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Gallia-
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Postby Gallia- » Sat Oct 21, 2017 12:04 pm

Crysuko wrote:not sure if this is the thread for it, but I have a question regarding air forces.

is an aircraft carrier capable of carrying and servicing at least one heavy bomber aircraft (think B1 lancer or similar). for purposes of strategic bombing missions


Yes.

It's called "dry land".

Carriers with intercontinental bombers don't exist because intercontinental bombers don't need to move closer to their targets. They can already hit anything they need to hit from the homeland. USS United States was a stupid idea and we're all better off that it's dead. Otherwise the U.S. Navy might actually not exist in any serious form today, except undersea, because its entire carrier fleet tried to compete with the Air Force instead of doing something original and novel like it did IRL.

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Crysuko wrote:not sure if this is the thread for it, but I have a question regarding air forces.

is an aircraft carrier capable of carrying and servicing at least one heavy bomber aircraft (think B1 lancer or similar). for purposes of strategic bombing missions


No.

The whole point of an aircraft carrier is to be able to move the air base closer to the target, reducing the need for huge, extremely long-range bombers.


Carriers are historically abysmal at the job of strategic attack. They are OK-ish at kicking open doors for the real bombers (B-52, B-1, B-2) to fly through.

Allanea wrote:
Crysuko wrote:not sure if this is the thread for it, but I have a question regarding air forces.

is an aircraft carrier capable of carrying and servicing at least one heavy bomber aircraft (think B1 lancer or similar). for purposes of strategic bombing missions


No, nor is there a point.

If you have an aircraft carrier, you can carry out 'strategic bombing missions' with regular-sized carrier aircraft.


Ah. So that's why the U.S. military got rid of B-52 when the Navy bought some Forrestals and Kitty Hawks. Or the Royal Navy got rid of the V-bombers when it bought the Invincibles. Or the Soviet Union got rid of the Tu-160 when it got Kuznetsov. It all makes sense now. Carriers cannot perform the strategic bombing mission, because strategic bombing implies using nuclear weapons against population-economic centers (cities), and carrier aircraft are both too small and too short legged to do this.

Historically, the carrier target has been military in nature, while the strategic bomber (until the advent of B-2's ~design mission~) has always been an economic weapon, designed to destroy industry. Carriers are bad at attacking economies because they have to get too close to their targets to do so. They are OK at destroying coastal airbases, bridges, and ports with nuclear weapons because these are not very hard targets and can be disabled/destroyed by small nuclear weapons or carrier-size conventional raids. They are also very good at providing a modicum of aviation in a quick amount of time in the middle of nowhere, faster than it would take to ship a fighter squadron from one supercontinent to the other, which is their other main thing.

So really they're just either ASW islands that live in the middle of the sea or they're crowbars for prying open the door to the enemy's hinterlands so the B-52s can nuke Leningrad and all the communists that live in it.
Last edited by Gallia- on Sat Oct 21, 2017 12:10 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Postby Arkandros » Sat Oct 21, 2017 7:08 pm

IRL strategic nuclear carrier
In all honesty, the Regulus launching subs are the closest analog to strategic bomber carriers- just replace the Regulus with a SLAM. Vulnerable pre and post launch, expensive, vulnerable to missile/plane intercept, and carrying very few payload delivery systems, they’re kind of garbage, and are outclassed in every way by modern SSBNs.
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Postby Allanea » Sat Oct 21, 2017 11:13 pm

Carriers cannot perform the strategic bombing mission, because strategic bombing implies using nuclear weapons against population-economic centers (cities), and carrier aircraft are both too small and too short legged to do this.


Carrier aircraft are not 'too small' - a B-61 can be basically carried on any combat aircraft that's relevant, as can a JASSM. This might not enable you to strike some nonsense thing in Deep Russia, in the fictional 'future war', but it will enable you to carry out strategic bombings of most targets in the world. (You could strike Moscow and St. Petersburg from the Baltic, for instance).

