Over at WotC's Star Wars rpg forum, there's a thread going on about which sci-fi army would win in a land battle. Given that these are all SW fans, naturally Imperial Stormtroopers fare pretty well in their minds. However, this site, being much more scientific, requires a higher level of evidence. Therefore, in true Deadliest Warrior style, I propose a comparison of some of the best-known armies from sci-fi TV and film (I will leave out literature, since different criteria would have to be applied). So, who are my combatants?
Starfleet Security (Star Trek)
EarthForce Marines (Babylon 5)
Imperial Stormtroopers (Star Wars)
US Colonial Marines (Aliens)
Mobile Infantry (Starship Troopers)
I will base my analysis on three criteria, kit, training and combat experience. Each criteria will be scored out of 10. Embarrassing and silly events (i.e. the Battle of Endor) will be stricken from the record, so that a more objective analysis can occur. Here we go:
kit - weapons: phasers, particle beam weapons with capabilities ranging from stunning to disintegration, by far the best weapon of the lot, armour: typically none, score 9/10
training - the best the future has to offer, advanced psychiatric techniques, holodeck training simulations, you name it; training is broad-based, not specifically related to infantry combat, score 9/10
combat experience - the Federation is a relatively safe place, so Starfleet personnel don't have much need or opportunity to fight large-scale ground-based military actions, score 4/10
kit - weapons: phased plasma guns (PPGs), small bolts of plasma encased in residual magnetic bottle, comparable damage to firearms, armour: some, typically polymer weave type vest, score 6/10
training - first-rate, though probably not as sophisticated as Starfleet, but much more combat-oriented, score 8/10
combat experience - quite a lot, many veterans remain from the Earth-Minbari War and other recent conflicts, score 9/10
kit - weapon: blasters, particle beam weapons, comparable lethality to firearms, armour: full-body combat armour, score 9/10
training - good, but hobbled by the Tarkin Doctrine and the clone army heritage of the force, not conducive to innovative tactical thinking, score 6/10
combat experience - quite a lot, but Imperials typically enjoy overwhelming superiority of numbers and firepower, thus limiting the value of combat experience, score 5/10
United States Colonial Marines
kit - weapon: automatic firearms, grenades, armour: battle dress, score 7/10
training - much like 21st century USMC, top quality, score 8/10
combat experience - quite a lot, though the quality of the opposition is probably questionable, too many bughunts, score 6/10
kit - weapon: automatic firearms, mininukes, armour: advanced battle dress, score 9/10
training - decent, although recruit quality may be variable, score 7/10
combat experience - significant, bugs found on many worlds, quite adaptable due to brain bugs, score 8/10
The final score is:
#1 Mobile Infantry (24/30) - I mean really, they've got f**king mininukes. Damn!
#2 EarthForce Marines (23/30) - These guys fought the Minbari, that earns them some respect.
#3 Starfleet Security (22/30) - Phasers rule!
#4 US Colonial Marines (21/30) - Tough hombres, but less advanced.
#5 Imperial Stormtroopers (20/30) - I wasn't going to bring it up, but Endor is starting to make some sense.
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