The role of Noise in Combat

View Latest Activity

Home Forums Tactics & Leadership Teamwork & Leadership The role of Noise in Combat

Viewing 16 reply threads
  • Author
    Posts
    • #122307
      Max
      Keymaster

        I’m just gonna lay something down here. A little against the trend. Just so that you can’t say you weren’t told. We already noticed recently in the thread on the Lite Fight concept that mission drives gear. And it was noted that mostly, what is cool or what the cool guys are wearing in actuality drives people’s gear selections, because people are, mostly, idiots, and they don’t know what they do.

        So let’s talk about suppressors. There is a role for suppressors, and I’m NOT saying you are an idiot for having one. The USMC has made a case for EVERYONE to have suppressors – well, that’s the Marine’s for you….

        But let’s look at the role of noise in combat. Weapons make a noise, they make a terrible terrifying noise. One of the main things you are trying to do to the enemy in combat, is affect his behavior to your advantage. You are trying to affect the behavior of your guys to your advantage. You affect the behavior of the enemy by effective suppression fire. Yes, I know that rounds (supersonic) will make a noise at terminus, but there is also the effect of the firing of the weapons as well.

        In the same way, if your guys know the enemy are being suppressed, then that will improve their morale. One of the familiar and morale improving things on the battlefield is the sound of the beat of your machine-guns sending suppressive hate down on the enemy.

        I have read multiple accounts from multiple different theaters of suppressed weapons being used. Often, if used by small recce-type forces, the weapons are being used to enable a break-contact on discovery by the enemy. In particular where sub-sonic rounds were used, the effect was often minimal on the enemy, because they did not realize they were being shot at. If you are trying to deter the enemy from pursuit, then think about letting them know that you are trying to kill them. In one account, of the South African Recce’s, they would go in to the objective in two-man teams. They figured that the front man would carry a light suppressed sub-sonic machine-pistol, but the rear guy, or cover guy, would carry an AK. Then, if the point man came under contact and started to move back, the AK of the rear guy would open up and there WAS NO DOUBT that the enemy were being fired on.

        I know many of you are living a fantasy, of being able to super-secret-squirrel-kill guys out there with your suppressed rifle. But it probably isn’t going to work out like that. For example, if you plan on an ambush, then unless you actually get hits on all the bad guys in the first few seconds, there will be a firefight. What you will not have achieved, is the initial terror of that mad-minute of small arms fire. Possibly you will tell me, the guys will be dropping without even knowing they are being shot at, but we all know that you can hear suppressed high-velocity weapons pretty damn well, so all you are missing is the psychological noise terror effect.

        Yes, perhaps as a lone wolf / sniper you may disguise your firing point for a couple of single shots, and then make an escape. That’s all I’ll say about the sniper fantasy. Small unit tactics is where it’s at.

        Thus, you should seriously consider the effect of noise as you try and suppress the enemy.

        Think about a UTM / AirSim battle. Yes, you are not dying so terror is reduced! But there is little noise. Thus there is little terror. Because I think that many people, have no real idea of the effect of rounds unless they are hitting them or hitting very close – which is what you need to do to effectively suppress. But at least if the enemy is not actually suppressed at that time, perhaps not located at that time, they will suffer from the noise of your support by fire element, and thus become less effective.

        The counter-argument is that of being able to communicate. Well, forgetting that most people haven’t done enough training to be able to communicate under the stress of combat anyway, the answer to this is not to try and make the battlefield silent. You communicate by yelling, every man is a link man, and when yelling fails you use hand signals or even radios. This has been practiced and done for a long time. It just needs to be trained effectively. Also, if the enemy weapons are not suppressed, even if yours are, there will still be a lot of noise on the battlefield. But further away, so not so bad, I hear you say…well, as their rounds come past you and above you super-sonic, they are going to be whipping and cracking and terrifying you as they do so.

        And yet more Paras:

        https://youtu.be/TiGlS3yM7GQ

        • This topic was modified 3 months, 2 weeks ago by Max.
        • This topic was modified 3 months, 2 weeks ago by Max.
        • This topic was modified 3 months, 2 weeks ago by Max.
      • #122312
        Civilianresponder
        Participant

          Thanks for the great post. I’ve been thinking about this and what you are saying makes a lot of sense. Good to separate the tactical fantasy from the tactical reality.

        • #122317
          Joe (G.W.N.S.)
          Moderator

            So let’s talk about suppressors. There is a role for suppressors, and I’m NOT saying you are an idiot for having one. The USMC has made a case for EVERYONE to have suppressors – well, that’s the Marine’s for you….

            Tools, when and why based on facts vice “tactifoolery.” B-)

            Remember the Marines got some midgrade officer to convince some high level staff officer to conduct a trial in widespread suppressor use. I am sure some have already earned medals for it.

            The final outcome of this trial will based as much on influence as facts.

