Saturday, September 02, 2006

Attack on Ambulances on July 13th

Many blogs and websites suggest that the now infamous damage to ambulances said to be inflicted on July 23th couldn´t have been inflicted by israeli weapons. Examples are:
Zombietime
Riehl World View
Honest Reporting

With this posting, I want to show that weapons used by israel are indeed capable of inflicting the observed damage.
First off, media reports are contradictory and often talk about "missiles" hitting the cars. I strongly advise everyone to take these media and eyewitness reports with some huge grains of salt, due to the following reasons:
  1. Reporters and people interviewed by them often don´t have a clue when it comes to military hardware. Decoy flares are commonly referred to as"missiles", howitzers are "tanks", I could go on and on. For the media "missile" commonly means "something flying through the air".
  2. Difficulties with translation and communication easily change the original meaning of what was said.
  3. Reporters or witnesses might be biased, so tell a "colored" version of the truth.
  4. Being under fire is tremendous stress for the witnesses, leading to conflicting and contradictory reports by them.

That being said, it was reported that the ambulances were under attack and apparently both hit by "something". This "something" apparently exploded slightly outside the ambulances, blowing away their ventilation cover, bending the roof inwards and peppering the roof with shrapnel. Also, a stretcher inside seems to have been slightly torched.
All this is consistent with a single hit by a M789 HEDP round fired by the AH-64 Apache´s M230 chain gun. This is a High Explosive Dual Purpose round containing a small shaped charge for armor penetration, as well as a fragmentation jacket for effectiveness against "soft targets" (hence the "dual purpose" designation).
This explains the damage to the ambulance:
  • due to the operating principle of the shaped charge, the fuze is triggered as soon as a solid object is hit, otherwise the liner would be crushed and penetration would be minimal.
  • blast effect bent the roof of the ambulance inwards, while fragments generated the small holes in it.
  • The stretcher inside the ambulance was hit by the shaped charge´s "jet", the sole part of the projectile effectively penetrating the roof (apart from some fragments) , as designed.

Look at the following evidence showing that a single HEDP round´s effect is indeed similar to the pattern observed at the ambulances:
  1. Video of an Apache firing on an M113 APC. As can be seen, the rounds do pack some serious punch and blast effect.
  2. Video of an Apache engaging personnel and vehicles in Iraq (warning, graphic content) . Vehicles are hit by numerous rounds, but single round´s effect are in line with the above explanations.
  3. Image1, Image2, Image3 and Image4 showing HEDP´s effect against thin metal targets at least in a wider sense comparable to the metal roof of the ambulances.

Of course, the sole thing that is unusal is the fact that there have been only single hits on both vehicles. While unusual, this might can be attributed to the ROE under which the helicopter operated, it is possible that the crew was to plink suspicious targets with single shots ( the M230 is the least damaging weapon at the Apache´s disposal ) and reengage upon hostile/more suspicous reaction.
Hits nearby the red cross aren´t as surprising as they may seem, it is highly likely that the gunner engaged the ambulances using the Thermal Imaging System in the TADS, for which the red cross is not visible, aiming at the center of the target.

Regarding the rust on the ambulance I borrow the words from Noah Shachtman of Defense Tech:
Finally, a word on rust. There’s been a lot of talk about rust, including comments on several blogs about the Reuters van. Let me assure you that it doesn’t take visible surface rust very long to form in the Lebanese climate. If you look up the weather data for Lebanon for the past few days, you’ll see it’s been hot with 70 - 80% humidity. In that environment, rust can form very fast. This is especially true with metal exposed through battle damage. The missile explosion, or whatever, not only strips off the paint, but also the factory-applied galvanization designed to inhibit rust. With no protection in a hot humid environment, rust can and does form pretty fast – within a day or two easily. Overnight under ideal conditions. If you look at the first video of the van, you don’t see rust, but pictures taken a day or maybe two later show lots of rust.

One has also take into account that the most famous high-res picture clearly showing rust has been taken a about a week after the incident, while the damaged ambulance was parked in front of the red cross station only some hundred meters away from the the salty mediterranean, spraying saltwater vapor onto the car in windy conditions, which extremely accelerates the rusting process.
This fact can be checked by watching the video at Kevin Site´s Page (scroll down to 27th July, ambulance video) and comparing the location of the ambulance there with the famous red cross picture.


