Elheru Aran wrote: ↑
Returning to the Wizards vs. Muggles warfare situation.
Pros: The wizards have a lot of dirty tricks. Manipulating their appearance, casting memory charms, being able to travel very quickly from one place to other. Imagine scattering Portkeys around an area where you're planning to pull off an operation, then when the chips go down, your boys just scatter and grab the Portkeys which just look like random bits of junk laying around, poof they're gone. So tactically and strategically, they have a potentially extreme amount of mobility available. Their greatest weapon though is centuries of learning how to hide in plain sight. They've been practicing this, with magical assistance, since at least the Middle Ages. They even have access to outright reality warping tech like however Grimmauld Place, the Ministry of Magic, and Diagon Alley work. Plus more or less literal bags of holding like Newt Scamander's suitcase or Hermione's purse. It is not inconceivable that in the case of a dire emergency, family members and noncombatants could be evacuated to some kind of pocket dimension in a box and simply mailed to some other part of the world where they can step out and rebuild.
Yeah. Muggles simply cannot pin down wizarding forces unless they have magical collaborators on their side.
Cons: When the chips actually go down... they don't have a huge amount of actual open, offensive firepower.
Excepting fiendfyre, though its supposed to be very hard to control, so may be as much a danger to the user as to their enemies. Its notable that the one canonical fatality caused by fiendfyre is the guy who cast it.
Then again, presumably Aurors are more competent than Crabbe, at least at casting spells (their tactics and ethics suck).
They do seem inhumanly durable to a degree-- perhaps there's some genetic component to that, or it's a side effect of long term exposure to magic. That said, being able to withstand a small explosion in close proximity is one thing, withstanding a bullet to the face is quite another. They don't really have anything that operates at long distance. Perhaps they can set up some kind of remotely operated explosive charm. That actually sounds like the most likely thing. It probably wouldn't be too difficult to modify the charm for a Howler letter, for example, to turn it into a sonic weapon which could be delivered by an Owl or some kind of charmed animal. If the Weasley twins are any indication, it's probably not particularly difficult to make nuisance charms... which could then well be modified or adapted into more dangerous spells.
Yes. Mail bombs will be a very serious threat if the wizards think to use them. Bioweapons too- in book four someone hate-mailed Hermione pus that caused blisters or something IIRC. I imagine that there are more lethal things that could be sent instead.
One potential weapon: magical creatures. Imagine unleashing a horde of Acromantulas on a Muggle city. The flipside of this is that most of these creatures are either untamed, or too dangerous; Dragons for example. They could only be unleashed, not controlled. You could use Giants, presumably-- they seem more intelligent (somewhat, anyway) than the general run of magical creatures. Centaurs might be possible, but I suspect they are too independent to want to get involved in Wizard/Muggle affairs. Are there any kind of Elves besides house-elves in Harry Potter? As in, old-school Fair Folk Elves? Dwarves? Gnomes are a thing and seem to fill the Dwarf niche somewhat with the whole being capable of fine metalwork thing. Perhaps the Gnomes could be incited to craft weapons for the Wizards, in return for wealth?
There are pixies, but they don't seem terrible intelligent or powerful.
One idea I think I've seen in fanfic before (might have been MoR, actually, but I'm not sure) is unearthing a bunch of mandrake plants in a city (the infants's scream knocks people out for non-lethal crowd control/riot suppression/hostage situations/etc., while the adults' scream is lethal for a WMD that'll kill everyone close enough to hear it).
Also, Obscurials. Rare, hard to control, and you have to be willing to exploit abused children to use them, so not a good guy weapon. But they can take out skyscrapers.
Magical plants could also be an option, like that strangling vine thing they encounter at the end of the first book. Imagine holding a few of those in a pocket-dimension in your, uh, pocket, and throwing them around into a crowd.
Those seem better-suited to a fixed defence to me.
But frankly if the Muggles know that the Wizards are there... I don't think there's a whole lot a Wizard could do against say a JDAM other than hunker down, cast the strongest shield spell they can, and hope they're still there once the smoke clears. Same for an artillery strike.
I'd be fairly confident about the film shields holding up to small arms fire, since the MACUSA folks in Fantastic Beasts seemed to be fairly confident about their's holding off a Muggle crowd.
I don't think we've seen them tested against mundane firepower though, and would very much not like to be the one putting it to the test against an artillery barrage or a cruise missile.
Of course, they will likely have the option of withdrawing, unless the other side has magic to shut down things like the Flu and apparition. But that would mean ceding whatever structure was attacked, and when you only have one hospital, one school, one bank, and maybe two or three government buildings per country- well, their standard of living would probably take a big hit if they lost even one of those.
Against soldiers or police, they do have more options in close range, particularly if the Muggles are trying to capture or incapacitate the wizard rather than kill them outright. Rapid-fire barrage of charms should do the trick to temporarily put them out of action.
I can't recall seeing anyone cast rapid fire charms at a rate that nears, matches, or exceeds the rate of fire of an automatic weapon, though.
One downside is I can't quite think of any spell or charm that has the ability to fire indiscriminately rather than being specifically targeted other than perhaps some kind of concussive blast, which they do have on hand (at least there were a lot of rocks flying in the last Harry Potter movie when they got into Hogwarts...).
There are canonical blasting spells in both books and films, yes. Avada Kedavra also creates small explosions and fires when hitting non-living objects. They can at least approximate the effects of grenades, with an effectively limitless ammo. supply.
But if the Muggles simply tell their soldiers or police to shoot on sight, that's not going to do the Wizards a whole lot of good, and would quite likely turn the whole fight rather nasty, brutish and short.
Cloak or disillusion, ambush, apparate away.
Again, if you're using Harry Potter magic in a stand-up fight (outside of a formal duel, anyway), you've screwed up.
To your newest post: known fortified/concealed instillations in magical Britain include Hogwarts, Gringotts/Diagon Alley/Knockturn Alley, Saint Mungo's, the Ministry, and Azkaban. Of those, Hogwarts, Azkaban, and Gringotts are the hardest targets. Internationally, there's MACUSA headquarters, other Wizarding schools (eleven major ones worldwide according to Pottermore, probably all with geographical and/or magical defenses), and probably others we don't know about. We also know from Deathly Hallows that even an ordinary wizarding home or temporary camp can have ad hoc defenses that can impede even someone like Voldemort quickly thrown up, if their are people on-hand with the skill to do it.
But against a Muggle military assault, probably none of those have much beyond secrecy.
As to supposed Wizarding ignorance- it depends on the Wizard. Mr. Pureblood McInbred is probably unaware of much beyond a very crude and stereotyped idea of what Muggles a century or two ago were like, if that. A trained professional who actually takes their job seriously, like Kingsley, probably is much more on the ball (he was able to fit right in on the PM's staff).
And as mentioned before, Voldemort grew up in London during WW2. Enough said. Really, any half-blood or Muggleborn who's old enough to remember WW2 ought to know that Muggles have missiles, fighter planes, and bombs, even if they don't know the details of the most modern weapons.