Tactical Shooting: The Veteran

If he’s gonna play with guns, he should learn how to use one.

– Robert Miller in The Veteran (2011)

 

Matthew Hope’s The Veteran (2011) is about a former British Army Paratrooper who has recently returned from Afghanistan. Robert Miller (Toby Kebbell) suffers from PTSD and drifts through his days until he is hired by a secretive government official to track a suspected terrorist cell. Eventually realising he has been duped, he goes vigilante and tries to save his love interest from a violent drug gang that terrorises the South London estate at which he has been living. Overall the film tries too hard; the connection between the government conspiracy and the thugs is tenuous and the underlying worldview simplistic. However, many of the details are ace, including Miller’s tradecraft and the various altercations.

The Veteran was released too late to include it in GURPS Tactical Shooting, but with minor allowances it would have been a good fit. As Miller clears an entire estate of criminals, he eventually ends up in a high-rise, with a final shootout in an Eighth Floor hallway. Here is how that scene would play out in GURPS.

IMG_4905

Stop reading if you want to avoid SPOILERS.

Round per Round

Prelude: Miller is a shooter (GURPS Action 1: Heroes p. 14) adept in the Assaulter shooting style (Tactical Shooting, pp. 47-48). He has dispatched an entire army of ‒ mostly literally faceless ‒ thugs with a Colt M4A1 assault carbine (GURPS High-Tech, p. 119), fitted with a Trijicon ACOG 4× scope (Tactical Shooting, p. 64) piggy-backed with a DocterSight micro reflex sight (Tactical Shooting, p. 74) and suspended under his coat by an improvised one-point sling (Tactical Shooting, p. 71) fashioned out of a bungee cord. The carbine is loaded with a 30-round magazine, from which he has already expended 19 rounds outside and seven more through the door of a flat, leaving him only four rounds. I will assume that he has changed magazines unseen while ascending the stairs to the Eighth Floor, in which case he would have 24 rounds left, having made a tactical reload (Tactical Shooting, p. 20) on the stairs; he would have had 30+1 in the carbine when he arrived at the Eighth Floor. Now he stands in the doorway of the flat in which he has just shot an innocent bystander because he violated Jeff Cooper’s Safety Rule #4 (“Identify your target and what is behind it”). He is visibly mentally stunned (p. B420). The hallway is dimly lit, for -2 to Vision (Tactical Shooting, p. 18).

1st Second: Bad Guy #1, concealed in the flat down the near right side of the hallway, tries to surprise Miller. Both roll for Initiative (p. B393). Miller gets +2 for Combat Reflexes and +1 for Tactics skill, but both sides tie; nobody is surprised. At his turn, Bad Guy #1 takes an Attack manoeuvre and fires a one-handed (Tactical Shooting, p. 13) and unsighted (Tactical Shooting, p. 13) 20-round burst from his stockless MAC-Ingram Model 10 submachine gun (High-Tech, p. 119) at Miller; -2 (range) -4 (since he does not meet the MinST of 8 × 1.7 = 14, assuming ST 10) (Tactical Shooting, p. 13) +4 (rapid fire) -2 (darkness) = -4 to Guns (SMG). He fails to hit Miller. At his turn, Miller takes a Do Nothing manoeuvre, crouching down as a free action (p. B368). He makes his IQ roll to snap out of the mental stun (p. B420) he incurred earlier.

2nd Second: At his turn, Bad Guy #1 takes an Attack manoeuvre and fires another 20-round burst. As the Ingram Model 10 holds only 32 rounds, he has either the Infinite Ammunition (Over-the-Top Ammo) perk (GURPS Gun Fu, pp. 19-20) or, rather unlikely considering his profile as an unskilled thug, the Quick Reload perk (Tactical Shooting, p. 39) and has succeeded with a Fast-Draw (Ammo) roll to reload as a free action before firing. He might have fired two 16-round bursts, but on screen he fires almost a continuous burst over two seconds long at RoF 20 . . . He should also be unable to use the gun in this second since he lacks the MinST and it automatically becomes unready (p. B270). Be that how it may, Bad Guy #1 fails to hit Miller. At his turn, Miller takes a Ready manoeuvre to change facing and bring up his carbine.

