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Author Topic: DropShip of the Week: Dragau  (Read 5946 times)

Jellico

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DropShip of the Week: Dragau
« on: 22 December 2013, 17:53:54 »
Dragau Assault DropShip, TRO3085Sup


The Dragau is a design that goes right back to the beginning of the Caspar II system. The Word of Blake had a nifty remote control system but needed a platform to make use of it. So in one of those “let’s abuse the rules” moments they decided to build a ship that could ignore little things like a thrust rating that can kill a man. So when Wolf’s Dragoons showed up over Mars in 3067 Word of Blake was ready for them. While not particularly formidable on their own it is easy to imagine the havoc packs of these Merlin sized DropShips would have wrought. 
Now it should be noted that the Dragau we see in JHS Terra is not the first Dragau. A number of new technologies like Heavy PPCs and VSPs were developed between 3067 and 3079. Naturally these make the Dragau even deadlier. In one final twist, the Republic of the Sphere now controls the production of Dragau and is building a manned variant, the II.

So what does one get with a Dragau? For starters it has very high thrust, and thanks to being a Caspar II it can use that thrust for travelling long distances which would kill a human crew. This is hard on the fuel but it is not intended to travel far. More problematic is the range is limited by the maximum control range of the Caspar II system. It is still quite possible for a Dragau to operate totally by itself, but it won’t be as smart.
The next feature is the armour. About 25% heavier than a Noruff’s this offers solid protection against lighter targets. Combined with Evasion and the Caspar ECM bonus it certainly is enough to get the Dragau into close range. Once there a blistering array of large calibre weapons come into play at medium range. The wing mounts are almost an afterthought compared to the Heavy PPCs and Heavy Gauss Rifles in the bow.
As noted the Republic of the Sphere builds a manned Dragau II. It is still fast enough to kill a man. It has gained some weapons over the Caspar II variant. The Dragau II makes use of steerage crew compartments to get all the crew in. This can’t be good for long term operations. In 3097 the Republic began producing a Naval C3 variant. This is pretty much doomed to be a point unit for the C3 network and has to the thrust rating to keep in close to enemy targets.


So how do you use a Dragau? Evade, get in close and kill. A lone Dragau has the firepower to kill Leopard in a single salvo with a little bit of luck which summarises just how dangerous this DropShip is. Use the high thrust to close the range quickly then brake at the appropriate range. Then do your best to get into vulnerable hex lines or side arcs. Pack tactics are essential. Not only does it increase your own firepower, the enemy will need to concentrate on a single Dragau and the pack will force them to make choices. This DropShip is fast enough to dance with ASF. Use continual Evasion and high speed lunge-and-rotates to force the less manoeuvrable ASF to chase you and get torn up by the bow guns.  Anything that can outmanoeuvre can’t get through your armour.

How do you defeat a Dragau? Shoot the damn thing. Lots. One on one this thing will outmanoeuvre you. Your ASF won’t be able to chase it down. Your only chance is formation tactics. Form a defensive battleline with the ASF along the threat axis and wait for the Dragau to come to you. The Dragau’s aerodyne form means that it will concentrate its attention on a single target so you have exploit its vulnerable sides at this time and hope the bait will survive. With multiple Dragaus this becomes more complex.

In summary I find the Dragau one of the more interesting DropShips developed. It represents a return to the traditional small assault DropShip and in many ways is superior to monsters like the Tiamat. It has two greatly concerning features. The first is the ease with which it can destroy conventional transports. Given the difficulty in stopping a Dragau getting close to a target this raises big questions over the survivability of the older transports. The second point is this ship is easily copied. It can’t be long until we see similarly armed Achilles, Avengers, Claymores and even Noruffs (shudder). While they probably won’t push the thrust envelope in the same way, they won’t have to as they are all quite well endowed already. The proliferation of these powerful attack platforms is going to make defence increasingly difficult and force an invader to invest in genuine air superiority for the first time since the First Succession War.

Moonsword

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Re: DropShip of the Week: Dragau
« Reply #1 on: 22 December 2013, 18:01:00 »
My takeaway from this is that it's basically a super-heavy fighter that rides DropShip collars instead of fighter bays.  It's got the speed of a fighter, the looks of a fighter, and the firepower of a fighter wing.

