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Old 11-08-2014, 08:51 AM   #31
sir_pudding
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Default Re: [MA] Silent Sentry Removal

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Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
The recruitment process is very selective. Apparently there are around 25,000 applicants each year for 200-300 places.
Although some of them apparently join the Indian Gurkha regiments instead, I think. Even so, they are units with the lowest ratio of soldiers to applicants in the world and they start very specific training at a very young age. Gurkhas are kind of ridiculous.
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Old 11-08-2014, 09:17 AM   #32
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Default Re: [MA] Silent Sentry Removal

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Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
The recruitment process is very selective. Apparently there are around 25,000 applicants each year for 200-300 places.
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Originally Posted by sir_pudding View Post
Although some of them apparently join the Indian Gurkha regiments instead, I think. Even so, they are units with the lowest ratio of soldiers to applicants in the world and they start very specific training at a very young age. Gurkhas are kind of ridiculous.
There is a larger context here though. Entry into a Gukha regiment if you are a young man in Nepal tends to end with a significantly better standard of living than other likely careers in Nepal open to them might offer. So a lot go for selection for pretty prosaic reason. There is also a higher than usual social cache involved as well. So recruitment application rates are high (especially when you consider the size of the population they draw from), than for say western armed forces. Of course all this means that selection can be all the more choosy, and applicants know what they are looking for even if the majority wouldn't meet the requirements and pass even if there wasn't such fierce competition.

Which is as you say why they start the specific selection process quite young (and I gather it actually starts informally even younger).
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Old 11-08-2014, 09:22 AM   #33
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Default Re: [MA] Silent Sentry Removal

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Originally Posted by sir_pudding View Post
Gurkhas are kind of ridiculous.
I very much enjoyed playing one as a Madness Dossier commando.

"All sorts of weird inhuman monsters to kill? Fine!"

"You need a pseudonym." OK, look through the list of Gurkha VC winners and pick a first and a last name that go together. If some opponent is knowledgeable enough to figure it out (pretty unlikely), that's OK.

Utterly hardcore, in that jokingly understated way they have.
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Old 11-08-2014, 10:18 AM   #34
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Default Re: [MA] Silent Sentry Removal

In a cinematic game, sentry removal could be done with arrows; a headshot might kill or knock out instantly, while a neck or vitals shot could simultaneously silence and incapacitate a foe, or a two man team could have one member snipe with arrows and another move in for the kill while the enemy is surprised and in shock. The arrow could also be poisoned; why the hell not?

Likewise, poisoned darts from a blowgun, airgun, spring gun or the like could work in a cinematic game. All these methods would be silent or nearly silent; no silencer needed.

Realistically I don't think any spec ops guys seriously train in archery, except maybe as a hobby, and it would be easy to miss someone's head with an arrow in the dark at 50 yards. Arrows wouldn't necessarily prevent someone from screaming, using the radio, or punching an alarm button - even with a head, neck, or lung shot - and any dart that can fly more than a few feet would probably be noticed, and no poison would work fast enough to kill or incapacitate the guard before he could react.

Sneaking up on someone in a noisy environment is trivial if they're not taking care to watch all approach paths, but presumably good sentries know to do this; maybe they can use the better of Per or Soldier to notice infiltrators using Stealth?

It seems the hardest part for would-be ninjas isn't reaching the target or killing him quietly, but keeping him from making more noise than the kill attempt; you have to kill him in a way that keeps him from calling for help or screaming, keeps him from thrashing around too much, keeps him from hitting any big red buttons, keeps him from sending a radio signal, and keeps him from making a noisy thud as he falls. Of course if you're just moving fast and shooting people on the way in then it's not an issue if the guards make a little noise when they die (because you're already making that much noise anyway) and shooting is a much safer, easier, and more effective way to attack people than futzing around with extreme levels of Stealth and grapple/stab/stab/stab attempts.

