Thursday, August 26, 2010

Paradigm Shift

One of the reasons for the exceedingly high casualties in the American Civil War was that long-held tactics, that were based on the short range poor and accuracy of smooth-bore muskets, came up against the common use of the .58 caliber rifled musket by troops of the day.

It took a long time for both sides to figure out that many tactics that had been chapter and verse, drilled into generations of officers since the the American Revolution, were now recipes for military disaster.

Throughout the history of war, the side that first recognized and adapted to changes in the military paradigm met with success. Those who did not recognize or adapt to change, and insisted on fighting the old fight rather than adapting to the new fight, generally ended up holding a big bag of failure at the end of hostilities.

Atlas Alliance may be reprising that old song.

Recently, Atlas space in Insmother was under attack by Legion of xXDEATHXx, Red Alliance, White Noise (aka the Russian Coalition, or RUS). Pandemic Legion, had been hired by RUS to support the invasion.

Atlas was successful in holding or repulsing the initial attacks, holding down a key system in C-J6MT and making effective use of cap ships against the massed forces of RUS/PL. After a number of failures to loosen the Atlas grip on the system, a new tactic was devised that leveraged the Dominion sovereignty rules. Rather than continuing to batter against C-J6MT with their entire force, PL engaged the main Atlas fleet, pinning it in place while the RUS fleets began to attack the systems around C-J6MT. 

In the old days, Atlas could have deployed a small force with lots of POS to delay the enemy in peripheral systems while defending the main system. Grinding down the defending POS would have been time consuming and ship intensive for the invaders, giving Atlas elbow room to respond. With Dominion era rules, however, an alliance must actively defend systems, or quickly lose them. To do so, an alliance have have the numbers, mobility and command structure necessary to effectively meet the enemy in multiple locations at once.

Atlas didn't adapt immediately to the change in tactics, and was unable to respond to PL/RUS attacks on the surrounding systems. There is some indication that Atlas was reluctant to move due to concerns about lag as a risk to its Cap fleet. Assuming lag was a factor for both sides, the invading RUS/PL force put Atlas into a position where countering RUS attacks would have had Atlas fighting when lag was to its disadvantage.

RUS/PL took advantage of Atlas' concentration in C-J6MT and launched a major assault on Atlas' Detorid stronghold of 0-W778. Significant parts of the Atlas fleet appears to have left C-J6MT in an effort to lift the siege of 0-W778. Entering the system, the Atlas fleet was unable to lift the siege. Some elements of the fleet retreated from the system, however, a large number of ships were boxed in station.

Against All Authorities is reported to have sent some assistance to aid Atlas, however it was not sufficient to turn the tide. The RUS/PL success may have transpired too rapidly for AAA and Atlas to realize the danger until it was too late.  

From what I can gather, Atlas is presently pulling back to establish a defensible frontier, and attempting to stage a break out of the ships that remain camped in 0-W778.

With Atlas regrouping in Omis, RUS and PL appear to be mopping up in Insmother and Detorid. RUS/PL are presently locking down the entry/exit points to the South-East quadrant of Insmother, effectively boxing in the large cluster of Atlas systems there.

As of this writing PL is attacking 46DP in Teneferis, the last remaining entry-point to Insmother in that quadrant.

Despite claims by opponents of an Atlas collapse, Atlas numbers have remained remarkably stable despite this setback. There has been a very slight down-tick of numbers in the last few days, but nothing that would indicate an imminent Failscade.

Now all eyes turn to AAA and, the elephant in the room, IT Alliance. Rumors abound as to whether IT will aid AAA and Atlas, attack them, or simply stand pat.

In the meantime AAA and Atlas will be digesting the lessons recently served up. Despite their success, RUS needs to be wary. The change in Sovereignty rules is a door that swings both ways. RUS is very overextended at the moment. It has long supply lines and an awful lot of territory to digest. Atlas and AAA, with shorter interior lines of movement and supply, may be able to turn the tables on RUS and leverage superior mobility to their advantage.

And then there's the CareBear factor.

Recall in Rise of the CareBears (Part Deux) I said that AAA's careful cultivation of renters have left it sitting on a very big pile of cash. Recall also that PL was hired by RUS.  RUS will have spent a lot of resources on this little fracas and may not have the ready cash needed to outbid AAA for PL's services if push comes to shove. That would allow AAA to eliminate, and possibly recruit, a significant part of the RUS invasion force without firing a shot. An overextended RUS, facing Atlas and AAA along with PL would be in a very tight spot.

And then there are the bears themselves.  As a renter alliance, AAA Citizens doesn't get a great deal of respect from their PVPing neighbors. However, they have invested heavily in their space. They call it home. And they are a tougher breed of bear than those the griefers hunt for sport in empire. Many of the AAAC corporations have a significant PVP-capable element. Even if they can't punch in the weight class of a Pandemic Legion or IT Alliance, they represent a sizable body of experienced nullsec PVP pilots. Properly organized and deployed, their number will make themselves felt. The major alliances would be foolish to dismiss them.

When the Japanese assembled a modern army after the Meji Restoration, they recruited most of their soldiers from the peasant class. The samurai had a good laugh over that. Then the peasants killed them.

Funny things, paradigm shifts.


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  2. Brilliant post and I think between this and the Mittani's blog I am beginning to get a picture of what is happening. Thanks for the imformation and Fly Safe

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  4. Honored to be mentioned in the same breath as the spymaster himself. ;-)

  5. Your posts are always so interesting. I really enjoy reading your analytical take on things.

  6. Thanks Mynxee - and thanks as well for keeping me on your blog's link list.

  7. Have you ever given any thought to the impact that RMT activities may have on these events? It always seems like that big gorilla in the room that everyone dances around and doesn't quite want to mention. Yet I can't help but think that the underlying motivations for at least some of the political maneuverings in null sec are due to exactly that.

  8. Hmmm. A lot of ways to look at that. Give me an example:

    For example, are you thinking of real money trading in the context of LeaderA of Alliance A pays LeaderB of Alliance B real money in exchange for Alliance B attacking Alliance C?

    Or possibly Leader of Alliance A selling plexes bought with real money and using the resulting in-game isk to hire Alliance B to attack Alliance C ?

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