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indwig
08-27-2014, 12:24 AM
Hello!

My MC starts out as a soldier (it's an urban fantasy/sci-fi type setting, so no worrying about country specifics) for chapter 1. He's on a base near the area where the fight's going on. In chapter 2, he's recovering in sickbay from a perhaps fatal wound.

- what is an infantry soldier's daily routine, supposing he's in/near the battlefield?

- do soldiers bunk all together in one big room/area? If so, where do they put all their personal stuff and ensure it's not stolen?

- do soldiers keep their mobile phones and can they call when on base and on their down time?

- apparently, (American) soldiers aren't allowed to keep the weapons they use when on active duty. Could you bring your own gun to a fight?

- are deployments attacks/operations done in the morning? Or is it more of an element-of-surprise thing?

- do soldiers fight every day? (Missile strikes/air warfare are still going on) Is it the same bunch all at once or little groups on rotation?

- is it realistic to have ground troops starting to move in on an area and having an air strike while they're en route? Or air strike, then send in the guys?

- what's a military sickbay like? Do they have those on base (I suppose they must)? Is there a set size or does it vary from base to base? Are they as fully stocked as hospitals in the necessary fields (mainly surgery)? Is it common that they run out of certain things (random example: morphine)?

- this is a minor point, but are gas masks stuffy? I'm talking about the filtering sort that covers the entire face.

I think that might be it. I'll add more questions as I think of them. :tongue

mirandashell
08-27-2014, 12:32 AM
I know you said no worrying about country specifics but are the military in their own country or someone else's?

indwig
08-27-2014, 12:39 AM
(Gee, that was quick :D)

They're in their own country. It's an Empire, somewhat based on Europe, but with little to none of the European countries' way of doing things (which is why I said it wasn't country specific. Not to say I don't want to hear about your experiences if you've only served in the US/UK/China/wherever! Basically I'll be picking and choosing). And they'll be invading the country next door. Most of them would have set up camp in the conquered city while the MC and some others would have been transported back to base or the nearest hospital.

mirandashell
08-27-2014, 12:45 AM
And the level of technology is the same as America now?

indwig
08-27-2014, 12:51 AM
It's a mite more advanced given that I'm attempting sci-fi. Keyword: attempting. So I haven't got that much futuristic-y stuff (no teleporters, for example), but the military related stuff I've got for the moment is:

- Tissue regenerator: machine to quicken healing, though it causes scarring
- cellulium (it's a working title, heh): a mineral, mined from the Northern mountain range, refined and boiled down to liquid and used to power various things (ex: vehicles)

Drachen Jager
08-27-2014, 01:52 AM
- what is an infantry soldier's daily routine, supposing he's in/near the battlefield?

Depends on his role, depends on the mission. There isn't really a routine, per se. In some forces, all members get up a half hour before sunrise and stay on the perimiter for an hour, repeating the process a half hour before sunset (most attacks occur during twilight for the various tactical advantages).

- do soldiers bunk all together in one big room/area? If so, where do they put all their personal stuff and ensure it's not stolen?

Not in the field in proximity to the enemy. Makes it too easy to take out everyone at once. Depends on the situation, but usually in 1-4 man tents (we had tarps that could be used as a 1 man tent, or zipped together to form 2 or more-man tents).

- do soldiers keep their mobile phones and can they call when on base and on their down time?

Hell no. You want G.I. moron next to you revealing your position when his phone rings at the wrong moment? Or, presuming a higher-tech opponent, giving away your position with his signals? (actually, second thought... it depends on the nature of the base. First reaction was in a high-threat combat position)

- apparently, (American) soldiers aren't allowed to keep the weapons they use when on active duty. Could you bring your own gun to a fight?

Not really. Depends a little on the circumstances and the force you're with. Mostly, no.

- are deployments done in the morning? Or is it more of an element-of-surprise thing?

What do you mean by deployments?

- do soldiers fight every day? (Missile strikes/air warfare are still going on) Is it the same bunch all at once or little groups on rotation?

No. It depends on the circumstances, type of war. Recently in Afghanistan or Iraq, they might patrol most days, but that wouldn't involve fighting most of the time. Most of what actual soldiers do in war is sit around and wait.

