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 Post subject: Re: Imperial armour: Siege of Vraks analysis PostPosted: 2012-04-25 02:27am
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Zinegata wrote:
If you had any common sense, then you'd realize that you need to compare the supply requirements of a tank, and the supply requirements of an infantryman, if you are actually going to address this argument.

NOT just quote "This is how much water an infantryman needs!". That's the supply requirement of the infantry. And again, with mechanized infantry, you have to add their fuel requirements on top of that (and note I'm not even counting spare parts yet)

So, to review:

Let's accept that an infantryman requires 3 litres of water a day. I argued that you can reduce this in some terrain by foraging, but let's ignore that for now.

A US Army M1 Abrams tank has a fuel tank that has a capacity of 500 gallons, and this is enough fuel for roughly 8 hours of driving at full speed.

Again. That's 500 gallons of fuel for 1 tank. That translates to about 1,850 litres (assuming 3.7 liters per gallon).

In short, the amount of fuel consumed by an M1 Abrams in 8 hours is about the same volume of water that can supply more than 600 soldiers in a single day.

This is why I asked Simon Jester if he knew of Warhammer 40K tank fuel efficiency stats. Because maybe in the Grim Darkness of the far future they don't have such gas-guzzlers. But the above should already demonstrate that the vehicles in a mechanized formation consume a HUGE amount of supplies even if you account for fuel alone (and not other stuff like spare parts), which could instead be used to supply a greater number of infantry.

Now do you get it?

So again: The logistical requirement to supply a mechanized infantry regiment is higher than of an infantry regiment. To the point it may be possible to supply two, three, four, or even five infantry regiments using the logistics tail to supply ONE mechanized regiment. Show some actual numbers to show it ain't the case if you're sore about it.

1. You can't forage for water in a battlefield environment, especially not Wh40k which features lots of pollution and other dirty situations. Especially when your strategy disperses troops to defend the territory, so that the Tau has to fight a pitched battle.

Just how far do you want your soldiers to walk everyday to collect water? How much time do you want to spend? Also, just how far away from water supplies are you going to station yourself? Whatever happened to the I will cover my supply lines with fire strategy?


2. You're compensating for the firepower,mobility and speed of an armoured unit with LARGER numbers of infantrymen, which you state that you will disperse to defend your supply lines. Just how far do your water trucks have to go and how many trips? Or have you forgotten the point I made twice already, that you still need fuel for your logistics needs?

I'm not Simon Jester, who stated that a smaller force has smaller logistic needs. I pointed out that your dispersion and large numbers of men will have a large logistic train with the corresponding larger supply burden...... all items which you magic away and claim that infantry will need miminal supply, or even no supply on certain days since lasguns.

We haven't talked about batteries for the radios and personal communicators. Lubricant for your lasguns for your vastly larger force, which you scattered every sixty hexes to defend your supply lines and your defensive line, which would have to be thick and broad to absorb an armoured attack.

Hell. We haven't even talked about sanitation needs and the logistic burden that means too, such as toilet paper. You're not talking about swapping 1 mech+1 armoured regiment for 5-8 large infantry regiments. On the scale of operations you're talking about, it could be 10 oversize regiments just to cover the ground thick enough and have enough men for an attack.



Let him land on any Lyran world to taste firsthand the wrath of peace loving people thwarted by the myopic greed of a few miserly old farts- Katrina Steiner

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 Post subject: Re: Imperial armour: Siege of Vraks analysis PostPosted: 2012-04-25 02:55am
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Simon_Jester wrote:
The argument is that against a mobile opponent, four foot regiments do not equal one mobile regiment.

Again, you will be endlessly strung out trying to protect large areas of territory against an opponent who gets to choose where to hit you. You will need much more than a 4:1 numerical advantage to win under those conditions. At 1:1 odds you would be predictably wiped out because the enemy gets to have recon patrols watching your every move and you can't chase them away. The enemy gets to choose ambush positions, zip in front of you and place land mines, zip behind you and blow up your food and water supplies, and so on. If you march forward you will be cut off and wrecked. If you stay put you will be surrounded, pinned to your entrenchments and left to wither on the vine.


Actually, you do realize that at Kursk the Germans attacked the Soviets who only had a 2:1 numerical advantage, yes? And that the Germans had the advantage of holding the tactical initiative, and got to choose where to hit the Soviet lines?

Simply having enough manpower to be able to defend in depth is, in fact, feasible especially if your troops have inferior mobility compared to the enemy.

And for the last time. The Russians had tanks at Kursk too. I'm not saying "Don't have tanks".

Quote:
It's just... you're really, literally shooting yourself in the foot by hampering your own mobility this much for the sake of raw numbers and not having tanks. Especially since the "no tanks" purpose is equally well served by a typical armored cavalry regiment with its Chimeras (which, incidentally, can be armed with ATGMs and made into surprisingly effective counters to Tau armor in sufficient numbers) and other light vehicles. Sure, the Tau will railgun a few APCs. If you're willing to write off the services of hundreds of thousands of troops for months at a time, surely you can afford to lose some APCs.

Please, just... take a step back and reconsider, because from outside your head you look like you've got a really spectacular case of tunnel vision going here.


Lemme try to explain what I'm seeing.

I get what you're trying to say. I really do. Let's have our armor hunt down their armor! Counter mobile forces with our own mobile forces! Engage them in a battle of maneuver!

The Tau are like the modern US Army - high speed tanks, mech infantry, high-tech troops. They can strike at will and make rapid punches! To counter them, you need an equivalent force.

But here's the problem: The IG isn't like that. Some regiments may be capable of these kinds of battles (i.e. Narmenians and Pardus), but most aren't. They're closer to a World War 2 army in overall orientation - whith huge numbers of infantry-only regiments supported by some mech and tank regiments. If you try the mobile warfare game with the Tau by gathering a large number of IG Mech/Tank units, the result is most likely going to be Iraq '91 or Barbarossa 41' - with the IG being either the Iraqis or Russians respectively.

That's why I am proposing a strategy wherein you refuse to play the same game as the Tau at all - no fast-moving mobile battles, but deliberate front-wide advances designed to capture Tau logistical centers. Advance, capture, consolidate.

