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Old Soldiers

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Old Soldiers
Post by Bolo's Honor   » Fri Aug 08, 2014 11:10 pm

Bolo's Honor

Posts: 7
Joined: Fri Aug 08, 2014 9:42 pm

Just finished re-reading this wonderful riff on Keith Laumer's Bolo series. Still a great yarn, but I noticed (to my great annoyance, now) what looks to me like a tactical mistake made by the bolo:

In the final showdown with the Melconian armored units, they have deployed behind a ridge, so the bolo's direct-fire wepons (hellbores, etc.) are ineffective, and their anti-missile capability makes the bolo's own nukes pointless, because they will never reach the target. The "puppies" then perform a devastating saturation-attack with their own missiles, as the bolo knew they would. In fact, the bolo knew it so well that it was able to fire counter-rocket rounds even before the Melconians launched!

All well and good, and suitably exciting for the climactic scene. However, the bolo clearly *did* possess several fully-functional fusion-warhead missiles. Even if they couldn't be expected to survive if fired over the ridge, they still could have been used defensively to great effect, IMHO.

First, there is no reason that the Melconian recon-drones should have been left in the immediate area to provide high-precision firing-solutions to the Fenris units. Not like the infinite repeaters had anything else to do at that point.

Second, the bolo manifestly was able to predict almost exactly the time and angle-of-approach of the saturation-fire from the Fenris Units. The premise is that it simply couldn't handle the volume-of-fire.

However, given the almost-precognitive nature of the bolo's information (based mostly on hidden sensors planted weeks before the battle), the bolo could probably have defended itself much better by using a variant of the "Nuclear Pindown" attack. Fire a sequence of fusion missiles at the *NEAR* side of the ridge, directly in the projected path of the enemy missiles. That would have destroyed many, and totally screwed up the ballistic targeting of anything going through the shockwave and maelstrom of the fireball. A little "bleed through" to enemy units nearer the ridge top would just be icing on the cake.

Simultaneously "jink" to the side and charge, right through the nuclear fireball. Since the close observers would have been cleared away already, and remote observers would be blinded by the (series of) thermonuclear blast-glares, the Melconian's targeting solution would be rendered almost moot. Sure, running through its own thermonuclear fireball would be "bad" for the bolo - but arguably no worse (and probably *MUCH* better) than standing up to hundreds of them from the enemy! Then, clearing the ridge (pulling straight out of its own nuclear holocaust), the bolo could have continued on as it did in the book, anihilating the enemy in a classic Pyrrhic victory.

But not using the (normally offensive-only) fusion missiles as a defensive screen just seems to be selling the bolo short, tactically...

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