1. JadeX

    JadeX Senior Member

    Jul 20, 2015
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    Ohio, U.S. of A.

    List of skills needed for a revolution

    Discussion in 'Research' started by JadeX, Sep 5, 2015.

    The central focus of my book is an armed revolution/uprising against a hostile government. In order to successfully wage war, one must have many people with a wide variety of skills for a wide variety of purposes and jobs. I am going to have "Loads and Loads of Characters" (as TVtropes calls it), and many of them will die. So, to keep things clear, I am creating an Excel document which lists all my characters across the top, and all the required skills down the side, with an "X" in each character's column for each skill that they have. For example, one character is a mechanic/welder by trade, so her skills would include welding, assembling things by hand, reading blueprints, etc.

    So here's where I need help, since I must think so broadly and include every last necessary function: I need help compiling a list of various general skills that would be useful in serving the roles needed by a revolutionary army.

    So far I have:
    - Running
    - Climbing
    - Welding
    - Reading blueprints
    - Operating heavy machinery
    - Assembling things by hand
    - Mixing chemicals to create compounds
    - Record keeping
    - Map reading
    - Food preparation
    - Construction
    - Carpentry
    - Organisation
    - Radio operation

    What other skills would be necessary to support a makeshift army? The more, the better. Thanks!
  2. Mumble Bee

    Mumble Bee Custom Title. Contributor

    May 18, 2015
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    Revolutionary army gives the impression that it's a fluid situation, you'd need someone charismatic to not only get new members but keep the ones you have. A cause would really help, propaganda, ideals to rally behind.

    Tactics, you're probably fighting a much more organized force so guerrilla warfare is a must.

    Some sort of new government / plan for if you win could be helpful for... reasons?
  3. Akarevaar

    Akarevaar Member

    Aug 31, 2015
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    Gold Coast, Australia
    Combat skills e.g hand to hand, fire arms, melee combat. Medical skills and knowledge e.g CPR, first aid training, surgery.
  4. Inks

    Inks Senior Member

    Aug 24, 2015
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    The setting is everything to me, but almost all of the requisite "combat / survival" tactics and information that you could ever want comes from most simple military handbooks. Having such a book basically means every single person could cover a vast range of situations whereas the "leadership" focuses on logistics, operations and the all important monetary aspect.

    Instead of "skills" it is often proficiency and the application of knowledge which makes the core. Military skills can be thought of in the same way as domestic skills. Tailor to use.
  5. JadeX

    JadeX Senior Member

    Jul 20, 2015
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    Ohio, U.S. of A.
    @Akarevaar Medical skills, of course! Duh. Not sure how I overlooked that, especially since I do have a doctor character. Thanks for reminding me.

    @Chained Yeah, as far as overall tactics and such, I've got that covered. What I'm looking for are individual skills.

    @Inks Well, they are starting from scratch. They'll need to build most of their infrastructure themselves; bases, barracks, outposts, buildings. This is [50 yrs] after WW3, so most of their weapons will be built by capturing abandoned pre-war weapon factories and using the machinery within to produce weapons, or alternatively by assembling weapons out of existing parts from "lucky finds".

    They'll make use of hackers to uncover classified government documents regarding past crimes and atrocities, to provide evidence for propaganda.

    Obviously an army has to eat, so food cultivation, preparation, and preservation is a must.

    Hmm... what else is there? There are very few skills that won't be useful in some way - not all characters have to engage in combat or even necessarily be able-bodied.
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2015
  6. Nicoel

    Nicoel Senior Member

    Jan 4, 2015
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    -Leadership/Charisma. Not many people are good enough at leading to be a leader at the head of a leadership that's possibly fatal. I'm not saying tactics, and such, I'm saying you need a MLK Jr type person. This is a talent, as well as something to study (quite like writing). They've got to have speaking skills, and be able to whip up a crowd. They've got to be a MOTIVATOR.
    -Don't Forget The Basics. Cleaning, hygiene, keeping everything up to date etc
    -Couriers. Bringing documents between leaders and between forces

    Hope I helped!
    JadeX likes this.
  7. nippy818

    nippy818 Active Member

    Mar 30, 2014
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    The American revolution was a bunch of lucky underdogs and military mishaps on the part of the British. The men of the continental army and local militias used skills from day to day life to fight on the field and guerrilla styles. You really need young impressionable kids. On cracked.com there is an article written by an Ex IRA member that goes into their revolution. Defiantly check it out. remember, the Americans were branded as terrorists even by our allies during the revolution.
  8. Bethany35

    Bethany35 Active Member

    Aug 8, 2015
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    London, UK
    You would also need strategists, a spokesperson and weaponry.
  9. plothog

    plothog Contributor Contributor

    Jul 24, 2013
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    Scouts for reconnaissance.
    Sailors (depending if there is a sea or lake nearby)
  10. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll Wrting is never clean. :) Contributor

    Aug 8, 2015
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    Where cushions are comfy, and straps hold firm.
    Strong psyche
    At least crude emergency medical training
  11. Mike Hill

    Mike Hill Natural born citizen of republic of Finland.

