Was There a Better Way to Fight the Covenant?

As an ex-infantry soldier, I’ve always considered the actions of the UNSC to be a little short-sighted. Sure, they were fighting against a technologically superior enemy and there were isolated victories but nothing substantial. The Covenant war machine simply carried on and eventually rolled over every defensive position and every colony. Our fleets were ineffective, our weapons the same and our tactics one-sided and predictable. So how did the UNSC expect to turn things around? How did they expect to win?

I used to think of the UNSC as the United States of the 1940’s—a vast war factory of seemingly limitless supply. Tanks and ships just seem to appear, and even when destroyed there are plenty left to take their place. In fact, one particular scenario during the Second World War sticks very firmly in my mind that embodies this attitude—a US armoured column against a lone German 88” Gun.

The Germans had clear line of sight and superior range. So every time a US tank rounded the corner 2 kilometres away the Germans opened up, destroying each tank with ease. After a number of hours the American column was able to approach and neutralise the enemy position. The reason they achieved this was not down to a change in tactics or additional support. It was because the German 88” crew ran out of ammunition before the column ran out of tanks. It is this approach, this mentality to war which I think mirrors the UNSC. Build as much as we can and hopefully we’ll just outnumber them in the end—a Command and Conquer attitude to war. Perhaps against an inferior enemy, one without any strategic talent, this would work. But against the likes of the Covenant a tactic of bloody attrition will never provide a clear, resounding victory.

And yet despite all of this, we’re constantly reminded that the UNSC innovates, whereas the Covenant—unimaginative and assuredly confident—replicates. Based upon this, the dent made by the UNSC should have been significantly more destructive. The initial encounter on Harvest and the subsequent attacks by Cole on the orbiting vessel would have sent a very clear message to HIGHCOM—adapt or die. And yet after twenty seven years of constant conflict, the UNSC still builds inferior frigates, uses Archer missiles and relies on the actions of a few hundred Spartans to turn the tide.

A frontal assault with Warthogs, eh? Great idea, sir.

If you take a cold hard look at the way the war was fought, especially the defence of both Earth and Reach you gain a sense of almost blind military judgement, bordering on incompetence. One could argue that complacency played its part in the fall of Reach, that military commanders thought themselves beyond the reach of the Covenant—out of harm’s way. And I suppose an element of that was present. But it’s the reaction to the invasion which puzzles me most. Instead of a large-scale mobilisation of orbital support, we’re supposed to believe that the UNSC’s answer to a groundside deployment of Covenant forces was Warthogs, Scorpions and Spartans. What were they thinking?

Going by what we already know, the Covenant don’t just pop in for tea and crumpets. They decimate any defensive force once they gain the upper hand, swiftly followed by a good glassing. The UNSC’s reaction should have been overwhelming–a reflex based upon previous encounters, instead of what appears to be a more considered approach. The discovery of Covenant forces on Reach should have been answered with everything at the UNSC’s disposal, sending a very clear message to the Covenant that any fight on or around Reach will be bloody and protracted. In fact, the UNSC and ONI could have utilised the fact that the Covenant displayed a more than occasional interest in Forerunner artefacts, using them to bait the enemy, set ambushes and hit the enemy when they were more interested in other things. But again, this doesn’t happen.

The frigate: A repeat offender in not doing enough

Some of you will probably be arguing that the UNSC was decimated by the war and that after twenty seven years of conflict it was on its last legs and that suitable ships were in short supply–that the frigate was a simple, cheap MAC platform instead of being a ship of the line, hunting in vast wolf packs. I could almost accept that if it were not for one simple aspect of the war, first contact.

The military industry of man should have shifted into overdrive, producing ship after ship of considerable note and size–an increased production of cruisers for instance. But instead of that we see ONI as an organisation more preoccupied with fleet morale and keeping secrets, instead of finding those secrets, uncovering and using them to aid the war effort. And in the middle of all of this the vast amounts of money spent on the SPARTAN programmes instead of fleets of ships shows what? Desperation? Or the fact that ONI and HIGHCOM had vast financial reserves to spend on other, as yet, unknown areas of interest.

