06.28.3013: Strategery
Summary: Knights discuss potential strategies to use against the Hostiles.
Date: 28 June 2013
Related: None
Alexis Veryna Kadmus 

Lower Courtyard, The Citadel, Landing
The Citadel is the headquarters of the Haven military, a towering metallic spire filled with barracks, armories, drill grounds, training holo-sim rooms, military R&D labs, and much more. It rises one hundred stories above the Grand Esplanade, with the command chamber of the Knight Commander and the Generals at the very top.

At ground level, in the Lower Courtyard, a cobbled expanse just inside the solid composite gates. In times of peace, the gates are left open so that Citizens can see men-at-arms and archers training in the courtyard. At the base of the Citadel proper, there are no massive gates, merely a pair of armor composite doors wide enough for two armored soldiers to pass through side-by-side. These doors, unlike those at the esplanade side of the courtyard, are only open when someone is actually passing through them.

June 28, 3013

There are a great many rooms in the citadel's hundred floors, this large spare chamber is one of them, windowless but expansive. The scuffed metal floor is bare and there is a distinct lack of furniture beyond sturdy benches and a large holoprojector toward the front.

Alexis is rather awkwardly pacing in front of that with her right leg heavily favoured, wearing armour though with her faceplate open. Given the idea is that she is going to be instructing in tactical command wearing armour and thus having access to its AI and HUD armour is pretty neccessary for the occasion.

On the mend but progessing nicely, and having spent the better part of the last few weeks at home doing what she can to aid in the war effort, Veryna is finally getting back to regular duties. Swinging up from guard duty at the Citadel already armored is almost nothing. The somewhat plain cyan and turquoise armor she wore to the last tournament melee has been augmented and ornamented with any number of fillagreed accents around the breastplate, greaves, and bracers, with synthetic feathers added to the shoulder plates and thigh plates. Like Alexis, her faceplate is lifted.

Kadmus arrives as well, dressed in armor that mixes the heraldric colors of House Volen, with symbology of the Royal Navy. While nominally on leave for family matters, there are still many required, or optional chances for professional development and he gives a nod of his head to the two women, faceplate lifted as well, "Good day, Young Lady Larent, Sir Alexis." he addresses each in turn.

Alexis shifts her weight to her good leg as the two arrive, bowing her head precisely to them. "Young Lady Larent, Young Lord Volen, thank you both for finding the time to come here. I know you are both hardly raw squires but I had some degree of success facing the Hostiles when we engaged their fleet and hope to be able to share what I have learned." Then more to Kadmus. "Obviously you know better than me when it comes to actual naval combat but this hopefully still be valuable for boarding actions."

Veryna greets each in turn with a small nod of her head. "This is information my lord father will no doubt be eager to hear. Unfortunately, he is occupied at the moment and unable to attend." She listens patiently as Alexis clarifies the nature of the information, and nods, figuring that her own father has much of that same naval combat knowledge.

Kadmus nods his head to Alexis, "Indeed, Sir Alexis, but we won't always find ourselves in boarding actions either, but I am happy to learn regardless." He says.

"Not alway no, but I am lead to understand that disabling the larger invasion craft purely through blaster fire is impractical unless they blunder into fixed planetary defences." Alexis answers Kadmus there, then nods to each of them. "So first of all the bad news. The average Hostile warrior appears to be more dangerous than a fully trained knight, prone to handily defeating a professional man at arms and with flawless moral. they never break, they never run, they fight on with horrendous injuries. They are also not stupid and utilize competent tactics. Abnormal larger Hostiles appear to be able to face on even terms champions such as Sir Thalo of house Ibram. What they do lack is hard light shields or cavalry and they seem to utilize weapons broadly equivelent to crossbows rather than compound bows. Your thoughts so far?" She looks questioningly to the two.

