Is it possible that the confederation could have won the kilrathi war after the Battle of Earth without the Temblor Bomb or Behemoth

Thunderbolt

Rear Admiral
The question basically goes from the title.
So I've finally got hold of and managed to read most of the Wing Commander novelisation and its kicked my interest up again in the WC universe.

Fleet Action gives us a reasonable amount of detail on the Battle of Earth although not so much the aftermath. WC3 also skips the immediate aftermath but doesn't really tell us very much about the state of the Confederation outside of Blair's first person perspective.

So is it possible that humanity could have pulled through without the super weapons? The Excalibur project definitely had the means to outmatch Kilrathi space superiority but it needed a few months of development to get it into mass production.

The biggest immediate problem that Confed seemed to face was lack of carriers. How critical was this? I'm under the impression that Confed still had heaps of fleet carriers in cold storage at Carnavon station, Ella Superbase, Jupiters moon and elsewhere. And even with a shortage of carriers could Confed have held its line by falling back to the various starbases in Vega and holding these points?

Then the carrier shortage could also be remedied by constructing more CVEs to either spread the kilrathi out further or to support larger carrier groups.
Although for Confed's side it doesn't look good long term as the destruction of the lunar shipyards & drydocked assets would have put a serious shortfall in Confeds production essentially making a war of attrition unviable. I would expect to see Confed in a lot of trouble in about 2-3 years following the battle of Earth since the carrier shortage would than be quite acute but not immediately after - once the rest of the navies assets were mobilised.

And what do we know about the state of the Kilrathi economy? Fleet Action constantly paints a picture that the Empire was on the verge of rebellion and the Kilrathi economy was overstretched and fatigued from decades of war. So was this actually true or was Kilrathi counterintelligence feeding false information to Confed that overstated the weakness of the Kilrathi military industrial complex? Because by WC3 the Kilrathi don't seem to be facing any immediate issues either politically or economically. In fact they seem to be doing so well that within just months of the Battle of Earth they are already capable of first launching a large enough offensive to almost push Confed out of Vega sector entirely (despite that the terrans spent huge resources building a network of starbases over the years to consolidate it) and then to assemble a new fleet to attack Earth. That paints the picture that they were doing very well and that the Kilrathi had long since recovered from the damage that the Tarawa and confed strikes on Kilrathi shipyards and logistics.
 

mustanger

Rear Admiral
The way the story goes, we see what happens when the Behemoth and the Temblor Bomb fail, which is the Confederation being overrun and Earth being taken. The reality is that the war was at a stalemate for a long period, but the false armistice allowed the Kilrathi enough breathing room to get their secret fleet readied and deal a crippling blow to the Confederation. Once they were on their heels, it was all but over.
 

ChrisReid

Super Soaker Collector / Administrator
Yeah, mustang kind of nailed it. The 'what if' is in the losing endgame of Wing Commander 3 where we literally see the Kilrathi walking on a crushed Earth if/when the super weapons fail. You can imagine lots of hypothetical ways that Confed manages to circumvent defeat, but the most probable is shown to us, and it doesn't look good without the Behemoth/Temblor Bomb.
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
There's another question this invites, though: could the Society of Mandarins have been correct? Could the most effective (or perhaps least costly) way to defeat the Kilrathi have been to surrender and then change the Empire from within?
 

Thunderbolt

Rear Admiral
There's another question this invites, though: could the Society of Mandarins have been correct? Could the most effective (or perhaps least costly) way to defeat the Kilrathi have been to surrender and then change the Empire from within?
I think the Mandarins were playing a dangerous game - from what I've observed from reading the books the Kilrathi are an entirely different species from humans and therefore evolved with different selective pressures (e.g. the kilrathi don't seem to be a society that ever had a place for aestheticism, stoicism, monasticism or other more peaceful philosophies or religions that even ancient human societies had). The entire Kilrathi society seems to be built around the warrior caste and the predator-prey complex - attributes such as empathy and mercy seem to be entirely absent from their language, behaviour & philosophies/religions.
Submitting to the Kilrathi would just enforce that notion into the Kilrathi even more so. It seems to be to be making the same dangerous assumption that the government made during the false peace - assuming the kilrathi have similar primal instincts to humans.

