THE TYPICAL INVASION: PART THREE: ATTACKING WHATEVER
You finally finish whatever the hell it was you were doing and get down to the business at hand. You start attacking. Attack what? Attack where?
General Dronn, time to get to you. You brought down these really impressive looking ships. You waited. Then you blasted the hell out of the cities. Starting with the city center.
(At this point War Hawk’s podium projects a 3D holographic recording of the Earth structure known as the Empire State Building being is blasted to pieces by one of Dronn’s attack ships.)
Yeah, that landmark won’t be giving you any more trouble. Here’s my problem with that approach. That building had no military value. None. It wasn’t a barracks, an arsenal, a command and communications center, a supply depot, an ammo dump, training facility. Its destruction had zero impact on Earth’s military. So why was that your opening target?
GENERAL DRONN: I… thought it looked ugly.
WAR HAWK: You came all that way to be an architecture critic? Brilliant.
And before the rest of you laugh you’re all guilty of this. You all choose to blast non-military facilities. Here’s what the Scythian Bloodlords destroyed during their assault on Washington DC.
(The next projection is of a Scythian destroying a rather phallic looking white tower called the Washington Monument.)
This was the capital city of Earth’s mightiest nation and you targeted a structure that had no military or even commercial value. It was a tower with stairs!
Here’s some footage of some recent activity. I hesitate to call it an “invasion” since they failed to establish a beachhead. I categorize this more as a raid.
(The 3D footage shown here is of an attack force riding antigravity sleds through the city of Manhattan as they blast civilians.)
Now never mind that they’re riding into battle on vehicles that leave them totally exposed. We’ll get to that later. Focus on what they’re shooting at and whom. Civilians and civilian buildings. This particular attack didn’t even kill that much of the city’s police force, the one section of the city that might be considered a military target.
You know what this reminds me of? Ancient warfare. In ancient times, when wars were fought with metal swords, attackers would often pillage the surrounding countryside.
This made sense at the time because crops and livestock were some of the most valuable assets back then. It also made sense in the cultural context. Aristocratic warriors were supported by the lower classes in return for protection. If a warrior lord didn’t provide that protection, then he was deemed unworthy and could be overthrown.
So why doesn’t that work today? Because we don’t fight wars with swords. Warfare evolved as societies did. We went from indiscriminate killing and pillaging to a more directed form of conflict. Now we’re expected to hit our targets – and only our targets. We’re often asked to vaporize a command center with an orphanage on one side, and a retirement home on the other, and not so much as singe the other buildings. And very often we pull that off.
That just makes displays like this –
(War Hawk’s podium projects a seizure inducing 3D montage of Earth structures being destroyed.)
-- all the more egregious. You ought to know better. You ought to be capable of better. After all, it’s not like the Earth doesn’t have plenty of armed soldiers for you to deal with.
My point is very simple. This job is hard enough without you wasting resources by attacking non-military targets. If you’re not wasting ammo, you’re wasting energy. If you’re not wasting energy, you’re wasting time. And time, above all else, is the commodity you cannot afford to waste.
Now, some large cities do have large military bases either within or nearby. But not all of them. And if you make a big, slow entrance, those bases will be on alert and probably devoid of anything vital.
In all the invasions I reviewed, you just blasted whatever happened to be right in front of you at that moment.
Let me ask you a question: What did all that destruction get you? Are the Earthlings crippled? Is their command structure shattered? Have you destroyed a vital base or production center for war materials? Has this attack in any way significantly hampered the Earth’s ability to fight?
It’s not like you took out something important like a command and control installation in a lighting quick raid. It’s not like you seized a major transportation hub or crossroads. Yeah, Dronn, I see you. You did park your assault craft by the major cities and capitols. But guess what? Your non-surprise attack meant that the Earthlings had plenty of time to switch command and control to other sites. They had the opportunity to evacuate vital personnel and a lot of the population.
And you missed the most powerful weapons at the Earth’s disposal, their nuclear arsenals. Those are scattered all over the place. I hear some of you snicker. Most of you – Dronn and the Sondrak Imperials – have had to deal with a nuclear attack by the Earthlings. Your main ships were able to shrug off the blasts. But if I were to set off a nuke in this room, would you be laughing?
Then nukes still represent as big a threat to you and your forces. A threat that must be neutralized.
You won’t neutralize that threat, or any other threat, by blowing up empty buildings. In fact, what you’re doing is creating another threat. What you’ve done is hand the Earthlings another early victory despite however many troops they lost. You almost certainly didn’t take out anything vitally important to their war effort. You wasted your first moves on mostly non-military targets. It’s already difficult enough to take out or capture true military targets. No one can afford to waste their efforts on things that have no significant value.
Most importantly you showed your capabilities. You demonstrated what your weapons and defenses are. As much as I like to rag on the Earthlings for being stupid, they aren’t so dumb as to not take notes. If nothing else, they are fast learners. You have just wasted your last, best chance at catching the enemy forces by surprise. After this, they will know what to expect. And you spent this moment for nothing.
Major strikes should target the key military installations all over the planet. To hell with the cannon fodder parked right outside your ship. If the Earthlings still have their forces assembling in their bases, that’s where you hit. Odds are the troops have already dispersed. So that makes command and control targets all the more essential. A spread out military is hard to coordinate. A good general will send teams to capture the senior political or military leadership, or secure the planet’s nuclear arsenals.
A professional commander will send troops to the major roads and key topographical features. They’ll capture the areas that manufacture weapons or fuel. That way, the first strike is truly crippling to the terrans. They’ll have a hard time organizing a counter strike after that.
It’s bad enough that you’ve squandered the element of surprise. But at least your opening targets should be of military value. Empty cities and a few scattered troops do not qualify. If an officer under my command wasted time and ammunition destroying a bunch of non vital targets, I’d bash his head against the controls until his frontal lobe dribbled out of his skull. So it’s maybe a good thing I wasn’t present for some of these fiascos.