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Author Topic: Stupid project that will go nowhere; Let's rewrite warship combat for the table!  (Read 5503 times)

Cannonshop

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On the further point of orbital bombardment, the power of orbital bombardment has been grossly overstated.  A ship like a Mckenna needs something like a month to glass the area a single large Nuke makes, despite having gobs of HNPPC banks.  Orbital bombardment is actually a PRECISION tactical weapon, believe it or not.  Its like the same thing the IOWA would provide with radar assisted shells, more or less being artillery for a landing party.  A bomber wing at high altitude, artillery battery on the ground or cruise missile can perform much the same role, and for the same reason in real life we dont mount 16 inch artillery guns any more, in btech the idea of a battleship providing ground support can be seen as wasteful compared to a fighter wing carrying out the same ground support mission.

Add to this that any time in the aries convention orbital bombardment of a strictly military target would be allowed, a small nuke would also be allowed, there really is no point in developing warships to provide orbital fire.

Warships as cities to house armies of persuasion for galactic conquest and colonization is still the best use IMHO, which is why I liked the massive cargo bays of the star league ships, as cargo for spacefaring colonization, transport, support, and conquest all care about cargo and not about armor or guns.  The big star league ships I see as vessels like Sidonia, or Macross 7--cities first with combat capability second.  Sidonia in particular would function like the first Leviathan transports, and a high G combat maneuver in a Leviathan would kill tens of thousands of civilians if they weren't strapped in, like shown in knights of sidonia.

More modern warships, post star league and clan resettlement, not focused on colonization effort, would want as many dropships as possible and a lithium core.  Come in, deposit 40 combat dropships, jump out to dead space to recharge.  The warship would be effectively impossible to find in dead space while still furthering its goal via 40 combat dropships, which it could recover in a few weeks.  There is not much reason to design combat warships beyond transport roles when KF cores are valuable and dropships are less so.

As an aside, we can make some really interesting pocket warships with the dropship hull, as the tonnage range closely mirrors real wet navy tonnages, and we dont have the issue of filling 2 million tons of space on a ship with .5 ton items, leading to 1000 battery AMS arcs on every captial ship for no reason other than how simple it is to fit with 2million tons to play with.  Dropships also dont have an automatic escape button in the form of a KF core--warships logically could never be intercepted, meaning no naval battles.  Dropship fleets CAN be intercepted as they cant just jump to deep space, meaning we can actually fight a space battle if the warship combat is based off of dropships.

The problem of "What is a Navy for?" still applies here, DevianID, because your dropship force doesn't really have a role beyond the close orbit of a planet due to a complete lack of strategic mobility.  It would be akin to basing your entire naval programme on river monitors or row galleys-which is fine if your entire civilization doesn't get past Lunar orbit, but is strategically worthless when your civilization includes either the outer system, or another Star System.

Basically at the point that your transit times start becoming multiple weeks to multiple months at newtonian speed.

River monitors are fine for guarding ports and calm coastline-as long as the fuel lasts.  They're not so good if your holdings extend beyond close orbit.

an interstellar society requires interstellar transportation, and interstellar transportation tends to evolve interstellar naval capability or it becomes conquered by whoever does.

but it brings back up the question of what is a Navy (as opposed to a transport service for the Army) actually for?

we have canon examples of how NOT to do it-as in Navies not configured to actually function.  The ROTS Navy being a recent example (See: IlClan) of a navy designed for one doctrine, and failing when presented with a different strategic and tactical problem that is not even unusual, merely inconvenient.

without strategic mobility, your navy might as well be a local police force under the Army's direct command, and it will NOT be effective against even a poorly designed, but dedicated and strategically mobile, naval foe.

There are a few specific missions a Navy must fill in order to be effective.

1. Communication and Transport.
2. Intelligence Gathering
3. 'Show the Flag' and enforcement
4. power projection.
5. Commerce protection (protecting your supply lines)

the advent of the HPG meant that for several centuries, Navies lost roughly half the first mission (the Communication portion), but still retained the transportation aspect (Movement of your Army forces).

The intelligence gathering mission is largely neglected in the BTU, in large part because of the ability to use ground agents and the HPG, but in the absence of HPG communication, Naval units are the only means to move secure data from your intelligence assets in a timely manner, and the only means to move orders reliably without (easy) interception.

'Show the flag'/enforcement is mostly applicable in hinterlands where a permanent garrison is either too expensive, or too difficult to maintain, or in border zones where visible threat needs to be displayed to either prevent or provoke an enemy state from taking specific actions.  This is also useful as a 'hands off' threat during diplomatic negotiations or trade discussions.

Power Projection-that is, supporting offensive actions, or conducting displays of offensive actions, or blockade, or blockade-breaking/relief.

Commerce Protection: Protecting your supply lines from piracy, banditry, or enemy interception, but also conducting the same sort of operations you're otherwise protecting from.  (aka commerce raiding or the interference in an enemy's supply line.)

Your comment about the KF drive ignores something basic: it takes 7 days for a jumpship to recharge their drive, if they have an LF Battery or equivalent, it takes 14 after using a double-jump (7 days for the core, seven for the battery, presuming optimum charging conditions.)  It is very POSSIBLE to catch an enemy vessel between charges, but this requires intelligence gathering and good scouting to accomplish.

Note almost all of these require strategic mobility, which dropships, by themselves, do not have.

thus, a dropship-based Navy is effectively useless for the majority of missions you need an actual Navy to conduct.  Ground based fighter units can defend close orbit, and dropships can be based on ground stations for similar fixed defense roles, but they can not independently travel to another star system, nor can they respond effectively to a threat situation more than 1 or 2 AU from the system primary-a dropship force isn't going to be able to respond effectively to threats at Saturn from Earth orbit.

Now, Warships are NOT the only means to achieve Strategic Mobility, but you WILL need to protect standard jumpships if that's how you do it, because the simplest answer to gutting an enemy naval force, would be to remove their strategic mobility by destroying or capturing their standard jumpships, when this is defense, it's less of a problem than if said dropship navy is sailing on the attack-because on the attack, you can gut their ability  to support their vessels and hound them into helplessness virtually at your leisure unless they have one of half-million to multimillion ton ships acting as their logistical support.

From this, we can determine that item 1 on my list, "Strategic Mobility and Strategic Communication" are properly a Naval requirement-even if your combatants are mostly dropships, your Navy needs to own the jumpships that move them.

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Cannonshop

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Mission Types on the Tabletop!

It's all well and good for me to rant endlessly about abstractions, but going with a previous poster's suggestion to focus on scenarios, we need to actually think about scenarios which make all that ranting worth the effort to read.

Mission Types:

1. Straight Up Combat!  Grinders, massive fleet battles or individual duels, the objective of a Straight Up Combat scenario, is kill-or-be-killed.  That's the objective, it's the whole point of the scenario, it doesn't need or require anything more than the push of combat between sides, and it's what ninety percent of Battletech gamers sit down to do on saturday (or sunday, or mid-week after work...)

There may be other 'side' rationalizations, but those exist only to put one side, in front of the other side to roll dice, mark damage, and kill stuff.

Typically, numbers and BV dictate how this type of scenario goes down-that is, the quantity of the forces, and their relative firepower, is a good predictor of success, because the objective is to kill more of the enemy than you lose, and other factors really don't work in.  For this, the straight up combat system is all you really need, along with pencils (or other marker devices), unit sheets, maps, and some form of representation of the units.

straight up combats are pretty well laid out in the basic rules, and knowing those basic rules is all you really need to know (or having the tables right handy!)

2. Missions with actual Objectives!

Missions with actual objectives can be accomplished using less-direct methods than a straight up combat.  For example, you can actually LOSE the combat, and still win the mission, if you achieve your objectives, or you can win by avoiding combat through cleverness, provided you achieve your mission. 

In the previous post, I described 5 basic missions for an interstellar navy.  Items 1 and 2 are good options for 'Missions with actual objectives'. 

Examples of this, are the "insertion mission" (Delivering a package past a guard force) or the 'Extraction mission' or 'Rescue mission'.  These fit into Category 1 under 'Transport', or 'Communication' depending on opposition resistance.  for an example of 2, think "Sneak in and avoid being detected while you count their hulls and listen to their radio traffic", or for a hot combo, picking up agents and escaping with them, or inserting agents by distracting the enemy with an obvious attack.

The point being, missions with actual objectives will have objectives for each side, and they won't be the same ones.  Balancing your victory points needs to take into account the relative difficulty of the mission type, which is more than simple BV of the units involved.

The most basic version is side A wants to do something, and Side B wants to stop them from doing it.

this can be anything from escorting an invasion convoy to take the planet, to escaping with word of a military disaster to warn the next system, or summon reinforcements.  It can even be a case of pursuit in the aftermath of a successful action by the other side (chasing pirates before they can escape with their ill-gotten gains, or capturing some of them to find out where they're staging to plan the counter strike.)

Missions WITH objectives tend to work into campaign play, with victory points applying to give a boost in some way to the next tabletop engagement.

Your objectives can fall into any of the five broad categories I listed in the previous post.

1. Communication and Transport.
2. Intelligence Gathering
3. 'Show the Flag' and enforcement
4. power projection.
5. Commerce protection (protecting your supply lines)

Note that none of these outright says "attack or defend"-because that's something that can happen in any of them.

For some doctrines, the seeking of battles IS the objective-Clan Zellbrigen doctrine, for example, revolves around a concept of martial honor in which battle is sought over other objectives-but that doesn't mean these aren't core aspects of that seeking of battle, merely that they're the 'scutwork' that bidding and batchall seeks to reduce in order to get to the 'good stuff'.

