28 October 2012

Marksmanship Matters, the big picture

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

In this allegory we will look at 20 million deer hunters as the elephant. Let us assume that there are 20 Million American deer hunters. Let us further assume that they are relatively evenly spread across all 50 states (not true, but it will make this logic easier to follow). This means that we are looking at around 400,000 per state. In another calculation, 20 million hunters divided by 3.7 million square miles is around 5 hunters per square mile.

How does the military fight? Do we deploy individuals and spread them evenly over terrain? No, we deploy units and put them into advantageous terrain to dominate the battlespace. That is how a small number of Soldiers can control a larger, relatively well armed, population (every household in Iraq is authorized a fully automatic AK-47, which did them no good relative to the coalition forces).

Doesn't matter how well armed you are if you are starving, or can't get to where the fight is. Doesn't matter how well you can shoot if the enemy controls your supply lines and mobility corridors.

In the big picture of a campaign, a battle, or a war, individual marksmanship doesn't even register on the scale of importance. If I were to tap into 20 million deer hunters to become a field Army, the old Minutemen model would have to be severely revamped. Training a modern Minuteman would end up looking a lot like a National Guardsman than a big game hunter.


avidus said...

For precisely that reason I continue to believe that following an "up close and personal" model will have higher success than a long range engagement model.

Being up close and personal, by that I mean under ten feet, negates almost all of today's high tech military technology. And while armor can still be problematic at that range the simple response is not to engage armored opponents.

In the scenario you have been describing we will know our oppressors. We will know their family, friends, watering holes and so forth. We will know when they are at rest and we will know when best to strike. And the logistical challenge of moving everyone behind hardened structures is insurmountable when imagining everyone who would need to work for an oppressive regime, civil service, law enforcement etc.

The more I see these same problems discussed the more I owe you for introducing me to "Flame and Citron" and the more I think we can learn from it.

AM said...


You probably won't know your opponent. This is a country of 300 million, do you happen to know everyone on your local police force? How about in your state National Guard? How about in the FBI? How about the Active Duty military?

See my point? The underdog will have zilch for tactical advantages in an insurgency, the only way to win is to stay in the fight longer than the empire. Insurgencies are waiting games.

But, as Vietnam taught us, and Afghanistan is taught the Soviets (and us), you don't have to win tactically to win strategically.

TinCan Assassin said...

A couple of questions:

First, is/was there a "culture of marksmanship" in Iraq? Were the Militiamen there shooters?

Second, If one side can take advantage of terrain, so can the other. Are you willing to give some rough outlines as to how an insurgent force could dominate battlespace using the terrain at hand?

Anonymous said...

Good follow-up. I'll see your raise and double down.
Point 1: Those 20 million deer hunters are exactly the truck drivers, assembly line workers, etc. that your 4 or 5M federales are counting on to sustain Leviathan. So to compare apples to apples, how much war fighting materiel exactly did Iraq contribute to pacifying Iraq? And when the trucks and production lines here don't roll, where are you expecting the .mil to get their next loads of beans, bullets, and band-aids from? Brussels? China? D.C., Harlem, and East L.A.?
Point 2: As was noted in reply to yesterday's missive, as well as by me on Oleg's premise, it takes an afternoon to make a marksman, but 3-6 months to make a squaddie, 1 yr for a minimally decent LT, and 5 yrs for a good Sgt.
A partisan deer hunter expends one round and costs you from $50K and up every time he connects. You don't have to "support him in the field" since after he connects, he can go back home and put the rifle under the compost heap.
Point 3: The replacements for losses in that 4M man Leviathan are currently most likely to come - again - from that same talent pool of deer hunters, not the dope-smoking leeches of the Free Shit Army in downtown Entitlementville. Every dropped man in a tail-heavy army costs the .gov far and away more than it costs the insurgency, even if every shot is a one way ticket. After the first volley, you have no troops, and they're whittled down to *only* 15M deer hunters.
Point 4: It's only by *not* training to be the NG et al that Deer Hunter Elmer stands a chance.
Yes, you'll need to work out a way to bring him into the fold when you wear leviathan down, but that's putting the cart before the horse. First, before you create the army, you're going to have to shoot officers, demoralize troops, sabotage transport, and steal or destroy Leviathan's sustenance, in order to strip every one of it's initial overwhelming advantages until it's just a broken, bloody, quivering husk of its former glory.
Pardon me for thinking that's exactly the sort of thing at which 20M partisans would excel. You deploy a Bn to step on a hunter, he declines the engagement. You send a squad, he shoots the NCO. You send a fire team, you never see them again, and the home team has 4 new sets of rifles, ammunition, web gear and boots. Pretty soon, Leviathan is stuck in the Green Zone, Dien Bien Phu, or what have you, and the other side is robbing you blind, reading your mail, and eating your lunch. Thus has it ever been when you try to subjugate people who won't cooperate. (The key is therefore IMHO armed people who won't co-operate.)
Yes, it'll require an eventual conventional force and shadow govt to transition out of insurgency, but you have to get to firts and second base with an insurgency or you'll never round third to come home. And to extend the metaphor, claiming marskmanship isn't important is like saying batting practice doesn't win baseball games.
Best Regards,

