[GZG] Small thought re: Orbital Assault

From: John Atkinson <johnmatkinson@g...>
Date: Tue, 22 Nov 2005 12:42:26 +0100
Subject: [GZG] Small thought re: Orbital Assault

Flippin' through the Stargrunt timeline and something struck me on the
force sizes there.

2133: 3 settlements revolt, and to supress it are dispatched a
parachute regiment and a pair of demibrigades.	Total, 5 BNs

2137: NAC base on Lancelot taken by a "Naval Assault Division",

2139: Flensberg attacked by 2 Guards divisions (named, but no type
designation in title which usually indicates Motorized Rifles),
defended by 1 infantry brigade and local forces.

2149: Lancelot defended by a "Combined Division".  Possibly a mixed
formation combining light and heavy forces?  Or a square division with
two tank reg'ts and 2 MRRs?

2179: Badley defended by "136th Gloucestershire Regiment", which if I
understand Brit designations correctly actually means the 136th
Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment??

In all these cases, the largest force is pair of divisions and the
average is less than a division.  For comparison, the US invaded Iraq
with a heavy division, part of an air assault division, a division of
Marines, and an airborne brigade.  And wanted to use another heavy
division but the Turks held out for a larger bribe.  And still the
Bush Admin gets slammed by critics who think there should have been
more troops involved, but that's another debate entirely.  Let's stick
to the 2100s.

My thought is that these force numbers respresent the huge difficulty
of transporting large armed forces across space.  Extrapolation of the
storage capacity of FB1 transport ships from the figures given in more
thrust shows that building an assault ship capable of moving a full
battalion task force with sufficient supplies for 30 days would
require an extremely large and expensive ship.

Furthermore, the difference between long-service professionals armed
with the latest weaponry and non-weapon technology (C4ISR, mainly) is
such that even if you raised 10 divisions from the locals armed with
local-built stuff, it will wither like a leaf in a blast furnace if it
attempts to fight Regulars with total air supremacy/orbital supremacy.
 See: Republican Guard in front of Baghdad.  And COA superiority
(Close Orbit/Aerospace) is a precondition to even attempting to land

Goverment troops are present in brigade or division strength, but the
locals seem to be mostly useful as guerillas.

Far more practical is to use bulk haulers, transport the troops in
cold sleep (assuming there is a safe method of doing that in your
universe) and send them down after that battalion of assault troops
has secured an LZ.  Even then, moving more than a division is
extremely rare, near as I can tell.  More than the vehicles and
troops, the requirement for ammunition, food, fuel (for CFE/HMT
engined vehicles), etc is prohibitive.	Never mind the difficulty in
requisitioning personnel replacements, major end items (replacement
vehicles) and so forth across the light years.

So there are two fights.  One conventional fight against the real
garrison which is likely to be over quickly unless they take to the
hills.	And on a colony planet, there are likely to be a lot of hills
to take to.  Apparently that is part of the defense plans, complete
with logistical caches.  Because otherwise the timelines just don't
make sense.  No military unit can haul around six months of supplies,
and shortly after the invasion they won't be able to get any more from
the factory, so to speak.

Then there is the fight to get logistical infrastructures in place. 
Won't be enough to repair/replace the high-tech weaponry, but
food/water/fuel is a start.  Ammo comes next.  Gotta win hearts and
minds, because who wants to use ammo produced by slave labor?  Here's
the big sociological question:	Do the colonists care?	I mean, is
there a real big attachment to the Mother Soil, or is it a case of
shrugging and saying "so the tax collectors have different accents. 
At least they pay well down at the ammunition plant, and they didn't
shoot the place up too badly overruning it."  Because if you have to
import every round your troops fire, it is going to get silly
expensive quickly.

Then the counterinsurgency to clean out the holdouts.  Here's more
questions: Do you want to bring in your own colonists and risk
alienating those who were already here?  Do you trust the locals
enough to start arming them?  These are going to be non-trivial
considerations.  If you decide to "ethnically cleanse" do you shoot or
drive into exile?  Off-planet or into the hinterlands?	How much
autonomy do you give the local government?

"Thousands of Sarmatians, Thousands of Franks, we've slain them again
and again.  We're looking for thousands of Persians."
--Vita Aureliani

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