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Survivalism & Self Sufficiency Topics => Transportation => Topic started by: Goatdog62 on May 10, 2009, 08:24:21 PM

Title: Observations on combat from a moving vehicle
Post by: Goatdog62 on May 10, 2009, 08:24:21 PM
First of all, I don't advocate doing this. In a BO situation I think that low profile is the way to go. Hopefully you can get to your destination before most of the sheeples realize the crisis is real.

Having said that, I found myself in the early days of Iraqi Freedom as a civilian contractor with Blackwater, in Fallujah, with no Forward Operating Base to call home, in soft-skinned vehicles, with no comm equipment that could reach over a mile, for six months. At times it was like a bad dream.

We started with soft-skinned vehicles, when armored SUV's and trucks were in short supply, eventually my crew and I found a friendly U.S. Army Warrant Officer at Camp Ridgeway who saw our sandbagged F350 diesel on a visit and offered to help. He ran a maintenance company. He had welding skills and a lot of the Hardox and Armox armor that was used to make "hillbilly humvees." He had us come by the following two Sundays, when no one was around and he got into working on our truck with a lot of enthusiasm.

He welded plates into all the floorboards, shields up to window level on all four doors, a massive "push" bumper, and, best of all, a double-plated gun tub for the RPK, later PKM, later SAW machine guns mounted in the back. The extra weight hardly seemed to affect the trucks get up and go at all. In fact, I really liked that truck. We paid him with a bottle of Absolut that we'd picked up at the mostly abandoned at the time Baghdad International Airport (BIAP) on one of our runs.

I highly recommend a diesel if you are going to try to uparmor a vehicle of yours. The weight is considerable and only the 3/4 and 1 tons can handle it for extended periods of time.

We could accurately shoot the MG's from the tub towards the rear, while rolling, with little adjustment. Same if we stood up and fired over the front. When firing to the side, it was basically necessary to walk our rounds into the target with extended bursts.

As far as firing our M4's from the cab windows, our Aimpoints were our saving grace. With some practice we were able to get first round hits during drive by engagements rather consistently. The red dots were very valuable for the right handed shooters who had to sit on the right (passenger) side of the cab. You could hold the gun left handed and, no matter how awkward it felt, as long as the dot was on the target it hit it with very little reverse lead (effective up to 30 - 50 meters or so).

This worked in training and later proved valuable when SHTF.

Some additional, though admittedly unscientific, observations. We had plenty of 10" x 12" armor plates cut that we used for target practice. At 50 meters from a 14.5 M4 barrel 5.56 ball, blacktip, and even tracer penetrated the Hardox and Armox. The greentip put a significant dent in it, but did not penetrate. 7.62 x 39 from both AK-47's and RPK did not penetrate. 7.62 x 54 punched a very nice hole.

At 100 meters, greentip DID PENETRATE. So did ball and blacktip. Tracer only dented it. 7.62 x 39 from AK and RPK did not penetrate. 7.62 x 54 make a sweet hole.

Most laminated bullet resistant glass will be penetrated by the third rifle round hitting the same pane. It is only bullet proof for the shortest periods of time. Hopefully enough to drive out of the gunfire or, if your vehicle is down, to bail and run away. Do not think it best to stay inside a brokedick armored vehicle. It is not an Alamo and is a bullet magnet, or worse...a target for a well-aimed RPG shot.

The less stuff you have attached to your M4, the less chance it will get tangled in seatbelts, your gear, etc. Especially if you have to unass your vehicle in a hurry. Aimpoint good. Forward grips, lights, excess rail, complex slings, etc, not good. If you have the luxury of having several weapons, a relatively unladen "car gun" is not a bad idea. Shortbarrels are better than long for the same reasons. I like to think my Auto Ordnance M1 .30 Carbine with the folding stock serves this purpose well (stateside). You still have a semi-decent weapon for use should you have to dismount (ask the ghosts of the thousands of dead Chinese and North Koreans). While I simply love the MP5, and found it almost perfect for SWAT entry work, it isn't that great when you need to reach a little further. A shotgun slug will penetrate another car at close range, but 00 didn't prove very useful (maybe on crowds of zombies it would?).

Gunfire hitting your car frequently only sounds like someone tapping the side of it. You may not recognize that you are under fire unless you hear the actual report, see circular muzzle flashes, or see the little booger eaters themselves.

The best drivers should be designated as the wheel men. Good shooters are a dime a dozen, good tactical drivers are not so. Most people think they are good drivers. Ex-cops frequently are but anyone with good reflexes can learn. They also can't be hotheaded. Most people think high-speed is the cure, and speed is necessary at times, but dying in a wreck is dead just the same.

IED's can't always be spotted. Vigilance saved my ass more than once, but I've also been made aware of a roadside bomb by its detonation next to my car. It turns your world inside out. I was fortunate then and several times since. I watched the car in front of me (in '05 on a different gig near Route Irish) get blown off an overpass and onto the traffic below. They didn't make it. Armor can help with explosives (distance and shielding are your friends) but it only does so much.

Ignore flat tires until the car just won't go any further or you are sure you have reached a point of relative safety. A penetrated automatic transmission may not seize up for 800 yards or more, that may be enough to get you off the X. A destroyed radiator won't overheat the car immediately either, drive as far as you can. A car on fire (this happened, but not to me) went 40 kilometers before the smoke inside the car became too overwheming.

Travel only with people you love or trust. Early on over there, I met a lot of cowboys and drunks. They create more problems than they do solutions.

