Letter Re: Effective Small Team Tactics for the Coming Collapse

Mr Rawles,
I have a few comments after reading the guest article by Max Velocity on small team tactics. I realize the author’s perspective is colored by his time in Afghanistan and Iraq, but there are some issues I have with his article.

The first is the Explosively Formed Penetrator (EFP) is not the same IED he described in the Off-route section. The EFP is formed by the Miznay-Chardin effect, not the Munroe effect. The EFP (Miznay-Chardin) is a solid slug or can be fragmented by various means, but is not a molten jet of metal (Munroe). The Munroe effect, or shaped charge, works best in contact situations (it is the kill mechanism by which the RPG works), where the warhead contacts the target. At distance, it often turns into what has been termed as an “incoherent spray,” where the jet breaks up before it strikes the target. This effect is so pronounced that vehicles in Afghanistan use cages to break up the spray inches from the armor, for those occasions where the warhead isn’t damaged to the point of malfunctioning. Miznay-Chardin charges use a shallow plate to form the slug, which is not molten, and lance thru armor. These devices are generally only defeated by more armor or reactive armor.

Second, a vehicle-borne IED doesn’t have to be so large as to affect the suspension of a vehicle to the point of noticing it. In places like Iraq and Afghanistan, the maintenance done on automobiles is spotty at best, and is generally only done to the point of keeping the vehicle running. Putting decent shocks in a vehicle is often a pipe dream. A charge of 200 pounds (about the weight of a person) will generally not affect the ride or stationary characteristics of a vehicle to the point of being noticeable, yet is a large enough charge to do plenty of damage.

IEDs are probably not a real threat to the G.O.O.D. crowd, because any benefit (other than just causing mayhem) would be lost, because a civilian vehicle’s contents would probably be irreparably damaged if it was attacked with an IED much larger than three to five pounds. I’d be much more worried about small arms ambushes (which were not really covered) and things like spike strips or caltrops. These things would immobilize a vehicle and allow the vehicle and contents to be recovered relatively intact.

The author’s point about forming a convoy is a good consideration, but my nuclear family (husband, wife, two kids) would be hard pressed to provide good on-road security for itself, because my sons are just over and just under 10 years old. I can’t expect them to perform even as well as a 16 year old. They can’t really drive, nor can they shoot with the level of fire they’d need to in a contact. You’d really need to band together with at least one other family, hopefully taking two or three vehicles.

The method of providing security is suspect as well, because not every vehicle suitable as a G.O.O.D. vehicle has a sunroof to provide something resembling 360-degree fires during a firefight. The author’s perspective is again colored by his experiences. I don’t own an armored pickup or SUV, and would have to rely on speed and my driving to get myself out of an ambush or attack.

And, to give you an idea of my experience, I spent a year in Afghanistan running missions outside the wire. Sincerely, – Major K.