For the Inner Sphere and Periphery, however, achieving objectives WITHOUT resorting to combat is something of a priority-even in obsessively martial states like the Draconis Combine.

these five missions, then, are about making combats uneven or unequal whenever possible, or making it equal, but so costly the other side may blink and retreat rather than engage.

fat chance of players doing that, but...

Headgames, the ability to bluff when you're sitting with your cards under glass.  It's where Objectives play really shines-an opponent might know every technical detail of your ships, but he doesn't necessarily need to know what you're doing there, or what you're after, or what you're trying to do.

OR what you're willing to do.

Objectives based missions and play add a level of uncertainty even if your opponent can sit there, read your stats sheets, watch your dice rolls, and see your minis on the table.

For this reason, for 'pickup games with objectives' I recommend a 'secret orders' rule, randomly generated, with no more than 3 objectives (and averaging 2) for each side (attacker and defender) before initiative is rolled.  They should be things that CAN be achieved, potentially even if the actual battle is obviously lost from the first die roll onward.

These orders are not to be revealed to the opposing player unless or until the fighting is completed or the objectives have become impossible.

sound good to you guys?  tell me where I've got it wrong.

"If ye love wealth better than liberty,
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go home from us in peace.
We ask not your counsels or your arms.
Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you.
May your chains set lightly upon you,
and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen."-Samuel Adams

HobbesHurlbut

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Charistoph brings up an interesting point but maybe not the way he intended.

Orbital Bombardment-but Lucy, that's Illegal!!

Orbital bombardment was rendered illegal under the Ares Conventions, yet every Navy in existence trained in it...including the SLDF, right up to day one of the First Succession War, when it was still a war-crime, but nobody was likely to comment on that even on talk radio.  They were too busy committing all the OTHER war crimes listed in the Ares Conventions.
"Article II forbade orbital bombardment except against vital military targets which were not anywhere near populated areas."

Not OUTRIGHT Illegal; only to be used against military targets which are *not* anywhere near populated areas.
Clan Blood Spirit - So Bad Ass as to require Orbital Bombardments to wipe us out....it is the only way to be sure!

monbvol

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Considering how quickly and easily the Ares conventions were suspended I'm not sure they're even worth the datachips they're saved on.

But to further expand on Cannonshop's point about the limitations of relying on Dropships, especially for the defense if you have outer system assets, is something we do tend to forget is just how staggeringly big space is.

It's just a bit over 9 days to the Sol Zenith/Nadir point with a 1g burn and that's roughly 10 AU which is the orbit of Saturn.  It easily reaches months for trying to get out to the Oort cloud at 1g.

This translates to even if you really wanted to properly defend these sorts of extremes in needing effectively a fleet for each site, each of which has to be large enough to establish regular patrols and provide credible threat to what ever is sent to attack them.  This can easily spiral into very large numbers very quickly, especially in an Oort cloud sort of situation as by that point almost anywhere is now a valid jump point.

Plus calling them jump points does seem to imply a limited area that can be easily fortified and defended.  I do seem to recall implications that even at it's smallest the Earth Moon point could handle a rather large fleet jumping in without worries of annihilation fields, collisions, and it taking a stupid number of armed space stations mostly in the zone itself to actually cover it with gunfire with Battletech capital weapon ranges being what they are.

Lagrange

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I'm enjoying the discussion of 'what is the navy for'. 

There is an alternate naval configuration which I believe satisfies the 'for' part without any warships.  The force would consist of 3 large units:

a) Space Stations which operate in deep space or at least deep oort cloud.  Their location is a carefully shared secret with the information value decaying regular due to a random walk by the space station.  The space stations could support commercial traffic protection with some security care, assisting with 1(communication and transport) and 5(commerce protection).
b) Jumpships which operate in circuits.  A circuit-participating jumpship can transport light-year-tons as well as non-circuit jumpships, but with radically more time efficiency.  These jumpships could even be LF designs with the x3 cost reasonable compared to the of x2 (in a line), x4 (in a 2-d map), or x8 (in a 3-d map) reduction in the number of needed stations/jumpships.  Furthermore, an LF-jumpship can fully recharge in a week by docking with the space station.
c) Regimental scale dropships.  A regimental scale dropship can deploy a quite significant force of land or space combat units.  Deployed via a jump circuit, this allows for a rapid projection of  force sufficient to deal with small scale invasions and able to at least stymie larger scale ones.

Looking at the missions.
1. Communication and Transport.  Very doable, although there are tradeoffs.  Jumpships don't jump into combat zones unless you are ready to sacrifice them.  That's sometimes justified, because the dropships, their units, and their impact on the course of a conflict can be greater scale than the jumpship.  When it's not justifiable, jump to a point which is not observable. From there, dropships can insert into the system with a ~1 week delay.  On the communication angle, using blackbox approaches for intrasystem communication with jumpships providing intersystem communication seems fairly viable.
2. Intelligence Gathering.  Dropships are less intrusive than warships, so this is plausibly a win for the dropship navy?
3. 'Show the Flag' and enforcement.  This is a lose.  Warships are much scarier than dropships.  Perhaps an upside for a dropship approach is that you could show force in more places at once for the same cost?  But, not that much more, since a regimental scale dropship carrier is actually fairly expensive (~2B).
4. power projection.  This is mixed.  The ability to project power through a jump circuit + dropship approach is radically faster than a warship over large spatial scales.  A warship however can more freely jump into ambiguous situations to more quickly provide force in a 30 (or 60 with LF) light year sphere.  The ability to mass units for a major invasion is perhaps similar although a jumpship approach likely allows you to apply more units from an economic perspective.
5. Commerce protection (protecting your supply lines).  Supply transit via deep space stations avoids mid-transit attacks fairly well.  If the endpoints are protected by sufficient forces, you are fine.  If they aren't of course, that's problematic.  If instead using a convoy approach, projecting force via dropships in the convoy is potentially fairly effective and scalable with the size of potential raiding force.  Overall, I'd estimate a win, because of force scalability and the option for secure fast transits on a jump circuit.

All of this breaks down of course if ASF/smallcraft are sufficiently nerfed compared to warships.

Daryk

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Definitely interesting discussion here... The weekend is the earliest I can even think about offering more...  :-\

Cannonshop

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I'm enjoying the discussion of 'what is the navy for'. 

There is an alternate naval configuration which I believe satisfies the 'for' part without any warships.  The force would consist of 3 large units:

a) Space Stations which operate in deep space or at least deep oort cloud.  Their location is a carefully shared secret with the information value decaying regular due to a random walk by the space station.  The space stations could support commercial traffic protection with some security care, assisting with 1(communication and transport) and 5(commerce protection).
b) Jumpships which operate in circuits.  A circuit-participating jumpship can transport light-year-tons as well as non-circuit jumpships, but with radically more time efficiency.  These jumpships could even be LF designs with the x3 cost reasonable compared to the of x2 (in a line), x4 (in a 2-d map), or x8 (in a 3-d map) reduction in the number of needed stations/jumpships.  Furthermore, an LF-jumpship can fully recharge in a week by docking with the space station.
c) Regimental scale dropships.  A regimental scale dropship can deploy a quite significant force of land or space combat units.  Deployed via a jump circuit, this allows for a rapid projection of  force sufficient to deal with small scale invasions and able to at least stymie larger scale ones.

Looking at the missions.
1. Communication and Transport.  Very doable, although there are tradeoffs.  Jumpships don't jump into combat zones unless you are ready to sacrifice them.  That's sometimes justified, because the dropships, their units, and their impact on the course of a conflict can be greater scale than the jumpship.  When it's not justifiable, jump to a point which is not observable. From there, dropships can insert into the system with a ~1 week delay.  On the communication angle, using blackbox approaches for intrasystem communication with jumpships providing intersystem communication seems fairly viable.
2. Intelligence Gathering.  Dropships are less intrusive than warships, so this is plausibly a win for the dropship navy?
3. 'Show the Flag' and enforcement.  This is a lose.  Warships are much scarier than dropships.  Perhaps an upside for a dropship approach is that you could show force in more places at once for the same cost?  But, not that much more, since a regimental scale dropship carrier is actually fairly expensive (~2B).
4. power projection.  This is mixed.  The ability to project power through a jump circuit + dropship approach is radically faster than a warship over large spatial scales.  A warship however can more freely jump into ambiguous situations to more quickly provide force in a 30 (or 60 with LF) light year sphere.  The ability to mass units for a major invasion is perhaps similar although a jumpship approach likely allows you to apply more units from an economic perspective.
5. Commerce protection (protecting your supply lines).  Supply transit via deep space stations avoids mid-transit attacks fairly well.  If the endpoints are protected by sufficient forces, you are fine.  If they aren't of course, that's problematic.  If instead using a convoy approach, projecting force via dropships in the convoy is potentially fairly effective and scalable with the size of potential raiding force.  Overall, I'd estimate a win, because of force scalability and the option for secure fast transits on a jump circuit.

All of this breaks down of course if ASF/smallcraft are sufficiently nerfed compared to warships.

2) Dropships lack strategic mobility.  Yes, they're "Less" intrusive than warships or primitive jumpers, but they also can't go from system to system.  This presents a problem since you still have to get them there, and presumably, back, with the intel.  THAT, in turn, limits where you can  send them and what intel you can gather.  aka slipping one in a bundle of commercial ships on a third-party carrier into an open, busy port is possible, but getting it (and the intel) out again?  not so much if you're trying to gather intel on an enemy with competent port control.

anyway, more thoughts...


