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-   -   EpDis: GROPOS (http://www.b5tv.com/showthread.php?t=8089)

A_M_Swallow October 15th 05 02:15

GROPOS was written by Lawrence G. DiTillio


But, being an Army veteran there were some glaring glitches. When Sheridan, Garibaldi and Ivanova report to the initial briefing and General Franklin orders “at ease” Sheridan and Ivanova assume the proper position, but Garibaldi puts his hands in his pockets, a definite no-no. (If a Soldier stands around with his hands in his pockets, he might suffer a rude joke.)

Garibaldi did not get to be an NCO by not knowing how to stand at attention in the presence of an officer. There is another way of reading Garibaldi keeping his hands in his pockets. He is saying, "I may wear a uniform but I am a civilian. Military officers cannot give me orders."

Garibaldi is head of Babylon 5 Security rather than its military police. Sheridan can give Garibaldi orders because he is Governor of Babylon 5. Civilians can choose to obey instructions given by a general.

KoshFan October 15th 05 14:23

I thought Garibaldi was still EarthForce, though.

Either way, JMS or DiTillio was no military man. They were more likely to get literary quotations right than military protocol.

Springer October 15th 05 15:03

Yeah, Garibaldi is in Earthforce- check out his insignia on his uniform. Zack isn't in Earthforce (well, he is by the time of Sleeping in Light, but not during most of the series). The other security officers don't have an Earthforce insignia, but the B5 security insignia.

But the tactics in the battle don't make much sense if the object was to obliterate the enemy. If that was the case, just nuke the fortress from orbit. But were there other objectives, perhaps hostages that had to be rescued that required a direct assault?

hypatia October 15th 05 15:38

I don't get how everyone figured nuking is such an easy option. What if they need to inhabit the place in a few days? Even a neutron bomb spreads radiation for a time, doesn't it? :confused:

Springer October 15th 05 19:15


I don't get how everyone figured nuking is such an easy option. What if they need to inhabit the place in a few days? Even a neutron bomb spreads radiation for a time, doesn't it? :confused:

Yeah, agreed, point taken. I think I used the term "nuke" flippantly. What I meant was bomb the fotress from orbit, using whatever weaponry was appropriate.

I remember reading in New Scientist that the US military were trying to make a "gamma-ray bomb". I forget the details, but it wouldn't destroy the infrastructure like a nuclear weapon would, but it would kill anyone living in the vicinity, and wouldn't leave any radiation behind. Maybe a weapon like that could have been an option.

It also depends what is outlawed. Mass drivers were outlawed. Of course, they could wreak real destruction. But maybe other forms of bombardment from orbit were outlawed too. Remember in The Fall of Centauri Prime, the Narn and Drazi forces just use their beam weapons on the planet, not missiles or asteroids or nukes or anything. Maybe in the attack on Akdor, Earthforce weren't even allowed to use any serious weaponry from orbit, which meant they had to go for a direct infantry attack.

sleepy_shadow October 16th 05 01:23

Could have been a game involving rock, scizzors and paper. Perhaps the fortress was uniquely equipped to deal with orbital opponents (enough to force the Earth starship to stay outside its field of view) and low-altitude aerial attack/landing *was* sensible?

We weren't really told.

Nor can we make much assumptions about the mines used in the proposed time and place (the cost of clearing them, or the feasibility of clearing them with robotic vehicles). Might have been excessively smart mines, refusing to detonate for anything which EarthForce could quickly send to clear them.

One thing seems sure, though... given how apparently close the helicopter-like thingies got, I would suspect the fortress *could* have been leveled with a cruise missile or drone carrying some suitable weapon of mass destruction.

Then again, there could be an explanation to that not happening -- like such an option being politically difficult.

babylonfan October 16th 05 20:36

Perhaps the campaign was led by politicians instead of generals. Would not be the first time a war was done this way. For instance Rolling Thunder in Vietnam.

During that period the US could still have won the campaign quite easily if no restrictions had been placed on "acceptable targets". Instead a long list was made with targets that where allowed, targets that for the most part had limited or no real military value.

KoshFan October 16th 05 22:58

Well, I don't mean to turn this into a political thread, but let's say that the US could have done a lot more damage and scored military successes more easily if there hadn't been an acceptable target list. Whether or not we would have "won," I think, would still have been up to the Vietnamese.

But like I've said before: JMS and the folks doing the special effects were no military experts. I think the phrase "A little knowledge..." applies here very well.

QMCO5 October 20th 05 18:38

I forgot to check on the writer. I think it does make a difference that DiTillo wrote the episode and not JMS, who is normally pretty good at getting military customs right. However, he made a couple of mistakes in the episode "All Alone in the Night." In that episode no one comes to attention when General Hague comes aboard B5 and Ivanova enters the elevator ahead of Hague, both incorrect. Yet on "A Distant Star" the entry guard snaps to attention and salutes CAPT Maynard as he leaves the station. As for the Garibaldi incident with General Franklin I wouldn't be surprised if Jerry Doyle just blew it on his own, since he so frequently has his hands in his pockets. Kind of like a tic.


QMCO5 October 20th 05 18:47

Tactical nuclear weapons can be set to destroy a specific size target, such as a city block. Yes, there is a radiation problem, but not as much in the long run as one might think. Just remember that Hiroshima is a thriving city today. There are many environmental factors that affect the radiation threat.

Perhaps the most realistic suggestion offered in these responses is the reality of political decisions sometimes outweighing tactical considerations in seizing a military objective.


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