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Author Topic: (Provisional) Character Study of the Week: Aleksandr Kerensky  (Read 3790 times)

Grey

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Author's Note: I'm getting better at the weekly aspect of this, though I admit to taking a slightly different approach with this one and so feedback on the structure is more than welcome, as well as actual discussion of the character. I feel I'm far from perfect but improving, hopefully you agree. :)

Character Study of the Week: Aleksandr Kerensky
Who: Aleksandr Sergeyevich Kerensky
What: Assorted officer ranks within the Star League Defence Forces
Commanding General, Star League Defence Forces
Regent and Protector of the Star League
   Commanding General, Star League in Exile
When: 16 December 2700 – 11 June 2801
Weapon of Choice: Orion 1K, later modified
      The Star League Defence Force, in whole or in part as the situation dictated

Once shrouded through the mists of time, filtered by legend and worship General Aleksandr Kerensky is the oldest of the messianic figures of Battletech. Information about the man has been short in coming and long in repeating the key highlights of his career and life until recently as the historical eras have been explored in greater detail.

Aleksandr Kerensky is a bit of a diversion for this series because he is less of a Character and more of a Plot Device.

When Battletech was starting it was set in the waning years of the Third Succession War in a setting that was described as having known nothing but constant war, indeed the length of the Third Succession War meant that there weren’t a lot of people left alive who remembered a time when that wasn’t the happening event.

What caused all these wars? Big empire collapsed and the largest potential peacekeepers (or bullies to keep things quiet if you will) up and left. Who got them to leave? Aleksandr Kerensky. By the power of personality, charisma and rightness he convinced them to leave lest greater destruction happen.

That’s the massively oversimplified view, and in-setting it’s probably all the average person had at the time, from a game perspective at that point who needed anything more?

This is half the messianic aspect, the other half is the belief, in-setting, and the implication, from a game perspective since it is a classic dangling story hook, that he and the SLDF will return in humanity’s darkest hour. We know now how that worked out, and quite frankly both inside and out of the universe Aleksandr living that long is moderately ridiculous but legends are not to be impeded by reality.

Naturally this background has been teased out, elaborated on and expanded as the setting became less black and white, however it never really changed Aleksandr’s role as a pivot point for events, thus he is more of a plot device than a character.

This continues on until his death where he catalyses events rather than creates them.

Much of this is because for the longest period of time Aleksandr was known by reputation and legend alone, he wasn’t a physical, active force in events. Even with the coming of the Clans his reputation remained level, if somewhat changed, he was a near mythological character to everyone, and even if his descendants were barbaric invaders anti-ethical to everything he stood for (as many have pointed out), Aleksandr himself remained largely “good” and revered because that reputation and legend persisted based on what knowledge of events was available.

But like all people no one is ever 100% good or bad, and the earliest, as far as writing history goes, sign of this is the Prinz Eugen Mutiny. Not so much because of the brutal handling of the mutiny, anything less would have been surprising given that it is a military desertion, but because it happened at all, thus showing that the Kerensky mystique is neither total nor irrepressible.

It also the first sign of something picked up on in the later Historicals, that Kerensky was never a political animal with his finger on the pulse of public opinion. He was a soldier who did his job, which boiled down to following orders and conscience. The latter of which was all he had once Richard Cameron died, leaving him not completely rudderless but with a reduced pool of resources with which to approach a problem.

In the Pentagon we see this again, he demobbed the SLDF and seemed to expect everyone to get down to the business of colonisation, their own thoughts and opinions be damned next to necessity and the ideals they were trying to preserve. If only things were ever that simple.

It should have been the focus, the Pentagon Worlds were habitable but each held their own dangers and required a great deal of effort to settle, theoretically occupying everyone. Instead tensions simmered, public opinion swayed even among the loyal soldiers, former and current, leading to grumblings, discontent, protests, riots, and finally the DeChevalier Massacre.

For all the good there seems to have been in Aleksandr Kerensky his reaction to these escalating events would probably have just raised the stakes further, his death, while inevitable anyway, was just the best means of tying off the bloody stump of the Star League in Exile and letting his son get away to forge the Clans rather than miring what was left of the League in a futile, fratricidal conflict that would have snuffed them out.

Throw in the Historicals and Aleksandr Kerensky sounds more and more like a normal person muddling through events making the best decisions he can with the information on hand.

Painfully though he remains ‘good’ in a broad ethical sense.

