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February 20, 2019
Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

The Regiment by John Dalmas

The Sharp End (The Hammer's Slammers) by David Drake

Bolo Brigade by Keith Laumer (Creator), William H., Jr. Keith

Discussion Boards on Military Science Fiction

Military Science Fiction and the Army Transformation
Michael K. Robel

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Part III
The Regiment and Common Traits

The Regiment


John Dalmas’ The Regiment (Figure 4) is another light infantry mercenary organization. Humans have reached the stars, forgotten how they did it, and regained the technology. Human space is separated into two isolated empires and an undiscovered non-human race. Some planets have so few resources, the only resource they have are people, so they form mercenary regiments. The series concludes with an interstellar war between the two groups of humans and the “alien” race.

Technological Innovations

The Regiment has no technological innovations as such – its weaponry and equipment is very conventional. Instead it has a certain mystical quality enabling soldiers to have a heightened situational awareness of their surrounding and fellow soldiers as well as to “enjoy” combat. These abilities enable them to rapidly communicate with a minimum of formal orders - a biological Internet if you will. (In case one doubts the military is pursuing this avenue, read Jim Schnabel’s, Remote Viewers: The Secret History of American Spies, Dell Books, 1997, or W. Adam Mandelbaum’s, The Psychic Battlefield, A History of the Military-Occult Complex, St Martins Press, 2000.) Wars are divided into three levels, with Level III not permitting any advanced technology such as night vision goggles and Level I being a no holds barred free for all. Interplanetary agencies enforce the laws of war.

Unit Organization and Employment

The Regiment is a light infantry regiment with no heavy weapons and little or no transport. The client provides most logistical support and any special weapons needs. It is more like a Special Forces unit than a regular infantry unit and can train indigenous soldiers, operate in small units, or conduct regimental sized attacks. It does not operate with large formations and would never fight Hammer’s Slammers although it would be pitted against Falkenberg’s Legion.

Personnel System

Regiments are formed when the personnel are very young – on the order of 12 years old. Only youngster with an affinity for soldiering are chosen and they then undergo a seven(!) year training program. As the regiment matures, some trainees with leadership abilities emerge as leaders and commanders. Only males are soldiers.

Perhaps the most notable aspect of this unit is that it does not replace its casualties. Starting with 5,000 men, it consolidates into smaller and smaller units as it suffers casualties until it is no longer effective. As it suffers losses, it may be combined with other units to provide a regimental size force. The mystical nature of the unit enables it to absorb these losses without loss of morale or effectiveness. Survivors of destroyed regiments are used to train new regiments or move on to other pursuits - their days as warriors at an end. The regiments fighting efficiency and “feel for battle” frequently enables it to operate inside the decision cycle of its enemy and maneuver him into an exposed position.

Figure 3 The Regiment

Part III Common Features

As works of fiction, it must be remembered that the author can make the unit fight as well (or poorly) as he wishes and fight its way out of any situation. (Interestingly, Dalmas destroys one of the Regiment’s portrayed in his story.) However, each author, as a result of his reflection and study, has equipped his unit with a number of common features that have relevance in the real world.

  • All emphasize people, competence, and ideas over equipment
    • Most have a technological breakthrough, but it is of less importance than the individual and group competence of the personnel and the unit.
    • Most units are information linked to provide updates to data for commanders and sister units
    • Commanders are confident enough in the training and competence of their subordinates that they do not interfere in subordinate operations.
  • Most are Regimental Sized units
    • Can’t lose their units or they have nothing to sell.
    • Few or limited supporting arms
    • Rely on other organizations for air and long-term support
  • Long Service
    • Individual replacements, and
    • Long basic training periods, results in
    • Cohesive, well trained, units with the
    • Use of wounded/retired, contractors, dependents as instructors, recruiters, base security, etc. to reduce the overhead support of the unit.

Many of these features may be found within our Army.

Our Army relies on the Air Force and Navy for much of its transportation and support, although it does have a high degree of self-sustaining capability and indeed, provides support in mature theatres to the other services.

The mercenary units have an explicit force protection mission. They have to be casualty conscience because if they are destroyed they have nothing left to sell. However, if concern for casualties overrides their basic mission, they will not get other contracts. In this respect, I believe the Army has become too casualty conscience and consistently underestimates the willingness of the American people to support casualties in those conflicts representing interests central to America.

All these organizations, save one, rely on individual replacements, just as the Army does.

These units all illustrate the benefit of being able to share information and instantly communicate decisions in order to rapidly mass the effects of a unit’s fires. While the US Army has had the ability to do this with artillery since World War II, the advanced communication systems the army is fielding has the potential to make this “fiction” fact in all arms.

In the final installment, we shall examine some lessons learned from these stories and make some recommendations for the US Army.

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Discussion Boards on Military Science Fiction

The Latest Comment On This Topic:
From: Yimmy 7/28/2014 7:48:00 PM
In 2004 mike_golf said the American Army in WWII became the largest volunteer army the world has ever seen.

This was in fact the British Indian Army of WWII.

Aimless comment of the night.....
Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein

Falkenberg's Legion by Jerry Pournelle

A Hymn Before Battle by John Ringo

Officer-Cadet (Dirigent Mercenary Corps) by Rick Shelley

On Basilisk Station by David Webe


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