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Old 08-04-2013, 12:14 AM
hoplite59 hoplite59 is offline
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Default Best Fighting Force on the Planet



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I know that we are fortunate to have several active duty and past service members on this forum. Looking for unbiased opinions as to what force is considered the greatest or most effective fighting force on the planet. Seals, Delta force, Greek Special forces, Rangers, Spetznaz, Force Recon, French foreign Legion, etc.

Very anxious to see what the community comes up with.
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Old 08-04-2013, 12:47 AM
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'Best' is a highly subjective word. Best offensively, best defensively, most powerful in terms of raw destructive power, most mission-capable, best pound-for-pound and soldier-for-soldier - any or all of those criteria could be applied and thus arrive at a number of different answers, each of which might be equally valid.

As an example, the Wehrmacht was in almost every quantifiable way a far superior fighting force to the Red Army. Technologically superior, posessed of far greater depth and breadth of leadership, supported by the most modern and sophisticated combined-arms strategy to that date yet seen in the world - and yet the Soviets ultimately prevailed thanks to sheer numbers, the development and deployment of simple, rugged and reliable weapon systems, and the adoption of tactics that capitalized on their strengths. Which was 'best'? It entirely depends on the question being asked.

That being said, the US spends more on its military than something like the next 22 largest nations combined, and all that money buys a lot of capability. Especially in terms of training and development that other militaries simply cannot match. Tier 1 units like Devgru and Delta have the budgets and can afford to spend millions training individual soldiers to extraordinary levels. Just their ammo budgets alone are greater than the entire operational budgets of some other nation's top units.
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Old 08-04-2013, 12:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mad Axe View Post
'Best' is a highly subjective word. Best offensively, best defensively, most powerful in terms of raw destructive power, most mission-capable, best pound-for-pound and soldier-for-soldier - any or all of those criteria could be applied and thus arrive at a number of different answers, each of which might be equally valid.

As an example, the Wehrmacht was in almost every quantifiable way a far superior fighting force to the Red Army. Technologically superior, posessed of far greater depth and breadth of leadership, supported by the most modern and sophisticated combined-arms strategy to that date yet seen in the world - and yet the Soviets ultimately prevailed thanks to sheer numbers, the development and deployment of simple, rugged and reliable weapon systems, and the adoption of tactics that capitalized on their strengths. Which was 'best'? It entirely depends on the question being asked.

That being said, the US spends more on its military than something like the next 22 largest nations combined, and all that money buys a lot of capability. Especially in terms of training and development that other militaries simply cannot match. Tier 1 units like Devgru and Delta have the budgets and can afford to spend millions training individual soldiers to extraordinary levels. Just their ammo budgets alone are greater than the entire operational budgets of some other nation's top units.
Can't be summed up much better than this. Quality depends mostly on training, and thankfully, our guys still get the best training in the world.
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Old 08-04-2013, 01:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Mad Axe View Post
'Best' is a highly subjective word. Best offensively, best defensively, most powerful in terms of raw destructive power, most mission-capable, best pound-for-pound and soldier-for-soldier - any or all of those criteria could be applied and thus arrive at a number of different answers, each of which might be equally valid.

As an example, the Wehrmacht was in almost every quantifiable way a far superior fighting force to the Red Army. Technologically superior, posessed of far greater depth and breadth of leadership, supported by the most modern and sophisticated combined-arms strategy to that date yet seen in the world - and yet the Soviets ultimately prevailed thanks to sheer numbers, the development and deployment of simple, rugged and reliable weapon systems, and the adoption of tactics that capitalized on their strengths. Which was 'best'? It entirely depends on the question being asked.

That being said, the US spends more on its military than something like the next 22 largest nations combined, and all that money buys a lot of capability. Especially in terms of training and development that other militaries simply cannot match. Tier 1 units like Devgru and Delta have the budgets and can afford to spend millions training individual soldiers to extraordinary levels. Just their ammo budgets alone are greater than the entire operational budgets of some other nation's top units.
Good points. Let's say from an offense perspective .
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Old 08-04-2013, 01:09 AM
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Taken in their own time:

Mongol hordes...one of the most fierce threats to civilization.

