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Philosophical Aun
31-08-2005, 18:27
As an Epic player, something that has been bothering me is how the Tau Hunter Cadres function above the realm of the cadre. Afterall, a cadre is little more then a reinforced platoon, or an understrength company. Hardly the thing to conquer planets with!

We know that cadres are rarely fixed formations, rather they are taskforces designed to deal with specific targets. Sometimes, these taskforces become more permanent, due to there being no time or no reason to assign them specific tasks.

We know that battlelines are often created by auxiliaries, which the Tau use as "bases" from which to strike.

Personally, I see the Tau utilising the new US doctrine in development, the "Battle Swarm", which is supposed to replace the AirLand doctrine. (Nothing is certain, ofcourse) and it was from this idea that I developed the Dragonfish vehicle, which is present in the Epic list.

Instead of having a hirarchial command structure, such as we have today, Tau hunter cadres are surprisingly independent, with Shas'els being given a very large amount room for independent action. In essense, organised chaos.

So, what keeps the Tau battleplans from degenerating into chaos? My answer a sofisticated AI called the Battle Matrix (as evidenced in the Dragonfish vehicle). It keeps track of where the Tau forces are, their missions, state of repair, ammunition-supply and level of fatigue. It then offers a number of suggestions both to the Shas'els and to the Shas'O in charge of what to do, in order to keep pressure on the enemy.

What are your thoughts on this?

Inquisitor Engel
31-08-2005, 19:14
An in character poster. Hmm. ;) I shall enjoy this.


Hardly the thing to conquer planets with!

Nope, but that's not particularly what they're for. Cadres themselves are (or at least should be) relatively balanced, but mobile enough to move as the Shas'O in charge of the situation dictates.

A Cadre is best suited to actually holding ground on its own (unsupported) rather than taking it, but the Tau armies should be moving and attacking in an almost fluid manner, and attacks should be conducted in tandem and corrdination.


We know that cadres are rarely fixed formations, rather they are taskforces designed to deal with specific targets.

I imagine those targets are specified by the Shas'O and each subordinate Shas'O (Or Shas'el) deals with their intended target within the overall battle plan as they see best fit.


Sometimes, these taskforces become more permanent, due to there being no time or no reason to assign them specific tasks.

Probably. I imagine the Aun that the council on T'au places in spiritual charge of an assault has a number of Cadres, each with a Shas'o or Shas'el. From this pool he'll chose the Commander he sees best fit to lead the overall assault.


Personally, I see the Tau utilising the new US doctrine in development, the "Battle Swarm", which is supposed to replace the AirLand doctrine. (Nothing is certain, ofcourse) and it was from this idea that I developed the Dragonfish vehicle, which is present in the Epic list.

A little more information on the "Battle Swarm"? If you would?


Instead of having a hirarchial command structure, such as we have today, Tau hunter cadres are surprisingly independent, with Shas'els being given a very large amount room for independent action. In essense, organised chaos.

Surprisingly independent yes, but each with a defined objective. A central commander of an assault is required, not necessarilly to command (he'll be commanding his own Cadre after all) but to designate and direct.

At least that's my theory, given what we know, and what we don't. :)


So, what keeps the Tau battleplans from degenerating into chaos? My answer a sofisticated AI called the Battle Matrix (as evidenced in the Dragonfish vehicle). It keeps track of where the Tau forces are, their missions, state of repair, ammunition-supply and level of fatigue.

I wouldn't say it's that in depth, but constant communication is a must, especially between Tau and their Vassal races. Constant communication probably turns into periodic updates at a larger level. (Squads report to Shas'o/el who periodically reports to the head Shas'o the overall situation)

Even if the updates and communication to commanders is automated, it's probably not CONSTANT, because that's a hell of a lot of information to take in and digest into decisions. Critical things are probably only brought to conscious attention of the Commanders, like squads being wiped out. :p


It then offers a number of suggestions both to the Shas'els and to the Shas'O in charge of what to do, in order to keep pressure on the enemy.

I don't think Tau AI is quite that advanced that. And besides, even though they USE AI's I don't think the Tau, especially the Fire Caste, are humble enough to give command to an artificial mind - They're too proud, and all the intelligence is the world is no substitute for battlefield experience.

Philosophical Aun
31-08-2005, 19:35
Nope, but that's not particularly what they're for. Cadres themselves are (or at least should be) relatively balanced, but mobile enough to move as the Shas'O in charge of the situation dictates.

A Cadre is best suited to actually holding ground on its own (unsupported) rather than taking it, but the Tau armies should be moving and attacking in an almost fluid manner, and attacks should be conducted in tandem and corrdination.

What I primarily meant with this, is that having the "highest organisation" be a 50 man (tau) formation, when tens of thousands of tau are required to conquer may seem a tad strange.

As for a cadre being best suited to holding ground? I'm a bit curious as of what makes you state this, afterall... the Tau are specifically known for not holding onto ground, instead having a more fluid kind of warfare. Tau are primarily mechanised afterall, not the best unit-type to conduct a hard defence with.


A little more information on the "Battle Swarm"? If you would?

It was seen in Afganistan, where small units of special forces would coordinate attacks with eachother, with a supreme amount of firepower at their hands. Basically it puts more responsibility on the smaller squads, which are more independent then in normal forces.

The enemy, which faces these numerious pinpricks (ten cadres fighting against a 10.000 man regiment) is slow and clumsy to manouver to counter them.


