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Tau Tactical Doctrine
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Old 08 Aug 2006, 02:46   #1 (permalink)
Kroot Warrior
 
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Default Tau Tactical Doctrine

I think this is a reasonable philosophy for the Tau to hold, given their style of battle. Most players have some sotr of unconscious understanding of these laws, but this is an attempt to state them explicitly, along with some of their tenets which may not be so obvious. OK, in a battle, both sides attempt to destroy the enemy units. However, while most interpret this as an attempt to destroy the enemy because they are the enemy, the Tau view a battle as an attempt to reduce the firepower of the enemy. The side which can reduce the amount of firepower the enemy has at a faster rate will win the battle, and take fewer casualties. This has a number of interesting repercussions. The most important being that the primary target of any battle should be the target which has the most capacity to damage your own forces, which can be destroyed quickly enough to justify firing at it. If you fire at a target and fail to destroy it, you have expent some of your firepower, and did not reduce theirs at all. If you fire at a large unit of weak soldiers, you will kill some, and reduce their firepower. The essence of this principle is that, if you are presented with a choice between two units to shoot at, kill the one with the highest amount of firepower and the least difficulty to kill it. This also applies to the chance to reduce firepower, as long as your intent is to have the expected value on your side. (a certainty to destroy 50 points is the same thing as 1/2 chance to kill 100 points)

Another important idea is that firepower is applied over time into damage. Each time a unit gets to fire you do damage. From this, you should do everything possible to minimize the enemy's ability to destroy your firepower. The longer it lives, the more time you have to do damage to the enemy. However, this will use resources which could be used to get more firepower. So only do it if the extra time the firepower will be around will be translated into equivalent destruction of the enemy's firepower. If by spending 20 points to keep a railgun around one turn longer, and it can be used to destroy more than 20 points (or 1/2 chance to kill more than 40 points, etc.) it's worth it.

This also brings into account the matter of efficiency with your firepower. If you use yours inefficiently, you are actually reducing it to no effect. To destroy an enemy unit which generates firepower by numbers, with each soldier having little chance of actually damaging their target, the Tau will use a large number of shots because it reduces the amount of firepower the enemy can bring to bear more quickly and efficiently than using fewer shots (or equal shots of higher power, which would be better spent elsewhere). By the same token, against units which are extremely hard to kill, sufficiently powerful weapons will be used to destroy them because by using weaker weapons, many of those shots will have no effect, which could have been used to effect elsewhere. If, by leaving a big gun out in the open, it would be destroyed (or have a chance of being destroyed) without an equally big target to hit, hide it. If you have a 170 point hammerhead with a 1 in 4 chance of destroying a tank of four times its value, but then be destroyed, take it. Anything less- hide the tank to use again later.

Another critical (and final) point on this: an army with twice as much firepower will not have even close to as many casualties as it would if it only matched the enemy. This is because, from the get go, it is destroying twice as much of the enemy firepower with time. If two armies of nondescript soldiers fight, one with 2000 men, one with 1000 men, each with 1/4 chance of killing an enemy, then the 2000 man army will kill 500 of the enemy and take 250 casualties at the same time. Next time round, they will only take 125 casualties, while the small army takes 438, leaving it with only 42 men. The large army killed 938 and lost 375. And the best part is, this 2000 man army could take on another 1000 man army, and still win (with 1163 men left) and even take on a third, at more even odds. I call this Number of Guns Theory.

These can be interpreted in all kinds of interesting ways. Give me your thoughts on this.
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Old 08 Aug 2006, 05:26   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Tau Tactical Doctrine

Basically what I'm getting here is that you should try to eliminate your opponents firepower efficiently while preserving your own. This is an excellent general idea to have in mind when facing an enemy army... at least, in a theoretical battle. However, sometimes it is better to simply nullify an ememy's firepower than destroy it outright, leaving it to be destroyed later. In 40k, for instance, this would mean coming within minimum range of artillery, assaulting a squad to block the LOS of a firebase, or using terrain.

As for the number of guns theory, the theory works very well under ideal conditions; ie every soldier fires the same number of times, and can always select the best target to fire at. However, numerous factors throw in an unpredictable element to the game that can tip the balance of the battle.
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Old 09 Aug 2006, 00:59   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Tau Tactical Doctrine

They make it DEVILISHLY complicated. So complicated, in fact, that you can't figure it out. You have to feel it out, and use tactics.
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