From the Mobile Infantry to the Mobile Base - A Study in Battlefield Mobility
InOps Publication. September 9, 2071
Before the development of railroads in the 19th century, infantry armies got to the battlefield by walking or sometimes by ship. In the late 19th century, some countries used horse mounted and bicycle infantry, but the real revolution in mobility started in the 1920s with the use of motor vehicles, resulting in motorized infantry. Action in Greece, Iran and Finland during the Great World War II demonstrated the importance of combined arms tactics, with tanks and infantry advancing past the enemy's defenses, while being supported by self propelled artillery and round attack aircraft. That made necessary the protection of the infantry soldiers while they were advancing, requiring the development of mechanized infantry that could keep up with the tanks, and afford some protection to the infantrymen against shrapnel by using armored vehicles for transport.
Some cavalry units, such as dragoons and American Mounted Rifles units, had doctrines which emphasized that horses were to be used only as means of transportation, and soldiers dismount for battle. These can be considered more as mobile infantry than cavalry as well, although this distinction is rather blurred - most American Cavalry Units of the 1940-1920 period were actually such light dragoon or mounted infantry units rather than the true cavalry of European and Latin American armies.
Modern day infantry is supported by armored fighting vehicles, mobile artillery and aircraft, but until the end of the 20th century were still the only kind of military force which could take and hold ground, and thus remained essential to fighting wars.
With the advent of the Tiberium age, and with it the last real war of the 20th century, the globalization presented in the organized UN led GDI - a consolidated, world spanning military force - fighting against a very well equipped, highly organized and single bodied Terrorism entity known as the Brotherhood of Nod, necessitated a doctrinal shift in military deployment and force projection.
The issue of resource distribution and management was, ironically, solved by the aggressors of the first Tiberian War. The Brotherhood of Nod, prior to the beginning of hostilities and incursions, had given the world the means for cost effective harvesting and refining Tiberium - creating both the supply and demand for this ultimate resource. The refining method introduced by the Brotherhood gave a single solution for two issues; production ready resources like metals and fuels harvested on or near the battlefield for local and immediate consumption and electrical energy production as a byproduct of the very same refining technique used on the highly radioactive and chemically rich Tiberium.
Perhaps it was the lack of a real and single ideology on the part of GDI leadership back in the early days of what has now become the world's de facto government, but GDI logisticians and R&D had no qualms about using Nod's technologies to fuel their war effort against the Brotherhood - in effect aiding the dependency on both the new resource and technologies. Some in the intelligence community claim today that that was Kane's real plan from the start. The first Tiberium War being nothing but a catalyst and the means for Tiberium proliferation.
The nature of GDI, in the early days of the then only military organization - utilization of varied units from various separate standing armies based on a multinational and non homogenous leadership - made traditional force projection convoluted. Not all units within the multinational force were familiar with even the basic of cooperation with Carrier based Air Groups and the actual Aircraft Carriers and even Air Force units were relegated to GDI command on an 'if available' basis. GDI logisticians tasked with solving those problems, took the opportunity provided them by Tiberium and focused their attention on a complete shift in force projection doctrines.
In lieu of a standing navy and air force, the focus was shifted to ground forces and their self sustainability in new and hostile environments. With the aforementioned solution for resource and power on the battlefield, GDI's Logistical R&D turned to previously proven methods of fast deployment to the battlefield and applied them to more solid solutions of encampment and entrenchment on the battlefield.
In essence this was a reversal of then standard conquest doctrines. Where before naval and air forces were becoming more and more the bulk of the war effort, leaving relatively minor skirmish for the ground forces to clean up and then hold the land, the new reality forced GDI to make do with as little air and naval support as possible, making the establishment of a solidified and a more permanent self sustaining presence on the outskirts of the battlefield a must.
Advancements in Rapid Deployment technologies such as massive inflatable hospital tents and durable light armored fabrics and materials, allowed the logisticians of GDI to fashion Mobile Construction Vehicles as the fulcrum of the forward rapidly deployed base. With little funding, GDI converted a fleet of military Oshkosh trucks with cargo cranes to serve as platforms for the MCV, allowing for as little as two such vehicles - and a very well trained squad of combat engineers and logisticians - to easily erect a forward base in a matter of hours.
With the proven success of the new doctrine, additional funding provided GDI with the means to develop a more dedicated vehicle to serve as a mobile Command and Control facility while advancing for the designated area of deployment and as a fully functional MCV to deploy and erect a presence once the area has been reached.
Using this doctrine, by the end of TW-I, GDI had refined the tools of rapid deployment as well as established a foot hold in most if not all hot spots across the globe. Again, ironically, proving Nod's propaganda against UN globalization true. However, with the consequences of the war itself as well as the cataclysmic effects of Tiberium around the world, that fact eluded many who were now otherwise occupied with survival in the changing climate and eco system.
The long and mostly quiet peace time between TW-I and TW-II in 2030 had caused GDI to turn its attention away from further development of the Mobility Doctrine, in the favor of Tiberium containment research and rescue and salvage operations around the globe. The incident in Qatar of 2019 (see separate publication) and the global outcry following it, further emphasized the need for Tiberium containment and any further R&D into the Mobility Doctrine have been shelved.
