29 September 2014

What We Will Fight Over: MARS

Mars has always been a world with secrets, and that has propelled mankind to launch dozens of unmanned exploration missions to the Red Planet in the vain hope of understanding the enigma that has captured imaginations of man since ancient times. Even with orbiting satellites and robotic rovers, Mars is like any woman, refusing to give up all of her secrets. This has driving mankind's long-held desire for manned missions to the 4th planet. In my lifetime, mankind will travel to the cold red deserts of the fourth rock from the sun and plant flags, and soon after, off-world colonies. What we find there, and how Terran society progress (or regresses) will determine if Mars is a second home to humanity or a battleground. In this installment of the What We Will Fight Over blogpost serial, FWS will be examining the truth behind sci-fi's love of setting future conflicts on the rust red sands of Mars and if the genesis of future wars will be for the control of Mars. By the way, Kim Stanley Robinson's excellent Red/Blue/Green Mars books are not mentioned in the sci-fi examples section...I simply could not find enough online about the revolt in the 3rd book without reading the novels...and with a newborn in the house, I could not devote the time. If you have read the novels, please comment and tell FWS about the trilogy and the revolt.

Fighting on Mars and Fighting for Mars

In this blog serial, FWS attempts to answer the question of the genesis of future conflicts. There is little doubt in my mind, that like many places on Earth, Mars will be a site of future conflicts, much like Luna or Belgium. This will depend on how important Mars is to humanity and how easy it is to get to the red planet. These will determine if these future conflicts will be just waged on Mars or for it. Fighting over Mars would be for its minerals or some other resources we are not yet aware of, or even a war of independence by Mars-born humans. Science fiction portrays the future of Mars the same way: either the war is over Mars or just fought on the planet itself because people just happen to live there. In this blogpost, FWS will be mainly discussing wars fought over Mars.   

The Possible Roots of War
Why would Terrans and Martians fight? Some creators tell us that since Mars will be one of the first humanity off-world colonies, that by the time we push out further and beyond the solar system, Mars will have grown into more complex society than most pioneer colonial sites. That complexity could lead to a lack of dependence and loyalty to Terra and the “mother” society. These newly minted "Martians" could desire for their own destiny to be under their own control and government that was not some 6-8 months away. This has happened before. While the revolution of the American colonies against the rule of Britain could be chalked up to several core reasons, one is that we moved on and developed their own independent society. Many pioneer types have forged their communities and live-styles when striking out on their own. After all, living on Mars could mean living in underground communities due to the radiation. This happens with children when they move away from home and began having their own families. Other creators, like Kim Stanley Robinson and Ashely Wood have said that independent thinking Martian society will attempt new social models or even "workers’ paradise", and this could forge a frosty relationship between the red and blue planets. 

The Likelihood of an Martian War
The likelihood of a war on the red planet really depends on what really is on the surface Mars and under the sands and rocks once we get to these cold deserts. As I said above, if humans go to Mars and setup permit colonies, at some point, there will be an armed conflict of some kind. However, a "big" Martian War does depend on what secrets and treasures lay on and under the red planet. Some articles I've read on online suggest that Mars is no place for future space miners to get rich. 
While the meteorites and the volcanos are good candidates for resources, Mars lacks the riches found on other solar system worlds and especially asteroids. Soil samples have shown iron, aluminum, and magnesium, but nothing worth the cost of transport to Terran business and customers. The best region for mining on Mars is the Tharsis Region. One of the present debates on Mars could determine the future of mankind on the red planet: how much water is on Mars? If the planet lacks water in great supply, and this could limit the amount of settlement and desirability of Mars, lessening the opportunity for war. If there is enough ice under the deserts and rocks, it would mean water resources, allowing for greater colonization. Some have suggested that a outpost on Mars or even the moons, could be a logically place for harvesting asteroids and being a hub for asteroid mined minerals being shipped back to Terra. That could be the genesis of an red planet wars. Wars fought on and over Mars could increase if Mars is ever terraformed, and becomes an 2nd homeworld of humanity if climate change renders Terra impossible to live on.   
However, the real reason we might fight over Mars is not minerals, but lost relics and ruins. Since the Mariner 9 mission in 1971, photos have been coming back from Mars that may or may not show ruins of a vast civilization on the same level as the ancient Egyptians and Babylonians. This is not just contained to vast engineered structures, but also odd bits of scattered technology, and even art work. The internet was a buzz about a female statue that Spirit discovered in 2007 as seen in JPL photo PIA102014. Could this be the real genesis of future wars on the red planet? After all, wars waged over alien ruins have been featured in Total Recall, Stargate, Mass Effect and Semper Mars. Of course, all of this assumes that Richard Hoagland is right, and there really are ruins of Mars and NASA is covering up the evidence. 

Martian War of Independence?
One of the most common conflicts involving Mars in sci-fi is the Martian Revolt scenario, when the "Martians” attempt to form an independent red planet from the blue planet and their controlling government or evil coporation. The concept of a Martian war of independence has been a very popular root of future conflicts in science fiction and was seen in the mainstream works like the Babylon 5 TV series and the Red Faction video games. Even I have been guilty of trope of sci-fi, including a liberated independent Mars in my own novel: Endangered Species
These future conflict scenarios depend largely on if these Martians can sustain their own population without the help of Terra and her resources. Given the length of travel time between Terra and Mars, any operation on Mars of any size would need to be mostly self-sustaining, and some believe that any Martian settlement would use 3D printer technology and the materials found in the soil to forge tools and machinery. But 3D printers can only get us so far...for there to be a fully independent Mars, all of the red planet’s needs would have to be met via other resources in the solar system. If the independent Mars settlement survived, they could compete with Terra for intersystem resources and real estate. This could lead to wars between Terrans and Martians. Of course, if Mars was to be the site of valuable ore that is unknown to us today, and their is profit to be made from its extraction, Mars and the workers could be under tight control, especially if Earth was depend on this Martian product. Such was the vehicle for red planet revolts in Zone of the Enders and Red Factions
Why Are Wars on Mars so Popular in Science Fiction?
Mars has mystified and inspirited mankind since it was discovered that there was a red planet in our solar system. The mystery only deepened with the aid of telescopes, as canals, ice caps, and vegetation bands were seen. This fueled visions of alien life struggling to bring water from the caps to their cities. Mars was world under the force of desertification. These "canals" caused Mars to be featured in some of the earliest science fiction stories, as the source of alien invasions.  This trend started with the very first genuine science fiction novel, War of the Worlds in 1898 featuring alien invasion from Mars. Within the same year of publication, there was the non-official sequel, Edison’s Conquest of Mars also in 1898, that expanded on this theme of alien invaders from Mars. This theme continues today with the films like John Carter of Mars.  
Another reasons for the popularity of Mars based conflicts is also due to the proximity to Earth, and similarity to Earth's deserts. After all, Mars appears more similar to New Mexico than truly alien planetary environments like Venus or Titan. With Mars being basically next door in terms of galactic distances, allows for Mars to be a logically "next big step" for manned space flight. In conjunction with the planetary environment, Mars seems like a logical site for Terran colonization, and could be the foundation of human spreading out into the solar system, and beyond. This could propel Mars to boast the second largest human population within a few hundred years, and a separate "Martian" society. This is one of the reasons why "revolts on the red planet" are popular in science fiction.
Oddly, while Mars was often the site of alien invasions by dying civilizations in sci-fi, space probes to the red planet soon revealed that there could be something in open rust-colored deserts and valleys to support the claims. Images that possibly showed pyramids, faces, statues, and fortresses  were the subject of countless books, websites, and direct-to-video specials. All of this supports what my friend John says: "Mars is a super creepy place." Of course, the most obviously reason is that Mars is named for the Roman war god, and this gives Mars a violent air to it along with being red in color. Even Holst’s score for red planet reflects that.     


