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On New Zealand shooting

Posted by Picard578 on March 19, 2019

Prelude: while this blog is predominantly-military oriented, especially early on, I had always intended to cover general security issues. And that goes far more into width than just military issues. The following is a commentary and speculation on the mosque shooting in New Zealand.

I decided to wait for a bit before commenting, as mainstream media – well, most people, but mainstream media especially – are prone to seeing what they want. And in mainstream media, Left dominates the narrative. Now, it is true that extreme Right is guilty of many hate crimes – but so is extreme Left, with caveat that Left in general is much more dangerous because a) it is global instead of national, and b) it is prone to hiding itself behind the humanist rhetoric, whereas even extreme right-wingers tend to be up-front and honest about their motivations. Left also tends to use any case and accusation to attack their opponents. The mainstream media that are falling over each other in its hurry to cover the attack on Muslims, are completely ignoring near-concurrent attacks on Christians:

https://www.breitbart.com/the-media/2019/03/17/media-silence-surrounds-muslim-massacre-of-christians/

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-47611811

Now, onto the case.

Mainstream media had reported that the shooter is suspected right-winger. The shooter – Brenton Tarant – has published a manifesto. Titled “The Great Replacement”, manifesto would seem to confirm the media’s reports. However, the text is psychologically suspect. It paints the picture of an average white supremacist, the way that the Left sees them. It reads almost like a carricature, a comedy piece on white supremacism. Manifesto paints a picture of an uneducated, uninterested, lazy person, sprouting half-cooked phrases and maintaining contact with various right-wing groups.

But having had discussions with people ranging from far-Left globalists to far-Right groups, I can relatively safely say that that is not how even a neo-Nazi would write it. It is, however, the way how a leftist trying to act like a right-wing extremist might write it. It shows limited understanding of politics, psychology and society. Shooter is shown in rather stereotypical terms, as described before. It has a significant number of grammatic mistakes. Manifesto ponts to military and law enforcement as being places where far-right people are disproportionately employed. This serves no purpose for the goals of far-Right, but it may enable the Left to try and take over the control of these services, and use them for furthering their own agenda – similar to how they had taken over universities and politics.

His explanation on why he chose firearms for the attack also makes no sense – but it does make sense if one was to assume that the attack was to be used by the Left to abolish right to bear arms. He also talks about “invaders” and “traitors”, terms that a right-winger may use in anger, but hardly in a written text of such length. Likewise, his answers on whether he hates Muslims in general are not extremist; this is the point, as they may – and likely will – be used by the Left to paint any sort of nationalist, anyone who opposes globalism, as a potential mass murderer.

Soon in the text, he contradicts himself, first claiming that the attack is an “end in itself”, and immediately after that it is “meant to promote ideals”. So which one is it? Further it makes reference to 1300 years of war and invasion Islam had caused – a historical fact, but one that is extremely uncomfortable to the Left, and if tied to this attack in such a manner may become (even more) “politically incorrect” to discuss, allowing the Left to further its control of the discourse. Manifesto also discusses diversity, again helping the Left push the narrative that any form of diversity but their own – “diversity” that destroys actual diversity – is racist, hateful and genocidal.

Further pushing the leftist narrative/agenda, he claims that he is racist because he believes that “racial differences exist between peoples and they have a great impact on the way we shape our societies”. But that is not racism, that is racialism. Racism is a belief that one race is superior to others, and all others have to be exterminated or at least subjugated. It was used as a post-facto justification of colonialism (e.g. 19th century scientific racism) and of Nazi genocides (yet greatest genocides in history were either class-based or religion-based, not race-based). Racialism, on the contrary, believes that all races are distinct, unique, and of equal value. Racialism, similar to ethnic nationalism, would serve to prevent genocide, slavery and other evils of racism, as it would keep races separate and safe – from each other, at least, though obviously not from themselves. However, by pushing the idea that racism and racialism are the same, and that they both lead to mass murder, he is further promoting the leftist narrative which makes no distinction between the two.

