I recall one of my instructors at the old Police Counter-Insurgency Training Base at Maleoskop saying the above to us trainees forming a circle around him so many years past: “Double tap first or die.” Since then I became a great believer in double tap shooting. So it was odd to me to find out that not one US Special Forces member, nor any US civilian, nor any US SWAT member, knows what the “double tap” method is. I found the lack of knowledge astonishing.
So let me explain. It was first used by the British Special Air Service, SAS, in the 1970s when they became interested in counterterrorism, hostage rescues, after the Munich Massacre. They realised that the standard full metal jacket 9mm Parabellum round is crap, it does not kill fast enough and thus they adjusted by adding Special Forces ammunition, nice hollow points, and shooting two rounds so fast it sounds like one shot. We did the same, even on our assault rifles and to me, it is the mark of a professional. Fully automatic fire is the mark of ill-discipline and of run of the mill soldiers not worthy of Special Forces (or anywhere else) where you often carry the ammunition to and from the target without guaranteed resupply. During Vietnam, at one stage, it took US troops 100,000 rounds to obtain one kill. Later statistics said 250,000, then 500,000 bullets. Today, with the modern optical aiming devices being used in Afghanistan and Iraq, 300,000 according to some reports. Why more bullets when you have better optics? Low standards, what else but also, the M4 has a pathetic first-kill ratio, worse than the M16 because of barrel length. Except for covering fire and the first few crazy seconds of an ambush, fully automatic fire was a luxury we could not afford and looked down upon. Nothing has changed.
When engaging with a pistol, it is always the two-handed grip, Weaver stance, double tapping and get the job done. You shoot the wrong person during operations and you are arrested for murder. A body without an assault rifle meant being arrested for murder. That is the standard and it is apparently way too high for most. Killing innocents is easy and creates terrorists, future problems. Counterterrorism, counterinsurgency is hard, not for mediocre troops. When I wrote the sniper book, Code Name Butterfly, I found out that the average (but trained) US Army infantryman will hit a man-sized target 10 percent of the time at 328 yards. You cannot tell me that is good enough, God knows, that is bad shooting, it means they miss 90% of the time and now the dreadful ammunition expenditure starts to make sense, it is not about fire suppression but simply low training standards. It gets worse, the graduates of the US Army Sniper School must achieve a 90% first-round hit at 656 yards, using the M24 Sniper Weapon System, a proper sniper rifle firing either the 7.62 NATO or .338 Lapua round. I am sorry, but that is Mickey Mouse. Not one such shooter will graduate under our standards. I will not trust that kind of inaccurate shooting where hostages are involved.
Do you know where I found the double tap shooting as a matter of course? Spetsnaz and Chinese Special Forces. Do you know who wins the most sniper competitions? Yes, not the US teams. If interested, see Code Name Unbutton where we discuss Chinese Special Forces, they are rated highly. These standards can be obtained, by the way, it is a matter of becoming professional and having fire discipline. You may also like Code Name Butterfly, the sniper book, where a lot more is revealled.
South African Army Special Forces are highly rated in the Special Forces Community. Their standards are way above anything that the West can achieve with Selection failure levels of 95% on average and at least once, 100% where not one man made it.
In their first 40 years history, more than 100,000 men (and no women) tried to make Selection, 482 succeeded. The Selection, with all its phases, takes a full year to complete. The training cycle takes three years and in between top secret operations are conducted to earn the operator’s badge which is highly valued.
There is no unit anywhere in the world that is better inside sub-Saharan Africa, not one. Yet, the South African heroic deeds are virtually unknown even within the country never mind the rest of the world. There is no unit anywhere which prides itself more on secrecy than the South African Special Forces Units. They don’t talk and even to meet them is a privilege since they seldom reveal who they are besides refusing flatly to give any details of operations.
In Code Name July 27 I went back to my first love, military history, Special Forces operations, espionage and counterterrorism. I look at two South African Army Special Forces operations, Kerslig (Afrikaans, Candlelight), 1981, and Nobilis, 1984. Both were seaborne sabotage raids conducted against Angola and specifically close or right inside the port of Luanda. Both were highly successful and both have lessons in them that were applied to later operations, especially in the use of explosives which is in no other book which I am aware of.
I based Code Name July 27 on how such a seaborne raid is done, the background, the planning and the execution. Therefore, you may expect to find quite a few additional explanations in footnotes. It is a historical type of book. As always we delved deep into history and Special Operations techniques.
