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Posted: 1/1/2006 7:50:24 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/1/2006 8:28:08 AM EDT by bfieldburt]
I'm working on a fiction book--a military sci-fi story--and the story involves a lot of "biometrics". Working on the story has really got me thinking. With recent and continuing development of computer technology, the ability to find and detect people, or certain groups of people, has never been greater. This brings two questions to mind:

1) What characteristics are particularly "American"? What movements, speech patterns, mannerisms etc..stand out as being American? If you had a large crowd of people from many different nations and places, how would you identify the Americans in that crowd (other than the obvious.."they'd be speakin' American English")? NOTE: this question can also be titled "How to Keep Your Head Down When Traveling Abroad".

2) I remember reading Clancy's "Rainbow Six". It has been a few years since I read it, but didn't some terrorists figure out that the military response team wasn't European--that it was American--by seeing television news coverage of the team's interventions and figuring out they were Americans by observing their tactics and mannerisms etc...? So, my question is, would it be possible to observe a military or police force and figure out what country they are from or who trained them simply by observing their actions? I think that it would totally be possible. So, what military tactics, movements, etc are particularly American? NOTE: this question can be answered in general so as not to endanger anyone or give away any real secrets. If you don't feel comfortable using American tactics in your answer, tell me about particular Russian or Israeli or German (or whereever) tactics that could be used to identify a soldier's country of origin.

P.S. My book should be done in a month or two. To make sure I get the ending right, I need some answers to these questions. When I'm done, I'll unleash it on you guys (I might ask some of my fellow ARFCOMers to help me proofread it). Thanks. Any ideas or answers would be greatly appreciated.
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 7:52:50 AM EDT
Europeans walk like they have a stick up their ass, Americans have a more "manly" walk.
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 7:55:44 AM EDT
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 8:16:56 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/1/2006 8:21:50 AM EDT by bfieldburt]

Originally Posted By lu380:
Europeans walk like they have a stick up their ass, Americans have a more "manly" walk.



I'm getting pretty good at identifying Europeans. Many of us Americans have been in North America long enough that we've started to develop a certain look that is different than the Europeans'. I can't really describe it, but many people from Europe have a "European look". Also, the obvious way is to look at clothing. Lots of European sporting goods and sporting clothes have a simplier, more streamlined look than our American stuff.

But how would someone else identify an American? I've heard some people say Americans are often rude and demanding and they have loud mouths. When I travel, because I don't want to stand out, I try not to act that way.
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 8:18:53 AM EDT
You can tell Frenchman by their white shirts and their surrender pose (hands up), same goes for the women except hairy underarms.
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 8:19:38 AM EDT
This may be of absolutely no use to you , however, when the large groups of faithful gather up in St Peter's square at the Vatican to see the Pope speak it's quite apparent.

Pope John Paul II would give his greetings in all the languages he could speak, and you could tell where the French were, the Polish over here, Brazilians and Portugese over there. After he had greeted everybody in their native tounge, he would use Latin. And that's where the Americans stood out like sore thumbs. We don't speak a lick of it, and everybody else still studies it.
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 8:25:04 AM EDT

Originally Posted By moparman71:
This may be of absolutely no use to you , however, when the large groups of faithful gather up in St Peter's square at the Vatican to see the Pope speak it's quite apparent.

Pope John Paul II would give his greetings in all the languages he could speak, and you could tell where the French were, the Polish over here, Brazilians and Portugese over there. After he had greeted everybody in their native tounge, he would use Latin. And that's where the Americans stood out like sore thumbs. We don't speak a lick of it, and everybody else still studies it.



That's a good one. Because English has become the international language, us Americans can get away with not knowing other languages. Anyone who looks European or American who only speaks English is probably an American.
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 8:35:11 AM EDT

2) I remember reading Clancy's "Rainbow Six". It has been a few years since I read it, but didn't some terrorists figure out that the military response team wasn't European--that it was American--by seeing television news coverage of the team's interventions and figuring out they were Americans by observing their tactics and mannerisms etc...? So, my question is, would it be possible to observe a military or police force and figure out what country they are from or who trained them simply by observing their actions? I think that it would totally be possible. So, what military tactics, movements, etc are particularly American? NOTE: this question can be answered in general so as not to endanger anyone or give away any real secrets. If you don't feel comfortable using American tactics in your answer, tell me about particular Russian or Israeli or German (or whereever) tactics that could be used to identify a soldier's country of origin.


