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How To Create a Military Doctrine For Your Nation

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Allanea
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How To Create a Military Doctrine For Your Nation

Postby Allanea » Mon Jun 09, 2014 1:55 am

How To Develop a Military Doctrine For Your NS Nation:
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Recently I have been approached by my friends asking me to help them develop a military doctrine for their nations. I have decided, in the spirit of giving people not only fish, but fishing rods, to make a series of brief posts on the topic of military doctrine and applying it for your fictional Nationstates (and possibly SMS, etc.) nation. The following post is the first in this series. It will attempt to answer some key questions for NS players new to military worldbuilding and roleplay.

What Is Military Doctrine?

In the context of NS, ‘military doctrine’ is the in-character worldview of your military. It is developed by your nation’s strategic planners. It is the means by which your nation’s military answers the question: What are our nation’s strategic needs, what resources do we possess, and how can we meet those needs? The answers to this question are determined by the national leadership’s perceptions of the problems facing the nation and of its resources.

For example, in the early American Republic, heated debates took place on the role of the American Navy. Navalists – among them Alexander Hamilton – believed that the United States Navy’s role was to project American force and protect the sea lanes, necessitating a fleet of large, oceangoing ships. Antinavalists, like Jefferson, argued that the primary role of the Navy was to protect America’s own shores, meaning that it would be built using primarily a large quantity of small, short-range ships. Moderates, like Albert Gallatin, argued that the navalist faction was right in the long-term, but that the Republic could not immediately afford a large naval force. As we know historically, the anti-navalist faction held sway early on America’s history, but the Navalists eventually won out, in that their view is today mainstream, and America possesses the largest Navy in the world.

As evidenced by this story, military doctrine in your NS nation is dependent on your nation’s culture – of how your decision makers, and your nation’s people see themselves and their place in the world. The role of military doctrine in NS is to be the centerpiece of your military worldbuilding.

What ways are there to design my nation’s doctrine?

There are two major ways to do it in NS.

One is top-down, and the other is bottom up. In the top-down method, you as a player decide what kind of military you want your nation to have, and then worldbuild the relevant national factors to lead to a relevant doctrine.

Example: You want to do lots of naval warfare RP. You need to come up with reasons your nation has a disproportionately powerful navy. Perhaps it has developed on a major island chain, or perhaps it has a globe-spanning trade empire and has required a navy to protect its sea lanes. Or perhaps it has suffered a national humiliation two generations ago after being defeated in a war by a nation with a larger navy, leading the culture to overcompensate.

The other is bottom-up. You contemplate what your nation is like, and what do its people perceive itself as, and therefore design its military doctrine accordingly.

Example: Your nation has a extensive land border with the nation of Suslikland. While Suslikland has been at peace with your nation for 50 years, your people are still paranoid about the threat of Suslik armor, and therefore military doctrine in your nation lists the Susliks as the Probable Strategic Opponent. Defensive measures are taken to limit the ability of Suslik Armored Divisions to penetrate your borders, and your leadership invests heavily in tanks and anti-tank weaponry.

What kind of factors matter in designing doctrine?

Geography, demographics, economics, culture…. practically every aspect of your nation that is important to your worldbuilding can affect doctrine. Economics is obvious – if your nation is poor, then it might have problems affording advanced weaponry and large armed force. Demographics will determine the structure of your forces – a low-fertility population might have problems, for example, of maintaining a large conscript military. Geography will determine what threats your nation encounters and what tactics it can viably use to address them. For example, if your nation has large open areas – steppes or fields – it is viable to maintain large forces of tanks, or to believe you might be invaded by such forces. Less obviously, a smaller nation might be able to use physically heavier and larger tanks than a large one. (Thus Israel’s use of the enormous Merkava tanks vs. Russia’s use of the T-90, which is 20 tons lighter than the Merkava. Israel will never need to rapidly fly its Merkavas halfway across the globe to respond to an invasion, while it is entirely possible this will happen in Russia).

Why does culture matter?

Culture greatly determines how your nation perceives threats and responds to them. For example: When Japan received jet engines from Germany, it used them not to produce jet fighters (which would have given it a combat edge over American aircraft), but a dedicated kamikaze plane. Another example: Soviet tanks are notoriously more cramped and less comfortable than NATO tanks, because Soviet tank design textbooks value reducing target profile and tank weight over crew comfort.

So to commence designing your nation’s doctrine, you should at least ask yourself the following questions:

1. What is my nation’s Geography? Does your nation have a land border with a hostile neighbor? Does it have vast expanses of jungle, or large deserts? Does it have sea access? A land border with a hostile neighbor requires powerful ground forces. Vast jungles would make it hard for you to maintain and use large mechanized forces, while deserts or steppes are optimal for large tank forces.

In thinking of terrain, it’s useful to remember immediately that major combat cannot be confined to roads. Roads can be made on almost every terrain, but combat vehicles that are confined to roads are exceptionally vulnerable (because the enemy can apply his firepower to the narrow stretch of road, where the vehicles will be easily stopped or destroyed). In general, for vehicles and troops to fight they need to assume combat formations - rather than simply drive one behind the other on the roads, they need to fan out, support each other with fire, and so forth. If the vehicles cannot get off the road, then they cannot meaningfully fight in this terrain.

FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY: WHEN DESIGNING NATIONAL TERRAIN DO NOT, REPEAT NOT, TRY TO MAKE IT AS INACCESSIBLE AS POSSIBLE. The inaccessibility/defensibility of terrain is in a direct inverse proportion of how useful it is. As an example, a certain player (name will remain omitted due to the fact he grew wiser since) roleplayed an immense island country. This country rested on a separate island of its own, with its entire shore being lined with 30-meter tall cliffs. The continent was covered in desert, and under the desert there were natural gas deposits that vented onto the surface and caught fire during the night, extinguishing themselves by morning of every (42-degree Celsius) day. And in the center of the continent, behind the burning desert, there were Inaccessible Mountains. In those mountains rested the national capital. The nation was perfectly defensible and inaccessible... but of course, there was the question of how it got settled in the first place. [The original answer was ‘by medieval knights’. Visualize, please, medieval knights scaling a 30-meter cliff, braving thousands of kilometers of desert that literally ignited each night - and then scaling tall mountains... and after all this journey, setting up a city in the mountains. The problems with this fellow’s inaccessible nation are the exact problem with inaccessibility wank in general. Avoid it, please. As a rule, the more impregnable your country is, the more it is filled with tall mountains, dense jungles, and landfills full of hazardous waste, the less desirable it is as a place to live in.

