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"ScI Fi Realistic Armies and Squads`" Topic

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Thortrains28 Jan 2017 10:49 a.m. PST

For Sci-Fi fans and those who love Sci-fi soldier figures and skirmish games, my latest article:


Enjoy and please share!

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP28 Jan 2017 11:52 a.m. PST

The Imperial Storm Troopers can't be second-rate troops, because no empire or dictatorship would promote relatives and politically reliable officers in lieu of the militarily competent, much less do a purge of their best people.

And Heaven knows no "regular" force would be filled with illiterate peasants, borderline criminals and mental cases and those too powerless to avoid conscription.
And CERTAINLY we'll never see megalomaniacs creating paper armies without the training equipment and discipline to make them of military value.

We must have very different takes on military history. From where I sit, we haven't given up on any of the old mistakes yet, and I don't expect us to. The Death Star looked frighteningly like the Bismark (crippled by a fabric-winged biplane) the Santisima Trinidad and a raft of ship designs going back to classical times where in the absence of any actual thought, someone just went for bigger--and unescorted in the bargain. And all those Storm Troopers run off by a bunch of ewoks seemed all too much like a British army run out of Afghanistan by a bunch of Kabul shopkeepers--or the Harmar and St Clair expeditions, come to that.

I have some quarrels with the Star Wars franchise, but a ruler whose regulars couldn't take out motivated locals on their own ground seems to me well within the range of possible futures.

Ever read H. Beam Piper's "A Slave is a Slave?" The lieutenant newly arrived on a conquered planet announces that none of the local's anti-ship missiles were fit to launch. The Admiral considers this. "But they were nicely polished and there were reams of paperwork explaining why they weren't ready, weren't there?"
"Yes, Admiral, but how did you know?"
"Because some things never change, Lieutenant."

Thortrains28 Jan 2017 1:57 p.m. PST

By contrast, the forces of the Third Reich and Imperial Japan were first-rate armies made up mostly of conscripts and led by a dedicated officer corps. So a successful Empire of the future might of necessity build a quality army rather than repeat the mistakes of entities such as Imperial Russia or the latter years of the Ching Dynasty.

Mako11 Inactive Member28 Jan 2017 2:22 p.m. PST

If Vader had put shock collars on all the Imp Stormies, I suspect their aim might have improved considerably.

TheDesertBox Inactive Member28 Jan 2017 2:32 p.m. PST

I think the Stormtroopers not hitting anything has less to do with their training and more to do with the rebel "plot armor".

Also, keep in mind the Empire is primarily a (space) naval power and occupation force. They project power with the fleet, not crack ground troops.

Thortrains28 Jan 2017 2:38 p.m. PST

The use of naval power does not prevent the use of crack ground troops. I'll be posting that article in a couple days. Historically, most navies have had units of infantry, usually elite. The US Marines and UK Royal Marines have that naval heritage.

I am posting a four-part series, and the current is Part I. Tomorrow will deal with Security personnel and Monday will cover Landing Parties. Last will look at rebel types, mercenaries and science personnel.

Thortrains28 Jan 2017 2:51 p.m. PST

My mistake – tomorrow deals with Crewmen of various types, and Monday is Security and Landing Parties.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP28 Jan 2017 2:56 p.m. PST

"…the forces of the Third Reich and Imperial Japan were first-rate armies made up mostly of conscripts and led by a dedicated officer corps."

Yeah. Sometimes. Read up on Luftwaffe ground divisions some time. Or coastal defense divisions. Or that Hitler special the panzer brigades of 1944. That's not to mention Volksturm or some of the "booty Germans." (Would someone who knows the Imperial Japanese forces care to join in?) I do not say you can't create good troops--even first-rate units--out of some discouraging material. I DO say that there is not an "arc of history" which will ensure that in the future all "regulars" will be formidable. I was a regular myself, in a good modern army, and I'm not sure I could have qualified for a Roman legion in their heyday.

I'm sure SOME future regulars will be excellent soldiers. I enjoyed reading Starship Trooper as much as anyone. I merely say I do not regard a movie as unrealistic for saying they won't all be. They never have been, and I don't see it starting now

Thortrains28 Jan 2017 3:10 p.m. PST

I am aware of all of that. Ho-Hum. I was in a good army in my day, too. The fact is that I stand on what I said. I do not agree with your perceptions or your conclusions. All this reminds me of the platoon who went out thinking they might have a dust-up with the local VC, but instead ran into a company of NVA. Big difference!

