During the 4th Battle of Tiamat in My Conquest, 2.28 million Alliance sailors are killed in the opening half (which amounted to around ~122-123 per ship, in total) which is considered "light" casualties. If ships are so small and insignificant on their own, and made of paper...why isn't there more automation so that millions upon millions of people don't have to die in a single battle? And in fact, taking it a step further, why aren't the smaller ships just drone ships commanded by bigger ships like the Hyperion? That would probably smooth some of the communications difficulties in those big fleets.
From the Watsonian point of view, one could point out that it's established in the series that communication-jamming technologies have become rather potent by this time, which would make it easy to neutralise mostly-automated fleets; thus, they have to rely on less easily disrupted human pilots. From the Doylist perspective, on the other hand, the series' 'war is a pointless waste of human life' theme would have a lot less impact if actual people only bit the bullet when the capital ships were destroyed.
The demise of Erwin Josef II seems odd: Count Von Landsberg kept a journal that indicated the boy starved to death - but why would he do that if Von Landsberg was still with him? Considering how devoted the Count was, he would probably feed Erwin before himself, and in any case a child would need less food than an adult in order to survive. There could be a plausible reason, like Von Landsberg locking Erwin up for safekeeping and an unexpected delay preventing him from returning in time, but the exact circumstances could have been explained a bit better.
Near the end of the series Schumacher reveals that Landsberg was delusional and that the kid had escaped, the body was stolen from a crypt
Eisenach's unwillingness to speak Just Bugs Me: it seems extremely unlikely that an eccentric that prefers gestures that in any case must be interpreted by his adjutant to spoken orders would ever reach the rank of admiral.
He is perhaps so competent, that his superiors tolerate his behavior. Especially Reinhard judges his subordinates by their abilities and although we don't see Eisenach often in battles, the actions we observe imply that he is an excellent commander.
Also, this may have been a habit which grew earlier in his career, and only reached its current state after he'd established something of a reputation. Alternately, if he's of noble descent, those around him in his lower ranking days may have been swayed by the privilege of nobility.
Why did Reinhard feel compelled to grant Hildegard military rank and have her wear a uniform for the initial Operation Ragnarok, while being content to have her sit around his command bridge in her usual civilian wear during the campaign to annex the Alliance?
Perhaps they just wanted to see a woman in an Imperial uniform.
If the Mittermeyers wanted a child yet could not have one of their own, why didn't they adopt an orphan sometime during their eight years of marriage prior to the adoption of Felix?
They adopted Felix (and took in Reuentahl's young aide as well, while they were at it) because he's Reuentahl's son. It was a way for Mittermeyer to honor his best friend and give his son a chance for good life. Presumably before that, they either decided against adoption or were still trying the old-fashioned way (they're still young, after all).
How did Hildegard's shirt appear neatly folded on the nightstand when no other items of clothing were near the bed? Did Hildegard do it before falling asleep, or did Emil sneak in?
Why was the Patriotic Knight Corps still around to be suppressed by the Empire after they had annexed the FPA? Considering how they were seemingly nothing but hired muscle for Truniht it seems strange that they would keep going after he defected to the Empire, or that they wouldn't have been outlawed by the Treaty of Barlat.
I always assumed they simply went underground. They always seemed more than just hired muscle, more like extremists who believed in what they were doing. They were either not completely aware of the fact that Trunicht was using them for his own means, or didn't care.
Except that it looked like they had a rather obvious sign above the door of their headquarters.
Even so, being extremists it's unlikely they would give up, even after Trunicht's defection, especially with the FPA being annexed.
The Imperial authorities expected to need someone to provide an excuse for any suppression they saw necessary to keep the Alliance conquered, and if the PKC were stupid enough to take the role on their own, why suppress them before they could give them said excuse?
Why couldn't Mittermeyer arrange a military transport to bring Eva to Phezzan, instead of having to wait for her to arrive by civilian spaceliner?
Well, it's Mittermeyer and Eva. Maybe they thought Eva traveling on a military ship wouldn't be proper or something.
Also, I would imagine that such a transport would cost a fair amount of resources. It would look bad on Mittermeyer's part if he had a military ship chartered for the sole purpose of bringing Eva to Phezzan.
And then there is Kesler jumping through that window with pistol in hand. Reckless individual heroism is par for the course in Space Opera, but seeing a Grand Admiral doing something so risky when he could easily send some of his MPs up the ladder instead stretches credibility. There aren't even any soldiers climbing up after him.
Maybe he feared that any backup could alarm the terrorists and to be fair, the hostages were none other than the two most important persons of his “Kaiser”. Knowing his sense of duty, it doesn’t seem to be that farfetched for him to take responsibility and risk his life directly.
