Mexican Cartel Tactical Note: Confined Spaces

BY Herschel Smith
3 weeks, 2 days ago

Small Wars Journal:

Tunnels are dark and often wet, hot, and humid. They can contain tight spaces, low overhead clearances, and present a range of explosive and toxic environmental challenges. All of these impediments are enhanced by poor visibility, darkness, impeded sight lines, and amplified noise (echoes) facilitating sensory decrements that inhibit maneuver, engagement, and situational awareness. Tunnels also degrade intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance complicating tactical and operational decision-making. In addition to tactical challenges found in all confined space operations, illicit taps bring an additional explosion hazard both within the tunnel and in proximate inhabited spaces.

It reminds me of the tunnel in Sicario, except not as well-constructed.

I think I’ve said this before, but this poses not just a tactical challenge to anyone, regardless of persuasion, but a challenge to life as well.

This is a confined space.  It has the following hazards (not an all-inclusive list): civil engineering (collapse of roofing or siding), access to breathable oxygen, lighting, noise, concentration of various bacteriological hazards (such as legionella), temperature, humidity, submergence during rain from flash flooding, concentration of explosive gases, concentration of explosive dusts, etc., etc.

Stay out of confined spaces.  They mean death to you.  I think I’ve mentioned it before, but I don’t go spelunking.


Comments

  1. On March 26, 2019 at 8:11 am, John Richardson said:

    I know a guy that was a Marine tunnel rat for 6 months in Vietnam. He has my utmost respect for doing that job. He got out of it by getting a transfer to Marine Air in exchange for a 6 year reenlistment. He said it was worth it.

  2. On March 26, 2019 at 12:49 pm, Gryphon said:

    Phosgene Gas. You make it by Burning Freon with Propane. It is Heavier than Air and Displaces Oxygen rapidly. It is Non-Flammable and can be fed into an Electric Blower with a Flexible Duct thrown down the Tunnel Opening. The type of Blowers that Construction Workers use to Ventilate ‘Confined Spaces’ are Ideal.

    Or if you’re Lazy, a Gallon of Gas and a Road Flare. Takes Care of Woodchucks just Fine.

  3. On March 26, 2019 at 5:58 pm, Donk said:

    Sorta off-topic but when I was a millwright in a naval shipyard I used to have to ride a “sled” in aircraft carrier catapult tubes, roughly 30″ diameter and 330 feet long – always at 0300 so you had no spacial awareness. Pretty panic inducing if you let yourself dwell on it and the only noxious fumes were your “buddies” farting in the rabbit slot. Ahhh, good times.

    Oh, acetylene, argon and other MIG/TIG readily available welding gases or even nitrogen for charging hydraulic accumulators work great too. Being in a confined space with oxygen displacing gases is a b***h and quite quick, ask me how I know. Oh, +1 on the confined spaces blowers or the moisture remediation fans (a la ServoPro or Lowes or Sunbelt).

  4. On March 26, 2019 at 6:02 pm, H said:

    You’re wise to avoid spelunking, getting more specific on the health hazards, at least one person has died from rabies we’re pretty sure was contracted in a cave without any direct contact with bats.

    To extend your general point, I suppose you’ll label this as another reason why survival immediately after nuclear war is very iffy at best.

  5. On March 26, 2019 at 6:19 pm, Donk said:

    @H, the Captain is more of a wiley coyote nuclear gen-e-us than me as a silly shore side radiological control puke but – fallout is not magical – its nasty dirt you do not want to breath or roll around in blowing down wind. I used to be on the nuclear disaster response team at a naval shipyard and our task was to “find the plume” if any of the 20 reactors onsite decided to spew. Essentially it is find the wind direction and measure 10 degrees on either side and sweep with our ANPDR-27s. So, the recent Houston chemical fire vs the local nuke plant vomiting contamination; stay inside, turn off the heat/AC, seal windows and doors with plastic and duct tape (you do have those items stockpiled in your dwelling along with food and water) and wait it out – two weeks tops.

    Am I right El Capitano?

  6. On March 27, 2019 at 3:43 pm, H said:

    Donk: well, that’s the big sort-of debate we had. It’s not good to be really near a source, the sort of thing you refer to from your practical experience with reactors vs. nuclear weapons, although the Japanese experience suggests its less worse than many imagine.

    The claim by Cresson Kearny for example in for example his Oak Ridge Nuclear War Survival Skills is that with nuclear weapons, the light stuff is not a big issue, for example a lot of it goes up into the stratosphere and by the time it comes down it’s decayed a lot. The big concern downwind is bigger stuff that you don’t need to seal away or filter. In fact, in a crowded shelter, people will get sick and die without adequate ventilation to remove heat and humidity.

  7. On March 28, 2019 at 1:46 pm, Gryphon said:

    H- And everyone else – Still tons of Books, Plans, Pamphlets available on the ‘net from the OCD (Office of Civil Defense) for Improvised Shelter, Filtration and Ventilation Construction. The Root of Knowledge is a Book titled “The Effects of Nuclear Weapons”, an Unclassified DOD Publication first Printed in 1959. It give the Math and Physics behind Nukes, in simplified Terms, describing Every Way an Atom Bomb can Hurt You, and How to Defend Yourself. All of this Defensive Data was developed during Live-Fire Testing of Weapons up to 15-Megatons’ Weight.

    Everyone should Have and Study as Many of these Old Documents as they can get a hold of.

  8. On March 28, 2019 at 3:54 pm, H said:

    Gryphon: The Effects of Atomic Weapons, later changed to Nuclear, is so much the root that the Soviet Civil Defense manuals used their facts, which we confirmed by how their manuals tracked errors and corrections in the editions of Effects. It’s a great primary source, has both general and technical sections for each effect, etc. And has a useful circular analog plastic calculator in the back.

    But the first book you want to get if you’re not going to build a real shelter in advance is the Cresson Kearny book which is on expedient measures to survive. Get a paper edition with a green cover so that the dimensions of the Kearny Fallout Meter are correct (it’s an electroscope that’ll measure 4 orders of magnitude of radiation, beware that low level meters will often fail to indicate you’re in a quickly lethal environment).

    Beware of any OCD publication from Washington, too many were written ignorant Beltway bureaucrats without for example a concern for minor details like adequate ventilation to remove heat and humidity. Kearny’s stuff is tested, by himself and his researchers before they then paid ordinary families to follow the draft instructions while they filmed them, and based on the lessons learned improved the designs and instructions.

  9. On March 29, 2019 at 5:26 pm, Donk said:

    @H, Gryphon et al, I am not sure you need to be holed up with folks to the point that eveyone is going to contract pneumonia or Legionaires from breathing ere body else air. The work around to that is the 3M alergan filters staged in series. I have practical experience subbing mil spec radcon HEPA filters with COS stuff like 3M, hell we even did experiements with K&N and other high performance auto filters for radcon vacuums. $100 vs $2500.

    I also am a SME re hydraulic, lube oil and process filtration. Bottom line, you dont want to breathing air that is single pass on your fiIter bank. You want to recirc it all and breath the bypass air. Same applies to water filtration recirc thru a filter is your friend.

    The bigger issue is what gets in your garden soil or water source pond. You may have to skim the top 3-4 inches and despose. The half life on weapons grade nasties is 1000 growing seasons. That said, if you are old like me – meh.

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You are currently reading "Mexican Cartel Tactical Note: Confined Spaces", entry #20819 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) Mexican Cartels,Mexico,Technology and was published March 25th, 2019 by Herschel Smith.

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