Server Bug Fix: Did Boris Pavlovich Belousov die in 1970 or 1976?

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I’m working on a paper about the Belousov-Zhabotinsky-reaction (a chemical oscillator).

I included some information about the history of oscillation reaction, in particular about Boris Pavlovich Belousov and Anatol Markovich Zhabotinskii.

Boris Belousov was the first to discover the Belousov-Zhabotinsky-reaction (BZ-reaction), whilst Zhabotinsky later continued Belousovs research.

My problem now is the year that Boris Belousov died. I have a few contradicting sources. The year is 1970 or 1976.

Some sources that say 1970: Wikipedia, Nature, Handbook on the Physics and Chemistry of Rare Earths.

Source that says 1976: Journal of Biosciences.
This source does not have references on where the year 1976 came from.

Do you agree that I should use 1970, because that is what most sources say? Or is it more plausible that it is 1976, because that source has a DOI? But on the other hand, the second source did not include references on the year of death..

The 1976 date appears to be a transcription error. Not only is the 1970 date more frequent in English literature, the two Russian language sources below (that appear to be independent) agree on a death date of June 12, 1970.

Numerous other Russian language sources also give 1970 as the year of death, but I saw no reason to believe these were independent of the two above. I found no Russian language sources (of about 12) that listed 1976 as the year of death.

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Server Bug Fix: What is the “appropriate” civilian response to police abusing their power? [closed]

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Police are tear-gassing civilians during a pandemic that exasperates respiratory conditions while there is a shortage of ventilators and hospital beds.

How/why is this allowed?

What is the “appropriate” civilian response to police abusing their power?

In an idealized representative democracy, the appropriate civilian response to police misconduct is voting. In all cases, the people who set agendas for community policing — mayors, county sheriffs, police chiefs, etc — are either elected directly or are appointed by elected officials. Getting a sympathetic elected official into office, thus, would automatically change the agendas of the police. It might take some time for new agendas to sink down through the ranks, because police (like any other organized group) have their own internal culture, practices, and interests. A police veteran on the streets might resent being told to change practices and habits that have kept him alive over years of service, particularly if it comes from some ‘politician’. But power ultimately rests in elected offices, and with persistence change would come.

Of course, the US implementation of representative democracy is far from ideal. Voters are often under-informed and confused; elected officials often respond more to powerful special interests than community concerns; police culture is often solidified through powerful unions, codes of silence, rejections of oversight and transparency, and other ‘blue line’, us vs. them attitudes. Where voting proves ineffective in changing police behavior, public exposure becomes the next best option. Peaceful protests, journalistic investigation, and social media coverage are all effective ways to bring public attention to improper actions, and sufficient attention of this sort can often induce corrective action or collective shame: the first to re-moralize both elected officials and active police officers; the second to demoralize officials and officers who refuse to respond. The people involved may not be responding for the right reasons — i.e., they may be trying to scratch a public itch rather than pursue a properly moral course — but in the end results are what matter.

If neither voting nor peaceable exposure has any effect, well… As Clausewitz said, “War is the continuation of politics by other means,” and this is true of violence of all sorts. I cannot condone rioting, looting, or arson, but I can certainly understand that someone who cannot make himself heard when he speaks quietly, calmly, and civilly might reasonably begin to shout. Representative democracy only works when people in power listen and hear. If the powerful refuse to listen and refuse to hear, then I cannot entirely blame citizens for turning up the volume through violent acts. That is a natural (if undesirable) effect.

Police have a difficult job. They are called upon by citizens to control citizens who misbehave, and this sometimes forces police to take actions that most citizens would be squeamish about. Police are authorized to use violence against citizens because sometimes they must use violence against citizens, to protect themselves and the larger community. But because police are granted that authority, they are implicitly held to a higher standard of behavior. Given that individual officers are as fallible as anyone else in the population, the political question centers on who will hold police officers to that higher standard? Who polices the police? If elected officials won’t do it then the police must do it themselves; if the police won’t do it, the the public must take up the reins. Hopefully we can find some political means for the public to take up the reins of the police that falls far short of burning down police stations, but that is something that police and elected officials must embrace. If they are merely set on suppressing protests, violence will only escalate.

You can write politicians, join a political party, do a video, or run for President yourself, maybe someone in this thread have good pointers for that. But I think public protests are a good mean to show opinions.

Here are a few advices from me. I participate in a lot of public protests.

Try to be as many “regular” people as possible. Invite children and old family members.

Spot those that wish to escalate the protest. Stay clear of those. Even going very close to cops and filming them is an escalation. They are super easy to spot if you pay attention.

Stay clear of the police. It is usually very easy at most public protests not to get anywhere near them.

And for those arranging public protests my advice is also to invite a band or some music. It is still a protest if it is a party, and what matters are the number that walk in the protest.

As Thomas Paine said:

Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one.

For now, seems that government even do not want to talk, it want to suppress protests with police power. Just read Trump tweets about Minnesota.

Appropriate civilian response may be forcing government to dialog. At least, to stop government using force:
enter image description here
At least, people should have right to self-defense, and for now seems that most aggression towards the police is provoked by police itself.

Also, it may be useful (only if it is possible), to place some tents on a city square/some wide street, far from the police:

  • to immediately help people hit by rubber bullets or tear gas. As long as streets are full of people, paramedics may arrive too late. And injures usually aren’t waiting.
  • to provide some water/food for old people and children – staying on the sunny street for the whole day is hard enough. And citizens do not have centralized supplies as police do.
  • if some people want to help, but cannot be involved in demonstrations – for example, due to their health – in that area they may help others, who are involved – for example, provide them snacks or water.

Like Seattle citizens do:

enter image description here

Like Washington citizens do (Black House Autonomous Zone):

enter image description here


Thanks to Rick Smith from comments, here should be described situation of using of force directly by president:
as said in Insurrection act, there are three options to enable president to send troops to the state:

  • when requested by a state’s legislature or governor, to address an insurrection against the state
  • to address an insurrection against the federal government
  • hinders the execution of the laws such that citizens are deprived of constitutional rights

On the current level of escalation, Trump do not have power to force National Guard enter any state – because only possible option on the current escalation level – if state asks for help.

And there are enough governors, who would not seek help the from White House.

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Server Bug Fix: Can you seek asylum for not wanting to do your mandatory military service in your home country?

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Let assume you live in a country where there is mandatory conscription that you need to fulfill. However, you don’t want to do that, and it is not possible for you to renounce your citizenship without fulfilling the mandatory military service.

In Europe (EU + UK + Switzerland), is this a valid reason for seeking asylum? Have there been any such cases before?


Further, assume that you don’t live in your home country.

In Europe (as defined above) it does not appear that any country allows an asylum claim based solely on the fact of being subject to obligatory military service. However, asylum claims can be made based on obligatory military service plus something surrounding the circumstances of military service. For example, during the Vietnam war, Sweden granted asylum to a number of Americans who either deserted from the military or who wanted to avoid being drafted, and asylum claims are granted for Eritrean refugees escaping the policy of indefinite conscription. The general policy as articulated by the UNHCR is that asylum claims should be considered when there is
persecution for objecting to military service for reasons of conscience, if applicable military acts violate international law, if conditions of service constitute inhumane treatment, if conscription is carried out by a non-state agency and the government provides no protection, or recruitment of children. None of these conditions exist in the Swedish or Norwegian military, so a Norwegian cannot avoid military service by applying to Sweden for asylum.

In Shepherd v. Germany, plaintiff, a US soldier serving in Iraq, deserted and applied to Germany for asylum, believing the war to be illegal. This is relevant because EU law allows asylum claims in cases of

prosecution or punishment for refusal to perform military service in a
conflict, where performing military service would include crimes or
acts falling under the exclusion clauses as set out in Article 12(2)

The court (CJEU) ruled that the plaintiff was not subject to persecution so the case was returned to the German courts, but in that ruling the CJEU provides extensive legal guidance on the connection between the “persecution” prong of an asylum claim, and military service under EU law.

