Why are jump points never heavily defended?

Sonntag

Spaceman
I can just urge everybody who believes that Jump Points aren't defended to play the good old Privateer 1. When you fly through the Blockade Point systems in Clarke Quadrant, you see a lot of military there...

However, the front line in the other systems usually shifts pretty fast. Remember the campaign of WC1. Both the Kilrathi and Confed shift between systems very fast. I guess there simply aren't enough carriers to defend everything at every time, not every system has a habitable world where you can base fighters, and space stations like in Gemini Sector would not survive very long in a hot combat zone.
 

Bob McDob

Better Health Through Less Flavor
Expanding on the Pacific War analogy (and my history is rather rusty, but I think I have the basic facts correct), when the war began the Japanese took the straightforward and logical approach of opposing US forces wherever they appeared. Straightforward ... but when you build pillboxes and defenses on a beach, it also means the enemy can shell you with battleships and bomb you from the air. And that's exactly what happened. Later in the war, circa Iwo/Okinawa, we see the Japanese abandoning the beaches, allowing Allied forces to land unopposed, and instead building their defenses further inland, where they could lay ambushes and traps.
 

Sonntag

Spaceman
WW2 has many examples where a static defense failed. However, the Wing Commander Universe features a limited number of jump points (even though there are "secret" jumppoints which sometimes get discovered (not so often like in Freelancer, but still they are found).

Therefore, WW2 cannot be compared completely to the WC universe. But still, the WC universe has hundreds of jump points. Sealing every one of them is certainly impossible. However, don't expect to pass Proxima easily.

About WW2, there are many examples: 1. The Maginot Line. Completely useless, as the Germans simply went around it. 2. The Beach defenses. From Denmark to France, the whole coastline is plastered with bunkers, many of them remain today. Yet it only took the Allies a few days to invade France, and with the exception of Omaha Beach, the beach defenses weren't that useful. 3. The Westwall. Germany had defenses at the wastern and western Border, both didn't last long. The Rhine was the only barrier which was a challenge.

I think the best approach is a semi-dynamic blockade, like it is done in the WC combat system (patrolling jump points).
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
WW2 has many examples where a static defense failed. However, the Wing Commander Universe features a limited number of jump points (even though there are "secret" jumppoints which sometimes get discovered (not so often like in Freelancer, but still they are found).

... as opposed to the Pacific Ocean, which as infinity beaches?
 

Bob McDob

Better Health Through Less Flavor
Sonntag said:
1. The Maginot Line. Completely useless, as the Germans simply went around it.

I think you're missing the point, at least here. The whole point of the Maginot Linewas to force the Germans to go around it, so that the French wouldn't have to worry about that portion of the front and could divert their forces elsewhere. And it worked. The last holdouts of the Battle of France were Maginot Line stations, and it was refurbished after the war to deal with a Cold War situations (until the '60s, if memory serves me right. Now, why would they do that if the Line failed as miserably as history records?
 

t.c.cgi

Vice Admiral
Bob McDob said:
Straightforward ... but when you build pillboxes and defenses on a beach, it also means the enemy can shell you with battleships and bomb you from the air. And that's exactly what happened.

Or completely bypassing the island you've decided to make a super mega fortress of impossible capturing. I believe we did that with the one island the Japanese focused their defensive strategy around (forget the name of it). Instead we starved them/prevented their redeployment by sinking any and all transport ships we could see, meanwhile taking all the other less defended "important" islands.
 

Dragon1

Rear Admiral
Or completely bypassing the island you've decided to make a super mega fortress of impossible capturing. I believe we did that with the one island the Japanese focused their defensive strategy around (forget the name of it). Instead we starved them/prevented their redeployment by sinking any and all transport ships we could see, meanwhile taking all the other less defended "important" islands.

Rabaul, a strategically important Japanese naval base in the South Pacific was bypassed in the manor you just described.
 

Haesslich

Spaceman
In WC, they seem to use a combination of static defenses to slow down enemy fleets or to allow for an 'early warning' system (like the planetary defense stations and listening outposts), and combine that with a number of highly mobile strikeforces which handle the heavy pounding, while smaller groups (cruiser groups, destroyer groups, or even individual corvettes) act as deterrents or as forward warning units.

InSystem Security, system militias, and various small fleets are seen all over in the Wing Commander universe; they're all over, and even individual corvettes (like the TCS Johnny Greene) are often seen as picket ships in backwater or unimportant systems, with a bunch of heavier strike forces deployed on various missions, which may include patrolling the front lines or carrying out various strikes or counterstrikes. Mine fields were pretty common in WC1, if only to act as mild inconveniences to enemy fighters and fleets, and planetary defense stations exist in quite a few colonized systems to coordinate and engage in system defense as well as to be 'tripwires' in order to provide warning to Confed regarding possible enemy fleet actions.

