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Old 03-05-2010, 10:32 PM
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Default Convoy's!!!

As I skimmed through some of the older posts I found one regarding transportation and the need for trains to move large amount of materials or people. So I wondered, if I needed to move say 10 semi-trailers worth of materials 400 miles over a major interstate, what security precautions would I need?

I say move the shipments randomly, gun trucks, ultralights flying ahead as scouts mounted on the trailers using the moving truck as a launch platform and some sort of bulldozer lead truck to clear roadblocks.

A major convoy of 20+ large, heavy vehicles with major firepower and air support would be hard to stop, assuming it was a bull rush, where defenders would clear the path as the transports run full bore regardless, mad max style.

Or would running rail tracks over the interstate be better? Seems railroad cars are easier to stop then a mobile convoy...
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Old 03-05-2010, 11:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kalos72 View Post
As I skimmed through some of the older posts I found one regarding transportation and the need for trains to move large amount of materials or people. So I wondered, if I needed to move say 10 semi-trailers worth of materials 400 miles over a major interstate, what security precautions would I need?

I say move the shipments randomly, gun trucks, ultralights flying ahead as scouts mounted on the trailers using the moving truck as a launch platform and some sort of bulldozer lead truck to clear roadblocks.

A major convoy of 20+ large, heavy vehicles with major firepower and air support would be hard to stop, assuming it was a bull rush, where defenders would clear the path as the transports run full bore regardless, mad max style.

Or would running rail tracks over the interstate be better? Seems railroad cars are easier to stop then a mobile convoy...
Depends on where you need to go and what resources are available. For example, if you have no locomotive you won't be pulling much on the railroads, and if the tracks are destroyed (or the highway bridge) you can't get through. Laying track is a major effort, as is clearing channels and dredging a river, and repairing damaged roads and bridges.

A couple factors get traded off. Security, flexibility, available resources (transport equipment, fuel, personnel, weapons, ultralights, etc), ability to get where you need to go. If you're trying to conserve fuel waterborne is the way to go - one river barge carries 1500 tons and a normal tow is 12 barges. Next most efficient is rail, with 100 tons per car and trains up to about 175 cars. Trucks have the most flexibility in route, but the lowest capacity - 25 tons, and use the most fuel. (A gallon of diesel will move one ton 59 miles by truck, 202 miles by train and 514 miles by barge).

As to what works best will differ for any given situation on the mix of the factors above. If there are obstacles in the way, even a heavily armed convoy - be it road, rail or river - can be forced to stop and overwhelmed... see Jessica Lynch, 2003.

The great thing about being GM is that you can write the story any way you want to, and explain afterwords...
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Old 03-05-2010, 11:38 PM
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Some interesting thoughts on convoys.
http://www.globalsecurity.org/milita...11-43/c5s2.htm

Looking for field manuals is always a good idea because the military has prepared for many situations.

I would say the most important element is Intelligence, followed by speed.

I am not sure about running full bore as roadblocks could lead to all kinds of nasty surprises (concrete pillars, Pits, IEDs, etc). I think you have to clear them as quickly as you can with engineers.

A sitting convoy is in much more jeopardy so I would hope you would see the roadblocks early with an air asset, then send in a suppression team, then engineers.

400 miles will be tough to go in one day IMO so that leads to either traveling at night or setting up a camp overnight, of which I would prefer neither . I would only do the latter if you have rigorously scouted the area around a potential overnight base.

In regards to laying rail over highways, that is an interesting but IMO WAY too difficult prospect unless it is a very short distance to connect two existing rail lines (perhaps bypassing damage).

You can find rail lines on Google Maps (gray/white lines) but the are most visible at the top four highest zoom levels. Rail is far more efficient if that is an option.

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Old 03-05-2010, 11:38 PM
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Chico is right on the money about trade-offs. Instead of figuring out the ideal approach in a vacuum, figure out what you actually have in hand and go from there. Even the well-funded US Army has limits, as the succession of Operations Iraqi Freedom have shown.

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Old 03-05-2010, 11:39 PM
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(A gallon of diesel will move one ton 59 miles by truck, 202 miles by train and 514 miles by barge).
I was literally reaching for my "How to Make War" for those type of numbers, when I saw you beat me to it.
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Old 03-06-2010, 01:40 AM
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Multiple runs or one across a well traveled route is another matter...

