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The importance of skill in ever more advanced wars. 
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Post The importance of skill in ever more advanced wars.
Hello, welcome to my topic.

If you see this please take the time to read it over; it outlines the basic goals of this discussion, and more importantly what this discussion is not about.


This topic is about the possible mechanics of ground warfare for an alien race at about the technological level of the Loroi as we see them in the comics; more specifically, it is about how much skill will transition into this new era from the last. i.e. how much of the fighting is done by machines and computers.

Now, about the things this topic is not.

1) It is not a "perhaps humans can use ancient ground fighting traditions to become a super power in the war". Feel free to reference modern human technology and military systems, but a ground fight between human and Loroi combatants at this stage is like one between the modern U.S military and ancient Romans: one side is supposedly more skilled and the fight is gonna end in a curb stomp.

2) I would like it to focus on the technology a Loroi ground trooper would carry, guns, HUD, etc...not robots.

New list

1) This is a hypothetical so feel free to bring up exosuits. (I mean their usefulness is so obvious, why have soldiers who can barely hobble in gravity that's 110% of home world x, how dare Auroich not agree with me!) Although it's cool too if you don't feel like it.

2) I would like to point out the existence of the "self firing rifle" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YBC8IFWC1P0
and when I say this I mean a loroi being able to "spray and hit everything with perfect accuracy". And to my knowledge such a system should not need to be connected to an external computer. (i.e. as hack-able as a chair).

3) when I say HUD It's not supposed to be the type that flashes information like "health" and "that is a chair" stupidly in your line of sight. I am thinking of a more elegant type that a non-idiot might design; one equipped with multiple sensors that can transmit their info into the display. (Stuck in a dust storm? Boy those umiak shaped red outlines sure are helpful.)

4) Again, feel free to bring up exosuits. how dare he.

5) Have fun. HAVE FUN I SAY! :evil:

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Fri Jun 19, 2015 4:26 pm
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Post Re: The importance of skill in ever more advanced wars.
OR you could just say ''Frag the ground warfare'' and glass a planet from the surface. Which is actually what is happening between the major combatants. But I digress. I'd have more points to make, but I'm too tired right now, so I'll come back tomorrow. :(


Fri Jun 19, 2015 5:51 pm
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Post Re: The importance of skill in ever more advanced wars.
Nice topic :P

Let me start offtopic -lol- by saying I would see ground war between organized armies at Outsider's technological level as the realm of either remotely controlled or fully AI controlled vehicles and tin-mans. Such equipment is expensive but nothing close to raising, training, equipping and taking care of the wounded human soldiers.
Loroi might not be as dependant on such vehicles and automated soldiers as their society isn't as affected by casualties of war as ours is (civilians wouldn't protest to put an end to the war, close family of the warrior castes probably don't get compensations for deceased warriors, etc.), they grow up faster and thus are "cheaper" (in purely economic terms, not saying their lives dont matter), and they have full regeneration so medical costs are lesser. Still I think they would leave most of the front line fighting to unmanned vehicles or robots, mind you.
Mass production would cheapen considerably the cost of such units, since the vehicle itself isn't expensive to manufacture, it's the research that is expensive so the more you build the more you dilute such costs. And with such a hugh militaristic empire, we could be talking about hundreds of millions of vehicles and robots, maybe more during all-out war.

Now on-topic:
1. Exosuits? definitely yes. They have been fighting seriously deranged aliens, and I'm not just talking about the Umiak, in wars were mass murder of civilians by both sides was common, so I expect both sides would throw all kinds of shit at each other: chemical, biological and nuclear warfare, including neutron bombs and such. Troops on the ground probably should carry fully sealed armor at nearly all times that allows them to survive such. Also, depending on how close to the front they are and how much fire they are expected to take, they would need increasing amounts of armor. But even the standard armor might require some minor strength augmentation in the legs at least.

2. I would say they would be well past automated aiming rifles, and infantry soldiers would be more like small command centers than bodies with an assault rifle, meaning they would have a series of unmanned vehicles they control that do the fighting for them, they would have uber-precise fire support by all kinds of smart missiles, and might even control some larger support vehicles (like the equivalent of an infantry soldier on the ground controlling an AH64 Apache gunner position). With exosuits that increase their strength each soldier could carry several unmanned vehicles. Such equipment is cheap and easy to replace after all, more so than any loroi or human. Plus a rifle/handweapon, because you can never be too safe.

3. Each soldier would be fully integrated in a communications net. While soldiers might not transmit much, as maybe smart weapons could more easily find them and destroy them if they did, they would still passively receive all kinds of information, from satelites, aircraft, uavs, etc. So surely their HUD would give them 360º information of their surroundings, wether they have direct line of sight or not, only limited by what the extensive grid of sensor does receive. They could see and fire -if their weapons allow- at things on the other side of buildings and natural obstacles, in all kind of weather conditions.

4. Front fighting vehicles would be mostly unmanned I guess.


Fri Jun 19, 2015 6:02 pm
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Post Re: The importance of skill in ever more advanced wars.
Game Theory wrote:
This topic is about the possible mechanics of ground warfare for an alien race at about the technological level of the Loroi as we see them in the comics; more specifically, it is about how much skill will transition into this new era from the last. i.e. how much of the fighting is done by machines and computers.

  • Armored infantry armed with the high-tech equivalent of assault rifles. Very heavy weapons will mostly be self-propelled.
    • Loroi infantry units will often be led by Unsheathed officers with dangerous psi abilities.
    • Umiak have elite heavy infantry units called Hardtroops that have extensive cyborg modifications.
    • Barsam, as you may imagine, make fearsome infantry soldiers.
  • Armored Fighting Vehicles can fly, and can serve as armored personnel carriers, close air support, artillery, anti-armor, limited air to air and in some cases orbital dropships. Though there will also always be dedicated variants for each of these roles, I think flexible multirole AFV's will have a lot of appeal. Some AFV's may have multiple components (similar to the dropship/APC combo in Aliens).
  • Dedicated atmospheric combat aircraft used for air-to-air and close air support will often have trans-atmospheric capability, both so they can be used against orbital targets and so that they can be deployed from orbit. Many of these will be unmanned (especially among the Umiak, whose pilots do not tolerate G-stresses well).

http://well-of-souls.com/outsider/forum_ground_war.html

With that covered, I would like to propose an idea: There are numerous countries in the human space. What if we create an army (no spaceships allowed) to which one of them ?

