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ImpSB Sector Group Organization: How To Improve It
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Naaman
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2018 11:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

thedemonapostle wrote:
the way the us army does things looks good on a power point presentation and thats where all the good starts and ends. what the army is, is ordered chaos. and im not talking about the whole "colonel has an outstanding solution" type either.

there was a meme out there that stated, "the reason the american army does so well in wartime, is that war is chaos, and the american army practices chaos on a daily basis." but i prefer the saying, "if we dont know what we're doing, the enemy certainly cant anticipate our future actions."


It's sad, but true. And serendipitous at the same time.

I realized after a couple years in that I had adapted to not knowing what the heck was ever going on so well that when bullets started flying, I just had to put my mind in "army mode" and everything was fine.

The very reality of being in the army means that you are in a constant state of adjusting to new developments, from the time you show up to first formation to the time you are dismissed from last formation (and often, even after you've gone home for the night).
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2018 1:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So, it would seem that there is a pretty serious disconnect between the "ideal" described by the ImpSB and the reality they actually face on the battlefield. How much of that do you think is compensated for by paperwork? As in, the guys actually out on the firing line do what they have to do to make things work, then fudge the details to make it look like everything was done according to doctrine?
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Sutehp
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2018 1:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

CRMcNeill wrote:
So, it would seem that there is a pretty serious disconnect between the "ideal" described by the ImpSB and the reality they actually face on the battlefield. How much of that do you think is compensated for by paperwork? As in, the guys actually out on the firing line do what they have to do to make things work, then fudge the details to make it look like everything was done according to doctrine?


I wouldn't be surprised at all to see this. Doesn't this sort of thing happen in armed forces all over the world and throughout history? As for the Empire in Star Wars, it's a running joke how the Imperial Army and Navy are run by incompetents and only they manage to get away with ruling the galaxy solely because they're so huge. Quality is nice, but sometimes quantity has a quality all its own. To quote Xykon from Order of the Stick:

Xykon (emphasis added) wrote:
"Hey, you know what really gets under my skin? Proverbially, of course? A century of wizards looking down their damn noses at me. Energy Drain!

"I know people think I'm stupid. Because I'm not a wizard. Because I get bored easily. Because I have no interest in strategy or tactics or contingency planning. Energy Drain!

But see, I've learned a lot over the years since I died. A lot more than I learned during my life. And now I see that planning doesn't matter. Strategy doesn't matter. Only two things matter: Force in as great a concentration as you can manage, and style. And in a pinch, style can slide. Energy Drain!

In any battle, there's always a level of force against which no tactics can succeed. For example, all I need to do is keep smacking you with Energy Drains, and soon you won't be able to cast any of your fancy spells at all. Energy Drain!

"Because yes, I am a sorcerer - and this magic is in my bones, not cribbed off of 'Magic for Dummies.' And I can keep casting the same friggin' spell at you until you roll over and die. You can have your finely-crafted watch - give me the sledgehammer to the face any day. ENERGY DRAIN!"


But to get back to the original question of the Empire's soldiers fudging the readiness reports to make everything look like it complied with doctrine: Didn't this happen alot with the USSR's military? I'd expect the same of the Empire since it was also a totalitarian state with a huge military....
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Naaman
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2018 9:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

CRMcNeill wrote:
So, it would seem that there is a pretty serious disconnect between the "ideal" described by the ImpSB and the reality they actually face on the battlefield. How much of that do you think is compensated for by paperwork? As in, the guys actually out on the firing line do what they have to do to make things work, then fudge the details to make it look like everything was done according to doctrine?


I've heard that the Germans (I think) got a hold of some of our training manuals back in WW2 and tried to predict American tactics. But they wound up getting beat even worse because the Americans did not fight according to the training manuals.

That being said, there is a cliche/slogan in the US Army: "adapt, improvise, and overcome."

That is the essence of life in the army, from the littlest, most menial task (like making a copy for the platoon sergeant: he gave you that task because his copier is broken, so you go to the other platoon office, and theirs is out of paper, and the next one you try is out of ink, and so you have to "sneak" into battalion HQ and use theirs, which has a big sign on it that says "E7 and above only" and also happens to be located right outside of the sergeant major's office, etc) all the way to a brigade run (literally 1000 soldiers running in formation at 5:30 in the morning).

One thing I'll say about the army is that the lifestyle trains personnel to "think on their feet."

There is a stark contrast between the US army and the US Marine Corps in this regard. It's when the two come together for a joint operation that this becomes clear. As rigid and doctrinal as an army 1SG likes to be, when operating along side Marines, you see a whole new level of dogmatic approach.

In other words, it may be perfectly "realistic" for the Imperial military to be rigid and doctrinal: just play it like the two-sided coin that it is (pros and cons). One of the pros could be that commanding large numbers of troops is easier, since they can all be expected to respond exactly the same way. That predictability, however, makes them tactically inflexible and predictable.
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2018 7:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Naaman wrote:
That predictability, however, makes them tactically inflexible and predictable.


