SF Military Tropes II

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SF Military Tropes II

Post by MKSheppard » 2010-10-03 04:24am

Previous Incarnation of this Thread; 16 pages

In a large amount of published Science Fiction that deals with military conflict lately, there are a large amount of painful tropes and assumptions that are made by various authors (no naming names here, you should know them).

This is intended to help you understand these tropes; and what real life situations they are based upon, in order to assist your writing; rather than being a hurf-derp collection like TVTropes which just lists the trope, and doesn't explain the trope.

Trope 3: A Super-Trained Ninja-Forces Special Forces guy can sneak ANYWHERE and/or kill anyone.

You've probably read this at least once. Maybe twice. Our super-genetically engineered superman soldier manages to sneak into a military base, plant his bombs; and then leave, without anyone noticing them. Or steal something sufficiently interesting.

A collorary to this is our super-ninja soldier sneaking up on a lone soldier and breaking his neck; then proceeding to kill the other guys in that patrol one by one until they're all dead. Or something like that.

This is actually one of the more realistic tropes out there, but it's misused horribly and people don't understand the rationales for why the trope works in the first place.

Here are the reasons this trope works:

* - Sneaking up on someone isn't technically that difficult. You just have to move as slowly as possible; because movement is noise and possible detection. This means instead of simply crouch-walking across a soccer field sized distance to reach a guard post in a few minutes; you need to take an hour or more, slowly moving across the distance. This is not only very tiring, but requires intense willpower, as your natural reaction is to get out of that kill zone as fast as possible; not to take hours to cross it. This is another reason why special forces training is deliberately made tough -- to weed out the people with poor willpower.

Oh, did I mention you need balls of steel? At any moment, the guard can do something unexpected, throwing a huge wrench into your 'plan'. This is especially true if you've worked your way to within 15-20 feet of the guard. You're close enough to be seen easily, but still too far away for a easy silent kill. Your only chance is to force yourself to stay as absolutely still as possible and not move, because if you don't, you're toast.

* - Guarding something is really hard. You need to have good leadership that keeps the guards properly motivated.

It's easy to keep them motivated to properly search the riverbed under that bridge you're guarding in bright sunshine and moderate temperatures.

When it's night-time and temperatures are in the sub-zero range, combined with blowing snow...the guards won't want to go out.

This is especially true if their officers come by and exhort them to keep on their toes..."We have news of CommieNazi saboteurs in the area...", and then go to the heated Customs building next to the bridge to eat warm food and drink schnapps. The guards will notice this, and wonder...if my boss isn't taking this seriously, why the hell should I?

The quality of the guards also comes into play. Third-Line Milita troops, or hastily armed civilians will be doing all sorts of stupid things like lighting cigarettes on duty at night (which ruin their night vision), or sticking to absurdly obvious routines, like doing a patrol of the fence line every two hours on the clock.

* - Guarding something really, really well is manpower intensive.

Lets use Bolling AFB in Washington DC as an example. It's a rather small Air Force Base that exists as a Headquarters base to support the Air Force in the DC region. Measuring Bolling on Google Earth gives me about 40,600~ feet of perimeter to be guarded, with about 19,000~ feet being riverfront perimeter.

If we place a guard tower every 680 feet, which is the standard at a Maryland Prison in Jessup; that gives us about 60 guard towers we have to man.

Figure each guard tower has one guy looking outwards, two guys looking up and down the fenceline, a pair of guys in the central core manning the telephone and video/sensor bank...and you have 360 guys there.

Add in the need for roving patrols to check the fenceline -- if we figure two guys per patrol, and they check the fenceline between each guard tower on their routes; that's another 120 guys.

And that's just the outer perimeter. Add in the need for roving vehicular patrols by guards to patrol the base's interior roads; plus of course the usual guards at especially sensitive sections of the base, like the guards on duty at the entrance to the main HQ, and you can easily add in another 120.

Figure in another 30 guys to act as a dedicated quick reaction force; and you have a total of 630 guards on a single shift. Figure in another shift and half of guards, so that you can have a 24 hour guard force, without straining the guards too much with twelve hour shifts on the line; and you have a force of 1,575 men to guard the base.

That's about the size of a Battalion. Add in the typical HQ force for a unit of this size, and you've cracked 1,600 men easily.

In the real world, Bolling AFB actually has about 1,500~ people who work there; so our security force is about equal to the working population.

While something this intensive would most certainly be done for someplace where super advanced stuff is being worked on; or for a super weapon storage dump..for someplace a bit more common, the matter comes down to money.

Guards are expensive, compete with other personnel for facility space, and don't contribute much to the facility's mission. So to a facility commander trying to squeeze his budget and look good to his superiors; the first thing he'll do is cut the guard force before he cuts the buffet service in the DFAC.

* - A lot of facilities that need to be guarded have poorly laid out lighting arrangements that ruin night vision -- like placing a cluster of floodlights that light up a parking lot next to a guard tower -- ensuring that when the shift changeover happens, the replacement guards will have their night vision ruined for quite a bit as they march towards the guard tower.

