Defense Issues

Military and general security

Sci-Fi Military Proposal Part 1: Doctrine

Posted by Picard578 on December 2, 2017

Note: in keeping with Tolkien’s influences for Numenor and Gondor, I based most characteristics predominantly on those of 18th-19th century British as well as medieval Byzantine empires, but adjusting it for modern technology. For the latter I used two books about Byzantine Empire, particularly the book of Edward Luttak. I suggest everyone to read those books unless they already haven’t – Byzantine military art and grand strategy are in many aspects superior to most if not all modern countries, and if it weren’t for the Fourth Crusade, it is impossible to say for how long it would have survived – far longer than it historically did is for certain. It did indeed earn its nickname of “The Empire that would not die”, and between Roman Kingdom, Republic, and two eras of the Empire (the Roman and Byzantine era), it lasted for 2.200 years despite several massive disasters. Interesting fact I had noticed is that, while Republic and Principate-era Roman Empire used unit basis of 6 to 10 (10 men in decuria, 100 men in centuria, 600 in cohort, 6.000 in legion, later to be changed to 8, 80, 480 and 4.800), Byzantine-era military apparently shifted to a base-3 organizational system. I believe the reason for this to be the shift from attrition „meat grinder“ tactics of the Republic and Principate to maneuver tactics of the Byzantium. In fact, it seems that Dominate army might have started the shift to maneuver organization, reducing number of cohorts in a legion – and even if that was not actually the case administratively, fact remains that portions of legions (vexilliones) were often used in place of whole legions, thus de facto achieving the same effect. Late Roman legion of Dominate period thus often had 1.000 to 3.000 men.

So questions I want to ask is:
1) how effective would the approaches outlined be for an actual sci-fi empire (say, in Homeworld 2 or Mass Effect universe)?
2) how effective would they be for a modern First World country (disregarding obvious sci-fi elements)?
3) how would outlined military perform in conventional warfare, and how in insurgent warfare?

Keep in mind, despite the influences this is still intended to be sci-fi interstellar military, and not an actual medieval military.

The books mentioned in the first paragraph are Edward Luttwak – The Grand Strategy of the Byzantine Empire and John Haldon – Essential Histories – Byzantium at War

Grand Strategy

While there is no formal grand strategy – indeed, to outright inform the enemies, potential or real, of one’s modus operandi is seen as height of idiocy – grand strategy does exist in practice. It is based upon the historical experience and mentality of defense. Major Numenorean advantage is sense of identity hailing from long history and belief into own cultural superiority, indeed supremacy. While there are many local cultures, all of them share a sense of identity and basic cultural tenets. These factors mean that stubborn defense is maintained even against the worst of odds. Numenoreans are aware that the safety is the child of terror, and intentionally present the Empire as “too big to fail”. The warfare is understood as a string of dynamic contradicions: “if you want peace, prepare for war”; “who defends everything, defends nothing”, “a destruction of one enemy only brings forth another”, “today’s enemy is tomorrow’s ally”. Whenever possible, the enemies are made to fight each other. Military strength, while significant, is only a tool, and even military defeats may be accepted if they pave way forward for strategic success. “National security” as understood includes effective military, intelligence gathering, diplomacy and other aspects. The basic principles are:

  1. Avoid war by all possible means, but prepare for war as if it is unavoidable

  2. Study enemy’s culture, psychology, mentality; monitor his decisions, actions and movements

  3. Avoid large-scale battle if possible – to win without fighting is the greatest success

  4. Maneuver is the key – avoid fighting if possible, concentrate and disperse as needed, destroy enemy in detail

  5. Recruit allies and deny them to the enemy so as to change the balance of power

  6. Subversion is the best path to victory

  7. When fighting cannot be avoided, accept it – but avoid enemy strengths and target his weaknesses

Whenever possible, enemies are played off against each other, limiting the likelihood of a multi-front war. When one enemy attacks the border, another is incited to attack said enemy, with support of Imperial troops to the side.

Strategy

Numenorean strategy is imperial in concept, but also highly defensive. As befits an interstellar empire, it depends on the navy for both defence and offense. War is seen as merely means towards a political end, and that end is always ensuring long-term security and stability of the Empire – it is a necessary evil, to be avoided if possible, but not at all costs. However, imperial planners are well aware that peace is only a temporary interruption of warfare, and thus measures are taken to preserve fighting power – main aim is to win without having to fight a decisive battle. Numenor in particular is constantly under threat of attack due to its strategic position on hyperspace lanes, making warfare a more-or-less normal state of affairs. Naval strength is seen as crucial, as no decisive planetary invasion can be mounted until space (orbital) superiority is achieved. Logistics are the primary focus: “an army marches on its stomach”.

