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The War Nerd / March 24, 2011
By Gary Brecher

Whoa, things are heating up in a good way around here. First I want to thank everybody who helped with my puzzlement over that shot of an MBT with its turret popped off, lying in the sand 30 yards away from the chassis.

First, I have to own up: the photo I used isn’t the one I was talking about, because I’m new at blogging and haven’t been able to load the photos I want.  The reason I’m mentioning this is that a reader calling himself “Kingtoots” pointed out in a damn good comment to yesterday’s blog that the picture I ended up using shows a blasted self-propelled gun, not an MBT. Ya got me, King T. It was the off-circle turret and too-thick barrel that gave me away, I bet.

You’ll just have to take my word for it that there is a picture of an MBT with its turret sitting on the sand, but it won’t load for me. Don’t know why not. It’s from the Daily Mail, a Brit tabloid that has some good gory graphics. Maybe they encrypt them or just pour beer over them; all I know is it wouldn’t load, so the SFA corpse was my consolation date to the popped-turret prom.

A lot of readers had suggestions for the munition that popped it. The one I’m inclined to go with was by “helplesscase” who told me what I should’ve known already: the Rafale can carry the US-made, laser-guided GBU12, a classic tank killer. In fact, it can carry four at once.

This seems like the best guess about what killed that tank, because GBU12 is one of those HEAT munitions that sends a jet of superheated metal into the interior of the tank. When it zips through the armor and enters the crew compartment at about the temperature of the sun, it’s as if all the tea ever made in England hits boiling at the same nanosecond, and the turret pops off. Can’t be much fun for the crew. Casey Jones managed to get “scalded to death by the steam” in an old train. A tight NBC-sealed crew compartment has to be the world’s fastest pressure cooker, make those microwaved toy poodle videos look like mercy killing.

I was going through eXiled archives and found another popped MBT picture, from Mark Ames’s tour of Georgia after the South Ossetia War. Here’s the link to Ames’s story. You’ll see the indoor turret halfway down:

This is the classic effect of a shaped charge turning the crew compartment into a white dwarf star for a few milliseconds: tank loses its head, weak point at turret ring rips out and it’s time to play “Find the Giant Frying Pan with the 120mm Handle.” This one flew halfway through a multi-story building, giving a cool abstract art effect although the Georgian landlord probably didn’t see it that way. Or the Georgian tank crew.

We could start a whole new porn school here, call it “Jiffy Pop Shots” or something nastier sounding like “Tank Cum,” which would probably get more hits from America’s one-handed net surfers.

Meanwhile we’ve got a new mystery photo, one with some very interesting possibilities. Yesterday the Pentagon admitted that an F-15E Strike Eagle had gone done due to “equipment malfunction,” which I have to say makes me laugh every time because it sounds like one of those sleazy sports-cheesecake headlines for a candid shot of a women’s tennis player’s boob popping out of her outfit as she reaches for a lob. They don’t usually work very well unless it’s a Russian girl because the rest of them look like Jethro on Beverly Hillbillies when he was in drag as “Jethrine,” but some sad crowd must love them.

Anyway, so the F-15E goes down and the DoD can’t deny it completely because friendly Libyans were all over the scene in minutes. This is why DoD hates allied civilians. They were probably getting ready to deny everything: “F-15E? Never heard of it. Is that an IRS form?” except everyone in the suburbs of Benghazi had his cellphone out and was taking pictures of the wreckage. So it was time for their second lie of defense, “equipment malfunction.” I said yesterday that might be true and it might not. Well, this morning I wake up to find that a reader with the same un-trusting nature found a picture of the wreckage (probably from a friendly Libyan’s cell camera—no wonder the rescue helicopter supposedly opened fire on these nosy damn friends of ours) that shows something a little odd. You’ll see that this reader, Ulrich, has circled a lot of small, same-sized, round holes in the plane’s wing. As Ulrich said, “Those sure look like bullet holes to me.” Using “bullet” loosely, that is, because they’re pretty big. More like, say, AA machinegun holes. Something pretty big but not explosive, which I guess would let off 23mm rounds, like from a ZSU. More like the heavy Soviet machine guns Sahel guys like to install in their Toyota trucks.

