Firefight in Panjwai

Some incredible muzzle discipline here, assuming it’s not just Divine Favor (watch it at about the 11 second mark). Excellent NCO work – perhaps. Bad NCO work – perhaps. Certainly a good exemplar of how auditory exclusion and other stress reaction can kick in. Above all though, great example of the need for maintaining mental acuity under stress.

Note: This was not posted to second guess anyone or open up a conversation about how evil space aliens were contacted by George Bush to destroy the Twin Towers. It’s an attempt to talk tactics, among professionals. Keep it in that lane.

“U.S. Army soldiers from the 187th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), alongside elements of the Afghan National Army, get caught in an ambush. Shot from the perspective of a (U.S. Army) soldier with a helmet camera in Panjwai, Afghanistan.”

39 Comments on "Firefight in Panjwai"

  1. Well, looks like my first comment got deleted again. Anyway.

    Thanks for posting another video to discuss tactics David. This is one that I've used in the past as an example for students. There are some SERIOUS training scars going on here and so much we can learn from this video. There are a couple guys that got VERY lucky in this one and a couple that weren't so lucky. Bad tactics and more importantly bad training will come back to bite you in the real world. I can't wait to talk about this one!

  2. Looks like someone is incredibly lucky his collegue has not cleaned his gun like he should. (or any other reason for the malfunction)
    Other wise he would be ******** out of an extra hole right now.

    Is this the way a squad should act? no, off course you dont run past your buddies raised gun like a madman on crack.
    But when the bullets start flying and panic sets in, sometimes you say: "Wow, i did that perfectly like in training without even thinking about it".
    And at other times you think:"wow, that was incredibly stupid, and even after we practiced it a million times in training".
    I guess it's human nature and what logically follows from chaos.
    Even the best f**k up sometimes

  3. Incredibly BAD muzzle discipline (shooting just past the heads of your teammates?), but then the cameraman was the only one who seemed to be shooting back; the others were apparently hunkered down behind the walls. The cameraman was incredibly fortunate. I would think a halfway competent enemy would have focused their fire on him, since he was the only one who seemed to be firing or showing leadership.

  4. The rackassans have always been great in firefights as have the rest of the 101st.
    They just need Sheppard to help them with their tactics.
    I hope you guys strain the wannab's and remfs out of these conversations,because in a real firefight the "book" goes out the window.

  5. What is also disturbing is that most soldiers use the M320 GL detached from the rifle. It may be too awkward to mount and carry. If it is, they need to fix that ASAP.

  6. Well I would have to say this is a story book of what not to do. Although the Soldier with the camera was brave no one else was fireing or trying to figure out where the INS was at that point. Also you need to understand that telling every one 1 min before throwing a frag also tell the enemy you are throwing the frag. The one Soldier fought hard but the ambush was over fairly quickly with only one RTF, this would say the enemy either didn't expect anyone to shot back or was just trying to get them to go to a sopt where they want them.

  7. This is an old video… I was just in Panjwai and the place is no joke. Those guys were probably just happy they still had their legs. The Horn is covered in IEDs and SAF is generally used to get the element to seek cover where IEDs are set. I do agree that the one guy seems to be the only one doing anything. ******* bees.

  8. As an aside, Panjwai is also home to the Afghan Record Holder.

  9. I thought I read somewhere that the shooter was a SEAL? I think it was based on his equipment. Including the fact that someone noticed he was wearing Crye pants? Don't have any verification other than whats in the vid and what people are saying online. Could explain why he's got big balls and good muzzle discipline… and why he's the only one taking the fight to them(no disrespect to the other troopers).

  10. i dont like to reiterate what other have said but this is a great learning video. i've been in those situations where you wanna hit the deck and get cover but please, regain your composure and return fire. that's the biggest bummer of this video is that NOBODY but the camera man fires back. this could have been a really bad day for these soldiers.

  11. If you watch this video then more recent firefight videos you see that improvements have been made to the M4 ( soon to be M4A1) service rifle. In more recent firefight videos i have seen an M4 jam once while all others work flawlessly.But to the video, Everyone I have ever met and talked with about the US army has brought up the subject of bad fire discipliine. That may very well be the case for most soldiers, but luckily for the soldier who temperarily lost his ******* mind there is at least one US Army Infantryman that has exceptional fire discipline.

