10 little-known facts about the AK-47 - We Are The Mighty
Lists

10 little-known facts about the AK-47

The AK-47 is not just the preferred weapon of America’s enemies, it’s also the weapon of America’s allies. It’s the most widely used weapon on Earth. People name their children after it. Some countries have its distinctive shape on their flag. Egypt even built a monument featuring the rifle with its barrel and bayonet in the Sinai Peninsula.


 

10 little-known facts about the AK-47

Yet, despite its widespread legitimate use in 106 recognized countries’ standing armies, the AK-47 has also become a symbol of pirates, insurgents, warlords, and terrorists. So where does the rifle live on the scale between good and evil?

To help figure that out, WATM presents 10 facts about the most durable, dependable and infamous rifle ever designed:

10 little-known facts about the AK-47

1. Though it is widely known that he did not receive any royalties from his design (the Stalin-Era Soviet Union wasn’t too big on international copyright law – the AK borrows from many contemporary designs), Kalashnikov received an award from Stalin and special privileges until the Soviet Union was dissolved.

10 little-known facts about the AK-47

2. The original AK-47 was unwieldy and much too heavy. It’s unusual to find a “real” ’47 AK. Most of the weapons produced by the Soviet Union and shipped abroad are really AKMs or AK-74s. You can tell the difference by the barrel: the AKM uses a muzzle brake while the 74 has a flash suppressor. For example, the Malian soldier pointing his rifle at my chest in the photo below is holding an AKM.

10 little-known facts about the AK-47

3. Because the Russian government produced and shipped out so many, and because more than 30 countries are licensed to produce AK family rifles, no one knows how many of them there really are. Its estimated that there is an AK-47 for every 70 people on Earth, around 100 million. The next most widespread family of rifle is the M-16 line, with a paltry 10 million.

10 little-known facts about the AK-47

4. The Kalashnikov is the deadliest weapon ever produced, killing around 250,000 people each year. This far surpasses the casualty count for any weapon (including nuclear ones) made by man.

10 little-known facts about the AK-47
Even if that man is John McClane

5. The worldwide average cost of a single rifle is between $100 and $300. Prices of AK-47s in public markets can be used as a barometer for social unrest: The more expensive they are, the more likely an uprising is about to take place. For example, some AKs in Afghanistan can be purchased for around $10. If you can get an AK for less than $100, it might be better to buy a ticket home.

10 little-known facts about the AK-47

6. During the Iraq War, the US lost track of 110,000 AK-47s. So many ended up in the hands of insurgent groups, the U.S. began issuing M-16s to Iraqi Security Forces instead. (Fun fact: Saddam Hussein received a Gold AK as a gift. It was found by American troops after the 2003 invasion of Iraq: slightly used, dropped once.)

10 little-known facts about the AK-47

 

7. The AK is a relatively inaccurate rifle. This is because of its chrome lining, but that lining is why it’s so dependable, as the chrome reduces the need for cleaning. When the AK does need cleaned, it can be done faster than any weapon ever made, under almost any conditions.

 

10 little-known facts about the AK-47

8. A Missouri car dealership once offered a free AK-47 to new customers, which seems more controversial than it really is. True AKs have an automatic feature — rare in the US — and are only legal when grandfathered in before 1986. Legal AK-47s are only semi-automatic.

9. A Colombian artist, Cesar Lopez, turns AK-47 rifles into guitars. He was even able to put one into the hands on then-UN Secretary General Kofi Annan in 2005.

10. Mikhail Kalashnikov did well financially after the fall of the Berlin Wall, doing speaking tours and launching his own brand of Vodka.

10 little-known facts about the AK-47

For more information about the history of automatic weapons, Mikhail Kalashnikov, and his famous design, check out The Gun by CJ Chivers.

Leave your thoughts in the comments. (We all know what’s about to happen . . .)

10 little-known facts about the AK-47

Lists

6 reasons Charleston might be America’s most gung-ho military city

We’re not just talking about the USS Yorktown at Patriot’s Point (although 11 battles stars and a Presidential Unit Citation is nothing to shake a stick at). The entire history of Charleston, South Carolina, has been full-blown ‘Merica from Day One: independence, freedom, and local pride.


10 little-known facts about the AK-47
Where real food is served on newspaper.

One of the first things the founders of Charleston did was to construct a wooden stockade to defend the colony from the surrounding tribes and Spanish outlaws. Since then, one of the friendliest cities in America has constantly contributed some of its best to the unfriendliest of situations.

1. Charleston saw the first defeat of the British Navy in America.

In June 1776 – yes, before July 4th – a squadron of Royal Navy ships sailed into Charleston Harbor and attempted to land on Sullivan’s Island. Fighting from a patchwork of Palmetto logs filled with sand, William Moultrie led 435 South Carolina militiamen and dozens of cannon against nine ships and more than 2,000 Redcoats.

10 little-known facts about the AK-47

They fought off the British squadron after a full day of fighting and the British wouldn’t return to Charleston until 1780.

2. Andrew Jackson’s anger was born in Charleston.

After the Battle of Stono Ferry, Andrew Jackson was held as a POW by the British. The young Jackson was ordered to polish the boots of a British officer. Jackson, a crotchety old man even in his youth, refused. So the officer cut Jackson’s face and hands with his sword.

10 little-known facts about the AK-47
Disciplining children was a lot different back then.

Jackson never forgot the event and carried his hatred of the British throughout his career. It came in handy at the Battle of New Orleans in the War of 1812, when Jackson and his outnumbered ragtag group of slaves, soldiers, and pirates fought the British in a lopsided victory for 12 straight days.

3. The opening shots of the Civil War were fired there.

With all the controversy surrounding the memories of the Confederacy, it’s a tribute to the people of Charleston that even when their state was in full rebellion against the United States, the opening siege of Fort Sumter managed not to kill anyone.

10 little-known facts about the AK-47

The Union troops were allowed to leave the city, with only one death. When they fired a 100-gun salute as the Union troops lowered the American flag, a Union artilleryman was killed when his cannon accidentally misfired.