TheDesertBox Inactive Member28 Jan 2017 3:23 p.m. PST

Naval power certainly does not proclude top-rate ground forces. But in the case of a galactic empire with hundreds or thousands of planets, it seems more likely they were focused on quantity over quality to maintain dominion.

Besides, we DO have examples of elite ground-pounders -- from the original trilogy no less! The 501st Legion steamrolled the defenders on Hoth. The only reason it wasn't the end of the rebellion was the incompetence of the fleet.

Mako11 Inactive Member28 Jan 2017 8:54 p.m. PST

"Also, keep in mind the Empire is primarily a (space) naval power and occupation force. They project power with the fleet, not crack ground troops".

I seem to recall "old Ben" saying stormtroopers were "crack shots", despite voluminous video evidence to the contrary.

Perhaps he was suffering from dementia, or Alzheimer's, or had never really seen what people who are "crack shots" can do, even when blindfolded.

Insomniac28 Jan 2017 9:47 p.m. PST

The clone army seemed to do pretty well… and they are just early stormtroopers.

ROUWetPatchBehindTheSofa29 Jan 2017 7:32 a.m. PST

Ignoring plot armour and the like. Storm troopers took the Tantive without too many problems, casualities from a frontal assualt aside, and managed to bag Leia without killing her or stunning each other. As noted Hoth went their way, probably with more causalities than anticipated, but the harpoon and cable defense seems like a very nasty un-textbook trick! All the other places where the stormtroopers get their behinds handed to them are assymetric situations. Situations where even elite troops can come unstuck. Also clones maybe individually very good troops and very well drilled, but how well do they react to situations run outside their excellerated'ly learnt doctrines? Clearly the First Order didn't think that clones were the answer to all things infantry.

Thortrains29 Jan 2017 7:55 a.m. PST

"….outside their excelleratedly learnt doctrines…"

Good question.

It is the nature of a soldier to fall back on his training. This can sometimes be a problem. Think of the British frontal advances at the Somme or the Japanese Banzai charges. In both cases, officers ran out of tactics and fell back on training that was not up to par with the situation. It is a matter of being able to "think on the fly" or revert to the limits of one's training.

ROUWetPatchBehindTheSofa29 Jan 2017 3:16 p.m. PST

I think I'd also toss in political interference – I'm reasonably certain that if you polled the actual former soldiers on TMP you'd find that when faced with a situation like that on Endor they wouldn't go chasing off into close terrain infested with a suddenly aggressive force hostile natives of uncertain size, even if primitively equipped and they've just sprung your prize capitves (after all they didn't need to, all the Imperial army just had sit tight until the Rebel fleet was wasted). We don't know what their actual orders were but I'm guessing that somewhere along the line the fact that the Emperor is a bit more zappy and Vader a bit more chokey than say a typical board of enquiry, a Senate Committee or Parlimentary Select Committee hearing could have something to do with the excess of zeal!
Also IIRC clones were altered for unquestioning loyalty, which is fine up to the point their commanders tell them to do something daft…

Covert Walrus29 Jan 2017 3:49 p.m. PST

Stimulating article, Thortrains.

I will take exception to your comment about writers though Many SF writers up till about the 1980s had seen combat, notably Joe Haldeman, Gordon R. Dickson, Rick Shelley, C M Kornbluth, Jerry Pournelle, Elizabeth Ann Scarborough ( Front-line nurse in Viet Nam counts I should think ), John Ringo, Elizabeth Moon and Sandra McDonald spring to mind.

Thortrains30 Jan 2017 9:34 a.m. PST

I stand corrected. And front-line Nurse in Vietnam definitely counts. Those women were amazing!

Thortrains01 Feb 2017 4:11 p.m. PST

I did several other articles on speculative Sci Fi on my blog. I did several in early 2015, covering everything from subterranean warfare to actual Army and Air Force plans from 1959 to build facilities on the Moon. I am still working on making a sci fi skirmish version of the OMOG rules on my site

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