A War for Professionals

Sophia 'Alizabeth' S 2020-07-09

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.

DaBigRedExample

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.

Divergent Philosophies

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.

By Comparison…

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.

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Comments

  • Bertram Renning

    I agree on the overall message but I think it is worth to point out that Jita market deepness is not visible on the market itself anymore. Following the last market update by CCP the majority of the market is inside trader hangar and are only put on the market when there is some certainty about the possibility of that stock being effectively traded.
    I am extremely curious to see how much the combination of the war and the “nuking” of mineral mining affect things.

    Just to get back to the WWII analogy, having your logistic based away from enemy bomb is always a better position, so is it possible that the Imperium encounter issue with the fact that the invading force could pose a threat to their logistic operation (like the nazi military operation were disrupt by the bombing of railway and bridge across continental Europe) ?

    July 9, 2020 at 8:49 AM
    • As long as high sec can still produce, then having your factories in the proverbial Urals is always possible.

      Obviously as demand goes up, supply goes down, minerals and ship prices on the open market will increase. In my idea of a perfect EVE, alliances would handle their own mining and production to sustain the war efforts. Farms and fields, mines and factories—it’s all the same.

      July 10, 2020 at 4:36 AM
  • Simon Chui

    I lol’d at dabigredexample.

    One wonders just how big of a stockpile the imperium has krabbed up after all this time. You think PAPI did the math before they attacked, or nah?

    July 9, 2020 at 2:04 PM
  • Noob

    “Don’t waste resources on massive projects.“

    Like the Manhattan Project?

    July 9, 2020 at 11:20 PM
    • I will submit to you that while the Manhattan Project yielded results, it was not necessary to win the war. Even without the bomb, the US could have beaten Japan without the costly invasion of Operation Downfall. It would have taken longer and likely resulted in more Japanese deaths.

      The Manhattan Project, however, is the exception that proves the rule. In EVE, if building a Palatine Keepstar would make all your sov invulnerable, then I would say go for it.

      July 10, 2020 at 4:26 AM
      • Noob Alizabeth

        Well said – and I agree, though I would argue that all that was needed for Japan’s surrender was Russia’s declaration of war.

        I firmly believe the bomb was a minor factor – the US had done worse to their country‘s cities using incendiary loaded bombs (Tokyo) prior and it had zero effect on their morale or desire to continue the fight.

        July 10, 2020 at 5:50 PM
        • There are historians that argue the bomb gave Japan an excuse to surrender. I don’t think Russia alone would have been successful in causing the Japanese surrender, though. For the main islands to surrender, it would have taken a long blockade to slowly strangle them.

          July 10, 2020 at 11:08 PM
          • Noob Alizabeth

            Russia declared war on August 9, Japan surrendered on the 15th.

            With the Russian invasion of Manchuria, Japan’s only remaining source of anything resembling war materiel was eliminated. It also eliminated the one party Japan saw as a possible arbiter for some sort of conditional surrender.

            Of course this is something we could argue forever and never find the correct answer. 😉

            The only truth I know about the situation is Japan surrendered once Hirohito found that he actually had testicles and could overrule the lunatics leading his military.

            July 11, 2020 at 12:16 AM
          • I would say that Manchuria wasn’t going to get anything to the Japanese islands once the US Navy had a stranglehold around it. But, you’re right that this is all armchair historian stuff.

            July 11, 2020 at 5:24 AM