  12. The worst loss of situational awareness, muzzle awareness, and in general **** poor soldiering skills. First, he misses shooting a fellow soldier by about a millimeter, second, he continues to fire right over the soliders taking cover. Third he leaves cover and his primary weapon to fire his 40mm. All in all an epic fail and should be used as a perfect example of what not to do.

  13. Not second-guessing those who are hunkered down, but can anyone sort out a reason there's just one guy engaging? Again, there could be a lot going on we don't see from the one perspective, but it certainly seems odd that just one soldier is trying to give the bad guys some good news.

  14. He is absolutely NOT a SEAL. Yes he has Crye pants. Which brings us to another question. What was he doing with Crye pants? Did his teammates have them? Didn't appear so. That tells me that the shooter probably bought his own "high speed" pants. I'll let others draw their own conclusions.

    Also, cameras are starting to get a bad reputation. I have consistently heard of guys with cameras make unnecessary risks in combat. It seems some of these guys want to take home a good war video to show their buddies. Not good.

  15. Only by the grace of God (a weapon malfunction) did this guy not kill his teammate. If I found out one of my teammates was shooting OVER MY HEAD without letting me know and flagging me with a 40mm I would have his tail after the fight. Seriously, he wouldn't have stayed on the team for long! If I saw a guy set his weapon down and run 15m away from it he wouldn't hear the last of it for the rest of the deployment! Bad things happening here and these guys aren't the only ones to blame. The Army has a responsibility to train it's people for combat. Lord knows there are dozens of experienced Warfighters that could take their knowledge and revamp the whole training curriculum. But, the Army doesn't have a clue.

  16. I prefer to have it detached and slung with a single point and holstered to my kit via a bit of velcro. I feel like I make more accurate shots, it doesn't weigh down my rifle, and I can get to it almost just as fast. Either way, the most important thing is that you practice with it. I disagree with not carrying a round in there, although that probably wasn't up to him.

  17. I agree on no this but another video with some people on that see some Vietnam era mistakes like Joshua said shooting blindly over a barricade is not the best way to preserve ammo.

  18. Also commented on this other video. Just wanted to say Armytimes had a weird article saying USMC sniper say .50 cal doesnt have the killing power they want. What do you make of that??

  19. The old rice paddy squat eh?

  20. I agree on the other comments.

    What struck me was the conversations in the background, the mulitiple firing of 40mm to little effect, the complete lack of concern by those behind cover, and the absolute idiotic run to pick up the left behind frag.

    No one sounded paniced but they also did not sound focused on what was going on. The firing of the 40mm seemed like a. he got to shoot b. he was lightening his load c. Hey look at all the superstar stuff I can do. The guy on the right of the camerman on the bridge looked like he was napping. And while I know it is not a good idea to leave usable ordinance behind, risking your life is stupid.

    They probably face the same hit and run tactics all the time and have gotten in the bad habit of a very disjointed response. Those not in danger just sit it out because they know the superstars are going to jump up and shoot the daylights out of everything. I bet if you checked after every action you would find that over half the men would have almost full loads while the superstars were down to less than 50 percent. Murphy's Law, if you take more than your fair share of objectives, you will be given more than your fair of objectives to take. The rest of the squad lets the superstars handle the fight because they are going to jump up and do it anyway.

    There is a whole lot of apathy in that video.

  21. I got to say I don't see cowardice. Lots of I don't give a flying fornication but not cowardice. They weren't panicing. They just did not care. Not a better response of course.

  22. I agree w/ the training scars comment. Muzzle discipline is never stressed till you do live fire (which is painfully infrequent) and then the rules are so stringent much of the reality is squeezed out of it. Its a tough balance. I also share the concerns about some of the behaviors demonstrated via helmetcam on late.

    As for the behavior of some of the guys on the video. Battle drills do say to react in a specific way to near/far ambush, sniper, etc. per METTC. I think sharing this and other videos and professional discussion regarding them are a good thing; we all have opportunities and everyone reverts to their training; rarely rising "to the occasion."

    Thanks for sharing this.

