War of the Worlds query.

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War of the Worlds query.

Postby The Romulan Republic » 2017-04-08 09:27am

Simple question:

What is the latest point in history at which the Martians, as depicted in the original novel, could win a military conflict with humanity, presuming disease doesn't kill them first?

I'm going to guess that any time after WW2 is probably off-limits, given human air power, nuclear weapons, and long-range missiles, but I can't narrow it down more than that.
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Re: War of the Worlds query.

Postby Eternal_Freedom » 2017-04-08 04:53pm

Honestly? Probably WW1. The human weapons were effective, the problem was accuracy. By the end of WW1 you had reasonable-size tank cannons that were much more accurate than the horse-drawn guns used in the novel. Add that also by the end of WW1 you had artillery barrages plotted quite accurately with pure mathematics rather than endless ranging shots, plus beyond line of sight fire and general fire control improvements. And air power.

Add to that the sheer difference in scale of the military (especially in Britain) between the novel (written 1895 IIRC, set early 1900's) and mid to late WW1. WW1 is probably the latest I would say the Martians had a reasonable fighting chance, though people are free to correct me on that one.
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Re: War of the Worlds query.

Postby Batman » 2017-04-08 05:35pm

No, I at least agree with you there. By late WW1 at the latest the Martians are toast eventually though they'll likely still inflict significant casualties in the process and the marginal air power available may very well fall to their heat rays. WW2 is going to be a curbstomp.
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Re: War of the Worlds query.

Postby NecronLord » 2017-04-09 06:30pm

The Romulan Republic wrote:Simple question:

What is the latest point in history at which the Martians, as depicted in the original novel, could win a military conflict with humanity, presuming disease doesn't kill them first?

I'm going to guess that any time after WW2 is probably off-limits, given human air power, nuclear weapons, and long-range missiles, but I can't narrow it down more than that.


2017.

They are superior in intellect and understand orbital mechanics. They didn't bombard Earth with asteroids in the original novel because they did not need to, and wanted the biosphere. If they wanted to try something tomorrow, they could easily do that.

You are focusing on tactics and their local technology, not their strategy. They show a keen strategic intellect in the book, repeatedly moving to cut off logistics in the form of transport and communications everywhere they go.They're smart, their tactics will alter according to what they face.

They can build complex - extremely complex - tripods, and travel from Earth to Mars in 2 days - upward of 3 gravities if the acceleration is sustained. There's no reason they couldn't contrive a way to shift asteroids to earth crossing orbits.
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Re: War of the Worlds query.

Postby Eternal_Freedom » 2017-04-09 07:08pm

Except the cylinders aren't rockets with built-in engines, they're projectiles fired at Earth from Mars, which is presumably why they launch one every 24 hours rather than all at once.

Also, bombarding us with asteroids is something that would not want to do, and you said why yourself - they want the biosphere intact as Mars is becoming inhospitable. They also want us alive as a food source - which means conquering not destroying.

And TRR's original question was about the Martians as depicted, which means the forces they send in the novel. Vague speculation about asteroid bombardment is all well and good but doesn't really answer the question - again, they want to conquer humanity, not annihilate it. This is perhaps most evident in the book where after having defeated the military in and around London and south-east England, they don't seem to expand further - Belfast and Edinburgh, as well as Europe and the US are mentioned as sending aid south IIRC once the Martians die. They just set about planting the Red Weed and harvesting every human in their occupied zone for feeding.
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Re: War of the Worlds query.

Postby The Romulan Republic » 2017-04-09 07:26pm

Yes, it did eventually occur to me that if their initial invasion failed, they could use whatever launched the cylinders to bombard Earth with missiles instead. They evidently have what amounts to a giant interplanetary siege gun or something. I don't know if modern Earth couldn't respond- we could certainly send nuclear-armed probes to Mars, given time, and the specifics of the Martians' technology, weather they could detect and shoot down an inbound missile, is vague. But a pre-spaceflight Earth would have no answer to that, certainly.

Edit: Of course, the usefulness of this is limited, since the Martians want the Earth intact. But if they have any sort of precise aiming, they can bombard cities or even specific pieces of infrastructure while leaving the rest of the planet not completely trashed. Firing cylinders full of the black smoke (perhaps set to detonate in the atmosphere to spread over the greatest possible area) might be an option.
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Re: War of the Worlds query.

