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Orianna2000
05-31-2016, 07:17 PM
At some point recently, I read that if you're drafted into the military, you're much more likely to die in battle than someone who joins willingly. Is this true? I can't seem to find the source of this information and Google isn't turning up anything. I need to know the exact statistics, if possible. What are your odds of survival if you're conscripted, versus signing up of your own free will? And what's the rationale behind this? Why are you more likely to survive if you joined willingly, as opposed to being drafted?

Also, is there a name for those who join the military willingly, other than "volunteers"? I'm trying to write a scene where a military leader is announcing the setup of a draft, since they're about to declare war on a neighboring country, and he's telling the people that those who volunteer for military service are more likely to survive than those who are conscripted. But I need something to call the volunteers, other than volunteers. (Earlier in the story, students were forced to serve as nurses and orderlies in the hospital during a severe influenza outbreak. I called them "volunteers," so I need something different for the soldiers.)

If it matters, this is for a sci-fi/dieselpunk novel on a different world, in a setting that's vaguely parallel to our WWII-era. They're actually descendants of human colonists, but blissfully unaware of their ancestry.

Cath
05-31-2016, 08:45 PM
I am speculating wildly, but I suspect that if you're drafted:

a) the war is in progress and taking heavy casualties already (hence the need to draft people into replace said casualties).
b) training given to conscriptees is shorter because of the need to get them on the front line. and
c) those who signed up willingly are less likely to be on the front line in scenario a) because they have been promoted to command or training positions...

T Robinson
05-31-2016, 09:18 PM
Google: Combat survival rates volunteer versus draft

4. It compromises the quality of military service.
Unlike those who are willing to become a soldier to serve the country for a long time, soldiers who are drafted are considered inexperienced, who might provide low-quality combat skills whenever they are sent to wars. Since these individuals were not adequately trained and not given enough time to use their combat skills, the combat death rate would increase. For example, the US Armed Forces recruits volunteers to pass tests and trials that are required to enlist, and many of these examinations are designed to create military staff and soldiers who will eventually join the force upon their training’s completion. Many people would go on to serve and remain in the military for several years. (from pros and con list of a draft, second link)

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwijx7Ln4oTNAhUHziYKHZ9EA5IQFgggMAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.nationalvietnamveteransfounda tion.org%2Fstatistics.htm&usg=AFQjCNHhUSV3xrOsQT_jbfva0npBMXOLNQ&sig2=BBP5R8ie1bMsE0tyqagk9w

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=6&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwijx7Ln4oTNAhUHziYKHZ9EA5IQFgg-MAU&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cbo.gov%2Fsites%2Fdefault%2F files%2F110th-congress-2007-2008%2Freports%2F07-19-militaryvol_0.pdf&usg=AFQjCNF1N7AoXqaAWpLNsDOE2-qvF9xqRg&sig2=SYoVy4rTEmfbSy4P8rlhug

Drafted armies are by their nature amateur armies. Soldiers usually serve for as little as six months to a year before being discharged. As we learned in World War II, an amateur army can become professional over time but the price of learning is measured in blood. It takes years to build a cohesive band of brothers within close combat units. A draft would rush unprepared, under-trained and poorly bonded soldiers into battle only to get them killed. If you think that post-traumatic stress disorder is a problem for a volunteer force, just watch the consequences of putting unwilling, poor quality drafted soldiers under enemy fire. (link below)

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=2&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwjJ8-OD6ITNAhVC5CYKHXMvD0QQFggnMAE&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwarontherocks.com%2F2013%2F12%2Fd rafted-armies-are-self-killing-machines%2F&usg=AFQjCNEmFNZWTqObapwZ676LIGx2Dss9MA&sig2=iuAJp9lMfpG_yIBj2pcFtA&bvm=bv.123325700,d.eWE

HTH

Orianna2000
05-31-2016, 10:05 PM
That's helpful, thanks.

I can't seem to find the percentages involved--what are your odds of surviving if you're a draftee vs a volunteer? Are conscripts twice as likely to die? Five times as likely? I found a site that said 70% of the soldiers killed during one particular war (I forget which one, but I'm guessing either WWII or Vietnam) had been drafted. But I'm awful with math, so I don't know how to equate that into usable odds.

