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Author Topic: DropShip of the Week: Aesir/Vanir  (Read 5047 times)

Jellico

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DropShip of the Week: Aesir/Vanir
« on: 08 February 2014, 18:27:47 »
Aesir/Vanir, TRO3085


Because the Clans lack Sub Capital Cannons and Lasers (pre 3090) they have real problems developing Pocket WarShips. Inner Sphere PWSs have their origin in needing to kill Clan WarShips. Though missile armed ships were initially effective, time has seen a number of countermeasures adopted that severely reduce the effectiveness of Capital Missiles.

The Aesir class represents a totally different way of handling the problem.  When Clan Ghost Bear designed the Aesir they had the most powerful WarShips in the universe. They did not need PWSs to kill ships. Their requirements were for an escort ship to defend their logistical lines from low level attacks and shield their WarShips from nuclear attacks. As such the Aesir class doesn’t even pretend to be a ship killer. Instead it is nearly unique as an AAA platform.

The basic concept of the Aesir is to establish a bubble of layered defence where it and its Star mates dominate. The outer layer is a sensor bubble. A NCSS provides an extended sensor range and superior Command and Control facilities than are available to most ships. In practical terms for most games this means an Initiative Roll bonus.
The next layer is a Trinary of aerospace fighters. These establish a physical barrier between an enemy and whatever is being defended. Additionally the Aesir operate a number of Small Craft and marines for boarding operations, minimising the exposure of the DropShip in a picket role. A large cargo bay exists to supply all of this aerospace capability.
The third layer is the DropShip itself. At longer ranges a battery of Piranha missiles are able to provide distant fire support. Unfortunately these are a little lacking in reach, preventing true stand off capability, though they do have extended magazines to allow more speculative and bearing shots. Closer in an array of ER lasers, pulse lasers, ATMs and HAGs offer solid weapons able to cover most defensive formations. Finally a WarShip scale AMS battery makes it very difficult to either hit the Aesir with a nuclear weapon or hit a target the Aesir is defending.
The derivative Vanir class abandons the Aerospace fighters in favour of more Piranhas and a Sting Ray battery. This is a truly powerful AAA platform able to take on a wing of heavy fighters by itself. The is more impressive than it sounds because the lack of an organic blocking force means that the Vanir is vulnerable to being swarmed and targeted along vulnerable arcs unless another blocking force is available.

So how does one use this class of ships? As a class, both the Aesir and Vanir love friends, indeed the fluff suggests they work together in pairs. In this situation their weaknesses as spheroid hulls are minimised because one can always cover the other’s weak arcs. Additionally it is likely that they would be deployed with smaller DropShips like Noruffs or Broadswords which can assist the aerospace fighters in a blocking role. Neither ship has truly great reach, and performs best about 25 hexes away from the centre of the main battle. This isn’t that hard given their reasonable thrust rating. Their spheroid hulls and use of missiles mean that they are not the best anti ship platforms. However their size and firepower means that they are still capable of brutalising most DropShips.
It is worth noting that the fluff has Vanir deployed alongside the Ghost Bear battleships. It is easy to imagine these ships sticking close to the big WarShips where the combined defensive firepower would be terrifying.

How does one defeat an Aesir? Simply by going after it. An Aesir is at its most dangerous if it is allowed to sit behind a defensive line and provide fire support. Despite its heavy armour an Aesir is surprisingly easy to kill if a few turns of fire can be maintained against a single arc. This demands something that can penetrate the shielding units. Hard hitting ships like Interdictors and Taihous have proved effective in this role. This is more difficult with more “authentic” Aesir stars, but a game with a full star starts to push the limits of an easily manageable game. If anyone ever plays a game with a Leviathan II using Vanirs let us know.

In summary Aesirs and Vanirs look big and scary, but their hull form and weapons mean they are not the ship killers their size suggests. What their size does buy them is a balanced hull with specialisation towards AAA and working as part of a formation. The more you push them in this direction the more effective they are. Take them out of their comfort zone and treat them as lone wolves and they suffer badly.

Diablo48

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Re: DropShip of the Week: Aesir/Vanir
« Reply #1 on: 09 February 2014, 22:33:52 »
That sounds right on the money to me.  The Bears can drop a Leviathan II on hostile WarShips if needed so there is really no reason to worry about that when designing a dropper like this, and the formation/escort roll is critical when you have the biggest WarShip on the block which you need to protect.  A lone Leviathan can be overwhelmed with nukes from a swarm of DropShips even with its enormous aerospace wing, but loading those collars up with Vanirs will make the resulting formation virtually unstoppable without groups of WarShips which simply do not exist any more.


