Putting a self sufficient fighting force in a strange land

Discuss the Traveller RPG and its many settings
phavoc
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Re: Putting a self sufficient fighting force in a strange land

Postby phavoc » Thu Dec 20, 2018 2:45 pm

Linwood wrote:
Thu Dec 20, 2018 1:44 pm
What would this look like in Traveller terms?

I could see the equivalent of one MEU being sufficient to establish control over a Lo Pop world or colony. Tech advantages could provide enough combat power to defeat much larger lower-tech units. I’m not sure how that would scale into maintaining control once the opposing field units are out of action.

Then again, MEUs aren’t usually tasked with long-term occupation. They’re more valuable as a mobile asset.
Well, planets are far bigger operational zones than an MEU is designed to handle. An MEU would only be expected to control a beachhead, with the ability to do force projections about 100 or so kilometers inland. But they certainly don't have the personnel to hold that area against a strong opponent.

For Traveller, to handle a planet, you'd need a lot more people. Perhaps it would be more likely that a Traveller MEU would be comprised of a battalion on a single ship. Much like an MEU, if you need more troops you add more ships with their own MEU's. That keeps units together and each ship has the ability to supply and support their own units. Additional support vessels would be deployed based upon need (fighter support, supplies, specialized units, etc).
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Re: Putting a self sufficient fighting force in a strange land

Postby Condottiere » Thu Dec 20, 2018 4:24 pm

Read Starship Troopers for how a high tech expeditionary force faces off against low tech opponents.

Note that the Pentagon appears to have a bottomless budget.
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Re: Putting a self sufficient fighting force in a strange land

Postby Moppy » Thu Dec 20, 2018 10:57 pm

A grav-based force is going to have much more mobility than a conventional one, and can be supported from orbit.

Existing rules about the size of an area a force could be responsible for are certainly going to need to be re-evaluated.

What does a "beachhead" even mean when grav-apcs can reach orbit?
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Re: Putting a self sufficient fighting force in a strange land

Postby Condottiere » Fri Dec 21, 2018 12:47 pm

Establishing an area where you can safely unload supplies and bring in reinforcements.
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Re: Putting a self sufficient fighting force in a strange land

Postby Moppy » Fri Dec 21, 2018 1:39 pm

Condottiere wrote:
Fri Dec 21, 2018 12:47 pm
Establishing an area where you can safely unload supplies and bring in reinforcements.
Would they build ground bases or just "hover park" in the sky?

edit: If landed, I'd assume they'd have to be able to lift at VERY short notice, given the speed of "grav-attacks", the ability of their smarter weapons to bypass cover (oh you're behind a rock, OK, my missile will just fly over it) and the longer weapon ranges. Anything not strapped to you better be strapped to your tank.

edit 2: I guess "beachhead" is your repair yard where you have to shut down vehicles?
Last edited by Moppy on Fri Dec 21, 2018 1:54 pm, edited 2 times in total.
phavoc
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Re: Putting a self sufficient fighting force in a strange land

Postby phavoc » Fri Dec 21, 2018 1:43 pm

Moppy wrote:
Thu Dec 20, 2018 10:57 pm
A grav-based force is going to have much more mobility than a conventional one, and can be supported from orbit.

Existing rules about the size of an area a force could be responsible for are certainly going to need to be re-evaluated.

What does a "beachhead" even mean when grav-apcs can reach orbit?
Beachhead is a clear clear distinction today. I suspect the term will be more open in a future where grav APC's are the norm for military forces. However the concept remains the same. A unit would deploy it's forces to attempt to capture and control a specified area - it could be a literal beach, a field, a town, a village, etc. But whatever it would be, the size would be relatively small (keep in mind the Normandy invasion was considered a beachhead for months until the Allies had stabilized things and could guarantee that they would not be tossed back into the channel). And it's an initial opening, regardless of the timeframe. Grav vehicles just give everyone the ability to move around faster. Battlefields in the future would be more fluid than they are today.
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Re: Putting a self sufficient fighting force in a strange land

Postby Saladman » Sat Dec 22, 2018 12:14 am

Linwood wrote:
Thu Dec 20, 2018 1:44 pm
What would this look like in Traveller terms?

