|APAGear II Archives||Volume 3, Number 3||April, 2001|
Infantry is most flexible Arm of Service in Colonial Expeditionary Force. It comes with a surprising degree of duties from manning a line of lookout posts to carrying out raids on enemy supply columns to patrolling conquered lands to waging guerilla warfare on lost territories. CEF forms its infantry units from experiences of Third World War in Sol system as well as increasingly from battles it wages in the Colonies.
Third World War was bloodiest conflict on human history. Billions of people died, many from war and untold numbers from collateral reasons, like famine, mines, radiation poisoning, mental anxiety and thousand other reasons. In the battlefield, young New Eurasian Commonwealth faced external enemies and formed new Commonwealth wide army from the scratch. Long borders and breakdown of social order forced NEC to invest for a large standing land army to defend itself. As fighting got more intensive so did the methods necessary to do the job.
Because NEC was so scattered across Eurasian landmass (and later beyond that) strategic mobility was absolutely necessary to get NECAF troops to help beleaguered member states in need. Therefor NECAF equipment and troops had to be easy to transport easily and rapidly via rail, air, sea or road.
This meant strong airforce to protect these transports from enemy long-range attacks during long trips, especially with air transportation that had became method of choice for quick reinforcement of flash points. Once troops were there, the next requirement was to be able to maneuver fast in the battlefield. Enemy had enormous firepower and best (and often only) method of countering it was by dispersing troops over wide areas. This required good communications and ability to concentrate troops quickly to decisive point of fighting after fire support had done their job and break into enemy defenses could start. Troops had also to carry great deal of firepower to destroy enemy and armor tough enough to prevent enemy from killing one. Hovertank was then the weapon platform of choice with infantry as protective force mopping up whatever was left behind.
Infantry had their place there as well. Hovertanks cannot fight well in terrain that is truly uneven like mountains or filled with cover like jungles or forests. They require infantry to maneuver on their own, infiltrate in small units and then, with surprise, go in and kill enemy. Then there are places where they are simply so large they cannot get in, like underground caves and tunnels and enemy fortresses. Ultimate nightmarish battlefields were heavily urbanized areas, like never ending Rangstadt sprawl in Mediterranean, or city and mud conglomeration of floating city-states along Yangze river basin. Fighting in those places was less of battle on ordinary sense and more akin to a siege that ate men and munitions for weeks to no end. In these places weapon platforms were strictly supporting arms and infantry would spearhead the attacks. All these required infantry to dig out enemy troops, exploding their way in if necessary, with all the imaginable firepower on their support but equally often doing it on their own.
At the same time, wars are not just about destroying enemy weapon systems and men and maneuvering for a final kill. There also comes a question of aftermath of fighting. What to do after the war, before the peace? Force that had burned the cities to the ground had to then occupy it, wage counterinsurgency campaigns against guerillas and terrorist movements raising to oppose new order and ultimately guide and direct rebuilding of these territories as part of New Earth Commonwealth. Because NECAF (and later CEF) was always just a fraction of local population only real choice was to first conquer territory and then rule it jointly so that NEC would help on rebuilding colonies. Dedicated civilian co-operation units, usually under guidance of political officer, were raised on units to deal with these complicated questions. Problems were local and thus solutions had to be local too.
Second problem was a question of bringing security and safety to occupied territories. In Sol system mere presence of NECAF had at times prevented possible problems of escalating into bloody brawls. At the same breath mere presence of NECAF had triggered problems into bloody chaos too. Anyway, CEF would face enemy that had no clear doctrine, organization or uniform. Their enemies would come in crowds large and especially small and work underground making most of the electronic surveillance methods used in high intensity battlefield useless. CEF had no real choice but to follow old maxim of NECAF experiences learned in anti-terrorist campaigns in Earth and Mars: "Be friendly. Be vigilant. And watch your back." They would have to move amongst the local population, on foot, and be very careful, as help might not be there in time of need.
These requirements forced CEF to see infantry as a force that would have primary emphasis on small independent groups small enough to be able to move secretly but also large enough to be able to function independently. According to CEF studies 3 to 4 men is best size for fighting as each group leader would have just 2-3 subordinates to handle in a firefight instead of larger squad ranging from six to sixteen men used before. It was small enough to move secretly into enemy territory and had enough men to carry all necessary equipment for a reconnaissance patrol necessary to find and hunt down guerillas and to patrol local civilian population. CEF settled for four-man group as they could lose one man and still have force in optimum size. Losing two would still allow them to have a tiny group where both troopers would fight together in same foxhole and keep up the morale of each other compared to facing dangers of battlefield alone. This force would be called a Patrol, to properly describe their role.
Experienced trooper would typically lead it.
Soldiers do not just walk behind their leaders and carry out orders. They need careful training to be very good in their trade and CEF training is arguably best there is in Sol system. The two years of basic training give trooper all the skills they need to fight as individuals and (at least by CEF standards) work within close supervision of infantry Patrol. Still, field units prefer to hone newly done troopers skills even more and typically assign them to field training unit, that is organic part of a Brigade. This training unit breaks-in new troopers as well as arrange refreshment training to those returning from leave and training courses to troopers within whole brigade. For Infantry the individual training is quite straightforward and aims to teaching troopers skills necessary to complement other troopers at Patrol level.
Individual skills being taught to typical Infantry troopers are Typically Communications, Medical, Scouting, Demolitions and Languages. These skills are taught in Basic Training too but this training describes considerably higher level of proficiency. More skills are taught when experience grows and trooper gets more and more responsibilities. Languages are last one taught and it usually goes to leaders.
The first skill every trooper learns in CEF is always communications. Because Patrols usually operate well away from each other, good communications are extremely important. It allows Patrol to call for fire support, more supplies, and arranges meeting with pick-up when patrol exfiltrates back to home. Furthermore, everyone has to be able to scream for help if something goes terribly wrong in patrol. While every soldier has access to BISN and real-time data of battlefield, it can be jammed (or relay links and satellites destroyed). Infantry radio gear is considerably bulkier than BISN gear (it has to withstand rough treatment) but allows alternative methods of communication for long distances (and orbit) and it is traditionally given to youngest member of Patrol. New troopers will also soon notice that with Communication gear he carries as Signaler heaviest load of the entire Patrol and he'll be more than glad to give to next new youngest trooper in Patrol.
Medical training is next trade that trooper has to master. Medical duties do not include just giving first aid to fellow troopers after particularly nasty hydro-static wound from a bullet or a piece of fragment but also treatment for shock. Medic can expect to face a task of sustaining a trauma patient for at least a day and often much longer in atrocious circumstances in field with just gear he carries on her in Patrol. Second, equally important, duty is to ensure that Patrol members follow hygiene standards and get treatment to minor injuries that happen in field. Minor injuries may turn out to be serious injuries and troopers can get sick in field. Medic makes sure that Patrol does not get aborted due these factors too. Medic carries less weight as medical supplies than signaler as communications gear but it is never light.
After Communications and Medical training trooper has been on field for plenty of time. Next specialty he learns is scouting. This does not mean just honing basic field craft like movement techniques and map reading but includes survival and tracking as well as counter-tracking techniques. A good Scout can melt into the landscape and live there independently and help other members of Patrol in these skills too. Scout trained trooper is usually first in Patrol so he can check for booby traps and tracks for enemy activity. This can be very physically demanding in close country or jungle so Scout spends other half as last member of patrol covering tracks and checking patrol is not followed. Scout requires extremely fast reflexes because in case of surprise encounter with enemy the fastest man with a gun survives. Some Scouts carry weapons with plenty of firepower to get upper hand in these split second encounters.
