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scifilovr
topic
10:55:25 AM Nov 17th 2012
Does anyone else think the US should have used Tiger II Is instead of She Vas. I honestly think the T Igers were better because they had thick armor and could engage both Posleen on the ground and their landers. The She Vas were, admitablly, still pretty cool, but just because of those giant 16 inch tank guns. It's Awesome, but Impratical. The Tiger II Is are Awesome, Yet Pratical.
Nohbody
11:32:54 AM Nov 17th 2012
The Tiger IIIs weren't deployed until 2007 or so, years after the initial invasion wave. Also, in the US upgraded M1 Abrams tanks backed by artillery and ACS units (both of which were in lesser supply in Germany) covered the roles that the T3 was to address, and without requiring all that much new manufacturing infrastructure (not just assembly lines, but workers trained to use the new techniques and materials).

And that's before you get into Darhel screwing with war equipment production resulting in limitations of production capacity...
scifilovr
03:14:59 PM Nov 20th 2012
I understand the argument about other equipment, but I'm talking about anti-lander support. The Tiger "III" was a lot better design than the "She Va." It was able to take a beating from anti-ship (not sure about that, but I think it is). "She Vas" couldn't take any of that. The Tiger "II Is" could take a beating and dish out the same. "She Vas" could dish out a buttload of punnishment, but couldn't take anything. Even when Bun-Bun was upgraded it still couldn't take much damage.
Nohbody
04:15:31 PM Nov 20th 2012
No, the Tigers couldn't take anti-ship fire to any significant degree. Maybe some of the secondary batteries, but not the primary armament, as I understood it.

In any case, comparing the SheVas to the Tigers is kind of apples/oranges. Tigers had to do both anti-infantry and anti-ship work, thus were designed more sturdily. US production of M1s was enough to cover the anti-infantry work in conjunction with the much greater manpower available to the US. Why spread out manufacturing capability even more with another platform, when plant capacity is already maxed out?
scifilovr
11:46:03 AM Nov 23rd 2012
Are you sure? Because I could have been sure that they took hits from Posleen space weapons.

And I understand the She Vas to Tigers argument. But isn't it better to have one platform that can do both things? The Abrams tanks were worthless against landers and the She Vas were worthless against infantry. Personally I'd prefer the ability to fight either.

And I have two new questions that I just thought of.

1: Why did the Germans choose to use the Posleen railguns in their PD Bs? A shoot-and-scoot platform like the Tiger III B would be a lot more effective I think because it could use mobility as a defense. The PD Bs could take more fire, but history has always shown that a mobile defense is always better than an immobile one. I may be wrong on this, but that's my opinion.

2: What is the capability of the new Abrams? In Hell's Faire they say its able to take HVM and (I assume) plasma cannon fire. Wouldn't this allow for humans to survive assault on the Posleen? They keep saying only the ACS can survive support, but the M 1 A 4 Abrams tanks are armroed MORE than the ACS. I mean even allowing for the God Kings, don't they have snipers and those Bushmaster cannons to take care of those. Just a few thoughts from someone who is probably insane.
Nohbody
03:54:20 PM Nov 23rd 2012
It's not as easy as "one to do the job of two". For starters, that one can only be in one place at a time, and if it's taken out, that's two jobs that are left undone instead of just one. There's also the issue of development and production costs. The SheVa production line was its own thing (for issues of sheer scale if nothing else), and thus could run without taking time away from more conventional vehicle production (not only Abrams, but Bradleys for troops and ordinary trucks to support logistics).

Using the railguns in the PDCs (Center, not Base, BTW) was most likely a political decision, and also one of the design goals of the Tiger team was to not use GalTech unless absolutely necessary (like with the recoil system, and that could be produced by human manufacturing), so as to not be held hostage by Galactic supply networks.

