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Re: [GZG] Small thought re: Orbital Assault

From: Oerjan Ariander <oerjan.ariander@t...>
Date: Fri, 25 Nov 2005 18:44:12 +0100
Subject: Re: [GZG] Small thought re: Orbital Assault

John A. wrote:

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

Two fighters as *close* escort for each transport, yes - plus an unknown

number standing by off-screen ready to intervene in case of need. We see
lot more Rebel fighters in the hangar and lifting off than we see
the transports into space.

> >>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
> >somewhere else and keep would-be bombardment vessels at arms
>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.

If you had said "...across a space the size of Europe", I would've
with you. Even low orbit is high enough up that you could cover most of 
France from ortillery with a single planetary defence centre, though.
course aerospace fighters can dive from orbit outside the PDC umbrella
then approach at low level, but that forces them down within range of 
short-ranged air defences instead.)

>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.

Agreed - and until the planetary defense site is secured or destroyed, 
ortillery support over the main settlement is likely to be severely 
curtailed. Elsewhere, ortillery has a free reign...  which most likely 
means that the garrison won't even try to defend elsewhere, since doing
would get them smashed by ortillery :-/

Now, back to the Falklands again:

> >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.

Given the weather (stormy) and the nature of the coast on most of the 
island (rocky and dangerous to ships), there weren't that many options.
decision was made mainly by the RN's desire for an anchorage protected
the weather and reasonably free from navigational hazards; more on this

> >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 is
> >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 

As you'll see below, you *did* suggest just that. Whether or not you 
*intended* to do so I have no idea; I can only reply to what you
write, not to what you think without putting it into writing.

>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. "

Let's take a look of what we both actually wrote. In the context of
heavy armour in the Falklands, I had written:

>Like I said, even if the Brits had been able to put a serious armoured 
>force on the Falklands they would've had severe difficulties to use
them - 
>unless they by some miracle had managed to land them within firing
>of Port Stanley... but I don't think that even the US would've been
>to pull *that* off :-/

To which you replied:

>I think after an American carrier group or two worked over the
>Argentinian Navy and Air Force, we would have done precisely as we

When you say that the US "would have done precisely as we pleased" in 
immediate reply to my saying that I *don't* think the US would've been
(or at least not stupid enough) to land heavy troops within firing range
Port Stanley, then you *are* pretty explicitly saying that the US
been able to land heavy troops into the teeth of the enemy defences.

To which I disagreed, rethorically pointing out that if you could've
"exactly as you pleased" in the Falklands (ie., land directly into
then why didn't you do so in Iraq where you had a lot more air support 
available and a rather less spirited opponent?

Clearer now?

>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.

The main alternatives to San Carlos were:

* Cow Bay/Volunteer Beach, from where the land route to Stanley went
over a 
rather narrow istmus limiting the Brits' manoeuver options. It was also 
more exposed to the storms than the others alternatives.

* Port Salvador, which was very well protected from storms but which
to have featured a fair number of navigational hazards for ships.

* Goose Green, which was known (or at least strongly suspected; I don't 
remember when it was confirmed) to be fairly strongly held by the enemy 
(and which anyway was about as far from Stanley as Port San Carlos was).

Flying in troops and supplies from further out at sea would've been very

hazardous due to the weather; thus the desire for a protected anchorage 
without too many navigational hazards. Landing craft aren't terribly
of stormy seas either, and need relatively gentle coasts to land on - so

even if they had been present, they wouldn't really have opened up any 
further options.

> >>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.  :)

What would your SEAD aircraft do - wait until one of the MANPADS fired
at a 
chopper and then bomb that specific foxhole? Shoulder-launched missiles 
don't have a lot of surveillance and tracking radar emissions for SEAD 
aircraft to lock on to, particularly not when shooting at helicopters...

helos are are slow enough that the MANPADS don't need early warning from
radar, particularly not in the open Falklands terrain :-/

>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

Oh, certainly. Even so, I suspect that they'd gone for San Carlos even
they had had all the choppers they'd wanted - it was still the best (or 
"least bad") undefended anchorage available, and with the choppers 
available the longer distance to Stanley wouldn't have mattered much.



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

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