Why You Need Runflats
Excerpts from Blackhawk Down by Mark Bowden
Updated October 8, 2007
I never write book reports. All I can say is reading this book really disturbed me. The following are some excerpts that show how Humvees were used, and stood up in the heat of a horrendous fire fight. This is a real life example that gives us some insight into the real reason our trucks were produced.
The moral of the story is if you think you are going to be in a position such these unfortunate soldiers you need runflats. Otherwise you really don't.
Excerpts from Blackhawk Down by Mark Bowden
The volume of fire was terrifying. Yet Somalis seemed to be darting across streets everywhere. Up in the lead Humvee, Schilling watched the runners with bewilderment. Why would anybody be running around on the streets with all this lead flying? He found that by rolling grenades down the alley it kept the shooters from sticking their weapons out. He tried to conserve ammo by shooting only at the Somalis who were closest. When he ran out of ammo, a wounded Ranger in back fed Schilling magazines from his own pouches.
As he slowed down before another intersection he looked out the open window to his left and saw a smoke trail coming straight at him. It all happened in a second. He knew it was an RPG (rocket propelled grenade) and he knew it was going to hit him. Then it did. He awoke lying on his right side on the front seat with hes ears ringing. He opened his eyes and was looking directly at the radio mounted under the dash. He sat up and floored the accelerator. Up ahead he saw the convoy making a left turn and he raced to catch them.
Later, when he'd had a chance to inspect his Humvee, he saw the the RPG had hit his door, deeply denting it and poking a hole through the steeel. He and the others inside had evidently been spared by the bullet proof glass panel behind the door. Kallman had the window rolled down.
The convoy seemed to inch along, stopping, starting, stopping, starting. Whenever they stopped the volume of fire would surge, so many rounds that at times it looked like the stone walls on both sides of the alley were being sandblasted. There were plenty of targets to shoot at. Up in the turret, Pringle unloosed the .50 cal on a group of armed Somalis. Schilling watched as one of them, a tall, skinny man wearing a bright yellow shirt and carrying an AK-47, came apart as the big rounds tore through him. Deep red blotches appeared on the yellow shirt. First an arm came off. The the man's head and chest exploded. The rest of the Somalis scattered, moving around the next corner, Where Schilling knew they'd again be waiting for them to cross.
As the humvee came abreast of the alley Schilling didn't bother to use his sights, the men were that close. The first man he shot was just ten yards away. He was crouched down and had a painful grimace on his face. Schilling put two rounds in his chest. He shot the man next to him twice in the chest and as he did he felt a slam and a dull pain in his right foot. The door had taken two bullets. One had passed through the outer steel and been stopped by the bullet proof glass window inside it. The second had hit lower, and had passed right through the door. The door, which was guaranteed to stop the AK-47's 7.62mm round, had not stopped either bullet. The glass got the first, and the second had been slowed enough so that it hit with enough force to hurt, but not enough to penetrate the boot.
Pringle had just put the doors on the vehicle earlier that day. They'd done the previous six missions without them, and these had just arrived in a shipment from the States. Schilling had mixed feelings about them. He liked the protection, but the doors made it a lot harder to move. When he had checked them out that morning, he couldn't get his window to roll down, so he's started to remove the door. Pringle stopped him. Pringle had fetched a hammer and simply whacked the frame until the window dropped down.
At every intersection now Somalis just lined up, on both sides of the street, and fired at every vehicle that came across. Since they had men on both sides of the street, any rounds that missed the vehicle would certainly have hit the men on the other side of the road. The city was shredding them block by block. No place was safe. The air was alive with hurtling chunks of hot metal.
Many of the vehicles were running out of ammo. They had expended thousands of rounds. The back ends of the remaining trucks and Humvees were slick with blood. There were chunks of viscera clinging to floor and inner walls. McKnight's lead Humvee had two flat tires, both on the right side. The vehicles were meant to run on flats, but at nowhere near the normal speed. The second Humvee in line was almost totally disabled. It was dragging an axle and was being pushed by the five ton behind it. The Humvee driven by the SEALs, the third in line, had three flat tires and was so pockmarked with bullet holes it looked like a sponge. Some of the Humvees were smoking. Carlson's had a gaping grenade hole in the side and four flat tires.
SEAL John Gay's Humvee was now in the lead. It was riddled with bullets and smoking and slowing down, running on three rims. There were eight wounded rangers and Joyce's body in back. The Sammies had stretched two big underground gasoline tanks across the roadway with junk and furniture and other debris and had set it all on fire. Afraid to stop the Humvee for fear it would not start back up, they crashed over and through the flaming debris, nearly flipping, but the wide, sturdy vehicle righted itself and kept on going.