The Martian Independence Movement from the Babylon 5 Universe
According to B5, Mars is the oldest off-world settlement with a colony being established in 2155 by the private exploration firm, IPX. For one hundred years, Mars established itself as a center of scientific research, mining, and a place where companies and the governments could hide clandestine activities. All of this was under the control of EarthGov. By the 2250’s, Mars had a population of over one million with a number of domed cities and underground structures. 
Some governments and corporations used Mars as a place for secret research, drawing the hatred of native Martians. Much like there were divisions among ethnic and racial groups on Earth, the same was true with native born Martians and Terrans. This only seperated the two planets further and further. However, the worse was to come during the bloody Earth-Minbari War. During the war, Mars stated that it was neutral in the conflict, and the Minbari fleets passed by Mars on their way to Earth. EarthGov would not forget this, and after the chaos after the war, EarthGov cut back the food shipments to Mars, leading the Food Riots of 2251 and fueling the fever of red planet independence. By the 2260's, the situation had grown much worse, and President Clark used forced when several of the Earth Alliance colonies along with the Babylon 5 station broke away. No one felt his wrath worse than Mars. After the liberation of Mars from Clark, Mars was given independence, as per the conditions of the Interstellar Alliance. Mars would join the Interstellar Alliance as well as independent world. Mars would      

The Great War from the World War Robot Universe
In the alternate universe of WWR, created by husband-and-wife artists Ashley Wood and TP Louise, Mars is a battleground between the Atheists and the fanatics (I guess I’m moving to Mars). This conflict, called “The Great War”, started in July of 1986 when the Earth Coalition arrested the Martian foreign ministry. In the middle of this conflict was Darwin Rothchild, the founder of Rothchild Corporation, who supplied the combat robots to both sides in the conflict. Many of these war-bots were painted in camouflaged pattern of off-world locations, like Luna, Demios, and Cydonia. Also involved in The Great War are the factions of NOM and the robot pirates of MOD, along with the gasmask wearing Nom de Plume. The atheist settlements on Mars are underground, due to the radiation and thin atmosphere.  
The Mars Rebellion from Two Hour Wargaming's 5150: First Contact
Two Hour Wargaming has a game set in their Star Empire universe on a revolting Mars. The Martian rebels, called “Sahadeen” are waging an open war for their independence from the Earth. The Sahadeen effort are given military and technological aid by the Empire of Gaea Prime. Two Hour Wargaming has produced a line of Earth and Martian 15mm model units can be used for these military science fiction games. Honestly, I love the basic storyline of an Martian revolt being aid by an alien government outside our star system.  

Post-Golden Age Mars from the  Destiny Universe
Mars is shown to be humanity’s first contact with the godly sphere that is known as “the Traveler”. In the Mars cinematic opening, we see three astronauts armed with Colt Commando carbines landing on Mars via a capsule, as they crest a mountain on Mars, they see The Traveler looming over a raining sky. Mars had a sizable population during the mankind’s Golden Age, however, it was also a bloody battlesite as the armies of darkness push back humanity. During the game, the player and their friends acting as Guardians, fight on Mars to liberate the red planet from the grip of darkness. Mars is seen with the ruins of the Golden Age, and an nonbreathable atmosphere

The Crystal War on Mars from Legos' Mars Mission toyline
Even in the realm of Legos, Mars is a hostile place with riches worth fighting over. According to the story, human astronauts undercover special Martian crystals that could the answer to Earth's energy crisis, however, someone else wants them: the aliens. The exploration and mining missions was canceled, and the astronauts armed their vehicles for war. From 2007-2009, Lego would release about 30 sets devoted to the war on Mars. Along with the plastics pieces of joy, Lego also created the popular web-based video game "CrystAlien conflict"allowing players to take control of either alien or human astronaut-soldiers in the fight for the crystals.

The Shadow Raids on Mars from the STARCOM: The US Space Force Universe
Back in 1987, Coleco toys would release a line of military science fiction toys that depicted an near-future US military space force called STARCOM located in combat against the mad scientist Emperor Dark and his space terrorists forces. One of the key elements of the tension between the Shadow Force and the STARCOM is over the alien artifacts recovered on Mars, known as “the Obelisks”. Mars is also the site of the US largest off-world real estate, the domed city known as Aras with a population of over 20,000 civilians, along with a sizable STARCOM presence. Along with industrial and commerce activities, Mars is the site of archeological exploration of the alien ruins belonging to an race known as “the builders”. Shadow forces and STARCOM often crash on the cold deserts of Mars.  

Mars of 1889 from the SPACE: 1889 Universe

The RPG gaming company that developed Traveler, Twilight 2000, and 2300 AD, Games Designer’s Workshop developed a colonial 19th century era space combat game called Space: 1889. Thomas Edison develops the “ether propellant” in 1870’s, allowing for space exploration of Luna, Venus, and Mars. On Mars, the “liftwood” is found, allowing for armed airships to patrol the pink skies of the red planet. On Mars, Terran imperial powers, like France, German, Japan, and the British develop colonial sites and commerce activities with heavy colonial military presences. However, while the red planet is dying, is not unpopulated. Three different Martian civilizations occupy Mars: the Canal Martians, the Hill Martians, and the High Martians. Some of these are hostile to the Terran nations, other attempt to share the red planet with the outsiders, while the more hostile High Martians attack Terran outposts and raid for slaves. Space: 1889 is one of those interesting combinations of history, alternate history, and space opera. I've always personally loved Space: 1889. 