4. Charlestonians developed the first submarine used in combat.

Fortunately, the mystery surrounding the CSS Hunley’s disappearance was solved after the ship was raised in 2000. The Hunley was the first submarine to sink an enemy ship, but as it rammed a spar tipped with explosives at the USS Housatonic, the blast wave caused the disappearance of the Hunley for more than a century.

10 little-known facts about the AK-47

The answer was that the blast wave killed the crew immediately. Though far enough from the explosion that sank the enemy ship, the blast wave – traveling slower through the water – cause three times the damage to their soft tissue. The crew of the Hunley knew the boat sank twice during testing and knew the dangers of the underwater blast, but went on the mission anyway.

5. Charleston has been training military leaders forever.

Ok, not forever, but The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina, has been in operation since 1846 and in that time has created so many notable officers, heroes, football stars, and other alumni (including one Miss USA and an Oscar nominee), listing them all would be time consuming.

10 little-known facts about the AK-47
We Are The Mighty writers don’t get paid by the word.

Its more notable alums include General William Westmoreland, who commanded all U.S. forces in Vietnam as well as and Charleston’s own former Mayor Joe Riley, who led the city for more than 40 years.

6. Charleston is where legends are born and honored.

All five living former American Presidents – Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama – agreed to serve as honorary directors for the National Medal of Honor Museum going up in the Mount Pleasant area of greater Charleston.

Patriot’s Point is going to be the home that preserves the stories of America’s bravest (or craziest) fighting men and women.
Articles

The 13 Funniest Military Memes This Week

It’s Saturday, but most of you enlisted fellows blew your paycheck last weekend and are now looking forward to sitting around the barracks this week. To alleviate your boredom, here are 13 military memes that made us laugh.


See, we know about you, privates.

10 little-known facts about the AK-47
You just have to learn to budget. When you get your paycheck, put away 25% of it for beer for NEXT weekend.

Yay, submarines! A phallic object filled with phallic objects!

10 little-known facts about the AK-47
Topless submariners have the added bonus of paler skin.

Also See: 27 Incredible Photos of Life On A US Navy Submarine

Look at all that gear. He must be one of Jabba’s elite guards.

10 little-known facts about the AK-47
No way this guy does nothing all day. Chub like that takes hours and hours of eating every day.

 Security Forces are essentially the Air Force’s infantry …

10 little-known facts about the AK-47
… an airman once told me with a shockingly straight face.

Conservation of resources is important to Marines.

10 little-known facts about the AK-47
Mattis doesn’t run out of ammo. He runs out of enemies.

Poor helicopter must have overheated.

10 little-known facts about the AK-47
Maybe loosen its boots and drag it into the shade for a minute.

Complain all you want; you know the reason.

10 little-known facts about the AK-47
Because Gunny said so.

 What!? People are stealing valor?

10 little-known facts about the AK-47

It would be funnier if the photos weren’t pretty close to accurate.

10 little-known facts about the AK-47
And the Air Force would complain about the pool while the Army would discuss how sweet that new screen door is.

Maybe Army Strong wasn’t a brag but an excuse.

10 little-known facts about the AK-47
Listen, Wonka, with your shenanigans you wouldn’t have survived in either service. You’d have been a seamen.

Don’t! It’s a trick!

10 little-known facts about the AK-47
Seriously, the guard and reserve components are like the light at the end of the angler fish in that movie.

It doesn’t stop Air Force, it just delays it.

10 little-known facts about the AK-47
And the next strike delays it for a few more minutes, then a few more, then a few more. But it’s not stopped; it’s never stopped.

Even foreign allies know what a POG isn’t (Infantry, it isn’t infantry)

10 little-known facts about the AK-47
POGs do what the infantry does; they just only do it in training and always do it badly.

NOW: More Military Memes

OR: 32 Terms Only Airmen Will Understand 

Humor

14 movies that made you want to join the military

Every so often Hollywood makes a military movie that’s so compelling in the eyes of the audience that it helps shape how they view the world. War stories in general display how dangerous life can be for those serving on active duty — mostly in the infantry.


But from time-to-time, some minor aspect of these films call out to movie-goers and motivate them to serve.

So we asked several veterans what movies made them want to join the armed forces and here’s what they told us.

Related: 7 awesome weapon arsenals in the movies

Here’s the breakdown:

1. Black Hawk Down

The brotherhood the men had with one another was outstanding. Leave no man behind.

10 little-known facts about the AK-47
Sgt. Eversman listens in on the radio. (Source: Colombia/Screenshot)

2. Full Metal Jacket

Maybe veterans became curious if they could make it through Marine boot camp after watching the film.

10 little-known facts about the AK-47
Gunny Hartman instructing his recruits. (Source: WB/Screenshot)

3. Mulan

She sacrificed herself for her father and her country.

10 little-known facts about the AK-47
(Source: Buena Vista/ YouTube/ Screenshot)

4. Top Gun

Most men wanted to join the Navy and become fighter pilots after watching Maverick work his tactical magic.

10 little-known facts about the AK-47
Jesters dead! (Source: Paramount/Screenshot)

5. The Dirty Dozen

They were badass and didn’t take sh*t. Many veterans joined to have that image of being badass.

10 little-known facts about the AK-47
They all look so freakin’ awesome. (Source: MGM/Screenshot)

6. Hunt for Red October

The film made being stationed on a sub look intense and exciting.

10 little-known facts about the AK-47
Captain Marko Ramius welcomes a boarding party from the USS Dallas aboard the Red October (Source: Paramount/YouTube/Screenshot)

7. A Few Good Men

The discipline the two Marines had on trial was outstanding.

10 little-known facts about the AK-47
He wants the truth! (Source: /Screenshot)

8. Schindler’s List

The film showed terrible brutality, and many Americans joined the service to fight for those who can’t fight for themselves.

