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Library: small unit operations


Author: Lum
Date:Feb 26 1998

Units consist of six members, four armed for combat, one medical officer, and
one communications and command office.

The communications officer makes tactical decisions for the unit and keeps in
touch with the command structure.

The medical officer is specially equipped to deal with serious combat-related

The armorment of the combat personel differs according to the function of the

Combat equipment can be broken down into 4 main types:  standard, standoff,
missile, and special.

Positions can be broken down into 4 columns, called the left wing, left,
right, and right wing.  Also 3 rows, front, middle, and rear.

In modern-day, the commander and the medic are typically both armed with
missile weapons.

Examples of different configurations:
* Standard:  sword and shield, 2-handed sword, battleaxe and shield, mace and
shield, etc.
* Missile:  Staff sling, bow, missile device.
* Standoff:  Pike, Halberd, Glaive.
* Special:  Flail, Military pick, Oil / Explosives.
* Standard and Missile:  Hammer, Short spear.
* Missile and Standoff:  Long Spear.
* Standard and Standoff:  Quarterstaff.

There are a number of different "basic" unit configurations, for units of six
(How am I supposed to do graphics?!)
SEE THE BOOK "basic unit configuration" for the diagrams.

(Mobile Units)
Mobile units should be assigned a vehicle such as a car that can fit in each
member.  Each member should have an appointed station/seat on the vehicle so
that when scramble-ing, two people don't try to take the same seat and slow
things down.  With mobile units, it is recommended each member at the bare
minimum get some kind of missile weapon, preferably a missile device. 
Especially if they are assigned to anti-vehicular duties.

(some notes on vehicular and anti-vehicular combat)
Vehicles are important to give individual units mobility.  For this reason, it
is important for a unit to protect its vehicle in a combat situation, as this
is a method of escape and transport.  For this reason, vehicles should carry a
number of anti-chasing devices such as spikes or other specially designed
sharp objects that can hinder any vehicle pursuing.  Likewise, engaging
vehicles with other vehicles is not advisable, enemy vehicles should be
engaged with anti-vehicle armed infantry.  

(anti-vehicular units)
Anti-vehicular units should have, at minimum, the following equipment.
1) Standoff weaponry, preferably long spears.
2) Missile weaponry, preferably powered or missile devices.
3) Nonflamable oil or other slick substances.
4) Ground spikes.
5) Binoculars.
A forward lookout informs the unit's commander of an enemy contact.  Upon
enemy contact, though (5) serves as a backup for this.  When enemy contact is
imminent, the traps are laid out.  Slick works best when the road is curved,
and can be laid down beforehand.  With spikes, the unit should wait until the
vehicle is just about to pass and throw them down, in hope that they disable
the vehicle.  Once the vehicle is disabled and immobile, it can be attacked
repeatedly with missile weapons.  
(other advised equipment)
1) "Molitov Cocktail". (Can be thrown directly at vehicles)
2) Smokebombs, boxes of confetti (can be used for obscuring view).
3) Large, lightweight shields (useful for hiding behind in open areas).
4) Lawn Darts, Pool Balls, etc.  (Good close-range thrown weapons).

(on indirrect fire)
In an urban environment, the value of long-range, indirect-fire weapons cannot
be underestimated.  This is especially true when the enemy is simply a group
within the city and not the city itself.  An effective long-range indirrect
fire weapon can be used to force your enemy to attack you, which often times
will add to their troubles by getting the cities authorities or defense force
after them.

Indirrect fire weapons include heavy ballista (which can also be used for
direct fire), catapults, and even large cannons.  Cannons are typically not
favoured though b'cos of the unwanted attention they attract from noise.  
These large weapons are generally stationary and non-mobile, since they are
quite large.  

The most important thing is that these devices can be fired quietly and do not
attract much attention.  The theoretical maximum range of a subsonic
projectile in a vacuum is around 2.5km -- in reality this is shortened by air
friction and dependent on wind conditions.  The theoretical maximum time aloft
for a single round, neglecting drag is around 45-50 seconds.  

For accurate firing, the artillery should use uniform or precision ammo. 
Aiming the artillery is time consuming, and generally requires a forward
observer near the target.  A test shot is fired in the vicinity of the target
and the observer notes where it lands, calling back to base and making minor
adjustments.  Changes in wind conditions and other factors can greatly affect
accuracy, so frequent adjustments may be necessary.  

Cloudy days or nights are best for firing since they provide the best "cover".
The weapon should be kept well-protected at all times.   At close ranges,
special ammunition can be used, though humans are generally too heavy (and
squirm around, screwing up the accuracy), but things like cows or pigs are
generally little problem.

It should be noted that artillery is more of a nuisance and a mostly strategic
weapon, and is not very useful from a tactical standpoint.  Even if the
artillery is capable of direct-fire, it is generally so large that it is hard
to aim at moving targets.  

(traps) When fortifying a location, especially a "home base", a number of
traps can deter any entrance.  While totally passive, traps are an important
part of any defense plan.

