Introduction and Capital ships background
Since I made such a short blog that received so many comments in the end of last year, I decided to make a much more detailed approach on the topic. Who would win, the Covenant Empire, which threatened humanity for 30 years, picking off hundreds of colonies and also the faction responsible for the near extinction of humanity, or the Galactic Empire from Star Wars, which had incredible amounts of cheaply built star fighters, vessels, Etc... and threatened peace in the Galaxy (the one that was there a long time ago far far away) for 20 years. So once again, I will begin with a few personal opinions and the strengths of both sides. When I made the previous blog, I didn't include any sort of boundaries, so I will specify the strengths. The Empire doesn't have game changers such as Sith, World Devastators, Etc... However they do have the first Death Star, Super Star Destroyers (Ranging from 2.2km ones, to 19 km ones. There are approximately 20 SSD's) and the majority of their fleet (excluding field tested prototypes). The first Death Star measures in at 150km in diameter, and can demolish a few big targets over a lot of small ones. Please note: The Death Star (first one) takes 24 hours to recharge it's superlasers. The Covenant doesn't have game changers such as the Flood, Forerunners, Halo's, Etc... The Covenant however have their full fleet, approximately 1/3 of the size of the Imperial fleet (my opinion), but is arguably much more effective. The Covenant also have High Charity, which can easily dock plenty of capital ships for repairs. If you don't want to read the whole thing or if you want to skim-read, please do or don't as most of this is just facts, personal opinions and the such.
The Groundside background
On the ground side, the Empire has platoons of stormtroopers which rarely take cover and use ancient storming tactics, AT-ST's (or chicken walkers, known for their intimidating height), Speeder bikes (Less combat ready then Ghosts but still much faster), IFT-T tanks, which can almost always stay in a fight long enough to slowly halt an advance and the mother of them all, the AT-AT's. AT-AT's (or All Terrain Armored Transports) are ferocious, simply because they have the firepower to even damage unshielded capital ships. Their turning speed is their disadvantage, as it takes several minutes to make a 180 degree U-turn. AT-AT's have firepower that somewhat overpowers the Scarab from the Covenant.
The Covenant's ground strength consists of about 4/5's of the infantry that the Empire has, and about half of that is just Grunts. Since about 9/10th of the Imperial's infantry is just Stormtroopers, and since their Special Ops teams are incredibly weak in exchange for speed, the Imperial's infantry almost evenly match shielded Elite minors and majors, and thousands of grunts. So let's bring in the Zealots, Ultras and Brute Chieftains. In Halo Wars, a single chieftain can easily lay down the law, the same for Halo 3 and Reach. If you see how Zealots are deployed in Halo: CE and Reach, then you can see the availability of really tough Elites. Let's move on to vehicles, the Covenant have vehicles such as Space Banshees (almost identical to the cheaply built TIE fighters, as both of them explode from single laser shots/ammunition shots), normal Banshees, lot's of Ghost's, some Revenant's and a typical reserve for Wraith tanks. Now for the big mother of Covenant ground vehicles, this one obviously goes to the Scarab. The Scarab is a crab like “Ultra Heavy Assault Platform” which is the counterpart of the AT-AT. The Scarab can turn 180 degrees in less then 10 seconds, has less firepower then the AT-AT can can't hold small vehicles. This sounds like the AT-AT would win... but my true personal opinion will be below. The last strength factor is here, an orbital bombardment. The Empire doesn't have too many effective choices when it comes to orbital bombardment, but the Covenant have that as their main weapon on all of their capital ships. The energy projector on the Covenant ships is the most devastating non WMD weapon that can be used ground side in this simulation. It can easily mutilate bunkers tens to hundreds of meters below the surface of a planet. This is why there are hardly any survivors after a planets glassing. In my previous blog's comments, I was a strong believer in the Covenant's victory. So if I may, I will explain why.
Personal opinion and Space Battle
I made several page's worth of comments trying to explain why the Covenant would win over the Empire, and after carefully reading all comments (ones with understandable grammar) from the last blog, I will explain my thoughts on this. The Covenant have command bridges inside their ships, I mean they have bridges in the dead center of their ships. If the Covenant's much superior shields were lost by concentrated firepower, an attempt to reach the core and bridge would likely be difficult. By the way, in Halo 2 when two Longsword interceptors reveal the core to an Assault Carrier... That is what I call a version of Plot Armor. There is no way that the core of an Assault Carrier can so easily be revealed. After all, the armor on Hunters are the same armor on those ships, and the ships have several meters thick of this stuff. If MAC blasts can't get through that armor, then I doubt sluggish and non orchestrated turbo-laser attacks can. Now let's just come back to capital ships later and go on to Star Fighters, Frigates, Etc...
