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As the name suggests, I'm trying to figure out the military stratagems and techniques used by each of the governments in my setting (More info about it can be found here* Plenty of work still needs to be done, so if you think you can help go ahead!). It may be useful to read through that to get an idea of who the major players are and how they operate* If you want to skip the fluff just search for "Military" or scroll down to posts No. 2, 3, and 5 since those contain some things that would have important implications for this thread.
The basic balance is that the Coalition is the strongest, then the Confederacy, and then the Union. The Coalition (as mentioned in the other thread) prefer to intercept enemy fleets away from the planet(s) they're defending* After all, there won't be much time to celebrate the victory over your enemy if the flaming hull of their flagship is still bearing down on your city.
I know they make use of local superiority to beat enemies, but aside from that I'm honestly a bit lost (especially in regards to the nitty gritty of what they'd actually do). If anyone is interested I'll post a list of some of their more common military equipment. Their weapons are mostly energy based with the occasional ballistic back-up.
The Svina Confederacy is probably the group I have the least information about in terms of military power: they use many more drones than the Coalition, and their weapons tend to be a bit more unusual. For example, they have what is known as the Tactical Support Robot* TSR or "Watch Dog"/"Tsar", a quadripedal machine that stands a bit taller than a human at its shoulder. They lug equipment, water, ammunition and so on for the soldiers, using their legs to get over awkward obstacles. When fighting actually starts they let their legs fold partially and drive around on four wheels. Their only weapon is a back mounted mini-gun that fires depleted uranium penetrators* Or at least something very much like them. They are also used as mobile cover.
The Confederacy are smaller in number than the Coalition, and one sneaky trick they like to pull is deploying "stay behind" units in areas freshly captured by the enemy - these hound them via guerrilla warfare for as long as possible, immediately seeming to disappear whenever specialised counter-insurgent units arrive. The idea is to make capturing Confederate areas as costly as possible. I'm not sure what else they could do to make things tricky.
Finally, the Union have soldiers that are physically superior to those of the other sides, and pretty much all of them are in powered armour designed for various tasks* Like a scout powered armour that has an optical/IR camoflague cloak. The other sides do have powered exoskeletons, but they are by no means intended for actual fighting or are designed for specialist missions. Sirian weapons are overwhelmingly ballistic, though they are recoilless and caseless, if that makes a difference. Their aircraft and spacecraft are probably somewhat slower than the others' due to being larger and equipped with bigger weapons/thicker armour.
Their armed forces have the lowest proportion of drones to organics, but those drones pack a lot of firepower and are difficult to destroy.
tl;dr: I've got three different factions and I want to figure out how they'd fight and what sort of strategies they'd employ.
If any clarifications are needed or you want to ask something, go ahead!
A historian for the Paul E. Garber facility at the Air & Space museum once said that WII aircraft reflected their designers: Nazi and Imperial Japanese aircraft tended to be a bit over-engineered. The A 6 M was a Glass Cannon built for speed and lightlty armored. In contrast, Allied aircraft were built. The British Wellington bomber had the geodesic airframe. It could take a pounding. The Grumman F4f Wildcat and it's latter update the Hellcat had tons of guns and were tough. The Hellcat could outrun the A 6 M and outgun it. The P-47 was a flying tank that could keep up with the Me-109 and chew tanks. Soviet aircraft were crude yet effective. Stalin wanted aircraft that could be built in numbers, but they did have aircraft that could go toe-toe with the Luftwaffe (and some Allied aircraft from lend-lease).
Each side should have a central philosophy. One side might view "high tech" and have lots of computer aimed and computer controlled weapon systems. Another might have "smart missiles", but also have lots of cheaper systems. Overwhelm the enemy with firepower and save the smart rounds to Attack Its Weak Point.
Do they value quick decisive strikes or do they want to grind the enemy down? Do their company-sized and above unit do their own thing or is every part of the army given orders and micro-managed? Or do they split the difference?
Space tactics would depend largely on the nature of their FTL they use. Mostly whether they can be tracked in FTL.
For effective guerilla warfare you need some support from the surrounding population. This is obviously harder for invaders to achieve. Are there locals sympathetic to their cause? During the Cold War the major powers aided local partisans in less powerful countries to further their just ends/curb the imperialist ambitions of their rivals. Something similar could happen here if there are ideological differences on a similar level.
Do they value quick decisive strikes or do they want to grind the enemy down? Do their company-sized and above unit do their own thing or is every part of the army given orders and micro-managed? Or do they split the difference?
The Coalition is probably most concerned with bringing fights to as quick an end as possible and they'd definitely be counted as the "high tech" faction. However, there probably is a lot of micro-management and other such quibbling* Not as bad as the Soviet Union which they're based upon, but not too great either - it's not unusual for the Coalition Naval HQ to attempt to micro-manage fleet movements on the system scale, and sometimes a sitrep may be requested - with instructions to respond immediately - before Coalition units have had a chance to consolidate on any gains made.
The Confederacy by contrast is much more concerned with giving units free reign to do as they please; Confederacy Military Command (CONMILCOM) only provides general directions and the commanders "on the ground" figure out the best way to carry out those orders. Of course, this can cause a fair degree of confusion and chaos when CONMILCOM is too vague - or when two units try to do the same thing at once.
Due to the fact that numerically the Confederate armed forces are smaller than those of the Coalition, I think that they probably rely more on weapons that can take out several people at once* Though the Coalition does have the Grad missile, which flies into the middle of enemy squads and detonates, showering them with submunitions or that are unusually powerful.
I'm unfortunately not sure about the Sirians aside from the fact that they're not as technically advanced as the other two - whereas the others are full on space superpowers, the Union is just a cut above 20 Minutes into the Future. Though later on in the story I'm writing that'll change.
FTL is done via creating artificial wormholes (though there are doubtless other methods practiced by other races); military vessels can do it by themselves using onboard Link Drives or Link Projectors, but civvie ships have to settle for using Link Gates, which are large structures that generate the wormhole entrance and exit (on the "receiving" end) for the ship.
I realise it may not be very realistic, but I figure that when a ship generates a wormhole entrance/exit it causes an energy spike or perhaps anomalies of some sort that can be detected by ship sensors. For obvious reasons the Link Drives/Link Projectors have a hardcoded limit that prevent them being used within a certain distance of nearby structures, planets, or other objects.
Ideally there would be some way of detecting a vessel in transit and disrupting that (since I think this would be the only way that the Coalition's interception strategy could make sense), but it's not vital. The stealthier Drive and Projector models probably minimise the energy spike/number and magnitude of anomalies.
Yes, the stay behind units try to build a rapport with the locals (though in the case of purely Confederate held worlds - which are strongly independent by default and don't view the Coalition very highly to say the least - this is much easier), though there have been cases where the units have been betrayed by the locals and they are not always successful (after a battle with Confederate units it's now become common for Coalition forces to perform a sweep to stop any stay behind cells in their tracks).