On strategic level, deception is utilized through spreading of rumors and creation of fake battle plans, and sometimes planting false evidence of treason within enemy’s ranks. Every enemy is prepared for and carefully studied, with strategic, operational and tactical approaches alike being adjusted to deal with particular enemy. For this reason, culture and history of all military powers in the galaxy is studied by military planners, and military ethnography is a major course taught at military academy. It is also understood that the best option is typically the worst: a wide, well-traveled road provides no opportunities for surprise. Ideological advantage is as important as material one: war is also fought in hearts and minds.

Face-to-face combat is avoided while enemy supply apparatus and weaker positions are destroyed through quick attacks and raids. Especially stronger enemies are first worn out by eating into their rear areas. Strategic surprise is heavily implemented. Raids can be undertaken by forces large and small, and deep raids with significant forces are aimed at neutralizing important strategic targets. Only once the enemy is sufficiently weakened will decisive battle be sought, and only if in concord with political goals. Other possibilities are strategic penetration of the front followed by a wide offensive, and a deep-penetrating strategic offensive. The last one also happens to be a favourite defensive approach, forcing the enemy to divert forces from his own offensive while utilizing Numenorean advantage in logistics.

Maximum effect with minimum force and in minimum of time is emphasized so as to prevent losses on the battlefield as well as financial and emotional stress to common people. Navy is used to cut off enemy strongholds from supplies and reinforcements, which are then starved into submission or used as bargaining chips at eventual peace conference. If that is not possible – due to strongholds being fully self-sufficient worlds – they are isolated and conquered one at a time. The Empire maintains a string of vassal states and dependencies, particularly on its eastern borders, which act as a buffer zone towards enemies and also as a source of auxiliary troops in any locally-fought campaign. They are also used as a portion of early warning system, allowing Royal Navy to intercept incursions before they reach the imperial territory.

Allies and vassals are used as contacts with states whose culture or mentality may be too dissimilar to Numenorean one so as to allow easy negotiations. They are also used in extraterritorial campaigns to provide safe spaces for supply depots and so reduce the distance troops and supplies have to travel to combat zone. Numenorean military aims at using enemy’s own supplies wherever possible so as to minimize the logistics tail necessary for operations while worsening enemy’s own supply position. Enemy supply and industrial targets are utilized for Numenorean force’s own gain wherever possible; when not, they are destroyed. Alliances are formed whenever possible, particularly with countries on the opposite side of enemy’s territory.

Defense is as much psychological as it is psychical. Powerful navy and propensity to fight until victory is achieved (“finish a war once started”) serve as an important psychological deterrent to any enemy who tries to attack. While attackers are typically dissuaded by diplomacy, bought off or intercepted before or immediately after they reach imperial territory, a direct attack on a populated planet with major civilian casualties typically precludes any diplomatic solution except unconditional surrender of the enemy. Any attackers that penetrate deep within imperial territory are harassed along the way and tracked back to their base, which is destroyed at first opportunity. This approach serves to dissuade any further attempts against the Empire; for attack itself, civilian populace is moved to shelters or countryside to minimize casualties, and shelters always have to contain enough provisions for a long stay. If attack was carried out by a political entity, and insufficient forces are present locally to quickly destroy the attacking force, an expedition is mounted instead to ravage the enemy territory, while some forces remain behind to cut off enemy supplies and destroy raiders which separate from the main force. If possible, force is ambushed and destroyed while attempting to return to its own territory. But while political repercussions for a defeated enemy at governmental level are significant, care is taken that impact on the populace is minimal: no territorial or financial profit is sought in a war, and a defeated country becomes a client state, not a conquered territory. Major care is taken to ensure that the defeated enemy, while weakened militarily and diplomatically, is not humiliated, so as to allow possible future alliance, and to prevent an unknown power from entering the power vacuum.

