2008-10-04

Trek More Militarized?

Entertaining as it might seem at first blush, it may be that even in the time of the TNG Space Hippies, the Star Trek galaxy during the Dominion War might be more heavily militarized than was the Star Wars galaxy during the Clone Wars.

I say this because of a line in this video, a sneak peek at the Clone Wars CGI series. We know from the AoTC film (and, more explicitly, the novelization) that circa (or soon after) the beginning of the Clone Wars, the Republic had some 1.2 million clones.

(Unless the Kaminoans had exponential increases in capacity, it follows that the Republic must have had only a small number of millions of clones available for most of the war. Given the batches we saw in the film, this generally follows.)

The line in the video: "Our droid armies outnumber the Republic clones 100 to 1."

Per the premiere episode, it is clear this is not a reference to a specific battle or specific region. Thus, this would mean that the number of Separatist battle droids of assorted flavors numbers somewhere between 120,000,000 and, guesstimating, perhaps 500,000,000.

That's just five hundred million, for a reasonable top-end.

Compare this with the fact that a Cardassian reserve unit on Septimus III numbered some 500,000 men, which Martok described as old men and walking wounded. Even if we assume that this reserve unit, the Eleventh Order (of twelve known), was at full manpower for an Order, this would give the Cardassian military some 6,000,000 (six million) personnel.

This seems small for an Order, however. In "The Dogs of War"[DSN7], the number of men under two Guls (one with 100,000 himself) and a Legate was over 600,000 . . . and of course Guls can merely be captains.

Cardassian Orders seemed to usually include ships, though, whereas the description of this Order sounded more like a ground force, i.e. an army. Assuming the Cardassians had perhaps 5,000 ships (of the 30,000 that the DCB Axis was fielding during the latter days of the Dominion War), with average crews of 275 per ship, the total would rise to around 7.5 million.

Of course, we know from "The Changing Face of Evil"[DSN7] that seven million Cardassian soldiers had died over the course of two years of war . . . a war the Cardassians were generally winning, thanks in no small part to their expendable Jem'Hadar allies.

So clearly the 7.5 million total Cardassian military figure is too low, unless they were all completely replaced in two years with fresh recruits.

Surely, then, the correct figure is in the tens of millions. If we assume that the Cardassians had 21 million soldiers (having thus lost a third of them over two years . . . rather high for a war you're winning, but whatever), then they would outnumber the Republic forces anywhere from 4-to-1 to almost 20-to-1.

This from the Cardassians, generally considered a rather smallish adversary. (After all, a third of the Klingon military ate the Cardassians' collective lunch circa "Way of the Warrior"[DSN4].)

Now, I've previously calculated that Starfleet ought to have some 2.5 million persons on starships alone. Sisko has referred to millions on the line. It follows that the Federation had at least as many soldiers if not more than the Cardassians.

So there were six total powers . . . the DCB Axis and the FKR Alliance. If they all had 20,000,000 troops or so, then we'd be looking at a total of 180,000,000 military personnel.

That is equal to the low end of the total Clone Wars possibilities, but within the range.

But that's only part of the tale. Even multiplying Federation population estimates by six to account for the other five empires in the Dominion War, plus some extra wiggle room, we might find a total population of 20 trillion for the six nations involved.

Meanwhile, a rough minimum estimate for the Empire is about 200 trillion persons, or ten times larger.

The end result is that, by percentage, the Federation during the Dominion War featured a greater percentage of her population in the military than did the forces on both sides . . . including clones and droids for argument's sake . . . during the Clone Wars.

Also noteworthy is the fact that even a small Alpha Quadrant power like the Cardassians managed to lose more troops in two years of war than the Republic ever actually had. While I'm comfortable with the assumption that the Empire fielded a larger force than the Republic twenty years earlier, one can't help but wonder just how large this force might've been. Even at ten times larger than the wartime military, the Empire would have only 12 million troops. The Cardassians would likely still have more.

(Now all we need are crew counts for frontline SW vessels.)

If these values are even remotely accurate, the view of the Empire as a military juggernaut if for no other reason than the walls of flesh they could send against an enemy is suddenly quite a bit different.

If these values are even remotely accurate, then, the Empire would have a helluva time doing anything against any major nation in the Alpha Quadrant.

- Ship ranges would favor the AQ power significantly, making combat extremely difficult for Imperial ships.