In the background I also wanted to see if a large transport type airframe like the Lockheed C-130J Hercules can be made to disappear from the human eye… as silly as this sounds, there were such systems used with some success in the Second World War and Vietnam. The Americans called theirs “Yehudi” and we find out here if it can be replicated today. If so, it has massive implications for counterterrorism and conventional warfare.
Description: Spymaster extraordinaire, Angelique Dawson is close to Beira harbour, Mozambique. She wants to destroy a warehouse containing items that are considered dangerous to the local population. In order to do so she chooses an unconventional tactic, which involves a seaborne raid.
We therefore look at the previous successful South African Army Special Forces seaborne raids. Operation Kerslig (Afrikaans, Candlelight) 1981, on an oil refinery north of Luanda, Angola, and Operation Nobilis, 1984, where two merchant vessels were sunk inside Luanda harbour.
There are many lessons to be learned and much revealed that is not in any other book as far as the author knows.
Angelique is, as usual, not explaining much to her future husband and former Police Special Forces Company Commander, Geoffrey Foxtrot, the narrator, who is simply trying to keep her safe. He needs to know what the warehouse that he is being ordered to destroy, contains and Angelique is reluctant to tell him.
If you wish to read about Covert and Special Forces Operations in sub-Saharan Africa, the GMJ Books are the place to start. You will learn about covert operations, Special Forces techniques and military history not known outside the select few. Code Name July 27 is the 49th book of the popular GMJ Series.
Code Name July 27 will be available at my website or Amazon on 27 July 2019.
I say in most books that military code names have nothing in common with the actual operation taking place. It should not and it is silly to expect the name to mean anything or indicate anything in particular. Therefore, none of the GMJ Books have a name from which you can deduct the contents of the book and that is not by chance, it is written like that as it should be - a hidden code, known only to those directly involved. This makes it easy for me to play with names and to honour those I wish to honour. For an author, there are two dimensions, the books, and real-life and the two mix at times. Some authors will tell you that they pour their souls into a book. Others will say a book is a part of you, like a child, which you send into the cruel world with much trepidation whilst hoping for the best. With my books, I have codes within codes, secret messages to the informed which are seldom revealed to the reader.
July 27 is such a code. 27 July 2018 is when I met Rebecca, the ONE, my wife. Since I met her all the GMJ fictionalised books had code names reflecting to us. Code Name Rebecca 65, an obvious reference, that is her name. Code Name Swan 53, because she saw two swans on the lake where she lives, for months. It was as if they were following her around. A simple Google search revealed that a swan is seen as a mythological messenger of God. Then came our marriage in South Africa and tremendous problems to get the marriage legally registered because of the notorious utter incompetence on the part of the South African Department of Home Affairs (aka Hell Affairs) where marriages must be registered to be official. Without the official registration, your marriage is null and void, end of story. I can write books on the frustrations that went with that episode which brought us closer together. It also caused me to write Code Name Masemole 26. One man helped us, a fine upstanding fellow, and I called the book after him, Code Name Masemole 26. Now we are at one year since we found each other, Code Name July 27. So that is the reason for the name which has nothing to do with the book contents as such – the story is about a seaborne raid to destroy a warehouse behind enemy lines. Therefore, we looked at history, the two South African Army Special Forces Raids called Kerslig (1981) and Nobilis (1984). Both were seaborne sabotage raids conducted against Angola and specifically close or right inside the port of Luanda. Both were highly successful and both have lessons in them that were applied to later operations, especially in the use of explosives which is in no other book which I know about. From this, I wrote Code Name July 27 on how such a seaborne raid will be done, the background, the planning and the execution. Therefore, you may expect to find quite a few additional explanations in footnotes and brackets. It is a historical type of book and well worth reading if you love military history and Special Forces techniques seldom revealed in public.
But was this by chance? Did Rebecca and myself happened just like that? No. We paid dearly by losing loved ones before we could be one. There were interesting interludes. As with all authors, I have full control in what I call my books and my system is such that I can honour whoever I want, and I do. For example, Code Name VET 101 refers to a former member of that elite division that lost an eye in Vietnam, a good friend that attended our wedding. Code Name Ndebele 14 has a hairdresser in it that exists. She does the hair of the elderly and cancer patients free of charge, an effort to assist. There are many such examples in my books. Code Name Lucy, Code Name Anika, Code Name VFO565 and many more, they all have real people in the background being honoured. Did I somehow know about Rebecca’s existence before I met her? Yes. I often thought of her and at times prayed for her because I felt she had need of a prayer. I knew that she was out there but I had no idea what she looks like or her name, obviously not. Yet, let us look at some curious facts that my code name system brought along. GMJ 10, Code Name Honey Bee, Rebecca was once known as “HoneyB.” GMJ 37, Code Name Dawn, Rebecca’s daughter can be known as “Dawn” when speaking Hindi. It was in the same book, Code Name Dawn, that the Mossad Triplets started appearing in the series, they are called Rebecca A, Rebecca B, and Rebecca C. They speak German & English, so does Rebecca the ONE besides French. They have brown hair, dark eyes, and now they have a sexy aunt, my wife. By chance? I don’t believe in chance, my friends. I believe in God, love, and I am grateful that I could honour my wife in the fashion above. I am blessed.