- is it realistic to have ground troops starting to move in on an area and having an air strike while they're en route? Or air strike, then send in the guys?

That's a typical tactic. Hit the enemy with a rolling barrage as you move forward. At some times/places it was even seen as a good thing to lose a small percentage of your own men to your own artillery. You'd walk the artillery forward, with soldiers close behind, so they could hit the enemy before they'd recovered from the barrage. Better to lose 5% to friendly fire and 10% to enemy fire than 20% to enemy fire.

- what's a military sickbay like? Do they have those on base (I suppose they must)? Is there a set size or does it vary from base to base? Are they as fully stocked as hospitals in the necessary fields (mainly surgery)? Is it common that they run out of certain things (random example: morphine)?

Never heard the term sickbay outside of Star Trek. Watch MASH for field conditions. That's pretty close to the way it's still done. It depends partly on what level you're talking, is this the company's medic tent, or a hospital unit attached to the battalion?

- this is a minor point, but are gas masks stuffy? I'm talking about the filtering sort that covers the entire face.

Not really. They're pretty easy to breathe in these days. Worth noting that modern gas masks have tubes for you to stick into a socket in your water bottle so you can drink while suited up. Also worth noting that the mask is only a small part of the NBCD kit. Mostly if you're equipped with mask, you'll also have the full body suit (we called 'em bunny suits) including rubber booties that go over your combat boots and a hood. They also have decontamination mitts and a few atropine auto-injectors (anti nerve-gas).


Hope there's something useful there.

badwolf.usmc
08-27-2014, 04:42 AM
1: Dailey routine depends on your job.
2: bunking depends on location. When I was on my camp, we had GP tents for every 5 guys.
3: mobile phones were our primary means of communication. Every war and location is different.
4: you can't use your own weapon, it's against the Geneva convention. Plus just imagine the logistic issues with something like that.
5: what do you mean by deployments?
6: no. Just look up the side effects of "days in combat".
7: yes, most air dropped munitions have a massive kill radius.
8: medical stations are just like hospitals and they can run out of things, depending on how the supply situation is. Normally they don't run out of things, medical supplies are a priority.
9: stick a sock in your mouth and try to breath like that for 10 minutes. Not fun but doable. Oxygen deprivation masks have a similiar effect as gas masks.

Duncan J Macdonald
08-27-2014, 05:19 AM
Sickbay is a Naval term. The US Army calls them Combat Support Hospitals.

Cell phone/Smart phone would be an issued item, not a personal one, with various assorted battlefield apps and security built in.

Weapons are issued as well, though I did know a few Marines who carried personal weapons (all were chambered in .45 ACP). I had a personal weapon in the ship's armory (Ruger Redhawk .44 Mag) which I signed out when I wanted to fire it (lots of open water during a naval deployment) during a regular scheduled familiarization firing period.

Trebor1415
08-27-2014, 07:16 AM
My best recommendation is for you to read some personal accounts of soldiers in some of the more recent conflicts. There are a ton of memoirs that came out of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and they would help you general understanding of the topic.

I'm not a vet, but I have a lot of friends who are, and one of the things they hate is when a writer has obviously never served in the military, and didn't do the research, and their military winds up being a rehash of all the war movies and TV they've seen.

Non military guys can write good military stuff, but it takes more research to even understand the basics of how the military operates, what military culture is really like, how soldiers train and fight, what they do in their downtime, etc.

There's also a ton of bloggers in the military. Here's one I used to read a few years ago you might want to look at

