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‘Squad on Squad Combat’
The Deadliest Warrior 6: U.S. Special Forces versus Spetsnaz

The “what if Russians and Americans went at it” scenario is quite intriguing. I do recall one book I read in 1979, titled Firepower, by a Brit and an American [I think he was a professional burglar] in which they wrote about their time serving as mercenaries in Angola under an insane British Cypriot, whose name, I think, was something like Callhan. I recall that members of this small mercenary force claimed to have dragged some blonde-haired bodies out of vehicles they blew up and that the assumption was that they were Soviet advisors. I wonder if there are any other such accounts from U.S. dirty wars and British mercenary actions during the Cold War?

In any case, I don’t know much of anything about firearms-based squad combat and mostly viewed this episode with an eye toward the testing method evolution.

“I’m not here Gardening,’

-Doctor Andrea Dorien

Okay, the American guys cut grass on the weekends and the Russians sell heroin in New Jersey all week long. Seriously, Russians are frightening. Did the Nazis leave some SS DNA behind?

—when you patronize a Russian hooker in Baltimore this guy is waiting outside the door to make sure you don’t mark her up for the next guy—so be nice, alright. The Russian guys scare the shit out of me—period, this looks like Dracula with a gun.

Russian training deaths are noted here, but not U.S. training deaths. However, my reading of U.S. Navy Seal memoirs revealed a shocking number of training deaths.

In this episode we actually have guys who may have killed people, which is sobering.

My first thought from a non-firearm perspective, is that we can never get away from the shotgun. It seems to haunt the battlefield from the 1600s blunderbuss until today. I do recall that the U.S. marines were using pump shotguns in 1905. Is there an advantage to the pump shotgun that is not explored in this scenario?

Lord Khrishna, could you not bring me back as a pig?

Notice how much taller the Russians are. In kickboxing—oh, that sucks. But does this give any benefit in a gunfight? In a gunfight is it better to be the short Appalachian or the elongated Slav?

The karate black belt/scientist gets to punch the Spetsna in a boxing drill, but he doesn’t know it is a boxing drill. This is a common way that people are brought into boxing, by letting them punch a pro that stands right in front of them and uses dissipation and deflection techniques to prevent damage.

I am a huge e-tool fan. The closest weapon to the e-tool is the axe, but the e-tool has better balance. It actually weights very closely to the Maori greenstone club and the tomahawk. I have practiced with the early version of the e-tool and was very pleased with its handling. Cold Steel has a very nice model.

Of course, the biggest question is how does the Russian assault rifle measure up to the U.S. assault rifle. That is the mainstay weaponry comparison that should weight at least 75% of this contest, not the hand weapons and grenades.

The M4A1 carbine versus the AK-74?

What I did like about thus episode—and you see this with the more active soldier types—was that the opposing demonstrators where honestly interested in the enemy weaponry, rather than discount it, they investigate it

I do not know anything of substance about firearm use, but, the Spetsnaz demonstrator is concerned with his status as a target as he fires and uses evasive movement, where the U.S. Special Forces demonstrator seems to be operating from an overpowering force mindset, not even conceptualizing himself as a target. I would say from this engagement that the U.S. fighter fairs better when in a power versus insurgent engagement and the Russian fighter fairs better when in the weaker role.

The Russian shooter, Maxine, when he does the sniper test, admits to his drift and notes where he aimed and where he hit, which is real refreshing after the machismo of the earlier episodes. In unarmed combat Russians murder Americans—just like in the ring and cage—but with long guns, good night, Ivan.

I like that the testers upped the ante on the pistol range and improvised, as it seems that each pistol man aced the basic course. I love it when the doctor sneers at the SF guy who calls a subclavian bleed a "flesh wound." The courtesy between the Russian Sunny and the SF shooter Gomez suggests that this was a good-spirited test of arms.

A Well of Heroes

Add Comment
CollinsNovember 28, 2016 2:43 PM UTC

"[T]he Spetsnaz demonstrator is concerned with his status as a target as he fires and uses evasive movement...."

Interesting observation as it squares perfectly with what I read in a work of fiction featuring, as one of the protagonists, a Russian Spetsnaz veteran.

"In the whole world, there might have been as many as ten thousand people who were better than Sokolov at falling and rolling around on hard surfaces. Circus acrobats and aikido masters, mostly. Also included in that group would have been many of the younger Spetsnaz men...."

Neal Stephenson, 'Reamde.'

No, that's not a missprint of the title. Anyway, to avoid any copyright hassles, I'll stop there on the quote. There's more. He essays about how different special forces have different philosophies and how the Russians as a rule hit the ground and shoot from there. Obviously I see Stephenson as reliable and not one to just make stuff like that up. But I don't know. Just one anecdote. But I like him and would recommend him (including his Mongoliad series) to anyone, but especially someone interested in stories featuring some combat.
responds:November 29, 2016 8:21 PM UTC

Thanks so much for this extensive sourcing, Collins.
Jeremy BenthamNovember 21, 2016 2:50 PM UTC

If you want to win a target match and/or want a rifle that is easy to sight in, is very user friendly in its handling and easy to accessorize, use the M4A1. If you want a rifle that will keep firing even if you never, ever clean it, use the AK-74. Not a great deal of difference in terminal ballistics between the two when using FMJ ammo. Shotguns are a perennial favorite beascsue they can use a very versatile selection of projectiles, enjoy high hit probability and lethality and as such do good execution in close combat/trench/house to house fighting. Plus every American farm boy knows how to use one. U.S. SF enjoys an advantage of having lots of hi-tech gadgets and support. They can call for lots of help (surveillance, firepower, extraction, medical aid) when SPETNAZ would likely be on their own. SPETNAZ has an advantage in being utterly ruthless and not morally bothered by having to take out non-combatants to complete the mission. There has been quite a number of cases where US SF, SEALs and British SAS teams were compromised and destroyed when shepherd boys and such discovered their hide positions. The US and Brit operators uniformly refused to kill the civilians and came to grief because of it. See "Bravo Two-Zero" (1999) and "Sole Survivor" (2013) for examples. SPETNAZ on the other hand would not have hesitated to rub out the civilians. Read "SPETZNAZ” -The Inside Story of Soviet Special Forces by Victor Suvorov (1987). Victor Suvorov is the pen name of a GRU Colonel who defected to Britain. He said the Soviet era SPETNAZ used live prisoners, nicknamed “puppets” to practice killing. Much like the Japanese did during WWII. You would be well advised to fear Russians, whether soldiers, police or gangsters. Even when they are on your side. LOL! As Ralph Peters observed, the Russians are capable of “terrifying sloppiness”.
Sam FinlayNovember 21, 2016 10:21 AM UTC

Meanwhile, in Russia . . .
responds:November 21, 2016 2:54 PM UTC

Thanks, Sam. I'll post this as an addendum.