Best/Worst military forces in Science Fiction

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Re: Best/Worst military forces in Science Fiction

Postby Simon_Jester » 2012-06-25 04:38am

What must be said for them... The Federation Starfleet does handle a lot of very strange, potentially world-ending threats well. I imagine you could find dozens of things far more dangerous to the Federation cause than losing AR-558 could ever have been, which were handled successfully or at least adequately- crisis averted. In space they fight efficiently where possible, and honorably even when it's not. They have a long history of fighting and winning the important wars, and most of the important battles, even if they lose or fail here or there for want of certain equipment.

Let us not judge them solely by the performance of their redshirts. Victories count as well as defeats.

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Re: Best/Worst military forces in Science Fiction

Postby PeZook » 2012-06-25 05:20am

Well, in-universe nobody laughs at the Federation. They may hold it in disdain, or thing them soft, or all manner of other things, but they're well aware that a war is going to be nasty, because they have fleets of huge fuckoff exploration ships battlewagons.

Meanwhile...in Freehold, everybody laughs at the UN. And if you consider it with SOD, then they have a good reason: these guys are so inept that a bunch of Freeholdian super-commandos can penetrate their police state by pretending to be college students. Freehold beats back a UN invasion and coup attempt with spaceport technicians and their privately owned pistols. The UN's massive battlefleets are there, but nobody believes they can actually use them in a remotely competent way.

So they're a terrible villain when you consider them from a writing standpoint, and also an inept and wildly incompetent military force.
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Re: Best/Worst military forces in Science Fiction

Postby Daefaron » 2012-06-27 04:54am

I'd agree with the cross-training being a big thing about Starfleet which fails.

I believe in one episode, Crusher is wounded, and the med-kit is missing. She has to step by step explain to Picard how to deal with her wound, instead of him knowing due to a basic first-aid course. Course, that could be one of their moments of "Ohcrap I don't have a tricorder to wave over the person and heal them, what do I do!" but still stupid.

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Re: Best/Worst military forces in Science Fiction

Postby the atom » 2012-06-27 09:55am

Connor MacLeod wrote:Given what I read up on AR-558 that probably isn't an ideal example to use, as logistics seemed to be a huge problem for the forces on the ground (the Federation were the attackers there, not the defenders, IIRc.) and that's likely to create all sorts of problems.


Ah not quite. AR-558 was a fairly straight forward Zulu-war style defence.
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Re: Best/Worst military forces in Science Fiction

Postby Black Admiral » 2012-06-27 11:10am

the atom wrote:
Connor MacLeod wrote:Given what I read up on AR-558 that probably isn't an ideal example to use, as logistics seemed to be a huge problem for the forces on the ground (the Federation were the attackers there, not the defenders, IIRc.) and that's likely to create all sorts of problems.


Ah not quite. AR-558 was a fairly straight forward Zulu-war style defence.


Not really. The Federation positions were put together over about five months and - this is important - they were actually worse than the defences put together by Lt. Chard RE and B Coy. of the 2/24th Foot in five hours at Rorke's Drift.
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Re: Best/Worst military forces in Science Fiction

Postby Simon_Jester » 2012-06-27 04:30pm

Does it matter? Their failure in this instance of ground combat can come or go, but does it somehow make the whole Starfleet a bunch of bungling idiots who show the kind of cartoonish ineptitude we see in some other fiction?

EDIT BACK: I said: "I wonder how many Navy captains are up to speed on first aid..." or something of that effect.
Last edited by Simon_Jester on 2012-06-27 04:34pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Best/Worst military forces in Science Fiction

Postby Mr Bean » 2012-06-27 04:32pm

Simon_Jester wrote:One wonders how many Navy captains are really and truly up to speed on their first aid...

All of them, they are required to attend the same monthly training sessions as everyone else, only Admirals get to shrug off that stuff and that's only if they are stateside.

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Re: Best/Worst military forces in Science Fiction

Postby Simon_Jester » 2012-06-27 04:33pm

Ah, sorry. I edited that out because I figured it was irrelevant. Yes, I said it, I don't disown it in any way. I was, however, wondering.

Didn't know about the routine retraining requirement.

