Recon Team, Ranks, Cast, and Changes
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Recon Team, Ranks, Cast, and Changes

Recon Team, Ranks, Cast, and Changes

Lists of ranks were the kind of thing I was planning to put into the Classified Military Info /Infopedia section of the website, but I’ve decided to write some up and here they are in this post, together with a revised Table of Organization & Equipment for the start of the book (which amounts to a cast of characters – well, most of them — and now includes nicknames).

This is as a result of feedback from the Recon Team, which is why you’re so helpful in making this book as good as it can be.

I’ll list the changes, so that if you’re in the Recon Team, and haven’t yet read the book, you will be aware of them.

  1. I’ve changed the most junior Marine rank from ‘Ensign’ to ‘2nd Lieutenant’. That means Brandt and Xin change their rank
  2. I’ve changed the numbering convention from ‘1 Section’, ‘3 Section’ etc to ‘1st Section’ etc.
  3. A few minor characters have changed to a more Anglicized name.

A brief explanation:

For the first two points, I’ve always taken care not to faithfully reproduce the conventions of any real-life military organization, but I do borrow a lot of familiar terms. I do that to make the text easy to follow, while quietly reinforcing that the characters are not part of a military organization that traces direct descent from a real life service. However, readability trumps other concerns, and ‘Ensign’ in particular caused confusion because some readers strongly associate that rank with the navy.

I have already used ‘Ensign’ as a Marine rank in earlier books, but the rank table below explains why the Legion doesn’t by the time of this book. 🙂

As for the slightly more Anglicized names, during Renegade Legion I make the point in other ways that there is an unconscious assumption of Anglo-American cultural dominance in this group of characters. There is a story reason why that should be so with this particular group that I don’t wish to go into here (Except to say that there are many other settlements primed with the million children handed over in the Vancouver Accords. Others may have evolved very different cultures.). On reflection, that cultural dominance wasn’t reflected in the names, so I have slightly nudged the balance.


Infopedia Entry: Early Human Legion Ranks

For centuries our predecessors in the Human Marine Corps had their unit structures and ranks determined by Jotun officers according to local needs, officer whims, and planned experimentation. With the creation of the Human Legion came the opportunity to set new human ranks and structures. The initial rank structures were swiftly overtaken by the actual usage of Marine and Navy personnel, and then complicated further as the Legion grew to absorb new service roles and specialisms, such as: Ground Army, Void Engineers, Cyber War, Artillery, Irregulars, Air Force, Pacification, Diplomacy, Logistics, and many others. Rank and unit structure became even more convoluted when the Legion expanded to include biologically non-human units.

So it proved a good decision right from the beginning of the Legion to follow an earlier Earth pattern of numbering ranks in order of seniority, and further splitting into enlisted and officer ranks, even though the concepts of enlistment, commissioning, and conscription had no practical meaning in the early decades of the Legion. Even when units with mutually incomprehensible rank names were forced to merge, this rank numbering allowed commanders to quickly make sense of seniority.

Here are the very first Legion rank lists. In the First Tranquility Campaign, several of these ranks and their roles were theoretical, with no one actually in those posts. There were no warrant officer ranks at this time.

Service: Void Marine

Rank Rank Name Notes
E1 Marine Sometimes called ‘carabiniers’ after principle weapon, the SA-71 assault carbine.
E2 Lance Corporal Typically would lead a fire team or specialist small unit, such as a gun crew.
E3 Corporal Typically would lead a fire team or specialist small unit, such as a gun crew.
E4 Lance Sergeant Typically would lead a section or specialist small unit, such as a gun crew.
E5 Sergeant Typically would be the senior NCO in a squad or taskforce.
E6 Senior Sergeant
E7 Master Sergeant
E8 Sergeant Major
O1 Ensign/ 2nd Lieutenant The initial rank name for the most junior Marine officer rank was ‘Ensign’, as it had been with the Human Marine Corps. However, this proved deeply unpopular because the rank was associated with the notorious traitor, Marine Ensign Fraser McEwan. After a brief, informal use of ‘Subaltern’, the Legion had settled on ‘2nd Lieutenant’ by the time of the First Tranquility Campaign. Other services, notably the Navy, continue to use ‘Ensign’ as the O1 rank name.
O2 Lieutenant
O3 Captain
O4 Major Officer ranks above O4 were not added until later. This caused some friction in the First Tranquility Campaign because the Marine O4-ranked Major McEwan was in overall command of the Legion, despite the presence of Navy O5-ranked Captain Indiya.