Seeking out the Tau armoured forces is not my concern. I want them to attack me instead, because I'll have troops defending in depth with armoured response troops and air cav (in fewer numbers) reinforcing them. If they don't attack, then fine - I'll take their logistics centers and wait a few weeks until their tanks run out of fuel.

And again, that does not mean the army won't have tanks or mech. That doesn't mean there won't be Air Cav. But the army will look more like the Red Army of 1943 instead of the US Army of 2010, because the IG is closer to the former than the latter in overall composition anyway.

Now, if you can get an Army Group together with only the best IG tank / mech forces who've been trained for that kind of rapid mobile warfare, sure, I'm game with taking on the Tau that way.

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 Post subject: Re: Imperial armour: Siege of Vraks analysis PostPosted: 2012-04-25 02:58am
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PainRack wrote:
...


Again, Pain Rack shows it is impossible to have a conversation with him.

I say "lets set aside foraging", and then he complains about "You can't forage!"

My argument is "The logistical requirements of an infantry force are less than a mechanized force", and he retardedly spouts off more logistical requirements of an infantry force (radios, batteries, lasgun reloads, sanitation) without realizing a mechanized force needs those items too. Because apparently by virtue of being part of mechanized infantry, you become a cyborg and all your normal bodily functions cease, so sanitation is no longer an issue for them. :banghead:

Complete. Waste. Of. Time. He really is completely oblivious to what the argument even is.

Ignored.

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 Post subject: Re: Imperial armour: Siege of Vraks analysis PostPosted: 2012-04-25 03:08am
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Zinegata wrote:
And again, you ignore that a towed Hydra flak piece is still MUCH smaller than a full Hydra Flak tank.


But it's still effectively a tank, as far as Tau anti-tank weapons are concerned. If you're using large weapon platforms you're giving railguns good targets to shoot at, and undermining the entire point of your conscript horde.

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Yes, but that's because your strategy is obsessed around running after and killing the Tau, and ignoring that you don't always have to chase them to win.


How exactly is your conscript horde supposed to win a war when it has zero practical ability to project force outside of its fixed bases? How are you going to prevent the Tau from simply ignoring those fixed bases and using stealth units and/or aircraft to kill the supply lines and let the conscripts starve?

And don't forget, your entire strategy is based on the flawed assumption that the Tau have no ability to deploy artillery (or an appropriate equivalent). If the Tau have artillery, orbital bombardment, heavy bombers, etc, the conscript horde dies even more uselessly.
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But most Imperial mech and even tank units are not necessarily ready for that. They're not trained to do lightning advances - which is probably part of the reason why the Taros advance was so slow.


So you have two alternatives:

1) Make a lightning assault with mechanized units, and accept that you're going to take losses because your units aren't really trained for the job. However, you might actually win the war before your fatal vulnerability in logistics can be exploited.

or

2) Deploy a massive conscript horde which will do nothing but sit around dying to attacks it has no ability to reply to, and no strategic mobility to reach any useful objectives.

I know which one I'd go with, especially if I'm an Imperial commander who doesn't care about loss rates as long as I win the war.

Quote:
But their forces are simply not structured to fight these same kinds of battles. That's why they ultimately decided on a defensive battle - forcing the Germans to chew through their conscript infantry, before clobbering the enemy armor with their own armor during the counter-attack phase. It's not the ideal battle plan, but it's the workable battle plan given the general capacity of Imperial Mech forces.


Except there's one key difference: the Germans didn't have magic invisible airplanes dropping precision airstrikes on command, dropships capable of deploying complete tank formations anywhere on the planet, or any of the other advanced Tau technology.

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 Post subject: Re: Imperial armour: Siege of Vraks analysis PostPosted: 2012-04-25 03:17am
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lPeregrine wrote:
But it's still effectively a tank, as far as Tau anti-tank weapons are concerned. If you're using large weapon platforms you're giving railguns good targets to shoot at, and undermining the entire point of your conscript horde.


Again, no. Towed ATGs were in an entirely different class in real life for a reason.

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How exactly is your conscript horde supposed to win a war when it has zero practical ability to project force outside of its fixed bases? How are you going to prevent the Tau from simply ignoring those fixed bases and using stealth units and/or aircraft to kill the supply lines and let the conscripts starve?


It will depend on the terrain, but if you think the horde just gets to sit in base and do nothing then you really should read up on how conscript armies were deployed IRL.

Quote:
And don't forget, your entire strategy is based on the flawed assumption that the Tau have no ability to deploy artillery (or an appropriate equivalent). If the Tau have artillery, orbital bombardment, heavy bombers, etc, the conscript horde dies even more uselessly.


Dude, if the Tau had artillery I wouldn't be advocating sending massed infantry against them. The fact they don't have any in any canon literature in contradiction of their stated doctrine means it is your flawed assumption to think they have any.

Quote:
So you have two alternatives:

1) Make a lightning assault with mechanized units, and accept that you're going to take losses because your units aren't really trained for the job. However, you might actually win the war before your fatal vulnerability in logistics can be exploited.


Actually, I'd be okay if I think they'd only take losses. I think they'd get annihilated. Iraq vs US Army, '91.

Quote:
2) Deploy a massive conscript horde which will do nothing but sit around dying to attacks it has no ability to reply to, and no strategic mobility to reach any useful objectives.


You know, I'm going to have to call you out on this, because infantry armies do in fact have extensive strategic mobility, and experience during Barbarossa showed that the Panzers couldn't really outpace the foot infantry that much because they had to stop periodically for resupply.

So again, read up on how massed infantry got employed, particularly in the Eastern front of World War 2.

Quote:
Except there's one key difference: the Germans didn't have magic invisible airplanes dropping precision airstrikes on command, dropships capable of deploying complete tank formations anywhere on the planet, or any of the other advanced Tau technology.


Doesn't matter, because the problem the Germans ran into was that they actually ran out of room to maneuver - essentially everywhere they went, they met heavy resistance and lots of ATGs that stalled the advance.

