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Author Topic: WarShip of the Week: Athena  (Read 9274 times)

Jellico

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WarShip of the Week: Athena
« on: 14 January 2015, 02:53:57 »
Athena-class cruiser: FR2765:Periphery

The Athena is a bit of a tough ship to write about because everything about it is so odd. At 500,000 tons it is tiny. It has 30 missile launchers and huge naval laser batteries, yet can still play gun duels with big bads like Camerons. Its fluff is complex (and I won’t do it justice) yet tells us very little about the service history of the class. So just how did the Magistracy of Canopus end up with the most powerful Periphery WarShip short of a Stephan Amaris?


At its heart the Athena is basically a thought exercise. “Designed” by the Terran Alliance in the age before James McKenna  it would be revised by the Terran Hegemony to see service as the Aegis before finally being built by the Magistracy. The Athena’s basic 2170s concept was simple. Nuke it till the dust glows. Big lasers would provide support against less nuke worthy targets and allow orbital bombardment. It is really truly that simple.
In the real world the Hegemony navy found NACs could chainsaw their way through most things and you didn’t need to throw 18 nukes a minute at a target to win. So the design went no further (or did it… Eyes Cruiser class cruiser.) until the Magistracy of Canopus found the design and decided that they could build it. NACs were added for frontal attacks and orbital bombardment.

First launched in 2569 the Athena class arrived just in time to fight in the Succession War starting 2577. We don’t know what the eleven ships of the Magistracy were, but it seems to have been mostly corvettes. Ultimately Tetski (2682) and Thurrock (2683) reduced the fleet to a Concordat and Athena. These two ships survived the war and would ultimately be part of the Magistracy’s contribution to New Vandenberg Uprising (2765). We can guess what happened to them.

So what do we get in an Athena? She is a tiny ship with a lot of guns. As noted the broadside is comparable to a second line SLDF cruiser. The missile battery is the impressive part. Lots and lots of White Sharks. Two problems stand out. Firstly they are not particularly accurate meaning close ranged combat. Secondly the magazines are shallow and the small cargo bay won’t help with reloads. Quad NAC30s sit forward and aft creating an interesting tactical problem. The broadside arc has inferior throw weight compared to fighting off the fore or aft quarters. Fighting in these arcs is a little tricky given the Athena’s low thrust.

Armour is a little light for a cruiser but good for a frigate. As noted the cargo bay is small. On the other hand living conditions are very good with all crew in first-class passenger compartments while there are two 225m Grav decks. Surely these were known as the love boats? As an older design the Athena lacked docking collars and had 22 Small craft. Four Motorized Infantry Platoons are carried. I am not sure for what purpose. I guess it represents extra equipment for the marines?

So how do you use an Athena? Well the lack of collars and limited flight deck make this a straight gun boat. Bearings-Only Launches are attractive given the size of the missile battery. Accuracy could be a problem as will be the ammo bins. More important is the lack of pinning units to force the targets to stay in a predictable location. Still a role as very long distance fire support exists against both fighters and capital ships.
Closer in the Athena would be advised to fight bow on, or if possible, on the aft quarter pulling away from the enemy. Way Point Launches are a must to get that extra bit of firepower from the capital missiles in disengaged arcs.
The AA potential of the Athena is formidable, but Evasion will limit accuracy outside 25 hexes.
Finally there is the nuclear option. The Athena can throw a lot of nukes which is completely legitimate under the Ares Convention.

Probably the safest way of dealing with an Athena is using aerospace fighters. It would take about 80, but it is safer than facing all those potential nukes. The 80:18 fighter overlap in the merge means the Athena’s screen will evaporate. Hit a single arc then wear the armour out. The danger is from the missile systems. They will kill a fighter or two for 10 turns, then ammo becomes a problem.
(Played this out with 18 Stuka, 6 Hammerhead, 12 Samurai, and 18 Sparrowhawk vs 1 Athena, 6 Eagle, 6 DragonFly, 6 Sabre representing Reunification War forces. With just 54 fighters the Athena was relying on its SI to survive.)
« Last Edit: 05 February 2015, 18:48:05 by Jellico »

Maelwys

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Re: WarShip of the Week: Athena
« Reply #1 on: 14 January 2015, 08:06:42 »
First launched in 2569 the Athena class arrived just in time to fight in the Succession War starting 2577. We don’t know what the eleven ships of the Magistracy were, but it seems to have been mostly corvettes. Ultimately Tetski (2682) and Thurrock (2683) reduced the fleet to a Concordat and Athena. These two ships survived the war and would ultimately be part of the Magistracy’s contribution to New Vandenberg Uprising (2765). We can guess what happened to them.

