April 6th, 2012

[ANON POST] World War III

I'm writing a story set during a fictional Third World War. I need help, because I don't know nearly enough about modern warfare! My main characters are (American) refugees at the very beginning of the war.

Questions:
1. Can someone help me to imagine the battleground and tactics of WWIII, given current military tactics and practice?
2. How do I deal with nukes? I'm imagining so far that the threat of mutually assured destruction is limiting nuclear warfare to FOR NOW, but I am shamefully uninformed about the possible progression of nuclear warfare.
3. Is a situation in which a civilian ship is commandeered by armed forces to transport munitions plausible? Would they need to disguise themselves (false colors, etc.)? Would they even be able to?

Facts:
1. I want to set at least part of the story at sea, on a civilian ship (like a cruise ship, or a luxury liner).
2. The search terms I used were "what would world war 3 look like?" "world war 3" and "modern warfare".
3. Helpful articles included this and this. What I'm getting from the internet otherwise is that there are lots and lots of different theories about WWIII (most of them conspiracy theories or people arguing back and forth on forums), and I'm having a hard time figuring out how to fit the story into a properly plausible WWIII.
4. My difficulty is because of fact 1.
a) I'm getting a lot of stuff about war in the deserts of the Middle East, and so on, but I want to create a scenario in which the passengers on the ship are in real danger of attack (seemingly easy, but I want to integrate it into a larger war, and that could become unrealistic very easily).
b) Also, I would like to avoid total nuclear warfare because I don't want to write an apocalyptic/post-apocalyptic story. It's possible that nuclear warfare could happen AFTER the story, which is set at the beginning of the war.
c) Please assume that I know very little about warfare (I'm from a peaceful 3rd world country with an almost nonexistent army), which is making sifting through the various theories and arguments difficult. PLEASE forgive my ignorance!