Military /SOF Themed Short – Operation Jericho

OK, here’s another short film, this time, one based on modern military operations, if a bit farfetched: a four-man special operations team is sent to clandestinely destroy a hydroelectric dam that has “been taken over by Russian rebels and turned into a chemical warfare plant.” Somebody probably knows what version of Call of Duty that scenario comes from.

The ten-minute short shows the strengths and weaknesses of Airsoft World as your ticket to an action film.

For a low-budget (no-budget?) short, this really isn’t bad. Sure, a lot of the shots and camera angles are very derivative, but you can probably say that about every big-budget actioner that’s going to hit the multiplex this summer, and what’s their excuse?

Some of the acting is pretty good. When Bravo Team is on the hill, talking to Alpha inside the dam — watch the facial expressions.

Militarily the whole thing is nonsense. Converting a hydroelectic dam to a chemical plant is not just bad science, it’s bad alchemy and pretty questionable magic. You’re about as likely to convert a pack mule to Pegasus. And a dam this size is not going to be destroyed by anything that four guys can pack in, unless they make a new SADM, which isn’t going to happen. Four guys is not what you send to blow up a dam; it’s what you send to surveil a dam, or a lot of other things. And if your primary means of attack is a covert, nonattributable demo attack, why ever would Plan B be a fighter-bomber strike? (Also, a small detail, but if a team is on a covert mission they’re not wearing American flags and other attributable patches and labels on their stuff).

The SOF TTPs are dated and weak (and if these guys actually shot as badly as they do, the Russians would have had their heads for trophies halfway through the show.

But the bottom line is that Operation Jericho is rapidly and well paced. There’s a few surprises and things keep moving. It’s ten minutes of fun, for free. Can you beat that?

17 thoughts on “Military /SOF Themed Short – Operation Jericho

  1. Torres

    You are right. Way far-fetched but this is special ops for the “Call of Duty” generation. Watching this, I wondered if they had DOE reactivate a SADM for them to use. Hell, that much concrete, they may have needed a MADM. No way a team is carrying enough demo to take it down.

    I laughed that the rescue plan included an airstrike on the primary target. The team would have better used just shining a laser designator on the dam, just in case it somehow became hard to see in broad daylight.

    I’ve wasted 10 minutes, worse ways, though…

  2. Kirk

    The average idi… Er… Person… Has no real comprehension of what scale is, in relation to what can be accomplished with conventional energetic materials, and just how hard it would be to even “scratch the paint” on a big target like a dam.

    The most laughable portrayal of the whole issue? “Force 10 from Navarone”. Loved the movie, but… For the love of God, without access to either a couple of freight trains worth of conventional explosives, or nuclear arms, that dam in the movie wasn’t going anywhere. And, they hit upon blowing up the dam as being a simpler, more indirect attack on the bridge they wanted to disable? WTF?

    Even when I was a kid watching that movie, I knew something was a bit “off” with that whole thing. Two rucksacks worth of explosives going off in an inspection tunnel? And, the guys who set them there survived the experience with just mild hearing loss? Yeah…

    Cracked me up, later in life, when one of my LTs turned out to have been one of those “uncritical thinker” types, who’d always just assumed that such things were possible. I had to actually walk him through just how much work and how much we’d need in terms of conventional stuff to take out even a small earth-filled damn, let alone a concrete type like Grand Coulee or one of the other biggies here in the US. He actually used Force 10 as a reference to bolster his case that such things were possible–He was thinking that the movie was based on real historical events.

    Ever wonder why I hold college education in such low regard? Yeah. There are reasons…

    1. LSWCHP

      On the other hand, if you show the average bloke 5 grains (roughly one hundredth of an ounce) of Alliant Unique smokeless powder and tell them that teeny pile of flakes will drive a 9mm projectile fast enough to go through two or three people, they’ll probably think you’re joking. And most folks have never heard a shot fired in real life, so if you try to explain just how loud a shot is (ie it’s not pop pop pop like on the news) they won’t believe that either.

      Unfortunately, I think a lot of those innocent people are going to be unwillingly exposed to the noise and effects of gunfire in the near future, particularly in places like France and Belgium.

      1. Kirk

        The Gods of the Copybook Headings are coming our way, again. The fools thought they’d reached the end of history, and it turns out that we did, only not the way they thought.

        It would be interesting to come back in a generation or two, and see just how all this worked out. With any luck, I’m not going to have to participate in denouement, but I can see the shape it’s probably going to take.

    2. KenWats

      I do remember being supremely disappointed at the itty bitty “WHUMP” my first live frag grenade made. On the flip side, cratering charges can do an awful lot if the soil conditions are right (nice MIssouri clay) vs. making a little mud-hole (boggy Ft. Lewis). But yeah, Hollywood always overestimates how effective explosives are. Force 10 would have been a boring movie if they blew the explosives and one little block of concrete breaks.

      Always makes me wonder about things like the shoe bomber. How much could have have really had? Would it have been enough to punch through the aluminum aircraft skin? Would that have been sufficient to down the plane? Aircraft are fussy about holes in their sides – particularly civilian airliners, but I’m still not convinced he could have done it, unless he was on top of a fuel tank.

