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Angel society is militaristic with all individuals serving as warriors in some capacity. They are locked in an eternal battle against demons from hell over control of the mortal plane. Angels have wings which gives them the capability of flight. Foot soldiers have one pair of wings while higher ranking angels have up to three pairs. More pairs do more than represent rank. It allows the individual to fly quicker and have better movement in the air. They use a variety of weapons, some of which are powerful projectiles such as holy arrows or bombs.

Demons are low ranking monsters who are much weaker than angels and are incapable of flight, but vastly outnumber them 10 to 1. A group of them can overwhelm an angel, and they use their numbers to their advantage. Demons are controlled by higher ranking denizens called devils. These are the most powerful individuals in hell and can go toe to toe with angels. Some can fly while others cannot.

Normally in a war, the side with air superority would win in battle. What reason would angels that dominate in the air have to fight demons in a ground war?

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    $\begingroup$ What if your demons are underground creatures? $\endgroup$ – Alexander Oct 9 '17 at 22:33
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    $\begingroup$ Air power wins because of ballistics. If both or one derives strength from the ground, this changes the equation. Demons perhaps derive strength fro the ground, and angels come to earth to sever that connection, so that their superiority can be most efficient. $\endgroup$ – DPT Oct 9 '17 at 22:47
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    $\begingroup$ And, air power wins because you are more nimble. Demons are sluggish. This is not human - human. So, angels are more nimble regardless. They can fight on ground and still be superior. Think Legolas, who can jump and soar and shoot all at once. Air power is great but if horseback gives him a better angle to shoot his arrows into the orcs, he's still better on horseback than the orcs. $\endgroup$ – DPT Oct 9 '17 at 22:48
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    $\begingroup$ You are describing the first darksiders game perfectly, have a look at how they approache the problem. $\endgroup$ – Skeith Oct 10 '17 at 12:37
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    $\begingroup$ Try switching some words around in your question. Why would an army of Americans with air superiority fight Vietnamese/Iraqis/Afghanis/etc. on the ground? We know they do, so there must be a reason why we see this dynamic in the real world too. $\endgroup$ – HopelessN00b Oct 10 '17 at 17:44

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This sort of question comes up quite often in warfare. The answer is simple: the demons have found a way to nullify the advantage of attacking from the air. This is a very common approach in warfare. Instead of trying to attack your opponent where they are best, simply deny that space any value at all.

A guerilla fight might be one such example. If the demons are close in with civilians (which, presumably, the angels won't be willing to hurt), the only way to deal with them is to go toe to toe with them, door to door.

Or perhaps the demons prefer to tangle with the angels in environments where it is hard to fly. Fighting in a forest might be a very effective strategy for keeping the angels on the ground. Flying through trees can be very difficult and dangerous.

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    $\begingroup$ I'm sure we've all seen Star Wars. Flying through trees seems like quite the bad idea. $\endgroup$ – Andon Oct 10 '17 at 0:21
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    $\begingroup$ @Andon unless you can tap into the cosmic sentience and use it as your navigator, that is $\endgroup$ – John Dvorak Oct 10 '17 at 12:12
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    $\begingroup$ You also have the wingspan issue with forests, (and canyons). Several people could run side by side through a gap no angle could fly through. $\endgroup$ – John Oct 10 '17 at 18:11
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    $\begingroup$ @anon Bombing doesn't help you when you can't see your target to aim. (Unless you are ready to just nuke the entire forest, of course...) Remember, that's why the americans used agent orange in vietnam - would angels do that? $\endgroup$ – cmaster Oct 10 '17 at 23:15
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    $\begingroup$ @anon And how effective were the Americans at winning the Vietnam war, again? Sorry to be so blunt, but if you can't see your target, you can't see it escape, you can't see it regroup, and its next attack will take you exactly as much by surprise as the first one. If you really want to win by carpet bombing, you must ensure that you really kill everything within the area. Yes, it's doable with a nuke. You can win any war with enough nukes. You just won't gain anything other than a smoking, contaminated parking lot. Sounds more like a hellish than a celestial solution, though... $\endgroup$ – cmaster Oct 10 '17 at 23:52
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Newton's Third Law

Lex III: Actioni contrariam semper et æqualem esse reactionem: sive corporum duorum actiones in se mutuo semper esse æquales et in partes contrarias dirigi.

