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Authors: Christopher Nuttall,Chris Kennedy,Jerry Pournelle,Thomas Mays,Rolf Nelson,James F. Dunnigan,William S. Lind,Brad Torgersen

Riding the Red Horse

BOOK: Riding the Red Horse
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Riding the Red Horse
Volume I
edited by Tom Kratman and Vox Day
Published by Castalia House
Kouvola, Finland
This book or parts thereof may not be reproduced in any form, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form by any means—electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, or otherwise—without prior written permission of the publisher, except as provided by Finnish copyright law.
The stories in this collection are works of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the author’s imagination or are used in a fictitious manner. Any similarity to actual people, organizations, and/or events is purely coincidental.
Editor: Tom Kratman
Co-Editor: Vox Day
Cover Design: JartStar
Cover Image: Jeremiah Humphries
Version 001
Copyright © 2014 by Vox Day
All rights reserved
The stories and articles contained herein have never been previously published unless otherwise noted. They are copyrighted as follows:
SUCKER PUNCH by Eric S. Raymond. Copyright © 2014 by Eric S. Raymond.
BATTLEFIELD LASERS by Eric S. Raymond. Copyright © 2014 by Eric S. Raymond.
MURPHY'S LAW: THE TOP TEN BAD DECISIONS OF THE 20TH CENTURY by James F. Dunnigan was first published on Strategy Page. Copyright © 2014 by James F. Dunnigan. Reprinted by permission of the author.
RED WAVES IN THE SOUTH CHINA SEA by James F. Dunnigan was first published on Strategy Page as “U.S. Navy Hurries Preparations For War With China” and “Rebuilding The Empire”. Copyright © 2013 by James F. Dunnigan. Reprinted by permission of the author.
UNDERSTANDING FOURTH GENERATION WAR by William S. Lind was first published in
Military Review
, September-October 2004. Reprinted by permission of the author. Copyright © 2004 by William S. Lind.
THIEVES IN THE NIGHT by Chris Kennedy. Copyright © 2014 by Chris Kennedy.
THE HOT EQUATIONS: THERMODYNAMICS AND MILITARY SF by Ken Burnside. Copyright © 2014 by Ken Burnside.
A PIECE OF CAKE by Christopher G. Nuttall. Copyright © 2014 by Christopher G. Nuttall.
SHAKEDOWN CRUISE by Rolf Nelson. Copyright © 2014 by Rolf Nelson.
THE LIMITS OF INTELLIGENCE by Harry Kitchener. Copyright © 2014 by Harry Kitchener.
RED SPACE by Giuseppe Filotto. Copyright © 2014 by Giuseppe Filotto.
SIMULATING THE ART OF WAR by Jerry Pournelle was first published in
The General
, Sept-Oct 1971. Copyright © 1971 by Jerry Pournelle. Reprinted by permission of the author.
WAR CRIMES by Benjamin Cheah. Copyright © 2014 by Benjamin Cheah.
WITHIN THIS HORIZON by Thomas Mays. Copyright © 2014 by Thomas Mays.
THE GENERAL'S GUARD by Brad Torgersen. Copyright © 2014 by Brad Torgersen.
THEY ALSO SERVE by Tedd Roberts. Copyright © 2014 by Tedd Roberts.
TURNCOAT by Steve Rzasa. Copyright © 2014 by Steve Rzasa.
GALZAR'S HALL by John F. Carr and Wolfgang Diehr. Copyright © 2014 by John F. Carr and Wolfgang Diehr.
MAKE THE TIGERS FIGHT: SOVIET STRATEGY IN ASIA, 1925–1975 by James Perry. Copyright © 2014 by James Perry.
A RELIABLE SOURCE by Vox Day. Copyright © 2014 by Vox Day.
TELL IT TO THE DEAD by Steve Rzasa and Vox Day. Copyright © 2014 by Vox Day.
HIS TRUTH GOES MARCHING ON by Jerry Pournelle was first published in
Combat SF
, ed. Gordon R. Dickson, 1975. Copyright © 1975 by Jerry Pournelle. Reprinted by permission of the author.


For the troops. And for Major Donald B. Walton (1956-2014). Classmate and Comrade.


For Lieutenant Colonel Theodore Summers, USMC (1919-1997).

Table of Contents

At an earlier time, a commander could be certain that a future war would resemble past and present ones. This enabled him to analyze appropriate tactics from past and present. The troop commander of today no longer has this possibility. He knows only that whoever fails to adapt the experiences of the last war will surely lose the next one.

—General Franz Uhle-Wettler


The nature of war has changed dramatically since the last major series of wars shook the world during the middle of the last century. The last seven decades have been one of the longest periods of peace in Man's history, if one focuses on the lack of direct military conflict between the modern Great Powers of Russia (formerly the U.S.S.R.), China, and the United States, and the former Great Powers of France, Germany, Japan, and the United Kingdom. The currently dominant military power, the United States of America, has not engaged in a single declared war since the end of World War II, and aside from a few nervous decades of a Cold War now fading into distant memory, has not even been forced to face any credible rivals to its dominance, let alone existential threats.

