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Military Olympics

Guerre Sans Frontieres
  [vote for,

Apart from the simple athletic events, competing countries armed forces would demonstrate their virtuosity in close-order drill and precision marching, mine clearance (individual and team or relay events), air to air combat, house clearance against the clock, precision parachuting, 100 metres belly-crawl under fire, sub-chasing, trench-digging, grenade-throwing, improvised field cookery, boot-polishing, casualty treatment and evacuation, and chemical warfare drill.

Weapons would be simulators or practice rounds (apart from rifle shooting at simulated targets, etc.). Every effort would be made to make sure no-one actually gets hurt, apart from the usual cuts and bruises inherent in running about and jumping on things.

The events would of course be televised. The audience gets a chance to see some impressive bangs and flashes.

Judging would be impartial, with a clear scoring system. Anti-doping regulations would be enforced. Equipment would be subject to the eagle eye of scrutineers, and handicapping would apply to differing equipments i.e. tanks, aircraft etc. to make sure the end result was as far as possible only a function of the skill of the personnel, not because they had some fancy radar on their aircraft or a self-levelling gun on their tank.

Armed forces would get a chance to show off their prowess without hurting anyone or starting a war. It might even promote international understanding and reconciliation ... but probably won't.

8th of 7, Jan 12 2014

World's First 'Tank Biathlon' http://www.youtube....watch?v=FYJRCDwYMQY
Tanks a lot [PainOCommonSense, Jan 15 2014]

Knightclub http://www.youtube....watch?v=8ofQ8tfLcRc
Retrobaked [PainOCommonSense, Jan 15 2014]

The History Channel: Ultimate Soldier Challenge http://www.history....e-soldier-challenge
straight from Comedy Central. [FlyingToaster, Jan 18 2014]

Field Gun Competition http://www.youtube....watch?v=Rxz4aPoudv8
Rather like an international version of this sort of thing? [TomP, Jan 18 2014]

Achtung – Panzer! http://en.m.wikiped...Achtung_-_Panzer%21
Prophetic. [8th of 7, Jan 21 2014]


       //Every effort would be made to make sure no-one actually gets hurt//   

       Have you been taking those medicated suppositories again?
MaxwellBuchanan, Jan 12 2014

       // suppositories //   

       <looks closely at label on packet>   

       Aw noooooo ... just wait until we get our hands on the Intercalary Twin ....
8th of 7, Jan 12 2014

       Oh, and they're single-use.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jan 12 2014

       International military-only marksmanship competitions already exist. They could definitely benefit from expansion. [+]   

       Instead of time penalties, rules infractions will be met with precision airstrikes, which themselves could perhaps be part of another event.   

       Head-to-head Bailey-bridge erection would be a great endurance race.
Alterother, Jan 12 2014

       I'm not so sure. You've involved rules. Military conflicts don't work like that. Cheating is kind of the point... you'd have the US Marine Corps leading the pack toward the finish line in the 15km yomp-up-a-big-hill with-a-big-backpack event, to be overtaken by paratroopers floating in by parachute after a HALO jump, only to find that the SAS had infiltrated the finish-line staff over a 9 month period and were there all along.   

       Would stealing another team's food be frowned upon or held as an example of crafty supply-line interdiction?
bs0u0155, Jan 12 2014

       // rules infractions will be met with precision airstrikes //   

       Only with flour bombs, or dye markers. Emphasis on low-lethality, here.   

       // Bailey-bridge erection would be a great endurance race //   

       It would indeed.   

       There would also be the traditional "initiative test" events, such as "You have two oil drums, four planks, one piece of rope and one rather nice antique brocade smoking jacket. Get all your team and their equipment across the stream without any of them getting wet".   

       // definitely benefit from expansion //   

       ... to larger calibres, like 155mm ...   

       // were there all along //   

       No, that would be cheating.   

       // Would stealing another team's food be frowned upon of held as an example of craft supply-line interdiction? //   

       It would be valid in certain events. Ambushing supplies, contaminating fuel, capturing the competitor's team members could all be legitimate.   

