31 October 2012

Deer Hunters and Mao

With less than 150 views I've had over 30 replies to my last post.  Many of them explaining how I'm wrong, that 20 million deer hunters will be effective.  One anonymous coward called me a "staff college man, just like the ones who lost Vietnam!"  Obviously with a comment like that I'm in the presence of a military genius to rival Napoleon, or at least a little man with a Napoleon Complex.

So lets go back and review some of the history of successful insurgencies.  This is a subject I have written on before.  The most successful insurgency/revolutionary model in the modern era of warfare is Mao's three stage model, which Aesop brought up in comments.  I've even written that I believe that America is currently in the birthing stages of an insurgency.

Mao Tse Tung’s
Three Phase Theory of
Revolutionary War
1. Organization, consolidation and preservation of base areas,
usually in difficult and isolated terrain.
2. Progressive expansion by terror and attacks on isolated enemy units
to obtain arms, supplies and political support.
3. Decision, or destruction of the enemy in battle.

Notice that the first part of the equation is organization. Step one is ORGANIZATION.  Step two is EXPAND OPERATIONS.  Step three is WIN IN A CONVENTIONAL FIGHT DECISIVELY TO IMPLEMENT YOUR IDEOLOGICAL GOVERNMENT.  Hint, if you DON'T implement a government, then you will likely fall into a succession of "purges" as the more violent insurgents/revolutionaries grapple for power or hold a "reign of terror."

This is the same model that our Founding Fathers used.  Create a cadre of patriots, build popular support, throw some tea into the water, declare independence, fight a war to secure it.

Since there is NO ORGANIZATION there WILL BE NO REVOLUTION/INSURGENCY from the 20 Million Deer Hunters.  20 Million people, each with their own life, own priorities, and own problems, will not all decide to become sniper teams to take on the government.  Statistically it can't happen. You know why?  Because 20 Million Drivers would create a huge traffic jam.  People very seldom self organize across large tracts of geography, socioeconomic groups, or family lines.  It just doesn't happen.

There are a lot of reasons that the 20 Million Deer Hunters aren't organized, some just don't care, some don't have the time, and some don't see the point of aligning themselves with the "militia extremists" they think are nutjobs.  Statistically about half of those 20 Million Deer Hunters already work for the government at the Fed/State/Local level, and it is not in their best interest to be part of an anti-government organization of any stripe.

If I wanted to control my neighborhood, how many bodies would I need to bock off the three main roads that run through it?  How would I need to arm them to resist?  How would I reinforce their positions?  I could do it with 6 men and some heavy weapons.  I don't have 6 men, and I don't have heavy weapons.  How could I do it with strangers with deer rifles even if they did show up and volunteer?  Who would I talk to about tactical control of the entire town?  Would he or she have a grasp of tactics or just a thug with an agenda?

Right now there are men actively training other men in the skills necessary to work as part of a fire team.  This is good.  Right now there are men trying to connect Patriots across the nation, there was even CPX Foxtrot (relatively recently).  This is all great.  But it is not enough to win.  If the balloon went up today, right now, the odds clearly show 20 Million Deer Hunters not being effective at retaining freedom.

Now recently AP posted "the odds don't matter anymore."  He is talking about not being discouraged by the current odds, not being stupid and believing in the fairy tales about "20 Million Deer Hunters" or "100 Million Gun Owners."  I've quite a lot of respect for history, and while I truly hope this nation avoids the mistakes of the Germans, Russians, and Chinese in using the military as a domestic pacification force I don't think that we as Americans are fundamentally different from the Germans, Russians, or Chinese.  There exists currently in our 50% working population (employed by the .gov) enough sociopaths to do horrible damage to our nation.

Don't get me wrong, the 20 Million Deer Hunters and 100 Million Gun Owners represent a huge potential.  But potential is easily wasted if not disciplined into reality.  But the first step is getting organized.  Mao did it, the Founding Fathers did it, and if you think that the current generation doesn't need to do it, drive on with your bad self. 

20 Million Deer hunters, guardians of freedom?

Aesop has left a couple of comments that have provoked me into further thought on the subject of 20 million deer hunters.  A lot of people who believe that 20 million deer hunters are a credible threat to tyranny seem to have the "Underpants Gnome" plan for success.
Step 1. 20 Million Deer Hunters!
Step 2. ?
Step 3. Victory!

What this conversation really boils down to is how you get from step one to step three.  Expecting 20 million people to self organize into anything is, in my opinion, expecting a miracle.

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.
Actually I see 20 Million deer hunters and I start whittling away the ones that won't fight, can't fight, or are in the wrong geographic location to do anyone any good.  A deer hunter in rural Wyoming, New Mexico, or Alaska is in a position to maybe cause some trouble with a railroad or oil pipeline, but not really going to be all that effective at ending the siege of New York or Miami.  Successful insurgencies are population centric, and the bulk of our population is urban/sub-urban.

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.
If you give people the option NOT to do something, guess what most people are going to do?  Hey Joe, want to grab your rifle, low crawl two miles to get into the one good spot to make a shot at some random guy in uniform, then run like hell hoping we don't get killed by return fire/helicopter/air strike/indirect fire, and then go back to work the next day if we aren't maimed, in custody, or dead?  What do you think Joe is going to say?  Always expect individuals to act in their own best interest, and usually that involves some level of staying alive or risk aversion.

You see 10 million sniper teams, I see 10 million deer hunters that "zero their rifle 2.5 inches high at 100 so they don't have to compensate for drop out to 250 yards" and at least 90% would wash out of an actual sniper school.  20 million individuals who don't have a mission plan, target packet, or other support needed to make sniper missions a success even if they did have the skills.

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?)

The insurgency in Iraq failed to drive out the Americans, and right now is failing to topple the Shia regime that is in place.  They are stuck in the same rut as the IRA is in Ireland, still willing to be criminals, but the population doesn't really like them or care for their politics.  Also the insurgencies in southwest Asia have been much less successful at killing Soldiers than Aesop's projected casualty rate for the 20 million deer hunters.  Iraqbodycount.org lists just over 100,000 Iraqi's dead from violence, where last count for Coalition deaths was just over 4,200.  With that ratio of kills to losses the 20 million deer hunters would be killed by 1 million occupation forces.  Not a good comparison though, since a lot of the Iraqi deaths were caused by insurgents using IEDs.

The insurgency in Afghanistan has only one play in their playbook, but it's a really good one and it worked on Alexander the Great, The Mongol Empire, Britain, Soviet Russia, and now the USA.  Wait until the empire gets tired of wasting money on the backside of nowhere, eventually they will take their ball and go home.  In Afghanistan US casualties after more than a decade of war are a bit over 3,000.

Between Iraq and Afghanistan the coalition body count is still under 8,000 as of the time of this post.  The .mil can sustain that level of loss indefinitely.  So using SW Asia as an example of insurgents lacking coordination to stay in the fight is a bad example of a successful insurgency from a lethality perspective (and there are actually very well defined insurgent networks in both countries at this point).

Remember I'm not saying that 20 million deer hunters couldn't fight, I'm saying that they can't just fight and expect to win.
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.
Logically this makes sense, until you realize that not all terrain is key or decisive terrain.  The occupation forces do not need to control all terrain, only key terrain that allows a marked advantage.  Why didn't the insurgents in Iraq strike the ports in Kuwait?  Because they didn't think to fight outside their own neighborhoods and provinces.  What freedom fighter from Idaho is going to go execute a raid on the Portland docks?  Terrain dictates tactics to a large extent.  And expecting the occupation forces to be stupid about terrain is a bad plan.
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.
A military coup has never been a viable option in American history.  And if it ever did get to the Roman model of military matters, you can bet that Congress will simply stop paying Soldiers (although with 1.4 billion rounds of ammunition purchased by DHS and other gov agencies, I don't see the .mil being used as an internal security force).  How many soldiers would show up to fight without getting paid?  Who would issue the movement order to get the 82nd Airborne anywhere?  The .mil is under civil control precisely so we don't have a threat to the existence of the Republic, so we can avoid the military dictatorship of Rome.

One thing I have learned from studying successful modern insurgencies is that "they don't just happen" and it takes some sort of minimum level of coordination to win from the insurgent perspective.  I could be wrong about this, just because it has never happened before doesn't mean it won't happen next time.  But hope is not a method, and it sure as hell isn't a plan.

If anyone has a plan that can lay out how to get 20 million people to fight for freedom, and then lay down a stable Republic behind them, I'm all ears.  Expecting 20 million individuals to conduct unorganized and random acts of violence and get some sort of political result just strikes me as wishful thinking.  Don't fall into the "underpants gnome" logic and skip step 2, if you really believe that you have conditions for success, plan it out from start to finish and lay it out. 

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.

26 October 2012

Marksmanship Matters

A few days ago Oleg Volk a post titled, "The misdirected fetish of marksmanship."

