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Large tactical Formations still viable past World War 1?

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  • Large tactical Formations still viable past World War 1?

    I was wondering about how large tactical formations could still be viable past WW1-era technology without the war being indecisive. In an Alternative History Timeline of course.

    So far, I thought of several ideas, but I don't know if they are viable or just plainly dumb. Note that some technologies invented after the war are involved in those ideas.

    -Apply modern tactics to larger units. Have fire-and-movement, cover, and such with battalions and companies instead of squads and platoons. Have initiative with low-level officers. (Battalion and lower being defined as 'low-level')

    -Disperse the formation, to create an extended order 'Thin Red Line'.

    -Combined arms, a combination of armor, aerial, and proper artillery support. Maybe motorize and mechanize the infantry. Tanks serving as the decisive role that was once reserved for cavalry

    -Have small unit tactics serve as a skirmishing or recon tactic to help make way for the main attack


    Do the following ideas make for an alternative to our timeline's modern tactics? Or are they not viable at all?

  • #2
    Sure. They are just more spread out and rely on radio and other electronic communications more. It has been an ongoing thing in warfare that as technology advanced dispersion of armies increased to offset it.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
      Sure. They are just more spread out and rely on radio and other electronic communications more. It has been an ongoing thing in warfare that as technology advanced dispersion of armies increased to offset it.
      I actually mean large, as in the number of soldiers. Not the area the formation covers. (Although, more soldiers means the area would have to be larger.)

      So, I was thinking about armies that are more concentrated than WW2 armies, but are not as concentrated as WW1 armies. Or, how to preserve as much concentration as possible without losing effectiveness, in short.

      Note that extended order formations means something like a skirmish line. Which is not tightly packed like a standard line of battle.

      (Sorry if it wrecks your answer.)

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by DinodudeEpic View Post
        I actually mean large, as in the number of soldiers. Not the area the formation covers. (Although, more soldiers means the area would have to be larger.)

        So, I was thinking about armies that are more concentrated than WW2 armies, but are not as concentrated as WW1 armies. Or, how to preserve as much concentration as possible without losing effectiveness, in short.

        Note that extended order formations means something like a skirmish line. Which is not tightly packed like a standard line of battle.

        (Sorry if it wrecks your answer.)
        Operation Desert Storm especially the VII Corps.

        Comment


        • #5
          At the risk of stating the blindingly obvious it's a question of firepower with a side issue of command and control. As the power of weaponry increases the greater the level of dispersion of men and equipment that is required to negate its effect. This, in turn, places a greater strain on command and control since, at a tactical level, the more dispersed the soldiers are the more difficult it is for a commander to control a large body of them. Battlefield technology can assist somewhat but there is still no substitute for the kind of physical contact tactical warfare requires. It's a balancing act though, over-reliance on firepower - not having enough bodies on the field (dispersed or not) - makes the holding of ground taken more difficult than it should be. So to answer your question, large tactical formations aren't really viable because they're either vulnerable to enemy fire (too densely packed together) or too dispersed for tactical command and control.
          Signing out.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Full Monty View Post
            At the risk of stating the blindingly obvious it's a question of firepower with a side issue of command and control. As the power of weaponry increases the greater the level of dispersion of men and equipment that is required to negate its effect. This, in turn, places a greater strain on command and control since, at a tactical level, the more dispersed the soldiers are the more difficult it is for a commander to control a large body of them. Battlefield technology can assist somewhat but there is still no substitute for the kind of physical contact tactical warfare requires. It's a balancing act though, over-reliance on firepower - not having enough bodies on the field (dispersed or not) - makes the holding of ground taken more difficult than it should be. So to answer your question, large tactical formations aren't really viable because they're either vulnerable to enemy fire (too densely packed together) or too dispersed for tactical command and control.
            A Comment - depends on what you are up against.

            Imagine an Opposing Force which has NO inherent Tactical Ability, like giant Soldier Ants or Driver Ants - being directed by rapid but very long-range communcations, from a very few Commanders.
            The "Troops" you are up against, fighting by Instinct and Hatred, rather than any kind of Intelligence - sort of like Hyped-Up "death or glory" Banzai Soldiers - but much worse.
            Add to this - they come at you in endless waves, shoulder to shoulder. Also - they outnumber our Armies many times over - and breed like nothing imaginable, doubling their numbers ever Month.