Thank you for the well thought out responses!
edited 20th Jul '13 2:28:05 PM by Flanker66
It's pretty common with that kind of FTL to say something along the lines of 'these wormholes can't be formed right next to a gravity well (like a planet)'. This is to stop tactics along the lines of wormholing nukes straight on top of all your enemies' cities (you can also use MAD instead to cover that), but in your case it could facilitate the interception strategy. Also, new drives with the ability to emerge closer to a gravity well would be a very disruptive technology.
If you have FTL travel but not FTL scanners, then the attackers have a very large advantage — if they arrive one light-minute out, then they have a full minute of being able to see the defenders (albeit with minute-old information) while they are effectively invisible (since the light of their arrival won't reach the defenders for a minute).
This can be mitigated against with scouts or guards, which either courier the sighting back to the defenders (if you don't have FTL comms) or send a message (if you do have FTL comms) — in effect, emulating some of the abilities of FTL scanners, but in a more expensive (and IMO interesting) way.
Of course, if you have FTL scanners then things are much easier. Note that in principle such things would allow you to spy on their home systems, unless you decide to place an arbitrary limit on them — maybe something akin to active sonar, which has a limited useful range.
That's very handy.
I did indeed think of having hardcoded limits, as explained in my previous post (Link Gates don't have this issue since both ends of the Gates are permanently fixed in one position in space, though they're of little consequence to the military forces (unless one side or the other wants to control trade in and out of a system). However in some ways the idea of MAD is kind of interesting - it'd reinforce the Cold War parallels* To spell it out, the Coalition is space!USSR, the Confederacy is space!NATO and the Sirian Union doesn't represent anything except client states - though they'll break out of that role to become a superpower in their own right. However we may not want to make that too obvious.
That's true - I imagine that scientists on all the sides involved are working on such drives, though to at least partially facilitate the above increase in power perhaps the Sirian Union might be the one to crack it.
As for the question of FTL sensors, I'm not sure... you're right in that FTL sensors are pretty prolific, but I don't want to give either side too much of an advantage (that and I can find non-FTL sensors a bit of a headache). If I do use FTL sensors, I'll use your suggestion here to limit it:
Thank you very much.
The link gates actually could be significant in a major invasion (rather than a skirmish): you send in a few big military ships with their own FTL to secure the gate, and then you use it to bring through a larger mass of cheaper, non-FTL-capable battleships. This could be a way for a poorer nation (Sirian Union?) to score a surprise victory. You may want to put in some computer hacking if the gates normally screen traffic (which could make for some tense scenes as the space marines hut hut hut break through the airlocks and connect up the computer to over-ride the default settings — will they crack it in time before defending re-enforcements arrive?)
And depending on how important interstellar trade is, blowing up a gate could be a good way of messing up a planet's economy.
edited 20th Jul '13 5:52:59 PM by imadinosaur
That's something that didn't even occur to me, but you're absolutely right! It'd make sense too, since the Sirians can't rely upon a qualitative advantage anywhere except possibly on the ground* And even then that's debatable. So they'd probably want to maximise their chances however possible.
You must be psychic, since the Link Gates do indeed have a form of screening; basically they interrogate the vessel(s)'s systems for the correct authorisation code and also check against an internal database of known criminal vessels* So "wiping" a vessel's history is a fairly lucrative business in seedier circles, though that's besides the point before allowing them through. So the scene you described is very much possible (and if I don't find a way to fit it into the story proper I will probably put it into a side story)!
Since Link Gates represent a significant investment of time, energy, expertise, and of course cash, everyone basically has an unspoken agreement not to destroy Link Gates. There is, of course, no rule saying that they can't be blockaded or disabled, though.
I'd say that interstellar trade is probably fairly significant.
edited 20th Jul '13 6:07:46 PM by Flanker66
Expanding a bit on what Taira brought up, a good consideration would be how they handle losses, how much value each faction places on the life of an individual (organic) soldier or drone and how that is reflected in equipment and tactics.
How high does pilot survivability rate as a design consideration, are their ships more TIE Fighter or X-Wing? Do they mount rescue operations for anyone behind enemy lines and how far do they go with those? Are automated units cheap enough to make that you can just throw them at the enemy or precious enough that survivability is a high concern on them too?
And as a note on the amount and value of independent action and initiative, that too would influence equipment massively. To go for the Star Wars comparison again, Rebel starfighters with their own long-range capability, fuel and supplies for days, able to independently land on planets vs short-duration, mothership-dependent TIEs, or for a simpler real-world analogy, powerful onboard radar vs ground-controlled intercepts.
The Coalition would probably be the least worried about individual losses, just because they'd be able to take the hits that the other factions may not be able to sustain. This is not to say that they're fine with just throwing waves of men into the maw of the enemy - they frown upon unnecessarily sacrificing people and resources just as much as the next guy, and ideally operations take place with the absolute minimum of casualties. It's just that if things come down to the crunch they'd rather sacrifice several squads or perhaps most of a squadron to achieve their objective than keeping 99% of their forces without gaining much of consequence.
The Confederacy is somewhere in the middle - sure, it's nice if they take only a few casualties, but if absolutely necessary they'd sacrifice the vast majority of their forces to win a key battle. This is at least partially because they've felt threatened by the Coalition for the vast majority of the time they have been around, so they frequently feel like they've got their backs against the wall.
The Sirian Union can't afford the same level of losses as the other two factions just because they're smaller and less able to replace any lost materiel (though as time goes on this will be less of an issue). So they husband their resources as much as possible.
I'd say that all sides try to ensure their pilots remain alive as long as possible. For example, both the Coalition's "Kinzhal"/Forge heavy fighter and several Union spacecraft have the ability to eject the cockpit + nose section as mini escape pods, though neither are rated for atmospheric use* Instead more traditional ejector seats are used in the case of the Coalition, since their space fighters act both in vacuum and in atmosphere.
Coalition drones are probably afforded similar survivability concerns to actual organics, whereas the Confederacy are perfectly happy to send in the machines to soften up enemy forces while the organic components of their military lunge in to make the killing blow, so they are treated as far more expendable. The Sirians use their drones rather begrudgingly, preferring to deploy them only where they will definitely make a positive impact (and even then in relatively small numbers).
Sirian ships, vehicles, and troops* Not that this is particularly hard considering they're clad in powered armour while everyone else settles for regular body armour of advanced construction are unsurprisingly probably the most heavily armoured out of all the sides. The Confederacy and Coalition are probably roughly equal, though I'd be happy to diversify them further.
Coalition fighters are probably the shortest ranged - ideally they are meant to act in concert with other Coalition elements, with the space equivalent of AWACS (or just regular capital ships) directing them to where they will be of most use. Coalition military doctrine recommends that any Coalition fighter force that accidentally comes up against a mixed enemy formation withdraws or tries to call for backup.
The Svina Confederacy encourage individuality in all aspects of life, so it's not surprising that even their bog standard space going vessels are capable of scouting out systems for significant periods (though they cannot land in atmosphere; due to interservice rivalry the Confederate Navy's fighters are restricted to space and Confederate Air Force fighters can only operate in an atmosphere).
The Sirian Union is probably somewhere in-between, but I need to flesh them out further.
Thanks for weighing in, Catfish!
Also, I should note that we're not just restricted to space here - discussing naval, ground or even airborne strategies/tactics is highly encouraged!