But if its a one time move, I figure you'd sail right through without any real opposition/threats (or any that can respond quick enough). There isn't going to be anyone sitting out in an ambush on am interstate waiting with the mere hope that (some day) somebody decides to send a convoy trucking on by. Obstacles, mostly unintentional ones would be probably the only hassle.
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Old 03-06-2010, 03:54 AM
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But if its a one time move, I figure you'd sail right through without any real opposition/threats (or any that can respond quick enough). There isn't going to be anyone sitting out in an ambush on am interstate waiting with the mere hope that (some day) somebody decides to send a convoy trucking on by. Obstacles, mostly unintentional ones would be probably the only hassle.
This is pretty much it.

For security, you'd probably want something like a platoon or two of soldiers. One platoon should be enough, really. You'd want either scouts on motorbikes or horseback taking point and watching the flanks, ultralights would be hard to manage from a logistics pov. The soldiers doing the actually guarding would ride either in trucks, hummvees, APC's or whatever you can manage. Have a civilian wrecker along to clear the road and use the guards for manpower when needed.

Anything beyond that would be wasteful, unless its a genuine priority cargo you can't lose.
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Old 03-06-2010, 03:58 AM
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If you don't have usable locomotives, you can always convert trucks to run on rails. They can haul a much better load that way than if towing a trailer on the road.
Naturally you'll have to check to see if the rails are still usable and that "might" tip off anyone watching (if they're observant enough and the recce crew are clumsy enough)
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Old 03-06-2010, 04:33 AM
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If you don't have usable locomotives, you can always convert trucks to run on rails. They can haul a much better load that way than if towing a trailer on the road.
Naturally you'll have to check to see if the rails are still usable and that "might" tip off anyone watching (if they're observant enough and the recce crew are clumsy enough)
We've talked about this before. Here in Australia I've seen many Land Cruisers over the years that have been fitted with hydraulically activated front and rear rail rolling stock.
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Old 03-06-2010, 06:15 AM
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Road-rail_vehicle
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Old 03-06-2010, 06:30 AM
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Chico is right about barge/rail/road being the order of effeciency of course. But I mean from a security stand point if I needed to make multiple runs over that 400 miles stretch, with a high priority load of say diesel or crude oil from far western PA to NYC.

I was thinking rail but the rail lines run so far out of the way that 400 miles turn into like 600miles sometimes. Although they are a more efficient mode of transport, they are easier to track since there is only one route to take.

1 - I was thinking maybe taking different tracks, never using the same twice in a row. Although that would mean I need to maintain several different lines of track.

2 - Having a lead security team to scout ahead of for obstructions. Perhaps an ultralight, or just the lead team even with a FLIR pod or personal infra-red goggles or spotlight to scout for ambushes at night.

3 - The biggest concern I think is the sheer masses of civilians in the area I would be passing through. All someone needs to do is say or think there is food on the train and that things gonna get swamped.
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Old 03-06-2010, 09:00 AM
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[QUOTE][ say move the shipments randomly, gun trucks, ultralights flying ahead as scouts mounted on the trailers using the moving truck as a launch platform and some sort of bulldozer lead truck to clear roadblocks.
/QUOTE]

The use if ultralight might be kinda hard given the need for suitable take off and landing zones., not to meation you have to train personel to fly it and need suport staff for it in convoy

I think it's easier to have a recon element in each convoy, say a two or three man team on motorcycles or on foot, they scout head and radio back.

I think a TW 2000 convoy would like this

Recon Team
Forward Security Element
Frist Packet (cargo)
Second Packet (Personel)
Command Element
Security (QRF)
Fire Support Element
Thrid Packet (cargo)
Fourth Packet (Recovery)
Rear Security Element
Lay Back Patrol (Ensures the convoy is not being shadowed)

As for vehicles given the nature of TW2000 you can see an type, I could commanders using anything with wheels, for recon team a ford Ford Ranger would attract alot less attention than say Military Hummvee or Jeep

NOTE TO ALL: Current TTP's on convoy operations should not be discussed in this thread (You never know who reads this stuff) Lets keep the troops safe

I wonder if the Taliban play TW2000, things that make you say hmmmm
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Old 03-06-2010, 05:56 PM
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So your thinking a truck convoy would be easier to defend/secure then? The organization you posted is pretty nice...
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Old 03-06-2010, 09:14 PM
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I am a locomotive engineer, and while my employer (who pays me handsomely) would not be fond of me to discuss operational matters in great detail, I do feel compelled to point out a few things.