Or something like "For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction." (He wrote in Latin, so I can't confidently say that "Newton said this" in English.)

If you are on the ground and you strike something, you can use the friction between your feet and the ground to keep you in place, cancelling the reactive force you feel from hitting something.

If you're flying, you no longer have this connection with the ground. When you strike with your weapon, that reactive force is not canceled out by anything: you spin around because of it. This means you hit less hard and you're not in control of your movement: both things you want to avoid in combat.

You can see this principle by trying to push something sideways while sitting in a swivel or rolling chair: you will see it pushes you the other way. Or with hovercrafts dealing with a stiff breeze. Or drones with cross-winds. Or why people learning to ice-skate fall over. I hope you get the idea.

So angels fly over, drop bombs and arrows, then fly in to do an initial strike (may as well use that momentum for something), and then get down for some effective fighting. This kind of thing is used today: artillery and air strikes are used to "soften up" targets that won't be killed outright.

Hammer and Anvil Maneuvers

This tactic goes all the way back to Alexander the Great (and likely before), and has proven to be a timeless one. You need an anvil, some force that will engage and keep the enemy occupied so your hammer, your mounted units... I mean flying angels... can swoop around and crash into their back.

Strategic Spots

There is also the situation where you simply need to take and hold ground. If these angels want to do anything permanent and of this sort, they need to get up close and personal.

This can be seen in warfare throughout the ages: if you want to control or take over an area, you need to send troops in.

Limited Ammunition

You only have so many arrows and bombs, and you can only replenish them only so quickly. When you run out of things to throw, your options are to run away and get more ammo, or switch to a melee weapon. Because of newton's third law, you may well have to get on the ground.

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    $\begingroup$ I don't think Newton's stuff apply to Angels or any magic thingies. $\endgroup$ – Ngoc Oct 10 '17 at 10:27
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    $\begingroup$ @Ngoc It doesn't have to, but if you're the person in control of the worldbuilding and need a weakness in the magic for narrative purposes, you can say it does. $\endgroup$ – R.M. Oct 10 '17 at 12:41
  • $\begingroup$ Given that angels have access to arrows and bombs, it wouldn't seem prudent to try to melee demons from the air anyway, even in a "cavalry" charge. Drop the bombs/arrows, then do your cleanup. $\endgroup$ – Geobits Oct 10 '17 at 16:48
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    $\begingroup$ "you're not in control of your movement" - arguably I'd say this really only potentially applies to the lesser Angels in the OP: More pairs [of wings ...] allows the individual to fly quicker and have better movement in the air." $\endgroup$ – OhBeWise Oct 10 '17 at 19:08
  • $\begingroup$ That said, I generally agree. ;) $\endgroup$ – OhBeWise Oct 10 '17 at 19:11
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"Why would an army of angels with air superiority fight demons on the ground?"

Multiple reasons pop instantly to mind:

  • A lack of ranged weapons.
  • Range weapons, but winged creatures not being able to lift much weight.
  • Range weapons and the strength to carry them, so demons only fight in forests, etc where flight is impossible/impractical.
  • The demons have more effective range weapons and use mass fire to easily shoot down the out-numbered angels.
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    $\begingroup$ Payload is a perennial problem when flying. Ground based simply doesn't have the same restrictions. $\endgroup$ – Sobrique Oct 10 '17 at 11:28
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    $\begingroup$ "A lack of ranged weapons." When you are flying overhead, even a melee weapon becomes a ranged weapon when dropped or thrown, pointy-end toward the enemy. $\endgroup$ – TylerH Oct 10 '17 at 13:36
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    $\begingroup$ @TylerH "even a melee weapon becomes a ranged weapon when dropped or thrown, pointy-end toward the enemy" Throwing your only (and very expensive) sword down at the enemy is pretty darned foolish. IOW, while what you say is technically true, it's not reasonably true. $\endgroup$ – RonJohn Oct 10 '17 at 13:41
  • $\begingroup$ @RonJohn They are angels in a magic world. You think they aren't capable of creating their own weapons, probably out of thin air? This is world building! "reasonable" is subjective :-) $\endgroup$ – TylerH Oct 10 '17 at 13:44
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    $\begingroup$ @TylerH if magic lets you just poof anything you want at any time, then Gandalf would have just poofed the One Ring directly into the magma of Mount Doom. IOW, your "idea" leads to very boring stories. $\endgroup$ – RonJohn Oct 10 '17 at 14:09
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Some great answers here. Let me throw in another couple ideas...

  • The angels are angels, right? Like Biblical angels? If so, perhaps they're under orders to take it to the foe and smite them up close and personal, for theological reasons.

  • Eternal war, eh? Could be both angels and demons are -- wait for it -- mercenaries. They don't want the war to be won, because then it'd be boringly and unprofitably over. (Look up the history of Italy's condottieri, who absolutely did stretch out wars with indecisive, low-casualty battles, because they were paid by the hour)

  • Weapon-to-armor mismatch. We could posit that demons are well-armored, and are hard to take down with the angels' low-powered bows. To crunch through their armor/carapaces/squamous-epithelium you need a shield wall, and giant axes!

  • Just not their style. For cultural reasons, angels believe in brutal decisive battles (think Greek phalanx culture). So they use flight to get to the best positions, then land for the actual fight. Think dragoons.

  • Magic! Could be demons have ways of inhibiting angel flight near them.

That's just a few. I'm sure there are more!

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    $\begingroup$ They're not Biblical angels. Biblical angels don't engage in combat the same way mortals do, and Biblical demons definitely aren't confined to the ground. $\endgroup$ – jpmc26 Oct 10 '17 at 9:20
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    $\begingroup$ Squamous Epithelium?!? +1, my good sir! $\endgroup$ – Joe Bloggs Oct 10 '17 at 10:16
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You note that the side with air superiority usually wins battles, and seem to conflate that to mean that being in the air is universally better than being on the ground, which is not the case.

In real-world combat, air forces are what's known as a "force multiplier", which is basically to say that they make existing forces more effective. However, as anyone with grade-school knowledge of math can tell you, multiplying 0 by anything still results in 0, so while having air superiority is an important factor, it's not the be all and end all, and there are many wars that speak to that experience. The Allies had air superiority over the Axis powers for years, but it took troops on the ground to win that war. The Soviets had air superiority in Afghanistan and lost. The Americans had air superiority in Vietnam and lost. Etc.

Examining these wars (and even more recent conflicts) reveals a couple important realities about aerial combat.

The first is that you need ground troops. You can't simply bomb an enemy into submission from the air. It's been tried (a lot), without success. So as important as air superiority is, it's not enough on its own.

The second is that things in the air are easy to spot and target, and hard to defend. They can be seen for miles, can't be heavily armored or they're too heavy to fly, and have to rely on maneuverability to avoid attacks, which is why you see multi-million dollar helicopters being shot down by untrained child soldiers with a $100 RPG, in the real world.

Your world is a little different, but the same principles would apply.

In the context of a world with bows and arrows and swords (as opposed to SAMs and automatic rifles), the aerial advantage would probably be not as great as it is today, so I don't think it will be as unbalancing as you think. The biggest advantage of a modern-day air strike is the ability to bomb an enemy position from a relatively safe position (a jet zipping by out of range of ground forces). We don't have any real-world examples of flying soldiers armed with bows and arrows, but I have to believe that if they were out of range of enemy archers on the ground, they'd be pretty ineffective, and if they got close enough to be especially effective, they'd be in danger of taking effective fire themselves. It still sounds like an advantage, just not an overwhelming one.