'Ey there, a writer who likes the mil-sci-fi aesthetic and trying to think of "realistic tactics" for not-so-realistic contexts, as paradoxical as it sounds.
The protagonist-force from the upcoming novel, the xzul, are a collective of assorted arthropod races that are less space marine at a first glance and more of space barbarian. They don't have any set uniform, their shapes and sizes vary greatly (even within a species), and every soldier, along with mandatory biological enhancement, usually has a varying degree of cybernetic and organic parasite lifeforms enhancing their physical performance. Alongside their various firearms, many of them have natural weapons along with those (melee and ranged) formed out of their own biomass, at times even better than conventional factory produced weapons. They have the most advanced integrated biological/cybernetics tech, not so much the tech itself but how to really make it a part of a person and get the full thousand miles and a bit extra out of it.
On average they're around six to eight and a half feet tall and possess numerous limbs. Tough exoskeletons, into which armour is integrated, gives them impressive durability. Many of them are known to return fire even after having their torsos sliced off their waists.
I'm thinking that they fight something akin to a very fast moving, aggressive force but I'm not sure how to elaborate on that. I want to make them the opposite of most bug armies in the sense that they're not a force hat overwhelms with numbers and instead, a pseudo Elite Army. If they do overwhelm an opponent, it's not because there were more of them but because they're hitting them from multiple angles. On the ground, from beneath their feet, from the skies above, and in some cases, even behind the fabric of physical space itself.
I imagine that in spite of being mostly comprised of heavy infantry, they're the sort that fight at times more like a guerilla army. Like insects, they find all kinds of places to hide and often appear when you least expect or want them. When they want to be the hammer rather than the knife, I imagine they use relatively smaller numbers of vehicles and their equivalents, including bio-enhanced war animals (think centipedes, crabs, beetles, sometimes as big as houses and brilling with additional limbs, hard-point weapons, and armour plating) and even organic constructs (think robots made of synthetic chitin and flesh) alongside conventional tanks, armoured personnel carriers, hover-capable jets and so on.
One thing I really want to know is how they might use war animals, the relatively smaller ones, either to compliment a larger strike force (especially a mechanized/tank heavy one) and for reconnaissance, scouting, fast attacks and so on. I'm thinking bioforms around the size range of lions, hippos, crocodiles, and elk to SUV's, minivans, pickup trucks and other such vehicles. All of them are controlled through a psychic link, supplied through two mind-bonded parasites. One in the xzul handler, the other in the creature. They train together like this and possess a shared "consciousness pool", basically a sub-segment of their consciousness where they can interact more closely and pull out if necessary. What one senses physically, the other can feel a "mirrored" version of the same.
In terms of armament and equipment, aside from what the animals naturally possess, they are usually mounting sort of the equivalent of HMG's, grenade launchers, autocannons, and even guided missile systems. They're also to see in spectrums we may not be able to, and depending on the species, burrow beneath obstacles, fly or make long-distance leaps, climb vertical surfaces or even upside down, and swim or walk underwater. They wouldn't be as heavily armoured as tanks and likely large enough calibre bullets could pierce their shells. However, they'd certainly be a lot more agile and easier to hide, not to mention they wouldn't need roads to move around effectively.
So, how might they be used?
edited 23rd Jul '13 8:08:35 PM by StillbirthMachine
I'll take a stab at this (since I have my own 'verse):
edited 23rd Jul '13 10:33:35 PM by TairaMai
I can definitely see them fighting alongside infantry as cover, heavy weapons platforms, and disruptors of enemy formations. However, I'm interested in the idea of them working separate from infantry in fast attack/scouting teams.
As far as durability goes, HMG's could definitely kill them with exotic ammo like crystalline shards and rounds with "energy jackets" but I wouldn't say they'd always be the best choice. Sustained fire can crack open a shell, but given their speed and weaponry, by then they could be real close and that's when they're at their most dangerous.
I was thinking that the xzul might not be the only ones to use such creatures or rather, tactics. Regardless, I think maybe weapons like grenade launchers, autocannons/"anti tank MG's", and concentrated energy/plasma weaponry might be seen as more fitting.
Mind you, in the setting for Children of Aggression, there are a lot more heavily armoured infantry units (think of say, the Space Marine terminators, Ork mega armoured nobs, and Tyrannid warriors) alongside automatons, certain "spiritoids" (think large eldritch extradimensional space plankton), war beasts, certain mecha, and so on that basically serve as semi vehicular "infantry support" or essentially special combat units not really belonging to a particular category. It results in a kinda 40K ish scenario where there are very heavily armored juggernaut type units that aren't quite conventional vehicles but can be as dangerous as one. Their presence means that of certain previously stated weapons that are usually associated with taking out such targets but are still capable of other functions.
edited 24th Jul '13 10:19:14 AM by StillbirthMachine
Hello! I'm in the same boat as you, at least because of the fact that my setting isn't as "hard" as many others. Initially this thread was just meant to help me* Mostly because I don't have much of a sense of imagination, but now that I think about it there's no harm in letting others get help with their own settings, not least because I'm sure many people struggle with it - though I'd still like at least some help with my own setting.
Though it may not be very helpful, you may want to look at how NATO armies have planned out their own battles and such - the NATO militaries are, as a general rule, very focused on being fast and aggressiveness of action, something helped by their command of the air.
Anyway, have three Coalition weapons systems; if anyone can think of specific uses for them, go ahead!
The ground based variant of the Yozh resembles a hemisphere set in the middle of a hover platform; small sensor domes can be seen on the front of the platform and its back. The actual dangerous part of the Yozh is the dome; this is where hundreds upon hundreds of munitions are stored, ready for use. When Yozh is activated - say, by noticing concentrations of enemy infantry nearby - it immediately fires off a cluster of explosives to saturate the area (or, for that matter, to stop incoming missiles, mortar rounds, etc.). The dome can rotate independently of the platform to ensure it always has explosives that can be brought to bear.
When the Yozh runs out of munitions, it automatically retreats toward the nearest Coalition supply area to restock. If it detects that there are no allies nearby* Or they are combat ineffective and enemies are about to overrun its position, it can launch explosives at a high angle to both take out the enemy and destroy itself to ensure it is not captured. However, sometimes this system has been triggered accidentally, causing several well publicised friendly fire incidents. As a result, although Coalition forces are glad to have it they keep their distance if at all possible.
The regular explosives can only reliably damage personnel and thin skinned vehicles; there are anti-armour variants but they do not carry as many rounds as the normal version.
There is also a spaceborne version that resembles a blister on a Coalition vessel's hull; they're used to batter enemy shields down and hit multiple points on their hull. It can be used in barrage mode - where it fires "waves" of explosives at the enemy - or in concentrated mode. This mode fires off roughly the same number of rounds, but it guides each of them to strike the enemy at one particular spot in an attempt to break through.
Klinok* "Blade" — Confederate Reporting Name: Hackle
This large, heavily armed and armoured helicopter is a favourite of Coalition forces that are stationed on a planet. To improve survivability it boasts a Protector self defence suite that automatically tracks incoming threats and disables them with a powerful pulse of a laser to fry their guidance systems* For situations where this is not possible it instead fires off a micro munition that kinetically stops the threat.
