Tactical Shooting: Public Enemies

Gentlemen, shortly you will be provided Thompson submachine guns, BARs, and uh, .351 Winchester semiautomatic rifles. We are pursuing hardened killers. It will be dangerous.

– Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge Melvin Purvis in Public Enemies (2009)

Michael Mann’s Public Enemies (2009) is but the latest effort to bring the life of infamous bank robber John “Johnnie” Dillinger on the silver screen. It follows his exploits between autumn 1933 and summer 1934, but really concentrates on his affair with gun moll M. Evelyn “Billie” Frechette. As in many other Mann movies, the law enforcement side receives almost equal attention, here in the shape of Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge Melvin Purvis. While Mann undertook extraordinary effort to bring the time to life through clothing, automobiles, firearms, and locations, he stuck less rigidly to the historical facts, including the timeline. Events have been moved forward or backward, people have been omitted or changed, etc. It has to be understood that Public Enemies is not really a historical film at all, unlike Bryan Burrough’s meticulously researched book Public Enemies (2004), on which it is based. It is still an excellent movie, not the least because of its awesome score and of course its actors, including Johnny Depp as Dillinger, Christian Bale as Purvis, and Stephen Graham as “Baby Face Nelson.”

SD_TS_Public Enemies

This being a Mann picture, there are a number of interesting shootouts. The one I want to examine here in GURPS terms is the bank robbery in Sioux Falls that in the film ‒ but not in reality ‒ leads directly to the gang’s downfall.

Watch just the scene here (the action starts at 0:43). Stop reading if you want to avoid SPOILERS.

Round per Round

Prelude: On the morning of 22-APR-1934, the so-called Dillinger-Nelson Gang, consisting of Thomas “Tommy” Carroll, Dillinger, Lester Gillis (alias George “Baby Face Nelson,” but actually known to his pals as “Jimmie” Williams), John “Red” Hamilton, Homer van Meter, and Edward “Ed” Shouse, has just robbed the Securities National Bank and Trust in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. [Historically, the robbery at Sioux Falls occurred on 06-MAR-1934 and involved Harold “Eddie” Green instead of Shouse who by that time had already left the gang.] Their black 1936 [sic!] Chevrolet Master Deluxe sedan (GURPS High-Tech, p. 236) is parked in front of the bank, with Shouse as the “wheelman.” [Historically, they used a green 1934 Packard sedan and Hamilton was the “wheelman.”] Van Meter, the “lookout,” is posted outside of the entrance, hiding a Winchester Model 07 semiautomatic carbine in .351 Winchester (9×35mmSR) (GURPS High-Tech: Pulp Guns 2, pp. 9-10) in Lebman Carbine configuration under his overcoat. This was converted to full-automatic (GURPS Tactical Shooting, p. 69) by gangland armourer Hyman Lebman, with the barrel sawn off (Tactical Shooting, p. 69), and fitted with a Cutts compensator (GURPS High-Tech: Pulp Guns 1, p. 30), an underbarrel rail (High-Tech, p. 161) for a Thompson gun vertical foregrip (Tactical Shooting, p. 75), and a 10-round extended magazine (High-Tech, p. 155). [Historically, Carroll and Green were the “lookouts.”] Carroll, Dillinger, Gillis, and Hamilton are inside. Shortly before, Gillis has shot down Sioux Falls Police Department (SFPD) Officer #1 [Motorcycle Patrolman Hale Keith] by firing with his stockless Auto-Ordnance Model 1921AC submachine gun (High-Tech: Pulp Guns 1, pp. 28-30) through the window, hitting him four times and famously shouting manically: “I got one, haha!” Dillinger and Hamilton are also armed with stockless Model 1921AC submachine guns, while Carroll carries a Winchester Model 12 pump-action shotgun in 12-gauge 2.75” (High-Tech: Pulp Guns 1, p. 25) with barrel and stock sawn off (High-Tech, p. 106, and Tactical Shooting, p. 69) [Historically, Carroll carried a Winchester Model 07, most likely a Lebman Carbine; a Winchester Model 12 has never been found in the arsenal of the Dillinger-Nelson Gang, which more or less shunned shotguns of any kind.] Every one of the gangsters is wearing a steel-lined Dunrite Bullet-Proof Vest (High-Tech, p. 66). [Historically, the gang acquired a number of these by robbing police stations.] Van Meter has grappled the neck of Hostage #1, holding him with his left hand as a shield while pointing his Lebman Carbine on the street with his right. [Historically, Carroll took four SFPD officers hostage who arrived after the alarm had been raised, including Officer Roy Donahue, Chief of Police Montague “Monty” Parsons, Patrolman Homer Powers, and Detective F. White!] Presently the others emerge out of the bank. Hamilton comes first with female Hostage #2 and female Hostage #3, then Dillinger with female Hostage #4 and male Hostage #5, then Carroll with female Hostage #6 and finally Gillis with female Hostage #7. [Historically, they emerged with 30 hostages, five of whom were forced to ride with them in and on the car as living shields: bank clerks Alice Blegen, Mildred Boswick, Emma Knoback, and Mary Lucas, and bank teller Leo Olson.] Dillinger orders Hostage #5 to open the car’s front passenger door. The alarm had been raised already when the gang entered, and police officers and vigilantes are converging on the bank. [Historically, a crowd numbering close to a thousand gathered around the bank, including police, vigilantes, and especially curious gawkers.]

