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Topic: Commander Deathcall's Battle Plan (2015) (Read 7114 times) previous topic - next topic

Commander Deathcall's Battle Plan (2015)
Commander Deathcall's Battle Plan (2015 Update)

Introduction

My original battle plan was written up back in November 2013. After almost two years, a lot of new content has been released, including the first iteration of the game's map. I figured that with all this new information available, it's about time I update and share my new findings (mostly assumptions) and ideas.

Objectives Overview

Phase 0 - Create the OPPF Think Tank
Create the cartography think group.
Create the supply and logistics think group.
Create the space combat think group.
Create the ground combat think group.
Create the tactics and strategy think group.
Create the communications and command think group.

Phase 1 - Achieving Combat Readiness
Establish Main Base of Operations at the Oberon system.
Establish the Operation's main supply stockpile at Uriel (Oberon II).
Establish operation roles.
Establish preferred home systems.
Establish optimal travel routes per role.
Establish convoys to maintain the stockpile.
Establish recon parties to gather information.

Phase 2 - Assault on Tiber
Assemble the Fleet at the Oberon-Virgil jump-point.
Jump through and reassemble at the Virgil-Tiber jump-point.
Move to the Tiber-Oberon jump-point and establish a forward operations base.
Advance the remaining fleet assets towards Tiber I and cleanse the planet's orbit.
Send out recon and hit-squadrons to the Tiber-Vector and Tiber-Orion jump-points.
Advance the remaining fleet assets to Tomb (Tiber II) and cleanse the planet's orbit.

Phase 3 - Holding Tiber
If a suitable location is found, establish a more permanent base of operations in the system.
Reinforce and resupply the fleet as needed.
Send out recon parties into the system's different points of interests.
Engage and destroy/route/capture remaining enemy assets.
Lock-down all jump-points leading into enemy space.

Phase 4 - Securing the rear
Divide the fleet into three battle groups.
Battle group A will remain at Tiber in case of counter-attacks.
Battle group B will travel through the Tiber-Virgil jump-point.
Battle group C will travel through the Tiber-Vector jump-point.

Phase 5 - Assault on Orion
Reassemble the fleet at the Tiber-Orion jump-point.
Jump through and secure the far side of the jump-point.
Send out recon and hit-squadrons to the Orion-Viking and Orion-Caliban jump-points and Abyss.
Advance the remaining fleet assets towards Armitage (Orion III) and cleanse the planet's orbit.
Establish contact with the Armitage survivors and start stockpiling supplies planet side.

Phase 6 - Holding Orion
Secure Abyss.
Reduce Vanduul presence in the system to yellow level (at least).
Lock-down all jump-points leading into enemy space.
Guard system and plan further operations.

Battle Plan Specifics

Phase 0 - Create the OPPF Think Tank

The general purpose of this phase is to lay down a structure so as to allow people interested in the different areas of the operation to congregate, share ideas and work towards increasing our knowledge about these various subjects. This will happen mostly outside of the game and will be the foundation from which we'll launch Operation Pitchfork. Forums will be a key tool. There already are several threads regarding many of these issues, but information needs to be streamlined and categorized for easy access and comprehension.

Create the cartography think group

This group will focus in studying all aspects of Star Citizen Cartography. Their tool will be the Starmap and they'll have to know it by heart. Planets, asteroids, stations, jump-points, everything there currently is, everything that gets released in updates and everything that gets discovered during gameplay. This includes support information such as available commodities, likely enemy encounters, off-planet resources, etc.

Create the supply and logistics think group

This group will be in charge of analyzing the data provided by the cartography group and deciding on the best routes to move Operation assets. They will also be in charge of exploring convoy compositions, browsing through the different ships and their configurations while looking for balance between survivability, speed and transport capabilities.

Create the space combat think group

This group will be in charge of running all the theory crafting around ship to ship combat. Maneuvers, configurations, payloads, everything that will give our pilots the edge over either the Vanduul or anyone else that gets in the way of the Operation.

Create the ground combat think group

This group will be in charge of running all theory crafting around off-ship engagements. Assault, EVA-Covert op, weapons' pros and cons, everything that'll give our boots on the ground the information they need to survive and succeed.

Create the tactics and strategy think group

This think group will be in charge of creating and revising plans (including this one) and figuring out how and when to use the Operation's different assets. While the space and ground combat groups think about the best ways to do their jobs, tactics and strategy think about the best way to make use of them.

Create the communications and command think group

This group will be in charge of organizing communication between the Operation's assets (this includes the think groups) as well as laying down the command structure. It'll be vital to keep open lines with all organizations participating in the operation and know their strength and fleet composition. While it is not in the spirit of Sailor's plan to keep a tight command structure, being able to quickly relay information such as targets of opportunity or flashpoints will be vital to keep the overall effort cohesive and ultimately to the Operation's success.

Phase 1 - Achieving Combat Readiness

Before we can begin combat operations, we need to make sure we are ready to fight in the first place.

Establish Main Base of Operations at the Oberon system

I've chosen Oberon as our main staging area and base of operations because of several reasons:

  • Oberon stands at the end of "neutral" space while still having a human presence. Since it's unclaimed, every player should be able to assemble here without worrying about the UEE security forces.
  • Oberon is the last "unclaimed" system that can be accessed by all size ships.
  • Oberon features a Gas Dwarf planet (Oberon VI) that'll allow us to stockpile fuel easily.
  • Any major Vanduul force containing capital ships must pass through Oberon (as it's the only system that has a major jump-point leading into UEE space).

Establish the Operation's main supply stockpile at Uriel (Oberon II)

Supplies of all sorts will have to be stockpiled in order to ensure that our ships and men are able to carry out combat operations for any extended period of time. Luckily, the Oberon system has a human colony called Uriel (Oberon II) which will serve perfectly for our purposes. As an added bonus, most of the human settlements on the planet are below the surface, which will help keep our extra ships and supplies safe from orbital bombardment or in-atmo bombing rounds.

Establish operation roles

Nobody can tell anyone how to play, but we can define what roles we'll need for the operation. Recon, front-line fighting, supply convoys, escorts, etc. Forkers will be able to choose whatever role they feel like taking, we'll just fill the spreadsheets to know exactly what we have. Of course roles can vary during the operation, but it's good to have the numbers (grouped by people who intend to work together) in order to have a good comprehension of our fleet and squadron composition, thus allowing us to make better use of everyone participating.

Establish preferred home systems

Don't deceive yourself; a lot of people are going to die. Based on your role of choice (as well as your ship) it'd be good to establish a home system that grants an advantage. Be it simply proximity to the area of operations or a key system that could allow a returning hauler to pick up valuable supplies, any way in which we can turn the "dead time" to our advantage should be considered.

Establish optimal travel routes per role

There are many ways to reach Oberon depending on your role and ship class, but not every route will be available to everyone. Be it ship size or type, its best to choose the route that'll get you there the quickest, but also in one piece. Your home system will influence this greatly. Some examples:

  • A small ship departing from Sol can make it to Oberon in 4 jumps, but we'll have to go through an unclaimed system (Nul) and a Vanduul one (Caliban) in order to get there. While fast, this route will be pretty dangerous..
  • A medium ship departing from Sol can make it to Oberon in 8 jumps. While it'll take much longer than it would for a small ship, 7 of those jumps are through UEE control space and only one through an unclaimed system (Nul)..
  • A large ship departing from Sol can make it to Oberon in 12 jumps. It'll take much longer than it'd take a medium or small ship, but out of the 12 jumps, only one goes through an unclaimed system (Nyx).