Has anyone here ever trained with foreign forces?
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 8:39:53 AM EDT
Nah,

Rainbow 6 had the bad guy figure out that the team was the same Multi-National group when he saw two separate videos (news footage) seeing one of the members light up a pipe after the hit on the terrorists--this was the Frenchman (with the pipe), and the incidents took place in two different countries. Book had some Germans, French, Israeli, and Americans as part of the force.

If you were going to pick Americans out of a bunch--you'd almost have to look for something basically made-up--say the few molecules of the preservative from early childhood immunizations (or Flouride) in the bone tissue (or teeth) (and, even the bone minerals/cells turn over repeately during the lifetime). Mannerisms, Clothing, etc. can all be duplicated. I'm 1/2 Irish, 1/2 German on both sides of the family--how hard to you think it would be to pick me out biologically?
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 8:41:05 AM EDT

Originally Posted By bfieldburt:

2) I remember reading Clancy's "Rainbow Six". It has been a few years since I read it, but didn't some terrorists figure out that the military response team wasn't European--that it was American--by seeing television news coverage of the team's interventions and figuring out they were Americans by observing their tactics and mannerisms etc...? So, my question is, would it be possible to observe a military or police force and figure out what country they are from or who trained them simply by observing their actions? I think that it would totally be possible. So, what military tactics, movements, etc are particularly American? NOTE: this question can be answered in general so as not to endanger anyone or give away any real secrets. If you don't feel comfortable using American tactics in your answer, tell me about particular Russian or Israeli or German (or whereever) tactics that could be used to identify a soldier's country of origin.


Has anyone here ever trained with foreign forces?



Just that female Sweedish exchange student once...but that is another story.
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 8:42:03 AM EDT
Your book sounds very interesting. Will you be letting us know when it is finished? I'd be interested in reading it. As to your questions, I wish I could help. I was stationed in Europe many years ago. I found it very easy to pick out other Americans whether I was in Germany, Paris or Aamsterdam. There was just "something" about them that made them stand out from Europeans. In only one case was I mistaken. That was when I pegged someone for an American and they were actually Irish. Turned out they had lived in Boston (of all places) for several years; and, had not only picked up a bit of that accent but some mannerisms, too.

Lifesaver
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 8:42:35 AM EDT
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 8:47:52 AM EDT
Well in Europe at least it's easy to tell who's American, as other Americans are loud as hell in public and frankly it is rude and out of line.
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 8:52:58 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/1/2006 8:54:03 AM EDT by bfieldburt]

Originally Posted By AFARR:

If you were going to pick Americans out of a bunch--you'd almost have to look for something basically made-up--say the few molecules of the preservative from early childhood immunizations (or Flouride) in the bone tissue (or teeth) (and, even the bone minerals/cells turn over repeately during the lifetime). Mannerisms, Clothing, etc. can all be duplicated. I'm 1/2 Irish, 1/2 German on both sides of the family--how hard to you think it would be to pick me out biologically?



Yes, I agree. This stuff could be faked. But how would you fake it? If I wanted to appear to be American (or European), and I wasn't, how would I do it?


Originally Posted By Lifesaver:
Your book sounds very interesting. Will you be letting us know when it is finished? I'd be interested in reading it. As to your questions, I wish I could help. I was stationed in Europe many years ago. I found it very easy to pick out other Americans whether I was in Germany, Paris or Aamsterdam. There was just "something" about them that made them stand out from Europeans. In only one case was I mistaken. That was when I pegged someone for an American and they were actually Irish. Turned out they had lived in Boston (of all places) for several years; and, had not only picked up a bit of that accent but some mannerisms, too.

Lifesaver



Lifesaver, sure you can read it. I think it is good--I hope. I've been working on it for the last four years; it's been a hell of a mental adventure.