I wouldn't say it's that in depth, but constant communication is a must, especially between Tau and their Vassal races. Constant communication probably turns into periodic updates at a larger level. (Squads report to Shas'o/el who periodically reports to the head Shas'o the overall situation)

Even if the updates and communication to commanders is automated, it's probably not CONSTANT, because that's a hell of a lot of information to take in and digest into decisions. Critical things are probably only brought to conscious attention of the Commanders, like squads being wiped out.

Indeed, which is one of the things I think an AI would be useful. It can sort out the "uneccesary information" and relay on the important things. Tau AI:s can already do battle on their own (and -that- is an immensely difficult task, imagine all the variables!) and as such, I'm of the opinion that an AI should have no difficulty organizing the information-flow between several cadres.

Khaine's Messenger
31-08-2005, 19:52
So, what keeps the Tau battleplans from degenerating into chaos? My answer a sofisticated AI called the Battle Matrix (as evidenced in the Dragonfish vehicle).

I prefer Fire Warrior's "Big Brother" combat supervision technology (uber battlefield intranet) that allows for remote viewing of all facets of combat and allowing the "Orwellian nightmare" ( ;) ) to take to the battlefield, but I imagine the basic premise is much the same. However, IMHO, Tau combat philosophy is going to derive mostly from tradition, which means a somewhat conservative and martial Fire Caste is going to have a decent hierarchy to keep things under control, no matter how spread out things are.


It then offers a number of suggestions both to the Shas'els and to the Shas'O in charge of what to do, in order to keep pressure on the enemy.

Why can't a Shas'O have "staff officers" (perhaps nonassigned Shas'el, although that depends largely on their availability) and Water caste personnel keeping track of this information and strategic evaluation?

Inquisitor Engel
31-08-2005, 19:59
What I primarily meant with this, is that having the "highest organisation" be a 50 man (tau) formation, when tens of thousands of tau are required to conquer may seem a tad strange.

Indeed, however I think any larger formations (Task Forces) are relatively ad hoc and split back up into individual cadres as soon as the task is complete. Rest assured when I tell you that there ARE organization levels above Cadre, we simply don't know what they're called or how often they're drawn together.

For the sake of argument, let's look at something the size of a planet invasion, involving possibly hundreds of cadres, an Invasion Force, or, for smaller conflicts, a Taskforce.


As for a cadre being best suited to holding ground? I'm a bit curious as of what makes you state this, afterall...

I know I know, but I think that such a flexible force as a cadre should be able to do either, attack or defend, but is more than able to hold their own against forces that move to counter attack.

"Holding Ground" is probably the wrong word, being able to consolidate and repel counter attacks are probably a more than able function for a Cadre completely independently.

But you are right, a mostly mechanized, fluid attack is indeed the Tau method.


It was seen in Afganistan, where small units of special forces would coordinate attacks with eachother, with a supreme amount of firepower at their hands. Basically it puts more responsibility on the smaller squads, which are more independent then in normal forces.

It would seem rather like what I described, although on a much smaller scale. The Army uses squads to operating independently, whilst a Taskforce would use entire Cadres operating independently to achieve objective important to the overall campaign.

What happens within the Tau army is probably more coordinated and instructed, as we know that Stealth Suits and Monat suits are afforded the most flexible functions and given objectives, not methods. It's implied (though by no means fact) that the other Tau units follow a more direct set of orders.


Indeed, which is one of the things I think an AI would be useful. It can sort out the "uneccesary information" and relay on the important things. Tau AI:s can already do battle on their own (and -that- is an immensely difficult task, imagine all the variables!) and as such, I'm of the opinion that an AI should have no difficulty organizing the information-flow between several cadres.

Eh, whilst I think it's possible, I wouldn't call that's sorting pertinent information from general data an AI. A simple program, rather than a full blown intelligence could do.

But I do agree, a support system of this kind would be immensely useful, but I think having EVERYTHING told to the Shas'o (either at Cadre or Task Force level) is a tad excessive, and overwhelming. I believe having a program or system that sorts important information out of standard updates ("We have captured objective A" versus "We're still fighting, but not in any trouble.") would indeed be a disctinct possibility.

Something that flows the other way, giving tactical information from the Shas'o, who has recieved it from units elsewhere, to units otherwise unaware of the tactical situation on the other side of the battlefield, ("Watch for teh Basilisk you can't see!") would be equally as likely.

Dvalin
31-08-2005, 22:26
A useful reference here is the IA3 book, which I recently acquired. So -- let's work on it from here. Please note that the campaign text is presented largely from the Imperial perspective, and so all information can be considered second-hand or containing mild inaccuracies or estimates.

The Taros campaign involved 7 Imperial Guard regiments (5 of which were destroyed by the campaign's end), 3 Space Marine companies and a detachment of four Titans, along with fleet support elements. The Tau defense was mounted by 'over a hundred hunter cadres from the T'au sept,' organized into a 'battle' under command of a Shas'o with an Aun advisor. Total Tau troop counts were estimated at 8 to 9 thousand, with approximately 5 thousand Kroot auxiliaries and 8 thousand Human auxiliaries.

