|Drones: Still not wizard combat. Ever.|
From comments to yesterday's post:
"Drones and AI can and most likely will be the deciding factor in the next WW. To ignore this fact puts us in the same position Poland was in when they met the advancing Nazi tanks while on horseback. I do think it would be easy to misunderstand drones and assume that they are super expensive and super susceptible to enemy fire and that is why they will fail and be useless in battle. Yes there are some drones like that. Now imagine a cheap tiny drone that can do only one thing and that is to search out and kill a single enemy soldier. Then imagine that China or Russia sends millions of these into battle. Or a small single purpose drone that simply hunts down and explodes ships, any ship it finds. And that the drone is used all over the world on day one minute one of WW 3 while the Russian or Chinese ships are all in port. Apply that same logic to drones designed to take down aircraft or land vehicles etc. In reality the problem of accurately understanding the possibilities drones bring to battle are only limited by your imagination and if you lack imagination you will correspondingly lack understanding of the potential threat." - Anonymous commenterDrones can be handy things. But at best, they are but a tool, not a magic wand.
This is why the military wants people in charge who can do mathematics in their head.
Not wizards and necromancers.
Drones work well when used against a disparate and unexpecting opposition. Against soft targets. Vulnerable and unsophisticated enemies. I've written at length about how much damage you can do to civilian targets with COTS drones, and year over year, the reality of that is proving the truth of the statements.
But most of our experience, or anyone else's, with drones, is against 19th (or 6th) century opponents, with no tech to speak of, and battle tactics from no more recently than 1900.
Peer-to-peer, not so much.
A drone that kills "any ship it finds" will wipe out your own fleet too. Even in port. Russia and China are totally dependent on imports and exports, whereas the U.S. is food and energy self-sufficient, and most of our trade goes on north and south, not east and west. Well-played.
You can use drones to assist in prosecuting the battle.
If you use more brains than most defense contractors have, and if they're built for the job right.
So that's two strikes of if against you before you start.
Try to remember that the best fiction is truer than most tech news stories.
Drones are not the Jedi Clone Army, nor ever will be in 10 lifetimes.
We're currently on the fifth or sixth generation of "fire-and-forget" weapons that still really aren't.
No one trusts them enough to depend on them as such, and when they try, they fail spectacularly. And that's before we have the Skynet discussion.
If a land droid was armed well enough to venture out on its own, it'd be a tank. Which you kill with AT weapons and defenses, or another tank. All of which have been around since 1917.
Putting a virtually unarmored machine out front with an MG and sensors just makes it, the weapons system, the data link, and the operator four points of failure. Add in the ordnance, parts, and fuel logistics, and you have three more points. Attacking all of them destroys that advantage; and at that point, if you don't have 5:1 or better advantage in the conventional attack, you're going to be eaten for lunch. Not metaphorically.
Intelligence from sky drones can be thwarted, spoofed, fooled, and avoided.
Keeping the enemy blind and confused while you execute your objectives is what war has been about since Sun Tzu. Drones can complicate that, but they also complicate the intelligence analysis problem for the other side. The only thing worse than too little intelligence is too much; ask the German Army how Patton's amphibious assault at the Pas De Calais worked out for them in 1944.
Drones alone or in concert will decide nothing.
What wins battles and wars is executing the fundamentals flawlessly.
Surprise, mass, economy of force, unity of command, secure interior lines, etc.
Cut off logistics, and disrupt command and communications, and you turn your enemy into Saddam and the Iraqi Army in 1991 and 2003.
Try to rule a hostile population through dependence on military power, and you end up like the U.S. Army in 1965-1973 and 2004-2019. (The dot-mil are slow learners, but not that slow; which is why I posit they'll either switch sides, or sit an internal conflict out ab initio, and wait to see who wins. If they don't do either, they'll cease to exist in about a month, and die on the vine from a death of ten thousand cuts.)
Try to rule a hostile well-armed civilian population, and you end up like the U.S. Army at the Little Big Horn in 1876.
I don't know about you, but if I ever have to grab a rifle and leave the house to take care of business, my death song has already been sung, and I'm not so worried about getting home to a wife and kids, and I'm going to make sure they don't get to do that either.
No quarter will be asked nor given, and there will be zero POW camps (or at least, not for very long) in the coming unpleasantness. It's going to become an unaffordable luxury.
Maybe folks will even be starting by taking out their opponents' homes and everything they take for granted first, to give them something else to think about before they suit up for work that morning.
80-90% of both sides in any war don't want to be there.
What's left is who gets it done.
And our 10% outnumbers their 10% about 100:1, and outguns them 24/7/365/ever.
|Anonymous: Take off the hat, and lay off the egg nog.|
Bonus comedy: If you've never seen someone get his foot stuck in a running wood chipper, then reach in with both hands to try and pull himself out, then fall head first into it, read the comments to this post, below, presumably by the same original Anonymous commenter. It's like playing poker with your sister's kids, combined with clubbing baby Harp seals.