One thing that Americans excel at is high-technology and perhaps nowhere do we enjoy the application of technology more than in the context of war. I’ve written about this topic previously and how it hurts the Special Forces mission or how it hinders our espionage efforts, which was why I was interested to come across a war college paper about the limitations of technology in the battle of Takur Ghar, which was a part of the larger Operation Anaconda in Afghanistan.
During the operation at Takur Ghar, it was decided to insert MAKO 30 which was a seven man reconnaissance element consisting of five SEALs and one Air Force combat controller. MAKO 30 was to infiltrate Takur Ghar and establish an observation post where they would be able to observe Al Qaeda fighters moving through the valley. Another call sign, MAKO 21 would also insert and link up with an existing observation post at another location.
MAKO 30 initially decided on an offset infiltration, landing somewhere further down the mountain and climbing up to the observation post. Not hanging around the Landing Zone (LZ) after a helicopter insertion is something that American soldiers learned very quickly when the military began using helicopters.
The MAKO teams came to trust and rely on the incredible fire support of the AC-130 gunship, but also came to rely on the impressive sensor suite onboard the aircraft. Using the sophisticated optics and sensors onboard the aircraft, the SEALs requested that the AC-130 do a flyby of their planned observation post at Takur Ghar to see if there were any enemy positions in the area.