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オリジナルの投稿元:Halo Archive
Grey101により編集済み: 2/25/2014 3:04:48 PM
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Strategy of the Human Covenant War; -Were humans really the better strategists?

[Created by timh1990 on the main site and moved over here.] Personally I’m of the opinion that throughout the war the Covenant maintained a strategic if not tactical advantage that the UNSC led humanity decisively lacked. From a pure analytical point of view I base this augment on the fact that the Covenant Empire is clearly a highly militarized society which has aggressively expanded and absorbed an undetermined yet significant portion of the galaxy over its history. While there is no direct evidence I strongly suspect that the Covenant up until is fracturing in 2553 shared borders with several equally large and technologically sophisticated alien empires as the very existence of a professional military suggests the presence of an external and very tangible threat. The almost perpetual state of conflict that I suspect the Covenant has been immersed in over its history would form the basis for an extremely efficient, experienced and well led military. By comparison the UNSC of 2525 was a backwater isolated power with absolutely no experience in dealing with alien cultures or external military threats prior to first contact at Harvest. Admiral Preston Cole’s autobiography made clear that up until the outbreak of the Insurgency in the last decade of the 25th century, the human Navy acted primarily as colonial administration force settling disputes between colonies and chasing of the “occasional” pirates. Nylund’s specifically stated that the Navy’s officer corps was mostly composed of the UNSC elite with the right “connections” who saw the Navy as a cushy career to success. Like it or not the Covenant’s campaign against humanity was the model of an extremely successful interstellar war, with the UNSC pushed all the way back to their homeworld and the Covenant gaining a substantial (if brief) foothold on Earth itself in the final months of the war. Naturally as in any waypoint discussion there were those who disagreed with my own viewpoint (with credible reasoning), with a counter view that it was humanity who maintained a continuous advantage over the Covenant in terms of technological innovation and military tactics. When I directly asked if this was true then why was the war only waged in human space and why did it end with the human military “scattered and crushed” (Halo 2’s own description) at Earth, the answer was as follows; The Covenant military success was down to two factors; - The Employment of superior Technology - The Employment of superior numbers and Resources As I said before while this answer seemed creditable it was also frustratingly inflexible, hence the reason you are likely reading this post now. For simplicity on my own part I’m going to break down this debate into two sub-topics in relation to UNSC & Covenant tactics, tactical and strategic. The tactical analysis will consists of the tactics humanity and the Covenant employed during the actual individual battles of the Human-Covenant, how they fought. The strategic side of this analysis will consist of the general strategy employed both sides during the war, namely how did each side plan to end the war. - Tactical From a tactical point of view I would concede that while humanity may not have started off with one, the UNSC did gain at least a partial tactical advantage over the Covenant Empire as the war progressed. I would like to stress that in my opinion this advantage was one likely born out of shear desperation, as humanity needed a way to compensate for the Covenant’s vast technological advantage granted by their faster ships, energy shielding and directed energy weapons. A naturally high attrition rate amongst the human officer corps would also ensure that only the best, brightest and luckiest human were chosen to captain vessels, as incompetent officers were likely removed of killed in the line of duty. At the same time the Covenant’s decisive advantage in technology over their human counterparts would likely breed a natural arrogance as they would become too reliant on their superior weapons and defences at the cost of their own intuition and initiative during engagements. This being said I disagree that the Covenant outnumbered humanity during the war. While Doctor Hasley did state in Ghosts of Onyx that the Covenant Empire as a sovereign entity was much larger than the UNSC, she also believed that up until 2552 the majority of the Covenant military had been engaged in another conflict and as a result humanity had only faced a token force representing a small fraction of the Covenant’s total military strength. This would fit well with my own view of the Covenant Empire as a dominant yet contested intergalactic power which shared borders and may have been at war with several equally powerful and aggressive alien empires during the events of the human-covenant war. While