Wednesday, August 7, 2013



Okay, now it’s time to really bust some craniums!

I don’t want to see any more ships flying all over the place and blasting everything around them. No more of this undisciplined crap. You’re professionals and you’re on the Earth for a purpose. You’ve got your troops. They’re well trained, well equipped and well led. Now what? Where do you begin?

There’s no one right answer. You can go for the capitals, or their main military bases. Eventually, you’ll be sending your ground troops out, and it should go something like this.

Determine the objective: Before you do anything, figure out what the hell it is you’re trying to do. Are you seizing a vital crossroads? A large factory complex? Are you out to destroy a large Earth fighting force? Capture an important leader?

Determine enemy position: With eyes in orbit, you should be able to locate any large concentration of enemy forces. But if they haven’t been spotted, that doesn’t mean they aren’t there. Check the map and determine the route to the objective. Try to figure out where the enemy might be hiding. Prepare to send your recon teams into the area.

Move out and stay in close contact with all units: If a recon team loses contact with you, make it a priority to re-establish contact as fast as possible. You want to move fast, but you want to maintain security.

Keep an eye towards securing the objective: Even though a firefight may be developing elsewhere, remember you’re here for a specific job. Don’t screw it up. At the same time, don’t be reckless. If your flanks are threatened, protect them. Don’t risk getting cut off.

Advance to contact: Find the enemy and engage. Find good ground and good cover. Set up your heavy and support weapons, then leapfrog to the next cover. Use distraction methods like smoke to cover your advance. Smoke may seem primitive, but it gets the job done. Smoke can be laced with charged particles that can disrupt advanced scanning. Just keep in mind this means you’re blind too when you go through it!

Exploit breakthrough: Here’s where having a fast ground force makes all the difference. Once you’ve seized a vital position and beaten back the enemy, you’re in position to send in the tanks and armored infantry to exploit the breakthrough. Send them into the enemy’s rear area to capture more vital targets, cut enemy supply lines, and sow chaos.

Secure ground won with the infantry: Here’s where you need your ground troops. Tanks can seize ground, but they aren’t very good at holding it. Artillery is dead if the enemy gets too close. You need the ground troops to dig in and prepare a defense. They’re also needed to clear out buildings and mop up resistance. Armored units can’t do this stuff. Androids, power armor infantry? They’d be a waste of resources. Securing ground is a vital task, and it’s best handled by light and flexible ground troops.

A word about street fighting: You want to know why blowing up every building you see is a bad idea? That rubble makes a nice shield against most attacks. You try shooting at a pile of rocks with a plasma gun and see how far you get. Urban warfare is its own beast. And the best unit for it is infantry, with tanks backing them up. Be cautious, though. Narrow streets are a perfect trap for killing tanks. Room-by-room clearing is a hard, messy operation, and it will cost you casualties regardless of your technology. This can be a real problem because there are some areas of Earth where the urban and suburban areas extend for miles and miles. You may want to think about bypassing and cutting off major urban areas unless they contain hard military assets.

Special forces operations: Special forces have many roles, including scouting, intelligence gathering, raiding, rescue and recovery missions. Nearly all of them involve going deep behind enemy lines. It takes a certain breed for this kind of work, one that doesn’t mind being cut off and outgunned by the opposition. The invasions I’ve studied make no use at all of special forces.

Ground tactics have a lot in common with hand-to-hand combat. It’s hard to be prepared for everything. You can practice routines against pretty common attacks, but in a real fight you need to forget routines and focus on simple principals; protect yourself, cause the damage to the other guy, etc. You can and should practice assaults, ambushes, fighting withdrawals, and area clearing. But your troops will quickly find themselves in situations you never anticipated. When that happens, they need to fall back on simple principals, like finding good ground and good cover.

In the end, this is like a test with no wrong answer. If the squad survived and completed the objective, they did the right thing. If they didn’t, then they failed.

I see a lot of you fidgeting. Perhaps you have concerns. You should. Right now, none of you have the troops to pull off this kind of a coordinated attack. And frankly, most of you are incapable of whipping your men into this kind of fighting shape. You’d better figure out a way, because the Earth is now ready for you. The old blast away tactics of the past won’t work anymore, not that they were hugely successful in the first place. If you want to keep doing what you’ve been doing, failure is going to be the result.

Not a pretty picture, is it? But if you go to Earth again the same way, that’s what’s going to happen.

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