A glassing: the end result of repeated failures

Perhaps this is the case, or did the UNSC try everything at their disposal? In any case the war effort seemed ridiculously one-sided and mis-managed, as though those in command had something to gain from the destruction of so many colonies and the deaths of so many humans. I, for one, hope we’ll one day discover what exactly went on and what went wrong.


28 thoughts on “Was There a Better Way to Fight the Covenant?

  1. A lot of your argument is based on the presentation of the Fall of Reach in “Halo: Reach”, which means you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. In the books the UNSC reaction *was* swift and all-encompassing, it was diluted to minor actions over weeks in the game. That’s sacrificing accuracy for gameplay.

    1. Not based on the Fall of Reach, but the entire war. And yes, I’m aware that it’s easier to throw in twenty warthogs instead of a varied assortment of other vehicles and aircraft.

  2. David,

    What you say about the book would be true, except that Frank O’Connor has stated that the games are canonical, not the books.

    Interesting theory, but have you taken into account the datapad transcripts? Those might be a clue to the reason the war was fought this way.

    1. The data pads do provide an interesting angle on the war and possibly first contact itself. But if it was planned, why was the response by the UNSC so light initially?

  3. Good points. Maybe it’s just an unbelievably complicated communication problem given the vastness of the human infrastructure including needs, plans, and intel. Add mankind’s political battles and you get nowhere. I’m shootin’ from the hip here, folks =)


    1. I agree with you. There was an immense amount of politics being played within ONI and HIGHCOM. They couldn’t seem to all decide on a direction and take it. Within the populace in general, many didn’t know how badly the war was going, or they might have started doing everything they could to win it, like the US effort during WWII. Those who did know about the way the war was going had varying ideas about what to do as well (stand and fight, run away, etc.). The bleak nature of the situation for humanity seemed to be kept a secret from the general populace by ONI and HIGHCOM, and I think this was entirely political. Had they leveled with humanity from the beginning and united the general populace the dire situation, they might have been able to set up a vast war machine that no amount of Covenant could ever hope to keep up with.

  4. I forget exactly how long it took the UNSC to figure out that their most important planet had been invaded by the Covenant in Halo: Reach, but is was at least 2 or 3 days. Thats 2 or 3 days too long in my opinion, since reach is essentially the base of operations for the UNSC and had (I think, but am not sure) at least 150 navy ships in system at any given time, ready to respond to any Covenant threat.
    It gets worse though, in Tip of the Spear, after planting explosives on the Covenant’s “cloaking pylon” in the previous level and then mounting a warthog attack on their ground forces, the pylon is destroyed just in time to see that your column is being shelled by wraiths and is about to be strafed by banshees. No time to break formation or return fire, its too late. I wish this weren’t the case. Halo has never really had serious military tactics, but in reach it goes beyond incompetence and falls somewhere in the realm of suicidal stupidity. Could have been great, no reason it shouldn’t have been

  5. I think the UNSC were lulled into complacency by being the dominant force in centuries of fighting rebels (inferior human forces). The Insurrection didn’t wind down until the late 2530s, when rebels were being hunted by the Covenant as well, and there is evidence that the UNSC were still fighting terrorists into the 2550s (Noble 6’s previous assignment). So the UNSC didn’t get its priorities straight until the 2530s, and by then it may have been to late to rally all of humanity and human industry around a military force that the average human did not really respect.

  6. When it comes to the UNSC’s main fleet of ships, i think a big problem was time. During the fall of reach (game) it was stated by Jorge that a nearby group of reinforcement vessels in the nearest system would have taken days to arrive at reach for support. The UNSC has inferior slip-space drives compared to the covenant and that gives a great advantage to the Covenant. No one knows where or when the covenant will attack and the UNSC fleets are scattered in various systems and because of this, by the time an attack happens the UNSC wouldn’t arrive in full force until the planet was well into being glassed. That would make a full force attack pointless if its to save an already lost planet.

    Making the grand charge into enemy lines of ships a very hard operation to accomplish. Humanity just didn’t have the time to react to these assaults. And you cant have a large fleet of vessels orbiting every Colony under humanity’s control, sadly enough. But i think if any planet other than Earth could have done this, it would be Reach and we never saw that fleet strength. 😦

    As for ship production we need to consider other variables such as how hard it really is to build a combat ready vessel. The slip-space drives alone are stated by Carter to be one of the most expensive pieces of hardware made by man. The pace of production may have been limited by how many drives they could produce for the vessels themselves. I assume in that day and age a navy vessel is nothing without its slip-space drive but a small mobile weapons platform for target practice.