"Fighting a Hostile, even a scout, without armor is difficult. It took almost a half-dozen trained knights to disable one on The Ring several weeks ago. Technology here seems to be our strength and our weakness…necessary to stand on equal footing with them, but should it fail, we may find ourselves in very grave danger." Veryna comments on her up-close-and-personal interaction in combat with a Hostile. "All of those facts seem correct to me," she answers Alexis.

"I don't disagree with either." Kadmus nods, "The Hostiles to date seem to be quite as you described them, Sir Alexis, and they certainly seem at least an equal for our knights, as you describe. And you're correct with troopships, in general as well, but I was more referring to my responsibility to be an example for our men on the ground as well, that I would not always be fighting in naval engagements." he explains.

"I have not faced their scouts yet Young Lady Larent but have been lead to believe their soldiers are more lethal in direct combat. The one I faced certainly mauled me while I was in full armour though I gave about as good as I received." Alexis then follows with another nod. "So given their obvious lethality, and the comparitive weaknesses that I mentioned, what are your thoughts on how best to face them? I have my own opinions of course and will elaborate later."

"Lack of hard shields and cavalry, and use of crossbow-style weapons, it seems to me that an effective strategy would be to draw them into pitched engagements in the field, and simply mow them down at the flanks with our heavy cavalry, hardened against crossbow bolts. Hit and run strategies to harass their positions utilizing the superior speed of our mounted troops." Veryna is quick to jump on that bit of Valen blood she carries in her veins, despite her lack of horsemanship.

"I've not personally engaged them, I was on bridge duty when the boarding actions were occuring." Kadmus says, "But everyting I've seen seems to suggest that our shield wall and boarding tactics were effective, for the most part, but I think whittling fire with Crossbows is important, and the cavalry charge did save Godwinstown."

"Crossbows can punch through a knight's armour handily, but yes, in open field engagements we can try to outnumber and flank them, pin them against a shield wall after thinning them out with skirmishing bow fire, then hit their flanks with heavy cavalry. Lacking their own they cannot really avoid being outmaneuvered but would need to divert part of their force to refusing their flanks." Alexis does wince a little at Kadmus there though. "Sort of Young Lord Volen but… It came at a cost. Nine teams from the Shadow of Intent and two other vessels boarded, the one I lead was the most successful, achieving our objective then withdrawing intact, we still had fifteen dead and over sixty wounded out of ninety.

"Pin them in place with volleys from our own archers and advance on them behind shields. Take advantage of the disadvantage such weapons possess in the closer quarters of combat vessels." Veryna simply continues to list off methods by which Hostiles may be more effectively engaged, lacking any such personal, first-hand knowledge.

Kadmus nods towards Alexis, "I was aboard the Titan's Wake, but considering the overall success of our fleet, I do not think those lives were lost in vain." He says, "But, every troop ship we stop is a thousand Hostiles who do not make it to one of our worlds."

Alexis makes a so-so gesture to Veryna with one gauntlet encased hand. "Why advance? Drawing out the ranged engagement is entirely to our advantage if we are deploying archers against them. Maintain the shield wall ideally in a fortified and prepared position, sting them with ranged fire, force them to attack but our our terms. As an added benefit that allows prepositioning of cavalry for envelopment." Then she adds. "For a field engagement at least. Aboard a ship the goal is to cripple it and withdraw as swiftly as possible rather than try to fight every single Hostile aboard. In that situation I definitely advocate maintaining a dense shield wall and just ramming it down the corridor as fast as possible then finishing any engagement before moving on without hesitation."

Veryna simply nods a bit and shifts her weight on her boots as she listens to the input regarding her ideas. "I understand what you're saying."

"I've not heard reports of any ranged weapons outside of their scouts, so far." Kadmus agrees, "But, we did not know the scouts had a ranged weapon until the engagement on the ring either, I don't think." he hmns, "I do think whittling fire with crossbows, or compound bows will help us win consistantly, however."

