Spoilers The Klingons Make No (Strategic) Sense

Discussion in 'Star Trek: Discovery' started by Search4, Nov 19, 2017.

  1. Search4

    Search4 Captain Captain

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    So what is the Klingon strategy we have seen to date?

    Roughly—

    The Empire is in disarray.

    T’Kuvma finds the Torch Ship aka The Ship of the Dead. Ok. It’s thousands of years old but far more advanced that current technology? It ends up destroying many Starfleet ships and has a cloaking device. Huh? Where did it come from and why has the tech been lost?

    A SECOND ship rams Europa while cloaked and destroys her. Europa presumably destroys this ship with their warp core explosion. T’Kuvma rambles on about the Black Fleet. Where’s the rest? Why would you sacrifice your ONLY other cloaked ship in this way? Is there a fleet at all?

    Shenzou disables the Ship of the Dead and it orbits for six months without either side seeking the tech? Huh?

    Voq won’t go get the missing part which takes about 30 minutes. He’d rather starve. Starving is losing. Huh?

    Kol gets the Ship of the Dead for its cloak. I do get this one! And uses it to build his allegiance. But we see over and over (Binary Stars, Lorca’s shuttle) the Feds can’t detect Klingon ships until they arrive anyway. Why is a cloak so important if the Feds routinely can’t see you approach?

    Discovery is said to turn the tide of the battle. But she’s only one ship. Put three cruisers supporting each other, leave shields up, and she would be very hard pressed to win the day. Why not convoy? And the fancy 100 jump scenario seemed like a first time event. How did Discovery win the other battles? Not by just showing up and fighting normally. Wouldn’t beam weapons be able to identify and track Discovery almost immediately?

    Back to the Klingons. Kol sees Discovery acting strangely. He orders warp. Yes, there’s a distraction but no one actually pushes that button? Huh?

    The Klingon strategy does not look capable of winning the war. Not if you have to decloak to fire.

    Anyone seeing this differently? Perhaps the K goal is to harass (get dilithium etc as shown) instead of win?
     
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  2. STR

    STR Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    The Klingon strategy is to the unify the houses by taking a chunk of (if not all) Fed territory and claiming a "great victory" as justification for rule. It doesn't have to be a galaxy-changing win. It just has to look like one, because the war isn't the point. It's using the bonds and chaos of war to climb to the top of the Empire. Staying there after the war is a problem for later.

    We don't know how old the ship of the dead was. We do know T'Kuvma restored it. It was effectively a hulk before then. We don't know what that restoration entailed. The only remarkable thing about it was the cloak. We don't know where the cloak came from or when it was installed.

    The Battle of the Binary Stars was within Federation space. Klingons might not have known the fate of the SotD when it (and T'Kuvma) didn't come back and presumed it lost to Starfleet reinforcements. It just took 6 months (likely because they were busy with a war) for Kol to find time and an opening to find out for sure.

    Voq was not sitting there for 6 months doing nothing instead of scavenging. They were repairing other systems first. He was *reluctant* to use human tech, but it took exactly one conversation to change his mind.

    Klingon TACTICS seem to revolve around hit and run strikes. Cloak is perfect for that. You don't need to fire when cloaked to achieve a surprise attack. Discovery complicates that because Klingon's don't have unlimited ships and the front line is a thousand plus of light years long. Having a capital ship able to pop into any encounter forced the Klingons to use fewer, larger task forces. That's means pulling ships from elsewhere. Maybe opening their lines to counterattack elsewhere.

    At no point was it said that there aren't larger fleets (like DS9). Discovery just wasn't part of one.
     
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  3. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Which Klingons? Remember, despite their rhetoric, they're not unified at all. Kol managed to get most of the great houses to swear loyalty to him, but that doesn't mean he's giving them orders. The Klingon order of battle probably reads like the guest list at a potluck dinner except instead of bringing a dish, everyone brings a general, a supply ship a couple of warships.

    After he spent 20 years restoring it, yes. If there's one thing I would expect a warrior race to have, it's a highly accessible and competitive arms industry.

