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One can only wonder...
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Old 20 May 2006, 19:41   #1 (permalink)
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Default One can only wonder...

Recently there has been a lot of Tau fluff popping up all over the place. From the new codex to the fresh White Dwarf, we have gained a lot of insight we didn't have before about this race we all (or some of us at least) favour.

Now, I have been asking myself, how big is the Tau military? How strong is it?

Considering the most recent numbers, for example the fact that Aun'va has over a million Fire Warriors under his command, or that more than 100.000 Shas stand ready to defend the Earth Caste working on Medusa V, I believe the Tau war machine is actually rather mighty as of now.

Before you all start claiming how much bigger and more powerful the Imperium might be, don't go there. That is not the intention of this thread (discussing Tau vs Imperium), it is rather (guess)estimating how large the Tau war machine really is.

Earlier facts include (correct me if I'm wrong) Damocles, T'ros and Nimbosa. The Damocles crusade had around 200.000 Human soldiers, and the Tau stopped this threat eventually. It was no easy task however, so the Tau numbers cannot possibly have been significantly larger. T'ros involded a good few thousand Tau, but if I recall correctly was not very far from Damocles- at least not bigger.

The fresh fluff operates with way larger numbers. If the Empire can send over 100.000 Shas to defend some earth caste engineers trying to figure out the Warp, and if Aun'va alone has 1.000.000 Fire Warriors alone under his command, the military might would have to be bigger than what we could expect based on Damocles and T'ros.

Based on these numbers, I think it would sound reasonable that the Tau military is a good few million, say 5-10. This means that Aun'va alone commands 1/5 to 1/10 of the Whole military, and that the Empire can afford a relatively large fraction to protect the Earth Caste on a distant, hostile world full of enemies.


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Old 20 May 2006, 20:04   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: One can only wonder...

I agree with Olannon and his numbers but for you others that are going to post, the tau cant have too much soldiers at there command because of the fluff tactics indicate that static defenses are not used by the tau (only in dire circumstances) because they try to keep casualties minimal because they are not really numerous
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Old 20 May 2006, 20:14   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: One can only wonder...

But keep in mind that that is only the Shas. You aren't thinking of their Kroot, Vespid, and Human allies. That alone matches or exceeds the amount of shas Aun'va has. Say that the Empire only has 10 million Shas. There would have to be about 6-7 million Kroot to back them up, 1-2 million Vespid, and who knows how many human auxiliaries there are. And I think that the Tau have more than 5-10 million Shas. For the Empires size, thats really small.

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Old 20 May 2006, 23:09   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: One can only wonder...

Well the Tau Empire now has more than 20 Septs, a Sept is a heavily populated system. Given that I would think the Tau would have far more than 5 Million Firewarriors. I would think anywhere from 25-50 Million with at least 1-3 Million from each Sept. Of course this will vary given the proportions of each caste in each system and what not.

Even with 50 Million Firewarriors total, 1 Million to be placed under the command of a single person is a rediculous honor when you remember that the contingent which in many cases is less than a 1000 Tau is the only permanent grouping of cadres assigned under the command of one Shas'O, thats rediculous. 1 Million, thats 1000 times or more the number given to the command of a single Shas'O. Perhaps the ranking member of a planetary or sept shas'ar'tol might technicly command that or more its not directly and not permanently. Thats insane. 1/50th of the armed forces of the Tau may not seem like much but when in comparison to the Tau military organization its a lot, a heck of a lot.

The Tau empire is growing, 100,000 Firewarriors for Medusa V seems little but for the Tau its probably not a huge operation as its a single planet and they are just defending the earth cast technically. Plus the vast majority of the Fire Cast is probably spread out on defence duties of the CPF and planets within each sept etc. Still the numbers are growing and while 50 Million seems generous I wouldnt be surprised if each sept alone could muster 1 Million warriors each.

The old codex stated a 1st phase colony to have anywhere from 100,000+ population but that number seems rediculously low when Aun'va had a million Firewarriors kneeling outside of one council dome... on one planet. If the Fire Cast could dedicate that many troops to a single ceremony they must have been able to do so without jeopordizing military strength all around.

Still some septs may have a low population and my numbers could be far off. For a very safe estimate I would probably put the Tau Fire Cast population at between 10-15 Million across the empire but that is a very low estimate, I imagine there would be far more. At least 1 Million per sept. That puts it at 20+ at the least.

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Old 21 May 2006, 05:59   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: One can only wonder...