See? Anybody out there with photo intel experience want to comment on those holes? I’m no FAA inspector so I’m just saying, it looks to me like Ulrich has a point. And one thing you can be totally sure of is that the DoD always, always lies about why their aircraft go down. If they had their way there’d be no aces in the history of air combat. Baron von Richthofen would just be this German guy who happened to be around a lot of the time when “equipment malfunctions” happened. But it’s funny how those malfunctions seem to happen in places where the skies are full of those cool tracer tracks, like Libya. Especially when it’s an F-15 that went down. If it was an F-18 or frankly any Navy plane at all, I’d believe the “malfunction” theory but the F-15 has been around a long time and it’s reliable as Hell. Double engined, no maintenance problems I know of except one with the langerons decades back. No reason it should embarrass everybody by crashing outside Benghazi where every souvenir-hunter can claim some titanium. And every Libyan with a cell can take pictures like the one Ulrich sent, with those verrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrry interesting holes in the wing.

So you tell me: we looking at normal dings from hitting the sand, or are we looking at the real reason this plane hit that sand?

Read more:, Gary Brecher, The War Nerd

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Add your own

  • 1. my talkative ringpiece  |  March 24th, 2011 at 11:03 am

    Gary you’re the best!

  • 2. spectral  |  March 24th, 2011 at 11:20 am

    It is difficult to say.

    The bullets definitely no, but the fragments of exploding shells from ZSU or the similar caliber most definitively.

    I, also, never trust to their reports and the myths.

  • 3. RPG Cunthair  |  March 24th, 2011 at 11:41 am

    “Gary you are the best”

    God damn it, shut up about Libya and write some more about Haiti so I can steal it from you and turn into a dumbass racist riff, cuz that’s what I do.

  • 4. namefield  |  March 24th, 2011 at 11:45 am

    Seriously, whenever I have trouble with images (and for some reason the newer Microsuck OS’s like to decide that perfectly good pictures are corrupt and undisplayable) I “open” them in “paint” and “save as” either the same thing but a different format (eg, jpg to png), or the same thing with a different name. Also take a look at the size of the image and consider if shrinking it would cost too much clarity.

  • 5. yo  |  March 24th, 2011 at 11:47 am

    Good point… How much F-15 “equipment malfunction” have there been in the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? Would be nice to just compare and see how plausable it is.

  • 6. Pascal's bookie  |  March 24th, 2011 at 11:52 am

    Could be holes from the rescue team strafing away the scary brown people?

  • 7. Nait Deth  |  March 24th, 2011 at 11:53 am

    Loving the new format Gary!

    Is there somewhere where we could see a higher-rez photo of the holes?

  • 8. solfish  |  March 24th, 2011 at 11:54 am

    It’s too bad the pic isn’t a little higher rez. That line of 6 holes does look like something a high rpm cannon in the 20-40mm range would do to a moving aircraft, except that I believe most any AA gun north of a .50 cal would be firing explosive shells. (

    Even if those are bullet holes I’d almost want to believe that the initial damage was from a missile and the bullets only hit the plane’s corpse on the way down. With all our fancy laser-guided munitions it would be almost unbelievably pathetic for an F-15 pilot to get taken down by Libyan flak.

  • 9. Nait Deth  |  March 24th, 2011 at 11:58 am

    skippit, i found one in the previous post’s comments. Looks like bullet holes to me, but I’m hardly an expert…

  • 10. John Figler  |  March 24th, 2011 at 12:09 pm

    So it got sprayed with 23mms. Then, what so?

    Equipment malfunction just suits fine the USAF. See, the legacy shit is falling from the skies, literally! We need more 5th Gen cool stuff! We can’t even fuck a third level third world AF with a mantainance record akin to Haile Salasie’s AF back in 1935! etc…

    Obama is trying right now frantically to handle the war to anybody else. A downed plane won’t change that. Even if G had got the pilots he would be glad to handle them back at no cost.

    It keeps popping in my head that all this war shit was just a Sarkozy show all the rest got involved into after a booze night. Then they got up to a rough awakening like a Harvard frat boy with a pain on his arse that reads go-Stanford, and now they just look even more stupid than before.

    They won’t kill G, they won’t oust him, they won’t let him retire with his stuff, they are destroy his hardware so no one can end this mess in any foreseeable future… Could they have made any better succession of choices to send Libya into a neverending African Civil War?

    And meanwhile you here talking about conspiracy theories and hardware?

    For Gawd’s sake! First thing I learned from the War Nerd is that the Hardware is for dummies! We don’t need War Nerd for that, we need War Nerd’s enlightenment for understanding bigger issues. Who are the rebels? Why have the froggies jump over this war as eager Prussian militarists? and so on…

    And, besides… so Breecher, you started this blog shit just because you didn’t want the painful research and being latter nit-picked by anybody on detail stuff… so you are now posting 1000 word posts half of apologies for being caught in MBT identification, half of it software clumsiness, the rest just speculation about something absolutely irrelevant?