    "It" does none of those things. T'Kuvma acquired a cloaking device somewhere (probably from the Romulans). The Ship of the Dead only fired the first shots of the war and is otherwise dangerous just by virtue of it being huge. If it was just that one ship against the entire fleet -- or hell, just that one ship against the Shenzhou -- it would have been another issue altogether.

    The ship that rams the Europa probably isn't a combat vessel, considering it never bothers to open fire and doesn't seem to be armed. More likely, it's T'Kuvma's (only?) supply ship, which would explain why they're stranded in space for six months with no way to repair their engines.

    Seems like they didn't think they needed it until Discovery started popping up out of nowhere and sucker punching their flagships. Hell, Kol doesn't even need it until he realizes that he can't become the Head Honcho of the Empire unless he has a gimmick. The cloaking device IS that gimmick. Nobody else in this farce of an empire seems to want to rule the whole enchilada, so in the end it is only Kol's megalomania that makes the cloak seem like a good idea.

    It isn't. That's kind of my point. Used in battle, it allows ships to setup ambushes in situations where they normally WOULD be detected (e.g. destroying the Europa, cornering the Shenzhou), but apart from that, it isn't all that useful. It's just a gimmick that gives those who use it a SLIGHT advantage over those who don't. And since no Klingon wants to be at a disadvantage over his peers, they unite under Kol to get in on this game, probably thinking they can cut ties and betray him later.

    Because the Federation is fighting a defensive war against an enemy that doesn't have anything like what we would consider "conventional" supply lines. The Klingons bring everything WITH them into combat, which means the only way to interrupt their supply lines is to sneak up behind them and pick their pockets. Discovery is the sneakiest ship Starfleet has; it gives them the same advantage the as the cloaking device, except Discovery doesn't have to drop its shields to use it and can pop into position armed and ready before the Klingons even know it's there.

    So every time some Klingon general thinks he's found an opening and attacks some colony or starbase, Discovery pops up out of nowhere and starts flinging torpedoes. Any time the Klingons make a movement thinking "There are no Federation ships in the area, so the supply barge will be safe for a few hours" in comes Discovery, ruining everyone's day. If this war was a Chess Board, Discovery would be some kind of mutant queen that can literally move to any position on the board instantly with no warning at all. You can't plan a strategy against an enemy that doesn't follow any discernible rules.

    Depends on the reaction time of the Klingons. How many seconds it takes for the sensors to spot a new ship appearing out of nowhere, how long it takes for their officer to recognize the ship, how long it takes that officer to explain what just happened to his commanding officer, who may or may not ask a few questions (e.g. "What do you mean another ship? Where'd it come from?" or "I thought you said the long range sensors were clear?" or even "It just appeared... no warp signature... it must be Discovery!"). Once the Klingons get over their initial confusion, yes, they'll start to get a firing solution and shoot back. In the mean time, Discovery has jumped in with weapons hot and its officers ready to track and fire and has a five to ten second head start on this fight.

    Really, it's like a gunslinger getting ambushed in a dark alley. Doesn't matter if you're the fastest gun in the west when you get attacked from behind by someone who already has his gun in hand

    Burnham shot the helmsman. And Kol didn't order anyone to replace him.

    Starships only perform as well as their crews. Kol is a skilled fighter and apparently an able politician, but he's a terrible captain.

    That's why they lost.
     
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  4. zar

    zar Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Of course, strategically stupid behavior, such as sacrificing ships and lives in a display of power (T'Kuvma's cloaked kamikaze) or stubbornness (Voq), is par for the course for Klingons. But while they may be stupid, Kol is less so, and he seems to be the one really pulling the strings after the outbreak of the war. Voq was left to die.

    A few corrections:

    1. There was never supposed to be a fleet. The Black Fleet refers to this:
    http://memory-beta.wikia.com/wiki/Black_Fleet

    2. In the pilot, besides the fact that at least 2 ships actually could cloak, there were several factors facilitating a surprise attack: it was on the Klingon border, the sensor relay was damaged, and there was a sensor dead zone. In any case, two instances of surprise attacks isn't "routine". This has always been a thing, but obviously not such a foolproof strategy as to make cloaking obsolete. Even in the very same episode that the Klingons get the jump on Lorca's shuttle, the Discovery is able to track down that same ship with long-range sensors.

