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 Post subject: Re: (Super) Soldier PostPosted: 2012-02-21 08:32pm
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Of all the examples I've listed, no more than 2 or 3 use power armor (which isn't being used in this scenario anyways) and the list is a bit thin on hulking masses of muscles since i cut the super-sophont. Actually, the freaking big list is basically Space Marine and Posleen. Draka average 5 cm or so taller than ordinary humans, and I think they generally got slightly tall actors to play Jem'hadar, but I don't think anyone can make a huge deal of those.

Fascinating as the discussion is, and I certainly agree that coming up with cool concepts for supermen is no excuse for ignoring basic physics, let's try and get this back on track. Right now we have:

Howler vs. X-5 Transgenic
I expect this one to be close. A lot depends on if the Howler's scream will work, but both parties are strong contenders.

Jaeger vs. Draka
I say Jaeger, you're free to disagree.

Erskine style vs Special
The Specials don't seem to be all that strong, but they do have sharp metal claws and teeth. I say Erskine for the one on one, Specials for the group-hunt, and I'm thrilled to discuss which objectively makes the best super-soldier with you.

Spartan vs. Battlefleet Officer
A thousand angry Halo fans are going to descend on me, but it's the battlefleet officer. Easily.

Nietzchean vs. Jaffa
Another close-fought one. Both are strong, both have probably had years of largely informal training. The Nietzcheans have a natural weapon which may tip it for them in the one-on-one phase. I don't know, which would you rather have an army of?

Companion Protector vs. Chal
Chal gets gunned down in the first event, has a chance in the second. Again, I'm curious which the rest of you think would make a better soldier overall.

Posleen vs. Jem'hadar
The Jem'hadar. As we've discussed, invisibility is simply too potent an advantage. Even in the general utility section, the Posleen can't claim superiority of reproduction, since the Jem'hadar are cloned in vast batches.

Astartes vs Omega
Curbstomp battle in the first event. Omegas have a chance in the second, but not much of one. In terms of which is a better soldier, a shapeshifter is probably somewhat more useful to a clever commander than a very unsubtle Space Marine. Then again, the Omegas did turn on and destroy their creators, and unreliable shapeshifters are a huge liability...

EDIT:On seond thought, let's not get into that discussion. Let's just talk about the modifications made to create warrior races and super soldiers and leave questions of loyalty out of it.



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 Post subject: Re: (Super) Soldier PostPosted: 2012-02-22 02:07am
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Alkaloid wrote:
The problem with that is that it only works if you can foresee exactly what you need your supersoldiers to do over the course of the programs existence. If you just build everything into a package just large enough to do everything you want they are completely boned the first time they come up against something you didn't foresee. It's the same as every other sort of engineering, you need to build redundancy into the design otherwise it is going to bite you in the arse.


And? You think you're just going to wake up one day and decide 'hey I want some supersoldiers.' out of the blue? If you're considering any sort of project of this kind you're already going to have a purpose for them, don't you think? And no, you can't plan for everything, but it's silly to assume you can forsee every possibility. you couldn't do that with your hypothetical 'do-everything' super soldiers either. And if you do plan for it that's massively increases the time, effort, and resources put into those troops to create, train, and equip them. And that further represents a corresponding loss of investment if they die. (loss of investment and ease of replacement is a non-trivial consideration. As are numbers.)

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Sure, size is an issue, but as long as it doesn't get out of hand it is manageable. 12 foot monsters aren't going to work, but up to about eight feet is workable. If you go out the front of your house right now I bet withing a few seconds you could see a half dozen places an eight foot tall human could hide. Sure, you will see some where a five foot person could fit where an eight foot one couldn't, but that doesn't matter as long as there is cover they can get to.


Except that as noted, you still have tradeoffs. Massively tall people do not come free because of physiology. Tall people (or excessively bulky people) tend ot have health problems for a reason, y'know. And if 'practicality' is that big an issue, you're better off going with robots or attack drones or something.


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The problem with that is you essentially throw all your efficiency arguments out the window when you start up half a dozen programs to make different super soldiers. The requirements for super combat engineer, super scout and super shock troop are not that fundamentally different that it is worth it, you are better off just building one general purpose model and just have more super soldiers in total.


Who says you need 'half a dozen?' And why are you assuming 'one super massive over-engineered do-everything supar marine' is neccesiarly cheaper than having individually specialized troopers? It's going to depend entirely on the circumstances and what you need. you may only need two kinds, and they may not need to run at automobile speeds or lift multi-tonne weights or be able to shrug off .50 calibre gunfire like light rain.

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Plus your recon troop then has the capability to build a bridge or mine a dam if they need to even if they aren't specifically trained for it.


Um, why the hell would you want them to build a bridge, much less do it stealthy? I'm pretty sure you can have normal people do either of those without genetically engineering someone for it (and given the number of people and resources and equipment you'd need to build a bridge...)


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Yeah, I'm a bit leery of comparing powered armour and super soldiers just because while often related they aren't the same thing. The difference between an astartes with and without is pretty significant. One without is a big, strong fast man with excellent training that can smell you coming and learn what you know by eating your brain and is a very dangerous soldier, while one with it is a light tank that can enter buildings and is an entirely different type of threat.


Except how many space Marines go into actual fighting without power armor pray tell? Yes there are scouts, but only the sergeants are full marines - most of them only have incomplete implantations and won't neccesarily be the equal of a full marine. And lets not forget that for all those 'fantastic' abilities astartes have you have a ludicriously low recruitment pool (something like 1:1000 IIRC from the novels), high mortality rate (something like 1:100 actually become a Marine if we ues the White Scars as a baseline.) and involve years (decades?) of preparation and training to create. The Spartans go pretty much along those lines as well. Yeah that sounds SOO much better.



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 Post subject: Re: (Super) Soldier PostPosted: 2012-02-22 02:08am
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hunter5 wrote:
What about the Dark Troopers from Star Wars? Or would they be considered high end battle droids rather than true super soliders?


Which Dark troopers are we talking about? By now there's like umpteen kajillion versions: power armored troops, battle droids, fucking cyborgs....



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 Post subject: Re: (Super) Soldier PostPosted: 2012-02-22 02:42am
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The Space Marines work in 40k in a very strange context, because the raw feedstock that goes into creating them (brave young men) is very common in the Imperium, while the challenges they're really needed to face are things that it would just be impossible to expect ordinary-ish men to handle. But creating those challenges usually requires things like supernatural demonic beings, or killer robots from before the dawn of history, or something like that.

So the enormous cost in resources to make them gets repaid when they do things no one else could do in the time required, under the logistics constraints that apply. But in a more realistic setting, that would seldom happen, and it would make far less sense to super-duper-boost the individual soldiers.

Pushing them up towards 'peak human capacity,' however you define that, would make sense. If you have drastically better capabilities than that, and can make guys who can shrug off gunshot wounds without too much trouble, it might be worth it... but it isn't worth it if you lose too many people and spend too much on it. In real life, you just don't see the kind of need that crops up in fiction for a handful of superheroes to win a battle where a normal infantry company wouldn't stand a chance.

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 Post subject: Re: (Super) Soldier PostPosted: 2012-02-22 03:27am
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Simon_Jester wrote:
The Space Marines work in 40k in a very strange context, because the raw feedstock that goes into creating them (brave young men) is very common in the Imperium, while the challenges they're really needed to face are things that it would just be impossible to expect ordinary-ish men to handle. But creating those challenges usually requires things like supernatural demonic beings, or killer robots from before the dawn of history, or something like that.

So the enormous cost in resources to make them gets repaid when they do things no one else could do in the time required, under the logistics constraints that apply. But in a more realistic setting, that would seldom happen, and it would make far less sense to super-duper-boost the individual soldiers.


I actually believe Space Marine's sole advantage in 40K is that they are magic. Given the way the warp is meant to work and be influenced by thought and believe, the sheer amount of propoganda placed behind what they represent they probably can be superhuman just because a ton of ignorant peasants think they are,

Besides it worked for the Orks. :lol:

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Pushing them up towards 'peak human capacity,' however you define that, would make sense. If you have drastically better capabilities than that, and can make guys who can shrug off gunshot wounds without too much trouble, it might be worth it... but it isn't worth it if you lose too many people and spend too much on it. In real life, you just don't see the kind of need that crops up in fiction for a handful of superheroes to win a battle where a normal infantry company wouldn't stand a chance.


One of the things I liked about Halo was how in the latter novels you had them transitioning to Spartan IIIs. while we still had the 'super child soldier' concept pushed on us, they at least acknowledged some of the drawbacks and tradeoffs involved with the Spartan-IIs.

BTw how are we defining 'peak' - I'm not up on the limits of what humans are capable of but I'd think there are limits to how far you can push someone in onre direction without facing tradeoffs in other areas (EG no extreme musclemen powerflifters crossed with olympic runners or something.)



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 Post subject: Re: (Super) Soldier PostPosted: 2012-02-22 07:33am
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And? You think you're just going to wake up one day and decide 'hey I want some supersoldiers.' out of the blue? If you're considering any sort of project of this kind you're already going to have a purpose for them, don't you think? And no, you can't plan for everything, but it's silly to assume you can forsee every possibility. you couldn't do that with your hypothetical 'do-everything' super soldiers either. And if you do plan for it that's massively increases the time, effort, and resources put into those troops to create, train, and equip them. And that further represents a corresponding loss of investment if they die. (loss of investment and ease of replacement is a non-trivial consideration. As are numbers.)


