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Default Draft / conscription

Rainbow Six 09-15-2003, 04:22 PM Just been sitting with a few idle thoughts bouncing about in my head, and so I thought I would open them up for discussion with others.

My thinking here was prompted by an earlier thread which made reference to the fact that by 2000 many units would be manned by conscripts drafted after the commencement of hostilities.

My thought on this is that any draft would be of limited scope and would probably cease to be effective after the strategic nuclear strikes (this thread refers specifically to countries such as the UK and USA that do not have a current mandatory national service period)

Presumably if any of these countries wished to reintroduce conscription for the duration of hostilities, they would have to initiate a Draft from more or less scratch. Furthermore, initially at least things go well for NATO - during the spring / summer of 1997 most of Poland is in Allied hands, with some units on Russian soil (version 1 timeline). So, would our Governments find it neccessary or desireable to instate a draft?

I suggest that they would not - things are going well with the troops they have without a need for mass reinforcements that require training - additionally, I doubt that the British Government would be able to equip them as anything other than light infantry - don't know if the US would be in a better position with regard to having the resources to equip whole new Divisions.

Of course, after the nuclear strikes, things would be different, but my train of thought is that at that point a draft would become ineffective, particularly with regards to sending troops overseas.

My main reason for thining that it would not be effective is that the very idea of nuclear attack suggests that a breakdown of civil control would follow (as well as, presumably, a greatly reduced postal service to deliver draft notices!) In other words, those individuals who did receive call up papers would, on the whole, simply ignore them (excluding, of course, those patriotic individuals who would see it as their duty to report).

Even those who do turn up at the appointed place at the appointed time would, presumably be of far more use to their Governments in maintaining Home defence / the rule of law rather than going overseas.

Of course, military units may carry out a form of press ganging as practiced by sailors years ago, but that would hardly make for willing recruits. It is more likely that such individuals would desert at the first opportunity (possibly to become marauders armed - courtesy of their Government - with automatic weapons).

Any comments / opinions anyone?


Matt Wiser 09-16-2003, 12:45 AM Some of the modules did mention a draft in the US, and others mentioned plenty of volunteers going in. Once overseas and post nuclear, the various units do a lot of local recruiting and incorporating stragglers into the unit. One incentive is shown in Coming Home: V Corps is interviewing non-US personnel in US units and granting US citizenship to such personnel.


graebarde 09-17-2003, 05:44 PM I personally think the draft would start about Spring of 1997, say April or May. At that time the US is fighting in THREE theaters: Europe, Persian Gulf, and Korea. The Army Reserve Training Divisions would be activated and set up training at twelve locations around the country with volunteers and draftees being trained. As it takes about four to five months for the trainees to become soldiers, that would place them in training about the time the nukes flew in Europe. By the time nukes were landing in the CONUS, the training divisions were being redesignated Light Divisions, and utilized in disaster releif and for home defense.

It was later, in some politicians mind, that they dcided to send some of these light divisions to Europe.. personally I would not have done so, but kept them at the tasks at home..


pmulcahy 09-17-2003, 08:47 PM The draft would work in many countries long after everything fell apart, because that way, you get something to eat. I figure it would be similar to the situation in North Korea right now -- almost everyone's starving, but the military is not.


Webstral 09-22-2003, 02:37 AM How soon and how effectively the draft is enacted in the United States is a political question, methinks. The first step would be to brush off the cobwebs of the Selective Service system. This might happen as early as 1995, depending on the political mood of Congress and the executive leadership.

There are a few junctures thereafter where the US draft might have been initiated, I believe. The first one that leaps to mind is the West German invasion of the DDR. There is clearly a danger of the conflict spreading, with unknown consequences. Certainly the Army is likely to tell the President that they could use the manpower, though in October 1996 they are unlikely to be able to handle a surge of draftees without calling up the reserve training divisions. Still, it's conceivable that the Pentagon could order the various training posts and bases around the country to prepare for a surge of training.

The next juncture would occur sometime in mid-November. This should be about the time the FRG realizes she can't swallow the DDR in one gulp. Win or lose, the German-Soviet War will go into a second round. By the end of December, the US is so convinced that the Germans won't win in Round Two either that USAEUR gets involved.

