Thursday, February 23, 2012


People have talked a long time about the "rifleman's ambush" as a tactic for irregular forces to use against an oppressive government occupation.  The term is pretty simple, and the concept is pretty simple, unfortunately the execution is anything but simple.

But here is how it would go down in a perfect world.  Say the Wolverine bubbas are taking on the Cuban Commandos.

First, sectors of fire and priorities of fire.  The bubbas on each flank need to shoot at the first and last enemy infantryman and work their way in.  The two guys in the middle need to have an arranged middle point and work their way towards the flanks from there.  Once a bubba has cleared his sector, he needs to immediately transition to a secondary and help out his neighbor.  The priority of fires should be machine guns (immediate threat), radio men (a delayed threat), and leadership.

What this does is deconflicts so that three bubbas don't all shoot at the point man and give away their position against a highly trained aggressive force.  If every bubba is a good shot, and makes contact with their first shot, they managed to take out the point man, the trail man, a machine gunner, and a radio man.  The infantry squad that started with 9 men is now down to 5 combat effective men.  The second shot we can say will be less effective, so another 4 shots takes out only 2 more men, and the third round of fire takes out one.  In four volleys of fire the communist infantry squad has been reduced from 9 men to 2 men, and the last volley has four bubbas aiming at two bad guys.  Each bubba only fired five shots.

Pretty much every bolt action hunting rifle carries about five shots (unless it is a Magnum caliber, then usually only three).  Four bubbas, four rifles, 5 shots each, 20 rounds total, one enemy squad down.  That is economy of force.  Now, this only works if the Bubbas are trained, proficient, and able to work as a team.

If we assign a different hit probability to each volley then the "rifleman's ambush" would need more ammo, more time, and have a much greater likelihood of failure.  If each volley has a 25% success rate, it would take nine volleys to reduce the enemy squad, which is one reload for our bubbas.  With a 12.5% success rate then only one in eight bullets is effective, meaning our bubbas have to fire 56 bullets to reduce the enemy squad, which means 2 reloads (total of 15 volleys). 

Things to think about.  Marksmanship matters.  Coordination matters.  Time matters, the longer a fight goes on the worse it is for our bubbas. 

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