    While I understand this has multiplied by several thousands the Exiled hits, for Gawd’s sake, War Nerd is about absolutely killer prose stating big truths. When I want hardware discussion I go to IDF forums.

    So why you just don’t tell how many hits do you need on the ad banners, I’ll click my share if you bring back the real War Nerd.

    Trust me, I’ve been there. The 5000 words are faaaar easier than daily no-things and make much better reading, which is why I joined on the first place. With 5000 word posts once a month you’ll have to apologize for mistaking a Palmaria for a MBT once every month.

  • 11. Otto  |  March 24th, 2011 at 1:06 pm

    Nice to have you back Gary!

    As for those holes….
    Holes where no holes were when the plane left the factory could be described as “equipment malfunction”, but that’s quite a stretch, even for DoD press staff (who, at some point in their career, must have worked for United Rubber…).
    I am a bit suspicious about the line of holes next to the big melted hole in the fuselage. They are simply to nicely aligned and to tight together for bullet holes. Me thinks those are rivet holes, as many US planes are riveted together.

  • 12. Karel  |  March 24th, 2011 at 1:09 pm

    How much ammo in Libaya?

    I can understand that Gadafi destroyed as much of ammo dumbs not under his control _Before_ the logistics of dispersal were figured out and while the ‘rebels’ were still posing for camera and PR.

    Afghanistan and Iraq had enough material to sustain guerrilla war for decade without replenishing. Libya is effectively landlocked now.

  • 13. Shaun  |  March 24th, 2011 at 1:20 pm

    I doubt those circles are built holes, or any kind of shrapnel.
    The four/five that are in a row, looks very unlike what I would expect damage to look like on a plane move a few hundred miles an hour.
    Those holes also look like they are on the topside of the plane. That makes me think those are not from gunfire.

    As for mechanical failure, I seem to remember an F-15 cracking in half while flying. So I wouldn’t rule mechanical failure out.
    I also wouldn’t rule out being shot down. But those holes aren’t the evidence for it.

  • 14. Bane  |  March 24th, 2011 at 1:26 pm

    I quit reading article after this line:

    “…because GBU12 is one of those HEAT munitions that sends a jet of superheated metal into the interior of the tank…”

    Nice explanation of HEAT principle. Unfortunately for the author, GBU12 is based on “dumb” free-fall 227kg bomb. No HEAT there. For non war nerd this might look like a BS nitpicking, but for those who know business that is just red flag that author don’t know squat.

    Which brings us to next question: where is Gary and who hell are you?

  • 15. Grimgrin  |  March 24th, 2011 at 1:43 pm

    The SA-24 has shown up in some photos.

    Could have been that.

  • 16. Palmeiras  |  March 24th, 2011 at 1:51 pm

    re: toughness of F-15

    don’t forget how the Israelis landed this great bird with 1 wing!

    during training accident, one of the Eagles lost an entire wing. The pilot managed to land it using the undercarriage as a lift surface (probably maxing out the opposite rudder to compensate for change in center-of-balance)

    one tough bird. ‘Equipment malfunction’ story my ass.

  • 17. Max Bell  |  March 24th, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    Yep-yep. Pic looks like it was ripped out of a Doom .wad, pro. Much too small for a good look (not that I’m an expert on military hardware, but web shit I know) — if you guys converted over to word-press recently (and I believe you did, unless Twitter’s lying about that, too), then it’s got an image-button in the editor that does all kinds of nifty stuff, including image resizing as thumbnail-type junk. This will allow you to post the full-sized image (the bigger, the clearer the picture) and you can tweak the size that actually displays in the process.

    But, uh, yeah. That looks shot-up to me, too.

  • 18. allen  |  March 24th, 2011 at 1:58 pm

    Apparently a few F-15es were shot down in the Gulf War on a particular mission, where the threat was multiple sams plus “AA artillery”. I’m too busy/lazy to see if it was the AA that got at least one of them that time.

    The plane would have to be flying pretty low at the time … I think.

    It’s always possible the malfunction story is true, and Gahdafi’s people just let rip as it was spiraling to the earth for the hell of it.

  • 19. Bob  |  March 24th, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    Rescue helicopter strafing the hell of out the locals getting too close to the downed crew and the merchandise? And making sure the merch itself isn’t so pristine?

