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Author Topic: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race  (Read 51457 times)

Smegish

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Re: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race
« Reply #720 on: 22 August 2018, 07:22:51 »
You missed the 200 Flying Vikings vs the Kutai on turn 1.

Alsadius

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Re: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race
« Reply #721 on: 22 August 2018, 08:00:53 »
You missed the 200 Flying Vikings vs the Kutai on turn 1.

I thought of including that, but the problem is that most of their missiles weren't aimed at the Kutai. The bulk of the fire attacked the transports, not the escort, which makes it harder to judge - there are a few attacks on transports that I excluded(their follow-up on turn 2 and the Tikonov Grand Union fight turn 1 both come to mind). Maybe I should come up with standard stat blocks for escorts so that I can keep this stuff in mind more easily and compare it more consistently.

Still, let's include them:
a) Turn 1, 200 fighters attacked Kutai(32 MG) and unspecified number of DropShips, Kutai badly damaged and 4 DS killed.
b) Turn 1, 21 fighters plus 13 SC attacked unspecified JumpShip force with light escort, killed 2 JS and 1 DS with missiles.
c) Turn 2, 200 fighters attacked dozens of DropShips supported by 108 fighters (WS were involved, but too distant to add to missile defences). Attackers launched roughly 250 Barracudas(not counting those that had broken down). The defenders shot down "over half", but the remaining 100+ missiles, and follow-up fighter attacks, killed 14 DS.

Also, regarding the discussion of armies above, I noticed a few ground fights that I've attached numbers to.
1) Turn 2, an invasion of the Tikonov Grand Union(on turn 1) was sufficient to allow the FS to take at least 15,000 prisoners of war(total, across several planets).
2) Turn 2, eight regiments was enough to "nearly annihilate" an invasion force sent against Lee, which implies that a serious invasion was launched with substantially less than that.
3) Turn 3, twelve regiments was sufficient to "decisively smash" the rebel government on Skye, a major world.
4) Turn 4, a single small planet(Lothario) raised a new regiment of troops.
5) Turn 4, three regiments quickly defeated the garrison of Utrecht, which seems to have been roughly one regiment(given that a battalion's surrender was substantial, but not the entire fight).

marcussmythe

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Re: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race
« Reply #722 on: 22 August 2018, 08:21:06 »
So...

A Machine gun kills between .5 and 1.5 missiles, and are not facing dependent.

Therefore a Walkurie variant mounting, say, 160 MG on each facing, 1280 MG total (<2000 tons total, with firecon and ammo, cost trivial) could expect to, on its worst day, kill all or almost all of an incoming missile strike from its own fighters, assuming all of those fighters were carrying killer whales.  (720 missiles from 720 fighters.  Missile weight 36KT per strike.  Fighter cost 3.6 Billion)

Walkurie or others of her ilk of course have the freedom to do so, because their offensive armament does not rely on fire control linkages.  For gunships, cornerposting (which is discouraged) or the construction of separate escorts (which could easily carry sufficient PDS to do the above job several times over, but have limited impact outside such defense and so may be wasted) are both choices.

Another choice for gunships would be allocating machine guns to small craft so they may ‘switch hit’ for escort duty..  ~12-20 MG is easily done on a small craft while still filling other job titles.  This solution is much more mass/cost intensive (10 million cost small craft carrying 12 machine guns) but for our worst case scenario, 1 small craft could squash a launch by 6 fighters.  120 small craft is a lot, but less than it seems... bays would weigh a bit more than 120 fighter bays, but it would on its worst day hard stop a full Walkurie deckload, while peforming multiple other roles as needed.

Now, of course, there will always be leakers, and as the number of MG mounts increases, the effectiveness of each additional mount would likely drop.  But it is safe to assume  that if on average a single machine gun (.5 tons) kills a single Killer Whale Missile (50 tons, plus launch system) then missiles will matter until someone goes to minor (though not zero) effort to defend against them.