Pretty sure you mean Reunification War :)

And I'm not even sure we know that much about the Athena-class (or the MoC's WarShips for that matter). We know that they have a Concordant and an Athena in 2766, but the Concordant is listed as being refurbished, while the Kossandra is listed as being 'recently launched.' Neither really indicates one way or another if those two ships survived the Reunification War (unless I'm missing some fluff somewhere). To make matters more confusing, the Kossandra and the Athena are listed on one page as being built prior to the Reunification War, and the Kossandra is listed as being "recently launched" on another page, which indicates to me that it was recently built, rather than say, refurbished (like the Concordant-class Fury was). The Magistracy's navy is so mired in secrecy we can't even be sure how many were produced :)

Quote
Armour is a little light for a cruiser but good for a frigate. As noted the cargo bay is small. On the other hand living conditions are very good with all crew in first-class passenger compartments while there are two 225m Grav decks. Surely these were known as the love boats? As an older design the Athena lacked docking collars and had 22 Small craft. Four Motorized Infantry Platoons are carried. I am not sure for what purpose. I guess it represents extra equipment for the marines?

I assumed the Motorized Infantry Platoons are the ship's marines. Though I question why you would want them to be motorized, unless maybe its to indicate some sort of specialized marine equipment. Its also a shame that the Marines and the bay personnel seem to be out of luck when it comes to the accommodations. There just aren't that many left after the officers/enlisted and gunners take them. Still. The Magistracy obviously worried about the health of their crews (And maybe keeping experienced crews) as the Athena has more than double the number of escape craft needed.

Quote
So how do you use an Athena? Well the lack of collars and limited flight deck make this a straight gun boat. Bearings-Only Launches are attractive given the size of the missile battery. Accuracy could be a problem as will be the ammo bins. More important is the lack of pinning units to force the targets to stay in a predictable location. Still a role as very long distance fire support exists against both fighters and capital ships.
Closer in the Athena would be advised to fight bow on, or if possible, on the aft quarter pulling away from the enemy. Way Point Launches are a must to get that extra bit of firepower from the capital missiles in disengaged arcs.

Limited ammo is a problem, and its cargo bay is small (I suggest its atleast partially due to the Magistracy wanting to keep them close), but there is enough to let the Athena reload fully atleast once. I suspect ICly, the Magistracy knew its ships were dead if they got stuck into long fights with the SLDF/FWL Navy. Of course, that might have also been the reason when they were ambushed during the Reunification War that they didn't survive.

Quote
The AA potential of the Athena is formidable, but Evasion will limit accuracy outside 25 hexes.

Bracketing will help a bit, the NL bays are big enough though if you play that as a Star League only option, that's a moot point. On the other hand, the Athena can afford to fire off its NLs and take risky shots because its heat dissipation system can handle it handily (assuming the math on the sheet is right).

Quote
Finally there is the nuclear option. The Athena can throw a lot of nukes which is completely legitimate under the Ares Convention.

And I bet this scared the heck out of the SLDF/FWL Navy when they first heard about the design. It might also be another reason for the limited ammo bays. "There's not going to be much left after you fire off 30 nukes, so you don't need deep ammo bays."

I was rather pleased with the design when it came out. Early fluff from another design suggested a Terran Alliance pedigree, and that brought about a worry about a design that would've just gotten lost against designs from a more "modern" age, and I was glad to see that wasn't the case.

Of course, now I'm kind of curious about motorized marines.

