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There’s a lot going on in this short clip, but there are a few interesting take-aways. The things that most people will notice: one guy has a hard time with the PKM, and the other guy is pretty much just shooting into the air for the heck of it. But first, check out the guy in blue . . .

He’s an Iraqi Police officer, briefly seen a couple of times, right up front and then again later with the radio. He’s running a PKM through a spider hole that, judging from the pickaxe lying around, they created themselves. He’s behind the sights and sending rounds. He seems chill and generally competent. Good job, officer.

As the camera pans, notice both of the next shooters are wearing US Army OCP pants with what looks like Solomon or a similar style shoe. I’m willing to bet a lot that these guys are trained and equipped by an ODA [Special Forces Operational Detachment Alpha. An “A” team. The basic Green Beret Unit.]

To further bolster that assessment, notice that the guy with a beard running the PKM is sitting on a a VHS-2 Bullpup carbine in 5.56, a rifle used by Iraqi Special Forces. He’s got the PKM running pretty slow. He’s not really looking down the sights at all. From his angle, maybe he can see the front sight, but I doubt it, and there’s just no way he sees the rear sight.

Then, yay, rocket attack! And everyone is happy. The clean-shaven guy wants to get in on the PKM action, but he has a little trouble with it.

The video’s description says he “fails at several attempts to make the machine gun fire.” Well, he does exactly what we are trained to do in that situation, which is charge and fire again.

He makes the mistake of doing that a couple of times instead of just once. But then we see him opening up the gun to access the feed tray as the camera pans to the bearded guy, who has now grabbed the VHS-2. And he fires it, generally over the wall, generally in the direction of the previous firing. But there is zero aiming of any kind.

As we hear the PKM pick back up, (guess clearing the tray and recharging worked like it should) we see the bearded dude just firing very high, with rounds likely landing a mile away.

At first, that looks like just horrible training, or a lack of training entirely. But, there is something else to see. It was not the clean-shaven dudes primary weapon. When he stopped firing with it the other guy filled in the gap in rounds out. The clean-shaven dude got it back up soon enough.

Firing doesn’t have to be accurate to be useful. After all, we see the Iraqi Police officer back on the radio, so maybe he is telling someone that the last rocket was a good hit, and to do that again, or maybe he is adjusting fire.

The rounds coming from this “fire team” may be purely harassing fire, meant to keep their targets in that building or general area so that the big stick of indirect fire can do its job.

If that’s the case, then these guys didn’t go great, but they did good enough.

I’m not betting these guys have been extensively trained, but they’ve got some of the basics down And kudos to them for being there and sending rounds down range. Plus, they are smiling and generally having a good time, which is a great attitude for combat, if you can get it.

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    • PK’s remind me of liquidified ass-lava, but not because they’re bad MGs…. and this is why;

      During a run up to Tikrit in ’04, while on my M2 in our rat-patrol 998, our convoy received fire while stopped in traffic at the Samarra overpass on MSR Tampa.

      There was also an Iraqi National Guard patrol stopped ahead of us on the shoulder, who had an open sightline to the palm plantation, whereas my 50 was blocked by a haji water truck.

      With nothing else to do but observe & wait, I watched one guardsman using rapid consecutive singles & doubles…. and being rewarded with a jam every few rounds. He was probably getting frustrated that his attempts at 3-5rd bursts off the HiLux hood went nowhere near the source of fire…

      The reason I remember this, is because the actual PKM gunner on that last Toyota must’ve ate some rotten goat cheese; after dismounting clean and being fairly effective shooting across the hood for 5min of sporadic contact, he suddenly clutched his stomach with one hand and panic-grabbed the closest buddy with his other. I thought he’d been hit…. until he started frantically trying to drop trou with unmistakable urgency. He made it past the his belt, but after that I don’t think he even achieved a full quarter-squat…. not even a man-dress and a freak updraft would’ve made his day any better.

      As I watched, I became aware of an underappreciated (and only) benefit to riding behind an MG in the bed of a Toyota (or the bed of a hillbilly up-armored 998); in case of rotten goat cheese ingestion (or DFAC to-go plates more than 10min old), nobody would notice until the vehicle stops.

      So when everyone transitioned to depot-uparmored 998s & 1114s with ring mounts, I never ate at the DFAC before a run. Besides not dropping a leaky deuce into bloused trousers, the stench percolating through the ring mount would’ve earned me a posthumous brown star with peanut cluster (though my driver & TC would’ve been blissfully unaware, stewing as they did in their own perpetual protein-shake gas cloud).

  1. I alway laugh when somebody curls up on a spider hole like that. It’s a great way to collect your 72 virgins. (Especially if the guys on the other side have a decent shooter with a DMR.) Hint: any bullet hitting the hole will likely wind up IN the gunner. The guy onehanding a rifle over the barricade is also priceless. That’s a great way to make noise and send random lead flying in only a generally defined direction.

  2. Those folks don’t act much like soldiers, they look more like dumb asses in “dress up” wasting ammo, praise alla.

  3. I have seen numerous videos with soldiers sticking their guns over a wall or berm and just firing away, turning a corner and letting loose from the hip, and similar unaimed shooting. Yet people are dying and combat lines are moving, so something is killing people.

    • What’s causing the deaths is riding 45 guys standing up in the back of a Toyota Hi-Lux and an 18 yo driver.

      • Pffft….
        They can fit more on the back of a Bongo….

        Besides, they let 18yr olds drive? I was sure haji law meant being a Lucky Pierre until they hit 20 at least. Or was that for a haji learner permit 😕

        • Different eras. My frame of reference was an ARVN deuce and a half full of soldiers. And their women. And their children. and their ducks. And their chickens. And even their pigs.

          And all the guys looked like 12 yo’s playing dress up in their daddy’s outfits.

    • It’s called the “inshallah” (*) method. Sight are ignored because it defies Allah’s will.

      * if Allah wills it.

  4. JWT, good assessment. Working with these guys everyday, they are more professional than some may give them credit for. Hopefully, all that training and those weapons won’t be turned on us…again.

    To some of the less experienced and informed;
    GoPros, giving keyboard commandos and Call of Duty athletes an opportunity to share their real life combat insights on the world wide web.

  5. I liked the white bird that seemed to sit in the window in the background just watching what was going on. Must have been louder than hell and didn’t seem to bother it.

  6. I have read that when Muslims are at war with each other the random shooting is quite prevalent. And if someone gets killed Allah willed it.

    • Roger, Roger! In my experience in the Muslim world, there is more than a little truth to the attitude you note. Insh’allah!


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