Monday, August 29, 2011

The Libyan Rebels and their amazing variety of small arms.

    I was watching the "news" networks last night and found myself throwing up in my mouth a little every time some talking head mentioned the triumph of democracy in Libya over tyrant dictators. Sure, that kind of bullshit probably sells peanut butter and dick hard pills during commercial breaks and probably gives the 50 million plebs on food stamps in the US something to feel good about. Who needs government subsidized food anyway when your government just air dropped a few hundred million in ordinance on yet another desert oil producer? 'We' just 'won' another war! Fuck yeah!? Makes poor people feel part of something cool as they scour the 99c store for a good deal.

    Watching footage of the rebels driving past strategically placed cameras in Tripoli's Green Square the other night, I suddenly had some kind of fucked up epiphany that made the whole NATO "Odyssey Dawn" mission make some retarded sense. I saw a bunch of Libyan freedom fighters hitting a live fire zone in a god damned Toyota Prius. I shit you not! A hybrid vehicle in a fucking war zone. Now there's a first. Toyota should run ads for that shit. It seems some Libyan rebels are pretty savvy when it comes to gas mileage.

    One thing the rebels don't seem too savvy about though is conserving ammo.

   I swear, every vid I see of one of those happy exuberant guys has them firing off mag after mag of 7.62mm at the sky and not giving a single fuck. For hours. Everyday. And that got me thinking. How cheap is ammo in North Africa these days anyway? I mean, in a proper war, isn't ammo gold? Last time I checked, I can't remember seeing other 'freedom fighters' in other conflicts blasting the sky after victory. I don't recall the VietCong shooting down clouds when they finally captured Saigon in '75. Chechnyan rebels sure weren't gunning down the sun after they held back the mighty Russians for a while in the mid '90s . Maybe it's just an Arab thing to piss away ammo. One thing it does say is that the Libyan rebels sure don't seem to have supply or money worries when it comes to procuring more lead. Either that or they're a bunch of idiots with nothing left to shoot once the news cameras get turned off. Of course, they're now begging the US and UN to release some of Gaddafi's impounded billions. Wanna bet that cash will only be going to the strongman who can prove he can get the oil flowing again?

   Watching those celebrating in Tripoli or in any Libyan city in this whole messy excuse for a proper war is something I like to do these days, beer in hand, popcorn in the microwave and getting a free front row seat (if it's possible to have a front row seat in front of your own TV) and witnessing yet another proxy resource war.  Anyway, all that sweet Libyan crude has a low sulphur content and it only costs a dollar a barrel to refine. A lot like the Brent North Sea crude that's running out. The Euros sure love that spice. 10% of their supply may be back online in the near future.

  The fun thing is, once the oil deals get renegotiated, every fucktard who fired an AK at the sky during this war is going to want a piece of that oil action. Revolutions always lead to a post high ugly period where old scores get settled. And usually not with a concerted letter writing campaign to a local politician. Forty two years of Gaddafi means there are a lot of tribal feuds to sort out. That's even if the rednecks in Benghazi don't decide all the oil in the eastern fields belongs to them. You know, historically. They're big on who owned what a bazillion years ago in the Middle East.

  Still, watching all that ammo getting fired needlessly into the air got me looking closely at the small arms that were actually firing it. And once my eyes got focused on that, I was met with one of those dizzying cornucopia's of choice that rivals eateries at a state fair. What an international cast! I mean, every guy with a beef against Gaddafi seems like he had a host of world gun suppliers on speed dial. The sheer variety of small arms available to the rebels might be sinister as far as foreign intervention is concerned but probably not. After all, Africa is a wash in weaponry the way it isn't in food. Or maybe a container load of sweet foreign pew pew just happened to wash up on a beach in Benghazi last February before this whole "revolution" got started. Who knows? Let's face it, foreign special forces have been operating on the ground in Libya since this mess got started. Would you trust a Libyan rebel to laser paint a Gaddafi tank with a sweet piece of $250k technology? Ahem, no. That shit's liable to be sold to Hezbollah for pennies on the dollar once the smoke clears and cause more problems on the global chessboard.
 In order of sightings (and this is by no means a scientific study), what kind of small arms where the rebels brandishing?