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Re: WarShip of the Week: Athena
« Reply #2 on: 14 January 2015, 08:35:40 »
Athena was one those design names that i thought were interesting to me.  Reading the Historical: Reunification War sourcebook, I didn't think the Magistracy of Canopus was able to build ships with Taurian allies being big ship brokers for entire Periphery save the Rim Worlds Republic.  Jellico and Weird, being masters of all things big and scary in space, know better than anything I have to say about it.  I do have couple thoughts on the ship.

Being a primitive/1st generation WarShip design is interesting, though i was under impression it was a powerful unit from previous write ups in previous books when comparing the other first generation ships to each other.  I guess it is but not how I thought it would be.  Hybrid Missile Cruiser, not unlike the Cruiser Class (Missile) Cruiser.   Designed for different era, modified for the dusk of the Age of War when nukes were still being flung around with out abandon against other WarShips.

I get the impression that the Broadside missile tubes it was mentioned else where were intended to bombard enemies units on ground as well in space, not necessary with nukes but it's originators were thinking about it. 

Comparing to them to old Star League Frigates makes sense, since a lot of the low end cruisers have been very interchangable with cruiser designation.  The Quixote was originally intended as a Battlecruiser, but was reworked into a Missile Frigate.   The Athena would have been in my eyes a Missile Frigate I would think.

Anyways, it unique design, It's bow and stern guns are pretty harsh if anyone runs into them.  Its too bad it's extremely a rare vessel to encounter.   How this second ship was produced, is mystery in fluff. Unless it was some incompleted ship that they dashed away before the yard was blown up completely.  I'd imagine that MoC got outside help jumpstart their WarShip programs from RWR for their move into the Inner Sphere I'd imagine.

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Maelwys

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Re: WarShip of the Week: Athena
« Reply #3 on: 14 January 2015, 09:22:17 »
Its not the second ship that's the question, its the possible third ship that's the question. Mostly. :)

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Re: WarShip of the Week: Athena
« Reply #4 on: 14 January 2015, 11:48:51 »
Between the NACs and the Cap missiles I do not want to get in a chase scenario with this thing. Waypoints might not be the most accurate method of hitting a target, but sheer number of tubes makes up for some of that. The low thrust might make it possible to close on an Athena, but the crits you take in the process could change the math more than you like.
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Re: WarShip of the Week: Athena
« Reply #5 on: 14 January 2015, 13:55:53 »
Maybe the marines were all rolling around the ship on Segways?   :D

When you say 22 small craft, does that include fighters?  I'm guessing it does, since 18 fighters were mentioned later.  If not, could a complement of combat-oriented small craft like the Aquarius and Lyonesse help it defend itself from fighters (or serve any other useful purpose for that matter)?
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BrokenMnemonic

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Re: WarShip of the Week: Athena
« Reply #6 on: 14 January 2015, 14:03:31 »
And I'm not even sure we know that much about the Athena-class (or the MoC's WarShips for that matter). We know that they have a Concordant and an Athena in 2766, but the Concordant is listed as being refurbished, while the Kossandra is listed as being 'recently launched.' Neither really indicates one way or another if those two ships survived the Reunification War (unless I'm missing some fluff somewhere). To make matters more confusing, the Kossandra and the Athena are listed on one page as being built prior to the Reunification War, and the Kossandra is listed as being "recently launched" on another page, which indicates to me that it was recently built, rather than say, refurbished (like the Concordant-class Fury was). The Magistracy's navy is so mired in secrecy we can't even be sure how many were produced :)
The background for the Concordat in Historical: Reunification War states that no new Concordats were produced after the end of the War, so the seven in Field Report 2765: Periphery have to be survivors of the war.

Given that the Athena in service in 2765 was described as "recently launched" whereas the Fury is mentioned as being "refurbished", which gave me the impression that the more recent Kossandra Centrella was a new ship given the same name as an old one - given that Kossandra founded the Magistracy, it's not unreasonable to assume that her name would be important enough to end up on a WarShip several times, in the same way that Lucien Davion seems to crop up pretty regularly.

(I'm still delighted that there are multiple named Concordats in Field Report 2765: Periphery. So many WarShip names.... mmmmmmm.)