       For instance, Team A have a camp containing an "asset" to protect; Team B have to take it. Infiltration vs. sentries; who is most alert, who is most stealthy ?
8th of 7, Jan 12 2014

       Right, so what about ACTUALLY invading another nation, subjugating their population, and disbanding their armed forces prior to the Military Olympics? Would that get you a bye in the first round of the barrels and stream test?
bs0u0155, Jan 12 2014

       Getting a pad of requistion chits out of Quarter Stores when you've already used the last chit in your existing pad is always a good one.
8th of 7, Jan 12 2014

       // You've involved rules. Military conflicts don't work like that //   

       I'm talking about penalties for intentionally killing opponents. Think pond hockey rules.
Alterother, Jan 12 2014

       Pond hockey has rules now ? Who knew …   

       // Would that get you a bye in the first round of the barrels and stream test? //   

       No, absolutely not. There has to be a level battlefield.
8th of 7, Jan 12 2014

       Can they all wear berets? There ought to be berets.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jan 12 2014

       //pond hockey rules// Do whatever you need to with the dynamite, but don't blow up the beer.
Park on the pond if you have to, but don't run over the beer.
High-sticking is only acceptable if you can get away with it, but please don't hurt the guy that brings the beer.

       Never played pond hockey, but that would be my guess on rules...
lurch, Jan 12 2014

       Extra points for looking and sounding like Bernard Law Montgomery?
bs0u0155, Jan 12 2014

       //Never played pond hockey, but that would be my guess on rules...//   

       Sounds like RAF rules: "The Mk2 underwing pylon is certified for high G subsonic flight at all altitudes, it may be paired with guided or unguided munitions or fuel storage up to 1500lbs, you can also get 2 18 gallon kegs of the good stuff in a storage pod"
bs0u0155, Jan 12 2014

       //        Pond hockey has rules now ? Who knew …    //   

       Only that there must be an equal number of players on each team* and that the puck, if one is used, must not be triangular.   

       *thus the penalty imposed for assassination.
Alterother, Jan 12 2014

       //Extra points for looking and sounding like Bernard Law Montgomery ?//   

       Points, no. An Earldom, adulation bordering on deification from the British people, and the undying (and entirely unjustified) loathing and contempt of the U.S. ground forces, yes.
8th of 7, Jan 12 2014

       Defection issues could be problematic... just like the real Olympics.   

              //Extra points for looking and sounding like Bernard Law Montgomery ?//      

       You'll have to do better than that if you want the bonus score; your impersonation must include ignoring vital intelligence on a regular basis and making all your teammates stand around waiting while you perfect your gold-medal strategy.
Alterother, Jan 13 2014

       Yes. Personally, I prefer the mild-mannered Archibald Wavell.
pertinax, Jan 13 2014

       // ignoring vital intelligence on a regular basis //   

       // routinely allow an enemy on the run to get away, even when you can easily prevent their escape //   

       Oooh, sounds like the US is going to be right up the top of the 'ol medal table there ---
8th of 7, Jan 13 2014

       Cite examples.   

       Brace for return volley.
Alterother, Jan 13 2014

       MacArthur on Luzon.
Eisenhower's "Broad Front" startegy in Autumn '44.
Patton's attack on Metz.
Fredendall at Kasserine Pass …

       … and many more.   

       <placeholder for extensive list of US Army screwups>
8th of 7, Jan 13 2014

       // Patton's attack on Metz. Fredendall at Kasserine Pass … //   

       Both results of Monty's ineptitude in Africa.   

       // MacArthur on Luzon. //   

       MacArthur was a self-absorbed blowhard, just like Monty.   

       // Eisenhower's "Broad Front" strategy... //   

       ...eventually succeeded where Market-Garden failed. Interesting...   

       See, here's the thing: no one man got it done. It was the combined efforts of millions that won WWII, a fact that has been acknowleged by a number of well-known historical figures...with the notable exception of Bernard Montgomery Law, who won WWII all by himself.   

       // <placeholder for extensive list of US Army screwups> //   

       One word is all I require to refute that vague allegation of mass incompetence:   

Alterother, Jan 13 2014

       Don't forget 1905 either.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jan 13 2014

       Look, fellas, there's only one way to determine whose military is least incompetent, and that's obviously the Military Olympics.   

