On the frontlines of the war in Ukraine, there are several pieces that many weapons experts might consider “relics” by modern standards. The war in Ukraine is a war of artillery and tanks; both sides strive to destroy as much of the enemy’s armor as possible. In this all-inclusive combat environment, either or both sides would want to tap into any and all resources to bring to bear to the tactical front.
Russia is engaging Ukraine with its oldest and newest anti-tank technology, and everything in between, including the early 9K111 Fagot wire-guided, anti-tank missile system.
The 9K111 Fagot was designed in 1962 and went into production in 1970, and therefore represents some of the earliest in missile wire-guided systems. It may be a bit of a surprise to learn that for a time, anti-tank missiles flew to their targets with one or more thin wires trailing behind them. These wires would be exchanging information between the missile and the gunner and apply corrections to the missile’s path. This early technology was called Optical Controlled to Line of Sight (OCLOS).
Finally, we have the exhausting military designation systems for intelligence reporting. It would be spring all year round if the planet could all decide on just one system for the designation of all pieces of military hardware: tanks, bombers, fighters, missiles, assault rifles… etc. But, every sovereign nation has its language, culture, and borders. That is to say, they have a different word for almost everything,
Which brings me to my final comments… at least some countries recognize the 9K111 anti-tank system by the name “Fagot,”
(Brief pause for inappropriate remarks.)
Related: How Ukrainian soldiers are using drones to fight Russians on the ground
However, NATO thwarts any would-be embarrassment by using the designation “AT-4 Spigot” to replace “9K111 Fagot.” What’s in a name — I still wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end of either one in my 2017 Ford Fusion. (And you know, I believe that “Fusion” is still available for use in the NATO designation system.) Coming from 1960s vintage, the 9K111 Fagot was just not subject to the modern onslaught available to harass the Pentagon’s computer random-select word choice system.
All in all, there is no longer today the opportunity for a battle report to show up to the battle board reading:
“Bravo company (mech) was attacked today at 1544hrs in Sector Dog Red, with the majority of its lead column routed by a bunch of Fagots.”
By Almighty God and with honor,
Feature Image: A Cold War-era Soviet 9K111 Fagot. (Wikimedia Commons)
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RE: about Fagot -AND GO UKRAINE – they are fighting for all of us – give them what they need!
FYI – I am not certain of some of this because I am just an old sailor (who by the way still smokes Tabake – or at least some pronounced it that way) ….
Here is as I remember, but I am not certain as it’s been a really long time… some of this is about REALLY OLD English (some old Welch= Britannic? Or French – from Gaul?) Mixed with old sailing talk, plus introduction of that new like stuff like smoking tobacco- or gunpowder and all of that other new stuff? (And this leads to questions like: How many C in tobacco, or G in Fagot? How many N in Britannic? On that, I think on that, you would have to ask a Roman?)
-FYI – long ago Fagot or Fag also meant cigarette (How many G or T in cigarette?)
As Michel said above: Fagot (one “g”?) is a “bundle of sticks used as a torch”.
– An unlit Fagots dipped in tar makes a good disposable paint brush to tar a ship or a rope…
and tar also makes a pretty good adhesive.
(Pine tar or tree sap also works- ask Leif Errickson? They didn’t have oil tar.)
– A lit Fagot dipped in tar makes a REALLY good torch. Also makes a good signal light at night if swung like signal flags.
– A lit Fagot at night on a point or mountain is a great navigational landmark, a light house… or harbor light… you can add glass in front and mirrors in back, and it won’t blow out….
NOW FOR SMOKONG THEM IN WAR…. At night – in war with a lit Fagot – make a fake lighted point. Shut off the light house or harbor light. Use an anchored boat right by the reef, or put a Fagot on a mast to make a fake mountain light – use especially with dark or cloudy nights and tides or wind behind them…. then we get to smoke ’em and watch ’em all crash…. HEY – don’t burn the ones we capture beached in shallow water when the tide goes out- you dam stupid pirates!! If you have to- like landings – light all the Fagots and shoot ’em in the dark….
– A lit Fagot on a ship in a battle makes an effective early ‘Molotov cocktail’ and can burn off at least the enemy’s sails. Now an arrow on it – it’s a good missile.
– Add a bit of gun powder (maybe in a glass bottle?) and it will splash burning tar all around…
– Add an impact fuse and it won’t even leave a tracer streak….
– Now shoot it out of a cannon or rocket tube… smooth bore or rifled? Now what about an explosive head in front?
By the way back to smoking… to smoke a ship – use burning Fagots and char the ship (ships of wood, men of steel) kill all the bed bugs – all the gems- all the viruses – all the mold – smoke all their kit and hammock and even every sailor, even the rope- then tar them – you tars!
