Will this work for a militia?


July 13, 2003, 12:21 PM
Much has been said in this forum about the limited usefullness of a militia against professional troops in a toe to toe battle. However, would a militia regiment composed of:

10% discharged ex-regular troops (Average 4-6 yrs of service in Army,Navy,AF or marines and 1/2 have combat experience)
70% ex-conscript draftees (Average 2 yrs of service in Army or AF)
5% ex-cops (Average 6 years of service in local PD)
5% old vets who fought in some war 10 - 20 yrs ago.
10% enthuseastic volunteers with no military experience but who train with the regiment on a bi-monthly basis.

Who are armed with:

Semi-auto military pattern ARs, FAL type rifles, decent quality scoped bolt guns, mossberg shotguns, 1 dozen crew served machine guns, pistols for every man, commercially available explosives and a decent cached supply of ammo.

be of much use against a similarly sized invading force consisting of conventionally equipped draftees in a full scale battle? Also, a question to all the ex-military THR'ers out there.....how does one go about converting ex-REMFs into half decent combat troops after they are discharged? (If it is hoped that they will be useful in any potential militia unit.)

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4v50 Gary
July 13, 2003, 12:42 PM
I think militias can serve as a guerilla army, consituting a "threat" by being a hostile force in the rear of the enemy. About the only time I think a militia force can stand up against regulars is in city fighting. Still, heavy casualties will be expected as artillery, gunships and bombs start dropping.

July 13, 2003, 01:13 PM
I'll tell you how it is here in the Massachusetts volunteer militia.

First of all, we are a fully sanctioned state organization under the command of the Adjutant General. We are part of the Massachusetts National Guard, but NOT a part of the United States Army.

We do not receive any veterans benefits or pay unless activated. Training is strictly volunteer and is not salaried.

Membership requirements are as follows. You must be between the ages of 17 to 64, in good physical condition. Prior service is not mandatory. If you have prior service you may qualify for a higher rank upon joining, and your experience will be appreciated greatly. Otherwise, the best you can do is PFC even if you have four years of college.

Volunteers who wish to join our infantry battalion must meet a minimum fitness requirement in addition to the above. It is similar to the PFTs given by police departments to potential recruits. If you cannot, you are welcome to participate in one of our support battalions.

Due to the nature of our mission, and due to the fact that we cannot be sent outside of Massachusetts, we cannot participate in training schools such as PLDC. Therefore, promotions are made based off of time and aptitude. Basically, if you put your time in and you're a good soldier, you'll get your next grade. Minimum time requirements recently became greater.

Training itself is either directly with the National Guard or on our own. The former is usually a lot more interesting as it has more of an opportunity for new information. When we train by ourselves all we can really do is practice what we already know. Practice is still a good expenditure of time, naturally.

Right now the makeup of our organization is 50% prior service and 50% non-priors (myself included). The infantry battalion, however, is about 30% prior service and 70% non-priors, due to the average age being lower.

There is no basic training/boot camp. New recruits get all of their training in the field during drill weekends. Because of this, new recruits with no prior service usually take 6-8 months to become competent in the field. Becoming a truly effective soldier can take one year or more. This makes those of us with prior service even more valuable, obviously, as they need much less hand-holding (if any) and can contribute far more to the unit. This system may not be very fast, but there simply is no better way at this time.

We are all REMFs, but rest assured we will be there if the bad guys come marching upon Lexington again.

4v50 Gary
July 13, 2003, 01:32 PM
Can you tell me about officer selection? It has to be different from the old days where officers were elected. I hope it doesn't give rise to anymore Benjamin Butlers, does it?

July 13, 2003, 01:39 PM
So how to we get our combat training? When we train with the National Guard, our job is to provide OPFOR during combat training. We either comprise our own unit or reinforce another NG unit. Either way we are always OPFOR, never BLUFOR. I prefer it this way, because it allows us to operate in unconventional ways if necessary. Plus we sometimes wear unconventional uniforms which is always fun. Most of the time it's nothing but semantics, however.

Over the past three years I have been involved in a wide variety of TXs. I've been trained in recon patrolling, static defense, hasty ambushes, response to ambushes, MOUT, et cetera. It may take awhile but eventually the non-prior guys like myself become effective fighters.

Once new recruits really begin to understand and employ communication skills, they are able to perform to a much higher degree. For the newly minted NCO, being able to command effectively is also a factor of time, but hopefully by the time you make Corporal you're not running into trees any more. Aptitude for the job is important. I made squad leader quickly because I understand how to do the job and can think under pressure. I'm hardly the only one, but I can do it a smidge faster than the other E5s.