    Or someone shot a bullet in the air and got lucky.

  • 20. David Alexander  |  March 24th, 2011 at 2:12 pm

    It’s clearly equipment malfunction, in the same way as a man being shot causes organ malfunction.

  • 21. CensusLouie  |  March 24th, 2011 at 2:18 pm

    The most likely F-15 explanation is friendly fire. NATO forces are 5000% more likely to capable of downing it than the Libyans, plus it would explain why they want to sweep the cause under the rug.

    The holes also could have been made AFTER the crash. Wouldn’t YOU take some shots at a downed jet if you were a 14 year old boy with a gun? It’d be the coolest thing of you ever did.

  • 22. Frank  |  March 24th, 2011 at 2:22 pm

    Can you confirm that I’m not losing my mind and that those are German Tiger Tanks I’m seeing in videos from Libya. The WWII Tiger had a flat front panel where the gun mounted and was also very square in the back. I swear I saw some tanks that looked just like that.

  • 23. McHuff  |  March 24th, 2011 at 2:31 pm

    I thought they would have the common sense to fly high enough to avoid that kind of anti-air. Then again, some lucky rebel bastard bagged a Sukhoi Su-24. Probably just scared the pilot shitless with that ZU-23 rather than inflicting much damage.

  • 24. DidierF  |  March 24th, 2011 at 2:44 pm

    Your tank could be on this video.

    I am not a weapons expert. But this tank matches with your description.

  • 25. postman  |  March 24th, 2011 at 2:48 pm

    Dear War Nerd,

    Libya is a tipical tribal war, a clear case of assymetrical warfare, and you are talking about weapons systems? It was you who said we can not understand what is happening in these kind of wars by comparing technologies and hardware, and you come up with Jane’s?
    Sir, what is happening in the Middle East is what you were talking about in your old article from 2003, titled: “Syria: Plenty of Nuthin'”. Let me quote you: “…this idea they have in DC: make a “crescent of democracy” stretching from Iraq to Syria and on to Lebanon, all the way from the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean. Now that democracy is bursting out in Iraq, all we have to do is franchise it out…”
    So the “crescent of democracy” is happening by “spontaneus uprisings”?
    Let me help you on what is happening on the ground: the rebels are not “pro-democracy”, they want their tribe to win and the other tribes to loose. During the Egypt revolution, SAS commandos, Sayeret Matkal Mistaravim units and the like infiltrated the Libyan borders. Their task was to arm and train the anti-Gaddhafi tribes, plus run reconnaisance missions for the future NFZ and invasion. Gaddhafi did not let reporters to go to the tribal areas, he wanted them to stay in Tripoli Hilton, and move around with official Libyan guides only. No reporters want to risk their hides, and the rebels would not let their photos taken, because their families would be in risk, and Libyan military CI could analyse the pictures to gain decisive info on the rebels. So MSM must rely on total Media fakery, both news and images.They start up with fake news about “massacres of civils committed by Libyan army” and “Gaddhafi might use WMDs on the people” old iraq war BS, to warm up the Western TV viewers to the idea of invasion. How can you convince your officer corps, who swore to defend their own folks even if the price they have to pay is death, to shoot on the same own folks? They do no such thing: they are shooting on the rebels because their intel knows they are israeli and western foreign infiltrators and Libyan traitors. This war is brought to you by Toyota: the rebels and Mistaravim zoom around in Technicals: they are open to air strikes and tank attacks. Air strikes are happening all right: they are just not the faked ones you see on youtube and MSM. They are prone to loose, unless somehow Libyan air force stays on the ground. So a no-fly-zone was proposed by UN. The NFZ has to be maintained, but that was the real reason why the French fired on tanks first.
    And for an American invasion to be succesfull, they need total air supremacy… And it is the SAS troops who are pointing out the targets for the NATO aircrafts using the man-in-the-loop laser technology…
    So, why talking about pieces of metal and machines? What people do in Libya is what the war is really about…

  • 26. GuidedBombUnit  |  March 24th, 2011 at 2:53 pm

    The GBU-12 is just a 500lb. Mk82 dumb bomb with a laser seeker and fins attached. It does not have a HEAT warhead (meaning a shaped charge), or didn’t last time I got to play with one. Just a metal cylinder packed with high explosives which goes bang in all directions. I mean, correct me if I’m wrong, please.

  • 27. CensusLouie  |  March 24th, 2011 at 2:59 pm

    I kind of have to agree with #10 though.