1st Second: At his turn, Hamilton takes a Move manoeuvre, walking with Hostage #2 and Hostage #3 around the rear of the car. At his turn, Dillinger takes a Move and Attack manoeuvre, pushing Hostage #4 and Hostage #5 toward the car’s front passenger seat. At his turn, Carroll takes a Move manoeuvre while holding on to Hostage #6. At his turn, Gillis takes an Attack manoeuvre, firing an unsighted (Tactical Shooting, p. 13) one-handed (Tactical Shooting, p. 13) 3-round burst with his stockless (Tactical Shooting, p. 12) submachine gun at Innocent Bystander #1 and #2 to the left and over the street, screaming “What are you looking at, huh?” while holding on to Hostage #7; -7 (range) +1 (muzzle compensator) = -6 to Guns (SMG). [Gillis must have inserted a new 20-round magazine off-screen, since he fired almost 40 shots in five bursts at Officer #1 and then emptied the rest (sic!) of his 20-round magazine in an 8-round burst into the ceiling. Historically, Gillis fired one burst at Keith and it was van Meter who fired into the ceiling, but he used a pistol and fired only two shots.] Gillis fails. [No wonder, as firing the submachine gun stockless reduces Acc from 3 to 2, increases ST 10 × 1.2 = ST 12, and worsens Rcl from 2 to 3 (Tactical Shooting, p. 12).] At his turn, van Meter takes a Wait manoeuvre, aiming his carbine one-handed over the street while holding on to Hostage #1. Innocent Bystander #1 takes an All-Out Defence manoeuvre to Dodge and Drop (p. B377). Innocent Bystander #2 takes an All-Out Defence manoeuvre to Dodge and Drop.

2nd Second: At his turn, Hamilton takes a Move manoeuvre, walking with Hostage #2 and Hostage #3 around the rear of the car. At his turn, Dillinger takes a Move and Attack manoeuvre, trying to push Hostage #4 and #5 into the car’s front passenger seat, letting go off both in the process. At his turn, Gillis takes an Attack manoeuvre, firing an unsighted one-handed 3-round burst with his stockless submachine gun at Innocent Bystander #1 and #2 to the left and over the street while holding on to Hostage #7; -7 (range) +1 (muzzle compensator) = -6 to Guns (SMG). He fails. [He should be unable to fire this turn, as the heavy gun became Unready after the last turn, Gillis clearly not having ST 10 × 2 = ST 20 (Tactical Shooting, p. 13).] At his turn, Carroll takes a Move manoeuvre towards the corner while pointing his stockless shotgun with his right hand and holding on to Hostage #6 with his left. At his turn, van Meter takes a Move manoeuvre, getting behind the car while holding on to Hostage #1. At his turn, Vigilante #1 in a second-floor window two buildings down the street on the opposite side takes an Aim manoeuvre, aiming his Winchester Model 92 lever-action rifle in .44-40 Winchester (High-Tech: Pulp Guns 2, p. 5) at Dillinger. At her turn, Hostage #4 takes a Move manoeuvre, running away around the rear of the car.