Establish convoys to maintain the stockpile

A continuous flow of supplies is the life stream of any military force. We can't fight without ammo, fuel or replacement parts/ships. Once the supplies and logistics think tank figures out what and how much we'll need to keep our engines running and our guns firing, convoys will have to be formed to bring those supplies in. While in this phase, time will not be an issue, but back-routes should be considered for after the beginning of the operation. No stockpile lasts forever.

Establish recon parties to gather information

While we'll have a "static" knowledge of systems, planets, stations, etc., recon units can keep tabs on enemy fleet movements or capital ship sightings. Before the operation even begins, we must gather as much information on the systems where we'll operate. This will not only allow us to prepare for what's to come but also perhaps even eliminate a few targets of opportunity before the actual operation begins. In any case, this group will work in close collaboration with the cartography think tank, which will be in charge of propagating the information through our comm-nets.

Phase 2 - Assault on Tiber

As with my previous plan, I've concluded that Tiber should be our first target in the Operation. Here are the reasons that made me reach this conclusion:

  • First and foremost, Tiber seems to have the biggest concentration of Vanduul forces that we know off. If we are to face them here, it better be when we are at the peak of our strength. Were we to begin our operation by taking secondary targets, we'll inevitably lose strength as we progress thus lessening our chances of success.
  • Tiber is a choke-point for capital ships. Any major vessels wishing to go deeper into Vanduul or UEE space have to go through it.
  • The Vanduul are harvesting Tomb (Tiber II). This is one of the two (so far) pieces of the Vanduul war machine that we are aware off. Destroying it should weaken them considerably. There's also a possibility there are refineries, factories or even shipyards somewhere in the star's gravity well. In either case, those resources will leave behind a trail we can follow.
  • Given Vanduul tribalism and fight for predominance it's very likely that whichever tribe controls the Tiber system is the top dog in the sector. They are less likely to be reinforced as lesser tribes would see an opportunity in letting them fight alone and grow weaker.

Assemble the Fleet at the Oberon-Virgil jump-point

While it would be nice if we could just go straight for Tiber, the Oberon-Tiber jump-point is only for small and medium ships. Since our capital vessels will be the backbone of our assault, we'll have to go the long route through Virgil. As we'll be flying through an enemy system to reach our final destination, it's necessary to the entire fleet to move as one so as to ensure the capitals get there safely.

Jump through and reassemble at the Virgil-Tiber jump-point

Once our fleet is on the other side, we'll quantum leap towards the Virgil-Tiber jump-point in tight groups. Ideally, recon will have identified any major threats in the system before this (current ARK intel shows little enemy presence on the route). Should there be targets of opportunity or Vanduul Capital ships, we'll clear those out before moving on. Otherwise, the fleet will reassemble at the Virgil-Tiber jump-point and jump as one.

Move to the Tiber-Oberon jump-point and establish a forward operations base

With the capitals safely in Tiber the next thing in the list is securing our supply line. While we were forced to take a detour through Virgil, most of our supply vessels can use the more direct approach from Oberon. This means that while we should leave a recon and maybe a few hit-squadrons behind as stake outs, our main objective is securing the Tiber-Oberon jump-point and ensuring our supply line is safe. Depending on intel on the Virgil system, we could actually leave the supply vessels behind until we secure the area for their arrival, thus not exposing them to unnecessary danger.

Advance the remaining fleet assets towards Tiber I and cleanse the planet's orbit


Once our FOB is established and the fleet is replenished (in case we took loses in our way) we can move to our first objective in the system. Tiber I is said to be guarded by Vanduul hunter squadrons. The planet itself is unimportant but we must cleanse it in order to have our way towards Tiber II clear. If we were to progress straight towards Tomb, it's very likely those Vanduul hunters will interrupt our leaps or catch us in our backs. There's not much intel on the planet besides it being habitable and surrounded by an asteroid belt (Jump Point #14, unreliable). If any installations were to be found, we'll destroy/capture what we can. Otherwise, it's strictly a cleaning operation.

Send out recon and hit-squadrons to the Tiber-Vector and Tiber-Orion jump-points

With Tiber I cleansed of enemy presence and the way for our supply line cleared, we can start thinking about advancing to the last stage of this phase. However, in order to ensure no major enemy assets escape our grasp or enter the AoO undetected, recon and hit-squadrons must be sent to the remaining jump-points in the system to collect information.

Advance the remaining fleet assets to Tomb (Tiber II) and cleanse the planet's orbit


With our backs secure and information pouring in, it is time for the main assault. The fleet will move as one towards Tomb. By now, we should have enough recon on the area to know about the enemy's positions around the planet. Once the planet's orbit is cleansed, we can look down on the planet itself and figure out if a ground assault is possible. Vanduul are said to camp on Tomb, and there are valuable resources to be scavenged from the surface, but we must measure the risk. If there are other space-based installations in the system, those should take priority. After all, while we control the orbit, nobody can get in or out.

Phase 3 - Holding Tiber

With Tiber's focal points in our control, we must secure our position before the final assault on Orion.

Send out recon parties into the system's different points of interests

By now all the jump-points and planets in the system should be under our surveillance or control. Still, there probably is a lot more around the system that what shows up in the ARK. The fleet should keep its strength together in case of a counter-attack, so it'll be up to scouting parties to gather intel on the rest of the system so we can act accordingly.

If a suitable location is found, establish a more permanent base of operations in the system

Ideally it'd be anywhere where our ships can land, thus removing them from the battlefield and keeping them safe. Perhaps we can open a landing spot in Tomb, otherwise, a space station might do the trick. If this is not possible, we'll have to cope until we secure Orion.

Reinforce and resupply the fleet as needed

After the battle above Tomb our forces will most likely require a bit of time to recover. Where we'll hold while we do this will depend on the previous point. If no safe location can be found in the system, the core of the fleet will retreat back to the Tiber-Oberon jump-point and rejoin the supply convoy.

Engage and destroy/route/capture remaining enemy assets

Once our reinforcements arrive and everyone is topped off in fuel and ammo, we'll use the intelligence gathered by the scouts to destroy or route any enemy craft remaining in the system as well as destroying or capturing any enemy installations that have survived. Our aim must be reducing the threat level of the system to yellow (no enemy capitals) or better. This is vital since if we are to move out, we must make sure we don't leave any sizeable enemy force behind that could cut our supply line.

Lock-down all jump-points leading into enemy space

Once the system's threat level has been reduced, we'll designate recon and hunter-squadrons to guard all jump-points leading in from enemy space. The system must be locked down to ensure no enemy reinforcements make it behind our lines and wreak havoc on our supply lines or retreating ships looking for repairs or a respite from all the fighting.

Phase 4 - Securing the rear

Before we can advance into Orion, we must make sure we cut off the Vanduul systems behind us, ensuring no attacks in our rear and liberating assets so they can join us in the main offensive.

Divide the fleet into three battle groups

We have kept our strength together for most of this operation, but in order to capitalize on our momentum its best if we spend as little time in this phase as possible. By now, we should have enough recon in the nearby systems to be able to swiftly go from target to target. Our goal in this phase is to reduce the enemy presence in the rear systems to yellow or below level, thus ensuring no nasty surprises coming from behind.