Did he order executions? Yes. Did he order massacres? Yes. Did he stomp over things with violence? Yes. He did so to uphold the law he swore to uphold, defend the weak as he saw them and preserve the ideals he strove for, however imperfectly.

The wrinkle is in that perspective.

To the Taurians and much of the Periphery he was a monster as soon as he signed on the dotted line and joined the SLDF, becoming Commanding General just made him a bigger monster. To the House Lords he was an impediment, to his own sons he was a distant legend. We the readers have nothing else to base our opinions on but these views, some of which only recently became available.

And that distance is key, for within the Battletech setting he is just as distant and unknowable as he was within. Perhaps two people knew him, Aleksandr Kerensky the human being, his wife Katuysha and best friend Aaron DeChevalier. The former we have little on and the latter is also only a few scraps of journal entries and Field Report prefaces, but provides a valuable window into this human, one of the very few. This is isolation of the character on every level, making it easier to dehumanise him.

When did he become a legend? To us outside of the setting it was immediate, General Aleksandr Kerensky was the cornerstone to the background mythology of the setting, his technologically advanced and ethically pure forces leaving was the beginning of the Dark Times of humanity the game was initially set in.

Inside the universe it’s a little harder to say. For the Clans it was immediate, in fact it was probably one of their cultural cornerstones as well. For the Inner Sphere it grew over time, sure, but may have begun as early as the Regency, since his reputation as a paragon was already established at that point, hence the choice for him to head the Star League until Richard came of age.

By the end of the war he had inadvertently built a cult of personality, how else would millions have willingly followed him into the unknown?

Millions, if not billions or trillions more, might have followed him in rebuilding the Terran Hegemony, even the Star League by force, but that’s where being the ‘good’ guy comes in again, and as usual for the Battletech universe it bites the character in the backside.

More importantly his legend was still limited. Even if he had wanted to he could not have leveraged his popularity, position or support against the House Lords without precipitating a five front war, so reputation and legend could only go so far.

This is also why during the Exodus and the Pentagon years Kerensky was shown taking such harsh actions, it was the earliest, easiest way to take some of the shine off the legend and start showing him as a human being making human decisions.

And his BattleMech. . .  As a Gunslinger Aleksandr was able to choose anything he wanted despite the makeup of his company or battalion, unusual for the Star League which was homogeneous up to battalion, sometimes even regimental level.

A stock 1K Orion makes sense for the early days of his career. While far from the most advanced, powerful designs it is durable and falls well into the generalist category. Like the Shadow Hawk it had a cannon, LRMs, SRMs and laser weaponry in a balanced configuration, lacking only the mobility of jump jets which were supposed to be a rarity on a Level 1 Heavy BattleMech anyway.

In fact this configuration would be shared by many successful designs in various iterations, such as the Cyclops, Highlander and the Assault ‘Mech designed by Kerensky himself, the Atlas.

It is the versatility that makes it useful to a Gunslinger, in the days before the OmniMech with only the weapons bolted to your machine available on the day and never knowing what opponent you might face.

The modified Orion Kerensky piloted later on is an odd beast. All but the lasers are gone, devastating firepower is provided by the Gauss Rifle replacing the AC10 and of all things a Snub Nosed PPC has replaced the missiles. It’s an odd choice because it’s a retroactive new weapon, introduced during the Jihad timeline but given an original development date back during the late Star League period, enhancing the eras it can be played in.

Overall still a balanced machine and with the improved direct fire qualities is arguably a better duellist. It is less ammo dependent, more direct in its fire power, the lack of crit seekers is a little concerning but is replaced with pure punch. Nevertheless it was a powerful design with enough new tech to qualify as the personal ride of the highest ranking military officer in all of human space.

Of course, more than most other characters, for someone like Aleksandr Kerensky the legacy they leave behind is just as important as the character they are, it’s a part of the plot and setting centric nature of what they are.

Unfortunately that means the Clans have largely tainted the Kerensky legacy in the setting, as it means the (idealised) peacekeeping SLDF came back as ravenous conquerors.

Would Aleksandr have approved of Nicholas’ Clans? Hell no. General Kerensky was a man tied to the ideals of the Star League and SLDF. Freedom, safety, liberty, these were what he fought for. And he would fight, kill, use every trick in the book to achieve victory, but it would be a well-defined victory and any tactic that destroyed more than it gained was a waste.

IlKhan Kerensky was a man who saw an opportunity to build his version of a utopian society and grabbed it with both hands. Everything and everybody was a potential tool to be turned to a purpose, their own thoughts and wishes, even their needs beyond basic survival were moot. He codified warfare as a tool to settle even minor disputes. Life was lived to be lost on the battlefield, later generations to do the same as long as the dying was discrete and not wanton.