Postby NecronLord » 2017-04-10 09:02am

Eternal_Freedom wrote:Except the cylinders aren't rockets with built-in engines, they're projectiles fired at Earth from Mars, which is presumably why they launch one every 24 hours rather than all at once.
No, the narrator presumes they're just projectiles. If you run the math, they must either have engines, or be capable of surviving impact at something north of hundreds of kilometers per second completely undamaged.

If the martains have material science capable of surviving such physical force, no 2017 weapon short of nuclear weapons (and that's dubious) is going to damage their constructs. Cruise missiles are like spud guns by comparison to hurtling through the solar system from Mars and hitting the Earth within two days without deceleration.

They might be gun-launched initially but they must have engines, and those engines must be able to generate a large portion of the acceleration in order to actually slow in order to hit the Earth.

Also, bombarding us with asteroids is something that would not want to do, and you said why yourself - they want the biosphere intact as Mars is becoming inhospitable. They also want us alive as a food source - which means conquering not destroying.


All modern cattle descend from 80 individuals - they can afford to be very careless with human lives and still have a viable population to breed.

You can still afford a few dozen mega-tsunamis that wreck major nations' coastlines, ruin ports, and destroy cities, to prevent military infrastructure functioning.

They can afford a dust cloud to stymie agriculture for a decade and then come.

And TRR's original question was about the Martians as depicted, which means the forces they send in the novel.


Their superior intelligence is remarked at length throughout the novel, and their tactics are thoroughly sophisticated (there's a lengthy post with quotes on sufficient velocity comparing the martains' tactics favourably to those of the Americans invading Iraq; shall I link it?) so they're not 'bumbling stormtroopers' or any of our other means.

The novel also depicts them lengthily observing the target and drawing (effective) plans against it. Not charging in blind.
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Re: War of the Worlds query.

Postby Eternal_Freedom » 2017-04-10 09:13am

Ok, fair point on the projectiles thing. It did occur to me that might have boosters or somesuch that were jettisoned after launch/Earth injection or before atmospheric entry, but oh well.

As for the cattle thing...again, fair point, but as I think you mentioned in your first post, the Martians want the biosphere mostly intact as well as humans for a food source, so massive asteroid bombardment is at best a dubious strategy. Granted they probably could do i if they lost all interest in conquering/eating us, but at that point we've gone so far from the original book we could use just about any invading alien race in SF instead.

Incidentally, whats the minimum size population needed to have a viable human gene pool? I've seen a few estimates in the 150-200 range, but that's only viable/stable for 20 generations or so.
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Re: War of the Worlds query.

Postby Simon_Jester » 2017-04-10 10:48am

Batman wrote:No, I at least agree with you there. By late WW1 at the latest the Martians are toast eventually though they'll likely still inflict significant casualties in the process and the marginal air power available may very well fall to their heat rays. WW2 is going to be a curbstomp.
The technology they exhibit in the novels, multiplied by the numbers they exhibit in the novels, makes it impossible for them to cope with a World War One mobilization level. However, I don't think World War Two technology would necessarily stop them, unless it were coupled with a high level of mobilization. Numbers and concentration of heavy weaponry would be the biggest factor, and having 1930s-era weapons wouldn't make much difference if there weren't enough of them.

NecronLord wrote:They can build complex - extremely complex - tripods, and travel from Earth to Mars in 2 days - upward of 3 gravities if the acceleration is sustained. There's no reason they couldn't contrive a way to shift asteroids to earth crossing orbits.
Remind me again where you're getting the two day figure from?

NecronLord wrote:Their superior intelligence is remarked at length throughout the novel, and their tactics are thoroughly sophisticated (there's a lengthy post with quotes on sufficient velocity comparing the martains' tactics favourably to those of the Americans invading Iraq; shall I link it?) so they're not 'bumbling stormtroopers' or any of our other means.
I believe I may be acquainted with the author, if we're thinking of the same thing- so yes, I would expect the Martians to adapt their tactics to the realities of a given situation.

On the other hand, I must point out that the narrator AND the author of War of the Worlds are both individuals predisposed to mistake "has higher technology" for "is objectively more intelligent," a mistake so common in the 19th century that it gave rise to the entire massive complex of racist prejudices we know and loathe today. I would hesitate to assume that the Martian average intelligence is genius-level by Earthly standards, as opposed to simply assuming that the Martians, with a longer civilized history and greater experience in science and engineering, have better equipment than we did (or do, in some respects).
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Re: War of the Worlds query.