Specific policy is developed towards each country based on that country’s culture, resources, strategic goals, political and diplomatic behavior, foreign relations and so on. Nomadic enemies are typically bought off instead of being fought – with interstellar nomads, destruction of group’s fighting power would require utter annihilation of the group as a whole, a very difficult proposition; but gifts of unarmed or old ships, as well as payments, are generally sufficient bribery. Small raids are typically defeated by planetary defense fleets. Even conventional enemies are bought off where possible: typical payment sum is far less than a cost of war. Only demands for territory are refused, unless there is no other choice or the enemy accepts to become a vassal state (dependency, protectorate).

Operations

Operationally, rapid maneuver is facilitated through high levels of mechanization and self-reliance of units. Light forces especially are expected to be highly self-sufficient and are given extensive logistical support, allowing them to range in front and to sides of larger formations, scouting and also attacking enemy support and logistics elements. For that, achieving surprise is crucial. In army, light forces comprise of light tanks and APCs, a portion of which are modified to carry fuel and supplies, trailed by trucks; if necessary, medium tanks are added to the mix. Naval light force typically consists of a light carrier and a frigate group, with fast transports for supply; if necessary, light cruisers may be added into the mix. Engagement with enemy military forces is avoided unless necessary, or unless surprise can be achieved. On the offensive, Numenorean troops cut off enemy supply and C4ISR resources from main fighting strength, essentially holding the enemy army itself hostage. On the defensive, similar approach is used, along with ambushes and raids against enemy force. Heavier units are concentrated in sector battlegroups in central locations, responding in force to enemy attacks, while light provincial units raid enemy forces as well as defend important choke points and facilities. However, in the case of high-value targets, pitched attrition battles can and will be accepted, trading increased casualties now for reduced overall casualties due to shortening the war. For these situations, an extensive inventory of heavy units is maintained despite their limited mobility.

During lulls in fighting, raiding parties are sent out. Before doing so, theater commands are expected to gather all the necessary intelligence so that the raiding parties do not get ambushed. Due to nature of the raids and raiding parties, active deception is needed to divert attention from or obscure the true information. While raids are carried out by light units (light armor on ground, frigates in space), a reserve force of heavy units is employed to provide raiders a safe space to retreat to. (for further information, see tactics section). Intelligence is also supplied by covert agents, who are to have no knowledge of each other in case of capture.

Tactics

On a tactical level, Numenorean ground forces rely on maneuver, discipline and firepower. Enemies who retreat are pursued until destruction, and a retreat route is always left open to encourage the enemy to flee. Surprise is sought after, but not seen as absolutely necessary – sometimes the enemy is simply buried under ordnance in an attrition battle. Even so, attrition battle is avoided if possible, and firepower is typically used as a way to create opportunity for maneuver, and possibly a breakthrough into enemy background where C4ISR and logistics elements are targeted. Advancing enemy is lured into ambushes, or if too strong, shadowed in order to limit opportunities to gather intelligence and supplies by attacking any small force which separates from the main one. Only when the enemy has been reduced through cumulative casualties and lack of supplies will the battle be sought – anything resembling a fair battle, let alone disadvantageous one, is avoided. Still it must be kept in mind that numbers do not tell the whole story. Once the enemy is forced to retreat, he is pursued by specially-formed chase troops, while much if not most of the force remains some way behind to provide a safe position for the pursuing force to retreat to in the case of enemy counterattack or ambush. Alternately, enemy force is not engaged but trapped and used as a bargaining chip in negotiations. Small special forces are inserted behind the enemy lines, cutting off and destroying logistics lines and C4ISR elements. Airborne and air assault units are often used for such maneuvers. Urban fighting is avoided: cities are simply surrounded and left to starve. If urban combat cannot be avoided, typical procedure is transforming urban are to open one through buildings demolition, combat engineering and liberal application of heavy artillery; before that, civilian populace is warned to evacuate. If they do not, no further thought is given.

Numenorean navy places emphasis on maneuver, surprise and personal initiative. Deception and maneuver are used on strategic, operational and tactical level alike to divide enemy forces and open them up for destruction in detail. Objectives are pursued aggressively, although nature of FTL drive means that enemy fleet can typically safely escape unless hyperspace inhibitors are preplaced. This means that targets must be valuable enough to defend, or else enemy support facilities must be neutralized. Fighters and frigates are used for day-to-day skirmishing, defense of border worlds, as well as scouting pickets, jumping out of hyperspace in front of large fleets so as to gather information while minimizing chance of detection.

