The Beginning of Hope : From Despair to Hope, by Professor Amelia Dooney, New Cambridge University Press, 2354 Before the Battle of Myoto, the humans had lost every battle. Sure, most of the Minbari victories had been pyrrhic, but they were still victories, with the humans losing entire fleets and planets in the process. Earth Force inflicted massive losses on the Minbari, but it was through one-off tricks, which the Minbari were adapting to. The Minbari were superior in numbers, since they had produced Sharlins for four centuries (while regularly upgrading them), and Tinashi for six centuries. Not to mention the Shargotis, that were only produced since 2204. The Minbari were, after all, preparing to fight the Shadows and their thralls once again. The Minbari warrior caste was among the best. Their main weakness was that they were steeped in tradition and that they were arrogant towards upstart humans. The Minbari doctrine was also ill prepared to deal with an enemy like the Alliance. The military history of the Minbari Federation The Valen War effects The last important war fought by the Minbari was, of course, the Valen War. This war was almost the exact reverse of the Earth-Minbari War (at the beginning), for the Minbari. During the Valen War, the Minbari had been mostly on the defensive, technologically inferior, had difficulties to spot their enemies, and their only advantage was numbers. The Shadows had attacked with (relatively) small fleets to give the Minbari a chance to prove their worth and survive (or not). The Minbari doctrine revolved around fighting the Shadows. The Minbari did not put much emphasis on armor or gravitic shields, because the Shadow battlecrabs would one shot them anyway. Either the Minbari ships would dodge enemy beams and survive, or not. Instead, they put emphasis on numbers, sensors (to locate Shadow or Shadow-aligned ships), speed, maneuvrability, and their own weapons. The neutron cannons were designed to punch the Shadow ships from long range (and to NOT miss), while the Minbari ships danced to dodge Shadow beams. The fusion cannons were there to deal with Shadow fighters, or with younger races ships (the Shadows would surely recruit new client races) during the battles. In case the Minbari had to fight a younger race alone, their doctrine was very simple. Use the jamming, the speed, the maneuvrability and the (very accurate and long-ranged) weapons to slaughter enemy fleets, while remaining safely out of their weapons range. Use the fighters to dance in the middle of enemy fleets. Methodically destroy enemy fleet, ground forces and industry. The Garmak War The Garmak could have been, on paper, a dangerous enemy. They had a large empire, and their technology level was close to the Minbari (except for jamming). However, the Garmak Empire was similar to the later Centauri Republic. It was divided in rival duchies, with their own fleets. Garmak dukes appointed their own families, or lesser nobility families, as officers. They didn’t choose them on their competence (and tended to avoid too competent officers, because they might have been dangerous). Ducal fleets were of various technological quality. Only a few duchies were rich enough to afford the top-of-the-line ships and good maintenance. Garmak duchies used their fleets for piracy (against each other and other races). They captured trade ships, slaves, and resources on the ground. Until one Garmak pirate ship raided a religious Minbari convoy. No known alien race was able to threaten the Garmak, while Garmak houses agreed to raid each other, but not more. Full-scale civil war was bad for profits. So, the Garmak duchies had very few true warships, no orbital defences, and lots of cheap pirate ships (with a lot of cargo space, and not enough armor and weapons). The Garmak fleets were spread thin. Each duke had his fleet defending his own throneworld, his borders (with other duchies), and raiding. Some had fleets attacking other nations (at the time, only the Centauri, Abbai, Hyach and Yolu were in space). The Minbari started a war against the Garmak after a raid. It was a total surprise for the duchy that had ordered the raid. Moreover, the duchies were not communicating and coordinating together. So, Garmak systems went « dark » one after the other, while many Garmak dukes were blissfully ignorant of the situation. Until Minbari fleets reached them. Even when all Garmak dukes had realized the threat, they could do nothing. They did not know who was attacking them (or why). The Minbari had also just developed their jamming, so the Garmak never managed to clearly see their attackers or touch them. The Garmak Empire was only a few centuries behind the Minbari technologically. The Minbari still managed to anihilate the Garmak fleets without taking a single loss. The Minbari, then, glassed Garmak infrastructure on the ground. The Garmak homeworld was sent back to stone age, Garmak-only colonies were glassed entirely, and alien races under the Garmak rule were freed. The Orieni-Centauri and Streib campaigns The next offensive operation was during the Centauri-Orieni War. The Minbari arrived during a battle between the two, and destroyed both fleets. It was a punsihment for violating Minbari territory. Again, the Minbari had benefited from surprise effect and superior technology. Once again, the Minbari sustained no loss. Their territory was not violated ever again by the Centauri or Orieni. Two years later, the Minbari kicked the Streib back to their (supposed) « homeworld ». The Minbari victory was quick. The Streib were advanced enough to harm the Minbari in space battles, but not advanced (nor numerous) enough to win. So, instead of trying to resist and