Its armament is wildly variable. One example is a pod that launches a small storm of anti-armour sub-munitions that automatically home in on the nearest enemy, while on the opposite end of the spectrum it wields a pair of heavy duty railguns to strafe positions with. The railguns can be "caged" to only be forward firing, or they can be uncaged to sweep a roughly 90 degree angle laterally and 45 degrees vertically* Though it has an automatic limiter that prevents it from shooting off its own rotor blades or otherwise damaging itself. It also has a smaller rotary railgun turret under its chin. Aside from the Grad anti-personnel missile, it can also mount anti-tank* One particularly fiendish missile deploys a second warhead in the terminal phase of its flight to defeat any active defences and anti-structure missiles, and gun/rocket pods of various shapes and sizes aren't unheard of. All missiles are actively guided.
However, due to its bulk and weight it is somewhat ponderous, especially when turning. This means that its primary defence is a good offence - after all, if you wipe out the threat and everything around it, it can't harm you, right?
Siberian Space Systems and Technologies Si-56 Kinzhal* "Dagger" — Confederate Reporting Name: Forge
A big, solidly built air/space superiority fighter, the Si-56 bristles with stand off weaponry of all types; its multi-role Squat Bugle radar is powerful enough to lock on to several targets and guide missiles on to them simultaneously. Its turning performance may not be on par with the most agile of Confederate fighters, but it is much faster and has superior climbing performance* Indeed, one apocryphal story tells of a Confederate fighter breaking into a climb with a slower Kinzhal in pursuit... only for the latter to catch up and even overtake the Confederate!.
A built in ECM suite protects it from missiles and other threats, though if necessary the Kinzhal can go defensive.
So yeah. And yes, the Klinok is a space!Mi-24.
edited 24th Jul '13 1:15:03 PM by Flanker66
The Yozh seems like a prime point defence or, in the ground version, area denial weapon, a couple of them and you've got yourself a smart minefield (while the IFF holds up, anyway ). I guess you could have a scenario where some are hacked by the enemy, only reinforcing their negative image.
The Klinok, that sounds like something that could make a grand entrance, blasting away half the building, something like that. Or one that has to be avoided at night, searchlights and all.
As for the Kinzhal, a small number of them heroically holding the line against far superior numbers until reinforcements arrive? The pilots would be made Heroes of the Coalition afterwards, and the fighter's legendary status is cemented forever.
edited 25th Jul '13 2:09:19 AM by Catfish42
Here's a good article.
the money quote:
"By contrast, Soviet tactics often seem crude, and stero-typed, and at the regimental and division level their attacks don't always seem to make a lot of sense. On the other hand, each step back you take from the tactical battle, the clearer the pattern of the (Soviet) offensive becomes, until at the front and theater level, it becomes, to me at least, almost chilling in its clarity of purpose."
If you want I can post a bit on the main factions of my 'Verse.
edited 24th Jul '13 10:30:41 PM by TairaMai
Yep, the Yozh can be utilised as a point defence system or for area denial. They can also be used for anti-submarine warfare! And I'll keep that idea in mind, thanks.
Yeah, I was thinking of having one make an entrance by rising up from below a cliff or treeline and proceeding to shred the opposition. I should probably note I'm looking for advice on my various factions' equipment's battlefield roles (I.E. what they'd actually be tasked with in battle).
As an aside, every Hackle can carry a few troops, but the specialised troop transport versions sacrifice armament for carrying capacity.
I'm imagining this being made into a feature length film, Top Gun style.
Thanks for the link!
And sure, go ahead if you want.
Quick question: do you guys want to hear about Svina Confederacy or Sirian Union equipment next?
Sure! I'll post mine too.
“In a galaxy, where the United Earth Government has fought a civil war, losing several worlds to the Southern Cross and had a war with the Alien Cay Union, hope rides in a ship called Victory ” *cue theme music*
Earth Defense Force Tactics:
After the UN became the United Earth Government, the nations and colonies in UEG space set up a "defense force". High tech and well armed it would be "the best the United Nations had to offer."
The EDF is centered on the network. It's a high tech force built around computers, radios and “brilliant” weapons. Each unit can function on it's own or part of a whole as part of a “plug in and fight” system. The central operational concept is seizing, retaining, and exploiting the initiative with speed, shock, surprise, depth, simultaneity, and endurance. The operational concept depends on flexible combinations of Defense/Offence capabilities (combined arms) and joint capabilities (joint interdependence) integrated across the full spectrum of operations through mission command.
The EDF is the Lightning Bruiser, built for speed and shock. Ground Forces units deploy from starships to overwhelm and devastate the enemy. Once a drop zone is secured, heavy units are sent in to hold the territory.
Initiative, in its operational sense, is setting or dictating the terms of action throughout an operation. The side with the initiative determines the nature, tempo, and sequence of actions. Initiative is decisive if retained and exploited. In any operation, a force has the initiative when it is controlling the situation rather than reacting to circumstances. The counterpart to operational initiative is individual initiative, the willingness to act in the absence of orders or when existing orders no longer fit the situation. Speed is the ability of land forces to act rapidly. Rapid maneuver dislocates the enemy force and exposes its elements before they are prepared or positioned. Rapid action preempts threats to security. It reduces suffering and loss of life among noncombatants or victims of disaster by restoring order and essential services.
Units will act on their own if they can seize the initiative. Armor units are divided into “drop-capable” and “heavy-static”. Heavy being too large to fit on the cruisers. They are sent after a “beachhead” has been secured. “Drop-capable” units are those that can be dropped from orbit to secure a city or geographic area. EDF Marine units are all built on speed. Light Powered Armor, bio-androids that can move fast (and many that are shapeshifters) all networked together to seize and hold an area several thousand hectares so an EDF division can land safely. Special Forces units operate alone, behind enemy lines disrupting enemy units and taking out “key leaders and assets” .
Shock is the application of violence of such magnitude that the enemy force is stunned and helpless to reverse the situation via overwhelming force at the decisive time and place. When circumstances limit the use of violence, the perceived ability to deliver decisive force is as important as its actual use. In noncombat operations, shock stems from employing enough military force to dissuade possible adversaries from hostile action. Surprise involves the delivery of a powerful blow at a time and place for which the adversary is unprepared. When combined with shock, it reduces friendly casualties and ends opposition swiftly.
Again, the bio-androids are designed around surprise and shock. The Animal Motifs, Mecha-Mook and Robot War tropes are used to make them seem invincible, or at least something to be feared on the battlefield. Powered armor units have lots of weapons that can throw lead in the air to discourage enemy armored units. “Fighters” are built for speed and firepower, Bombers are armored flying tanks that can support ships or Ground Forces.
Depth, a function of space and reach, is the ability to operate across the entire area of operations. It includes the ability to act in the information environment as well as the physical domain. The bio-androids and the cybernetic soldiers have the endurance for prolonged operations into enemy territory. Many “fighters” are really small starships build to range far from a convoy and hit enemy logistics, fleet tenders and space stations.