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Server Bug Fix: How expensive were castles? And how were the costs distributed?

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In, Castles, Battles, Bombs: How Economics Explained Military History, I came across this passage :

“The cost lay mostly in direct labor cost, as most labor had to be paid. (In contrast, raw material cost does not seem to have been much of an issue.”

It was only mentioned in passing and I wondered if it were true.

I just seemed strange to me that in 1000-1300, labor markets were competitive. Was it simply the sheer labor involved relative to their resource the cause? Were average monarchy’s real net worth less unequal than I had imagined; the 1% rich today about 30 mill USD while the bottom less than 1USD income, might the monarch of the past be maybe a few thousand times the peasant instead of millions?

The labor market was limited by the number of workers available. Setting large stones into a high wall took skilled craftsmen assisted by a lot of unskilled labor. Don’t forget majority of the population were required to grow food. if you moved people from farming to building you ended up with people starving. Most large projects like castles and even the waging of wars was scheduled around getting the crop planted and harvested.

How Was Wealth Distributed

The complete answer is in the Medieval Price List for 1300, but I’ll summarize :

  • Unskilled laborers (peasants, household servants) made 1 pence per day / 30p per month
  • Tradesmen (masons, carpenters) made 4p to 6p per day (avg. 5) / 150p per month
  • Professionals (soldiers, priests) made 1 to 3 shillings (12 pence) per day (avg. 2) = 24p / 720p per month
  • Artisans (top lawyers) made 1 pound (20 shillings = 240p) per day / 7,200p per month
  • Barons, in charge of a county earned ~1 pound per day – 240p per day / 7,200p per month, depending on the wealth of the county
  • Earls, in charge of a major region, could earn as little as Barons, but typically brought in 15 pounds per day – 3,600p per day / 108,000p per month
  • The Crown (king) typically brought in 82 pounds per day – 19,680p per day / 590,400p per month

So, the king made about 20 thousand times as much as the peasant.

The Construction Costs of Castles

Construction costs varied enormously. Frequently, older structures (churches, military towers) were re-purposed for the job.

Again, from the medieval price list, the price of a modest house was around was around 10 pounds (2,400p). A castle gatehouse cost almost as much (10 pounds). An expensive house was around 100 pounds (24,000 pence), which was also just about the construction price of a church. The construction cost of a tower was around 300 pounds (72,000p), and the construction price of a castle (details not included) was around 450 pounds (108,000p).

Maintenance of Castles

Typically, the household staff did minor maintenance. Contractors were hired for larger repairs.

A household staff received free housing and meals, as part of their compensation. Staff typically included :

  • 1 house manager (butler) at 8p per month
  • 1st, 2nd, 3rd, (and sometimes 4th) footman @ 1p per month (4p for all)
  • Cook @ 2p per month
  • Pages, carters, porters, falconers, groomers @ 1p per month (5p for all)

In 1000s, staff also included one or a few knights providing security.

So, total household monthly wages were around 19p per month.

There’s More…

The Baron, and Earl, as the owner of the town and surrounding land, was responsible for the upkeep costs of most of the houses and business property in his territory. This was offset by rents, which were part of that Noble’s income; and the wages of the crown paid foreign bribes, civic projects, and the standing armies. I’m left with the impression that oftentimes all parties, big and small, were just barely covering costs.

Like contemporary modern businesses, many nobles took on disastrous amounts of debts to pay the bills : the French king to the Templars, the Spanish monarchy to people who would be imprisoned during the Inquisition, Richard the Lionheart to almost anyone.

Castle building is a slow process, and people rarely start a new one.

Most of the suitable and advantageous places were already occupied by castles built earlier. Most castle owners would only embark on small upgrades: A stone wall to replace a wooden palisade, a tower strengthened, the lords living quarters upgraded to fashionable style…

So usually one would amass wealth slowly (distributing the cost in time), and then build something. Unless you were king and could levy taxes from the whole country, or a truly great fortune came your way: Famousuly the Duke of Austria spent a considerable part of the ransom of King Richard I, that amounted to 100000 pounds of silver, on the city walls of Vienna, and on some smaller towns.

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Server Bug Fix: What were the criteria for class ranking at West Point prior to the Civil War?

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I was watching Grant on The History Channel last night, and it was mentioned that Robert E. Lee graduated second in his class, while Grant was in the middle*. They also made a point of pointing out how Grant came from humble circumstances (his father was a tanner), while of course many if not most West Pointers were from prominent families. Lee of course came from one of the First Families of Virginia.

This reminded me of something. I’ve read (somewhere – memory fails) that until relatively recently, Yale took family into account when determining class ranking. If that were a factor at West Point back then, a middling ranking for a tanner’s son might actually be considered rather impressive. Likewise coming in second when your family is very prominent might not be a huge accomplishment.

So what exactly were the criteria for class rankings at West Point during the era Grant and Lee attended? Is there any record of that?

* – Note that they were not in the same class, which this factoid often mistakenly implies.

In Volume I of his four volume biography of Robert E. Lee, Douglas Southall Freeman outlines (Chapter 4, pp 81-82 (html page)) the calculation of Lee’s graduating score of 1966.5 out of a maximum 2000; an average of 98.3%.

enter image description here

N.B. The line General Merit is the total of the preceding lines (thus in modern terminology the overall Cadet Performance Score).

It also outlines the examination process, more akin to the Royal Navy examination process from Forester’s Hornblower than a modern examination.

Beginning June 1 the visitors and the academic board met jointly every day for a fortnight. It was a ceremonious test. In the examination room, at the head of one table, sat Colonel Thayer in full uniform, with the professors around the board. At the other table were General Van Cortlandt and the visitors. In front of this awesome group, three large blackboards were placed on easels. Six cadets were called in at a time, two for each board. While one demonstrated orally, the others prepared their problems. In this setting, Robert made his appearance when his name was called, and for five separate grillings of an hour each he explained what he knew of engineering, of strategy, and of the other subjects of the year’s work.

It appears to be 85% academic and 15% character/conduct, similar to the modern CPS calculation:

enter image description here

The Wikipedia page for Charles Mason, the cadet who surpassed Lee that year and became a prominent Iowa judge, claims Mason outscored Lee by just 29 points out of 2000, at a total of 1995.5.

Freeman’s phrasing below suggests a strong negative correlation (at least) between number of accumulated demerits and the Conduct score.

… and gave him equal place in Conduct with Barnes, Burbank, Harford, Kennedy, and Mason, who had received no demerits during the whole of their four years at the academy.

That over 10% of the graduating class survived 4 years with no demerits indicates a challenging, but by no means insurmountable, hurdle for a determined cadet.

According to the book Duty, Honor, Country: A History of West Point
By Stephen E. Ambrose, the ranking system at West Point was established early on, c. 1819. Following a proposal by the War Department:

[Sylvanus Thayer] so constructed the merit roll that it eliminated practically all subjective feelings, while it took into account nearly everything a cadet did for four years, both in and out of the classroom.

There is no mention of anything about a cadet’s prior background influencing this ranking system. While I can’t say for certain that family background had no direct impact on ranking, the above makes me tend to doubt it. (As an aside, this system apparently had wider influence in the business world.)

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Server Bug Fix: How would a real life force field work?

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Requirements for the force field: It must be resistant to all small arms fire, melee weapons, some explosives, and be able to prevent any damage to the user from these weapons.

It has to use a REASONABLE amount of energy, not like nuclear plant level amounts of energy, the user must be able to make, use, and carry the force field with today’s technology.

One explanation could be that you have a magnetic (or electrically charged) fluid held in place by a potential well– as the fluid moves away from the minimum of the potential well it gets ‘pushed back’ into the centre by the field acting on it (kind of like a marble in a half-pipe).

Any force upon the fluid, such as from gunshots or shrapnel would be dispersed due to the surface tension (akin to how liquid armour could be used), with the fluid resetting back to it’s original position in the potential well after taking the hit.

