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Fishing line tactic viability

This is a discussion on Fishing line tactic viability within the Military Strategy and Tactics forum, part of the Global Defense & Military category; I would like to share a tactic I have been thinking about for some time and get some feedback. I ...


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Old June 23rd, 2012   #1
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Fishing line tactic viability

I would like to share a tactic I have been thinking about for some time and get some feedback. I am thinking from the standpoint that war could be considered in some ways an economic transaction where each opponents spends money with the goal of causing more economic harm to the adversary relative to the cost of such tactic.

Imagine taking a high altitude heavy bomber and outfitting it with 20 tons of fishing string on high power motorized spools, and flying over a city with the spools dispensing at high RPM, and dropping the fishing line (say 100 pound strength) over the city. At $2 per kilogram, the cost of the string would cost about 40 thousand dollars at retail cost (buying in bulk according to some prices online).

At the cost of 40,000 dollars, imagine the amount of economic interference and general mayhem that would cause a city. Obviously the string would end up everywhere, and any moving vehicle, wind, or animal movement would create dangerous spider webs of invisible line that would severe, block, entangle, and interfere with all operations within the city.

I can't help but think this would be the most cost effective ways of causing general mayhem, maybe by orders of magnitude compared to any other tactic that I could imagine. The persistence of the fishing line, and its strength relative to its weight, its low profile, and ability to spread unpredictably, would seem to make it extremely hard to deal with.

I like to throw out wild estimates, as it beats having no number at all. I would venture that the 40k investment, if dispensed over a 20 square mile industrial sector, could cause perhaps a billion dollars in lost productivity/clean up cost/damage. It would be even more interesting to consider 1000 sorties over a country and what kind of psychological/social impact it would have to its population. Thoughts?
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Old June 23rd, 2012   #2
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At $2 per kilogram, the cost of the string would cost about 40 thousand dollars at retail cost (buying in bulk according to some prices online).
The cost of the line is insignificant. The cost of removing the enemy airforce and air defences, as well as operating the fleet of bombers to deploy it is not.

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Obviously the string would end up everywhere, and any moving vehicle, wind, or animal movement would create dangerous spider webs of invisible line that would severe, block, entangle, and interfere with all operations within the city.
It wouldn't create a "web", nor would it neatly string itself between two points with sufficient tension to hurt anything. It would just drop to the ground in long lines, mosty likely nowhere near the target area.

Yeah, okay, if you tie a line over a cycle path you can injure a cyclist. Maybe take off the antenna on a vehicle if you use heavy enough line. It's not going to stop a car, let alone an armoured vehicle, and it's not going to work if you just drop it on the ground.

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It would be even more interesting to consider 1000 sorties over a country and what kind of psychological/social impact it would have to its population. Thoughts?
They'd probably be very happy you aren't flying 1000 sorties each dropping 20 tons of napalm or high explosive instead.

Maybe they'd go fishing.
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Old June 23rd, 2012   #3
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The cost of the line is insignificant. The cost of removing the enemy airforce and air defences, as well as operating the fleet of bombers to deploy it is not.


It wouldn't create a "web", nor would it neatly string itself between two points with sufficient tension to hurt anything. It would just drop to the ground in long lines, mosty likely nowhere near the target area.

Yeah, okay, if you tie a line over a cycle path you can injure a cyclist. Maybe take off the antenna on a vehicle if you use heavy enough line. It's not going to stop a car, let alone an armoured vehicle, and it's not going to work if you just drop it on the ground.


They'd probably be very happy you aren't flying 1000 sorties each dropping 20 tons of napalm or high explosive instead.

Maybe they'd go fishing.
Yes, it starts out without tension. But then what? Something moves along the ground and it catches on something and drags. It will continue dragging until a secondary point catches on something, or another piece of the string, and then you have multiple strings moving through an area that are tangled together. What happens next? It gets caught on something else. At some point there will be tension. It may break in two. But the fun is not over there. Even after it is broken in half, it continues to drag, and hilarity ensues. Eventually it gets caught again, applies tension to something else, and either damages something or breaks again, and the process continues. Trying to dispose of it is taxing, it gets caught on everything. Over time it only is going to get worse to deal with, psychologically taxing, and you never know when or where it will appear, especially with cars driving around.