Simultaneity, a function of time, confronts opponents with multiple actions occurring at once. Multiple actions overload adversaries' control systems and overstretch their resources. In stability and reconstruction operations, the ability to handle multiple events at the same time increases opportunities to influence the population. Simultaneity is at the heart of how the EDF operates: forces conduct offensive, defensive, and stability and reconstruction operations at the same time throughout a campaign. Endurance is the ability to survive and persevere over time. Swift campaigns, however desirable, are the exception. To succeed, Earth forces frequently conduct operations for protracted periods. This involves anticipating requirements and preparing to make the most effective use of available resources. At the strategic level, endurance gives Ground and Space forces their campaign quality.
The bio-androids are key here. From spaceship crews, gunners, troops in the field to cavalry scouts, they just have the extreme endurance to make operations spread across a planet possible. This enables the smaller EDF warships without Artificial Gravity to keep upwith Cay Union and Southern Cross ships that can stay on station for weeks.
The results is a combined arms approach where Ground Forces units work with Space Forces ships to attack and hold a planet, city by city. Enemy forces are met in free space, defeated and the enemy ground forces are hit from high orbit. Marines take landing zones and the Ground Forces take the planet. All of this backed up by information from the Military Intelligence Agency's operatives and the EDF battle network.
The snag to this is the Southern Cross Intelligence Service and their information warfare units. Network attacks have left units unprepared. SCMC units have used hit and run tactics to grind down EDF units. Raiders can harass warships, denying troopers vital orbital support. The “shock and awe” of the bio-androids is slowly wearing off. Many SCMC and Union soldiers simply use more firepower. The SCMC has powered armor units whose sole mission is to destroy bio-androids. The Colonial Defense Force uses older equipment and is more of a holding force. Some CDF units have surrendered without firing a shot. Marines complain that they have been left behind when Ground Forces have called off offensives. Ground Forces units have seen their orbital support run off to chase raiders and enemy warships. The Space Forces feel that orbital bombardment should be the first option against the Cay Union and that the Ground Forces should concentrate on defending the colonies. Planning can get bogged down in the details, the Joint Chiefs not seeing the strategic forest for the tactical trees.
But when all units are on the same page, the EDF is a force to be reckoned with.
edited 28th Jul '13 5:07:08 PM by TairaMai
The Southern Cross:
Currently The Southern Cross Mustered Citizenry (SCMC) consists of the Army and Navy. They are tasked with keeping the EDF away and keeping an eye on their “allies” in the Cay Union. All sentient beings living in the Southern Cross are able to serve in the military.
A military built on conscription, the original plan was to have a smaller core force that would grow in size as needed. Earth's various attempts to take worlds away from the “rebels” forced them to build a professional force as large as the EDF.
The SCMC takes what it can get. Criminals, spies, ex-mercenaries, EDF deserters, pirates who want to settle down, serve along with draftees and professional soldiers and sailors. As expected, petty crime and discipline is a problem in the ranks, the Articles of Combat and Military Order proscribe harsh punishment for many offenses. However, most offenses don't carry over to civilian life once someone leaves the SCMC. Until recently, numbers were never a problem for the Southern Cross.
Founded by colonies rebelling against Earth and alien refugees, the SCMC focuses on defense when it comes to Earth. Many ships patrol their border with the UEG. Since the treaty that governs “Joint Security Area” permits patrols of colony worlds, they send frigates and a couple of capital ships to counter the EDF's five cruisers.
In peacetime, the major combined arms commands are located in military districts that range in size from a world (like their capital) to several cubic light years.. In wartime, forces in the groups of forces and military districts will be organized into theaters of military operations and fronts (army/navy groups) for combat operations. The military districts will continue to function as territorial commands, acting as mobilization and training bases and providing logistical and other support services. Besides being a level of command, a theater is also a geographic entity. It consists of a particular territory, such as a continent or sea, where military forces of the Southern Cross and/or its allies operate in wartime. The SCMC considers the main type of wartime operation to be the theater strategic operation.
The front is the largest field formation in wartime. It is an operational and administrative unit, and its size and composition can vary widely depending on the mission and situation. Roughly equivalent to an old US/NATO army group, a front could be composed of up to three to five armies with organic artillery, missile, cavalry and rear service units, plus naval support.
“A Combined Arms Military”: The combined arms army is an operational and administrative organization; it is the basic field army. A typical combined arms army includes two to four motorized/foot infantry rifle divisions and one or two tank divisions, plus artillery.
By altering the mix of rifle and tank divisions and artillery and missile support, the army can operate in either offensive or defensive roles in different geographical areas and under various operational constraints. The biggest constraint is the budget of colony worlds. Many poorer worlds have fleets of civilian vehicles and pack animals as their primary means of mobility. Richer worlds have tanks, wheeled vehicles and powered armor. Those worlds supply the “heavy” motorized rifle and tank divisions. Poorer worlds rely on their neighbors or on the Navy.
The SCMC views war as part of their struggle for independence. As a result they plan many “stay behind operations”, hit and run attacks and train many of their light units for insurgent warfare. On the squad and platoon level, tactics are mostly battle drills and guerrilla warfare. At the battalion level there is coordination with the Navy. At the brigade and above level, all firepower is focused on an objective and only that objective. EDF units that have fought the SCMC found this out the hard way. A unit can break through enemy lines and operate on it's own, or it can be a diversion for a main attack.
As a result, while units of the SCMC can vary, every part is committed to the whole. There is no distinction between a brigade, a division or an army. All operations are planned and executed with one objective in mind. The main objective is to destroy enemy units and eject EDF forces from their worlds. All else pales in comparison. Where the EDF would size a city as a drop zone,, the SCMC would bypass the city and simply find some flat ground then surround the it. With the enemy forces depleted, the city falls like a piece of ripe fruit.
The SCMC Navy is mostly a networked “high tech force” at the capital ship level. Many older Cay Empire/Union ships were sold to the SCMC. They have their own shipyards where they've launched carrier-dropship hybrids and “crusher ships”. “Crusher ships” carry many dropships that land on a planet “crushing” opposition. They use drones to protect ships. Fighters and raiders operate in convoys to harass EDF shipping. Like the Army, the Navy plans it's attacks based on the objective of bleeding Earth's Space Forces before they make planetfall. However they can hold their own ship to ship.
Aside from losing at the tactical level, the EDF's use of bio-androids still takes many units by surprise. Discipline is a problem in garrison for many SCMC units and ships.
edited 16th Nov '14 10:59:37 PM by TairaMai
Parachuting down to the bottom of the thread with some disjointed thoughts:
The jump gates remind me of a mix between a Star Gate and a Babylon F Ive jump gate (I take it travel is instantaneous point-to-point rather than simply punching a hole into an alternate dimension?). There is something similar in the Honor Harrington setting known as a Wormhole Junction. They tend to happen at fixed points in space, and are pretty rare, but are very strategically important because they tend to allow starships to basically take a shortcut halfway across known space.