Converting road to rail, as in Interstate highway, would be very, very, VERY time and labor-intensive. The rails are clipped to concrete ties (in more modern times) or spiked into wooden ties (old-school)...but you need to have a solid foundation for the ties. One would have to dig a seven-foot wide trench about a foot-and-a-half deep in the road in question, emplace the ties, affix the rails, then fill in the gaps with rock ballast to reduce lateral movement. It may be possible to just put the ties atop the concrete road, affix the rails, then pour ballast (and you would need much more ballast at that point), but even then there would be too much "give" to it and, much like the stories of synchronized marching military formations creating reverberations through a bridge and collapsing it, too much lateral motion would tear your new railroad apart at any kind of speed.

And if you plan to move a train at track speed, you need banked curves; much more steeply than a typical Interstate curve is banked. I don't know exactly how steep (certainly not NASCAR-curve steep...), but when we're stopped on tightly-banked curves, engine vibration will gently nudge your 64-ounce Big Gulp right off the engineer's control stand if you're not paying attention.

The best bet would be to use existing rail...and move very, very slowly. There are many areas in the U.S. where old rail exists, and have federally-mandated 10 MPH speed restrictions (as in, do-not-exceed or you'll be in the dirt...).
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Old 03-06-2010, 09:21 PM
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Additionally, a modern diesel locomotive weighs a tad over 200 tons, and there are typically two or three locos for each train. Each has anywhere between 4000-4500 HP (some newer ones are in the 5000 range). An empty coal train of some 110 cars is about 3,000 tons including locos, and a loaded coal train is 17-19,000 tons. Manifest trains (mixed boxcars, covered hoppers, gondolas, tank cars, etc) are generally 5-10,000 tons. Intermodal trains (the long cargo containers, sometimes stacked atop each other, hence double-stacks) are generally 4-8,000 tons.

A loaded coal train takes about 75 gallons of diesel to get up to 50 MPH from a dead stop, and that process takes about 10-15 minutes. There are eight throttle settings; in idle a locomotive burns 3 gallons of diesel per hour. Typical fuel consumption rates are 12 gallons per hour in the lowest throttle setting, ranging up to 210 gallons per hour in full-throttle. A locomotive's fuel tank holds about 4,000 gallons. And they are designed to run 24/7.
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Old 03-06-2010, 09:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sic1701 View Post
I am a locomotive engineer, and while my employer (who pays me handsomely) would not be fond of me to discuss operational matters in great detail, I do feel compelled to point out a few things.
Thanks for posting sic1701. We've had many train-themed discussions here and at the old boards over the years. I wish we'd had you around back then to answer questions! If you have the time and the interest, feel free to maybe look through the thread list and the archives and bump any old train-related threads that perk your interest. Specialist knowledge is like gold around here, IMHO.
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Old 03-06-2010, 09:30 PM
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Additionally, a modern diesel locomotive weighs a tad over 200 tons, and there are typically two or three locos for each train. Each has anywhere between 4000-4500 HP (some newer ones are in the 5000 range). An empty coal train of some 110 cars is about 3,000 tons including locos, and a loaded coal train is 17-19,000 tons. Manifest trains (mixed boxcars, covered hoppers, gondolas, tank cars, etc) are generally 5-10,000 tons. Intermodal trains (the long cargo containers, sometimes stacked atop each other, hence double-stacks) are generally 4-8,000 tons.
No doubt you would have seen the trains we have here in Western Australia for moving iron ore from the mines to the coast? Multiple big locomotives per train, and each train stretches literally for several kilometres. They don't stop in a great hurry as they carry thousands and thousands of tonnes of ore.
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Old 03-06-2010, 09:38 PM
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So if you're running at max power and doing 50 MPH, your fuel consumption will be just over 4 gallons of diesel per mile. Per locomotive.

I hope what you have in the convoy is important enough for that fuel outlay.

