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View Full Version : Contemporary combat question, barricades in buildings, stand-off situation



afarnam
02-17-2014, 12:25 PM
I'd like a little help strategizing on this one.

A group (around 20 people who are armed and some who aren't) believed to be involved with international terrorism has a complex of buildings in a rural setting. The authorities (initially militarized police units) find out their location and decide to surround them. The authorities would prefer to make them surrender but they have to end the stand-off quickly to avoid the possibility of a fight with other groups that may be in the area.

The defenders inside the complex of buildings had been afraid this might happen, so they prepared one building to be defensible. Any tips on describing this. It looks like a barn from the outside, but it is reinforced, there is an underground part and they have prepared barricades to cover doors and windows that allow for sheltered sniper positions. Any tips on describing this? Does anything here not make sense? Does anyone know what the best way to barricade a window or door while leaving a space to shoot out of would be?

Now, the other side, if the authorities have to end the stand-off quickly, they might threaten to do something drastic in order to force those inside to surrender. They have helicopters, APCs, lots of things and can have just about anything a particularly militarized police force might have. (This is a few years into a low-intensity conflict, so the powers of the police are a bit harsher than today.) I am thinking at the moment, that they threaten to knock holes in the walls with APCs and throw in explosives. Any suggestions? This is a threat, not something I have to describe happening, but it needs to be a plausible threat that would make the defenders think they would be quickly overwhelmed and either die or be incapacitated.

Many thanks.

ECathers
02-17-2014, 08:18 PM
I'd like a little help strategizing on this one.

A group (around 20 people who are armed and some who aren't) believed to be involved with international terrorism has a complex of buildings in a rural setting. The authorities (initially militarized police units) find out their location and decide to surround them. The authorities would prefer to make them surrender but they have to end the stand-off quickly to avoid the possibility of a fight with other groups that may be in the area.

The defenders inside the complex of buildings had been afraid this might happen, so they prepared one building to be defensible. Any tips on describing this. It looks like a barn from the outside, but it is reinforced, there is an underground part and they have prepared barricades to cover doors and windows that allow for sheltered sniper positions. Any tips on describing this? Does anything here not make sense? Does anyone know what the best way to barricade a window or door while leaving a space to shoot out of would be?

Now, the other side, if the authorities have to end the stand-off quickly, they might threaten to do something drastic in order to force those inside to surrender. They have helicopters, APCs, lots of things and can have just about anything a particularly militarized police force might have. (This is a few years into a low-intensity conflict, so the powers of the police are a bit harsher than today.) I am thinking at the moment, that they threaten to knock holes in the walls with APCs and throw in explosives. Any suggestions? This is a threat, not something I have to describe happening, but it needs to be a plausible threat that would make the defenders think they would be quickly overwhelmed and either die or be incapacitated.

Many thanks.

My first suggestion is to ask these questions on a survivalist forum. You'll probably get some great info from the folks there. (And please come back and share it - this is a fascinating subject!)

At this stage I probably have more questions than answers for you, as your answers will shade ours.

Are these people actually terrorists (thus probably more prepared) or just innocent civilians trying to stay safe?

What kind of tech do your terrorists have access to and how long have they been building/refurbishing their complex? Was it a repurposed complex or did they build it themselves? How far into their build are they? Completely finished? Still working on it? Just started? How much money did they have access to to build? Limited funds? Unlimited?

What kind of weapons do they have available? For example, rocket launchers could potentially take out the APCs and helicopters.

How "reinforced" is the barn? Do they have access to things like bullet proof glass?

I recently saw an episode of Doomsday Preppers where the guy had his underground complex made of a bunch of truck bodies which he'd buried.

Considering that they've built an underground area to the barn, it would be pretty unwise/inconceivable that they don't have escape tunnels to other buildings or positions where they can outflank the police.

What is the terrain like? Are there woods/cliffs/gulleys where they can also hide and snipe from? Based on the fact that they dug an underground area, they probably don't have too much of a problem with bedrock. How easy is it for the police to navigate the area on foot/via APCs?

