Pentagon Released Video Reconstructing Tongo Tongo Ambush In Niger

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On May 17, Pentagon released a 23-minute video over an ambush in Niger, which resulted in killing of US soldiers, providing an overview of what went wrong then.

On October 4, 2017 two US Army Special Forces soldiers and two other members of the service attached to elements of the 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne) in Niger died after their convoy was attacked by armed militants from the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) near the village of Tongo Tongo. The ambush triggered a political debate over the presence of American troops in Africa.

The video included a digital recreation of the events with both file footage of US military activities in Africa and actual photographs and clips from the mission itself. The presentation contained a number of details that the Pentagon hadn’t provided at the initial briefing on October 23 nor at the final investigation’s conclusion in May 2018.

One disclosure showed that after the fight began, Nigerien quick reaction force fired at US and Nigerien forces mistaking them for ISGS terrorists. Realizing their failure, Nigerien quick reaction stopped the fire. Luckily, no one was injured.

The footage also revealed that US and Nigerien forces destroyed their radio equipment, to prevent any communication with French pilots flying Mirage 2000 fighter jets, which could be the first friendly forces to arrive on the scene. The French aircraft did not directly engage the ISGS terrorists fearing to hit the Americans and Nigeriens on the ground, who they could not easily distinguish from the hostile force.

The aircraft chased off some of the militants by flying at a low level. American personnel was also observed on the ground.

People were signaling to French helicopters that had spent about 40 minutes to identify the location of the remaining friendly forces.

The footage showed that the US aircraft manufacturing company Erickson Inc. and the US charter airline Berry Aviation were responsible for the helicopters that had come to take away killed Americans.

The video identified the so-called Special Operations Command and Control Element (SOCCE) in Chad as being in charge of operations in the Lake Chad Basin.

Besides, the video clarified some moments of the incident, it still leaves many questions about the mission and activities of the US forces in North and West Africa. For months, the Pentagon was emphasizing that US forces had been only providing the intelligence of the area. However, recently provided information points out that the 6,000 page report must be reviewed.

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  • Vidura

    Fought like heroes to the end! This is why US special forces will always remain the single greatest fighting force ever!

    • velociraptor

      Bullshit, migrant! In each special force there are well trained soldiers.

    • Siegfried

      Yeah… and the FRENCH Foreign Legion and the Nger soldiers had to take them out of the MESS they stuck themselves.
      Any VIETNAM common soldiers would have found a way to show the AIR-FORCE where they are and mark the positions of the enemy, so that the French could have BOMBED the sh*t out of the ISIS..
      Almost 50 years after VIETNAM, the US Special Forces, with their TECHNICAL and WEAPONRY of our days… (??!!) cannot do a job did ON DAILY BASIS by common US-soldiers with one-year-job in the Mekong-Delta ( practically still civilians in US-uniforms, comparing to the training and the YEARS of service of Special Forces-mercenaries)

    • gustavo

      Yes, you are right, that is why I always remember Viet-Nam. The greatest of the greatest.

    • Real Anti-Racist Action

      I’m sorry that you never learned of the Greeks in school.
      I’m sorry you never learned of the Akkadian Warrior in your life.
      I’m sorry you never learned of the Guerrilla fighters under The Lion of Africa.
      I’m sorry you never learned of the Romans in school.
      I’m sorry you never learned of the IRA in school.
      I’m sorry you never learned of the Ur in school.
      I’m sorry you never learned of the Khans in school.
      I’m sorry you never learned of the Persians in school.
      I’m sorry you never learned of the Fallschirmjäger in school.
      I’m sorry you never learned of the Hittite Warrior’s in school.
      I’m sorry you never learned of the Werwolf gurrillas in school.

    • Joseph Scott

      Actually, is was a completely senseless tactical disaster which demonstrated once again that US officer selection methods don’t work. Lets go through this point by point, shall we?

      First, the column comes under fire from the North. So, what does theTeam Commander (CPT Perozeni) do? Does he move his vehicles into cover to the South and dismount, and using the concealment of the trees, manoeuvre against the enemy? No. He stops the convoy IN THE OPEN and under fire. This will result in two vehicles being disabled.

      Next, he leaves his forces in the open to engage in a firefight while he takes a small force (only 5 including himself) to try and flank the enemy. He hasn’t even bothered to notify his superior they are in contact. He is manoeuvring in the open, so of course, they enemy can see his movement and respond, and his flanking force is too small. He also either doesn’t have an adequate map or can’t read it, as he is soon blocked by a lake. The enemy has naturally moved to counter him by moving around his flank in turn with a larger force, causing his hasty withdrawal. While this has gone on, 7 of the Nigerians have decided that fighting in the open with no more than civilian cars as cover against an enemy superior in numbers and firepower, and in the cover of a forest is bad odds, and have retreated, leaving the left flank open.

      At this point, CPT Perozeni has finally figured out he is a bad position. He still doesn’t notify his AOB commander, but decides to withdraw South. He and the Team Sergeant get all the remaining Nigerians mounted up, but instead of being a good commander and being the last off the field, he just drives off, leaving 3 US SF personnel behind around their vehicle, having apparently decided that SSGT Johnson’s thumbs up response to his order is sufficient. He should have been the one watching them mount up and drive off, not driven away with them still on foot. No withdrawal by bounds, supporting each other either. Perozeni and the others just drive away out of sight.