There are overlaps between father and son but on the whole the IlKhan is a very different person from the General.

His other son Andery is not any closer. Whether you argue he assisted in founding the Clans because he believed, because he wanted to curb his brother’s excesses or because he had no other choice out of politics, family loyalty or having nothing else to do it is clear in recent fiction and sourcebooks that he shared some ideals with his father and differed on others, much as his older brother but in a different direction.

While the Clans of Operation Revival would likely be an alien concept to all three men it’s clear that Aleksandr’s legacy, philosophical and political, not genetic, has been lost.

To those of us who play the game and read the books the question of legacy is a bit murkier, especially as sourcebooks looking back in time, either as retrospective analysis documents like the Historical Series, or found internal materials such as Field Reports, flesh out the time period, characters and all.

At the beginning Kerensky was more than just a footnote, and his legacy was one of lost glory. The Clans came and that brought a degree of taint with it, but sitting outside the setting we were in the position of being omniscient and could differentiate between Aleksandr and what his son had created a bit better. Now with more information coming to light the character is becoming richer and we see the frail human being trying to make the best decisions he can, just like any other in the setting.

Far from glorious but equally far from the thin character of old, and paradoxically it means that this ancient character is in the process of being developed as much as any in the contemporary Dark Age. Perhaps then his legacy is that of being proof that Battletech, at any time period, is a setting of constant growth and evolution.

Frabby

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Re: (Provisional) Character Study of the Week: Aleksandr Kerensky
« Reply #1 on: 05 February 2015, 09:43:12 »
You didn't spell out the most defining counter-attribute of Aleksandr Kerensky: While a military genius, he seemed to be lacking in social skills or more precisely, relationships. He was a loner not by choice but by nature.
At the military academy he was a brilliant student yet something of an outcast, and his relationship with his first sweetheart was overshadowed by bullying and destroyed as a collateral when he fought back in earnest for once, incidentially in her defense.
As a protector of young Richard Cameron he failed both his own family (being an absent father while his sons grew up with an implicitly mentally unstable, apparently clinically depressed mother) and young Richard (with whom he didn't establish a relationship, resulting in Stefan Amaris becoming Richard's chosen 'Stepfather' over Kerensky).
After the Amaris Coup Kerensky fell back on what he did best, soldiering, with his family in hiding on Terra - not a good neighbourhood for two adolescent kids and their unstable mother. This can't be blamed on Kerensky but nevertheless made his son Nicholas a sociopath.
By the time of the Exodus, the elder Kerensky was exhausted and tired to the point where his inner circle (and Nicholas) felt he wasn't leading anymore, just reacting. That's why Nicholas engineered the Prinz Eugen mutiny, to prod his father into action. It is reasonable to assume Aleksandr became more and more a tool for Nicolas' ambitions and plans, acting not on his own behals but manipulated by his son like a puppet. That's a General Kerensky the Inner Sphere never saw, while Clan records were later deliberately forged by Nicolas to create a personality cult around his late father to inherit his status.
« Last Edit: 05 February 2015, 09:44:46 by Frabby »
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Re: (Provisional) Character Study of the Week: Aleksandr Kerensky
« Reply #2 on: 05 February 2015, 23:01:01 »
Alexander had the same cult like status among many of the Inner Sphere post Succession Wars, the Authurian Legend of "One day, the SLDF will return and fix everything." Alexander became a symbol of everything that was right with SL, far from the truth but many prefer the legend rather than the truth.   

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Grey

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Re: (Provisional) Character Study of the Week: Aleksandr Kerensky
« Reply #3 on: 06 February 2015, 00:11:19 »
Good point Frabby, I missed out on the lack of social skills when I covered the isolation and probably could have made more of his poor people skills, it's hard to cover everything though.

It certainly exacerbated problems that could have otherwise been avoided, Richard Cameron's upbringing being the first big one, Nicholas and Andery being another though much of that may have occurred anyway as a result of personality and upbringing during the occupation.

As a side note I'll do another provisional article on Nicholas, and a final provisional article on a lesser known or smaller role character. If anyone has any suggestions for the last provisional I'd welcome the input.

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Re: (Provisional) Character Study of the Week: Aleksandr Kerensky
« Reply #4 on: 06 February 2015, 17:59:18 »
Why he couldn't have his wife help raise Richard....it would had kept him from slipping to the dark side. 

