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Limpet mine update: ‘With high confidence’

U.S. Navy CDR Sean Kido, head of Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit One One (EODMU 11) explains the attack on the Panama-flagged chemical/oil tanker Kokuka Courageous (19,349t) and the Norwegian-owned (International Tanker Management) Marshal Islands-flagged oil tanker Front Altair, allegedly by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, in the Gulf of Oman on June 13th, 2019:

Not bad for a platform that some deride as a 300-yard rifle, at best

Sgt. Cleland got it done 80 out of 80 times, out to 600 yards, with an M16 (Photos: U.S. Army)

A member of the U.S. Army’s elite Marksmanship Unit’s Service Rifle Team landed all 80 rounds in the 10-ring at a High-Power Rifle Course earlier this month.

The competitor, Sgt. Benjamin Cleland of Swanton, Ohio, pulled off the feat with a score of 800-34x. This means Cleland not only notched 80 back-to-back hits in the 10-ring but that 34 of those nailed the even smaller “X” ring at the target’s dead center. For reference, at 600 yards, the 10-ring measures 12 inches while the “X” is 6 inches.

According to the AMU, it is something that has never been recorded as on a service rifle in this type of match. Outstanding job, Sgt. Cleland!

More in my column at Guns.com.

You can never really wear out one of these…

When I was a kid, as a military brat, I inherited a very well-traveled OD M65 Field Jacket and wore it throughout junior high and high school. It finally came up missing at a party in college and I suspect that somewhere it remains, probably in the closet of a hipster, with mustache wax on the collar.

Later, in the state guard, I got one of my own woodland camo model– that my son now wears occasionally– before they were phased out altogether in 2009.

This Vietnam-era OG-107 classic, which has long since past its (official) wear-out date, is still in use at the Washington Naval Yard with the 8th & I Marines.

Braço Forte, Mão Amiga

While in Florida last month I ran across a member of the Exército Brasileiro on vaca. Dating to 1822, the Brazilian Army is a very professional force with a rich heritage that includes fighting the Germans in Italy in WWII. I have a few Brazilian contract Mausers and an IMBEL-made FAL alongside a couple of commercial “Brasil”-marked handguns in the safe so myself and Romalo had lots to talk about.

Also, his shirt, from the mountain infantry, was the best.

Boom!

“GULF OF THAILAND (June 7, 2019) The Avenger-class mine countermeasures ship USS Pioneer (MCM 9) observes a controlled mine detonation while conducting a joint mine countermeasures exercise with the Royal Thai Navy during Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) Thailand 2019.” :

(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communications Specialist 2nd Class Corbin Shea/Released)

With the premature scrapping/disposal of the 12 Osprey-class mine hunters (which only had a decade on their hulls when put out to pasture), the now 11-ship (out of 14 built) Avenger-class are all that is left of the dedicated U.S. counter-mine vessels. Of course, the Mine Counter-Measures Modules of the Littoral Combat Ships currently in commission are expected at any time. (Holds breath. Turns blue. Dies of circa 1908-designed mines in a littoral).

Panzers, rolling

Some 20 years ago this month, the largest deployment of the German Bundeswehr since it was established in 1955 got underway. With United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244 adopted on 10 June 1999, what became known as KFOR, some 50,000-strong, was soon stood up. Of these, 8,500 came from Germany and the force included both heavy and light armor as well as mountain (Gebirgsjäger) and parachute (Fallschirmjäger) units, the first time such detachments saw use in the Balkans since 1945.

Soldier of the Panzer Grenadier battalion 112 on a Marten AFV. On June 12., 1999

A convoy of German KFOR troops during the move into Prizren, Kosovo.

German Fallschirmjäger 1999 KFOR, note the newly-adopted HK G36

Prizren sniper overwatch KFOR June 1999, German Scharfschütze mit dem G22, an Accuracy International AWM with matched Zeiss 3–12×56mm glass

A convoy of several Leopard 2 A4 MBTs drives out of the camp at the airfield. KFOR

Strassenszene in Prizren – Waffenträger Wiesel der Fallschirmjäger. You have to love a Wiesel.

A TPZ Fox secures the bridge to the Prizren, Kosovo, old town area near the iconic Sinan Pasha Mosque, the latter built in 1615 by the Ottomans. (November 1999).

Ein Kampfpanzer Leopard 2 A5 in destroyed village near Nasec.

Ein Kampfpanzer Leopard 2 A5 in destroyed village near Nasec.

In the past 20 years, 135,000 Germans have taken part in KFOR operations, and 70 are still deployed today.

Mr. Limpet makes his daytime appearance in the Gulf of Oman

Not this guy who everybody loved:

This guy:

(Or approximate)

The attack in International waters hit the Panama-flagged chemical/oil tanker Kokuka Courageous (19,349t), owned by Singapore-based Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement (BSM) and carrying a load of methanol; along with the Norwegian-owned (International Tanker Management) Marshal Islands-flagged oil tanker Front Altair (62,849t) with a load of crude, early on June 13. Both were carrying what Japan’s Trade Ministry says were “Japan-related” cargo.

The attacks occurred off the Emirati port of Fujairah, also on the Gulf of Oman, approaching the Strait of Hormuz, the narrow mouth of the Persian Gulf through which a third of all oil traded by sea passes.

Kokuka Courageous Front Altair

“The timing was considered sensitive as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was visiting Iran on a high-stakes diplomacy mission.”

5th Fleet’s release on the matter through CENTCOM:

TAMPA (NNS) — U.S. Naval Forces in the region received two separate distress calls at 6:12 a.m. local time from the motor tanker (M/T) Altair and a second one at 7a.m. local time from the M/T Kokuka Courageous.

Both vessels were in international waters in the Gulf of Oman approximately 10 nautical miles apart at the time of the distress calls. USS Bainbridge was approximately 40 nautical miles away from the M/T Altair at the time of the attack and immediately began closing the distance.

At 8:09 a.m. local time a U.S. aircraft observed an IRGC Hendijan class patrol boat and multiple IRGC fast attack craft/fast inshore attack craft (FAC/FIAC) in the vicinity of the M/T Altair.

At 9:12 a.m. local time a U.S. aircraft observes the FAC/FIAC pull a raft from the M/T Altair from the water.

At 9:26 a.m. local time the Iranians requested that the motor vessel Hyundai Dubai, which had rescued the sailors from the M/T Altair, to turn the crew over to the Iranian FIACs. The motor vessel Hyundai Dubai complied with the request and transferred the crew of the M/T Altair to the Iranian FIACs.

At 11:05 a.m. local time USS Bainbridge approaches the Dutch tug Coastal Ace, which had rescued the crew of twenty-one sailors from the M/T Kokuka Courageous who had abandoned their ship after discovering a probable unexploded limpet mine on their hull following an initial explosion.

190613-N-N0101-115 GULF OF OMAN (June 13, 2019) In this Powerpoint slide provided by U.S. Central Command damage from an explosion, left, and a likely limpet mine can be seen on the hull of the civilian vessel M/V Kokuka Courageous in the Gulf of Oman, June 13, 2019, as the guided-missile destroyer USS Bainbridge (DDG 96), not pictured, approaches the damaged ship. (U.S. Navy photo/Released)

190613-N-N0101-116 GULF OF OMAN (June 13, 2019) In this Powerpoint slide provided by U.S. Central Command damage from an explosion, left, and a likely limpet mine can be seen on the hull of the civilian vessel M/V Kokuka Courageous in the Gulf of Oman, June 13, 2019, as the guided-missile destroyer USS Bainbridge (DDG 96), not pictured, approaches the damaged ship. (U.S. Navy photo/Released)

While the Hendijan patrol boat appeared to attempt to get to the tug Coastal Ace before USS Bainbridge, the mariners were rescued by USS Bainbridge at the request of the master of the M/T Kokuka Courageous. The rescued sailors are currently aboard USS Bainbridge.

190613-N-SS350-0135 GULF OF OMAN (June 13, 2019) Sailors aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Bainbridge (DDG 96) render aid to the crew of the M/V Kokuka Courageous. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jason Waite/Released)

At 4:10 p.m. local time an IRGC Gashti Class patrol boat approached the M/T Kokuka Courageous and was observed and recorded removing the unexploded limpet mine from the M/T Kokuka Courageous.

The U.S. and our partners in the region will take all necessary measures to defend ourselves and our interests. Today’s attacks are a clear threat to international freedom of navigation and freedom of commerce.

The U.S. and the international community, stand ready to defend our interests, including the freedom of navigation.

The United States has no interest in engaging in a new conflict in the Middle East. However, we will defend our interests.

The attack comes a month to the day after what is described as “Coordinated teams of divers using limpet mines incapacitated the vessels in a series of timed detonations” to damage four tankers from the Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Norway off the Emirati coast.

The underwater damage to the Saudi Arabian tanker Al Marzoqah May 12

Saudi Arabian tanker Amjad was one of those attacked in the Port of Fujairah May 12

And the beat goes on…

Google Operation Praying Mantis to see how this is going to end up.

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