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  1. #1
    IncGamers Member Urzuxo's Avatar
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    US Soldiers (Afghanistan) How good are they?

    Hi guys!

    Does anybody here have any knowledge about the US military? Every time I hear about a fire fight it's something like this "20 talibans were killed and 1 american was injured".

    So my question, is there really such a big difference between the quality of military between US and terrorists? Not just looking at the soldier motivation, but the whole picture (weapons, training, equipment, organization etc).

    A grossly unprofessional guess, 100 talibans vs 20 US infantry in a city, what would the outcome be?

  2. #2
    IncGamers Member Technomancer's Avatar
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    Re: US Soldiers (Afghanistan) How good are they?

    You know, I've been seeing those kind of stories for years, and it blows my mind too. I'm no expert on the military, but to my knowledge, yes, there is just that much of a difference between US forces and the terrorists. There is quite a measurable difference between our military and most other militaries in the world. The terrorists are below even that threshold because they are not an organized fighting force on the scale of a national military, so they are at a massive disadvantage right there. Most do not have the training to even have a chance. That's not to say they aren't dangerous, they are, but it requires a very successful ambush or a great deal of luck for them to not be completely decimated. That's why they resorted to IEDs in Iraq, because they can't put up a toe-to-toe fight with organized, outfitted, well-trained, technologically superior soldiers. Also, terrorists and the Taliban can't exactly call in an air strike.

    Jmervyn would be able to get into this much better than I could, but he's usually only around on weekdays. Lately though, he's been waging his own war on technologically inept co-workers.

    For your scenario, in a city (and not an ambush situation), I'd put my money on the US infantry every time, and not just because I live here. My estimate would be infantry: 0-2 dead, a handful more injured; taliban: over half wounded or dead, the rest retreating. In the mountains, it might not be quite as lopsided, but the end result would likely be the same.

  3. #3
    IncGamers Member Stevinator's Avatar
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    Re: US Soldiers (Afghanistan) How good are they?

    I don't think it would be much of a fight. we have the best fighting force money can buy. I had friends that joined and they had to work out to get good enough to get in, even for technical positions. Then if you really want to blow your mind a little, our regular infantry is another large level of separation from our special forces troops. and then those areas have their elites.


    Remember though, it's nto like these engagements are tied up in a little map like in video games. a big part of why we're so good is not just that we train our troops well (though that helps), but that we can move resources so quickly and bring so much firepower to a specific spot. You take that capability, plus our disipline, our tech and the great value we put our own soldiers lives, it's a recipe for success.

  4. #4
    IncGamers Member BobCox2's Avatar
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    Re: US Soldiers (Afghanistan) How good are they?

    As I understand it
    The Big problem as with most foreign wars vs guerrilla forces is sorting the bad guys from the civilians.
    Or finding the hide outs.

    The other one is that in an invasion like this, even the civilian forces that hate the Taliban hate the foreign invaders worse.

    Also it does not matter how good your Troops are if your Leaders and Generals don't have an effective Strategy and send them to take meaningless targets or to hold an area where they themselves are no mare than targets.

  5. #5
    IncGamers Member jmervyn's Avatar
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    Re: US Soldiers (Afghanistan) How good are they?

    Quote Originally Posted by Technomancer View Post
    Jmervyn would be able to get into this much better than I could, but he's usually only around on weekdays.
    You rang? I'm pretty sure we've got other veterans here as well, though I'm the only one who's frequently on.
    Quote Originally Posted by Technomancer View Post
    Lately though, he's been waging his own war on technologically inept co-workers.
    Friday afternoon, she didn't know how to connect a DVI plug...