The AK-47: Okay, no particular surprise here. I mean, let's face it, it's the most ubiquitous weapon ever produced on the planet. Hardy, distinctive, this gun is everywhere and all over Africa. We often get footage of starving people in Africa and that sure sucks but you can be sure every journalist with a camera on his way to a starvation zone to post photos of skinny kids in the New York Times first passed a bunch of guys wielding AK-47s at the airstrip. Seems like food is getting expensive these days and that's bad for Africa where people tend to fuck for entertainment and that just results in more mouths to feed. Sure, condoms and contraceptives would be nice but distributing those never works out does it? Bono sure missed the boat on that one.

   And, let's face it, the result of all that rampant sport fucking usually gets resolved by an AK-47. It's like the AK is Africa's post birth abortion kit. From heroin addicted child soldiers in Liberia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone and the Republic of Congo to the current famine in Somalia and Darfur, the AK-47 is the number one means of African population control that is both cheap and effective. The market in Africa is flooded with this Russian banger. Hell, in Yemen, you can buy a third hand AK-47 from your uncle's cousin's brother-in-law for the price of a Big Mac. That is of course, if you can find a quality eatery like McDonalds in a desert shithole with no significant oil. No surprise then that Libya would be full of Kalashnikov's babies. And 7.62mm ammo is probably more common than ham sandwiches in Africa. So yeah, I suppose that explains a lot of rebel sky shooting. Still doesn't make me feel like quitting alcohol anytime soon though.

The AK-74:  Yeah, it might seem like superfluous not to bunch the '74 in with the '47 but we're talking a totally different animal here. The '74 was developed in the 1970s when the Soviets wanted to improve on Kalashnikov's original design and ditched the heavy, penetrating, barrel shaking long range inaccuracy of the 7.62 round. It fires the smaller 5.45x39mm round and was a response to the American M-16 in Vietnam. The Russians had caught on to the effectiveness of the smaller 5.56 NATO ammo after they'd seen it tumbling through Gook flesh in 'Nam. The smaller round with an air pocket in the nose makes it dance around in the body when it hits bone and makes a kill extra messy. Aren't we humans awesome when it comes to killing each other? Porn is obscene yet action movies with a fifty+ body count are PG entertainment you go see with the kids. Fuck yeah! Anyway, the 5.45mm ammo can't be that cheap over there. Somewhat pocket hurting when you're firing rounds at the sky and warbling like an ape every time someone says Gaddafi is dead again.

The G3 (and variants): Probably the next most ubiquitous gun I've seen in Libya outside of the AK family. Designed by good old German arms manufacturer Heckler & Koch after World War II when every iron foundry in Germany was wondering where the next contract was going to come from after the Wehrmacht went belly up. The G3 comes in a dizzying variety of variants and it's no surprise that it should show up in Libya.  Heavy and stable and firing the same 7.62x51mm NATO round (see FN below), the G3 uses a "delayed action blowback" mechanism, which is gun speak for "I can put a heavy round on target at 400 meters and fuck you". If I weren't such an armchair pussy and somehow got teleported into a war zone and could chose a fat gun, I'd go with a G3. Accuracy and stopping power trumps the bitch ass hassle of having to lug that heavy 7.62 ammo around. But I'm a stickler for an assault rifle than can be used for long range sniping. Of course, the only long range sniping I've done lately is screaming for a cab from a bar stool on Santa Monica Boulevard.

The FN-FAL: Probably the only good thing ever to come out of Belgium apart from chocolate is the FN. These fuckers are all over Africa having made their debut in Rhodesia in the 1960s. In Rwanda in the 90s, they were widely available but those savages found it cheaper to chalk up a decent kill streak with machetes. No firing in the sky for those animals. These Belgian shooters are in the arsenal of just about every sleazy African war lord especially those from the former Belgian colony of Congo. So yeah, these fucks are everywhere. Probably the leading cause of death of the mountain gorilla too, this gatt fires the NATO 7.62x51mm round. That round was agreed upon by NATO in the '50s during the good old post WWII period when Western countries needed a decent bullet after the Reds decided to hold on to all that Eastern Euro real estate they'd chalked up on the backside of Barbarossa.