Thats the point. When you are designing anything, you never just say 'this is what I think this structure/vehicle/bridge will need to do/withstand, so I will design this so it can withstand that and no more because doing otherwise would be inefficient.' You always build redundancy into anything because you will encounter something you didn't plan on, be it some jackass drives a ten tonne truck over a bridge that was built for light traffic or a newly developed radio transmitter that has to be carried into enemy territory in one piece because of plot and weighs more than you thought your magic soldiers would have to carry.

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Except that as noted, you still have tradeoffs. Massively tall people do not come free because of physiology. Tall people (or excessively bulky people) tend ot have health problems for a reason, y'know. And if 'practicality' is that big an issue, you're better off going with robots or attack drones or something.


Well yeah, but given that we are talking about supersoldiers not robots I generally assume that in this instance there's some reason that robots are no good. Can't make AI or something. Same with health, I assume part of developing a supersoldier is ensuring they don't become highly susceptible to heart attacks in the process.

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Who says you need 'half a dozen?' And why are you assuming 'one super massive over-engineered do-everything supar marine' is neccesiarly cheaper than having individually specialized troopers? It's going to depend entirely on the circumstances and what you need. you may only need two kinds, and they may not need to run at automobile speeds or lift multi-tonne weights or be able to shrug off .50 calibre gunfire like light rain.


And I never said they would. But if you are building supersoldiers you have certain things that you need, ability to carry heavy load long distances for scouts, ability to carry very heavy loads short distances for combat engineers as well as be able to quickly assess buildings, explosives and terrain to do your job, which scouts are going to need to. So many of the things one specific type of soldier is going to need will be needed by another that building a super scout and a super shock troop and a super combat engineer simply becomes pointless.

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Um, why the hell would you want them to build a bridge, much less do it stealthy? I'm pretty sure you can have normal people do either of those without genetically engineering someone for it (and given the number of people and resources and equipment you'd need to build a bridge...)


I can't think of a reason. Doesn't mean it will never happen. Maybe they just got caught in the wrong place at the wrong time with a stranded tank company. But it isn't something that it hurts them to have though.

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Except how many space Marines go into actual fighting without power armor pray tell? Yes there are scouts, but only the sergeants are full marines - most of them only have incomplete implantations and won't neccesarily be the equal of a full marine. And lets not forget that for all those 'fantastic' abilities astartes have you have a ludicriously low recruitment pool (something like 1:1000 IIRC from the novels), high mortality rate (something like 1:100 actually become a Marine if we ues the White Scars as a baseline.) and involve years (decades?) of preparation and training to create. The Spartans go pretty much along those lines as well. Yeah that sounds SOO much better.


Thats my point, super soldiers and power armour are two completely different kettles of fish and not really comparable. Adding a suit of power armour to anyone makes tham a different type of threat, super soldier or no.

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 Post subject: Re: (Super) Soldier PostPosted: 2012-02-22 08:45am
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Alkaloid wrote:
Thats the point. When you are designing anything, you never just say 'this is what I think this structure/vehicle/bridge will need to do/withstand, so I will design this so it can withstand that and no more because doing otherwise would be inefficient.' You always build redundancy into anything because you will encounter something you didn't plan on, be it some jackass drives a ten tonne truck over a bridge that was built for light traffic or a newly developed radio transmitter that has to be carried into enemy territory in one piece because of plot and weighs more than you thought your magic soldiers would have to carry.


Actually that is exactly what engineers do, they plan / calculate what is needed to do X then they put in the safety margins. If some added capability is generated well that is all well and good. But all this is dictated by what was the original goal of the project and what were the desired parameters. There's no reason to assume the same principle wouldn't apply to designing super soldiers.
If by some happenstance the produced results fit a wider category, well it's a good product. The main thing is to fill the parameters that were originally set for them

Alkaloid wrote:
Well yeah, but given that we are talking about supersoldiers not robots I generally assume that in this instance there's some reason that robots are no good. Can't make AI or something. Same with health, I assume part of developing a supersoldier is ensuring they don't become highly susceptible to heart attacks in the process.


And assuming this is a part of the end result? For the most part it's totally irrelevant if your super soldier drops dead from heart failure when he/she/it turns 50 for example. If the original plan called for a 50% increase in performance vs. ordinary humans and that was achieved from the projects point of view it was a success. Just remember to document it somewhere, then it's a feature not a bug. If you're looking at this from a cost/time perspective, I'd happily accept say... 10% mortality rate during creation if the alternative is prohibitive rise in cost or creation time.

Alkaloid wrote:
And I never said they would. But if you are building supersoldiers you have certain things that you need, ability to carry heavy load long distances for scouts, ability to carry very heavy loads short distances for combat engineers as well as be able to quickly assess buildings, explosives and terrain to do your job, which scouts are going to need to. So many of the things one specific type of soldier is going to need will be needed by another that building a super scout and a super shock troop and a super combat engineer simply becomes pointless.

I can't think of a reason. Doesn't mean it will never happen. Maybe they just got caught in the wrong place at the wrong time with a stranded tank company. But it isn't something that it hurts them to have though.


In this case your super soldier would be of average build / height with above average endurance and strength. Rest is just training. But then just how much training can a single individual have and remember is another question and is it useful to have them spend x amount of time learning stuff that with all probability they won't need or can carry the equipment for. As it is all combat branches require high levels of specialization and I don't see why I'd assume future warfare would be any different. Even with drastically reduced training times, it becomes quickly cost prohibitive to train a single soldier not to mention the time it takes when compared to the usefulness of said training.

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 Post subject: Re: (Super) Soldier PostPosted: 2012-02-22 09:54am
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Actually that is exactly what engineers do, they plan / calculate what is needed to do X then they put in the safety margins. If some added capability is generated well that is all well and good. But all this is dictated by what was the original goal of the project and what were the desired parameters. There's no reason to assume the same principle wouldn't apply to designing super soldiers.
If by some happenstance the produced results fit a wider category, well it's a good product. The main thing is to fill the parameters that were originally set for them


Yeah, my point is that redundancy is not efficient, and you can't build just for efficiency, you have to assume that you can't predict everything that your product will come up against and build for that particularly in an environment where people will be active trying to come up with ways to outmatch what you built, you need the performance to match it even if it isn't necessarily efficient.

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And assuming this is a part of the end result? For the most part it's totally irrelevant if your super soldier drops dead from heart failure when he/she/it turns 50 for example. If the original plan called for a 50% increase in performance vs. ordinary humans and that was achieved from the projects point of view it was a success. Just remember to document it somewhere, then it's a feature not a bug. If you're looking at this from a cost/time perspective, I'd happily accept say... 10% mortality rate during creation if the alternative is prohibitive rise in cost or creation time.


Well yeah, but if you can say that all these super soldiers will die of heart failure after 50 years that's ensuring they aren't highly susceptible to heart attacks, it means they have a use by date. It is a problem you haven't managed if 80% of your 'super' soldiers will die of a heart attack at some point between the ages of 14 and 40 because then you run a real risk of them just dropping dead in the field with no way to predict it.

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In this case your super soldier would be of average build / height with above average endurance and strength. Rest is just training. But then just how much training can a single individual have and remember is another question and is it useful to have them spend x amount of time learning stuff that with all probability they won't need or can carry the equipment for. As it is all combat branches require high levels of specialization and I don't see why I'd assume future warfare would be any different. Even with drastically reduced training times, it becomes quickly cost prohibitive to train a single soldier not to mention the time it takes when compared to the usefulness of said training.


Training is a different issue, I'm just talking about pure physical capabilities at the moment. But you can't just say average height/build but stronger. You have to change the muscles to get that extra strength, presumably they will be denser and bulkier, so he is already over average build. Then you have the problem that you are hanging muscles off a skeleton not designed for them fuelled by a circulatory system that cant feed them, so you have to redesign both of those anyway. With the skeleton you could keep it the same size, sure, but longer leaner muscles are generally better than shorter bulkier ones, so you might as well make them a bit taller while you're reinforcing it so they can get more out of those muscles, and you are already messing around with the heart and all that jazz so you can add a bit of extra capacity to deal with the extra height. End result is that as soon as you start messing around with the body like that you have to make other changes, and almost the only way to make some of them is to make the body larger.

It's a bit like saying I want an APC, and I give you a truck to turn into one, telling you I want it the same size and weight. You can't add that extra performance to it without increasing at least the weight, and that becomes easier if you are adding size as well.

Training, sure it would be more intense than current training, but there is still the basic skillset that everyone is going to need, so your best bet will be make your soldiers, beging their training together and split them up to do specialised training after they have the required base skill set. Also means you can assign them according to individual competence in a given are as well, having had a chance to test them.

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 Post subject: Re: (Super) Soldier PostPosted: 2012-02-22 11:36am
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Alkaloid wrote:
Yeah, my point is that redundancy is not efficient, and you can't build just for efficiency, you have to assume that you can't predict everything that your product will come up against and build for that particularly in an environment where people will be active trying to come up with ways to outmatch what you built, you need the performance to match it even if it isn't necessarily efficient.


If you have ever spent time around weapon systems you quickly learn that everything about them is a tradeoff. No one can predict with 100% accuracy what types of situations you'll end up with. But the trick is to employ a solution that is most suited to the problem at hand. That's why all designs stem from a certain set of problems /requirements that you are building an answer for. Super soldiers for all intents and purposes are a part of a weapon system or are a weapon system themselves. Redundancy not efficient?? Can't build just for efficiency? Look bub, I can see by now that you don't know anything about history of weapon design. It's basically given that someone you are fighting will do his damned best to find someway to defeat your system. But the answer is not to prepare for every possible happenstance that you might encounter. If you go down that road you're just making a system that doesn't do anything well. Being efficient is an extremely desired goal and should not be compromised by latching on stuff the design doesn't need. Like I said before, being efficient can mean several things and has to be defined first but once defined it is what separates a good weapon from a bad one.