I write this to share MY observations and MY opinions. I know that others have experience in the Road Warrior worlds out there. Share what you learned. I lost a lot of friends (25 at last count) over there. People I actually knew and cared about. I have never met my fellow Tennessean James Yeager, but we shared a mutual friend , Jay Hunt, who is no longer with us. Three years over there was enough.

One last thing. Iraq was actually a fairly civilized country before SHTF. As Jack says, it is low probability that it will happen here, but it will be high impact. Just going to populated areas to get foods and water cost many people their lives, the markets were/are frequent targets for bombings. Get a good stash built up for yourself and stay away from the unwashed masses. Realize that there will be little to no electricity and no, it won't be back on "in a few days." Being there convinced me to be a prepper.

my 2 pennies,
Goatdog

Title: Some Pics
Post by: Goatdog62 on May 10, 2009, 10:21:56 PM
I literally have thousands of pics from my tours over there (who doesn't?) but I'll try not to bore you guys/gals with them. Most of these are significant to my original posting.


(http://img11.imageshack.us/img11/4089/iraqihq.th.jpg) (http://img11.imageshack.us/my.php?image=iraqihq.jpg) My SAW with Aimpoint
(http://img11.imageshack.us/img11/5510/img014oyh.th.jpg) (http://img11.imageshack.us/my.php?image=img014oyh.jpg) Me as driver
(http://img12.imageshack.us/img12/1475/picture078e.th.jpg) (http://img12.imageshack.us/my.php?image=picture078e.jpg) SAW Gunner POV
(http://img13.imageshack.us/img13/637/picture064z.th.jpg) (http://img13.imageshack.us/my.php?image=picture064z.jpg) Grenades made extra "safe"
(http://img7.imageshack.us/img7/3284/img023j.th.jpg) (http://img7.imageshack.us/my.php?image=img023j.jpg) F350 diesel
(http://img7.imageshack.us/img7/6313/img022q.th.jpg) (http://img7.imageshack.us/my.php?image=img022q.jpg) Inside the tub
(http://img7.imageshack.us/img7/5088/img021xrz.th.jpg) (http://img7.imageshack.us/my.php?image=img021xrz.jpg) Rear of Viper
(http://img12.imageshack.us/img12/6744/img020j.th.jpg) (http://img12.imageshack.us/my.php?image=img020j.jpg) Tub was painted white to reduce visual signature and reflect heat
(http://img13.imageshack.us/img13/4143/img019jns.th.jpg) (http://img13.imageshack.us/my.php?image=img019jns.jpg) We put blackout drive on one switch for NVG driving and another switch for service drive
(http://img7.imageshack.us/img7/9774/img25k.th.jpg) (http://img7.imageshack.us/my.php?image=img25k.jpg) RPK with drum
(http://img7.imageshack.us/img7/2755/img19t.th.jpg) (http://img7.imageshack.us/my.php?image=img19t.jpg) A Bradley had my six this day
(http://img7.imageshack.us/img7/8774/img18b.th.jpg) (http://img7.imageshack.us/my.php?image=img18b.jpg) RPK Gunner POV
(http://img12.imageshack.us/img12/3060/img15l.th.jpg) (http://img12.imageshack.us/my.php?image=img15l.jpg) Tubthumping
(http://img13.imageshack.us/img13/6471/img02nos.th.jpg) (http://img13.imageshack.us/my.php?image=img02nos.jpg) Middle of Nowhere, right next to Hell
(http://img11.imageshack.us/img11/7463/img05jyz.th.jpg) (http://img11.imageshack.us/my.php?image=img05jyz.jpg) It was either bandannas or mohawks. I don't like mohawks.
(http://img11.imageshack.us/img11/1769/vipercrewblackedout.th.jpg) (http://img11.imageshack.us/my.php?image=vipercrewblackedout.jpg) Mudded up
(http://img4.imageshack.us/img4/6426/img015syi.th.jpg) (http://img4.imageshack.us/my.php?image=img015syi.jpg) Front seat floorboard armor, extended under seats too.
(http://img4.imageshack.us/img4/2514/img014y.th.jpg) (http://img4.imageshack.us/my.php?image=img014y.jpg) Rear floorboard armor
(http://img4.imageshack.us/img4/433/img013g.th.jpg) (http://img4.imageshack.us/my.php?image=img013g.jpg) Rear door armor
(http://img4.imageshack.us/img4/5229/img012utq.th.jpg) (http://img4.imageshack.us/my.php?image=img012utq.jpg) Front door armor


I tried for hours to make the images big enough to view without having to click them. I failed.
Title: Re: Observations on combat from a moving vehicle
Post by: Goatdog62 on May 11, 2009, 09:29:47 PM
a few other things;

I cannot recall a single instance of our M4's jamming, failing to feed, stovepiping, etc. No one told me that theirs did and I know mine did not. Our weapons got very dirty and were immediately dusty again after cleaning. There is no avoiding the dirt, we also very lightly oiled our bolts. Really we oiled them and wiped as much as we could off. I know that YMMV but I've been carrying the M16/M4/AR15 system for over 30 years and would trust it with my life again. In Fallujah and later on the State Dept gig in Baghdad, our Bushmasters proved to be excellent weapons systems.

The Glock, as in every other environment it is exposed too, worked infallibly in the desert. Great gun. Simply said...just about perfect.

Toyotas rule most of the third world. They can be repaired with kleenex and spit. Had good results from that F350, but given a choice, a Toyota is mine. I currently own three and a Lexus. All four use the same oil filters and other parts. I like that.



