A British soldier from the elite Special Air Service shot and killed an ISIS commander from more than a mile away, in what is thought to be the best long-range shot in the regiment’s 77-year history.
Using a a huge .50-caliber Browning machine gun that was nearly 40 years old, and was used as a long-range weapon during the Korean War, the unnamed sergeant, a veteran of Iraq and Syria, managed to hit the fighter directly in the chest with a shot that blew off the commander’s arm and shoulder. One source told the paper a special sight was fitted on the machine gun and a spotter then estimated wind speed.
“The Islamic State commander was briefing his men, and clearly liked the sound of his own voice because he was standing still for a least 20 minutes while his fighters sat on the ground in front of him,” a source familiar with the incident, which took place in June in Afghanistan, told The Daily Star Sunday.
According to the SAS, the gun used will be retired and added to the museum at their base in England.
The “Ma Deuce,” as it is sometimes referred to, was first tested by the British Army in 1918. The M2 was designed in response to both German 13mm antitank rifles being fielded and the thicker enemy armor appearing on the battlefield in Europe.
After a number of tests, the M2 entered service in 1923 as the M1921. It is a scaled-up version of an older Browning design, the M1917 .30 cal water-cooled machine gun, and, like its predecessor, early variants of the M2 were also water-cooled. Since its first induction, the M2 has undergone a few changes, although the basic action of the weapon system has remained the same.
Over the last 80 years the M2 has been successfully adapted to a variety of roles and has been mounted on aircraft, ground vehicles and warships alike.
In some instances, the M2’s were used in what some could consider less than conventional ways.
During the Korean War, for instance, quad .50 cal anti-aircraft guns were used against massed Korean and Chinese infantry attacks. And during the Vietnam War, Marine sniper Carlos Norman Hathcock was known to have used the M2 mounted with a scope for long-distance kills.
Recently, an upgrade system known as the M2E2 was made available. This upgraded version includes such enhancements as a quick change barrel system, an improved flash suppressor and a manual safety.