Alkaloid wrote:
Well yeah, but if you can say that all these super soldiers will die of heart failure after 50 years that's ensuring they aren't highly susceptible to heart attacks, it means they have a use by date. It is a problem you haven't managed if 80% of your 'super' soldiers will die of a heart attack at some point between the ages of 14 and 40 because then you run a real risk of them just dropping dead in the field with no way to predict it.


You missed my point. A singular flaw in a system doesn't mean overall the system is a failure or even that the design is not successful. You example is no big deal if the super soldier in question is expected to last 6 months in battle and is primed for combat at the age of 9

Alkaloid wrote:
Training is a different issue, I'm just talking about pure physical capabilities at the moment. But you can't just say average height/build but stronger. You have to change the muscles to get that extra strength, presumably they will be denser and bulkier, so he is already over average build. Then you have the problem that you are hanging muscles off a skeleton not designed for them fuelled by a circulatory system that cant feed them, so you have to redesign both of those anyway. With the skeleton you could keep it the same size, sure, but longer leaner muscles are generally better than shorter bulkier ones, so you might as well make them a bit taller while you're reinforcing it so they can get more out of those muscles, and you are already messing around with the heart and all that jazz so you can add a bit of extra capacity to deal with the extra height. End result is that as soon as you start messing around with the body like that you have to make other changes, and almost the only way to make some of them is to make the body larger.


Again depends on what kind of tech we have and again you missed my point that going for the median is far favorable in terms of a general soldier. i.e if average man is about 175cm and 70kg you can bulk him up a bit and improve his endurance and there you have it, he could easily adapt to a number of different roles. Relative to his size he is stronger than a larger man. He can easily fit into vehicles and can have a lot of endurance. He will not be the best in any of those but as a mix he's just right.

Alkaloid wrote:
It's a bit like saying I want an APC, and I give you a truck to turn into one, telling you I want it the same size and weight. You can't add that extra performance to it without increasing at least the weight, and that becomes easier if you are adding size as well.


Again. Depends on what kind of tech we have. But just so you know, lightest APCs are about in the same weight range as a truck. Some of the lightest IFVs are lighter than trucks. You're also comparing two different vehicle types. While they have some roles that overlap and can perform similar tasks to a certain extent like carry men and material, they are fundamentally geared towards different purposes. The example is bad for the simple reason that if I was asked to turn a truck into an APC, trucks come with a lot of load bearing capability that can be harnessed to serve a lot of purposes and these types of conversions have been done in the past. So if I take a suitably light truck modify it an compare the end weight to a heavier APC it could be done and these types of conversions have been done in the past.

Alkaloid wrote:
Training, sure it would be more intense than current training, but there is still the basic skillset that everyone is going to need, so your best bet will be make your soldiers, beging their training together and split them up to do specialised training after they have the required base skill set. Also means you can assign them according to individual competence in a given are as well, having had a chance to test them.


Depends on the setting. Most armies today give everyone the basic infantry training before they start specializing in their respective areas. But the truth is we are already at a point you cannot take a crewman from a vehicle and expect him to be a rifleman at par with a guy who has spent a similar time doing infantry work. But overall you just described how things work now. However, general training is just to give you the basics. If you are taught the basics about combat engineering that doesn't mean you can do all the stuff a fully trained combat engineer can do.
I know how to dig a foxhole, arm and hide mines, how to reinforce my foxhole, how to arm and place explosives etc. but I'm no combat engineer.

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 Post subject: Re: (Super) Soldier PostPosted: 2012-02-22 02:10pm
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If you have ever spent time around weapon systems you quickly learn that everything about them is a tradeoff. No one can predict with 100% accuracy what types of situations you'll end up with. But the trick is to employ a solution that is most suited to the problem at hand. That's why all designs stem from a certain set of problems /requirements that you are building an answer for. Super soldiers for all intents and purposes are a part of a weapon system or are a weapon system themselves. Redundancy not efficient?? Can't build just for efficiency? Look bub, I can see by now that you don't know anything about history of weapon design. It's basically given that someone you are fighting will do his damned best to find someway to defeat your system. But the answer is not to prepare for every possible happenstance that you might encounter. If you go down that road you're just making a system that doesn't do anything well. Being efficient is an extremely desired goal and should not be compromised by latching on stuff the design doesn't need. Like I said before, being efficient can mean several things and has to be defined first but once defined it is what separates a good weapon from a bad one.


I'm not saying build them to do everything, I'm saying build them to do more than you expect to need them to do. You don't build an assault rifle that can take out a tank, you build an assault rifle with an effective range of 400m if you expect it will only need an effective range of 300m. And you can't build just for efficiency, otherwise you end up in a situation like the British were in just before WW2 where you have built vehicles that are very good at what you intend them to do but aren't able to adapt to what your opponent is actually doing. Supersoldiers are a weapon system that thinks and as such is capable of operating outside its defined role much better than a piece of equipment. A tank will never be an effective counter to a fighter because a tank can never learn to fly, but a soldier with an assault rifle can become an effective counter to a tank by tanking an anti tank weapon from an enemy and using it.

Quote:
You missed my point. A singular flaw in a system doesn't mean overall the system is a failure or even that the design is not successful. You example is no big deal if the super soldier in question is expected to last 6 months in battle and is primed for combat at the age of 9


Well, no, but I would never design a weapons system that takes nine years to build an individual unit if I didn't expect them to last more than 6 months. The fact that you have to grow them means that super soldiers need to be a long term investment.

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Again depends on what kind of tech we have and again you missed my point that going for the median is far favorable in terms of a general soldier. i.e if average man is about 175cm and 70kg you can bulk him up a bit and improve his endurance and there you have it, he could easily adapt to a number of different roles. Relative to his size he is stronger than a larger man. He can easily fit into vehicles and can have a lot of endurance. He will not be the best in any of those but as a mix he's just right.


You aren't building a median here though. Why would you build an extraordinarily strong man if he is only going to be fighting from a vehicle. Building a physically superior man is only advantageous if he will be using that superiority, not driving a tank. If you want a better performing tank corps you design better tanks, if you want better performing infantry you normally design new gear for them too, in this case their body is simply part of the gear we are improving.

Quote:
Again. Depends on what kind of tech we have. But just so you know, lightest APCs are about in the same weight range as a truck. Some of the lightest IFVs are lighter than trucks. You're also comparing two different vehicle types. While they have some roles that overlap and can perform similar tasks to a certain extent like carry men and material, they are fundamentally geared towards different purposes. The example is bad for the simple reason that if I was asked to turn a truck into an APC, trucks come with a lot of load bearing capability that can be harnessed to serve a lot of purposes and these types of conversions have been done in the past. So if I take a suitably light truck modify it an compare the end weight to a heavier APC it could be done and these types of conversions have been done in the past.


Of course you can do it, my point is you can't do it without making concessions in other areas, be it size, weight speed or cargo capacity. They both have the same general purpose, to carry stuff around, one just does it more protected than the other, but to do that it has to trade off in other areas.

Quote:
Depends on the setting. Most armies today give everyone the basic infantry training before they start specializing in their respective areas. But the truth is we are already at a point you cannot take a crewman from a vehicle and expect him to be a rifleman at par with a guy who has spent a similar time doing infantry work. But overall you just described how things work now. However, general training is just to give you the basics. If you are taught the basics about combat engineering that doesn't mean you can do all the stuff a fully trained combat engineer can do.
I know how to dig a foxhole, arm and hide mines, how to reinforce my foxhole, how to arm and place explosives etc. but I'm no combat engineer.


I know I have described how things work now, that's the sensible way to do things. The point is if you are already training your supersoldiers in the basics of a specific skillset you can identify the ones that excel at it and move them into that program when they are ready rather than building different types of soldier with massively overlapping capabilities and starting them on a given program. That way you get a larger number of soldiers who have a more rounded skillset and if you need to you can actually retrain them and they will be as effective in their new role as any other rather than being trained but unsuitable for the task.

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 Post subject: Re: (Super) Soldier PostPosted: 2012-02-22 02:53pm
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Alkaloid wrote:
You aren't building a median here though. Why would you build an extraordinarily strong man if he is only going to be fighting from a vehicle. Building a physically superior man is only advantageous if he will be using that superiority, not driving a tank. If you want a better performing tank corps you design better tanks, if you want better performing infantry you normally design new gear for them too, in this case their body is simply part of the gear we are improving.

Well actually you would. A stronger crewman could more easily do maintenance work on the vehicle, drag wounded crew members out of the tank before it explodes, load ammunition faster etc. But than you might also want to go the opposite way and make your vehicle smaller. That way your vehicles would need less internal space and could have a smaller profile. But there would of course be a limit to how far you can go that way before you start hampering the above mentioned abilities. So again, it would be a trade off.