I'd presume that they've also set up off the grid power. (That'd be one of the first things I'd focus on when building a place.) Solar, wind, possibly a paddlewheel if they have access to a stream. A good sized battery bank to store the power. Also propane generators, which are cleaner burning and easier to store than gasoline. Any of the outside components would probably be well camouflaged. If the police realize they're there, however, or have time to look for them, taking those out would possibly shorten the standoff and make the terrorists nervous once the batteries drain and the propane is low.

Obviously they'd also have water storage, ventilation, food storage and waste disposal.

What's their security like and are they expecting to be attacked imminently or are they just prepared for it to "maybe" happen?

I would have wireless cameras on key locations of the land, and/or motion detectors that set off an alarm inside the complex. One thing about motion detectors in a rural area though - bear, deer, mountain lions, etc set those off. Thus cameras are smarter.

If/when they are warned, the smartest/easiest thing to do is probably just evacuate through the tunnels, probably to a prepared "bug out" vehicle and a secondary location. They might even have electric powered ATVs to make that faster.

I would also have false booby traps, not terribly well concealed to slow the police down, and possibly real booby traps which are concealed far better.

What's the political climate? Do the police have to deal with issues of public outcry, such as at Waco? Or can they go in full force? Threatening to firebomb/teargas/etc the barn may be more or less considered a real threat depending on this.

What's the police's goal? Stop an imminent threat? Round up the terrorists for questioning? Get access to information? Arrest a particular person? Clean up/secure the area and get rid of "nasty survivalists"? Take over territory/establish order? Make an example of these folks? The answer to this will have a lot of bearing on the tactics used.

Who are the other groups the police are concerned about? Just other survivalists? Other terrorists? What's the tech/training level on those folks? How much of a threat are they to the police?

Why is it necessary for the police to go in NOW as opposed to taking their time to survey the area, disrupt systems and locate/block escape paths? Do the terrorists pose an imminent threat (or believed threat)?

Can you tell that hubby and I have put a bit of thought into this sort of thing? ;)

WeaselFire
02-17-2014, 09:55 PM
Standard defenses would be aimed at multiple goals. First is blocking vehicle access. Steel, concrete, old vehicles, etc. blocking mechanized vehicles. Barbed wire, piping, large lumber or logs, etc.

Second is blocking sight lines. Anything that gets in the way of clear sight down a corridor, between buildings, etc. Burning tires are great for long-term smoke.

Third is blocking fire. Earth, sandbags, etc for stopping small and medium arms fire. Sandbagging the roof would be time-consuming but desirable.

Fourth is personnel defense. Blocking methods of troops getting into the building itself. Bars, grates, doors and windows nailed shut, furniture and debris blocking access, etc.

Fifth is providing a defensive position. Fire lines down corridors, three dimensional targets (from above and below) and forcing access through choke points where the enemy faces more guns than they can present.

You have two other concerns, supplies and an exit plan. They need stores of ammo and weapons, medical supplies, food, water, etc. And, unless they are martyrs, they need an exit strategy.

Jeff

afarnam
02-17-2014, 11:55 PM
Okay, clarifying. From the reader's perspective they aren't terrorists, in that their cause is just, but they are fairly well armed and willing to kill police in order to protect themselves from attack. Basic background plot: the authorities, for reasons that are too complex to go into, SECRETLY imprisoned some people (who are innocent depending on your perspective), these guys raided some government facilities to free the prisoners using significant violence and killing police and security guards in the process.

This complex is a supposed to look like an off-the-grid farm, like a commune, but it is actually their hideout. Therefore, it has to look like a farm from the outside and from the air. It can't be too overtly defensive without attracting too much attention.

A low-intensity (a term war-correspondents use to mean it isn't all-out war with bombing and front lines but there are scattered incidents of armed combat) and somewhat-unpublicized conflict has been going on for about two years. The public has been getting a lot of propaganda about this being a terrorism issue. The rebels have been trying to get their side into the media but haven't been very successful. The authorties do not want their side to be aired. They would rather cover up the incident mostly. This is one of the primary reasons that the authorities don't want a long standoff. (Yes, this is basically contemporary ugly alternative reality. There are elements of fantasy. Nothing that affects combat conditions much, but it does affect the reasons for conflict and cover-up.)

