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From: Peter Stephenson <pws@ibmth.df.unipi.it>
Subject: Re: (urth) War and Sense
Date: Wed, 25 Nov 1998 10:21:10 +0100

m.driussi@genie.com wrote:
> Witness the massed charges in WWI trench warfare.  Why on Earth did
> it have to happen more than =once=?  As predictable as feeding men
> into a sausage grinder, making them run across open ground toward
> fixed machine guns.  And yet the generals kept ordering them.
> Senseless and un-learning of mistakes.

Haig's theory was that the Germans were suffering more by this, and
the only way to win the war was by attrition.  Maybe he just
subtracted the population of the Central Powers from those of the
Allies to see who would be left standing (think of all those gallant
natives from the Empire, delighted to be slaughtered for Britain).
You have to add lots of other things before it begins to become
believable.  For example, he may have thought that if they got bogged
down in a passive, rather than an active, stalemate, it would give the
Germans time to come up with a Secret Weapon (TM), or something.  In
any case, he was not living in the world he thought he was living in.

There's an important difference between the Commonwealth/Ascian war
and most wars, although I'm not sure it's got much to do with unusual
units.  Most modern wars change through technological progress, such
as tanks and related developments in 1917--18 which (unexpectedly,
needless to say) altered the face of the war.  In the case of Urth,
the technology is going the other way; the more powerful weapons are
relics of an earlier age.  It's bound to change the picture a bit.

Peter Stephenson <pws@ibmth.df.unipi.it>       Tel: +39 050 844536
WWW:  http://www.ifh.de/~pws/
Dipartimento di Fisica, Via Buonarroti 2, 56100 Pisa, Italy

*More Wolfe info & archive of this list at http://www.urth.net/urth/

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