10 little-known facts about the AK-47
Oskar Schindler speaks with corrupt Nazi soldier Amon Goeth (Source: Universal/Screenshot)

9. Enemy at the Gates

In order to be the best, you have to go up against the best. Which is what Russian sniper Vasily Zaytsev had to do during the Battle of Stalingrad.

10 little-known facts about the AK-47
Source: Paramount)

10. The Delta Force

Chuck Norris made being an operator look even more freaking cool — if that’s even possible.

10 little-known facts about the AK-47
Chuck Norris always gets his man. (Source: Cannon /Screenshot)

11. We Were Soldiers

The film inspired countless people because of the bravery of the men and leadership of Lt. Col. Moore.

10 little-known facts about the AK-47

12. Pvt. Benjamin

Many veterans watched the film as kids and respected her fight after no one believed in her — but her.

10 little-known facts about the AK-47
(Source: WB/Screenshot)

13. Saving Private Ryan

Some saw the Rangers who searched for Pvt. Ryan as the ultimate team and showed a cohesive military unit with a normal leader.

10 little-known facts about the AK-47
Heading in to storm the beach. (Source: DreamWorks/Screenshot)

14. Deer Hunter

The filmed showed brotherly love. Many civilians respect that and want that in their lives.

10 little-known facts about the AK-47
Playing Russian roulette with a loaded revolver. (Source: /Screenshot)

What movies made you want to join the military? Comment below.

Lists

The 18 times America did crazy combat jumps

A combat jump and the gold star on your wings is the desire of all airborne personnel. During World War II, the U.S. Army fielded five airborne divisions, four of which saw combat, as well as numerous independent regimental combat teams and parachute infantry battalions. Today, the U.S. military fields one airborne division, two airborne brigade combat teams, and a number of special operations forces, all airborne qualified. Throughout the history of these forces, they conducted all manner of combat operations and tactical insertions. Here are the eighteen times, in chronological order, that the U.S. military conducted large-scale combat operations with airborne forces.


1. Operation Torch

10 little-known facts about the AK-47

The first large-scale deployment of American paratroopers took place on 8 November 1942 as part of Operation Torch, the invasion of North Africa. The men of the 509th Parachute Infantry Battalion (at the time designated 2nd Battalion, 509th Parachute Infantry Regiment) were tasked with securing airfields ahead of the seaborne force landings. To accomplish this, they conducted the longest flight of airborne forces, originating from airfields in England. However, the jump was unsuccessful with troops widely scattered and ten planes having to land in a dry lake bed to disembark their troops due to a lack of fuel. A week later, three hundred men of the battalion conducted a successful combat jump on Youks-les-Bains Airfield in Algeria.

2. Operation Husky

10 little-known facts about the AK-47
Paratroopers board a Douglas C-47 Skytrain for Operation Husky (U.S. Army photo)

America’s second attempt at a combat jump was during the invasion of Sicily in July 1943. On the night of 9 July, the 505th PIR reinforced by 3/504 PIR and with attached artillery and engineers spearheaded Operation Husky. Two nights later on 11 July, the remainder of the 504th parachuted into Sicily to block routes toward the beachhead. However, due to numerous Axis air attacks and confusion within the invasion fleet, the troop carrier aircraft were mistaken for German bombers and fired on. This resulted in twenty three planes being shot down and the loss of eighty one paratroopers with many more wounded.

3. Landing at Nadzab (Operation Alamo)

10 little-known facts about the AK-47
Paratroopers landing at Nadzab

The first airborne operation in the Pacific Theatre was carried out by the 503rd Parachute Infantry Regiment in the Markham Valley of New Guinea as part of Operation Alamo on 5 September 1943. The 503rd seized an airfield that allowed follow-on Australian infantry forces to conduct an airlanding as part of the greater New Guinea campaign and were successful in driving out Japanese forces from the area.

4. Operation Avalanche

10 little-known facts about the AK-47

With the success of the invasion of the Italian mainland hanging in the balance, on 13 September 1943 the paratroopers of the 504th donned parachutes and quickly boarded planes before jumping into American lines to shore up the perimeter around the Salerno beachhead. The drop zone was lit by flaming barrels of gas-soaked sand arranged in a T-shape. The next night, the 505th followed the 504th and continued to continue to reinforce the American lines.  A few nights later, the 509th Parachute Infantry Battalion was dropped in the vicinity of Avellino in an attempt to disrupt activity behind German lines but was widely dispersed and failed.

5. Operation Overlord

10 little-known facts about the AK-47

This is the airborne operation that all other airborne operations are measured against. In two separate missions, code named operations Albany and Boston, the paratroopers of both the 101st and 82nd Airborne Divisions jumped behind enemy lines as part of the invasion of Normandy and the cracking of Hitler’s Fortress Europe. Though the paratroopers were widely scattered over the French countryside due to misdrops, the havoc and confusion they created behind German lines was crucial to the success of the landings on the beaches.

6. Operation Table Tennis

10 little-known facts about the AK-47
Paratroopers of the US Airborne establish a stronghold on the Japanese-built Kamiri Airfield on Noemfoor Island. (U.S. Army photo)

As part of the greater battle of Noemfoor in Dutch New Guinea on the 3rd and 4th of July 1944, the 1st and 3rd Battalions of the 503rd PIR conducted a combat jump to reinforce American positions and to secure the Kamiri airfield. Due to poor jump conditions that led to excessive casualties, the drop of the 2nd battalion was scratched and they were landed by sea instead.

7. Operation Dragoon

10 little-known facts about the AK-47
Paratroopers dropping into Operation Dragoon (U.S. Army photo)

As part of the 1st Airborne Task Force the 517th Parachute Regimental Combat Team, the 509th and 551st Parachute Infantry Battalions, 463rd Parachute Field Artillery Battalion and numerous glider and parachute units in support, performed a combat jump into Southern France as the spearhead of Operation Dragoon on 15 August 1944. Due to poor visibility, most of the pathfinders and therefore most of the follow-on forces missed their drop zones and were widely scattered. Despite this, as had happened in Normandy two months prior, many of the men were able to regroup and secure their objectives.

