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Field communications

Written by Sapper
Last updated on 2002-08-12

Base-to-base communication

For fairly close bases & outposts that need to communicate, it may be best (and far cheaper to just have runners (referred to here on as "marathon runners') deliver messages. But, you may not have enough troops to do this. However, I think that if you have more than two bases, you should be able to make this job at least one person's secondary duty. Otherwise, you may have to use two-way radios. See Marathon runners.

And finally, the other option is more based off ancient & medieval warfare. You could use fireworks, whistles, brightly colored flags, etc. to get the other outposts' attention and even send a message if you're that well organized.

Code words & codenames

Codenames, such as Star or Wolf, are very useful. However, there are a few general tips/rules that you should be aware of:

  • Codenames should only be about one or two syllables so they can be rolled off the tongue easier in the heat of battle
  • They should be in the native (or most commonly) used language of the individual & the team
  • Perhaps the most important rule is to keep it simple
  • Change the codenames after every other battle is over so that the enemy doesn't figure it out; it may be best to use the same codenames, but make sure different people get different codenames so it confuses the enemy even more
  • Make sure everyone knows what everyone else's codename is
  • Codenames are best used on the field!

Code words are even more effective than codenames. They are best used for locations (such as certain areas of the battle field, refill points, "choke points", rendezvous points, etc.), the opposition, etc.


I don't recommend ciphers (or codes just to regular commoners) for water wars. This is because the enemy could still figure out what the code is and crack it even with very little hints and other pointers. Also, it takes valuable time to cipher & decipher messages... that adds to the time it takes to just say, "We are victorious," and send it 85 meters.

Hand signals

Hand signals are the most important, most tactical communications in battle. However, in periods of non-fighting, they are reduced to a secondary role as more strategic forms of communication come to play. They should be used as a substitute for basic messages when 1. Being quiet is absolute, 2. The enemy is near by, or 3. All of the above. You should create whatever hand signals you want. But, if you're trying to signal to your buddy that the enemy is twenty feet away, and you have to raise your arms from your gun to put it on your head to tell him, then congratulations, you've just given yourself away. How sweet, you ignorant grunt!

If you are trying to signal a retreat then that would be fine. For example, if you have some enemies coming at you, and they haven't seen you yet, then go ahead and make a goofy hand signal for retreating, so that when you do the motion, you and your buddy can just run away really quickly. Lot's of animals see the enemy, and just run really fast. This will keep the enemy in shock for at least two or three seconds. Dumb ones may take even longer. Smart ones will already know you're there...

Marathon runner

It was almost 2,500 years ago when the famous Battle of Marathon occurred. The Persian Empire was about to being it's largest offensive against Greece ever. They planned to fortify Marathon, a city-sate that was about 27 miles south of Athens (the Persians' target city and the most powerful city-state in Ancient Greece at that time). They hoped that the Athenian army would attack and attempt to liberate Marathon. They would then re-embark under a cover force back onto their naval ships and rush to Athens, which would be left ill defended because the rest of the Athenian army was back at Marathon.

The Athenian soldiers stopped the Persians from re-embarking and a lone warrior ran the 27 miles from Marathon to Athens. He died as soon as he got there. But not before saying, "We are victorious!" Ever since then, the Marathon races have been famous. That battle is also where most historians pinpoint the start of the indirect strategical approach.

The marathon runner can be the centerpiece of your communications. He or she should be used just in case the distance between the bases or battle or whatever is short enough, or too long even for the best walkie-talkies. If the distance is short enough, he can just run it. However, you may opt for a "mechanized marathon runner". This would be your basic marathon runner on cavalry (a bike) or a light armored vehicle (a car) or a tank (an all-terrain vehicle).

He should be a very good runner and have lots of endurance (unless mechanized). The best way to arm him for his mission would be with some drinking water in a bottle, perhaps just a little bit of food (not chocolate because that melts), and one big water balloon... and of course something to carry to water balloon with such as a potato sac or a backpack. But it needs to be somewhere were he could explode it and it would still be effective or he can get out easily. If he is caught, tell him to make a suicide charge unless he finds it better to just eliminate himself. He must destroy the message before elimination as well.

Buying radios

Do NOT buy those cheap Wal*Mart radios that you find right next to the army men that have the 65% sale sign next to it. They may only cost about $10-25.00, but they only have a range of about 150-375 feet (roughly 45-115 meters) on flat grounds with minimal trees. No hills or valleys or buildings or even houses or shacks allowed.

I suggest going to Radio Shack or some other related electronic store and buy a pare of those good, water resistant, dark colored, 2 mile (a little bit more than four kilometers) range walkie-talkies.

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