Posted on 19-03-2015 15:07
Joined: October 21 2005
Up to this point, PDS has mostly exclusively focused on large-scale combat between the Vaygr and Hiigarans, or internecine Vaygr Struggles. However, the Homeworld series has numerous examples of fighting between powers with significantly deviant levels of power, strategic aims, or mechanisms of space warfare. It's something we should think about.
On the one hand, there are Pirates, Raiders, Guerrillas, and Revolutionaries of various stripes, with varying levels of firepower and different end goals in mind. On the other, there are truly Alien powers, Progenitor Relics, the 'Unbound' races, and the Beast to think about, who are either higher in technology or utterly different in their approach to space warfare.
Most of the races in the verse are, for all intents and purposes, 'human'; they are descended from the Progenitors and tend to top out at a relatively similar level of technology (give or take) due to interstellar trade. The Hiigarans are a good baseline for this, with the relative military disparity (not taking into account political motivations) between themselves and the Vaygr being something analogous to the United States vs Russia in the modern day.
The Nalthorans are an odd one out: I've always envisioned them as biologically alien (due to some fluff I read many, many years ago, probably something out of the old dustwars script, or maybe it was the mod. I dunno). However, for our purposes they're not dissimilar in technology, culture, or military power to the 'human' races. The reason being progenitor uplifting in the distant past leaving them with a predisposition toward a more human-like behavior, despite their psuedo-insectoid/amphibian appearance. I'll expand on this idea elsewhere.
What we here on Earth best know as an 'Asymmetric' conflict generally boils down to what would be called 'Terrorists' or 'revolutionaries'. Typically a non-state actor or political group, or organized crime syndicate, or a weaker nation-state using guerrilla tactics or political strategies to achieve some aim. Certainly these would exist in the PDS verse, however the main (space based) entity of a similar nature to this would be Space Pirates; with the Turanic Raiders being the archetypical ones.
Turanics are a widely disparate bunch with varying aims. Their culture is heavily fragmented by frequent civil wars and warlordism. These warlords will generally raid interstellar traders and backwater worlds, in some cases out of necessity for supplies, but generally in order to make a fast buck. They're more of a series of organized crime syndicates with no large-scale political aims beyond dominance within their own sphere of influence.
They are however, strong enough to challenge naval powers to some degree. In a head on conflict, they'd lose badly due to the sheer technological disparity and lack of organization, training, economic strength, manpower, and experience by comparison. They do however know how to innovate, and use their limited resources with a surprising degree of effectiveness. The events of Cataclysm show this well; the Raiders using ambush tactics with cloaked ships and mimic fields, conducting sabotage, and knowing when not to press the attack.
The Vaygr are slowly starting to turn into something like this as well, as the Armada becomes more and more fragmented. The AdM and IVF are still unified enough to count as a "Symmetrical" opponent; though some weaker clans who have turned to piracy may fit this as well. The Vaygr would have been much more like this in the Pre-Makaan era however, during their war of resistance against the Taiidan Empire; the technological disparity was there, but the conflict was generally higher in intensity than most Raider-Hiigaran interaction. The Vaygr lacked the Taiidan's discipline and military industrial complex, but were far more mobile, and far more willing and able to accept disproportionate casualties and generally make the Vaygr Reaches ungovernable, and eventually forcing the Taiidani to abandon it.
A lot of parallels with real-life conflicts such as the US involvement in Vietnam, and Soviet involvement in Afghanistan come to mind here. The Vaygr would have been a focal point for resistance against the late Empire, since proved that the Imperial Navy was certainly not all-powerful and invincible, and in strategic concerns, created an open-ended manpower sump which kept a lot of resources tied up in the far east, which would not have been available to suppress the rebellion or stop the Kushan from bypassing the Imperial Frontier. Part of the reason the Vaygr were able to achive some level of parity was due to their being supplied by the Frrern Aggrigate's intelligence service, Operation Cyclone style.
On the other side of things, it has to be considered a conflict between a 'conventional' space power and a more technologically advanced Alien race, or something like the Beast which is difficult to classify. The big four races which are considerably more sophisticated than the majority of the galactic powers are the Bentusi, T-MAT, P3 (which are, for our purposes, something entirely different), and Progenitor Leftovers. These are potential threats that no sane space-faring power would ignore as far as military strategy goes, and would be a planned for contingency, especially considering the oftentimes unpredictable nature of the T-MAT.
In tactical-level encounters between conventional fleet powers and factions like the T-MAT or Progenitors, common wisdom would be for the technologically inferior power to attack with superior numbers and attempt to exploit gaps in the advanced power's defenses. Typically Progenitor and T-MAT vessels lack active Antimissile systems, perfecting energy shields or advanced armor systems. Extensive use of Gravity Wells is also mandated, both to inhibit rapid hyperspace translations as well as seriously degrade the performance of the T-MAT's Intertialess drives. Beyond that, maneuver tactics and overwhelming firepower are necessary.
Progenitor Keepers in particular are heavily dependent on remote infrastructure for repair, energy transmission, and drone production. In a general engagement, this equipment should be targeted first to weaken the Keeper's battle systems, before isolating and destroying it with massed conventional weapons fire. Keepers have, in some instances, been known to call in other progenitor vessels for support. In all instances, destruction of the Keeper caused these attendant craft to shut down. Generally the Keeper should be destroyed first, unless the tactical situation demands otherwise.
With the T-MAT, little of their military capabilities are known besides their shared technological lineage with the Bentusi, but a few generalizations can be made. Their ships confound traditional naval classification schemes, they are constructed of unknown materials which are nigh indestructible to conventional weaponry, and their deployment strategies are difficult to rationalize or make sense of. Encounters with them are exceedingly rare.
In combat, restricting their mobility and outflanking them is key, as it appears most of their combat craft appear to have all of their weapons in a forward facing configuration. It is best to picture an imaginary firing cone of 45 degrees in-front of the vessel and try to avoid that. Due to their hull armor, it is more practical to attempt to destroy vital subsystems, especially on their larger craft, to attempt a mobility or mission kill. Fast assets such as Strike craft and Gunship frigates should be used en-masse for this purpose, disabling the targets, before fire support teams and capital ships move for bombardment. Care must be taken, however, as it is unknown of the T-MAT possess any sort of anti-fighter defenses or small craft of their own.
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