3rd Second: At his turn, Hamilton takes a Move manoeuvre, walking with Hostage #2 and Hostage #3 around the rear of the car. At his turn, Dillinger takes a Move manoeuvre, trying to grab Hostage #5 again. At his turn, Gillis takes a Ready manoeuvre to bring the gun up again, screaming “What are you looking at?” while still holding on to Hostage #7. At his turn, Carroll takes a Move manoeuvre towards the corner while aiming his stockless shotgun with his right hand and holding on to Hostage #6 with his left. At his turn, van Meter takes a Wait manoeuvre, aiming his carbine with his right hand and holding on to Hostage #1 with his left. At his turn, Vigilante #1 takes an All-Out Attack (Determined) manoeuvre, firing one sighted (Tactical Shooting, p. 13) two-handed shot from his rifle at Dillinger; -5 (range, modified by firing downwards, p. B407) +1 (All-Out Attack) +4 (Acc) = +0 to Guns (Rifle). He succeeds. Dillinger has no active defence as he is unaware. The shot hits him in the left arm hit location (p. B399), which is not protected by his DR 8 body armour. Dillinger takes 3d+1 pi+ (average 17 points) of damage, but the roll is undoubtedly low (minimum 6 points) since it is not a major wound (1/2 HP) that cripples the arm (p. B399); Dillinger is knocked down on his knees, catching his fall with his left hand, but does not drop his gun (p. B420). [This is an amalgamation of incidents that happened historically on 06-MAR-1934 in Sioux Falls and on 13-MAR-1934 in Mason City. In the first incident, SFPD officer Harley Chrisman used a “hunting rifle” pilfered from Maxwell’s Hardware Store and fired at the engine of the departing Packard, hitting the radiator. In the second incident, Judge John Shipley fired his “ancient” revolver down from the second floor of a building opposite the bank and hit Dillinger in the left arm.] Hostage #5 takes a Change Posture manoeuvre and cowers behind the car.

4th Second: Hamilton takes a Move manoeuvre, walking with Hostage #2 and Hostage #3 around the rear of the car. Dillinger takes a Do Nothing manoeuvre, catching his breath while on the ground. Gillis takes an Attack manoeuvre, firing an unsighted (Tactical Shooting, p. 13) one-handed 5-round burst with his Model 1921AC submachine gun at Innocent Bystander #3 across the street; -7 (range) +1 (rapid fire) +1 (muzzle compensator) = -5 to Guns (SMG). He fails. At his turn, Carroll takes a Move manoeuvre towards the corner while aiming his stockless shotgun with his right hand and holding on to Hostage #6 with his left. Van Meter grips his carbine with both hands and changes to a two-handed stance. This would ordinarily require a Ready manoeuvre, but van Meter has the Grip Mastery (Rifle) perk (Tactical Shooting, p. 39), which allows him to do this as a free action. He then takes an All-Out-Attack (Determined) manoeuvre, firing three sighted two-handed shots from his carbine at Vigilante #1; -6 (range, modified by firing upwards) +1 (All-Out Attack) +1 (muzzle compensator) = -4 to Guns (Rifle). He fails. Vigilante #1 takes an All-Out Attack (Determined) manoeuvre and fires one sighted two-handed shot from his rifle at Carroll; -5 (range, modified by firing downwards) +1 (All-Out Attack) = -4 to Guns (Rifle). He succeeds. Carroll has no active defence, as he is unaware. The shot hits Carroll from the back in the skull hit location (p. B399) for four times 3d+1 pi+ (average 38 points after penetrating the DR 2 skull) of damage. Carroll is at -1×HP or less. This major wound to the skull forces an immediate HT-10 roll to avoid knockdown and another immediate HT roll to avoid dying. Carroll fails the former but makes the latter, collapsing unconscious and releasing his shotgun, his sack of money, and Hostage #6. [This is an amalgamation of incidents that happened historically on 13-MAR-1934 in Mason City and on 03-APR-1934 in Saint Paul, Minnesota. In the first incident, Judge Shipley fired a second shot and hit Hamilton in the shoulder. In the second incident, Green was shot in the head by Federal agents and later coerced to spill the beans on the Dillinger-Nelson Gang, depicted in the film as happening to Carroll.] Hostage #6 takes a Move manoeuvre, running away.