Growing up near a river, we would sometimes have a campfire and there would be a few grams of very old fishing string in the general area of the campfire. It was inevitable that during the night somebody would eventually get somehow tangled up or have to deal with it somehow. If 20 tons was dropped over an area with 20,000 houses, that would be 1 kg of fishing line per house. Imagine just 20 tons dropped over new york city. Would you even be willing to walk down the street? Cars driving around pulling messes of line everywhere? Now 20 tons of bombs could take out 10 buildings for certain, and Napalm maybe a few blocks, and it would be all over in a few days or a week. But when would this fishing string go away? What would the cumulative effect be on the productivity, sanity, and safety of the population in a metropolitan area? How many man hours would it take to deal with? Only for 40k worth of material. Seems like an astronomically good potential benefit to cost ratio.

It really is a question to me, what would be worse, 20 tons of bombs dropped strategically on your city, or 20 tons of fishing string?

Last edited by assymmetric; June 23rd, 2012 at 05:33 AM. Reason: punctuation
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Old June 23rd, 2012   #4
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Ahahahahahaha come on guys you cannot be serious.The content of this post did make my night ,have not laughed so much and i did choke on my pizza.Sorry but this is just a JOKE is it not?
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Old June 23rd, 2012   #5
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Ahahahahahaha come on guys you cannot be serious.The content of this post did make my night ,have not laughed so much and i did choke on my pizza.Sorry but this is just a JOKE is it not?
LOL, I am glad I made you laugh. No, it is not a joke. I am suggesting it as a serious tactic...seriously.
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Old June 24th, 2012
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Old June 24th, 2012
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Old June 24th, 2012   #6
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I have thought of a similar tactic in which a nation would employ degenerates and no-hopers in the military (not permanently as these people can be found at short notice).They could declare war on another country and then quickly deny doing so and cite a "misunderstanding". Between the declaration of war and the cover up smiles you would load up several thousand useless people (use your imagination)into expendable ships (barges and ancient hulks etc) and sail them into the opposing countries territorial waters. You then quickly surrender these ships and have these people taken prisoner. Once this is complete you smile and say it was a slight border clash nothing major etc etc (happens all the time) . These burdensome people will be of no use to that particular country and would relieve their burden from your own.

similar tactics were used in medieval times

please discuss and tell me your thoughts on such tactics.
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Old June 24th, 2012   #7
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I have thought of a similar tactic in which a nation would employ degenerates and no-hopers in the military (not permanently as these people can be found at short notice).They could declare war on another country and then quickly deny doing so and cite a "misunderstanding". Between the declaration of war and the cover up smiles you would load up several thousand useless people (use your imagination)into expendable ships (barges and ancient hulks etc) and sail them into the opposing countries territorial waters. You then quickly surrender these ships and have these people taken prisoner. Once this is complete you smile and say it was a slight border clash nothing major etc etc (happens all the time) . These burdensome people will be of no use to that particular country and would relieve their burden from your own.

similar tactics were used in medieval times

please discuss and tell me your thoughts on such tactics.
Isn't that how Australia formed? In the movie Scarface, it depicts Cuba as doing such things intentionally. Even better if all these worthless people had vicious strains of STD's or other diseases. We all know how effective disease was as part of settling North America for the Europeans.

My thought on such tactics is that it has some pros (getting rid of degenerates), but it is too risky to declare war on a country just for this purpose IMO.
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Old June 24th, 2012   #8
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Isn't that how Australia formed? In the movie Scarface, it depicts Cuba as doing such things intentionally. Even better if all these worthless people had vicious strains of STD's or other diseases. We all know how effective disease was as part of settling North America for the Europeans.

My thought on such tactics is that it has some pros (getting rid of degenerates), but it is too risky to declare war on a country just for this purpose IMO.
you would not declare war on a country to do this. It should be done as an attempt to weaken an opposing country in times of tension (cold war springs to mind). Any positive effects your country experiences that are not directly related to the weakening of a potential opponent are a bonus
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Old December 30th, 2012
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