Effectively, you have a wall of fluid held in place by an electric or magnetic field that soaks up any impacts for you.

However, this is not really something that could be practically done with today’s technology (otherwise militaries would be already doing it)

Edit: alternatively, a more ‘traditional’ scifi force field could be an incredibly strong cathode (a negatively charged plate). As atoms have negatively charged electrons surrounding the nucleus, when become very close to the cathode they will be repelled as they have like charge, meaning objects should be prevented from passing. (Edit again: the force exerted on the incoming projectiles will also be exerted on the cathode in the negative direction, so your field might be able to stop bullets and other objects will a comparatively low momentum, but the cathode would probably break if you apply too much force on it, like driving a car into it.)

Frame challenge: it wouldn’t

Your requirements are:
* Resistant to all small arms fire, melee weapons, some explosives,
* Prevent any damage to the user from these weapons.
* Use a ‘reasonable’ amount of energy
* Can be carried and built by an individual
* Producible with today’s technology.

It’s hard to prove a negative, but I will state that this is impossible, with the evidence being that if such a device were possible, it would be seen in active use by militaries around the world, since it would be tremendously useful.

It must be resistant to all small arms fire, melee weapons, some explosives, and be able to prevent any damage to the user from these weapons.

You are just giving a fancy description of a carbon fiber or polymeric shield, like those used by anti-riot forces

cop with riot shield

Riot shields are typically made out of transparent polycarbonate between 4–6 millimetres (0.16–0.24 in) in thickness. Shields are designed to be shatter resistant, though are typically not ballistic resistant. Some shields used to counter rioters offer a form of ballistic protection against lower velocity ammunition fired from handguns or shotguns. However, ballistic shields are instead used in situations where heavily armed resistance is expected.

The electromagnetic force keeping together the molecules of the shield is what takes care dissipating the energy of the weapons.

Plasma Shields are the closest thing to energy shields that modern science understands. They are not a mature technology, but they can at least in theory do what you are asking according to modern understandings of science and engineering. They work by using lasers, electricity, microwaves, and/or magnates to rapidly polarize and heat up the air between the vehicle and an attacker in a way that creates a temporary “high density” plasma field.

What plasma shields are already publicly specced to do:

The primary military use of plasma shields today is that they can block explosive shockwaves, lasers and other electromagnetic weapons, and radiation. They are not speced to stop missiles, bullets, or melee attacks, but the science already exists or is very close to existing for them to be able to.

How plasma shields can be developed to meet your needs:

There was a government program a few years back called Plasma Point Defense that was theorised to be able to use plasma to detonate missiles too, but it was abandoned because the technology to make an “eye safe” missile shield did not exist yet: basically the shield was so bright you would burn your retinas using it. Newer plasma shield programs such as MILI-Flash and RESLIFE are solving this issue by finding ways to make darker high energy plasma shields. So, although they don’t exist yet in any declassified capacity, expect to “eye safe” missile shields in the next few years.

No current shield can block a kinetic attack directly because solid matter is not meaningfully affected by a plasma shield pulse; however, if your setting prominently features energy based small arms such as a plasma pulse, laser, radiation, or electrolaser weapons those could certainly be blocked with existing technologies.

That said, there are ways to protect against bullets and melee that don’t require stopping the bullet or blade. One way a plasma shield can already do this is to make it much harder to target you. Plasma bursts like those created by PASS create a bright disorienting burst around you which can make you much harder to see precisely enough to know where to shoot, blind a melee attacker who gets too close, and interfere with computer aided targeting sensors. You just need to give your soldier something similar to transition welding goggles to make sure he is not blinded in the process.

Another application that could exist in the very near future using only technology that already exists is resistive tracking. A plasma shield creates a thin layer of atmospheric pressure which a bullet can easily pass through, but PASS style shields can create very controlled pulses of plasma by design. Stellar Photonics for example is currently working on one that can generate hundreds controlled pulses per second. While the official purpose of this project is to make a crowd control system similar to PASS, If such a shield were programmed to track the path of a bullet, it could make enough of these small wakes in the bullet’s flight path to stop or deflect small arms similar to flying through a really thick and turbulent shield window.

I’m not sure exactly how much power they use, or how small they can be made, but all the milliaray designs I am able to find are intended to be installed on aircraft, tanks, and humvees and powered by non-nuclear power sources. Based on this, I do not believe you could fit a shield on your person, but vehicles can project shields up to 100m. So, you will not have anything like a Gungan personal shield, but if you look at the way Fambaa shields work to protect squads of nearby infantry, something similar to that is feasible under modern tech.

enter image description here

Another approach, and the most effective one IMO is to consider a shield part of a layered defensive system. Modern body armor is getting REALLY good to the point that gun makers are having a really hard time now designing bullets of reasonable size that can penetrate them. 4 layers of NNF treated kevlar is all it takes to stop most bullets. Add in ceramic plating and you can very quickly armor yourself against most military calibres of bullets and melee weapons at a fraction of the weight it used to take just a few years ago. If you accept that your armor is part of a layered defense strategy, then a plasma shield would protect you from explosive percussion, electrocution, radiation, and lasers etc which would otherwise be able to bypass modern armor.

I’ll give a slightly different take on the question.

In reality, there are two different components to ‘science/technology’: Theoretical Knowledge, and Technical Capabilities to Test/Implement Theoretical Knowledge. Let me give you some example of this.

First off, Gut bacteria and the fecal transplant. Fecal
is the result of an idea: that some maladies are the
result of missing necessary microbes required for healthy digestion.
Now here’s the thing: testing this isn’t actually all that difficult.
I mean, the first case of FMT was in 1958, and it didn’t start
becoming a mainstream practice until a few decades ago – wayyy past
the time where we had the technology to test such hypothesis. But the
timing wasn’t due to limitations in testing technology or such – it
was simply a limitation in our knowledge of the field.

Likewise, RSA Cryptography. The implementation of the core parts
of RSA isn’t actually all that difficult. It was devising the
approach that was the hard part. The state of technology at the time
wasn’t limiting advancement – technically, RSA could’ve been developed
decades prior… its just that nobody thought of it (or needed to
think of it.)

(And on the flip side… there are all sorts of places in physics
where we simply don’t have the technical/engineering ability to even
test the predictions.)

So… how does this relate to your original question?

You want forcefields, with today’s technology.

It’s possible that it’s possible. Oh, it’s not possible with our current knowledge, but it’s entirely possible that we have the technical capability to do so right now, but it requires simply making some novel thought/discovery – that if we had that breakthrough of creativity/ingenuity, that we’d have forcefields within a few years.

It could be that forcefields require us to unlock some deep core underpinning of gluon interactions…

… or it could be that all it takes is using a set of three ultra-low sound emission speakers pointed at a patch of air containing silicate dust, and the harmonic pattern causes the silicate dust to rigidly orient in place.

Or other such, “Uh, well, I never thought of even trying that!” method. Some advancements aren’t due to intricate engineering… some are just due to a person thinking, “Dude, why isn’t this bacteria growing on this mold?” or “Hey, why did this antenna melt my chocolate?” or “Wait, what the heck did this Nitric Acid do to this rubber?” We didn’t end up with Penicillin, Microwaves, and Vulcanized Rubber because they finally became possibilities… we ended up with them because we discovered a novel use of technological capbilities we already had.

Well? Who’s to say that forcefields not existing isn’t due to insufficient engineering… but us simply not having the novel thought to make them a possibility? Your difficulty is going to be coming up with a possible novel thought that doesn’t sound completely outlandish or too McGuffin-y.

When all the requirements are taken together, the requested technology simply isn’t possible (not with today’s technology). Let’s relax the current technology requirement a bit (and the power requirement, as it turns out).

Now, you never actually specified that the force field need be electromagnetic in nature. One approach could be a swarm of nanobots that could solidify momentarily into momentum/energy-absorbing configurations.