8. Operation Market-Garden

10 little-known facts about the AK-47

During the infamous “a bridge too far” operation, American airborne units, the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions, jumped into Nazi occupied Holland during the daylight hours of 17 September 1944. Operation Market, the airborne component of Market-Garden, was the largest airborne operation ever undertaken, though due to a number of circumstances, it would ultimately be a failure and ended the Allies’ hopes of finishing the war by Christmas.

9. Battle of Luzon

10 little-known facts about the AK-47
11th Airborne Division Landing Near Aparri Luzon Philippine Islands (U.S. Army photo)

As part of the battle for the island of Luzon in the Philippines and the drive by the U.S. Sixth Army to take Manila, the 511th PIR and 457th PFAB, part of the 11th Airborne Division, dropped onto Tagatay Ridge south of Manila on 3 February 1945. The jumped linked up the 511th and 457th with the 187th and 188th Glider Infantry Regiments and the rest of the 11th Airborne Division for the drive to Manila.

10. Operation Topside

10 little-known facts about the AK-47

On 16 February 1945, the 503rd PRCT performed the combat jump that would give it the enduring nickname “The Rock” onto the fortress island of Corregidor. The 503rd dropped right on top of Japanese positions and, in conjunction with the 34th Infantry Regiment, fought viciously to recapture Corregidor, which had been the last bastion of American resistance in the Philippines some three years earlier.

11. Operation Varsity

10 little-known facts about the AK-47

American Paratroopers in Operation Varsity

The largest single-day airborne operation in history was carried out by the American 17th Airborne Division alongside the British 6th Airborne in an airborne assault crossing of the Rhine River on 24 March 1945. The entire operation was carried and dropped by a single lift and was conducted in broad daylight. The daylight drop and the fact that it was on German soil led to intense fighting with the 17th Airborne Division, gaining two Medals of Honor during their initial assaults. The operation was intended to be even larger but due to a lack of aircraft, the American 13th Airborne Division was unable to participate.

12. Task Force Gypsy

10 little-known facts about the AK-47
Gliders on Aparri Field, Luzon (U.S. Army photo)

On 23 June 1945 Task Force Gypsy, consisting of 1st Battalion 511th PIR, Companies G I of the 2nd Battalion, a battery from the 457th PFAB, engineers, and glider troops from the 187th Glider Infantry Regiment conducted the final airborne operation of World War II, by jumping onto an airfield in northern Luzon to cutoff the retreating Japanese and linkup with the 37th Infantry Division as it drove north. Strong winds and treacherous terrain on the drop zone led to two fatalities and at least seventy injuries during the drop. This was the only time gliders were used in combat in the Pacific.

13. Battle of Yongju

10 little-known facts about the AK-47

Spearheading the UN Forces drive north the 187th Airborne RCT conducted a combat jump north of Pyongyang in an attempt to cutoff North Korean forces retreating from the capital. The paratroopers captured their objectives with only light North Korean resistance. In the following days, they would work with British and Australian forces to destroy the North Korean 239th Regiment.

14. Operation Tomahawk

10 little-known facts about the AK-47

As the airborne component of Operation Courageous on 23 March 1951, the 187th ARCT, this time complimented by the 2nd and 4th Ranger Companies, once again conducted a combat jump against Communist forces in the Korean War. Though there was confusion and misdrops, the Regimental Combat Team captured its objectives quickly and allowed UN Forces to regain the 38th parallel in that sector.

15. Operation Junction City

10 little-known facts about the AK-47
Air drop of supplies in Operation Junction City (U.S. Army photo)

As part of the larger Operation Junction City, the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, centered on the 503rd PIR, made the only large-scale combat jump of the Vietnam War on 22 February 1967. The plan was to create a hammer and anvil scenario with the 173rd along with other units forming the anvil while other forces, the hammer, would flush out and drive Viet Cong forces into the waiting trap. Though there were numerous clashes with Viet Cong forces, a decisive victory was not obtained by the American operation.

16. Operation Urgent Fury

10 little-known facts about the AK-47
82nd Airborne in Grenada, wearing the PASGT protective vest. (U.S. Army photo)

On 25 October 1983, Rangers from the 1st and 2nd Ranger Battalions along with Delta Force operators, Navy SEALs and Air Force Combat Controllers descended on the southern portion of the island of Grenada and captured the unfinished airfield at Point Salines. This opened the way for follow-on forces from the 82nd Airborne Division. By 3 November, hostilities were declared to be at an end with all American objectives met.

17. Operation Just Cause

10 little-known facts about the AK-47
S Soldiers of 1st Battalion, 508th Infantry, parachute from a C-130E Hercules aircraft into a drop zone outside the city to conduct operations in support of Operation Just Cause. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Ken Hammond)

In the early morning hours of 20 December 1989, the entire 75th Ranger Regiment, followed by the reinforced Division Ready Brigade of the 82nd (consisting of 1st and 2nd Battalions 504th PIR, 4/325th AIR, 3/319th AFAR, and Company C 3/73rd Armor), conducted combat jumps to secure the Rio Hato and Torrijos-Tecumen airports in Panama. In the following days the Rangers and paratroopers continued combat operations in conjunction with other forces of Task Force Pacific. This marked the first and only combat parachute deployment of armored vehicles, the M551 Sheridan.

18. Operation Northern Delay

After Turkey denied access for American forces to attack Iraq from the north through Turkish territory, the 173rd ABCT was alerted for a combat jump into northern Iraq. On 26 March 2003, the unit, along with members of the U.S. Air Force 786th Security Forces Squadron conducted an airborne insertion onto Bashur Airfield to establish an airhead and allow for a buildup of armored forces in the north. This effort held numerous Iraqi divisions in the north rather than allowing them to be diverted south to oppose the main effort. The jump by the 786th marked the first and only combat jump by conventional USAF personnel and was the only large-scale airborne operation conducted as part of the War on Terror.

