The Battle of Britain

Re:  "Ground Combat in Star Trek"


Anderson uses a unique technique to begin this page. 

Ossus's technique is even more unique.   He makes a claim about what I say, and then promptly doesn't give the quote for it:

He simultaneously downplays the importance of ground forces while attempting to point out the power of UFP ground forces:

"While it is true that we have only seen a scant few examples of Federation ground combat techniques, this shouldn't necessarily be a surprise. Even in the modern era, you can do a lot strategically and tactically with precision aerial bombardment. Witness Yugoslavia."

Afterwards, I say:  In an era of starships capable of firing on ground targets with pinpoint accuracy ("A Piece of the Action"[TOS]), sending combat troops to die on enemy fields is often going to be a waste, and will rarely be necessary. This doesn't mean it isn't done, or that the Federation doesn't have the ability . . . Starfleet used "hoppers" to land troops for the defense of Ajilon Prime ("Nor the Battle to the Strong"[DS9]), and 30,000 troops were being carried by a convoy in "Waltz"[DS9]. However, the Federation is not in the business of pacifying hostile populations, unlike the Empire (which pacifies its own).

I find this a bizarre assertion, especially given the general consensus that the aerial operations in Yugoslavia by NATO were ineffective in accomplishing their objectives, 

In spite of my quite favorable opinion of the United States, I was very strongly against the heavily-propagandized NATO actions in Yugoslavia, and therefore researched it thoroughly from both sides, both during the bombing campaign and for several months afterward.  I was in personal contact via the internet with Yugoslavians and Kosovars, and my offer of voluntary assistance as a research aide was accepted by a U.S. Congressman based on how impressed he was with what I gave him in my first e-mail to him.  He was one of the leaders of a group of congressmen working on building a legal case against the president to stop U.S. involvement in the bombing.  (Fortunately, the bombing stopped before such a time-consuming process to make it stop had to be completed.)

In short, do not screw with me about Yugoslavia.

Now, if Ossus is suggesting that the objective of NATO was what it was claimed to be (i.e. to save Kosovo and the Albanians thereof, stop their displacement, and so on), then he is correct . . . the NATO bombings actually killed more Kosovars and Kosovar Albanians than the Serbs did, and the displacement they later claimed they were trying to stop did not begin in earnest until bombs started falling on the area.  

However, saving Kosovo was not the objective of NATO.  The assault on Yugoslavia had political and economic objectives which were met quite well.  

In any case, the fact remains that, strategically and tactically, Yugoslavia demonstrated that precision air power could do a lot, even if you just consider the whole bombing campaign in regards to the breaking of Yugoslavia. 

but also because the mission involved a substantial ground element designated as peacekeepers. 

There were no NATO ground units involved in the campaign, either tactically or in a peacekeeping role.  Otherwise, they wouldn't have been waiting at the border for the end of the bombing campaign, now would they?

In any case, we repeatedly see the UFP and its allies and enemies engaging in ground campaigns. Space superiority did little to assist the Cardassians in their conquest of Bajor, which successfully revolted and forced the Cardassians to withdraw from the planet. 

Here, Ossus mangles the history of Bajor, performing a switcheroo between apples and oranges and hoping no one will notice.  How?  Small resistance cells that occasionally blow things up are not revolting armies.  For example, if the Maquis (the group in France during World War II, not the one along the Cardassian border) had taken to the field against Hitler's armies, Panzers, and the Luftwaffe, they'd have been quickly and efficiently annihilated.  However, Ossus would have you believe that there's no difference between the two.   

Dumar seemed to think ground troops were important when he angrily and repeatedly confronted Weyoun regarding the plight of a Cardassian order, 

Gee, thanks for the specific reference.  Let's see . . . Damar was in a position of power, so I think it's probably limited to the last 48 hours or so of DS9.  Shouldn't be too hard to find . . . idiot.

and the Klingons and Federation both carry numerous ground troops around to the front lines, and to fortify Earth.

Wow!  I had no idea!  I wonder where he heard about troop convoys?  Oh, that's right, it was right there on my page.

"[T]he Federation is not in the business of pacifying hostile populations."

This is true, but the Federation does have significant numbers of ground troops, and is involved in numerous wars and battles with groups that are involved in fighting on the ground. Moreover, ground forces were clearly a very important part of the Cardassian-Federation war that took place before TNG and is spoken of several times during that series and DS9. 

Funny he should say that, since the only ground combat I know of from that war is the personal combat O'Brien experienced on Setlik III, in the aftermath of the massacre (described in "The Wounded"[TNG]).