Service: Void Navy

E1 Spacer Void Navy personnel qualified as flight crew take the prefix ‘flying’. For example, ‘Flying Petty Officer’. The Atmospheric Air Force take the same approach but use the prefix ‘flight’, as in ‘Flight Sergeant’.
E2 Leading Spacer Navy ranks are often officially referred to along with their specialism. For example: ‘Spacer – damage control’. Or ‘Leading Spacer – signals’. The same is true unofficially, of course. Naval signals specialists would be more likely in everyday shipboard life to be called ‘bunting tossers’, though not always to their face.
E3 Petty Officer
E4 Chief Petty Officer More senior enlisted ranks were added later.
O1 Ensign
O2 Lieutenant
O3 Lieutenant Commander
O4 Commander
O5 Captain Ranks above O5 were added later.

The rank of Reserve Captain was considered an honorary rank assigned to a unique Jotun individual.

Different services, and even units within those services, have always had an insatiable tendency to foster a sense of distinctiveness. These can manifest as subtle differences in uniform insignia, saluting, protocol in addressing superiors, rituals of remembrance, and of course, rank naming. That distinctiveness helps to build the core belief that your unit is truly the best. A common practice is to reach back in time to Earth history and re-invent ancient rituals and terminology and apply them to the modern era.

For example, the official name of the E0 rank for Army units is ‘Rifleman’ [see note below on gender naming]. However, some army units insist on using archaic terms such as ‘Private’, ‘Fusilier’, or ‘Infantryman’. In addition, ‘Rifleman’ and ‘Fusilier’ are sometimes used to refer to all personnel in a unit, even officers (although at other times, junior enlisted ranks only), much as ‘Marine’ or ‘Carabinier’ is used in this way by Void Marines.

Some other common formal and informal terms for junior enlisted ranks by service:

Engineer: Digger, Sapper

Diplomacy: Speaker, Schmooze.

Supply/ Logistics: Trucker, Wagoneer

Artillery: Gunner, Bombardier

Signals: Signaler, Flag waver or bunting tosser (after an ancient form of visual communication), Tapper (after the encoding tool used in ancient electromagnetic telegraphy)

A note on gender in rank naming

The Human language is a senseless wonder, with such an ability to absorb loan words that alien linguists regard Human speech as a pigeon trading language. The use of gender in addressing service personnel is one example of haphazard convention that has grown up with little logic or consistency.

Several ranks take on a male form, such as Rifleman, but are applied indiscriminately to both male and female, and indeed, non-human personnel. Some say this is a tradition from a past when infantry soldiers were almost always male. Probably the ‘man’ ending has endured because it is a single syllable.

But there are other conventions, equally illogical, that stem from more recent tradition. For many centuries, human combat personnel were led by Jotun officers, and senior Jotuns were predominately female. As a result when referring to officers in general, rather than to a specific individual with a known gender, they are always referred to as ‘she’. For example, an officer training guide might have the sentence: ‘For an officer to be effective, she must understand and earn the respect of her senior NCOs.’

A male officer would not find this strange in the slightest, any more than a female E0 infantry soldier would think twice about referring to herself as a rifleman. If questioned on this point, both would readily point to many examples of far more convoluted military logic.

Another gender issue — the protocol for addressing superior female officers — is also inconsistent. Marine and Atmospheric Air Force units tend use the address “ma’am”, while Navy and Army use “sir”.