If you want an example of a bypassed jump point defense group, one only needs to look for the novel False Colors, where a small fleet guarding a jump point to prevent the Karga's/Mjolnir's strike force from escaping was evaded by a Landreich fleet as it made a high-speed transit through the jump point.
 

Iceman16

Vice Admiral
didnt someone ask a question like this a long time ago (like 2003 or so)? maybe its just deja vu but I remember something like this. weird.

it would be possible to defend a jump point with static defenses (laser turrets, mines, and whatnot) but it would be prohibitively expensive and not as effective as having a station or carrier launch fighters to patrol. hell, put some of those asteroids from Privateer around the jump points, those damn things always took me out till I learnt the afterburner trick :D
 

Edfilho

Cry some more!
Well, Bob, Considering that the Maginot Line's greater objective was protecting france from German invasion, I still think it failed... Because the Germans suceeded in invanding France, after all.
 

Ijuin

Admiral
Well, the successful invasion of France was not the fault of the Maginot line, except inasmuch as the Line should have been extended over the Dutch border as well. The Line was never breached, and bemoaning the fact that it was bypassed instead of breached is like blaming a lockmaker when a burglar decides to cut a hole in your wall instead of picking the lock.
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
Well, Bob, Considering that the Maginot Line's greater objective was protecting france from German invasion, I still think it failed... Because the Germans suceeded in invanding France, after all.

That's far too broad a statement -- you don't blame your heart medication when you get hit by a truck. The Maginot Line was spposed to prevent (or rather delay) a German invasion *where it existed*.
 

Dragon1

Rear Admiral
It would appear that Confed used a rather elastic line of defense as opposed to fixed fortifications on the frontier. Looking at the Nephele system in 2673, we see two outposts, Orlando and Bluepoint, both would seem to be easily fabricated, manned by a minimal crew, and carry a squadron or so of light fighters.

The idea would be that in the most forward systems (that were expected to change hands the most frequently) there would be a series of centrally located small insystem bases that could be lost without a major worry to command. Furhter back, the major Fleet bases like Torgo, Blackmane, and Vespus would provide the primary striking power, the fleet. The fleet act like a mobile reserve and strike the opponent forces en masse, shifting certain elements where they may be needed.

Every time in Wing Commander that we have seen a forwardly deployed large base, like Pegasus or Skyhook, it is subject to ambush and destruction. Confed it would seem developed the concept of allowing the Kilrathi to temporarily take the beaches (to use LOAF's excellent analogy), contain them with the mobility of insystem forces and militias, use the fleet to provide the hammer strike where needed, and use 'escort' and small forces to attack the Kilrathi rear and supply lines. A strategy that seemed to work perfectly and would have ended the war had it not been for the false armisitice of 2668.

Confed strategy with regards to jump points could be described as both offensive and defensive, and always very mobile and flexible.
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
It would appear that Confed used a rather elastic line of defense as opposed to fixed fortifications on the frontier. Looking at the Nephele system in 2673, we see two outposts, Orlando and Bluepoint, both would seem to be easily fabricated, manned by a minimal crew, and carry a squadron or so of light fighters.

I like what you're saying, but this specific example isn't accurate. Orlando and Bluepoint weren't fortifications -- they were depots (Orlando Depot, Bluepoint Depot)... and they weren't manned by a minimal crew. As Maniac says (of Orlando), "Son-of-a... 3000 people aboard that crate and he just..."

As for fighter assignments, it stands to reason that there's a Hellcat V medium fighter squadron at Bluepoint -- since we see Hellcats flying CAP for the base and we know that the base isn't really within range of the planet. There's presumably also a Hellcat squadron on Nephele, since Maniac has to requisition his pair of Hellcats from somewhere. Finally, there's an Arrow squadron on the planet... which we see fighting in the novelization. So, that is to say, light and medium system defense squadrons and medium units assigned to protect installations.

(Interesting aside: I went to check Maniac's line with the shooting script before posting and found that it was originally "Son-of-a-bitch! Wish our ships could jump. I'd love to nail that bastard.")
 

Dragon1

Rear Admiral
Yeah, I had actually forgotten about the fact that they were specifically called depots.

This brings up another interesting insight into Confed strategy. At least two military depots on the fringes of Confed space, this could be a part of a greater plan. Perhaps a logisitics network for planetary operations. Nephele connects to the H'rekkah, K'n'Rek, and Tyr systems. Was Confed fueling wartime ground-based operations in any of these directions?