humanity may have maintained a slight tactical edge, I do not believe this gave them a decisive military advantage. Covenant technological superiority outstanding, the UNSC still seemed to maintain numerical advantage over the Covenant in most battles and yet still suffered a disproportionate and consistent casualty rate throughout the course of the war. There were exceptions to this rule in which the Covenant seemed to be able to field an overwhelming number of ships against their human opponents such as the battle of Battle of Psi Serpentis and the Fall of Reach, however these events seemed to be rare and few between. The remaining battles that we have knowledge off seem to suggest the opposite of the UNSC proponents assertion that the Covenant outnumbered humanity, as the below figures show; - Second Battle of Harvest (2525) o 40 UNSC warships vs 1 Covenant Battleship  Result: 13 UNSC warships destroyed vs 1 Covenant warship destroyed - Battle of Alpha Aurigae (2526) o 117 UNSC warships vs 12 Covenant warships  Result: 37 warships destroyed vs 12 Covenant warships destroyed - Battle of XI Boötis A (2528) o 70 UNSC warships vs 8 Covenant warships  Result: 30 UNSC warships destroyed vs 8 Covenant warships destroyed - Battle of Groombridge (2530) o 17 UNSC warships vs 3 Covenant warships  Result: 11 UNSC warships destroyed vs 3 Covenant warships destroyed - Second Battle of Sigma Octanus IV (2552) o 48 UNSC warships vs 20 Covenant warships  Result: 25 UNSC warships destroyed vs 18 Covenant warships destroyed Pursuing this argument further, I would also point out that while the Covenant’s technological superiority may have breed both overconfidence and arrogance among the Covenant elite, the Covenant also proved capable of some stunning tactical innovations. During the Battle of Reach depicted in the game, rather than hitting Reach via a direct assault, they infiltrated the surface and transported their SuperCarrier beneath Reach’s orbital defenses, subsequently obliterating Reach’s orbital defenses forces in a single engagement. This in turn forced the UNSC to react on both a tactical and strategic level by pulling their remaining battle-groups back to Reach where an overwhelming Covenant fleet was waiting for them to emerge. In conclusion from a tactical perspective I would say that humanity maintained a consistent if at times tenuous and contested advantage over the Covenant throughout the course of the war. The trade off for this tactical advantage in terms of tactical innovation and resourcefulness (thinking outside the box) was an appalling attrition rate suffered by the UNSC in both personnel and materials (starships, material resources and infrastructure). Despite this in my opinion human ingenuity was never able to fully compensate for the Covenant’s technological sophistication, and as a result most human victories could only ever be considered Pyrrhic at best, brought about by superior numbers more than better tactics and resulting in wholly disproportionate casualties. The presence of UNSC naval captain’s like Andrew Del Rio by 2553 shows that even after 28 years of devastating war, the UNSC High Command still has grossly incompetent officers at its highest levels. While the same could be true of the Sangheili and Jiralhanae Ship and Fleet Masters, the presence of Covenant leaders such as the Arbiter and Rtas’ Vadum indicates that the Covenant like humanity also had very competent and experienced officers. This when combined with the Covenant’s undeniable technological sophistication and ability to deploy vast fleets of warships when the situation warranted it could prove to be disastrous for the UNSC, as it was at the Fall of Reach. - Strategic While the UNSC may have maintained a tactical advantage over the Covenant for the majority of the war, from a strategic perspective I believe the UNSC was at a substantial disadvantage. The reason I say this if that from the admittedly limited information we have regarding the progress of the human Covenant war, there seems to be almost no indication that the UNSC ever had a specific strategy to win the war. From the very first engagement at Harvest in 2525 all the way through to the Battle of Earth in 2552 the UNSC’s strategic plan seemed to be primarily defensive and at no time do they ever seem to try and take the war into the Covenant Empire. A small number of surgical attacks on Covenant supply bases were launched, however these only ever seemed to be aimed at slowing the Covenant’s advance into human territory rather then halting or reversing it. The result of the UNSC solely defensive campaign is that the Covenant were free to dictate the course of war, picking which worlds to strike at and which worlds to bypass, depriving the UNSC of precious raw materials and manpower with each glassed world or pyrrhic human victory. At the same time Covenant’s ability to manufacture new warships, train fresh warriors and finance their war remained unmolested, and year after year the cycle repeated until the Covenant finally reached Earth in 2552.