 
Title: Re: Observations on combat from a moving vehicle
Post by: Goatdog62 on May 12, 2009, 09:50:20 PM
and more;

NVG's aren't that useful in urban areas if you are driving. They will be a little more useful if the power is out and all the lights typically found in a city aren't blinding out your NOD's. Just the oncoming headlights from other traffic, and even brakelights from cars in front of you, can render them semi-useless. If you have more than one occupant in your vehicle, consider having one passenger wear them and the driver not.

In a rural area, they are truly an asset. Even the old Gen I and II stuff, with a little help from the moon, will allow you to drive really well with no headlights at all.
Title: Re: Observations on combat from a moving vehicle
Post by: Spamity Calamity on May 13, 2009, 12:58:46 PM
Nice I am thinking of going with a toyota for my BOV. But they dont make a heavy version you alluded to do they? (3/4 or 1 ton). The armor is interesting. It just hangs there on the side like that? I guess if a fellow had some time I could mebbe figure out how to work that behind the door panels how thick is that stuff? Is armor plating even available for us civilians over here in the US?
Title: Re: Observations on combat from a moving vehicle
Post by: Muddyboots on May 13, 2009, 03:15:11 PM
Good stuff. Thanks for the sandlot shots, much appreciated!

Muddyboots
Title: Re: Observations on combat from a moving vehicle
Post by: Goatdog62 on May 13, 2009, 04:26:23 PM
Actually, I've drove/rode level B7 armored Land Cruisers overseas and stateside. They had diesels though, I'm sure they were imported as Toyota doesn't have an oilburner available stateside.

Great trucks. Wish I had one, but with the armor package they are over $140K new. These are done right though, in a dedicated assembly line. I have seen some add-on armor that comes in kits specifically made for whatever type vehicle you have. You bolt it in/on yourself and hope for the best. It rattles, it takes away available interior space, it doesn't include floorboards or headliners, and doesn't make you feel very secure.

Hardox and Armox are only about 1/4 to 3/8ths inch thick. Heavy though. Last I heard a 4' x 8' sheet of either was around $12K, so no budget stuff there. Of course, that is what they were charging the military, YMMV.

It is available for private purchase but exporting it was illegal. That is as of 2005.
Title: Re: Observations on combat from a moving vehicle
Post by: khristopher23 on May 18, 2009, 07:49:54 PM
Man, that's a lot of good info goatdog, and much appreciated. +1
Title: Re: Observations on combat from a moving vehicle
Post by: Goatdog62 on May 18, 2009, 08:08:03 PM
Thanks Khristopher23

I put some time into it, and have a lot more on the subject, but few commented so I figured it wasn't pertinent to this forum. Its there for whoever wants to read it though, so my work here is done ;D
Title: Re: Observations on combat from a moving vehicle
Post by: Sister Wolf on May 18, 2009, 08:53:23 PM
No, no, it IS pertinent to this forum.  The thing is, I know basically nothing about what you're talking about.  So I'm reading, and not contributing to the thread, but you get a +1 from me every time I click on it.  So please, continue.  You are valued.  :)
Title: Re: Observations on combat from a moving vehicle
Post by: Goatdog62 on May 18, 2009, 09:05:01 PM
Thanks Sister Wolf!

I have found all your comments on any thread to be not only relevant, but articulate. People like you, Heavy G, Jack, etc are what convinced me to join TSP.

Title: Re: Observations on combat from a moving vehicle
Post by: Sister Wolf on May 18, 2009, 09:21:50 PM
Thanks Sister Wolf!

I have found all your comments on any thread to be not only relevant, but articulate. People like you, Heavy G, Jack, etc are what convinced me to join TSP.

Thank you! :)
Title: Re: Observations on combat from a moving vehicle
Post by: Beetle on May 19, 2009, 03:28:44 AM
a few other things;

I cannot recall a single instance of our M4's jamming, failing to feed, stovepiping, etc. No one told me that theirs did and I know mine did not. Our weapons got very dirty and were immediately dusty again after cleaning. There is no avoiding the dirt, we also very lightly oiled our bolts. Really we oiled them and wiped as much as we could off. I know that YMMV but I've been carrying the M16/M4/AR15 system for over 30 years and would trust it with my life again. In Fallujah and later on the State Dept gig in Baghdad, our Bushmasters proved to be excellent weapons systems.

The Glock, as in every other environment it is exposed too, worked infallibly in the desert. Great gun. Simply said...just about perfect.

Toyotas rule most of the third world. They can be repaired with kleenex and spit. Had good results from that F350, but given a choice, a Toyota is mine. I currently own three and a Lexus. All four use the same oil filters and other parts. I like that.



 
  Good to hear that of the Glocks...

I heard that if a Molotov is thrown at your windshield NOT to use your windshiled wipers as the rubber smears and makes visibility impossible. Any experience with  Molotov's?
Title: Re: Observations on combat from a moving vehicle
Post by: Goatdog62 on May 19, 2009, 04:46:01 AM
No molotov experience. Just rocks and mud (and bullets). I never heard of any flaming bottles of gas thrown at anyone while I was there. Don't know what my reaction would be exactly. Hmmmm...
Title: Re: Observations on combat from a moving vehicle
Post by: James Yeager on June 13, 2009, 10:35:48 PM
No molotov experience. Just rocks and mud (and bullets). I never heard of any flaming bottles of gas thrown at anyone while I was there. Don't know what my reaction would be exactly. Hmmmm...