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Wrangler

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Re: DropShip of the Week: Aesir/Vanir
« Reply #2 on: 10 February 2014, 23:20:38 »
Thank you for your enlightening write up on the Aesir/Vanir Class DropShips, Jellico. 

I hadn't realized that the ships were more anti-aerospace fighter vessels. 
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Weirdo

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Re: DropShip of the Week: Aesir/Vanir
« Reply #3 on: 10 February 2014, 23:26:50 »
Well, they've got the punch to lay some solid hurt on other DropShips, but the fact that it's all equally effective on a greater threat(fighters) means that it's usually a good idea to use it as such.

On the other hand, you can often knock the wind out of the sails of any fighter group by killing their carriers(when applicable). If you think you can survive the fighter swarm(or keep them at bay with your own) long enough to make a break for the big ships, feel free to do so. Even Clan pilots aren't likely to go full-stupid when their carrier is gone, so odds are that you'd have some good prisoners and/or salvage that way. Of course, doing thids does obviously involve drawing resources away from the fighter fight, and if you lose that fight, your ships probably aren't long for this world.
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Diablo48

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Re: DropShip of the Week: Aesir/Vanir
« Reply #4 on: 10 February 2014, 23:41:13 »
Well, they've got the punch to lay some solid hurt on other DropShips, but the fact that it's all equally effective on a greater threat(fighters) means that it's usually a good idea to use it as such.

On the other hand, you can often knock the wind out of the sails of any fighter group by killing their carriers(when applicable). If you think you can survive the fighter swarm(or keep them at bay with your own) long enough to make a break for the big ships, feel free to do so. Even Clan pilots aren't likely to go full-stupid when their carrier is gone, so odds are that you'd have some good prisoners and/or salvage that way. Of course, doing thids does obviously involve drawing resources away from the fighter fight, and if you lose that fight, your ships probably aren't long for this world.

That does work in the modern era, but these guys were designed during the Jihad when they could expect fire support from a WarShip to knock out the carriers for them and when the expected enemy was the Word of Blake who are most definitely crazy enough to start ramming when you blow up the carriers.  Thus it would not make sense for them to be designed to go after the carrier and focus on dealing with fighters which is exactly what we see.


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Weirdo

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Re: DropShip of the Week: Aesir/Vanir
« Reply #5 on: 11 February 2014, 00:38:44 »
More like the WoB are the only ones where a tiny portion of the populace might do it, and maybe a noticeable porportion among the MD themselves. Even among the WoB, the rest would be working stiffs just like everyone else.

That being said, those ships assigned to work with a Leviathan would indeed be able to rely on that monster for the anti-ship work. Of course, the groups assigned convoy protection duty would still have to do it themselves, even during the Jihad.
"Thanks to Megamek, I can finally play BattleTech the way it was meant to be played--pantsless!"   -Neko Bijin
"It's just that the Hegemony had one answer to every naval problem. 'I kills it with my battleships.'" - Liam's Ghost
"...finally, giant space panties don't seem so strange." - Whistler
"The BT universe is startlingly deficient in both wisdom and hindsight." - Cray
"Damn you, Weirdo... Damn you for being right!" - Paul
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Jellico

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Re: DropShip of the Week: Aesir/Vanir
« Reply #6 on: 11 February 2014, 01:58:00 »
Conceptually these ships predate the Jihad.

The notes went something like, Dropships are garbage. ASF are great. All CVs are garbage.

A search for a competent CV led to the Titan. A spheroid hull dragged more out of the Titan but a size increase was also needed. Capital missiles required for standoff ability. So basically the Aesir's specs were driven by the need for 30ASF, a minimum cargo/ASF ratio, and the desire to carry capital missiles.

Basically the Aesir is the one you should be fearing because a trio carry enough ASF power to end an Aegis. The Vanirs are just cream.

That being said, those ships assigned to work with a Leviathan would indeed be able to rely on that monster for the anti-ship work. Of course, the groups assigned convoy protection duty would still have to do it themselves, even during the Jihad.

HMS Ulysses was very much in mind when these were developed.

Weirdo

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Re: DropShip of the Week: Aesir/Vanir
« Reply #7 on: 11 February 2014, 02:02:26 »
Not familiar with that one...
"Thanks to Megamek, I can finally play BattleTech the way it was meant to be played--pantsless!"   -Neko Bijin
"It's just that the Hegemony had one answer to every naval problem. 'I kills it with my battleships.'" - Liam's Ghost
"...finally, giant space panties don't seem so strange." - Whistler
"The BT universe is startlingly deficient in both wisdom and hindsight." - Cray
"Damn you, Weirdo... Damn you for being right!" - Paul
"...I was this many years old when I found out that licking a touchscreen in excitement is a bad idea." - JadeHellbringer

sillybrit

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Re: DropShip of the Week: Aesir/Vanir
« Reply #8 on: 11 February 2014, 04:56:42 »
I'm assuming Alistair MacLean's novel of the same name, about a RN convoy escort that has to take on German warships. Can't recall if it was a transatlantic or Murmansk run as it's been too long since I read it - I want to say the latter, but not 100% sure. I do recall that I preferred The Cruel Sea - with my dad ex-RN I got to read a lot of naval fiction as a boy LOL.