Having said that, as in the real world, your angels wouldn't be able to achieve victory by simply flying over the enemy and raining down aerial attacks anymore than we can, so they're going to need to put boots on the ground at some point.

Secondly, if your angels want to wear heavy enough armor to deflect the ranged attacks of the demon hordes, they'll be too heavy to fly. Or at the very least, they can't armor their wings and still fly, and if they were to lose their ability to fly mid-flight, the fall would kill them. Hence, the angels have a trade-off to consider - good armor and no flight, or flight, but with ineffective armor. Especially facing hordes of enemies that could shoot them down with a hail of arrows, this makes flight dangerous.

Ultimately, your angels would probably (or at least should) come to the same solution we come to in the real world - mixed forces (both air and ground) coordinating their battle plans for maximum effectiveness. They wouldn't choose one or they other, they'd choose some combination of flying and ground forces, just as we do.

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    $\begingroup$ Most of this is exactly spot on. I only have a comment on the effectiveness of arrows: Arrows shot up from ground loose momentum, while arrows shot down from heaven gain momentum. Thus, there is a sizable range of flying hights where the angels can easily hit demons on the ground while the arrows of the demons are totally ineffective. This is even amplified by the fact, that the angels are stronger than the demons, so angels can use stronger bows, giving more range and precision. $\endgroup$ – cmaster Oct 10 '17 at 23:39
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    $\begingroup$ @cmaster I was thinking more about accuracy with regards to the effectiveness of arrows shot by flying soldiers, not whether they'd be lethal or not. It's hard enough to hit a target accurately for an archer standing still on the ground (and thus, why you typically have large masses or archers shooting at large masses of opposing troops), for flying archers, it seems like actually hitting anything would be a challenge and a severe limit to their effectiveness. $\endgroup$ – HopelessN00b Oct 10 '17 at 23:45
  • $\begingroup$ They could still make it rain arrows though. I do agree with this answer, so +1 $\endgroup$ – Brian H. Oct 11 '17 at 9:00
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    $\begingroup$ Anti-aerial weapons for the demons could include bolas fired from catapults, or nets fired from multiple ballistae. You don't need to kill an angle to take her down... constricting the wings or adding enough weight will already be enough to impair the ability to fly. $\endgroup$ – M.Herzkamp Oct 11 '17 at 9:27
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Wars are won because air superiority is a power amplifier of the troops on the ground. If there's no troops on the ground there's nothing to amplify, and no reason for an enemy to attack.

If you want to take over a city, you still need soldiers going from house to house. Your air force helps, a lot, for instance hitting strategic target, but to get that enemy out of those houses you still need you ground troops.

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The simplest reason would be that Angels armaments of choice (assuming typical Biblical-style angels) would typically be flaming swords.

Flaming swords don't have the range to be used from above, and when used in swooping charges have the same issue a lot of cavalry weapons had - they would get stuck in your opponent as you charge past and, best case, you lose the weapon, worst case, your arm comes off at the shoulder or you get dragged from your mount (or in this case, down to the ground and out of flight). There's also the issue of maintaining momentum while flying through the air and suddenly initiating a large force impact with something you're holding, this would typically lead to an almost immediate faceplant afterwards - not exactly inspiring of angelic grace - unless the flaming sword cuts through demons with no resistance like a lightsaber.

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Collateral damage

Unless you are planning to portray them as being as uncaring as the demons, the angels' goal is to protect the mortal plane from the havoc the demons wish to wreak. If the angels bomb demons indiscriminately, innocents are sure to suffer. They might suffer materially even if they aren't directly injured.

This goes doubly if the demons engage in hostage taking or otherwise taking advantage of the angels' motives. An angel who is out for the good of the mortals would certainly not want to risk killing someone the demons kidnapped. Those are the very people the angel is trying to save. This even makes using arrows or any projectiles a risky business. It's also possible that angels, given an eternal perspective, might not wish to kill a mortal who is currently allied with the demons but will ultimately benefit the angels' side.