Oleg made a series of statements that I fully agree with.  But he left one thing out.

If you can't shoot, you aren't a (direct) threat.  If you aren't a direct threat, you aren't effective at grasping the very basis of all politics, violence is power.  Freedom comes from the barrel of a gun is a political sentiment, the truth is that VIOLENCE comes from the barrel of a gun.  At the end of the day all politics boils down to who has the violence and the will to use it to get what they want.

In every revolution, every insurgency, the "Powers That Be" always kill more of the "freedom fighters" than the freedom fighters kill of the professionally trained, government armed and supplied, killing war machine.  This is leaving aside the "military coup" so common in various circles.

Winning an insurgency, a revolution, is about staying in the fight.  Eventually the "Powers That Be" will decide to take their ball and go home.  It happened in Cuba, Vietnam, China, Russia, America, France (a couple of times before it stuck), Algiers, Zimbabwe, and even India and Malaysia (the Brits were smart enough to see the writing on the wall and got out before the cost was too dear).  In a Civil War it is about staying in the fight and wearing the other side down, such as in America or Ireland (or Britain back in the days of Cromwell).  Marksmanship has a role to play in any political fight that big.

Marksmanship is not a misdirected fetish unless it becomes separated from the rest of the necessities of political freedom.  Oleg is completely correct that marksmanship alone can become a fetish, but it is not worthless when taken part and parcel of a larger set of activities.

Joe Huffman asks quite often, "Why are Liberals so violent?" and the answer is that the power of the state is always naked violence.  Liberals are quite honest about how they would rule given no limits.  Conservatives are actually quite prudish, often going as far back as St. Augustine and Thomas Aquinas in trying to apply morality to violence.  Liberals are not handicapped by this veneer of morality, they are the unthinking barbarians of our political world, the Huns, Visigoths, or Vikings who pay no respect to their victims and lay no excuses for their actions.

It reminds me of the series "Rome" where an exchange between Marc Antony and a politician... pardon the paraphrase.

"We have the Senate, and all the men of quality on our side" The politician says.

Marc Antony replies, "And I have an angry mob that will dance in the ashes of the senate."

Marksmanship is the pursuit of a disciplined warrior.  The calm mind seeks small groups.  The pause between breaths when the universe stands still and the trigger clicks in slow motion.  Marksmanship can become a fetish, like the sword of a Mameluke or Samurai, but it can also be the distinguishing factor of a consummate warrior.

But never forget in the pursuit of marksmanship excellence, that it is truly the pursuit of more effective violence.  Marksmanship is not a totem to ward off evil, no object or ritual wards off evil, only the violent actions of those fighting against it.

Lessons learned from fictional vignette writing

I originally started out the "Sam's Story/FC7" series to paint a picture of what a successful insurgency in the first world might look like from various perspectives.  I specifically wanted to highlight principles of electronic warfare in an first world environment (something that I think has been largely overlooked by ground forces the world over).  In the realm of a "thought experiment" fiction became a useful tool for framing a smaller part of a much bigger whole.

The truth is that Special Forces don't win wars (but don't tell them that).  Neither do Partizans or Guerillas.  From Francis Marion's successful campaign in the Revolutionary War many people mistakenly believe that hiding out in the woods and swamps is enough to win.  It is not.  At best the "irregular insurgent" can do is tie down a much larger conventional force.  The revolutionaries win by staying in the field after the empire has decided to take their ball and go home, and when that happens the revolutionaries need to have a functioning governing body to take advantage of the "power vacuum" or someone else will (hence the need for regular forces).  Even Disciple of Night's essay on General Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck over at John Mosby's blog reinforces my point, it is regulars who win wars on politically decisive terrain (something Lettow-Vorbeck utterly lacked). 

Successful Revolutions as a rule have a Regular fighting force of some kind.  From the Continental Army, Navy, and Marine Corps to the Peoples Liberation Army to the NVA, at some point the revolutionaries have to transition from irregulars to regulars or you end up with the Northern Ireland fiasco, a stalemate that lingers on and on.  The political situation is that Northern Ireland can hold a referendum any time it wants to reunite with the rest of the Emerald Isle, and the IRA has basically become yet another crime syndicate.

The untold parts of the story are what is really interesting.  Ask a Soldier who the greatest Teachers in the military are, and you'll either hear "Green Berets" or "Drill Sergeants" depending on the experience level of the Soldier you ask.  When you look at the function of a Drill Sergeant or a Green Beret, they are essentially the same, take a green recruit, or someone with a "school of hard knocks" education, and turn them into a fighting force to be feared.  Turning a volunteer into a trained fighter (or engineer, logistics expert, medic, etc) is how you grow the force, replace your losses, and generally go from a rabble into an Army. And so FC7 became the setting where I wanted to explore how such a thing could be accomplished.

 From Sam's perspective I wanted to make the point that even if you are functionally isolated and alone that your actions can still have positive consequences and repercussions on other people, even if you never meet them.  His lone wolf actions were the classic "partizan helping the regulars" that is in my opinion the most useful act of irregular forces in a "hybrid" fight.

From Julie's perspective I wanted to demonstrate an awareness of the electromagnetic spectrum, with things you can buy at WalMart or Radio Shack for pennies compared to some of the higher end commercial, industrial, or government spectrum awareness solutions.  The simple concepts of pulling batteries from electronic devices that emit radiation, using multiple commercial receivers to monitor for jamming, using frequencies that are unlikely to be jammed (such as commercial FM, who cares if you violate someones commercial rights if you are in open rebellion?), and placing them into a tactical setting where they made sense was really my only goal.

That I chose to make Julie a female generated more controversy than I ever expected.  I've gone to war with women who were smart, brave, and tough, and in any organization worth belonging to, talent matters more than rank.  If you won't follow a woman who knows what she's doing, but will follow a man who doesn't, that means you suck at following and should probably die of ass cancer.  On the flip side I've gone to war with women who were completely worthless oxygen thieves who were rightly drummed out of the service as quickly as possible (and more than a few men fell into that category too).  Just like only a few men become an Alexander (or a Patton), only a few women can become a Joan of Arc. 

The FC7 class vignettes were meant to portray some of what is necessary to grow an insurgency.  Having a noble band of a few at the beginning is completely wasted if the spark of freedom dies with them.  The networking, training, logistic support, all of it is useful. The easy part of an insurgency is tearing things down, the hard part of any endeavor is building things up.  Where would we be as a nation without the drilling and military expertise of Baron Von Steuben?

The one post in the series that elicited absolutely zero comments was the IRC log of insurgent leaders meeting.  The main purpose was to explain TOR anonymity and show that there was a large scale structure in place to coordinate operations and lines of effort across geography.  To be very honest I've been very surprised that a certain regional HQ in the middle east very far south of Afghanistan hasn't been repeatedly targeted by Al Qaeda (which is probably a hint that they aren't as big of an international terror organization as we have been lead to believe).  Anyways, a whole post of fake IRC traffic might have been just a bridge too far.

To top it all off, I could be wrong about everything.  History doesn't repeat itself, but it generally rhymes. I think that it is more important to get those interested in thinking about the bigger picture than "stockpiling ammo, food, and medicine" and looking at organizational structure, training, communication and coordination.  If you are going to tear something down, you better have something standing by to replace it.

25 October 2012

Conspiracy theory? Or connecting the dots?

Every once in a while I'll have to remind someone to "come back from the edge" of conspiracy theories, but occasionally all the facts just seem to point towards a malicious conspiracy.  

Anyone remember back in 2008 that Senator Obama mentioned the need for a "National Civilian Security Force" that was just as well funded and armed as the military?  http://www.wnd.com/2008/07/69601/

Guess that explains all the hollowpoint ammunition being bought up by the Social Security administration. http://dailycaller.com/2012/08/17/who-does-the-government-intend-to-shoot

Wonder where the bullet proof checkpoint booths fit in all of this? http://news.thomasnet.com/companystory/Shelters-Direct-Builds-Bullet-Resistant-Booths-for-Homeland-Security-612684

Maybe all the bullets and bullet proof shelters are to be used in conjunction with the new doctrine on Civil Unrest? http://info.publicintelligence.net/USAMPS-CivilDisturbanceOps.pdf

The General Officer who as a Two Star in charge of Alaska forbade troops from carrying firearms in USARAK, the same GO who in charge of I Corps and Joint Base Lewis McChord wrote a policy letter requiring all personnel assigned to JBLM with weapons stored within 100 miles of JBLM to register those weapons on post. be put in charge of NORTHCOM? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northcom  I don't know about very many GOs in the Army, but the current NORTHCOM commander is no friend to gun owners.

I'm not a fan of conspiracy theories, but all these data points are making me feel...itchy and uncomfortable.

24 October 2012

Talk Through Rehearsal

George looked around at his five team leaders.  Team was a descriptive word, the smallest team was two members, the largest team was 12.  All in all he had a "Platoon Minus" under his command for this operation, which if successful would provide a valuable morale boost for the entire resistance.