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  • This sums up the strategies used in Halo very well.

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  • Too many words...

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    • Whatever point I am in the lore is the part people on B.net talk about, which is great. I'm currently reading Contact Harvest, so I'll come back to this thread when I finish it.

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      • Why not hire MLG players to remote control spartan suits. Have you seen MLG players play halo campaign on legendary?

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      • Seeing as the covenant had never heard of nuclear weapons, I'm surprised humanity didn't use that to its advantage. In the cannon they always mention how the UNSC constantly ran out of nukes. This is bullshit. If we were fighting a technologically superior enemy we would mine every moon of ever planet in every solar system we controlled for uranium and helium 3. We would throw fusion and fission bombs at the covenant and ass ra pe them. Shit, 500 years in the future we would probably have antimatter weapons.

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        • Methewにより編集済み: 2/26/2014 6:22:04 PM
          It's probably been mentioned but the Nova Bomb was built as a retaliatory strike against the Covenant. Though the UNSC failed to deploy it, the Covenant did it for them in it when they took it to one of their manufacturing worlds, IIRC, and left it alone to be manhandled by the Hugarok who activated it. The bomb, IIRC, vaporized the vast majority of the ships there, a force comparable to the force that glass Reach, destroyed the planet, at the very least scorched the surface to uselessness, and cracked the moon orbiting the planet. Edit: Found the Halo Wiki resource. It destroyed 300 ships, destroyed the moon, scorched half the planet to uselessness and the shockwave orbiting the planet destroyed the rest. Radiation killed everything that survived that. I also doubt that the Covenant were fighting another powerful alien race given how we haven't seen them either during the war or after the Covenant's defeat. If they were engaged they would have swooped in at the start of the Civil War between the Elites and the Brutes to crush both and then Humanity. At the very least we would have seen something by H4.

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        • MastaSinにより編集済み: 2/26/2014 7:22:20 AM
          The UNSC kept a defensive strategy for the first, probably ten years of war because they never encountered nothing like this before (obviously) and since the Covenant kept silent communications with the humans, the UNSC didn't how far and capable was the Covenant. Also there are several info about the UNSC and ONI making their own theories that the Covenant was looking for something and that they were probably in their way and had no intention to fight them but just were in their way. Contact Harvest and Halo Wars was pretty much focus on this theories, until they found out that they were behind Forerunner technology. I do agree that the Spartan II intervention slowed down the Covenant but weren't the solution to stop the war. Even when Dr. Halsey tells John about their plan to kidnap one of the Prophets, John see this like a waste of time. In the Fall of Reach (the book) you can tell that the Covenant had control over the whole war, they just didn't put much effort because their loses weren't as great as the humans, note the massive scale invasion of their fleets. The Super MACS even obliterated several Covenant destroyers and Cruiser CLass and still they even didn't made a dent to their whole fleet. Even later when the rest of the Spartans left Reach and later in the battle of the Unyielding Hierophant after the whole fleet that obliterated Reach got vaporised thanks for the Spartans and Admiral Danforth Whitcomb, even so, Truth says that was just a minor setback. In the second battle of Earth even the Covenant fleet is smaller than when attacked Reach and Earth even more protected than Reach got almost obliterated. It wasn't thanks that Truth screwed up by removing the Elites from their power. All in all, the Covenant always had the upper hand, even they had the luxury to have a civil war in the Great Schism and still travel to Earth later on and fight again in the Ark. In no way I see the Covenant was in any disadvantage. Humans got lucky Truth got too corrupted in power, that he screwed himself.

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          • Are you suggesting that the Covenant and Forerunners, Flood, Humans aren't the only races in Halo?

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            • Luisにより編集済み: 2/26/2014 12:12:04 AM
              After the Sangheili sided with the UNSC,the covenant lost all their tactics. WHAT IS ON THE COVENANT MIND Brute:shoot people and then suicide charge at them when my shields are down. Why don't they run at the humans when they have armor on?Simple answer:brutes are hi tech barbarians with no tactics, but we all Know that. Grunt:run away from demons and suicide with grenades Jackal:go pew pew with guns and run away when shields are down Hunter:beat people with arm and shoot The hunters are easily the stupidest Without the sangheili the only intelligent races in the covenant are the San 'Shyuumm and the kig yar

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              • The Covenant were stupid which cost them the war. If they had been smart, they would have just glassed Halo when the Pillar of Autumn landed on it.

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                • Posts like this make me miss Bungies Halo. :( I mean 343 just hired a bunch of Japanese people to shit on the aesthetic design, story, and canon More importantly they shat on THE LOGIC FACTOR

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                  • Good post.