The psychology involved in my unit is interesting, too. As volunteers, we don't really bust each others balls about much. Training and competency issues are dealt with on a casual level. We don't want to piss any body off too much, since they can quit that day and we'll never see them again. Positive reinforcement and encouragement are the best techniques. We won't ride somebody hard unless they're obviously not taking the situation seriously, or are refusing to improve just for the hell of it. Then we want to know why they're wasting their time in the organization and whether or not they want to become good soldiers. Fortunately, most people who volunteer take it very seriously and have a strong drive to succeed.

How effective would we really be in combat? For force-on-force scenarios where we weren't outnumbered, or faced an enemy with lots of resources and reinforcements (arty, etc), we'd probably do pretty well. But if it ever came down to that, we'd have to operate as guerillas and avoid a stand-up fight. Hit and fade, destroy equipment, hinder supply would be the name of the game.

July 13, 2003, 01:52 PM
Can you tell me about officer selection? It has to be different from the old days where officers were elected. I hope it doesn't give rise to anymore Benjamin Butlers, does it?

Officers are almost always prior service officers. Since you have to be an E6 with 24 months in to be considered for 2nd Lieutenant, most of our officers were officers in the federal service. Right now we only have two butterbars who started out as NCOs.

For those NCOs who are qualified, they may simply at their option request to become an officer when their next grade rolls around. Most of our NCOs opt to remain so, preferring their role as a squad/platoon leader rather than that of an S1, S2, et cetera. If the NCO doesn't seem right for the job, they may be discouraged from becoming officers. I've never heard of anybody being flat out denied the opportunity.

NCOs who show particular promise as leaders may be strongly encouraged to become officers, but the offer may still be turned down.

So you either have prior service officers with experience, or NCOs turned officers with experience. Newly minted 2nd Lieutenants with no field experience are non-existent in our organization.

What was Butler's problem?

4v50 Gary
July 14, 2003, 01:28 AM
Thanks for the update. Your Massachusetts Militia is very much in the American tradition. Baron von Stueben (not a real baron either) remarked that in Europe, you gave an order and it was obeyed. In America, you must talk to the men and convince them of the need to obey and order before they'll comply. The Civil War Armies on both sides intially encountered this problem and one "high private" in a Confederate artillery battery decided to resign since he couldn't take his baggage with him.

On the issue of Benjamin Butler, he was a very able administrator but as a military leader, well, it just wasn't in his blood. Known to the South as "Beast" Butler, he was infamous for his order for his men to treat the women of New Orleans as "Women of the Street" if they showed disrespect towards them (they emptied chamber pots over officers, insulted them, turned their backs whenever one approached). This caused outcry through the South and even in Europe. He ignored the property rights of foreign nationals in New Orleans who were doing business with the South. They hoped that malaria would decimate the occupying army, but Butler instituted health measures causing the canals to be flushed out and the streets to be cleaned (in some areas the centuries of grime grew was over 6" above the cobblestones). No seasonal bug infestation was Butler's award. Anyway, Butler was reassigned and a less controversial general (Banks?) replaced him at New Orleans.

Was given the important assignment of creating a second front at the Bermuda One Hundred. His men won at Drewy's Bluff, but then didn't press their advantage and gave the Confederates time to rebuild their lines. Could have ended the war 9 months earlier. Before that, he messed up the attempt to seize a Confederate fort on the coast (name slips me right now). Grant's fear was something unfortunate happening to him and Butler being the senior Major General would assume command. In Butler's favor though, he was the one who declared the slaves as "contraband" of war and therefore seizable (liberate) by the Union. He also was the Commissioner for prisoner exchange and found every means he could to facilitate this (good for both sides).

July 14, 2003, 06:48 AM
It also is sanctioned by the state of Ohio but no pay (unless called up) or little equipment furnished, training is voluntary 2 days a month. To get a commission you have to be prior service (or a professional skill)and have a college degree. You go before a review board and depending on the vacancy (if passed), you may end up as a warrant officer or Lt. Advancement is based on additional training (emergency services) you obtain and attendance. It is very popular with lawyers since the Reserve time fullfills their requirement for pro-bono(?) work. I live in SE Ohio and the nearest unit was a 2 hour drive away, I applied for a commission (granted) and was 5 minutes away from swearing in but decided because of the distance involved (extremely tough, unhappy decision) that is just wasn't practicle. An outstanding organization made-up of a great many retired and prior service military, thats my idea of a true, effective militia.

H Romberg
July 14, 2003, 07:37 AM
Virginia has much the same kind of Militia. It's known as the Virginia Defense (or VD :D ) force. It's job is to support the NG or any other state agency when called. They do a fair amount of disaster work, providing a large reliable pool of volunteer labor. Actual state militias get a real raw deal when they get tarred with the same brush as the "lunatic fringe" of the "militia" culture.

Back to the real question though. My take on potential effectiveness of a small militia VS an army is that it can win* in a country where the government is dependent on public will like here. Looking to Malvoy and Al Qaida as examples of the havoc a handfull of determined men can cause, there's no way a democratic government could crack down hard enough to stop all of them without becoming worse than the original problem and getting fired for it.