"Ok, Joe and Jenny are on the hill at 1000 and in position no later than 1200. " The pointer stick indicated where on the sand table that the husband and wife sniper team would provide overwatch.  "At 0300 the following morning under concealment of darkness Jack's team make their way up this wash to Support By Fire position Arc Welder."

George paused, and Jack picked up.  "We low crawl from the ORP up the wash, a line of sight analysis says we will be fine.  Abort criteria is if we are compromised or the QRF in the compound is activated."

"Joe, what is the abort signal?"  George asked. 

"We break radio silence, 'the apple pie is rotten, the apple pie is rotten, the apple pie is rotten' is the primary signal.  Alternate is a flash grenade tossed down the back of the hillside.  Contingency is two signal flares.  Emergency is we've done all of the above and Jack still hasn't started moving back down the wash and we start firing at cameras and towers trying to draw attention off the team."

"Good." George looked back towards the sand table.  "Once Jack's team is in position he will set up the support by fire line."

"Once the SBF is put into place Randy's team will provide the diversion."  George pointed at Randi.

"I will move with my Alpha section from our ORP to attack by fire position Broadsword, Bravo section will move south of the ORP 500 meters and set up the 60mm mortar.  My comms guy will stay in the ORP with and run the field switchboard from Broadsword to the mortars for adjusting fire."  Randy smiled.

"At 0345 we get to rock and roll.  Lots of sound and thunder." Randy smiled, using his laser pointer to maker the targets selected.  "Rockets, 40mm grenades, mortar. We only have 10 rounds of 60mm, so it'll be over quick.  Anyways we get a mad minute of fire on the target before we start our egress."

George nodded.  "Bill's team is staged here" the stick pointed to a road intersection out of line of sight of the target.  "Once the fireworks go off what do you do?"

Bill took the pointer.  "caltrops across the road will shred the tires of the QRF vehicles even if the explosives fail.  My anti armor team is posted here" the pointer moved to a hillside overlooking the roadway.  "They have satchel charges ready to drop on any vehicle that is disabled, might not kill anyone inside the armor, but is should be enough to silence the machine guns long enough for my assault team to get close and plant the limpet charges."

"What is the abort criteria?"  George asked.

"If the QRF tries to go off road directly to Randy's team we shift to the ambush plan." Bill pointed to a position three kilometers away, "the bend in the road is perfect, the explosives are in place, command wire already laid.  We take out the first and last vehicle then leave."

"Good" George smiled.  "All right, Jack, when is your signal to engage?"

"Bill lets us know the QRF is immobile via IRC, cell, or lastly radio."  Jack smiled.

"And finally, the main event, Casey."  George handed the pointer stick to his final team leader.

"Once the QRF is immobilized with all the antennas destroyed we will assume that communication back to the target is degraded.  We will approach along the normal road used by the thugs in our truck convoy, and hope that any inconsistencies with an actual military vehicle are concealed by darkness or battle damage."  

"Once half of my vehicles make it to the dismount point the Jack will open fire, supposedly spooking a driver causing my lead truck to ram the gate.  If the gate holds the driver will try to egress, igniting the time fuze before he leaves the truck."  Casey smiled. "If the gate gives, the driver will continue into the compound and ram his truck into his assigned target here, before pulling the time fuse and running like hell."

"Trucks two and three will follow, two cutting left, three cutting right, and discharge two men to drop satchel bombs on these structures before tossing grenades into these indirect bunkers."  Casey pointed to the sand table.

"Once Casey is inside, a red star cluster is the signal to egress for all teams.  Jack, egress at star cluster plus two minutes, Joe, egress at star cluster plus 4 minutes.  Everyone scatter to their team rally point, check in on IRC."  George rose up and paced, hoping he hadn't forgotten anything.

"All right." George smiled.  "Good work, we have two days to rehearse and prep.  This is when we get the first new moon after this unit rotated in to our AO."  George rose up.  "I'll leave the sand table in place so you can each take the time to brief your teams using it.  The next rehearsal will have everyone here in 12 hours, have your teams here.  Anything that you need and don't have see my XO about."

20 October 2012

Propaganda Corps

Deputy Sam decided that anything "off the record" didn't need to be off the record, and so he set up an audio recorder by using two "burner" phones he pocketed off of drug busts.  Simply setting one phone up to silent/no vibrate and auto answer, and presto, instant bug.  Sam kept the phones powered in minutes by buying minutes with cash at a store he knew the security video system was broken.  The phone jack on the non bug phone was plugged into a digital recorder and all it took was a press of the button to tape a conversation.

Sam didn't know how to do anything with his recordings but he decided that if his ass were ever on the line wiretap laws be damned he would bring someone down with him.  After six months of randomly tapping into the liaison officers office Sam's favorite quote was, "Well arrest him for something, we'll figure out how to make it stick later!"

Sam caught a lucky break when a pretty girl approached him at happy hour and started asking him questions about his patrol through the county, how many roadblocks got set up every quarter, and other tactically significant questions that even a set of cornflower blue eyes and three inches of cleavage couldn't make less suspicious.

"Look sweetie," Sam said, wishing he were handsome enough to actually warrant the attentions of an attractive young woman.  "Why don't you tell whoever told you to ask all those questions to contact me directly."  And with a tip for the bartender he left his business card with the burner phone number on the back.  The next day Sam got a phone call, and became a known asset for the resistance.

Sam's handler picked up the audio files through a USB stick at a dead drop and pushed them through as a bit torrent to the propaganda cell contact he had.  The intel section made a copy to analyze.  Most of the intel was old, simply confirming some of what was already known about law enforcement operations in Sam's county.  But just because it was of limited value to the intel section didn't make it of limited value.  The intel chief pushed a copy to a propaganda cell for exploitation.

Audio and video editing software is relatively cheap.  A person with a laptop an a few hundred dollars worth of software can put together a film on their own in their spare time, something that less than a lifetime ago was the realm solely of the super wealthy or those with commercial studio support.  The US Military stance on information operations is to use only the truth.  The instructors at FC7 took the same stance, after all, telling the truth in an untruthful world is a deliciously revolutionary act.  With the interconnectedness of the internet propaganda cells were found in various locations throughout the world.

Sam's audio files were combed through for the juiciest soundbites, and then correlated with the thug activities for the quotes.  The intel section vetted the final product and ensured that once released it wouldn't violate the source (Sam was quite grateful for not being turned into a walking target). 

The propaganda cell decided to focus on three cases, three innocent men who were locked up because they had the unmitigated gall to ask for a warrant, talk back to an officer trying to conduct an unlawful search, and refusing to consent to search.  All three had been given multiple year sentences on trumped up charges in a kangaroo court.  Telling their stories, and how the administration had broken their sacred trust to ensure the rule of law, not the rule of thugs, was a powerful blow to the legitimacy of the administration.

Three innocent men in prison stayed in prison when the .gov decided that it was better to stick to a lie than to admit that they had bad apples acting under the color of law.   However protests increased in frequency and open hostility towards the administration, and increasingly the population shifted support away from the administration.  The effects of propaganda weren't measured in body counts, material destroyed, or any other sort of measure.  The military strategists call this, "the intangible benefits" of ones efforts, and while no one will ever be able to count the people who lived or died because of a few folks with audio/video editing software, it isn't because they weren't effective.

18 October 2012

FC7: Intel Network

From, "Insurgent Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures. Vol III" published by the Imperial Canadian University, War Division, 2088. 

What follows is the summary of a former insurgent intelligence director based on an interview conducted by his grandson as part of the "Living History" Project.

First thing I did was set up the room.  The room held ten laptops because they consumed less power than desktops.  The internet connection was provided through a DSL modem, ran through a Linksys commercial router running a DD-WRT operating system with firewall settings maxed, wireless radio turned off.  An ethernet switch connected all the computers to the router.  I figured that having an internet connection was enough, no need to let the bastards know which room the router was in.

Each laptop was set to consume minimal power, and ran from a flash drive version of Ubuntu Linux.  The "raid" signal would cause everyone to pull the flash drive, throw it into the blender, and hit "frappe."  Booting back into Windows and logging on to World of Warcraft gave a plausible excuse for a lan party.

On each computer an IRC client linked analysts to observers all over the continent.  I remember when two military aircraft taking off from a southern base were noted by a retired flight mechanic and his two daughters.  That family took shifts watching the flightline.  Once the rebels had taken out the aerial refueling tankers it became much easier to predict the useful combat radius and time of the aircraft.  Except for rotary wing assets that could refuel pretty much anywhere ground support existed.  In that case we tried to have people in place to monitor FARP operations.

The single desktop acting as a server showed updates as the analysts input the data.  Unit locations, composition, strength, and any notes about them all accessible through an SQL database linked to an HTML map.  A hot swappable drive allowed rapid removal of any data stored on site, and a magnet and drill would hopefully erase anything incriminating.  Believe it or not programmers in India, Indonesia, or Singapore were more than willing to provide custom software for pennies on the dollar, and provide the source code along with the program.

