chuchoteur
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French Gazelle Shot Down In Mali

Sat Jan 12, 2013 3:48 pm

A french gazelle belonging to the 4th helicopter special forces regiment (based in Pau) was shot down in Mali.
Was apparently returning from a fire support mission when it was hit by small arms fire, the pilot was fatally wounded.
 
Spacepope
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RE: French Gazelle Shot Down In Mali

Sat Jan 12, 2013 4:42 pm

Apparently both Gazelles used yesterday are now out of service due to enemy fire. Other reports suggest the pilot was struck by a bullet but was able to land safely. He died later in or on the way to medical treatment.

Give 'em hell guys.
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GDB
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RE: French Gazelle Shot Down In Mali

Sat Jan 12, 2013 8:59 pm

Gazelles? RIP to the crewman doing a vital job but maybe Tigers would be more effective and safer for the crews.

The British Army found Gazelles, however useful in other it's other tasks, to be really too vulnerable if employed in an offensive role, two were lost to small arms fire in the early part of the landings in San Carlos Water. Nearly 31 years ago.
 
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Aesma
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RE: French Gazelle Shot Down In Mali

Sun Jan 13, 2013 3:36 am

I'm guessing we don't have Tigers over there, it seems the current operation is pretty hush hush, in fact it wasn't supposed to happen at all, but the "militants" let us no choice.
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GDB
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RE: French Gazelle Shot Down In Mali

Sun Jan 13, 2013 9:43 am

Quoting Aesma (Reply 3):
I'm guessing we don't have Tigers over there, it seems the current operation is pretty hush hush, in fact it wasn't supposed to happen at all, but the "militants" let us no choice.

Not so hush now. The RAF are to make two C-17's available to France to support this operation. They could, maybe they are, get some Tigers out there. Cameron says that no UK combat forces will be deployed, this is a part of the world France knows well so UK combat forces won't likely be needed.
Though if France wants say Chinooks I'm sure the UK would help. Both countries forces have capability caps, it makes sense for one to fill any with the other in possible. I would not be surprised if one day the UK asks for French Navy Atlantique MPA's to assist in something, since Cameron decided that an Island nation with some of the busiest sea traffic around it's coast does not need maritime patrol aircraft!
 
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RE: French Gazelle Shot Down In Mali

Sun Jan 13, 2013 12:23 pm

Quoting GDB (Reply 4):
since Cameron decided that an Island nation with some of the busiest sea traffic around it's coast does not need maritime patrol aircraft!

Luckily, not many pirates there.  

But still UK is in a crucial role because it has so much seawater to watch over...

I worry how this war plays out on the public health research work my colleagues are doing there. Time to appreciate the peace here in Europe.


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Spacepope
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RE: French Gazelle Shot Down In Mali

Sun Jan 13, 2013 7:08 pm

Quoting GDB (Reply 4):
Not so hush now. The RAF are to make two C-17's available to France to support this operation. They could, maybe they are, get some Tigers out there.

Supposedly 3 Tiger HAPs are being transported by the C-17s. The first C-17 has already landed in France, and is most likely loaded and on its way south.

French also sent 4 Rafales on a mission originating in France, dropping bombs on Mali, then landing in Chad (their new home for a while). This is in addition to the 8 Mirage 2000D/F-1 already in Chad.
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chuchoteur
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RE: French Gazelle Shot Down In Mali

Sun Jan 13, 2013 7:30 pm

The Tigre/Gazelle pair worked very well over Libya. But those were night-time ops only...

I guess sending them out during daylight may have been a mistake, reports are coming out that AQMI have some pretty heavy equipment they seized from Libya, and their organisation/shooting is better than anticipated.

Tigre helicopters are definitely the required solution.
 
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RE: French Gazelle Shot Down In Mali

Sun Jan 13, 2013 8:40 pm

Quoting flyingturtle (Reply 5):
I worry how this war plays out on the public health research work my colleagues are doing there. Time to appreciate the peace here in Europe.

I can well imagine. However these Islamists are not known to be well disposed towards such people. As we've seen recently, twice, in Pakistan. More than a few times in Afghanistan as well.

All military operations have risks, some unforeseen.
But we let Afghanistan go to hell in the 1990's, whatever one thinks of what has happened there since 2001, the results of that neglect came to life in Africa in 1998, Yemen in 2000, in various brutal terror campaigns across the Muslim world, culminating in the USA in 2001.
 
