Of all the speculative discussions I’ve seen on the ways CW 2.0 might play out should the temp knob ever actually be dialed up from the current Med-Hi setting on up to full-on Rolling Boil, these feel to me like the most realistic, plausible, and probable of them so far. Scenario One:
You’re a battalion commander in 2ID. For nine months you’ve been tasked with keeping I85 open between Portland and Boise. It’s a ridiculous area for one battalion, but every maneuver unit in the military is tasked.
There is no rotation out on the horizon. Your companies are strung out in platoon COPs across 500 miles of mostly remote highway.
Most of your HHC is in ad hoc platoons covering sectors as well.
The supply line is absolutely vital to keep the rest of your brigade sustained as it tries to secure Idaho.
Just as important is keeping it open westbound, to supply Portland, Seattle, and the areas in between. The insurgency played hell with the supply chain. FEMA is rationing food and necessities in urban areas, and every load is needed.
Early on you mostly dealt with occasional harrassment and clearing logs from the roadway. Turns out one guy with a chainsaw can snarl traffic through Umatilla National Forest for hours. Tracking them on logging roads and ATV trails is a nightmare.
You quickly learned that if you sent out road crews without escort, they would take harassing fire immediately. After one crew had their equipment torched and was forced to walk back in underwear, they refuse to work without a security element.
The problem is that when security is with the road crews, the insurgents just flex a few miles away and either create another roadblock, or sometimes hijack and burn a few loads stuck in the traffic. They especially seem to love hitting your fuelers. You’ve tried sending up UAVs to catch them at it, but they seem to have uncanny awareness of when you’re setting a trap and rarely bite. Those few you do roll up are sent north to the massive camp near Moses Lake. What you really need are SOF assets hunting the enemy while your forces hold key terrain.
Unfortunately, those assets are stretched thin and hard to come by.
It doesn’t help that the army lost 35% of long tabs in the Vax Purge of ’21. It also doesn’t help that half of 1st group is considered “politically unreliable” and is kept on Rear D at JBLM. Rumor is at least a dozen of those guys have up and vanished with their families, but solid info is kept close. You just know getting SOF assets in your AO is dicey.
SOF aren’t the only ones with personnel issues. You left 28 natives of Oregon and Idaho on rear D, to avoid any conflicts. Just last month CID rolled up an E4 who was passing convoy manifests and schedules to an old battle buddy in Lakewood, who was passing it to the insurgents.
Now your entire rear D is in segregated barracks and closely watched, and you’ve had to confiscate phones across the battalion. Your soldiers get one monitored call per week to their families. You’ve already signed 7 NJPs for guys who got caught with burners. The best intel you get, at least at first, was from social media companies providing data based on algorithms that identified insurgent activity.
The first round of mass arrests got hundreds. That dried up quickly, as they stopped using the platforms. It also scooped up hundreds of people based on social media history who are being held without charges, and are a constant PR nightmare. You have family members at your CP every day demanding due process, though you have nothing to do with detainee ops.
The biggest headache in your life, though, is the “volunteers”. When the proud boys tried to make a stand in Vancouver, and were immediately crushed, hundreds of “antifascists” showed up to “help”. You’ve been ordered to treat them as partner forces, but they’re worse than ANA. Half of them wheeze when they climb out of their subarus, and the other half can’t hold high ready for more than 10 seconds. They don’t follow orders, and after a few complaints about looting and some proud boy families going missing, the gloves came off locally. They still won’t engage your forces directly, but any “volunteers” who leave the wire on their own are likely to be found nailed to a tree. Of course local property crime and rape seems to correlate directly to their presence. They don’t want to fight, but they’ll harass civvies.
You get your morning brief and find that some of Idaho NGs missing Stingers surfaced last night and you’re down a chinook. You thank your lucky stars that Americans with ARs can’t fight the military.
Ok. Let’s do a thought exercise.
Those 12 Cletuses are the dumbest and most expendable guys the rebels have. They’re the dudes who don’t listen, just want to spray paint punisher skulls on everything and drive around larping.
Heaven forbid this civil war fantasy scenario plays out. Hypothetically speaking, and purely as a thought exercise. How do 12 Cletetus and company defend against a Predator drone? His talking points are asinine and pure political spin.
When your drone smokes them, they aren’t doing anything important to the rebellion because no one trusts them with important shit. They’re just driving around being dipshits.
But now, they’re useful. The pictures of their charred corpses and crying families are suddenly all over.
They’re a reminder of what people like Jennifer are willing to do to people who won’t submit to them. Hundreds of thousands are radicalized. Some of the dumber ones learn a harsh lesson about listening to those who’ve done work, and become more circumspect.
Meanwhile smart people are busy identifying the unit the drone was with. Who the operators and commanders are. Who had to give approval. What political flunkies were involved. Who all of their families are and where they live. Who maintains and fuels the drones.
One day a pilot from that unit gets capped in the head at a gas station. No witnesses. The unit is locked down and not allowed off post.
A couple families get the corpse pictures slipped under their door.
Now the unit has to pull the families on post, too.
They have to devote resources to keeping them secure. They’re cooped up in shitty army quarters for who knows how long, miserable and bitching, while the government tries to “investigate”.
But feds going out to investigate wind up dead.
And soldiers find nothing.
Meanwhile the main rail line that brings in fuel mysteriously blows up, and the gov is forced to truck fuel the long and expensive way.
Plus they have to guard it, because it might not make it. They have to use soldiers, because civilian truckers won’t touch the job.
That’s because they were quietly warned that any trucker delivering to that base would be found hanging from a light pole with a punisher skull carved into his chest.
That skull becomes a shorthand to identify collaborators.
People like Jennifer find it painted on their doors.
The cops are overwhelmed, and most sympathize with the rebels anyway. They won’t miss Jennifer calling every other week because her neighbors fence doesn’t have HOA approval. So they don’t care.
Soldiers suck at investigating, so they can’t do shit either.
The mil has bigger problems anyway. Anything exposed and unguarded is probably not coming back.
Whenever they come out in force, there’s nothing to be found but law abiding citizens who will tell them they hate the rebels. Morale sucks and tempers are short.
Command is terrified that someone is gonna lose it and shoot a kid taunting his patrol, or something. They know what happens to units that get linked to atrocities.
So Jennifer is on her fucking own.
No cops, no soldiers, no feds. They don’t care and have bigger priorities.
She’s not important enough to protect, and her circle of people cant muster up more than a decorative katana and a bunch of soy.
Every time she finds the punisher scrawled on her car or fence she wonders if it’s just asshole kids or if she’s about to be an object lesson.
People start to shun her, too, because no one wants to risk being associated too closely with a collaborator.
She’s on her own, no one but her cats for company, and even when things calm down everyone she knows will remember that she sided with authoritarianism.
The Punisher skull idea is a nice touch. Any dot-mil officer, Deep State bureauslime, or “elected” official mired in hubris and habit deeply enough to think that this conflict will be fought in strict conformance with the large-unit doctrines they’ve trained for and are most familiar with—all of which confidently predict that the Resistance irregulars will be crushed, with minimal effort or inconvenience—is in for a BIIIIIG surprise, and really ought to block out more time in his busy schedule for some careful reflection.
Several more of these sobering, thought-provoking tales can be found here. Spicy Time is NOT going to be either pretty or pleasant, for anybody, and that’s a hard fact.