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Old 05-02-2010, 02:43 AM   #1
Icelander
 
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Default Tactical Shooting: The Honour of Pashtunwali

When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains,
And the women come out to cut up what remains,
Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains
An' go to your Gawd like a soldier.
Go, go, go like a soldier,
Go, go, go like a soldier,
Go, go, go like a soldier,
So-oldier of the Queen!


From “The Young British Soldier” by Rudyard Kipling

The mountainous land of the Afghans has been invaded by some of the greatest conquerors of history. Darius the Great conquered the Valley of Kabul, Alexander the Great crossed the Hindu Kush and Genghis Khan himself rode through with fire and sword. The Parthians, the Arabs, the British and other tribes and nations too numerous to count have bled for valley and mountainside. Alexander the Great described the inhabitants of this far land as lions in warfare and though his mother had brought only one son into the world, each man who made life so hard for his hardened army could be called an Alexander.

Great empires have come from Afghanistan, as well. The Mughals ruled a vast empire from Kabul and Ahmed Shah Durrani, ‘Pearl of the Age’, defeated the Mahrattas of India and held sway over the lands from Kashmir to Kohistan. But Afghanistan has never been a united land in more than name. The people called Afghans or Pashtuns make up just over a third of the citizens of modern Afghanistan. The others are Tajiks, Hazaras, Uzbeks, Aimak, Turkmen, Baluch, Nuristani or a number of other ethnicities and have their own cultures and languages.

Always when great empires have come with their armies, the Afghans have conceded their cities and their plains, fighting instead a guerrilla war from the sanctuary of their mountains. The Pashtuns are a warlike people who live by their ancient code of honour, the pashtunwali or the Way of the Pashtuns, a code that demands hospitality, courage, loyalty, righteousness, dignity and trust in God. It also demands badal, the fierce ideal of justice where all trespasses must be avenged with blood and vendetta.

The latest empire to march into Afghanistan is the Soviet Union. In 1978, the Communist party PDPA seized power in Afghanistan, backed by the Soviet Union. Their attempts to secularise the Muslim country angered traditionalists and caused civil unrest. The chosen leader, President Hafizullah Amin, was deeply unpopular with his own people and requested Soviet military assistance. The Soviets sent troops, but grew increasingly frustrated with Amin’s performance and began to doubt his loyalty, with some members of the Politiburo becoming convinced that he was a CIA agent. Two days after Christmas in 1979, in a daring special forces raid, their troops assaulted the Presidential Palace and killed Amin, replacing him with President Babrak Karmal, a man they hoped was more malleable.

At the same time, Soviet tanks rolled into the country and the air was thick with airplanes bringing Russian soldiers. Instead of having the hoped-for effect of stabilising the country and suppressing the insurrection, though, the invasion lit a flame of nationalistic fervour. It was no longer a political conflict between worldly Kabul and the conservative tribal people; it was now a religious and ethnic war against an alien invader. It was Afghan Islam against Godless Communists and in obedience with the unyielding tenets of pashtunwali, the Pashtuns grabbed bolt-action rifles and knives to fight attack helicopters and jet aircraft.

But the Soviet Union had many enemies and these enemies lost no time in arming the mujahideen or Soldiers of God. From the oil-rich countries of the Arabian Gulf came a flow of money, both from governments and individuals, given in fraternal support for the beleaguered faith of Islam in Afghanistan, and this money could buy weapons from China, Iran and Pakistan. From the principal adversary of the USSR, the United States of America, there came high-tech equipment such as the prized Stinger missiles and more money, always more money. Most of the aid was directed through Pakistan and the intelligence service of that country, ISI, decided who should benefit from foreign largesse and who should not.