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Re: Best/Worst military forces in Science Fiction

Postby Mr Bean » 2012-06-27 04:56pm

Simon_Jester wrote:Ah, sorry. I edited that out because I figured it was irrelevant. Yes, I said it, I don't disown it in any way. I was, however, wondering.

Didn't know about the routine retraining requirement.

We in the military love our routine training classes. To note we also have the exact same monthly classes about not drinking and driving, how to avoid scams and schemes, not talking about your work and the day they bring us together for the big charity drive.

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Re: Best/Worst military forces in Science Fiction

Postby Daefaron » 2012-06-28 08:09am

I'd think first aid would be something everybody gets trained in. Can't count on a medic being able to reach you in time (or at all) if somebody is injured.

And, for starfleets case... What would happen if a starship went into battle (And had all medical personell awake and ready), then took a direct hit on sickbay, damaging it heavily, and killing/disabling nearly all the medical staff? That + the medical gear being damaged or destroyed would make it a very nasty case for all the others. If nobody else even knows first aid or general stabilizing treatments... it'd turn super bad.

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Re: Best/Worst military forces in Science Fiction

Postby PeZook » 2012-06-28 08:16am

The above is multiplied tenfold if your primary role is exploration. Sure, most of it is done with the starship. But from time to time you have to land on a planet and do surveys or talk to the suspiciously sharp-toothed aliens or investigate weird sensor readings. Away teams should be cross-trained EXTENSIVELY, because fuck know if you get separated, or lose somebody, or one of your team gets mindraped or...
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JULY 20TH 1969 - The day the entire world was looking up

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Re: Best/Worst military forces in Science Fiction

Postby The Yosemite Bear » 2012-06-28 09:38am

He look teedy bears (starfleet engsin fails to note that tedd bear race is surrounded by bones, and have cvery sharp teeth...)
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Re: Best/Worst military forces in Science Fiction

Postby Daefaron » 2012-06-28 10:50am

PeZook wrote:The above is multiplied tenfold if your primary role is exploration. Sure, most of it is done with the starship. But from time to time you have to land on a planet and do surveys or talk to the suspiciously sharp-toothed aliens or investigate weird sensor readings. Away teams should be cross-trained EXTENSIVELY, because fuck know if you get separated, or lose somebody, or one of your team gets mindraped or...


Exactly. I think the most cross-trained person was Data...

Have experts in the fields, but make sure if said expert gets caught up you can get the scan readings on the shiny rocks yourself instead of standing like an idiot waiting for backup.

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Re: Best/Worst military forces in Science Fiction

Postby PeZook » 2012-06-28 01:24pm

Sending appropriate people instead of half the command crew would do them good, too, but I think that's the single most common criticism levied towards Star Trek :D

I wonder if a lot of these problems couldn't be fixed if you changed the cast of characters slightly, showing off less high officers and more the lieutenants and NCOs who actually carry out the exploring.
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JULY 20TH 1969 - The day the entire world was looking up

It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn't feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.
- NEIL ARMSTRONG, MISSION COMMANDER, APOLLO 11

Signature dedicated to the greatest achievement of mankind.

MILDLY DERANGED PHYSICIST does not mind BREAKING the SOUND BARRIER, because it is INSURED. - Simon_Jester considering the problems of hypersonic flight for Team L.A.M.E.

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Re: Best/Worst military forces in Science Fiction

Postby Daefaron » 2012-06-28 06:37pm

That'd probably work out great. Heck, remember Enterprise? Several times the bridge is left manned only by Ensigns!

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Re: Best/Worst military forces in Science Fiction

Postby Simon_Jester » 2012-06-28 11:54pm

That comes up in every "big spaceship" show. You want characters empowered to make important decisions, so the captain gets a starring role by default. But you also want a clique of trusted friends and allies the captain can turn to for advice on a problem... and that defaults to people like the executive officer, ship's doctor, "science officer," and so on.

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Re: Best/Worst military forces in Science Fiction

Postby Stark » 2012-06-29 12:36am

In some shows the captain is just a cab driver, tactical planner, or father figure. They often never leave the ship, certainly not in on risky missions.