Whether or not there's a draft at this point depends a great deal on what each author believes in happening in the (American) public mood at the time. The Joint Chiefs, cautious gentlemen that they are, will probably tell the President that he faces two worst-case scenarios: that he drafts several thousand new soldiers and doesn't need them, in which case he must pay something of a political price*; or, that he fails to draft new soldiers when the Army ends up needing them. The latter is much worse than the former. Would this argument be enough to get the President to enact a draft in early December 1996? By golly, we'd certainly hope so. However, there's no guarantee of it.

*[Of course, if the US doesn't need the draftees, it's because things turned out for the best in Europe. In that climate, the public and Congress might be very forgiving of a President who brought victory.]

I do believe there's no turning away from a draft by February 1997. I have been looking ahead in my T2k history, and around this time the Pact launches an attack into the southern FRG. At this point, NATO has cleared the DDR of Pact troops. NATO is hoping that the Soviet Union will opt against fighting in China and in Europe and will back down. (Yes, I know I keep having everybody think they can force a settlement on the other side. I do believe this is standard war psychology, though. It's a rare war that is fought to an unconditional surrender.)

However, when US forces get involved in December 1996, there's another coup in the Kremlin. Danilov goes, replaced by ultrahard-liners. These guys decide to go to the bloody end. They initiate the invasion of Norway, they sortie the Red Banner Northern Fleet, and they call in all their markers to bring the Soviet client states into the war. In December, as we all know, the DPRK invades the ROK. I have sketched out a Persian Gulf history in which Saddam Hussein, rearmed by the USSR, launches a second invasion of Kuwait. Then the Soviets and Czechs launch an attack into southern Germany--largely because they haven't the strength to go against the US/UK/FRG forces in the DDR. Dutch forces have moved into the area once guarded by US/FRG corps. The Kremlin hits this grouping in February in an effort to deal a body blow to the Dutch Army that will knock the Netherlands out of the war, if not out of NATO. Of course, they fail. However, at this point it becomes crystal clear to NATO that the Soviets are going to fight until they are knocked out of the war. This is the point at which I think a draft becomes inevitable.

How effective the draft is after the exchange depends a great deal on what was happening in the two years leading up to the exchange. I'm inclined to agree with Paul that after the nuke exchange, service may have looked darned good to a lot of people who would be wondering where their next meal would be coming from. Also, we should remember that a lot of local recruiting occurred after 1997. Maybe they lured young men and women into service with a promise to move the families into cantonment. Heck, if I were a division commander looking to keep up my strength in 1999, I'd move whoever I could into a secure cantonment.

I want to talk a little about my vision of NATO's grand strategy in 1997, based on the v1 chronology. However, that's a post for another day.



dawg180 09-26-2003, 12:47 PM I was browsing over the last post, and from the length and detail I just KNEW it had to be webstral, even before checking the name!


jester770 09-28-2003, 11:23 AM Conscription would not be a problem.

I recently looked through the selective service rules and glossing over the section of the locations of districts for lack ofa better word.

The selective service bureau gets the number of troops needed from the pentagon and with all the congresssional processes it then filters down to the areas for lack of a better term lets just say Counties. who are given a number to come up with.

they go through the list with all the exmeptions and deferements and aapeals blah blah blah and then you have that number of conscripts and off they go.

I think the problem of notifying the young people would not be a problem since it can be handled at most community centers, post offices etc. Heck it could even be done in some ones garage like we do qwith votting and polling places these days.

The problem would be not only the arming and equiping of these persons which would be difficult since you mobilize all the reserve forces IO serriously doubt they have enough personal equipment and arms to issue and I question they would have uniforms to go around if you include replacing combat losses, equiping the activated reserves and the new recruits.

The time to regear US industry I think would be 2 years. So it would finaly be fully geared up after the bombs fells.

an immediate prtoblem however owuld be the following:

Most reserve units tend to be much larger than regular organizations of the same designation. their equipment would be older as well. So what do you do with your surplus personel?