    Why all the hardware articles?

    Hardware articles always bring out the BAD kind of nerds who pour over technical details like some geek talking about his World of Warcraft character, and only 1 in 20 of them even come close to knowing what they’re talking about. It doesn’t make for too interesting reading and even worse comments.

  • 28. Little Caesar  |  March 24th, 2011 at 3:34 pm

    @10: “. . .War Nerd is about absolutely killer prose. . . .”

    Are you out of your tree? Dr. Seuss is about absolutely killer prose. MS-13 is about absolutely killer prose. Juan Valdez is about absolutely killer prose.

  • 29. my talkative ringpiece  |  March 24th, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    #6 you’re the firstest with the mostest!

  • 30. PT Barnum  |  March 24th, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    Take a screenshot of the picture then trim it in Paint. Instant new picture washed of copy protection!

  • 31. Bane  |  March 24th, 2011 at 4:08 pm

    Some people noted in comments that recent war nerd articles are too obsessed with hardware, and that older (real) war ner articles always stated that these asymmetrical wars are about people and not hardware. Combine that with GBU12 fiasco and we have question:

    Is this really written by war nerd?

  • 32. Otto  |  March 24th, 2011 at 4:15 pm

    It is not a WWII Tiger tank on yesterdays picture.

    It is an Libyian army (Made in Italy) self propelled howitzer, Palmaira 155 mm.

    On an BBC page (scroll down):

  • 33. wYSeGuy  |  March 24th, 2011 at 4:15 pm


    Awesome Brit Pics, You’ll Have to Scroll Down For The Blown Up Tank

    Now go send a guy/gal to review suckerpunch. I want to know how they did Inception for the junior squad

  • 34. allen  |  March 24th, 2011 at 5:37 pm

    The war nerd is writing off the cuff; there are some perils to the no-research approach. Besides if he is who many say he is, it’s not like he’s some military “expert” per se …

    (Just a damned enjoyable columnist/pseudonym.)

    I do want to hear more about the tribal angle though; to me that’s the forgotten part of this story — that or the mercs. Who the hell is doing the fighting, and why do they serve his royal-fruitcake-fashionista–ness? Are they likely to continue to make life miserable for the so called rebels?

    I’ll admit I was all for the revolution at the outset; I loved it. I think the principle of a “responsibility to protect” is unworkable and bound to fall into pitiful hypocrisy (as it has). But what about revolutionary solidarity? How about forces from Egypt pouring over the boarder to help brothers-in-arms? What about France bringing back the good old days?

    Alas on that account,

    & their failure and impotence on the battlefield has dampened by enthusiasm for the rebels. Pushed back to Bengazi that quickly?

    (…sigh maybe there’s still hope for em’)

    Nevertheless, fingers crossed for Yemen, Syria, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and others … it’s 1848 all over again. Keep em coming’.

    (Not hoping for more wars, but if it comes to that may the revolutionaries put out a better effort.)

  • 35. matt  |  March 24th, 2011 at 5:46 pm

    I think he’s just trying something new. Maybe testing the old stalinist maxim; “quantity is quality”

    It’s kind of fun the people who are coming out. He might just be lazy, or he might be tired, or having some problem. But yeah, Gary should be focusing on the political tribal whatever aspect of it. That has traditionally been his style.


    I think you might be right, about this not being Gary, possible he really wasn’t Dolan, and he’s just taking over for Brecher while he recovers from something

  • 36. Tom  |  March 24th, 2011 at 6:45 pm

    I have to agree with John Figler on this one, Gary. I love reading anything you write. But really I want to see you get in the heads of the people who are running this dog and pony show. It’s your incisive insight into the minds of the war players that is your greatest gift to us. That’s why I check this site like every week even when you haven’t posted for 6 months. This preoccupation with hardware is cool but, your psyche analysis, that’s money right there.

  • 37. The Wookie  |  March 24th, 2011 at 6:46 pm

    In the pics linked in comment 33, why does the rebel with official government documents have digicamo slung over his arm?

  • 38. joe  |  March 24th, 2011 at 9:52 pm

    The best way to get a picture off is to hit the print screen button and then paste into ms paint. If this does not work try going to your video settings and turn off hardware acceleration. This is useful for grabbing screen-shots of videos.