    Quote Originally Posted by Urzuxo View Post
    Does anybody here have any knowledge about the US military?
    I was an Infantry officer for just short of five years, and would have migrated to Military Intelligence except that Clinton gutted the U.S. armed forces (and Bush Sr. started it). I'm still involved with Dept. of Defense in a peripheral way, so I need to make a disclaimer - anything I write here is purely my own opinion and is not representative of U.S. policy in any way whatsoever. My combat experience was against the regular Iraqi army during Desert Storm, which prior to the invasion of Iraq was the most stunning combat success in history. I know substantial hearsay regarding other theaters of war, and military history is one of my primary hobbies. That being said, everyone has an opinion.
    Quote Originally Posted by Urzuxo View Post
    So my question, is there really such a big difference between the quality of military between US and terrorists? Not just looking at the soldier motivation, but the whole picture (weapons, training, equipment, organization etc).
    Simply put, yes. The Talibs, Iraqi insurgents, and pseudo-terrorists simply cannot succeed in a stand-up fight, because of a number of reasons.
    • In reality, morale/motivation DOES have an awful lot to do with it, even though it's certainly not the factor that we like to think it is. For starters, the Islamists are for the most part not even remotely professional; they are generally of what we might consider a criminal background, whether street thugs, thieves, or smugglers. Even a "green" Army recruit or conscript will have more guts than a criminal, because it's their profession - while an insurgent generally is making their living by bullying their own citizenry. The Talibs come from a tradition of boastful goat-stealers and smugglers; the Ghurkas they're not.
    • The primary morale issue above explains why the successes enjoyed by Islamists are often of the sort that has a tint of being underhanded in the Western mindset. While any intelligent military force will attempt to use sneak attacks or obtain surprise, Islamists are often reduced to attacking from vantage points hidden behind civilians, or pretending to be allies and then turning on Americans, etc. This is little different from wars against Israel, in which the terrorist "forces" purposefully place their command & control, support forces, and even artillery units specifically where the Israelis will avoid attacking or else be abused by the Western Left. Essentially, Islamists have no interest in Western "Laws of War", and consider Qu'ranic guidelines the only valid ones (such as there's no such thing as an honorable peace, only lying to your enemy while you recuperate enough to back-stab him). They are legitimately afraid to face an American soldier, as opposed to simply being outclassed by them the way the North Vietnamese were, or the Americans were against the British during the Revolutionary War.
    • The secondary morale issue is ethnic, and part of the so-called "clash of civilizations". Arab/Islamist fighters are great talkers, but they're a bunch of cowards when things get tough. There's no Western romantic or Puritan work ethic traditions in Arab society; it's often very cruel, selfish, and primitive in practice and while Muslim honor is paramount in theory, the reality is nowhere near the theory. Nobody likes to be on a losing side, but the Israelis routinely kicked Arab butt over the years simply because of this character weakness. I recall the Israelis even being condescending and discussing just how much better the Syrian Army was after they defeated them during the Seven-Day War.
    • The military structural tradition is quite different in Muslim countries, and is largely based on the old USSR military model (which emphasized peasant/conscript forces being bullied/controlled, rather than initiative). Muslim officers basically treat their enlisted men like shyte, and consider themselves Allah's gift to mankind. I recall a number of stories about Muslim officers attending U.S. Army schools on exchange programs, and initially refusing to carry their rucksacks, etc. Also in keeping with the USSR model, there's very little of Non-Commissioned Officer (sergeant) structure or tradition; you must be an officer to be worth anything. While this is less applicable, it gives you an idea just why all the terrorists call themselves names that would translate as things like "The Prince of Chickentown" or "The Cleaner of All Floors".
    • Weaponry is a significant issue, but you have to consider the concept of weapons systems rather than just 'guns'. I don't recall if it was on this forum that I had an extended argument with another poster about the efficacy of the American M-16, but that system was and is an inferior weapons system when compared to the AK-47. We don't even have a system comparable to the RPG in many cases; we use systems like one you might know as the Karl Gustav and often the Americans may not even have them. It's just that the entirety of American weapons systems are far superior; we have satellites and drones in the sky showing us the battlefield, helicopter support that can carry the wounded away, artillery support in some cases, extremely more capable communications, and perhaps one in eight soldiers has a 40mm grenade launcher, the counterpart being more or less novelty items in Muslim countries. Bottom line is that we integrate our capabilities, where the terrorists are acting in loose clusters.