Regarding the best way to scout ahead, using a "hyrail" vehicle (a truck with small bogey wheels that lower from the bumpers to keep the truck on the track, while the rubber wheels contact the track and provide traction) would be the best bet. Run the train at 10-20 MPH, with the hyrail some 5 miles ahead to monitor track conditions, line improperly-lined switches, check clearances, etc, and radio progress back to the lead unit while 4x4s roam parallel to the tracks to provide perimeter security (beware that railcars are 50-60 feet long on average, so if you have a sizable train you may have plenty of room between your rovers for ambushers to mess things up).

Also, modern locomotives are very sophisticated and very dependent upon computers and electric apparatus to run. I question whether or not they could even run at all after EMP. The U.S. rail system may then be relegated to steam operations only.

I didn't work during Y2K, but I did see some paperwork in an archive that crew instructions were to stop the train by ten minutes to midnight on 12-31-99 and await the go-ahead from the dispatchers, just in case switches malfunctioned (a very much bad thing when traveling over them at speed) or onboard computers dumped. Everything worked without hitch, I am told, but I seriously doubt that EMP would be that forgiving. Maybe the special EMP-resistant computer chips from one of the early T2K modules could be used to get an EMP-damaged locomotive up and running; that's an idea for a story or two. Or, perhaps, the small electric locos used in mines.

And finally, an empty railcar is about 25-30 tons. A hyrail vehicle, even a sturdily-built one, isn't going to move one easily or quickly, and not without great power consumption. So the idea of rigging up a Kenilworth as a hyrailer and pulling a coal train isn't going to cut it. You MIGHT move a single empty car, IF you can obtain enough traction (the bogey wheels aren't powered). And let's see you stop, once you get moving. I've seen backhoes affix a cable to a car's coupler and gingerly pull it into place, but that, too, is very resource-intensive.

Hope this helps.
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Old 03-06-2010, 09:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Targan View Post
If you have the time and the interest, feel free to maybe look through the thread list and the archives and bump any old train-related threads that perk your interest. Specialist knowledge is like gold around here, IMHO.

I added the tag "trains" to this thread. (It is near the bottom)
You can click on that to see a few other threads I have tagged with "trains".
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Old 03-06-2010, 09:46 PM
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Targan, I've seen pictures of those goliath trains...how do they keep from getting knuckles? (i.e. broken couplers) Is it all flatland there? Or do they get up to speed and just idle from there?

If you want to find the train-related threads and give 'em a little bump, I'll see what I can do in terms of correcting or updating or expanding. Everything I've said tonight, and will say in this open forum, can be found on the Internet with a little looking either in open literature or on the umpteen thousand railfan sites (we call them "foamers", but we love 'em just like the Air Force pukes love the fans taking pictures from lawn chairs at the ends of runways; it's like our own papparazi...). Regarding certain operational matters, it isn't so much that they're classified top-secret like SIOP but that we can get into serious trouble if we discuss them, as well as jeopardize the ability of my employer to do their thing that pays my mortgage...and keeps my electricity going so I can get on the Juhlin site.
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Old 03-06-2010, 09:56 PM
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Quote:
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Targan, I've seen pictures of those goliath trains...how do they keep from getting knuckles? (i.e. broken couplers) Is it all flatland there? Or do they get up to speed and just idle from there?
Australia in general is a very flat continent. It sits in the middle of its own tectonic plate and hasn't had any volcanic activity of any note for billions of years so erosion has worn away most of the tall terrain features. I guess that is why Australia has such a huge mining industry - most of the work of getting down through the sedimentary layers to the goodies has already been done for us by erosion.

In the Pilbara region of Western Australia where most of the iron ore mining is done there are a few mountain ranges (in name only, really they are more like hills) but they mostly aren't in the way and where they are in the way the rail lines rarely go over them, they mostly travel through cuts blasted through the ridges.
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Old 03-07-2010, 09:10 AM
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Great info Sic1701.

Do you have any opinions of the Going Home module you'd care to share? As Targan said, specialist info is gold here.
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Old 03-07-2010, 11:38 AM
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It should be noted that the US Army maintains troops speically trained to contduct Railroad operations, see attached document, it is my understanding that one unit would deploy to Europe, while the other would running operations stateside, Canadian Army also created a unit for the Canadian Army in TW 2000, I'll posted it when I find it
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File Type: doc Railroad Intro.doc (152.5 KB, 120 views)
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Old 03-07-2010, 12:12 PM
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It should be noted that the US Army maintains troops speically trained to contduct Railroad operations, see attached document, it is my understanding that one unit would deploy to Europe, while the other would running operations stateside, Canadian Army also created a unit for the Canadian Army in TW 2000, I'll posted it when I find it
So did the British Army. 79 Railway Squadron is now part of the Royal Logistics Corps' 17 Port and Maritime Regiment is based at Marchwood in Hampshire. During the Cold War 79 Squadron was based at Moenchengladbach in West Germany.

