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Author Topic: WarShip of the Week: Soyal  (Read 23575 times)

Jellico

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WarShip of the Week: Soyal
« on: 17 November 2013, 00:39:08 »

Fan Service: It is about "servicing" the fan[4] - giving the fans "exactly what they want".
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In the beginning there was science fiction and to travel the stars they needed space ships. Because bigger is better these soon became mile long ships, and because that just wasn’t phallic enough, they had to add massive weapons running the length of the ship.

About 80 years later along came BattleTech with its long, germanium cored JumpShips. These promptly became kilometre long WarShips but for twenty years the franchise ignored the temptation of the spinal mount. Until TacOps came out. Powerful but gimped in the extreme; even then, thanks to the general reduction of WarShips in the universe, use of this weapon was limited to a near mythical Word of Blake super ship. Teeth were gnashed until finally the 2765 Field Reports were released and we got the Soyal-class heavy cruiser. Appropriately the reaction of the fans was one of huge excitement then release.

In universe the Soyal had its genesis in the 2725 tenders for a replacement for the Star League’s Avatar-class. Delhi WarShips (builder of the Vincent-class) had got their hands on the designs for mass drivers and saw it as a chance to make the jump to the big league. Given the Medium Mass Driver finally mounted has the potential to kill a destroyer in a single shot it was a reasonable assumption. The problem was that no one had built a ship with a mass driver before and Delhi certainly couldn’t go asking the SLDF. Too many awkward questions about where the designs came from. So, they just went and designed the ship.

Central to the Soyal is the Medium Mass Driver laid along its germanium spine. It defines the ship. At 1.5 million tons it is twice the size of a normal heavy cruiser, but Delhi’s design team argued that that was the price to pay for revolutionising naval combat. Again it is hard to question their logic. 120 points of Structural Integrity show just how worried Delhi was that the mass driver would split the ship in two. At this point things were going reasonably well, but from there on in Delhi’s inexperience would show.

Possibly the best way to show the inadequacy of the Soyal in SLDF service is to compare it to the ship that eventually won the 2725 tender. The Luxor-class.

At 890,000 tons the Luxor is 60% of the mass of the Soyal with nothing like the structural integrity. In many ways the Soyal is a ship from 300 years before. The fuel supplies are extensive and the cargo bay is huge, akin to the cruisers of yore like the Black Lion I and Dart. Armour is adequate, but a little light by modern standards, and uses out-dated compounds. The Soyal is actually the tougher ship, but at 1.5 million tons it needs to be. The three docking collars are inferior to the Luxor’s four at a time when the SLDF was making full use of the flexibility of DropShips. The flight decks are remarkably similar, probably specified by the SLDF, though the Soyal carries 48 BattleMechs for some reason. That brings us onto the weapons.
In addition to the mass driver, the Soyal’s weapons are made up of naval gauss rifles and auto canon. While the bow and stern gauss rifles are paired in bays, the side NACs are in single mounts. Old Killer Whales and naval lasers make up the defensive armament. Everything aft of the fore arcs is clearly defensive given the Soyal’s obvious strength forward, and even the capital missiles can be directed to fire forward as needed.

In contrast the Luxor is designed to fight on the broadside. Twin NAC bays and Gauss Rifles dominate the side arcs. Clusters of Naval PPCs and Naval Lasers provide support. This doesn’t seem so bad till one does the maths. At best the Soyal can fire 244 points into its forward arc using way pointed missiles. The Luxor can fire 432 points into its broadside. Where the Soyal is restricted by the firing arcs and inaccuracy of the mass driver, the Luxor is able to use bracketing to send accurate fire out to 50 hexes. As noted in the Soyal’s fluff, Delhi was not aware of this technique and didn’t design their ship in such a way that the SLDF could perform it. Additionally fighting bow on exposes the Soyal to more damaging critical hits. While the Soyal’s command and targeting systems were exposed the broadside only exposed weapons and cargo.

In AA terms both ships are comparable. Neither is in the league of say, an Aegis, but where the Luxor loses in accuracy it makes up in throw weight while the Soyal’s White Sharks are merely solid, lacking the long range accuracy of Barracudas which might have tipped the balance.