Articles

17 beautiful photos of troops training in the snow

Baby, it’s cold outside. But U.S. troops are still expected to use snow storms during peace as great training for snow storms during war.


So while the rest of the country starts sipping spiced coffees and hot chocolate, here are 17 photos of America’s troops braving the snow:

1. Airman 1st Class Avery Friedman plays “Taps” during training at F.S. Gabreski Air National Guard Base amid snowfall on Dec. 15.

10 little-known facts about the AK-47
(Photo: U.S. Air National Guard Staff Sgt. Christopher S. Muncy)

2. Paratroopers scan for threats past purple smoke while maneuvering through the snow during a training exercise in Alaska on Nov. 8.

10 little-known facts about the AK-47
(Photo: U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Javier Alvarez)

3. Paratroopers maneuver across the snow at the top of a hill during training in Alaska on Nov. 8.

10 little-known facts about the AK-47
(Photo: U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Javier Alvarez)

4. Apache crew chiefs perform maintenance on an AH-64E during a snowstorm at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, on Dec. 8, 2016.

10 little-known facts about the AK-47
(Photo: U.S. Army Capt. Brian Harris)

5. Maintenance sailors change the prop on an EP-3E Aries II amid driving snow at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island on Dec. 11.

10 little-known facts about the AK-47
(Photo: U.S. Navy)

6. An Airman removes snow and ice from a KC-135 Stratotanker on Dec. 12 after a snowstorm at Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington.

10 little-known facts about the AK-47
(Photo: U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Mackenzie Richardson)

7. A B-52H pilot gives the thumbs up to ground crew from inside the cockpit before a training flight through the snow on Jan. 14, 2016.

10 little-known facts about the AK-47
(Photo: U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class J.T. Armstrong)

8. An Air Force engineer drives a snow plow across the flightline at Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, on Jan. 14, 2016.

10 little-known facts about the AK-47
(Photo: U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class J.T. Armstrong)

9. A 10th Mountain Division soldier clears snow from parked Humvees at Fort Drum, New York, on Nov. 21.

10 little-known facts about the AK-47
(Photo: U.S. Army Spec. Liane Schmersahl)

10. Army paratroopers conduct a live-fire training exercise at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska on Nov. 8, 2016.

10 little-known facts about the AK-47
(Photo: U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Javier Alvarez)

11. A Marine Corps rifleman pulls security during training at Fort A.P. Hill, Virginia, on Jan. 29, 2016.

10 little-known facts about the AK-47
(Photo: U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Samuel Guerra)

12. A Marine Corps mortarman sits with his weapon on Oct. 22, 2016, during training at the Mountain Warfare Training Center, Bridgeport, California.

10 little-known facts about the AK-47
(Photo: U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Timothy Valero)

13. A Coast Guard petty officer clears snow from around a 25-foot Response Boat-Small on Jan. 24, 2016, in Sandy Hook, New Jersey.

10 little-known facts about the AK-47
(Photo: U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Richard Clarke, III)

14. Army soldiers fire a 120mm mortar during training at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, on Jan. 12, 2016.

10 little-known facts about the AK-47
(Photo: U.S. Army John Pennell)

15. Army paratroopers in Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, conduct 60mm mortar training in the snow on Jan. 12, 2016.

10 little-known facts about the AK-47
(Photo: U.S. Army John Pennell)

16. An Army mortarman moves through the snow during training at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson on Jan. 12, 2016.

10 little-known facts about the AK-47
(Photo: U.S. Army John Pennell)

17. An Air Force engineer drives a snow broom across the runway at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, on Dec. 4, 2015.

10 little-known facts about the AK-47
(Photo: U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Shawn Nickel)

Lists

4 of the worst things you can stalk through as a Scout Sniper

Scout Snipers are some of the most elite warfighters on the planet. Often serving a unit’s personal team of spy-assassins, they’re trained to be self-sufficient, resilient, and deadly silent.


Whether they’re sent to collect intelligence or precisely remove specific members of a certain population, you won’t know they’re there until it’s far too late. But snipers don’t have the ability to teleport to a vantage point (not yet, at least) — they have to get there somehow. That’s where stalking comes in.

It’s their way of getting from point A to point B while avoiding detection by the enemy on which they prey (hence the term ‘stalking’), and it can put them in some really uncomfortable situations.

Here are some of the worst things you can stalk through as a sniper.

Related: 7 things all troops should know before becoming a sniper

1. Your poop

When you need to go, you need to go. When you’re a sniper, there isn’t always time to dig a hole or find some nice spot to drop your payload. Sometimes, you just have to drop your trousers and go.

But, when you inevitably find yourself stalking through that same place a week or so later, you may forget about it for just long enough to realize you’re crawling right through it.

10 little-known facts about the AK-47
Maybe write down the map coordinates so you know not to go through there. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Ricky S. Gomez)

2. Someone else’s poop

Hopefully, you’re stalking through someplace that offers plenty of concealment. Unfortunately, if it’s a good place for sneakin’, someone else may have been there before you. That someone, maybe an enemy, maybe a friend, might have felt the undying urge to let it go right then and there.

Again, you probably won’t even know it’s there until you’re laying directly on top of it.

10 little-known facts about the AK-47
And this is the face you’ll make when you realize what’s happened. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by MCIPAC Combat Camera Lance Cpl. Juan C. Bustos)

3. Fire ants

Snipers are fearless and they feel no pain. But it’s still unpleasant to find a good spot to take a shot at your target and realize you’ve become one yourself — to a colony of angry fire ants.

They’re probably pissed that you just destroyed the mound they’ve been working on all day and now they have to rebuild — but they’ll probably sting you first.

Also read: This Marine Was The ‘American Sniper’ Of The Vietnam War

4. Frozen streams or ponds

When you find yourself stalking to a vantage point, depending on where you are in the world, there might be some bodies of water between you and your destination. So, it makes a lot of sense that you might have to go through the water to get to your objective.

Just make sure you have a dry set of clothes ready before you leave so you can immediately change when you come back… whenever that may be.