Also, I kinda doubt the Tau will have enough Seeker missiles to take out 25,000 gun positions.

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 Post subject: Re: Imperial armour: Siege of Vraks analysis PostPosted: 2012-04-25 03:19am
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Zinegata wrote:
If they don't attack, then fine - I'll take their logistics centers and wait a few weeks until their tanks run out of fuel.


Except Tau don't have fixed logistical centers.

It's very difficult to stop your enemy from getting fuel for their tanks when your enemy can deploy fully fueled tanks directly from orbit, or from bases thousands of miles away from the battlefield.

The way to beat the Tau is to identify the important strategic objectives, land as close as possible (air defenses will probably prevent a direct assault), and move as quickly as possible to attack them. That means, if space marines aren't available, mechanized infantry. Any unit without transports is simply going to be too slow to get the job done before its supply convoys start exploding. And you certainly aren't going to want to sit back on the defensive and wait for the Remora drones to find everything of value in your army and blow it up.

Quote:
And again, that does not mean the army won't have tanks or mech. That doesn't mean there won't be Air Cav. But the army will look more like the Red Army of 1943 instead of the US Army of 2010, because the IG is closer to the former than the latter in overall composition anyway.


So now you've completely abandoned your original premise of "Tau are too good at killing tanks, bring conscript hordes"?

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 Post subject: Re: Imperial armour: Siege of Vraks analysis PostPosted: 2012-04-25 03:28am
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Zinegata wrote:
Again, no. Towed ATGs were in an entirely different class in real life for a reason.


They were also smaller than a Hydra platform.

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Dude, if the Tau had artillery I wouldn't be advocating sending massed infantry against them. The fact they don't have any in any canon literature in contradiction of their stated doctrine means it is your flawed assumption to think they have any.


Quote for this? Because there's a huge difference between "Tau will not deploy artillery (or equivalent weapons) under any circumstances" and "in the small-scale battles we've seen so far, the Tau use precision guided missiles instead".

Quote:
You know, I'm going to have to call you out on this, because infantry armies do in fact have extensive strategic mobility, and experience during Barbarossa showed that the Panzers couldn't really outpace the foot infantry that much because they had to stop periodically for resupply.


See IA:3 for the canon example of what happens when a horde of walking infantry tries goes up against the Tau, and the canon example of how they do better when the mechanized units abandon anyone who doesn't have a Chimera and head straight for the objective.

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Doesn't matter, because the problem the Germans ran into was that they actually ran out of room to maneuver - essentially everywhere they went, they met heavy resistance and lots of ATGs that stalled the advance.


How exactly do you plan to remove "room to maneuver" from an enemy that can load up its entire tank formation aboard dropships and move it to an entirely different continent in a few hours, and then deploy it right back a few hours later?

Quote:
Also, I kinda doubt the Tau will have enough Seeker missiles to take out 25,000 gun positions.


Why not? You were talking about a hypothetical scenario of a million Tau troops, which means 100k Devilfish transports each carrying a pair of seeker missiles. Plus all of the seeker missiles aboard the tanks and aircraft, and all the reloads available back at their bases.

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 Post subject: Re: Imperial armour: Siege of Vraks analysis PostPosted: 2012-04-25 03:29am
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Sigh. Relax, guys. I think he's actually coming around, hounding him to a CONCESSION ACCEPTED moment is silly.

Also, I'm pretty sure I agree the Tau don't have much tube artillery. They'll wish they did if the Tyranids and orks become more of a problem; the ork problems they've had were bad enough. But I don't think they do.

Zinegata wrote:
Actually, you do realize that at Kursk the Germans attacked the Soviets who only had a 2:1 numerical advantage, yes? And that the Germans had the advantage of holding the tactical initiative, and got to choose where to hit the Soviet lines?

Simply having enough manpower to be able to defend in depth is, in fact, feasible especially if your troops have inferior mobility compared to the enemy.

And for the last time. The Russians had tanks at Kursk too. I'm not saying "Don't have tanks".
...Then what was the point of your initial posts where you argued that the purpose of the exercise was to deny the Tau valuable targets for their superior AT railguns?

Also, you miss the point at Kursk: the entire Kursk salient was the wrong place for the Germans to attack because it put them in a slogging, headbanging match against a solid field of defenses stretching for miles. The Germans did not have to choose to attack there. Doing so was a disastrous error; attacking any of many other places would have been better because everywhere else along the front, the Soviets didn't have the manpower to put that kind of impregnable defense up.

This mistake, this error of attacking where the enemy is ready for you and has set a huge, lethal trap, is very simple. It is also an error the Tau would be very unlikely to make because if anything they are too wary of launching attacks against a prepared and entrenched defender.

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Lemme try to explain what I'm seeing.

I get what you're trying to say. I really do. Let's have our armor hunt down their armor! Counter mobile forces with our own mobile forces! Engage them in a battle of maneuver!

The Tau are like the modern US Army - high speed tanks, mech infantry, high-tech troops. They can strike at will and make rapid punches! To counter them, you need an equivalent force.

But here's the problem: The IG isn't like that. Some regiments may be capable of these kinds of battles (i.e. Narmenians and Pardus), but most aren't. They're closer to a World War 2 army in overall orientation - whith huge numbers of infantry-only regiments supported by some mech and tank regiments. If you try the mobile warfare game with the Tau by gathering a large number of IG Mech/Tank units, the result is most likely going to be Iraq '91 or Barbarossa 41' - with the IG being either the Iraqis or Russians respectively.

That's why I am proposing a strategy wherein you refuse to play the same game as the Tau at all - no fast-moving mobile battles, but deliberate front-wide advances designed to capture Tau logistical centers. Advance, capture, consolidate.

Seeking out the Tau armoured forces is not my concern. I want them to attack me instead, because I'll have troops defending in depth with armoured response troops and air cav (in fewer numbers) reinforcing them. If they don't attack, then fine - I'll take their logistics centers and wait a few weeks until their tanks run out of fuel.

And again, that does not mean the army won't have tanks or mech. That doesn't mean there won't be Air Cav. But the army will look more like the Red Army of 1943 instead of the US Army of 2010, because the IG is closer to the former than the latter in overall composition anyway.