Soldiers get their paws into plenty of explosives. Most of them are industrially manufactured mines, demolition charges and like. They are usually simple to use. However, some situations, like detonating a bridge or bunker door, can require more finesse than just preparing as much explosives as possible. Similarly there are situations when patrol has to get through enemy minefields or booby traps or warning systems. Demolition trained troopers are thus taught to destroy material as well as defusing and disarming bombs, mines and booby traps that enemy might have put to catch unwary CEF patrols. CEF prefers to put disarming explosives to specially trained bomb specialists -both human and robotic- but there are times when ordinary patrol has to deal with the situation.
Final skill learned at this level is Languages. Knowing basics of enemy languages can be very necessary. It allows patrols to interrogate prisoners they have snatched or talk with local population and ask for help if necessary according to situation. This training is typically instructed or helped by Political Officer who has usually plenty of information on local languages and customs. Learning basic customs is important so that Patrol stays in good terms with locals and avoids unnecessary trouble and to make life of troopers easier in foreign territories. Language training is usually given to quite experienced trooper who is becoming a Patrol Leader. This allows patrol leader to speak directly to heads of local community or band working for some warlord if necessary. CEF sees this, as best way of ensuring that flare-ups can be avoided minimum as nothing is (hopefully) lost in translation between interpreters and CEF troopers. Furthermore, knowing local language allows CEF troopers to gauge what is happening easier than just passively following situation.
Small four-man patrol is perhaps enough to do silent reconnaissance observing enemy forces but infantry have to fight enemy too. Larger patrols are necessary when infantry has to make ambush where maximum firepower is absolutely necessary or lay down ambush to capture a prisoner. Patrolling for weeks to an end in enemy rear require also more personnel so everything necessary from food to explosives and sensors can be carried over long distances.
Heavy fighting in cities also require larger teams to function together to take out large building or reduce a bunker or a tunnel. Therefor next level of fighting in CEF Infantry is Section of four Patrols. Four was selected to allow more flexibility. In serious fighting one Patrol would stay put as a base of fire and lay down covering fire while other two would try to encircle enemy from flank, two flanks if terrain would allow. Fourth Patrol would be used as reserve or to reinforce base of fire so enemy squad or platoon would keep their heads down and encircling Patrols would get close to kill enemy from unexpected direction. Similar techniques could be used when dealing with houses and bunkers too.
In more quiet times a four Patrol Section would stay put and mounts patrols to find enemies. Combining two Patrols under guidance of experienced Patrol Leader would allow group large enough to mount a fighting patrol to ambush enemies in selected location or to mount more independent patrols capable of going very deep into enemy held territory. At times such a group of two Patrols is informally known as Squad. Thus section would rather informally but practically be divided into two levels of leadership. Junior Patrol Leaders were typically experienced troopers, typically Corporals, while two senior Patrol Leaders were junior NCOs with leader being designated as Section Leader and second leader typically but informally as Squad Leader.
There is, however, far more in war than just patrolling successfully and to catch up enemy guerillas and clearing up enemy positions and moving amongst local population. There is a war going on and CEF has to deal with it. Actions of Sections have to be monitored and firmly led to ensure they work for the good of the bigger plan. This higher headquarters is called Troop because it is essentially built of Patrols that are manned with troops (or military personnel). CEF uses term Soldier for a GREL (and lately for a SLEDGE) military personnel and term Trooper for a human military personnel so term is quite accurate as original military personnel fighting for NECAF were human Troopers.
CEF infantry tactics in conventional war is built on same principles as in basic patrolling. On firefight CEF unit will destroy its enemy by dividing itself into three parts. One part, usually one that meets enemy first, will stop and pin down enemy with immediately started fire. This will force enemy to stop and hopefully throws them off balance. Meanwhile second part is will maneuver into position, where it will isolate enemy from its allies. Firing any unit from unexpected direction is almost certain to throw enemy off balance. With enemy so vulnerable, the CEF units third part will exploit it by going close to pinned down and demoralized enemy unit and kill it. If everything goes right, this third part will then immediately push aggressively deeper into enemy force to exploit weakness.
CEF infantry will thus strive to grab initiative from the start and keep in on their hands until enemy is defeated. This speed is achieved with extensive use of immediate action drills. These are rehearsed action plans that everyone knows and are to be carried out without question. While drills are never optimum solutions to problems of fighting, they are usually fairly workable solutions. Idea is that leader can get entire unit act on the spot without having to stop to ponder what to do in life or death situation. To put it bluntly, while enemy is still pondering, CEF unit will already be moving and firing. Drills give inexperienced Patrol Leader a bag of tricks he can immediately use in confusing situation. Even if plan is bad, a bad plan is always better than no plan as then CEF unit will gain initiative and force enemy to stop acting and start reacting. Drills are not -however- be all and end all solution and experienced leaders use them when necessary. For experienced Patrol Leader, they are a way to run his unit quickly and effectively among other, more conventional ways.
CEF uses extensive GRELs, which are products of genetic engineering. GRELs have unique mind in sense that they have been created with innate traits directing towards certain, militarily useful, directions. For example, a Mordred class GREL has tremendous sense of will power. This is quite useful in infantry, where soldiers have to carry on close to their limits in physically and mentally. Stress of combat is so intensive that supreme willpower is needed to overcome survival instinct and fight on. While other GRELs have also extreme strength of will by human standards they pale in comparison to Mordreds. Every GREL has also a trait that one receives satisfaction from finished work. Each GREL then receives intensive training on their field of specialization. This skill specialization is tied to the particular genotypes special trait. For example Isaac class GRELs have tremendous attention to detail which is very useful ability when working on maintenance. End result is a well trained (thanks to intensive training) mechanic, with great attention to detail on work (thanks to specialized trait), who dutifully fulfills are maintenance functions and does not laze or forget things or complain of amount of work (thanks to trait of feeling fulfillment after accomplishing something). In other words a perfect mechanic. Other genotypes receive similar treatment to their own areas of responsibility.
Drills have been particularly effective when they have been used with GRELs. Training is based on concept of individual GREL feeling satisfied when he has done his work. Thus these mass produced biological fighting machines obey orders without question and their speed and enthusiasm in carrying drills is nothing short of phenomenal. This makes GREL unit embodiment of CEF concept of aggressive, immediate acting unit that goes right towards kill. CEF has thus replaced most of its human troopers with GREL Soldiers, especially with Mordred and Morgana models in most Cavalry and Infantry units.
GRELs behave somewhat differently to humans when they get surprised in stressful, unexpected situation such as combat. Human behavior is usually of three types: flight (escape from the situation), fright (hiding from the situation) or fight (destroy cause of the situation). Armies try to suppress first two forms of behavior so that their soldiers would act in battlefield (instead of being passive) and kill the enemy. GRELs very seldom act as if they were in stressful, frightening, unknown situation in the first place. If they do, they typically behave either with fright (hiding from enemy) or fight (killing the enemy) with marked tendency towards latter, which is much appreciated by CEF. If GRELs get no orders or have no previous experience in best method of dealing with problem, they usually fall back to their training (and drills) executing them without stopping. This makes GRELs actually act quicker and usually more effective than humans in surprise conditions in battlefield as they usually fire at enemy and get closer.
