Contingency plans

Watching the end of The Bridge Over the River Kwai last night, something occurred to me. There should have been a contingency plan that if the British Major Warden fired the two inch mortar, it was the signal to blow the bridge early. Granted, that would have removed much of the Hollywood drama but it’s food for thought, nonetheless.

Situations and operations don’t always go according to plan, which is why it’s good to have contingency plans. Going to guns is actually a contingency plan. When we display or fire our weapons, it means that our plan to follow our other priorities has failed. In my particular case, those other priorities are Avoid (barriers are a component of Avoid) and Escape.

Even if we find it necessary to use force to resolve an issue, we need to have contingency plans, both technical and tactical. Malfunction clearance drills and reloading are just technical contingency plans for dealing with stoppages (unintentional interruptions in the cycle of operations). Displaying the weapon may not intimidate the villain into leaving. Given the appropriate MAY and/or SHOULD, the tactical contingency plan in that case is to actually employ the weapon, whatever it may be.

And sometimes weapons don’t have the desired effect. The Seattle couple who tried using wasp spray to repel a home invader  found it to be ineffective. Then the husband went to an impromptu contingency, hand to gland combat, what the FBI calls ‘personal weapons.’ When that failed, the wife was forced into a second impromptu contingency, getting a large kitchen knife and hacking the invader to death. Sidenote to anti-‘Assault Rifle’ folks, note in the table that knives are used for more homicides than all long guns put together. The important thing was that the couple didn’t give up; sometimes you invent contingencies on the fly, as they did.

Contingency plans don’t have to be elaborate.

As long as all they’re doing is robbing the [convenience store], I am going to act like a CPA from Akron and be a good witness. But if they start searching people, making people get down on the floor, or forcing people into a back room, my wife knows to get away from me because I am going to start shooting.

Evan Marshall, on off-duty incident planning

Note in the above contingency plan, family members are aware of the plan, as well. Your family and associates should know what you plan to do also or the situation could become even more complicated. If the Major had fired the mortar at the two colonels without telling the Lieutenant what the plan was, the Lieutenant might have misinterpreted that as covering fire and still waited for the train.

mortar shell explodes

A contingency plan stated by a very savvy friend of mine is one that everyone should keep in mind. I’ve mentioned it before but it bears repeating.

When they get the duct tape out, it’s time to make your move, ready or not. Nothing good comes of being tied up with duct tape.

Contingency planning is an inherent part of wargaming and developing our personal guidelines for using force as part of our Personal Protection plan. What do I, or we, do if the planned Course of Action doesn’t go according to plan?

holden with knife

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5 responses

  1. Reblogged this on The Tactical Hermit and commented:
    Excellent Read.

  2. “Hitler has only got one ball,
    Göring has two but very small,
    Himmler has something sim’lar,
    But poor old Goebbels has no balls at all….”

    A lot better than the other song that I couldn’t get out of head. Great flick.

  3. Reblogged this on Women and Guns and commented:
    Guns are the Contingency Plan. Never forget that. Proper planning may prevent you from needing to go to the gun. But, if the gun doesn’t work, you better have a contingency plan for that as well. Excellent information as usual from the Tactical Professor.

  4. Sadly, there was no contingency plan on “Bridge Over the River Kwai” for a major actor taking a role in a movie involving a “galaxy far, far away.”

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