Background on fighters
Okay, lets get to these fighters, which will be used in the simulation: TIE fighters and interceptors are equal to space banshees and slightly better then space banshees, respectively. The rare TIE Defenders will be used, (Defenders are one of the few TIE classes with energy shielding and is one of the few capable of hyperspeed travel) which is much greater then the Seraph fighters used by the Covenant. TIE Defenders are practically prototypes, as they are so rarely deployed, thus partially eliminating them from the Covenant's primary enemy. Right before the collapse of the Empire in Episode VI, 20% of the fighters used by the Empire were TIE interceptors, typical interceptors have fast firing lasers and incredible speed at the cost of shielding and hyperspeed travel. This is a major improvement over the typical TIE fighters, which don't have fast speeds, fast firing lasers, shielding or hyperspeed travel. The Covenant counterparts to these 3 primary types are the Space Banshee, which is roughly the same when compared to a TIE fighter, however this could be speculated, as Space Banshees are much more nimble while much less armored, the Seraph, which with it's shielding can take on TIE interceptors with ease, and the Phantom Gunboat, comparable to the Imperial Dropship Transport. The Phantom Gunboat is incredibly devastating to shielded and unshielded targets alike, and was effective against the armor (Presumably Titanium) on Anchor 9 and the shields on the advanced Sabre interceptors. The plasma based “blob” like bolts shot as a side weapon for the Gunboat is devastating to the YSS-1000 Sabres, so imagine what it could do to unshielded TIE's. The most impressive feature of the Gunboat is it's mini torpedos, a salvo of mini torpedo's from a small squadron of Gunboats could easily destroy frigates such as Victory-II frigates, or unshielded command bridges leading to the destruction of Victory class (Not to be confused with Victory-II frigates) or Imperator class Star Destroyers. Squadrons of Gunboats can be so effective that they can disable capital ships without any assistance. So lets put these fighters together.
So now lets do a “hands-on” demonstration (All numbers are carefully thought out, and if you see something that isn't right, please give a detailed explanation in the comments section). Space banshees, Seraphs, and Gunboats vs TIE Fighters, TIE Interceptors and TIE Defenders; The numbers of each type are listed here: Space Banshees have 120 fighters, Seraphs have 40 and there are 6 Gunboats. The Empire has 150 TIE Fighters, 30 TIE Interceptors (My reasoning for Interceptors is: 20% of TIE series are interceptors and that's during the height of the Imperial rule) and 5 TIE Defenders. Because in the overall stats Space Banshees and TIE Fighters are about identical, we can simply shave off all Space Banshees and 120 TIE Fighters. The remaining TIE's focus fire on the Seraphs and exchange 20 Interceptors for 20 Seraphs (And that's quite lucky for the Empire). By this point, all TIE Fighters are picked off by the Gunboats and Seraphs, leaving 10 Interceptors and 5 Defenders vs 20 Seraphs and 6 Gunboats. Let's just throw in a variable in and say that 2 Gunboats were destroyed in this, shaving the Covenant down to a scary-near-loss. Since the Interceptors are slightly less powerful then Seraphs and Defenders are the most powerful and maneuverable fighter here, we can exchange 7 Seraphs for the remaining Interceptors, leaving the Defenders to back up everyone. The Defenders manage to take out 3 Gunboats and 8 Seraphs before being taken out. However outnumbered, the Covenant narrowly win an engagement with even the finest of Imperial fighters.
Background on Capital Ships
What about a space battle between capital ships? From continuous debates from the last blogs comments, we have ranged from 1/1,000,000 ratios of capital ships to equal amounts of capital ships. My personal honest opinion is 1/3 ship ratio, my reasoning simply lies on two factors. The comic adaption of Halo: The Fall of Reach states that there are at least 700 vessels participating during the Fall of Reach, while the novel states that there are 312. If this was so, then there was another half of a fleet just waiting in reserve. The Covenant probably have a lot more ships then people think. My second reason on this subject is the obvious one, how is it possible for millions of Star Destroyers to exist all together? The firepower of the full fleet was said to be one third of the Death Star, making my ruling that the fleet is in the several thousands instead of millions. Okay, now that we've absolutely covered this topic, I will move on. All scenarios given within this blog are in the same area, so the space battle above could effect the ground battle below. So if the Covenant navy's strength is in the low thousands (2,000-7,500) and the Imperial navy's strength is in the low-medium thousands (6,000-30,000), then with the exceptionally good Covenant capital ships it would be about an even match for the poorly armed Star Destroyers. Since a large number of people sided with the Empire on this one, I have to give a good explanation of why I think the Covenant would win.
