cyberbard on April 24, 2009, 08:11:12 am
Yeah, Fia's back!  And she's got a knife at Harris's throat.  Cool.  :)

Incidentally, where is Fia from?  If it was said at any point, I don't remember.  Given her name, I always assumed she was from northern Italy (ah, Venice!), or has ancestry in that region.  If she is Italian, she's apparently been watching spaghetti westerns.

"Reach for the sky, pardner."

John DeWitt on April 24, 2009, 09:44:01 am
"Our ships are only configured..."

Oh, come, ON.  Just when things are getting good, and I'm looking for the wheels-within-wheels of the uncoordinated Cerean counterattack, you're gonna save the heroes' asses with that?  I know we're assuming that the UW is basically pretty stupid, but there are limits beyond which you strain credulity and the suspension of disbelief.  Who's gonna build a warship that can't defend itself?  Further, unless we've taken a left turn into Idiotocracy, what kind of commander would need the fact pointed out to him?

SandySandfort on April 24, 2009, 10:20:56 am
Yeah, Fia's back!  And she's got a knife at Harris's throat.  Cool.  :)

Incidentally, where is Fia from?  If it was said at any point, I don't remember.  Given her name, I always assumed she was from northern Italy (ah, Venice!), or has ancestry in that region.  If she is Italian, she's apparently been watching spaghetti westerns.

"Reach for the sky, pardner."

Italian. Reared on American Westerns--the real kind.

SandySandfort on April 24, 2009, 10:34:00 am
"Our ships are only configured..."

Oh, come, ON.  Just when things are getting good, and I'm looking for the wheels-within-wheels of the uncoordinated Cerean counterattack, you're gonna save the heroes' asses with that?  I know we're assuming that the UW is basically pretty stupid, but there are limits beyond which you strain credulity and the suspension of disbelief.  Who's gonna build a warship that can't defend itself?  Further, unless we've taken a left turn into Idiotocracy, what kind of commander would need the fact pointed out to him?

The military tradition is to always try to fight the last war. The UW has no militarily capable enemies. It puts down low tech rebellions by killing people from orbit. No need for unnecessary defensive weapons. UW war ships are all about offensive use of power. They were designed to be used over Terra, Luna and maybe the other terrestrials.

Ceres and the Belt are, by definition, the next war. The war they weren't contemplating when they designed the GC. Now, the next, next war will certainly take into account personally armed anarchists with advanced energy "devices," nukes, etc.

With regard to Harris, he got his rank through family connections, not merit. He is little more than a thug in a uniform, used to barking out orders and abusing his power.

cyberbard on April 24, 2009, 10:54:49 am
"Our ships are only configured..."

Oh, come, ON.  Just when things are getting good, and I'm looking for the wheels-within-wheels of the uncoordinated Cerean counterattack, you're gonna save the heroes' asses with that?  I know we're assuming that the UW is basically pretty stupid, but there are limits beyond which you strain credulity and the suspension of disbelief.  Who's gonna build a warship that can't defend itself?  Further, unless we've taken a left turn into Idiotocracy, what kind of commander would need the fact pointed out to him?

My theory, for what it's worth, is that this entire exchange was for the benefit of us, the readers, to drive home the situation Harris is in.  I suspect that if such a thing were really happening, Harris would look at the miner pod, then grumble with embarrassment: "I can't believe I fell for that!"  Harris probably knew he was hosed the moment Fia picked up the phone.  But it needed explaining to the audience, ergo we get the "we're not configured" line.

Tactically speaking, Harri's situation is somewhat akin to the situation the British found themselves in during early WWII in the Pacific.  Their battleships had little or no air cover, which allowed the Japanese to pummel them from above.  The dreadnoughts the British had at Singapore, for example, were very good at pounding other warships or shore based targets, but the were ill-equipped to deal with dive-bombers or fighter planes.  Sure, they had Ak-ak guns, but they just weren't enough.  The combination of bombing from the air, and well-placed torpedoes from Japanese submarines was something the British flotilla simply wasn't equipped to deal with.  The HMS Prince of Wales, one of the mightiest dreadnoughts on the sea at the time, went to a watery grave.