  • 39. Mr. Bad  |  March 24th, 2011 at 10:41 pm

    Agreed on dispensing with the hardware arguments (though that REALLY doesn’t look much like AAA damage on that Strike Eagle)and can we get on to the speculative rebel offensive? I disagree with the notion that we won’t “kill” Qaddafi, I’m pretty sure that that is the plan, one way or another. We can handle this just like in Rwanda and the RPF, hang back, let more civilians get killed and then slip in some Special Forces, in this case to laze targets while the Rebs pull a huge end run around Adjabiyah, maybe even Misratah? If they go a little “nuts” and start killing prisoners, just enough to scare the loyalists, might the loyalists in Tripoli start thinking about offing Qaddafi and his sons, then make peace? There would certainly be lots of oil $ and power in it for them if they had the balls.

  • 40. dfasd  |  March 24th, 2011 at 11:18 pm

    any word on how this is going to effect the African Union? Qaddafi has been bankrolling and supporting the whole thing since the beginning.

  • 41. Shamil Basayev  |  March 24th, 2011 at 11:58 pm

    Chechnya, Dagestan, Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Syria, Nebraska . . .

    You know it and I know it.

    Tonga is next.

    We’re sorry, but we do not have Tongan snapper profiles in our database.

    Are you snapper from Tonga? If YES, post your bank account number here.

  • 42. postman  |  March 25th, 2011 at 12:18 am

    Another clear case of media image fakery from Libyan war:
    You are a reporter, with special permission from Gaddhafi to accompany his tank battallion to the tribal areas to take pictures of their massacring of civilians. A NATO airstrike hits your tank column, so you jump out of the APC, and…
    I mean, that is courage. You do not cower, you plant your feet firmly on the grond five metres from the tank, and when the rocket hits it, you click your camera. And then the Libyans want all the world to see their humiliation, so they let you up-load the picture…Or what?

  • 43. Casual reader  |  March 25th, 2011 at 1:36 am

    I’m far from expert but those holes don’t look like bullet holes for me. Edges of the metal around the holes seem to be curved inwards, to the inside of the wing, not upwards like you would except it the plane was hit from below and the bullet went through the wing. Of course the plane could have flown upside down (or to near 90 degree angle to earth if it was low enough) when it was hit. But if you google around for more photos there is one taken from the front of the wreck which clearly shows how the big hole(s) next to the row of small ones have also the metal around the edges dented inwards, like it has melted, which in my opinion is what caused those holes. It’s pretty obvious that the plane has burned, and the fire has been very hot. You can see black marks on ground where the fuel has run and burned.

    What I find fascinating is how neatly the plane seems to have settled on the ground. The soil in any direction from the wreck is almost unscathed, except for the burn marks. The plane must have fallen about straight down and not too fast because there seems to be no pieces of the plane scattered around.

  • 44. Brad  |  March 25th, 2011 at 3:01 am

    Pictures of the wreckage:×400

  • 45. Jonathan  |  March 25th, 2011 at 4:06 am

    The Japanese are way ahead of you on the tank-porn stuff.

  • 46. Anonymous  |  March 25th, 2011 at 4:26 am

    I’ll be most disappointed in you Mr Brecher if there is no explanation of your claim that the GBU-12 carries a HEAT warhead.

  • 47. Ulrich  |  March 25th, 2011 at 7:22 am

    There were some reports of Israel supplying Quadaffi…they would have their own motives, but it wouldnt be the first time they took the side opposite their “allies”. It would also likely mean that government forces have more advanced equipment. The other question is, why are the rebels still not capable of winning this thing with Nato forces taking out all the heavy equipment. Maybe they have zero popular backing and are just a disorganized mob of opportunists. If the Libyan “dictator” can maintain 40 years of power and still get his forces to go head to head against such overwhelming firepower, he must be doing something right. And even if the regular forces melt away, he still has 40,000 paramilitary/mercenary forces that can make this a house-to-house battle that is unwinnable. Quadaffi wins by not losing. Is the US getting ready to send in ground forces. Welcome to the next quagmire.

  • 48. Nick Nolan  |  March 25th, 2011 at 7:26 am


    If you look at those holes in the wing and their pattern, it’s clear that they are not result of enemy fire. They are result of support structure inside the wing popping the skin of the wing when crashing.

    Secondly, if they were from AA gun of any kind, there would be only few holes far away from each other. When manually operated AA gun targets fast moving target several kilometers away, distance between bullets is several meters even if gunner could keep target in the reticle (and take required advance).

  • 49. askod  |  March 25th, 2011 at 8:45 am

    Why have the froggies jump over this war as eager Prussian militarists?

    Because Sarkozy is facing an election with poll numbers so bad that a plant would defeat him.