            So will the enemy be as terrified of 160db riflefire as 130db riflefire? :unsure:

            Anyone basing their choices on .mil or any other special people might as well base it on their favorite movie. ;-)

          • #122335
            veritas556
            Participant

              This makes sense. Not to mention the added weight to lug around – usually close to a pound. You know what they say about “ounces equal pounds and pounds equal pain”.

              So @Max – what are the tactical considerations where employing a suppressor would make sense?

            • #122347
              Max
              Keymaster

                So @Max – what are the tactical considerations where employing a suppressor would make sense?

                Well, off the top of my head. If you are sniping long range, then it will help conceal the crack of the shot. Legitimate.

                If you are conducting some sort of secret squirrel stuff such as hostage rescue, then suppressed weapons could have a place. Supersonic are still gonna make noise, but less noise. Traditionally however, SAS use of MP5 was not suppressed. Nowadays veryone runs a suppressor on 5.56 and M4 is now the weapon of choice tp replace MP5. Could it make a difference on bad guys locating you on an assault in a large building? Maybe.

                I don’t see a real use in the infantry SUT battle. Hit me with some examples and I’ll let you know what I think.

              • #122349
                Max
                Keymaster

                  Don’t take this as an argument against suppressors. It’s just something you should consider. Also, I’ll say I am in no rush for a tax stamp for a suppressor.

                • #122350
                  veritas556
                  Participant

                    CQB?

                  • #122351
                    veritas556
                    Participant

                      And speaking of noise – do most combat troops wear ear pro during contact – CQB included? Maybe in the form of comms/ears?

                      • #122357
                        First Sergeant
                        Moderator

                          It’s more common now than it was. For most of my career the only time we wore any type of ear pro was on the range. We didn’t wear it when we deployed or when we were doing live fire training. Why? Because you couldn’t hear what the other guys were saying.

                          If you read several of the accounts of SOG, several of them started out using silenced Swedish K’s. After the first couple of fire fights they got rid of them because the enemy didn’t react when being shot at. They then relied on suppressed weapons only for specific missions such as prisoner snatches and then it was used so they wouldn’t attract attention.

                          Noise plays a huge roll psychologically, especially in an ambush.

                          My experience is that suppressed weapons have a very specific roll to play. Those rolls are very limited.

                          FILO
                          Signal Out, Can You Identify
                          Je ne regrette rien
                          In Orbe Terrum Non Visi

                          • #122478
                            First Sergeant
                            Moderator

                              Is anybody reading what I am writing?

                              FILO
                              Signal Out, Can You Identify
                              Je ne regrette rien
                              In Orbe Terrum Non Visi

                            • #122481
                              Joe (G.W.N.S.)
                              Moderator

                                Yes, but it’s hard for many to change. ;-)

                          • #122376
                            Sitting Duck
                            Participant

                              Recently a Highschool kid with a “rice burner” caused an incident. His school parking lot burn out had his car bouncing off the electronic rev limiter making a staccato noise mistaken for “machine gun fire”. This consumed a considerable amount of resources.

                              Just as the Ronin movie used a simulation noise maker to draw fire, is there a place for the combination of silencers and decoy sounds?

                            • #122378
                              Anonymous
                              Inactive

                                I remember reading the after action reviews of the 1986 Miami dade shootout with the FBI. The officers that survived were engaging with pistols and shotguns. When the bad guys started shooting the ruger 223 mini 14 it was by a couple of accounts psychologically deafening. It scared them so bad they could not return fire.

                              • #122383
                                Anonymous
                                Inactive

                                  I remember reading the after action reviews of the 1986 Miami dade shootout with the FBI. The officers that survived were engaging with pistols and shotguns. When the bad guys started shooting the ruger 223 mini 14 it was by a couple of accounts psychologically deafening. It scared them so bad they could not return fire.

                                  Take note of the 2016 Dallas police shooting, the use of gunfire in an area where it would echo was effective enough that all initial reports though there were multiple gunmen.

                                  Then there are the old WWI anecdotes about teams of Brits with Enfields shooting fast enough that the Germans thought they were a machine gun battery.

                                • #122396
                                  Max
                                  Keymaster

                                    And speaking of noise – do most combat troops wear ear pro during contact – CQB included? Maybe in the form of comms/ears?

                                    This is always something that comes up from the civilian shooting side, usually with some amazement. We are more aware now about hearing loss, but there was a time when ear-pro was not used. The reality is combat is that you will not be wearing it. For example, going on patrol, you have to be able to hear, and then when you get a contact, it just happens.

                                    Nowadays, technology is giving a solution to that, and also as stated ear-pro is increasingly being worn as part of comms etc. Electronic ear-pro, so long as you can carry the battery power, is offering a solution where you cna hear, have comms, and be protected from rifle noise. If you are going to conduct a deliberate operation, perhaps an ambush, then you could wear electronic ear-pro just like we do in training. If you are around and about the farm, and get attacked, you will have to deal with it.