But a more relevant definition of 'strategic bombing' for most Nationstates wars (and literally every conflict in the past 30 years) is air strikes on targets of real strategic value (of which population has little) - power plants, bridges and factories. To quote - gods forbid - Comrade Wiki:

Additionally, strategic bombing via smart munitions is now possible through the use of aircraft that have been considered traditionally tactical in nature such as the F-16 Fighting Falcon or F-15E Strike Eagle, which had been used during Operation Desert Storm, Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom to destroy targets that would have required large formations of strategic bombers during World War II.
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Postby Gallia- » Sat Oct 21, 2017 11:25 pm

Allanea wrote:Carrier aircraft are not 'too small'


You're wrong.

Allanea wrote:some nonsense thing in Deep Russia,


This is all a strategic bomber could ever hope to do. Specifically cities and other areas of large population in Deep Russia, which are the primary targets of a strategic bomber by design. The only actual strategic bombers the Navy has are SLBMs these days, since these are the only things with the legs and the firepower to perform the population-economic and industrial-economic destruction mission that is generally require of strategic bombers. In the past you could throw in TLAM-N, but TLAM-N was really for killing airbases and other military targets prior to a mass bomber raid al a WW2 against the Evil Empire.

A-12 would have allowed the U.S. Navy to step on the toes of the design mission of B-2 (hunting TELs) but Avenger wouldn't be able to the economic heartland of Western Russia. It didn't have the legs and the Navy didn't have the need. A-12 would be used for hunting TELs when it isn't being used for suppressing SAM sites to allow nuclear armed F-35s or A-12s to show up and nuke Iturup or Sakhalin to dust, and maybe the Navy could attack the port of Vladivostok, but it wouldn't be able to attack the actual important part of Vladivostok, the people living there, without the carrier expending its entire ammunition load.

That's the job of the B-52s, the Minuteman force, and the 41 for Freedom.

Carriers are too valuable to waste on the strategic attack mission. They're crowbars, not city-killers. They're what enables the city killers to kill the cities.

Allanea wrote:from the Baltic


lol
Last edited by Gallia- on Sat Oct 21, 2017 11:33 pm, edited 5 times in total.

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Postby Allanea » Sun Oct 22, 2017 12:06 am

Technically, from Stockholm.
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Postby Allanea » Sun Oct 22, 2017 12:22 am

Gallia- wrote:The smallest sea an aircraft carrier would operate in would be the Barents.


Alright.

The point is a small aircraft can destroy St. Petersburg and kill most of the people living there or target any of its industrial facilities with nuclear or non-nuclear guided munitions.
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Postby Gallia- » Sun Oct 22, 2017 12:24 am

Allanea wrote:
Gallia- wrote:The smallest sea an aircraft carrier would operate in would be the Barents.


Alright.

The point is a small aircraft can destroy St. Petersburg and kill most of the people living there or target any of its industrial facilities with nuclear or non-nuclear guided munitions.


Wrong.

The point is that an aircraft carrier has neither the munitions stores nor the aircraft capacity to perform the strategic bombing mission. An airbase does, because an airbase can handle an order of magnitude more aircraft and multiple orders of magnitude more tonnes of fuel and nuclear weapons than an aircraft carrier. Because airbases are huge, and aircraft carriers are tiny. It's pretty obvious if you sit down and look at a size comparison of the two, or at least I would think it's pretty obvious.

Aircraft carriers are the airfield equivalent of a fighter-bomber or maybe a cruise missile. They fly around with a small amount of planes and ammo and blow up select targets, like airbases and radar sites. Then the B-52s show up and flatten the enemy's economy.
Last edited by Gallia- on Sun Oct 22, 2017 12:25 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Allanea » Sun Oct 22, 2017 12:31 am

These are not very relevant issues in terms of stopping a country from waging war, unless you're essentially engaging in cruelty for cruelty's sake.
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Postby Gallia- » Sun Oct 22, 2017 12:38 am

TIL bombing industry was useless to stop Hitler.

Places which are good to attack for damaging a nation's ability to wage war: his transportation infrastructures.
Places where transportation infrastructure generally meets in largest concentrations: cities.