* Also, no Earth country allowed. They have to be set on Mars, Alpha, Proxima, Aldea or Esperanza.

What do you guys think ?


Fri Jun 19, 2015 7:30 pm
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Post Re: The importance of skill in ever more advanced wars.
Quote:
Armored infantry armed with the high-tech equivalent of assault rifles.


That's sort of what I wanted to dig into. What are "high tech" assault rifles( I keep coming back to self firing guns, but you guys might have different ideas). What else would a Loroi have on them? Why don't they have exosuits. (I'm sorry I have to keep coming back to this, but the gravity problem just keeps bothering me.)

And I was really thinking, at what point does the biological soldier become obsolete?

Up until now, weapons have made humans more effective, but when the weapon can hear, see and make decisions better than you, while of course outclassing you physically in every way; why are you still there?

I know the reasons why you "shouldn't" use AI, and I disagree with all that I have heard of so far.

1) It's dangerous: Yes it is, to your enemy. You don't have to make an AGI to traverse terrain and pull a trigger, and considering that Umaki are Umaki and look nothing like Loroi, that makes it fully useful in large scale Napoleonic warfare and perhaps even urban fighting. (Assuming you don't care that Umaki civilians will die.)

2) It's hack-able: Than don't connect it to outside systems. So what if you can't make weekly updates android style, you'll be making new robots at the same rate.

3) It might malfunction: This is actually a serious one, but If you test them properly than you can just redesign whichever model didn't work out. Even if it goes berserk, it's be doing that when it's next to the enemy and next to expendable drones. You can just introduce the newest models into "low risk" situations like open ground combat on some desert world and than move it into civilian situations.

4) They're too expensive: I actually don't know about this one, but the software is the "game changing" portion of a robotic soldier so it should ideally cost less than large transport vehicles.

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Last edited by Game Theory on Fri Jun 19, 2015 9:32 pm, edited 2 times in total.



Fri Jun 19, 2015 9:03 pm
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Post Re: The importance of skill in ever more advanced wars.
Quote:
With that covered, I would like to propose an idea: There are numerous countries in the human space. What if we create an army (no spaceships allowed) to which one of them ?

* Also, no Earth country allowed. They have to be set on Mars, Alpha, Proxima, Aldea or Esperanza.

What do you guys think ?


I don't really understand the question, are you asking which country would have a ground army or what their respective ground armies would look like?

If it's the latter I'm prepared to shower it with ideas.

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Fri Jun 19, 2015 9:10 pm
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Post Re: The importance of skill in ever more advanced wars.
Quote:
2 With exosuits that increase their strength each soldier could carry several unmanned vehicles.

3. Each soldier would be fully integrated in a communications net. While soldiers might not transmit much, as maybe smart weapons could more easily find them and destroy them if they did, they would still passively receive all kinds of information, from satellites, aircraft, uavs, etc. So surely their HUD would give them 360º information of their surroundings, whether they have direct line of sight or not, only limited by what the extensive grid of sensor does receive. They could see and fire -if their weapons allow- at things on the other side of buildings and natural obstacles, in all kind of weather conditions.


2 Let's not get crazy, a UAV probably couldn't carry that much weight, and considering they are unmanned, why carry them at all? I would just stick with exosuits that help lighten the load you carry, there is a level of strength that you probably won't use in an everyday long-range war.

3) To be completely honest, if i were a soldier in this situation, I'd probably just use helicopter vision and make tactical decisions from a nearby cave or something. Although If the enemy can detect outgoing signals, how do you plan to control your machines.

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Fri Jun 19, 2015 9:30 pm
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Post Re: The importance of skill in ever more advanced wars.
Game Theory wrote:
Hello, welcome to my topic.

If you see this please take the time to read it over; it outlines the basic goals of this discussion, and more importantly what this discussion is not about.


This topic is about the possible mechanics of ground warfare for an alien race at about the technological level of the Loroi as we see them in the comics; more specifically, it is about how much skill will transition into this new era from the last. i.e. how much of the fighting is done by machines and computers.

Now, about the things this topic is not.

1) It is not a "perhaps humans can use ancient ground fighting traditions to become a super power in the war". Feel free to reference modern human technology and military systems, but a ground fight between human and Loroi combatants at this stage is like one between the modern U.S military and ancient Romans: one side is supposedly more skilled and the fight is gonna end in a curb stomp.

2) I would like it to focus on the technology a Loroi ground trooper would carry, guns, HUD, etc...not robots.

New list

1) This is a hypothetical so feel free to bring up exosuits. (I mean their usefulness is so obvious, why have soldiers who can barely hobble in gravity that's 110% of home world x, how dare Auroich not agree with me!) Although it's cool too if you don't feel like it.

2) I would like to point out the existence of the "self firing rifle" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YBC8IFWC1P0
and when I say this I mean a loroi being able to "spray and hit everything with perfect accuracy". And to my knowledge such a system should not need to be connected to an external computer. (i.e. as hack-able as a chair).

3) when I say HUD It's not supposed to be the type that flashes information like "health" and "that is a chair" stupidly in your line of sight. I am thinking of a more elegant type that a non-idiot might design; one equipped with multiple sensors that can transmit their info into the display. (Stuck in a dust storm? Boy those umiak shaped red outlines sure are helpful.)

4) Again, feel free to bring up exosuits. how dare he.

5) Have fun. HAVE FUN I SAY! :evil:


Loroi are physically as muscular as our women can be. As such the weight of the equipment they can carry is limited by that but their telepathic abilities allow them to carry less stuff than any other soldier around.

They have no need for radios, they have no need for IFF equipment and they have no need for location beacons. All of this is covered by their telepathy and this stuff is heavy on its own right.

