An organisation breeds surgically, virally and genetically enhanced animals called B.O.Ws (Bioweaponised Organisms of War) to bolster troop numbers and support them in the field. These B.O.Ws perform various combat roles and include the likes of lightweight bat-insect hybrids, self-camouflaging intelligent reptilian-primatial-avians, armoured theropodial crocodiles and trenchcoated supersoldiers best described as zombie T-800s.

The only problem is that when any would-be handlers deploy B.O.Ws in combat, what's stopping these creatures from rampaging about and killing allies?

How could one prevent such a scenario from occurring?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Don't use them in the first place? :P $\endgroup$ – Adrian Colomitchi Apr 7 '20 at 7:04


Friendly troops are sprayed with pheromones that the B.O.W. are conditioned to recognized as friendly. Whatever doesn't carry that pheromone is attacked.

That's the same mechanism some insects use to determine who can freely enter their hive/nest and who will be restless attacked.

Yes, before you object to it, if an enemy knows what the pheromone is, they can use it as disguise and penetrate the hive/nest. This also happens in real world.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ An artillery salvo with stink bombs and I don't need to counterattack - your beasts will do you on my behalf, thank them very much. Call it 'pheromone signal jamming' if you like. $\endgroup$ – Adrian Colomitchi Apr 7 '20 at 7:03
  • $\begingroup$ @AdrianColomitchi assuming the B.O.Ws are deployed along the regular troops yes, but if they are deployed alone and/or behind your line (parachuted maybe), you are out of luck. $\endgroup$ – Gianluca Apr 7 '20 at 8:14
  • $\begingroup$ I'll let aside the moral implications of unleashing non-discriminating beasts in envs out of battlefront - killing non-combatants and so on. The deployed alone and/or behind your line isn't quite consistent with the "stopping these creatures from rampaging about and killing allies". Except perhaps in the event of a victory, in which case just "stopping them" isn't enough, you need to collect all of them from, now, your territory. I don't want to think what if you fail to collect a number large enough to establish a feral population. $\endgroup$ – Adrian Colomitchi Apr 7 '20 at 8:36
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @AdrianColomitchi, if "you need to collect them all" was a real concern for the high ranks in the army, we wouldn't have dropped any bombs nor mines in the last 100 years and more. Cities get still evacuated today to defuse unexploded bombs dropped in WW2 $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch - Reinstate Monica Apr 7 '20 at 9:47
  • $\begingroup$ Ummm... you see, one specific difference between landmines/bombs and bio-organisms is that the former don't have the ability to reproduce. As for the "the high ranks in the army" of the victors, they don't get in the occupied territory; otherwise, for example, the Finns cleaned the ones they used on Mannerheim Line. $\endgroup$ – Adrian Colomitchi Apr 7 '20 at 10:31

You can also modify your troops to not emit one specific pheromone and have the B.O.Ws to attack anything that emit that pheromones.

The "no odor/pheromones " strategy is used by some animals to protect the offspring so that a predator can not sniff the puppy (I remember to have seen it on some documentary but I don't remember all the details)

This way you enemy cannot just drop a stink bomb on you.

The only problem I see is that it the B.O.Ws somehow reach your civilian population it can attack it (since they probably have that pheromone), but this can be solved making the B.O.Ws dependents on some substance that is given only to your troops so they don't leave the battlefield (and die if they do). Moreover you can just drop some bombs with this substance on your enemy, if needed.

  • $\begingroup$ This way you enemy cannot just drop a stink bomb on you. Heh, even simpler - deploy a "all-my-pheromones-included bomb". 'Cause, see? I have control over my troupes, I can train hard enough for me to collect enough sweat to sample and reproduce all the chemicals. $\endgroup$ – Adrian Colomitchi Apr 7 '20 at 8:40
  • $\begingroup$ @AdrianColomitchi Of course. But such munition is like gas, you never know where it go and in any case the best you can do is to remove some B.O.Ws attacking your troops, which are still vulnerable by default while the other troops are vulnerable only when/if you drop the bombs. $\endgroup$ – Gianluca Apr 7 '20 at 13:27
  • $\begingroup$ the best you can do is... making your own BOWs attacking you. Now you have a problem of your own making, I only pushed the trigger for it - cheaper to send in those shells, expensive for you to defend from both your BOWs and me in the same time. $\endgroup$ – Adrian Colomitchi Apr 7 '20 at 13:34
  • $\begingroup$ Well, my own BOWs can attack also my troops but they never stop to attack yours. There is the same problem with the chemical ammunition, you drop them on me, but you have no way to make them stay on me, wind change. You should also constantly sprinkle your troops if you want to be safe. What if I drop a bomb with the pheromone on your side ? $\endgroup$ – Gianluca Apr 7 '20 at 13:43
  • $\begingroup$ Well, my own BOWs can attack also my troops but they never stop to attack yours. which one you reckon is closer to them: you or me? You should also constantly sprinkle your troops if you want to be safe. Why? Your solution is 'my troupes are missing a pheromone, thus I'm safe' (until I'm spraying the missing pheromone on you at least). My counter doesn't make me safer, it's just makes you vulnerable too - and I'm counting on the fact that your BOWs are closer to you than me (thus, I don't need to run faster than the tiger, just faster than you) $\endgroup$ – Adrian Colomitchi Apr 7 '20 at 13:49

Have handlers

Even creatures like squirrels and ravens recognise specific humans and react to them differently. Have your creature form loyal bonds with designated handlers in the army. And animals in general understand basic relationships - if they see their handler acting peacefully, they will be peaceful also. If they see someone fighting their handler, they would come to the handler's aid.

Some time ago I saw a story of someone feeding a wild squirrel every day. Then being robbed while they were out, and the squirrel attacking the robber.

If say every soldier was paired with at least one animal (or pack/flock of animals) as a handler, you'd have the army effectively doubled in size, while being able to control them nearly as effectively as the soldiers themselves.

Use a Shibboleth

Shibboleth comes from a bible story, where the word was very difficult for the enemy to pronounce properly, and so it was used as a password.

It would be possible for the enemy to train to use your language and accent, but not at all easy, and hard to do so universally, especially if your language uses sounds theirs doesn't have - for example the 'r' sound is actually relatively rare, and people raised in languages without it struggle to distinguish it from other sounds.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Your last option is the whole ‘My attack dog only knows commands in Dutch’ trope. $\endgroup$ – Joe Bloggs Apr 7 '20 at 20:05

The allies take precautions.

This is an issue all the time when you have assets of different types: preventing friendly fire. How do your prevent your bombers from bombing your infantry? How to prevent cannon fire from one group from hitting another? If you deploy gas, how do you keep it from blowing back on you?

The answer: try to know where your various assets are and try to make sure the ones at risk do not get hurt by other components of your forces.

This would apply equally to your monsters. If you are going to send out monsters to kill, don't mix them up with humans they might mistake for targets. If you are sending out night bomber bats keep your infantry out of the area. If you have a destructive but unpredictable asset (like poison gas, or mega monster) deploy it in an area where it can rage and do minimal damage. Follow it with a force that understands how to steer clear of it if it is still raging.

This is also better for a story or a game because it counts on the intelligence and information available to commanders as well as the abilities of NCO equivalents in the field to keep their troops from harms way. A failure of a magic talisman is not as interesting as a shouting match between a pissed off sergeant and the leader of an armored crocodile band. Plus it offers good strategy - fall back and let the opponents armored crocs advance into an area you know is going to be targeted by the bat bombers then let the opponent fight with itself.


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.