Battle group A will remain at Tiber in case of counter-attacks

Tiber will most likely still be a hotspot of enemy activity. One part of the fleet will stay behind and keep patrolling the system, making sure the enemy doesn't amass any sizeable force. This will also give time to our supply convoys to refill their holds and stockpile if a suitable location has been found. Ideally, no incoming enemy force should be able to topple down even a third of our fleet by now, but holding Tiber is priority so if there's a chance we'll be overwhelmed, the other groups will have to be recalled.

Battle group B will travel through the Tiber-Virgil jump-point

We came through Virgil in our initial assault. By now, the system should already be cleared of major enemy presence. Still, if recon picks up relevant targets such as enemy fleets, stations, etc., those must be cleared out. Virgil I is habitable so there's a chance the Vanduul have a foothold on the planet, this fleet should have a few drop-ships with ground forces in case we need them. Unless new information arises in the future, these objectives are secondary and should be left alone until we reach this phase. Once the system is cleansed, the fleet will fall back to Tiber and rejoin group A.

Battle group C will travel through the Tiber-Vector jump-point

Current information on Vector gives us a solar system without planets and only two jump-points. It could be that information is incomplete or that this system truly is irrelevant. However, the Tiber-Vector jump is high-transit so there's a chance major enemy assets will be stationed here. If recon shows nothing of note in the system, this step may be skipped, if there is something worth our time however, it must be dealt with. Either way, once the system is cleansed, the fleet will rejoin with group A.

Phase 5 - Assault on Orion

With all our expeditionary fleets back in Tiber and our backs secured, it's time to go for the main objective of Operation Pitchfork.

Reassemble the fleet at the Tiber-Orion jump-point

All fleet assets except for a few patrol squadrons we'll leave behind to guard the supply line from enemy raids will assemble at this jump-point. Bear in mind that after our cleansing operation, the only Vanduul capitals that we should see are those coming from Orion.

Jump through and secure the far side of the jump-point

Judging by the ARK map Orion is whole new beast. If the Vanduul are smart, they'll be prepared for us this time. The factor of surprise is no longer in our favor but we might be in luck if the dominant clan in Orion is different from the one on Tiber. In either case, securing the far side of this jump-point is key as it'll be the staging area for our convoy vessels until we secure Armitage.

Send out recon and hit-squadrons to the Orion-Viking and Orion-Caliban jump-points and Abyss

Same as we did in Tiber, we must know everything that comes in and out of this system. There's also a chance for targets of opportunity as Orion features a gas giant, making it very likely that the Vanduul in the systems use it frequently.

Advance the remaining fleet assets towards Armitage (Orion III) and cleanse the planet's orbit


Once our recon squadrons are in place, it is reckoning time. The entire fleet will leap towards Armitage and cleanse the planet's orbit of Vanduul presence. Lucky for us, Orion III is the last of the inner ring planets, meaning that if we hit fast and strong enough, we might punch a hole into the Vanduul in orbit before they can be reinforced.

Establish contact with the Armitage survivors and start stockpiling supplies planet side

After we have cleansed the planet's gravity well it's time to land and establish contact with the remaining Armitage survivors. Our ground troops might come into play here once more, as we clear the planet's surface of Vanduul encampments. Once the way is clear, our convoys can start pouring in and stockpiling supplies planet side.

Phase 6 - Holding Orion

By now, Armitage is in our hands and we have a safe haven to retreat for repairs and supplies. However, the fight against the Vanduul rages on.

Secure Abyss

Abyss will not only provide us easier access to fuel but also deny it to the remaining Vanduul forces. If the ARK is to be believed, Viking doesn't have any gas giants and no jump-points leading to Caliban can take capital ships, effectively grounding their most dangerous assets and assuring ourselves they won't sneak into our secured space.

Reduce Vanduul presence in the system to yellow level (at least)

Again, as we did on Tiber, we must destroy all enemy vessels that may pose a serious threat to our patrols or supply convoys. The inner planets will have to be cleansed as well as any installations we might have discovered by now as well as the asteroid field, which we could mine to finance our occupation of the system in the long term.

Lock-down all jump-points leading into enemy space

Both the Orion-Viking and Orion-Caliban jump-points will be given permanent garrisons to prevent enemy assets from venturing into the system. Emphasis on the Orion-Viking jump since it's the only one that can let capital ships through. Most of the action will likely be seen in that one.

Guard system and plan further operations

From here on it's a war of attrition. While the Vanduul can possibly receive reinforces from systems we know nothing about, one of our objectives could be clearing out Caliban, their last source of fuel and resources in the sector (harvesters have been spotted at Crion). Still, our main objective must be guarding Orion from enemy counter-attacks. Most likely, our Operation will raise an alarm across the Vanduul tribes and we'll become a prime target for their raids. With a bit of luck, the UEE fleet may move up and help us, otherwise, we'll have to keep an eye on our assets (parts of the fleet may break off after our final goal has been accomplished) and supplies (this far into Vanduul space it might be hard to sustain our convoys).

In any case, should we actually manage to retake Armitage, however shortly, I'd call it a victory for Operation Pitchfork and Humanity.
  • Last Edit: November 02, 2015, 01:04:35 AM by Commander Deathcall
It's a penguin... with a gun. I'd run if I were you.

Re: Commander Deathcall's Battle Plan (2015)
Reply #1
Commander Deathcall, I respect that you've put a significant amount of thought and effort into sketching out your plan, but I have to virulently and categorically disagree that the road to Orion runs through Tiber. The Grinder is one of the the strongest concentrations, if not *the* strongest, of Vanduul that humanity knows of. I have never found matching strength against strength to result in any sort of palatable victory. Going into Tiber would be a glorious attack, yes, but the tines and the shaft of the Pitchfork would shatter. If multiple UEEN incursions have been beaten back, I doubt that our rag-tag bunch would do better.

I cannot recall any piece of lore that features the Vanduul shifting assets around in an organized strategic fashion. Frankly, I think that if we leave Tiber alone, or at best launch spoiling attacks or raids into Tiber, the Vanduul in Tiber will stay in Tiber. If they do attack, though, then we could utilize all of the historic advantages the defense has. It should be noted that there isn't a better situation for maneuver warfare than space, and we have a whole lot of space to trade for time and maneuvering room. Conversely, attacking into the heart of the enemy strength puts the traditional burdens of the attacker onto us. Historically, the attacking side requires three times the defending side's force. The math may be kind of vague at this point in time, but there are roughly "all of the Vanduul" in Tiber, and as sizeable as the Pitchfork Armada may be, I doubt that we could outclass the Vanduul in number or in heaviness of equipment.
United Space Confederation Envoy to Operation Pitchfork
Envoy, USC
XO, USC Defense Force Training Command
Member, USC Interstellar Commerce
Member, USC Expeditionary Corps
Member, USC Department of Aerospace Engineering

Aurora LX (Traveller's Tales)
Anvil F7C-M (Ares' Gauntlet)
Anvil Carrack (Grey-Eyed Goddess)
Aegis Vanguard (Hero for Hire)
Anvil Crucible (Rustoff)

Re: Commander Deathcall's Battle Plan (2015)
Reply #2
Figures we'd clash on the same issue than we did two years ago Ogi. Still, I believe this time we have more information and there are a few more points that support my plan than before. Some of these I pointed out before, but lets go again for the sake of brevity:

  • Assuming anything considered "capital" will only be able to use high-transit jump-points, the only route to Orion is through Oberon-Virgil-Tiber-Orion. This means that we'll HAVE to go through these systems if we want our capitals backing us up (and I'm pretty sure we do).
  • Similarly to the point above, medium and small ships can only reach Orion through the Tiber or Caliban routes. You might think Caliban is a better option, I'd advice against it. Every planet in the system has Vanduul presence, Crion is being harvested for resources and to top it all off, the way from the Caliban-Oberon to the Caliban-Orion jump is right in the middle of two areas with high enemy presence.
  • If we go straight for Orion, assuming we are able to avoid massive loses in our way, any pilot that dies in action or any hauler doing supply runs will have to keep going through heavily contested space to get back. We could divert assets to guard these people, but that would weaken our main force. We could also try to organize these people to come back in groups, but our ability to give specific commands is extremely limited, making it just wishful thinking.
  • If we advance without having secured the systems in the way, there's absolutely zero chance we get help from the UEE.
  • If we attack Orion directly, we'll be deep in enemy space and surrounded. Enemies can show up from every side (including uncharted enemy space). Even if we manage to break the Vanduul in the system, there's nothing stopping the other clans in the sector from taking advantage of the power vacuum created.
  • My plan proposes a series of steps meant to give the Operation momentum. Each victory will swell the ranks not only with motivation but also with more pilots. Where we to take the direct approach and just try to get through the Vanduul line in order to reach Orion, it's very likely our force will splinter and demoralize.
  • There's no guarantee that we can even make it to Orion without resupplying in the way. Assuming we move in together with the capitals, whatever supplies we bring with us might be depleted by the time we reach Armitage.

The ball is in your court, Ogi.
It's a penguin... with a gun. I'd run if I were you.

Re: Commander Deathcall's Battle Plan (2015)
Reply #3
Figures we'd clash on the same issue than we did two years ago Ogi. Still, I believe this time we have more information and there are a few more points that support my plan than before. Some of these I pointed out before, but lets go again for the sake of brevity:

I kinda figured we would as well, but no hard feelings. We're both just trying to do what we see as best for the Pitchfork Armada.

Quote
  • Assuming anything considered "capital" will only be able to use high-transit jump-points, the only route to Orion is through Oberon-Virgil-Tiber-Orion. This means that we'll HAVE to go through these systems if we want our capitals backing us up (and I'm pretty sure we do).

Honestly, I question if our escort ships (frigates and corvettes) would, by the op launch, necessarily be restricted to Large jump points. FGs and DDs really aren't that big, all things considered, and I find it hard to believe that the jump point spectrum would lump the huge range of ship sizes that are larger than Idris together, but differentiate between single-seater and slightly-larger-than-single-seater. Last, while our escort ships may have a lot of individual firepower (relatively), our strength is in our smaller craft. I think that while being able to bring our escort ships into play would be nice, I don't think they bring enough combat power to warrant having us extend our supply lines by taking the torturous Large JP route. Besides, we can still use them to guard Oberon and/or launch spoiling attacks and raids into Virgil.

Quote
  • Similarly to the point above, medium and small ships can only reach Orion through the Tiber or Caliban routes. You might think Caliban is a better option, I'd advice against it. Every planet in the system has Vanduul presence, Crion is being harvested for resources and to top it all off, the way from the Caliban-Oberon to the Caliban-Orion jump is right in the middle of two areas with high enemy presence.

Wait, so neutralizing and holding Tiber and Virgil is absolutely doable, but neutralizing and holding Caliban is an insurmountable challenge?

Quote
  • If we go straight for Orion, assuming we are able to avoid massive loses in our way, any pilot that dies in action or any hauler doing supply runs will have to keep going through heavily contested space to get back. We could divert assets to guard these people, but that would weaken our main force. We could also try to organize these people to come back in groups, but our ability to give specific commands is extremely limited, making it just wishful thinking.
  • If we advance without having secured the systems in the way, there's absolutely zero chance we get help from the UEE.
  • If we attack Orion directly, we'll be deep in enemy space and surrounded. Enemies can show up from every side (including uncharted enemy space). Even if we manage to break the Vanduul in the system, there's nothing stopping the other clans in the sector from taking advantage of the power vacuum created.

Agreed. A. "The Enemy's Gate is Down" approach to Orion would get us there, but wouldn't keep us there. The space between needs to be controlled, and that's far easier where the enemy is weaker than where he is strongest. But, I'm not advocating a Thunder Run to Orion. I'm advocating for a route that allows us to bypass the enemy's strength without engaging it directly. I'm envisioning a CARTWHEEL here; bypass and neutralize Rabaul, and let it wither on the vine, rather than trying to shatter a major point of enemy strength. I'm focusing on strategy right now; operations in the systems, I'm leaving for a later time, when we have a better idea of game mechanics.

Quote
  • My plan proposes a series of steps meant to give the Operation momentum. Each victory will swell the ranks not only with motivation but also with more pilots. Where we to take the direct approach and just try to get through the Vanduul line in order to reach Orion, it's very likely our force will splinter and demoralize.

You're approaching a strawman here. Again, I'm not advocating a blind run through Vanduul space.

Quote
  • There's no guarantee that we can even make it to Orion without resupplying in the way. Assuming we move in together with the capitals, whatever supplies we bring with us might be depleted by the time we reach Armitage.

I think it is far better to proceed on the assumption that we will need to resupply. Since we are proceeding on that assumption, the key is fuel, which means we need Starfarers. If we accept the statement that Carracks will be the smallest ship that requires a Large jump point (which i find ludicrous, but whatever), then Starfarers (being 33m shorter, 14m slimmer, and 5.5m...um, other shorter) are Medium jump point craft. If we can set up FOBs in system, then the pressure on Starfarers is lessened.

The pressure on refueling assets if we cannot make FOBs would be greatly increased, though, if we have to worry about refueling escort ships as well as our smaller craft.

The calculus does change if the UEEN will send a battle group alongside us. However, I don't think that CIG would do that, since they want this to be a player-driven event, not have the players along for the ride with the UEEN.
United Space Confederation Envoy to Operation Pitchfork
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XO, USC Defense Force Training Command
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Re: Commander Deathcall's Battle Plan (2015)
Reply #4
Quote
Honestly, I question if our escort ships (frigates and corvettes) would, by the op launch, necessarily be restricted to Large jump points. FGs and DDs really aren't that big, all things considered, and I find it hard to believe that the jump point spectrum would lump the huge range of ship sizes that are larger than Idris together, but differentiate between single-seater and slightly-larger-than-single-seater. Last, while our escort ships may have a lot of individual firepower (relatively), our strength is in our smaller craft. I think that while being able to bring our escort ships into play would be nice, I don't think they bring enough combat power to warrant having us extend our supply lines by taking the torturous Large JP route. Besides, we can still use them to guard Oberon and/or launch spoiling attacks and raids into Virgil.

The matter of which kind of jump allows for what ships is still undefined, aye, but I believe it to be a safe assumption - as I said before - that anything considered "capital" will only be able to travel through high-transit jumps.