Dragon Cat

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Re: DropShip of the Week: Dragau
« Reply #2 on: 22 December 2013, 20:19:40 »
Since its "fast enough to kill the crew" how does that work in game or is it one of those the crew are super fit for their very short careers then crippled for life?

Personally it's one of my favourite Blake toys

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Re: DropShip of the Week: Dragau
« Reply #3 on: 22 December 2013, 20:46:08 »
It's unmanned.  Caspar system.
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Re: DropShip of the Week: Dragau
« Reply #4 on: 22 December 2013, 20:50:25 »
It's unmanned.  Caspar system.

The two manned variants move the same speed (9/14).
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Re: DropShip of the Week: Dragau
« Reply #5 on: 22 December 2013, 22:21:37 »
Nice review, Jellico.  I love your comments on how to take it out.   ;D

Dragau is a nasty machine, I've always thought "How do you counter such a beast?  No buddy (faction wise) fields ships as tough as this thing."  Sure if you had a WarShip, you could take it out.  Maybe one of them before they toast you when they close in.  Pocket WarShips would be only way,  Capital/SubCapital missiles and alot of them.   If you fast enough a Subcap or heavy armed ship could close in on it.  Achilles (3088) variant has a chance, but aside from him I don't know.

Someone going to be very creative if they run into a full blown squadron of them.  Which i think will be less likely, unless Wolves are invading Terra.  Aerospace wise, i don't think their fleet is going be tough enough pounce Republic's force of these ships for long.  It will take Fiat (hey, we weren't able produce enought them while Fall was up. Oops) to prevent invaders from takign them out.
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Re: DropShip of the Week: Dragau
« Reply #6 on: 23 December 2013, 00:11:32 »
Since its "fast enough to kill the crew" how does that work in game or is it one of those the crew are super fit for their very short careers then crippled for life?

The thrust won't actually kill a fit crewman during a dogfight, it's no worse than many ASFs, and far easier than a lot of lighter designs out there. Okay, there is a risk of crew damage, but it's easy to mitigate even during high-G burns. It's during longer burns that those kinds of continual G-forces will cripple or kill humans. We can handle 9-Gs for a few moments just fine, but a few hours of it(even in a special-designed high-G couch) will literally crush us under the weight of our own innards. A manned DropShip(even one as zippy as a Dragau II) is limited to 1g thrust when crossing long distances across a system or from a world's orbit to a nearby moon if it doesn't want to arrive at its destination a ballistic derelict. Sure, you can go higher for short bursts, or maybe push things to 1.1G over the whole journey, but overall, 1G is about it for practical purposes. An unmanned drone such as a base Dragau(or even something far slower such as a Tiamat or the venerable M-5 Caspar) can use the full power of its engines across long distances, allowing it to cross large distances with ease. It can also perform a high-speed pass, and then turn around for another run far faster than any manned ship could.
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Re: DropShip of the Week: Dragau
« Reply #7 on: 23 December 2013, 00:16:07 »
Cool ta us poor humans and our frailties... Sounding a bit Blakist oh dear  :-[

Welshman

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Re: DropShip of the Week: Dragau
« Reply #8 on: 23 December 2013, 01:24:50 »
Sometime i wonder if I designed the Dragau too good. It was the height of the Jihad period and we were starting to see that a lot of the Word's aura of power was a lot of smoke and mirrors. We wanted the Caspar II system to be truly frightening and give the Word enough edge in defense to offset their diminishing ground forces.

We just may have done the job a bit too well.

I probably had more fun designing this and the Tiamat than I did doing the original M-5 and it's cousins. There was a lot less expectation to be met from the Caspar II system, so less pressure to get it right.
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Re: DropShip of the Week: Dragau
« Reply #9 on: 23 December 2013, 03:49:40 »
I guess the myths of the original M5 system built it up a lot? Welshman while the Casper II was the Word's surprise we did this too

Jellico

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Re: DropShip of the Week: Dragau
« Reply #10 on: 23 December 2013, 04:12:01 »
Sometime i wonder if I designed the Dragau too good. It was the height of the Jihad period and we were starting to see that a lot of the Word's aura of power was a lot of smoke and mirrors. We wanted the Caspar II system to be truly frightening and give the Word enough edge in defense to offset their diminishing ground forces.

