This guide is primarily intended for use in The Hope Federation. However, much of the
information here is still relevant to other modern tech (MT) RP regions. Keep in mind some info
here may be region-specific.
So I decided to write this guide because I see an influx of nations to my region and many others who want to do roleplay but don’t really know how. This is certainly not a bad thing-without new people, NS would slowly decay-but it seems to me that this lack of knowledge is reducing the quality of military RP, so believe that I bear some responsibility to equip these new players with a resource to guide them through the basics.
Now before we begin, I want to make a few things clear. This guide is extensive, but by no means does it contain everything to know about military strategy and organization(hence the “nearly” in the title). While it will provide the essentials, I strongly encourage you to continue your research independently and further expand your knowledge. Second, know that to make mistakes is human. I am not perfect at RP, nor is anyone else I know. Never be afraid to ask for help, or to ask questions-90% of the time, the person you are playing with will be cooperative.
Finally, remember that we are all here to have fun. Take your RP seriously, but not to the point of stress.
- Use proper spelling and grammar: A post needs to readable if you want someone to
respond. It doesn't need to be perfect, just review it quickly before you post to catch any errors.
Too Long, Too Short: RP posts that are only one or two lines long are not ideal, nor are
posts that could rival Ulysses in length. Now, inevitably you will probably have to write both
of these types sooner or later, but try to keep these the exception rather than the rule.
-Break it up: A wall of text is difficult and unpleasant to read. Break up your writing into
separate paragraphs to make it flow better.
-Be specific: “My fighters take off and attack your fighters”. Yeah, what? How many are
there? What kind of aircraft? How far away are they? Are they attacking with guns or missiles? If
missiles, how are they guided? A little detail goes a long way-this is a REQUIREMENT in the
Hope Federation, and a good idea everywhere else.
-Avoid Godmodding Godmodding is an insidious issue which can creep into RP and is a
good way to cause lots of frustration. It manifests in different ways, but generally involves:
● Declaring someone else’s losses and/or giving them no chance to respond(Ex: “ I fire
1000 missiles at your ships and they all are hit and sink HA HA”. This is an extreme
example, but you get the idea.)
● Not declaring your own losses. You are not invincible, and unless there is an extreme
disparity in numbers/technological advancement(and I mean something like ten MiG-15s
against 120 F-22s), you are going to take losses. Be realistic in your assessment of
● Having equipment/soldiers which are ridiculously overpowered. Balance your strengths
and weaknesses, and remember to keep it realistic for modern tech.
● Having a ridiculous number of equipment/troops, especially in one area. You cannot
quickly move an army of 10 million all at once, and such an army would require immense
logistics operations to feed, shelter, fuel, and maintain. Likewise, cramming 2,000 aircraft
into a small combat area would flood radars and targeting systems, result in friendly fire
losses, and probably cause mid-air collisions.
-Avoid Metagaming: Metagaming is godmodding equally evil cousin. Simply put
metagaming is using out-of-game information, or in-game information that you could not
possibly know, to influence your in-game behavior. If your enemy’s generals are discussing how
they will attack next while in a bunker located in the middle of nowhere, you can’t use that
information to decide your next move. Remember, you are not omniscient.
-Write a military factbook: Again, this is REQUIRED to RP in the Hope Federation, and
highly encouraged everywhere else. Simply listing some info about your armed forces will go a
long way to clear up any confusion. It doesn’t have to be super-detailed, but at a minimum you
should state your total number of soldiers, the total funding for your military, and what
equipment you have along with the amounts for each.
First, to quote Sun Tzu(I’ll be quoting him a lot through this),
many heavy chariots, and a hundred thousand mail-clad soldiers, with provisions enough to
carry them a thousand li, the expenditure at home and at the front, including entertainment of
guests, small items such as glue and paint, and sums spent on chariots and armor, will reach
the total of a thousand ounces of silver per day. Such is the cost of raising an army of 100,000
In other words,
The resources required to fund an ongoing war effort are immense and will inflict a high cost on your nation. Supplying your soldiers and maintaining your equipment will require massive quantities of metals, plastics, rubber, glass, composite materials, fuels, lubricating oils, textiles, medicines, and food, in addition to electrical energy. Even a very wealthy nation might find it difficult to provide healthcare and education to its citizens during a large war, much less have the funds to continue building a superproject at the same time. The resource cost is compounded by the damage that may be inflicted on infrastructure. Roads, bridges, railroads, factories, farms, and mines are likely to be damaged or destroyed by airstrikes and shelling. There is also the enormous human cost; most of your able-bodied citizens are likely to be out on the front lines. Many of them will return home dead or permanently handicapped, resulting in labour shortages long after the fighting ends.
