The Official Gundam Unicorn Anime Thread Mk VI

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Re: The Official Gundam Unicorn Anime Thread Mk VI

Post by Brave Fencer Kirby » Tue Apr 02, 2013 9:31 am

zetatype wrote:Wait are you referring to Char's Counterattack? And what exactly do you mean by "little force projection capacity"?
Yeah, CCA is what I meant. Force projection is the ability to get military power to areas where it's needed. The EFF may have a lot of military bases and garrison units, but they never seem to have much in the way of mobile units capable of chasing a threat around the Earth Sphere. If the vast bulk of the Federation's military might is effectively stationary, and the Sleeves are able to knock out their relatively small mobile forces, then the Sleeves can do basically whatever they want as long as they don't deliberately pick fights with those stationary forces.
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Re: The Official Gundam Unicorn Anime Thread Mk VI

Post by zetatype » Tue Apr 02, 2013 4:04 pm

Ah I see, well in that case I somewhat agree. It may also be due to the fact that hunting down a small insurgency group can be a pain in the ass. Sending a large fleet out to track down the Sleeves would be very costly (logistics, Fuel and what not) and a large fleet can't move as fast as a smaller one. A larger fleet is also much easier to detect , so if the Sleeves come across a large fleet they'll just run away. Sending out a smaller fleet is more efficient for search and destroy missions, however the downside is that it makes it possible for the Sleeves to win in a fight.

However, were there really only three ships in Londo Bell during CCA?

Also, a while ago I made a thread and asked why Londo Bell was the only team intercepting Char despite the fact he just chucked an asteroid at Earth. I believe someone said that it was because the majority of the Federation fleet was scattered throughout the Sides to deal with uprisings that occurred in the beginning of the film.

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Re: The Official Gundam Unicorn Anime Thread Mk VI

Post by latenlazy » Tue Apr 02, 2013 6:58 pm

Brave Fencer Kirby wrote:
zetatype wrote:Wait are you referring to Char's Counterattack? And what exactly do you mean by "little force projection capacity"?
Yeah, CCA is what I meant. Force projection is the ability to get military power to areas where it's needed. The EFF may have a lot of military bases and garrison units, but they never seem to have much in the way of mobile units capable of chasing a threat around the Earth Sphere. If the vast bulk of the Federation's military might is effectively stationary, and the Sleeves are able to knock out their relatively small mobile forces, then the Sleeves can do basically whatever they want as long as they don't deliberately pick fights with those stationary forces.
I think what you're identifying isn't a problem of force projection perse, but ineffective (or the limitations of) counter insurgency operations. It's not that the Federation doesn't have the ability to project military power wherever it needs to, but that the conventional military projected outward is slow to respond, and is in fact very vulnerable to, the type of hit and run tactics of Zeon insurgencies. The ability to project forces requires having fixed assets and logistical dependencies that will always make you slower than an insurgent hit and run unit (and also more vulnerable to one).

Up to this point I think the conversation has treated Zeon and Neo Zeon forces as a conventional military with fixed bases and assets, and clear well defended logistical dependencies. That type of enemy is what conventional force projection is best equipped to handle. I would propose that that is the wrong way to understand what Zeon has become. Instead, I suggest that both Zeon and Neo Zeon have become the UC equivalent of Al Qaeda/the Taliban with technology that allows them to hit much harder without tactical compromises. Mobile suits and mobile armors give insurgent groups in UC devastating firepower without the mobility trade off, and minovsky interference allows such hit and run groups to move around with much bigger equipment without the risk of detection. We see Neo Zeon optimize itself for such hit and run tactics both in the use of very powerful high performance custom units (trading, I imagine, greater numbers and a bigger footprint), and the rather small Musaka and Rewloola classes as the mainstay and flagship of their fleets.

When observed from that angle, suddenly the Federation employing Londo Bell to apprehend Char's rebellion would make much more sense. Deploying a special tasks force with a limited fleet size allows the Federation to follow the movements of a more nimble foe, a necessary sacrifice given minovsky interference. Limited long range detection abilities means you would need to be more responsive to your opponents movements so as to not lose them, thereby allowing you to respond and neutralize or weaken their ability to surprise and threaten major assets of your more conventional forces. Smaller fleets also offer advantages such as quicker docking, resupply, and undocking, for example. The trade off is of course your fighting power, as well as the possibility that backup will be slow to arrive at the point of engagement.

Now, keep in mind that the last time the Federation had a special task force that had some specialization for COIN was the Titans, and that ended very badly for everyone. After the First Neo Zeon War, the Federation had to rebuild their COIN capabilites from scratch. As a result, at the start of CCA Londo Bell is still rather new. This probably contributes to some degree of operational inefficacy, and perhaps even limited capabilities and resources (hence their failure to prevent Char from dropping rocks on Mother Earth).

Nonetheless, we already see signs of COIN specialization. While most of the Federation were still probably using GM IIs, GM IIIs, and Nemos, Londo Bell was already fielding Jegans, the Re-GZ, and the Nu Gundam. These newer and arguably higher performance units allow a special task force to hold their own and increase their chance of successful engagement with an enemy without relying on backup. Continued development of such COIN capabilities is consistent with what we see in Gundam UC, with the deployment of the Nahel Argama, the Delta Plus, specialized Jegan configurations, and the Jestas. The unique hardware we see in Londo Bell would not fit as easily in a conventional military unit that relies on logistical scalabilty and therefore mass production. However, for a counter insurgency unit, scalability is a much smaller concern next to combat strength and performance, and a broad set of combat options.

