I'm writing a book, and in the book, there are troops that are released from a ship to combat. They have access to whatever weaponry you can think of, they have things like the BFG 9000 from DOOM, that kind of stuff. In my book, they are heavily armoured space marines with high tech suits protecting them from plasma, electricity, etcetera, inspired by the HEV suit from the half life series. My question- How do you most effectively defeat a team of seven to twenty men while you're in space? What weapons are most effective?

Their means of mobility is jet propulsion, and it is extremely unlikely that it will be damaged or run out of juice before being disabled. The suits they use would cut EMP, electricity, plasma, that category of damage into thirds.
"Premise" Space, sci-fi technology has existed for years. They are very advanced, but they need an effective way to fight in space. The large ships they use are slow, and they take to the vaccum of space in order to fight for control over the ships instead of slow paced battles. My "problem" is that I don't know what the most effective way to fight is; Do you use railguns, EMPs, radiation, or what? I think the question was acceptable since it was properly answered and acceptable, enabling me to continue writing my book.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I think you will have to give details on your suits and how they protect to get a reasonable answer. Also information on how they move around, are can they run out of power to move themselves? If not how do they move? Things like that. Hopes this helps. $\endgroup$ Feb 28, 2017 at 14:13
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I suggest that you read up a little on working in space. The experiences gained during the US Gemini program in the 1960s may be of particular interest. $\endgroup$
    – user
    Feb 28, 2017 at 14:15
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Are you considering man-to-man combat in space? Is the team on a planet surface and "you" in space?" The other way around? $\endgroup$
    – Frostfyre
    Feb 28, 2017 at 14:16
  • $\begingroup$ What is the purpose of releasing the troops into space? Do they try to surround or board your ship, or is it something else? $\endgroup$
    – user8808
    Feb 28, 2017 at 14:19
  • $\begingroup$ They essentially are released into the vaccum of space, and start fighting each other. The purpose is to have a more mobile means of offence, instead of large clunky ships. Ultimately, they wish to reach the ships and destroy them after they have defeated their enemies. $\endgroup$
    – Nate Dukes
    Feb 28, 2017 at 14:27

6 Answers 6


Seven-to-twenty men jump out of their heavily-armored and armed-to-the-teeth spacefaring tank/battleship and hail "Come at me bro!" over the comms, what do you do?

Mow them down with superior firepower; you're in a gorram battleship after all.

Jumping out for a fistfight was their frelling dumb idea, and isn't a mistake you have to imitate. Engage the thrusters just enough to keep the sitting ducks from becoming a boarding party, and then simply fire at your leisure (using guns big enough to put holes in other battleships with real armor) at anything getting too close.

The only trouble you'll have is if they've legitimately made it onto the hull, in which case you'll have to send your own space marines (or drones, it doesn't really matter) out to scrape them off. If they're impervious to EMP, just shoot them with projectile weapons. Holes in spacesuits make it very difficult to breathe, and the side left breathing after a battle is typically the side that wins. If the suits can somehow seal off airflow to disabled appendages, you're still slowing them down considerably and making it harder for them to set up the demolitions they were sent to install.

  • 7
    $\begingroup$ Don't bring a knife to a heavy artillery space battle? :D $\endgroup$
    – MichaelK
    Feb 28, 2017 at 15:05
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ ^ This guy gets it. $\endgroup$ Feb 28, 2017 at 15:14

The suits they use would cut EMP, electricity, plasma, that category of damage into thirds.

Just shoot them from EMP/electric/plasma weapons, then. 1/3 of a lighting strike or 1/3 of a plasma fireball still seem enough to fry a human.


"They have access to whatever weaponry you can think of"

Ok, I am going to create a target and forget canister of nanobots. The nanobots can be different types.

Vs the Marines, they simply cover the suit and go rigid. I could also add corrosive, penetrating etc.

Vs the Ship, cover the propulsion system, penetrate, corrode, dismantle exterior assets.