Self sustaining for the most part. self paid. self armed and equipped. brought their entire state with them when they were in campaign. swept their enemies before them. State of the art armor and bows far superior to the weapons and armor of their enemies. Primary means of transport, also their primary offensive means, a source of shelter and even substanance. Primary weapon useful for obtaining substanance. Rapid mobility. Willing to use any resources taken from their enemies to include substance from captive. High levels of individual initiative when presented with opportunities, but solid leadership for the most part. Insanely difficult to stop. Incredible mobility.
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Old 08-04-2013, 01:17 AM
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I may be biased, but my pick are the Spartan Hoplites of 5th century BC Greece. It was my intention to solicit opinions on modern fighting forces but being a historian, this thread may take an interesting turn and elicit interesting responses.
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Old 08-04-2013, 01:21 AM
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Good points. Let's say from an offense perspective .
That's too broad of a question. A trite answer would be to simply say that in terms of sheer, destructive offensive power, nothing on earth is going to beat an Ohio-class submarine capable of launching a swarm of 24 Trident missiles, each one carrying 12 MIRV's, each tipped with a 475kt nuclear warhead. That would make the crew of an Ohio-class the 'best' fighting force on earth, even though I'm sure that's not what you're asking.

Trying to compare a squad of SEaL's to a squad of SAS to a squad of Legion …tranger Parachutists, as an example, is always going to be folly, because the individual circumstances will always influence the outcome of any comparison. Not to mention that the individual members of a given unit will define its strength. On a given day one group might best another, only to be themselves beat by a third who might lose to the guys who got beat the first go around.

It's all relative. Armchair comparisons can be fun, by are ultimately just mental exercises, since there are so many variables that would necessarily come into play.
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Old 08-04-2013, 01:26 AM
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That's too broad of a question. A trite answer would be to simply say that in terms of sheer, destructive offensive power, nothing on earth is going to beat an Ohio-class submarine capable of launching a swarm of 24 Trident missiles, each one carrying 12 MIRV's, each tipped with a 475kt nuclear warhead. That would make the crew of an Ohio-class the 'best' fighting force on earth, even though I'm sure that's not what you're asking.

Trying to compare a squad of SEaL's to a squad of SAS to a squad of Legion …tranger Parachutists, as an example, is always going to be folly, because the individual circumstances will always influence the outcome of any comparison. Not to mention that the individual members of a given unit will define its strength. On a given day one group might best another, only to be themselves beat by a third who might lose to the guys who got beat the first go around.

It's all relative. Armchair comparisons can be fun, by are ultimately just mental exercises, since there are so many variables that would necessarily come into play.
of course, that is the point, this is obviously a subjective as well as a mental exercise. There's no wrong answer here. Looking for opinions bolstered by fact to support the given opinion.
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Old 08-04-2013, 03:37 AM
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The Army/Rangers SOCOM I have trained with impressed me most. That isn't a broad sampling, nor do I say it as a definitive answer, just my experience from what little training I have with people like them.

SEAL elements from what I understand are often more involved. That is, the guys I know became part of the indiginous situation. They train and create foreign assets, etc. Rangers simply kill things. Again, limited interaction as I'm a civilian, but just my take.
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Old 08-04-2013, 05:48 AM
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Thanks to technology we are still the best fighting force out there.
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Old 08-04-2013, 07:43 AM
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Thanks to technology we are still the best fighting force out there.
Training more than technology.
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Old 08-04-2013, 08:11 AM
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Marines..

Seriously though...

I can't believe that there isn't more interservice rivalry in this thread yet.. so I am injecting my own

It really depends. In my opinion in an offensive nature it is hard to beat the Corps air/ground team AKA the MEU or MAGTAF. in fact I can't recall one instance where it has been beat. But you didn't really specify whether you were talking about a single team offensive or the ability to take down a whole country at your whim.
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Old 08-04-2013, 08:23 AM
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1st Battalion, 5th Marines.
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Old 08-04-2013, 08:29 AM
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One reason our elite forces are better than they used to be, we lose less do to attrition. I would bet we have Seals, and Force Recon now that if they had went through training back in the 60s would have washed out.

Back then they ran in boots. Drill instructors damaged Marines due to heat exhaustion.

So while I agree with Training and Technology I would also argue that what we have learned and put into practice in our training has made our military elite better, stronger, and faster.