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Re: WarShip of the Week: Athena
« Reply #7 on: 14 January 2015, 14:03:51 »
Maybe the marines were all rolling around the ship on Segways?   :D

When you say 22 small craft, does that include fighters?  I'm guessing it does, since 18 fighters were mentioned later.  If not, could a complement of combat-oriented small craft like the Aquarius and Lyonesse help it defend itself from fighters (or serve any other useful purpose for that matter)?

Depends on the availability of fighters. There was transition between beefed up Small Craft that were basically forerunners for Aerospace Fighters and actual AeroSpace Fighters.  Athena design itself predates it, but small/light Aerospace fighters can use the small craft bays if i remember right. 

Example of those forerunners to the Intrepid Assault Craft in XTRO:Primitives IV.  Its was hybrid ship being used fill in for older small craft used act as fighter and boarding crafts used by marines.  The early Ares/Mark series Small Craft were used in those roles.
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Re: WarShip of the Week: Athena
« Reply #8 on: 14 January 2015, 14:58:39 »
You've got it the other way around, I think:  Small Craft of 100 tons of less can use fighter bays.  Even the largest ASF should be able to fit a small craft bay easily, since they're designed for craft that are up to twice the size of ASF.
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Jellico

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Re: WarShip of the Week: Athena
« Reply #9 on: 14 January 2015, 15:32:42 »
Certain older ships that predate ASF are designed without Fighter Bays, instead using Small Craft Bays. That also includes some modern ships like the Avalon which just do it because of the flexibility.



Bracketing will help a bit, the NL bays are big enough though if you play that as a Star League only option, that's a moot point. On the other hand, the Athena can afford to fire off its NLs and take risky shots because its heat dissipation system can handle it handily (assuming the math on the sheet is right).

And I bet this scared the heck out of the SLDF/FWL Navy when they first heard about the design. It might also be another reason for the limited ammo bays. "There's not going to be much left after you fire off 30 nukes, so you don't need deep ammo bays."

I am not even sure that the Hegemony was universally bracketing in 2600. It was a technology that came in around then and didn't get outside the SLDF until the 3070s. (This is the explanation why no one ever did it in Battletech fluff before Strategic Operations, and why the SLDF ships were effective despite their painfully obvious flaws. Bracketing makes some of their flaws assets.) AA mode for the naval lasers is fine though.

The Hegemony Fleet was designed for a nuclear environment. Ares didn't protected them and there were plenty of other attack vectors. There is a reason I play tested a battalion of fighters rather than a WarShip.

Also remember that this was the FWL front. They have to deal with Athenas too.


I get the impression that the Broadside missile tubes it was mentioned else where were intended to bombard enemies units on ground as well in space, not necessary with nukes but it's originators were thinking about it. 

The aft lasers are always about bombardment.

The missile tubes are more about what people thought would be effective in space without practical knowledge. Hitting something with unguided weapons at 700 km presents a formidable challenge with the period's weapons. You can't even use cannons (as opposed to modern auto cannons) in space.






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Re: WarShip of the Week: Athena
« Reply #10 on: 14 January 2015, 15:59:00 »

When they designed the original they didn't even had Naval sized Standard Lasers, maybe the original had some form of Naval sized primitive chemical lasers?
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Maelwys

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Re: WarShip of the Week: Athena
« Reply #11 on: 14 January 2015, 20:30:53 »
The background for the Concordat in Historical: Reunification War states that no new Concordats were produced after the end of the War, so the seven in Field Report 2765: Periphery have to be survivors of the war.

Or it could've been salvaged and refurbished, like the FWL and WoB would do later in the 3050's and 60's. "Man, we've got a lot of Pintos, we need something to bulk it up a bit." "Well, there's that Concordant that we'd pretty much written off due to the expense of salvaging it, and we've got a dock slip open..."

It may make it possible that the Fury was one of the Magistracy's survivors, but not a guarantee. That ship could've been lost over the intervening 150 years.

Quote
Given that the Athena in service in 2765 was described as "recently launched" whereas the Fury is mentioned as being "refurbished", which gave me the impression that the more recent Kossandra Centrella was a new ship given the same name as an old one - given that Kossandra founded the Magistracy, it's not unreasonable to assume that her name would be important enough to end up on a WarShip several times, in the same way that Lucien Davion seems to crop up pretty regularly.