In both ground and space combat, proper information is crucial, as is denying it to the enemy. Consequently, much effort is placed into scouting, reconnaissance, communications and code deciphering and camouflage. Reconnaissance units, in particular cavalry units of the ground army as well as frigate units of the Navy, are expected to fight off or even destroy enemy scouting and reconnaissance elements if the opportunity presents itself. However, obtaining and delivering information is the primary task, so engagement at terms of parity or even disadvantage is strongly discouraged. Reconnaissance and intelligence units are expected to assess not only enemy’s physical power, but also his mental and moral fortitude as well – ambushes are used to demoralize the enemy before the decisive battle.

Ground force raiders have light units as guards in front and at flanks, with main force following in the rear, along with the supply train. Intelligence is gathered during the raid as well, through usage of handheld UAVs or FTL drones, respectively. Raiders attack any and all sources of supplies: lightly defended logistics depots, orbital depots, agricultural areas, railway junctions etc. When moving through mountain passes, airborne infantry (helicopter) units are to secure both the entrance and the exit before the main column moves through. If the enemy is already within the pass, mountain and airborne infantry units – or regular infantry, if those are not present – are to encircle the enemy and attack him from the rear. Last resort is the bayonet charge of main infantry body, covered by machine gun and artillery fire.

When besieging a city or a planet, three things are paramount. One, to ensure reliably supply. Two, to cut off the enemy supply. Three, to prevent any relief force from reaching the city. Enemies who surrender willingly are allowed to leave with their possessions. Those who refuse an offer of surrender are starved out, or if captured, all their possessions are taken away and leaders executed. During the siege, heavy artillery is used to take out fortifications. If attack is to be mounted, three teams are to be used, one fighting while other two rest. If the defenders offer surrender only after the assaults had been made, or the siege had been underway for some time, they are to be brought to prison camps.

A force is always to be left in the reserve, as entry of fresh forces into the fight can tip the scales even if the force is small, achieving far better results than had the force been in the fight from the start. Before the battle, especially if the enemy is new, probing attacks are used to figure out how the enemy fights, and if possible, how the enemy commander thinks. Overly aggressive commander is to be lured into trap; overcautious one is to be outmaneuvered. Identity of the enemy is to be ascertained before the fight, and tactics adjusted to the enemy culture and psychology, if possible.

When defending, infantry and artillery are to dig in and defend in place to minimize casualties. Once enemy has engaged the static defense line, mobile units are to outflank him, or if not possible, penetrate through the enemy line at identified weak points. Similar approach is used in space battles, with static defenses or capital ships serving as an “anvil” and more mobile forces of cruisers serving as “hammer”. Due to this approach and need for staying power, Numenorean ships and armored vehicles tend to emphasize armor and firepower, though specialized mobility vehicles such as light frigates and light tanks are extensively utilized for skirmishing and other nonlinear operations.

If an army or a unit had been defeated in the field, it is to reassemble itself as well as possible. If properly reassembled, it is to outflank and attack the enemy units that had defeated it, demoralizing them at sight of enemy thought defeated, and possibly bringing their advance to a halt. If such reassembly is not possible, groups are to be formed and, passing into enemy background, attack enemy supply and command network – forming, in essence, a partisan (resistance) movement.

Organization

Numenorean military comprises a mix of full-time professional, part-time and militia troops. The primary division for ground forces (Royal Army, Dagarim Aran – King’s Corps) is between the Field Army (Gweth Saint, field army) and the Planetary Defense Forces (Gweth Garthar). Both Royal Army and Planetary Defense Force are divided into active army (Gweth Nil, front forces) and army reserve (Gweth Teli, rear forces). PDF Reserve is also termed the Home Guard, or insurrection army (Gweth Orthar, raised army). Royal Army are the mobile troops of the Empire, used in expeditionary warfare and as a mobile reserve during defensive. Royal Army is designed to achieve quick victory by using superior mobility and technology. Success is aggressively exploited. It is often deployed to boost allies in need. Planetary Defense Forces are typically tasked with defending a single planet. Part-time and insurrection units are assigned permanent military districts, from which their recruits are drawn. In times of crisis, the entire district is subordinated to the military commander of said district. In peacetime, and even normally during wartime, civilian and military governments are separate.

Royal Navy is a separate service. It consists of all FTL-capable ships and is tasked with both offensive and defensive warfare in space. The most powerful of those ships were dreadnoughts, which were limited to 1.100 rangar (1.096 meters) until the Covenant war. Much like Royal Army, it acts as a reserve in case of a major enemy attack.