You really can't compare different eras because of this. The Roman Legionaire who could out run me right after Parris Island probably had very little upper body strength. The one who was stronger probably could not run very well.
Scientific advances in training are very important in this discussion. Our elite troops do more well than any fighting force in history. A more meaningful comparison may be what Chinese and Russian troops of today can do compared to our Politically correct mixture of women and gays. How's our discipline
and Moral?










.
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Old 08-04-2013, 08:39 AM
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One reason our elite forces are better than they used to be, we lose less do to attrition. I would bet we have Seals, and Force Recon now that if they had went through training back in the 60s would have washed out.

Back then they ran in boots. Drill instructors damaged Marines due to heat exhaustion.

So while I agree with Training and Technology I would also argue that what we have learned and put into practice in our training has made our military elite better, stronger, and faster.

You really can't compare different eras because of this. The Roman Legionaire who could out run me right after Parris Island probably had very little upper body strength. The one who was stronger probably could not run very well.
Scientific advances in training are very important in this discussion. Our elite troops do more well than any fighting force in history. A more meaningful comparison may be what Chinese and Russian troops of today can do compared to our Politically correct mixture of women and gays. How's our discipline
and Moral?.
We still run all the time in boots... in fact our Combat Fitness Test is done in full cammies... You argument is invalid in that point. However, I do agree that advances in training have helped minimize injuries, however, the biggest contributor in this area is sports medicine advances and knowledge on the individual level of basic sports medicine and how to take care of yourself after a strenuous training evolution
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Old 08-04-2013, 08:39 AM
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1st Battalion, 5th Marines.
NEGATIVE! 3/3!
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Old 08-04-2013, 09:00 AM
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The Rwandan genocide of 1994, in which somewhere in the region of 500,000 people were slaughtered by the Hutu tribe within a couple of months, by machete and small arms, shows how effective a poorly trained and equipped can be given the motivation.

One can argue that the most effective fighting force on the planet is a fanatic with a weapon.

Relatively recent history testifies to this. World War 2 was over in 5 years, 50 million killed, a planet wide conflict with relatively equally trained and equipped armies facing off against each other. Probably the last war in history where that has been the case.

America's might was proven to be incapable of suppressing ragtag warriors in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan. All of these wars having taken far longer than the second world war in its entirety, some are even still going on.

After the 'Black Hawk Down' incident, the US pulled out of Somalia. Yet again, one of the biggest, most technologically advanced, best trained armies on earth, forced to flee with its tail between its legs, from a bunch of malnourished, untrained locals, with rusty AK-47's and RPG's.

If recent history is anything to go by, then the most effective fighting forces on the planet are people defending their home from invasion by western agendas.

Wars are only won, when the reason for going to war, is just.

But as for rivalry between allies, Royal Marines vs USMC? Royal Marines all the way.
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Old 08-04-2013, 09:11 AM
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NEGATIVE! 3/3!
We'll call it a tie.
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Old 08-04-2013, 09:36 AM
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We lost Vietnam politically. After the Tet offensive, which we stopped. That was all they had. We pushed back and bombed North Vietnam. The then wanted to talk peace. We stopped bombing. They then waited until we pulled out, then rebuilt and took over.

The way you defeat and enemy, according to Napoleon, was to occupy their country. They then can't regroup and re-equip and army. We are not occupying Afghaistan, nor did we occupy Iraq. We only had/have enough manpower to be a police force. For instance, the town I grew up with has 25,000 people and 100 policemen in the entire force. Translated, Iraq had 25,000,000 people and we only had 100,000 troops on the ground. Same percentage, only a police force. Yes, we destroyed their army, but we didn't fully force them to change like we did Germany and Japan with an overwhelming occupation force.
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Old 08-04-2013, 09:38 AM
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Quote:
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We still run all the time in boots... in fact our Combat Fitness Test is done in full cammies... You argument is invalid in that point. However, I do agree that advances in training have helped minimize injuries, however, the biggest contributor in this area is sports medicine advances and knowledge on the individual level of basic sports medicine and how to take care of yourself after a strenuous training evolution
I was talking about basic training. I went Through Basic training at Fort Dix in 1985, and Boot camp at Paris Island in 1990. Even way back then one of the first things a recruit was issued were running shoes.

Of course a Marine runs in boots. But in order to make a recruit's bones strong enough to handle being a Marine they make sure they have running shoes.
Another advance, is that recruiters are often training future Marines to get them ready for boot camp. They did not used to do this.
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