There's also a Territorial Army Squadron, 275 Railway Squadron, RLC.
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Old 03-07-2010, 03:52 PM
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I have "Going Home", but haven't checked it out that thoroughly. I will review it, though, and vet it.
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Old 03-07-2010, 09:10 PM
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As someone who knows some foamers (not that there's anything wrong with that! Nor that I'm admitting to every, you know, sat around with a camera waiting for a train, or anything like that... ignore the HO layout in my basement... ), I enjoyed the heck out of the "Going home" module.

I did make the PCs work very hard at scouting ahead, and threw lots of types of hazards in their path.
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Old 03-08-2010, 01:42 PM
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OK. I'll dissent. I think you want to move the trucks very slowly, probably about walking speed. Why? so you don't outrun your on foot security detail. Unless you have infantry in front and on the flanks clearing your way one MG position will ruin your entire convoy, especially if you're going 100kph.

Somebody lights up the second or third truck with several flanking automatic weapons. Chances are it jack knifes, blocking the road and maybe taking out several other trucks. Where are you then? I think you're better off engaging those positions with infantry before the trucks are even in range. Have at least a squad up front 200-300m in front of the trucks, one on each side of the road if you can spare it and another squad on either side of the road, 100-200m away from the road. Have a final squad trailing the convoy by about 200m. If you can get a couple of hummers with MGs or ALGs to run to the aid of a squad that encounters resistence, even better. You'll need 2-3x this amount of troops to rotate squads. Say 1/3 of the time on foot, 1/3 on guard in the trucks and 1/3 at rest. Having two groups of ~10 men on horseback would also be excellent. One could ride several miles in front for long distance scouting or patrol neighboring roads and/or towns to get intel. You can travel at night if you like, but probably camping is a better option. I'd say you can make 20-30 miles a day. Now, this of course assumes that you have a company of infantry or better for your convoy, but finding them seems easier than laying 400 miles of rail in hostile terrain.
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Old 03-09-2010, 03:45 AM
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Quote:
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OK. I'll dissent. I think you want to move the trucks very slowly, probably about walking speed. Why? so you don't outrun your on foot security detail. Unless you have infantry in front and on the flanks clearing your way one MG position will ruin your entire convoy, especially if you're going 100kph.
If you try driving a truck at walking speed for a day, you end up using a lot more fuel than driving it at a reasonable speed plus there's a decent chance of engine failure over a few days.

Better to scout ahead and do some basic assumptions: if your convoy is large enough and moves fast enough, chances are that you'll outrun most bandits because they dont have a fast enough response time to take a shot at you.
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Old 03-09-2010, 08:35 PM
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Agreed. I believe most maurauders would determine that a convoy moving slowly is just dangling themselves out as bait, hoping a marauder unit will try something so they can unveil some extreme firepower and take them out.

If it looks too good to be true, it usually is.
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Old 03-15-2010, 10:48 AM
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I just found this on the MP side of the Forum it's a PDF document on the Cadilac-Gage Ranger or Peacekeeper to the USAF.

The Cadillac-Gage Ranger (known as the Peacekeeper with the USAF) was a (4 × 4) APC developed as a private venture to meet an Air Force equirement for a low-cost armored vehicle capable of transporting personnel at a high road speed while still retaining at least some off-road capability. The first Peacekeeper was delivered in April of 1980. By early 1981, 560 vehicles had been ordered by the US Air Force and Navy (most of the Navy vehicles being operated by USMC personnel). By 1994, 708 Ranger (Peacekeeper) APCs had been built for US forces with 20+ vehicles being transferred to Indonesia. In 1996, some of remaining US Navy/USMC Rangers were deployed to Bosnia for operations with (IFOR). By the late 1990s nearly all Peacekeepers-Rangers had been replaced.

I think these would excellent convoy vehicle and with about 560 in CONUS I think quite a few many of them along USAF and USN personel would assinged to convoy duty.
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