Planetary Defense Fleets are under jurisdiction of Planetary Defense Forces, which means planetary government as opposed to central imperial government. These consist of non-FTL capable ships stationed on a planet. They are the first line of defense against attack, but are relatively few in number as Royal Navy is given priority. While capable of warding off pirates and small raids, in case of major enemy attack their duty is to avoid engagement against enemy military forces while sending reconnaissance information to the Royal Navy.

Regiment is the primary tactical, administrative and recruitment unit as a consequence of near-constant low-intensity conflict. It is also the largest permanent unit, composition of other units being adjustable to account for situation. Regiments are paired up, so that each regiment pair has “A” and “B” regiments, or active and reserve regiment, typically in a sequential order (e.g. 12-th Talos Arctic Regiment is paired up with 13-th Talos Arctic Regiment). Once active regiment reaches critical manpower levels, it is sent home for rest, replenishment and integration of new recruits, while its replacement regiment takes the field. Unit cohesion is an important concern. Each platoon and especially squad lives, trains, marches and fights together. This allows maximum unit cohesion, which however can only be achieved in units of less than 50 men. Units as well as reserves are formed from men from the same geographical area. In order to simplify recruitment and operation, regiment recruitment areas correspond to planetary administration areas (this is also true at higher levels, but regiment is the basic administrative unit). Fighting regiment is rotated out of combat zone every three to six months, and spends six months resting and training recruits. Both active and resting period can be adjusted – downwards and upwards, respectively – at demand of psychologists. In case of emergency a regiment can extend a stay in combat zone, in which case replacements are acquired through arrival and integration of newly-trained platoons and companies from “B” battalions. Each regiment is permanently maintained, and maintains its own historical records, tradition, recruitment and function. It also maintains close links with the populace it is recruited from, insuring superior performance in defensive.

Units are of different sizes so as to prevent the enemy from gaining an insight into size of the force merely by counting constituent units, and size may vary as much as 50% from baseline values. Size depends in part on current populace of regiment’s recruitment and administrative area. On campaign, size can also vary with addition of ad-hoc elements to form a battlegroup. Several battlegroups, or a regiment (three battalions) with supporting units, form a strike group or a task force. A detachment can also be separated from a battalion. Regimental combat team consists of an infantry regiment supported by additional artillery. Field force is a formation formed for operations in a particular area. Flying column is a small, lightly armed fast-moving formation, and typically consists of mounted infantry and/or cavalry units, as heavy armor has too high logistical requirements.

Training

Training is emphasized over everything else, even weapons procurement. A good soldier is prepared for every situation in every terrain for every enemy. Well-trained and disciplined troops can prevail even against more numerous and better equipped enemies of inferior training and discipline. This view is especially important since Numenorean military leaders always expect to fight their campaigns outnumbered, especially when on expeditions outside Numenorean territory.

Training begins at 18 and lasts for two years. It is comprised of following primary parts: basic training, specialist training, tactical training and acclimation training. Each portion lasts six months. Basic training teaches the recruit on how to utilize the weapons, basic orders and basics of battlefield and wilderness survival. Specialist training covers one’s specialization: rifleman, corpsman, sharpshooter etc, and also includes NCO training. Tactical training covers tactics and tasks one is expected to master for battle. Those who had gone through NCO training are sent either for officer training or Phase II of NCO course. Battlegroups and battalions are formed at this phase. Acclimation training focuses on specific skills necessary for combat in basic environments: open plain, forest, mountains, desert, village and city. Marine Corps members also undertake additional one-month courses on ship assault, ship defense, planetary assault, toxic atmosphere, vacuum and zero-G combat, as well as six-month course on alien cultures, extending their training by additional year. Officers are trained to take over duties of officers two ranks above their own in the case of need.

Every adult citizen is expected to finish the basic combat training as well as attend three-week refresher course at least once a year. Recruits seeking higher rank have to undertake additional training. However, women are not sent into combat roles except in the extremely dire circumstances [1][2], and are formed into strictly female units that are used for support and less difficult tasks. Women who get pregnant during training are given a one-year respite, after which they attend the refresher course before completing the formal training. Conscripts found unfit for service take part in civil protection, doing anything from natural disaster relief to paperwork. Those who refuse both military and civilian service get to spend service time in work camps with no possibility of parole. If they simply fail to report to the drafting event they are fetched there by the police. Those residing abroad are to report to closest embassy for medical examination and drafting.