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 Post subject: Re: (Super) Soldier PostPosted: 2012-02-22 04:11pm
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Alkaloid wrote:
I'm not saying build them to do everything, I'm saying build them to do more than you expect to need them to do. You don't build an assault rifle that can take out a tank, you build an assault rifle with an effective range of 400m if you expect it will only need an effective range of 300m. And you can't build just for efficiency, otherwise you end up in a situation like the British were in just before WW2 where you have built vehicles that are very good at what you intend them to do but aren't able to adapt to what your opponent is actually doing. Supersoldiers are a weapon system that thinks and as such is capable of operating outside its defined role much better than a piece of equipment. A tank will never be an effective counter to a fighter because a tank can never learn to fly, but a soldier with an assault rifle can become an effective counter to a tank by tanking an anti tank weapon from an enemy and using it.


Several bad analogies. First off, your assault rifle analogy is bad. If the design calls for a 300m range that's the target. If it can perform up to 400m with slight or no modification well bully for you. The thing is that we aren't talking specific examples here. If you are given a project goal, you try to fulfill it. If you can then you can start cranking up what more you can do with the same system. But the basic idea is to get a system that can do xyz things. Secondly, British tanks fulfilled their design specs and while combat performance varied this was more due to British tactics rather than any critical shortcomings on the vehicles themselves. Major point here being the Brits like any country that built weapons in WWII went back to drawing board and improved on the last design they had. Weapons evolve to meet the existing / perceived threat and while people usually leave some room for future improvements, there's a limit how much you can predict the future and there's no point in chasing pipe dreams since the weapon you designed today might be obsolete tomorrow requiring you start all over regardless. Third a tank can be a credible threat to a fighter without needing to fly, in fact it can be a far more credible threat to a fighter than a single soldier will ever be. This is simply due to tanks ability to carry around bigger weapons and sensory arrays. But only if we design the tank to do this in the first place. A simple soldier can be a counter to a tank but only if he comes equipped to do it, but he cannot carry enough shit on him to be as a great threat to a fighter as a tank can. Even supers soldiers are limited in capability by the equipment they receive and while they might be more adaptable than regular infantry their overall performance is reliant on the kind of gear they receive. As a premise it's silly to assume that someone would make super soldier that exceeds the set parameters for it, or that this could even be done.


Alkaloid wrote:
Well, no, but I would never design a weapons system that takes nine years to build an individual unit if I didn't expect them to last more than 6 months. The fact that you have to grow them means that super soldiers need to be a long term investment.


Again says you. There's no universal rule that says a super soldier no matter how long it takes to make them has to be a long term investment. If you are building soldiers you can assume there's a valid reason for doing so but that's about it.

Alkaloid wrote:
You aren't building a median here though. Why would you build an extraordinarily strong man if he is only going to be fighting from a vehicle. Building a physically superior man is only advantageous if he will be using that superiority, not driving a tank. If you want a better performing tank corps you design better tanks, if you want better performing infantry you normally design new gear for them too, in this case their body is simply part of the gear we are improving.


I never said I'd make him extraordinarily strong. Point I was making there's no harm in him being strong if I can do it without making him excessively large. Physical strength is all fine and dandy in several things that come to tanks, but I wouldn't make him into a hulk either. Like I said, if I was making an all rounder super soldier, he would be about how I described him. If I was making an infantry super soldier, I would modify him according to the probable threat he would face.


Alkaloid wrote:
Of course you can do it, my point is you can't do it without making concessions in other areas, be it size, weight speed or cargo capacity. They both have the same general purpose, to carry stuff around, one just does it more protected than the other, but to do that it has to trade off in other areas.


And I was merely illustrating you have no idea what you're talking about when it comes to trucks and APCs i.e you were wrong. You do realize what you just said applies to all things? Trade offs have to be made all the time and a dedicated system beats a general purpose one in the area it was designed for.

Alkaloid wrote:
I know I have described how things work now, that's the sensible way to do things. The point is if you are already training your supersoldiers in the basics of a specific skillset you can identify the ones that excel at it and move them into that program when they are ready rather than building different types of soldier with massively overlapping capabilities and starting them on a given program. That way you get a larger number of soldiers who have a more rounded skillset and if you need to you can actually retrain them and they will be as effective in their new role as any other rather than being trained but unsuitable for the task.


Basically yes. But this is again dependent on how and why we are making our super soldiers. A 210cm hulk will not make a good tanker simply due to his size if the vehicles are designed to smaller people, nor will he make a great fighter pilot for the same reason no matter how good his aptitude for either was otherwise. Vice versa, an average sized guy has the potential to make an ok infantry man and far more easily fits inside vehicles.

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 Post subject: Re: (Super) Soldier PostPosted: 2012-02-22 08:28pm
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Alkaloid wrote:
Thats the point. When you are designing anything, you never just say 'this is what I think this structure/vehicle/bridge will need to do/withstand, so I will design this so it can withstand that and no more because doing otherwise would be inefficient.' You always build redundancy into anything because you will encounter something you didn't plan on, be it some jackass drives a ten tonne truck over a bridge that was built for light traffic or a newly developed radio transmitter that has to be carried into enemy territory in one piece because of plot and weighs more than you thought your magic soldiers would have to carry.


I think you're using a poor analogy. You're not talking about 'redundancy', you're talking about diversifying. This is like saying you want to build a truck to carry heavy loads, then deciding you need to fit waterskis and a boat engine on (or propellers and wings) onto it because it might need the versatility. Like the transforming vehicles in starcraft or something.


Quote:
Well yeah, but given that we are talking about supersoldiers not robots I generally assume that in this instance there's some reason that robots are no good. Can't make AI or something. Same with health, I assume part of developing a supersoldier is ensuring they don't become highly susceptible to heart attacks in the process.


If you're going to be talking about supersoldiers anything you have to be giving up on the idea of absolutes. No supersolider is going to be 'perfectly' efficient or effective compared to alternaties, nor is it goint to be perfectly (or even mostly) versatile - tradeoffs demand it unless you break any pretense of plausibility (think about it this way. would it seem reaosnable if you decided you could create a magic potion that turns every soldier into a superman? you can certainly do that, and it can be made to work, but its pretty far down on the plausibility scale. This is getting precisely into the sorts of things Mike was talking about, in fact.)

Quote:
And I never said they would. But if you are building supersoldiers you have certain things that you need, ability to carry heavy load long distances for scouts, ability to carry very heavy loads short distances for combat engineers as well as be able to quickly assess buildings, explosives and terrain to do your job, which scouts are going to need to. So many of the things one specific type of soldier is going to need will be needed by another that building a super scout and a super shock troop and a super combat engineer simply becomes pointless.


You seem to be operating with this certain idea that 'super soldier' is somehow a well defined concept, or that the definition in question is a well defined or practical one to begin with. As I said there re no absolutes here, its all relative - some 'approaches' to super soldiers will be relatively more sensible than others, but they will still require and have tradeoffs that will hamper them in other ways, unless you throw it all to the board and embrace magic (which is basically what Space Marines do.) If we want efficiency we'd be going with robots for tasks.

A better example (not totally, but better than Space Marines) of a less insane 'super soldier' are the various kinds of assassins, in which rthey re super powered but they specialize. You have Callidus and Vindicaire, and Eversor, etc..

Quote:
I can't think of a reason. Doesn't mean it will never happen. Maybe they just got caught in the wrong place at the wrong time with a stranded tank company. But it isn't something that it hurts them to have though.


Again unless you're going to invoke magic here there's limits to what you can engineer your super soldiers to do without giving them fancy high tech equipment (which is independent of super-soldiering), and even then engineering those abilities are going to involve tradeoffs (you will have to make them bigger to fit everything in, which is a drawback for a number of reasons - and even then you may have to make sacrifices and compromises WRT perfomrance to engineer it all in. You can't have everything.)

What you seem to be thinking of is commando-Jedi types or maybe something like Spectres from Mass Effect, which basically have funky psychic or magic powers to augment their 'normal' human abilities.

Quote:
Thats my point, super soldiers and power armour are two completely different kettles of fish and not really comparable. Adding a suit of power armour to anyone makes tham a different type of threat, super soldier or no.


But it underscores the whole point of 'it depends on what you want in a super soldier' and what your technology base is capable of. Its tremendously open ended, and can be approached in different ways, but you seem to adhere to some bizarre, nebulous and hard to grasp (for me at least) standard that you feel exists that requires certain traits.



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 Post subject: Re: (Super) Soldier PostPosted: 2012-02-23 10:15am
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Quote:
Several bad analogies. First off, your assault rifle analogy is bad. If the design calls for a 300m range that's the target. If it can perform up to 400m with slight or no modification well bully for you. The thing is that we aren't talking specific examples here. If you are given a project goal, you try to fulfill it. If you can then you can start cranking up what more you can do with the same system. But the basic idea is to get a system that can do xyz things. Secondly, British tanks fulfilled their design specs and while combat performance varied this was more due to British tactics rather than any critical shortcomings on the vehicles themselves. Major point here being the Brits like any country that built weapons in WWII went back to drawing board and improved on the last design they had. Weapons evolve to meet the existing / perceived threat and while people usually leave some room for future improvements, there's a limit how much you can predict the future and there's no point in chasing pipe dreams since the weapon you designed today might be obsolete tomorrow requiring you start all over regardless.