Maintenance
Strategic Mobility is a central necessity for an INTERSTELLAR navy, or the navy of a multisystem nation.  as I said before, you don't absolutely NEED warships, but you DO need enough Jumpships.  You'll also need enough support infrastructure to repair and/or replace them just based on wear-and-tear and the need to have their reliability be consistent in peacetime.  (*Command circuit does no good if you're interrupted because someone needs their helium seals replaced at a bad time.)

one of the main reasons real-world navies have so many foreign stations (looking at historical British Navy and current day USN) is the need for consistent, secure maintenance, and like anything, the more moving parts you have, the more maintenance you need to conduct.

so you're not realizing monetary savings by going cheap on hull types, you're going to be using that savings to keep what you've got working BETWEEN wars.  In the pre-Reunification/Age of War period, that infrastructure was by necessity spread out throughout the state-it was necessary to keep the sort of fleet you've described functional, even in the absence of an immediate war.  During the Star League era, the SLN maintained a fairly large number of these as well (as evidenced by the various 'finds' in the fiction, the most famous being Star's End and Odessa).

These are necessary regardless of what size ships you're using, whether dropships, primitives, or warships.  Not for wartime, but for peace time-in wartime you need MORE of them.

and presumably you want these maintenance points to actually work, so that's another job that your navy likely has to be responsible for.

It falls under category 1, oddly enough-you can't transport if your transports are breaking down.  It influences your Radius of Action-the distance (in duration) you can afford to have your navy moving from the homeport or shipyard.

It's not just equipment that needs maintenance-it's crew as well.  a crew that is distracted, suffering from health issues, and enduring cabin fever isn't a crew that's going to be much use in combat.  Regardless of your other configuration issues (Warship, Primitive Jumpship, Standard Jumpship, Dropship) you need to have facilities where the crew can come off the boat for recreation and health maintenance, or you pretty soon don't have a field-ready force.

There are ways to mitigate that need, of course.  recruiting Spacer or Belter individuals, for example, but you need a large population of those to recruit from, and most States don't have them.

some don't have them at all aside from nomads that pass through or visit.  thus, most of your Officers and Crew are going to be from planetary surfaces, which means psychological health maintenance issues unless your screening for those is better than is likely.  (to give some idea, you'd be looking at similar psychiatric profiles to those used for recruiting submariners-bubbleheads don't drop off the trees).
« Last Edit: 27 October 2021, 22:45:48 by Cannonshop »
"If ye love wealth better than liberty,
the tranquility of servitude
better than the animating contest of freedom,
go home from us in peace.
We ask not your counsels or your arms.
Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you.
May your chains set lightly upon you,
and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen."-Samuel Adams

Charistoph

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While discussing the purposes of interstellar navies is good and somewhat important, it does need to tie in to how this affects Warship combat in general, and on the tabletop in specific.

Concepts such as R&R facilities are nice to look at for campaign, nation, and story-building, but other than a target for Warships to attack and defend, mean little in how those Warships maneuver and fight.

For a scenario, one might want to look at how desirable we might want to make a "Pearl Harbor" situation.  Usually something like this would be better served for an Aerotech level, but there were a LOT of aircraft hitting Warships and trying to track individual ASF in a fight like that would be taxing.  However, it would work with squadrons hitting the Warships "in dock".

Now, it probably wouldn't be practical to have it be an actual scenario, but it should be reviewed from the perspective of "how do/quickly ASF bring down Warships?" on a squadron perspective.
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DevianID

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So the issue at play here is this.  A warship with a LF battery and 40 dropships is a thing.  This warship can jump through dead space, making it's approach undetectable.  It can then jump to the target system, get a glance at the situation, and either launch dropships or retreat with the dropships to dead space.  Such a setup means that the warship can never be intercepted at a jump point, and never be lost in combat.

You can do the same with lithium jumpships, but IIRC a 40 dropship LF warship is cheaper than 10 4 dropship LF jumpships.

Dropships are expendable, KF cores are not.  If KF cores are SO CHEAP that warships are expendable, ONLY THEN should any warship combat be considered.  The bounds of battletech say that warships are not expendable, thus if we want space battles it needs to be from dropships.

The LF 40 dropship carrier can easily accomplish all your stated goals, though you would want a small cheap mass produced courier LF jump ship to supplement communication and circuit transport for civilian means.

The key takeaway is that jumpships dont need to expose themselves to get a solar recharge thanks to dead space recharging, thus protecting shipping needs to occur entirely in the takeoff and landing systems, not a single system in between.  Dropship fleets are cheaper and easier to deposit in the origin and destination systems than trying to make shipping convoys--there is no need to constantly redeploy your star system's defense force out of the system.  Convoys to protect shipping is an outdated mentality in space.

The combats in actual space warfare will be lots of closing/crossing engagements, as dropships from a jump insertion burn towards their target, and ships of the defending system burn to intercept.  The other engagement will be planetary landings, where defending forces decide not to intercept but to try and repulse the invaders aided by their gravity well--this type of fight will be the closest to the existing battles, as the attacker will want to thin the defenders in open combat before risking atmospheric operations, like how before the D-Day landing the beach was shelled and paratroops were inserted behind enemy lines.

Charistoph

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The combats in actual space warfare will be lots of closing/crossing engagements, as dropships from a jump insertion burn towards their target, and ships of the defending system burn to intercept.  The other engagement will be planetary landings, where defending forces decide not to intercept but to try and repulse the invaders aided by their gravity well--this type of fight will be the closest to the existing battles, as the attacker will want to thin the defenders in open combat before risking atmospheric operations, like how before the D-Day landing the beach was shelled and paratroops were inserted behind enemy lines.

To put a point on it, space combat occurs in one of two places: Jump Points and location interfaces (usually planets).  Transitory combat is possible, but actual interceptions are a challenge to accomplish, and often not worth it.  It is usually better for Jump Point assets to chase than have planetary assets meet invasion forces half way.    Of course, that assumes the invading navy doesn't have a predilection for Mass Driving or nuking locations upon arrival so making sure they don't get close at all is of utmost importance.

Jump Points because that is where the Jumpships and Warships come in and where velocity is low as they jump in and try to get moving to their invasion point.  This requires assets to be on station at known Jump Points.  This more often happens as a case of bad luck as one unit is preparing to jump out while the invasion force is jumping in, as if they are using Pirate Points, any remote defensive unit will be out of position.  This would be the most common of basis for most deep space battles where location interfaces aren't an issue.

Location interfaces are rather obvious.  It is usually planetary, but it could also be lunar or asteroidal if bases are put in place on them.  The considerations are where the ship in question can avoid getting trapped in the gravity well (in case of Warships or extremely large Dropships), or having the atmosphere or local orbital debris cause drag or other problems.
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DevianID

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From a gameplay POV, I think it is fair to mimic a mech sheet in terms of how complex each major capital element should be.  In my mind, the dropship would be a mech sized asset, and a warship would be a dropship sized asset--like in btech standard tabletop play where a dropship is more of an objective than an active combat element in most games, so too is the warship an objective level asset, only to be seen rarely as lances of dropships duke it out.

In this scale, fighters would be infantry/battle armor analogs.

The most armored mechs rock about 300 points of armor, so the condensed dropship record sheet should max out at 300 points.  The 100k Castrum with 4500 armor can be seen as a superheavy mech, so looking at the next most armored dropship, the 36k tiamat with 3015 armor is a perfect canidate for the '100 ton assault mech' comparison.  This gives a rough armor and damage divisor of 10 to determine our dropships armor values, and 5 for SI since damage is halved against SI--roughly in line with capital scale values--to get fidelity similar to that of battlemechs for what we expect a play experience to feel like.

Looking at the nifty new record sheets provided by catalyst for alpha strike, we see that they divided armor by 30 instead of 10, but kept the damage divisor of 10 for weapons.  This gives a second avenue for a recomputed record sheet than the one above, but it would not have the crunch of a lance on lance mech battle which I assume is the goal of any recomputed game system--it is alpha strike after all.

For movement, a momentum-less frame of reference where we dont have to track velocity is fine.  Say a ship has a 4/6 thrust profile, and spends 4 thrust to move forward.  In normal battlespace, this 4 velocity has to be tracked, and makes a mess of things over time.  However, movement and time can be abstracted to avoid this issue by only caring about frame of reference instead of particular sections of space.  After seeing a ship spend 4 thrust and move 4 hexes, the opponent can automatically react by countering that thrust if they want to keep the same distance, but we dont actually need to see them spend thrust to do so--the gameplay act of standing still after the distance between two ships has shrunk by 4 represents resetting the frame of reference such that more thrust must be spent by the first ship to further close the distance on the next turn.

This means that ships can move like battlemechs, with 1 mp turns and all, with no tracking velocity, and it works out fine, as in dead space the frame of reference can be reset each turn as their is no terrain or landmarks providing a 3rd frame of refrence besides the attacker's fleet and defender's fleet.

If you think this isnt how physics work, keep in mind that in normal battlespace combat spending 4 thrust should move you 2 hexes this turn and 4 next turn--a fact we ignore in the current rules--so the existing rules for movement are just as flawed per physics as resetting your reference frame each turn, but needlessly complex.

Lagrange

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2) Dropships lack strategic mobility.  Yes, they're "Less" intrusive than warships or primitive jumpers, but they also can't go from system to system.  This presents a problem since you still have to get them there, and presumably, back, with the intel.  THAT, in turn, limits where you can  send them and what intel you can gather.  aka slipping one in a bundle of commercial ships on a third-party carrier into an open, busy port is possible, but getting it (and the intel) out again?  not so much if you're trying to gather intel on an enemy with competent port control.
If there is no means of communication other than KF-cores, then _fast_ intelligence with a dropship navy is difficult.  On the upside, the quantity and quality of information could be much larger since you can afford many dropships for the price of a Bugeye, and you can actually land on a planet unlike a Bugeye.  Given this, I'd expect much of an intelligence-through-navy budget to be spent on dropships, even if some portion is reserved for Bugeye in an otherwise-warship based navy.