During the general course of the campaign, the Tau only twice formed a static defense. In the vast majority of cases, they gave way before the advancing Imperials, using their superiority in firepower and maneuverability to bleed the Imperials without taking heavy casualties themselves -- 10 thousand Guard dead, 15 thousand wounded, 20 thousand captured, to Tau casualties that 'must have been in the thousands.' Eventually, this bleeding, the desert climate and constant Tau raids (using air strikes and stealth suits) resulted in a critical Imperial supply situation that in turn resulted in the Imperials attempting to capture the principal planetary water processing plant; this was a catastrophic failure, virtually destroying an Elysian drop regiment, and resulted in the Imperial decision to withdraw from Taros. The two static defense situations; the first was a use of Kroot along a ridgeline to stall the IG advance, where Kroot fieldcraft and assault capability would come to the fore. The other was during an attempt by the Imperials to break through to the water treatment plant, where the Tau needed to delay the Imperial relief force long enough to destroy the regiment at the plant and to render the plant useless. These were specific mission-oriented stands where the heavy defense was mounted because it particularly suited a unit's capabilities, or served the central objective. Otherwise, the Tau used their mechanized formations in a fashion that would make Clausewitz proud; you might recall, if you've read On War, that he speaks often and forcefully for a 'friction' in the offense, that will eventually force an attacker to the defensive; by virtue of supply lines, garrison requirements, simple need for rest and repairs, etc., etc. The Tau sought to increase this friction tremendously, so as to make further advance impossible.

To draw a more recent corollary; note, if you will, the German doctrine of the elastic defense -- initially conceived in 1916 or '17, and using a deep defense with strong local reserves as a mean to slow and bloody an enemy attack before a sharp, local counterattack would reclaim the territory. This doctrine was used to lessen the need for manpower in the defense, and to multiply the defensive effectiveness of underpower units. Similar techniques were used in the Eastern Front in defense of (http://cgsc.leavenworth.army.mil/carl/resources/csi/Lupfer/lupfer.asp for WW1 doctrines, http://cgsc.leavenworth.army.mil/carl/resources/csi/wray/wray.asp for WW2).

Anyway; as for how the Tau conduct campaigns. It appears that they assault by fire, withdraw under pressure, and repeat the process -- attempting to slow and stall the enemy advance by repeated, light blows, before rendering the enemy incapable of advancing and thus a prime target for assault or a diplomatic solution ("Well, you aren't going to get anywhere at this point, so why not give up? We'll let you leave without any further fighting, even.").

As for hierarchy, well. You've got the hunter cadre at one step, then the commander of the assembled hunter cadres at the next. ;)

Anyway. Personally, I'd reference Clausewitz and German military doctrine instead of, er, 'the battle swarm.' So far as I see it, the principal difference between a 'swarm' doctrine and a 'non-swarm' doctrine is the breadth of pressure and independence of action. Classically, military actions have been thought of as a single large thrust by an organized whole of units -- instead of a multiplicity of small thrusts by individual units working to a single objective. I suppose I may just not be getting it, but the doctrinal change really just seems a bit of psychology to me.

Minister
01-09-2005, 00:13
My lack of knowlege on either subject (my knowlege of Tau is limited to the Codex, their appearances in White Dwarf and Kill Team and For the Emperor, my knowlege of military tactics peters out around about forming square against cavalry) meens that I will just have to agree with what has been said, and comment that I am watching this thread with interest.

Inquisitor Engel
01-09-2005, 02:42
As for hierarchy, well. You've got the hunter cadre at one step, then the commander of the assembled hunter cadres at the next. ;)

So, basically what we've been saying? ;)

Hurrah! :D

Dvalin
01-09-2005, 03:18
Yepyep. Specifically: Shas'o R'myr commanded the battle generally, and there were a hundred+ shas'els commanding individual cadres. Presumably, then, the Tau lack any larger unit formations, using temporary assemblies called 'Battles' as the equivalent of an Army, Front or other operational group.

Note; this limits the commander's effectiveness over larger group, as he is increasingly reliant on individual commander's initiative, command ability and willingness to alert higher command of foul-ups. With Tau doctrines and pressures for subservience to the greater whole, these problems are largely dealt with -- but it stands that personal honor or similar issues may result in periodic failures at the front.

Additionally; normally, this sort of lack of hierarchy leads to issues with concentration of organic elements -- for instance, airlift assets or artillery assets may be a limited commodity in a standard army, and so parcelling them between formations is a concern. Having some assets organized at the corp level instead of the division level, etc, can lead to an increased capability of the formation to respond to local developments by shifting the concentration of firepower. Local air support by Barracudas and Tiger Sharks may suffer from a similar problem -- relying on central command to release the support, after all, may cause problems when communications are being interfered with, or there are pressing matters on other fronts. A way to marginalize this is to have significant inter-formation communication -- having the cadre request support directly from the air cadre, without going up then down a command chain. I suppose this is where the 'battle swarm' doctrine comes into play -- its innovativeness is not necessarily in the fact that formations fight with greater independence, but that these formations are more free to request support directly from other formations, increasing the speed with which assistance is rendered.

It would appear that the Tau marginalize the airlift concern by tying cadre size and existance to a Manta -- while it's not explicitly said that every cadre has its Manta transport, the implication is that each unit will reliably have transport capacity within the theatre. This reduces the need for cross-formation reliance, and so frees each cadre to strike on its own initiative.

and stuff. Uh. Pardon; just running at the mouth. ;)

Wiseman
01-09-2005, 03:56
So, basically what we've been saying? ;)

Hurrah! :D
yep
Hurrah!

Giladis
01-09-2005, 06:37
Well I never imagined Tau having large IG like formation. I percive them as mechanised assault/defence force.

