"A detailed study of the attack by a military historian found that weapons failed repeatedly at a 'critical moment' during the firefight on July 13, 2008"
This headline catches your attention immediately:
"Weapons failed US troops during Afghan firefight"
As it was in Vietnam too, American weaponry, as carried by the common infantryman, failing during a critical phase of the battle. Jamming, becoming so hot from constant firing it is no longer operable.
In particular, this battle was from the Afghan war, last year, 2008. An American forward operating base [FOB], a sitting duck for attack, partially overrun by a force of Taliban/Al Qaeda bad guys, American casualties being: "nine U.S. soldiers . . . dead and 27 more were wounded".
The M4 rifle, in actuality a carbine, a cut-down, modified, and shortened version of the M16 rifle, seems to be the culprit here [but not exclusively so]. Wielded by U.S. troops in Afghan and Iraq, the M-4 has not had the appreciative and positive approval you would have hoped to have been the case!
"Cpl. Jonathan Ayers and Spc. Chris McKaig were firing their M4s from a position the soldiers called the 'Crow's Nest.' The pair would pop up together from cover, fire half a dozen rounds and then drop back down"
"The soldiers also had trouble with their M249 machine guns, a larger weapon than the M4 that can shoot up to 750 rounds per minute."
"Cpl. Jason Bogar fired approximately 600 rounds from his M-249 before the weapon overheated and jammed the weapon."
"the weapons had breakdowns, especially when the rifles were on full automatic, which allows hundreds of bullets to be fired a minute."
* Overheating of weapons in Korea was a major problem as well. When faced with overwhelming numbers of attacking enemy troops [Chinese], employed in a profligate manner, the then-standard air-cooled Browning machine gun was often observed with a glowing red-hot barrel, rendering the accuracy of the weapon problematic!
* The M249 is the replacement for the M60 machine gun as the squad automatic weapon [SAW]. Normally the main firepower of an American infantry squad is built around that SAW, rifles as carried by the remainder of the troops merely considered to be supporting weapons. The M249 fires the same ammo as the M4!
* The M4 is NOT capable of full-automatic fire. Is capable of burst automatic-fire. three rounds at a time. Ten bursts of three rounds each per thirty round magazine.
* "The pair would pop up together from cover, fire half a dozen rounds and then drop back down". NO! Something not right here. I am not an infantry expert, but THEY SHOULD NOT HAVE HAD TO "POP UP", FIRE AND "DROP BACK DOWN"! Should have been firing from behind cover continuously, one man firing from the left side of a frontal berm [cover], the other man firing from the right side of the same berm [cover]. This 'Crow's Nest.' was an observation tower of some sort where this was not possible?
I have often thought that an experiment, the U.S. Army should issue entire units AK's and PKM's [each in 7.62 caliber] and see what the results are. Give the troops a quick and dirty lesson in AK and PKM marksmanship and let them have a go at the enemy. Doubt that will ever happen.
[the AK and PKM [machine gun] might both be rifled for 7.62, but do not use the same exact round, the latter weapon, PKM, firing the larger, old-fashioned but highly lethal 7.64 X 54 Russian round. The AK rifle round IS currently standard in NATO, a variety of the eastern Euopean nations still sporting the Kalashnikov!!]