Once you have access to blackbox tech sending a short message to a nearby jumpship can trigger a jump circuit.  This is still much cheaper than a Bugeye.  The only disadvantage I can think of is bandwidth---You still can't transmit high-bandwidth intelligence (like a video) fast.  I'm not sure that justifies the cost of a Bugeye.

This means that ships can move like battlemechs, with 1 mp turns and all, with no tracking velocity, and it works out fine, as in dead space the frame of reference can be reset each turn as their is no terrain or landmarks providing a 3rd frame of refrence besides the attacker's fleet and defender's fleet.
This view seems to break down when near a planet or a space station, which probably covers a substantial fraction of combats? 

AlphaMirage

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I think either of these approaches are misguided. I brainstormed a few options for my Second Star League Fleet Admiral's guide using the already existing rules

You don't scout with dropships instead you cultivate an intelligence network on the planet to monitor shipping traffic and use cheap satellites equipped with sensors and (non-HPG or Black Box) comm gear to get what they can't see and transmit it to them. These same satellites can also be deployed in advance of an operation from a Scout jump-ship, the one that already recharges faster than normal and has a less apparent jump signature, outfitted for the role.

Then if possible you use a mobile HPG, assuming you can, or a Black Box, also presuming you can, to send that information to an uninhabited system nearby serving as a rally point. Then the very expensive relay asset jumps out of the system to get free of the impending combat.

Cannonshop

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If there is no means of communication other than KF-cores, then _fast_ intelligence with a dropship navy is difficult.  On the upside, the quantity and quality of information could be much larger since you can afford many dropships for the price of a Bugeye, and you can actually land on a planet unlike a Bugeye.  Given this, I'd expect much of an intelligence-through-navy budget to be spent on dropships, even if some portion is reserved for Bugeye in an otherwise-warship based navy.

Once you have access to blackbox tech sending a short message to a nearby jumpship can trigger a jump circuit.  This is still much cheaper than a Bugeye.  The only disadvantage I can think of is bandwidth---You still can't transmit high-bandwidth intelligence (like a video) fast.  I'm not sure that justifies the cost of a Bugeye.
This view seems to break down when near a planet or a space station, which probably covers a substantial fraction of combats?
I think either of these approaches are misguided. I brainstormed a few options for my Second Star League Fleet Admiral's guide using the already existing rules

You don't scout with dropships instead you cultivate an intelligence network on the planet to monitor shipping traffic and use cheap satellites equipped with sensors and (non-HPG or Black Box) comm gear to get what they can't see and transmit it to them. These same satellites can also be deployed in advance of an operation from a Scout jump-ship, the one that already recharges faster than normal and has a less apparent jump signature, outfitted for the role.

Then if possible you use a mobile HPG, assuming you can, or a Black Box, also presuming you can, to send that information to an uninhabited system nearby serving as a rally point. Then the very expensive relay asset jumps out of the system to get free of the impending combat.

I think you're both missing what I was saying:  You're worried about what you do when you get there, I'm talking about getting there.

It doesn't matter if all your agents are James Bond, if you can't get them where they're useful.

The Navy's 'intelligence' mission begins with getting the asset into place in the first place.

also, the SLDF could afford Bugeyes, I kind of think anyone else would spend the same budget on Scouts or reflagged Merchants, or even Invaders and some nice bureaucratic manipulation to make 'em look like harmless traders. 

Ships with specialist designs like the Bugeye really don't work very well for anything but replicating a very expensive sattelite doing a job that you can do with something cheaper and less advanced (thus being able to do it a hell of a lot more often, across a much wider range, simultaneously.)

Whether that's delivering dropships, or delivering Satellites, or delivering agents, or collecting data from those dropships, sats, and agents, your 'intel ships' are better served being something unremarkable and able to be a 'swiss army knife' style of vessel (as in lots of usage in a non-military context).

but that goes back to Doctrine and each of you show you have a conceptual doctrine to address Item 2 of what a Navy does: Intelligence.

they're even largely compatible, with different emphases (meaning they can conceivably exist in the same universe using the same game rules.)

Thing is, an army, corporation or Nongovernmental organization could do either of the things you're talking about-but they'll need a Navy to get the stuff from system to system to use it.

Armies can launch Satellites, or use them.  They can also operate dropships, assemble networks of spies, etc. etc. etc.-but really, it's more of a Naval role to do the actual moving into place.

or at least, it's simpler to give the job to your professional spacers, than to part-timers, and probably less expensively risky.

So the issue at play here is this.  A warship with a LF battery and 40 dropships is a thing.  This warship can jump through dead space, making it's approach undetectable.  It can then jump to the target system, get a glance at the situation, and either launch dropships or retreat with the dropships to dead space.  Such a setup means that the warship can never be intercepted at a jump point, and never be lost in combat.

You can do the same with lithium jumpships, but IIRC a 40 dropship LF warship is cheaper than 10 4 dropship LF jumpships.

Dropships are expendable, KF cores are not.  If KF cores are SO CHEAP that warships are expendable, ONLY THEN should any warship combat be considered.  The bounds of battletech say that warships are not expendable, thus if we want space battles it needs to be from dropships.

The LF 40 dropship carrier can easily accomplish all your stated goals, though you would want a small cheap mass produced courier LF jump ship to supplement communication and circuit transport for civilian means.

The key takeaway is that jumpships dont need to expose themselves to get a solar recharge thanks to dead space recharging, thus protecting shipping needs to occur entirely in the takeoff and landing systems, not a single system in between.  Dropship fleets are cheaper and easier to deposit in the origin and destination systems than trying to make shipping convoys--there is no need to constantly redeploy your star system's defense force out of the system.  Convoys to protect shipping is an outdated mentality in space.

The combats in actual space warfare will be lots of closing/crossing engagements, as dropships from a jump insertion burn towards their target, and ships of the defending system burn to intercept.  The other engagement will be planetary landings, where defending forces decide not to intercept but to try and repulse the invaders aided by their gravity well--this type of fight will be the closest to the existing battles, as the attacker will want to thin the defenders in open combat before risking atmospheric operations, like how before the D-Day landing the beach was shelled and paratroops were inserted behind enemy lines.

That is CERTAINLY a strategy, and it even has the value of making some sense, except you're overestimating how well you can recharge in dead space with insufficient solar radiation and limited fuel bunkerage.  (Not to mention food, air, and water for all the crew you need to maintain those 40 docking collars.)

a big ship like that works better as  a 'tender', and really if you're going to go through that trouble, you can drop in outside the usual points in the oort, and slow-boat your force into position just as readily (and a hell of a lot less visibly) provided you've got the consumables to make it work.

but that ends up being part of the problem right there: how long do you want to take and how much warning do you want the target to have?   That's a doctrine issue there too.

You can't hide a fusion torch, it's going to be visible at minimum halfway from the target at one gee, that's weeks of warning for the enemy to plan your reception, get accurate figures on your forces, angle of approach, and approach rate.

(assuming you want to land your forces in a condition fit to fight, instead of brutally exhausted and already injured.)

that also assumes you're there to land.  (an ARMY mission) rather than there to take out the other side's transportation assets and disrupt their ability to resupply. (See "Commerce interruption/Commerce Protection")  Dropships don't do so well at that one either, unless it's protecting the jumpship they came in on.  (Strategic movement INSIDE a system is also useful, potentially MORE useful when addressing things like the Gibbs yards or Federated Boeing.)

Additionally, you can't assume you have an infinite supply of trained spacers.  Consider that the dominant arm in the BTU is ground, and even Great House Armies are pathetically small, presumably the Navy, being a less important and less funded arm, will have even fewer trained personnel available to 'burn up' with disposable dropships or other units-there's a curve where you have too much invested in a single bit of gear (*your 40 collar warship), and too little to spend on cheap gear before you become ineffective.
"If ye love wealth better than liberty,
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We ask not your counsels or your arms.
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monbvol

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Also there is the very real problem of breakdowns.  When one happens the most likely place will be in a dead/uninhabited system and it'll be something you can't repair by yourself too.  Murphy's law is a pain like that.

I think that is a quite necessary contention of the setting we need to retain in any such revisions, it being an overall bad idea to use dead space.

Cannonshop

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Also there is the very real problem of breakdowns.  When one happens the most likely place will be in a dead/uninhabited system and it'll be something you can't repair by yourself too.  Murphy's law is a pain like that.

I think that is a quite necessary contention of the setting we need to retain in any such revisions, it being an overall bad idea to use dead space.

Using it isn't the problem-using it properly is.  IOW if you want to use it, you need to be prepared-which is something an enemy can find out, so use it sparingly or not at all.

One of the things I did with my own fictions, is that forces that put an emphasis on using 'dead' systems put infrastructure in place ahead of time, and plan it out, or they take insane risks with negative consequences.

putting a station in an otherwise uninhabitable system to stage off of makes staging off those dead systems possible and practical-provided you put the resources into it.  If you don't, you end up stranded or missing unless you're incredibly lucky, and incredibly skilled.

on the strategic level game, I'd say having those preparations would be worth points, and identifying them would be worth points to your opponents, since it marks a key vulnerability.

for an easy example, imagine you're up against a dropship-primary opponent who's built a fleet around using 40 collar warships to drop massive forces out of 'nowhere' but your spies have cracked the location of said 'nowhere' so you drop a couple frigates on them while their dropships are burning inward on one of your border systems.  They're recharging, and vulnerable, and all you have to do, is critically damage their strategic transports before returning to kill their dropships.  even if you fail in the latter, they're not going anywhere and you can try again knowing exactly where their combat power is...or you can drop a force on one of their key worlds while the bulk of their fleet is tied up taking a border planet and can't withdraw and relocate, and since you've savaged their staging area/system, they can't resupply easily either, but since YOU spent your build on variety packs of jumpships, primitives, and warships, you CAN-you're not anchored to a secondary asset for movement.