10 little-known facts about the AK-47
Any clime and place, right? (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Isaac Ibarra)

Articles

13 funniest military memes for the week of Dec. 9

So … a certain writer and content curator took two weeks of hard-earned vacation and forgot to ask anyone to fall in on the military memes rundown.


Sorry about that. I’m back now, so here are 13 of the funniest military memes we saw this week (plus two secret bonus ones hidden at the end):

1. After all, if you stay in then you can have all the joy and happiness of first sergeant.

10 little-known facts about the AK-47
If the military is the best job I’ll ever have, it might be time to look at an ultra-early retirement.

2. Don’t let them catch you with morale, they’ll steal it immediately.

10 little-known facts about the AK-47
Leadership is like a bunch of wet blankets.

3. “Hey, guys. Ready to have some fun?”

10 little-known facts about the AK-47
The best part is that the Coast Guard’s sailing ship is a former Nazi vessel, so those cadets are likely vomiting where Hitler once walked. History!

4. “Just gonna keep sleeping. Thanks.”

10 little-known facts about the AK-47
This tactic only works until the sergeant of the guard gets involved.

5. That Central Issue Facility logic:

10 little-known facts about the AK-47

6. My biggest concern is that it appears that wrench is way too large for that nut.

10 little-known facts about the AK-47
Like, I get that isn’t the point, but I feel like any craftsman should be able to eye wrench v. bolt/nut sizes better than that.

7. Look, it’s not that we don’t want to reward you for finding Taliban for us …

10 little-known facts about the AK-47
… but if we give you a commission, we’ll eventually have to give you a platoon. And there’s no way we’re finding 40 Joes who will follow you.

8. The greatest generation is still trying to get their disability ratings.

10 little-known facts about the AK-47
Pretty nice of the VA to set up shop inside their 1940s camp, though.

9. Honoring the flag waits for no paint job, not even haze gray.

10 little-known facts about the AK-47
Of course, left-handed salutes may be worse than missing colors.

10. They’re really cute and adorable poop factories:

10 little-known facts about the AK-47
Wish they would use those cutesy paws to clean up their mess.

11. Not sure why he doesn’t melt with all that salt.

10 little-known facts about the AK-47
The heat of combat is more dangerous for him than any other soldier.

12. Probably a soldier with an unfortunate name …

10 little-known facts about the AK-47
… but possibly a military fan with no idea what is going on.

13. Grumpy cat if it was an airman with a shaving profile:

10 little-known facts about the AK-47
Mandatory fun isn’t (unless it’s the podcast).

Secret squirrel bonus 1:

10 little-known facts about the AK-47

Secret squirrel bonus 2:

10 little-known facts about the AK-47

Lists

6 times Gunny Hartman was guilty of hazing

Nothing excites film audiences more than seeing their favorite characters get pushed to their physical and mental limits just to see them return, stronger than ever.


It’s no secret that, in the military, “newbies,” “FNGs,” or “boots” tend to get mistreated because of their low rank and inexperience. It happens more than you think.

Some call it “training” while others label it “hazing.” The act is considered a necessary evil as it shows other service members that you can handle the stress.

One of the most significant military movies ever recorded, 1987’s Full Metal Jacket, took the art of hazing to another level, cinematically.

The film’s first act showcases Gunny Hartman as he takes his recruits and turns them into Marines using methods you couldn’t get away with today.

Related: 8 life lessons from ‘Forrest Gump’ legend Lt. Dan

So, check out six times Gunny Hartman was guilty of hazing by today’s standards.

6. Gunny using racial slurs

Within the first few minutes of Gunny’s on-screen introduction, he informs his recruit platoon that “there is no racial bigotry here” right before he rattles out four different, major slurs.

10 little-known facts about the AK-47
Gunny Hartman as he rattles off those hateful labels. (Image source from Warner Brothers’ Full Metal Jacket)

5. Using racial slurs referring to types of food

Seconds after dropping those racial slurs, the Gunny walks up to “Snowball” and tells him that certain foods he may have enjoyed eating in the past won’t be available in the mess hall.

We know that’s a little vague, but we’re keeping it G-rated here, people.

10 little-known facts about the AK-47
Gunny informs Snowball of his dining choices. (Image source from Warner Brothers’ Full Metal Jacket)

4. Gunny punches Joker in the gut for a bad John Wayne impersonation

DIs just can’t hit recruits, even if they do deserve it.

10 little-known facts about the AK-47
Joker falls to the floor after getting nailed in the stomach by a Marine’s iron fist. (Image from Warner Brothers’ Full Metal Jacket)

3. Choking Pvt. Pyle

Yup. Gunny has committed his fourth act of hazing in less than a few minutes of screentime.

10 little-known facts about the AK-47
Pyle doesn’t smile at Gunny for the rest of his short-lived storyline. (Image from Warner Brothers’ Full Metal Jacket)

2. Gunny backhands Joker

Gunny knocks Joker across his face because he doesn’t believe in the Virgin Mary. That’s a no-no, apparently.

10 little-known facts about the AK-47
The aftermath of a well-executed backhand — the recruit is stunned. (Image from Warner Brothers’ Full Metal Jacket)

Also Read: 6 reasons ‘Full Metal Jacket’ should have been about Animal Mother

1. Teaching a recruit the difference between left and right with a few slaps

Gunny smacks Pyle twice in the face, causing his cover to spin off his head. Cinematic hazing makes for a great scene.