                                    For example, in Iraq when in vehicles I would have an earpiece in one ear, and in the other I would wear one of those EAR yellow plugs. That was because in vehicles I was not on foot patrol, thus less need to listen, and more concerned about explosion concussion from IEDs. Also firing SAW from the vehicle or PKM from turret was noisy.

                                  • #122406
                                    Max
                                    Keymaster

                                      So following what I just said, you could certainly make a case for suppressors for home defense. In terms of conducting CQB in your house, or for getting taken by surprise by attackers when it is just maybe you plus or minus one more defender. Balancing general terror of family members. Being able to give them instructions easier, versus psychological noise generated against the attackers.

                                      I think that once you get beyond a situation like that, you are mostly better of with unsuppressed weapons. Not only for the reasons stated above, but also suppressed weapons are not ideal for the amount of rounds that are fired in in SUT firefight situations. We all know about the additional blowback into your face and greater fouling created by suppressors – not to mention the suppressor covers we have seen catch on fire on the ranges!

                                    • #122411
                                      Brushpopper
                                      Participant

                                        This makes A LOT of sense! Great info as always.
                                        I have thought about getting suppressor, but have not been able to convince myself to do it, I’d much rather spend the money on training or ammo etc… B-)

                                      • #122416
                                        wheelsee
                                        Participant

                                          I have switched from a pump shotgun to an AR 15 Pistol for home defense.

                                          Reasons
                                          1. Increasing incidence of multiple attackers
                                          2. Decreased recoil
                                          3. Increased accuracy
                                          4. Increased round capacity (see #1)
                                          5. Easily used by multiple family members

                                          I have chosen to place a suppressor on same. Why? Family members are going to be freaking out with shouting, surprise, and probable gun flashing (if not gunfire). With stress comes either decreased or increased hearing acuity (depends on the person, can go either way).

                                          I’m not interested in the bad guys (BG) hearing return fire from 100 yards away. Everything is going to happen in less than 50 FEET.

                                        • #122434
                                          Pinky
                                          Participant

                                            I have a few of them. The biggest attraction is not having to wear (as much) ear pro. Still loud, but can do a short training session without ears, or with my MP3 headphones in if desired. Second benefit is while I do have a range in my yard, there are some neighbors that can hear me, so it takes the noise level down for that. Third benefit – who wants to hunt and blast your ears out or wear ear pro? I know, it’s just one shot, but for that use case, I’m happy to have an extra 12oz on the front of the gun to be able to be comfortable without ear pro or possibly damage my hearing.

                                            The ROI equation is definitely upside-down. Way too expensive, $200 to the king and his permission, highly regulated, etc, etc. Not worth it from that perspective. It should be like Norway where you can buy them for $200 at the equivalent of walmart, no strings attached, except someone “who knows better” decided that there would be blood in the streets if they were not regulated (same for SBR’s). Anyone who’s used one knows that they are not quiet, certainly not “silencers.”

                                          • #122441
                                            DiznNC
                                            Participant

                                              I thought this was going to be a thread on how we need to reduce our noise signature on patrol.

                                              From a recce perspective, I’ve always strived to be as quiet as I could/can. But I also acknowledge that what we we face may be totally different from this mission.

                                              In terms of Suppressor use, I use one on my dedicated night fighting rifle, not for noise suppression as much as muzzle flash suppression. In trying to leverage NV gear to the max, having a suppressor on your rifle helps hide your position, when engaging hostiles under NV. So the scenario I am thinking about is to hasty ambush anyone coming towards my house, as far away as possible. It may be a mile, or it may be at the front door. Hitting them hard with superior vision, firepower, and minimum signature, to not allow any response. So yes, a lot of this would depend on superior tactics, stealth, and maybe a little luck thrown in. Once the ambush was initiated, anyone still alive, may go white light, so then any advantage to NV, suppressors, etc. is negated.

                                              The other mission might be sentry removal. If you are doing a deliberate ambush/raid on a hostile base camp, then taking out any sentries quietly while the main body gets on line would be a plus. Or a close target recce, where the recon team is in danger of being compromised, so the security groups could used suppressed fire to eliminate the threat and let the team re-group and quietly melt away.

                                              So I do see a time and place for them. That being said, I fully acknowledge the fact that many folks want them simply for the cool factor and what not. And, that in many light-infantry type scenarios, they are not really needed. Indeed the noise factor may be a really good thing to persuade your enemy to find an easier target. So yeah to the OP, noise is a tool to be used to cause your enemy to re-think his present COA and go somewhere else. Think about bagpipes screeing, and I mean the real war pipes, not the foo-foo shit you hear in popular culture. It will turn any man’s blood cold. There’s a perfect example of the role of noise in combat. To strike fear in the heart of the enemy.

                                              For those of you that have done the night assaults at VTC, can you imagine being in the enemy base camp, in the dead of night, and hearing the banshee wail of warpipes, right before a line of demons descend on your camp? I’m scaring myself here.

                                          Viewing 16 reply threads
                                          • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.