His statement that he is “ethno-nationalist” immediately places ethnonationalism into guilt by association – a logical fallacy most of the time, but a very powerful one indeed. Again, this serves the Left, and in no way helps the Right. Other one-liner answers are also stereotypical of what a modern-day right winger, especially an ethnonationalist, might say, providing the Left with the so-useful “smoking gun”. However, he also outright states that he is an “eco-fascist”, and that closest country to his view is People’s Republic of China – two statements that not only contradict each other, but rest of the text as well. He is also a “supporter of Donald Trump” as a symbol – Left on Capitol Hill will sure love that – as well as Brexit, two things that are currently very painful for the Left, and to be discredited by any means necessary.

Following answers are mostly one-liners, used to reinforce the view that the attacker is an ethno-nationalist conservative. His answer about video-games however serves to further support the leftist crying point about video games being “dangerous”, even though there is no proof that playing video games – even first-person shooters – increases agression in everyday life. But then, every moral guardian knows that Bluebeard was a Battlefield 2142 addict, that Hitler constantly played Doom 3 and that Blackbeard had Sid Meier’s Pirates! installed onboard his flagship. It does show how Left is trying to milk the attack for everything it is worth.

He also calles himself an eco-fascist, which is a relatively new ideology, in exposure if not in existence. He reaffirms Australia’s connections to Europe, by implication compromising the entire West. Next few points are stereotypical Nazi talking points about the “future of white people” etc. His statement “I will let my actions speak for themselves” is clearly meant to compromise any form of conservativism, or at least ethnonationalism.

Further writing serves to further reinforce the idea of him as a cretin, particularly rant about his combat capabilities which seems to paint him as a junior Call of Duty player. He continues by supporting every single thing that the Left opposes – providing the Left with a “point-by-point” support of their views. This includes Left’s attempts to control violence, as well as to counter claims that democracy is controlled by the globalist forces at the time that European union is attempting to increase its authoritarian control and integration. He also states that racial differences are a fact – another view Left is opposing. He claims that he attacked Muslims because they are the most hated, thus supporting the attempts to censor any and all criticism of Islam.

He continues by supporting some conservative talking points that are very painful for the Left – such as Muslim rape gangs in Europe, dangers of diversity to society, consequences of leftist policies on radicalization, the failure of assimilation. Again, these are used to paint them as necessarily murderous, and thus support the Leftist narrative. Manifesto is even used to provide shield to Merkel, Erdogan, by claiming that they are enemies of Europe, and thus connect their right-wing critics to the shooter. It also claims that diversity means inequality, thus supporting Left in attempts to create a unified global Borg Collective.

He draws a connection to Battle of Vienna in 1683., which in itself is one of showcases for dangers of Islam. By connecting rational discussion of potential dangers of Islam to this attack, it helps censor yet another thing that is painful to the Left. The same is repeated with a fact of leftist takeover of educational and media institutions and dying of the West, the thoughts on populist movements – which are a big problem for the Left which had abandoned and betrayed the very people it is supposed to defend, the fact that people are driven by the emotion. He especially supports memes, which had proven so damaging to the Left, and which Left had been trying to ban for the some time. Likewise, he points out the truth of capitalists using open borders policy to import cheap work force and reduce everybody else’s standards of living; calls for “Europe for Europeans”; and supports “with strong traditions, gender norms, societal norms;the poor and the religious, usually a combination of all” – that is, everyone that the Left hates. He also attacks globalized capitalists – correctly, but this allows them to defend themselves simply by screaming “racism” at any opposition to globalism.

It should be noted that the latter part of the text seems to have no grammatic mistakes, contradicting the introductionary part. Text itself covers literally every single social issue of contention between the Left and the Right.

Overall, the attack has served to put Right on the defensive – which was likely the whole idea. For at least the next few weeks, being a right-winger will become a crime – even more than it usually is.

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AMRAAM jammed by Su-30MKI – further questions on radar BVR combat

Posted by Picard578 on March 7, 2019

In a recent clash between Indian Su-30MKIs and Pakistani F-16s, latter had fired “four to five American AMRAAMs (AIM-120 advanced medium-range air-to-air missile) from a distance of 40-50 km at the Indian aircraft including the Su-30 and the MiG-21 Bison.” IAF had negated Pakistani claims of having shot down a Su-30MKI in the engagement. Even if true, that claim would give Pk of 20-25%, nowhere close to 50-90% often claimed. Historically the attacker’s claims were typically significantly overstated, so there is no reason to believe Pakistani claims.

