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Old 03-30-2017, 06:11 PM   #49
Michael Thayne
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Default Re: [High-Tech] Military Equipment: Global War on Terror edition

Okay, now let's talk about the militant groups of the Middle East. They tend to rely on captured military equipment, and since many of the countries they operate in are former allies of the Soviet Union (and in Syria's case, a current ally of Russia), they tend to wind up with a lot of Soviet/Russian hardware. The breakup of the Soviet Union also led to unscrupulous military officers selling weapons to smugglers, who then sold them to militant groups, though this seems to have been a more important factor in sub-Saharan Africa.

The fact that many Soviet designs are currently manufactured in many different countries makes them useful for countries that want to covertly arm insurgent groups. Even the United States has provided Syrian rebels with Soviet designs (though this may have been motivated more by a desire to avoid giving away any proprietary technology).

Middle Eastern militant groups are by no means limited to Soviet weapons. They've been reported to have used an amazing variety of weapons, usually acquired by capture, and in some cases provided deliberately—think the United States' fateful decision to arm Osama bin Laden in the 1980s when he was fighting the Soviets.

Wikipedia's article on Military equipment of ISIL is unusually thorough, so I'm going to focus on them. The Wikipedia article has a lengthy list of Soviet weapons reportedly used by ISIS, as well as a number of Eastern European and Chinese designs that fire the same cartridges and should probably be treated as indistinguishable from an AK-47, AKM, or AK-74 for game purposes. Several Western assault rifles are also listed: the M16 (and its Chinese copy the Norinco CQ), the M4, the FN FAL, and the H&K G3. All of these are covered by High-Tech.

Three sniper rifles from High-Tech are listed: Izhmash SVD, M14 EBR, Mosin-Nagant PV-1891 (I thought this last one was a mistake at first, but it really does seem to still be in use today). Not listed in High-Tech or Tactical-Shooting are the Romanian PSL and the Chinese M99. The former can probably be treated as an Izhmash SVD for game purposes. Reports of the latter being used by ISIS are disputed, but for GMs who want to include it, it appears to be similar to the Barrett M82, but is lighter (26 lbs.), has a magazine that only holds 5 rounds, and maybe has a 10% shorter range.

At this point, you should be seeing a pattern (namely "everything and its Romanian-made cousin"), so I'm going to skip over the machine guns and pistols too look at the heavy weapons. There are IEDs of course, which Kromm covers very well here. There are, of course, RPG-7s, and standard hand grenades of both Soviet and US designs. But there's also the RPG-43 (which High-Tech might have made you think was no longer in use), the ASG-17, the RPG-22 (apparently similar to the RPG-18 in High-Tech), the RPG-29 (apparently similar to the best RPG-7 warheads listed in High-Tech), and the M79 Osa (again apparently similar to the RPG-18).

That's enough for now. In future posts, I'll go into detail on guided and homing missiles (yes ISIS has them), as well as vehicles.

Last edited by Michael Thayne; 04-03-2017 at 06:28 PM.
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