Then again, he was protecting his two boys from becoming targets for political rivals.

He's a victim of plot, plain and simple.  Over arching story of Battletech has a needing to have a hero from forgotten fallen golden age. A guy who's actions led his people down the road become the Clans.  Society i don't think he would have liked. 

« Last Edit: 06 February 2015, 22:02:35 by Wrangler »
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Re: (Provisional) Character Study of the Week: Aleksandr Kerensky
« Reply #5 on: 06 February 2015, 18:07:28 »
*Rubs hands together*  He's gettin' it with both barrels.  Later.
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Re: (Provisional) Character Study of the Week: Aleksandr Kerensky
« Reply #6 on: 06 February 2015, 20:03:53 »
When I started into this game, I looked at Aleksander Kerensky as that mythical creature, but as time went on the words changed.  these days I think

Coward

Desserter

Failure

Brute

he wielded the SLDF as a sledgehammer, no sense of finesse or strategic brilliance, and his fatigue lead to dereliction of duty towards the very end was the nail in the coffin of the first great house.  if he was unwilling to secure the hegemony's future he should of retired to Moscow and left it to DeChevalier, Truscott, and Winston.
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Giovanni Blasini

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Re: (Provisional) Character Study of the Week: Aleksandr Kerensky
« Reply #7 on: 06 February 2015, 21:07:53 »
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Re: (Provisional) Character Study of the Week: Aleksandr Kerensky
« Reply #8 on: 06 February 2015, 21:48:20 »
Kerensky is a problem for me.  More than any other character, Kerensky embodies the worship of the military.  A common theme in Battletech is that politics are the problem.  Kerensky's attitudes and military successes stand in stark contrast with the naivitae of Richard Cameron and political machinations of Amaris.  Kerensky stands up for what he believes in.  Amaris is a backstabbing conspirator.  Cameron is the kind of fop that politics create.

Kerensky himself was no saint.  He got away with being faced off by someone by the old Star League sourcebook in the same category as the 20 century's worst dictators.  In comparison Kerensky's faults are easily overlooked.  The net result is that during Battletech's mythical golden age the battle between good and evil was won by the only moral actor on the stage.  Mostly by omission of any other comparative moral actors.  The Periphery leaders fighting for the independence of their nations?  Rebels against the golden age.  Cronies of Amaris.  The House Lords?  Noticeably quiet.

And therein lies the problem for me.  Kerensky, always outspoken about politics gets a pass when he flattens the cities that accepted Amaris.  It is the military strongman that is the heroic figure and the politicians the problem.  The narrative hasn't changed since then.  Kerensky's failures later in life are as a politician.  When generals mess up it's the civilians and their "feelings" that undermine things.  Politicians lose wars because they don't understand military affairs.  That standard started with Kerensky and continues.
« Last Edit: 06 February 2015, 21:51:45 by False Son »
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Grey

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Re: (Provisional) Character Study of the Week: Aleksandr Kerensky
« Reply #9 on: 06 February 2015, 23:47:07 »
Kerensky is a problem for me.  More than any other character, Kerensky embodies the worship of the military.  A common theme in Battletech is that politics are the problem.  Kerensky's attitudes and military successes stand in stark contrast with the naivitae of Richard Cameron and political machinations of Amaris.  Kerensky stands up for what he believes in.  Amaris is a backstabbing conspirator.  Cameron is the kind of fop that politics create.

Kerensky himself was no saint.  He got away with being faced off by someone by the old Star League sourcebook in the same category as the 20 century's worst dictators.  In comparison Kerensky's faults are easily overlooked.  The net result is that during Battletech's mythical golden age the battle between good and evil was won by the only moral actor on the stage.  Mostly by omission of any other comparative moral actors.  The Periphery leaders fighting for the independence of their nations?  Rebels against the golden age.  Cronies of Amaris.  The House Lords?  Noticeably quiet.

And therein lies the problem for me.  Kerensky, always outspoken about politics gets a pass when he flattens the cities that accepted Amaris.  It is the military strongman that is the heroic figure and the politicians the problem.  The narrative hasn't changed since then.  Kerensky's failures later in life are as a politician.  When generals mess up it's the civilians and their "feelings" that undermine things.  Politicians lose wars because they don't understand military affairs.  That standard started with Kerensky and continues.

As far as I'm concerned you've hit upon one of the key themes of the setting. Time and again there are characters who demonstrate that politics are the problem causers and warriors/soldiers are solvers or else get caught in the middle. It's quite pronounced with the Victor/Katherine dynamic but it's hardly the only case, it turns up again and again in novels.