To explain myself:

Every Fire Warriors squad is atached(sp not sure?) to a Devilfish APC. They are unloaded when resistance is met, they deal with it, board the APC once again and go to the next enemy. Or if on defence, resist the foe for as long as it is healthy, than board APC and go to another location to resist the enemy.

With Hammerheads, Crisis and Stealth suits in support.

Dvalin
01-09-2005, 07:10
Giladis; yepyep. That's about how it's described. Practically any fluffy description of Tau engagements will describe them as mechanized.

Nurglitch_PS
01-09-2005, 07:22
You are evil. Now I have to get IA3! :)

Inquisitor Engel
01-09-2005, 13:19
With Hammerheads, Crisis and Stealth suits in support.

Oddly enough, this raises the question of how auxiliaries fit into all this.

My "Dark, evil 40k" wants to say they're used and cannon fodder, but I can't see this being OPENLY true, mainly because it becomes fairly obvious when you're being turned into cannon fodder again and again...

Kroot obviously have a designated ROLE within the Tau army, however, lacking any sort of tech on the models, or in illustrations, I can only presume that their leader doesn't have any way to communicate with the Shas'el or Shas'o. (I imagine the Tau wouldn't give the Kroot this bit of tech anyway, and understanding skwaking is quite difficult ;))

So, what is this roll, how often to they fulfil it, and how much freedom are they afforded to achieve their objectives?

Giladis
01-09-2005, 13:49
I think that human auxiliaries are used for static defence or mop-up(I think this is what I mean) force. They would be used more as support than true fighting elements.

Dvalin
01-09-2005, 15:02
IA3 specifically says, in fact, that human auxiliaries are not used as mere cannon fodder, but generally as garrisons for facilities; as they are only allowed small arms, they aren't a viable field formation, it'd seem.

Inquisitor Engel
01-09-2005, 20:10
IA3 specifically says, in fact, that human auxiliaries are not used as mere cannon fodder, but generally as garrisons for facilities; as they are only allowed small arms, they aren't a viable field formation, it'd seem.

That makes sense, and would keep Gue've'sa'la away from front lines, which would explain, from a development point of view, why they never made it into the original Tau Codex, even though they were released online the next month (implying they were ready at almost the exact same time...)

But the Kroot... the Kroot are a far more offensive and forward than humans are, they're suited to scouting and working forward, but still have to fit into the plan.

Scouting requires infinitely more preparation and coordination, even if it is just a few hundred metres ahead. The Shas'o/el can just tell the humans "Stay here, make sure no one takes it back," once they've secured an objective...

But the Kroot... the Kroot require a more defined and cooperative purpose, which seems at odds with their relatively barbaric and individualistic nature, as well as their inability to communicate as effectively as things with non-avian vocal chords. :p

Flame Boy
01-09-2005, 20:29
That was quite a surprise... I thought the Gue've'sa'la were allowed more autonomy than that. I didn't know they were given Tau-crafted lasguns and just sent to stand by a shed until the enemy attack it...

Perhaps that part of the background could develop over time, with Tau-loyal human military formations emerging as viable military formations in time? They would certainly be able to fill in for roles that some Tau would be unable to fulfil over time.

Dvalin
01-09-2005, 20:53
How the Taros Gue'vesa are described as coming about is as such: during the Tau seizure of the colony following the failed Imperial attempt to remove the planet's governor, they promise fair treatment and continued employment to the planetary militia, provided that the militia gives up its heavy weapons, with the promise of better equipment from the Tau in due course. The PDF, understanding that this is a better deal than they could ever hope to get from the Imperial response that's expected, largely accept this deal. The garrison, as such, has small arms, but no heavy weapons -- explaining the standard lasguns, and also the occasional pulse rifle or carbine.

And yeah -- I sort of hope that the Human auxiliaries are made viable in more than fluff. I want an excuse to start collecting IG. ;)

Shinzui
01-09-2005, 21:36
I can easily see some Imperial guard doctrines for Tau comming out around the same time as the new codex.


My "Dark, evil 40k" wants to say they're used and cannon fodder, but I can't see this being OPENLY true, mainly because it becomes fairly obvious when you're being turned into cannon fodder again and again...

Though it is said in the codex that they don't use their auxilleries as connon fodder. But I think it's more because of the Tau art of war than some real concern for the health of the auxillery forces.

Sephiroth
01-09-2005, 23:27
Kroot obviously have a designated ROLE within the Tau army, however, lacking any sort of tech on the models, or in illustrations, I can only presume that their leader doesn't have any way to communicate with the Shas'el or Shas'o. (I imagine the Tau wouldn't give the Kroot this bit of tech anyway, and understanding skwaking is quite difficult ;))

...

But the Kroot... the Kroot are a far more offensive and forward than humans are, they're suited to scouting and working forward, but still have to fit into the plan.

Scouting requires infinitely more preparation and coordination, even if it is just a few hundred metres ahead. The Shas'o/el can just tell the humans "Stay here, make sure no one takes it back," once they've secured an objective...

But the Kroot... the Kroot require a more defined and cooperative purpose, which seems at odds with their relatively barbaric and individualistic nature, as well as their inability to communicate as effectively as things with non-avian vocal chords. :p

According to nearly all the background we've got on Kroot, they should be able to talk as well as any human to the Tau commander.