Since they are also rare, and since they don't move, most of them are also host to substantial fortifications and naval patrols, which raises a dilemma for invaders: Do you use the wormhole junction, and minmize the time your fleet is exposed in transit, or do you take the long road, and ensure that you won't lose half your fleet to incoming fire in the first 30 seconds after arrival? On at least one occasion, an attacker elected to split the difference and take both routes, which required a substantial amount of prior planning in order to get the timing right, but completley screwed up the defenders' plans, which revolved around fighting off either a wormhole assault or an incursion from the hyper limit.
Actually, that reminds me, the big thing that always bugged me in Mass Effect was that the Mass Relays never seemed to be heavily defended. You'd think that the Big Dumb Object which is the only point in the starsystem that you can be attacked through would be an ideal place to park your entire fleet of dreadnoughts and space forts and mines and caltrops and nerf guns, but it never seems to happen.
So, putting some thought into the starships of my setting (which I will get around to actually writing at some point.
You have your Standard Sci-Fi Fleet, with the assorted frigates, cruisers, battleships, etc. I've left out "Destroyers" from this list because I have an idea on how to reappropriate that name (which is just fine, as nautical terminology has a long history of arbitrarily changing the meanings of words like "Frigate* Originally an English word meaning boat" in common usage as technology changes).
I'm imagining a Destroyer being a type of ship which features a Fixed Forward-Facing Weapon. This might not be a common feature in many smaller navies because of the amount of internal mass that the gun and it's support equipment would require, which could be used for other things (fuel storage, ammo storage, crew spaces, or just many smaller guns to give the ship greater flexibility), so it'd be the hallmark of a first class Navy (or a second-class Navy with delusions of grandeur and budget depth). Such ships might find themselves vulnerable to smaller more manueverable ships, or even equivalently sized ships that are able to get close enough to employ their more numerous smaller armament. Ships in different weight classes would be designated variously as Frigate Destroyers, Cruiser Destroyers, etc. A Battleship rigged up in Destroyer fashion would be a Dreadnought, and due to just being so danged big, would still retain more than enough "smaller" weapons mounts to deal with most attackers (in this case, the "smaller" guns would be bigger than anything a cruiser could employ).
Fighters and bombers would mainly be used for recon, counter-recon, and patrol duties, though once the bigger ships are busy shooting at each other and causing general Fog of War and mayhem, the smaller ships and fighters could take advantage of the situation to harass the enemy ships (I'm presuming that ECM and incoming fire would make it harder for a ship to detect and target an attacking fighter).
There would also be a distinction between starships capable of traveling between systems on their own, and in-system ships with no FTL. The FTL equipment would also take up substantial internal volume, so a star system with no expeditionary visions could conveivably built a fleet of battleships handily capable of outgunning and outfighting interstellar battleships of equivalent size.
Ah, it looks like you've got pretty much everything squared away. I have to admit that I didn't read too much, but that's mostly so that I don't accidentally "borrow" concepts (one of the things I'd least like to do is make something that's essentially everyone else's work).
And okay! I'll probably tackle them in my next post; for this post I'll deal with Coalition tactics and strategy (with an eye for getting it refined and improved).
That's a solid foundation to build upon (I especially like the fact that system limited ships can actually put up a good fight against those that can travel between systems).
Correct. Basically what they do is provide an instantaneous link between two areas, allowing you to get a lot of traffic quite far away very quickly. Working with what imadinosaur said earlier, this means that in theory an aggressor could secure the Link Gate on one side* The Link Gates automatically synchronise their internal databases as necessary, and so if a ship checks out on one side it is presumed to be okay on the other side and send a lot of cheaper non-Link Drive/Projector equipped vessels through.
However, Link Gates are usually heavily armed and armoured, and one with anything less than at least a few capital ships guarding it is the exception rather than the rule. That and the simple fact is that there's a delay between the Link Gate activating and the ships actually coming through, so even if a surprise attack is executed there's at least several seconds warning before the fleet arrives.
The Coalition of United Peoples and Strategy/Tactics
As mentioned previously, all orders for the fleets are given by Coalition Fleet HQ. There are roughly five "main" fleets, though fleets may well be split into sub-fleets depending on operational requirements. These are as follows:
1. 1st Guards Naval Defence Fleet, also known just as "The Guards"* There are other Guards fleets. The "Guards" designation indicates a fleet of higher standard than normal. This fleet guards the home systems and other high value installations, often acting as the anvil against which the other fleets shatter foes. The vast majority of their equipment is manufactured on Earth itself or nearby systems. Being posted to 1st Fleet is seen as a sign that someone high up has taken great interest in you, or at the very least sees immense potential.
As a result it's a highly prized posting, and the vicious competition for places is legendary even outside the Coalition. The flagship is UPV Admiral Romanov* No relation to the other Romanovs. The official motto is "United we stand".
2. 22nd Rapid Assault Shock Fleet. This fleet acts as a quick reaction force, always on stand-by in case of a minor regional conflict boiling over or an unexpected attack. However, they're also the tip of the spear in many of the Coalition's military operations, epitomising one of the tenets of Coalition military doctrine: aggressiveness.
They are often seeded throughout other fleets to provide a fluid and responsive assault element on the fly. As a result, they are jokingly known as the "Bicycles"* Because they get around a lot, though this rather impolite moniker is heavily discouraged by officials in favour of the far more sober "Warriors".
This fleet's flagship is UPV Horizon, and the fleet motto is "Death before dishonour". The movie Heroes of the Coalition followed two pilots who flew for the 22nd as they valiantly protected a planet from Confederate invasion. It was met with wild acclaim and picked up several awards at film festivals. It is well known for its cheesy (if eminently quotable) dialogue and almost absurd amounts of (supposedly unintentional) homosexual subtext.
To this day there are several large fan clubs in and out of Coalition space (especially on the Extranet), one of the largest being - confusingly - on the Sirian home planet. It is said that anyone who quotes the film while on base is immediately fined, though if a pilot manages to get through the entirety of the main character's monologue about justice, freedom, and the values of the Coalition without tripping up, stopping, or being interrupted they are immediately awarded the best rating for a landing. To this day nobody has succeeded.
3. The 5th "Crusaders" Heavy Fleet is the sledgehammer to the 22nd's rapier, crushing resistance with unrelenting power. The 5th Fleet is perfectly happy to strangle the life out of an uppity system or foreign power by plonking itself down next to the trouble spot and subjecting it to continuous attacks that are designed to wipe enemy defences clean. The Crusaders take an almost perverse glee in watching the opponent's resolve crumble, though they can take just as much punishment as they dish out.
The fleet flagship is UPV Newcastle, and the motto is "We lead".
4. 103rd Cossacks Territorial Reserve & Training Fleet is something of a curiosity. As the name suggests, it serves both the role of a reserve for the United Peoples' Navy, and a training fleet for new recruits. It should be noted that the reserves and the trainees are kept well apart, though the most promising recruits are allowed to form part of the bridge crew of a vessel on operations (dependent on spaces being available and behaviour).
UPV Tesla is the flagship. The motto is "Learn to win, win to learn".