In February, Pakistani F-16 had been shot down by Indian MiG-21, confirmed by both sides.

EDIT: Missile used was AIM-120-C5. Multiple launches were “conclusively observed“. Su-30 had spoofed a number of AMRAAM missiles.

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The Camp of The Saints – Jean Raspail – Free PDF Download

Posted by Picard578 on January 1, 2019

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments »

Croatian Navy has to tow warships around

Posted by Picard578 on November 21, 2018

Vukljanje-topovnjače-1

Croatian Navy warships have to be towed around like junk. Two missile gunboats had to be towed into city harbour of Šibenik. Landing ship “Cetina” towed gunboat “Dmitar Zvonimir”, while a towing ship from “Brodospas” (Ship Rescue) towed gunboat “Petar Krešimir IV” to proximity of “Dmitar Zvonimir”. Latter was then towed into shipyard, while the landing ship took over “Petar Krešimir” and towed it away. This is likely a consequence of lack of technical cadre capable of maintaining the ships combined with their overuse in recent exercises and NATO missions. In 2018. alone ships had taken part in more exercises than in several years before combined.

Such situation had already happened three times this year. In one of these incidents, 24.4.2018., missile gunboat “Dmitar Zvonimir” was towed out of the harbour by an even older “Dubrovnik” (“Petar Krešimir”: launched and commissioned 1992., “Dubrovnik”: ex-FNS-63 “Kotka”, launched and commissioned 1986., commissioned to Croatian Navy in 2009.).

Source: https://www.hop.com.hr/2018/11/21/hrm-slepa-svoje-raketne-topovnjace-kao-stare-kante/, http://morski.hr/2018/11/21/skandal-u-hrm-u-nakon-vojnih-vjezbi-topovnjace-vuku-konopima/

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Sci-fi battleship design

Posted by Picard578 on September 26, 2018

Just something from military sci-fi I am currently working on.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in sci-fi conceptual | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

The Byzantine warships and their tactics

Posted by Picard578 on September 20, 2018

Weapons and Warfare

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Reconstruction of an early 10th-century Byzantine bireme dromon by John H. Pryor, based on references in the Tactica of Emperor Leo VI the Wise. Notice the lateen sails, the full deck, the fore- and mid-castles, and the Greek fire siphon in the prow. The above-water spur is evident in the bow, while the captain’s tent and the two steering oars are located at stern.

The typical high-seas elite warship of the empire in the period was the dromon (from the Greek dromeas, meaning `the runner’). This was a two-masted fully decked bireme with two banks of oars, one rowed from below the deck and one from above it. There were twenty-five oarsmen on each side of each deck, thus raising the total number of oarsmen to a hundred, all fully seated. The marines and the officers of the ship numbered around fifty men, while the ousia, the standard complement of…

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Surprise and deception in war (Carl von Clausewitz expanded)

Posted by Picard578 on September 17, 2018

This is an expansion of Chapters 9 (Surprise) and 10 (Deception) of Clausewitz’s Book 3 of “On War”.


3.9. Surprise

Surprise is a key factor in war, for without it there is little possibility of achieving superiority at the key point. Other than being a tool for superiority, it is also useful by itself due to its psychological impact. Successful surprise causes confusion and breakdown of the opponent’s command and psychological structures. Surprise itself can be tactical, operational, strategic, political or even grand strategic, but regardless of the level it is based on two key factors: speed and secrecy. Both require great energy and serious character. While in theory surprise makes it easy to achieve decisive successes, in practice there are always factors such as friction and chance which may reduce its impact. Read the rest of this entry »

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On Friction In War – Carl von Clausewitz Expanded

Posted by Picard578 on September 9, 2018

Here I took observations of Carl von Clausewitz on friction (just reading through his book “On War”), and expanded on them.


War is simple, but the simplest thing is hardest. Various acters and factors in war produce other acters and factors, and also with their interaction produce friction. There are many things that cannot be predicted; things that should not happen but do; things that should have happened but did not. While each circumstance by itself may be too small to even consider, together they add up. Each level of authority adds another layer of friction, and confusion and dangers of war only increase probability of it happening. Most effects of friction cannot be predicted; effects of weather, disease, confusion, mechanical failures; they all cause friction of some kind. Organization itself causes friction: differing doctrines and culture can cause friction when operating with allies. Because of these various types of friction, any undertaking in war is like moving in a fog or a deep mud. Further, each war is full of individual characteristics and events which change its nature; one of primary qualities of a general is recognizing that friction. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Spanish Army of the Thirty Years’ War

Posted by Picard578 on September 3, 2018

Art of Warre

Modern impression of a tercio by artist Cabrera Peña. Source: magazine Desperta Ferro!

