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Wrong Lubricant, Jammed Weapons, Dead Soldiers

Discussion in 'Legal' started by 2dogs, Jul 22, 2003.

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  1. 2dogs

    2dogs Member

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    http://www.sftt.org/cgi-bin/csNews/...and=viewone&op=t&id=21&rnd=19.888845171579405

    Wrong Lubricant, Jammed Weapons, Dead Soldiers





    By Ed Offley



    Buried deep within the latest news report on the deadly ambush of the 507th Transportation Maintenance Co. in Iraq on March 23, 2003, was a chilling nugget of information. It now appears that the soldiers who were killed or taken prisoner in that now-infamous firefight shared a common misfortune.



    Their rifles had all jammed.



    Disavowing an earlier news report that had alleged Pvt. Jessica Lynch had fired multiple clips of ammunition at the attacking Iraqis before she was injured and taken prisoner, The Washington Post has now published a more detailed account. The newspaper described how she was seriously injured when the Humvee vehicle in which she was riding crashed at high speed into an overturned Army tractor-trailer. Then, the team of three Post reporters noted:



    “Lynch tried to fire her weapon, but it jammed, according to military officials familiar with the Army investigation. She did not kill any Iraqis. She was neither shot nor stabbed, they said.â€



    Why is this important today? The answer is in the form of another question. Why did the rifle jam?



    As the Pentagon proceeds with its official “after action reports†and “lessons learned†effort from Operation Iraqi Freedom, troubling information has begun to emerge from numerous sources that jammed weapons were a serious problem in Iraq. Worse, it appears that this happened because many American troops were equipped with a lubricant to clean their rifles and sidearms that was ineffective in the harsh desert environment.



    It wasn’t just Pvt. Lynch in the 507th Maintenance Co. who fell victim to a jammed weapon. An earlier report in The Washington Post on Apr. 14, 2003, contained the first detailed accounts of the ambush from the just-rescued POWs:



    “The bullets and explosions came from all sides. Some of the vehicles flipped over. Other drivers hit the gas hoping to outrun the danger, but ran into even heavier fire. In the swirling dust, soldiers’ rifles jammed. Pfc. Patrick Miller, 23, from suburban Wichita, began shoving rounds into his rifle one at a time, firing single shots at enemies swarming all around. … Finally, it fell to Sgt. James Riley, a 31-year-old bachelor from Pennsauken, N.J., and the senior soldier present, to surrender. ‘We were like Custer,’ he recalled today, still sounding shocked. ‘We were surrounded. We had no working weapons. We couldn’t even make a bayonet charge – we would have been mowed down (italics added).’ â€



    The probable cause of this widespread weapons failure has been blamed on a government-issued lubricant known as “CLP†that has been provided to many – but not all – U.S. Army soldiers. A number of Army veterans and contractors have denounced CLP as totally ineffective in preventing sand and dust buildup in weapons in Iraq.



    “The CLP and Breakfree brand oil the military purchases is worthless,†said Aaron Johnson, a 10-year veteran of the Army and Army Reserve, and author of a DefenseWatch guest column on the Army M9 sidearm (“How to Save the M9 Beretta,†June 16, 2003). “I'm sure large amounts are acquired [by the Army] at relatively low cost, but that’s why it should be done away with. That oil is too rich, and has little effectiveness at keeping weapons clean.â€



    “The troops will tell you, CLP attracts dirt and grit.†Johnson continued. “It is also so thick it can reduce recoil speed, resulting in stoppages. It thickens in the cold, and when in hot weather areas it is usually attracting dust and sand.â€



    In an e-mail forwarded to DefenseWatch, retired Lt. Col. Robert Kovacic, who works for a defense contractor in Kuwait that trains U.S. military units, echoed Johnson’s remarks. “I can say with complete assuredness, from many, many observations [of training exercises], that CLP does not work. I did not use it … at Fort Polk (cause it did not prevent rust, I don’t care what the government says), and it sure as hell does not work here.â€



    What is bewildering to veterans such as these is that there is a product that has proven effective in desert combat. MILITEC-1 Synthetic Metal Conditioner, manufactured by the company of the same name, has been approved for Army use and is already widely used by the U.S. Coast Guard, FBI and a host of other federal police agencies. But the Army apparently is still shipping CLP en masse to the troops and has resisted ordering the synthetic lubricant, forcing unit commanders to pay out of their own pockets to acquire it.



