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I saw active service in conventional, clandestine and covert units of the South African Defence Force. I was the founder of the Private Military Company (PMC) Executive Outcomes in 1989 and its chairman until I left in 1997. Until its closure in 1998, EO operated primarily in Africa helping African governments that had been abandoned by the West and were facing threats from insurgencies, terrorism and organised crime. EO also operated in South America and the Far East. I believe that only Africans (Black and White) can truly solve Africa’s problems. I was appointed Chairman of STTEP International in 2009 and also lecture at military colleges and universities in Africa on defence, intelligence and security issues. Prior to the STTEP International appointment, I served as an independent politico-military advisor to several African governments. I am a contributor to The Counter Terrorist magazine. All comments in line with the topics on this blog are welcome. As I consider this to be a serious look at military and security matters, foul language and political or religious debates will not be entertained on this blog.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

IS AN IFV AN MPV/MRAP OR VISA VERSA?

I have noticed a disturbing trend in today’s counter insurgency (COIN) orientated conflicts – IFV’s are being deployed as MPVs/MRAPs and visa versa. Whereas this is not only a serious deployment error, it poses a grave danger to the lives of the occupants of the IFVs and MPVs/MRAPs.

Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFVs) were developed to allow infantrymen to accompany armour formations in relative safety, debus close to or on the objective and provide some protection to the Armoured Fighting Vehicles (AFVs) accompanying them. IFVs are also referred to as Mechanised Infantry Combat Vehicles (MICVs). The infantrymen associated with these vehicles are referred to as “mechanised infantrymen” and they accompany armoured formations into battle.

IFVs provide better armour protection to the occupants than normal Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs), are equipped with heavy weapons such as 20mm or 30mm cannons and some IFVs allow the infantrymen to engage targets with their assault rifles by means of firing ports. The heavy armament allows the vehicle to act as a direct fire-support base for the infantrymen once they have debussed from their IFVs and are fighting through the objective or holding ground of tactical importance.

Despite the improved armour IFVs have, they are not built to withstand blasts from landmines, off-route mines and IEDs. They are designed and built to accompany conventional mechanised forces and add to the shock-effect of the armoured attack and not operate against unconventional forces in a piece-meal manner.

In contrast, the Mine Protected Vehicle/Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle (MPV/MRAP) is designed to transport troops in areas that have a high probability of small-arms ambushes, landmines, off-route mines and roadside IEDs. However, there are design parameters that need to be considered when developing MPVs/MRAPs. These include size, weight, blast- and ballistic protection and so forth.

The MPV/MRAP is not an IFV, but infantrymen can engage the enemy with their weapons from these vehicles. Additionally, these vehicles often make use of a turret-mounted weapon such as a 12,7mm or a 20mm machine gun. The function of the MPV/MRAP is to transport troops to a debussing point from where the troops will locate and engage the enemy on foot. As such, these vehicles remain within the realm of motorised infantry and are vulnerable to anti-tank weapons and heavy machine guns.

Both IFVs and MPVs/MRAPs - be they tracked or wheeled - have good cross-country mobility. This in itself ought to be exploited by the forces using these vehicles and they should remain off the existing roads, making use of the off-road capabilities of the vehicles. (We referred to this as “bundu-bashing”).

These vehicles, despite their protection, have very specific deployment tactics and when road-bound, should be accompanied by combat engineers who sweep the road for mines and IEDs, the sappers in turn being protected by infantrymen who follow a definite formation. There is a specific drill and tactic the sappers follow in order to ensure the road is clear of all threats. Counter-ambush drills are applied as soon as a threat appears imminent.

Obstacles such as urban areas, defiles, mountainous terrain and so forth also require the adjustment of tactics in order to minimise ambushes, mines, IEDs and anti-tank weapon threats. It also requires an understanding and “reading” of the terrain itself and how the enemy may exploit it to achieve his aims.

In the South African border war context, MPVs/MRAPs were developed after taking note of lessons learnt in Rhodesia/Zimbabwe conflict. It was realised that soft-skinned vehicles cannot be effectively up-armoured using sandbags and metal plates. It was due to these lessons learnt that true MPVs/MRAPs such as the Casspir, Buffel, Kwevoel and others were born. In turn, the South African Police’s counter-insurgency unit known as “Koevoet” pioneered the use of the MPV/MRAP as an offensive vehicle, but they remained off roads whenever possible and didn’t use the vehicle as a traditional IFV. Indeed, the latest generation MPV/MRAP known as the Puma M26 is a classic example of this type of vehicle.