What they need is armor, night vision, something to identify active electronic equipment, a very basic HUD and their weapon. Their armors are obviously light and effective probably made by a very durable alloy that is also very light. Their combat helmets also have some sort of visors which certainly has an included HUD; the HUD itself will probably be very limited in its functionality because of their telepathy, as such it will have a range finder, a way to highlight active electronic devices and a connection to the weapon so the soldier can see if it is operable and to aim it without aiming down the sights.

The weapons will come in two variants: Solid slugthrowers and energy weapons.

Solid ammo is destructive and with a wide range of ammo but they are unpredictable (ricochets and explosions) and with limited ammo. You don't want to use it aboard space ships. Solid state ammo can also include several tech heavy tricks.

Energy weapons are also destructive, especially particle blasters, but their use is limited by the fact that it has a limited range of firing modes (low output, high output and electro stun).

Considering Loroi physical weakness it is possible that a lot of their ground troops carry particle blasters, with specialists carrying solid slugthrowers for specific uses.

A flesh and blood soldier is replaced only when something else can do the same thing with the same efficiency while being cheaper. Flesh and blood is very cheap to acquire and maintain, high tech robots are not.

As for AIs and autonomous weapon systems, in my time in the army I saw first hand what ECM can do to electronic devices. Unmanned electronic systems are unreliable and inoperable in a full scale war. Only self sustaining and closed circuit systems can function and that is only if the enemy doesn't use brute force jamming to keep everything down, even their own equipment.

EDIT: Forgot about Exosuits, those are problematic and expensive.

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Fri Jun 19, 2015 11:34 pm
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Post Re: The importance of skill in ever more advanced wars.
Game Theory wrote:
I don't really understand the question, are you asking which country would have a ground army or what their respective ground armies would look like?

If it's the latter I'm prepared to shower it with ideas.

The latter.


Sat Jun 20, 2015 4:13 am
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Post Re: The importance of skill in ever more advanced wars.
Game Theory wrote:
2 Let's not get crazy, a UAV probably couldn't carry that much weight, and considering they are unmanned, why carry them at all? I would just stick with exosuits that help lighten the load you carry, there is a level of strength that you probably won't use in an everyday long-range war.

3) To be completely honest, if i were a soldier in this situation, I'd probably just use helicopter vision and make tactical decisions from a nearby cave or something. Although If the enemy can detect outgoing signals, how do you plan to control your machines.

A small uav would still be able to carry weapons, the races in outsider have way more advanced technology than us, and we can definitely already make miniaturized weapons that can kill. It would make sense to carry them as flying vehicles consume more energy than land based ones (the exosuit), and likely have smaller batteries so they would come back to him/her to resupply. You are right about signals, such a trooper might look like a christmas tree to the right enemy sensors with our current communications lol



dragoongfa wrote:
A flesh and blood soldier is replaced only when something else can do the same thing with the same efficiency while being cheaper. Flesh and blood is very cheap to acquire and maintain, high tech robots are not.

As for AIs and autonomous weapon systems, in my time in the army I saw first hand what ECM can do to electronic devices. Unmanned electronic systems are unreliable and inoperable in a full scale war. Only self sustaining and closed circuit systems can function and that is only if the enemy doesn't use brute force jamming to keep everything down, even their own equipment.
Correction, high tech robots are expensive for our current technological level, but we are in diapers regarding robotics, and most of our robots are not mass produced which makes costs skyrocket. For a people with hundreds of years of technology advancement over us in robotics, manufacturing and everything else, mass producing a single military robot design for a military that defends 50-100 billion people might result in a unit cost of about a military grade rifle for us -although they can probably mass produce their military grade rifles at the cost of our bags of peanuts lol-. Weapon programs are expensive mostly because each tiny country has one, and then buy only small amounts of said weapon, that's why allies from time to time collaborate with each other in a single program.

Agreed on the problems in communications in such a high tech battlefield, but if they are controlled by fully isolated AIs that receive commands by flesh and blood beings at the squad level they shouldn't have such problems.


Sat Jun 20, 2015 7:21 am
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Post Re: The importance of skill in ever more advanced wars.
Argron wrote:
dragoongfa wrote:
A flesh and blood soldier is replaced only when something else can do the same thing with the same efficiency while being cheaper. Flesh and blood is very cheap to acquire and maintain, high tech robots are not.

As for AIs and autonomous weapon systems, in my time in the army I saw first hand what ECM can do to electronic devices. Unmanned electronic systems are unreliable and inoperable in a full scale war. Only self sustaining and closed circuit systems can function and that is only if the enemy doesn't use brute force jamming to keep everything down, even their own equipment.
Correction, high tech robots are expensive for our current technological level, but we are in diapers regarding robotics, and most of our robots are not mass produced which makes costs skyrocket. For a people with hundreds of years of technology advancement over us in robotics, manufacturing and everything else, mass producing a single military robot design for a military that defends 50-100 billion people might result in a unit cost of about a military grade rifle for us -although they can probably mass produce their military grade rifles at the cost of our bags of peanuts lol-. Weapon programs are expensive mostly because each tiny country has one, and then buy only small amounts of said weapon, that's why allies from time to time collaborate with each other in a single program.

Agreed on the problems in communications in such a high tech battlefield, but if they are controlled by fully isolated AIs that receive commands by flesh and blood beings at the squad level they shouldn't have such problems.


Economy of scale does not make things somehow cheaper to manufacture, it makes things more efficient and cuts the so called 'bureaucratic cost' to a minimum. To cut a long story short, with bigger orders and production lines you can just order all things at once, thus getting cheaper prices. It's easier and cheaper to just order 1000 tons of steel 1 time than having to order 100 tons 10 times in a period of time.

That's the extra cost you are saving on scale. The people are still paid the same wage regardless if the order is for a 1000 units or 10000 units, the electricity bill is the same and the raw materials are also the same. The only thing that you can save on is the extra cost of having to order materials numerous times and having to close/restart the production line every time there is an order. The modern example is the F-35, it's an expensive as fuck plane and people say that it will somehow become cheaper when it gets in mass production. No, it will never cost 50 million dollars as the latest F-16, at most they will save a million or two from the hundred+ that each plane costs now.

