|I saw a TV news report tonight of a contact by a USMC foot patrol, which had just been bumped by a group of insurgents in Falluja. I have to say I was extremely un-impressed with the indivudual skills the Marines displayed on the contact. This corrosponds with actions I have seen on previous reports, though they have usually involved US Army personal. I'm suprised about this, because Marine Infantry training is generally more highly regarded than that of its army counterparts. Anyway, the specific concerns were,
1. On contact the soldiers bunched together, didn't take cover or move near a wall to limit their exposure to fire and didn't crouch or lie prone with nearly enough of a sense of urgency.
2. When they were scanning for the enemy, they didn't allow their weapons to follow their gaze, ie, "patrol their arcs" for an immediate shot on identification.
3. One USMC rifleman based on a roof to provide covering fire, did so by holding his rifle above his head while remaining under cover. There was no chance of proper target identification, let alone an aimed shot, so it was just pissing away ammunition while giving away his position and risking ricochets against any bystanders for no good reason. Note that there was a GPMG based on the same roof providing effective aimed fire, so there was really no excuse for the rifleman not to do the same.
4. One soldier sent around a corner to investigate where the fire came from described his experience. It went something like "I went around the corner and the insurgent in that garage took a shot and threw a frag at me. I ran back, tripped over a dead body(one of theirs, not ours), and came back here. For Christ sake, hadn't he ever heard of looking around the corner with a mirror, before walking around!?! Lucky the insurgent was a rotten shot!
5. An insurgent ran across a roof, bobbing above a ledge, about 100 metres away from our rifle squad. The Marinesl, still bunched together so one RPG would kill about six of them, fired with half aimed automatic bursts and some semi-automatic fire from their M-16's. At this point I must say that I've never seen a properly aimed shot from anything smaller than a 120mm tank gun from the US military in these reports. Do they teach proper marksmanship during US basic training nowdays?
6. Anyhow, something managed to hit the insurgent, because he ended up wounded between two buildings behind some sort of a barrier. So, one of the Marines pops his head over the barrier and shoots the insurgent. He's lucky he didn't get his head blown off. A grenade is the weapon of choice in such a situation, IMHO at least.
I note that the news reports are claiming about a 3 to 1 kill ratio in favour of the US in Falluja at the moment. That isn't that flash giving a large numerical and a huge technological advantage. If this report is an indication of the general standard of individual infantry skills amongst US troops, no wonder this is the case.
As citizen of an allied nation, I'm not trying to be smart or play one upmanship, but the US really needs to look at the way it trains its troops. Try looking at a few nations that use the British model, if you want some tips. It would be better at keeping your boys and girls alive, than all the high-tech wizardry you buy for them.