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  • $\begingroup$ As I read it, they have "holy bombs", as in, maybe, bombs filled with holy water or light, which would mainly harm demons. $\endgroup$ – M.Herzkamp Oct 11 '17 at 9:29
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Weather, or the local climate can make flight hazardous. Perhaps there are strong winds, there's fog, there are dust storms, or many small tornadoes. Lighting may also prevent flight, just as darkness. Demons may pick battlegrounds where weather or local climate makes air combat too dangerous.

Another possibility may be that flight costs a lot of energy. Air superiority is one thing, if your angels are exhausted after a few minutes of air combat, demons may have an easy victory if they survive those first minutes.

And then there may be the matter of honor. Being good creatures, chivalry, or their own code of conduct, may demand they fight foot soldiers on foot.

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  • $\begingroup$ "matter of honor" is what i immediately thought of. even if they could totally wreck them from above, they rather give them a honorable fight. $\endgroup$ – Ceetothe Pee Oct 10 '17 at 17:42
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The demons are numerous and airstrikes are slow and expensive. You can easily kill hundreds of these little creeps with your sword on the ground in one battle.

Flying back and forth with bombs or taking the time to take them out of cover individually with projectiles is cumbersome and they will replenish their ranks faster than you can kill them. So it´s a powerful tactic for special target it is not effective for those large numbers.

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  • $\begingroup$ I also imagine producing the few weapons powerful enough to kill reliably will quickly make more cost effective melee necessary, they just can't make holy arrows fast enough to keep up with demon breeding. swords are reusable arrow would not be. $\endgroup$ – John Oct 10 '17 at 18:14
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In addition to other's answers, you can make powerful projectiles such as holy arrows or bombs to be quite uncommon. Maybe only the most advanced angels should have those because such weapons are hard to create or it takes much time (or it costs much)... etc. Make the regular weapon suck, so that most of the angel army has to land and clash with demons in melee combat.

You can also come up with some kind of holy material from which weapons are to be created. The saintsteel. Or angeloferrum. Or holytanium. The demons can be killed only with this particular metal. So creating, let's say, frag grenades or arrows is ineffective since well protected demons only get injured with those at best. The only reliable way to slay them is to cut them with saintsteel swords, axes or spears. This way you can combine air forces (suppress the bad guys with grenades and rain of saintsteel arrows, maybe even cripple them badly) with ground units. And it's the latter who will get all the kills eventually.

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  • $\begingroup$ But why won't the saintsteel be turned into arrows or bombs if it's so effective? Even if it's hard to make? $\endgroup$ – user32862 Oct 10 '17 at 11:09
  • $\begingroup$ @Shard martin, let's say it takes one year of intense praying to enchant a sheet of metal into a saintsteel. Of course, it depends on timescale and numerousity of angel army, but I thought that only the most trusted warriors are allowed to use such precious materials as missiles, in that case. Also, I did mention that it can actually be used for arrows, but, you know, the bad guys can just use shields, can't they? The grenades do look like a reliable splash-damage tool, though, on that I agree 100 per cent, thanks for pointing out! $\endgroup$ – user2851843 Oct 10 '17 at 19:14
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    $\begingroup$ Someone once described making a military bomb as literally blowing up our money- which in a sense is true. It cost resources to make and, when used, the result of those resources is completely gone. So to draw a parallel to the arrows and bombs, which is going to kill more demons- the one arrow or bomb that can be used once- or the sword that can kill tens or hundreds of demons before it breaks and the resource is gone? If it's scarce enough, the melee weapons make sense. Silver stakes > silver bullets because stakes can be used again $\endgroup$ – Friendlysociopath Oct 11 '17 at 5:28
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It might just be due to a higher energy cost through the use of their wings, as you say the demons outnumber them... thus an angel would need a certain amount of stamina in order to exterminate the treat without risk, thus reducing once stamina on a flight should be a last resort for retreat.