5th Second: Hamilton grips his submachine gun with both hands and changes to a two-handed stance while releasing Hostage #2 and Hostage #3. This would ordinarily require a Ready manoeuvre, but Hamilton has the Grip Mastery (SMG) perk, which allows him to do this as a free action. He then takes an Attack manoeuvre, swinging his gun up and firing an unsighted two-handed (Tactical Shooting, p. 13) 7-round burst from the hip with his submachine gun at Vigilante #1; -6 (range, modified by firing upwards) +1 (rapid fire) +1 (muzzle compensator) = -4 to Guns (SMG). He fails. Dillinger takes a Do Nothing manoeuvre. Gillis takes a Ready manoeuvre, bringing the gun up again. Van Meter takes an All-Out-Attack (Determined) manoeuvre, firing three sighted two-handed shots from his carbine at Vigilante #1; -6 (range, modified by firing upwards) +1 (All-Out Attack) +1 (muzzle compensator) = -4 to Guns (Rifle). He fails. Vigilante #1 takes a Move manoeuvre and ducks out of sight. Vigilante #2 takes a Change Posture manoeuvre, appearing opposite the bank in a staircase to a basement, holding a Krag-Jørgensen M1898 bolt-action rifle in .30-40 Krag (GURPS High-Tech: Adventure Guns, p. 34). Hostage #2 takes a Change Posture manoeuvre, cowering in the street near the left side of the car. Hostage #3 takes a Change Posture manoeuvre,  cowering in the street near the left side of the car.

6th Second: Hamilton takes an Attack manoeuvre, swinging his gun down again and firing an unsighted two-handed 13-round burst with his submachine gun at Vigilante #2; -4 (range) +3 (rapid fire) +1 (muzzle compensator) = +0 to Guns (SMG). He succeeds and Vigilante #2 fails his Dodge roll. At least one shot hits Vigilante #2 for 2d+1 pi+ (average 12 points) of damage. Vigilante #2 is at 0 HP or less. The major wound forces an immediate HT roll to avoid knockdown. Vigilante #2 fails it and is knocked down and unconscious. Dillinger takes a Ready manoeuvre, moving a Step’s worth over on his knees to the prone Carroll and checking on him. Gillis takes an All-Out Attack (Determined) manoeuvre, firing a sighted two-handed 13-round burst with his submachine gun at Vigilante #3 in the entrance of a jewellery store, moving forwards two steps and shouting “Hah!”; -4 (range) +1 (All-Out Attack) +3 (rapid fire) +1 (muzzle compensator) = +1 to Guns (SMG). He fails. [Impossible, since he is empty!] Gillis has to roll for Hitting the Wrong Target (pp. B389-390). At least one of his shots hits Innocent Bystander #4 for 2d+1 pi+ (average 12 points) of damage. Innocent Bystander #4 is at 0 HP or less. The major wound forces an immediate HT roll to avoid knockdown. Innocent Bystander #4 fails it and is knocked down and unconscious. [Historically, this happened on 13-MAR-1934 in Mason City, when a burst aimed at vigilante Harry Berg hit innocent bystander Jacob Solomon in the stomach.] Van Meter takes an All-Out Attack (Determined) manoeuvre, firing three sighted two-handed shots from his carbine at Vigilante #1; -6 (range, modified by firing upwards) +1 (All-Out Attack) +1 (muzzle compensator) = -4 to Guns (Rifle). He fails. Vigilante #3 takes a Move manoeuvre and steps into cover.