It all depend where the drama is centred and what the writers want to do. It's nobodies fault but theirs if it gets dumb. It's generally as easy as having main characters that aren't high ranking officers.

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Re: Best/Worst military forces in Science Fiction

Postby Blayne » 2012-06-29 02:18am

What I liked about BSG was that we got a lot of focus on different characters without them have to do silly things. We had marines doing marine things, pilots doing piloty things and commanders actually commanding with tiny bits of overlap when grey areas popped up.

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Re: Best/Worst military forces in Science Fiction

Postby Stark » 2012-06-29 04:02am

Similarly, there are endless anime series where captains and officers stay on ships while special forces/pilots/scientists/whatever do what they're supposed to do. ST's problem is not universal by any means.

In thirty years of being a war hero, I think Captain Bright left his ship on a mission once, when his ship had landed and he was in personal danger anyway. Saying 'everyone is like Picard' is just wrong.

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Re: Best/Worst military forces in Science Fiction

Postby PeZook » 2012-06-29 04:17am

The drama of command is by itself a compelling thing to write about. You don't need to have the captain be an action hero and get in personal danger on alien planets in order to have conflict or dramatism. Especially on a TV series, where the very format lends itself to doing different things in different episodes. ESPECIALLY since Star Trek didn't even do story arcs for most of its running :D
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JULY 20TH 1969 - The day the entire world was looking up

It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn't feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.
- NEIL ARMSTRONG, MISSION COMMANDER, APOLLO 11

Signature dedicated to the greatest achievement of mankind.

MILDLY DERANGED PHYSICIST does not mind BREAKING the SOUND BARRIER, because it is INSURED. - Simon_Jester considering the problems of hypersonic flight for Team L.A.M.E.

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Re: Best/Worst military forces in Science Fiction

Postby PainRack » 2012-07-05 02:09am

RogueIce wrote:Eh, they're Starfleet Security, not Federation Army. Which for whatever reason seems to be all they have. Is that a failing for the UFP? Probably. But to say that those poor goldshirts 'suck' is like saying the NYPD 'sucks' because they'd get steamrolled by the Russian Army, if it somehow teleported into Manhattan and started shit.

They're Starfleet Security. The equivalent of MP.

As a MP, I get access to a GPMG and claymore mines. More importantly, when assigned to defend a Brigade position or a POW camp or POI, we errect barriers like barbed wire, create checkpoints that's covered by fire and etc. They didn't.

THAT"S the contention I had against Starfleet. The Empire response was wrong, and we saw them got caught out of position and their officers got tricked. We can examine the specifics to argue why and how they got tricked, and how they shouldn't have got tricked, but its fog of war. Bad, but "understandable". Its no different from how "Japanese monks are airdropping" and "we must maintain radio silence" Admiral Philips led to the sinking of the Prince of Wales. Dumb.

Starfleet doctrine and To&E is screwed up. That's systematic. Endemic...... A totally different pot of tea.
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Re: Best/Worst military forces in Science Fiction

Postby PainRack » 2012-07-05 02:14am

Stofsk wrote:The point I was making is you can't generalise from one atypical event where the unit is explicitly mentioned to be under-strength and having suffered attrition, and surmising that that's the norm. And while we don't see them use artillery in TNG/DS9, we rarely ever see them fight land battles with massive armies anyway, and we do know Starfleet once upon a time used mortars/grenade launchers. (and as far as grenades are concerned, Leyton mentioned them in 'Homefront' and Geordi did in 'Legacy' IIRC, so it's not some fabled lost tech of yesteryear)

I was not saying they had a phaser cannon lying about somewhere and they just didn't use it. But if the garrison was at a hundred fifty men and suffered such losses over months of deployment, why don't you think their equipment suffered from attrition and loss too?

Its not atypical. We never see Starfleet deploy with said goodies and tech, and their doctrine don't show the use of said tactics and stuff.

The Siege is just proof of one incident where most of the other restrictions that's might had explained why it was absent was gone...... yet, we still don't see it.