My argument on Capital Ships
So please sit back and consider the following: The space battle is a scary one, and it decides the fate of the space fighters and the ground-battle. Both factions will suffer tremendous losses, but overall who will win? My explanation relies on multiple factors, so I'll start with an easy one. This one probably is the counterpart of the ridiculous Halo 2 Assault Carrier destruction, but nevertheless must be mentioned. Remember in Episode VI when the Super Star Destroyer crashes into the Death Star? Maybe when you first saw it you were like “Go Rebels!”, but now it really isn't helping the Empire's case. For those who don't remember, here is a video showing of it's destruction, and for those who can't watch it now, I'll explain it. The bridge deflectors are disabled by starfighters concentrated firepower, which isn't that strong. Suddenly after the command bridge's shields are destroyed, an A-wing fighter crashes into the bridge, killing the command crew. If this isn't enough, the SSD crashes into the Death Star. So this 19 Kilometer colossal vessel was destroyed by 3 (3 seen on screen) A-wing fighters. Now, even though I will excuse this to some extent, the weakness of the command bridge and the only stabilizing controls being on the bridge will be noted. Let's move on to a possible scenario, strafing runs by CCS-class battlecruisers on SSD's. Since CSO-class Supercarriers can only be taken out by concentrated fire from SSD's many turbolasers and the Death Star, SSD's will be a concern for the Covenant. Once again, please note: The Death Star can only fire one shot per 24 hours, due to a primitive power supply (this isn't a boundary, it is canon in the Star Wars universe) Since the Covenant use suicide tactics for the greater good of the collective of species, CCS-class battlecruisers could temporarily strafe over SSD's and cause incredible damage through the Energy Projectors. Seeing how deep the Energy Projectors dig, they could disable large capital ships shields without too much trouble especially with concentrated fire. If the glassing runs were on the incredibly weak bridges holding the only stabilizing controls, then it would be an assured Covenant victory. We can rule that game changer out to some extent (Lets say that some of the Star Destroyers were taken out by this method). Moving on, lets go to the Death Star. Since the first Death Star is used in this simulation, we can talk about the weaknesses of it. I will not speculate over the Seraph squadrons doing what Red Squadron did, because the Rebels had the right info put right along with the force. Let's move past that one, and state a big possibility. What if smaller ships like CCS-class battlecruisers use slipspace to completely bypass the Death Star defenses? These ships suddenly appear out of nowhere and begin glassing the Death Star's “Eye”. With the Death Stars primary weapon rendered useless and covered in cooled plasma, the SSD's disabled by glassing runs and the Covenant taking the majority of the star fighter victories, the space battle isn't doing too good. Thank you for “Considering the Following” and if you would like to make a statement against (or for) this, please leave a comment down below (Please provide valid reasons from sources in movies, books, comics, games, etc... with understandable grammar).
Let's move on to a ground-side engagement. If a ground side engagement was accompanied by the space battle above, it might not be too pretty for the Empire, however I will not give up on the Empire. Let's just remove the space battle factor for a bit and focus on deployment times, supply lines, etc.,.