* - The biggest problem is simply that even with the best preparations and advantages to the guarding force; the infiltrators can just arrive and wait for the right time.

They can for example, spend a week simply throwing rocks at the fences or letting loose rabbitoids to screw with the security systems; so that by the end of the second week, the guards no longer respond when the security system detects movement -- they'll just assume the system is just on the fritz.

-----------

So we've covered the basics of how special forces can go places and kill people, like in the movies!

But the movies never tell you about what happens in real life, when Special Forces missions go wrong.

And they do go wrong with a very disturbing regularity.

Some of the classic failures of special forces sneakiness are:

* - Persian Gulf War 1991: An inordinately large amount of Long range SF missions against Iraq failed when they were detected by Nomads or other random people on the march to the target and had to abort the mission. Many of the teams had been inserted by helicopter fairly deep into enemy lines, and thus had nice 100+ mile or more hikes to reach the border. One of the more notable ones was the Bravo Two Zero mission that has seen every single survivor write a book claiming that THEIR survival was a spectacular success.

* - Panama 1989: This is one of the greatest fuckups ever. OK. We need to disable Manuel Noreiga's LearJet at Punta Paitilla Airport in Panama. How do we do it?

Do we send in a two-man SEAL sniper to rent an apartment across from the airfield to study the airfield and give them a laser designator to blow up Noreiga's LearJet in it's hangar with a LGB from a F-117 or F-111?

NO. That would be too EASY.

Ok? What about sending that same sniper team and putting them on the roof of the cafeteria of the airport? This way they get a better view of the hangar and shoot out the tires of the LearJet if someone tries to taxi it.

NO. Still too easy.

Ok, Ok. We'll get a team of eight SEALs, and have them steal a vehicle for local transportation, then drive to a hole in the fenceline that previous reconnaisance found. Four men remain behind with the vehicle as guards, while the other four SEALs enter the airfield through the hole in the fence, cross the airfield to the hangar, kill any guards with silenced MP5s and disable the plane.

NO. That's still too easy! What do you think we are? The US Army Rangers?

Ok. We'll go with the original plan. We'll insert 48 SEALs in two platoons at these cliffs at the end of this 3,500 foot long runway. We will then move up the runway towards the hangar. One squad will disable the LearJet, with another squad will drag small airplanes onto the field to prevent it from being used. The other two squads will be used for security at the north and south airfield ends.

PERFECT. LETS GO WITH THIS. RARRRRGH! SEALS!

*cue to start of mission with SEALs at end of runway*

So the runway's well lit by the landing lights; there's literally no cover and the entire airfield is well lit.

Do the SEALs call it off?

Nope, they start advancing, disarm some guards they encounter, and begin blocking off the airfield with light aircraft.

At this point, things start to come undone. They get a radio message that armored cars are possibly headed to the northern side of the airfield.

They also are spotted by a bunch of Panamanian houseguards on buildings nearby, who warn the guards in the hangar via radio.

By this point one of the SEAL squads is within 100 feet of the Hangar.

The Hangar guards by this time are dressed and in defensive positions, and they tell the SEALs to surrender. One of the SEALs then says the Panamanians should surrender to THEM instead.

The response? Several long bursts from the hangar guards. This volley wounds all but one of the SEALs. At this point, the houseguards across the airfield begin to fire on the SEALs, putting them into a crossfire; killing some SEALs and wounding a bit more.

The other SEAL elements being to rush forward to protect the two squads under fire; and during this, the SEALs managed to hit the LearJet with an AT-4 missile, and then withdraw.

Image

That's not exactly mission accomplished there. The Lear's damaged yes; but it certainly does seem to be flyable to me; as long as you stay low enough to not need pressurization and no key wiring was incinerated by the AT-4.

Anyway, the planned five hour mission became a 37-hour one before the US Army Rangers replaced them.

(NOTE: This ties into what I was saying earlier in the last thread about what SF training does -- it weeds out the people who can't adapt to the shitastic extended nature of the Death Mission they're on.)

* - Germany 1960-1991: This one is more of a hypothetical. As Pezook pointed out in the last thread; the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact had an enormous amount of "Special Forces" units devoted to various specialist duties, like saboteur/partisan duty behind NATO lines. It was expected that each Spetsnaz unit would eventually be destroyed. But that was OK; because if a single Spetsnaz unit found a Pershing SSM battery and destroyed it; it had justified it's cost. Same thing for radioing in a supply convoy location so that MiG-23s could cluster bomb it.
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Re: SF Military Tropes II

Post by Zixinus » 2010-10-03 07:55am

A question: do stealth-forces do things like wack out the fusebox or throw drugged meat to guard dogs (or just outright kill them)? It seems to make sense to me.
Wiping out the fusebox disables electric surveillance.
Getting rid of the dogs is obvious.