The Americans also established training camps in Pakistan and even flew a few mujahideen to the West in order to teach them skills they needed for modern warfare. In this they were aided by the British, who had historical involvement in the region and were more than willing to take part in giving the Soviet Bear a bleeding ulcer when the Yankees were footing the bill. Officially, neither the British nor the Americans were allowed to enter Afghan territory or engage Soviet troops in combat. Unofficially, both the men of the Special Activities Division of the American Central Intelligence Agency and a number of ‘former’ British Special Air Service troopers went inside Afghanistan and lived with bands of mujahideen as they trained them in infantry skills, sabotage and guerrilla tactics.

So trained and equipped, the Afghan mujahideen fought their technologically and numerically superior foes with such ferocity that even the hardest of Cold War hawks on the Politiburo began to look for a wait out that would not look like defeat. Even with a hundred thousand soldiers in the country, modern tanks, helicopters and jet fighters, they could not break the spirit of the Afghans. The Russians learned that to leave the cities and the plains meant death in the night-time, as the mujahideen stalked them mercilessly. Only the Spetznatz, the vaunted special forces of the Soviet GRU (Army Intelligence) could fight the guerrillas on their own terms, penetrating deep inside their territory with fieldcraft and stealth enough to surprise even veteran hunters who knew the territory intimately. In that war, the dirty war of commando against guerrilla, no quarter was asked nor given.
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Old 05-02-2010, 02:45 AM   #2
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Default Re: Tactical Shooting: The Honour of Pashtunwali

I've got a couple of questions for the Hive Mind.

What would be a typical infantry load-out for a Spetnatz platoon in 1987?

What would the mujahideen be likely to carry?

Obviously, I have some thoughts on both, but I haven't worked out a full list yet and suggestions are welcome.

Suggested skill levels for mujahideen and Spetznatz would also be nice.
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Old 05-02-2010, 05:34 AM   #3
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Default Re: Tactical Shooting: The Honour of Pashtunwali

Well for the Weapon of the Afghans would they it would either SKS or some other kind of vintage carabine or what they could capture from the russians so mostly AKs. They would also nearly universally carry the Churra(Knife) they recieve when they reach puperty, some grenades would be carried to and if avaible and needed RPGs or other anti-tank weapons. A bedroll and some food maybe a small pot to cook, tabaco to smoke and may be some of opium or pot they use to grow for recreational purpose.

The Spetnaz would carry well i have found some pictures of spetnaz troops an interresting aspect is that they used to wear Sneakers for sneaking purpose i guess. Seen to the generell russian attitude I thing they were issued the regular equipment but droped many of unnecesary items. The vast and infecticve soviet burocracy usually lead to a lot of improvisation....

Here is a overview about there Weapons

There are also episodes of deadliest warrior out there who dicuss taliban and spetnaz ... they aint terrible good sources but well sources ...

Last edited by SonofJohn; 05-02-2010 at 05:37 AM. Reason: forgot something
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Old 05-02-2010, 10:45 AM   #4
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Default Re: Tactical Shooting: The Honour of Pashtunwali

Quote:
Originally Posted by SonofJohn View Post
Well for the Weapon of the Afghans would they it would either SKS or some other kind of vintage carabine or what they could capture from the russians so mostly AKs. They would also nearly universally carry the Churra(Knife) they recieve when they reach puperty, some grenades would be carried to and if avaible and needed RPGs or other anti-tank weapons. A bedroll and some food maybe a small pot to cook, tabaco to smoke and may be some of opium or pot they use to grow for recreational purpose.
The Afghan Army was issued Mosin-Nagants, PPSh-71s and RPK machine guns way back in the day. After that, they got AK-47s, starting in '73 or thereabouts, I think. The PK machine gun too.

The Chinese sold them Type 56s (AK-47s) and Type 68s (similar to the SKS).

Captured AKMs and AK-74s, of course.

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Here is a overview about there Weapons
Thank you.
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Old 05-02-2010, 12:46 PM   #5
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Default Re: Tactical Shooting: The Honour of Pashtunwali

Quote:
Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
I've got a couple of questions for the Hive Mind.
I presume you're already familiar with this interview.
If not, I suggest to read it. I think it will be very useful to setup your scenario.

