The Worst Jobs You Could Have in World War 3

Let's investigate the worst roles you could be assigned in World War 3.

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Both the First and Second World Wars were undeniably horrific periods in history, and one thing we can all agree on is a Third World War would be good for nobody. But what if the worst happens and we really do get swept up in one? Well, some people would definitely have it worse than others.

Let's take a hypothetical look at some of the worst roles you could be assigned in World War 3.

Scary Spaceman

In the event of a third world war, you might expect outer space to be relatively safe in comparison with the potential Armageddon back on Earth anyway. But you couldn’t be more wrong. In fact, astronauts would have it tougher than a lot of people on the ground!

Nowadays we rely on satellites for pretty much everything. There’s over 1,100 of them circling the globe right now, and without them it’d be chaos. We’d lose our phone signal, the Internet, our entire military organization, and much more. Essentially, everyone would want to blow each other’s satellites up.

And alongside the disruption that would cause at ground level, it could be fatal for astronauts. If a missile hits a satellite, the resulting debris can shoot through space at a whopping 17,500 mph!

missile hits a satellite

At this speed, just one golf ball sized piece would be enough to rupture the hull of the International Space Station. This would depressurize the station, pulling all of the air inside out into the vacuum of space, including the air in people’s lungs, causing them to suffocate within minutes.

That does not sound like a good way to go! Picture that but with several different nations, all firing missiles at each other’s satellites. There’d be so much junk flying around that anyone up there wouldn’t stand a chance!

International Space Station rupture

But even if this didn’t happen, astronauts would still have it seriously tough. They could be tasked with taking the satellite hardware down themselves! One of the most terrifying things an astronaut can do is a “spacewalk”. This is where they step outside the ship with nothing but a harness to stop them floating off into the endless depths of space.

To avoid creating debris, an astronaut might have to spacewalk onto a satellite and sabotage it, instead of outright destroying it. This wouldn’t just be physically demanding; it’d be outright terrifying.

Imagine clinging onto a satellite in the middle of space, knowing one false move is all it takes for you to be lost forever. What if you slipped? Or, worse, accidentally blew the thing up? I can’t think of much worse than hurtling through space, all alone, as your oxygen slowly runs out.

clinging onto a satellite

Onerous Operations

Special Ops; everybody’s heard of them. They’re the most highly skilled, well-trained soldiers there are. The agents vary depending on each country, but they’re all trained extensively in a wide host of combat and infiltration tactics.

Trainees of Britain’s Special Boat Service, for example, are expected to complete a grueling four-week endurance test ending in a 25-mile march and only one in ten recruits makes it through. Russia’s Spetsnaz meanwhile train by running assault courses under live fire.

These brutal levels of training however mean that when they’re out in the field, special forces really pack a punch. After all, the US’s Navy SEALs are responsible for taking down Osama Bin Laden in 2011, as well as undertaking countless other high-risk assignments that remain state secrets today.

SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team (SDV) 2
SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team, U.S. Navy via Wikimedia Commons

In the event of a third world war then, these guys would be sent on the toughest, most life-threatening missions the world has ever seen.

Let’s say the worst happens and nukes become involved. Firing them by missile might not be the best idea as anti-air defenses could take them out before they hit their targets. Instead, special forces could be tasked with delivering the payload in a more covert manner, such as using the mini submarine in the image below!

The prototype Dry Combat Submersible
US Navy, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

These tiny subs are used by Navy SEAL taskforces and can squeeze eight soldiers in them with just enough oxygen to navigate the oceans for 24 hours.

They could pack themselves in, nuke in the middle, and plunge to a depth of over 300 feet in order to avoid enemy detection.

nuke carrying submarine

But it wouldn’t just be cramped, cold and uncomfortable, you’d also be maneuvering through the seas with a nuclear bomb bumping against your knees.

And let’s say you do manage to get into enemy territory without accidentally setting off the device and blasting yourself into oblivion, there’s still no guarantee you wouldn’t be caught before you could complete the mission!

nuke in submarine

Bio-Bomber

Theories about World War 3 usually gravitate towards nuclear warfare. But in reality, this is unlikely to happen. The last thing any leader would want to do is push that big red button, triggering all the other countries to do the same, leading to worldwide mutually assured self-destruction.

nuclear warfare

According to several reports, the Chinese government believes biological weapons are the way to win effectively and after the chaos COVID-19 caused, we're inclined to agree! COVID brought the world to a standstill, and it only had a 3.4% mortality rate.

So, imagine if something as deadly as the bubonic plague, which has up to a 60% mortality rate, was weaponized by being made immune to vaccines and antibiotics. The potential destruction would be monumental and, if mishandled, could even wipe out most human life on earth.

