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

From: Oerjan Ariander <oerjan.ariander@t...>
Date: Thu, 24 Nov 2005 07:04:14 +0100
Subject: Re: Re: [GZG] Small thought re: Orbital Assault

John Atkinson 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 to
> >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, but
> >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.

If the Iraqis had won that particular battle, the southern pincer
Baghdad would've been delayed for at least a day or two due to the river

crossing being blocked. Wouldn't have had any major effect on the
as a whole of course, but it'd still have been noticable.

But my point here is that the US intelligence and recon systems, in
of all their awesome high-tech gadgets, managed to completely miss an 
entire concentrated *armoured brigade* that was sitting right in the
of the advancing column of US troops (and even seems to have manoeuvred
bit against the US troops). That's a pretty big "penny packet". If the 
Iraqis could hide an entire armoured brigade right under the nose of the

advancing invading troops without it being discovered until it choose to

attack, more competent defenders would most likely be able to do it too.

Sure, sensor technology will advance a lot further from where it is now
but so will the tricks used to fool said sensors.

> >>>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
> >>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

Even assuming that the atmosphere causes any major difficulties (which I

didn't, BTW - you seem to be confusing me with your namesake John
here), planets can mount much bigger weapons than starships can. With 
enough power, you can punch through even the atmosphere.

However, I didn't say anything about planet-based weapons above (again 
you're confusing me with your namesake). There are other things that the

defenders might use to get at the ortillery vessels - remnant space
lurking elsewhere in the system, ground-based fighters or hidden missile

launchers which don't reveal themselves until the ortillery gets close 
enough to hit, etc. Even if you keep your entire fleet in low orbit to 
protect the ortillery platforms from such threats, a big ortillery
is more capable of surviving such attacks than multiple small gunboats

(You also ignore the most likely mechanism used to hit ships in deep
namely using a shotgun technique: if you fire a large enough number of 
shots through the volume of space the target could be in when the shots 
arrive, you're fairly likely to hit with at least one or two of those 
shots. Unfortunately, if you try that approach on a planetary target
likely to wipe out not just the defending troops but also the civilian 
population, any infrastructure in the area, and any of your own troops
happen to be near the intended target...)

>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

And in this stage too the "One Big Ship" ortillery platform will be more

survivable - and thus more effective - than the "multiple small
you advocated above :-/



"Life is like a sewer.
  What you get out of it, depends on what you put into it."

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