"Their soldiers have weapons heavier than the scouts, equivelent to a full powered crossbow." Confirms Alexis to Kadmus. "I would not assume that anything allows consistant victory however, it is just an area we hold an advantage and should try to exploit especially given their lack of hard light shields." She considers a moment. "I had hoped for a few more people so that I could run through some tactical scenarios but absent that… The best advice I can offer is that our advantages do not seem to be in single combat or fighting in confined spaces. We need to try to outnumber the enemy and fight them in the open, flanking them, outmaneuvering them and forcing them to face us our our terms on our ground. Given the waygates we can concentrate or forces much more efficiently."

"How do we choose our ground? They seem to have claimed stake on several planets and moons, and rather than corraling and driving their ships to one location or another, we'd obviously prefer to destroy them. Unless this strategy involves allowing them to land to better exploit these advantages." Veryna wonders how these pitched battles may be initiated, given the strategies of destroying their ships before they can land.

"Some of their ships are going to land despite our best efforts, I speak of engaging their forces once they have landed." Explains Alexis to that before adding. "And fairly standard there, try to force them to engage up hill against men at arms in field fortifications with protected flanks. Superiority at range allows us to force them to do that though - normally an enemy would decline to engage at all in that situation but if they are being mauled with arrow fire they do not really have any choice but to attack."

"What if their landings come in the midst of major cities? What if they prefer to engage us in urban combat, forcing us out of our element and into theirs? Surely we must needs find a strategy to combat that potentiality. Building fortifications and establishing lines of combat are well and good, if the enemy chooses to land so conveniently in front of us." Veryna asks her question earnestly.

Alexis does grin in her helmet at that. "Well we do have one answer to that, planetary defence weapons, if they try to land directly in a city then the cost in ships would be horrendous." It is not a happy grin though. "It would be brutal, terrible fighting with massive casualties not to mention damage to the city in question even if we evacuated the population in time. There is no easy answer, we would need to fight them and our advantage of cavalry would be essentially removed."

"It's a good question." Kadmus says with a hmn, "We don't really know what their strategy, but I expect that Alexis is right, landing tooclose to our fortresses brings them within range of planetary defenses, so we can expect they will avoid them, as much as they can.."

"That would make sense…to us. However, what's to say their strategies won't run counter to what we might choose to do? What if, perhaps, there are Hostiles who are designed and exist to perform things such as suicide attacks. I heard a myth once about ancient Earth cultures who did just that, sacrificing pilots and vessels both to inflict grievous harm upon the enemy. Except that, rather than small vessels, they have spacecraft bearing down on our cities and planetary defense emplacements." Whether it's appropriate to bring up myth and legend here, Veryna seems unwilling to let any stone go unturned.

Alexis looks nonplussed. "If they do that then we blast disproportionate numbers of their spacecraft from the sky, then end up facing the survivors in brutal urban combat. I am under no illusions it would be easy or pleasant but it would also cost the Hostiles far more than it would cost us and perhaps lose them the war. Remember they had more ships destroyed trying to land than succeeded in the task even trying to evade our defences. Dropping directly atop the most fiercely guarded points? Most likely they would be destroyed without getting a single ship to the ground."

"Anything's possible, we only have their past strategies to base off of, and any inferences we have of their current ones. I'm no historian on the Hostiles however, so I can't offer anything more certain, other then we don't really know what they might do.. But, we probably can't categorically rule anything out," Kadmus says.

Veryna simply nods and goes back to thinking about alternate strategies that may be used, either against the Hostiles or by the Hostiles. While she thinks, scrunches her mouth up to the right side of her face, pursing her lips together tightly.

"I am a historian of the Hostiles, but I refuse to view their actions half a millenia ago as very useful for guessing how they may act now." Asserts Alexis to that, then she considers a moment with her eyes flicking up to some display inside her helmet. "Regardless, make your own decisions, but hopefully this has been of some assistance. I need to report to my duty station."

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