Kinkajou: One of the biggest problems with developing a new innovation is risk. There is a risk taken in the investment of intellectual and real capital in developing a new proposal to the “market” stage. There is a risk that the other players in the market have the opportunity to critique the innovation and to develop innovations of their own based on your model.
For example, the British and French effectively developed tanks for use in frontline fighting in the First World War. The concept had been talked about in numerous types of this fighting vehicle proposed over centuries. However, it is the Germans in the Second World War who most effectively took advantage of the mobility and power of this vehicle.
Their innovation was the use of tactics and strategy to enhance the effectiveness of these vehicles in warfare. (Not purely a technological advance). The Second World War saw a number of parallel developments in tank design: one main direction being the vehicle we know as the classical tank i.e. Panzer IIIs and Panzer 4s in the example of the German Army. However many more “ tank hunters” and “self-propelled guns” saw service in the Second World War, then did numbers of actual “classical” tanks.
If the innovations of your opposition are more effective than what you had proposed, you have in fact delivered the initiative to your enemy. Too often in the technological era we have seen that it is the second player into the market who gets it right and develops an unassailable advantage.
Adapting to new changes always takes time and gives the innovator a leading or cutting-edge. Again in the Second World War, time and time again we see the German Army having the initiative with superior tanks to those possessed by the Allied forces.
It really took until the end of the war with the development of Sherman tanks with larger guns before the Allies had a tank that could take on German models.
The Russians in the T 34 had a very effective tank model throughout the war. Interestingly, one of its main advantages of the T 34 was its optimization for industrial production. The ability to make “fast quick and easy” is as important as technological prowess.
Kinkajou: Aerial infantry is just such a proposal. It is likely that the 1st to market could well be trumped by an opposition analysing the strengths and weaknesses of this unit, and developing models of their own. (In effect they bypass that most difficult stage of innovation: defining what it is you need to do.) Adapting and improving an existing item is far easier than trying to work out what a new item should be in the first place.
Hence development of a unit such as aerial infantry in the interwar era is difficult. To tie your future success to the success of an untried and unproven idea, is likely as not a recipe for failure. Old ideas and solutions have worked before and are expected to work again.
The Second World War saw a plethora of failure of old ideas and solutions.
Submarine warfare replaced surface ship combat as a front-line of warfare. The battleship was replaced as the flag ship of armed might by the aircraft carrier.
Mosquito bombers had a better hit ratio and lower casualty rates than standard heavy bombers. They carried minimal protective armaments, relying on their speed to bypass the enemy’s defences.
Assault rifles replaced single shot rifles on the battlefield. Mobility of heavy weapons such as artillery became imperative. Machines replaced men and horses as critical components of the battlefield.
Changes in technology have time and time again lead to the failure in Battle of those who rely “on tried and tested solutions”. As we have said before: the right answer depends on the question posed by the enemy. Too often people fail to realise that you can’t have an answer until you know the question.
Aerial Infantry > Kinkajou Tells It True :
Kinkajou Tells You What Really Happened. The Truth Is Out There!
Kinkajou: I specially remember one fool who was doing some renovation for the old dog. He lambasted the old dog for buying so many wall panels for sheeting the walls of rooms in a building. Why have you bought so many? Don’t you know what you are doing? You are wasting so much money and resources. You couldn’t possibly need all this.
I remember the old dog then asked this builder, “So how many sheets do you think I should have bought?” The answer was “where do you intend to put them?”
And this illustrates too often the attitude of so many military planners. We have the answers. Unfortunately, answers relate to specific problems. If the problem changes, the answer may well not be relevant.
Some of the most innovative generals in human history when faced with a problem in Battle, redefine the problem posed by conflict. They do not look at how they can defeat the enemy on the battlefield that the enemy has chosen. They look at how they can make the enemy enter into the battlefield that “they” themselves have chosen.
One example that has always intrigued me is that of Joshua and the Israeli army in biblical times. Joshua marched his troops aggressively to confront his enemies in a Canaanite town, (an achievement showing the discipline of the Israeli troops and their general). The army lined up on a hillside in front of a town. The citizen defenders looked up and saw what could only be the feared Israeli army facing them. They did not seem too large or powerful at all. They decided to send their troops to confront the army in the field, hence risking less damage to town and its citizens.
As the conflict on the hillside progressed, the Israeli forces in Battle were slowly reinforced. The Canaanites began to realise that the battle was not be the pushover they expected. The Israeli army was perhaps a bit larger than they had anticipated, but no cause for panic. Perhaps just bring more reserves out from the city to reinforce their own troops. And then the city behind the Canaanites began to burn, as another detachment of Israeli troops entered the largely undefended city from the rear and put it to the torch.
