Wednesday, August 28, 2013



We haven’t talked in depth about the Scythian Bloodlords, but now it’s time. The Bloodlords had a mix of both flying attack craft and ground forces. Their air force was defeated when the terrans figured out how to disable their controls.

But their ground force had it even worse. They were plagued by a series of failures. As I noted before in the Equipment section, a number of weapons jammed in their carrying device. The troops couldn’t make repairs in-field because they didn’t have access to spare parts, or a rear area for repairs. They ran low on energy packs. Finally, many of them keeled over from lack of food and fluids. It was a pretty pathetic way to lose.

There’s an old saying that amateurs talk about tactics, professionals talk about logistics.

The Scythian Bloodlords are a great example. They didn’t provide their force with a basic logistical network. They had plenty of guys firing big guns. They had plenty of big ships moving slowly across the landscape. What they didn’t have is what they really needed: guarded supply depots. They didn’t have a stream of supply transports heading towards the front lines. Because of this, being a Scythian foot soldier was a death sentence; and it was a slow, painful death. They had no rest. No rear area. They didn’t even break for lunch. The ground troopers were expected to keep moving and fighting until they either dropped dead, or you conquered the entire planet. Guess which happened first?

What a difference a little logistical support could have made. Had the Bloodlords simply set up a system for getting fresh troops and supplies to the frontlines, we might be having a different conversation.

But instead we’re having a very familiar conversation. Nonian Per, the autocrat of Degaton, should be an example to you all. Per thought he was a military genius, and he invaded the planet Aldiss Three. But what Nonian Per forgot was logistics, and he sent his troops in without adequate supplies. In particular, he forgot to send cold weather supplies and equipment. This was vitally important because Aldiss Three has a very strange orbit that takes the planet further out from the sun every few decades. Guess when Per decided to invade this planet? Even though he had superior numbers and troop quality, all the natives had to do was avoid destruction. Once the planet’s orbit took it away from the sun, the temperature dropped and the entire invasion force, including Nonian Per, were frozen. I understand he’s still there, inside a glacier. They have him on display as a tourist attraction. It costs thirty five blimtos for a gander which is about fifteen Catharcyan nickels too much if you ask me.

Where was I?

The only reason logistics haven’t bitten more of you in the ass before is because most of you get annihilated before it becomes an issue. But if you had somehow survived the terran counterattack, you would have found yourself in the same situation as the Scythian Bloodlords or Nonian Per.

Every army has consumables. Mostly it’s energy, but there are plenty more, like food, ammunition, and spare parts. It’s unlikely you’re going to find what you need on Earth in any great quantities.

First, there is energy. The humans still do not have high capacity energy storage units. The best they can do are batteries that can barely power a plasma gun. Yes, there’s deuterium in large quantities in Earth’s oceans. That material can be used in fusion generators. But are you going to have a fusion generator on everything? Even the hand weapons? The humans know about fusion, and are close to figuring it out. If they capture any more of your equipment, that could be the tipping point.

As for food, there is very little chance that you will find anything that your species can consume. We’ll discuss food in a little bit. For now, just know that anything you could eat on Earth is either the wrong protein or, if it’s the right one, it’s swimming in diseases against which you have no immunity. Unless your troops can eat air, they are going to need regular supplies of food and probably drinking water.

Ammunition and spare parts? You think you’re going to find a munitions grade laser focusing crystal among the planet’s ruins? Or the right power couplings for a plasma exchange system? Or sheets of iridium that you can use to repair damaged armor plating? Actually, you might. The Earthlings were pretty close to all of that stuff when I last checked. You don’t get invaded as many times as they have without learning a few things. But you still shouldn’t plan to live off the land, especially when it comes to your vehicles and equipment. Even if you take no battle damage, you still experience breakdowns. Do you have a maintenance company? Do you have a wrecker ready to haul blasted hulks back to base? Do you have a repair base?

These things don’t happen by themselves. As the Bloodlords discovered, the right equipment doesn’t magically appear out of thin air. You have to plan to have it. Then you have to plan on getting it to your troops. Then you have to turn those plans into a vast network of depots and transports which have to run with precision.

This is a lot of bother. Most of you became warriors for the glory, not the accounting. Most of you don’t have the temperament for this aspect of warfare. You’d better learn to love accounting. That’s the only way to master supply and logistics.

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