   Let's face it, it's a very nice gun. It's got a nice gas operated design (for recoil) and can be adjusted according to environmental conditions (code speak for you're dead when I pull the trigger in the desert or the Arctic tundra). The recoil is low in single shot but once you go full auto we're talking painting Banksy modern art all over the target zone. Still, as with most assault rifles, three shot bursts are your friend. Except, of course, if you're a Libyan rebel. Then it's full auto at the sky bitches!

The AK-103 (100 series): Okay, you think I'm cheating here by introducing another AK variant into the mix. But I'm not. The 100 series AK was designed by the Russians in 1994 after they caught on to fact that Kalashnikov and his fancy assault rifle had become an international celebrity. Good old capitalism after the fall of the Soviet Union meant there was money to be made on the international 'free' market so the Russians compromised their principles for cash money and made a gun that could chamber the standard 5.56x45 NATO round. Pricey, and made with composite materials and plastics that the US introduced into the mix in the 60s with the M-16, this gun capitalizes on the Kalashnikov name and was made for the export market. Again, the NATO round is yet another type of ammo fired at the sun by Libyan rebels. That ammo is not exactly hard to come by on the world stage, but still, you'd think beyond the pay grade of the average Benghazi shop keeper with a beef against Gaddafi.

The RPG-7: In my opinion, not exactly a "small arm". But I suppose it must be included since everyone and their mother in the Middle East and Africa seems to have access to one. Again, we can thank the Russians for this limb separator. Used against armored vehicles (some pretty good foils have been developed by the US to stop that shaped warhead frying everyone inside a Hummer) but equally effective against infantry bunched behind a wall, this cheap mass produced fucker is like some modern day equalizer versus professional armies. 60% of British and American casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan are due to this gatt with IEDs claiming the rest of the human toll. Yeah, calling in an A-10 strike and laying down a spread of depleted uranium hurts more, but let's face it, it's the default gun of every 'terrorist' who has a problem with foreigners stomping around his bit of desert.

  So yeah, that's pretty much it for me as far as Libya is concerned. I've mind dumped all I've got on this shitty war, unless of course Gaddafi shows up heading a Market Garden type XXX Corps tank rush on Tripoli. I won't be holding my breath. Fortunately for this blog, that in no way means there's a shortage of resource wars in the near future or any kind of shortage of stuff to write about.

   On the proxy resource war front, the 21st Century is just getting started.



  1. Fuck me War Tard.

    I've been following this blog for a year but never commented. But seriously, this post had me spraying Saturday night beer all over my keyboard. Hilarious and tragic all at the same time.

    Keep it up man.

  2. And don't forget the Heckler & Koch G36. Really nice lightweight piece of German engineering.

  3. Yeah I was wondering myself why in every nicely composed shot of a couple of rebels trying to look hardcore you never saw two together carrying weapons of the same caliber. It was always AK-47 AND FN, or AK-74 AND G3. It just seemed weird and then I wondered if it was some kind of messed up deliberate thing. 'You carry the spray and pray AK and I'll take the double tappin' FN Hamid. We'll have calibers for all occasions'. Totally with you on the G3 too Mr Tard. Now that's craftsmanship.

  4. I have seen FN2000s and G36s aswell.

  5. Two WarTard posts in eight days - woot!

  6. "The AK-47 is Africa's post birth abortion kit."

    About as politically incorrect a fact as I can ever imagine someone making. Funny as hell because it's true.

  7. Another rifle that seems to be appearing a lot is the Mannlicher-Carcano. Not unusual when you find out that Libya used to be an Italian colony at one time.

  8. Those Libyan rebels with all that shooting in the air and their pissant combat spray shooting make me change channels. Pathetic. But we here in Aussie were informed the other night by all TV commercial channels " The libyan rebels had no outside help......except nato airstrikes" . Yeah right. Daffy had em on the ropes.

  9. since when the HK is Austrian?

  10. How come Gaddafi hasn't pwned these faggots yet?

    A brigade of snipers could have halfed their numbers for fun.

