European Armies

The aftermath of the French Revolution resulted in the formation of mass armies, which were used with great aplomb by Napoleon in his bid for Empire. The mass armies of the Napoleonic era led to the almost universal adoption of conscription by the continental European states, a tradition that is only now beginning to end in favor of professional, all-volunteer militaries. The United Kingdom, ever apart, has a tradition of a small professional military, though they did use conscription in both World Wars (and after the Second World War into the 1950s).

Until the turn of the twentieth Century most uniforms worn by European armies were colorful affairs designed to show loyalty to the nation and to foster camaraderie and bravery (the French entered the First World War with an infantry uniform that included red pants for exactly that reason-thinking that the uniform would inspire bold action). The realization of the increased accuracy of rifle fire slowly led to the universal adoption of dull colored (khaki, horizon blue, or field gray) uniforms that allowed a soldier to blend into the battlefield.

The interwar period (1919-1939) was a time of a return to colonial matters (both England and France had acquired new colonies from the Germans and League of Nations mandates from the former Ottoman Empire). It was also a time of right budgets and experimentation with new technologies. Tanks and mechanized combat was tried but abandoned as too costly as the Western European powers (England and France primarily) prepared to fight the First World War all over again, but better this time. The Maginot Line (a series of concrete bunkers that screeched along France’s northern border) was an expression of this mindset.

The Second World War saw a move toward mechanized combat {which only accelerated in the European nations afterward). The German blitzkrieg (“lightning war”) tactics changed the rules of warfare but the Germans were never able to mechanize more than a small fraction of their army (most of the German army relied upon animal-drawn transport). The incredible amount of U.S. industrial production allowed the American and British armies to become almost entirely mechanized and motorized during the Second World War.

Almost all modern troops fielded by the European nations are vehicle transported and supported; while they know how to march, using muscle power to get to battle is rare (except for specialized troops like scours.) Technological advances beginning in the 1960s saw the development of (relatively) lightweight body armor leading to its widespread adoption by most European armies who are very mindful of the protection of their citizen-soldiers. Since the end of the Soviet Union, most European countries have scaled back their military spending and many are considering abandoning their traditional conscription system for an all-volunteer military.

The tactics used by European armies have often lagged behind the technological changes on the battlefield. The Napoleonic era was an era of linear combat; due to the inaccuracy of smoothbore muskets troops had to be massed and fire in unison at other masses of troops to have a chance to inflict casualties. The long-loading time between shots and shore range of the weapons made charges by bayonet using troops a successful tactic, and battles were often decided on the point of a bayonet.

Between the end of the Napoleonic Wars and the beginning of the First World War, tactics for the European battlefield did not change much. There were very few European wars and most European troops who fought during chis rime did so in Colonial campaigns against local forces that were usually armed with weapons of a much lower technology base.

The widespread adoption of the military rifle allowed infantry to target and hit enemies at much longer range; this slowly lead to the end of massed infantry tactics. Nonetheless, the tactical lessons of the American Civil War (1861-1865) and the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905)were not fully understood and accepted in Europe until the First World War. The dangers (some would say suicidal) of mass attacks against rifle-armed infantry and machine guns led to the stalemate of trench warfare on the Western Front.

The Second World War saw the return to a war of maneuver with the mechanization of the battlefield. There was a wider use of armored vehicles in combat and a greater reliance on vehicle to move troops and supplies. Paratroops were first used in the Second World War, and dose air support became common. The Germans pioneered the blitzkrieg using a mechanized-spearhead supported by tactical air support to drive through the enemy lines and cur the enemy into pockets that could be mopped up by the slower moving infantry.

After the Second World War, European armies continued to become increasingly mechanized and technology oriented to counter the military system of the Soviet armed Warsaw Pact forces. Tactics were designed but never used to fight the Soviet armies so it’s unknown how they would have worked. Currently, European armies are reorganized for greater ability to be deployed rapidly and to deal with tasks such as peacekeeping and disaster relief, a very different focus from keeping the Soviet Armies from invading Western Europe.