And that sort of thing can be (and has been) very easily exploited in the Star Wars Universe. Say what you will about the Yuuzhan Vong, both in-universe and out, but this is exactly the sort of thing that led to their downfall at the Battle of Ebaq 9, for just one prominent example.
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2018 1:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So how should the typical infantry squad be equipped? I get the impression that the Empire is much less likely to equip their forces with a lot of powerful, versatile weaponry because they aren't really into their rank and file being truly capable of independent action. My initial thought was to equip a squad like a standard US Army squad, with two 4-man teams equipped with 3 rifles (1 with a grenade launcher attached) and a light repeating blaster. I'm just not sure that it's a good fit with the Imperial mindset...
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Pel
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2018 4:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think you'd find more of a mixed bag of equipment with an Army squad compared to a Stormtrooper unit. If we use the WWII squad model, we find:
  • Squad Leader (probably a Lieutenant) with a sidearm and rifle
  • Assistant Squad Leader (Sergeant) with a sidearm and rifle, more likely to have a heavy blaster pistol than a regular one
  • Machine Gunner with a light repeater
  • Assistant Machine Gunner with a light repeater or rifle with grenade launcher
  • Marksman with a scoped rifle, possibly a DLT-20A
  • 7 Troopers with blaster rifles, probably E-11's


They'll all have a mixed bag of grenades, with the veteran troopers having more exotic gear to use 'in a pinch'. Some might even have captured Rebel gear and weapons if they've been deployed for a long time. If they're operating as a forward unit instead of garrison duty, make one of the troopers the 'commo guy' and give him a sidearm and maybe a smaller rifle.

That's just a quick and dirty version, assuming they're fully staffed, but we covered that earlier.
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Naaman
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2018 4:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well...

Every commander has a mission. A planetary defense force will look different than a planetary invasion force.

The mission of the unit really dictates what equipment they will have while operational.

But every grunt should be proficient to perform each non leadership role in the squad/platoon (rifleman, machine gunner, grenadier, and possibly point man, though point is usually performed by alpha team leader).

Check out some wiki articles on small unit tactics. You may see some ideas that help you narrow down what capabilities you want and don't want.

One question to resolve would be at what ecshelon do want the imperial infantry to be capable of defeating an asymetrical target (a grav tank or walker or airspeeder, etc.)?

That is where you should place your specialized weaponry (such as AT4s, stinger missiles, etc.). For example, if you want asymetrical capability at the battalion level, then you would need a weapons company that is responsible for maintaining all the big guns, with each platoon therein having a different specialty (mortars, anti-aircraft, anti-tank, etc.). Then, platoons can be assigned to specific missions as appropriate.

A commander will quickly find that this level of bureaucracy will only serve to hamper his ability to solve evolving tactical problems.

But that may be exactly what you are trying to do.
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2018 10:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Naaman wrote:
But that may be exactly what you are trying to do.

Exactly. The way I'm seeing it, the Imperial Army is less interested in fielding the best / most appropriately equipped infantry unit than they are in adherence to doctrine wherever possible. I'm looking at the Red Army as a guideline more than the US Army, with the emphasis on control from the top down and adherence to doctrine.

Basically, at the squad level, troops are caught between what Imperial Army Doctrine says they should do and what they need to do that actually works, with the added difficulty of having to justify / explain / conceal any deviation from their superiors in after-action reports.

Also, Imperial Army surface doctrine appears to indicate a modular approach, in that, rather than equipping a squad with the broadest array of weapons possible, specialist troops are seconded to that squad on the basis of projected need (as in, what doctrine says they'll need, not what they actually end up needing). If they need anti-armor weaponry, they'll get a two-man heavy weapons team with a shoulder-fired laser cannon in addition to their normal.

What I'm picturing is that the Imperial Army wants everything to operate as separate parts dependent on the whole, and only grudgingly approves of independent action if absolutely necessary.
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2018 10:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pel wrote:
  • Squad Leader (probably a Lieutenant)


Wait, a lieutenant leading a squad? I thought lieutenants were platoon leaders, not squad leaders. Granted, I have never been in the military, so all I know about military doctrine comes from what I read in books, not actual experience in the service. But I got the impression that it's unusual for an officer to be leading a unit as small as a squad.

Not that this actually means anything in real life, but I remember the scene from Saving Private Ryan when Captain Miller is telling Sergeant Horvath that they just got orders to take a squad to find Ryan:

Quote:
Captain Miller: You and I are taking a squad over to Neuville on a public relations mission.

Sergeant Horvath: What, you leading a squad?


Even the sergeant is a little incredulous at a captain leading a squad. Then again, these are special circumstances, but that just highlights how unusual it is for an officer to be leading a squad.