    Or is that the plan?

    Saddam always looked a bit shaky, but I thought Gaddafi would fuck shit up in Tripoli.

    What gives?

  11. HK are of course, German. My bad.

    I call it the "reverse Hitler mistake". A lot of people to this day think Hitler was German and not Austrian.

  12. @ War Tard:

    Yes, a lot of people believe a lot of wrong things about that period.

    Do you know
    It is a comedy site that somehow considers itself the internet age's MAD magazine.
    The authors there pretty often write articles on history and wars (stuff like: "5 tiny nations that kicked ass in war" and so on) and they often are inaccurate or outright full of shit.

    And even the factual half way correct ones are often terribly biased in the way that when an American or British soldier did something heroic without regard to his own safety it is totally badass and cool. When a Japanese or a German soldier did something like that it is laughable and stupid.

    Also there is a lot of "The USA singlehandedly won WW2"-nonsense going on there.
    "Russia? Yeah, they were somewhere in that war too, but what can they possibly have contributed? They weren't even there on D-Day or when the Limeys totally kicked German ass at Dunkirk before swaggering back to Britain!"

    I have often thought to myself when reading one of those articles (and the horrible comments to them) how much better they could be if they would have somebody like you among the authors.
    Somebody who knows something about history and war he hasn't just ripped from Wikipedia.

  13. The previous comment was mine and I'd like to add something:

    There generally seems to be a lot of history revisionism going on nowadays.
    Normally when you think of revisionism you think of neo-nazis who try to make Hitler look good in retrospective or stuff like that, but that is not that current phenomenon I'm talking about.

    I'm talking about "patriotic" Americans (and other English speaking nationals like Brits and Australians) who for some reason are out to take away the last shreds of dignity from the losers of WW2 by including wartime propaganda and ridicule into what they consider official historical canon.

    They basically replace real history with a Hollywood movie script.

    What those people don't seem to realize is that by doing so they make their own ancestors look bad too, by basically indirectly saying that they had it easy because they were only fighting enemies that sucked at war and were stupid cowards anyways.

    If German and Japanese soldiers in WW2 were as inept pushovers for real as they are portrayed as in Hollywood movies, then the allied soldiers who fought them must have sucked pretty hard too. Or how else do you explain the losses they suffered against such obvious bitch-ass losers as the Wehrmacht and the Imperial Japanese Army/Navy?

    Must have been the total air dominance, numerical superiority and luxurious supply flow those axis pansies enjoyed throughout the war, I guess.

    To clarify that, I'm not only talking about stupid articles and comments on a comedy site like Cracked. This is a phenomenon I have encountered all over the internet. Also TV series (like "Band Of Brothers" for example) and war movies strangely look more and more like war-time propaganda the longer ago the actual war is. At least some old war movies seemed to make more of an effort to show the human side of the enemy or at least make him menacing by giving him some credit for actually being able to do more than dying, fleeing or surrendering.

    I know this is off topic in the context of this article and I digressed a lot, but this is something that I noticed lately and I would love if the War Tard might address this in one of his articles one day.

    Here an interesting article on the subject to show that this isn't just me imaginating things:

  14. Very good and well made point Anon.

    Personally, I've always had a very healthy respect for the Germans. I see Nazism as a kind of mind virus that took over that country after the humiliation at Versailles. An important lesson in how a proud and ancient culture can be taken over by extremists when it costs a wheelbarrow full of cash to buy bread. I've always respected the German soldier and fighting ability. It took 3 of the most powerful countries in the world to defeat them and that fight took all they had.

    The Japanese I've only become interested in lately. The cultural and, (let's face it) racial gap there was too great for me when I was a kid studying war and I've often wondered how much of a role that played in the war itself (Would the Americans have nuked fellow Caucasians... probably but they didn't) The Jap mind and Bushido code made it that they had to. Still, it's only lately that I've begun to become fascinated by their culture and what an island, resource poor nation felt they had to do to secure an oil supply.

    You make a very good point and it's the sort of article I'd like to take a shot at in the future. (I've gotten a lot of emails with article requests in the 10 months since I've started this blog and I wish I could get round to them all.) But alas, money and time are the too great and terrible limiters on human action that they've always been and I'm no exception.