7th Second: Hamilton takes a Ready manoeuvre, starting to reload his submachine gun by locking back the actuator and removing the empty magazine. [We do not see this.] Dillinger takes a Change Posture manoeuvre, getting up from prone to kneeling and grabbing Carroll’s sack of money [They got $49,500 in Sioux Falls, the third highest score of Dillinger’s 14 recorded robberies. The disappointment voiced by Dillinger in the movie over the low take actually refers to the robbery in Mason City, where they expected to get $240,000 and went away with “just” $52,344 ‒ their second highest take.] Gillis takes an Attack manoeuvre and fires a sighted two-handed 7-round burst with his submachine gun at Vigilante #3 in the entrance of a jewellery store; -4 (range) +1 (rapid fire) +1 (muzzle compensator) = -2 to Guns (SMG). He fails. [Impossible, since he is empty!] Van Meter takes an All-Out Attack (Determined) manoeuvre, firing one sighted two-handed shot from his carbine at Vigilante #1; -6 (range, modified by firing upwards) +1 (All-Out Attack) = -5 to Guns (Rifle). He fails.

8th Second: Hamilton takes a Ready manoeuvre, continuing reloading his submachine gun by taking a fresh magazine from his overcoat. [We do not see this.] Dillinger takes a Change Posture manoeuvre and gets up from kneeling to standing. Gillis takes a Move manoeuvre and turns back to the car. Van Meter takes a Ready manoeuvre, reloading his carbine by ejecting the empty magazine [We do not see this.] Vigilante #4, after having approached the corner near Gillis, takes an All-Out Attack (Determined) manoeuvre, running around the corner and jumping on Gillis’ back, grappling him; +4 to DX roll. He succeeds and Gillis fails his Dodge roll.

9th Second: Hamilton takes a Ready manoeuvre, finishing reloading his submachine gun by inserting the fresh magazine. [We do not see this.] Dillinger takes a Ready manoeuvre, taking a Step towards the car and tossing the money sack inside. Gillis takes an Attack manoeuvre (p. B371), slamming Vigilante #4 into the window; -4 (grappled with two hands) (p. B370) to DX roll. Gillis succeeds and Vigilante #4 fails his defence roll. Vigilante #4 crashes through the plate glass window with DR 1, HP 3 (p. B558), inflicting (10 × 2 × 2 / 100 = 0.4) or 1d-2 damage (pp. B430-431). Since the glass breaks, a “6” must have been rolled and the window must have failed its HT roll. Vigilante #4 suffers 4(0.5) points of cutting damage. He must make a HT roll to avoid being stunned from the fall (p. B203). He probably fails it since he is out of the fight. Van Meter takes a Ready manoeuvre, reloading his carbine by reaching for a fresh magazine in his coat pocket [We do not see this.]

10th Second: Hamilton takes an Attack manoeuvre, firing an unsighted two-handed 13-round burst with his submachine gun at Vigilante #5 in a second-story window immediately opposite of the bank; -5 (range, modified by firing upwards) +3 (rapid fire) +1 (muzzle compensator) = -1 to Guns (SMG). He fails. Dillinger takes an Attack manoeuvre, taking a Step away from the car and firing an unsighted two-handed 10-round burst with his submachine gun at Vigilante #1; -6 (range, modified by firing upwards) +2 (rapid fire) +1 (muzzle compensator) = -3 to Guns (SMG). He fails. Gillis takes a Ready manoeuvre, bringing his submachine gun up again. Van Meter takes a Ready manoeuvre, finishing to reload his carbine by inserting the fresh magazine and racking the bolt to chamber a round [We do not see this.]

11th Second: Hamilton takes an Attack manoeuvre, firing an unsighted two-handed 7-round burst with his submachine gun at Vigilante #5; -5 (range, modified by firing upwards) +1 (rapid fire) +1 (muzzle compensator) = -3 to Guns (SMG). He fails. SFPD Officer #2 takes an All-Out Attack (Determined) manoeuvre and fires one one-handed sighted shot with his revolver at Dillinger: -4 (range) +1 (All-Out Attack) = -3 to Guns (Pistol). He fails. Dillinger takes an Attack manoeuvre, firing an unsighted two-handed 10-round burst with his submachine gun at SFPD Officer #2; -4 (range) +2 (rapid fire) +1 (muzzle compensator) = -1 to Guns (SMG). He fails. Gillis takes an Attack manoeuvre, firing an unsighted one-handed 5-round burst with his submachine gun at Innocent Bystander #5 across the street; -4 (range) +1 (rapid fire) +1 (muzzle compensator) = -2 to Guns (SMG). He fails. [We do not see this.] Van Meter takes an All-Out Attack (Determined) manoeuvre, firing three sighted two-handed shots from his carbine at Vigilante #1; -6 (range, modified by firing upwards) +1 (All-Out Attack) = -4 to Guns (Rifle). He fails.

