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"Interstellar Warfare" Topic

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11 Aug 2012 9:43 a.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

  • Changed title from "Interstellar Wafare" to "Interstellar Warfare"

924 hits since 11 Aug 2012
©1994-2017 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Aksakal11 Aug 2012 8:40 a.m. PST

As part of building background for Sol'una I got to thinking about what shape warfare would be in the Myriad Empires, and then outside of that codified environment: the rest of the Universe. This page – link – is a first draft of my thoughts on what warfare would be like on an interstellar scale driven by logistics, population and not dissimilar from the North African campaign.

cleaner link: link

Samulus Inactive Member11 Aug 2012 10:58 a.m. PST

Nice write-up, reminds me of the the second and third stages of a maoist insurgency where the insurgents see-saw, depending upon opposition, support and supply, between guerrilla and regular warfare. When they become weaker they wait until the offensive is spent then counterattack, if the counterattack stalls they return to the guerrilla phase, and so on until the government crumbles, their popular support crumbles or negotiations are concluded.

Aksakal11 Aug 2012 5:35 p.m. PST

And when both sides can strike anywhere there is little concept of a front line. Plenty more to add and think about.

Samulus Inactive Member12 Aug 2012 3:29 a.m. PST

Re: striking anywhere it depends on how your universe's FTL functions.

I've been reading the star wars definitive guide to warfare and in Star Wars they have hyperspace routes (i'm not sure what the techno babble need for them is) so this naturally limits the possible avenues of approach and the routes can be patrolled/mined. You can create new routes given time and resources to surprise your enemy or attack from a new direction.

I think I'm personally inclined to create my own fluff which goes for this direction as the ability to jump anywhere at anytime makes warfare a game of cat and mouse until you find your opponents home-world, at which point you jump in and nuke the Bleeped text out of it with very little they can do about it. Realistically there's very little chance any warships are going to have a chance to intercept you and any defences could be swamped by the pure volume of missiles. So in my opinion limiting FTL to 'lanes' adds a nice strategic dilemma and prevents the 'easy option'.

Aksakal12 Aug 2012 5:37 a.m. PST

:) if you can do it to them, they can do it to you. Homeworlds are going to be tough nuts to crack though. The defences will be the strongest, most layered, and advanced. As my canon is FTL-anywhere, defence is all about layers and strongpoints and mobile reserves. An alpha-strike jumping too close into a core system would land in the middle of a hyper-reactive proximity minefield, veritable belts of point defence networks would encircle a station or planet…

as defence becomes the overriding goal – protecting from suprise attack – races have less capacity to actually engage in offensive war and want to risk WMD/MAD.

I'll be adding to my 'paper', finishing off the outside universe and then comparing to the Myriad Empires (where there are more regulations, vastly greater population density and long established spheres). That should keep me busy for a few more pages.

jameshammyhamilton12 Aug 2012 3:34 p.m. PST

How interstellar travel and communications work in the universe will make a key difference to the way wars are fought.

If for example you consider the Traveller universe interstellar travel takes a week to go any distance within the range of the ships. The problems are that jump drives use a lot of fuel and fuel is only available from either civillised worlds or the atmosphere of gas giants. This can mean that with limited jump ranges and potential for lack or refueling options you get choke points even though you can pretty much go from anywhere to anywhere else.

Communication is limited to the speed of space travel so getting news about attacks takes a minimum of a week and depending on how far away the destination of the news is delays on messaging of months can happen. Major powers build networks of message packet ships which get burst transmissions from incoming packets and then jump to spread the news.

It makes for a very interesting but difficult to model problem set.

Aksakal13 Aug 2012 4:14 a.m. PST

Traveller (classic?) also has jumping being safer further away from hazards (like planets) too? Same with battlet ech if I can remember that far back.

Soluna operates on the universe scale so ftl is far and fast (depending on tech level). Fuel collection is another thing to write up… Plenty of solar / radiation sails, makes for pretty vessels too. What I liked about B5, wasn't just grey.

Lampyridae Inactive Member13 Aug 2012 10:13 a.m. PST

Battletech has jump points at the nadir and zenith of stars, and requires large ships with fragile wings scooping up solar particles.

No idea what the actual handwavium theory behind it is, though.

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