Open source intelligence kept piling on too.  New reports, bloggers, twitter users, facebook updates, we tried to monitor everything we could, and correlate it with events on the ground to paint a clear tactical picture.

The biggest problem wasn't that there was a shortage of analysts, but that there was a lot of data to sort through in real time to provide tactical intelligence back to commanders.  Each of these cells I helped set up was focused on their own geographic commander, but often the thugs had their own concept of geography.  Recognizing when cross talk was needed between regions was key to staying synchronized. 

Building networks of observers took time, and each network set up their own method of communication.  Email, IRC, one network used a changing list of code words and Twitter to pass information, one used dead drops at a coffee shop and dog walking park.  No one wants to stick their hand in the dog poo bin to get a USB stick or handwritten note.

Finding people who lived near bases, stations, and depots was easy, sometimes it took a little while to earn their trust and secure their assistance.  Over time the network grew, sometimes in fits and starts, like when the thugs bombed a school and tried to blame it on insurgents jamming GPS.  Anyways, slowly but surely maps of patrol routes became clear, as were the rotating duties of the thug Quick Reaction Force. All sorts of data came pouring in, and we had to sift it, sort it, and file it away in real time plus talk to everybody else who needed to know about it.

After the third year my intel sections were very good at tracking the thugs, knowing where they were based, and pushing that to operational cells to maximize their chances of successful mission completion.  Files on thug commanders, their families, and personal lives were filed away in fat digital folders for future exploitation.  Sun Tzu talked a lot about knowing yourself and your enemy, and my intel sections made that happen.

17 October 2012

FC7: Irregular Electronic Warfare: RADARs

"Ok kids, can anybody tell me how many Surface to Air radar stations were bombed in the Balkan peacekeeping campaigns?"  Julie asked the class.

"All of them?" A young kid who looked like a typical computer geek answered with a raised eyebrow.

"Sort of." Julie smiled.  "The answer really is, anything that was turned on got bombed.  Including cheap Chinese manufactured microwave ovens with a hole drilled in the door.  Open fields with some old farm equipment, tarps, and logs could become an airfield.  Space heaters could become a Command Post on a mountain side.  Decoys, dummies, and battlefield clutter were only limited by the imagination of the planners."

"Right," The kid smiled, looking at his chart of wavelengths, "because the average household microwave shares the same wavelength as an S Band radar, and a commercial microwave oven in the L Band."

"Very good." Julie replied as the rest of the class gazed on with a glassy look in their eyes.

"Remember, we've covered the triangular ambush for low flying rotary wing aircraft."  Julie lectured, snapping some of the students out of the overdose induced haze.  "Remember, provide a threat in three directions and overwhelm the pilots OODA loop so that they can't make a good decision?"

"Right," A middle age man spoke up, "So instead of overwhelming a low flier with bullets, we overwhelm a high flyer with SAM alerts?"

"Right, imagine you are up there, where no small arms fire can reach you, and your radar warning system starts flashing L band and S band SAM warnings?"  Julie asked, noting all the students eyes bright with attention now.

"I'd probably crap myself and start pumping chaff and flares."  A bearded man in spoke for the first time.

"And that is why we are learning how to make decoy SAM RADAR sites."  Julie replied.  "Open your texts to page 47 to see examples of radar main reflectors that you can easily replicate with sheets of plywood and camouflage paint.  Think about what emitters we can gather on the open market to replicate the signal output, and what timing devices we can use to replicate a duty cycle."

"Remember, every bomb or HARM that blows up a decoy is tens of thousands of dollars not being spent bombing actual humans." Julie lectured.  "You have 15 minutes to choose a system to duplicate in wood, and conduct an initial sketch and materials list."  She clicked her stopwatch, "Go."

15 October 2012

Freedom Camp 7: Maneuver

From, "History of Revolutions, 1917-2125, third edition."

Freedom of maneuver on the battlefield in the post imperialistic era is often described in terms of dominating the terrain, containing the enemy, or in engineering tasks for mobility.  For those fighting to take back their country, freedom of maneuver was described in terms of opsec, communication, logistics, intelligence, and finally infiltration.  In previous chapters we described Freedom Camp 7 in detail because of the extensive memoirs, records, and legal documents of both the guerilla and government forces of the era.  In this chapter we will see how the guerilla concept of "freedom of maneuver" was implemented by the guerrilla networks stemming from the north through the south of the continent.

Upon graduation from a training camp north of the international border a team of four individuals packed a vehical, often a minivan, full of necessities.  Powder, primers, 175gr HPBT projectiles were common items.  The trip would take them first to a lake that spanned the international border, where they would unload the supplies that would be confiscated by the occupying border guards.  The supplies would be paddled south in canoes powered by 12 volt trolling motors along the banks of the lake until they would be unloaded into a cache point south of the international border.

This path was also the preferred path of those who didn't cross the border legally on the northern portion of their trip.  Sometimes the contraband went south on ATVs, sometimes on pack mules, sometimes on 4x4 pickup trucks by the literal ton load. 

Journeying south was a reversal of the underground railroad taking runaway slaves north prior to the outbreak of the first US Civil War in the 1860s.  Travelers would use techniques like switching between vehicles at random, no vehicle equipped with satellite assistance, and finding fuel caches.  Avoiding gas stations was a key part of the "southern railroad" success.  Five people buying two extra gallons of gas per week allowed the regional logistics manager to push a team over two hundred miles in any direction without any record of the fuel transaction popping up on any records.

No hotels were used by the travelers, credit cards and picture identification were risky to use.  Oftentimes travelers would head off the road into a national forest, or commercial forest.  If the GPS coordinates were followed correctly the team would encounter two 5 gallon jerry cans of fuel for their next leg of the journey.  Sometimes they would meet a person who would exchange vehicles with them.

And so little by little the logistics coordinators allowed teams to freely travel the highways, supported by the intelligence teams who tracked roadblocks, checkpoints, and general activity level of the thugs.  Intelligence updates were sent out through IRC channels and email.  See chapter 4: Guerilla Intelligence Activities for further in depth analysis of intelligence operations by non-state actors.

By making each team leave Freedom Camp 7 through a different "train" of support on the "southern railroad" and the cellular nature of the support network.  Communication fed logistics planners and kept up to date intelligence to travelers, limiting the number of people in the loop kept opsec tight, and all this effort allowed small teams to move from one location to another.  This same network allowed the guerilla fighting force to mass against the occupying force almost like water reforming over the impact of a falling stone.  The technique of massive air assault and airborne operations came two late to weed out the guerillas by the cease fire ten years into the conflict.

13 October 2012

Freedom Camp 7: Safe House Planning

“Safe House Considerations.”  The middle age woman underlined the words on the whiteboard.  “Welcome to your introduction to logistics support.  My name is Maggie and at the end of the next three weeks each of you will be fully competent in the theory of logistic support to an unconventional force in urban, suburban, and rural areas.”
Maggie wrote a list on the far left of the whiteboard.
Water, sustenance and hygene
Energy, on grid/off grid
Fuel, transportation/cooking
Communication, overt/covert
Medical Kits/Supplies
“If your commander came to you and asked if your sector could support six teams for five weeks, how would you calculate the amount of safe houses, and the amount of supplies, in each?”  No one offered a response.
“Historically you look at how many calories an active adult needs per day to thrive, we’ll set that at 3,000 and then multiply it by the number of people, then the number of days needed to support.”  Maggie smiled, “That would give you the overall number of calories you would need to fulfill your logistics mission.”
“Similarly you can break it down by servings, or any other method, but bottom line is that you need to know how much is there, and how long it will last.”  Maggie continued.  “Which brings us to water, normally a safe house has a water supply, but some have utilities disconnected, and so you have to figure how much water per person per day.”
“Getting down to energy and fuel.  If a house in the middle of a neighborhood, supposedly unoccupied, starts using electricity again, it can raise a red flag to the enemy.”  Maggie smiled,  “So it is essential that safe houses have some alternate form of energy, such as solar panels or a large stock of disposable batteries, to provide the temporary occupants with enough juice to prepare for their next mission.”
“And this brings us to fuel, how much white gas does a camp stove use when it is cooking a pot of stew and a pot of rice for a team of 4?”  Maggie stared out at the dumbfounded faces of her students.  “You will get a chance to figure that one out all by yourselves.”
“Communication” She went on, “Is vitally important, each safe house needs its own PACE plan for alerting the occupants, such as radio, cell phone, land line, IRC, got it?
“Clothing, medical supplies, and ammunition.”  Maggie paused.  “These are not required to sustain the temporary occupants, but to give them a disguise, get them feeling better, and get them back into the fight.  And I recommend as a tactic that the ammunition be in a separate cache near the safe house in case of a raid.”
A bearded middle aged man raised his hand, “So exactly how many safe houses would we need to support four teams for five weeks?”
“In my opinion, it varies with the area.”  Maggie responded, “In an urban area there are more eyes to hide from, and four people locked up in an apartment for days on end gets suspicious, where in a rural environment no one would notice four extra people.”
A woman with a touch of gray in her hair piped up, “How do we identify a safe house, what are the considerations?”
“Good avenues of approach and escape, a house people expect to be occupied, such as in a retirement community as opposed to a vacation community.  One that wouldn’t raise suspicions about having extra guests for a while, such as parents of a college age child.  Not all safe houses have to be unoccupied, the retired or semi-retired have been excellent caretakers where I used to operate.”  Maggie smiled.
“I guess that makes sense, a lot of the retiring baby boomers are still packing the pantry like they have to feed the whole family, even if it is just the two of them.”  The bearded man opined.
“Now, to talk about operational security, you need to understand that your safe house operators do not need to know about each other.  Some of them may be on a first name basis with others doing the same thing, but for their safety you need to keep them isolated.”  Maggie frowned, “At best you will have subordinates who work no more than 4 safe house locations each, and each of them will have no idea about the others work, and more importantly YOU will have no idea about the names or exact locations of those involved.  Your job here is to learn how to keep a running inventory and ensure timely resupply to keep the whole system going.”
“Now”Maggie smiled,  “Open your field manual to page 2 dash 1 and read through to the end of the section.”

11 October 2012

Freedom Camp 7: Subgun, Pistol, Grenade Class

"All right bolos," The grizzled old man yelled, "You are here because you can't shoot a rifle for crap. And while those who can shoot for crap are off playing Annie Oakley you are going to learn to close with and destroy the enemy."

"But don't feel bad, the term 'bolo' came from an insurgency long ago in a place called the Phillipines."  The old man spit redman in a long brown stream.  "Maggots like you who couldn't even qualify with a rifle were given a bolo knife to fight with, and there is nothing that says you are a gorramed warrior like shoving a foot of steel through someones guts.  Now line up and count off by twos"

The class lined up, and counted off 1 and 2 until everyone was partnered up.  22lr semi automatic rifles were issued, along with heavy dummy grenades.

"You bolos won't get a real subgun until you prove to me that you aren't going to waste my precious ammo.  And you won't get a live grenade until you can throw the dummy with utter precision!"  Another stream of redman hit the ground.  "You can address me as Tom, which is short for 'The Old Man' if you are acronym challenged.  Trust me, this training sucks and by day two you'll want to be with the Annie Oakley's trying to shoot wings off a gnat.  Allow me to explain what this program of instruction involves."

Day 1 through 4, Air Rifle and "Appleseed".  "For those not paying attention, that was the last four days of training, and the reason you get called 'bolos' in case you forgot."

Day five, basic movement drills for buddy teams.  Buddy set, buddy move.  Low crawl, high crawl.  3 to 5 second rush.  Everyone was sore, and everyone was tired.  "Good job Maggots.  Get some rest, tomorrow we do it all again."  Tom smiled as the last bruised trainee turned in their 22.

Day six, basic movement review, add two fire teams moving together.  1 in 4 moving, 2 in 4 moving, and 3 in four moving drills, whether they were facing 3, 2, or 1 enemy.

Day seven, an easy day, the theory of moving through doorways, hallways, and cutting corners.  The basic tactical four man stack was fleshed out, and team leaders were chosen from their peers.

Day eight, introduction to the shoothouse and CQB marksmanship.  Toss a grenade, move after the bang, engage the targets.  Tactical movement formations, wedge, vee, file, tactics for crossing danger areas.

Day nine, react to contact drills while moving, CQB marksmanship, standing, turning, walking.  Grenade practice, 1st floor window.

Day ten, break contact drills from tactical formations, CQB marksmanship, kneeling, prone, barriers.  Grenade practice, 2nd floor window.

Day eleven, ambush, theory and practical exercise using a dummy explosive initiator.  Grenade practice, trench.

Day twelve, CQB marksmanship review and proficiency test.  Grenade practice, enemy in the open.

Day thirteen, shoothouse review, and proficiency test.  Grenade practice, sand sock anti-roll technique.

Day fourteen, introduction to pistol marksmanship, standing, kneeling, prone.  Grenade practice, bunker/barrier.

Day fifteen, subgun to pistol transition.  Grenade practice review.

Day sixteen, shoothouse review with pistol transition.  Grenade accuracy test.

Day seventeen, issue full caliber weapons, weapons fam fire, ambush review with pistol transition in play, improvised explosive initiation.

Day eighteen, tactical foot movement, assault objective, shoothouse culmination.

Day nineteen, live grenade exercise.

Day twenty, graduation.

"All right bolos."  Tom the instructor smiled, "You've learned the very basics.  Remember, overwhelming fire as soon as you can, as much as you can, then get the hell out of there."

10 October 2012

Freedom Camp 7 class: Small Unit Tactics: Terrain

Each table had a map on it, and each pair of students looked over the map trying to read the terrain for advantages as to where to put their machine guns.

"Time's up."  The instructor yelled.  "Everybody back away."

One by one the instructor went to each map, and made each set of students explain why they had chosen to place the guns on the top of a hill, at the base of a hill, or in the middle of a hill.

"In this class there is no correct answer."  The instructor reminded a student after he had gotten red faced when his answer of "plunging fire on the valley below" was met with, "ok, plunging fire on to a valley filled with trees that block your line of sight?"

The student who got the most praise chose to split his guns, one at the top of the hill and one at the base, providing "grazing fire" along the road through the valley using the gun on the hilltop as security for the gun providing grazing fire.  "Sir, I know that it sucks running up hill with a machine gun, so having some cover fire makes that task a little easier."

A new map was passed out to each pair of students.  This time it was an urban map, and the assets were "Demolitions Team: Anti-Tank", "Sniper Team" and and "Fire Team."  The task assigned was to optimally place the assets an ambush with emphasis on lethality and survivability from return fire and reinforcements.  "Everybody understand?  Five minutes, go" and the ancient mechanical stopwatch started ticking.

Students argued with their partners, but each unit was placed.  Some students chose to initiate the ambush with the Anti Tank team, some chose to initiate the ambush with the fire team.  "And....Stop" The instructor said, "By show of hands, who initiated with the Anti Tank team?"  Half the class raised their hands.  "Conversely, who initiated with the Sniper Team?"  a quarter of the class raised their hands.  "And I assume the rest initiated with the fire team." 

"All right, I want everyone to break off into the group they raised their hands with, and you get ten minutes of discussion time to come up with the best defense of your choice."  The instructor raised his stopwatch. "Go."

"And...stop" The instructor clicked the watch.  "Fire Team initated group, explain your choice."

A tall blond man with brown eyes nodded.  "The fire team is equipped with grenades.  By setting up the Anti Tank team on the likely avenue of approach they can detonate against the reinforcements coming to assist the enemy in the kill zone.  By setting up the sniper team to act as overwatch on both teams they can maintain situational awareness.  This strikes a good balance between lethality and survivability."

"Excellent points." The instructor smiled.  "Who would like to rip that defense apart?"  Several hands shot up.

"Jean Michael, go ahead."  The instructor sat back and listened. 

"In this scenario the fire team must engage with grenades, and grenades may not incapacitate a vehicle unless thrown precisely, which means very close.  Very close means that your fire team will be inside the "anti ambush" bubble of the thugs in the vehicle if they are on their toes, and relying on the enemy to be stupid is a poor plan."

"Excellent points as usual."  The instructor nodded. "Now defend your choice, initiating contact with the Anti Tank Team."

"By attacking with our most lethal asset first we maximize our chances of dominating the engagement.  We placed our sniper team as an observer with a clear line of fire into the kill zone as well as the high speed avenue of approach from the nearest thug reinforcement location.  The fire team is co-located with the ATT to exploit the confusion post blast with grenades and small arms fire."

"And who covers your retreat?"  The blond man asked, ready to get a few licks in at the teacher's pet.

"The sniper team provides early warning against reinforcements and precision fire into the kill zone allowing the fire team and ATT to disengage."  Jean Michael smiled and pointed to the map.  "Routes of egress follow main arteries to alleyways to basements and tunnels.

"And rendesvous points?" The instructor prompted. "The 'go to hell' plan?"

"My apologies."  Jean Michael responded. 

"All right class, I think I've made my point clear that there are no truly wrong answers, only those that are well thought out and those that are not.  The manuals will teach you the theory and practice of how to set up an ambush, but only thinking will tell you where to put it, and when to use it."  The instructor continued.  "Our next session will be on fire superiority, and how to choose the appropriate mix of weapons to achieve the effect you desire on the enemy."

"To get you thinking, let us look at the rates of fire for the German K98, G43, and MG42."  The Instructor smiled.  "If we assume that we need 800 rounds fired against the enemy in one minute, we could use one MG42, sixteen G43's, or eighty K98s to achieve that effect.  This is based on a premise though, anyone care to explain the premise?" 

