Tag Archives: RPG

Maritime Discount Goods

In a modern version of Operation Market Time, the storied and long-lasting effort to prevent seaborne infiltration of supplies from North Vietnam into the south, U.S. and allied forces have been stopping guns from getting from rogue states (let us just say, “maybe” Iran) to Yemen, a country that has been enmeshed in a brutal civil war for years. While the USS Jason Dunham (DDG 109) alone picked up 1,000 AKs last year, other countries like Australia and France have picked up their fair share as well.

In 2016, the French Navy destroyer FS Provence stopped a stateless dhow that contained 2,000 AK-47s, 64 Dragunov SVD sniper rifles, nine anti-tank missiles, and other munitions.

Guns seized by the French Navy on March 20, 2016 (Photo Combined Maritime Forces)

Ever wonder what happens to them?

Well, I guess to the victors goes the spoils of when it comes to spare Kalash, and the French government just recently gifted 1,400 of those same AKs to the Central African Republic (formerly the colony of French Equatorial Africa) in an effort to strengthen the country’s military.

France has long had a thumb in the CARs affairs and has maintained a sizable military force there since 2013, its 7th such deployment since the country gained nominal independence in 1960.

Looking to arm a brigade of insurgents on the cheap?

Guns seized by the French Navy on March 20

Hey buddy, got some 7.62×39?

In a 31-day period between 27 Feb and 28 March this year, the Royal Australian Navy Adelaide-class frigate HMAS Darwin (FFG-04), French Navy FREMM-class destroyer FS Provence (D652), and the Cyclone-class patrol craft USS Sirocco (PC-6) impounded the following from three separate stateless dhows:

-5,500 AK-47 assault rifles,
-309 rocket-propelled grenade launchers,
-49 PKM general purpose machine guns,
-39 PKM spare barrels
-64 Dragunov SVD sniper rifles
-21 DShK and KPV type heavy machine guns
-20 60mm mortars

It was determined that the munitions originated in Iran and were likely bound for Houthi insurgents in Yemen, where U.S. allies Saudi Arabia and Kuwait are leading an 11-nation coalition against the Houthi, which are supported by Iran and Hezbollah.

More photos and details in my column at Guns.com

The RPG-7 Grenade Launcher: Nothing lost in translation

If you have ever watched an action movie set after 1960, you have seen one. Heck, if you have ever been to a sandbox, you have encountered one. Its very abbreviation has become synonymous with an entire class of weapons. It is the humble RPG-7, and it’s simple, effective, and cheap.

The go-to weapon system of World War Two was the main battle tank: these brutal armored war-engines mounted a main cannon and several machine guns were the key to winning battles. Whoever had the largest number of the best tanks—backed up with enough gas and ammo to keep them going—had the edge in 1940s combat.

At the beginning of the war, these caterpillar-tracked machines were small, for instance the 1939-era German PzKpfw I was only 13-feet long, weighed 6-tons, and had armor 1-inch thick. A large anti-tank rifle like the Boys .55 or the Lahti 20mm could penetrate this. By 1945, the German Pz.Kpfw VI Tiger tank, at 21-feet long and 62-tons carried up to 4.7-inches of armor plate. Post war tanks like the US M48 and the British Centurion were even better armored. Tanks this big needed something much larger to bring them down than a big rifle and the Soviets knew it.

What they needed was a dedicated anti-tank weapon.

An Afghan National Army soldier assigned to the Mobile Strike Force Kandak fires an RPG-7 rocket-propelled grenade launcher during a live-fire exercise

An Afghan National Army soldier assigned to the Mobile Strike Force Kandak fires an RPG-7 rocket-propelled grenade launcher during a live-fire exercise

Read the rest in my column at Guns.com