Along with the widespread loss/abandonment of democracy, the inability to learn from history and the repeated use of warfare to solve problems as if warfare, even within the setting, has ever done anything other than cause still more problems that get people killed are key peeves of mine about the setting.

Unfortunately these also seem to be core elements of the setting that aren't going to go away because they're the easiest ways to cause conflict that makes for gameplay.

But basically you're right, I tried to describe Kerensky as 'good' because he is only so in a relative context next to most of those he fought, and because for a long time there was little information about him. While I think he was better than Amaris he was never as pure as those older sources made him out to be and a good deal more morally complicated and conflicted to put it mildly.

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Re: (Provisional) Character Study of the Week: Aleksandr Kerensky
« Reply #10 on: 11 February 2015, 22:51:49 »
When I started into this game, I looked at Aleksander Kerensky as that mythical creature, but as time went on the words changed.  these days I think

Coward

Desserter

Failure

Brute

he wielded the SLDF as a sledgehammer, no sense of finesse or strategic brilliance, and his fatigue lead to dereliction of duty towards the very end was the nail in the coffin of the first great house.  if he was unwilling to secure the hegemony's future he should of retired to Moscow and left it to DeChevalier, Truscott, and Winston.

I agree +1  O0

He was sad leader and failure. He most responsible for the fall of the Star League as much as Simon Cameron or Richard Cameron. He should have left SLDF in hands of DeChevalier. He should have left the government in the hands of Jennifer Winston(Amanda Cameron).

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Re: (Provisional) Character Study of the Week: Aleksandr Kerensky
« Reply #11 on: 11 February 2015, 23:42:21 »
And then you read the stories about his time at Tharkhad University, and the Naglering (where a Kell and a Luvon are are his antagonists!), and if there was going to be any officer who could have bridged the divide, it would have been Kerensky.

Basically, he's another plot device character, that when the device is examined closely, falls apart.

However, I'm of the opinion that Operation EXODUS was the least worst option he had. If the SLDF stayed, it would have been a long, bloody defensive campaign where he would have died faster. And then who would have rebuilt the Terran Hegemony? More or less, the League and Hegemony were built on an idea of Terran Centralism, and the Aramis War had revealed the problems with that.
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Re: (Provisional) Character Study of the Week: Aleksandr Kerensky
« Reply #12 on: 12 February 2015, 01:34:48 »

However, I'm of the opinion that Operation EXODUS was the least worst option he had. If the SLDF stayed, it would have been a long, bloody defensive campaign where he would have died faster. And then who would have rebuilt the Terran Hegemony? More or less, the League and Hegemony were built on an idea of Terran Centralism, and the Aramis War had revealed the problems with that.

I tend to disagree with that. The remaining SLDF was still a very powerful force. On defensive it would have bloody the hell out the invading house forces. I wrote this for another thread that dealt with Houses vs SLDF post Amaris and here's my info.

Yes lets look at those numbers, i got Lib of Terra as well.  AFFS (Davion)  in 2765 is 110 Regiments and 51 warships ok doubled again 220 regiments and 102 warships. CCAF (Liao) in 2765 92 Regiments and 37 warships becomes 184 regiments and 72 warships in 2781. DCMS at 2765 was 115 BMRs and 42 warships, 2781 230 BMRs and 84 Warships.  FWLM, 2765 95 BMRs and 47 Warships. In 2781 they have 190 Regiments and 92 warships. LCAF has 90 BMRs and 62 warships and they double to 180 BMRs and 124 Warships.

Total House Forces: 1004 BMRS and 474 Warships

Overwhelming force isn't it...or on paper at least

Now we add the fact that these powers each have hostile neighbors with large military of the own on their borders they would probably detail some regiments for defense. Iam using a third typically each border with hostile power (could be less or more depending on hostile power in question.

AFFS  220 Regiments and 102 Warships, 62 BMRs and 30 warships for Liao border, 82 BMR  and 40 Warships for Kurita border, 6 BMRs  and 2 warships for                    Outback/Taurian Border (possibly more if Taurians are active). Leaving 70 BMRs and 30 Warships for offensive operations

CCAF: 184 Regiments and 72 Warships, 57 BMRS and 23 Warships on border of Davion, Same on FWL border, and 13 BMR  and 3 warships for perhery defense. Leaving 57 BMRs and 23 Warships of Offensive ops

DCMS: 230 BMRS and 84 Warships, 76 BMRs and 28 Warships for Davion Border, Same for Steiner, and 2 BMR and no warships for Outworlds alliance boarder (and that even they felt to maintain a minimum defense again those losers...sorry Outworlds alliance is sad), Leaves 76 BMRs and 28 Warships for offensive ops

FWLM: 190 BMRs and 92 Warships, 60 BMRs and 30 Warships for Liao border and same for Steiner. 10 BMR and 2 warships for Canopus border. 60 BMR and 30 Warships for offense.

