I wonder what Mogadishu and the "Blackhawk Down" incident would have looked like had the Clinton Administration sent the C-130 gunships to Somalia as the ground commanders requested. I suspect that the alQ types would not have decided we were such an easy mark. Of course I also suspect that the Euros and the Lefties would had been crying tears the size of horse droppings over the awful slaughter of the poor innocent little Somalis.
Well, the clock got turned back a notch and finally Spectre, the C-130 gunship has sung her song over Somalia. I never saw the Spectre at work, I did see her daddy, the AC-47 work. There were several different names for that bird, Puff the Magic Dragon, Snoopy and Spooky, it all depended on where one served in the Southeast Asian War Games. When the Little People were trying to get through the wire if we could hear those old radial engines throttle back to loiter we knew nobody whole would get through. We also knew to try to get our whole bodies into those helmets because bullets bounce. Up close it sounded like God unzipping His coveralls. Pretty much if we were close enough to hear all we saw was the inside of a hole or bunker, if we were far enough away we'd see a red line from the sky and a million ricochetes.
I don't know what Spectre carries now, she came along as I was leaving but back then she carried a minigun, an electricly driven 7.62 Gatling Gun, a 40 mm rapid fire gun mount, if memory serves that was simply the dual Bofors AntiAircraft gun pointed down instead of up and a 105mm howitzer. The A/C picks which gun to use depending on the target, the range and the expectation of ground fire. As most of us know, the longer the range the bigger the bullet. I would suspect that they flew over shooting the 105 at anything looking like an AA position, dropped down a bit for the smaller gun and then hosed everything down with the minigun. This is not based on anything but instinct, I do not believe an A/C would put his crew in any more danger than absolutely neccessary.
I read where there were a few "high value" targets down on the ground and we have to wait until ground troops identify the bodies. Good luck with that. It's one thing to look at a body that has been hit by one bullet, a 40mm shell going off right next to that body is a little more problemactic, to say nothing of a 105. Or twenty+ 7.62s. We may never know who all was killed. I do know it wasn't enough.
Update: I just read that the AC-130 is armed with a 20mm Gatling Gun instead of the 7.63mm Nato round. Those rounds are like three quarters of an inch accross. That's a slug that makes a big hole, even if it's not explosive or incindiary.