When I started providing advisory assistance for authors, there was a reason for that. The books I had been reading, some of them from best-selling authors, were full of inaccuracies when relating to weapons, military operations, ranks, etc.
For the most part, I’d like to think that the authors I’ve helped come away from the experience with a new outlook and realize that the information provided was not a critique, but more of a short education on how things work either within the military environment and/or how a weapon system works.
That brings us to the latest issue. I checked out a book from the local library that actually had a decent synopsis and should have been entertaining. Should have been being the key portion of that statement.
The premise was a terrorist act that cuts off Manhattan Island and threatens the president who was attending a conference at the UN building. I’m not sure if the book was written as a satirical tome or not as there were so many inaccuracies, it was unintentionally comical. Once I realized it wasn’t satire and allegedly serious, it was like a train wreck, you just had to keep reading to see how bad it was going to get.
Here are just a few of the problems encountered.
Super CIA operator engages four hostiles tasked with taking him out. Of course, he removes them but, ends up being shot in the shoulder during the takedown. CIA steps in and retrieves him from the scene, screw local law enforcement and any liaison between them, and takes him back to Langley. At no time was he provided medical care and he had to do that himself with, get this, a gauze pad and duct tape. Yeah. No quick-clot, no medic, nothing even though it was a through and through wound requiring some medical intervention. That intervention would have cleaned the wound channel, x-rayed for damage, sutured the wound, prescribed medication, maybe bed rest, probably some kind of antibiotic and pain management, that kind of thing. Nope, not happening to Super Operator, he’s all gauze and duct tape, I ain’t got time to bleed, I’m just that good.
Minutes later, he’s in a meeting with the DDO (Deputy Director of Operations), his boss, and all his boss does is provide some aspirin and bottled water. You know, because Super operator was ex-Ranger, ex-Delta, no former of either, he was ex all the way making him supreme badass among badasses. He can just walk this off like a mild sprain.
It only gets better from that point on.
The terrorists succeed in cutting off Manhattan and then, and this is the part that I literally almost face-palmed, they engage the UN building with SA-7 Strela anti-air, SAM missiles. You know because the UN building flies and somehow generates enough heat for the infrared homing on the SA-7 to lock onto. And they’re sterile SA-7s, from an arms broker who guaranteed them to be sterile and operational. Like that would make a difference or truly matter? Sure, why not use a Surface to Air Missile to fire into a building? The infrared home on target, should work no problem. Just find someone inside who had serious Taco Bell for lunch and is generating a heat source. And flying. At engagement altitude.
Apparently, after smuggling in the Strela’s there just wasn’t room for some RPGs or anything that might actually work better. Because it’s a stationary structure, not moving at all so why employ a weapon system designed to target airborne, moving objects?
Based on the information provided that the terrorists were from Iran and Iran apparently in the book, just couldn’t scratch up an RPG to save their ass. Yeah, sure, I’d buy that for a dollar.
The lead terrorist is mentioned as having donned a ‘bullet jacket’. Never heard of one of those unless it’s related to the shell casing or ‘jacket’ that contains the powder charge, primer, and bullet. Turns out the jacket in question is a raid jacket commonly worn by federal agents with the large, yellow lettering on the back, identifying what agency is present at the scene.
Super Operator’s buddy, on Manhattan getting his ashes hauled, hears and feels the explosions and checks the action out from his high-rise apartment. He determines the best course is to engage the terrorists now swarming the island with a HOWA 6.5 Creedmore, whereupon he screws the bipod to the deck railing. Don’t ask, I don’t even know what that’s supposed to mean.
Not satisfied with the performance of that weapon system, your guess is as good as mine as to why he wasn’t satisfied, moves to an AR-15. That rifle, the AR, somehow has a full-auto setting therefore making it a military grade M-4 not a civilian AR-15. He uses the lesser performing round, 5.56, to engage targets where the 6.5 would have been better. But wait, this is the part where it gets really funny or sad, take your pick, he moves the selector switch on the AR to ‘semi-manual’.
Total wtf right there.
Just for shits and giggles, I checked the weapon manual and then the weapon system just in case someone slipped that in somewhere as a joke. No, not in the manual and not on the weapon system, but, I like to be thorough. Must be like that fictional, fully semi-automatic setting that was erroneously mentioned a couple years ago by someone who should have known better but was totally lacking knowledge in that department.
How about the mention that the cartridge killed a terrorist? Yeah, that makes sense. So the cartridge, the actual casing (bullet jacket for real this time) the bullet is in, packed with powder and containing the primer, somehow exited the barrel instead of being ejected out the ejection port as part of the firing sequence, and killed a tango?
Oh, yeah, that works out. Shit like that happens all the time.
Police in and around the UN building have the same problem with their rifles. They have AR-15s that have a selector switch that somehow goes to full-auto. That’s just not going to happen. It’s an either/or, either the weapon is an AR-15 pattern rifle with a selector that goes from Safe to Fire (that’s semi-automatic only). Or it’s an M-4 with a selector switch that goes from Safe to Semi-auto to Full-auto. I could go into how some early model M-4s had different selector switches, and how police units might have a semi-auto ‘patrolman’ rifle. Could even go into how someone could attempt to illegally modify an AR to fire full-auto. Say some police armorer would do that in his spare time just to mess with his co-workers. Or he was bored and thought that life in prison would be far more exciting.
That makes sense. Not.
CIA and all the other agencies collectively shit themselves about the events taking place and some rocket scientist says, ‘send in the SEALs that are on the Eisenhower’. Yeah, that works. So the admiral of the Eisenhower Carrier Battle Group, a former SEAL, note he’s not referred to as an ex-SEAL unlike the other former operators being referred to as an ex-Ranger, etc, it was written that way, no shit.
Admiral former SEAL (why go from SPECWAR to Fleet remains a mystery) races down from the Bridge to the area where the SEALs are berthed. Why? There’s an internal communications system on all naval vessels, and if this was an ongoing event, the SEALs intelligence support would already be in CIC along with the admiral and his staff preparing a pre-mission brief. But no, the admiral races down to where the embarked SEALs berthing space is and throws open the hatch to reveal a brigade of SEALs.
Holy shit, a brigade.
A brigade, a unit designation that is not used within the US Navy, is between 3,000 and 5,000 personnel. If that were the case, how big is the carrier? Carriers have, on average, 5,000 personnel with the embarked air wing, and those personnel are packed in tight. Now we tossed in at least 3,000 special operators (minimal size of a brigade), note that about 4,000 is the entire combined manpower of NAVSPECWAR, and somehow packed them onto a carrier. Clear out the hangar deck and pack them in nut to butt. They won’t need to breathe, eat, or move, they’re special warfare, trained to be able to not eat, breathe, or move.
It only gets worse from that point on. One would think that impossible, but sadly, it just continued to go downhill even faster.
The admiral speaks with the lieutenant colonel of the SEALs.
That is worth at least a face palm and muttering of WTF?
A lieutenant colonel?
That rank does not exist in the US Naval rank structure and certainly does not exist on a SEAL team or within the Naval Special Warfare community.
It was at that point I realized that continuing reading this drivel would decrease my intelligence and I really can’t afford to lose any more brain cells.
Let this be a lesson, boys and girls, when an author writes a novel containing any of the above elements, basic research or dare I say it? Contacting someone who might have some info and advice they could pass on, would make your work so much better. All this could have been prevented and led to a far superior, and enjoyable, reading experience.