Trace Coburn

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Re: DropShip of the Week: Aesir/Vanir
« Reply #9 on: 11 February 2014, 06:42:29 »
I'm assuming Alistair MacLean's novel of the same name, about a RN convoy escort that has to take on German warships. Can't recall if it was a transatlantic or Murmansk run as it's been too long since I read it - I want to say the latter, but not 100% sure. I do recall that I preferred The Cruel Sea - with my dad ex-RN I got to read a lot of naval fiction as a boy LOL.
  It was Murmansk — I must’ve read that book fifty times as a kid, and I still have a copy today.  The sea, the brutal late-autumn weather, and the lack of sleep were almost enough to kill her and her crew even before you threw in the U-boat wolf-packs, the Luftwaffe, a Hipper-class cruiser, and the constant spectre of a sortie by Tirpitz.  Certainly all of that helped exacerbate the tensions within her crew....
  FWIW, the fictional HMS Ulysses was a modified Dido-class cruiser, meant to control a carrier squadron and all their fighters: she was fast, agile, tough, and had a shed-load of firepower — for the record: four twin-5.25" dual-purpose turrets; two triple torpedo-tubes; depth-charge racks; three quad-barrel ‘pom-poms’, and the usual profusion of twin-20mm Oerlikons — and perhaps most vitally, some of the best sensor systems of her day, including not only ASDIC (sonar) but one of the most sophisticated radar suites to put to sea during WW2, capable of air-search, fighter-direction, surface-search, and gunnery fire-control for AA and surface-warfare.
  Scary part is, I wrote all of that from memory.  :o

Jellico

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Re: DropShip of the Week: Aesir/Vanir
« Reply #10 on: 11 February 2014, 07:21:35 »
You missed her engines. Old Alistair kept going on and on about them.


Yeah. I had the Didos more in mind than the Atlantas with the Aesirs. I like Didos more. The Americans never really understood light cruisers.  O:-)

Oddly enough that description matches the Aesirs quite well down to the electronics. That was subconscious.

I really want to write a Jihad scenario with a Aesir based on that novel one day. It is just so hard to balance and convoy raiding doesn't work the same way in BT.

Cambo

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Re: DropShip of the Week: Aesir/Vanir
« Reply #11 on: 18 February 2014, 23:15:17 »
Well the Raven Exodus to the inner sphere deninately sounds  like the  tragedies of PK-17 could be mapped onto it...  And that was the inspiration for that book (at least from my googling of it...   Jeremy Clarkson did a documentary on PK-17 that aired this past Xmas - part of his series on forgotten WWII battles)

Wrangler

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Re: DropShip of the Week: Aesir/Vanir
« Reply #12 on: 18 February 2014, 23:40:03 »
You missed her engines. Old Alistair kept going on and on about them.


Yeah. I had the Didos more in mind than the Atlantas with the Aesirs. I like Didos more. The Americans never really understood light cruisers.  O:-)

Oddly enough that description matches the Aesirs quite well down to the electronics. That was subconscious.

I really want to write a Jihad scenario with a Aesir based on that novel one day. It is just so hard to balance and convoy raiding doesn't work the same way in BT.
What about the Worcester Class Light Cruisers, weren't they nod towards making a light cruiser similar to Dido?  Atlanta Class ships were along those lines as well, but they were too frail unfortunately for their crews.

I wonder if the Ventura Class Light Cruiser (WarShip) would been like the Aesir, i guess we'll never know.
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Jellico

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Re: DropShip of the Week: Aesir/Vanir
« Reply #13 on: 19 February 2014, 03:14:08 »
Worcester Class - 13,000 tons std
Atlanta Class - 6000 std
Dido Class - 5700-5900 std

DaveMac

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Re: DropShip of the Week: Aesir/Vanir
« Reply #14 on: 19 February 2014, 04:40:00 »
Well the Raven Exodus to the inner sphere deninately sounds  like the  tragedies of PK-17 could be mapped onto it...  And that was the inspiration for that book (at least from my googling of it...   Jeremy Clarkson did a documentary on PK-17 that aired this past Xmas - part of his series on forgotten WWII battles)

PQ-17 with my pedants hat on

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03n3297

http://www.merchantnavyofficers.com/PQ.html

http://www.russianarcticconvoymuseum.co.uk/wp/
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