Anonymous said...

hemnmni17What Aesop just said......Yup!! I can go along with that,I just pray God I won't have to.

avidus said...

You raise a very good point. I don't know many folks in the FBI. I don't know many active duty folks as we're nowhere near any bases.

But I do know my local police force, and where most of them live. And my neighbor is a retired Sherrif's Deputy and he knows most of them, and where most of them live. Any I have relatives next to military bases who know many of them and where many of the off base folks live.

And that's without anyone in such organizations being recruited to share information. Or such folks having any anti-establishment views and sharing such information. It's also without any conscious effort to gather such information.

I was taught at Battle School not to play by my opponents rules, not to engage on their terms, or in terrain or at a time that favors the enemy.

With bullet tracking technology, ISR assets like drones, armor and artillery, the days of mustering a comparable rebellion army ala George Washington I believe to be gone. The way to do damage and stay in the long fight is to target regime assets that are difficult to defend. Start at the bottom with the local police forces and work up.

We will know the local party chiefs. We will know sympathizers. We will know the media propaganda folks. And we'll know everyone in Washington and in the state capitals. And that amount of people is extremely difficult to defend.

Marksmanship training is of course important. But I believe in the scenario you describe intelligence will be equally or perhaps more important.

I will also respectfully suggest that killing the regime's soldiers will not have the reaction than killing the regime's civilian supporters and leadership, even at local and state levels.

Regime's expect their thugs and soldiers to die. They don't expect, nor take well, their civilians doing so.

AM said...


Response to point 1: Your deer hunter would be cutting his own economic throat to not drive his truck or work his factory line. Denying the empire the fruits of his labor would be much more efficient than rebelling with a deer rifle. If he hasn't prepped, and turned himself into a soldier now, he won't have the resources to then.

Response to point 2: You are assuming that the deer hunter knows when, where, and who to engage. This implies at least an intelligence support network, that he currently doesn't have.

Response to point 3: Your math doesn't add up, "after the first volley" isn't going to happen. The empire fights via night raids, imprisonment, indirect and air strikes. The concept of going "rifleman to rifleman" is quaint, but even the Taliban has abandoned the close in fight (except for IEDs) and relies on heavy machine guns or IDF from long range. Get close to the coalition and die, that is the lesson learned from Iraq and Afghanistan. I don't know of many deer hunters who know how to deal with a machinegun attack from 700 meters with 60mm Mortars raining down around their deer stand.

Response to point 4: You are turning the hunter into a seasoned guerilla fighter, which he is not. And no one is Rambo when balled up in the middle of the night in their pajamas. Last I checked most deer hunters don't have night vision, so to kill the NCO in charge of the squad in the middle of the night he is at a distinct tactical disadvantage.

Now I agree with you that the 20 million Deer hunters is one of the current sources of recruits for the Leviathan. However, pulling drug users from the inner cities did supply the military with bodies for Vietnam (although historically even for that unpopular war the average Infantryman was a rural, white, volunteer). Drill Sargents have been turning inner city youths into Soldiers and Marines for decades at this point, so when the jobs dry up in the civilian sector recruitment goes way up.


Mt Top Patriot said...

No doubt there is a lot of truth in this perspective.

The continental United States, if you have crossed this great republic, is one big assed piece of real estate, with one hell of a lot of fed up, pissed off, and truly concerned people, armed to the teeth. And not with just arms either. Smart, inventive, ingenious, hard working, law abiding folks, who embody, posses, incredible technical and industrial ability. You know, the productive people of this great nation, the ones who make up the greatness of this nation. The government has no claim to this. And that in itself gives the folks who believe in liberty a quality all their own.
Now I'm saying it is a profound credit that speaks volumes of the values and principles, the tolerance and good old basic sense of propriety, that no one has decided it is time to discharge their 2nd Amendment liberty with the utmost enthusiasm.