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Seen here: A perfectly inaccessible nation. [/img]


Here are some examples of terrain types, and the ways in which they affect national defense:

Plains

Expansive plains allow for large-scale maneuvers with vehicles and enormous combined
arms battles to be fought. For your purposes it does not really matter if the plains are desert, steppe, or whatever - any expansive, relatively flat terrain on which combat vehicles may move qualifies generally as ‘plains’. The largest tank battles in history - the Battle of Kursk and the Yom Kippur War, for instance - were fought in enormous flatlands.

Flatlands are where massive armored, and mechanized infantry, formations will prevail. Because the land is relatively flat, visibility will be generally high - meaning that your soldiers and vehicles, and, conversely, your enemies, will be able to engage each other at relatively high distances. The flatness of the terrain will also allow immense units - regiments, divisions, entire army groups - to act in concert.

Hills

A terrain of rolling hills, such as that seen in Europe around the Fulda Gap, still allows the use of large ground force contingents, but limits the effectiveness of long-range direct-fire weapons such as tank cannon (since you no longer have such far lines of sight). Still in this environment it is important to take control of major hilltops, to attempt to extend the range of your weaponry and line of sight (although obviously the opponent will try to reduce the usefulness of this by hiding behind other hills, etc.).

Jungle/Forest/Swamps

The three aforementioned types of terrain often appear together in various combinations, and they have in common the fact they limit the usefulness of large formations of combined arms forces. It is difficult for large groups of vehicle to move through swamps, jungles, and forest (the trees get in the way, and one can easily sink one’s vehicle in the swamp), while low visibility bars them from using the advantages of their heavy weapons.

In such a terrain the use of helicopters (to ‘bounce’ men and resources from one clearing to another), as well as light infantry (more capable of maneuvering and fighting in the jungle) becomes more prevalent. In a crude manner, imagine a mechanized infantry company - about a hundred men and two or three dozen APCs or IFVs - arriving at the edge of a dense forest. Even if they manage to get inside the treeline - without, say, the APCs getting stuck - they will not be able to see each other past the tree cover, and will not have the ability to shoot people at the full range of their APCs main guns’. This means that a lot of the advantage these heavy vehicles would have given your men will be lost to you.

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Helicopters in the jungle of Vietnam


Mountains: Mountains have a lot of the same problems jungles and swamps have - they are hard to access by ground vehicles, and the few roads that run through them are easily blocked off by ambushes. However, the engagement distances at which your soldiers fight are now longer (in Afghanistan, soldiers find themselves fighting at distances of up to 800 meters!), as the other side’s soldiers might shoot at them from an opposing mountain slope. Another difficulty is that helicopters are less useful at high altitudes - their payloads decrease, and eventually the rotors give out altogether as the air gets thinner. Finding a landing spot in the mountains is difficult as well. Specialized mountain units utilize lighter vehicles (and even horses and mules) for transport, and often provide their men with mountaineer training.

Arctic Region: Another special area. Many common combat vehicles cannot operate on the snow on ice due to excessive ground pressure. Fighting in the Arctic requires special gear and training (the Russian military mandates cross-country ski training for all mechanized infantry, and additional ski training for Arctic infantry). Even if your country has trans-polar areas it does not necessarily need Arctic Infantry - Russia, a country dominated by it Transpolar regions, has felt it did not need Arctic brigades until very recently, when Russian doctrine began anticipating confrontations with other countries over the natural resources of the Arctic.

Because arctic warfare vehicles are lighter - and thus less armed and armored - than ordinary AFVs, Arctic divisions would probably not stand up well to fighting to ordinary, non-arctic units.

Coasts: The structure of your nation’s coasts is vital for your national defense. Major industrial harbors are needed to maintain your navy - remember those supercarriers you bought at that awesome storefront over at GE&T? Where do your carriers park, huh? You need major ports to maintain and rearm any major naval ship. Typically major naval bases are located at or near major civilian ports.

Conversely, some parts of your coast are open to attack by the enemy. Broadly all forms of coastline can be divided into two forms - those open to an amphibious landing (for example beaches) and those not so open (cliffy terrain technically is not). Note that what we’re talking about an unprepared, opposed amphibious landing - an amphibious landing where the enemy’s troops are shot at, and he did not have time to prepare the landing. In this case, the only areas that are open to amphibious landing are those where the opponent’s amphibious vehicles can drive out of the water and directly onto the shore, under fire (you are, obviously, defending your coast). If the enemy manages to land troops on the shore (say, by airlift or parachute landing), and establish a beach-head, it is conceivably for those troops to blow up a cliff-face to make it possible for further vehicles to drive up the resulting slope, or , if the beach-head is retained for months or more, even build a small improvised port.

There are several strategies to defend a coast from landing. Other than maintaining a strong enough navy to defend against enemy forces in the first place, your ground forces should maintain a force of patrol aircraft and long-range RADAR installations (to defend against enemy ships), as well as mobile launcher batteries for anti-ship missiles (on trucks and on aircraft).
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Mobile coastal defense launchers


If this fails, and the opponent’s forces are already approaching your shore, it is useful to deploy anti-landing mines directly in front of them. These are special mines that are deployed into shallow waters and will mess up things like light landing craft, amphibious vehicles, and boats. Your ground forces meanwhile set up a defensive line on shore in the same way they normally do.

Remember: the landing is when the enemy’s tanks, APCs, soldiers and ships are most vulnerable. Landing ships (and even aircraft carriers) are vulnerable to artillery and ATGMs, and amphibious vehicles cannot fire their guns as accurately from the water. Infantry are bunched up tight in landing vehicles and APCs, and are unable to use their guns against you.