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RE: French Gazelle Shot Down In Mali

Sun Jan 13, 2013 9:21 pm

AQIM hijacked (with their money) the Tuareg rebellion in Mali. There the rather secular Tuareg were rebelling against discrimination in the age old conflict between nomadic tribesmen with a warrior culture versus sedentary farmers.
The Tuareg are not completely innocent either. For centuries they have been raiding farm villages and taken captives to be sold as slaves, so the farmers (and the government, which comes from the same people as the farmers) are quite hostile to them.
The Tuareg are Muslims, but due to the harsh living conditions in the open desert, They are quite practical. E.g. their women have much more say than with the settled people. It is simply a matter of survival. In the conditions they live in everybody has to pull his or her weight.
They had a rebellion going against the Mali government since many years, but this rebellion gained momentum after Ghaddafi´s downfall, when many Tuareg, who used to fight for Ghadaffi, returned with weapons.
But they still needed money and this came via the fundamentalist Islamist groups, who used their money to hijack the Tuareg rebellion.
By now the rather secular Tuareg leaders curse the day they made their agreements with AQIM and the other Salafist groups. AFAIK they still want their autonomy and recognition, but don´t want the introduction of Salafism or Wahabism.

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Spacepope
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RE: French Gazelle Shot Down In Mali

Mon Jan 14, 2013 7:39 pm

Update on equipment:

http://lemamouth.blogspot.fr/2013/01/serval-les-renforts-suite.html

Basically 2 more Mirage F-1s arrive fro either recon or bombing with GBU-12s (F-1s don't have a targeting pod, so a Rafale or Mirage 2000 will have to do the designating). French AF A310 and A340 are transporting troops and their equipment in underfloor cargo. A convoy of armored vehicles has arrived by road from Ivory coast.

Lots of logistics help in the form of:

Commercial: 2x AN-124
UK: 2x C-17
Canada: 1x C-17
Denmark: ? (most likely C-130)
Spain: "logistics"
US: KC-135s, possibly C-5s (rumor). Drones.
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Spacepope
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RE: French Gazelle Shot Down In Mali

Tue Jan 15, 2013 3:05 pm

New information in on airlift support: Belgium is supplying 2x C-130H
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RE: French Gazelle Shot Down In Mali

Tue Jan 15, 2013 8:36 pm

Quoting Spacepope (Reply 6):
Supposedly 3 Tiger HAPs are being transported by the C-17s
Quoting Spacepope (Reply 10):
UK: 2x C-17
Canada: 1x C-17

Not to kick an ant hill, but does the Tiger fit into a A400m? Bet they are hating the delays on the A400 about now, needing other aircraft to support this.

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RE: French Gazelle Shot Down In Mali

Wed Jan 16, 2013 12:24 am

Quoting sprout5199 (Reply 12):
does the Tiger fit into a A400m

It's supposed to carry two without major disassembly. Shouldn't be a tight fit: the A400M is designed to be able to carry a Chinook, or a NH90.

I never heard of an actual loading test, though.
 
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RE: French Gazelle Shot Down In Mali

Wed Jan 16, 2013 8:29 am

Quoting sprout5199 (Reply 12):
Not to kick an ant hill, but does the Tiger fit into a A400m? Bet they are hating the delays on the A400 about now, needing other aircraft to support this.

Eurocopter has in the past rented a Beluga to carry a NH90 and a Tiger to an airshow. Just an idea.


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Spacepope
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RE: French Gazelle Shot Down In Mali

Wed Jan 16, 2013 3:15 pm

Ze Germans have commited 2x C-160s to transport ECOWAS troops, but will not be directly assisting the French.

USAF is still quiet about airlift.

Observations of flightline photos
French C-130, C-160 and at least 4 KC-135s seen.

AN-12 EK-12148 is also seen on the ramp, looking very flightworthy, as well as a turboprop C-47 and a DO-228. The Dauphin, skymaster, SU-25s, MiG-21s and a Boeing 707 in (likely) Ndjema all look non-flyable.
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chuchoteur
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RE: French Gazelle Shot Down In Mali

Wed Jan 16, 2013 7:17 pm

Quoting jollo (Reply 13):

I never heard of an actual loading test, though.

The A400M loading tests were done a while back. Test loaded an NH90 and a Caracal, I believe.
Worked ok...
 
