Saturday, June 30, 2018

"But Aesop,...!" Basic training question


This was far too long to post in comments to this post, so here it is on the front page.

Dear Mark Matis,

I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt here. Whether you have sincere questions, or are simply trying to sharpshoot the post, the answers are the same.

Firstly, you've perhaps just tumbled into this series of posts, and are therefore wholly unaware of anything else prior to five minutes ago that I've previously covered or of which I'm well aware. I would gently suggest therefore that you go back, read what I've posted to date under the topic "Basic Training", going all the way back to the precepts enumerated here and then get back to me from a common frame of reference. Bearing well in mind that "basic training" has an actual English meaning to it, and wasn't chosen just because it was tacti-cool. I'm addressing those who need the fundamentals, with little if any prior explanation of things.

If anyone is planning on taking on First-World first-line forces at the height of their current capabilities and powers, walking fat, dumb, and happy into their AO, and then going toe-to-toe with them on a regular basis, they'll lead a short but interesting life, and they're probably not tall enough for this ride. If you're not planning that, then perhaps you might revise and extend your remarks with a better goal in mind.

There are also white phosphorous weapons available to potential foes.
So should we therefore require our side to deploy only in flameproof and shellproof suits?

They have cluster bombs.
Should we therefore disperse, and no one approach closer to his fellows than 500M?

They've had air forces for 104 years, and dedicated close air support for 95.
Yet somehow, unaccountably, we're still sending people on foot to take and hold ground, and all life on earth has not come to a screeching halt, nor has warfare itself.
Yet this is the approach you seem to be taking.

@1:04 "Albuquerque! See, I can do it too. Snorkel!"

I might also point out that despite your trenchant objections, the standard US military doctrine up to thirty seconds ago, when last I looked, is neither more nor less than what I've laid out, as far as it goes.

I would therefore humbly suggest that if you can run a better military, there are jobs for such going begging in the DoD, and consulting contracts let regularly, in the billions-of-dollars range.

Otherwise, provide a link to the magical TTPs that take into consideration all that you imagine to be such an overwhelming and world-beating problem, and we can discuss how that may or may not work out in reality.

Those technologies you mentioned are also completely defeatable with nothing more complicated than a camouflage-fabric retractable umbrella or simple poncho, with a mylar lining. Ask me how I know.

If, OTOH, you're worried about Terminator T-100s and HK drones, you probably need to run your own sci-fi combat blog.

Military-grade thermal detection systems have been in existence for going on forty-plus years, and workable IR systems for something approaching seventy years. Including by many forces of our potential opposition. But I have yet to note the abandonment of the concepts laid out in basic form here, at any level of US or other nations' infantry training program, and point out for your enlightenment yet again the four dead SF troops from last October in Niger, the nineteen dead SOF forces dead in Operation Red Wings, and any uncounted number of first-world forces regularly ambushed and killed from 2002-present in Iraq and Afghanistan by nothing more complicated than what I laid out here, essentially by conscripts and goatherders with Cold War arms, despite all the advantages that would seem to have you in quite the state.

If technology made ambushes obsolete, people wouldn't die in wars we fought, as our side is the acknowledged reigning master of technology.

Yet to date, we've sustained nearly 7000 KIAs in SWAsia, despite overwhelmingly one-sided possession of the exact capabilities you note, from B-2s to Predator drones to MRAPs to SAPI plates, with little lasting effect, no long-term success, and no end in sight until we abandon wholly the idea that people who will not be subdued can be, short of their total annihilation.

We've also had nuclear weapons for 72 years, so you may as well throw them into the stew as well, and we should therefore all simply give up any notions of fighting anyone, and simply burrow into the ground and learn to love living in caves.
Then start talking about how conventional combat itself is impossible, because those possessing them will simply nuke any opposition.

Like we've done never, anywhere, at any time, since dropping the first two, nor has anyone else, despite nuclear-capable forces having fought, by my count, some thirty to thirty-five wars since their invention.

Technology can be a useful force multiplier, from the point since someone discovered sharpened rocks worked better than blunt round ones.

It is not the dread Eye Of Sauron, nor a magic bullet that suddenly invalidates six millennia of recorded history on the subject of ground warfare.