And I'm still wondering if there's a specific term to describe military volunteers, other than "volunteer." All the sites I was looking at called the US military "volunteer forces," but surely there's another word for it? My thesaurus found "enlist" as an alternative for "volunteer" but I thought everyone who joins the military enlists, whether you're forced to or not. Is that assumption wrong?

blacbird
05-31-2016, 10:30 PM
I am speculating wildly, but I suspect that if you're drafted:

a) the war is in progress and taking heavy casualties already (hence the need to draft people into replace said casualties).
b) training given to conscriptees is shorter because of the need to get them on the front line. and
c) those who signed up willingly are less likely to be on the front line in scenario a) because they have been promoted to command or training positions...

In the Vietnam era (the last usage of conscription in the U.S.), you had a choice between being drafted for a two-year stint, and enlisting for a three-year term, but with the opportunity to get certain kinds of training that might keep you out of an infantry position. The result was that infantry duty, which is pretty hazardous in wartime, went heavily to the draftees, and less so for the "volunteers". Even then, it wasn't a guarantee that you'd be sent to Vietnam, even if you were drafted. Or that you wouldn't go to Nam if you did enlist.

caw

caw

King Neptune
05-31-2016, 10:42 PM
This is one of the few items that touch that that I could quickly find:
In Vietnam 25% were draftees and they caught 30.4% of the combat deaths.

http://www.nationalvietnamveteransfoundation.org/statistics.htm (http://www.nationalvietnamveteransfoundation.org/statistics.htm)
25% (648,500) of total forces in country were draftees. (66% of U.S. armed forces members were drafted during WWII).
Draftees accounted for 30.4% (17,725) of combat deaths in Vietnam.
Reservists killed: 5,977
National Guard: 6,140 served: 101 died.
Total draftees (1965 - 73): 1,728,344.

If you search carefully, you might find more such statistics.

WeaselFire
06-01-2016, 12:37 AM
This kind of depends on era and what army/military. CAW is correct on issues in Vietnam, where draftees ended up in the line of fire more often. But, in the Russian army in WWII, far more conscripts died in proportion to career military, simply due to the lack of training and being sent directly to the front.

I guess the question becomes what you need for your story. Or are you just wondering?

Jeff

King Neptune
06-01-2016, 12:47 AM
Also, is there a name for those who join the military willingly, other than "volunteers"? I'm trying to write a scene where a military leader is announcing the setup of a draft, since they're about to declare war on a neighboring country, and he's telling the people that those who volunteer for military service are more likely to survive than those who are conscripted. But I need something to call the volunteers, other than volunteers. (Earlier in the story, students were forced to serve as nurses and orderlies in the hospital during a severe influenza outbreak. I called them "volunteers," so I need something different for the soldiers.)


The various terms are inconsistent. Fundamentally there are conscripts and people who enlisted without being required to, but calling those people volunteers is deceptive, because the term "volunteer" in armies has been used to mean people who joined short term for a single campaign (or a short term), as opposed to regulars, who were long term, professional soldiers. I don't know what the best terms would be, but you may find the terms used inconsistently by different sources.

Siri Kirpal
06-01-2016, 03:06 AM
Sat Nam! (Literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

I've always heard Enlisted Man (because they usually were men) for the volunteers and Draftees for the conscripts.

I think it's a mix of lack of training and being more likely to be in the line of fire for the higher death rate. But I'd also say that a person who's joined of his own free will is going to be more gung ho, less depressed, feel more empowered than your average conscript. And I'm sure that does contribute to survival.

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal

Orianna2000
06-01-2016, 03:32 AM
I can make something up, if need be, but I wanted some statistics that seemed realistic.

Thanks, guys!

cmhbob
06-01-2016, 03:32 AM
"Enlistee" would be an alternate word.