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A lot of angel/demon stories actually center around humans as the neutral party / the civilians with much less fighting capabilities. Angels typically come down to Earth to save a particular group of humans or all humankind.

So, if Earth is a modern day Earth, the humans will often be within buildings - and the Angels will typically not want to destroy whole cities to root out demons, who might have infested the sewers and some buildings of a town. The demons might be attacking particular humans (possibly to kidnap them, eat their souls and/or turn them to their side to strengthen their cause) inside of buildings. In such scenarios, angels cannot use their flying capabilities - unless they get in and get the threatened humans out to fly them to safety.

If you want more of a war-like scenario rather than individual encounters - consider how much its Air superiority helps the U.S. in stabilizing countries like Afghanistan and Iraq. Now consider even more hostiles that also have the capabilities to travel underground between cities, by quickly digging tunnels, for instance. Most encounters then would happen on the ground in cities - possibly amidst civilians - which would limit the practical effect any air superiority would bring. Basically it's a stale mate situation. The demons cannot really get fixed strong-holds over ground as the angels could bomb them to ashes, but neither can the angels as the demons might pop out of the earth at night, destroy and kill everyone on the ground and then vanish again.

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Because you still need land force to win a war.

  1. You can bomb from sky all you want but you cannot occupy a territory from the sky.
  2. You can't resupply from the sky or at least for the entire duration of a campaign.
  3. Angels need token ground force to mark targets on the ground for bombardment.
  4. Finally, as many other said, Vietcongs proved just how ineffective aerial bombing can be for poor visibility areas with lots of dug-ins.
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Angels use ranged weapons!? Honour forbids, there's a reason Michael has a Sword after all. Angels fight hand-to-hand, nothing stopping them using death from above tactics and charging out of the air, or even abusing their foe by coming in out of the sun, but you fight with your hands, that is the way it is done.

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Demons use swarm tactics

While air power would allow the angels to kill/wound demons with impunity, all they can really do is thin the ranks (or take out high value targets).

The demons simply have to throw out enough troops to reach the goal using swarm tactics. It is like sending 100 people armed with fly swatters to stop a locust swarm.

They need to have some angels on the ground to stop the leakers or to bottle them up so the flyers can take out larger populations of demons. The bombs are much more effective if the demons can be bunched up.

The demons have ranged weapons

There is no cover in the sky. If the demons can shoot at you while you shoot at them, then you might want ground cover. Note that flyers can almost always attack from outside the range of ground troops but their accuracy will get pretty terrible. If the demon swarm isn't all bunched up, inaccurate air fire will be basically worthless.

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I would like to pose to you a question. What exactly constitutes "control over the mortal plane?"

If it's occupying land with troops and making the mortal populace submit to your demands, the demons with their much greater numbers have an advantage in being able to enforce control over a larger area. While not mingled with the mortals (which presumably the angels don't want to harm) they would hide using terrain to their advantage.

The angels with their limited numbers would probably only be able to hold large castle towns and important strategic locations. They would probably have to search out where the demons are to destroy them. Since the demons are in hiding, the angels would have to go to the ground to find them unless they have some kind of broken magic radar. The demons know this and would set up ambushes to fight the angels, aiming to inflict casualties then retreat. If the demons feel they have some kind of advantage in battle then they might plan a large scale assault to take the angel's strongholds but it wouldn't be constant large scale set piece warfare with demons marching in formations in large plains for angels to bomb.

The strategic goals for the angels might be to liberate mortal settlements occupied by demons, in which case they can't just bomb everything from the air and would have to fight in hand to hand combat.

I'm assuming angels can't just go and destroy Hell and stop demons from spawning.

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What reason would angels that dominate in the air have to fight demons in a ground war?

