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Combat experience in Iraq has shaped the training and arming of American soldiers in Afghanistan, even though the aspects of warfare are noticeably different. Whereas the Army, Marines and Special Operations regularly engaged insurgents within close proximity (less than 1,000 feet) in Iraq, U.S. personnel fighting the Taliban often find themselves in firefights that span longer distances.

But according to a research paper authored by Major Thomas Ehrhart at the Army School for Advanced Military Studies at Fort Leavenworth, soldiers are trained to fire their rifles accurately up to only 600 feet. Also, the M4 carbine given to troops can’t hit targets beyond a thousand feet (300 meters), even though half of enemy attacks come from beyond that range.

Another problem is that enemy forces in Afghanistan have learned to attack from high ground because they know that U.S. soldiers can’t operate effectively at elevations higher than 6,000 feet.

Ehrhart’s critique has attracted the notice of senior commanders who are considering changes for the Afghan campaign. These include improvements designing bullets that can remain lethal past 500 meters, redesigning the M4 rifle, completely replacing the carbine altogether, and developing new camouflage uniforms that better match the terrain.

Read the research paper as a PDF here.

Source: Noel Brinkerhoff at Allgov.com.

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