10 little-known facts about the AK-47
What side was that, Pvt. Pyle? (Image from Warner Brothers’ Full Metal Jacket)

Lists

21 Pulitzer Prize-winning photos that capture the essence of war

These 21 images (shared with WATM courtesy of Lou Reda Productions) vividly capture the nature of war from a variety of angles. Each of them was awarded the Pulitzer prize for photography in the year indicated in the caption:


1944 – Aftermath of a flamethrower attack on Tarawa

 

10 little-known facts about the AK-47
(Photo: Frank Filan, Associated Press)

1944 – Lt. Col. Robert Moore, USA, returns to his family after fighting the Germans in North Africa

10 little-known facts about the AK-47
(Photo: Earle Bunker, The Omaha World-Herald)

1945 – The flag raising at Iwo Jima

10 little-known facts about the AK-47
(Photo: Joe Rosenthal, Associated Press)

1951 – Refugees fleeing across the Taedong River during the Chinese invasion of North Korea

10 little-known facts about the AK-47
(Photo: Max Desfor, Associated Press)

1965 – South Vietnamese casualties after a firefight with the Vietcong

10 little-known facts about the AK-47
(Photo: Horst Faas, Associated Press)

1966 – Vietnamese refugees fleeing an attack

10 little-known facts about the AK-47
(Photo: Kyoichi Sawada, United Press International)

1969 – Lt. Col. Nguyen Loan summarily executes a VC prisoner on the streets of Saigon

10 little-known facts about the AK-47
(Photo: Eddie Adams, Associated Press)

1972 – Marine on top of a war-torn hill after battle with NVA

10 little-known facts about the AK-47
(Photo: David Hume, United Press International)

1973 – Vietnamese children fleeing after napalm attack on Vietcong-held village

10 little-known facts about the AK-47
(Photo: Nick Ut, Associated Press)

1974 – Lt. Col Robert Stirm, USAF, returns to his family after 5 years as a POW in North Vietnam

10 little-known facts about the AK-47
(Photo: Sal Veder, Associated Press)

1977 – Vietnam veteran and wounded warrior Eddie Robinson at Chattanooga Veterans Day parade

10 little-known facts about the AK-47
(Photo: Robin Hood, The Chattanooga News Free Press)

1978 – American mercenary, member of “Grey’s Scouts,” holds gun to the head of a Rhodesian prisoner

10 little-known facts about the AK-47
(Photo: J. Ross Baughman, Associated Press)

1980 – Iranian Republican Guardsmen executing Kurdish rebels

10 little-known facts about the AK-47
(Photo, UPI)

1995 – American Marine trying to keep Haitian rioters at bay during unrest

10 little-known facts about the AK-47
(Photo: Carol Guzy, The Washington Post)

2002 – B-52 contrails during bombing mission over Afghanistan

10 little-known facts about the AK-47
(Photo: The New York Times)

2004 – Soldiers jumping into ditch in Iraq

10 little-known facts about the AK-47
(Photo – Cheryl Diaz Meyer and David Leeson, Dallas Morning News)

2004 – Soldiers taking Iraqi prisoner

10 little-known facts about the AK-47
(Photo: Cheryl Diaz Meyer and David Leeson, Dallas Morning News)

2004 – Iraqi schoolboy proclaims his freedom

10 little-known facts about the AK-47
(Photo: Cheryl Diaz Meyer and David Leeson, Dallas Morning News)

2005 – Marine taking an Iraqi insurgent prisoner in Fallujah

10 little-known facts about the AK-47
(Photo: Associated Press)

2005 – Marines huddle over wounded comrade during fighting in Anbar Province

10 little-known facts about the AK-47
(Photo: Associated Press)

2006 – Katherine Cathey spends the night next to the casket of her fallen husband, 2nd Lt. James Cathey, USMC

10 little-known facts about the AK-47
(Photo: Todd Heisler, Rocky Mountain News)

 

These images and many other iconic shots can be found in Moments, The Pulitzer Prize-Winning Photographs, A Visual Chronicle of Our Time (Hal Buell, Tess Press).

Articles

14 images that humorously recall your first firefight

Infantrymen train countless hours on immediate action drills, patrolling techniques and room clearing during their pre-deployment work up. The goal for every successful combat pump is to complete the mission and get your a** home safe.


While on a combat deployment, you made some epic memories — some good and some bad.

But one memory you’ll probably never forget is that first time you took enemy contact.

Related: 17 images that show why going to the armory sucks

Check out what many young troops go through during their first firefight.

1. After traveling for the past few weeks to get to your FOB, your platoon sergeant announces the squad’s first patrol heads out at first light — which is one hour from now.

The time has finally come. (Images via Giphy)

2. You head to your berthing area to “gear prep and check.”

Let’s rock this sh*t. (Images via Giphy)

3. What it felt like putting on all your tactical gear for the real thing.

He put on a pearl necklace. That’s classic. (Images via Giphy)

4. That badass feeling you had when you left the wire for the first time with your fireteam.

We’re here to chew bubble gum and f*ck sh*t up. (Images via Giphy)

5. How absolutely alert you were after every step you took.

You’re not getting me today ISIS. (Images via Giphy)

6. After several hours of patrolling with nothing cool happening — you’re freaking drained.

You were all worked up for nothing. (Images via Giphy)

7. Then, it finally happened. Crack! Snap! The enemy is finally engaging you, and it’s time to get your fireteam into the game.

Getting your teammates on the same page is vital. (Images via Giphy) 

8. Now that you handled all that, it’s time to fire off some rounds.

You wish you were that tough. (Images via Giphy)

9. After gaining a solid visual on the bad guy’s position, you jumped on your comm gear and called in a mortar strike.

Don’t worry, your mortarmen were much better than these dudes. (Images via Giphy)

Also Read: 33 images that perfectly portray your first 96-hour liberty

10. You felt like a beast when your mortar strike hits without having to make an adjustment.

Bad ass.  (Images via Giphy)

11. Then, a few enemy rounds zip past your head.

You didn’t expect that, but now you’re really pissed off. (Images via Giphy)

12. You order your fire team to open fire!

Take that you filthy sons-of-b*tches! (Images via Images)

13. When the bad guys pull-back because they can’t handle your fire superiority.

They can’t handle us. (Image via Giphy)

14. How accomplished and patriotic you felt after kickin’ their a**.

Semper Fi. (Images via Giphy)

Lists

These are the 8 steps Russia takes during an invasion

Long gone are the wars studied in history class where one conspicuous force goes up against another, banners flying, in a flashy display of military might. To say that war’s changed is an obvious truth — I know it, you know it, and, more important, the Russians know it.