  • 50. Jimbo  |  March 25th, 2011 at 9:21 am

    The Rafale can also carry the
    GBU-28 Penetrator. Ne c’est pas?

  • 51. José Cruz  |  March 25th, 2011 at 9:34 am

    Take all the time you want to research and deliver greatness again.

  • 52. Jesse Gutierres  |  March 25th, 2011 at 9:36 am

    Examination By An Experienced F-15E Desert Storm Crew Chief,

    I have seen and repaired numerous Aircraft with battle damage. These may be bullet holes; however, they are not battle damage bullet holes. These holes appear to have developed from static fire, or damage. Aircraft battle damage looks more like ripped cotton candy due to the aluminum honeycomb construction if the wing and thin skin covering. A small angled hole is usually on the bottom,(entry) and a long exploded ripped exit on the top.

    The wing damage looks more like an effort to obtain fuel from the wing tanks. A flying F-15 would only have two holes at the max, due to the speed of the plane and guns ability to reload. These holes would never be able to bring down the plane, and still have the luck to hit vital parts elsewhere. By the way, an F-15 should never be flying below 40,000 feel so it can avoid AAA-fire. My professional opinion is pilot error.

  • 53. Nor Word  |  March 25th, 2011 at 10:11 am

    As much as I hate to disrupt the counter-propaganda of the land that I love, a structural issue isn’t terribly likely.

    The first thing I thought when I saw the photos was “ground fire”. if you look at the way the holes flare, you can deduce the angle and direction from whence the firing did come.

    When there are structural issues with a F15, it almost always happens in the same place in the airframe- roughly corresponding to the place where the cockpit and wings meet on the exterior. In other words, the cockpit and wings aren’t likely to be sitting on the ground in close proximity to the fuselage after a failure.

  • 54. franc black  |  March 25th, 2011 at 10:26 am

    Tech tip

    @ 4. namefield and GaryB

    Using any on-screen image in other apps (from an MS session)…

    -re-size the window to show the good parts
    -press Alt + Print Scrn to capture that window to memory
    -open Paint, then paste it … it’ll have the window frame and menu stuff
    -use cropping tool to select just the image, Cut it into memory
    -File open a new Paint document and paste the image … cropped and clean
    -save as a .jpg a
    -use the graphic in your docs and uploads…

  • 55. aleke  |  March 25th, 2011 at 11:35 am

    Hey, I know you love Gadaffi bashing, even when he has to stand up to ridiculous fucking airpower and the strongest countries in the world, but here’s something that should awake your Patriotic Ire!

    The CIA’s Libya Rebels: The Same Terrorists who Killed US, NATO Troops in Iraq

    2007 West Point Study Shows Benghazi-Darnah-Tobruk Area was a World Leader in Al Qaeda Suicide Bomber Recruitment

    Northeastern Libya has the highest concentration of suicide belt jihadis that are joinin the best globe-trotting James Bond supervillain terrorist brigade around! Thats right folks, even West Point talked about how Al Qaeda in Iraq, those scumfuck mercenaries that murdered the long-suffering people of Iraq, are disproportionally from NE Libya, rebel stronghold.

    I guess this really puts Al Qaeda into perspective, why else are their Saudi funds not even so much as curtailed? Its all one oligarch network, after all, and we all know Cheney is a fucking traitor. So what’s the motivation? PROFIT$! Duh, stupid!

    And here you were thinking that there was a globe-trotting S.P.E.C.T.R.E.-like fucking organization that had no connection to very rich white men! Ha!

    i dont care how crazy gadaffi seems, i say right on mother fucker! Get those criminal degenerate fucks! No more false flag terrorist operations set up by Empires anymore! You’d think that people would realize Al-Q is just like the false flag ops the French pulled in Algeria, and the Brits in Egypt

  • 56. hobomaker  |  March 25th, 2011 at 11:57 am

    @ postman: yes there are a lot of faked images around, one of the first to be exposed was this one:, and maybe the mista had their fare share innit, but the point is that by now there is a significant cyrenaic contingent, mainly young kids, deployed by the rebels, whomever they might be. it’s Jeremiah 12:2 all over again, son. and these guys will have to show face soon because without any meaningful territorial claim this is s just going to be a slow burning partition war with no win.

    @ Gary and some readers who hint that maybe Gaddafi will run out of munition. Let me remind you folks that R-1973 does not cover southern Lybia, alright? Actually the Colonel can fly and get fancy dresses or whatever he wants through Chad or Niger. I don’t know of any intel to the contrary.

