The Second Battle of Bajor
Seen in "A Call to Arms"
Last revised: 2000.07.27
Dominion Objective: Bring reinforcements from the gamma quadrant to the alpha quadrant. In order to accomplish this goal, it is necessary to stop the Defiant from mining the entrance to the Bajoran wormhole.
DS9 station defenses: numerous phaser banks and photon torpedo launchers.
Martok's Bird of Prey (note that the Defiant itself was noncombatant while it laid mines)
One large battle fleet. Its exact size was difficult to estimate, but we can surmise that it may have ranged as high as several hundred ships. The fleet included one large command vessel.
Gul Dukat made the same mistake that Admiral Yamamoto made in the Battle of Midway: losing sight of his primary objective. He sent most of his forces to attack DS9 rather than the Defiant, even though the Defiant was clearly the primary target. His obsession with Captain Sisko blinded him to the requirements of the mission. He could have easily won this battle, by taking one of two possible actions:
Send all of his ships to attack the Defiant, and ignore DS9.
Send all of his ships to destroy the mines before the minefield is activated, and ignore DS9. Remember that mine replication uses a "bucket brigade" system for the raw material, so it requires a certain "critical mass", or number of mines in order to function. That's why they had to lay the whole minefield before activating it, and that's why an attack on the minefield would have been effective even if they didn't destroy them all.
During the ensuing battle, Dukat and Weyoun lost fifty ships trying to attack DS9, while Martok only had to destroy a handful of ships to defend the Defiant.
The Defiant was able to lay the minefield and activate it.
Dukat retreated to regroup, and also to give Sisko enough time for some pompous speechmaking before abandoning DS9.
The mission was a complete failure, and left substantial reinforcements sitting on the other side of the wormhole for the better part of a year. It should be noted that the cause of its failure can be traced directly to extreme incompetence on the part of Gul Dukat.
How could the Empire have succeeded where the Dominion failed? Their tactics might look like the following:
Simply let Sisko plant his minefield. Unlike the Dominion, the Empire can get reinforcements from the gamma quadrant to the alpha quadrant without the wormhole if necessary. Its closure would actually serve the Empire by cutting off the Federation's only avenue of counter-attack.
Flip side: how would an Imperial commander have fared in Sisko's place?
Remember that an Imperial commander wouldn't be torn between his loyalty to his government and his loyalty to the Bajoran Prophets, so the closure of the wormhole would not be a problem for him. Therefore, an Imperial commander would have tried to simply close the wormhole, rather than mining it. There are methods for closing the wormhole: Sisko tried it once (but was foiled by a changeling saboteur posing as Bashir), and if technobabble methods failed, a simple Death Star blast into the mouth of the wormhole just couldn't be good for it (or anybody waiting on the other side).
Conclusion: The Empire's hyperdrive technology and somewhat less ethical standards mean that this battle would have been largely moot, regardless of which side the Empire replaced. In place of the Dominion, the Empire could achieve the objective of bringing reinforcements from the Gamma Quadrant without a wormhole. In place of the Federation, the Empire wouldn't be trapped in the quandary of wanting to stop wormhole traffic without damaging the wormhole itself. I would give the Empire 2 for 2 in this battle.