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So, 500 years after a nuclear war, there are two factions which both hate each other. Though they’ve been trying to stay at peace with one other, war now seems inevitable. The reason for this war is that each side wants control of California, a territory that has remained unclaimed. One faction, called the Midwestern Republic, has taken over much of the land in the surrounding areas, and is now looking towards California as its new goal. They sent a regiment of soldiers there to try and take over. The second faction, called the Western Federation, is a territory that includes the states of Arizona, Utah, Nevada, New Mexico and parts of Colorado. They also want to take over California.

Midwestern Republic Army Specifications

  • Each soldier is equipped with a laser rifle, laser pistol, and three grenades. - Their armor is light to provide them with more mobility on the battlefield.
  • Outnumbers the federation’s army 10 to 1.
  • Has a powerful fleet of rigid airships. They have about 20, and each has a crew capacity of 300 and a cargo capacity of 1,000,000 pounds.
  • They have superior ocean capabilities with an entire fleet of cargo ships that they converted into warships, fully decked out with laser cannons and small nuclear weapons.
  • They have fewer ground vehicles, and the most common way to transport ground troops is by horses or walking.
  • They have many bomber squadrons.
  • Their are 6 ranks. Rank, second commander, commander, overseer, second general and general. Federation Army Specifications

  • Each soldier is equipped with an anti-tank laser gun, a heavy machine gun laser, and flame thrower. Each soldier has a robotic exoskeleton that helps them carry 20x more than they normally could, at the cost of mobility.

  • Have superior weaponry and armor.
  • Have a fleet of 250 helicopters, that can each carry 5 people and have laser cannons, air to air missiles, and are extremely durable.
  • Have a network of underground bases that can house soldiers and can launch intermediate range weapons that can deliver a payload of about 50 kilotons.
  • Can manufacture weapons at a much faster rate than the empire
  • Their military is structured into 5 ranks. Common soldier, commander, high commander, General, and high general.
  • The high general overseas an entire regiment of soldiers and have the final say in all decisions. Neither side has any large nuclear weapons, and they are both equally matched in anti aircraft missiles, each having about 100.
    The people of California
  • The Californians were completely devastated by the nuclear war and have not recovered yet. Most people there live in local primitive tribes and are constantly at war with mutants. None of the Californians want the two faction to invade them, but without advanced weaponry they are powerless against them.

So, what strategies would be best for each side to maximize destruction to the other side, while also minimizing casualties on their side.

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    $\begingroup$ This is quite a detailed setup, however, not detailed enough (Are there any large nuclear weapons? What is each side's anti-aircraft potential?). And in addtion, this looks more like a story development than a worldbuilding exercise. $\endgroup$ – Alexander Jan 30 '18 at 0:35
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    $\begingroup$ You're asking what would people do in a situation. That is the definition of a story based question. $\endgroup$ – sphennings Jan 30 '18 at 0:47
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    $\begingroup$ Asking about strategy in a important military conflict seems just as valid to me as asking about political systems or historical events, both of which I've seen consistently allowed and upvoted. Balancing the military strength and approaches of the major factions in a world can definitely have more to do with worldbuilding than with plot, or at the very least there's potential for significant crossover. $\endgroup$ – Random Jan 30 '18 at 1:36
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    $\begingroup$ Not an answer, but a million-pound-lift rigid airship is probably going to have to cheat physics. Assuming helium is being used, you'd need circa 15M cubic feet of gas. That'd require an envelope twice the size of the one used by the Graf Zeppelin... and that's just for the cargo, not for crew/fuel/engines/weapons. Nothing says "giant floating target" like a half-kilometre long airship. $\endgroup$ – jdunlop Jan 30 '18 at 2:07
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    $\begingroup$ All I can say confidently is that the military leaders of the Western federation are probably incompetent, given that they equip every last soldier with an anti-tank gun when going up against an army that has few (if any) tanks. $\endgroup$ – Cort Ammon - Reinstate Monica Jan 30 '18 at 2:11
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"So, what strategies would be best for each side to maximize destruction to the other side, while also minimizing casualties on their side."

Simple. A cold war.

The use of spies and saboteurs can cripple the military of one side or the other without the wholesale loss of life.

The use of assassination, bribes, blackmail and traitors can cripple the government whilst keeping the other government at arms length preventing a real war.

Just look at the Russian interference with the American election. You can do a lot of damage without firing a single round.

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Your title question and your question at the end are in tension with each other. The best strategy for each side to win is to not fight. California is huge, a negotiated solution preserves lives and material on both sides and reduces the chances of of destroying the value of the land in the process. A war is very rarely "won" as most people would understand that word, and virtually never between true peers.

If a military solution is unavoidable, then more facts are necessary. One significant one, is which side (if either) does California want to win. While not decisive by itself, having the hearts and minds of the natives who know the terrain, know the culture, and are already right there in strategic spots is significant. Having the backing, or at least being tolerated, by the current population is even more significant for surviving the peace after the initial war. That can be the harder part than the original conquest.

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    $\begingroup$ I would highly suggest Sun Tzu's "Art of War" to the OP, for these reasons. $\endgroup$ – Cort Ammon - Reinstate Monica Jan 30 '18 at 2:17
  • $\begingroup$ @CortAmmon Fully agreed. I would also add The Book of Five Rings by Musashi. $\endgroup$ – TimothyAWiseman Jan 30 '18 at 5:37

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