And what do you do with the new equipment comming off the factory lines?

Issue it to bring the regular units up to strength and to replace combat losses?

Issue it to activated NG and Reserve units to give them modern equipment and to bring them up to par so you do not have two and three crews per vehicle?

Use it to arm and equip the newly formed units?

Now here we go with a very pressing concern:

Where do you house and train these new recruits in addition to training the reserve/NG units?

Do we put them in tent cities that they used in WWII? That so many of us are used to?

but where do we get the tents now? The regular units need them in theater as well?

OR do we not ration gear, a unit gets either 1 GP Tent for a platoon or shelter halves but not both?

Foot mobile and helo and air borne troops and Marines and others who have no organic transportation gets shelter halves. those who have vehicles get tents.

And what of the infrastructure to train these troops?

Cooks, medics, seasoned training staff <the easiest I think, of course the training for D.I.'s would have to be reduced or forgotten. Or they could just do a recall of everyone who has pulled Training duty , then you strip a small pewrcentage of your NCOs from other units.>

Then what about the actual training facilities?

You have say 6 Live fire ranges each capable of 1 company each. Now you have a say 1 Regular battallion, 2 reserve and 2 NG and 1 of new recruits who all need to use those ranges.

All need to train on each range for both day and night operations?

A logistics headache, Agh yes what about you S-Shops or G-Shops depending on the level.

Training, supply Como, Transportation etc. You need people who know what they hell they are actualy doing, that is not something you can do OJT, other wise your supplies will run out, your troops will starve and everything will be a nightmare.

For training your officers and training cadre can work throuth a lack of experience, through practice practice practice. and by the fact they are officers and NCOs they have experience. <These folks can be skimmed from other regular units but not the support people they are fewer and not easily pasrted with if they are good at their jobs.>

then we also have how the hell do we trabnsport these troops to the training bases since now so many bases are so far away from any viable training faiclities. and the limited transport available would also be deployed to the theaters so we have fewerr trucvks and drivers to haul troops and supplies from one base to naother etc.

What about the real impact this would have on US inddustry? Think about the mobilizing of selected NG and reservists in the last year5 and the impact it had on some communities? Addd a full on call up and a limited draft?

I know in some communiteis the NG is a sort of social funtion obligation. A shipping center a freind worked at was 90% NG. This is a shipping hub that takes materials from the trains comming out of Cajon Pass and San Bernardino <second to Chicago.> so what would happen when these units were called up? and several say tranportation hubs were reduced in the short time at least in their capacity to move goods?

Here is something else.

We have regualar, Reserve and NG troops, then we individual ready reserve and inactive reserves who no longer even drill. then you have those who are retired or had served a tour or two.

Would it not be a bit more feasible to call up those who have already seved a tour or two instead of green troops?

My logic is this, yes they will be older and probabkly out of shape. But they will rwequire less training have already been trained and having worked 2 to say 12 years in a particular MOS. Of course they would not be at all happy.

BNut, no where do we get the basic equipment?

How do we house them?

Where do we get the medical staff, cooks, clerks and vehicles and drivers to take care of the influx of troops?

I do see a call up being needed in a T2K timeline. For the basic reason that the troops at home wopuld be deployed. So who is going to fill in on the bases at home? How will maitan the basis, runways, wherehouses planes, trucks, systems and transport train with etc all the supplies that would be embarking from the air and naval bases?

And of course we would have to beef up security to guard agaisnt Speitznatz units and sabatuers, keeping key roadways clear of civilians and other traffic for convoys.

It would take ALOT of people.




Webstral 09-28-2003, 02:41 PM Great stuff, Jester. Excellent questions and issues being raised. I won't talk to them point-by-point, but much of what you said deserves discussion.

I think we're talking two separate issues when it comes to a draft: pre-nuke and post-nuke. Personally, I think the pre-nuke draft system is interesting in an entirely different way than the post-nuke draft system. Pre-nuke is an exercise in politics and logistics. Post-nuke is why we all love T2k--trying to answer the question: "How the heck do we solve this problem when the whole world has gone to the dogs?"

