Super Bowl of militaries: who would win?

Pretend we have an Super Bowl of military forces. USA, Russia, and China are not participating. The goal is to win a battle, using whatever forces you have available, except nukes and chemical weapons. No allies, no supplies from other countries, just bring what you have.

Cordon off a big empty area of, say, Siberia. Choose a nice summer day and have varied terrain, like hills, airfields, and navigable rivers (in case the navies want to play, too). Assume everything is equal with terrain: mountains, forests, empty cities are divided equally.

Let them go at it. Who would be the top seeds? Who would win?

Same number of forces available? Technology, such as communications are whatever you can bring…or using some kind of parity? Some fixed time limit that would mean no need for logistics?

Assuming the above, I’d have to say that only a very limited number of nations could participate…say, several of the NATO countries (France, Germany, the UK), and perhaps some others (like, say, South Korea). No one else would have the minimum requirements, unless you were going to gimp them (say, take away their communications).

Assuming you aren’t trying to level the playing field, I’d have to say that the Brits would have a good shot. Germany too. Perhaps South Korea or Israel. Those would be, IMHO, the favorites. And you can include China and Russia btw…obviously the US would not be included, though if you had fixed numbers then they could participate too.


Under the scenario you give, probably North Korea for the sheer number of people with guns they have, assuming they could effectively mobilize them (for a training exercise, they presumably could).

However, in real life scenarios, where people worry about death and have real feelings, and where projection of power is a factor, France, England or maybe Canada would probably win.

In the real world, Korea couldn’t effectively attack anyone except China or South Korea, they simply don’t have the ability to project power. When factoring real world scenarios, there’s also the ability to take and control enemy territory. It’d be ridiculously difficult for North Korea to get a force to Western Europe, much less seize and hold that territory.

I think North Korea is overrated. The world destroyed the Iraqi military in a week in 1991, and the US military destroyed the official military (not the insurgency) in a month.

North Korea has huge numbers but their troops are underfed, their weapons are old, falling apart and underfueld and the troops will (according to some defectors from the country) defect and turn their guns on their officers when they find out how much better life is and can be outside of North Korea. North Korea’s government is held together with a web of lies. Once the lies unravel and the soldiers see how much better life is outside NK, there will probably be chaos and mutinies.

I think the official North Korean military would be destroyed in a week. Insurgency is something different.

As a guess I’d say Britain would win if the US, China & US were not involved. South Korea would probably be another great military to have.

Israel has a good military, but they are pretty small. I’m sure they would do decently, but with only 6 million people their military probably couldn’t compete with the militaries of nations with populations & GDPs 10x bigger.

If logistics is part of the equation, the US has an advantage. We spend a lot on being at the top of the game when it comes to getting things like food, water and fuel to remote battlefields.

The US also has the long range bombers and refueling planes, plus force projection through our Naval forces. Can we use our carrier based aircraft, build an airstrip, or use our bombers? How about our cruise missiles with conventional warheads? Our air force is formidable as well due to the numbers.

Almost no one could possibly bring even a small part of their entire military to Siberia. Certainly the North Koreans couldn’t bring more than a battalion or so (if that) of light troops. So, if they are supposed to somehow get there on their own, that takes out…well, just about everyone. Including Israel, who couldn’t bring their heavy tanks or more than a few light units.

Given that, I’d have to go with the Brits…they are the only ones who could bring more than a token force on their own.


I R an Idjit - sorry OP.

Brits have the Harrier, and can build an airfield on site very quickly. They also have some of the other necessary portions of force projection.

The French used to be pretty skilled in playing in random areas, and due to their unique relationship with NATO they used to work on ensuring that they could operate alone as well. I haven’t read Jane’s in ages though, to know where they are today.

I seriously doubt the French could get more than a token force to Siberia either. Nor the Germans. So, unless part of the game is providing transport (and logistics) for the combatants, you are going to eliminate just about everyone (including China, but probably not Russia) from the game right there. Won’t be much of a fun Super Bowl…


I think you have to assume you get free transportation as part of the deal.

