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How did the United Nations Space Command fight their war? We all know, of course, that their ultimate objective was to prevent humanity's extinction by keeping the Covenant away from Earth and all other colonies, but how did they do it? How did they focus their efforts in the great scheme of things? In other words, what was their strategy?
Being the inferior force, both numerically and technologically, the best chance of survival would be to employ the Fabian Strategy. This is named after the Ancient Roman politician and General Quintus Fabius Maximus Verrucosus, who was given the thankless task of repelling Hannibal's armies from Italy. Fabius realised the Romans' tactical inferiority to the Carthagians, and so instead of engaging Hannibal in pitched battles, he focused his efforts on destroying his supply trains and attacking small enemy units to wear Hannibal down in a war of attrition and destroying the enemy's morale.
The UNSC would probably do something similar: They would fight in the open only when absolutely necessary, for example, if a colony was attacked. They would have to rely on the effectiveness of the Cole Protocol, and the Covenant's relative ignorance regarding the location of their colonies. Mounting lightning raids on high-priority targets would lengthen Covenant supply lines and remove any dangerously-positioned Covenant bases, such as K7-49. Operation: TORPEDO and Operation: PROMETHEUS are good examples of this. The rest of the time, they would avoid conflict whenever possible and set their sights on ambushing Covenant forces.
So, if I was the supreme commander of the UNSC's war effort, my basic plan would be this:
- Prowlers will constantly scour slipstream space, searching for Covenant forces.
- When a Covenant force of less than ten ships is detected, the prowler should move to a safe distance, and plant a field of HORNET Mines in normal space. A fleet of ships will also be assembled, with three-to-one numerical superiority. Any fleet larger than ten ships is too big to comfortably deal with.
- The fleet will arrive at the ambush area, maintaing total radio silence and stealth protocols. After planting the minefield, the prowler will broadcast a multitude of fake signals, making it appear that there is a large fleet present there, which hopefully the Covenant force will pick up.
- After the Covenant force reverts from slipspace, the fleet will lure the Covenant into the minefield. The mines will activate, reducing the Covenant force's numbers and draining the shields of the ships that are left.
- The UNSC fleet destroys any remaining Covenant ships and retreats.
The Cole Protocol would, of course, still apply. All UNSC ships would leave the ambush site on a random vector, and before returning to any colony, base, or population centre, an exhaustive search of every ship would take place to ensure that no Covenant tracking devices had been picked up. Reach could have been saved had something as simple and as obvious as that had been employed.
Raids on Covenant targets would take place when possible, but only when absolutely necessary. We don't want a repeat of Operation: PROMETHEUS, thank you very much.
This should wear down the Covenant's resources and continually frustrate Sangheili commanders, who may find that they might not even be able to score a single kill before they find their Flagship shredded by nuclear mines. This would equally wear down the Covenant's morale, and morale can be more important in a campaign than any weapon or vehicle.
Your opinions and input, please.