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RE: French Gazelle Shot Down In Mali

Thu Jan 17, 2013 1:00 am

Large, open, flat areas sound like a good place for tanks. US should offer a Marine Expeditionary Unit, and there probably would be one there already alongside the French if Barry didn't get re-elected.
 
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RE: French Gazelle Shot Down In Mali

Thu Jan 17, 2013 7:25 am

Quoting AirRyan (Reply 17):
Large, open, flat areas sound like a good place for tanks. US should offer a Marine Expeditionary Unit, and there probably would be one there already alongside the French if Barry didn't get re-elected.

The French seem to favour large armoured cars with a heavy cannon - like a 105mm - and wheeled APC's for this sort of terrain.
Not that I see who the US President is has anything to do with this, the US has offered surveillance and logistical support after all and considering how flack Obama got for Libya, with no US boots on the ground, including from many who backed Bush to the hilt on Iraq and Afghanistan, politically it's a non starter and the French have not asked for major US intervention.
 
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RE: French Gazelle Shot Down In Mali

Thu Jan 17, 2013 1:22 pm

Quoting GDB (Reply 18):
The French seem to favour large armoured cars with a heavy cannon - like a 105mm - and wheeled APC's for this sort of terrain.

some observers have mentioned that if France had the means to deploy the Leclerc out there, then it would definitely be considered. Lack of suitable transport and the lack of infrastructure crossing the Niger river are the 2 reasons that ruled heavy tanks out of the equation...

... plus France does not wish to have too many boots on the ground, only until the AU troops arrive.
 
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RE: French Gazelle Shot Down In Mali

Thu Jan 17, 2013 7:32 pm

France would need a C17 fleet like UK has, perfect for fast MBT insertions, but expensive.
 
GDB
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RE: French Gazelle Shot Down In Mali

Thu Jan 17, 2013 8:36 pm

Quoting sweair (Reply 20):
France would need a C17 fleet like UK has, perfect for fast MBT insertions, but expensive.

And a very inefficient use of heavy transports too. Not so bad if you want to deploy MBT's slowly over a period of time but not for a somewhat time critical operation like Mali.
Plus the logistics train for MBT's is likely to be more extensive than for those heavy armoured cars. Which France used effectively in Operation Desert Storm.
The best way of deploying MBT's and the one generally used in out of area operations, is by ship, not really an option for Mali.

The numbers of French troops, at least until a seriously viable AU presence is firmly established, is going to be a few thousand rather than a few hundred.
 
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RE: French Gazelle Shot Down In Mali

Sun Jan 20, 2013 8:52 am

Since we're already off the original post of the Gazelle shot down, there has been one subject that is puzzling me. As far as I understand it, French troops abroad are made up of the French Foreign Legion and not French regular army, except for officers, as was pointed out by a talking head on CNN. As I remember, the French disaster at Dien Bien Phu in Vietnam, was made up mostly of Legionnaires. Can anyone throw further light on this?
 
GDB
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RE: French Gazelle Shot Down In Mali

Sun Jan 20, 2013 10:26 am

Quoting RIXrat (Reply 22):
Since we're already off the original post of the Gazelle shot down, there has been one subject that is puzzling me. As far as I understand it, French troops abroad are made up of the French Foreign Legion and not French regular army, except for officers, as was pointed out by a talking head on CNN. As I remember, the French disaster at Dien Bien Phu in Vietnam, was made up mostly of Legionnaires. Can anyone throw further light on this?

Only that it's not the case, while FFL is a major element of the French rapid reaction and have units already based in Africa, the following French Army units are deployed or are deploying to Mali;

-RICM Armoured Recce Rgt (one squadron, 50 vehicles including AMX-10RCRs armed with 105 mm guns)
-511e RT (Log Rgt)
-126e RI (Inf Bn equipped with VAB APCs)
-3e RG (Engineer Rgt)
-92e RI (Inf Rgt equipped with VBCI wheeled IFVs)
-CPA 20 and CPA30 (Air Force unit specialized in CSAR and FAC)
-5e RHC (Cbt helicopter Rgt)
-EH 1.67 Pyrénées (AF helicopter Sqdn)

It's also the case that the Legion had a very successful part in Desert Storm in 1991, have carried out many successful operations throughout the world since 1954.
Along with other elements of the French Army. Including Afghanistan, that also including fast jets being deployed.
This is not well understood elsewhere, particularly it has to be said in the US.
Maybe it's because the large French film industry does not do films based on these French military operations?
 
