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127

Dwarves don't have cavalry because cavalry is useless in their preferred environment. Let's take a look at history. Where does the cavalry excel? On large, open flat plains. Horses are large, heavy and require room to turn around. Footsoldiers can turn on the spot, rotating formation in place. Horses can't turn like that, thus they need a lot of area to ...

100

The easiest way to do this is to have him on the frontier far from the important part of the country. A general who isn't of the right class/race/religion/thinking three thousand miles away is easy to dismiss. "Oh, he defeated some savages. I'm quite certain the rock throwing, unarmoured savages, wearing grass skirts were a real challenge." As long as he's ...

91

Unlike a flying machine, loss of connection or autopilot malfunction is not catastrophic, in the worst case your tank just sits idle or runs into wall instead of crashing like a flying drone would. Totally incorrect. Quite the opposite actually. Flying autopilots have been common for decades now and they have become even better. If a flying drone loses ...

91

The crews have evolved on worlds with orientation, so their psychology and conventions reflect the reality that they are planetary creatures. Orson Scott Card captured the importance of orientation to human psychology very well with his "The enemy's gate is down" line in Ender's Game. Changing the perception of orientation changed the psychology of the ...

89

Without logistical hurdles: 8 Months Minimum Basic Training: 8 Weeks. This provides the basic (minimal) set of soldier skills: Safe weapons handling and use, combat movement and reactions, communications, first aid, and fieldcraft. It also weeds out the unfit and identifies potential leaders. Advanced Training: Another 8 weeks, though some specialties need ...

86

Police and Military should never be merged. They have different missions and are set up completely differently. If you look at countries in conflict, and those that are stable today, you see a pattern emerging. If militaries are patrolling civilian streets, you are in an unstable violent environment - it never ends well. This is because they have ...

78

War is not about smashing things If all you wanted to do was to blow thy enemies to tiny bits in thy mercy, then orbital bombardment will do the job without the need for infantry, that is correct. But war is not about that. Smashing things to tiny bits is but a means to an end. The end is control. Control over resources; control over people; control over ...

78

I was an Anti-tank gunner for 8 years with the Marines, I'll let ya in on why walkers will never be used by a military as an armored vehicle. First, joints are huge weak points. Not just to enemy fire, but also from a maintenance perspective, and the sensitive servos and gyros required will be infinitely more vulnerable to dirt than anything on a tank. ...

78

I began to plan out various tactics and such, when I realized it was all for naught. Let's suppose they breach the perimiter of the base. They will soon face an unsolvable problem. They don't have heavy weapons or explosives. A base, supposedly high-tech, important and secretive will be built with nuclear bunker specifications in mind. The base personnel ...

76

Drone warfare Your people might not be disposable but you have the money and you have the toys. There's no reason to actually send any of your people within 500miles of the place. So you lose a few drones, it doesn't matter if you're losing a drone per enemy kill, it's only money and you're not losing people. As a tactic you don't even need to be subtle, ...

75

Assassinate the Garbage Collectors Every city has workers at the bottom, doing the nasty, dirty jobs needed to keep a city livable. Chances are, dear reader, you yourself don't 'see' these people in the places you live, yourself. These people run regular routes, serve everyone, and are likely to be amongst the least protected because they hold jobs people ...

73

War and battle is not about killing... Summary / tl;dr Yes, this military will be effective, because you will write that it is. Your job as the author is to make it credible. ...it is about control This is not even a platitude: war and battle is not at all about killing people, war is about establishing and/or keeping control. When you have control ...

71

Fight draugr with dogr. If you have weird dudes sneaking around the village looking for trouble, there is nothing better than a watchdog. They will be even better for draugr. Dogs will smell these guys coming a half mile away. They will bark like mad and alert the humans. They will do their best to hold off the draugr themselves, and for a dog their ...

70

Many good answers here, but I thought I'd add my two cents as a former infantryman. One of the biggest benefits to using a drone aircraft is the mitigation of risk to human life. We are willing to pay a premium in monetary terms in order to limit risk to human operators of our weapons. This works with UAVs because (as was stated previously) Airborne ...

69

TLDR: All you need is better Anti-Aircraft Guns There's a lot of good information here, but I think @Karl actually has the best and simplest answer to the question. Imagine a scenario where instead of pursuing multiple competing and disorganized efforts, the United States and Great Britain went All-In on Radar in the early '30s when it was first starting to ...

