Out of boredom & loneliness, I decide to start up Evil Enterprises Enc again. As I’ve sworn off world conquest I obviously can’t start trying lobbing anti-matter bombs at Switzerland again, but I can still subcontract rapine and pillage on other places. Or other times.
So here’s the deal. I’m taking proposals from Dopers who wish to lead invasions into yesteryear. I’ll be providing the time-travel device, which is in the form of of a portal like the Guardian of Forever–only bigger, say a hundred feet across and fifteen feet high. Don’t worry about time-travel paradoxes; I’m sending you to alternate timelines. I’m also supplying highly trained mercenary troops and their weapons; you can get up to the equivalent of one United States Marine battalion. An INFANTRY battalion. But all you have for weapons is rifles, RPGs, & the like: no tanks, and certainly no aircraft. You can bring additional tech if you wish, but nothing more advanced than the US Marines already have; and if you need extra personnel to work this tech, you lose two mercs for every other person you bring. And no calling for help, either. You have a year to kick around and be a warlord, after which I will be doing a review to make sure you’re putting my stuff to good use, and also to get my cut of the pillaging.
Where and when will you go? What will you bring? How will you go about your warlording?
A) Farther back in time is better, allowing me to use the superior firepower of my hench-mercs to greater effect. Possibilities would include:
China circa 220 BC, wresting the whole of China from Qin Shi Huang. This would give me tremendous natural resources and manpower, not to mention Chinese women (yow!).
Another option would be to arrive in Mongolia just before the death of Genghis and take his empire from him. (As you can see, I’m going for the pre-made empires here, since that should accomplish more in a short period of time than trying to build one from scratch. Also, I’m lazy.) This would give a greater land area, but I’m not sure that’s much of an advantage given how thinly my initial force would already be stretched.
B) Not so far back in time could be OK, especially if I could land at your lair just in time to steal your time-travel device. I’m betting that would not be allowed, however, especially since I just tipped you off. Rats. On the other hand, I could go back to when Marilyn Monroe was alive. Sometimes an empire of one is all you need.
C) In the future would be too risky. Going far into the future would possibly give me a clean slate on a planet uninhabited by humans. The down side would be hard-to-come-by resources, potentially a used-up planet, and nobody to warlord over – not much fun. Or any humans still around might be able to easily vanquish my force with their newly-developed mind rays.
Why would you take the empire from Genghis? Geez, talk about fanatical loyalty to a leader. Taking it from the power vacuum after his death might be easier. Take it after his death, or after his successor Ogedei, or his successor, Guyuk. Bigger empire, more momentum, bigger power vacuum. You could try to take it from Kublai, which is really the peak, but it wouldn’t be easy.
Fortifying Tenochitlan against Cortes might give you a great spot to work from. Motecuzoma (commonly called Montezuma) was a bit of a pushover, and European settlements in the New World were pretty flimsy at that point. Likewise, taking over the Inca would be good- not quite so big an empire, but quite easy to defend terrain-wise if you keep your guard up and make sure the Spaniards don’t get a foothold.
Rome during the Year Of Four Emperors (A.D. 69) could be a solid choice- heck of a power vacuum. It’d be a good time to push further out against the Parthians (Persia, basically), solidify Scotland once and for all, and lock down the Rhine-Danube line, maybe even resume pushing northwards and eastwards into Germany.
If you’d like to contract me for a one-year pillage fest with no empire afterwards (you know, to fund your next three Time Gates and finance that new wing on one of your mansions), I’d like to jump in with Theodoric the Great’s final conquest of the Western Roman Empire.
You forget that I’m keeping all the super-weapons for myself, so you’ll be up against flying robot sharks with particle-beam-blasters mounted in their eyes. It’s not Evil Overlording if I repel an unprovoked attack, after all.
Anyway, I’m sending you back to an alternate history. Skald-Prime may not have given up Evil Overlording, so your plan seems fraught with difficulties.
I’m not sure how effective a modern infantry battalion would be without access to resupply. Once your ammo is gone, then what? I might consider trading some of my mercs for a handful of the following technical experts: a gunsmith who can craft an Enfield rifled musket with just a forge; a guy who can make black powder and percussion caps from raw ingredients; and a military historian who could train the mercs in fighting with muzzleloaders.
You’re absolutely right. This would be hugely helpful in an empire with large resources to draw on. After the initial takeover, you’d have to begin consolidating with modern technology to ensure your long-term success.
I would take over an easily defensible island nation like Britain and then expand out from there (worked for the Brits). I’d go post Norman invasion, but not too far after that. We’d expand out from the south of the island, bring plans for better ship designs and start cranking out a navy and getting to the Americas before Columbus was even born. We wouldn’t waste any time looking for a spice route to Asia, we’d just push west until we get to California real estate and then we wait (but this time we sell by 2007).
I think I’d select Egypt circa 400bc. I’d like about 350-400 chemists, metallurgists and various medi-types. The rest Marines. I could crush christianity/islam before it gets a foothold and I’d have a firm hold on the surrounding areas before the persians and romans arrive. With luck by years end I’ll be established as god-emporer be moving towards southern and western africa. Zip back to the present and I’d have a strangle-hold on a large portion of the world’s resources to offer my benefactor.