It doesn't really stop with Londo Bell though. In UC, we also have ECOAS, and we learn that the RX-0 was developed for the sole sake of hunting down Zeon Remnants and defeating Newtype machines. There is every indication that as of UC 0096 the Federation is only finishing the first act of rebuilding and refining its COIN capability to deal with the now scattered and shrunken Neo Zeon forces. Despite various complaints of how weak Federation Forces seem to be in the face of Zeon attacks, it's important to remember that, as stated in the story itself, Neo Zeon is still losing, and will inevitably meet its doom at its current course. Like any other insurgency, Neo Zeon has adopted tactics that priotizes speed and stealth and allow them to surprise and overwhelm pockets of conventional military units. This is an approach that is only enhanced by technologies that enable optimization in ways that would make modern insurgent groups glow green. However, just like any other insurgency unit, attrition becomes their worst enemy and at the start of Gundam UC, we are just beginning to see that attrition take hold, right as the Federation begins to adapt to these new warfare requirements.
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Re: The Official Gundam Unicorn Anime Thread Mk VI

Post by Brave Fencer Kirby » Tue Apr 02, 2013 11:36 pm

zetatype wrote:However, were there really only three ships in Londo Bell during CCA?
Yep. The Ra Cailum herself and two Clops.
latenlazy wrote:I suggest that both Zeon and Neo Zeon have become the UC equivalent of Al Qaeda/the Taliban with technology that allows them to hit much harder without tactical compromises.
The Sleeves are a military force equipped with warships and mobile suits. It's not really analogous with the sorts of terrorist organizations who don't have much in the way of equipment more advanced than small arms and improvised explosives. Even if the Sleeves' ships are equipped to keep their MS fully repaired and maintained, the ships themselves are going to need maintaining eventually. That means they need a home port -- someplace they can park for a while and let their crew out for some R&R while they resupply, if nothing else. They're certainly not the sort of insurgent force that can vanish into hiding among local populations and unfavorable terrain.
latenlazy wrote:However, just like any other insurgency unit, attrition becomes their worst enemy and at the start of Gundam UC, we are just beginning to see that attrition take hold, right as the Federation begins to adapt to these new warfare requirements.
I don't think this has been demonstrated, either. We've seen nothing to suggest that the Sleeves are worried about the losses they've taken, or that they're adjusting their strategy at all in order to deal with limited availability of men or materiel. I mean, it certainly seems logical to assume that such is the case, but everything else about the Sleeves defies logic too, so I don't know why this should be any different. Going purely by what we see in the animation, the conclusion one comes to is that the Sleeves are beating the pants off of the Federation in a purely conventional conflict, despite their various and sundry disadvantages.
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Re: The Official Gundam Unicorn Anime Thread Mk VI

Post by latenlazy » Wed Apr 03, 2013 1:01 am

Brave Fencer Kirby wrote: The Sleeves are a military force equipped with warships and mobile suits. It's not really analogous with the sorts of terrorist organizations who don't have much in the way of equipment more advanced than small arms and improvised explosives. Even if the Sleeves' ships are equipped to keep their MS fully repaired and maintained, the ships themselves are going to need maintaining eventually. That means they need a home port -- someplace they can park for a while and let their crew out for some R&R while they resupply, if nothing else. They're certainly not the sort of insurgent force that can vanish into hiding among local populations and unfavorable terrain.
Just because they're equipped with warships and mobile suits doesn't mean they can't be insurgents. After all, there have been examples of well equipped insurgents in history. This is especially true when technology changes the parameters of combat and strategy, and when the scale and terrain of conflict expands as much as it has. Nor is needing to resupply and maintain mutually exclusive from being an insurgency. Insurgents need home bases and maintenance too. And of course Neo Zeon isn't the sort of insurgent force that can vanish into hiding among local populations, but that's really a superficial detail. The main point is that they adopt a hit and run approach, and keep their forces strong but small in order to maintain the ability to vanish after a strike. In UC, insurgents can do so in the vastness of space, under the coverage of minovsky interference.
I don't think this has been demonstrated, either. We've seen nothing to suggest that the Sleeves are worried about the losses they've taken, or that they're adjusting their strategy at all in order to deal with limited availability of men or materiel. I mean, it certainly seems logical to assume that such is the case, but everything else about the Sleeves defies logic too, so I don't know why this should be any different. Going purely by what we see in the animation, the conclusion one comes to is that the Sleeves are beating the pants off of the Federation in a purely conventional conflict, despite their various and sundry disadvantages.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but in episode 6 Full Frontal explicitly mentions that if all Zeon does is fight the Federation using force they will lose.

That said, I don't buy the argument that the Sleeves are simply beating the pants off the Federation. While they do attain many spectacular victories, it's mostly done through very high performance machines that conventional forces would have trouble dealing with (the Federation, of course, was already finding ways to deal with that particular problem). At the end of the day those victories do an immense job of boosting morale and selling strength, but they do next to nothing in actually weakening the Federation (more insurgency logic). Meanwhile, they continue to lose grunts in every fight. Because they have much smaller manpower, without recruitment (where the legitimacy of an ideology comes in) this will weigh on them over time. In fact, I would argue that the only reason they might be willing to lose so many grunts over the span of the OVA is because Full Frontal has decided to be putting everything on the Box.
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Re: The Official Gundam Unicorn Anime Thread Mk VI

Post by zetatype » Wed Apr 03, 2013 7:42 am

Brave Fencer Kirby wrote: We've seen nothing to suggest that the Sleeves are worried about the losses they've taken, or that they're adjusting their strategy at all in order to deal with limited availability of men or materiel. Going purely by what we see in the animation, the conclusion one comes to is that the Sleeves are beating the pants off of the Federation in a purely conventional conflict, despite their various and sundry disadvantages.
IMO the fact that the Sleeves and Neo Zeon haven't tried any all out attacks like Torrington says enough. The reason why is because if they do they will get wiped out.