As a final note, check the ‘last updated’ metadata for this Infopedia entry. Conventions evolve over time. If you encounter a unit you aren’t familiar with, scout out their protocols first. Expect them to do the same to you.

HUMAN LEGION Expeditionary Force

Initial TO&E on the eve of the First Tranquility Campaign 2568AD

FORCE PATAGONIA (Maj. Arun McEwan, Snr. Sgt. Suresh Gupta)


Major Arun McEwan

Senior Sergeant Suresh Gupta

Cpl. Puja Narciso [Senior Medic & Scout]


Marine Christanne Cusato [GX

Assistant; command section runner]

Marine Stok Laskosk (Lockstock) [missile launcher specialist]

Marine Jerry Chung [GX cannon specialist]

1st SECTION: (LSgt Hecht)

~~ Alpha Fire Team ~~

LSgt. Menes Hecht

Marine Laban Caccamo

Marine Marcus Ballantyne

Marine Kamaria Monroe

~~ Beta Fire Team ~~

LCpl Rozalia Naron

Marine Rahul Bojin (Bodger)

Marine Alex Stafford

Marine Norah Lewark

2nd  SECTION: (Cpl Kalis)

~~ Alpha Fire Team ~~

Cpl. Ferrant Kalis

Marine Serge Rhenolotte (Zug)

Marine Umarov

Marine Phaedra Tremayne (Springer)

~~ Beta Fire Team ~~

LCpl. Mikella Yoshioka

Marine Cheikh Okoro

Marine Xalvadora Schimschak

Marine Johannes Binning

FORCE KENYA (Lt. Tirunesh Nhlappo, Sgt. Estella Majanita)

3rd SECTION: (LSgt Shirazi)

~~ Alpha Fire Team ~~

LSgt. Bahadur Shirazi

Marine Vilok Altstein [Fermi Cannon specialist]

Marine Azinza Sadri [Fermi Cannon assistant]

Marine David Ho [missile launcher specialist]

Marine Kolenja Abramovski [sniper]

~~ Beta Fire Team~~

LCpl. Martin Sandhu (Sandy)

Marine Angelynn McCoy

Marine Erline Starn

Marine Swami Okafor (Pud)

4th SECTION: (Cpl Sesay)

~~ Alpha Fire Team ~~

Cpl. Mbizi Sesay (Bizzy)

Marine Alandra Bettencourt

Marine Agelaus Dada

Marine Xihuitl Norbert

~~ Beta Fire Team ~~

LCpl. Del-Marie Sandure

Marine Shehariah Conteh

Marine Najah Jeretzki

Marine Jaidyn Hopper

FORCE MEXICO (2Lt. Edward Brandt, Sgt. Bernard Exelmans)

5th SECTION: (Cpl Khurana)

~~ Alpha Fire Team ~~

Cpl. Uma Khurana

Marine Adeline Feria

Marine Halici

Marine Mark Forbes

~~ Beta Fire Team ~~

LCpl. Bilal Owusu

Marine Zakiya Dia

Marine Kuan-Yin Chou

Marine Slayman Feg

6th SECTION: (Cpl DeBenedetto)

~~ Alpha Fire Team  ~~

Cpl. Serefina DeBenedetto

Marine Kantrowicz (Three Blades)

Marine Zane

Marine Tedman Ottaviani (Teddy)

~~ Beta Fire Team ~~

LCpl. Adebayo Toure

Marine Calina Atwal

Marine Lele Congo

Marine Sabir Eisele (Slingshot)


Beowulf Marine Reserve- (2 Lt. Lee, Cpl. Zack Cockburn)


2nd Lieutenant Xin Lee + 10 effectives + 2 not fit for duty, recovering from injuries.


  1. Rob Barayuga says:

    Detailed and meticulous as always mate.

  2. SGT MIKE says:

    Well done, and you made the changes fit your narrative so bravo!!!