The British made DAMN sure to have a least one light carrier (preferably a heavy carrier) on sight at every subsequent naval engagement.  In many cases, if a carrier wasn't available, engagement was avoided.

By extension, I think it's safe to that future UW military expeditions of this nature will have the equivalent of fighter craft to deal with situations like this.  Heck, UW could use the same type of ship the Cererians are using, just with some armor plating.  But that won't help them right here and now.

Rocketman on April 24, 2009, 11:54:21 am
Well thought out and logical Cyberbard.  You've done your homework.  The only thing that isn't brought out is that the UW will have a lot more shipbuilding capabilities, manpower and material than the belters have.  Sort of like the Union verses the Confederates during the War of Northern agression.  The early victories were all pretty much southern ones, then superior northern manufacturing and manpower ramped up and defeated the Confederates.  One last thing, Harris is probably the General McCelland of this, the first battle of the "Belter War".  If the UW is smart after the capture of Harris, they will start looking for a "General Grant".
« Last Edit: April 24, 2009, 11:59:35 am by Rocketman »

deadasdisco on April 24, 2009, 12:30:12 pm
Quote
If the UW is smart after the capture of Harris, they will start looking for a "General Grant".

Although, there'll probably be some Burnsides and Joe Hookers between this point and that...

cyberbard on April 24, 2009, 12:40:18 pm
The only thing that isn't brought out is that the UW will have a lot more shipbuilding capabilities, manpower and material than the belters have.

That is very true.  The Cererians will have to play this situation carefully.  If the UW comes away looking totally humiliated, they will return with a vengeance.

Sort of like the Union verses the Confederates during the War of Northern aggression.  The early victories were all pretty much southern ones, then superior northern manufacturing and manpower ramped up and defeated the Confederates.  One last thing, Harris is probably the General McCelland of this, the first battle of the "Belter War".  If the UW is smart after the capture of Harris, they will start looking for a "General Grant".

The one advantage the belters will always have is distance.  It will be very difficult for Terra to launch a full scale attack without their flotilla being detected in advance.  But that's not a guarantee.  To sight another WWII example, a certain US naval base was several hundred miles from the nearest Japanese base and had a pretty good radar detection net.  But it's hard to monitor every square mile of a place the size of the central Pacific, and the net, while impressive, had several gaps, both technical and logistical.  At the end of the day, the USA entered WWII with half of it's Pacific battle fleet trapped, sunk or otherwise crippled... in their own harbor!

The Cerenians certainly have the upper hand at the moment, but they have to be very careful how they handle this.  If they piss off the UW even further, they WILL be trounced, sooner or later, one way or another.  Terra has the means to beat Ceres to death with it's industrial base, and if Guy is correct, they will use it.  They would rather depopulate the belt than let "disobedient" rebels continue to exist.  Ceres may have bitten off more than it can chew.

I'm hoping that Guy's knack for finances will clue him in to the impending economic crisis the UW is heading for (it was eluded to when Guy's boss called in Harris).  If it does, he may advise the Cererians to concentrate on maintaining themselves and keeping the UW at bay until the economy of the UW collapses.  Once that happens, the UW will have too many other concerns to deal with Ceres.

Jac on April 24, 2009, 12:48:42 pm
The one advantage the belters will always have is distance.  It will be very difficult for Terra to launch a full scale attack without their flotilla being detected in advance.  But that's not a guarantee.  To sight another WWII example, a certain US naval base was several hundred miles from the nearest Japanese base and had a pretty good radar detection net.  But it's hard to monitor every square mile of a place the size of the central Pacific, and the net, while impressive, had several gaps, both technical and logistical.  At the end of the day, the USA entered WWII with half of it's Pacific battle fleet trapped, sunk or otherwise crippled... in their own harbor!
Except the USA's crippled fleet was a result of selfish politicians not acting on knowledge they had, not ignorance of the oncoming attack.

Sean Roach on April 24, 2009, 01:10:44 pm
My understanding of US Geography, is admittedly spotty.  With that caveat, I understand Deerfield and Pittsburgh are where they are because of local concentrations of iron.

If UW iron comes from the belt, they're fighting their own source of raw material.

