• Saturday, December 16, 2017

Featured I didn't get to fire a shot: Story of Outpost 26

Discussion in 'Seniors Cafe' started by jhungary, Jan 6, 2017.

  1. jhungary

    jhungary MILITARY PROFESSIONAL

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    My job when I was in Afghanistan is to coordinate action and support between several SF team that litter over my AO (Area of Operation), these team usually deployed to a forward outpost that act as a LP (listening post) around the area.

    pb-110902-afghanistan-outpost-05.photoblog900.jpg

    These tiny LP is sort of an alarm system that went on and warn the main force that usually station not far from them, and when they notice any enemy movement, they will report in and we will provide land/air cover and target the enemy.

    These outpost usually located in the foot of a hill, so they will be able to get a clear view on the area around the LP, to access these outpost, you will either need to get there by Humvee or Truck and hump about 50-75 meters up or Chopper in to a LZ usually locate in a clearing 100 to 150 meter above the LP and hump down.

    spera-pictures-002.jpg

    Humping up is safer, but it will drain your energy, Flown in by chopper is easier but you pose as a big target coming into the hill then humping down the hill make you standing against the hill's own skyline, make you another target, but if you are bringing supply in, then there are no other way but to chopper in and hump down.

    Each of these outpost usually staffed by 4 Detachment Alpha Team (or A-Team) each team have 6 to 8 members and the LP is usually staffed by an officer. The 4 teams will rotate their duty between lookouts, patrols and rest. so the base is active all the time.

    Outpost 26 is one of the outpost in South Eastern Afghanistan, the name of the outpost and the location is classified and Outpost 26 is the official name existed on any declassified document.

    That day begin basically the same as any other days, while I work in a TOC, I am basically a base hopper, going from firebase to firebase to coordinate and retrieve intelligence from each base that is too sensitive to send over the line, I am also responsible for transporting and evacuating personnel to and from any of these base.

    On that day, I was scheduled to transport a team of ANASF to Outpost 26 that day, perhaps in hide sight, that is a game changer that happened that day, but for me then, it is just a normal day to day operation.

    Outpost 26 have a clear 260 degree view, the whole outpost is a LP/OP (Listening and Observing Post) for the area, it overlook the main road to and from the nearest US main camp in the area, the LP regularly conduct combat patrol into the surrounding area, the LP is an old fortification that got tossed over by the soviet during their own invasion in 1980s, the LP Command bunker is concrete reinforced, while every other structure is wooden and sandbag.

    The center of the LP is the watch tower, which act as an OP to the surrounding area. The tower stood about 2.8 meter high, reinforced sandbag and wooden plank, don't think it offer much protection, but being the own towering structure, it can look down on the whole area in a defilade position.

    LP like outpost 26 is a magnet for enemy attacks, basically it's small, quite inaccessible meaning if thing went to hell, it's harder for the main force to reinforce or send help to relieve the LP. Meaning this post will be surrounded and hammered by the Taliban, however, this is also the purpose of the LP, where they draw the Tali out in the open, so that we can reach them

    On a normal day, a single LP will have an gun battery attached to it as fire support, additional asset may be able to call if needed, gunships, fast air, mortar and QRF can reach this location in just 20 minutes. It may have been a short time, if you are waiting for a bus, in the heat of battle, 20 minutes may as well be 10 lifetime.

    Today, it's my turns to bring up the ANASF troop to the LP, the ANA have the local knowledge, they speak the language, so if we have intercepted any radio communication, they can translate it real time, the ANA is also there to learn, because when we leave Afghanistan, they will have to man these LP and OP, they need to know how to do it and do it themselves.

    US-Forces-Afghan-12.jpg

    So, I hop on a Blackhawk, shake hand with the ANA officer that have already boarded, and he ask me why a Chinese joined the US Army, and I tell him I was born in America, and he tell me his story when he was in China several years ago. And we chat all the way during that 20 minutes flight time.


    The chopper unload us off the Landing pad some 70 meters up from the LP, the Blackhawk drop me off and will return to pick me up in 4 hours. Meanwhile, I hump that 75 meters down in full gear, it took me 45 damn minutes to get to the LP, the ANA have this right, they don't get much gear, just their day pack and their rifles. They mostly just wait for me.

