the fitness thread, for example, looks super French. Or Charles De Gaulle, or even Jean Reno. When you're of French stock, sometimes you just look at someone and can tell, "yeah, that dude is French". Albert Camus, Jacques Chiraq, hell even Manny Macron, Rene Descartes and Justin Trudeau. Maybe Rapace knows what I'm talking about.
I agree there is certain looks connected with certain nation or groups. There is Russian look, but there is no Slavic look. There is many different looks in Slavic group.
 

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Crisis in the Sahel Becoming France’s Forever War
Riding along with French troops hunting Islamist militants in France’s unwinnable West African war.

AWAGATE FOREST, MALI — For two days, dozens of armored vehicles carrying 180 elite soldiers with the French Foreign Legion lumbered over West Africa’s scrubby savanna to reach a suspected hide-out for Islamist militants.
Finally, by a thicket of acacia trees, the legionnaires spotted a turbaned suspect in flip-flops, carrying an AK-47, who set off at a sprint and melted away in the distance. The soldiers found only his gun, boots, and ammunition holster under a thorny fence, and presented the findings to their officer.
“A bit of a modest result,’’ said Col. Nicolas Meunier, commanding officer of the French desert battle group.
When France sent its forces into Mali, a former French colony, after armed Islamists took control of the West African country’s northern cities, their mission was supposed to last only a few weeks.

That was seven years ago.
Since then, the terrorist threat has spread across a vast sweep of land south of the Sahara known as the Sahel, and France’s counterterrorism fight has spread with it. As a result, more than 10,000 West Africans have died, over a million have fled their homes and military forces from West Africa and France have suffered many losses.
And still, the battle is hardly finished. The Islamic State in the Greater Sahara, a potent armed group with loose ties to the Islamic State, has been conducting sophisticated attacks in the border regions of Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso. In the past four months, militants have raided four major military outposts in Mali and Niger, killing 300 soldiers.

France now finds itself stuck in the Sahel, much like the United States found itself in Afghanistan and Iraq — spending years and billions of dollars on fighting highly mobile Islamist groups in difficult, unfamiliar terrain, with no end in sight.

French President Emmanuel Macron threatened, ahead of an emergency summit meeting with West African presidents in January, to pull his troops out. Later, he doubled down on the mission, promising to deploy additional 600 soldiers to join the 4,500 already there. He also committed to work more closely with the militaries of African countries to get them better prepared to stave off attacks, and take some of the load off French.

But the task is enormous. The allies are divided by language, culture and experience.
At a French military camp outside the ancient Malian city of Gao, 15 Malian soldiers were being instructed by French airmen in how to give accurate directions to planes over the radio. The Malians’ mission was to guide a pretend fighter pilot to a pretend terrorist den — a rust-colored house, just like all the others in the city.

West African security forces have little of the equipment, training or even basic education that their French counterparts do. Most of the Malian soldiers said they had never seen a compass before, and they kept getting their directions wrong. They tested each other on the powdery sand, an empty cigarette packet marking north, a plastic cup for south.
The militants are far from defeated, with one group even managing to kidnap the politician who leads Mali’s main opposition party last week near Timbuktu.
The African Union recently said it would send 3,000 soldiers to the Sahel, and France has been trying to recruit new allies; Estonia and the Czech Republic have already signed up to send troops, while talks are continuing with Sweden, Finland and Norway.

But just as the French, Europeans and West Africans are ramping up the fight, the Trump administration is considering withdrawing American troops and closing a new air base in Niger that the Americans had built at the cost of $110 million. Some American officials have said they want to concentrate instead on confronting China and Russia. The French defense minister, Florence Parly, flew to Washington in late January to plead for the Americans’ continued support.


French military officers interviewed in Mali and Niger last month on the runway of an air base, in the cockpit of a transport plane and in a drone control room said they are concerned about the annual loss of $45 million worth of transportation, air refueling and drones that the U.S. contributes to the French mission, which costs $1 billion annually.

But General Pascal Facon, the commander of the French mission, said in an interview that European and African armies could “easily” conquer the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara. Unlike the Islamic State at its height in Syria and Iraq, ISGS does not hold any territory and has no long roots in local communities, he said.
“We shouldn’t underestimate them,” said General Facon. “We shouldn’t give them too much importance either.”

French troops first came to Mali at the request of Mali’s government. Although they are there to defend Malian civilians, the two groups have very little interaction.
A foot patrol of French soldiers, fully covered in flak jackets, helmets, sunglasses and half-balaclavas, skirted around a nomadic family of women and children who were packing or unpacking their hut made of sticks and handwoven mats, and their few belongings — some plastic containers, a cooking pot.
Was the family coming or going, and why? The soldiers could not ask. They had no common language. And if militants found out the family had spoken to them, the family could be killed.
When some Malian teens begged a Foreign Legion convoy for cookies, they blocked the convoy’s path, delaying them for half an hour. The boys got no cookies. In another incident, a legionnaire pointed his gun at some locals who tried to jump on the back of an armored vehicle.

The battle has taken a toll on everyone. France’s defense minister said last year that the army had killed 600 jihadists since 2015. In February, Niger announced that 120 militants had been killed, and the French military recently announced that an additional 50 were killed in Central Mali.
But France has lost 44 soldiers since 2013, including 13 in a helicopter accident last year; Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso have lost hundreds in multiple attacks on military encampments.

A fleet of fighter jets, drones, transport planes and helicopters has given the French a significant advantage, and they are often able to scatter armed groups just by flying low and aggressively over them. But even if local armies were in a position to take over, chasing terrorists from desert to dry river bed to acacia forest is not enough to bring peace to the region, experts say.
“The military solution is absolutely necessary, but insufficient,” said Lori-Anne Theroux-Benoni, director of the Institute for Security Studies, in Dakar, and co-author of a recent report on violence in the region. “Everyone is mesmerized by the level of violence,” she said, “and therefore not focusing enough on prevention.”
The armed groups have enjoyed such success largely because they have exploited deep anger against the state governments, which many in the region say they see as hostile, self-interested and corrupt. Their militaries are often accused of feeding these grievances, by committing grave human rights abuses against the population.

Anti-France demonstrations, held mostly by residents of Bamako, the Malian capital, over the past six months have attracted French ire.
It is unclear at what point France will consider its work to be done, or get frustrated, and leave. Should it follow America’s example and get out?
“In the same way that French reality TV and pop music is 15 years behind the U.S., French counterterrorism mimics U.S. counterterrorism of 15 years ago,” said Hannah Armstrong, an analyst with the International Crisis Group. “In the Sahel, the Americans have already realized this is a losing battle.”

In most cases, the militants hear the long noisy convoys of the French Foreign Legion from miles away, and clear out. French commanders recognize this. They say that the idea is to keep the armed groups on the run, so they cannot settle in with the local population.
The suspected terrorist in flip-flops apparently did not hear the convoy coming, but by the time the soldiers could maneuver their vehicles to the tangle of trees where they last saw him, he was long gone — perhaps blending in with the local population.

The locals are usually too terrified to give up any suspects, knowing that when the armies have moved on, anyone who helped the military can be executed. There are no police and no courts to protect them.
The legionnaires saw a family duck into their hut. A few nomads herding camels strode past. Could the man who fled be among them? The French troops could not tell.
Eric Schmitt contributed reporting from Nouakchott, Mauritania and Constant Meheut from Paris, France.
 

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