I never had any, or heard of any, in Iraq either. That is mostly a Central and South America style attack. If your windows are up and the bottle does break (they don't too often because folks use thick glass bottles) just ignore it and keep driving. It will simply burn off.
Title: Re: Observations on combat from a moving vehicle
Post by: Pathfinder on June 14, 2009, 06:57:31 AM
Goatdog, great thread. First, and I know you were/are paid well for the work, but thank you for being there and getting the job done. If you listen to the MSM - especially regarding Blackwater - you would be forgiven for thinking that everyone in this country hates your guts. We do not. A lot of Americans recognize that freedom ain't free, and it take good people doing a lot of really crappy work in abysmal conditions to keep the BGs in check.

I love 350s too - I still have my ranch truck, looks just like the one in your photos only mine's black. And has leather . . .   ;D
Title: Re: Observations on combat from a moving vehicle
Post by: James Yeager on June 14, 2009, 07:08:54 AM
Goatdog, great thread. First, and I know you were/are paid well for the work, but...

Yep great thread.

Please do not think I am being rude. I just want to explain something about Contracting. It pays more than flipping burgers burgers but I assure you that Contractors do not get paid for what they do. No amount of money will make a person choose such a dangerous vocation. How many folks reading this would actually travel to a foreign country where they look different than everyone around them, and the people in that country were actively trying to murder them on a daily (sometimes hourly) basis, to make a few bucks? How many would STAY after the first bomb killed a teammate?

Pay? It seems pretty pathetic when the bullets are flying by.....
Title: Re: Observations on combat from a moving vehicle
Post by: Roknrandy on June 14, 2009, 07:43:25 AM
Great thread guys (James and Goatdog62), Please keep adding more information and experiences. It's good to know what works and what doesn't from personal accounts and first hand knowledge.
Title: Re: Observations on combat from a moving vehicle
Post by: Roknrandy on June 14, 2009, 07:56:05 AM
Goat and James, how were replacement parts for vehicles obtained? I know there wasnt a pep boys on every corner.

I assume you guys had some type of BOB when you went out in your vehicles in case something happened you had to abandon it. What items did you take? food, water comms, ammo?
Title: Re: Observations on combat from a moving vehicle
Post by: homeshow on June 14, 2009, 08:44:29 AM
goatdog some of this is old hat for a few here.  but we ALL appreciate the input.  love the tub!!  that guy was a great buddy to have.  hope he made it back home too.
Title: Re: Observations on combat from a moving vehicle
Post by: Copyright 1972 on June 14, 2009, 09:16:41 AM
Goood stuff Goatdog, thanks for sharing what you know with us.  That's what makes this forum great, everyone brings something different to the table.  Not too many people here that can speak of getting shot at with such non-shelontness (sp?).  Never hesitate to share with us.

Oh yea, Toyota's Rule! +1
Title: Re: Observations on combat from a moving vehicle
Post by: Goatdog62 on June 14, 2009, 10:00:20 AM
Wow, I thought this post had died a long time ago.

Goatdog, great thread. First, and I know you were/are paid well for the work, but thank you for being there and getting the job done. If you listen to the MSM - especially regarding Blackwater - you would be forgiven for thinking that everyone in this country hates your guts. We do not. A lot of Americans recognize that freedom ain't free, and it take good people doing a lot of really crappy work in abysmal conditions to keep the BGs in check.

I love 350s too - I still have my ranch truck, looks just like the one in your photos only mine's black. And has leather . . .   ;D

Thanks Pathfinder. Blackwater had issues at times. But, for the most part, was a dedicated group of guys. Any "cowboys" were quickly corrected or sent home. When I first went overseas with them, there weren't 80 or so of us spread out over several contracts. When I left three years later in 06, there were about 1200 or more. With quantity, quality has a tendency to drop.

Yep great thread.

Pay? It seems pretty pathetic when the bullets are flying by.....

The pay was excellent. No disagreement with that. But I knew 25 personally who never got to enjoy it. You always figure that it won't be you that gets it, that it'll be the other guy, that you are destined for other things. In reality, it seems kind of random to me.

Ironically, I went over for the big money, but stayed because it felt like I was getting something done. When I was running the Ambassadors Protection Detail, I felt like part of history. In a strange twist, I now make more stateside then most contractors are getting overseas now. I left at just the right time I guess.

Goat and James, how were replacement parts for vehicles obtained? I know there wasnt a pep boys on every corner.

I assume you guys had some type of BOB when you went out in your vehicles in case something happened you had to abandon it. What items did you take? food, water comms, ammo?

Parts were shipped in by the client support contractors. They did a decent job as I recall, but you might have a truck sidelined for a couple weeks. We made a lot of "redneck repairs" though. I had plenty of experience doing field expedient repairs from my Army days. We once short-tracked an APC and got three more days of hard use out of it.

We had the BOB's from hell. They were always next to us (not stored in the back). They were loaded up with water, ammo, frags, blowout kits (first aid), signals, GPS, etc. We loaded them to be entirely independent of anything we kept in the truck. The reasoning for this was that if we left the truck, it would likely be in a frenzied hurry. There would be no time to root around in the truck and find stuff we might need. Even though we never rolled with less than two vehicles (a very smart policy) we knew that shit happens.

True story. Once were were making a short run to Camp Ridgeway (TQ) from our setup at the Rock outside Fallujah. About halfway there, in an abandoned Iraqi Army garrison, we spotted four insurgents running away from the road. We shot off road at an angle and brought the RPK to bear on them. They really had nowhere to run away to, so they stopped and we took them into custody, put sandbags over their heads and loaded them into the trucks. In an effort to see what they were up to, we found a garage door opener (the remote control), four mortar rounds, and all the stuff necessary to make an IED. Additionally, they had four motorcycles that were lying in the ditch they planned to make their getaways with. They were two-stroke Jawa's. We threw those into a couple trucks too.