Conclusion: While certainly showing an unusual damage pattern, it is indeed possible that israeli helicopter´s weapons have damaged the ambulances. There is not enough information available to give a definitive answer though. Personally, I suspect the ambulances were attacked by the IDF, a sad thing that happens in wars, especially when the enemy uses civilians (and maybe ambulances) as shields the way Hezbollah did. I´d expect the ambulances (and the occupants) to have been much more severed, were it a Hezbollah propaganda coup.

17 Comments:

Blogger harris said...

Hi SK

"Personally, I suspect the ambulances were attacked by the IDF, a sad thing that happens in wars, especially when the enemy uses civilians (and maybe ambulances) as shields the way Hezbollah did. I´d expect the ambulances (and the occupants) to have been much more severed, were it a Hezbollah propaganda coup."

The problem with your speculations about the involvement of the Hezbollah is, that the impression of an authentic 'attack' on red cross vehicles protected by international law, needs the involvement of red cross personal. And that personal might be interested in creating the impression of an evil breach of the rules of war, but it is a long way from that intention to intentionally hurting or killing themselves or patients. And that's what would be needed to create such an impression.

1:50 AM  
Blogger Pedro the Ignorant said...

Again, pure speculation.

Why did you not raise the possibility that a Hezbollah "fighter" placed small IED or hand grenade on the roof of the vehicle, then ripped out the interior by hand, broke the widscreen and other windows in with a sledge hammer in order to maximize the visual effect?

Then called the compliant MSM fauxtographers to look at the WAR CRIME committed by the filthy Joooos?

A 30mm aircraft cannon shell would not have produced anything even remotely resembling this alleged damage to the ambulance.

This is becoming ridiculous. Everyone who has ever seen a movie has become an expert on munitions.
Sheeesh!

5:37 AM  
Blogger harris said...

Problem with the 30 mm theory is: The roof of 782 is also damaged in the rear part. See ITV video. Is that conistent with your theory. To me it seems to be the result of small arms fire.

6:23 AM  
Blogger Stefan K said...

re Pedro:
Again, pure speculation.
---
Well of course it is pure speculation ...like everything about the incident that floats around the net since over a month. There just is not enough factual information to have anything that can be considererd proof (for whatever).


Why did you not raise the possibility that a Hezbollah "fighter" placed small IED or hand grenade on the roof of the vehicle, then ripped out the interior by hand, broke the widscreen and other windows in with a sledge hammer in order to maximize the visual effect?
---
I actually did this on the Eureferendum forums, but I think enough people already told about that possibility and wanted to present another possible course of events.


A 30mm aircraft cannon shell would not have produced anything even remotely resembling this alleged damage to the ambulance.
---
Well at least I provided videos and images to support my claims, unlike you who just spouts out statements.


This is becoming ridiculous. Everyone who has ever seen a movie has become an expert on munitions.
---
Fortunately, what I provided to support my claims isn´t Rambo III but real footage and images from the real M230 chain gun.

7:03 AM  
Blogger Stefan K said...

And that personal might be interested in creating the impression of an evil breach of the rules of war, but it is a long way from that intention to intentionally hurting or killing themselves or patients.
---
Well, one patient apparently at least lost a leg, which counts as hurting the patients I guess. I´d have expected Hezbollah to just IED one ambulance if they really wanted to.
The whole thing with the fragment spray pattern, the bent roof and the torched stretcher just looks too sophisticated for a fake to me.



Is that conistent with your theory. To me it seems to be the result of small arms fire.
---
The holes seem to have varying sizes and shapes , which suggests that they´re produced by metal fragments, bullet holes normally have a rather regular shape. So yes, I´d say that they are consistent with my theory.

7:09 AM  
Blogger Whale Spinor said...

"it is highly likely that the gunner engaged the ambulances..". Would that be the gunner in the Apache or the ..er.. gunner in the drone? It's the veracity of news reporting we're talking about here. Both Apaches and drones have been cited. The Lebanese ambulance workers seem to be leaning towards drones as the attackers.

"Also, a stretcher inside seems to have been slightly torched" . Mr Fawaz who was lying on this stretcher, was at least fortunate to have his leg severely torched so that the media reported, "severe burns ironically had saved his life by sealing blood vessels and arteries". Do you have any data on the M789 HEDP that might indicate why it can slightly torch a piece of material yet cause severe burns to a leg resting on the same piece of material?

7:22 AM  
Blogger Stefan K said...

Would that be the gunner in the Apache or the ..er.. gunner in the drone? It's the veracity of news reporting we're talking about here. Both Apaches and drones have been cited.
---
Like I said, I don´t listen to the details the media cites, as there is no reason to believe that they´re accurate. People getting hit by "something" in their ambulance just can´t say what hit them in 99% of the cases with any amount of accuracy. The theory I state here is also just a possible course of events, not "the proof" or something.