Despite the kill ratio being in Neo Zeon/Sleeves favor so far, how much damage do you really think they are doing to the Federation overall? How easy do you think it is for the Federation to replace 10 mobile suits compared to just one suit for Neo Zeon? And if Neo Zeon is beating the pants off the Federation in a purely conventional conflict (which isn't conventional) why was Full Frontal hiding out in a backwater asteroid base and not taking back Side 3?

In a previous post I think you asked why the Sleeves even bother with Laplace's box if they seem to be doing well against the Federation. Well wouldn't it be logical to assume that the very fact they need the box indicates they aren't doing so well against the Federation?

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Re: The Official Gundam Unicorn Anime Thread Mk VI

Post by Cybaster » Wed Apr 03, 2013 10:13 am

zetatype wrote:IMO the fact that the Sleeves and Neo Zeon haven't tried any all out attacks like Torrington says enough. The reason why is because if they do they will get wiped out.
Then again, the Zeon Remnants at Torrington were wiped out pretty much solely because their attack plan was basically centered on the AMA-X7 Shamblo giving them fire support, and Loni instead chose to run off and rampage the nearby city instead; That left the Zeon Remnants isolated and kept them at Torrington too long, allowing the Federation reinforcements to encircle them.

Otherwise, one has to wonder what would've happened instead had Loni stuck to Kirks' original plan; IMO the attack on Torrington would've likely been a lot more successful had the Shamblo been right there to provide constant all-range fire support for the Remnants. At the very least, the Byarlant Custom and the Tri-Stars wouldn't have had been allowed to do nearly as much damage as they had with the Shamblo's Reflector Bits harassing them the entire way, leaving Banagher and the Unicorn Gundam the only tangible threat to the entire operation. (But Loni and Kirks likely would've called for a retreat long before Banagher arrived anyway, rendering that a bit moot.)

Anyway, my point is, don't write off the Sleeves and Neo Zeons entirely in an all-out attack; The persistent ability to create battalion-annihilating MAs aside, the Sleeves and Neo Zeons seem to do well enough in quick, all-out blitzes that results in victory in a short amount of time. Once the battles get drawn-out and prolonged, however, the Federation can easily regain the edge with their sheer numbers and resources.
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Re: The Official Gundam Unicorn Anime Thread Mk VI

Post by zetatype » Wed Apr 03, 2013 5:08 pm

Cybaster wrote:
zetatype wrote:IMO the fact that the Sleeves and Neo Zeon haven't tried any all out attacks like Torrington says enough. The reason why is because if they do they will get wiped out.
Then again, the Zeon Remnants at Torrington were wiped out pretty much solely because their attack plan was basically centered on the AMA-X7 Shamblo giving them fire support, and Loni instead chose to run off and rampage the nearby city instead; That left the Zeon Remnants isolated and kept them at Torrington too long, allowing the Federation reinforcements to encircle them.

Otherwise, one has to wonder what would've happened instead had Loni stuck to Kirks' original plan; IMO the attack on Torrington would've likely been a lot more successful had the Shamblo been right there to provide constant all-range fire support for the Remnants. At the very least, the Byarlant Custom and the Tri-Stars wouldn't have had been allowed to do nearly as much damage as they had with the Shamblo's Reflector Bits harassing them the entire way, leaving Banagher and the Unicorn Gundam the only tangible threat to the entire operation. (But Loni and Kirks likely would've called for a retreat long before Banagher arrived anyway, rendering that a bit moot.)

Anyway, my point is, don't write off the Sleeves and Neo Zeons entirely in an all-out attack; The persistent ability to create battalion-annihilating MAs aside, the Sleeves and Neo Zeons seem to do well enough in quick, all-out blitzes that results in victory in a short amount of time. Once the battles get drawn-out and prolonged, however, the Federation can easily regain the edge with their sheer numbers and resources.
Fair enough though I'd imagine that even if the Shamblo hadn't gone on a rampage the remnants would still have suffered significant casualties and for the Zeon remnants each suit they lose will be much harder to replace than it will be for the federation to replace 10 of theirs.

I actually agree that Neo Zeon can do well in an all out attack, but so far their hasn't been a reason to risk an all out attack with the majority of their forces. A larger force is probably going to provoke a larger response from the Federation and will increase the chances of them getting caught when they decide to retreat. Episode 7 will be the only time we will see the majority of Neo Zeon fleet, because with the location of Laplace's box known its now all or nothing.

Your last comment at the end is pretty much the point I was trying to get across. If the Neo Zeon remnants could actually beat the federation in a conventional war then we would see them trying to actually seize and hold territory instead of these small scale hit and run tactics.

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Re: The Official Gundam Unicorn Anime Thread Mk VI

Post by Kratos » Wed Apr 03, 2013 5:49 pm

For what it's worth, Zinnerman basically says - in the first episode, no less - that the Sleeves are desperate enough that they will take literally any alternative to outright confrontation, even if it's a quasi-mythical McGuffin. So there's that.