During the sixteenth and the first half of the seventeenth centuries Spain was the dominant continental power of Europe. Its main strategic assets were (1) its American, Italian and Flandrian possessions, (2) the family ties and alliances of its Habsburg rulers, and (3) its military establishment. As a wargamer I will concern myself only with the infantry, cavalry, dragoons and ordnance.

1. The infantry

Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba, engraving 1513

The core of the Spanish army was the infantry, and the core of the infantry were the shock troops called tercios. The tercio developed around 1530 out of an earlier batlefield formation, the coronelía, a 6000-strong unit of pikemen and harquebusiers with some halberdiers and sword-and-buckler men thrown in. The coronelía had been the answer to the double threat which Spain had encountered in the Italian wars: the Swiss Gewalthaufen (pike blocs) and the French heavy cavalry…

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Byzantine military doctrine in modern practice

Posted by Picard578 on August 17, 2018

While I originally wrote this for sci-fi setting I am working on, general principles are usable in modern world as well.


OVERVIEW

Laigin culture sees war as a necessary evil – but as the saying goes, “if you have to do something, you have no excuse for not doing it to the best of your ability”, and the Empire is constantly at war, surrounded by enemies. Typically there are two or three wars going on at the same time, even if most of those are minor, and difference between war and peace is merely a matter of planet’s location within the Empire. This has caused tensions between parallel condemnation of war in theory and rather militaristic ideology and structure in practice, which is resolved by the doctrine of “just war”. At its basic, this doctrine dictates that wars of conquest are unjust, while wars of defense or reconquest of lost territories are just wars and thus require no further justification. Warfare permeates all aspects of society, from culture to education, with civil defense being a mandatory class subject even from the primary school. War is waged for defense or to recover the lost territories – territories not willingly given away are always considered to belong to the Empire “by right”, regardless of the actual situation on the terrain, or how much time had passed since the loss. Defence of the state is the ultimate goal, on all levels and in all aspects of the policy. Therefore, there is no concept of “holy war” – defensive war is automatically just by virtue of defending the state and its people. But while no sin is incurred by participating in a just war, war is not religious but rather civic obligation, and cannot be used for absolution of sins. War is only waged for purpose of defending the state or its interests abroad, such as its allies. If goals can be achieved without fighting a war, they are achieved so and casualties are minimized where possible; but military is always kept prepared for war. Overall approach can be summed up as “do everything possible to raise, equip and train the best possible army and navy, and then do everything possible to use them as little as possible”. Prepare for war to avoid war.

The main aim in war is to win without having to fight a decisive battle, especially since the Empire is at best at equal footing with its enemies, and more often disadvantaged in terms of numbers and resources. Decisive battle is avoided because even in victory it may cause an unacceptable loss of resources, and in loss it is typically catastrophic. Victory is achieved through combination of delaying tactics and exploitation of enemy weaknesses, landscape and diplomacy. Generally, aim is not to destroy the enemy, but to reach a state of equilibrium – for a destroyed opponent leaves a power vacuum which will be filled by another power, or by lawless elements, whereas a weakened opponent can be negotiated with. Today’s enemy may be tomorrow’s ally, and large number of weaker enemies is better than smaller number of powerful enemies, as they can be played off against each other. Enemies are transient; only the Empire lasts forever. Hence, warfare is typically defensive, especially since enemies tend to be diverse and numerous. Hit and run raids are preferred approach, but pitched battles can and will be fought as well if no other recourse is practical. Scouting is crucial, and is typically done by light ships. Initiative is pursued, leading to typically agressive posture. Enemies will be mislead with false information, and allies sought that can attack the enemy from a different direction. Most useful allies are those closest to the enemy, as they know how to fight the enemy best. Internal conflicts may be decided by duel by champion, typically a sword fight, in order to avoid the possibility of devastating civil wars. COIN is avoided, and proxies liberally used.

