Does toughness still matter???

May 2018
928
Michigan
War is a nasty business, a certain level of physical and psychological strength is required for any soldier to be effective and endure the reality of combat. This toughness is usually gained through training and experience, though there are some people that are simply more fit for war than others.

I think that warfare in the past naturally required more physical strength and agility due to the absence of gunpowder weapons and the technological limitations, for one to swing a battleaxe or to wear armour for days on end considerable psychical strength and endurance are needed.

Now, this doesn't mean that modern warfare is clean or doesn't require toughness. Going into a battle and fighting effectively, manoeuvering across the battlefield etc. requires considerable strength and stamina also. In the age of linear warfare when muskets were inaccurate after a certain range and were faulty soldiers required good discipline and skill to aim and fire them effectively, or at least more accurately and faster than their enemies. Also, going into a battle and holding fire while marching in a line certainly required discipline in itself.

This said I think that it's beyond inaccurate to say that toughness disappeared with the spread of gunpowder weapons, at least up to World War I fighting still required discipline, strength and toughness. In the modern age I would say that being a U.S. soldier in Vietnam or a guerilla insurgent in Afghanistan obviously requires toughness skill to survive and be effective.

I also think that there's partially a romantic image involved here: It's far more engaging to imagine Viking warriors fighting in a brutal melee and armies butchering each other by hand or Wellington on a horse leading a charge at Assaye while line infantry fights around him than Alan Brooke sitting in an office in London and directing a campaign in North Africa while the soldiers fight with more modern weapons.
I think that one thing that gunpowder did was significantly reduce the amount of training an effective soldier required.

A swordsman, archer, hoplite, legionnaire, and even more so, mounted knight required years of training both in their individual weapon as well as drilling as a team. With the introduction of the musket, I can make a man as deadly as a 6'6 Gallic Barbarian, or rather, a 12 year old girl with a pistol could kill a 6'6 Gallic barbarian, no problem. There really isn't any ancient soldier weapon where this could happen, and that girl could be proficient enough with that pistol to kill a person without much training.

While many ancient soldiers weapons could (and were) wielded effectively by those with little training...sometimes...the fact remains that I can make an infantryman more deadly than a Roman Legionary in under 12 weeks. When Roman Legionaries existed, nobody could take a raw recruit and make them that deadly in 12 weeks.

The flipside, of course, is the fact that we have modern weapons, some of which require years of training just to attain basic proficiency. The current naval aviator program is multiple years long.
 
May 2018
928
Michigan
On a scale of, oh, pulling a range out of thin air. 3-18, what would you say Napoleon's stats were?
I don't want to start a war here about Napoleon (funny, that battles over the guy's legacy continue to this day. He and Wellington get a lot of free head space in the minds of future dictators).

Without giving it too much thought, in the areas that matter, I'd give him a 16 in Intelligence, 8 in Wisdom, and an 18 in Charisma, with a -10 penalty if negotiating treaties or otherwise doing international relations. Other such "relations" regarding his charisma, are unaffected.
 
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Apr 2014
200
New York, U.S.
Anyone familiar with hardcore history may catch a recognizable whiff or familiarity.. just to give credit where it is due.


Does the toughness of your societies individuals and society as a whole matter anymore militarily???


Anyone familiar with modern and ancient historians will recognize the ,

“Wooden shoes walk up stairs , while silk shoes walk down”

philosophy that many historians had and some still have..

That roughneck cultures (wooden shoe) conquer empires. Get soft off the wealth and start wearing silk shoes. Then lose the empire to some other roughneck group because they got soft.... and this cycle at least seemly did seem to apply to quite a few empires....

There are definitely plenty of ancient historical examples of when one army was outnumbered and sometimes out gunned, but was just tougher than the other guy..


But there are no modern examples.. I think gunpowder weapons finally (150 years ago lol) made toughness irrelevant..

A perfect example are the horse tribes of the Eurasian steppes..

For all of recorded history, every few hundred years some charismatic leader would unite the tribes and those tough as a coffin nail jokers would just stomp the dog poop out of anyone who wanted some..

And everything from European knights, to Muslims, to Chinese and Japanese samurai too ...no one could mess with their totally mounted armies, Parthian shot and just how tough the average one was after being raised on the brutally harsh steppes..

Well all that need once guns became established... they went from unstoppable to irrelevant in 1.2 seconds..

This has led me to believe that toughness no longer matters... technology has finally made it basically a nonissue.







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In the present day world, I think that toughness is still a requirement but it is correlated to two other factors - that is the psychological and technological aspect of warfare.
By the psychological I mean the willingness of the home population to support the war. The technological refers to the myriad of high tech weaponry available to modern armies. And of course, the ultimate weapon, hydrogen bombs.
 
Nov 2019
133
Memphis TN
In the present day world, I think that toughness is still a requirement but it is correlated to two other factors - that is the psychological and technological aspect of warfare.
By the psychological I mean the willingness of the home population to support the war. The technological refers to the myriad of high tech weaponry available to modern armies. And of course, the ultimate weapon, hydrogen bombs.
For sure strategical the populations will for wat is probably the primary factor outside of monarchies and such.

However, where I think for most of human history toughness was a MAJOR factor.. today I do not even think it is a very secondary issue..

Does it matter how tough a drone pilot is??

I think military toughness is kinda the latest casualty of technology.

In spartan times armor was maybe the deciding factor.. the long bow made armors useless..

The horse archer used to own every facet of military combat. The gun made them useless..

The wooden galleys used to own the sea..the first steel destroyer could have probably walked over the rest of the worlds navy’s




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