http://www.justanothersoldier.com/

espresso5
08-27-2014, 07:17 AM
1. depends
2. depends. In a two week period I stayed in a huge tent with fifty guys in cots side by side to having my own room, and everything in between.
-duffel bags are lockable, and some units have lockable trunks. In general, you trust your fellow soldiers not to steal your stuff, but if you have something that you absolutely don't want stolen, you carry it with you at all times.
3. yes. They can call if they have service, which generally they won't if they're halfway around the world
4. no
5. deployment is usually the term used for the entire trip (eg, a deployment to Iraq). I think you mean attack, in which case it would typically be at night or in the morning. Patrols can be at any hour, and they can frequently result in contact.
6. During peak months our unit had soldiers on patrol every day, but individuals would rotate through. An individual would generally do three or four patrols a week. It will be different depending on the unit, mission, troops available, etc. In terms of actual fighting, in some areas going on a patrol would equal fighting 99% of the time, and in other areas a patrol was literally a walk in the park. In addition to patrols there would be various missions such as cordon and search, raids, etc., which may or may not result in fighting.
7.sure
8. it depends on the outpost/base. It could range from three or four stretchers with basic first aid supplies to a full on hospital.
9. I wouldn't call them stuffy per se, but I wouldn't want to wear one around for a long time. If you want to get an idea of what it's like, wear a dust mask and scuba mask. Not so bad for a few minutes, but when the condensation starts to build or you have to do heavy physical activity, it gets old.

Squids
08-27-2014, 08:25 AM
- what is an infantry soldier's daily routine, supposing he's in/near the battlefield?

As others have said, it depends.



- do soldiers bunk all together in one big room/area? If so, where do they put all their personal stuff and ensure it's not stolen? Also depends, but usually. The number of people in one berthing/tent/etc depends. If you don't want it stolen, lock it up. If you really don't want it stolen, keep it on you.

It's funny. I trust most of the guys I'm around. Whenever we've gotten into bad situations, only a couple of them have ever betrayed that trust. But I still lock everything up, because you never know.



- do soldiers keep their mobile phones and can they call when on base and on their down time? I always have my phone on me. Depending on where you are, you may have service, but it will be international and will cost a shitload of money. If you can use it at all. I mainly use it for music and reading.



- apparently, (American) soldiers aren't allowed to keep the weapons they use when on active duty. Could you bring your own gun to a fight? Depends. Regular guys, no. Special operations/forces/warfare is different.



- are deployments done in the morning? Or is it more of an element-of-surprise thing? I'm assuming you mean operations. A deployment, generally, is when a unit or command is sent over to an area for a period of time to accomplish some overall mission.

As for operations, it just depends. Patrols can be done at various times, as can specific missions/operations. It really depends.



- do soldiers fight every day? (Missile strikes/air warfare are still going on) Is it the same bunch all at once or little groups on rotation?It can be every day, but it could be days or weeks between. It depends on the area, the mission, the resistance.



- is it realistic to have ground troops starting to move in on an area and having an air strike while they're en route? Or air strike, then send in the guys?Google Combat Controller and JTAC.



- what's a military sickbay like? Do they have those on base (I suppose they must)? Is there a set size or does it vary from base to base? Are they as fully stocked as hospitals in the necessary fields (mainly surgery)? Is it common that they run out of certain things (random example: morphine)?
It varies. They generally get smaller and less capable the closer you are to the "front line." But it does vary. There are bases with actual hospitals on them. There are also COBs and FOBs with a medical tent that has some minor surgical capabilities and first aid to treat 'em and street 'em as they say. Stabilize and ship for the major stuff.



- this is a minor point, but are gas masks stuffy? I'm talking about the filtering sort that covers the entire face.Yes. If you wear them for longer than a few minutes, they get annoying and uncomfortable. They work though. Usually.

indwig
08-27-2014, 04:32 PM
Thanks all!

1) all of you said the daily routine would depend on the job. I'm still discovering loads of different options for infantry soldiers (like 'infantry musician'. Didn't know that was a thing), but my MC's a paratrooper. I'm asking this question because the research I've done has yielded answers for soldiers' routines while on home base and therefore they're mostly training to deploy (physical training + MOS), plus the occasional guard duty and cleaning bit.

But I'm more interested in what soldiers do when they're on combat duty, near the hostile area. Do they lounge about until some sort of signal goes off to let them know that NOW is the time to attack? I suppose they'd also be checking and double checking all their material. I know they'd also be patrolling, but what else?

3) I read somewhere that you couldn't bring mobile phones into a war zone because that might set off bombs or such. And I thought they used radios for communication, but I guess that's old school :tongue

5) I've changed 'deployments' in my original post to attacks/operations.

8) How are soldiers transported from field medical tents to base hospitals? Airlift? And I'm supposing they'd have something akin to EMTs on these choppers?