       Or a great big war. So, two ways.
Alterother, Jan 13 2014

       // One word is all I require to refute that vague allegation of mass incompetence: Dunkirk. //   

       Well, we didn't know there were any Americans in command at Dunkirk, being as at that time the bulk of the U.S. was cowering behind a fig-leaf of self-serving neutrality (Although there may well have been a few fighter pilots with the RAF), and we have always been of the opinion that the mass incompetence was french, but if you want to claim the credit with a specific admission of incompetence, we're happy to accept it.   

       // Bernard Montgomery Law, who won WWII all by himself. //   

       Field Marshal The Viscount Montgomery of Alamein did indeed achieve most of it practically single handed, and could have cleaned up the lot if Ike had given him the forces for his thrust against the Ruhr in 1944, which would have completely overwhelmed Model and von Rundstedt as the Westwall was unmanned and totally unprepared.   

       Oh, and the Russians were in it too ... you know, the ones who started fighting a half-year before the USN was caught with its collective pants round its ankles ?   

       Doubtless if the US does participate in the Military Olympics they'll turn up half way through, and then ever afterwards claim the fact that the event was a success was all down to them.
8th of 7, Jan 13 2014

       Weather's been mild for the time of year, hasn't it?
MaxwellBuchanan, Jan 13 2014

       It has indeed, but then it often is at the start of the Yank-baiting season.
8th of 7, Jan 13 2014

       You're being unfair, [8th]. If they hadn't captured that Enigma machine we'd have lost the war. And if they hadn't invented the jet engine, we'd have lost all the wars since then.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jan 13 2014

       Hey, I'd love to be the first person to acknowledge that Russia flat-out won WWII and the rest of us helped. My point is that Monty would probably have been the last.
Alterother, Jan 13 2014

       I'd have thought that self doubt is somewhat selected against in military leadership.   

       Also //Allied counter-offensive, he was shot through the right lung by a sniper.[19] Montgomery was hit once more though, in the knee.[22] He was awarded the Distinguished Service Order for gallant leadership: the citation for this award, published in the London Gazette in December 1914 reads: Conspicuous gallant leading on 13th October, when he turned the enemy out of their trenches with the bayonet. He was severely wounded.[23]//   

       Get shot twice, go back, get handy with a bayonet.
bs0u0155, Jan 13 2014

       Plenty of heroes get nothing but the Soldier's Cross for their sacrifice, plenty of others receive citation, and a few go on to become largely inept military leaders who make one rather obvious observation about the enemy's habits, win a fairly one-sided battle, and ride their unjustified public reknown for the rest of the war.
Alterother, Jan 13 2014

       //hadn't invented the jet engine...// All those MiG's in Korea were fitted with fully licensed, then later reverse-engineered versions of, Rolls Royce Nenes.
FlyingToaster, Jan 14 2014

       Yes, well, somebody had to give us some fair competition. I mean, where else were they going to get quality tech? China's jet development program was still in the water buffalo phase in the 50s.
Alterother, Jan 14 2014

       // //hadn't invented the jet engine...// //   

       Funny really, if we hadn't given the USSR the Nene, then no Cold war. Jets Vs prop... no contest.
bs0u0155, Jan 14 2014

       Great idea, although the argument could be made that WW1 and WW2 were a sort of military Olympics.   

       8ths best idea, hands down.
doctorremulac3, Jan 15 2014

       // 8ths best idea, hands down //   

       france's best idea - hands up ...
8th of 7, Jan 15 2014

FlyingToaster, Jan 18 2014

       france's only idea - hands up ...
AusCan531, Jan 18 2014

       [link] for one event to be included.
TomP, Jan 18 2014

       I am in no way French, but I don't think they deserve the above.   

       If you want to learn a lesson from the collapse of France in 1940, it's not about national cowardice but about partisan division. The French left and the French right were too busy scoring points off each other to focus properly on the incoming blitzkrieg. Both left and right resisted heroically, but they utterly failed to resist *together*.   

       Had they not made that mistake, well... they might have lost anyway for other reasons, but not nearly so quickly or completely.
pertinax, Jan 19 2014

       The reputation of the nation of France and its people as cowardly is inaccurate and unfounded. In fact, the French have a centuries-strong military tradition of throwing their finest and bravest men directly into the maw of their enemy's strongest positions.   

