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Guide to Overlooked Aspects of Warfare

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Automagfreek
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Guide to Overlooked Aspects of Warfare

Postby Automagfreek » Wed Apr 06, 2011 5:39 pm

First and foremost, I understand that when people create war threads in I.I., they want to skip the boring parts and start blowing things up as fast as possible. I feel the same way too, because more often than not the buildup to the actual fighting is less than thrilling. But should you skip what could possibly be some of the most important phases of warfare and go straight into battle? Perhaps after reading this you will think differently, and you could even become a better war RPer.

Here are the topics I am going to cover in this guide:

  • Mobilization
  • Deployment
  • Arrival
  • Offloading
  • Establishing Forward Operating Bases and Logistics
  • Land Warfare Only
  • Morale

Now, what's the point in going over this kind of material? Because during these phases you will be vulnerable in certain ways, and a skilled RPer can and will take advantage of particular weaknesses. Plus, it's godmodding to mobilize, deploy, arrive, offload, and march your army in a single post without giving your opponent a chance to possibly intercept. These sorts of things take time and should not be taken for granted.

Mobilization


Mobilization is the act of assembling and making both troops and supplies ready for war.

When war is declared (or just before), the first thing you must do is mobilize your armed forces. I will try to summarize this as best I can without getting too detailed and thus too boring. During this phase, your commanders send orders to units they are designating for combat operations. Sounds simple enough, right? Well, there's a lot more to it than that.

After your troops have been assembled, they need to be loaded into ships (the most common form of transportation for large scale wars) along with all the supplies they will need to engage in combat. This includes food, ammo, medical supplies, vehicles (both armored and support vehicles), fuel, spare parts, etc.

It takes time to move large numbers of men and the supplies they need into ships, you can't simply pile everyone on a base into a train, show up at a dock, hop on board a transport ship and be out to sea that afternoon. Mobilization takes time, and though you don't have to go through the painstaking monotony of posting every little thing you're bringing, a general overview that you're mobilizing should be made, and you should allow the thread to progress a little to allow yourself ample IC time to be fully mobilized. This can take IC weeks or longer depending on the scale of the conflict, but keep in mind that any military worth its salt will have some smaller elements that can be rapidly deployed to a theater, provided it has the logistical support to do so.

Deployment


Military deployment is the movement of armed forces and their logistical support infrastructure around the world.

Ok, now you've got all the men and materials you need to smash your opponent. But what next? You have to move them from your territory into the theater in which you plan on engaging in combat operations. Doing this is simple enough, you send your transport ships (with escorts, of course) across international waters and towards your opponent. But remember, it takes time to cross large bodies of water. It can take days, weeks, or even a month or two to make it from your nation to the nation of your opponent, and this gives your foe plenty of time to prepare for your arrival while you are sailing.

But deployment can be dangerous because during this phase, naval combat takes place and the chance of you losing a transport ship is very real. Your opponent is going to want to intercept you as far away from his territory as possible and try to stop your invasion before it even starts, so eliminating his navy and protecting your assets is key.

Though transport ships in NS are usually armed and armored to some extent, your army is at its weakest during this phase because it cannot do anything. It's up to your navy and naval aviators to keep them safe from mines, enemy submarines, enemy aircraft and missile attacks (both plane and ship launched). But even after you eliminate or route your foe's navy, you still have to be careful when approaching his mainland because then you will be in range for land based attacks in various forms, be it missile, cannon, etc.

But once you're ready to begin your amphibious assault, you've moved into the next phase....

Arrival


Once you arrive and are ready to take the fighting to the beaches, your men need to then pile into smaller transports (LCAC, Higgins style boats, EFV's, etc.), and the same applies for whatever armor you plan on bringing ashore. This takes time, not nearly as much as when you first loaded them into the larger transport ships, but still. This kind of preparation is largely done in anticipation for an amphibious assault, meaning if your commander decides to launch the landing operation at 0600, your men are going to be loaded up and prepared for this in advance and will allow ample time to be ready.

During the arrival stage your army is still vulnerable, because again, it can't do anything. But assuming your navy and naval aircraft can keep the enemy on the defensive, your soldiers shouldn't be in too much danger. But beware aircraft and submarine attacks especially, because your soldiers are still lumped together on large ships and are a juicy target, and losing a big transporter filled with thousands of men is going to hurt.

The arrival stage isn't really overlooked, but people need to be aware that this is one of many stages of warfare that can be exploited, and as such you should not rush through it and not allow your opponent an opportunity to respond.