I browsed wikipedia for a bit of information and found this very interesting quote:

Quote
William S. Lind, in the book "America Can Win" (p. 90), defines a capital ship. He states that "These characteristics define a capital ship: if the capital ships are beaten, the navy is beaten. But if the rest of the navy is beaten, the capital ships can still operate. Another characteristic that defines capital ships is that their main opponent is each other."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capital_ship

We'll come back to that in a minute, but lets theorize what can be considered a capital ship:

  • Carriers (Bengal 1000m length) and super-carriers (Kingship 1500m length).
  • Battleships (non known).
  • Battlecruisers (non known).
  • Heavy Cruisers (non known).
  • Cruisers (Mauler 500m length).
  • Light Cruisers (non known)
  • Destroyers (Javelin 345m length)

This is half work in progress (we've seen how CIG can "reclass" a ship before) and half guesswork, but in the ships page it clearly states that the Javelin is a Capital ship, so that's where (for now) I'll draw the line.

Now, going back to Lind's quote, if we intend to defeat the Vanduul and not just fight them we'll have to destroy their capitals and as we've read... It takes a capital to kill another. I'm sure that you'll argue that bomber squadrons may be able to bring down a capital ship which is indeed quite true... if those squadrons were fighting on even conditions, which they won't if they don't have their own capitals supporting them.

Quote
Wait, so neutralizing and holding Tiber and Virgil is absolutely doable, but neutralizing and holding Caliban is an insurmountable challenge?

Well, Caliban doesn't seem any less dangerous than Tiber when you look at the system's threat levels on the Ark Starmap. All five planets in the system have heavy Vanduul presence. Crion (as I mentioned before) is being harvested for resources same as Tomb and this system actually has a gas giant in it, meaning the Vanduul will be well provisioned in fuel. The system can also be reinforced from two different sides. On the up side, unless the 'duul are building Capitals in the system (which is possible I suppose), they won't have any big units... on the downside, neither shall we.

Tiber, on the other hand, has only two planets (both with Vanduul presence) and one of them is being harvested as well. However, with no gas giant in the star's gravity well, there's a possibility of harassing their fuel vessels. The system can also be attacked from two sides, but following my plan we would have dealt with the major threats from Virgil by the time we get there. Unlike Caliban, both us and the Vanduul will have access to our capital ships.

Bottom line, our Capital vessels (whichever we have) will need to go through Virgil and Tiber to reach Orion anyway. And we NEED our Capitals to come along if we want to fight to win and not just for the sake of fighting.

Quote
Agreed. A. "The Enemy's Gate is Down" approach to Orion would get us there, but wouldn't keep us there. The space between needs to be controlled, and that's far easier where the enemy is weaker than where he is strongest. But, I'm not advocating a Thunder Run to Orion. I'm advocating for a route that allows us to bypass the enemy's strength without engaging it directly. I'm envisioning a CARTWHEEL here; bypass and neutralize Rabaul, and let it wither on the vine, rather than trying to shatter a major point of enemy strength. I'm focusing on strategy right now; operations in the systems, I'm leaving for a later time, when we have a better idea of game mechanics.

Again, if we don't beat the Vanduul capital vessels our mission will be short lived. Say we take the Caliban route and somehow manage to take the system without any of our capitals. Say we somehow manage to sneak our own capitals through Virgil and Tiber and they arrive at Orion... We'll still be surrounded by two Vanduul core systems and in the middle of the "capital highway". And this is not even counting whatever lies behind in undiscovered space.

Quote
I think it is far better to proceed on the assumption that we will need to resupply. Since we are proceeding on that assumption, the key is fuel, which means we need Starfarers. If we accept the statement that Carracks will be the smallest ship that requires a Large jump point (which i find ludicrous, but whatever), then Starfarers (being 33m shorter, 14m slimmer, and 5.5m...um, other shorter) are Medium jump point craft. If we can set up FOBs in system, then the pressure on Starfarers is lessened.

I'm pretty sure Starfarers will require medium jump-points only. And I agree that the route through Caliban to Orion will be both shorter and perhaps safer, but the problem won't be supplies at that point but being overwhelmed.

Quote
The pressure on refueling assets if we cannot make FOBs would be greatly increased, though, if we have to worry about refueling escort ships as well as our smaller craft.

Agreed, but again, this could be somewhat diminished by our Capitals (which can't enter Caliban). But again, that's why we have to put a lot of effort in logistics. Tiber shouldn't be so hard to supply since most of our convoy vessels can take the short cut through Oberon.

In regards to your previous post regarding the mathematics between Attackers and Defenders, I'll strongly disagree. Those are statistics taken from ground-based combat. In space there are no walls. The Vanduul aren't sedentary so they most likely don't have many stationary defenses either. Granted, stations or shipyards might be defended somewhat, but it will not be like assaulting a castle. The greatest advantage the 'duul have against us are their Capitals.

There's also the fact of their "numerical advantage." Perhaps overall... but OPPF fields roughly four thousand (if not more) pilots. That's quite a lot when you think about it... To give you a (inaccurate) reference point: The US air-force currently has almost 14.000 aircraft... we'll be fielding roughly a fourth of the entire US air-force (pretty much the biggest air-force in the World.)

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Re: Commander Deathcall's Battle Plan (2015)
Reply #5
Ok, you brought Lind into this.

The Pitchfork Armada currently lists 108 Idris-class corvettes, and 12 Javelins. That represents roughly 1.41% of the total hulls we command.

We have 451 Retaliators and 217 Gladiators. Plus, there are an additional 168 Vanguards, so lets take a SWAG and say that they are evenly split between the three variants. That gives us another 56 Harbingers. In aggregate, about 8.48% of the Armada is torpedo bombers. Furthermore, since these are smaller craft, they are harder to hit than what I will now call a picket ship, because in any formation with ACTUAL capital ships (such as battleships and carriers), frigates and destroyers are in the outermost ring.

In any case, if you are arguing Lind, that a capital ship is that which, if destroyed, the Navy cannot function, then the Idris and Javelins are not capital ships. Their function is to bring some heavy firepower, true, but nothing that couldn't be brought in heavier quantities by mass employment of torpedo bombers. Feel free to do the math yourself. If you are arguing that the loss of Idris and Javelins would render us incapable of defeating the Vanduul, I would advise you to take another look at our asset roster.

Lets look at a historical parallel. Actually, just look at the Pacific theater of operations in World War II. By and large, surface actions were few and far between, and the bulk of Japanese ship tonnage was either sank by submarines or aircraft attacks. Even the mighty Yamato and Musashi were sank entirely by air attack, and they were the largest battleships ever..

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. The bulk of our combat power is in our small craft. They are fast, they are flexibile, and they are powerful. Forcing our fighters to work around ships that fundamentally add an insignificant amount of combat power is akin to chaining fighters to just doing CAP above a battle group so the battleships can shoot at something.

The only instance where Idris are useful for the overall plan is in their function as carriers. Sure, refueling and rearming fighters is cool and all, but....with 218 Starfarers, I don't really see the need to reroute the entire armada into a deathtrap.

Oh, on that, Tiber is a deathtrap. I'm sure you've read it, but I'll post the article here for those who have not so they can understand why I am so averse to going through Tiber: https://robertsspaceindustries.com/comm-link/spectrum-dispatch/13614-Tiber

But, numerous attempts by full UEE Navy battle fleets to secure Tiber have been defeated. Full battle fleets. With fleet carriers, rings of Idris and Javelins, and other larger ships that CIG hasn't shown us yet, as well as a formal logistics train. We don't have any of that, and we will be the ones to cleanse Tiber?

