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Has anyone else decided to root against Manticore?

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Re: Has anyone else decided to root against Manticore?
Post by cthia   » Thu Jan 10, 2019 10:44 pm

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GloriousRuse wrote:After a slight pause (no current time to answer in full), tlb, I think that while theoretically things like eating up the RMN's maintenance budget while kept at high readiness, or Elizabeth facing opprobrium as a female ruler, and so on are bad, the issue is that they pragmatically do nothing. Particularly once the Sollies come in - no matter what descriptive text Weber writes, the strategic and tactical outlook he creates become increasingly one sided. With Haven it usually takes the form of "clever just wasn't clever enough, because manty", but at least they get SOMETHING. With the Sollies it becomes watching a rigged game.

Add to this that essentially the Manties are painted as paragons of flawless virtue. And often times their rigged success is directly attributed to said lofty ideals and persons.

It adds further and and further to "Mary Sue is the best at everything and is perfect in her outlook on life and how she behaves (and even when she maybe is not, we paint this as natural justice), and even more being the best and character flawless as I see it are indeed self-reinforcing features"


If Honor were Alexander the Great, or Grant, or Caesar, or Guderian, Patton, Monty, Zhukov, really...any of the greats.. I would still be rooting for Manticore. Instead the entire Manty side is given divine blessings of permanent victory.
Pardon my bold.

By the sowings that they reaped.

Son, your mother says I have to hang you. Personally I don't think this is a capital offense. But if I don't hang you, she's gonna hang me and frankly, I'm not the one in trouble. —cthia's father. Incident in ? Axiom of Common Sense
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Re: Has anyone else decided to root against Manticore?
Post by tlb   » Fri Jan 11, 2019 8:23 am

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GloriousRuse wrote:After a slight pause (no current time to answer in full), tlb, I think that while theoretically things like eating up the RMN's maintenance budget while kept at high readiness, or Elizabeth facing opprobrium as a female ruler, and so on are bad, the issue is that they pragmatically do nothing. Particularly once the Sollies come in - no matter what descriptive text Weber writes, the strategic and tactical outlook he creates become increasingly one sided. With Haven it usually takes the form of "clever just wasn't clever enough, because manty", but at least they get SOMETHING. With the Sollies it becomes watching a rigged game.

Add to this that essentially the Manties are painted as paragons of flawless virtue. And often times their rigged success is directly attributed to said lofty ideals and persons.

It adds further and and further to "Mary Sue is the best at everything and is perfect in her outlook on life and how she behaves (and even when she maybe is not, we paint this as natural justice), and even more being the best and character flawless as I see it are indeed self-reinforcing features"


If Honor were Alexander the Great, or Grant, or Caesar, or Guderian, Patton, Monty, Zhukov, really...any of the greats.. I would still be rooting for Manticore. Instead the entire Manty side is given divine blessings of permanent victory.

cthia wrote:Pardon my bold.

By the sowings that they reaped.

It is important to remember that these are characters in a series of books, so the author could have made the hero's journey more perilous; instead of having it end up as a stroll through the garden. They were not given "divine blessings of permanent victory", but the author's "blessings of permanent victory"; based the way RFC had sowed the plotline.

But just moaning about, or saying that you do not like Manticore as a result, is insufficient. It would be nice to point to the place where the author took the easy way to wrap up the fight with the SLN. I believe that if the SLN had been made aware of all the implications of fighting with, and against, the modern missile pod, then the resulting battles would not have been so one sided. Does anyone disagree?
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Re: Has anyone else decided to root against Manticore?
Post by Dauntless   » Fri Jan 11, 2019 10:30 am

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as was explained many times in the text, once a solly understood the force multiplier of standard pods, let alone MDMs, then yes they were able to think intelligently about ways to work around the problems.

unfortunately getting the incompetents to understand was the biggest issue. they were so used to the gimmie sims and not having to think that when the time came to do so they couldn't.

barring 1 or 2, every SLN admrial should have been beached and replaced by those who could show that they could think.

unfortunately due to service politics this was impossible, and led greatly to the reason why the GA walked all over them in almost every engagement.
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Re: Has anyone else decided to root against Manticore?
Post by tlb   » Fri Jan 11, 2019 11:07 am

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Dauntless wrote:as was explained many times in the text, once a solly understood the force multiplier of standard pods, let alone MDMs, then yes they were able to think intelligently about ways to work around the problems.

unfortunately getting the incompetents to understand was the biggest issue. they were so used to the gimmie sims and not having to think that when the time came to do so they couldn't.

barring 1 or 2, every SLN admrial should have been beached and replaced by those who could show that they could think.

unfortunately due to service politics this was impossible, and led greatly to the reason why the GA walked all over them in almost every engagement.