LCAF: 180 BMRs and 124 Warships, 60 BMRs and 42 Warships for Kurita border and 60 BMRs and 41 Warships for Marik border. 60 BMRs and 41 Warships for offense


AFFS: 70 BMRs and 30 Warships
CCAF: 57 BMRs and 23 Warships
DCMS: 76 BMRs and 28 Warships
FWLW: 60 BMR and 30 Warships
LCAF: 60 BMR and 41 Warships
Total House Forces: 323 BMRs and 152 Warships

And this if they pool there resources for attacking the Hegemony and co-ordiabte thier attack and not stab each out in the back  This does not factor in mutinies, defections and uprising that would occurred in the Houses for attacking SLDF and troops needed to put them down,  Also this factors in the House leaving absolute minimum on their periphery borders and Periphery nations not taking advantage of it.


SLDF

According to Star League Source book (Still waiting on Lib of Terra 2, and SLDF source book for better information), p139 the SLDF after the campaign of Terra had  36 Battlemech Divisions, 82 Infantry Divisions and 98 Independent BMRs. Braking it down in to battlemech strength. Battlemech Divisions = 6 Battlemech Regimes, Infantry Regiments had 3 regiments of Battlemechs. This equals out to 216 (BM divisions) + 246 (Inf Divisions) +98 independent regiments. Total 560 Regiments

Granted my info on the situation SLDF navy is vague due to lack of info. But Lof T p46 the SLDF had 1500 warships and 750 garrisons ships for total of 2250 warships even reducing that to a third (which horrendous losses for a military) we get 750 Warships. And im not counting the reserve ships witch was another 2250 warships which i consider near total loss.

326 BMRs vs 560 BMRs: so a .65 ratio of House Battlemech to SLDF one.
152 Warships vs 750 Warships: 4.9 ration of SLDF warships vs house

This defies conventional wisdom of attacking fortified defensive positions where u need a minimum of 2 to 1 odds (probably 3 to1 or more if heavily fortified like Earth for example)

But for u guys who will say they will throw everything they have and not care about defense. Miraculously work together and not factor in other factors here how it looks like

1004 BMRs vs 560 BMRs:   1.79 Ratio of House mechs vs SLDF
474 Warships vs 750 Warships: 1.58 Ratio of SLDF warships vs House warships
Still defying common military logic for offense.
Of course this doesn't had the force multipliers of tech, experience, and generalship.

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Re: (Provisional) Character Study of the Week: Aleksandr Kerensky
« Reply #13 on: 12 February 2015, 02:10:10 »
One thing that is somewhat brilliant about the character is that Alex draws out so much real emotion from fans when he was little more than a plot device.
You already have a couple of fans calling him a coward for leaving when the whole point of the character existing in the the first play was that he left and took the SLDF with him. If Kerensky stood at his post and perished like a good soldier, he's just another background character of a failed state. But when Kerensky leaves the IS; we not only have this idealized legend of the man but a mystery of his fate and those who followed him into the great beyond.

Kerensky was no more flawed than many leaders of the IS at that time... maybe a little less flawed considering he was one of the few guys not trying to be the Star Lord ;D but the BTU is such a rich universe, we can't help but to get sucked into this legend of the idealized defender of the fallen Star League and feel betrayed after finding the man behind the legend. Props to the writers who keep making this story better and better and leave bitter BT fans in it's wake. 
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WarGod

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Re: (Provisional) Character Study of the Week: Aleksandr Kerensky
« Reply #14 on: 12 February 2015, 09:42:24 »
I always thought of Kerensky as a Idealist , and soldier.

Very good stategic, and tactical commander.  Dedicated to the cause if liberating the hemogony , and re establishing the star league.  Just look at what he accomplished.  A great commanding general.  By all rights a excellent soldier. 