But what do I know? I'm just a civilian.
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Naaman
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2018 5:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sutehp wrote:
Pel wrote:
  • Squad Leader (probably a Lieutenant)


Wait, a lieutenant leading a squad? I thought lieutenants were platoon leaders, not squad leaders. Granted, I have never been in the military, so all I know about military doctrine comes from what I read in books, not actual experience in the service. But I got the impression that it's unusual for an officer to be leading a unit as small as a squad.

Not that this actually means anything in real life, but I remember the scene from Saving Private Ryan when Captain Miller is telling Sergeant Horvath that they just got orders to take a squad to find Ryan:

Quote:
Captain Miller: You and I are taking a squad over to Neuville on a public relations mission.

Sergeant Horvath: What, you leading a squad?


Even the sergeant is a little incredulous at a captain leading a squad. Then again, these are special circumstances, but that just highlights how unusual it is for an officer to be leading a squad.

But what do I know? I'm just a civilian.


'Mericans give their enlisted much more trust/authority in the military. At every level of command, there is an NCO there to "mentor" the officer. At the platoon level this is most necessary. Company level, you have a 1st Sergeant (usually somewhere between 10-25 years in the service, while the captain has around 4). At battalion level, the field grade officers usually have much more time in the service (can vary widely), but their experience is much more comparable to his sergeant major counterpart. General officers have made a career out of the military, and the sergeant major may or may not have a comparable amount of time in service.

At company level, in the US military, a unit could literally run just as well with no officers in it. The officers are the least experienced of all the troops in the unit.

In other nations, the officer/NCO roles are kinda sorta reversed.
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2018 10:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

All true. I meant squad leader position and blanked on the Star Wars junior officer ranks. It's probably a senior NCO or very junior officer like a sub-lieutenant or ensign.

If you're going for rigid doctrinal adherence, just give all the troopers the same kit, with a few specialists swapped in to meet the needs of the bureaucracy. Depending on how far you want to take it, you could have specialists whose expertise is redundant or unnecessary given the current mission (artillerymen serving as medics or security guards).

I'd keep in mind that these guys, while they're not Stormtroopers, still give the Rebellion a good fight and even Rebel SpecForces respect veteran Imperial Army troops.

It also occurs to me that you can use the deployment doctrine to give your players a few surprises, e.g. a small depot well behind the lines should be lightly guarded, but is actually staffed by an armor batallion. You know, to keep it fresh and exciting!
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2018 12:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

CRMcNeill wrote:
Naaman wrote:
But that may be exactly what you are trying to do.

Exactly. The way I'm seeing it, the Imperial Army is less interested in fielding the best / most appropriately equipped infantry unit than they are in adherence to doctrine wherever possible. I'm looking at the Red Army as a guideline more than the US Army, with the emphasis on control from the top down and adherence to doctrine.

Basically, at the squad level, troops are caught between what Imperial Army Doctrine says they should do and what they need to do that actually works, with the added difficulty of having to justify / explain / conceal any deviation from their superiors in after-action reports.

Also, Imperial Army surface doctrine appears to indicate a modular approach, in that, rather than equipping a squad with the broadest array of weapons possible, specialist troops are seconded to that squad on the basis of projected need (as in, what doctrine says they'll need, not what they actually end up needing). If they need anti-armor weaponry, they'll get a two-man heavy weapons team with a shoulder-fired laser cannon in addition to their normal.

What I'm picturing is that the Imperial Army wants everything to operate as separate parts dependent on the whole, and only grudgingly approves of independent action if absolutely necessary.


You could give the rebels a more dynamic/adaptable doctrine, which would allow them a realistic chance of engaging an imperial force disproportionately larger than itself. Makes military encounters more viable for PCs who happen to be fighting along with the rebels.
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2018 3:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Naaman wrote:
You could give the rebels a more dynamic/adaptable doctrine, which would allow them a realistic chance of engaging an imperial force disproportionately larger than itself. Makes military encounters more viable for PCs who happen to be fighting along with the rebels.

That's the way I'm leaning, and there is definite evidence in both the ImpSB and the RASB to support this. The Battle of Tiems - as described in the RASB - would be a good example of a numerically inferior Alliance unit using Imperial tactics and doctrine against them by suckering them into a trap.

Right now, though, I'm trying to sort out the individual level. At the moment, I'm thinking a three-tiered system, with a largely draftee enlisted corps, supplemented by an entirely volunteer non-com corps (basically all former draftees who decided to stay on), commanded by a largely volunteer officer corps. The draftees would serve a minimum of four years, but the Empire can choose to extend a draftee's term of service based on "the needs of the Empire."

Then of course there is corruption and nepotism as factors, as well as the tendency to favor political reliability (possibly at the expense of combat ability).
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Naaman
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2018 4:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Perhaps the solution is to give every trooper (or squad) the standard "combat load" with no deviation permitted.

As for a squad, you could make this as basic as having 9 or 10 riflemen on a squad, or use a squad loadout that includes a couple of light repeaters and 'nade launchers, but nothing else allowed.

So rebels may attack infantry with airspeeders or artillary or whatever.
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