A strategic victory can be achieved by pinning an enemy's force in a single system, see how that works?  It's still possible to lose, you can fail to knock out their tenders, you can get it wrong, they could be using more than one marshalling point, etc. etc. but 40 dropships in a single system is a major portion of combat power, unless you get to stupid levels of FGC-3062 production and recruitment, one of those 40 ship 'tenders' worth of dropships represents a major portion of teh enemy's total trained manpower, and if they're all relying on a single jump-capable vessel to insert or extract, that's winning effectively the entire theater by sinking a single ship.

at those sort of conditions, the only time it's not edging in your favor is if their target is a major capital world or has your sole and only shipyard (Gibbs, in the Lyran state, for example).

« Last Edit: 28 October 2021, 10:00:36 by Cannonshop »
"If ye love wealth better than liberty,
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better than the animating contest of freedom,
go home from us in peace.
We ask not your counsels or your arms.
Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you.
May your chains set lightly upon you,
and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen."-Samuel Adams

Cannonshop

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Configuration; How do we do the five tasks?

A couple of people have already described ideas for how to carry out a few of the five tasks a Navy must fill to be a Navy.

The SLDF, of course, used lots and lots of Warships.

It's not the only answer.  during and after the Jihad, it became quite popular to use lots and lots of Dropships.

we can set these at opposite ends of the scale.  On the one end, is the Warship primary force, and on the other, is the Dropship primary force.

Each of these ends represents a sort of 'extreme' and has different weaknesses and strengths.

but we don't have an 'either/or' situation here, except when relying on pure canon forces (at which point, everything we're discussing is a given and there's no real reason to think too hard, y'all.)

Age of War and Age of expansion shows us vessels between "Jumpship with dropships" and "Warships"-the 'primitives'.  these come with their own drawbacks (including an artificially inflated cost, short jump range, etc.)

3050's and 3060's also gives us a mixed option-fewer warships, more jumpships, and more leaning on dropships.

"If ye love wealth better than liberty,
the tranquility of servitude
better than the animating contest of freedom,
go home from us in peace.
We ask not your counsels or your arms.
Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you.
May your chains set lightly upon you,
and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen."-Samuel Adams

Cannonshop

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Item 1: Communications and Transport.

This is probably the most important aspect for a navy in the 32nd century, with the loss of the HPG grid and unreliability hammering the black boxes, the ONLY source or method for reliable interstellar communications in a secure format, is to put them on your own jumpship (either by dropships in a command circuit, or direct delivery if you can't manage it).  Likewise, this is the only way to get your soldiers from point A to point B, nevermind point Z.

For this task, I submit, you need both jumpships, and dropships...and they need to be in your navy.  Not contractors, because contractors can say '****** you I'm leaving' and take that juicy info to your enemies, or to competitors, or just lose it, and so on. 

This should be the bulk of your navy-message carrying and delivery.  Why? because you don't have roads between planets, you can't send a rider or a courier on a fast motorcycle, and your enemies, while they have the same problem, also want to prevent you from delivering that information, or those orders, or those packages, just as you would prefer their own mail be 'snarled up' in problems, delays, or destruction.

There are two 'most reliable' jump-points in a given system, and the bulk of jump drives limit out at 30 light years per charge.  ("Long jump" drives exist as lab toys or foolish expenditures, not as viable, reliable, means of getting through space.)

for this mission, you need a reliable core jumpship model, capable of either defending itself, or carrying units sufficient to defend it from interception or delay attackers.  Which means combat dropships and fighter wings.

even if it's a warship-granted, a warship's going to cost you out the ass to maintain compared to standard core 'barbell and eggs' jumpship/dropship combos.

I'm going to suggest that a good 70-90% of a House Fleet should consist of these 'messenger ships' or messenger ship combinations-enough to form reliable command circuits to key worlds in your realm, and enough to conduct direct-delivery messenger service from those hubs to the worlds around them.

That's just for your 'communication' portion.  It's why it's at Number One on the list-it's the most critical function your navy can perform.

Using Canon, the outline should be a three-collar vessel, similar to an Invader, of standardized construction (meaning you have lots of copies built at the same yards with the same tech using the same tools)

"hub' systems should have a repair base, this does not need to be sufficient to BUILD a jumpship but it should be sufficient to maintain everything short of a jumpship's core.  You'll need two jumpships for each secondary destination, in order to maintain some regular flow of information with your vassals and other military units.

These are NOT INVASION TRANSPORTS, they're not evacuation ships, they're not scouts, they're not raiders.  They do one job-they go from world A, to world B, on a regular schedule.

that said, armament should be a minimum of two combat capable dropships, one of which should be capable of supporting fighters, the third collar is for 'payload'-whether that's a landing dropship, cargo ship, or 'mech/combined arms/extra carrier is up to the conditions you expect, and your national priorities.

2. Intelligence Gathering:  This is a tough one, because there are so many different ways that intelligence can and should be gathered, but the key here, is low-observable either by being utterly common in a target region, or by being small and having a small signature.  Explorer class jumpships to Scout class, you don't need bigger and bigger is just more visible for stealth insertions.  The idea is to avoid enemy contact while conducting deep penetration of enemy territory.  LF batteries would be nice, but not required.  If you have a collar and LF batteries (a converted Merchant inserting from outside the 10 AU limit) then dropping off a dropship for duration surveillance might work for you.    Armament should be minimal, because if you're picked up and detected, you did it wrong.  These should be around 5-10% of your fleet, just because it's such a pain in the ass to maintain them.

3. "Show the Flag"-diplomatic and such, this is where you can afford a ship that's heavily armed, with lots of armor and big jump signature.  120,000-plus tons is fine and dandy for this, because it screams 'look how important I am!!"  you might almost call this mission the inverse of the Intelligence mission, as it relies on announcing your presence in a big way, and showing lots of 'leg'.  if you don't have a light weight warship, a suitably outfitted Jumpship, such as an Invader with three Overlord A3's or three PWS, or a PWS and a Castrum works pretty well, as would a carrier and a heavy pocket warship.  the idea here, is to emphasize something is important, seen as important, or to intimidate someone, so going wild on the firepower is probably not a bad option if you can afford it.  1 or 2 percent of your total hulls works here, this is a job, after all, for flagships.

4. Power Projection: your Offensive fleet.  we'll get back to discussing this, because there are a LOT of options!

5.  Commerce Protection/Commerce raiding: 
this is another one that's going to need a lot of ships, like with (1), but they can be small-and should be, because what it is, in essence, is patrols intent on either preventing raiders from hitting your commerce (which can be done with Dropships, and Combat droppers are pretty ideal for it on fixed routes), or hitting the other guy's commerce.  (This suggests jump capable ships with lots of firepower for their size and mass and decent range.  It's technically POSSIBLE to do it with dropships on jumpships, it's just not very effective to do it that way)  Here's another mission for your smaller Warship designs, or for upgunned primitive jumpships.  LF batteries are advisable both to extend range for your raiders, and because raiding commerce (hitting jump points, recharge stations, and known commercial routes) requires a quick getaway before pursuers catch up. 

Unlike main-line assaults on planets, Commerce raiders benefit greatly from staying the hell out of the interphase and away from planets.  The idea is to prey on the enemy's supply line, not trying to conquer his planets.  (that's what (4) is for!)  Recommended armament, consistent with the Ares Conventions, is nuclear for commerce raiders-every ton of destroyed enemy supply is billions of H-bills worth of losses in terms of transport, manufacturing, and combat power on the other end.

Capture may also be SEEN as an option, but the difference between capturing something, and killing it, is night and day-captures are FAR more difficult, higher risk, and take more time.

Killing his shipping, on the other hand, forces him to devote military resources to protecting it that would otherwise be spent conquering the shit out of YOUR territory, while also harming his ability to support both his naval, and ground forces.

a doctrine to carry this out, is advised if for no other reason, than to plan against someone else's commerce-raiding campaign.

"If ye love wealth better than liberty,
the tranquility of servitude
better than the animating contest of freedom,
go home from us in peace.
We ask not your counsels or your arms.
Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you.
May your chains set lightly upon you,
and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen."-Samuel Adams

monbvol

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Using it isn't the problem-using it properly is.  IOW if you want to use it, you need to be prepared-which is something an enemy can find out, so use it sparingly or not at all.

One of the things I did with my own fictions, is that forces that put an emphasis on using 'dead' systems put infrastructure in place ahead of time, and plan it out, or they take insane risks with negative consequences.

putting a station in an otherwise uninhabitable system to stage off of makes staging off those dead systems possible and practical-provided you put the resources into it.  If you don't, you end up stranded or missing unless you're incredibly lucky, and incredibly skilled.

on the strategic level game, I'd say having those preparations would be worth points, and identifying them would be worth points to your opponents, since it marks a key vulnerability.

for an easy example, imagine you're up against a dropship-primary opponent who's built a fleet around using 40 collar warships to drop massive forces out of 'nowhere' but your spies have cracked the location of said 'nowhere' so you drop a couple frigates on them while their dropships are burning inward on one of your border systems.  They're recharging, and vulnerable, and all you have to do, is critically damage their strategic transports before returning to kill their dropships.  even if you fail in the latter, they're not going anywhere and you can try again knowing exactly where their combat power is...or you can drop a force on one of their key worlds while the bulk of their fleet is tied up taking a border planet and can't withdraw and relocate, and since you've savaged their staging area/system, they can't resupply easily either, but since YOU spent your build on variety packs of jumpships, primitives, and warships, you CAN-you're not anchored to a secondary asset for movement.

