Fighting a Superior Force: Picking the shot Part 2


Part 1 HERE.

The problem with fighting a superior force is. . . well that they are superior.

Well duh. So what do we do to fix that?

The US Military likes to attack with a force at preferably three times larger than the enemy. If you can’t do that, you reduce the enemy with assets like indirect fire or air support.

But, as civilians, we tend not to have those sorts of options.

An obvious response is hit and run tactics. Which work. If the enemy outnumbers you those numbers tend to limit how fast and quietly they can move. Small groups of good guys can move quickly though woods, sewers, roof tops, etc where a larger unit could not practically move though.

The smallest unit is the individual person. That person can stuff them selves in all sorts of places people would not expect. When I was the aggressor (bad guy) in urban warfare training, I had a peer who loved to get into the rafters of the buildings. He could pelt Marines with simunition rounds all day and rarely get spotted, even when he was just a few feet above his prey. Shooting and hitting people with out them ever thinking to look up and see him.

Ideally, you engage the enemy in such a way where they can not effective engage you back. One thing we loved doing is popping out a 2nd or 3rd story window right above enemies below, and firing down at them. Then quickly relocating. Your engagement time would be just shorter than their ability to look up, and point their rifles up to fire back. You relocate just encase one of them is good enough at tossing grenades to get a grenade in that window. That is somewhat unlikely, there is no point in risking that someone can throw a grenade well. Sometimes the enemy may be enraged(or motivated) to try and push into that building and clear that room you fired from. Since you already unassed your self from that room, those enemies are running into an empty area. Or better yet, a preset trap or ambush.

Fun example, in our MOUT training town, there were a couple of building connected by sewers. We would engage from the 2nd or 3rd floor from one building. As our enemies (the good guys in this event) would enter this first building, we would egress to the basement. Then we would take the sewer to the other building, and shoot from the other building into the first. As our enemies struggled to figure out what was happening, and keep their momentum to rally and attack the second building, we ran back into the sewers. From the sewer we would leave the town. I don’t recall us ever taking a casualty when doing this, and it was not uncommon for our enemies to still be shooting phantoms long after we left. Best case scenario is when part of their element realized we were now in the second building and followed us there, sometimes they fired at their guys who were still in the first building. Red on Red fire is the best fire.

Another classic example is to fire from the other side of a river or canal. Something that makes it extremely hard for the enemy to reach your position in any sort of timely manner. Of course, don’t forget that the enemy may have other units you need to be aware of, and that the enemy may try to make up for not being able to reach you in person by using excess firepower.

Our enemies have enjoyed the safety of firing from schools, mosques, rooms with civilians, and similar places in order to fire on us with out us returning fire. It is unlikely that anyone you fight would have the same qualms. You want to make sure that when you engage, they are not going to just respond with an overwhelming response that you can not escape. Don’t engage if they are just going to air strike the building you are in, or level it with anti-tank or thermobaric rounds before you can get out of it. Be careful picking your targets. Either target smaller elements, or take out the greater threats first (snipers, radio operators, anti-armor and indirect fire assets, etc).

As long as we are talking about excess firepower it is worth bringing up fire superiority. Some people think fire superior is just firing more rounds that the enemy is firing. Greater volume is worthless with out greater accuracy. Fire superiority is having GREATER EFFECT on target. It is possible for an individual or a small team to achieve fire superiority over a superior force. In doing so, you greatly increase your survivability and chance of success. Fire superiority is often associated with automatic weapons. In World War Two, we figured that a single man with BAR provided equivalent firepower as a 5 men armed with Garands; 80 aimed shots a minute. (WW2 Infantry Weapons and their effects). You don’t have to have greater volume of fire, you need greater effective fire. That brings us back to accurate well aimed shots.

Fire superiority reduces the enemy. It reduces their number by killing them. It reduces their ability to return effective fire back on you or your allies. It reduces their moral. It reduces their ability to move and react.

If the enemy is firing at you and missing, and you are firing at them and hitting, you have fire superiority.

Winston Churchill said that, “There is nothing so exhilarating as to be shot at with out effect.” The opposite is also true. There is nothing more demoralizing than the enemy firing at you with great effect. You be the one firing with great effect.

Even a single gunman can draw the attention of an enemy element and cause them to fixate on that hostile attacking element. Even better, sometimes that lone gunman can fix the enemy in place causing them to not want to move from what ever cover of concealment that have from that attacking element. This can lead to the enemies destruction by allowing another attacking force to flank the enemy and employing effective fire from two directions causing the enemies destruction.

The old 4 F’s. Find, Fix, Flank, and Finish them. That can be done (difficulty) by a two person force.


  1. “The old 4 F’s. Find, Fix, Flank, and Finish them. That can be done (difficulty) by a two person force”

    Famously achieved by the Master Sniper himself, Carlos Hathcock and his Spotter, when the two man sniper team pinned down a PAVN Company for 5 days killing dozens with nothing but a bolt gun and an M14 before running low on ammo and calling in artillery w to finish off the rest while they left the area . The two men keeping 24 hour a day watch over the company pinned behind a rice paddy dike with their rifle fire and using Illumination flares fired from the artillery unit all night to keep harassing and killing them one or two at a time.

  2. I think you avoid the combat forces until after you’ve attacked supply, etc, convoys and depots to secure more robust weaponry able to actually defeat armor, air, etc.
    Similarly, you don’t attack air assets in the air, but rather when parked on the tarmac, etc. Can’t get to the planes and helos, then blow up or set aflame the fuel tanks and bladders, etc. Point being, as an insurgent, you attack whenever possible at the time and location of your choosing… And more time should be spent on planning, intelligence/information gathering, etc, than on actual combat operations. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

    Max Velocity’s covered to some degree, but basically, civilians won’t have access to medevac flights, combat hospitals, etc. Unless some terrain and facilities have been secured by larger and friendly forces, we’d be reverting several decades back insofar as standards of care. Because of that, it’s more a pattern of deliberate ambush, followed by a (tactical) withdrawal, followed by hasty ambushes, etc., repeat until the enemy is no longer in pursuit and one can make a roundabout return to safety. Assaulting through an objective is the last resort rather than SOP. Your net effect is greatest if surviving to fight another day under most scenarios… On that:

    Look forward to future posts.


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