The UAC Mars City from the DOOM Universe
Mars and her moons have been the setting many of the DOOM games, especially the 2005 3rd installment. The United Aerospace Corporation runs an extensive operation on Mars. From the main underground city to countless little labs and bases, the UAC as invested billions into their Mars operations along with thousands of employees and contractors. We all know the type of combat seen in the games, but the 3rd game added the mythos of ancient and wiped out Martian species that developed the Soul Cube to defeat the spawn of Hell. DOOM 3 used the longheld enigma of Mars to full advantage here.  It is rumored that the fourth reboot DOOM will also feature Mars or her moons as the backdrop to the war against Hell.

The Zio-Matrix Mars Coup from Armored Corps II
In the 4th Armored Corps mech-combat video game, the second largest Terran company, Zio-Matrix embarks on a terraforming mission on the red planet, attracting the attention of other corporations and mercenary units. This disrupts the plans that Zio-Matrix had for their Blue Mars, and the results in the Three Company War on Mars. Towards the end of the war, the Zio-Matrix attempts an coup against the Earth government based on Mars. Your character is a member of the Ravens PMC mecha group, and your job is to save Mars and her civilians from Zio-Matrix and prevent the Earth government of Mars from collapsing. I played Armored Corps 2 back in 2003, and liked the game pretty well, and was impressed by sweet mecha combat on the surface of Mars. 

Faction Conflicts from Mars: War Logs
The French game developer Spiders created an action RPG for the PC and latest home console systems called Mars: War Logs in 2013. Set an hundred years after massive losing revolt, Mars is experiencing hard times, where water and basic needs are the order of the day. Added to this are various factions and heavy-handed government forces. Mars is also plagued by radiation and mutant species. Mars: War Logs is a unique setting for a Martian wars, especially the cyberpunk ascept.

The Martian Mine Workers Revolt from the Red Faction Universe
Since 2001, the Red Faction series has been exploring and fighting a war of Martian independance from the evil Ultor Corporation. In 2075, a dying Earth is reliant on the mining of Mars to support the blue world, and Utlor Corporation is the main company involved in the mining of Mars. Attempting to reap bigger profits, worker conditions are bad, leading to a vast sickness with no known cure. After the arrival of an Terran named Parker, and an incident when a Utlor guard kills an miner, the Mars mining workers revolt. Given the popularity of Red Faction, this game continued the seeding of the theme of Martian workers revolting and attempting to liberate themselves from a evil Terran corporation in sci-fi. More games in the Red Faction series have been released. 

The Attack on Mars Base Sara from ROBOTECH and Macross
In the groundbreaking anime series, ROBOTECH, Mars was once home to an fairly large military/scientific base, called Sara. The Sara Base was established during or just before the Global Civil War, and Lisa Hayes had her first love, Karl Riber stationed here to avoid the chaos on Earth. At some point, other human forces attacked and wiped out Sara Base and the personnel or force them off of Mars. In the original Macross series, anti-unification factions after the Global Civil War force the evacuation of Sara Base. During their escape, the terrorist forces attack their ship in a captured space destroyer, and kill the base personnel, including Karl Riber.
In the recent ROBOTECH: Invasion comics, it was started that a scout force of Zentraedi were responsible for the base being abandoned. In the 7th episode of ROBOTECH, the SDF-1 lands on Mars after an radio signal is picked up. Captain Gloval believes that Sara Base would be a good opportunity to restock in supplies. However, Zentraedi forces are waiting. The result is the SDF-1 being held captive by alien gravity mines, and a desperate battle on the ground of Sara Base by the RDF. Lisa Hayes overloads the reflex generator to destroy the mines, allowing the SDF-1 to escape. Mars is never reoccupied by Earth Forces.  Of course, in the 3rd Generation of ROBOTECH, it is said repeatedly that REF Scott Bernard spent time on Mars, and belongs to the 21st Mars Battalion. The series never makes it clear on how Bernard and Mars are connected, and it seems to be holdover from the original MOSPEADA anime series.

The Enders Revolt from the Zone of the Enders Universe
In 2173, the citizens of the planet Mars, called "Enders" by the Terrans revolt against the heavy-handed Terran government. Much like the other Enders revolt in the solar system, the Orbital Frame mecha is used as the tool of revolt and liberation. These mecha are based on the technology that is powered by the "Metatron" ore found on the Joviah moon of Callisto. The NES Gameboy Advance  Zone of the Enders 2001 game; the Fists of Mars is fully devoted to the plight of the Mars Enders revolt.

The Federals vs. the Mutant Rebels from Total Recall (1990)
In the 1990 film Total Recall, Mars, settled by the "Northern Bloc" at great expense, and with the Cold/HotWar on Earth between the different political entities, Mars becomes more important with the discovery of "turbinium". One of the main reasons for the massive Martian Federal colonies on Mars was this mysterious ore-fuel that the Federal mined called "turbinium". The film never makes the role of this turbinium clear in the economics of 2084, but it could be taking the place of conventional fossil fuels on Terra. Some fans have speculated that trubinium is like Helium-3 and powers military space vehicles. This fuel and the its importance on the Northern Bloc's war effort, allows for major dick-bag Vilos Cohaagen to be an dictator with absolute rein over the population. While the trubinium flows, he stays in power. One of the elements screwing with Cohaagen was the mutant uprising that was led by Kuato. The mutants were created from some of the first settlers of Mars that were exposed to radiation via cheap domes that Cohaagen. These mutants are the untouchables of the Mars Federal Colonies and as long as Cohaagen is in power, they will never be more than outsiders. News reports are fulled with bombs, protests, and gunbattles fought between the mutants and the Mars Federal Police. All that changes when Quaid comes back to Mars, and finally removes Cohaagen from power.

Next Time On FWS...
Without a doubt 1986's ALIENS altered my life, and forged my deep passionate love affair with military science fiction. For me, this film and its universe are holy, and worthy of praise and worship. However, if it makes money, someone will exploit it for cold hard cash, and that is what Kenner did with their attempted (and stillborn) Operation: ALIENS cartoon series that was going to tie into the Kenner ALIENS toyline of 1992-1995...which was the same time I was in high school. In the next installment of Military Sci-Fi Oddities, FWS will be exploring and attempting to explain the effort by Kenner to create an ALIENS cartoon for kids.

21 September 2014

FWS News Feed: Incoming Items and other news...

