How Goodfights are Won
Posted by Corelin
A while back, Paul Clavet of My Loot Your Tears post on the Cooper Colors and Ooda Loops. One of the things that he doesn’t talk about much (because it just isn’t that important to a person on their own) is how long it takes for information to be fed along the loop. For a person that tends to be nearly instantaneously, or close enough between people that it isn’t the main factor deciding the engagement. Organizations are very different.
Let’s take two fleets, one travelling along to a POS they plan on finishing off, the other set up to trap them. Both have similar fleet comps, and a workable plan for how they want to fight. The travelling fleet is enforcing very harsh comms discipline, most members are muted, except for scouts, task leaders, and the FC. The defending fleet has comms open but supposedly on “Battlecomms” with people told to STFU when they talk.
The Observe step now takes quite a bit longer. The defending scout sees the fleet incoming (Observe) pops his D-scan, gets a snapshot of the incoming fleet and decides how to report it (Orient/Decide) then starts talking to the FC (Act) at which point the FC can *START* his OODA loop. He assesses the enemy fleet composition compared to his own, (Observe/Orient) decides that it’s worth engaging and orders his bait into position (Decide/Act) the bait group has a bit of a head start, they probably heard the scout’s report and that let them realize what was coming so they can more or less skip straight to act.
The attacking fleet’s bait component (the portion reported by the scout) lands and engages the defender’s bait. Defenders drop a cyno and bridge in reinforcements. At this point comms are fairly calm, people are reporting the reinforcements but most folks are muted so comms, while elevated, are not overwhelmed. The FC can still pass orders and drops his own cyno to bring in his own reinforcements. The defender’s comms are overwhelmed nearly instantly with reports of ships coming in. The communication channel breaks down and while the FC can still Observe, Orient, and Decide, he cannot Act as he has no means to let his will be known. Even if he has a plan or counter to whatever has happened, he cannot communicate it, the attacking fleet is now inside the defender’s fleet’s loop, if not the actual FC’s.
Being inside someone’s OODA loop is lethal. At this point there are so very few ways to change the equation so fundamentally that unless the attacking fleet makes a huge mistake, the defender likely has no control over the situation at all. Only by a supreme effort to break the attacker’s loop can the defender regain an equal footing. Think of trying to coordinate a “Combo Breaker” in a fighting game where you had to communicate the plan to a fleet of people and get them to do it right the first time. Not easy.
The fastest way to win a fight is to break the other sides OODA loop. Whether it’s having spais reporting everything from the other sides comms or even adding extraneous or simply wrong information or attacking them in a way that they don’t predict in a place or time they don’t predict anything to generate surprise, shock, or confusion. In real life this causes panic, in EvE you usually have to settle for confusion, either way you get the win. Just remember, the more complicated your plan is, the more things you need to go right, the longer you make YOUR OODA loop, and the easier you make it for other people to get inside on you.