Code Name July 27 will be available on Saturday, 27 July 2019 at my website and Amazon.
Josiah Tattnall was the Flag Officer of the United States East Indian Squadron in 1859. By that time he served his country since April of 1812, starting at the bottom of the officer corps as a midshipman, age seventeen. On 21 June 1859 he observed Royal Navy steamboats attacking the Taku Forts at the mouth of the Pei-Ho River, Imperial China. They were there to force one of their scandalous treaties onto the Chinese. He had orders to remain neutral and not to get involved. To make a long story short, the Brits lost that fight badly being under murderous crossfire from both sides of the river and at point blank range. They would lose six of their vessels but not before Tattnall became decidedly less than neutral. He could not bear the sight and so he started towing reserve Royal Navy sailors to the stricken ships, saying, “I’ll tow your reserves into action. Blood is thicker than water!” After that, he tried again, this time with a small barge, towards the a heavily damaged Royal Navy ship. One US sailor died on the way as the Chinese hit the barge which was eventually sunk. Once on the Royal Navy ship, Tattnall offered his services to the British Commander. As legend has it, at one stage he saw US Navy sailors manning a British gun (the British crew was very much wiped out already), returning fire on the Chinese forts. “What do you think you are doing,” he asked, “Don’t you know we are neutrals?” The answer, “Began you pardon, sir, they were very short handed at the bow gun, sir, so we gave ’em a help for fellowship’s sake.”
Today, 22 July 2019, we had the US Secretary of State, the infamous West Point Cadet / war mongrel, Mike Pompeo, stating that the British flagged vessel taken by Iran in the Gulf of Hurmuz a few days ago, was essentially Britain’s problem: “The responsibility in the first instance falls to the United Kingdom to take care of their ships. This isn’t because of US sanctions, this is because of the theocracy of the leadership in Iran, the revolutionary zeal to conduct terror around the world, for now four decades, continues. We don’t want war with Iran, we want them to behave like a normal nation. I think they understand that.”
This must go through as the very worst betrayal of a friend claiming a “special relationship” (the myth which you can read about in Code Name July 27, the forthcoming GMJ Novel). The UK vessel was taken in revenge because the UK grabbed an Iranian vessel, Grace 1, close to Gibraltar on behalf of the Americans. Yes, they can deny as much as they please, we know what happened. Spanish newspaper, El Pais, citing official sources: “The Grace 1, which flies a Panamanian flag, had been under surveillance by US satellites since April, when it was anchored off Iran. The supertanker, full to the brim with crude oil, was too big for the Suez Canal, and so it sailed around the Cape of Good Hope before heading for the Mediterranean. According to the US intelligence services, it was headed for the Syrian oil refinery of Banias. Washington advised Madrid of the arrival of the supertanker 48 hours ahead of time, and the Spanish navy followed its passage through the Strait of Gibraltar. It was expected to cross via international waters, as many Iranian vessels do without being stopped.” So now we know that the US was behind the snatch, unlawful as it was and is under international law. US National Security Adviser, the dual Israeli/US citizen: “Excellent news: UK has detained the supertanker Grace 1 laden with Iranian oil bound for Syria in violation of EU sanctions. America & our allies will continue to prevent regimes in Tehran & Damascus from profiting off this illicit trade.”
So the Royal Navy Marines grabbed the Grace 1 on behalf of the US. Now a UK flagged ship is taken by the Iranians and will be kept as long as Grace 1 is not released. Now what? Britain stands alone, betrayed by the USA. I doubt if any country will give more than lip service to assist. This is not 1940 where Britain was not alone, by the way, what about the dozens of Commonwealth Nations that contributed enormously? No one expected the UK to be abandoned like this by their Master that they served so well. It is shocking. Mind, it is not totally unexpected. In history, the US has a reputation of running away and leaving those that stood by them. In Vietnam the CIA left all its files, thousands died in concentration camps. Time will tell if this is one of them. But perhaps it should be acknowledged that the “Special Relationship” is over. Tattnall, as a matter of interest, joined the Confederate Navy during the Civil War and died some years after that war ended. I wonder what he would say about recent events...