    All in all this strikes me as an even worse planned operation than Iraq. It’s a mess. What in the world happened to centralized GS. There are so many possibilities for this to bite back it’s frightening. I won’t even start going there. So here’s my question, Mr. Brecher: how can the coalition win? Not topple Gaddafi down, but win this sucker. How?!

  • 57. Dutchnerd  |  March 25th, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    If I might offer an alternate theory as to what brought down the F15E : how about Friendly Fire?

    Consider that the F15 went down over rebel-held territory, and that those rebels may very well use technicals. Now IF the F15 was shot down by the type of heavy machine gun used on technicals (and I see some apparently well informed opinions here disputing that) that may very well add up to friendly fire.

    Considering how many friendlies US forces have blown up in recent wars it would be ironic if this F15 was shot down by the Lybian rebels it was supposedly helping, the same ones that filmed it going down and returned the pilot, having realised their mistake.

    Just a thought.

  • 58. Mr. Bad  |  March 25th, 2011 at 2:27 pm

    @ Ulrich

    Libya has a smaller population as an entire country than NYC does, do you think the Qaddafi loyalists want to fight to the last man for a transgender freak and his fat, balding sons? No. They want to rape Libya for all the oil $ it’s worth, just like Qaddafi. Lemme’ tell ya’, We have not yet begun to bomb, wait until the libyan loyalists start to feel the heat and terrible anxiety that comes with having ZERO air cover, no hope or resupply or reinforcement and certain death at the hands of western imperialist bombs they never hear or see until it’s too late – morale will crash and somebody will make a deal. I really feel that, sadly, the news cycle is dictating military analysis of the situation, including War Nerd. Qaddafi has lost, is gone, will be dead within the year, if it wasn’t for the western media implanted “crusader” anxiety we would ALL read this one without too much effort.

    @ Nor Word

    Dude, come on, are you telling me you’ve examined F-15 crash sites? The one’s that grounded the F-15A-D fleet (longeron issue)? Please stop BSing, the F-15E’s were never grounded, most likely “Jesse Gutierrez ” is right and this was pilot error, it happens often. I’ve spent a lot of time in the officer’s bar @ Luke AFB after Desert Storm 1 and I can tell you that all these ground attack guys, especially the A-10 pilots, had endless “skin of your teeth” escape stories where they taxed their planes to the max and amazed themselves they came out in one piece – long story short, we are not the Israeli AF, US pilots are very good, but not THAT good.

  • 59. Nor Word  |  March 25th, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    Another thing that occurred to me: it hasn’t been widely reported on the Disney Channel or American Idol networks, but the Kearsage recovery team came in hot. That is, they shot and seriously wounded several dozen of the ‘friendly forces’ on the ground in the course of the pick-up. The wounded people I saw interviewed on the BBC and Al Bundyzeera were acting strangely sheepish.

    Hmm, what sort of thing would have given the recovery crew a reason to suspect that hostiles were on the ground near the plane? Why were the wounded acting as if they were embarrassed?

    I bet it wasn’t because the Fresh Mint Tea they were sharing with the aircrew didn’t have enough cinnamon in it.

  • 60. pierre  |  March 25th, 2011 at 4:36 pm

    This F15 is definitely part of odyssey down

  • 61. Nikola Tesla  |  March 25th, 2011 at 10:24 pm

    The F-15 attempted to penetrate an electronic security cone, originally designed by Nikola Tesla. Although the Libyan cone was obsolete, it was “good ’nuff to get ‘er done.” You, the cone-buying public, can get them on eBay.

  • 62. Steve-o  |  March 28th, 2011 at 5:04 pm

    “First I want to thank everybody who helped with my puzzlement over that shot of an MBT with its turret popped off, lying in the sand 30 yards away from the chassis.”

    Actually, it’s not a MBT. It’s an Italian built Palmaria 155 SPG. Granted, the picture threw me for a minute because the explosion actually blew off the muzzle brake. But the chasis is unmistakable as is the diameter of both the barrel and the fume extractor.

  • 63. hoodwink  |  March 29th, 2011 at 9:30 pm

    picture sucks but i doubt a guy in the back of a toyota could drill that many holes in an F-15 with his gun. As an AF sheet metal guy I am not familiar with the F-15 but those could be steel fasteners that were stronger than the skin & caused them to pull through the skin. Again, the picture is small so it is hard to say & I’m not sure if those areas are aluminum, fiberglass, steel or composite.

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