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fedorable1
08-18-2005, 03:59 AM
Just a quick theoretical situation and question, here:

Situation: There's a fairly large city that has come under attack. The U.S. Military has ordered that the civilians be moved to another, safer city. Communication is severed, but before-hand it is made clear that the U.S. soldiers are to evacuate, too. But there are still civilians left, and so the soldiers decide to remain - against orders - until the civilians are safe.

The question: What would you think would be the highest-ranking officer at this scene? It seems to be a situation that calls for, say, a Major or lower. Do you think anyone higher would be placed in, or remain in, a situation like that? Or should I keep it with lower-ranking officers?

aadams73
08-18-2005, 04:20 AM
Just my opinion, but I would say Captain.

marcusgee
08-18-2005, 05:53 AM
To keep it believable, you'd probably be best off keeping the number of soldiers down to a single squad, in which case a sarge would be in charge. Or you could ratchet the number up to a full platoon, where a lieutenant would be in charge.

Hope that helps!

fedorable1
08-18-2005, 07:28 AM
Alright, so keep it small, basically. Got it. That's what I figured.

Thanks. :D

Garpy
08-18-2005, 11:33 AM
But I would say there would be the lowest level of commissioned officer, A captain/ Leuitenant perhaps.

aadams73
08-18-2005, 01:21 PM
You might find this very helpful:

http://vialardi.org/IRAQ/military_units.html

An army may comprise 50,000 or more soldiers, who are led by a lieutenant-general or higher rank. It consists of one to eight corps.

A corps, a tactical unit of ground combat forces, is made up of two or more divisions commanded by a lieutenant-general. Its numbers may vary widely between 20,000 and 40,000 soldiers.

A division performs major tactical operations for the corps and is capable of sustained combat. It is led by a major-general. Generally, nine battalions make up a division. The number of soldiers in a division may range from 9,000 to 15,000.

A brigade has three or more battalions under the command of a colonel. It has up to 5,000 soldiers. Armoured cavalry and ranger units of a similar size to a brigade are called regiments, while special-forces units are known as groups.

A battalion is the main combat manoeuvre unit. Commanded by a lieutenant-colonel, it is made up of four to six companies. Its numbers range from 300 to 1,000 soldiers. An armoured unit of similar size to a battalion is called a squadron.

A company (in the infantry), battery (in the artillery) or troop (in the cavalry) is usually led by a captain and consists of two to four squads. A company has between 69 and 190 soldiers.

A squad, commanded by a staff sergeant, has about 10 soldiers.


These are for the USA. Listed below them are the British equivalents.

Aconite
08-18-2005, 03:35 PM
Er...if a squad has about 10 soldiers, and a company is two to four squads...how does a company consist of between 69 and 190 soldiers?

fedorable1, I'm not a military expert, but when a bunch of soldiers collectively decide to disobey orders, I think that becomes a really serious offense. Much, much more so than if they individually decide to disobey orders, which is pretty serious in itself.

Doyle
08-18-2005, 04:48 PM
You start out with a "fairly large city" -- so how many civillians are left? The number of civillians remaining may give you some idea of how many soldiers you may want/need. One soldier for every 10 civies? A thousand civillians then means a hundred soldiers, and you have a company with a captain. 500 civillians would give you 50 soldiers, then you could get by with a platoon and a Lt. No one mentioned this, but if this is a rag-tag group, maybe the leadership can be dropped on a Warant Officer, he/she wouldn't like it (probably) but would be "stuck" with it if there were no regular line officers around. Of course the overall command/decision making will be done by the 1st Sargeant anyway (right?). Warrant Officers come in all shapes and sizes, usually specialists in a particular field (electronics) or copter pilots. They usually shun leadership positions, so having one thrust into it may add some tension and other exploitable elements to your story.

Happy writing.

Doyle

NeuroFizz
08-18-2005, 05:34 PM
The list provided leaves out a PLATOON, which, I believe, goes between company and squad, and can be of the appropriate size such that two to four (or more) of them make up the company.

If the military is leaving a presence that is smaller than a company, even if it is extremely small, a commissioned officer will still be left in charge. So, put a first or second leuitenant in charge, even if the contingent is squad-sized. It may be stereotypical, but you can rack up the tension by having a greenhorn second leuitenant and an experienced sergeant at odds with one another, or play it the other way around--have a savvy, but inexperienced leuitenant and a ba**s out, shoot-before-asking sergeant butting heads. Above all, remember that there are intelligent and reasonable people in the military who are dedicated to their job of defending and protecting our country.

aadams73
08-18-2005, 05:45 PM
Yeah, the list isn't perfect, but it at least gives a general idea.

(no pun intended)


Edited to add:

This question might have been better placed at the Story Research board.

rtilryarms
08-19-2005, 04:17 AM
Most rebellious soldiers are lieutenants and below. Higher than lieutenant is an indicator of a career minded military or civil servant (*cough* politician *cough*) individual. as we know, these types have big mouths, coifed pompadours and weak knees.

The exceptions usually jump over the middle ranks to junior and high Generals, such as MacArthur, Patton and Montgomery. Lower rebels like Oliver North et al believed they were breaking rules for the good of the country under orders.

Id go Colonel or lieutenant. Colonel sounds the best. Just pattern the behavior after North, and of course you MUST emulate Tommy Lee Jones, and you got a winner.

rtilryarms
08-19-2005, 04:20 AM
Actually, there was a Tommy Lee Jones movie where he, an ex soldier, put the city of Manhatten under seige while in Centeral Park. Sounds very much like what you are trying to acheive with a troop or more. Rent the movie, you will love it and it may have some inspiration.

inexperiencedinker
08-19-2005, 11:38 PM
Former military (enlisted lower ranking) opinion - extremely- biased!

