Better And Better

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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

"Now y'all fight fair..."

On this date in 1899, the first Hague Convention was signed.

Most notable of that peace treaty was Article 23 of the REGULATIONS RESPECTING THE LAWS AND CUSTOMS OF WAR ON LAND, which declared that it was simply not allowable "To employ arms, projectiles, or material of a nature to cause superfluous injury."

This also led to the following declaration:

The Contracting Parties agree to abstain from the use of bullets which expand or flatten easily in the human body, such as bullets with a hard envelope which does not entirely cover the core, or is pierced with incisions.

Now, you can shoot someone with a bigger and more powerful weapon, of course, but you just can't make it expandable. That would hurt your enemy too much. We here have the first documented case of an agreement to just shoot your enemy a little bit. Which, of course, is fallacious. Combatants from signatory nations could shoot shoot their enemies as much as they wish... just not with expanding projectiles.

The no-expanding-ammo rule is often misattributed to "the Geneva Convention[s]." Just like hearing a 2nd grade tattle-tale girl declare that "you're not supposed to," and "you're gonna get in trouble, 'cause Teacher says you can't do that," you'll regularly hear people assert every rule of war as being enforceable to all nations, under "The Geneva Convention." [sic]

For reasons that I don't understand, the United States generally adheres to this provision of the Hague Accords, even though it wasn't a signatory power of it.
The present Declaration is only binding for the Contracting Powers in the case of a war between two or more of them. It shall cease to be binding from the time when, in a war between the Contracting Parties, one of the belligerents is joined by a non-Contracting Power.

Even if we were to abide by the Accord, we could use expanding ammunition when in hostilities against a non-signatory country.

Friend Stephen A Camp has convinced me that the 9mm would be a very fine self-defense option... if one were to use adequate expanding ammunition for it. That, however, is not the case for our servicemen carrying M9 pistols with 115g FMJ ammunition. What a shame that we impose such silly limitations even on our servicemen's defensive arm. One wonders why.

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9 Comments:

At Tuesday, July 29, 2008 10:41:00 AM, Blogger Bunnyman said...

I'm reminded of an article I once read on the US Military's use of combat shotguns. Along with some fascinating historical insight, it included a faintly absurd section about the amount of antimony required in buckshot to make it "non-expanding" and thus legal for warfare.

 
At Tuesday, July 29, 2008 8:44:00 PM, Blogger Rogue Medic said...

Now, if your opponent is wearing body armor, wouldn'tyou want something that penetrates, rather than expands?

Going house-to-house and door-to-door, the non-combatants would actually be protected by expanding ammunition, since it should lose power more quickly when hitting a wall. Stray shots should be less likely to be dangerous to unintended targets.

 
At Wednesday, July 30, 2008 7:23:00 AM, Blogger fastbike said...

The grunt on the ground can't use a hollowpoint, but they can call in an A-10 or Spectre. I've always found our ability to accept this logic fascinating. We need to be honest with ourselves and give the troops the tools they need.

 
At Wednesday, July 30, 2008 10:54:00 AM, Blogger Old NFO said...

A different tack here- If you kill the enemy, you just take him out of the fight. If you wound him, you take 3-4 people out of the fight:
The wounded
2 stretcher bearers
1 medic

Plus you start a significant logistics issue in care of the wounded...

Now, having said that, snipers ARE using 168/173gr hollowpoint rounds in combat.

 
At Wednesday, July 30, 2008 4:57:00 PM, Blogger Matt G said...

Yeah, but the MatchKing 168g BTHP match bullet is not hollow point to expand, it is hollow-tipped to keep from putting an irregular edge on the base of the bullet, where the drag occurs. It's not a design feature for terminal ballistics, but for pure, in-flight ballistics.

 
At Wednesday, July 30, 2008 5:12:00 PM, Blogger Rogue Medic said...

Old NFO,

That depends on the way the opponent treats their wounded. Not everybody will stop to care for their wounded. If you believe that you will get almost 73 virgins out of it, you clearly have problems, but you will probably not want to be evacuated to safety. You are close to dying and receiving a bunch of nuns. Where else would they get so many virgins?

 
At Thursday, July 31, 2008 9:40:00 AM, Anonymous jimbob86 said...

I seem to recall that in our "Laws of Land Warfare" classes, we were told we could use ANYTHING in our own defense including .50 M2HB vs. personnel, shotguns (if we had any)..... broken bottles, ANYTHING. It was in attacking the enemy that we had to have all our ducks in a row......

They also pointed out that we were an 8" General Support Artillery unit, and if we were resorting to anything other than the big guns, things were going badly enough that "Laws of Land Warfare" would be the last of our concerns. Such turned out to be the case: We never had to resort to anything smaller than 203mm..........

 
At Thursday, July 31, 2008 10:51:00 AM, Blogger The Earth Bound Misfit said...

The "why do we adhere to this provision" is easy: It is in our benefit to do so.

For one thing, at least traditionally, mushrooming bullets had a tendency to hang up on the feed ramp. That is a really bad thing when the hordes are storming your position.

 
At Sunday, August 03, 2008 3:18:00 AM, Blogger Draven said...

NATO 9mm is 124 Gr...

 

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