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250K bullets fired per insurgent killed

tom's picture

Holy cow! Our soldiers have fired so many rounds that we've run out of bullets:

US forces have fired so many bullets in Iraq and Afghanistan - an estimated 250,000 for every insurgent killed - that American ammunition-makers cannot keep up with demand. As a result the US is having to import supplies from Israel.

Now that's a heckuva ratio, huh? 250K bullets per insurgent killed.

I think a little marksmanship training might be a darned good idea, huh?

This story also makes quite clear what a disaster the Iraq mess has become: we've fired every bullet we've got and we're having to import ammunition.

And, despite that, we're still losing.

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Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

In fairness, the majority of those rounds would have been used for covering fire to force any enemy to keep their heads down while US troops were moving from position to position in close quarter fighting. On the other hand, I was told when I was in the Australian Army Reserve that the number for Vietnam was 10000:1.

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

It’s cheaper to buy bullets from Israel? I know they don’t mine lead in Israel so they have to ship raw materials through the Suez or the Straits of Gibraltar to manufacture it then ship the ammo stateside for inspection and distribution. Right?

Lead is not cheap to ship in case this fact is lost on anyone and not just because it is heavy, it is poisonous too. Brass and smokeless powder present similar problems.

No American company is able to compete with enormous overhead costs like that?

Smells like a dead rat to me.

Sarah's picture
Submitted by Sarah on

and the Air Force solution wasn't buying imported ammo; it was teaching every servicemember how to use the sights on the weapons.

I kid you not.

I was in one of those first classes of future teachers.

The basics are very simple:

windage and elevation can be corrected for.
put your front sight inside your rear sight.
focus on the target; the sights will 'blur' a bit.
pull the trigger with a smooth motion.

Like 3-pointers at the buzzer or free throws in an OT tie, the rest is mental.

Tinfoil Hat Boy's picture
Submitted by Tinfoil Hat Boy on

Girl's not fucking around

"A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." - Margaret Mead

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

Statistics on ammunition consumed/expended for the Civil War would be meaningless since bullets were frequently recovered, remelted and reused. And soldiers got no training whatsoever in marksmanship. None. This was still the era of Napoleonic tactics which consisted of "throw out a wall of lead towards that line marching shoulder to shoulder; you probably won't hit the guy you think you're aiming at but have a good chance of hitting the one ahead of, behind or beside him." Thus there was much emphasis on rate of fire (3 shots/minute was considered standard, not bad if you've ever tried to load and shoot a muzzle loading rifle!) but none whatever on aim.

All the "training and discipline" they got was in marching, formations, cadence, meanings of drum and bugle calls, etc. The only exception was the short-lived Sharpshooter regiments organized by commanders like Berdan, and they often used special rifles imported from England. (They have one on display at the National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg PA if anyone is ever in the vicinity. But, as usual, I wander off topic.)

One stat that is available (from the invaluable Civil War Day by Day, E. B. Long and Barbara Long) is thus:

For the Union army: 1 out of approximately 65 men was killed in action; 1 of 56 died of wounds; 1 of 13.5 died of disease; 1 of 10 was wounded in action; 1 of 15 was captured or reported missing; 1 of 7 captured died in prison.

Sarah's picture
Submitted by Sarah on

and the truth is, we outside the Beltway probably need to find some of these.

If you haven't got some means of self-defense, get some.
If you have SO/children, teach them to defend themselves too.

This used to be the poster on my bedroom wall, when I was 18:

and this picture was on the wall behind me at work:

Ruth's picture
Submitted by Ruth on

Since we're equipping the Iraqi police/militias who are now openly firing at us with those weapons we're giving them, I just don't take the figure of "fired" bullets that seriously. We've given away the guns, and the money, it just make the same kind of idiotic sense that we threw the bullets after them.


Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

From July 1, 2005

23:55 Washington. The Pentagon is running short on ammunition. The House Budget Office said the Pentagon's request for small-caliber munitions has risen from 730 million to 1.8 billion and medium caliber from 11.7 to 22 million in a year's time.

US troops fired 400 bullets at Giuliana Sgrena alone!