    I believe as well that the frigate was an under powered vessel to do the job. It may be compared to the old Liberty ships of WWII but in this case they are none effective. At the least they could have designed a new vessel to fit the fast construction values required, but could have given it a better weapons or armour system to compete.

    You have some good points there.

  7. I’m somewhat surprised at the stances that many people are taking; I never got into the expanded universe, but from the games themselves, I always got the sense that humanity would never have been remotely capable of waging an all-out conventional war against the Covenant regardless of approach. My introduction to the series was with the original game back in 2002, and that game is introduced making a huge deal out of the Cole Protocol, indicating that humanity had long since realized that they couldn’t possibly fight head-to-head in any way with the Covenant, but could only retreat, cut losses, and hope to delay defeat.

    This also ties into all the stuff everyone is saying about how the UNSC should have replaced the frigate. Anyone have any actual reasons for that, beyond the mighty fine looks that the Halcyon-class cruisers possess? Does anyone have any evidence to suggest that the UNSC is capable of producing improved bang for their buck in frontline ships through other means?


    Mostly, though, the big issue is that, in the games at least, Bungie had typically avoided having to depict the intricaces of conventional combat in Halo. And when Halo: Reach tried to force them to do so, they responded with a rather nonsensical idea salad.

  8. Ahhh, Tip of the Spear. I remember the first time that I saw the cutscene in question and thinking to myself “Oh, goodie! The diversion! Okay, we start with this rather haphazard and highly visible assault, and… No, seriously? This is our main assault force?”

    Now, I still could have bought it as an assault force except for the fact that it was woefully under-equipped to handle pretty much anything but infantry, and we all know how much the Covenant loves to throw Wraiths and Banshees at you in the middle of nowhere. Against one of their major installations, I’d expect even more.

    I remember thinking to myself “Did the entire assault hinge on us crossing this one singular bridge one at a time? They couldn’t spare a few MAC rounds to soften up our approach? They couldn’t have a frigate in high, fast orbit to drop waves of ODST on the target zone? Are there no drones in the Halo universe? I see Falcons, but where are the Pelicans? Oh! Good job taking out that AA gun instead of killing the people manning it and repurposing it to take out Covenant vessels. If it’s remote controlled, why not try and find a way to jam it?”

    Planning a major assault that hinges on one bridge seems a little silly to me. Is that bridge rated for a column of Scorpions to cross it? Couldn’t the Covies, I dunno, destroy it? Isn’t this supposed to be the kind of thing that ONI is supposed to think about before planning an assault? If we make battle plans to avoid this kind of thing today, wouldn’t we plan around it in the future as well?

    MACs are, in essence, coilguns last I checked. (Superficially the same as railguns, just coils instead of rails.) One would think that, if just destruction were the name of the game, the shipboard AIs would have no problems staying in wide orbit (say, beyond that of the moons) and using orbital bombardment on the target. There seems to be no intelligence gathered on what the thing is during the operation. Maybe they would have accidentally hit that supercarrier — boy would that have been a surprise and a half, but it also would have changed the gameplan for the UNSC, perhaps even making Jorge’s sacrifice unnecessary. If the round would burn up in atmo… wait, why would nobody have created a round with heat shielding by now? Seriously?

    Where ARE the ODST in this mission? One would think that they’d be dropping in all over the place — if this is their BIG OPERATION, then wouldn’t they want to draw as much firepower and manpower as possible onto it? Are they worried about total manpower? Do they think that the slow-firing AA guns will take down the small pods? (Which I disagree with, due to massive numbers over a relatively wide spread being a good defense against all your ODST being taken out… which is kind of the point to those guys, in a meatgrinder kind of way.)

    Drones… Seriously. Seriously, we know humanity uses them. We’ve seen them before. But none on Reach. Odd, that. If nothing else, they would have made a good diversion — send them in on the other side before the main assault comes in to draw the Covenant attention. Even if they’re unarmed, they’re still effective kinetic weapons. Carter showed us that much. Even if destroyed in flight, they still can rain down debris, and with how much the Covies seem to like having troops standing around out in the open without cover from above, simply waiting for something to happen, we’d at least thin up a few Grunts. (Imagine a mission where you had to fly an unarmed drone into a high-priority target, without penalty for getting shot down, and being shown how many enemies your drone’s debris kills. Might have been fun.)

