Riot Control, Part 4

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Mon, Feb 20 - 8:00 am EDT | 2 years ago by
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Lines of Departure - Riots

Of course, we should have been preparing for really serious riots starting several years ago. It was probably too much, though, to expect the same administration doing everything possible to encourage rioting to expend the money, time, and effort needed to suppress rioting. Why, next thing you know, people will be asking the government to undo the anti-white racism and anti-heterosexual sexism that’s been all the rage for most of the last eight years. And we can’t have that, now, can we?


In any case, we probably don’t have long to prepare. The riots that were small, in poor weather, at the inauguration, may well become quite large this spring and summer. Moreover, the enemy – and they are the enemy – has been getting in a lot of useful practice. As an ideal, it would be nice to raise a force of professional riot control police, maybe to the size of a large division. Again, though, there probably just isn’t time for that.

There might be time to retrain the armed forces, partially. In theory, of course, they do train for riot control. In practice? Well…no…not so much. Instead they go through the motions, execute formations, “hut-hut-hut” themselves about bare parking lots and parade grounds, and in general waste a little time, perhaps as often as annually.

The formations are considerably less effective than they are complex. FM3-19.15, Civil Disturbance Operations, lists five, plus the implicit one of troops in column, plus a number of variables for tactical situations that, frankly, are almost always beyond the scope of the unit concerned to deal with anyway. I don’t generally recommend four of the five, if for no other reason because they cause the troops to move far too slowly to gain moral ascendency over the rioters. What I do recommend is a technique worked out by the troops themselves, down in Panama, in the 80s. It requires one formation, a portable loudspeaker, a certain understanding of mob psychology, and aggressiveness. Lightweight shields are certainly useful.

The one formation is on line, something the troops don’t need much practice in assuming. It can and should be a partially double line, with some non-lethal weapons in the back, along with perhaps a few buckshot-loaded shotguns for dealing with armed or incendiary rioters, and a snatch team or a few of them. Designated marksman probably need to be under tighter control, adjacent to, or in radio contact with and following the direct orders of commanders: “The masked one in the red jacket carrying a flaming bottle towards that McDonald’s; shoot him.”

It takes a little training, though less than what’s called for in the manual, and looks like this:

1. The troops, as they march in column to the point of forming the line, should be pounding their shields with their batons, one whack per left step. It should sound like a single, drawn out, fearfully powerful blow, to remind the rioters of what’s in store for them and to give the faint-hearted a chance to leave while they can. This will serve to partially demoralize those of somewhat stouter hearts, but who are not fanatical cadre.

2. The troops are brought to “mark time…march” (marching in place), but continue pounding their shields in time together.

3. The command is given to form a line; the lead platoon’s squads move out following their squad leaders, and, on command, face toward the rioters. Other platoons move up and continue to fan out to the flanks of the lead platoon. If the area is wide, quite likely more companies are deploying, too. They’re all still pounding their shields.

4. The commander, through his portable loudspeaker, gives the preparatory commands: “Ready…Ready…Ready…” The troops change to beating their batons frenziedly, bending their left legs, moving their right legs back as if to sprint, and positioning their shields to their front.

5. The commander orders “Rush!” The troops launch themselves forward. Most of the rioters will run and probably faster, both for not being as encumbered and for having a head start. Some, being braver than the rest, will delay too long for an escape. These the troops knock over with their shields and then smash with kicks, stomps, and downward strokes of the batons. The objective isn’t just inflicting pain but also damage. Don’t draw it out or make a Rodney King beating out of it. Knock them down and hurt them quickly and decisively. The second, thinner line flexicuffs them. They should leave by ambulance. Women rioters should not be knocked down but pushed forward and prodded with the nails in the ends of the batons. I’ll explain why, later on.

6. The rush stops at a pre-rehearsed fifteen meters and the troops dress the line (= get back into a line). Note, at this point you have already set a pattern; when the troops get ready to charge, rioters run like hell.