Therefore, it is best to avoid wars which will result in no significant gains for you, or to fight against a foe which does not present a serious threat to your security. As Sun Tzu says,
Second, it is essential in the modern war theatre to maintain a strong combined arms operation, and to know the strengths and weaknesses of both yourself and your enemy. What I often see is people just spamming tanks or infantry or whatever at an enemy and assuming that’s good enough. It’s not. A competent foe will take the weaknesses of the one type of troop you are putting in the field and exploit them. An armoured division and mechanized infantry, supported by attack helicopters and artillery, is a powerful front to contend with. The same goes for your air and sea operations-diversity is essential.
Third, you should never underestimate the value of logistics. As stated before, war consumes enormous number of resources. Therefore, for however many men you have fighting, you must have an equal or near-equal number of men supplying them. If you allow the enemy to disrupt your supply routes, your army will starve, or at the very minimum it will cause shortages and decrease morale. Efforts must be made into protecting these routes.
Conversely, you should make as much of an effort as reasonable to prevent the enemy from being supplied. Sink his ships, shoot down his aircraft, destroy roads and harass his trucks. If warfare bogs down into attritional fighting, this may be the only way to enable an advance.
Fourth and finally, you must know when to move and how to move. Quoting Sun Tzu again,
five to one, to attack him; if twice as numerous, to divide our army into two. If equally matched,
we can offer battle; if slightly inferior in numbers, we can avoid the enemy; if quite unequal in
every way, we can flee from him.
Therefore you must know when to attack and when to withdraw. Attacking head-on in one great line is often not the best way-look for opportunities to maneuver around the enemy. In addition, you must adapt your methods of moving your armies to the terrain you are in. All of these will be discussed in-depth in the section on land warfare.
The term “Light Infantry” can have multiple definitions, but for the sake of simplicity we’ll define it as infantry(foot soldiers) which operate without support from armoured vehicles, distinguishing them from mechanized infantry. These soldiers fight primarily by small arms and move either by foot or by unarmoured vehicles(and sometimes helicopters). Speed and mobility are prioritized over armour & firepower.
Light infantry that is unsupported or poorly managed will rapidly be cut down by the enemy. The practice of large, closely concentrated lines of infantry fighting in formation was obsolete by the 20th century. However, by no means are they useless on the modern battlefield. Infantry have much better situational awareness than other units, and are much better at taking & holding enemy ground. They are also essential for operation in certain environments(e.g. urban, mountain) and for carrying out counterinsurgency missions.
Mechanized infantry is infantry which is equipped with and is supported by Armoured Personnel Carriers(APCs) and Infantry Fighting Vehicles(IFVs). They are a compromise between light infantry and armoured divisions, offering the benefits of high mobility and infantry support with greater armour and firepower. However, they require more supplies and engineering manpower to transport a comparatively small amount of soldiers
Mechanized infantry, when used properly, can provide the protection to move soldiers through combat areas that would be lethal to light infantry, and also provide the firepower & mobility to support both tanks and light infantry. They are most useful in combined arms operations.
(a quick distinction: APCs are designed primarily for protected transports and only have armament for defense. IFVs are designed both for transport and also are capable of fighting on their own, but are heavier than APCs.)
Armoured divisions, in this context, are almost wholly defined as main battle tanks. The advantage of tanks is obvious: they have great armour and firepower, and modern tanks have good mobility over most terrain. However, they are NOT invincible. Tanks should never go into combat alone and should always be supported by infantry(light and mechanized), artillery, and air support. Additionally, they cannot efficiently cross mountainous or heavily vegetated terrain.
Armoured divisions are best at combating other tanks on the battlefield, and smashing through enemy defenses. They have an immediate intimidation factor, and can crush initial lines of resistance, making the job easier for other divisions. Again, they are best in combined arms operations.
Artillery uses heavy guns or rockets to fire munitions across long ranges. They are good at destroying defenses at long range, providing heavy suppressive fire to prevent the enemy from advancing, and providing supporting fire for other divisions. They are effectively blind without proper battlefield intelligence or aiming systems.
Gun based artillery is divided between mortars, howitzers, and field guns, which vary based on size, caliber, and firing trajectory. Rocket artillery is usually in the forms of multiple rocket launcher(MRL) systems.