Offloading


Once your men have stormed the shores and secured a beachhead (or multiple beachheads), it's time to move your full force ashore. Naturally you're not going to want to send your entire ground force in for the amphibious assault, because clustering tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of men on a beach is perhaps the dumbest thing you can do. The men who fought their way ashore will likely still be pushing the enemy back, and once you have an open window you're going to want to start offloading the rest of your infantry as well as your vehicles and supplies. This can take quite some time, and during this phase you have better make sure your LZ's are well guarded because your men and materials will be vulnerable yet again during mass offloading.

There would be nothing more tragic than losing your entire invasion force because your opponent decided to obliterate your LZ's with missiles, artillery, bombers, and attack aircraft in a coordinated assault, and he could very well do this during this phase. It's important to not assume that all of your soldiers and tanks and whatnot are automatically offloaded the second you arrive, because a skilled RPer can take advantage of this phase and possibly turn the tide of the war against you.

Again, you should allow ample time to pass for offloading, just as you did for mobilization and deployment.

Establishing Forward Operating Bases and Logistics


A forward operating base (FOB) is any secured forward military position, commonly a military base, that is used to support tactical operations.

So, once you have everything you need off your ships.... what do you do with it? You're going to want to establish what is called a 'forward operating base'. This is where your men who are not off fighting will be housed, where your vehicles will be maintained and stored, where your supplies will be stored, where your field hospitals will be located, where your airfields will be located, etc. These bases will be regularly supplied by your 'main operating bases', but we will get into that in the 'Logistics' section.

Once you have a way to keep your army in the field supplied, you need to remember that without your FOB's, there's no way for them to stay supplied. FOB's are good targets for a smart RPer, because destroying these will cripple an army's ability to wage war, because it will no longer be getting resupplied. Guns are worthless without ammo. Tanks are worthless without gas to drive them. As such, you need to make sure that your FOB's are well protected from the air, land, and even the sea. Just as important as maintaining your FOB's is the practice of logistics.

Military logistics is the discipline of planning and carrying out the movement and maintenance of military forces.

For every man you have in the field, there are many more behind the scenes supporting him (depending on what your logistical ratio is, like 10 people for every 1 soldier). Your men simply cannot fight unless they are properly supplied, and those supply lines are prime targets for an experienced RPer. What better way to defeat your opponent than bombing his supply convoys from the air, or riddling the roads with mines? This will stop his men from receiving ammunition, food, water, fuel, medical supplies, etc. Granted, soldiers can forage for food and water from the land, but bullets and gasoline don't grow on trees.

Logistics is perhaps the most important and most overlooked element of warfare in I.I., because in reality an army cannot simply move as far and fast as it wants whenever it wants. A constant chain of supplies must be present, and lack of supplies will limit your ability to advance and maintain your war efforts. If your supply ships coming from your MOB and going to your FOB are attacked and sunk, your whole supply chain is screwed until a fresh shipment can arrive, which can take weeks.

What kind of effect is that going to have on your men? These are things to consider when waging war, because there are many elements that can be exploited by a clever enough RPer. So please, do not take excessive liberties with your posts. You can't arrive off someone's coast and march across his nation and to his capital in 2 days, it simply does not work that way. I understand that more often than not, logistics is something that usually happens in the background in order to keep the action going, but do keep the concept of logistics in mind, not only for your sake, but also as something to exploit against your enemy.

Land Warfare Only


Perhaps you're fighting someone who directly borders you, and thus do not need to use naval forces to move your armies about. In this case, you don't need as much time to deploy and begin combat operations, because you'll simply be crossing from your territory into that of you opponent. That's the only real difference, as my explanation of logistics still holds true. Your supply lines will be much shorter at the onset of your campaign, but will gradually grow in size the further into your opponent's territory you advance.

You must also take into account that moving large quantities of men as well as vehicles towards you border is going to provoke suspicion, since neighbors generally tend to keep an eye on each other. Granted there are ways of disguising this kind of movement if you're clever, but don't expect to be able to pull off a perfectly executed surprise attack every time. Cross-border warfare generally tends to move faster than amphibious landings, since both armies are directly facing off and reserves and additional supplies are readily available.

Air power is also vital in these situations, as your Air Force can muster many more aircraft than your Navy can. A smart army would attempt to destroy any and all hostile air defense systems and nearby runways at the very onset of the conflict, so that friendly aircraft can smash into whatever hostile land defenses there may be. This will immediately swing momentum into your favor, and put your opponent on his heels.

