1. ShannonH
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    ShannonH Senior Member Supporter

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    Special Forces Vs Normal Military Techniques

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by ShannonH, Sep 28, 2016.

    Might be a long shot, but does anyone have any experience or knowledge regarding special forces military training and techniques.

    Not looking for a huge info dump but I'd be interested in some differences in how they operate/handle their weapon/etc compared to a normal soldier.

    Any help would be appreciated :)
     
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  2. Lifeline
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    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Supporter Contributor

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    Aren't we all :D

    I suggest reading up a bit. If you want books/documentaries tell me and I'll give you a list. Then we can discuss ;)
     
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  3. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

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    Could you be a tad more specific as to which branch and force you are referring. There are quite a few different Special Forces employed around the globe.
    So pick one that suits your fancy as it were.

    At the end of the day it comes down to the much more extensive and specialized training vs. a standard soldier who has a more basic and simplistic training
    model. There is a lot more involved than how either might be at handling a weapon, it is all about the training.
     
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  4. ShannonH
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    ShannonH Senior Member Supporter

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    Well, my WiP is in a sci fi setting so it doesn't have to exactly follow any specific unit.

    Just looking for more general differences.
     
  5. Scot
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    Scot Active Member

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    From what I've read, Special Forces tend not to take prisoners.
     
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  6. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

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    Well I will give you a global listing of all known Special Forces and you can explore those that
    you find interesting as far as SOP is concerned. Research is fun when you find what you need.
    Once you have an idea of what fits your Commandos then you know it was worth it to do a little
    research. :p

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_military_special_forces_units
     
  7. Iain Aschendale
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    Iain Aschendale Contributed Member Contributor

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    Yeah, it's a pretty broad topic, and one that even politicians tend not to understand well. To pull a couple out of the (US) hat, Marine Recon is meant to do just that: move ahead of the friendly lines and find out just what the enemy is up to. SEALS, on the other hand, evolved from underwater demolitions divers, and as such still spend quite a bit of their time in and around the water, while Green Berets were originally intended to go in and train resistance fighters to mess things up. Army Rangers were originally meant to jump out of airplanes.

    However, there's a lot of skill overlap. Almost everybody learns to jump out of airplanes and scuba dive these days, so one way that different groups specialize is by size. Some groups are specialized to work in small teams of five or six, while others can chuck a whole battalion at a problem. The key thing in common is that special ops have more training and operate in smaller numbers than their conventional counterparts, so you really need to decide what you want your characters to be doing, and how, then you can dig up information on which real-world unit(s) you'd like them to emulate.
     
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  8. Iain Aschendale
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    Iain Aschendale Contributed Member Contributor

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    Edit to the above: I should have said "policymakers" rather than "politicians". There's some overlap there, but I don't expect politicians to know much about the fine details.
     
  9. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I read Chris Ryan's novels for inspiration. :bigoops: They're pretty much always about the Regiment. And yeah, I know, it's fiction, but he seems to write about war and SF operations pretty realistically. I like how he put it at the beginning of Masters of War:

    Conflict is not a glamorous business. It's ugly and violent, and those who suffer the worst are not the politicians, for whom death tolls are little more than statistics. They are the ordinary people, stuck in the middle, and the soldiers sent to do the bidding of the masters of war.

    Plus he always mentions the gear his heroes use, although if you write sci-fi, you can't use modern makes and models.

    Of course you can also read non-fiction books, but by reading fiction, you'll get a better idea how to dramatize the action.
     
  10. Lifeline
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    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Supporter Contributor

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    I beg to differ - there can be no greater impact than reading non-fiction. There are two classes of non-fiction: Analyses and memoirs. I suggest you combine these two, and get a healthy *snickers* dose of RL talking and doing into the mix. Then you can write. :p
     
  11. big soft moose
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    big soft moose Active Member

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    I agree with caden - one of the best dramatic descruiptions of what its like to be under shellfire that ive read is from "close quarter battle" by Mike Curtis ( that bits about 2 para in the falklands, although he subsequently joins the SAS and fights in the gulf and bosnia ),, I'd also recomend Sabre Squadron and All Necesaary measures by Cameron Spence, and the One that Got a way by Chris Ryan.. - Id tend to give the Andy Mcnab books the swerve as hes been accused of making stuff up to make his actions seem more dramatic

    If your interest is more in US forces than Uk , I'd recomend Born Survivor by Marcus Lutrell, and American Sniper by Chris Kyle

    For mercenary, rhodesian and south african action I'd recomend No mean soldier by Peter Macalese

    One point on nationalities is that the Us and Uk use different ranks, weapons, slang etc although there is some comonality, so I'd say pick one or the other for the basis of your fictional force and stick with it.