Postby Shroom Man 777 » 2017-04-10 11:45am

I like to imagine that if it weren't due to the rigors and constraints of space travel - having to jam pack lightweight gear into those capsules - the Martians could've probably unleashed even gnarlier killtech.
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Re: War of the Worlds query.

Postby NecronLord » 2017-04-10 01:27pm

Simon_Jester wrote:Remind me again where you're getting the two day figure from?
Good question. I was actually looking at a fan timeline of the novel, but trying to rationalize it now, I have to say it's clearly garbage. Disregard.
I believe I may be acquainted with the author, if we're thinking of the same thing- so yes, I would expect the Martians to adapt their tactics to the realities of a given situation.

On the other hand, I must point out that the narrator AND the author of War of the Worlds are both individuals predisposed to mistake "has higher technology" for "is objectively more intelligent," a mistake so common in the 19th century that it gave rise to the entire massive complex of racist prejudices we know and loathe today. I would hesitate to assume that the Martian average intelligence is genius-level by Earthly standards, as opposed to simply assuming that the Martians, with a longer civilized history and greater experience in science and engineering, have better equipment than we did (or do, in some respects).

I wouldn't keep harping on the point if the narrator didn't also describe a brain-to-body ratio consistent with a superior intellect, as well.

In other words, you're objecting to the characterisation of them as superior in the face of:
  • The apparent intent of the author.
  • The opinion of the educated people in the novel.
  • The anatomical facts of the beasties.

I'm not sure why? Is it just a knee jerk reaction against considering the colonialist more intelligent? I understand that. But there's never been anything to suggest they're not of superior intelligence, and several factors to suggest that they are.
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Re: War of the Worlds query.

Postby Eternal_Freedom » 2017-04-10 01:58pm

Hmm...I've been thinking about the distance and speed the cylinders travelled at. Having had a quick read of the first chapter of the book, the narrator states that the first launch, or huge cloud of gas that was observed, was "near midnight on the 12th" and that the next day, when he went to Ogilvy's observatory, Mars was "40,000,000 miles distant." The launches continue for ten nights and then cease. The narrator refers to the cylinders travelling at "many miles a second" and rushing towards Earth "day by day."

So, it takes them at least ten days to cross 40 million miles. Unfortunately the narrator doesn't state how long until the first cylinder lands, but it is implied to be some time - he refers to learning to ride a bicycle and writing a series of papers for his newspaper.

Sometime after the last launch, but before the first impact, the narrator goes for a walk with his wife, pointing out the zodiac, and specifically states the first cylinder can't have been more than 10 million miles away at that point.

So, if we assume that the night he made his statement was the day after the last launch, then the first cylinder has travelled 30,000,000 miles (48 million km) in 11 days (this is an upper limit estimate), giving an average velocity of 50.5 km/s or 31.6 miles/s - consistent with "many miles a second" but, as I said, it's an upper limit. The narrator makes a remark that "even the daily papers took notice" - including the periodical Punch. It is possible that they "took notice" after the first or second launch and the estimate of 11 days or so is accurate, but I don't think that was the intention.
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Re: War of the Worlds query.

Postby Simon_Jester » 2017-04-11 06:03am

Shroom Man 777 wrote:I like to imagine that if it weren't due to the rigors and constraints of space travel - having to jam pack lightweight gear into those capsules - the Martians could've probably unleashed even gnarlier killtech.
Well, the question is whether their killtech would have been bigger, or better.

It's like, a bunch of medieval people who have to get in cramped little boats to attack a foreign settlement cannot bring along huge amounts of heavy body armor or their horses or big-ass catapults. They won't fit on the boats. So they bring lighter equipment that is reasonably portable.

But if you constrained modern people the same way, they still couldn't bring big gear (like tanks or artillery guns). But they could, and would, bring the man-portable weapons technology of their own era, like machine guns and hand grenades.

It's reasonable to assume the Martians brought the biggest, bulkiest equipment they could fit in their spacecraft. And that having more space available would have let them pack bigger equipment. But it's not reasonable to assume that they had huge amounts of even higher technology in reserve that they inexplicably didn't use. Because the Martians needed this invasion to succeed; it was important to the survival of their species. They wouldn't have screwed around handicapping their soldiers by giving them primitive (not too bulky) weapons when they could have given them advanced (more powerful, but no more bulky) weapons.