When confronted with bad news, the SLN did introduce tougher simulations on the principle that it was better to test against a stronger opponent than you expected to face in the field. As it happened, the tests were still not tough enough, because of inadequate information.
In addition to being incompetent, the SLN was also corrupt. Could the Malign forces have used that corruption, or their biological assassin technology, to counter that incompetence? An example is that very competent naval economic analyst/agent that was put in place due to a few dead bodies that had blocked promotion. A prime target would have been the head of naval opposition research who sat on the reports from the Haven war. It cannot be emphasized enough that the Malign had a vested interest in seeing that the SLN lost, but NOT easily.
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Re: Has anyone else decided to root against Manticore?
Post by Galactic Sapper   » Sat Jan 12, 2019 11:11 am

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tlb wrote:
Dauntless wrote:as was explained many times in the text, once a solly understood the force multiplier of standard pods, let alone MDMs, then yes they were able to think intelligently about ways to work around the problems.

unfortunately getting the incompetents to understand was the biggest issue. they were so used to the gimmie sims and not having to think that when the time came to do so they couldn't.

barring 1 or 2, every SLN admrial should have been beached and replaced by those who could show that they could think.

unfortunately due to service politics this was impossible, and led greatly to the reason why the GA walked all over them in almost every engagement.

When confronted with bad news, the SLN did introduce tougher simulations on the principle that it was better to test against a stronger opponent than you expected to face in the field. As it happened, the tests were still not tough enough, because of inadequate information.
In addition to being incompetent, the SLN was also corrupt. Could the Malign forces have used that corruption, or their biological assassin technology, to counter that incompetence? An example is that very competent naval economic analyst/agent that was put in place due to a few dead bodies that had blocked promotion. A prime target would have been the head of naval opposition research who sat on the reports from the Haven war. It cannot be emphasized enough that the Malign had a vested interest in seeing that the SLN lost, but NOT easily.

Part of this was the fact that the Sollies weren't getting data back from engagements they lost. Almost every engagement ended with every ship getting destroyed or surrendering. And the data they were getting was coming from or through the Manties, and thus couldn't be taken at face value without an entire mountain of salt.

It should have occurred to them to detach a destroyer or two as observers in every deployment so that if the mission got clobbered there was a dependable source of information as to how it happened. I doubt any observers would have made it out of Spindle or Manticore, but the force Scotty faced probably could have gotten a destroyer away with the performance data that commander risked so many lives to collect. Certainly it should have been SOP by the time Buccaneer came around.

The MAlignment missed their strategic goal on both ends: they underestimated how strong the Manties were, and underestimated just how badly the Sollies were handicapped.
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Re: Has anyone else decided to root against Manticore?
Post by tlb   » Sat Jan 12, 2019 12:21 pm

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Galactic Sapper wrote:Part of this was the fact that the Sollies weren't getting data back from engagements they lost. Almost every engagement ended with every ship getting destroyed or surrendering. And the data they were getting was coming from or through the Manties, and thus couldn't be taken at face value without an entire mountain of salt.

It should have occurred to them to detach a destroyer or two as observers in every deployment so that if the mission got clobbered there was a dependable source of information as to how it happened. I doubt any observers would have made it out of Spindle or Manticore, but the force Scotty faced probably could have gotten a destroyer away with the performance data that commander risked so many lives to collect. Certainly it should have been SOP by the time Buccaneer came around.

The MAlignment missed their strategic goal on both ends: they underestimated how strong the Manties were, and underestimated just how badly the Sollies were handicapped.

What you say is true, but much too late to do them any good; instead the Malign should perhaps have started to infiltrate the SLN intelligence operations when Operation Buttercup proved so successful, because it was around that point that the SLN began to fall dramatically behind.
By the time Operation Cutworm began achieving success, the SLN absolutely had to be brought up to speed on the components of Buttercup and to develop the hardware and software to compete.
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Re: Has anyone else decided to root against Manticore?
Post by GloriousRuse   » Sun Jan 13, 2019 11:16 am

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Tlb, as I see it there are two ways to approach the whole why not root for manticore, both of which center around a certain meta knowledge that there is, in fact, an omnipotent storyteller in any fictional work:

1) The narrative structure method. In this case, we expect our stories to have tension, excitement, complex characters, and a sense that the protagonists have overcome a challenge. In doing so, they should demonstrate strengths and resourcefulness, but also fundamentally display themselves as interesting/exciting characters in ways that the readers can appreciate. When the author writes the protagonists as purer than driven snow and they always win effortlessly, with no real obstacle beyond melodramatic words, they lose their protected status as a protagonist. So when the manties go on a three book steamroller where every, they are no longer worth rooting for as protagonists.