Regards,

A.
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Old 05-02-2010, 01:20 PM   #6
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Default Re: Tactical Shooting: The Honour of Pashtunwali

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Originally Posted by Amedeo View Post
I presume you're already familiar with this interview.
If not, I suggest to read it. I think it will be very useful to setup your scenario.

Regards,

A.
Thank you. That really was exceptionally useful.
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Old 05-03-2010, 01:37 AM   #7
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Default Re: Tactical Shooting: The Honour of Pashtunwali

A Pashtun warrior is likely to be mounted, so a horse would be part of the deal. If you've got a fixed dollar value for equipment, it'll likely blow a character's budget pretty badly. Sig gear would be an appropriate solution, or even buying the animal as an Ally. The latter option is usually for cinematic campaigns, though.
I'm currently reading a book called Buzkashi. It's about the Afghan national sport where you compete over a headless goat or calf carcass on horseback. It's written by a former member of the US diplomatic corps and has extensive background info on the Soviet invasion. I've used some elements of it in my Party of God campaign.
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Old 05-03-2010, 02:04 AM   #8
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Default Re: Tactical Shooting: The Honour of Pashtunwali

afghan resistance freedom fighters would have the following:
ak-47's
-ak-74's
akm's
lee enfields...very common
rpd's
rpk's
rpg-7's
stinger missles
-morters 82mm
-svd's
-dshk 12,7mm hmg's
-pkm's
-rgd-5 grenades
-zpu 23mm single & double ground mounts
-rpg-18's
-assorted mines


sov's
ak-74
akm
rpg-7d
rpg-18 came out towards the end of the war
-svd
gp-25 grenade launcher
rgd-5 ap grenade
rpd
rpk
pkm's
makarov pistols
stechkin
morter 82mm
aks 74u
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Last edited by reb; 05-03-2010 at 03:32 AM.
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Old 05-03-2010, 08:36 AM   #9
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Default Spetznatz platoon

So, does anyone have comments on this as the proposed structure for a platoon of Spetznatz? It's based heavily on the comments of the young sniper in the interview a kind soul linked to above.

We'll assume that each man equipped with a rifle carries 5 full magazines and 300-450 rounds of ammunition in addition to that. The officers may have Makarov pistols. Snipers carry five magazines and a 100 spare rounds. The machine gunners will generally carry as much as they and any assistant gunner can haul and they can get, but no less than 600 rounds in any case. Grenades for the GB-25 are probably carried on a bandoleer, I guess they'd carry 12-18.

Note that the extremely top-heavy structure here is due to the fact that only Prarporshchik and above are career soldiers. The rest are conscripts with exceptional ability and training, and consequently many of them are promoted to the higher ranks available to conscripts before their service is out.

Squad Alfa:
Senior Lieutenant (AKS-74 rifle)
senior Praporshchik (AKS-74 rifle w/GB-25 grenade launcher)
Praporshchik (PKM machine gun)
Starshina (AKMS w/PBS suppressor and RPG-18)
Senior Sergeant (AKMS w/PBS suppressor)
Efreitor (RPK-74 machine gun and RPG-18)
Private (RPK-74 machine gun and RPG-18)
Private (AKS-74 rifle w/GB-25 grenade launcher)

Fire team 1:
Leader: Senior Lt.
Gunner: Efreitor with RPK-74 and RPG.
Suppressed man: Senior Sergeant with AKMS.

Fire team 2:
Leader: Senior Praporshchik with AKS-74 and GL.
Gunner: Pvt. with RPK-74 and RPG.
Suppressed man: Starshina with AKMS and RPG-18.