Perhaps humanity could have survived as slaves to the Kilrathi but this would be a horrible outcome for humanity - it seems like they regularly sacrificed their slaves to Sivar or worked/tortured slaves to death (Cobra's experiences in WC3 paint the picture that to be in a Kilrathi POW camp would be worse than hell).
 

Oceankhayne

Commodore
Yeah, I'm of the opinion that the writer of wc3 was looking for a way to increase the drama, and turn it into a trench run where you play luke skywalker and... The point is I've always thought that half the plot of wc3 was crap. Not to mention the armistice and the reactions to it, etc. It could've been much much better. You could've been part of a glorious campaign as part of a major battlegroup. Instead we get a shit posting on a no name piece of antiquated junk with few support ships. I was VERY disappointed with it though it did have a few high points that I liked.
 

Jdawg

Commodore
Yeah, I'm of the opinion that the writer of wc3 was looking for a way to increase the drama, and turn it into a trench run where you play luke skywalker and... The point is I've always thought that half the plot of wc3 was crap. Not to mention the armistice and the reactions to it, etc. It could've been much much better. You could've been part of a glorious campaign as part of a major battlegroup. Instead we get a shit posting on a no name piece of antiquated junk with few support ships. I was VERY disappointed with it though it did have a few high points that I liked.
I also dont like wc3 that much as far as the story goes. Fleet action is great, wish that was included more in the game. I actually think the fan made game called wing commander saga is a better tale of the wc3 yrs of the war. More ships of all sizes and it feels more like a war.
 

Adm_maverick

Rear Admiral
There is also the point of what Thrakath said the Kilrathi would do to humanity if it won the war. At best the Madarian plan would allow a few select humans to be utilized as 'favored pets' at best.
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
One thing Jukaga says in Fleet Action is that while the Emperor doesn't understand, he knows that the Empire desperately needs to spare the conquered Confederation because human knowledge and resources will be needed to survive their next war. Which is more in the direction that the Mandarins believed.

I don't think we can criticize Wing Commander III for not referencing Fleet Action; like it or lump it, tie in novels are something a tiny percent (significantly less than one) of a game/film's audience ever interacts with. It's only in recent years that transmedia has been planned to the point that novels are written specifically to reference planned events in films... and I don't think you'll ever find it creatively working the other way around. (That is to say, don't expect the Captain Picard television show to match the continuing world imagined by the Pocket Books stories any time soon!)
 

L.I.F.

Vice Admiral
I don't think we can criticize Wing Commander III for not referencing Fleet Action; like it or lump it, tie in novels are something a tiny percent (significantly less than one) of a game/film's audience ever interacts with. It's only in recent years that transmedia has been planned to the point that novels are written specifically to reference planned events in films... and I don't think you'll ever find it creatively working the other way around. (That is to say, don't expect the Captain Picard television show to match the continuing world imagined by the Pocket Books stories any time soon!)
IIRC, Victory Streak does reference FA, but that's pretty much it.

As for the outcome of the war, I can't say I dislike it, and I feel both HotT as well as WCS manage to tell both sides of the tale pretty well. I'm not sure if it came from a novelization or from discussions here, but I think the whole idea of assigning Blair to the Victory alongside Maniac, Hobbes and a few pretty good pilots on a junk carrier was pretty much to keep them out of sight from the Kilrathi and keep them very flexible and mobile in preparation for a raid à la End Run. Both Tolwyn and Taggart knew pretty well that at this point, even the best pilots with the latest equipment couldn't change the equation properly, not when the Kilrathi war machine was getting so big in comparison to the Confed's.

