Space Ramblings

Re: Cloverfield, 5 Memos for the US Military on Fighting off a Monster Invasion in a Major City

Cloverfield film posterWith Cloverfield once again some mysterious monster from some mysterious place, call it S.M. Stirling’s Emberverse mutant space bats, menaces a major American city and once again the US military finds itself completely shorthanded in dealing with the threat.

Let’s break down the positives. Rapid deployment, in Cloverfield the US military appears to be able to deploy fairly rapidly inside New York City. It’s not quite clear if we’re seeing National Guard units or not, but it’s still very rapid deployment considering that something less than under an hour seems to pass before army units are inside the city and trying to combat the situation. This is a major plus and presumably a consequence of 9/11.

The army also appears to successfully split down its tasks between trying to kill the monster and contain it with evacuating the civilian population. Plenty of movies would just show the soldiers killing everyone in their path, surprisingly to Hollywood this is not what the US military actually does in emergencies.

Meanwhile the negatives, using tanks in urban areas is a tactic that should have gone out with Grozny and those were just raggedy ass Islamic terrorists, not a giant monster. Not only do tanks block city streets and not only are many Manhattan streets too narrow to accommodate tanks, but in an emergency the sheer press of abandoned traffic would make many streets unnavigable for armored vehicles.

Tanks in a monster attack could only be useful as an artillery platform and there are better and more destructive ways to deploy artillery against a monster than that. Leave the tanks at the base.

Setting up an open base camp in view of the monster is also probably a bad idea. So is launching evacuation helicopters in sight of the attacking monster. This is all very poor strategy, especially when they’re launched without any covering fire.

Finally if you do try to take out the monster, focus less on chemical explosives and more on armor piercing weapons. Dumping chemical explosives all around makes for lots of explosions but doesn’t really kill monsters. Take a good look at harpoons instead, they’re actually designed to penetrate the thick skin of beasties.

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