And, actually, I outright don't agree that they've been "beating the pants off" the Feds in conventional engagements, because they've barely HAD any conventional engagements - and the only time they fight a larger force (at Palau), they lose. That fight was incredibly one-sided in the favour of Londo Bell. Aside from that, they've taken on single battleships pretty much exclusively.
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Re: The Official Gundam Unicorn Anime Thread Mk VI

Post by Brave Fencer Kirby » Wed Apr 03, 2013 9:01 pm

latenlazy wrote:Just because they're equipped with warships and mobile suits doesn't mean they can't be insurgents.
Sure, you can apply the "insurgency" label to them if you want. But you explicitly compared them to Al Qaeda and the Taliban -- groups which very definitely do not have equipment like tanks, fighter jets, or warships. That's why I said the comparison is a bad one.
latenlazy wrote:The main point is that they adopt a hit and run approach, and keep their forces strong but small in order to maintain the ability to vanish after a strike.
Except that you can't "vanish" if you have a logistics trail that can be followed -- which you absolutely need to keep high-tech gear like mobile suits and warships in fighting shape. The Federation doesn't need to destroy the Sleeves' fighting force to beat them; interdict their supply lines, capture or destroy their port facilities, and they'll wither on the vine. The fact that the EFF hasn't done this suggests that they're unable to -- which in turn suggests that the Sleeves are capable of defeating them in open combat, since what else would stop the EFF?
latenlazy wrote:Correct me if I'm wrong, but in episode 6 Full Frontal explicitly mentions that if all Zeon does is fight the Federation using force they will lose.
I don't remember that line; do you recall where in the episode he says it?
latenlazy wrote:That said, I don't buy the argument that the Sleeves are simply beating the pants off the Federation. While they do attain many spectacular victories, it's mostly done through very high performance machines that conventional forces would have trouble dealing with
I don't see how the fact that they're using a handful of absurdly powerful machines to beat the pants off of the Federation means that they're not actually beating the pants off the Federation. Again, think of what we've seen them do so far. They've shown the ability to consistently defeat even advanced Federation warships with impunity (the Nahel Argama in episode 2, the General Revil in episode 6). They managed to destroy the Federation Assembly, which as the seat of government, you'd think would be a pretty damn well-defended target. The Sleeves aren't attacking where the Federation is weak and escaping when faced with a major force concentration; they're fighting the Federation on their own terms and beating them at their own game.
latenlazy wrote:At the end of the day those victories do an immense job of boosting morale and selling strength, but they do next to nothing in actually weakening the Federation (more insurgency logic).
How do you figure? The Sleeves have caused serious damage to the EFF -- particularly among their elite units, which are hardest to replace (both in terms of experienced, talented pilots and expensive, high-performance equipment).
latenlazy wrote:Because they have much smaller manpower, without recruitment
Who says that the Sleeves aren't recruiting? They've certainly got the resources to get their mitts on newer and better mobile suits, and places like Paulau that seem sympathetic to their cause. What's to keep them from recruiting and outfitting newcomers to the cause?
zetatype wrote:How easy do you think it is for the Federation to replace 10 mobile suits compared to just one suit for Neo Zeon?
Well, they got all those Geara Zulus and those shiny new high-spec MS and MA from somewhere. Really, you'd expect the remnants of Char's Neo Zeon to be stringing along with the Geara Dogas that managed to survive the battle over Axis plus whatever they managed to kitbash together -- like the Delaz fleet's Dra-Cs, or even Axis Zeon's Gaza series (which were noted as being low quality, but really cheap to build). If they can get all that new hardware in the three years since CCA, then why wouldn't they be able to get replacements for their losses?
zetatype wrote:In a previous post I think you asked why the Sleeves even bother with Laplace's box if they seem to be doing well against the Federation. Well wouldn't it be logical to assume that the very fact they need the box indicates they aren't doing so well against the Federation?
Perhaps, but the reason I was pointing it out in the first place is to highlight that inconsistency. If we saw the Sleeves being pushed back by the EFF and relying on Laplace's box as a last ditch desperation move (or even as a "just as planned" ace in the hole), then I wouldn't complain. But instead, it seems as if the Sleeves are -- at the very least -- holding their own in a conventional military conflict. It leaves one wondering why they aren't just trying to beat the Federation and take over -- or at least pull some kind of CCA-style instant-win plan.
Kratos wrote:And, actually, I outright don't agree that they've been "beating the pants off" the Feds in conventional engagements, because they've barely HAD any conventional engagements - and the only time they fight a larger force (at Palau), they lose. That fight was incredibly one-sided in the favour of Londo Bell. Aside from that, they've taken on single battleships pretty much exclusively.
By "conventional" I mean a military engagement as opposed to a terrorist attack or the like. Two well-defined military forces attacking each other (as opposed to one side trying to hide among civilians or deliberately attacking civilian targets) would be "conventional" -- even if one side attacks from ambush, uses highly mobile forces in hit-and-run strikes, or otherwise avoids typical fleet battles or MS engagements.
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Re: The Official Gundam Unicorn Anime Thread Mk VI

Post by Andrew_Graruru » Wed Apr 03, 2013 9:14 pm

Unless we do see a Neo-Zeon fleet in ep 7 though, I think its safe to assume that the Zeon forces just don't have much left. All the remnants around the world seemed to concentrate on the Torrington attack, and by the end of the episode we hear they've been mopped up. If all they have left are a couple of musaka's and a Rewloola, that might not be enough to take on the Federation (unless they went for a CCA-style, drop something big and heavy on the earth style plan, which didn't work too well last time)
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Re: The Official Gundam Unicorn Anime Thread Mk VI

Post by Kratos » Wed Apr 03, 2013 9:35 pm

Brave Fencer Kirby wrote:The Federation doesn't need to destroy the Sleeves' fighting force to beat them; interdict their supply lines, capture or destroy their port facilities, and they'll wither on the vine. The fact that the EFF hasn't done this suggests that they're unable to -- which in turn suggests that the Sleeves are capable of defeating them in open combat, since what else would stop the EFF?
Isn't there some kind of implication by Mineva in episode 2 that the Federation allows the Sleeves to continue existing, because they can't really do any harm anyways (again, see Zinnermn's "dangling carrots" line) and it gives the Feds an excuse maintain an open military presence in space? Something like that. She says it to Riddhe.
Brave Fencer Kirby wrote:I don't see how the fact that they're using a handful of absurdly powerful machines to beat the pants off of the Federation means that they're not actually beating the pants off the Federation. Again, think of what we've seen them do so far. They've shown the ability to consistently defeat even advanced Federation warships with impunity (the Nahel Argama in episode 2, the General Revil in episode 6). They managed to destroy the Federation Assembly, which as the seat of government, you'd think would be a pretty damn well-defended target. The Sleeves aren't attacking where the Federation is weak and escaping when faced with a major force concentration; they're fighting the Federation on their own terms and beating them at their own game.
Except that bold bit is exactly what they're doing. They haven't participated in any fleet battles, and while the warships they're facing may be advanced, MS were initially explicitly DESIGNED to take out warships. It's not really particularly surprising that advanced MS with skilled pilots could do a lot of damage against a single battleship.