  3. ruopp says:

    I just have a question for those of you that have a military background:

    Is it possible in a real combat company have the platoon medic be the scout too?

    As I understand, all medics are riflemen but they carry a heavy load for medical emergencies, not only the first aid kit issued to all.

    On the other hand scouts should have light gear to keep their concealment while scouting.

    Another reason to not have your senior medic as a scout is that you can’t endanger the one that is responsible to save the lives of your troop scouting. It doesn’t make sense.

    On the US Marine Corps it’s usual that the scout is a private or Lance corporal. I don’t know about the army but I should think that it’s the same.

    Not that it bothers me but as you’re using rifleman and marine to refer to the troops and I guess you lend it from the Marines, wouldn’t it be more logic to use corpsman instead of medic? Medic is used by the Army and Corpsman by the Marines.

    • timctaylor says:

      Ahh! Yes, I think you’ve spotted something, Hans. An individual might have expertise in both but doesn’t make sense to have specialist role as scout and chief medic. I’ll have to think on this. We do see Puja in the book acting more as chief medical consultant, and others responsible for casualties in their section, but that doesn’t come out in the chart.

      Medic vs corpsman? Well, that’s just one example where I’m deliberately not copying any real modern day organisation, but cherry picking bits and pieces and adding my own. Corpsman to me sounds too specific to the US Navy and Marines.

      Thanks for your comments. Keep it coming!

      • SGT Mike says:

        Why not do-opt some non military terminology from the paramedic field? Just a thought, but remember that no matter the title, the relationship between a grunt and his ‘Doc’ is special. It’s part priest, part paternal/maternal and part sacred cow. You take extreme measures to protect your medic because they’re often the difference between you living or dying. They be shot you’re screwed, but if you take the bullet you’ve still got a chance at living because they can save you. Just some food for thought…

      • SGT Mike says:

        😁That should read CO-OPT.😁

  4. ruopp says:

    Sorry for this second comment but I think the your weapons section is missing at least 2 people, those for handle the ammunition.

    Usually the weapons specialist use to be the leader not the assistant and they also use to be corporal or Lance corporal.

    Can we also understand that Section is what a squad is and what you call Force is a platoon?

    I understand that you you said in the beginning of this post that you were not following strictly existing military structure but using names that already exists in the real military to signify another structure will only contribute to make people more confuse.

    In the real military (Marines US or UK) Section is only used to refer to heavy weapons. Riffle men composes platoons.

    A couple of years ago I started to delineate a sci-fi story based on Marines and I made a lot of research on their structures because future or not, sci-fi or not some rules are the same. Below is a US Marines company structure. Numbers between parenthesis are the quantity of each. I used dots in the beginning to ident so you can differentiate the levels.