Although their own language is a mixture of clicks, squawks and hoots, the Kroot are superb mimics and are able to link sounds to a particular piece of body language very quickly. Last rotaa I spent a few decs (1.5 hours) teaching a Kroot youngling to speak Tau. He could make himself understood by dark-time and is now one of our escorts.




'You are comparatively uninjured?' the thing asked, in curiously accented Gothic. It's hard to convey in writing, but its voice was glottal, most of the consonants reduced to hard clicking sounds. It was still perfectly understandable, mind you. My stupefaction was due entirely to the fact that something that looked like that was able to talk in the first place.

That said, they do indeed seem to lack any form of communication to report to the Tau Commander.

Inquisitor Engel
02-09-2005, 00:07
According to nearly all the background we've got on Kroot, they should be able to talk as well as any human to the Tau commander.

Well, then again we don't know how much of it is Tau learning some Kroot, and Kroot learning Tau... But that's not the real point, as you pointed out. ;)


That said, they do indeed seem to lack any form of communication to report to the Tau Commander.

Perhaps, rather than being used as actual scouts to report, they're used to sow discord and confusion in the enemy before the Tau get there. Thinking of them as a "point and shoot" gun. The Shas'O tells them where to be and when, and when not to be at any time, and Kroot do as they're told.

Just an idea.

Sephiroth
02-09-2005, 00:38
Perhaps, rather than being used as actual scouts to report, they're used to sow discord and confusion in the enemy before the Tau get there. Thinking of them as a "point and shoot" gun. The Shas'O tells them where to be and when, and when not to be at any time, and Kroot do as they're told.

Just an idea.

Works for me. :)

My understanding was they form a 'battle line' from which the more mobile Tau Cadres can operate around, launching attacks against enemy HQ, supply positions, unprotected areas, etc.

Dvalin
02-09-2005, 00:48
That's how it's described in the Tau codex, yep; that Kroot perform a delaying action at a given point to provide the Tau opportunity to strike. In IA3, the function is much the same -- excepting that it's limited to a particular ridgeline, and otherwise the defense is mounted by Tau forces. This may simply be on account of Tau superiority in a war of fire and maneuver, such as that in the desert.

Instigation
02-09-2005, 09:20
The Tau codex indicates that Tau hunter Cadres may spend hours or days preparing to strike in which time simulations and briefings are held ensuring that everyone knows what they are doing. When the attack does commence, it is in fluid form with every unit having predetermined targets and objectives to aim for. As the battle continues and more and more random factors begin to come into play the pre-prepared strategies begin to apply less and less at which point the Tau retreat to replan and re-attack at a later date.

What this suggests to me is that once a battle is joined there really is no need for any communication between the various hunting cadres since they each have their own objective each of which in turn make up the overall battleplan. Further to this once the battle moves beyong the expected scope of the attack plan or if the enemy proves un-expectadly resilent the hunting cadres pull out, again indicating that there doesnt need to be any inter-cadre communication as such. Perhaps a pulse signal indicating target cannot be attacked as planned, pulling out, to advise nearby operating hunting cadres but nothing more complex than that seems necessary.

This IMO also fits with the Tau mindset quite well, in terms of every unit having his place within the whole and the fact that Tau do not posses psykers and as such their interstellar communications cannot really by relied upon in co-ordinating system wide conflicts for example. However, if my interpretation is correct and the tau cadres can perform their duties with minimum to no communication between each other than the lack of fast interstellar communication does not become such a hindrance. This would also take into account auxiliary forces such as the kroot who would be given strict instructions as to what their place in the overall battle is and perhaps some simple signals they could pulse out to hunting cadres if things are not going as expected.

So in my oppinion there is no need for a central AI as previously described in this thread since I do not think the Tau cadres need to communicate throughout a battle. They attack, achieve or fail to achieve thier objectives, they pull out to see what effect their attack has had, replan, attack again without needing ongoing communication throughout battle.
Anyway just my thoughts on the Tau way of war. Also have any of you ever read Robert Asprins The Bug Wars? I believe that the alien race known as the Tzen in that book are perhaps a good example of what the tau are like to an extent.

Inquisitor Engel
03-09-2005, 06:00
So in my oppinion there is no need for a central AI as previously described in this thread since I do not think the Tau cadres need to communicate throughout a battle. They attack, achieve or fail to achieve thier objectives, they pull out to see what effect their attack has had, replan, attack again without needing ongoing communication throughout battle.

Whilst I think you have a point, I don't think the Tau are nearsighted or arrogant enough to think that every enemy will allow them to withdraw or be in situations where it simply would not be worth it.

Tyranids would be a prime example of an enemy that simply would not allow this, nor would it be tactically sound to do so in most situations, Tyranids require a mouldable, flexible battle plan that can react quickly to an enemy that thinks literally with one mind.

That said, you don't withdraw from Tyranids - You abandon the ground.

Deadnight
03-09-2005, 19:17
my thoughts on the matter:

When we look at the codex, we get a view of the hunter cadre. And thats about it. Ironically, the cadre plays a small role in the overall strategy of tau war. So, how do tau go about organising their armies? We have next to no fluff, and must make our own assumptions, base don what little fluff we have, lots of luck, leaps in the dark and guessing.

What fluff do we have:
We know the name of the larger formations of tau armies are ither (number) cadres, or battles. We have 2 examples of the former - the commander who killed slannesh led 6- a six-cadre, and Kais' dad was commander of the fifth ten cadre on t'au.