I've never heard that most reserve formations are much larger than their active duty equivalent. However, if this is the case, and if enough people show up for mobilization such that there is an "apparent" surplus of personnel and equipment, I have no doubt that the military mind would find something to do with them. Whether that would be the most efficient or effective use of the so-called excess is another matter entirely. An eager beaver two-star at the Pentagon might come up with a means of identifying and re-assigning surplus personnel, but that's another issue.

In most cases, I think the problem of what to do with equipment coming off the assembly lines (pre-nuke) would be handled fairly effectively. We managed it in WW2, and in 1997 we have computers to make the whole thing vastly more efficient. Obviously, there are going to be problems. There will be surpluses and shortages of every end item at any given point in time. We might ask about the relationship between the material losses incurred between December 1996 and August 1997 and the ability of the United States to manufacture (or purchase) new equipment and get that equipment to the front. In all likelihood, the US military will find by August 1997 that certain end items have become uncomfortably short in supply at the very least. No doubt the Pentagon would devise a formula dictating what percentages of the available hardware went overseas to replace losses versus being issued to reserve formations in the US. No doubt there would be much umbrage over this formula, and at the division level everyone will feel they're getting shorted by the arrangement.

The pre-nuke housing issue is an interesting one, though I don't think it's a show-stopper. Posts like Leonard Wood that conduct a lot of basic training have a built-in ability to expand in times of emergency. Even the barracks in regular use go through cycles of relative fullness. I went through 12B (combat engineer) One Station Unit Training (OSUT) January-April. This is a low point in the training cycle. The barracks we occupied could have housed twice our number. In summer, when high school graduates and college reservists generally become available for training, the place is full. (This, by the way, is when a lot of reservist drill sergeants do their thing.) After they leave, the fill rate diminishes. If a US draft starts in December 1996 or February 1997, there's some slack to be taken up.

Pre-fab housing is also much better than in WW2. The Army could place a host of orders for the kinds of trailers used at schools which don't have the money for permanent additions. Ramping up the production capability would take a little doing, but it's not as hard as many think. Industry is always looking for the big order, and every factory I've worked in has plans for expanding production to take advantage of a windfall or long-term rise in sales. It can be tough to manage--especially when the manufacturing process in question requires specialized skills. However, when there's money to be made industry is pretty good at getting its actual production levels close to the theoretical max of the machine tools, then improving the theoretical max of the tools.

The effect of the call-up of reserves on the economy would be huge, just as you say. A draft would be less damaging, since most of the people affected aren't filling critical positions anywhere. The example you give of the transshipment center in San Bernadino is top-notch, Jester. Places like that would become bottlenecks. I'm sure a creative solution would be found. However, for a time there would be some measurable effects on the economy and on the war effort.

The maintenance of existing facilities is always an issue. However, it should be remembered that not everybody gets deployed in the event of a war. Let's look at Fort Huachuca (AZ) as an example. There are three major commands at Huachuca: 11th Signal Brigade, 111th Military Intelligence Brigade, and the post command (for lack of a better term). The 11th Signal is a TO&E unit designated to support a corps overseas. Even in the event of a complete deployment of the unit, a handful of troops will stay behind to manage the rear-area affairs of the brigade. The 111th is a TDA brigade which handles training for all MI soldiers in the Army. This brigade is totally unsuited for deployment overseas in its current configuration. Then there are the units under the direct control of the post, including the MPs, quartermaster, and maintenance people. Every post has units like these, and they generally don't go anywhere. This is not to say that these people will be adequate in the event of an all-out deployment. (In fact, it was the mass deployment of National Guard formations that prompted many states to create State Guards in WW2) However, there are some provisions for keeping the lights on when most of the troops are gone.