As far as identifying Europeans and Americans. I've been able to to do to. I've been able to pick Europeans out of a crowd, but I can't remember exactly how. It's more of a feeling than anything. But, for the book, I need to be able to do is articulate exactly how...what differences or mannerisms allowed me to do it.
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 8:57:07 AM EDT

Yes, I agree. This stuff could be fakes. But that's O.K. How would you fake it? If I wanted to appear to be American (or European), and I wasn't, how would I do it?
Total Immersion and training. Watch how they hold their cigarettes, cups, etc. Even the scents are different (aftershave, cologne, perfume) Trying to remember the name of the movie where the two American Slackers get kidnapped an put in the middle of a 1950's era KGB training town--this being the late 1990's. They realize something is wierd right away as they go from MTV to Leave it to the Beaver.

AFARR
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 9:06:17 AM EDT
Europeans (in general) dress better than Americans. European women tend to be more straightforward (less so as they spend more time in the states) and dislike the idiotic games that neurotic American women play, not that I would want to hijack this thread by pointing out that American women can take a simple task like buying a loaf of bread into a 2 hour ordeal, at least 15 minutes of which is spent at the checkout lane, gabbing with the clerk and waiting until the bread, yogurt, slimfast and 5 pounds of chocolate that also accidentally fell into her basket are rung up to realize that *OMG! I suppose I will have to pay for this with money* and spending another 5 minutes fishing around in a purse that would easily hold a 50# sack of flour, three weaned piglets and a 26" HDTV, to find the EXACT CHANGE for a bill of $19.97 instead of just giving the clerk, "Madge", whose cousin just had gallbladder surgery, a $20, while the European woman would simply walk into the store and be out 1 minute and 55 seconds later with a loaf of bread and a unassuming Merlot and look like a model doing so.

But I digress...

Link Posted: 1/1/2006 9:08:16 AM EDT
Table manners.
Euros eat with the utensils in both hands, Amis switch from hand to hand, and eat holding only the fork after the meat is cut.

Link Posted: 1/1/2006 9:19:05 AM EDT
I travel to Europe several times a year from business. Some of my observations...

White Americans tend to have a slightly darker complexion than white Europeans.
Americans are bigger, especially around the middle.
Levis, white shoes and/or white socks are uniquely American.
T-shirts with logos or other graphics are typical American.
Europeans were darker colored clothing. Gray and black are very common.

Americans have different table manners. We eat primarily with our strong hand, Europeans use both. Watch an American eat a steak, they will cut with their strong hand then switch the fork to that hand to take the bite. A European will pickup a fork in their week hand, a knife in their strong hand and never switch. Europeans don’t like to touch their food and will eat things like sandwiches and fries with a knife and fork. Americans use their hands.
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 9:25:18 AM EDT
Americans always complain that everything is small and act clumsy because they aren't used to the smallness. The roads are too small, the rooms are too small, the cars are too small, the gas tanks are too small, the food is too small, etc. because everything really is smaller overseas.
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 9:37:15 AM EDT
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 9:39:13 AM EDT

Originally Posted By vito113: Most europeans think I'm an American tourist as I don't dress and act like a British tourist... ANdy
Oh yeah, thanks for reminding me. Americans also like to point out, as often as they can, about driving on the wrong side of the road!
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 9:45:21 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/1/2006 9:46:28 AM EDT by ixy]
how they eat, yanks switch fork to dominate hand after cutting
yanks eat with hands
ketchup on chips not mayo
how they smoke, yanks use 2 fingers, euros cup
dress, esp socks and shoes, i can't recall any euros ever wearing white socks except when playing tennis


features, the size and shape of anglos mouth and lips, tend to differ in europe (usually larger)
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 10:02:08 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/1/2006 10:02:44 AM EDT by DScott]
Sounds like you're asking about how to differentiate between white Americans and white Europeans. However, most .mil organizations are pretty diverse, which makes your job harder (or easier).

How do American asians differ from those from China, Japan, or Korea? What about American blacks? Ever heard of the comedian Henry Cho? On the radio, he sounds like a good 'ol boy from Tennessee... in person he looks like this:



It's just a bit weird!