From what i can gather the maximum number that can be efficiently commanded at one time is 12. Indeed, the dragonfish entry in the epic list states up to 12 cadres or other formations can be commanded. THats not to say larger formations dont exist. On the contrary- shas'os are known to command armadas, and tihs could be 50+ cadres, but of all these he can only personally command 12 at a time.

So, how are the cadres organised? the codex states they are made up on the spot for whatever mission is needed. I think this is flawed. It exists so we can all happily create differnet 40k armies, but on the grander scale it is too anarchic and chaotic to be appealing to the tau. the one piece of fluff supporting this is the concept of the (number) cadre. that, if fire warriors made one cadre, and stealthsuits another, it would just be dodgy as hell. But the epic list suggests that indeed, this is the case.

Looking at the epic list, a cadre is more than a fighting unit. it is an organisational unit.
Looking at the epic list, for example, a line cadre is 8 fire warrior teams. crisis suit cadres also exist. Beyond this, all other units are contingenets eg stealth contingent, hammehread contingent. and these count as independent formations (whatever that is!)

So, what do we make of all this? How can we piece it all together to get an overall picture of the tau military machine?

As i have said, i regard the ad-hoc codex method as not firring the tau. its too anarchic, unless its to take on a mission near its base of operations (marauding orks near a fio mining camp for example, and the cadre must mobilise its forces).

thinking of how tau operate, the Kor'vattra (fleet) is the main element in expanding the tau empire. My assumption is expeditions are carefully planned, and provisioned with men and materiel. FIr example, an aun will officially lead the expedition. A Kor element will be included to man the ships. A Shas element will exist to take care of any ground campaigns, or any fighting in general. Fio work teams will obviously be a part to fix and repair any damaged shas, or Kor piece of Kit. And the Por will have to come along to liase their way through everything.
How are the Shas organised?
My guess is the concept of a (number) cadre will play a part here again. A shas'o will come along, and will command a number of cadres, based on the level of importance of the expedition. My guess is the (number) cadre will specifically refer to line cadres, ie fire warriors. My guess is accompanying these forces will be crisis cadres, and various contingents of other units - pathfinders, hammerheads etc. And these guys train until they are called upon to perform a mission. THe mission can be to escort the Por down, launch a strike against ground based sites that are targetting the tau etc.
How will they work? My guess is the shas'o will call together all his shas'el. Have a big ol' council of war, where he tells them what they want. they study the layout of the target, the surrounding area, nearby enemy forces etc. they then decide on a plan of action, eahc shas'el will be given a specific mission to perform. Each shas'el will only have by rights his fire warriors, and shas'vre bodyguards. depending on the mission, various contingents will be added to his force to help it succeed. FOr example, if he's given the job to take out a threatening armoured column, he's get hammerheads/broadsides etc.they train, endlessly. pathfinders are sent in (or are already on site) and give the signal when to strike. and then the cadre goes to war. (and we all know what they do then!)

So, how are the cadres filled? my guess is when a shas'o is told to lead such an expedition he will be able to choose the shas'el he wants with him. Obviously, a lot of shas'el would be under other commands, so the shas'ar'tol would give him a list of suitable candidates, and he picks from them. maybe he'll pick them through familiarity, or maybe becuase they follow the same tactical philosophy as he does. He will also pick the contingents, or else the shas'ar'tol will simply say that he gets the standard lot of x stealth contingents, X hammerheads etc. Or else, based on the expedition, and the threat index, he and the shas'ar'tol will decide on what is needed and he gets it then. the shas'el will then decide on which squad swill be in their cadres. And again, the selection will be based more on which shas'ui they know leads them, or they come from the same battle academny etc, or else the shas'ar'tol will simply give them the dquads they will lead. I would assume the commanders of the expedition would have a big input into the composition of their forces, and would not appreciate the shas'ar'tol stuffing it down their throats.

Inquisitor Engel
04-09-2005, 02:41
Kais' dad was commander of the fifth ten cadre on t'au.

Fifth-Ten could be a designation number, like the Cadian 8th/3rd (8th Regiment, 3rd Company) as it seems a tad off to say that it's the Fifth group of 10 Cadres.


THats not to say larger formations dont exist. On the contrary- shas'os are known to command armadas, and tihs could be 50+ cadres, but of all these he can only personally command 12 at a time.

So given that we could say that it breaks down to the following:

Squad (3-12 Tau): Commanded by Shas'ui or Shas'vre
Cadre (4-12 Squads): Commanded by Shas'el or Shas'o
Battle (2-12 Cadres): Commanded by an appointed Shas'o
Armada: (See below)
Expansion: (See below)

It's safe to assume that Armada's are made up of multiple battles, and that the Shas'o Commanding a Battle is apppointed by either one of the higher Aun's in the force, or mutually agreed by the other Shas'o in the Battle.

The Shas'o commanding the Armada is probably either in the same situation though the candidates are chosen from the Shas'o commanding the individual battles.

As for Expansions? It's safe to say that the the Second and now Third Sphere expansion forces were/are commanded by an extremely well known (perhaps nigh-legendary) Shas'o appointed by the Aun on T'au.

A good example is that I imagine that had Farsight not gone rogue, he would have been the Shas'o chosen to lead the Third Sphere expansion.


So, how are the cadres organised? the codex states they are made up on the spot for whatever mission is needed. I think this is flawed.

Indeed, I would say that contrary to the Epic list, a Cadre is a mix of suits, from Fire Warriors to Broadsides with vehicle support, I would also say that promotion rarely takes a Tau out of his Cadre.

