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Subject: Ultimate ground-pounder.
Darth Vader    5/24/2004 1:11:41 AM
In your opinion, what would the ultimate ground-based soldier wear, carry, be capable of of? Given the nature of how war seems to be shifting to smaller and more contained battles, how would infantry adapt? Give me any ideas you've got.
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wkwillis    RE:Ultimate ground-pounder.   5/24/2004 7:56:25 AM
Intelligent and adaptive material advances may make giant plastic gorillas possible, but with modern antitank technologies, suicide to use. Piezoelectric plastic dimplers can make tentacles practical to build, but that doesn't mean they will be practical to use. I don't see Mobile Infantry a la Heinlein any time soon, or at all. Might have civilian uses, though, so you could see some surprise conversions in special circumstances.
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blacksmith    RE:Ultimate ground-pounder.   5/28/2004 3:29:20 AM
Sometimes I wonder about the possibility of a light handheld shield similar to the kind that riot police use but bulletproof (heavier). The current body armor still leaves a lot exposed. The shield might prove to be helpful in the nasty upclose urban environment or in situations where there just isn't any good cover. Like blowing through a door and getting a face full of buckshot. And then there is plain old fashioned crowd control issues. With one hand tied up, the soldier would have to be able to function (shoot) with the other hand, although the shield would provide a bench rest in some cases. One of the things I observed in some of the recent movies (Yeh, yeh, yeh. Don't use hollywood as a source) was the speed at which a shield can be flipped up on the back to free both hands. It would take some trials to see if it would work and if so what size would be most effective. But it would provide another layer of protection where in some cases there isn't any now.
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eon    RE:Ultimate ground-pounder.   6/1/2004 9:40:55 AM
One thing I'm reasonably sure of, he won't look much like the Pentagon's "Land Warrior 200" project; you know, the fellow in the black skinsuit with the motorcycle helmet and nasty-looking handgun that kept showing up in Popular Science and on Tech TV. I'd anticipatye something closer to the old SciCon Systems "Future Soldier" suit of 1985, with the over-under rifle/auto-grenade launcher, over-the-shoulder short-range missile system (only two shots, but effective vs. light armored vehicles or low-level aircraft like helicopters), and overall armor protection and NBC sealing. The movie "Starship Troopers" almost had it right, but their suits were far too NBC vulnerable to be convincing (when they were fighting a species that used bioagents as a matter of course). The various types of combat armor described by David Drake, David Weber, and John Ringo in their stories are probably closer to what the future soldier will really wear, cary, and use (well, except for Drake's "powerguns"- but I'm not going to bet against them, either)..
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Strangelove    RE:Ultimate ground-pounder.   6/5/2004 4:52:57 AM
Armor has really advanced, already lowering casualty / kill ratios overseas from an expected 2:1 to 3:1. Most kills (citing pos sci) have resulted from injuries to unprotected areas, esp legs (that femoral artery is important, I guess). In the near future we can expect to see armor added to the legs and upper arms, and new weapons like the M-29 or with a modular 5.56 / 20mm cannon, tied into a laser rangefinder. The Army is allegedly planning to replace the aging Mk19 grenade launcher and .50 cal with the Crew Served Objective Weapon, a high tech cannon serviced by a 2 man team. The distant future will likely see something like the "Skin Suits" portrayed in Peter F. Hamilton's Fallen Dragon, which are essentially biological exomusculature armor and are sybiotic with the wearer's own physiology. I am concerned that diminishing casualties among infantry might make us much more likely to resort to military force every time we disagree with a foreign power, but, hell, we've commited troops many times before with many times less the protection afforded by modern armor.
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wkwillis    RE:Ultimate ground-pounder.   6/7/2004 7:43:37 AM
There is considerable theoretical room for improvement in piezoelectric materials, so I would say that a MI suit was possible. They aren't invulnerable, just fast and able to shrug off light weapons, defined as weapons you can aim and shoot from the hip. An RPG could kill a suit and/or the person inside.
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blacksmith    RE:Ultimate ground-pounder.   6/7/2004 8:02:07 PM
Sorry guys and gals. The ultimate ground pounder will not be human.
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wkwillis    RE:Ultimate ground-pounder.   6/14/2004 3:58:24 AM
Thinking about the progress we are making in biotech, maybe we'll get some enhanced wolf or gorilla as a groundpounder. They can carry much heavier loads and if we modify them to sweat they could have as much indurance as we do. Think of the ability to use a 105 mm recoiless rifle as a sidearm, or to throw grenades 1000 yards accurately.
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Sentinel    The ultimate ground pounder would most definitely be human   11/1/2004 3:58:53 PM
A gorrila might be excellent in hand to hand combat. But gorillas are stupid. And they don't have very dextrous hands. They can't type or manipulate complex machines with many small parts. Furthermore, they would not be useful in anything other than a movement to contact. They are certianly not going to be able to win many hearts or minds. The would consume a great deal of food. The couldn't fit in sewer tunnels, would be too big to search vehicles. Wouldn't be able to get into enemy bunkers with small openings, or even windows and small doors. They are big targets and pretty noisy as a result of their size. Wouldn't have an inherent understanding of human psychology neccessary to resolve interpersonal problems that naturally surface in low intensity conflict. Now if you wanted something you could parachute in to destroy everything. You could probably train and equip an intelligent gorrilla to do that. But if you wanted to destroy everthing, why not just send a flight of B-52s?
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