United States Army

The United States Army prior to the Civil War is an all-volunteer force made up mostly of chose who arc either adventure seekers or can’t make it in the outside world. The force is small bur far from elite. The average enlisted man probably can’t read or write, while most of the officer corps come from schools such as West Point and the Citadel. The noncommissioned officers (corporals, sergeants, and the like) are all appointed by the officers over a unit.

With the outbreak of hostilities in 1812 and again in 1848, the army expanded its numbers by calling up state militia units and forming new companies of volunteers. They are mostly led by political appointees, who have little practical military knowledge and a great (sometimes foolhardy) desire to make a name for themselves. The newly raised units elect their officers from among their ranks, usually a man with some education. These were leaders who the men trusted and who, in turn, would cry to see chat the men were not killed needlessly.

In 1861, when the states take sides, the state militias go with chem. Large numbers of volunteer units are raised, and the Union soon uses conscription to add even more men to the ranks. These men are still among the poorest, as richer individuals could buy either a commission or their way out of service.

The average enlisted man just prior to the Civil War wears a dark blue coat, light blue trousers, and black shoes or boots. Their head dresses vary from tall stovepipe hats (used until the 1850s) to a simple kepi. Their equipment includes a musket, bedroll, canteen, and cartridge case. With the advent of the Civil War, the Confederate States of America adopt uniforms similar to the Union forces, except in the color gray.

Noncommissioned officers have uniforms identical to the enlisted man except they wear large gold chevrons on their sleeves. Officers wore a uniform similar to that of the enlisted man except for the shoulder epaulets to identify their rank, a pistol, a sword, and a bush hat. The cavalrymen dress in a uniform similar to the infantry except that they all carry sabers, pistols, and shotguns or carbines. By 1862, the Union began equipping its cavalry units with Spencer repeating rifles. The Confederate cavalrymen were more affluent (and thus educated) than the average soldier because they had to supply their own horses and sabers.

Discipline is harsh during this period, involving a lot of corporal punishment and possible imprisonment with hard labor. Since units still fought in the linear fashion, drills are the order of the day for training, with brief breaks only for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

The Western Expansion soldiers (1865-1916) wear in the same basic blue uniform of the Union (and winning) side of the Civil War. Many of the officers are holdovers from the Civil War, so their uniforms remain the same as well. However, now all troops are issued rifles, in some cases repeating rifles. The percentage of cavalry increases dramatically as there are vast areas of Indian controlled lands to patrol. Cavalrymen are equipped with carbines and pistols, but the sabers soon disappeared as they are expected to fight on foot in most cases, rather than from horseback.

Also during this period, the U.S. Army used a series of civilian volunteers and units, the most famous being “The Rough Riders.” These were usually better equipped than their military counterparts. They, however, lacked the discipline and training of the U.S. Army units.

Discipline became much laxer during this time, but certain sadistic officers still ruled through an iron hand. Training for new officers and enlisted was nonexistent; for the most pan, it was left up to the individual unit to train the soldier to the level of expertise that the unit required.

Starting from a tiny U.S. army and marine force, the American expeditionary force (1917-1919) grew within two years to be the key to winning the First World War. The uniform of the AEF, or doughboys as they are more popularly known, is a wool olive drab or brown jacket and pants. It’s topped off initially with a wide-brimmed, brown felt campaign hat, bur, as this can’t be stored properly when not in use, it’s soon replaced by a close-fating, dark, wool overseas cap. Later, the soldiers also receive a brown, round, brimmed helmet. Staff officers and cavalrymen wear breeches. All individuals are issued short boots and spats.

The average AEF soldier’s kit consists of bedroll, canteen, cartridge case, mess kit, entrenching tool, and a gas mask. They carry a bolt-action rifle, and the officers generally have a revolver.

Training is rushed and done mostly by units after they arrived in Europe. Discipline moves away from harsh corporal punishment to more to incarceration for infractions.

AEF Officers and N COs are career officer and enlisted men. Many are drawn from the National Guard (formerly the state militias and given their current name in 1903).

