Title Posted
Grav lance Oct 2002
Missile orientation during flight Oct 2002
Missile pods: where are they tractored? Oct 2002
Missile pods as strap-on weapons? Oct 2002
Missile pod launchers Oct 2002
Missile pods: how well can you fit pods/box launchers on the exterior of a hull? Oct 2002
VLS cells for light units Oct 2002
Missile power systems Oct 2002
What happened to Erewhon's League Membership? Oct 2002
How do the Sollies regard the Havenite War? Oct 2002


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Pearls of Weber

A collection of posts by David Weber containing background information for his stories, collected and generously made available Joe Buckley.

How much does the SLN know about the Havenite War?

  • Series: Honorverse
  • Date: October 22, 2002

The SLN has sent official observers to watch the war. Those observers are not necessarily drawn from the SLN's best and brightest, because the war is (so far) still seen as fairly unimportant. Some of those observers are, of course, officers who believe that what is happening between the SKM and PRH is of critical importance to the SLN if the League wants its navy to remain abreast of modern technological advances. Most are not. And even those who do feel that way are launching their reports into an enormous bureaucracy. In order for those reports to have any real impact back home where policy is set, they first have to get back home through the bowels of bureaucracy. Once there, they have to be considered by officers who, by and large, have no fleet combat experience at all. Even once they attract the attention and support of one of those desk warriors back home, they have to get the various bureau chiefs and the equivalent of the Lord of Admiralty to agree that Something Must Be Done, and then they have to convince the civilians who control the budgetary process of the same thing. Because of all this, the answer--at the top of the decision making tree--to the question of how much the SLN knows about the war is: Not Much.

It should also be noted that the SLN is very like the United States Navy in the period 1900-1939 in terms of its attitude towards naval intelligence operations. It is more concerned with keeping tabs on what's happening in areas in which it has a direct, active interest--i.e., those areas in which it is conducting anti-piracy ops, or supporting the various bureaucracies in maintaining order amidst the protectorates on its own frontiers. Just as the USN had only vague reports about the actual capabilities and tonnages of Japanese ships, the SLN has only very vague reports about what's happening in SKM-PRH space. For those who find this foolish, I will say that I agree. But the point is that people do foolish things, and in comparing the two models--that is, the SLN-SKM/PRH and the USN-IJN intelligence pictures--I would point out that while the SKM and PRH are, indeed, involved in a shooting war, which ought to focus more attention upon their doings, neither of them is considered particularly relevant--aside from the commercial competition the SKM's merchant marine represents--to the League. The Japanese, on the other hand, had been identified by the USN as the US's most probable next enemy, and by 1920, the USN was predicting that war with Japan within the next 20-25 years as "extremely likely." There was thus more reason (under the internal mindsets of the two navies, at least) for the USA to keep a very close eye on Japan than there is for the SLN to keep a close eye on the SKM.