We took them to the FOB. The officer there really didn't want them, even after they admitted they were setting up a roadside bomb! Reluctantly they decided to take them from us for "intel reasons."  We kept the dirt bikes.

The very next day they showed up at our tiny compound wanting to get their bikes back. Well, that didn't happen for them. They left and I'm sure it made them hate Americans even more.
The motorcycles, had we figured out how to carry them, would have made great "Bugout Bikes" to use if our trucks went down. In the long run, it was impractical to carry them with us. We did ride them recreationally around our camp.

goatdog some of this is old hat for a few here.  but we ALL appreciate the input.  love the tub!!  that guy was a great buddy to have.  hope he made it back home too.

He was in the 18th Airborne Corps, out of Bragg. We talked a lot about sharing the same stomping grounds when I was in the Eighty Deuce there.
Title: Re: Observations on combat from a moving vehicle
Post by: Hare of Caerbannog on June 14, 2009, 12:36:04 PM
Goatdog62

I really appreciate this post.
Great pics.

On a side note, it is true that Blackwater and companies like them have taken heat from MSM and most notably the Left.
That doesn't bother me because I have absolutely no respect for anything they say anyway.
What has disturbed me is when libertarians and anarchists attack Blackwater. They, more than anyone, should be delighted by the success and achievements of private security forces.
Thirty years ago Murray Rothbard was writing about private security forces and privatizing conflict resolutions and very few people believed it possible.
Blackwater and the companies working in Africa and elsewhere have proved him right.
Lovers of liberty and of the free market should be shouting the praises of Blackwater every time the topic comes up!
No matter what a person may believe about a specific conflict like Iraq, you guys have shown what can be done in a free market.
I'm sure some Blackwater people made mistakes. They are human and we humans make mistakes.
But I believe that if you weigh in the balances what you guys accomplished against the odds you faced and the mistakes made, you guys stand out as champions of liberty and heroes of humanity.
My hat's off to you.
Title: Re: Observations on combat from a moving vehicle
Post by: Pathfinder on June 14, 2009, 01:44:31 PM
The very next day they showed up at our tiny compound wanting to get their bikes back. Well, that didn't happen for them. They left and I'm sure it made them hate Americans even more.

Dude! They were already trying to kill you - and I'm sure it was personal. How much more hate is a human capable of?   ;D

James, as for the pay issue - I was thanking Goatdog and anyone else who served over there, to let you know your experiences were greatly appreciated. Caerbannog said it far better than I did originally.

I agree, you have to have a better reason than just the money - as Goatdog put it wanting to make a difference. The money is nice if you make it back. My condolences on the 25+ you knew who did not make it back.
Title: Re: Observations on combat from a moving vehicle
Post by: Goatdog62 on June 14, 2009, 01:56:54 PM
Goatdog62

I really appreciate this post.
Great pics.

On a side note, it is true that Blackwater and companies like them have taken heat from MSM and most notably the Left.
That doesn't bother me because I have absolutely no respect for anything they say anyway.
What has disturbed me is when libertarians and anarchists attack Blackwater. They, more than anyone, should be delighted by the success and achievements of private security forces.
Thirty years ago Murray Rothbard was writing about private security forces and privatizing conflict resolutions and very few people believed it possible.
Blackwater and the companies working in Africa and elsewhere have proved him right.
Lovers of liberty and of the free market should be shouting the praises of Blackwater every time the topic comes up!
No matter what a person may believe about a specific conflict like Iraq, you guys have shown what can be done in a free market.
I'm sure some Blackwater people made mistakes. They are human and we humans make mistakes.
But I believe that if you weigh in the balances what you guys accomplished against the odds you faced and the mistakes made, you guys stand out as champions of liberty and heroes of humanity.
My hat's off to you.

So true. It is proof of the fundamental Libertarian viewpoint that private enterprise can accomplish what governements feebly try to accomplish today. At lower cost, with little waste, and no lingering pensions, disabilities, etc to pay for decades.

Now back to topic;

I think I am about to purchase a used Land Cruiser or 4Runner and completely modify it into my "I got 505 miles to reach my family" BOV (I know, the title needs work). I want to do it right, but it can't look like a Mad Max machine because there is some merit in not looking "prepped." Stay tuned for the complete detailed build. It will take time, mostly because I am away from home 4 - 5 weeks at a stretch.
Title: Re: Observations on combat from a moving vehicle
Post by: Goatdog62 on June 14, 2009, 02:03:30 PM
Dude! They were already trying to kill you - and I'm sure it was personal. How much more hate is a human capable of?   ;D

James, as for the pay issue - I was thanking Goatdog and anyone else who served over there, to let you know your experiences were greatly appreciated. Caerbannog said it far better than I did originally.

I agree, you have to have a better reason than just the money - as Goatdog put it wanting to make a difference. The money is nice if you make it back. My condolences on the 25+ you knew who did not make it back.

No issues Pathfinder. Some days I felt overpaid, still do, no lies there. Many guys wasted their money, got even deeper in debt, bought Rolex's, other BS. I had my "blow" money, but stuck to a budget, paid off anything that wasn't, and turned the corner on my life.

Title: Re: Observations on combat from a moving vehicle
Post by: James Yeager on June 14, 2009, 02:08:40 PM
Mercenaries kill people for money.

Contractors wouldn't kill anyone for money they wouldn't kill for free.
Title: Re: Observations on combat from a moving vehicle
Post by: Hare of Caerbannog on June 14, 2009, 02:17:26 PM
Mercenaries kill people for money.

Contractors wouldn't kill anyone for money they wouldn't kill for free.