Here is a sneak peak at some items that just arrived into the FWS offices in Dallas from Amazon! I was gone with the family to Tulsa to visit my mother, and look what was waiting for me! We have no less than three upcoming graphic novel reviews, along with an Forgotten Classics blogpost on  Battle Engine Aquila for the original Xbox. I am really looking forward to reading these military sci-fi comics, been awhile since we had some fresh comics around here. In other news, FWS is reading Nathan M. Farrugia's The Chimera Vector and there will be an interview with the author. Also, I just finished reading the final edit of my own upcoming military sci-fi novel Endangered Species being published by Forker Media. Some big news on my book to be revealed soon. We should also see an new series of blogpost, called The Master Works. This new series will be devoted to the very best of military science fiction in their respective media type. Busy times. Well, back to researching more on the planet Mars. And no, Coke didn't pay me for the product placement. Stay Frosty!

17 September 2014

FWS Forgotten Weapons: The Israeli Galil Assault Rifle

Guns, especially military small arms can be expression of the global events unfolding at the time of their production and usage. Such was the products of Stoner and Kalashnikov, the AR-15 and the AK-47. These two military assault rifles became the symbols of the struggle between the East and West. The Eagle and Bear, the Communists and the Free World. NATO and Warsaw Pact. Often the loyalties of nations caught between these two superpowers during the Cold War could be clearly seen in which assault rifle their soldiers carried into battle. However, in Israel during the 1970's through the 1990's, this ally of the United States would fluctuation between the AR-15, the AK-47/74, the FN FAL, and their own domestically produced military small arms. However, events after the Six Day War in 1967, the Israeli military turned internally due to threat of arms embargo for production of an home-grown assault rifle. The Israeli Military Industries (IMI) Galil assault rifle would be the product of that desire. However, by mid-1990's, the IDF appeared to have abandoned the Galil for the Colt M-16 and M4 carbines, placing the Galil labored into mechanized and artillery units and Israeli Law Enforcement. FWS will be discussing one of the more interesting combat-tested assault rifles of the 20th century in this installment of the continuing Forgotten Weapons blog series. Personally, the Galil is one of my all time favorite assault rifles, and I would love to own one.

Special Thanks to FWS Reader Yoel!
I've said before and I'll say again, FWS has some of the best readers on the internet. I would like to take the opportunity to thank Israeli reader Yoel for his expert work on this blogpost. He provide FWS with research, his own experiences with the Galil while he served in the IDF, and prospective on the Galil via an Israeli POV.  FWS could not have done this one without him. This one's for you, Yoel!

The Historical Context of the Galil
When the Galil was developed, the world was a very different place than today, and it someways, it was more unstable, and yet more stable. If that statement doesn't make any sense, any you didn't live through the Cold War. After World War II up until the fall of the wall in 1989, the United States with NATO and other allied nations around the world squared off against the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact and their allied nations. For decades, the threat of World War III and mutual assured nuclear destruction loomed over our heads. Despite a few tense moments, like 1962 and 1973, the two superpowers never engaged in open warfare, and the nuclear arsenal slept soundly. While under the threat of a nuclear holocaust, the US and Russia fought proxy wars,like Afghanistan and Vietnam, and some have considered the Arab-Israeli conflicts as proxy wars between the Superpowers. The Galil would also be born during a time when the global community became more involved in Middle East policies, events, and politics.

Is the Galil a Bastard Lovechild of the AR-15 and AK-47?
When I first learned about the Galil, some people said that it was a combination of the M16 and the AK47. Well, sort of. When it comes to the world of military grade assault rifles, the global firearms market was divided up into the AK-47, the FN FAL, and the M16. Often, loyalty to one superpower might that you used their assault rifle, the Israelis were different. The Jewish state was surrounded by their enemies, and they need a unifying weapon system with the reliability of the Soviet Kalashnikov rifle, but fired the 5.56mm NATO round that was better in terms of full-automatic fire accuracy. In someways, the Galil was a fusion of certain elements of both assault rifles.  
There is another parent of the weapon: the AK from another mother, the Finnish Valmet M62. Some consider the Valmet M62 assault rifle the “Cadillac” of the AK world, due to correcting a few of the original AK design issues. The M62 was used by the IMI design team as a basis for their own AK clone, and some consider the M62 the real father of the Galil (this is starting to be like an episode of Maury Povich!). Confirming this further, the Galil prototypes were built with Finnish made M62 receivers. The Finnish Western AKs were seen in American action movies, masquerading as an AK. In the end, the Galil has been called the best AK clone that chambers the 5.56x45mm cartridge.
The Unique Features of the Galil
Much has been made of several unique elements incorporated into the Galil, especially the bottle opener, The bottle opener itself is the stuff of myth and legend on the Galil, however, many are mistaken on where the bottle opener is located and on which variant of the Israeli rifle the bottle appears. The bottle opener is only on the light machine gun variant, the ARM, and it is NOT located in the forward bipod-wire cutter assembly (looks like a claw) as often seen online. 
While you could use the wire-cutter for a bottle opener, the real bottle opener is actually located in the rear of the foregrip, in the bipod handguard assembly. This is a little notch that fits a Coca-Cola bottle nicely. So, why does the Galil have a bottle opener?  When the Galil was being designed, field-used Uzi submachine gun had their magazines damaged by soldiers using them to open soda bottles. To avoid this fate by the Galil, IMI installed the bottle opener. The wire cutters were developed to counter the wide-use of barbwire, and once again this feature was only included on the ARM variant. One features was incorporated on all models of the Galil was the ability to launch rifle grenades, via a special blank 5.56mm cartridge. Several munition types were available, including a practice dummy round. In addition to the rifle grenades, the Galil could also use an conventional 40mm grenade launcher system, similar to the US M203 launcher system.  

