I am always amused when self-righteous people attempt to lecture others from a position of ignorance… Thankfully, these days, the ability of individuals to correct those ignorant blowhards, and call them out for what they are, is significantly greater than it was in the past.
However, before we get to the full purpose of this post, a slight deviation…
Take a look at this boat and tell me what you see:
Speaking as someone who spent far too much time in the Persian Gulf, I see an Iranian copy of a Boghammar High Speed Patrol Boat, featuring a fiberglass hull, an absurdly powerful engine, and twelve rocket launchers of indeterminate range and power. As you can see, its crew ranges from one to five, its length ranges between 20 and 40 feet, and its radar cross-section is pretty much non-existent.
Now take a look at this ship and tell me what you see:
I see the pride and joy of the United States Navy personified in the form of the Arleigh Burke-class Guided Missile Destroyer (DDG), armed with whatever you can fit in 96 vertical launch cells, a five inch gun, two R2D2s-of-death, torpedo tubes, and whatever pintle- and rail-mounted crew-served weapons it might have (typically at least four Ma Deuces, but the loadouts varied). She sports a crew of somewhere over 300, is over 500 feet in length, and its radar cross-section is ridiculously small for a ship of its size (and I do speak from some experience on that).
So, tell me – given that information, if you were to plop these two vessels down in an appropriate body of water about 10 nautical miles from each other, and told their respective crews that only one vessel’s crew was going home at the end of the day, who would win?
Hardly any question, is there?
It is fairly likely that the Boghammar would get within range to pop off at least one of its rockets at the DDG (depending on sea conditions and the like), but after that, the fight would be pretty much over, and the DDG would be going home to freshen up its paint job.
So that obviously means Boghammars are useless against the might of the US Navy, right?
Well, take that little boat, and multiply it by a hundred… or a thousand*:
DDGs cost the American taxpayers somewhere shy of $2,000,000,000 (yes, billion with a “b”) each… those Boghammars cost all of maybe $200,000 to produce and arm, if even that. If you were to put equivalent values of vessels in that aforementioned body of hypothetical water, who do you think would be steaming home?
To be certain, a very large number of those small boats would be perforated, exploded, disabled, and otherwise sunk, but it is fair to say that DDG would be toast at the end of the exercise, especially since Iranian Boghammars can also be set up to be suicide boats. Obviously this situation is complicated by adding more boats on each side (the DDGs would have the advantage of significantly better communications, coordination, and control) or the location of the incident (picking somewhere with lots of islands or ship traffic would permit the small boats to “blend in” or hide), but the danger of “small boat swarms” is real (*.pdf warning), we have come face-to-face with it in the past (my LPD was deployed with the ships involved in that incident, though we were not present at the time), and Navies across the world are working on solutions**.
So where am I going with this? One Boghammar against one DDG is going to get precisely nowhere… but a swarm of Boghammars against one DDG will probably come out on top. Just like one man with one gun against a tank is probably going to lose, but a bunch of guys with guns against one tank are going to win.
There is an old saying, “Quantity has a quality all its own,” which is amusingly attributed to Joseph Stalin… Yes, four guys with pistols are, in terms of quality, horribly deficient compared to a tank, but American Mercenary walks you through the steps of how they become more than a match for that armored vehicle, and history is simply replete with examples of under-armed (or completely unarmed) irregular infantry overpowering machine guns, tanks, platoons, and other heavy-duty military equipment when the latter decided to do something stupid… The only requirements on the part of the infantry are the willingness to make the attempt with the understanding that a non-zero number of them will not survive.
Which brings us to this quote of the day:
Gun control advocates seem to believe that it is better to live as a slave than die as a warrior. Unfortunately history has made it clear that such a choice doesn’t exist. The real choice is DIE as a slave or FIGHT as a warrior. And yes, sometimes warriors die. And sometimes warriors are forgotten. And sometimes we fail to secure the God given freedoms innate in every human.
But if you don’t choose to fight you are choosing death. How cowardly.
I sincerely hope that we will never have to test or experience the modern utility of swarm tactics, either on the waters of the Persian Gulf, or on the streets of some city or country in uprising, but the simple truth is that anti-rights cultists are just as ignorant about tactics and strategies as they are statistics and logic, which is not terribly surprising, given that “gun control” requires ignorance.
* – Apparently one of the better images of this concept is not unclassified… However, suffice to say, an aerial shot of several hundred small boats operating in formation is a little… disquieting… to big-ship Navy guys like me.
** – My personal favorites are the CIWS Block 1B variant (which is all kinds of fun to drive around, and definitively makes short work of anything it can see), and the newly-developed 5″ KE-ET round (*.pdf warning).