You are misunderstanding my point with ECM, ECM is able to shut down everything electronic in range. The damn machine they tested at the island I served blackened everything around it. Televisions didn't turn on, cars with electronic systems couldn't start, cellphones just died, wireless electronic military equipment couldn't work. The only thing that did work was the damn WW2 hand cranked phone.

Modern military equipment is supposedly hardened against this stuff (half of it ain't) and every damn officer knows that most of their tech will turn into useless junk when the heavy ECM equipment start up.

ECM is cheap, ECM resistance is expensive.

EDIT: Damn forgot the important stuff

Flesh and blood soldiers:

A modern assault rifle with all the accessories costs around 2000$ to 3000$. Body armor and electronic vary depending with what you want but on average each modern soldier costs around 10.000$ to equip in an acceptable level, the maintainance of this equipment varies depending on use but let's say 10% of the total cost is maintenance so 1000$. The cost for the soldiers themselves vary, from 52.000$ an year plus training/living expenses for the average US marine to 120 euros an year plus training/living expense for the average Greek conscript.

With the above in mind consider that modern soldiers are responsible only for 10% of enemy casualties. The majority of combat casualties go by far to modern artillery and the air force.

Modern soldiers aren't there to win wars or kill the enemy. They are there to take and hold ground which is why they are still relevant. Ground that is held by enemy combatants can't be used by friendly forces. Currently you cannot take and hold ground with any type of UAVs and UGVs. Those need regular maintenance and are exploitable. In the future the countermeasures for UAVs and UGVs will become better and better and they will still need regular maintenance and they will still have exploits that can be used against them.

Flesh and blood soldiers require only training, food and functioning equipment in order to secure an area and they don't suffer from the disadvantages of UGVs nor from ECM.

EDIT2: So in essence in order to replace a modern US marine you have to provide a robot that can everything a US marine does with a lower initial cost and lower yearly maintenance. To completely make soldiers obsolete you have to be able to cheaply and effectively replace conscripts.

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Sat Jun 20, 2015 8:10 am
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Post Re: The importance of skill in ever more advanced wars.
Modern warfare, ever since WWII has been increasingly focused around long range weaponry with infantry becoming spotters for the artillery, airstrikes, tank support, etc.

This sort of strategy existed in WWII, but it wasn't the focus. Communication with the airforce usually wasn't good enough to call in ground strikes in a timely enough manner, however there were numerous cases of infantry locating targets and then calling in artillery fire on the targets as they're getting engaged. This is how Audie Murphy became the most decorated US soldier in the war.

We got better at this in Vietnam. If you look at the battle of Ia Drang valley, US forces were engaged by a vastly numerical North Vietnamese force shortly after exiting the choppers. They established a defensive perimeter and started calling in the artillery strikes. When that wasn't enough, they called in air strikes as well, eventually making the 'broken arrow' call when things got really bad.

If you look at the street to street fighting in Iraq, it typically went like this:
Marines walk cautiously around town, looking for the enemy and hoping not to step on land mines.
Marines enter houses, look around. Some of the houses have enemies that shoots at the marines. When this happens, Marines immediately leave house, shoot enemy if he leaves, and call a tank.
Tank destroys house.

The marines are just there to locate the enemy, lure him into an attack, and then provide positional data for the heavy guns. Also marines are better able to tell who's a civilian and who isn't, although they certainly aren't perfect.

In a world of high tech surveillance drones, satalites, and robots, infantry would be less necessary.


Sat Jun 20, 2015 9:30 am
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Post Re: The importance of skill in ever more advanced wars.
@anamiac

Which is where ECM comes in.

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Sat Jun 20, 2015 10:07 am
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Post Re: The importance of skill in ever more advanced wars.
Quote:
Loroi are physically as muscular as our women can be. As such the weight of the equipment they can carry is limited by that but their telepathic abilities allow them to carry less stuff than any other soldier around.

They have no need for radios, they have no need for IFF equipment and they have no need for location beacons. All of this is covered by their telepathy and this stuff is heavy on its own right.


Doesn't the average Loroi's telepathic "field" extend to about 300 feet. Sure, a commando squad in an urban setting would be virtually invisible, but what about when you need to call reinforcements, or tell command what's going on.

Question: does using lasers for long range communication make you undetectable by everyone but the people you sent the message to.

Quote:
Their armors are obviously light and effective probably made by a very durable alloy that is also very light.


But the stronger the armor, the stronger the weaponry. There has always been some disparity between the average strength of a weapon and the average strength of contemporary armor (Until the invention of Kevlar, people didn't bother wearing armor to battle, just fancy coats.) but assuming they are equal,the armor shouldn't be as light as my shirt. If you want useful armor you're probably going to need multiple layers to handle the different flavors space weapons come in. (particle cannons, mass cannons, light cannons.)

Quote:
Energy weapons are also destructive, especially particle blasters, but their use is limited by the fact that it has a limited range of firing modes (low output, high output and electro stun).


wouldn't that still be more modes that slug throwers?

Quote:
A flesh and blood soldier is replaced only when something else can do the same thing with the same efficiency while being cheaper. Flesh and blood is very cheap to acquire and maintain, high tech robots are not.


When I think of "High tech robot" I think of an expendable google driver less car/motorbike with guns, that costs as much as a hummer.

Physically it would be better than your average soldier, but the quality of the battle AI is what really matters. No matter how complex the AI is, it's software, infinitely replicable and extremely cheap. (Think the cool bike chase scene in terminator 4)

Quote:
As for AIs and autonomous weapon systems, in my time in the army I saw first hand what ECM can do to electronic devices. Unmanned electronic systems are unreliable and inoperable in a full scale war. Only self sustaining and closed circuit systems can function and that is only if the enemy doesn't use brute force jamming to keep everything down, even their own equipment.


Considering most Umaki need robotic bodies to walk in high gravity, I'm questioning their logic in using such a weapon.

Quote:
EDIT: Forgot about Exosuits, those are problematic and expensive.


I'm not talking about exosuits you see in war hammer or even the new tom cruise movie, just a light robotic body to help you carry your weight. (Especially helpful in higher gravity worlds.)