Now, if you can get an Army Group together with only the best IG tank / mech forces who've been trained for that kind of rapid mobile warfare, sure, I'm game with taking on the Tau that way.
Okay. This is... not what it sounded like you were saying. When we began this conversation it sure sounded like you wanted to try a pure foot infantry army. Which is a recipe for disaster or humiliations unless your numerical superiority is incredibly, ludicrously overwhelming (dozens to one).

You had very much downplayed the role of the mobile assets, you see. And made a number of statements that sounded absolute, like the bit about the Tau lack of effective antipersonnel weapons and how you wanted to deny them tank targets for their railguns. The combination may have created a false impression. I won't apologize for that.

In any event, the key here is that you at least need units that can in theory chase and catch the Tau. The advantage of having them is that it "keeps them honest." It limits the options they can use from their own mobile-warfare playbook, because they're not dealing with a paralyzed opponent whose feet are nailed to the floor.

It's sort of like how having a competent air defense network and some fighters of your own, even if not the best ones, helps you minimize the advantage of enemy air superiority. There are things an air force can do against an enemy with no AA weapons and interceptors that would never work, would be outright suicidal or at least largely ineffective, against an enemy who has them. Likewise, there are tricks of mobile warfare that work brilliantly against a slow opponent that fail against a fast opponent.

Like, moving through rough country by a back way to cut off the column marching slowly down the road is a great trick (see Operation Compass and the total British defeat of an Italian army that outnumbered them 10:1). But it can fail badly if the enemy sends a flying column of fast troops down the road, gets to your ambush site first, and ambushes you right back before you're ready.

Or, using your fast patrols to stalk the enemy (in the "stalker watching you" sense). That works very well against a slow enemy with no fast troops, because your patrols can always break contact whenever they like. It doesn't work so well if the enemy can use his fast troops to battle yours, because you have to keep more of a safe distance from the enemy, and your scouts have to worry more about bailing out in time to escape pursuit.

Or breakthrough tactics- this was a big part of why when the Germans tried to repeat the successful 1940 Ardennes Offensive in 1944 at the Battle of the Bulge, they lost. Unlike the 1940 French, the 1944 British and Americans had plenty of mobile, motorized and armored units they could shift quickly to throw against the flanks of the German penetration. It also didn't help that the Germans lacked a lot of the muscle they'd used to follow up the penetration in 1940, but fundamentally that was a lot of what went wrong.

So basically, even if your mobile units are much more agile than the enemy's, just the fact that he has mobile units that can't be effortlessly wiped off the field (as Guard armor can't be effortlessly wiped out by Tau armor, the Tau aren't that good)... that's important. It cramps the fast guy's style a lot.

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 Post subject: Re: Imperial armour: Siege of Vraks analysis PostPosted: 2012-04-25 03:35am
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Also, time to end all the claims about "Tau have no artillery":

Fire Warrior novel wrote:
This part of the city had been all but flattened in the tau attack, targeted by one of the colossal Dorsal-class bombers. The vessel's unthinkable aerial ordnance had devastated whatever had stood here before, leaving nothing but fragmented rockcrete and rising smoke.


So yeah, say goodbye to your conscript horde.

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 Post subject: Re: Imperial armour: Siege of Vraks analysis PostPosted: 2012-04-25 03:42am
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lPeregrine wrote:
Zinegata wrote:
If they don't attack, then fine - I'll take their logistics centers and wait a few weeks until their tanks run out of fuel.


Except Tau don't have fixed logistical centers.

It's very difficult to stop your enemy from getting fuel for their tanks when your enemy can deploy fully fueled tanks directly from orbit, or from bases thousands of miles away from the battlefield.


Again - admittedly - I'm assuming orbital supremacy here. Pain Rack may be impossible, but his point about air superiority wasn't crazy.

Quote:
The way to beat the Tau is to identify the important strategic objectives, land as close as possible (air defenses will probably prevent a direct assault), and move as quickly as possible to attack them. That means, if space marines aren't available, mechanized infantry. Any unit without transports is simply going to be too slow to get the job done before its supply convoys start exploding. And you certainly aren't going to want to sit back on the defensive and wait for the Remora drones to find everything of value in your army and blow it up.


Well, there is more than one way to skin a cat; this is a workable plan. The main thing that changes things for me is that you're sending the mechanized IG to a fixed objective, as opposed to having them try and fight the Tau in a battle for maneuver.

But this plan has to win quickly, or else the mech will find its supply lines shot to pieces just as it's running out of ammo. Or worse, the Tau simply withdraws from the strategic point and starts harassing your tanks and mech until they can launch a general counter-attack, which is precisely the kind of fight I wouldn't want - IG tanks defending against Tau harassers.

Quote:
So now you've completely abandoned your original premise of "Tau are too good at killing tanks, bring conscript hordes"?


Dude, the Red Army of 1943 is mostly conscript hordes. But it also has tanks :P.

If it were up to me and the conscript army, this is what I'd do:

I'd advance over a broad front, giving myself a "safe zone" behind the frontline that has already been cleared of Tau troops. Whenever the Tau try to attack the frontline to breakthrough to the rear and attack the supply centers, the infantry will hold them for as long as possible before tank or air cav support arrives. Even if they get through, the Tau were at least forced to fight a pitched battle and took losses.

If that's not possible, then we clearly needed more infantry :p. Although in a pinch (if the distances involved are short) it may be possible to try and create a defended "corridor" through which the supplies would pass through, the his corridor is guarded on both sides by infantry. Not a great solution though since you need twice as much men for the same amount of frontage, but it keeps your supply convoys safe until the main force reached the objective.

Quote:
This part of the city had been all but flattened in the tau attack, targeted by one of the colossal Dorsal-class bombers. The vessel's unthinkable aerial ordnance had devastated whatever had stood here before, leaving nothing but fragmented rockcrete and rising smoke.


Lol, okay, so they have a bomber. Not artillery. Still better than nothing.

