AFGHANISTAN - KANDAHAR FIGHTING HOTS UP


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August 12th 2010
Published: August 12th 2010
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Fairchild Republic A10 "Hog"Fairchild Republic A10 "Hog"Fairchild Republic A10 "Hog"

Firing. You see the smoke first and then this dreadful, terrifying grinding, screeching sound. Web photo
It's been quiet enough in Kandahar City for the last few weeks, perhaps a lull before the storm or a "Phony War", but according to reports in fact the time when the Coalition has been tightening the so-called "Ring of Steel" around the City as part of "Operation Hamkari". We've had the occasional "crack and thump". For the non-military, an AK round makes a "crack" as it goes overhead... the "thumps" are usually the Bad Guys getting whacked in return... A bit like a Monty Python sketch - Bad Guy pops off a couple of rounds, then a big THUMP and he's gone.

Anyway, yesterday afternoon (first day of Ramadan, Wednesday 11th August) things seemed to change. There was a lot of helo activity (Kiowa gunships) over an outlying district to the South-West of the City in Panjwayi District, about 4 kilometers from our location. Then at about 2PM it really started. Of course against all security regs we all rush to the villa roof for a grandstand view.

Amazing stuff! 21st Century war at its best. Panjwayi is a Taliban stronghold. The Kiowas circle like vultures and then the A10s came, swimming through the air like sharks. They
View towards Panjwayi DistrictView towards Panjwayi DistrictView towards Panjwayi District

The A10s pounded the area to the left of the hills and right in the centre of the photo. Our view from the roof was amazing with the planes firing right over our heads.
fly slow (so they can give close ground support fire) and then line up and....... It is undoubtedly the most awful sound I have ever heard. The A10 Fairchild Republic "Thunderbolt" aka "the Warthog" or simply "Hog" (kind of appropriate given the location) is just a flying gun, but not any old gun. The GAU-8 Avenger is a heavy 30 mm automatic cannon that fires 3,900 rounds per minute. It's a rotating cannon like an up-dated Gatling gun, with multiple barrels that rotate. Firing for 4,000 feet (the optimal height) the weapon can place 80%!o(MISSING)f its rounds within a 40 foot circle.

If you were in that circle you would quite simply vanish into a red mist. And that's what happened to the Taliban yesterday afternoon. Seventy-five of them in the space of a second or two. The A10 swam in, lined up and then there's a cloud of white smoke and the aircraft seems to stop for a moment with the recoil... a couple of seconds later you hear this quite terrible grinding sound, not at all the pop-pop-pop of a normal machine gun, but something so dreadful and inhuman it sends a shiver up your spine and and uncontrollable urge to laugh in both fear and delight. Once you've heard it, you will NEVER forget it.

And of course those on the receiving end will never hear anything again. Happy Ramadan, Taliban!

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13th August 2010

Edgy stuff, Your blogs make me feel uncomfortable although I have subscribed to them, War is a terrible thing, your assignments must have an element of fear as well as adrenalin, often after reading your blogs my stomach deals with a little turmoil, be safe

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