Header art by Major Sniper.
World War Bee is not the first time around the bloc war for most of the leadership on both sides. The Mittani and most of the upper level Imperium directorate are veterans of several campaigns. Vily was on the CFC side during the Fountain War and now finds himself facing his old comrades. For most commanders, though the mechanics of the game has changed, the adage that war never changes likely still holds true. If it doesn’t, there certainly hasn’t been any indication to an outside viewer.
However, war has most certainly changed. And it has changed drastically. For the first time in at least 15 years, the entire cluster is facing a resource shortage. CCP’s nukes—nerf is not a strong enough word—to mining and minerals have drastically changed the calculus of a bloc war. Those that haven’t realized this are going to get stomped.
Running The Numbers
In a normal bloc war, losses are tallied in the hundreds of ships, if not thousands per single battle. Choke points on the map become New Eden’s Verdun until one side manages to break the other. Even on the defensive, the Imperium is going to have the advantage of defending their own gunned citadels in their own space. In some ways, it might be more advantageous to dig in and counter-attack.
However, no matter the strategy that either side uses, the term attrition warfare needs to be stricken from the lexicon. There simply is not enough minerals on the market to make a war of attrition last.
At the time of writing, there was only enough Mexallon on the Jita market for 473 Megathrons (unresearched BPO with no other modifiers). There were only enough components to make 251 Sacrileges. For bloc wars, fights can easily be more bloody. While alliances certainly have reserves—or should—the kind of sustained, loss-heavy fighting that marked previous wars is at an end.
This war will come down to the logistics (not the ship class, the ability to get one thing from place A to place B), resource management, and production.
See, in 1941, the US had a couple of problems. They were named the Atlantic and the Pacific. If the US was going to go fight the Nazis or the Japanese, any equipment would have to cross either of those oceans. And, it meant that taking something back to the States to repair or refit was impossible.
The M4 Sherman tank is oft maligned as inferior when compared to the German cats. A Panzerkampfwagen VI Tiger, Panzerkampfwagen Tiger Ausf. B, or Panzerkampfwagen V Panther would, in any 1 to 1 engagement, easily best a Sherman tank. Their armor was better; their guns were better. “It takes 5 Shermans to take out a cat,” went the popular saying.
There is a reason that 5 Shermans took out a cat: US tank platoons operated in groups of 5 tanks. So, whereas each Sherman might have been individually inferior, the US Army had more tanks, and more importantly more tanks that worked.
Maintenance on a Sherman was incredibly easy compared to maintenance on a Panther. If a Panther needed a new transmission, then the tank would be out of commission for several days. If a Sherman needed a new transmission, it took a matter of hours to change out. Simply put, the US Army didn’t send equipment overseas until it had been tested, and shown to be suited for the task.
The US was incredibly focused on producing effective weapons and equipment. In fact, they were laser focused compared to the Germans. The Germans spent a huge amount of ear material and manufacturing on the following worthless projects: Schwerer Gustav railway gun, Sturmtiger, the V2 rocket program, the Maus ultra-heavy tank, the Krummlauf, and many more others that are lesser well known.
Additionally, German tanks were over-engineered monsters that posed all kinds of problems, not just for maintenance, but transit as well. As someone that’s had to change the tracks on an AAVP7A1 RAM/RS, the mere idea of having to change the tracks simply to get a tank on a railway car actually makes me feel a little bit bad for those Nazis.
The maintenance problem really hit the Germans hard. While the US made sure that every time a piece of equipment was sent overseas it had plenty of spare components, the Germans really were not making spares for their vehicles. Damage to a critical component would mean that the entire vehicle would be lost.
So, once the US made sure that their stuff wouldn’t turn out to be crap once it got onto the battlefield, they then made sure that they could resupply. The famous Liberty Ships kept the warmachine in Europe fed, equipped, and armed. The clip from the movie Battle of the Bulge isn’t wrong.
Learning From The Past
The lessons to be learned from US efforts in WWII are as follows:
1: Logistics is everything. The ability to equip forces will determine the tactics and strategy of a campaign.
2: Focus production. Unlike Germany, where corporations competed against each other for military contracts, US corporations were given a blueprint and told to build.
3: Use what works. The battlefield is a poor initial testing ground. Anything deployed to combat should be as tested and improved as possible.
4: Don’t waste resources on massive projects. Even and especially if they work. Find a way to get something done with what you have first. (For EVE, this war isn’t the time to be building faction supers.)
5: Manage everything. As the Defense Production Act shows, we are all socialists in wartime. The free market is not good at supply war material.
For World War Bee, the victor is going to be the one that internalizes all these lessons and applies them ruthlessly. Any debate about who the better fleet commander is goes out the window when one side is fielding battleships and the other side is fielding Tech I destroyers. Remember, amateurs talk tactics, professionals talk logistics.