7. The rioters will slowly regather their courage. (Be fair; it’s tougher for them because, unlike a unit of infantry, engineers, tankers, air defense, or artillery, they are not a cohesive body to begin with.) As they do, they’ll begin to filter back to what we might call confrontation distance. Again the commander orders, “Ready…Ready…Ready…” but doesn’t give the “Rush!” Why not? Because they’ll have started to run again at the first or second “ready.” Instead, the commander orders, “cancel…cancel” and then marches the troops forward on line, into the space just vacated by the rioters, at a normal thirty-inch step.

8. At that point, having run from a threat that didn’t materialize, the riot cadres are humiliated and their followers more doubtful about their ability to take on the riot control force. Repeat the exercise, this time with a, “Rush!” The cadres will be slower to run, meaning they can be caught up to, or more of them can, and, again, be sent to the hospital, thence to jail, then to prison to be made non-anally retentive.

It’s up to the commander on the ground to judge when to actually rush, when to march into the vacuum, and when to cancel. He and the troops can have a lot of fun this way, by the way, and the rioters will not like it a bit. Moreover, even though not nearly as heavily laden, this exercise will start to wear them out a lot faster than it will the troops.

Ah, but what if the rioters don’t run, but hundreds (and hundreds) of them decide to stand and fight? Be still my heart. Oh, joy; oh happy-happy-joy-joy. These assholes know how to posture, but fight as a group, by which I mean a collective and mutually supportive action, not just a lot of people fighting at the same time? It is to laugh. If they try to stand, you don’t send a few to the hospital. You send them all to the hospital…or the morgue; whatever the market will bear. Rubber bullets, you know, fired from point blank range, are not necessarily non-lethal.

Now, since this is the last one I intend to do for this subject anytime soon, a few more tips:

  1. The press is not only the enemy; they must be presumed to be an utterly unprincipled and dishonest enemy. Anything and everything the riot control force does will be filmed and, if necessary, edited, to present it in the worst possible light. Therefore, they must have their own camera teams recording everything to both clear themselves of wrongdoing or spurious charges of indiscipline, as well as to discredit the press which will have edited the truth heavily. NB: There is no real limit to how dishonest the modern press can be and will be in support of the leftist agenda. There is no placating them. There is no degree of righteous conduct they will not twist into wrongdoing. There is thus no sense in trying to placate them, in trying to be nice, in tightly limiting violence, etc.; because they will lie about you and all those who want to believe their lies will.
  2. Riot Control Women. They’re rather preposterous, in the main, if employed on the riot control line. It’s one of the reasons why MPs have for long been useless at riot control; they’re simply too heavily laden with women, who almost universally lack the size, strength, and aggressiveness for hand to hand combat with stone age weapons. Indeed, while the infantry and other combat and combat support unit in the old 193rd were excellent at riot control, the MPs – yes, I have seen it – were useless. Worse, riot control is a perfect environment to cause what the Israeli’s found out when they mixed men and women in the same units in their War of Independence; men will abandon the mission to succor one of their own women. This is the fault of the men, by the way, and not of the women, but it is even more the fault of the dogmatic shitheads of the left who refuse to see men and women for what they are.
  3. Rioting women. I don’t care if you have a warrant for their arrest for murder, arson, mayhem, and massacre, plus cellulite and bad makeup, do not arrest or detain them at the scene. Shoot them if their conduct (to include dress) warrants it, but otherwise just push them away or wound them slightly and push them away. Why? Because, though ill-disciplined rabble, for the most part, the rioters are also mostly male and will also rush to the defense of “their” women. There is no better substitute for the cohesion and moral fiber a mob usually lacks than going after the women in the mob. They can turn ferocious very quickly, indeed, if you do.

And that’s all good and maybe it will get us through the summer, should it turn out as badly as it might, but, America, I suspect that you and the president are ultimately still going to need a dedicated, well trained, highly mobile, professional force for riot suppression.

Read Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 in this series on riot control

Photo by Getty Images

Tom Kratman is a retired infantry lieutenant colonel, recovering attorney, and science fiction and military fiction writer. His latest novel, The Rods and the Axe, is available from for $9.99 for the Kindle version, or $25 for the hardback. A political refugee and defector from the People’s Republic of Massachusetts, he makes his home in Blacksburg, Virginia. He holds the non-exclusive military and foreign affairs portfolio for EveryJoe. Tom’s books can be ordered through

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