As for Dakar, is Washington constantly defended by the most advanced military forces on the planet? The nation is, of course, but unless there's a military junta in power, chances are pretty good that the bulk of the military isn't going to be focused on one capital city. Especially in a time of complacency and in a location largely devoid of traditional combat, like the Earth in 0096.
Brave Fencer Kirby wrote:The Sleeves have caused serious damage to the EFF -- particularly among their elite units, which are hardest to replace (both in terms of experienced, talented pilots and expensive, high-performance equipment).
Only now, though. The Sleeves have been around for a few years, likely; this big push (and, again, it's not a particularly effective one) is only because of the Box.
Brave Fencer Kirby wrote:If they can get all that new hardware in the three years since CCA, then why wouldn't they be able to get replacements for their losses?
Again, though, you're assuming that they're consistently replacing them. There has been no evidence of serious Sleeves movement until 0096. It's highly likely that what they have is the result of a 3-year buildup.
Brave Fencer Kirby wrote:But instead, it seems as if the Sleeves are -- at the very least -- holding their own in a conventional military conflict. [...] By "conventional" I mean a military engagement as opposed to a terrorist attack or the like. Two well-defined military forces attacking each other (as opposed to one side trying to hide among civilians or deliberately attacking civilian targets) would be "conventional" -- even if one side attacks from ambush, uses highly mobile forces in hit-and-run strikes, or otherwise avoids typical fleet battles or MS engagements.
It's not a conventional military conflict, though, because no fleets have been involved. Whenever the Federation shows up in force, they get trounced. A few people here bring up the Earth remnants, though I actually think that that's kind of irrelevant; those remnants aren't the Sleeves, and shouldn't be counted as representative of their actual combat abilities - but even at Palau, they get spanked. And while the Sinanju, Kshatriya, and Rozen Zulu wreck face, the fact that the Sleeves held off using them overtly (and even during the series avoid challenging the Federation directly, except when manipulating fanatics into a suicide mission) implies a lot about their actual capability to wage a conventional war.

tl;dr: though they have advanced weapons, I think the comparison to insurgent strike forces is very apt, as the Sleeves have avoided directly facing off against the full might of the Federation at every turn. Instead of seeing it as an inherent contradiction, I see it as a statement of their capabilities in line with early character dialogue.
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Re: The Official Gundam Unicorn Anime Thread Mk VI

Post by latenlazy » Wed Apr 03, 2013 10:37 pm

Brave Fencer Kirby wrote:
latenlazy wrote:Just because they're equipped with warships and mobile suits doesn't mean they can't be insurgents.
Sure, you can apply the "insurgency" label to them if you want. But you explicitly compared them to Al Qaeda and the Taliban -- groups which very definitely do not have equipment like tanks, fighter jets, or warships. That's why I said the comparison is a bad one.
I'm not exactly advocating for a 1:1 comparison here. I'm simply pointing out that when it comes to organizational structure and strategic approach the Sleeves are not what we can consider an organized conventional military anymore. As such, how we analyze and understand their behavior and actions should shift accordingly.
latenlazy wrote:The main point is that they adopt a hit and run approach, and keep their forces strong but small in order to maintain the ability to vanish after a strike.
Except that you can't "vanish" if you have a logistics trail that can be followed -- which you absolutely need to keep high-tech gear like mobile suits and warships in fighting shape. The Federation doesn't need to destroy the Sleeves' fighting force to beat them; interdict their supply lines, capture or destroy their port facilities, and they'll wither on the vine. The fact that the EFF hasn't done this suggests that they're unable to -- which in turn suggests that the Sleeves are capable of defeating them in open combat, since what else would stop the EFF?
While that sounds fine on paper, it doesn't even work that well in real life. Most modern day insurgent groups don't have giant military hardware, but that doesn't mean they don't need supply lines to maintain weapons and equipment. In theory we could squeeze, say, gun and equipment trafficking to starve present day insurgent organizations like Al Qaeda (the affiliates) of vital operational resources. The problem is that when it comes to execution, that relies on good intelligence of black market activity and the ability to track specific shipments, both much harder to do than it sounds.

Modern day insurgents and their supply lines "vanish" all the time, because we don't have perfect information, and because these organizations aren't conventional militaries that depend on fixed facilities and dedicated infrastructure, and because they co-opt standard shipment practices, making them hard to discern from regular economic activities at a distance. Cutting supply lines is easier against a conventional military, because you can't hide the scale of production and shipments for a large fighting force, or the size of the equipment in large numbers, and because scale requirements forces logistics to be tied to fixed locations. It is harder against smaller militant and para-military organizations, because they can be more covert about their shipments and can choose more clandestine flexible options to get their resources. They don't need to defended a fixed location because they're not dependent on fixed assets. If it were so easy to find and destroy the supply lines of networked militants all the time, disarming insurgent, drug cartel, and terrorist organizations around the world wouldn't be so difficult.

