• Nobles of Null is a forum based roleplay site where sci-fi and magic collide. Here, Earth remains fractured and divided despite humanity reaching out to the stars. Worse still, the trans-human slaves of one major power have escaped, only to establish their own Empire, seething with resentment at abuses of the past. Even the discovery of aliens, though medieval in development, has failed to rally these squabbling children of Earth together with its far darker implications. Worse still, is the discovery of the impossible - magic. Practiced by the alien locals, nearly depleted and therefore rare, its reality warping abilities remains abstract and distant to the general populace. All the while, unseen in the darkness of space, forces from without threaten to press in. For those with eyes opened by insight, it is clear that an era is about to end, and that a new age will dawn.

Daqin-HFR War

Ray of Meep

Wiki Moderator
Shenzhou Military Academy, Huwang

Department of Strategy and Tactics

Dr. Wang Jianshan


With the arrest of Zhuli Number Four, who the Daqinren dub "the Mother Empress", war with the Daqin Empire is eminent. Reconnaissance from the Pingqiong System is muddy, specifics indiscernible, but drive signatures of military grade vessels have been confirmed pushing mass to the system's SLE. All existing evidence points toward a large scale invasion of HFR territory to rescue the Mother Empress through the neutral Atlantica system.

The claimed technological supremacy by the Daqinren have concerned Republican military strategists for three decades now: specifically, the tactical advantages of particle beam cannons and their advancements in virtual reality maintenance, allowing their personnel to operate in two spaces simultaneously. The true impact of these capabilities have thus far can only be discussed in theory and wargames. Regardless of the tactical advantages the Daqinren have on paper, the unknown differences between battle doctrines of their military and ours, the greater strategic reality carries predictability: specifically, the sheer distance between controlled territories across interstellar space.

My analysis here heavily draws inspiration from a text written by American Union Admiral Alison Wright, "The Strategic and Logistical Challenges of Interstellar Warfare: Possible Solutions and Bypasses", written in 2287. She hypothesized a conventional, symmetrical war between the AU and the PRC, making the assumption of mutually assured destruction on Earth, while discussing the challenges of the surviving extraterrestrial territories face when they attempt to retaliate at each other. The hundred plus page long thesis drew evidence from contemporary PRC and AU capabilities along with the results of decades of wargaming and simulations conducted by the AU. Her work was in a way prophetic when Zhongzhi occured, indeed heavily influencing AU and CW conduct during the initial phases of Operation Distant Flock. Despite over a century old, Admiral Wright's work still holds weight in gold to this day, espeacially relevant to our upcoming war with the Daqinren.

In brief sentences, Admiral Wright concludes that, in a symmetrical conflict across two or more systems, each individual system fully controlled by a single belligerent, victory is outright impossible for the aggressor due to the shear distances between stellar gravity wells, placing a heavy burden on logistics, subjecting invading fleets to the risk of complete isolation and destruction. Extensive methods to create asymmetric circumstances are required to achieve offensive victory, if overwhelming numbers isn't possible.

Two military operations within the last 120 years show highlight bypasses and solutions to the logistical hurdles, and consequences if they are not found: Operation Distant Flock, and the Hawking War for Independence. Prior to Operation Distant Flock, the PRC military leadership was completely gutted by the Zhuli. Due to the highly centralized nature of the PRC military at the time, the surviving officer base was paralyzed, unable to react swiftly to the sudden change in power structure. With the majority of the PRC space fleet in Sol, the AU and CW were swiftly able to neutralize this increasingly unpredictable and headless threat across interplanetary distances, extremely short in comparison to interstellar. From here, a symmetrical conflict turned asymmetric within a couple of weeks. The Ameri-European coalition took control of the PRC SLE in Sol, then spent six months building up their forces at a 1:10 ratio between combat assets and logictial support units, distributed across Sol, Atlantica, and New Texas. While this gave Li Ming and Shen Zhou PRC remnants to organize their own defenses, there were simply too few units in the extraterrestrial colonies to resist, and the surviving leadership far too fractured to organize effectively. The sheer logistical capabilities of the AU-CW coalition must also be noted, as it was observed that command stations were built by the CW on the outer edges of the systems first, supplied by AU Statesmen-Classes, before a steady and heavy push to the cores of the systems commenced, annihilating any resistance with seemingly endless firepower.