All and all, CEF tactics are very aggressive. CEF logic of turning tables with rapid attack has been introduced at every level and attack is generally preferred over defense. Leaders are not just expected but required to act now and leave pondering of strategy later. Thus one can be certain that whenever CEF in on something, they are almost certainly doing something about it already. This is supported with training, where trainees are expected to come out with solutions immediately even if solutions were initially wrong. This kind of action oriented training, dynamic leadership and utterly fearless GRELs are all concepts that most armies would like to have and CEF indeed has concepts they could look at. However, not everything CEF uses is outright perfect. Their aggressive fighting style may lead to higher casualties as CEF may aggressively get into thick of action when retreat have been better option. However, CEF sees these occurrences as acceptable risks that are part of modern warfare.
GRELs have been used successfully in colonies where all kinds of tall tales circulate on their battlefield actions and behavior on field. Perhaps most common is belief that due their utter lack of fear and shock troop status of Mordred genotype GRELs will just run forwards shooting with their guns until they overwhelm heroic colonial defenders with their vastly superior numbers. Furthermore, no matter how many evil moronic GRELs heroic colonial warriors wiped out, Earth factories would build them in such numbers that CEF could lose everything today and come into fighting tomorrow in full strength. In reality CEF was always outnumbered some one against ten or twenty or more in almost all of its battles. CEF spearhead attacks were also usually done with armored might of hovertanks. They would handle heavy enemy resistance and be responsible for most intensive fighting in conventional war. Infantry came there as secondary force intended to help in mopping up enemy resistance. However, there were plenty of situations when infantry actually lead attacks as well, especially when fighting moved to cover terrain or urbanized areas.
CEF typical attack technique in infantry was infiltration. CEF infantry would move in small Patrols putting their trust of both stealth suits and good field craft to slip unnoticed by enemy forward posts to their objective. Ideally objective would be finally totally surrounded by CEF infantry. Then Infantry would move silently forwards to base along one or two selected attack axis. If they were not noticed, they'd get right into enemy positions and start raiding trenches and positions going ruthlessly directly into heart of enemy fortification bypassing enemy fortifications if necessary so that their enemies had no clue what was going on until they either were killed or they surrendered. If CEF infantry were found out during final approach to base, they'd immediately start firing with every possible weapon and charge into trenches. This technique seems risky but it was based on concept that at this time not every enemy was in positions and those few guards could be kept pinned down with sheer weight of fire. It would give CEF Troopers few extra seconds they needed to get into enemy trench before enemy could get their defenses in order to be safe from soon starting defensive direct and indirect fire.
Standard fighting technique was naturally changed according to situation. If there were no surprise, CEF infantry had to resort to more traditional means. Infantry would divide into pinning element and assault element. Pinning unit was armed with heavies weapons possible to pin down enemy so enemy would keep their heads down and not assault element. Meanwhile assault element would approach enemy positions with short dashes taking all possible cover from terrain. This kind of assault technique was effective but costly in terms of men and CEF therefor avoided it if at all cost to avoid losing valuable troops. While introduction of GRELs have given CEF -at least in theory- never ending source of fighting men, reality was quite different. CEF fighting style did not require just men but also adequate supply of high technology weaponry to use those men. This kind of equipment could simply not be brought from home in similar numbers as GRELs could be produced due long and arduous logistical tail to target planet. Thus CEF preferred not to produce extra GRELs unless there were adequate equipment for them although a small reserve was kept just in case.
However, GREL battlefield prowess comes with a price. GREL upbringing stresses on providing militarily useful skills that are typically centered on their field of specialty. This makes their actions somewhat unpredictable if they get into situations where they have no training to comply. For example Isaac maintenance GRELs have difficulty in fully comprehending more abstract concepts like modern art. Teaching balanced background skills and fully-fledged set of life experiences similar to vast majority of humans have has little direct military value. Thus these skills are thus not normally taught to military GREL models. GRELs tend thus to be fairly limited when used in tasks outside military affairs. Furthermore, they tend to come across as direct to the point of bluntness persons who are task driven and not very good in soft values like behaving emphatically. Their special trait often means they are highly interested in their specialty and little else making them somewhat boring conversation unless you are deathly interested in infantry tactics or maintenance issues as whatever they talk, the discussion tends to veer (accidentally) towards their direction of interest. Furthermore, most GRELs do not speak until spoken to, at least during service. This has little problem in military where command culture is typically hierarchical and free discussion is not encouraged. However, there are problems when GRELs deal with civilians.
GRELs have tremendous potential to cause trouble due their extensive combat training and poor social skills to handle potential problems in complex modern civilian society. CEF does not see this much of a problem in peacetime training as GRELs receive (and most do not want) any leave anyway. Nor is that a problem in conventional war where almost everything living is a target and fate of civilians is something that is typically just ignored. Real problems start when fighting is over and CEF has to occupy and pacify the conquered territories.
GRELs are actually quite good in some aspects of these operations. GRELs understand and follow rules of engagement with excellent zeal. They do not lose their nerves in tight situation and play by the book so local civilians are quite safe even in serious incidents. They have large size and physical strength serves them also well during riots and other situations where lethal response is not acceptable. Lacking many human weaknesses GRELs are well behaving bunch of occupiers that make extremely low number of real heinous crimes that would upset locals.
However, pacification is not just patrolling and keeping up order and responding to incidents caused by terrorists and guerillas. It is also being friendly with local population. It means CEF patrols moving along occupied cities and stopping to talk with passersby and checking with local businesses and institutions that things are all right. During discussion CEF patrols when ask, typically indirectly and during general conversation, of things happening. Patrol leader -who is older and experienced in these kinds of patrols- usually handles these discussions. At times it is just talking few words, at times it might last considerable time. Most conversations lead to nothing but in long term some slips of useful information might be obtained. CEF can get a crack on their enemy intentions, warning of possible attacks as well as get a general idea of things upsetting people. CEF can also ideas what they can do to defuse local problems. Besides, it gives troopers a good idea of area they are patrolling in case of things getting really hairy. This is a kind of information that is absolutely vital in pacification and which cannot be gained by other means. No electronic sensor can peer into hopes, dreams and worries of ordinary people.
GRELs have real problems handling discussion type of patrolling so important in pacification. They are not just giant purple killing machines that are obviously different from ordinary humans. They are also occupying force with decidedly lethal weapons, strange robotic behavior and terse, blunt tongue. They also cannot really relate with civilian problems. GREL units have shown remarkable lack of progress in gathering information from local population in pacification campaigning. Secondly, part of being friendly is that local population can also relate with their occupiers and see them as ordinary people that are just doing their work and that by conforming to CEF rule they'll be better off in the end. In reality the local population is almost without exception absolutely scared of massive GRELs patrolling in streets. CEF has tried to rectify this problem by mixing humans and GRELs in patrols. Humans patrol in days allowing ordinary people to see better side of CEF, while GRELs take night patrols when population less dense along patrol areas. Then CEF usually attaches one or two humans, usually with language training, to handle actual discussion. This technique gets to CEF better results than sending GRELs alone the results are still markedly worse off than all human patrols. Some are pondering that new -and more human- SLEDGEs might be the answer to this problem. CEF uses mixed patrolling as workable solution until SLEDGEs come out in large numbers enough to warrant new tactics and procedures.
CEF has principle of dividing itself into three sub-groups: a pinning element, a maneuver element and a exploitation element. CEF sees no trouble using four Patrols in a Section, as fourth element works there as reinforcement of one of the three elements in a firefight. Usually this fourth sub-group is given to pinning or exploitation element. At larger scale, as in Troop level, a Troop Leader has three Sections so it can pin, maneuver and exploit effectively. Four Sections in a Troop was rejected as too cumbersome. It had to move so dispersed to avoid enemy firepower that when firefight started, the last troops could not get into action from the start and when they came, leader was already knee deep in leading a firefight to make effective (some would say any) tactics with it.