* "winning"=making the fight so painful for the enemy that he gives up in the end, a-la (US vs GB) or (VC vs US) Note that the underdog has to be willing to undergo more pain than his opponent to win.

4v50 Gary
July 14, 2003, 10:30 AM
Can somebody update me on South Carolina? I know the Palmetto State still has some sort of military force and the instructors, if not commissioned in regulars or National Guard, are commissioned by the state.

BTW, Virginia Defense, VD - now that's funny! :D Back in the old days, there use to be a green coated militia company from Alexandria. They at first wanted to be called the Alexandria Sharp Shooters and were going to have their initials stenciled on their knapsacks. Then they sat around and realized what the initials spelt. :o They quietly changed their names to the Alexandria Rifles. They may have been up to 3 coy strong and I think they became part of the 17th Virginia Inf. Regt. during the Civil War.

Mark Tyson
July 14, 2003, 07:17 PM
I had no idea the militia tradition was this active! Great thread. Unfortunately, the word militia means "paranoid extremist" to a lot of people thse days.

David Park
July 14, 2003, 11:33 PM
I have briefly met a few members of the Virginia Defense Force (http://www.virginiadefenseforce.org/home) while working the VCDL table at gun shows. Unfortunately, they seemed to be of the mindset that nobody without a badge or uniform should be allowed to carry a gun. :rolleyes: I don't know about the group as a whole, though.

July 15, 2003, 12:49 AM
Elitists in the militia?


Maybe they need to be reminded of what the British were looking for near Lexington and Concord in the first place!

July 15, 2003, 01:34 AM

You mentioned that someone with prior military experience might be able to start with a higher rank in the Massachusetts volunteer militia. However, does this experience have to be with the US armed forces? What about say.....a newly minted US citizen with 4 years experience with the Russian Field Artillery? Or perhaps a former Isreali with infantry and spec forces training?

Also, does the Massachusetts volunteer militia have personal weapons issued to them by the state or do they bring their own ARs, FALs and AKs? what kind of support weapons do you guys use?

July 15, 2003, 02:32 AM
Would someone be accepted with an un-orthadox caliber rifle? I ask this as 8mm is not common these days on the standard battlefield.

July 15, 2003, 11:37 AM
Gary, there is indeed a South Carolina Militia with a charter from the Governor that is not part of the National Guard or part of the US military apparatus. I used to shoot IPSC with several fellows who were members. Unfortunately, I have lost touch with them, and know little about it other that what I've already described. I'll see if I can find out more.

July 15, 2003, 12:23 PM
Kannonfyre: I would imagine that a US citizen with experience in a foreign military service would be just as welcome. In fact, I think we'd be interested to learn new and different things from them. Such a person would be able to share their own unique experiences, and perhaps contribute techniques, practices, or "tricks" that we might not be familiar with. My favorite Murphy's Law is "if it's stupid but works, it isn't stupid." Anything that can be used to my unit's benefit gets serious consideration, no matter how idiotic it may seem at first glance. Most ideas are rejected, but some become SOP for our unit.

When we're OPFOR, we're usually outnumbered at least 2:1. You can bet we'll be doing everything we can (within the op order) to win.

As for weaponry, my unit is light infantry. We don't have mortar teams or arty. If WWIII ever comes to Massachusetts, hopefully the National Guard will be with us to provide any support fire we need. Otherwise we would avoid getting into situations that would require a fire mission to begin with.

Personal weaponry has always been a bit of a sore point for us. The National Guard won't allow personally owned weapons on a military installation. This means that all of our favorite rifles don't get the play we'd like them to. This would be fine if the NG could produce enough weapons for our men. Only about 50% of the time do we have enough weapons/ammo/magazines for everybody. Plus, I can count on one hand the number of times over the past three years we got a M249, and you know which finger I'd be holding up. However, I've been told there are big changes coming that will, among other things, help us get the resources we need to perform our mission. The last time the NG "forgot" to bring us rifles there was allegedly hell to pay for it.

With a stroke of his pen, of course, the Adjutant General could let us use our own rifles on base. Who knows, this may happen some day. Occasionally we have training exercises off base, on private property. Such opportunities are as rare as hen's teeth (I've never done it), but allow our guys to use our own rifles. Last time this happened I'm told it was a blast. I'd love to screw that BFA onto my Garand and introduce the BLUFOR to some .30-06 blanks!