The Story of the Galil
Since the foundation of the Jewish nation in May of 1948, the Israelis have had to protect their existence from their Arab neighbors. In those first years of Israel, their soldiers used whatever would shoot, from British Lee-Enfield bolt-action rifles, to captured enemy weapons.  By the time of the Six Day War of 1967, the IDF was using the Belgium FN FAL, the AK, and the Uzi submachine gun. The assault rifle/battle rifle FAL was considered "the gun of the western world" and competed against the AK.
The IDF fully-automatic FAL came in two forms: "Alpeh", the standard battle/assault rifle, and the "Beth", the light machine gun variant. While the FN FAL is a fine weapon, the sandy battlefields caused jamming issues with the FAL. So much so, that some IDF soldiers traded their FALs for their enemies' AKs or a carbine version of the Uzi. This Uzi variant was used in the battle to recapture Mount Hermon. After the war, Israel Military Industries (IMI) firearm designer Ysrael Galil Blashnikov and head of IMI's small arms division, Ya'akov Lior conducted field interviews with IDF soldiers and asked them about their experiences with small arms.
Many praised the AK, calling it "the tiger of the desert", and they condemned the FAL for jamming in dusty and sandy conditions. This cause Blashnikov and IMI to design an Israeli assault rifle family from the design elements of the Egyptian AK47. Sources differ, but IMI and Galil used the Finnish M62 AK clone as a basis for the new weapon system, but the stamped steel was replaced with solid steel. At this point, the IMI and the IDF made the decision that the new batch of Israeli made assault rifles would chamber the 5.56x45mm instead of the FN FAL's 7.62x51mm or the AK 7.62x39mm. Part of this was due to their relationship with United States and the control ability of the 5.56mm round while being fired on full-auto. Several prototype 5.56mm weapons, one by Blashnikov that was later nicknamed "the balashnikov" and the other by the designer of the Uzi, the Lt. Colonel Uziel Gal, were pitted against the Stoner 63, the M16, the AK, the H&K HK33. Given the IDF's high standards for the new weapon, the two prototypes were put through brutal desert warfare testing by the Golani Brigade. At the end, the Galil and the AK remained, and Galil's design was approved for production and adaptation into the IDF. Some sources differ, saying that the Lt. Col. Uziel Gal design was the only native Israeli design in the hellish tests, and when the AK won the competition, IMI's Ya'akov Lior put Ysrael Galil Blashnikov was tasked with construction of an Israeli AK that chambered the 5.56mm round. Either way, the Galil was the Galilee (Galil in Hebrew) region of Israel and approved for service in May of 1973. By the time of the October 1973 Yom Kippur War, the Galil was only in a handful of units, causing the IDF to continue to use the FN FAL and the Uzi.
After the war, it is believed that the IDF continued to issue the Galil, and replaced the FN FAL once and for all. The first real major combat use of the Galil came when the IDF was sent into southern Lebanon to end the threat by the Palestinian Abu Nidal Organization, and other factions in the chaos that was Lebanon in the late 1970's and the 1980's. During this invasion and occupation that lasted from 1982-1985, the Galil was one the primary weapon of the regular IDF army, but it did serve along side the US M16s. After the operations in Lebanon, the history of the Galil becomes a bit of a mess.
There are two varying stories told about the fate of the Galil and the rise of the M16 carbines in service with the IDF. However, the reasons are not normally debated on why the Galil never reached full distribution in the IDF (see below for those reasons). Some sources say that after the Yom Kippur War of 1973, the IDF put the M16s away in storage, and continued the issuing of the Galil, and it wasn't until the Galil received its first full combat deployment in the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982 that the issues with the Galil became clear.
IDF used what they had on hand as a temporary replace for the Galil, those surplus US M16s. The stock was modified and issued, while the Galils were fielded to mechanized and artillery units. The other story is that Galil was rejected by IDF Special Forces, and those elite units continued to use the AKs. At some time in the late 1970's or early 1980's, the IDF SOF tested the M16 carbines, and preferred it over other weapons. It is believed that the Special Forces stamp of approval caused the rest of the IDF to reexamine the M16 cabrines and by the 1990's, the M16 replaced the Galil in frontline units. While the Galil which was issued to the mechanized and artillery units. Either way, the fate of the Galil was the same: replacement. By 1990's, the American various M16 carbines and the new M4A1 were the standard issued weapon of the IDF infantry and the IDF Special Forces. While the much hearty Galils were issued to tanker crews, artillery personnel, that typically did not maintain their little-used assault rifles as much as frontline soldiers. And that is the way that it is currently: the M4A1 is on the frontlines, and the Galil is in the rear with the gear. After nearly forty years, both the M16 and the Galil will be replaced by the Tavor.

Why Did the IDF Replace the Galil for the M16?
Once again, this statement is not entire true. The IDF did not entirely replaced the Galil for the M16 carbines. In reality, the Galil, some AKs, and the various M16 carbines served alongside one another in the IDF and Israeli law enforcement even up until today. In actuality, the M16, AK, and Galil of the IDF will all be completely phased out with the new IWI Trevor bullpup assault rifle and its variants by 2016. However, it does seem like the IDF did replace the Galil with the M16 carbines like Colt Model 653 and the recent M4A1, especially if you even casually view pictures of the current IDF. The story goes back to the 1973 Yom Kippur War, when the enemies of Israeli attacked, and the newly adopted Galil assault rifle was just being fielded to the military. 
While the Galil was used during the conflict, it was in small  numbers. The older IDF standard, the FN FAL was also used, along with AKs, and a carbine variant of the Uzi. It was during this war, that the United States gave Israel military aid via the Operation: NICKEL GRASS. Items like M48 Patton tanks and other heavier weapon systems were delivered along with a vast array of M16A1s and the carbine variant. From 1973 onwards, the Galil and the IDF modified M16s served in various units around the military, but by the 1990's, the M16 carbines had become the popular and standard choice for the IDF. Here are the reason why and why not:
  • Weight- To solve some of the issues of cracking associated with the AK, IMI constructed the Galil out of machined solid steel billet action instead of stamped steel sheet action of the AK, created greater weight. The wire stock was one way to reduce the weight of the Galil.  This was a common complaint from Israeli soldiers about the Galil, and when they had a choice between the M16 and the Galil, the mostly picked the M16. For example: the Colt Model 653 carbine weighs in at 5.6lbs, while the Galil AR weighs in at 8.7lbs. 
  • Cost- Some sources cite that the US military aid M16s were basically free, and that was one motivation for the IDF to use the M16 over their own domestically produced assault rifle. Some debate this, and say that the Israelis had use most of their US foreign military support money to buy US made products, and in that case, it was free money. That is one of the reasons that the IDF currently uses the M4A1 carbines. Even today, the IWI is examining constructing the new Trevor in the US so that they can use their FMS. Clever.
  • Accuracy-Some online sources have claimed that the Galil was less accurate than the M16. This is point made whenever the M16-vs-AK47 debate is waged, and I do not think that it is a valid reason. Assault rifles are NOT DMRs or sniper rifles, and the accuracy of the Galil was comparable to then-current assault rifles. 
  • Ergonomics-Another reason for the M16 being selected over as to do with the feel and operation of the weapon. I can testify that the M16, especially the carbines, are a handy weapon with a good feel. I use a CAR-15 paintball gun for a very good reason, they feel good in the hand, and that cannot be said about the AK. While the AK is not the worst gun I've ever held or shot, it is not has handy, and the soldiers of the IDF picked up on this. 
  • Change of Battlefield-Yoel brought this to my attention. When IMI developed the Galil, the desert was the main focus of combat, and AKs are the "tigers of the desert" according to IDF soldiers. This made sense to IMI to base their own assault rifle on the Avtomat Kalashnikov. Then the geo-political nature of the Middle East altered after the Camp David Accords, and battlefield changed from the desert to the more urban West Bank and Gaza. The dense urban setting is more favorable to a more compact weapon, like the Colt M4A1 and the new Trevor.
  • Upgradability-When the Galil was first developed after the Six Day War in 1967, the aim was to build an Israeli AK chambering the 5.56mm, and not mounting all manner of lasers, sights, scopes. But that soon became an issue. The M16 is able to be upgraded and modified for various missions, conditions, and users, the Galil was not. Many of the M16 attachments that were pre-weaver rail were still easily attached to the M16, while the Galil was difficult to modify with extra attachments...plus, the weight issue. The IDF could modify the number of older M16s to current standards without much of an issue, which the Galil had to be redesigned.  
  • Female Soldiers-I originally believed that one of the reasons for the M16 carbine over the Galil was due to the IDF having high number of female soldiers. The M16/M4A1 carbines are easier weapons for women troopers, while that is true, it is not issue. By the time female Israeli soldiers were allowed to enter combat roles, the M4A1 and other M16 carbines were basically standard issue.  
Why is the Galil Assault Rifle an Forgotten Weapon?
 In reality, the Galil is not a completely forgotten weapon in some areas of the world, Israel for example. Plus, the Galil is still used by other nations as their primary assault rifle. The Galil is more forgotten in the Western world, especially America. In some ways, the IMI Galil assault rifle system is similar to the American M-14 battle-rifle: rushed into production, considered heavy by the infantry, fought in an a single conflict, and was quickly replaced by the AR15. That is one way that Galil got forgotten, that it never really entered full service with the IDF, and the other nations that bought the exported assault rifle were smaller nations. By the 1980's and 1990's, the Colt M16 carbines were the popular weapon of choice for the IDF, and in the 1990's, the IMI TAR-21 bullpup assault rifle was under development to replace the M16s and the remaining Galils. Given this short life, lack of involvement with frontline IDF troopers, and close appearance to the AK, the Galil failed to gain the following of the AK nor M16. To most people, the main weapon of the Israeli military was the Uzi submachine gun, and that iconic SMG outlasted the Galil by many years. While some military organizations around the world still use the Galil and the Vektor R4/R5, they received little press. It was not until popular media used the Galil, like Call of Duty, Counter-Strike, and the movie Heat did the Galil get any respect and attention. It also does not help that the Galil civilian copies were either expensive or had failures during shooting.