Many have to ponder, do our elected representatives understand just how fortunate they are that people of America are of such character and moral quality that they are not swinging from a rope for the crimes, corruption, and treason they have perpetrated upon the electorate and our sovereign will?
It is a real question.

There are many perspectives in this life. While ones that involve the essence of military training and doctrine carry noble and practical value that absolutely can not be discounted, which should at every opportunity be embraced with forethought.

The same goes for a citizenry with a bone in it's teeth that has had quite enough of this fucking ruling class bullshit.

There is that timeless axiom that says quantity has a quality all it's own.
A quantity that has nebulous quality.
Push come to shove, and I suspect the push by the leviathan is intended to elicit such a response, it is going to be an event, sooner or later, when somebody is going to stand their ground, where that ground below their feet is the line that will not be crossed. When that day comes, everything changes. We are all going to know it is the event that brings a sea change. And regardless of the tactical or strategic disadvantages of an unorganized untrained group of folks spread far and wide, the very nature of this entity of armed redress bent on throwing off the torment of a government and it's apparatchiks gone tyranny, once pushed to this redress, will know no limits, will show no mercy, it will not stop, till it is completely wiped out dead, or has exacted the redress it fights for.

It is not far fetched to back such a forecast with a truth that no matter how bad things look, no matter how much destruction socially, economically, and culturally, no matter how outflanked the rule of law of constitutional liberty is, no matter how entrenched the domestic enemies of the Constitution, this here Republic was born in that Liberty, we are no matter what unique as a people, from the beginning of human recorded history to this moment born into Liberty. Tyranny, when it comes down to the hard awful bloody, nasty and misery of violent armed lawful redress, doesn't stand a chance against those who have nothing to loose and everything to gain by their standing their ground.

That's the truth.

Hefferman said...

I am just one of the 20 million deer hunters now. However back in the day, I was one mean Marine NCO, who could put a 10 straight into the head at 500 yards with iron sights.
I would not score a 300+ in a PFT, but could still score a good 2nd class, even at almost 50 years old.
What makes this special is it is not special. I am one of millions of former Marines, and other service men out here, sho know the equipment, and how to operate in a war zone. Been there, done that, and know I can still take care of myself today.
We maybe 20 million deer hunters, but at least 2/3s are former military, or will be lead by former military on our first mission for freedom.
If I was a betting man, I'd bet the farm and everything I had, on the 20 million deer hunters, lead by several million former military men.

Anonymous said...

1) There is a middle ground between no productive activity and selective activity. Let's not go all reductio ad absurda here. Ft. X and its client units will not long maintain their viability and effectiveness if they can't get supplies, POL, etc. Nor strike anywhere when 1/3 of the manpower is on permanent base security.
2) Not so much. The deer hunters are going to pick their opportunities and snipe targets of opportunity; "they're wearing ACUs" will be sufficient intel to start. If only 1/10 of 1% per week connect (not unreasonable odds) they'll scratch an equivalent division. In 4 months, .mil ceases to exist. Far more likely, .mil can't shoot, move, or communicate.
(And as an aside, the military collectively whined for 20 years after Vietnam *for being called names*. Morale and unit cohesion will fare far worse when care packages from home come in 62 grain increments every step they take.)
3) Kansas ain' Trashcanistan. IDF/airstrike plans won't work when they start shelling the local mall, freeway overpass, food distro center, and railroad switching yard. They flame a mall or 2 and somehow I think not only are logistics gonna get complicated, but those 20M deer hunters are going to have 100M new recruits.
4) It doesn't take very much seasoning to be a guerrilla fighter. Underestimating the enemy is a classic error. Barney isn't Hadji (and he's no slouch either).
As for who has NODs, peruse a Bass Pro catalog. When that NCO finds out it's an even match it's going to suck. When our troops come under effective night sniper fire, how do they fare at NTC?
I say again, they won't be fighting a guy who shopped at Hadjimart and dropped out of 3rd grade. It'll be a guy who fought in Fallujah, Panama, Beirut, or Khe Sanh. Or graduated from VMI or Tex A&M Corps of Cadets, even if it was 25 years ago. Mortars, big jets and loud bangs won't make him cry and wet himself. They'll either kill him (1 down, 19,999,999 to go), or he'll get away, come back, and kill some folks. And now he's got their night vision, DBAL, and boots.
Which he's going to give to his kid who won't be going down to the recruiter, because he's pretty pissed that they strafed his school, blew up his mall, confiscated his ride, stole his momma's groceries, and shot at his pa.
There won't be any recruits, because every time a bus tried to show up with a load of new guys at Camp Snoopy, someone firebombed the bus, and every time the DIs went out to town for a beer, someone slit their throats. Recruiters are now streetlight ornaments.