    3. The 100-jump maneuver was information gathering, not a battle tactic per se. There's no reason they would have needed that earlier. We saw Discovery win a battle in episode 4, so I'm not sure why we need to ask how they can do so. Obviously they use the element of surprise to their advantage.
     
  5. Serveaux

    Serveaux Boomer American Premium Member

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    Exactly so. Nothing about the war which forms the spine of STD's first year arc makes any sense or is in any way plausible.

    TPTB just correctly intuited that War With The Klingons!!! OMG!!! was the premise that would get fandom most jazzed up. It's a matter of salesmanship, not storytelling.
     
  6. XCV330

    XCV330 Admiral

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    Whatever T'kuvma's strategy was, it died with him. His idea was to unite the Klingons into his cult by uniting them in war. He got them in a war but died within the first few hours with no qualified successor. Without any central leadership it still seems like the Klingons held their own, maybe just as divided houses and whatever was left of the Torchbearer forces. Voq was/is clearly not much of a leader.

    The Ship of the Dead I still think is some kind of Hurq relic or at least from some previous Klingon golden age. Clearly T'Kuvma focused a good portion of his life figuring it out and getting it ready.

    The main Klingon strategic failure is their inability to protect their ships from intruders. They might want to keep their ships moving when they are cloaked too. These guys don't play eve online much. Maybe they at least scan incoming bodies from now on.
     
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  7. Serveaux

    Serveaux Boomer American Premium Member

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    He had no strategy because he didn't exist. The logic of what's happening is made up by the writers for the sake of telling the story they choose to tell.

    They can say "T'kumva had a different idea" but it means nothing.
     
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  8. XCV330

    XCV330 Admiral

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    He didn't? All this time I thought all of Trek was a documentary filmed in real time.
     
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  9. The Wormhole

    The Wormhole Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Isn't it?
     
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  10. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I watched it happen! I saw it happen!
     
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  11. Serveaux

    Serveaux Boomer American Premium Member

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    And yet you're discussing the "plans" of a character who had none beyond a few unintelligible lines of dialogue as if it somehow illuminates or grounds what's actually happening in the stories.
     
  12. EmoBorg

    EmoBorg Commodore Commodore

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    Kol reminds me of a third world warlord who happened to have some advanced technology. He is deceitful and ruthless but completely lacks the brains to plan beyond cloaked and uncloaked attacks.
     
  13. eschaton

    eschaton Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    In my mind, the issue with how Discovery has treated the Klingon War is that the writers wanted to do two completely conflicting things with the series:

    1. They wanted to have the season focus on Burnham's character arc, with the war serving largely as a backdrop.

    2. They also wanted to have Burnham be a Very Special protagonist who changed the arc of the war.

    Step back and imagine the story focused on the first for a second. Burnham could still have a troubled past, and be a mutineer who is given reprieve in order to work on a special mission during the Klingon War. Many of the characters could have been largely the same. But the Discovery, in this show, would not have the shroom drive, and not be completely integral to the war effort. They might be way off at the far edges of the front lines, only seeing occasional skirmishes. In that case, the limited scope with which we see the Klingon War wouldn't be a big deal, because we're just following a crew of relatively average Starfleet officers to watch the redemption of one former first officer, not politics, strategic issues, or tactical concerns of the conflict.

    But the writers decided to back themselves into a corner by wanting Burnham to be not just the protagonist, but also integral to both the beginning and the resolution of the war - a woman who has managed to meet (and kill) the two most influential figures in this period of Klingon history. This means that the plots have to not only exist as vehicles to develop Burnham and the other characters, but that the worldbuilding for the period has to actually be thought out as well, and ample time should be given of the course of the short, 15-episode season to provide both with development.

    The problem is, of course, the worldbuilding doesn't seem like it was that well thought out. At least not yet.
     
