Damien Spleeters of Conflict Armament Research recently posted this photograph on his Twitter feed of a 7.62x39mm Chinese Type 81 LMG that was recovered among an entire cache of Type 81s after the battle for Mosul.
We had some Easter eggs in the
@conflictarm ISIS report (http://www.conflictarm.com/download-file/?report_id=2568&file_id=2574 …). Stuff we keep investigating. Here’s one: We documented 183 Chinese MGs, each with 2 to 3 small pouches attached to them, filled with amphetamine.
Although the presence of Chinese Type 81s is of interest by itself, of particular note here is the fact that CAR documented the presence of amphetamine filled packets that were attached to the machine gun. Not only were the packets attached to a single machine gun, but in fact to every Type 81 found in the weapons cache. The majority appeared to have three packets tied to the barrel just below the gas tube, the trigger guard, and the buttstock. Upon reaching out to Damien, there hasn’t been a definite conclusion on exactly what type of amphetamine is in the packet (pending lab analysis), but it is conclusive that the powder inside is an intoxicating substance. In an earlier CAR report on weapons of the Islamic State, there was a photograph published of the cache with the packets attached to them, but no further information was included.
Although we at TFB cannot back this up with further sources or on the ground information, our own hypothesis is that the amphetamine was in use by so-called Islamic State fighters during the battle for Mosul. IS fighters have been documented in using such drugs, among a number of other groups in Syria, mostly as a stimulant to stay alert or push through arduous fighting. An article on Vox.com mentions that a substance informally known as “Captagon” is popular throughout the region. Taking amphetamine for this reason is no surprise to insurgencies, especially in Iraq. During the battle of Fallujah there are numerous U.S. accounts of finding stashes of drugs but also in insurgents incurring hits that would most likely have incapacitated a sober person but instead kept on fighting until they eventually bled out or received a hit that was devastating.
This video depicts Kurdish fighters finding amphetamine and syringes while sorting through IS casualties-
But why attached to the Type 81? Again we can’t confirm this at the present time, but one theory is that the light machine gun is an essential base of fire to any small team or squad. Keeping that gun running can be essential to how effective that team is and replacing a gunner if killed has to be done quickly. Having the amphetamine attached to the base of fire would incentivize fighters to get on the gun even quicker, knowing that a “reword” for keeping the base of fire in operation would be a high later. Another theory is that the Type 81s would be used to man security while not fighting. If a gunner was feeling drowsy or couldn’t stay awake, they could simply get high off of one of the bags.
The fact that 2-3 were found on a majority of the light machine guns indicates that these machine guns were used very little throughout the battle, if at all. Thus the bags were left on them, unconsumed.