I’m writing a post-apocalyptic novel, but I have a problem when dealing with daily life in a post-apocalyptic war zone. I know that I might know how civilians or soldiers live in a war zone just by reading the stories of those who survived, but but I have problems because my war zones, as well as the armies that fight are atypical.
The setting takes place in buffer zones called "Protected Areas". These zones have been established after World War III broke. The war was not fought with nuclear weapons, but mankind saw the use of chemical and biological WMDs that have made a much of the planet uninhabitable. The remaining world governments decided to stop using these weapons, and, in order to make the enemy territory conquered economically advantageous, created the Protected Areas, buffer zones between the countries at war, where all the soldiers would be deployed. What's the problem in these zones?
- First of all, the world is a crapsack world. There are few resources, and they are rationed. The daily life of civilians is a hell made of deprivations and exhausting work, and living conditions are worse. 70% of the land is uninhabitable. Every available resource is diverted to the military. Imagine 1984 but post apocalyptic and without a Big Brother
- There a no civilians in the Protected Areas. There are no schools, no hospitals, no official places of worship. There are only military infrastructure, and all that is "civil" is officiously created by the same soldiers.
- These areas are isolated and secured from the rest of the world. The soldiers on guard outside the zones must ensure that no one enters inside, but once inside, you can not go out, except through long bureaucratic procedures that usually are useless.
- We come to the crucial point. Soldiers are not adults. Children and youth are the greatest victims of this era . The war was so devastating to half the world's population. Adults left have the task of procreation (and thus to create new soldiers) and maintain the standing military- industrial complex necessary for war. Every young person aged 12 years and over is required to fight. Young people are considered cannon fodder, so they are sent into the fray without a real training, but only after a quick smattering on how to shoot and how to survive in a war zone. So all the soldiers are children, teenagers or young trapped in areas from which they cannot escape. From the outside came only other soldiers or rations, and the average life expectancy is 15 years. Oldest soldiers are in their early twenties. In addition, these soldiers are isolated by the outside military staff. They are simply ordered to shoot at anyone who is an enemy and to advance.
- Although the PA are secured from the outside, the young soldiers inside continue to fight for three reasons. The first is that if their company does not achieve results, the supplies are not sent, because the General Staff considers unproductive that front. In addition, radio supplied to the various patrols, if tuned to outside frequencies, broadcast only government propaganda. The second reason is the hope of returning home. In fact, if a soldier reaches 22, 23 years of age, it is evacuated from the PA and reintegrated into civil society. And as the third reason, the psychology of young people. The weaker mind become indifferent to the war, and for them there is no reason to leave.
- There is a reason why governments send only young to die. An adult is in possession of expertise vital to the survival of the machine. If an adult dies, his death is a huge loss for the State. A young instead is a expendable pawn . A woman gives birth to six children on average, so even if the death curve is high, so are that of the births.
So, even assuming that there is a minority of deserters guys, how the life for all those young people, abandoned by their own countries, who fight every day to steal a few meters from the enemy, would look like?
Although the two answers given me so far have helped me a lot in defining the setting, the question is different: how is daily life within these areas for soldiers who live there? Keep in mind this.