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June 17, 2004

James Grubb ( writes:

After I finished reading the books, I remembered that the tactics the UNSC fleet used (excluding Captain Keyes) were reminiscent of tactics in the Revolutionary War. I reread The Fall of Reach and discovered that my observation had been pointed out, briefly.

"Admiral Stanforth had the fleet exchanging fire with the Covenant like a line of Redcoats and colonial militia in the Revolutionary War -- tactics that could best be described as bloody ... or suicidal." - p. 189

It was at that point when I decided to try and find as many similarities between the Revolutionary War and the Covenant War. My findings are as follows:

1) The UNSC fleet, approx. 48 ships, was lined up to engage the Covenant fleet, approx. 20 ships, strait on, the same as early infantry battles in the Revolutionary War.
2) The ships were positioned in a line, limiting maneuverability, which kept the fleet from being able to dodge incoming plasma. The same is true with the American and British forces when advancing towards each other, they can't dodge the rifle or cannon fire, so they walk straight into it.

Now that there are some similarities, I move on to some suggestions that may have made the battle at Sigma Octanus IV less costly for the UNSC fleet:

1) If more ships like the Cradle had been at the battle, they could have taken the bulk of the Covenant plasma hits, sparing dozens of Human battleships from certain destruction. As a suggestion for future "head-on" ship engagements, a series of "shield ships" should be constructed and used to block the first few Covenant salvos, before being completely melted away. That would even the odds significantly.
2) It was later observed in the book that as a Covenant ship exits slip-space, it shields are down, and they take a few moments to power back up. Had this been realized shortly before the Covenant fleet arrived at Sigma Octanus IV, the UNSC could have launched a volley of archer missiles (with a few dozen nukes mixed in) at the approaching ships. Many of the missiles would be destroyed by plasma turrets, but some of the nukes would make it within range to do some serious damage to the Covenant ships.

More similarities between the two wars:

1) Both wars saw that head to head combat is deadly, and ineffective when attempting to stay alive.
2) Guerrilla warfare proves to be the best means of defeating the enemy.

However, the Revolutionary War had an end, but so far, the Covenant/Human War does not. Time for some speculation....

The colonial forces were desperately seeking help from other nations, and found that France was willing to help, if the colonial army could produce a victory. When a victory was achieved, the French sailed over and trapped the British at Yorktown, where the war eventually ended.
The UNSC attained a minor victory against the Covenant fleet at Sigma Octanus IV, but also suffered a crippling defeat at Reach. However, Halo proved that the UNSC forces could defeat the Covenant on the ground. In addition to the victory at Halo, the destruction of the Unyielding Hierophant and a large portion of the Covenant fleet in First Strike proved that humanity could deal crippling blows to the Covenant without high human losses.

With these victories in place, is it possible that humanity could find an ally? And if humanity found an ally, who would it be? The Forerunner?

An alliance of some kind would be something definitely worth looking forward to in Halo 2. But, as James says, with whom?

Then again, isn't always left to the hero to ultimately save the day? Might it not be our destiny, as with certain previous encounters with fate, to go this one alone?

permalink | Rampant Speculation