Unfortunately, there are exceptions to every rule, so you just may have to make something up. Grab a stereotype and play creative writer with it. The more clever the twist, the more interesting it'll be for your readers.
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 10:02:45 AM EDT

A European will pickup a fork in their week hand, a knife in their strong hand and never switch.


Uh, I'm American and that is the way I eat. I wasn't aware people did it differently.
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 10:03:45 AM EDT
A few more things I thought of:
Amis wear shorts, Euros don't, unless at the beach, or playing tennis.
No sunglasses unless in the Alps.
No baseball or tractor hats on Euros, EVER.
Euros have NO RIGHT TURN ON RED allowed.
Euros watch for bicyclists before turning right, as they have bike lanes on many sidewalks.
Handwriting! Different ways of making the letters, and the numerals as well: 7's with strokes, 1's without.
The way dates are written...i.e.: day/month vs month/day.
24 hour system for time common throughout Europe.

Will add to this, as I think of more.
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 10:06:05 AM EDT

Originally Posted By DLoken:

A European will pickup a fork in their week hand, a knife in their strong hand and never switch.


Uh, I'm American and that is the way I eat. I wasn't aware people did it differently.



me too, but few people notice it
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 10:08:36 AM EDT
Wallet use: Americans stuff everything, up to fivers, into their pockets, or use a billfold.
Euros use giant wallets for even the loose change.
No money clips in Europe.
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 10:14:59 AM EDT
Another primary difference between Europeans and Americans:




I myself am guilty of being a fat American although I am down to 220LBs from 270. I hope to hit 200 by Spring.
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 10:17:57 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/1/2006 10:24:26 AM EDT by lu380]

Originally Posted By bfieldburt:

Originally Posted By lu380:
Europeans walk like they have a stick up their ass, Americans have a more "manly" walk.



I'm getting pretty good at identifying Europeans. Many of us Americans have been in North America long enough that we've started to develop a certain look that is different than the Europeans'. I can't really describe it, but many people from Europe have a "European look". Also, the obvious way is to look at clothing. Lots of European sporting goods and sporting clothes have a simplier, more streamlined look than our American stuff.

But how would someone else identify an American? I've heard some people say Americans are often rude and demanding and they have loud mouths. When I travel, because I don't want to stand out, I try not to act that way.



Another way to identify Americans is the fact that we wear jeans and sneakers, while Europeans wear shoes and dress pants. (in general, of course)

Americans carry out conversation with a 5' space between them, Europeans (and the rest of the world too) seem to talk with their faces 2" apart.
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 10:24:41 AM EDT
This sounds more like an AI problem then anything else. I'm not involved in AI or high-level computer programming in any way, but it's my understanding that rule-based systems (eg. programming in thousands of examples of Americans do X, and Europeans do Y) haven't worked all that well. The way to go is apparantly systems that learn and evolve. Something like have your system observe 100 Americans and 100 Europeans and have the system and learn from their actions. I think they already do some of that with more conventional biometrics like fingerprints, voice patterns, retina scan, etc. I think it would be all but necessary with something as complex as observing a person's mannerisms and trying to deduce their country of origin.

I hope I didn't just shoot your whole plot to hell.
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 10:34:14 AM EDT

Originally Posted By mace:
This sounds more like an AI problem then anything else. I'm not involved in AI or high-level computer programming in any way, but it's my understanding that rule-based systems (eg. programming in thousands of examples of Americans do X, and Europeans do Y) haven't worked all that well. The way to go is apparantly systems that learn and evolve. Something like have your system observe 100 Americans and 100 Europeans and have the system and learn from their actions. I think they already do some of that with more conventional biometrics like fingerprints, voice patterns, retina scan, etc. I think it would be all but necessary with something as complex as observing a person's mannerisms and trying to deduce their country of origin.

I hope I didn't just shoot your whole plot to hell.



Most current biometrics have too high of a false positive. Was it Boston-Logan that tried it after 9/11 and the thing was "terrorist!" "terrorist!" "terrorist!" "terrorist!" "terrorist!" "terrorist!" everywhere!

Oh, I heard a few weeks ago someone got around somebody elses fingerprint thingy with silly putty. (I'm sure it wasn't high end gov equipment, but mom and pop cheapo hardware)
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 10:37:11 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/1/2006 10:48:04 AM EDT by Hexagonal]
One does not wait to be seated in Euro restaurants, one walks in and finds their own spot.
Here, we wait to be shown to a table.

