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Old April 19th, 2016, 08:58 AM

IronDuke99 IronDuke99 is offline
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Default The Western Way of War today.

One thing scenario designers need to look at in modern warfare is what is, and what is not, acceptable to Western democracies in modern warfare.

Contrary to popular belief the casualties in British, American and Canadian infantry units in Europe from D-Day until the German surrender were just as high as they were in WWI (although a slightly lower percentage died as a result of medical advances).

What I mean by this is that the average front line infantry soldier had just as much chance of becoming a casualty in WWII as in WWI, for every day his unit was actually in combat.

The only reasons that overall casualties in the US, British and Canadian, etc forces were lower in WWII was that A)the infantry, who take by far the most casualties,were a lower proportion of Western Armies in WWII and B) whereas in WWI British and Commonwealth forces -and much later the USA- fought the main part of the German Army. In WWII this was almost never the case, as the major part of the German Army mostly fought on the Eastern Front.

The number of Allied infantry soldiers who landed within a week of D-Day, saw lots of action, and fought on until the German surrender unwounded, at least in body, was really not all that high. For the infantry soldier WWII was every bit as bloody as WWI, despite popular myth. Losses in land forces are mainly taken by the Infantry -including Marines- followed a fairly long way behind, by armoured troops and then lower still Artillery and Engineers. Everyone else ( a huge part of a modern army) is relatively safe.

After WWII Western soldiers often had advantages in training, weapons, Comms, air power and other technology. All of this tended to keep casualties down, especially relative to the enemy.

So 1,109 British soldiers were killed in the Korean War 1950-53. 519 were killed in the Malayan Campaign 1949-60. 763 were killed in Northern Ireland 1969-98, 256 were killed in under three months in the Falklands war of 1982. 47 were killed in the first Gulf War.

These days (2016) we are in a situation where the sort of casualties sustained in a average single day in the Normandy campaign in 1944, even though suffered over more than ten years are considered to be very high and perhaps too high by many civilians, ie, UK lost 179 dead in Iraq and 453 dead in Afghanistan.

So if you are designing a scenario where Western forces take on say the IS terrorists -may all the Gods rot them- it is not at all acceptable to lose near half your men in winning.

Having said all that in my day in the British Infantry we all expected to die in a Soviet/Warsaw Pact assault on Western Europe (at least as much as 18-23 year olds ever expect to die) but we were also very confident of killing at least four Soviets first, perhaps making the candle not worth the game to the Russians.

And Western troops in Southern Africa almost always went into battle confident the enemy would start to run away -and thus die- not all that long after coming under effective fire, and they just about always did.

Last edited by IronDuke99; April 19th, 2016 at 09:28 AM..
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