Again, CD, I respect the amount of thought you've put into things, but I think you vastly overestimate the power of picket ships, underestimate the power of torpedo bombers, and disregard the amount of Vanduul picket and escort ships that we would see in Tiber. They have a frigate too, and a destroyer, and even a cruiser (which I'm classifying as a CL, a light cruiser, because its only a bit bigger than their DD). We have no idea if Victor Vanduul has heavy cruisers, battlecruisers, or full-up battleships, but I can assure you one thing: a Bacon Battlewagon, screened properly with Vanduul picket ships, will smash any force of picket ships we can toss at it.

Conversely, when a Kingship dies, it will be from torpedoes fired by Gladiators, Retaliators, or Vanguards.
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Re: Commander Deathcall's Battle Plan (2015)
Reply #6
I'd like to point out that this is a current assessment of the ships count and type. When the end of Beta comes there will be a significant increase in small and large cap ships and bombers that are earned over the course of the Beta leading to a larger more deadly fleet. I have no dillusions that we are weaker than I and probably most of you would like,but over time when we can actually play and improve on experience and assets everything may coincide with Deathcall's battle plan.

Regardless adjustments will inevitably be made in the future based on whatever our armada composition shifts into coming P-Day.

Re: Commander Deathcall's Battle Plan (2015)
Reply #7
@Ogi_the_Great

Interesting that you'd quote just that article. In regards to a previous post of yours, where you said that there's no instance of the Vanduul acting in an organized military fashion, this post (which I had forgotten to quote at the time) specifically states that when dealt with force, the Vanduul respond in kind.

Granted, that doesn't bode well for OPPF, regardless of the plan we choose to operate with.

In regards to the WW2 comparissons, I'll risk repeating myself once more: These analogies must be taken with a pinch of salt. The mechanics of fighting in space are way different to those of fighting at sea. As is the technology. You are right, however, in putting your faith in our bomber wings. I do understand and share this ideology, but to think that sheer numbers will work is folly.

Even in current day technology you know that most capital ships have on-board weapons that automatically target missiles directed at them, as well as counter-torpedo measures (I am no specialist so you'll have to forgive my vagueness). I believe it'd be safe to assume that the Vanduul have similar (though vastly superior to our current day) technology in most of their capitals, as well as what we call "anti-air" vessels, which are units specifically designed to counter enemy aircraft.

There's also the fact that a single carrier like the Kingship might be able to host as much as 300 craft in it (current day super-carriers can hold 200 I think, but when the scythes were being sold, the lore said that they found them on that derelict kingship and I think there were about 300 of them... so it's a somewhat safe assumption). Granted, Kingships will not be that common (hopefully) but it puts into evidence that it's not just a matter of throwing blobs of bombers at them.

Quote
Again, CD, I respect the amount of thought you've put into things, but I think you vastly overestimate the power of picket ships, underestimate the power of torpedo bombers, and disregard the amount of Vanduul picket and escort ships that we would see in Tiber. They have a frigate too, and a destroyer, and even a cruiser (which I'm classifying as a CL, a light cruiser, because its only a bit bigger than their DD). We have no idea if Victor Vanduul has heavy cruisers, battlecruisers, or full-up battleships, but I can assure you one thing: a Bacon Battlewagon, screened properly with Vanduul picket ships, will smash any force of picket ships we can toss at it.

I thank you for your respect and the time you take to argue my strategy. We both want what's best for the OP I'm sure. Dialogue is the base of consensus. Still, again I'm inclined to disagree with your analysis. It's not a matter of overestimating or underestimating our assets, it's simple logic. If we cannot break the Vanduul's strenght, there's no point to this operation. To think that they'll just let us be while we recover Orion is outright proposterous. They outted the UEE, why would they leave us? There's no "defensive" position to be had. The only advantages to be gained from taking the shortest route to Orion are short-lived.

All assets have a role in a fleet. Small, medium and large craft. As heavily armed as those Hornets are, they are still pea-shooters when dealing with capitals. As nice as those torpedoes on the Retaliators are, they are just buzzing mosquitoes when compared to the rail gun on the belly of the Idris corvette. They all have their purpose and they will all have time to shine.

For the record, I don't think the Idris will require a high-transit jump-point. I drew the line at the Javelin destroyers.

Also, you still haven't told me why you think Caliban is that much of a better option than Tiber. Again, I'll repeat myself: Starmap analysis shows even more Vanduul presence in that system than in Tiber. Just because there's no article talking about it doesn't mean it's safer. In fact, in the Tiber article, it says that the majority of the UEE fleet retreated into Caliban because it had "obvious advantages" still the Vanduul pushed them out and now controls the system and all it's planets.

@Jack Knife

Now here is a man after my own heart.

We cannot make plans for OPPF with just the assets and information we have today. This was true in 2013 and is true still today. Jack points this out with a remarkably well aimed point: We WILL acquire more ships once beta is out. Many of these will probably be capital vessels. We may not be able to afford 200 javelins or 20 bengals, but we can still get them in game. I assure you a lot of people (specially big organizations) will make this their main concern once the PU is out. We have to be able to think into the future and forsee how things might develop over time.

As Jack said, once more, plans may adapt or get scrapped. It'll depend on what new information we get, but some things are certain, and the fact that once the PU is out and all those guys that bought in with a Mustang or an Aurora start upgrading, we'll be much mightier than we are right now.

Also, and I will repeat myself yet one more time, do not underestimate OPPF. We are four thousand strong. Even if our craft are a fourth of that, that still makes a thousand ships...

That's a whole lotta hull...
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Re: Commander Deathcall's Battle Plan (2015)
Reply #8
DC, a Nimitz tops out at about 90--then again, each of those 90 is about the size of a WWII heavy bomber, so the design load for the Midway-class of up to 150 aircraft doesn't seem as impressive when you take into account the size difference between an F6F Hellcat or F4U Corsair (particularly those early Grummans which folded so you could fit the entire aircraft into only the space needed for the fuselage) versus a Tomcat or Stupor Hornet or a *real* carrier bomber like an A-6 Intruder.

The 300 figure was for the X12 "Baby Kingship"--I think we can assume that a full King will be bigger, but possibly hamstrung by launch access. If we can create obstructions in the launch-bay hatches or launch tubes...

Lore articles, I thought the Fleet had retreated into Virgil and that's where they were massacred in their Last Stand.

Just a couple trivial things... :)
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Re: Commander Deathcall's Battle Plan (2015)
Reply #9
Thanks for the input Diamondback, it's always nice to have more people come and pitch in their 2 cents.

I don't recall just where I had read the information that lead me to those numbers but I'm going to trust your word on this. Luckily it seems that my numbers on the Kingship weren't that wrong so at least that's somewhat reliable.

In regards to the lore, I'd say we ought to take it with a pinch of salt (again). If you read the post that Ogi linked, you'll see that it says:

Quote
Following the UEE's failure to hold Orion, its forces fell back to Caliban and Tiber. Given the obvious advantages of Caliban, most of these forces were stationed there rather than in Tiber. It should have come as no surprise that the Vanduul seized upon the all but undefended Tiber system as a base for raids further into Human territory. Vanduul tribes moved into the system and essentially established a permanent garrison.