In a similar vein, Lutz' Heroic Sacrifice seems a bit forced. It could be that he wanted to make amends for his earlier failure at Iserlohn, but it seems silly that Reinhard would allow Lutz to do it (or even allow Müller to take his place). Lücke was with them and should be the obvious candidate, being head of Reinhard's personal guard and all. The bit about his place being next to the emperor makes little sense in context, especially considering that a Grand Admiral should be much more valuable to Reinhard than someone whose job is to guard his person with his life.
A very small point, but strange: in the "Duelist" side story the characters refers to the ray pistols they use in the setting as "blasters", and the rifles were apparently called "beam rifles" or somesuch, obviously pronounced in the Japanese fashion. What is odd about this is that they chose to use English designations in a culture that was supposed to be German-speaking - couldn't they have used terms like "strahlenpistole/-gewehr" instead?
Well, "Strahlenpistole" sounds really strange, "Laserpistole" would be the better choice. However, Blaster is/was a common description for weapons like this when the anime was made, (in the Star Wars EU, Blaster is the official name for these weapons, even in the German version).
Come to think of it, would people really refer to the standard type of rifle that everyone uses in the setting as a beam rifle instead of simply rifle? It appears gunpowder weapons are long obsolete and the use of flintlock pistols are a deliberate anachronism. It would be like referring to a modern assault rifle as a ''gas blowback rifle' or something in that vein.
Beam rifles would probably be comparable to assault rifles; it's possible that there's another type of rifle that's more akin to a sniper rifle (scoped rifle?), and the term beam rifle is used to distinguish it from that.
Müller turned down promotion to Fleet Admiral because he felt he hadn't done enough to deserve it. Reinhard specified in his testament that all the remaining grand admirals should be promoted to that rank after his death. Would Müller accept promotion under those circumstances?
The clash between the Black Lancers and the troops under Oberstein on Heinessen seemed strange. Given that none of them wore unit badges or any other distinguishing marks, how could they tell exactly who the others were? How would they distinguish friend from foe if it came to blows?
How did 160,000 refugees manage to expand its population to the point that it could match the forces of the Galactic Empire in a century's time
The series mentions massive immigration from the Empire to the Alliance on it's discovery. Plus, by the time of the series, it had been about 300 years.
They also aren't matching the Empire, per se, but rather closer to barely holding their own. In technology, you can see from the ship designs that the Alliance ships generally mount more (numerically) and more exposed laser arrays, which don't appear to have any appreciably greater effect than Imperial weapons, even ignoring the differing aesthetics of the Alliance and Empire (which could be explained as just that - aesthetic). If the Empire wasn't forced to take a single avenue of attack down a significant and exposed logistics train into the heart of Alliance defences every time they wished to invade, they'd probably have won by the time the series takes place. When Reinhard finally cuts the Gordian knot by invading through neutral Phezzan, the entire strategic situation is turned on its head, in part because he's bypassed centuries worth of dug-in defences, and in part because as the map indicates, immediately after Phezzan, his invasion fleet gains effective freedom of movement, which doesn't exist for several more stars past Iserlohn. The real question is why this didn't happen in centuries before, considering that it was the "obvious" play from the first time the map appeared on the screen.
I believe it's mentioned somewhere (possibly only in the novels) that the Phezzan corridor was only discovered relatively recently, as in less than a century before the events of the series. Extrapolating from there, one might posit that the discovery could have coincided with a period of relatively low tensions between the Empire and the Alliance, leaving little appetite for a grand Imperial invasion even though the new corridor made on much more feasible, and a greater appetite for the trade contacts Phezzan allowed. From then, the notoriously political astute Phezzani Landesherrs probably discouraged the powers that be from thinking of the corridor as a possible invasion route, a strategy that worked until Reinhard came along and overturned the status quo.
In addition, I believe Yang and/or Bucock mention at some point that the Alliance did have a strategy to deal with an invasion via Phezzan, it's just that this strategy was invalidated by their sudden and utter lack of military resources following the disastrous Fork invasion.
I recall reading somewhere that the novels describe the Alliance possessing a superior per capita GDP to the Empire, while the Empire maintained a superior population, leaving the two roughly even in terms of military power. As for why Reinhard was able to beat the Alliance after centuries of deadlock, I imagine much of it can be attributed to the utter mauling he gave the Alliance during Fork's invasion of the Empire. Combined with the Alliance's lethargic recovery from its later rebellion as compared with the less costly civil war the Empire suffered, the Alliance fleet was at its nadir from the beginning of Operation Ragnarok.