When entering military bases, I presume that always the most least-guarded (and probably the most dirty, ie, sewer entrances) that is used. Is it this correct?

Do stealth forces use disguises? Like, dress up as cleaners or something?
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Re: SF Military Tropes II

Post by Gunhead » 2010-10-03 09:28am

Zixinus wrote:A question: do stealth-forces do things like wack out the fusebox or throw drugged meat to guard dogs (or just outright kill them)? It seems to make sense to me.
Wiping out the fusebox disables electric surveillance.
Getting rid of the dogs is obvious.

When entering military bases, I presume that always the most least-guarded (and probably the most dirty, ie, sewer entrances) that is used. Is it this correct?

Do stealth forces use disguises? Like, dress up as cleaners or something?
Taking out the fusebox is right there in the trope category. In any military base these are placed so that access to them requires getting into the base in the first place, meaning going past said surveillance. Surveillance equipment can also have a separate battery backup in case there is blackout or even a separate generator that powers critical systems if power grid is down for some reason.
Talking to a MP dog trainer he said that any guard dog is trained to accept food only from it's handler and guard dogs are usually paired with said handler, so drugging the dogs could work if trying to get into a place where the dogs are just let loose, I think some warehouses in the U.S do this and some prisons have free roaming dogs as perimeter guards.

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Re: SF Military Tropes II

Post by PainRack » 2010-10-03 11:36am

With regards to dogs..... it depends.

In theory, dogs are supposed to be fed well enough and are mistrustful of strangers sufficiently that they won't take meat from strangers/lying around. Similarly, dogs are supposed to be paired with a handler on a mission. The old cartoon scenes of throwing meat behind you as you run away doesn't work, because the dog instinct is to chase down running prey and this has been honed by training. Shooting the dog works.... but your stealth entry is gone and the mobile team is the one that's going to hunt you down, not the dogs. Well, the dogs assist in tracking you down, but its the land rovers that's going to be the one actually hunting you.

The dog trainers at our side always scolded us privates for running across/forced marching across the basketball court where they're holding dog training. Apparently, they're trained to chase down running people if the handler gives the word, when they're conducting the training, we're supposed to give them a wide berth so that the dogs won't accidently track us instead of the other dog trainer.

That's the theory. The very fact that none of us actually DID get bitten, or even chased shows that theory doesn't always work. The dogs are used to the idea of soldiers so....... we're relatively safe provided we don't do anything truly stupid.

With regards to sewer entrances, I think that's a depends question too. Bases can have sensors near the entrances that pick up forced entry and they're supposed to be grilled up..... But that's textbook. Tons of things can go wrong.
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Re: SF Military Tropes II

Post by Marcus Aurelius » 2010-10-03 02:31pm

PainRack wrote: That's the theory. The very fact that none of us actually DID get bitten, or even chased shows that theory doesn't always work. The dogs are used to the idea of soldiers so....... we're relatively safe provided we don't do anything truly stupid.
On the other dogs are highly social animals that will pay close attention to the non-auditory clues and body language of their trainer. If the trainer signals that these guys are okay and don't worry about them, a well trained dog will not start to chase them. Dogs are also smart enough to tell the difference between training, which is an extension of play that most mammals engage in their youth, and the actual situation when they are really expected to detect and chase the bad guys.

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Re: SF Military Tropes II

Post by Star Wars 888 » 2010-10-03 03:27pm

The elite vehicles of the sci fi militaries are walkers. They continue to use these walkers despite Rebel forces managing to defeat them with big ropes and teddy bears tripping them over with logs.

Sci Fi spaceships will take thermonuclear warheads with ease, but colliding at low speeds into asteroids will heavily damage and maybe even destroy them.

Sci Fi standard space weapons will have weapon yields ranging from the kilotons to the teratons but will make small explosions upon hitting.

Sci Fi invading aliens will use UFOs that are slower than modern day jets and have poor aerodynamic designs. Their laser beams will consistently miss and their only way to pwn us is through their shield generators, which can be disabled by a Microsoft virus. Also, those deflector shields cannot stop colliding into a mountain.

Sci Fi space ships will use manual gunners often times without even iron sights trying to hit ships moving at mach 10.

Sci Fi ground troops will consistently miss guys right next to them despite having supposedly uber targeting helmets and weapons.

Sci Fi humans will quickly catch up with aliens despite those aliens having discovered FTL travel a milenium before us.

Sci Fi main characters will not use long ranged combat, sensors, orbital bombardment or such when fighting close range will do.

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Re: SF Military Tropes II

Post by MKSheppard » 2010-10-03 08:20pm

Zixinus probably hit upon the two best ways to infiltrate a military base. Either find something that is really incredibly dirty on the base; like the sewage plant, or masquerade as janitorial staff.

You can simply drive on base with a wave through by the guards if you get access to a janitorial services company. But...this approach is becoming much harder, with the increasing proliferation of biometric IDs and networked security.