    The problem, Kovacic said, is that the Defense Logistics Agency allegedly refused to ship MILITEC to a number of units heading for combat in Iraq, despite previous approval of the product for Army weapons. “So, if front-line commanders order this product,†he asked, “where does DLA have the authority to stop shipment? It is the brigade commander’s butt in battle and if he wants to use a different lubricant, because the government stuff does not work, he can.â€



    Militec-1 President Brian Giordino says he has warned both the Defense Department Inspector General and the Army Material Command for years about the ineffectiveness of CLP weapons lubricant, without success.



    A preliminary Joint Forces Command “lessons learned†report on soldier weapons and equipment in Operation Iraqi Freedom confirmed what Giordino, Kovacics and Johnson, among others, have said.



    “Lubricant: Soldiers provided consistent comments that CLP was not a good choice for weapons maintenance in this environment. The sand is as fine as talcum powder here. The CLP attracted the sand to the weapon. … Soldiers considered a product called MiliTec to be a much better solution for lubricating individual and crew-served weapons.â€



    My question: How many more U.S. Army soldiers are going to have to die before the service takes action to ensure that it stops issuing dangerously ineffective weapons lubricant?
     
  2. DigMe

    DigMe Member

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    Damnitt!! I just bought a can of Breakfree for the first time to try it out two days ago. Do you guys have good experience with this stuff outside of Iraq? I bought it after someone relayed good experiences as far as it's cleaning abilities go.

    brad cook
     
  3. emc

    emc Member

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    I've used BreakFree in the past, and haven't found it to be a good cleaner. It was passable as a lubricant, but the complaints noted in the news story are correct. It doesn't flow well, and can easily get gummy over a period of time. Since those have been my experiences in the Heartland, it would only be worse in areas with greater extremes of temperature. I since switched to Eezox, which doesn't accumulate dirt and lint.

    FWIW,


    emc
     
  4. H Romberg

    H Romberg Member

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    The problem is the "P" in the CLP. The protectant compound makes it get sticky if you have more than a thin film on the surface, and that's a recipe for disaster in a dust and sand situation. There are graphite lubes that would have been better suited for the environment, or the CLP could have been wiped completely dry after cleanings. Either way, and oil soaked weapon that would work great in a german forest won't be reliable in the desert. Guess they should've thought about that a little harder before deploying with just the CLP. Chalk up another lesson to be forgotten before the next war.
     
  5. JohnBT

    JohnBT Member

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    "I did not use it … at Fort Polk (cause it did not prevent rust..."

    I guess I got different bottles or brands of BreakFree or something.

    For dusty, sandy, and gritty environments my choice - based entirely on my admittedly limited experience - would be TW-25B.

    John
     
  6. gun-fucious

    gun-fucious Member

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  7. Carlos Cabeza

    Carlos Cabeza Member

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    That's my take, But I like militec 1.
     
  8. longeyes

    longeyes member

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    That the military, with its priorities and resources, would not have
    exhaustively tested lubricants for its essential weapons, under
    all known conditions, strikes me as not only phenomenal but criminally
    negligent. It will be interesting to see more on this subject.
     
  9. Bartholomew Roberts

    Bartholomew Roberts Moderator Emeritus

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    As noted, this is nothing more than a marketing release for Militec-1. and they have posted it to every firearms related forum on the Net, even though their charges are at best unjustified.

    It has been posted and crossposted so many times that I can promise you one thing; I won't ever be sending any money Militec's way.

    Been using it both in the military and out of it for over 10 years now and have never had an issue with CLP. It has always done the job, though like any wet lube it will form a paste if you add dirt to a bunch of CLP. CLP will provide protection and lubrication without any visible film at all; but it won't function at ideal levels. Where blowing sand is an issue I used Remington Dri-Lube to supplement my cleaning and it worked fine for my uses. Militec requires a complicated application process for the first application. With Remington Dri-Lube you just point the aerosol can at what you want lubed and spray it down.