Do you have any data on the M789 HEDP that might indicate why it can slightly torch a piece of material yet cause severe burns to a leg resting on the same piece of material?
---
We just don´t have enough data for such detailed examinations IMHO. It is possible that the jet broke up a bit due to the distance it had to travel through air till hitting the leg and afterwards the stretcher.

10:28 AM  
Blogger harris said...

SK:
The holes seem to have varying sizes and shapes , which suggests that they´re produced by metal fragments, bullet holes normally have a rather regular shape. So yes, I´d say that they are consistent with my theory.
---

the damaged area is aprox. 1.5 x 3 meters. shrapnels have to impact in some angle for penetrating the roof.
And they did - accoording to your theory in a distance of perhaps 1.5 meters from the vent hole, which has to be assumed as the primary impact location. Assuming a height of 15 cm for the vent dome, the angle of incoming shrapnels would be less than 5° in a distance of 150 cm (assuming a plane roof). BUT: What about the caved in roof? It is not plane from some point on according to your theory due to the impact. See the video again. Note that there are holes in the right rear corner of the roof somehow BEHIND the bulge of the caved out parts of the roof.

One can see it in this image, too:
http://www.zombietime.com/fraud/ambulance/red_cross_full.jpg

The shrapnels have either arrived before the caving out took place (if that state is not the original state of the roof) or your theory needs some more support.

1:15 PM  
Blogger harris said...

correction: less than 6°

1:17 PM  
Blogger harris said...

VW T3:
http://pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grafika:Vw_transporter_t3_wasser_v_sst.jpg

1:19 PM  
Blogger harris said...

Well, one patient apparently at least lost a leg, which counts as hurting the patients I guess. I´d have expected Hezbollah to just IED one ambulance if they really wanted to.
The whole thing with the fragment spray pattern, the bent roof and the torched stretcher just looks too sophisticated for a fake to me.

---

No. According to my theory, no patient got hurt due to this assumed staging. It may be sophisticated but it can be done. What about a simple hand grenade. Could a hand grenade exactly on top of the vent cause the *fresh* and not rusty damage on the roof? BTW: I never assumed that it was Hezbollah. Perhaps it was a peace mission of some idealistic red cross workers who wanted to end the war.

1:24 PM  
Blogger harris said...

VW T3:
length: 4.5 meters
width: 1.8 meters

1:29 PM  
Blogger Stefan K said...

Going into these detail matters with the limited knowledge we have probably won´t give any clear results. It probably would be the best idea to construct finite element models of the ambulance and suspected rounds fired at it and play around with various impact scenarios ;).
Generally, the fragment pattern from the back of the car looks unusual for stemming from anything exploding on top of the ventilation dome. Of course, this looking unusual to me doesn´t translate into it being impossible.

While I never used handgrenades to blow VW T3´s roofs, I´d expect to see a similar pattern to the images of the ambulances, were someone to detonate one on top of the ventilation dome.

5:07 PM  
Blogger Genius said...

RE the rust - it seemed to be in every photo we have seen some of which were from as far as I can tell far less than a week after the event.
Still maybe they placed it in a perfect rust environment...

I am inclined to believe somthing along the lines of what you outline occured - since a total hoax seems a bit too complex.

1:38 AM  
Blogger harris said...

news:

http://timblair.net/ee/index.php/weblog/missile_story_x/

2:43 AM  
Blogger harris said...

see the newspaper scan. It shows appearently the roof of 777. Besides the question, whether this hole itself is caused by a 30mm round or not (it certainly was no missile): Note the damage pattern on the whole roof.

IMPORTANT: If this is the only hole in that particular roof, then where on the roof excactly is it located?
Note the pieces of the side door visible. Note that the man is appearently standing in the open side door. This side door is located on the RIGHT side of the vehicle.
Is this consistent with the video?

I HOPE SOMEONE DOWNLOADED THE YOUTUBE VIDEO. IT SEEMS TO ME THAT IT WAS MADE PRIVATE!!!

3:08 AM  
Blogger harris said...

By the way: SK, you are implicitly assuming really viciuos bevavior for the Israelis:

They identified the ambulances as 'possibly hostile'

They fired at both(!!!) ambulances to see what happens, accepting the high possibility of killing many people.

Then they disengaged because of some reason.

IMHO, this is not a good theory.
And the theory, that the gun had a malfunction isn't either, because they shot two single shots.

7:21 AM  

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