Deception is likewise used, and is separated into concealment/camouflage, imitation/mimicry, simulation, disinformation and feints. The goal is to mislead the enemy with regards to Laigin political / grand-strategic, strategic, operational and tactical objectives and approaches. Surprise is the basis of military approach on all levels.

This approach is especially advantageous because each enemy is systematically studied, and local forces are trained to respond to enemy’s specific approach to war. Knowledge about enemies – their history, culture, politics etc. – is also incorporated into strategy manuals which provide political and military leaders with guidance on dealing with enemies and neighbours in general. Constant practice, interpretation and corrections ensure that manuals are always up-to-date. Military readiness is maintained, not only to fight the war once started but also to prevent the war from being fought at all.

Morale is recognized as being one of most important factors in success, and special emphasis is placed on intangible factors – morale itself, unit cohesiveness, tradition, interaction and links between active military and general populace. Officer competence is likewise recognised as a key, and incompetent officers are demoted or transferred to whatever position they are actually capable of serving at. Diplomacy and warfare go hand in hand, with diplomacy being used to achieve war goals and vice versa. Subversion is likewise understood to be the cheapest path to victory.

OFFENSE

In offensive operations, goal is to cause maximum damage to enemy’s economy and material infrastructure – destruction of fortifications, orbital and urban installations, and severing of trade routes. This is typically employed in goal of persuading the enemy to accept a course of action most favourable for the Empire.

Heavy elements of the fleet are concentrated against key points. These points are selected to reduce enemy’s ability and will to fight. The objective is not to destroy the enemy, but as already noted, to make him more amenable to working with – instead of against – the Empire. As such, typical targets are orbital and system defense installations, while planets themselves are rarely if ever attacked.

At the same time, fast elements of the fleet – “cruiser” ships such as battlecruisers and light cruisers – are used to scout ahead of the main battle force, interdict enemy merchant and cargo traffic, and take out less-defended crucial points such as observation posts, and command centers where possible. Due to being more mobile, these elements can be more easily concentrated and deployed against any single threat. At times, half the cruiser fleet may be concentrated against a single target while still not compromising the security of the Empire thanks to existence of heavy elements. Light elements are regularly employed in hit-and-run raids as well as in attacks against important targets (focal points). In both cases, heavy fleet might be used to draw enemy attention elsewhere.

Allies will also be called upon, especially if they are in position to catch the enemy in the rear. Nomadic allies are particularly important as they are fast, mobile and also good source of information about enemy movements. When campaigning farther from Laigin territory, local allies will be contacted to provide information on the area and geopolitical situation, as well as help with scouting and intelligence gathering.

Offensive approach is also used for defensive purposes, launching pre-emptive attacks into enemy territory, and also by launching counter-invasions of the enemy territory. Offensive operations for the recovery of lost territory are also seen as inherently defensive.

When in enemy territory, and typically in friendly territory as well, fleet is organized in divisions. Frigate groups are deployed in groups along the perimeter of the fleet, acting as scouts and advanced warning screen. Main body is in the center of frigate dispositions. Some frigates are detached for independent scouting duty, using their greater speed and small sensory signature to range far ahead of the main force.

On ground, fire support missions can be called in by platoon leaders and up. Oftentimes, a platoon “on point” will be assigned a private pair of close air support aircraft. Specialized infantry units are equipped with jump packs, allowing them to scout ahead of tanks, while tanks provide direct fire support. Same approach is used by regular infantry in cities. When attacking defended positions, heavy artillery support will be called in, typically in the form of a creeping barrage. First step however is heavy scouting to identify enemy defensive positions, strongpoints and weak spots.

Units prefer to have a three-to-one local advantage in attack. In infantry, this means attacking element, fire support element and flanking element. In navy, there may be two flanking elements (side and top/bottom). Attacks, both ground and space, are carried out in waves. First wave will reach designated limit line, stop and reorganize; second wave will pass the first wave and keep advancing until it reaches its own limit line, at which point first wave, now fresh and reorganized, will launch its own attack. Laigin specialty are night attacks, which are slightly more difficult to organize but can be frighteningly effective, particularly against underequipped or technologically backwards enemies. These are typically done just before the dawn.

