Monday, 8 October 2012

Military Manoeuvres

Poul Anderson often describes military conflicts. His understanding of strategy and tactics is evident in Chapter IV of Conan The Rebel (New York, 1981):

a Stygian militia marches to crush a Taian rebellion;
the militia approaches a long thin gorge of the Helu River Valley;
a Captain expects them to camp before entering the gorge because they cannot traverse it before dark and it would be a bad place to be attacked;
however, the Commander, ordered to crush the rebellion quickly, hopes that they will be attacked;
his men will then repulse the Taians and withdraw but will inflict heavier casualties than they suffer because they are better equipped and used to fighting in close ranks;
meanwhile, the Taian leader plans to attack the head of the column while some of his warriors form a row across the bank to hold off the rest, then after dark to retreat uphill where " '...yon blundering flatlanders will never dare pursue...' " and to continue harassing them on subsequent days (p. 33).

Thus, by the end of the fourth page of the Chapter, we know the plans of both sides but must read further to learn the outcome.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Hi, Paul!

I was also impressed by the naval battle in space betweeen Terrans and Merseians in ENSIGN FLANDRY. It impressed me (and stil does) as very likely how actual space navies will engage in combat.

Glory to the Emperor! (Smiles)