It appears from the formation of the Maquis that the UFP was faring relatively poorly in the war, because they were forced to sign a treaty favorable to Cardassia. Star Fleet's poor showing during the conflict may be due to their lack of ground forces, or to some other factors, but it is clear from "The Wounded" that the problem was not related to a poor unit-for-unit effectiveness against Cardassian warships.

News Flash:  the Cardassians lost.  

In the post-war reshuffling of the border, we do know that at least one Federation planet (Dorvan V, as seen in "Journey's End"[TNG]) was ceded to the Cardassians, and that colonies of both sides ended up in a large demilitarized zone.  However, we also know that Cardassia nearly broke itself by fighting the war with the Federation, as per Picard's discussions with his captor in "Chain of Command"[TNG].   We also know that the Cardassians gave up their claims to "clearly Cardassian" territories in the armistice, as per the conversation between Lemec and Jellico in that episode.

Further, based on what we know of it, only O'Brien directly served in the war zone, though Picard mentions once running from a Cardassian warship while in command of the Stargazer.  This, out of all the Starfleet officers we've seen in the three TNG-era series.  From the Federation's perspective, then, it appears to have been little more than a regional conflict, not the Federation-wide conflagration and war for survival that was the Dominion War.  From the Cardassian perspective, given the territories they'd won during "the wars" (as per Gul Madred in "Chain..."), they'd kicked a few butts and then decided to go after the local big dog . . . and got schooled.  

Ossus moves on to the photon grenade topic:

Anderson contends that "The angle at which Kirk planted the grenade launcher, coupled with a look at it's apparent designed angles of fire, would seem to indicate much greater ranges for the photon grenades. Kirk planted it on a 45-degree slope, and it seemed to have only a 45-degree or so possible swivel, around 30 of which he used. In other words, Kirk could have fired a shallow shot using only the natural 45-degree slope, but instead he pointed it high, a good 70 degree angle."

However, we see from his image (shamelessly pilfered from Trek5.com)

Ah, yes, the Poe approach.  Try to score points with accusations of theft (and shameless theft, at that!).

In reality, Star Trek is owned by Paramount, and any elements of the canon presented are available for the fair use of all.  You don't see me whining when Warsies "steal" my images for their own pages, do you?   

But, it is true that I removed the image credits (which I commonly offer as a courtesy) during an edit of the page, and then never got around to finding a pleasing banner for them for the links page, as intended.   I will shortly amend both oversights (because I like Trek5.com, not because the oversight is inherently unethical).

that there was no slope on which Kirk was positioning the weapon. From Kirk's shadow, it is clear that the slope is actually in front of the mortar, and that Kirk is actually placing the weapon on a level bit of ground.

This is hysterical.   Ossus and friends didn't even trouble themselves to watch the episode, or even look at the small screenshots provided.  On the page, I show them these:



It shouldn't have taken a rocket scientist to figure out that the big hollow area Kirk is unceremoniously deposited into (and the one the outpost's armory is set into) is the same one he fires out of.   Note the presence of the outer left wall and door in both scenes.   If Ossus went to Trek5.com, he could've seen the larger versions and figured this out without even straining his eyes.   Or, perish the thought, he could've actually watched the episode!   Stupid Ossus.

Anderson's contention that the Gorn must have been frightened off by the blast (or killed) is unjustified.

The hell?  The Gorn, who had been relentlessly shelling Kirk's position, beamed out after the photon grenade, and we aren't supposed to believe that they were frightened off, injured, or killed?  What, did they suddenly remember that it was time for afternoon tea?

If he saw the last two minutes of "Marauders" [ENT], he would be forced to similarly conclude that the Klingons may have taken serious casualties during the raid,

Enterprise is not available in my area, except via download, and I haven't obtained Marauders.  However, I saw the previews of T'Pol engaging in Kirk-Fu, and Bernd Schneider refers to the Klingons realizing they were trapped.  Sounds like they were frightened off to me.  

Also note that Anderson's classification of a weapon described as a "grenade" and used as a mortar is incorrect. He states that it is a piece of UPF "artillery."

1.  http://define.ansme.com/words/f/field_artillery.html

2.  http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=artillery

Stupid Ossus.

The power pack of a phaser pistol is more or less unimportant for the debate, though it is an interestingly large number of shots that Anderson presents.

Spock saw "several hundred Yang bodies".   Tracey said "we killed thousands".   I estimate 550 deaths per phaser.   How in the hell could that be too large?