    And the only troops in the assault are the ones in the Hogs, Scorpions, and Falcons. I… what? I mean, are you planning on not holding any of the territory you take? The entire assault screams that they’re prepared for a meatgrinder, but you’re not offering any meat, just metal. Wait, what?

    Imagine how useful those AA guns could have been, manned by a few ONI personnel who can understand Covenant squiggles and maybe an AI. If they’re enough to cause frigates to not even risk taking a shot, then they should be enough to at least tickle the supercarrier. But instead of having a mission objective of “take that ugly Covenant thing to use against the split lips,” we have the objectives of “If it’s Covenant, destroy it despite the advanced technology therein.”

    No recon, no intelligence, no troop support, no artillery… It’s no big surprise that humanity did so poorly in the war.

    1. I disagree on the AA guns. I dont really think the humans had 1 the technology and 2 the time to try to use the guns themselves. For what we know maybe the covenant were commanding them from a distance? OR maybe they worked with the same lekgolo worms the scarabs work with. Due to time constraints, the best option was to blow them up so the ships can clear the area of enemies.
      Also, the shipboard MACs are not as strong as ODG MACs, so they would probably take a lot to kill a 27km supercarier, against wich the AA gun mentioned earlier would probably have not effect whatsoever.

    2. I dont think the assault had anything to do with the bridge six passed when they broke formation. It was probably their plan from the begining to organize a small group infiltration to take out the AA guns, and the bridge wasnt meant for scorpions. You can see them in the canyon fighting scarabs later on.

      1. My only issue with that is the fact that another hog took point on the bridge. A hog manned completely by Marines. I’ll admit that you could be right, though — I tend to focus on the battle itself and not what’s going on in the distance. It was just the gut impression that I got that the entire column was headed for the guns.

        Arguably, it might be said that the column was the diversion for the Spartans to perform their mission, and that the Spartans were just “piggybacking” for fire support to where they diverged to their own mission. That said, to have them separate at such a vulnerable point, having drawn attention to the presence of such a large force in the area… That seems like a bad idea to me. I would have had them got their separate ways earlier, and had the diversion teams draw fire away from bridge.

        But I’m also neither a military tactician nor an ONI AI, unfortunately.

  9. I agree with what you said except for
    1. Tip Of The Spear. If you look at the battle from the level, you will see lost of warthogs, falcons AND scorpions. We just never had a chance to see them in the actual custcene. Also, they couldnt really take big ships in the battle because of the AA cannons that 6 destroys.
    2. It would probably take the UNSC ships in the galaxy a lot more time to reach Reach, because of their inferior space drivers. In that time, the covenant would have probably already attacked aggresively.
    3. The frigates were probably made in short supply, as their drives are pretty expensive and probably take a lot to be manufactured.

  10. I’ll try and answer your statements:

    1. You’re right, you can see other vehicles engaged in combat against the likes of Scarabs and Wraiths. But a handful of Longswords would have turned the tide of that battle once the AA guns were destroyed. The frigates could then have been used elsewhere.

    2. Reach had a standard complement of ships in orbit, none of which were in combat as the Covenant fleet had not yet arrived over Reach. Only the supercarrier was present at the time, which could have been destroyed through the combined efforts of the super MAC’s and the residing UNSC fleet.

    3. Money was obviously a factor in the war, which seems strange considering the cost of losing. But if the frigates are not the major cost factor and the FTL drive is, then I don’t see why HIGHCOM, etc couldn’t have diverted some of the funding to maintain a cruiser fleet.

    But you have some good points.

    1. I think the main reason they used 2 Frigates was in case the 3 corvettes they saw the night before would return to land more troops in. The Longswords would have been useless against those, as you can see in Exodus. Also, i dont really know if the Longswords had the firepower necesarry to take out the Spires.

  11. I think in reality on the ground you would see a lot of UAV use by the UNSC, just being able to see over the next hill or around the corner without getting killed makes a huge difference. You would also see constant communication between the various elements in play and i think, a very well coordinated attack/defense with air strikes and gunship support.

