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  1. Mayarra

    Mayarra Banned

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    Military "safe zones"

    Discussion in 'Research' started by Mayarra, Sep 5, 2017.

    In my story (fantasy) after a large bombing, I have the idea of the military setting up "safe zones" for surviving civilians, where they can find shelter and protection from unknown creatures that have been spotted. My main characters want to enter one of those zones.

    Does anyone know what might be the protocol at the gate to let them in? Can they just walk in, will they be held at gunpoint first, something else?

    Also, is there a specific branch of the military that would set it up? like the army or so.
    And what rank would be in charge of all personel in the zone?
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2017
  2. Shadowfax

    Shadowfax Contributor Contributor

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    1/ It's a fantasy, so the protocol will be whatever you say it is.

    Just make it sensible, so that nobody's likely to say "That wouldn't happen!"

    2/ Again, your story, so whichever branch of the military that you like would be in charge. Sensibly, it's not what an army is set up for - they're set up for fighting - so there probably wouldn't be a special unit for humanitarian aid of any sort. But you wouldn't use the Marines, the Seals, the Guards units, for that sort of thing - it would be a waste of your best fighting men - unless there was no alternative.

    3/Again, your story, your rules. For guidance, this is a table of military unit sizes I got from Wiki..https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battalion

    Typical units Typical numbers Typical commander
    fireteam 3–4 corporal
    squad/section 8–12 sergeant
    platoon 15–30 lieutenant
    company 80–150 captain/major
    cohort 300–800 lieutenant colonel
    regiment/brigade 2,000–4,000 colonel/brigadier general
    division/legion 10,000–15,000 major general
    corps 20,000–40,000 lieutenant general
    field army 80,000+ general
    army group 2+ field armies field marshal/five-star general
    region/theater 4+ army groups Six-star rank/Head of state
     
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  3. Mayarra

    Mayarra Banned

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    as for your second point, they would be set up for both fighting and aid was my initial thought.

    Basically what they are fighting are mutated humans and those unknown creatures who created the mutations, the camp would mainly be set up for non-mutated humans will will need protection in case of an attack. Judging form the table (thanks!), could a major be in charge of it with under him half army doing the guarding and fighting and half of another branch doing aid?

    It is my story, but it is happening on earth. and while there is no set timeline, I do want things to make sense. The easiest way to find ways that make sense is to look at what is done now.
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2017
  4. Shadowfax

    Shadowfax Contributor Contributor

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    I Googled "army humanitarian missions" to find that it does appear to be one of the major uses of an army nowadays!

    Unfortunately, I'm at work so couldn't access the websites; I'd suggest you draw inspiration from them.

    As far as the size of the unit involved...how many civilians are we talking about? I'd Google concentration camps to get an idea of how many military per civilian you'd need. Bear in mind you'd also have able-bodied civilians helping out.

    How close to the "front line" are these camps being set up? If it's really close, I'd expect them to be mainly transit camps, with a fast turnover of inmates as they get moved on to a more secure location. Look at the WWII evacuation of children from London to less dangerous locations farther West for ideas on how that might be arranged.
     
  5. Mayarra

    Mayarra Banned

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    Concentration camps were the start of my research, mainly for size. It was really troubling to find something useful on size actually, so I was forced to take another route. Games and movies like the idea of stadiums being used for things like that, sizes of which were easier to find. I did find some dimensions of those, so I think I will go with a camp of 500m by 500m. While movies and games are not the best of sources, it sounds to me like a reasonable size.

    For personnel and civilians, I mainly looked at jails too. I found that federal prisons may hold about 10 inmates per guard. Looking at police forces, I found a global average of about 250 civilians per police officer. Concentration camps were harder to research, but I will keep doing so if I need to. Information on Auschwitz got me 1.3 million captives and 7000 SS guards over the course of the war, around 1 guard per 185 captives. So I wanted to be somewhere inbetween and went with about 30 civilians per soldier. That seemed like a good balance for aid and protection, after all able-bodied civilians help out and they are not kept there against their will. I also found that for an area of 500x500 I could reasonably have 6000-7000 civilans, if going by prison statistics. Comfort and space don't seem like a first priority there, but I went with a maximum of 3000 civilians. That leaves a lot of room for military equipment and vehicles and such. That leads to about 100 soldiers, so 100-120 should be good. according to the table, it would be under charge of a Major or Captain probably then,

    would that all make sense?

    There are not really front lines as it is a conflict that goes on everywhere from every direction, but it is in a region that has it relatively quiet.
     
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  6. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Guardian-eating, tofu-reading dormivitus Supporter Contributor

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    Look into some of the United Nations bluehelmet work while Yugoslavia was coming apart and the Rwandan genocide. Both of those occasions were handled poorly, but they had a similar mission to yours: protecting innocent civilians from people who were trying (and unfortunately succeeding) to kill them. This will give you a baseline for how many troops planners thought would be enough, and what happened when they were wrong.

    Srebrenica Massacre

    Rwandan Peacekeeping Operation
     
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  7. Shadowfax

    Shadowfax Contributor Contributor

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    It sounds like you're using the dimensions of a maximum size baseball pitch...football pitches, both American and Association, are a lot smaller at 150m x 100m maximum (many smaller clubs in the UK have pitches that are a lot smaller, and visiting teams can get intimidated by a hostile crowd!) and cricket pitches are in the same ballpark as football(pun intended). But a stadium would also have the stands, and the utility spaces beneath them, so more area. However, most of this area would be open to the elements, so not suitable for long-term use, or use in bad weather.
     
  8. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    I'd say the army should be in charge of perimeter security and keeping order, but a humanitarian organisation (analogous to the UNHCR or the red cross) would be looking after the refugees inside the safe zone. As far as commanders go I'd say a captain for a small force (company sized) or a colonel if its a larger deal (or whatever ranks you decide to give)

    The dual set up of military looking after security from hostile forces and the humanitarian aid organisation caring for the refugees gives plenty of scope for conflict between the aims and views of the two groups.

    A good book for background is "emergency sex and other desperate measures" https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/0091908868/?tag=writingfor07a-20 which shows things from an aid workers perspective
     
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  9. Stormsong07

    Stormsong07 Contributor Contributor

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    If its inside the US, it'd probably be run by the National Guard.
    I work at a county jail and the ratio is 48 inmates to 1 officer.
    I'm ex-(US)Army so if you have any questions about ranks or unit sizes feel free to hit me up.
     
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  10. Mayarra

    Mayarra Banned

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    Thank you! I think it will be a great help!


    I mainly looked for size, to gain inspiration for the size that the army in my story could use for the safe zone. The area the story takes place in is not a stadium :) I went to up the size of it compared to the average stadium as it felt that with the equipment and vehicles it might need some more space. And where stadiums indeed have multiple "layers", my zone will have to do with only one.


    Thank you :) I indeed thought of having a humanitarian organisation enter it as well, but I am doubting if I can call any by name. I am rather careful when it comes to naming existing organisations in my story, like, maybe the red cross doesnt want to be mentioned in my story.


    Ah, I only found information for federal prisons which stated that they should have 1 officer per 10,2 prisoners. Thank you for your additional information ^^
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2017
  11. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    It's fantasy - make a name up - that's why I said analogous to

    Incidentally in terms of ratios since the people aren't prisoners per se its irrelevant - the army would send whatever it had available to the task and they wouldn't know how many refugees they had until they arrived
     

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