The upgraded Abrams were made more resistant to Posleen fire, but not immune. They also lacked the mobility of ACS units, which made them more vulnerable. There were several scenes with even A4 Abrams being destroyed, at least one catastrophically (turret blown off).
scifilovr
09:51:36 PM Nov 24th 2012
If you had one to do the job of both, you could make more Tigers to do the anti-lander job from the She Va production. Admitably you'd have fewer Abrams if you devoted resources from Abrams production, but a Tiger would be more effective against Posleen on foot than an Abrams would. I think in this war it's not a good idea to go for quantity over quality because the Posleen pretty much have us beat in the quantity department. Plus, I think the Tiger is just a better overall design than the She Va. (and how do you get She Va to not look like its a broken link?) The She Va to me seems like a cumbersome, massive overkill design.

Now to my two new old questions. Old new b/c I have yet another. (Sorry if the extra questions thing is annoying; I'm curious about the nuances in this series).

1: What do you mean by political? And they still chose to put a Posleen railgun in Brunnhilde. (I'm pretty sure it was a Postie railgun anyway). And even if they did, it wouldn't be Gal Tech reliant, it would be reliant on the Posleen.

2: I understand the lack of mobility thing. Now that I think about it I remember that's why they chose ACS in the first novel because a giant walker would be too noticeable and easily destroyed. But what about terrain in the US that is perfect for tank warfare like the Great Plains or other territory like that (Sorry I'm not a geography expert). And I know that they wouldn't be invulnerable. You don't go into a tank battle expecting to come out completely unscathed (I apologize if I sound condenscending).

3: New Question- I did the math and a Posleen Globe should have 625 B-Decs in it. There's about 60 globes on average per wave, so (if my calculations are correct) that is nearly 200,000 ships on Earth during the invasion. The books only show a handful at a time. So...where the heck are the other landers going?

And here's just a thought, do you think the Fleet, when it has GOOD officers and is used properly, is pretty badass? It's probably just me because I LOOOOOOOOOVE Technology Porn
Nohbody
11:00:26 PM Nov 24th 2012
edited by Nohbody
Using the escape codes (like these: [= =] ) will stop CamelCase words from being turned into wicks.

As for the questions, numbered because this is getting kinda long (and really should be more a forum thread, the discussion is more for discussing technical issues with the work page):

  1. The politicians ultimately decide what resources are used where (Tiger development being the exception, not the rule). At the time the Tigers were developed, the only readily available source of capship-killing railguns was the Galactics, who thanks to Darhel sabotage were dragging their feet on supplying GalTech weaponry. After there were significant amounts of battlefield salvage, the Tiger development team had decided against using them for Tiger armament (as mentioned a bit before the team deployed in Brunhilda), possibly (and this is pure speculation on my part, no text evidence) still thinking about "no alien tech if at all avoidable". There's hardly a lack of historical support for the notion that people can get stuck in ruts and not think "out of the box" on any given issue.

  2. First, those open plains mean there's not much to hide behind, and Posleen accuracy is nothing to be sneered at (even the normals without a tenaar and its targeting computer). That said, while there were some open-field engagements, the Posleen have been shown to focus on cities and industrialized areas (the Georgia thing from When the Devil Dances/Hell's Faire was a "five percenter" who was breaking with Posleen tradition), where a tank the size of a WW1 cruiser would generally be impractical, and overkill given the Posleen lack of using their ships for direct assault on ground targets earlier in the war. (They got over that as the war progressed, yes, but again people getting "stuck in ruts" is a quite defensible notion.)

  3. The other landers had an entire planet to cover, even ignoring the 3/4ths of the planet that's water, the mountains, and the mostly inhospitable arctic regions. The books focused on a few specific invasions, but as per the timeline at the beginning of When the Devil Dances there were a lot more invasions, and many less militarized countries were simply drowned in Posleen, with the official determination, on October 21, 2008, that were no coherent field forces outside of North America.