3rd Second: Bad Guy #1 takes either a Do Nothing manoeuvre, if he has Infinite Ammunition, or a Ready manoeuvre, if he reloads his gun using a successful Fast-Draw (Ammo) roll; we do not see him doing either. Miller, still crouching, takes an All-Out Attack (Determined) manoeuvre to duck out of cover (p. B390) and to fire three sighted shots (Tactical Shooting, p. 13) from his carbine; -2 (range) +1 (All-Out Attack) -2 (Pop-Up Attack) +1 (reflex sight) -2 (darkness) = -4 to Guns (Rifle). This is just suppressive fire (p. B409). Then he ducks back behind cover.

4th Second: Bad Guy #1 takes a Move and Attack manoeuvre and enters the hallway, running towards Miller while firing a one-handed unsighted 20-round burst; -2 (range) -2 (Bulk) -4 (below MinST) +4 (rapid fire) -2 (darkness) = -6 to Guns (SMG). He fails to hit Miller. Miller, still crouching, takes an All-Out Attack (Determined) manoeuvre to duck out of cover and to fire three sighted shots from his M4A1 at Bad Guy #1; -1 (range) +1 (All-Out Attack) -2 (Pop-Up Attack) +1 (reflex sight) -2 (darkness) = -3 to Guns (Rifle). Miller succeeds and Bad Guy #1 fails his Dodge. All three shots hit Bad Guy #1 in the torso (p. B398) for three times 4d+2 pi (average 48 points) damage. Bad Guy #1 is at -1×HP or less and drops unconscious; with slightly higher than average damage rolls, he is even at -5×HP or less and instantly dead (p. B419). Miller ducks back behind cover.

5th Second: Bad Guy #2 concealed in the flat down the near right side of the hallway takes an Attack manoeuvre and fires a one-handed blind (p. B389) 20-round burst with his stockless MAC-Ingram Model 10 submachine gun by sticking just the gun out of cover; -2 (range) -10 (blind) -4 (below MinST) +4 (rapid fire) -2 (darkness) = -14 to Guns (SMG). Bad Guy #2 fails to hit anything. Bad Guy #3 concealed in the flat down the near left side of the hallway takes an Attack manoeuvre to fire three one-handed blind shots with his Beretta Mod 92FS pistol (High-Tech, p. 100); -2 (range) -10 (blind) -2 (darkness) = -14 to Guns (Pistol). Bad Guy #3 fails to hit Miller. Miller takes a Do Nothing manoeuvre behind his cover.

6th Second: Bad Guy #2 takes an Attack manoeuvre, stepping into the hallway and firing a one-handed unsighted 20-round burst with his submachine gun ‒ he, too, has Infinite Ammunition or reloads very fast, and somehow dispenses with the requirement to Ready his unready gun; -2 (range) -4 (below MinST) +4 (rapid fire) -2 (darkness) = -4 to Guns (SMG). He fails to hit Miller. His lack of control of the gun due to insufficient ST is evident as he not only sprays the hall, but also the light bar on the ceiling. Bad Guy #3 and Miller take Do Nothing manoeuvres behind their cover.

7th Second: Miller, still crouching, takes an All-Out Attack (Determined) manoeuvre to duck out of cover, fast-firing (Tactical Shooting, p. 14) a Ranged Rapid Strike (Tactical Shooting, p. 18), first two sighted shots at Bad Guy #2 on the right, then swivelling to the left and two sighted shots at Bad Guy #3. Both attacks are at -2 (range) +1 (All-Out Attack) -4 (fast-firing) -6 (Ranged Rapid Strike) -2 (Pop-Up Attack) +1 (reflex sight) -2 (darkness) = -14 to Guns (Rifle). Miller has most likely bought up the Fast-Firing (Rifle) technique (Tactical Shooting, p. 44) to bring down the fast-firing penalty to -1, for a total penalty of -11. He also might have the Quick-Shot (Rifle) technique (Tactical Shooting, p. 45) to buy off the Ranged Rapid Strike penalty, for a total penalty of -8, -5 together with Fast-Firing (Rifle). Both are suppressive fire and hit nobody. Bad Guy #2 and #3 take Do Nothing manoeuvres behind their cover.