With that in mind, the people creating and testing such a bioweapon would easily have one of the worst jobs imaginable. One minor mistake and you could become patient zero for a super virus designed to destroy a human in the worst way possible!

patient zero

Not that the creators would be the only ones with this worry. Anybody tasked with transporting the bioweapon would be at great risk as well. Let's suppose your job is to fly the weaponized plague from the lab to a military base. Doing this without a war going on would be stressful enough, but it would be even more insane with one.

What if you came under attack from an enemy? One bullet in the wrong place is all it’d take for the lethal biological soup to come pouring out and infect the whole world. And you would be patient zero.

biological contamination

Even if nothing went wrong, the best-case scenario is you’d be responsible for the deaths of countless innocent people, because viruses don’t discriminate between soldiers and civilians. So, unless you’re a psychopath, it’s gonna suck either way.

Furthermore, this is not just a wild hypothesis. In the 1980s, the Soviet Union really did try to weaponize the bubonic plague as part of the largest covert biological weapons program in the world. Thankfully, it wasn’t used at that time but it's still worth buying some Hazmat suits.

Fight and Flight

A few years ago, if you’d have told me there’d be soldiers flying around using jetpacks, I’d have told you to stop binging sci-fi movies. But in recent years, both the UK and US militaries have been testing real-life “jet-suits”!

Developed by Gravity Industries, the suits are powered by turbines and can propel you through the air at up to 85mph!

Watch on YouTube

At the moment, they only work for about five minutes but that’s still enough time to get you pretty damn far in a battle scenario. Now, imagine a full-scale world war has broken out and all sides are fighting for their lives. If you had a squad on your side trained with these bad boys, you’d definitely put them to good use.

However, think about it for a second. You’re in the middle of a heated battle, bullets are flying everywhere, and you’re given the order to jetpack over the battlefield to reach a vantage point.

flying over battlefield

For a start, you wouldn’t be zipping over there with the grace of Iron Man. The suits are heavy, you can’t use a weapon while you’re flying, and it’s still a new, less-than-reliable technology.

What if you broke down mid-flight?! Even if you didn’t, you’d still be careering through the open air and making yourself the number one target for all the enemy troops down below as well as the aircraft in the sky.

jet suit in the battlefield

Old Planes, New War

In any war, air superiority is key. If you control the skies, you control the battle. The US government is hyper-aware of this, and dumps hundreds of billions of dollars into its air force every year.

Unsurprisingly then, the US has the largest, most advanced air force on the planet, with a total of over 13,000 aircraft. Russia comes in second, with almost 4,000 aircraft, and China third, with around 3,000.

aircraft numbers

So, none of the three super-powers would go down easily in a contest for the skies. But what of the smaller nations, with less money to spare? Well, if you’re a pilot in Syria or North Korea when war breaks out, I’ve got some bad news.

North Korea still has active fighter planes from the 1950 Korean War, more than 70 years ago, along with a host of mostly obsolete fighter jets! And the Syrian Airforce isn’t much better, largely formed from old, beat-up planes ravaged by previous battles.

Flying miles above the ground towards an oncoming fire in an old, glorified tin can sounds pretty close to my idea of hell. Especially when the enemy you’re fighting against is coming straight at you in a state-of-the-art fighter jet half a century more advanced than yours.

fighter plane

Droning On

There’s no doubt that drones play a huge role in modern warfare and will play an even bigger one in a future conflict. But who’s small enough to get inside and fly them? Well, the pilots aren’t two inches tall; they’re normal-sized humans, operating them from afar.

Assuming the base you’re operating drones from doesn’t come under attack, you’re physically safe. But mentally? That’s a different matter. According to reports from the Pentagon, US drone pilots sit in isolated metal boxes with nothing but computer screens for up to 12 hours a day, six days a week, and that’s during peace time.

US drone pilots

The pilots often aren’t told the purpose of the missions they’re sent on, and they have none of the camaraderie of being out on the field with their squad. They just sit in their booths and watch from a camera as they execute their orders, which often involve slaughtering people.

As well as this, if they see their teammates injured, they can’t drag them to safety, all they can do is watch, completely powerless. All this means drone pilots actually experience the same rates of post-traumatic stress as actual combat pilots!

Whether it’s shooting down key targets or flying a bomb into enemy territory, one thing’s for sure, piloting a drone in World War 3 would be insanely stressful. If your joystick targeting is off by even an inch, you could accidentally blow up your squad! Then it’d be less of a joystick and more a crushing depression-stick.

drone pilot ww3

Infantry Insanity

Despite the growing importance of cyber warfare, conventional warfare will always retain some role in a worldwide conflict. If everybody’s satellites are destroyed, guided missiles won’t work and the world will be reverted to a pre-GPS, pre-internet era.