Reconnaissance(scouting) troops are deployed to gather information in areas outside of friendly territory. Recon is essential when fighting on foreign terrain, and to know about how enemy forces are being organized. They rely on stealth and are armed only for defense; if directly confronted and attacked, they generally cannot survive without withdrawing.
Air assault relies on transporting and deploying troops by helicopter. These units are useful for transporting troops behind enemy lines and allowing rapid placement of soldiers to capture an objective. They are vulnerable to ground fire and generally require fire support from other aircraft.
Combat engineering covers a wide variety of responsibilities, including building fortifications, laying bridges, breaching enemy defenses, clearing landmines, and more. They often hold secondary roles as infantry.
An often overlooked role, logistics provides supplies and munitions to the front-line fighting troops. Without proper logistical support, an army will quickly grind to a halt. They must be properly defended to prevent supply lines from being cut off.
I’ve preached about the importance of a proper combined arms operation before, but I think, before we go on, that it’s only fair for me to explain what that is. Simply put, Combined arms is the doctrine of using multiple combat arms(infantry, armour, ect) so that each can support each other and balance out the weaknesses of any one type of unit.
A simple analogy is that of a toolbox. Let’s start by saying you only have a hammer in your toolbox. A hammer is useful for driving in and removing nails, but you would be in trouble if you needed to tighten screws, drill holes, or pick something up with one. Hammers are not meant for those kinds of tasks. A good toolbox would have screwdrivers, pliers, drills, and wrenches in combination with hammers so that you could handle any task you were confronted with.
Now apply this to warfare. Unsupported tanks in an urban environment, for example, could be ambushed by infantry which are more mobile and have large numbers than the tanks. If these tanks were supported by their own infantry, the infantry could provide suppressive fire to drive off ambushers, and move into buildings to drive out the enemy from his cover. This applies across all units and branches of the military: Specialized forces work together so that they can handle anything the enemy throws at them.
Fortifications are critical for a defender-ignore them at your own peril. Several well set up lines of defense will slow down an attack, buying critical time and denying the enemy the advantages of speed. They can also be used to funnel the enemy into “killing fields”, allowing you to focus your strength on one area.
Examples of fortifications:
Trenches & Ditches
Trenches are most famous for their use as fighting positions in WWI, but they are also helpful for creating barriers to trap ground vehicles and prevent them from traversing an area. A ditch or hole can also be used to hide booby traps such as landmines, Punji sticks, or similar.
Barbed & Razor wire entangles soldiers and can trap them in a position where they are easy prey for snipers and machine gun fire. A concertina razor wire barrier can be set up by a single platoon at a rate of 1 km per hour.
Barriers such Czech Hedgehogs(above), Dragon’s Teeth, and Bremer Walls can stop or delay vehicles, leaving tanks & others vulnerable to air & ground fire. They generally can be traversed easily by infantry, and thus should be combined with razor wire barrier or similar for maximum effectiveness
Minefields can be excellent deterrents to the enemy if properly set up, significantly delaying an advance. Modern landmines have minimum metal, blast-resistant designs and anti-handling devices that can make them exceptionally difficult to remove in large quantities. Combining both anti-personnel & anti-tank mines will make it even more difficult to cross.
Defensive Fighting Positions
A defensive fighting position is usually either a foxhole or a small position fortified by sandbags or similar. They protect soldiers from shrapnel and small arms fire, and are good for establishing machine gun or mortar posts.
Terrain will dictate much of what can and cannot be done on the battlefield. Understanding the environment you are operating on can be the difference between success and failure. There are seven separate types of environment that we will discuss here: PLAINS, MOUNTAINS, JUNGLES, DESERTS, TUNDRA/ARCTIC, and URBAN AREAS.
Plains are generally the easiest environments to fight in. The terrain is flat or gently hilly, allowing fast movement and a wide line of sight. However, remember that your enemy will have the same advantages. There are no special considerations for fighting in the plains, apart from the weather.
Mountains have uneven, rocky terrain that makes travel by most land vehicles impossible outside of established roads, making resupply difficult. In addition, there is the constant danger of extreme cold, strong winds, rock falls, avalanches, crevasses, and low oxygen at higher altitudes. The rocky environment can provide cover for forces. Combat may occur at long ranges between different heights.
Mobility is essential in these areas. Artillery and helicopter support is necessary for infantry operations to succeed. If the goal is to cross the mountain to access enemy territory beyond, it may be worthwhile to establish a few well-defended crossing routes rather than take the whole range.