It would be tricky to build capable nanobots, of course. And, powering the swarm would be an issue; there’s probably no way around needing an power source with at least nuclear-level energy density (antimatter would be a compact though very complicated and potentially very dangerous option).

As everyone has explained, “force fields” are totally impossible for numerous reasons.

The only thing that is similar in effect (but not in paradigm):

your character (blue) is in force-field jail.

imagine simply a frame (gray), perhaps 3m x 3m, which will be the “force field”.

It houses a number of incredibly advanced robotic laser guns. (perhaps ten or so)

enter image description here

the lasers simply shoot in to the plane of the “force field” and they can swivel on that plane.

By incredibly advanced, I mean three things…

  1. insanely powerful
  2. unbelievably fast pointing
  3. there’s an amazingly fast/accurate visual system which tracks everything coming near the “force field” plane.

Simply … any thing which comes in to the “force field” plane – anything at all, a bullet, a hand, a beach ball – gets utterly zapped by the lasers.

(The item would then be utterly destroyed, the remains might fall harmlessly the floor, or in the case of say “a hand” the person would pull back their hand in agony/terror, exactly as in a ‘real” force field.)

Note that

We can, literally , build this now – !

(Amazingly, I have built such a contraption for a client! Off the shelf tracking camera systems (such as in industrial applications) are commonly available, and lasers with a servo are easy. Obviously, the ones you can build now can only track moderate size objects (perhaps only if tagged with IR tape) moving at moderate speeds, and the lasers do nothing other than add a red dot!)

Conceptually, that’s the only way you could build a “pseudo force field” using known physics, and indeed today’s technology stretched a bit.

However … “plasma windows” …

Thanks to informative comments on this page, it is worth noting that “plasma windows” (be aware they are currently tiny) are a thing:

There’s literally a “take it for what it’s worth” wiki article on “plasma windows as sci-fi force fields” – !“force_fields”

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Server Bug Fix: What was so “Mini” about Minitrack?

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screen shot from Vanguard 60th Anniversary: A Look Back

In the US Naval Research Laboratory video Vanguard 60th Anniversary: A Look Back Roger L. Easton says:

Now, how did Vanguard Start?

I think it’s fair to say that Milt Rosen started the Vanguard project, and in addition started what became Minitrack. We had been working on an X-band device for tracking the Viking rocket; I remember meeting Milt in the hall, and him saying to me “Couldn’t we reduce the frequency of that device and use it for tracking the satellite?”

I said I’d look into it, and it just happened that Dr. Jacob Freeman had analyzed the X-band system, so it was a small task to change it to a lower frequency. And this I succeeded in doing, and the result was Minitrack, which was named by John Mengel.

Presumably Minitrack’s individual footprints, global distribution of sites, wavelengths, dipole antenna sizes and interferometric baselines were all larger than its X-band progenitor, so I’m curious what was so “Mini” about Minitrack?

video cued at 02:53:

The name actually comes from the name of the proposed satellite

The name of the system first appeared early in April 1955 on an NRL
document entitled “Proposal for Minimum Trackable Satellite

NRL = Naval Research Laboratory

Final Report for the Minitrack Tracking Function Description

In early April 1955, Milton Rosen, John Mengel, and Roger Easton
assembled informally at NRL and generated a document entitled,
“Proposal for Minimum Trackable Satellite (Minitrack).” No date and no
authors are listed on this key report; but, according to Rosen, it
preceded only by a few days a more formal report with the title, “A
Scientific Satellite Program,” dated April 13, 1955, and written by
the NRL Rocket Development Branch. Appendix B of this document was
labeled, “The Minitrack System” and was nearly identical to its
predecessor of a few days.


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Server Bug Fix: What is the best way to defeat a enemy with superior numbers, but inferior technology?

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Our protagonist civilization is based on a large island in the middle of the pacific(think half the size of Australia), has a population of 100 million, has abundant resources and is totally self-sufficient, and has only 1 million personnel, but has the equivalent military technology of today’s USA. They have 1000 planes, 1000 tanks, enough weaponry for everyone, and basically infinite ammunition. No nukes, and they have the USS Gerald Ford and approximately 5 destroyers and 10 frigates.

The enemy nation is based in what is now Asia, and has 1 billion population and 35 million personnel, but only have 1800s level tech. They have little to no naval power (think maybe a couple ironclads), and have rifles, revolvers, and horses.

If they can at all, what is the best way for the advanced military to defeat the enemy?

Note: assume all citizens of the primitive society will fight to the death for their nation.

Some really solid answers already. I agree with another comment – how could they not win. But i”ll give some details on how. what is the best way for the advanced military to defeat the enemy?

Enemy Analysis
35 million personnel

  • Degrade there concentration of force by separating troops, ie targeting multiple locations so they split up.
  • Target their command and control (imagine how hard it is to co-ord 35 million.)
  • Target heavy logistical chain (draw troops away from supply lines , target stockpiles)

but only have 1800s level tech.

  • PhyOps, pamphlet drop on troops highlight the tec differences.
  • Body Armour and Tanks 100% invulnerable
  • Close Medical Support for limited injuries.
  • Expose limited logistical methods (trains/ horses etc)

Rifles, revolvers, and horses.

  • Engage highly mobile warfare to expose limits of horses
  • Employ more heavy weapons (Machine Guns, Grenade Lunches, Grenades) within the basic military unit.

Friendly Analysis

1 million personnel, but has the equivalent military technology of today’s USA.

  • Avoid large battle, strike hard at key point (Command Nodes, logistical centers, small enemy groups) and withdraw

They have 1000 planes, 1000 tanks, enough weaponry for everyone, and basically Infinite ammunition.

  • Use planes for recon, targeting enemy prior to ground fighting.
  • Use helicopters for mobility into battle and redeployment out.
  • Use Planes to destroy enemy navy.

They have the USS Gerald Ford and approximately 5 destroyers and 10 frigates.

How I would do it

Air-warfare Phase

  1. Destroy Navy
  2. Recon Enemy nation
  3. Bombing Targets (Command Centers, Logistical Nodes, Train lines, bridges, troop concentration)

Shaping Operations.

  1. Small Raiding parties at lightly defended areas, force the enemy to
    spread their superior numbers out. (Helicopter mobility)
  2. Commence Phy Ops, on the technological over match, and inevitability
    of defeat.

Seize the initiative

  1. Focus on cutting enemy resupply with raiding forces.
  2. Start to take territory from lightly defended areas, focus on smaller enemy formations that can’t overwhelm you.
  3. Use a tank heavy army, to strike hard and withdraw against the enemy (blitzkrieg) in the country side.


  1. Surround remaining enemy position (that have high enemy concentrations) use Aircraft, artillery, tanks to continue to bomb them.
  2. Bait a now desperate enemy into engagement areas, and prepared defensive areas. (Withdraw if it enemy to overwhelm you.)
  3. Don’t enter cities, bombard them.


  1. Demand unconditional surrender / intern entire civilian population.

Note: assume all citizens of the primitive society will fight to the death for their nation Modern warfare is all about convincing your enemy the war is now pointless and to accept defeat. You idea undercuts a lot of modern military thinking.

There are a lot of bad answers here that mainly seem to come out of a few pervasive myths about European colonialism. There is no need to go around killing the natives at a ratio sufficient to match their relative population. There is barely any need to fight the natives at all. Naval or ranged bombardment is neither necessary nor all that effective in the first place. Trying to spread religious rumors, trying to convince the natives that the invaders are gods, or timing the arrival with a solar eclipse will not work (native people are not stupid). Taking native political leaders hostage can momentarily destabilize central governments, but won’t get you very far towards exerting meaningful control on the ground.