I could see the equivalent of one MEU being sufficient to establish control over a Lo Pop world or colony. Tech advantages could provide enough combat power to defeat much larger lower-tech units. I’m not sure how that would scale into maintaining control once the opposing field units are out of action.

Then again, MEUs aren’t usually tasked with long-term occupation. They’re more valuable as a mobile asset.
That's an interesting feature of a Traveller universe - a world or government with a high enough tech lead can knock over almost any other world or government, but they can't necessarily move enough troops to occupy and police it. So you'd see more raids and ultimatums, more governments knocked over until the locals came up with a satisfactory solution, but not a lot of nation building or Marshall Plans. That's especially the case for a small ship universe; the canon, large ship Imperium probably could police a few worlds by now, though even then the financial cost would set the bar high.
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Re: Putting a self sufficient fighting force in a strange land

Postby Old School » Sat Dec 22, 2018 12:37 am

phavoc wrote:
Fri Dec 21, 2018 1:43 pm
Moppy wrote:
Thu Dec 20, 2018 10:57 pm
A grav-based force is going to have much more mobility than a conventional one, and can be supported from orbit.

Existing rules about the size of an area a force could be responsible for are certainly going to need to be re-evaluated.

What does a "beachhead" even mean when grav-apcs can reach orbit?
Beachhead is a clear clear distinction today. I suspect the term will be more open in a future where grav APC's are the norm for military forces. However the concept remains the same. A unit would deploy it's forces to attempt to capture and control a specified area - it could be a literal beach, a field, a town, a village, etc. But whatever it would be, the size would be relatively small (keep in mind the Normandy invasion was considered a beachhead for months until the Allies had stabilized things and could guarantee that they would not be tossed back into the channel). And it's an initial opening, regardless of the timeframe. Grav vehicles just give everyone the ability to move around faster. Battlefields in the future would be more fluid than they are today.
No doubt. Changes the entire concept of supply lines as well when you can move large cargo amounts that fast. And when you blur the lines between fighter/attack aircraft and armored cavalry, that’s a whole differnet concept of battle.
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Re: Putting a self sufficient fighting force in a strange land

Postby baithammer » Sat Dec 22, 2018 12:48 pm

If a planet proves difficult to subdue, it would be more efficient to choke it from orbit and if things need to be resolved quickly a few Bombardment cruisers would be a practical solution.
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Re: Putting a self sufficient fighting force in a strange land

Postby Linwood » Sat Dec 22, 2018 2:00 pm

That’s likely the most efficient solution in some instances, especially if the planet in question isn’t that important in economic terms. I could see the Imperium doing that to bring a rogue member in line without landing troops.

But it’s still expensive to maintain even a leaky blockade force. And some governments or cultures would simply ignore it and get on with things as they wish. Might be most effective with planets heavily dependent on offworld trade to survive - although the moral consequences of, say, letting a world starve to death or a colony run out of fuel or air might take that option off the table in some conflicts.
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Re: Putting a self sufficient fighting force in a strange land

Postby Condottiere » Sat Dec 22, 2018 2:28 pm

Self sufficiency may thwart trade blockades, or some Jedi knights.

Also, why you have blockade runners.
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Re: Putting a self sufficient fighting force in a strange land

Postby Linwood » Sat Dec 22, 2018 2:30 pm

Blockade runners = opportunities for Traveller adventures! :)
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Re: Putting a self sufficient fighting force in a strange land

Postby Moppy » Sat Dec 22, 2018 3:25 pm

I don't think orbital blockade running can work in Traveller unless you have some tech advantage, or the navy imposing the blockade is under-strength.