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 Post subject: Re: Imperial armour: Siege of Vraks analysis PostPosted: 2012-04-25 03:57am
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Zinegata wrote:
Again - admittedly - I'm assuming orbital supremacy here. Pain Rack may be impossible, but his point about air superiority wasn't crazy.


Which is just absurd favoritism for the Imperium, and doesn't really prove much besides "having orbital supremacy is really good". A more realistic scenario, for purposes of comparing ground forces, is one where neither side is able to dominate in space. So transports on both sides can get through to resupply ground forces (though they may have to land far from the battlefield), but neither side is able to effectively use orbital bombardment.

Quote:
I'd advance over a broad front, giving myself a "safe zone" behind the frontline that has already been cleared of Tau troops. Whenever the Tau try to attack the frontline to breakthrough to the rear and attack the supply centers, the infantry will hold them for as long as possible before tank or air cav support arrives. Even if they get through, the Tau were at least forced to fight a pitched battle and took losses.


The point is that you can't create a "safe zone". The Tau don't have to break through the front line to hit your supply centers, they can simply deploy a tank squadron with Manta dropships and ignore your obsolete concept of "front lines". Or they can fly cloaked Remora drones right past the front lines and go straight to the convoys. Etc.

Quote:
If that's not possible, then we clearly needed more infantry :p. Although in a pinch (if the distances involved are short) it may be possible to try and create a defended "corridor" through which the supplies would pass through, the his corridor is guarded on both sides by infantry. Not a great solution though since you need twice as much men for the same amount of frontage, but it keeps your supply convoys safe until the main force reached the objective.


Except it doesn't keep them safe at all. You can line the roads with infantry all you want, but that isn't going to do anything to stop a Remora drone 50,000' above the road from dropping a couple seeker missiles onto your fuel tankers. Or a stealth team from hiding cloaked anywhere within line of sight of the road and markerlighting your supply convoy for a Sky Ray squadron somewhere over the horizon.

The way to protect your supply lines is to win the war before the Tau stealth units can locate and engage enough of your convoys to cripple your logistics. Spending vast amounts of manpower to "defend" them is just slightly delaying the inevitable.

Quote:
Lol, okay, so they have a bomber. Not artillery. Still better than nothing.


The point is that it's mass area-effect firepower. Whether it is delivered by artillery guns or a heavy bomber is irrelevant, the end result is the same: an entire section of the city reduced to rubble, along with (presumably) all of the conscript horde that would have been hiding in it.

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 Post subject: Re: Imperial armour: Siege of Vraks analysis PostPosted: 2012-04-25 04:02am
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I wouldn't count on the Tau being able to casually penetrate Imperial air defenses, and a belt of defenses in depth could be hard even for stealth troops to infiltrate. So if the Imperium has solid infantry lines, it will be a lot harder to pull that kind of special-forces-drone-war crap that the US pulls so much of today. It can happen, it has an effect, but that doesn't mean it'll be decisive any more than fighter-bombers strafing supply columns were decisive in most WWII operations.

Tau bombers and Tau aerospace fighters may be pretty similar; bombers that utterly flatten cities remind me of the Manta and of light orbital support. Which the Tau can have, but the Imperium can have too, and if you didn't have at least parity in terms of space firepower it's unlikely you'd have been able to make planetfall to fight them at all.

In general, I wouldn't make too many assumptions about Tau bombardment capability. Copious automatic weapons and well-placed but limited indirect fire can probably do a lot of damage and suppression, especially when coupled with the kind of harassing drone warfare and sniping the Tau are capable of. If you could somehow trap the Tau in a pitched battle, it might matter less- Imperial ballistic artillery and raw numbers of troops competent in close quarter battle (not necessarily melee, but also things like room-to-room rifle fighting) would carry the day. But when trying to march large units of infantry it's a big problem, and you may need armor support to clear out the Tau armor in an expeditious fashion.

This is an issue- even one or two tanks can have a paralytic effect on an infantry advance. If they can't unlimber an AT weapon and get it into position, they will be easily pinned down by the tank's superior firepower... and the tank's mobility can make it a damn hard target for AT fire because if they're smart they'll move and not give you time to get set up and dialed in. Having some armor of your own really helps when it comes to blunting the advantage of the enemy armor.

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 Post subject: Re: Imperial armour: Siege of Vraks analysis PostPosted: 2012-04-25 04:05am
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Simon_Jester wrote:
Sigh. Relax, guys. I think he's actually coming around, hounding him to a CONCESSION ACCEPTED moment is silly.


Poor Simon. Hard to be the sane one ain't it? :lol:

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...Then what was the point of your initial posts where you argued that the purpose of the exercise was to deny the Tau valuable targets for their superior AT railguns?


The point is that I expected people to not treat it to its extremes.

I know the initial post went something along the lines of "If the Tau have 10 rail guns, they can either kill 10 tanks or 10 infantry per shot, and it's cheaper to lose infantry than tanks". But that doesn't mean your force shouldn't fight with any tanks at all.

What I am saying is that mix should be tilted much more towards infantry, simply because the Tau lack the killing power to eliminate them quickly while infantry do have the power to damage or destroy their mech forces while on the defensive.

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Also, you miss the point at Kursk: the entire Kursk salient was the wrong place for the Germans to attack because it put them in a slogging, headbanging match against a solid field of defenses stretching for miles. The Germans did not have to choose to attack there. Doing so was a disastrous error; attacking any of many other places would have been better because everywhere else along the front, the Soviets didn't have the manpower to put that kind of impregnable defense up.


Not really; like I said I'm aiming to force the Tau to fight a slogging headbang match by having lots of troops everywhere. Now, you think it's gonna involve much more troops than I do, and we can disagree over that, but the general principle is to force the Tau to fight a Kursk-style battle even if they don't want to.

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This mistake, this error of attacking where the enemy is ready for you and has set a huge, lethal trap, is very simple. It is also an error the Tau would be very unlikely to make because if anything they are too wary of launching attacks against a prepared and entrenched defender.


Which doesn't really make it worse for the Imperium. If the Tau decide to check out rather than fight these crazy Imperials deploying 9 million man armies to cover the whole front, then the Imperium wins without firing a shot (although the expenditures in supplies...)

