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Author Topic: Second Star League Guide to Warships (K-Verse AU)  (Read 13784 times)

Wrangler

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Re: Second Star League Guide to Warships
« Reply #30 on: 29 March 2021, 16:44:39 »
Nice!

Sort of surprise to see the SLS Shanghai there.
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AldanFerrox

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Re: Second Star League Guide to Warships
« Reply #31 on: 29 March 2021, 17:23:10 »
Very nice writeup, although it was almost and foregone conclusion that the Mjolnir would win, at least in my opionion. Keep up the good work. I am curious to see what comes next.

But really, WeKrs (Weltraum Kreigsflotte) is not a good name for the Lyran Navy (which is the official name after all), and its not even correct German. Kriegsraumflotte would be a much more elegant (and grammatically correct) name if you insist on a german name.
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AlphaMirage

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Re: Second Star League Guide to Warships
« Reply #32 on: 29 March 2021, 18:36:18 »
Very nice writeup, although it was almost and foregone conclusion that the Mjolnir would win, at least in my opionion. Keep up the good work. I am curious to see what comes next.

But really, WeKrs (Weltraum Kreigsflotte) is not a good name for the Lyran Navy (which is the official name after all), and its not even correct German. Kriegsraumflotte would be a much more elegant (and grammatically correct) name if you insist on a german name.

What, Google translate doesn't have all the answers! Thank you Aidan.

Yeah this was stacked heavily in the Ygg's favor although there were several near misses by the Painkiller's broadsides that if they connected might have gone internal in at least two locations. It does provide a comparable weight class vessel for early Gen I and Gen II designs however and shows the advantages that bracket firing provides compared to the Ygg's single and dual weapon bays and just how brutal a single critical can be on even the largest of battleships.

AldanFerrox

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Re: Second Star League Guide to Warships
« Reply #33 on: 29 March 2021, 18:38:03 »
What, Google translate doesn't have all the answers! Thank you Aidan

Google translate can work, but it often doesn't. Especially with compound words like this.
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AlphaMirage

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Re: Second Star League Guide to Warships
« Reply #34 on: 03 April 2021, 16:48:50 »
“Alright Class After-Action Report time, what have we learned?”

One of the cadets in the stadium seating raised their hand and a spotlight traced down to them. “Don’t engage a Mjolnir unless you have nukes.” A few of the cadets laughed although some caught the glaring attention of Star Admiral McKenna and quieted down.

She chimed in, still awaiting her portion of the presentation, “A new (Overlord) A-Three Commander in the making I suppose. Well Cadet I think you are both wildly under and overestimating the effectiveness of nuclear weapons against Warships, particularly tough ones like the Mjolrnir.”

Three diagrams appeared behind them on the screen, one of a 5 kiloton 'A-class, (Alamo, Annihilator, etc...)' bomb, the 50 kiloton 'S-class, (Santa Ana, Savage, etc...)' and 500 kiloton 'P-class, (Peacemaker, Poseidon, etc...)' warheads. “This is a Proton warhead, a five hundred kiloton thermonuclear device light enough to fit in a Killer Whale’s missile. It costs about 40 million c-bills making it about as expensive as a Dire Wolf. Whatever it hits short of the Astartes or one of the former Ghost Bear Leviathans will likely die in a fiery inferno. Unfortunately like all nukes in space it is a contact weapon and if you start lobbing nukes you are liable to get some in return. The battle will rapidly devolve into what we call rotag.”

The images faded away and Juhan returned to the fore, “Just like Russian Roulette you don’t want to play Rocket Tag. If our fictional Captain Tae-Young were to start lobbing Peacemaker nukes at the Yggdrasil the gloves are off and there wouldn’t be a Painkiller at the end of this encounter. He would have failed at his primary mission, protect his home system from enemy attack, and critically since Captain Mueller would be fully within its legal limits to counter-strike Lang Zhenzu.

That is a reason the FedCom's ARCLIGHT and FWL’s AZURE conditions are rarely authorized. Particularly since we all lived through a free fire battlefield during the Jihad. The DCA is even more unlikely to use them, as far as we know they only have A-class bombs due to doctrinal difference.

Only during times of elevated danger would you want to have nukes on-board and even then, only on a few platforms. A S-class warhead, the most common used type, does have the potential to do tremendous damage but most modern ships can take the hit. Unfortunately for us, this does give capital missile equipped dropships a tremendous advantage and this is why we don’t build giant warships anymore, we cannot reliably protect them the Jihad has proven that time and again the missile will get through.

You don’t even need a nuclear weapon to cause tremendous damage to a warship. In our scenario the Painkiller took a hit to its CIC with a regular Killer Whale. This single event cause them to rapidly lose control of a situation in which they were doing everything right. Were it not for that damage there was a valid chance of inflicting enough harm on the Yggdrasil to drive it off.

This is the preferred resolution of an engagement, both sides accomplished the mission and managed to preserve their strength. Do not forget that Warships are best used as deterrence against enemy action. Fighting till your dying breath is foolish if it does not further the goals of your Fleet. If it does then by whatever god you believe in do everything you can, ram them if you must.”


Juhan drank from the tea thermos, “Any other observations.”

Another cadet spoke up, “For such an elite crew both warships missed far more attacks then I expected.”

“An astute observation Cadet. We have to remember that there are many factors working against a warship's weapons at the same time. Both warships are moving targets and their weapons are incredibly heavy objects with a great deal of inertia.

The basic Armstrong LN-ten naval canno
n (NAC/10) weighs almost 2 kilotons with a large portion of that being the aiming apparatus. Lighter naval PPCs and lasers are a little handier but particularly large guns are even worse. This is reflected in their difficulty aiming with all capital grade weapons against smaller targets and is partially offset by bracketing for effect. The best hit ratio during the Jihad was little better than batting two hundred. Much like baseball, you have to accept a single sometimes rather than going for home runs every time.”

He drank more from his thermos, “This is why all big gun broadside Warships are dangerously unbalanced as massive guns such as a Zeus Forty and Armstrong Twos can rarely be used to best effect in practice as their ability to hit their targets at close range is compromised. Although these do make solid nose guns for swifter craft such as corvettes particularly in a chase scenario as evidenced by the Yggdrasil's final rush against Painkiller.”

An animation appeared behind him showing the Yggdrasil and Painkiller engaged in close range battle followed by one demonstrating the Line of Battle tactics of the Snow Ravens and Jade Falcons Warship Trinary during the Battle of Xian against the Steel Viper Astartes super-battleship. “Now of course we don't expect a Warship to operate alone, even one supporting unit changes the dynamics dramatically. From Arsenal ships and fighters to destroyers and corvettes each has their own capabilities that a cunning commander can exploit. For this I hand it over to Star Admiral McKenna.”

Ciri McKenna stepped forward her platinum blonde hair shining under the lights beneath her light blue beret. Concept art of the Gorgon Strike Carrier appeared behind her, “This is a Gorgon Strike Carrier, the FWLN's new base unit and most likely vessel you will be serving on. With another five hundred tons from the original to add Stingray missiles and light sub-capital lasers it is almost capable of acting like a lightweight Titan. We will use a Snow Raven Carrier Binary as its opponent, although my Snow Ravens will be using lighter fighters compared to the Lancer standard of the FWLN to make it fair.”

Wrangler

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Re: Second Star League Guide to Warships
« Reply #35 on: 03 April 2021, 17:11:28 »
Interesting.  So Gorgon Carrier DropShip is mainstay of the 2nd Star League verses a Warship?
"Men, fetch the Urbanmechs.  We have an interrogation to attend to." - jklantern
"How do you defeat a Dragau? Shoot the damn thing. Lots." - Jellico 
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AlphaMirage

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Re: Second Star League Guide to Warships
« Reply #36 on: 04 September 2021, 14:47:55 »
Interesting.  So Gorgon Carrier DropShip is mainstay of the 2nd Star League verses a Warship?

Not a Warship, the Carrier dropship.

Here is the raw text from the battle I ran today. The FWL did itself proud here. An IC post will follow shortly then we will continue with the demos

Helpful Stats
Free World's League Standard Task Force
18 Lancers divided into 3 Squads (2448 Armor) / 26 pts Alpha damage (Sustained 18)
Gorgon Carrier / 946 Armor / Highest Arc Damage 131

Snow Raven Carrier Task Force
10 Ogotai Prime | 1760 Armor / 26 pts Alpha damage (Sustained 16)
Carrier / 840 Armor / Highest Arc Damage 217

The Ogotai Prime is the standard Snow Raven fighter until they can rebuild their industrial base and training programs which were lost during their escape from the Homeworlds following the War of Sundering and Jihad. Presently it is built by the United Outworlder Corporation on Alpheratz and Ramora.

Quick Summary and useful points
Additional fighters are good, you don't want to have to rely on the fighter carrier to be an assault ship as well. In a formation environment something like a Gorgon is more useful as it has sub-capital weapons although the Carrier is capable of holding a solid picket against Strike Craft. However it is not fast enough to reasonable chase fast Aerofighters.

AlphaMirage

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Re: Second Star League Guide to Warships
« Reply #37 on: 05 September 2021, 22:02:35 »
Dante, Outworld’s Alliance, 3087

An angular white Carrier class dropship passed over the green world below its ventral surface complete with the Snow Raven crest whose wings reached across its fuselage. A world afflicted by ‘The Double Cobra’ that had effectively killed off its low-tech population decades ago. Their livestock and its Terra equivalent ecosystem were thus off-limits to any new settlement or even expedition. Clan Snow Raven, deemed the most skilled in space interdiction, was responsible for enforcing the quarantine.

Beyond its moon, Beatrice, a bone white dropship loomed utilized the moon’s gravity to sneak up on the quarantine zone. Eighteen Lancer fighters deployed from its extended wings silently launching ahead of their carrier and toward the patrolling Carrier. Their rounded wings carrying deadly pulse lasers to complement laser guided missiles.

Commander Hendra detected the dropship as it cleared its orbital ring with its powerful thrusters aimed right for her vessel. The Ravens launched into action; lithe pilots hurriedly translated to the carrier’s launch bays. Their technicians ordered the ARTS system to fuel and arm their ten Ogotai interceptors. Robotic hoses filled the fighters with their ammonia fighter fuel and cylinder of long-range missiles were deposited into their nose mounted launchers. SPARC units activated to power up the fighter’s thermonuclear core that would soon accelerate ionic propellant at incredible velocities.

Four launch doors opened on the Carrier’s extended hanger as the helmsmen centered the launch cylinder on the diffusing enemy formation. Within two minutes all ten of the flying wing Ogotai, the Clan’s omnified Hellkite (Hellcat II), sped out divided themselves into a six and four ship squadron against almost twice their number.