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  14. XCV330

    XCV330 Admiral

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    People do that all the time. Interest is found in a character and one begins to wonder what the writer had in mind for them that didn't make it onto the script. And of course viewers and readers get involved with subtext and the inner life of characters. It's something human beings seem to have enjoy. You seem to enjoy decrying a show you declared you weren't going to watch anymore a few weeks ago, so I cannot say if you understand that concept or not. We wonder how they eats and breathes and other science facts.
     
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  15. STR

    STR Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    This comment is remarkable in it's uselessness. Yes, fiction is fiction. Do you have any other obvious observations to make or can we go back to asking whether or not OP's question makes sense narratively or in universe?

    You're right. They set up 2 difficult storylines and tried to resolve them in 9 episodes of 40ish minutes. It's possible to accomplish what they set out to do, but you need far better plotting and a laser focus on having each scene build to the next.

    TBH, the standalone-ish episodes in the middle (while being the best of the series so far) really hurt them here. It took us out of the war while adding little to the character arc.

    We all knew this was a troubled production. It certainly felt like 2 shows merged into one (complete with 2 very different pilots), along with pacing issues that suggest last minute edits. Hopefully, they hit a stride towards the tail end of season 1, or season 2 at the latest.

    Being deceitful, ruthless and lacking the brains to plan anything is not exclusive to developing countries.

    The "cleave ship" was by far the dumbest thing in the entire pilot. Okay, maybe 2nd after Saru's "I sense danger" speech that they'd rehash like 9 more times over the season.
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2017
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  16. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Pretty much the same as always: live happily in a secure Empire, raid neighbors, win some, lose some. No need for anything more complex when nobody wants to do real war with the Empire.

    No. It's his dad's ship; he was probably born in it (back when it was rusting on dad's backyard).

    No. The Light of Kahless is centuries old. Some of the older coffins are thousands of years old. The ship may have been brand spanking knew when T'Kumva's dad bought it.

    No. There's no advanced technology aboard that we'd know of. Other than the cloak, but nobody really knows where T'Kumva got it from. And as we now know, it's not an ancient and mysterious black box device, but a technological formula that Kol's engineers can implement on whichever ship he pleases.

    Which is sort of understandable as it's a big ship. Dozens of times bigger than the Starfleet ships that went against it, apparently.

    The Black Fleet is a metaphorical one: you join it by dying and getting welded to the hull of the Ship of the Dead.

    If there's another, separate fleet that actually consists of ships, it's not mentioned in the show.

    And the ramming ship appears to have been designed solely for ramming - much like the early ironclads were designed around rather silly weapons systems (including rams) when it appeared they could not mount conventional weapons. An understandable early adaptation, perhaps something T'Kumva could weld together in his dad's back yard.

    That one wasn't "sacrificed" - it was destroyed by Starfleet in a desperate maneuver.

    Apart from the castaways, the only Klingon to survive that battle appeared to be Kol. And this only happened because he left in a huff before the battle, and before T'Kumva could demonstrate the existence of the cloak.

    So odds are that nobody knew the Ship of the Dead survived, and nobody thought they should care. It was only half a year into the war when Kol got desperate with his defeats and decided to grasp at straws, returned to the battlefield and, to his amazement, found T'Kumva and folks still alive. And apparently unable to communicate their plight (or at least we never saw them communicate with anybody). And in actual possession of that mythical invisibility device after all.

    Voq is a stupid madman leading fanatics. "Huh?" sort of goes with the territory. It's not relevant to Klingon strategy or war effort or anything.

    We learn this at the beginning of "Para Bellum", which is apparently the first time Kol sends his cloakships out to fight. Cloaked ships cannot be targeted. They can be coarsely tracked, and Starfleet always knows when they are there, but they can't be hit.

    This is the same thing as with the Romulan cloak in "Balance of Terror". Spock can't give Sulu anything to shoot at, but he can tell Kirk where the Romulans are heading.

    Convoying slow ships with fast ones is a losing tactic. (Except apparently in the Dominion War, where old relics sailed alongside Starfleet's finest in formations hundreds of ships strong.)

    Starfleet simply doesn't know how to build more mushroomships, that is, quickly convert existing ships to do s-jumps. And it's not as if there's a pressing need at the moment.