Couple of ideas:

Countermeasures The demons have created a deadly toxin/fog/miasma (perhaps magical?) that rises into the air and floats above the battlefield. Not only does this give cover to the demons to help protect them from the overhead attacks- it poses an issue for angels since it will harm them- perhaps it burns their wings or corrodes their heaven-forged weapons?

Another idea would be the 'evil' nature of the demons actually harms the angels, and high enough concentrations of 'evil' due to numbers erodes the angels' capability for flight. As angels predate demons (I think) it would only make sense the demons have created ways to combat the angels before the opposition does the same.

Risks The demons, if they can kill an angel in-flight, can take their wings and ascend to a higher rank of demon; this is one of the most ancient laws and cannot be bypassed. Think about losing one of your back lines in chess to a pawn- losing a soldier is bad enough, allowing the enemy to turn a weakling into a stronger soldier is even worse. Especially if you're outnumbered 10-1.

Too fabulous Angel wings can normally be magically withdrawn into their body, and emerge when needed for flight. Unfortunately, said wings respond brilliantly to sunlight, blinding all nearby with their radiance. While useful in controlled environments, having an entire army flash-blinding one another constantly via flight is a bad battle strategy.

Matrix The wings require sunlight to remain functional, if the demons can release enough smoke to block out a sufficient quantity of sunlight, angel wings don't function. The demons have since become very good at producing smog/smoke to weaken the angels- perhaps only the stronger angels can fly on the scant sunlight that passes through. As this leaves their best soldiers extremely vulnerable to being singled out- they all just fight on the ground.

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Air superiority is a thing because of logistics, not because a plane can beat it's cost in ground forces

If I have 100 planes, then every potential target in your country needs to be able to defend itself against 100 planes because I can strike any of them. Since your country probably has thousands of targets I might strike, you do not have the option of putting ground forces everywhere. Your only option is to get your own planes, which is also your best option for attacking me.

Aircraft don't have a massive advantage in battle simply because they are high up. If they could land and fight on the ground, as your angels can, they would not lose the real advantage of air superiority.

If the angels are flying high, the demons can plausibly dodge the crap that gets dropped on them. If the angels fly low, the demons will throw stuff back and the angels may be significantly worse off than if they landed, folded their wings and assumed some sort of battle formation.

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  1. Endurance issues. Unless they float in the air exactly like a brick doesn't they may get tired before the battle is over. They also may run out of ammunition and need to either close or withdraw.

  2. The demons may simply avoid the issue of air superiority by being burrowers. If they are striking from and retreating into tunnels angels are going to have to get down and dirty if they want to take the fight to the enemy.

  3. On the other hand striking from the air may simply be slow and inefficient if the angels are that much better on a one-to-one basis. The demons may be killing a bunch of humans while you snipe from above and you may save more of them by descending to go blade to blade. You can't hold ground from the air.

  4. The demons may have ways to make toxic clouds that obscure them as targets.

  5. Flying may make you an easy target for enemy missile weapons if you can't attack effectively from out of their range.

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The demons are corrupted creatures. Even when they die, they drag others with them. Mainly by spreading the corruption to the surrounding. The miasma released by millions of dead demons would polluted and potentially corrupt heaven itself.

The angels reside in the air/heaven. So they don't want to ruins their home. But the earth, well, that's fair game.

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  • $\begingroup$ This doesn't explain why the angels would not use ranged weapons or bombs to attack ground troops from the air. But one explanation for that in the spirit of this answer could be that bad stuff happens when the angels die while in the air, so they try to get to the ground before engaging the enemy. $\endgroup$ – Philipp Oct 10 '17 at 14:11
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I'd say the demons exist underground. They can pop up anywhere but to really fight them you need to enter the tunnels and then air power means nothing.

It's a bit like the Vietcong who had whole cities underground to avoid bombing.

