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If a modern military acquired the means to grant some soldiers the ability to transform into a bipedal were-creature, what kind of military applications/roles would they be best suited for?

Abilities
They retain their intelligence, however they lose the ability to speak. They also have regenerative abilities that can be overwhelmed if too much damage is sustained. Plus, they will have any traits associated with the animal the were-creature is (a were-tiger would have all the traits associated with a tiger).

Vulnerabilities
Though possessing regenerative abilities, if they sustained enough damage they will completely stop healing. If the wounds are not treated, they will die. If they also revert back to human for a while, they cannot heal and will bleed out and die very quickly.

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    $\begingroup$ Editing the question to invalidate existing answers is viewed unfavourably. If you aren't sure how to phrase the question, then use the sandbox to get feedback before posting. $\endgroup$ Feb 23, 2023 at 3:53
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    $\begingroup$ I think they would mostly have the same problem as humantaurs. The shapeshifting would make them less of a liability but losing the ability to speak would be huuuge, plus all the odd gear problems they'd have. I dunno, they'd probably make amazing gate guards though. $\endgroup$
    – JamieB
    Feb 23, 2023 at 5:54
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    $\begingroup$ Keep in mind the axiom for all "military", "super-soldier", and "super-weapon" questions: The Enemy Gets A Vote. Enemies are not stupid. They will adapt to whatever your surprise is. Any advantage will be temporary, and they will have were-soldiers, too.. $\endgroup$
    – user535733
    Feb 23, 2023 at 6:14
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    $\begingroup$ I think the answer has to depend on the type of creature and the "traits" they get. $\endgroup$
    – Cadence
    Feb 23, 2023 at 6:50
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    $\begingroup$ I love the idea, but if you look too closely at it, the problem you'll run into is that when a shapeshifting soldier shifts to animal form, all their clothing and equipment either no longer fit or simply can't be worn on the body anymore. That means the only viable use would be where clothes and equipment matter less - like spies. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Feb 23, 2023 at 16:37

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Many little benefits, two big drawbacks.

Humans are the most lethal "animals" on Earth by a large margin. This is due to three factors -- intelligence, language, tool use. You specified they retain their intelligence and that language is lost. How about tool use? A were-bear or a were-tiger might be better at hand-to-hand combat than an unarmed human, but what if the human has a rifle and a barbed-fire entanglement in front of the position? In the "generic" assault role, the transformation does not help.

As Demigan and Daron pointed out, an at-will transformation may be useful in little things, if it can be controlled. No good if it always happens on the full moon ...

  • Some forms might be helpful for carrying heavy loads in broken terrain, like mortar bombs or artillery shells. A were-bear or a were-bull? Some artillery or logistics units could be half weres of this kind, half human helpers to coordinate.
  • I disagree with the answer by Daron regarding the sabotage. An infiltrator who transforms into a bull in an electronics repair shop will pretty soon be a dead infiltrator, because not even bulls are bullet-proof. I agree with Daron regarding the infiltration. Seal SEALs? Wolf rangers?

Are there enough weres to form units by speciality? If there are just a handful, they won't be used by the conventional military at all.

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This answer is entirely dependent on what type of shapeshifting. If conservation of mass is not a requirement, literally anything goes.

If things like conservation of mass is in effect, now we're talking about details of transformation. Are they restricted to something that has to maintain a roughly quadrupedal form with a generally human-like respiratory system and roughly equipment sensory apparatus? A more limited, but still extensive range of options. Can they use some variation so, for instance, gills for underwater operations, or echolocation? More options. Can they mix and match, so, say, a shark with echolocation, electrical generation organs, and detachable spines loaded with a paralytic venom? Options go up again.

Or are the "hybrid forms" your typical anthropomorphic layout, so your standard minotaur or bipedal werewolf, or something similar? More restrictive, but still they provide some options your basic human might not have available.

So, long story short, define your shapeshifting and you can get your answers.

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Stealth and Sabotage

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Your platoon of soldiers can transform into seagulls. They can transform into pigeons. They can transform into mosquitos.

Transform and sneak past enemy lines. Sneak into the enemy camp. Untransform (or transform into something big). Sabotage their machinery. Sabotage their food and water. Sabotage their computers.

I am not an army man. But I will hazard that modern military doctrine relies on the assumption that polar bears do not suddenly manifest inside locked rooms.

Oh no, did you have all of your medical supplies locked inside your super-safe bunker? Guess twelve dust mites snuck in through the keyhole and then twelve triceratops smashed everything in sight. Too bad for you.

Oh and remember your general? Yeah. . . . not any more. She got taken out by a snail in her garden. Tending the petunias she was. Thing turned into an elephant bird and stamped her into the ground. The neighbors say it was like putting a nail in rotten plywood.

Anyway, your general is now dead. That means the map is over and your army is now our army. Good game.

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It doesn't matter what animal they can become, its going to be either useful or neutral.

Lets say your were-man can change into a small pony. Its not exactly dangerous and you don't get more weight carrying ability. You aren’t harder to hit either… but you can be faster. Bind your gear to your back (or have someone else do it), then move large distances through relative safety. Then before you get into combat range change back and gear up. You’ve just crossed large distances silently and less visible than vehicles to get to your position, thats a plus!

There’s also simple things. Over the course of a day you get tired, a portion of that tiredness is micro damage to your body. Especially if you did a lot and have muscle pains afterwards. Your were-people would regenerate (is the regenerating only available during a transformation?). So they would always have a higher stamina as they would never suffer muscle pains or micro damage for long.

Also even if they do need medical attention that shuts down their regeneration, at some point it would be healed enough for their regen to kick back in. So they would always have a shorter rehabilitation and less chance on permanent damage.

Go farther and individual animals can be dangerous. A tiger is directly dangerous, but a terrier with a bunch of grenades should not be discounted. Or a swallow carrying a coconut sized object.

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  • $\begingroup$ Yeah the healing would be exclusive to the transformation cause I figured if any minor or non life threatening injuries that are sustained in the were-creature form should be able to regen so they can revert back to normal form with no worries. The times regen shouldn't work is when the were-creature has multiple life threatening injuries which overwhelm the regen, ability after regen has stopped all wounds would needed to be treated. $\endgroup$ Feb 23, 2023 at 9:32
  • $\begingroup$ Although for the were-creature form I was thinking something more along the lines of anthropomorphic humanoid monster creature like a werewolf from van helsing, but instead of it being a wolf it'd be a tiger with night vision and stealth capabilities for example. They would also only be able to transform into the one animal, however they can decide which animal is chosen for the were-creature form. Once the form is acquired they'd need an adjustment period to learn how to use their new form properly. $\endgroup$ Feb 23, 2023 at 9:46
  • $\begingroup$ They receive the ability to transform via a genetic alteration, if one undergoes more than one genetic alteration it will kill the individual. $\endgroup$ Feb 23, 2023 at 9:56

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