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fedorable1
10-30-2006, 10:32 PM
I have a situation in my Sci-Fi story which I'm clueless as to how to approach. There are two "nations" essentially, formerly at war, which over time have come to depend on each other. When an outside threat come in they decide to combine their armies into one force. However, both nations have different military/government systems. Essentially they attempt to become one united nation.

This would be equivelant to the modern U.S. Army joining with a Medieval Feudal Army. The ranks and positions would need to find a happy medium. My questions are:

A) Has this happened before? Examples?
B) Is this even feasible, especially in a future setting.
C) Any other suggestions on how to approach this?

Thanks.

greglondon
10-30-2006, 10:43 PM
I would assume that if one is equivalent to the modern US army, and the other is equivalent to the Medieval Feudal Army, that the modern US army would cut through the Medieval Feudal Army like a hot knife through I can't believe its not butter, the modern army would conquer the other nation, and that would be the end of that.

Therefore, I assume the two armies are relatively equal in technological development. If they're relatively equal and modern, why won't any recent UN operation work? If they're not equal, why didn't the M1 tanks simply bulldoze through the catapults and raze the army in chain mail?

fedorable1
10-30-2006, 10:51 PM
They are equal in technological development, it's just the military and political ranking is different. Instead of Presidents, Senators and Generals there are Kings, Dukes and Barons, etc.

Secondly the issue isn't one side conquering the other. I want to know how could such differently structured groups merge to form one cohesive force.

greglondon
10-30-2006, 10:53 PM
As for two equal but separate armies working together, the basic approach seems to be to keep them pretty separate, and simply organize at the strategic level. Normandy D-Day landing had different nationalities landing at different beachheads. US and British forces occupying Iraq basically cut the country up into sections and each army gets a section they're responsible for.

No American wants to hear that their sons and daughters have been put under the immediate command of a foreign officer from another country, another army. I think the same emotional response applies in other settings.

Tactically, it usually makes sense just because the chain of command and the communications infrastructure is built into an army and doesn't usually adapt well to having a platoon consist of mixed fireteams of Yanks and Brits. different training, different ammunition, different responses, different radios using different frequencies, etc.

Higgins
10-30-2006, 11:15 PM
As for two equal but separate armies working together, the basic approach seems to be to keep them pretty separate, and simply organize at the strategic level. Normandy D-Day landing had different nationalities landing at different beachheads. US and British forces occupying Iraq basically cut the country up into sections and each army gets a section they're responsible for.

No American wants to hear that their sons and daughters have been put under the immediate command of a foreign officer from another country, another army. I think the same emotional response applies in other settings.

Tactically, it usually makes sense just because the chain of command and the communications infrastructure is built into an army and doesn't usually adapt well to having a platoon consist of mixed fireteams of Yanks and Brits. different training, different ammunition, different responses, different radios using different frequencies, etc.


Yeap...armies don't combine well as a rule. Some interesting comparisions would be with the exploits of the non-mechanized French in Italy in 1944, the Commonwealth forces attempting to cooperate with the Greeks in 1941, cavalry and sled and ski troops in the Russian army in WWII, the Arab Insurrection and Allenby's Palestine campaign (see T. E. Lawrence but also L. Harte)...or even the Wehrmacht of WWII which was only partly mechanized and had the SS to contend with...

Thought Leadership
10-31-2006, 05:40 AM
The King of Sweden took the art of warfare from "battles were to be shunned" to "battles had to be fought" Just today I browsed a book in the library that explained how Gussie melled protestant and catholic forces into a single, cohesive army - now that is difficult. Google for Gustaf, the book I read featured battles from Breitenfeld up to Blenheim...

BTW, all it takes is one small nuke and the might of the US armed forces will be frazzled because their computer driven guns, tanks, planes etc wont' work - then medieval trebuchet etc will rule...

MattW
10-31-2006, 04:35 PM
If the capabilities and technology are somewhat different, they could be combined on the tactical level to achieve some complementary unit structure. Officer corps could be mixed, with liasion officers, translators (if needed), and the upper echelon could be determined by campaign, location, or on a rotating basis (like NATO).

If there is a large technology difference, the modern army could equip the lesser tech forces that have a stronger warrior tradition - making for front line infantry that the more advanced nation cannot field because of over-reliance on tech, declining birth-rate, whatever. The advanced nation provides fire support and advanced technicians.

fedorable1
10-31-2006, 07:58 PM
Thanks for the input! It helps a lot.

To put a point of note in here: The "Feudal" Army is fighting in a nation controlled by the "Americanized" one, so the latter has the true power locally - though in the grand scheme of the world they are equal. I guess it would be a bit like the US cooperating with the Vietnamese IN Vietnam. I mean, who really calls(ed) the shots there?