Both carrier dropships accelerated toward one another, the Raven Carrier’s weapon bays, an envy of most Inner Sphere assault dropships, came alive awaiting a chance to destroy the interloper. With half the fighters and a Clan confidence the Ravens, all veterans of the Jihad, engaged this latest line of unknown opponents.

Long range weapons fired at one of the Lancer squadrons, their evasive maneuvers however ensured that little damage occurred at such ranges. The Gorgon fires its frontal weapons dominated by a large sub-capital missile launcher and light sub-capital lasers. One of the laser tears into the Carrier’s port side to little effect.

More effective were the Carrier’s medium range weapons, short range missiles and lasers shredded the Gorgon’s nose armor and critically damaged its thruster assembly. Inside the Gorgon space-suited crewmen watched in horror as their allies suffered severe laser burns from the Clanner’s ultimate weapon, the Extended Range Medium Laser. Medpacks auto-injected painkillers while the damaged sections were automatically reassigned to alternate consoles. Their Stingray missile was shredded as the Carrier’s Anti-Missile Systems activated, flechettes ripped into its casing causing the powerful missile to break up. Parts of it bounced harmlessly off the armored fuselage.

Outside Raven fighter pilots engaged in high g maneuvers to get their lasers on target scoring hits on the weaker spheroids. Angry red circles appeared on the Lancers as the 7cm lasers found their mark. Two Lancer squadrons fired everything at the Carrier assault ship that was tearing into their ride home. Pulses of incandescent red streaks like those of a flogged man tore into the port and aft armor of the ship but found no point of weakness. Raven gunners attempted to bring the enemy into arc.

(Dropship) Commander Hendra ordered her fighters to channel the enemy into the Carrier’s heavily armed rear arc. Both squadrons complied harrying enemy fighters although their inferior numbers show even against the inferior fighters of their enemy. Another heavy round of fire is exchanged between the two dropships. Another Stingray missile is shredded at close range spreading debris that burns up in the Carrier’s thruster wake.

However, the enemy fighter’s take advantage of the Carrier’s singular focus positioning themselves to take advantage of its already damaged portside. Their pulse lasers rake across the fuselage tearing deep into subsystems. Synthetic Hargel, imported from the Federated Suns, fills the gaps just barely maintaining integrity.

The Gorgon shutters with the impacts of the Carrier’s vast array of weapons. Autocannons, Gauss Shells, Lasers, and Missiles fill the empty space between them. Additional hits from hyper-accelerated Gauss rounds cause a containment breach requiring an immediate shutdown of its primary thruster pack. Streak SRMs damage the forward sensor array shattering it under the combined might of thirty-six armor piercing missiles.

Behind that engagement Snow Squadron and Amethyst Squadron exchanged ferocious fire. Long range missiles circle toward targets exploding in silent orange explosions on impact. Pilots bring their wing mounted lasers into alignment triggering powerful blasts of light that rake across their enemies’ wings.

With so much damage to the Portside Commander Hendra braced herself as the Carrier angled its thrusters to flip end over end. The Gorgon did the same utilizing its meager thrust to flip and hope to slow its outward velocity and keep its heavy weapons on target. Now that her rear guns were on target and the enemy was in pursuit the Ravens used their incredible firepower to erase half a Lancer squadron within a minute.

Enemy squadrons wasted no time to pursue and utilized their pulse lasers to best effect. Their weapons fire tore into the already savaged aft and port side armor almost completely penetrating its integrity to avenge their fallen comrades. Simultaneously Raven dogfighters were unable to score more hits against the interloping Lancers who concentrated their fires on a Point of Ogotais.

As both dropships burned against their fate the enemy stayed on target as a four ship Squadron of allied Ogotai couldn’t stand against nine Lancers even with the Carrier’s weapons. Although it erases a complete squad of Lancers their weapons found its weakened hide. From their port side the enemy squad punching through into critical systems.

With its integrity compromised the Carrier lost all power drifting while flipping end of end as severed parts of it began flew out in uncontrollable velocities. Although certain death awaited them the crew utilized chemical thrusters to stabilize their spin. Escape pods hurtled outward rather than be captured as Abtakha by likely terrorists.

With no home base to return to and strict orders to maintain quarantine and their honor the Raven fighters continued. Within minutes all that remained of the two formations were quickly cooling wrecks and nosy radio beacons for S&R craft already en route.

AlphaMirage

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Re: Second Star League Guide to Warships
« Reply #38 on: 12 September 2021, 19:13:53 »
The Holotank went dark as the light shone on Admiral McKenna again who looked crestfallen while Dubravka was clearly pleased at his subordinates’ tactics. She tapped her nails and long talon like articulated rings popular in the Jade Falcon and Snow Raven Clans for both sexes on the lectern and gazed harshly at her junior officers behind their consoles.

Juhan drank more from his cup of tea. “Isn’t a fair fight the Clan way Admiral?”
Her stare was like lighting between them, yet her voice was kept slow and measured. The Snow Raven’s prided themselves on their naval prowess, but the home (Spheroid) team kept winning.
“For this example. I suppose it is.”
“Your Ravens accomplished their objective. That Gorgon didn’t make it to the surface.”

“Indeed, they did. My fictional Raven’s loss was regrettable, but the mission and our honor was satisfied.

As you can see having a more distributed force can exploit more avenues of attack on your enemies’ weak spots. Ten vs Eighteen was always going to be dicey unless those ten are particularly potent dogfighters capable of disabling an enemy unit with a single volley. Both the Lancer and Ogotai are not this as each is more of an interceptor than a true dogfighter.

If you will remember from earlier this distribution is why no one has a true battleship anymore. Concentrating your firepower into one platform limits your strategic options. Utilizing multiple units synergistically is your best option in modern combat.”


A formidable hulking machine painted Snow Raven colors, appeared from stage right. Its hunched insectile form, shoulder mounted rotary cannon, and wicked claws appeared alien to the Free Worlders who had never seen a Clan Elemental in person or armor.

Behind Admiral Dubrakva a smaller but no less formidable battle armor appeared in white and purple, Fleet Armored Infantry colors. Raised circles on its knees, elbows, and feet marked it as the magnetic clamp version used by Fleet Espatiers. Both units turned to the side revealing the spherical maneuvering units that would allow them to adjust trim and position without adjusting their point of inertia by reaching out with the claws that each suit carried.

He stepped forward as technicians appeared from off-stage to remove the carapace units from the Armored Infantry. Both operators inside were stocky men wearing a soft cap with display band in front of their face. Their incredible musculature accentuated by their tight cooling and sensor embedded suits. The Raven Elemental was slightly taller than the Leaguer but neither looked like someone to be trifled with.

“Now we move onto Marines and their use in space combat. Some of you are destined to join Fleet Armored Infantry Corps. I would like to honor your courage in this matter as you will be facing hostile threats throughout your career that naval crewmen like myself never will.

 Some of my best friends during the Jihad were Armored Infantrymen and their names will forever adorn the names of memorials to that conflict.

Let us take a moment of silence for Khans Xander Drake and Santin West as well as for all those lost during the Jihad without whose sacrifice we would not be here today.”



Within the Amphitheater all slightly bowed their heads in silence. The Jihad and retaking of Terra from the Word of Blake resulted in almost complete destruction of the Clans’ Warrior Caste. Millions, innocents and soldiers alike, were casualties in the worst conflict since the Second Succession War. The true total might never be known but if the Shadow Divisions had been allowed to execute their true capabilities every world would have become like Tharkad or Atreus.


After the moment Ciri stood next to the giant Marine, a stoic pale man that seemed alien to the Leaguers compared to the already odd-looking McKenna. A woman who looked more like a stylized character with her slightly larger eyes, long slender fingers, and fine bone structure. Her people, the Trueborn of the Clans, drew attention wherever they went for their uncanny looks and unusual practices.

“This is the CAMU (Clan Armored Marine Unit). Based on the Salamander anti-personnel suit. It comes equipped with heavy battle claws to brace itself during maneuvers in addition to the standard maneuver-thruster unit and additional life support. Utilizing Hargel it can take multiple slugs from a David Rifle without losing integrity. Its Bearhunter Autocannon is a formidable close quarters weapon, very reliable even in vacuum conditions. However, this unit lacks sufficient ground-based capability for the modern battlefield instead being optimized for space operations.”

She walked over to the other suit, “This is a Hecate, closer in capability to the original space Elementals. Although it lacks Hargel the advanced armor composite provides greater protection than the CAMU. The lack of an additional claw and necessity to utilize magnetic clamps to attach itself to a fuselage or mech limits its abilities somewhat while opening others. It can attach itself to any mech, not just omnis, for mobility purposes. Very useful when deploying from drop pods in support of an Orbital Assault.

Equipped with the standard issue Magshot rifle to provide superior long-range fire and can be replaced by a heavy machine gun for close quarters battles within five minutes. It retains jump jets which allow it to make long leaps on low gravit
y or airless worlds. Although you only have one claw it is sufficient for stability when using the weapon in microgravity and a fearsome close quarters weapon on its own.”

Juhan triggered the slideshow once more showing off the capabilities of other state Marines.
DCMS Raiden in Jet Black and Gold | Claw, Tsunami Gauss
FedSuns Voidseekers in Red and Gold | Claw, Grand Mauler Gauss
Gray Death Standards in Blue and Silver | Claw, Small Pulse Laser
Asterion Astra of Trinity Alliance in TAF Jade and Burgundy | Claw, Man-Portable Plasma Rifle

Juhan answered questions regarding armored infantry from each realm in turn. “Before we go on to a combined task force combat. We will discuss logistics and integrating orbital and ground power.”

Groans emanated from the students. Their protests went unphased by the aging Admiral who adjusted his glasses.  “I know its not nearly as exciting as a major warship fight, but it is just as important.”

AlphaMirage

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Re: Second Star League Guide to Warships
« Reply #39 on: 22 October 2021, 16:29:25 »
Juhan Dubraka stood before a daunting display of the resupply tables for the 2SLS Fort Verdun during the Jihad. “I hope everyone enjoyed their lunch because I have a lot to say about the logistics of the contemporary black fleet and you will have questions.

While aboard a ship of war you have four main supply concerns.”


Several rows illuminated as he spoke. “Chief among them are ammunition and fuel as without either of these you are in big trouble as a warship. Followed closely behind are spares parts for the ship or its onboard vehicles, and finally crew sustainment.

We will start with that since it is the easiest to understand.”


A pallet consisting of foil packed food in paperboard boxes, metal gas cylinders, and an empty polymer water bladder was rolled onto the stage. “This, when full, weighs approximately one metric ton and will provide one day of normal rations to two-hundred individuals on board a Second SLDF Warship. This palletized configuration is something that you would see aboard a shuttle or perhaps a Merchant auxiliary pressed into service or relief efforts. Large ships have more specialized containers for the components that take up less volume for each item.