Densely vegetated terrain and a lack of roads makes crossing jungle terrain by vehicle difficult, but it also provides ample cover opportunities. Environmental hazards include high rain & water levels, heat and humidity, hostile animals, and tropical diseases. Line of sight will be limited.
Moving troops by helicopters will be important-think Vietnam. Air support is essential. Light and mechanized infantry is best suited to this type of terrain. Lots of small, mobile units are preferable over a few large ones. Recon is also essential due to the limited view. A defender should take advantage of the terrain to create ambush opportunities and sniper posts. Camouflage should be used
Deserts feature flat or rolling terrain with little natural cover. The sandy environments can pose challenges to mobility and will rapidly increase wear & tear on vehicles by clogging air filters, contaminating fuel, ect. Temperature extremes(as much as 130 F in the day and 25 F at night), water scarcity, the potential for sandstorms, and unstable dunes are all challenges to operating in deserts. In less developed areas there will be few roads.
The flat terrain means tanks, mechanized infantry, and air support excel in deserts. Artillery is also useful. Mobility should be prioritized. Vehicles must be adapted for operation in this environment. The lack of cover means that air defense is necessary to protect troops against enemy air attack. Landmines are highly lethal here and should be utilized. Sandstorms can delay land and air operations, but may also provide a crucial opportunity to slow the enemy and escape.
The primary factor in these environment is snow-well over 60 cm per year in places. Temperatures can drop below -40 F, creating extreme hazards to troops and literally freezing the fluids in vehicles. Visibility is impaired, and troops will find it mentally harder to perform in these conditions. Trench foot, hypothermia, and frostbite are real hazards. If combined with mountainous conditions, they are especially dangerous.
Properly trained and equipped soldiers are necessary to operate in arctic terrain. Defensive positions are more advantageous in these conditions. Vehicles must be adapted for operation in this environment. In-line movement rather than column movement is advised for speed and mobility. The snow and cold will make landmines unreliable. Camouflage and decoy targets are advisable.
One world about cities: fighting in them is HELL.
Don’t take my word for it? Look at Grozny, Hue, Sarajevo, Stalingrad. All are examples of how brutal assaults & sieges on cities can be. They provide ample cover and concealment to the defender, allowing them to shred up even opponents with significant size and technological advantages. In these environments, there is often little option but to follow the roads, creating ready-made killing fields for defenders. This applies no matter how much you bomb, shell, or gas a city, or how long you blockade it. Having to directly take a city should be avoided if at all possible.
If a city MUST be assaulted, it should preferably be encircled prior to moving in. ALL vehicles must be accompanied by supporting infantry. Infantry & combat engineers should prioritize breaching and clearing out buildings that could act as strongholds. Using suppressive fire and countersnipers is advisable.
NOTICE: This is just a small portion of the tactics used in warfare. I strongly recommend that you continue to study new ones on your own.
Fire and Maneuver-
Fire and maneuver is an infantry tactic which can be highly useful for advancing on enemy positions with a relatively small number of soldiers. The fire and maneuver tactic relies on two divisions of soldiers: the Moving Element and the Supporting Element.
First, the supporting element will suppress the enemy using heavy and continuous fire delivered from behind cover. The moving element will then advance, also behind cover, to establish a new base of fire. This base of fire is used to protect another moving element which moves ahead to establish a new base of fire, closer to the enemy. This is repeated until the units can converge on the enemy position and assault it.
Overwatch is a tactic that uses a small force to defend an advancing larger force. The overwatching force is placed ahead of the advance,suppressing the enemy and providing cover for the larger force while it is moving.
Flanking & Envelopment-
Flanking maneuvers are designed to attack an enemy’s flank(the sides of their forces). There are two basic types of flanking maneuvers: single envelopment or double envelopment. Single envelopment consists of envelopment forces attacking one flank, while double envelopment is the same but over two flanks.
These tactics are particularly useful for defense in urban & jungle environments, where there is plenty of cover and an attacking force has little room to maneuver. Ambush teams must be highly mobile, well camouflaged, and with the ability to make lightning-quick precision attacks on a target. Multiple small teams should work on taking down a single target, and suppressing any backup the enemy tries to provide.
When it comes to naval warfare, people often seem to seriously misunderstand the limitations of range. You CAN NOT launch aircraft, have them come up to the enemy fleet, and fire missiles at them in a single post. This is very common thing to see, and it is not only completely unrealistic, but is also GODMODDING for reasons I will outline below.