    The other point about whether they take prisoners and how brutal they are etc varies a lot from nationality to nationality , and unit to unit (and war to war for that matter) , for example British SF don't generally kill unarmed civilians (except for terorrists who are considered fair game), so for example Bravo Two zero (Mcnab and Ryans patrol in gulf one) was compromised because they didnt kill a shepherd biy who stumbled across them - the Recondos (aperthied era south africa SF) on the other hand would happily take out whole villages with flame throwers and machine guns whilst fighting in against swapo in Namibia , and some of the stuff the Spetnaz (russians) got up to in chechnya would be considered a war crime if it was done by western troops
     
  12. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    This is a completely different discussion, though: whether one can learn to write a fictional novel solely based on what they've gleaned from non-fiction books, in which case the discussion would veer into technicalities like crafting a scene, understanding pacing, showing vs. telling, etc. I do believe it's important for a writer to read, read, and read: your own genre, outside your genre, modern works, historical works, everything and anything. :p

    I read both fiction and non-fiction because for me they're two different formats. Not as separate as a TV script/show is from a novel, but still not exactly the same when it comes to composition.

    I actually haven't read Chris Ryan's memoir The One That Got Away to find out how much different it is from his fictional works. Fiction is allowed to embellish and dramatize, fiction expects the reader to suspend their disbelief, while non-fiction should convey reality, although that too can amaze and entertain.

    But yes, it was hasty of me to say that by reading fiction, you'll get a better idea how to dramatize the action because that sounds like an oversimplification.
     
  13. ShannonH
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    ShannonH Senior Member Supporter

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    I read Bravo Two Zero a few times, as well as Soldier Five. Both good books, although Solider Five was written by one of the other B2Z members as a response to some of the claims made by McNabb.

    Tried to read the One That Got Away but couldn't get into it.
     
  14. big soft moose
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    big soft moose Active Member

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    The thing about B2Z is that it maybe better seen as basically fiction loosely based on fact - like for example with the scene where their hijacked car runs into a roadblock and they fight there way out ... according to other soucres that didnt happen ...they drove until they ran out of petrol and then ditched it

    That said you can take the book "the real Bravo Two zero" with a big pinch of salt too as that was written with the help of the iraqi authorities and they were probably full of shit.

    For a completely diffeent look at things theres also Jilly McNabs bok "living with the SAS" (she's andy mcnabs third wife i think) - shes clearly pretty bitter and trying to trade on his fame, and that colours what she writes but it does have some interesting content about the effect that SF life has on the soldiers and those arround them
     
  15. ShannonH
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    ShannonH Senior Member Supporter

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    That's the book by Michael Asher, right? Haven't read that one and probably won't. I read his biography and didn't find him overly likable.

    Soldier Five is a completely different book, written by Mike Coburn who, unlike Asher, was actually part of the patrol. He's called 'Mark' in B2Z.
     
  16. big soft moose
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    big soft moose Active Member

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    Yep , Michael Asher struck me as being full to the brim with bulshit (his novel the last comando is quite readble if you don't expect histrocal accuracy). I havent read soldier 5, after reading B2Z, RB2Z and ToTGA, I decided i didnt need to read any more about that patrol - especially when you consider that both D & A squadrons SAS were also in theatre and conducted highly succesful half squadron convoy operations, but books about that are thin on the ground (this is what sabre squardon is about by cameron spence, and curtis also covers in a few chapters of CQB) , 4 books seems excessive for a tiny part of B squadron failing to complete their mission.
     
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