Earth has to loft the material into space, whereas the belters can build in place and drive away.  It's the equivalent to a mostly land-locked empire waging war with islanders at sea over rights to coconuts.

Ceres doesn't really import material from Earth.  They import designs and concepts, and develop them locally.  Manufacturing for local use dominates over imports.  Consequently, they have their own factories, just not as many of them.

Ceres is one small speck.  If Ceres falls, it'll be remembered in the same breath as "Alamo", or even "DC".  Washington was considered undesirable a place to live until after the British sacked it in the war of 1812.

In short, the UW needs a short, decisive victory, or the belters win.  The belters need to gear up to survive UW aggression.  The belters have better odds even without considering the fact they're fighting for home and hearth, and not glory and spoils.

Just my take on the whole thing.

cyberbard on April 24, 2009, 02:16:28 pm
Except the USA's crippled fleet was a result of selfish politicians not acting on knowledge they had, not ignorance of the oncoming attack.

That always struck me more as incompetence or indecisiveness, rather than selfishness.  They didn't believe the intel reports, or they failed to connect the proverbial dots.  So much for that performance evaluation...

Rocketman on April 24, 2009, 05:23:57 pm
Cyberbard:  In reqards to the radar station up on that mountain top in Hawaii, they did in fact detect the incoming jap planes.  The radar operator did contact his superior which was an army lieutant which during the Congressional investigation afterward was officially described as being "not very bright".  He thought that it was the incoming B-17's from the mainland.
In short, the UW needs a short, decisive victory, or the belters win.  The belters need to gear up to survive UW aggression.  The belters have better odds even without considering the fact they're fighting for home and hearth, and not glory and spoils.
Sean, I have to disagree with you.  In my opinion it just the opposite.  The UW and the belters have a relationship like Japan and the U.S. did just before Pearl Harbor.  Admiral Yamamoto even said to the general staff in so many words "We can raise hell with the Americans for about 6 months."  "After that, the American industrial capability will kick in and we'll fight a foe that just keeps getting stronger and stronger with time until we're defeated."

terry_freeman on April 25, 2009, 02:00:06 am
Japan and the USA are perhaps not the best analogy. Logistically, it's a lot more like Redcoats versus Revolutionaries -  very long supply lines to Ceres, but the defenders work with much shorter distances.  Can an inefficient Soviet-style economy, already on the ropes, field a large armada? Can the UW adapt their ships to the changing terms of battle? Consider how slowly the American military fields new technology today; the UW is presumably even slower.

I am presently reading the Underground History of Education, which reminds me that early Americans did not stifle their children with twelve years of forced schooling. Tom Farragut, first Admiral of the American Navy, went to sea at the age of ten, and took command of his first ship at twelve. Everyone on Ceres will do useful, productive, and challenging work, regardless of age. Time spent in school will be very short and very effective - by a factor of ten or twenty, compared to what we know of forced schooling. Ceres may not have a "Central Organization", but it will be organized. The UW will have Central Organization, but will be disorganized. It would not surprise me to discover that Ceres has some substantial technological advantages -- tools devised for mining or other purposes which are efficient and devastatingly effective as weapons. I would expect Ceres to be innovative and blindingly quick.

The economy of Ceres may be much smaller, but it is also likely to obtain far more "bang for the buck." When relatively cheap and plentiful cutting lasers destroy huge, expensive, and scarce battlecraft, the disparity in "GDP" is of no great help to the UW. It comes down to logistics; Ceres can field enormous guns with tiny rocket engines and a single pilot; the UW must have fuel tanks and living quarters and food and so forth to support weeks of travel. The "next generation" might have the equivalent of a space carrier, but that's going to take years to develop. If these Terran ships were developed to put down local insurrections, they must have been re-fitted for a long voyage; they're probably carrying huge auxiliary fuel tanks and such which compromise the original design.

Most people greatly understate human capabilities in a free society. Spend some time in farmland, observe communities such as the Amish, and you'll be amazed at how innovative and resourceful people can be, regardless of age. Talk to some homeschoolers, and you'll find 5,6,7 year old children doing all sorts of interesting math in their heads, as quickly as you can describe the problem. I expect the pilots and engineers of Ceres to be very, very good at what they do.


