Shooting the Gap (bottom of blog) is considered to be as close to a combat jungle exercise as US military personnel can experience at present.

 

America 2021

Thanks Jo/Ho

 

Visualize It

 

Spoken Romanian

 

Remote

 

I was going to ask you to ID the tank,  but this one is too exotic. If you want to give it a shot before scrolling down to the bottom, you can. The answer can be had there.

 

Housekeeping

Panjshir (Five Lions Valley)

The narrow entrance to Panjshir, DalanSang gorge, has been blown off by NRF, making it impossible for the Taliban to leave the valley. Est 180 Humvees & a great amount of ammunition along with 100s of TB fighters are currently trapped inside Annaba.

Panjshir is so named because anciently the valley was controlled by five kings, referred to as ‘lions’. They still play buzkashi there (Buz=goat Kashi=killing) where they drag a goat carcass or an enemy’s carcass between goal posts on small horses native to the area. Or use an enemy’s head wrapped in leather because it holds together better than a human body – and hit it with polo-style sticks. How many goals to a chukker in Afghanistan?

Taliban is a code word for Pakistan. There was a time back in the mid-’90s when I was considered to be an expert on Afghanistan. I was published in Indian defense journals and elsewhere on the subject. So, dear readers, let’s get the dominoes lined up.

The Pakis have been pulling those levers since the fiction that is “Talib”=student crawled out of the madrassas in Pak-land (land of Pacman). So ISI created the Talib (holy student army) and the goal was to rid the Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP) of the six million Pathans who lived there and lead them on a jihad into Afghanistan to create a “Greater Pachtunistan”. The Pathans or Pachtun, if you will, had been displaced by the war with the Soviets and stayed in Pakistan, subsisting on welfare and “The Afghan Transit Trade” – smuggling opium. The Pakistanis considered them vermin and the US didn’t care because the Soviet Union was gone.

Elvis left the building (because Elvis is a moron) and told the Pakistanis that they could do whatever they wanted in their sphere to rid Pakistan of the human lice. A Green Light from DC.

So off they go to take Afghanistan from the Tajiks who ran the place post-Soviet, with Pakistani advisors, Pakistani rotors, and Paki artillery tubes. As often as not with Paki soldiers wearing rags doing the heavy lifting for the Student/Talib army.

Who built the Paki nuclear arsenal? China
Who built a belt road through Pacmanistan to Karachi and the Indian Ocean? China
Who pulls a lot of levers in Pacmanistan? China
Who does China hate most? MUSLIMS (oops).

Buy your popcorn, sit back and watch the thing play out.

America showed itself for the creeps we have become. We used Afghanistan to justify fleecing the American taxpayer to the tune of $2 trillion. It was an endless cash cow. The real war over there was finished by SPECOPS and CIA Special Activities with overhead artillery (B-52) from the USAF and directionally guided bombs. But nobody in the beltway wanted to let that sort of opportunity to steal go to waste. The Republicans were every bit as bad as the Democrats and the war industry served to provide jobs to the middle class. Enter Big Army.

Ok, we were going to talk about shooting the gap.

 

Survey

For those of you who follow this blog and actually humped gear, how heavy was your STANDARD combat loadout?

 

Military Training

Some US Military units train in difficult terrain by traversing the Darien Gap (Tapón del Darién), or “Shooting the Gap”. There is a 66-mile break in the Pan-American Highway between Turbo, Colombia, and ending at Yaviza, Panama.

Traversing the gap is not (usually) accomplished by carrying a full combat load-out (above).

Traveling north from the Colombian side, you must negotiate the Atrato River delta – a marsh 50 miles wide. As you enter into  Panamanian territory, the terrain changes into that of a mountainous rainforest (with very steep mountains) reaching into 3-4,000 feet elevation.  Is it as tough to get through as the entre d’entraînement en forêt équatoriale, the  French Army jungle warfare school located in French Guiana run by the French Foreign Legion (1er RE and 4e RE)?

Normally, you go through the advanced course at forêt équatoriale first to get you ready to Shoot the Gap, which (depending on the weather), can take between two or three weeks. Sometimes a month. Once you’re in the Panamanian mountains, clouds, weather, and impossible terrain make a CASEVAC difficult.