The simplest trap is a blade or an impact trap.  There are standard designs
for these, but the best uses a pressure plate and a blade that comes out of
the ground, or something heavy that drops from above.  This type of trap may
be avoided by a careful observer, but any enemy who rushes in will be stabbed
by the blade.  It is advisable to use multiple blades if the pressure plate is

There are other traps that involve some kind of impact or something related
like pit traps or net traps.  Indoors pit traps or fall traps are easy to
install if the structure calls for it.  Outdoors, they are more difficult
since you need to displace a lot of ground, and the trap will probably
collapse if not properly maintained.  

Next are explosive devices such as landmines.  These are generally not very
useful in urban defense but are used by almost all the worlds armies.

An electronic trap is generally the best kind.  An electronic sensor is linked
to an alarm at the minimum.  It is advisable to hook it to other devices as
well.  When hooking a sensor to a missile device, you should make sure you set
the trajectory right, you have to find the proper place to implement such a

The final type of major trap is a lock trap or an "exit" trap.  This simply
involves a room that can be entered, but not exited.  Victims trapped in the
room can be left to starve to death or poisoned with gas.

In modern times, most weapons used in combat can be enhanced or changed
dramatically -- using modern meteriel to create lighter, stronger, and more
resilient and durable weapons.  Additionally, weapons can be made easier to
conceal, and have other special properties.

(armor) A great difference can be made by using enhanced armor.  Shatterproof
plexiglass can be used as the faceplate, blocking direct hits to the face. 
Lightweight composite plastics can replace once heavy metal plates.  The
outside of armor can be layered with kevlar or military body armor to protect
again missile devices.  Despite all the possible enhancements, many people
today choose to ignore armour altogether, since effective armor is still
rather bulky and uncomfortable, just not as heavy as it once was.

(shield) Shields are more commonplace than armor, as they can provide
lightweight, effective protection.  Shields can be made ultra-light and
transparent, so they do not hinder any movement or vision.  Likewise, they can
be made to fold out or compress themselves, but this is relatively new and
tends to make the shield less resistant to impact.

(weapons) Weapons can be made completely out of nonmetals to evade detection. 
Specially strengthened plastics, or certain specialized hardwoods are
sufficient, but the weapons they produce will not be as resilient as their
metal counterparts.  Also, weapons like staves can be made to compress or
"telescope" down to a small size, but this likewise hurts durability.

(missles) Compound bows made of composite plastics are practically the norm
these days.  Also, crossbows have gained accuracy and are usable at longer
ranges.  The most notable development in missles is the "gun" or modern
firearm.  This uses an explosion caused by a powdery explosive ("gunpowder")
to propell a small metal "bullet" down a barrel.  The bullet emerges from the
barrel at extremely high speeds, generally more than 600 m/s, and hence the
weapon is quite accurate.  More attention will be devoted to firearms (design
and use) later.

("information network" and planning)
  Communications are an important part of troop deployment.  The best way to
implement communications in a typical urban environment is over the radio
band, preferably scrambled in some way, or using a pre-existing portable phone
("cell-phone") service. 
In a
cellphone or radio service, you should take into account that your
transmissions may be intercepted, but its unrealistic to think the opposing
party may be doing this (unless the opposing party is the government).  In
this case, you should use some kind of hidden cipher, or DES-type encryption
or equivelent with substantially long keys  (128 bits?  Or bytes?), or PGP
encryption with keys over 1024 bytes.  This should be sufficient to prevent
interception by a third party and subsequent deconding, at least within a
reasonable time frame.

In general, there should be at least one person coordinating operations for
each "field" unit of 6 members, or 2 if possible.  These operations should be
coordinated at the "homebase", and planned on-going by the lead strategist. 
The lead strategist is sits at the front of the room and has a map of the city
with markets denoting each unit's strength and location.  

It is imparitive that when an enemy, especially a fast-mover, is sighted by a
unit that its location is reported to "homebase" immediately, so that
operations can be coordinated properly.  

Use of Air Power

On the rare occasion that you are able to acquire and use air power, it should
not be overlooked in its usefulness.  Air power need not be an aeroplane, in
many cases a helicopter or even a balloon or glider will suffice.  The main
use of air power is mostly recon, not tactical strikes.  Surgical strikes
should only be carried out when there is no other alternative, and when the
target is sufficiently vulnerable to air attack.

Whenever possible, an air-vehicle must have a crew of at least 2, one to fly
the vehicle and another to use the equipment.  A high-quality video camera
with good zoom capability is a must, as is a good pair of binoculars.

Weather, Environment, and Tactics

The best type of attack is one that is totally unexpected, a "surprise
attack".  The best time for a suprise attack is at night in total darkness,
with a new (no) moon and during extremely rainy or snowy weather.  Extreme
weather conditions cause secondary problems such as immobility, power outage,
and lack of visibility, which can seriously hamper defense to a well-planned
surprise attack.

For this reason, when a surprise attack is being planned, it must be able to
be executed with little or no notice.  In this case, about two hours.

When operating in extreme conditions, care should be taken to prevent death or
illness due to attritution.  Vehicles should be used cautiously, if at all.