After World War 1, the army shrunk again. The “Between the Wars” soldiers (1920-1939) are all volunteers and still receive little formal training. Other than World War 1 career NCOs and officers and the marines, they are not an effective military fighting force. The marines maintain their edge by being sent to every hot spot from Honduras to China.

During this period, the duty uniform consists of a khaki shirt, brown wool jacket and slacks, black boots with spats, and a necktie. Officers still often wear breeches and high leather boots. They carry much the same equipment as they did during World War I.

The “Greatest Generation” army (1940-1945) consists of holdovers from between the wars, augmented by a huge amount of volunteers and draftees as the United States joined the Second World War. The uniform at the start of the war is the same as between the wars. In 1942, the uniform begins to change. The army adopts a all cotton, olive drab green shirt and pants set for their duty uniform; this became known as fatigues. The marines also wear fatigues, but later combat units are given lightweight green camouflage uniforms for jungle fighting. The army also replaces the old helmets with the standard steel helmet, commonly known as a steel pot.

The standard soldier is issued a semiautomatic rifle. Most of the squad leaders and officers picked up a submachine gun. Officers were also issued pistols. The automatic rifle and the bazooka also came into widespread use during this time.

These soldiers, after the initial rush to fill out forces, are very well and extensively trained. Those units that were rushed into service gain their training in combat. Officers are primarily holdovers from the interwar period and those brought up through the ranks by battlefield commissions, plus Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) and academy graduates. These men tended to let the NCOs run the units, as the NCOs had more experience than all bur the most senior of officers.

The Cold War soldiers (1946-1980) are primarily volunteers, except during two periods of combat (Korea, 1950-1952,and Vietnam, 1964-1972). In those periods, the volunteers are supplemented by draftees, who are increasingly discontent to serve. Preparedness among units tends to be low until they gain experience in combat.

The uniforms remained basically unchanged with the olive drab fatigues and steel pot helmet. Flack vests with steel plates are introduced but are generally unpopular due to their weight. The weapons become better, and submachine guns replace rifles as the standard weapon. Officers continue to carry small sidearms.

These soldiers are far more technically skilled than earlier counterparts, but they still learn many combat skills the hard way. Officers, especially junior officers, lack detailed training to deal with the combat situation, many being straight out of college ROTC programs.

The modern army (1981 to the present) is formed from an all-volunteer force, mostly of those who look for the GI Bill to carry them through college. They are better trained and generally have a better outlook on their contribution to the army than any previous version of the military. With the increasing number of deployments and conflicts, the middle and upper officer and noncommissioned officer corps have become experienced in combat and can prove to be a much greater aid to new officers and enlisted men.

The standard uniform became a camouflage pattern, four-pocket jacket and matching cargo pants made out of special rip-stopping materials. They have a new and lighter Kevlar helmet and vest, and their weapons continue to receive upgrades, such as an improved telescopic sight.

Typical Soldier

Reflexes 2D: brawling 3D, dodge 3D, melee combat 3D, sneak 3D
Coordination 2D: marksmanship 3D, throwing 2D+2
Physique 2D: lifting 3D, running 3D
Knowledge 2D: medicine 2D+1
Perception 2D: hide 2D+2, search 2D+1, survival 2D+2
Presence 2D: willpower 3D
Strength Damage: 2D
Move: 10
Fate Points: 0
Character Points: 2
Body Points: 16
Wound levels: 3

Disadvantages: Employed (R2), to military

Advantages: Equipment, military gear (R1)

Special Abilities: none

Other Types of Soldiers

The following example bonuses are cumulative with the “typical” soldier and each other, when appropriate. Use these packages as inspiration for modifying the basic soldier for various special duties.