Also, there's a question of deniability and intel here. The more exotic your tools and tactics, the more obvious it is that you're working for someone with a lot of money and access and the ability to train ninjas, and it may even be obvious who you're working for. But if you just shoot your way in, using relatively common weapons and ammo, it's not obvious who you were and you might have been working for almost anybody. Alternately, false flagging is possible here, if you have the ability to adopt the tools and methods of the guys you want to frame.
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Old 11-08-2014, 10:55 AM   #35
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Default Re: [MA] Silent Sentry Removal

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Originally Posted by Xplo View Post
In a cinematic game, sentry removal could be done with arrows.
It has its appeal. I did the sums a few weeks ago. A bow is audible on a Hearing roll at a range of 4 yards (HT158) and silenceable for -2 to Hearing with bowstring silencers (HT201). A scope for +2 to Acc is feasible (HT201). A Fine bow gives +20% range and Fine arrows give +1 damage. A Balanced bow has +1 Acc, and Balanced arrows give +1 to skill. A Reflex Bow with all these modifiers at ST13 is:

Dmg 1d+4 imp, Acc 4+2, 1/2D 312.

With skill 14 or 15, this is a guaranteed major wound on any plausible unarmoured man on a torso hit. But it doesn't silence him.

I was thinking about this for a WWII campaign. In that war, the OSS made rubber-powered crossbows for quiet shooting: it's an easier skill than Bow, and you might hope for a default from Guns, although GURPS doesn't give it. I recently picked up a book about OSS weapons, which gave bolt weights and velocities for both their model of crossbow. With The Deadly Spring, one can work out damage, and both models do 1d imp, which doesn't give confidence of a takeout.
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It seems the hardest part for would-be ninjas isn't reaching the target or killing him quietly, but keeping him from making more noise than the kill attempt
That is indeed the problem.
Quote:
Also, there's a question of deniability and intel here.
It depends on the conflict. Modern US forces are keen on deniability, because PR is an important part of their modern methods.

If you're taking part in open warfare, there are several possible cases. You may need to hide the fact that there was any kind of operation, in which case harming sentries is a bad idea. Or you may be just trying to hide the fact that anything is going on until the ammo dump blows up, in which case removing sentries is an OK idea if you do it reliably it, but sneaking past them may be better, if your chances of that are good.

Recently in the WWII campaign, we needed some charts of minefields, which were in the captain's safe of a destroyer in harbour. We had no way to copy them, and their removal would be noticed the next day So the easiest solution was to sneak in, remove them, and then sink the ship via a fire in a magazine; if the safe survives the explosions, it will be probably be weeks before they find it and look inside.
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Old 11-08-2014, 11:15 AM   #36
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Default Re: [MA] Silent Sentry Removal

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Yeah, but people are somewhat heavy and hard to carry around...
Just so.

It ought to say weapons. And note that it is fairly uncommon for even special operators to carry weapons that are optimised for lowest sound signature, as that usually means sacrificing performance in a real firefight.

Sentry removal is very much an esoteric speciality, even among commandos.
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Old 11-08-2014, 12:07 PM   #37
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Default Re: [MA] Silent Sentry Removal

Sentry removal has happened in the real world, but like many other swashbuckling tricks that WWII commandos were fond of, it is much, much rarer now.

Part of it is that we no longer have hundreds of thousands of soldiers in lines of battle facing each other, with nightly raids on the enemy lines. Running the numbers, it is very probable that both WWI and WWII each had an order of magnitude (or more) more commando raids on static posts patrolled by regular soldiers than the half-century since they ended.

Another part is that with new technology, it is become increasingly unlikely that even a perfectly successful use of Stealth + combat skills to disable a sentry will actually allow a team to infiltrate what he is guarding. It is much easier now to hide static sentries with NVGs where they see other guards, use video cameras to the same end, have sentries periodically check-in with an all-clear sign and so on.

In fact, against any kind of competent opposition, it is very dangerous to assume that stealthy infiltration will even be possible. If at all practicable, an assault with overwhelming force is simply a better choice, as it doesn't rely on superior individual skill or even luck as much. If you have the men and technology, just go in with speed and firepower and you won't have to take the same kind of risks as with sentry removal.

Because it is a very risky thing to do. Even if you have reasonable confidence that the Stealth skill of your operator will be superior to the Per or Observation of any sentries*, you also have to be confident that your Observation skill is so much better than the Tactics of the defending commander that you will spot all defenders whose field of view the stealthy operator has to cross.

And it is a lonely and terrifying job to crawl over the no-man's land, syncronising your movements with the glances of your target, while hoping to hell that your intel is good enough so that no one is drawing a bead on your back as you do so.