Also, usage of comma vs period as decimal separator in writing or speech.
# In France, the Netherlands, and much of Latin Europe: 1 234 567,89
# In Germany, Italy, Romania and much of Europe: 1 234 567,89 or 1.234.567,89 (in handwriting you may also come across 1·234·567,89)
# In Switzerland (mainly German-speaking Switzerland): 1'234'567,89

"Drei komma acht kilometer" vs three point eight miles. 3,8 / 3.8



Link Posted: 1/1/2006 11:00:38 AM EDT
Body odor.
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 11:50:12 AM EDT
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 12:13:42 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/1/2006 12:16:58 PM EDT by tommytrauma]
John Ringo's novel 'Ghost' has the protagonist identifying a foreign terrorist masquerading as an American by how he held a knife and fork while eating.

Mr. Ringo has spent many years overseas, and is an extremely nice, approachable guy. You might try posing this question to him via email.
johnringo.com

Tangentally, his take on the difference between American troops and the enemy is interesting.

There are many, many reasons that the war in Afghanistan ended so quickly. Some of them are obvious: B-52s, precision bombs and not so precision Daisy Cutters have made the news. But a more subtle difference is striking: The average Afghan turned out to be a very poor marksman.

In a way it's a sad commentary on how the mighty are fallen. The Afghans used to be noted for their marksmanship. It was said they could hit a goat across a windy valley. Now they fire magazines at the sky.

A person of my acquaintance was commenting on the Afghan method of fire control, that is: None. Given an AK-47, the common Afghan soldier, Taliban or United Front (as I think they're being referred to this week) points it in the general direction of the enemy and rips off the whole magazine.

My friend was listening to a report, no video, of the firing, and heard short, two and three round bursts. As he put it: "clearly professionalSAmerican or British special operations." I couldn't resist adding: "This was not the sand-people, this was the work of Imperial Storm TroopersSonly they are so precise." There is a difference between professional warriors and half-trained barbarians and it became evident all over the Afghan war.

Being willing to choose one aimed round over ripping off a magazine is called fire discipline and fire discipline is hard to teach. There is a visceral thrill to ripping off a whole magazine; if you ever want to get a person over guns, take them to a range where they can let rip with an MP-5.

But the "blast 'em all!" method has two HUGE problems. The first is that there's virtually no chance of actually hitting anything; an assault rifle on full auto is just about the safest "weapon" in the worldSto the other side. The second problem is that ripping off whole magazines requires massive ammunition resupply; there is some indication that much of Tora Bora fell because the idiot Al Quaeda shot themselves dry.

Let's take a look at the first. When firing just about any hand weapon, the muzzle tends to "climb" when you shoot. You've seen this plenty of times on TV even if you've never fired a gun in your life. With an automatic weapon, the problem is accelerated with each shot so that even if the first shot is aimed, the second is generally higher (and to one side) and the third is higher still. Eventually the weapon is pointed in the air and more a danger to your side than theirs. A Turkish friend of mine experienced this with a relatively simple sub-machine gun and fired rounds from one side of a range to the other, missing his own target entirely.

Fully automatic fire is, therefore, almost inherently inaccurate. And you can't kill the enemy by blasting the sky, whatever the Afghans think. So why have it?

In certain circumstances, lots of lead is a good thing. Room clearing is one example. Throw in a grenade and fire off a magazine all over the room, working on keeping the muzzle down. While you're reloading your team-mate enters. This is the "we don't care who is inside" method of taking a building. And under certain circumstances, two and three round burst fire is excellent. In those cases the first goes where you are aiming (presumably) and the second and third go in the general area. If your first hits the chest, for example, the second and third go in the upper chest and bad-guy fall-down-go-boom.

But over use of full-auto burns through massive amounts of ammunition. And water, food and ammo (beans and bullets)are, at base, the only things soldiers have to have supplied. As such, getting the ammo there is a major factor in solving any military problem. But blasting off full-auto just adds to it. Let's do some math.

