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Re: [GZG] [OT] The myth of inevitable victory. (Was: [OT] Books (Weber/White/Meier) )

From: "John Atkinson" <johnmatkinson@g...>
Date: Tue, 22 Jul 2008 13:15:44 +0300
Subject: Re: [GZG] [OT] The myth of inevitable victory. (Was: [OT] Books (Weber/White/Meier) )

Basic premise of the insurgency argument:  Ideology, mass
participation, avoidance of direct confrontation will inevitably allow
a combatant with a weak army and weak economy to gradually overcome an
opponent superior in all conventional measures.

Basic premise of the economic argument presented so far:  All that
matters in warfare is weight of numbers as expressed in economic

Directly contradicatory argruments.  Both are fallacies which ignore
the complexity of actual situations.

Let me throw a trio of quotes out.  Two are from Clausewitz, the other
I don't recall the source.

1) In war, everything is simple.  But in war, the simplest thing
becomes difficult.

2) In war, the will is directed against a living enemy who reacts.

3) The difference between surgery and warfare is that in the latter,
the patient is not tied down.  It is a common error of generalship to
forget this.

There is always a countermeasure.  It is always possible to make
enough errors to fail regardless of good position relative to the
enemy.	It is always possible to overcome an enemy's good position by
superior use of one's resources.

There are some exceptions:  The Starfire universe which began this
conversation is purely attritional, with little or no room for
tactical innovation.  All combat essentially boils down to overcoming
warp point defenses, which due to the game mechanics, generally boils
down to throwing enough ships through it to do enough damage, and
having enough of a reserve to defeat the enemy's remaining forces in
the system.  It's a Weber-ism to ignore political consequences of
casualties measured in the millions or billions.  It is also a
Weberism to ignore questions of morale, or will.  And Weber's
universes tend towards massive shipbuilding programs and recruit
training programs happening off-screen and via handwaving.  In
reality, navies which are forced to replace massive casulties have a
significant decrease in capability due to loss of trained cadre.  See
Japanese Naval Aviation in WWII.  So given a Starfire universe, with
all questions simplified down to putting hulls into space as fast as
possible, the purely economic argument makes sense and is demonstrated
over and over in the four novels set in that universe.


On 7/22/08, Robert N Bryett <> wrote:
> Eh? I'm confused...
> Best regards, Robert Bryett
> On 22/07/2008, at 18:00 , John Atkinson wrote:
>> I find it hysterical that I have to argue both for the ability to
>> an insurgency AND that having a big economy doesn't guarantee victory
>> Am I the only one that doesn't find that to be just a little bit
>> ironic?
>> John
>> On 7/22/08, Robert N Bryett <> wrote:
>>> An excellent book on the hindsight-based myth of inevitable Allied
>>> victory in WW2 is the oddly-titled "Why The Allies Won" by Richard
>>> Overy.
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> Gzg-l mailing list

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