Alsadius

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Re: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race
« Reply #723 on: 22 August 2018, 08:47:24 »
TBH, this was the one reason I was reluctant to post the compilation of numbers, because I worried that the analysis would result in finding holes in the rules that allow for dominant strategies. I do have the ability to just ignore consistency and keep fights dramatic, but I'd really prefer not to do more than a small amount of that(it just seems hollow).

To be clear, MG *are* facing-dependent. I've ignored facing to simplify the ratios, but if you assume 2/8 facings on the average THN ship at Kentares were defending, then it's really 160 AC/2 that did for a bit more than one missile each.

What I think I'm getting from this is that missiles are almost totally a saturation weapon, in a way that BT doesn't tend to use. Twice as many missiles does much more than twice the damage, so they benefit even more than most from fire concentration. This serves to make larger fleets even more dominant than they would be by Lanchester alone, which is a scary thought.

As a first approximation to a fix, I'd say that defensive weapons get less effective as you try to cram more of them into a given space. This is over and above fire control weight. More is still better, but your fire control radars, gunner's firing arcs, and so on will get jammed up if you try to stick a couple thousand MG on a facing. (Which is weirdly plausible under the rules - 2000 MG with nothing else weighs 1k tons, plus 10k for the fire control, plus ammo - all in, about as much as a big NPPC bay.)

marcussmythe

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Re: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race
« Reply #724 on: 22 August 2018, 09:09:00 »
Id want a minimum or zero level of handwaving to make things interesting. Let the world run on its physics, not narrativium. 

Well, weve still not seen the Lyran Eclipse Generators do their thing.  And even after weve seen them do their thing, we still will probably have to wait a while to see them do their thing against a fleet that invested at the ‘diminishing returns’ level of point defense.  I anticipate that we may see unexpected behavior as both number of attacking missiles and number of defending weapons mounts climbs.  Perhaps missile walls will interfere with themselves causing fratricide.  Perhaps massed PDS will become less and less effective, as multiple mounts have trouble appropriately allocating defensive fire.

Perhaps fighter doctrine will move away from missile strikes and turn into a close range supression/assault on surface features doctrine, used in support of gunline ships.

If they work out poorly in the above circumstances, Ive got a 750kt troop transport design on paper waiting to be prototyped for refits.

Question:  What range were those fighters in the above examples launching at?  A max range launch implies more missiles are launched (before attrition to incoming fighters) but more tracking time for the defenders and less accuracy.  If one is concerned about getting missile hits through massive PDS, could doctrine have missiles fired from point blank range, accepting greater fighter losses to increase the number of hits?  The rules pay no respect to those differences in launch range, but realistically, a launch from a few kilometers out by a fighter moving at kilometers per second would be nearly impossible to detect and engage in time.


Alsadius

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Re: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race
« Reply #725 on: 22 August 2018, 09:16:43 »
Good point. Thus far, almost all missiles have been launched at fairly high ranges, to keep fighter losses down.

And yes, I want the world to run on its physics. Part of the reason for posts like this is that I'm trying to figure out what the physics are. Which is a weird thing for the author to say, but I think I was using more narrativium thus far than I actually realized until I started comparing fights.

Fratricide of all sorts will definitely rise as salvoes and defences get thicker.

marcussmythe

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Re: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race
« Reply #726 on: 22 August 2018, 09:50:54 »
Its very easy to, as a storyteller, unconciously make reasonable in the-the-moment calls, out to the edges of any grey area, to make for interesting, narratively compelling outcomes.

Real naval history has a broad sweep of narratively interesting, everything-hangs-in/the-balance outcomes.  But I think in part those are also a product of historians needing to have something to say - “Physics happened inevitably and the forgone concsion was arrived at” makes a boring story, but even with that effect, naval history also has no paucity of engagements that amounted to one-sided summary executions.

Specifically for fighters and launch distance - Lyran launch doctrine will be based on the idea that a second strike cannot be assume (though nice if we have enough time to do that).  Launch ranges will be based on anticipated AAA and PDS effectiveness, and Lyran fighter forces will engage at as close a range necessary for a decisive strike.  ‘Decisive’ here is fuzzy, and will be left to the decision of the CAG, in light of the correlation of forces.

Worked Examples:
3x CV v 1xCA - launch at edge of enemy AAA range.  1 CA cannot remain an effective fighting force in the face of 2100 capital missiles, and there is no point in losing pilots.

3x CV v 3 x CA - the CAs must be crippled or killed or they may run down and kill the CVs during reloading cycle.  Manuver to engage from aft if possible, and at the closest range possible to maximize accuracy and minimize PDS effectiveness.  If RTB and reload wont happen before any surviving CAs overrun our CVs, fighters will remain engaged closely to the surviving CAs, on whatever aspect was damaged by the missile launch.

3CV+3CA v 3CA: Max range fire, allocated for hard kills on 1-2 CA, depending on PDS and armor of targets.  Remaining CAs should be overmatched by Lyran CAs.

3CV v 6CA:  Minimum range fire, go for engines.  Accept casualties to cripple CAs and allow a chance for reload of remaining fighters or for CVs to escape.  “Sometimes you have to roll a hard 6”

3CV+ 3CA v 3CA, 6DDE:  Close range mass strike on one CA, to change force correlation in our favor, OR retain fighters with fleet for exploiting damage done by our CAs.

Just a general outline - cant get too exhaustive, but gives a general idea of what I want to train my people to.  Basically, dont throw away lives if youve got an easy win - but in anything like a peer engagement, we will risk fighter losses, even heavy fighter losses, in service of winning the overall engagement.  If the CVs are lost, the fighters are lost anyway, and the official motto of the air arm of the navy is definitely “Qui audet adipiscitur”

marcussmythe

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Re: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race
« Reply #727 on: 22 August 2018, 11:31:45 »
Over Alarion, 2394

Quote
“Gold Wing, all elements. Break right, break right, now now now.”

The headset crackled into life.  Obedient to his wing leader’s command, Saif Qutuz, call sign 'History' for his avowed interest in the topic, hammered the frame of his heavy aerospace fighter over and pushed the throttles past the safe thrust limiter.  The rumble of remass ejecting out the back of the fighter was a low growl, felt like heartbeat, but the bones of the stolid, elderly heavy fighter - his bones, through the intimate connection of the neurohelmet – accepted the strain with nothing more than a warning that they were nearing the edge of what they could accept.

In his case it was enough.  Sensors flared as the maneuver took most of squadron out of the kill zone of the Combine Cruiser’s heavy naval lasers.  Behind him, the neurohelmet and cockpit displays helpfully added colored lines showing the path of the otherwise invisible laser strikes – invisible at least until one of them connected with Gold 9, Saif’s roommate and best friend since flight school, Elizabeth Angler.

The heavy frame and armor of Elizabeth’s fighter vanished in an instant under the fire of a weapon more than 8 times its own weight.  Even so, the squadron cut back across the baseline, boring in closer, without further losses.  Burdened by the massive weight of the missiles hanging under their frame, a single spear in the minds eye of the neurohelmet linkage, Saif felt his skin grow a strange, prickling cold as the world tunneled in to focus on the enemy’s engines, the darting lines of fire reaching out to destroy them.

“Steady it down.  Release point in 10 on my mark…”

The fire was heavier now.  Augmented reality tracers rising from a wave of autocannon on the cruiser’s flanks rose up to meet them, like driving through a snowstorm in the night.  Bright green lines lashed out as the ships heavy lasers fired one last time, trying to escape the doom overtaking it from behind.

“5… 4… 3…”

Suddenly, a flare of pain across his flank.  Pain, but not like cannon rounds.  Missiles?  The Combine had RWR missiles, now?   Some heat, but not burning – armor holding.  Shakiness and a sense of unease, clumsiness… that would be his left maneuvering thruster going.  The sensor tell-tales provided the details that the neurohelmet could not – enemy interceptors slashing through his squadron, peppering them with unexpected weapons.  But the count was nearly good, and nothing they carried was going to stop his beloved Shuu and her 20 tons of armor.  Not in time, anway.

“2… 1… Release.”

Release.  Such a simple word.  As one, the surviving members of gold squadron pulled their trigger, threw their spear, pulled up and away from a 20th century naval torpedo.  Each had their own iconography, their own inputs.. whatever ‘worked’, as it was, for them.  But the effect was the same.  A shuddering and a sense of freedom, of weightlessness, engines screaming as Gold Wing desperately maneuvered to avoid following their missiles into the bright drive flare of the Atago.  Space suddenly clear, serene, as the cruiser’s guns focused away from the fighters and onto the tsunami of missiles coming in from behind.

A glance over his mental shoulder as he burned away.  Sparkles, fireworks, across the aft of the target, as his missiles and others slammed home, too close to intercept.  A glance around… the ‘wing’ nothing more than a pair of squadrons, now.  A perceived rumble from behind, as first the Atago’s drives died, and then a series of secondary explosions ripped through the warships aft section – leaving her adrift, though still firing.

At least the carriers would be able to get away, now.  Not like they would have enough fighters left to do this again.

“Alright, everyone, lets get back in formation and get home.”

The simulation pod opened.  Climbing out of it, Saif looked around to see the rest of his class rising, shaking off the shock of being returned to mere humanity, after a brief period of feeling the roaring fighters as if they were part of themselves.
Elizabeth looked over at him, half-grinning, half sheepish.

“History!  You managed to get it home in one piece?”

“Yes, because unlike SOME people, I wont-say-Trawler, I don’t get so focused that I miss a break and wander into a naval laser killbox.”

“Whatever.  Bullshit exercise.  What are they trying to do, convince us were all doomed?  Ive read the Technical Readouts.  Atago doesn’t have nearly that much Ack-ack.  And the Combine doesn’t have missile fighters.  Hell, we haven’t managed to steal the RWRs missiles yet.  Maybe they should spend more money on that, and less on making us feel like idiots.”

The two of them walked together to the briefing room.  Or the ‘laundry list of ways you screwed up, died, and got everyone else killed’ room.  At least the wing commander wasn’t a screamer.  Commander Blair was a strangely intense man with a thousand yard stair and shockingly blue hair, but he wasn’t a screamer.

“Sure.  Maybe.  Maybe today.  But I don’t see wings on your chest yet.  Or mine.  You wanna bet that by the time were wearing them, someone whose favourite colors are red.. or purple… wont have looked at Kentares and decided ‘it could happen here’?”

“So? We can always build more.  Theres some number they cant shoot down, so we build that many, and we just go back to doing timed releases at max range and get the hell home to reload.”

“Silly Trawler.  Fighter weigh how much?  Missile weigh how much?  Point Defense mount weigh how much?  Trawler math how little?  There is always a response.  The Commander is trying to get us ahead of that response, before it even happens.  You cant always fix things with engineering – maybe try doctrine?”

Elizabeth shook her head, laughing.  “Yup.  History.  They named you right.  Anyway, scuttlebutt has it that weve got something new in the pipelines.  Take off a bit of warhead, put a full ton of FA on the nose, fuse em for penetration rather than standoff… stop that with a machine gun.”

“Yannow, Trawler, I’m happy to pretend I don’t know who your great grandma was, but you have to turn around and pretend you aren’t actually your great grandma.  Let the people at the top worry about what to give us or winning wars with math and numbers and stuff.  Lets just learn to do the job with what weve got.  Which means not flying into killboxes, no?  Reminds me.  You owe me a drink.”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah.  Mead, right?  Cause honey?”

Saif let out a long suffering sigh.  “First, no.  Second, I regret you ever seeing that terrible antique 2-D movie.  Third, no.  Fourth? not observant – at least not as much as dad would like.  Finally no.  Just no, Elizabeth.  Whatever they had to do to the bees to make them able to stand in for Alarion’s extinct pollinators, I assure you, you don’t want anything to do with what comes out of their behinds.  Now can we step up?  Wing Commander Blair has enough reasons to chew you out, lets not give him any more.  Not that I mind too much.  If hes chewing on you, hes not chewing on me.”

*smack to back of head*

“Why do I put up with you, History?”

“Because.  I am pretty.  And also I am a better pilot than you.”
« Last Edit: 22 August 2018, 14:19:08 by marcussmythe »

Alsadius

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Re: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race
« Reply #728 on: 22 August 2018, 11:41:09 »
Heh. Took my advice re: a below-decks episode, I see.

Also, I've started seriously writing this turn. The joy of doing random rolls for events is that sometimes you even surprise yourself. And there's one that totally came out of left field on me this turn - it started as "I guess I should probably give this nation some kind of internal event, haven't had many of those", and...well, let's just say the butterflies are hard at work, because the dice had some extremely interesting things to say here. I'm kind of stunned, tbh, but I'll roll with it.

(Yes, this is a teaser. Yes, I'm writing teasers instead of  writing my already-late post. No, I won't apologize. >:D )

marcussmythe

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Re: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race
« Reply #729 on: 22 August 2018, 11:54:08 »
Its been rumbling around in the back of my head for a while, but couldnt find a good ‘in’ for it till we started talking missiles, PDS, and ‘tactics as solution to problems rather than just engineering a solution to every problem.’  I intend to follow these two for a while, and see where they end up.  Ive also realized I don’t have any germans in my navy yet - some of thats accident, some intentional getting away from ‘Each succesor state wears a perfectly defined modern world national hat and they were all colonized by people from that nation’ - so i figure its interesting if the LC Navy ends up traditionally being dominated by the far wandering, not-classically-germanic people of the LC.  The Army, otoh, is probably gonna be blue eyed blonds.  Variety is the spice!

Yes, I know ‘improved armored missiles with penetration fuses’ arent a thing in the rules, and Im not asking for them.  But my sense of realism demands a constant background rumble of improvement and refinement, even if its not explicitly called pit in the rules.

I may do some editing, not for substance, but just to clean up my writing.  Stackpole I am not.

Finally, as for Wing Commander Blue Hair - I regret nothing!

marcussmythe

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Re: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race
« Reply #730 on: 22 August 2018, 11:56:32 »
What I think I'm getting from this is that missiles are almost totally a saturation weapon, in a way that BT doesn't tend to use. Twice as many missiles does much more than twice the damage, so they benefit even more than most from fire concentration. This serves to make larger fleets even more dominant than they would be by Lanchester alone, which is a scary thought.

Ill take ‘why the hell are there 720 fighters on a Walkurie’ for 400, Alex.

Lagrange

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Re: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race
« Reply #731 on: 22 August 2018, 13:07:14 »
The Taurus I is designed to have 653-720 MGs active against incoming missile swarms.  The low end is in the nose arc which has 5(Taurus I)  + 12x54(dedicated Crestbreaker smallcraft) = 653 MGs.  Other arcs have 60(Taurus I)+12(Tick)+12x54(Crestbreaker) = 720 MGs.  The obvious thing to do is to test a Taurus I vs. a Walkurie, but I don't see a good way to make that happen :)

Dedicated smallcraft have two significant drawbacks----they are expensive (which certainly matters to the TC) and they are vulnerable to direct attack by ASF.  The advantage is that they are low mass (which also matters to the TC), they can be pointed, and they may allow for a somewhat greater depth of defenses.