I believe since the Tau have an incrediblly short-life span (by comparison) they must be able to reproduce quickly and rather effectively. I think that their numbers are drastically underestimated! Obviously the Ethereal have a vast idea of what is up against them, but obviously implemented faster reproduction, more vast to the point of cloning even! Though they value life, they only do so in order to establish the Tau as the mainstay of the universe they will one day rule, but will take many pushes, many phases, many deaths to unravel. Their manifest destiny is the only thing stopping the Fire Warriors from relentlessly plowing into bolters, hive worlds, and other hell holes in the name of the greater good or the fire caste themselves! They maybe tasetful, but their lust of power grows and with that lust so do their numbers I assure you!

They probably have many, many Fire Warriors! They are the Police/Army/Marines/The Warriors of the Empire and for the Ethereals to expand their 'influence' they must generate more Fire Warriors. Of course, the Water, Earth, and Air castes are growing, but they are only maintainers. I honestly believe there to be more than a mere 100,000 thousand per planet! Maybe more like 5-10 biliion to planet and on a 1:1:1:1 scale between the Earth, Fire, Water, and Air Castes. Thats a good solid 250,000,000 million Fire Warriors! The Imperium is probably similar in numbers but have more planets from which they may select from and do not have the hinderence of picking from only 1/5th of their population.

Gentleman, I believe the numbers at stake are much higher than previously thought. It is inconcivable (excuse my spelling) to think any Empire would be as small as a 100,000 people per planet. The would barely fit a city, let alone an entire planet. They couldn't maintain control over a planet like that! The natives of these planets would simply kick them out! I don't care how great their negotiators are, they can't administer these planets. Of course, their assimiliational tactics are good for maintaining colonies in early form, but will obviously be overrun to Tau.

I prepose that the numbers at hand are simply outrangous. 5 Million to take over a planet? It took more to hold the Russian-German Front in World War II!!! Titans can't compensate for the need to control, for regardless of how advanced we become or anyone comes, control must be maintain by us/them/anyone, in the flesh. So I think the 5 million bowing to Aun'Va are probably his personal bodyguard!

Maybe I'm just rambling due to the fact its 2am, but still, I think I have a valid point that MILLIONS of anyone or anything is crazy. Marines maybe low in numbers, but they don't take over worlds, the IG do. The Tau can't take over the planet if limit to such numbers, let alone a new phase!!! So yeah . . . that my 2 pence.

Anyone seeing where I'm coming from?
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Old 21 May 2006, 06:26   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: One can only wonder...

Is it just me, or did we not have a 6-7 page discussion on almost this exact same subject just last week?
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Old 21 May 2006, 06:40   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: One can only wonder...

There are recurring number problems in the fluff. The writers seem to be unable to understand the sheer size of the universe they've created. As a quick example, 'millions of Guardsmen' is often thrown around when they want to make clear that something's big, but assuming a level of militarization equal to that of the US (the Imperium's is probably much higher), and an average of 8 billion per planet on one hundred thousand worlds (probably underestimating again, given the 'million worlds' and hive cities), we've got a total military of around 4.8 trillion.

As a general rule, when the fluff gives you a number, multiply it by a few hundred. Everything makes much more sense.

The best way to figure out how large the Tau military is is to do something similar. Figure out how much of the population the military takes up (I'd suggest looking at WW2 numbers for various countries for a good start). Estimate the number of planets in the Empire and estimate an average population. Then mulitply. I can't claim to be as well-versed in Tau fluff as many of you are, so I can't say whether we have enough information to get an estimate on these things.

Going by what Vash said - 25 septs, heavily populated (so, 20 billion apiece, say? Keep in mind that Earth currently has a population of around 7 billion), gives us a total population of 500 billion. If 2% of the population is militarized (rather high compared to modern day standards), that's a 10 billion-strong military. If we're being more conservative, I could see it going as low as 2 billion - if the populations are smaller and if we have less militarization.
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Old 21 May 2006, 13:07   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: One can only wonder...

Originally Posted by Gotchaye
Going by what Vash said - 25 septs, heavily populated (so, 20 billion apiece, say? Keep in mind that Earth currently has a population of around 7 billion), gives us a total population of 500 billion. If 2% of the population is militarized (rather high compared to modern day standards), that's a 10 billion-strong military. If we're being more conservative, I could see it going as low as 2 billion - if the populations are smaller and if we have less militarization.
Well i remember hearing somewhere that the general population of the Tau CORE worlds is no more than a few Billion, in fact i dont belive that the Tau homeworld has more than a population of 5 Billion.

Wather im wrong or right, your baseing your estimates on a HUMAN population remember the Tau are alien and we know their socitey is structured in a way far different from ours
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