Sunday, August 20, 2017

There Is No Such Thing As Knowing Too Much

Reference this thread at WRSA, based on these two from MDT.

What some folks think of as trivial arcana, whether we're talking military subjects, or any other field of subject matter, is frequently anything but useless, or trivial. Case in point today is the referenced subjects above.

Someone in comments at WRSA thought he didn't have a grasp on clearing landing zones, but that was OK, since he was never going to need it, nor have any friendly helos to need to clear LZs for.

Today's lesson:

Natzsofast there. Don't think two-dimensionally.

While you may not have helos, someone you someday don't like very well, and who has a hard-on for you and your tribe, might.

But a helo without an LZ/DZ is a wasted trip. Read anything about Vietnam from the first battle of Ia Drang in '65  ( We Were Soldiers Once, And Young, etc.) up through the Easter Offensive of '72, and nota bene how things worked for the US when Mister Charles had all the nearby LZs covered with interlocking fields of HMG/AAA fire. (Total US helo losses in Vietnam were nominally 43% - 5,086 birds out of 11,827 deployed there - but actually much higher, because many helos were shot down, salvaged, flew again, shot down again, salvaged again, etc., so that as long as they eventually flew again, they were not counted as destroyed. So we may have lost more total birds than we had on paper in the course of 10+ years of the Southeast Asia War Games.)

Point to all that being that while there's precious little jungle in the States, there's one helluva lot of impenetrable forest, as anyone in the PNW, or who served at Ft.s Bragg, Benning, Knox, etc., knows very well.
And if you can't land birds, drop troops, parachute in supplies, etc., and the only road access is easily blocked/degraded dirt forest service roads, you take a 21st century mechanized military, and turn them into 2d C. B.C. Greek hoplites, marching in on foot, carrying everything on their backs, and forced to evac casualties the same way. {Hint: for the hoplites in question, the Suckage Factor zooms up into the red zone at this point.} Which puts a militia (like raggedy-ass Afghanis, or Vietnamese peasants, for example) back on parity with the .Gov hoplites.

So you might should want to know how much room in square feet they need to get in every helo in

current inventory; how they plan to clear LZs, and where, and where the current LZ/DZs are; as well as the road grid down to goat paths in your AO. And how to deny or degrade them.

Again, not much good in Kansas, but in mountain and forest terrain, which is one helluva big piece of the country, pretty damned useful info to have in your head, and an area notebook.

Make buddy-buddy with the local LifeFlight, wildfire, FD/PD etc. guys.

(Because, for one example, your group is nominally a volunteer wilderness SAR organization. Which coincidentally gives you a reason to have medical supplies and training, feeding and base camp supplies, robust comms, and do helpful wild country exercises, and actually do good, while getting trained, and having a beautiful means and reason for recruiting some hard-assed like-minded folks. Just saying. And you can always swap walking staffs for something black, loud, and semi-automatic, come the day. So now you're not somebody the media's going to tag as racist survivalist Rambo nutjobs. You're the nice quiet local folks who find Suzy Dipshit and Bruce Nancypants from Dumbass City when they go hiking but forget a map, compass, and clue, and then get lost and run out of tofu and soy latte on the backside of Mount Sonofabitch. Now you're little damned heroes.)

There are surveyed and pre-planned LZ/DZs in most limited access areas down to the county level, so they know where they can bring in a wildfire hotshot team, paramedic rescue, SWAT team, etc.

This is also true in urban areas. The FD, PD, and EMS already know they can't drop birds in everywhere, because of wires, towers, and other obstructions, so they have lists and maps of the same pre-surveyed contingency helopad/LZs.

And as we currently live in a relatively open society, such maps are not considered the tactical intel goldmine they would be and become in a time of more existential sportiness.

So there you go: military subjects, Greek hoplites, the Vietnam War, altruism, subterfuge, and John Pinette, all effortlessly rolled into a nice Sunday confection. Have I mentioned that I'm a huge fan of James Burke?

Thus endeth the lesson.


RandyGC said...

You touched on it Aesop, but even if the S never HTF in a tactical way, you never know when being able to ID and clear an LZ, and even direct a helo in might be life saving during a natural disaster or even a major traffic accident out in BFE. Even if local first responders are on the scene, doesn't mean they've been trained to do it (especially in small rural volunteer departments).

If nothing else, if it looks like they don't know what they are doing, you might be position yourself out of the splash zone of their "LZ".

Jim Scrummy said...

The 2011 version of the Ranger Handbook has a chapter on helo operations (amongst other goodies). I found mine for free online.

Andrew said...

There are ways of denying landing zones even in 'open' fields like in Kansas.

Just read up on the Normandy Defense by Rommel.

Poles, pits, wire, etc. can be used to deny access.

The key is identifying potential locations so as to not spread yourself too thin.

Any manual that tells you how to do something also tells you (by reading between the lines and taking things in reverse) how to undo the same thing.