While movement is absolutely necessary to get into position where it can be destroyed, firepower is only way for actually killing the enemy. Infantry faces wide variety of enemies from hovertanks and hypersonic jets to unarmed rioters with vast majority being either human or bioengineered infantry soldiers. CEF thought its enemies would field extensive number of similar weapons it had faced in World War Three and what could and did field itself. However, primary CEF infantry concern is mobility so they can maneuver. Therefor all weapons and equipment fielded in Infantry Patrol must be man-pack or what single trooper could carry into battlefield. Practically all small arms and non-lethal weaponry and equipment used in patrolling and pacification duties ranging from basics like assault rifles and machineguns to more specialized gear like sniping to riot control gear fit into this weight limit.
However, before pacification there is usually a conventional war phase where infantry will certainly face enemy that might be as well equipped as CEF. Since effective long-range anti-tank and anti-air weaponry is quite heavy, infantry has to settle for lighter weapons more suitable to self-defense against attacking enemy tanks and aerospace crafts. Furthermore, infantry has to often do such specialized and dangerous tasks as assaulting a city or enemy fortification when surprise cannot be taken for granted and large amount of firepower and specialized assault skills are necessary to do the job.
CEF has thus decided to give each infantry Patrol some specialized training so they can support fight of a Troop in a conventional warfare. Each Patrol in a Section has all-around training for anti-tank, anti-air, infantry fire support or assault duty but some Patrols get somewhat more training in this work. Patrols with special training are typically far more skilled and aggressive in their work than Patrols without such training and they usually spearhead Section and Troop actions in their area of responsibility. They also train these Patrol level specialization skills within Section to other Patrols during training sessions. Specialization training was concentrated on Patrol level so that losing Section due loss of transport or fact of it being doing independent duty would not cripple entire Troop due loss of some vital skill.
Anti-tank training teaches Patrol to ambush and destroy both ground vehicles and hover-tanks. There is some overlap with anti-air training because defense against enemy hovertanks falls into responsibility of both fields. This Patrol is responsible of anti-tank defense of Section and it can be used as anti-tank reserve of Troop. They get extensive tours on real tanks and learn their strengths and vulnerabilities. Section distributes disposable anti-tank weapons to every trooper, other patrols ready their portable anti-tank weapons and Section puts plenty of mines around their positions to stop enemy tanks from overrunning their positions. Alternative positions are prepared as well to slip into when enemy finds out primary positions. Meanwhile anti-tank patrols act more actively setting up several anti-tank ambushing positions along axis of enemy advance. Patrols will fire enemy tanks from sides slipping after each round to next ambush position under cover of smoke before enemy infantry flushes them out. Mines are used extensively to channel enemy advance to select killing zones. In practice it is never that easy if enemy knows their business and anti-tank ambushing is most dangerous business in Section.
Anti-air training concentrates on two things, avoiding enemy fire and to disturb their attack runs by firing back. Hiding and camouflage are first priority to everyone because missing bombs are ineffective ones and aircraft cannot conquer infantry positions. Meanwhile anti-air Patrol concentrates on building decoy targets and ambushing enemy aerospace craft with marked interest towards drones that are integral part of CEFs own warfare too. Typically patrol will lay down ambush position next to a decoy. When enemy comes to snoop around, entire patrol will suddenly open fire. Anti-air fire is usually done with both small arms and dedicated missile weapons. Small arms fire is practically ineffective against well-armored helicopters and dedicated close air support aircraft, but pilot does not know from incoming tracers if they are cannon shells or just small arm rounds. CEF hopes that then enemy pilot would start to jink to avoid fire probably rising to higher level where dedicated anti-air weapons can start shooting it or abort attack run altogether or shoot wide from its target. However, main targets are enemy reconnaissance drones to hinder and hopefully prevent enemy from pinpointing CEF infantry positions for their own artillery.
Hovertanks fall into fuzzy area between anti-tank and anti-air training so defeating them is taught to both teams. Tactics include extensive use of mines (usually command detonated or proximity alarmed) and ambushes like against ordinary ground vehicles. Hovertanks are very fast but somewhat clumsy in flight and techniques are built on using hovertank speed against it. Most common technique is 'beard' where defender puts several poles of few meters high to stick on ground. Then razor wire and explosive charges are put to hang around between those poles. Because hitting a wooden or steel pole at high speed is almost similar to ramming ground most hovertank pilots instinctively rise to fly on safe height. Beard is especially effective technique when barricading is done in conjunction to heavy anti-air defense. Hovertanks will then try to avoid air defense by flowing almost to the ground and jumping momentarily higher to slip back into clearings between trees and hills for ground safety. Putting beard on clearings can cause unwary hovertank to land right on such a pole effectively puncturing bottom and destroying vehicle. Another old trick is to put line of beard into very tall grass or bamboo where hovertanks are flying at extremely low level to avoid being seen by enemy sensors. Only drawback of beard is the time necessary to put up such a number of poles to ground.
Considerably more inventive technique is 'flush out', where a large wide eyed sensor reflecting net or transparent layer is put up to rise so that lower level is facing enemy and it is rising towards defender. This kind of arrangement is practically invisible to visible light systems, especially when said observer is busy firing and looking at sensors of any enemy threats. However, when hovertank reaches the net, its proximity alarm will alert pilot of rising ground. Usually pilot will instinctively pull up hovertank to higher level (or system might be on automatic in the first place) often overshooting the pull because a sudden threat has emerged. This makes hovertank rise considerably higher altitude. Prepared defender can now shoot it with all their weapons from advantage of firing at the bottom that has weakest armor and vulnerable parts like guidance fan systems. However, careful reconnaissance exposes these traps so infantry has learned to keep them on ground and rise them as fighting starts. They are also no foolproof traps, as experienced hovertank pilots knows both best attack and defense techniques.
Heavy weapons training concentrates on providing all troopers skills to maintaining and firing support weapons effectively. Heavy firepower is seldom useful in patrolling where emphasis on stealth or in pacification where civilian casualties must be avoided if possible. Things get quite different when conventional fighting starts and battlefield will have heavily armed and armored soldiers and equipment on both sides. CEF tactics dictate unit to rapidly suppress enemy with overwhelming firepower while other elements close in for kill. This suppression is preferably done with indirect fire because then enemy cannot hide behind cover of terrain. However, this is not always an option nor best choice. Thus CEF infantry has a wide variety of heavy equipment from various grenade launchers to mortars to heavy caliber machineguns in use. Heavy weapons are especially useful in defense where they typically form backbone of infantry's defensive firepower. In offence they form fire support necessary to force enemy to keep their heads down while assault team closes in and kills them.
With advent of heavy body armor the targets have been divided roughly into two: those with body armor and those without. Heavy weaponry has been evolved to match these problems as well. Preferred wound mechanism against unarmored target is multiple explosions of small fragmentation warheads in vicinity of target. They have high hit probability and thus chance of multiple hits is very high. Fragments penetrate human body disrupting vital organs. If vital organs are not destroyed, combined effect of blood loss causes severe trauma leading very probably to disabling shock, especially if there has been multiple hits. Untreated shock will then eventually kill patient. Fragmentation warheads and variety of pre-fragmented munitions (such as small arrow -fleshette- firing systems) are weapons of choice against unarmored enemy troops. Several armies do field partial protection covering most vulnerable portions -usually head and torso- but fragmentation weapons suit against them as well as limbs are still vulnerable and multiple fragment hits on these portions will have considerable effect.