  • Noncommissioned officers (NCOs) and officers have Physique +1, Presence +1, command +1D, and Authority (R1 or greater), over assigned troops and related military matters.
  • Veteran soldiers have +1D to brawling, dodge, melee combat, and marksmanship.
  • Elite soldiers or marines have +1D to Reflexes, Coordination, and Physique.
  • Cavalry have riding +1D and melee combat +1.
  • Combat engineers have piloting +1, tech +1D, and repair +1D.
  • Commandos have melee combat +1D, sneak +1D, hide +1D, survival +1, willpower +1.
  • Grenadiers have Physique +1 , melee combat +1, and throwing +1.
  • Naval units have swimming +1D.
  • Medics have medicine +1D and carry first aid kits.
  • Scouts have Perception +1, search +1D, sneak +1D, and survival +1D.
  • Snipers and units renown for their sharpshooting have marksmanship +1D and search +1.
  • Vehicle troops have piloting +1D and repair +1D.

European Equipment

1800-1860: Infantry: musket (damage 3D+2; range 25/40/100; ammo 1) with bayonet (damage +1D+2); ammunition packers; bedroll; colorful uniform. Cavalry: saber (damage +2D+1) or lance (+3D); flintlock pistol (damage 3D; range 6/10/25; ammo 1) or carbine (damage 3D+1; range 20/30/75; ammo 1); ammunition packets; bedroll; colorful uniform; horse. Officers also carry swords (damage +2D+1).

1860-1900: Infantry: rifle (damage 4D; range 15/50/150; ammo 5) with bayonet (damage +1D+2); spare ammunition; bedroll; canteen; colorful uniform. Cavalry: saber (damage +2D+1) or lance (damage +3D); carbine (damage 5D+1; range 30/60/120; ammo 8); spare ammunition; bedroll; canteen; colorful uniform; horse. Officers also carry swords (damage +2D+1) and revolvers (damage4D; range 15/30/45; ammo 6).

1900-1960: Infantry: bolt-action rifle (damage4D+l; range 20/100/400; ammo 5) with bayonet (damage +1D+1) or submachine gun (damage 3D+2; range 30/60/90; ammo 30; after 1940 only); metal helmet (Armor Value +2); spare ammunition; entrenching tool(+1D to digging attempts; damage +2); bedroll; canteen; meal rations; camouflage uniform (+2 to hide and sneak totals). Cavalry: saber (damage +2D+1) or lance (damage +3D); bole-action carbine (damage 4D; range 20/100/400; ammo 20) or rifle (damage 4D+1; range 20/100/400; ammo 5); bedroll; canteen; meal rations; camouflage uniform (+2 to hide and sneak totals); horse. Officers also carry pistols (damage 4D+1; range 12/25/55; ammo 6 or 8) and may carry swords (damage +2D+1). During the Great War, most soldiers are equipped with gas masks (+2D to stamina against gas attacks or negates up to 1D in relevant modifiers).

1960 to present: Infantry: assault rifle (damage 6D; range 45/85/170; ammo 30) or submachine gun (damage 3D+2; range 30/60/90; ammo 30); spare ammunition; helmet (Armor Value +2); body armor (Armor Value +2D+1); camouflage uniform (+2 to hide and sneak totals). Vehicle and support troops: pistol (damage 4D; range 15/30/45; ammo 15) or submachine gun (damage 3D+2; range 30/60/90; ammo 30); helmet (Armor Value +2); camouflage uniform (+2 to hide and sneak totals). Officers also may carry a pistol (damage 4D+2; range 12/25/55; ammo 8).

American Equipment

1800-1865: Infantry: musket (damage 3D+2; range 25/40/100; ammo 1) with bayonet (damage +1D+2); ammunition packers; bedroll; blue uniform. Cavalry: saber (damage +2D+1); pistol (damage 3D; range 7/20/50; ammo l);shotgun (damage 4D; range 15/20/30, ammo 1) or carbine (damage 3D+2; range 15/50/150; ammo 8); ammunition packets; bedroll; blue or gray uniform; horse. Officers also carry swords (damage +2D+1).

1865-1916: bolt-action rifle (damage 4D; range 25/50/150; ammo 5) with bayonet (damage +1D+2); spare ammunition; bedroll; canteen; blue or gray uniform. Cavalry: pistol (damage 3D; range 7/20/150; ammo 1); shotgun (damage 4D; range 15/20/30, ammo 1) or carbine (damage 3D+2; range 15/50/150; ammo 8); spare ammunition; bedroll; canteen; blue uniform; horse. Officers also carry swords (damage +2D+1) and revolvers (damage 4D; range 15/30/45; ammo 6).