SandySandfort on April 25, 2009, 08:47:18 am
Japan and the USA are perhaps not the best analogy. Logistically, it's a lot more like Redcoats versus Revolutionaries -  very long supply lines to Ceres, but the defenders work with much shorter distances.  Can an inefficient Soviet-style economy, already on the ropes, field a large armada? Can the UW adapt their ships to the changing terms of battle? Consider how slowly the American military fields new technology today; the UW is presumably even slower.

I am presently reading the Underground History of Education, which reminds me that early Americans did not stifle their children with twelve years of forced schooling. Tom Farragut, first Admiral of the American Navy, went to sea at the age of ten, and took command of his first ship at twelve. Everyone on Ceres will do useful, productive, and challenging work, regardless of age. Time spent in school will be very short and very effective - by a factor of ten or twenty, compared to what we know of forced schooling. Ceres may not have a "Central Organization", but it will be organized. The UW will have Central Organization, but will be disorganized. It would not surprise me to discover that Ceres has some substantial technological advantages -- tools devised for mining or other purposes which are efficient and devastatingly effective as weapons. I would expect Ceres to be innovative and blindingly quick.

The economy of Ceres may be much smaller, but it is also likely to obtain far more "bang for the buck." When relatively cheap and plentiful cutting lasers destroy huge, expensive, and scarce battlecraft, the disparity in "GDP" is of no great help to the UW. It comes down to logistics; Ceres can field enormous guns with tiny rocket engines and a single pilot; the UW must have fuel tanks and living quarters and food and so forth to support weeks of travel. The "next generation" might have the equivalent of a space carrier, but that's going to take years to develop. If these Terran ships were developed to put down local insurrections, they must have been re-fitted for a long voyage; they're probably carrying huge auxiliary fuel tanks and such which compromise the original design.

Most people greatly understate human capabilities in a free society. Spend some time in farmland, observe communities such as the Amish, and you'll be amazed at how innovative and resourceful people can be, regardless of age. Talk to some homeschoolers, and you'll find 5,6,7 year old children doing all sorts of interesting math in their heads, as quickly as you can describe the problem. I expect the pilots and engineers of Ceres to be very, very good at what they do.



The new guy is sharp! (I.e., his thinking agrees with mine.)  ;)

deadasdisco on April 25, 2009, 11:35:42 am
Quote
The new guy is sharp! (I.e., his thinking agrees with mine.)  Wink

My only problem with freeman isn't political (not a field I'm qualified for), but narrative (alright, ALSO a field I'm not qualified for, but that doesn't seem to stop me from shooting my virtual mouth off about it...).  If the U-dub's so on the ropes and the Belters are so much better/more efficient/freer/happier/sexier etc.  then where's the challenge in beating them?  Hell, all the Belters have to do is keep 'em at a standstill 'till they beat themselves.

This is always a problem with villains, I know, how to make them a) potent enough to be a real threat but b) not so potent that its totally unrealistic when the heroes beat 'em. 

Meh.  This is the problem I always have.  I'm wired to root for the underdog apparently, and at some point in all but the most badly-written story, the good guys are going to have to gain the advantage, at which point the bad guys become the "Underdogs".  Like if the U-dub's hampered by bad decisions, poor education, inefficiency, unrealistic expectations, etc.  then its the Belters who have the advantage (more then just the usual advantage the heroes have which is "they're the heroes, so they're gonna win, God [ie the Writer] says so") and the outcome in the long run is inevitable.  Of course, the only alternative is to have the good guys pull a totally unrealistic Deus ex Machina out of the bag.  Which is, if anything, even more unsatisfying (and always a bad idea).

God, there's just no pleasing me, is there? ;)

I know, I know, I know, I should be rooting for the good guys because they are RIGHT, and cheered by the fact the baddies are being beaten because they are WRONG and that should be enough...  and usually it is, as long as I stay at the character level.  I like Reg,  I like Guy, hell, I might even like Fia when we really get to know her, and Harris is certainly enough of an unlikeable d-bag for any three characters and as long as I focus on that, I can keep my feet.  People I'm pretty steady with... its just when I let myself wander into the land of ideas I get lost...

 

anything