However, armored targets require different approach. Armor that can make light fragments ineffective can be worn all over body. Furthermore, there are numerous 'super soldier' studies ranging from bioengineered GRELs to wide use of pharmaceuticals to psychological conditioning where CEF trooper may face a fanatical or pseudo-fanatical opponent that more or less ignores pain from shock. CEF sees use of fast, large and heavy projectiles with good penetration ability as best choice. Concept is to penetrate body armor and destroy enemy vital organs to cause rapid collapse of human system due massive trauma. Firing plenty of them increases hit probability and lethality too so machineguns -the heavier, the better- are preferred for this duty. Heaviest models are practically small cannons and their bullets will penetrate any body armor effectively. They are very effective against unarmored humans and a single hit can severe a limb or destroy torso.
In practice things are not as simple as many grenade-firing weapons have munitions intended against armored targets and many anti-vehicle systems can be used against infantry too. All these weapons carry wide variety of munitions intended for various duties further expanding tactical options available to Section Leader. For example smoke is widely used to cover infantry movement and to prevent enemy from seeing and thus firing effectively. Similarly specialized illuminating rounds may be fired in ambush that allow CEF troopers with night vision devices see enemy while poorly equipped enemy guerillas see only very dim glow of red dot falling slowly to ground. CEF has purchased huge variety of rounds for their troops despite the high cost and heavy weapons trained patrol can be expected to have good knowledge of their use and possibilities.
Assault training is teaching infantry to deal with enemy fortifications, urban fighting and close combat. This kind of fighting requires plenty of close coordination and specialized tactics. CEF assault tactics is quite basic, they wish to avoid going in if at possible preferring to destroy target first and then mop it up later when most if not all enemies have died already. CEF prefers to uses fuel-air weaponry in assaults because these mixtures are heavier than air allowing mixture to fill trenches and cellars and tunnels where enemy is hiding. Upon detonation overpressure is further reinforced by small volume of structure which has walls echoing concussion. Second preferred method is to burn enemy alive as carbon monoxide suffocates enemies who wear regular gas masks without independent oxygen supply. Variety of non-lethal chemicals is used in pacification situations where prisoners are important. CEF troopers usually throw in few smoke grenades as well so that bright colored smoke, which is lighter than air rises from possible other openings. Troopers will then cover these holes as well to capture or kill any enemies trying to escape or counterattack.
Compact, small weapons, with attached bayonets are preferred when assault trained patrol spearheads actual mop up. Hand grenades and explosives are used extensively and troops usually throw hand grenades to suspicious places just in case. GRELs are larger than humans and find tightest confines difficult to enter so explosives and tools are used to dig holes larger as well. This kind of fighting often turns into a brutal melee where GRELs have advantage due larger size, training, strength, endurance and full embracing of the concept kill or get killed.
There has been no single weapon allocation that would offer optimized performance in all infantry missions in a Troop. CEF had two choices, either to select a compromise solution that would offer reasonable performance in all situations, or go for far more expensive solution of tailoring equipment to individual mission. First has been traditional choice for infantry due economic reasons while highly specialized elite units have often chosen latter one despite high cost. CEF chose second option due performance reasons giving each Patrol a veritable arms cache of equipment. While this has been exceedingly expensive, even by CEF standards, it has been justified that it is only way of making infantry truly independent as requesting and allocation of specialized equipment through channels takes too long time to be available to individual trooper on front. Each Patrol and Section will then select equipment and weaponry from that cache to suit its particular needs and tastes for mission.
Bottom line of infantry battle is that no unit can fight unless it has someone to give it orders to do so. In CEF it is duty of Troop Leader. Since Troop Leader can be unavailable for one reason or another -such a receiving orders from Squadron Commander or unfortunate tragedy of getting killed- there is Assistant Troop Leader too. He will usually handle day to day things of Troop such as making sure orders of Troop Leader are followed and that all soldiers carry out their daily chores with adequate enthusiasm. This is seldom a problem with over-eager GREL soldiers and then Assistant Troop Leader can then concentrate deeper into training and administrative minutia of warfare. These two leaders are usually very experienced Section Leaders promoted to new duty. Troop Leader is usually initially senior NCO such as Sergeant Major but many go through officer schooling and are promoted into junior officers such as Lieutenants.
Troop leaders may form core of Command Patrol of Troop but there is room for specialist help too. Two other members of Command Patrol are Signaler and Medic. Signaler makes sure Troop Leader is in contact with his superiors as well as subordinates. He carries necessary communications equipment and is glued to Troop Leader. His other duties are making sure all communications equipment is well maintained and correctly used in Troop. Signaler is often called 'Shadow' as he walks close to Troop Leader but some units call him 'Bodyguard', especially if Troop Leader has a habit of getting into thick of action. Medic is responsible for similar duties as any of his counterparts in Patrol. Furthermore, Medic also keeps large amount of pharmaceutical supplies for Troop use.
Last two members of Troop belong to Forward Observer Patrol. These two troopers, FO Patrol Leader and FO Trooper are responsible for planning and using heavy fire support for Troop. This support is strongest firepower Troop Leader can use and therefore a good co-operation between infantry leader and artillery forward observer is absolutely vital. CEF reinforces this vital co-operation by putting FO Patrol as organic part of each Troop so that they'll know each other personally. FO Patrols help varies a lot according to what is available. Mortars and artillery from Squadron and DemiBrigade are usual fare. All FO Patrols can call for other means of fire support, such as air strikes from Brigade and even orbital fire support, but they are seldom directly available to lowly Troop.
Intelligent use of fire support is vital to Troop fight. Artillery will rain on enemy forcing it to find cover or be destroyed. It can also deliver huge amounts of smoke or illumination or specialist tank killing munitions. Air strikes are especially effective with fuel-air explosives offering tremendous firepower. CEF way of warfare relies on combination of shock and speed, where enemy is at first knocked out with massive fire strike and then maneuver troops rapidly to kill it before it can recover. Thus CEF has invested heavily on fast and maneuverable hovertanks as well on plenty of firepower necessary to support them. CEF's enemies know it as well and will try to avoid destruction by getting as close on CEF positions as possible so that neither side can use their artillery and air strikes effectively when they are attacking. This kind of attack often turns fighting extremely ferocious close combat. In close combat CEF Troop will call in fire support ever closer to their own positions and -if necessary- on their positions if enemy is right on top of them and CEF unit cannot retreat for one reason or another. Supporting unit will typically ask confirmation for firing into own positions first and fire after that.
At extreme emergency Troop can also call "Hellfire", which is usually called only when CEF Troop fears it is under immediate threat of being overrun. Hellfire means that all CEF aerospace assets within same Corps will fly in to provide fire support. All CEF artillery, mortars and multiple rocket launchers will also fire at coordinates around Troops positions to keep enemy at bay. Some of these will also be used to fire directly on own positions to wipe out enemy force on top of positions. End result is usually annihilated enemy force. Hellfire technique is almost never used in conventional war because such a concentration of fire is seldom possible but it is at times used as emergency measure in pacification campaigns where isolated CEF outposts are often attacked.
