I found this excellent bit of combat footage from southern Afghanistan via the Kings of War blog site, run by
professors and students from the war studies department at King’s College in London. The video follows
a squad of British soldiers on foot patrol through irrigated farmland who
quickly, soon after leaving their combat outpost, run into a firefight with
Taliban insurgents.

The footage highlights some interesting points about the
fighting in southern Afghanistan.
First, is the congested terrain that limits fields of fire and provides ample
cover for Taliban fighters. Second, the insurgent’s apparent skill and experience
at fire and maneuver. Third, the British soldiers carry way too much stuff; those heavy packs really hinder their mobility. 

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

medic760 February 23, 2010 at 3:57 pm

First of all why would anyone carry so much crap on a foot patrol that close to the FOB. Furthermore, why would any SAW gunner carry his weapon by the "carry handle", ESPECIALLY when under fire! The English have been a great ally in the WOT. But for gods sake, you can return fire faster if you carry the weapon correctly.

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Marine Mike March 1, 2010 at 10:15 pm

Half the footage of them moving was at the pace of a brisk walk. I know first hand how damn heavy the Javelin is, but really? Plus, the 240 is meant to be a crew-served weapon, and the speed you see them trying to reload shows exactly why. I can understand how difficult fighting in that terrain is, but I honestly expected to see more from the Brits.

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Fahad Zafar March 2, 2010 at 6:46 am

Aren't those British soldiers using the SMAW(Shoulder Mounted Assault Weapon)??? That is also rocket launcher i have seen in the Future Weapons.Why do they call it Javelin,i know about the Javelin but i thought that was the SMAW they were carrying.Anyways my regards to British troops in Afghanistan from Pakistan.They are doing a great job.

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Fahad Zafar March 2, 2010 at 6:52 am

Hey guys i just misunderstood that Javelin with the SMAW sorry the comment before.I have checked in for the SMAW and it is different.

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windy March 6, 2010 at 1:05 am

i'm an ex brit soldier and i know what the boys are carrying around.a sniper with a javalin is a new one on me.and it looked like almost everyn man was carrying e.c.m which will slow you down and gimpie gunner or 240b gunner as you fellas call it should have a second man.the fact he did'nt will be down to man power.as the sarge would say shut the **** up and get on with it.

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Mike May 12, 2010 at 6:55 pm

@ medic760/Marine Mike – While I appreciate your critique, I applaud their contribution, as they are out there putting it on the line as many others in our (the US's) military. As windy mentioned, you make do with what you have, we don't know all the details, and we are seeing them make the best of it. As for "seeing more from the Brits" there is plenty of examples on the web that could say the same of our own armed forces.

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Jupiler August 18, 2010 at 11:18 am

Most of them were carrying ecm. It is heavy. It saves your life. But we don't talk about it on the internet.

The GPMG (240 to you on the wrong side of the pond) is shown here being used in the light role. ie. with bipod, not tripod, by a rifleman, rather than a man from machine gun platoon. If it was in sustained fire mode (with tripod) then you get a Number 2 to help. In the light role that poor ******* has to drag, reload, shoot and spot that thing on his jack jones. He may get some help with the link, but he will still be carrying 800 – 1000 rounds (8 – 10 mins rapid fire in light role). This isn't a lot when you see the point about CAS. This is pulled out of my memory so could be wrong, but I remember 1000 rounds of 7.62 link weighs something over 30kg (70lbs), which is half the body weight of one of these pups. You try running.

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Jupiler August 18, 2010 at 11:18 am

Gents, I know a little about this so may be able to answer some of your posts. Shame I only found this now.

This was taken before Op Moshtarak. The Company these guys come from (with 3 platoons) was spread between 4 patrol bases with no ANA or ANP partnered. Therefore there was only ever enough men to send 1 or 2 Sections on patrol each time (a section is 8 men at full strength, without R+R or casualties) and still man the sangars. But patrol they did. Every day. For months. Despite this platoon losing 1/3 strength dead or wounded.