Cities: The hardest terrain to fight in. Combat manuals generally state officers are to avoid trying to capture the opponent’s cities, because of the simple fact that fighting in cities tend to be ferocious and take up a great amount of time. However, cities that are transport hubs, industrial or political centers, are likely to get attacked in wartime

What makes cities so hard to fight in? Primarily it is the fact that you can’t really see through walls. Houses - even houses that have been wrecked by shell fire and are not fully inhabitable - are going to provide at least concealment, and probably even cover, for enemy troops, while obscuring communications between military units. In other words, if a platoon goes down one street, and another platoon goes down the other, they cannot really assist each other, and an enemy attack is likely to come by surprise - and given that the reverse goes for the enemy, any battle is actually a series of ferocious firefights between various small units.

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This is not an atypical result.
Last edited by Allanea on Mon Jun 09, 2014 6:02 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Allanea
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Postby Allanea » Mon Jun 09, 2014 1:55 am

Nations that have a serious expectation of having their cities attacked - does yours? - take precautions to defend the population of the cities. The Soviet Union had for this purpose trained its population to evacuate cities in event of nuclear war, and even planned on evacuating entire factories. Israel to this day mandates the construction of bomb shelters in apartment buildings (I personally recall people in my building using such a bomb shelter during shellings by Hamas and Islamic Jihad).

For a defensive military, one should have precautions for destroying major elements of your own infrastructure to avoid their use by the enemy. NATO forces had gone as far as create special niches in road surfaces to insert demolition charges into European highways - just happening to be the same diameter as Medium Atomic Demolitions Munitions... in fact, NATO countermobility manuals of the Cold War era list the potential need to utilize nuclear weapons to destroy Western factories and power plants to avoid their capture. However, it should be noted that destroying your own infrastructure is only a good idea if you expect to lose control of it for an extended period of time, and thus want to deny its use for the enemy. If your infrastructure has been seized by, say, a gang of militants, setting off the nuclear demolitions devices may not be the best idea.

Conversely, any military that expects to fight in cities - both defensively and offensively - should be trained for this task. It is useful to equip your troops with high-firepower personal weapons (as artillery and aviation are hard to apply in a city) - thermobaric rocket launchers, for example - and equip your vehicles with a variety of defenses from RPGs and other anti-tank weaponry. Because the city is a 3-dimensional environments, your vehicles might get shot at from a variety of angles - for example, an enemy soldier might shoot at your tank from a third-story window as it passes under him, aiming at a commander’s hatch. This both means that tanks need more protective means, and that infantry need to be trained and drilled even more extensively than in regular combat, to work with the vehicle crews and protect them (by, hopefully, shooting people that might attack the vehicles and that the crew can’t see, or warning the crew about them).


2. What is my nation’s infrastructure like? Is transport primarily based on roads or on rail? Is there a well-developed transport network at all?

Transport Networks: The first thing you need to understand about your road and rail network is that your troops will not fight on your road and rail network. No matter how perfect your road and rail network is, your forces cannot remain restrained to them. As a military unit arrives at the general area where the fighting takes place, it will likely get off-road and move towards the location where it expects to fight the enemy. Later, if the fighting is long-term, your combat engineers will construct roads, airfields and even rail to supply your forces in combat. These are however means for resupplying your forces, and are not means for moving in tactical maneuver. ( A strategic maneuver comprises moving your forces from one end of the country to another, a tactical maneuver is whatever maneuvering a tank, or an infantry platoon, takes up in actual combat. Obviously the latter cannot be restrained by roads.)

Let us consider the different means of transport in turn.

Airfields: The advantage of airfields is that they allow the rapid shifting of supplies to threatened areas. However, they are limited in two ways: one, only relatively small amounts of cargo can be moved by aircraft. To demonstrate the difficulty, the M1 Abrams tank in its last version weighs 62 tons. The Lockheed C-5 Galaxy can at the most safely airlift one such tank. (It could potentially safely airlift up to two T-80 or T-90 tanks.) Second, airfields - especially large civilian and military airfields - are going to be among the first things targeted by your enemies to capture or destroy.

Of course, your peacetime airfields are not enough - you never know where your troops will need to fight.

Rail: Rail is one of the most efficient ways to move large amounts of industrial and military cargo. Be aware, however, that large-scale train transports of soldiers and supplies require great efforts to organize, as trains need to be timed precisely with each other to avoid accidents and jams. As an example, Germany’s preparations for executing the Schlieffen Plan included drilling the operations of not only soldiers, but rail station crew and various rail officials in the timely execution of... the train schedule. In fact, when, during the first day of the war, Kaiser Wilhelm considered briefly a change in the strategic plan, he was told by his advisors that it could not be done because the trains could not be rescheduled.

Rail is also somewhat vulnerable to bombings and sabotage. While a damaged bit of rail is fairly easily replaceable (within minutes if needed), a damaged or destroyed railway bridge, rail hub, or tunnel is far less so. Further, if a train is derailed (by saboteurs or an air strike), the derailing will cause damage to the tracks, and the path will not be able to be used without a major recovery effort, to include the removal of damaged railcars from the track.

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We’re going to be here for a while.

Rails, finally, can also be inhabited by armored trains (useful in counterinsurgency, artillery, and AA role), as well as nuclear missile-carrying trains.

Roads: Roads, and particularly highways, are a valuable element of national defense. Indeed, the U.S. Highway system has been designed specifically to enable strategic transport (by truck) of various military supplies, troops, and vehicles. ng for cheaper shifting of vast quantities of cargo, roads are extremely versatile. The majority of non-combat force movement operates along whatever best roads you have available. As such, during wartime, your opponent will try to seize your major transportation hub, and you will of course try to prevent it, or seize his, or try to destroy these transportation hubs altogether.