12th Second: Hamilton takes a Do Nothing manoeuvre, taking a Step towards the car. SFPD Officer #2 takes a Do Nothing manoeuvre, being suppressed by Dillinger’s burst. Dillinger takes a Ready manoeuvre, starting to reload his submachine gun by locking back the actuator and removing the empty magazine. Gillis takes a Ready manoeuvre, bringing his submachine gun up again. Van Meter takes an All-Out Attack (Determined) manoeuvre, firing three sighted two-handed shots from his carbine at Vigilante #1; -6 (range, modified by firing upwards) +1 (All-Out Attack) = -4 to Guns (Rifle). He fails.

13th Second: Hamilton takes a Ready manoeuvre, drawing his Colt Model 1902 Military semiautomatic pistol in .38 ACP with his left hand, keeping his empty submachine gun in his right. SFPD Officer #2 takes a Do Nothing manoeuvre. Dillinger takes a Ready manoeuvre, continuing reloading his submachine gun by taking a fresh magazine from his overcoat. Gillis takes a Ready manoeuvre, starting to reload his submachine gun by locking back the actuator and removing the empty magazine. [We do not see this.] Van Meter takes an All-Out Attack (Determined) manoeuvre, firing three sighted two-handed shots from his carbine at Vigilante #1; -6 (range, modified by firing upwards) +1 (All-Out Attack) = -4 to Guns (Rifle). He fails.

14th Second: Hamilton takes an Attack manoeuvre, firing three unsighted one-handed shots from his pistol at Vigilante #5, shouting “Come on, let’s go!”; -5 (range, modified by firing upwards) -4 (off-hand) = -9 to Guns (Pistol). He fails. SFPD Officer #2 takes an All-Out Attack (Determined) manoeuvre, firing one sighted shot with his revolver at Dillinger: -4 (range) +1 (All-Out Attack) = -3 to Guns (Pistol). He fails. Dillinger takes a Ready manoeuvre, finishing reloading his submachine gun by inserting the fresh magazine. Gillis takes a Ready manoeuvre, continuing reloading his submachine gun by taking a fresh magazine from his overcoat. [We do not see this.] Van Meter takes a Do Nothing manoeuvre.

15th Second: Hamilton takes an Attack manoeuvre, firing one unsighted one-handed shot from his pistol at Vigilante #5; -5 (range, modified by firing upwards) -4 (off-hand) = -9 to Guns (Pistol). He fails. Dillinger takes an Attack manoeuvre, firing an unsighted two-handed 13-round burst with his submachine gun at SFPD Officer #2; -4 (range) +3 (rate of fire) +1 (muzzle compensator) = +0 to Guns (SMG). He succeeds. At least one shot hits SFPD Officer #2 for 2d+1 pi+ (average 12 points) of damage. SFPD Officer #2 is at 0 HP or less. The major wound forces an immediate HT roll to avoid knockdown. SFPD Officer #2 fails it and is knocked down and unconscious. Gillis takes a Ready manoeuvre, finishing reloading his submachine gun by inserting the fresh magazine. [We do not see this.]. Van Meter takes an All-Out Attack (Determined) manoeuvre, firing one sighted two-handed shot from his carbine at Vigilante #1; -6 (range, modified by firing upwards) +1 (All-Out Attack) = -5 to Guns (Rifle). He fails.

16th Second: Hamilton takes an Attack manoeuvre, firing three unsighted one-handed shots from his pistol at Vigilante #5; -5 (range, modified by firing upwards) -4 (off-hand) = -9 to Guns (Pistol). He fails. [We do not see this.] Dillinger takes a Move manoeuvre, turning around and stepping up to Gillis, shouting “Let’s go!” Gillis takes an Attack manoeuvre, firing an unsighted two-handed 5-round burst with his submachine gun at Innocent Bystander #5 across the street; -4 (range) +1 (rapid fire) +1 (muzzle compensator) = -2 to Guns (SMG). He fails. Van Meter takes a Do Nothing manoeuvre.