Morale


Morale is an emotional or mental condition with respect to cheerfulness, confidence, zeal, etc., especially in the face of opposition or hardship.

Another often overlooked element in NS warfare is the effect of morale. More often than not, people RP their soldiers as being die hard fanatics who will never surrender and never be intimidated no matter what the circumstances. What sort of things effect morale? Lets take a look:

  • How rested and supplied are they?
  • Is your army professional or made up of conscripts?
  • How often have your men won or lost to the enemy?
  • How well are they trained and how good are their commanders?

Granted there are many factors that influence morale, but I just named a few.It's unrealistic to think that your men will not suffer a loss in morale if they are poorly supplied, lead by incompetent officers, are hopelessly outnumbered, and get their asses kicked in battle (or battles) and suffer heavy losses. Men are more likely to surrender, desert or fight below their ability if they are suffering from poor morale, and this must be taken into consideration. Psychological warfare can also negatively impact a soldier's or a unit's morale, though most RPers tend to think that their men are impervious to it.

A good example is that of Vlad the Impaler, who was extremely outnumbered yet managed to turn back an entire Turkish army. He did this by strategically retreating and poisoning wells, burning villages and crops (so the Turks would have nothing to use), and sending people infected with disease into the enemy camps. What finally broke the Turks was the sight of 20,000 impaled people stretching 2 miles long and a half mile wide. Vlad's cruelty was enough to break the will of the Turks, and they withdrew.

I personally use impalement and other horrors to great psychological effect, but excessive cruelty can also negatively impact your own men, the men carrying out these acts. It can also sour your reputation with those in the international community, so beware. Propaganda is also a brilliant way to break the morale of an enemy, or just as importantly, the population of your enemy. If support for a war on the homefront fades, there won't be any political will to keep waging it, and thus the war will likely end (lest the politicians face a pissed off populace).

**************************

I hope this guide was informative, and I will certainly add to it if there are suggestions. Thanks for reading.

- Automagfreek
Last edited by Automagfreek on Sat Jan 28, 2012 11:09 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Postby Tergnitz » Wed Apr 06, 2011 6:02 pm

Interesting ideas, good guide overall.

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Postby Automagfreek » Wed Apr 06, 2011 8:55 pm

Hopefully it gets people to give more thought to the turn based nature of war RP's and to not take critical things for granted.
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Postby Jenrak » Wed Apr 06, 2011 9:36 pm

Automagfreek wrote:Hopefully it gets people to give more thought to the turn based nature of war RP's and to not take critical things for granted.


Very awesome guide, AMF. For the sake of fairness to time frame, I want to give NA's guide a bit more time before moving this one up to the Featured Articles section, mainly since out of the 3 featured articles thus far, 2 of them are about warfare, and this one'll make it 3/4.

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Postby New Edom » Wed Apr 06, 2011 9:39 pm

Thank you for posting this. Hopefully people will actually read it.

One of the best war novels ever written, Red Army by Ralph Peters, shows how even a force already mobilized requires a massive effort to coordinate, especially a large one numbering in the hundreds of thousands or even millions. And the book is hardly boring, I strongly recommend searching for it to those wanting to depict a realistic large scale operations in a relatively modern situation.
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Postby Northern Bavungria » Wed Apr 06, 2011 9:52 pm

thanks man, you gave me a lot of insight on how i should rp wars.
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Postby Scocialist Provinces » Wed Apr 06, 2011 10:02 pm

Things like this make me realize how much of a newb I am. But it helps. The morale stuff made me realize how quickly my soldiers will turn and run at any second if I don't do something. The part about transport doesn't have a large effect on how my army gets around because i'm extremely small country, and it's all skirmishes with my border connected neighbors, but in the future this will have a major effect
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Postby The Royal Code » Wed Apr 06, 2011 10:16 pm

Good to see you're still around automag, after all these years, and still spreading the know-how. I dig it.

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Postby Automagfreek » Thu Apr 07, 2011 11:28 am

Jenrak wrote:
Automagfreek wrote:Hopefully it gets people to give more thought to the turn based nature of war RP's and to not take critical things for granted.


Very awesome guide, AMF. For the sake of fairness to time frame, I want to give NA's guide a bit more time before moving this one up to the Featured Articles section, mainly since out of the 3 featured articles thus far, 2 of them are about warfare, and this one'll make it 3/4.