For all of that the Soyal had the ability to defeat a Luxor in combat. A few lucky shots with the mass driver could end things very quickly. But the percentage play rests with the Luxor.

So, when the time came for the SLDF to choose between the conventional ship, from a traditional provider, built to match their doctrines of docking collars and bracketed fire, or the outrageously heavy, untested freak, they went with the ship that matched their needs.

That would have been the end of it had it not been for the Capellan Confederation. In 2725 the Confederation was shopping around for a modern capital ship. Long and physically imposing. A powerful weapon system. The Soyal ticked a lot of boxes for the Capellans. Like all of the Great Houses, the Capellans were not fully aware of the SLDF move towards defence in depth (ie DropShips) and would not get knowledge of bracketing techniques until the 3070s. Size alone was good enough reason for the SLDF to reject the Soyal, yet for the Capellans the battleship size was a positive for prestige reasons. Ultimately more legitimate suppliers like Mitchell Vehicles or Blue Nose Clipperships were not going to be selling large modern hulls to a Great House without all sorts of Hegemony interference, so buying from Delhi held all sorts of benefits.

It has to be said that in the years before the First Succession War the Soyal was a highly successful ship. Solid numbers were built and saw service with both the Capellans and Free Worlds League. Big, with plenty of room for showing off, they looked the part for showing the flag. They were so successful the SLDF was forced to look into mass drivers even though they had no real interest.

The Succession Wars were both better and worse than might be expected. While the SLDF had a stand-off doctrine the Houses preferred pre-Reunification War brawling. This suited the Soyal as the big cruiser could get its mass driver into accurate range as both forces charged each other. True capital ships that could survive a hit were rare amongst the Houses and single hits could end battles before they began. However, once in short range the Soyal’s weak weapon systems could be truly exposed. As long as the mass driver could be avoided, ships like the Davion II and Narukami could brutalise the heavy cruiser. Ultimately this wasn’t what killed the Soyal-class. The needs of the Capellan Confederation for more ships after the fall of the Star League meant more time spent on lighter craft rather than huge cruisers. Even if Delhi WarShips hadn’t lost the ability to build WarShips no more Soyals were likely to be built. In the end attrition saw the end of all WarShips in House hands.

So, how to use a Soyal? Try and get close so that it is easier to line up the mass driver and the +2 to-hit is less important. Keep firing that big gun and hope that it hits something.

Defeating a Soyal is as simple as avoiding the big gun. If a House, use evasion to close then hit the flanks. If you win initiative, get out of the mass driver’s firing arc. If the SLDF, get comfortable broadside on and shoot out the Soyal’s targeting and control systems from 40 hexes out as the big cruiser desperately tries to get a firing solution. Or of course, release 4 Titan-loads of nuclear armed aerospace fighters on it. The SLDF does not play nice.
« Last Edit: 17 November 2013, 05:13:33 by Jellico »

marauder648

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Re: WarShip of the Week: Soyal
« Reply #1 on: 17 November 2013, 01:06:33 »
Great article :) I found a picture too.

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Giovanni Blasini

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Re: WarShip of the Week: Soyal
« Reply #2 on: 17 November 2013, 01:22:19 »
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Re: WarShip of the Week: Soyal
« Reply #3 on: 17 November 2013, 01:41:30 »
Definitely an interesting ship for sure, though I keep having this image of the fellow manning the weapon's controls grinning like a mad man saying "Ima firing maaaa mmmmmaaaassssss driveeeerrr!!!!!"

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Re: WarShip of the Week: Soyal
« Reply #4 on: 17 November 2013, 02:26:58 »
This makes my soul sing with fiery bliss.

drakensis

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Re: WarShip of the Week: Soyal
« Reply #5 on: 17 November 2013, 03:46:51 »
It reminds me of some of the Zentraedi warships from early Macross/Robotech
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Re: WarShip of the Week: Soyal
« Reply #6 on: 17 November 2013, 04:07:22 »
So this is the WarShip equivalent to the Hetzer Wheeled Assault Gun, only too large?
(Or, to use a 'Mech analogy, the AC/20 variant of the Banshee?)
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Jackmc

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Re: WarShip of the Week: Soyal
« Reply #7 on: 17 November 2013, 04:30:08 »
I wonder how a brace of these would pair up with a true BB. 