The 2 heavyweights are Scarabs and AT-AT's, so lets begin with those. Scarabs can be deployed from space, and they can begin pulverizing enemy units seconds after their deployment while an AT-AT must be dropped from a dropship (or must be assembled first). Since the Scarab literally drops from space at incredible speeds, anti-air isn't a problem. The AT-AT faces deployment problems, as dropships must deploy from capital ships in space and anti-air issues will be faced. The AT-AT is great at far ranges, can fit multiple squads of stormtroopers, has greater firepower and can even deploy speeder bikes. These accolades are offset by the AT-AT's inability to traverse very rough terrain, as apposed to it's name (All terrain armored transport), it's very slow turning speed, and it's incredible vulnerability in it's rear section. The Scarab is almost everything that the AT-AT isn't, for example the Scarab can turn a full circle in only a few seconds, as opposed to the AT-AT taking several minutes to do such a task, or the ranges of weapons. The primary plasma weapons on a Scarab are quite short range, only going a few hundred yards before losing some of it's energy while the AT-AT's weapons can reach greater distances. If a Scarab and an AT-AT went against each other, this is how I think it would go down. The Scarab falls to the ground from space and instantly claims it's immediate territory, while the AT-AT's dropship departs from a capital ship. The Scarab searches through the nearby terrain while the AT-AT enters the planets atmosphere, and then the Scarab finally reaches over a hill only to find a landing zone just as the AT-AT is deployed. The AT-AT begins turning while the Scarab shoots down the dropship, causing it to crash nearby. Then the AT-AT.... is still turning while the Scarab simply walks behind it and harasses it until it is destroyed. If the AT-AT magically deployed instantly, the Scarab would have a lot of trouble avoiding it's primary lasers. If it deployed facing the other way and was a kilometer away, the Scarab could still find cover at about ½ km to ¼ km. At kilometer long ranges, the Scarab could even dodge the sluggish lasers equipped on an AT-AT. As for what each one carries, the AT-AT carries 40 stormtroopers (or it can carry disassembled vehicles such as AT-ST's) to the Scarab's 40-50 infantry capacity. AT-AT's have an advantage with cargo, as they can hold vehicles, large amounts of cargo boxes or just infantry, and the Scarab can only hold very large amounts of infantry (with the exception of the bay on the lowest level in Halo 3/Reach Scarab designs, which can hold at least 2 assembled Ghost's). So, in a conclusion to a very detailed explanation on AT-AT's vs Scarabs, the deployment times of a Scarab makes it an effective ultra heavy quick response recon unit, and when compared to the deployment of an AT-AT, it can find the landing zone before the AT-AT touches down.
Tanks and light craft
The tanks effectiveness against infantry and light craft such as speeder bikes makes it a game changer in the ground battle, so lets debate on that one. Lots of Wraiths vs some IFT-T tanks and AT-ST's put together. The mortar on a Wraith can melt AT-ST legs and trip the AT-ST, or the mortar could simply hit the cockpit and forcefully push the AT-ST on it's side rendering it useless. The AT-ST's two weapons (main weapon has high firing rate, but low damage and the secondary has low firing rate but high damage) that when put together, can disable a Wraith. The problem with disabling a Wraith is getting behind it, and with the slow turning cockpit of the AT-ST, it has a better chance walking over the Wraith and crushing it's pilot after damaging the front shield. That is incredibly risky, as the AT-ST could eat a close range mortar round. Don't worry Empire, the IFT-T tank can back you up! The IFT-T tank is effective with it's dual rockets, nifty dual lasers and the powerful secondary gunner turret, making it nearly as effective as a Wraith. Still, the problem with taking out Wraiths effectively is the 'getting behind it' problem, which no vehicle from either universe can easily do. The IFT-T tanks can take a lot of punishment, so it could be a distraction as stormtroopers or other infantry throw a thermal detonator into the vulnerable core. We all know about the Wraith drivers incredible tendency to splatter people, so Wraiths aren't going down without a fight. So the Imperial tanks must be assisted with saboteurs in order to take out a Wraith. As for the IFT-T tanks durability, it can take lots of thermal detonators before exploding (so if we make an equivalency between thermal detonators and plasma grenades, IFT-T tanks can take a lot of this), and so it will be able to take on multiple mortar rounds before going out. Seeing how IFT-T tanks are slightly more abundant as Wraiths, have less firepower, and are more a little more durable on their backside, it is an even fight between the two.
Finally, lets move on to the light craft. The 2 competitors are Ghost recon vehicles and the 74-Z Speeder bikes (The one in episode VI), so lets finish the vehicle competition with these. The Ghost is one of the fastest vehicles in the Halo universe (needless to say it is most known for 'splattering' enemies), and has efficient dual plasma guns while the 74-Z is much faster, while sacrificing it's firepower and armor. The 74-Z's probably have much much greater numbers then Ghosts, but they can't turn to find the enemy as fast. The ghosts have the same weak spot in the rear, although the anti-gravity system on the back is the main weakness for the Ghost. Once again, the 74-Z is really fast, but it lacks basic defense as well as a good weapon. 74-Z riders however can use blasters (on good stable terrain, even rifles) while riding these really fast bikes, so they can't be left out. The bikes and ghosts are more like two different things, so if there were some “super-powerful core” thing that the Covenant had invented and the Imperial's stole it, the 74-Z would make an untouchable getaway vehicle. Even banshee's can't keep up with the mind boggling speed of 500km/h. The ghost could simply ram the 74-Z, if it could catch it and we all know the answer to that one. If the 74-Z kept it's distance, the ghost would have a hard time surviving the initial conflict as well as anything in the future. Should we leave out Halo Wars vehicles? Just to spare this blog from getting any longer, I will leave those out... if you want to bring up that topic, please do so in the comments.