Thanks, that would be great.
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Postby Ludkin » Sat Apr 09, 2011 9:33 pm

Hmm...great stuff Auto...worth reading. I am honestly somewhat surprised at myself for never considering the value of morale during war. I had always assumed [idiotically] that morale wouldn't ever really be much of an issue during conflict; that or it had always been the last thing that came to mind when I rp war. I had never really considered it; or included anything regarding morale in my posts...well I will for now on. Great stuff, and I applaud you for taking the initiative.
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Postby San Espara » Sat Apr 09, 2011 9:52 pm

New Edom wrote:Thank you for posting this. Hopefully people will actually read it.

One of the best war novels ever written, Red Army by Ralph Peters, shows how even a force already mobilized requires a massive effort to coordinate, especially a large one numbering in the hundreds of thousands or even millions. And the book is hardly boring, I strongly recommend searching for it to those wanting to depict a realistic large scale operations in a relatively modern situation.


^This

Also, Red Storm Rising by Tom Clancy is another pretty good WWIII novel ,although with more of a naval and air focus than Red Army.
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Postby The Grand World Order » Sat Apr 09, 2011 10:01 pm

It should also be noted that putting your entire invasion force in with the fleet is both extremely strenuous (think, if you're planning on moving hundreds of thousands of troops into another country, which is commonplace in NS, how many ships will it take? For reference, the San Antonio LPD can carry about 700 troops) and overall, just a bad idea. What if the enemy's navy simply pounds your transport ships? In seconds you could lose thousands of men at the cost of a few enemy ships, and even if your heavily armed, protected warships are perfectly fine, your invasion is finished, because you've lost an army that took months to assemble.

Thusly, most of your troops will be arriving AFTER you've established control of a part of the country. Once you've got an airhead going, you can start flying in troops- which is much less time consuming and financially costing than shipping them via sea. However, this also means air defense is utterly vital!
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Postby Third Mexican Empire » Sat Apr 09, 2011 10:03 pm

There would be nothing more tragic than losing your entire invasion force because your opponent decided to obliterate your LZ's with missiles, artillery, bombers, and attack aircraft in a coordinated assault, and he could very well do this during this phase.


What's there to stop en enemy from just missile spamming your whole LZ?

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Postby San Espara » Sat Apr 09, 2011 10:16 pm

Third Mexican Empire wrote:
There would be nothing more tragic than losing your entire invasion force because your opponent decided to obliterate your LZ's with missiles, artillery, bombers, and attack aircraft in a coordinated assault, and he could very well do this during this phase.


What's there to stop en enemy from just missile spamming your whole LZ?


The more I think about NS ground combat the more I think that most war RPs are terribly inacurate. It's tough to really know what NS warfare should look like since very few posters are actually in the miltary and there are no examples of a full scale war fought with modern weapons (thankfully). I'd expect most wars would be between neighboring nations, or larger nations kicking the hell out of small ones, and plenty of proxy wars. I'm not even sure you (not you specially) could successfully carry out an amphibous assault against a competent RPer with a force anywhere near the size of yours.
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Postby Third Mexican Empire » Sat Apr 09, 2011 10:55 pm

San Espara wrote:
Third Mexican Empire wrote:
What's there to stop en enemy from just missile spamming your whole LZ?


The more I think about NS ground combat the more I think that most war RPs are terribly inacurate. It's tough to really know what NS warfare should look like since very few posters are actually in the miltary and there are no examples of a full scale war fought with modern weapons (thankfully). I'd expect most wars would be between neighboring nations, or larger nations kicking the hell out of small ones, and plenty of proxy wars. I'm not even sure you (not you specially) could successfully carry out an amphibous assault against a competent RPer with a force anywhere near the size of yours.

So, what does this mean?

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Postby San Espara » Sat Apr 09, 2011 11:02 pm

Third Mexican Empire wrote:
San Espara wrote:
The more I think about NS ground combat the more I think that most war RPs are terribly inacurate. It's tough to really know what NS warfare should look like since very few posters are actually in the miltary and there are no examples of a full scale war fought with modern weapons (thankfully). I'd expect most wars would be between neighboring nations, or larger nations kicking the hell out of small ones, and plenty of proxy wars. I'm not even sure you (not you specially) could successfully carry out an amphibous assault against a competent RPer with a force anywhere near the size of yours.

So, what does this mean?