    Once we got to the LP, I lead them to the command bunker and they were greeted by the base commander, a 1LT, which lead a small force in the LP, with the 8 men ANASF team i bought, it bring their number up to 30 men.

    We go over to the TOC and talk about the current situation, and how much engagement they went thru in the area, and what do they need, I got another 3 hours before I need to hop out in my chopper, so I decided to scourge something to eat. And some of the guy said they have some MRE left on the tower, so I got up there. Sitting behind the sandbags and start digging in some MREs.

    Half way on my beef patty, someone call out on my MBITR, an attack is coming, the ANA have heard something over the ICOM channel and they are coming to attack us. The only thing I don't know is that by "us' do they mean us or do they mean the main force some 800 meter down the road?

    Nevertheless, I grab my M4, check the chamber and the mag have my M4 on ready, only to be told the normal FO is out on patrol with one of the team, and since I am the redundant person, and most important of all, I am already in the tower, I act as a Forward Observer. I was joined by an Air Force JTAC, which brought along his PRC-113 radio.

    Soon enough, since I got a clear line of sight, I can see them cresting the hill around 4/500 meters out, by now everyone in the LP has gone into battle mode and man their Firing Points and machineguns.

    YtKzOLM.jpg

    At this point, I put down my rifle, resting it against some sand bag, and for the next 3 hours, I did not even touch my rifle. Even tho this fire fight could easily be my most fearsome fire fight for a very long time.

    So, first the Taliban come in with their trucks with their AKs from NE, they then dismounted at about 250-300 meters out, at this point, our 50 cal open fire on them, it disperse the Taliban and force them to seek cover. If only I have some mortar round to drop, I can easily pick them out from behind their cover. Plus the 50 cal guy can't shoot for shit, he did not hit anyone, what he achieve is to force a single file enemy go every direction.

    So, I armed with a Binocular, MBITR and call the artillery regiment, ask them to register target, 500 meters out, and they started pounding the Tali. Meanwhile the AF guy can't do anything as fast air won't drop any ordnance that close to us, and he ain't got no AC-130 gunship. Basically, he just sat there with his thumb up his ***.

    But from the get go, I realise something is wrong with this, usually when you bring in heavy artillery, the Taliban will run the other way, this time, instead of running away, they are trying to regroup, I can see their C&C structure at work just behind the crest out of my range, and that is the second things that bothers me, they usually don't have that.

    So, then the Taliban decided to charge us, at this point, we have open fire on anything we have, 50 cal machinegun, 40mm grenade, small arms, some one even pull out a 45 and let off a few rounds (If I heard it right) That is because when they breach out 100 meter line, we cannot call for any support other than our own gun, or else you might as well kill me.

    So, they have gave me a 155 gun battery, which have 4 guns, I have decided to group it in 2, one shot behind the line to disrupt the enemy, one shot in the open in front of us, soon I realise this is a big mistake, I cannot control 2 set of guns at once, i cycle the rounds almost doubling my time, and luckily the SF guy got the one I missed otherwise we would have been in deep shit.

    So instead, I adjust the fire so the 4 gun will fire at predetermined target and form a net and the SF guy will kill whoever got over the net. Which work for about 40 minutes, then the Taliban decided to hit us from North West as well. That way I cannot drop artillery on both of them at once. At this point, there are estimate 50-70 Taliban trying to have a go at our LP.

    So, I switch my frequency on my MBITR and talk to the TOC in the nearby base, ask them to send help, but then their TOC told me they can't as they are under attack as well, and they have shut down the air corridor in case the Taliban have stinger or SA-7.They can send a convoy in 45 mike, which I thought, in hind sight, I should have take it. But instead, I switch back to the Artillery regiment.

    Now they are hitting us in both side, I can stop one but not the other. and as I draw my ground fire closer and closer toward us, I thought to myself, "shit, we will get to danger close soon." See, normally, in a safe range, when you call in artillery, you will only see the smoke comes out, that is far away from anything, but when you can see the round explode, that mean you are too close.

    They are shooting at us at around 150 meters, which a lot of their firing ia to the top structure with me in it, I swear to god, if any of them have an RPG, I would probably be dead by now.