As for the Fleet engagements in Eye of the Storm, I'm hesitant to say that competent handling would have made much of a difference in the Posleen invasion. They engaged two (IIRC) ships with that supermonitor and the Des Moines (IN SPACE ;) ), not the hundreds of ships that were spawned by breaking up a Posleen globe. I'll admit, though, that it was pleasing to actually directly see the Fleet in action instead of the Off-screen Moments of Awesome for successful Fleet engagements (the relief of Earth at the end of Hell's Faire, for example).
scifilovr
09:35:07 AM Nov 25th 2012
1: OK, that makes sense (the political thing). Though I'm still pretty sure they used a Posleen railgun. The US Navy's been working on railguns for quite a few years now and the best they've done isn't something that can achieve LEO. (Then again humans come up with an anti-gravity device, WFT). And the Tiger B came along after the Posleen invaded and they planned not to rely on [Gal Tech] but to rely on scavenged Posleen tech. (But I think this one is answered for me so no need to reply if you don't feel like it.)

2: Yeah that makes sense. Normals aren't very accurate but mass fire does make up for that and the Posleen do seem to focus on cities. Now back to Tigers, I'm not sure if this WAS what I posted for my original thought, but my what was in my mind was that the Tiger was more practical than the [She Va]. (I believe the Abrams debate is now solved. Thank you). 3: But the majority of the globes hit Europe and North America and we only see a few of those at a time. My theory was an extrapolation on something they said in the book. Some of the smart God-Kings say that most of the God-Kings are too stupid to pilot a ship in combat conditions so my theory was that once the ships landed their troops, they just sat there because nobody knew how to pilot them in a battle, while in a landing they could rely on their AIs to just go down and land.

Yeah, not even the best sailors really could have made a difference when they pissed the Fleet away in those little battles, but I'd still like to see those battles b/c I'd think they'd be pretty awesome. Also, I'd really like to see the Battles of Indra and Irmansul where they "stop the Posleen cold" with 40 superdreadnoughts(!). (And where the heck did Indra and Irmansul come from?)
Nohbody
05:12:35 PM Nov 25th 2012
  1. The "anti-grav" thing wasn't, though, and was developed from GalTech. It manipulated momentum, which isn't the same thing as gravity, and even that development required a pretty purely random chance event (namely a physicist getting drunk enough that they had a sufficiently "sideways" view of the mathematics behind the system, IIRC).

  2. There were quite a few globes elsewhere, actually, as per the invasion timeline (from Joe Buckley's Baen CD site). Last transmissions from defense forces outside NA and Europe: Australian Defense Command, Alice Springs, Aug 2005; Chinese Red Army, Xianging and Turkic Alliance, Jalalabad, May 2006; Combined Indochina Command, Angkor Wat, June 2006; Allies of the Book, Jerusalem, Dec 2006; Islamic Defense Forces, Khartoum, April 2007; Indian Defense Force, Gujarrat, July 2007; Forces of Bolivar, Paraguay, Aug 2007; Grand African Alliance, Pietermaritzburg, Sept 2008; Red Army, Nizhny Novgorod, Oct 2008. As for the SheVas, for starters it had a bigger gun than the Tiger design (16" vs 11"), and without the constraints of having to pull double duty against ground forces as well they could afford to make it big. And, really, what redneck can resist making the world's largest truck with a really freaking huge gun? ;)

No argument on wanting to see the battles, but the books were already kinda big, so something had to go to allow them to still make their publication dates (and even then he had troubles, hence the split of When the Devil Dances and Hell's Faire, courtesy of the 9/11/01 attacks).
scifilovr
05:56:25 PM Nov 26th 2012
Hm, I suppose you're right. Thanks for all the help! And you're right about he books. They aren't very dense (like War and Peace and the like), but they are pretty thick.
Iaculus
topic
03:17:12 AM Oct 12th 2012
edited by Iaculus
"The latter is not to be ignored," the general admitted. "However, if you bring us in as a unit, we have certain traditions that must be observed."