The only leg your argument stands on is on the problem of scale. It would be very hard to traffic around tank parts and fighter plane engines (though plenty of people have tried, like when a few F100 turbofans went missing in Israel) in the present day. You're probably thinking how could an organization get their hands on the needed giant mobile suit parts necessary to maintain their fighting strength, but I would again suggest that the setting solves that problem.

Imagine the multiplication of scale into the world of UC, where cargo ships carrying giant industrial parts probably go back and forth from space and Earth and between colonies all the time, where the vastness of space can provide a shelter for illegal trafficking activities that would only be possible in undeveloped areas on Earth, and where zones of minovsky interference can even block long range monitoring of potential trafficking areas. We have enough trouble detecting football field sized asteroids in space. It wouldn't be hard to imagine the difficulties of keeping track of clandestine cargo ships coming out of Side 3 headed towards Paulau, commissioned by Zeon sympathizers, or mobile suit repair facilities floating in shoal zones hiding behind the cover of space debris. Space simply makes it easier to hide everything.

When your facilities are difficult to find and scattered, and your supply lines well hidden, it's unnecessary to have the strength to beat an attacker to maintain your fighting strength. That is true in the present day, and is probably just as true in UC. It's insufficient to say that Zeon can't vanish because they need a supply line larger than what we can imagine present day insurgents needing to maintain, when the legal supply chain itself has probably grown in orders of magnitude beyond what it is today. In short, what else is stopping the Federation? You can't destroy something you can't see/find. (I suspect the real answer is more complicated than this though, since someone mentioned that the novel elaborates that the Federation is intentionally keeping Zeon alive).
latenlazy wrote:Correct me if I'm wrong, but in episode 6 Full Frontal explicitly mentions that if all Zeon does is fight the Federation using force they will lose.
I don't remember that line; do you recall where in the episode he says it?
I reviewed Full Frontal's speech, where he said "Until we abandon the goal of forcing them to formally acknowledge us, there will be no victory in our battle against the Federation." Perhaps it was a bit of a liberal interpretation of that line (though I think given what we know I think it's an accurate one), so we'll leave it at that.
latenlazy wrote:That said, I don't buy the argument that the Sleeves are simply beating the pants off the Federation. While they do attain many spectacular victories, it's mostly done through very high performance machines that conventional forces would have trouble dealing with
I don't see how the fact that they're using a handful of absurdly powerful machines to beat the pants off of the Federation means that they're not actually beating the pants off the Federation. Again, think of what we've seen them do so far. They've shown the ability to consistently defeat even advanced Federation warships with impunity (the Nahel Argama in episode 2, the General Revil in episode 6). They managed to destroy the Federation Assembly, which as the seat of government, you'd think would be a pretty damn well-defended target. The Sleeves aren't attacking where the Federation is weak and escaping when faced with a major force concentration; they're fighting the Federation on their own terms and beating them at their own game.
Because the Federation's strength isn't measured by individual ships or buildings. It's measured by entire fleets, and the entire system of governance. Did 9/11 destroy the US economy? Or the US military command? No. If Al Qaeda had successfully attacked the US Capitol would that have stopped the US government? No. Zeon and Neo Zeon have been reduced to the status of terrorists. A threat to daily civilian order and life, but hardly an endangerment to the entire state. Even the attack on Dakar, as impressive as it was, hardly achieved anything. The Federation government wasn't toppling over from that attack. At the end of the day the Shamblo blew up some buildings and retreated. It could continue popping up at random locations, blow up some more buildings, and retreat, but it's doubtful the Zeon Remnants on Earth could have continued doing that forever. Even if Torrington didn't result in the entire Zeon Remnants getting wiped out, it's doubtful the Federation would have continued letting giant "SURPRISE!" mobile armors popping up at major cities trying to destroy government buildings without developing counter measures and increasing security. Zeon and Neo Zeon can do a lot of physical damage, but they can do nothing to challenge the status quo. Worse, with the development of the RX-0, it's clear the Federation was readying itself to extinguish even the overpowered newtype machine advantage that allowed them to score decisive wins against isolated ships and assets.
latenlazy wrote:At the end of the day those victories do an immense job of boosting morale and selling strength, but they do next to nothing in actually weakening the Federation (more insurgency logic).
How do you figure? The Sleeves have caused serious damage to the EFF -- particularly among their elite units, which are hardest to replace (both in terms of experienced, talented pilots and expensive, high-performance equipment).
Refer back to 9/11 example.
latenlazy wrote:Because they have much smaller manpower, without recruitment
Who says that the Sleeves aren't recruiting? They've certainly got the resources to get their mitts on newer and better mobile suits, and places like Paulau that seem sympathetic to their cause. What's to keep them from recruiting and outfitting newcomers to the cause?
It's about recruiting at the same rate that you're losing guys. Attrition is a bitch. Anyways, I don't have much evidence to really back up the claim that they can't recruit fast enough to survive, but I was left with the impression that if it was really working in their favour, they wouldn't need to depend on meager livings in a backwater like Paulau, and Full Frontal wouldn't be looking at using the Box to topple the Federation. Whatever their level of recruitment is reflected in the size of their force, and it doesn't seem to be very big.

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Re: The Official Gundam Unicorn Anime Thread Mk VI

Post by yazi88 » Wed Apr 03, 2013 11:38 pm

We should keep in mind that the Sleeves are also getting a lot of support from behind the scenes. The Sleeves could not have done anything without its main supporter and that there is also political pressure being added from the sidelines as well. That culprit behind the scenes is
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Republic of Zeon.
Remember in OVA 1 of Unicorn, Zeon remnents are also being kept around mainly to be used as scapegoats for the previous wars and as propaganda as well as a good reason to for the Federation to keep its stronghold since the OYW. I'm assuming its also being done to get the spotlight of the both the incompetency of the Federation honchos and also the really bad PR of the Titans/Gryps Civil War.