angering the Minbari even more, the Streib let the Minbari slaughter their fleets entirely (without taking a single loss). At the same time, the Streib constantly begged the Minbari to spare them, and the other races to help them (in vain). While the Streib acted publically desperate, they were busy evacuating as much as possible of their population and infrastructure to their true homeworld (which was far out of the Local Sector). The result was that the Minbari had won two wars against advanced races without taking a single loss. They didn’t have to fight on the ground either, they simply bombed the enemy planets from orbit. The Minbari were prepared to deal with the Shadows and their clients (as much prepared as they could be, at least). They were prepared to deal with races like the Streib and Garmak. Earth Alliance's preparedness They were, however, NOT prepared to deal with the Earth Alliance. The Alliance had, in two centuries, managed to create as much major colonies as the Minbari. Earthers built themselves enough ships to defend all their planets (especially the most important ones), and put layered orbital defences around each planet. Even before discovering Goa’uld technology, the Alliance was the best of the galaxy in ground combat. The Alliance military always had up-to-date hardware (be it ships, fighters, tanks…), and top-notch professionalism. Earthers were experienced to both space and ground war. The Alliance was ready for a major war. There was a very efficient system of reserve and conscription (just in case). The industry (and entire economy) could be mobilized quickly, if needed. It makes sense, historically. The Alliance only emerged in 2086, after World War III (and lots of smaller conflicts). Even then, individual nations kept their militaries (and the risk of countries splitting and starting wars was still there). Then, the Alliance met the Centauri, who acted nice, but were ruthless conquerors and could have decided to invade Earth at any time. Not to mention the « Vultures » (Torata, Ch’lonas and Koulani). Then, EFNI discovered that the Dilgar prepared an invasion of all their neighbors, so Earth prepared for this war and fought it. Earth nations, and then the Alliance, were always under the threat of foreign domination or anihilation. Humans knew they were technologically less advanced than the Dilgar, the League, the Centauri, the Narn. So, they made the best of what they had. Today, alternate historians, counter-factual analysts and other uchronists speculate that, without Hathor and Seth, the Alliance would still have managed to last between two and four years against the Minbari, and to give bloody noses to them (at Jericho, Cyrus and Kandhi for example). With access to Naqadah, Trinium and Goa’uld technology, the Alliance was able to counter most Minbari advantages. Minbari warships were forced to enter human nukefields and reduce range against human warships. Trinium made it harder to one-shot human ships. Naqadah nuclear explosions illuminated space, reducing the efficiency of Minbari jamming. And later technologies would make things even more difficult. The Minbari were also soon forced to fight lengthy ground campaigns, and occupy human planets. They had to deploy millions of soldiers, along with weapons, tanks, mortars, transport vehicles, water and food, on those planets. Which implied to use thousands of transport ships. Moreover, transport ships had to be escorted by Sharlin and Tinashi warships (to avoid human raids and ambushes. Once millions of Minbari soldiers and personnel were on a planet, they needed protection against human warships and fighters (with their rail-guns and nukes), so more Minbari ships were stationed. In short thousands of ships and millions of warriors were either killed in action, or deployed to occupation duties. Minbari militaro-industrial complex was not prepared to fight a war of attrition, nor lengthy ground campaigns and planetary occupations. Minbari never had to. The Valen War was about defending space, or destroying enemy bases and fleets. Garmak and Streib were too weak to resist and hadn't to be occupied or fought on the ground. Finally, the Minbari industry was much smaller than the human industry. The Minbari started the war with a large numerical advantage, but humans could replace losses, repair and upgrade ships far quicker. Myoto and its effects Before the Battle of Myoto, everyone thought the Minbari would win, and the human cause was hopeless. Sure, the humans could make it very costly for the Minbari, but they would lose. Myoto changed this. It was the first human victory. As in, the Minbari fleet entirely destroyed, with human ships still standing, and the contested planet still in human hands. It was a traumatic event to the Minbari. And it sparked days of celebration within the Earth Alliance and the League of Non-Aligned Worlds. At the same time, humans retook Jericho and Cyrus (under Minbari occupation), and captured hundreds of thousands of Minbari warriors. And then, reoccupied their lost colonies (with heavy defences). Berlin, Kandhi, Cooke, Maui, Sinzar and Vega (the first planet attacked by the Minbari). Despite this, everyone thought it was a fluke, which would not be reproduced. Right after the Battle of Myoto, the Minbari decided to attack all the contested planets at once, to crush any hope for mankind. Instead of taking one system after another (like they had done before), the Minbari, in January 2246, deployed nine fleets at once, against Myoto, Jericho, Cyrus, Berlin, Kandhi, Cooke, Maui, Sinzar and Vega. The fleets sent against Vega and Myoto were two times bigger than the others, because those planets were the closest to the Federation.