Partridge India Writing Tips| Military Fiction Pt 3

Apr 6

Partridge India Writing Tips concludes with part 3 of Military Fiction.



Writing Military Fiction
Roman Roads: Boring, mundane, and vital to maintaining an empire.

A man once said, “Amateurs study tactics, professionals study logistics,” meaning that a good general must remember logistics, supply lines, food, economic support, ammunition and weapon maintenance. While a lot of fictional media focuses on the big battles or action sequences, the truth is that good supply lines can be the ultimate deciding factor. In World War II, some of the most heavily armed and armored tanks were limited or near useless due to mechanical problems and being too heavy to travel on roads. Sieges are decided by which side can outlast the other, the attacker and their supplies or the defenders and their supplies. One of the keys to the Romans and other major empires was well maintained roads and other travel routes. Such routes allow for the fast travel of troops, goods, and information. All vital to the success of an army. An initially victorious army can lose the whole campaign by getting cut off from their supplies. A writer of military fiction should remember and utilize the importance of logistics.


Logistics is also a consideration for writing guerrilla warfare. The success and advantages of guerrilla warfare are in part because guerrilla fighters do not need large, easily targeted logistic chains. Instead, much smaller guerrilla forces can live off gathering and raiding from their enemy’s supplies. Logistics is often considered one of the most banal aspects of writing military fiction, forgetting how important logistics can mean for victory or defeat. Even then, the struggle to get supplies or the imaginative solutions for supply problems can make for interesting and realistic intervals between battles.


Technology (or Magic) and Warfare

Writing Military Fiction
The Gatling Gun and future automatic weapons changed warfare forever.

When writing military fiction in any time period or any fictional setting, a military fiction writer should consider the role and effect technology, or magic, can have on warfare. In the popular A Song of Ice and Fire series, by George R.R. Martin, the former ruling family conquered and intimidated their kingdoms by using fire-breathing, flying dragons. Using dragons made the ruling family nearly unstoppable. Historically, heavy bronze armor and weapons, in combination with the phalanx strategy helped the Greeks versus the masses of lighter Persian infantry. The introduction of firearms made heavy personal armor near useless and rapid-fire weapons slaughtered large formations of infantry.


When writing about warfare in science-fiction or fantasy, you should critically think about how the weapons, technology, or magic can affect how you write warfare. One of the biggest game changers to strategy is not being able to throw a fireball, but being able to communicate quickly over vast distances, such as with radios, telepathy, or magic. Such an ability allows strategist to plan and react on a larger scale. On the matter of fireballs, if they are expected as a threat then soldiers are less likely to attack in tight formations. Applying such thinking when you write, can enrich your military fiction.


Partridge India hopes you find these tips and suggestions helpful in writing military fiction.


Partridge India trusts this helps

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By Ian Smith

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