    As far as Breakfree not preventing rust, I suggest you request a free sample of Militec and compare the two firsthand. My bet is that you'll find that whatever flaws Breakfree has in the area of corrosion protection, it will still beat Militec by a large margin.

    Graphite lubes aren't recommended for the AR15/M16 family of weapons because graphite can react to form aluminium oxide (corrosion). You may get away with it for a while; but long-term use can harm the receivers.
     
  10. 444

    444 Member

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    I live in the desert and use Breakfree CLP exclusively in my AR15s. I have had them in some pretty dusty environments and didn't have a problem. My personal weapons don't get as dirty as those used by the military of course. Just driving around in a military vehicle will cover your weapon in dirt. I have taken a rifle course at Frontsight in high winds with desert sand covering my AR until it was brown, but it continued to function. You need to keep the dust cover closed and a mag in the gun to keep as much dust as possible out of the bolt. I also cleaned the interior of the weapon every night. Like any oil or grease CLP will accumulate dirt and dust that sticks to it. I don't think that is the fault of any one particular oil or grease. Common sense tells us that there is no oil or grease that repels dirt. Therefore, when using any piece of equipment in a dusty environment, you need to keep it clean. You have to remove the dirty oil and remove the dirt as frequently as nessessary. This might mean cleaning the bolt several times a day. One problem the military has that I don't is finding a place out of the wind that is clean enough to clean the weapon without getting more sand in it.
    According to the report, they also had jams in the M249s and the M2 Brownings. IMO we just have to face the fact that in an environment like that, you just have to make weapons cleaning a top priority and even then expect some failures. It is an extreme condition.
     
  11. brownie0486

    brownie0486 Member

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    Been using breakfree clp on all the weapons, including the knives for rust prevention and lubrication, for 15+ years.

    Used it in competitions in the heat of summer where the guns got pretty hot in shooting rapidly all day, in the cold of NEngland winters where the guns were exposed in holsters to temp in the 20 degree range.

    It has a tendancy to get gummy in the cold weather but never had a malfinction due to the clp in the 45 govs.

    What people haven't considered and should is that the m-16 platform and all the variants are pieces of crap which have jammed on servicemen since Vietnam warriors were ruling their world.

    I don't believe it is the clp at fault here, but the weapons platform they are stuck with. If it was strictly the clp and sand clinging to it, the m-14's in service over there would surely be difficult to keep up and running as they use grease as a lubricant, and if that doesn't grab sand nothing will.

    Haven't heard nary a word about the m14 platforms malfunctioning over there have we? Thats because the weapons system is dependable to begin with.

    Brownie
     
  12. 444

    444 Member

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    And the M2 Browning isn't ?
     
  13. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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    Same old story

    You can use whatever you want on the AK-47. I bet it would work fine with vasoline! Or no lube at all.

    Any weapon that requires a specific lube to avoid massive breakdowns is a FAILURE.
     
  14. Delmar

    Delmar Member

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    I would suspect the reason we have not heard about M-14 weapons failures is because they are issued to select troops who are very much in tune with the job at hand. Notice there is no mention of people with combat arms duties having this kind of an issue. IMO, the blame goes on both the leadership of the unit and the unit members themselves. I would bet a dollar to a doughnut they were properly instructed in BCT to maintain their issue weapons.
     
  15. 444

    444 Member

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    We find out after all these years that the M2 BMG is a failure.

    If only these other countries had known how inferior our weapons were, they might have beaten us.
     
  16. brownie0486

    brownie0486 Member

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    444: of course the ma duece is reliable to a fault.

    It's not just the lube was what I was geting at.

    As to the m14 platform, they have and are being issued to line troops who put up with the same sand, dirt, wind problems.

    Brownie
     
  17. Richardson

    Richardson Member

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    I use CLP. No problems with Rust, at all. I took a rusted steel plate, sand blasted it, and treated it with CLP. I put a wet paper towel on it and let it sit for a few days. Then I re-wet the plate. It did not rust. Then I took rusty water and dripped it on the plate. There was residual rust where it dried. CLP is great for rust prevention.