See, this is why I wouldn’t want to go all that far back in time. I’d want to hit a world with a fairly decent manufacturing base, but where I could still wield enough of a military advantage that no one would mess with me. Mid-nineteenth century America should work well.
I’d probably go back just enough to allow me to consolidate my hold over the Aztecs before Cortes arrives. The Aztecs were large enough so I have plenty of resources, plus I hate those fuckers, the Spanish.
I was thinking this, too. Your battalion could completely hold ancient Rome*, and field battles with single armies would be sufficient to promote the acceptance of major changes. (The era of the four emperors wasn’t coherent like the Republic where you might occupy Rome or devastate field army after field army but eventually run out of ammo or equipment.)
If you had enough Latin speakers in your army (around 5 would be enough) the Romans are practical enough to let you take over if you didn’t make major changes, just installed you as the new “Emperor”. If you treated your Roman allies good enough they might even support you. ETA: another advantage is that it would be a lot easier to find passable Latin speakers that are also passable leaders/soldiers than for your other ancient empire languages, so you could substitute several dozen Latin speakers and still be relatively assured of not losing much. Plus ISTM that it’s gotta be a lot easier to learn than the other languages for English speakers.
Plus, they still held their territory so once you did a capitation strike you’d have assloads of territory. Sure, there might be revolts in England but your battalion can march much quicker than the Romans could on their own roads.
*if necessary, because while the force multiplier in an urban environment is almost the same as a field battle you’d probably use a lot more ammo per kill.
If I would have no access to resupply, I suppose I might have to build an empire. I’d have to delegate the boring parts to others. I could trade in some of my warriors for a few gunsmiths, a few language experts, a few people who could make black powder, and maybe a pair of military historians. Send me to Norway, just before the Viking age began. I could quickly become King of Norway and Sweden. Then I have plenty of native shipbuilders and metallurgists, as well as many warriors ready to go raiding. The gunsmiths I brought could teach others the craft, and I could arm the new Vikings with muzzle loading rifles. The British Isles could be taken quickly. From there I could expand into France, then Germany. Maybe Spain would be a good conquest… I’m not sure. Then, over the Sea of Worms, and into the New World! The skrælingjar* may have defeated the Greenlandic explorers of Lief the Fortunate, but let us see them face the Rifle Vikings of Regallag the Axe! New Scandinavia could serve as a breadbasket, with the resources of Europe serving as a base for a new, unstoppable empire. Those who submit to Emperor Regallag and his Great Heathen Army will be allowed to live, and continue to worship as they please. Those who resist will be cast down, and utterly broken, such that no memory of them will survive.
It may take few years to get the whole thing going, but eventually, I might be able to industrialize the Empire of the Axe. Then the world is mine. Muah hahaha, muah hahaHA MUAH HAHAHA!
*The native people of the Americas would thus be called, to avoid confusing them with the people of South Asia. Also it sounds really cool… skrælingjar…
This is exactly what I’m thinking. And with some careful diplomacy, you could avoid some of the upcoming military and political pitfalls. That ought to give time to make it past Skald’s one-year checkup, then you can start in on some serious manufacturing capabilities.
Would a battalion of mercs equipped with modern weapons and gadgets even need to wage an all-out war? If the destination were to a much more primitive era, even one as sophisticated as say the Roman Empire, those people would probably think you and the grunts were GODS.
If a laser pointer in the hands of a halfway decent actor could convince 'em of your divinity, imagine what a metal tube that barks thunder and spits out instant death would do; you’d only need to fire a couple of shots (maybe just plug Caesar, or Pompey). Wear a lot of gold lamé and speak through a bullhorn and they’ll be sacrificing virgins to you in no time at all.
One thing I’ve just thought of. Is this merc army guaranteed loyal? No running amok slaughtering ‘resources’ or trying to set up their on little fiefdoms? If I’m going to have to deal with Starscream I made need to select a less harsh evironment.
If I can make the transportation/trans temporal-universal teleportation angle worked out…
I send half the battalion to arrive suddenly and storm the Kremlin…at the height of some certain political problems in October, 1962. (Maybe if I’m feeling daring, I’ll send some to attack the White House as well)
I’ll take the remaining rough half of the battalion (minus a few for technical experts, if needed) to seize McMurdo Station (which even has it’s own easy bake reactor for power, at this point. I always wanted one of those), and sit things out for a year while the rest of the world dances itself to atomic hell.
At the end of the year, with any luck, I’m now, technically, the dominant military and political power on Earth. (Not counting my nearest competitors, a number of which are likely armed with spears made out of broken femurs)
Pillaging the world for prize shares should be easy at this point, opposition wise, though the pickings may be a little slim, depending on your tastes in loot.
Fort Knox might be worth a try, especially if you like novelty gold/rebar alloys.
The loyalty of your soldiers is something you’ll have to deal with while looking at resumes & conducting interviews before heading back into Earth-Prime of whatever year. But since I am keeping all the really cool stuff for my ownself until you prove your worth, I think it’s safe to say you have professional 21st century human soldiers, not clones brainwashed into serving you or Battle Android Troopers with no wills of their own.