Being the occupying stormtrooper when ordnance is dropped on the folks back home will straight blow, and every general, private, and president forgets that lesson to their peril. The final exam usually comes up against a wall.

I've watched firsthand the same .mil flail (and fail gloriously) trying to quell a riot that over 99% of the citizenry didn't support. Any claims that they'll do better when their support drops to 50% - or worse - are irrational hubris.
The "book" says you need 10:1 to defeat guerrillas. If only 2M of the notional 20M oppose the govt., that only leaves the Empire about 15M troops short of anything like victory. As if they could mobilize a country to fight itself, on a scale unheard of since 1942.

The last army that tried to fight itself while cut off from the manufacturing strength of the country and goodwill of most of its citizens, buoyed by an irrational belief in their inate martial prowess, surrendered at Appomattox in 1865.

Best Regards,

AM said...


If 20 million deer hunters can be led by millions of veterans, why haven't they organized and reformed the current political situation?

If they can't get together now when there are no restrictions on travel, freedom of association, freedom of assembly, and the political franchise is open to them, how would they organize under the thumb of tyranny?

Something to think about.

Anonymous said...

I agree with hefferman; How many of those "deer hunters" are veterans of the US military? They will fill the role of squad leader and platoon leader and they know the tactics already. Since the deer hunters already have knowledge of weapons, they won't need as much training there. A crucial point, though, is direct engagements will be avoided at all costs. Too many other targets till the time is right.

Anonymous said...

If 20 million deer hunters can be led by millions of veterans, why haven't they organized and reformed the current political situation?

If they can't get together now when there are no restrictions on travel, freedom of association, freedom of assembly, and the political franchise is open to them, how would they organize under the thumb of tyranny?

Something to think about.

It has to do with what you said about the collectivist liberals being so violent, vrs conservatives being somewhat prudish in terms of attempting to apply morality to the concept of violence.
Conservatives (for a lack of a better term) believe in the idea of force, not violence.
What's the difference? Violence is inherently immoral, or negative aggression. Hence it's inherently unlimited in it's scope. The track record of collectivism (liberals)throughout history bear this out. There is no end to the violence they'll engage in to achieve the ends they desire.
Conservatives, or adherents to natural law, believe in the concept of force. Force being violence tempered by an inherent moral restraint in it's application or use, hence it being inherently limited in action.
It isn't prudishness on the part of conservatives, force is primarily a defensive action. Positive aggression in response to negative aggression.
How does that apply to our current situation and/or your post?
Most of us will not engage in the kind of violence advocated by so many liberals or otherwise engage in so-called "pitchforks & torches' over the current status quo for one simple reason. Because we understand we have a moral obligation to work within the current legal means we have available, be it our vote, through the courts, etc. However screwed up the system is and it is, so long as there is the faint hope to make the system work, we choose the moral ground to stand on.
That is why you don't see american gunowners currently opening fire on government officials of whatever stripe. They, we, understand the morality of force and don't engage in violence. Is there a point where force should be used? I believe so however that is a moral choice for any individual, not mine to make for others.


Rick said...

Something else about NOD's. They're made right here in the USA. Right in grand central somewhere, not out at some underground secret base. There are plenty of manufacturers. And at those plants is where Barney works.
Same as to where the bullets are made and the armored vehicles. Barney works at all the plants therefor Barney has access and access is the biggest step.
There is nobody that is coming to America to subjugate the population without knowing they will never see their home again. It is a suicide mission and will always be. Barney just needs to take one shot and connect then get back to fishing or playing X box. Do it even just 1 million times and you win, if there are even 1 million potential targets.

Jimmy the Saint said...


"Response to point 2: You are assuming that the deer hunter knows when, where, and who to engage. This implies at least an intelligence support network, that he currently doesn't have."

True, but it would be relatively easy to develop. Mass e-mail/text/twitter alerts could easily ID possible targets - a basic intel net wouldn't be too hard to set up.

"Response to point 3: Your math doesn't add up, "after the first volley" isn't going to happen. The empire fights via night raids, imprisonment, indirect and air strikes."

The British largely fought the IRA this way, and the South Armagh Brigade's snipers still drove them back to fortified positions. They just shot once and left. If the hunters decide to stick around and try to shoot it out, they'll certainly get the worst of it.

"Last I checked most deer hunters don't have night vision"

Plenty of them do, and it is easily acquired.