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Sat Jun 20, 2015 10:11 am
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Post Re: The importance of skill in ever more advanced wars.
You can't just dismiss the power of communication by saying that ECM exists. Communication technology has always been ahead of ECM technology because ECM technology has to adapt to changes in communication technology and that takes time.

I have a hard time believing that electronic counter measures will in the future be so powerful as to fully counter communication between ground forces and the artillery, thus dramatically changing the face of warfare into making artillery and air forces unable to communicate with the ground. There are multiple ways of communicating - in WWII they communicated by running telephone lines, for example, and hacking those is much different than hacking wireless or radio.


Of course, it may be that a situation arises where unsupported infantry fights unsupported infantry. But that would be as rare as Battleships engaging Battleships in WWII - it happened twice, one in the pacific and once with Bismark.


Sat Jun 20, 2015 10:27 am
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Post Re: The importance of skill in ever more advanced wars.
Quote:
The latter.


Well let me start by saying that I don't see a need for any colony to have a ground army at this stage, most are dependent on earth for their survival and they are a unified entity, as far as I know. Having ground soldiers acting as anything other than a police force would be weird.

But that's no fun!

I'll stick with mars because that's the planet I know most about.

They would have reverse exo-suits. It would be a standard full cover space suit that has an oxygen supply, CO2 absorbers and a self healing "skin".

It would provide backup power to essential systems like a distress beacon and GPS using two methods.

1) It's black outer skin is a flexible solar panel.

2) It resists the motion of the wearers using magnets to generate electrical power, this would also have the added effect reducing muscle atrophy in such low gravity environments. (the resistance can be turned of in case of emergencies.) (also, this is why it's a reverse exosuit.)

It should also have two retractable gliding membranes on the back, these should be shaped like wings and be controlled by artificial muscles, they can provide rudimentary gliding capabilities in mars' low gravity.

Also they have a HUD. (Also can be powered by back up systems).

I'm also thinking of shape changing finger tips on the suit that can become claws, this is supposed to be used for climbing purposes.

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Sat Jun 20, 2015 10:37 am
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Post Re: The importance of skill in ever more advanced wars.
Game Theory wrote:

Doesn't the average Loroi's telepathic "field" extend to about 300 feet. Sure, a commando squad in an urban setting would be virtually invisible, but what about when you need to call reinforcements, or tell command what's going on.

Question, does using lasers for long range communication make you undetectable by everyone but the people you sent the message to.


Inter squad radios are obsolete (a kilogram or so each), long range radios are of course an other matter but that is specialized equipment; so probably a specialist would handle them.

Quote:
But the stronger the armor, the stronger the weaponry. There has always been some disparity between the average strength of a weapon and the average strength of contemporary armor (Until the invention of Kevlar, people didn't bother wearing armor to battle, just fancy coats.) but assuming they are equal,the armor shouldn't be as light as my shirt. If you wan't useful armor you're probably going to need multiple layers to handle the different flavors space weapons come in. (particle cannons, mass cannons, light cannons.)


Partially right, modern military armor is designed to stop shrapnel and then bullets. Most injuries modern soldiers suffer are through explosions, not bullets. Modern Type III and IV armor plates can stop assaults rifle bullets but they are heavy on themselves and are only used by assault troops. Type IIa plates can stop shrapnel and light round and are the logical choice for a long march.

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wouldn't that still be more modes that slug throwers?


Modern shotgun ammo:

Standard, non lethal, tracer/flammable, explosive, hollow tip (surface impact damage), armor piercing, flachette (soft tissue damage).

Quote:

When I think of "High tech robot" I think of an expendable google driver less car/motorbike with guns, that costs as much as a hummer.

Physically it would be better than your average soldier, but the quality of the battle AI is what really matters. No matter how complex the AI is, it's software, infinitely replicable and extremely cheap. (Think the cool bike chase scene in terminator


Unless we are talking star trek replicators that can create a finished product instantly a cost will be in place; for that cost to be cheaper than a flesh and blood soldier it would have to be a tech that borders on the magical realm.

Software needs hardware and true battle ready AIs are still a theoretical field that is touched only on fiction. In the outsider universe both the Loroi and Umiak don't trust their AIs in combat and it looks like neither the Historians do.


Quote:

Considering most Umaki need robotic bodies to walk in high gravity, I'm questioning their logic in using such a weapon.


Hydraulic systems for movement and limited but highly shielded electronics is my guess.



Quote:
I'm not talking about exosuits you see in war hammer or even the new tom cruise movie, just a light robotic body to help you carry your weight. (Especially helpful in higher gravity worlds.)


The problem is weight, an exosuit that does that is inherently heavy and thus needs heavy hydraulics to move which are inherently dangerous, read the light novel 'all you need is kill' to see what the writer of the book behind the Tom Cruise movie had in mind. In essence each suit was tailored to the user and regularly calibrated on the user's physique in order not to tear them apart. In the book the result of someone using someone else's suit was back breaking.

The problem is weight, military researchers believe that the future soldier will be far more muscular and wear an exosuit that merely limits the load, supports their spine while providing protection from concussions and even medium weapon's fire.

@anamiac

ECM is not about just communications, never was actually. ECM counters all electronic equipment in a given area, GPS, radios, monitors and etc. If it is electronic it can be jammed unless heavily shielded and on a closed circuit.

EDIT: Damn typos

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Sat Jun 20, 2015 10:44 am
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Post Re: The importance of skill in ever more advanced wars.
Quote:
Partially right, modern military armor is designed to stop shrapnel and then bullets. Most injuries modern soldiers suffer are through explosions, not bullets. Modern Type III and IV armor plates can stop assaults rifle bullets but they are heavy on themselves and are only used by assault troops. Type IIa plates can stop shrapnel and light round and are the logical choice for a long march.


Wouldn't future explosives also include ones that spray plasma on everything in an x radius. (shrapnel was so 20th century)

Quote:
Unless we are talking star trek replicators that can create a finished product instantly a cost will be in place; for that cost to be cheaper than a flesh and blood soldier it would have to be a tech that borders on the magical realm.