But then player characters can fart and fly about in space if it serves the plot, so who knows?
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Re: Putting a self sufficient fighting force in a strange land

Postby Linwood » Mon Dec 24, 2018 12:15 am

Stealth systems might help make smuggling work in those cases. A bit of bribery to open a window in the sensor coverage might work too.

But more often I’d expect smuggling to occur through misdirection or other devious means. An organized ring might arrange to have the goods loaded in drop capsules that might be launched at some distance and allowed to drift unpowered on a course leading into the atmosphere (the ring might pay the smuggler later for the delivery). If humanitarian aid shipments are allowed thru the blockade they might provide opportunities to smuggle things in (or out). You might even see an intelligence agency set up a smuggling back channel to gather information on conditions on the planet.
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Re: Putting a self sufficient fighting force in a strange land

Postby Condottiere » Mon Dec 24, 2018 12:17 am

Stealth and early jump options.
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Re: Putting a self sufficient fighting force in a strange land

Postby WingedCat » Wed Dec 26, 2018 1:00 am

AnotherDilbert wrote:
Tue Dec 18, 2018 11:33 pm
Who are you going to invade, that does not have even a rudimentary airforce or navy?
I can think of many nations on Earth with no significant air force or navy to speak of.

That said, "who are you going to invade" points to one of the main differences: in Traveller, many of the places one would want to invade have less people over an entire planet, than most small nations on Earth today. Invading a world with 10,000 inhabitants is a much different proposition than invading a world with 10,000,000,000 inhabitants. A lot of people forget this, and prep a single planetary invasion force that's supposed to handle both cases just because it's invading "one planet".
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Re: Putting a self sufficient fighting force in a strange land

Postby Condottiere » Wed Dec 26, 2018 10:43 pm

Also, it depends on how militant the occupied populace is.

My take on the Mercenary aspect in Traveller is that most outfits are hardly beyond battalion size; which according to Roboute Guilliman, should be capped at a thousand.
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Re: Putting a self sufficient fighting force in a strange land

Postby Linwood » Thu Dec 27, 2018 7:55 pm

Makes sense. Hard to picture a mercenary force being economical at larger sizes, unless it's renting its forces out piecemeal.
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Re: Putting a self sufficient fighting force in a strange land

Postby phavoc » Thu Dec 27, 2018 8:14 pm

I would see most merc forces equipped to between TL 12 and 14. Few would be able to afford state of the art, but if they don't max out their tech advantage they will lose since they can't afford attritional losses like regular or guerilla forces. Imported weapons would be around today's tech level (again, anything less is not worth it. And nobody is going to import muskets or bolt action rifles).

Offworld forces will need additional transport capacity to bring spares, munitions and supplies. But those ships can be regular freighters chartered by them or their employer. I don't see many merc ships having enough storage of munitions and spares for more than a week or two of heavy fighting. And having an armed ship you bring to the fight is risky, it's both your biggest asset and your ride home. Getting hit in orbit or on the ground would be a bad thing.

Makes you wonder how a group like hammers slammer might be able to financially exist. Or would you mostly see light infantry with g-carriers?
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Re: Putting a self sufficient fighting force in a strange land

Postby Old School » Thu Dec 27, 2018 9:29 pm

that's one of the issues with having mostly ground based mercenary forces. The cost and time to transport them across the stars is much, much more expensive than the troops themselves, and you have to pay their salaries for travel time as well. While somewhere like Theeve, with it's lawless nature, might seem like a natural base for less reputable mercenary groups, it's a long ways from anywhere, which greatly works against it as an economic choice.

Armored vehicles, and at a higher tech level, grav vehicles, are very powerful force multipliers, but also increase your costs many fold.

the cost to hire a mercenary force is going to be exteremely high relative to what the individual troops get paid, due to transport costs and vehicles costs. Beyond hiring low tech backwater guys to serve as low level infantry nearby, the expense is going to make mercenary forces the domain of the extremely well funded. Plantary governements would typically have their own forces, which means that mercs are highered by megacorps, and by government factions that don't want to get their hands dirty.

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