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Aesma
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RE: French Gazelle Shot Down In Mali

Sun Jan 20, 2013 5:21 pm

Quoting RIXrat (Reply 22):
As I remember, the French disaster at Dien Bien Phu in Vietnam, was made up mostly of Legionnaires. Can anyone throw further light on this?

The legionnaires were only a fourth or fifth of the French and allies forces. The disaster was mainly caused by conventional military thinking of the time that Dien Bien Phu was impossible to take even with twice as many assailants (which indeed the Viet Minh had). In fact the enemy managed to bring far more artillery, tanks, flak guns, munitions and supplies than what was believed possible, and that was how they won, the French forces abilities in battle were never in question.
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RE: French Gazelle Shot Down In Mali

Sun Jan 20, 2013 11:29 pm

Quoting chuchoteur (Reply 16):
The A400M loading tests were done a while back. Test loaded an NH90 and a Caracal, I believe.
Worked ok...

I meant loading two Tigers at once... was this payload configuration also actually tested? Not especially heavy but maybe bulky, without disassembly.
 
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RE: French Gazelle Shot Down In Mali

Mon Jan 21, 2013 12:12 am

Quoting GDB (Reply 2):
The British Army found Gazelles, however useful in other it's other tasks, to be really too vulnerable if employed in an offensive role, two were lost to small arms fire in the early part of the landings in San Carlos Water. Nearly 31 years ago.

Sounds like the Kiowa, great for rcon but better send in it's bigger brothers once the shotiting starts.

Quoting AirRyan (Reply 17):
US should offer a Marine Expeditionary Unit

Not everything that gos on in he world requires the US to send in ground forces.

Quoting AirRyan (Reply 17):
and there probably would be one there already alongside the French if Barry didn't get re-elected.

Even if he had lost ther would still be no US ground forces in Mali since he would still be in office till inauguration day. Considerng toll operations over the past elven years have taken on men and equipmet we should probaby be thankfull.
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Aesma
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RE: French Gazelle Shot Down In Mali

Mon Jan 21, 2013 12:43 am

The US can't legally intervene because Congress doesn't recognize Mali's government, as far as I know "Barry" doesn't control Congress.
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MD11Engineer
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RE: French Gazelle Shot Down In Mali

Mon Jan 21, 2013 8:34 am

Quoting Aesma (Reply 24):
The legionnaires were only a fourth or fifth of the French and allies forces. The disaster was mainly caused by conventional military thinking of the time that Dien Bien Phu was impossible to take even with twice as many assailants (which indeed the Viet Minh had). In fact the enemy managed to bring far more artillery, tanks, flak guns, munitions and supplies than what was believed possible, and that was how they won, the French forces abilities in battle were never in question.

That was the same conventional thinking, which thought that the Ardennes would be impassable to tanks, that any large attack should be preceeded by a large artillery bombardment and that you could see the logistical ramp up a long time beforehand (1940). Generals trying to fight the last war again.
Usually it is the side which won the previous war, which gets the shoeing. Their generals think that what worked in the last war will work again in the current one, no changes required. The previously losing side on the other hand takes a hard look at what DIDN´T work last time and make changes.

E.g. one thing the French did in Indochina was to try to fight conventionally like in WW2 or in the Korean War. They used a lot of tracked and wheeled combat vehicles, which, due to the terrain (mountains and / or jungle) were tied to the roads and easily ambushed. The Vietminh on the other hand used light transport, either human or pack animals or bicycles and were much more mobile in the environment.
Then the Vietminh used the typical guerilla tactics of non-uniformed fighters being able to blend in with the population, accepting losses among their own civilian population (and using those civilians killed for propaganda purposes. Also, a dead guerilla turns instantly into a dead civilian as soon as oine of his mates takes away his gun and ammo. This is bedevilling the western forces up to today).

Jan
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RIXrat
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RE: French Gazelle Shot Down In Mali

Tue Jan 22, 2013 8:55 am

Thank you all for educating me on the French Foreign Legion. Much appreciated. There has been the misconception that the Legion does the fighting while the French boots sip lattes in Paris cafes, to exaggerate the point.
 
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RE: French Gazelle Shot Down In Mali

Wed Jan 23, 2013 3:24 pm

Quoting GDB (Reply 18):
The French seem to favour large armoured cars with a heavy cannon - like a 105mm - and wheeled APC's for this sort of terrain.

