Who was the most badass military commander in history?

Today, while listening to the amazing Hardcore History podcast about The Mongol Invasions, I learned the answer to that question-


Subutai (1176–1248) was the primary military strategist and general of Genghis Khan and Ögedei Khan. He directed more than twenty campaigns in which he conquered thirty-two nations and won sixty-five pitched battles, during which he conquered or overran more territory than any other commander in history. He gained victory by means of imaginative and sophisticated strategies and routinely coordinated movements of armies that were hundreds of kilometers away from each other. He is also remembered for devising the campaign that destroyed the armies of Hungary and Poland within two days of each other, by forces over five hundred kilometers apart. (From Subutai – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.)

As you will learn, if you give the amazing Hardcore History episode a listen (I recommend listening to the show in general, and this particular mini-series is one of their very best.) at one point he took a Scouting Force of 20,000 men on a little three year tour of Europe, and in the process conquered 11 nations, including Russia! He did this with fairly small casualties (he still had roughly 3/4 of his men at the end of the “tour”) and this was after fighting numerous battles where his army was outnumbered 2:1 or 3:1! The enemy was usually completely slaughtered with nearly 100% casualties.

There is also no record of him losing a single battle- ever.

Ah, if only Zhuge Liang was still alive when Subutai was, that would have been a glorious fight!

The PA Report – Artemis allows six people take the bridge of a starship, and tell their own story

Oh, I’d love to play this with a room full of my friends!

I actually remember playing the old Star Trek Tactical Combat Simulator pen and paper game from FASA which was basically the same thing done with dice and paper, and it was pretty fun on the rare occasions we got to play with a full crew. (I think that happened maybe twice.) This looks like it takes that idea to the next level, and would be a real blast, especially if the graphics were a little better.

Artemis is designed for anyone who watched Star Trek and dreamed of what it would be like to sit on the bridge of a star ship.

That dream comes at a price, as playing a game of Artemis requires some organization and a lot of hardware. You need up to six computers and a projector or large television for the full experience, as there are five stations that need to be controlled directly and a view screen for the captain. The captain’s job is to ask for information from the other five members of the crew, digest what it all means, look at data on the main view screen, and make command decisions. The game requires a quick wit and the ability to work well with others.

Artemis is $40, which is steep for an indie game with such basic graphics, but that license allows you to play the game on all six computers. There is no DRM, as the game’s creator simply asks you to abide by Wheaton’s Law.

via The PA Report – Artemis allows six people take the bridge of a starship, and tell their own story.

Computer virus hits U.S. Drone Fleet

Everyone who didn’t see this coming, raise you hand?

When you computerize everything, you also make it all vulnerable to infection, especially a networked operation. The only question is who did it, and what other kinds of viruses have also been infecting the systems?

A computer virus has infected the cockpits of America’s Predator and Reaper drones, logging pilots’ every keystroke as they remotely fly missions over Afghanistan and other warzones.

The virus, first detected nearly two weeks ago by the military’s Host-Based Security System, has not prevented pilots at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada from flying their missions overseas. Nor have there been any confirmed incidents of classified information being lost or sent to an outside source. But the virus has resisted multiple efforts to remove it from Creech’s computers, network security specialists say. And the infection underscores the ongoing security risks in what has become the U.S. military’s most important weapons system.

via Computer virus hits U.S. Drone Fleet.

Lanchester’s Laws

From- http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/sfconsim-l/message/45945

Lanchester’s laws are concerned with balancing military
strength of various units.

If one is dealing with ancient combat (i.e., pre-gunpowder)
Lanchester Linear Law applies, the common sense
“relative strength is proportional to number of combatants”.
(e.g., if the unit Alfa has twice as many men as unit Bravo,
unit Alfa is twice as strong)
It applies because one man is engaging in combat with
only one hostile man. If each pair of combatants kills
each other, the number of men remaining after the battle
is the larger army minus the smaller army.

But post gunpowder, Lanchester Square Law applies.
The relative strength is proportional to the *square*
of the number of combatants.
If unit Alfa has three times as many men, it is 3^2 = 9
times as powerful.

This is because with gunpowder combatants can engage
more than one hostile and come under attack from
more than one hostile.

Unit Alfa is concentrating three times as much firepower
on unit Bravo compared to Bravo’s firepower. And as
important, unit Bravo’s firepower is being diluted over
three times as many targets.

The number of units remaining would be
R = sqrt( a^2 – b^2)

If Alfa’s rifles are twice as efficient as Bravo’s,
if the two units are of equal size, Alfa will win.
But the Square law makes it easy to overcome the
efficiency with mere numbers. If Bravo has three
times as many units, they will win even with
Alfa’s advantage in weapons.

Specifically, if Bravo is three times bigger, it
has a strength nine times that of Alfa. Alfa’s
weapons reduces that strength to “only” 4.5,
so Bravo still destroys Alfa.

As Dr. Paulos put it, it takes an N-squared-fold increase in
quality to make up for an N-fold increase in quantity.
That’s a tall order.

Lanchester Laws do not take into account many other
important factors, but they can come in handy when setting
up the cost and production rate of different unit types.