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                  • [quote]there seems to be almost no indication that the UNSC ever had a specific strategy to win the war. [/quote] This is openly admitted on multiple occasions I believe, by Halsey herself at least once that I can recall. RED FLAG was the first and only (known) counter offensive the UNSC attempted. But the idea that the Covenant were waging conflicts with other alien races on their borders has little to no supporting evidence. No one talks about it, we see no sign of these aliens, and the Covenant seem more than willing to assimilate any race into their hegemony; that they didn't do so with humanity was, in fact, a point of confusion and suspicion in some of the Elites, the aforementioned professional soldiers who would be waging these wars against these hypothetical aliens in the first place. So why did they have a professional military? Probably because of the Elites' native culture to be honest; one of the two founding members of the Covenant were a race of space Samurai-Spartans, and over the years, they fought multiple conflicts with races that would all eventually be absorbed into the Covenant, including multiple Grunt rebellions, Kig-Yar pirates, the taming of the Hunters, the Brutes, and so on. The Covenant have a standing military in part because of the Elites' culture, and in part because they have experience in dealing with threats both external and domestic. That doesn't mean that they were actively sharing borders with hitherto unknown alien civilizations, just that they were prepared in case they ever were.

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                    • I think both sides had their ups and downs in various regions, strengths and weaknesses. In terms of strategy, I'd think Human kind would be better, but only to a certain and specific degree. They didn't have the technology or the numbers to fight the Covenant, and as their backs went against the walls, they had to get more and more cunning as time wore on. Much like how people in prisons come up with ingenious ways of smuggling things in or creating weapons. But they could never go on the offensive because I imagine intelligence was limited. By Reach Human intelligence was only vaguely aware of the head honchos at the top of the Covenant heirachy system, and had little in the way of knowing when and where Prophets would be. From the start Humanity was in a stacked game and all they could do was fight tooth and claw for every inch of space. I'd think if the two sat at the same technological level, they'd be locked in a stalemate. But the Covenant had all this time on their hands to gain a leg up in tactics and space faring, and the fact that it wasn't composed of one species but many, added more weight on things that the UNSC couldn't ever hope to hold up on it's own. They were innovative because they had their backs up against the wall, trapped in a corner without real direction of where and when the Covenant was coming from or who even led them. Meanwhile the Covenant had already taken apart the most basic common language for intercepting and translation, had an understanding of Human military ranking systems, the ins and outs of their spacecraft and other weapons, and so on. It was almost like fighting a conventional war against guerilla warfare. The Covenant could show up any time, with any number of ships, and had the advantage in surprise and intelligence, while Humanity basically had all their cards up front from day one. With that being said, another question that arises is, if there are likely other alien empires out there, and the Covenant was dealing with them as well, then what happens with the collapse of the Covenant? What's to stand in the way of the other empires coming in and plowing over a fractured Covenant and decimated Humanity?

