True to the episode title, LotGH decided invasion can hold off an extra week, spending the time explaining the in depth explanation of just what is about to happen—or basically giving us the complementary shounen treatment. That’s right, it was info dumping and talking galore this time around, but if there’s one thing LotGH is very good at, it’s showing how even the driest of information can be incredibly exciting—and concerning.
After showing how disturbingly arrogant and naïve the Alliance leadership was last time, LotGH went the extra mile this week by revealing how incompetence isn’t limited to the political class. It’s not that surprising considering previous events, but it’s truly something else seeing military men high on potential victory willing to bet over 30 million lives on a plan barely thought out. This stems from the key thing all staff officers are taught (and was highlighted here) from day one: an invasion must have a strategic purpose. Land alone (even resource rich land) isn’t good enough, you must have a tangible objective, something that will either mitigate the enemy’s ability to resist (ex. railroad line, major port) or outright encourage surrender. As Napoleon and Hitler learned anything else is basically slow death, and the FPA is walking right into the same trap. Strike terror and give hope to the oppressed so they rise up in support? Sounds great, but doesn’t work in practice.* What if the Imperial citizenry doesn’t want the FPA’s version of freedom, what if they’re actually happy? And what happens to this supposed goodwill when you start requisitioning their supplies to deal with logistical hiccups? Apparently problems not worthy of attention.
To be fair though it’s not all the FPA military staff who’s behind this hair brained scheme. Quite a few admirals besides Yang have identified the issues, but since invasion is written in stone by their political superiors, they have been left subordinate to those more in favour of Alliance policy. Of course this mostly means Andrew Falk (who we will be seeing quite a bit of), but there are others who sense an opportunity for glory and honour they’ll let no one interfere with, no matter the cost. As Admiral Sithole rightfully states men like Yang are desperately needed in these situations, they may have no commanding power, but they can mitigate the damage and assume control once things inevitably fail. Yang may not like it (in fact he hates it), but life always has a funny way of ensuring those meant for something greater wind up in the position. Plus with over 60% of the FPA navy under command of a leadership already dividing up the spoils yet to be won, someone has to ensure there’s a navy left to even contemplate such things.
If matters weren’t problematic enough already either, there’s also the little fact the Empire knows what’s coming. Rubinsky as highlighted before is a key player to watch, for his information on both Empire and Alliance ensures both sides are kept more or less equal and left in stalemate. Not all the time of course (as Iserlohn showed), but the guy is shrewd enough to know what to reveal to who and when. Much like with Yang though, the issue Rubinsky will quickly encounter is with Reinhardt. He may intend on keeping the major powers locked in stalemate (for his benefit), but Reinhardt doesn’t plan on simply pushing the FPA back—he intends on irreversibly crushing them. Like Rubinsky the Imperial government too hopes to stop Reinhardt before he wins too much, but as they’re all about to discover, leashing a lion in its prime is no easy feat.
Victory may go to those who make the least damaging mistakes, but with a plan with no clear strategy and Reinhardt at the enemy helm, the Alliance has already made the gravest mistake of all.
*: World War I saw multiple attempts to get foreign peoples to rise up as armies advanced. The Russians hoped their 1914 advance into Galicia would cause a Slavic uprising in Austria-Hungary (it never materialized) and France believed the populace of Alsace-Lorraine would euphorically welcome them back (they did not). Even White Russian incursions into Bolshevik Russia from Estonia and Latvia in 1918-19 failed to cause uprisings, showing that without offering something good and tangible to people, they often choose to stick with what they know.