Thanks again!

Trebor1415
08-27-2014, 06:32 PM
Thanks all!

1) all of you said the daily routine would depend on the job. I'm still discovering loads of different options for infantry soldiers (like 'infantry musician'. Didn't know that was a thing), but my MC's a paratrooper. I'm asking this question because the research I've done has yielded answers for soldiers' routines while on home base and therefore they're mostly training to deploy (physical training + MOS), plus the occasional guard duty and cleaning bit.

Just FYI but if this is near future SF you may want to rethink that "Paratrooper" idea. While the U.S. still has some paratroops, it is pretty much acknowledged that actually dropping by parachute is an obsolete way of entering the battle. For "Vertical envelopment" today they'd use a helicopter and in the near future we'll see more VTOR craft like the Osprey. But, actually dropping under a chute? Not so much.


But I'm more interested in what soldiers do when they're on combat duty, near the hostile area. Do they lounge about until some sort of signal goes off to let them know that NOW is the time to attack? I suppose they'd also be checking and double checking all their material. I know they'd also be patrolling, but what else?

Ok, is this a situation where there are fixed bases and more or less constant operations or is this right at the start of the invasion, or what?

The soldiers will have a base camp near the front line. They'll work on improving the camp, have various duties to attend to including weapon and gear maintenance and training and routine tasks.

They'd be patrolling the area around their base. Before a patrol they'd typically know what subunit is up next for the rotation and that Platoon commander would brief the men on the objectives of the patrol, the route in and out, the weapons and gear required, comm procedures, etc. This is all planned out ahead of time.

Yes, they have down time, but I wouldn't characterize it as "lounging around" all the time. A bored soldier is a soldier more likely to get into trouble and First Sgt's are especially aware of that.

As to "When to attack," if you are talking about a larger scale operation this is even more planned out. It's not a case of "the whistle blows and go attack without any warning." It's more a case of command telling the Company commaners, "The Company will be part of a Battalion sized attack designed to (seize an objective/be a blocking force/whatever) launched tomorrow at (time). Our mission is (whatever). We will insert by (helicopter/ground vehicle/etc).

This info will go down the line from senior to junior officers and then down to the Sgts and from them to the men. At each step they will be instructed as to what they will be doing on the mission, times, and what they have to do to prepare now. It's all very organized.




3) I read somewhere that you couldn't bring mobile phones into a war zone because that might set off bombs or such. And I thought they used radios for communication, but I guess that's old school :tongue

Radios are common. Most are now encrypted. As to personal communication devices, it depends, and either way can be justified for your story.






8) How are soldiers transported from field medical tents to base hospitals? Airlift? And I'm supposing they'd have something akin to EMTs on these choppers?



Modern thinking is to push the wounded patient back to the appropriate level of care as quickly as possible. The platoon medic (Paramedic equiv) will treat him at the scene and evaluate whether he needs immediate transport. If he does, and the situation allows, they will typically airlift him out. My understanding is the current thinking has eliminated one complete level of medical unit so the soldier goes right to the CASH.

Btw, civilian paramedics came about based on the model developed by military medics, not the other way around.

indwig
08-27-2014, 07:24 PM
Just FYI but if this is near future SF you may want to rethink that "Paratrooper" idea. While the U.S. still has some paratroops, it is pretty much acknowledged that actually dropping by parachute is an obsolete way of entering the battle. For "Vertical envelopment" today they'd use a helicopter and in the near future we'll see more VTOR craft like the Osprey. But, actually dropping under a chute? Not so much.

Wouldn't shooting down a helicopter be relatively easier than shooting down people? One well placed rocket and boom?


Ok, is this a situation where there are fixed bases and more or less constant operations or is this right at the start of the invasion, or what?

The story starts on on the fixed base that they're deployed from and then moves on to the start of the invasion (hence my question of send in the troops or the air strikes first, as to hit the enemy the hardest). And it's during this first battle that the MC's injured, though he doesn't realize at first, and then he'll be taken off to hospital.


Radios are common. Most are now encrypted. As to personal communication devices, it depends, and either way can be justified for your story.