    The fighting would be desperate and frightening, and people would still die, plasma weapons would inflict damage that would be horrific beyond belief (i think something like in District 9), but people wouldn’t die as senselessly as they seem to in Reach.

    On the subject of Frigates, i think they’re a cheaper more disposable ship compared to a cruiser or even a destroyer. Ineffective alone, but in larger numbers they could probably make up for it. I think the reason we see so many frigates as opposed to larger ships is cost. A plasma torpedo can kill a frigate or a cruiser, doesn’t matter which one it hits, the results are the same. Loosing a frigate with a smaller crew is more cost effective than loosing a cruiser, cold and callous, yes, but necessary considering what’s at stake. I think capitol ships still had their place. They could pack a hell of a punch, and a whole fleet of them would do wonders, but humanity was still outnumbered and outgunned. in the end it was all just luck that got us through the war

    1. In the game, covenant placed AA guns to fend off air strikes and gunship support. Thats the reason the UNSC mounted a small blitzkrieg unit to distract the covenant long enough that six could clear the guns. Also, who’s not saying the forces are not communicating, just because you cant hear them?

      1. You’ve got a point there. I think its not the mission thats the problem, just how it was handled, and ultimately that was bungie’s decision and not that of any military organization. They make great games and got a lot right in Reach, but they got a lot wrong too (at least in my opinion)

        I understand the need to take out AA guns with ground forces, but they were in a position where their field of fire was limited to directly in front of them, as there were tall cliffs behind them. If the UNSC had their exact locations they could have used gunships to take them out quickly and pave the way for the frigates to advance, but that wouldn’t translate very well to gameplay.

        And you’re right, they UNSC forces are undoubtably communicating with each other. just like in real life, its on a level that the individual soldier doesn’t see in its entirety. I still think that since its 500 years in the future, there would be a lot more technology involved, especially UAVs and Drones.

        I guess i’m still hoping the Halo 2 E3 demo will make it into a halo game. It may have not had any noticeable tactics or careful planing on the part of the UNSC, but it did capture the feeling of a conflict that was larger than the player’s view, and made it seem like it was an actual campaign and not a series of encounters.

  12. The question of whether or not Humanity actually truly tried in this war is certainly debatable. Several facts point to this conclusion, some of which the publisher has already pointed out.

    In Space, as was said, there was a serious lack of defensive and offensive warships. I continually saw Prowlers and Frigates, but rarely anything like the Halcyon Class B Warship the Pillar of Autumn, who was successfully able to take out multiple ships, including the disabled Truth and Reconciliation. In comparison, it’s said that human ships typically matched Covenant ships 1:3 in strength. So for every ship they had it took 3 of our to take it out. When you compare that number to the results of what the POA was able to do with a single AI at the helm, you have to wonder why those weaker ships weren’t disabled sooner. Hell, even the small and agile Iroquois proved to be more effective in combat than the weak, but cumbersome Frigates like In Amber Clad. A change in tactics coupled with an enhanced number of ships would’ve easily turned the tide of a fight. Like I said before, we’re 1:3, but that’s only a survival statistic. Instead of losing two ships and getting lucky with a third, why not simply have more ships focusing on individual enemies. If you can’t beat them in firepower, outmaneuver them. All of the ships can take a hit. Keep moving and keep the covenant distracted by alternating guerrilla tactics with each ship in the squad. Far less casualties overall and far less damage to the survivors as a result.

    And when that fails, here’s a little tactic WoW users might be familar with. Tanks. One target with insane amounts of health able to withstand the damage while the rest attack the offender. A dummy ship stripped of all but the most basic equipment, but given armor 5-6x as thick as a regular ship would result in a slow, but sturdy ship. And with few to no lives on board (No reason why we can’t have remotely controlled ships in the 26th century. They existed in Contact: Harvest) it wouldn’t be as inhumane or devastating to send such a crippled ship into combat.