            Think something like the Insect-Creatures in "Starship Troopers".
            Like in that Film - you are fighting for survival, to survive and MAYBE to Win. Like in that Film - they have little Technology, but inherent Weapons of their own.

            So - you have to have dense-packed Troops to defeat them, you have to have dense-packed Troops, to even stop them.
            Nothing short of individual complete destruction will stop any one of their "troops", and if they reach you - you are dead.
            So - the premise of your Large Tactical Fromations works for me - in this Scenario. "Infantry Squares" for all-round protection, but with a lot of Modern Weapons and Support. You really need to "hold ground" - anything less is a rout, and everyone dies.

            So - like I said, it depends upon what you are up against.

            Sure - this is Fiction - Science Fiction, if you like. However - this is a Discussion Forum, and this Thread is in Alternate Timelines.
            G.M. - Sci Fi Game - the "Krissyverse"
            Darius Jarvinger - Prime Minister of The Phoenix Confederation
            Kris Martins - President of Attican Republic
            Kaar Kristoff - Minister of Interior of The Phoenix Confederation

            Comment


            • #7
              Karakris, I thought about that - 'Starship Troopers' isn't it? But unless the body is infinite there is enough firepower in a nuclear bomb to take out hundreds of thousands of enemies, even if they are close to mindless automata. Saying that, I did insert the caveat that there was a limit, a point where 'bodies on the ground' could not be substituted with ever increasing firepower.
              Signing out.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Full Monty View Post
                Karakris, I thought about that - 'Starship Troopers' isn't it? But unless the body is infinite there is enough firepower in a nuclear bomb to take out hundreds of thousands of enemies, even if they are close to mindless automata. Saying that, I did insert the caveat that there was a limit, a point where 'bodies on the ground' could not be substituted with ever increasing firepower.
                It was - and I do agree with your Points.

                Trouble is - in my Game, we ARE gonna have to go up against something that Nasty and unpleasant, and damn hard to defeat.
                However - they have Slaves, Bipedal Oxygen-Breathing Intelligent Slaves - who are working as their "Slave Labour".
                Rather in the way that the Nazis did in WWII - they are not even the same Species or several Species.
                Nuking their Bases may not be a good option - we kill all of the "nice people" who are their Slaves.
                It would be like Nuking the Nazis, and incidentally killing the Jewish Prisoners.

                So - after their defending Space Fleet is destroyed, in each Star System - we are gonna have to send in very large numbers of Ground Troops, and hit the Planet. With Tanks, S.P. Guns, and Atmosphere Craft. Then we are gonna have to FIGHT the damn buggers.
                G.M. - Sci Fi Game - the "Krissyverse"
                Darius Jarvinger - Prime Minister of The Phoenix Confederation
                Kris Martins - President of Attican Republic
                Kaar Kristoff - Minister of Interior of The Phoenix Confederation

                Comment


                • #9
                  Our own era points the way. Just pound the ground installations with precision guided weapons of every sort and accept collateral damage (undoubtedly in a space empire the resources, ie. ammuntion, will be almost limitless). Since these minions are guided by radio or other form of guidance, disrupt that control and you have a mass of immobile drones. Massive fuel-air detonations, napalm (equivalent for time period), tactical nukes, orbital bombardment, air strikes. The defeat of this sort of enemy would be rather simple. The ground operations would be relatively simple in such a idiom.

                  Even in starship trooper, the weakness of a drone army is found and victory follows.

                  Modern and future war will be won by the forces with the highest tech,... numbers mean little.
                  The Purist

                  Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assault of thoughts on the unthinking - John Maynard Keynes.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by The Purist View Post
                    Our own era points the way. Just pound the ground installations with precision guided weapons of every sort and accept collateral damage (undoubtedly in a space empire the resources, ie. ammuntion, will be almost limitless). Since these minions are guided by radio or other form of guidance, disrupt that control and you have a mass of immobile drones. Massive fuel-air detonations, napalm (equivalent for time period), tactical nukes, orbital bombardment, air strikes. The defeat of this sort of enemy would be rather simple. The ground operations would be relatively simple in such a idiom.

