From a post to DAVIDWEBER.NET forums on 1/15/12

Thunderbolt at Trevor's Star and Marsh

namelessfly wrote:

    Why would Home Fleet not be in position to relieve Trever's Star. As detailed in Shadow of Saganami, Home fleet should have been stationed to cover the MWJ rather than the home planets because idiot Janacek had deactivated rather than modernized the junction forts. Given pickets with FTL comm and a courier at the Trevers Stat terminus to summon Home Fleet, a relief force could mass transit and reach Trevers Star at or about the same time as Grayson's relief force arrived.

    I was under the impression that the Grayson relief force was already in system when Giscard arrived. Did I miss something? Moreover, Home Fleet was weak in pod-layers at the time and the Admiralty would have to wonder if the attack on Trevor's Star was a feint to draw Home Fleet out of position and allow a full-bore attack to take out the Junction facilities where all those forts had been deactivated. Remember that the Junction is 7 light-hours from the system primary. It lies far outside the reach of any system defense installations and, without Home Fleet, would have been defenseless. Moreover, a mass transit would have put a severe squeeze on the number of ships which could be taken through. Without a tech advantage comparable to 8th Fleet's at the BoM, the reinforcement might have been a lot less effective than you seem to be thinking.

namelessfly wrote:

    Admiral Tourville's grand strategy in the event Manticore didn't respond to Thunderbolt by negotiating was to press the attack and achieve total victory before Manticore could finish ships under construction, build new ships, and field any technological breakthroughs that they might have up their sleeve. A rapid victory requires that the RMN not be able to harass and distract Haven with offensive operations launched from a forward base so that Haven forces can be concentrated for attack. Given this fallback strategy, control of the Trevers Star Terminus would be secondary only to the destruction of Theodosa Kuzack's fleet and the ships under construction at Grendlesbane.

    I assume you mean Admiral Theisman's grand strategy. In answer to the actual point you raise, Trevor's Star, while highly beneficial to Manticore's raiding strategy, was far from essential. The transit time for raids would have been increased by some weeks, but the primary function of TS in the previous war had become logistical, reducing the transit loop for support ships, resupply, return of ships to the home system for refit/repair, etc. For the sort of raids 8th Fleet was projecting, that sort of support would have been far less important. I'm not trying to say that TS wasn't important to Honor's operations; I'm saying that it was much less important than you are suggesting. Indeed, she could have set up shop at some otherwise uninhabited star system deep inside the Republic, supported by a fleet service train, and operated independently from there, if she'd had to. Aside from returning damaged ships to the yards, all she really needed was fresh missiles and a place for her own recon ships to report to her between attacks, after all.

    In other words, TS was not the crucial forward base (given existing strategy and needs) you are positing. It was far more important (from a Havenite perspective) as a focus to draw in Manty units where Thunderbolt could pounce on them. Third Fleet was the primary object, and the forts helping to protect the terminus would have made an attack on the terminus itself much more iiffy even without the Grayson presence. The function of the Graysons, more than anything else, was to provide a mobile force which could come to 3rd Fleet's assistance in defending TS itself if Giscard had pressed his attack on Kuzak, and Giscard was smart enough to know it.

namelessfly wrote:

    BTW, it was idiotic for Manticore to deploy Honor's forces to Marsh. The provocation by the Andermandi were alarming, but protecting the shipyards at Grendlesbane where a whole new fleet of modern SD(P)s and CLACs were nearing completion should have been a much higher priority. Once those new ships were launched, the RMN would have far more options.

    I don't think anyone ever accused the Janacek Admiralty, which sent the forces in question off to Marsh, of an excess of intelligence. Having said that, however, I would point out that the Janacek Admiralty thought Grendelsbane was protected, since it had not yet encountered Havenite MDMs. The real weakness of the Janacek Admiralty, to be honest, was that it regarded Manticoran tech superiority as the panacea it needed, the trump card no one else could possibly match, and that hubris bit the entire Star Kingdom right on the posterior. As far as the Andermani provocations, the High Ridge Goverment's decision to reinforce Marsh was essentially political, but it wasn't quite as feckless militarily as you are assuming. Or, rather, it wasn't as stupid as you are assuming within the context of the military situation as they understood it -- i.e., ongoing Manty monopoly on MDMs and CLACs. As I say, they thought they did have adequate security in place even with Honor's dispatch to Marsh. It may be fair to say that they should have had a better appreciation of the actual threat parameters, and that if they had, they would have realized they needed more security on Grendelsbane and TS. That's different from saying that the dispatch of forces to restrain Andy adventurism (and prevent a possible 2-front war scenario) was stupid in and of itself. It becomes stupid only in retrospect, following the discovery that Haven did, indeed, have MDMS and that the tech supremacy on which Janacek had banked had become mere tech superiority and was no longer enough to balance gross inequality in numbers. Had the Janacek assumption of tech supremacy been/remained valid, then sending ships to quash Andy ambitions would have been seen as an intelligent prophylactic precaution.