And BTW, were the entire US military to be returned to the continental US, with all forces from active duty to national guard mustered and available, and 100% up-checks on every weapon system we deploy, they would be hard-pressed to control and dominate an area the size of Texas. Even less if they actually tried that in Texas. Leaving only 49 other states, or an area equal to it, wholly undefended, or at most, patrolled by the local constabulary, who with the same advantageous technology you're worried about, can barely keep up with the most serious crime in most cities on a day of relative peace and quiet.

(Recall that with roughly 10 times the divisions, 8 times the number of men in arms available now, and three times the navy, we could fight WWII in two theatres. Current forces were stretched to breaking in two 6th C. piss-ant countries, with little in reserve elsewhere, and we could only muster that at one time and place due to the collapse of one enemy, and the limited force-projection of the other. Then, imagine how well force projection works when your bases inside the US are suddenly subject to insurgent action, like they haven't been in this country since 1812. The dot Mil facing a home-grown insurgency would probably be hard-pressed just to feed themselves inside their own wire beyond two weeks' time, and protect their own families and dependents, let alone go hunting anywhere else. And they'd be getting sniped and ambushed on their own posts 24/7/365, in all likelihood. It gets a lot less fun to wage that kind of warfare, when you can get taken out while taking out the trash.)

Color me less than impressed by the opposition, most days and times, unless one is stupid enough to walk right up to Leviathan and poke it in the eye while wearing a clown suit and floppy shoes.

Cats see in the dark with exquisite clarity, and have since time out of mind, yet there are any number of their trophy mounts on walls worldwide.
Learn that military lesson from nature.

If not that, then at least learn another one from Predator:

"If it bleeds, we can kill it."


Anonymous said...

"Rounds complete, target destroyed, over"

The Gray Man said...

The air forces of whoever it is we are talking about fighting here (dare I say the USAF, USN, USMC, etc) are already afraid to bomb targets in foreign countries for fear that a civilian might be nearby. How reluctant will they be to bomb ACTUAL US citizens? How reluctant will the pilots themselves be? I have total faith that law enforcement officers are going to follow all of their orders to beat up US citizens and stomp on our faces every chance they get. The military? Most will do the same, but some will not. The number that will refuse will be strategically meaningful, if nothing else.

Another idea: To fight against air power in your own lands, you identify the pilots and pay their families a visit.

*Pilot looking for militia targets* "Hey! I can see my house from here! Wait a minute... It's on fire!"

Anonymous said...

Can't say I share your "faith" ref law enforcement. Some will,mostly the Fed variety , others won't.

m Clare said...

See, NOW I hafta read all the other stuff too...sheesh

Brian Anderson said...

The full weight of US military power could never completely pacify 37 million people in an area the size of Ohio and Indiana. If there was a full blown insurgency in the CONUS, they`d spend all their time guarding themselves.

Mark Matis said...

If you are planning to ambush the enemy after their air assets are gone, then your scenario plays well. If there still is an enemy to ambush.

The enemy's power base is the hives. As long as those hives are intact, the enemy can do largely as it pleases. And can replace lost air assets. When the hives start to fall, the enemy will have to deploy his personnel to SAVING those hives, and there will be very few sorties outside those hives which would be worth an ambush. If some of those hives have their power cut, or their water cut, the third world culture and the fourth world culture of their urban youfs will be on full display, and the military and "Law Enforcement" will be too busy to deal with anything else. Although the video game crowd will be fully available for use against anyone the enemy choose to target, since those toys are not particularly useful in an urban environment. And those video gamers will NOT be restricted to the Rules of Engagement they currently operate under in Dumbfuckistan. Over there, our "leaders" want to win the hearts and minds of the populace. Over here, our "leaders" are quite willing to exterminate the Deplorables and replace them with a populace that has more melanin.

It would be nice to find a way to take the video gamers out of the picture. I suspect that, with the FedGov insistence on using COTS software, a portion of their command link runs Microsoft, with all its backdoors. If one is able to hack into that link and command a weapons drop, either on the video gamers themselves, or on one of the hives, those toys will quickly go out of play. Targeting the families of those soldiers is not particularly worthwhile, because I expect most of them are bachelors - have you ever looked at a video game gathering? And furthermore, I would expect them to be assigned to attack targets well away from any family they might have. Just as when they deploy the military, they will NOT assign them to the areas where they are from. Instead, soldiers from California will deploy to Georgia, and similar assignments across the country to reduce the chance of a soldier being ordered to kill his friends or his family. So there is some time up front to deal with the situation.