Don't yell at me all you officers, and stop sniggering all you noncoms (military speak for non-commissioned officer (sergeant and above)).

I agree with rtilryarms about the 'politician' comment. In fact if you need more soldiers in the city than a squad or platoon and want company or bigger, maybe have the Captain or Major make the decision (or get pushed into it), and then bail out. As a junior ranking soldier i can tell you it would be believable!

Also one note - different service branches have different ranks and responsibilities. Corporal is a lost art in the Army (rarely used) and heavily relied on in the Marines.

Here (http://www.defenselink.mil/specials/insignias/) is a good link for the differences and insignia. E-1 thru E-9 are enlisted. W-1 thru W-5 are warrant officers, and O-1 thru O-10 are officers. The E-W-O quotient is used throughout the services, even if their rank titles are different, and symbolizes the pay scale for the Department of Defense. I still work for DoD, so email me if you have any other questions, I have some pretty good websites.

BradyH1861
08-20-2005, 01:23 AM
Most rebellious soldiers are lieutenants and below. Higher than lieutenant is an indicator of a career minded military or civil servant (*cough* politician *cough*) individual. as we know, these types have big mouths, coifed pompadours and weak knees.


Wow, have you spent time around Fire Departments? That certainly applies there as well! (though our rank structure is different....for us to go above Captain requires a political bent)

Brady H.

reni
08-21-2005, 11:00 PM
If it was me, I would go smaller still. As in, a first squad leader goes willy nilly against orders to go back and save people, and his/her squad follows his/her example despite the certain repercussions.

Topsarge
08-29-2005, 08:16 PM
Just a quick theoretical situation and question, here:

Situation: There's a fairly large city that has come under attack. The U.S. Military has ordered that the civilians be moved to another, safer city. Communication is severed, but before-hand it is made clear that the U.S. soldiers are to evacuate, too. But there are still civilians left, and so the soldiers decide to remain - against orders - until the civilians are safe.

The question: What would you think would be the highest-ranking officer at this scene? It seems to be a situation that calls for, say, a Major or lower. Do you think anyone higher would be placed in, or remain in, a situation like that? Or should I keep it with lower-ranking officers?

I've read through the threads here relating to this question and, since I retired from the Army as a First Sergeant, feel somewhat qualified to speak. First, it is correct that the unit below company and above squad is a platoon. An infantry platoon, which I assume is what you are looking at, will have three rifle squads and a heavy weapons squad. It would be commanded by a First or Second Lt. and have a Staff Sergeant or Sergeant First Class as the ranking NCO. Each squad would have a Sgt, three striper, as the squad leader. Sometimes a corporal will be a squad leader but, as has been stated previously, there aren't many corporals left anymore. They are now Specialist 4's.
As for the unit disobeying orders and remaining to see the civilians to safety, well, that's a bit of a grey area. If the Platoon Leader was under orders to evacuate the city, regardless of how many civilians are left I seriously doubt that a Lt. would have guts enough to disobey an order. Especially since his responsibility is the safety of his command. However, it is also not unusual for the military to put itself in jeapordy in order to save human lives. So, if you create a platoon leader who has the loyalty of his troops, I think you could safely have him disobey the order in an effort to save the civilians. This would create a lot of tension within the group but, if the Platoon Sgt is also strong, then they will follow the Lt. and save the civilians. also, it might help to have someone a little higher up in the chain of command as an antagonist. I would suggest a Major, they're between a Captain and a Lt. Colonel and usually some of the more ambitious types. Sounds like a great premise and I think it would be a stronger story if the platoon had more than just a few civilians to evacuate. The larger the group the more difficult the logistics.
Good luck with the story. I hope this helps.

fedorable1
08-29-2005, 08:48 PM
Wow. I was wondering where this thread went to. LOL It was moved, and I couldn't figure out where.

Anyway, thank you all so far! Your input is invaluable.

In regards to what a few of you have asked, I have a few clarifications:


* The city WAS quite high in population until the first attack - which was a surprise. By the time the soldiers assemble to properly defend the city there are about 500,000 civilians left in the city. (Which is comparable to Cleveland or Denver, if that gives you a sense of size.)

* When the army is ordered to pull out, there are still about 3,000 civilians preparing to leave. They are evacuating by way of underground trams, and so they can only flee so fast.

* There isn't a whole lot of dissention in the story, at least in this scene. The army obviously doesn't want to stay, and would much rather follow orders. However, there are people still there and the army commander(s) can't make him/themselves abandon the city with unarmed innocents still there.


If the scene was more vital, I'm sure there could be some Crimson Tide forms of conflict or possibly even mutiny as those loyal to orders argue with those who want to protect the civilians first. However, the scene isn't a major one, but it does influence the rest of the story in some ways - at least as far as those involved are concerned.

SueLymer97
08-31-2005, 11:52 PM
A Lt. Colonel who was passed over for promotion would be a good choice. He doesn't care if the brass doesn't like his choice and who knows, it may get him that promotion.

Aconite
09-01-2005, 12:20 AM
A Lt. Colonel who was passed over for promotion would be a good choice. He doesn't care if the brass doesn't like his choice and who knows, it may get him that promotion.
Unless it gets him court-martialed for disobeying orders.

JohnP
09-04-2005, 05:01 AM
The LTC is the appropriate rank for a city based on this scenario. He/She can be in charge of a detail consisting of the required ratio military to civilian. The officer must be a field grade officer, i.e. Major or above. A full Colonel would be inappropriate for this mission.



JohnP

SFC,

U.S. Army Retired