Sicne the OP excludes navies by putting it in the middle of Siberia, I’ll go with France, which has a large and very modern army. The UK, India, Israel and Germany would all put up an excellent fight as well.

Yeah, wouldn’t be much fun if only a few countries could show up. But if you are going to give them transport (and presumably logistics support), why not impose a limit on the number and types of troops and weapons too? Say, allow each side to bring an armored division, a heavy and light mech division, cav, air, etc. THEN it would be all about who really is best.

Given those parameters, I’d go with my choices in my first post.


Not sure it’s already in service, but if not it’s due soonish : the French Rafale. It’s a real beast of a plane, dodgier and faster than an F-16. And it can fire air-air missiles to the sides and (maybe, top secret) the back, by sight alone. It’s got the same targetting gizmo as the US Apache helicopter, the missiles can target whatever point the pilot is looking at at the moment. In a pinch, it can also pound the ground with the best of them.

And the cherry on top : there technically is a carrier borne version (although there were issues with the carrier itself, dunno if they’ve been dealt with).

That being said, planes alone don’t win battles…

They just appear on opposite sides of the battlefield. Free transportation, if you will.

I guess I’m trying to think of a creative way of asking who are the top military forces… after the three I excluded. I’ve seen some sites that give number of soldiers, but that doesn’t tell me how well-equipped and trained they might be.

North Korea’s main strength is the artillery that is manned and pointed at Seoul 24/7. This is not replicable in a wargame scenario.

One of the weaknesses of this sort of counterfactual is the recognition that military forces are not generic, but are built around strategic realities.
And the correct answer is Israel

Actually, according to thislist, Israel’s military is larger than that of the UK, and roughly equal to that of Germany; that’s taking reserves into account, naturally. Also, Israel spends 10% of its GDP on defense, compared to between 1% and 3%, which is the norm for most western countries. We’re not just talking about hordes with rifles here, either - in terms of land and air hardware, the IDF can match the amounts and levels of just about any nation that isn’t the U.S.

That said, the Israel military has very little force projection ability: no aircraft carriers, no long-range bombers, none of the logistical capabilities that allow the U.S. and certain European powers to deploy half way around the world. All of Israel’s enemies are nearby, and its military is geared to deal with them and them alone.

Right, but the counterfactual is based on the idea of a limited theater of conflict, which is Israel’s specialty. So we’re just talking about transporting the gear magically to an area where you start setting up your forces, Command and Conquer style. There is little doubt in my mind that Israel would win.

How do the airforces of England and Israel match up?

All wars are won by whoever has the best technology. The soldiers have nothing to do with it. If all technology and troops numbers are equal, then it would boil down to a crapshoot of whoever happens to have the best tactical and strategical leadership (which is a random variable) and best luck.

Well military pedagogy is an important part of that whole equation. Most countries don’t have the solid military pedagogy that countries like the US, England, and Israel have. Military pedagogy is like a technology but you can’t point to it like you can a piece of gear. Really, logistics win the battle, but this counterfactual doesn’t really support the idea of logistical capability, because what war is really about is not duking it out on a closed set but about disrupting supply lines. It’s about disrupting access to resources.

lol…total horseshit. :slight_smile: All the technology in the world is worthless without training. If all it took was technology, why do you think that the US military trains so hard??

As mswas says, wars are won by logistics. Of course, in this unrealistic scenario in this OP the whole logistics aspect has been taken out. In a battle of equal numbers it would could down to technology, communications, training and the skill of the unit commanders and field commanders. That’s why you can go ahead and include either China or Russia in the games…they wouldn’t stand a chance. Neither would North Korea, as someone mentioned earlier. The one’s who would win would be the nations that have the best technology AND who have the best training for their soldiers. Countries like Israel, the UK, France, Germany, the South Koreans, etc. One of those would be the favorite.


According to this list, the UK has 1,520 aircraft to Israel’s 1,051, but I don’t know enough about aviation to calculate their relative strengths. I know the IAF pilot’s training regimen is relatively long, difficult and highly selective, but I can’t tell you much about the RAF.

Canadian hookers in system: does not compute.

Reported (mods: feel free to erase this post too).