"If a train leaves AkronS" NO, not that! But closeS

One case of 1000 rounds of 7.62x39 ammunition (the ammo of AK-47s) weighs about 40 lbs. Let us say that one pack-donkey can carry 500 lbs of materials. That means that one donkey can carry about 12,500 rounds. There are thirty rounds in a magazine. Since we've already determined that only the first round in the magazine is going to hit Johnny Taliban, that means 30 rounds expended per Talibanista by Joe NLA.

Now, let us assume that our unnamed Northern Alliance fighter is an Afghan Davey Crockett, and can hit one Taliban for each round he fires, if he fires semi-auto. That means if he fires one bullet at a time, he can kill 12,500 Taliban (which ought to equate to at least a couple of virgins unless we're really on the wrong side.) But if he goes on "rock and roll" and only hits with the first shot, he can only kill 412 Taliban. And that means getting shouted at by a drill sergeant for at least half of eternity.

Sure, in reality, nobody kills one person per round. Even Alvin York missed from time to time. But the "rock and roll" mentality is just one facet of the difference between barbarian tribesmen playing games and real professionals out to do their enemies and do them well. I suspect that those "real professionals" were probably taking out five or six times as many Al Quaeda as any of the NLA "warriors." And at a much lower logistical cost. At least in beans and bullets.

We're going to be facing more tribal barbarians in the near future. And I suspect we're going to be in some situations, like the Rangers were in in Mogadishu , where every shot counts. And I suspect, like the Rangers in Mogadishu , while we may lose a few troopers, they are going to be taking one hell of an honor guard of barbarians to Valhalla .

Because "this is not the work of Sand People."



Link Posted: 1/1/2006 12:18:22 PM EDT

Originally Posted By lu380:
Americans carry out conversation with a 5' space between them, Europeans (and the rest of the world too) seem to talk with their faces 2" apart.



Thats not my impression of Europeans (except Italians), but Asians freak me out when they try to talk to me 15cm from my face. Not to mention that it is perfectly ok in some cultures to touch other people, typically on the shoulder. Makes me wanna cut their arm off.
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 12:36:00 PM EDT

Originally Posted By tommytrauma:
John Ringo's novel 'Ghost' has the protagonist identifying a foreign terrorist masquerading as an American by how he held a knife and fork while eating.

Mr. Ringo has spent many years overseas, and is an extremely nice, approachable guy. You might try posing this question to him via email.
johnringo.com

Tangentally, his take on the difference between American troops and the enemy is interesting.

There are many, many reasons that the war in Afghanistan ended so quickly. Some of them are obvious: B-52s, precision bombs and not so precision Daisy Cutters have made the news. But a more subtle difference is striking: The average Afghan turned out to be a very poor marksman.

In a way it's a sad commentary on how the mighty are fallen. The Afghans used to be noted for their marksmanship. It was said they could hit a goat across a windy valley. Now they fire magazines at the sky.

A person of my acquaintance was commenting on the Afghan method of fire control, that is: None. Given an AK-47, the common Afghan soldier, Taliban or United Front (as I think they're being referred to this week) points it in the general direction of the enemy and rips off the whole magazine.

My friend was listening to a report, no video, of the firing, and heard short, two and three round bursts. As he put it: "clearly professionalSAmerican or British special operations." I couldn't resist adding: "This was not the sand-people, this was the work of Imperial Storm TroopersSonly they are so precise." There is a difference between professional warriors and half-trained barbarians and it became evident all over the Afghan war.

Being willing to choose one aimed round over ripping off a magazine is called fire discipline and fire discipline is hard to teach. There is a visceral thrill to ripping off a whole magazine; if you ever want to get a person over guns, take them to a range where they can let rip with an MP-5.

But the "blast 'em all!" method has two HUGE problems. The first is that there's virtually no chance of actually hitting anything; an assault rifle on full auto is just about the safest "weapon" in the worldSto the other side. The second problem is that ripping off whole magazines requires massive ammunition resupply; there is some indication that much of Tora Bora fell because the idiot Al Quaeda shot themselves dry.