Infantry fights on foot. Infantry soldiers also have to carry everything it needs in a firefight on their rucksacks. Therefor weight of equipment is always an issue. This problem is further aggravated by need to carry everything over space to planet to be invaded in the first place. Therefor CEF has gone through great lengths to cut down size and weight of its equipment, often accepting expensive solutions such as replacement of steel with lighter, yet more expensive materials such as opaque high-impact plastics on weapon magazines. Another trend in CEF is the quest for equipping infantry with tools and technology to help it to fight easier. This has increased weight considerably, at least if all gear available to infantry Patrol are calculated. For example, CEF gives all its soldiers comprehensive issue of specialized clothing necessary to survive in arctic, desert and jungle environments. While it is highly unlikely that any soldier would conceivably need all of that in same campaign, they are issued at the same time. Thus CEF's goal of reducing weight has been partly negated with comprehensive (and wasteful) issue of necessary (and at times totally unnecessary) equipment. On the other hand, concept of Patrol based equipment pool and large issue of equipment to individual Trooper has allowed soldiers to get themselves kit they feel most comfortable with and leave the rest of gear aboard their vehicles or in base.
Real problem of CEF infantry in campaign is getting into actual battlefield. While infantry fights on foot, it has to be transported there to get in time to join into fighting. Similarly infantry unit in a pacification campaign might be forced to patrol huge tracks of land. Hover vehicles have the speed and mobility necessary but they are noisy and have huge signature across electromagnetic spectrum. Thus they are most useful in conventional war, where fast deploying ability is essential. In pacification campaigns more conventional ground vehicles are widely used instead. Such vehicles have usually a hybrid engine setting composed of both conventional multi-fuel engine and electric engine. This setting cuts down fuel consumption considerably as well as allows CEF to use vehicles with considerably lower signature against enemy sensors. All and all CEF sees hover vehicles as solution to high intensity conventional warfare and conventional ones as vehicles of choice for patrolling and pacification, where emphasis is on reconnaissance and firefights are of small scale and infrequent at best.
CEF sees infantry as force fighting always on its own feet. Therefor they do not see it fighting with vehicles like Cavalry but using vehicles as a taxi used to transport them into fighting. CEF planners fear that too close marriage between infantry and vehicles would lead into infantry losing their dependence of stealth and basic field craft and trust only in firepower of vehicles. On the other hand infantry must have seamless co-operation with vehicles when necessary. Another factor is complexity of hover vehicles compared to ordinary ground vehicles. Hover vehicle training is very long, arduous and expensive undertaking compared to easy and quick training to drive motorcycles, cars and trucks. Therefor all infantry soldiers are trained to drive almost all infantry ground vehicles by themselves (although each Patrol usually designates one of its members as a dedicated driver).
CEF has thus chosen to concentrate hover vehicles into a Carrier Squadron kept on DemiBrigade. This single Squadron handles administration, upkeep, maintenance and training of both crews and Armored Personnel Carriers necessary to mount any and all infantry Squadrons. This simplifies training and administration of these complicated vehicles in peacetime and pacification campaigns. All four Infantry Squadrons can also concentrate into training for patrolling and fighting on foot. Carrier Squadron's vehicles will serve often as extra transports for logistics providing supplies to Squadrons. However, Carrier Squadron has at times been a makeshift tank unit for DemiBrigade, even if most of hover vehicles in it are APCs unsuitable for such an action except in emergency during pacification campaign. In conventional campaign Carrier Squadron's vehicles are usually divided among Infantry Squadrons for extended period. Usually Carrier Squadron's vehicles are earmarked to particular Squadrons and Troops and Sections so that Patrols and hover APC crews are familiar with each other for better cooperation. This familiarity is further enhanced with constant training maneuvers held together.
CEF sees ground vehicles as workhorse of infantry. On the other hand there has been no single vehicle type that could fulfill all the requirements of payload, speed, stealth and range. Thus CEF has chosen to buy a whole range of armored and unarmored ground vehicles. They are issued as a large pool held in Brigade level and then given to DemiBrigades, down to Squadrons and finally Troops on as needed basis. In practice the issue depends heavily on mission profile held by units in a Brigade. A Troop in street patrolling in Gomorrah in Caprice might be entirely equipped with motorcycles for rapid movement in tight confines of this giant city. A Squadron ordered to hunt down guerillas in Badlands might use a mixture of motorcycles for dozen or so outriders, fast attack vehicles for majority of Patrols and one or two larger transport vehicles to carry on extra supplies necessary for a long patrol. There is usually a great deal of leverage in selecting ground vehicles for a mission if Brigade is stationary. When brigade is moving rapidly due fighting there is usually very little than can be asked and most new vehicles are replacements for those lost in fighting or breakdowns. On the other hand, those responsible for ground vehicle pool are only human and changing vehicles for the fun of it is anyway definitely looked down. Troop and Section Leaders are supposed to use their judgement on what is necessary and what is not. Most junior Patrol Leaders learn this by experience of getting old junky vehicle as a small reminder if their wishes seem to get too pushy.
Vehicle types depend naturally on terrain as well. For example, small all-terrain vehicles are popular in forested areas while motorcycles are preferred in plains. Climate is important too. Snowmobiles and specialized snow vehicles with extremely wide tracks are used in arctic conditions while amphibious tracked vehicles with bulldozer-blades are preferred in rain forests. While a lot of effort has been put to cross-country mobility there has been marked lack of effort in protection of ground vehicles. This is partially planned, as CEF does not see ground vehicles being used as tanks but as transports. Infantry is supposed to dismount immediately when they get under fire and fight on foot. On the other hand, there is need to protect vehicle passengers from both small arms fire and artillery. Thus many vehicles have been armored (or can be armored if necessary) to match these threats.
CEF uses also two more heavily armored ground vehicles for more dangerous work. Tracked APC is used in especially difficult terrain but 8-wheeled APC is true workhorse of pacification campaigns. These APCs are full-bred war-horses with similar characteristics as any APCs fielded by other armies and use of them is a certain clue that CEF expects trouble ahead and is fully prepared to fight conventional war if need to be. Both can carry two Patrols with their full equipment issue (and plenty of people if they just carry combat ready soldiers) and are typical relatively cheap battlefield taxis armed for self-defense. Wheeled APC is very popular and widely used because it is far more comfortable for its passengers than tracked APC, especially after a long day of patrolling. This comfort is not object per se, but troopers carried are fresher when they jump out of vehicle compared to passengers in tracked vehicle and it can make a difference in a sudden firefight when vehicle is ambushed. Wheeled vehicles are also easier and cheaper to maintain which is very good attribute for infantry Patrol forced to be away from others and trying to upkeep their equipment. Wheeled APC has, however, worse cross-country performance than tracked vehicle and therefor it is not used at bad terrain or climate conditions if possible. CEF has been searching for tracked APC with comfortable ride but has so far found none good enough and is thus forced to field two systems.
Next level in CEF chain of command is Squadron. It is a unit that looks beyond simple firefights for fighting and ultimately winning a battle. It is the center of all infantry activity in CEF. It is largest unit, where every trooper can be expected to know (at least with passing knowledge) everyone else's work and be able to take over immediately if necessary as everyone is trained to use everything available. Furthermore, Squadron is also highest level where CEF believes shattered unit can be rebuilt and retrained with reasonable amount of three months to be fully capable combat unit. Beyond this rebuilding a larger unit up to CEF standards takes at least a year. No less important consideration is bureaucracy and paper war that every military needs to ensure it functions properly (at least on paper). Squadron is lowest level in CEF that handles its own administration and runs paper war necessary. While this means some inefficiencies in personal and unit administration, CEF believes that by moving decision making down to Squadron level, better decisions are made on personal level than with highly efficient but faceless bureaucracy away from troops in foxhole. CEF trusts that Squadron Commanders are capable enough to have good judgement on everything from running a firefight to making right decisions on promoting and punishing Troopers and Soldiers.