The infantry decides most of the ground battle, so let's just think about that for a second. Even though it appears to be the least game changing part of this conflict, the individuals are what this battle is counting on. Control buildings, missile silos or mass drivers which are only accessible by infantry hold the big prize here. Let's start with the big open areas; almost all Imperial infantry uses the E11 blaster rifle, which is a medium range typical rifle, so this will help them by having a multipurpose blaster. The Covenant's only medium range weapon comparable to the E11 is the Covenant Carbine, which doesn't rapidly fire bolts. In open areas, the Covenant will have a really hard time as most infantry don't use medium or long range weapons. So many of the grunts get mowed down by E11's as the stormtroopers keep a distance. Most shielded Covenant units escape to buildings, forcing the fight to become short range. Once inside these hypothetical buildings, and some cannon fodder grunts killed, the ground battle is starting to look bad for the Covenant. Only a few Stormtroopers were picked off by Jackal and Elite snipers, while many grunts were picked off by the effective medium range E11.
Anywho, the current fight isn't in the Covenant's advantage. The stormtroopers enter the buildings/bunkers and come eye to eye with many muscular and well armed Elites and Brutes. Needless to say, the ground-battle is turned back into the Covenant's favor. Energy Swords, meleeing, Needlers and Maulers make the Imperial's turn tail, once again evening out the casualty rate. Now all of these buildings and bunkers are probably going to be bombed or whatever Imperial's do when in trouble (shoot their allies because they are awful shots), so I guess that the Empire has 2 points to the Covenant's one. So there are all of these vehicles bombing buildings right? It's time for the Covenant to bring out suicide grunts and fuel rod cannon infantry. We all can agree that the when you see a pack of grunts using power weapons, you always underestimate them. Mob's of well armed cannon fodder eventually mow down these vehicles and demolition teams, allowing a short lived breather. The score is once again settled at 2 to 2. So, now that we've looked over these factors, let's go to other ones. A lot of people in the last blog's comments talk about how many special forces the Empire has, but I don't buy it. I guess you will see the occasional Dark Trooper, but the well known infantry will always be Stormtroopers and even Scout troopers. The prologue to Halo: The Fall of Reach explains how many grunts there are in simple advances, so I'm going to take a stab in the dark and say that there are still a lot of grunts out there. The scenario given above about the AT-AT vs the Scarab has just taken place, and the AT-AT was just demolished. The Scarab begins to make it's way back towards this loosely put together group of buildings while the Empire begins a counterattack. The vehicles also apply to this battle, so since the 74-Z can slowly take down a Ghost if it keeps it's distance, most Ghost's eventually were wiped out. The 74-Z's horrific lack of firepower makes it useless against infantry, and don't think about splattering enemies since the bike will just blow up! Wraith mortars slaughter the AT-ST's, while IFT-T's rockets give it back to the vulnerable backsides of Wraiths. This kind of equals out as a stalemate since Wraith easily beats AT-ST, but IFT-T's large numbers can overwhelm Wraiths. The involvement of these tanks in the infantry battle is different though, the AT-ST can take on infantry quite easily, but the IFT-T's awkwardly placed cannons can't hit close targets. The Wraith however, can take on infantry easily with the huge AOE mortar and the rapid fire turret. Plus, the Wraith is infamously known for splattering enemies so even though vehicles are a stalemate, the Covenant vehicles help out more with infantry crowd control because Wraith's kill AT-ST's, which are Imperial crowd control. The Imperial's are on the run! The vehicle battle is in the Covenant's favor, and with the help of vehicles, so is the infantry battle. This has been my ground-battle discussion, please comment on how you think this would turn out, and thank you.
Yes yes yes... This has been waaay too long of a discussion, but so many people on the wiki care about this topic, so I had to do an overkill. Once again, if you skim-read this, it's okay. Something to note: I heard that a lot of you guys said that Stormtroopers were elite, and incredible soldiers of the Imperial army that never missed any shots... Wikipedia has a thing on this. Please leave a comment, as so many people care about this topic and once again, thank you.