1917- 1939: bolt-action rifle (damage 4D+1; range 20/40/100; ammo 5) with bayonet (damage +1D+1); metal helmet (Armor Value +2); spare ammunition; entrenching tool (+1D to digging attempts; damage +2); bedroll; canteen; meal rations; brown or green uniform (+2 to hide and sneak totals); gas mask ( +2D to stamina against gas attacks or negates up to 1D in relevant modifiers). Officers also carry revolvers (damage 4D; 15/30/45; ammo 6 or 8).

1940-1980: semi-automatic rifle (damage 4D+2; range 20/100/400; ammo 20) or submachine gun (damage 30+2; range 30/60/90; ammo 30, especially after the 1950s); metal helmet (Armor Value +2); spare ammunition; entrenching tool (+1D to digging attempts; damage +2); bedroll; canteen; meal rations; brown or green uniform (+2 to hide and sneak totals). Officers also carry revolvers (damage 4D+1; range 12/25/55; ammo 6 or 8) and may carry submachine gun (damage 3D+2; range 30/60/90; ammo 30; after 1940 only).

1981 to present: assault rifle (damage 6D; range 45/851170; ammo 30) with telescopic sight (+1D to combat roll when aiming); spare ammunition; helmet (Armor Value +2); body armor (Armor Value +2D+1); camouflage uniform (+2 to hide and sneak totals). Officers may carry a pistol (damage 4D+2; range 12/25/55; ammo 8).

Additional Weapons

  • cap-and-ball revolver: 1850-1865; damage 3D+1; range 10/25/70; ammo 6
  • repeating rifle: 1863-1880; damage 4D; range 15/50/150; ammo 15
  • siege mortar: 1800s; damage 8D; range 250/500/1000; ammo 1; burst radius 10/25/50; attacks as if large scale value 12
  • semi-automatic rifle (.30-06 or 7.62mm): 1940s-1960s (still used in some developing countries); damage4D+1; range 20/100/400; ammo 20
  • bazooka: 1940s- 1950s; damage 9D; range 25/50/200; burst radius 5/10/20; attacks as if large scale 10 for ranges less than 100 meters and scale zero for ranges over 100 meters
  • claymore mine: 1950s+, though the Germans began development in World War II; damage 7D; range 0/-/-; burst radius 50/75/100
  • semi-automatic rifle (5.56mm): 1960s+; damage 4D+1; range 50/200/400; ammo 20 or 30
  • light anti-tank weapon (66mm): 1960s+; damage 8D; range 50/100/200; burst radius 5/10/15; attacks as if large scale 10

Typical Military Tank

The first armored fighting vehicles were developed in secrecy in World War 1 by a British firm under the cover story that the company was developing mobile water cisterns. The name “tank” has stuck.

The early vehicles were slow (with a maximum speed of about eight kilometers per hour), lightly armored, and sported a single gun. These game characteristics are appropriate for the average tank of any era from World War II to the present. Tanks can be faster or tougher – modern tanks can be both. They also can be fitted with a greater variety of armaments than space permits listing here.

Move: 16 (11.5 kph)
Passengers: 3
Tank gun: damage 8D; ammo 1; range 1k/2k/4k; burst radius 5/10/25; cannot target at less than 100 meters; reserve ammo of 30; attacks as if tank’s scale
Machine gun: damage 6D+2; ammo 15; range 100/500/1 k; attacks as if scale zero
Toughness: 8D (does not protect those in an open cab)
Armor Value: +4D (use only when the hatches are open and targeting occupants; otherwise, the tank needs to be destroyed first)
Maneuverability: -4D
Scale: 11
Price: Legendary ($100,000 to $2 million, depending on the era)

D6 Adventure Creatures (WEG 51021), © 2005 Purgatory Publishing Inc.
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