2) The "realist" method. Knowing that should David Weber suddenly decree it the power of True Love could cause ships to explode in the Hnorverse, we buy into the concept that he is going to set some basic rules and expectations for the setting and that there will be reasonable causal relationships. This keeps us bought in. In short, once he sets the universe rules and the relative expectations of realism if he violates them he is cheating in favor of whoever he violates them for. We know the author has the power to literally say "and then space rocks fell and killed every bad guy ever", but would feel cheated by this approach.

Why would I have any expectation that bad-guy-seeking space rocks existed, or would come in to play at all, in my space opera about faux-Napoleonic warfare?

As the chorus suggests, there are many people who believe there has been blatantly cheating in favor of Manticore. That with the author not actually enforcing any of the downsides he writes, and ensuring every upside is maximized for the manties, Manticores current string of victories is not the result of any believable effort, but instead from bad-guy-seeking-space-rocks thinly justified.

And why should I cheer for that? I would much rather cheer for the poor bastards in the SLN who at least seem to be somewhat constrained by reality.
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Re: Has anyone else decided to root against Manticore?
Post by tlb   » Sun Jan 13, 2019 11:56 am

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GloriousRuse wrote:I would much rather cheer for the poor bastards in the SLN who at least seem to be somewhat constrained by reality.

So you are like the daughters of Major-General Stanley in Pirates of Penzance, who sing in counterpoint to the policemen's song When the foeman bares his steel:
Go, ye heroes, go to glory,
Though you die in combat gory,
Ye shall live in song and story.
Go to immortality!

Go to death, and go to slaughter;
Die, and every Cornish daughter
With her tears your grave shall water.
Go, ye heroes, go and die!
Go, ye heroes, go and die!

Go and do your best endeavour,
And before all links we sever,
We will say farewell for ever.
Go to glory and the grave!
Go to glory and the grave!

For your foes are fierce and ruthless,
False, unmerciful, and truthless;
Young and tender, old and toothless,
All in vain their mercy crave.

To be clear, Glorious Ruse, I am not in disagreement with you. The additional thing that I want to do is to identify a point where the problem you see might have been addressed, if RFC had taken a different path for the story. Since the Onion had been acting behind the scenes to drive the action, it was incumbent on them to correct some of the problems they had created in the SLN before launching them at the RMN. I am assuming that Malign analysts have been paying attention to the technological advances in the war with Haven and should have recognized that the SLN was becoming obsolete in its weapons and doctrine. More specifically RFC should have written about that recognition. To fix that obsolescence the SLN needed to be dramatically refocused on reality and I think the SLN intelligence services would be the place to start.
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Re: Has anyone else decided to root against Manticore?
Post by GloriousRuse   » Mon Jan 14, 2019 12:56 am

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A fair question. I think that if he had written Manticore as really knocked about from the Haven War(s), Oyster Bay, and of course the battle of annihilation at 1st Manticore the scales could have started from a much more balanced position.

They go in to the Sollie conflict fighting a Balkan war - every resource is precious, and you can’t get it back. The Manticore population is utterly war weary, the opposition is screaming for a peace dividend, motions are going into why OB civil industry needs to be rebuilt first, and quite a few people are wondering why the hell their taxes are needed to maintain hundreds of Wallers. Then you add a navy that literally just had tens of thousands of officers and senior NCOs, people who take a decade or more to make, blown away.

So have the Manties pulling a Korean War; desperately trying to un mothball what just a short while ago was the dominant military on the globe.

Maybe the Sollies don’t cop to just how far they’re down tech at first. I could buy it. Think the world watching Desret Storm. A bunch of former Warsaw Pact nationa and client states had to suddenly re-evaluate I’d they could go for a stand up fight. While the Malign should have really called the ball, or even, frankly any one of the millions of Sollie intelligence types who presumably also have a normal distribution of talent, I am willing to accept an initial “oh shit moment” could happen.

Now roll the start - the Sollies go in, and yes, they’re getting pounded by being so far off tech. But the Manties are making mistakes. They aren’t twenty year veterans - maybe the admirals are, but the captains, the lieutenants, the logistics managers at the orbital depots? The chief in charge of the missile arming? Those guys died in the droves not too long ago. There’s a lot of amateurs learning their trade the hard way, being promoted way faster than they used to to make up the gap - and the training budget got beat up in the cries for less war spending.

And because OB is down and industry takes time, those are mistakes they can’t afford.

Then the war doesn’t become a one sided romp. Yeah, you get some big set pieces that blow the shit out of the SLN, but you also see the Manties bleeding way more than they “should” be.