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Re: The Official Gundam Unicorn Anime Thread Mk VI

Post by balofo » Thu Apr 04, 2013 7:23 pm

機動戦士ガンダムUC(ユニコーン) ‏@gundam_unicorn 7h

このΞガンダムが登場する「機動戦士ガンダム 閃光のハサウェイ」は、時代的にはガンダムUCの約9年後となる宇宙世紀105年が舞台。ep7では、これくらい先の時代への布石となるようなものも登場する予定です。 (広報いぬ) #g_uc
Is this saying that they'll show something on OVA 7 to link UC and Hathaway's Flash?!?!?!?? If so, HOLY S****!

Hathaway should have a cameo listening to
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Mineba's broadcast of the Laplace's Box content

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Re: The Official Gundam Unicorn Anime Thread Mk VI

Post by latenlazy » Thu Apr 04, 2013 7:34 pm

Bandai was going to have to market Hathaway's Flash MS at some point.

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Re: The Official Gundam Unicorn Anime Thread Mk VI

Post by Sulendil Zeta » Thu Apr 04, 2013 8:05 pm

balofo wrote:
機動戦士ガンダムUC(ユニコーン) ‏@gundam_unicorn 7h

このΞガンダムが登場する「機動戦士ガンダム 閃光のハサウェイ」は、時代的にはガンダムUCの約9年後となる宇宙世紀105年が舞台。ep7では、これくらい先の時代への布石となるようなものも登場する予定です。 (広報いぬ) #g_uc
Is this saying that they'll show something on OVA 7 to link UC and Hathaway's Flash?!?!?!?? If so, HOLY S****!

Hathaway should have a cameo listening to
Spoiler
Show
Mineba's broadcast of the Laplace's Box content
To be precise, it's said that Xi Gundam will make an cameo in episode 7 as a stepping stone to the 'much earlier era', perhaps referring the period between CCA/Unicorn and F91. Seeing that Fukui is a fan of Hathaway's Flash, wouldn't be surprised if he tried to sneak a reference to the novel.

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Re: The Official Gundam Unicorn Anime Thread Mk VI

Post by balofo » Thu Apr 04, 2013 8:12 pm

Sulendil Zeta wrote:
balofo wrote:
機動戦士ガンダムUC(ユニコーン) ‏@gundam_unicorn 7h

このΞガンダムが登場する「機動戦士ガンダム 閃光のハサウェイ」は、時代的にはガンダムUCの約9年後となる宇宙世紀105年が舞台。ep7では、これくらい先の時代への布石となるようなものも登場する予定です。 (広報いぬ) #g_uc
Is this saying that they'll show something on OVA 7 to link UC and Hathaway's Flash?!?!?!?? If so, HOLY S****!

Hathaway should have a cameo listening to
Spoiler
Show
Mineba's broadcast of the Laplace's Box content
To be precise, it's said that Xi Gundam will make an cameo in episode 7 as a stepping stone to the 'much earlier era', perhaps referring the period between CCA/Unicorn and F91. Seeing that Fukui is a fan of Hathaway's Flash, wouldn't be surprised if he tried to sneak a reference to the novel.
IT'S HAPPENING!!!!!!!!!

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Re: The Official Gundam Unicorn Anime Thread Mk VI