- Imperial ships might have a small FTL advantage, but there's not a great deal they could hope to do with it.

- Conquest could not be an option, as they would not have the manpower to take and hold a rebellious planet.

And so on.














12 comments:

  1. You know, whilst it might seem at first glance that the Alpha Quadrant seems surprisingly militarised, I ran a quick Google search and discovered the following...

    According to Wikipedia, the US army currently consists of about 1,000,000 people, that's about 1/3 of 1% of America's population of 300,000,000...

    Now, admittedly America is a pretty milistratic country, but going with your "2 trillion persons" figure for the UFP's population and your "20 million troops" for the UFP's military population, you realise that 20,000,000 is only 10% of 1% of 1% (or 0.00001 %) of 2,000,000,000,000, meaning that the America's military would be about 333(!) times larger in terms of troop numbers per capita than the UFPs... To have a military of the same size per capita as America's, the UFP would have to have a military population of over six-and-a-half BILLION(!!!) people and, presumably, around 3.3 MILLION(!) starships if your current ratios (assuming 20,000,000 million total troops, 2,500,000 starship crews and 10,000 starships) of "1 in every 8 UFP citizens in military service serves on a starship" and "there are, on average, 250 crew men on a starship" don't change...

    So, apparently then, it's not that the UFP's military is particularly massive by real-world standards, but rather that the Republic/Sepratist armies are positively minscule by real world standards...

    Indeed, base don those numbers and your comparisons of real world technology to an AT-ST where you calculated that a "Silver bullet" DU round would tear through an AT-ST with no problems, I'll bet, if we take orbital bombardments out of the equation (as these, even if they could only "vapourise a small town" would eventually wear us down), fight off an invasion by a Seperatist army with little to no problems...

    On the ground, their shockingly innacurate clones, utterly without camuflage and with useless plastic spacesuits that limit their vision, would get thier asses handed to them by the occasionally nutty, but none-the-less highly efficent US infantry and their tin-foil hovertanks would be easily taken out by Abrams or areial attack units, probably from outside of the hovertanks' range (and indeed, I think it could be credibly argued that an Abrams could certainly survive a hit, certainly from a smaller, AT-ST style one and perhaps even from a larger one) and in the air, our jets, whilst we may not have figured out how to make them survivable in the same way our tanks are, modern missle tracking systems (rather glaringly absent in the Star Wars universe) would make shooting down those tin-can starfighters (from either a Jet, a ship or a fixed anti-air missile platform like those in place around the Pentagon) a trivial matter, as any form of jamming (which we've found doesn't work anyway, as ECCM systems always seem to be one step ahead, such as making the missiles home in on the source of the jamming) also seems to be absent in the Star Wars universe...

    What do you think, though, RSA? Who would your money be on? The US military, or a republican army minus orbital bombardments?

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  2. Byt eh way, I accidentally clicked on the little 'disabled person' system which supposedly allows you to listen to the letters, but what I got instead was a distinctly British sounding voice calling out single digits with what sounded like incomprihensible speech that seemed to be coming out of the mouths of multiple people playing continuously in the background... That's really damn creepy, you know... It's the stuff of sci-fi brainwashing... What I expected was a Microsoft Sman-esque vice synthesizer calling out the letters, but what did I get instead?...

    Tell me RSA, do you have ane explaination for this?

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  3. There is also a distinct loud radar/sonar sounding tone that plays three times before the rambling and Brit-calling-out-numbers starts (I've just tired it again, this same thing happens every time you press the button)...

    Seriously RSA, you need to look into this... Not only is this incredibly creepy, but it couldn't possibly help someone actually spell the actual 'word verification' word anyway, as the Birt is calling out numbers, not letters...

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  4. Oh and please excuse all the spelling errors, I'm quite tired right now and what just happened (which I described in the last two comments) left me a little phased...

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  5. Well, given that SW armor and defenses appear to be very ineffective against kinetic impacts (which makes a certain amount of sense, since SW weaponry is almost exclusively energy-based, save for the few and far-between missiles), and that almost all modern weaponry (excluding missile warheads that aren't designed to penetrate armor or hardened structures) consists of some form of kinetic impactor, I think the combined military forces of Earth would be able to hold off an invasion by the whole of the Republic's clone army quite easily, if we discount orbital bombardment.