Between the narco gangs, the remnants of FARC guerillas, poisonous snakes and bugs, and the overall challenge of the transit, you need to be ready for the training evolution.

 

Answer to Identify the Tank: Libyan M577 command vehicle with a BMP-1 turret stuck on top and a sick paint job

41 COMMENTS

  1. As a reservist, doctrine loadout was 28kg of personal body armor, pack, webbing and basic combat load from memory. That’s without radio, medikits, etc. etc.

    Never really weighed it, but I doubt I carried less than 40Kg often, for any serious training.

    *google says 62.6 and 88 pounds respectively.

    The section leader when I went through basic training told of training with marines as infantry, he was carrying ~50Kg, and they were struggling with 30Kg ish in hilly terrain. But you know furphies starting with so there I was….

    I do recall reading that the load carried (by weight) by infantry hasn’t really changed from Roman times, if anything it’s gotten heavier, but I don’t know the truth.

    • It gets lighter as you go through water and consumables, ammunition, and so forth. We went out with 95lbs. Team One went out with 105 to show how superior they were, but you can’t do much carrying that much weight. If you can, you cache some of it. It all depends on the specifics of the mission.

    • Yes, and if you want me to go into greater detail, I’m happy to do that. I didn’t want to get too far into the weeds on the blog. You seldom hear the truth in the media.

      Pakistan is not totally China’s cat’s paw, but they are both joined in areas of self-interest. The reason for the Taliban’s creation makes sense and I don’t blame the Pakis for wanting to get them out of Pakistan. They were a drain and needed to go home, having overstayed their welcome. The consequences, when paired with American greed, are self-evident.

      • More detail would be great.

        Long comment redacted. But I’ll summarize with: being in medicine, I’ve had to deal with no few people from Pakistan. The only two I consider real friends both happen to be Pashtun. I don’t think one can legitimately generalize from this small sample size, but there it is.

        • I don’t dislike the Paks or the Pathans/Pashtun/Pushtun. However, if you don’t tell the truth about what happened, and it’s hardly a secret anywhere but the West, none of the pieces of the puzzle fit. I’ll chop out something for the blog in greater detail.

          • I wasn’t “correcting” you about Pashtun. I know very few of them, less than ten total and only two well — that’s what I meant by “small sample size”.

            I just found it interesting that of the several dozen Pakistanis I have dealt with (most from cities-other-than-Peshawar) the only two I trust, pretty much without reservation, both happen to be Pashtun. The other Pakis, well, it ranges from at best “office friends” (Hey, howya doin!) to mutual loathing.

            Of course, since I redacted all that, how could you have known?

  2. “Between the narco gangs, the remnants of FARC guerillas, poisonous snakes and bugs, and the overall challenge of the transit, you need to be ready for the training evolution.”
    And Predators?

  3. weight? 70-80 lbs back in the infantry days, not counting prc77 batteries and mortar rounds. i weighed 140 back then. eventually we got commanders that weren’t fighting ww2 and lightened our load. doc finally told me not to come back if i put a ruck on again. transferred to ordnance. then body armor got popular, ug. never could breathe in that stuff. bought some high speed lw b/a the other day, looks like i’ll get to test it out soon thank’s to tater joe. Father, don’t forgive them, for they know what they do.

    • Cause and effect.

      July 4, 1776

      “…We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security…”

      I hope that none of the blog readers is offended by the Declaration of Independence. The donkeys have stated that anyone who quotes from our founding documents is a traitor. I’m sure that King George III’s minions felt the same way about them.

      I hate to put it out so obviously, but the founding document does provide a road map. Now whether we’re absolute despotism or not is up for interpretation. It’s clear that’s where the Donkeys want to take it with a walking corpse reading the teleprompter while the whore cackles in the background. Different people in America are subjected to different tyranny just based on location. Where I live in the middle of nowhere, you’d have no idea what’s going on elsewhere without a TV and a computer. We don’t even have police to speak of. We tend to our own problems if they arise.

        • The National Archives, supposedly, just listed all the founding documents as ‘potentially troublesome and triggering.’

