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How to pillage a city

****You are perhaps a little giddy about the untold riches which are now yours as the opulent metropolis has fallen to your assault. But how do you take possession of the wealth of a large population center? Too many times because of a poorly planned sacking effort, vast amounts of booty are overlooked, run away, or burned in the inevitable mass conflagrations in the ruins of a once-opulent city, instead of being safely tucked away in the enormous black storage caverns of a ruthless and unfeeling tyrant as they should. A few moments to sketch out the essential points of the operation will pay for themselves many times over afterwards, and will speak well of you as a brilliant entrepreneur when it comes time to write your memoirs.

*Evil plotpoints

  1. Staffing. Think about the last time you moved, multiply that by hundreds of thousands or millions, throw in a damaged infrastructure caused by bombardment and small arms fire, and you will have some idea of the scale of the task it takes to sack a medium-sized city. Even if you take into account that you are interested only in the good stuff, it is clear that you are going to need some serious investment in labor. Fortunately there is a sort of economy of scale that works to your advantage, plus as triumphant despot you get to move your people about according to your own terms. Consider pitching a looting assignment to your battle-weary veterans as a sort of reward for faithful service, with perks, and you may be able to energize your existing corps.
  2. Establish a search pattern. Nothing wastes time like a pillaging effort which has been launched without sufficient planning, where teams of looters miss entire areas of the town or, worse yet, go back over areas already looted by other teams.
  3. Collection strategy. As the individual valuables are brought forth, you need a tree-like structure starting with plastic bins (the kind from the Post Office are good) or milk crates, moving to light trucks at district collection zones, then to large shipping containers at the port to be shipped to your island fastness or whatever. At each level, you need to have record-keepers with checklists, spreadsheets, and databases to record the barcodes that need to be attached to each item. For animate captives, you can use neck collars initially, applying the permanent tattoos and branding when they have been brought to a staging area.

! Strokes of genius

  • Non-obvious places. Besides searching in the bathroom, the closet, between the mattresses, and inside dressers, have your people dump out every container in the kitchen, slice open the children's toys, knock holes in the plasterboard, and tip over the dog dish.
  • Remember your brand. The work of plundering can be tedious, so it is usually helpful for morale's sake to retain some aspect of your original evil impulse in amassing the fortune. If your personal stamp involves intolerance, you could have a bonfire of the vanities where you immolate whatever it is that offends you, offering your plunderers a chance to bond around the conflagration. If you are trying to extirpate the hated name of your enemy, you could incorporate systematic demolition of all properties just as soon as they have been stripped, which has the added benefit of eliminating the waste caused by double-searching.
  • Watch the eyes. Microgestures such as nervous glances toward a hidden cache of treasure may be the key to extracting the utmost from those under your subjugation. You may wish to keep a video camera trained upon the residents for later analysis by experts trained to glean this information.

!! Traps for mere fools

  • Freelancers. Civilian looters should be discouraged or bought off, as they confuse the picture excessively.
  • Misconceptions. Be on guard of the notion among your troops that you to plunger a village.
  • Booby traps. Including fires set by the defenders to deny you your spoil.
  • Unprotected flanks. Are you quite certain that irregulars have all been disposed of? These can pose a nasty threat when your commanders are otherwise occupied.
  • Unwashed produce. Particularly if your enemy is chemical or biological weapons-capable.

+ Precious and needful

  • Firearms. Handguns, shotguns, and rifles will help you deal with any pockets of resistance.
  • Gunny sacks.
  • Off-road trucks. Or, in rural areas, mule carts.

Money Shot

Further plotting

Created by: GrinningSkull. Last Modification: Wednesday 26 of August, 2009 17:20:46 EDT by CapellaNovafyre.

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