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What Happens during War?

army dystopian ya

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#1 Centurion


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Posted 27 January 2014 - 10:11 AM

Hi there!

This might sound like a stupid question and maybe something everyone should know but i have not a clue.

I am stuck on a scene in my current WIP (Dystopian/sci-fi) where soldiers (France, Britain and America are allies) are at war with another nation. I know how in the olden days, people would just go to the battlefield and fight to the death or what-not but i was wondering, is that still how it is in present day? 


Would they just barge into the country unannounced? How would they get there? Who would be involved? Would the everyday citizens be affected as well? Will buildings, schools e.t.c be shut down? Where would the fighting take place? Are there any non-fighting things that happen(e.g paperwork, lol)? What would be the outcome? 

There are about a million questions that i have on my mind. I would appreciate any help at all i can get on this. 


Also, and i suppose this is an opinion-based question, is it necessary for me to state which countries are at war or is there a way to generalize this?

This is quite a specific topic and i would appreciate any feedback i can get. If anyone has any experience (no matter how remote) with the military (specifically the army) i would appreciate any tips or advice.


Thanks in advance =D

#2 Guest_AWExley_*

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Posted 27 January 2014 - 01:50 PM

Firstly I would suggest going to your library and checking out a heap of military history books. It would be impossible to give you a short answer to cover every aspect.

How the war progresses or affects people is dependant on so many things. The relative strengths of the nations involved, the underpinning reasons for war, the socio-economic of those targeted and the type of warfare. The nature & scope of the weapons used will impact how citizens are affected.

A line charge of sabres on horseback is a completely different type of war to pushing a button and setting off nuclear warheads. What are the allegiances in your story? Why is the war declared? What weapons will be used? What sort of armies are involved? What is the end goal? Is their an active resistance movement?

I think you need to nail down the specifics particular to your situation first, so your have something to research.

#3 Centurion


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Posted 27 January 2014 - 08:30 PM

Thank you so much, AWExley, for taking the time to reply. :D Your answer was quite helpful. There are a lot of factors that i hadn't really thought of. I will certainly be checking out some books on the topic because Google is very useless in this respect.

Once again, thank you for your answer!

#4 fabb1963


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Posted 28 January 2014 - 03:52 AM

War today is not like the war of yesteryear.  First, after many rounds of negoatiations at the UN level, only a final resolution will start the clock on war.  No longer is a sudden drift into a foreign country feasible.


Next, air strikes and cruise missles are the first round of offense.  This assures complete air supremecy and reduces force casualties.  Once it is determine that the enemy cannot fly and the skys are controlled the troops move in to a territory that has been severly reduced.


Only a tremendously horrible act would call for the immediate troop invasion because nothing else could be deterent. 


Hope this helps.

Frederick A. Babb


#5 Centurion


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Posted 28 January 2014 - 09:21 AM

Thanks so much for your response, fabb1063, it was extremely helpful. I definitely have a lot of research to do on the topic but the information you've provided me with has certainly given me an idea of what i need to be researching.

Thanks, once again! :D

#6 Jeanne


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Posted 28 January 2014 - 10:21 AM

Yes, unless it's a civil war with a rebellion taking place within the boundaries of a country, the modern trend is no boots on ground until the area is secured by air.



#7 Tom Preece

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 02:28 PM

War is ever evolving. There are launching grenades now that are designed to explode when a target is detected within range, effectively allowing a soldier to shoot around corners. I would suggest the most
definitive change in the present ground war is the increased used of robots, drones are only one of those.

Surprise attacks are entirely still possible without the U.N. Guerilla forces do this all of the time and,
necessarily asymmetrically, that is to say they don't have resources so they spend what few they have on destroying larger resource targets or destroying politically prominent sites.

I wouldn't take any one of our statements as definitive, and I fought in a war.

#8 Terradi


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Posted 28 January 2014 - 05:01 PM

Just as a thought -- if you can choose the sort of a war you're looking to mimic and give some details, you could focus your research on one particular war and get a lot of really specific answers as to how that war was fought.  That's probably the best way to get a lot of detail and a lot of inspiration for your specific situation.  

#9 Centurion


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Posted 30 January 2014 - 09:36 AM

A million thanks to everyone for your wonderful responses! It's definitely made this a lot easier on me. I have picked a type of war to focus on and that's definitely improved the results i've found. I can't express enough how grateful i am to everyone! Thank you!

#10 J.A. Hunter

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Posted 26 September 2014 - 08:29 AM

War is a really complex business, as many of the people here have already mentioned. A couple of considerations:

Is it an army fighting another army (think World War I and II, also Korea) or is it an invasion force against a smaller group of guerrilla fighters, think Vietnam (to a lesser extent—there was an army) or Operation Iraqi Freedom after the fall of the Baath party. This will largely determine the type of conflict. Small guerrilla fighters likely won’t wear uniforms and will use unconventional frightening methods: ambushes, remotely detonated bombs, sniper and RPG attacks.

Terrain is also a huge factor: is there snow (research Korean war, World War II—Nazi invasion of Russia)? Is it a desert (Desert Storm or OIF)? Is it a rural area or a jungle (Vietnam, Iwo Jima, or the Island Hoping campaigns of WWII)? Is it a large city? There are strategies for all of these different scenarios.

As for other things: yes, lots of stuff other than combat takes place. There are admin clerks who do paperwork; there is military intelligence; logistics operations (beans, bullets, bad aids); medics; communications. To find out the different needs of a military, look up: Army S-1, S-2, S-3, S-4, S-5, S-6 (these will give you a rough idea of what a military needs to run).  

It’s complicated, but I hope this helps.

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