I guess he'll just keep his phone with the rest of his stuff, and I'll go on with radios.


Btw, civilian paramedics came about based on the model developed by military medics, not the other way around.

Didn't know that. Just like I wouldn't know the term EMT if it weren't for The Sims! :D

Drachen Jager
08-27-2014, 08:14 PM
Re: parachutes.

I think part of the reason paratroops are losing popularity in the U.S. military is the overall doctrine of Air Supremacy. If you are not in a position to gain or maintain total control of the airspace, then sending troops in by helicopter is a much more dangerous proposition. It's also in part due to the current environment of asymmetrical warfare, so I think you can realistically have some future equivalent of 'paratrooper', so long as the battlefield conditions warrant it.

Operations happen when they happen. Sometimes they're in response to something else, sometimes they're planned days in advance. They begin when they begin and end when they end. If you started every one at 07:00 it would make thing a lot easier for the enemy.

Trebor1415
08-27-2014, 09:52 PM
Wouldn't shooting down a helicopter be relatively easier than shooting down people? One well placed rocket and boom?



And how do the people get into the sky to fall from the parachutes? Seriously, aircraft troop transports are more vulnerable to anti aircraft than helicopters are.

Yes, helicopters can and do get shot down. That's why there are limits to when and how you conduct air assaults. I don't know enough to get into details but I do know that the expected anti air defenses are one of the considerations. (And taking out air defenses is also a consideration, along with active and passive defenses on the helicopters or VTOL aircraft).

Still, for getting troops on the ground quickly and with maximum force concentration a helicopter assault beats paratrooper assault. The problem with mass paratrooper assaults was discovered back in WWII and never really fixed: The troops get spread out and it takes time for them to reorganize and, in the meantime, much of their effectiveness is lost because they aren't concentrated.




The story starts on on the fixed base that they're deployed from and then moves on to the start of the invasion (hence my question of send in the troops or the air strikes first, as to hit the enemy the hardest). And it's during this first battle that the MC's injured, though he doesn't realize at first, and then he'll be taken off to hospital.



You may want to look at the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003 as a model.

The military action to invade Iraq started with the "shock and awe" aerial bombardments. These were widespread and targeted to disrupt enemy command and control and, among other effects, demoralize the enemy. (Side note: As a precurser to the bombing specialized strikes went in first to take out or reduce effectiveness of air defenses, including taking out launch sites and command centers).

So yeah, there is a lot of historical precedent for air strikes and/or artillery bombardment before an attack or invasion. You want to "soften up" the enemy as much as possible, disrupt his command, pin him in place to keep him from repositioning troops to meet threats or bring reinfocements up, etc.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shock_and_awe


(And on a completely different side note, a EMT and a Paramedic are not the same thing. The EMT is a lesser license with less training required and they operate at a lesser skill level and can't do as much. The Paramedic training is more extensive and is closer to military Medic training, although typically not as extensive as that).

indwig
08-27-2014, 11:16 PM
Re: parachutes.

I think part of the reason paratroops are losing popularity in the U.S. military is the overall doctrine of Air Supremacy. If you are not in a position to gain or maintain total control of the airspace, then sending troops in by helicopter is a much more dangerous proposition. It's also in part due to the current environment of asymmetrical warfare, so I think you can realistically have some future equivalent of 'paratrooper', so long as the battlefield conditions warrant it.

Operations happen when they happen. Sometimes they're in response to something else, sometimes they're planned days in advance. They begin when they begin and end when they end. If you started every one at 07:00 it would make thing a lot easier for the enemy.

So as long as the skies are 'safe' (i.e. it's the first surprise attack, and no anti aircraft defenses have been launched because surprise!), sending in paratroopers is viable?


And how do the people get into the sky to fall from the parachutes? Seriously, aircraft troop transports are more vulnerable to anti aircraft than helicopters are.

Yes, helicopters can and do get shot down. That's why there are limits to when and how you conduct air assaults. I don't know enough to get into details but I do know that the expected anti air defenses are one of the considerations. (And taking out air defenses is also a consideration, along with active and passive defenses on the helicopters or VTOL aircraft).