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Jellico

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Re: WarShip of the Week: Soyal
« Reply #8 on: 17 November 2013, 04:52:31 »
A pair might take a McKenna. Simple maths. A McKenna does twice the damage. Two cruisers have twice the armour. Wait till you see what the DC is running and the FWL and CC will be glad that they are on the other side of the Sphere.

So this is the WarShip equivalent to the Hetzer Wheeled Assault Gun, only too large?
(Or, to use a 'Mech analogy, the AC/20 variant of the Banshee?)
A Hunchback may be more appropriate. Trying to fit too big a weapon into too small a package. And the flaws are deeper and more subtle than that. But the fact remains. If it gets lucky it can kill a McKenna in three shots.

Trajan Helmer

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Re: WarShip of the Week: Soyal
« Reply #9 on: 17 November 2013, 07:28:55 »
It still looks like a paddlefish with an underbite to me.  That said, I really like it.
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UnLimiTeD

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Re: WarShip of the Week: Soyal
« Reply #10 on: 17 November 2013, 10:12:09 »
This is a ship that could really benefit from stripping out the majority of the mech bays for Armour, barracuda launchers, armour, cargo capacity, armour, and some Anti-Fighter weapons.
Preferable Gauss Rifles.
Or if someone in modern days gets their hands on one, I'd go with SCL-1s in each arc.
But yeh, it seems to ship was devised OoU just to show that Mass Drives are poo.  :P
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Re: WarShip of the Week: Soyal
« Reply #11 on: 17 November 2013, 14:25:37 »
This is a ship that could really benefit from stripping out the majority of the mech bays for Armour, barracuda launchers, armour, cargo capacity, armour, and some Anti-Fighter weapons.
Preferable Gauss Rifles.
Or if someone in modern days gets their hands on one, I'd go with SCL-1s in each arc.
But yeh, it seems to ship was devised OoU just to show that Mass Drives are poo.  :P

Personally i'd rather upgrade the armour type to something era-appropriate and replace the mech cubicles for ASF hangars.  A couple of LBX-10 or large pulsers per firing arc would also be nice but the cappelans of that time seem to prefer the SLDF's doctrine.
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Re: WarShip of the Week: Soyal
« Reply #12 on: 17 November 2013, 14:40:38 »
For all the flaws in the design, not to mention the limitations of a Mass Driver, the Soyal is still an interesting ship. Big gun + over sized cruiser + Cappies = much more interesting peace treaty negotations.

My big question is if those 'mech bays come equipped with orbital drop pods.
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Re: WarShip of the Week: Soyal
« Reply #13 on: 17 November 2013, 15:54:07 »
A pair might take a McKenna. Simple maths.

Sorry, I was thinking as a squadron.  Do you focus on the BB and risk getting pummeled by those MD's or do you focus on the CA's and hope that the BB doesn't eat you alive in the process.  Don't think it'd be an "I win" button but I suspect that the answer varies from faction to faction.

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Re: WarShip of the Week: Soyal
« Reply #14 on: 17 November 2013, 17:47:36 »
Sorry, I was thinking as a squadron.  Do you focus on the BB and risk getting pummeled by those MD's or do you focus on the CA's and hope that the BB doesn't eat you alive in the process.  Don't think it'd be an "I win" button but I suspect that the answer varies from faction to faction.