Networked security means they can keep track of where you go on base and doors that you open on the base computers. Biometric ID means you simply can't cold cock the guy who's worked for Shroom's Janitorial Services for ten years, and is trusted by the base administration to enter secure areas, and take his place.

A lot of things in security are really attention-to-detail issues. Like the changing of the guards, for example. Is someone always watching, or does the guy on duty leave one minute before the replacement arrives to take his post?

It's easy to say "I want the guard changed on the top of the hour every hour," from a utilarian standpoint. You can simply give that order to the guy in charge of your base security detail and forget it.

But if you want your shift changes to be staggered, with each day having a different shift cycle along with multiple variations that occur from week to week? That's a lot more effort in planning it out; and you have to devote more of your time to it, rather than delegating it to a functionary.

Inattention to details like that can trip you up if the bad guys are watching. Plus, you won't always have a totally permissive environment.

Back around 2005, insurgents got a suicide bomber onto one of our bases by simply watching the change of guard for days and then just ran out and slipped through a crack in the base wall during a guard changeover that day.

Operating in a permissive environment in peacetime or in your own country just makes your life a lot easier from a security standpoint. You can have nice continuous barriers which don't have gaps or holes in them; nicely mowed grass to create huge kill zones, and drainage is via features that don't provide cover; such as huge ditches.

In a field base; you're far more likely to have significant problems as your barbed wire barriers and concrete barriers were haphazardly put down as fast as possible by combat engineers; and the lay of the land will likely be suboptimal; with fast growing jungle growing almost right up to the fenceline.

In some places, simply going outside the wire to check things to see if they're secure, or cutting back the jungle undergrowth to ensure fields of fire -- stuff like that can be a major effort due to enemy action.

Another major problem is that your security force will always tend to be a bit shorthanded; all the more so in wartime; as your dead and wounded people don't get replaced on time by higher command.

Plus, the operations tempo of constantly being on high alert -- even with multiple shifts to give people time to rest -- will burn them out. People will get sick or injured doing their job; all the more so if you are operating overseas in a strange land that doesn't fit your cultural norms and has all sorts of weird diseases to prey on your personnel.

That's another reason you will probably see more combat robots appear -- since someone who is shitting his pants constantly from the Shroomstanian BROWN THUNDER that infects the land...can still operate a combat robot from the porcelain throne with a iPad-like device.
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Re: SF Military Tropes II

Post by MKSheppard » 2010-10-03 08:26pm

Zixinus wrote:Getting rid of the dogs is obvious.
In Vietnam, U.S. Special Forces routinely went out on operations carrying suppressed browning hi-powers. Their nickname for that weapon -- "Hush Puppy" -- shows you what they were used for.

But even that's not a gurantee of success; as a suppressed weapon makes noise; and modern acoustic sensors could pick up that noise and pop a notice of "a silenced gunshot just went off outside of fence line A21" on the monitor of the PFC monitoring the security system.

Plus of course, the dog won't return to it's handler since it's dead or wounded; and the handler will wonder where his dog is.
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Re: SF Military Tropes II

Post by Artemas » 2010-10-04 02:37am

Another example of SF missions gone wrong can be found during Granada. A bunch of delta boys are to be inserted onto a mountain top fort, which is a prison, in order to free "political" prisoners. Why they needed to do this while the city which the fort overlooked (the capital) was still in enemy hands is bizarre. In addition, there weren't really any political prisoners of worth, and certainly none that were crucial to the operation as a whole. The fort was overlooked by another fort, higher up on a different mountain top. This fort had anti-aircraft guns deployed recently, which SF didn't know about because they never did a recce of the area. So, the d-boys fly in on choppers, come into a crossfire between the city, the prison and the other fort, and start looking for another place to put down. Except there is no other place, because its on top of a fucking mountain covered in dense jungle. So, after flying around for a while they look around in their choppers, realize that almost everyone is either dead or wounded, and then decide to fuck off back to the carrier. One crashes and blows up, and two more crash trying to land on the carrier.

Long story short, another of the main reasons that Special Forces Badass Ninja-dudes complete missions that seem impossible (when they complete missions) is largely due to sound planning and intelligence. The seat-of-the-pants stuff you often see in fiction would likely result in something more akin to the above. Or a SEAL team drowning because they tried (and failed) to scale a cliff from rubber dingies in rough seas.
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Re: SF Military Tropes II

Post by Sea Skimmer » 2010-10-04 02:53am

Military guard dogs are trained to attack EVERYONE but the handler, and food isn’t going to decoy them from that. The reason they aren’t used more extensively is simply because of the practical difficulties that creates, like the handler can’t ever be reassigned to another duty until his specific dog or dogs are too old to work. But then much of the time you can’t retrain the dog not to attack and you have to put it down upon retirement, which is unpopular at best. As a result most military working dogs are going to be bomb sniffers or search dogs which are released to hunt down a suspect on command, but not normally deployed in large dog runs as a defensive barrier.