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                      • I am aware that the odds stacked against the UNSC from the beginning of the war were astronomical. A small isolated power with no knowledge of the galaxy outside its own borders suddenly set upon by a larger technologically advanced alien power. Humanity was outgunned technologically, at times outnumbered and had absolutely no compression of why they were being invaded and who they were fighting however, one thing humanity had in abundance was time, 28 years to be precise. To quote the subject matter of another universe, the situation the UNSC found itself in the late twenty’s of the 26th century was not unique to this genre. The Earth Alliance of the Mass Effect universe like the UNSC faced an unexpected and unplanned war against an unknown and potentially vastly superior enemy in the form of the Turian Hierarchy during the events of the First Contact War. Unlike the UNSC however, the Earth Alliance dispatched dozens if not hundreds nuclear armed probes into Turian space in an attempt to map out the Turian’s territory, seemingly in preparation for a counter attack. As events would later transpire the war was ended through diplomatic means before either side could mobilize their forces for full scale war, yet in the space of a handful of months the Earth Alliance had set the ground work for a offensive campaign into their enemies territory. Clearly they were not prepared to allow the Turian Hierarchy the freedom to dictate the course of the war, unlike the UNSC whose only tangible plan seemed to rely on waiting for the Covenant carve a path through their colonies to Earth. In comparison to the UNSC’s strategic initiative, the Covenant’s general strategy for winning the war seems unclear. A cursory glance at the Halo back-story would suggest that the Covenant Hierarchs wished nothing less than humanity’s complete eradication, which by 2552 they seemed to be on the verge of achieving. A closer perspective would suggest that more ulterior motives were the central driving force for the war, as Admiral Preston Cole in his biography had theorized that an unknown faction within the Covenant hierarchy were preventing the Covenant from pin-pointing Earth location and thus prolonging the war. A long drawn out conflict could therefore have been what the Covenant (or a shadow faction of their government) wanted all along, and unfortunately we can only speculate as to their reasoning. The only thing we can say with any certainly is that whatever the Covenant strategic plan was to win the war, the virtual annihilation of the Earth Home Fleet and temporary occupation of Earth in 2552 would suggest that their plans were successful. In final conclusion, I would say that while humanity maintained a partial and at times hair thin tactical advantage over the Covenant from a tactical perspective, from a strategic perspective the UNSC’s unwillingness to take the offensive into Covenant territory led directly to their practical defeat during the Battle of Earth. Throughout the course of the war the UNSC’s willingness to accept overwhelming losses rather than their unconventional tactics led to a significant number of important yet costly victories. These individual triumphs however were rendered practically worthless as long as the UNSC remained on the defensive strategically. The Covenant were always free to replace ships and troops lost in battle and return with greater force when human numbers proved too much for their technological superiority to overcome. Humanity on the other hand would lose access to more and more of their manufacturing capability and access to raw materials with each colony glassed as the Covenant pushed them back year after war, all the way until they reached Earth which as we all know is exactly what happened. We likely will never know the Covenant leadership’s full intention for initiating the war however in my opinion between 2525-2553 they conducted an extremely thorough and decisive campaign which by 2552 had humanity on its knees. Humans may have known how to gain individual tactical victories however, as long as the UNSC maintained a solely defensive strategy against a larger more advanced enemy that crucially could maintain the war indefinitely from an economical perspective, the UNSC’s defeat was never a question of if, but when. Humanity never had a decisive strategy to ultimately win the war, the Covenant did.

