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A fool's expansion: growth and technology of the Tau Empire.
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Old 31 Jul 2005, 21:18   #1 (permalink)
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Default A fool's expansion: growth and technology of the Tau Empire.

http://www.specialist-games.com/asse...TauCPFleet.pdf

The article is not only an excellent Tau fleet list (and by the path did they need one...), it also explains a lot about the Tau, and in particular, why they were so often perceived as a weak Gothic army.

Tau believe in peaceful expansion. To this end, their craft are equipped for commerce, not war. Even with refits, modifications and the development of the Hero class, Tau ships are still, in essence, cargo ships with guns.

This is the first great failure of the Tau: their belief in peaceful co-existence left them with ships unable to cope with the warlike nature of the 41st Millenium.

Then there is their tech: it's a joke. There technology is laughable, and whilst they can produce potent infantry and vehicle armaments, their large-scale guns, particularly space-born cannon, are appauling. Railcannon may be able to shred a light atmos-skimmer, but will hardly scratch an armoured ramming prow. Tau knowledge of Warp Travel is a bastardised from alien technology that even know the Fio do not completely understand. In addition, the Ion technology, the only weapons the Tau have that can seriously threaten Titans or Starships, isn't Tau tech; it's Demiurg.

Thus Lances and Warp Drive have both been given by other races. The Tau did not invent this technology, so we cannot guarantee that they truly understand it. For all their failings, the Imperium still know how to build a Defence Laser...

The only good thing going for the Tau is that they have the ability to adapt, and adapt well. Their "Commerce Protection Fleets" are prime examples of ships borne of necessity, but unlike the Hero class, these are military craft, not retrofitted cargo barges. The Tau first encountered true Battleships in the form of the Damocles Gulf crusade in 742.M41. That means it has taken the Tau 250 years to develop a true battleship... for the Imperium, that would be impressive. For a race that supposedly understands their tech, and is "dynamically expanding", it's a joke. Either the Tau are not as advanced as their Por'hui media would have the galaxy believe, or they are neurotically ignorant of the galaxy they inhabit.

It is only now, after nearly a century of being slaughtered by bigger, stronger, faster and smarter foes, that the Tau are finally learning how war must be fought on a grand scale.

Whether they have learned their lessons in time to avoid extinciton, only time will tell...
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Old 31 Jul 2005, 21:21   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: A fool's expansion: growth and technology of the Tau Empire.

A simple 'There's a new article out on the Tau' would have sufficed.
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Old 31 Jul 2005, 21:23   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: A fool's expansion: growth and technology of the Tau Empire.

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Originally Posted by Falkus
A simple 'There's a new article out on the Tau' would have sufficed.
No it wouldn't, because this forum is more biased than Fox News. It would have been immediately taken as the Tau making yet another great advancement. This is true, but you have to remember they aren't going from Good to Great, they're going from "Worse than Orks" to "Sub-Imperial".
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Old 31 Jul 2005, 21:31   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: A fool's expansion: growth and technology of the Tau Empire.

I disagree with your conclusions. I will admit that the Tau beliefs in resolving issues through peace and trade have resulted in temporary setbacks in their dealings with the orks and the Tyranids, but on the other hand, the focus on peace has strengthened the Tau empire significantly through their alliances with the Nicassar, the Demiurg and the Kroot, while also presenting an extremely long term social threat to the Imperium of man.

As for technology, yes, some of their technology is acquired from other sources. That does not mean they do not understand it, and it's better than the other major races, who, in general, refuse to even consider using alien technology.
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Old 31 Jul 2005, 22:06   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: A fool's expansion: growth and technology of the Tau Empire.

Wargamer is right. Heres some little known fluff of the very first conflict the tau fought.

The Tau'n campaign
Tau'n was a choice objective for the expanding Tau and following extensive exploration a colonisation fleet was assembled based around seventeen Gal'leath and twenty-three Il'fannor class vessels, Between them these ships could transport some forty Kass'l class Gunships. Most important however was the immense transport capacity of the fleet which was used to take components for half a dozen heavily-armed orbitals to Tau'n. Fighting off Ork raiders the Tau were able to set up their orbitals around Tau'n and control their colonisation of the world from space. The Tau fleet used the orbitals as a secure harbour from which to fight off Ork attacks including a major assault involving nine Ork Kill-kroozers and Terrorships. Tau tactics were still too static however and on numerous occasions the Barracudas and Orcas were lured too far from the rest of the fleet and destroyed. The conflict was ended when Tau ground forces defeated a hastily landed Ork army enabling colonisation to proceed unopposed. The victory cost the Tau fourteen of their capital ships for only one confirmed Ork loss of comparable mass. Important lessons were learned.