Each crewman receives three kilos of rations and one kilo of miscellaneous goods and toiletries. Two kilos are dedicated to these gas bottles and the atmosphere contained within. Most of this gas is oxygen with about forty percent nitrogen. Finally, four kilos of water are added which combined with the Oh’two/N’two replace mass lost in the recyclers.

When complete this pallet costs about as much as the hydrogen dense fuels we feed the fusion power plant. Most of the expense is obviously in the food and miscellaneous goods.”


Juhan shrugged as he tossed the envelope back into the box. “It’s not bad for military food, but I might be biased as I have eaten this stuff longer than my mother’s cooking.

They like everything we are going to talk about are ordered by the logistics office in containers which are then stockpiled at naval bases where they can be broken down and shipped out as needed.”


He tapped the pallet signaling the operator to take it away. “Speaking of the logistics office, it is the most important component of any contemporary space fleet. For every ten crew there is at least one person at that vessel’s base ensuring you get paid, trained, stay healthy, and are properly and promptly supplied with whatever you and the ship require even across the Inner Sphere.”

An animated line graph appeared showing a precipitous drop in free cargo space between the First and Third generations of Warships. “Since the latest generations of Warships have less mass available for cargo and more firepower, they are more reliant on a complex web of suppliers than the old SLDF. This web needs to be protected and will gradually be expanded as finances and needs require.”

Behind him a picture of the Illium Shipyards, pride of the Free World’s League, appeared. “Presently every Successor State has at least three major naval bases. These are typically centered on their primary shipyards but not always. Our Fleet, for example, is based around Loyalty, Tamarind, Oriente, and Marik. Oriente and Marik lack shipyards, but house jump capable repair and resupply stations and tugs to move them if needed.

Were it not for these stations my ship the SLS Fort Verdun would have been destroyed before it could be fitted out around Alarion before gallantly serving throughout the Jihad. In fact, every fleet would have had to scuttle at least one of their anchoring combatants after the war which would have been a major blow.

These are supplemented by small patrol bases located near border territories containing stockpiles and state arsenals supplied mostly by merchant spacers. These always have a recharge station and cargo station at both Z/N points. This saves Fleet assets from having to spend time and fuel burning toward the surface during an emergency and allows twice the throughput.

The largest of these in the League is on and above Cole Harbor utilizing much of the leftover infrastructure from the original SLDF’s buildup for the occupation of the Magistracy of Canopus. Something Magestrix Naomi Centrella often reminds her followers of during speeches.”


A bird’s eye view of the scattered facilities of Cole Harbor Groundside Station appeared behind him. “As you can see it is quite extensive. We will focus here, on the magazines.”

A new image appeared of containerized racks of missiles and shells stacked neatly in their own individual cells. “Ammunition is obviously one of the biggest needs of any Warship. While a Naval PPC might be one of the best weapon designs ever created. Cannons and missiles have their own advantages the best of which is that they don’t fry the power and thermal distribution systems with constant use.

While on deployment a warship will likely need to carry extra ammunition in its stores to supply any ground side elements it might be called upon to support. Most dropships are lacking in cargo capacity for extended campaigns. This is often by design for much the same reason our modern warships are, less cargo equals more firepower. Admittingly for a shorter time hence they run out of ammo and parts during campaign unless they can salvage some.

Since they must support their own fighter wing and shuttle squadron this is particularly true of any kind of carrier. Having captained a Thera supercarrier during wartime I assure you that I spent many nights agonizing over ways to get my fighters and escorts what they needed. Since that remains the most common class of combatant ship in every fleet you will likely do the same and can use that to your advantage if you’re smart, which I assume you are unless the recruiters lost their touch.

Like I mentioned before the fleet logistics command buys ammo by the container-full and you store it by the container-full. This is often transported from its manufacturer aboard specially chartered dropships, in containers. Each one of these cellular magazines and supports for the heavier ammo carried by the ‘hundred weight’ is portioned in such a way that it may be moved by a ship’s internal elevator to its internal magazines. There it is unloaded before returning what remains to the cargo bay.

Keeping them in these containers increase the safety of groundside ordnance crews that must pack it into and out of transports. This is ammunition after all, it is designed to explode or accelerate quite energetically and be a hazard, to the other guy.”


Several frames later was the naked hull of the Thera carrier SLS Fort Verdun prior to being refitted. “This is what a warship looks like naked, in case you were curious.” The class smiled and a few laughed at seeing the heroic ship in such a state.

Following it was the fully outfitted version in the livery of the 2SLDF with multiple battle stars painted along its length. “This is how ships are supposed to look and operate. To keep it that way you need a constant supply of spare parts to replace things that wear out over time. This includes everything from spare structural members and pipes to reactor shielding and thruster cones.

The Fort Verdun consumed nearly one hundred tons of spare parts every month costing about as much as a new Stinger or Wasp Battlemech. Since it is undergoing a once in a decade stay in the Illium Yards to repair damage dating back to the beginning of said decade it’s using quite a bit more.

I’ll admit I roughed her up a bit, but when I saw how much damage needed to be repaired. Well, let me say I am glad I’m retired, because otherwise the Admiralty on Marik would be calling me every day complaining about it.”


One of the assistants wheeled in a cart with another heavy metal can on top of it marked with flammable and cryogenic hazard placards. “Now we get into something very interesting.

Fuel.

Inside this dewer flask is ten kilos of liquified natural gas kept at cryogenic temperatures by liquid nitrogen. It is marked flammable however in this state it is anything but. In fact, it is quite harmless unless you put your finger in it. Unlike ammonia or many of the other hydrogen rich liquids we use to fuel thermonuclear power plants and aerospace fighter engines. I certainly wouldn’t bring hydrogen here; it would vaporize incredibly fast and if it found a spark would badly burn everyone in this room.

Now imagine that in your Aerospace fighter and be glad there is no free oxygen in space. Thus, we don’t use liquid hydrogen as bunker fuel. Instead, Ammonia and LNG are used which go through reformer steps that rip their hydrogens off before feeding them to fusion reactor.

Their waste products then return to ship’s atmospheric mass, so we don’t need to carry additional living gases. Ammonia when processed adds extra nitrogen while LNG and its cousins generate either carbon dioxide which is scrubbed out normally or a fine black dust that is filtered out and off boarded.

Since we already store nitrogen and ammonia in liquid form they might as well cool something, so they provide primary refrigeration needs. Weapon heat sinks are instead tied into the onboard water storage to a certain extent spreading out the heat across the entire ship with the rest being principally radiation.

Now since we have gotten past that part, we will go into fuel consumption. For a given mass of fuel and reactor size there is a certain amount of delta v it can generate. Larger engines are more power to mass efficient but at lower mases they are more fuel efficient as each particle goes further.

A ton of fuel provides a Warship with slightly less than a one minute one gee tactical burn while forty is the more reasonable daily consumption. For comparison a Union can burn for fifteen minutes at one gee and its regular daily consumption is approximately three.

Dropships are slightly more complicated as their reactor designs are more variable than those of Warships which vary mostly in the number of power plants installed.

Jumpships and Space Stations with their weak thrusters hardly use any fuel at all. They can expect to burn a ton of fuel per month unless they are recharging their jump core with the ship’s power plant instead of a solar sail.

Now that I mention solar sails and reactor recharge it is true that a Warship can power itself and recharge its jump core via the solar sail or use its reactor. It must do both if it wants to recharge its Lithium-Fusion battery and main KF drive at the same time.

Warship KF cores are in fact capable of a remarkably large number of recharge cycles in the short term. Their power systems are used to power surges and the like. If you are willing to accept the elevated maintenance costs afterwards a Warship can fast recharge its jump core almost four times every month and if it uses a solar sail can move three hundred light years at a heinously elevated fuel cost.

That concludes today’s lecture. We will return with the tactical integration of orbital and surface assets on a campaign.”

mikecj

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Re: Second Star League Guide to Warships
« Reply #40 on: 23 October 2021, 20:48:50 »
Very nice, this continues to be fascinating.
There are no fish in my pond.
"First, one brief announcement. I just want to mention, for those who have asked, that absolutely nothing what so ever happened today in sector 83x9x12. I repeat, nothing happened. Please remain calm." Susan Ivanova
"Solve a man's problems with violence, help him for a day. Teach a man to solve his problems with violence, help him for a lifetime." - Belkar Bitterleaf
Romo Lampkin could have gotten Stefan Amaris off with a warning.

AlphaMirage

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Re: Second Star League Guide to Warships
« Reply #41 on: 26 October 2021, 21:58:14 »
Seizing the High Ground!
Supporting Surface Objectives from Orbit. Compiled from the lectures of (retired) 2SLDF Admiral Juhan Dubravka


The 31st century will be remembered as one with a great deal of disruption. After centuries of technological backwardness once more humanity finds itself in technological competition between various factions. Among them are the Trinity Alliance and New Rasalhague Republic who inherited the secret archives of the Word of Blake and COMSTAR. Secondly there is the Clan Council, competitors to the claim of the old SLDF and with their own scientific progresses made in isolation. Finally, there is the rest of the Inner Sphere whose vast populations and well-resourced research institutes have made strong progress in a short period of time.

Something that has certainly undergone a massive paradigm shift is military doctrine. With limited resources and a heavy emphasis on surface combat the Inner Sphere, Clan Homeworlds, and other realms formed a ground facing military doctrine. However, only the most foolish neglect the orbital component serving as an important force multiplier. After all surface forces from one planet need to be loaded onto a dropship and transported either via jumpship or warship to their target.

There are three types of mission support orbital and space borne assets provide their surface forces. Technical, Logistical, and Kinetic.

The oldest but still relevant support is of the technical type. During the 20th and 21st centuries Terra’s national governments deployed satellites to observe and monitor their adversaries while increasing their situational awareness. In the 31st century we still do the same more effectively.

Satellites launched on small rockets, equivalent to capital missiles, once more form useful communication constellations, maps have improved with persistent geospatial intelligence gathering. Improved prediction of atmospheric and natural phenomena have enabled greater economic prosperity and personal security.

Extended operations typically start with a spacecraft deploying cheap satellites in low orbits shortly after ensuring aerospace superiority. These low-cost satellites provide improved navigation and communication to ground units beneath them. With additional sensors they can detect units, structures, and traps hidden under difficult terrain. Reconnaissance small craft and dropships equipped with advanced imagers will do the same as they are more resistant to attack. Attacks against satellites typically take the form of an aerospace fighter or conventional fighter using advanced missiles to shoot down the functionally immobile and defenseless satellites.

Assault Frigates such as the DCA’s Kyushu and FCF’s Zodiac class and their Heavy Armored Transport dropship analogs like the FWLN’s Ajax and TAF’s Yue Fei contain extensive communication suites capable of coordinating complex planetary assaults. Additionally some warships maintain their own HPG broadcast equipment providing unparalleled capability to their supported forces. Those that didn't notably the Federated Commonwealth and Draconis Combine maintained their black box code stations within warships or modified dropships to do the same. With their mobility these vessels can position themselves to keep ground commanders updated on a chaotic battlespace. This is more important in the 3080s since the Jihad has forced a massive leap in capability for electronic warfare and large-scale deception operations.