The group has has this farm for about three years and they bulit some of the structures (including the barn with the undergroudn part) from scratch. I haven't said whether it is entirely finished or not. That would depend on the technical needs. Yes, they do have an escape tunnel. The problém is that it isn't long enough and it ends inside the initial area blocked off by police. In the end, they use some tactics to bring the police in closer and end up using the tunnel, but this is too complicated to go into. The part I need to figure out is the beginning of the siege/stand-off, in which they can't use the tunnel and the authorities are anxious to end the stand-off.

The goals of the authoties are to minimize public outcry and public knowledge of the reasons for the conflict (They are going to claim that this is a band of terrorists of some sort and they don't want anyone much running around contradicting them.), to capture as many of the group as possible (for information, which would lead to stopping the clear threat of further counter-attacks by the rebels in the near future), to kill them if they can't capture them and specifically to capture a particular individual, even if they have to promise to let others go (because that individual has a sklil that the authorities want badly but this is getting into the elements of fantasy part). So, the primary tactic of the authorities is to try to force the rebels to surrender at least that individual as quickly as possible. They are not prepared to wait them out. It is night when the siege begins and they would prefer to finish it before daylight and more public/media interest comes into play.

Rebels: Built the complex over three years, have some money but not unlimited by any means, can have many things but must not be outwardly obvious, can have small weapons but are limited in the amount of heavy artillery they can have because of difficulties obtaining them. (I am a bit sketchy on what one could gain or smuggle into the US, even in our reality. Basically, if you think a non-state but fairly wealthy international terrorist group could do it, these guys could.) Oh, yes, they have been there for three years without being attacked but they are generally prepared for it. Seeing how they have attacked the authorities in the past and one of their other hideouts was attacked, they definitely consider it a real possibility and have an evacuation dril that everyone knows.

Authorities: Terrain is fine, not steep, farmland. They have probably a bit more of a free hand than you would have today but not outrageously. Their main card is still the "we must fight terrorism" card and there are still those in the public who will complain if the authorities go overboard. They have some military-style assets and they have had at least a day or so to plan to beseige this place without the rebels knowing that they are coming.

My questions are primarily about what tactics the authorities might threaten and what defenses the rebels might have in the barn. Bullet-proof glass is an interesting idea, although that isn't going to stand up to heavy artillery, is it? Bars seems reasonable. They are going to be more prepared with a barricade than furniture and debris would imply but I'm not sure what to say they use. Thanks for any advice. :)

Trebor1415
02-18-2014, 12:18 AM
Read up on the Siege of Waco with the Branch Davidians. That might give you some ideas.

As to, "What can they threaten them with?" I don't quite get it. In that situation, they have already killed police, so it's a "no way out" situation for them. There's pretty much nothing the police can do to make them voluntarily give up.

afarnam
02-18-2014, 12:46 AM
The Waco thing was a long time ago. I'm pretty sure technology has moved on a bit since then. That is why I'm not going on that too heavily.

These guys actually aren't religious nuts and they would definitely like some of them to somehow survive. The authorties know that, so although some of them have been involved in attacking the authorities, there is the possibility that the authorties would negotiate and allow some of them to go free, in exchange for specific individuals, particularly captured alive and providing the potential for gaining information.

I was close to an actual seige situation in Macedonia 13 years ago that was similar in some ways. The US military got involved and ended up evacuating the rebels out of the area, even though the rebels clearly fit the definition of terrorists. It was politically complicated but the point is that there are times when authorities will negotiate. The differences between the seige situation that I reported on as a journalist in Macedonia and this ficticious one are A. the rebels in Macedonia didn't build the buildings they were hiding in, B. the Macedonian authorities were not interested in the rebel's surrender and they basically flattened an entire town to try to kill them, and C. the US was the authority over the authorities that stepped in to end the situation (allegedly because there were several ex-military US advisors with the rebels and the US did not want the public to know that but that is another issue which is still debated in circles that go in for obscure US-Balkan policy trivia and it was very quickly overshadowed by 9/11 so no one has ever gone into it much. Isn't it great how reality is sometimes just as strange as the fiction we discuss?).