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August 18, 2006

Answering the mail, part 3.

Target attack criteria, bad choices in.

I've already had this discussion in the comments of my two previous posts on artillery this week, but it won't go away, so I'll bring it to the front.

Bob Owens of Confederate Yankee (who got me the trip to Mexico to retrieve the Rodgers, may his tribe increase!) sent me this link, wanting to know if, in fact, this was a cluster bomblet.

It isn't, in a narrow technical sense. But before we rush off to crow about inaccuracy in the media, let's take a break. That is an M80 M42 [good catch from an otherwise pointlessly rude commenter - the M80 has a self-destruct mechanism - and one is being retrofitted to the M42/48 series of grenades. -the Armorer] Dual Purpose Improved Conventional Munition. While not from a cluster bomb, it *is* from an artillery round. I'm familiar with the round, and it's contents, these being held in Castle stocks in their inert form.

<s>M80</s> M42 submunitions

If the Israelis were shooting DPICM into inhabited areas, they are open to just criticism of their fire orders.

Bad decision on the part of whoever made the call to shoot DPICM. If you are shooting DPICM, you are automatically creating a low-density minefield, due to the dud rate (officially 2-4% depending on the conditions in the target area) of the submunition.

I can see an argument being made by the Israelis that in fact, there is less collateral damage than if you shoot HE at a target in an urban area. Perhaps, depending on construction of the buildings - but HE has a much lower dud rate (nothing is perfect), the effects are over after it hits, and there is no lingering explosive package awaiting discovery by children. And an unexploded HE shell is a lot harder to pick up than a DPICM submunition.

Recording your targets... I don't expect this to happen - but the Israelis should also share their mission fired reports with the Lebanese government, so that EOD can go clear areas targeted with DPICM.

It's just not a good shell for attacking areas that are/will be occupied by non-combatants or OWN TROOPS. The use of dud-producing munitions such as DPICM during Operation Iraqi Freedom in early 2003 caused maneuver problems for the Marines, and caused lingering casualties among Marines and civilians in those areas after operations were ended. This may have been true for Army units as well, I don't have any info on that. Target attack decisions have to be made with cognizance of subsequent operations and events. I know we used to train this with Fire Support Officers back in the day - I assume we still do. I discussed some of that in my post yesterday.

Mind you - if Hezbollah didn't *shoot* from inhabited areas, the Israelis would have had less reason to shoot back into inhabited areas, too.

While I don't support the Israeli choice of ammuntion, I do support their right to shoot back. And find it disingenuous that most of the whining is about what the Israelis shot, and not equally about wherefrom Hezbollah shot.