Jack needs to make that The Quote Of The Day!
I want it on a bumper sticker! blimp!
Title: Re: Observations on combat from a moving vehicle
Post by: Pathfinder on June 14, 2009, 05:47:06 PM
I think I am about to purchase a used Land Cruiser or 4Runner and completely modify it into my "I got 505 miles to reach my family" BOV (I know, the title needs work). I want to do it right, but it can't look like a Mad Max machine because there is some merit in not looking "prepped." Stay tuned for the complete detailed build. It will take time, mostly because I am away from home 4 - 5 weeks at a stretch.

There's always that old Peter Paul and Mary song "500 Miles". It is shorter (somewhat)

Definately interested in the build reports. Good luck with that.
Title: Re: Observations on combat from a moving vehicle
Post by: derajer on July 14, 2009, 03:24:12 PM
First, thanks for all that did over there man. This is an awesome thread.

Second, you should call your BOV the "five-oh-five" cause that would be an awesome title, kind of like the 309.

Finally there are companies that will armor civilian vehicles as well as provide kit, see below:

http://www.customarmoring.com/ (http://www.customarmoring.com/)
http://www.iacarmormax.com/ (http://www.iacarmormax.com/)
http://www.texasarmoring.com/ (http://www.texasarmoring.com/)
http://www.armoredsolutions.com/safe-view.asp (http://www.armoredsolutions.com/safe-view.asp)
http://www.secintel.com/pc-459-22-bullet-proof-car-kit.aspx (http://www.secintel.com/pc-459-22-bullet-proof-car-kit.aspx)
http://www.ceradyne.com/products/armor/vehicle-armor-conversion.aspx (http://www.ceradyne.com/products/armor/vehicle-armor-conversion.aspx)


There are many more, but these are just from a few quick searches. You can do all sort of things to james bond your ride.
Title: Re: Observations on combat from a moving vehicle
Post by: James Yeager on July 14, 2009, 03:48:59 PM
This is an excerpt from my Book on High Risk Civilian Contracting:

Quote
Run and Gun in Iraq

 Note: Ben Thomas is one of my former Team Mates and best friends. I met him in 2004 when I began my quest for knowledge about contracting before going to Iraq the first time. The following article was all I could find about doing the job. I sent Ben an e-mail and hired him soon after. I made my DVD set to help fill the void until somebody provided a source of info about contracting.

 Here we are in 2008 and still nobody has done it. My attempt on these pages is my repayment to Ben for the hard learned lessons he shared with me, and the world, several years ago. He has his detractors, as I do, and I do not care if you like either of us. He is a warrior and has saved my life more than once.

 The following was written in 2004, while in combat, and is much as historical document as it is a tactical guide. I am sure if I asked Ben to rewrite it today it would be different and would have evolved. Thanks for everything Mookie.
–Yeager


Info from Iraq from Someone who is Doing the Run and Gun
By Ben “Mookie” Thomas

 Yesterday a friend of mine who runs a small security company here in Iraq emailed me. He is standing up a protection detail and wanted my opinion on tactics and equipment running the roads of Iraq; Tactics, SOP's, hard car or soft? I have been giving it some thought and here is where I am at.

 I am willing to speculate I’m as well traveled in Iraq as anyone I’ve met. I’ve been just about everywhere between Kuwait and Iran, all points in between. And I’ve traveled every way possible.

 I’ve gone in military convoy up armored hummers at 40MPH. I’ve run the Fallujah Baghdad gauntlet in a 15 truck convoy, thin skinned white F350's. I’ve rolled all over in blacked out Pajeros in local dress. Diplomatic convoys with armored suburbans and helo cover. I’ve done the whole hide the guns and smile a lot all the way to showing just about everyone the front sight post. I’ve done 140KMH up MSR Tampa and weaved through Sadr city at a near standstill. 

 I, like nearly everyone have made mistakes and been lucky to be here writing this.
I think the most important and neglected aspect of survival in theatre is training. Every freaking day your crew should practice "actions on” (Counter Ambush Drills) - At least do it on a dry erase board. Actions upon anything and everything. What usually happens is we start going through the "what ifs" and all the sudden every guy in the crew has a different idea of what should happen. After all we come from many different backgrounds. After about 30 minutes of that we all end up scratching our head debating which idea is best and say "let’s get chow". Decide on some fundamental concepts. And stick to them, but of course always remembering that the plan is just something to deviate from anyway. As long as we all know the end goal and work towards it. i.e. If the vehicle is stalled in the ambush, driver flicks it in neutral so the rear car can ram us out and we prepare to un-ass the vehicle on the opposite side of the contact.

 So rehearse and practice - Which is easy to say because I am the first to admit that a knock on my hooch at 7AM with "hey man lets rehearse this" makes me grumble.
I’m sure we can all agree that debating your actions on is best done at the hootch rather than on the side of a road in Tikrit while your car is being remodeled by a PKM.

 PMS your vehicles all the time. Being broke down in Iraq is like a scene on a bad movie. Been there done that. Check tires, oil, fluid, etc... And don’t overdrive your car. My friend VC managed to put a Pajero upside down and backwards on Tampa once because we pushed the cars past their controllability.

 Every IC you meet will tell you he is a great driver. Just because you drive fast and haven’t hit anything yet doesn’t mean you’re a good tactical driver. Go to BSR or some other school. And if you haven’t let the guy who has drive. Conduct driver training. Get the best guy to teach everyone else. OJT.