What follows is quite funny.   Ossus claims finding something that betrays my "deceitful ways" in a particular argument . . . he says that I have used a red herring by pointing out a particular flaw in Wong's argument (and I didn't even know it was Wong's . . . some other Warsie "shamelessly pilfered" it on ASVS, and what is on my page is a lightly-edited reprint of my rebuttal).  Why is this so funny?  Ossus utterly fails to address the remainder of the argument, thereby engaging in the very same "red herring" "deceitful ways"!

The part about the phaser pistols shown in "The Omega Glory" [TOS] that betrays Anderson's deceitful ways is his rebuttal to Mike Wong's "counterclaims." . . . 

Incredibly, instead of attacking Mr. Wong's conclusion that the defenders would be overrun in short order, Anderson retorts with a red herring regarding other factors that affect the accuracy of pistols!

Why the hell would I argue the point regarding the defenders being overrun?  Not only do I agree with it, but it's right there in the damned canon!  Unlike some, I don't ignore canon for my own purposes.

"[A]nd, of course, the one-handed weapon argument is lessened by the fact that most pistol marksmen fire with both hands. A phaser could be held the same way, if needed."

Anderson neglects to mention that, aside from the "phaser rifles" that are sometimes issued to UFP personnel, a phaser has never been fired with two hands.

See also Chekov and the vaporized scientist guy holding the pistol phaser in that fashion in ST2, and Lily holding a TNG Type 2 that way in First Contact.   

 Perhaps because of the phaser's poor ergonomic design, UFP personnel exclusively fire them with one hand.

Ignoring the pansy BS "poor ergonomics" jab, I'm curious to know what the hell he thinks is required to add a second hand to the mix?   People have used two hands on everything from curve-grip revolvers to straight-grip Berettas.

Ossus then replies to my comment regarding the notion that the TOS Type II phaser power packs could have powered the large weapon from "The Cage":

"[I]f those little phaser handles were charging something that big, I'd be impressed."

Why would such a feature impress Anderson?

Gee, maybe because the Type II power packs were about the size of two "D" cell batteries, whereas the ~2 meter tall weapon above, which fired for several, several seconds, has a power described by Number One thusly:  "The top of that knoll should've been sheared off the first second." 

Of course, Wong (originally) and Ossus (in the "rebuttal") naturally ignore the fact that the device above was powered from orbit, in the effort to show that Tracey was hiding it in his pocket somewhere.  Obviously, their re-write of "The Omega Glory"[TOS] would run something like this:

Kirk:  "Is that a two meter tall laser cannon in your pocket, or are you just happy to see us, Captain Tracey?"

"[T]here is no reason to assume that Scotty's phaser discharge move was done because phaser power packs were integral. It could just as easily have been the only way he had handy at the time to discharge them, since I doubt shuttles usually would have a "plug your phaser in here" port."

It is a surprising feature to have, but that is exactly what we see in the episode.

The hell?  Scotty rigs a way to discharge the phasers into the shuttle's systems for power.  If there had been a convenient port for the phaser handle power packs to discharge into, don't you think he'd have used it?

The final two sections of the article, on Federation ground combat transportation, and the conclusions section, are by far the weakest of the page. Anderson completely and totally ignores Star Wars canon in an effort to make his points:

"The RoTJ novelisation claims speeds of "two hundred miles per hour" (321kph, or 89.4 m/s), though this is not seen in the film."

Anderson, of course, has now taken to disregarding canonical evidence in order to make his points.

Ossus here betrays his utter ignorance of how the canon works.  The film overrides the novel. At no point in Return of the Jedi do the speeders reach such speeds.  Therefore, they were not at such speeds.  Duh. 

[Editor's note: indeed, he is quite adamant that the ROTJ novelization is canon when it comes to the "artificial sun" quote and his asinine interpretation thereof (assuming that "sun" means "nuclear fusion" rather than "luminescent celestial body", as it says in the dictionary). This is yet another example of his penchant for changing the rules as it suits him]

Wong butts in to whine, thereby also demonstrating his ignorance of how the canon works.  Also, he seems more than willing to offer up a new version of his previous lie on the topic, giving another edited snippet of his preferred definition from Merriam Webster.  (At least this time, he didn't simply combine the snippets in ways he found pleasing.)   

