Trekkie combat, Star Trek combat, and Real combat

Written: 2001-09-21
Last updated: 2001-09-26

I have always found it fascinating how Star Trek fans envision combat, either between ground forces or between starships. The newsgroups seem to be awash with ridiculously idealized scenarios masquerading as "tactical plans", and of course, these plans bear no resemblance whatsoever to reality, or even Star Trek's conventions. The following scenarios are used to illustrate the problems with the way newsgroup Trekkies tend to visualize combat.

Scenario 1: Rescue prisoners

Scenario 2: Capture Crippled Starship

Scenario 3: Recapture Colony

These are the most common types of scenarios (#2 is a perennial Trekkie favourite), but of course, suggestions for other scenarios are always welcome.

Note: these scenarios mostly depict extremely difficult missions, and one could argue that no officer in his right mind would even attempt them without far more resources (thus leading to the inevitable point that resource shortfalls would be a chronic problem against the Empire, which can bring overwhelming force to bear in any theatre). However, amazingly enough, scenarios like this are routinely described by Trekkies, not to mention the show's writers. Worse yet, they often describe victory in these kinds of situations, and you may find some of the Trekkie fantasy combat outcomes quite familiar. Given the historical softness of their ground forces, victory would be doubtful with a numerical advantage, never mind a disadvantage. It's as if they deliberately handicap themselves in order to brag about their superiority, saying that, in essence, "ten of our guys can whip a hundred of your guys". Realistically, such wildly lopsided victories are the result of Trekkie jingoism rather than rational thought. In other words, business as usual for the newsgroup Trekkie brigade.