Training of territorial (PDF) units is adjusted to the terrain and enemy they are expected to face. If time allows it, full-time troops are also prepared for combat against a specific enemy before any campaign. Officer training expands on the basic training, and also includes courses in leadership and military psychology, alien cultures, cultural psychology, Numenorean military history, alien military history, as well as various techniques and countertechniques.

Service

As noted before, Royal Army and Planetary Defense Force are divided into active army (Gweth Nil, front forces) and army reserve (Gweth Teli, rear forces). PDF units are assigned permanent military districts, from which their recruits are drawn. Royal army units also draw recruits from permanent districts, but recruitment district for an active regiment encompasses a number of PDF districts. Active military is a mix of professional and conscription troops. In all branches, training is followed by two years of mandatory service in active force, upon which recruit can decide on whether to apply for voluntary service in one of military branches (Royal Army, Royal Navy, Planetary Defense Army or Planetary Defense Navy) or workforce. Re-enlistement contracts last for four years until contract renewal, barring discharge. Those who decide to go out of military and join the workforce are automatically assigned to PDF Reserve (Home Guard) unit on a territorial / residence basis.

In short:

  • Mandatory Service

    • Training (2 years)

    • Active Force (2 years)

  • Post-Mandatory Service

    • Active Force (Volunteer – 4-year contracts)

    • Reserve (Volunteer – 4-year contracts)

    • PDF Reserve (Mandatory barring disability or retirement)

Minimum recruitment age is 18 years. People who are forbidden to join the army are those convicted of crimes such as adultery and similar, who had been dishonorably discharged etc. People judged mentally or physically unfit are also not conscripted, albeit most physically unfit are allowed to serve in appropriate services. Leave is granted on a rotational basis for whole units, between 30 days and three months. Advancement is purely meritocratic, through ability displayed in unit-on-unit exercises or actual combat. Servicemen in Royal Reserve can be activated in case of extraordinary activation, partial mobilization or full mobilization; those in PDF Reserve can only be activated in case of full mobilization.

During mandatory service conscripts receive regular wage and state covers rent and electricity bills. Reservists are eligible for similar support only if their total income is below certain limit. It is illegal to fire an employee due to absence for military service, refresher course or activation. Weekends are typically free, but between one-ninth and quarter of conscripts are kept in readiness on weekends to stand guard and aid in case of emergency.

Intelligence and covert ops

Military commanders, especially at higher levels, have dedicated officers and staffs whose sole task is gathering and analyzing information. Information itself is gathered through reconnaissance, scouting, espionage and signals intelligence. Typically large amount of information gathered precludes its immediate effective utilization by the commander; consequently, information is analyzed and organized by a dedicated intelligence outfit before being passed to the commanding officer. However, if a certain area is deemed to be of immediate tactical importance, information can be sent unrefined to the HQ unit.

On a strategic level, goal is to understand not just immediate goals and actions of other countries. Rather, the aim is to understand the cultural, psychological and sociological characteristics which inform the mentality of other nations and their leaders, and use it to predict possible course of action any given nation could take based on current situation. Envoys and other diplomatic corps members were used for such gathering as they enjoy absolute immunity; care is taken however for them to avoid any subversive operations by any actors with immunity. When needed, letters and gifts are sent to enemy local commanders to try and subvert them.

Covert operations are used to weaken the enemy through subversion of various kinds. Most common is causing disturbance in the enemy political systems, by supporting factors which oppose any hostile action against the Empire itself. Deep scouting and signals intelligence is used in order to predict possible attacks and intercept them before damage is done. Where that is not possible, attackers are hunted down and destroyed in order to deter further attacks. Information is obtained not only through traditional means, but also through contacts with traders, missionaries, pilgrims, explorers and so on.

Logistics support

In interstellar operations, Numenorean military utilizes FTL bulk transports, capable of ferrying millions of tons of supplies each. Smaller transports are capable of landing on the planets and offloading supplies directly, whereas larger transports utilize shuttles as well as small transports for offloading. Due to their design – a disembarkation ramp as well as belly docking bay equipped with heavy-duty cranes and lifting platforms – atmospheric transport can disembark troops and supplies regardless of whether planet has any spaceport infrastructure in place, or if it is even inhabited.