Still, for getting troops on the ground quickly and with maximum force concentration a helicopter assault beats paratrooper assault. The problem with mass paratrooper assaults was discovered back in WWII and never really fixed: The troops get spread out and it takes time for them to reorganize and, in the meantime, much of their effectiveness is lost because they aren't concentrated.

I said that because I figured one relatively big helicopter would be easier to shoot down than 100 relatively small guys falling and parachuting.

And I'd considered the fact that paratroopers spread out when they fall. The city would have been 'softened' by missiles. So, dotted around the city, the soldiers would be able to subdue and conquer it quicker. I thought that if they arrived in one big set, the civilians would just flee to the other side.

And perhaps I should mention that the two countries aren't really enemies. They've never been at war with the other per se. The Empire's just on an expansion campaign, so they're moving on to the next door neighbor. Nothing personal, it's just...we want to rule you.


(And on a completely different side note, a EMT and a Paramedic are not the same thing. The EMT is a lesser license with less training required and they operate at a lesser skill level and can't do as much. The Paramedic training is more extensive and is closer to military Medic training, although typically not as extensive as that).

Oh no! Now I'm going to have to research medical training levels and capabilities! :flag: But thanks. Good information that I can impress my doctor aunt with.

badwolf.usmc
08-28-2014, 05:27 AM
Re: Parachutes

As far as I am aware, there was only one combat drop in Iraq for airborne, and that was an uncontested drop. Massive WWII style air assaults, while they are still trained for, are a thing of the past.

Special forces, on the other hand, use parachute drops all the time.

redfalcon
08-28-2014, 07:10 AM
After the cold war the focus of the Airborne shifted to securing airfields, ports and other high value targets before the main body of troops arrived.

During the Bush Sr. administration, narcotics interdiction, and non-combatant evacuation were big on the training list.

Another big plus of the 82nd Airborne is there ability to be wheels up with a battalion in two hours. When I was in we suited up for Haiti an Panama multiple times, troops in the air is a very big negotiating stick.

As for Iraq and Afghanistan, the desert is not a good place for paratroopers or light infantry, the only reason to have a mass tac jump is as a show of force.

just my .02

Trebor1415
08-28-2014, 07:38 AM
So as long as the skies are 'safe' (i.e. it's the first surprise attack, and no anti aircraft defenses have been launched because surprise!), sending in paratroopers is viable?



Uhh, not quite. First off, there's no way an invasion of a foreign country is going to come as a complete surprise. Even if the invader is the neighboring country they have to build up their logistics base to support an invasion, mobilize the reserves etc. That kind of stuff can't really be hidden. It can be disquised as "training exercises" but even then, the neighboring country will watch closely and keep an eye on things as they know that the "exercise" could be a pretext for an invasion.

Heck, the USSR almost launched an attack against the U.S. and NATO forces in the 80's ('82 or '83, I think) when the U.S. conducted an unparalled military exercise designed to see how ready our forces would be "from a standing start." (i.e., how quickly they could go to war with no real warning). It looked so much like the prelude to an actual war that it almost started one.

As to anti aircraft defenses being "turned on," I don't think you understand how they work. They would be constantly monitoring their airspace, and the airspace across the border, and, if they think there is an attack, the command and control would issue the appropriate orders to defend the airspace. Additionally, local commanders would have some authority to act on their own initative if communications are lost.

A likely scenario would be airstrikes to disrupt the command and control of the air defense network and actually target specific AA batteries in order to clear the way for follow on troops. Even then, they can't be guaranteed of 100% success and, like I said, a transport full of paratroops is a lot more vulnerable to even very localized AA defenses (like hand held missles) than a much stealthier, faster, and more manuevorable helicopter. (Actually more likely 3 or 4 choppers, in part due to size limits on the aircraft and in part to keep the mission going if one is lost).



I said that because I figured one relatively big helicopter would be easier to shoot down than 100 relatively small guys falling and parachuting.

It would probably be two or three helicopters or more advanced VTOL aircraft, not one large aircraft. And, those helicopters are going to be more difficult to shoot down than the transport planes used to drop paratroopers. That's the real danger.