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Okay. This is... not what it sounded like you were saying. When we began this conversation it sure sounded like you wanted to try a pure foot infantry army. Which is a recipe for disaster or humiliations unless your numerical superiority is incredibly, ludicrously overwhelming (dozens to one).


There is a reason why I keep saying Pain Rack that he needs to read what I actually wrote. I have said very many times "I don't mean we should have no tanks or mech". See below for some examples.

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You had very much downplayed the role of the mobile assets, you see. And made a number of statements that sounded absolute, like the bit about the Tau lack of effective antipersonnel weapons and how you wanted to deny them tank targets for their railguns. The combination may have created a false impression. I won't apologize for that.


Well, you are reasonable so I'd say that's my bad. But again, I think I said pretty early on that I'm not saying this is a pure infantry force. Since two days ago:

Quote:
Zinegata said:

Oh I'm certainly not saying that you shouldn't deploy any armored cav at all. I'm just saying that your force should be tilted much more towards having a lot of infantry (with anti-tank weapons), like you would in a COIN campaign.


Now, granted, the COIN analogy may not have been best, but I never advocated an all-infantry force. I blame Pain Rack for this fiasco entirely.

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In any event, the key here is that you at least need units that can in theory chase and catch the Tau. The advantage of having them is that it "keeps them honest." It limits the options they can use from their own mobile-warfare playbook, because they're not dealing with a paralyzed opponent whose feet are nailed to the floor.


Hence my suggestion to you for Air Cav:

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Zinegata said:

Though in retrospect, an Imperial Air Cav Regiment might be a superior response force given the speed difference between Tau and Imperial armoured forces. The Air Cav forces in the new Codex feature some of the best anti-tank weapons in the Imperial arsenal - with the three twin-linked lascannons for the Vendetta gunship being more than enough to ruin the day of any Tau tank.


So no, my position hasn't changed.

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 Post subject: Re: Imperial armour: Siege of Vraks analysis PostPosted: 2012-04-25 04:11am
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lPeregrine wrote:
Which is just absurd favoritism for the Imperium, and doesn't really prove much besides "having orbital supremacy is really good". A more realistic scenario, for purposes of comparing ground forces, is one where neither side is able to dominate in space. So transports on both sides can get through to resupply ground forces (though they may have to land far from the battlefield), but neither side is able to effectively use orbital bombardment.


Except of course we already saw the Imperium had orbital supremacy at Taros, just not air supremacy.

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The point is that you can't create a "safe zone". The Tau don't have to break through the front line to hit your supply centers, they can simply deploy a tank squadron with Manta dropships and ignore your obsolete concept of "front lines". Or they can fly cloaked Remora drones right past the front lines and go straight to the convoys. Etc.


"Assumption of orbital and air superiority" :p.

Moreover, I'd also point out that even fighting without orbital or air supremacy I'd be confident about being able to conduct a defensive war. Despite suffering from massed interidiction due to losing air supremacy, the Wermacht did a good job of holding the Western allies off. Because again, infantry can tend to forage.

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Except it doesn't keep them safe at all. You can line the roads with infantry all you want, but that isn't going to do anything to stop a Remora drone 50,000' above the road from dropping a couple seeker missiles onto your fuel tankers. Or a stealth team from hiding cloaked anywhere within line of sight of the road and markerlighting your supply convoy for a Sky Ray squadron somewhere over the horizon.


Again, if the Tau have that kind of magic, then the tanks and mech are just as dead. Seriously. You can't claim that "The Tau can seeker missile you whenever the Tau want!" and then go around and say "Let's attack the enemy with tank forces as quickly as possible!". By attacking a fixed objective you're just exposing your tanker's positions to the Tau army, letting them seeker missile you to death.

Your tankers won't have to worry about their supplies being ambushed if this was the case. They'd be wiped out already the moment they show their faces to the Tau.

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 Post subject: Re: Imperial armour: Siege of Vraks analysis PostPosted: 2012-04-25 04:16am
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Simon_Jester wrote:
I wouldn't count on the Tau being able to casually penetrate Imperial air defenses, and a belt of defenses in depth could be hard even for stealth troops to infiltrate. So if the Imperium has solid infantry lines, it will be a lot harder to pull that kind of special-forces-drone-war crap that the US pulls so much of today. It can happen, it has an effect, but that doesn't mean it'll be decisive any more than fighter-bombers strafing supply columns were decisive in most WWII operations.


I think the key difference is the stealth abilities, which seem to be very solidly on the "completely invisible" end of the scale. At long range, especially if the unit isn't shooting, you just can't see them at all. A good air defense network around the target might stop some of them (or at least kill them once they fire), but let's not forget that we're talking about an expendable drone. As a Tau commander I'd be perfectly happy to deploy the Remora swarm even if I know I'm going to lose some of them trying to sneak through in the wrong spot.

And of course it all comes back to the time issue. In a fast assault by mechanized units there might not be enough time to find the vulnerabilities in the Imperium's air defenses, find the convoy routes and schedules, and get the drones into position. On the other hand, if you have a slow advance like Taros, that gives plenty of time for the Tau to identify any gaps in AA coverage and start sending a steady swarm of drones through them.

As for the historical comparison, I'll just point out that Taros is the canon example of this kind of disruption. Even without Remora drones (which didn't exist at the time the book was written), Tau "special-forces-drone-war crap" was able to cripple the Imperium's supply lines and there wasn't really anything they could do about it besides cry about it.

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In general, I wouldn't make too many assumptions about Tau bombardment capability.


The main assumption to make is just that the capability exists at all. It might not be used very frequently in the kind of small-scale conflicts we tend to see in the Tau fiction, but the Tau are perfectly capable of carpet bombing large areas if necessary. Whatever the details of that bomber might be, it would be pretty suicidal to deploy a conscript horde on the assumption that the Tau have no area-effect weapons.

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 Post subject: Re: Imperial armour: Siege of Vraks analysis PostPosted: 2012-04-25 04:24am
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Zinegata wrote:
Except of course we already saw the Imperium had orbital supremacy at Taros, just not air supremacy.