17th Second: Hamilton takes a Ready manoeuvre, letting his submachine gun hang from his shoulder rig (Tactical Shooting, p. 73) and switching the pistol to his right hand. Dillinger takes an Attack manoeuvre, grabbing Gillis by the shoulder of his coat and shouting “Get into the goddamn car!” Gillis takes a Move manoeuvre, walking backwards. Van Meter takes a Move manoeuvre, climbing into the right passenger seat and drawing Hostage #1 onto the right running board of the car.

18th Second: Hamilton takes an Attack manoeuvre, firing two sighted one-handed shots from his pistol at Vigilante #5; -5 (range, modified by firing upwards) = -5 to Guns (Pistol). He fails. [This is visible in a deleted scene.] Dillinger takes an Attack manoeuvre, pulling Gillis back by the coat. Gillis takes an Attack manoeuvre, firing an unsighted two-handed 6-round burst with his submachine gun at Innocent Bystander #5 across the street; -4 (range) +1 (rapid fire) +1 (muzzle compensator) = -2 to Guns (SMG). He fails. Van Meter takes a Do Nothing manoeuvre.

19th Second: Hamilton makes a Move manoeuvre, climbing into the left rear seat  Gillis makes a Move manoeuvre, climbing into the rear seat. Dillinger takes an Attack manoeuvre, pushing Gillis into the car. Van Meter takes a Do Nothing manoeuvre.

20th Second: Hamilton takes an Attack manoeuvre and draws Hostage #2 on the left running board. Gillis takes a Do Nothing manoeuvre, sitting inside the car. Dillinger takes a Move manoeuvre, climbing into the right rear seat. Van Meter takes a Do Nothing manoeuvre.

In the film, the scene is 66 seconds long, as it cuts between showing the different characters. Also, the editing is a bit of a mess; a few frames from 0:48 until 0:49 are even inverted. Thus, my write-up is a somewhat idealized version.

Conclusion

Despite the veneer of historical authenticity, all the gangsters fire many more shots than their weapons hold and reload much too little, an indication for the Infinite Ammunition (Quasi-Realistic Ammo) perk (GURPS Gun Fu, pp. 19-20). Considering that otherwise the Tactical Shooting rules seem to apply, this is probably a campaign switch. For the writeup, I have included several additional reloads that are not actually in the film. Historically, many of the bank-robbing gangsters carried a 50-round or even a 100-round drum magazine in their Thompson gun and one or two 20-round box magazines as spares. While the Tommy is indeed better to conceal under a jacket or coat with just the box magazine, most bank robbers including the Dillinger-Nelson Gang did not conceal their Thompsons under their clothing, as shown in Public Enemies. Instead, they usually carried them in sacks, carton boxes, picnic baskets, or any other convenient, disposable container. Thus, they could load the gun with a drum magazine. A spare box magazine could be easily slipped into a jacket or coat pocket.

Body armour covers only part of the body (Tactical Shooting, p. 12). This important truth is shown again in action.

Firing a long arm without use of the stock (Tactical Shooting, p. 12) or even one-handed (Tactical Shooting, p. 13) is pretty useless.

Firing downward offers considerable advantages (p. B407), including a better idea of the locations of everybody involved.

Standing around in the open is bad tactics (Tactical Shooting, p. 8), even if you are firing a submachine gun.

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5 comments

  1. Andrew · May 2

    Do you think this would be fun to play in GURPS?

    I think it might take a very long time to play out.

    Like

    • Of course, especially with a GM who does not need to look everything up. A lot of this can be prepared in advance, speeding things up in play.
      However, and I cannot stress this enough, I do not select these scenes because I think they are good examples of GURPS in play. I select them to show how certain stuff could be modelled with GURPS. There is also a certain “lessons learned” aspect to these writeups. Things that make sense to do for a character and things that do not.

      Like

  2. Pingback: GURPS Day Summary Apr 28 – May 4, 2017 – Gaming Ballistic
  3. Sean Manning · May 10

    I wonder how stunt crews create the illusion of long bursts (the botched assassination scene in “Miller’s Crossing” had some good examples). You can only fit so many blanks in a magazine! Creative merging of film from different takes? Creating the muzzle flash with CGI?

    Like

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