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                        23 通の返信
                        • (My post on Archive) It has always been stated throughout the series that the Covenant followed the simple strategy of force in numbers. They had nearly no need for strategy if they could field an absolutely overwhelming force. Even if the odds were even and the UNSC managed to win, the costs would be horrible for them. The Covenant must have known this the further the war dragged on, considering the fact that they could replace their numbers and ships much more easily than the UNSC could. Any large scale UNSC victory on the Covenant would come as disastrous when it came back to the figures. After all, the Covenant is pulling the industrial prowess and numbers from several races (even if they are not using their full capacity for war against the UNSC), while the UNSC is at an extreme disadvantage for resources and numbers (Especially as the Outer Colonies were the first to fall to the Covenant and were the main supply of resources for the UNSC), which still leaves them severely outnumbered and with less industrial/manufacturing capacity. The Covenant extremely underestimated the UNSC thanks to their beliefs of them being vermin but, as some Elites had pointed out, they fought with honor to the end and devised impressive strategies to overcome impossible odd but The Covenant has had no real reason to change their doctrine in war as it brought back results and the Prophets could care less about losses, combined with their superior technology which made it easier for them to win. They could recieve reinforcements much faster and in bigger numbers than the UNSC could, sometimes with the force already present being able to stand up to UNSC fleets which makes Covenant reinforcements a signal to retreat before everything is lost, giving them an easy victory over an initially larger force. Covenant shield technology on ships would mean they could take multiple MAC rounds (assuming they hit their marks to begin with) before failing, depending on class, and even then a direct hit does not mean the ship is at least neutralized. Two plasma bolts could shred frigates and destroyers, with the added effect of the plasma eating through the armor, decks and vital systems. They were guided, which means essentially every plasma round would hit it's mark unless the ship that fired the round was destroyed. Also have to take into consideration the fact the UNSC had not mastered space warfare, while the Covenant have had thousands of years of experience in multiple conflicts (not counting the ones with other possible empires). Had the Insurrection never happened, the UNSC would have had no capable fleet or armament to slow down the Covenants initial attack thus shortening the war considerably. You can't really blame the UNSC for not counter attacking when they were getting beaten so bad. They simply could not spare ships for such a task when they need an entire fleet to take on a battle group of Covenant ships, or a battle group to face off a couple of ships. With the loss of the Inner Colonies, the UNSC was loosing vital shipyards and were loosing more ships than they could produce (After the fall of Reach, the Covenant could easily have bled out the UNSC in a war of attrition without the need to directly assault Earth which would have as easily meant the UNSC's defeat). They had to try and defend their resources for war efforts sake, and loosing any ships in any potential counter attack just did not seem viable for them. Not to mention as the war dragged on, actual Covenant territory was further and further away, which could mean a UNSC battle group that were to counter attack would take months or even a year or more to reach its destination, while with Covenant superior slipspace technology, they could cover that distance in days or weeks and conduct multiple attacks on different locations. IF the UNSC did counter attack, the gravity of the damage they could inflict would be absolutely minimum to the Covenant while running with the risk of loosing that entire battlegroup for a worthless attack. It wouldn't even have any effect on the Covenant's morale as it would no doubt be kept under wraps or the Covenant would simply not care at all (As I can assume happened with the neutralization of the facilities on OPERATION: PROMETHEUS and OPERATION: TORPEDO) I'm sure the UNSC saw better to keep those ships behind in order to bolster the defense. But no matter what they did, counter attack or not, the UNSC could have never won this war. On the ground, apart from obvious superior numbers, the UNSC almost always had better strategies, but facing off against plasma weaponry (which most importantly doesn't need a direct hit to cause a casualty) simply made the battles hell. Any defensive positions could be literally melted or heated enough to cause indirect casualties as well. It would just keep stacking against the UNSC. Any defenses such as minefields could be easily wiped out by waves of Grunts, as well as stocks of ammunition. Then the real fighting force of the Covenant (Elites and Brutes) should show up to fight exhausted, physically and mentally, as well as depleted ammo wise, troops. While true the UNSC forces were generally better trained there is only so much a regular human can take before breaking down. The psychological effects of loss after loss was eating away at the UNSC war effort. Of course, the higher-ups didn't really suffer from this as they were not on the frontlines, but even the most experienced of troops would eventually break down from the strain. The Covenant suffered no such thing with victory after victory, especially considering for the Elites it was considered an honor to die on the battlefield. And no, the UNSC never had a strategy to win the war. The only strategy they had was to survive it, which was most prominent with Infinity and later RED FLAG. The major difference with the UNSC-Covenant War compared to the First Contact War in Mass Effect is that the technological differences were no where near as major as they were within Halo. Even then, the war ended right when the Turians were about to mobilize their entire fleet to fight off the human force that had retaken Shanxi. The Turians would have no doubt curbstomped the Alliance had the other Council Races not stepped in and stopped them and the war would have run its course. Either way, the Alliance and Turians technology were both derived from Prothean tech each had access to. The UNSC did not have access nor time to develop on Forerunner tech as the Covenant had. Plus, the UNSC was low on their nuclear stockpile throughout the war, unlike the Alliance.

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                          • I'm actually formulating a theory about this... Ugh. Now I've got to juggle that, my study of Requiem, and Issue #3. I NO HAVE TIME

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                          • humans won most of their ground engagements, it was the space fights they lost the most of which is why most battles ended in covenant victory, air/space superiority

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                          • [quote]she also believed that up until 2552 the majority of the Covenant military had been engaged in another conflict.[/quote] That does make sense. Look at the Na­zi during the time they invaded France. They basically steamrolled right through it because there was really no other major powers to divert their attention. Then latter on when they got involved with Britain, the SU and latter the US that's when they started to loose that effect. There really is no reason why with the size of the Covenant they couldn't have simply made thousands of ships to fight humanity. Then due to it being different species that make it up they will also out number the humans. Just like the Allied nations fighting the Germans. So that statement does make sense about the Covenant not being able to take out the UNSC.

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                            2 通の返信
                            • B-b-b-but muh Spartans. On a serious note I would like to think the Spartan Program had some sort of impact on the war.

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                              6 通の返信
                              • Holy crap. Great read, but I completely forgot about what Dr. Halsey said. Who else were they fighting?

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                                7 通の返信
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