Except they didn't, since the Tau were still able to raid Imperial supply convoys in space and effectively shut down all attempts to resupply the army.

As for air supremacy, they didn't even come close. At best the air war was a stalemate, with the Tau gaining almost complete control as the Imperial Navy failed to replace its losses. The Tau were able to make full use of their Manta and Orca dropships right from day one of the war, and by the end their Barracudas were pretty much blowing up supply convoys at will.

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Moreover, I'd also point out that even fighting without orbital or air supremacy I'd be confident about being able to conduct a defensive war. Despite suffering from massed interidiction due to losing air supremacy, the Wermacht did a good job of holding the Western allies off. Because again, infantry can tend to forage.


See previous comments about the problem with trying to forage in 40k.

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Again, if the Tau have that kind of magic, then the tanks and mech are just as dead. Seriously. You can't claim that "The Tau can seeker missile you whenever the Tau want!" and then go around and say "Let's attack the enemy with tank forces as quickly as possible!". By attacking a fixed objective you're just exposing your tanker's positions to the Tau army, letting them seeker missile you to death.


As I've said before, the key point is TIME.

The Tau do not magically get to know where every supply convoy will be, and when it will be there. Recon assets are limited, and it takes time to locate these things and engage them effectively.

The Tau do not magically get an infinite supply of seeker missiles ready to fire at every single tank. A Remora only carries two seeker missiles, which is great for blowing up a supply convoy once a day, two Trojans at a time, but not so great at dealing with an entire tank formation at once.

By immediately attacking the objective, you deny the drone spam the ability to engage everything simultaneously. You will take losses, but since when has the Imperium ever cared about losses? On the other hand, if you fight a slow defensive war, you give the Tau plenty of time to slowly kill you until there's nothing left.

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 Post subject: Re: Imperial armour: Siege of Vraks analysis PostPosted: 2012-04-25 04:37am
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As I've said before, the key point is TIME.

The Tau do not magically get to know where every supply convoy will be, and when it will be there. Recon assets are limited, and it takes time to locate these things and engage them effectively.

The Tau do not magically get an infinite supply of seeker missiles ready to fire at every single tank. A Remora only carries two seeker missiles, which is great for blowing up a supply convoy once a day, two Trojans at a time, but not so great at dealing with an entire tank formation at once.


I'm not talking about the convoys. I'm talking about the tanks.

If the Remoras can get past fixed defenses, then they sure can marklight Imperial tanks in the open who are attacking the Tau garrison at the strat point. The drone's limited ammo wouldn't be an issue at all since the Tau will have their Sky Rays (outside of visual range) ready to shoot at the targets the Remoras have marked. At six missiles per Sky Ray, you're gonna have to outnumber their Sky Ray force seven to one to even have any tanks left after just the first volley :P.

You won't have to worry about the supply lines if the Tau really have that kind of capability, because there won't be any tanks left to supply.

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 Post subject: Re: Imperial armour: Siege of Vraks analysis PostPosted: 2012-04-25 04:42am
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Zinegata wrote:
At six missiles per Sky Ray, you're gonna have to outnumber their Sky Ray force seven to one to even have any tanks left


That's assuming every missile fired is a kill. It might be a decent assumption for a poorly armored Trojan towing a trailer full of fuel, or a heavy weapon team wearing little more than t-shirts, but I don't think anyone here is going to claim that the Tau are getting anywhere close to 100% kill rates on actual tanks.

And then of course there's factors like shooting down the drones now that you're able to mass your AA units instead of spreading them out to cover an entire convoy route, or whether the Tau can deploy enough markerlight platforms to get a decent rate of fire for their missiles (remember, you have to keep the markerlight on the target until the missile hits), or the fact that the Sky Ray is the main ground-based AA for the Tau and a sensible Tau commander isn't going to want to launch all of their missiles the moment a tank shows up.


Last edited by lPeregrine on 2012-04-25 04:50am, edited 1 time in total.
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 Post subject: Re: Imperial armour: Siege of Vraks analysis PostPosted: 2012-04-25 04:49am
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lPeregrine wrote:
Zinegata wrote:
At six missiles per Sky Ray, you're gonna have to outnumber their Sky Ray force seven to one to even have any tanks left


That's assuming every missile fired is a kill. It might be a decent assumption for a poorly armored Trojan towing a trailer full of fuel, or a heavy weapon team wearing little more than t-shirts, but I don't think anyone here is going to claim that the Tau are getting anywhere close to 100% kill rates on actual tanks.

And then of course there's factors like shooting down the drones now that you're able to mass your AA units instead of spreading them out to cover an entire convoy route, or whether the Tau can deploy enough markerlight platforms to get a decent rate of fire for their missiles (remember, you have to keep the markerlight on the target until the missile hits).


Even at 50% kill rate you'll need to outnumber the Tau 4:1 - before dealing with their other weapons like the Hammerhead Rail guns - and that's assuming the Sky Rays don't reload. Again, mere "heavy losses" is looking doubtful. "Total annihilation" is more likely.

Moreover, having IG AA assets at the front is also no guarantee, because like you said you can just keep throwing in drones anyway. And the AA assets at the front are now much more liable to get attacked by other Tau troops (i.e. Crisis Suits). It's better, but only marginally better.

====

Finally, that still doesn't change the fact that the Tau can simply withdraw from the strategic point. Then harass the armoured force after their "victory" and then do all of the supply line shenanigans you described. Essentially, ANY war that last more than a couple of days that requires any sort of supply line = Instant Tau Win.

So the Tau can literally just let the Imperials take the strat point, wait until the supply lines establish, then resume their modus operandi. The only time when this won't apply is if the IG take a Starport, but if they want to extend anywhere that isn't a Starport then they're auto-screwed.

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 Post subject: Re: Imperial armour: Siege of Vraks analysis PostPosted: 2012-04-25 04:58am
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Zinegata wrote:
Even at 50% kill rate you'll need to outnumber the Tau 4:1 - before dealing with their other weapons like the Hammerhead Rail guns - and that's assuming the Sky Rays don't reload.


