Warfare Regression
Technology Marches On...to a Land Mine
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(permanent link) added: 2012-09-28 21:22:40 sponsor: SAMAS (last reply: 2012-11-04 14:27:31)

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This occurs a lot in Speculative Fiction, where some discovery or advance in science and/or technology has the net effect of rendering the last 20-200 years of military tactical development moot, forcing a return to an earlier time of warfare, often still with high-tech weapons. An example would be something like widespread use of point-defense lasers making missiles and low-flying aircraft (and by extension aircraft carriers) useless, causing a revival for battleships and cannons in land and naval combat.


Examples:

  • Mobile Suit Gundam introduced the Minovsky Particle, which when scattered across an area did a number on detection and guidance equipment, forcing both land and space combat into visual ranges.
    • Gundam SEED has "Neutron Jammers", which prohibit fission reactions and jams radios. The result: no nukes and, you guessed it, close-range combat.
  • CoDominium:
    • To keep the the status quo, the titular Soviet-American alliance has banned most research. While their Space Navy hasn't suffered (being needed to colonize and police the stars), the restrictions has caused a regression in ground combat. Improvements to computer countermeasures, railguns, and man-portable missiles have made aircraft obsolete. Improvements to body armor has limited effective sizes of ammunition. 21st Century warfare resembles early 20th century combat.
      • In addition, the colonial worlds lack industry, so very few can build tanks or artillery. Very often, battles are infantry only.
  • Hammer's Slammers: Thanks to accurate targeting and Powerguns, aircraft has practically disappeared from the field of battle. Artillery fire can be interdicted by powergun blasts, but shells still manage to get through. Nukes are rendered useless thanks to "nuclear suppression fields".
    • It's mentioned that tanks themselves almost disappeared from the battlefield due to developments in technology. Man-portable anti-tank rockets, pin-point accurate missiles, and helicopters that could strike rapidly could take on a tank. Then inverted, when fusion and powerguns made tanks practical again.
    "Technology had dragged the tank to the brink of abandonment. Not surprisingly, it was technology again which brought the panzers back."
  • Mutant Chronicles: When the Dark Symmetry (a cosmic horror force) is released, advanced computers become evil and electronics become unreliable. As a result, warfare regresses.
  • In Dorsai!, long range countermeasures have actually reduced the effectiveness of many weapons. Civilians have better, more advanced firepower than most soldiers. As a result, many troopers rely on simple, effective weapons.
  • Dune has "Holtzman fields", which radically changes war. Artillery is obsoleted, most projectile weapons can't penetrate the field, and even Lasguns can't be used due to "explosive pyrotechnics". As a result, ground combat is relegated to sword combat.
  • In the Posleen War Series the invading Posleen have point-defense strong enough to neutralize our missiles and aircraft. Necessitating the revival of battleships on sea and "land ships" on land with a lot of armor and big guns.
  • In the Big Head Press comic Phoebus Krumm "S-fields" enable FTL travel but disable all electronics within the field, making space warfare essentially age of sail naval combat.
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