Engineers build to the specifications you give them, yes. But someone has to look at a situation and decide what they are likely to need, and then give those requirements to an engineer. If I need a 300m effective range, the smart thing to do is tell them to build me a 400m effective range. That's what happened with the british tanks, they would have done what they were built to do, but what they were built to do was not enough, as a result they were heavily armoured but slow and under gunned and largely ineffective against enemy armour. Had someone thought that they might actually need to fight enemy armour, like almost every other tank building nation had considered and planned for, they would have been much more effective weapons. An even better example is their fighters. The RAF operated pre war on the theory the 'the bomber will always get through' and concentrated on building bombers and turret fighters to the exclusion of almost everything else. They got lucky in that someone figured out they were wrong just in time to get Hurricanes and Spitfires rushed through a design process and into production and started replacing turret fighters before WW2 actually kicked off, if barely. You don't just build to counter what exists now, you have to try and anticipate and counter what the enemy is developing, it's easy to loose sight of that these days because most advanced weapons developing nations have not been enemies, but why do you think there was such a collective pants shitting when the Chinese stealth fighter was displayed? It was because no one knows if it will be roughly equal to the F-22, but if it is, then it will be the first time since shortly after WW2 that the west does not have a comprehensive technology advantage largely because they failed to anticipate and attempt to counter opposing developments. It's foolish to expect to be able to predict what you need to counter though, so you are better off being more capable than strictly necessary in a broad spectrum than being light years more advance in where you think you need to be.

Quote:
Third a tank can be a credible threat to a fighter without needing to fly, in fact it can be a far more credible threat to a fighter than a single soldier will ever be. This is simply due to tanks ability to carry around bigger weapons and sensory arrays. But only if we design the tank to do this in the first place. A simple soldier can be a counter to a tank but only if he comes equipped to do it, but he cannot carry enough shit on him to be as a great threat to a fighter as a tank can. Even supers soldiers are limited in capability by the equipment they receive and while they might be more adaptable than regular infantry their overall performance is reliant on the kind of gear they receive. As a premise it's silly to assume that someone would make super soldier that exceeds the set parameters for it, or that this could even be done.


A tank alone will never be a threat, it needs a crew to think for it and drive it. A man always has the potential to be a threat because he can think and act independently, can look for weapons and arm himself for the task at hand. The more capable he is the easier this is to achieve. That is the biggest advantage to an individual as opposed to any piece of equipment, they can be re purposed by giving them different stuff and a few instructions. Sure, they won't be as effective as a specially trained operator, but will be more effective than the tank with an anti armour cannon trying to engage large numbers of infantry single handedly.

Quote:
Again says you. There's no universal rule that says a super soldier no matter how long it takes to make them has to be a long term investment. If you are building soldiers you can assume there's a valid reason for doing so but that's about it.


No, if your creation time exceeds your life cycle by a margin that significant then your production has to grow exponentially just to replace casualties. There is no way that it is sustainable.

Quote:
I never said I'd make him extraordinarily strong. Point I was making there's no harm in him being strong if I can do it without making him excessively large. Physical strength is all fine and dandy in several things that come to tanks, but I wouldn't make him into a hulk either. Like I said, if I was making an all rounder super soldier, he would be about how I described him. If I was making an infantry super soldier, I would modify him according to the probable threat he would face.


The point is you can't. Physical strength is proportionate to muscle mass, that is the way physiology works. All men of average height, mass and build will have roughly the same strength and one of those, likely all of them, have to increase to make him stronger.

Quote:
And I was merely illustrating you have no idea what you're talking about when it comes to trucks and APCs i.e you were wrong. You do realize what you just said applies to all things? Trade offs have to be made all the time and a dedicated system beats a general purpose one in the area it was designed for.


Do you agree that you can't make an unarmoured truck and an APC with the same carrying capacity, size, weight and speed? Because that was the only point I was trying to make.

Quote:
Basically yes. But this is again dependent on how and why we are making our super soldiers. A 210cm hulk will not make a good tanker simply due to his size if the vehicles are designed to smaller people, nor will he make a great fighter pilot for the same reason no matter how good his aptitude for either was otherwise. Vice versa, an average sized guy has the potential to make an ok infantry man and far more easily fits inside vehicles.


Granted, but if your vehicle losses are that much lower than your crewman losses that you have to replace crewmembers with specialised infantry, you have more problems than supersoldiers are going to fix anyway.

Quote:
But it underscores the whole point of 'it depends on what you want in a super soldier' and what your technology base is capable of. Its tremendously open ended, and can be approached in different ways, but you seem to adhere to some bizarre, nebulous and hard to grasp (for me at least) standard that you feel exists that requires certain traits.


Well without bizarre pseudo magic powers like throwing lighting from their fingertips or chameleon into their surroundings, largely the factors that military training already tries to increase in people. Stronger, faster, able to detect the enemy from further away, no chance of panic, disciplined and unshakably loyal, willing to die if ordered too. A soldier, simply better at it than an unmodified person can be.

Quote:
Again unless you're going to invoke magic here there's limits to what you can engineer your super soldiers to do without giving them fancy high tech equipment (which is independent of super-soldiering), and even then engineering those abilities are going to involve tradeoffs (you will have to make them bigger to fit everything in, which is a drawback for a number of reasons - and even then you may have to make sacrifices and compromises WRT perfomrance to engineer it all in. You can't have everything.)

What you seem to be thinking of is commando-Jedi types or maybe something like Spectres from Mass Effect, which basically have funky psychic or magic powers to augment their 'normal' human abilities.


No, I haven't even thought about any magic or force powers or anything similar.

Quote:
You seem to be operating with this certain idea that 'super soldier' is somehow a well defined concept, or that the definition in question is a well defined or practical one to begin with. As I said there re no absolutes here, its all relative - some 'approaches' to super soldiers will be relatively more sensible than others, but they will still require and have tradeoffs that will hamper them in other ways, unless you throw it all to the board and embrace magic (which is basically what Space Marines do.) If we want efficiency we'd be going with robots for tasks.

A better example (not totally, but better than Space Marines) of a less insane 'super soldier' are the various kinds of assassins, in which rthey re super powered but they specialize. You have Callidus and Vindicaire, and Eversor, etc..


Thing with the assasins though, is that two of them require a very limited substance to create that space marines don't (blank humans and the shapeshifting drug respectively) and if all the resources you threw into making the sniper and close combat assassins were used to make space marines with a focus on those particular skills, you would get a larger number of very good sniper space marines, very good berserker space marines and probably a healthy number of ordinary space marines left over. Now, the sniper marine wouldn't be as good a sniper as the current assassins, but would be better in almost all other aspects of combat, and the berserker marine would not be as good as the berserker assassin, but would still be an excellent ranged combatant if he needed to be. And that seems a much better way of going about things to me than the way it is done in universe.

Quote:
If you're going to be talking about supersoldiers anything you have to be giving up on the idea of absolutes. No supersolider is going to be 'perfectly' efficient or effective compared to alternaties, nor is it goint to be perfectly (or even mostly) versatile - tradeoffs demand it unless you break any pretense of plausibility (think about it this way. would it seem reaosnable if you decided you could create a magic potion that turns every soldier into a superman? you can certainly do that, and it can be made to work, but its pretty far down on the plausibility scale. This is getting precisely into the sorts of things Mike was talking about, in fact.)


No, you will never get that perfect efficiency, and if you try for it you run into problems. Ultimately you want your supersoldiers to be able to shoot, but if they run into something that can outshoot them they can beat it in a knife fight, and if they can be beaten in a knife fight by something they can outshoot it. They are going to be an ace in the hole anyway, so you don't want to have an ace in the hole that can be made useless by something the enemy does, they need to have the versatility to have a chance against almost anything the enemy can throw at them.

Quote:
I think you're using a poor analogy. You're not talking about 'redundancy', you're talking about diversifying. This is like saying you want to build a truck to carry heavy loads, then deciding you need to fit waterskis and a boat engine on (or propellers and wings) onto it because it might need the versatility. Like the transforming vehicles in starcraft or something.


No, I'm saying that if you are building a number of trucks designed to go off-road and a number of trucks with water skis and a boat engine that can't go off-road, you would be better off running two production lines both producing trucks that can go off-road and have water skis and a boat engine, that way you will get more versatile trucks and long term will likely have more of them.

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 Post subject: Re: (Super) Soldier PostPosted: 2012-02-23 12:09pm
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Alkaloid wrote:
Engineers build to the specifications you give them, yes. But someone has to look at a situation and decide what they are likely to need, and then give those requirements to an engineer. If I need a 300m effective range, the smart thing to do is tell them to build me a 400m effective range. That's what happened with the british tanks, they would have done what they were built to do, but what they were built to do was not enough, as a result they were heavily armoured but slow and under gunned and largely ineffective against enemy armour. Had someone thought that they might actually need to fight enemy armour, like almost every other tank building nation had considered and planned for, they would have been much more effective weapons.


So your method of design is give over estimated goals that might or might not be achievable? Please stop talking about British tanks as an example. You have no idea what you are talking about you're just spewing random shit about Matildas and don't obviously even know that was not the only tank in the British service at the early stages of WWII. What you're saying is that the Brits would have built better tanks if some magic fairy would have told them what they needed to build, or that British engineers should have gazed in some magic crystal ball and find out in advance that the design they had would not stand at par with German designs. Then after that they should have conjured up a budget to build and test them and ask the Germans to wait a few more years so they have their super tank in service before the outbreak of the war.

Alkaloid wrote:
An even better example is their fighters. The RAF operated pre war on the theory the 'the bomber will always get through' and concentrated on building bombers and turret fighters to the exclusion of almost everything else. They got lucky in that someone figured out they were wrong just in time to get Hurricanes and Spitfires rushed through a design process and into production and started replacing turret fighters before WW2 actually kicked off, if barely. You don't just build to counter what exists now, you have to try and anticipate and counter what the enemy is developing, it's easy to loose sight of that these days because most advanced weapons developing nations have not been enemies, but why do you think there was such a collective pants shitting when the Chinese stealth fighter was displayed? It was because no one knows if it will be roughly equal to the F-22, but if it is, then it will be the first time since shortly after WW2 that the west does not have a comprehensive technology advantage largely because they failed to anticipate and attempt to counter opposing developments. It's foolish to expect to be able to predict what you need to counter though, so you are better off being more capable than strictly necessary in a broad spectrum than being light years more advance in where you think you need to be.