We just may have done the job a bit too well.

I probably had more fun designing this and the Tiamat than I did doing the original M-5 and it's cousins. There was a lot less expectation to be met from the Caspar II system, so less pressure to get it right.

Don't worry. It is not too good. It is a one trick pony, roughly comparable to the Achilles, but the Achilles uses its size to be more flexible.
Nice review, Jellico.  I love your comments on how to take it out.   ;D

Dragau is a nasty machine, I've always thought "How do you counter such a beast?  No buddy (faction wise) fields ships as tough as this thing."  Sure if you had a WarShip, you could take it out.  Maybe one of them before they toast you when they close in.  Pocket WarShips would be only way,  Capital/SubCapital missiles and alot of them.   If you fast enough a Subcap or heavy armed ship could close in on it.  Achilles (3088) variant has a chance, but aside from him I don't know.

Someone going to be very creative if they run into a full blown squadron of them.  Which i think will be less likely, unless Wolves are invading Terra.  Aerospace wise, i don't think their fleet is going be tough enough pounce Republic's force of these ships for long.  It will take Fiat (hey, we weren't able produce enought them while Fall was up. Oops) to prevent invaders from takign them out.
You counter it by not putting your transports anywhere near it.
Establish aerospace superiority. I repeat. Establish aerospace superiority.
I don't know who said Unions have to come in with the attack birds back in the day, but they were idiots who have poisoned the well for the last 25 years.

Ultimately it is about defence in depth and layers. It is a 2,500 ton ship for goodness sake. It is not that bad.

As for the Wolves... While the Republic was building Dragaus, Interdictors, and Tiamats the Wolves were building Isegrims. That and they still run a cruiser fleet. Well fiat will decide the outcome, it is not an unrealistic matchup.
« Last Edit: 23 December 2013, 07:23:45 by Jellico »

Weirdo

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Re: DropShip of the Week: Dragau
« Reply #11 on: 23 December 2013, 08:51:43 »
As for the Wolves... While the Republic was building Dragaus, Interdictors, and Tiamats the Wolves were building Isegrims. That and they still run a cruiser fleet. Well fiat will decide the outcome, it is not an unrealistic matchup.

Y'know, even leaving the WarShips out, that fight sounds fun as hell. I'ma have to Battleface it someday. O0
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Re: DropShip of the Week: Dragau
« Reply #12 on: 24 December 2013, 00:40:18 »
The manned Dragau is the equivalent of a destroyer. No, not modern destroyers or BT destroyers, but the original Torpedo Boat Destroyers. They are fast, heavily armed, and sacrifice crew endurance and range for their frightening firepower and spectacular performance. In deployment, they operate in packs to harass opposing heavy units, pick off targets of opportunity, and screen friendly heavies.

Sound about right?

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Re: DropShip of the Week: Dragau
« Reply #13 on: 24 December 2013, 00:45:18 »
The manned Dragau is the equivalent of a destroyer. No, not modern destroyers or BT destroyers, but the original Torpedo Boat Destroyers. They are fast, heavily armed, and sacrifice crew endurance and range for their frightening firepower and spectacular performance. In deployment, they operate in packs to harass opposing heavy units, pick off targets of opportunity, and screen friendly heavies.

Sound about right?

That was pretty much my intent with the human crewed version.
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Re: DropShip of the Week: Dragau
« Reply #14 on: 24 December 2013, 16:48:52 »
The thrust won't actually kill a fit crewman during a dogfight, it's no worse than many ASFs, and far easier than a lot of lighter designs out there. Okay, there is a risk of crew damage, but it's easy to mitigate even during high-G burns. It's during longer burns that those kinds of continual G-forces will cripple or kill humans. We can handle 9-Gs for a few moments just fine, but a few hours of it(even in a special-designed high-G couch) will literally crush us under the weight of our own innards. A manned DropShip(even one as zippy as a Dragau II) is limited to 1g thrust when crossing long distances across a system or from a world's orbit to a nearby moon if it doesn't want to arrive at its destination a ballistic derelict. Sure, you can go higher for short bursts, or maybe push things to 1.1G over the whole journey, but overall, 1G is about it for practical purposes. An unmanned drone such as a base Dragau(or even something far slower such as a Tiamat or the venerable M-5 Caspar) can use the full power of its engines across long distances, allowing it to cross large distances with ease. It can also perform a high-speed pass, and then turn around for another run far faster than any manned ship could.
I believe a (trained?) human can withstand about 2Gs for up to 24 hours, and 11-12ish Gs for about a minute which is the limit I believe that B-tech uses. Though oddly if one looks at the Turning rates a B-tech fighter can pull 25ish Gs when pulling some of their turns and that is with out the use of the engines to assist in turning.