These vessels, unlike satellites, can provide additional benefits beyond the fact that they are interplanetary or in the case of jump and warships interstellar transports. This logistical support in the form of bulk cargo, parts depots, medical and berthing facilities, fuel bunkerage, and every other essential store or services can mean the difference between victory and defeat.

During the 2SDLF’s invasion of the Homeworlds this was the crucial support COMSTAR’s Great White Fleet was meant to provide to TASK FORCE SERPENT. These stores were not used as the Great Refusal wrapped up that campaign before Total War was required. Instead, these provisions were left behind on Huntress to support the garrison and help rebuild the planet’s infrastructure while SERPENT returned with vast amount of clan isorla.

It was not until Clan Ghost Bear faced off against a Star League Expeditionary Force in the de facto Trial of Annihilation against the Nova Cats that lessons learned proved instrumental to victory. Unused to high tempo operations even so close to their home territory the Ghost Bears were forced to withdraw after running low on supplies. Later reports reveal that Khan Jorgensson may have exaggerated the stores being intercepted and sent to his Galaxy Commanders thus diminishing their clout by putting them in a difficult position.

Nevertheless, the Free World’s League’s major Fleet contributions were felt with the two Ajaxes sent along with their Thera Task Forces proving crucial to sustaining the 2SLDF’s forces throughout that hard fought campaign. We will go into greater depth concerning that dropship class later.

Simultaneously the Inner Sphere saw the first example of the third type of orbit to surface support. The Mjolnir battlecruiser LAS Yggdrasil will be remembered for many firsts in Inner Sphere warships. Chief among them will be that on its initial deployment it was the first Inner Sphere built warship to use its capital weapons in anger against a groundside target in centuries.

Its target was the rebel stronghold within the town of Bannock on New Avalon. This stronghold and the town around it was wiped off the face of the planet on the direct orders of Archon Katherine Steiner(-Davion). Detailed pictures of the utter devastation and revelation that rebel General Bishop Sortek kidnapped and tortured Princess-Regent Yvonne Steiner-Davion leading to the Davion Guard’s speedy surrender. The Archon-Princess defended those orders to her last day in power.

The Jihad revealed a major weakness of some warships designed for planetary assault. This was particularly true for the Clan’s Nightlord and DCA’s Kyushu classes. These designs carried a fundamental flaw against the Word of Blake and COMSTAR’s rebuilt SDS systems, they needed to get close to deploy the Battlemechs they were designed to deliver to the ground. No Nightlord survived the Jihad each one lost during one of these deployments. Many Kyushu were lost during the Black Dragon Civil War for the same reason. Surface based SDS systems targeted their thrusters trapping them in a planet’s gravity well even if they could not penetrate armor. Stuck in a deteriorating orbit the ships and all their stores needed to be abandoned by their crews.

Contrary to this paradigm were the Zodiac and Ajax/Yue Fei instead using small craft to deliver cargo to the surface or served as orbiting storage depots for low endurance combat transports such as the Union. Only four of the thirteen Zodiacs were lost during the conflict all due to lucky hits by Alamo armed Aerospace Fighters that penetrated their fighter screen. No Ajax or Yue Fei units were lost to damage although some were disabled and later boarded by espatiers. They were just to valuable to destroy during those chaotic times.

Features of the Ajax/Yue Fei Heavy Armored Transport
Since 3060 Brigadier Aerospace of MacKenzie has built the Ajax and its Capellan equivalent Yue Fei Heavy Armored Transports. Built on the Behemoth fuselage with heavy Ferro-Aluminum armor, a sturdier frame, and more powerful thrusters. This vessel maintains its originators five quad small craft hangers alongside a dozen Battlemech repair bays supported by 50-kilotons of cargo and 1.6-kilotons of fuel bunkerage.

Almost two hundred crew, one hundred passengers, and a reinforced platoon of Marines are housed within providing mostly technical support. Numerous anti-fighter weapons protect them from attack while light sub-capital cannons and lasers along with a dozen White Shark missile launchers are mounted aft to provide orbital fire support.

Features of the Zodiac Assault Frigate
Built in secret by Challenge Systems for the Federated Commonwealth the Zodiac represents the most produced class of Assault Frigates in the Inner Sphere and almost rivals any other warship with thirteen created. According to research it was the second type commissioned by First Prince Hanse Davion prior to the publicly known Avalon. Since they were built so far away from any major front and are relatively simple it is likely they were designed to support forces operating in the Federation’s Outback worlds.

This simple mission and focused design would serve them well throughout the Jihad. Each vessel supported campaigns in every theater of operation providing fighter suppression, orbit to surface fires, and logistical support in contested space.

With a crew of three hundred accommodations for that many more passengers and a company of embarked marines these ships provide safe berthing and medical facilities for a large ground contingent. These facilities supported advanced communication equipment and enough weapons to be a threat to enemy assault dropships and provide meaningful orbit to surface fire support.
Supplementing them are twelve shuttles in three quad hangers, two squadrons of aerospace fighters, 3.2-kilotons of fuel bunkerage, and 40-kilotons of cargo capacity combine to make the Zodiac the modern gold standard for an assault frigate.

AlphaMirage

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Re: Second Star League Guide to Warships
« Reply #42 on: 16 November 2021, 16:44:19 »
Solving the Last Kilometer Problem – Deploying and Sustaining Troops on Planetary Ops

Once all the dust and scrap has been settled and done in space it is finally time to engage in some planetary operations. Your biggest hazards as a spacecraft crewman are flying in atmosphere and orbiting a planet but your bunk is right next to a thermonuclear power plant and toxic gases, so you are obviously comfortable with risk. Aerospace fighters can sally forth from hidden bases potentially causing a great deal of destruction until they break off engagement, mines and armed satellites can also be a threat to an unwary dropship typically in that final descent phase. Conventional fighters can engage dropships when low enough, and the ground itself is your largest hazard.

Before we go into landing and liftoff however, we will start in space, the comfortable black beyond the reach of most of your major enemies. Despite my previous chastisement of the Kyushu and Nightlord Orbit to Surface drops are a sound tactic. Just not with warships into a contested area. Dropships can deploy Battlemechs and along with shuttles armored infantry.

To prepare for orbital reentry (from the High Altitude or Space Map) mechs or battle armor will be encased in an ablative drop cocoon to protect them from both the extreme heat of reentry and some enemy fire. Those without jump jets will have an external jet pack attached to them in a chest harness along with a drag chute. From higher orbits the transit to the surface can take a very long time and the units inside are unable to effectively maneuver. Despite the hazards high-altitude insertion is safer for the dropship and combatants unless the enemy has Aerospace fighters on the prowl or is equipped with (sub-)capital missile.

A faster but more dangerous maneuver that limits exposure and provides a limited amount of maneuverability and greatest surprise is the low altitude or ‘Hover’ drop. This technique utilizes a drag chute and jump jets to slow descent and was perfected by the Nova Cats to protect against Cloud Cobra fighters during their frequent skirmishes on Brim. This low Altitude (10 on the Low Altitude Map or about 18km) insertion is more hazardous because there is less time for the mech to slow itself down and takes less than 5 minutes. Dropping this low also allows a formation to stay closer together allowing more force to be brought to bear faster.

Regardless of whether it is inserting high or low a dropship can only deploy a mech or armored infantry squad per door each minute. This is fine if each lance has an independent but close objective but can lead to a more scattered force across potentially dozens of square kilometers. Either deployment is particularly rough on the equipment and failing to perfectly stick the landing will cause damage. Aiming for water for battlemechs (or UMU equipped armored infantry) is thus recommended to dampen the blow whenever possible.

Much less intense for the operators but more dangerous for the dropship is a standard landing. Aerodyne vessels are more capable of maneuvering in atmosphere due to their lifting and control surfaces. They are also easier on the landing surface which should be approximately 90 meters wide by 450-600 long. Spheroids must make do with raw thrust obliterating anything soft or wet in their thrust cone to land vertically. These dropships must also move in parabolic patterns while in atmosphere as sustained hover at low altitude is incredibly hazardous and arguably a war crime. Aerospace fighters can either land vertically or horizontally but often prefer horizontal landings rather than risk VTOL flight with their open cycle drives.

Once on the ground combatants quickly disembark from the bay doors and immediately begin operations. While their charges are fully engaged the dropship should keep all doors closed, crew on standby and maintain engines at full power with all crew on standby manned (Condition – Red) to immediately move on command, recover its assault force, or for its own protection from hostiles.

An intermediate condition (Condition – Orange) should be maintained within hostile territory which keeps critical systems warm to allow a 20-minute liftoff time for most combat transports. Like above all doors should remain closed unless embarking or disembarking units, cargo stowed, and weapons powered up during this time.

Only when the dropship is in a secure and protected location should everything be allowed to go into a lower power mode (Condition – Green). Here the doors should be closed whenever possible for security, but cargo can be more freely (un)loaded and crew can rest.

These protocol utilizes slightly more fuel and increases crew fatigue but the benefits to the safety of the dropship and its crew as well as their duty to the onboard assault force are worth it.

There are two types of invasion forces, either everything is a combat transport, or it’s not. If everything is a combat transport you have a powerful tactical advantage as you can either reinforce or dilute as needed and have plenty of firepower available to attack the enemy. Unfortunately, these types of formations can rarely maintain their strength for long, equipment will break, maintenance lapse, and supplies dwindle over time particularly when engaged in heavy combat.

To rectify this long duration operations will bring along a cargo transport and associated cargo bays, shuttles, and additional personnel. The most common type for company level deployments are the Unity (Union Cargo) or Trojan, battalions should bring a Mule/Jumbo, and multi-regimental forces a Mammoth to maintain momentum.

This cargo transport and its associated Prime Base should be as far away from the enemy as possible for protection and concealment. Combat transports needing new supplies, rest, or fresh personnel can fly here to receive them. If this is not feasible for tactical reasons most freighters carry small craft that should be loaded up and dispatched as needed. Only when the base’s position is discovered or fearing attack should it be relocated. This is true of both Prime and Forward bases.

If a dropship wants to remain in theater it will form a Forward Base and should maintain condition Orange, rotating crew if necessary. Pickets of infantry and remote sensors should be deployed to give the vessel the 20-minute warning required for a safe liftoff. If possible, these should be adjacent to a highway speeding up the assault forces’ wheeled support vehicles and long enough for an aerodyne horizonal landing.