Fire team 3:
Gunner: Praporshchik with PKM
Assistant Gunner: Pvt. with AKS-74 and GL

Squad Beta:
Lieutenant (AKMS rifle w/PBS suppressor)
Junior Lieutenant (AKMS rifle w/PBS suppressor and RPG-18)
Praporshchik (AKS-74 rifle w/GB-25 grenade launcher)
Sergeant (PKM machine gun)
Junior Sergeant (AKS-74 rifle w/GB-25 grenade launcher)
Efreitor (SVD Dragunov and RPG-18)
Private (RPK-74 machine gun and RPG-18)

Fire team 4:
Leader: Lieutenant (AKMS rifle w/PBS suppressor).
Gunner: Sergeant (PKM machine gun).
Assistant Gunner: Junior Sergeant (AKS-74 rifle w/GB-25 grenade launcher).
Sniper: Efreitor (SVD Dragunov and RPG-18).

Fire team 5:
Leader: Junior Lt. (AKMS rifle w/PBS suppressor and RPG-18)
Gunner: Private (RPK-74 machine gun and RPG-18).
Rifleman: Praporshchik (AKS-74 rifle w/GB-25 grenade launcher)

Squad Delta:
Lieutenant (AKS-74 rifle w/GB-25 grenade launcher)
Junior Lieutenant (RPK-74 machine gun and RPG-18)
Praporshchik (SVD Dragunov)
Sergeant (PKM machine gun)
Junior Sergeant (AKMS rifle w/PBS suppressor and RPG-18)
Efreitor (AKS-74 rifle w/GB-25 grenade launcher)
Private (AKMS rifle w/PBS suppressor and RPG-18)

Fire team 6:
Leader: Lieutenant (AKS-74 rifle w/GB-25 grenade launcher).
Gunner: Sergeant (PKM machine gun).
Assistant Gunner: Efreitor (AKS-74 rifle w/GB-25 grenade launcher).
Suppressed man: Junior Sergeant (AKMS rifle w/PBS suppressor and RPG-18).

Fire team 7:
Leader: Junior Lieutenant (RPK-74 machine gun and RPG-18).
Sniper: Praporshchik (SVD Dragunov).
Supressed man: Private (AKMS rifle w/PBS suppressor and RPG-18).

Edit: Furthermore, does anyone have any idea whether a Spetnatz formation in Afghanistan in 1987 is more likely to have R-350M, R-352, R-353, R-354, R-392 or R-394 radio sets? That last one was in development during 1987, but I don't know if it was fielded yet.

I'm leaning toward the R-392 as the man-pack one, as I know that some of their vehicles had those.

What about small radios? Were there none? Looks like they had R-125s and R-126s, with the R-105s often being used as relay stations.
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Old 05-03-2010, 01:16 PM   #10
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Default Re: Tactical Shooting: The Honour of Pashtunwali

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tommi_Kovala View Post
A Pashtun warrior is likely to be mounted, so a horse would be part of the deal. If you've got a fixed dollar value for equipment, it'll likely blow a character's budget pretty badly. Sig gear would be an appropriate solution, or even buying the animal as an Ally. The latter option is usually for cinematic campaigns, though.
The specific scenario I'll be running calls for three Afghans and a British advisor to be out practising scout/sniper tactics. As such, equipment will be light and meant only for one or two days. They won't have horses as they'll be on a mountainside, using goat trails.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tommi_Kovala View Post
I'm currently reading a book called Buzkashi. It's about the Afghan national sport where you compete over a headless goat or calf carcass on horseback. It's written by a former member of the US diplomatic corps and has extensive background info on the Soviet invasion. I've used some elements of it in my Party of God campaign.
If you have anything to share that might help make my three Afghans more authentic or interesting, by all means do.

One is a hunter in his fifties, one is a man of 28 and one is a boy if seventeen. The oldest has been with the mujahideen since the beginning of the insurrection against the PDPA in '78, the man was trained by Pakistani ISI and has fought the Soviet since early 80' and the boy is an orphan since 1983 and has lived with a band of warriors whose commander recently joined his forces with Ahmad Shah Massoud's.
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