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Could a reusable bomb be of tactical value?:

Pretending to be human
Let's say there's a bomb made out of Applied Phlebotinum or even Magic where, after it has exploded, it would not be destroyed, but everything around it would be, and could be recovered and used to cause more explosions elsewhere. Depending on how powerful it is, would it be useful to militaries or terrorists?
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 2 Major Tom, Fri, 14th Jan '11 10:44:43 AM Relationship Status: Barbecuing
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Not militaries, if you're blowing something up in a military endeavor you don't want to have to go back into the blown up site to retrieve something beyond normal cleanup.

Meaning its too easy to have a "reusable bomb" fall into enemy hands that way.

Terrorism would ideally like nothing that would trace them to their activities beyond a simple claim of responsibility for some groups.

I could see it being useful in demolitions work like imploding a building.
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What's the scale of the explosion? That's important.
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That's the thing, I'm not too sure. It could be anywhere between a C4 or a Hiroshima atomic bomb.
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 5 Sand Josieph, Fri, 14th Jan '11 3:43:13 PM from Grand Galloping Galaday
Bigonkers! is Magic
Depends on the method of retrieval, really. If it's too hard to get back, why bother?
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If it was a reusable smart-bomb or some kind of a drone, that could be an advantage though there would be a chance of interception.
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If the bomb could continually detonate over a large area (I'm talking a few hundred metres/kilometres) then it could be of some use. You could effectively create a dead zone which nobody could safely enter. That could be of value in a number of ways.

Though as others have said, generally a reusable bomb wouldn't that usable.
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If it can return on it's own I see it being potentially useful (probably working out to be more like a reusable cruise missile).

Main issue is really why it would be developed and used. The only circumstance I can see would be a nation like Nazi Germany, where there are resource shortages that would be limiting their bomb production, and they are not afraid of trying unconventional and even impractical weapons.
 
 9 Sidewinder, Sat, 15th Jan '11 12:42:41 PM Relationship Status: Above such petty unnecessities
Sneaky Bastard
Think about landmines in real life. People deploy them and then forget where they are. A decade later some kids steps on one and is crippled for life. And landmines only explode once. You can apply this to regular munitions too.

And in real life, any unexploded munitions can at least be dealt with by making them explode once the area is clear. With a magical bomb that wouldn't be an option.

 10 reteov, Fri, 19th Apr '13 4:54:34 PM from Phoenix, AZ
Penguin Producer
Actually, in Edict Zero Fis, there is a briefcase bomb that is exactly that; it simply releases the appropriate elements into the environment to cause an explosion, and then relocates itself before the explosion actually occurs.

 11 Editor Pall Mall, Fri, 19th Apr '13 5:10:58 PM from United States, East Coast
Don't Fear the Spiders
No point in creating a reusable bomb. After the bomb goes off, you would have to send a recon team to claim it back to prevent it from getting into enemy hands. It would be easier to build a new bomb.

Also the idea is inherently silly.
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 12 doorhandle, Fri, 19th Apr '13 5:43:17 PM from Space Australia!
One of the ways I could see it being of use, if it's a smaller explosion, would be to attach the damn thing to a chain and use it as a flail, adding explosive force to injury.

Probably not the sort of thing you want for this setting though.grin

I was more thinking "wire it to go off again whenever it detects movement within range", and then use it as a denial of area attack.
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 14 Oh So Into Cats, Sat, 20th Apr '13 2:44:19 AM from The Sand Wastes Relationship Status: Showing feelings of an almost human nature
CANON!!
I was thinking a more denial of area or deadzone creator. Retrieval of such a thing would be stupid, but if things keep blowing up on a certain part of an important route, it could necessarily cramp the enemy and put a nice dent in morale. Just put it somewhere of tactical importance to the enemy.

edited 20th Apr '13 2:50:28 AM by ohsointocats

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Terrorism would ideally like nothing that would trace them to their activities beyond a simple claim of responsibility for some groups.

Setting multiple bombs in an area is a standard terrorist tactic - the first one does some damage, and then 20 minutes later the second one takes out a bunch of paramedics. A reusable bomb could serve the same purpose. Militaries could use an analogous tactic in the form of area-denial.

Star Trek: Deep Space 9 had a similar thing with self-replicating mines blocking off a choke point - reusable sea-mines could effectively blockade a bay or port.
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 16 Wolf 1066, Sat, 20th Apr '13 3:55:16 AM from New Zealand Relationship Status: In my bunk
Wolf1066
But since it's static and they know exactly where it is, they can either work around it in some way or get someone in to disarm it then use it against its creators.

A large part of modern warfare seems to be predicated upon taking your enemy by surprise - stealth weapons, ultra long-range weapons, smart weapons that can circumvent defences, weapons with abnormally high capacity, range, ROF etc.

The idea seems to be "keep the bastards guessing" - if they don't know when or where they're going to be hit or where the attack is coming from (or that they're under attack until such time as Shit Gets Real all around them), then they'll not be able to effectively counter any attacks and they'll be scared, demoralised etc.

Letting them know exactly where the bomb is by having it blow up in the same location over and over again would run contrary to that.

If you want to deny them an area, always ensure there's something unexpected there - one moment a sniper, the next mines, the next an air strike, the next artillery bombardment using MRSI (Multiple Round Simultaneous Impact), or Metal Storm or a fuck-ton of grenades. In addition to any physical damage that does, it makes them fucking scared to venture into that area.

