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Some Combat Reality tips


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(The Following tips are taken from NSEurope 1943, a WWII site. I have edited them (but not the spelling/grammar) to fit our time period (modern +1).)


A man can be taught how to load, cock, fire, reload, and carry a semi-automatic weapon in one or two hours. This includes both a whole class of soldiers with trained instructors or one-on-one tips to a civilian.

Learning how to correctly repair a gun when damaged or jammed can take anywhere from another hour to a few days, depending on the weapon.

Some militaries have only a few quick sessions at a shooting range during basic training. Others might spend all-day shooting for a week or two. Obviously, the second group will have better accuracy. However, there quickly appears a law of diminishing returns. After a few lessons, a soldier will not get much better no matter how long he shoots.

What separates good units, in the long run, is spending time with small-operations manoeuvres. Knowing how to take cover; flank a sniper; call out a grenade; barricade a door or street, and identify aeroplanes by the engine noise is far more useful. Sadly, the majority of soldiers are never really accustomed to more than the sheer basics of these. Most only get it with heavy field experience.


The average adult male can thrive on about 2,100 calories a day with 2 servings of fruit or vegetables for the vitamins. This is a fairly average day.

If the day is spent working hard or marching long distances, or the conditions are very hot or cold; the rate raises by about 600 or so calories. Any less and the person will slowly deteriorate.

The average World War II soldier in travel pack would carry most often one meal. So either they had a base camp to return to or travelled in the same zone as a supply truck. It is cumbersome to carry more then one meal at once if you have any other equipment. @Mongol-Swedes CAN YOU COMMENT ON THIS FOR TODAY PLEASE

An extremely strong-willed; healthy person in an exciting environment can also go around 36 hours maximum without sleep. This is not something you can stretch. A person will begin to lose motor function and eventually fall asleep on their own no matter the situation. Most people will begin to lose precise motor function with less than 14 hours without sleep, but I give the benefit of the doubt with the maximum.

It depends on the weather, the temperature, and the road incline, but a soldier in the pack could march a little less than 20 miles in a day. If it is not on a road: be it swamp, desert, mountain, brushland, or whatever; then cut it down to less then 9 miles. Soldiers fighting after a forced march are not going to be at their best.

It is nearly impossible to carry a full battle pack and still move quietly. The odds of 6+ men not making a sound for any length of time is unlikely unless they are not moving. The odds are better in dense environments like forests and cities where there are many places to hide behind.

Someone's yelling voice can be heard clearly only under a few hundred feet.

It is easy for a large group of men and vehicles to get lost when in unknown territory and at risk of being shot at any given seconds. This is even with this best of maps and directions. This is especially true at night.

Other important points

History tells us that a prepared defender that is 'dug in' to a position usually needs a 1:3 disadvantage to lose. This is an average.

Even a soldier who is a veteran of many wars will die just as easily when charging at a bunker, you can't say that there were fewer casualties. A veteran would know not to charge a bunker, but not how to dodge bullets. That said, the longer a man is fighting in a war, the more survival skills he learns. That means he is more cautious and doesn't take chances.

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Regarding combat load...the average American Soldier is expected to carry well over 150 pounds with him just about all the time. This is taking into effect your helmet (any optical/radio equipment there), protective vest with all your gear fixed on there, as well as the SAPI (Small Arms Protective Inserts), which just got about 5 pounds heavier recently when they started issuing plates designed to stop armor piercing rounds, your 3-day assault pack, which is basically a smaller rucksack, usually carries about 35 pounds of weight there. Then there's any hydration devices you got (canteens, Camelbak, etc), whatever you might be carrying in a trouser pocket somewhere, etc.


Men today actually carry a heavier load than they did in the past, despite having alot of lighter things, especially things made with plastic instead of aluminum or steel (for example, the M16 is a lighter weapon than the M14. The weapon is generally iron and wood, whilst the M16 is composite steel and plastic).


On the number of meals one can carry...all I can say is MREs. They're very lightweight compared to older rations, pack more calories, and last much longer, plus they taste decent...ish. Anywho, something that I have begun teaching my Soldiers is how to make more use of wasted surface space on yourself without hindering your mobility. Using things like 550 parachutist survival cord for creating fairly simple webbing to not only stabilize the normal combat load (ammunition, grenades, weapon), but also to enhance the usefulness of what you've already got.

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Depends on the type of warfare. In Iraq, usually about 2 or 3 days worth of food (three MREs a day), though most of the time a Soldier is usually not away from the Forward Operating Base, or FOB, for that long, anyway. Most FOBs usually have a mess tent, where real food is cooked up three times a day just like a dining facility back home. Barring that, a FOB is equipped with the newer version of the Mobile Kitchen Trailer, which can sustain about 800 Soldiers for a few weeks on the food and supplies carried within, including refrigerated foods (the older one could only do 200).

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If I may make some observations? smile.gif


During the height of the Cold War, when conventional warfare on a large scale was almost expected, the total reserves of fuel held by each side on the European front was sufficient for between 48 and 72 hours after which it would all grind to a halt.


Fuel and other supplies are finite even when fighting a war in your own nation and even more so the longer your supply chain. This is one reason for attacking in overwhelming numbers very quickly.


Supplies are a reason wars rarely begin the moment the they are declared as nations usually cannot get production into place during peace - war needs to be declared in order to properly prepare for it. Also a war economy takes time to set up. Producing enough tanks, bullets and so on to keep your army equiped is difficult and takes a lot of planning if you are actually using the stuff up in a war. Not to mention the extra supply lines you need to set up with allies. These then need protecting of course. Knock out the supply lines into the enemy or between it and its forces and you will likely win and win swiftly.


The cost of war is massive and crippling, even for winners. As such even governments that do not care one jot about the lives of soldiers will think twice before starting one unless they have (or think they have) superiority and/or sufficient supplies.


During a war production of supplies and the safe movement of them to the armed forces should be the major concern and headache of your government. The means of production and the supply lines of your enemy should be a major target of your strategy.

Edited by Nevareion (see edit history)
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@Nev, concerning your comment on supplies...


that certainly applies to a conventional force. God knows what the Army would do without the help of moving supplies not only from our own quartermaster, transportation, and logistical support units, but also from civil contractors from around the world.


However, in the case of, say, SF (Special Forces), the means to adapt and overcome any challenge can literally be taken right out of the ground, regardless of the environment, whether it be overgrown jungles or seemingly endless miles of unyielding sand.


In short, even on a large scale (guerilla armies), living off of the land works, especially if you're fighting in your own backyard. Understanding your surroundings opens up a whole new dimension to warfare that conventional thinkers cannot fathom. I could sit here and go into great detail about every single facet of it (although I'd likely be arrested for selling government secrets), the truth is that it simply works. Period.

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Another thing that one should keep in mind is time for mobilizing forces.


To mobilize troops from peace-time status is a very time-consuming thing and never goes smoothly without any problems. If you recall, it took the US and UK several weeks/months to deploy their forces in Saudi-Arabia before the war in Iraq in 1990/1991 and 2002/2003. The same applies for the wars WW1, WW2 and almost any other war in human history.

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