The organized military/law enforcement units will definitely have some major advantages, and will almost certainly win any set piece fight. However, a homegrown insurgency that was willing to play small ball wouldn't be exactly a sitting duck, either.

AM said...

Jimmy the Saint,

Ok, what is your plan to organize this 20 million deer hunter Army? If you say it will work, make it work.

Last I checked the IRA didn't drive the British out, so use them as an example if you wish, but realize it isn't an example for a political solution.

Dov said...

You guys should read "Total Resistance"; a Swiss guide on how to win should your country be occupied. It answers all your concerns.

Rick said...

Most still believe as Will stated, force not violence, but only when appropriate. It is still not yet appropriate as the 'system' is still viable; just barely but still breathing.
If there comes a time where force is needed, as in controlled violence, then I think it will start out as a 'shoot the guys not dressed like you', before it becomes anything organized. It will be against the odds once tyranny becomes entrenched but that in turn will just equate to more 'force' more often. Unfortunately, or actually fortunately, the American civilized masses don't believe in getting ugly early. We can all count that as a blessing living in relative peace as Americans, but do not forget that the phrase was coined by an American. We may not all think it, but as Ol'Remus stated recently on his blog, "Patience and good will tend to expire simultaneously."
I liken that to 'Get Ugly Eventually'.

AM said...

Rick, that the "popular uprising" scenario. It doesn't have a very good likelihood of success from a historical perspective.

A mob of violent people with no structure, no plan, and no support does not sound like a recipe for success.

Anonymous said...


I think the disconnect is that you seem to keep looking at "20M hunters" and seeing 10,000 potential regiments, needing the requisite uniforms, rations, drill, and coordination into a unified command - which I'll grant we'd need in the Fulda Gap in 1983. In the Shenandoah Valley in 2013 not so much.

Whereas we'uns see them as 10M+ potential sniper teams, free to shoot or not, as and when they will, and show back up at work in the morning, indefinitely.

In Southwest Asia, the insurgency there hangs on for a draw for over a decade, partly because they were never any sort of marksmen, but precisely because they refuse to become the main force units our military dispatches with ease. (Incidentally, what's the current avg. ratio of rounds/tons of ordnance per insurgent kill from 2003-yesterday, and how many *decades* will it take the U.S. at current rates to produce 2M, let alone 20M, times that quantity?)

That military if turned inward won't have a safe rear area anywhere here, won't have secure interior lines of transport nor stable, unlimited, or even sufficient supply, and will still face all the same disadvantages it can't overcome now, and at 20 times the opposing strength over 10 times the territory. And that's on Day 1. I doubt .mil lasts until Day 100 under those conditions.
(Unless they simply nuke the entire battlespace outside their bunkers, which defines the word "pyrhhic".)

That's why these ants don't want to become an elephant.

I think long before then, while the option for a do-over still existed, the troops would be recalled to their barracks and told to sit on their hands, while the Pentagon brass quietly visited the opposition leadership to lay out 20,000,000+ reasons why an impeachment, speedy trial (with the 82d AB Div pulling exterior security), and public hanging of a tyrant or three, ahead of a restored constitutional republic was in everyone's long term health interests.

Failing that, I think they'd simply shell the Death Star into rubble, and then oversee a restoration themselves, because they can do the math, but mainly because no one in our military sees either Custer or Benedict Arnold as role models.


Rick said...

There is no historical perspective when dealing with heavily armed Americans. We are all an X factor.
There is plenty of historical perspective for the French and other societies. America is the most violent society every to reign supreme on earth, including the Spartans.
Time will tell.

AM said...


Have you studied Roman history? Americans are really not that violent in comparison.

Jimmy the Saint said...


"Ok, what is your plan to organize this 20 million deer hunter Army? If you say it will work, make it work."

I don't have to. One, trying to set up an army would be pointless - massed ranks would be unnecessary and ineffective. Two, small local groups will organize themselves. Yes, many (even most) will be ineffective, give up, or get taken out. But some would succeed, at least for a while, and that would keep whoever they were fighting bleeding.

And domestic insurgents would have one big advantage that Afhgans and Iraqis don't - they can hit at the families of their opponents and can hit their opponents where they live, not just where they're based.

"Last I checked the IRA didn't drive the British out, so use them as an example if you wish, but realize it isn't an example for a political solution."

The British withdrew their troops, abandoned Direct Rule, and disbanded the RUC. That accomplished the bulk of what the Republicans wanted (though the fanatics still exist as RIRA and CIRA) - they're letting demographics deal with the rest: the Catholic birthrate is far greater than the Protestant one, so eventually they'll have the votes for reunification.