This scenario would be like the first two world wars, only with more advanced equipment. That means if you’re a soldier on the frontlines in World War 3, the danger’s gonna be on a whole different level.

Gone are the days of slow bolt action rifles, where each bullet had to be loaded individually for both short- and long-range attacks. Now we live in an era where snipers can perch unseen and use self-steering bullets; bullets that use tiny fins to correct the course of their flight, allowing them to hit laser-illuminated targets over a mile away.

The Worst Jobs You Could Have in World War 3

But this enhanced military tech means it’s a lot more expensive to arm troops than it used to be. Back in the early 20th century, countries could afford to keep replacing their fallen. Because of this, both world wars saw a combined total of around 30 million soldiers lose their lives, not including civilians.

Due to the expense of modern equipment though, this just wouldn’t be feasible in a third world war. So, without a steady stream of cheap troops to use as fodder, battles would, in theory, be quicker and more decisive. Tactics have changed a lot too. Trench warfare is largely a thing of the past, but tunnel warfare continues to be a strong strategy in places like the Middle East.

The Islamic State have dug vast underground networks of tunnels across Iraq, forcing Western troops to climb in and confront them at a disadvantage. They’re pitch black, claustrophobic, and one misstep could set off a boobytrapped mine that collapses the whole structure.

tunnel war iraq

Fortunately, lightweight robotic devices like the “Dragon Runner” are now used by bomb disposers, which can travel across rough terrain and remotely deactivate the bomb or take the hit if the bomb goes off.

However, if you’re deep underground, a little robot won’t exactly save you from the ceiling caving in. There’d be no light at the end of that tunnel.

Brutal Bases

After hearing how bad it can get on the front lines, working on a military base instead seems like a far better option. You don’t have to risk your life in battle, there won’t be any active mines lying around, and you get a proper bed!

Surprisingly though, you could actually be in even more danger. Military bases look safe and secure, but they’re really a great big target for the enemy.

Colonel John A. Warden III, an ex-US Air Force officer, theorizes that a good strategic attack involves paralyzing five major aspects of enemy forces. Two of these are infrastructure and military might, and guess where you can find both? Yes, on a military base.

five major aspects of the enemy forces

By taking out your bases, the enemy cripples your ability to fight. So, you might have a bed, but it’s a bed with a huge target on it. And military bases aren’t the safest of places even when they’re not the priority target in a war.

Since 2009, there have been at least 30 shootings and other “violent episodes” across America’s bases, all committed by the occupants. Do you think a world war would increase or decrease the likelihood of one of these violent episodes?

If you imagine hordes of stressed soldiers, ex-servicemen and civilians locked up with a bunch of weapons, trying to keep their heads while a war rages outside, you'll start to like the sound of heading off into battle!

military bases

Horrors of Hacking

Thanks to our worldwide reliance on advanced technology, disabling an enemy’s tech infrastructure in the midst of a war would leave them devastatingly exposed.

That means hackers would play some of the most critical roles in a world war, because their actions could have some of the most devastating consequences. For example, back in 2010, it was discovered that a computer virus, probably created by the US and Israel, had been used by hackers to infect over 200,000 Iranian computers.

The virus, called Stuxnet, caused a fifth of Iran’s nuclear centrifuges to spin out of control and break, crippling the country’s nuclear program. And that was at a time where there was no war between these countries.

stuxnet virus

This was possible without the saboteur even leaving their office! So, if being a hacker is as cushy as sitting behind a computer screen, why is it one of the worst roles you could have if war breaks out?

Well, you don’t have to fight on the frontlines but opposing intelligence agencies routinely and ruthlessly hunt down the most prominent hackers by hitting them where it hurts: right in their privacy.

Only recently, the FBI accused four Russian government agents of maliciously hacking energy companies around the world. Now, their faces are plastered everywhere, and there’s no doubt they’re on every major cybercrime database in existence, so international travel just became a big problem for them.

Hacker
B_A, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

If they’re caught, they can wave goodbye to every one of their freedoms and that’s in peacetime, when the Russian government will protect them. In wartime, it’s likely that they won’t just be “protected”, they’ll be locked down entirely.

As valuable assets, their government will want them under constant surveillance and that’s if they’re even allowed to live at all! Marked by enemy nations and practically imprisoned by their own, hackers would have no choice but to obey their state leaders or suffer the consequences.