          And PaulM? Yes, it’s coming, as soon at the pudding-brain idiot signs off on an Executive Order making the Jab mandatory for both Social Security and Veterans’ Benefits. Which is coming. And so is the Civil War.

          BigCountryExpat over at “The Intrepid Reporter” suggests going all Polish Solidarity on our dear leaders, our elite and our betters.

  4. STANDARD combat loadout:
    Visiting my late son and family near Ft Carson, CO he was showing me something in their bedroom. Laid out on the bed was his helmet and “web gear”. Curious, I picked the gear and said, “Holy ****, you have to wear all this?”. He laughed. Called it “full battle rattle”. Went on to explain he also had to carry his medic pack along with weapon and ammo. Big Army had troops trying to chase down people born to steep mountains and altitude carrying a rifle and not much else. Not too smart.

    Want to bet how many veterans from the past twenty years have major lower limb/feet problems as they age?

    • Want to bet how many veterans from the past twenty years have major lower limb/feet problems as they age? The Roman Army called them Marius’ Mules for that very reason. Archeologists who unearth a grave can tell if they were legionnaires. I expect that will be the same for our people who carry full kit for long enough in the future.

  5. What’s a tank without a “pimp my ride” paint job?

    Thinking America is “shooting the gap” right now, albeit in a different manner. The Puppet in Chief will say anything echoed in his earpiece. There will be dire consequences if we do not push back on the unconstitutional insanity being spewed out of Washington and Statehouses, now as the map shows, being infiltrated by the Locust Cloud of Lefty Lunatics coming from California.

    • Do you think that the donkeys will rig the election so that Newsom stays in power there? (does a bear crap in the woods?) You know that is in the works. Can they print enough ballots? You do know that you can print them at home and post them and they’re completely VALID right?

      • That POS has every lefty coming out of the woodwork to keep him there, $75 million as of this week. Even Hiding Harris has come out of her hole to help (maybe that’s good). If Californian’s vote him back then they deserve their oppressed fate. Elder is ahead in the polls, theft would be obvious.

          • How will Cali react? Sadly, most likely the same way Cali has handled all the other dictatorial and excessively stupid bullscat that has happened over the last 40 years.

  6. Heaviest load I ever carried was 100+#’s, backpacking in the Wind Rivers with NOLS, helping another student who was struggling. Had to sit down to put my pack on, then stand.

    EVERY SINGLE TIME I see one of these pictures of a soldier lugging a massive pack of gear, slogging through heat in full cover, I wince…then I am awed.

    • Our young men & women are awesome. And this nation does not treat them right. They don’t deserve the horrible generals and admirals at the top or the commander-in-chief or the whore who will get the job when Creepy Joe crosses the Rainbow Bridge.

      • But a 100K newly transplanted Afghani’s are getting every free thing in the book – for life – whereas veterans get treated like lepers. Tells you everything you need to know about Democrats and Rhino’s.

        BTW, where are the R’s? Pretty silent after last nights tyrant speech. Guess they’re inside the reconstructed Capitol fence “staying safe” from the nebulous insurrectionists.

      • From my younger brother who is building West of Pinedale, Wy:

        “Today there is a procession for the local marine who died in Afghanistan. People will be lining the streets of Jackson as they fly his body into the airport. Then he will be driven through town with a motorcycle and first responder escort. At one point the procession will break from the funeral car so he can be returned to his family in peace.”

        “Taking McCollum”

        He was 20.

  7. Only gear I ever had to hump was in basic at Ft. Ord in ’74. Vietnam era web belt and suspenders, buttpack, sleeping bag, shelter half, and M-16.

    I was stationed in a maintenance company in West Germany. We went to the “range” once a year and fired 18 rounds for “familiarization”. Fired prone with a sandbag front rest at 25 yards. Targets were the OD green silhouette pop-ups like the ones in basic, except no pop-up, just nailed to a wooden frame. The first 15 rifles from a rack in the arms room were already laid out at each firing position, so you didn’t get to fire your assigned weapon. We went through in relays. Just lay down, fire on command at your own pace, add your 18 holes to the hundreds already in the target. Done.