A strategic victory can be achieved by pinning an enemy's force in a single system, see how that works?  It's still possible to lose, you can fail to knock out their tenders, you can get it wrong, they could be using more than one marshalling point, etc. etc. but 40 dropships in a single system is a major portion of combat power, unless you get to stupid levels of FGC-3062 production and recruitment, one of those 40 ship 'tenders' worth of dropships represents a major portion of teh enemy's total trained manpower, and if they're all relying on a single jump-capable vessel to insert or extract, that's winning effectively the entire theater by sinking a single ship.

at those sort of conditions, the only time it's not edging in your favor is if their target is a major capital world or has your sole and only shipyard (Gibbs, in the Lyran state, for example).

I think again we're pretty well on the same page on this.

The only other point to expand on it's one thing to go through all this trouble and get your military transport to utilize such a doctrine, it's entirely another to use it for civilian traffic, which was suggested to avoid the possibility of intercepting of interstellar commerce.

Having military keep their mouths shut about it is hard enough.  Civies tend to be even more difficult in such things.

Cannonshop

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B. Infrastructure: "How do we keep this shit going?" (targets for your enemy to strike)

A deployable navy will have infrastructure.  you need repair points, fueling points, R&R areas, bases, space stations, moons.  Things that don't move on their own and require defense and protection to stay in business.

In general, if you use a command-circuit-and-hub arrangement, your 'main fleet bases' should be located near provincial capitals or near industrial centers.  having between 1 in 5 and 1 in 7 is a good ratio-with enough repair docks and fueling docks to service the vessels doing your communications mission, plus an additional number depending on your emphasis in combat hulls (within the budget the Army lets you have, remember, this is the BTU and the Army gets first pick of the budgets even for the Snow Ravens.)

Each base should contain sufficient stores to replenish the ships operating in their Area of Responsibility (making them pretty rich targets for raiders, bandits, pirates, and enemy navies) so they'll need dedicated defenses, with a dedicated reaction force of strategically mobile assets capable of combat.

Depending on your Nation's policies, these will also be major trade hubs that require strong patrols to prevent spaceborne predators and parasites from attacking them.

but most of that local patrol can be handled by a sufficiently well laid out local militia that coordinates with your Navy.

thus, these should be fairly hard targets that require a proper combat fleet to break.

best also located away from 'the' planet in the system, since accidents that have broken warships 'sailing' into cities or landmasses are a bad, bad, bad, idea (also makes it easier for fleet groups to train and conduct live-fires if there aren't a bunch of squishy civilians nearby.)

Fleet bases, as a result, should be in the outer system, not near either zenith or nadir jump points, because nothing ****** up your fleet base faster than a surprise arrival of enemy combatants during the midshift.  ships should be manuevering for several hours minimum before hitting a viable jump point for both the security of the facility, and to avoid dangerous traffic congestion (the interaction of arrival and outgoing traffic at the point can result in some unpleasant outcomes, avoid this.)

this also gives players an excuse to stage massive battles in deep space, because that's the best place to put your fleet base.

 ::)
"If ye love wealth better than liberty,
the tranquility of servitude
better than the animating contest of freedom,
go home from us in peace.
We ask not your counsels or your arms.
Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you.
May your chains set lightly upon you,
and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen."-Samuel Adams

Charistoph

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You can't hide a fusion torch, it's going to be visible at minimum halfway from the target at one gee, that's weeks of warning for the enemy to plan your reception, get accurate figures on your forces, angle of approach, and approach rate.

Yes, and no.  For the properly vigilant, yeah, it is pretty much impossible to hide a fusion torch.  However, it is almost impossible to have proper vigilance across all the night sky.  It is a HUGE volume to be observing.  While there is a need to keeping up some vigil as no one wants to find out about an extinction event when it is dropping in the atmosphere, no one has the resources to be doing that 24/7.  So such scans will be done only on a periodic basis.

That gets back to intel gathering to find that out.  Once that is properly found out, you time in a jump so that emergence is shielded by a gas giant and Dropships can use it as a slingshot on entry burning in the windows when no one is looking in your direction.  However, it does require a lot of things to be going right, such as having good intel, a gas giant in the system to Pirate Point behind, and so on.
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Cannonshop

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Yes, and no.  For the properly vigilant, yeah, it is pretty much impossible to hide a fusion torch.  However, it is almost impossible to have proper vigilance across all the night sky.  It is a HUGE volume to be observing.  While there is a need to keeping up some vigil as no one wants to find out about an extinction event when it is dropping in the atmosphere, no one has the resources to be doing that 24/7.  So such scans will be done only on a periodic basis.

That gets back to intel gathering to find that out.  Once that is properly found out, you time in a jump so that emergence is shielded by a gas giant and Dropships can use it as a slingshot on entry burning in the windows when no one is looking in your direction.  However, it does require a lot of things to be going right, such as having good intel, a gas giant in the system to Pirate Point behind, and so on.

Or, you can address it as a random check, because it would be, because as you say, you can't watch all of it but you can bet that most of the likely entrances ARE being at least occasionally watched, especially if there's a Jupiter without anyone living/working near it with all those moons (and L1 points).

or worse, if someone IS working there, and has a working radio.  (Why would someone be there? Mining Claims.)

not all the time, not even most of the time, but Mr. Murphy doesn't do 'most of the time', he only works 'at the worst time'.

Same reason you don't speed home from a bar while in a state of emotional upset on a saturday night-your chance of getting pulled over for speeding on a country road, in the dead of night, and caught drunk driving and resisting arrest go WAY up-the cops don't normally patrol that road, but it's the worst possible time, so...

Yes, I know the example's too specific.  Just say I had interesting neighbours growing up.
"If ye love wealth better than liberty,
the tranquility of servitude
better than the animating contest of freedom,
go home from us in peace.
We ask not your counsels or your arms.
Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you.
May your chains set lightly upon you,
and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen."-Samuel Adams

Lagrange

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Also there is the very real problem of breakdowns.  When one happens the most likely place will be in a dead/uninhabited system and it'll be something you can't repair by yourself too.
One flavor of 'dead system' is 'dead where no one knows where you are' while the other is 'dead where no one but your side knows where you are'.  The second flavor tastes much better, because there are reasonable odds of survival so long as you have sufficient supplies.

You can't hide a fusion torch, it's going to be visible at minimum halfway from the target at one gee, that's weeks of warning for the enemy to plan your reception, get accurate figures on your forces, angle of approach, and approach rate.
There is a stealth profile available according to the rules: you can jump out-system undetected, do accel/decel leaving a residual velocity going in-system.  Then, with no thrust, you can coast for some time undetected, and then do a final burn to 0/0 intercept a planet.   It's only in the final burn that you become detectable, providing only a few hours warning.  The entire process takes about a month last time I did the calculations.

Having military keep their mouths shut about it is hard enough.  Civies tend to be even more difficult in such things.
I was imagining a situation where the military employs the astrogators (who must know locations) who transmit jump plans to civilian jumpships just before departure.  This minimizes the opportunity for the civies to leak info.

Allowing civies in is imperfect, but it should be a substantial obstacle to casual piracy and at least a modest obstacle to state-sponsored piracy.  If the deep space stations move around in a semi-random way, any leaks will decay in value towards nothing fairly quickly.

Of course, if that leak risk is to great, then you could go with a military only solution.

..
This seems reasonable to me.  I'd go with a few variations:
  • I think you can get by with a jumpship having just 2 collars instead of 3.  This makes the cost/collar slightly higher, but gives you more hulls as well.  Crudely speaking hulls+collars is a constant given a price so 150 3-collar jumpships has a cost similar to 200 2-collar jumpships.  The extra 50 hulls seems worth the loss of 50 drop collars in terms of being able to span more worlds.
  • When you are using a jump circuit (which you should) having fewer larger dropships of Mammoth+ size is desirable.  The dropships can walk the jump circuit with a 1.5-2 hour delay at each stop with a potentially heavy interchange of goods at each stop.
  • A space station design for jump points seems pretty critical.  These are much cheaper than dropships and can support defending forces, the caching of supplies, or provide refuge if a jump core has an issue.
  • A jump-capable repair facility seems interesting.  These fit onto a jumpship and they provide the benefit of mobility.  Paired with a space station and/or another jumpship with repair-supplying dropships you can create mobile repair.
  • For commerce protection, an appropriate dropship (or multiple) seems pretty effective under the current rules. A carrier design capable of injecting large numbers of ASF into a fight quickly could entirely change the tide of combat.  It's also 'stealthy' in the sense that an attacker can't detect the defenders of a convoy at range.

Cannonshop

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One flavor of 'dead system' is 'dead where no one knows where you are' while the other is 'dead where no one but your side knows where you are'.  The second flavor tastes much better, because there are reasonable odds of survival so long as you have sufficient supplies.
There is a stealth profile available according to the rules: you can jump out-system undetected, do accel/decel leaving a residual velocity going in-system.  Then, with no thrust, you can coast for some time undetected, and then do a final burn to 0/0 intercept a planet.   It's only in the final burn that you become detectable, providing only a few hours warning.  The entire process takes about a month last time I did the calculations.
I was imagining a situation where the military employs the astrogators (who must know locations) who transmit jump plans to civilian jumpships just before departure.  This minimizes the opportunity for the civies to leak info.

Allowing civies in is imperfect, but it should be a substantial obstacle to casual piracy and at least a modest obstacle to state-sponsored piracy.  If the deep space stations move around in a semi-random way, any leaks will decay in value towards nothing fairly quickly.