    May 12, 2014
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    People who are able to keep troops loyal. Succesful rebels make their enemies fear them. That is also why they sometimes do awful. For example what Crow's did to whites they captured. I wont go in to detail. That could also be a moral dilemma for your characters.
  12. Lew

    Lew Contributor Contributor

    Sep 30, 2015
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    Examine the situation in Syria to see how a revolution evolved out of social unrest.

    1. You need a spark, in Syria's case the self immolation around 2011.

    2. You need a ham-handed government response to move some of the civil population from being just angry, to seeing no alternative to the government but violence. In most revolutions, a third or less of the population takes an active role to overthrow the government, a third or more will support the government to put down the revolution, and around a third wish both would just leave them alone.

    3. Leadership. Social demonstrations don't do anything but get themselves killed or imprisoned. Somewhere usually at the small unit level, you need leaders to take charge. These are mil/ex-mil types that can start identifying what is needed, and you need usually a criminal/radical element that can get it. This is key problem... the criminal/radical element usually takes over because they have had these connections for some time. These small units have to coalesce into a unified whole, which did NOT happen in Syria... we have at least three factions fighting each other and the Assad government.

    4. Secure areas. You have a have a secure place to train and plan operations, such as Castro's Sierra Madre mountains in Cuba, Anbar in Iraq, Raqqa in Syria.

    5. Weapons/logistics. Che Guevara's book on revolution is an interesting case study for how to mount a successful revolution. He issued newbies single shot rifles or shotguns so as to not waste ammo. Each op was planned to gain more ammo/weapons than were expended. After each engagement, brass was policed up, so it could be reloaded, and anyone who did waste ammo could spend 30 days back at camp reloading that brass to learn how valuable ammo was.

    6. As it matures, the insurgency must attain the status of a comparable force, able to take and hold territory and restrict movement of government forces. Again Castro/Che did this in Cuba, and ISIS has done this in Syria/Iraq. Ultimately, they must change roles and become the strategically dominant force, able to challenge and defeat government forces at will.

    7. Also while holding territory, they must pick up the distasteful role of governing it. Schools, sanitation, markets, etc., also must function under their administration.

    The rest are details tailored to the situation.
  13. rja2015

    rja2015 New Member

    Oct 10, 2015
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    You might want to include computer hacking skills if your story is set somewhere during the 90's to present.
  14. Rickswan

    Rickswan Member

    Apr 21, 2012
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    Well, remember that one man's terrorist is another's freedom fighter. Looking through that looking glass, and a little knowledge of 4th Generation Warfare, you have things like IED makers, psychological warfare specialists, interrogators, an R&D division, administration, recruitment, etc. Don't forget finance - being an underground organization, it may have to get financing from less-than-legal means, like narcotics or worse. If you don't want to go that route, then your rebellion will need wealthy backers to sponsor them and funnel them goods, such as clothing, weapons, and equipment. The rebellion will need supply lines, so smugglers, gun runners, scouts, lobbyists, spies, etc. will all be important. Your leadership is also important - when the revolution succeeds, remember that the new government is going to have their work cut out for them - creating a whole new government requires legislators, a strong constitution (or similar work), a firm military structure, educators, etc.

    Less on the macro scale, more on the individual scale, here are some ideas I got from looking at military MOS's and the Anarchist Cookbook:
    • counterfeiting
    • chemistry
    • engineering
    • social engineering
    • logistics
    • communications
    • utilities / equipment maintenance
    • ordinance / artillery / heavy weapon knowledge
    • aviation
    • chemical / nuclear warfare
    • linguist / translator / interpreter
    • food service
    • transportation
    • knowledge of security
    • land navigation / map reading
    • electrician
    • inventors
    • finances
    • civil affairs / PR / social skills / social media
    • religious services (if you're into that sort of thing) / counseling / mental health specialists
    • medicine
    • ammunition maintenance
    • procurement (how do they get things?)
    • writing (propaganda, proper grammar and spelling in order to be taken seriously, paperwork, etc.)
    So there are some ideas.
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