Thursday, September 10, 2009

Gropos in the 23rd century

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:

Starfleet Security
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

EarthForce Marines
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

Imperial Stormtroopers
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

Mobile Infantry
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.



Obiri said...

Nice Analysis.

Rognar said...

Thanks. Slow day at work.

Tayloritos said...

You forgot the RDF, robotech defense force.
They are the survivors of a decades long war on earth and use giant alien robot technology. Totally kick ass.

Rognar said...

I think anime sources have to be judged by different criteria. The use of mecha changes the whole comparison. Besides, wouldn't you describe the RDF as more of a combined mechanized army/air force? The destroids are ground-based, but the Veritech fighters are airborne.

Obiri said...

Yes and you really don't want to look at the records of the ground troops. Desdroids were mere canon fodder in Macross. The did prove effective in Southern Cross, and act only as special forces in the third series.

To rate them you'd really have to be more specific. The sentinels was a fairly effective force as well but since the series was never finished I guess that counts as literature.

Tayloritos said...

I would cheer for the US colonial marines, watching Aliens is stll one of my favorite things to do. The military in the upcoming Avatar movie look pretty badass.

Derobane-bane said...

US Marines... Hooorah!

My favorite group listed was certainly the Starship Troopers group. I'd love to see that army kick some Starwars Stormtrooper ass.

The question is- would the Starship Trooper marines make bongos out of the stormtrooper helmets and make them sound like a Jamacian Junkband? Those Ewoks were pretty amazing muscians that way.

Derobane-bane said...

I'm trying to imagine Rognar speaking in the over-the-top serious English accent as I read this post, just like narrator in Deadliest Warrior.