The students murmurred amongst themselves, then the blond man raised his hand.  "The premise is that the number of rounds fired will achieve an effect."

"Exactly!" The instructor smiled.  "Military thinkers have made this mistake for centuries because it is an easy mistake to make.  Much easier to think that X number of rounds will achieve this or that effect.  Our German example is a great way to say that one MG42 is not the equal of 80 riflemen armed with k98s, no matter how the 'bullet math' seems to add up."

The instructor put away his stopwatch and pulled out an ancient briar pipe.  The students knew that when that happened the class was transitioning into lecture mode, and they took their seats. 

"Several years ago, when most of you were very young or not born yet, a Palestinian terrorist killed an Israeli Defense Force fire team with nothing more than an ancient K98 Mauser."  The instructor tamped down the tobacco and lit it with a match, for some reason the pipe always tasted better when lit with a match.  Two puffs to get the cherry lit and the instructor continued.

"The mix of advantageous terrain, and accurate fire, demonstrated yet again that a single rifleman can dominate an engagement, even when facing five highly trained IDF Soldiers armed with the worlds premier Infantry Rifle, the M16 at the time."  The instructor puffed happily on his pipe.  "Of course all this was written down as fiction years before, a lone man with a Mauser against a battleship, but in that story he too had the advantage of terrain."

"But getting back to the K98/G43/MG42 issue, you can maneuver with two or more elements, and while you can maneuver with a machine gun, it is something that only the extremely proficient teams do very well."  The instructor blew a smoke ring and paused to admire it.  "The truth is that I personally would rather command 16 men armed with G43's than either a lone MG42 or the 80 man Company of K98 wielding Soldiers.  But that is from a viewpoint that balances the logistic needs of 16 men verses 80 men, and the tactical utility of how I could employ them."

"So class, when would 80 men with K98's be better than 16 men with G43's?"  The instructor asked.

"In the defense."  Jean Michael piped up immediately.

"As area security" The blond man answered immediately on Jean Michael's statement.

"As a screening force."  Answered a third.

"Ah, and when would a single MG42 be better than either 16 men with G43's or 80 with K98s?"  The instructor enjoyed these little impromptu q and a sessions, challenging his students to think.

"In canalizing terrain where you can't get 16 or 80 men into position to fire into the avenue of approach."  The blond man said.

"When you need a lot of firepower with a small logistic footprint." Jean Michael responded with a thougtful tone.

"Yes, very good." The instructor smiled as he dumped the ashes from his ancient pipe.  "So now we will continue on that vein, and add combat math to our exercises.  Everyone go to Map Alpha, sector Charlie, and plan a defense with a Fire Team, MG Team, and ATT, and calculate how long you can defend based on an average load, and be prepared to discuss how to extend that time.  You have fifteen minutes, Go."  And the pipe was replaced by a ticking stopwatch.

"And...stop."  The instructor smiled.  "How many people expanded their defense time by giving up terrain?"  Half the hands shot up.  "and how many expanded their defense time by locking the enemy into a terrain feature?"  And the rest of the hands shot up.

"Break into two groups, you have five minutes to defend your choice, Go" and the stopwatch began to tick.

08 October 2012

Marksmanship, Freedom Camp 7

Shelley ran the patch through the bore one last time to make sure it was clean.  Jack to her left was checking the same in his rifle.  "Not bad for the first day." Jack commented.  It was still dark outside and they were preparing for the influx of students to their class.

"No, most of them managed to hit the backstop at least." Shelley frowned. "Although a few of them are already decent enough, at least at 25 meters."

The marksmanship training program at Freedom Camp 7 was based on a modified "Appleseed" program of instruction to get give everyone a foundation to build on, and shake the rust off of anyone who might need a rundown cruise.  Anyone who volunteered had to go through the two day course.  Day one and two were air rifle to get position shooting down.  Days three and four transitioned to rimfires.  Anyone who hadn't qualified to move forward after day four was sidelined over to the "subgun, pistol, and grenade" training pipeline, and those who qualified to move forward began the "precision marksman" course.

A mix of rifles, from Norinco M14 clones, Parker Hale C3 surplus sniper rifles, and various "varmint" bolt action rifles, were used in training "precision marksmen."  The ammunition was standardized to 175 gr HPBT in 308, and 75gr HPBT in 223.  These were available from the European market and readily loaded to "match standards."  As Jack handed out rifles to students who had paired up Shelley began the inbrief.

"Welcome to introduction to precision rifle" Shelley said.  "I don't care how good a shot you think you are, how good a shot you actually are, or whatever qualifications you had before coming to this course.  You will participate or you will be dropped. You will stay focused or you will be dropped.  You will learn all the material or you will be dropped."

The last student picked up his issue rifle, a Remington 700 PSS topped with a Bushnell Elite 10x mildot scope.

"You just spent four days with practically unlimited ammunition to train on.  We are not here to pull triggers just to pull triggers, we are here to make sure that you can make each and every shot count."  Shelley continued as she began passing out blank dope books. "You have been issued a rifle, you will carry your rifle everywhere.  It is big, it is heavy, and it is your responsibility.  You won't get to fire it for at least two days, if you have a problem with that, quit now."

As the last student took her dope book Shelley finished, "If you have a problem with math you might as well quit now, we wash out more students in the first two days than we ever do during the shooting portion of training.  Any quitters?"

No one volunteered to quit.  "Ok kids, here is what we will cover over the next two weeks."

The program of instruction build on Air rifle and "Appleseed" days 1 through 4.

Day 5: Introduction to exterior ballistics.  Effects of gravity, wind, and atmospheric density were explained in agonizing detail for eight hours.  Clean cold bore shot.  Fouled cold bore shot.  Issue blank "dope book".

Day 6: Mil dot range estimation.  Students took a "nature walk" with an instructor to various firing positions and calculated the shot based on distance, angle, atmospheric conditions, and weapon systems. 

Day 7: 5 rounds issued.  Confirm 100 meter zero.  Intro to weapons maintenance.  Wind call exercise and range estimation in the afternoon.  Any student with ammo left over can carry it forward.

Day 8: 15 rounds issued. Confirm zero at 200, 300, 400, 500, and 600 meters.  Any student with ammo left over can carry it forward.

Day 9: Hide selection and construction.  Urban and rural.  Practical exercise using entrenching tools.  2 rounds issued, 400 meter shot.  Any student with ammo left over can carry it forward.

Day 10.  Shooting practical exercise.  1.5 miles between shooting positions, shots from 250 meters to 600 meters.  5 shots total.  10 rounds issued.  Any student with ammo left over can carry it forward.

Day 11. Exterior ballistics review.  Weapons maintenance review.  Prep for phase one culminating test.

Day 12. Culminating test of all subjects covered.  Students failure equals drop from class.  10 rounds issued, unknown distance engagements 100 to 600 meters, 5 shots.  All "ammo carried forward" must be turned in for extra points on the test or expended on targets.

Day 13. Phase 2. Ghillie suit construction.  Introduction to the stalk.

Day 14.  Stalking.practical exercise, dry firing solution.

Day 15.  Stalking practical exercise, dry firing solution.

Day 16. 700, 800, 900, 1000 meter engagements, 7.62 systems only. 20 rounds issued.

Day 17. Stalk to engage targets at unknown distance. 4 rounds issued two targets

Day 18 Stalk to engage targets at unknown distance. 3 rounds issued.two targets

Day 19 Stalk to engage targets at unknown distance. 2 rounds issued.two targets

Day 20. Graduation.

"Ok, now that we've covered the syllabus, anyone want to quit?" Jack asked the class.  "No? Ok any questions before we get started?"

"Yes Sir." A young man asked, a whisper of a beard growing on his chin.  "When will we cover incorporating into a unit of action?"

"Good question." Jack replied. "But you won't get that here.  Right now there are multiple classes going on here at FC7, there is even one called "Battle Tactics" that unit of action leaders are going through right now to figure out how to used different skills and assets on the battlefield.  As part of their graduation they have to plan, and execute, a synchronized and harmonized plan of action.  You are here to learn how to be a good cog in the machine so that when one of the guys with a 40 pound brain gives you a support mission you can execute to perfection."

"And don't think that if you graduate this course you'll be ready for action."  Shelley smiled.  "Each student will only get to pull the trigger 61 times in this course, so at the very most you will have 61 shots recorded in your dope book."  Shelley pulled out her one inch thick binder.  "This is my dope book for when I shot competitively.  I have engagements out to 1000 meters every 25 meters with 6 different loads."

"Will we get to keep our rifles?" Another student asked.

"No."  Jack responded.  "We have a mix of rifles and scopes here to represent a cross section of what you would find in the field.  When you get adopted into a Unit of Action they will be responsible for arming you with an appropriate weapon system."