Each Infantry Squadron has three Infantry Troops as well as a Heavy Weapons Troop. Squadron Commander divides his force into three sub-units: Pinning, enveloping and exploiting elements that are used in a same way as Sections are used in a Troop. Heavy Weapons Troop is administrative collection of support weapons for Squadron use. This turns Squadron into a small combined arms group capable of independent action. This is very important for CEF that has to spread its units over vast distances and thus support from DemiBrigade cannot always be counted on. While such supporting group can be attached, CEF sees organic unit more effective for cooperation.
Heavy Weapons troop has three Sections: Indirect Fire Section, Direct Fire Section and Anti-Tank Section. Indirect Fire Section has ten troopers. Section Leader and Signaler form Command Patrol. They calculate firing coordinates from FO Patrols for two Mortar Patrols These patrols have four men each and each patrol usually uses either two light mortars when mobility is essential or one medium mortar if firepower is wanted. Mortars are usually divided into two or three pieces carrying on foot. Light mortars are made of bipod and barrel and medium mortars of bipod, barrel and base plate. Mortar crew are usually biggest soldiers in a Squadron Since mortars are often heaviest pieces of equipment infantry troopers have to carry (plus plenty of ammunition necessary as well). If they are Soldiers, they are almost always Mordred genotype GRELs. This section is typically left far back of Squadron in a good position under cover where it will keep on firing to support rest of the Squadron.
Direct Fire Section is composed of no less than six Machinegun Patrols of two troopers each. Each Machinegun Patrol uses typically either machinegun or grenade launcher weapon systems. Grenade launchers are preferred against unarmored targets as their high rate of fire allows Patrol to fill target area with devastating amount of grenades. Armored infantry are usually met with machineguns. Squadron Commander is supposed to use this Section together to gain maximum firepower at selected sector but quite often few Patrols are attached to support fight of individual Troop, especially if it has to act separate from rest of the Squadron.
Anti-Tank Section has six AT Patrols of two troopers each. Each Patrol is equipped with medium range missile system intended to destroy enemy vehicles and longer range than infantry Patrols usual Support Weapon system. CEF stress importance of massed anti-tank fire and therefor these weapons are almost always used as a single unit to destroy enemy armor lured first to pre-selected killing zone. This requires fighting quite close to enemy armor as AT Section is typically only unit in Squadron with equal ranged weaponry as enemy. Thus CEF tactic is to use reverse slope positions. In it only few outposts are put on enemy side of slope allowing CEF to get prior warning of approaching enemy while most of the troops are dug in on reverse side of slope. Distance of these positions from top of slope is roughly same as effective range of anti-tank weaponry of CEF Infantry Patrols. Thus enemy cannot send a small probe to trigger CEF AT traps and stay back and grind down CEF positions from safety of longer range. Furthermore AT Sections long range weapons are kept well back of rest of positions so advancing enemy has to either concentrate on AT Section (and be vulnerable to infantry) or Patrols (and be vulnerable to AT Section) while being exposed to defenders fire all the time. Such a prepared fire sack can be very deadly to attacker.
War is more than just surviving -and winning- a firefight. Skilled soldiering and fighting capability of individual Patrols, Sections and Troops is vital but it is not everything. Every military is a huge organization, where every trooper must be fed, clothed, trained, led and pointed to right direction. Maintenance, administration and logistical effort must be concentrated on some level where they are close enough to serve fighting troops, yet distant enough from fighting to function in relative peace. Usually concentration of assets to higher level increases efficiency but CEF units fight so dispersed in battlefield that this can lead into catastrophic failures if communication networks or transportation of assets fail for due enemy (like after nuclear strike) or circumstances (bad weather, traffic jams or communications failures). Therefor CEF has decided to bring logistics and administration down to Squadron level. This is done with Logistics Section.
Logistics Section handles all the nitty-gritty detail of warfare allowing Squadron commander to concentrate on fighting while Logistics Section Leader deals with often mundane but important mission of keeping Squadron supplied, fed, fuelled and maintained. He also runs Logistics Section and consults Squadron Commander of logistics needs and requirements and solves crises and problems of his own subordinates. His assistant is a Clerk that handles most of the actual administrative paperwork filling important documents such as forms for ordering more forms on daily basis. Despite his lowly position everyone in a Squadron usually tries to me on good side of Clerk since he makes the personnel rosters for various duties within Squadron. After all, no one wants to be on duty when there is a major holiday or just happen to get work shifts arranged right after each other so that one gets no sleep. Thus petty corruption in form of small favors often carries the day.
Actual logistics fall under Munitions Patrol, Maintenance Patrol, Quartermaster Patrol and Medical Patrol. Two man Munitions Patrol is responsible for supplying and storing ammunition for Squadron. In a firefight these troopers often spend their time reloading magazines and filling ammunition belts and cassettes to save time of soldiers in Troops. Another part of their work is to keep a supply of spare weapons and weapon parts for soldiers. Broken down weapons are given here and exchanged for spares on one on one basis. Second important job of Munitions Patrol is to repair all these weapons and thus both troopers are skilled gunsmiths. Some skilled gunsmiths can tune in ordinary service weapon into entirely different beast. While this kind of work is rare CEF turns a blind eye to such endeavors based on notion that the more enthusiastic men are of their weapons and shooting in general, the better off CEF is.
Maintenance Patrol is responsible for fueling and maintaining and repairing all Squadrons vehicles. This work is usually moving fuel and spare parts to Squadron and keeping up a small depot for Troops to come in and fill up. Maintenance is primarily responsibility of designated driver in a Patrol and two soldiers in Maintenance Patrol concentrate of repairs. Due large variety of ground vehicles only most common spare parts can be kept at Squadron level and simple repairs done. Serious work is immediately delegated to DemiBrigade. Another work of Maintenance Patrol is to maintain and run various electricity generators from fuel cells to solar panels. While these two troopers are skilled mechanics and electricians, they seldom have time to soup up vehicles of Squadron as day to day work of maintaining and repairing ground vehicles constantly driven in poor roads and rough cross-country conditions more than fill up their days.
Modern warfare has brought electronics to battlefield and CEF has more than its fair share of such equipment. Troops have electronics for communications, computers and sensors to name a few as well as on missile guidance systems. Electronic systems are generally more unreliable than mechanical machinery because they cannot withstand really rough treatment. Furthermore, they all need wide variety of batteries to function properly. Large number of electronics in Squadron has forced Maintenance Patrol to share some of the work with number of Signalers in Squadron. Usually Signaler deals with integrated circuits and electronics while Maintenance Patrol members handle recharging batteries and providing electricity in general.
Quartermaster Patrol has four troopers, with combined mission of keeping soldiers fed and clothed as well as providing everything necessary to survive from tents and signal mirrors to pencils and razor wire. Two professional positions in Quartermaster Patrol are Cook and Artisan with another pair of junior cook and artisan helping their seniors. Cook is responsible for food in a Squadron but most of the time there is no chance to provide troopers with really prepared food and Troops need to rely on pre-packaged food. Thus Cook orders and distributes these rations which actually taste fairly decent. While all meals can be eaten cold, heating turns them from palatable to good, especially if one has been marching all day with empty stomach. Since individual CEF Troopers are responsible of preparing own meals on field, one either learns quickly to cook food or starves until one learns to cook food. In field Cook's most important work is to ordering wide variety of rations from DemiBrigade is very important job because eating same ration menu for months to an end breaks up CEF Squadron quicker than any enemy assault. GRELs do not, however, find it so bad.