However, if that isn’t the case it should be centered on a small craft capable of providing cargo space for the ammo, armor, and barracks while maintaining strategic mobility beyond some trucks. These should also maintain condition Orange, but their ready time is half that of their larger brothers. Such small cargo volumes however encourage high turnover.

mikecj

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Re: Second Star League Guide to Warships
« Reply #43 on: 18 November 2021, 19:39:50 »
This was a solid addition.  Thanks!
There are no fish in my pond.
"First, one brief announcement. I just want to mention, for those who have asked, that absolutely nothing what so ever happened today in sector 83x9x12. I repeat, nothing happened. Please remain calm." Susan Ivanova
"Solve a man's problems with violence, help him for a day. Teach a man to solve his problems with violence, help him for a lifetime." - Belkar Bitterleaf
Romo Lampkin could have gotten Stefan Amaris off with a warning.

AlphaMirage

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Re: Second Star League Guide to Warships
« Reply #44 on: 21 November 2021, 11:17:46 »
Teaser for the Next Battle

Planetary Defense Command, Jaipur, Capellan March, Federated Suns, 3086
Commander Ranveer Singh spat out his tea as the Outer Sensor Array lit up before the nearest of them went dark. "I want eyes on that KF burst. Its a heavy warship with six dropships based on signal strength. We must know what it is, Now!" He looked over to his communication officer, a cleared COMSTAR expat who still kept some of the decorum despite the hate they received. "Send an HPG to New Syrtis immediately. Get an Avalon here right away."

Captain Maxime Le'Aea watched the missile strike one of the FedSuns surveillance satellites confirming the newly manufactured missile guidance packages were good. The Word of Blake may have betrayed the Concordat but they did not destroy all they built for its defense. They would no longer be on the defensive now they could attack and bring the Suns down a peg or two. He watched the NCSS attached to the TAS Vendetta closely sending out small volleys of the Quixote's missiles or pairs of strike craft to further hinder the defenders ability to determine his flotilla's composition. They had to move fast before Duchess Angela Hasek could bring reinforcements to this strategic world.

At New Syrtis' Zenith charging station Captain Francesca Laurent of the Avalon Guided Missile Cruiser FSS Morgan Hasek-Davion received an urgent coded message from the Duchess herself. "Hostiles en route to Jaipur, cleared for immediate double jump as soon as magazines are refilled."

Fleet Compositions
Trinity Fleet   
Quixote Gen III Redesign TAF Vendetta
12 Lightning 16L
12 Transgressor 13A
12 Ares X Gunships
2 Kuan Ti Fast Attack Craft
2 Tigress TIG-25 Gunships
2 Zainan (Jumbo) Pocket Guided Missile Cruisers
8 Tigress TIG-25 Gunships
2 Hei Yi (Black Eagle) Assault Carrier
12 Shiva Prime

FedSuns Fleet
Avalon GMC Flight II FSS Morgan Hasek-Davion
12 Lucifer R15
12 Rapier 101s
6 Solar Gunships
2 Merlin Flight III Fast Attack Craft
2 Aquarius-M1 Gunships
2 Arondight (SCC) Pocket Destroyers
4 Aquarius-M1 Gunships
2 Leopard CV Flight IV Assault Carrier
12 Cutlass-01Ds

AlphaMirage

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Re: Second Star League Guide to Warships
« Reply #45 on: 28 November 2021, 14:22:46 »
I'm not going to give an IC story regarding this battle since it got very Davion (all ahead full! Damn the torpedoes!) after the Merlins and Arondights couldn't punch through the incredibly amount of armor on the Zainan (~950 nose armor). Also we didn't deploy the fighters until late and I forgot the Kuan Ti's record sheets so they were not a very big factor.

Observations
Don't take Gen III Missile Cruiser task forces against one another. Their ability to intercept other missiles with Piranhas and Barracudas makes for a very boring game that becomes a tug of war against who brought more ammo. This definitely justifies my custom destroyers carrying some interceptor missiles to negate their PWS opponents and protect the task force.

Escorting drop and small craft gunships equipped with AMS are gold. My Gen III designs will definitely carry small craft bays and utilize converted ASF carriers explicitly for this purpose. The Avalon's escorts managed to shoot down eight Killer Whales and 6 Krakens reasonably quickly although it was murder on the ammo supply (Clantech upgrade, I think so).

Well designed small craft are surprisingly difficult to kill compared to even decent Aerospace fighters.

Most of the Warship damage was done by the Vendetta's HNGauss and the Avalon's MNGauss bays, not their missiles which were regularly intercepted. Thus the warship captains switched to shooting each other's dropships rather than each other mid-battle.

Nukes are surprisingly unreliable, bring lots if you intend to use them and only do so in mass.

Once an capital ship's weapons start hitting dropships they start popping fast even if they have incredible standard armor. Naval Lasers and Heavy Sub-Capital Cannons are brutal on dropships; smaller Cannons and Sub-Cap Lasers on missiles and fighters. I figured they would be but seeing in action confirmed it.

Always have an alternate target to draw the big boy's aggro, keep your distance until your opportunity arises, and use screen launchers to protect yourself.

Screen Launchers are surprisingly effective, definitely a technology that will see future use and refinement. I haven't even tried to use mines with them yet.

Teleoperated Missiles are sneaky but maybe not the best thing on a Warship. Great for Pocket Warships however.

Deploying fighters for close combat is not the worst idea as it protects them from the full fury of a capital ship and its escorts, particularly their missiles and sub-caps, until you are within shooting range of each other.

AlphaMirage

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Re: Second Star League Guide to Warships (K-Verse AU)
« Reply #46 on: 08 January 2022, 23:09:06 »
Belters, Best at Basics?

Historically the peoples known as “The Belters” have played little role in interstellar politics. Each Confederation was eager to not put a target on their vulnerable backs during the Succession Wars. However, they are inheritors of the legendary Swiss and Gurka warrior traditions as well as those of the Terran Alliance Global Navy and Colonial Marines where they served with gallantry until being replaced by the Terran Hegemony’s colonial troops. Throughout the centuries Belters have fiercely protected their independence via the skillful use of their Confederations’ Aerospace Security Teams {(Confederation name) ESA, or Équipes de Sécurité Aérospatiales.}

ESAs have always focused on search and rescue, long range patrols, disaster response, policing, and customs/border security. This focused doctrine has given the ESA a wide array of skills applicable to Aerospace fighter and Espatier combat. What they lacked by choice it seems was access to modern military equipment. Given the lack of a defined foe, isolation in stellar clusters, and their utter disinterest in planetary affairs this was less of an issue. Most of their gear remains Star League detritus carefully salvaged and remanufactured in roaming workshops by generations of dedicated microgravity craftsman.

Recently however, they have acquired vast quantities of modern military equipment, jumpships, and dropship freighters from the war-ravaged Free World’s League and Draconis Combine (at bargain prices) since initiating formal diplomatic relations with the Second Star League. As part of their treaty (bailout) with these states they are to provide training in their use. The Belter Confederations and their ESAs wish to become contributing members to the Second Star League and its defense forces. It is unknown why this is as they don’t often give interviews, press releases claim they wish to gain some of the recognition that the Clans have because of their valiant and costly defense against The Word of Blake and its Allies.

Since it is such a small service it is easy to cover the doctrine and operations planning for the Terran (Belt) Confederation ESA. First, to be different the AGN and thus the ESA decided to use a Triad arrangement for their organization nicely confusing the SLDF standard 4, Clan/DCMS 5, and ‘Trinity’ Alliances’ 6. Since it remains functionally a Gendearmie (albeit a well-armed one) they have doubled down in the fields where they hold the most advantages, Aerospace Fighters and Espatier/Space Marine engagements. Thus, their doctrine is focused on carrier operations, the recovery of pilots and disabled fighter-craft, situation awareness, counter-piracy, area denial, and conducting boarding actions.

Belters excel at defensive actions having adopted the former Terran Swiss policy of National Redoubt. Most of their communities are beyond the proximity limit of their parent star and remote to one another so can be readily jumped too. This is a major benefit for Belter Merchants but also a severe security threat. Extensive satellite sensor networks provide warning of unauthorized jump signatures which might precede an impending attack.

Every Belter settlement is built as a Castle Brian whether it is within an Asteroid or upon a Gas Giant’s moon. Orbital stations, which cannot be sufficiently protected, regularly rehearse evacuation procedures. Any sign of hostile action is immediately treated as a threat warranting nuclear missile salvos, swarms of Aerospace Fighters, and squadrons of Assault Dropships. This hair trigger policy deterred COMSTAR and the Word of Blake from threatening the Belters as the cost of controlling their (perceived as meager) resources and hunting down any stragglers would be dwarfed in comparison to potential losses.

Little did they know that the Belters were sitting on mountains of precious metals and megatons of salvaged technology squirreled away in derelict asteroid colonies. The true extent of the Belter’s true wealth may never be known. However, since they have revealed at least a portion of these vast assets they have inadvertently (or purposefully) made themselves a target for envious Successor States. With all nations except the Federated Suns reduced to shadows of their former power post-Jihad this threat seems distant.

Unique to the Belter Confederations their base unit is not actually meant for sustained combat. Known as a Basic Patrol this formation contains two Aerospace fighters (typically old SLDF mainstay mediums like the Gotha, Ironsides, or Hellcat). A U-12B utility shuttle (150t, 3/5, 5 quarters, 39 tons cargo with equipped Satellite IR Imager, Refueling Drogue, Active Probe and Space Mine Dispenser) tags along with the formation. U-12s have specialized attachment points that allow the Aerospace Fighters to attach securely enough that the shuttle can generate thrust with them so attached. Berths for the Aerospace pilots to use while on long patrols as well as additional supplies are inside the shuttle. While this formation disallows regular maintenance of Aerospace fighters these patrols don’t last long enough to seriously impact fighter performance.

More commonly ESAs deploy something called an Extended Patrol, it consists of a Union-B {Belter remanufactured versions of the Union-V (8 Mechs, 4 Aerospace Fighters) with an extra kiloton crew section in the middle.} These are configured to carry 6 Fighters and 2 Small Craft with the remaining mass dedicated to cargo and berthing for techs. These formations can operate for long durations with only intermittent resupply.

Beyond the Extended Patrol is the Combat Patrol. A standard Combat Patrol consists of two Extended Patrols often supported by an Assault Dropship. This vessel is typically an Avenger-EX which Belters have remanufactured large numbers of over the years. After adding 42% more mass (to 2-kilotons) the ship has a reduced max acceleration to 4Gs instead of 4.5 but gains armor protection, cargo space, and long-term crew comfort. These AEX vessels carry two Espatier Sections to serve as boarding parties. Although the AEX lacks integral boarding craft Union-Bs can carry them instead of additional U-12B cargo shuttles. When there is a need for more Espatiers rather than firepower Fury-B Dropships will be substituted for the AEX. These vessels have their vehicle bays removed and berthing added for an embarked Espatier Company although they to lack boarding shuttles.