Also, to remark on some of the previous threads about fixed positions at jump points, we have seen (WC3 cutscene) that some individual points support multiple ships jumping simultaneously. Even if Confed put large fixed forces at specific points, the Kilrathi would simply bypass them (as discussed previously) or if it were imperative to take the point, they would send expendable units through the point. The Kilrathi seemed to have no shortage of expendable units. They wouldn't have to inflict injury on the Confed forces as much as just move forward and allow for more and more heavy units to pour through. Eventually the defense would be overwhelmed and the defenders routed with heavier casualties. This has been demonstrated in historical sieges repeatedly.
 

Bombadier

Spaceman
David Weber and Jump Points

In David Webers Honor Harrington series it makes sense to denfed the entry/exit points of the wormwholes. The simple reason being that, as of his latest book, they don't have a tendency to shift around like jump points in WC. Which makes it easy to defend used fixed fortifications for whatever purpose you are looking for.

Fixed defenses usually serve a couple of purposes, but as mobile warfare (and not neccessarily WWII and beyond) has proven, it does little good if you don't have successive defensive positions and/or a mobile force. They are usually used to 1. maximize the defenders firepower/resources, 2. provide early warning (aka the tripwire), 3. serve as a blocking position to force the enemy to look elsewhere, and 4. to delay the enemy long enough for you to take action. The use of fixed defenses in WC seem to be more along the lings of 2, 3, 4. I can't think of a single case where the sheer defensive ability of fixed defenses is used.

As for the Maginot Line, it worked if you believe its purpose was to protect the Franco-German border. The French recognized this and stationed the bulk of their army in the north, ready to advance into Belgium with the British during a German invasion. The problem was the Germans were able to make their breakthrough at the junction of the Maginot Line with the mobile forces and the French did not have sufficient mobile reserves to seal it off.
 

ChrisReid

Super Soaker Collector / Administrator
Dragon1 said:
Every time in Wing Commander that we have seen a forwardly deployed large base, like Pegasus or Skyhook, it is subject to ambush and destruction. Confed it would seem developed the concept of allowing the Kilrathi to temporarily take the beaches (to use LOAF's excellent analogy), contain them with the mobility of insystem forces and militias, use the fleet to provide the hammer strike where needed, and use 'escort' and small forces to attack the Kilrathi rear and supply lines. A strategy that seemed to work perfectly and would have ended the war had it not been for the false armisitice of 2668.

Yeah, while what you're saying is generally right, every large forward base isn't necessarily destroyed. Torgo and Perry were very close to the front lines, but they seemed to hold their space fairly well over the years.

Dragon1 said:
This brings up another interesting insight into Confed strategy. At least two military depots on the fringes of Confed space, this could be a part of a greater plan. Perhaps a logisitics network for planetary operations.

Yeah, once again, this could be right, but trying to make grand assumptions with only two data points as your reference is a reach.
 

AD

Finder of things, Doer of stuff
Bandit LOAF said:
I like what you're saying, but this specific example isn't accurate. Orlando and Bluepoint weren't fortifications -- they were depots (Orlando Depot, Bluepoint Depot)... and they weren't manned by a minimal crew. As Maniac says (of Orlando), "Son-of-a... 3000 people aboard that crate and he just..."

It's Orlando depot and Bluepoint Station...
Inflight the models are pretty much the same though.
Todd Marshal said:
Wait! Nav computer's picked up Bluepoint Station. Not sure we can make it...
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
This brings up another interesting insight into Confed strategy. At least two military depots on the fringes of Confed space, this could be a part of a greater plan. Perhaps a logisitics network for planetary operations. Nephele connects to the H'rekkah, K'n'Rek, and Tyr systems. Was Confed fueling wartime ground-based operations in any of these directions?

I can't think of anything particular to that region, but we can be pretty sure there were actions being fought in that region. I'd guess that the depots were just part of the fleet train...

Yeah, while what you're saying is generally right, every large forward base is necessarily destroyed. Torgo and Perry were very close to the front lines, but they seemed to hold their space fairly well over the years.

Well, not great examples. Torgo was overrun several months after the first time we saw it... and we know that the Kilrathi simply stopped trying to launch an offensive in the Gemini Sector in 2658.

Both of those bases are regional (sector) headquarters that were constructed behind the front line. Gemini, for instance, is surrounded by a series of Blockade Point systems keeping it from the Kilrathi. We know a little about Torgo's importance from the WC3 novel, where they talk about dismantling Blackmane in favor of protecting Torgo and Vespus.

It's Orlando depot and Bluepoint Station...
Inflight the models are pretty much the same though.

Yeah, it's the same 3D model for both (in the cinematics and in the game). The script refers to it as a depot:

"Blair must now fly to the Blue Point depot and request clearance to land there."

and

"midgame: blue point depot (nephele system)"

It also has an alternate version for the line you just quoted: "Well, we've got no choice, buddy. Nearest depot is Blue Point. We can grab a shuttle to HQ there."
 
Top