Haggis
06-01-2016, 03:53 AM
In the Vietnam era (the last usage of conscription in the U.S.), you had a choice between being drafted for a two-year stint, and enlisting for a three-year term, but with the opportunity to get certain kinds of training that might keep you out of an infantry position. The result was that infantry duty, which is pretty hazardous in wartime, went heavily to the draftees, and less so for the "volunteers". Even then, it wasn't a guarantee that you'd be sent to Vietnam, even if you were drafted. Or that you wouldn't go to Nam if you did enlist.

caw

caw

bb is exactly right. I was an enlistee. I was infantry. I wasn't sent to Vietnam.

shadowwalker
06-01-2016, 08:01 AM
Vietnam was a bit problematic also, because soldiers didn't go in and out as complete units, but as individuals (or small groups). I understand that now units train together and stay together, in and out. Of course, we don't have the draft now, but that lack of continuity certainly had to cause problems for all, and particularly draftees.

Trebor1415
06-01-2016, 11:54 AM
You have to also remember that most soldiers are not in front line combat. For every infantryman with a rifle there are probably 10 support troops including clerks, truck drivers, supply, other administration, etc.

This is still going to be true even in a fantasy world. Someone has to feed, supply, arm, train, and keep track of all the troops.

For your story the incitement to enlist could be that volunteers would have a better chance of being assigned to those kinds of jobs then to be sent to the front as common soldiers.

The pitch would be something like, "We are recruiting skilled workers in the following trades" and then list appropriate type of trades in your world such as teamsters (wagon drivers), stevadores, clerks (people who are literate for record keeping), blacksmiths, metal workers, etc, etc.

Those are also the people the military would really like to intice to enlist because those skills are needed to support an expanding army. And anyone who has those skills, and is smart enough, will recognize the implied threat of "join now and do you normal job or be drafted and be a soldier." Make it a carrot and stick thing with early enlistees havign better shots at better jobs than later draftees

Orianna2000
06-01-2016, 05:34 PM
I did actually have the general who's making the announcement say that those who volunteer for military service will be trained, according to their aptitudes, for less-likely-to-die positions like medics, interpreters, sharpshooters, etc. Thereby giving them an incentive to sign up. The draft is currently only taking those who graduate their equivalent of high school, since war hasn't officially been declared yet, but later, they'll draw from university students and laborers, too.

Twick
06-01-2016, 11:30 PM
I think this is one of those great "it depends" situations. Not all wars have the same average mortality, and not all armies treat enlisted vs conscripted the same.

Trebor1415
06-02-2016, 12:10 AM
I did actually have the general who's making the announcement say that those who volunteer for military service will be trained, according to their aptitudes, for less-likely-to-die positions like medics, interpreters, sharpshooters, etc. Thereby giving them an incentive to sign up. The draft is currently only taking those who graduate their equivalent of high school, since war hasn't officially been declared yet, but later, they'll draw from university students and laborers, too.

I'm gonna unpack some assumptions here:

Why is the General announcing this upcoming draft and recruiting? This implies that this government does not have civilian control of the military or any civilian government that would decide if there will be a draft or how the draft will be conduction. That's fine, as long as that is what you plan. Just looking at the assumption behind it to make sure it fits in how you structure your world. If there is a civilian government that has control over the military (whether an elected government, monarchy, whatever) it would make more sense for a civilian rep to announce the upcoming draft.

Also, the "less likely to die" positions you name, specifically "medics, interpreters, sharpshooters" aren't really that "less likely to die." In reality a battlefield medic is one of the most dangerous jobs. And if by "sharpshooter" you mean something like "Trained sniper" that's also a dangerous frontline job. Interpreters embedded with combat units are also in a dangerous job. (Now if they are back in Army HQ translating captured documents, etc, that might be different).

None of the jobs you listed would be an incentive to join early when you might not get caught in the draft in the first place. You want to use safer jobs as an incentive talk about more support jobs like clerk, truck driver, mechanic, armorer, etc. Those are the jobs that are not on the front line, that require more skill or intelligence, and are more desirable. (To any except an 18 year old who really wants to be a warrior that is). Remember even if "near total mobilization" not everyone gets drafted. Someone still has to grow the food, build the machines, run the society, etc.