The SADF used its MPVs/MRAPs extensively to keep pressure on the enemy, conduct follow-up operations, transport troops to new deployment areas, escort convoys and such like. They were not used in a traditional mechanised infantry role.

IFVs, in turn, were deployed as elements of combat teams and battle groups and were not used piece-meal for COIN operations.

The trend of using IFVs as MPVs/MRAPs and visa versa is irresponsible and will simply present the enemy with easier targets, increase own forces casualties and thus boost enemy morale while reducing own morale.

The IFV is not an MPV/MRAP; the two vehicle-types are vastly different and should not be used interchangeably.

53 comments:

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Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Good luck with your marketing, Hanz.

Rgds,

Eeben

Alan said...

Colonel:

Excellent! Please honor us by taking a moment to forward this outstanding article to the United States Army Infantry Magazine for future publication. I am absolutely certain they would be most interested in your views. I have attached their link below.

Regards, Alan

http://permanent.access.gpo.gov/lps19474/www.infantry.army.mil/magazine/content/2003.htm

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Thanks, Alan. I will give it some thought but I doubt they would be interested in the post. I certainly don’t want to waste their time.

Rgds,

Eeben

Robby said...

I certainly don’t want to waste their time......which it will be ...not like this latest story shocked me but does prove one thing about how the US Military and Congress works

US politicians face inquiry into arms deals

More than 30 US politicians, among them seven members of a defence procurement committee, are being investigated in congressional ethics inquiries into influence-peddling, according to a document leaked accidentally on to the internet.

The disclosure sheds light on a process by which billions of dollars a year are spent on defence projects that the Pentagon does not want and which limits funds available for US military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

House Representatives named in the document include John Murtha, the chairman of the House Defence Appropriations Sub-committee, who added so-called “earmarks” worth more than $100 million (£61 million) to last year’s defence budget and received $743,000 in campaign contributions from defence contractors. The contributions were funnelled through the PMA Group, a lobbying company set up by a former aide to Mr Murtha which closed after being raided by the FBI this year.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article6897493.ece

John said...

Hi Eeben

I was wondering why IED’s are still the biggest cause of casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan.
I might be wrong, as I’m not there, but would have thought that the forces there would sweep roads every day by using their engineers and dog units.
It seems like this is not the case?
Also, the great UAV technology they have, can’t that be used in addition to patrol MSP’s 24/7. I am sure someone wanting to plant an improvised explosive device next to a road will think twice if he knows the road will be swept in any case and there might be a drone overhead watching him?
I have noticed in the media how the Brits are complaining about a lack of helicopters in Afghanistan, and the increased risk of having to make use of vehicles rather for transportation. I agree that it’s a crime to send soldiers off to war with equipment problems like that, but then I just think again on how much success the South Africans had with their limited numbers of helicopters and other air support as well as the Rhodesians.
I also belief that they mastered the use of their vehicles meaning that it was applied correctly for the type of war they fought. I think a lot of those lessons can be applied in the Middle East.
Again, I would have thought that greater care would be taken when making use of vehicles and traveling by road. Maybe I’m missing the point here, and they are actually doing just that, but then also I would think that if its properly done, we would hear of less successful IED detonations?
As you rightly point out, making use of vehicles must include making use of your engineers to keep your vehicles safe. The one can’t really function without the other.

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Thanks for the link, Robby. It is certainly sad to know that politicians exploit the very system they have sworn to serve in order to line their own pockets. But, this is indicative of the society we live in. The end result though, is that troops get equipment that doesn’t work – or even worse, they just don’t get the equipment they need, period.

As casualties mount, the very men who have to implement a government’s foreign policy continue to bleed – and all due to influence-peddling, kick-backs and so forth. And when the foreign policy fails due to such actions, the armed forces get blamed for being unable to do their jobs.

I sincerely meant what I said to Alan – I don’t want to waste anyone’s time. However, it if will help the men in the field, then I will do whatever I can if it means saving lives.

Rgds,

Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

You raise some good points, John.

