Home Forums Ambush Alley Games Force on Force Civilian Mobs

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  • #58217
    alan
    Participant

    In Ambush Alley, the only way of dealing with civilian mobs is to try to deal with them peacefully by negotiation.

    I have a set of rules called Metal Storm (somewhat similar to AK47) in which civilians could be dispersed by suppressive fire over their heads and I think this is quite a good idea.  I am particularly thinking of the like of Blackhawk Down scenarios where regulars in a built-up area could end up surrounded by mobs and not be able to do anything about it if they cannot be talked down.

    Any thoughts of including such a provision in the new rules?

    Alan

    #58222
    Shawn Carpenter
    Participant

    In the current rules you could interpret a successful dispersion roll as being the result of just that sort of thing. I think you’d take a hit on victory points in most scenarios, though – the optics wouldn’t play well back home.

    The AA rules are going to have a slightly different focus than original AA, though. After all, it’s been a decade since the original rules were published and times have changed since then. 😉

    Shawn Carpenter
    [email protected]ygames.com
    www.ambushalleygames.net

    #58224
    alan
    Participant

    Shawn,

    Thanks for the prompt reply.  Will the new rules contain such a rule?

    Alan

    PS Will I be able to use my old AA scenarios such as Art of War with the new rules?

    #58231
    Patrice
    Participant

    I’m not using these rules, but from a player’s point of view you can control all your troops, so it’s tempting to say that if facing a mob they will fire “suppressive fire over their heads” but in the real world it means that as a commander you allow them to do so …and when you’ve ordered that, you cannot control effectively what happens.

    So if you need to change the rules about this, you could include a random factor that, if, as a commander, you allow this… it may happen that one of your subordinate officer or NCO or soldier fires not above the heads, but at the people, and kills unarmed civilians (with political consequences …lowering your victory points, or worse…) or, alternatively, that some of your troops will be reluctant to do it because of this risk.

    http://www.argad-bzh.fr/argad/en.html
    https://www.anargader.net/

    #58234
    John D Salt
    Participant

    When I was in the TA, in an IS (Internal Security) battalion, we were instructed never to fire warning shots or shoot over people’s heads. Warnings might be given, three being a traditional British Army number, but if fire was opened it was only ever intended to kill.

    Doctrine was different in other armies, and is I understand now different in the British Army, but the reasons given at the time still seem good to me. In a civil disorder situation, it is important to control the level of violence. One critical transition in the level of violence is the use of lethal force. If soldiers are allowed to fire warning shots, then it is hard to be sure whether lethal force is or is not being used. If, on the other hand, they are prohibited from firing warning shots, confusion is impossible, and everybody knows, once they hear shots, that it’s no more Mr. Nice Guy and lethal force is being used. What you really don’t want to happen is someone firing a warning shot in a confused situation, someone else thinking they are being shot at, and lethal fire being opened without orders.

    All the best,

    John.

    #58272
    maggico
    Participant

    I wonder what’s happen if a TV cameraman is here and pick up a scene where some soldiers fire a warning shot toward a mob. What’s the difference from this and a normal shot in a TV news?

    #58297
    Shawn Carpenter
    Participant

    Nope, the new rules won’t include warning shots to disperse a crowd. As I said, the focus of AA2 is a little different from the original rule-set. As always, though, there’s nothing to stop you from hacking in your own rule.

    You will be able to play the old campaign packs, after doing a little conversion.

    Shawn Carpenter
    [email protected]
    www.ambushalleygames.net

    #58324
    Patrice
    Participant

    Yes, it could be tricky to include this in any ruleset. As others have also mentioned, it’s very difficult for regular troops, even very well trained to fight, to handle this kind of situation. You easily end up with soldiers firing at the crowd, as happened to the French Army in Abidjan in 2004. To avoid this, the French forces in overseas deployments often include some Gendarmes who are military personal but also specially trained and equipped for riot control.

    If it were allowed in the rules, players would want to do it all the time and firing above heads would become a normal way to deal with a mob – which is not realistic.

     

    http://www.argad-bzh.fr/argad/en.html
    https://www.anargader.net/

    #58385
    alan
    Participant

    Thanks for the replies.

    What would be the suggestions for dealing with an unarmed but hostile mob which is blocking your path to safety and how would you incorporate them in a set of rules?  I can see such a situation in assymetric games such as Blackhawk Down.

    Alan

    #58393
    John D Salt
    Participant

    There is a principle of riot control that says that the number of people a riot-control unit can control is proportional to the size of the unit multiplied by the level of force it is prepared to use.