       The French people's reputation for being rude, self- absorbed pricks is spot-on, however.
Alterother, Jan 19 2014

       Seconded wholeheartedly.
8th of 7, Jan 19 2014

       Not cowardly. Simply not effective strategists. Build an immovable defense line that can be easily circumvented, spend a fortune in resources doing it, depend on it for safety, and advertise it's position and limits to the enemy. Swell plan that.
RayfordSteele, Jan 19 2014

       Would International pick up, YMCA, LAPD, UN, NFL, Masonic lodges, High School ROTC, or Scouts be allowed to field teams ?
popbottle, Jan 19 2014

       I'm not sure they had much of a choice. Historical precedent shows that wooden border gates and customs officials cannot turn back seven* armored divisions.   

       *it may not have been seven. I have to go check that.
Alterother, Jan 20 2014

       The Belgians were professed neutrals (as were the Dutch) and were not over-endowed with armoured divisions ...   

       // Had the Belgians not allowed the Germans to invade through their territory //   

       "Had the hedgehog not allowed the steamroller to squash it ..."
8th of 7, Jan 20 2014

       I should have said 'panzer divisions' to clarify my point.
Alterother, Jan 20 2014

       No, but they were comparable in their own context. They outclassed nearly every tank the Allies could field. Sure, they were only fielding Panzer IIs and IIIs when they crossed Belgium, but the all the French had to meet them were twenty-year-old FT-17s and a handful of Char Bs, and none of them--I come now to the salient point--none of them were stationed along the Belgian border.
Alterother, Jan 20 2014

       At the risk of being relevant here, can I just mention 1905?
MaxwellBuchanan, Jan 20 2014

       The "deep penetration" tactics typified by Hurrying Heinz were devastating compared to the Allied 'infantry tank' doctrine. Its success took OKH by surprise and lead to near-panic because the marching troops just couldn't keep up, leaving the flanks exposed.   

       The defeat and failure was intellectual; bear in mind that Guderian was 52 and Rommel was 49; Weygand was 73, Gamelin 68, Lord Gort a mere stripling of 54.
8th of 7, Jan 20 2014

       To a man on foot carrying 50 lbs of weapons and equipment, getting your ass blown up by a 75mm gun that cruises around at 15 mph could definitely be described as 'lightning war'.   

       // I'm sure the Belgians had aircraft and/or telegraph lines to France which could have been used to warn the French in time to *get* their aging tanks (and possibly some air support) into position. //   

       Umm...not really. If the Belgians put anything into the air, a swarm of bf109s would have come screaming out of the sun to knock it down; remember, this was when the Luftwaffe still existed. For the same reason, it was very difficult for the few French forces that were able to respond to manuever without coming under attack from the sky.   

       Consider also that the Belgians were taken by surprise as well, and it is standard practice for the first wave of any invasion force to sever communication lines. Go read yourself a history book there, sonny.   

       // The problem was they fell for a German feint that should have been obvious //   

       That is true, but it wasn't their fault. They are French, after all
Alterother, Jan 21 2014

       // Huns on horseback were faster //   

       But an Uhlan is vulnerable to an infantryman with a rifle; a tank, even a Panzer II, isn't. The horse can be stopped by a few strands of barbed wire; the tank keeps going.   

       Even the original British Mk.I was extraordinarily successful at Cambrai, despite its 4 mph top speed.   

       The french thought of the tank as a support weapon for infantry, as per WW I. The Germans thought of infantry as a support and adjunct to tanks, hence their development of mechanised Panzergrenadier units.
8th of 7, Jan 21 2014

       I would like it if there was RASSLING! And as a side note - if you can get one of those Enigma machine there will be no more need for medicated suppostiories.   

       Ahem - to the idea. General feats of strength etc would be fine for various servicemen and I think would provide some bragging points for countries with fit and athletic armies who would like to compete with the US but without the astral vision goggles and sentient bullets that go around corners. For example there could be RASSLING! Yay Bulgaria!   

       But as re pure strategery, contests could pit armchair strategists vs army, academy, industry and others - not contests involving a bunch of portly armchairists with paintball guns in the woods, but contests of cunning and creativity - get item A to point B etc.
bungston, Jan 21 2014

       //machine-guns in the arm rest //   

       That's only for the Bond Supervillain category.   

       // or whether causing an enemy combatant to spill their cognac is a war crime. //   

       No, but spilling Single Malt Whisky is.
8th of 7, Jan 21 2014


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