I believe that too much reliance has been placed on technology and in the process basic soldiering skills and drills have been lost. Sweeping roads was something our sappers did – in the process we swept thousands of kilometres of roads and lifted countless mines and other explosive ordinance. If I recall correctly, the distance the SA sappers notched up during 1979 was the distance to the moon and back. Added to that is the apparent desire to be road-bound and using the IFVs as MPVs/MRAPs. I am still surprised that no Western army involved in the current conflicts has approached the manufacturers of the Puma M26. Maybe they don’t want the welfare of their troops to be placed above their personal interests?

Yes, as we were under sanctions from the West, we had very few helicopters. Those we had were old but the correct application of the air assets we had, along with solid infantry work, made a huge difference. In fact, the complaints by the British soldiers may be very valid but they (British government) spearheaded the isolation of the SADF.

The technology currently available in Iraq/Afghanistan boggles the mind. But, technology does not replace soldiers – it is merely a force-multiplier if correctly used.

Rgds,

Eeben

Robby said...

Yep and what do the grunts get... defective body armor worthless M16's and vehicles designed for civilian use...no wonder moral is in the tank.

borr1945 said...

Dear Eeben,

I liked all of your comments. However, I was left wondering which type of vehicle would you
use in a reconnaissance role?
Even though, that is more of a concern when fighting conventional
forces. The threat of land mines is
still present and a danger to the
troops.

regards,
ken

Alan said...

John:

In response to your comment regarding the contribution to the IED/VBID threat made by technology, an unbelieveable amount of effort, and resource is going into battlefield Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Manned platforms are also making a substantial impact, most recently noted by the death of contractor air crews in Afghanistan. Unfortunately however, live streaming video and persistent surveillance will never replace the need for the fielding of proper troop carriers and fighting vehicles. And yes, military contracting in the States, like elsewhere, is far from wart free. Highlighting OTT Ltd. products like the Puma in professional journals and military publications can serve to bring the much needed knowledge and ultimately improve the selection and acquisition process thus saving lives on the battlefield. Just my humble opinion.

Respectfully, Alan

matt said...

Excellent post Eeben. The new Puma would be awesome to use, and I hope to see it out there one of these days.

Lately I have been on a scout/tracker kick with FJ, and it is quite interesting to research.

I was kind of interested in your take on combat tracking or scouting? Are there any private schools that teach combat tracking in South Africa? And did you implement a scout/tracking program or had scouts at Executive Outcomes? Especially for your Angola or Sierra Leone operations?

Also, I think a Scout/Tracker program would be quite effective in the mountain border areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan. That, and setting up a Scout program to use against the Al Shabab in Somalia. Use former or captured Taliban and Al Shabab guys, or use tribes that dislike the Taliban or Al Shabab, and form teams much like what the Selous Scouts did. Or how the US used to operate in the wild west with our Indian War.

I was also curious about what scout tracker type units you had experience with back in the day, and who you thought was the best? Koevoet maybe? Cheers. -matt

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

A lowering of morale is very difficult to rectify, Robby. Add this to the fog and friction of war and you can get severe problems.

Rgds,

Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

A good question, Ken. However, let me state from the outset that there is a vast difference between reconnaissance during a conventional conflict and a COIN conflict. The latter is done on foot where the men tasked with this function are highly trained in aspects such as tracking, clandestine insertion, reading the terrain, bushcraft/fieldcraft, understanding the locals, highly aggressive and so on. This is the type of operation that 32 Battalion’s reconnaissance wing carried out in 4-man teams. (Our Special Forces worked in 2-man teams during certain operations). Not only would such teams track the enemy – and attack him but if the enemy force was too large to attack with 4-men, a fire-force of the battalion would be flown in to take up the fight. These teams are there to keep the enemy off-balance and deny him rest. As an example, during one operation I commanded 2 4-man teams and we attacked an enemy element of more than 100 men and did our job – and these weren’t “untrained” enemy troops.

During a conventional conflict, reconnaissance is done with armoured reconnaissance vehicles. The landmine threat during such a conflict is vastly different to that of a COIN conflict as it consists of barrier minefields, channelling minefields, defensive minefields and so on. Nuisance mines/minefields are not as prevalent during a conventional conflict although they are used. That said, in the SADF’s mobile/conventional warfare operations, armoured cars such as the Eland-90 and Eland-60 were used for armoured reconnaissance. Again, such formations don’t stick to roads...

Rgds,

Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

A good point, Alan. I am sure John will come back to respond.

Rgds,

Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Yes, the Puma will certainly save lives, Matt.