    Rifle Company
    Company Headquarters
    .Company Commander (Commanding Officer/CO) – Captain (O-3)
    .Executive Officer (XO) – usually a First Lieutenant (O-2)
    .First Sergeant (1stSgt, E-8)
    .Gunnery Sergeant (GySgt, E-7)
    .Property NCO (Sgt, E-5)
    .Messenger/Driver (Pvt-LCpl, E-1/3)
    .Rifle Platoon (3)
    ..Platoon Headquarters
    …Platoon Commander – Lieutenant (O-1/2)
    …Platoon Sergeant – Staff Sergeant (E-6)
    …Platoon Guide – Sergeant (E-5)
    …Messenger – (Pvt-LCpl, E-1/3)
    ..Rifle Squad (3)
    …Squad Leader – Sergeant (E-5)
    …Fire Team (3)
    …Team Leader/Grenadier – Corporal (E-4)
    …Automatic Rifleman – Lance Corporal (E-3)
    …Assistant Automatic Rifleman – (Pvt-LCpl, E-1/3)
    …Rifleman/Scout – (Pvt-LCpl, E-1/3)
    ..Weapons Platoon
    …Platoon Headquarters
    …Platoon Commander – usually a First Lieutenant (O-2)
    …Platoon Sergeant – Gunnery Sergeant (E-7)
    Machine Gun Section (6 – M240G 7.62mm general-purpose machine guns)
    ….Section Leader – Staff Sergeant (E-6)
    ….Machine Gun Squad (3)
    …..Squad Leader – Sergeant (E-5)
    …..Machine Gun Team (2)
    ……Team Leader – Corporal (E-4)
    ……Gunner – Lance Corporal (E-3
    ……Ammunition Man – (Pvt-LCpl, E-1/3)
    LWCMS Mortar Section (3 – M224 60mm Light Weight Company Mortar Systems)
    ….Section Leader – Staff Sergeant (E-6)
    …..Mortar Squad (3)
    …….Squad Leader/Gunner – Corporal (E-4)
    …….Assistant Gunner – Lance Corporal (E-3)
    …….Ammunition Man (2) – (Pvt-LCpl, E-1/3)
    Assault Section (6 – Mk153 SMAW Shoulder launched Multipurpose Assault Weapon launchers)
    ….Section Leader – Sergeant (E-5)
    ….Assault Squad (3)
    …..Squad Leader/Team Leader/Gunner – Corporal (E-4)
    ……Team Leader/Gunner – Lance Corporal (E-3)
    ……Assistant Gunner (2) – (Pvt-LCpl, E-1/3)

    Tim you know that I’m a fan and support your work so I beg you to forgive me my critics.


    • timctaylor says:

      Hi Hans, keep it coming. I need to be kept on my toes! Well, I agree that if we have weapons sub-units then someone needs to be in charge of them. I think what you’ve described in your company organization is essentially where the Legion at this point is headed, but at the moment must make do with what it can scratch up. I will probably keep that kind of detail to the website and appendixes to avoid scaring off the more casual reader (but still putting it somewhere because, as a reader, I love that kind of detail).

      Squad – section – platoon! Yes, in the first two books squad was used more or less to mean platoon and section to mean squad or section depending on which army you’re talking about. The Legion has made some changes to unit names and uniforms while keeping it essentially similar. We’re probably going to introduce the term platoon next time. Haven’t quite decided. In my use of section I was thinking specifically of the British Army.

    • SGT Mike says:

      That’s a Marine rifle platoon, an Army platoon has a Staff Sergeant (E6) as the squad leader instead of a buck Sergeant (E5). A sergeant (E5) is often a Team Leader, though for the junior fire team in a squad I’ve seen Corporals (E4) used as well. However, traditionally aLegion structure had larger base units which is another monkey wrench in your carefully crafted TO&E!! 😂😂😂

      PS: Please don’t shoot the messenger! 🙏

      • ruopp says:

        🙂 🙂 :-).

        Why should I shoot the messenger? I said the I made a research based on the marines. It’s me to ask you to forgive me if I was not clear when posting the company structure.

      • SGT MIKE says:


        This is Military Science Fiction, we often kill the messenger… and on bad days we torture them first!!

        SGT MIKE

  5. SGT Mike says:

    No, the medic wouldn’t be the scout in ideal times but I chalked it up to desperate times and the lack of troops. As the legion grows, that double duty wouldn’t make sense, but for book 3 it does.

    Moving on, in an ideal world you’d have a scout as a stand alone job but you could also pair a lightly outfitted scout with other duties as LRRP tasks (long range reconnessense patrols), though he’d have to gear up for that. The LRRP, or lurp as its called, carry equipment needed to sustain them on long missions into enemy country where little back up is expected. And yes, the scout is lower ranking soldier because they’re considered expendable assets. Ideally the LRRP & Scout would be solo fire teams but I’ve seen them paired before too.

    Moving into the title for the medical technician, you could compromise and use the endearment ‘Doc.’ That is the title which can is universally used by grunts (infantrymen) everywhere to refer to the medic/corpsman.