A Idealist because even though he tried to educate, and show Richard the path, the kid just didn't get the point Kerensky was trying to make.  Honestly if Kerensky spent more time being dad to Richard , along with raising his sons, that might have headed off alot of problems latter.  Throw in the fact he was always gone, and rarely saw his "children", being the Commander of the entire Star league army.  Could he have stepped down? Sure.  But honestly I think he took on more then he could handle.  Also Did he honestly think that after retaking the hegemony worlds, and reestablishing the star league that the house lords would accept that?  I hope not.  Granted it was a great idea, but even reading the books the house lords, where not exactly on board with the space UN to begin with. 
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Grey

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Re: (Provisional) Character Study of the Week: Aleksandr Kerensky
« Reply #15 on: 13 February 2015, 05:19:50 »
I think it's more a matter of a limited outlook, or limited skill set, perspective, whatever you wanted to call it.

The Star League was so ingrained in Aleksandr that he couldn't conceive of another solution other than to leave. Or he just couldn't see why a return to the pre-Civil War status quo couldn't be re-established. To him the House Lords may not have been enthusiastic about the Star League but since it was the best tool he knew of and a previously established organisation too big to fail the idealist you mentioned may not have considered that the House Lords could do anything else more than he could.

This is what you get from a plot device character though, his exact motivations will probably remain unknowable even as he catalyses events.

Mendrugo

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Re: (Provisional) Character Study of the Week: Aleksandr Kerensky
« Reply #16 on: 13 February 2015, 07:20:43 »
We've had about six pieces of fiction in which Aleksandr has a speaking role. 

In Loren Coleman's "Destiny's Call" and "Destiny's Challenge," he's shown as a young pacifist who prefers to debate rather than fight.  When pressed by thuggish Nagelring cadets, he initially takes the beating and responds only with torrents of philosophy.  He finally is pushed to strike back to defend the honor of another student, and decides if he cannot avoid conflict, he should at least learn to fight, and uses his family connections (due to Tanya Kerensky's sacrifice) to enter the Nagelring himself.  In "Destiny's Challenge," he's still withdrawn from his fellow cadets, and confesses to one of them that the whole concept of war (and BattleMechs) scares him.

Four years later, in Steven Mohan Jr.'s "Way of the Champion," he's still spouting philosophy while he fights (now with a noticeable Russian accent absent in the Coleman pieces), but still shows he's had trouble connecting on a personal level with his fellow SLDF officers.  When he duels a ronin, he loses the fight, but wins the battle because of his philosophizing on an open channel - winning the argument despite having his Orion taken down.

The next time we see Aleksandr, in Chris Hartford's "Living Legends," he's chewing out James Cromwell in the aftermath of his having taken heavy losses in the opening battles of the Periphery Uprising.  Unable to court martial Cromwell (for political reasons, since Cromwell has been portrayed by the media as a war hero), he gives him the choice of either resigning or  being assigned to command a suicide squad filled exclusively with malcontents, glory hounds, and other undesirables, who will be sent on the most dangerous missions Kerensky can select. 

This is an older, far more seasoned Kerensky.  Gone is the idealistic youth who took a beating rather than fighting back because of a philosophical commitment to pacifism.  Now, he's intentionally trying to get a man under his command killed, and, even more damning, is assigning other people under his command to die with his intended victim.  Since Cromwell survived to the Exodus (but suffered an "oopsie" on the way to the rendezvous), either he's just that good, or Aleks wasn't serious about sending the group on suicide runs.  (If he'd really wanted the Lionhearts dead, putting them on "Distract the SDS" duty would have taken care of the problem tidily.

In Chris Hartford's "Hard Justice," the focus is mostly on Amaris.  All Kerensky does is order him to throw down his weapon and surrender.  We know from sourcebooks that Kerensky subsequently viewed the massacre site in the throne room and ordered the execution of Amaris and his family, saying there will be "no sympathy for the devil." 

In Herb Beas' "The Shot Heard Around the Sphere," Kerensky is tired of fighting, and wants to leave the Inner Sphere behind.  Though this is non-canon (since Kerensky gets shot in the head by a sniper before he can announce Operation EXODUS), it's probably a pretty good portrayal of his state of mind at the time.  Despite his life long experience as a military man, it seems he's starting to return to his roots as he enters his dotage - pursuing a policy of conflict avoidance whenever possible, and only fighting if he's forced into it by the need to defend someone else.  As far as he's concerned, the thing he was defending, the Star League (and House Cameron) is dead and gone, and he's unwilling to fight for the remaining citizens of the Terran Hegemony or their territory, when he can, in his mind, achieve a philosophical victory by exiting stage left.