The fact that people live near railheads and highway interchanges is not mere coincidence, but if it were, then you wouldn't need to bomb them. Unfortunately, people like to live near places that let them move themselves and their things around, so by destroying these things effectively (i.e. with nuclear weapons), then you necessarily attack the population.

It is not "cruel", it is "necessary". You aren't literally attacking the population, unless the population forms some kind of key core component of your enemy's war strategy (as was the case in the actual Soviet Union), but you are attacking things which allow the population to produce things for fighting wars: factories, resource production, and transportation.
Last edited by Gallia- on Sun Oct 22, 2017 12:41 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Postby Allanea » Sun Oct 22, 2017 12:41 am



Bombing industry was great because these specific targets were useful.

Dropping vast tons of bombs on Dresden accomplished nothing.
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Postby Gallia- » Sun Oct 22, 2017 12:43 am

Allanea wrote:


Bombing industry was great because these specific targets were useful.

Dropping vast tons of bombs on Dresden accomplished nothing.


You are suggesting that you can destroy the entire economic-transportation infrastructure of the Soviet Union and millions of people will not starve to death? I find that far fetched. The United States dropped vast tonnes of bombs on Tokyo, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki's industries, and Japan's vital railroad networks, and her key ports and shipping areas. Millions died. Millions starved.

What makes it any different with smart bombs or nuclear bombs? The fact is that by dismantling the war industry, you necessarily dismantle the enemy's ability to feed his people. Because he cannot move food. Because if he can move food, he can move guns. And if he is fighting a war, he will choose to move guns over food, because he does not want to be conquered and he can still fight his enemy.

People don't die in war because you bomb them. They die because of the far reaching effects of fighting the economic war on the enemy's war industries causes them to starve to death.

No Western military planner, with the possible exception of Hitler, actually planned to kill n civilians per bombing raid. Not even Bomber Harris deliberately targeted the people themselves. Of course, until the Soviet Union, no one actually planned to fight a war where the people were considered as much a weapon of war as the tank and the bullet. Which is why SAC invested so heavily in the Minuteman and B-52 force and why it targeted Soviet cities so tremendously: the USSR considered its people to be its primary weapon of war.

So really, whether you target the people or not has nothing to do with cruelty, and everything to do with how you view how your opponent views his own resources. If you think your opponent considers his people to be a vital war asset, you will target his people.
Last edited by Gallia- on Sun Oct 22, 2017 12:49 am, edited 3 times in total.

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Postby Allanea » Sun Oct 22, 2017 12:47 am

Gallia- wrote:
Allanea wrote:
Bombing industry was great because these specific targets were useful.

Dropping vast tons of bombs on Dresden accomplished nothing.


You are suggesting that you can destroy the entire economic-transportation infrastructure of the Soviet Union and millions of people will not starve to death? I find that far fetched. The United States dropped vast tonnes of bombs on Tokyo, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki's industries, and Japan's vital railroad networks, and her key ports and shipping areas. Millions died. Millions starved.

What makes it any different with smart bombs or nuclear bombs?


I'm suggesting that directly targeting the millions of people - that's to say, dropping bombs on concentrations of population purely for the purpose of damaging the economy is a pointless act.

In a strategic campaign in 2020 most targeting would be related to striking enemy weapons complexes, and items related to either making these weapons, shipping, or storing them. Millions would doubtless die.
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Postby Gallia- » Sun Oct 22, 2017 12:52 am

Allanea wrote:
Gallia- wrote:
You are suggesting that you can destroy the entire economic-transportation infrastructure of the Soviet Union and millions of people will not starve to death? I find that far fetched. The United States dropped vast tonnes of bombs on Tokyo, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki's industries, and Japan's vital railroad networks, and her key ports and shipping areas. Millions died. Millions starved.

What makes it any different with smart bombs or nuclear bombs?


I'm suggesting that directly targeting the millions of people - that's to say, dropping bombs on concentrations of population purely for the purpose of damaging the economy is a pointless act.