The use of trackers/scouts was SOP in the SADF’s wars. This was taught as a specialist skill to selected members of the forces and they did outstanding work. In EO we also used them but in the SADF/EO environments we referred to this as “reconnaissance” at times and as “tracking” at times. Some trackers were so good that they would “read” a track and tell you that the enemy was 10 minutes ahead of you.

Who were the best? As I am subjective, I would always say that 32 Battalion’s teams were the best. We did our own tracking. Reality is that 31 Battalion (mainly from the “Bushmen” tribe) were outstanding. Koevoet had excellent trackers as well – but so did other units such as 101 Battalion. All troops were given lessons in basic tracking and some of them got very good at it. So, it is a difficult question to answer. I would have thought that such teams existed in the current conflict zones?? If not, then there has been a serious oversight with regards to training.

The use of “turned” enemy troops to be used in pseudo-teams was also nothing new but that is a whole different ball-game. We learnt this from the Rhodesians and had good success with them as well. In 32 Bn, we did our own pseudo work – with equally good results.

Rgds,

Eeben

Jean-Raoul said...

Hallo Eeben,

We may see the use of IFVs in Afghanistan as irresponsible but even with one tour there and only in Kabul at that time, I don't really see the added value for more MRAPs instead of IFVs.

Whatever you do in Afghanistan, or whatever is done, you have to take the roads.
Taleban are not confined in the sands of the southern part of the country.
So when it comes to recce or patrol missions or ZoC to be set up, you can't often go off road to the towns, villages the action takes place.

As you mentioned, both offer now increased protection compared to vehicles of the 1980s or 1990s.
And off-road capabilities also.

Last week, 1 Stryker (25 tons) found 1 IED on his way back from a patrol mission...7 out of the 8 US soldiers in the vehicle died.
EOD team members I spoke to reported that IED was something like 6-900kg of TNT.

Se eventually, now that Taleban have learned to use 100kg of TNT when they realized 10 were not enough, does it really make a difference to be in an IFV instead of a MRAP?

Regds,

JR

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

I take your point, Jean-Raoul, but when one can no longer travel in safety on roads, then it is time to either get off them or get out of the vehicles. I know that the terrain is rugged and rough but soldiering is about being rugged and rough as well – and I do not make that comment lightly or in jest. Whereas I can understand your argument that more MPVs/MRAPs instead of IFVs won’t make a difference, I still beg to differ. How many lives would have been saved had the men had to correct vehicles to start with? I also doubt that every IED consists of that amount of explosives but if we accept that it does, then we shouldn’t even be in vehicles.

When the enemy learns that we follow roads and routines, we make ourselves vulnerable and expose ourselves as easy targets. If the enemy were able to carry in 600 – 900 kgs of explosives, I am afraid I do question the effectiveness of OPs, route reconnaissance and surveillance and the changing of routines. How did they know that a Stryker will be using that road at that time? Obviously, that amount of explosives will destroy even the most armoured vehicle around.

When returning from a patrol, it is human that we drop our guard as we believe we are heading for safety. This is the time we become the most vulnerable as the enemy will watch what we do. After all, when HUMINT has been neglected by us, it has usually been exploited by the enemy. Over time, they will build up a picture of our actions and make certain valid assumptions and conclusions, to our detriment.

Rgds,

Eeben

John said...

Allan, Thank you for your response. I agree with you that technology like the Unmanned Aerial Systems will, and should never take the place of proper basic equipment, such as the right vehicles to be used, and of course the right soldier tactics and skills. Here I mean the use of engineers and dog units to sweep roads that’s been used.
I merely thought that in addition to this ( the using of engineers etc) it will be a good idea to also implement the UAV’s.
I didn’t know that they are making use of it, but I think in addition it’s a good idea. Again, I belief that making use of engineers and dog units is a basic skill and shouldn’t even be an issue, as this is supposed to be normal SOP’s.
Then also, I have never been to Afghanistan but it’s clear that the terrain is a major factor, and as one friend rightly pointed out, vehicles have to be on the roads most of the times, because of terrain.
Isn’t it then maybe a better idea to be on foot, like Eeben mentioned?
Not only do I think the Puma type vehicle should be in use in Afghanistan, but imagine what a small team on foot can add to their firepower by making use of the 20mm PAW?

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Message to BdJ: I really do not want to deploy assets to try to locate you. There are MANY people with your name in numerous places in the world. Send me your email address/phone number and I will contact you.

