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Deep Space Nine What We Left Behind, we will always have here.

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Old April 10 2015, 06:58 AM   #1
Titch
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The Siege of AR – 558

We know within the Star Trek universe that the Starfleet Marines exist and that their existence is a must. Starfleet we know is an exploration, humanitarian and military space force. In recent times the military component has been not really talked about. This all changed with the Dominion War; Starfleet military now went to the forefront.
Now over the period of the war, during most engagements, battles or campaigns it was fleet to fleet and ship to ship. But in all logic there would have had to have been battles fought on the ground by foot soldiers such as the marines even though it seems that we only know of one major ground battle.
It is this battle I wish to unravel because within it are inconsistencies with military protocols. However modern the battle or war certain things must still happen.
So, Starfleet has found and captured a Dominion listening/ communication post and are now trying to break the code to get into it. The first thing that comes to mind is why doesn’t the Dominion simply destroy it from space or use a self-destruct protocol?
If the capture of said outpost could allow Starfleet to break their communication channels, I would think getting rid of it would be their priority. And if destroying it for whatever reason was not possible, wouldn’t such an advanced power such as the Dominion forces just simply change their communication channels therefore rendering that outpost useless?
The other inconsistencies that I noticed were that when Starfleet goes to war would their ground troops use stun or kill settings? If you look at most of Starfleet’s training it is to do no harm but that ideal doesn’t work during war...
The other thing that comes to mind is that if this outpost is so important would you not think that Starfleet would put priority troop movement to it and not leave just forty three troops to hold it? If they lose it they would never get another chance to get another one if it was that important. The lack of support to me makes no sense. So it leads me to believe something else might have been at the core of the decision to hold it. Could it have been Starfleet’s need to show the Dominion they would fight no matter the cost? If this was the reason then that strategy was so 20th century (sorry for the cliché) but just losing people for that reason would then make the very principles they are fighting for mean nothing.
Starfleet holds itself to a very high standard. They have moved beyond being petty, but at the Siege those high standards went to the wayside. Quark made a very good point when he said “Take all of the humans’ comforts away and they revert back to the most vicious beasts.”
I would have believed that to serve on a starship/Starfleet the training and selection process would have made today’s Special Forces training look like a five star hotel stay so why did the Starfleet troops fall apart?
Ground troops in modern warfare work very closely with air support, and yet these ground troops had none. Neither did the Jem’Hadar which made no sense. No starship in orbit, nothing. I will admit I am no military strategist but to me it just can’t work.
The last two things: one, why were Starfleet crewmen deployed as ground troops when they would have been vital for manning starships and two, why were the Starfleet Marines not deployed? It was their area of expertise to fight planet based conflicts and I find that with whichever force was deployed where was the combat armour? The armour might have stopped only one phaser round but that in turn would give that soldier a second chance. And with the lack of combat armour where were the heavy weapons? The shoulder grenade launchers? The phase canons? Even some sort of tank?

Now I understand that this battle was fictitious and made for dramatic TV but I believe the producers were trying to make a meaningful episode on the trauma of war on people. But if you are going to do an episode like AR-558 you must get it right and fighting a war in the 24th century would not have been fought like this.
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Old April 10 2015, 01:12 PM   #2
Bad Thoughts
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Re: The Siege of AR – 558

I think that your last paragraph answers many of your questions. Explanations of why the post wasn't bombed, self-destructed, why the small number of troops were left to defend, etc. would bring about excessive technobabble or explanation that would come at the expense of the drama. To that end, I let it go: I'd rather not hear about how someone used a tachyon beam, tachyon field, inverse tachyon beam, anti-proton beam, etc.

Your question about the style of fighting deserves some attention, but I don't think there is one clear answer. The Dominion's personnel claoking technology, "shrouding," would allow more opportunities for man-to-man combat. The Dominion might see this a distinct advantage of their troops over Starfleet and others, and it would reduce the usefulness of energy weapons in close combat situations.
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Old April 10 2015, 09:29 PM   #3
MikeS
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Re: The Siege of AR – 558

Bad Thoughts wrote: View Post
Your question about the style of fighting deserves some attention, but I don't think there is one clear answer. The Dominion's personnel claoking technology, "shrouding," would allow more opportunities for man-to-man combat. The Dominion might see this a distinct advantage of their troops over Starfleet and others, and it would reduce the usefulness of energy weapons in close combat situations.
Perhaps a modern analogy is that you wouldn't use a Tomahawk missile to take out a suicide bomber? Or even, a nuke to take out a tank?
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Old April 10 2015, 09:41 PM   #4
Jedi_Master
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Re: The Siege of AR – 558

It is quite possible that the Federation does not a traditional "Army", or a military specifically designed to take and hold ground. Considering that the Federation does not expand by conquest, there would be no need to have ground troops, as Starfleet would fill all the roles needed to defend and protect the Federation.

