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Re: [GZG] Small thought re: Orbital Assault

From: John Atkinson <johnmatkinson@g...>
Date: Thu, 24 Nov 2005 22:17:15 +0100
Subject: Re: [GZG] Small thought re: Orbital Assault

On 11/24/05, Oerjan Ariander <> wrote:

> >Couldn't fighters have maneuvered in to smash the damn things?
> If by "the damn things" you mean the evactuation transports: not until
> had dealt with each transport's escorting force of Rebel fighters.

Two, count 'em two fighters.  If I swarm it with 2 dozen fighters
(check the published fighter complements of a Star Destroyer) then I
doubt a pair of escorts could have done much.

> >In my opinion, planetary defenses will be about as common as large
> >coastal fortresses were in European colonial posessions in the
> >Americas.  In other words, the major ports and that is about it.
> And since those major ports are very likely to be located in close
> of the very colonies the invaders want to take over, most of those
> planetary defences are quite well placed to force the invaders to land
> somewhere else and keep would-be bombardment vessels at arms distance.

Depends on the population density of the colonies.  I mean, there's a
huge difference between a population of a half a million concentrated
into a space the size of Sicily and a hundred thousand scattered in
concentrations across a space the size of France.  Either of which are
possible settlement densities, depending on the level of
transportation infrastructure.	If your colony is small enough
(geographically) to fit under the umbrella of a single planetary
defense emplacement that is one thing.	If it is a scattering of
resource-extration settlements scattered over a continent and tied
together by a system of suborbital shuttlecraft, that is another.

Personally, I think the most interesting scenarios arise in mid-level
colonies.  Where there is a planetary defense site covering the main
star port, but not emplacements everywhere, yet the colony has started
to spread out a bit from the initial settlements.  So your initial
objective would be to secure a secondary star port, with the eventual
goal of maneuvering to destroy or secure the planetary defense site.

> > >You were talking about ARMOURED support above. Generally speaking,
> >
> >Oerjan, dammit, do you need it spelled out in words of one syllable?
> >I was conceeding that point.
> You were? Ah well, if you say so :-/ To me it looked exactly like you
> moving the goalposts, changing the subject from armoured vehicles to
> softskins <shrug> Better use single-syllable words next time, then.

Goddamn.  If I grant that the terrain was not terribly suitable to an
armored force (and I don't see why, given unlimited logistical
support, a battalion of light armor wouldn't have been just fine,
rather than a lousy 8 light tanks), it doesn't change the point that
logistical limitations limited the Brits to the same methods and means
as WWI.  When they are otherwise capable of fighting modern, high-tech
warfare with the best.

> If having an American carrier group or two working the defenders over
> would've allowed you to land heavy equipment directly into an
> harbour (which Port Stanley was), didn't you do precisely that in
Basra a
> couple years ago? After all, you had not only a carrier group or two 
> the Gulf working the Iraqi forces over, but a major USAF force as
well; and
> the Iraqi navy and air force showed far less fighting spirit in 2003
> their Argentinian counterparts did in 1982. (Particularly the
> Air Force, of course.)

Perhaps not into Port Stanley.	But the opposite side of the island
wasn't the only other option.

> Answer: because you (and more importantly, the US high brass) know as
> as I do that trying to land troops directly into an enemy-held harbour
> madness. (Yes, MacArthur did it at Inchon, but I'd rate him as being
> mad :-/ ) The US and UK troops attacking Iraq landed elsewhere and
> overland, and you would've done exactly the same in the Falklands too
> you had been the ones fighting that war.

I'm at a bit of a loss of what you're trying to prove.

I never suggested an assault landing directly into the teeth of enemy

My initial statement was:

"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. "

Now, if your enemy has a colony so small that you can take the entire
thing with a single battalion in a single assault, then it really
don't matter what you do, he's screwed regardless.  And I was assuming
that since you're unloading bulk haulers, you want some place Really
Safe to do that.  The Falklands War was an example of that sort of

If the entire force was carried in specialized assault vessels you
wouldn't require a decent port to be secure before the downloading
process began.	The first few days at Normandy showed that, as did the
operations in the Pacific and the Med.

What I did say was that you would want it in striking distance of your

Had more dedicated Amphibious assault assets been there (ships,
landing craft, choppers, air support) landing at Port San Carlos would
not have been necessary.  There are other places closer to Port
Stanley, yet removed from the immediate Argentine defenses which could
have been used.

> >We also would have had more than a handful of helos, and air
> >assaulted all over the place.
> All over the place except within LOS of the Argies, since IIRC they
had a
> fair amount of MANPADS available. (As it was the Brits used a fair
> of helo transport too, eg. down to Goose Green and back.)

Now, SEAD is something we can dedicate aircraft to.  Brits had more
limited numbers.  :)

But after Atlantic Conveyor went down, the Brits didn't have near as
many choppers as they originally planned for.  And I'm sure, given a
magic wand to wave, they would have wanted even more than they planned

"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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