The Variants of the Galil

The Standard Galil AR
This was the primary standard issue assault rifle adopted into service with the IDF in May of 1973 and other military organizations that adopted the Galil later on. It chambered an standard NATO 5.56x45mm round in an 25 or 35 round magazine, and was 38.8 inches in length with the stock extended and 29.2 inches with the stock side folded and the barrel came in at 18.1 inches…standard dimensions for an full size assault rifle. The weight is a heavy 8.7lbs, close to the weight of the M14 battle rifle. Like many people, was originally confused, and believed that all Galils were outfitted with bipods, the wire cutters, and the carry handle. In reality, the AR was outfitted with a simple plastic foregrip. This was the version that the South African Defense Force Vektor R4/R5 weapons are based on.    

The Carbine Galil SAR (the Glilon)
IMI and Israel Galil attempted to have the Galil to be a family of small arms weaponry, and the SAR is the short-barreled carbine variant, with the AR’s barrel chopped down to 13.1 inches, and is 36 inches even in overall length. These measures also shaved off some weight, from 8.7lbs to 8.5lbs. This was one of the most common Galils in serve with the IDF and was the basis of the Vetkor R5. There is also an 7.62x51mm variant of the SAR. The SAR is popularly known as the Glilon.  

The Commando Carbine Galil MAR

With a barrel length at only 7 inches, the Micro Galil or MAR competed with standard submachine guns of the day, but chambered the NATO 5.56mm. This made the Galil MAR a popular weapon, and has been seen in IDF SOF units, police units, and specialized IDF units. In the export market, the Galil MAR also appears popular, with some being seen in the hands of private military contractors, foreign military organizations, and even specialized police units. The Micro Galil comes in at 27.15inches (690mm) in length, which is smaller than the AKS-74U, which is 28.93inches (735mm) in length, making the Micro Galil one of the most compact assault rifles in the world.  

The LMG Galil ARM
One of the odd things about the Galil is that the light machine gun variant, the ARM, is more well known in popular media than the AR or SAR. The ARM features an 35 round magazine of 5.56mm, a bipod that can be used to cut wire, and a carry handle. All of this added up to 9.6lbs and 38.9inches overall length with an 18.1inch barrel.
There were plans to develop an LMG/SAW variant in 7.62mm NATO, but those plans were abandoned. I've read various and conflicting accounts of the ARM in IDF service. Some say that the ARM was never fully used for the light machine gun role, and some IDF soldiers used as an assault rifle due to the built-in features.These accounts go on to say that the ARM was more widely accepted as the standard assault rifle in the IDF than the AR or SAR. Still other accounts say that the ARM was never successful as an LMG/SAW, and the IDF relayed on the FN MAG and the Russian PKM until the development of the IMI Negev. When I researched the pictorial evidence of the AR/ARM in IDF service, the evidence is mixed. Certainly, most show the ARs in service while there is the same number of ARM in service. In the international market, the AR/SAR seem more used than the ARM.

The 7.62x39mm Galil AR(?)
When I first learned of the Galil existence around the late 1980’s, some of the firearm books said that the Galil was designed to chamber the NATO 5.56mm and 7.62mm, along with the Warsaw Pact 7.62x39mm. While it is true that there were Galil in 5.56mm and 7.62x51mm, the 7.62x39mm is a mystery gun. Rumors state that the IMI factory produced some Galils in the standard AK round, which makes sense considering that most of the IDF SOF units used the AKs for certain missions and the state of Israel is surrounded by their enemies that use the AK. According to some internet sources, the 7.62x39 AK chambering Galil was actually a Lyttleton Engineering Works Vektor R5 carbine rechambered for the South African Defense Force’s Special Forces special needs. This was called the “RX” and seems to be an experiment that was quickly shelved.

The Galil ACE
By the time of the Colt M4 carbine being imported to the IDF, and this assault carbine being widely accepted by the Israeli soldier, IWI decided it was time to modify the aging Galil platform, the result was the Galil ACE. The ACE is like many modern assault rifles: saving weight via polymer, picatinney rail system, various configurations, and available in a several major calibers. The ACE as been adopted by several governments, including Haiti, Mexico, and is due to replace the AK as the standard weapon of Vietnam. Some have called the Galil ACE, the son of the Galil.