What you do (and this is what the Spanish did in the New World) is you simply convince various subgroups of natives that they are better off following you, and not the existing native authorities. In any large society, there will be no shortage of disgruntled interest groups, and many of them are just waiting for an icebreaker to come along and give them a chance to gain an advantage. You approach local leaders, offer them slightly more autonomy than they currently enjoy, offer them weapons or even just transportation, and most importantly, you tell them that you are also talking to other local leaders about the same idea, so that if they decide to revolt, they won’t be doing it alone. Your goal is not to subjugate the natives, your goal is to be as helpful as possible so that they (or at least the leaders) will literally be inviting you into the country.

I would argue that the modern day military would have to monumentally screw up in order to not wipe the floor with the 1600s era military, no matter how great the numerical disparity.

Chances are they would not even have to meet the enemy in the field. All it would take is a show of force with a flight of aircraft bombing their forts and government buildings- that should be more than sufficient to make it clear to the leaders of the continent that it’s in their best interest to not resist. While they may not care about the lives of their citizens, the fact that you can put a 1,000lb bomb on a warlord / king’s heads anywhere in the continent would make them bend their knee quick enough.

The enemy military would likely be armed with smooth bore muskets, with a range of maybe 100 yards at a pinch, and a rate of fire of maybe a couple of rounds per minute. Their weapons are less accurate, shorter ranged, much less reliable and much slower to fire. Any large formation of men marching towards them is going to be spotted days in advance by aerial reconnaissance, giving them ample time to be attacked with air support and artillery.

Consider how deadly crossing no-mans land in WW1 was. Now imagine that one side has modern weaponry, and the other side has muskets. All it would take is a couple of incredibly bloody battles for the peasants to learn that trying to fight is a death sentence, and the 1600s era nation now longer can field an army.

Most 1600s era rulers did not do a great deal for their peasantry- simply proving food and medical care to the locals would likely be more than enough to encourage them to accept the modern nation as their new rulers, especially when the alternative is to be forced in to a suicidal attack.

Edit: based on the update to the question that all citizens will fight to the death (which is rather unlikely), your only real solution is to wipe out the entire continent. The simplest approach is to destroy their food supply from afar. Invasive species being introduced to ecosystem, crop diseases would do the trick. Poisoning major rivers and contaminating the groundwater could cripple the population if the advanced nation was willing to do it. Introducing diseases in to the populace that they have no natural immunity to would also be very effective.

After a few years of famine and disease, you could probably cut the population down to a fraction of its initial size, and disrupt what industrial/military capacity it would have had.
Then, steadily going from village to village and mopping up anyone left is really the only answer if every peasant insists on fighting to the death (assuming you can actually convince your military to conduct a lengthy campaign of genocide)

A lot depends on the skill and morale of both armies and the tactics employed.

There have certainly been many cases in history where a technologically superior army crushed a technologically inferior one. The European conquest of the Americas come to mind. But bear in mind that it’s not a given. When the Spanish under Magellan landed in the Philippines and thought they’d easily crush the primitive natives, they were badly beaten and took heavy losses.

I read once — and I’m afraid I don’t have the citation — that in cases of “asymmetrical warfare”, i.e. where one army was clearly superior on paper, bigger, better weapons, etc, the inferior army nevertheless won the war about 1/3 of the time.

Because sure, one person with a machine gun versus one person with a wooden club, meeting in an open field where both can see each other coming from a long way off, the person with the machine gun will almost certainly win. But one person with a machine gun versus 1000 people with clubs? He might mow down many of them but they still overwhelm them by sheer numbers. And one person with a machine gun relaxing in their tent at night versus a person with a club who sneaks up on them and attacks them in their sleep, the person with the club probably wins.

If the people from the more primitive nation really are willing to fight to the last person, what’s the morale of the people from the advanced nation? If they go into battle outnumbered 1000 to 1, even with their superior weapons, against a determined foe, they’re likely to take heavy casualties. If the soldiers know that, sure, they’ll kill 100 of the enemy for every person they lose, but in the end they’re still going to die, they might decide to just drop their weapons and run.

So how to win?

The trick for the advanced army is to keep combat on the open field. If both armies are lined up and facing off in open terrain, their superior weapons give them a huge advantage. But if it turns into a guerrilla war, with the primitive army sniping them from hiding, launching surprise attacks, etc, their advantage largely evaporates.

Take steps to prevent the enemy from capturing weapons. They may not be able to make them, but if they can capture them from you they can turn them against you. And if they have time and just a few sufficiently-talented people, they can eventually duplicate at least some of the technology.

It’s a lot easier for the superior army to defeat the enemy army than it is to keep control of the country afterwards. Sometimes it’s “easier to win the war than to win the peace”. We’ve seen that as recently as the US campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq. The US easily defeated the enemy armies and took over both countries. But then got bogged down in a seemingly endless guerrilla war, until they eventually declared victory and withdrew in defeat.

The biggest enemy is complacency. If the superior army thinks, “We’re just going to walk in and take over. Once these yokels see our superior weapons they’re going to promptly surrender”, they’ll probably soon find themselves retreating with heavy losses.

I’ll assume you’re unwilling to resort to bio-weapons. No worries, you don’t need to.

You have tanks. They are effectively invincible.

You have planes. They are invincible; the enemy literally has no way to fight against them.

You have bombs that can almost certainly obliterate whatever fortifications the enemy can throw together.

You have machine guns that can slaughter the enemy with impunity. Heck, your basic infantry weapons can kill them from well outside their effective range (only about 100 m, especially if they don’t have rifling).

But you don’t even need to do that. Send a few drone strikes or cruise missiles their way and claim to be a god. At their level of technology, they’ll believe you. Seriously, you can cause arbitrarily large explosions anywhere you want (well, outdoors anyway), any time you want, and it isn’t obvious how you’re doing it. They won’t be able to surrender fast enough.

Your problem isn’t defeating the enemy in an engagement, it’s how to garrison / manage the territory after their military has been crushed, and possibly how to deal with long-term guerilla warfare. Because you will crush their military if your own leadership is even remotely competent. Open engagement, for your enemy, is nothing short of suicidal.

Client state.

You do not need to colonize this land to resettle your excess population. I cannot imagine the Asians are invading you. Probably you want wealth and you want to justify your military expenditures. Ideally you want the wealth without administering the territory as your own, which is hard work.

  1. You trade with the Asians, presumably. There are cities where trade goes on.

  2. An uprising in a trade city threatens your nationals. Some are killed.

  3. Your troops enter the city and put down the rebellion for the common good. You leave a garrison there to keep order.

  4. You explain to the central government that they will pay for the upkeep of your troops at a price you decide on. If they do not pay you explain to the city government that they will be responsible.

  5. Other cities also acquire a garrison of your troops and also must pay for upkeep.

Now you have a client state and a way to enforce continued payment. You have a justification to continue enriching your cronies in the military-industrial complex, and prevent them from selling their arms to the Asians (which they would already have done, of course, but your fiction). If your PR is good and your soldiers well behaved maybe the citizenry of the occupied cities will not resent you too much. You have not needed your tanks but they are in the garrisons, ready to go.

Firstly do a lot of reconnaissance and find out where the large centres of population are, who the rulers are and where they live. Monitor the rulers with spies, remote sensing devices and hidden spy cams.Then start spreading rumours concerning the second coming of Christ amongst local priests backed up by some demonstrations woven into the narrative perhaps involving, lights in the sky, high altitude vapour trails and stars falling to Earth. Play on existing superstitions and wrap it up in suitable language for the 1600’s and let that permeate for a few months or years.

Then at some preordained point at a full Moon or during an eclipse make a huge demonstration of force over the capital with low flying aircraft and airships painted to look like dragons and monsters from mythology, they could fire powerful flame throwers and drop bombs designed to make as much noise as possible.

The population would be totally petrified. At the same time Special Forces paratroopers land on the kings castle over power all of the guards and take the royal family hostage. The King can probably then be manipulated to comply with anything you want if fed the right flavor of religious misinformation and a few hair-raisingly impossible feats of magic courtesy of modern technology involving film, high tech, animatronics, submarines and so on.

