3
$\begingroup$

The other side of this question can be found here: How to use heavier soldiers

Imagine if tomorrow we find a way to create soldiers that are almost exactly the same in every single way as our current ones, just lighter. They have the same stamina, the same carrying capacity (not counting their weight*), they are the same size, aren't fatter or thinner and have the same amount of energy stored in their body.

Let's say for convenience sake that they can be anywhere between 20 kilo's lighter to a mere 10 kilo's in weight.

My question is how these soldiers would be used in our current day and age. What tasks would they be put to compared to their "normal" soldier counterparts.

*This means that if an 90 kilo normal soldier can carry 20 kilos of gear effectively, that the light soldier even if he weighs 10 kilos can still carry 20 kilos of gear and still have just as much stamina etc.

I'm not interested in what they specifically won't be doing, I just want to know what tasks they would fulfill as infantry (yes some will definitely make it as pilots of aircraft or similar but this is about infantry). Would always take point in an infantry formation or always hold back. Would they carry specific weapons to aid in their task etc.

$\endgroup$
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Unlike as for heavier soldiers I can see one possible advantage for the lighter ones: possibility to employ lighter -> smaller -> harder to detect airborn vehicles. (Also perhaps less fuel needed to operate classical vehicles, but that would be rather a weak effect) $\endgroup$ – Mori Nov 25 '19 at 15:49
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ What about run speed and jump height? Normal human can carry only a quarter of body weight; your light guys can carry double their own body weight. Does that mean their legs are 8 times stronger relative to their body weight? $\endgroup$ – Bald Bear Nov 25 '19 at 18:41
4
$\begingroup$

My question is how these soldiers would be used in our current day and age. What tasks would they be put to compared to their "normal" soldier counterparts.

The weight reduction only really comes into play when you're trying to move soldiers around quickly. Henry Taylor has the right idea, but I'm going to expand on it a bit.

If you look at what most soldiers spend most of their time doing even in conflict zones like Iraq and Afghanistan, or even during Desert Storm, how much they weigh doesn't really matter. If you could put some kind of anti-gravity harness on a basic US Army grunt, it's only really going to really matter very occasionally. Either when you have to airlift him somewhere, or when he needs to cover a lot of ground very quickly, which doesn't happen that often.

So, unless your antigravity solution is really cheap, what you're NOT going to want to do is use it just to let a normal soldier carry more stuff. There are all kinds of ways to solve those problems that don't require antigravity, so if you've got it, you're going to use it to do the stuff that just isn't possible any other way.

However, all of your 'tip of the spear' type of soldiers are a different story. Anybody whose primary job, the majority of the time, is to cover a lot of territory quickly. Reconnaissance, Paratroopers, special warfare guys of all kinds, this could make a huge difference.

On foot, your guys are going to be able to travel further, faster. This is especially true if you maximize the advantage by making their gear lighter too. If you take a 90kg soldier down to 45kg, and then keep his gear under 20kg as well, that guy is going to be able to cover ground two or three times as fast as would normally be the case.

Any kind of airmobile force, same deal. Your air transport is going to be able to carry more troops further, faster, and more stealthily. Suddenly jet-packs and other kinds of personal aircraft of all kinds become a much more viable idea when your fully equipped soldier is only 70kg instead of 140 or so.

$\endgroup$
3
$\begingroup$

Paratroopers and Shoreline Landing Forces

In both of these cases, the reduced flesh weight of the soldiers would allow their delivery vehicles to carry more personnel without any loss of speed, maneuverability or fuel efficiency.

$\endgroup$
3
$\begingroup$

Rapid Mobility Shock-Troops

A soldier's weight really isn't going to matter all that much if they're standing around running a guard post or expecting to be tucked into a fox hole, and a lighter weight soldier sure isn't going to help all that much for pushing and pulling pallets around on a base as part of a logistics team.

For the most part a soldier's weight for day to day activities doesn't have an impact on much if they're able to move at normal speed.

So what does that leave us? Soldiers who are moving fast and taking the fight to the bad guys:


These lightweight soldiers are going to be able to travel further and evac easier, so you're going to want to exploit that as much as possible.

At only 10kg, plus gear, these soldiers are even in the running for practical jet-pack/quadcopter type mobility aids to cross the battlefield faster than dismounted infantry has before, and their goal is going to be to detect and hit the enemy with precision strikes before they can reasonably respond, and withdraw out of the active combat zone before any survivors can establish a reliable fighting line.

$\endgroup$
1
$\begingroup$

Stealth and Black Ops

When I hear "light" I think "quiet" and "need less food".

This makes lighter troops more suitable for snipers, who might stay hidden for days or weeks on end in occupied territory. They need less food so they can, in effect, carry more days worth of food in the same size/weight.

They can move quickly, make less sound at night on rocks, marble, stone, etc. It would be easier to design soft-padded shoes for that weight. Being lighter would definitely be an advantage in stealth operations, assassinations, kidnappings/renditions, etc. Basically anything that needs to be done quietly.

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ If they can carry the same weight, and have the same stamina, then I don't think they need less food. They've still got the same body, some of the mass has just been 'hidden' from the fabric of spacetime. The Stealth bit I agree with though. $\endgroup$ – Morris The Cat Nov 25 '19 at 18:39

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.