    As for the lack of ammo bearers, might the load baring capacity of the new battle suits eliminate the need for that task? Just some food for thought!

    Hope it helps!


    • ruopp says:

      Hi Sgt. Mike,

      Thanks for you insight. 🙂

      As for the lack of ammo bearers, might the load baring capacity of the new battle suits eliminate the need for that task?

      I thought about that but powered armor or not there is always the problem of size. I agree that railgun flechettes are small and only weight is a problem and that means a powered armor will deal with that. But what about missiles? It’s not about weight anymore. How much can you imagine a marine in powered armor can carry? How fast will he be to reload the launcher during a combat situation? Well I’m assuming the launchers are not single use like the M72 LAW but more like the Mk. 153 SMAW.

      • SGT Mike says:

        Excellent point!! That makes absolute sense to have gunners aides, if for no other reason than to have someone on hand to defend the skilled heavy weapons technicians. You’ve got me thinking about other aspects along those lines as well. You would absolutely try to protect your skilled Marines (snipers, medics, heavy weapons, etc) and their equipment as valuable assets when in the field. The average grunt can be easily replaced, a highly trained and proficient weaponer not so much.

        SGT MIKE

    • timctaylor says:

      Having a powered exoskeleton does make a big difference, but not entirely. The big kit (GX and Fermi cannons) are broken down and carried by two people. Some of the heavy weapon munitions are shared out around the unit.

      • SGT Mike says:

        Then adding A-Gunners (Assistant Gunner) and Ammo Carriers makes absolute tactical sense for your unit TO&E.

      • ruopp says:

        Tim, what do you mean by “Unit”? Is it the section or the force? If it’s the former, there will be not enough ammunition for the GX Cannon and the missile launcher if both the specialist and the assistant will be carrying the gun. You’ll have only one carrying the GX ammo and the other carrying missiles. If it’s the latter you should rethink because it will be not really practical in a combat situation. You can’t keep all your Force together to unload the heavy weapons ammo, they have to spread in order to deny the enemy an easy target.

  6. SGT MIKE says:

    Might something like this solve the problem of proper ammo distribution?

    • SGT MIKE says:

      Obviously you would improve the tech to something more functional than the current state of this robotic equipment transportation device.

  7. timctaylor says:

    Mike and Hans, you’re cooking up some great ideas. I’ll read them all through in more detail when I get back. I’ll explain where I’m going shortly…

  8. ruopp says:

    Hi Tim,

    I’ve been making some research about the medic designation and I have to say that you’re right on your choice. Medic is a much better choice and is used everywhere but the USMC.

    I also found a site that has a lot of real combat tactics deployment, etc. I suppose they are based on the US Field Manuals as they use many FM illustrations. But the important is that they use an easier language than you find on the FMs. I think that Sgt Mike and other with military experience can say if the content is valid.

    IMHO, these texts may help you have a much better idea of tactics so you can better visualize the combat scenes for the Legion.

    Here is the link: http://www.armchairgeneral.com/category/tactics101

    I read the post Tactics 101 – 093 (The Infantry Platoon) and found it a good reading. To the experts to say if the information is good.


    • SGT MIKE says:


      The information on that site is great, but the danger with FM’s is that some begin to treat them as religious texts from which one must not deviate. However, in my not so humble opinion, they should instead serve as examples of the kind of critical thinking needed from unit leadership. It is about reading the field and then figuring out what the logical tactics would be based on the situation at hand. Often, this incorporates the tried and true tactics in the FM’s but in a more dynamic fashion. Yes, SOP and the FM dictates that the best way to survive a well laid out ambush is to assault through it but HOW you do so can be where your individual ingenuity comes to play. This was, and is, a source of constant tug-a-war within military circles today. I remember more than a few butt chewing’s from training sergeants because my small unit combat solutions were outside of the box they built for us. Hope that was as clear as mud, can’t wait to see what our other military veterans and tactical thinkers have to say!!!