    Quote Originally Posted by Urzuxo View Post
    A grossly unprofessional guess, 100 talibans vs 20 US infantry in a city, what would the outcome be?
    Hazarding a guess, ~60 dead Talibs from a pitched battle, ~40 captured (discounting those who run), and under 15 wounded Americans; the maximum number of American dead would be around 5. I'm vaguely basing this on the Marines in Fallujah, which would be inaccurate for a number of reasons, but you specified a city operation, which is referred to as MOUT. You don't attack without 3:1 odds, so I was presuming you had a "Fort Apache" scenario, similar to where the Talibs got badly fecked up by the Afghan Army alone - also assuming Americans don't have supply concerns but are simply in one of those silly "Deadliest Warrior" comparison match-ups (Raquel Welch or Barbara Carrera?). If not supplied and supported, the 'kill' ratio obviously is higher against the Americans (as history shows) but that's not as likely to occur in a built-up area.
    Quote Originally Posted by Technomancer View Post
    There is quite a measurable difference between our military and most other militaries in the world.
    I think I've mentioned it before, but even Americans (and specifically the Progressive Left) didn't grasp just <how> good we were prior to Desert Storm, and the Progressive Lefties haven't stopped their treasonous insanity about how unfair the idea of insufficient numbers of American body bags filled really is. I recall expecting to go home in a body bag from attacking against the 4th largest army in the world, equipped with modern weaponry, dug in a defense around Kuwait. The rest is history, and I even met my "replacement" who had nothing to do but sit on his arse all day in a camp. Members of our battalion joked about it being nothing but a huge field training exercise; my vehicle seemed to have been hit by rifle fire once or twice (probably sniping at me) but my platoon never had a chance to fire a shot in anger and all we did was take prisoners. Lots and lots of prisoners. We had saved up our disgusting Pork Patty MRE's...
    Quote Originally Posted by Technomancer View Post
    For your scenario, in a city (and not an ambush situation), I'd put my money on the US infantry every time, and not just because I live here. My estimate would be infantry: 0-2 dead, a handful more injured; taliban: over half wounded or dead, the rest retreating. In the mountains, it might not be quite as lopsided, but the end result would likely be the same.
    Not unlike what I posited above. The Battle of Kandahar I referred to actually was an ambush, and they STILL didn't do well.
    Quote Originally Posted by Stevinator View Post
    I had friends that joined and they had to work out to get good enough to get in, even for technical positions.
    Our standards have definitely been relaxed, though. Still, when Progressives start talking about re-implementing the Draft, you understand why any rational service member recoils in horror. You simply can't have a competent, large conscript army in a peacetime environment; Israel is small and on a constant war footing, Switzerland is laughably small and purely defensive, and most European military forces that are somewhat capable actually have very small-potatoes capability (and rely on America under U.N. auspices for the vast bulk of their logistics).