I would say that creation of martial pride and a 'band of brothers' feel between a group of Tau would be all important. The Fraternity of War.

Being from the same caste is one thing, fighting with your squad mates from Shas'ui to Shas'vre is another entirely, and creates unique and extremely experienced units.


that, if fire warriors made one cadre, and stealthsuits another, it would just be dodgy as hell. But the epic list suggests that indeed, this is the case.

In certain battlefield situations I imagine grouping many Battle or Stealth Suits from different cadres is required. However I think the Epic list takes too much of a hint from the Guard, which is something the Tau definitely don't need.


Looking at the epic list, a cadre is more than a fighting unit. it is an organisational unit.

Contrary to the above ideas indicated by the list, but oh well. It IS an experimental list. :)


Beyond this, all other units are contingenets eg stealth contingent, hammehread contingent. and these count as independent formations (whatever that is!)

Eh. I'm not fond of the idea, but I CAN see Hammerheads and Skyrays as well as other support vehicles in a different formations, as these would be deployed in large groups for seiges.


My guess is the shas'o will call together all his shas'el. Have a big ol' council of war, where he tells them what they want.

See above. :)

Unfortunately, the Specialist Games site won't allow me to download the Tau list for some reason, I'd appreciate it if someone can Email it to me. :)

Dvalin
04-09-2005, 07:05
Some things to note; for additional Tau fluff, one could reference the BFG Tau release on the Specialist Games site. There is also a lot of Tau fluff in the Imperial Armor 3 book, though naturally not a lot of people will have access to this. Additionally yet, there is Tau fluff in the experimental BFG rules worked on by Forgeworld, which was posted online during the testing period and then removed prior to the IA3 release -- notably because a lot of it is included in IA3. Some enterprising people with an interest in Tau fluff may very well have a copy of this, and may be willing to share it when messaged by interested parties. Not that I'm saying anything, y'see.

Now -- as for IA3 fluff. The concept of multiple levels of Tau battle formation beyond the cadre is interesting, but perhaps not the best bet. First; the reference to 'battles' as larger formations is provided for in the Tau codex, and reinforced by the Taros campaign. Despite involving over a hundred hunter cadres, the Taros force was simply one battle organized under a Shas-o -- no armada, no corps, etc. It may be, then, that the Epic limitation of 12 cadres to a Shas-o is an arbitrary limit put into place for game mechanics. There's no indication in either of those two books that there exists another, larger operational unit. It's also noteworthy that the armada term is essentially nautical; given that 40K terminology is chosen because of its correlation to real-world terms, this use presumably indicates that the reference is to a fleet unit. It may well be, then, that command of a task force -- including its organic fleet support -- may ultimately fall under the caste that it primarily serves. That is to say, that it may be that fire warriors serving as security aboard Tau warships ultimately fall under command of the Kor, and warships serving as transport and support for ground troops ultimately fall under Shas command.

Inquisitor Engel
04-09-2005, 18:59
Some enterprising people with an interest in Tau fluff may very well have a copy of this, and may be willing to share it when messaged by interested parties. Not that I'm saying anything, y'see.

If anyone has the Epic or BFG lists, I'd love for someone to PM me... ;)


Now -- as for IA3 fluff. The concept of multiple levels of Tau battle formation beyond the cadre is interesting, but perhaps not the best bet.

I see no reason why not, at least some level, although an intermediary level may be excessive.


First; the reference to 'battles' as larger formations is provided for in the Tau codex, and reinforced by the Taros campaign. Despite involving over a hundred hunter cadres, the Taros force was simply one battle organized under a Shas-o -- no armada, no corps, etc.

Taros was a defense though, so it's possible that defensive actions are commanded differently to an attack.

It may have been impractical to designate individual battles to put under the command of R'myr, rather than simply have him command all the Cadres that would know Taros like the back of their hands anyway...

As a quick revision to the levels:

Squad (3-12 Tau): Commanded by Shas'ui or Shas'vre
Cadre (4-12 Squads): Commanded by Shas'el or Shas'o
Battle (2-12 Cadres): Commanded by an appointed Shas'o
[Additional Level]: (See below)

I say "additional level" because an Expansion OBVIOUSLY has a single leader for the entire thing, to designate which worlds are prime targets and such, it's simply too massive not to have another organizational level. (That and it's going to span muliple sectors, not just worlds, and therefore battles wouldn't make sense)

That said, it's possible that R'myr was forced to organize it into a massive battle due to the 'hammer' nature of Imperial attacks and that were circumstances different, he would have Commanded 10-20 Battles and been at a higher level, though any idea for a name escapes me... A Palisade? I'm lost, but calling it a 'Defense' just sounds silly...


That is to say, that it may be that fire warriors serving as security aboard Tau warships ultimately fall under command of the Kor, and warships serving as transport and support for ground troops ultimately fall under Shas command.

I think that's a good bet.

Dvalin
04-09-2005, 19:20
Oh! Actually, come to think of it; on p. 267 of IA3, there is an order of battle for 'Contingent El'shi'eldi' -- Shas'el Shi'eldi, a commander of a hunter cadre, having been given temporary authority over five other Shas'els and their formations for a coordinated operation. This maintains the Battle as the largest operational unit, but does allow for a hierarchal unit between the cadre and the battle for use in specific larger operations. It's presumably also a temporary formation, roughly analagous to a corp.

