THE RIGHT WAY: BRING A COMBINED FORCE
Before we get into manpower, we should first address a major problem. You want a professional force. What does that mean? It means having the right mix of troops.
In all my research, I’ve never heard of an Earth invasion force that had a proper mixture of troops. Or, for that matter, any real mix of troops, at all. Mostly what I hear about are large craft that hover above the surface, a large number of fighter aircraft, and maybe some heavy but very slow land vehicles; usually combat walkers or something equally lumbering. As I’ve noted before, this leads to a slow moving army with limited ability to project force at a distance. It’s also ill suited to many tasks. What do you do for waterborne operations? Amphibious assaults? Who’s doing reconnaissance? Who’s carrying out raids? Who’s responsible for fire support? Who is taking care of area security? Got any construction or engineering projects? I’d like to see a group of aircraft carry that out. But beyond that there are a lot of simple, basic needs that the army has. Food, shelter, rest; these are things all soldiers need. I never see barracks or mess halls. Equipment needs to be repaired and replaced. I never see repair yards or supply depots. Sometimes I wonder if some of your troops didn’t just drop dead!
The same way that you bring the right mix of weapons, you need the right mix of forces. You don’t need separate troop types for all missions, obviously, but you need units that have a degree of flexibility.
Let’s start with the ordinary foot soldier. This fellow has been the basis for all military organizations since time began, yet he gets left off your Earth invasion plans. Why? What’d he ever do to you? In case you missed the last thousand years of armed combat, let me drop some knowledge on your heads; foot soldiers are some of the most flexible forces in warfare. They can not only be used for combat and assault, but also scouting, raiding, special operations. With enough training and the right equipment, an infantry force can tackle just about any target. And they generally cost a lot less than a big, hulking walker that’s only good in certain situations.
The foot soldier also comes in handy when there are less sexy jobs that need doing, like construction and engineering. What’s that, you say? You can always gang press humans into building stuff for you?
We’ll talk about this later, but the humans don’t have our technology. Unless you want to rely on their primitive methods to build things like bases, roads, and other structures, you’re either going to have to train them up (and thus empower them), or do it yourself.
There’s also a lot policing, logistics, and administrative work that goes on. Do your troops work for free? That may explain why they fight like crap when things really go wrong.
Speaking of logistics, bring some damn transport craft next time. What the hell do you use to move stuff around? Workers, materials, supplies? You can’t be moving that all in combat vehicles. That’s a waste of resources.
What do you do if you encounter a fortification that your regular weapons can’t reduce? If you’re you, then you’re out of luck. But the rest us bring along something called fire support. This applies to everything from local support that’s part of a combat unit, all the way up to strategic options, orbital lasers, or batteries of smart bombs.
Then there’s the exploitation force. You need a heavy force that can race through ruptured defense lines and wreck havoc on the enemy. In every invasion I’ve studied, the Earthlings were routed in the first encounter. But that victory was always wasted because there was no exploitation force waiting to pour through the holes in their lines.
Also don’t forget to bring special forces, recon scouts, and commandos; troops who can operate behind the lines. Not bringing them is suicidal. It means that, unless the Earthlings are facing your main force, they are completely safe and can do whatever. You need scouts and raiders to unsettle them, find out what they’re up to, and destroy vital supplies. Capturing high value leaders alive is a job for highly trained warriors. Again, dead leaders can’t surrender.
You should concentrate on land combat, because that’s where the humans live, but don’t forget to bring specialized air and sea units. Most invaders make do with multi-purpose vehicles, usually hovercraft or anti-gravity vehicles that can be used on all terrains. This isn’t a bad idea, but these vehicles are energy eaters, and are themselves very light. There are even some invaders who used vehicles for combined sea, land and air operations. We’ll talk about those in the section of tactics but I’ll just say this; when you try to do everything you end up doing nothing well.
The most important reason for bringing a combined force is this: if you only bring one kind of combat unit, then the Earthlings only have to figure out how to take down that one vehicle to destroy your entire force. A combined arms force means they have to take on multiple types of troops and vehicles, and no single attack will work on all of them.
At least, I hope not.