      SGT Mike

      • ruopp says:

        Hi Sgt. Mike,

        Thanks for your answer. Everything is clear as mud. 🙂

        I absolutely agree with you about the FMs. They are more to teach recruits not to screw up during their first deployment than to teach seasoned warriors.

        There are two quotes that I really love and that explain this very well:

        War is a democracy in the truest possible sense. The enemy gets a vote.

        The problem with any kind of battle plan is that it never survives first contact with the enemy.

        The last one is the most true about following FM as a bible. The enemy read it too.

      • SGT MIKE says:


        Glad I could help! Love that first quote!!!! Can’t wait to see what Tim has to see about all these posts!! Just remember, the best strategy for warfare was summarized by General Patton: “The object of war is not to die for your country, but to make the other sorry bastard die for his.”

        SGT MIKE

  9. timctaylor says:

    Thanks for doing all my thinking for me while I was busy sinking beers 🙂

    I’ve rejigged the text so you get a couple of references to everyone lugging the cannon ammo around. Hans, that’s around 20 people. That auto carrier is a great idea. The suit AIs they’re running with in book 3 have limiters that they have limited ability to survive without their assigned human (at least, that’s the most common way it works). But there are refinements in technology coming. They have spare suits. I can certainly see an empty one used as a load carrier, operated by either a spare AI, or even use an empty battlesuit or two slaved to the suit AI in the cannon operator’s suit. Don’t think I explained that quite right. I mean, essentially, Bluetoothed suits running on autopilot. Hmmm. That’s a good idea.

    • ruopp says:

      Hey Tim welcome back! I wish you have had a lot of fun and drunk at least one beer for each of us. 🙂

      I still don’t forgive you for not asking for volunteers in that dangerous Recon Mission. 😀

      About empty suits controlled by the AIs? Definitely a bad idea and will make people think about why the hell people from no matter what race was needed to fight if Ais could do the job. Change a program from carry a load to fire a weapon is not that difficult.

      Bluetooth is a bad idea. it’s a P2P connection. You need something like a wifi where the battle net runs and if the controller is hit and knocked out, his second can take control automatically without having to reestablish a new connection. You should also think about Bluetooth distance limitation. But for sure you can create a secure battle-net for the platoon, company, regiment etc.

      As Sgt. Mike taught me: “Please don’t kill the messenger!” 🙂

    • SGT MIKE says:

      I agree with Hans on this one, if you can use autonomous battlesuits to haul ammo, why not have them do the fighting and ‘dying’ as well. I think that having an Auxiliary Unit from those who failed out of Cadet School could work as human mules. Again, I suggest some sort of robotic vehicle, it must be non autonomous or anywhere close to sentient, that you could tether to the cannon cockers suit AI. Either a robotic mule, actual human mules or some as yet unnamed device. If you can use the suit AI’s as you suggested it would change everything and definitely be a force multiplier like you’ve never seen. But when I see things like that I worry about SkyNet and the Singularity! LOL!! But hey, I’m a geek from way back so that’s just how I roll.

      • timctaylor says:

        I like the idea of human mules too. And, indeed, non-humans. My thoughts on the robo-mule was that programming a load bearer is a simpler task than doing so for an autonomous AI fighter. At the time of the third book, the humans haven’t access to autonomous AIs that can fire lethal weapons. But there are a couple of references to such technology existing. All they need is someone on their team with the skills to develop such a technology for their own… Not sure I’d trust my back to a robo-fighter easily, though.

    • ruopp says:

      Sgt. Mike,

      I think that having an Auxiliary Unit from those who failed out of Cadet School could work as human mules.

      I like your idea, despite their failure they’ll be part of the team and not some toy for the other races as is the case until now.

      Someone may not be good at the front or with a weapon but this person can be extremely good in tactics. Or you can’t be good in a hand-to-hand fight and be a marksman with a sniper rifle.