    Endor demonstrated quite effectively how INeffective Imperial armor (both for infantry and at least light armored vehicles) is against primitive kinetic-impact weaponry. Again, this isn't much of a problem within the SW universe given the general lack of non-energy weapons within the SW galaxy as a whole (though I imagine that after the horrendous showing of Imperial armor on Endor, Imperial designers would have been motivated to compensate for this failing, had the Empire not fallen). Against the weaponry of the major military powers of Earth, however, this WOULD be a problem. A single 120mm depleted uranium SABOT round from an M1A1 or M1A2 would decimate a light Imperial walker (and actually, based on G2K's figures, probably punch through two or three standing in a row...), and also probably be able to penetrate the armor of a heavy Imperial walker, just as the A-10 "Warthog" Thunderbolt II's 30mm cannon would probably rip through the heavy walker's armor. The AGM-65 Maverick missile (used by jets) and AGM-114 Hellfire missile (designed for attack helicoptors) certainly could, at any rate. I'd pit an Abrams or Challenger, or a T-80 or T-90, and an AH-1 Super Cobra or AH-64 Apache (or the Mi-24 Hind or Eurocopter Tiger), against an Imperial Walker any day.

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  6. The other problem with the Imperial walkers is their MASSIVE profile... I mean, picture the scene... You've got an AT-AT walker plodding along through a field or something... Now it's white, and it's tall... so it sticks out like a sore thumb... Meanwhile, maybe a kilometer or two (or even more) away, an Abrams (whose commanders have no doubt seen the massive white monster coming, because, let's face it, how could you NOT see a white, six stories tall walker coming?) has been moved into position and camouflaged in nearby undergrowth... The Imperials don't see it, thanks to their captastic sensor technology and lack of air support (it having been easily shot down by jets/hewis) and at that point, the only question remains is wether or not the Abrams could punch through the walker's armour and then wether or not the damage would be fatal...

    The sad fact is that, for the most part, Imperial military technology can be aptly described as "all flash, no substance"... Indeed, the Wikipedia entry for the walkers of Star Wars (which lists the AT-AT, AT-ST and AT-TE, amongst others) states that the AT-AT is described in the radio drama as being designed to favour "fear over function"...

    One more thing... I'd like to quickly adress the droid armies from episodes I-III... Specifically the way they march lock-step, 18th century Redcoat style... Doesn't that strike as being exactly the sort of target a modern commander would fire a cruise missile at? In fact, forget the cruise missle... Now, you can't honestly expect me to believe that the blasters the droids carry could penetrate a tank's armour, so you could probably just park one in front of the legion and mow them all down with the tank's machine gun... Seriously, the incredibly shoddy tactics displayed by SW armies (particularly those in the New Trilogy) is simply astounding...

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  7. hehe... Anon, your comment on the tank mowing down droids made me think of an alternative method that would save ammo, and be insanely fun at the same time. Just roll over them. Can you imagine that? A bunch of Marine Corps. Abrams rolling through a massed Droid army. It'd be effective, too.

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  8. *Facepalm* You're right, I shoud've though of that... That's one entertaining mental image though... :)

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  9. } : = 8 )

    Also, after watching the movie for myself, and seeing just how insanely atrocious the Republic and Separatist tactics are, not to mention the disregard for life demonstrated by even the Jedi, I am finding that David Brin's essay on Star Trek vs Star Wars (http://www.salon.com/ent/movies/feature/1999/06/15/brin_main/index.html) to be very, very accurate.

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  10. "- Ship ranges would favor the AQ power significantly, making combat extremely difficult for Imperial ships."

    I was trying to write a good Borg cube vs. the Death Star scenario, but once I came to the conclusion that the Borg would be able to pick off the TIE fighters and surface guns from well outside their range (even if we double the ranges for Star Wars and half the ranges for Trek) it just got boring.

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  11. Indeed... doubling G2Ks extremely generous 5,000 KM range figure and halving Trek's 200,000 KM range figure from the Wounded (assuming, of course, that the max range is the same for a Borg Cube as it is for a Nebula class, which seems unlikely) still leaves Trek with ten times the firing range of Wars (10,000 vs 100,000 KM).

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  12. Only thing in Star Wars that actually DEMONSTRATES 1000+ km effective range is Hoth Ion cannon (I eyeballed it at about 6 000 km range, which is about most one can estimate from that scene). All others are <= 100 kilometers. So, yes, 5 000 km is very generous.

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