07 October 2012

Engineer Class at Freedom Camp 7

Jeremy handed out wooden blocks cut from a 2x4 and some 550 cord.  The blocks had holes drilled to represent an insertion point for either detcord or a blasting cap.  The winter classes filled up fast with volunteers from the refugee camps in the province.  Jeremy hadn't been a combat engineer since Vietnam, but he transitioned that career into a civil engineering degree and a successful career working for the Department of Transportation overseeing construction contracts.

He hadn't cared one way or another about who was in charge, new boss same as the old boss, until his daughter got swept up in a protest raid at college and raped in the holding pens the police had set up to handle the overflow of "criminals."  Sarah had gotten knocked up and while they loved their new grandson just as much as any of the rest, Jeremy couldn't forgive the cops who looked the other way when one of their own decided to rape a prisoner.  If they would close ranks to protect one of their own, then guilt by one was guilt by all according to Jeremy.

Anyways, Jeremy found out how vengeful the thugs could be, blow up one tiny police motorpool and your name is mud forever.  Jeremy made it across the border less than a day ahead of his arrest warrant being signed and being added to the "most wanted" list.  But he had made it, and his family too.  Within days of arrival Jeremy tried to find a way to give back to the people who took him in.  When Jeremy had told the camp commander that he could train on demolitions with just scrap wood, 550 cord, modeling clay, and tape, he was met with a chuckle of disbelief.  But the commander figured it couldn't hurt, and the first class was such a success that regional commanders were sending up experienced fighters to get prepped for bigger missions.

"British junction to an I Beam cutting charge, go!" Jeremy started his stop watch as the students began taping blocks of wood to the I Beam.  The smart sapper got a recon of his objective so he could make the charges needed ahead of time, instead of futzing around with explosives on the objective.

"All right, 55 seconds, not bad." Jeremy said as he inspected the taped 550 cord to ensure that it was actually equal length, that the British junction (the point where the cords come together on a common ignition source) was taped tightly together, that none of the 550 cord was laying across any.  Detcord explodes so fast that you have to be careful to not let it cut itself and stop the detonation.  Jeremy found one "block" that had a single strand of 550 cord in it as a detonator, "Ok folks, see this?  Remember two is one and one is none when it comes to priming explosives. But other than that, excellent work."

"Ok class, these blocks represent C4, can anyone tell me if this charge would have been successful using blocks of TNT?" Jeremy smiled.

"Yes Sir" A red bearded man spoke, "The amount of C4 we used was twice as much as called for for the I beam, and the Relative Effectiveness Factor for C4 against TNT is 1.3.  Since the REF is between 1 and 2, and we used twice as much to start with we ensure that it would work, even using TNT.  Assuming that the blocks are a measurement of weight, and not a measurement of volume."

"Good job Rob."  Jeremy smiled.  "Did everyone follow?"  Heads nodded and shook with almost an equal mix in the group.  "Ok, back to theory one more time."  There were some groans when Jeremy went into "lecturing engineer" mode.

"Explosions are very simple, they are a matter of shape, amount, and composition.  Explosives explode at different velocities and different energies.  Low explosives detonate at a speed less than the speed of sound, high explosives detonate faster.  To get the same effect from different explosives, you need to use different amounts, and we compare them with a "Relative Effectiveness Factor" as compared to good old TNT."  Jeremy saw heads nodding.

"Rob knew that we used twice as much C4 as we needed to, and he knew that C4 doesn't have an REF lower than 1, so using the same mass of TNT would successfully cut the I Beam."  Jeremy smiled.  "Look, I'll teach you how to do the math a couple more times before the test, but in real life you'll just consult the reference book depending on the composition and thickness of whatever you are trying to destroy.  But bottom line, if you calculate for C4 but all you have is TNT you need to increase your charge by 30% to get the same effect as using C4."

"Ok, anyone want to tackle an abatis  for extra credit?" Jeremy smiled as several people groaned.  "All right, independent study for the next two hours, break out into small groups.  Group A, satchel charges and tactics appropriate for them.  Group B, cratering charges and tactics appropriate.  Group C, entry charges through brick, masonry, and concrete.  Group C, steel cutting charges for a reinforce door and minimum safe distances."

So far graduates of Jeremy's impromptu engineer academy had destroyed several million dollars worth of war machinery by dropping a train pulling equipment into a canyon a la "Two Mules for Sister Sarah" and sank several cargo ships transitioning the straights under cover of darkness, at least until the CG stepped up escort patrols.  Jeremy sipped his dark coffee and answered questions, usually about math, from the study groups.

Jeremy taught at Freedom Camp 7 for two years before he died of a heart attack, possibly modern medical care could have extended his life but when his family read his "just in case" letter they knew that he died a happy man.  He was buried deep in the forest in the spring rain, right next to a boulder deposited by a retreating glacier eons ago.  To this day Engineers make the thirty mile hike to leave a regimental crest or piece of 550 cord tied into a Uli knot at Jeremy's boulder.

06 October 2012

Commander's Forum

Internet Relay Chat uses "onion routing" to provide a layer of anonymity to users.  The problem is that with anonymity comes the problem of authenticating users as the people they really say they are.  Jack found that the best way was to set up a channel that he could monitor, give a "challenge/password" to anyone looking to get to the real meeting (on a completely different network) and control who attended that way.

nathanhale: Ok, so Julie got hit on her last run, lost a man.  Do we pull her out?
pathenry:  Yes, move her up north to run an EW course for team leaders.
cptparker: I disagree, this could have been a random event.  I say leave her cell phone as bait and see if anyone comes a knocking before we move someone out of a critical position.
prevere: I agree with CPTParker, she's been great log support in my AO.
shouston: Better safe than sorry, send her north.  Loggies we have, EWO's not so much.
vsteuben: How about I send two Loggies south?  Fully trained, good to go. 
cptparker: Are either as good as Julie?
vsteuben: Yes, Julie got her training the old fashioned way, being told "Congrats, you're the S4", these two were brought up through the ranks specifically as loggies.  One did theater level sustainment ops in Iraq and Afghanistan, the other did ship logistics for the squids."
MollyPitcher has joined the channel 
cptparker: As long as it doesn't affect op schedules I'm ok with the swap.
prevere: I agree, Julies taught most of the team leads under me what to look for as far as jamming goes.  Makes me wish we had some jammers for ourselves.
shouston: Ok, are there any objections to swapping personnel?
shouston: Going once?  Twice?
shouston: Ok, PRevere get Julie headed north ASAP, most direct route.  VSteuben, send those two south, see if you can't arrange a meet between them and Julie for a few days along the way to do a "high five" relief in place.
mollypitcher: Got it SHouston, they are at my location so they'll start packing tonight.  I have them teaching up here but there will be no effect on the students as I have enough instructors to cover the loss.
pathenry: WTF?  lose one girl just to get two more?
mollypitcher: Yes Pat, what did you expect?
pathenry: It just seems wrong, relying on women to do men's work.
mollypitcher: Pat, all across the world women have been filling key logistics, intelligence, medical, commo, administration, and other positions in every major military for decades, get over it already.  Hell, a quarter of the Sappers and Snipers we train up here have a vagina.
pathenry: I'll live with it, just don't have to like it.
shouston: Moving on.  Funding, where are we sitting on cash reserves?
cptparker: 4 months reserve
nathanhale: 3 months
prevere: 4 months
vsteuben: 6 weeks
shouston: Ok, I've been concentrating on drug house raids.  Good source of guns and money, and we get a "twofer" that the locals like us more.
cptparker: We did the same last year, until the cartels and thugs started working together to attack my organization.  Beware of a target too good to be true, that's how I lost a full team.  We've backed off since then since we don't need the cash just yet.
shouston: It's a good idea to start up again to build a war chest.  Every bit of cash we send north now is money well spent.  I'm looking to grow, not just sustain.
mollypitcher: I've got feelers out to a chinese arms dealer, but to get anything useful the order will have to be big.
shouston: All right, to get toys for Christmas we need to start the layaway plan now. 
prevere: What do we need from the chinese that we can't buy, make, or capture?
mollypitcher: RPG's come to mind, and some mil grade plastique.
prevere: More explosives?  Hell half the folks I recruit are convinced they are MacGuyver and can turn bisquick into a bomb.
mollypitcher: And most of them are fools who would blow themselves up making a pipe bomb.
prevere: True, I'd love to get some commercial radio controlled blasting caps to go with the plastique.
mollypitcher: Anything radio controlled will get jammed eventually.
prevere: True, but they can't jam everywhere all the time.
mollypitcher: Fine, I'll put it on the wish list.  Anyone else want anything specific?
cptparker: A bunch of those Norinco M14 clones if you can get them.
mollypitcher: I think I can get those off of the economy up here, we can set them up with knock off Loopy Mk4 scopes in M21 configuration.
cptparker: Perfect.
pathenry: I need something with some punch, 20 mil or larger.  A lot of targets in my AO have been 50cal hardened.
mollypitcher: I'll see what I can get.
shouston: Don't worry about me Molly, I have a local guy who can run stuff up to me from south of the border at discount prices from the Federales.  I'm set.
mollypitcher: Ok, but if you get any excess, shoot me what you have so I don't waste money buying something already in the pipeline.
mollypitcher: Any other requests?
mollypitcher: Ok, see you next week.
MollyPitcher has left the room.
PRevere has left the room.