Specialized assault troops (Marines if you will) would be be limited in number, so they would spread thin by the conflict with the Dominion.
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Old April 10 2015, 10:29 PM   #5
Timo
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Re: The Siege of AR – 558

Titch wrote: View Post
So, Starfleet has found and captured a Dominion listening/ communication post and are now trying to break the code to get into it. The first thing that comes to mind is why doesn’t the Dominion simply destroy it from space or use a self-destruct protocol?
If the underground facility is as well protected as comparable ones mentioned in "Return to Grace", requiring a certain minimum level of starship firepower to destroy (Dukat: "It's subterranean, much too fortified to be a viable target for a Bird of Prey. It would take a Vor'Cha class cruiser to do any real damage."), then the Dominion would need to enjoy space superiority, at least temporarily, to complete such bombardment. Yet the episode hinges on neither side having space superiority, and therefore being unable to supply or support the troops below.

But the bigger issue is this:

And if destroying it for whatever reason was not possible, wouldn’t such an advanced power such as the Dominion forces just simply change their communication channels therefore rendering that outpost useless?
Only if they knew Starfleet had captured the facility. But space superiority is not the only thing both sides are lacking: communications with HQ is also apparently impossible for both sides. Starfleet simply doesn't know - the presence of the comm node is certainly news for Sisko, who only knows there's a team down there he's supposed to resupply. The surface team in turn doesn't know Sisko is coming.

The Defiant makes short work of small Dominion ships that try to reinforce the competing team. Did they know what was at stake, either? It might have come as a rude surprise to them that the Jem'Hadar who were supposed to be in control of the comm node were in fact huddling nine kilometers away, while the node was swarming with Feds!

Kellin is doing his damnedest not to get noticed when he tries to crack the node. Supposedly, he's succeeding.

The other inconsistencies that I noticed were that when Starfleet goes to war would their ground troops use stun or kill settings? If you look at most of Starfleet’s training it is to do no harm but that ideal doesn’t work during war...
Kirk used stun exclusively in open warfare in "Errand of Mercy". No doubt this would be a tactical choice first and foremost, with stun chosen on ethical grounds only if tactical situation allowed (say, there's no harm in the Klingons/Jem'Hadar waking up later on because the heroes will either have completed their mission and retreated, or else taken control of the terrain captured from the stunned enemy).

Yet the AR-558 force has other concerns besides pure tactical. They seem to be short on everything, possibly including power. So their phaser settings might be dictated by power concerns: no widebeam when there's only enough oomph for individual kill blasts...

The other thing that comes to mind is that if this outpost is so important would you not think that Starfleet would put priority troop movement to it and not leave just forty three troops to hold it?
Sisko doesn't know of any importance before Larkin tells him. One would expect Sisko would have been told if Starfleet knew, and asked to beam down further troops rather than mere meal packs and moral-boosting plastic Christmas trees or whatever.

Ground troops in modern warfare work very closely with air support, and yet these ground troops had none. Neither did the Jem’Hadar which made no sense. No starship in orbit, nothing. I will admit I am no military strategist but to me it just can’t work.
And indeed it didn't work. Which is not a bug, but a feature: when no starships can make it to safe orbit (c.f. the battle between the Defiant and the two Jemmie battlebugs), the surface fight is going nowhere.

One, why were Starfleet crewmen deployed as ground troops when they would have been vital for manning starships
Not just crew - the ground force of 150 was originally commanded by a Captain and a Commander. That sounded like the entire contingent of a small starship! Perhaps a ship had been lost and the surface force was her surviving crew?

If so, though, the troopers probably wouldn't have been so blase about "waiting for rotation" - they would speak of "waiting for rescue". And Sisko would not be sent to bring supplies, but to recover survivors.