You're wrong, but OK.

There are plenty of cases in the nuclear/atomic age where strategic planners have targeted people directly. They just attack them through things like rice patties, bridges, and other multipurpose economic objects. Vietnam is one such war, although the Americans never really invested hard enough to make a true strategic campaign.

If your opponent is so tough and resolute that attacking his population is the only way you can defeat him, you will attack his population. The Soviet Union is probably the only thing IRL that this could be a serious consideration for.

Mostly because the Soviet Union had so many guns and tanks that it didn't actually need a wartime industry to fight its war: it'd already had sufficient inertia to carry it through without any industry whatsoever. Attacking the Soviet oil industry could be one manner of defeating the communist war machine, but attacking the Soviet population itself would do it in faster. It's hard to man a tank if you can't find anyone to put in the driver's seat.

Allanea wrote:In a strategic campaign in 2020 most targeting would be related to striking enemy weapons complexes, and items related to either making these weapons, shipping, or storing them. Millions would doubtless die.


A strategic campaign of 2020 against a population would be to target the vital nexus of population support: food distribution, medical and emergency services, and electrical industry. So the same as any other strategic bombing campaign. Flattening houses is inefficient, when you can just blow up some rail bridges, hospitals, and warehouses, and people can starve to death in the streets instead. Let them kill themselves instead of wasting bombs on taking down an apartment complex or whatever.

Your goal would be less 'Generalplan Ost' and more 'turn them into North Korea'.

But that's only if your opponent considers his population to be the most important aspect of his future war fighting potential.
Last edited by Gallia- on Sun Oct 22, 2017 12:57 am, edited 4 times in total.

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Postby Allanea » Sun Oct 22, 2017 12:58 am

And all of this can be carried out by precision munitions and/or nuclear weapons delivered by precision munitions.
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Postby Gallia- » Sun Oct 22, 2017 1:20 am

Allanea wrote:And all of this can be carried out by precision munitions and/or nuclear weapons delivered by precision munitions.


Except the part where dozens of Soviet divisions are manned from the survivors of Leningrad and Moscow industrial raids, sustained by hidden depots or caches of medical and fuel supplies, and entirely running on pre-war inertia all the way to Bonn. Depending on how your opponent works, targeting the population is vitally important, or it isn't. It wasn't important in fighting Hitler or Japan because both of these countries lacked the materiel prior to the war to sustain themselves through it. Thus, they needed their industries to sustain themselves.

This was not the case with the Soviet Union. It had enough guns, fuel, ammo, and everything else to fight like three world wars. It might've preferred to have its industries, but it's doubtful it would need to produce new ammo, tanks, or rockets, when it had so many built in the first place and put into caches for the next war. Very forward thinking strategy.

Attacking the population and destroying the biggest cities in Russia was the most expedient method of keeping the Soviet Union from manning these weapons in wartime. Which is why SAC had 1,000 Minutemen and B-52s.

The earliest SIOPs were the first, and perhaps last, industrial war plans to actually plan on a population-centric attack. Because the population was the USSR's biggest asset. For the PRC or the Nazis or the Japanese, it was/is their industry. The USSR was a fundamentally different type of enemy. It didn't really need an industry, per se, because it had so many tanks and helicopters and jet fighters stockpiled in bunkers that it could pull them out by the tens of thousands and lose them equally and still win the war. It just needed bodies to throw into the grinder.

The USAF didn't have the capability of target discrimination, the intelligence, or the penetration means to attack the Soviet's stockpiles until the late 1980s, when SIOP changed from counter-value to counter-force, with things like B-1B, Advanced Cruise Missile, TLAM-N, and Trident II. In the 1990s and '00s it would have been fully transitioned because Peacekeeper and B-2 would be in huge quantity, and you could actually economically destroy the stockpiles of thousands of tanks, because you could drive so deep into the Soviet Union with manned bombers undetected that you could attack the bunkers and whatever, and your missiles were so accurate they weren't just useful as mere city killers where you fired a dozen warheads at a single city and hoped to disable it.