    But then 2 things happened almost at the same time. The first thing is the JTAC guy finally got the clearance to have an A-10 come in low and shoot the Taliban behind the crest. And the second things is the Taliban on the North West stopped their attack for some reason.

    Once the Tali from the NW stopped, they are basically leaving their comrade form the east high and dry. I call in a rapid gun fire and mop up as much as I could, they shoot 11 rounds per gun in a minutes, which is some kind of a record, then 10 minutes later, I can hear jet rumbling from afar, then the most beautiful thing in any battlefield appear, an A-10 flew low into the valley and 'Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrr"


    The Taliban hang on to their position, at this point which is simply shoot where they stand, and I keep looking at them from my range finder and tell the JTAC guy to adjust the A-10 angle and take out the target on my priority, as I cannot call in artillery fire when there is an A-10 on station.

    Then the A-10 drop 2 500 pounder behind the crest, and at this point, the Tali think they had enough, and withdraw back into behind the crest and melting thru the mountain. And when they leave, our guys got so excited even the JTAC guy pick up his rifle and shoot some Tali when they are retreating.

    I kept look at my Bino and Range finder and switch in between, trying to see what is the situation now, at this point, he A-10 leave our AO and he tips his wing on flyby when he (or she?) leave the area moving West. I kept checking the ground in front of me, call in a few last adjustment just to make sure I am looking at dead Taliban.

    After the last couple of shot is out, I call the SF team commander on my MBITR and ask him too send a team to go down and check the Taliban in our immediate area and over the crest. The Lieutenant lead the team and got down there himself, and after half an hour, he proceed to the clearing in caution and starting to access the situation.

    He got over the crest, in what he described as "a mess" he counted about 40 Taliban bodies and the Taliban have been long gone. Leave behind some weapon and clothing, he did not secure the site and got back to the camp, and I called TOC to send over a platoon of soldier and combat engineer to secure the area. I watch as the Lieutenant came back to the base, then I put down my MBITR, and continue to dig in on my beef patty.

    So, after 3 hours of fighting, and a few hours of words exchange between a lot of people, They expanded about 12,000 round of small arms ammo, and me? I fight out the whole thing with my rifle rested up against the sandbag and fought off a major Taliban assault with my radio and binoculars.

    P.S. I wasn't in any of these picture nor does these picture actually depict Outpost 26, they are just there to let you understand how these outpost looks like and where they usually located. Give you a sense of background information.

    @WAJsal @Slav Defence @AUSTERLITZ @Neutron @PARIKRAMA @Levina @Oscar @Davos @Hamartia Antidote @Blue Marlin @Desertfalcon @Tipu7 @TankMan @Gufi @DESERT FIGHTER
     
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  2. Blue Marlin

    Blue Marlin SENIOR MEMBER

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    dont a10's have 7 seconds of ammo for the gau-8? they must be more than one a10 right?
     
  3. jhungary

    jhungary MILITARY PROFESSIONAL

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    There were 2 A-10s, they are always in pair, and if I remember correctly, the pair appear on station no more than last 45 minutes of the fight, and they take a few gun run (maybe 3 each, I forgot). They only do short burst on each gun run as we are prependictcular to the Taliban and they need to fire a cross section instead of along the way.

    Plus I think they have 16 second or so worth of ammo (GAU-8 have a 4200rpm and they usually have about 1170 rounds in it) That's just the mathematical calculation tho, I have no idea how much ammo and how fast they can expand their ammunition nor was I actually counting the time they were on station, I just know that from the call log I read for my after action report, I ask the battery to cease fire about 130 minutes into the battle.
     
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  4. Blue Marlin

    Blue Marlin SENIOR MEMBER

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    im not testing your math im sure you want to get away from that with your mphil and all.

    if its firing at such velocity and perpendicular to the target wouldn't it be a good idea to employ smaller guns like the gau-8 [mini gun] and the gau-17. not on the a10 as the gau-8 was built around the plane but on assets like ah-64 or on the ac-130. the later being a good example as they can hold way more ammo and have the endurance and less speed to target effectively.
    note im not dissing the a10 just pointing out im not so keen on its gun.
     