It's like, if someone's going to have to fold up inside a cardboard box to go all SOLID SNAAAKE on an enemy base, you can't arm them with big weapons. But given that you're arming them only with little weapons, you'll still give them stuff like pistols and grenades, not stuff like knives and folding batons.

NecronLord wrote:I wouldn't keep harping on the point if the narrator didn't also describe a brain-to-body ratio consistent with a superior intellect, as well.

In other words, you're objecting to the characterisation of them as superior in the face of:
  • The apparent intent of the author.
  • The opinion of the educated people in the novel.
  • The anatomical facts of the beasties.

I'm not sure why? Is it just a knee jerk reaction against considering the colonialist more intelligent? I understand that. But there's never been anything to suggest they're not of superior intelligence, and several factors to suggest that they are.
Of the three items on your list, I disregard (2) entirely because I don't consider 19th century anatomical theorists to be valid authorities on what does and does not make one being more intelligent than another. The state of the art in those days was phrenology.

(3) is not necessarily very relevant. High brain-body ratio sounds suggestive of superior intelligence, but human beings show wide ranges of brain-body ratios without significant differences in intelligence resulting on a reliable basis. And there are animal species with radically different brain structures that are significantly more efficient (or, possibly, less efficient) per unit volume than those of humans. Sure, Wells thought it was relevant, but he probably also thought phrenology was relevant. It only matters insofar as it loops back to:

(1) Author intent.

The problem is, while Wells clearly intended to make the Martians smarter than humans, I don't think that can be translated into "therefore the Martians have automatic godlike intelligence that allows them to foresee and avoid all difficulties that might be placed in their path."

They clearly didn't anticipate the existence of disease germs, or even prepare against any serious biological or chemical threats to their survival on Earth. They show signs of not clearly understanding water transportation, and of stumbling into problems dealing with these things they don't understand.

These can plausibly be explained as "Martians are smarter than humans but not by a large enough margin to allow them to easily avoid the perils of an unfamiliar environment." But that itself places an upper bound on the intelligence of the Martians- both that of the individual Martians who came to Earth personally, and that of the collective Martian civilization that launched their expedition.

I can accept that Martians average smarter than Earthlings, but not to a degree that smacks of a 'no limits fallacy,' in other words.
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Re: War of the Worlds query.

Postby Shroom Man 777 » 2017-04-11 06:55am

Simon_Jester wrote:It's like, a bunch of medieval people who have to get in cramped little boats to attack a foreign settlement cannot bring along huge amounts of heavy body armor or their horses or big-ass catapults. They won't fit on the boats. So they bring lighter equipment that is reasonably portable.

But if you constrained modern people the same way, they still couldn't bring big gear (like tanks or artillery guns). But they could, and would, bring the man-portable weapons technology of their own era, like machine guns and hand grenades.

It's reasonable to assume the Martians brought the biggest, bulkiest equipment they could fit in their spacecraft. And that having more space available would have let them pack bigger equipment. But it's not reasonable to assume that they had huge amounts of even higher technology in reserve that they inexplicably didn't use. Because the Martians needed this invasion to succeed; it was important to the survival of their species. They wouldn't have screwed around handicapping their soldiers by giving them primitive (not too bulky) weapons when they could have given them advanced (more powerful, but no more bulky) weapons.

It's like, if someone's going to have to fold up inside a cardboard box to go all SOLID SNAAAKE on an enemy base, you can't arm them with big weapons. But given that you're arming them only with little weapons, you'll still give them stuff like pistols and grenades, not stuff like knives and folding batons.


I said gnarlier :P

Biggerness = more killness in this respect. It's like if the Martians were Murcan Marine mangs restricted with what they could deploy via chopper, then at most they could haul the equivalent of a Doomvee and all their normal tacticool gear. If they didn't have said weight and transportation limits, they'd come in with their equivalent of an Abrams tank or whatever. And that's one of the handicaps they had to deal with.

Sure, "better" can mean all sorts of things, since the GPS on a Doomvee and its ATGM aren't necessarily lower tech than whatever's in the Abrams. Heck a Doomvee might have modern shit but might still be less-killy than an older tankski that is not technologically "better."

