Weapons of the Sierra Leone Civil War
Through our readings of A Long Way Gone: Memoirs Of A Boy Soldier we have heard a list full of weapons that were used by the RUF and the Army soldiers. In my research, I have highlighted specifically three weapons, the AK-47, The G3, and the RPG.
The First weapon I am going to start with is a Russian made weapon, known as the AK-47. The AK-47 was designed by Mikhail Kalashnikov, who served as a tank driver in World War II and began designing weapons when he was wounded in the Battle of Bryansk. He wanted to design a more suitable weapon for his men who complained of being overrun by Germans with superior weapons. Kalashnikov, had entered and won a weapons design contest in 1947 for his design of the AK. In 1949 The AK-47 became standard issue among the Soviet Union. Avtomat Kalashnikov is what the “AK” mean which translate to Kalashnikov’s Automatic Rifle. The 47 refers when the rifle was adopted and standardized, 1947. Kalashnikov himself is credited to the designs of an estimate of 150 models of small arms weapons.
The AK-47 is a gas operated, semi-automatic and automatic rifle (with the selector switch). That take a 7.62x39mm round. The weapon its self is not particularly the best for accuracy but it’s as reliable as the sun rising at dawn. There are stories of the United States soldiers in Vietnam ditching their standard issued M16’s and replacing them with the Vietcong used AK-47 because of the reliability of it in the rugged terrain and excessive abuse in the jungles of Vietnam. The weapon is currently issued to over 106 countries and is used by militias all over the world.
Secondly, the next weapon on my list is the G3. The G3 (Gewehr 3) was designed in 1956, by German manufacturer, Heckler & Koch and Spanish state-owned design and development agency CETME, who was known for small arms research and development. By 1959 the G3 was adopted by the Bundeswehr, the unified armed forces of Germany.
The G3 is a battle rifle that chambers the 7.62x51mm NATO round. The weapon itself has many variations and models, each to carry out a specific purpose. The G3 has a very clean design and very accurate for a battle rifle. So, accurate that it’s used as a marksman rifle out to 800 meters. The weapon is still strongly used in countries and militias around the world. The G3 was one of the main weapons used during the civil war in Sierra Leone.
|The HK G3|
Lastly, The Rocket-propelled grenade which is often abbreviated as RPG. I will be specifically focusing my research on the commonly used RPG-7. The RPG-7 is a further development of the RPG-2. It came into production in 1961. The RPG is an anti-tank weapon system that fires rockets equipped with explosive war heads. In Sierra Leone, the RPG was used to destroy buildings, cars and was used against people. The RPG-7 has many different types of ammunition including, HEAT (High-Explosive, Anti-Tank), HE (High-Explosive), and - FRAG (FRAGmentation) rounds. The RPG-7 is still used in around 40 different countries.
As we have already learned the Civil War in Sierra Leone was brutal. Not just for Ishmael Beah but for everyone in this West African Country. Unfortunately, war is part of all of our worlds. I hope this research sheds light on weapons that are still used to fight these wars today.