Miss one hidden guard or even just a concealed camera, and you can have an operator as far as he can get up the proverbial creek without a paddle as the alarm is raised by means of an aimed burst of fire at him as he moves into position behind the targeted guard. Even if no one manages that, just the lights going on and more guards coming running while he is forward of any support can be scary enough.

Even with ultra-competent characters in games set in the real world with magic, 500-600 points of facing the Unknown and living, the PCs generally shy away from that kind of stuff. Observation and Stealth at 18+ might allow them to move into position and a grappling skill and knife skill at 16+ are probably enough to successfully perform one of the sentry removal techniques from Fairbairn Close Combat Systems, but no amount of awesomeness on their part can really insure against such things as hidden cameras, sensors or just really good radio discpline on the part of the defenders.

By contrast, awesome PCs in lower tech settings do it all the time, because the risk is just not the same. If they get detected while moving into position, guards will have to charge into position and then their back-up can do them same. And being caught with a knife in your hand is not as terrible against a sword that the opponent still has to draw as it is against an assault rifle in his hands.

*Which really requires Stealth 15+ and can go up to Stealth 18+ if you think that any of the sentries might be very competent.
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Old 11-08-2014, 12:34 PM   #38
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Default Re: [MA] Silent Sentry Removal

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Originally Posted by Xplo View Post
It seems the hardest part for would-be ninjas isn't reaching the target or killing him quietly, but keeping him from making more noise than the kill attempt; you have to kill him in a way that keeps him from calling for help or screaming, keeps him from thrashing around too much, keeps him from hitting any big red buttons, keeps him from sending a radio signal, and keeps him from making a noisy thud as he falls.
This seems like an even bigger reason for the Choke Hold. It handles screaming (FCCB says that Choke Hold includes holding the mouth shut for free, which is a bonus on top of not letting air through the throat), reduces the amplitude of thrashing to Reach C or 1 at most, makes hitting red buttons pretty hard (Mental Stun for -4, Grapple for another -4), probably does the same or better with radios (depending on whether it is voice or button), and prevents a thud of a heavy body falling to the ground.

Choke Hold is also kinda cool that with just Judo 10 and nothing else, you can reach a roll against 16 with All-Out Attack and Telegraphic Attack. Of course, having good ST / Lifting ST is important for choking fast, but hey, at least you can go AoA (Strong) or Mighty Blows (err, chokes) will provide +2 to ST, on top of the base +3 from a Choke Hold.
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Old 11-08-2014, 12:42 PM   #39
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Default Re: [MA] Silent Sentry Removal

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Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
Sentry removal has happened in the real world, but like many other swashbuckling tricks that WWII commandos were fond of, it is much, much rarer now.
That is in fact a very interesting observation that I didn't pay attention to. (I'm preparing to play at TL6, but I'm interested in discussion as applicable to all TLs, if it comes up.)
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Old 11-08-2014, 01:34 PM   #40
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Default Re: [MA] Silent Sentry Removal

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Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
Sentry removal has happened in the real world, but like many other swashbuckling tricks that WWII commandos were fond of, it is much, much rarer now.

Part of it is that we no longer have hundreds of thousands of soldiers in lines of battle facing each other, with nightly raids on the enemy lines. Running the numbers, it is very probable that both WWI and WWII each had an order of magnitude (or more) more commando raids on static posts patrolled by regular soldiers than the half-century since they ended.

Another part is that with new technology, it is become increasingly unlikely that even a perfectly successful use of Stealth + combat skills to disable a sentry will actually allow a team to infiltrate what he is guarding. It is much easier now to hide static sentries with NVGs where they see other guards, use video cameras to the same end, have sentries periodically check-in with an all-clear sign and so on.

In fact, against any kind of competent opposition, it is very dangerous to assume that stealthy infiltration will even be possible.
There do remain some incompetent oppositions: insurgent and terrorist forces, pirates etc. with grab-bag equipment, improvised doctrine and organisation, and theatrical training. No, they are not as numerous as the armies of the Axis, and neither are the specialists trained to deal with them. The skills of silent sentry removal are doubtless rare now as you say, but I imagine that they have their place in special hostage rescue.
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