As for gearing up US industry, well, "gearing up" is a very nebulous term. What exactly does it mean? What is considered wartime production? Defense manufacturers can realize a quick boost in production just by hiring enough people to run round-the-clock. The experienced folks get distributed among the new shifts. Acquiring new machine tools to improve or expand the existing assembly lines will take some time, to be sure. However, there are myths about how long this takes based on peacetime observations that just aren't applicable during a real emergency. Let's suppose, for instance, that the Pentagon decides they need production of M1s to triple within sixty days. General Dynamics goes to its machine tool suppliers and tells them that it's worth an extra five percent to have the requisite machine tools within thirty days as opposed to the usual ninety. The machine tool suppliers promptly bump other customers from the job queue and move General Dynamics to the top of the list. They then pressure their suppliers, and so forth. They pay the overtime to keep their skilled folks on-hand to get the machine tools made and shipped within the allotted time. General Dynamics, in the meantime, has hired people who will work the expanded assembly line. The new people are working alongside the veterans so that they will have at least some experience when the new machine tools arrive and are installed.

At the big picture level, "geared up" (and I'm not picking on you, Jester--it's a term in common use) doesn't give us much useful information. When exactly was US industry "geared up" in WW2? Production of aircraft rose right through the end of the war, whereas production of steel dropped from 1944 to 1945. In WW3, production levels will vary between different items. Production of small arms will rise to meet demand much more quickly than the production of fighter aircraft. Is US industry considered geared up when the production of every end item is greater than the monthly loss rate?

Let us bear in mind as well that the US already has been producing more materiel than in 1994. Sales of hardware to China and orders from the FRG will cause some assembly lines to be much more productive in December 1996 than they would have been in December 1994. In particular, we should expect production of large-caliber ammunition to be quite high vis-a-vis the pre-1995 levels.

All this being said, it's unlikely that US defense manufacturing will be producing enough equipment to keep up with the demand in August 1997. There may be enough rifles, but there won't be enough MBTs or F-15s. There probably won't be enough spares for the heavy equipment, although by mid-1997 the defense manufacturers should have a pretty good handle on what parts are in greatest demand for each system.

Jester, you've done a great job of identifying areas of concern for a mobilizing nation. I don't believe any of these items are show-stoppers by themselves, although taken together they may represent real trouble.

The post-nuke situation will be entirely different. That's worthy of an entirely separate thread.



graebarde 09-30-2003, 11:53 AM I think once the training divisions are activated they are capable of providing the necessary man-power to do the job. How competent they are remains to be seen, but they do the job on a 'regular' basis. They have their own staffs, DIs, cooks, supply personnel... everyone that is required to run the training.

Facilities available:

There are several bases around the country that have some infastructure where the TDs could set up shop on short notice. They do NOT have to be at RA bases. McCoy WI, Grayling MI, Dix NJ, Atterbury IN, Ripley MN, APHill VA, Devens MA, Chaffee AR, Blanding FL, Shelby MS, Gordon GA all come to mind, and YES the troops may need to sleep in tents. The draw back to the list is alot of the sites are northern and if it's winter when they go to camp it will be difficult to say the least, but WAR IS HELL.

The thing to remember is the troops being trained will be 1) replacements and 2) light infantry for the most part. The 'technical' replacements (tank crews, artillery crews, etc) will be trained at the 'school' bases (Knox, Sill, Bliss, Sam Houston, etc). BASIC training will be handled by the TDs.

How long will the BT last? Currently it is about 8-9 weeks I think for the basics. This will probly be cut to six weeks (getting rid of some of the 'nonessential' classes or atleast cutting back on them).. but knowing how the PC works it will be the 'needed skills' that are cut and the BS classes that get taught.


I think the railroads will be back in the troop transport business in short order. Box cars will be converted to troop cars, much as they did in WW2. Not comfy, but utility is the key word. Also Greyhound will do a booming business. At least till the nukes fall.. then everything changes drastically.

I think the surge time to training will take atleast two (optomistic) to six (realistic) months. Some locations will be activated faster than others, and some of the TDs are better than others at their jobs, just as in the RA and other services. When the nukes fall, the TDs are converted to Light Divisions, with the cadre becoming the core of the division and the trainees the troops. Again they are LIGHT and have very limited support of any kind. They will be used for SUPPORT of emergency services (ie Law, Fire, etc) in hard hit areas. UNTIL they have to face the Mexican armies, for which they have no heavier weapons to fight with.

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