You also do need a fair number of dogs since they can’t be expected to cover more then a few hundred feet apiece in a run. So in practical terms you aren’t going to guard a base perimeter full time with them, but you could guard a key building like an ELINT post or nuclear weapons storage area. this also rules out dog elimination since you are already inside the base area and people can damn well can notice dead dogs or silenced weapons. Pounding rain is always helpful with that.

Now random drug dealer type guard dogs, food might work on those, if you can get close enough to offer it before the dog starts barking. Odds are a dog like that isn’t specifically trained but just left to go on instinct. Course happy dogs bark as much as angry ones. The whole food thing only strikes me as likely to work in a junkyard kind of situation when you have the dog as an opponent, but the dog is guarding the place alone.
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Re: SF Military Tropes II

Post by Sea Skimmer » 2010-10-04 02:57am

Artemas wrote: Long story short, another of the main reasons that Special Forces Badass Ninja-dudes complete missions that seem impossible (when they complete missions) is largely due to sound planning and intelligence. The seat-of-the-pants stuff you often see in fiction would likely result in something more akin to the above. Or a SEAL team drowning because they tried (and failed) to scale a cliff from rubber dingies in rough seas.
Yes very true. Air warfare also demands a massive level of planning and preparation that the movies always leave out in favor of ‘take off and get some kills’. Special forces are best when they have a focused mission and extensively prepare for it, and when it is acceptable to expend the special forces group on that mission. The whole reusable super warrior thing just doesn’t work. The only time I can really think when it might have is back with the Long Range Desert Group (but not the SAS!) in the Western Desert. They made quite a lot of raids with low losses, but then parked aircraft on barren airfields guarded by Italians in the flat open desert are pretty easy pickings.
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Re: SF Military Tropes II

Post by MKSheppard » 2010-10-07 05:22am

Wait, if Special Forces are so limited, why does everyone have them?

Special Forces are actually pretty cheap as far as money goes.

You can easily find an abandoned military installation to house your SF unit, like an old military airfield that closed down thirty years ago.

A lot of the stuff that SF needs is already in stock in the military supply system; and the custom stuff like dune buggies can be acquired fairly cheap; since you're only buying two or three of them. The really big ticket items like specialist aircraft (Pave Lows) are expensive -- but they also do other roles like search and rescue when they're not transporting special forces deep behind the lines; so their cost can be split with other military units.

They also provide a useful recruiting tool to get people to join the military with the promise of becoming a supercommando -- those types wouldn't have joined to become a Bradley driver.

Sure, you'll lose them for a bit while they waste time failing SOF training; but then you have their ass for three years...and who knows, they might even re-enlist.

The one big downside of Special Forces is if you have fairly high recruitment standards for the unit; they suck away good personnel and place said personnel in greater danger.

Supatra said it best several years ago on HPCA.

"So man who might be good corporal or sergeant in regular unit serve as private in specialist unit. Also they get killed like privates in specialist unit. So there is measurable cost to regular units in not having so good NCOs."

She went on to say how this was a serious problem for the Royal Thai Army; as the RTA's pool of good NCOs is very limited.

So instead of having a permanent special forces establishment like in other nations like the US/UK; the RTA's SOF units are more of a support unit (Scout/Sniper/LLRP), and they are seen as a regular assignment as far as professional development goes -- you join the unit; train up to the required standard; and then go back to the regular RTA; and take the skills and professional development they learned in the SOF unit with them.

The danger of an overly large special forces branch of your military is that they will act like the Army Air Forces / Airborne did to the U.S. Army in World War II. What happened was that the best inductees who scored highest on the aptitude tests were grabbed by various specialist/technical units, leaving very little quality manpower to be assigned to the Infantry branch, which then suffered the attendant problems.

The same thing also applies to your officer pool -- you have fairly high ranking officers leading special forces units from the front with the same chance of being shot as a specialist. Those people could be put to better use as staff officers rather than leading the charge towards a machine gun nest.
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Re: SF Military Tropes II

Post by Darwin » 2010-10-07 11:40am

MKSheppard wrote:
Zixinus wrote:Getting rid of the dogs is obvious.
In Vietnam, U.S. Special Forces routinely went out on operations carrying suppressed browning hi-powers. Their nickname for that weapon -- "Hush Puppy" -- shows you what they were used for.
Actually the Hush Puppy was often an integrally silenced .22LR Ruger. For when silenced 9mm is just too loud.
It's an overused trope that screwing a silencer onto a full-power pistol will make it whisper quiet. It won't. Ear-safe, sure, but so is clapping your hands together.
The Russians got around this by making self-contained pistol rounds, where the propellant powered a plunger that then pushed the round, so no escaping gas. Very quiet, but it took a lot of engineering to make an autoloader with that round.
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Re: SF Military Tropes II