Firstly a better method of linking space and ground forces was needed. The result was the Manta, a machine capable of fighting in space as a very heavy bomber (it is almost large enough to be considered an Escort) and within an atmosphere as a drop ship and heavy fire support. The use of Orbital platforms to augment the fleet's firepower became part of standard Kor'vattra doctrine as did the imaginative stratagem of using small stations (called Waystations) to create harbours and rendezvous points in deep space where they were safe from detection. The problem of communication over interstellar distances had to be resolved as well. Lacking telepathic communication a Tau fleet, once despatched, was immediately on its own, unable to communicate with its superiors or other elements of the fleet. Strings of waystations were established to relay messages but this was only effective over relatively short distances. Accordingly the Skether'qan (trans. Messenger) class starship was built. The Messenger was tiny by comparison to the rest of the fleet and was crewed by a single pilot aided by the most advanced drones. By reducing the crew to a minimum the Messenger was able to be fitted with the smallest gravitic drive capable of performing Warp dives. Its systems were optimised for storage and relay of vast quantities of data. Urgent messages could now be transmitted by relays of Messengers each diving in turn and passing its data to the next vessel in the chain. The method was still clumsy and co-ordinating separate fleet formations remains a Kor'vattra weakness necessitating extremely rigorous planning.

Beyond this the Tau made numerous minor advances. The best example was the improvements made in drone technology which allowed the deployment of spy pods to extend sensor ranges. The Fire Caste provided guidance to the Air caste-dominated Kor'vattra devising a series of training programs to hone their combat skills.

The Damocles Gulf Crusade
Fundamentally the Tau military system remained the same until the Damocles Gulf Crusade brought them into conflict with the Imperium. It is likely that if they had been confronted by a significant Ork Waaagh! at any time during this period they would have been defeated but the destruction of Waaagh! Scraghurtz by Alaitoc Craftworld in M40 ensured their survival. The limited (by human standards) conflict with the Imperium set new standards for the Kor'vattra though. The expansion of the Empire now meant that the Tau could call upon species such as the Kroot with their own starships and Imperial Rogue Traders were a valuable source of new technology. Within twenty years of the armistice the Tau launched their first Lar'shi (trans. Hero) class cruiser, inspired by the Imperial Lunar class. A Tau fleet including a high ratio of the new ships subsequently defeated an Ork fleet of almost comparable size assaulting the D'yanoi system.

The Tau are now an established power on the Eastern fringe but it remains to be seen whether the Kor'vattra can rise to the challenge of the Tyranid Hive Fleets and the other perils of a very dangerous universe.


a few points.
Damocles was a minor campaign. tau got through it by luck
tau would have been destroyed even sooner by orks, save for the intervention of the eldar of alaitoc.
the tau fleet is dodgy as hell. 14 ships lost for 1 in return!
250 years to completely redesign a lot of ships, built whole new chassis for each model, experiment with each chassis, gather limited resources, slow travel with said resources to shipyards, and not only have sole models of each ship, but to have them in fleet strength is an accomplishment.

thanks for the link wargamer. New fluff is always appreciated by me.
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Old 31 Jul 2005, 22:29   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: A fool's expansion: growth and technology of the Tau Empire.

Quote:
Either the Tau are not as advanced as their Por'hui media would have the galaxy believe, or they are neurotically ignorant of the galaxy they inhabit.
The Tau are indeed ignorant of what the scale of the galaxy truly means. The word I prefer in this case is "naiive". In the opening pages of the WH40k rulebook the Tau are given this characterization in two big, bolded words: The Young.

The archetype of the young, idealistic, and naiive is repeated over and over again through most facets of the Tau fluff and gameplay. It is a role I thoroughly enjoy portraying. The Tau may not be fully justified in the fervor of their spirit, but that is one of the things that makes it so admirable.
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Old 31 Jul 2005, 23:23   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: A fool's expansion: growth and technology of the Tau Empire.

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Originally Posted by Wargamer
The Tau first encountered true Battleships in the form of the Damocles Gulf crusade in 742.M41. That means it has taken the Tau 250 years to develop a true battleship... for the Imperium, that would be impressive. For a race that supposedly understands their tech, and is "dynamically expanding", it's a joke.
I haven't played BFG or anything, but how much resources does it take to construct a battleship, much less a fleet of them?
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Old 31 Jul 2005, 23:43   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: A fool's expansion: growth and technology of the Tau Empire.

I won't deny that the Tau are weak militarily, and have made poor military and logistical decissions in the past, I just refuse to accept the idea that their focus on peace, diplomacy and trade is a weakness. After all, if the Tau hadn't allied with the Demiurg, then the Demiurg wouldn't have used their relations with the Eldar to stop the Ork Waagh.
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Old 01 Aug 2005, 00:00   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: A fool's expansion: growth and technology of the Tau Empire.

Great Link.

The gist IMO, is that the Tau have managed to replicate the cutting edge of human tech in a fairly short ammount of time, while humanity hasn't made many significant advances of their own tech for thousands and thousands of years.

Considering the Tau precepts of economic alliance, respectful social absorption, and the willingness to push the borders of technology...its safe to assume that within the span of another 5k years, the Tau will have complete technological, social and economic control of the galaxy.

Cool.
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Old 01 Aug 2005, 00:12   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: A fool's expansion: growth and technology of the Tau Empire.

is this Tau-bashing i hear??!!?? :P

i appreciate the chance to soak up some more Tau fluff, thanx....

but calling them anything worse than "Optimisticly Naiive" is i think unfair.

.. itd be like us taking our baby steps out in the Big Galaxy, only to find out (the hard way) that is a Big BAD Galaxy.. and someone already owns it... and hates us... and owns gazzilion worlds full of peoaple that are indoctrinated to hate us... hooboy!

as for not understanding their 'alliance-aquired' tech... ill think on it a bit then reply later.. >
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