Recently a wider variety of larger combat capable dropships and carriers such as the Gorgon, Okinawa, Claymore, Hamilcar, and Merlin have found their way into the ESAs as well as Battle Armor (the FWL’s Achileus and COMGUARD Tornado PA(L) suits are held in high regard and mostly unwanted by other SLDF units). These infusions of foreign military equipment have encouraged experimentation. The ESAs still haven’t figured out how or whether they should operate Battlemechs in space and the Hamilcar is being touted as a replacement for the comfortable but increasingly inadequate Union-Bs.

Above the Combat Patrol ESAs only operate Ad Hoc formations as their military is small and must cover a vast territory. Their largest deployment thus far was during the Halifax Crisis in 3079. Blakist Remnants seized a former COMSTAR Explorer Corps station and were using it as a hub for piracy in the Lyran Commonwealth’s Buena Province. To handle the far-off threat an Espatier Regiment and three Combat Patrols were dispatched by the Ender’s Cluster ESA. This deployment represented a major portion of the Ender Confederation’s available forces but went a long way diplomatically with Archon Reinhardt Steiner.

Organization of the ESA’s Espatier Corps (Ranks are the same as the SLDF)
3 Triome | 9 Equipe/Fireteam | 27 Section | 81 Company | 243 Group | 729 Regiment

Groups and Regiments are mostly administrative units with very few habitats warranting even a garrison of one Company let alone three. Since they are mostly a police forces bureaucratic needs are handled by unranked but uniformed civilian personnel while Warrant Officers oversee recruit, pilot, and specialist training at each Cluster’s ESA Depot.

The selection process is as rigorous as they can safely make it, but accidents do result in fatalities every year. However, those Espatiers, Pilots, and Crew that survive selection and the augmentation process join a vaulted Warrior Caste. This tendency unfortunately complicates relations with the Inner Sphere who have grown fearful of the Word of Blake’s Manei Domini cyborgs. Nevertheless, Belter population is low, and their ESA’s specialized enough that one can spend their entire career in the 2SLDF without seeing a Belter Soldier or their combat craft.

Since they are principally a policing force Espatiers carry no heavy weapons. Their principal kit consists of a Gauss SMGs and Space Suit when in a civilian role. However, they upgrade to Clan Pulse Laser Rifles and a Marine Combat Space Suit when deployed as boarders. Their sidearm in either case consists of a Kukri or Kora. These legendary weapons have morphed over the years to improve as breaching tools, but they carry the same distinctive profile.

Each Espatier Fireteam or shuttle crew has a trained paramedic capable of responding quickly to any suit rupture or injury as either of these events could turn quickly turn catastrophic if left untreated. This gives them a higher medic ratio than even the Magistracy Armed Forces. Many of the latest acquisitions from their Clan rivals have been of medical technology developed over the years by the wayward Children of Kerensky.

AlphaMirage

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Re: Second Star League Guide to Warships (K-Verse AU)
« Reply #47 on: 16 January 2022, 00:32:02 »
Fighting against the triple tyrannies of Time, Light, and Distance

We continue to marvel at the Kearny-Fujita Jump Drive even after almost a millennium of faster than light travel. Such a critical invention is so often overlooked in favor of flashier ones by those who don’t understand the arcane quantum equations that underpin its existence. Those that don’t however are among the transport corps of the Inner Sphere’s militaries. This is particularly true since Warships have returned in numbers. However, their dropship sized counterparts have taken over so many aspects of their bigger brothers that they threaten to overshadow them.

When one thinks of the Lithium-Fusion Jump Batteries they often think of late SLDF and new Gen II Warships. However, installing these jump batteries onto Warships has diminished as more Warship builders have found that integrating them into a Compact Core is incredibly costly and as you will see later in this essay also of limited usefulness.

Where they do see more use is on mid-sized Jumpships such as the Tramp and Star Lord which can take the additional mass of the LF-Battery while still carrying a useful number of dropships. Both large and small Jumpships provide their own unique advantages and are in lesser numbers throughout the Inner Sphere in comparison to others.

Now understanding how Jump Translations work would take a long time and someone other than me. What I can tell you however are some of things that happen when it occurs.

First, we start with the standard jump. Each system has a Zenith and Nadir proximity point, and these are used for most jump traffic including Warships and thus the appropriate infrastructure to maintain it. As such jump computers can rapidly compute an appropriate jump solution well within an hour, doing it by hand will take a few hours.

However, there are infinite numbers of non-standard proximity points and that is not even including the transient pirate points that can occasionally form around a planet. These points are harder to compute however even with computer assistance. The closest viable 'pirate' jump point is typically the L-1 Lagrange point located between a planet and its star, although this can be perturbed by orbiting moons so discovering and exploiting pirate points require long duration astrogation data. This is often gained by deploying a specialized Scout (Swift) Jumpships and an array of no fewer than six recon satellites to provide the complex measurements necessary. Unfortunately, much of this publicly available data was destroyed or secreted away in the months following Terra’s fall by COMSTAR Adepts and Blakist sympathizers forcing planetary governments to deploy their own assets to rebuild the archives in order to ensure their own security against pirate point raiders.

Much fear surrounds ‘Pirate’ points and some of it is certainly justified, a jumpship arriving at a planet’s L-1 point can be on target within seven to nine hours of arriving for a terra like world although much further out for gas giants. The emergence wave is highly visible to any groundside sensors. It also puts the Jumpship in a vulnerable position as a canny enemy can threaten the jumpship using small attack craft or ground based Assault Carriers.

A bigger threat lurks in the outer reaches of a Star System. The gravity signature of an emergence wave can only be detected out to 15AU and only then to the most sensitive sensors and skilled operators. This means that a dropship attack squadron can be burning in for weeks listening in to radio transmissions and smartly avoiding patrols by adjusting their course or attack profile without anyone being any the wiser.

Although plasma thruster can easily be detected from Luna’s orbit you don’t need to actively brake until the very end if you are willing to be patient. A large craft such as a patrolling dropship’s RADAR lock only provides two hours of notice. Another important benefit this provides is that the enemy jumpship is nowhere nearby and thus cannot be threatened by ground-based interceptors.

Tracking back to what you do to mitigate this effort there are three main paths you can and should pursue.

1.   Establish a grid of detection satellites around the outer planets of a Star System. These should be able to detect a jump emergence wave if not the microwave pre-jump signature (at close range <200k) and transmit a message containing location to the Zenith or Nadir Points.

2.   Vigorously patrol transient points and planetary perimeters with small craft equipped with active probes. Craft such as these have seen a well-deserved increase in their production by the Inner Sphere and Clan navies due to the increased danger of sneak attacks by vessels like the Eriynes as well as Regular and Pocket Warships armed with NBC missiles.

3.   Deploy advanced sensors aboard space stations or moon bases that can force an engagement with embarked craft before an enemy reaches planetary orbit or its planetary defense perimeter.

Unfortunately, even if you detected the intruder the message will still take approximately 80 minutes to travel the average 10 AU from the planetary disk (at least in a system like Sol). These will always be treated as hostile as any friendly traffic should be translating into the Zenith/Nadir points.

Assuming you have interdiction vessels (Jumpships and Corvette class warships mostly) on station at the Z/N points, with dropships attached, and sails furled (an operation that takes a normal crew 160 minutes) it will take time to calculate a jump course that could intercept a non-standard point. An average crew will take almost 270 minutes to calculate and execute a non-standard jump meaning that no fewer than 350 minutes will have elapsed before you might be able to send a response force.

In those 350 minutes dropships accelerating an average of 2gs will have reached a speed of 1.5 million kilometers/hour and traversed almost 14.2 billion kilometers. Additionally, an LF-battery equipped vessel can effectively plot and execute their own jump from their present non-standard point to a standard Zenith-Nadir within range as soon as the interdiction vessel arrives. If not so (often equipped) the interdiction force can seize the jumpship and potentially force the return of its carried dropships.

However, if the jumpship disappears a properly equipped response force can track down the plasma thrusters of the enemy and assuming they can exceed acceleration potentially catch up to their adversary. This kind of high gee burn is something the Clan Aerospace Phenos can do better than Belters and even Space adapted humans.

At one million kilometers large craft and stationary electronic warfare gear can detect Active RADAR sources although it cannot classify and track contacts beyond one hundred thousand. At less than twenty-five thousand they can pick up contacts with passive thermal and optical sensors although at that point the target is almost on top of them. Small and Large Naval Comm-Scanner Suites extend these ranges by twice or three times respectively allowing long distance passive sensors that do not give away the searcher’s position as readily.

Three dominant attack profiles have thus developed, the Fast ones are particularly optimized to work around the Triple Tyrannies.
1.   Inverted Return – This is the normal attack profile of constant acceleration with a midpoint flip only to arrive at low velocity to the target area.
2.   Fast Reverse Pick up – Only used against ‘stationary’ targets the FRP is the highest speed type of attack. Instead of slowing down midway to their target a strike force launches attacks at maximum speed imparting additional velocity into the attack.

This strike force will then flip and decelerate or adjust their heading as they approach a rendezvous position elsewhere typically on the other side of the proximity sphere from their target.

Unfortunately, since the attacker reaches the incredible velocity of 21.5 million kilometers per hour after seven days of 1 gee acceleration the impact is incredible. The speed at which this attack is launched however means that this profile can only destroy not capture and control.
3.   Fast Overshoot Return – The FOR-attack profile is the fastest approach that still provides for control. Slow drop and warships can reach high velocities due to their fuel bunkerage. Functionally this approach follows the normal profile for some of the attacking units.

Boarding shuttles, dropships (if the host ship is a Warship) and aerospace fighters will be deployed at speed. These vessels will preemptively slow themselves until they are following shortly behind their larger host. This larger craft will overshoot the target area slightly while its smaller craft will arrive at lower velocities to conduct the mission as normal. This gives a strong first strike that could be sufficient to disable or damage the target enough that the smaller craft can finish it off while protecting the host ship from attack by hostile aerospace attack.

If the combat continues long enough (or can be drawn out) the host ship can return to finish off difficult enemies or launch any reserve craft.

AlphaMirage

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Re: Second Star League Guide to Warships (K-Verse AU)
« Reply #48 on: 31 March 2022, 22:25:13 »
Our Big Question for a Future Federation Fleet – Battleships, Carriers, or something different?
Recorded from a lecture given at The Warrior’s Hall of New Syrtis


Like every war before the Jihad and Wars of Reaving were high-pressure laboratory for military and scientific experimentation. Our citizens are understandably gun-shy having seen the firsthand effects of a modern Total War. Still, that doesn’t excuse a lapse in vigilance that might lead to disaster. It is important that we, the Federated Suns, make smart choices to ensure our continued collective security from threats both foreign and domestic and protect our sovereign independence. The frontier remains perilously exposed to potential hostile action just as it did during the Jihad, but we cannot count on good fortune and planning like before.

