War is not about guns or bombs, war is about people. It is about people who cannot, or are unwilling to resolve their differences through discussion or other non-violent means. It is not about fancy weapons, neat space ships, or unstoppable killing machines. War is about people. If you are writing about anything other than people, you are writing a pretend technical manual. Don’t make that mistake.
On November 20, 1945, Lt. General George Patton stood in front of a board of 40 senior commanders to discuss the performance of US infantry divisions in Europe.
Patton made the following observation in WW2. The infantry component of the division, which is 65.9% of the total personnel, inflicts on the enemy by means of small arms, automatic weapons, mortars and hand grenades approximately 37% of the casualties. To inflict 37% of the casualties, the infantry sustains 92% of the total casualties of the division. The artillery, which comprises 15% of the division, inflicts 47% of the total casualties on the enemy for which it suffers but 2% casualties from the enemy.
It was also noted that during some time periods infantry regiments have suffered 100% casualty rates. This is bad, but doesn’t show all the factors, such as how well and how quickly replacement troops became casualties.
In Fallujah it was a 15:1 kill ratio in favor of US forces. Some books have higher numbers and so many things can impact the ratios.
Regardless of the math used, infantry combat tends to be tough and bloody, but also very necessary. A nation cannot declare a real victory until there are boots on the ground making sure the enemy is really gone.
The primary goal of this book is to get the creative juices flowing. To give you ideas and to help you from making common mistakes.
This is not a linear book, it is a resource book. While you could start at page one and read to the end, the strength of the book is that you can find what interests you and skip the other stuff. This book contains lists, explanations and essays to help people better understand the military, military concepts and thus write better military Science Fiction. I’ve tried to make the table of contents as informative and as useful as possible and include links for more in-depth information.
The purpose of this book is not to be the end all of writing Military Science Fiction, it is to help inspire and guide writers to write better Science Fiction, not just Military Science Fiction either. It is to help flesh out a story, to help give the writer ideas, background and references. It is not designed to provide hard science fiction details, BUT it can help you with the terminology to get those details. It is to help get those creative juices flowing. If you like something, research it a little more, I’ve tried to include relevant links for more focused information and research. Don’t take my writings as gospel, but as a resource that you can expand upon, to inspire your thought process and give you ideas.
Personally, I hate long formulas and descriptions. If I want more details, then I can usually find excruciating details on the Internet. Extensive descriptions make my eyes glaze over and wonder when the action will start. I have included many links to help you. Please let me know if they change and I can update the e-book. I also try to keep the website www.milsf.com up to date with relevant information. I’m sorry if I get verbose at times.
The focus of this book is on infantry combat, be they Marines, Army, SEAL, Para rescue units, in space or on the ground. It is my intent to release two more books focusing on space ships (Space Combat) and vehicular combat (Squadron Combat) which will provide greater detail on naval, air force and vehicular organization. Space Combat will have a breakdown of space ships, roles, sizes, tonnage, crew sizes and lists of weapons, sensors, ship components, etc. Squadron Combat will focus on vehicular combat with crew roles, vehicle tactics, weapons, organization, etc. Fighter squadrons, tank platoons, artillery batteries, continental siege units, carrier operations, etc. It will rely very heavily on the Space Combat and Infantry Combat. In some cases, I will duplicate content, so each book can stand alone but there is far too much information to cram into a single book. Sorry.
Movies and television use guns and explosions to draw attention and awe the audience. People like being awed and that is what producers want to do. In my opinion producers or script writers are too lazy to do any research so their stories are severely lacking when it comes to reality. It is always easier to make up things for dramatic effect than to face the reality that can be less dramatic (like explosions in space). Writers have to be subtler, they have to draw the reader in with realistic details, just enough to make the story believable but not so much they are lecturing people on technology. They need to paint a picture for the reader’s imagination to fill in the gaps. Writers cater to a more intelligent and sophisticated audience.
Because movies and television do not portray reality, most viewers do not know what is possible and what is not. While finding books on large unit tactics is usually not difficult, and history books frequently detail large scale battles, small unit tactics are another story entirely. Most movies, television shows and books are about people, not entire battalions or Regiments or Divisions. This means finding out about small unit tactics is a difficult proposition at best and not everyone knows a knowledgeable veteran to ask.
Some people care about what they write, and some would like to add more reality to their story but don’t have many resources to draw from. That is what this resource is about. It is my intent to help newbies and veterans alike to understand the military better. It is also my intent to help Science Fiction writers understand what war is like now and how it may evolve for the war fighter.
I was US Marine Non-Commissioned Officer and a squad leader. I served in Desert Storm and Desert Shield. While I was in the Marines, my hobby was small unit tactics. I enjoyed learning about all manner of small unit fighting from guerrilla wars to large scale conflicts. I was an NCO, not an officer, so my viewpoints are that of a small unit leader who loved his job and strove for excellence.
Please help me to correct his book and let me know if I missed anything. You are awesome! Thank you!
You can also check out my site at www.milsf.com
Thank you and Semper Fi!