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  5. jhungary

    jhungary MILITARY PROFESSIONAL

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    Well, the outpost is like the first picture but the crest on the right hand side is a bit flat, not as tall as you see in that picture. When the gun run came, the A-10 dips down a bit and fire for a few second then have to pull back up to avoid crashing into the mountain, hence they make a few gun run in stead of one.

    I guess the A-10 come in is because we have nothing at that time, it was daylight so the AF JTAC can't call for Spectre gunship, and they denied the request for helicopter (think I mentioned in my story somewhere) because they were themselves being attacked and they cannot send out chopper when they were attacked, yes, the chopper gunship seems the best bet but since they aren't available for us, and only a few gun on another FOB were free to help, we gone with the only option we have.

    The gun run is not the reason the Taliban broke off, the airpower we have over the area is the key. Don't think the gun run actually killed as many as the 155 I called.
     
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  6. Blue Marlin

    Blue Marlin SENIOR MEMBER

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    end of the day you kicked/shot @$$ and all that matters

    well it does make sense that the ac-130 being used in broad daylight is a bad idea. and choppers are noisey and give te adversary time to prepare via rpg.

    do the taliban have manpads left from the soviet era?
     
  7. jhungary

    jhungary MILITARY PROFESSIONAL

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    lol, arse have been kick, but the thing is, there are times they are kicking our arses as well. Guess the old saying is right, if you are close enough to get them, they are close enough to get you.

    The reason for AC-130 being ruled out in daylight is because they are flying slow, and it kind of a big target when what you do is to circle around somewhere slowly in the sky in contrast of the board daylight, we used Spectre gunship in daylight at the begining of the war and they got shot to piece, I think they actually have down some AC-130 so we are restricting their service to night only.

    Chopper have a free reign, but the brass tend to not allow them to take off when they are under attack themselves. I don't know what is the strategic value of not allowing a chopper take off under fire, but once bullet start flying on a FOB, chopper won't take off. There are some brave pilot who will defied order and try to get to you with their chopper, but that day these pilot were missing.

    Taliban are estimated to have 100+ stinger we gave them during their fight with the Soviet, and they also have Russia made SA-7 or later version of Manpad from raiding soviet base during the war or got them from "black market" the offical channel is that the Taliban got the SA-7 or SA-18 from the Chechen muslim seperatist (They in turn raided or killed the Russian to get them), but rumor is that some Russian/Ukranian general leak those to the Taliban for kick back, especially in 1990s when the Soviet Union are disintergrated, a lot of ex-soviet small arms are unaccounted for, which is actually even worse then the time when Iraq felt apart and people looted their armoury.
     
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  8. Neutron

    Neutron PDF THINK TANK: ANALYST

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    Is there any possibility of Russian or Chinese government support to these taliban fighters as US supported them against Russia? What are ground realities?
     
  9. jhungary

    jhungary MILITARY PROFESSIONAL

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    Ground Reality is, you bound to see every sort of weapon Taliban are using overthere, and there are no way to tell from where or whom they are from.

    Taliban is not like a uniformed force, where they have uniform weapon, they tend to source their weapon where-ever the fighter train with, some bring their own weapon to fight us. And over the last 90 years, that place have been invaded by everybody, it's hard to say where and how they got their weapon from.

    From what I see, they uses American Weapon (Stinger, M16, M60 and so on), Chinese Weapon (Type 56, QBZ Rifle, Norinco SKS), Russian weapon (AKs, RPG, SA-7 and so on)

    As far as I know, those are black market weapon, rumor has it that some general in the old soviet bloc sell them the weapon they use today for quick money, but there are no way to proof it or disprove it. I would not think Russian or Chinese Government officially support them, but not going to say there are totally no relation to them, because I did see QBZ and even more modern AK they have been using.
     
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  10. DESERT FIGHTER

    DESERT FIGHTER ELITE MEMBER

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    I doubt they have stingers or SA7s.. never heard of any being used by em..


    ANA and Afghan police also sell em weapons... some of em also end up in Pak...

    P.S: We have similiar LPs in our areas... unfortunatly not enough resources to call for air support all the time..

    I remember years back one of our border posts (manned by FC- Paramil) was attacked by estimated 70+ talis... the post was commanded by a JCO... 5 troops in total...at around midnight one of the soldiers on duty spotted some guys (it was a full moon night).... 2 MG gunners on roof.. 3 below... . opened up... talis returned fire... engagement continued for hours.. a company was moved to reinforce em... but couldnt reach them in time... no metal roads,mountainous terrain..