      1. Kirk

        Timing and positioning are key to any explosive event. If the shoe bomber’s toy went off at max altitude, and close enough to the skin of the aircraft to do enough damage to trigger explosive decompression? Aircraft gone. Lower altitude, no damage to aircraft skin? Hmmm… Probably not.

        It’s not an exact science, but there is science to be looked at for it. I’m not sure we want to really be discussing detailed TTPs in the open, so I’ll leave it as an exercise for the reader.

        Part of the joy of doing demo at Fort Lewis is that all the demo ranges are on glacial moraine, which is to shaped charges as Chobham Armor is to HEAT rounds. And, when you do get down deep enough to put your charges in and have some effect, the amount of loose round rock in the soil, coupled with the type of soil and the moisture…? Yeah. You don’t get to see much in the way of textbook effects. A lot of the time, if you want to get the textbook look to your road crater, you wind up doubling or trebling the amount of demo in the hole. Most of the time I did blasting at Lewis, though, it was with improvised stuff, ‘cos the bastards were too cheap to buy us real cratering charges–We wound up using ANFO, a lot of the time. I think we only ever did one “textbook” relieved-face crater when I was there, back when 9th ID was still a thing, and they had money to train with, and that was kind of a fizzle, because the 40-lb cratering charges didn’t have enough “ooomph” to really move all that heavy-ass rock and dirt. On top of that, with the soil density, you have to really be very careful to thoroughly tamp the charges, or most of the energy is going to go straight up the borehole. Lots of little cosmetic TTP crap that never got passed on, with the turbulence of unit changeover, over the years.

      2. seans

        The show bomber had enough to take down the plane. The only reason that plane didn’t go down was a no smoking sign in the hotel and British weather.

  3. Haxo Angmark

    that’s 10 minutes of my life lost forever. Unless I can figure a way to live an extra 10 minutes. Maybe one less can of Dr. Pepper Cherry Cola? Nope. Not that

    1. Hognose Post author

      He’s running a risk that the ATF will reclassify this as “Any Other Weapon.” That would make it an NFA weapon, which is subject to taxation (only $5 to transfer, but $200/per unit to manufacture). ATF’s previous AOW decisions are so arbitrary as to be random, but include things like wallet guns, belt guns and cane guns.

      https://www.atf.gov/firearms/firearms-guide-identification-firearms-section-9

      I’ve learned that the ATF is a huge bureaucracy made up of lots of people with different viewpoints. But to get ahead as a SAC, ASAC, or in HQ you have to be anti-gun and aimed at licensees and regular owners. If you want to bust violent criminals, you’re terminal at GS-13 or -14.

  4. Boat Guy

    Much as I deplore the usual dross produced by the soegennant “History Channel” their “Lived to Tell” series seems to show some promise. The account of the Haditha Dam op wasn’t bad.

  5. Hillbilly

    Speaking of Ft Lewis and demo ranges. We were out at Yakima and being unimpressed by the the effect of the first cratering charge we decided to ring main 11 (or 13) of them together after placing them as tightly together as possible which made a pretty decent hole.
    With all the other stuff tied into the ring main I believe we were just a little mjk over the max charge weight for that range. Enough people called range control that they thought we probably were too. Good times.

    1. Kirk

      Meh. Yakima. Who cares?

      The weight restrictions up there really only came into play if a.) you were close to the firing center boundary, b.) blew up something of cultural significance when you did it, or c.) set off something in the kiloton range in the Central Corridor. Of course, there were also the problems with the range critters, when they used to lease it out for grazing, but when the aviation bubbas were able to get away with dumping most of an AH-1 load of 20mm into a sheepherder’s shack, well… The whole thing was kinda the wild west. I think it’s changed a lot, since the ’80s, but even when we were working the Northern Expansion Area back during the late 1990s, the range limits were more a “suggestion”, than anything else.

  6. John Distai

    Umm, I’m curious. How many of you guys with real world experience have had to fight guys in ski masks? It seems like the bad guys on TV and in movies always have ski masks. Maybe the bad guy’s faces get colder than the good guys?….I dunno.

  7. Aesop

    I’ve worked on far worse crap for far more budget.
    Even 10 years ago, that was a >$50K featurette.
    Now, for <$3K and a few guys for a weekend, anyone can be Paramount.
    HD camera, laptop, NLE editing software. Boom: you're a studio.

    And frankly, screw the realism details (decades of watching certified iconic classic features talking there), these guys had STORY, with a beginning, a middle, and an end, and every shot moved the plot from opening to credits. Which is more than 50% of actual produced films have done in any year since 1910, and even more so since 1990.

    Get these guys a real script and a budget, and they'll run laps around the @$$hole 20-something producers in Hollywood who think they can make movies.

    BTW, anyone interested should actually read Alistair MacLean’s Force 10 From Navarone.
    What Hollywood did to that book should be criminal, but MacLean’s check cleared just fine.

    Nice article. Makes me want to get busy doing my own.

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