And I'd considered the fact that paratroopers spread out when they fall. The city would have been 'softened' by missiles. So, dotted around the city, the soldiers would be able to subdue and conquer it quicker. I thought that if they arrived in one big set, the civilians would just flee to the other side.

Uhhm, no. If you spread your attacking troops around essentially randomly, you are diffusing their firepower and reducing their effectiveness. Instead of, say, an organized company of infantry with (about) 100 soldiers, fighting as a unit, you now have 30 or 50 units of anywhere from one to three soldiers trying to stay alive long enough to find enough of their friends to form effective small units (that can try to stay alive long enough to form effective larger units.)

As to the civilians "fleeing to the other side of the city," why is that even an issue? In most cases, in a sudden attack, the civilians are going to hunker down and try to stay out of the way. Some may try to flee, but how do they know where to go and how to stay out of the crossfire? Local authorities will also block roads and give military traffic the priority. Besides, an attacker doesn't really care where the local civilians go. They aren't trying to take prisoners, per se, they are trying to take specific objectives as part of their overall mission.

Is there a particular reason you are hung up on having a large scale paratroop drop being an important part of the story instead of the troops being delivered by helicopters or more advanced VTOL aircraft? (Google "Osprey VTOL")

If you really have to have your character drop out of the sky under the silk have him assigned to a unit that is tasked with taking something very specific and vital. An airfield would be an especially good choice. And, give a reason for them dropping with parachutes rather than using helicopters/VTOL aircraft to make it believable.

One thing that might work in a military SF story would be deception. Possibly this small group is being transported aboard what appears to be a regular commercial flight but they suddenly drop paratroopers to take the airfield instead. That would eliminate the worry about the air defenses and would justify not using the standard troop carrier helicopters/VTOL aircraft. This would literally have to be one of the very first attacks as if any reports of fighting are received, it wouldn't work. (That has it's own problems, but could be made to work, in fiction at least).

indwig
08-28-2014, 02:25 PM
Re: Parachutes

As far as I am aware, there was only one combat drop in Iraq for airborne, and that was an uncontested drop. Massive WWII style air assaults, while they are still trained for, are a thing of the past.

Special forces, on the other hand, use parachute drops all the time.

I don't think I'm going to be making him a member of a special force. And can you explain what an 'uncontested drop' is? (I'm only getting football articles when I Google it. And adding 'military' doesn't help)


After the cold war the focus of the Airborne shifted to securing airfields, ports and other high value targets before the main body of troops arrived.

During the Bush Sr. administration, narcotics interdiction, and non-combatant evacuation were big on the training list.

Another big plus of the 82nd Airborne is there ability to be wheels up with a battalion in two hours. When I was in we suited up for Haiti an Panama multiple times, troops in the air is a very big negotiating stick.

As for Iraq and Afghanistan, the desert is not a good place for paratroopers or light infantry, the only reason to have a mass tac jump is as a show of force.

just my .02

Show of force! I like that!

And what you said about securing 'high value targets' has given me food for thought too.


Uhh, not quite. First off, there's no way an invasion of a foreign country is going to come as a complete surprise. Even if the invader is the neighboring country they have to build up their logistics base to support an invasion, mobilize the reserves etc. That kind of stuff can't really be hidden. It can be disquised as "training exercises" but even then, the neighboring country will watch closely and keep an eye on things as they know that the "exercise" could be a pretext for an invasion.

Heck, the USSR almost launched an attack against the U.S. and NATO forces in the 80's ('82 or '83, I think) when the U.S. conducted an unparalled military exercise designed to see how ready our forces would be "from a standing start." (i.e., how quickly they could go to war with no real warning). It looked so much like the prelude to an actual war that it almost started one.

Ah, yes, I should have figured. From what I remember from history class, pre-WWII Europe was aware of Germany rearming itself, but just didn't do anything about it. I guess it would be rather hard to miss.


As to anti aircraft defenses being "turned on," I don't think you understand how they work. They would be constantly monitoring their airspace, and the airspace across the border, and, if they think there is an attack, the command and control would issue the appropriate orders to defend the airspace. Additionally, local commanders would have some authority to act on their own initative if communications are lost.