No you dolt. You start by countering what the enemy has and then you start worrying about the future. And all of this has to be within the limits of available funds/time/other resources. Again your example has shit to do what I told you earlier. Just because the Brits got lucky doesn't change the idea that all projects should be geared towards achievable goals. You are also going from hindsight which is stupid when you take into consideration no one back then really knew what was the ideal solution to a theoretical problem at the time. And it seems to have eluded you than it may well be there is no way to reach a comprehensive advantage no matter how hard you try? Technological gap will close bit by bit, that much is almost given, and that is precisely why trying to maintain broad spectrum of superior capability is a really expensive proposition. Besides, no one lost their marbles when the Chinese revealed their stealth design. It just shows they're serious about protecting their country and want to close down the technological gap of the west. And really? Think before you post. First you say it's foolish to try and predict what a possible enemy is doing and at the same time you advocate maintaining some mystical broad superior capability.


Alkaloid wrote:
A tank alone will never be a threat, it needs a crew to think for it and drive it. A man always has the potential to be a threat because he can think and act independently, can look for weapons and arm himself for the task at hand. The more capable he is the easier this is to achieve. That is the biggest advantage to an individual as opposed to any piece of equipment, they can be re purposed by giving them different stuff and a few instructions. Sure, they won't be as effective as a specially trained operator, but will be more effective than the tank with an anti armour cannon trying to engage large numbers of infantry single handedly.


Nice handwave there. Doesn't change anything about what I said. You're just flailing away and assuming a guy can "look for" the answer around therefore counter any threat to him. A cannon that can chug antitank rounds can also sling around other nasty shit as well. Not to mention your over generic example ignores so many variables its not even funny. So if evil aliens attack I can just give a guy an instructions manual and a space shuttle and say "Off you go to fight evil aliens". I'm sure that little plan will work a treat.

Alkaloid wrote:
No, if your creation time exceeds your life cycle by a margin that significant then your production has to grow exponentially just to replace casualties. There is no way that it is sustainable.


Like we couldn't waste away millions of men in WWI because it takes about 18years for a soldier grow into maturity? Sustaining something for a period of time and sustaining something indefinitely
are two different things and is just a question of resources available. If I can match the attrition with production I can do it.

Alkaloid wrote:
The point is you can't. Physical strength is proportionate to muscle mass, that is the way physiology works. All men of average height, mass and build will have roughly the same strength and one of those, likely all of them, have to increase to make him stronger.


Do you even read what people tell you? Peak power is relative to muscle mass and that means a bigger man is in absolute power stronger than a smaller man but a smaller man is stronger in proportion to mass. I'm not trying to have him compete in strength with a guy in another weight category, I'm emphasizing strength in his weight class. Is that simple enough for you?

Alkaloid wrote:
Do you agree that you can't make an unarmoured truck and an APC with the same carrying capacity, size, weight and speed? Because that was the only point I was trying to make.


First off that was not your original statement. Second, get your facts straight. APCs and trucks are already in the same category in terms of weight, size, carrying capacity and speed. The difference is what you utilize the carrying capacity for. You cannot have an APC carry the same amount of cargo as a truck nor can a truck carry cargo at capacity if it wants to carry armor to the same degree as the APC. But I already told you this.

Alkaloid wrote:
Granted, but if your vehicle losses are that much lower than your crewman losses that you have to replace crewmembers with specialised infantry, you have more problems than supersoldiers are going to fix anyway.


This has roughly nothing to do with my statement. Which was a comparison between generalization vs. specialization.


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 Post subject: Re: (Super) Soldier PostPosted: 2012-02-23 03:15pm
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Okay, let's discuss what Super-soldiers would be designed for. Once again, most of the supersoldiers I've mentioned aren't huge muscular hulks, though a degree of superstrength seems pretty much inevitable. Probably because it apeals to people's idea of what a 'warrior' should be.

What's at least as universal as super-strength is enhanced reflexes (useful) and increased senses (very useful, debatably worth the inevitable trade-offs.) A number of the ones initially included were created to be able to fight, survive, and thrive in exotic alien enviroments deadly to normal humans (Nietzcheans, Space Marines, Posleen, and more.) You can debate whether it's worth the effort of creating a human variant that can live on a heavy-gravity chlorine atmosphere world vs trying to terraform or other wise make these enviroments survivable via technology. Many were created to wage war against enemies capable of curbstomping regular humans, or simply surviving impossible battles, or just killing things (Space Marines again, Spartans, Howlers etc.)

A couple, like every Su clade in Orion's Arm, the Draka and the Battlefleet Officer from before, are just meant to be upgrades to basic humanity. Something to boost their quality of life and especially their ability to survive in trying circumstances. Which happen to include war. This is especially true of Mutineer's Moon, where Battlefleet officers are rarely expected to go hand-to-hand with or even meet their enemies in personal combat. But they're trained and outfitted to do so, just in case and there really aren't many emergencies where increased strength, reflexes, senses, resistance to injury, and the abilty to hold one's breath for 5 hours can't help a bit.



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 Post subject: Re: (Super) Soldier PostPosted: 2012-02-24 01:59am
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Alkaloid wrote:
Engineers build to the specifications you give them, yes. But someone has to look at a situation and decide what they are likely to need, and then give those requirements to an engineer. If I need a 300m effective range, the smart thing to do is tell them to build me a 400m effective range.

No, that is idiotic because the engineers will then attempt to meet this target even if it requires compromising other aspects of the tank's design, such as cost, speed, mobility, armour, ammo capacity, etc.



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 Post subject: Re: (Super) Soldier PostPosted: 2012-02-24 03:09am
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What they would be designed for is easy. In fact I’m pretty certain the ideal super solider would read maintenance manuals for the combat robots he maintains for fun, have tiny hands so he can more efficiently fish out screws he dropped inside said robots chassis, and never need sleep so he can maintain as many robots as possible. D Also he'd constantly write letters to home telling assembly line workers to maintain those robots better too, and buy more victory bonds, so they can make more artillery shells and kill the enemy without ever seeing him better. Did I mention the robots?

Endurance will also count for more then strength, when a normal human needs to spend a third of his life asleep, this is less then optimal. When combat drags on, what you can dead lift matters a lot less then what you can do ninety minutes into a sustained artillery barrage or on the third day of a tank battle.

Strength, well it’s useful for a towed artillery crew or infantry, but even then higher endurance at normal human strengths would be far more useful then any feasible increase in absolute strength without a large increase in size, which is highly undesirable. If my super solider can load 200lb shells instead of 95lb shells, I’m not really gaining any killer advantage when I could have just bought a completely automated field artillery ammo supply system. Plus an MLRS launcher can reload its 2,500lb rocket pods completely by power anyway and obliterate arbitrarily huge numbers of enemy super soldiers.

Mechanized weapons crush the living hell out of life, and leave the infantry to mop up. Since the biggest advantages of infantry are concealment and mobility in tight situations, being smaller is more useful then bigger. They’d also allow for smaller, better protected vehicles from the get go. Of course you cannot go too small, or else handling some items would become physically difficult, but a bunch of 5’6” super soldiers bred for endurance and reasoned intelligence sound good to me. Things like eyesight or faster reflexes are useful attributes, but ultimately optical devices will always be better then an unaided eye, and reflexes are more a matter of training and skill then innate ability in the timescales that actually matter.

Any emphasis on hand to hand combat or whatever is just retarded. If you worry about that, you’ve clearly already lost the damn war against any serious opponent. Even in a pure survivable situation people will make weapons as quickly as possible and a lone individual is functionally useless as a guide to military potential.



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 Post subject: Re: (Super) Soldier PostPosted: 2012-02-24 06:27am
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While I agree with you on most of what you said I have to say I disagree on the point of optics. Yes, they are always better than the unaided eye but they can get heavy, bulky and require batteries and they can get damaged. So in that respect, if feasible (and not that expensive) it might be good to enhance the soldiers eyesight or give him a sort of cat like night vision. If for nothing else, than to make your soldier have to carry even less load.



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 Post subject: Re: (Super) Soldier PostPosted: 2012-02-24 08:26am
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An ACOG weighs under a pound and you'd want one anyway. As for night vision, a cat has worse vision then a human during daylight and that's the built in penalty for night vision. I'd say no thanks. You'd end up needing powered night vision devices anyway because the enemy will use them, and they are superior to any passive system.



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 Post subject: Re: (Super) Soldier PostPosted: 2012-02-24 08:56am
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So your method of design is give over estimated goals that might or might not be achievable? Please stop talking about British tanks as an example. You have no idea what you are talking about you're just spewing random shit about Matildas and don't obviously even know that was not the only tank in the British service at the early stages of WWII. What you're saying is that the Brits would have built better tanks if some magic fairy would have told them what they needed to build, or that British engineers should have gazed in some magic crystal ball and find out in advance that the design they had would not stand at par with German designs. Then after that they should have conjured up a budget to build and test them and ask the Germans to wait a few more years so they have their super tank in service before the outbreak of the war.