If your nation does not possess a network of quality roads (Russia in 1941 decidedly did not), this should also be considered as part of your military doctrine, as it will limit your forces’ strategic mobility. In planning your defensive you should consider not only your highways, but whether your nation has a developed network of narrow-width, and unpaved, country roads. THese can also be used. (During actual operations, your formations will not be able to solely utilize existing roads, no matter how good your roads are. Consider and adopt for the need to build new roads to resupply forces in wartime. Your combat engineers should be able to lay down single-lane unpaved roads fairly easily


Rivers: Major rivers are often main transportation hubs, as cargo ships can move up and down rivers. Large rivers - such as the Dniepr and the Volga and the Mississippi can be used to move truly enormous qualities of cargo - oil tankers, RORO ships and dry-goods carriers can easily move up and down rivers. In fact the Red Army in the Russian Civil War converted such a riverine oil tanker into a small aircraft carrier (it carried biplanes). They are also obstacles to your - and the enemy’s - forces. Even if your APC/IFV is amphibious, your tanks, army trucks. etc. are not, and major bridges are likely to be destroyed in combat, or insufficient for your military’s use. This is a good time to consider having a large amount of amphibious cargo vehicles, divers trained for river combat, and of course, combat engineers with pontoon bridges. If your country has a large network of rivers and streams, like Vietnam, having riverine infantry - infantry trained for moving on, and deploying from, boats - is a great idea, as is having a brown-water navy of various vessels (hovercraft, attack boats, etc.) designed for moving about and fighting on those rivers.

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Russia’s rail forces erect a military rail bridge.


Harbors: As we covered previously, harbors are of great importance for any military, as they allow for both maintaining naval ships, and moving great amounts of troops, ships, and industrial product out of the country. Your enemy will try to seize or damage your harbors, and you will try to damage and destroy his.

Energy Infrastructure: How do my people get heat and electricity? Is it by virtue of coal plants, or nuclear plants? Is it by large hydroelectric dams? All of these will have their own vulnerabilities. Coal plants depend on regular shipments of coal. Hydroelectric dams are very vulnerable to bombing attacks, and destroying them will flood things in the flood plain. LNG and oil often are piped across countries by enormous pipe networks that can get damaged during combat (especially if you are facing an uprising within your country). You should have provisions to guard those.

If your nation is cold, you should also consider how it gets its heating. The above concern for LNG and oil piping apply here as well. During the Chechen Wars Russia was forced to deploy large quantities of troops solely to defend its oil pipes through Chechnya.

Water:

How do your nation’s people get water? Conflicts over water are a major issue in many parts of the world. Which rivers and streams does your nation get its water from? Do your people drill down to get the water directly from the aquifer - or - more likely, really - have a complex system of pipes and irrigation systems to water its cities and farms? Where are its major water reserves located? For example, Israel’s major water reserve is the Sea of Galilee. Protecting access to this reserve, and denying it to Syria, is one of the foundations for Israel’s policy vis-a-vis Syria.

Food: How do your nation’s (and perhaps, your likely enemy nation’s) people produce and distribute their food? There are two aspects to consider here. One, what are the major food-producing regions of your country? Are they located near your border with your likely enemy, or deep within your country? Do you depend, perhaps, on fertilizer imports from another country? (The same questions apply to your major enemies) As an example of the importance of these factors, during the Second World War food shortages have been caused in the USSR when the Axis soldiers captured Ukraine, the ‘breadbasket of the Soviet Union’. Axis submarine warfare caused food shortages in the British Isles, partly due to cutting off supplies from the colonies and partly due to damaging the economy.

Any mobilization plans for your country need to take into account the need for men, in particular qualified workers, for your farm industry. During the First World War, the Russian Empire was afflicted with food shortages due to the simple fact that many of the men and horses needed to do urgent farm work had been conscripted (at the time, horse were conscripted as well, as military logistics in the period depended to a great extent on the humble equine), and harvests were incomplete, causing vast quantities of bread to rot in the fields.

The final matter is food stores. In modern economies, wholesalers and other businesses have perhaps a few day’s supply of food on hand, as do most citizens. Unless you are a survivalist, you are likely to have only a few days’ worth of food in your refrigerator - and so in the event that a major city is suddenly cut off from food, starvation will likely set in within weeks. Some nations IRL maintain enormous stocks of rice, grain, and canned foods to maintain their citizenry through emergencies (in the United States, FEMA is responsible for maintaining such food supplies. In Russia, there exists a far larger and extensive government reserve program called the State Reserve).

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The largest SHTF stash in the world.


Communications Infrastructure: Your nation’s economy, and the functioning of many of your nation’s daily activities - from factories to hospitals to daycares - depends on your existing communications network. Here are some questions you should be asking yourself: Are the majority of television channels in your nation cable- or broadcast-based? (Broadcast-based television requires local broadcast antennae to repeat the signal.) What about your phone and Internet networks? Are they separate from each other? What about your cellphone networks? In a more modern society, you could in fact have a system that provides TV, telephony, and Internet services all over a single (wired or wireless system). Your military should generally have its own, physically separate, communications networks for day-to-day communications as much as possible. It should be airgapped - not directly linked in any way to any civilian networks.

3. Are my nation’s people fiercely patriotic? The more patriotic and martial-minded your nation is, the more will the people be willing to have the military involved in their daily lives – whether in the form of conscription, regular reserve call-ups, paramilitary classes for their children, or simply high budget expenditures on the military. What about my potential enemy’s nation, are they patriotic?

4. Is my culture casualty-averse? The more casualty-averse your culture is, the less likely it is to engage in wars – and when it engages in wars it would prefer tactics that get less of its men into the way of harm. On one end of the scale you get the Netherlands, whose peacekeeper battalion once refused to interfere with an act of mass-murder because it had no air support available… on the other, you get wartime Japan with its Banzai charges, or Iran in the Iran-Iraq wars using ten-year-olds tied together with ropes for mine clearance.

ImageBasij Child Soldiers


Cultures vary between nations. This affects the degree of support your miiltary has among the populace, the quality of your troops, and the effectiveness of your domestic and foreign propaganda. Every nation engages in propaganda. In democratic countries it is sometimes called an information effort, or an outreach effort, or a social networking effort. You should not only consider what your culture is like, but how this affects your propaganda efforts.