While GDI made do with basic improvements to existing designs leading up to TW-II, it was the Brotherhood of Nod that made significant steps in the same doctrinal direction. Prior and during the first Tiberium War, Nod had neither the resources nor cohesion of ranks to mimic GDI's strategies and logistical self sustainment. Instead, already relying on local fervor of the populace for infantry volunteers, with religious indoctrination in local temples - Hands of Nod - in lieu of training, Nod solved the issues of armor simply by flying in hardware as needed - with Tiberium reforming the global economy, Nod was not strapped for cash to buy the needed hardware.
Much as with GDI, it was circumstances that forced the Brotherhood down the same shift in thought. Leading up to TW-II, the Brotherhood of Nod slowly gained recognition and political support around the globe. Becoming a nation state entity it seemed that permanent bases of operation were the call of the hour.
Recently declassified documents of InOps records reveal that it was then de facto leader of the Brotherhood, the Egyptian General Hassan, who pushed for standardization of Nod's forces into a well structured and well controlled standing army, with established permanent facilities and bases. The same documents further reveal that Hassan pushed in that direction under the watchful eye and at the behest of GDI command, having been lured and supported by GDI SOCOM into the high position within the Brotherhood of Nod (see 2019, Incident in Qatar and Ramifications, InOps publication, 2068). The result was that the second Tiberium War on a strategic level was very similar to World War I and the wars that came before it - with entrenched self sustaining bases within main staging areas. TW-II became a series of battles of attrition between the standing forces of Nod and GDI, almost reenacting old American Civil War battles, but with much more advanced and more lethal weaponry.
To break the stalemate of the entrenched forces, previously shelved designs adhering to the Mobility Doctrine were dusted off and fast tracked to the battlefield for testing and utilization. This time both forces, GDI and Nod, began the race for battlefield domination with the Mobility Doctrine at its core.
Where GDI focused more on force protection and logistical mobility, Nod attempted to introduce their older guerilla based tactics into the new open environment of the then modern battlefield.
However, the war remained inherently immobile, with the reintroduced R&D and the resulting technologies relegated to mere secondary roles of very tactical force projection in isolated skirmishes.
Because of the relatively low use of these technologies during TW-II, development and R&D were discontinued, with the existing arsenal serving in expeditionary roles in minor and for the most part non military undertakings of GDI in resumed anti-Tiberium efforts. With Nod's fracture with the disappearance of Kane and the subsequent murder of General Anton Slavik, their technologies had no practical use in any role. Recent investigations support that supposition by revealing that during the hiatus between TW-II and TW-III, while reuniting and rebuilding his forces, Kane decided to remain in as low a profile as possible, thus opting to refrain from major movements and leave his various forces in smaller hiding places, in a splintered force model. The technological ramifications of that decision were shown on the battlefields of TW-III with much smaller though immobile versions of technologies Nod had developed prior and during TW-II.
Following the Liquid Tiberium detonation and what is now believed to have been the subsequent invasion by the Scrin, the world had taken a turn for the worse. The Doomsday Clock which, thanks to the research done by Dr' Boudreaux and her team with what they could decipher from the Tacitus, was turned back to Half past Eleven had once again jumped to Five Minutes to Midnight. The ensuing panic over this revelation fueled political upheaval and malcontent was turned in fervor against GDI. GDI permanent bases were raided for their stocks of supplies and even weaponry - in tamed Yellow zones and even in some of the relatively better off Blue zones. With weak support from GDI political leadership, some attempts were made to forcefully quell the uprising. However, these attempts fueled even more dissent from within GDI controlled areas, this time from populations wholly aligned with GDI.
The political fallout gave way to new voices inside GDI Political leadership which called for a scapegoat. With so many years fighting against the Brotherhood of Nod and Tiberium itself, the finger was pointed at GDI's military bureaucracy. While GDI Political leadership demanded the military to lay low, the latter was forced once again to reconsider their operational doctrines. This time the cycle led to a complete overhaul of military thought. The return to previous Force Projection strategies, with forces commanded from a central GDI hub and able to deploy at very high turnover seeds anywhere on Earth - be it tamed still Earth like areas or vicious Tiberium deformed locations - without a need for a permanent base in place.
The long developed and evolved Mobility Doctrine gave birth to the Crawler.
The new operational doctrine was a natural evolution from both the entrenchment warfare of the last two wars and the R&D that began years earlier and was left on the sidelines to this day. The basis of the Crawler based doctrine was conceived by combining the reality of the base crawling in entrenched warfare of TW-II and TW-III and more tactical troop and force movement used and perfected by infantry and armor units since the end of the 20th century to this date. A simple explanation would be that the one was superimposed on the other.
The basic Base Crawling tactic had remained (hence the naming of the Crawler), but instead of expanding and reaching with your forces from an entrenched base - expanding resources to their limits, both personnel and logistics - all the technologies researched and developed under the Mobility Doctrine for the past 80 years were combined into one body, able to produce, train and deploy units everywhere it can reach, autonomously, on the battlefield. Furthermore, the new Crawler based doctrine required several Role-Based crawlers to work in tandem to achieve maximum efficiency and success on the battlefield. Just like an Infantry Fire Team, the Crawlers were made role specific, with the Forward Assault role designed to the take the lead and break resistance, the Heavy Defense role designed to hold conquered ground and the Support Role designed to provide a wider scope of tactical and strategic support in the form of both logistics and longer ranged weaponry.
The political upheaval after the events of TW-III as well as the 40 year stalemate caused from two wars of entrenchment and attrition gave no option for either GDI or Nod to stick to their old operational doctrines. While the new Crawler Doctrines remain to be proven in battle, GDI strategists are hopeful, relying on experience with similar tactics in smaller scale tactical skirmishes for their optimism.