I am well aware that there were different models of tank in service. They didn't need a magic fairy, they needed to ask the right questions. The problem with British tanks was less engineering than doctrinal. They wanted tanks as mobile armour/firepower to support their infantry, and to exploit breakthroughs in enemy lines and go after soft targets behind the fron tine, same as everyone else. They operated on the theory that all anti tank work would be done by tank destroyers and anti tank guns, so their tanks weren't armed with weapons capable of posing a serious threat to enemy armour. They asked 'what do we want these tanks to do' and had tanks designed to those specifications. What almost everyone else asked was 'what are these tanks likely to have to do' and as a result they had tanks that were capable of engaging enemy armour because a small amount of thought should tell you that infantry supported by tanks fighting infantry supported by tanks, or tanks rolling around the enemies rear are likely to have to engage tanks at some point because they are primarily about mobile fire-power and armour, so you need mobile fire-power to counter them.

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No you dolt. You start by countering what the enemy has and then you start worrying about the future. And all of this has to be within the limits of available funds/time/other resources. Again your example has shit to do what I told you earlier. Just because the Brits got lucky doesn't change the idea that all projects should be geared towards achievable goals. You are also going from hindsight which is stupid when you take into consideration no one back then really knew what was the ideal solution to a theoretical problem at the time. And it seems to have eluded you than it may well be there is no way to reach a comprehensive advantage no matter how hard you try? Technological gap will close bit by bit, that much is almost given, and that is precisely why trying to maintain broad spectrum of superior capability is a really expensive proposition.


Yes, the tech gap closes because both sides are looking for an advantage that gets harder to reach. Why would I design an armour piercing weapon that can pierce what the enemy is using now when I know damn well that by the time that weapon reaches the field, the other side will be deploying the better armour that they were developing at the same time? It makes far more sense to design one that is more capable so that when it hits the field the low end of enemy gear is not the only thing it can threaten.

Quote:
Besides, no one lost their marbles when the Chinese revealed their stealth design. It just shows they're serious about protecting their country and want to close down the technological gap of the west.


People wer shocked because they expect tech development to work a certain way. You start with something relatively crude, like the F-117, then move onto things like the F-22, and it was assumed that China would do something similar. Instead they did the smart thing and have directly tried to counter the F-22 straight off the bat.

Quote:
And really? Think before you post. First you say it's foolish to try and predict what a possible enemy is doing and at the same time you advocate maintaining some mystical broad superior capability.


You misunderstand. I'm saying that as you never know what your enemy is developing, you need to develop capabilities superior to what you currently need in a broad spectrum so that if the next design to roll out is superior to yours in one are you can be reasonably certain you can try to counter it with another.

Quote:
Nice handwave there. Doesn't change anything about what I said. You're just flailing away and assuming a guy can "look for" the answer around therefore counter any threat to him. A cannon that can chug antitank rounds can also sling around other nasty shit as well. Not to mention your over generic example ignores so many variables its not even funny.


Tanks lack visibility, and the focus on armour and fire-power they are given means that they are limited in what they can do to infantry. That is and always has been a problem. There are steps that have been taken to try and minimise it, largely mounting machine guns on tanks, but even with 4 machine guns the fact is that the same armour that makes tanks hard for infantry to hurt makes it hard to see infantry, so in terrain with cover, where infantry can move freely they are a serious threat to tanks. This is their reality and changing that makes what you have not a tank any more. Even in open terrain the fact that they can scatter means high explosive rounds only have a limited effect, and tanks need serious support from their own infantry to actually inflict serious casualties. To change that, I need to spend months designing and building a new turret, I need to pull the tank off the from line and replace it with my new, less protected anti infantry turret that in all likelihood means it is no longer a threat to enemy armour, retrain the crew in its operations and roll it back to the front line. To make an infantryman a credible anti tank threat I need to give him a new weapon, show him how to aim, fire and reload and send him out. I can likely leave him a rifle too, so he is still an actual threat to enemy infantry as well. Sure, If I had months to train him he would be better, but even like this it can work, largely because he has problems he can have a guess at solving them, and if it doesn't work out one of the 300 other rearmed guys will porobably get the right answer.

Quote:
Like we couldn't waste away millions of men in WWI because it takes about 18years for a soldier grow into maturity? Sustaining something for a period of time and sustaining something indefinitely
are two different things and is just a question of resources available. If I can match the attrition with production I can do it.


If the only way for anyone to be involved in the war was to be born into military service that might make sense, but it doesn't. In WW2 men were a pre existing resource that could be turned into soldiers in a few months just like iron was a resource that could be turned into a weapon in a few weeks. Had the war dragged on, eventually yes they simply would have run out of people to train because casualties were high enough that deaths were outstripping men reaching military service age. It worked because there were tens of millions of mean already available, not because they had time to grow tens of millions of men.

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Do you even read what people tell you? Peak power is relative to muscle mass and that means a bigger man is in absolute power stronger than a smaller man but a smaller man is stronger in proportion to mass. I'm not trying to have him compete in strength with a guy in another weight category, I'm emphasizing strength in his weight class. Is that simple enough for you?


You flat out fucking said

Quote:
In this case your super soldier would be of average build / height with above average endurance and strength


My point is that to get above average strength he has to be of above average size and weight. It is how the body works. Unless you think someone has so many obese people in their military that fit ones class a super soldiers average weight means average strength and endurance.

Quote:
First off that was not your original statement. Second, get your facts straight. APCs and trucks are already in the same category in terms of weight, size, carrying capacity and speed. The difference is what you utilize the carrying capacity for. You cannot have an APC carry the same amount of cargo as a truck nor can a truck carry cargo at capacity if it wants to carry armor to the same degree as the APC. But I already told you this.


I know. That is my point. In an APC you are sacrificing something, in this case carrying capacity in return for increased performance. People were stating that increased size coming with increased strength is a disadvantage, which it is, but it is sometimes worth paying that price, the same way it is worth paying the carrying capacity price to get an APC.

Quote:
This has roughly nothing to do with my statement. Which was a comparison between generalization vs. specialization.


Infantry are specialised, so are vehicle crewmen. If you are loosing so many vehicle crewmen that you have more vehicles than crews what you should do is build less vehicles and expend those resources training crewmen so that you can crew them, not crew them with completely unsuitable crews. My point has always been that if you have a number of roles requiring massively overlapping capabilities, like say, most foot soldiers regardless of what branch they are actually in, you are better off creating one basic frame that can carry out all of those roles than you are building a different frame entirely for each one. I never assumed people would think putting your physically stronger soldier in a tank was a good idea because it is largely a waste of time, although given recent posts it seems not everyone has that opinion.

Quote:
No, that is idiotic because the engineers will then attempt to meet this target even if it requires compromising other aspects of the tank's design, such as cost, speed, mobility, armour, ammo capacity, etc.


Yes, it does. So the question you have to ask is what capabilities do you need most. Most common way to increase range is a larger calibre ammunition, which mostly means less ammo capacity. If your doctrine calls for your tanks to engage at 300m maximum then you need to decide do you want your tank to be able to fire 40 times up to 300m or 30 times up to 400 to account for the plethora of things you may not have accounted for. As far as I can see the best option is the latter.

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but a bunch of 5’6” super soldiers bred for endurance and reasoned intelligence sound good to me


Yes, as long as you can guarantee that they will never have to carry a 100 pound object behind enemy lines for several days. My point is and always has been that putting the lowest upper limit possible on anything is foolish because there is almost always something that just comes up.

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 Post subject: Re: (Super) Soldier PostPosted: 2012-02-24 10:03am
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Skimmer's idea works for fighting huge conventional armies in a (hopefully non-nuclear) conflict; I'm not sure how well it works when you need combatants to interact meaningfully with the locals and fight occasional skirmishes with guerillas. Mostly because the robots don't perform very well at the hearts and minds part.

Of course, normal soldiers tend to screw up "hearts and minds" too. Maybe you'd screw around with supersoldiers' brains so they'd feel less inclined to do things like piss on their enemies' dead bodies and pose with SS flags against orders, so you don't get so much bad PR? ;)

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 Post subject: Re: (Super) Soldier PostPosted: 2012-02-24 11:27am
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Alkaloid wrote:
I am well aware that there were different models of tank in service. They didn't need a magic fairy, they needed to ask the right questions. The problem with British tanks was less engineering than doctrinal. They wanted tanks as mobile armour/firepower to support their infantry, and to exploit breakthroughs in enemy lines and go after soft targets behind the fron tine, same as everyone else. They operated on the theory that all anti tank work would be done by tank destroyers and anti tank guns, so their tanks weren't armed with weapons capable of posing a serious threat to enemy armour. They asked 'what do we want these tanks to do' and had tanks designed to those specifications. What almost everyone else asked was 'what are these tanks likely to have to do' and as a result they had tanks that were capable of engaging enemy armour because a small amount of thought should tell you that infantry supported by tanks fighting infantry supported by tanks, or tanks rolling around the enemies rear are likely to have to engage tanks at some point because they are primarily about mobile fire-power and armour, so you need mobile fire-power to counter them.


Except you're wrong. British mainstay tanks Cruisers and Matilda II had a 2pndr main gun which was enough to threaten wast majority of all tanks currently in service anywhere. The infantry support tank and a separate Tank fighting tank was a widely accepted idea at the time, adopted by among others the Germans. So unlike you claim, all powers in fact did build their tanks around the "What do I think they should do" with should being in their minds the most likely scenario. They got some of it right, some of it wrong. Big surprise considering mobile armored warfare was a untested concept before the outbreak of WWII.