Both the Trinity Alliance and Clan Snow Raven have chosen to center their War Fleets on Carriers. Principally the Feng Huang and Conqueror classes both of which can launch a hundred or more Aerospace Fighters. These attacks are enough to easily saturate an Avalon cruiser although it might be costly to take one down due to its sturdiness. Both adversaries have also begun production or are expected to begin production of new destroyer escorts for these ships however which might tilt the balance strongly against the limited Avalon led pocket warship task forces that presently protect our PDZs.

On Galax the Admiralty is poised with a major question. How can we combat this potential threat before it becomes a dire one?

One would suggest that we fight like with like, if our adversaries have carriers then we should combat them with carriers, likely something resembling the New Syrtis of the Star League era. At the same time the Fleet is more comfortable with fast battlecruisers having utilized the former Commonwealth’s Yggdrasil and Mjolnir throughout the Jihad and rightfully respecting the endurance and firepower of a big ship. One that if supported by Avalons and friendly destroyers could swat dozens of Aerospace Fighters with missiles and sub-capital weapons before they reach weapon’s range. This would probably take the form of a modernized Defender class Battlecruiser that would be on par with most of the larger Warships presently utilized by every faction.

However, a third camp has broken out that calls for Avalons to be supplemented by a modernized and similarly sized Congress providing a gunship equivalent to the missile cruiser. Conspiracies of this sort popped up suddenly after the unexplained disappearance of the former CSJ Hunter’s Pride from the Midway Naval Yards. It presently remains unaccounted for as records during the Black Dragon War and HPG SLOT Whiteout are notoriously unreliable.

Additionally, the Covenant (formerly Kirishima) class SLS Covenant has been operated by a joint crew of FSF and DCA in the Tikonov theater ever since the Jihad. Additional versions of this ship (which is slightly larger than an Avalon) could be made in the Federated Suns potentially deepening ties with our long-term rival. Such a tech exchange and development program would likely raise the ire of the Second Star League that the Draconis Combine belongs to and would certainly evoke a challenge from the Trinity Alliance.

However, an infusion of spare parts, particularly the high-performance interplanetary engines the Combine cannot make, from the Federated Suns’ McKenna Yards might be what the DCA needs to once more be a force that could potentially challenge the depleted SLDF’s Clan Warships particularly Clan Snow Raven in the Outworlds Alliance. The Covenant’s acceleration curve grants an advantage against the Conqueror and Feng Huang Warships allowing the FSF control over the terms of battle.

Carriers (like Snow Ravens, Diamond Sharks, and Free World’s League)
Pros – Area Denial, Long Range and Flexible Strike Options, Excellent Orbital Support
Cons – Man and Material Intensive to operate, Gen III Destroyers and Arsenal Ships are very effective Anti-Aerospace Platforms

Battleships and Battlecruisers (like the Homeworld Clans and the Lyran Commonwealth)
Pros – Battleships can overmatch any similar combatant, Battlecruisers can menace anything lighter or slower, Ammo is cheap compared to Aerospace Fighters
Cons – Easy to swarm, Resource intensive to build, inflexible to deploy, will require expansion of or totally different production facilities

Heavyweight Cruiser Force (like the Council Clans and Trinity Alliance Fleet)
Pros – Slightly smaller, cheaper, faster to produce, Galax’s McKenna Yards are already optimized for <800kt vessels and so no major modifications are required to its infrastructure
Cons – Manpower intensive to operate, weight limits force specialization in either endurance, speed, aerospace hanger space, or capital weapons

OOC - Thoughts? Discussions? Etc...

Wrangler

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Re: Second Star League Guide to Warships (K-Verse AU)
« Reply #49 on: 02 April 2022, 20:20:46 »
designation of Heavy Cruiser & Light Cruiser aren't as useful now as they are in canon.   In reality, the Washington Treaty brought forced definitions to cruisers. Light Cruisers are scout vessels, smaller ships flag ships.  While Heavy Cruisers, were designed as Hunters/Raiders and of course escort ships with medium offensive firepower.

In BattlechTech; prior to the Succession Wars.  The ships designations of type made little sense. In the 31st Century where you can count on one hand how many ships any one Inner Sphere power has.   Most these ships seldom work in tandem with one another.  Perhaps Fox Class Corvettes and arguably Eagle Class Frigates work in pairs even in modern times, but less likely the former vs the latter which were built sole purpose escorting in pairs the larger Thera Class Aerospace Carriers.

Capellan's cruiser is nearly itself a low-end Battleship (like it's predecessor.)  Battlecruisers were intended for speed over armor protection with couple exceptions such as the Mjolnir. In this case, better protected than most Star League Battlecruisers.

Cruiser fleet would need advantage over the larger ships such as cost as mentioned.  Yet enough firepower render enemies from penetrating national bounties or invasion areas.  Large ships such as battleships do have staying power at the cost of speed & overall costs of building/maintaining.  While (provided their large) Carriers are likely most powerful, but is there enough personnel & pilots to man ships such as Thera?

I say it depends on whom your neighbors are and how many assets their fielding.
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AlphaMirage

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Re: Second Star League Guide to Warships (K-Verse AU)
« Reply #50 on: 17 July 2022, 21:21:32 »
Specialties of a Space Soldier | From the Draconis Combine Admiralty and Port Authority Manuals

To combat our enemies in space one must master the core concepts that make microgravity so challenging, Mass and Acceleration. Only through thorough study and practice of these concepts can one hope to overcome any opposition for the glory and defense of the Draconis Combine.

Mass comprises a wide range of concepts, that of the trooper themselves, their armor, and extending to the enemy’s core. At its most basic microgravity combat is a combination of Jujitsu and Aikijutsu, those who seek to win in these contests must master the techniques and concepts inherent in these martial arts. Principal among them is utilizing torque against you opponent’s joints to pin them while holding your position onto the interior surfaces of a spacecraft.

This is accomplished through the skillful utilization of Tabi boots which enable positive purchase on the many hand/foot holds normally utilized for locomotion in microgravity. Should one be unable to utilize the legs to maintain their foundation one should instead execute techniques with the legs along with perhaps one hand as practiced on monkey bars or a cargo net. This requires immense strength and endurance, but you are Warriors of the Draconis Combine and possess both in abundance.

The most successful techniques mirror those used in ground fighting as one must maintain or create a solid foundation to affect the opponent. Pinning an opponent against a wall is preferable as it puts you in an advantageous position to engage or retreat as you may press against them to gain distance. Failure to do so will only cause rotation between the combatants rather than serious injury, potentially result in a loss of control, and enabling the opponent to reassert themselves and potentially reverse the fight.

Aboard DCA and DCPA vessels there are four types of protective equipment. Common among all these are numerous D-rings, a series of at least four anchoring straps or cables, an integrated rebreather, task and visibility lighting, communication system, and a power cell to manage it all. The lowest level of protection, the Light Environment Suit, is reserved for common passengers in emergency situations. These will provide only air and some power for several hours; they are only equipped with soft helmets, a thin visor, and sufficient protection against incidental cuts and tears. These are unable to execute exo-vehicular activity and thus wearers must remain within the spacecraft’s fuselage until another vessel arrives.

Industrial Space Suits are typically issued to or brought by Spacer crews and provide some ballistic protection from their articulated armor. These also provide hydration and incorporate a larger battery for temperature control and powering various tools. This is also the firsts instance of a class A helmet with pull down armored visor. This visor principally protects the operator from debris damaging their ferroglaz visor or the harmful effects of external radiation.

Combat Space Suits issued to Orbital Security Troops incorporate myomer enhanced strength, advanced ballistic protection throughout but particularly on the helmet, integrated but low duration air thrusters, more sophisticated sensors, and electromagnets to attach to ferrous exterior surfaces. The power cell is quite powerful able to power a laser or gauss rifle from suit power. This is a matter of preference as the retention advantages of the power cable are nice but restrictive for more unorthodox shooting positions one finds themselves in.

Finally, we have Powered Armor and Exoskeletons. Due to the size of spacecraft corridors full sized power armor has very limited mobility within a space station (unless one seeks to destroy it of course) but it makes up for this by mounting a large volume of reaction mass to powerful thrusters, myomer enhanced claws, and integrated weaponry or tools. Presently the DCA prefers the lightweight Void suit for this purpose, it is designed to be more low profile and incorporates Hargel sourced from Clan Diamond Shark. Many space adapted exoskeletons are utilized to provide faster transport to tethered soldiers and carry a larger shield than could be hand carried as such they function much like APCs rather than armor.

Power Armor and Exoskeletons are however vulnerable to ‘Rock Launchers,’ refitted engineering tools which utilize a powerful rocket motor to either smash the suit into a bulkhead or off the surface of a spacecraft. These types of attacks are difficult to defend against due to the inability of a suit to effectively utilize cover in tight corridors. Possession of these devices is heavily regulated but they are fairly crude instruments to create given the proper technical knowledge.

Acceleration is defined as the rate of which velocity gathers as a force is applied to a specified mass. In orbital conflicts there is a place for both high and low velocity attacks. Despite advances in technology laser and particle beam weaponry continues to be utilized mostly by elite forces due to power concerns and the growing use of laser inhibiting particle grenades, first pioneered by NAIS for battlefield use. All weapons are typically attached via retention straps to the chest plate with breakaway segments to allow full dexterity and keep items handy if they are accidentally or purposefully released.

Grenades are incredibly effective in the tight confines of a spacecraft capable of unleashing an indiscriminate cone or sphere of shrapnel. Dastardly defenders utilize directional mines which are difficult to counter without due caution and heavy shields.

Shields are instrumental in protecting our soldiers from harm with new generation space suits incorporating ballistic flaps like the Sode shoulder protection of our Samurai ancestors. Heavier shields are commonly carried by boarding parties to provide mobile cover against threats. Due to their low launch velocity and kinetic efficacy grenade launchers are commonly utilized by boarding parties and defenders.

Higher velocity threats haven’t evolved much beyond the addition of the Clan’s Gauss SMGs and Gauss pistols from various manufacturers. These are not that much better than common firearms and in some ways are inferior as they are far more expensive, require electricity to operate, and are more maintenance intensive. All these factors limit them to Clan units with extensive technical support and no regard for cost efficacy.

The most common firearm utilized by boarding parties is a revolver capable of firing 12mm bullets and shotshells. These are attached by ‘moonclips’ which sit flush to the cylinder and prevent rounds from drifting around and ending up in places they shouldn’t while speeding up reloads. Rate of fire is a lesser concern than maintaining control and moving using your off hand. Due to the difficulty of aiming a firearm through the visor all firearms have lasers installed in the grips which can be turned off for stealth.