Then either control the country as Hernán Cortés controlled the Aztecs or failing that introduce a messiah sent from God to banish all of the demonic planes, airships and strange effects and save the people. Then let him take over.

The short answer is artillery. With no “navy” to speak of, they can’t perform a “Dunkirk”. Use advanced technology (tanks, APCs) and air support to herd and pin the enemy against the coast, then annihilate them with artillery from land or offshore.

Since you are low on manpower, use the manpower of the enemy country against them.

Find powerful political figures and military generals within the enemy country who are hungry for power and willing to work with you.

Next, wait till the enemy government is in session and use cruise missiles to blow up their capitol buildings and military headquarters in a simultaneous strike.

Next use predator drones to assassinate the enemy military generals or other leaders who were not in the capitol building.

After that your chosen generals and politicians will step in and take control of the country. You can then rule using them as your proxies.

Whenever someone opposes your proxies, use snipers to take them out from afar.

I would also like to add, in the case where there are battles.

Fight battles at night: You have night vision goggles and they don’t. That gives you a huge advantage in the dark.

Fight battles from far away: Your weapons easily out-range them. If you can use your superior standoff range to keep the enemy back they can’t do any damage to your army in an open field.

Use air power: They don’t have anything that can hit you if you are up high enough.

Establish 10 km beachheads at desolate locations. Since the enemy has no navy, this will be easy. Then before reinforcements arrive, dig trenches around and build runways in each of the beachheads. Whenever they send troops, they will be destroyed by machine guns, plane strafing, and artillery. The planes should primarily be used for surveillance- whenever there is a lapse in the movement of enemy troops to counter the beachheads, advance as far as possible and dig new trench lines. Now, they have several ways to try to counter you:

  • They can build countercastles, castles on top of hills that allow them to attack your land with cannons and trebuchets. Take these out with planes and paratroopers.

    • They probably will adopt scorched-earth tactics, so most of your planes will be needed for supply drops, rather than combat.

    • Likewise the fairly small navy will also be mostly used for supply. The Gerald Ford will need to sit in the middle of the ocean to refuel traveling supply planes. As the enemy can’t do anything against your ships, there’s no point in having flotillas- use some of the destroyers to bombard the parts of the coast you haven’t occupied yet and demoralize the enemy.

    • If they are smart, they will probably retreat most of their forces inland to construct walls and trenches before you reach them. So, its critical that planes surveil as much as possible to identify any construction of defensive works in order to destroy them in later bombing runs.

Assuming all the citizens of the nation will fight to the death as you have stated, then you can’t win. You’d have to exterminate the population.

Were I the enemy I’d fall back and fight a guerilla war, particularly urban guerilla fighting, making it too expensive for the other nation to “win” the war. Their fighters can disperse among the population, all of whom will willingly dies to protect them. Then re-emerge at a convenient time to inflict more casualties on the occupiers. Think the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, but with even better local support of the insurgents, but nations that outnumber your protagonist.

They don’t even need high tech. Simple hand grenades, improvised explosives, etc. You have an occupying army, Massively outnumbered by a society will to die to drive them off. That is a recipe for failure with any approach short of genocide.

Also over time some of your high tech weapons and ammo will fall into the guerilla’s hands, enhancing their capabilities. IN time they would be able to manufacture simpler version of the occupiers weapons (E.g. the Sten Gun in WWII was simple enough to manufacture that resistance cells behind German lines could do so with just a couple of machined parts given to them. Not as good as a British manufactured once, but still quite deadly).

Your protagonist can win every pitched battle and likely will. They will just never be able to hold the ground without exterminating the population.

That does of course give you fertile ground for how the war affects the home nation and its perception of itself, if you wish to make that part of your story.


An enemy is only defeated at the point they accept defeat; ruling a continent-sized land mass with 1bn people who are in open rebellion is totally impossible irrespective of your military and technological capability. Your technological state will likely have to go city to city, or state to state and ‘persuade’ the leaders to accept their new masters. At this point it’s worth considering what the techy-overlords actually want, income/resouces/loot from a conquered land, a new place to settle their citizens, religious control, ethical/political overhaul?

From recent US history some examples show technological superiority is a patchy indicator of military success:

  • Success: Japan 1945
  • “Mission Accomplished”: Iraq
  • “Others”: Vietnam, Afghanistan

Sell them your guns.
Sell them your culture but not your know-how.
Exploit the class divide you have created by funding separatists so that you can defeat their patriotism.
Once their love for their mother land subsides, and they realise that they are ‘primitive’ for being how they were, you have already won.

Alternatively, try this

Starve them out!

Assuming that you are willing to play dirty, all you have to do is:

  1. Disrupt (burn) their means of food production (farms / fishing boats)
  2. Prevent external supply chains, either by force or threat of force. Sink supply ships, air strikes on caravans etc.
  3. Watch your enemy starve. It has been long said that an army marches on its stomach, the bigger the army the larger the stomach.
  4. At some point your army will be larger than theirs.


Bioweapons are the obvious answer. You drop a few virus bombs or aerial sprays that you have vaccines for and decimate the enemy population. There is no radiation or chemicals to clean up and your people are immune to it. No infrastructure is damaged and people with 1800 levels of tech have no real defence.

It’s the perfect weapon. Ethically as black as hell but warfare doesn’t worry about morals. Even if you don’t want to invade and take over, the enemy won’t want to go near you for fear of what you can do.

There is nothing like Ebola and bleeding from every orifice to strike fear into the enemy.

the disparency in men power is a real problem on most modern military force. They are plenty of example of such events, in modern and colonial history (such as the conquistador). With your forces, the conquest phase submitting the or destroying the local political force should not be a problem at all. You may not even have to battle, because you have access to the third dimension you can deploy and attack the main centre of power. Capturing/killing political force in a moment. The main problem is that your manpower is unsufficient to occupy and administrate such a large and populated territory. A solution is to use fusion forces, i.e. recruit indigenous force willing to fight for you. Can be either hostile to current political power or the new political power you just have put in place. This happens very often. Your fusion forces occupy the territory and engage their former friends. Then you can concentrate your awesome firepower were it is needed without spreading it. Assuring the position of your new political ally and protectorate.

It won’t be a battle, it’ll be a Slaughter.

From a defensive POV

Let me explain, the advanced nation is 100% safe. Basically, the advanced nation won’t be affected, at all. The enemy lacks an airforce, so they can’t project their influence aerially. And let’s talk realistically, a few ironclads aren’t going to stand a half-decent chance against 5 destroyers, they’ll be vaporized before they can even see destroyers. The destroyers could probably run them over.

Therefore, defense is not much of a problem. Any attacks will be dealt with long before they can even reach the mainland.

From an offensive POV

I’m not going to consider dirty tactics, because honestly, it’s not necessary. What I would do is take out their navy with a couple of bombers. Then, keep the USS Gerald just close enough to the primitives so that your drones and stealth recon aircraft have enough range for a few reconnaissance missions. You could also use satellite pictures since a lot of the technology you mentioned needs satellite navigation and photography as a prerequisite. Now find their armories and weapons manufacturing areas, bomb them with your bombers. Then use drones (if you have them) to eliminate their leaders. Then take out the rest of the warriors with airstrikes.


Now let’s focus on taking out any rebels, which is everybody (mass extinction). Since you said that they won’t surrender, the only option to get rid of all resistance. Send in a Special Forces unit, load one of them with fake information, all analog, since the primitives won’t be able to decipher digital information and may kill him. There should be a map with clearly illustrated diagrams that show your base in a specific region, preferably one where you need to go through a valley/canyon/gorge to get to it. The more passages/canyons that lead up to it the better, like so:
Bridges/narrow passages above deep gorges are good too. The only important thing is that it has to be narrow and very long.

