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Speculative Fiction Writers Guide to War, part 16: The Costs of War

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Travis P here. Since our last post of our Guide to War covered Combat Support Training, it seemed natural to segue into another type of support for combat–those things a nation needs to do in order to support and field an army. That is, the costs of war, as Travis Chapman is about to explain in general terms (future posts will provide some guidance on how to compute war costs):Travis C here with a continuation of our post series The Speculative Writers’ Guide to War. As Travis P and I discussed where we wanted to head next, we knew that we needed to address the cost of war. We’ve discussed why a nation (or other entity) might chose to go to war, where their military forces might come from and how cultural and social factors might influence how they experience combat and how they might train for it. Lingering in the background is cost. War costs us something. We’ll spend some time dissecting how those nations will consider the cost of war before we move on to how planning and operation…

Speculative Fiction Writers Guide to War, part 15: Combat Support Training

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Travis P here. Our last two posts have discussed training, the last one on the topic of combat arms training and the one before that on high-end capabilities, which are particular types of weapons that require a team (usually a large one) working together in a complex way to make an individual weapons system operate. This week we will discuss the training of combat support specialists, people who wear military uniforms and are trained in the basics of combat, but whose primary job is to support the war fighters rather than fight themselves. (Note that modern military studies distinguish between “combat support” and “combat service support”–I’m rolling both those terms together under the name of “combat support.”)The earliest imaginable form of combat support would stem from ancient tribal warfare in which warriors (let’s be honest, they were almost always men) went out to battle and the wounded among those who survived to return home would be bandaged and given herbal remedies by vill…

Speculative Fiction Writers Guide to War, part 14: Combat Arms Training

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Travis P here. I’m picking up our subject again with more on the topic of training. The next two posts will break down some training issues that relate to professional armies (because barbarian armies train, but not systematically in the way as pros do). This week will look at the training of “Combat Arms”–that is, the instruction required for people who handle weapons that directly or indirectly kill enemies. This training has been throughout history in general organized by weapon type, by system of transportation combined with a weapon, and to a degree, by the philosophy of how to use them–otherwise known as “military doctrine.”This kind of training has gone through a variety of transformations over time, based on general types of weapons systems, transportation systems, and military doctrine in use. These historical patterns demonstrate models that can apply to fictional worlds.First, let’s discuss historical transformations a bit. The city-states of ancient Sumer were the first na…

Speculative Fiction Writers Guide to War, part 13: Training for High-End Capabilities

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Travis P here. In contrast to the layout of other weeks, I’m going to first introduce and later illustrate a post initiated by my fellow Travis (Chapman). In this post, he focuses on the training for “high-end capabilities,” which is the term used for highly expensive weapons systems that constitute the most advanced means of fighting that modern nations have. Note that even though the terminology of high-end capabilities has a very 21st Century feel to it, the concept can be applied to speculative stories that mirror the legendary past as well as those set in highly technological futures.Note also that the type of training this post explores is highly technical. Instead of focusing on training warriors to endure the hardships of up close combat, this kind of training requires mastering the highly advanced weapons systems of high-end capabilities. Whatever those high-end capabilities may be.Travis C here. I’d like to introduce a few terms of art. In a modern parlance, high-end warfigh…