The 7.62x51 Galil AR
Which most of the Galils in the world chamber the US/NATO 5.56x45mm round, there is the battle rifle variant, which chambers 7.62x51mm NATO round, which is the same as the FN FAL and the H&K G3. This was a heavy weapon, coming in at over 9lbs, and used a straight magazine. This variant is used around the world, in both the AR and SAR variants, and its popularity could be due to the popularity of the 7.62mm NATO cartridge.

The Civilian Galils

Century Arms of Georgia, Vermont developed a replica Galil assault rifle for the US firearms market with a mix of American and Israeli parts and pieces. The result was the "Golani Sporter" rifle with an US legal 16 inch barrel with an overall length of 38.25 inches and weighed in a 8.10lbs. However, the Century Arms was not the only civilian legal Galil. In the 1990's, Magnum Research had their own civilian Galil rifle...the only issue with this Galil civilian model was the price tag was double of then prices of AR15s and AKs. Today, the Magnum Research Galils are north of $3,000. The Century Arms Golani Sporter has met with some criticism for cheap quality and performance issues. Some buyers of the Century Arms Golani Sporter swap out some pieces for IMI manufactured parts. I normally will see the Century Arms Galil at local Dallas and Fort Worth gun shows, and they are good bargain when compared to the flood of AR15 clones. While many of my friends have AR15s, none owner an Golani Sporter. There was also another importer of the Galil in the pre-ban days, Action Arms. Much like the Magnum Research Galils, the Action Arms are rare and very expensive. 
The Sniper Rifle Galil "Galatz"
The Galil is like many modern military firearm systems, many variants for many jobs on the battlefield. In 1983, "sniper rifle" variant of the Galil was developed,  the "Galatz" and it chambered the 7.62x51mm round, popular with many DMRs and sniper rifles. Changes were made to the base Galil assault rifle to transform the rifle into an DMR or even "tactical support rifle" than an actually out-and-out sniper rifle. The Galatz has an full stock, bipod, scope, box 20 round magazine of .308, heavier barrel with the ability to use an sound suppressor. Various sources state that the DMR variant of the Galil met with success, and is still the DMR of the IDF and various Israeli law enforcement units. Recently, IWI developed a modernized Galatz and the new SR-99 sniper rifle.  

The .30 caliber Galil Magal
At one time, the World War II era .30 M1 carbine was one of the most populous weapons in the world. One nation that received the old World War II and Korean stockpile of M1s was the new nation of Israel. Even after the FN FAL became the standard rifle of the IDF in the 1960's, there was still many good M1 carbines in armories around the Jewish state. Police departments adopted the M1 carbine as their backup weapon and carried it for years. Recently, IWI developed the .30 caliber firing variant of the Galil MAR: the Magal. This police carbine fires the .30 caliber cartridge, and can accept M1 magazines. This carbine has been spotted in the hands of Israeli police and law enforcement units. It is unknown if the Magal as been shipped overseas. It is rumored that the IWI X95 Tavor 9mm will replace the Magal in the coming years.According to updated information from Yoel, the Magal was used in the Arab Riots of 2000, and the .30 caliber round was found to be ineffective, and the pressure from the round was too weak to cycle the bolt when riot control attachments fitted on the barrel. He also informed FWS that about 3,000 Magal have been sold to global law enforcement agencies, at a discount.

The Marksman Assault Rifle Mark I
In 1996, the 5.56x45mm chambering Marksman Assault Rifle Mark I was constructed to be similar to the M16 DMRs, like the old KAC SPR. This features of the familiar hallmarks of current DMRs: scope, accuarized barrel, sound suppressor, and special stock. Nations that use the Galil, like Estonia, use the MARMI as their DMR. This weapon has been seen in action in Afghanistan. There is little information on this variant of the Galil, and how common it is.

The South African Vektor R4/R5/R6
In 1975, the South African government and Israel entered into a secret defense agreement due to both being under arms embargoes. The two nations shared defense technology, research, and hardware. Born out of this agreement was the Vektor R-series of assault rifles that started off as an Galil. According to online sources, the difference between the R4 and the Galil AR are very minor and they are kissing cousins. The R4 and the Galil AR were both fielded to replace the aging FN FAL, AKA as the South African R1. The However, unlike the Galil, the R-series was the standard assault rifle of the SADF that did not have to compete with the M16. The R-series maybe replaced by the futuristic looking bullpup Vektor CR-21 that uses some of the Galil parts and pieces.

Users of the Galil

Globally, the Galil and her many variants are used by no less than 35 nations. Some of the nations use the Galil as their standard assault rifle, like Columbia and South Africa. While others, like Mexico, Italy, and India, use the Galil in specific units. Some of these international users of the Galil have domestic production rights, like Columbia and South Africa. Some military organizations use only one single type of Galil variant, while others use a mixed bag of the Galils. Other nations have switched over to the modified and modernized IWI Galil ACE. Why is the Galil popular international? Part of it speaks to the killer rep of the Israelis and their quality. The Galil is a solid weapon that was well-designed and is as every bit as combat reliably as the AK47. Some say that the Galil is a good deal over other military firearms, especially considering their durability. Other nations picked up the Galil for a combination of reasons. The Galil chambers the popular 5.56mm NATO cartridge, but is as reliably as the AK, making it the best of both worlds. There are rumors of US Special Forces using the Galils in some operations, however, these are just rumors.

Future of the Galil?
Unfortunately, the future of the Galil and its many variants is dim. Nations that at one time did use the Galil are replacing them with more modern, carbine-like weapons that are more compact, lighter in weight and feature attachment rails. However, the Galil is not likely to disappear from the world, given the amount of stockpiles of weapon and clones on the market and the blazing civilian assault rifle market in America. Galil will survival on the rim on the global small arms market and rec shooters. I think it fair to say that the Galil will be seen in region low-intensity conflicts, where the need for cheaper (i.e. older) military grade small arms is great, and arms dealers can make a profit. I also think that Galil will exist in Israeli society for sometime. Currently, there are various of the Galil in service with most Israeli police departments and boarder security. These LE agencies will use the Galil until the new IMI Trevor bullpup assault rifle fully replaces them. Since the Galil was official IDF issue for over thirty years, many Israeli civilians trained with it, and these are in the hands of Israeli citizens as their "home defense" weapon. It is also likely that the sniper rifle variant, the 7.62mm NATO Galatz could be around in IDF armories for some time.   