"Anything that's going to really hurt Fleet Strike politically?" Mike asked. He didn't really care a lot. Despite the off-putting uniform he found himself warming to the German officer.

"I think not," Muehlenkampf replied. "We will have control of who joins our unit. Understand, we will accept any race or religion or ethnicity. We are very open about that."

"Even, sorry for asking, Jews?" Mike asked.

The Generalfeldmarschall actually smiled at that.

"Herr General, over thirty percent of my people are Jewish."

"What?" Mike asked. "Really?"

"When Israel fell, the survivors were . . . still effectively pariah. There were few countries that could or would accept them. Deutschland still had open ports and was willing, for the guilt if nothing else. Portions of the Israeli Defense Force were evacuated with them. We were the only group willing to integrate them intact."

This section is from Eye of the Storm, one of the three most recent Posleen War novels. Previously, in Watch on the Rhine, an SS Brigade are revived and shown to be mighty warriors who weren't, as a whole, that keen on the Nazis' whole genocide and racism thing. The SS were political soldiers. They were specifically selected because of racial purity and loyalty to the Nazi Party, and they were responsible for most of the German atrocities of the Second World War.

The site discourages bashing, but it also discourages gushing, and even ignoring matters like writing quality (which is only so-so), I am really goddamned uncomfortable with describing a series with literal Nazi apologism as 'one of the best works of Military Science-Fiction out there'.
Westrim
10:18:13 AM Oct 12th 2012
You Could Always Edit It Yourself, and without explaining; it's longstanding policy to minimize value judgements in the intro. Unfortunately, you just made it more difficult to defend by posting all that, if only because someone who wants to keep it has more to object to now than if you had just edited without comment.
Iaculus
03:25:52 AM Oct 13th 2012
edited by Iaculus
Yeah, it's just that Nohbody reverted my edits last time, so I thought it best to bring it to the discussion page rather than start an Edit War.

Also, you note that someone wanting to revert it has 'more to defend now'. I'm sorry, but I'm not quite getting this. How does transparent Nazi-apologism make this work easier to defend?
Nohbody
04:29:41 PM Oct 25th 2012
(Huh, this didn't show up on my watchlist...)

You did notice, Iaculus, that the SS units reactivated were explicitly mentioned to not have been involved in war crimes, yes? And that the only outright stereotypical "Ve iz ze master race" Nazi got his, so to speak, at the end?

Not engaging in the usual "Nazis are all Complete Monsters with no redeeming traits whatsoever, without any exception" is hardly the same as "gushing".

(Understand that I despise the ideology, particularly the "master race" parts. I just don't think that blanket dismissals of everyone of a certain group as "always evil" are useful for anything other than emotional feel-goodism.)
Iaculus
03:04:45 PM Oct 31st 2012
edited by Iaculus
The thing is that the SS were specifically selected for their willingness to engage in atrocities for the Nazi Party. Again, their chief distinguishing feature from the Wehrmacht was that they were political soldiers picked for loyalty to the Nazi Party and its ideals - if you weren't 've iz ze master race', you would neither apply for the SS nor be picked for it... and if you were, it is extremely unlikely that you would feel that way by the end of your training.

Not depicting them as Always Chaotic Evil is one thing (though frankly, their ideology and emphasis on loyalty above all did result in a mindset that was both largely uniform and very distasteful), but suggesting the whole murderous racist thing was just a Vocal Minority spoiling the bunch is a rather grotesque bit of apologism for an indefensible organisation whose values were responsible for the vast majority of the Nazis' wartime atrocities. In particular, suggesting that officers as senior as Muehlenkampf might not be that sympathetic to the SS ideology or might never have been associated with war crimes is outright ridiculous. Whilst things were more relaxed in the SS foreign legions (regarding racial restrictions in particular), those were kept very separate and distinct from the regular Waffen-SS, and you still had to hate Jews and Communists to get in. Seriously, read this article, for a start.

