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The conquering army of the future…or lack thereof
While the Theories on Planetary Invasion dealt with the reasons for your invasion and the possible theories to accomplish that goal, it has not touched on the military aspect which this section will cover now in detail. The concept of invading another country on a planet you own is vastly different to the concept of invading another planet in the far reaches of space even if the end result is much the same. Specifically, it is much more difficult.
For the purposes of this theory, we will assume the targeted planet be a relatively isolated locale – separate from any vast interstellar powers but nonetheless reasonably well protected by an array of orbital and ground based defences while at the same time being well populated. In other words, a heavily industrialized world – much like modern earth except with more guns pointing spaceward. We can class this example planet as among the most difficult types of planet to conquer simply because of the state of its development: its size and massive number of inhabitants. Differing situations may modify the content of this guide and it is not meant as an absolute be all and end all. For example, a small, single colony on a lifeless asteroid is obviously far easier to deal with than the planet we shall be using throughout this article.
By far the most severe problem associated with invading another planet is the concept of logistics. You must realise that there could be dozens of light-years between you and your target. If you were, for example, attempt to mobilise a force for conventional invasion you would have to muster a vast armada of warships and transports. You would have to reach the enemy, blast away all opposition and then deploy enough ground forces to occupy the world until they can be forcefully integrated into your regime.
Bare in mind, the people you are attempting to subjugate may not eat the same food as you, breath the same air as you, share anything remotely resembling your culture, and they certainly won’t be speaking your language (except in the most unusual of situations). Somehow then, your ground forces must coexist with this utterly alien culture while being effectively cut off from any support. Didn’t I mention you could be light-years distant from your supply bases? Your soldiers will need food, equipment, maintenance, ad infinitum and you will have to cater to the needs of millions or possibly billions of them (and their equipment).
This is also before you factor in it will take years for the infighting, guerrilla warfare, rebellion and general terrorism to die down. In fact, the only possible way a conventional occupation would work is if you were invading a nation of avid pacifists…but of course, then you could conquer the whole planet with a butter knife.
I will say again, conventional occupation is impossible.
Understand that you are a space power. You do not need surface forces in the traditional sense and nor do you even need a dedicated air force. The vast majority of your wrathful justice will be dispensed by very large, very powerful starships designed to traverse the cold depths of space and well versed in kicking arse. In many ways, this is your army. You need almost nothing else. Space and – by extension – orbital supremacy is the key to victory.
Your ground based forces will primarily be infantry based. These “marines” (as ship based soldiers are often called) are tasked with defending your ship against boarders, boarding other ships and committing surgical strikes on targets in space, on land, on sea or by air. Their job is to capture, to steal, to disable for future assault, and to cause havoc. They will be deployed quickly and retrieved just as fast. These brave soldiers are to be equipped with the best training and tools at your disposal because space is a premium on a warship and if one soldier can do the job of ten he’d better because you might be jolly well incapable of fitting ten soldiers on your boat.
This article does not deal with such things as fighters or dropship tactics because this article does not deal with the specifics of technology. Such description would be pointless because it’s possible your soldiers will be no better than a modern infantry man or it’s equally possible they could be three metre tall, genetically engineered killing machines with guns for hands.
If push comes to shove and you must bring your arms to the fore, then the initial attack is the most important. This is where you eliminate your enemy’s ability to strike back at your warships. This in turn keeps your warships safe and thus saves resources – making for a more successful campaign in the long run.
Your preferred method of attack at this stage is cyber-warfare. If you are somehow capable of infiltrating your enemy’s network – subsuming control of his communications and automated defence systems – then your initial attack may very well be over and you can call it a success. For example, taking control of the orbital satellites will allow you to turn them on the ground based installations which you have also taken over. Likewise, the ground installations will fire on the satellites and they all die. Meanwhile, the enemy is in chaos because you’ve jacked his means of coordinating his response. Never under estimate cyber-warfare gentlemen, it is a most powerful tool in this modern age.
If this is impossible or impractical for some reason it falls to your warships to do the dirty work. In the vast majority of circumstances and – barring any unique or special technologies – you are almost free to snipe your opponent on a whim. Merely calculate the trajectory you must fire at to hit his defences from the other end of the solar system and have at it. You may need some form of ballistic weapon for this though – supraliminal ballistic weapons are even better. If your enemy shoots back with similar weaponry just remember this simple fact: starships can move and a planet cannot. If you dodge then all will be well.
For some reason this will not work (barrier shields or some other “super defensive screen”) then a full assault may be your only option and I pray this planet is worth the lives and materials you’re about to loose by attacking it head on.
Once you have achieved orbital supremacy however, your victory is essentially won. With your enemy now at your mercy and unable to strike back you are free to employ any tactic described under the Theories on Planetary Invasion. With no means of fighting back and a heavily armed force capable of demolishing anything and everything if necessary it is only a matter of time and your discretion before the planet becomes yours.
However, if you need to commit your marines to an assault for some reason simply remove the ground forces in the area with a well placed bombardment. Remember, while your ground force is no doubt inferior to his, a military base is just as simple to bomb as a field or other building. Just strike hard and fast – you should be able to achieve any goal you desire your marines to accomplish without much risk.