But Man is nothing if not resourceful. The overwhelming military superiority that led to the Pax Americana, combined with the ruthlessness of the total war waged by the Western democracies on the citizenries of its enemies as well as their militaries and infrastructures, created the incentive for the development of a new form of warfare, one in which the line between soldier and civilian is not so much blurred as entirely erased.

What is described, and feared around the world, as “terrorism” is actually nothing more than an acceptance of an asynchronous distribution of wealth, technology, and military power combined with a dynamic adaptation of the antithesis of what historian Victor Davis Hanson describes as “the Western way of war”.

Carnage and Culture
, Hanson writes: “Western warring is often an extension of the idea of state politics, rather than a mere effort to obtain territory, personal status, wealth, or revenge…. The idea of annihilation, of head-to-head battle that destroys the enemy, seems a particularly Western concept largely unfamiliar to the ritualistic fighting and emphasis on deception and attrition found outside Europe.”

But in the 21st Century, war is no longer a state monopoly. Deception and attrition are now the order of the day. The very success of the Western way of war has led to its increasing irrelevance with regards to ongoing conflicts; how can the enemy state be defeated when it has already been destroyed, not only as a coherent military force but as a government entity as well? The number of failed states is on the rise, from Somalia to Afghanistan, Libya, and Iraq. Western military interventions have slaughtered enemy troops, and toppled governments, and removed brutal dictators from power, but they have not brought peace in their wake. The Western way of war depends upon extermination, but it is irrelevant when there is nothing to exterminate but phantoms and shadows who are replaced as rapidly as they are eliminated.

This martial transformation from the Western way of war to a neo-Eastern way of war is, like most historical changes in the art of war, the result of technological advancement. The Internet and social media now give even the smallest military commander a global voice that exceeds that of the most powerful Roman emperor. Both recruitment and command-and-control now reach across continents and into the very deepest corners of the darkest imaginations. Advanced weaponry is readily available, inexpensively acquired, and will soon be manufactured by anyone with a computer and a 3D printer who wishes to produce it. Aerial surveillance capabilities superior to any available to the state militaries during World War II are now accessible to private individuals. Propaganda penetrates every border and prevents even the most powerful states from defining the martial narrative for their people.

Tragedy and Hope
, Carroll Quigley observed that the power of the central state is inversely related to the amount of military power available to individuals. After a century in which the technological pendulum swung far towards the advantage of the state, it is apparent that the pendulum is swinging back towards the individual again, and swinging back rapidly.

It is not only technological changes with military applications that have had the effect of reducing state military power. Cheap international travel, diversity regulations, multiculturalism, mass immigration, open borders, and generous welfare systems have resulted in heterogeneous populations of multiple and divided loyalties. Militants from nations as far apart as Germany and Malaysia have been seen fighting in Syria, while jihadists raised in Minneapolis have been killed in action in Somalia and Kenya. Carpet bombing is not much of an option when the enemy is as likely to be found in Dearborn or Paris or Tower Hamlets as Baghdad or Abbottabad or Sana'a. Naval supremacy means little in an era of free trade when the enemy owns no ships, and even air supremacy is of dubious value when the enemy refuses to line up in red-coated ranks on the battlefield to be mowed down from above.

In the 21st Century, the very concept of the battlefield is outmoded. The battlefield is simultaneously everywhere and nowhere. The enemy is simultaneously everyone and no one. And war remains eternal.

When He broke the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, “Come.” And another, a red horse, went out; and to him who sat on it, it was granted to take peace from the earth, and that men would slay one another; and a great sword was given to him.
—Revelation 6:3-4

Insofar as we know, the End of Days are not upon us. But the end of the Pax Americana is rapidly approaching and it is readily apparent to every well-informed observer that War is preparing to mount his steed, and he will soon be once more riding that terrible red horse over the nations of men.

The stories and essays in this collection, the first in what will be an annual military science fiction anthology series, are intended to explore the vital question that presently plagues the finest military minds on the planet. What is 21st Century war and how is it most effectively waged? Whatever armed force of the future can answer that question will become the most viable candidate to succeed the United States of America as Man's foremost military power.


Vox Day

Geneva, Switzerland

December 7, 2014

Editor's Introduction to:
by Eric S. Raymond

If you use a smartphone, if you browse online, if you’ve ever drawn money from an ATM, or if you’re a tanker, mechanized infantryman, Paladin gun bunny, or LAV crewman, you’ve probably used code written by Eric S. Raymond, popularly known as ESR. He even played a minor part in designing the Internet. I’m not sure of everything he’s done; I may have the clearance but I don’t have the need to know.

Eric’s something of a polymath, being a hacker demigod, a martial artist, a musician with multiple recording credits, a libertarian who isn’t a nut about it, a New York Times bestselling author, and a military history buff who goes past buffing all the way to insight. He is one of the founders of the open source software movement, and on occasion, has even been known to commit wargaming.

Though not by any means new to writing, Eric’s short story, “Sucker Punch”, is his first foray into
. I put
in scare quotes, however, because I fully expect to see something similar appear in the headlines the day after tomorrow. What he is describing, or something very like it, is likely to happen one day, and sooner than you think.

BOOK: Riding the Red Horse
2.39Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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