8th Second: Miller rises from his crouch as a free action (p. B364) and takes a Move and Attack manoeuvre to advance into the hallway, firing three sighted shots to get to Bad Guy #2’s position; -2 (range) -4 (Bulk) +4 (Close-Quarters Battle technique) (Tactical Shooting, p. 43) +1 (reflex sight) -2 (darkness) = -3 to Guns (Rifle). However, they are not actually aimed at Bad Guy #2, who is hidden behind cover, this is suppressive fire. Bad Guy #2 and Bad Guy #3 take Do Nothing manoeuvres behind their cover.

9th Second: Miller takes a Move and Attack manoeuvre and further advances to the doorway to the flat where Bad Guy #2 is hiding, firing three sighted shots; -1 (range) -4 (Bulk) +4 (Close-Quarters Battle technique) +1 (reflex sight) -2 (darkness) = -2 to Guns (Rifle). This is still suppressive fire. Bad Guy #2 and Bad Guy #3 take Do Nothing manoeuvres behind their cover.

10th Second: Bad Guy #2 fails a Fright Check (p. B360) and panics (p. B361), dropping his gun like a hot potato. Miller takes an All-Out Attack (Determined) manoeuvre and shoots Bad Guy #2 with three shots; +0 (range) +1 (All-Out Attack) +1 (reflex sight) -2 (darkness) = +0 to Guns (Rifle). Miller succeeds and Bad Guy #2 fails his Dodge. All three shots hit Bad Guy #2 in the torso for three times 4d+2 pi (average 48 points) damage. Bad Guy #2 is at -1×HP or less and drops unconscious, if not dead.

11th Second: Bad Guy #3 in the doorway opposite the one in which Miller is standing takes an Attack manoeuvre and fires one one-handed unsighted shot at Miller with his pistol; -1 (range) -2 (darkness) = -3 to Guns (Pistol). Bad Guy #3 succeeds and Miller has no active defence, being unaware (p. B374) of Bad Guy #3. Miller is hit in the left arm from behind, for 2d+2 pi (average 9 points) damage. This shocks Miller (p. B419) and possibly puts Miller at less than 1/3 of his HP (p. B419). However, judging from Miller’s response, this is not a major wound (p. B420), in fact he acts more like it is a flesh wound (p. B417). At his turn, Miller takes an All-Out Attack manoeuvre, turning from his front to his back facing, switching to rock ’n’ roll as a free action instead of a Ready manoeuvre (High-Tech, pp. 82-83) thanks to his Lightning Fingers (Rifle) perk (Tactical Shooting, p. 39), and firing an unsighted 15-round burst from the hip (Tactical Shooting, pp. 12-13) at Bad Guy #3; -2 (range) +1 (All-Out Attack) -2 (darkness) +3 (rate of fire) -4 (shock) = -4 to Guns (Rifle). Miller fails to hit Bad Guy #3, who presumably ducks behind cover in the flat; many of the shots go visibly low (Tactical Shooting, p. 32) due to the awkward underarm hold required by the rapid turn in the narrow doorway. After the first five or six shots from this turn’s attack, Miller should be out of ammunition even if he has reloaded on the stairs. The burst is at least one second long, which at the M4A1’s RoF 15 means 15 shots. Miller, too, must have Infinite Ammunition.

12th Second: Miller immediately forgets about Bad Guy #3 because Bad Guy #4, concealed in the flat on the far left side of the hallway, takes an Attack manoeuvre and fires a one-handed unsighted 13-round burst with his ČZ Sa vz.61 Škorpión submachine gun (High-Tech, p. 125) with folded stock at Miller; -1 (range) -2 (Pop-Up Attack) -4 (since he does not meet the MinST of 7 × 2 = 14, assuming ST 10) +3 (rate of fire) -2 (darkness) = -6 to Guns (SMG). He fails to hit Miller, who ducks back into the flat to take cover. Miller and Bad Guy #3 take Do Nothing manoeuvres behind their cover.

13th Second: Miller takes a Ready manoeuvre to transition to his SIG-Sauer P226 pistol (High-Tech, p. 102) from the small of his back, letting the empty carbine hang from its sling (Tactical Shooting, p. 14). Since the P226 is a double-action (High-Tech, p. 82) and we have earlier seen him checking whether there is a round in the chamber, he does not need to do anything else to Ready it.

14th Second: Bad Guy #4 takes an Attack manoeuvre and fires a one-handed unsighted 13-round burst. He, too, has Infinite Ammunition or else reloaded with Fast-Draw (Ammo) and Quick Reload in the 13th second. Miller takes a Do Nothing manoeuvre.