The sniper isn't the javelin operator, he is simply carrying the extra missile for the man who is. As those things weigh 16kg each, on top of the CLU I don't blame him for spreading the weight to the only man on patrol who doesn't have an automatic weapon (hence less ammo). Why do they need two missiles? After the COMISAF directive, and with not enough JTACs to be in every location, CAS was a whole shit load of authorisations away from these boys and the only long range punch they could count on was what they carried in on their own backs, hence .338, GPMG, Javelin.

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Jupiler August 18, 2010 at 11:19 am

While we are on the belt feds; you patrol with the sling on one shoulder, hand on the pistol grip, but when you hit contact you drop the thing in the dirt, fire, then grab the carry handle to move, then drop it in the dirt again, but this time by the carry handle. It is MUCH faster to get back behind your gun and back into the fight after your bound doing it this way than pretending it is a rifle and 'blackhawk down running' everywhere you go.

Mostly what I saw was 10 teenagers with very little support. None the less their drills were squared away. They communicated. They operated as a team. They never moved without fire. They were as aggressive about killing the enemy as their small number allowed. there were no 'college football whoops' when someone got to fire a javelin. I was pretty impressed.

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Jupiler August 18, 2010 at 11:20 am

You will be glad to know that when Moshtarak happened, everything changed for this Company. The staggering size and strength of the USMC made all the difference in the world.

Finally it is worth saying that the patrol commander, Monks, was a Lance Corporal, in his early twenties. I'm not certain but I think this is equivalent to Private First Class in the US? Ask yourselves (you veterans, anyway) what jobs you had when you were a PFC? I'm willing to bet you never lead daily patrols into contact with the Taliban.

This isn't meant as a rant (although it has come across as one) but I just wanted a little depth added to what was an otherwise excellent video.

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Jupiler August 18, 2010 at 10:36 pm

Apologies, this should have been the first section:

I know a little about this so perhaps I can shed some light on it. This was filmed before Op Moshtarak. The Company that these guys are part of was split between 4 patrol bases with 3 platoons, with no attatched ANA or ANP. This meant that once they had manned the Sangars, there was only one or two sections available to patrol (a section is 8 men fully manned, less R+R and casualties.) But patrol they did, every day, for months despite this Platoon losing 1/3 strength dead or wounded.

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Jupiler August 18, 2010 at 10:41 pm

And the second:

The sniper is not also the javelin operator, he is simply carrying the second missile for the man who is. As those things weigh 16kg each on top of the CLU I don't blame him for spreading the load to the only person not carrying an automatic weapon (hence less ammo). Why do they need 2 missiles? After COMISAF's direction and as there are not enough JTACs for every outstation, getting CAS to drop is a lot of authorisations away for these guys. The only long range punch they can count on is what they carry in on their own backs. ie. Javelin, .338, GPMG.

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Jupiler August 18, 2010 at 10:47 pm

The GPMG (240 for those of you on the wrong side of the pond) shown here is being used in the light role – i.e with bipod not tripod, being fired by a rifleman not a soldier from Machine Gun Platoon. If it was in the sustained fire role (on a tripod) then there would be a number two on the gun, but in the light role, that one poor bastard has to drag, load, fire and spot that gun. He will get some help with the ammo, but he will still be humping 800-1000 rounds of link. This is 8 – 10 mins rapid fire (light role) whiich is not a lot when you see the point about CAS availability.

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Jupiler August 19, 2010 at 1:05 am

Third:

The GPMG (240 to those of you on the wrong side of the pond) is seen here in the light role (on a bipod, fired by a rifleman). If it was in the sustained fire role (on a tripod, fired by a soldier from Machine Gun Platoon) then there would be a number two. In the light role one poor bugger has to drag, load, shoot and spot the gun. He will get some help with the ammo, but he will still be hauling 800 – 1000 rounds of link which is 8 – 10 mins of rapid fire (light role) which when you see my post about the availability of CAS is not much when you are trying to break contact. I could be wrong, but off the top of my head I remember 1000 rounds of link weighs over 30 Kg (70+ lbs) which is nearly half the body weight of one of these young pups. You try running.

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