Post by Gunhead » 2010-10-07 11:59am

Darwin wrote:
MKSheppard wrote:
Zixinus wrote:Getting rid of the dogs is obvious.
In Vietnam, U.S. Special Forces routinely went out on operations carrying suppressed browning hi-powers. Their nickname for that weapon -- "Hush Puppy" -- shows you what they were used for.
Actually the Hush Puppy was often an integrally silenced .22LR Ruger. For when silenced 9mm is just too loud.
It's an overused trope that screwing a silencer onto a full-power pistol will make it whisper quiet. It won't. Ear-safe, sure, but so is clapping your hands together.
The Russians got around this by making self-contained pistol rounds, where the propellant powered a plunger that then pushed the round, so no escaping gas. Very quiet, but it took a lot of engineering to make an autoloader with that round.
Are you by any chance referring to ? The only out of the box revolver you can silence. Are you sure they made and autoloader for this cartridge? Or are you talking about a totally different round If you're already carrying subsonic 9mm, then you can just screw on a silencer and the noisiest part of the gun will be the slide moving backwards and forwards and what little gas is escaping from the chamber. I do believe that there are silenced pistols that are modified to prevent the slide from working when the gun is fired making them really silent.

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Re: SF Military Tropes II

Post by folti78 » 2010-10-07 02:34pm

Gunhead wrote:
Darwin wrote:Actually the Hush Puppy was often an integrally silenced .22LR Ruger. For when silenced 9mm is just too loud.
It's an overused trope that screwing a silencer onto a full-power pistol will make it whisper quiet. It won't. Ear-safe, sure, but so is clapping your hands together.
The Russians got around this by making self-contained pistol rounds, where the propellant powered a plunger that then pushed the round, so no escaping gas. Very quiet, but it took a lot of engineering to make an autoloader with that round.
Are you by any chance referring to <snip silenced Nagant video> ? The only out of the box revolver you can silence. Are you sure they made and autoloader for this cartridge? Or are you talking about a totally different round If you're already carrying subsonic 9mm, then you can just screw on a silencer and the noisiest part of the gun will be the slide moving backwards and forwards and what little gas is escaping from the chamber. I do believe that there are silenced pistols that are modified to prevent the slide from working when the gun is fired making them really silent.

-Gunhead
I don't think so. The self-contained rounds have been developed for the S4M and the MSP pistols originally, but these were silenced derringers. Later development was the PSS semi-automatic and the OTs-38 revolver but it's post-soviet design. All of them, especially the earlier derringers made for wet ops for KGB and later FSB.

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Re: SF Military Tropes II

Post by Agent Sorchus » 2010-10-07 05:56pm

http://world.guns.ru/grenade/gl53-e.htm This is a silenced grenade launcher/carbine that uses the same principal.
mechanism wrote:The heart of the Device "DM" (Изделие ДМ) weapon complex is the 9mm (9x93) noiseless cartridge, designed along the lines of the smaller 7.62mm (7.62x63) PZ "Zmeya" cartridge. The heavy steel cartridge case holds small powder charge and a piston, which can move inside the case to violently push the projectile out of the case and then jam itself at the case mouth, capturing powder gases (prime source f the gun shot sound and flash) inside the case.
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Re: SF Military Tropes II

Post by Zixinus » 2010-10-07 06:16pm

So, in a word, the more information a team has, the more likely they won't screw up big time?
Zixinus probably hit upon the two best ways to infiltrate a military base. Either find something that is really incredibly dirty on the base; like the sewage plant, or masquerade as janitorial staff.
My chief thought was not dirt, but a route considered inaccasible or too inconvenient for a serious assault force.

I am assuming that most bases (and I'm thinking quickly set-up bases or improvised or converted-from-something-else bases, not purpouse-built, super-high-security bases) are meant to withstand direct attack, not infiltration.

So, I assume that special infiltration units are also taught this: how to get trough areas that the enemy does not consider accessible, so they are not guarded.
Long story short, another of the main reasons that Special Forces Badass Ninja-dudes complete missions that seem impossible (when they complete missions) is largely due to sound planning and intelligence. The seat-of-the-pants stuff you often see in fiction would likely result in something more akin to the above. Or a SEAL team drowning because they tried (and failed) to scale a cliff from rubber dingies in rough seas.
Which kind of shows another type of SP: Recon. Get in, get info about the area and get out as fast as possible and with as little trace or track as possible.