    Our company shared our post (Pinder Barracks) with two artillery battalions. More than once I was on the post guard mount for the night. On one particular night, I was assigned to a walking post guarding a motor pool. The post Officer of the Guard made his rounds on foot. During our brief conversation, he asked me “Soldier, what’s the battle sight zero on your rifle?” I answered honestly, “Sir, I have no idea. I’ve never fired it”.

  8. The mystery tank was great entertainment; thank you for that.
    I was always amazed at the totally zonked-out ingenuity of certain tribes when it came to cobbling together a war machine, any kind of war machine from everything they could find, loot or steal from the opposition or the national arsenals (some overlap here).
    Starting with fairly standardized ‘technicals’ to any combination of available tank hull and turret I have seen numerous specimens of war machines which would give every OSHA or DMV roadworthiness engineer cramps and nightmares. Nevertheless, as long as it works it is not stupid.
    ———–
    Combat load: The standard combat load for a German infantryman on deployment is around 42 kilograms, depending on his role in combat. The IDF (Infanterist der Zukunft = future infantryman) concept intends to alleviate or mitigate that heavy load but I still have to see that happen.
    “If a German infantryman with full battle load should fall over he will need a crane to get on his feet again” (German grunt proverb).
    Same thing all over the world.
    Not exactly a recipe for success when your opponent is a goatherd in pyjamas with an AK47.

  9. Looked like an old M113 to me. With ‘something’ kluged on top, but I couldn’t tell where from. Maybe the top half of a BMP??? Re the Pakis, we had to deal with them back in 75, never liked/trusted them then, sure as hell don’t now.

  10. I’m no expert but I’m with NFO on the tank thing. Of course one of the benefits of irreg. horse is NOT having to lug enormous great bergens/rucks of kit about. Good thing we have loyal sepoys, what? Dam, famous last words…

    But seriously, great Panshir/Pak infobrief. I had a friend who used to go there in the ’80s, rug importer, thank you very much, who took some photos of their “polo.” Quite a thing. And there was the Marlborough (school not smokes) boy who went there for his “year off.” All went well until some tribespersyns got fed up with his antics and rolled a stone on his head.

    Another pal turned up at Peshawar’s train station in panama hat, blazer, regimental tie, umbrella(?!?), the whole nine yards. Everyone stood to attention and saluted, long way up, short way down. No kidding. The Raj had returned. If only.

  11. Looking back more-or-less 50-years, I have no idea what our load-out was. We had no scales so we didn’t weigh it and whatever was the point anyway; it all had to go. And, as a squad leader, I had to hump my own prick-25/77* in addition to everything else. Woof. No little radios for us, back in the dark ages.

    *As a practical matter, we had both and made no distinction between the two.

  12. From the civvie POV on loadout – too damn much ! That shit would have crippled me even back when I was young and reasonably fit. I used to wear and carry about 45 pounds happily in SCA heavy list, but (a) it was mostly worn and pretty well distributed, and (b) I wasn’t going a 12 hour day making best cross-country foot speed and occasionally having a firefight. And then doing it again the next day.

    I think the most I ever carried hiking / camping was still under 60 pounds, and that was recreational speed and rules.

    Re: WSF’s comment, I’ve never met infantry from WW I on up w/o wrecked knees, ankles, backs…

    -Kle.

  13. Gah, and I forgot.

    I’ve always considered the Darien Gap to be a failure of civilization, and been offended by it. We should have pushed the damn Pan American through, PAVED, all the way to Tierra del Fuego.

    But then, civilization failed, so I suppose it stands to reason.

    -Kle.

  14. Not quite “shooting the gap’, but my grand dad was the Texas state bull riding champion when he was seventeen years old (I have the newspaper clipping) that would have been about 1925.
    He rode in Madison Square Garden and joined a wild west show that performed in Europe.
    He left the company when the ship they were traveling on was passing through the Panama canal.
    He bought a horse and headed north returning to Sanderson, Texas in time to get my dad born there a couple of years later.
    It is too bad he did not talk much as I know very little about that trip.
    It must have been an interesting experience.
    Highway? We don’t need no stinking highway!
    Born in the Indian Territory of Oklahoma, died as the Marshal of Magdalena, New Mexico.

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