Rgds,

Eeben

matt said...

Very cool, and thanks for the content rich reply. Over at Free Range International, we are talking up the concepts as they could apply to Afghanistan. Here is the link, if any one is interested. An infusion of South African or Rhodesian Military enginuity would be cool.

It is actually quite fun to piece together the concepts, because there are so many interesting ideas that we are grabbing from all over the world and throughout the history of warfare. Cheers. -matt

matt said...

Here is the link.

http://freerangeinternational.com/blog/?p=2291

Tango said...

Hi Eeben,
On a lighter note......
Referring to part of your comment above
"32 Battalion’s teams were the best. We did our own tracking. Reality is that 31 Battalion (mainly from the “Bushmen” tribe) were outstanding. Koevoet had excellent trackers as well – but so did other units such as 101 Battalion"

This reminds me of the recent Currie Cup Finals in South Africa.
Who were the best provincial teams...The Blou Bulls, The Freestate Cheetahs,The Sharks ,the Lions or The Western Province..

At the end of the day the final Score on the Scoreboard counts...

The Book "They live by the sword " tells it all....
32 Battalion's team seems to have been the best,but credit should be given to all the other teams as well.

Combine them all...Then they are like the champions of the world..Like our current Springbok Rugby team !!

Regards
Tango

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

I believe we can learn so much from each other, Matt. I do note that the recent US conference on COIN (U.S. Army and Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Center) made no mention of other COIN conflicts apart from Afghanistan and Pakistan. A pity, as I believe that there are many more lessons to learn from other conflicts.

But, it is a start and perhaps other lessons will in future be discussed and analysed.

Rgds,

Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Thanks for the link, Matt.

Rgds,

Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Despite my apparent subjectivity towards 32 Bn, I know that everyone who fought in those wars deserves every bit of credit, Tango – from the National Servicemen, the members of the SAP to the dreaded PF’s. “They live by the Sword” only covered 32 Bn but I am sure other units have equally good stories that ought to be documented.

Despite the misguided political strategies, international pressure and fighting on several fronts, we were, in my mind at least, champions of the battlefield. Thanks for reminding us about that.

Rgds,

Eeben

Alan said...

Where are such men found. Thank God for them..Rest in peace Staff Sergeant Olaf Schmid. You saved many lives before giving your own.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/Afghanistan/article6899628.ece

Alan said...

Captain Lourens, why does no one wish to fly with you? Much toasting and back slapping at the Langebaanweg officer's club that evening I'm sure.

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,571147,00.html?test=latestnews

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

What a brave and selfless man he was, Alan. When I read the article I could not other than think that a great loss his family and friends have suffered.

Rgds,

Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

This was both hilarious and embarrassing, Alan. But, I am sure the passenger will have even more stories to tell...

Rgds,

Eeben

Robby said...

You have anything to do with this ? :-)

Beer, biltong for freed Guinea plotter

Beer, biltong and a Chevrolet. This is what convicted South African mercenary Niek du Toit is looking forward to when he returns home to South Africa this week.

http://www.int.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=1&click_id=13&art_id=vn20091104042800520C326665

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

I had absolutely nothing to do with it, Robby. This was all due to politicking behind the scenes. Whereas I am happy for them – and especially their families – they also, through bad planning, poor security and gross stupidity ruined the lives of some very good men.

However, I note that many in the media still claim that Mann and Du Toit set up EO. Something that I find really upsetting is the shoddy journalism nowadays. Some journos are too lazy to get off their bums and do their research correctly.

Rgds,

Eeben

Robby said...

It's the Mark Thatcher thing that makes me scratch my head or said another way...what was he thinking!...Heres a small piece from Dallas Morning News

Coup plotter freed in Africa

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa – Equatorial Guinea freed a British coup plotter and four South African mercenaries Tuesday after a presidential pardon for their conspiracy to overthrow the government and take over the country's oil riches.

In a trial last year, plotter Simon Mann testified that U.S. and European governments knew of the plan in advance and that Mark Thatcher, son of former British Premier Margaret Thatcher, was chief bankroller, which Thatcher denied.

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Quite, Robby. Although I never agreed with Mann (nor he with me), he had no reason to make such a claim if it were not so. But, the fall our after his release will certainly be interesting to watch. I believe that there are many people who would have preferred him staying behind bars.

Rgds,

Eeben

tyhz1995 said...