N0-1_H3r3
04-09-2005, 21:15
On the subject of Auxiliaries (Specifically, the Gue'vesa'la) and thier uses, I can see a potential area of expansion beyond what seems to be a stop-gap measure of simply maintaining existing militia and PDF forces.

Its plain for most to see that the Tau themselves aren't hugely numerous, and restricted caste-based breeding can't be the most productive of ways to increase the population, at least compared to the Kroot and the Humans. In the wake of the Third Sphere Expansions, the Tau'va's human population has increased tremendously, and simply leaving established forces in place seems to be a relatively quick method of establishing order and moving on to the next world. Sooner or later, those worlds - and the people on them - will need to be properly integrated into the Tau'va.

Further, increased contact with hostile races may help to illustrate flaws in the Tau way of war which the traditional mindsets of the Shas can't sufficiently develop solutions for. It's notable that the Tau do not use massed artillery, or anything of similar widespread destructive capacity, preferring precision strikes. Humans now under their rule, however, may have experience with artillery and similar 'options' that the Tau themselves might not be willing to make use of - much in the way the Kroot can provide a degree of ferocity and melee prowess to Tau forces that the Tau themselves find distasteful.

In the long term, at least, I can see Gue'vesa forces contributing significantly to the Tau way of war, if only by performing tasks that the Fire Caste are either unwilling or ill-equipped to perform themselves.

Inquisitor Engel
04-09-2005, 22:24
Oh! Actually, come to think of it; on p. 267 of IA3, there is an order of battle for 'Contingent El'shi'eldi' ...[snip]...It's presumably also a temporary formation, roughly analagous to a corp.

It's my opinion that all Tau formations further up than a Cadre are temporary, but that gives us -

Squad (3-12 Tau): Commanded by Shas'ui or Shas'vre
Cadre (4-12 Squads): Commanded by Shas'el
Contingent (2-12 Cadres): Commander by Shas'el or Shas'o
Battle (2+ Contingents): Commanded by an appointed Shas'o
Expansion/Pallisade (2+ Battles): Commanded by an Aun ordained Shas'o

The number of Cadres within a Contingent is based upon the trend featured otherwise. Monats obviously form an exception to the squad rule.

That means that R'myr would have had command of between 16 (if minimums were the fact) and 144 Cadres. (If everything were maxed) A full battle would be in the region of 15-20,000 Tau.

Of course, that's nothing in terms of 40k armies. I'd expect a Battle to be able to command any number of contingents, simply limited by planet, by which point effective communication becomes difficult.

Obviously an Expansion or Pallisade had no limit on the number of Battles it can command...

The Orange
05-09-2005, 02:35
I think a good model to look at would be that of the Space Marines. A chapter is split up into many companies, and I would equate a company to a cadre, each representing a fully capable reactionary force. Of course SM companies arenít always together/complete (often split up to help in many minor wars), and I would equate this to varying sizes of cadres, all depending on their objectives.
However their are also specialized companies in SM chapters, such as companies made up completely of terminators, scouts, devastators, etc. The units in each of these companies would of course be distributed among the main fighting companies. As such there could also be cadres that are composed entirely of support elements where are requisitioned to those cadres when the need arises, such as large scale warfare.
There may even be cadres, for a lack of a better word, of auxiliaries. Kroot for example usually work in small groups for specific cadres (as the codex would imply), but their have been times when they have been called on to work as a large group by themselves, such as the stated ridge in IA3, and also in the codex in the defense of Del'yth to cover the retreat of the main Tau forces. One would think that such large groups of Kroot would need their own chain of command that would also mesh into the Tau's chain of command. So it is likely that there is a higher organization of Kroot in Tau battle groups which requisitions squad of Kroot to cadres as needed, and which can pull together its forces and coordinate its movements when called upon too.

As such it is my theory that cadres, while similar to SM companies, are more flexible, and less permanent institutions in Tau armies. While their may or may not be a core force which retains the identity of a cadre, there likely is a continuous switching of units between cadres, or larger formations, to allow each cadre to perform specific tasks/objectives, or simply for re-supply and reinforcement.

Wolflord Havoc
05-09-2005, 16:26
My own personnel take on the Tau organisational Doctrine (fluff based) is one of Mobility and adaptability - both factors are dependent upon available forces and the threat in hand.

Basically (and again this is only my take on the Tau) Cadres are formed from a higher organisation to do a particular Task and are then disbanded with the forces being pooled to be able to create another Cadre or Cadres as the local commander sees fit.
Philisopical Auns "Battle Matrix" would come into its own in this situation as it would be able to advise the commander (or his staff to advise him if the commander has suited up and is killing stuff) as to what forces are available at any given moment. So forces would (on the Battle Matrix) merge to form Cadres and then disband to join other units etc. This would mean a great deal of standardisation amung the Tau and an ability to adapt very rapidly to changing situations - which would complement their highly mobile units.

What I certainly don't see is squads, tanks and commanders staying in one formation for the duration of a campaign or even a single battle (not a 40K table top skirmish but a day long engagement between divisional sized units). Nope IMO the structure of the Cadres would flow and change (indeed individual Cadres might cease to exist and new ones formed etc) as the battle progressed as situations changed and individual squads/Vehicals are reduced in effectiveness due to Casaulties and Fatigue etc.

In fact the only regular formation is the Squad or Vehical Crew and even then they might (and probably would) recieve replacments etc during a campaign.