      Robotic mules are also good and IMO it should be added but remote controlled by the logistic personnel or the platoon Sgt responsible for the supply.

      • SGT MIKE says:

        I actually think that those not suited for Marine status might make excellent sailors as it tends to be more technical and cerebral. The rest could then serve as support staff bis said Auxiliary Units. Glad you see the potential as well!!

        As for the robot, I never really thought it out to decide who would control it but the logistical sergeants AI is an excellent candidate!!!

    • ruopp says:


      I’ve rejigged the text so you get a couple of references to everyone lugging the cannon ammo around. Hans, that’s around 20 people.

      That’s what I feared. 20 people is a full platoon or almost. You have a squad of 4 or 5 people to deal with the heavy weapons. What do you think will happens when you are attacked and under fire and you group all your platoon (the only one you have on book 3) to unload he ammo and only then spread? What happens if the enemy fires a missile or a mortar while you’re unloading the ammo?

      What about advancing in enemy territory tactics where your team should be spread enough to avoid being an easy target and be eliminated at once?

      Right now I only see two ways: add ammo mules or eliminate the heavy weapons section and make them a riffle team with some snipers.

      I’m sure that an imaginative light infantry platoon can deal with a full company whit full heavy weapons support.

      What our military experts think about this?

      • SGT MIKE says:


        This is where an entire heavy weapons platoon could come in!! Or air drop the munitions, limiting what’s carried by the troops? Potentially pre-staging the gear? Making the weapons section a mounted unit? Definitely food for thought!!

      • ruopp says:

        Hi Mike,

        Indeed, a heavy weapons platoon would be a the best choice.

        But my concerns are with EP 3 where there is only one HW section and the ammo distributed among all the platoon. I haven’t participate on the the proofread so I know nothing about the story. All I’m saying is based on tids and bits I got from Tim’s posts and comments.

        On EP 3 as far as I know or I think that I know there is only one platoon available. What’s their best course of action with a so little contingent.

        I know Tim doesn’t want to follow any actual tactical thinking and I agree with him at some point but there are things that today or in the future would be exactly the same: How can you kill your opponent and how can you deny your opponent an easy target.

        • timctaylor says:

          I think the problem here is specifically with the GX cannon which is effectively a small artillery piece that is especially useful against armor or hardened buildings. I don’t see it as something that could be readied rapidly to return fire if the unit was attacked as it marched to its objective. But you might be glad of it when you reached your objective.

  10. SGT MIKE says:


    Luckily military tactics are mostly lionized common sense so you can get away without tying it to one specific service. That said, it sounds like so much has changed already in book three that only Tim could accurately judge at this point. Further, maybe they NEED the weapons unit organization to be wrong because they are a young army and as such must learn these lessons in blood. Just a thought, but maybe we leave the errors in the heavy weapons section organization so they HAVE to learn the hard way?


    • timctaylor says:

      There is an element of having to make things up as they go along. But I can’t use that entirely as a get out of jail card, because there are two experienced NCOs, who are used to being in much larger forces, but aren’t remotely stupid.

      • SGT MIKE says:

        True, but being in those forces as an NCO does NOT mean you are qualified to jump into General George S. Patton’s boots either. The leadership needs at the sergeant level GREATLY differ from those of field grade officers AND the Jotun and the White Horses went out of their way to make their command double blind. By that I mean that, much like in the Russian Army during WWII, the troops knew their role as troops, the sergeants jealously guarded their role as sergeants and none of them knew what went on with the officer corps. This separation, used by the White Horse, create a very distinct disadvantage and as such you would have these errors. This was partly what set the British/American armies apart, in theory every soldier knew the jobs of those two positions above and below him in the chain of command, making it harder to kill the snake by cutting off its head. I hope this makes sense? Basically, my point is that the experience of your veterans is good…. but only to a point.

        As far as the GX Cannon, again why couldn’t it be a mounted asset? That robotic dog could carry it all as well too….. Just a thought!

        SGT MIKE

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