A propaganda effort is just as much a military support activity as is keeping food and ammunition running to the front. There are endless examples of nations being defeated in wars because the morale of the public, or of the troops, failed. As such, in wartime, your nation maintains three - not one - propaganda efforts. These should all be planned and coordinated by your government, either on its own (in a society where government propaganda is seen as acceptable and part of daily life), or in cooperation with the major media (for example, the New York Times happily backed up the war effort in the Second World War) and patriotic organizations (Israel has many groups that maintain young volunteers who make pro-Israeli comments in the major media). All of the propaganda efforts needs to be in keeping with the national culture - if you RP as a moderate, Western European-styled nation, vast four-color posters with pictures of your soldiers bayoneting enemy troops will not be taken well, if you RP as a patriotic society it could well take. Here’s an example from my life: when Israel participated in the Second Lebanon War, the Hebrew-language papers were of course approving of the “counter-terrorist effort” but they were approving in a fairly moderate, European-style language. The Russian-language paper in my small town, directed at the Russian expats, printed a large caricature of Hassan Nasrallah in the shape of a snake (coiled like a swastika) with the words THIS IS THE PEOPLE’S WAR on the cover. They did this out of their own free will - they just realized this was the way their target audience would best get the message.

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Your nation needs to have three major avenues of propaganda:


a) A domestic propaganda effort. This is an effort - in which your government engages jointly with friendly media and civilian organizations - to portray the war positively at home. For this purpose, you engage the mass-media, groups of volunteers (or hirelings) working on the Internet, and so forth. Even in peacetime your nation (if it has public schooling) will be inculcating some degree of patriotism (To what degree it is acceptable in your culture) to children. Wartime propaganda, however, is a full-scale, urgent effort.

b) An internal propaganda effort amongst your military (this exists in peacetime and war time). For this purpose your military maintains processes (and sometimes, dedicated officers) for the purpose of keeping the troops’ patriotic spirits and morale up. In the Soviet Union this role was filled by military comissars, in modern Israel and Russia - by Education Officers. Part of the soldiers’ training program should be an introduction to various national monuments (for example, museum tours, lectures about the heroism of previous soldiers who fought in this unit, vigils on the graves of heroic dead, etc.). Preachers, chaplains, army newspapers and radio channels directed towards soldiers also assist in maintaining a morale effort.

c) PSYOPS - Psychological Operations, meaning propaganda directed at the enemy. This utilizes radio broadcasts, internet postings, and leaflets, as well as loudspeakers (military loudspeakers can be heard miles away). There exist means to disperse leaflets from missiles, bombs, and artillery shells. Again it must take into account the local culture. If you are dealing with a population with a high rate of illiteracy, it makes sense to disseminate drawn leaflets. During the Second World War, Allied Forces on the Western Front disseminated leaflets that portrayed Nazi elites betraying the ideals of national-socialism and cavorting with soldiers’ wives (thus such leaflets doubled up as porn), or even their younger brothers (you’ve read that right. The Allies used explicit gay child pornography in combat). During operations in the Gaza Strip, the IDF called Palestinian civilians in areas where it was about to operate, warning them about IDF air strikes and attacks - partly to allow them to evacuate, but partly of course to intimidate Hamas fighters in the area.
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Allanea
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Postby Allanea » Mon Jun 09, 2014 1:56 am

PSYOPS efforts that do not take into account the local culture typically fail - for example, the US military during the Second World War blundered by utiliizing leaflets with the words I SURRENDER on them - a wording highly offensive to the Japanese. When the leaflets were reworded to bear the words I CEASE RESISTANCE - quite a few Japanese troops turned themselves in to the Allies if they were given an option to pretend they were somehow not truly “surrendering.” In a more comical context, Hamas maintains ridiculous efforts to SMS Israeli citizens with threats and discussion of Hamas’ military prowess - which typically are laughed at as the Hamas SMS messages are usually generated via Google Translate.

In the modern day, the Internet is a major part of both domestic propaganda and PSYOPS effort. The United States Department of State, the Israeli Foreign Ministry, and the Russian FSB, all maintain groups of Internet commenters to generate or feign online support for their worldview. They’re often aided by volunteer organizations such as Israel’s Im Tirzu Zionist student group. These commenters can either be volunteers, as those employed by Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, interns, or paid commenter (Russia’s government is rumored to pay government commentators 85 roubles per comment), for example. Another course of action is teams of hackers that will hack public websites to cause embarrassment to the other side, or leak emails or information online that would be embarrassing to one or more public figures in a target nation.

5. Does my nation produce the majority of its own weapons or does it rely on imports?

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6. What is my population like? Do I have a large proportion of young men (or women) I can draft? Is my population well-educated? A well-educated population can be trusted to handle more sophisticated equipment, and can be trained in tactics that allow low-level officers a great level of tactical flexibility, while a less-educated population might need a doctrine that leaves little decisionmaking to the enlisted men.

7. What perceived threats is my nation facing? If my neighbor is Suslikland, a nation known for its vast tank armies, I want to develop weapons and tactics for anti-tank warfare. If I am threatened by invasion from Joebobistan, armed with a large quantity of long-range guided weapons, then my nation needs an elaborate array of AA and ABM weapons, ranging from long-range interceptor missiles to MANPADs that can hit a Tomahawk in flight. Again, the emphasis here is perceived threat. During the 1960’s and 1970s’, Soviet generals believed, falsely though they have, that NATO offensive tactics would mirror their own. Therefore they planned defensive tactics based on that idea – even though it was not realistically true. People – including your NS characters – don’t act on what is true but on what they believe to be true.

8. What does your nation believe the role of the military is? A military that is a global peacekeeping force needs to emphasize strategic mobility – being able to rapidly move its troops and formations across the globe. A military that is seen to be as primarily the defender of the nation at home – like the IDF - can emphasize strategic mobility less.

9. What does your nation think it’s strong and weak sides are? The Soviet Union believed itself to be a ‘land civilization’, an expert at ground warfare, and structured its military around the offensive power of its ground forces and its immense manpower, while the United States attempts to prevail based on technology and superior quality of manpower and vehicles.

10. How is the government run in your country? Do your armed forces answer entirely to the civilian authorities, or do they maintain a degree of independence? Is your nation a democracy or a dictatorship? All of these answers have drawbacks.

While totalitarian regimes often are famous for their supposed ruthless military efficiency, often this is only hypothetical. (Stalin’s purges of the high command are famous for the damage they did to the Russian military. Less famous is the ability of outright madmen to gain influence with Soviet command because they knew the right people. In particular noticable were the action of Kurchevsky, a recoilless cannon inventor from the 1930s who managed to gain control of the entire Soviet artillery production effort, and intended to replace all the Soviet artillery with recoilless guns... a pity that Kurchevsky’s guns didn’t work. Of course, he did this at the course of having several competing inventors... ‘dealt with’.)