I'm not talking about the tech, I'm talking about the DOCTRINE. We don't see them entrench and dig in, even though standard POI tells us that we have to do it just to maintain SECURITY, much less actually defend against an active enemy raider. They got ammo for firing phasers, power for tricorders and medical/food replicators and other shitz, but everyone is arguing that they didn't pack in ammunition for their machine guns. The Jem Hader tactics was even more dumb, because they did nothing to suppress enemy fire before charging in. The Federation tactics was dumb because they didn't do most of the things a standard security force would had done.
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Re: Best/Worst military forces in Science Fiction

Postby PainRack » 2012-07-05 02:26am

PeZook wrote:
I'm not sure what you're saying here...do you agree, disagree, or what?

I'm not saying it was a doctrinal flaw of the Empire, but tactically at least it's hard NOT to call Endor a massive bungle. But as I wrote, hardly the worst ever, since pretty much all armies had those. It's just embarassing because it was such an important engagement - and also, tactically speaking, not something terribly innovative on the Rebel part.

You argued that they lost sight of their objectives,"defend the bunker". I'm asking how do you figure that.

The Stormtroopers were assigned to outer security, patrolling the forest and etc. The naval troopers were the ones assigned to directly defend the bunker itself. Nobody lost track of anything, much. The stormtroopers job was to serve as the reaction force and they did it by chasing the ewoks into the forest, presumably with the commandoes. Han hijacked their comns and asked the internal security force to open up the bunker and give them more reinforcements to pursue the enemy. That opened up the perimeter for the Rebels to attack.


None of this is..... you know, contary to standard doctrine. To defend an airbase, the security forces are now deployed into one that's assigned to patrol and the other that's limit access.(Perimeter defence vs..... something control...... I was nodding off during the lecture:D). To complete the pursuit mission, the stormtrooper asked for reinforcement. All of this is... logical. The lieutant wasn't to know that it was the Rebel team in disguise, and the opening of the bunker opened up the perimeter so that the commandoes fought their way in.


The REAL issue is the paucity of troops........ something I think Battle of Endor explained with the backdoor bit.... That's the inexplicable bit. My personal retcon is that the majority of the stormtroopers were out in the forest where Luke Skywalker was picked up, we know from that report to Vader that they sent more patrols in the region.
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Re: Best/Worst military forces in Science Fiction

Postby Tandrax218 » 2012-07-06 07:07am

I think that one of the better if not the top 3 best were the terran / earth troops seen in the series " Above and Beyonde"

They had big cruisers/ carriers, dropships, fighters/bombers, some tanks, G.I , spec ops, Maines and it all looked good on the screen. They conducted all sorts of missions from assasination, sabotae, assault, mass planetary assault, space battles etc....

they looked 5x times more competetnt than the federation, cuz lets face it who in their right mind sends guys in red and yellow uniforms to wage war on other planets without support or supplies? I dont like the concept of star trek ships or personel, too much room on a ship, nothing to hold on to, a ship gets hit everybody gets thrown 5 m away from their post , and in rl that would be responsible for 3x more injured crew. security teams have no gear appart from puls rifle, i mean come on is a flash bang, smoke grenade so hard to make ??? + if u get introoders on board wouldent it be easyer to seal a bulkhead ad dump the atmosphere in space where the bad guys are. Im just puting a few things here , the ones that are on my mind now cuz im watching rerus of voyager and nex gen with my girl and after every episode i have a ? above my head " why did they do that when xy would have been 100 times easyer and safer.......

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Re: Best/Worst military forces in Science Fiction

Postby PeZook » 2012-07-06 08:14am

Start using proper grammar and punctuation, or so help me God...

That said, calling Above "LOL SEND IN THE FIGHTER JOCKEYS AS INFANTRY SO THEY GET SHOT ON THE GROUND" and Beyond one of the top 3 best and most competent military forces in fiction is pretty funny :D
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JULY 20TH 1969 - The day the entire world was looking up

It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn't feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.
- NEIL ARMSTRONG, MISSION COMMANDER, APOLLO 11

Signature dedicated to the greatest achievement of mankind.

MILDLY DERANGED PHYSICIST does not mind BREAKING the SOUND BARRIER, because it is INSURED. - Simon_Jester considering the problems of hypersonic flight for Team L.A.M.E.


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