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Re: Re: [GZG] Small thought re: Orbital Assault

From: John Atkinson <johnmatkinson@g...>
Date: Wed, 23 Nov 2005 19:54:07 +0100
Subject: Re: Re: [GZG] Small thought re: Orbital Assault

On 11/23/05, Oerjan Ariander <> wrote:

> Let's pray that your orbital sensors are better at finding targets
than the
> US was in Iraq in 2003. Eg. on April 3rd, when a US batallion en route
> Baghdad was attacked by a concentrated Iraqi brigade (70-100 armoured
> vehicles of various types, and 8-10,000 infantry) that no-one on the
> side had a clue was there at all... the US troops defeated the attack,
> the grunts weren't very happy with their intel people afterwards :-/

No system is either perfect nor risk-free.

Even had the brigade defeated the BN (highly unlikely proposition),
would it have changed the campaign?  Only through political effects.

And that's something else--without lightspeed campaigns, many of these
conflicts will be like wars of the Victorian period.  Or earlier. 
Because the politicians and media weenies won't be able to influence
the situation until it is too late.  Once the operation has started,
the local commander will have near-consular powers until he gets
dispatches with updated instructions.  In a month or more.  By which
time, he may have effectivley conquered the planet.  He is unlikely to
give it back.

> >If you disperse and erect camoflage systems to defeat air/space
> >support, then the ground forces rolling in will pick you off in penny
> >packets--defeat in detail.
> Don't bet your life on the "penny packets" theory, John - particularly
> if the enemy is better trained than the Iraqis were in 2003, so they
> actually manage to do something once they get into combat. The US
> were very lucky in that respect - even when Iraqi tanks had clear
> shots at Bradleys ranges under a mile, they didn't hit anything.

Oddly enough, I was planning to in 2003.  :)  Damn Turks.

I didn't say it was risk-free.	I just said that it will prevail.  And
fairly rapidly.  And I do assume that if sensor technology has
advanced to the point that you can target small starships over
thousands of kilometers with some assurance of a hit, then that
represents some advance.

> > >Also the starships will have problems staying on station in low
> > They will be travelling >over the planetary surface at high speed
and so
> > can't "stay on station" over a given point of the >planetary
> >
> >That's why you have multiple small gunboats doing support rather than
> >One Big Ship.
> Small gunboats are a lot more vulnerable to anything the defenders
> hit back with, though - particularly if you disperse them to cover
> areas.

I'm presuming that any objections to the effectiveness of orbital
support are, if anything, greater obstacles to the effectiveness of
planetary-based weaponry.  Atmospheres are not composed of one-way

If weaponry and sensor technology is such that orbital fire is highly
precise and accurate then the planetary defense installations will
have to be defeated, such a defeat will be costly, but a defeat of the
planetary defense installations is a prerequisite to effective
invasion.  You have to open a hole in the coverage safe enough for
transports, large enough for a lot of them, and located in an area
which is capable of supporting those transports.  It also has to be
located in the effective striking radius of the units you are landing.
 If a US Army force fighting from Kuwait to Baghdad feels the
logistical strain, how much worse would it be to try to march from
"Central Africa" (as one poster suggested) all the way to Central
Europe?  With a much larger gap between the home base and the theater
logistical base?  And how much time do they think they will have
before their superiors want to know what the hell is going on?

If orbital bombardment is defeated by heat plumes and so forth, then
orbital defense is simillarly difficult.   I'm not sure which set of
assumptions you wish to use.

"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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