For all we know, hypothetically, the tripods the Martians deployed WERE the most advanced things they've got since they had to make tech advancements to cram so much kill in such lightweight space-transportable frames. But while they might be technologically better than whatever standard planetary gear the Martians might have, nonetheless the weight limits means they're not better in killiness compared to whatever Baneblades or AT-ATs the Martians have on Mars.

As for the Martian intelligence thing, for all we know their foresight was just due to prep-time and like surveillance or orbital recon or whatever. We might go "OMG they foresaw our acts" when the Martians are just using stuff like satellite surveillance or wireless communications to give each other heads' up.

The hugeness of their brains... was this just through visual observation of the cephalopod-ic Martians? Or was there an actual factual Guillermo Del Toro-esque Autopsy Scene? A huge head might not necessarily mean a huge brain, other organs might be there too...
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Re: War of the Worlds query.

Postby NecronLord » 2017-04-11 07:09am

It's worth noting (though I used it as an example back when we had the Avatar smacktard plague) that Earth is *not* essential to the Martains - and their failure in the book is not necessarily the end of their species. They appear to launch for Venus at the end of the book, which is possibly not inhabited by sapient beings.

Lessing has advanced excellent reasons for supposing that the Martians have actually succeeded in effecting a landing on the planet Venus. Seven months ago now, Venus and Mars were in alignment with the sun; that is to say, Mars was in opposition from the point of view of an observer on Venus. Subsequently a peculiar luminous and sinuous marking appeared on the unillumined half of the inner planet, and almost simultaneously a faint dark mark of a similar sinuous character was detected upon a photograph of the Martian disk. One needs to see the drawings of these appearances in order to appreciate fully their remarkable resemblance in character.

At any rate, whether we expect another invasion or not, our views of the human future must be greatly modified by these events. We have learned now that we cannot regard this planet as being fenced in and a secure abiding place for Man; we can never anticipate the unseen good or evil that may come upon us suddenly out of space. It may be that in the larger design of the universe this invasion from Mars is not without its ultimate benefit for men; it has robbed us of that serene confidence in the future which is the most fruitful source of decadence, the gifts to human science it has brought are enormous, and it has done much to promote the conception of the commonweal of mankind. It may be that across the immensity of space the Martians have watched the fate of these pioneers of theirs and learned their lesson, and that on the planet Venus they have found a securer settlement. Be that as it may, for many years yet there will certainly be no relaxation of the eager scrutiny of the Martian disk, and those fiery darts of the sky, the shooting stars, will bring with them as they fall an unavoidable apprehension to all the sons of men.

The broadening of men's views that has resulted can scarcely be exaggerated. Before the cylinder fell there was a general persuasion that through all the deep of space no life existed beyond the petty surface of our minute sphere. Now we see further. If the Martians can reach Venus, there is no reason to suppose that the thing is impossible for men, and when the slow cooling of the sun makes this earth uninhabitable, as at last it must do, it may be that the thread of life that has begun here will have streamed out and caught our sister planet within its toils.


Simon_Jester wrote:The problem is, while Wells clearly intended to make the Martians smarter than humans, I don't think that can be translated into "therefore the Martians have automatic godlike intelligence that allows them to foresee and avoid all difficulties that might be placed in their path."

They clearly didn't anticipate the existence of disease germs, or even prepare against any serious biological or chemical threats to their survival on Earth. They show signs of not clearly understanding water transportation, and of stumbling into problems dealing with these things they don't understand.
I attributed all their locomotive problems as dealing with much higher gravity, to be honest.

I never thought they didn't understand water travel per se; remembering of course, that Mars with Canals was their homeworld.
These can plausibly be explained as "Martians are smarter than humans but not by a large enough margin to allow them to easily avoid the perils of an unfamiliar environment." But that itself places an upper bound on the intelligence of the Martians- both that of the individual Martians who came to Earth personally, and that of the collective Martian civilization that launched their expedition.

I can accept that Martians average smarter than Earthlings, but not to a degree that smacks of a 'no limits fallacy,' in other words.

The thing is, the bacterial infection was something of an outside context problem for them, and likely a partial oversight; but they show keen understanding of how the concepts of military whizz-bangers and boomguns work.

As for a no-limits fallacy; it is not intended by me that they be 'godlike' and you will search in vain to find such an effort, rather, I presume they're capable as a species of thinking up the most horribly devastating tactics within the realm of plausibility and their known abilities that we geeks on a message board can conjure if they desire; whether they have the resources to mount such attacks is an open question; I should not imagine they want for time or industrial ability, however.
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Re: War of the Worlds query.