In this case, he accuses me of an "asinine interpretation" for suggesting that the RoTJ novelisation's use of "sun" implies fusion, when even his new version involves our own little ball of fusion in the sky: 

"1 a often capitalized : the luminous celestial body (emphasis mine) around which the earth
and other planets revolve, from which they receive heat and light, and which
has a mean distance from earth of 93,000,000 miles (150,000,000 kilometers),
a linear diameter of 864,000 miles (1,390,000 kilometers), a mass 332,000
times greater than earth, and a mean density about one fourth that of earth
b : a celestial body like the sun
2 : the heat or light radiated from the sun
3 : one resembling the sun (as in warmth or brilliance)
4 : the rising or setting of the sun <from sun to sun>"

"[U]nshielded techno-Huey LAATs the Republic used in Attack of the Clones would be pretty easy to pick off with a phaser, though they could do some damage beforehand. (Strangely, the AoTC novelisation claims that the gunships are shielded . . . however, this is never seen in the movie. Odd.)"

Anderson now sees fit to disregard canon, yet again, in assessing the LAAT's as being unshielded. 

All SW shields seen to operate within an atmosphere produce a hazy airglow.  The LAAT's never produce such an airglow.  Do the math.

In fact, this mistake was pointed out to Anderson some time ago in a bulletin board. He promptly dropped the argument on the subject, but did not acknowledge the error by correcting it on his page.

Ossus's claim is BS.  He links to a thread (SD.Net Members Only link . . . beware their stated editing practice) . . . note how (at least in the present version) I point out that I'll re-watch the relevant portion to see which of the options I presented best fits the canon.  As it turned out, none of them did. 

(Note also that a few messages later, Ossus says he'll re-watch the relevant portion of an episode.  Never heard back from him.  I guess he "promptly dropped the argument on the subject, but did not acknowledge the error.")

[Editor's note: He also disregards movie shots of blaster fire hitting LAAT's without leaving so much as a scorch-mark, until they land and presumably lower part of their shields to let troops get in and out]

1.  Where the hell are these scorchless in-flight hits?   I'd prefer to see one on a similar section of the hull to one that was later scorched, thank you.  I'd also like proof that scorch marks invariably occur with armor hits, since this doesn't occur in every example of a blaster hit in the canon.  The ESB battle on Hoth is an excellent resource for that.  (Of course, given that blaster bolts can barely scorch Leia's arm, we shouldn't expect too much.)

2.  Ah, yes, I disregarded it . . . since, of course, the DVD was out when the page was written, and  . . . oh, but wait, that's not true.   I was going by theatre recollection and a fuzzy cam-grab.  Whatever will I do, now that I've been shown how irresponsible and evil I was for not having the DVD before it came out!!!!???

Ossus then moves on to the AT-AT:

There is quite obviously a difference between knocking down an AT-AT walker and destroying it internally. Anderson here has a scenario in which a grenade lands some distance away from an AT-AT walker, but is apparently able to knock it down through the same kind of systems failure that Luke had to actually access the walker in order to create? 

AT-AT walkers toppled over simply from tripping, or from having the body crash onto the legs, but we're supposed to believe that a photon grenade, which has a blast radius which is a concern even at over a kilometer's distance, will do nothing?

And the walker can be destroyed in this manner despite the fact that all of its critical systems are protected by its armor, and therefore protected from the concussion of the weapon, which even Anderson admits would not penetrate the armor except with a direct hit (based, again, on subjective evidence). All of these are unsubstantiated claims. In fact, Anderson does not even attempt to back them up.

I don't bother backing them up because they're backed up by the canon, and I expect a minimum intelligence.   I suppose I could make a site "ST-v-SW.Net For Dummies", but I hardly see the value.  AT-ATs fall down at the slightest provocation (though not as badly as AT-STs, which promptly explode upon falling down) . . .and, given what we've seen of AT-ST armor strength, it would hardly be logical to presume AT-AT armor that is millions of times more effective.

"Using calculations based on the way these weapons damaged tiny trees, some have claimed 2 megajoules for the cannons on these smaller walkers. This is equivalent to under half a kilogram (or .88 pounds) of TNT, or the explosive equivalent of over three grenades."

Note that Anderson does not attempt to name or accredit these "mysterious others."

Yep.  As the Great Satan, it is my stated goal to fail to credit people for their calculations.  (In reality, I simply chose not to bother searching through the 252 pages of Google links for "AT-ST "2MJ"" or the 665 pages of Google links for "AT-ST "2 MJ"" in the effort to find it again from the website I read it on.  I also chose not to sit down and replicate their numbers, under the theory that I can't do everything all at once.  Stupid Ossus.)

