Sunday, March 06, 2005

So the Italian journalist claims 300-400 rounds were fired into her car... which sure seems far-fetched...

Bullets on Target (BOT) is a three variable equation N (number of shooters) times R (weapon rate of fire) times T (time spent shooting). Obviously, to put 300-400 BOT requires a good number of shooters pumping out a lot of bullets.

First, how many shooters were there at this checkpoint? There are checkpoints all over Iraq; we don't have the manpower to man them all at company or probably even platoon strength. So, figure that each checkpoint is squad sized, and there's less than 10 soldiers firing.

Now, assuming these soldiers were firing M16A2s, which supposedly can fire up to 90 rounds a minute. But the M16A2 also only has a 30 shot magazine - which, taking into account time for switching magazines, limits the BOT any single soldier could put out. Even if there were one or two M60s in use, which has both a higher rate of fire and uses an ammo belt (which eliminates the need to switch magazines), putting 300-400 BOT would require firing for close to a full minute. It sure seems unlikely that they would have been firing for that long (assume they opened up at the 'speeding' car 400 yards or so away (roughly a quarter of a mile). Assuming the car was coming at a constant rate of speed, the car couldn't have been going any faster than 15 miles an hour - not exactly a speeding car, but also not exactly a car that the troops would likely open fire at. If the car was going faster, say 30 miles an hour, then, asssuming the same 400 yard initial engagement distance, the car would have gotten to the checkpoint in about 30 seconds - is the journalist claiming that the car sat at the checkpoint for 30 seconds while the soldiers kept shooting at full auto into the car? Doesn't seem to add up.

And, of course, although she might have been misquoted, she said that 300-400 shots were fired INTO her car - which means that, assuming at least some of our soldiers missed their target (they're good, but not PGA good), that our soldiers would have had to put out even more BOT.... All so very unlikely...

But her story will still get mileage among the anti-American worldwide press... which is what matters, I guess...

UPDATE: A commenter pointed out her assertion that she was fired upon by an "armored vehicle" and suggested I look at the Bushmaster. According to this site, the M242 Bushmaster, which is in use on Bradleys, has a standard rate of fire of 200 rounds per minute. Notwithstanding this, I'm sticking by my hunch: too short a distance and too few people shooting for too short a period of time for her assertion to be true.