They’d become, very literally, slaves to the system. So being a hacker would be less of a “life hack” and more of a “no life” hack.

locking down hackers

Morbid Affairs

The prospect of spending years fighting in a world war is stressful enough, but there’s one job so grizzly it has one of the highest rates of PTSD in the entire military and there’s zero fighting involved: a “mortuary affairs specialist”.

These are the professionals that go out onto the battlefield and locate fallen soldiers. They identify what’s left, collect their belongings, and take them off the field to return home.

mortuary affairs specialist

This sounds depressing enough but then you realize that if biological or chemical weapons had been used, many of these bodies would be disfigured and almost unrecognizable, not to mention the huge health risks involved in recovering them.

So, as well as the trauma of lugging the body of your teammate for miles, you might also pick up a nasty bacterial disease!

And one more thing. Mortuary affairs specialists are sometimes required to recover their fallen comrades while battle is still raging around them! Trying to dodge a hail of bullets is bad enough without struggling to carry a body in your wake.

mortuary affairs specialist battlefield

Future Warfare

We’ve covered some of the worst roles you could have if war broke out in the imminent future. But what if it happened 25 years from now?

By then, soldiers from some of the wealthiest nations could be fighting on the ground using mech suits. Unbelievably, these 13-foot-tall, 1.3-ton metal monsters aren’t out of some Avatar movie, they’re very real. Korean company Hankook Mirae are responsible for developing them.

Hankook Mirae Technology
©Hankook Mirae Technology

To activate it, you climb inside the torso compartment, strap in, and boot up. The motion tracking arms of the mech mimic what the pilot in the torso cockpit does, while the bipedal action allows the mech to walk over areas that would be hazardous to humans!

This is merely a prototype but imagine soldiers using these in ground combat to help assist their units! They’d be unstoppable! But why would this be so bad? Because if you’re stomping around a battlefield in one of these things, everyone on the other team is gonna be firing at you.

And as strong as they are, the mechs aren’t actually unstoppable, and as they don’t have a high-top speed, running away wouldn’t really be an option. One well aimed rocket and the cumbersome metal mech could become your coffin.

mech suit problem

And what if it took another 50 years until a war broke out? By the 2070s Artificial Intelligence could be advanced enough for unmanned drones and other autonomous robots to be deployed on the battlefield.

In fact, the Libyan government used autonomous drones in Tripoli in 2020! The problem with robots is that they can be hacked. So, you can bet there’d be dedicated robot-hackers. Though, it’d probably be one of the most terrifying roles possible.

Imagine being dropped behind enemy lines to disable the hardware of these machines. If you got caught, you’d have a literal killer robot coming at you and all you’d be able to do is sit tight and desperately fiddle with your hacking device like a real-life John Connor.

hacking

But what if we went even further into the future? What if a world war were to break out in 100 years, what would that look like? We’re really getting into the hypotheticals, but technology would’ve probably advanced so far that nations could have massive, space-laser level superweapons at their disposal.

Back in World War II, German scientists came up with a crazy idea: a sky-based weapon that reflected the sun’s rays down onto Earth in a concentrated beam of intense heat. Without space launching capabilities they never actually made the weapon but with today’s technological advancements, this “sun-gun” could be a reality one day.

By sending hundreds of reflective satellites up into orbit, scientists reckon they could synchronize them together to reflect one huge solar beam down on the planet. This would fry everything it touches, which would be a nightmare for any infantry units, and be nigh unstoppable if deployed in war. At least, unstoppable from the ground.

sun gun

Our reliance on satellites means that by the 22nd century, battles will probably be waged in space over them, especially if they can be used as superweapons. That means there’ll be spaceships, but not quite like the ones you see in the movies.

For a start, it’d be seriously tough to shoot a moving target in space. It’s so vast that to cover any distance, you’ve gotta be going thousands of miles an hour. And when you’re going that fast, it’d be hard enough to hit something stationary, let alone something traveling at the same speed!

Plus, the huge cost of building and running a fleet of spaceships means they’d probably be small, one-man vessels. So, you’d be up there all alone. You couldn’t look outside either, the pilot would have to use sensors and GPS to navigate the ships around the world.

So, if you got sent up in one of these things, it’d be no Millennium Falcon. Instead, you’d be rocketing towards the enemy in a cramped metal tube with no idea of your surroundings.

spaceship battle

To add to the terror, if a single projectile hit the hull of your craft, it’d be enough to decompress the entire ship, suck the oxygen out, and turn it into your floating metal tomb. It's not always fun to be a spaceman.

If you were amazed by our hypothetical analysis of the worst roles you could be assigned in World War 3, you might want to read this article about the worst roles you could be assigned in World War 2! Thanks for reading.

The Worst Jobs You Could Have in World War 3

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