Let's take a look at the first. When firing just about any hand weapon, the muzzle tends to "climb" when you shoot. You've seen this plenty of times on TV even if you've never fired a gun in your life. With an automatic weapon, the problem is accelerated with each shot so that even if the first shot is aimed, the second is generally higher (and to one side) and the third is higher still. Eventually the weapon is pointed in the air and more a danger to your side than theirs. A Turkish friend of mine experienced this with a relatively simple sub-machine gun and fired rounds from one side of a range to the other, missing his own target entirely.

Fully automatic fire is, therefore, almost inherently inaccurate. And you can't kill the enemy by blasting the sky, whatever the Afghans think. So why have it?

In certain circumstances, lots of lead is a good thing. Room clearing is one example. Throw in a grenade and fire off a magazine all over the room, working on keeping the muzzle down. While you're reloading your team-mate enters. This is the "we don't care who is inside" method of taking a building. And under certain circumstances, two and three round burst fire is excellent. In those cases the first goes where you are aiming (presumably) and the second and third go in the general area. If your first hits the chest, for example, the second and third go in the upper chest and bad-guy fall-down-go-boom.

But over use of full-auto burns through massive amounts of ammunition. And water, food and ammo (beans and bullets)are, at base, the only things soldiers have to have supplied. As such, getting the ammo there is a major factor in solving any military problem. But blasting off full-auto just adds to it. Let's do some math.

"If a train leaves AkronS" NO, not that! But closeS

One case of 1000 rounds of 7.62x39 ammunition (the ammo of AK-47s) weighs about 40 lbs. Let us say that one pack-donkey can carry 500 lbs of materials. That means that one donkey can carry about 12,500 rounds. There are thirty rounds in a magazine. Since we've already determined that only the first round in the magazine is going to hit Johnny Taliban, that means 30 rounds expended per Talibanista by Joe NLA.

Now, let us assume that our unnamed Northern Alliance fighter is an Afghan Davey Crockett, and can hit one Taliban for each round he fires, if he fires semi-auto. That means if he fires one bullet at a time, he can kill 12,500 Taliban (which ought to equate to at least a couple of virgins unless we're really on the wrong side.) But if he goes on "rock and roll" and only hits with the first shot, he can only kill 412 Taliban. And that means getting shouted at by a drill sergeant for at least half of eternity.

Sure, in reality, nobody kills one person per round. Even Alvin York missed from time to time. But the "rock and roll" mentality is just one facet of the difference between barbarian tribesmen playing games and real professionals out to do their enemies and do them well. I suspect that those "real professionals" were probably taking out five or six times as many Al Quaeda as any of the NLA "warriors." And at a much lower logistical cost. At least in beans and bullets.

We're going to be facing more tribal barbarians in the near future. And I suspect we're going to be in some situations, like the Rangers were in in Mogadishu , where every shot counts. And I suspect, like the Rangers in Mogadishu , while we may lose a few troopers, they are going to be taking one hell of an honor guard of barbarians to Valhalla .

Because "this is not the work of Sand People."






Thanks, this is some good stuff. But how about differences between trained militaries? What would be the difference, for example, in room clearing tactics between, say, the Hungarian army, or the German military and our U.S. forces? I'm sure that a career soldier who has trained with foreign militaries could tell you who the American troops were versus the German or Hungarians, even if they were all dressed the same. So, what would the differences be in some maneuvers between our troops and other trained troops?

Oh, and thanks for all the differences between Americans and Europeans. Exactly what I was lookin' for. Keep the differences coming. Anyone here from Europe?
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 12:52:34 PM EDT

Originally Posted By julenissen:

Originally Posted By lu380:
Americans carry out conversation with a 5' space between them, Europeans (and the rest of the world too) seem to talk with their faces 2" apart.



Thats not my impression of Europeans (except Italians), but Asians freak me out when they try to talk to me 15cm from my face. Not to mention that it is perfectly ok in some cultures to touch other people, typically on the shoulder. Makes me wanna cut their arm off.



+1

It seems to me that compared to pretty much everyone else Americans are a bit claustrophobic. We like space when we talk to another (and we don't like people touching us), we like bigger rooms, bigger offices, bigger cars, etc. Lots of things overseas seem very confining.
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 1:30:52 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Sumo2000:
It seems to me that compared to pretty much everyone else Americans are a bit claustrophobic. We like space when we talk to another (and we don't like people touching us), we like bigger rooms, bigger offices, bigger cars, etc. Lots of things overseas seem very confining.



