Thursday, 26 April 2018
Fighting On Foot
hold shields above them for defense against attack from above;
occupy and hold a town that the enemy had not thought to defend on foot.
Lateral thinking. Van Rijn says:
"'In Earth history, it took some peoples a long time to learn there is no victory in air power alone.'"
-Poul Anderson, The Man Who Counts IN Anderson, The Van Rijn Method (Riverdale, NY, 2009), pp. 337-515 AT XI, p. 418.
Who does he mean?
"Even after the complete failure of air power in Vietnam to pound one half of a tenth-rate power into submission, General McKnight remained a believer in its supremacy; but he was not such a fool as to do without ground support, knowing very well the elementary rule that territory must be occupied as well as devastated, or even the most decisive victory will come unstuck."
-James Blish, The Day After Judgement IN Blish, After Such Knowledge (London, 1991), pp. 427-522 AT 10, p. 495.
Thus, McKnight is both one of the "peoples" referred to by van Rijn and one who also recognizes that ground forces must at least support the Air Force.
Again, we have jumped from hard sf to dark fantasy. McKnight prepares to attack the demon fortress of Dis, now raised to Earth's surface in Death Valley after Armageddon. The Heavenly Host has been defeated but not yet the Strategic Air Command.