Entirely possible, and that's the way I want to read it, but it could be a mistake as well.

Maelwys

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Re: WarShip of the Week: Athena
« Reply #12 on: 15 January 2015, 07:14:05 »
Speaking of Motorized Marines (or Marines in general really) what were they using to transport them to other ships? The various Battle Taxis seem to be relatively modern inventions. Were they just throwing Shuttles and Dropshuttles at the targets and hoping for the best? (Even the Bus wouldn't be available until after the Reunification War).

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Re: WarShip of the Week: Athena
« Reply #13 on: 15 January 2015, 08:38:16 »
Personally, I find the image of Marines driving around in old school Shriners tiny cars counting as "Motorized Infantry" hilarious.
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Re: WarShip of the Week: Athena
« Reply #14 on: 15 January 2015, 11:58:55 »
Speaking of Motorized Marines (or Marines in general really) what were they using to transport them to other ships? The various Battle Taxis seem to be relatively modern inventions. Were they just throwing Shuttles and Dropshuttles at the targets and hoping for the best? (Even the Bus wouldn't be available until after the Reunification War).
Some of the extra escape pods/life boats, perhaps?
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Re: WarShip of the Week: Athena
« Reply #15 on: 15 January 2015, 16:01:59 »
Personally, I find the image of Marines driving around in old school Shriners tiny cars counting as "Motorized Infantry" hilarious.

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Re: WarShip of the Week: Athena
« Reply #16 on: 15 January 2015, 17:30:59 »
i suspect that, given the time this ship was in service, 'marine' units having enough light vehicles (like say, jeeps) that they could deploy groundside might be useful.. akin to the Colonial marines of Aliens or UNSC marines of Halo, perhaps.
with only 4 platoons, i doubt they were doing much boarding actions against hostile craft (though boarding for say, customs inspection, or a surrendered craft would be viable), but a company of motorized troops deployed groundside could be handy.. especially if deployed via dropshuttle in vertical envelopment, supported by fighters/assault shuttles.
« Last Edit: 15 January 2015, 17:34:10 by glitterboy2098 »

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Re: WarShip of the Week: Athena
« Reply #17 on: 15 January 2015, 17:48:56 »
Speaking of Motorized Marines (or Marines in general really) what were they using to transport them to other ships? The various Battle Taxis seem to be relatively modern inventions. Were they just throwing Shuttles and Dropshuttles at the targets and hoping for the best? (Even the Bus wouldn't be available until after the Reunification War).

The Mark III Ares could transport two platoons and was available during the mid 25th century. And the fluff for the Ares indicates that before that they were using shuttles that were poorly suited to getting through a fighter screen.
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Re: WarShip of the Week: Athena
« Reply #18 on: 15 January 2015, 18:53:29 »
Addressing comments of what I intended when I wrote up the Athena:

1) The Athena/Aegis had common roots and, like the Cruiser class, were meant as 2170-era inventions of Terran nations at the peak of Separatist hysteria. That said, the Cruiser did not evolve from the Athena; they were parallel thought experiments and research projects meant to complement each other.

2) The 4 motorized platoon bays give the Athena a formal, rules-based infantry complement. Saying the ship has marines in its first-class quarters is nice, but the few rules for deploying marines refer to bays, not quarters. In-character, you could say it's used for their gear, Shriner carts, and so on.

3) The 22 small craft bay are meant to typically carry 18 fighters and 4 small craft for the marines, but represent an almost pre-aerospace fighter concept where the ship might have to carry "armed shuttles."
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Re: WarShip of the Week: Athena
« Reply #19 on: 15 January 2015, 21:12:50 »
I hope that next and arguably the last XTRO: Primitives, Volume 5 will include "Armed Shuttle" type not unlike the Intrepid Assault Craft.  Intrepid is to rooted to House Davion to think of it being used as basis of other "armed shuttles" filling in the gaps of primitive age of warfare.  I do wonder what Athena's original designers had in mind when they installed those small craft bays.