As for silenced weapons: silencers (ideally) stop the gases leaving the barrel to be supersonic. What you ideally would need to add (or rather, use) is sub-sonic bullets (bullets that don't go fast enough to brake the sound barrier). This way, no loud bang is (or more likely, should be) heard. However, it does not eliminate noise completely.
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Re: SF Military Tropes II

Post by SAMAS » 2010-10-07 06:42pm

Star Wars 888 wrote:The elite vehicles of the sci fi militaries are walkers. They continue to use these walkers despite Rebel forces managing to defeat them with big ropes and teddy bears tripping them over with logs.
Geez, some people still can't get over Return of the Jedi, huh?
Sci Fi spaceships will take thermonuclear warheads with ease, but colliding at low speeds into asteroids will heavily damage and maybe even destroy them.
"Low Speed" is relative. Remember, spaceships are big, and space is even bigger. Large objects moving over a long distance may not look like they're moving very fast, even if they're traveling at hundreds of meters a second.
Sci Fi standard space weapons will have weapon yields ranging from the kilotons to the teratons but will make small explosions upon hitting.
Good one. I don't know any good answer for this other than the lack of a sense of scale among far too many animators/digital artists.
Sci Fi invading aliens will use UFOs that are slower than modern day jets and have poor aerodynamic designs. Their laser beams will consistently miss and their only way to pwn us is through their shield generators, which can be disabled by a Microsoft virus. Also, those deflector shields cannot stop colliding into a mountain.
Can we stop giving specific examples as overall tropes?
Sci Fi space ships will use manual gunners often times without even iron sights trying to hit ships moving at mach 10.
This greatly varies. Most shows don't even show how point-defense guns are controlled. The two examples made at times when they should have known better are Star Wars and Mobile Suit Gundam, the latter of which actually had an excuse (wasn't much of one, though, and it was corrected for later series'.).
Sci Fi ground troops will consistently miss guys right next to them despite having supposedly uber targeting helmets and weapons.
Because the story would end pretty damn quick if the heroes get gunned down right off the bat. Through accuracy in most Sci-Fi generally sucks.
Sci Fi humans will quickly catch up with aliens despite those aliens having discovered FTL travel a milenium before us.
More often that not, this comes from acquiring said alien tech and using or reverse-engineering it.
Sci Fi main characters will not use long ranged combat, sensors, orbital bombardment or such when fighting close range will do.
Because it's more visually exciting that way, or so the Conventional Wisdom goes.
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Re: SF Military Tropes II

Post by hunter5 » 2010-10-07 08:13pm

Sci Fi standard space weapons will have weapon yields ranging from the kilotons to the teratons but will make small explosions upon hitting.
Good one. I don't know any good answer for this other than the lack of a sense of scale among far too many animators/digital artists.
More than likely it is due to the fact that most Sci Fi space weapons are shown to hit stuff in space where there really isn't much to make a giant explosion.

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Re: SF Military Tropes II

Post by Thanas » 2010-10-07 08:19pm

Or because at least some of the weapons - like SW torpedoes - are called directional energy weapons and do not have the standard explosion ball anyway because their energy is directed into one specific arc.
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Re: SF Military Tropes II

Post by JointStrikeFighter » 2010-10-07 09:39pm

Or because they don't give a damn.

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Re: SF Military Tropes II

Post by Sarevok » 2010-10-08 01:51am

Thanas wrote:Or because at least some of the weapons - like SW torpedoes - are called directional energy weapons and do not have the standard explosion ball anyway because their energy is directed into one specific arc.
Well in the OT at least we never saw TL bolts strike unshielded matter other than asteroid. And when they did the asteroids were utterly vaporized.
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Re: SF Military Tropes II

Post by Swindle1984 » 2010-10-08 03:40am

Three years ago, there was a minor ruckus in the news when they found a bunch of illegal aliens working on janitorial and maintenance staff in supposedly "secure" facilities like an air force base and nuclear power plant. If uneducated peasant migrants, many with criminal backgrounds, who barely speak the local language can get in, I think a trained spy or saboteur can too.


MKSheppard wrote:
Zixinus wrote:Getting rid of the dogs is obvious.
In Vietnam, U.S. Special Forces routinely went out on operations carrying suppressed browning hi-powers. Their nickname for that weapon -- "Hush Puppy" -- shows you what they were used for.

But even that's not a gurantee of success; as a suppressed weapon makes noise; and modern acoustic sensors could pick up that noise and pop a notice of "a silenced gunshot just went off outside of fence line A21" on the monitor of the PFC monitoring the security system.

Plus of course, the dog won't return to it's handler since it's dead or wounded; and the handler will wonder where his dog is.
Suppressed weapons, of course, don't sound anything like they do in the movies or video games, where they make a high-pitched mouse fart that a guy standing thirty feet away doesn't hear.

Assuming you're shooting subsonic ammo, a pistol or submachine gun will be about as loud as dropping a large textbook on the floor, or maybe setting off a small firecracker. A rifle will be much louder. If you use regular ammo, the loud crack as the bullet breaks the sound barrier isn't likely to be mistaken for something other than a gunshot. The advantage of using a silencer is that it isn't going to damage your hearing (especially when shooting indoors or in confined spaces like an alley), it eliminates muzzle flash, and it makes you harder to pinpoint.

And yes, there are gunshot detectors that can pick up a suppressed gunshot and flag it as something to investigate.