Histry Nerd
10-31-2006, 10:42 PM
Fedorable -

Sounds like an interesting concept. You've gotten some good advice here. There are a few ways forces with different capabilities have been combined in the past. The major difference between the various methods is the level at which they are combined. A few examples:

The Roman cohort legion was a combination of Roman regulars and auxiliaries (the forces provided by subject nations) in which a legion of regulars (usually between one and five thousand) would be combined with an equal number of auxiliaries under a single general. The subunits retained their own standards and formations; for the man in ranks, there would have been little difference. But putting both forces under a single commander gave the cohort legion what is called unity of command.

Especially in the twentieth century, forces have often been combined on an ad hoc basis for the duration of a fight. For the invasion of Normandy mentioned above, each nation's forces maintained its own organization, but Eisenhower acted as Supreme Allied Commander. The national boundaries shifted occasionally as the fight required it, as in the Battle of the Bulge when Ike made Bradley subordinate to Montgomery for a short time because they were on the same side of the Bulge.

Multinational forces often exchange liaisons to facilitate communication. This involves nothing more complicated than sending one or more officers to the other force's headquarters and providing them the means to communicate directly with their home headquarters. This is one of the jobs I had in Iraq (I was attached for several months as liaison to the Polish division). This is usually the simplest option, and insures a degree of cooperation between the units. Liaisons can also be exchanged between units of the same nation with different capabilies; e.g., the Marines and Army or the Army and Air Force might exchange liaisons to enhance their ability to work together.

If relations between the two nations are somewhat tense, this concept can be turned around by making the liaisons hostages. Hostages function as a sort of human shield to ensure goodwill, or at least good faith--if one of the partners fails to deliver as promised, the other can kill some or all of its hostages. This method is most effective when the hostages are persons important to their host nations.

Another method is to have them fight as combined arms forces. In the U.S. Army, this means exchanging subordinate units: an infantry company might receive a platoon of tanks, or a tank company a platoon of infantry. Battalions can exchange companies, and brigades battalions. This accomplishes unity of command, and allows units with differing capabilities to complement each other's strengths and (hopefully) mitigate each other's weaknesses.

Of course, if your nations have enough time and a charismatic enough commander, there is the intermingling option: all existing units are dissolved, and men from both nations are mixed in roughly equal numbers into new units. This is the approach often taken in fantasy stories, but I can't recall an incident where it was used successfully in history.

One of the most interesting aspects of your scenario, I think, is the potential for interpersonal conflict. How does a feudal baron act when he is placed under a colonel, especially if he perceives the colonel to be of lower birth? How does the colonel discipline him without losing his loyalty? How do serfs suddenly incorporated into a meritocratic army take the shift? How does a general act when he and his men are suddenly subordinated to a duke? Nice concept.

Hope this is helpful to you.
HN

fedorable1
11-01-2006, 07:20 AM
Thanks, Histry Nerd. I think you hit just about every point and example. You've all given me a lot to work with.

Kentuk
11-01-2006, 07:46 AM
The commander is critical, must have the confidence of both armies. Are the armies fundamentally different? Is the American style force powerful but lacking in numbers and the other force have hundreds of thousands of experienced veterans? If they are the functional equivilents then the armies are assigned different sectors. If diverse ie the Feudal cavalry is the best force to recon and press to contact and the American Style best to force a breakthrough then the arrangements get more complicated. Another factor is the political significance of the cooperation. What are the government's political instructions to repective commanders. The national commanders will have a slightly different institutional point of view. The armies could be pro or against cooperation and national forces could split along political lines.
How your supreme commander measures up to the political and tactical challenges.

MattW
11-01-2006, 04:42 PM
For an example of bad command of joint armies (from the same nation!) see Caius Terentius Varro and Lucius Aemilius Paullus facing off against Hannibal at Cannae.

One of the greatest defeats of Rome (or anybody). The Roman commanders merged forcess and alternated command on different days. They countermanded orders and had different strategies for the battle, and were trounced when the overeager consul rushed into battle so victory could be on his day.

fedorable1
11-01-2006, 11:38 PM
The commander is critical, must have the confidence of both armies. Are the armies fundamentally different? Is the American style force powerful but lacking in numbers and the other force have hundreds of thousands of experienced veterans?
This is a Sci-Fi setting. The Americanized Army is similar to today's - large and well-equipped, but standardized. It's also a hodge-podge of humans and cultures. The Feudal Army is essentially a "clone" army - hundreds of thousands of practically identical soldiers. The problem with having a unified Commanders is both Armies were just recently at war, and I'm sure neither side will enjoy having the enemy as their new commander. But it is a vital story element and should be interesting.



Another factor is the political significance of the cooperation. What are the government's political instructions to repective commanders. The national commanders will have a slightly different institutional point of view. The armies could be pro or against cooperation and national forces could split along political lines.
How your supreme commander measures up to the political and tactical challenges.
Americanized Army Goal - Protect the Country.
Feudal Army - Protect the Americans, because they won't win without them.

Something to point out, the recent war was the Feudal Army's attempt to "liberate" the Americanized people from their "oppressive, dictatorship regime." So the Feudal Army holds no contempt for the Americans, but the same is not true vice versa. Ok, wow, I think I just gave myself my own prime example. :D