-Jackmc
Or you take a pair of Luxors and do twice the damage. Or you never see the McKenna because the Titans have taken you at range.
Personally i'd rather upgrade the armour type to something era-appropriate and replace the mech cubicles for ASF hangars.  A couple of LBX-10 or large pulsers per firing arc would also be nice but the cappelans of that time seem to prefer the SLDF's doctrine.
As you admit, it is a ship designed for a specific era and its armour very much fits in there. Just like all those other cruisers and battle cruisers that didn't have their armour uprated for the modern era.
The Soyal was designed for a SLDF spec making the AA layout make some sense. It is not weak by any means and frankly, "A couple of LBX-10 or large pulsers per firing arc" won't add anything. Objective testing has shown you need Leviathan or Thera levels of conventional weapons for them to be comparable to a solid capital battery. A good example of this is the Luxor which has no AA or capital missiles yet is effective as a Kirishima, New Syrtis, Kyushu, Dante, Atreus, Zechetinu II, Nightlord, Liberator, and Feng Huang II.
This is a ship that could really benefit from stripping out the majority of the mech bays for Armour, barracuda launchers, armour, cargo capacity, armour, and some Anti-Fighter weapons.
Preferable Gauss Rifles.
Or if someone in modern days gets their hands on one, I'd go with SCL-1s in each arc.
But yeh, it seems to ship was devised OoU just to show that Mass Drives are poo.  :P
If you like I could build you two identical custom ships with armour and Barracudas and Gauss Rifles. One would have a mass driver and one would have two 50 point NAC bays, with the spare mass spent on beer. The mass driver would still be poo.
Any idiot can design a better WarShip by cutting back on cargo bays and using large numbers of NACs. The challenge is designing something that fits the context of an era, a faction, and has a certain x factor. Heck, you can even see signs of Delhi's oversized Vincent corvettes in their oversized Cruiser.
Oh, and don't knock the Killer Whale. For what they lack in the Barracuda's stand off ability they make up for in nuclear capability. When the gloves come off I don't compromise on AA.

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Re: WarShip of the Week: Soyal
« Reply #15 on: 17 November 2013, 17:53:49 »
Simply swapping out the 'Mech bays (on a warship?  Really?) for ASF bays would make this significantly better.  A few squadrons of ASF support can make or break the process of closing in from stand off range, but from a point defense standpoint, and attempting to inflict meaningful critical damage on your opponents.
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Fallen_Raven

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Re: WarShip of the Week: Soyal
« Reply #16 on: 17 November 2013, 18:04:05 »
Simply swapping out the 'Mech bays (on a warship?  Really?) for ASF bays would make this significantly better.

Yeah, but you loose the possibility of dropping a 'mech battalion from orbit. While it might not be the most conventional method of deploying troops, it is worth considering.
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Re: WarShip of the Week: Soyal
« Reply #17 on: 17 November 2013, 18:07:59 »
If I'm using a Soyal unsupported by any kind of dropship, I have more pressing concerns than inserting a battalion of 'Mechs to the planet below.  Which, I'm fairly certain can't even happen, because the minute you hit the interface layer, you take absurd amounts of damage.  If you enter it with the 'ship, it disintegrates, and if you enter it with a 'Mech launched from it, the 'Mech disintegrates.

Unless, of course, you can actually conduct atmospheric operations with a million and a half ton warship, which would definitely be news to me.

If you 100% need to transport 'Mechs with this thing, use the cargo bay, and transfer them to droppers that can actually do the deed.
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Re: WarShip of the Week: Soyal
« Reply #18 on: 17 November 2013, 18:31:18 »
You CN drop from orbit using Drop eggs, but it's risky and dangerous and most pilots will flip out if they hear they have to. Too many variables in Orbital Drop Insertion. I prefer dropships to get to pin point accuracy on my drops.

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Re: WarShip of the Week: Soyal
« Reply #19 on: 17 November 2013, 18:38:26 »
Unless, of course, you can actually conduct atmospheric operations with a million and a half ton warship, which would definitely be news to me.

Can and should are two separate matters. In this case, you conduct said drops on moons and space stations that don't have an atmosphere to cause problems.

If you 100% need to transport 'Mechs with this thing, use the cargo bay, and transfer them to droppers that can actually do the deed.

I'm not saying you can't use dropships, or even that it isn't the most efficient method. I'm just saying that the 'mech bays add a capability to the ship, and that I like having a flavorful feature on a WarShip that isn't the most efficient design anyway.
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Re: WarShip of the Week: Soyal
« Reply #20 on: 17 November 2013, 18:50:41 »
You miss the point of the mech units on the Soyal. First the mass driver softens up the LZ. Then the mech battalion is orbitally dropped and starts the big dance routine about the Chancellor's glory.
« Last Edit: 17 November 2013, 18:52:38 by Liam's Ghost »
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Re: WarShip of the Week: Soyal
« Reply #21 on: 17 November 2013, 19:04:22 »
Soyal could be indeed used as invasion ship, bombard ground units and drop the boys off for a party with the natives.