The Galils in Popular Culture

While the Galil is well known in its home nation of Israel, it was not as familiar to Western audiences as the Uzi or then the Desert Eagle. Most Galils seen in Western media are either purposely chose due to their badass look and rarity or their placement is just by steer luck. In the video game appearances, Galils are used to offer something different to the player that are not just the standard firearms choices. When it comes to the newer generations learning about the Galil, it is often via the current crop of military shooters.
Most that I asked online, were unfamiliar with the Galil prior to COD: Black Ops or Counter-Strike, and they use google to learn the identity of the assault rifle. The most common aspects of the Galil featured in mass media is that they are the light machine gun variant, the ARM. Why? While there is no hard information, it is my opinion that because the ARM is the most unique looking of the Galil variants with the heavy barrel, wood foregrip, and the bipod. that the ARM is just more "tacticool", causing more creators to place the ARM instead of the AR or SAR into mass media. Also, given the similarity between the Galil, the Valmet M76, and the AK, the ARM could be used to separate it from those other similar assault rifles.


The IMI Galil ARM from Rainbow Six Raven Shield, 3, and Black Arrow
In the third generation of Rainbow Six games by Red Storm Entertainment, the Galil is seen in all three games, but in a odd form. Unlike the commonly used Galils by counter terrorism forces, the Galils of RAINBOW SIX are the light machine gun variant, the ARM. In the R6:3 games, the Galils are seen with Beta-C mags, given them 100+ rounds of 5.56mm, and are seen with the carrying handle.  Most of the Galils in service with CTUs are the carbine SAR and the Micro MAR. By the time of Rainbow Six Vegas and Vegas 2, the IMI Galil was replaced by the IMI Trevor. This was the first video game that I ever got to use the Galil in, and R6:3 ranks as one of my favorite original Xbox games. The Galil is referred to as an "ARM" in the game, and is a hard weapon to control on full-auto, and the aiming-down-slights is only a zoom, not using the iron slights.

The "IDF Defender" from the Counter-Strike Games
In these iconic Valve online shooter games, the Galil is featured, and most are based on the light machine gun variant, the ARM, but it is used in the manner of the assault rifle, while holding 35 rounds of 5.56mm. The Galil or the "IDF Defender", is for purchased by the terrorist factions and was always my favorite weapon in Counter-Strike games. This is an mainstay of the games, and is often seen, despite not being as accurate as other choses.

The IMI Galil ARM from Call of Duty: Black Ops and Black Ops: II
I am not a huge fan of the original Black Ops game, and only bought it to play online with my friends, the added bonus is that Galil makes an appearance. While the Galil looks great here in Black Ops, it is not accurate to the time period of the game. Once again, the Galil featured here and in Black Ops: II are the ARM variant with the carrying handle, and all manner of attachments can be bought. This weapon was one of my favorites online, and this game was nearly single-handy responsible for informing a whole generation about the Galil.

The IMI Galil 7.62x51mm ARM from Way of the Gun
Benicio del Toro plays Mr. Longbaugh in this 2000 movie about a surrogate mother being ransomed for $15 million, carries an Galil. The ARM in the NATO 7.62mm, specifically. The weapon is seen being used as an sniper rifle, and an assault rifle. It carries the straight magazine and the carrying handle. This marks an rare appearance of the Galil in an American film, could be connected to the apperance of the ARM in 1995's Heat. The film made little in way of money, and disappeared quickly from theaters.

The Vektor R-series from District 9
As mentioned above, the Vektor R-series of assault rifles is the standard assault rifle for the SADF, and in this 2009 South African film, it makes sense that the private military company MNU wield the Vektor R-series of assault rifles. In the film, the carbine R5 and the commando carbine R6 all make appearances. These were rare appearance of the Vektor R-series assault rifles in an American released films. 

The IMI Galil MARs and SARs from Falling Skies
In the first season of the TNT alien invasion series Falling Skies, character Hal Mason carries an commando carbine Galil MAR. By the resulting seasons of the show, Hal was no longer carrying an MAR, but the 2nd Mass soldiers are often seen with MARs and SARs. Of course, it is highly unlikely that any resistance groups in America would use Galils, especially, the rare MARs. I am not sure that there are more than a dozen "real" MARs in private hands in America that are not the "pistol" MAR of recent design.

Cheritto's Galil ARM 5.56mm from HEAT
One of the most famous appearances of the Galil in American cinema is from Michael Mann's 1995 Heat. Tom Sizemore's character Michael Cheritto uses the Galil ARM in the final shoot-out on the streets of LA. This is an odd choice, the ARM is LMG, and is not used in a manner befitting of the weapons function. This was one of the first Galils I'd ever seen on-screen, and the first time I heard the real-steel report of the Galil. In the audio commentary, the director says that the Galil is 7.62mm, not 5.56mm.

Galil From the anime Upotte!!
I grew up on Japanese anime and manga, I learned the Japanese language, read their history, and took their martial arts, and loved their food. But, I do not get this anime...at all. What the hell, Japan? Upotte!! is the product of a drunken hookup between gun-loving-anime and the anime/manga genre of high school culture. In this oddball universe, the main characters are schoolgirls at an academy and they are named after guns, because they are anthropomorphic personifications of the weapons they are named after. Yes, and there is an Galil, who oddly has trouble opening a bottle and has canine features. Haha. The weapons themselves are lovingly designed and a number of features and personalities of the real-world firearms are shown in the anime and manga. The Galil in the series is an standard AR version.

The Galil MAR from Resident Evil: Apocalypse
I am not much for the Resident Evil films, I believe that they are too foolish and ill-concerned in concept and story. In the 2004 sequel to the original film, Umbrella security officer Carlos Oliveria, played by Israeli actor Oded Fehr, goes into Raccoon City. In his hands is an seven inch barrel Micro Galil MAR with an custom with foregrip and other attachments. Why is the MAR here? I believe that since the actor is Israeli, and that since he served in the IDF from 1989-1992, that Oded Fehr selected the micro Galil, which he most likely was trained with.


The old History Channel's Tales of the Gun

Next Time On FWS...
Mars has been an enigma to mankind since we first learned that there was a red world in our solar system. This mystery has fueled many wild tales that became some of the founding works of modern science fiction. With the proximity of Mars to Terra, and it being relatively close to an Earth-like environment, it has been the setting for many sci-fi stories of human colonization, including being a second home to humanity. Mars has also being the setting for something else: war. As seen in such works as Babylon 5, my own military science fiction stories, and the Mars Trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson, Mars is the site of future wars, and something that sci-fi tells us that mankind will fight over. In another installment of What We Will Fight Over, FWS will examine the reality of wars over the red planet. 

Rare Pictures of the Galil (courtesy of Yoel)

Some old 1980's magazine scans (love International Combat Arms back in the day!)