Monday, April 21, 2008

The Modern Militia: Vehicles

After a long delay, I present vehicles of the Modern Militia.

The Militia doesn't have to be traditional infantry or even ground units at all. With the universal availability of many types of vehicles, various types of mechanized units become a reality. From scouting and logistical vehicles (the most likely) to even surplus LAV's, air, and watercraft, all are available to the Modern Militiaman. As per this series's SOP, the focus is going to mostly be on what the military uses and their civilian counterparts.

Scout vehicles:

Small, fast vehicles of numerous types are widely available and relatively inexpensive. For rural and urban use, these can be put to good use for Scouting, individual movement, messenger services, and light logistics.


From dirt bikes for rough terrain to Mopeds and Scooters for Urban use, two wheeled vehicles have a well established history of military use. Current military issue for the US Marine Corps is the KLR 250-D8. Basically a souped-up KLR 250 by Kawasaki.


Three, Four, and Six wheeled ATV's are slower than bikes but are more stable and can carry more gear. The MV800 from Polaris and the M-GATOR from John Deere are current military issue. Civilian models of these two plus surplus military are available.

"Green" Transportation:

Environmentally friendly, one can't forget about the most traditional form of transportation available to the Militia.

Yes. Horses. Low maintenance. Run on Bio-fuels. Re-cycleable. Can be used as an emergency food source or shelter. While obsolete for front line use for decades, equines should not be overlooked as a source of mobility in open country where logistics for mechanical vehicles may be an issue. The Afghani Mujahideen relied heavily on horses, mules, and donkeys for transportation in the rough, mountainous terrain as well as in the lowlands.

Light Multi-Role:

Intermediate sized vehicles useful for just about any light duty task available.

The ubiquitous HUMVEE in various forms and designations is the standard Multi-purpose vehicle for the DOD at this time but a replacement is currently being sought for. Useful in most terrains and fairly rugged, surplus units are available as well as civilian models. The older H1's are closest in to the military versions.

Classic Willy's would also fit into this classification although no longer in active service.

Amateurs think about tactics, but professionals think about logistics.
-- General Robert H. Barrow, USMC

Vehicles useful for logistics are available in countless forms from light trucks, deuce and a half's, tractor-trailers, and various specialized vehicles and trailers.

Light Trucks:

1 1/4 4x4 Diesel pickup trucks are an excellent and easily available vehicle for transportation and supply. These can be modified for personnel, medical, supply, light tanker, technicals, etc. Military surplus is available as well as from effectively every car manufacturer in the US.

Medium Trucks:

The long serving M35 series Deuce and a Half is one of the most familiar military transportation vehicles in US history. First fielded during WWII, they are still serving today in the same capacity w/ no retirement plans that I am aware of. Surplus versions are common and usually under $10,000 with few purchase restrictions.

Heavy trucks:

Tractor trailers supplied and run by owner/operators would be a godsend to logistic planners in a crisis situation. Able to haul large amounts of goods over distances, these and HEMTT's are widely used by the US military.


Water Buffaloe's like the M-149, flat beds, and Cargo containers are an important part of logistics. They are inexpensive, increase your carrying capacity, and allow for quick supply drops which prevent the vehicles from being tied up.


Keeping with a military aspect of the militia, LAV's (Light Armored Vehicles) can be useful in urban environments or against light infantry. General purpose vehicles such as pickups or jeeps have had armor added to them and are commonly known as "Technicals". Since these are individually customized, I won't go into to many details beyond the link. Some types of LAV's available for purchase* are V-100's , Fox armoured car, the Ferret scout car, or a Saladin. Prices for these that I've seen range from $40 to $100K.

Heavy Armored Vehicles:

Just for fun because I like tanks. IMO, effectively useless for militia purposes even though one would be really cool to own. To legally own one for all intents and purposes, they need to be de-mil'led hence no offensive or defensive capabilities unless you rig up some smoke generators or some such*. In reality, you'ld be in a big rolling pill box. I'm sure there's some exceptions to this but I'm not going to cover them. Feel free to post specifics in comments.

A possibility for effective Militia use might be a tracked APC like the M113 series. Being tracked I've included them in the Heavy category but they would also fit into the LAV section.

Construction Battalions:

Since many aspects of a crisis will not be of a military nature nor is everyone in the physical condition to assist in that, non-combatants will be and are an integral part of the military and the Militia. An example would be the regular flooding in the Mississippi Valley and elsewhere. Logistical and construction equipment were dearly needed. Backhoes, front-loaders, tractors, etc can be even more valuable in a crisis to build dikes, dig trenches, what have you than a dozen soldiers w/ shovels.

Other Branches of the Militia:

Not all members of the Modern Militia need to be ground pounders. For informational purposes , fun, and some variety, I'm going to invent the Militia Air Service ** and re-invent the Naval Militia.

Militia Air Service (MAS):

Some people out there have pilot's licenses and aircraft of their own. They to are members of the Militia and can be useful beyond just an infantry grunt. A helicopter pilot w/ a surplus Huey or other civilian model can be indispensable for rescue, supply, medevac, or scouting when primary units aren't available or are tied up elsewhere. Fixed wing aircraft can also serve these purposes and can usually travel farther, faster.

Naval Militia:

During Katrina, the US Coast Guard again showed their worth as a multi-role force. Also used were citizens and police with small boats, rescuing people and animals throughout the affected areas. Everything from small fishing boats to larger craft can be used to bring in supplies or evacuate people in areas that aren't easily accessible to ground units or even aircraft.

Go Navy!!

Next up. Disaster Preparation and Training.

*Check local laws and ordinances before purchasing.
** I originally went w/ Militia Air Corps but then realized the acronym was MAC. Military Airlift Command.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is my buddies 1963 British Ferret Scout Vehicle...

Claims to amphibious(floats).

But at 8000 lbs, I haven't been able to convince him to drive it into the water yet.

FYI, he has it up for sale if any of your readers are interested.