Alkaloid wrote:
Yes, the tech gap closes because both sides are looking for an advantage that gets harder to reach. Why would I design an armour piercing weapon that can pierce what the enemy is using now when I know damn well that by the time that weapon reaches the field, the other side will be deploying the better armour that they were developing at the same time? It makes far more sense to design one that is more capable so that when it hits the field the low end of enemy gear is not the only thing it can threaten.


Because you are then stuck in a perpetual loop of never fielding anything. And you just assume you can develop a superior product without any increase in time / funding / resources. This is why you first have stuff that can deal with the current problem and you then assume the other guy is not content on sitting on his ass and try to figure out what he's putting out next and try to counter it if time/resources/funding permit.

Alkaloid wrote:
People wer shocked because they expect tech development to work a certain way. You start with something relatively crude, like the F-117, then move onto things like the F-22, and it was assumed that China would do something similar. Instead they did the smart thing and have directly tried to counter the F-22 straight off the bat.


If you were shocked well too bad. I wasn't. You are just assuming again anyway. Which do think is the likelier scenario? A) The Chinese are overtly worried about a horde of F-22s flying over their air space stealing their precious bodily fluids or B) The Chinese are looking for a system that will give their air force credibility against regional threats such as Russia, India, Pakistan, S.Korea some of which are currently engaged in developing next generation fighter air craft. P.S if your answer is A you're a loony.

Alkaloid wrote:
You misunderstand. I'm saying that as you never know what your enemy is developing, you need to develop capabilities superior to what you currently need in a broad spectrum so that if the next design to roll out is superior to yours in one are you can be reasonably certain you can try to counter it with another.


Fair enough. As I said earlier this should not be done at the expense of existing threats that you already know of.

Alkaloid wrote:
Tanks lack visibility, and the focus on armour and fire-power they are given means that they are limited in what they can do to infantry. That is and always has been a problem. There are steps that have been taken to try and minimise it, largely mounting machine guns on tanks, but even with 4 machine guns the fact is that the same armour that makes tanks hard for infantry to hurt makes it hard to see infantry, so in terrain with cover, where infantry can move freely they are a serious threat to tanks. This is their reality and changing that makes what you have not a tank any more. Even in open terrain the fact that they can scatter means high explosive rounds only have a limited effect, and tanks need serious support from their own infantry to actually inflict serious casualties. To change that, I need to spend months designing and building a new turret, I need to pull the tank off the from line and replace it with my new, less protected anti infantry turret that in all likelihood means it is no longer a threat to enemy armour, retrain the crew in its operations and roll it back to the front line. To make an infantryman a credible anti tank threat I need to give him a new weapon, show him how to aim, fire and reload and send him out. I can likely leave him a rifle too, so he is still an actual threat to enemy infantry as well. Sure, If I had months to train him he would be better, but even like this it can work, largely because he has problems he can have a guess at solving them, and if it doesn't work out one of the 300 other rearmed guys will porobably get the right answer.


This is total BS. First off, tanks like any other vehicle have blind spots when trying to spot things close to them. Medium to Long range visibility is in fact excellent and tanks due to their size can and do carry sophisticated vision equipment that allows them to have far superior ways of spotting than a single man can hope to carry. There are ways you can vastly improve the close proximity
detection capability in a tank but these are not done because of fear someone might sneak on them, rather to ease interaction with supporting infantry specially in confined spaces. Second, tanks are scary accurate. If it can spot you, it can kill you. Taking out point targets is what tanks do really well. To put in perspective a tank, not even that modern one, can Spot you from 2000m and from that distance effect fire on you. Cover is great and all, but if you are constantly fired on when you try to move you are in a seriously bad position. Thirdly, infantry by themselves cannot carry a weapon system that will rival a tank in accuracy, offensive punch against variety of targets or mobility. To put it simply you're talking out of your ass.

Alkaloid wrote:
If the only way for anyone to be involved in the war was to be born into military service that might make sense, but it doesn't. In WW2 men were a pre existing resource that could be turned into soldiers in a few months just like iron was a resource that could be turned into a weapon in a few weeks. Had the war dragged on, eventually yes they simply would have run out of people to train because casualties were high enough that deaths were outstripping men reaching military service age. It worked because there were tens of millions of mean already available, not because they had time to grow tens of millions of men.


Didn't I just tell you it's a question of resources that are available? It doesn't matter if they're pre-existent or not.

Alkaloid wrote:
My point is that to get above average strength he has to be of above average size and weight. It is how the body works. Unless you think someone has so many obese people in their military that fit ones class a super soldiers average weight means average strength and endurance.


I know what I said, do you? Do I need to use some crayons to draw you a picture? If man A can lift 50kg and this is average, and man B can lift 51kg he is above average. The question is just how much more can I have man B lift before his size/mass rises significantly above that of A. You're just babbling about some otherworldly standard for super soldier that doesn't really exist.


Alkaloid wrote:
I know. That is my point. In an APC you are sacrificing something, in this case carrying capacity in return for increased performance. People were stating that increased size coming with increased strength is a disadvantage, which it is, but it is sometimes worth paying that price, the same way it is worth paying the carrying capacity price to get an APC.


Which is what people have been saying all along? Note, try to be more specific in your terminology. In this case you are not getting better "performance" you are losing carrying capacity to gain better protection for the vehicle. Might sound like I'm nitpicking but when it comes to technical areas there's a risk of misunderstandings.

Alkaloid wrote:
Infantry are specialised, so are vehicle crewmen. If you are loosing so many vehicle crewmen that you have more vehicles than crews what you should do is build less vehicles and expend those resources training crewmen so that you can crew them, not crew them with completely unsuitable crews. My point has always been that if you have a number of roles requiring massively overlapping capabilities, like say, most foot soldiers regardless of what branch they are actually in, you are better off creating one basic frame that can carry out all of those roles than you are building a different frame entirely for each one. I never assumed people would think putting your physically stronger soldier in a tank was a good idea because it is largely a waste of time, although given recent posts it seems not everyone has that opinion.


Basically yes. You have to consider several factors though. A vehicle short a crewman is hampered a lot more than a squad of infantry missing one guy. If it is feasible and the vehicle is needed for the fight you do it, knowing that it will not perform as well it would with a proper crewman.

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 Post subject: Re: (Super) Soldier PostPosted: 2012-02-24 11:44am
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Supersoldier design is really going to come down to asking some general "what are the limitations of your soldiers that bother you the most?"

Ask a medieval general and he'll say "I wish all my men were eight feet tall and strong as an ox." Ask a general from the mid-20th century and he'll say "I wish all my men were geniuses at maintaining equipment, and had natural resistance to chemical weapons (and radiation poisoning, after 1945)" Ask a modern general and... well, it depends on the army and the mission. They might say "geniuses at maintaining equipment," but they might also say "good at deep-penetration special forces raids" or "good at convincing the locals that we're on their side" or all kinds of other things.

I think about the only thing all generals from all eras could agree on is that their soldiers need to sleep too much.

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 Post subject: Re: (Super) Soldier PostPosted: 2012-02-24 01:33pm
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Simon_Jester wrote:
Skimmer's idea works for fighting huge conventional armies in a (hopefully non-nuclear) conflict; I'm not sure how well it works when you need combatants to interact meaningfully with the locals and fight occasional skirmishes with guerillas.


You'd need super soldiers to fight skirmishes [i]why?[i] Anyway the average Vietnamese man is smaller then 5'6", and they showed excellent endurance, resilience and all around combat effectiveness in predominantly foot mobile infantry warfare in a little guerilla war fought some decades ago. Being physically small became a material advantage to them building fortifications and almost certainly reduced the required amount of food. In nuclear warfare being small is a very direct advantage because literally, a smaller foxhole protects you better from atomic blast and direct radiation effects. And yeah, what you want does depend on the era, but since I see no chance of engineering super soliders in an era before mechanized warfare it seems rather pointless to talk about it.

Quote:

Mostly because the robots don't perform very well at the hearts and minds part.


The ones that automatically inflate and dispense soccer balls, and don't cause murderous reactions to the destruction of fellow robots, would actually work pretty well I suspect. The value of direct human interaction to me seems limited in any event if you cannot speak the local language and bring the war into peoples villages.

Quote:

Of course, normal soldiers tend to screw up "hearts and minds" too. Maybe you'd screw around with supersoldiers' brains so they'd feel less inclined to do things like piss on their enemies' dead bodies and pose with SS flags against orders, so you don't get so much bad PR? ;)


Intelligence and training are the only way to deal with adverse reactions to combat, which led to shit like pissing on corpses in all wars, but the best way to do it is to just take the humans out of life or death situations and allow them a more detached approach. Thus, robots for infantry, and everyone else rides a vehicle. I doubt you'll find tank crews pissing on enemy dead because they wouldn't get out of the tank to try. I don't think a realistic brain modification would be possible to prevent such problems otherwise, its too tied up in emotion, and emotionless living drones would create new problems unless we expect our super trooper to be purely raised and bred for combat and not go on to live normal lives. I reject THAT concept of super solider out of hand because it would be very economically inefficient unless you can magically grow and train them in very short periods of time to react to specific wars. The ideal super solider would be suitable to make up all or a large fraction of the population, ensuring an ample supply in wartime.



"This cult of special forces is as sensible as to form a Royal Corps of Tree Climbers and say that no soldier who does not wear its green hat with a bunch of oak leaves stuck in it should be expected to climb a tree"
— Field Marshal William Slim 1956

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