    Going into the weapons themselves, The MAC rounds and Shiva Nukes both proved to be highly effective against the covenant. The inclusion of MAC rounds on UNSC ships, however, was poorly thought out and highly wasteful. For starters, they were consistently installed on the front of the ship. Never the back. Never the side, nor the top or bottom. Due to the lack of control over it’s trajectory (why? Shouldn’t we be able to install maneuvering thruster or something on them?) the ships were required to face and often times fly directly toward an enemy ship, and usually enemy fire as a result. This just makes you a big fat target and makes the use of a MAC round risky beyond belief. It would’ve been easier firing from any other location on the ship because it gives you the ability to maneuver and get closer to ensure your chances of making a hit.

    On top of that, what’s with the recharge time for a MAC round? In the early days I can understand. They took out the Jiralhanae ship on Harvest with a single MAC round, but it had no shields After they discovered that shields could withstand a single MAC round before fading out, the smart thing to do would’ve been to include a secondary power supply that could sustain 2 or more successive MAC rounds being fired. This alone would’ve greatly decreased that 1:3 statistic. I wouldn’t be surprised if that statistic actually switched since the Covenant were tactically clueless and primarily depended on the shields for their dominance. Even smarter in terms of defense, however, would’ve been to invest in more Orbital Defense Stations. Their range alone was enough to withstand a small covenant Invasion fleet. If every world had had a set of these, the Covenant would’ve been far more hard-pressed to claiming the number of worlds they did.

    So more ships, dummy ships, Stronger Power Supplies, and new MAC stations all would’ve went a long way in taking control over the skies.

    As for Ground Combat, Spartans were here before the war, so they’re here and they’re staying. That said, why did the rest of the military get shafted? Spartans get Augmentation and Power Suits? Thermal Scanners, protective shielding, etc… I have no doubt some of those augmentations would’ve been safe for regular soldiers. Increased endurance and enhanced reaction time would’ve been beneficial for any marine. Granted they would’ve been kept to a lesser degree than the Spartans, but anything is better than nothing. Not to mention shielded armor. I understand the MJOLNIR armor is too much for a marine, but that has nothing to do with the shielding system. We reverse-engineered the shield technology from Jackal Shields, so it wasn’t some complex and abstract concept that was hard to recreate. Multitudes of platoons should’ve been given this armor (when humanity faces extinction, to hell with the cost. Money isn’t worth anything if everybody is dead.)

    As for our arsenal, the selection is pitiful. Especially for the 26th century. The only weapon even close to futuristic was the Spartan Laser. Every marine should’ve come equipped with, at the minimum, 1 DMR/BR & 1 Pistol per unit and 2 sniper rifles and 2 Spartan Lasers per squad at least. This coupled with the shielded armor and augmentations and proper training would’ve given the Humans a vast superiority over the Covenant with the exception of possibly the elites.

    1. How about battalions of soldiers on rumble drugs?

      But on a more serious note. The UNSC did produce vast amounts of Scorpions, that we know. It simply didn’t have the means to deliver them effectively enough when under attack. The Covenant on the other hand had Assault Carriers–bespoke vessels for ground operations once the immediate defences are out of commission. As far as I know, the UNSC didn’t have the equivalent. And that was a mistake.

    2. First, I’d like to point out that the PoA was a test-bed for anti-covenant technologies. (If I’m wrong, please point out where and I’ll re-review it for my own convenience.) We don’t know when they discovered that the previously “worthless” Halcyon-class cruiser was discovered to have an effective hull design against Covenant weaponry. It might have been recent. The MAC cannon was modified, yes, but still consisted of cutting-edge technologies. Had they been field tested? It doesn’t do a lot of good for you to equip a bunch of ships that have to be overhauled after a few weeks due to parts fatigue that you didn’t know about. In fact, I remember that many of the systems on the PoA were “new.” How new? How tested? How many of them had seen combat testing or at least more than lab testing?

      We don’t know for sure. That’s the problem.

      If we maintain a ratio that you described, arguably it’s more effective to field cheap, simple mobile MAC platforms. A frigate will be faster to build than a cruiser, a cruiser faster than a carrier. A carrier faster than a supercarrier. Cheaper, too. If it takes three shots to pierce a Covenant ship’s shields, then getting three ships into the battle is better than one. It’s basic horde (meatgrinder) tactics, but also a viable one considering the differences in tech bases.

      Further note: Remember that one of the reasons why the Halcyon-class cruisers were cycled out of production was the fact that they weren’t as maneuverable.