    When I was young enough to spend some of my time at university marching through London carry a placard, the Met Police had taken this to heart by using a technique called “swamp policing”; they cancelled leave, routed officers out of their cosy offices, got reinforcing elements from Thames Valley and other neighbouring forces, and put as many officers on the demo as there were demonstrators — possibly more. The police officers formed neat close-order lines on each side of the march, and it proceeded in an entirely orderly and non-violent manner to Hyde Park Corner, where the only slight glimmer of hostility I witnessed was a red-faced march steward wearing a Labour Party badge yelling at some Hare Krishnas “Stop that f*cking drumming, or I’ll belt ya! People have come here to talk about PEACE!”

    At the other extreme, a chap who used to be our family grocer once told me of an incident that occurred in Hong Kong in the late 1930s when he was a member of the Royal Marines detachment of HMS Ramillies (I think it was). Some of the locals were rioting, and the Marines were called upon to deal with it. They were outnumbered hundreds to one, but in the finest traditions of the service, and as required by law, they stood an officer on an orange-box, and got him and an HKP officer to read the riot act, and warn the crowd to disperse, under a hail of miscellaneous missiles the while. After a regulation pause, the crowd having failed to disperse, the RM officer nominated a rioter who looked like a ring-leader; a Marine fired a single aimed round, which hit the ring-leader in the head and killed him instantly; and the Marines then advanced with fixed bayonets to recover the body, while the crowd dispersed in haste. After Ramillies had left Hong Kong, another riot blew up. Ramillies was ordered back to HK, and when the rioters saw her Marine detachment disembark, they dispersed at once.

    So, a military unit can certainly deal with a civilian mob of any size — if only it is prepared to use enough violence. The puzzle the rules should put to the player is, how much violence is enough? Too little, it has no effect, and probably the rioters grow bolder. Too much, and you have massive national or international repercussions from a bad decision by a junior commander — consider the broader political effects of Armristsar, Bloody Sunday (either one), or Kent State. In a deliberate and planned riot-control situation you can probably engage in a more or less stately dance of progressive escalation, each side upping the ante until the other folds. Units properly equipped for riot control with have sufficient options for a number of steps along the way — CS gas, water cannon, dick guns — before starting to shoot people. The side that folds should always eventually be the rioters, as it is another principle of riot control that government forces are never seen to retreat; but if the rioters do well, they will have extracted a fairly violent reaction, and possibly got some good pictures to show people to “come and see the oppression inherent in the system”.

    If it’s a question of a military unit getting to safety, then doubtless there is no time for the dance of escalation, and one will just have to hope that posturing as if about to inflict extreme violence, say by ordering “fix bayonets”, will do a good enough job of clearing the way without having to bayonet anybody. Of course the military unit should never have got itself in such a position, and there will surely be a court of enquiry about who cocked up bady enough for this to happen.

    Yet another principle of riot control is that people fight harder when cornered. So, yes, the miltary unit *will* clear the way if its survival depends on it. With the boot on the other foot, intelligent riot controllers always make sure that the rioters have somewhere to run. Except in the specific case of snatch squads (short-shield men if you have proper riot control gear, Tommies with steel helmets and pick-helves if you don’t) who need to lift a particular individual, you are really not interested in arresting people, at least not today, you just want to clear them off the street. This means that the tactic of “kettling” which the Met Police have been using against demonstrators in recent years is a harmfully stupid one, but it will be fine as long as the people it is used against are well-spoken middle class folks protesting about something they read on Facebook, and not a bunch of street-fighting thugs with iron bars and stabby things.

    How one translates all this into rules I admit I have no idea, but I think if you can capture the principles that force times mass equals effect, that using too much force is a very bad thing (much worse than using too little), and that cornered rats fight harder than those that can run away, you will have got a pretty good first-order model of the way these things work.

    All the best,

    John.

    #58411
    Shawn Carpenter
    Participant

    In the current version of Force on Force, we abstract the issue based on “standard” ROEs in effect at the time (seven years ago, now). Optics were important then (and they still are, of course), so firing on unarmed civilians would work against the Regular player and to the advantage of the Insurgent player.

    If scenario victory conditions aren’t predicated entirely on body count (and ours rarely if ever are), then shooting your way out of every situation probably isn’t going to be a winning solution in every instance.

    Shawn Carpenter
    [email protected]
    www.ambushalleygames.net

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