Even the US has preferred the Strikers to Abrams for Afghanistan. If the terrain is so vast and not heavily forested, seems like air cavalry is the way to go with mechanized infantry support and follow up.

bt
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Spacepope
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RE: French Gazelle Shot Down In Mali

Wed Jan 23, 2013 6:35 pm

Quoting bikerthai (Reply 30):
Even the US has preferred the Strikers to Abrams for Afghanistan. If the terrain is so vast and not heavily forested, seems like air cavalry is the way to go with mechanized infantry support and follow up.

bt

Reports in today that 4 Leclercs will be sent. No idea if by air or sea.

I've now seen 4 different Gazelles in service, and one Puma is equipped with large internal tanks to act as a FARP. still no sign of Tiger.
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chuchoteur
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RE: French Gazelle Shot Down In Mali

Wed Jan 23, 2013 7:30 pm

Quoting Spacepope (Reply 31):
Reports in today that 4 Leclercs will be sent. No idea if by air or sea.

A transport left by sea from Toulon yesterday/today.... long drive at the other end...
 
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RE: French Gazelle Shot Down In Mali

Thu Jan 24, 2013 9:29 pm

Quoting RIXrat (Reply 29):
Thank you all for educating me on the French Foreign Legion. Much appreciated. There has been the misconception that the Legion does the fighting while the French boots sip lattes in Paris cafes, to exaggerate the point.

It's easy to do, quite apart from the language and different culture, not as entwined with the Anglo Saxon world, the French seem to be just more low key generally in military operations.
Often within their sphere of influence too.
Mali is bigger, has an international element, compared to other French African operations, add in the Islamist factor too.

French cinema makes few war films, a notable exception in 2006 was 'Days Of Glory' an account of French Colonial troops in WW2, mostly North Africans. Worth a look.
It caused a stir in that it served to highlight some of the neglect they suffered afterwards, which even caused the government to take action to help the survivors all those decades later.

Even when there is no great opposition to French military involvement, they are just more sombre about it.
There is still I think a great collective memory of not just defeat and occupation in WW2 but the carnage of WW1, on their territory.
 
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RE: French Gazelle Shot Down In Mali

Fri Jan 25, 2013 12:47 am

Quoting bikerthai (Reply 30):
Even the US has preferred the Strikers to Abrams for Afghanistan. If the terrain is so vast and not heavily forested, seems like air cavalry is the way to go with mechanized infantry support and follow up.

bt

The Canadians and the Dutch sent Leopard 2 tanks to Afghanistan (Canada first set some Leopard 1's, then got loaner German Leopard 2A6M's later on). Still a need for heavy armour to support lighter infantry forces.
 
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RE: French Gazelle Shot Down In Mali

Fri Jan 25, 2013 1:25 am

So I was watching a political debate and a former defense minister was saying that the Tiger sucked the money that was destined to armoring the gazelles. If we don't send Tigers it would be doubly ironic...

GDB : yes I'd say that we know (and the British, Germans too) what war really means. But also what losing means. My grandfather lost his homeland, since he was born and raised in Indochina. Many current politicians were born in Algeria.

So now we have a very strange relationship with Africa.
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chuchoteur
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RE: French Gazelle Shot Down In Mali

Fri Jan 25, 2013 5:41 pm

Quoting Aesma (Reply 35):
the Tiger sucked the money that was destined to armoring the gazelles.

...politicians... There is no practical way of armouring the Gazelles. Doing so would critically reduce useful payload and range, which is extremely limited in any case.

The US had the same issue with the Hughes 500 "Little Bird", hence the new requirement for an Armed Aerial Scout.
 
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RE: French Gazelle Shot Down In Mali

Tue Jan 29, 2013 3:11 pm

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 34):
Still a need for heavy armour to support lighter infantry forces.

Heavy armour is great for guarding major facilities and installation as they are almost impervious to RPGs and and resist a car bomb much better.

For fast moving battles the lighter wheeled vehicles would be better. Even for an assault on a town, the heavy armour may be limited in maneuverability. A wheeled car with a 105 gun would be enough to dislodge a dug in lightly armed defender.