5. 60th "Black Cross" Fleet is a relatively unknown quantity - however, what is known about it is that it houses the highest proportion of Armata troops of any of the fleets, and the vast majority of its operations are highly confidential and only discussed when absolutely necessary. The 60th Fleet holds as much (if not more) status as the 1st Fleet, but it is also known as "the fleet where careers go to die" due to the simple fact that most people posted to it aren't allowed to transfer out afterwards.
UPV Berkut serves as the Black Cross's flagship. "None may stand before me" is the fleet motto. Many junior officers insist, however, that its real motto is "We're not happy until you're not happy" due to its members' prickly and supposedly self-centred demeanour when interacting with those from other fleets.
When Coalition Naval HQ needs something done, they will issue a directive to whichever fleet (or fleets) are required, detailing the specifics of their mission and how they are to complete it. The "leading" fleet, squadron, battalion, etc. is variable and may change several times over the course of a campaign.
Coalition movements may appear clumsy or overly rigid to the casual observer (especially on the tactical level), but almost every military action - down to the smallest skirmish - is executed as part of higher operational and strategic requirements. Coalition doctrine emphasises the need to go straight for the proverbial jugular and overwhelming force, and as a result dazed and confused hostile units may find themselves being bypassed entirely by armoured columns (or engaged only sparingly) as they lunge at the beating heart of the enemy. Once this is achieved, "mop up" missions will be made to get rid of any remnants and to secure the area.
A favourite strategy is for EW ships to warm up their ECM and jamming systems so that as soon as the Coalition fleet jumps into a system (usually right on top of the target planet or enemy forces) they are ready to be put into use. Orbital bombardments and airstrikes performed by Coalition fighters are used to blind, cripple and unbalance the opponent, delaying any counter-attacks. Decapitation strikes are aimed at known and suspected command centres, though it's not unknown for Armata sleeper agents to subvert such locations from the inside and transmit contradictory and confusing orders to "friendly" forces.
When fighting the Confederacy Coalition fighters like to "bunt" Confederate aircraft and then climb back out of the atmosphere, and vice-versa when fighting Confederate spacecraft. They may even fly in the outer reaches of the atmosphere, where the Confederate spacecraft can't get low enough to strike at them but their aircraft cannot climb high enough to hit them either.
Aaaaaand that's all I can think of off the top of my head. If you've got any additions or suggestions, don't hesitate to speak up!
edited 21st Aug '13 4:08:01 AM by Flanker66
Ok, have a smattering of Confederate and Union equipment! I recognise that the stuff I list for the latter is all powered armour, but that's mostly because I'm struggling to think of "unique" vehicles and other gear for them (that and I need to figure out what the Confederates and Sirians specialise in respectively). Also, since the Coalition's fleets are technically controlled by the air force, I just realised that the ship names should be UPV, for United Peoples' Vessel. Fixed!
Sorry for the double-post, BTW.
The Confederacy prefers to employ more exotic solutions for age old problems; this can make it difficult for those who are unfamiliar with their technology to develop effective countermeasures. Another Confederate specialty is drones: they have an unusually high ratio of drones to organics.
Tactical Support Robot (TSR)
The Tactical Support Robot, or "Tsar", is a long limbed quadripedal drone that has an armoured "head" packed with sensors. Its role is a multi-faceted one, as it may be called upon to do scouting, engage in combat, or so on. Generally, out of combat it is used as a pack mule, hauling heavy equipment and weapons on its sides and back. However, as soon as fighting begins its legs fold up to let it drive on its wheels to allow greater mobility. It will normally attempt to provide fire support for allies and behave as mobile cover, as the TSR's armoured hide will stop most projectiles.
It can also recharge electrically powered items via small charging slots in its flanks, though it's recommended not to recharge items in contested areas (and it is frowned upon to use the recharging docks for personal items such as portable music players, etc.).
In terms of weaponry, it possesses a back mounted rotary gun that can fire either a wide variety of traditional ammunition, or special kinetic penetrators that are designed to provide at the very least a limited anti-armour capability. The TSR can select its ammunition by itself on the fly, though it takes several moments to reconfigure.
This is a missile that can be launched by any platform (though it was designed for Confederate Air Force craft). When fired, it enters formation and begins to configure itself to emit a similar electromagnetic and infrared signature to the "parent" platform, albeit more strongly in order to draw enemy fire towards itself. When it detects that it has been fired upon, the Screamer tries to draw hostiles away from the launcher. It may also deploy jamming or other ECM techniques.
Once its battery expires, the decoy automatically self-destructs. Despite its relatively simple construction and usage of older electronic counter-measure techniques, it has proven surprisingly successful in luring threats away. There is also a grenade known as a "Mini Screamer" designed to distract and confuse an opponent's drones or other electronic systems. Most Confederate aircraft (and, for that matter, vessels) carry at least one Screamer, though this is not a hard and fast rule (a Confederate SEAD package will carry more than, say, a CAP flight).
Deadeye Multiple Railgun-Rocket Hybrid Launch System (MRRHLS)
As the name implies, this is an artillery piece that carries multiple railguns to bombard enemy positions. However, a few microseconds after being fired, a small rocket motor at the base of each slug fires and spring-loaded flight surfaces deploy, allowing them to be guided on to targets (and ensuring that the slug is going as fast as possible when it finally strikes the target).
Though it is undoubtedly effective, the unusual hybrid nature of the artillery makes it challenging to maintain and use properly, and accidents where the rocket motor has fired prematurely (or detonated) have been known to occur. Another problem is that it struggles to attack targets that are within a certain distance of the MRRHLS, because the slug cannot descend quickly enough to hit it before it's already overshot the enemy. As a result, some enterprising Confederates have made use of field modifications to allow the launch rails to be depressed fully, which is something of a grey area as far as the high command is concerned.
The Deadeye excels at shooting off a salvo and then scooting before counter-battery fire can be brought to bear on its location, making it an incredibly frustrating quarry to catch.
Sirian Powered Armour
Firstly, it should be noted that there are usually three "basic" variants of a powered armour (though they are normally counted as just one version of the armour) - the "m" variant* Extremely rare and the "f" variant (which are just the male and female versions of the powered armour), as well as the "a"/"r" variant, which is reserved for those who have undergone Aumento* This specific variant is required to accommodate their increased size and bulk. Secondly, the names given for the powered armour below is not their official designation - rather, it's the nicknames given by humans (though it may or may not have actually been adopted by the Sirian troops unofficially). This is by no means an exhaustive list, but rather intended to give a flavour of what they possess. The vast majority of the Union's infantry wear powered armour, and all Sirian powered armour is sealed against NBC agents.
"Fox" Infiltration Powered Armour
Despite the name, the Fox powered armour is little more than a powered bodysuit with lightweight plating. Its most notable feature is the electro-optical camouflage/masking "cloak" that is carried in a small pack that is easy to access both while standing and crouched (or even prone). The cloak is made up of many thousands of tiny LEDs attached to a lightweight fabric, governed by a very small microchip. The cloak senses the surroundings and adjusts the projected image accordingly, while simultaneously masking the infrared and electrical signatures of the powered armour. However, the cloak is vulnerable to tearing and needs to be treated with care.