It'd be hard for the UEE to fall back into Caliban since the jump point presumably doesn't allow capital ships through it.

There's also this:

Quote
Only a single remote observer, stationed at the jump point to Garron, escaped to deliver word of the devastation.

As you can tell by looking at the Starmap, Tiber and Garron don't share a jump-point.

So well, those lore articles while rich in "flavor" leave much to be desired in actual facts.

Given the current map design, I'd say the most likely retreat route for the UEE fleet would have been Tiber-Virgil, as you say.
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Re: Commander Deathcall's Battle Plan (2015)
Reply #10
Good to see the debates going on. We have folks who are of many different viewpoints, so having different overall plans bouncing around is a good thing. People will flock to what suits them best, not to what suits another person. Many will no doubt choose to try to attempt Tiber at some point. Others will attempt an end run around it through Caliban or Banu space behind the Vanduul border.

I personally think depopulating Tiber is not necessary for a purely short-term fling, but a necessity for any long term scenario. Just being next door (and behind enemy lines) to one intact Vanduul stronghold, not to mention a key point in their war machine, would be unwise for those who wish to keep Orion free rather than just liberate it for a few days. One of the goals is to impact the lore, and this would be a long-term goal to strive for. If Orion is left sandwiched between two major stronghold and production systems, that makes the long-term lore goal that much more unsustainable.

Destroying major Vanduul assets, regardless of where they are, will buy time needed to keep Orion secure. Crippling the ability to replace those assets will add to that factor. Also mentioned was bombers vs Capships. Each OPPF (or Navy) Capship engaging the enemy Corvette and Frigate analogs will free up bombers to eliminate the big boys that are a serious threat to them. The Cruiser and Carrier types.

As for jump points, don't forget that it is not just combat Capships either. The medical frigate (Endeavor) is frigate sized, and there is the upcoming Crucible repair vessel. Also mentioned is the new Corvette. Then the large Hull series to move not just supplies, but infrastructure (entire fighters, replacement capship equipment, station reconstruction parts, consumables for npc's moving in, ect) that may be later needed in volume (CR's mentioned NPC "conquer" mechanic). A lot of mechanics and ideas are still being thought out.

Before, the fighter numbers of the kingship was mentioned. It was 300 scythes in total. 100 flight ready and 200 in deep storage.

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Re: Commander Deathcall's Battle Plan (2015)
Reply #11
Andy, that was on X12 though; a "Baby King", and I think we should be prepared for the possibility that a fully-built-to-ultimate-growth Kingship may have considerably more than that. I'd say possibly up to 1.5-2x X12's ready-launch capacity, but probably not more than that unless part of the growth is opening up deep-storage access to the launch bays.
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Re: Commander Deathcall's Battle Plan (2015)
Reply #12
Yeah. I wouldn't be surprised if a mature Kingship couldn't ready a scythe from deep storage fairly quickly. Everything we know about the Vanduul people indicates that earning personal merit is the cornerstone of their society. The prep crew isn't going to be slacking off if they want to be more than grease monkeys. Another point is those 300 fighters on mature Kings would also include the larger Blades and Stingers. Craft larger than the Scythe, and probably not reserved in storage waiting for someone worthy to fly such  valuable fighters.

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Re: Commander Deathcall's Battle Plan (2015)
Reply #13
Sounds like we need to focus our Sabres in an "assassin" role, mainly bushwhacking Glaives and torpedo craft.
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Re: Commander Deathcall's Battle Plan (2015)
Reply #14
Wasn't there talk about the Vanduul ships being "biomecanical"? Meaning they could actually... grow bigger?

I don't quite recall where I heard this... maybe one of the jump points magazines...

If that's the case... a full grown kingship... well... pants = soiled.
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Re: Commander Deathcall's Battle Plan (2015)
Reply #15
Wasn't there talk about the Vanduul ships being "biomecanical"? Meaning they could actually... grow bigger?

I don't quite recall where I heard this... maybe one of the jump points magazines..

If that's the case... a full grown kingship... well... pants = soiled.

What it meant was that the frame get's built up. They're constantly building onto it as they destroy and harvest more metal since their space nomads it makes sense they want their ships to be bigger to accomadate a successful growing clan of bloodthirsty bacon monsters. The unsuccessful ones don't grow much or get destroyed in a survival of the fittest mentality and recycled into more of the stronger clans ships.

Re: Commander Deathcall's Battle Plan (2015)
Reply #16
If memory serves, the Kingship that was captured that offered the in-universe reason for selling Scythes to the players had around 300 craft, but only 100 were serviceable. I wonder if a larger, or more-developed, Kingship would have more repair facilities, and have a higher proportion of active craft (or even worse, a higher proportion of active craft and more of them to boot).

All raise a good point about it being too far out to really do much planning. However, I'm a firm believer in the Seven Ps: Proper Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance. Besides, if circumstances change at all, then we dust off some old plans, and keep on rollin'.

As for why I think that Caliban is a safer place to go than Tiber, I'll admit a lot does have to do with the lore article that calls Tiber the Grinder. But, I'd like to point out that there's a big difference in my eyes between "annihilated entirely" and "withdrew".

Though I will say....god damn it, I really need to stop posting before work. Now I have to rush to get ready.
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Re: Commander Deathcall's Battle Plan (2015)
Reply #17
I don't think you are reading the article correctly Ogi.

Lets go through it once more together and see what conclusion we reach...

Quote
(...)A standard K type main sequence star orbited by two small planets, Tiber bore no interesting resources, strategic jump lines or anything else that would make it appealing for terraformers or other developers.

Pretty self explanatory. The system itself is unimportant.

Quote
Following the UEE's failure to hold Orion, its forces fell back to Caliban and Tiber. Given the obvious advantages of Caliban, most of these forces were stationed there rather than in Tiber. It should have come as no surprise that the Vanduul seized upon the all but undefended Tiber system as a base for raids further into Human territory. Vanduul tribes moved into the system and essentially established a permanent garrison.

Two things of import on this paragraph. First, the fact that Caliban was chosen over Tiber because of "obvious advantages" (what those are right now we can't be sure but it may have something to do with the presence of terraformed planets and a gas giant). Second, that Tiber was easily taken over because it was left undefended.

The fact that Tiber is a must-go-through system for capital ships is left in the air here. Caliban itself cannot be accessed by the big hulls, which is also a bit worrying. I'd blame this on the fact that the article is old and probably wasn't written with the ARK Starmap in mind, but I cannot claim to know what the lore writters do so it's just a guess for now.

Lets go on...

Quote
(...) When Tiber's role in the then-shocking Vanduul assaults was discovered, the UEE dispatched its elite Sixth Battle Group on a cleansing mission. Armed with antimatter bombs, the fleet roasted the Vanduul encampments on Tiber II with impunity, leaving the surface a temporarily glowing mess. The response was immediate, overwhelming, and the most seemingly organized action that has ever been witnessed of the Vanduul: elite Vanduul carrier air wings, the best of the best, cut into the otherwise occupied UEE force and slaughtered them to the last man.