68

Inspired by a certain politician/real estate mogul: Build a high wall around the city. Make it very high, full of automated defenses and airtight. Not inspired by said person, but by a lake: Then flood the entire city with $CO_{2}$. This should displace all the oxygen in the city and being heavy, stick around of a long time while also flowing down into ...

68

Yes You're in luck, the first steam engine was actually invented in the 1st Century AD a good 1000 years ahead of gunpowder. The Aeolipile is technically a steam engine, what's required is for the people of the time to see its potential rather than dismiss it as a toy. Heron (c. 10–70 AD) takes a more practical approach, in that he gives instructions ...

66

Vikings! If the Vikings had to row, everyone on the longship took their turn at an oar (though they sailed any time they could, because who wouldn't?) -- and when they went ashore to fight, everyone in the crew had a shield and weapon and armor comparable to what everyone else was wearing at the time -- helmet and hauberk, at a minimum. Seems to have ...

63

I'm sorry, but there's just no way to realistically spin this in the context of modern warfare tactics, weapons, and battle doctrine. In the olden days, thousands of people would gather in a big field, advance on one another, then do battle. Not only was cavalry faster than infantry, allowing them to outmaneuver them in the field, but the warhorse itself ...

60

Snipers Given the rule that magicians can control what they can see the most effective place for a mage would appear to be as a magical sniper, special forces or artillery. It's also probable the most efficient option in terms of energy. You probably don't want your highly valuable "fuel" falling into enemy hands so it's best to keep mages behind your ...

57

Yes, there are historical examples Ulysses S. Grant Grant won (or, at the very least, commanded the victorious army) at several famous battles as a field commander like Shiloh and the Siege of Vicksburg. He crushed the western half of the Confederacy until he was promoted to supreme commander, whereupon he won the rest of the war too. However, he was ...

56

This practice was done all the time in Medieval Europe, the most famous being the Swiss Guard which was formed in the late 15th century and were stationed as guards in foreign courts until 1847 amendment to the Swiss Constitution outlawed all foreign military service with exception to the Pontifical Swiss Guard (The Swiss Guard that protects the Pope to this ...

54

Historically, tabards and painted shields were used display a Coat of Arms. If you want knights from the same area (but of different houses) to show some similarity, then you can make some armaments/adornments specific to certain regions. These could include: Helmet designs Plumes or crests of coloured animal hair Shield shape, e.g. circular, rectangle, ...

53

Machine guns have made human wave attacks ineffective. Where human waves prevailed against modern firepower, it was always that defendants were unprepared for it, due to lack of properly dug-in position, lack of ammunition, gun overheating etc. Thus, if defendants would anticipate such attacks and prepare accordingly, those attacks would almost never ...

53

There's a reason you separate military and the police. One fights the enemies of the state, the other serves and protects the people. When the military becomes both, then the enemies of the state tend to become the people. -Admiral Adama, Battlestar Galactica I find that quote describes the pros and cons of a combined military and police very well. The ...

51

Frankly, I would not bother with cars or trucks. Use a train! Any large diesel engine, or several combined, with a snow plow up front. As a bonus, you can add waggons for any goods you may want to carry (such as extreme amounts of ammunition and fuel for your flamethrowers), and most of all you can navigate without a problem: you know in advance where ...

48

My Qualifications: I was a Surface Warfare Officer in the US Navy, with two sea tours. Assumptions That anyone reading this is familiar with officer and enlisted ranks. Ultimately, there is way too much information to share here, so this is an abridged version. The Wardroom The officers of the ship are collectively referred to as the wardroom, which ...

45

Let's revisit the premise that the sky-castle has a year's worth of water stored on it. As a corollary to this premise, we should assume that the stored water won't become stagnant or otherwise undrinkable. With minimal bathing and cleaning, just cooking and drinking and basic hygiene, the castle's smelly troopers still require about 5 gallons (16 L) of ...

45

To be a little different I decided that cadets all train together with specialty classes depending on if they will serve on ships, in the air force, on the ground piloting mechanized infantry, or if they are magic users. Aside from no magic users, welcome to the Canadian Forces. These days, all enlisted Regular force (ie, not the Reserves/militia) ...

42

Knights did not walk around in armor. Armor was worn in battle, or at tournaments, or, occasionally, at social events. (Quite similar with modern soldiers; they don't wear body armor when they don't have to. Armor is not confortable at all.) The identity and provenance of the knight was advertised by means of heraldry. Specifically, the knights wore: A ...

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