Of course, if that leak risk is to great, then you could go with a military only solution.
This seems reasonable to me.  I'd go with a few variations:
  • I think you can get by with a jumpship having just 2 collars instead of 3.  This makes the cost/collar slightly higher, but gives you more hulls as well.  Crudely speaking hulls+collars is a constant given a price so 150 3-collar jumpships has a cost similar to 200 2-collar jumpships.  The extra 50 hulls seems worth the loss of 50 drop collars in terms of being able to span more worlds.
  • When you are using a jump circuit (which you should) having fewer larger dropships of Mammoth+ size is desirable.  The dropships can walk the jump circuit with a 1.5-2 hour delay at each stop with a potentially heavy interchange of goods at each stop.
  • A space station design for jump points seems pretty critical.  These are much cheaper than dropships and can support defending forces, the caching of supplies, or provide refuge if a jump core has an issue.
  • A jump-capable repair facility seems interesting.  These fit onto a jumpship and they provide the benefit of mobility.  Paired with a space station and/or another jumpship with repair-supplying dropships you can create mobile repair.
  • For commerce protection, an appropriate dropship (or multiple) seems pretty effective under the current rules. A carrier design capable of injecting large numbers of ASF into a fight quickly could entirely change the tide of combat.  It's also 'stealthy' in the sense that an attacker can't detect the defenders of a convoy at range.


counter-argument: a station AT the stable jump point is an invitation to kill a lot of your own personnel before they can scramble an effective reaction.  ("Liberation of Terra" and "IlClan")  it's NOT a good way to secure the space around your jump-point, have a response ready, or stage either a defense, or counter-attack.

The problem with the assumption is "Fortress thinking"-the idea that a Fortress can serve as a defense, instead of the acknowledgement that a fortress is, in and of itself, a target for attackers, position to stage materials for the counterattack, and when not under attack, a position for repair and resupply in The REAR.

one way to get this idea across, is to imagine the wisdom of putting your highly vulnerable command post up ahead of your trooper 'mechs on the front line, instead of back in the rear where it can do its job.  Specifically the highly vulnerable command post that has all your spare ammunition, food, kitchen facilities and hospital, in front of the line troops and in front of the enemy.

castles don't work in space unless they move on their own.  We've got a name for the ones that do, they're called "Warships".

and they cost a lot to build, more to maintain, and absorb a huge portion of your manpower without needing the enemy to come to them in order to fight him.


Your approach calculation looks awesome until you account for your cargo and passengers and how they might medically react to a long period of null gee right before eating a few hours at high gee, followed by landing in combat.  see, we don't have inertial dampeners or artificial, non-spin gravity, and drifting objects able to keep up 1 gee spin are BIG-big enough to be kinda hard to sneak up with, also lots of parts that can break down...and will, and that hard burn at the end to get to 0/0 relative to the target isn't going to be kind to the squishy people inside your can, while drifting for a few days to a few weeks isn't going to be good for maintaining muscle tone or memory or staying healthy. 

unhealthy soldiers don't tend to win battles. they tend to get their asses kicked by healthy soldiers.

This includes arriving fatigued after enduring 1.5 to 2 gee burns to reach orbit for hours or even days.  run the numbers, if it takes 8-10 days at 1 gee (12m/s2) to go from a point to Earth, that's a long time on the drift, esp. if you're coming from outside that using your strategy. You might get them there on time but they're not going to be in shape to fight.
« Last Edit: 28 October 2021, 22:56:47 by Cannonshop »
"If ye love wealth better than liberty,
the tranquility of servitude
better than the animating contest of freedom,
go home from us in peace.
We ask not your counsels or your arms.
Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you.
May your chains set lightly upon you,
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DevianID

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Quote
castles don't work in space unless they move on their own.  We've got a name for the ones that do, they're called "Warships"

It is for this reason I like using warships as objective level assets, akin to the dropship your mechs arrived and return to, which is a 'there somewhere in the background' object--not the thing your mechs fight around every game of btech you play.

Quote
This view seems to break down when near a planet or a space station, which probably covers a substantial fraction of combats?
Using a redefined frame of reference with a static object such as a space station or specific ground location works when the space station/target of interest is the 2nd point of reference, with all units from both sides as the first point. In such a case you can use a flat 2d map as an unfolded cone.  That is how I designed the jump point to planet space map for strategic movement in my deep space combat thread--the planets orbits look like half circles with the sun as the 2nd frame of reference, and the planets seem to be below or to the side of the star because they are moving into or out of 3d space on the 2d map.

So there has been a lot of talk about operational needs of the navy, but what about new combat rules?  I mentioned before that we can do away with tracking velocity and just moving exactly like a mech--this can be supported by physics, and the current system does not properly do acceleration movement anyway, being off by a factor of 2.  I also mentioned that we need only track capital armor points and capital armor damage for the game, with dropships as the main combat element, to play with a level of detail akin to mechs/combat vehicles in terms of damage bubbles needed to defeat each unit.  To this, I would say that torso twisting should be fine in a 1 minute turn, and not require the +2 to hit mod it does in naval combat now--I would leave the +2 to hit mod facing change for 2 hexside twists or left/right temporary rolls. 
Fighters I would use in a battle armor fashion, more or less simplified.  So no overthrust, only 1 armor value, only 1 attack each, 360 firing arc due to how nimble they are (no need to torso twist), but still keeping facing for bearing/turning.  Like battlearmor, you would get 6 or less fighter squadrons per unit.  The alpha strike record sheet is a pretty good base for getting each fighter/small craft's armor and damage value for making fighter squadrons, as a 300 armor fighter would have 10 armor, which is right in the clan elemental range, and some fighters/small craft have more than 300 armor like how some battle armor does.  1 structure though, as fighter SI is a joke to capital scaled damage, and this mirrors the 1 structure of battle armor.

DevianID

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A further elaboration on turns.  Using 1 thrust, or .5 gs, to spin a ship by it's distal end will result in 2250 meters spun speeding up and another 2250 meters spun slowing down, for 4500 meters of rotation in 1 minute.  A leviathian has a radius of 850 meters, so a full 360 spin is doable in about 1 minute at only .5 gs of angular thrust.  The leviathian at the peak rotational velocity would have a centrifigual force of 2.6 gs at the nose/aft when doing .5 gs for 30 seconds as part of a 360 spin.

What does this math all mean?  Turning and l/r rolls are almost free from a thrust cost point of view, as 1 thrust can spin a leviathian around and slow it back down in 1 minute--5-6 turns in normal battlespace; smaller ships can spin like a top if you want to crush your crew to paste with centrifugal forces.  That is why I say warships can 'torso twist,' as a little 60 degree turn to better align weapons requires practically no thrust, and end over or rolls in the weapon attack phase, the equal to flipping your arms, would use the +2 to hit emergency heading reorientation rule for more nimble dropships.  Fighters can have 360 firing arcs for no cost as they are so tiny.

Why spend thrust to turn then?  The thrust is spend to change your vector without needing to use vector movement, in a nice simple abstraction made as a nod to the hidden velocity momentum we are ignoring by using turn by turn reference frames.  This also mean you can 'walk backwards' as a dropship without needing to turn 3 times, as the smaller length of dropships, even the big 100k ton castrum, lets them spin quickly, move backwards, and spin forwards again--just no overthrust as you need fine control to do all the spinning.  Warships can not 'walk backwards' as their long length can not be spun quickly without massive centrifugal forces.

A fun note of this is that ships without grav decks, like dropships, can still have limited artificial gravity at the hull when not under thrust by rolling and not countering the roll, though you have to be careful about what unsecured cargo is where.

Cannonshop

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A further elaboration on turns.  Using 1 thrust, or .5 gs, to spin a ship by it's distal end will result in 2250 meters spun speeding up and another 2250 meters spun slowing down, for 4500 meters of rotation in 1 minute.  A leviathian has a radius of 850 meters, so a full 360 spin is doable in about 1 minute at only .5 gs of angular thrust.  The leviathian at the peak rotational velocity would have a centrifigual force of 2.6 gs at the nose/aft when doing .5 gs for 30 seconds as part of a 360 spin.

What does this math all mean?  Turning and l/r rolls are almost free from a thrust cost point of view, as 1 thrust can spin a leviathian around and slow it back down in 1 minute--5-6 turns in normal battlespace; smaller ships can spin like a top if you want to crush your crew to paste with centrifugal forces.  That is why I say warships can 'torso twist,' as a little 60 degree turn to better align weapons requires practically no thrust, and end over or rolls in the weapon attack phase, the equal to flipping your arms, would use the +2 to hit emergency heading reorientation rule for more nimble dropships.  Fighters can have 360 firing arcs for no cost as they are so tiny.

Why spend thrust to turn then?  The thrust is spend to change your vector without needing to use vector movement, in a nice simple abstraction made as a nod to the hidden velocity momentum we are ignoring by using turn by turn reference frames.  This also mean you can 'walk backwards' as a dropship without needing to turn 3 times, as the smaller length of dropships, even the big 100k ton castrum, lets them spin quickly, move backwards, and spin forwards again--just no overthrust as you need fine control to do all the spinning.  Warships can not 'walk backwards' as their long length can not be spun quickly without massive centrifugal forces.

A fun note of this is that ships without grav decks, like dropships, can still have limited artificial gravity at the hull when not under thrust by rolling and not countering the roll, though you have to be careful about what unsecured cargo is where.

Devian, it still takes thrust to change facing, because you've got nothing else you can USE to change facing-there's no atmosphere to use non-thrust controls on, and you also have to spend fuel to STOP that facing change and stabilize for the same reason.  "An object in motion tends to stay in motion, an object at rest tends to stay at rest" given a particular frame of reference.  If anything, a controlled flip or turn should burn MORE fuel since it first must overcome inertia to start, and then overcome MORE inertia to stop (there's no braking forces out there except your onboard fuel and reaction nozzles.)