Infiltration tactics are heavily utilized in all situations. During fleet advance, detached frigate groups are deployed behind the enemy lines on a seek-and-destroy campaign against enemy logistical and civilian cargo ships, disrupting enemy’s logistics and economy. With time, such attacks can cause the enemy to redeploy more and more ships to guard convoys, weakening his front lines. Assaults against space stations and even planets are preceded by deployment of special forces to shut down or disrupt enemy defences from inside. On ground, special forces are deployed behind the enemy lines, identifying and possibly eliminating crucial targets. Assaults against static defensive lines are preceded by short but massive artillery bombardment against enemy defences and support structures (C4ISR, logistics, communication lines). Armoured units advance under cover of artillery fire, breaching the weakest points of enemy defences and then spreading out in the enemy rear area to cut off any support and reinforcements while infantry eliminates enemy front-line units. Breakthrough (in space or on ground) is reinforced by reserve forces with the aim of destroying enemy reserves, communications and supply depots.

Initial attack is made by several independent formations, with each operation designed to divert the enemy attention and prevent him from figuring out the real objective. Each formation has its own set of objectives, to be completed at formation’s discretion according to local conditions. Main objective of the attack is assigned to whichever unit is in best position to fulfill it. Alternatively, false attacks may be launched at points removed from the objective to draw out enemy reinforcements. Oftentimes, the goal of the attack – be it armoured or fleet attack – is simply to penetrate as deep behind the enemy lines as possible and cause as much damage to support structures as possible. If objective of the attack is particularly important and defended, several formations will combine before launching the attack.

When attacking enemy systems, frigate groups will attempt to destroy hyperspace sensors and comm buoys of several systems, along a broad area, to mask approach of the main force. This prevents the enemy from determining exact target of the attack until the moment of the attack. If possible, extraplanetary sensors in systems themselves will be neutralized as well. Approach to target world is preferably made from the opposite side of planet’s star to mask fleet’s signature. In several cases commanders even utilized hyperspace storms to mask fleet’s hyperspace signature, losing some ships in exchange for complete surprise. Fleet itself may approach the system formed in several battlegroups and from multiple directions, preventing the enemy from easily estimating the size of the force, and combine into one force just before combat contact. Some warships may even be equipped with false hull to disguise them as support ships.

Ground attacks use similar principles. Large forces will be simulated with dummy guns, tanks etc. while actual force may be dozens or hundreds of miles away, hidden by multispectral camouflage netting. Radio traffic will be likewise simulated. Troops are moved in secret, dug in and camouflaged.

DEFENSE

Defense is seen as a primary duty of the military. Normal day-to-day operations of the Navy consist mostly of counter-attacks and raiding into enemy territories for purposes of destabilizing enemy posture and gathering information, as well as intercepting enemy raids against outposts and unfortified worlds (i.e. worlds without planetary shields). For border security Navy is aided by a number of secret listening and sensory posts outside of Empire’s borders. These scan hyperspace for any signatures and listen in communications, sending regular reports back to the Empire. Listening posts are reinforced by light scout ships. Any indication of an attack – unusual activity on border, massing of ships, listening post falling silent – prompts the Royal Navy to send a scouting force of frigates to check what has happened. At the same time, a cruiser force – consisting of battlecruisers, light cruisers and frigates – is assembled near the border to check the enemy incursion before the enemy crosses the border. Heavy force of battleships, heavy cruisers and destroyers is meanwhile assembled in the rear area, acting as a strategic reserve.

Once enemy force and likely route had been ascertained from reports provided by observation posts and scouting forces, battlecruiser force shadows it until battleship force gets into position to intercept. Once battleship force gets into position, battlecruiser force closes in and brings the enemy force out of hyperspace, keeping it in place until battleship force can perform the interception. If enemy force is slow enough, only light scouting units are used to shadow it until battleship and battlecruiser forces can perform simultaneous interception. Ideally, interception happens before the enemy crosses the border. If enemy fleet is small enough, and battleship force will not make it in time, battlecruiser force makes the interception on its own.