For the sake of argument, it will be assumed that the figures Anderson presents are accurate, despite being unaccredited and hidden to readers of his site.

Note well that Ossus doesn't bother coming up with his own figures, or even having Wong or his flunkies do it  . . . he just attacks my character . . . naturally.

Ossus then compares the dune buggy to the AT-ST in a table.  My comments are added within it:

An analysis of the UFP's dune buggy (the Argo) from Nemesis, when compared with the AT-ST shown in Return of the Jedi, yields some interesting results:

  UFP Dune Buggy Imperial AT-ST

Crew protection

Minimal. The hood of the vehicle appears designed so that weapons fire striking the front of the vehicle will strike the driver or passenger, even if it does not penetrate the hood to damage the engine block.

This not only assumes bullets and the ricochet thereof, but also ignores the utter lack of damage from bullets as seen in Nemesis . . . even those striking the grill.

 The gunner fires from a very exposed position.

True, but there's also no limit to personal field of fire from anywhere in the cabin.

Minimal. Provides relatively complete protection against small arms fire, but its armor proves useless against heavier Star Wars weapons.

Note well that they failed to acknowledge the big open holes in the front of the AT-ST, open even in combat in RoTJ.  

Also, the unshielded LAATs, with their big, wide-open side entries, were only defensible in AoTC thanks to Jedi deflecting blaster bolts.  What's the big difference?

Speed

Unknown, but probably faster than an AT-ST.

It has an excellent acceleration, though, given that it blasts out of the Argo shuttle doors at about 30km/h (18mph).

Unknown through canon. EU reports its speed as 90km/h, over relatively flat terrain.

Rough scaling from ESB's Hoth scenes gives an approximate speed of 50km/h (31mph), the maximum observed.  (M1A2 Abrams tanks would outpace it.)

Stability

Unknown, but the small mass evident in the design indicates a lack of stability. 

According to racer Patrick Stewart, the vehicle had the same capabilities as modern racing off-road vehicles.   

Moreover, the frame that runs along the outside of the vehicle suggests that the model has experienced problems with roll-overs, and is likely a quick-fix solution designed to provide the crew with a modicum of safety. 

What an awe-inspiring display of bullshit!  They create an entire backstory involving unseen roll-overs, bad engineering, and jerry-rigged fixes.

Relatively good. The AT-ST that eventually was tipped over and destroyed in Return of the Jedi did a surprisingly nimble job of staying upright for a considerable amount of time, though it was incapable of remaining upright, in the end.

Uh-huh.  It went down faster than most of my ex-girlfriends.

Firepower

Difficult to gauge, at least until the DVD comes out for closer inspection. Likely below 15 kg TNT per shot. Appears to provide a reasonable level of anti-vehicle suppression fire. Good rate of fire.

A surprisingly acceptable appraisal.

Reasonable for anti-personnel use. Anderson's phantom calculations report a firepower resembling that of a few hand grenades for the main cannons. It is likely that the grenade launcher mounted as a secondary weapon is significantly more powerful, but also more limited tactically.

What grenade launcher?  There's no grenade launcher in the canon.

Weapons Placement

Horrible. The rear-mounted phaser suffers from an extremely restricted firing arc, being incapable of firing forward, or even to the sides, by the frame of the vehicle. 

The vehicle's primary weapon has a bad placement, but Data demonstrated the point of the rather old-fashioned and non-Starfleet-ish  design by firing out through the front without impediment.

Also note that the vehicle's poor shock-absorbers . . . 

Poor shocks?  Unless the thing were to hover via antigravs, I don't see how it could possibly have had better shocks.

make firing from either the passenger seat or the gunner's position very difficult.

Worf didn't have any trouble, except during the hardest landings from the various leapings.

Reasonable. The weapons are designed to cover the frontal arc of the turret. The turreted head can swivel to engage targets reasonably effectively and accurately. 

In other words, the dune buggy's weapon is rear-mounted, the AT-ST's weapons are forward-mounted.  But, while the crew can fire out the front, sides, or top of the dune buggy, the rear and top of the AT-ST is totally undefended (as Chewie demonstrated to excellent effect).

The feet of the walker can also be used as impromptu weapons, but the crew seems to have considerable difficulty in telling exactly what is going on beneath the crew compartment.

The feet are as useful as weapons as is the dune buggy . . . "ram them 'till they give up!".

Note, however, the extraordinary difficulty the AT-ST had in walking when a few Ewoks held on to a leg . . . not much power there.


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