You'll also have to spend thrust AFTER that turn to remain on a heading, or to change heading-why? because a lateral thrust will ALSO influence the REST of the ship's course.  Savvy? to spin or tumble, you're putting a lateral force on the entire frame and hoping the leverage works out with a differential.

thus, it's not free to spin or tumble, it's going to cost, and the bigger your mass is, the higher the cost should end up being.  (gotta overcome inertia not only to initiate, but to hold course and to stop once the maneuver's begun.)

Constant Thrust =/= constant velocity.  at the distances of space, a 1 degree variation is enough to miss a target the size of EARTH from Lunar Orbit, and we're playing with larger distances than that, if you want to get your payload delivered to the planet, you need to be able to hold a course, and that means if you're going to change facing, you're going to spend fuel proportional to the size of the ship you're using.

since we don't have fractional fuel points, here's a basic idea;

MMU suit: 1 point movement, no cost (*too small a mass to matter)

Fighter: 1 point per hex facing (this covers start AND stop)

Smallcraft: 1-2 points (1 point below 100 tons, 2 points above 101 tons) This covers initiate and end on a facing change (but you can go the full 360 on two points on a 200 tonner, the cost is for beginning and ending the maneuver, not for how far you go doing it.)

Dropship: 10-20 points (10 for dropships under 50K, 20 for dropships over 51K)

Primitive Jumpships/subcompact core jumpships: see: Dropships for designs below 100,000 tons mass.

Warships: 20 points for warships of 100,000 to 150,000 tons, add 5 points for each 50,000 tons after.

this isn't just about initiating the facing change, it's about ending it once it's initiated.  actual turns and changes of direction would cost MORE.

The above is an "Idea" it needs refinement-while the proportions might be off, we have to at least pretend to work within canon fuel reserves, but in general, the biggest difference between Aerospace combat, and 'mech or ground vehicle combat, is that your fuel gets used, and you can run out, because it's being fused and blown out a nozzle instead of recycled in a torus.

Thus, you need energetic reaction mass to do energetic movement, and the heavier/more massive you are, the more you need to overcome inertia.

getting even dirtier into the nitty-gritty, you need to LIMIT that flip to 12 M/S per second squared, or 1 gee, before you start risking your passengers' lives, health, and ability to fight once they get to the planet.  (or you can invest in gee-suits and couches for that entire regiment of infantry) which limits your 'flip speed' or facing changes, depending on whether they're near the axis on a dropship, or the ends of a warship.
« Last Edit: 29 October 2021, 06:48:37 by Cannonshop »
"If ye love wealth better than liberty,
the tranquility of servitude
better than the animating contest of freedom,
go home from us in peace.
We ask not your counsels or your arms.
Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you.
May your chains set lightly upon you,
and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen."-Samuel Adams

Lagrange

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counter-argument: a station AT the stable jump point is an invitation to kill a lot of your own personnel before they can scramble an effective reaction.  ("Liberation of Terra" and "IlClan")  it's NOT a good way to secure the space around your jump-point, have a response ready, or stage either a defense, or counter-attack.
I generally agree with this---it's why I like stations to be at a secret deep space location.   I may have misled with 'support defending forces'---I meant as a staging location / supply depot not in a fire support capacity.

Your approach calculation looks awesome until you account for your cargo and passengers and how they might medically react to a long period of null gee right before eating a few hours at high gee, followed by landing in combat. 
Drive plume detection range is about 40M km ~= 2M hexes.  Moving at 140 hexes/minute, this requires ~10 days to cross. 

Radar detection range is about 10^5 km ~= 5000 hexes.  Using d = a t^2 /2, this implies a 70 minute burn at 1g to kill an initial velocity of 140 hexes / minute.

I'm skeptical that 10 days of zero-g is a serious medical issue---do you have any pointers for that?   Having only 70 minutes to prepare for an invasion is a serious issue.

Cannonshop

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I generally agree with this---it's why I like stations to be at a secret deep space location.   I may have misled with 'support defending forces'---I meant as a staging location / supply depot not in a fire support capacity.
Drive plume detection range is about 40M km ~= 2M hexes.  Moving at 140 hexes/minute, this requires ~10 days to cross. 

Radar detection range is about 10^5 km ~= 5000 hexes.  Using d = a t^2 /2, this implies a 70 minute burn at 1g to kill an initial velocity of 140 hexes / minute.

I'm skeptical that 10 days of zero-g is a serious medical issue---do you have any pointers for that?   Having only 70 minutes to prepare for an invasion is a serious issue.

Okay, so, here's the thing: it takes 9-10 days traveling at 1 G.  Not 'drifting', but thrusting the whole way.  It's stacking velocity, see? with a turnaround so you're doing 1G for 5 days, turnover, 1 G for 5 days, but it's stacking velocity on top of velocity.

for drifting, you need to make all that compound velocity, then cut engines, then shed it.  That's going to be a lot more than 70 minutes, and it's going to hard Gees at both ends...or it's going to be a lot longer than ten days.

point being, your assault force is coming off a hard burn for several HOURS and straight into combat.  thus, medical issues if you want to arrive roughly when you'd arrive if you'd been doing a 1 gee burn the whole way.

remember: Constant Thrust does NOT equal constant velocity.  Your passengers are going to arrive exhausted or injured with that approach unless you've got them kitted out in such a way that they're buffered.

Think of it as "one and a half gees laying down is an elephant sitting on your chest" (not literally, but it's hard to breathe.)  YOu're going to do that for seventy minutes, well, even very HEALTHY guys are going to have problems, and that's if they're laying perpendicular to the direction of thrust.  if they're vertical, there's a good chance they're also going to be unconscious, especially if they've spent ten days getting used to null gee.

It's the equivalent of sitting on your ass for a week and a half, then running a triathlon-and that's BEFORE you get to combat.



12 meters/second

sixty seconds in a minute, sixty minutes in an hour

24 hours standard day.

times five.

that's how fast your'e going at turnover.

you then have to decelerate at the same rate to maintain 1 gee.

that gets you your ten days from the jump point.

To meet the same speed requirement, how hard to you have to burn, at each end, if you drift at that speed? How many gees are your passengers and crew pulling?  crew isn't nearly the problem, they've got specialist training and equipment, but ground troops have theirs-and it's all specialized for ground warfare that doesn't pull those levels of gee-force on a sustained basis of 70-something minutes.

put this way: an hour pulling, say, 2 gravities is well beyond anything they train fighter pilots to do-and those guys pull up to 9 gees in a single maneuver that lasts seconds-but there's a reason they check your heart for a flight physical-sustained G-loadings over an hour can aggravate or reveal any weakness in your cardiopulmonary system, weaknesses you won't find running, jumping, or carrying things in one gravity.

a standard trip and fall can break bones at 3 gravities easy (or even at 1.5), if you've got any thin blood vessels in your brain case, you're at risk of stroke and that's not including how hard you have to work to breathe and your heart has to work to move blood under those loads, and that's if you're ONLY doing it for an hour, and you're laying down.  what's the seated position in a battlemech? or a tank?

sustained High-Gee isn't something you want to subject your ground troops to, if you want them to actually be fit to fight once they get to ground.
« Last Edit: 29 October 2021, 09:06:06 by Cannonshop »
"If ye love wealth better than liberty,
the tranquility of servitude
better than the animating contest of freedom,
go home from us in peace.
We ask not your counsels or your arms.
Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you.
May your chains set lightly upon you,
and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen."-Samuel Adams

Cannonshop

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all this talk about movement suggests a few things; like, 'just because you CAN do a thing, doesn't mean it's the smart thing to do'.

which we can use in our rules.

a Dropship with 4/6 movement CAN thrust for multiple gees.  No question about it, they can do it, the engine's there, the command systems and crew stations are set up for it...it can be done.

BUT...

it goes to mission. If your mission is to deliver a combined arms company to the surface in a condition to fight, in the shortest amount of time available, your'e probably NOT going to be doing the full three gees for any sustained period of time, because they won't arrive in fit condition if you do.

Running away like you stole something is a different situation entirely-at that point they're cargo and the goal is to get as many out in some semblance of alive as you can, but injuries and exhaustion don't factor in.

but on the approach, your fastest transit from ANY given point, is 1 gee thrust, and exceeding that means something has gone wrong, or you're trying to keep something more awful from happening.

why? because that's the acceleration you can sustain that doesn't risk harming the cargo or rendering them unfit to fight once they step out the doors.

Hard burns at each end, well, if they're short enough the passengers MIGHT survive, and if you space it out enough they're going to be in rough, but serviceable enough shape, provided you don't push their physiology too hard and they're properly laid out and trained to handle it.

note that this isn't a guaranteed with any dropship design, but especially dropships designed to discharge their cargo quickly, such as you would need to secure a landing zone while evading local air defenses.

doing this consistently (the hard burns) will NOT make your crews popular with their clients unless those clients are remarkably masochistic.

we can probably assemble a table to show just how this works out.  Thus, allowing players to have a choice: get there with sudden surprise but damaged troops, or get there the other way with troops in fighting condition.

This also opens up the potential for unit traits/special abilities and specialist units.  Say, a ground unit with Marine training and environmental gear customized to let them handle up to X  additional gravities on a sustained (more than a minute) basis at a cost multiplier applied to the ground phase of your campaign, or applied to the victory points in a given scenario (with damage tracking for carried units from hard maneuvering, sustained G-loading, and special maneuvers.)

« Last Edit: 29 October 2021, 09:24:28 by Cannonshop »
"If ye love wealth better than liberty,
the tranquility of servitude
better than the animating contest of freedom,
go home from us in peace.
We ask not your counsels or your arms.
Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you.
May your chains set lightly upon you,
and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen."-Samuel Adams