If enemy fleet is too powerful to be destroyed without heavy casualties, or interception could not be made in time, request for assistance from deeper sectors will be made. In such a case, enemy will be allowed to lay siege to border worlds in order to buy time for the fleets to gather, and will be continually shadowed by the battlecruiser force. If enemy force is a regular force from an established state – as opposed to e.g. nomadic group – cruiser portion of the fleet will launch counter-raids, possibly forcing the enemy to return in order to defend their own territory. Once fleets had gathered, an all-out assault may be made against the enemy fleet, and possibly enemy territory as well. If enemy fleet is still too powerful, attack will be made directly against enemy territory. If needed, fleets may be called in from all over the Empire, and if some fleets may not make it in time, they will be detailed to attack enemy territory instead. Since Laigin ships tend to be somewhat faster than enemy counterparts, any division of enemy force opens it up to possibility of defeat in detail. Attacks against planets typically require ground forces except in rare cases where no planetary shields are present. These forces require supplies, meaning that no direct fleet engagement is required except in rare cases when enemy brings truly overwhelming force to bear. Supplies are brought in by cargo ships, which are vulnerable to interception by light fleet forces. Enemy army supplies are similarly attacked, and any groundside supplies either moved to defended depots or destroyed outright. Once worn down, ground forces and if possible in-system starship presence is destroyed in a series of ambushes.

Fortified planets – by definition equipped with planetary shields – are used to slow down enemy fleet, and as bases to resupply and repair starships. This makes them too valuable and too dangerous to ignore. An industrial world can, if left untouched, shift balance of power by producing starships ready to deploy into enemy’s rear. This plays against nomadic and mobility-based forces, forcing them to besiege well-defended strongholds. Enemy mobility can also be reduced by placing interceptor forces at hyperspace lanes/highways, forcing the enemy to either fight through them or else accept the penalty of reduced movement speed. Since Laigin Empire is in area with comparatively high star density, hyperspace highways are narrow and far between, significantly limiting Asquilahs’ offensive options. Aside for fortified planets, the Empire maintains a number of secret naval bases and outposts – generally in close orbits around highly active stars which help mask them from enemy sensors. These are used for resupply, maintenance and all other fleet’s logistical needs so as to ensure continued operation against superior enemy forces, effecting a “fleet in being”.

Mobile forces discussed above are concentrated at strategically important locations, particularly near hyperspace streams/lanes – specifically near “crossroads” – and are deployed against major incursions. Pirate raids and similar minor threats are handled by local planetary forces. Importance of hyperspace lanes means that they are heavily protected by listening posts, observation posts and military outposts – which ironically results in invaders often avoiding hyperspace lanes, making them harder to locate but also much slower.

This defence is reinforced by the existence of a string of dependencies, vassal states and suzerainties. These client states act as a buffer zone, intercepting smaller invasions and providing warning of larger attacks. In turn, Laigin Empire provides them with military support and other forms of aid as required, as well as establishing trade relationships. On areas of border where client states are present, same system of defense is used as outlined in previous paragraphs, but with respect to client’s border as opposed to imperial territorial border – albeit fleets are still stationed within the Empire itself. Exact specifics are however dependant on agreements and may be subject to change. Where such buffer states are not present, attempts are made to establish diplomatic relations to whatever entities are present and possibly establish them as allies – be it states, corporations or even smuggling organizations. If alliances cannot be established, various factions are played against each other.

Enemies are varied – pirates, slavers, nomadic tribes, tribal federations and formalized countries. Of those, tribal federations are particularly dangerous, especially when ideologically or religiously motivated, but most of them break apart quickly under strain of internal politics or due to military failures. Even so, they are capable of causing massive damage if allowed to roam unchecked. Tribes are dealth with by signing mutual defense treaties and giving subsidies, while any tribal invasions are punished by punitive expeditions where possible. Enemy commanders may be bribed. Anyone negotiating with enemies or assisting them is dealt with swiftly and decisively, as much as possible.

While pirates are a danger, privateers as well as other mercenaries may be contracted by planetary or provincial governors to bolster defences in times of need. This is also done by the central military as outlaws often know tricks and hyperspace shortcuts that professional military may be unaware of.

On ground as well, first line of defense are patrols and listening/observation posts. Any likely landing sites and choke points are covered by artillery and machine guns. Various obstacles are employed, from minefields to barbed wire and stakes. About a third of the force is kept as a mobile reserve to reinforce the defensive line and counter any breakthroughs. For any ground unit, digging defensive works is the first thing to be done after a stop call has been made. For brief stops, only shallow pits and trenches are dug out; the longer the stay, the more elaborate its defences. On hilly terrain, larger units will make two defensive lines, one on front slope and another on reverse slope.

