Monday, May 25, 2015
BBC Image: Al Shabab AK 47s, PKM Machineguns
I found the photo of Al Shabab marching, presumably somewhere in Somalia, interesting. It gives a clear look at some of their weaponry. As an organization that deals in terror, I would expect it to be extremely conscious of the image that it puts forth. This likely explains the preponderance of PKM light machine guns in the hands of the four rightward ranks of the front marchers (their right).
These are probably the most powerful weapons that are carried on foot by Al Shabab. I only see those four, and it appears that other troops are equipped with AK 47s of various types. At least one is a folding stock model. I do not see any evidence of spare barrels for the PKM machine guns, though that means little.
All the troops that I see are wearing sandals. Much better than nothing. It appears that some Mali soldiers wear sandals. I do not know if they are standard issue. The vast majority of pictures of other African troops shows them wearing boots.
The PKM uses the 7.62x54 rimmed round, which is not interchangeable with the 7.62x39 round that the AK 47 rifles are chambered in. The ammunition belts on the machine gunners are probably the standard 100 round model. Perhaps they are being carried exposed to play to the cameras. It seems a particularly bad way to carry them in combat, as it exposes them to tangle with leaves, twigs and grass, and to be caked in mud.
In most depictions of the PKM, the belts are fed from an ammunition box. I would expect at least one or two helpers to work as a team with the PKM machine-gunners. The helpers could carry additional ammunition, and perhaps the spare barrel.
©2015 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
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