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The angels need holy power to even harm the demons but it isn't permanent. Holy arrows can't hold much of this fleeting power and it's weak when it hits the demons. A single holy arrow can only harm demons and dozens are needed to kill one. The angels don't have a unlimited supply of this holy power either. They can't fill many bombs with holy power before fatigue takes over. Swords don't have this problem. As long as it is in the hands of an angel it will be filled to the brim with holy power and can kill demons with a single strike.

To increase the need for a swift melee kill, here's another idea. Hurt demons release a miasma. Killed demons doesn't.

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The wings are the wings of Mercury which is the attainment of the 'mercurial mind' or Christ mind.

So the Air is the mind element as the water is emotion. All these terms referred to in your first questions are metaphorical representations of the mind.

The holy Angels have spiritual attainments of the mind which are far superior to most all men and demons except those few who fell from the highest planes with the highest knowledge or the highest attainments of the spiritual mind which then got used for evil destructive purposes in the astral and on the ground.

And remember the fight is over incarnate humanity who are a mixture of Angels and demons "on the ground" as you put it so well.

Some human beings on the ground are angels and some are demons of various levels of mental and spiritual attainment.

So, why is Air superiority not always adequate to defeat demons? If it is perfected, Air superiority will always win. If it is not, a person on the ground can be tricked / tripped up by a crafty fallen angels /demons on the ground and in the astral plane. The striving soul on the ground is attacked from both planes by wicked humans/angels incarnate and wicked angels discarnate.

Spiritual perfection - the attainment of the 'wings of mercury' - is the only state of invulnerabily. "No weapon formed against ye shall prosper". That is, no demon in the astral or on the ground shall defeat you. The state of spiritual imperfection - no wings for the navigation of the Air - is one of extreme vulnerability.

Edit:

thnx 4 the welcome A4android. I'm unable for some reason to add a comment under your reply so here it is in an edit: Yes "air superiority" of the angels is spiritual perfection - they have perfected the soul and mind by allowing the Christ Mind to enter in and regenerate the whole 'man/woman'. For those of us who fell into the lower planes of matter - all of us here on the 'ground' - there is a way back. It's a path, takes time.

I should have been clearer on a couple things earlier. I wrote: "The state of spiritual imperfection - no wings for the navigation of the Air - is one of extreme vulnerability." Due to the fact that spiritual imperfection is a relative state - some more or less than others - vulnerability is therefore relative - some more or less vulnerable than others. It is why, on the ground, in a relative state, we need angelic allies to guide and guard us to the apex of being so that we too can earn our 'wings' on the way.

Cheers

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  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to Worldbuilding, bon, pardon me if I ask an obtuse question. Are you suggesting the angels' air superiority is the result of their spiritual perfection? Meanwhile please enjoy being part of the Worldbuilding community. $\endgroup$ – a4android Oct 10 '17 at 11:43
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Vietnam. Watch the Ken Burns documentary. Air superiority/power does not win real estate and secure long lasting strategic victory. The United States bombed the living daylights out of the North Vietnamese and the Viet Cong in South Vietnam, and still lost the overall strategic battle on the ground.

The real question is: Why are the Angels fighting? If they're fighting just to fight, then on a tactical level, the Angels will indeed have a fair amount of superiority in each battle and shouldn't ever really engage the Demons on the ground. But if their goal is to say take the Demon's territory and control their domain, then they will have to fight on the land. Additionally, it seems there would be some psychological factor among the mortal populace by fighting and being seen fighting among them, in person, rather than leaving them to deal with Demons/Devils. I'm not sure how demi-godlike your Angels are with their accuracy, but if they can engage Demons with Holy Arrows and Bombs and completely prevent the possibility of collateral damage among mortals, then they would avoid the "killing one non-com, creating ten enemies" situation the United States was in employing napalm, bombs, etc.

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    $\begingroup$ Which documentary? (There's been more than one documentary on Vietnam.) What does it say? Why doesn't air superiority win real estate? This is more like a hint to how an answer might be written than an answer in its own right. $\endgroup$ – Brythan Oct 11 '17 at 14:16

protected by James Aug 10 '18 at 6:36

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