If Deveraux and her team could get to Kilrah and build the asteroid outposts, there's little if any chance Taggart (and by extension Tolwyn) missed on the construction of the Hvar'Kann class around the planet, getting ready for Round Two. These put a hard time limit on whatever operation would be needed to win the war, all of it made even harder by the operational status of at least one (or two, if we consider Saga in our canon) Hvar'Kann that would make it particularly harder to win a decisive victory.

On the other hand, both of these flag officers had plans that relied on mobility and secrecy to strike a killing blow. In this perspective, it makes quite an amount of sense to have a shitty carrier that would go beneath the Kilrathi radar and stay unnoticed as being the rustbucket assigned to patrolling against Kilrathi raids while real units were trying to fight on the frontlines against increasingly more Kats. Noone notices the Victory until the critical assets are ready, not even its own crew, even though it gets prepared for the high-profile operations (oh, we'll send an Excalibur there really randomly, which will require their tech crews to get the manuals, maintenance equipment and stuff to care for it later with no loss of time once shit gets real).

Considering the situation left at the end of Fleet Action... it does seem a reasonable plan, as strength alone cannot really do it, and even the superweapons under development need more than anything else complete surprise to work. With the Kilrathi deeply aware of the Confed's Order of Battle and construction capabilities, they could have noticed the discrepencies in their contact reports if, say, a shiny super-advanced carrier had gone missing in preparation for a raid like the ones that made such mess before the False Armistice. The Victory, on the other hand? It wasn't worthy of too much attention as it patrolled and slowly got in the staging grounds for the Confed's Hail Mary. Not even its crew realized it.
 

Quarto

Unknown Enemy
One thing Jukaga says in Fleet Action is that while the Emperor doesn't understand, he knows that the Empire desperately needs to spare the conquered Confederation because human knowledge and resources will be needed to survive their next war. Which is more in the direction that the Mandarins believed.
You know, I think of all the new characters Forstchen created or developed, Jukaga is the only one I find genuinely interesting. I don't like what he did with Tolwyn, I find his Bear ridiculous, and the background politicians he makes up are utter jokes. But Jukaga - man, that's a great character. He's such a fantastic contradiction, and a genuinely tragic figure. On the one hand, he's portrayed as this really intelligent, open-minded Kilrathi who has come to know humans so well, he respects them, and ultimately winds up transcending Kilrathi ideas so far, that nobody else really understands him. On the other hand, however, for all his intelligence and flexibility, he turns out to be remarkably inflexible and incapable of accepting inevitabilities. It seems that the more he understands humans, the less he understands the Kilrathi, to the point where he just cannot accept that no one will ever go along with his ideas, which - if he was truly open-minded and flexible - should have led him to reject his own plans. And then, even his understanding of humans is utterly abstract - as if he understood the species, but couldn't comprehend any particular individuals well enough to predict their stance in a moment of crisis. It's remarkable to think that his single-minded dedication to saving the Kilrathi his way is what ultimately cost the Empire the war, and that his determination to stop the Kilrathi from destroying the human homeworld is what directly leads to the destruction of KIlrah.
 

Jdawg

Commodore
One thing Jukaga says in Fleet Action is that while the Emperor doesn't understand, he knows that the Empire desperately needs to spare the conquered Confederation because human knowledge and resources will be needed to survive their next war. Which is more in the direction that the Mandarins believed.

I don't think we can criticize Wing Commander III for not referencing Fleet Action; like it or lump it, tie in novels are something a tiny percent (significantly less than one) of a game/film's audience ever interacts with. It's only in recent years that transmedia has been planned to the point that novels are written specifically to reference planned events in films... and I don't think you'll ever find it creatively working the other way around. (That is to say, don't expect the Captain Picard television show to match the continuing world imagined by the Pocket Books stories any time soon!)
You are right, im not trying to criticize but i think the game did not do enough to emphasize how bad it was at the start of wc3, the time jump from wc2 to wc3 was off. I thought the time jump from wc1 to wc2 was handled far better as far as opening cinematic goes.
 