In Randall Bills' "Fall From Glory," Aleksandr is initially weary and withdrawn.  He is letting little details (and many big ones) slip past him as he increasingly focuses on his core clique of advisors - DeChavilier foremost among them.  This allows him to be manipulated by his son, Nicholas.  Aleksandr appears withdrawn, but it's not clear if it's because of the Civil War or because Aleksandr's never really been a "people person."  Later, he remains withdrawn (moreso after Katyusha dies), and is only briefly brought back to fighting spirit by the unexpected death of DeChavilier (someone he feels he should have protected), but dies of a heart attack before the fighting starts.

What I see from all this is a person who, at his core, is only willing to fight to protect someone he loves, or at least feels responsible for.  He is initially so emotionally withdrawn that he doesn't see the merit in fighting at all, but when he does make a connection, he'll fight like a lion to protect that person.  He made that connection with DeChavilier, with Gabriella (on Tharkad), and possibly with Katyusha (though her mental issues may have driven them apart).  He may have felt it for Richard Cameron...but Richard certainly didn't reciprocate.  He felt it for the SLDF as a whole, but not for each individual trooper (as seen with Cromwell).  In fact, his "suicide unit" assignment for Cromwell seems to support this theory, since Cromwell got hundreds of SLDF troops killed for nothing, and Kerensky feels the men under his command were included in his list of "things to protect."  Once the Camerons and the League were dead, Kerensky had run out of things to protect in the Inner Sphere.  His wife, sons, DeChavilier, and the SLDF were with him, and he was free to protect them from conflict by falling back on his earliest instincts - avoid the conflict entirely.

It's unclear to what extent he considers Nicholas and Andery part of his "fight to protect" list, since they grew up without him.  He may feel some filial responsibility, but there's not that much evidence of an emotional bond - something Aleksandr has shown he's had trouble forming.
« Last Edit: 13 February 2015, 21:08:44 by Mendrugo »
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Wrangler

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Re: (Provisional) Character Study of the Week: Aleksandr Kerensky
« Reply #17 on: 13 February 2015, 08:20:02 »
I think Mendrugo's review of Kerensky is properly best overall from early years to later years of Kerensky I've read.

I don't think many people read all the mini-stories from Battlecorp, i've read Coleman's early work and didn't really make impression to keep reading it.

I think the biggest challenge doing these reviews is being access all the materials out there cover these characters.
I've done research on someone and found it surprising where these characters have information about them located.

Thank you everyone for working hard gathering it for us read about, Alexksandr.
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E. Icaza

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Re: (Provisional) Character Study of the Week: Aleksandr Kerensky
« Reply #18 on: 13 February 2015, 19:27:21 »
A great man once said... "It's my estimation that every man ever got a statue made of him was one kind of sommbitch or another. Ain't about you, Jayne. It's about what they need."

It's also easy to dissect The Great Father with the clarity of hindsight and find him wanting.  He did what he thought he had to in order to save the realm and people that he'd served all of his life.  That it may have became something that he'd very likely have despised after his death is at least as much the fault of others as his own faults.

I'm also reminded of the analysis of John Sheridan from Babylon 5.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DrPe80sxlm4

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Kotetsu

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Re: (Provisional) Character Study of the Week: Aleksandr Kerensky
« Reply #20 on: 15 February 2015, 17:24:15 »
Gen. Kerensky reminds me of that thing about legends being part truth. And also that at times history is written by the victors.

By that token, seeing as you have written about a character who was good to some, bad to others, then one put upon by the plot itself, and now one who started as the beacon of light, who under further examination is not so much... Maybe if you are going to only do two more of these, you should end with his opposite? A man considered one of the greatest villains of the universe... Stephen Amaris. Perhaps you can show him being a little more humanized (though I'm not sure how much you can do with the material available).

Grey

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Re: (Provisional) Character Study of the Week: Aleksandr Kerensky
« Reply #21 on: 16 February 2015, 04:20:54 »
Interesting idea, I'm most of the way through Nicholas Kerensky (who's proving tougher than I thought) but ending the provisional with Amaris is an interesting idea since he too is a plot device character. I'll give it some thought.

cavalier1645

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Re: (Provisional) Character Study of the Week: Aleksandr Kerensky
« Reply #22 on: 16 February 2015, 05:19:24 »
Interesting idea, I'm most of the way through Nicholas Kerensky (who's proving tougher than I thought) but ending the provisional with Amaris is an interesting idea since he too is a plot device character. I'll give it some thought.

Excellent cause I got much to say about both of them and its not with a lot of love.  }:)

 

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