But before that, it was "kill them before they can get their guns".

So really, it's nothing to do with cruelty at all. And it's nothing to do with, as you implied, some fundamental law of history or whatever. It's entirely down to technological-economic conditions of the time period.

1998 is blowing up bridges and bunkers with smart bombs and low yield nukes.
1968 is blowing up cities with atomic carpet bombings and Mega!ICBMs with 50 megatons of warhead.
Last edited by Gallia- on Sun Oct 22, 2017 1:30 am, edited 7 times in total.

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Postby Allanea » Sun Oct 22, 2017 1:35 am

I was not aware we were talking about 1968. I withdraw my comments.
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Postby Gallia- » Sun Oct 22, 2017 1:45 am

You're stating something that is a product of a specific set of technological-economic conditions as if it is a fundamental truth. It isn't.

Run away if you realize you're wrong, or you could just admit that you're wrong about population-centric strategic bombing having more sense behind it than "cruelty" or whatever.

It would be needlessly cruel against, say, Nazi Germany or Imperial Japan, even with weapons of accuracy of the 1940's.
It would be needlessly cruel against Saddam Hussein, al-Assad, or the PRC, and not simply because weapons are more accurate.
It would be absolutely correct against the Soviet Union, up to the point that weapons become so accurate they can destroy the USSR's "reserve war industry".

The difference is that the Nazis/Japanese/Iraqis/Syrians/Chinese do not have a population-centric war plan. The Soviets did. They were possibly the only country in the history of the world with sufficient quantities of war materiel and trained personnel to be able to raise a functional army ex nihilo in aftermath of a nuclear attack.

You have two options:

1) Kill enough Soviets that you reduce the quantity or quality of Soviet divisions streaming in n echelons to Europe.
2) Destroy all the Soviets' caches of weapons and ordnance so that their citizens cannot man them and send n echelons to Europe.

Before the advent of the things like Peacekeeper and B-2, #2 was tenuous at best, impossible at worst. Which is why the United States had such a large nuclear weapon arsenal, why the U.S. military's nuclear targeting plans specifically looked at "megadeaths" of Soviet citizens, and measured their ability to destroy Soviet cities through overpressure alone (thus ensuring an "overkill"), etc.

It made perfect sense to try to wipe out as much of the Soviet population in 1968, 1978, and probably 1988, because attacking the Soviet economy with PGMs alone wouldn't really cut it. They had enough bodies and enough strategic materiel stockpiles that you could bomb all their factories, kill all their train yards, and wipe out all their oil refineries, and they would still be able to fight you enough that you could lose. Rather, you had to kill the people themselves.

At least until you had weapons stealthy enough or accurate enough that you could kill the strategic stockpiles economically. A B-2 or a Peacekeeper/Midgetman would make mincemeat of a Soviet tank park. A B-52 or Minuteman I would be better off nuking a suburb in Leningrad and wiping out 500,000 souls because that's probably like 2 tank divisions you just killed, and you're going to be throwing a lot more nukes at a tank park to achieve a comparable ratio of expenditures:kills.

If you can kill anywhere between 50-100 million Soviets in a nuclear exchange, you've just reduced the number of divisions the USSR can field by like half probably and you might even be able to defeat them on the field now!

The Soviet Union was so unique precisely because it had no "war economy" to damage. Its entire economy was a war economy. Which meant everything that would otherwise be spent making boring useless things like washing machines or potato peelers in America or Panzer IVs and Mausers in Nazi Germany has spent the last 10 years making T-62s and AKMs in the USSR. Which means any damage you do its economy is going to be grossly understated because it relies on its economy much less during wartime than the United States. It can run a war on inertia alone.

In the USSR, every day was Mobilization Day.

So you have to attack something else: the people.
Then, later, you can maybe attack the weapons themselves by nuking tank parks or ammo dumps or whatever.

But at no point do you really attack the USSR's economy per se, because the USSR probably has like fifty railroad bridges under its sleeve for every one you just bombed.