MILITARY INTELLIGENCE

In both aspects of warfare, intelligence gathering is crucial. Intelligence gathering is divided into strategic and tactical. Strategic intelligence includes the information on enemy culture, mentality, doctrine, political structure, economic structure, etc. It is used to inform long-term decision-making. Tactical intelligence includes information on current force structure, disposition etc., and is crucial for winning battles. Diplomatic contacts, from other states to nomadic peoples, are a crucial source of information. Other sources of information are sensory and listening posts, scouting ships and unmanned probes, as well as various contacts and unofficial channels (mercenaries, privateers, pirates, criminal underground…). Spies, patrols, reconnaissance and probing attacks are all used for intelligence gathering purposes.

When making strategic decisions, Laigin Empire has inbuilt 10th man rule: if nine people all look at the same information and arrive at the same conclusion, it is a duty of 10th man to disagree. The 10th man has to find, compile and present all evidence, as well as possible arguments, that prove the remaining nine wrong, no matter how improbable or impossible his arguments seem. He must never stop until all possible avenues have been checked. Preparations are then made for worst case scenario. This way, group-think and conformity – so common in social animals – are avoided. In more complex situations, whole groups may be given the “tenth man” role. All Military Intelligence organizations have Control Units whose entire purpose is precisely that: producing range of explanations and assessments for events which avoid relying on a single concept. They actively criticize products coming from analysis and production divisions and write opinion papers contrary to these departments’ assessments. These memos go directly to Director of Military Intelligence and all other major decision makers. They also write and distribute papers examining the possibility of a sudden and negative change in security environment (including political, economic etc. spheres).

DIPLOMACY AND GENERAL INTELLIGENCE

As noted before, diplomacy is absolutely crucial. Diplomatic contacts are maintained with all states – friends, neutrals and enemies – whenever possible. Regular contact is considered a basis for successful negotiations, and diplomatic contact is maintained even during the war – when guns speak, diplomats must shout. This also pertains to nomadic peoples. Problem with nomads is that, due to geographical distance and lack of communications infrastructure, regular contact is hard to impossible. Further, they tend to be decentralized, meaning that negotiations with one group do not affect relations with any other group. This is not true only if a powerful leader manages to unite various groups, but aside from presenting a major threat, such alliances are short-lived.

The Bureau of Foreign Relations studies the weaknesses, strengths and personalities of all neighbouring states, cultures, peoples and leaders. It also keeps tabs on centres of power and influential individuals and families, including possible ways of influencing them. Consequently, tools and approaches such as psychological analysis are highly important. As with military intelligence, these are used to inform long-term decision-making.

Normally, diplomacy is used to maintain balance of power. Much like other empires, Laigin Empire may incite attacks on a neighbour if said neighbour starts growing too powerful. Other than Asquilah Empire, most empires do not wage wars of conquest, but rather for control over trade routes, for influence and to maintain balance of power. This makes wars frequent but limited in scope, as the goal of the war never is outright destruction of the enemy, but rather “merely” achieving favourable position and maintaining balance of power. Two empires that had waged a war decades, years or even just days before, may help each other against a more powerful third party. The “resource” fought over in such wars is oftentimes nothing physical – not even trade routes – but rather political and diplomatic influence in an area.

Against new or powerful enemies, diplomacy and negotiations will be used to gather intelligence, buy time to optimize strategies, and to break down enemy’s own operational tempo with frequent truces and negotiations. Diplomacy is also used to recruit allies – including former enemies – against the new threat. Subversion is the cheapest path to victory, and nomads in particular are open to being recruited.

There is a special Office of the Barbarians which deals solely with gathering military intelligence and disseminating it to officers in the field. The Office gathers intelligence from Military Intelligence agencies as well as diplomatic corps, analyzes it and then sends results to appropriate agencies or military commanders. Unlike MI agencies, the Office is subordinated directly to the government executive.

Military itself is often used to help in civic role, with public works and similar, both at home and abroad.

SOURCES AND INSPIRATION

Rome at War AD 293-696

Byzantium at War AD 600-1453

Heraclius and the Evolution of Byzantine Strategy

The Strategy of Heraclius

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