      The 3 US SF soldiers remaining now do something utterly bizarre, and demonstrate why the TC should have supervised their withdrawal. Instead of mounting their vehicle and withdrawing toward the trees and away from enemy fire at top speed, the sensible thing given the firepower disparity and their bad position, they instead decide to move slowly parallel to the enemy firing line, with two walking along by the car returning fire while the other drives, moving toward a pair of smoke grenades one of the other withdrawing soldiers threw. In this process, one soldier is killed. At the same time, the force that earlier flanked Perozeni’s flanking group is moving around their right flank, making their escape unlikely.

      With one man dead, the two remaining soldiers still don’t try and retreat, apparently oblivious to the force moving around their right, or the gravity of the situation. When at last they realise their position is untenable, it is too late. They have to make such a hasty retreat they can’t even cover one another, and the enemy can engage them from multiple axes. One is soon incapacitated, and the other halts nearby to fire. Both are killed shortly thereafter. Had they just gotten in their vehicle and left, likely all 3 would be alive.

      The TC now halts his force in another mediocre position and circles up so he can play Custer’s Last Stand once more. He sends 4 of his SF personnel through the trees to the North, looking for the missing team members, ON FOOT, ensuring that if they had encountered the enemy, who has multiple technicals, they would be too slow to escape. However, the enemy has preferred to move against the TC’s open right flank.

      The Americans have already expended much of the M240 ammo in their pointless fight to the North, and one gun soon runs out of ammo. 3 Nigerians are killed in the fighting, and the US team Sergeant and several other Nigerians wounded, as the enemy brings superior firepower including vehicle-mounted heavy MGs and mortars against the US-Niger position. The TC still hasn’t called for support or told anyone what is happening. Perozeni now decides to withdraw again, even though 7 of his soldiers are now on their own to the North. And again, instead of seeing that all his people make it out, he drives off while SGT L. Johnson is still on foot along with 2 Nigeriens. The fire is so intense that Perozeni is shot of his truck, which has to circle around and grab him, and 4 other personnel in the vehicle are wounded, but he has apparently decided that Johnson should have no problem boarding his truck.

      In fact, the enemy are too close and the fire is too heavy, and Johnson, who is not even a trained Green beret, but only an Army 91B mechanic, is forced to flee on foot with the two Nigeriens. They are chased down, the Nigeriens killed and Johnson captured. They insist Johnson was killed in action, but aside from the eyewitness reports of his hands being bound and his head having a front exit wound from an execution style shot to the back of the head, the video itself gives it away: instead of showing his little blue dot turn grey like all the other soldiers who were killed, they instead cut the scene, and show us a black text screen which tells us he was killed in action. The narrator then gives it away more by telling us his hands were found at his sides, and not tied behind his back, even though the video hadn’t addressed the topic before. Very clumsy.

      With Perozeni wounded, the US vehicle driver drives North after the four SF soldiers, who rendezvous with the vehicle, and finally find a sensible defensive position with cover and concealment, on the Northwest edge of the woods and out of easy manoeuvre for the enemy technicals, in the first tactically sensible move executed so far. (My bet is, it wasn’t Perozeni’s idea.) They now finally notify the AOB commander (bet that wasn’t the TC’s idea either), and call for support, but then destroy their radios, expecting to be overrun. .

      Some French Mirages show up, and eventually the enemy, bored of being buzzed by Mirages (who never fire, because, with no comm contact with the ground, can’t tell where the Americans are), and happy with their kill count of 3 US soldiers and even better the capture of another, move off to interrogate their prisoner. The battle is now basically over.

      So, what we have is a supposedly elite US team (albeit one man short and with three others not actual SF) failing to demonstrate even good squad infantry tactics, with a careless, inept Captain who pays little attention to the fate of his men, or any grasp of terrain, while the 3 SF soldiers who died showed more bravery than sense, and paid the obvious price for it.

      At no point did they demonstrate the ingenuity and skill US Army SF used to be known for, nor even show themselves to be good infantry. Single greatest fighting force ever?! I guarantee you could find plenty of infantry and SF of many nations who could have done that a lot better.

  • Tommy Jensen

    Tonga Tonga is near where Obomba´s uncle come from.

    • Siegfried

      or Kanye West’s m0nkey-pack.

  • Igor Dano

    killers got killed.
    Ami go home.

  • Manofjustice

    This sounds like a steven spielberg Anglo-Zionist propaganda movie to portrait the failed “special” forces missions like they always do in hollywood movies “dramatic heroic scenes”, to make the Rednecks and American mutts join the military and fight for Israel, oil companies and oligarchs all over the planet…

  • Smaug

    I wrote an essay about the Tongo-Tongo ambush last week. The thing is that this is a small part of a much larger regional war against Boko Haram which the US is involved with but in the ‘dark continent’ many major military engagements go totally unrecorded unless it involves killing outsiders (like this article) or something particularly atrocious and strange like Boko Haram kidapping dozens of schoolgirls.

  • US ground troops can only perform if theres constant air support or fire support inorganic to the group. When the air support or fire support gone , these small force instantly lost the battle due to enemy numerica superiority.

    the myth of special force as hard assed killers and supermen are just propaganda myth for kids and children in US. perpetuated by endless fictional movies and games depicting these people as supermen..

    the reality ? even the basic taliban grunt or other insurgents in the world with no training can take out highly trained and superbly equipped american super soldier… Remember the 6 US marine sniper team who got caught by iraqis and tortured to death ? Remember neil roberts the SEAL Tram 6 member who got caught by al qaeda guards and tortured to death ? no matter how much hype and myth about these special forces , the enemy dont care and will butcher them all the same…

  • John

    The hunters became the hunted….