Software needs hardware and true battle ready AIs are still a theoretical field that is touched only on fiction. In the outsider universe both the Loroi and Umiak don't trust their AIs in combat and it looks like neither the Historians do.


But they kind of do have replicators, 3D printers, and a modern humvee made using modern production methods costs about 100 thousand. (I'm adding the cost of all weapons mounted and neglecting to take out the cost of bullet proof windows and all other human accommodations (space, chairs etc)) lets not forget most vehicles have the potential to be much smaller than a human.

Quote:
Hydraulic systems for movement and limited and highly shielded electronics is my guess.


A "car like" system should need even less electronics to shield. (the computer and spark plug and all accompanying lines of communication)

Quote:
Software needs hardware and true battle ready AIs are still a theoretical field that is touched only on fiction. In the outsider universe both the Loroi and Umiak don't trust their AIs in combat and it looks like neither the Historians do.


I can't argue with that, but I really don't understand why they don't, It seems perfectly useful to me.

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Sat Jun 20, 2015 11:06 am
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Post Re: The importance of skill in ever more advanced wars.
Game Theory wrote:

Wouldn't future explosives also include ones that spray plasma on everything in an x radius. (shrapnel was so 20th century)


Shrapnel will take a lot of time to be rendered obsolete, your plasma idea sounds good, the problem is containment. I don't think that neither the Loroi or Umiak who have barely have Naval Plasma weapons have managed to get to that level.

Quote:
But they kind of do have replicators, 3D printers, and a modern humvee made using modern production methods costs about 100 thousand. (I'm adding the cost of all weapons mounted and neglecting to take out the cost of bullet proof windows and all other human accommodations (space, chairs etc)) lets not forget most vehicles have the potential to be much smaller than a human.


A HUMVEE without the extras (alloys and electronics which are the really expensive stuff) is just an over-sized civilian jeep and has no place in a battlefield other than being a glorified technical. The vehicle that you should be seeing is something like the VBL or equivalent:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/V%C3%A9hi ... L%C3%A9ger

Whose bare bones price is around 70.000$ per unit but with all the extras is can go up to 200.000 per unit (without weapons). In the end the really important stuff is also the most expensive.

The chief problem with the expensive stuff is maintenance, maintaining equipment is a bitch, time consuming and expensive in an onto itself.

Quote:

A "car like" system should need even less electronics to shield. (the computer and spark plug and all accompanying lines of communication)


Car like system's are cursed to remain on wheels, for full battlefield movement you need either feet or jetpacks.

Quote:
I can't argue with that, but I really don't understand why they don't, It seems perfectly useful to me.



Glitches, hacking and unreliable loyalty is my guess.

Something like the robot from robocop:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mrXfh4hENKs

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Sat Jun 20, 2015 11:23 am
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Post Re: The importance of skill in ever more advanced wars.
Game Theory wrote:
Well let me start by saying that I don't see a need for any colony to have a ground army at this stage, most are dependent on earth for their survival and they are a unified entity, as far as I know. Having ground soldiers acting as anything other than a police force would be weird.

Many of the colonies are rivals. The potential war that the Colonial Fleet was founded to prevent was between Yinghuo (the largest Martian nation) and Aldea.
Territorial disputes and border tensions are common, but full-scale "wars" are very rare, both because most colonies have limited resources for such activity, and because a genuine war would generate a lot of pressure from the international community. What's more common is small-scale clashes between local settlers or security forces, like you might see in Kashmir or the West Bank. There has been a long history of skirmishes between Yinghuo and the Tharsis independents along the length of Mariner Valley on Mars, and there was a stretch of incidents both on the ground and in space during the early colonization of Aldea.

Quote:
They would have reverse exo-suits. It would be a standard full cover space suit that has an oxygen supply, CO2 absorbers and a self healing "skin".

Word of god says that exo-suits are too complicated and too expensive to be standard military material.
Quote:
It would provide backup power to essential systems like a distress beacon and GPS using two methods.
1) It's black outer skin is a flexible solar panel.
2) It resists the motion of the wearers using magnets to generate electrical power, this would also have the added effect reducing muscle atrophy in such low gravity environments. (the resistance can be turned of in case of emergencies.) (also, this is why it's a reverse exosuit.)

Why would build a suit to nullify the stress caused by the weight of the said suit and then make it resist the motion of the wearer ? At this TL there are powerfull enough batteries that can power a laser rifle and last quite a while.
Quote:
It should also have two retractable gliding membranes on the back, these should be shaped like wings and be controlled by artificial muscles, they can provide rudimentary gliding capabilities in mars' low gravity.

Mars' atmosphere is way to thin for this kind of flight.
Quote:
I'm also thinking of shape changing finger tips on the suit that can become claws, this is supposed to be used for climbing purposes.

I think most of the fight will be either inside some kind of outpost or it will be using flying AFV...
And it would be way faster using a grappling gun or a jetpack.

PS: Sorry for the bad english.


Sat Jun 20, 2015 5:21 pm
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Post Re: The importance of skill in ever more advanced wars.
What I was originally thinking was something like this:

Nation: Ares International Corporation
World: Mars
Military:
  • 1,800 Armored Vehicles
  • 100,000 Armed Troops
  • 82 Ground bases (62 are outposts)
Notable Unit:
  • AR-57S "Centurion" Main Battle Mech
Image
AR-57S "Centurion" Main Battle Mech belongs to Chronicles of Man


Sat Jun 20, 2015 5:28 pm
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Post Re: The importance of skill in ever more advanced wars.
Game Theory wrote:
I know the reasons why you "shouldn't" use AI, and I disagree with all that I have heard of so far.

1) It's dangerous: Yes it is, to your enemy. You don't have to make an AGI to traverse terrain and pull a trigger, and considering that Umaki are Umaki and look nothing like Loroi, that makes it fully useful in large scale Napoleonic warfare and perhaps even urban fighting. (Assuming you don't care that Umaki civilians will die.)

2) It's hack-able: Than don't connect it to outside systems. So what if you can't make weekly updates android style, you'll be making new robots at the same rate.