I was thinking after reading Jellico awesome review, Would LAMs be using these Mech bays?  Depending on the model, these things could be a great force multiplier if need be.  LAMs aren't known to be awesome fighters craft, but anything helps.  Given the Soyal came out when production of LAMs wasn't issue.  I don't know if the Great Houses had access to them prior to the Star League's down fall.

As for Soyal, If used as artillery / fire support unit in a squadron, maybe you could use it to soften incoming WarShips prior to the brawler/broadsiders get in there and take more pieces out of a target.

Given that the Capellan's ancient battleships are geared towards front / head-on attacks, Soyal was certainly good compliment to its style.

Side Question:  What heck is a Narukami?  Did we get stats for another ship and i hadn't heard it coming out.  ???
« Last Edit: 17 November 2013, 19:43:13 by Wrangler »
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Re: WarShip of the Week: Soyal
« Reply #22 on: 17 November 2013, 19:16:30 »
Side Question:  What heck is a Narukami?  Did we get stats for another ship and i hadn't heard it coming out.  ???

I could be mistaken, but I think he's confusing it with the name of something else, because the Narukami is a DCMS assault tank from TRO 3145.
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Re: WarShip of the Week: Soyal
« Reply #23 on: 17 November 2013, 19:26:25 »
I could be mistaken, but I think he's confusing it with the name of something else, because the Narukami is a DCMS assault tank from TRO 3145.
Looking at Strategic Ops, Narukami is listed as the Draconis Combine's first WarShip introduced in 2380....
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Re: WarShip of the Week: Soyal
« Reply #24 on: 17 November 2013, 19:27:23 »
Side Question:  What heck is a Narukami?  Did we get stats for another ship and i hadn't heard it coming out.  ???
I could be mistaken, but I think he's confusing it with the name of something else, because the Narukami is a DCMS assault tank from TRO 3145.
  It could be something that’s slated for inclusion in FR:2765:DC.  It may be the wishful thinking talking, but I think (hope) we’re getting new WarShips in each of the 2765 Field Reports, and the Combine does need a heavier combatant to go with its Samarkand escort-carriers.

  EDIT: also, what Wrangler said in Roosterboy’ing me.  :D

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Re: WarShip of the Week: Soyal
« Reply #25 on: 17 November 2013, 19:29:40 »
You miss the point of the mech units on the Soyal. First the mass driver softens up the LZ. Then the mech battalion is orbitally dropped and starts the big dance routine about the Chancellor's glory.

I'd argue that I'm not missing the point, rather disagreeing with it.  I'd much rather use the dropships on collars that any Warship of the time should damn well have with them to insert ground troops, rather than launch ground troops from the Warship itself, which comes to the tune of 7200 tons of space that could be much better spent elsewhere.

Because honestly, how many times is this kind of ship going to be unsupported?  If the answer is more than "zero" you won't have the ship very long.
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Re: WarShip of the Week: Soyal
« Reply #26 on: 17 November 2013, 19:44:49 »
I'd argue that I'm not missing the point, rather disagreeing with it.  I'd much rather use the dropships on collars that any Warship of the time should damn well have with them to insert ground troops, rather than launch ground troops from the Warship itself, which comes to the tune of 7200 tons of space that could be much better spent elsewhere.

Because honestly, how many times is this kind of ship going to be unsupported?  If the answer is more than "zero" you won't have the ship very long.

I was... uh, actually trying to humorously outline that with a joke. Namely by suggesting the Soyal's over the top nature obviously warranted its own battlemech scale dance team.

I suppose it fell flat.
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Re: WarShip of the Week: Soyal
« Reply #27 on: 17 November 2013, 21:07:46 »
I suppose it fell flat.

Much like the terrain after a Soyal bombardment.

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Re: WarShip of the Week: Soyal
« Reply #28 on: 17 November 2013, 21:42:09 »
Much like the terrain after a Soyal bombardment.

These forums could use a 'rim shot' emoticon.
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Re: WarShip of the Week: Soyal
« Reply #29 on: 17 November 2013, 23:43:50 »
A pair might take a McKenna. Simple maths. A McKenna does twice the damage. Two cruisers have twice the armour. Wait till you see what the DC is running and the FWL and CC will be glad that they are on the other side of the Sphere.


That sounds fun

 

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