From: "Michael Brown" <mwsaber6@m...>
Date: Wed, 8 Sep 2010 22:11:28 -0600
Subject: Re: [GZG] C-IED/COIN in SGII/DSII

Thanks!  I've been wondering where you have been hiding.

Michael Brown

From: "John Atkinson" <>
Sent: Wednesday, September 08, 2010 9:26 PM
To: <>

> 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
> troops.
> 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.
> Wildcards:
> 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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