Then just add the SL actually trying to improve, and being rewarded for it. Maybe instead of a heroic series of manny heavy cruisers winning by sacrifice, the SL knocks a couple task forces to pieces under their Zhukov. Some of those lacoon light units get bushwhacked. The mantles look around and there is no one left to cover these losses. They start ceding political positions, territory...

The race of who can re-mobilize faster is on...and the SL is winning. Now is the time for desperate measures, for metaphorically seeing if you can take Moscow before the winter sets in...tell me that wouldn’t be more interesting, and more likely to get you cheering for manticore, than three books of “then they butchered those dumb sollies”
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Re: Has anyone else decided to root against Manticore?
Post by ldwechsler   » Mon Jan 14, 2019 7:48 am

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GloriousRuse wrote:A fair question. I think that if he had written Manticore as really knocked about from the Haven War(s), Oyster Bay, and of course the battle of annihilation at 1st Manticore the scales could have started from a much more balanced position.

They go in to the Sollie conflict fighting a Balkan war - every resource is precious, and you can’t get it back. The Manticore population is utterly war weary, the opposition is screaming for a peace dividend, motions are going into why OB civil industry needs to be rebuilt first, and quite a few people are wondering why the hell their taxes are needed to maintain hundreds of Wallers. Then you add a navy that literally just had tens of thousands of officers and senior NCOs, people who take a decade or more to make, blown away.

So have the Manties pulling a Korean War; desperately trying to un mothball what just a short while ago was the dominant military on the globe.

Maybe the Sollies don’t cop to just how far they’re down tech at first. I could buy it. Think the world watching Desret Storm. A bunch of former Warsaw Pact nationa and client states had to suddenly re-evaluate I’d they could go for a stand up fight. While the Malign should have really called the ball, or even, frankly any one of the millions of Sollie intelligence types who presumably also have a normal distribution of talent, I am willing to accept an initial “oh shit moment” could happen.

Now roll the start - the Sollies go in, and yes, they’re getting pounded by being so far off tech. But the Manties are making mistakes. They aren’t twenty year veterans - maybe the admirals are, but the captains, the lieutenants, the logistics managers at the orbital depots? The chief in charge of the missile arming? Those guys died in the droves not too long ago. There’s a lot of amateurs learning their trade the hard way, being promoted way faster than they used to to make up the gap - and the training budget got beat up in the cries for less war spending.

And because OB is down and industry takes time, those are mistakes they can’t afford.

Then the war doesn’t become a one sided romp. Yeah, you get some big set pieces that blow the shit out of the SLN, but you also see the Manties bleeding way more than they “should” be.

Then just add the SL actually trying to improve, and being rewarded for it. Maybe instead of a heroic series of manny heavy cruisers winning by sacrifice, the SL knocks a couple task forces to pieces under their Zhukov. Some of those lacoon light units get bushwhacked. The mantles look around and there is no one left to cover these losses. They start ceding political positions, territory...

The race of who can re-mobilize faster is on...and the SL is winning. Now is the time for desperate measures, for metaphorically seeing if you can take Moscow before the winter sets in...tell me that wouldn’t be more interesting, and more likely to get you cheering for manticore, than three books of “then they butchered those dumb sollies”


YoR analysis is sort of cute. First of all, there are a lot of veterans around even after Laocoon. Having senior chiefs who are 35 sounds real young but it probably means they've served at least 15 years. Also, promotion had really been slow in the Manticoran Navy unless you had political clout. Honor was a new captain in her 40's, meaning she had been in the navy for well over 20 years. In peacetime, promotion was slow.

Second, the Sollies had no idea of how far behind they were because MAlign pushed the notion on them. MAlign wanted them gone, not Manticore...until the Manties had no choice. Remember, there were people who who were in the Sollie Navy who knew the analyses were wrong and they were shut down.

Tech doesn't grow itself all that fast. To build competitive ships takes a lot of new tech. And in a lot of fields.Note that even after the war between the Grand Alliance and the League had been going on, a lot of the Sollie admirals had no idea it was happening much less how bad things were going.

Even some of the best admirals (as we saw in SoV) really had no idea of how outclassed they were.

Total fiction? Read about the difference in torpedoes between the US and Japan in World War II. The Japanese "long lances". which the Japanese had from the beginning were better than what the US had even in the end. American admirals fought like crazy to defend their torpedoes even as sailors died in wholesale lots. The problems the US had in the Solomon Islands came mostly from the torpedoes. Only when the big battleships with radar directed guns combined with a heavily reinforced air grouping with improved planes did the US win.
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