Kit Up friend CJ Chivers of the New York Times has an updated post on his At War blog analyzing the precision shooting skill of the Taliban "snipers" encountered in the Marine assault on Marjah.
We've highlighted his work on the shooting skills of Afghans -- both government jundis and the insurgent fighters -- and their lack of marksmanship. In fact, of the US troops killed in combat in Afghanistan since Operation Enduring Freedom began in 2001, 188 have been killed by gunfire, Chivers tells us. That's still 25 only percent of the total KIA so far in Afghanistan.
So when our troops encounter enemy with some shooting skill, it's remarkable. Interestingly, DoD stats show that 667 US troops were killed in Iraq from gunshots, or 19 percent of the total KIA. By those numbers Iraqis are even worse shots than the Afghans (of course, there's no apples to apples since various factors, including the type of combat environment, could skew the results).
Chivers posted an awesome video that shows how one sharpshooter kept a platoon of Marines boxed in for a bit, and even took a chunk out of a grunt's shoulder. But most amazingly, Chivers shows that captured weapons after the op indicate the bad guys are reaching for the old school Enfields, not the Dragunov as their Iraqi compadres had. A big old 303 round, bolt action, and heavy barrell contribute to the old "battle rifle's" accuracy.
It's interesting to ponder why they're using the Enfield more than a more modern rifle -- probably supply chain issues more than anything. But I'd also like to know how these guys are getting trained. Is it in camps in Pakistan? Is it local? Who's doing the training? As most Kit Up readers know all too well, it takes a lot of training and dedication to become an accurate shot at long ranges. And employing the skills of a sniper in terms of concealment and tactics, takes more than just reading a manual or watching a video.