We haven't really seen any Drop Shuttles yet, aside maybe the DRoST ships.
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Re: WarShip of the Week: Athena
« Reply #20 on: 03 February 2015, 08:48:49 »
I didn't think the Magistracy had native shipbuilding capability until the 3100's. Pre-Reunification Wars, I doubt they'd have been able to build any ships without Taurian assistance. Or yards, for that matter. I suspect they may have simply thrown money at it and leased a yard to build it. The Taurian yards would have been vacant, awaiting the oft-delayed final design for what would become the Wagon Wheel to be released(first launched 2570).

That may also explain why the Wagon Wheel's development was so messed up. It was torn between the Taurian Admiralty's desire for a dedicated support ship and the Magistracy's desire for something to just beef up their battle line.
« Last Edit: 03 February 2015, 08:51:43 by Intermittent_Coherence »

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Re: WarShip of the Week: Athena
« Reply #21 on: 03 February 2015, 15:14:21 »
Everything from FR2765 Periphery indicates that its a Magistracy built and designed ship. If they were producing them in the Taurian Concordant, then they would say so, and they don't. We also know the Diamond Garter Fleet Yard is called a "Shipyard" so we can assume that the Magistracy was producing them there.

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Re: WarShip of the Week: Athena
« Reply #22 on: 03 February 2015, 17:37:25 »
Compact cores were not that special in the Age of War.

Strat Ops P14-18 makes it pretty clear.

FS - 2360
TC - 2364
FW - 2368
LC - 2375
CC - 2380
DC - 2380
MC - 2569

The MC is 200 years behind everyone else. Plenty of time for development. Notably the aerospace focused Outworlds Alliance never got a WarShip yard.


Maelwys

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Re: WarShip of the Week: Athena
« Reply #23 on: 03 February 2015, 18:29:40 »
I thought they got a Pinto yard just prior to the Amaris Crisis?

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Re: WarShip of the Week: Athena
« Reply #24 on: 03 February 2015, 18:31:13 »
I thought they got a Pinto yard just prior to the Amaris Crisis?

They purchased Pintos prior to the Crisis, but IIRC they didn't have the means to construct new ones.
Look, dude, when you are a real mechwarrior you don't need to get all dressed up in cooling suits and cool helmets to work on your mech. You just strip down to your 1980s panties and crop top vest and start wrenchin' it.
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Maelwys

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Re: WarShip of the Week: Athena
« Reply #25 on: 03 February 2015, 18:41:19 »
FR: 2765 Periphery has them producing the Pinto-class over Alpheratz, the first being the OAS Pulsar.

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Re: WarShip of the Week: Athena
« Reply #26 on: 03 February 2015, 20:27:48 »
Well there ya have it.
Look, dude, when you are a real mechwarrior you don't need to get all dressed up in cooling suits and cool helmets to work on your mech. You just strip down to your 1980s panties and crop top vest and start wrenchin' it.
Yen Lo Wang = David Lo Pan

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Re: WarShip of the Week: Athena
« Reply #27 on: 04 February 2015, 06:35:49 »
1st class quarters all around? It somehow strains my suspension of disbelief that that was part of the original specifications.
I also wonder how the Magistracy got its hands on the schematics. MIM maybe?

It's heavily armored, though. I'll give it that. 90 SI with almost a kiloton of armor. The acceleration though, the weapons loadout will hurt, provided it can chase down its target. 2/3's only slightly better than a militarized Aquilla, which on second thought may actually be a plus.

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Re: WarShip of the Week: Athena
« Reply #28 on: 04 February 2015, 06:57:52 »
Since the Hegemony was selling entire warships to periphery states at the time, I assume the magistracy just bought the plans off them.
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Maelwys

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Re: WarShip of the Week: Athena
« Reply #29 on: 04 February 2015, 19:54:25 »
1st class quarters all around? It somehow strains my suspension of disbelief that that was part of the original specifications.
I also wonder how the Magistracy got its hands on the schematics. MIM maybe?

Well, they did say that the Magistracy redesigned it, so they could've easily added them in. And its not quite for everyone. The poor bay personnel are still stuck in bad quarters. Still must have been nice.

As for how they got it. Well MIM is a possibility, or bribery. Maybe it was just that old that people didn't  mind passing  it along.


 

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