Thomas Wictor

Firepower now has multiple applications

Firepower now has multiple applications

For centuries, firepower meant only one thing.

The “best” weapons killed the largest number of people in the the shortest amount of time.

Probably in around 2005, the Gulf Cooperation Council made peace with Israel. Together they created weapons that increase firepower and narrow its scope. To me, the motivation doesn’t matter. I don’t care if morality or pragmatism is behind this revolution in warfare. The end result is that even in major conflicts, far fewer people die.

Old-school firepower

The American Civil War (April 12, 1861 to May 9, 1865) was the first modern conflict. This was an industrialized war that displaced huge numbers of civilians and depended on state-of-the-art technology such as telecommunications, aerial vehicles, submarines, mass transit, and rapid-fire weapons. Embedded journalists filed reports that changed public opinion. However, the main reason this is the first modern war is the number of casualties.

As many as 900,000 people died. That’s the equivalent of 9 million of the 2016 American population.

The US Navy tested modern flamethrowers in 1862. A Boston professor named B. F. Greenough built a flamethrower consisting of a metal pipe three-sixteenths of an inch (.47 centimeters) in diameter, 25 feet (7.6 meters) of rubber hose, and a small pump. Wire gauze over the pipe nozzle ignited the flammable liquid. The gauze was pyrophoric or combustible metal.

It would’ve looked something like this Austrian weapon from 1915.

Flamethrower

During a demonstration at the Washington Navy Yard, the apparatus produced a flame 50 yards (46 meters) long and two feet (60 centimeters) in diameter. A dense, suffocating cloud of smoke accompanied the jet of flame. Greenough’s liquid fire was inextinguishable, burning readily on the water and consuming the wooden targets. However, no reason is given for why such an impressive weapon never saw service.

Love-hate of firepower

While armed forces sought ever-increasing levels of firepower, some “thinkers” came to believe that weapons would eventually make war impossible. The logic was that war would become too destructive for any nation to undertake.

I always knew that this reasoning is flawed. It doesn’t take into account a defining characteristic of the human experience: denial. Power-mad maniacs are like teenage drivers. They think they’re invulnerable. As a result, they always want the most destructive weapons available.

Iranian_nuclear_cheating

Conventional deterrence does not work on nations such as Iran. The leaders never pay a price for their aggression, and killing large numbers of their soldiers simply provides martyrs.

Iranian_martyrs

Therefore the Arab League and its allies had to invent a new form of warfare. Call it “counterinsurgent insurgency” (COIN-IN). Arab strategic special operators secretly direct their overwhelming firepower at leaders, weapons, supplies, and shelters. It’s pure genius.

I can think of nothing more demoralizing than the enemy defeating you without even bothering to take credit for it.

Unpredictable firepower

Arab League military doctrine has a completely unknowable formula for when to apply firepower. Fighters of the Manbij Military Council and the Syrian Democratic Forces recently captured an Islamic State training center for “Cubs of the Caliphate,” meaning child soldiers.

I’ve never seen more precise air strikes.

air_strikes

Some rooms were demolished, and some were left untouched. The pilots had perfect intelligence. They used just enough firepower to make the enemy retreat. Right beside the collapsed sections are windows with intact glass.

air_strikes.2

How do these pilots achieve such accuracy?

Finally we have one answer.

Bird-firepower

Because Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve published this video, I’m allowed to comment on it. I’ve known this for several months, but now I can talk about it. Besides, this will add to the enemy’s paranoia.

First, watch.

This not a bird.

flapping_drone.1

flapping_drone.2

flapping_drone.3

It’s a targeting drone disguised as a bird. The robot-bird lands on the target, and the missile hones in on a signal it emits.

missiles

VBIED_explosion

Since the bird flies slowly, it’s much easier to control. Also, the bird is much more agile. The terrorists concealed that suicide vehicle borne improvised explosive device (SVBIED) in a maze of alleys. A flapping bird can go around corners and land anywhere. This takes some of the risk out of using missiles in urban environments. The bird would have to have a camera; the pilot would see something like this.

Toyotas_truck

Or this.

target

Invisible firepower

There’s no munition seen in this video. My guess is that it traveled too quickly to register.

The explosives in the SVBIED deflagrated or burned very rapidly.

SVBIED.1

SVBIED.2

SVBIED.3

The deflagration was powerful enough to break the truck in two.

SVBIED.4

But the surrounding structures were basically unharmed. One wall suffered some damage.

The era of the SVBIED is coming to a close. Furthermore, I think that the era of international terrorism is coming to a close.

Old-fashioned firepower

Technology is great, but soldiers will always will always have to fight well. Below is a video of Arab League strategic special operators in Syria attacking an Islamic State fortification after air strikes. The black vehicle is an MT-LB armored personnel carrier, while some kind of special-operations gun truck travels behind it.

As the two vehicles approach, the gunner in the MT-LB fires his heavy machine gun or light cannon to make the terrorists take cover.

MT-LB

By the time the assault unit reaches the fortification, a series of explosions begins.

MK-19

The gun truck on the other side of the MT-LB is armed with an MK-19 40mm automatic grenade launcher.

MK-19.2

As the heavy machine gun and grenade launcher engage the terrorists, a five-man fire team dismounts and races toward the earthen berm.

fire_team.1

fire_team.2

They fire on the run, and the MT-LB backs up to give the gunner a clear view.

MT-LB.2

It took the assault troops thirteen seconds to dismount and begin the attack. I’m sure that they killed everybody in the fortifications.

Meanwhile, Bashar al-Assad tells us that the Syrian Arab Army has a unit of special operators called the Tiger Forces. Below is one of them.

Tiger_Forces

The Syrian civil war won’t last much longer. Now do you see why it’s not always necessary or even desirable to kill the enemy? If the obese man above is simply riding around in a tank and not actually engaging in combat, why kill him?

Why kill this Iranian guy?

Iranian_Hulk

He’s only twenty-four, living in a hideous theocratic dictatorship. Since he’s not interested in going to Syria and killing people, he should be left alone.

The Arab League is well on the way to stopping war. A combination of brilliant diplomacy, discretion, empathy, and the judicious use of utterly ruthless force is making a long-held dream come true.


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