05 October 2012

The Operations Briefing, MilHQ

Briefings are part of the culture, you can't get away from them.  Officers who withstood enemy fire would sometimes wilt under the gaze of a particularly sharp Commander who picked them apart detail by detail.  The Operations Officer was dreading this morning's brief as it contained even worse news than yesterdays.

"General, Sir, your morning SITREP briefing has been updated to reflect the updated casualty list from the incident yesterday in Delta Sector"  The full bird checked his notes while the light colonel flipped the PowerPoint slides.  The secure briefing room held a large conference table filled with representatives from each staff section.

"Five dead, three more still in intensive care."  The full bird droned on, "Next of kin notified, but none of the members of the team were active military."

"In sector Charlie a national guard resupply convoy was hit as it transitioned through an urban area from the port sector of the city.  No casualties, but the initial report is a combat loss of three vehicles, including a full fuel trailer."

"In sector Foxtrot, three WIA, two of them critical, from a vehicle rollover accident. Next of kin have been notified and informed that they would not be paid death gratuity or insurance due to negligence on the part of the service members."

"All right Bill," The General said, interrupting the droning full bird. "Attacks are on the rise, why?"

The Deuce cleared his throat.  "Our, 'active non-participation' strategy of supporting local law enforcement has been a success in terms of mission accomplishment, but it has squarely backfired in terms of propaganda.  Every time an armored vehicle provides an outer cordon it puts a military face on a civilian operation, and no matter how much the press spins the words, the pictures are pretty damning in the eyes of much of the public."

"Ok, Jennifer, what is our next move?"  The General shifted his gaze to the civil affairs officer.

"Well General, we don't want to double down on stupid, so instead of acting through local LEO agencies I suggest we empower subordinate commanders to engage the local communities, and explain the mission in terms of providing security, ensuring the food distribution happens fairly and regularly, and avoiding any of the more contentious issues like tax rates or unemployment."  The Nine continued, "Really we want to talk about only what we are supposed to be doing in terms of not being a domestic occupation force."

"Fuck it Jenn, people aren't stupid, if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it's probably a duck."  The Three responded angrily.  "You can't make people like taking a bite from a crap sandwich" 

"No Sir, but they should know exactly how little of the crap sandwich the military will be forcing them to eat."  The Nine replied, "Being honest wins friends, or at least respect as an honest party."

"Enough."  The General said, quietly, but still the room went immediately silent.  "This unpleasantness will be over eventually.  My goal is not to stop it, but to survive it intact as an organization.  Jenn, come up with some engagement themes and messages for subordinate commanders.  Bill, figure out what we are doing that is pissing people off, bounce it off Jenn and Mike to see if we can't change the way we do business.  I may get fired for what I'm about to say, but I don't give a flying fuck about keeping some jack booted thugs hide intact."

There were some murmurs and cross talk.  "Does everyone get my intent?"  The General spoke softly, "To make it perfectly clear, my number one priority is the continuation of this organization, not body counts, not 'areas pacified', not 'communities engaged' but coming out at the end of this with our honor intact.  Remember that the Wehrmacht went into the beginning of WWII with the reputation as the finest Army on the planet, and came out at the end of it with the reputation they earned by their deeds, and the deeds they failed to stop."

"General" The Three said, "To be clear, are you saying to withhold military support from illegal activities?"

"Mike, you know me well enough that I won't sign off on an operation without a JAG review."  The General winked.  "Saying, 'I'll ask my attorney' isn't the same as saying 'No' now is it?"

"Gotcha perfectly." The Three smiled as he planned to inflicted the strictest ROE ever written, purposely designed to deny aid to any agencies who might wish to use the "big hammer" to their own ends and force them to do their own dirty work.

"All right, this afternoon I want initial products for my review for a WARNO ready for distribution upon approval."  The General rose out of his chair, "so I suggest you all get to work."

Later that day the General reviewed his decision with other regional commanders in a conference call, and within a week he was found dead of a heart attack.

04 October 2012

Rodriguez's tale

Sean listened to that bitch give the final briefing.  Why the hell should she get all the credit for the takedown?  Wasn't it he Sean "Ryu" Rodriguez who put all the pieces together and queried the fusion center database on who worked with electronic warfare in the military?  Wasn't it he who rammed through a blanket wiretap order through the secret court to tap the movements of all veterans in the state? 

Sean had noticed that they lost the element of surprise when they used jammers to isolate the rebel bastards and decided that looking for EW veterans was the way to figure out where the insurgents were getting their tactics.  Over 400 EW veterans in the state, but Sean had dismissed all of those who retired before 1989 and narrowed the field further to those that had served in Iraq or Afghanistan.  Of the 59 left a blanket "mobile wiretap" surveillance order had been rubberstamped by the political appointed judge.

 But Sean "Ryu" Rodriguez had a plan, he recorded that bitch's voice issuing commands at the last live fire rehearsal, he had her, "Fire!" command on a digital voice recorder.  Once the rebels turned the corner he would thumb the play button and the gunner would hear his team leader give the "fire" command.  That dumb former Marine would obey without thinking, transitioning straight out of a "general discharge" into the team.

Sean had to give the bitch credit, she did know how to set up a roadblock.  Dummy construction crews would block off the highways at the last exit, forcing a detour around the intersection, but only for traffic heading in.  Traffic heading out would be let out, but no oncoming traffic would be able to flash their lights and let the scum know that a welcoming party was waiting for them.

Yup, Sean had it all figured out, after the bitch crumbled under the stress and gunned down rebels without provocation she'd be "transferred" into a desk job.  She wouldn't be fired, but she'd at least be sidelined for as many months as it took for the public to forget or new bosses to be appointed by the increasingly nervous administration.  Sean might even make team leader in her absence.

It sucked not having air cover for this mission, but the nearest air station capable of servicing a unit helicopter was 40 miles away, and besides, today was maintenance day.  Maintenance day was probably the reason the rebels decided to move.

Tracking the traitor down had taken a while, but Sean had strong armed the cell phone company to place reports on which cell tower her phone was registered without pinging her phone extra, following the software instead of pinging the hardware.  The vaunted "GPS tracking" claimed by conspiracy theorists was true, but if you started tracking someone who knew what to look for by turning on the GPS chip in their cell phone you tipped them off right away, much more covert to use the standard "timing advance" location approximation based on the standard ping time to three towers.  If there is only one tower the "timing advance" will paint a 550 meter band around the tower where the user could be.  If two towers, the intersection of those two 550 meter bands, and if three, one "ovoid area" of 550 meter bands.  But when your target was traveling down a choke point road through a mountainous area, you didn't need too much precision as 550 meters either way gave Sean's team a good idea of when to be ready.

"Five minutes out" The bitch called over the radio.  Sean smiled, and made sure his auxiliary input jack was firmly into the female port on his digital voice recorder.

"One minute out" The bitch said, and Sean smiled.

"30 Seconds, buzzer on" the Bitch commanded, taking out all cell coverage in the area, and FRS/GMRS radios too.  When the first sedan turned the corner 44 seconds later Sean pressed play, and the word "Fire" came out over the radio net.  The big dumb ox simply pressed down on the butterfly trigger and unleashed hell on the scum in the sedan.  They might not have been rebels, but Sean didn't care.

The bitch was calling "Cease Fire!" over the net but "Jarhead Joe" on the heavy couldn't hear, and the two saps from the sedan had made it into the ditch.  Evidently Jarhead wasn't going for blood, just disabling the vehicle.  Then Sean spotted a pistol and yelled "Gun Gun Gun" over the tac net and unloaded his milsurp M16 towards the two men. 

Sean was on his third magazine in less than 25 seconds when he noticed a that Jarhead wasn't laying down fire, but bleeding out, a hole in his throat not even gurgling air.  Sean noticed  the bitch had started waiving her arms and pointing toward the cliff.  A bullet slammed into his SAPI chestplate and knocked him down.  "Screw this" Sean thought as he slapped home a fresh mag and scurried to the machinegun.  He made it to the heavy and started raking the tree line with searching fire to try to flush out whatever it was in there.

Sean didn't feel the round that got him.  The team leader made her statement that someone else gave the order to fire to the Investigating Officer who later found the digital voice recorder listed among Sean "Ryu" Rodriguez's possessions.  The Team Leader was reprimanded and given a desk job which was fine by her.  Sean was buried with full honors, and the final report listed "heavy fire from an unprovoked attack from unknown forces" and no negligence on the part of the administration.