  • $\begingroup$ From the world-building perspective - if you had such unstoppable and versatile nanobots, you could probably single-handily take down any Big Bad Guy. Spending it on 10-20 random troops seem like a waste of resources. Also, it doesn't seem that the troops would investigate a random target with the "forgotten" nanobots. Accordint to the OP, they are just "released into the vaccum of space and start fighting". $\endgroup$
    – user8808
    Feb 28, 2017 at 16:04
  • $\begingroup$ Wow, I can comment :) I do not think they are unstoppable, I am painting a scenario were a single object can be overcome by the many. In some ways this is akin to the Last Star Trek movie. They were not Godly, they simply had a great tactical advantage. If I am out of line by breaking the single combatants scenario, I apologize but my take on the OP's world, that is how I would arm my ships and troops, augmented by traditional weapons and armor $\endgroup$ Feb 28, 2017 at 16:16
  • $\begingroup$ This does not provide an answer to the question. Once you have sufficient reputation you will be able to comment on any post; instead, provide answers that don't require clarification from the asker. - From Review $\endgroup$
    – Burki
    Feb 28, 2017 at 16:33
  • $\begingroup$ @Burki I am trying to fit into this forum and follow the rules. I do not understand the rule that I violated. I have spent nearly an hour reading all the rules I can get to and I simply do not see how I provided an answer that required the OP to ask questions. I believe my answer was well withing the context of the OP's question/assertions. Can you and the other dissenters please provide feedback on what I did wrong? Or what I could have done differently? $\endgroup$ Feb 28, 2017 at 17:47
  • $\begingroup$ @EnigmaMaitreya The message from Burki is an auto-generated message for any answer that is tagged as "low quality, should have been a comment" (and was, thus, not manually written by Burki). That is, you did not actually break any particular rule, it was just that other users on this site thought your answer was not of enough quality to for answer, but should rather have been a comment and Burki happened to be the user that got your answer in their review queue. If you have any questions about how to properly use the site, then post them in meta. $\endgroup$
    – Mrkvička
    Mar 3, 2017 at 6:58

Smash them with a slug.

Hit them by some large mass at high velocity. You don't have to penetrate or damage their armor, if the mechanical shock is high enough, their organs will be move in an unpleasant way.

The exact way of creating the shock depends on the situation: run over them with a spaceship, fire a mass driver on them... But you have to ensure, that they can not dodge it.


Answers so far consider conflict a problem to be solved as efficiently as possible with whatever means are available. To make your scenario work you need to build in a boatload of culture, such than only man to man matches count as combat and everything else is seen as so dishonorable no space warrior would ever consider it. It was not that long ago that Western civilization considered combat in this way - one example being the prohibition on crossbows (enabling peasant to kill noble night) etc. Older civilizations had "champions" who did battle with each other, each representing his people. Here is Jim Fitzpatrick's depiction of Streng, champion of the Fir Bolg. You should definitely have your space warrior done up similarly.

enter image description here

I could imagine such a scenario evolving in a technologically advanced society because no-holds barred conflicts were just too destructive - akin to the Taste of Armageddon Star Trek where war was simulated, to avoid wrecking too much stuff. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Taste_of_Armageddon
So instead ships are unarmed and combat takes place mano a mano with a circumscribed set of weapons. Your weapons can be whatever you think is appropriate for that culture.

The logical extreme of this scenario is space wrestling between nearly nude, cybernetically augmented champions - veins bulging, implants gleaming redly, sweat boiling off into space. I think there are a lot of people out there would would really get into that.


Rail guns

All those EMP-prevention and laser-proof mirror coatings won't do you much good against a high-velocity projectile that punches a hole all the way through that suit will cause some highly uncomfortable medical issues (Explosive decompression is a myth, but it still would be no fun.)

The second link (video) shows that a metal round punching through metal armor gets REALLY HOT. So while explosive decompression won't kill your marines, the heat may. Current railgun technology goes at about Mach 7. That imparts a great deal of energy to your target in the form of force and energy. Heat expansion may cause a catastrophic rupture of the suit.

If the suit is armored sufficiently to resit catastrophic rupture and includes some kind of inner "self-sealing goo" to reseal the holes, you still have a great deal of force to dissipate. A Mach 7 projectile slamming into something with the mass of a human plus the armor will mean your marine is now probably wounded from the impact, flying way off course away from the rail gun, and may have whiplash, broken bones, and/or a fractured spine due to the sudden change in velocity.

Yeah, you can (maybe) build armor that could take the hit, but the sudden velocity change would still be overwhelming to your target. And to any space marines behind that target in a direct-line path from gun to marine.

Maneuvering to avoid a projectile travelling at those speeds would be... really difficult as well. The projectile could be small enough to be hard for radar to pick up accurately. And it is moving fast enough that even if your marine's suit begins some sort of automatic course correction to dodge, it simply may not be able to move out of the way in time. Or doing so may cause similar whiplash/neck injury problems if it CAN move that fast.

And a railgun system in the future might be able to fire fast enough to create a grid-like pattern of incoming projectiles. That's, for all intents and purposes, a wall of Mach 7 projectiles slamming into your marines. Think of something like the US Naval Phalanx CIWS "Sea Wiz" system.


Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .