Author Topic: What's old is neu: Relighting the Fringe with old guns and new wars  (Read 6192 times)

Gorgon

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I can't remember where, but I dimly remember a story where one of the complications of the FTL drive was that it crashed all digital computers on board and they had to be reconfigured, all software reinstalled after each jump. Just a random thought.
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Elmoth

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SPACE TRAVEL
Oh, that is a nice feature. I like it! With computers that are complicated, I can see wait times having some things to do with that. And then hangar bays in the craft having MANUAL opening mechanisms to make the ANALOGIC space fighters able to leave the craft to protect the jumpship after jumping.

Talk about a blast from the past in era of space travel.

I like that idea.

ISLAND PLANETS
Yes, what you describe is something else. Internal travel is done with assets that were already on planet. I can buy that 100%. The problem is when you invade and you need a navy, and you do not have one. That is tricky. I will probably still have some major islands, but mostly a land based planet. For the problems that we are describing.

What I may do is create an airborne merc unit, though. Fighters and airborne infantry. That looks feasible as a "punchy" unit that comes, hits and leaves, leaving all kinds of problems for the following PBI that will follow for occupation tasks later.
« Last Edit: 14 June 2024, 05:41:15 by Elmoth »

ANS Kamas P81

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I can't remember where, but I dimly remember a story where one of the complications of the FTL drive was that it crashed all digital computers on board and they had to be reconfigured, all software reinstalled after each jump. Just a random thought.

That was a feature of the CoDominium setting for Niven and Pournelle (RIP), where "Alderson tramlines" connected different points of space around stars and were used like wormhole space travel.  They'd screw up computers to the point it took time to reset everything after a jump.

Looking at L-O's product list and smiling; it seems that there'd be a deal with Vereeniging's arms producers to license-build stuff on Mriya Slaviya.  Their mindset and vehicle paradigm fits the desert outback setting of MS well, and don't have the high tech equipment that the Mriyans can't support effectively.  Importing things directly wouldn't work because it's a long trip from Vereeniging to Mriya Slaviya, but information and design specs only have to make a single trip.

I suppose the K11 rifle in service is a bit of an outlier, maybe that's been designed with help from Hochstadt.  It's definitely a bells-and-whistles weapon system: thermal optics, ballistic computer, compact electronics, and programmable munitions.  Same would go for the Gripen aircraft in the MSAF;

As far as exoskeletons go, I'd say they're TL5 equipment - we're in the infancy stage of them as far as that goes, so TL4 seems to be where you could develop prototypes but mass production and actually useful, mature technology exos would be mid-21st-century tech, so I'd say TL5.

As far as getting miniatures, I can get basic Ratel variants (but not the ATGM) from GHQ.  Brigade Models has its own AFV line which is different from the real-world stuff.  I did find a dealer online who resin-prints vehicles, and he's got the full line of Ratels including the ATGM carrier.  GHQ doesn't make Rooikats, but the BPM guy does, and the prices are pretty nice.  https://www.butlersprintedmodels.co.uk/6mm/6mm/post-ww2/south-african.html for more.

Balkanizing...I could split Mriya Slaviya between its Tomokomai and Cherkasy colonists, but I'd rather have a single unified government.  The place is, after all, Australia all by itself - just with 1/10 the population across the board and a higher Asian demographic.  There's not enough room to really have two or more governments occupying their own territory, as much as sparatist voters might prefer.
Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen,
Tod und Verzweiflung flammet um mich her!
Fühlt nicht durch dich Jadefalke Todesschmerzen,
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Failure16

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Gio: most welcome to the fold!

Any help you can give Daryk and everyone else with your greater of knowledge and experience things space-y (than me, at elast and assuredly) will always be most appreciated. That is an interesting idea, Gorgon. The key to "realistic" FTL is simply "what are its drawbacks?".

Daryk, I'd be all in for an RCN-style FTL paradigm, it if weren't taken, and too pointed for the Fringe in its aesthetic. I love me some Cinnabaran shenanigans!

BattleMechs can be a thing, but they are called simply "walkers". IP-infringement and all of that. With the AT2 thresholding rules in effect, though, you will find they are, at best, equivalent to armored cars no matter how heavy you make them. With a penetration mechanic in play, you will find that one big gun quickly surpasses multiple medium guns. There are designs with multiple weapons-systems in a single mount, just as the M50 Ontos was a thing. But, to use a certain vernacular, one AC/10 is worth more than simply two AC/5s, if you see where I am going with this. (and in the Fringe, the AC/10alogue will have a longer range than the /5's anyways).

Sticking strictly to the BTU design-rules, the Fringe uses the weapons systems posted at the outset. And heatsinks are simply not a thing, though the weapons shown do have heat outputs because, well, BattleTech.

Kamas, the Fringe uses all sorts of small arms, everything we have today, plus flechette rifles, gyrojets, needle-bores, and so forth. No man-pack laser rifles that I know of, but AFV-mounted ones are becoming more prevalent. The Air-Defense Laser is becoming increasingly common with higher-tech forces. I believe they would be the appropriate answer for drones in most cases and in general terms. Small arms are probably something that could be transported en-masse across the stars, though it would be simpler still to set up a small factory and rake in the royalties. In other words, small arms don't really figure prominently into the game mechanics are are more of fluffy-cushioning when designing a unit.

And I like unified governments myself, because I am ultimately more viscerally acquainted with what amounts to civil wars. But worlds with many powers and no "planetary government" exist and are open game.

Exoskeletons exist, but powered armor is still being dabbled with--definitely a strong TL5. I personally think they will be too unwieldly in real life for a long time, and become RPG and AMR fodder, but we have rules for them, and they are effective.

I mention Brigade Models because the posited designs are based on those models. But who says MS couldn't start tweaking the templates they received--and giving them cosmetic changes according to local needs or restrictions as they do so? Sort of a BTU Monitor situation. Use whatever you have, can get, or want to get.

The Fringe does not have an actual "airborne" unit because they would get slaughtered by first-line air defense, but I imagine they could be in vogue on isolated worlds. They do have air-assault units, though, the most well-known being the Mourning Stars independent mercenaries. (Imagine a US Army Vietnam-era aircav squadron using vectored thrust craft and you'll be mostly-there.)

If you ever have a thought about what would "exist" in the Fringe, set up a solo game, play both sides honestly, and you sill find that the system is pretty self-policing. A massive tank with two stupendous-class rail guns and armor that would make a -1M Locust blush will be found out pretty quick to be something no company would actually produce or be able to sell. Fighters won't automatically die, but I'd rather just have some tube artillery instead; it'll be cheaper for the user in the long run. But, we know that people use them, and we know that they have made a positive difference in major campaigns, so let 'em rip!
Thought I might get a rocket ride when I was a child.          We are the wild youth,                                And through villages of ether
But it was a lie, that I told myself                                          Chasing visions of our futures.                   Oh, my crucifixion comes
When I needed something good.                                         One day we'll reveal the truth,                    Will you sing my hallelujah?
At 17, I had a better dream; now I'm 33, and it isn't me.      That one will die before he gets there.       Will you tell me when it's done?
But I'd think of something better if I could
                           --E. Tonra                                                      --C. Love
--A. Duritz

Daryk

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The RCN flavor I was leaning towards was the need to land in water.  I actually like the JumpShip paradigm, with a fairly long gravitational exclusion zone.  I'll have to do some math, but I think cranking up the fuel consumption may get things where you want them (i.e., space combat is so hard and expensive, nobody does it seriously).

ANS Kamas P81

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Went looking over Ruffling the Fringe 4.0 again, and you're missing stats for Air-To-Ground missiles under Aerospace Weapons.

As far as exoskeletons go, a proper powered armor is still a ways off - but they'd be a significant force multiplier, with a desired effect of making your infantry immune to typical anti-infantry weapons and requiring the use of antitank weapons to kill a single trooper.  They're not perfect, but they neutralize a lot of threats just by their being present.  I bet Sapporo has them.

Brigade Models does have some cool stuff, I won't argue that.  Their Rhino tank is a neat idea, using a flipped G6 chassis and putting a proper gun turret on top.  I think I'll stick to "real world" minis, instead - the detail on the Butler minis is really nice, and it gives it a localized feel.

More tl;dr spam that can be skipped:

So I was looking over my organization and the decision to go with Ratel 90s as the standard MS IFV.  There's something to be said for the big gun, but they're not so hot against the kinds of aircraft that are going to be prevalent in the Fringe.  RFCs are capable in the air defense role in the rules, while also being effective against infantry.  They're great multirole weapons, and it makes more sense to me to use them as a standard weapon on the IFV.

So that means switching my IFVs to Ratel 20s for the main force, with a platoon of Ratel 90s in support.  There was a SPAAG prototype for the Ratel but it never got developed; I'll say that there's no air-defense vehicles in the MSLF as such.  I'll also drop the HWT/ADA team in the weapons squad for another HWT/GM-L team and make the weapons squad a dedicated anti-tank unit.  I don't need a Stinger launcher if I've got four 20mm autocannons in a platoon hosing down air units.

Moving to Ratel 20s does increase my squad size by one person, but I'm not going to change from the six-man squad size I've already posted.  It'd make things incongruous with the squads carried by the Ratel 90 vehicles, which I want to avoid.  So that leads to the following organization:

Headquarters Element
  HQ Section (2 Ratel 20, 1 Ratel Command, 2 Ratel 81s)
  Supply Section (2 Trucks, 2 Jeeps)
  Maintenance Section (2 Ratel Command, 1 Truck)
Primary Combat Force
  Mechanized Infantry Platoon (4 Ratel 20s & 6 RT2 Teams & 2 HWT/GM-L Teams)
  Mechanized Infantry Platoon (4 Ratel 20s & 6 RT2 Teams & 2 HWT/GM-L Teams)
Additional Combat Platoon
  ATGMV Section (2 Ratel ZT3)
  Mechanized Infantry Platoon (4 Ratel 90s & 6 RT2 Teams & 2 HWT/GM-L Teams)
Combat Support Elements
  Recon Section (4 Rooikat OR 2 Jaguar)
  Fire Support: Battalion (4 Ratel 81s)
  Fire Support (12 Medium Artillery missions OR 2 VTOLs OR 6 CAS missions)

The Fire Support option at the end gives a choice between G6 Rhino fires, attack helicopters, or Pucara strikes.  I suppose as far as attack helicopters go, the obvious choice is a Denel Rooivalk.  They're built for simple maintenance in the field, and for the bush conditions in South Africa.  They might be high tech aircraft, and overkill for the Fringe, but I could see them being license-built from L-O again.  Early models of the Rooivalk date back to the 1980s, so it's arguably a TL3 helicopter - or at least was; current models would be upgraded to TL4.



Looks like it carries significant air-to-air capability as well, with that Sidewinder on the wingtip.  Definitely a TL4 version.

So a total population of 2.6 million for Mriya Slaviya, going with 1/10 Australia.  Five percent of the population is in the military, with conscription being mandatory for men and voluntary for women.  That gives me a total of around 130,000 personnel, higher than my original estimate. That works out to seven mechanized infantry brigades at 16,700 personnel each and three aviation brigades at 2,600 personnel each.  An additional 5,300 personnel make up the Air Force.

Aviation brigades are patterned on the American model for simplicity's sake, but with some changes.  36 Rooivalk attack heliocopters, 60 Oryx transports, 12 Chinook heavy transports, and 12 OH-58 scouts make up each brigade.

The Air Force is smaller than I'd originally envisioned, because there's not a lot of need for transportation or tanker aircraft.  There's just nowhere to go that the MSLF can't get to on its own, and the aviation brigades handle the day-to-day requirements.  5,300 personnel gives me just over 200 pilots and air crew, so I'll back it off to one squadron of 14 Gripens from Hochstadt and eight 12-plane squadrons of Pucara attack planes built locally.  The rest of the air fleet is mixed personnel transports and cargo planes, including a pair of VIP transports for government visits around the country.
Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen,
Tod und Verzweiflung flammet um mich her!
Fühlt nicht durch dich Jadefalke Todesschmerzen,
So bist du meine Tochter nimmermehr!

Failure16

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The Fringe is totally down with helos of all manners. But I also bet those pilots/aircrews spend more time in nape-of-the-earth than even our own do. I imagine an air-defense array of frickin' laser beams will do a number to craft that are already inherently fragile, even in the far future.
Thought I might get a rocket ride when I was a child.          We are the wild youth,                                And through villages of ether
But it was a lie, that I told myself                                          Chasing visions of our futures.                   Oh, my crucifixion comes
When I needed something good.                                         One day we'll reveal the truth,                    Will you sing my hallelujah?
At 17, I had a better dream; now I'm 33, and it isn't me.      That one will die before he gets there.       Will you tell me when it's done?
But I'd think of something better if I could
                           --E. Tonra                                                      --C. Love
--A. Duritz

ANS Kamas P81

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They're learning those lessons in the real world; high flying aircraft get slaughtered by ground based air defenses over in Ukraine.  New tactics for attack helos like flying along at or below treetop height, then popping up for a moment to launch a rocket salvo ballistically at a target, and a turn-and-burn unass out of the area before MANPADS can spot them.  And they're not always successful there, there's plenty of videos of choppers getting hit at low altitude.

So how long ago did space travel recover from the shellacking Sapporo gave it?  I'm wanting to establish a loose timeline for when Mriya Slaviya started buying from Vereeniging, and when about they might have started upgrading their military.  I figure before this, the MSLF was a motorized infantry force riding in basic trucks with towed artillery and light AA guns.  The small population of MS means they don't get much in the way of R&D done, simply because the military industry is limited and heavily foreign-supported and foreign-influenced.

Idly looking at the future of the MSLF, it seems the South Africans are planning on trading their Ratels for locally-produced Patria AMV variants.  The Badger's fallen behind in production, and isn't expected to reach prototype stage for another year or so, so the Ratel soldiers on in the meantime.  Still, it gives me an idea of what to look for as far as the future of the MSLF goes.

Also switching up the aviation brigades a little to emphasize the high price and complexity of the Rooivalks compared to the rest of the force.  I'll go with a single 12 ship squadron per brigade, with the other 24 attack helicopters being variants of the OH-58D Kiowa Warrior.  Either you get two GM-Hs onboard, or an APW/H and a seven-shot RKT-U pod.  The other 12 OH-58s in the aviation brigade are pure scouts, without armament.  That makes the Rooivalks more special, and gives choices in the VTOL element for attack helicopters.
Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen,
Tod und Verzweiflung flammet um mich her!
Fühlt nicht durch dich Jadefalke Todesschmerzen,
So bist du meine Tochter nimmermehr!

Failure16

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Star travel and interstellar discourse is generally considered to have resumed in 2450, with the current year being nominally 2500ish. But, I can change that initial number as needed. There is an in-progress timeline that I have kicking around.

A astute gentleman very recently noted to me that the tragic situation in Eastern Europe is very similar to the Fringe. Quoting loosely, there are often large numbers of troops in-theater but attacks are usually company-strength or less, improperly mounted and supported, and rarely effective or followed up because the level of training simply isn't there. Lots of things are tried, but only a few stick.

It does make you wonder what an elite force full of esprit and elan could accomplish if it were not worried about holding territory or anything else other than smashing the enemy and handing their bloody surrender document to the good guys before blasting into the void for the next contract...
Thought I might get a rocket ride when I was a child.          We are the wild youth,                                And through villages of ether
But it was a lie, that I told myself                                          Chasing visions of our futures.                   Oh, my crucifixion comes
When I needed something good.                                         One day we'll reveal the truth,                    Will you sing my hallelujah?
At 17, I had a better dream; now I'm 33, and it isn't me.      That one will die before he gets there.       Will you tell me when it's done?
But I'd think of something better if I could
                           --E. Tonra                                                      --C. Love
--A. Duritz

ANS Kamas P81

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Okay, so that gives me a good timeline to work with.  Say the resumption of space travel didn't visit Mriya Slaviya until the late 2460s, and their reintroduction to the Fringe came at gunpoint - someone dug up old records of the mineral wealth of the world, and decided to make it their own.  Pick a world from HPK, they sent mercenary troops to raid the planet and take over the diamond and rare-earth element mines.  The mercs were successful, since its time in isolation and small size led to a minimal militia force, but that militia dug in hard and managed to guerilla-warfare the mercs into giving up and leaving.  It took some time and some fierce fighting with significant casualties on the MS side, and the mercs practiced a scorched-earth plan during their retreat.

That's what led to their formation of a proper land and air force, with the last 30+ years enacting and refining conscription in the military and bootstrapping their military from unarmored trucks to slightly-behind-the-times IFVs and mobile artillery, and building an air force that's more than a bunch of utility helicopters repurposed as transports and scouts.  There's a strong sense of "never again" and they're grabbing for whatever they can to protect their planet.  They put out tenders to the various major defense corporations, and got along best with Vereeniging and L-O, and the rest is history.  We're not buying L-O vehicles directly, but using their techspertise to design our own, hence the different look of Mriya Slaviyan hardware.

As far as the current situation over there, I can definitely see the comparison to the Fringe.  There's a definite lack of supporting elements at times, especially on the Russian side, and they're not coordinating their forces well on either side.  Artillery is still the king of battle, and infantry the queen, but it seems sometimes like that's all either side is using.  And the tactics suck.

And with certain comments by certain leaders, you might just see that.  Not that I should go further, since this is arguably dabbling in Rule 4, so I'll leave that there.

EDIT:

Musing further on 'never again' sends me thinking back to the 2350s when Sapporo went space-war-happy on the rest of the Fringe.  Based on my timeline, that'd be about a hundred years after the combined colonization of Mriya Slaviya.  There would only be about 145,000 people living on the planet, concentrated in a few major towns around the farmland on the coast and the northern mountains.

The technology base was pretty decent and modern for the timeframe, but the Sapporo attack on the world knocked it back significantly, to a level roughly equivalent to the 1950s.  That also led to a dispersal of the surviving population, as their population concentration led to a lot of lives lost in city bombing raids and orbital fire.  Many people left the cities behind, establishing small villages across the interior of the continent, establishing road networks across the desert landscape.

Being rediscovered by the rest of the Fringe has helped build up Mriya Slaviya's technology base to approximately 1990 by the current day.  With only a few universities, there's limits to their intelligentsia and R&D capabilities; support from Cherkasy and Tomokomai as the two closest worlds has helped MS climb back from its technological degredation and provided significant boosts to civilian life.

Personal computers and home video game systems are popular, though a planetwide internet doesn't exist.  Television is provided via cable, as Mriya Slaviya's satellite network was destroyed by Sapporo in the 2350s and has not been replaced.  Flatscreens exist as expensive imported luxuries; the rest of the planet still uses CRTs.

Wildlife on Mriya Slaviya is similar to that of the African savannahs.  Megafauna exist and are plentiful, with carnivorous analogues to the rhinocerous of Earth at the top of the food chain in the outback.  Lesser animals, including poisonous avians and reptiles, are commonplace outside of the carefully controlled farms and ranches.  Because of this dangerous level of wildlife, hunting is not uncommon and firearms ownership among the population is only moderately regulated - most rural households have rifles capable of stopping such animals.  Handgun ownership is rare, however.
« Last Edit: 15 June 2024, 04:24:25 by ANS Kamas P81 »
Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen,
Tod und Verzweiflung flammet um mich her!
Fühlt nicht durch dich Jadefalke Todesschmerzen,
So bist du meine Tochter nimmermehr!

Daryk

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Finally read up on Cray's excellent AU, but it still seems to permit ASFs, so while I'll steal the "Station Keeping for ALL" idea for strategic thrust, it clearly has to have a pretty high floor.

The fastest way to reduce thrust is to redefine what a "Thrust Point" is.  RAW has them at 0.5 G, with Station Keeping at a fifth of that.  If we drop it down to 0.3 G, that would logically require at least 3/5 thrust to launch and land (safely).  I also like the idea of fuel consumption more tightly tied to ship mass, but the math might be a little much for most people.

If we keep the WarShip engine tonnage of 6% of ship weight per thrust point, this would alter Station Keeping (0.1 G) to be 2% vice the 1.2% in RAW.  These would be engines with "strategic" fuel consumption, and I think a reasonable floor for that capability is 100 tons of engine.  That would mean the minimum sized ship capable of transiting at around 1G and using strategic fuel consumption (at a tenth the thrust, of course) would be 556 tons.  That seems very reasonable to me.

Now, engines capable of entering atmosphere would logically be heavier, and the standard DropShip/Small Craft weight of 6.5% per thrust point makes sense.  I think a higher minimum tonnage of engine would make sense here too, so let's say 150 tons.  Minimum tonnage for a ship capable of strategic thrust and landing on a (~1G) planet would thus be 770 tons.

As for transport, I'll propose my Alternate Rules for Transport Bays that tie the bay tonnage to the weight of the unit being transported.

Thoughts? :)

ANS Kamas P81

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Idle note on drones - since I'm assuming a tech year of 1990, quadcopters and small drones don't exist.  I can drop the need for a drone operator from the platoon, and leave UAVs at a higher level than that.

Since I'm using Singapore's conscription rule and percentage of personnel under arms, I might as well do a little effort in basing my numbers on theirs.  National Service runs two years of active duty service, which transitions to ten years of part-time reservist status. 

There's 40,000 active personnel in Singapore's land army and 240,000 reservists; by comparison I'd end up with 17,800 active and 106,900 reservists in the MSLF.  The MSAF on the other hand has a higher proportion of active duty personnel because of their technical needs and skill training as well as a higher retention rate; their active duty component is 3,800 personnel and 1,500 reserves.  That gives me a total of 21,600 active and 108,400 reservist troops, or 1/6 of the force on active duty and 5/6 mobilizable reserves.

Looking at a Stryker Brigade Combat Team, there's around 225 Strykers in the unit, along with a cavalry squadron of 58 vehicles and 11 ATGM carriers.  That means there's around 1,650 Ratels - 660 Ratel 20 IFVs, 264 Ratel 90 IFVs, 396 Ratel 81 mortar carriers, 132 Ratel ZT3s, and 198 Ratel Command types.  Singapore's army has nearly 3,600 APCs and IFVs of various models, so that tracks accurately.  Add in around 400 Rooikats for the cavalry scout role, along with 2,750 heavy trucks, and 2,850 jeep analogues.  Artillery vehicles number a total of 84 G6 Rhino 155mm guns and 42 HIMARS 227mm MLRS launchers.

That's a lot of mortar carriers, it seems the MSLF loves its portable fire support.

Aviation assets include a total of 36 Rooivalk gunships, 72 OH-58 Kiowa Warrior light gunships, 180 Oryx transports, 36 Chinook heavy transports, and 36 OH-58D Kiowa scouts.  Fixed-wing aircraft include 14 Gripen and 96 Pucara ground attack aircraft.

Internal security forces wouldn't fall under the MSLF's aegis.  An indepedent federal police force monitors the country, with armored SWAT vehicles surplus from the MSLF.  I'm debating giving the Militia-Federal Police Eland 60 armored cars for dealing with riots and rampaging megafauna.  Use the gun-mortar for firing smoke or tear gas shells against rioters or explosive rounds against oversized wild animals, and load the twin 7.62mm MGs with rubber bullets for crowd dispersal.

Not that there's a lot in the way of civil troubles on Mriya Slaviya, aside from the occasional football hooliganry when the local team loses - or for that matter, wins.

tl;dr:

This is probably boring and pointless data, but I blame my autism for hyperfixation on a thing - you guys that have seen my design threads, you know how much I gnaw on a concept before finally calling it done.  Besides, I like the Fringe setting, having worked up Nouvelle Normandie back in the day but I wanted to start fresh.  Sorry if it bores anyone.

Daryk, I like your idea on changing the thrust points to 1/3G per point.  Strategic fuel consumption needs work because the specific impulse requires an FTL exhaust in BattleTech terms, so I would look at the fuel consumption rules and make some changes.  As it is, most BattleTech ships lack the fuel fraction for more than a short burn at 1G, a long coast to turnover, and an equally short burn to land at the target.  Giving more fuel points per ton, and dramatically increasing fuel bunkerage in ships, would go a long way to settling that issue.

I like the Alternate Transport Bay rules, it gives a good bit of flavor to the bay rules and lets you use the cargo tonnage fraction as a whole rather than wasting tonnage carrying a lighter 'Mech.  Say, a 100 ton 'Mech bay with full drop cradles would weigh 150 tons, but carrying a Warhammer in it wastes 30 tons of space in BT RAW.  Going with your rules, you could fill that 30 tons with whatever you might need, or simply rule it as a 70-ton transport bay.

Since the Fringe is a lot more standardized than BT is for its combat equipment, a star nation could easily declare its Main Battle Mech is a Thunderbolt (which it should, but I digress) and build its standard cargo bays at 65 tons plus 50 tons for the drop and maintenance equipment.  That would free up dramatically needed cargo space in BT dropships as designed, looking at you Union - you've barely got enough cargo for food for your crew, let alone anything like spare parts and ammo.
« Last Edit: 15 June 2024, 08:01:26 by ANS Kamas P81 »
Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen,
Tod und Verzweiflung flammet um mich her!
Fühlt nicht durch dich Jadefalke Todesschmerzen,
So bist du meine Tochter nimmermehr!

Daryk

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Thanks for the feedback!  I'll give fuel consumption some more thought... :)

Failure16

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It is not boring, at all, Kamas. The Fringe is, well, that. Some want to get hyper-involved in the minutia of a situation, and others just want to talk about, say, the factions involved, or the technical aspects of the designs themselves. Room for all here, and I appreciate your leg work because it makes it easier for me to take your hard fundamental work and port it over to a world that seems similar.

Now, let's look at some fluff for a vehicle so old that its initial draft in my old HMV still referenced BattleMechs (!) It is one of the first 6mm models I bought to be used as cheap fodder for BattleTech games; the Wolf tank from GZG (then under the Future Wars blister-pack line). Take a look at what is arguably the Fringeverse's version of the Scorpion Light Tank:

Code: [Select]
          Fringeverse AFV Technical Readout
                   * CUSTOM WEAPONS

Type/Model:    M10 Wolf Light Tank
Tech:          Mixed Tech  /  2464
Config:        Tracked Tractor
Rules:         Level 3, Custom design

Mass:          28.03 tons
Power Plant:   145 Continental AVDS-4750-2 I.C.E. (IS)
Cruise Speed:  54.0 km/h
Maximum Speed: 86.4 km/h
Armor Type:    Ceramic Heavy Weave Standard
Armament:     
  1 NRM KwK82 90mm Rifled SC/9*(IS)
  1 NRM Flieschaken MG93 7.62mm APW/M*(IS)
Manufacturer:  Rossler/Shives Land Systems
  Location:    Merriweather
Communications System:  AN/VRC-3412
Targeting & Tracking System:  JTIS-124

------------------------------------------------------------------------------
==Overview:==
The M11 Wolf Light Tank is the direct result of a design initiative begun in 2470
by Rossler/Shives Land Systems of Merriweather. As interstellar discourse
began to increase following the Second Troubles, so too did Mankind's penchant
for conflict. Many worlds with standing militaries armed themselves with
effectively civilian vehicles modified to quasi-military standards. These were
found to be lackluster during sustained operations, and unsatisfactory when
facing purpose-built gear, rare enough as it was.

The executive board of R/SLS thus decreed that an inexpensive, low-technology
tank could be very fruitful for the design firm, which until then was but a
local concern. The new tank had to be capable of surviving on a battlefield
against then-similar competitors (such as the recently introduced M5 Herman
From Consolidated Arms of New Detroit or the Novosibirskan T40) as well as
capable of being maintained by local forces that procured it.

The result, released operationally in 2474, was a no-frills light tank designed for general combat,
armed-reconnaissance, and infantry support duties. Lightly armored and armed,
the Wolf was designed for inclusion in the planetary defense force and for
general sale to other worlds. It used technology that would not be out of
place on worlds just past the colonization stage, but also--critically--would
not be giving away Merriweatheran technology. Most importantly, it was a financial and even a
critical success, putting R/SLS on the map and starting a long line of (both literally and
thematically) related armored vehicles.


==Capabilities:==
The M11 Wolf Light Tank is designed for low-intensity warfare in a sector of space
where it would face similar, if not lesser, foes. At the time of its genesis,
it could stand reasonably comfortably against its likely opponents.

The tank is laid out conventionally, with a rear engine compartment, extremely
tight turret with a one- or two-man crew, and driver's compartment
forward. It is a small vehicle, shorter then an M5, but wider and with a
notably angular turret.

Powered by a multi-fuel/diesel turbine, the Wolf can attain speeds of up to 84
kph in open terrain.  It is minimally protected by just over seven tonnes of
patented Ceramic Heavy Weave armor which is proof against most infantry and
light anti-armor weapons that insurgents may field. The front and sides are
proof against light autocannon fire, but it is woefully underprotected against
all but the lightest tank-guns. Additionally, it all but lacks any specialized
defensive systems.

The Wolf is armed with weaponry that has long been license-produced from
NeuRhineMetall of Hochstadt. Its main gun is a relatively light, low-recoil, rifled
90mm cannon.  The weapon is an old, battle-tested, and capable design that can fire a
wide range of basic ammunition, including anti-tank, -personnel-, and
-materal. It is a viable main armament for a light tank designed to support
friendly infantry against light insurgent forces or break armored cars or give
a credible first-shot capability against a peer-level foe.  It is fed by an autoloader with
a comparatively small magazine holding 21 rounds. This was considered acceptable
given the tank’s role and structural limitations but has caused some issues during
active operations.

A 7.62mm MG 93 medium machine gun is coaxially mounted along with the main gun to
provide heavy suppressive fire against enemy dismounts. A light machine gun is often
mounted on a pintle at the commander's cupola, though this has limited
battlefield utility against armored targets and is not, strictly speaking, standard equipment.

A notable drawback of the Wolf is its small turret-ring diameter. This was not
considered a hindrance when first conceived as the 90mm gun could easily
destroy any of its common foes. Now, however, it virtually precludes the Wolf
from accepting heavier armament, as well as providing very tight space for the crew,
making it uncomfortable to crew for long periods and hard to evacuate in an emergency.

==Battle History:==
The M11 Wolf Light Tank has served for nearly forty years.  In the last decade or
so, the rapid pacing of armored vehicle design has shown the Wolf may be past
its prime. Originally designed to be the better answer for buyers used to
making do with often-makeshift equipment, the Wolf has become the
lesser-equipment when going up against the new design paradigms of the last
decade.

On Montelimar, for example, the newer ground-effect armored vehicles of Hochstadt's
Foreign Service Regiment ran rough-shod over the Doomsayers, costing them the
Contract and almost two-battalions' worth of experienced troopers. Many destroyed
M11s were found to have been penetrated but remained intact because they had long
run out of main gun ammunition.

However, at its inception, it played a pivotal role in Merriweather's
take-over of the tobacco markets on New Carolina, where the primary foes were
local farmers who had taken up a guerilla campaign. Its armor was proof against
small arms and lighter man-packed weapons and its ammo reserves were enough to
face down isolated packets of irregulars.

Present on hundreds of battlefields, sometimes as the heaviest vehicle on either side,
the Wolf does well so long as its crews and commanders remember its deficiencies
and play to its strengths. It has been produced in the many-thousands and will likely
continue to soldier on for decades longer in the more forgotten corners of the Outer Fringe.

In any event, the M11 and its derivatives have proven their mettle time and again, and
potential buyers still find time to view Rossler/Shives Land Systems
promotional material and make procurement orders, nearly three decades after the
design's release.

==Variants:==
There are many variants of the Wolf chassis, though they are all
factory-produced models from the R/SLS facility on Merriweather.

The M12 Fire Wolf initially utilized massed salvo-rocket launchers for indirect fire
support. This was later upgraded to the M12B in 2485 with more a purposeful light
multiple-launch rocket artillery system. This variant is slightly heavier, and its lack
of reloads makes its use heavily curtailed, but popular amongst users who want to
minimize hull-specific maintenance infrastructure.
.

An air-defense variant, the M13 Sky Wolf, utilizes two rapid-fire light autocannon tied
to a basic air-defense capable tracking system in a high-angle-fire turret. The light
weapons offer only fair range against attacking aircraft, but their power is low.
However, it makes a frightful area-denial system against infantry and light vehicles,
especially in built-up or otherwise close terrain.

A combat engineering variant, the M14 Brown Wolf, features a bulldozer blade
attachment on the front, a mine-clearance charge in a bow-mount, and a cargo winch
on the redesigned turret that replaces the 90mm. It does retain the MG93 for
close-defense. It also functions as a recovery vehicle amongst mechanic sections and
is still seen in lighter elements of the Earth Shakers supplementary mercenary command
as well as heavy M10-series Wolf users.

The Wolf has also lent its hull to the ten-tonne M221 APC, which has a bewildering number
of variants itself.

At the Kahler Interstellar Arms Expo 2505, a new derivative, the M41 Coyote Scout
Tank, was unveiled. Hailed by many observers as Wolf Mark II, the Coyote is a
new-build hull and completely new turret with a heavy rapid-fire autocannon
and different power pack and bolstered armor and defensive array. It is yet to
be seen if the Coyote will provide the R/SLS with a boost in sales that have
remained steady since the release of the M20 Grey- and M30 Dire Wolf Medium- and Heavy
Tanks.

==Deployment==
The M11 is deployed by several militaries throughout the Settled
Worlds, andespecially the Outer Fringe. Indeed, along with the M5 and now T75,
the Wolf has become a yardstick for tanks within the public consciousness.
Many forces still use it as their standard tank design, and others for specific
roles. Its most prominent users are the Merriweather Armed Forces and the
Doomsayers independent mercenary brigade.

On Merriweather, it functioned for nearly thirty years as the primary combat
tank, supplanted only by the more recent Grey- and Dire Wolf marks. In the
Doomsayers, it is was initially fielded at battalion-level to provide the
mechanized infantry with close fire-support and minimal anti-tank capability.
Eventually, two out of four companies within a Doomsayer battalion would be
Wolf tanks (the other two being mechanized infantry aboard M221 APCs).

Used within its means, the Wolf performs its generally limited roles
admirably.  Against tougher foes, it has been shown to be outdated and
obsolete. Most modern armored cars and wheeled AFVs carry main weaponry
capable of defeating it. Still, with thousands produced and still being built in small
numbers via license, the Wolf will be a common sight on the battlefields of
the Settled Words, and particularly the Outer Fringe, for perhaps decades
more.

--------------------------------------------------------
Type/Model:    Wolf Light Tank OF
Mass:          28.03 tons
Construction Options:  Fractional Accounting

Equipment:                                 Items    Mass
Int. Struct.:  15 pts Standard               0      2.81
Engine:        145 I.C.E.                    0     10.00
    Cruise MP:   5
     Flank MP:   8
Heat Sinks:      0 Single                    0       .00
Cockpit & Controls:                          0      1.41
Crew: 2 Members                              0       .00
Turret Equipment:                            0       .41
Armor Factor:  127 pts Standard (IS)         0      7.94

                          Internal    Armor
                          Structure   Value
   Front:                     3         35
   Left / Right Sides:        3      26/26
   Rear:                      3         10
   Turret:                    3         30

Weapons and Equipment    Loc  Heat  Ammo   Items    Mass
--------------------------------------------------------
1 SC/9* (IS)             Turret   0   21     2      4.95
1 APW/M* (IS)            Turret   0   80     2       .26
1 Trailer Hitch          Front               1       .00
1 Trailer Hitch          Rear                1       .00
Basic TTS (-1 THM)       Body                1       .25
--------------------------------------------------------
TOTALS:                           0          7     28.03
Items & Tons Left:                           3       .00

Calculated Factors:
Total Cost:        417,865 C-Bills
Battle Value:      181
Cost per BV:       2,308.65
Weapon Value:      179 / 179 (Ratio = .99 / .99)
Damage Factors:    SRDmg = 8;  MRDmg = 5;  LRDmg = 1
BattleForce2:      MP: 5T,  Armor/Structure: 0 / 5
                   Damage PB/M/L: 1/1/-,  Overheat: 0
                   Class: GL;  Point Value: 2
Thought I might get a rocket ride when I was a child.          We are the wild youth,                                And through villages of ether
But it was a lie, that I told myself                                          Chasing visions of our futures.                   Oh, my crucifixion comes
When I needed something good.                                         One day we'll reveal the truth,                    Will you sing my hallelujah?
At 17, I had a better dream; now I'm 33, and it isn't me.      That one will die before he gets there.       Will you tell me when it's done?
But I'd think of something better if I could
                           --E. Tonra                                                      --C. Love
--A. Duritz

Daryk

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I daresay that's more like a Vedette than a Scorpion... ;)

Failure16

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Naw. The M21 Grey Wolf at 52 tonnes is the Vedettealike. But it is much more capable than that comparison would suggest, whilst being considered a prototypical MBT for this universe. More on it at some point.

Like most light tanks, the M11 Wolf is a classic eggshell with a hammer. A 90mm may give even a tank good shellacking from the side or rear, but this one can barely take 30mm rounds to the sides and only MMG bursts to the rear without a chance of penetration.
Thought I might get a rocket ride when I was a child.          We are the wild youth,                                And through villages of ether
But it was a lie, that I told myself                                          Chasing visions of our futures.                   Oh, my crucifixion comes
When I needed something good.                                         One day we'll reveal the truth,                    Will you sing my hallelujah?
At 17, I had a better dream; now I'm 33, and it isn't me.      That one will die before he gets there.       Will you tell me when it's done?
But I'd think of something better if I could
                           --E. Tonra                                                      --C. Love
--A. Duritz

Giovanni Blasini

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Finally read up on Cray's excellent AU, but it still seems to permit ASFs, so while I'll steal the "Station Keeping for ALL" idea for strategic thrust, it clearly has to have a pretty high floor.

It did, but ASF tended to have separate airbreather engines, like the Banshee ASF.

Quote
The fastest way to reduce thrust is to redefine what a "Thrust Point" is.  RAW has them at 0.5 G, with Station Keeping at a fifth of that.  If we drop it down to 0.3 G, that would logically require at least 3/5 thrust to launch and land (safely).  I also like the idea of fuel consumption more tightly tied to ship mass, but the math might be a little much for most people.

Yeah, don't change a thrust point.  The balance between hex size, turn length, and acceleration per thrust point is a careful dance done to keep the math easy.  Accelerating at 1.0 Gs for 60 seconds results in travelling 17640 meters.  A single thrust point results in 8820 meters travelled.  Your velocity changes by 300 m/s per thrust point expended so, at tactical thrust, each thrust point of fuel is 300 m/s of delta-v.

Also, 6.5% per half-gee is evidently reasonable for a high-thrust fusion rocket that's throwing extra propellant in as reaction mass.  At 2500-5000 second Isp, you're not fusing all of that hydrogen into helium.

Now, my recommendation?  Anything that's meant to go atmospheric can't use strategic thrust at all.  Fighters, shuttles, "dropships" are all stuck using tactical thrust only.  Net result?  The fuel-to-total-mass ratio equivalent to three tons of fuel on a standard Battletech aerospace fighter, ie. 240 thrust points, works out to:

240 thrust points * 300 m/s per thrust point = 72000 m/s
72000 m/s = 5000 s * 9.8 m/s^2 * ln(initial mass / final mass)
ln(initial mass / final mass) = 72000 / (5000 * 9.8) = 1.46938775 (approximate)
initial mass / final mass = 4.346573 / 1
final mass / initial mass = 0.230066 (again, approximate)
fuel used for 72 km/sec delta-v = 77% of vessel overall mass (really good approximation)
fuel "points" per percentage of mass = 240/77 = 3.12

Of course, if you're feeling really crazy, and want something that feels in keeping with the setting, go with thermonuclear fusion "Orion" drives[/urls] for your dropship equivalents.

Either way, once you factor in engine mass, you'll find there's not a whole lot left for things like cargo.  When we did BT2100/2200, I found that a Union-sized DropShip carried equivalent to a Leopard in standard BT, and an Overlord-sized ship now was now equivalent to your company carrier.  It's another good way of limiting the scale of warfare.

Also, ground pressure for spacecraft is another issue.

Quote
If we keep the WarShip engine tonnage of 6% of ship weight per thrust point, this would alter Station Keeping (0.1 G) to be 2% vice the 1.2% in RAW.  These would be engines with "strategic" fuel consumption, and I think a reasonable floor for that capability is 100 tons of engine.  That would mean the minimum sized ship capable of transiting at around 1G and using strategic fuel consumption (at a tenth the thrust, of course) would be 556 tons.  That seems very reasonable to me.

For strategic combat by large starships, rethink hex size and turn length.  The 18 km hex and 1 minute turn is great for near-planet encounters by landing dropships and small craft, but FTL craft with 0.1 Gs of thrust should probably have longer turns and bigger hex sizes.  With a 10-minute turn and 180 km hex size, a 0.1G ship would work out to have 1 thrust point of acceleration per turn.  Make evasion and facing changes separate from acceleration.

Quote
Now, engines capable of entering atmosphere would logically be heavier, and the standard DropShip/Small Craft weight of 6.5% per thrust point makes sense.  I think a higher minimum tonnage of engine would make sense here too, so let's say 150 tons.  Minimum tonnage for a ship capable of strategic thrust and landing on a (~1G) planet would thus be 770 tons.

At 150 tons, you're eliminating aerospace fighters, and nearly eliminating shuttles.  That might be fine if that's a trope of the setting, but if not I'd rethink that.

I'm of the opinion that spacecraft with strategic thrust should be for space only, and incapable of landing on a planet...at least more than once.  :evil:

Quote
As for transport, I'll propose my Alternate Rules for Transport Bays that tie the bay tonnage to the weight of the unit being transported.

Thoughts? :)

Making cargo holds reconfigurable makes complete sense.

Also, let's come back to FTL for a moment.  If you don't want Battletech-style jump drives, I'd probably recommend Alcubierre warp drives.  But, really, types and, most importantly, speed of your FTL is most dependent upon the size of your explored space and the distance between inhabited worlds.
"Does anyone know where the love of God goes / When the waves turn the minutes to hours?"
-- Gordon Lightfoot, "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald"

ANS Kamas P81

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I can see the Scorpion DNA in the Wolf, yeah.  I like the fluff on it, and the description of the technical details.  It seems like the kind of vehicle that would be pretty widespread among most colony worlds.  The Wolf feels like the cannon fodder tank of the Fringe.

The way things are going in the Aerospace comments leaves my eyes swirling; I never got that far studying physics so I'm left behind by the math and derived statistics.  That said, it seems like the engine and fuel sizes are going to demand very large DropShips, like standard transports in the 50Kt range.  Shuttles could still be a thing, perhaps setting the minimum engine tonnage to 100 would be a better choice?  That would lower the minimum size for 3MP/1G thrust down to just over 500 tons, which is a much nicer round number to work with.

Personally I'm against 'strategic thrust' as Battletech has it, and 'thrust is thrust' when it comes to calculating fuel consumption.  Rocket engines don't suddenly increase efficiency by shifting gears.  Though, as far as fuel efficiency goes, what about ion drives?  The ISS has one that puts out about 0.01G of thrust, but it's pretty dinky; how well do they scale up in size for large transports?  Their fuel requirements are microscopic in comparison; perhaps they'd be something to look into.

As far as distance between worlds, well, astronomy has shown that apparently most stars have planets, if not all of them.  Five to fifteen light years between worlds seems appropriate, since not all of those stars are going to have planets in the habitable zones but that's what terraforming is for.  That would put the Fringe at around 3-400LY across, at a very loose glance at the map.

I'll add more to the Mriya Slaviya stuff as I think about it, this is just 3AM musings.  I've got a brigade organization floating in my head, based off the "standard combat force" I listed off as a playable unit.  Twenty two of those "battalions" make up the seven brigades, so one brigade is going to have a fourth BN in it.  I'm glad you guys are enjoying MS, it's wedged itself in my head as an interesting place.
Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen,
Tod und Verzweiflung flammet um mich her!
Fühlt nicht durch dich Jadefalke Todesschmerzen,
So bist du meine Tochter nimmermehr!

Giovanni Blasini

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The way things are going in the Aerospace comments leaves my eyes swirling; I never got that far studying physics so I'm left behind by the math and derived statistics.  That said, it seems like the engine and fuel sizes are going to demand very large DropShips, like standard transports in the 50Kt range.  Shuttles could still be a thing, perhaps setting the minimum engine tonnage to 100 would be a better choice?  That would lower the minimum size for 3MP/1G thrust down to just over 500 tons, which is a much nicer round number to work with.


So, just to note, that throws out both shuttles and aerospace fighters. It also, arguably, throws out a number of rockets we theoretically cab build now or in the next century. If the intent is to have no spacecraft smaller than SpaceX's Starship booster, I guess that's fine, but it hardly seems realistic.

Keep in mind that, more than 50 years ago, we had rockets approaching the ballpark of the lower end of what I'm talking about for high-thrust applications in the form of NERVA:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/NERVA

That's a 16-ton engine that produced more thrust than its mass despite having a 1960s-design fission reactor on top of it.

As for a 50,000 ton DropShip, where the heck would you land it?  And the thrust at liftoff would be devastating.

Quote

Personally I'm against 'strategic thrust' as Battletech has it, and 'thrust is thrust' when it comes to calculating fuel consumption.  Rocket engines don't suddenly increase efficiency by shifting gears.  Though, as far as fuel efficiency goes, what about ion drives?  The ISS has one that puts out about 0.01G of thrust, but it's pretty dinky; how well do they scale up in size for large transports?  Their fuel requirements are microscopic in comparison; perhaps they'd be something to look into.


There are rocket engines that do in fact switch between higher thrust, lower specific impulse (ie. fuel efficiency), and more efficient, lower thrust modes.  VASIMR is one example.

With that said, high efficiency low thrust engines used for long distance space travel would likely be a totally different type of engine than a high thrust one for taking off and landing.  That's already true though in real life.  That's also why I suggest the high-efficiency ships should be unable to operate in the atmosphere.

Quote

As far as distance between worlds, well, astronomy has shown that apparently most stars have planets, if not all of them.  Five to fifteen light years between worlds seems appropriate, since not all of those stars are going to have planets in the habitable zones but that's what terraforming is for.  That would put the Fringe at around 3-400LY across, at a very loose glance at the map.

I'll add more to the Mriya Slaviya stuff as I think about it, this is just 3AM musings.  I've got a brigade organization floating in my head, based off the "standard combat force" I listed off as a playable unit.  Twenty two of those "battalions" make up the seven brigades, so one brigade is going to have a fourth BN in it.  I'm glad you guys are enjoying MS, it's wedged itself in my head as an interesting place.

So for FTL, decide how long you want it to take to get between those worlds, and set your FTL technologies based on that.
"Does anyone know where the love of God goes / When the waves turn the minutes to hours?"
-- Gordon Lightfoot, "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald"

Daryk

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Banning air breathers from switching to strategic consumption would drive a third link in the chain: ferries between planets and jump points.

I'm not saying that's necessarily a bad thing, just that it's a natural consequence.

As for thrust being thrust, you can't carry enough fuel to thrust continuously from planets to jump points at tactical fuel consumption rates.

I can see Gio's point about not changing thrust points, but we can get the same effect by jiggling the weights around.  It just makes the math uglier.  With today being Father's Day, I likely won't have time to do that math today, but there's always the holiday in the middle of the week... ;)

ANS Kamas P81

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Okay, I can be easily convinced of the idea of strategic thrust then - I didn't know about VASIMR or NERVA beyond the name.  So okay, I'm fine with that idea.

Large dropships have to be a thing, or else you're talking about fleets of smaller ones to transport cargo and invading troops.  Even small ships at 1,500 tons are going to put out tremendous amounts of energy on landing and liftoff, so why not build them as aerodynes instead of spheroids, and land them like the Space Shuttle?  It doesn't solve the problem of taking off, so you're still going to need star ports distant from a city to launch from.

Alternatively, your 50,000 ton dropship only ferries stuff to orbit and lands things with a fleet of small shuttles.  You'd still need spaceports to launch your shuttles from, unless you give them airbreathing engines to reach a high safe launch altitude.

I suppose the easy way would be to handwave space travel as "it's sufficiently advanced" and not try to stat it out beyond declaring capabilities by fiat.  The Fringe is more about the fights on the ground, rather than the space battles, so I'm comfortable just leaving the spacecraft as fluff.
Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen,
Tod und Verzweiflung flammet um mich her!
Fühlt nicht durch dich Jadefalke Todesschmerzen,
So bist du meine Tochter nimmermehr!

Giovanni Blasini

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The way I figured it, you’d use the giant FTL full warships to carry your troops, then ferry them down with the DropShips, akin to the USN and Marines using the gator carriers and LCACs.  How many DropShips you need is just dependent upon how big you want your FTL ships to be: a several-million ton ship with capacity for thousands of troops aboard could probably carry quite a few droppers.
"Does anyone know where the love of God goes / When the waves turn the minutes to hours?"
-- Gordon Lightfoot, "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald"

Daryk

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Bringing the full-on WarShips to orbit begs the ortillery question, though...

ANS Kamas P81

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Said ortillery would explain why so many worlds are in the TL3-TL5 range in 2505...that's how I'm fluffing Mriya Slaviya's history anyway; when Sapporo came calling in 2350 they plastered the few towns back to ~1900 or so.
Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen,
Tod und Verzweiflung flammet um mich her!
Fühlt nicht durch dich Jadefalke Todesschmerzen,
So bist du meine Tochter nimmermehr!

Daryk

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Right, but if those fleets are no more, how are you moving troops?

ANS Kamas P81

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Oh I'm not saying they shouldn't be there, I'm just saying the idea that starships are maneuver capable and can visit a planet, bringing their heavy weapons with them, would explain the low tech levels on many worlds of the Fringe.  F16 mentioned that space travel virtually went away for a hundred years from 2350 to 2450, and it's just come back in the last 50, so FTL spacecraft definitely exist in the current day.  I'll leave more info to him, I don't want to assume too much.
Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen,
Tod und Verzweiflung flammet um mich her!
Fühlt nicht durch dich Jadefalke Todesschmerzen,
So bist du meine Tochter nimmermehr!

Failure16

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  • Better Days
Some truly informative, good, and useful food for thought.

To a great degree, Kamas is right...FTL spaceflight is just a means to end, really, (and so, arguably, is air flight as seen through a ground-tactical lens) which is why so much thought has been put into the ground-game. But we know they both exist, just as we know they are supportive players to the main story or narrative--which is my primary conceit that soldiers and those impacted by war are fundamentally the same since the start of human interaction.

I am fully willing to say publicly that the experiences taken or complaints given by a legionary or centurion of Caesar's Tenth in Gaul in 52 BCE are the same taken or given by a trooper in 1052, 1852, 1952, or will be in 2052.

Having said that, however, it is a hole in the setting. I want it to be a "realistic"* as possible, just as the rest of the setting is. But I also want the setting to work as portrayed so far. Tank regiments or even brigades can be shifted across interstellar distances often enough that it is fiscally feasible and quickly that time-dilation is not an issue worth bringing up. Populations are such that these small units can provide real effect without being subsumed, and that interstellar commerce does exist (though I do think military action is more about taking existing infrastructure cheaply vice stealing goods).

So, I had to have something disastrous happen that would kick everyone back to a given base-level and still retain the narrative freedom of "a world/society/setting" where and when you need it. Colloquially, that means the Fringe is considerably closer to Firefly's 'Verse as opposed the Babylon 5's setting. But the former got the extended single-system first, and FTL is baked into most SF milieus (excepting maybe much cyperpunk and transhumanism)--and I arrived here through the BTU, Drake's works, Starship Troopers, et al, so I am used to it as second nature when I am writing about it.

Ortillery surely exists. We have rules for it. I think that is a reaction to Renegade Legion's Thor Satellites and Dirtside II's orbital artillery rules, so it needn't be a McKenna parked in orbit. And something smacked the Settled Worlds back a hundred years and kept them there until they clawed their way back to orbit. It wasn't all WMDs...we know that many worlds have experienced natural disasters on a planetary scale (chanman's Milton and Kamas's own New Wyoming/Hell), But some have experience man-made disasters (my own Laurentia as well as others mentioned more in passing) that are a concomitant to unrestricted warfare by forces with access to space and the technology that represents.

Perhaps I will sum up my visceral feelings that we do not and have rarely, if ever, equipped our cargo or logistical contrivances with the same equipment a front-line fighting unit gets. In the midst of a global war with direct threats arrayed against them, freighter hulls did not carry warfighting gear past perhaps a deckgun or two. Few if any cargo planes ever built have reliably carried offensive weapons. Transport trucks rarely if ever have maybe a cupola mounted machine gun and almost never any armor.

So, just because we can transport a thousand tonnes or more of cargo across the stars does not automatically equate to spaceborne warships in the BTU-sense. So, the shipping hulls themselves must be more like the American Shuttle or even a BTU Invader or Gazelle than a BTU Leopard or even WarShip. Drop/interface-shuttles I think are a feasible avenue of approach. And I am okay with personnel having to be in shock-frames (especially during a combat scenario) or even limited 'suspended animation' (akin to Event Horizon, perhaps) during a Transit to handle hyper-acceleration or some type of SF-esque Transit Disorientation (as seen in the Slammerverse).

I do have a notion of a novel-length work that would involve star-travel through the Fringe, so this part of the puzzle indeed has me very interested. I can lay out my thoughts, however haphazardly, but lack the brainpower or focus to find the answer. Apologies, for that.


*Realism, in collusion with suspension-of-disbelief, is often defined as having a compensatory flaw to balance out an otherwise fantastic aspect.
Thought I might get a rocket ride when I was a child.          We are the wild youth,                                And through villages of ether
But it was a lie, that I told myself                                          Chasing visions of our futures.                   Oh, my crucifixion comes
When I needed something good.                                         One day we'll reveal the truth,                    Will you sing my hallelujah?
At 17, I had a better dream; now I'm 33, and it isn't me.      That one will die before he gets there.       Will you tell me when it's done?
But I'd think of something better if I could
                           --E. Tonra                                                      --C. Love
--A. Duritz

ANS Kamas P81

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Idly, if you want a natural disaster to set your 25th century colony back without involving a war, a big Carrington Event would be a great way to knock them back to the early 20th century.  It's a natural process of stars, and how much civilian electronics aren't hardened against EMP? 
Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen,
Tod und Verzweiflung flammet um mich her!
Fühlt nicht durch dich Jadefalke Todesschmerzen,
So bist du meine Tochter nimmermehr!

Failure16

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  • Posts: 2424
  • Better Days
Not gonna lie here: that moment was unknown to me until now, and now it will be known within the Settled Worlds. Somehow and somewhen. Thanks, Kamas! (And hundreds of thousands or millions of fictional far-off peoples groaned their discontent...)
Thought I might get a rocket ride when I was a child.          We are the wild youth,                                And through villages of ether
But it was a lie, that I told myself                                          Chasing visions of our futures.                   Oh, my crucifixion comes
When I needed something good.                                         One day we'll reveal the truth,                    Will you sing my hallelujah?
At 17, I had a better dream; now I'm 33, and it isn't me.      That one will die before he gets there.       Will you tell me when it's done?
But I'd think of something better if I could
                           --E. Tonra                                                      --C. Love
--A. Duritz

Daryk

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  • The Double Deuce II/II-σ
That's not TOO expensive to harden against, but it's not cheap either.

With regard to FTL, I'll await your further narrative needs before noodling on it more.  I look forward to hearing it, and I'll be off on Wednesday at least (Thursday is supposed to be holiday routine, but no one told the Joint Staff...).

 

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