The Canaanites within were faced with the dilemma of facing strong forces to their front and realizing that there were strong forces behind them destroying the city. The resolve to contest control of the territory in battle with the Israelis, dissolved.
New tech can always change the inherent nature of a battelfield.
Okatar Kang and Lensor are characters in a book by Ben Bova: “Star Watchman”. The book by Ben Bova: Star Watchman is an excellent example of the implementation of aerial infantry units in Battle. In this book the Komani rebels use air infantry units as their main combat unit in their conflict with the Terran Mobile Force.
There are two main vehicle models. The Komani Raiders use single flyer models much like the single seater flyers you see in Star Wars films. The Terrans use large armoured vehicles with extensive complex electronics and larger crews in Battle. The Terrans essentially use vehicles, akin to armoured hovercraft in their battle formation with little emphasis on personal fliers but more on highly mobile ground troopers with some ballistic mobility enhancements.
Erasmus took one scene out of the book where the Komani Raiders attack a Terran patrol isolated from the main body of the Mobile Force. This scene was translated to the terrain around Wellington Point in Brisbane. It’s worth a visit just to sightsee and experience the walk out to the island but to think of it all in terms of what could an aerial infantry battle here look like. There is a report in the book of a Terran Mobile force detachment breaking down and being ambushed by Komani fliers only to find that the Terran vehicles of the main force were able to overcome obstacles inherent in a river and land vegetation to counterattack.
The Quote from Okatar is actually a quote from Jerry Pournelle’s Janissary series of books. The words are actually from Rick, the earthman leading the forces of one of the kingdoms of Tran said just before a battle. Vothan the One-eyed is a warrior’s God. When warriors die, they go to feast in his halls in the afterlife.
Kinkajou: I spent a number of the days of my youth at Wellington Point, just near Brisbane. The time to go is at low tide on a weekday. It’s popular weekend family tourist spot.
At low tide, you can walk out to the island in the Bay and look around at Wellington Point from a bay vantage point. The island has crushed shingle beaches which convey a sense of history and of time.
The ridge line of the point overlooking the Bay would be an excellent ambush site with excellent fields of fire for military air infantry fliers crossing the exposed waters of the bay.
The sands of the bay are indeed also coloured blood red, more a testament to the volcanic iron oxides ion the soil than to the lost blood of a horde of bloodthirsty fierce Komani warriors.
Time hides many things though. I remember once walking down past a motor vehicle accident on the main road to the Point. There was blood and glass on the street and then road had been temporarily closed as emergency services dealt with the incident. When I returned a few hours later, the scene had been sanitized. The only reminder of the pain and injury was a small dent in the bitumen. Neither a drop of blood nor a fragment of glass remained to give testimony to what had gone before. I suppose most old battlefields must be like that.
There are some interesting perspectives from visiting different parts of Wellington Point. At the jetty the wind howls incessantly and fast while the waters over the bay show little effects from the brisk breeze just metres away. I particularly remember walking across the sand to the island on a bleak cold windy grey afternoon feeling down and small and isolated. It’s a very different ambience than on a sunny day.
I also remember going down one evening and running into a fisherman from Warwick, a little town in the mountains a few hours drive from Wellington Point. He told me he would come down once a month to Wellington Point at full moon to night fish off the jetty. More serious fisherman usually fish for Bream at dawn on the rising tide. The rocky irregular bottom is full of snags but also full of food for the big inquisitive Bream.
And to top it off, you can get a good feed. Visit the restaurant or more my favourite - just get some great fish and chips and feed those masters of flying and aerial manoeuvring, the seagulls with chips thrown into the air.
The example of the Dragon Riders of Pern shows another implementation of aerial infantry unit, but in this instance in combat with a mindless mycorrhizoid enemy. Logistics of support and maintenance show how important to support infrastructure is for a front-line battle unit such as the Dragon “aerial infantry”. The social structure of the entire civilisation is by the need to maintain their Dragon battle units.
Kinkajou: Just a few notes on the Galactic Travelogue.
TDX is a gravity polarized explosive. I first ran into this concept in a book by James Blish, Earthman Come Home, the story of the wandering cities of a future galactic civilisation. TDX with its characteristic explosive pattern would be an excellent anti-infantry weapon as well as an excellent ground and vegetation clearing tool.
I am surprised that artillery is not used more often to create foxhole cover for troops attacking an enemy position. An obvious purpose, but requiring shaped charge explosives, beyond the ken of a normal grunt to envisage , design and engage in production.