Postby The Romulan Republic » 2017-04-11 07:13am

Reg. the issue of water travel, they don't actually demonstrated any ocean-going vehicle capability (though the tripods are able to wade in and fight in coastal water). It may be that, given the relative lack of water on even their Mars, at least large floating craft are something they don't have any use for prior to coming to Earth.

But given that they canonically have airplanes, they can certainly cross large bodies of water regardless.
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Re: War of the Worlds query.

Postby NecronLord » 2017-04-11 07:16am

I'm not sure how big the Martain Canals were conjectured to be, but I imagine that tripods might well be able to just step over them? If not, bridges surely exist.
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Re: War of the Worlds query.

Postby NecronLord » 2017-04-11 07:21am

Shroom Man 777 wrote:The hugeness of their brains... was this just through visual observation of the cephalopod-ic Martians? Or was there an actual factual Guillermo Del Toro-esque Autopsy Scene? A huge head might not necessarily mean a huge brain, other organs might be there too...


Dissections are mentioned as the source of the narrator's knowledge:

The internal anatomy, I may remark here, as dissection has since shown, was almost equally simple. The greater part of the structure was the brain, sending enormous nerves to the eyes, ear, and tactile tentacles. Besides this were the bulky lungs, into which the mouth opened, and the heart and its vessels. The pulmonary distress caused by the denser atmosphere and greater gravitational attraction was only too evident in the convulsive movements of the outer skin.


It is of course conceivable that the greater part of that brain is not doing much related to sapience - those writhing tentacles would need a lot of control, perhaps. But that's neither the intent, nor the theme.
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Re: War of the Worlds query.

Postby Simon_Jester » 2017-04-11 06:31pm

NecronLord wrote:It's worth noting (though I used it as an example back when we had the Avatar smacktard plague) that Earth is *not* essential to the Martains - and their failure in the book is not necessarily the end of their species. They appear to launch for Venus at the end of the book, which is possibly not inhabited by sapient beings.
This is true, though it does nothing to detract from the importance of the mission to Earth from the Martians' point of view- they would still have armed the expedition to Earth with the most refined tools available, if not necessarily the most powerful ones.

The Martians certainly had a backup plan, but its success must necessarily have been uncertain, so we can reasonably assume that they did their best to make the Earth mission a success.

I attributed all their locomotive problems as dealing with much higher gravity, to be honest.

I never thought they didn't understand water travel per se; remembering of course, that Mars with Canals was their homeworld.
If Mars didn't have large bodies of water, as in oceans and naturally occurring lakes, it is likely that their canals were used almost entirely for irrigation and movement of water for Martian consumption. There might have been canals used to float barges, but this would basically be the equivalent of railroads or whatever analogue to railroads the Martians may possess (they no doubt have something along those lines).

What I'm getting at is that the Martians behaved very much as though ships- large, self-powered moving vehicles that float on the water- were alien to them. They clearly understand self-powered machinery very, very well indeed, which suggests that the alien character of the vehicles was their tendency to float in water.

These can plausibly be explained as "Martians are smarter than humans but not by a large enough margin to allow them to easily avoid the perils of an unfamiliar environment." But that itself places an upper bound on the intelligence of the Martians- both that of the individual Martians who came to Earth personally, and that of the collective Martian civilization that launched their expedition.

I can accept that Martians average smarter than Earthlings, but not to a degree that smacks of a 'no limits fallacy,' in other words.
The thing is, the bacterial infection was something of an outside context problem for them, and likely a partial oversight; but they show keen understanding of how the concepts of military whizz-bangers and boomguns work.

As for a no-limits fallacy; it is not intended by me that they be 'godlike' and you will search in vain to find such an effort, rather, I presume they're capable as a species of thinking up the most horribly devastating tactics within the realm of plausibility and their known abilities that we geeks on a message board can conjure if they desire; whether they have the resources to mount such attacks is an open question; I should not imagine they want for time or industrial ability, however.
In the interests of not talking past each other, I'm tempted to drop this, because I'm not sure how to explain something nuanced on this subject without just drawing another salvo.

My views are something like "the Martians may be incrementally smarter than human, and are clearly capable of solving problems innovatively, but they don't appear to behave in ways that demonstrate much more intelligence than humans would bring to bear on similar problems."
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