Now, bring all of your carriers, ships, and planes, along with your army to the closest possible distance from the shore without being within visual range. Your SF unit will go to this location (here’s where the recon comes in handy) and will set up a base with campfires, lights, and everything. They will conspicuously stay there for a week so as to not arouse suspicions in the next stage. Now send the SF operatives out into the forest, specifically trying to be captured. There should be 5 other operatives following the captured operatives. They should wait outside the rebel base. Once the rebels interpret the info (if they don’t know how, order the operatives, who should be fluent in the local language, to give them the information. Once the majority of the rebels set out and are out of earshot. The free operatives will take out those who stayed behind and will free the captured operatives. Before the expedition, the operatives would have set charges in the gorge so that it collapses when the charges detonate, Park several attack helicopters above the gorge, this should be done long before the rebels arrive, and the helos should be camouflaged carefully. From the helo, send out several snipers and infantrymen with heavy machine guns and RPGs, again, all camouflaged. From here you can go two ways.

i. Once the rebels arrive and all of them (the vast majority) enter the gorge, blow the charges. Then start up the helos and get the snipers to fire at any survivors, with data from the helos’ thermal imaging. Use missiles and machine guns to eliminate everyone else.

ii. Wait until everyone exits the gorges. Then blow the gorges, so they have no escape. Now use HMGs, RPGs, snipers, and missiles to deal with the rest.

(The Dark Part) – Extermination

After that move all the attack ships, destroyers, and carriers, that we kept near the shore into their final position, 1 mile from the shore, so that nobody can climb aboard.

Then, put all your troops on the ground and set up strategically placed bases and camps around the primitive nation. Start bringing fuel and other resources to the p.n. (primitive nation). Bring in the helos and start a nation-wide thermal imaging campaign. Once you’ve found the rebels, send in the infantry and a few helos for good measure. After you finish with a rebel base, monitor it for a few days, then call in an airstrike if you see any rebel movement.

You are almost done, start a bombing campaign at all the known rebel locations. Also, stop all o=movement out of the country with heavily armed checkpoints.

One Important Thing

Of course, all of this is pointless if you’re willing to bomb them back to the stone age with a full-on bombing campaign, and then sending in the army to finish the job.

Congrats, you’ve successfully wiped out a race! (I do not promote or encourage this idea in real life)

The Smart Way

All of this could be avoided if you infiltrated their ranks as friendlies over the years, pretending to promote technological advancements, but really sabotaging them every step of the way.

Then one day, declare war. When they come to attack with all their might, turn the sabotaged tech against them and watch them bomb themselves back to the stone age. While your people watch from their couches with a Coca-Cola in hand.

The End.

Hope this helps!

Offense or defense?


If our protagonists are trying to conquer them, it’s pretty much pointless. The only real option against a society that will fight to the last is kill them to the last. Genocide. A well informed modern population is unlikely to support genocide.

A modern society has an alarming number of ways to slaughter lots of people en mass, even if you take nukes off the table. Ways an 18th century society would have no way to counter. Biological weapons, orbital weapons (ye olde god rod), poisoning their water, their fields, their air… They don’t even need to attack their enemies directly. Inflict a famine or two back to back, and the vast majority of the population will be dead or starving. The plague that almost certainly followed would all but depopulate the country.

They might try to turn the country into a prison, but that seems wildly impractical. Enslave the entire population? Same difference.


Defense should be trivial. There’s AN OCEAN between them. It’s all naval, all the time, and mostly wooden ships with the occasional iron-side will have absolutely no chance against a modern navy. There’s absolutely no way for your primitives to sneak up on a civilization with satellites and drones and radar, and and and…

On land you can sneak up on your enemy and remove any range advantage. Primitives have zero chance of sneaking up on someone with radar, sonar, and real time satellite imagery.

Yes, the first military submersibles were used in the civil war. No, they didn’t work. Their range sucked, they utterly failed their one mission I’d heard of, and their range was limited to the length of a drill bit attached to the roof. No chance of sneaking in.

And if they can’t sneak, then it’s all about range and accuracy. Smooth bore broadside vs modern naval weaponry? You know we have prototype laser weapons right? How long do you think a sail would hold up to a laser? Ditto for prototype rail guns: Coastal bombardment with a range over 200km.


Okay, so one political party on your island nation is running things, and they’re expansionists. The island nation is hurting for land, so they take some from the primitives on the mainland. They don’t take on the whole nation, they just kick the crap out of one little corner of it, and then fort up.

Now you’ve got a protagonist army on the mainland. Now it’s clearing fields of fire, sensor/satellite/drone intel, and making explosions from afar (whether that be air power, artillery, or [cruise] missiles). Oh, and bullets. Lots and lots of bullets. Ooh ooh! And mine fields. Do you know we have artillery shells that can spread mines?

An ultimatum and a precision airstrike on the royal palace should do it. Followed by the same again if the next regime does not comply, and so on.

It really should not take long for political factions in the larger nation to figure out that peace is the only option. Yeah, everyone says that they’ll fight to the death, but nobody does.

With this kind of technology, including drones, satellites etc, the smaller nation can easily track everything relevant in the larger one and destroy leadership targets at will. If necessary they could carry out shows of force to destroy more visible targets (for example, knocking out key bridges, dams etc) to disrupt infrastructure and make a point, but that would hardly be necessary.

Alternatively, develop nukes (would not take long with modern resources) or biological weapons.

Tagged : / / /

Server Bug Fix: What should my military’s combat-utility uniform be?

Original Source Link

For some backstory, the United States Garrison is the new military of a post-apocalyptic US where modern civilization and every single country around the world fell due to zombies and a ravenous virus that wiped out 82% of humanity back in the mid-2000s’. The skeletal remains of the US Government was able to reorganize and reform itself and liberated Washington, giving birth to the District of Columbia (, with the government hoping to one day liberate and retake the entire country.

The US Garrison is what was once the US military. After liberating Washington, the five branches of the military unified to form a single military force with no individual, independent branches, a single, shared rank system, the same uniforms, same service flag, etc. This was done in order to cut down on unnecessary redundancies as well as to pool together resources and manpower so that they can be better utilized.

So far, I’m stuck on what standard combat-utility uniform Troopers (what someone in the Garrison is called) should wear. I’m currently stuck between the Marine Corps Combat Utility Uniform ( and the ranger green FBI HRT uniform [].

So in a zombie-filled post-apocalyptic scenario, what uniform would make more sense for the Garrison to adopt for everyone?

(And just so that we’re clear, I’m deciding between these two specific uniforms. I appreciate other ideas and suggestions but I’ve narrowed my choices down to these two specific sets of uniforms. If you make a suggestion, please decide on either the Marine Corps or FBI HRT uniform).


girl in pinney

Aka scrimmage vests. In your future world good clothes are hard to come by and changing clothes all the time is a luxury for the super-rich. Your soldiers wear what they wear. But it is good to know who your friends are and so they have pinneys to put on when they are active. Your
troops have actually come into possession of a great number of pinneys and so they might periodically change colors. This helps when there is a division of labor among the troops (Orange you take the left! Pink, we’re up the middle!) and also to distinguish zombified soldiers who might still be wearing the pinneys used in a previous battle.

numbers are very helpful during combat. You can shout at soldiers by number if you don’t know their names or cant tell who they are because of the mud and gore.
That works so well in sports (though usually there is
not gore) that
I have always been puzzled that soldiers did not have big numbers on them to distinguish individuals at a distance.

A combat uniform has several purposes:

  • Camouflage gives you an advantage if you are ever caught in firefight, where you have a marginal advantage in not being visually distinguishable to your surroundings
  • Promotes a sense of camaraderie and belonging to the group – if everyone is dressed the same

However your setting may be a bit different:

  • Camouflage may not be that useful against zombies, depending on how they detect and ‘see’ you. It may actually be an advantage to appear ‘ordinary’ to your zombies if they find it difficult to distinguish you against other zombies. Camouflage in this context may actually mean you should have blood soaked civilian clothes instead.
  • In a survival situation camaraderie may have lesser priority to resource allocation, in particular in times where resources would be diverted from eating, blankets or other more useful items to making uniforms. Your troops may actually object to having uniforms if it means they sleep cold at night.

