Thursday, June 13, 2019

Seven Skinny Cows: Making plans on the fly

The atmosphere around the three Squad camps was distinctly tense.

First, Chernovsky said that they could not use the honey-pot houses the way they intended. In fact, nobody could touch a hostile, dead or alive.

He did soften the prohibition a little bit. He said that the honey-pot houses were to be reserved for the most threatening gangs. They were to be shuttled into the houses and then the house was to be burned down with the passed-out hostiles inside. The key point being that they were to not touch or come within ten yards of any hostile.

That triggered a much more aerobic style of defending the frontier. Hostile groups of five or fewer were rare but the two observers were able to take them out. One of the huge advantages of the .22s was that the morally wounded tended to run off and not die on the road. The last thing the defenders wanted was for the invading forces to leave the road. Too many dead stacked up at any one place in the road would likely do that.

Another advantage was that the wounded NEVER tried to run up the bluff the observation post was perched on. Wounded almost always ran back the way they had come, assuming it was safe. Either that, or they ran downhill toward Silver Creek.

It became necessary to inform the homes downstream of Silver Creek that the water was polluted as many of the corpses were found half in and half out of the water.

Forces between five and ten were easily handled as long as the observer with the spotting scope saw them soon enough. Most hostile forces fell into this size category. Fighters from Squad Two would quickly move to the observation posts one hundred and two hundred yards north of the primary observation post. On cue the three fighting positions would open up on the group with each position having their own primary targets. Six shooters, ten targets; it was not much of a challenge to get at least one solid body hit on each target.

Forces almost always topped out at fifteen hostiles. That seemed to be the maximum that a leader could command by force of personality. It was also beyond what Quinn’s squad could attrit to zero from one position.

The first really large group, actually two groups that were working together that passed through the kill trap surprised Quinn by running through the kill sack and out the other side.

Quinn called Squads One and Three and the reaction teams ran flat-out to the third ambush position. They got there just in time but were uncertain if any of the hostile force had peeled off from the main group. That caused additional tension, not knowing if you had hostile forces at your back.

The next large group was handled differently in part because Kelly and Janelle were able to whip up a weapon that adapted well to shooting large crowds of densely packed targets. Quinn’s observers let them slip through unmolested. They called Quinn. Quinn called the quick reaction force.

Side view showing elevation
Quinn and Donnie hauled ass to get out in front of the large group. They set-up on the military crest on the second rise in the road (the south slope) at the third ambush site. Their job was to pin the hostiles down on the north slope of the first rise in the road.
Overhead view
Another fire-team set up fifty-to-seventy east of the road to act as a pinning and clean-up force while a second fire-team a hundred yards north of the concentrated mass of hostiles. That is, they were behind the hostile forces.

Donnie and Quinn waited for the first person was fully skylined before shooting. There were several other hostiles who were partially visible. Donnie and Quinn continued shooting as long as they had targets. The remainder of the hostile force dropped back below the crest of the hill to figure out what they were going to do. They could hear the AR rounds and could only guess how many were opposing them.

Their impromptu conference caused the hostiles to bunch up.

A hundred yards to their rear was a full fire team crewing a punt gun. Janelle and Kelly figured out how to make it recoilless. The gun was a six foot length of three inch drill pipe. The shell launched five pounds of payload downrange and a fifteen pound hunk of concrete aftward. You did not want to be standing behind the punt gun when it fired.

The gun was operated by stuffing a long shell into the breach and positioning it with small wooden piece, actually a paint stir stick as a sliding breach lock. The crew chief jammed a bloat trocar through the ignition hole to punch a hole through the side of the shell into the black powder charge. Then he positioned a .45 ACP shell primed with a magnum rifle primer over the ignition nipple. He tripped the hammer with a cable Janelle had borrowed from a bicycle.

The twenty ounce charge of black powder propelled the load of chopped rebar at a sedate 1100 feet per second. The projectiles lost even more velocity as they bounced off the pavement. The three-quarter inch long by three-eights diameter pieces weighed about 180 grains and impacted hostiles at about 800 feet per second.

The few practice shots the fire team had taken quickly showed them that the pattern was far too tight to effectively cover the road from edge-of-pavement-to-edge-of-pavement. The solution was to bounce the pattern off the pavement in front of the hostiles.

The downside from Donnie and Quinn’s standpoint is that bouncing the pattern off the pavement imparted a top-spin to each of the 320 projectiles and that caused them to curve it down into their position another hundred yards downrange. Donnie and Quinn had sandbagged revetments prepared for when the punt gun crew fired.

The punt gun crew fired two rounds and the +600 projectiles chopped the large group of hostiles to pieces.

Most of the projectiles caused leg, thigh and lower abdomen wounds. Given the medical situation the wounded would die in three-to-ten days. The two pinning forces did not relish the job of finishing off the wounded hostiles. To minimize actually having to look at the hostiles, they performed the task from their positions seventy yards back.

Better five minutes of pain before losing consciousness than to be in agony for ten days.