3) It might malfunction: This is actually a serious one, but If you test them properly than you can just redesign whichever model didn't work out. Even if it goes berserk, it's be doing that when it's next to the enemy and next to expendable drones. You can just introduce the newest models into "low risk" situations like open ground combat on some desert world and than move it into civilian situations.

4) They're too expensive: I actually don't know about this one, but the software is the "game changing" portion of a robotic soldier so it should ideally cost less than large transport vehicles.


AI in warfare is definitely a tough topic to discuss. There are any number of ethical and philosophical arguments you could present for and against its use in war, but I think practical reasons are sufficient.

  1. Expense -
    Creating quality software is NEVER a simple process and the more you intend for the software to do, the less trivial it becomes to create. When you start adding in mil-spec requirements, it can become a positively Herculean task. And, now you want that software to be able to think for itself? It's going to be hideously expensive developing and deploying it.
  2. Malfunctions -
    This is part of the expense of developing quality software. The developers will never be able to think of every failure mode or every possible interaction of the code, both with itself and external inputs. No test they devise will catch every possible situation the software will encounter. The more free and dynamic the environment is meant to operate in, e.g., a warzone containing free agents (humans), the greater the likelihood of the software making incorrect decisions. And with a war AI a malfunction can equate to significant casualties.
  3. Hacking -
    That AI is going to have an outside connection: it's going to need to communicate with HQ and any soldiers it needs to interact with. You can encrypt the connection and harden its internal lines, but any opening can be exploited. This also builds on the previous points: A hack is equivalent to a malfunction and eliminating potential malfunctions is expensive. It's bad enough if your comms get hacked, but if your weaponized AI gets hacked...
  4. Dangerous -
    Well, this is sort of a loaded point. Anything meant to be a weapon is dangerous to someone, whether or not the weapon has intelligence built in. If an enemy combatant somehow managed to hack into the weapons control of an armed fly-by-wire aircraft, it doesn't matter that the aircraft can't think for itself. If the AI weapon malfunctions, that's not necessarily due to its intelligence, but more likely the software's complexity.

I think when it comes to AI on the battlefield, it's not really "you shouldn't." It's more a matter of "should you?" The fact is, an organic human brain provides everything such an AI would, but at a far reduced cost, a lower risk of malfunctions, and without risk of being hacked. The same can be said for any of the brains of any of the combatants involved in the primary conflict of Outsider.

Now, none of this is to say that I think it isn't possible or shouldn't be done. My research background is in AI, and if we ever manage to create something we recognize as sentient, it will likely be capable of thinking in terms of tactics and strategy. And, it's not like Outsider hasn't already shown us an example of an advanced AI - the Historians apparently trust their AIs enough to act as emissaries/diplomats (which, as was seen in another thread on this forum, can be quite the subtle and contentious undertaking).

Also, yes, exosuits are an awesome thing and I think they could be of some use in warfare, buuuut this post is more than long enough as it is. :)


Sat Jun 20, 2015 9:14 pm
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Post Re: The importance of skill in ever more advanced wars.
Game Theory wrote:
Quote:
Armored infantry armed with the high-tech equivalent of assault rifles.


That's sort of what I wanted to dig into. What are "high tech" assault rifles( I keep coming back to self firing guns, but you guys might have different ideas). What else would a Loroi have on them? Why don't they have exosuits. (I'm sorry I have to keep coming back to this, but the gravity problem just keeps bothering me.)

And I was really thinking, at what point does the biological soldier become obsolete?

Up until now, weapons have made humans more effective, but when the weapon can hear, see and make decisions better than you, while of course outclassing you physically in every way; why are you still there?

I know the reasons why you "shouldn't" use AI, and I disagree with all that I have heard of so far.

1) It's dangerous: Yes it is, to your enemy. You don't have to make an AGI to traverse terrain and pull a trigger, and considering that Umaki are Umaki and look nothing like Loroi, that makes it fully useful in large scale Napoleonic warfare and perhaps even urban fighting. (Assuming you don't care that Umaki civilians will die.)

2) It's hack-able: Than don't connect it to outside systems. So what if you can't make weekly updates android style, you'll be making new robots at the same rate.

3) It might malfunction: This is actually a serious one, but If you test them properly than you can just redesign whichever model didn't work out. Even if it goes berserk, it's be doing that when it's next to the enemy and next to expendable drones. You can just introduce the newest models into "low risk" situations like open ground combat on some desert world and than move it into civilian situations.

4) They're too expensive: I actually don't know about this one, but the software is the "game changing" portion of a robotic soldier so it should ideally cost less than large transport vehicles.


To the rifles. I imagine on the human side, you'll see stuff like laser rifles, probably hooked up to a hud or something similar (basically something that allows you to hit the enemy at just light lag), and we'll see a lot of automatic systems that will respond to threats similar to automated iron domes in use today.

As to fully autonomous drones. That's really questionable and will mostly depend on how we'll see the future develop. In essence, even if your drones are autonomous and aren't directly controlled they will still need to essentially call home for orders. Similar how humans today use radios. Now how does the drone autenthicate that this is coming from the right source or even worse, what if someone builds worms that can communicate with each other without standard wireless transmissions (like those rare viruses which can use a computer speaker).

On top of that encryption right now is a workable security measure. But will it remain so with more accessible quantum computing. What would happen when two nations which have Quantum computing capacity use drones against each other. Encryption pretty much crashes.


Mon Jun 29, 2015 5:30 pm
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Post Re: The importance of skill in ever more advanced wars.
For many reasons, I think using unmanned combat machines (regardless what AI they do or don't have) dramatically favours the aggressor in any planetary invasion. To start with, it's hard to bring vast numbers of troops through space, and the aggressor is likely to be outnumbered. But with orbital superiority comes centralized command and control, and unprecedented situational awareness for those in charge.

Using unmanned combat machines may let them strike more quickly, in greater numbers, at lower cost, and though there's plenty of countermeasures that might work better against them than they would against living creatures, these countermeasures are much easier to deploy when you're not being dive-bombed, invaded, and hit by orbital strikes! And as usual, if your defense works too well, that just means more bombardment.