Good evening,sir I thought that it was you sir and your wife that started EO.I also understood it was the IMF that caused you to leave Sierra Leone.With regard to earlier post:How in god's name could someone position a 900 kilo bomb?Intel must be nonexistant,and that is disgraceful and evident of almost total collapse.I also agree quite strongly with you sir in regards to morale,when it is lost things can get ugly very quickly and once lost almost impossible to regain.Spot on sir.

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Thanks for the note, MS. I have written them but I doubt they will even bother getting their facts straight.

Rgds,

Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

They will never allow the truth to get in the way of a good story, Tyler.

It wasn’t just the IMF who wanted us out of Sierra Leone but also the UN, the World Bank, the US and the UK.

I somehow suspect that you may be correct as regards the 900kg IED – but it also revolves around drills – and keeping off roads that pose a threat. If one is forced to use a road for logistical purposes or troop deployments, there are ways to clear the road.

Rgds,

Eeben

Robby said...

there are ways to clear the road. .....only a sapper with conviction could say that :-)

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Absolutely, Robby. The SA sappers walked the distance to the moon and back clearing roads in just a few years. Countless mines were lifted and lives saved. It can be done but it requires a drastic change of tactics.

Rgds,

Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

It was great meeting you again after all these years, Tango. Many thanks for the DVD you gave me at the Bridge 14 dinner. That, along with the letter from James means a lot to me.

Rgds,

Eeben

PS: The DVD plays just fine. Pse thank you son for the efforts.

Tango said...

Eeben

Little did I know after all these years we would meet again and me asking for your signature in the book you wrote and titled.
“Executive Outcomes
Against all odds.”

An unbelievable story

All of us took part in some kind of a war or did border duties ,but this book tells a different story

We Salute you and all your Brave men.

It was an honour and privilege to have stood and come to attention once again with Old Soldiers, and veterans of World War 11. Listening to them talk and asking questions. All and some aged 94 still proudly displaying their medals and looking for recognition after all these years…”Old soldiers never die…they simply fade away”

Extract from your book:
From this day to the ending world,
We in it shal be remebered,
We few,we happy few,we band of brothers:
For he to-day that sheds his bloodwith me
Shall be my brother.

King Henry V:William Shakespeare



Thanks to Billy for inviting me to the function as well…This one is for James


There are heroes who walk among us never looking for glory or praise They don't seek recognition for their thoughtful, caring ways. Living lives of deep commitment providing for those they hold dear. Steadfast with a quiet strength through times of laughter and tears. James was a person like that to us the most selfless man by far. James was a heroe in a different way..a man with no fear

In memory of our Buddy ....... James RIP

Ns:My son said it is a pleasure

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Thank you, Tango. I recall that he always spoke well of those he served with.

James would have been proud to read the words you wrote. He was a great brother and good friend to me. Thank you too for giving me a copy of the letter he wrote you when his days were getting less. It is truly appreciated.

Rgds,

Eeben

W.C.H. Miller said...

Having read this post and comparing the vehicles used, I cannot help but agree with what you've said, Eeben. Even I, as a military lay-person, so to speak, can appreciate the different 'hull' design would greatly improve the odds for armed forces in areas of operation such as Iraq where IEDs are the device of choice for insurgents in attacks against American, British, and other militaries. Why the military does not adopt these MRAPs instead of developing the next HUMVEE is beyond me. Surely the point is not lost on top brass. Do you have an email to which I can send an email regarding a job hunting inquiry, as opposed to fettering the comments section with material unrelated to your posts? Appreciate it. WCHM

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

The governments seem reluctant to provide their men with the correct equipment to get the job done in relative safety, WCHM. Part of the deployment drills of units is to ensure the correct men at the correct time and place, correctly equipped to do battle with the enemy. The equipment part in the drill is sadly lacking.

Whereas there is NO MPV/MRAP or IFV that can withstand the blast of any and every IED, there are MPVs and MRAPs that provide the best operational safety possible. But, by developing their own, I suspect the aim is to continue feeding industry with money at the expense of the troops.

In terms of job hunting: I would suggest you contact www.feraljundi.com or www.privatemilitaryherald.com as I no longer recruit people for jobs.

