Prev: [GZG] GZG East Coast Convention XIV - Call for Events Next: Re: [GZG] C-IED/COIN in SGII/DSII


From: John Atkinson <johnmatkinson@g...>
Date: Thu, 9 Sep 2010 07:56:43 +0430

I'm doodling here, so here goes nothing. . .

Presumptions:  No nanotech "magic wands", technology levels roughly
equivalent to Drake's Hammer's Slammers, Jerry Pournelle's CoDo
series, and similiar novels.  Volume matters when shipping across
space, mass relatively less so.  All colonies will have widespread
light industrial capacity, frequently in extremely small packages,
because initial colonization pattern includes dropping folks near
easily extracted resources.  That doesn't mean they will have rocket
fuel or other exotic substances, but they will have precision
machining and fuel, as well as relatively abundant precursor
chemicals.  Space travel is only used for high-value goods, basic bulk
necessities must be manufactured on each planet.

IED challenges in SG/DS

1: "Sniffers" -- vapor analysis which detects traces of explosive.
This is dangerous for the insurgent in several ways.  Depending on the
size of the unit, this can protect patrols from direct attack and be
used to discover caches of explosives.	Problems - false positives,
won't detect gunpowder (must be set to ignore any propellant used in
the weapons of the troops using it), issues screening out nitrate
fertilizer.  Built into a drone, this can give you a mine detection
dog that doesn't get tired, isn't bothered by heat, and can move
faster than human walking speed for the length of a patrol.
2. If Thermals are down to the size of goggles, and image analysis
software is far more powerful and accurate, spotting IEDs is going to
be significantly easier.  Camoflage is going to be much more necessary
and hence they are going to be more time consuming to emplace.
3: Concentration of chemical industry.	Fertilizer production is not
something that is going to be spread out all over the planet, but
primarily concentrated in areas easily accessible to major
agricultural areas.  Smuggling is going to relatively difficult,
because presuming you are talking about an invadar attempting to take
the whole planet, there is no "safe haven" in a Pakistan equivalent
where you can load up some donkeys and cross a mountain pass with a
bunch of weapons.  At least on younger/smaller colonies, if there's a
second, foreign, colony it will presumably be relatively distant and
with underdeveloped transportation network (cf. Spanish colonies,
which at least one book claims tended to be so badly connected it was
actually cheaper to ship something to Spain then ship it back to the
other colonies than to ship directly from one to the other)
4: Should be plenty of non-nitrate fertilzer, or fertilizer which is
not a useful precursor.  For instance, Urea is legal in Afghanistan
because turning it into explosives requires bulk quantities of nitric
acid.  Ammonium Nitrate is generally CAN, which requires some
processing, but that's illegal because it only requires minimal
processing.  Of course, it's produced in quantity in Pakistan and
smuggled in, but that would not be an option if there are only three
fertilizer plants on the planet, all surrounded by counter-insurgent
5: Grav vehicles have a physical seperation from the ground, so they
are less vulnerable to blast damage.  Any wheeled or tracked vehicles
are likely to built mine resistant unless sniffers are so accurate as
to make underbelly explosives completely ineffective.  Not sure it is
even theoretically possible to build a mine resistant GEV, since they
have to have exposed fans and skirts.  I suppose you can build in
corrugations in the hull to stiffen it, and make the skirt and fan
portions so that they are easy to replace.  But recovering a GEV or a
GRAV vehicle presents some significant challenges of its own.  They
can't be towed, they will always require a 'lowboy' of some sort.

IED trends
1: Passive electronic sensors are primary means of activation.
Command wire is dangerous, radio controlled can be jammed too easily,
pressure plates are too detectable.  Widespread light manufacturing
capability means ability to make relatively simple electronic devices
will be more widespread.
2: Simple blast IEDs will be limited -- need massive ones for a solid
kill and again, sniffers make them difficult to use.
3: The precision machining capacity for EFP disks will be far more
widespread.  You really do need a better grade of explosive than can
be done with fertilizer and diesel fuel, ability to produce explosives
that are of high quality and in which the blast wave propagates evenly
is a question for discussion.  But if it's possible, this will be
preferred technique.  You can park them 80 meters off the road and
shoot them off, almost a one-shot HKP.	Anti-personnel method of
choice, again, to beat 'sniffers' is going to be DFC/DFFC (aka
grapeshot).  These can use HME (Home Made Explosives) that are
fertilizer based.
4:  If I have to support an insurgency by loading a limited-volume
spaceship and using it to run a blockade, I'm going to pack it full of
things that give me maximum bang for volume.  This means military
grade explosives, blasting caps, anti-tank weapons, and ammunition.
Not pallets of fertilizer bags.  You're getting a data chip with the
specifications for EFP plates and assembly, and specs for some
electronic sensors for activation.  The rest is on you.

Science fictional interrogation techniques:  If accurate lie detectors
are possible in a 'hasty' situation, or safe and reliable drug
interrogation exists (see David Drake's short story about the
interrogator, can't recall title, I'm sure someone else can)
insurgency is pointless, making IEDs is pointless, and you're
completely unless you have tanks to take the other guy's tanks in a
head-on fight.	Insurgency requires deception.	If I can dope up a
random local and find out where all the IEDs near his village are, who
the insurgents are, and who their relatives and supporters are, it's
Game Over.
Nationalism:  The Ground Zero Games universe seems to presuppose the
death of the concept of nationalism.  I know it's an ingrained part of
a modern mindset, but it is not fundamental to human nature.  If
changing one set of off-world tax collectors for another which
actually provides the promised protection in return for taxes doesn't
bother most people, an insurgency would never get a whole lot of
traction in the first place.  Many of the cultural and linguistic
issues can be settled with the assumption that someone assigned to
work on a Francophone colony would have the finest French-translation
software money can buy in his earpiece, and 'sleep learning tapes'
that implant a deep knowledge of the cultural mores and sensitivites
of the subjects.  :)  So that's a cultural question which would have
to be answered before we consider the technical details.
Civil Rights: If I can dope up random locals and squeeze them dry, is
it likely that I will be permitted to do so?  I'm betting yes, because
media will be far less immediate (unless you assume non-ship FTL
communications, which changes the game a great deal), and because
honestly, most people could care less about stuff happening on the
other side of the our planet when it's the only one we have, they
aren't going to care about stuff that happened six months ago on
someone else's planet.

John M. Atkinson
"Thousands of Sarmatians, Thousands of Franks, we've slain them again
and again.  We're looking for thousands of Persians."
--Vita Aureliani
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