But nothing safer than heavy armour when RPG and mortars are flying around   And if your opponent runs away when they hear the rumbling of the tracks, all the better . . .

bt
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MD11Engineer
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RE: French Gazelle Shot Down In Mali

Tue Jan 29, 2013 5:27 pm

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 34):
The Canadians and the Dutch sent Leopard 2 tanks to Afghanistan (Canada first set some Leopard 1's, then got loaner German Leopard 2A6M's later on). Still a need for heavy armour to support lighter infantry forces.


I have read that the Canadians liked the heavy tracked vehicles due to two reasons: Often non-existent roads and terrain that was impossible to cross with wheeled vehicles and the construction of many traditional buildings in Afghanistan with very thick adobe walls, which even 20 mm shells of the infantry carriers or shoulder fired AT weapons could not penetrate.
The MBT is mobile enough in rough terrain to follow the infantry and the gun is strong enough e.g. to take out a machine gun position hidden behind those adobe walls.

Jan
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GDB
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RE: French Gazelle Shot Down In Mali

Tue Jan 29, 2013 8:12 pm

There's been footage of French Paratroopers doing an operational drop, from C-160's and possibly a C-130.
Don't see that very often these days, didn't say what unit, if it was SF or not, numbers seemed a bit high for that from the short segment shown.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worl...roops-parachute-into-Timbuktu.html

[Edited 2013-01-29 12:16:00]

French airstrike footage, looks like a Tiger attack chopper comes into view 40 seconds into it;

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worl...e-released-by-French-military.html


[Edited 2013-01-29 12:22:50]
 
chuchoteur
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RE: French Gazelle Shot Down In Mali

Tue Jan 29, 2013 8:26 pm

Quoting GDB (Reply 39):
timeTue Jan 29 2013 12:12:27 UTC (7 minutes 42 secs ago) and read 5 times:

There's been footage of French Paratroopers doing an operational drop, from C-160's and possibly a C-130.

3x C160 Transall & 2x C130 Hercules aircraft. 250 paratroopers from the foreign legion - 2e REP.
As per tradition, the unit commander (a colonel) was first to jump. This is France's first true "combat jump" since Kolwezi in 1978.

Full video of the jump here, infra-red images curtesy of a French Air Force Harfang drone.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=zGDIDGMcbaM

The aim of the jump was to cut off the AQMI fighters in case they tried to run for it to the north, as a second tactical group composed of armour and the malian army were moving in from the south.
 
chuchoteur
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RE: French Gazelle Shot Down In Mali

Tue Jan 29, 2013 8:34 pm

...the 17e Régiment du Génie Parachutiste (engineering regiment) jumped today as well, they will clear the airport to enable support aircraft to bring in reinforcements...
 
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RE: French Gazelle Shot Down In Mali

Tue Jan 29, 2013 8:39 pm

Quoting chuchoteur (Reply 40):
3x C160 Transall & 2x C130 Hercules aircraft. 250 paratroopers from the foreign legion - 2e REP.
As per tradition, the unit commander (a colonel) was first to jump. This is France's first true "combat jump" since Kolwezi in 1978.

Full video of the jump here, infra-red images curtesy of a French Air Force Harfang drone.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=zGDIDGMcbaM

The aim of the jump was to cut off the AQMI fighters in case they tried to run for it to the north, as a second tactical group composed of armour and the malian army were moving in from the south.

Thanks and Kudos to them.
Their British counterparts will be jealous, last drop in anger they did was at Suez in 1956. 1978 for the French seems a lot more recent, though still a few decades ago!
But they can at least point to this French operation to show why they should retain their parachute capability.

Given how the UK government is greatly increasing the military personnel to Mali, though still for training, intel and logistics, if any talk of any combat troops become rumoured, the Paras will be lobbying. Maybe a tasking for the 1st Battalion, unlike the other two it's a more specialized recon/SF support unit.
 
chuchoteur
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RE: French Gazelle Shot Down In Mali

Tue Jan 29, 2013 9:21 pm

Quoting GDB (Reply 42):
1978 for the French seems a lot more recent, though still a few decades ago!

1978, Kolwezi (Zaire). The french foreign legion jumped to rescue 2,200 european civilians caught up in the civil war. The operation was a success, even though it was a rush job - the paras jumped with borrowed american parachutes they had never trained with.

The french have done a few operational (if not combat) jumps in recent years, the french army performed a "show of force" jump during the war in the balkans... so it is a niche but useful capacity  

I'm sure the british paras will feel a bit left out... however even in the french army I am sure that some of the other parachute regiments out in Mali will have been quite jealous not to be part of the action as well!
 
