I recently engaged in a war with an expensive-to-kill psychic warrior race. I prepared to face heavy losses, but my enemies deny me the satisfaction of mourning my soldiers' deaths. They didn't kill any but maimed them all (some still died of blood loss due to the don't-care-ness of their overlord, but I'm sure they did not mean it).

Now I have 3 (and counting) platoons of one-armed and one-legged men. The whole nation already knows that the enemy don't kill (so I can't just get rid of the useless veterans in secret and blame them).

How am I supposed to continue the invasion while wasting resources on these trivial matters?

Edit: This is a European-like medieval world, no steam machine yet, but there are explosives, some rare magic left but mostly too unavailable to be useful.

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    $\begingroup$ Sounds like you are about to die of a heart attack. $\endgroup$
    – kingledion
    Nov 18, 2016 at 3:01
  • $\begingroup$ Could you add some context about the time period? An ancient Greek way of doing it may be different from a medieval European method which may be different from the 2500 AD interplanetary war way of doing it. $\endgroup$
    – Zxyrra
    Nov 18, 2016 at 3:06
  • $\begingroup$ Dress the handicap and put up a circus show... kidding! seriously let these performers make do with whatever rare magic they have left hopefully the enemy buy 'em. Mua-hahaha-hahaha $\endgroup$
    – user6760
    Nov 18, 2016 at 4:36
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    $\begingroup$ Does this imply that you entered a war without the ability to stomach the cost of war? Sounds like your leader deserves everything they are receiving. You can also see our issues with veterans today, and the challenges we face as a society stomaching these costs when we are put face to face with them. $\endgroup$
    – Cort Ammon
    Nov 18, 2016 at 16:12
  • $\begingroup$ @CortAmmon it's not the cost that bothered me, but the uselessness that did. I'm looking for a way to utilize them to the last bits of their flesh. $\endgroup$
    – Ngoc
    Nov 20, 2016 at 9:50

5 Answers 5


Send them home, showered with honor and glory, and let their families and neighbors take care of them. Teach the rest of the population to revere the maimed veterans. You don't have to spend your own resources on them if everyone on the home front is eager to bring them casseroles and fit them with prosthetic limbs. They won't resent you (as much) if they get to boast of their heroic exploits and are respected by the rest of society.

This day is call'd the feast of Crispian.
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam'd,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say "To-morrow is Saint Crispian."
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,
And say "These wounds I had on Crispin's day."
Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,
But he'll remember, with advantages,
What feats he did that day.

This works best if the wounded vets are a small proportion of the overall population, so that everyone else can afford to support them, but it sounds like that's the case. Three platoons is about 150 men, and the smallest single-country population Wikipedia lists for the Middle Ages is Norway's at 0.2 million, or 200,000. If your wounded population increases by a factor of 10, that's still only 0.75% of Norway in the year 1000. (The fact that you say "no steam engine yet" makes me think that you're talking about the later Middle Ages, when Norway was still only at 0.3 million but the whole European population had increased from 5.4 million (1000 AD) to 11.5 million (1500 AD).)

If your population is still having problems absorbing the wounded vets, you can retrain them for jobs that don't require as many limbs, like pumping the foot-bellows in a forge if you have one arm, or weaving or carving if you have one leg. People who employ wounded veterans will be seen as doing something good and honorable.

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    $\begingroup$ Wouldn't really work. The soldiers are no longer able to work to support their families, so the whole family will suffer and likely end up impoverished. No glory in that. Money for their upkeep needs to flow from somewhere, and if this happened on a large scale the population would get really angry and eventually rebel $\endgroup$
    – Innovine
    Nov 18, 2016 at 14:33
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    $\begingroup$ @Innovine if the war is defensive, and alternative is to surrender and be mindless cattle of psychic race, rebellion against war isn't likely. If it's invasion and there is an option to just stop, you're right, rebellion is almost sure thing. $\endgroup$
    – Mołot
    Nov 18, 2016 at 15:13
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    $\begingroup$ It depends on how big a proportion of the population they are. Three platoons is usually about 150 men, so unless the population is really small, they could probably absorb that, especially by training vets for alternate careers that don't require as many limbs. I'll expand my answer to cover that. $\endgroup$ Nov 18, 2016 at 15:55

They probably just went straight into battle after they recoverd a bit. Here is a link that describes how people often fought again and again after recovering from injuries.

You could send your people home for a few weeks or months and once they can walk (or limp) again you send them back on the battlefield. Make them the greatest heroes, fighting again and again for their homeland and their people, till the bitter end!

This way you won't have to deal with the problem of your many maimed soldiers for too long. Because at some point the enemy can't really do anything else besides killing your soldiers. At the same time you wear out your enemy. "I hacked off both of his arms last week and today this crazy guy comes running towards me with a sword in his mouth! What the ?&!* is wrong with these guys?!?"

  • $\begingroup$ Unless this is a defensive battle, which it doesn't appear to be or the people are blood crazy barbarians. Then this is probably going to lead to rebelion. No one wants to walk to thier death. $\endgroup$
    – Necessity
    Oct 2, 2017 at 22:16

Indoctrinate them into giving their lives for the "greater good". Camouflage them (with mud or primitive gilly suits), strap explosives on em and have them creep into enemy territory to blow up key structures. Worst case scenario the enemy discovers them and boom, a few enemy soldiers dead. Considering the 'no-kill' nature of the enemy, suicide bombers would actually be rather effective.

This is all taking into consideration you are pretty much a tyrant of course (How to exterminate a psychic race?)

  • $\begingroup$ Like it, attack a rather peaceful race with terrorism/gorills warfare. I can immagine that any physic attack would cause relaxation on the dead man switch you can give them. Unfortunately time period is wrong, so how much explosives you can get is up in the air. $\endgroup$
    – Necessity
    Oct 2, 2017 at 22:24

many cultures would just fit them with rudimentary prosthetics ,(wooden legs, strap shields or blades to their arm, etc) and send them back into battle.


Swell the ranks of cavalry and shieldwall!

Lose an arm, basic prostehetic arm that has a sharp point on one side and a shield on the other arm. It doesn't take a ton of skill to fight on as part of a shield wall. Maybe do them the honor of being a couple of ranks back.

If your guy lost a leg, it's less weight for the horse to carry. This may not be great for front line heavy cavalry, but it may not be a really bad thing for light cavalry armed with horse bows. As they adjust to the loss of of the leg, teach them to ride and to shoot.

Those are the options for the guys who want to keep fighting. If they don't, there are a ton of jobs an army needs done that may not require a full compliment of limbs, and these guys could look forward to that as a kind of pension. Lose something in the battle, why not keep earning your pay by working in a laundry, or as a cook. Maybe you could be a drover or carter. Maybe be the guy in the back in charge of sharpening swords. If the Veteran has a good brain and can read and write, he could be a clerk. Just treat those positions as positions of honor and the Vets will continue to make themselves useful to your war effort.

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the contribution. Most of the vets don't want to keep fighting, and keeping them will only lower the soilders' morale. I don't want that many cooks & clerks (I came here prepared, I had enough of them). Insisting on sending them as meatshields is counter-intuitive, because, honestly, who would readily obey that order? I'm evil, but doing outright evil acts would just ensure & hasten my heart attack. $\endgroup$
    – Ngoc
    Oct 3, 2017 at 9:49

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