    As far as we can tell, she never fought any. In the beginning of "Choose Your Pain", Lorca and the Admirals list the missions the ship has performed in aid of the war effort, and they have all been surprise interventions rather than the besting of actual Klingon fleets. Lorca fights by tying the enemy shoelaces together and yelling "Boo!"; if he stopped to fire the guns instead, he'd be dead, as we see in "Para Bellum".

    Seems so. Just as elsewhere in Trek, hit rates in space combat approach 100%, even though Klingons like to spray a bit too generously for that.

    Rate of fire isn't all that high, though, perhaps out of the need to wait for the hits to align 100%. But a ship of NCC-1031 ilk would be toast in a minute, as seen. Perhaps actual warships would fare better?

    Klingons don't have to say "belay that order" - it's pretty clear Kol doesn't want to go to warp any more.

    I mean, it's not a combat maneuver. It's what Kol decided to do when he was bored with not having combat. But now he has it, and it's not as if hanging around and waiting for the Starfleet featherweight ship to come and help their featherweight duelist would be a disadvantageous idea. Quite to the contrary.

    Cloaks weren't a factor until "Para Bellum". Before that, the Klingons were briefly about to win by sucker punch against Corvan II, but then were about to lose as in "Madness" where we hear casualties on the Fed side are almost nonexistent.

    K goal? Kol has a goal, which is to become Great Leader. This does not require winning the war. The Empire was happy not having war until T'Kumva went mad; winning doesn't appear important to the Emperor, either. Voq wants to be Messiah. L'Rell just wants something secret.

    The Empire isn't out to fight and defeat the Federation. They're just having war for the fun of it, regardless of opponent. And them not being too serious about it is great consistency, as history does not record any war of note in this time period.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2017
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  17. GeekUSACarl

    GeekUSACarl The Last Starfighter Fleet Captain

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    Yeah the Klingons as a whole aren't very well written, don't get me wrong, in many ways it's better than the perpetually drunk pirates we get in many trek episodes, but in many ways it's worse.

    As a piece of the discovery story, they seem to just be there to advance the timer and move the plot along. Put in a couple lines about racial heritage that ring with todays crowd, that's pretty much the most depth they gave them.

    And yeah, strategy?

    What strategy?
     
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  18. zar

    zar Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Eh? "Whatever T'kuvma's strategy was, it died with him." I don't think "whatever" qualifies as discussion. :shrug: The point is OP was questioning the Klingons' success based on the behavior of T'Kuvma and Voq, but neither of them had any real say in the direction of the war past the first half hour. That is, according to what's actually happening in the stories.

    Anyway, any discussion of T'Kuvma's imaginary plans has infinitely more merit than you writing 3 posts that serve absolutely no purpose other than to remind us of the blindingly obvious fact that they are imaginary, and that this show bores you to the point of incessantly discussing how much it bores you.
     
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  19. zar

    zar Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I don't think this has been confirmed in the show yet, but according to Ted Sullivan in September, it's 200 years old and some of the coffins are 300 years old:

    http://trekcore.com/blog/2017/09/kl...n-new-star-trek-discovery-producer-interview/

    It’s a 200-year-old ship. This is a group of Klingons who’ve gone back to a puritan way of life. They look very different: they wear armor that’s 200 years old and they don’t have any hair.

    Their commander [T’Kuvma, played by Chris Obi] runs his Klingon house – the house of T’Kuvma – by the rules of Kahless, the Klingon messiah. And he calls himself the second coming of the Klingon messiah.

    In the past, Klingons have not really cared about their dead – they’re not like marines. But these Klingons are. The outside of the ship is covered in thousands of coffins. Some are 300 years old, some are just two days old.

    Downstairs is the death room, where they prepare their dead; then the coffins get raised up and put on the outside.



    According to Kol, T'Kuvma is a "fool", the ship is "disgraced" with "outcasts and vermin". Even if he knew all along the ship and crew survived, he easily would have let them rot.
     
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  20. Jadeb

    Jadeb Commodore Commodore

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    If that's the case, shouldn't we have seen some non-puritans? I get the impression they didn't think this through very well.