Image



Democracies, in turn, often limit the effectiveness of military command by subordinating it to people with no military experiences or knowledge - observe, for example, the conflict between Sir Douglas Haig and Lloyd George during the First World War, wherein Lloyd George attempted to block Haig’s command decisions. On the other hand, having little civilian control over the military is also quite dangerous. During the 1990s, the Ukrainian military appointed a certain General empowered to decide whether military equipment in certain units was out of date and whether the units could be decommissioned, and the weapons in them (out of date, after all), could be cut up and sold at discount prices for the various metals inside the weapons systems. As a result, Ukraine lost three Air Defense brigades with S-300 launchers, which were of course cut up and handed over to civilian companies - all owned by the friends and families of the general and his accomplices.

Some nations - for example, the United States - give military decisionmakers more power and independence in wartime than they do in peacetime. In peacetime, for example, the ORBATs and composition of military units need to be confirmed by acts of Congress for every alteration, and in wartime this can be done by relevant military commanders. Norway’s armed forces have strict civilian control in peacetime, but complete operational independence in wartime. Another option is Israel’s system, where a lot of the military planning decisions, and even parts of the military budget, are not open to legislators (I have once met with a leader of a Knesset faction who explained to me there are entire sections of the military budgets several billion shekels in size that are sealed to legislators.).


Alternatively, your nation’s government can be outright run by the military - for example, by a military junta of generals. Sadly, the endemic corruption of such regimes (unless you have some kind of honorable Warrior Culture) limits their actual combat effectiveness.

The final consideration is to look at how your military doctrine actually gets developed. The Second Reich was the first to utilize the General Staff - an independent, scientifically-minded organization of professional military officers, who developed a set of elaborate military plans (the Schlieffen Plan is the most famous one). Such structures should exist in any decent modern military - but their existence doesn’t guarantee success. For example, the USSR did not have detailed knowledge of American military planning in the 1960’s and 1970s, thus they designed their defense plans by wargaming hypothetical WW3 scenarios with Soviet generals playing as NATO commanders. Naturally, the Soviet generals utilized NATO forces in the wargames as they were trained - producing ‘NATO offensives’ that ran according to Soviet doctrine. Thus, period military manuals envision NATO attackers tossing nuclear weapons like candy and then charging armor and mechanized infantry into the holes blasted in Soviet defensive lines by those weapons...

In short, you should work out how your nation makes military decisions, and then give some thought to how those decisions would be affected by the decisionmaking process.

In considering all the above questions, you should consider again the terrain and economics of your nation. It should be noted that the terrain, economics, and history of any nation will have an influence on its culture, and this will affect military priorities. We have mentioned early in this guide the military priorities of the Jefferson Administration. To a great extent these were shaped by the perception that the United States could (and it did) expand its borders greatly along the North American continent, and that its priority as a government was to bolster and support this continental expansion. In this view, obviously, a great big navy was not such a priority. Conversely, the Japanese, having only a very limited amount of territory and a country composed of several islands of varying size, were nearly forced by their history to develop a potent navy when they were interested in imperialist pursuits. The goal of coming up with a military doctrine for your nation should be not simply trying to come up with the best tactics and strategies, but to work out the tactics and strategies that best fit your nation’s unique character.

Final Note: How To Choose Military Equipment For Your Nation


After you have worked out your nation’s military doctrine, you can begin picking out weapons and equipment for your nation’s military. It should be said immediately that you should avoid the typical mistake made by NS players - that of simply looking up the various available weapons (for example, tanks) on the GE&T storefront, and then picking out the one with the most impressive specifications (typically, the tank’s frontal armor rating and the size and power of it s main gun), and then purchasing it. This is a terrible mistake, albeit one that is made IRL by the leaders of actual nations.

Consider the following historical anecdote: during the Second World War, Nazi Germany fielded a heavy tank called the Tiger. It was heavily armored, and armed with a powerful 88mm cannon that enabled it to easily defeat most tanks on the battlefield. To this day, the Tiger remains a legend among tank fans and military history buffs... but the Tiger had a severe drawback. The huge weight of the tank meant that it exerted far more pressure on the ground than regular tanks (and easily got stuck in mud, for instance), while its engine suffered frequent malfunctions. Worse, the German military did not have a sufficient amount of equipment - portable bridges , recovery vehicles, and railcars - capable of carrying the Tigers. When the broke down, the Tigers often had to be destroyed by the crew to avoid capture. Worse, because the Tigers did not fit on railcars, for rail transport they had to be fit with a special set of tracks - more narrow than regular ones, allowing them to fit on the railcars. To dismount and move regularly, they had to bring up a crane to remove the narrow ‘transport-only’ tracks, and then ‘reboot’ the tank with broad ‘combat’ tracks. Getting a tank battalion into combat thus took 3-4 days with Tiger tanks... and 10-40 minutes with T-34s.

Image
A Tiger tank being transported. Notice the second set of tracks.


The same sort of thing can happen to your nation. As an example of a ‘Tiger’ in NS, a certain nation out there produces and exports an 83-ton main battle tank with impenetrable front armor and an advanced main gun. The nation’s arms exporters neglect mentioning that their tanks are designed to fight on their nation’s flat, dry salt plains, and would get mercilessly stuck in any kind of soft soil.

If you have figured out your nation’s defensive doctrine - which you should be able to do if you have read this manual this far and made notes -you would understand the defensive priorities your nation has. In considering the purchase of armaments - for example, of tanks - you should then consider those strategic priorities. They are in many ways more important than tactical concerns. For example if it is necessary for your nation to be able to shift its divisions and brigades across the world rapidly, then perhaps you should seek out a tank that is light and compact, even if this results in a less survivable tank. On the other hand, if your national defense strategy is of defending a small country, and you want to avoid casualties at all costs, a 70-ton, heavy, well-protected tank like a Merkava makes perfect sense.