– it even takes out all the “bad air” which even Doctors thought cause disease.
Now to end – back to smoking – a prepared Fagot (dipped in tar) must be covered in paper, so it doesn’t stick…. like cigs – then you don’t have to roll you own…. it’s a Fag – and you smoke it?
We call it a cig? Got a match? Got a Fag? I wanna smoke? I actually smoke cigarillos (little cigars – for some reason they’re cheaper.) Smoke a pipe? Pipe down! Lights out? No Smoking on deck! Whanna burn one? Do you have any idea what is that officer talking about? Oh, that’s right that’s why you’re so good at this… you never listen… you just pretend you’re paying attention. I’m gonna go below take a nap in the bilges and get dirty – they’ll think I’ve been working. (Actually, I’m not even assigned to this ship – I REALLY like this ship – They feed and I don’t have to work.) They let me sign some officer’s name for his smokes…. they think I’m his assistant! … I don’t even know who is. I’m ready to retire. I’ve been doing this all my career…. and I take leave and sign whenever I want… GOD, I LOVE THIS SHIP… (on small ship it wouldn’t work). – Personnel asked me to re-up – I said no. I already get four retirements. I signed ’em all myself…. I’m almost ready to buy my own ship- but God- I’m gonna miss this ship…..
Michel Phillips says
Fagot (one “g”) is a bundle of sticks used as a torch. With two “g”s, it’s an offensive term for a homosexual man.
I know, this matters little. And I’m glad NATO changed its terminology, as the offensive term leapt to mind for just about everybody, regardless of their spelling knowledge.
ELLIS T says
“With the majority of its lead column routed by a bunch of Fagots” I couldn’t stop laughing. I will have to remember that when I am handing out towels at the bath house.
LOLOLO, Made my day….
ELLIS T says
Thanks Micky, Loula always lets me know when George posts an article. I hope all is well with you and yours. After a tribulation filled year, I am doing well.
george E. Hand IV says
I’d like to thank my editor and my boss for having the nuts to publish my (sometimes) controversial work. We all know Staros, but maybe not all of us know his cooler-than-life brother Constantine; he’s a real pro and is a legit friend beyond that.
I actually knew most of the (then) Soviet designations for combat systems. The Fagot was a relevant AT threat, though it was seldom seen on the battlefield, remained very quiet, and actually told everyone it was really an (F is for) fighter aircraft.
george E. Hand IV says
Big Man Ellis T!
handing out bath towels sounds like another one of my pernicious lines. Just make sure you are handing out those bath towels to the right subjects — the Fagots, not the Spigots.
ELLIS T says
Thanks George! You Da Man! Miss you lots Buddy!
yankee papa says
For those not following the news in October of 1973, the Arab-Israeli “Yom Kippur War” featured a vast number of wire-guided missiles being fired at advancing Israeli tanks early in the counter-attack phase… The Israelis basically did a cavalry charge with tanks… Air support not available because of Soviet AAA covering the initial Egyptian penetration. And the Israelis arrogantly thought that unescorted (by sufficient infantry and artillery) tanks could just crash right through the Egyptians as they had in the 1956 War.
But the Egyptian soldier was brave enough with good leadership. Egyptian infantry using wire guided anti-tank weapons did not have air, artillery, or infantry spoiling their aim. Many Israeli tanks knocked out early in the war. But for all the hits… there were countless misses. After the battle, most surviving Israeli tanks found themselves cris-crossed by a great many wires…
Would the wire-guided missiles be able to travel far? You would have to get fairly close to attack? Then I think of the other hazard of the wire getting stuck on deployment and detonate rather close.
Interesting article Geo, Thanks
yankee papa says
Sagger missiles had varying effective ranges over the decades from 500 meters to 3000 meters. Generally safe enough… guided by an actual joystick. -YP-
george E. Hand IV says
Damned straight, YP.
Even I, moving over ground where many OCLOS AT weapons were fired, and tank corpses strewn, found myself snagging guide wires with my feet and on more than a single occasion snared completely immobile by the tiny but amazingly robust guide wires; they are so thin as to be invisible, yet grip like a laurel vine.
We cut them with penny cutter surgical scissors, a piece of kit no man was without on any occasion,
Thank you, Geo.
Interesting article. I have seen several articles where Ukraine asks for more munitions, specifically cluster munitions, which I understand the US doesn’t make, is that true? Also, I have read and heard on the news that stockpiles of US munitions are getting low. I hope the DOD has plans to restock the US munitions depots and soon.
yankee papa says
Cluster munitions were effective, but tended to have too many unexploded sub units left lying in the grass and paddies for years to kill future generations, so U.S. stopped using… Russians, of course have zero qualms… -YP-
Thank you, Mr. YP