Eve Of The War

Martian Military Ineptness
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Author:  Alland [ Sun Dec 10, 2006 11:40 pm ]
Post subject:  Martian Military Ineptness

At the start of his novel, Wells gives the impression that the Martians must have been studying the Earth closely before launching their invasion. After rereading the various battle passages, I beg to differ. They made a number of mistakes that simply wouldn't have been possible if they had been closely observing the human race and how its most advanced nations made war.

Consider: By the time of their total crushing of British resistance, the Martians made use of the Black Smoke to wipe out concealed batteries of field artillery, which had proven itself capable of damaging and even destroying their Fighting-Machines. And yet, the Martians did not take these sensible precautions until after suffering, not one, but two casualties to human field guns belonging to masked batteries: one destroyed at Weybridge and another damaged at St. George's Hill. Were they so arrogant in the beginning as to assume that the primitive human cannons couldn't possibly destroy their high-tech Fighting-Machines, or was the commander of their expeditionary force simply lazy?

Also consider the "Thunder Child" incident. Granted, there were few naval battles in the Pre-Dreadnought Era, and most of those, historically, would have come AFTER the Martian invasion (those of the Russo-Japanese War and possibly the Spanish-American War). Still, the Martians chasing after the refugee vessels might have used a little common sense. After all, with virtually every other ship in sight doing its darndest to get away from them, this one craft, larger by far than anything else around (assuming no ocean liners were present), was coming straight at them. Don't you think somebody might have gotten a hint that THIS ship was a military vessel charging in to attack them?

For that matter, what about their lack of precautions against disease germs? They would have seen plenty of epidemics and plagues on Earth where folks lay down and died en masse. Even assuming they knew nothing of bacteria, one would think that the fact that the planet's own natives could be slaughtered like this would make them wonder how much more vulnerable Martians unsuited to terrestrial conditions would be.

Any comments?

Author:  Yuri2356 [ Sun Dec 10, 2006 11:47 pm ]
Post subject: 

Perhaps they simply werren't able to watch us quite as closely as some of the movie versions may lead one to beleive. Being as far away from us as they are, they'd have a difficult time getting a lot of good, detailed pictures of the Earth's surface and the day to day actions of the natives. Their intelligence on Humans may have been limited to "There is violent native life. Proceed with caution."

Author:  Lonesome Crow [ Tue Dec 12, 2006 7:54 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Martian Military Ineptness

Alland wrote:

For that matter, what about their lack of precautions against disease germs? They would have seen plenty of epidemics and plagues on Earth where folks lay down and died en masse.
Any comments?

In an epidemic, people don't usually fall down dead in the street, they often retire to their beds and die there (out of sight of any Martian telescope) A Martian may see a person go into a dwelling place and not come out again and a few days later a long box is carried out, it would be astonishing if the Martian managed to work out that the box contained the diseased remains of that person and that's if the Martian watched the same spot continuously for several days, which he couldn't do as the Earth rotates you know.

And as 'Yuri2356' said, I don't think Wells meant the Martian equipment was powerful enough to pin-point a pimple on the tip of your nose. I imagined the type of military or secret-service photos we used to see where a long black object about the size of a grain of rice could be a Russian sub. Wells mentioned 'Navy crowded seas' I took this to mean the Martians could see vessels moving about on the water.
I think you're reading too much into what Wells wrote and intended to convey.

Author:  Loz [ Tue Dec 12, 2006 11:25 pm ]
Post subject: 

Ah but then there is the crystal egg or whatever it is from that other story Wells wrote about Martians. If the Martians had used these crystal surveillance devices then they would have seen more. Maybe the Martians did protect themselves against bacteria and viruses but made a mistake or had them mutate on them.
If you want to make sense out of the Martian attack then you have to go with what Lonesome says and that is that they had satellite type shots of London and it's docks. The movement of large armies and they would have watched battles as best they could through the smoke that such battles created.
I like to think the Martians watched us in this way. They are so alien that they missed important clues and underestimated us. But as soon as they made mistakes, they invented solutions on the ground, which took a little time to implement thus a seeming repeat of initial mistake.

Author:  McTodd [ Wed Dec 13, 2006 1:44 am ]
Post subject: 

Loz wrote:
They are so alien that they missed important clues and underestimated us.

Good point, I like the way you put that.

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