Since living beings can self-repair, live off the land, salvage found weapons and improvise from existing civilian architecture--all very useful abilities when your military-industrial infrastructure is being disabled from on high--they have a lot of advantages on the defense, and on the offense if they get bogged down. Machines are stuck with pre-planned logistics for parts and power supplies, and limited operating durations, so the longer the invasion goes on, the less useful they are. Attrition will hit them even harder than ground troops, and worse, the invaders can use tactics that increase attrition for combat machines without causing much harm to the rest of the population.

Since the goal of planetary ground defense is to bleed and distract their opponents without provoking total annihilation, psychological warfare and brinkmanship skills are more important than tactics. Traditional generalship skills related to maintaining morale and keeping your troops supplied and coordinated are important, too. A decentralized command structure is still a good idea for the defender, though, since anything that looks 'central' will fall in the initial phase.

It's unintuitive, but not only is the goal not to win, it's not to demoralize, either. Ideally, you maintain what resistance you can until your side's fleet retakes the system, but more realistically, you try to trick your enemy into taking risk after risk that doesn't pay off, while keeping them convinced that the big pay-off they want is still coming--that you don't have the power to deny them. If they're 'demoralized', they'll just smite you with divine lightning. So, this type of strategy takes a lot of hidden menace, the ability to survive the initial phase of invasion, head for the hills, and keep fighting, potentially over a span of years, without being so aggressive that your enemy writes off your entire population as an unsalvageable nest of militants.

Lots of trickery could be involved here, like covert actions that keep the enemy from realizing that you are the cause of the problems, and especially acts that might cause their own commanders to turn against one another. This is all playing with fire, but when you're in the frying pan, there may not be much else to do.

I think my bottom line here is that as far as ground combat goes on this scale, combat skills are really tertiary, and even supply and logistics are secondary, with the most important abilities all being in the realm of discretion, intelligence, and counter-intelligence. Sincethe invaders have an overwhelming advantage in every regard except numbers and knowledge of the defensive terrain, ultimately, pre-agricultural societies are a better source of inspiration for how to defend a planet than the most advanced military. A good place to start is with 'head for the cave when you hear thunder'.


Mon Jun 29, 2015 6:57 pm
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Post Re: The importance of skill in ever more advanced wars.
Namaphry wrote:
For many reasons, I think using unmanned combat machines (regardless what AI they do or don't have) dramatically favours the aggressor in any planetary invasion. To start with, it's hard to bring vast numbers of troops through space, and the aggressor is likely to be outnumbered. But with orbital superiority comes centralized command and control, and unprecedented situational awareness for those in charge.

Well, both the Umiak and Loroi empires are vast, 60 or more planets each, so it's likely their invading forces are superior in number to the defender of any planet, and massively superior in power to a planet defence force (defenders mostly infantry, attackers equipped with the best of the best). It's simply too expensive to protect all planets with massive defences and armies that would be useless if an enemy fleet gains fleet superiority in the space surrounding it, and the manpower is better spent doing something productive for the war effort, like helping produce ships, instead of sitting in a bunker all day. My guess would be that front line planets would have good anti-fleet defences and strong armies, but the best equipment would be fleet based, so it can be deployed to invade a planet, or to defend a planet that is being attacked.

Namaphry wrote:
Since the goal of planetary ground defense is to bleed and distract their opponents without provoking total annihilation, psychological warfare and brinkmanship skills are more important than tactics. Traditional generalship skills related to maintaining morale and keeping your troops supplied and coordinated are important, too. A decentralized command structure is still a good idea for the defender, though, since anything that looks 'central' will fall in the initial phase.

It's unintuitive, but not only is the goal not to win, it's not to demoralize, either. Ideally, you maintain what resistance you can until your side's fleet retakes the system, but more realistically, you try to trick your enemy into taking risk after risk that doesn't pay off, while keeping them convinced that the big pay-off they want is still coming--that you don't have the power to deny them. If they're 'demoralized', they'll just smite you with divine lightning. So, this type of strategy takes a lot of hidden menace, the ability to survive the initial phase of invasion, head for the hills, and keep fighting, potentially over a span of years, without being so aggressive that your enemy writes off your entire population as an unsalvageable nest of militants.

Lots of trickery could be involved here, like covert actions that keep the enemy from realizing that you are the cause of the problems, and especially acts that might cause their own commanders to turn against one another. This is all playing with fire, but when you're in the frying pan, there may not be much else to do.

I think my bottom line here is that as far as ground combat goes on this scale, combat skills are really tertiary, and even supply and logistics are secondary, with the most important abilities all being in the realm of discretion, intelligence, and counter-intelligence. Sincethe invaders have an overwhelming advantage in every regard except numbers and knowledge of the defensive terrain, ultimately, pre-agricultural societies are a better source of inspiration for how to defend a planet than the most advanced military. A good place to start is with 'head for the cave when you hear thunder'.
It makes sense in hindsight that what you describe would be the objective, but realistically it wouldn't. In this total war, complete annihilation conflict, a planetary defence force first objective would be to defend the planet from enemy raids, try to delay invasions until relief fleets can rescue the planet or they can evacuate as much of the population as possible, and, if the enemy can't be beaten and invades, at least make sure the enemy can't use its resources for their war effort with intense guerrilla warfare.
While the idea of making it seem like the enemy can occupy the planet "but not really" seems ideal, in reality the Umiak have proven they are genocidal cold-hearted bastards that would simply look at facts, and for them "almost winning the planet" would still mean it is persistently useless to the war effort, so they would just mass murder the Loroi population. After the Umiak initiated total war on the Loroi out of the blue and Seren and other Loroi worlds were invaded and massacred by the Umiak, the Loroi are just going to exterminate any Umiak & ally they find until they finish them all off. Maybe if the planet completely surrenders and there is no resistance the population would be spared, but that's very unlikely.
Simply put, in this conflict, no matter if you are on the Loroi or Umiak side, if your planet is invaded and you find yourself isolated from allied fleets, you are as good as dead already, so the defence forces of the planet will make damn sure it will be as useless to the enemy as they can for as long as they can stay alive. You are already dead, at least try to minimize the casualties for the rest of your people in other planets by damaging whatever you can reach.


Tue Jun 30, 2015 4:05 am
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