The sheer fact that they'll be having to look in all directions at once and still not be able to spot the high altitude UAV or incoming artillery shells etc will shake them, keep them on the back foot and more effectively deny them an area than if they know what to expect, where to find it and how it's going to work.
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 17 Oh So Into Cats, Sat, 20th Apr '13 4:08:04 AM from The Sand Wastes Relationship Status: Showing feelings of an almost human nature
CANON!!
I still think it would be pretty useful at least until they figure out how to disarm the thing.
"Beware of the wolves. They were raised by wolves."

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 18 Wolf 1066, Sat, 20th Apr '13 1:04:03 PM from New Zealand Relationship Status: In my bunk
Wolf1066
[up]Based on extensive Scientific-Wild-Assed-Guessing, that'd be about 2.3 seconds on average...

"Fuck, it. Just shoot it with an RPG."

In all seriousness, it'd be treated just like any other enemy emplacement that's causing problems: hit it with things until it stops being a problem.

They wouldn't stop to think about it or marvel/wonder at how it works, training would ensure they respond to it as they'd respond to a machinegun nest, a sniper or a couple of guys with a rocket launcher: "take it out."

Because this procedure is standard all over the world, the militaries of most nations devote vast amounts of time to making it as hard as possible to determine where the attack is coming from or to make the knowledge irrelevant or out-of-date.

Panzer-Howitzer 2000 - can fire off 5 shells in such a way that they will all land on the target at about the same time (MRSI) and then stow its barrel and bug out of that location before they even hit (leaving whatever's left of the enemy shooting at the place they used to be).

Javelin fire-and-forget rocket that does everything it can to decrease its launch signature and the fire team can bug out instantly after pulling the trigger to avoid counter-attack.

Stealth planes and drones that are so high that you can't detect their presence and are long gone by the time their payload hits.

Weapons that can shoot over fantastic distances to make it harder to return fire and are mobile enough that returned fire is hitting empty ground.

Stealth and "shoot-and-scoot" are the order of the day.

Meanwhile, the "magic reusable bomb" is akin to a pit-and-sandbag machinegun nest from WWII - and just as vulnerable to 5 rounds MRSI of high-explosive artillery or a tank buster bomb.

edited 20th Apr '13 1:18:29 PM by Wolf1066

Dangerously Genre Savvy since ages ago...
 19 Oh So Into Cats, Sat, 20th Apr '13 1:10:39 PM from The Sand Wastes Relationship Status: Showing feelings of an almost human nature
CANON!!
If it still sticks around after exploding, how would exploding it with an exploding thing help?
"Beware of the wolves. They were raised by wolves."

Eidolonomics: ~60.4k/100,000 words
 20 Wolf 1066, Sat, 20th Apr '13 1:20:50 PM from New Zealand Relationship Status: In my bunk
Wolf1066
One would presume that it explodes in such a way that it protects its mechanisms from its own explosives - probably by directing the explosion away from them. It won't be able to do the same to someone else's explosives that it doesn't control.

Or several pounds of incoming tungsten-tipped artillery shells.

Reactive armour is outwardly directed explosive designed to destroy an incoming anti-tank missile but not harm the contents of the armoured vehicle.

The vehicle is still vulnerable to any incoming explosive charge that gets past that explosive armour.

edited 20th Apr '13 1:26:55 PM by Wolf1066

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 21 wheezy, Sat, 20th Apr '13 3:36:43 PM from Tampa, FL. Again.
(That Guy You Met Once)
Here's the closest thing to a reusable bomb I can imagine having any practical use: Some kind of device that can easily be hidden in a household item and releases some kind of colorless, odorless explodium gas. Someone could leave it in a building, maybe hidden in a trash can or a broom closet, then come back a few hours later, stuff it in a suitcase, and leave. They could remote detonate a tiny explosive somewhere in the explodium cloud - or just wait for someone nearby to light a cigarette or turn on an oven - and the whole building would go up like a Michael Bay movie. I can't imagine the military having much of a use for it though. It would have to be a story about either espionage or terrorism.
 22 Night, Sat, 20th Apr '13 6:33:09 PM from PSNS Intrepid Relationship Status: Drift compatible
Who you are does not matter.
As a mine that's actually not a bad idea.

But then you don't need any mines to make a minefield. All you need is a press release...

(And mines remain highly viable weapons.)
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 23 Editor Pall Mall, Sat, 20th Apr '13 10:36:26 PM from United States, East Coast
Don't Fear the Spiders
[up]I disagree. Once the enemy knows where the mine is the mine is useless.
Keep it breezy!
 24 Night, Sun, 21st Apr '13 12:14:17 AM from PSNS Intrepid Relationship Status: Drift compatible
Who you are does not matter.
The whole point of a minefield is to block a route that's desirable, and thereby make it undesirable. Whether the enemy knows it's there or not is somewhat irrelevant. In fact a lot of the time a known minefield serves the purpose of restricting the enemy's options and making their movement predictable far better than an unknown one.

Tactics isn't a matter of pure lethality. That's why I said you don't require mines to gain the utility of a minefield. All you need is a press release.

edited 21st Apr '13 12:14:43 AM by Night

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Total posts: 24
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