  23. A grenadiers primary weapon is his tube. That is why he has it.

  24. Hindsight is a *****.

  25. Vietnam: dum de dum de dum wandering down a jungle trail then walking into an ambush. The 'Ghan dum de dum de dum wandering down a bloody road then getting ambushed. Then of course everyone hitting the deck and staying down not looking to see where the banging is coming from and not shooting back. At least in Vietnam everyone opened up and destroyed the jungle and a couple of monkeys in the trees. Those monkeys never shoit back again.

    I wonder if these guys had ever heard about standard counter anbush tactics?

  26. As far as what I watched they were not spread out correctly for a patrol. I could be wrong. one of the factors I saw was the weapon he was using looked like it kept jamming. I do not like AR platforms and never have.
    Also did anyone hear them call for air support? maybe it's not routine any longer in a firefight but if you cannot see the enemy and they can see you, You need a HELO. This is just my opinion and I will support any inaccuracies I have mentioned.
    In any case, God bless em. OH. I wouldn't be caught around any of the afghan army on or near my squad that's for damn sure. You don't know if they'r going to turn their weapons on you or not.

  27. Regarding the troops not firing back, I've heard that in WW2, many in battle actually never fired their weapons. Unfortunately I don't recall the statistics. Yes, the main shooter was firing a little too close to his patrol mates. But realize that a helmet mounted camera with all the head bobbing going on is not giving a best perspective of how close or far away the muzzle really is. Still!

  28. Detached. Better accuracy. Better rate of fire.

    Downside is that the habit is to set your Primary down, as seen in the video.

    Units that want their guys to be effective with the GL (attached or detached–give PLs and PSGs a voice in this), need to train their guys better in employing them in realistic applications–not TRADOC-compartmentalized training. Ask a Range Complex guy if he has a facility where you can shoot an M4 and an M320 together and he'll pretty much vapor lock…

  29. Some very interesting analysis going on here. I suspect that some are Monday morning quarterbacking from their armchairs. I agree with the concerns about shooting over the heads of your buddies without warning them, but equally I acknowledge that the head cam may distort realities. I note that there are others with head cams and it is this which leads me to my contribution. What use has the Army made of the various outputs of the head cams that were present that day? While what we see on this page has a certain 'entertainment' value, to me it's true value should be to the Army and to those who were present on the day. Yet we know nothing of how it has been used to inform and improve training and performance in the field. Can anyone cast any light on what the Army has to say about what is recorded of this firefight?

  30. pc_load_letter | November 14, 2012 at 9:44 am | Reply

    No military service here so from an uneducated guess, wouldn't you want to flank (make your way around the attackers) and attack the ambush?

  31. Fire without movement is a waste of ammo

  32. If it's durned if you do and durned if you don't, it's harder to blame anyone for doing or not doing. It was going to be bad either way…..

  33. They may be referring to penetration of house walls, typically 4 inches thick or so. The new RDX .50 cal. will penetrate 4-5 inches of concrete and still kill. Have seen the videos.

  34. The idea that many soldiers didn't fire their weapons in WWII was advanced by S.L.A.Marshall some years back. Totally exposed years ago.

  35. The best and most germane comment here, and it was made by a civilian. Be ashamed, fellas.Flanking should've been the first thing they did. That squad leader was just lucky as **** his little brown brothers hadn't planted any mines where they flopped down. Also, three minutes with a weaponeer will show you what happens to point of impact at distance of even a 3-round burst. Full auto was meant for close-in fighting, and nothing else. That's why they referred to auto. weapons back in the day as trench brooms. Keep it on semi,guys. You'll kill a lot more bad guys. Not to mention avoiding running out of ammo.Been there, 2nd Inf. Div. and 10th Mountain.

  36. Having been around from '66 to '05 off and on, I can answer that- Zero. The Army has. or had(don't know), something called the Center for Lessons Learned. A cruel joke.Also, has anyone reading this ever seen the military pay attention to AARs? There's your answer. The Army has an abysmal record of remembering the past. No unit memory at all.

  37. "Note: This was not posted to second guess anyone or open up a conversation about how evil space aliens were contacted by George Bush to destroy the Twin Towers."

    Look, i get that this is about tactics, but dont make a poor attempt to discredit legitimate criticism where it is needed. that was a poorly orchestrated cheap shot.

  38. Holy ****. He nearly killed three of his own guys. Piss-poor.

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