It's game mechanics, but even hitting side/top armor on a Leman Russ a Sky Ray averages less than one penetrating hit from its entire load of missiles. Seeker missiles are certainly useful, but they're far from railgun-level firepower.

Also, if you have Hammerheads and other units around, even by your numbers you don't need 4:1 odds against the whole Tau army, only 4:1 odds against the Sky Rays. And fortunately for the Imperium, Sky Rays are rarer than Hammerheads.

Quote:
Having AA at the front is also no guarantee, because like you said you can just keep throwing in drones anyway. And the AA assets at the front are now much more liable to get attacked by other Tau troops (i.e. Crisis Suits).


There's a difference between accepting the occasional drone loss because an isolated AA unit got lucky and saw through the stealth and throwing expensive stealth drones into a head-on battle with mass AA fire.

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The only time when this won't apply is if the IG take a Starport, but if they want to extend anywhere that isn't a Starport then they're auto-screwed.


Oh hey, guess what objective I'd put at the top of my priority list. And then guess what objective tends to be located near other important objectives like, say, the planet's capital city.

(For example, on Taros the capital city and virtually everything of value was right next to the starport. If the Imperium had captured it immediately instead of screwing around walking through the desert the war probably would've gone very differently.)

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 Post subject: Re: Imperial armour: Siege of Vraks analysis PostPosted: 2012-04-25 05:07am
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lPeregrine wrote:
Also, if you have Hammerheads and other units around, even by your numbers you don't need 4:1 odds against the whole Tau army, only 4:1 odds against the Sky Rays. And fortunately for the Imperium, Sky Rays are rarer than Hammerheads.


Yeah, but they're also not the only tanks to carry Seeker missiles.

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There's a difference between accepting the occasional drone loss because an isolated AA unit got lucky and saw through the stealth and throwing expensive stealth drones into a head-on battle with mass AA fire.


Except again, you're not guaranteed that fire - because your AA units are now exposed to other Tau ground forces. Again, it's better for the Imperium in the sense they have something to shoot at, but not enough to tilt it to merely "heavy losses" from "the IG are likely doomed".

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Oh hey, guess what objective I'd put at the top of my priority list. And then guess what objective tends to be located near other important objectives like, say, the planet's capital city.

(For example, on Taros the capital city and virtually everything of value was right next to the starport. If the Imperium had captured it immediately instead of screwing around walking through the desert the war probably would've gone very differently.)


Not necessarily even, because if the Tau sabotaged / demolished the space port then you'd have a bunch of tank regiments in the capital waiting glumly for resupply while the engineers repaired the port. Which again results in their supplies going KABOOM, the tankers going hungry, and then getting screwed by the counter-attack.

Again, the battle plan is sound if Tau capabilities are like that, but only in the sense it's literally the only option left if the premise is "Tau automatically kill all supply lines". Heck, if I were the Tau I'd literally plan every campaign to force the Imperials to put up supply lines. Make sure the population centers are all far from the usable starports, etc.

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 Post subject: Re: Imperial armour: Siege of Vraks analysis PostPosted: 2012-04-25 07:39am
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Why exactly do you need star ports in 40K ihe first place? It seems to be coming up in more then one story, most of the requirements that make a seaport necessary don't apply, th rest could be met by lifting in cargo handling equipment since you could scarcely count on capturing large amounts of such intact material. The only requirement I can see is you need open space, and maybe you need hard ground to hold the weight of the ships?



"This cult of special forces is as sensible as to form a Royal Corps of Tree Climbers and say that no soldier who does not wear its green hat with a bunch of oak leaves stuck in it should be expected to climb a tree"
— Field Marshal William Slim 1956

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 Post subject: Re: Imperial armour: Siege of Vraks analysis PostPosted: 2012-04-25 08:04am
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Sea Skimmer wrote:
Why exactly do you need star ports in 40K ihe first place? It seems to be coming up in more then one story, most of the requirements that make a seaport necessary don't apply, th rest could be met by lifting in cargo handling equipment since you could scarcely count on capturing large amounts of such intact material. The only requirement I can see is you need open space, and maybe you need hard ground to hold the weight of the ships?


That's... actually a good question that I don't have a good answer for. I'd assume it's to handle bulk civilian traffic from orbital ships to the ground, as not all of them may be capable of landing on rough terrain.

Based on the Caiphas Cain novels they really are just glorified runways, to the point they're also serve as airports for civilian atmosphereic air traffic.

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 Post subject: Re: Imperial armour: Siege of Vraks analysis PostPosted: 2012-04-25 09:36am
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I think that's it. Also, I'm pretty sure Imperial logistics for major operations often runs in part on requisitioned civilian ships, which combined with that would explain it if a lot of the logistics ships can't handle rough-field lands by themselves.

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 Post subject: Re: Imperial armour: Siege of Vraks analysis PostPosted: 2012-04-25 09:44am
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Sea Skimmer wrote:
Why exactly do you need star ports in 40K ihe first place? It seems to be coming up in more then one story, most of the requirements that make a seaport necessary don't apply, th rest could be met by lifting in cargo handling equipment since you could scarcely count on capturing large amounts of such intact material. The only requirement I can see is you need open space, and maybe you need hard ground to hold the weight of the ships?


Because some of the ships they have can be over a km long, and mass countless millions of tons? I don't think you can have them just land anywhere on the ground even with magic repulsors (and landing gear won't do shit for that.) It's covered in more than a few novels (Rynn's world is the only one that comes to mind.)

Smaller ships don't actually HAVE to land at starports.

Of course if oyu ask other authors or go with other sources you get different answers. (Forge World probably does it becuase 'thats how its always done in the games'. EG the stupid answer.)

The quote in question:


Page 475
Quote:
It was a flat disk, six hundred and forty metres in diameter, capable of berthing
ships up to five hundred and fifty metres across. Like all of the landing plates at the New Rynn Spaceport, it employed anti-gravitic suspension systems related to the grav-plates used on most space-faring vessels. Such powerful suspension allowed the plate to accept burdens of millions of tonnes without compromising the integrity of the structure below.



Image

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