The Fox's HUD boasts a powerful magnification capability, and can take photographs and analyse data "hands off". A small yet capable transmitter lets the wearer communicate with headquarters without compromising the mission. Finally, there is the capability to insert viruses or other malware into enemy computer systems (including AI) to disrupt them.
The Fox A model was introduced relatively recently, though Fox B is in the works with improvements to the cloak and other areas. The Bloodhound sub-variant is designed for sniping, and includes software that picks out suitable spots and provides recommendations/feedback on performance.
"Wolf" Combat Powered Armour
The mainstay of Sirian Army units everywhere, the Wolf CPA is an all-rounder that can do everything equally well. More heavily armoured than the Fox infiltration powered armour, it too uses composite materials and alloys to cut down on weight and improve agility. Unlike the Fox, however, the Wolf powered armour also boasts a shielding system, though it isn't overly capable.
The powered armour's systems are automatically linked to the weapon being wielded (though this does not work for anything that is not of Sirian origin), giving the wearer assistance in maintaining accurate fire (and keeping them appraised of various information at a glance).
In terms of sensors, the Wolf (and all other Sirian powered armour) can utilise radar, lidar, infrared, and so on. Laser light communications are available, but they are incredibly obvious to anyone who is even paying the slightest bit of attention to their own sensors. They are also line of sight.
Of all the Sirian powered armour, the Wolf CPA probably has the largest number of variants. For example, certain variants of the Wolf powered armour are amphibious, though they cannot descend into very deep water.
Though the Wolf is very capable, the inexperienced are likely to rely upon it too much and use it as a crutch, which can cause issues if the armour experiences any failures. One particularly infamous issue that plagued the earliest version was that due to previously undiscovered faults with the suit's software, if the wearer was knocked down by a nearby blast, it could cause the armour to lock up and become unresponsive, necessitating a hard reset of the onboard computer (which could take up to two to three minutes). Another flaw was found in the neck armour: the area just below the seam where it connected to the helmet was very poorly protected (even a large pistol round could penetrate it), causing a hurried recall and a hasty re-issuing of improved neck armour. This didn't inspire much confidence in the army, to say the least.
"Werewolf" Enhanced Combat Powered Armour
Building upon the foundation of the Wolf CPA, the Werewolf is leaps and bounds beyond it in terms of performance, comfort, and reliability. Though it is mostly restricted to elite units, it is slowly starting to filter down to other troops. As the name may suggest, it's designed to complement the Wolf rather than replace it entirely. This powered armour boasts much stronger shielding, though heavy weapons can chew through energy stores at great speed.
Externally, the Werewolf can be distinguished from its predecessor by the fact that its armour is smoother and slightly more rounded than the Wolf's own plating. Some military observers have taken this to mean that the Sirians have incorporated Coalition and Confederate technology into the Werewolf design, something which the Sirian Union flatly denies.
"Barghest" Heavy Powered Armour
The Barghest is a bulky and thickly armoured thing, able to take multiple hits that would cripple if not outright destroy a Wolf. Its shields are the strongest of all, often taking at least two anti-armour weapons to bring down conclusively. One of the Barghest's biggest selling points is the integrated missile pod, which can carry anti-armour, anti-structure, or incendiary warheads (or even a mixture).
An integrated heavy machine gun on the right shoulder provides extra anti-personnel capability, though the main weapon is always held freely in the wearer's hands. Both the missile pod and the HMG can be aimed independently, and they can also be slaved to the user's line of sight, ensuring that a target can be fired upon even if they aren't facing the threat directly.
The main weaknesses of the Barghest are twofold. Firstly, visibility can be somewhat poor, though the suit's software compensates by providing a warning whenever sensors pick up an active threat in one of the suit's blind-spots. Secondly, due to its weight, the Barghest is rather ponderous and can present a tempting - if still highly lethal - target for anyone who comes across it. It is not recommended by Sirian doctrine to send Barghest powered armour into urban areas without having lighter powered armour to support them.
Regarding your powered armor, here's a question. Can they be fitted with with active protection to at least neutralize enemy antitank projectiles (lasers would require chaff or ablative armor)? If so, how do they work and what are their limitations (in ammunition, reloading/fire rate, targeting, coverage, etc). If not, then why not? You would think that a society advanced enough to have functioning powered armor would also invest in technology so that a soldier wouldn't just have to rely on his passive defenses to survive on the battlefield.
I'm not sure about the heavy power armored suit. With its weapons and limitations it seems to fill most of the battlefield roles of a IFV (like a Bradley analogue). Only that up-teched IFV would also be larger, which means that it could fit more weapons, a bigger powerplant for faster movement and/or more durable shields, heavier armor, more countermeasures, plus some room for a squad of infantry and their equipment. A lucky IFV crew also has the chance of bailing out of their vehicle if it took a hit, while the Barghest pilot is fucked. Odds are, that IFV would be much faster as well, and it would suck if a Heavy armor suit couldn't keep up with the lighter armored infantry it was supposed to support. Such a suit would actually be useful for urban infantry support (that one dude and is suit is probably cheaper and more expendable than a light tank), where infantry is moving slowly to begin with.
ETA: I make no sense. Infantry on open ground are already tank fodder.
edited 23rd Aug '13 8:28:08 PM by Mars444
Hi, Mars! Thanks for commenting (and exposing some areas I had not considered before).
In terms of active countermeasures, I feel that there are active suites. The most common is probably a suit mounted laser* Which would draw power from the armour's internal generator that destroy the guidance systems of things such as ATGMs or attempt to prematurely detonate non-guided threats. Of course, the system isn't perfect - it is possible to saturate the system with too many targets to cope with (less in heavy ECM), and I'd be surprised if there aren't counter-countermeasures to active protection suites* Such as the previously mentioned air to surface missile that deploys a second warhead in the terminal phase.
As for the Barghest, the reason I felt it wouldn't be a good idea to send it in to urban areas is that although it wouldn't be as vulnerable as an actual tank or other armoured vehicle, it might still be dangerous to let a (comparatively) larger target move into an area with plenty of cover and concealment without support. However, I imagine its speed relative to the lighter powered armours* I made a bit of a boo boo describing it as "ponderous"; it isn't exactly sprightly, but it doesn't move like molasses in winter either. would perhaps be less of an impediment in built up areas, simply because infantry naturally move slowly in such places - and so it might find it easier to keep up.
As for the IFV comparison, I'll concede that you have a point there. The only thing I can think of to say is that the Barghest can wriggle into smaller spaces than an equivalently armed Sirian IFV, though of course you could also say that the IFV could simply flatten anything that it can't reach physically.
Again, thanks for the advice! As I've said previously, I'm trying to ensure that it makes logical sense for the Union to carve a significant amount of territory out for itself, while simultaneously avoiding making them into the military equivalent of a mary sue* The closest trope would be Mary Tzu I guess but that's generals rather than a military as a whole. That and no weapon system is perfect, eh? Might as well work a few weaknesses in.
Do you have any suggestions to make so that things make more sense, or do you have any ideas for tactics or strategies employing some of the systems described above (after all, I don't want the title to turn into a misnomer)? Does anyone else want to weigh in on what Mars brought up?
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How well does it match the trope?