Also, have thought about the training time it takes to take a raw recruit and turn them into a soldier, and then train them in a special skill on top of that? It takes months just for basic training and then a couple more months for training for infantry or artillery, etc, and up to years for people like pilots, highly skilled techs, Nurses, etc. Granted, this time can be shortened somewhat, but at a cost of reducing effectiveness. Only in the most desperate circumstances do they draft raw recruits and send them into battle with only weeks (or days) of training. We're talking about the fall of Germany in WWII type of scenario here.

And, in general, how is your military structured and what role does it play in society? Do they have a large standing military? Do they have a smaller professional army with a cadre of trained reservists to draw on when needed? Or are they attempting to build a large army "from scratch."

The answers to these question reflect on the role and position of your military in relation to the society as a whole. A very peaceful culture, especially one that hasn't faced war in generations, is going to generally have a smaller military or de-emphasis military service over a more aggressive culture (think WWII and pre-war Germany) or one that is facing constant outside threats (think Israel).

Last question: What is the point of the "The General's recruiting speech" scene, story wise and plot wise? What are you trying to accomplish with this scene. To me, the underlying scene just doesn't ring true in many ways, so I don't know if the specific answer to your question really helps you any.

EDIT: More thoughts: Having a draft is generally an unpopular thing in society. This is especially true when it is a *new* draft and the society has not had one before. It's not something a government does lightly because it causes it own problems including harming support for the war effort or govt policies.

And it takes time to train draftees and manage the expansion of the army. If you are planning a large war it makes more sense but it is also a signal (to your country and other countries) that you plan to go to war.

Does your country lack a military reserve? A common method is to require everyone (or every male) be drafted at 18 (give or take) receive a few months of basic training, and then be assigned to a reserve unit and go back to civilian life except for certain mandatory training and the possibility of mandatory call up in case of war. These reserves would be called up before any general draft as they are already trained, equipped (more and less) and can be ready to go a lot quicker.

Cath
06-02-2016, 03:42 AM
Remember this forum isn't for speculating about the plot points, it's for answering the questions posed.

It is not safe to assume that someone posting here welcomes your opinion on their plot or situation. Please don't do it.

Orianna2000
06-02-2016, 04:33 AM
It's okay, I appreciate the food for thought, since I don't know a great deal about the military or governments.

The fact that those positions (sharpshooter, medic, etc.) aren't really safer actually fits with the manipulation and coercion perpetrated by this general. He's known for being brutal and manipulative, and he's planning a secret coup to take over the world. Which won't happen until the sequel, but I'm laying the foundation for it now.

It's a militaristic society, so the military IS the government. They're basically pre-WW2, they're the aggressors preparing to march on a relatively peaceful country to the south. Their leader's been planning this war for years, carefully planting seeds of doubt in the public's mind, making them think that any catastrophe is caused by "outsiders," including an influenza outbreak, which he calls a "war-plague," supposedly sent by the neighboring country to weaken them before an invasion. The point is so that when war finally is declared, the people don't object. The draft is nothing new, but it's so they can better control how many people enter military service. The country is very controlling of its population. Curfews, censoring, brainwashing from childhood, all that good stuff.

The story itself is about how a young woman raised by the state slowly opens her eyes to the government's malarkey, becoming disillusioned. And falling in love with a man from another world.

The frustrating part is, I'm woefully ignorant when it comes to military, government, politics, etc. I don't like those things, so I don't know much about them. I don't even read/watch the news, except for rare occasions. I'm a bit out of my depth, but the story decided of its own volition to go in this direction, so I'm muddling through as best I can. Matter of fact, I'm looking for a few beta-readers who are knowledgeable about these kinds of things, so PM me if you're interested. (That's an open invitation to anyone, btw. I'm going to need an army of beta-readers to conquer this novel, LOL!)

Trebor1415
06-02-2016, 07:02 AM
With what you just said I suggest you sit down and do some reading on some real world examples that may help. I suggest reading a bit about Germany after Hitler came to power with an emphasis on the militarization of the country, the Hitler Youth movement (membership was required), and the propoganda.

I'd also look at North Korea for how they control their population.