The likelier reason is as below:

and two, why were the Starfleet Marines not deployed?
These probably were Starfleet Marines. They just happen to hold naval-style ranks.

Another futuristic touch would be putting a Colonel, that is, Captain, in charge of just 150 men. But those do amount to a battalion in terms of absolute firepower: each man is an entire rifle platoon all by himself.

where was the combat armour? The armour might have stopped only one phaser round but that in turn would give that soldier a second chance.
These people wore the same type of coveralls that saved the life of Lieutenant Burke in "Nor the Battle to the Strong" (if only for a few hours followed by agonizing death). They probably are armor, capable of taking at least glancing hits from Klingon blasters. And there supposedly exists no armor capable of taking direct death ray hits (or protecting the head from glancing ones while retaining vision and hearing) - yes, personal forcefields are mentioned in "Homefront", but in a context that makes them sound like riot control gear, and such forcefields in TAS offer no protection whatsoever against beam weapons.

And with the lack of combat armour where were the heavy weapons?
In the hands of the troopers? A phaser is supposed to be capable of leveling hills. But that's a matter of available power, and after five months, these folks might have had little.

The shoulder grenade launchers? The phase canons? Even some sort of tank?
Both Klingons and Jem'Hadar use some sort of indirect, possibly ballistic fire, the former in "Nor the Battle", the latter in "The Ship". Neither worried about targeting, though. Even if these Starfleet troopers had grenades, what would have been the plot moment where they would have been useful? Wasting them in blind firing would be rather silly.

As for tanks, those make little sense unless they fly. Why settle for anything less? But nothing flew above that planetoid. Quite possibly such assets would have been exhausted early on in the fight.

But if you are going to do an episode like AR-558 you must get it right and fighting a war in the 24th century would not have been fought like this.
Few wars are fought like they "should". Today's wars are misleading in being extremely asymmetric: say, Israel can afford to deploy impenetrably well armored APCs networked to supersensors and topped by CIWS turrets, against an enemy that will be lucky to obtain unguided antitank rockets fifty years out of date. In a symmetric fight, much feebler APCs would be available for cost reasons, and under fire from their peers and worse.

This episode turns austerity to a virtue: Quark's little speech already describes how humans fight well when deprived of everything. Well, these troops are.

Timo Saloniemi
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Old April 15 2015, 06:36 AM   #6
kkt
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Re: The Siege of AR – 558

The battle is certainly not being fought they way they'd hoped, but in wars there are often out of the way little battles that don't get fought they way they would on a main front. Both Starfleet and Dominion technology is subject to jamming, breakdowns, running out of key supplies, and the only things left are hand phasers.
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Old April 15 2015, 07:31 AM   #7
Nightdiamond
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Re: The Siege of AR – 558

The single shot, once-at-a- time rifle fire just doesn't seem practical in a combat situation.

I know it's supposed to be futuristic, but it just seemed almost backward, when you look at it.

Semi automatic fire would saved them a lot of casualties. The way the Jem Hadar charged into the cavern was crazy too.

It all resembled 19th century combat. A step back into the past.
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Old April 15 2015, 08:29 AM   #8
Ithekro
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Re: The Siege of AR – 558

Technically it is semi automatic. They don't need to reload after each shot and they just need to pull the trigger again. No action required to get a new pulse into the phaser.

(A World War Two M1 Garand is a semi automatic rifle by the way)

Are you thinking of burst fire or fully automatic fire? Type were more than one round comes out with you full the trigger?

Suppression fire style combat? That only works if the enemy is going to take cover, the Jem'Hadar are not going to do that for you. Also if you have ammo to spare. One shot at a time is to conserve ammo and make each shot count. Aim the damn phaser rather than spray and pray. If spread/wide angle fire in not viable that is.
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Old April 16 2015, 06:14 AM   #9
Nightdiamond
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Re: The Siege of AR – 558

I'm thinking of both burst fire and fully automatic. Sisko did something similar when he had a Jem hadar rifle in 'For the Uniform'.

He realizes that a few Jem Hadar were cloaked and standing in front of him, so he rapid fired and hit all of them almost at once.

With Siege of Ar-558, I have to watch that scene again, but it looked like the Jem Hadar charged inside the cavern to attack them.

Now, that's their way, but it looked really impractical. Having a rapid burst or spray pattern firing would seem to me to be a good way to put down a lot of them before it got ugly.