Additionally, an undetermined number of soldiers would refuse to kill Mere Citizens. Some openly, and those will quickly be executed "Pour encourager les autres". The smart ones will be less brazen. As I have said before, how operationally effective can a combat unit be if over half its members have norovirus? But then I'm sure it's impossible to spread that through a mess hall "accidentally".

If things go hot and "Law Enforcement" sortie into the countryside to smash FreeFor, they might go out unguarded initially. But after the first few losses, it is no problem for them to call up air with IR to scan the area around their patrol to the limit of rifle range. If they see any activity which doesn't look like normal civilian operations, they will either strike from the air, or guide their forces into a formation that can flank and destroy the FreeFor. Two helicopters or two airplanes can provide continuous coverage for any patrol until it returns to the safety of the hive. And I certainly hope you and your tribe are not planning to venture into the hive for urban combat. If they still have power, you will be ratted out continuously until you leave or are dead. And if they DON'T have power, they will not last more than a couple of weeks at most.

And by the way, only one "T". Don't want anyone thinking Secretary Mattis is related in any way. To me, he is the best we have had in that position since at least Secretary Weinberger.

Anonymous said...

@ Aesop

Re: "We've also had nuclear weapons for 82 years, so you may as well throw them into the stew as well..."

FYI, "82-years" would put us back into 1936, right - so don't you mean 72-years or something thereabouts?

The first successful nuclear detonation - the Trinity nuclear test of July 16, 1945, in the area of Alamogordo, New Mexico - occurred almost precisely seventy-three years ago.
Just saying...

Mark Matis said...

Nuclear weapons are not useful against Freefor. The potential targets are too widely dispersed for them to be effective. And furthermore, downrwind from any FreeFor targets are the hives. And those hive dwellers are deadly afraid of the normal radiation from even a banana. Detonate a nuke upwind of them, and the hives will destroy themselves as quickly and as surely if one were to cut all their supply chains at once.

Aesop said...


Spelling correction noted. Apologies for the misspelling.

Your objections are noted, but would be largely irrelevant over a very short period of time.
But if I'm going to spend this much time with it, it's getting its own post.

Aesop said...

72 years, typo corrected.

DAN III said...


What war did your beloved Mattis win ?

Sean said...

I have a stupid idea. My idea is that we will have to wait for things to go sideways before we learn the true nature of our struggle against our own Armed Forces. I got this idea from the saying about no combat plans survive first contact intact. I gently remind my friends that the cheapest and most effective way to stifle rebellion is to reward handsomely anyone who turns those rebels in, or that aids and abets the FedGov. Thousands of traitors and lickspittles will do so. Our worst enemies are already in our neighborhoods.

Aesop said...

That may have worked in more innocent and stupider times.
Nowadays, not so much.

Now, the actual resistance would simply turn in the leftists in their neighborhoods, and then use the reward money to fund more insurgency.

We're not peasants plowing behind horses and crapping in outhouses, believing everything in the newspaper any more.

Propaganda works only against ignorant and stupid people.
That's why right wing memes and alt-media are flat-out kicking @$$, while billion$ spent on the lamestream media are garnering them simultaneously the lowest ratings, and the lowest credibility, in recorded history.

Anonymous said...

just so you know, robert e howards Conan said if it bleeds you can kill it long before arnold.

Unknown said...

soft targets

The Gray Man said...

Bull. Cops are order followers. They already enforce existing gun control laws and when new ones are passed, they enforce those too. The Florida legislature actually had to pass a new law to stop cops from harassing concealed carriers when they had an incidental exposure. Cops are order followers and when they get the order to kick your door in and take your stuff, they are going to do it with a smile on their face.

Anonymous said...

...and, the role of "Conan the Barbarian" was played by...
Just sayin'...

RSR said...

Lots of contradictions in Mark Matis' post.

Air power is limited by available armaments. The amount of munitions required for air power to have any significance in Mr Matis' scenario are mind boggling. SHTF/WROL, armament inventory will quickly be exhausted, and at such point tactical nukes would be put on the table as an option.

Importantly, we already have bomb supply issues:

And a standard 1,000 lb bomb costs $12k. Standard AGM-65 air to surface missiles cost at least $17k. Financially, air power is unsustainable for any sort of homeland conflict.

And troops have to physically control territory in order to displace resistance forces, which always leaves ambush targets.

See max velocity for how to construct anti-infrared tarp.