 Practice changing tires. There are a couple guys reading this email right now who know exactly what I am talking about. Realizing you’ve packed 300 pounds of gear on top the spare while on the side of a road in Ramadi is a self loathing Ide like not replicate. Make sure you have a tow strap in EVERY vehicle. Loop it through the rear bumper so it’s already attached. that way you swing in front of the busted car and they hook up. Gone in 60 seconds or vice versa... Get a good jack, it's worth the money. Make sure everyone knows where all the tow, change, repair gear is in every vehicle.

 In the glove box keep your stay behinds. A frag, Smoke, CN. The rule is. NEVER FUCK WITH THE PIN UNLESS YOU HAVE THE GRENADE OUTSIDE THE WINDOW! Hit a bump and it drops on the roadside. Minimal drama. Inside the car? Party foul. Use CN and Smoke. If you're caught in traffic and you have a bad feeling about a car behind you, toss the smoke. Most motorists will stop or at least give you a lot of space. It works and it’s harmless. Can use more sparingly and never while in tight traffic. Watching that cloud blow towards your car faster than you can drive is not fun. The CN is rough stuff and I only would use it on those rare situations where it just has to be done. And the frag? Well we all know when those need to be used.

Put a rubber band on your sling so it doesn’t get caught on stuff while getting out of the car.

 Always do a proper route plan. Common sense here. And another note, we are always trying to be sneakier and cleverer than everyone else. Avoiding MSR's and roads frequented by convoys you know the deal. Well before taking a road you see on a map that isn’t used by the Army. Go see the G2, ask them why. It may be for good reason.

 Think about fuel consumption. Plan your stops for fuel and food. Always carry a gas can, just in case. Always have spare batteries for the GPS, Always have a map and compass just like when we were E1's. Do a map study; make sure everyone in the crew knows the route plan. 

Carry as big a gun as you can. Keep it clean. Keep it hot (loaded).
 
 CARRY LOTS OF AMMO On April 4th I went through 14 mags (Fallujah) and NEVER would have thought that a possibility before then. Carry more ammo, stage spare mags EVERYWHERE. Like the freakin Easter bunny.

  I will never go without wearing a helmet again. If there is a Kevlar helmet, it’s going on my head. A dude standing right next to all of us on the roof was dropped from a headshot. Spend the money get a good MICH or the like. The more comfortable and low profile the more likely it is you'll wear it. WEAR A HELMET. Watching Alcon get blasted in the noggin was a SOP changing experience for ALL of us here.
Wear your armor. Period.

 If you sleep in a trailer or hootch, know where the nearest bunker is. Trying to find it at 4 AM while scared shitless isn’t the answer. And yes everyone runs for the bunker. The Delta dude who is always giving the evil eye will probably be the first one there followed immediately after by a SEAL in flip-flops. 120MM mortars make us all very humble.

 Shoot a lot. Keep training. If you’re company get more ammo. MAKE THEM. Dry fire. Practice mag changes. Focus on cheek weld and front site. The basics win every time.
The three guys shot on the roof here were all either changing mags while standing or weren’t moving to different firing positions frequently - all were regular military and not contractors. They were doing standard Army range shit. And got dropped for it...
You remember when Sam Elliot said "If I need one there will be plenty laying around" in the film WE WERE SOLDIERS ONCE, in regards to the rifles? He was right. If you’ve seen those pictures of us on the net Chip was on a SAW and I had a M203. There were weapons strewn about the roof by wounded and those who elected to not play on the two way range. No shit. By the end of week two here we all had our choice in weapons. No shit. We fired RPK, AK47, PKM, MK19, M249, M203, M4, Druganov, and M60 at bad guys between the eight of us... That was unreal...

 This brings me onto this - Train on all weapons. If you don’t have access at least read the FM or TM on them. You never know when you’re out of 5.56 and someone will hand you a PKM. Get familiar with them.

 Practice shooting out to 800M. I know, nearly every fight is within 150 but we were trying to bang a mortar crew that was pounding us at 800M's. And it happened more than once. In terms of shooting. Practice as you did on active duty. Always scrounge ammo.

 I will ALWAYS take a hardcar over a soft. Its just common sense at this point. If I have a soft car I will sandbag the floors and jam steel and spare plates everywhere I can. Bolt on armor is shit, but better than nothing. Remove the LEXAN windows from the guntrucks. Just like in the old days nothing breaks contact quite like returning accurate, violent fire. The rear vehicle is always most likely to be hit. Put your best shooters in there, biggest guns.

 THE GOLDEN CONNEX BOX... It ain't coming dude. If I had a nickel for every time I have been told "Oh yeah man, we ordered ten of those and they should be here in three days" Or my favorite "don’t worry, it will meet you incountry". If you don’t have good guns, ammo, armor, or comms. “Just say no” like Nancy Reagan used to say. Some companies are total pieces of shit and will leave you in Iraq with a busted ass stolen AK and two mags. Some will do you better than a tier one unit. Personally, I just want the above mentioned items and the rest to go to my bank account. If I want a three hundred dollar backpack Ill buy it. Bottom line. Remember what gear is critical. Demand it be the best and take proper care of it.

 Medical equipment. It’s expensive. It has saved lives. The company I currently work for spent a gajillion dollars outfitting each crew with great mad gear. I'm sure the bill was hard to swallow. I shit you not it saved three peoples lives, all had life threatening injuries. The med kits and our 18D's saved them. The Army had a few bandages and an IV. That was it. You know who you are, thank you for spending the money...

Do remedial med training. Can’t say anymore on that issue. Do it.

 Wherever you go carry lots of booze. It’s the most valuable item you can have. If I wrote a list of things I have managed to swindle with a bottle of Jack placed in an E8's hands you would crap you’re pants.