Let’s look at another way in which strategic considerations guide defense procurement over tactical ones. Up until the 21st century, the Russian military did not issue its men with socks or boots, preferring to issue knee-high jackboots and footwrappings. The Russian soldier was expected to wrap a piece of cloth around his foot, and then pull on jackboots. This increased the chance of injury - if the wrappings were wrapped incorrectly they could injure one’s foot - and required skill in properly wrapping the cloth. Why was this chosen? One, it was easier to produce a jackboot that could be used in the Russian mud, and second, footwrappings were cheaper to produce - being just a piece of cloth - and replace than a sock. Even if the industry needed to produce millions of pairs of socks failed in wartime, Russian soldiers could still wear boots if they manage to rip up any old bit of cloth into a pair of footwrappings - and so the Russian and Soviet military establishment avoided the sock and the boot until the 2010s.

In picking out your military equipment, you should be concerned not only with the immediate tactical concerns of ‘how big the gun is’ or ‘how thick the armor is’, but also with issues such as - ‘can the vehicle be easily transported across the country’? ‘Is it reliable’?’ “Does it have suitable communications equipment to talk to other vehicles and troops?” and, of course, “Does it fit my nation’s existing infrastructure and my transport equipment?” The consideration of these and similar questions, in the context of your nation’s subjective perception of its military priorities, i.e. its military doctrine.
Last edited by Allanea on Mon Jun 09, 2014 1:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Allanea » Mon Jun 09, 2014 1:56 am

READING LIST


Here are some resources that will be useful to you in planning your military doctrine.

A Guided to Naval Warfare on NS, by Questers.

FM 100-2-1, The Soviet Army, Organization and Tactics - the US Military’s guide to the operational and tactical doctrine of the Soviets. A great example of what a nation’s doctrine can be like, and how it affects the nation’s tactical planning.

Military Operations on Urbanized Terrain - how the USMC sees urban combat. An invaluable resource to planning your nation’s combat operations.

Achtung, Panzer by Heinz Guderian. it costs $12 on Kindle and is a must-have if you are particularly interested in acquiring a true understanding of large-scale military operations, especially those involving tanks.

Citino's "The German Way of War" is an excellent history of the evolution of Prussian operational methodology (and its origins in the Prussian state's geography), and then its influence of subsequent German doctrine. [ Suggested by Juumanistra]

Tactical Organization of the Siegfried Line - an example of how Nazi Germany organized the defense of its borders.

PsyWarrior,, a military history site dedicated to the history of PSYOPS operations.
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United Earthlings
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Postby United Earthlings » Sun Jul 13, 2014 7:03 pm

I have a few suggestions for improvement, additions and finally some revisions.

Starting off, under terrain types you have Mountains bolded, yet none of the other types you have listed are bolded, I would suggest you have all bolded for clarity. In addition, you've presented it in two different formats with the first three parts having a space between the text and the write up with the rest followed with a Colon. For consistency sake, picking one format or the other would probably be better. I would vote on the Colon, but I defer to your judgment.

Small nitpick, but on the Arctic Region, as there are many different types of conditions found in the Arctic a quick addressing of each sub-type might be in order: Tundra, Permafrost, Peat Marsh, Semi-Arctic, etc...All present different battlefield terrain situations that must be addressed.

Roads: Not many countries train or even plan for this capability, but good straight roads in an strategic, operational or tactical context can be used as emergency runways/airfields. Sweden qualifying as one of those nations.

On the issue of what is military doctrine: I have a few guidelines and a quote that addresses this question from various sources. Feel free to integrate all three into the text or mix & match.

Doctrine presents fundamental principles that guide the employment of forces in coordinated and integrated actions toward a common objective. It promotes a common perspective from which to plan, train, and conduct military operations and represents what is taught, believed and advocated as what works best. It provides distilled insights and wisdom gained from employing the military instruments of national power in operations to achieve national objectives.

Doctrine should provide a general blueprint for action that addresses the threat and ensures victory. Doctrine must make the best use of existing resources and capabilities, while guarding against future enemy developments.


and the quote: "Doctrine provides a military organization with a common philosophy, a common language, a common purpose and a unity of effort." General George H. Decker

And now for the Reading List Additions


Citno's "The German Way of War" while a great read doesn't really address doctrinal issues so its suggestion here seems a little odd. In my opinion, Citno's other book, Blitzkrieg to Desert Storm: The Evolution of Operational Warfare would’ve made a better suggestion fit for this thread topic, but moving on.

No military doctrinal reading list would be complete without some US Army Field Manuals, so here they are: For starters you have the ADP 3.0 UNIFIED LAND OPERATIONS which should be augmented by ADRP 3.0 UNIFIED LAND OPERATIONS.

Next moving on to the new US army Counterinsurgency manual {updated from 2006}: FM 3.24 INSURGENCIES AND COUNTERING INSURGENCIES

A link to all the current US army doctrine and technical manuals

Followed by thanks to the Federation of American Scientists another large listing of US army manuals, which includes the three Field Manuals addressing the Soviets, which means the individual link for it can be removed.

Again thanks to the Federation of American Scientists, this time a list of Air Force manuals.

And closing out one more book suggestion that actually addresses what it says: U.S. Army Doctrine: From the American Revolution to the War on Terror (Modern War Studies)

That’s it for now, hope you find some of those suggestions useful.

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Postby Gigaverse » Sun Jul 13, 2014 10:56 pm

So, let's assume a situation where I have potential enemies that are:
- A nation of mysterious agenda that fields and favors heavily armored vehicles and average-ish to heavy infantries;
- A not-so-peaceful, occasionally imperialist federation that can attacks my nation with a very large and well-equipped navy;
... and my nation has potentials to develop a very strong air force;

What should I do then?
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Postby Allanea » Sun Jul 13, 2014 11:03 pm

Do you border the nation-with-a-mysterious agenda, or is your nation an island, like Allanea's mainland is?
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Postby Gigaverse » Sun Jul 13, 2014 11:09 pm

Allanea wrote:Do you border the nation-with-a-mysterious agenda, or is your nation an island, like Allanea's mainland is?

The nation is physically spread out, but the extreme points are closer to the one with mysterious agenda (aka the one with big guns and very thick armor). But yes, my de facto mainland is an island.