A specialized type of transport exists which can, when interconnected with other transports of the same type, form a logistics depot. Upper surface of transport is flat and equipped with magnetic locks for shuttles and atmospheric transports, whereas sides are equally flat and contain locks and doors that are used to connect transports together into a massive supply depot, much like placing sections of a ship together in a shipyard. These can also be used to quickly transfer supplies from arriving transports to a formed orbital depot. These transports are by far the largest – 2.500 meters in length, compared to no more than 1.300 meters for battleships – but carry with them disadvantage of slow FTL transfer and low maneuverability at sublight speeds. Typically, one such transport carries an Army battalion as well as all the supplies it needs; second transport may be assigned depending on expected battlefield requirements, or just one transport may ferry an entire division. Once the offloading point is in place, even requisitioned / bought civilian transports may be used to transfer supplies to the orbital depot.

Inhabited Imperial systems as well as strategic uninhabited systems have numerous prepositioned supply depots, planetary and orbital alike, most of them hidden. This allows quick reinforcement of a planet as incoming reinforcements will not have to worry about supplies, as well as protracted operation of planetary defense forces even in the face of superior attacker.

Numenorean military maintains a large number of “cold storage” facilities, where excess or decommissioned hardware is maintained. As a result, emergency-raised units have an entire hardware apparatus – weapons, vehicles, logistical support – already prepared for them. Most of logistical support force are reservists, enabling quick country-wide mobilization. To reduce support overhead, civilians are used to provide support services outside combat zone when on defensive. Personal weapons are also stored in military storage facilities, but every citizen is expected to keep at least an assault rifle, a handgun and a third weapon he specialized in at safe storage in his own home, along with at least several days’ worth of ammunition, water and dry rations, allowing militia units to be largely self-supported. Some homes, where deemed necessary by military area command, are also installed with a howitzer, gun or short-range SAM launcher in basement. These weapons are typically pre-sighted at important locations. This allows militia to form without need for centralized and thus vulnerable weapons depots. Ammunition for heavy weapons however is typically only available at military depots, but military commander can decide to distribute it if threat level is high enough. During fighting, nonessential personnel are evacuated to mountain shelters, and countryside where shelters are not available.

Camp and marching order

Camps are usually made of tents so as to allow quick setup and takedown. These tents are camouflaged with nettings which camouflage them in visual, radar and IR spectrums alike. Perimeter is secured with sensors so as to provide early warning, and also with guards. If necessary, mines and caltrops are also used. Main camp is surrounded with four-man outposts. There is nothing left to chance: a commander who is surprised by enemy incursions against his encampment and is found to have mismanaged the camp security is to be executed, and so are any sentries found sleeping on duty.

Time spent on reconnaissance is seldom wasted. When on march, care is taken to ensure proper reconnaissance. Scouting and reconnaissance is done by UAVs and motorcycle troops, as well as manned aircraft if those are available. If march is slow enough – due to impassable terrain or other concerns – sniper teams are also sent out on reconnaissance. Reconnaissance is done in all directions around the force, not just ahead. Force itself has advance guard and rear guard of heavy armor and mounted infantry, with more vulnerable units being in between. If force includes two or more independently operable units of equal rank (e.g. divisions), parallel march order is used where possible, so that each unit can help another in the case of ambush. If possible, local guides are used to find the best route – but only if their loyalty can be assured.

Attacks on the camp are best ambushed near the camp; pursuit is avoided. If forces are attacked on the march, any two of three sections (advance guard, main body, rear guard) that are not encircled are to circle back and attack the enemy from the rear. If the entire force is surrounded, advance guard and rear guard are to penetrate the encirclement and attack it from the rear.

When crossing mountain passes, heavy scouting is done by both airborne and ground units. Only once that is done, main force can move through, always in three separate sections. If a passage is reached that an infiltrating enemy can use, it is held by infantry until the entire force has moved through. If pass is occupied by the enemy, it is best avoided – if not, artillery and if possible airborne assault is to be launched.

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4 Responses to “Sci-Fi Military Proposal Part 1: Doctrine”

  1. Back in the real world… Patrice Ayme‏ @Tyranosopher
    Voyager 1 is nearly 20 hours of light travel away. That’s about 1/5000 of the distance to the closest star, Proxima Centauri (which has an inhabitable planet). Technologically scalable imaginable ion thrusters propulsion could reduce travel time to PC to no more than 100 years.Patrice Ayme added,

    NASA commanded Voyager 1 to fire its thrusters for the first time in 37 years. 13 billion miles away, off in interstellar space, the probe responded perfectly. https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?release=2017-310

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