      The PoA had a modified MAC that took less time to power up, partially due to its power system. It also had systems in place to be able to fire three times (though at lesser strength than a comparable MAC) on a single charge. This was a modified system, though, and there’s no information on how tested it was. See above.

      Though dummy ships are good in theory, in practice I can’t see it working too well. Crap happens. Parts wear out in slipspace, and things need repaired. For that you need a crew or a good AI and repair drones. Remember that Cortana was unique, based off of the brain of Doctor Everything… I mean, Dr. Halsey, a woman so brilliant she was working on her second doctoral thesis at the age of 15. (Does that make her a Double Doctor?) Definitely not your average AI source, which makes her capabilities… interesting, to say the least. Even with her at the helm, so to speak, a human crew was needed. So dummy ships might be a little hard to pull off.

      The MAC ran the length of the ship, it wasn’t just the “muzzle” you see at the end. That’s how they were able to achieve such impressive velocities. Think of it as a coilgun, the brother of the railgun. You need a good length in order to get those things up to proper speed. On top of that, designing a ship to fire backwards would mean adjusting it to handle recoil in a different direction than normal, exposing your engines to the enemy, and more mass if you want to fire forwards as well. More mass, naturally, means that it becomes less maneuverable as it takes more energy to put it in an axis of motion. (Stupid physics, how do I hate thee some days.)

      That said, I’m not saying that your thoughts are without merit! You’re thinking, you’re coming up with ideas, and I approve of that. Maybe you’ll come up with ideas that will work around the problems that I stated. That’ll make me a happy, happy man, because it’ll give me something else to chew on.

    3. yes the heavily armored frigate would be a good idea but… what if the UNSC stopped spending their money on toys the covies just like to torch and more defenses on the ground. such as mac guns on the ground such as AA guns on the ground. also your rendition of why couldn’t they put the MAC cannons on the sides was your answer for why they shouldn’t have put it on the front… if you fly strait towards incoming fire… you want the smaller part of the ship facing the enemy to take less fire… if you understand what i’m saying. shoot up the smaller target not the whole side of the ship…

  13. The one thing I think we can all agree on is that the UNSC should not be taking on the Covenant on their own terms. You never tackle the enemy on their strengths and in their area of expertise. So guerrilla tactics seem an obvious solution. However, guerilla tactics are good for slowing the enemy, for stalling their progress. It would not and could not be a permanent solution.

    Space combat with the Covenant is certainly an area where the UNSC didn’t fare very well at all. The ratio of losses inflicted by the UNSC when in combat works well if you have a limitless supply of ships, but with at least six client races in the Covenant I think it’s fair to say that humanity would always be outnumbered and outgunned. So channel the Covenant’s efforts, place traps, use disinformation and subversion to throw them off even when their key focus is finding Forerunner artefacts.

    Arguing about what ships would work is all fine and good, but if the UNSC still approaches each battle in the same way, i.e. by forming up for a straight fight then no amount of ship production will save humanity. I’m still tempted to say that ONI had some grand plans for saving humanity, that they had something up their sleeve that was about to be implemented. But when the Covenant started to splinter they took the decision to hold off and wait. Only time will tell if I’m right.

  14. DarkReing when you said they should have augmented every one, they couldnt have. not only were the chances of faliure high (resulted in death, deformed, paralyzed ect.) they had to be trained from a young age so they could be fit mentelly and phisicly. regular usnc marines werent trained from a young age. the spartans are specail becuase they were abducted at a young age to be trained at Reach for a good ten years or so before they got augmented and even then not all of them survived the augmentation, some died, alot of them defomed or paralyzed. so they couldnt do it for all of the marines becuase time was a major factor.

  15. I have to say this wrong though a good thought. Think about it. It’s humanities fight for survival. We (they) are gonna do anything in our power to live. If you look back at the colonies and Britain. The colonies were fighting for freedom and soon their heads. They did all they could. Though they were severely outgunned and outmanned they won and America became this great nation we are today. That is mostly due to our founding fathers. Great minds won that war and the wars (could but doesn’t have to be actual war) to come. In halo master chief, cortana, and maybe even Johnson won the war. Not machines. Maybe the writers could have made humanity do more, but if you we’re put in humanity’s shoes during the human-covenant war wouldn’t you do everything in your power to beat them? So you either blame the writers or don’t question it

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