That I wouldn't attempt an opposed amphibous landing against anyone who either a halfway decent RPer or was more than a few days old. Otherwise you're going to take massive losses (if you accept reasonable losses). Your best bet is either gain access via a neighboring nation or bomb your opponent into the stone age before you attempt a landing.
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Postby Automagfreek » Sun Apr 10, 2011 8:54 am

Third Mexican Empire wrote:
There would be nothing more tragic than losing your entire invasion force because your opponent decided to obliterate your LZ's with missiles, artillery, bombers, and attack aircraft in a coordinated assault, and he could very well do this during this phase.


What's there to stop en enemy from just missile spamming your whole LZ?


First off, you shouldn't attempt a landing unless you have air superiority. Second, using only missiles to attack landing infantry it not cost effective. A single cruise missile can cost a million bucks or more, plus they aren't designed to be used against infantry. I'd prefer to use a combination of artillery, mortars, and MLRS.

But at any rate, you should make sure to secure as much airspace around your LZ's as possible to minimize your opponent's ability to counterattack. Bombing ground AA and artillery batteries and eliminating radar sites is a good start.
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Postby Alexiandra » Sun Apr 10, 2011 9:01 am

NIce one AMF. I've seen a couple of your RPs, wouldn't want to be on the receiving end :D I'll be sure to use this
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Postby Swkoll » Sun Apr 10, 2011 9:02 am

:clap: they should stickie this
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Postby -The West Coast- » Sun Apr 10, 2011 9:15 am

Glad someone else knows how important morale is during a war RP. Great work AMF.
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Postby Christantle » Sun Apr 10, 2011 9:36 am

I am glad you took time to write this, as I enjoyed reading it. I also put this in my sig.
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Postby The Grand World Order » Mon Apr 11, 2011 9:33 pm

Automagfreek wrote:
Third Mexican Empire wrote:
What's there to stop en enemy from just missile spamming your whole LZ?


First off, you shouldn't attempt a landing unless you have air superiority. Second, using only missiles to attack landing infantry it not cost effective. A single cruise missile can cost a million bucks or more, plus they aren't designed to be used against infantry. I'd prefer to use a combination of artillery, mortars, and MLRS.

But at any rate, you should make sure to secure as much airspace around your LZ's as possible to minimize your opponent's ability to counterattack. Bombing ground AA and artillery batteries and eliminating radar sites is a good start.


But what about TLAM-Ds? They're cluster munitions designed for wiping out infantry and light vehicles.
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Postby San Espara » Tue Apr 12, 2011 5:20 pm

The Grand World Order wrote:
Automagfreek wrote:
First off, you shouldn't attempt a landing unless you have air superiority. Second, using only missiles to attack landing infantry it not cost effective. A single cruise missile can cost a million bucks or more, plus they aren't designed to be used against infantry. I'd prefer to use a combination of artillery, mortars, and MLRS.

But at any rate, you should make sure to secure as much airspace around your LZ's as possible to minimize your opponent's ability to counterattack. Bombing ground AA and artillery batteries and eliminating radar sites is a good start.


But what about TLAM-Ds? They're cluster munitions designed for wiping out infantry and light vehicles.


If your opponent is unable to maintain air superiority, then cluster bombs delivered via fighter bombers would be an excellent option as well.

The problem with cruise missiles is that they are very expensive per unit, even in hyper militarized NS where economies of scale are massive. FOr the price on one TLAM-D, I can fire dozens of MLRS rounds or hundreds of artillery shells and destroy more targets.
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Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Automagfreek » Tue Apr 12, 2011 5:34 pm

You beat me to it, San Espara. In my opinion a TLAM-D would be of better use against an airstrip or vehicle depot as opposed to being used against infantry.

I see it this way: I can either fire a $1 million dollar missile and hope it doesn't get shot down and manages to actually hit the target (a missile guided by GPS and or TERCOM isn't what I would recommend against mobile infantry, since they may move out of the area where the missile is going to deploy the submunitions), OR I can fire $1 million worth of air bursting anti-personnel shells and MLRS. My advice, go with the most cost effective and tactically efficient method.
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Father Knows Best State

Postby Kelvaros Prime » Tue Apr 12, 2011 5:44 pm

Nice RP War guide. :clap: I give it a 7/10 rating
The Aligned Systems Authority of Kelvaros Prime
Factbook | Foreign Programs | NS Economy
LOM | Class F4
Economic Left/Right: 3.63
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: 3.79
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