Do individual cities have their own anti aircraft defenses? Or are they along the borders? Or are they dotted around the place and take care of the airspace for the entire country? (Indeed, I have no idea of how these things work!)


A likely scenario would be airstrikes to disrupt the command and control of the air defense network and actually target specific AA batteries in order to clear the way for follow on troops. Even then, they can't be guaranteed of 100% success and, like I said, a transport full of paratroops is a lot more vulnerable to even very localized AA defenses (like hand held missles) than a much stealthier, faster, and more manuevorable helicopter. (Actually more likely 3 or 4 choppers, in part due to size limits on the aircraft and in part to keep the mission going if one is lost).

AA batteries? I'm assuming you don't mean the sort that go into children's toys and such.

(Sorry, I feel dumb)

'Battery' also refers to 'artillery battery', like cannons. Haha, silly me.


It would probably be two or three helicopters or more advanced VTOL aircraft, not one large aircraft. And, those helicopters are going to be more difficult to shoot down than the transport planes used to drop paratroopers. That's the real danger.

Uhhm, no. If you spread your attacking troops around essentially randomly, you are diffusing their firepower and reducing their effectiveness. Instead of, say, an organized company of infantry with (about) 100 soldiers, fighting as a unit, you now have 30 or 50 units of anywhere from one to three soldiers trying to stay alive long enough to find enough of their friends to form effective small units (that can try to stay alive long enough to form effective larger units.)

As to the civilians "fleeing to the other side of the city," why is that even an issue? In most cases, in a sudden attack, the civilians are going to hunker down and try to stay out of the way. Some may try to flee, but how do they know where to go and how to stay out of the crossfire? Local authorities will also block roads and give military traffic the priority. Besides, an attacker doesn't really care where the local civilians go. They aren't trying to take prisoners, per se, they are trying to take specific objectives as part of their overall mission.

Is there a particular reason you are hung up on having a large scale paratroop drop being an important part of the story instead of the troops being delivered by helicopters or more advanced VTOL aircraft? (Google "Osprey VTOL")

I guess because I've already written a section about them being dropped from the sky. It's not very detailed, but I'm iffy about scraping anything.


If you really have to have your character drop out of the sky under the silk have him assigned to a unit that is tasked with taking something very specific and vital. An airfield would be an especially good choice. And, give a reason for them dropping with parachutes rather than using helicopters/VTOL aircraft to make it believable.

One thing that might work in a military SF story would be deception. Possibly this small group is being transported aboard what appears to be a regular commercial flight but they suddenly drop paratroopers to take the airfield instead. That would eliminate the worry about the air defenses and would justify not using the standard troop carrier helicopters/VTOL aircraft. This would literally have to be one of the very first attacks as if any reports of fighting are received, it wouldn't work. (That has it's own problems, but could be made to work, in fiction at least).

I'm not sure I want to assign him to a special unit.

And as for taking over an airfield (for example), regular airports only have police/security to them, right? They wouldn't have heavy defenses? And if it were an air base, would it make sense to bomb the control tower? So the individual soldiers would be unorganized and scattered?

And can someone tell me the difference between a 'basic infantryman' and a 'rifleman'?

badwolf.usmc
08-29-2014, 03:07 AM
An uncontested drop is where you are not being shot at while you assult. Much like a beach landing where they let forces pile up before making the beach a meat grinder with heavy artillery.

asroc
08-29-2014, 09:04 PM
(And on a completely different side note, a EMT and a Paramedic are not the same thing. The EMT is a lesser license with less training required and they operate at a lesser skill level and can't do as much. The Paramedic training is more extensive and is closer to military Medic training, although typically not as extensive as that).

Paramedics are EMTs. My full title is EMT-Paramedic. (Some states drop the "EMT-" part, but we're all still emergency medical technicians.) When people talk about EMTs vs paramedics they usually use "EMT" as a shorthand for an EMT-Basic.

A combat medic's (68W) scope of practice has a different focus, but is overall closer to that of an EMT-B than an EMT-P.


I have nothing else to add to this thread.

indwig
08-29-2014, 11:56 PM
Much thanks to all of you!

I'll still probably solicit a military-savvy beta reader to go over this particular section when I've gotten it done.

Thanks again! ^_^