Rgds,

Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Due to your language (vulgar and blasphemous) I have deleted your comment, Loyal US Soldier. However, I shall answer your questions/comments thus:

1. My blog is a reflection of my own thoughts/experience on warfare and security.
2. I think I am somewhat qualified to discuss these issues.
3. I served in conventional, unconventional/clandestine and covert units in numerous theatres and countries across the world.
4. I know and understand IEDs as I was a member of the SADFs EOD/IED teams.
5. I was initially a sapper and swept for mines along with my troops so I do understand landmines.
6. I was in a vehicle that got blown up by a landmine and yes, it was a South African “Buffel” MPV.
7. I think I am somewhat qualified to discuss “espionage” as I worked in that field for several years.
8. The fact that my company assisted the Angolans and the Sierra Leoneans does not make me a “bloody communist”.
9. The South African soldier was disciplined to the extreme, had very little to fight with (thanks to sanctions by the West) but did exceptionally well in combat against numerically superior forces.
10. If my country was ever under threat and I was called to duty, I would accept, regardless of whether it be conventional, unconventional or covert.
11. EO is the only PMC that ended 2 wars, conducted a successful hostage-release operation and gave advice to numerous governments.
12. I am an African and despite my skin colour, will always wish for the best for Africa, despite its problems.

If you do not like reading my blog, please do not visit it.

Enjoy your life.

Eeben

Robby said...

Sounds like you ran into another "ugly misguided American" they are a dime a dozen over here...pay no attention....that being said looks like you were right the "Mann" thing is getting nasty real fast....

Sir Mark Thatcher said he was a spy for South Africans
Jon Ungoed-Thomas and Jon Swain

Sir Mark Thatcher became an informer to the South African secret services in an attempt to avoid prosecution for his role in a botched coup in central Africa.Thatcher met South African intelligence officials in 2004 to discuss the attempted coup in Equatorial Guinea.“I was told I was a nominated SASS [South African Secret Service] source,”

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/africa/article6907989.ece

Foreign Office warns Mann to 'keep quiet'


Plenty of powerful people have an interest in the mercenary behind the 'Wonga Coup' keeping his own counsel
By Brian Brady and David Randall

Simon Mann has been urged by Foreign Office officials to remain silent about the coup attempt that left him languishing in an African prison, and settle for a "quiet life" with his wife and family in the UK, The Independent on Sunday has learnt.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/foreign-office-warns-mann-to-keep-quiet-1816864.html

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

I don’t mind someone challenging me or even being misguided Robby, but his comment was full of f-ing and blinding and it was obvious that he had no clue about Africa or anything about me or EO. That is his prerogative but then he ought to refrain from making wild statements based on his own misguided “facts”.

I believe there are many people who are concerned about Mann and what he may have to say. Perhaps there are many in positions of power that will use their powers to stop him talking.

Thanks for the links.

Rgds,

Eeben

Robby said...

Without being to forward I would really like it if you work on doing a article on your take of those events the players and who in "positions of power that will use their powers to stop him talking".....I live for this kind of stuff :-)

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Let me think about that, Robby. Thanks for the suggestion though.

Rgds,

Eeben

tyhz1995 said...

That msg could have been a "troll" sir.If it was not,as a yank let me apologize.Most of my fellow Americans nauseate me.I am curious sir was there not a totally South African arms and materiel industry at one time?Primarily small arms?I always understood the Recces held pretty good sand.Truly battle hardened and ultra disciplined.I was unaware you were a sapper sir.It must have been very stress ful.Mines are ugly they always gave me the willies.The general aftermath was often a man they should have let die only to prolong his suffering for whatever time the Dr.'s hubris allowed.In my experience some mines come out partially broken etc

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Thanks, Tyler, but there is no need for you to apologise for someone else. Obviously, he has his own problems to contend with – I am just not willing to make his problems mine.

When we found ourselves isolated, we built up a very good arms industry. A lot of our equipment was unique and highly sought after internationally. Sadly, that industry has been neglected and is not even a shadow of its former self.

I was proud to have been a sapper and I had really great troops when I served at different infantry battalions. But, mine warfare was what we did and we accepted it as the infantry and others accepted their jobs. The Special Forces guys were just that – special. Discipline in the entire army was tough but it helped us through difficult times.

Rgds,

Eeben

Black Pearl said...

Mr. Eeben Barlow is there anyway I can contact you?

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Please send me your email address Black Pearl and I shall make contact with you via a private means. Also, give me an indication of the reason why you wish to make contact with me.

Rgds,

Eeben