Although you prefer to keep people 1,5meter from you when you talk to them, you still talk to strangers for no particular reason, thats something I never do unless I'm really drunk.
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 1:35:55 PM EDT

Originally Posted By jcp:
A European will pickup a fork in their week hand, a knife in their strong hand and never switch.



New to me. We use the right hand for the knife and the left for the fork. Without exceptions.
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 1:42:48 PM EDT

Originally Posted By julenissen:

New to me. We use the right hand for the knife and the left for the fork. Without exceptions.



Well, that's certainly news to me. When did Norwegians finally pick up on that whole fork thing?
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 2:36:27 PM EDT

Originally Posted By julenissen:

Originally Posted By Sumo2000:
It seems to me that compared to pretty much everyone else Americans are a bit claustrophobic. We like space when we talk to another (and we don't like people touching us), we like bigger rooms, bigger offices, bigger cars, etc. Lots of things overseas seem very confining.



Although you prefer to keep people 1,5meter from you when you talk to them, you still talk to strangers for no particular reason, thats something I never do unless I'm really drunk.



That's even more pronounced in the South (where I'm from) even other Americans are amazed at how friendly Southerners are.

As much as people think Americans are rude, I find that we are much friendlier (or at least more sociable) than most foreigners I've met.
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 2:55:13 PM EDT
I would surmise that lately, the rest of the military world
is taking its cues from the Americans, UK, and Israelis
for high speed low drag operations.
There are still some holdouts, however.
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 3:23:24 PM EDT
How can you tell if someone's American?

They smell like freedom.
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 3:36:05 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/1/2006 3:38:38 PM EDT by vito113]
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 9:07:04 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/1/2006 9:08:36 PM EDT by bfieldburt]
Thanks, guys. Great replies on the differences between American and European citizens.

I still need some more info on the differences between soldiers and tactics though.

Let me phrase it a different way:

If there was a military competition (hypothetical, of course) and all the soldiers competing where dressed the same and asked to complete the same task--house clearing, or some basic infantry maneuvers or something--how would you identify the Americans? Or those trained by Americans?

Again, if anyone here has trained with a professional foreign army, what moves or basic tactics were different than those done by the American soldiers? What moves or maneuvers were unique to Americans or to the foreign forces?

I'm looking for almost anything here; again, I need it to complete a section of my book.
Link Posted: 1/2/2006 5:32:57 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/2/2006 5:35:12 AM EDT by vito113]
Link Posted: 1/2/2006 5:54:20 AM EDT
Link Posted: 1/2/2006 6:00:15 AM EDT
Foreign armies for the most part (and this depends on the country) don't have as professional an NCO Corps as we do. It really depends on the country and type of operation that you're talking about.

For example, during OIF I, US specialists (E-4's) were making command decisions on which house to clear, who to detain and utilizing their initiative in all aspects of the battlefield and beyond. Typically, many of the decisions/initiative that we expect out of soldiers and NCO's in the American Army, are reserved for officers in "most" foreign armies.

Once again though, it really depends on what you're talking about though. Strictly speaking, Americans combine aggression with forethought and planning and are able to react to surprises. Remember, no plan survives contact with the enemy. Many foreign soldiers are unable and untrained to utilize initiative.
Link Posted: 1/2/2006 6:04:00 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/2/2006 6:10:57 AM EDT by raven]

Originally Posted By jblachly:
Well in Europe at least it's easy to tell who's American, as other Americans are loud as hell in public and frankly it is rude and out of line.



Yes, I noticed that in Mexico and Europe. Maybe because the tourists are on vacation and having a good time, but for the locals it's just another day.
Link Posted: 1/2/2006 6:07:12 AM EDT

Originally Posted By vito113:
Ho would you tell British from US troops?

Genuine combat photo from OIF of British troops taking a break during an attack...says it all.

www.operations.mod.uk/telic/images/ops/warrior_rest.jpg



Tea time?
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