This is actually extremely important, specially if we consider the Universe mechanics that Chris Roberts explained in this week's 10 for the Chairman. What we can infer from this paragraph is:

  • The UEE didn't lose control over Tiber II, it just let the Vanduul take it over.
  • An Elite UEE Battlegroup was smashed to bits by the Vanduul forces in the system (notice the part about immediate response) after they bombed the planet.
  • The Vanduul will retaliate if attacked. This is consistent with what CR said about the universe generating missions and balancing assets across the board. However, it's up to speculation how the universe system will handle the Vanduul, since they don't have a unified leadership. Common sense would dictate that the Vanduul's movements would be regulated by tribe, but there's no way to know for sure for now.
  • When combining the two last points together, we could speculate that the UEE suffered such a tragic defeat because they were caught unawares. The fleet had come prepared to do bombing runs, yet it was unexpectedly (as the Vanduul were not known for their battle coordination) engaged by an organized counter-attack. Was it the Vanduul's prowess or the UEE's incompetence that prompted said catastrophic defeat? It might not be such an easy call as we once thought...

Next, the paragraph that gives us all pause...

Quote
Massive fleet actions, attempts at global landings to hold Tiber II itself, and even "clean slate" operations designed to simply eliminate the ability of the system to sustain military occupation have all fallen flat. Millions have died in these attempts, and the ever-expanding fields of wreckage are now legendary. Countless civilians, seeing the deadly battlefield debris as potential for profit, have made the same leap with similar fatal results.

Simply put. The UEE has tried... and the UEE has failed. It clearly is not a matter of numbers. It's a matter of strategy. Their approach to the Vanduul threat in Tiber has been innefective. Notice how no assymetrical or guerrilla warfare tactics have been mentioned though. Why this insistance in taking over Tomb? Yes, the 'duuls harvest there... but there's no mention of shipyards or other valuable resources.

What's the heart of a Vanduul tribe? A spartan camp planetside? Very unlikely. Any tribe worth it's knives will most likely price their ships (specially their capitals) above petty planet-side camps. Thus, destroying their ships is how you break the Vanduul. Without planet-side installations, most of the Vanduul social structure and logistics is most likely based on their fleet assets. Blow up a Kingship and the entire tribe might scatter... or get really angry.

The rest of the article is mostly flavor so there's no point in quoting it.

Going back to Caliban...

Why the UEE go after Tiber and not Caliban (and it's "obvious advantages") is also quite curious. The Tiber article says that the UEE has determined that the 'duuls launch their raids from there, but there's nothing in the Ark Starmap that would give this system priviledge over Caliban. If anything, Caliban seems a better staging ground for raids, with it's terraformed planets and easy access to fuel. Both systems link to Oberon through middle-sized jump-points, so that's not it either.

Bottom line, there's nothing in the lore that suggests Oberon to be a better option than Tiber (for now). If anything, the fact that the UEE fleet was pushed back from it despite it's "obvious advantages" and has been - so far - unable to reclaim it, makes it either equally or even more dangerous.
  • Last Edit: November 12, 2015, 11:12:04 AM by Commander Deathcall
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Re: Commander Deathcall's Battle Plan (2015)
Reply #18
I assume you mean Caliban, rather than Oberon. But, I do agree that the issues with the article is that it is pre-Ark.

Nevertheless, the issue with the repeated UEEN assaults on Tiber may be strategy, but the reason asymmetric tactics haven't been tried is because they wouldn't do anything significant. Guerrillas cannot hold territory. If they could, then they wouldn't be guerrillas. Besides, what sort of asymmetric operations would you want the UEEN to run? A bunch of raids? Great, Victor Vanduul gets slapped around a bit, but he's still there. Doesn't help us at all.

Now, if we assume that the operations all had competent command, or even if we assume half had competent command, the fact that nothing has succeeded long-term strongly suggests that the problem isn't strategy, it is capability. Since that is so....it is unlikely that we could do anything the UEEN failed to do.

The big takeaway from the Tiber article, for me, is that the 'Duul came out really aggressively when the hornet's nest got kicked. I don't know how to reconcile that with the attack on Vega, but I still question if forces from Tiber would move to reinforce Orion.
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Re: Commander Deathcall's Battle Plan (2015)
Reply #19
Which is also why I've proposed a harassment campaign from Elysium into Vanguard, just hit-and-runs. Enough to make the Duul worry about if we're going to invade in force, not enough to drain resources from the Schwerpunkts. I'd also propose that such an op come well before the main thrust... in WWII terms think "Doolittle Raid" here, with the main op being the massed B-29 carpet-bombing and firebombing raids that came later.
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Re: Commander Deathcall's Battle Plan (2015)
Reply #20
I'm definitely a fan of raids beforehand, I just don't know if raids will weaken the 'Duul in the Area of Operations. I mean, if they're competing clans, will the clan in Tiber look at the clan in, say, Vector that got slapped around, and say, "Sucks to be them, the weaklings"?
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Re: Commander Deathcall's Battle Plan (2015)
Reply #21
That's the game... we want to make it look like we're massing to create an Existential Threat so the rival clans say "they can't handle this, if they collapse we're next, we better go help."

Remember, in WWII the Japanese Imperial Army and Navy were the same way, to the point that they'd even assassinate one another's officers?
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Re: Commander Deathcall's Battle Plan (2015)
Reply #22
That's the game... we want to make it look like we're massing to create an Existential Threat so the rival clans say "they can't handle this, if they collapse we're next, we better go help."

Remember, in WWII the Japanese Imperial Army and Navy were the same way, to the point that they'd even assassinate one another's officers?

They would also order their subordinates to commit suicide missions and blow themselves up with grenades to maintain their honor. If anyone has seen Letters From Iwo Jima you know what I mean except that officer did it without the General's permission.

I think in the Vanduul's case it would be a mass suicide attack since they would be pushed out of their personal territory. Think the Vega attack,but weaker possibly. Historically the Goth tribes split and attacked Rome in the same manner when the Huns came. I find this a good basis to analyze since Vanduul are meant to behave like nomadic tribes of old.

Re: Commander Deathcall's Battle Plan (2015)
Reply #23
I do not agree with this interpretation of the Vanduul behavior.

By no means has it been hinted that the Vanduul act with any kind of honor reminiscent of the old "Samurai Code" which was present inn the IJN during WW2. Also, while we know that the Vanduul's prefer to blow up their ships rather than risk capture, this by no means says that they are prone to suicide attacks.

If anything, their overall behavior is contrary to such beliefs. The 'duuls raid and leave. They don't stay for major battles nor do they actively seek them out. They are in it for the resources and the glory. The former because they need them to survive, the latter because it's how they advance in their society.

Overall, I'd say the Vanduul are somewhat similar to the Wraiths from Stargate Atlantis, both in their military tactics and their overall social and political structure.
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Re: Commander Deathcall's Battle Plan (2015)
Reply #24
I do not agree with this interpretation of the Vanduul behavior.

By no means has it been hinted that the Vanduul act with any kind of honor reminiscent of the old "Samurai Code" which was present inn the IJN during WW2. Also, while we know that the Vanduul's prefer to blow up their ships rather than risk capture, this by no means says that they are prone to suicide attacks.

If anything, their overall behavior is contrary to such beliefs. The 'duuls raid and leave. They don't stay for major battles nor do they actively seek them out. They are in it for the resources and the glory. The former because they need them to survive, the latter because it's how they advance in their society.

Overall, I'd say the Vanduul are somewhat similar to the Wraiths from Stargate Atlantis, both in their military tactics and their overall social and political structure.

I like that comparison, I can get behind that.

Do we have any lore that talks about suicide attacks by the Vanduul?