Assuming an enemy with modern radar, SAMs, AEW&C, and a combat air patrol, these aircraft would be detected and could be attacked at a range of about 400 km. Therefore, having aircraft take off and then attack in the same post would be godmodding as you have denied your opponent a chance to respond, which realistically, he would be able to do. Skipping 300+ km of RP is not fair.
One last thing: Aircraft dive-bombing a ship or attacking it with torpedos is obsolete and practically suicidal against even a slightly competent foe. Just...don’t.
Radar based on the ships themselves. A modern ship-based radar system can detect targets at ranges of up to 400 km+, and most have multiple radars to handle searching for targets, guiding missiles, targeting guns, ect. May be susceptible to deception by targets traveling at low altitudes.
Short for Airborne Early Warning & Control, an AEW&C system uses aircraft-based radar units to detect enemy ships and aircraft at long range and provide warning to the fleet. Some AEW&C aircraft, like the E-2 Hawkeye, are specifically designed to be launched from carriers. These systems can operate in active (broadcasting signals and scanning for targets) or passive (listening for signals without transmitting) modes.
Sonar looks for reflected sound signals traveling through the water, as sound can travel much more effectively in water than in air. These are most effective for submarines to find targets, or for surface ships to find submarines. Used to guide torpedos. Can be deployed on submarines, towed sonar arrays, or by air-dropped sonobuoys. Like radar, sonar can be operated in active or passive modes.
If you have the resources, satellites can be a great help. Synthetic Aperture Radars, when deployed on satellites, can be used to find targets below. GPS sats can also be used to guide both fleets and weapons. However, satellites may not always provide a clear enough picture for accurate recon because of the great distance between their orbit and the fleet.
In modern naval warfare, anti-ship missiles are the primary method of combat. Launched from surface ships, aircraft, land batteries, or even some submarines, anti-ship missiles allow precision strikes to be carried out against enemy fleets at long ranges. However, they are not infallible; defenses exist against them, and in order to use them properly you must first understand how they work and what their limitations are.
Missiles generally use inertial guidance during most of their flight, which keeps them on a steady flight path to the general location of their target. When they get close, the missiles engage active radar homing to locate and track the target, maneuvering in for a hit. Many anti-ship missiles are also Sea-skimming, meaning that they fly only a few meters above the surface of the water; this makes it harder for them to be detected and reduces the time available to deploy defenses.
When using anti-ship missiles, ALWAYS make sure to check the range first. If you launch a Harpoon missile at a ship that is 500km away, it will run out of fuel and splash into the water before it’s even halfway to the target. Also check the speed & guidance system used, as these can affect the types of situations and targets they can be used against.
Once the pinnacle of naval warfare, ship artillery guns have mostly fallen out of use in favor in favor of anti-ship missiles, as missiles have much better range, accuracy, and speed than shells. For these reasons, this guide does not recommend the use of naval guns as a primary weapon in modern naval combat.
That being said, naval artillery is far from useless. Guns excel at performing short-range coastal bombardment, and can perform this role much more cheaply than missiles. Modern fast-firing guns may also be capable in shooting down aircraft or even missiles at close range, though they are not as effective as SAMs. When using guns, it is advised to ALWAYS check the effective range, calibre, rate of fire, and muzzle velocity first to understand when they will be effective.
Torpedoes are self-propelled, self-guided munitions designed to travel through the water and home in on targets using sonar. Torpedoes are, of course, the primary weapon of attack submarines, for use against both surface targets and other subs. They can also be deployed by ships and aircraft for anti-submarine warfare duties.
The limited range of torpedoes means that the range should always be checked before use. Also, make sure to specify whether they are guided using active or passive sonar homing.
Modern naval defenses are layered, so that if a threat makes it through set of defenses, another layer is ready to act. Here’s basic rundown of the components:
1-Long range SAMs: Large surface-to-air missiles, designed to shoot down aircraft at ranges of 100-500 km. Generally quite accurate.
2-Short range SAMs: Smaller, compact SAMs. These can be launched very quickly by a modern AEGIS system(or similar) to intercept incoming anti-ship missiles. Range 2.5-50 km.
3-CIWS: Short for Close-In Weapon System, these are 20-30mm autocannons designed to provide rapid fire to destroy incoming missiles at very close ranges. Last-ditch defense, can only take down a few threats at a time.
4-Passive(soft-kill) defenses: Chaff, electronic countermeasures, decoys, and similar. Designed to confuse or lure away enemy missiles rather than destroy them. Less effective against non-radar guided missiles.
(A special thank you to the former nation Questers, whose own guide was a vital resource in writing this one)
Aerial Warfare & Air Defense