    I had been using Hoppes to clean. Then I took CLP to one of my "clean" rifles, let it sit for 5 minutes, and I pushed out a black puddle of dirty oil. CLP is pretty good for cleaning!

    CLP leaves a thin coat of teflon on treated metal, even when wiped dry. The coating builds slightly with repeated treatments. CLP is a great lubricant.

    Perhaps this maintenance unit did not expect to be amidst the battle and didn't clean their rifles enough (same problem caused jams in Vietnam). This is what some people in the military are saying is the probable cause for the jamming. These rifles might not have been cleaned in days.

    There may be better products than CLP, but is can be wiped dry and still perform, so "gumming up" is only due to improper usage.

    Richardson
     
  18. Zip06

    Zip06 Member

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    There is nothing in this thread that knocks Break Free CLP that makes me want to not use it after 20 years of no problems with it. Regarding the problems in Iraq with lubes, Haven't heard much negative posted by the assault troops, their weapons seemed to function pretty well. My comment on the 507th is simply, what leadership?
     
  19. cordex

    cordex Member

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    brownie,
    The M2 is reliable to a fault, but it failed in this exact scenario?
    The vast majority of other soldiers in Iraq were able to keep their M2s, M249s, and - yes - even their 'crappy' M16s running without issue with the same lube. The issue was with maintainance, not materials. The lube and guns work fine when used properly. When ignored or used improperly, there will always be failures.

    Yes, even an AK lubed with Militec will exhibit problems in that environment if it is not cleaned regularly.
     
  20. El Tejon

    El Tejon Member

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    Granted I live in a green and fertile world and not in the sand blown wastes, I've always found that it matters not what kind of gun lube you use, but that it is fresh. I've discovered that this holds true in all kinds of weather including thunderstorms or dry sandy heat of GWR or Tejas.

    Smells of politics of the Army kind???:confused:
     
  21. Partisan Ranger

    Partisan Ranger Member

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    I don't know jack about serving in the military, but I would take a wild guess that a bunch of rear-end engineers who normally never hear a shot fired wouldn't exactly keep their guns well-lubed and oiled. Am I wrong?
     
  22. brownie0486

    brownie0486 Member

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    Partisan Ranger :

    That would be a pretty good guess I think for a non military man.

    El Tejon: Yes inded, thats one of the secrets to a dependable operational weapon. I used to squirt the 45 during matches in places and never had issues with failures due to lubricants as well.

    My m1a's stay up and running all the time. Just keep em greased and they'll stand well onthe line.

    Brownie
     
  23. Bartholomew Roberts

    Bartholomew Roberts Moderator Emeritus

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    Just for historical perspective

    Read "Combat Actions In Korea" from the Army Historical Series. Chapter 1: Withdrawal Action.

    It describes the initial North Korean attack on US soldiers who were confident this would be a relatively low key "police action". During the first engagement, practically the only fire came from platoon leadership. After an initial withdrawal, one of the sergeants decides to see why his men weren't firing.

    Of 31 men in the unit, 12 had weapons that were inoperable due to being assembled incorrectly, dirty, or broken. Remember that the issue rifle at that time was the vaunted M1 and that this was a front-line infantry unit in an area of high tensions - not a rear-echelon unit.

    Many different countries have Special Operations Force that can choose to carry anything in the world and choose to carry the AR15 series of weapons even when their own general armed forces use something else (although admittedly most of them choose the Diemaco brand over Colt or FN)
     
  24. Alan Smithiee

    Alan Smithiee Member

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    one "complaint" I have heard and had with CLP in the spray can is that it is very easy to get too much into/onto a firearm, and when you have to much and don't/can't get it all off and have fine dust, well, almost anything can turn into a jam'o'matic.

    I still use CLP for cleaning, but not for lube (I got introduced to Tetra Grease and fell in love)
     
  25. HBK

    HBK member

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    Ars just seem too damn finicky to me. Seems it would be better to use a hardier weapon that can take lots of abuse. I personally think our military should use a weapon that can go without frequent cleaning, take lots of abuse, and still be effective. Kinda like a Glock, only the rifle version.
     
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