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

From: Adrian <adrian@s...>
Date: Thu, 24 Nov 2005 14:43:40 -0500
Subject: Re: Re: [GZG] Small thought re: Orbital Assault

>The last 50 years of earth history has been full of advanced nations 
>losing wars to local militia. The Europeans all lost their colonial 
>empires to local revolts. Some were managed in semi peaceful
>but others were violent rebellions. Yet they had the technology and the

>economics to suppport their army if they wanted to. The Americans
>a similar reverse in Vietnam as did the French.

That's a really broad simplistic brush you're using to painting over the

period of decolonialization.  The European nations "lost" their colonial

empires to a wide, wide range of issues.  One big influence on the
for example, was the sheer cost - they just plain couldn't afford to
up with the costs of empire with their economy destroyed by WWII and the

years needed to build back up again (on top of the costs of fighting the

cold war).  Imperatives changed - the Cold War became the big focus. 
idea of fighting through WWII for "freedom and democracy" and then 
maintaining empires didn't sit well with large portions of the public in

many countries.  There were all kinds of newly emerged states with a lot
geopolitical pull that used their influence in ways that they European 
imperial states hadn't had to face before (look up the 
Malaysian/Malayan/Borneo/Indonesian conflict and in particular what the 
Indonesians were trying to do - the British and Commonwealth forces were

*not* simply fighting against "local militia").  There was the influence
the USA and the Soviets on their "client" states (the USA wanted to see
end of the Imperial system... as did the Soviets). Etc etc etc etc etc.

I would say that the last 50 years of earth history has seen very, very
examples of advanced nations losing wars *simply* to local militia.  It
much more complicated than that.  And the last *30* years have seen few 
examples of advanced nations losing anything to local militia.

"...full of advanced nations losing wars to local milita" is pretty
- the Americans in Vietnam never lost a major encounter on the
with any of the opposing forces (and battles, after all, are what we're 
talking about here - these are wargames, not "geopolitical games" or
and public opinion back home" games)  and didn't lose all that many
encounters either, when it comes down to it.  Sure, they lost the
conflict, but much of that had to do with US domestic politics as much
anything that happened militarily:  The US press painted a picture of
war that was very different from what the military leaders knew what was

going on, and public opinion made a big difference... (Tet being painted
a "loss" for the Americans, for example - hence the Pentagon's desire
the past 30 years to control press access to conflicts... they knew how 
badly they were beaten by the US press and how drastic the effects of
press were on the overall military outcome - and they don't want to see
happen again).

(For the record, I'm not saying that the US loss in Vietnam was the
of the US press.  My point is that it was a lot more complicated that 
simply saying they were beaten by local militia).

Anyway, bringing this back to the point at hand, Jon A. is quite right
he points out that playing an insurgency could be dead dull as a
miniatures game - if you assume the same sort of paradyme we see
in Iraq.  As the US is showing in Iraq, "local militia" going up against
advanced nation lose.  Lose consistently, and lose overwhelmingly.  The 
terrorists have resorted largely to blowing up their countrymen because 
attacking the American troops in open battle is a losing proposition. 
unless your "local militia" are really, really well trained, there isn't
game.  You can certainly *write* it any way you like, of course - it's
universe.  And really well trained and well equipped "local militia" 
presupposes a colony with substantial resources - and so the fight is 
against a regular army, not a local militia...

Now if you have something a bit less "modern" - say, like the 
aforementioned British conflict with Indonesia back in the '60's, then
"local militia vs. advanced forces" has a bit more potential.  Much of
fighting there was small groups of British (or other Commonwealth forces
lots of Gurkhas and Australians and others) light infantry getting into 
short, sharp fights with small groups of "insurgents" (who were, in
part, Indonesian regulars).  That makes for much more interesting
- and well suits the style of play in Stargrunt (with a platoon or two

Jon A. seems to be basing much of his opinion on the military capability
insurgents on the current situation in Iraq.  That isn't necessarily
to be the only model to use, however.  One could postulate a much closer

balance of capabilities between the combatants.  Think Foreign Legion 
fighting in Chad, for example - sure, the Legion is better, but there 
aren't all that many of them and they don't have a large supply of the
best stuff simply because of logistical reasons - the high-tech gear 
requires massive logistical support, and either the attacking power
provide the support (they're busy elsewhere - it's a big war), or
for political reasons. So, the 123rd Battalion battle group of the Royal

New Anglian Light Infantry gets dumped with a few months of supplies
onto a 
FSE outpost colony with the objective of tieing things up for a 
while.	They're up against several companies of the Legion and a bunch
militia. It is a far-flung outpost colony, so they can't afford heavy 
logistical support;  so a "light" formation is sent which has lower
requirements - they march on foot, etc.   That kind of thing can make
interesting battles.

In my view, it isn't realistic to think that every planetary assault
be by forces that have the qualitative (and logistical) edge the way the
does over the Iraqi forces (either now or back in 2003).  If planetary 
assaults were going to always be that starkly defined, then I think it 
might go something like this:
Either a colony is big enough and wealthy enough to have first rate
(full time locals or garrison of off planet regulars), in which case it
very, very difficult to assault, or they lose against a modern invader. 
That doesn't make for fun gaming.

Anyway, enough of my rambling.


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