YCDTD

Captain
I also dont like wc3 that much as far as the story goes. Fleet action is great, wish that was included more in the game. I actually think the fan made game called wing commander saga is a better tale of the wc3 yrs of the war. More ships of all sizes and it feels more like a war.
The tech of 1993 would have been incredibly stretched to make huge fleet battles - at least with an acceptable level of graphics or development time.
 

Jdawg

Commodore
The tech of 1993 would have been incredibly stretched to make huge fleet battles - at least with an acceptable level of graphics or development time.
I know, but its sad to say wc1 and wc2 felt more like a war, than wc3
 

-danr-

Vice Admiral
The tech of 1993 would have been incredibly stretched to make huge fleet battles - at least with an acceptable level of graphics or development time.
That's true actually. There's a WC3 mission editor - turns out that the most ships you can have at any navpoint is 10. Any more than this and stability starts to become and issue and the engine crashes. Even if they'd tweaked the engine to allow for more, it'd probably be quite detrimental to performance back in the day.

That said, I do recall the fighting in WC3 to have been the heaviest of any of the games - at least at the time it seemed like the missions were longer and there were a lot more capital ships involved than before.
 

Jdawg

Commodore
There were a lot more ships in wc2, and in wc2 it was one of the few times we got to see Capital ship on capital ship action. In wing Commander 3 I felt like they used the Victory as an excuse because of the limitations of the technology at the time. so you were involved in skirmishes not the actual War in wc3. that's one reason I like Saga so much better it feels like a true War
 

ChrisReid

Super Soaker Collector / Administrator
I wouldn't say there were a lot more ships in WC2. People seem to forget about the capship-on-capship action in WC3. For starters, the Victory gets a whole escort fleet. You see them in space, and you also get some gorgeous views from the bar and bridge. That's just fantastic.

There's a similar number of missions in WC2 and WC3 where multiple cap ships appear. Take the Ariel System - there's 12 cap ships in just three missions, and it leads right into Caliban where you have both the Sheffield and Coventry forward deployed to other nav points where they engage Kilrathi destroyers.
 

Quarto

Unknown Enemy
WC2 definitely did not have more ships. @-danr- mentioned that there's a limit of ten ships per navpoint in WC3. Well, I don't recall if WC2 had any sort of limit of ships per navpoint, but it had a limit of 16 ships per mission. Of those, only 10-12 were generally usable - you had to take into consideration the player, his wingman, the Concordia, her escort destroyer, and sometimes a wing of fighters on patrol around the Concordia. So, you couldn't possibly dream about big battles. The most you would have is a couple of capships and about four enemy fighters.
 

Jdawg

Commodore
I wouldn't say there were a lot more ships in WC2. People seem to forget about the capship-on-capship action in WC3. For starters, the Victory gets a whole escort fleet. You see them in space, and you also get some gorgeous views from the bar and bridge. That's just fantastic.

There's a similar number of missions in WC2 and WC3 where multiple cap ships appear. Take the Ariel System - there's 12 cap ships in just three missions, and it leads right into Caliban where you have both the Sheffield and Coventry forward deployed to other nav points where they engage Kilrathi destroyers.
maybe, its just never felt like a war to me just a bunch of skirmishes, but than again wc3 is by far my least favorite of the 4 Original games, From the contrived Manchurian candidate cliches, to me hating just about all my shipmates. the characters I liked were hobbes, vagabond, Eisen, and Rachel. I hated radio rollins, cobra, flint, maniac (he becomes a lot better in 4, than back to a douche in 5), flash, and I found Vaquero to be semi likable but his character was boring to me. WC3 also has my least favorite ship designs from all the games, the one thing I do love is the design of the kilrathi, hence my avatar.
 
Top