    Thanks for the heartfelt words and support.

  15. My name is Chris. (Not that this is of much significance of course, but staying anonymous seems impolite.)

    Thank you for the thoughtful and nice reply.

    All those requests... that is the curse of being good at what you do.

    You know, I made that point to other people and often got very negative responses. People misunderstood me as being a Nazi sympathizer or "buying into Nazi propaganda about the 'Herrenrasse'" and bullshit like that.

    I do think that the good performance of the Wehrmacht is explainable, but not with cultural or let alone genetic reasons.

    I think that it was the military limitations of the treaty of Versailles that forced the Germans to innovate where their victorious opponents fell into the common trap of preparing for the previous war.

    I don't know who said that but the following quote says it perfectly, I think:
    "While victory and success are always preferable, defeat and failure are the better teachers."

    I think after Versailles it was all "excellence through adversity" for the German army, at least in the first years, before they knew whether they would ever again be able to shake off the limitations they faced.

    The shock of defeat shook even parts of the old brass awake and for a while they actually used their brains to come up with ideas to make the whole "100 000 soldiers"-army thing work as good as possible.
    They were more open for innovation than their western counterparts and realized that they had to compensate the (by the times standard) ridiculously small size of the army with superior firepower, mobility, tactics and strategy and that is where the Blitzkrieg came from.
    And they also cherry picked the stuff that was already good in WW1, like the 'Einsatztaktik'(or however that is spelled).

    Also of course they made sure that those 100 000 men were the best of the best and where kept in shape while the victors sent most of their battle hardened veterans home after Versailles.

    Long story short, Versailles forced the Germans to be ahead of their time and denied them the option to stick with the same old, same old as pretty much everybody else did.
    The only exception where the Russians, losers of WW1 too, who invented paratroopers between the wars for example.

    By simply dismissing all of that by declaring them nothing more than losers just to pet our ego, we deprive ourselves and future generations of the chance to learn from it.

    However, thanks for what you do and I really hope you keep it up.

  16. Libya was debt free. Electricity was free. The Govt paid for 50% of your car. Married couples got $50,000 us to buy a house. Petrol was 14Cents a Gallon. Farmers got free land. Libya wanted to move away from the US dollar to the African Dinar when it got paid for oil. Bam. Post rebels first task? A central Bank. Welcome to control

  17. @Jak Jones said...
    Yep Gadafi had wealth and controlled his people and gave a fair bit to other nations and their independence ambitions - IRA, ANC... you all heard it before. Why AU so tentative
    Now the people got angry and the rest of the world got sick of playing by Gadafis rule... now control of the people will be from more international forces (minus china - this will get interesting).
    I will be interested what happens post Gadafi and will the Libyan gravy train (for the ordinary people)start slowing when "democracy" and "capitalism" kicks in.
    If this sounds a bit tentative on the part of my support of the revolution - maybe.
    Youth, guns, idealism, and will there be a new new type of dictatorship come into play? - i hope the best for the ordinary Libyans because your going to have to put up with some rightous prats for a while. I hope you get the freedom you have fought hard for.
    People still uming and ahh about Iraq and oil - this is at least clearer.

    Thanks Wartard - have been seeing all those g3 and fn on the news and wondering is this the boated stuff from the EU. - Great writing
    Hey you got any info and role Africom played in this conflict?

    Take care

  18. War Tard, I have the shakes. Withdrawals. I need you to put up another article so I can be told how to view this fucked up world like the good little sheep that I am. Bah! Bah! Now write, damn you!


  20. I'd like to suggest that perhaps the best weapon to come out of Belgium was the Browning/FN Hi-Power, aka The Greatest Handgun of the 20th Century. :)

    1. True the Browning Hi-Power was probably the best pistol of the 20th Century. People seem to ignore it's achievements in favour of the 1911.

  21. "let's face it" ...

  22. A great post WT.

    A year later, everything you said about Libya remains true.

    Wish you'd write more and keep track of these things. I'd pay cash money to subscribe to your newsletter.