Let me put it this way, would you deny Birth of a Nation the Unfortunate Implications entry it receives for trying to cast the Klan in a positive light? Because the Schutzstaffel really was on the same level of evil as those guys, if not worse in some ways.
Nohbody
04:53:48 AM Nov 2nd 2012
edited by Nohbody
Nowhere in the entirety of Watch (which I just re-read, to refresh my memory) was it even implied that "the whole murderous racist thing was just a Vocal Minority". Your notions of the only reasons one joined the SS are also somewhat incomplete. Deserved or not the SS had a reputation as being the best of the best of the best, and unlike the regular army not being of the aristocracy wasn't a roadblock to reasonably fast promotion. That would especially make it interesting to a non-aristocrat who doesn't want to be stuck mucking out toilets until he's an old man. And that's not even getting into the conscriptions into the Waffen-SS starting around 1943.

It seems you think that the indoctrination was 100% effective (or close enough to be of no difference), when the historical case is rather less sanguine about its effectiveness. Sure, there was a lot of indoctrination into the racial superiority stuff, and the majority of members did buy it wholeheartedly, but unless you want little more than meatpuppets (which tend to do poorly as elite soldiers) there's only so far you can go to make it stick. Hell, the defecting soviet frigate that inspired The Hunt for Red October had the mutiny lead by the fig's Political Officer, who was supposed to be the very model of Party Purity, and tasked with stopping mutinies, not starting them. Even with the extra indoctrination as the representative of "the sword and shield of the party", he still tried to defect, which doesn't speak too well of the effectiveness of indoctrination.

As for Muehlenkampf's views, they weren't really covered much at all beyond getting the units formed up. Having joined the Waffen-SS after service in the regular army, he wasn't subject to all of the indoctrination of someone who joined the SS as their first military experience. Yes, the SS were political soldiers, but the "soldier" part wasn't just window dressing, and although separate from the regular army were under the command of the OKW.

As for Unfortunate Implications, the trope page says it's for unintended (emphasis in original) implications, and the afterward for Watch says that Kratman and Ringo did it intentionally.

"But why the bloody damned SS?" the sensitive reader asks. Put simply, because they would be there in John's universe. Deal. "But what about Malmedy?" Go do a Google search: "biscari sicily peiper." Let ye among you. "But the concentration camps? Babi Yar? The holocaust?" To which we would answer, "Horrible things and the men responsible should have all been hanged. But we fail to see why those things would keep desperately needed soldiers out of action, whatever larger organization they belonged to and whatever symbols they wore."

There is another reason, too. Dear reader, we wanted to shock the hell out of you.

[edit]

It occurred to me that I only tangentially brushed against the main complaint, that the series is a Nazi apologia.

At no time, outside of the obvious asshole characters, is the SS as a whole portrayed as being some great shining organization free of sin. Many of the characters acknowledge that there's a reason they have a bad rep, and the reformed SS is explicitly said to not be doing the whole "Nazi political army" thing of its ancestor organization. Hell, if not facing utter annihilation of Europe with many of the regular forces off-world it's pretty obvious that the SS wouldn't be revived. Also, Mike Jr's question in Eye of the Storm, quoted by you way back in the beginning of this whole issue, was clearly in the context of the current organization, decades after anyone who wasn't a rejuv would have long forgotten about Hitler's SS. O'Neal certainly wasn't ignorant of history, so he's obviously not talking about the original, disbanded organization.

None of that sounds like "Nazis fuck yeah!" to me, even without following the respective authors' other writings.
scifilovr
08:10:33 PM Nov 16th 2012
Yeah, I always kind of ambiguous to the whole "The SS were actually good guys!" thing. They did run the camps and were pretty inhuman. On the other hand, I freaking love the SS (Excluding Krueger) in this book. I still hate the old SS, just to clarify. But the tactics and sheer awesomeness of the SS in Watch on the Rhine is pretty flipping cool.

And who doesn't love those Tiger II Is eh? I CAN'T be the only one.
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