Of course, there ARE silenced weapons that are more like the guns in movies. The De Lisle carbine used in WWII was a British Enfield rifle modified to use a Thompson SMG barrel wrapped in an integral silencer for the entire length of the barrel, and a 1911 magazine. Subsonic .45ACP ammo resulted in a rifle used for covert ops that was accurate out to about a hundred yards (which was really pushing it) and the loudest sound was the bolt operating. Russia made a number of silenced weapons like the S4M that had no silencer, but instead used cartridges that contained a plunger; when fired, the plunger would shove the bullet out and plug up the cartridge, trapping the gas instead. The bullet traveled at low velocity (in some Russian pistols, they bullet and rifling were identical to the AK-47, making it appear to ballistics experts that the target had been shot with an AK from extreme range.), not breaking the sound barrier. The loudest sound was the hammer clicking against the firing pin. The Welrod silencer pistol was in service with the British from WWII all the until at least 1991.



EDIT: Ah, too late, I see.
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Re: SF Military Tropes II

Post by Swindle1984 » 2010-10-08 03:47am

Gunhead wrote:
Darwin wrote:
MKSheppard wrote: In Vietnam, U.S. Special Forces routinely went out on operations carrying suppressed browning hi-powers. Their nickname for that weapon -- "Hush Puppy" -- shows you what they were used for.
Actually the Hush Puppy was often an integrally silenced .22LR Ruger. For when silenced 9mm is just too loud.
It's an overused trope that screwing a silencer onto a full-power pistol will make it whisper quiet. It won't. Ear-safe, sure, but so is clapping your hands together.
The Russians got around this by making self-contained pistol rounds, where the propellant powered a plunger that then pushed the round, so no escaping gas. Very quiet, but it took a lot of engineering to make an autoloader with that round.
Are you by any chance referring to ? The only out of the box revolver you can silence. Are you sure they made and autoloader for this cartridge? Or are you talking about a totally different round If you're already carrying subsonic 9mm, then you can just screw on a silencer and the noisiest part of the gun will be the slide moving backwards and forwards and what little gas is escaping from the chamber. I do believe that there are silenced pistols that are modified to prevent the slide from working when the gun is fired making them really silent.

-Gunhead
Actually, Dan Wesson and a couple other manufacturers make revolvers with gas-seal cylinders like the Nagant's, meaning you can suppress them as well.

Image

Knights Armament also made a silenced .44 Magnum revolver carbine that apparently is pretty darn quiet with subsonic ammo.

So the Nagant isn't the only "out of the box" revolver you can suppress, not by a long shot. It's just the most affordable one anybody will ever see.
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Re: SF Military Tropes II

Post by MKSheppard » 2010-10-08 05:21am

Swindle1984 wrote:Suppressed weapons, of course, don't sound anything like they do in the movies or video games, where they make a high-pitched mouse fart that a guy standing thirty feet away doesn't hear.
That's a very good trope to cover!

You (and others) have covered the nuts and bolts of suppressors. May I suggest another reason for sound suppression technology?

While you can't eliminate the sound completely; you could change it enough so that it doesn't twig someone's attention.

AFAIK; there are certain frequencies of sound that humans can hear and distinguish easier than others. If you can shift your weapon's noise away from those frequencies and into the other frequencies; you can gain a measure of 'silencing' without actually reducing the sound level of the weapon.
And yes, there are gunshot detectors that can pick up a suppressed gunshot and flag it as something to investigate.
And...you've hit upon the real problem with suppressed weapons in a Science fictiony setting.

The damned gunshot detectors.

As technology proliferates more and becomes more widespread; you'll see closer integration between traditional electronic security sensors such as video cameras and non-traditional electronic security sensors such as microphones, infrared imagers, high resolution radar, RFID taggants, and the like.

Also, traditional technology such as video cameras will improve massively when connected to advancing computing power -- we're spending a lot of money on fancy image recognition tasks for combat robots so they can at least attempt to autonomously carry out a task without needing constant supervision from a human.

So instead of having to defeat the attention of a very bored guard in a security room watching ten different video cameras, which never change (they all show the same image; endless lines of chain link fencing), you now have to defeat a computer AI program which can detect anamolous movement through a variety of sources (Visual light, infrared, radar, sound).

And unlike the human, it doesn't get bored or can't be distracted easily.

One suggestion I have heard from a friend of mine is that infiltration in the future shifts away from men in balaclava cutting through security fences towards:

A.) Cyber-infiltration -- go in through the computers to find what you need.

B.) Use infiltration drones instead of an actual man in balaclava. This has the advantage being that while the human has to get out most of the time for the mission to be successful, the infiltration robots only need to find their target(s) and then get to a point where they can transmit the information to succeed.

C.) Congrugent with B; is that infiltrations become more of a matter of getting the person and his infiltration drones onto base. For example, you could steal some ID and walk onto the base with your infiltration robots all folded up at the bottom the garbage bag you're lugging around. You could then carefully place the drones at strategic points around the base under the pretext of changing the trash bins across the base.

And then that night simply have a recorder going in your rented hotel room of what the drones find as they go active.
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