If we were activated for a mission tomorrow, you can bet that everybody who showed up would have a rifle in the trunk. If the NG was able to supply M16A2s for us, great. If not, out the rifles would come. Caliber and type would not be important at that point. Can you shoot it, and will it refrain from blowing up are the only concerns then. If all you had was a Mauser 8mm, then that's what you use. You just won't be able to provide very much cover fire, or be part of the assault element of a squad. My CO told me that my Garand is what he considers the bare minimum of sustainable firepower, at least as far as capacity and reload time. He also recommended I rebarrel it in .308 for obvious reasons, which I will probably do before too long (maybe after I fire off all those '06 blanks). If you were to use a caliber not in use by the military, you'd better be willing to hump all your own ammo and choose your shots carefully.

In reality, any mission we draw probably won't extend beyond a couple of weeks, and any skirmishes we get into probably won't involve anybody running out of ammo. How many terrorists could we possibly run into at one time? :D

July 15, 2003, 02:03 PM

As a Massachusetts resident, I've never heard of the state milita in modern context. Can you provide a URL, if there's a web site? If there's no site, where can one go to find out more?


July 15, 2003, 03:36 PM
i honestly have to plead ignorance on this. all i knew was the a bunch a fellas in montana got busted for being a milita. i didnt know there was actuall govt/state sanctioned/supported ones! seems to be a lot more prevalent on the west coast though....wonder why?

mindset that nobody without a badge or uniform should be allowed to carry a gun

im in the National Guard an i could not believe how many people who are Anti-gun! some who are outright Grabbers who would volunteer to go door to door to some who are ignorant to some for example my boss. loves to shoot skeet an rifle but could care less if they banned pistols tomorrow. his reasoning is they were made for one purpose. i gave up making my point because sometimes there is no reasoning. (most obvious would be after my pistols your shotgun is next)

now if a militia has SOPs an some guidelines wouldnt there be a weapon preference? i mean try to train all on some, some on all so you can use your buddies if you gotta?

July 15, 2003, 07:11 PM
Technically the M16A2 is our official rifle. A few of us know how to operate the M249 SAW. Fewer still know how to operate the M60. The chances of the NG giving us anything other than the 'A2 is slim to none anyway.

Unofficially we all know how to operate each other's AKs/H&Ks/AR-15s. In reality having rifle/ammunition parity isn't likely to cause a problem in the kind of engagements we might face. If we're running out of ammunition chances are there will be a free rifle lying nearby:o

In all likelyhood the NG will eventually come right out and forbid personally owned weapons for an active mission. But they'd better make good with the :cuss: ing 'A2s! Or like I said before, we'll be using our own rifles anyway.

July 15, 2003, 07:16 PM
if it was me id buy a rifle that used USGI M-16 mags an not worry but you cant make every body do that (budgets an stuff) but its good to know yall cross train! that is a bonus over active an national guard armies! granted most could muster through but still famiarizing is the key to the guerrila fighter

July 15, 2003, 10:38 PM
Tennessee has an official state guard also. Most of the ones I've seen are significantly overweight and don't appear as if they could mount an assault against anything other than a Krispy Kreme store. I'm sure that they are all dedicated to the missions they perform, and are more than willing to put their lives in jeopardy to protect the State of Tennessee. However, I have serious doubts as to their ability to effectively use fire and manuever techniques without a majority of them having heart attacks. I just hope that if they have medics, that said medics carry defibrilators and O2 tanks.


July 17, 2003, 01:54 AM

would you be happy if the state provided ALL your fellow millitia members with M-16A1 rifles? It would be a step down but would you agree to settle for factory fresh vietnam era type weapons if ALL of your guys could be armed?

July 17, 2003, 06:28 AM
During WWII there was a mission into enemy territory in the Phillipines to rescue a large group of Allied prisoners in a Japanese camp. The force was made up of American Rangers, another American unit and a band of Phillipine guerillas. The job of the guerillas was to watch the road and prevent the Japanese forces in the area from responding to the shootout at the camp. They accomplished their mission.

4v50 Gary
July 17, 2003, 11:39 AM
The other unit was the secretive "Alamo Scouts."

July 17, 2003, 02:33 PM
would you be happy if the state provided ALL your fellow millitia members with M-16A1 rifles? It would be a step down but would you agree to settle for factory fresh vietnam era type weapons if ALL of your guys could be armed?

Like I said earlier, if the Commonwealth failed to provide enough weapons for each of us, we would simply open a few car trunks and grab our own rifles.

There is a rumor that the state guard used to have 20 M14 rifles stockpiled until the Commonwealth "accidentally" sold them to a local police department. This rumor has never been substantiated but it implies that surplus weapons may be available in the future.

If we were issued M16A1 rifles, I think our reaction would be "gee, thanks." Then our armorer would spend several days converting them to semi/burst/full fire control, and/or swapping out the uppers to the A2 style where available. We'd also, at our own cost, purchase a few Colt LMG upper receivers or the Shrike belt-fed uppers. At least four of those A1 lowers would then become our SAWs.

We'd also try like hell to qualify for the LEO discount on several Beta-C magazines.

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