 Don’t get drunk and stupid. Be drunk or stupid but never both at once.

 Never let the client convince you "it’s safe, I do this all the time". If it’s stupid it’s stupid.
On the same note. Remember if we hamper our client’s ability to do their job too much. Our company can get shitcanned. It’s a fine line. Yeah you’re client thinks its cute to drive to some hadji's house at midnite for tea, sometimes you just have to do it.

 Learn to deal with all the clients. Some truly think that all Iraqis are great people and that the US Army is the enemy. Some will encourage you to shoot bicyclists who hog the road. I’ve seen both sides. Keep their agenda and ego's in mind. Don’t make your own life miserable.

 Aimpoints are great. The EOTEC is Ok. TA31 ACOG is the best by far. The AIMPOINT battery lasts six months. The EOTEC is a little too bright for my taste. Remember that the dot is like 3MOA in size so they aren’t any good past 300 or 400. The Acog is the heat.

 Buy short M4's. They will save you’re ass. I carry a 18" upper on me with glass so when we reach our destination I flick it on the lower receiver and I now have a decent long gun. It’s like having two guns to choose from.   
 
 If you’re doing Green Zone PSD a mag or two may do you but if you’re in the party zone? TWELVE. Speaking of which, weapon, twelve mags, pistol, three mags, MEDKIT, GPS, mpa and compass, radio, spare battery, 500US dollars, MRE , water bottle, NVG, armor. It’s a lot. It’s hot but fuck it, if its too heavy get membership at the gym. This job isn’t for everybody.

In your vehicle. Put a US flag on the visor so nobody can see it until you approach a checkpoint, then flip it down. On the passenger side do the same with a VS17 panel. G.I. Joe will shoot your ass just as soon as a Hadji will.

Carry MRE's and water in your car.

NEVER throw food or candy to kids. there are many reasons why. But at the least it encourages kids to jump in front of cars, smashing a kid would ruin your trip here.

If you find yourself trusting the locals its time to take a vacation. Walk the fine line. Don’t be too conservative and don’t get blown up.

Listen to your intuition. It has saved a guy who is on this mailing list and not listening to it killed a friend a month ago.

Once you make contact ... Finish it. If you shot a guy and he is limping to cover he can still get there and return fire. Just finish everything you start.

A car door is not cover. In fact a car is not cover. Cement is.

 While doing the workup for my last deployment we did live fire IADS and movement from vehicles. It was the best training I have done and the most useful. On that note we did many SIMUNITION runs with vehicle ambush scenarios. We found that without a doubt the single most important factor in surviving is getting out and away from the car. Getting behind it as though it was a concrete barrier and playing HEAT will get you killed.

 Don’t work for a company that doesn’t vet its IC's. Check their creds, call the references, and put them through a ten day selection course. Just because a guy was a SEAL in Vietnam doesn’t mean he maintained his skills. On that note the best shooter in my training class was Vietnam SEAL. Some of the best guys were 22year old Rangers and the worst 38 year old SEALs. My point it’s the individual that counts. But we don’t have time or money to bring a regular Army kid up to speed. You have to have the fundamental skill sets. We can’t introduce you to live fire Australian peels. We should just review and coordinate verbal commands and simple shit.  Just because somebody is a good dude isn’t good enough. If he cant shoot, think, and move - leave him home. Big boy rules.

 If a guy doesn’t work out in your crew but has talent and skill send him elsewhere, don’t shitcan him. Personalities clash. Especially when you’re living together 24/7 for six months. Eating every meal together all that. If I hear the same stupid story from a guy forty times? That’s cool. It’s the 41st that’s gonna be drama. You guys know what I’m talking about.

 The contractor community is a sewing circle for men. Remember the DYNCORP guy who shot the principle in Baghdad last winter? The story in its most recent telling over cheap Turkish beer involved a diplomatic cover up, a magazine change, and several deaths.
 
Throwing a flashbang into the team leaders hootch at 3AM while drunk is not a good practical joke.

 Remember how much money you’re making. Nobody wants to clean the shitter on a Wednesday morning but keep in mind you're the highest paid janitor in the world that day.

 Keep a sense of humor. Keep funny people around, they make shitty situations tolerable and are like Prozac when you need it.

 Have thick skin. Your friends will ask for naked pictures of your wife on deployment and yes they may take them to the bathroom with them. Take criticism. If you suck at something ask for training.

 Always remember that you were once a young dumbass E1. You made 450 dollars a month and weren’t allowed to fart without a permission chit ran up and down the chain of command. Keep this in mind when you’re bitching because you’re only making17,000 dollars a month when guys at the other company are getting 17,500. And when the bosses back in the states email you to have a clean shave? Do it. you never know when you’re going to be on some stupid newspaper.

 The soldiers around us are deployed for a year sometimes more. They make a fraction of the pay. And are ordered to do stupid, dangerous shit everyday. Keep that in mind when you are upset that instead of 60 days you’re extended to 68. And keep that in mind when dealing with soldiers. Treat them well, nobody else does.

 Yes, we all work for ourselves at the end of the day. At the same end, never fuck over your company or teammates who have to stay behind and clean up your mess. Business OPSEC is one thing but always share your info on intel and tactics. We are all Americans and most of us will work together one time or another. Some of the "business secret" stuff is corny. If you hit an IED on ASR Jackson yesterday, email your colleagues to stay away. 

That’s it off the top of my head.

Stay Safe,
Ben
Title: Re: Observations on combat from a moving vehicle
Post by: bubtech on September 28, 2009, 10:39:20 PM
fantastic thread
B