Post by Brave Fencer Kirby » Thu Apr 04, 2013 8:22 pm

Kratos wrote:Isn't there some kind of implication by Mineva in episode 2 that the Federation allows the Sleeves to continue existing, because they can't really do any harm anyways (again, see Zinnermn's "dangling carrots" line) and it gives the Feds an excuse maintain an open military presence in space? Something like that. She says it to Riddhe.
The line I think you're referring to is "the Federation has been using us as a scapegoat to channel their anger and frustration at these outrages... until now." The implication is that the Federation and the Sleeves have had a quiet "live and let live" arrangement because an all-out conflict wasn't worth the effort for either party -- but now that the Sleeves are going for Laplace's Box, they've broken that de facto truce, so the EFF would presumably stop holding back as well.
Kratos wrote:Except that [attacking where the Federation is weak and escaping when faced with a major force concentration] is exactly what they're doing.
Picking fights with the EFSF's elite units, attacking EFF military bases, and going after the EF capitol doesn't seem like it to me.
Kratos wrote:the warships they're facing may be advanced, MS were initially explicitly DESIGNED to take out warships. It's not really particularly surprising that advanced MS with skilled pilots could do a lot of damage against a single battleship.
Except that it's not just that they were able to take out a single warship; they were able to take out a warship and its entirely MS complement -- of highly-advanced ReZELs, no less. And they do this twice -- both times explicitly aiming to disable rather than destroy. It seems clear that the Sleeves could have killed both the Nahel Argama and the General Revil had they chosen to do so, and if they can destroy the EFSF's most advanced vessels carrying their most advanced mobile suits, then it seems obvious that they can do the same to their other, much less advanced forces as well.
Kratos wrote:As for Dakar, is Washington constantly defended by the most advanced military forces on the planet?
Yes, actually. Of course, the lack of Minovsky particles in reality means that such defenses don't have to be stationed in the city itself, but it'd be damned near impossible to get any enemy attack short of an ICBM into Washington DC without it being taken out by the US Navy and/or Air Force before it even got close. For Dakar to be otherwise would be criminally negligent of the EFF -- which I suppose you could argue for, but then the question is "why don't the Sleeves exploit the EFF's terminal stupidity" instead of "why don't the Sleeves exploit the EFF's military inferiority". Either way, the Sleeves are shown as being able to destroy high-value targets with relative impunity -- so why don't they just keep doing that?
Kratos wrote:Only now, though. The Sleeves have been around for a few years, likely; this big push (and, again, it's not a particularly effective one) is only because of the Box.
I don't see how "the Sleeves only started beating the pants off the EFF recently" is an argument against the idea that the Sleeves are beating the pants off the EFF.
Kratos wrote:Again, though, you're assuming that they're consistently replacing them. There has been no evidence of serious Sleeves movement until 0096. It's highly likely that what they have is the result of a 3-year buildup.
Yes, and? The point is that they're able to gather the materials they need to continue fighting. They got their ass kicked once in 0093 and came back from it -- and by all accounts, are doing much much better for themselves this time around. Even if they're taking losses, they've already recovered from much more serious losses once, so what makes you think they'd be unable to recover again?
Kratos wrote:It's not a conventional military conflict, though, because no fleets have been involved. Whenever the Federation shows up in force, they get trounced.
If you're defining "conventional" as "large scale fleet battles between capital ships", then I suppose you're right -- but that seems an overly narrow definition of "conventional". The point is that the Sleeves have lost precisely two battles -- Palau and Torrington -- both of which involved serious losses on the Federation side as well. In the meantime, the Sleeves have demolished the Federation repeatedly -- at Industrial 7, against the Nahel Argama, at Dakar, against the General Revil -- and gotten off with relatively few casualties each time. The Sleeves have shown themselves to be able to consistently defeat the Federation in small-scale battles at nearly no cost to themselves. So why don't they just keep doing that? The Federation has basically two options at that point: either hole up in fortified areas like Torrington, or only deploy their forces in groups with completely overwhelming force so that they can swamp any Sleeve attacks with sheer numbers. The former effectively concedes the field to the Sleeves, while the latter ties them into the exact sort of large cumbersome formations that has been (not incorrectly) pointed out as problematic. Either way, the Sleeves have a huge tactical advantage.
latenlazy wrote:I'm not exactly advocating for a 1:1 comparison here. I'm simply pointing out that when it comes to organizational structure and strategic approach the Sleeves are not what we can consider an organized conventional military anymore.
And I disagree. Their equipment and tactics both have much more in common with a professional modern military than they do a civilian insurgency like Al Qaeda or the Taliban.
latenlazy wrote:Most modern day insurgent groups don't have giant military hardware, but that doesn't mean they don't need supply lines to maintain weapons and equipment.
The difference between the sort of logistics trail needed to support small arms and man-portable weaponry is an order of magnitude smaller than the sort needed to support warships and mobile suits. You can't smuggle a port with dry-dock facilities or highly technical equipment needed to service advanced weaponry around like you can AK-47s and crates of ammo. The comparison is apples to oranges.
latenlazy wrote:The only leg your argument stands on is on the problem of scale. It would be very hard to traffic around tank parts and fighter plane engines (though plenty of people have tried, like when a few F100 turbofans went missing in Israel) in the present day. You're probably thinking how could an organization get their hands on the needed giant mobile suit parts necessary to maintain their fighting strength, but I would again suggest that the setting solves that problem.
And I disagree. You're talking about hiding the facilities in the physical sense -- certainly there are plenty of places in the Earth Sphere to stick that sort of thing where it'd be nearly impossible to find by flying ships around doing sensor sweeps. But such things do not exist in isolation -- you need to keep a steady stream of men, materiel, and expertise flowing to and from such a facility. It doesn't matter if you can keep 99 out of 100 flights hidden from EFF Intelligence -- as soon as they get a spy on one ship, or bribe the information out of a single none-too-loyal captain, or correlate observed travel routes of a large number of suspected Sleeve shipments, or any number of other ways to find the places they're looking for, then the jig is up. The larger a project, the harder it is to keep secret -- and maintaining and supplying even a relatively small force like the Sleeves is a huge undertaking. There's simply no way that they could keep it hidden in the long term.
latenlazy wrote:Because the Federation's strength isn't measured by individual ships or buildings. It's measured by entire fleets, and the entire system of governance.
All of which has proven unable to stop the Sleeves from doing as they please. The Sleeves don't need to kill every single Earth Federation soldier and government official to win. They simply need to be impossible to ignore and impossible to eradicate -- both of which they're accomplishing quite handily so far. What better way to prove the illegitimacy of the Earth Federation than by revealing them as unable to defend themselves? As long as the Sleeves are still active, they're winning -- and nothing in Unicorn has suggested that the EFF is anywhere near defeating them.
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Re: The Official Gundam Unicorn Anime Thread Mk VI

Post by Kratos » Thu Apr 04, 2013 8:41 pm

They don't keep destroying these targets because THEY CAN'T. THEY CAN'T DO THIS OVER AND OVER AGAIN. If they focus on these high value targets, then ultimately what happened at Torrington will occur again: the Federation will send in its main force and take them out. They are clearly strike-and-fade operations, and they're of rather mixed success to boot.

I also don't see where you're getting the "serious losses" on the Federation's part from, except of course against the General Revil. Palau had remarkably few on-screen losses for the Federation, and Torrington only lost a few backwater, old-school MS. I highly doubt the forces lost there were a serious blow (hell, they only attacked there at all because of the Box), and when the main forces did show up, it took a whopping THREE of them to mop up the entirety of the Remnant force. They aren't winning. The General Revil is the only thing that can even really be considered a major victory. They have equal (possibly superior) tech but less resources. Which is why they aren't directly confronting the larger military. Because they couldn't win in a sustained engagement of any kind.

Though it's pretty clear at this point that we're going to have to agree to disagree. Obviously, we're interpreting what we're seeing differently.
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