    Anyways one of the gunners MG3 jammed and his position was hit directly by an RPG...seriously Wounding him... but somehow these 6 guys against all odds managed to beat em back/retreat... at 4am the reinforcements finally reached... and found over 30 bodies.... down the hill we found needles and a few headless ones etc... detained afghan "kochis" who admitted that they were forced to spy by the talis..


    Picture 025.jpg


    The wounded soldier however couldnt make it and was martyred.


    @jhungary In Pak we ttp sometimes boobytrap the bodies of their own dead aswell as beheading their fallen so they cant be identified..

    Holy Quran which no muslim would disrespect or descrate ... is also booby trapped by these so called taliban..
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2017
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  11. jhungary

    jhungary MILITARY PROFESSIONAL

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    I can attest to the fact that they do have Stinger (Older style, Maybe -92A or -92B) and SA-7, I saw them myself when we crashed a weapon cache in Southern Afghanistan. We gave them about 1000 FIM-92A back in 1980 and most of them are not used, I think CIA marked the mujahedeen only used maybe 300 of those. After the by back program, still some 500 stinger are unaccounted for.

    They still put out Bulletin on AKO (US Army internet portal) online warning the possibility the Taliban threat on Stinger MIssile, and they have down at least 2 CH-47 with them, one in 2007 and one in 2012. The US military don't want to publicize them because it will give them bad press. But Stinger and SA-7 did exist and I think TTP (Tali in Pak) claim they down a Pakistani Chopper with SA-7 a year ago and they put out screen shot and everything online?

    What crazy is that the Taliban is actually getting newer MANPAD from Syrian and Libyan rebel, there are a few internal intelligence bulletin mentioned the transfer of FIM-92C and SA-18 by FSA and Libyan rebel factions.

    Yes, ANA and ANP frequently transfer weapon we gave them to the taliban, it's not at all surprising to seee Taliban using M4, M16 or M60 on US or ISAF troop.

    LP is quite remote, I guess if there are a war or border skimishes going on, not surprise to have LPs litter everywhere.

    They are quite precautious in their position, they needed to be in the very front line so they can warn the main camp the enemy is coming, and if "Shit hits the fan" usually you will have nowhere to go.

    USSOCOM SOP dictating an exfil route for any LP, but mostly they will simply fight it out, sometime intentionally when they deliberately leave them in place and draw out the Talis so the main force can kill them. And sometime, these LP will and do get into "hairy" sitation. These LP (or Patrol bases, if they were set up temporary) are sometime refer to MOH bases (Medal of Honor) because they were usually attacked by overwhelming force and not everytime US Air and Ground support can beat off the Taliban, bases like that produced 3 out of the 14 MOH awarded in Afghanistan (Jared C. Monti, Ryan M Pitts and Clinton Romesha)

    But then, somebody gotta man those post, sometime people got killed manning those post, sometime they didn't, rest in peace for your brave soldier that was KIA on that LP.

    Taliban do put boobytrap and IED under their dead.....I don't think they respect Islam or the Quran for that matter
     
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  12. Levina

    Levina ELITE MEMBER

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    I have come to respect the fact that the Talibs despite being illiterate and the savages that they are, have somehow managed to stand against the mightiest army in the world with their Lee Enfield and Kalashnikovs. They utilise their resources well, heard they make bombs out of pipe elbows and miniature Christmas tree lamps too.
    I just wish they had used their resources for the right reasons.

    Thanks for the article,as always the technical part whooshed over me but otherwise it felt like I was watching an action movie. :)


    @WebMaster why???just why doesn't your system send me notifications when I get tagged? :(
     
  13. jhungary

    jhungary MILITARY PROFESSIONAL

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    The problem with Taliban is that, they only ever know how to do one thing, and they do it pretty good. Which is to ambush you, if I have to say who is better? Taliban or VIetcong? Taliban would win handsdown.

    But then I would have to say, it will not be fair to Vietcong, as the Taliban improve on their ambushing handbook.

    I am again off to school, I come back here to post one last article and I am off again :) I will see you when I see you.
     
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