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Posted on Jun 14, 2005 in Armchair Reading, Front Page Features, TIAOW

The Incorrect Art of War [Episode 07] – Building The Colossus

By A J Summersgill and Jim H Moreno

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Starring:

Doctor Sinister

Doctor Sinister. An evil Supervillain with an insane lust for power. From his secret island base, the Doctor plans to become future Emperor and Warlord of the planet Earth. Enjoys the company of cats and cloned genetically modified Dinosaurs.

And featuring:

General Menace. Graduated from West Point Military Academy with honours, served for twenty-five years in the US Army, reaching level of 2-star General in command of training facilities before being recruited by Doctor Sinister to command his New Model Army of World Domination. Has a penchant for cigars.

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EPISODE 7 – “Building the Colossus”

The sun rises nervously for another day over the imposing Mount Despair, home to the Sinister Imperial Command Complex, as General Menace strides confidently towards the same dark tower of rock, the domain of his lord and master.

Bleary-eyed guards snap to attention as the General approaches. Pausing before entering the complex, he looks the guards up and down in disgust and berates them for their sloppy uniforms, unshaved faces, and the fact that they’ve put their rifle magazines in back to front, before heading inside.

Five minutes later, in the War Room…

Doctor Sinister: Good afternoon General! How are things?

General: As well as can be expected Sir, although we’re having some problems calibrating the new AA missile systems and…

Good, good, excellent work, fantastic. General, I have great news!

Oh, Thank You Sir! We finally have cigars, right?

No! I just saved a bunch of money on my car insurance by switching to –

(Shudders) Excuse me, Sire, but when did you get a car? When did you learn to drive? Have you forgotten what happened during the Jeep driving lessons I tried to teach you out in the cow pasture?

I thought we’d agreed never to mention that again. Never mind. Cigars you say? Oh, I’ll get some more in for you next time. Right now, I want to show you something. What do you think of this?

A napkin Sir?

(Nods) Yes. And what do you see on the napkin?

Looks like spaghetti stains…

No no, on the other side. Turn it over.

Ah! I see. A drawing. It’s a bit smudged I’m afraid Sir. What is it my Lord?

My latest creation.

Sir?

The Colossus!

The Colossus Sir?

Yes! The Colossus! She’s two-miles long, the finest Battleship in the world! She’ll be my new flagship.

Flagship Sir?

Yes, I’m going to build a surface Navy. To complement the nuclear Submarine fleet. A whole fleet of two-mile long Battleships.

Oh.

It’ll be the most glorious Navy the world has ever seen. Just you wait and see. And I’ll make you an Admiral.

Me Sir? But I’m strictly a landlubber My Lord, I’ve never commanded a Ship.

Well, what about those thingies out in the harbour?

Those "thingies" are just four-man patrol boats your Magnificence, we use them to keep people away from the coast. And we have a couple of Hovercraft and an old Frigate…but we don’t have a proper Navy.

What’s wrong with the Frigate?

It has a large hole in the side just about where the engine should be.

Really? Oh well, never mind, we can soon replace it. Pretty soon we’ll have the Colossus and all her sister ships!

A fleet consisting of JUST Battleships?

Absolutely – it’ll really scare the hell out of my enemies.

Yes, about that…

It’ll be a great fleet – one that this planet has never seen the like of before…

Yes, there’s a reason for that Sir….

There is?

Affirmative Sir, no-one builds Battleships any more.

Excellent! Then I shall rule supreme!! Ooh, I can’t wait…

No no, my Lord, you don’t understand, the concept of the Battleship is outdated. Nobody has built a new Battleship in over fifty years.

Not even a two-mile long one?

Especially not a two-mile long one. In fact, I can’t think of anything worse.

So all of a sudden you are an expert on Naval matters?

Well, I know a bit about it Sir.

Well then perhaps you should enlighten me?

Well my Lord, although it is true to say that the Battleship was once the very pinnacle of warship design, that all changed during the last World War.

Go on…

Aircraft Carriers proved that Battleships were no longer the invincible vessels of old, in fact, they were made obsolete almost overnight.

But they have enormous guns and they can blast people from afar! You can’t tell me that if I were to park a two-mile Battleship off your coastline that it wouldn’t be brown-trousers time?!

Yes Sir, but they can’t do much against an attack from the air. During World War II, it was demonstrated that the future of Naval warfare would revolve around fleets of aircraft carriers and their escorts. In fact, during the Battle of Midway, two enemy fleets engaged each other at extreme range using their Planes and never even saw each other.

Planes you say?

Yes Sir. If you were to send out a Battleship like the Colossus, she’d just be a big two-mile long target for Planes, Submarines, Motor Torpedo Boats, minefields, anti-ship missile systems, she’d be obsolete even before you laid the keel.

Now you’re talking nonsense General – sometimes I wonder why I ever hired you. You’re so negative…

I’m sorry Sir, truly I am, but if you are going to build the Colossus, I urge you not to send her to sea without some kind of Destroyer escort at least.

Destroyers?! Why? Don’t you think the Colossus is capable of destroying things herself? Look at those guns! And so many of them!!

A Destroyer is a type of Ship Sir, used for escort duties to defend larger vessels or battlegroups against underwater or airborne attack. If you had a screening force of Destroyers around the Colossus, she might stand more of a chance.

I don’t want to waste my time building small ships – I want BIG! The bigger the better! Don’t you want to be an Admiral?

Not really Sir. Not on board the Colossus at any rate.

Well, perhaps we need to rethink this idea then.

Oh thank goodness you said that Sir, I was really beginning to worry for a moment….

How about a four-mile long Aircraft Carrier?

(Rolls eyes) Yes, my Lord…

Colossus

A J Summersgill and Jim H. Moreno

andrew@armchairgeneral.com

jim@armchairgeneral.com

Thanks to Brian King for the feature picture.

If you want to talk more sensibly about military history from any era, don’t forget to visit the ACG Forums.

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