                    Even in starship trooper, the weakness of a drone army is found and victory follows.

                    Modern and future war will be won by the forces with the highest tech,... numbers mean little.
                    This looks like a Winning approach - I will Forward your Post, to our Ground Forces Commander.
                    G.M. - Sci Fi Game - the "Krissyverse"
                    Darius Jarvinger - Prime Minister of The Phoenix Confederation
                    Kris Martins - President of Attican Republic
                    Kaar Kristoff - Minister of Interior of The Phoenix Confederation

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Karakris View Post
                      It was - and I do agree with your Points.
                      'Starship Troopers', at least the Paul Verhoeven version, is one of my favourite films. It's all style, special effects and not a lot of substance but the dialogue is very funny at times. Some of the news items are absolute classics (the kids stomping on insects as if they are somehow just little versions of the 'Bugs' is a killer!).

                      Trouble is - in my Game, we ARE gonna have to go up against something that Nasty and unpleasant, and damn hard to defeat.
                      Take out the field armies with Nukes. As for the bases, use infiltration tactics and take out the intelligent command structure. Then arm the slaves - if they're angry enough and thankful enough they won't need much firepower and if they all die, so what, they died fighting for their freedom!
                      Signing out.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Full Monty
                        ... Then arm the slaves - if they're angry enough and thankful enough they won't need much firepower and if they all die, so what, they died fighting for their freedom!
                        Cold Bro,.... very cold. <<<brrrrrr>>>
                        The Purist

                        Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assault of thoughts on the unthinking - John Maynard Keynes.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Just two Comments - and I will get out of this Thread.

                          How do you like these Onions ?

                          Hitting the Bases will not help - they get their Orders by a wierd kind of Telepathy - from somewhere near The Galactic Core.
                          Their "Overmind" is effectvely sessile, non-mobile - Intelligent but completely Insane.

                          Worse - their Numbers are ghastly, unthinkable.
                          This Empire of Drone Creatures has already Conquered 70% of this Galaxy.
                          I did not create that - I just have to work within it - and YEESS - it is Frightening.
                          G.M. - Sci Fi Game - the "Krissyverse"
                          Darius Jarvinger - Prime Minister of The Phoenix Confederation
                          Kris Martins - President of Attican Republic
                          Kaar Kristoff - Minister of Interior of The Phoenix Confederation

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            So let me get this straight, they have no longer space borne but we still need to wipe them out fro their planet.

                            The question is,
                            What is their planet like? Similiar to Earth?
                            Where do they live on their planet? Are they close to their oceans?

                            Assuming they live near large bodies of water my plan would be.

                            1.) High speed kinetic strike on their oceans to create a large tsunami.
                            2.) Satellite reconnaisance to determine where they live (assuming underground) and use specially built nuke bombs that can penetrate deep underground. The aim here is not to destroy their forces via the nuke, but to cause the entire underground structure to collapse.
                            3.) If all else fails, use asteroids and drop in on their planet by the thousands.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Karakris View Post
                              Just two Comments - and I will get out of this Thread.
                              Oops, you've broken Rico's second rule!

                              How do you like these Onions ?

                              Hitting the Bases will not help - they get their Orders by a wierd kind of Telepathy - from somewhere near The Galactic Core.
                              Their "Overmind" is effectvely sessile, non-mobile - Intelligent but completely Insane.

                              Worse - their Numbers are ghastly, unthinkable.
                              This Empire of Drone Creatures has already Conquered 70% of this Galaxy.
                              I did not create that - I just have to work within it - and YEESS - it is Frightening.
                              If the odds are that stacked then a few extra bodies on the ground won't make any difference. 'Firepower' is the only viable solution.
                              Originally posted by The Purist
                              Cold Bro,.... very cold. <<<brrrrrr>>>
                              Yes, well, just thinking practically. Just as in a 'Wild West' RPG where, as the town Marshal I was faced with a gang robbing the bank ... so the first thing I did was to shoot their horses! The wave of revulsion that swept the room was almost tangible. It worked though!
                              Signing out.

                              Comment

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