Another common choice is a machine pistol with an extended magazine and a cloth bag to catch spent brass. Due to the short range of many conflicts these two systems are sufficient to get the job done. Adding to the common arsenal are shotguns which are more commonly used to breach interior airlocks or other targets. These most commonly fire slugs designed to maximize kinetic effect against armored targets. Carbines and SMGs are also used but are typically carried to provide security to the vessel groundside and are poorly suited to microgravity combat. Unarmored targets are typically engaged by Needlers, Gel Guns, or Sonic Stunners (if there is atmosphere still onboard) although most targets quickly comply when boarded by professional soldiers.

Since armor and cover are abundant in a spacecraft and firearms potentially damaging to the vessel close quarters battles are often instrumental in defeating an adversary. Boarding parties often employ forcible entry tools to breach airlocks and gain entry to a spacecraft. These are mostly smaller versions of Terran Halligan style tools (although often much shorter with a central screw in cylinder that can be added for more leverage) and are effective weapons in the right hands. This is typically because they have a sharp point that with enough torque and a skillful user can sufficiently penetrate armor to injure a foe.

Dedicated close combat weapons are also utilized for either everyday carry while onboard a spacecraft or serious confrontations. Most of these are short thrusting implements reminiscent of a hachiwari, yoroi-doshi, rondel dagger, or katar that are rapid to deploy and able to be used while grappling. Larger slashing or crushing weapons than that are often far to unwieldly to use in microgravity while maintaining any kind of control and in both cases are readily resisted by proper armor even if you could generate enough force to execute an effective attack.

When grappling with a weapon one should aim for vulnerable sections of the suit or its life support system. Most suits have an extended neck dam to protect it from harm, but one could thrust a weapon into it for a quick kill. The back of the knees and beneath the shoulders are the least protected portions and easy targets. If you have maintained control of your sidearm it should be a simple matter to end the fight quickly at this range with little hazard to yourself. Should you find yourself under attack utilizing a sharp knife to cut the retention strap of your opponent could be what saves your life. Stay aware of your surroundings and always be on the lookout for opportunity.

Injuries in space are a dire affair, blood cannot properly congeal in microgravity and a casualty needs to be immediately evacuated to something capable of returning them to effective gravity. Recovery operations are a relatively simple affair but require a third person to attach the D-hooks between the extractor and the casualty. Space medicine has advanced since the Clans returned but physics is still a cruel mistress to us all. Most combat encounters end far ahead of complete destruction of the enemy but because their casualties mount faster than the opposition.

AlphaMirage

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Re: Second Star League Guide to Warships (K-Verse AU)
« Reply #51 on: 18 October 2022, 21:37:23 »
Black Wings of Death – The Evolution of Aerospace Fighters throughout the 31st Century
Compiled from Letters to the DCA Flight Academy at the University of Proserpina


Throughout the Succession Wars Aerospace Fighters were something of an endangered species. Few worlds can manufacture them and industrial might was commonly marshalled to ensure Jumpships and Dropships remained operational rather than vulnerable Aerospace Fighters lacking their Star League tech. Only the Free Worlds’ League paid them much attention until Peter Davion and Ingrid Liao engaged in the Great Lee Turkey Shoot. Despite the Federated Suns’ victory, the First Prince was later assassinated by a Cabal of MechWarriors for sidelining them and reducing their political power.

However, since the Clans invaded in 3050 and Star League technology was reintroduced Aerospace Fighters became an area of intense focus for every Successor State to protect themselves from Clan Warships and invasion. Tyra Miraborg’s sacrifice around Rasalhague gave the Inner Sphere time to halt the Clan Invasion on Tukayyid. These Post-REVIVAL years saw massive developments particularly among the Free World’s League who dedicated their industrial base and funds from the Federated Commonwealth to developing and creating Thera Supercarrier Groups, Fighter Regiments and Brigades of Battlemechs to support the other Great Houses against the Clans.

The FWLM Expedition Force’s deployment of its Thera carriers to halt the Ghost Bears around Irece put them and later 2SLDF Commanding General Photon Brett-Marik front and center in the Inner Sphere’s politics as readily as Katherine Fox’s invasion of New Avalon had. At the start of the Jihad CmdGen Brett-Marik’s Expeditionary Force fought its way free of treacherous Black Dragons on Wolcott and right into the Free World’s League’s own Civil War just in time to aid Alys Rousset’s Anti-Blakist movement.

It was during the Jihad that 2SLDF Pilots came into their own, the Fort Verdun employed Clan, DCA, FWLM, Belt ESA, and FedCom pilots who opposed the Word of Blake. their Hive Drones, and allies. That conflict obliterated the Flying Corps of most Great Houses. Fighters were rapidly replenished with superior models to fill in the gap to support Corrine Marik’s war weary realm Post-Jihad. Engaging drone fighters and importantly the disappearance of their creators along with Blakist M-10 Carriers encouraged research into new ways to mitigate this threat.

Due to the Aerospace Corps’ smaller size, already high cost, and win or die mentality they were quick to adapt Clan omni-tech pods to new builds allowing them greater flexibility in adapting to their target environment. Whether shooting down fellow Fighters (with pulse lasers or powerful ballistics against Heavies), engaged in Ground Attack/Air Cover (with standard lasers and missiles), or striking Large Craft (with powerful ballistics, Heavy PPCs, and the like) one can be assured that the airframe will be optimized to that task. Through collaboration with the Clans, Belter ESAs, and new technologies fighter pilots can now utilize a range of techniques and have codified best practices.

One of the most ominous additions to the threat landscape was the threat posed by the Word of Blake’s Hive Aerospace Fighters. Conceived as a cost-effective means to combat the Clan’s superior number of Warships and overcome their inferior pilot population it is fortunate the Blakist’s didn’t live long enough to debug the systems or make enough of them. Since their first deployment in the Battle of Tharkad against the Thera Supercarrier SLS Fort Verdun and final deployment as part of the First Sol Armada against the Clan Armada these drones have posed a dire threat. The surest way to disable them is to destroy their control ship as the drones must then independently maintain sensor links and establish their own situational awareness. When isolated they are easier to bait and eliminate as they must follow algorithmic priorities.

Intelligence reports suspect that the Trinity Alliance may attempt to rebuild this capability to win back the orbital space (no Hive drones have been observed fighting in atmosphere) against the might of the AFFS or SLDF Fleets. They are principally armed with Variable Speed Pulse Lasers and Anti-Ship Missiles to make up for the robotic targeting system’s inherent inaccuracy, radical maneuvering, and susceptibility to electronic warfare devices.


Agility is key to an Aerospace Fighter as they are not as durable as a Battlemech or Armored Vehicle, rescue protocols have improved but ‘going ballistic’ is at the very least a cause of stress for pilots as much as crashing. Due to their RCS thrusters and lifting surfaces these airframes can conduct incredible feats of aerobatics when dogfighting and unleash their thermonuclear powered thrusters to rapidly close with hostiles and reduce exposure to enemy fire. Several special maneuvers, most notably the hammerhead, roll, half-roll, and sideslip are useful in space combat. Interestingly this has reduced the need for Aerospace fighters to operate with wingmen however Clan Points and IS Air Lances are always paired for pilot recovery purposes if not defensive ones.

An atmosphere is an uncomfortable place for the Aerospace fighter as they must fly like rockets, fight drag, and their control surfaces are only capable of limited maneuvers which must be overcome with raw power. Flying in atmosphere also subjects them to not only ground based Anti-Air fire, drag, and the potential for a crash but their air-breathing counterparts. Aerospace Fighters and their pilots are expensive assets, so loiter time should be limited, and airframes boosted outside the reach of these systems as soon as their mission is completed.

Atmospheric maneuvers are fiendishly difficult to execute but are essential in close dogfights. Many of these trade altitude for speed to shake hostiles lining up on their six. The most dramatic of which is the VIFF (Vector in Forward Flight) which only Aerospace Fighters and Air-Breathers capable of VSTOL flight can use to arrest their forward velocity and gain altitude. Through incredible maneuvering and a great deal of luck an air-breather can survive an encounter with a hostile Aerospace Fighter. Conventional wisdom however suggests that a full squadron of 6 should be scrambled to even chance a Heavy Fighter takedown. 

These conventional aircraft have adopted a ‘sleek’ external ordnance heavy arrangement, VSTOL or Amphibious flight capability, and reduced integral weaponry trading combat endurance for high speed, long loiter times, or the ability to disperse when facing Aerospace threats. Advances in missile technology have helped to narrow the gap between air-breathing and space-capable aircraft throughout the Jihad. A lucky hit from an Air-to-Air missile can cause a loss of control and possible destruction of the enemy aircraft. Any excess mass is often dedicated to Long Range Missile or Class 5 LBX, Ultra, or Rotary autocannon which give the air-breather enough standoff that they might survive against their more powerful Aerospace counterpart.

An unusual use for Aerospace Fighters that has only grown in popularity is as a transport for Armored Infantry. Typically, the suits are arranged ‘face down’ and in a compressed position similar to a sprinters start with respect to the fighter’s thrusters within ‘very snug’ compartments with their battle claw locked around a handle to minimize damage to the suit and operator during transit. It is apparently a very uncomfortable ride but provides the best position to deploy jump jets when the fighter is in position.

Although the Kirghiz is best known as an Elemental carrier the factions that do this prefer to use lighter fighters for the task. This method of deployment was apparently a holdover from the First SLDF’s CAAN Regiments where a specialized aerospace fighter was used to deploy Nighthawk equipped Fury commandos who could provide forward air control or conduct assassination and sabotage missions. This was apparently the method employed to deploy the Water Elementals that took NASDF Breaker Bay during the Battle for New Avalon and there are records of AFFS LCT Daggers deploying MI-6 Infiltrator Mk IIs, Hellion Khan Xander Cage did it during the Battle of Vladivostok on Terra, the Word of Blake, and both groups of the FWLM used it sporadically throughout the Jihad. Presently it seems that the FWLM maintains the greatest experience with the tactic likely due to their early adoption of Omni-fighter technology and institutional emphasis on Aerospace.

The way in which is conducted is simple but requires practice for both units:
1)   An Aerospace Fighter arrives at the target area and lands or and uses its thrusters to hover
2)   Infantry carrying compartments are opened revealing the troops still clinging to that handle
3)   Infantry then push off and use their jump jets or zip lines (although that is far more dangerous) if necessary to land softly in the same manner as any VTOL deployment
4)   Once the troops are deployed the fighter closes the compartments and can remain on station to provide air cover or depart and strike other targets
5)   When the mission is complete, or troops need evacuation the fighter lands to recover the unit
6)   Once everyone is onboard and the compartments are sealed the fighter can take off again

With that said it seems like the Aerospace Fighter is not out of tricks yet and likely on course for a major revival that will last well into the 32nd Century. Although who knows whether they will even be piloted by then. It is my solemn hope that they will be. The Inner Sphere deserves heroes not just another turn of the grindstone, there's not much left.

 

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