While the AU successfully conducted a great feat of logistics against the proto-HFR states, in recent years its leadership seems to have degraded to the point where it cannot execute its own doctrine as efficiently as it has before, exemplified by the embarrassing failure to put down the Hawking Rebellion. On paper, the AU should have crushed the uprising by the machine cultists and more human sympathizers through sheer mass, yet the Americans failed to play to their strengths. Instead of a slow and steady build-up of logistical assets in a defensible formation out of the limited military assets the Magnetic Assembly had at their disposal, the AU instead decided to strike at the Hawking SLE directly with Statesmen. While these battlecruisers are impressive feats of military engineering, having a high degree of logistical independence across interstellar space, requiring no external SLE, they punch below their weight class, requiring the buildup of dedicated combat vessels to form the vanguard, while the Statesmen anchor the fleet as heavily armed mobile depots. The AU during Operation Distant Flock understood this, yet during the first and only military operation against the rebels in Hawking space, at the Battle of Reiss, six Statesmen were haphazardly flung at a well prepared, defended position, reflecting incredible tactical incompetence, and exacerbating a poor strategic disadvantage the AU has as the attackers.

The MA, for their part, struck the ill prepared battlegroup hard, either downing or capturing all of the Statesmen, reappropriating them to serve as the logistics cores for their own counter-offensive in Atlantica. While the Machine cultists still do not have an official military, they have shown impressive adaptibility by repurposing the many civilian vessels in the system to serve as missile boats, alleviating the hurdles of advancing into another star system. Mirroring the Zhongzhi event, the MA partially paralyzed the AU's decision making process by assassinating half of their senate through unconventional application of automation behind enemy lines, leaving Atlantica under-manned for long enough for the smaller, ad-hoc MA fleet to establish a presence before reinforcements could arrive. The greater Battle of Atlantica is yet to prove conclusive, but the ability of the MA to adapt on the fly and degrade a larger force through asymmetric means should be noted as possible tactics to overcome the interstellar logistical hurdle.

Finally, the recent One Month War, with the CW and SSM as belligerents, should be noted for its lack of mobilization of extraterrestrial assets on both sides of the conflict, instead keeping offensives restricted to Sol. The logic is apparent: while Silbern and Yasny both pose as lucrative, strategic targets, large commitment of resources to sustain offensives in those far out systems presents unaffordable opportunity costs to keep assets in Sol, in which the CW and SSM are quite literally on each other's front door. Interstellar campaigns should never be the first strategic option.

Ray of Meep

Wiki Moderator
To summarize thus far, interstellar campaigns present nigh-impossible logistical hurdles to overcome if the defender is of similar strength. Past military campaigns have revealed key insights on how to overcome or bypass such hurdles:
1) Degrade the defender's military leadership to paralyze fleet movements.
2) Decimate the defender's assets elsewhere such that logistical buildup in the territory cannot be contested successfully.
3) Employ civilian merchant marine assets to supplement existing logistics units.
4) Avoid interstellar campaigns altogether, first use in-system units to harass and degrade the defender first, should such assets be available.

It should be expected that the Daqinren understand these methods, as they've used them against the HFR, both past and present. Defending against them will be crucial to maintain the Republic's defender's advantage.
1) The Republic should remember, painfully, the Daqinren's ability to infiltrate governments and corporations, and eliminate key leadership. While security tailored to bionetically augmented sapients has improved, our officers will do well to take advantage of democratization and decentralization of power, allowing battlegroups to continue wartime operations effectively with or without central leadership.
2) Thus far, HFR fleets have not given the Daqinren the opportunity to strike and pick off individual units meaningfully, as the HFR has never operated in contested territory without full support. Weakening the HFR defense thus requires the achievement of point four first, which the Daqinren have succeeded to a limited degree, through the continual coordination of piracy operations in HFR space. However, such clandestine operations necessarily require small, logistically independent assets with comparatively low-level technology to stay concealed, thus cannot pose a meaningful threat to a proper battlegroup. Nonetheless, the possibility of Daqinren strikes against lone vessels docked in station is very real. It would be prudent for the GKF to improve security around space stations now more than ever, as it would be the right time for the Daqinren to sabotage our assets in coordination with the arrival of an invasion fleet.

Should the HFR succeed in maintaining the defender's advantage, minimizing the damage from sabotage, then the Daqinren face a heavy uphill battle on the strategic front. Interstellar supply lines are difficult to protect, and Daqinren cannot readily replace their more advanced technological components in hostile territory. In contrast to the Daqinren's weeks-long supply lines, a defending HFR fleet can access any friendly station on the order of days or hours. Furthermore, all credible sources point to a 2:1 numerical advantage the HFR has over the Daqin. For the Daqinren to achieve victory, they will require overwhelming technological superiority that has yet to be verified, a narrow war goal, and a lightning-fast campaign strategy.