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Re: DropShip of the Week: Dragau
« Reply #15 on: 27 December 2013, 19:55:30 »
LOVE this dropper.   Tagged for reading later.
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Re: DropShip of the Week: Dragau
« Reply #16 on: 28 December 2013, 01:25:56 »
The thrust won't actually kill a fit crewman during a dogfight, it's no worse than many ASFs, and far easier than a lot of lighter designs out there. Okay, there is a risk of crew damage, but it's easy to mitigate even during high-G burns. It's during longer burns that those kinds of continual G-forces will cripple or kill humans. We can handle 9-Gs for a few moments just fine, but a few hours of it(even in a special-designed high-G couch) will literally crush us under the weight of our own innards. A manned DropShip(even one as zippy as a Dragau II) is limited to 1g thrust when crossing long distances across a system or from a world's orbit to a nearby moon if it doesn't want to arrive at its destination a ballistic derelict. Sure, you can go higher for short bursts, or maybe push things to 1.1G over the whole journey, but overall, 1G is about it for practical purposes.

I can't disagree with your facts because I'm not very well read up on it.

But I would point out that in BT fiction there are more than a few references to ships making 1.5-2.5G burns in from both standard & pirate points.

I seem to recall Hasek-Davion doing 1.5G's for several days to get to Terra for the Wedding.
And IIRC, some unit doing 2.5G's for several hours to a couple days, to hit a planet from pirate point w/o warning in one of the books.

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Re: DropShip of the Week: Dragau
« Reply #17 on: 28 December 2013, 01:28:18 »
Sometime i wonder if I designed the Dragau too good.

We just may have done the job a bit too well. 

I don't think so, I love this bird.
It is everything, IMHO, that an attack dropship should be.
Fast, armored, & w/o those silly cap weapons we see now days.
Its an Avenger on Steroids & I loves it.
Well done I say!   [applause]

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Re: DropShip of the Week: Dragau
« Reply #18 on: 28 December 2013, 10:12:29 »
I think it was good addition to limited number of assault type dropships out there. As for balancing universe, these ships have very limited number outside Republic hands.  I'm not to sure what the RAF fleet's looked like before the retreat to the wall, but I'd imaged that there was maybe dozen or so of these bird that ended up in various faction's hands.

New production is limited to walled in Republic, who to say the production facilities won't survived and be prepurposed for something else?  They'd be crazy to do so, but its happened before.  Who'd think to see the Vengeance Class DropShips suddenly re-enter production with various factions like the FedSuns, when before they were few in number and very limited production before?  The ship badly need of update with Jihad era equipment bouncing around since we only have obsolete/upgraded (3057) models out there.  Carriers maybe vulnerable and should be getting into a fight, you still need keep your boat update handle new threats.
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Re: DropShip of the Week: Dragau
« Reply #19 on: 28 December 2013, 13:39:00 »
The Vengeance did get an update, it's in Liao/Canopian service.

As for everyone else, why update it instead of using the existing models? I'm not sure exactly how you can reasonably upgrade something that's meant to be nothing more than a bunch of ASF bays bolted together with an engine at one end.
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Re: DropShip of the Week: Dragau
« Reply #20 on: 28 December 2013, 13:59:21 »
The Vengeance did get an update, it's in Liao/Canopian service.

As for everyone else, why update it instead of using the existing models? I'm not sure exactly how you can reasonably upgrade something that's meant to be nothing more than a bunch of ASF bays bolted together with an engine at one end.
Like a lot AMS for those nasty Cap & Sub-Cap Missiles. ;)
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