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RE: French Gazelle Shot Down In Mali

Tue Jan 29, 2013 9:58 pm

Last french operational (but non-combat) jumps:

2007 - Birao (Republic of Central Africa): 3rd RPIMa / GCP
2004 - Kosovo: 8th RPIMa (show of force)
 
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bikerthai
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RE: French Gazelle Shot Down In Mali

Wed Jan 30, 2013 2:08 pm

So, after an operational jump like this, do they bury chute for the locals to salvage or re-stow for recycle?

bt
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chuchoteur
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RE: French Gazelle Shot Down In Mali

Wed Jan 30, 2013 4:44 pm

Quoting bikerthai (Reply 45):
So, after an operational jump like this, do they bury chute for the locals to salvage or re-stow for recycle?

These days, you can bet they put them somewhere for safe-keeping, and as soon as the airport re-opens they will be sent back out to be checked, re-packed and re-used...
 
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RE: French Gazelle Shot Down In Mali

Fri Feb 01, 2013 9:12 pm

Quoting GDB (Reply 33):
ven when there is no great opposition to French military involvement, they are just more sombre about it.
There is still I think a great collective memory of not just defeat and occupation in WW2 but the carnage of WW1, on their territory.

That denotes a nrather good understanding of the Frrench psyché . T5hanks
A slight correction, though : the 2nd WW was won (at least that's what the population thinks, with the help of the allies - among which the Soviet Union ).
But there were wars the memory of which still lingers and the danger they represented for the national union : the Indochina war (lost to shoeless, rag-clothed enemy), and the Algerian war of independence : won on the battlefield but lost to politicians. The country was1mm close to a civil war with the revolt of the elite troops who felt betrayed by de Gaulle. A lot of these elite troops were disbanded and crossed from the army lists : in particular, the disparition of the First Foreign parachute regiment (1er REP) is still bitterly felt.

Quoting RIXrat (Reply 29):
There has been the misconception that the Legion does the fighting while the French boots sip lattes in Paris cafes, to exaggerate the point.

That used to be the general conception an the french ( too cowardly to fight their own wars.... surrendering XXXXXXXXX etc...). The foreign legion was lionised... but the reality is, as usual far from the myhth, in particular about the foreign legion : Whe a volunteer joins the legion, he gives up all his past ; he is newborn and has to strive to honour his new persona, i.e his new identity, taken from a list of available names by the recruiting officer ; generally, his country of origin will be "changed", too : A Gerhard Schmitt from Germany could become a Frantz Müller from Namibia.... and a Frenchman named Paul Dupont from Pontoise could become Gilles Forestier from Canada. .. This example is to illustrate the reality that more than 20% of the Legion troopers come from France.

Quoting Aesma (Reply 35):
a former defense minister was saying that the Tiger sucked the money that was destined to armoring the gazelles.

Typical politician bull. Had they not delayed the Tiger program, they wouldn't have had the need for arming the Gazelle... to send Gazeelle crews to combat with the protection of 5mm-thick plexiglas is criminal. Now, we have troops fighting on yet another theatre and the defence budget cuts are still not being revised for low priority.
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chuchoteur
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RE: French Gazelle Shot Down In Mali

Fri Feb 01, 2013 9:23 pm

Quoting Pihero (Reply 47):
to send Gazelle crews to combat with the protection of 5mm-thick plexiglas is criminal.

To be fair, the feedback from Libya was quite good.

Aside from the short autonomy the Gazelles there performed well and from the crews I have spoken to, sometimes the Tigre crews felt more exposed compared to the Gazelle crews who were really down low. The main difference is that all (as far as I know!) helicopter strikes were performed at night.

Clearly, in daytime operations and with someone with some firepower the Gazelles are much more vulnerable.
I would say that they are extremely useful machines in a niche speciality.

It reminds me of the british "snatch" land rovers. They were described as death traps in Iraq, however adapted versions (the "pinkies" and "dinkies") are used for specialist missions by the SAS, and there is no equivalent available today in terms of all terrain light mobility....

I would obviously prefer to see more Tigre helicopters in the french fleet and less gazelles, but they can still perform some interesting missions.
 
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RE: French Gazelle Shot Down In Mali

Fri Feb 01, 2013 10:33 pm

Quoting chuchoteur (Reply 48):
I would say that they are extremely useful machines in a niche speciality.

Fair enough.
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