In the end the Jem hadar eventually over ran them and it looked like because Sisko and crew couldn't keep up with the firing.

And no sniper positions?
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Old April 16 2015, 06:34 AM   #10
Ithekro
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Re: The Siege of AR – 558

In a cave? where the array is the most promiate feature?

The way it is presented other phaser options would either drain their weapons too quickly verses the number of enemy, or would be ineffective againste their enemy. It is entirely possible that wide phaser patterns would do nothing to a Jem'Hadar. And rapid bursts might not be possible considering their limited resources.
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Old April 16 2015, 07:45 AM   #11
Nightdiamond
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Re: The Siege of AR – 558

True, phasers have been said to run out, or can be drained of energy. And that would explain a lot.

But I think the problem is Star Trek (technologically) was way too clean. It has never been "messy" -- In the beginning it wanted to impress us with its state of advanced technology, when all the encounters were relatively simple.

A single clean phaser beam that can stun you at a distance is cool. But mainly for away team missions when the biggest threat is a single alien coming to get you on some planet.

In a gritty real world situation like war combat, you start thinking about grenades, machine guns and such.

That's why the single fire thing looked odd. No helmets? Bashir playing loud music that could have masked the enemy's approach?

No snipers? Grenades or mines of their own?

Starship Troopers had a pretty interesting take on future warfare. It closely resembled modern warfare with air support etc, but with advanced technology.

I think even Nu Trek has made the jump, notice their weapons are fast pulsed, on both the ships and guns.
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Old April 16 2015, 08:13 AM   #12
Ithekro
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Re: The Siege of AR – 558

Star Trek, was never really about ground combat. It never did it well really. It wasn't suppose to do it well.
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Old April 16 2015, 03:54 PM   #13
Timo
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Re: The Siege of AR – 558

The feature I would expect of these Starfleet rifles, based on the specs Kira gives in "Return to Grace", is rapid, automatic firing where every single shot counts. After all, the thing is supposed to have automatic multi-target acquisition, and can demonstrably fire off-boresight: it ought to be capable of selecting, say, ten Jem'Hadar, then downing each of them with a single shot, but with all those shots fired within a second, at single trigger-press.

It's not as if our valiant troopers here ever actually miss, that much must be said for the abilities of their weapons (most soldiers would miss even at such close ranges at least once or twice). But 100% accuracy comes at the cost of low rate of fire, which here isn't a good exchange at all. Then again, the same seems to apply to starship combat.

I can see why there would be no helmets: if the best in body armor can only offer as much protection as we saw in "Nor the Battle to the Strong", then making a helmet out of that stuff would just burden the trooper with a bulky item unlikely to help any. There's little or no danger from other battlefield threats there in Trek: in particular, no shrapnel to speak of (since nobody fires explosive let alone deliberately shrapnel-generating rounds). "A little protection" often is much worse than nothing.

Given the above, though, one wonders why nobody brings an ancient fragmenting hand grenade to the fight... Much like a bayonet might be the best way to kill a flak-jacket-wearing enemy at close range, some "outdated" weapons may come handy for the sheer surprise value.

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Old April 20 2015, 05:34 AM   #14
Reaper63
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Re: The Siege of AR – 558

Prior to the MACOs on Enterprise, the presence of any sort of Marines only has ST5 for any basis in Trek. The Dark Blue department shirts on the ground assault force was only seen on those troopers.

Roddenberry has said that there were no actual marine force prior to his death. I think the Security departments were covering all the traditional Military ground force duties.

As for why they couldn't get relieved or reinforced was Starfleet was facing personnel shortages across the board. (outside DS9 and the Enterprise) Command crews were being split up and rearranged to try to get experienced people into more places.

They simply didn't have people to relieve those troops till the end of the show.

As for the Semi Auto fire, I know back in the 90s we were trained to NOT fire full auto in the Military. our M16s were supposed to remain on Semi auto fire to avoid spray and prey ammo dumps. There might have been the Star Fleet version of Squad Automatic weapons, but they might have been knocked out by the time Defiant showed.
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Old May 2 2015, 08:18 AM   #15
Titch
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Re: The Siege of AR – 558

Yes I had thought the same thing it did seem like a step back into the past. But on the other hand in Korea the modern battle field had regress back to trench warfare. But I just thought they didn’t do the whole episode justice it just didn’t look real.
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