Until Reinhard, most of the Empire's military commanders got the job because they were high ranking nobles in the fleet (the commander of the first expedition against the Alliance, for example, was grand duke Herbert von Goldenbaum, the heir to the throne at the time), and aside for the likes of Merkatz, Ovlesser and even Staden, they were generally incompetent, leading poorly motivated forces against an enemy who knew where they would come from. Alliance commanders, on the other hand, had to earn their rank, thus insuring some competence (even the infamous Andrew Falk, who proposed that ill-advised invasion, had a decent grasp of what he was doing, and he would have been an outstanding subordinate officer had he not been so arrogant), and led troops with excellent morale. Add to it that Alliance ship designer are more practical and managed to create warships roughly equal to their Imperial counterparts in spite of inferior technology and the constant conspiracies and assassinations going on among the nobles, and you realize how the Alliance managed to hold the line for so long, with their eventual defeat against Reinhard's empire being caused by the fact Imperial commanders are now chosen for their merits too, their troops have excellent morale while Alliance morale had been wasted by their civil war, the high nobles were now dead or otherwise unable to sabotage the military effort, much of the Alliance fleet getting lost in the invasion of Imperial space, and the Imperial fleet attacking from the side the Alliance expected them not to.
Why did so many imperial troops fall in line with Reuenthal when he rebelled?
One: Reuenthal was a highly charismatic and beloved commander, so much so that his troops felt greater loyalty to him personally than to the Imperial state. Two: Reuenthal spun his rebellion as being caused by Oberstein deceiving the Emperor into believing that Reuenthal intended to topple him.
A throwaway line only, but why, in episode 32, does Poplan compare Konev with Oberstein? As an Alliance pilot, he should barely even know who Oberstein is, if at all.
Not a bad way of looking at it, but the OP still has a point: attentive or not, Alliance pilots shouldn't really be aware of a rather background military aide of an enemy general, no matter how important his counsel actually is.
Actually, by that time Oberstein was already the Chief of Staff of the entire Imperial Fleet, so he's definitely not just a background military aide.
Any reason why Merkatz didn't take his family with him when he defected to the Free Planets Alliance after the Lippstadt Rebellion?
Probably because they were still on Odin or something. Or at least, not at Geiersburg. That said, you would have thought Braunschweig would make sure he had some way to get at them during the campaign, since that was his handle on Merkatz in the first place.
Merkatz's defection in general bothers me. Alright, I get that he was too proud to go serve under Reinhard, the enemy he'd just fought. So... he decides to go and serve the Free Planets Alliance, the enemy he's been fighting all his life rather than just a few weeks, instead? I guess it's possible he felt humiliated by his crushing defeat at Reinhard's hands, but even that doesn't quite work, since it wasn't exactly his crushing defeat; it was Braunschweig's and the other nobles'. As he himself predicted at the very outset, they were never prepared to let him conduct the war properly. If he had somehow managed to keep them all in line and have complete authority over military strategy... alright, he'd probably still have lost, since Reinhard had a lot of things going for him, but it likely wouldn't have been nearly so much of a total rout. Either way, the fact is, in the circumstances, he really didn't have to feel responsible, and he clearly knew that. So, yeah. I don't know if this is just the anime cutting out a crucial part of his reasoning for the defection, and I get that once he had defected he was probably as enamoured with Yang as everyone else and their dog, but the defection in the first place really bothers me; it's one of the few outright holes in the story that I can see.
Just watched the episode, and I think he was just ensuring the safety of his subordinates (at least some of which were planning to die with him at the Fall of Geiersberg), with going to the Alliance being their preferred destination. Later he did fight for Yang, but he could still justify it with the fact he wasn't technically working for him but leading the military loyal to the last Goldenbaum emperor Erwin Josef II (never mind the emperor was a child and the military was seven people, including him), who just happened to be allied with the Alliance.
Reinhard obviously respects Yang as a Worthy Opponent and doesn't hate him personally. So why didn't let explicit instructions for Lennenkampf not to harm him, or at lease to get permission from the Kaiser first before making any moves against Yang and his former crew?
Possibly because he wanted an excuse to restart the war and face Yang again, or expected Lennenkampf to know he wasn't supposed to act as he did. On the other hand, Lennenkampf expressed a belief he was there as a conqueror, implying he believed having liberty to do as he pleased as long as he was fair (he was) and prevented the birth of new theats against the Empire (something he did. And in all fairness, he was right about Yang having planned something, just wrong about the circumstances of his plan). Also, he did communicate his actions to the government, implicitely asking his superiors' approval, and Oberstein quickly called to give just that and dissuade him from calling directly Reinhard.