You blow up their factories and refineries? They don't give a shit. They've spent so many decades stockpiling weapons they could fight like three Great Patriotic Wars. They just need the people living in the cities to grab the guns.

So you bomb the people or you bomb the guns. And, until you get accurate nuclear weapons, it's literally "dropping vast tons of bombs on Leningrad accomplished everything".
Last edited by Gallia- on Sun Oct 22, 2017 1:54 am, edited 5 times in total.

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Postby Allanea » Sun Oct 22, 2017 2:00 am

Run away if you realize you're wrong, or you could just admit that you're wrong about population-centric strategic bombing having more sense behind it than "cruelty" or whatever.


I'm totally okay with stating:

Population-centric strategic bombing is only useful in narrow situations - specifically, when accomplished with nuclear weapons, and sufficiently rapidly to destroy the enemy's will to fight (as in Japan), or ability to fight (as in this hypothetical 1960s Soviet campaign).
Last edited by Allanea on Sun Oct 22, 2017 2:01 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Gallia- » Sun Oct 22, 2017 2:12 am

Allanea wrote:
Run away if you realize you're wrong, or you could just admit that you're wrong about population-centric strategic bombing having more sense behind it than "cruelty" or whatever.


I'm totally okay with stating:

Population-centric strategic bombing is only useful in narrow situations - specifically, when accomplished with nuclear weapons, and sufficiently rapidly to destroy the enemy's will to fight (as in Japan), or ability to fight (as in this hypothetical 1960s Soviet campaign).


If this is your actual statement, then I would broadly agree with it. This is different from your initial statement, I think? As I read it, you were saying something like: Population-centric strategic bombing is needlessly cruel and unnecessary in all situations, from Hitler to Putin.

However, I would add an elaboration:

Population-centric strategic bombing is useful in situations where the enemy's major wartime assets are his people, rather than his war industries (as in the USSR), and where destroying the enemy's will to fight can be accomplished with less time and fewer deaths than outright invasion or conquest of his homeland (as in Japan), although this may not be the entire range of situations where targeting a population directly is useful (as in terrorism). It is the opposite of an industrial-centric strategic bombing campaign, where the primary target is the war industry rather than the population itself (as in Nazi Germany & Japan), and in both instances an important target is the transportation infrastructure. The decision on whether to focus on war industry or population is based on particular technological-economic conditions of the time period and opponent, so it is situational and cannot be applied universally, but is or is close to fundamental.

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Postby Allanea » Sun Oct 22, 2017 2:16 am

I read it, you were saying something like: Population-centric strategic bombing is needlessly cruel and unnecessary in all situations, from Hitler to Putin.


No, sorry.

Population-centric strategic bombing is needlessly-cruel unless it can be carried out rapidly enough to end the war.

This typically requires the use of atomic weapons. So far this has only occurred in one actual situation, namely in Japan in 1945. It's feasible to imagine situations where it will occur in the future.

Population-centric conventional bombing is incredibly complex and rarely successful.
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Postby Gallia- » Sun Oct 22, 2017 2:32 am

I mean, it wouldn't be exactly difficult to kill millions with conventional bombs.

You just have to wait for them to starve to death I guess.

e: Anyway it seems self-evident that the purpose of any bombing is to rapidly end a war to as go without stating. Not even Hitler wanted an eternal war, quite the opposite. Only fairy tales like "1984" involve such things.
Last edited by Gallia- on Sun Oct 22, 2017 2:34 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Postby Tekeristan » Sun Oct 22, 2017 9:10 am

Well..
It certainly continues the frightening trend from WW1 and WW2 : Ever increasing amounts of dead.

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Postby Nantoraka » Sun Oct 22, 2017 9:14 am

What would be a realistic economy to support, say, 12 aircraft carriers?
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Postby Rupudska » Sun Oct 22, 2017 9:30 am

Nantoraka wrote:What would be a realistic economy to support, say, 12 aircraft carriers?


Is your GDP around that of China or America's, or higher?

Is your country not an irredeemably corrupt shithole?

Then you're good.
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