I am reminded of an incident where in WW2 Stalingrad the trapped German 6th Army were starving and dying of cold, and a plane load of supplies landed for them only to find out it was full of uniforms, with no food. Reports were this reduced morale and created anger more than the surrounding enemy did.

So in a zombie-filled post-apocalyptic scenario, what uniform would make more sense for the Garrison to adopt for everyone?

  1. As this is US-based and 80% of the US population is urbanized, the military will end up using the perfect urban camouflage and dress up in trash (clickable pic):

    Perfect Urban Camouflage

    But instead of using their camouflage to scare humans, they’ll just lay in ambush and shoot zombies and then just lay down again or move to the next block…

  2. In rural areas they’ll use this uniform borrowed from their British counterparts (also clickable pic):

    Rural camouflage

How about a practical consideration:

Whatever you found enough of in a warehouse.

Unification in the face of crisis is going to be quick. Urban areas may not have manufacturing facilities. So you use what you can find. Even if it is something silly like a sports jersey.
Later on, you might start stylizing it.
A few tweaks after a decade, more the next, etc.
Or, you might make a new uniform based on changing need, like making sure yours is different from the neighbor you are at war with.

There are multiple answers here as to why this makes little sense, from different branches of the military exist for different purposes (an Infantry Colonel has theoretically the same rank and authority as a Naval Captain, but is not going to be able to effectively command a ship, nor will the Captain be able to effectively command a battalion), to resource allocation (who is making these uniforms and where are all the raw materials coming from).

The Confederate Army of the Civil War is illustrative. Although we commonly think of them as being dressed in grey uniforms, in the early stages of the war many Confederates still wore American “Blue” uniforms (Stonewall Jackson was perhaps the most famous example) until the supply situation was sorted out, and the Confederacy very rapidly ran out of the ability to make and supply uniforms at all, with soldiers essentially fighting in “work clothes”, and often without any shoes to wear either.

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Confederate soldiers in a contemporary picture

While “pre war” uniforms are hard wearing, they will eventually wear out, and soldiers, sailors and airmen will end up wearing coveralls or some other utilitarian garb. Since modern soldiers have lots of “things” to carry, uniforms have a multitude of pockets, so clothes will either be modified to have cargo pockets sewn on, or the solders will make/find vests with lots of carrying pouches. Different branches of service might eventually be indicated by an armband or patch sewn on the sleeve.

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Bosnian Civil war. Wearing whatever they can find

Clearing out stores and warehouses will work to a certain extent, cargo pants, hunting gear and other pseudo military clothes are considered fashionable, so there should be a basic supply of utilitarian clothing to wear. However, the purpose of uniforms is partially to reinforce unit identity, so different units and different branches (which perform different tasks) are going to adopt something like a unit patch, brassard, headgear or other distinguishing mark, based on what sort of resources are they can get access to.

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Polish Home Army wearing identifying arm bands

If the choices are STRICTLY between Marine Combat Utility Uniform and a Ranger Green utility uniform, I’d go for Ranger Green just because it’s easier to make and utilitarian enough. Camouflage is not an issue against zombies, obviously.

What makes the most sense to me if I’m writing it?

Keep the old uniforms and use the appropriate cameo for the mission or platoon/squad/whatever size based units.

That is your forces would be more specialized and depending on the stats and experience you would use that unit, broad sense here not actual term, for the mission.

Because who cares about uniforms if the world ended and you need your workers to produce food, meds, ammo, and other essential stuff!
Honestly. The idea that you would dedicate enough resources to replace the current uniforms seems silly in the context.

And like I said even if they have to fight opposing human soldiers they can use whatever cameo is available then. No need to waste already existing stuff.

However I’d add something extra to it.
Like ribbons or a bar on the chest or a new flag patch or something like that.
Just so they fit in more with the news regime.

But changing uniforms would be silly and I’m sure actual soldiers would be wondering why bother if they already have a lot of stuff they can actually use.

Zombies are going to be your primary villain, but there may be other governments or rogue elements running around in this world. It’s going to be a messy place and not everyone is going to be friendly toward your protagonists. (At least I think they shouldn’t be all friendly)

That being said the troops may at some point logically need concealment from human adversaries – thus I’d go with the Marine uniform.

BTW – you mention standardization has happened in this world – keep in mind services are proud of their symbols (insignia, flag, uniform) so depending on how much time has passed there may be animosity about standardizing. After a few years the wounds will be fresh; a generation or two may be less. May be an opportunity for drama for you.

The Ranger Green is closer to what I would expect, but lacks some consideration for the environment you’ve created.

Assuming this is your 17 years later scenario, the reason for new uniforms is probably not just about combining the military into a single organization, but because all of your old uniforms have already been worn way past thier expected life spans (along with most of your other pre-apocalypse textiles).

Washington DC is not in a great geographic location for the fossil fuels used to make polymer based cloths and dyes, nor is it a great place for many of the plants we normally associate with the textile industry. This means that DC is either importing truck loads of what is likely very expensive textiles through zombie ridden hellscapes, or they have to meet thier own textile needs with what they have.

With much of the world still dominated by zombies, I’d opt to suggest that they figured it out themselves. The best native plant for this is actually going to be stinging nettle. Despite it’s intimidating name, it is a great plant for textiles in that it makes a cloth with a fiber coarseness that is finer than flax or hemp but stiffer than cotton. This makes it ideal for making uniforms that are both comfortable and tough. It also has a natural beige color so you don’t need to dye it for it to make for pretty decent urban camouflage.

Furthermore, stinging nettle is an edible weed; so, your survival conscious population can grow lots of it with very little effort, eat it, and use it for textiles making it a potential staple crop for your DC survivors.

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If you choose to dye your cloth a solid green which might be important to distinguish your soldiers from your common folk you can use Bloodroot (a native plant) or vitriol green (a mineral commonly found in old iron mines). But achieving a print like the Marine Corps Combat Utility Uniform is not very feasible without polimer fossil fuel based dyes.

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Have you read World War Z?

If you have, then this question is 100% redundant. As Brooks realised, if you’re fighting zombies then you don’t need bulletproof body armour, camouflage, heavy weaponry, any air force except for transport, or any navy. For your uniform, what you need is just full-body covering, made from material which is reinforced to be tear- and puncture-resistant (so nails and teeth can’t easily get through) and is relatively waterproof (so blood splatter won’t touch you), plus a face mask with eye protection. The colour really doesn’t matter.

And if you haven’t read World War Z yet, then you should prepare yourself to throw away everything you’ve done so far. Brooks has already told his version of this story, on a global scale and on a human scale, with perfect attention to every detail. You may be able to tell a different story, but you need to know what the state of the art is in this genre.

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Server Bug Fix: What is this aircraft and the Air Force it belongs to?

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Could someone identify the fighter jet type and the Air Force it operates in? Thanks

Panavia Tornado, Royal Air Force (UK), 13 Squadron.

The aircraft in the question is identified as belonging to No. 13 Squadron by the distinctive green, yellow and black ‘Squadron flash’ painted on the aircraft side below the front part of the cockpit.

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Royal Air Force roundel

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13 Squadron flash

A Tornado of No. 13 Squadron as seen at the 2007 CIAF air show in the Czech Republic

Above: a Tornado of No. 13 Squadron as seen at the 2007 CIAF air show in the Czech Republic. The squadron flew Tornado GR.1A aircraft from 1990, and later the GR.4 and GR.4A variants.

Here is ZA401 (a GR.4) at RAF Leuchars in 2005 with the 13 Sqn flash painted on the tail as well as the normal place, as part of the Squadron’s 90th anniversary celebrations:

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No. 13 Squadron RAF (Wikipedia)

That is a Panvia Tornado operated by the UK Royal Air Force.

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You can tell by the shape of the nose wheel door, and the rear of it has a characteristic boxy shape with the stabilators lower than the wing. The roundel is the RAF low visibility roundel.

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