As I have said before, though, I have potentials to develop a very powerful air force. And, seeing that my nation can into space in the future, I am deciding on either the air force or the navy, or to balance them both. Until now, I have always decided on balancing everything.
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Postby Allanea » Sun Jul 13, 2014 11:15 pm

The logic would seem to be to focus on a strong navy and air force indeed. The Navy should be centered around carriers, they can both win naval battles and apply anti-ground strike firepower.

You should have a great quantity of air-deliverable anti-armor weapons, such as air-launched cluster bombs with anti-tank munitions, guided missiles, et cetera. A strong navy backed by a strong air force will allow you to deter a naval invasion.

If you have a land border with a hostile nation it should be fortified (not necessarily with literal fortifications, but arrangements should be made for its defense, based on some combination of fortification, maneuver defense, and a great quantity of guided anti-tank weapons.)

Give me a moment, I will link you an article on anti-tank warfare.
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Postby Allanea » Sun Jul 13, 2014 11:16 pm

Here is a valuable article on the subject of dealing with overwhelming tank forces, written by three Doctors of Military Science, and translated by yours truly.
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Postby Gigaverse » Sun Jul 13, 2014 11:34 pm

Allanea wrote:Here is a valuable article on the subject of dealing with overwhelming tank forces, written by three Doctors of Military Science, and translated by yours truly.

What if the ones with mysterious agenda are my friends-with-benefits? Should I import their thick-armored tanks and study them to build my own in case they could possibly turn hostile (and, for that matter, go back to balancing, but still empowering the whole army)?
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Postby Allanea » Sun Jul 13, 2014 11:39 pm

I am not clear what do you mean by a "balance" here.

Do you mean your armed forces have an equal budget for each branch? Or equal manpower?

The problem is, that unless you have an extensive land border with an enemy, large ground forces are not really as useful in NS in general as a large navy and air force.
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Postby The State of Monavia » Mon Jul 14, 2014 12:13 am

Bravo! Bravo! Once again you have furnished the roleplaying community with a read worth every second of one’s time. I will be making use of a few of its points in the course of writing future posts.
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Postby Allanea » Mon Jul 14, 2014 12:16 am

The State of Monavia wrote:Bravo! Bravo! Once again you have furnished the roleplaying community with a read worth every second of one’s time. I will be making use of a few of its points in the course of writing future posts.


Thank you! :blush:
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Postby Gigaverse » Mon Jul 14, 2014 12:50 am

Allanea wrote:I am not clear what do you mean by a "balance" here.

Do you mean your armed forces have an equal budget for each branch? Or equal manpower?

The problem is, that unless you have an extensive land border with an enemy, large ground forces are not really as useful in NS in general as a large navy and air force.

*equal budget*

Point taken. I shall now focus on (mainly) the Navy and Air Force. Ground Force can wait.
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Postby Allanea » Mon Jul 14, 2014 12:52 am

(My own nation breaks this advice mostly because I enjoy RPing ground forces more.)
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Postby Gigaverse » Mon Jul 14, 2014 12:55 am

Allanea wrote:(My own nation breaks this advice mostly because I enjoy RPing ground forces more.)

... to be frank, I think people may enjoy something they're more familiar with more than others.
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Postby Holy Marsh » Mon Jul 14, 2014 1:06 am

Great work, as expected.
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Postby The Torogian Collective » Mon Jul 14, 2014 1:10 am

Very helpful. Was an enjoyable and informative read.

10/10 did enjoy
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Postby Korouse » Mon Jul 14, 2014 1:26 am

I'm planning to make the infantry part of my army mostly mechanized or motorized to utilize quick mobility and flexibility to my advantage, coupled with my ground attack aircraft to make a modern form of blitzkrieg. I also have a small but Elite Marine Corps with a pretty small navy. Would this work?
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Postby Allanea » Mon Jul 14, 2014 1:32 am

Regardless of your view of blitzkrieg (it's a controversial subject) - you should have your forces mechanized preferably, and motorized where mechanization where that is impossible. Mechanized infantry have a grotesque firepower advantage over motorized and leg infantry (because they're escorted by IFVs, who are basically light tanks that attach on the infantry squad level). This allows them to better survive small arms fire, shrapnel from artillery, and weapons of mass destruction.

Generally, what you described is the general tactic of most major modern militaries.

I am not sure you want to have a small navy - how would your armed forces get to other nations to fight wars?

You should also read this article, about the strategic aspects of blitzkrieg.
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Postby Korouse » Mon Jul 14, 2014 1:37 am

Allanea wrote:Regardless of your view of blitzkrieg (it's a controversial subject) - you should have your forces mechanized preferably, and motorized where mechanization where that is impossible. Mechanized infantry have a grotesque firepower advantage over motorized and leg infantry (because they're escorted by IFVs, who are basically light tanks that attach on the infantry squad level). This allows them to better survive small arms fire, shrapnel from artillery, and weapons of mass destruction.

Generally, what you described is the general tactic of most major modern militaries.

I am not sure you want to have a small navy - how would your armed forces get to other nations to fight wars?

You should also read this article, about the strategic aspects of blitzkrieg.

I didn't know that was the general tactic. As for the navy, it's either going to be some pretty good ships for landing on beaches or lots of big metal tubs with guns.
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Allanea
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Postby Allanea » Mon Jul 14, 2014 1:39 am

See the difficulty though?

If you want to get into a war RP in NS which is not with a country that's your immediate neighbor, you need either a good navy, or a good IC arrangement with a nation that has a good navy.

(Or be like me and not fight nations my own size unless I have allies coming along.)
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Postby Korouse » Mon Jul 14, 2014 1:42 am

Allanea wrote:See the difficulty though?

If you want to get into a war RP in NS which is not with a country that's your immediate neighbor, you need either a good navy, or a good IC arrangement with a nation that has a good navy.

(Or be like me and not fight nations my own size unless I have allies coming along.)

If I can't get on their beaches I'll bomb them, and their ships.
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Postby Allanea » Mon Jul 14, 2014 1:49 am

To carry out meaningful interventions in foreign nations you need a competent navy to:

1. Fight their navy.

2. Protect your shipping lanes (the Air Force alone cannot do this due to the range limitations of aircraft).

3. Deliver tanks, IFVs, and heavy equipment.

The easiest way to have a competent NS Navy is to take the RL US navy and scale it to the size of your nation.
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