15th Second: Bad Guy #4 takes a Move and Attack manoeuvre and enters the hallway, running towards Miller while firing a one-handed unsighted 13-round burst ‒ despite being definitely out of ammo now even if he reloaded in the 13th second, as he already fired 13 shots from his 20-round magazine in the 14th second; -1 (range) -2 (Move and Attack) -4 (MinST) +3 (rate of fire) -2 (darkness) = -6 to Guns (SMG). He fails to hit Miller. Miller takes an All-Out Attack (Determined) manoeuvre to step out of his cover, fast-firing five two-handed sighted shots from his pistol at Bad Guy #4; -1 (range) +1 (All-Out Attack) -2 (Pop-Up Attack) -5 (fast-firing) -2 (darkness) = -9 to Guns (Pistol). Miller has most likely bought up the Fast-Firing (Pistol) technique to bring down the fast-firing penalty to -1, for a total penalty of -5. Miller succeeds and Bad Guy #4 fails his Dodge. Most if not all five shots hit Bad Guy #4 in the torso for five times 2d+2 pi (average 45 points) damage. Bad Guy #1 is at -1×HP or less and drops unconscious.

16th Second: Miller takes a Move manoeuvre and approaches down the hallway until he reaches the doorway to the flat on the far left of the hallway.

17th Second: Bad Guy #5, formerly stationed in the doorway of that flat, takes a Move manoeuvre and tries to run inside the flat. Miller takes an All-Out Attack (Determined) manoeuvre, crouching down and fast-firing five two-handed sighted shots from his pistol at Bad Guy #5; -1 (range) +1 (All-Out Attack) -5 (fast-firing) -2 (darkness) = -7 to Guns (Pistol). Again, the fast-firing penalty has probably been bought down to -1, for a total penalty of -3. Miller succeeds and Bad Guy #5 fails his defence. Most if not all five shots hit Bad Guy #5 in the torso for up to five times 2d+2 pi (average 45 points) damage. Bad Guy #5 is at -1×HP or less and drops unconscious.

18th Second: Miller takes a Ready manoeuvre, still crouching. He takes a step forward and retrieves a full magazine from a back pocket, preparing for a tactical reload.

19th Second: Miller takes a Ready manoeuvre, still crouching. He takes a step forward and ejects the partially depleted magazine from his pistol, holding both the depleted and the full magazine in his left hand.

20th Second: Miller takes a Ready manoeuvre, still crouching, and steps further into the flat to finish his reload. Bad Guy #3 takes an Attack manoeuvre, appearing in the doorway to which he has stalked in the meantime, and firing a one-handed unsighted shot at Miller from his pistol; -2 (Pop-Up Attack) -2 (darkness) = -4 to Guns (Pistol). Bad Guy #3 succeeds. Miller has no active defence, being unaware of Bad Guy #3. Bad Guy #3 hits Miller in the neck, for 2d+2 pi (average 9 points) damage. Miller is at 0 HP or less. Miller fails his HT roll and is stunned, dropping the magazines, but he is not knocked down and does not drop the pistol (despite p. B420). He clutches his wound, bleeding profusely (p. B420). The fight is over.

 

In the film, the scene is 59 seconds long, as it cuts between showing Miller and the opponents, although much of the action evolves simultaneously.

Results

Proper use of the sights and effective shooting stances are essential if you want to hit anything, even at very close range. Many thugs still do not know this. Note how it appears that Miller is not using the sights of his carbine, when he is actually employing the tiny reflex sight above the scope most of the time.

However, safely clearing a building single-handedly is next to impossible. There are too many hiding places and avenues of attack for the opposition.

Even a carbine-length weapon is often a liability in a building, as it makes quick turns and the most effective use of cover difficult.

Quite a bit of this ends up being Gun Fu rather than Tactical Shooting. Both Miller and the Bad Guys fire a lot more rounds than their guns hold, although director Matthew Hope claims in an interview with Quiet Earth that he and his editor “actually counted the amount of shots [Miller] fires and edited the scene around this. He fires the correct amount of shots before reloading.” He does not, at least by my count.

Unrealistically, movie sound is in effect. Those carbine shots should be absolutely deafening in the narrow, low-ceilinged hallway (Tactical Shooting, pp. 34-35), but are neither to the characters or the viewer.

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s