Counting the ammo used against red shirts

22 09 2012

Readers who have followed the reporting of the Battle for Bangkok may recall that some time ago a parliamentary committee reported on the ammunition used by the Army in the period of the crackdown on red shirt protesters in April and May 2010. Back then PPT posted an account that reported on this. The report stated:

597,500 rounds of ammunition were disbursed by the army from its arsenal to support the Centre for the Resolution of the Emergency Situation’s activities from 11 Mar until the end of the rallies, and 479,577 rounds were returned.  That means that 117,923 were used. The total number includes 3,000 sniper rounds of which 880 were returned, and 10,000 blank rounds of which 3,380 were returned….

Now the Bangkok Post has more figures on the use of ammunition, based on the account provided by the Truth for Reconciliation Commission:

… 597,500 bullets were drawn and 479,577 were returned. The TRC’s report also contained a chart showing the types of ammunition used…. About 59% were shotgun shells, 30% 5.56x45mm ammunition, 8% .308 bullets, 2% blanks and the remaining 1% 7.62x51mm sniper bullets.

The number of rounds fired is exactly the same as in the earlier report.However, the Bangkok Post reports states that the military disputes the figures. Remarkably, the military-sourced figures are higher! The Post states: “Almost 200,000 rounds of ammunition, including 500 sniper rounds, were used in military operations to crack down on red-shirt protesters in April and May 2010, according to an army source.”

It is claimed that after the TRC’s report was released, “the army rechecked the amount of ammunition used during the operations and found the number to be higher than that reported by the TRC.”

The army’s report is that 778,750 rounds were distributed for shooting at red shirt protesters and others. A total of 586,801 rounds were returned, which meant 191,949 were expended. While the figures don’t quite add up as set out in the article, of the used rounds, 52,729 were from shotguns, with 90,016 rubber shot cartridges also used.

The rest of the numbers in the report refer to various kinds of “5.56x45mm” ammunition, all of which seem compatible with various of the rifles used by the army, and 5,000 “other types of ammunition.”

It seems that the Army is trying to show that it really didn’t use any ammunition that can be stated to be “sniper cartridges, such as 7.62 mm, such as SIG-Sauer SSG 3000 and SR-25. Rounds for these weapons are presumably included in the “other types of ammunition,” where all of the issued ammunition was used.

As non-military types, it seems to us that the use of 200,000 rounds is quite remarkable.

 

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