In February 2013, General Valery Gerasimov, the Chief of the Russian General Staff, published a paper that outlined a concept called, aptly, “New Generation Warfare.” This paper outlines what the Russians see as the key tenets of successful, modern war waging. These are the 8 phases of an invasion — the essential ingredients, from a Russian perspective, to war in this generation.

Phase One: Setting the Stage

This first phase is all about establishing a favorable political, economic, and military climate in the targeted area. This first phase is completely non-military. It involves gathering information, establishing economic ties between Russia and key industries in the area, understanding local ideology, and so on. It’s all about knowing your target.

10 little-known facts about the AK-47
Putin’s keeping a watchful eye. (Photo from Moscow Kremlin)

Phase Two: Media Misdirection

Next, the Russians mislead political and military leaders with a coordinated, tactical “leaking” of false data, orders, and directives. The Russians target the biggest media channels and the most visible public figures, creating or further instigating political strife to rile up locals. To do this successfully, the Russians use information they’ve gathered in phase one and twist it to build pro-Russian sentiment.

Related: 14 photos that show how Finland is preparing for a Russian hybrid war

Phase Three: Political Muscle

The third phase is all about making use of Russian-cultivated relationships. In this phase, the Russians intimidate, deceive, and bribe key politicians to get them to abandon their post when “convenient.”

Phase Four: Growing Discontent

In this phase, the Russians pump propaganda en masse into the targeted region, fomenting further discontent among the population. At this precise moment, Russian troops start to arrive. It’s no coincidence that this happens when the population favors Russia most.

Phase Five: Lockdown

Russian military forces are still posturing in phase five — no overt triggers are pulled just yet. In this phase, Russians establish no-fly zones, put up blockades, and exert force through the use of private military companies and local armed resistance forces.

10 little-known facts about the AK-47
Russian soldiers practice storming the beach during Zapad ’13 exercises. (Photo from Russian Kremlin.)

Phase Six: Military Action

In phase six, Russia finally starts to flex its military muscles. All wheels turn simultaneously — Russian forces make their move alongside an all-cylinder firing of special operations and subversive missions. Industrial espionage, satellite interference, and so on; whatever it takes to weaken the opponent.

Also Read: How 8 countries are preparing for war with Russia

Phase Seven: Precision Strikes

In phase seven, Russia employs precise strikes to hit the exposed weaknesses of their enemy. Targeted information operations, electronic warfare, and precise, long-range artillery strikes hit key pressure points, paralyzing the opposition.

Phase Eight: Clean Up

Finally, the Russians identify and clean up and pockets of remaining resistance.

10 little-known facts about the AK-47
The Russian Koalitsiya-SV taking a victory lap. (Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Vitaly Kuzmin)

That, by the numbers, is how Russia invades foreign territory. Of course, no war is simple enough to fit within a playbook–these phases can happen in sequence or all at once, if necessary. Though execution may vary, the key principles outlined here can be used to devastating effect.

Just how effective is this new, hybrid warfare? Russia’s official involvement in the annexation of Crimea was just 24 days—but you can safely bet that covert operations were well underway in the months prior. Years later, NATO is still figuring out how to respond.

Lists

5 reasons why ‘Bangin’ in Sangin’ was like the Wild West

In October 2010, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines started clearing the Taliban insurgency from the Sangin District in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan. Once 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines handed over the area of observation to 3/5, things escalated quickly, making this campaign one of the bloodiest in American history.


Marines who headed out to clear the enemy-infested area were met by a dangerous environment and an extremely complicated IED threat — as a result, casualty rates climbed.

Eventually, the actions of the Marines of 3/5 were unofficially dubbed, “Bangin’ in Sangin.” The narrative that unfolded there was very close to that of a story set in the Wild West. Here’s why:

10 little-known facts about the AK-47

Marines of 3/5th Marine patrol through unpredictable, enemy terrain in Sangin, Afghanistan.

Paved roads were scarce

In most parts of the world, people drive on paved roads with designated lanes. Well, for British and American forces, the only option was to drive and patrol on roads made from loose gravel. The main roads in the district were described as nothing more than “wide trails.”

Since the majority of the Sangin population uses animals to haul their cargo, in the troops’ perspective, it was like jumping into a time machine and transporting back to the Old West.

The local cemeteries

How many Westerns have we seen where the cowboys, on horseback, encounter an eerie cemetery as they travel through uncharted land? Too often to count, right?

Well, Sangin was no different. Many of the graves were decorated with rocks and flags tied to wooden staves — just like the movies.

10 little-known facts about the AK-47

HM3 Mitchell Ingolia, assigned to 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment conducts a security patrol through the dangerous area known as Sangin, Afghanistan.

(Photo by U.S. Marine Cpl. David Hernandez)

The nasty terrain

In many Westerns, the cowboys add days to their journeys because of some unmarked obstacle blocking their path, forcing them around.

In Sangin, the rough terrain provided for some unique challenges. Harsh conditions plus the fact that mud structures can be destroyed and rebuilt quickly made keeping maps current nearly impossible.

The locals lived in tribes

In the old days, Native Americans lived in settlements and did every they could to make ends meet while answering to the chief of the tribe. In Afghanistan, Marines commonly patrolled through similar villages — and the locals answered to their Islamic religious leader, known as the “Mullah.”

Though modern in many ways, social organization on the local level remains tribal.

10 little-known facts about the AK-47

U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Jose Maldonado (left) and Cpl. Rocco Urso (right), both with India Company, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, provide over watch security during an operation in Sangin Valley, Afghanistan, on Oct. 7, 2010. The Marines conducted a two-day operation to clear insurgents from the Wishtan area.

(USMC photo by Cpl. David Hernandez)

The Marines lived like cowboys

When Marines left the wire for several days, they packed ammo, food, and their sleeping system. Since they didn’t know where they were going to be sleeping each night, Marines found rest in places most people couldn’t even imagine.

Do Not Sell My Personal Information