    The O.P. is from Sweden, and their military was one that I considered quite capable despite being conscript-based until 2010. Specific shortcomings in comparison are (again) size, deploy-ability, and inherent support capability. It's not at all relevant if you're fighting on your home turf whether or not you have enough trucks to keep moving materiel to the line units; if you take combat losses you generally have civilians willing to assist - whereas if Sweden was fighting in Afghanistan alongside the Canucks and Brits, they'd be almost wholly reliant on the America supply train. That's not even emphasizing that Americans have a lot of truckers to send to combat zones; many of the actual truckers in U.N. efforts are contractors - it's that the Americans are the only ones who have the full range of capabilities AND the experience using them. Look at the Chinese response to their earthquakes to recognize the differences.
    Quote Originally Posted by Stevinator View Post
    Then if you really want to blow your mind a little, our regular infantry is another large level of separation from our special forces troops. and then those areas have their elites.
    I was acutally in a mechanized infantry unit for my brief combat tour, incorporated into a tank division. The cavalry units are generally considered the best of that particular discipline, but even though mine was theoretically cavalry the actual "TO&E" was standard; cavalry units at the time were far more integrated in their operational training and the "combat team" model continues to be emphasized in order to make up for the shortcomings.
    Quote Originally Posted by BobCox2 View Post
    The Big problem as with most foreign wars vs guerrilla forces is sorting the bad guys from the civilians.
    Or finding the hide outs.
    In addition, the 'bad guys' purposefully inflate civilian casualties, and have done so since America purposefully lost the war in Vietnam. One neat trick is that Islamists don't fight in uniform, so they remove the firearm and claim a fighter is a civilian casualty. That has an additional "benefit" of causing a callous regard for civilians by the leadership, as I believe you linked to already?
    Quote Originally Posted by BobCox2 View Post
    Also it does not matter how good your Troops are if your Leaders and Generals don't have an effective Strategy and send them to take meaningless targets or to hold an area where they themselves are no mare than targets.
    Luckily, most of the American "take and hold" mentality seen during Vietnam has been retired, but there's still difficulty with the older "brass" not having the same perspective that the junior commanders on the ground do. Despite that, we do a far more intelligent job of trying to incorporate change and learning from our mistakes than was ever the case in the past. We're not "all that and a bag of chips" - personally I believe some of the British units during the early Cold War (Paras) were probably superior, at least on a small unit level. It's just that given the particulars of size and "reach", we're the best the world has ever seen.
    Last edited by jmervyn; 01-10-2012 at 17:26.

  6. #6
    IncGamers Member LozHinge the Unhinged's Avatar
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    Re: US Soldiers (Afghanistan) How good are they?

    Thanks Merv, that was interesting and informative.

    *waits for punchline*

    *there wasn't one*

  7. #7
    IncGamers Member jmervyn's Avatar
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    Re: US Soldiers (Afghanistan) How good are they?

    Quote Originally Posted by LozHinge the Unhinged View Post
    Thanks Merv, that was interesting and informative.

    *waits for punchline*

    *there wasn't one*
    Did you like how I gave props to the Paras? One of my Boy Scout camp summer counselors was a Para sniper.

    I think the efficacy of military units has a lot to do with how accustomed the troops are to the "real deal". That was one reason we were sold such a line of BS about the Iraqi military prior to Desert Storm; they really <WERE> combat-hardened troops.

    EDIT - So. Raquel Welch or Barbara Carrera?

  8. #8
    IncGamers Member LozHinge the Unhinged's Avatar
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    Re: US Soldiers (Afghanistan) How good are they?

    Oh yeah, I completely forgot to comment. Duh.

    Raquel Welch, fer shure. Carrera is a dog with fleas.

    It is sound strategy in terms of national security to indulge in limited warfare, especially on someone else's territory, with a view to maintaining an armed force with more than a passing acquaintanceship with the practicalities of warfare. Probably this is of greater importance to a given nation than many of the issues that the armed conflict is meant to address.

    Brit paras, SAS, SBS ... they've always struck me as the real deal - as much for what I haven't heard about them as much as the stories about their actual exploits.

    I knew an ex-SAS chap. No fuss, no bluster - just an encompassing sense of competence.

  9. #9
    IncGamers Member BobCox2's Avatar
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    Re: US Soldiers (Afghanistan) How good are they?

    Again you are not going to get a pitched battle in this theater.
    It would make no sense for them when this stuff is so much more effective.

    Three US soldiers among at least 14 killed by Afghan suicide bomber

  10. #10
    IncGamers Member Technomancer's Avatar
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    Re: US Soldiers (Afghanistan) How good are they?

    Quote Originally Posted by jmervyn View Post
    Friday afternoon, she didn't know how to connect a DVI plug...
    Sounds like you need to get to work on that trebuchet soon, huh?

    Oh, and very informative. I much prefer your posts about fighting.

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