Cook does actually cook when Squadron is in Garrison or resting is reserves where local food supplies can be ordered and meals prepared in good time. Squadron has a field kitchen for this eventuality but often it is kept in DemiBrigade level. Cooks moment of triumph arrives whenever there are guests in unit as CEF military etiquette takes for granted that they are offered good food. Many cooks seem to have amazing ability to come out with delicacies when military food rations and local supplies are combined with mixture of imagination and open mind. Another important work of Cook is to ensure that Squadron has ample supply of clean water. Combat is sweaty business and dehydration drains men much faster than lack of food. He is also responsible of hygiene in Squadron together with Medics
Artisan officially works with clothing and individual equipment. CEF trains its troopers to repair their ripped up own clothing immediately afterwards. This is important because environment -like in arctic conditions- can make it easy to catch frostbite. In rain forests local flora and fauna can harm trooper through opening in clothing or blisters can eventually get infected. Since infantry fights on foot, the most important job of Artisan is to keep boots well maintained and repair any problems as soon as possible. Foot hygiene is strictly enforced in CEF and foot inspections -if necessary helped with a tip of bayonet- are part of daily routine. Most of the time Artisan spends his time, together with other members of Quartermaster Patrol as helping often logistics personnel or transporting general supplies to Squadron.
Medical Patrol has one Senior Medic and three Medics. This Patrol sets up a medical point as close to infantry's positions as possible. They will receive casualties, check their condition and decide what is the order of treating them and if necessary, send them further to rear for hospital. CEF believes that best method of ensuring casualties survive is to start treatment as early as possible. Sophistication of weaponry and increased lethality has increased mortality in battlefield. Most wounded arriving to Medical Patrol suffer trauma from multiple injuries or severe burns or severe pulmonary problems due fuel-air explosives not to mention massive casualties from surprise strikes of ABC weaponry. Therefor every Medic in Medical Patrol can perform first aid to high degree and even do emergency surgery on field under lead of Senior Medic. It is no wonder that Medics are universally most respected troopers in a Squadron as they put their lives on the line for others and any medic can always count on help if he gets into a trouble. Medical Patrols work does not end with treating of blood and horror of modern battlefield. They have their part in pacification as well. Unlike guerillas that can strike and melt away CEF is an occupying force that is left to deal with the consequences. They are also often forced to build up local health care from the scratch and have to support survivors with the best of their ability. Thus Medical Patrol has supplies and equipment to deal with everything from abortion to childbirth, from euthanasia to revival of heart. They vaccinate children, revive interrogated guerillas died during questioning, poison rodents in ruins and deal with thousand other things large and small that any emergency room in a big city can see.
Finally whole Infantry Squadron must be brought together. Squadron Commander is the leader and has a deputy (Assistant Squadron Commander) to take over if necessary. He is always Heavy Weapons Troop Leader. This way potential Squadron Commander has learned his trade in running Infantry Troop first and then gotten knack in using firepower available to Squadron Commander by running Heavy Weapons Troop. Squadron commander is usually either experienced lieutenant but typically a Captain. Number of Troops in a Squadron is four and ideally two Troop Leaders are junior officers while two others are senior NCOs waiting for their turn to get into officer training in CEF University. He has complete authority over everyone in his unit as well as personal responsibility for Squadrons fighting capability and results achieved. When CEF goes to fight, it is Squadron Commander who carries the heaviest responsibility.
Squadron Commander is helped by a Command Section composed of Command Patrol and FO Patrol. FO Patrol has two troopers like ordinary FO Patrol found in Troop but it has Senior Forward Observer as patrol leader. He is responsible for providing heavy fire support to Squadron and he usually works with Heavy Weapons Troop Leader to combine Squadron fire to maximum effect. FO Patrol use depends on Squadron Commanders fighting style. Some prefer to stay in safe position that allows them to see battlefield and command their fight and have both Heavy Weapons Troop Leader and FO Patrol Leader next to him to provide maximum amount of firepower at wanted location. Some prefer to move with a Troop that is in most important position and leave either or both supporting arms leaders to oversee battlefield while they are in thick of action. First method allows Squadron to do a very deadly hammer blow on enemy while second allows Squadron commander to use his personal weight on most important spot. Assistant Squad Leader is also responsible to running War Diary for unit. This journal is official document on how Squadron has fought and it is used afterwards in reconstruction of fighting and to evaluate what happened in a particular campaign.
Command Patrol rounds up Squadron and it has Senior Signaler and three Messengers. Senior Signaler is first and foremost a Signaler and has similar responsibilities as any Signaler in Troop. Furthermore, he is responsible for smooth operation of communications within Squadron as well as communications secrecy. He has Squadrons codes and he handles ciphering of and deciphering of special messages if necessary. Senior Signaler has special duty to destroy all secret documentation and material related to communications (Assistant Squadron Commander is responsible for it with War Diary). Finally Senior Signaler guides electronics maintenance within Squadron.
The other three members of Command Section are Messengers. They are officially used to move correspondence between Squadron Commander and Troops as well as DemiBrigade. However, CEF communications are usually robust enough to survive. While BISN is relatively easy to jam, Signalers have communications with far more power and better jamming resistance. Furthermore, especially hard to jam wire communications are laid on ground too if situation is static enough to allow Squadron have time for that. Thus Messengers are not needed in all but most dire situation, in theory at least. In reality nothing really goes as planned and correspondence is often misinterpreted. Thus experienced CEF Squadron Commanders usually send their messenger to Troop to learn what is actually going on. If Messengers have no work to do, they are supposed to linger at headquarters so Squadron Commander can use them as soon as necessary.
Messengers see themselves are eyes and ears of Squadron Commander and few of them have a habit of telling that to other troopers of Squadron. This comes from practice that many messengers have more freedom to roam around and they often observe what is going on. Messenger work requires good field craft and steady nerves to act decisively and aggressively alone in frequent case of surprise during relay. CEF has a policy that Messengers should avoid fighting during relay if at all possible. Many units allow Messengers also a secondary work -sniping- that they can do on static situations. While every Patrol has accurate rifles for sniping, one or two Messengers are often designated to support this activity by devoting more time to it than regular troopers. Results have been mixed. Messengers have good field craft necessary to move on their own but they have been less satisfactory in selecting a good firing position and hitting targets at long ranges. They do, however, increase amount of sniper fire available. CEF sees sniping is relatively simple method of slowing enemy movement and a easy way to support Patrol by dropping enemy leaders, signalers, heavy weapon crew and medics before enemy can get their action on full swing. CEF supplants these amateurs with professional snipers in DemiBrigade level that are far more proficient than Squadron level attempts.
Summa summarum: CEF believes it has come out with a winning combination with its Infantry Squadron. It has aggressive doctrine and tactics, throughout skills training and a lavish set of weaponry and equipment to do its job. However, reality of war is that when firing starts, it all boils down to individual soldiers. Courage, fighting spirit, training as well as leadership ability to whip up the best of them are of utmost importance. CEF, nor any other army for that matter, has a final answer for that. Meanwhile Infantry Squadrons will be patrolling mean streets of Gomorrah in Caprice, raiding humid rain forests of Terra Nova or exercising in poisoned and nightmarish deserts of Western Australia. While doing it, the CEF Infantry will be following same rules of warfare they have learned in their own fights, "Be friendly. Be vigilant. And watch your back."
Welcome to the Future!
|APAGear II Archives||Volume 3, Number 3||April, 2001|
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