The ASF fighter doctrine against Warships for the TC is simple: close to point blank range and fire the missiles en masse.  This likely will incur some fighter losses, but the odds of a hit are  higher the less time there is for point defense to be active and there is a secondary goal of saturating defenses for the boarding parties.

marcussmythe

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Re: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race
« Reply #732 on: 22 August 2018, 13:30:59 »
The Taurus I is designed to have 653-720 MGs active against incoming missile swarms.  The low end is in the nose arc which has 5(Taurus I)  + 12x54(dedicated Crestbreaker smallcraft) = 653 MGs.  Other arcs have 60(Taurus I)+12(Tick)+12x54(Crestbreaker) = 720 MGs.  The obvious thing to do is to test a Taurus I vs. a Walkurie, but I don't see a good way to make that happen :)

Dedicated smallcraft have two significant drawbacks----they are expensive (which certainly matters to the TC) and they are vulnerable to direct attack by ASF.  The advantage is that they are low mass (which also matters to the TC), they can be pointed, and they may allow for a somewhat greater depth of defenses.

The ASF fighter doctrine against Warships for the TC is simple: close to point blank range and fire the missiles en masse.  This likely will incur some fighter losses, but the odds of a hit are  higher the less time there is for point defense to be active and there is a secondary goal of saturating defenses for the boarding parties.

Yeah, I think the ASF operators are going to go with a 'wait till you see the whites of your eyes' doctrine, given those numbers.

RE Small Craft as Point Defense - in this instance, the small craft would essentially be serving as independent turrets that dont strain the motherships fire control, can manuver with it, and can always bear on the incoming strike.  Given 'always bear' and that the current results assume only 1/4 of the ships point defense is in arc, this suggests that a single Machine Gun on a single Small Craft shoots down, in current conditions, between 2 and 6 Capital Missiles.

Its trivially easy to put 12 MGs on a largish small craft, while leaving it able to still do its other jobs.  By math above, thats 24-72! missiles killed by that small craft.  Expensive?  By that math, 30 small craft can squash the launch of one Walkurie.  On a bad day. 

And the same small craft easily mount more proper firepower than an ASF, and more armor.  Sure, its less mobile.. but its only trying to be as mobile as the ship it is guarding, and is present in numbers sufficient that dogfighting isnt really an issue - your fighter is going to be in front of SOMEONES Small Craft Turret, and every small craft turret will have SOMEONE in its gunsights.

This is, obviously, an absurd result.  Perhaps something else is going on here.


Proposition:
We may have erred in treating '720 missiles launch, 120 hit' as being a case of '600 are shot down'.  It could easily be the case that '720 missiles launch, 160 make a successful to-hit roll, 40 are shot down, 120 hit'.  This allows some value to even a small amount of PDS, makes missiles somewhat less of a 'overwhelming numbers overwhelm overwhelmingly' issue, and at the same time prevents big PDS belts from making missiles a nonexistent weapon system.  If we model PDS as 'look-shoot', further, a certain % of missiles will ALWAYS get through - because the defenders would be allocating MG fire all at once, then starting to roll to hit, and unable to reengage any missile that survived its first x attackers.
If we treat it as 'look-shoot-look-shoot-look-shoot' ad infinitium (as is suggested by a X MGs always kill between 1/2 X and 1.5X missiles), then its strictly linear, with the defender having infinite reaction time and perspicacity.

Or perhaps the GM is already considering to-hit rolls, and failed to-hit rolls may reflect some version of damaged/deflected/shot down, again overcome by closing to point blank range.

Ballpark proposition:
1MG, in arc, fires 1 Time at 1 Missile.  It has a percentage, 50% in our example (and I feel this is likely too high by at least half - 25% for a MG, and 50% for a future AMS seems better) of causing a kill.

Let X be the number of incoming missiles that have successfully rolled to hit (we will assume that point defense controllers are good enough to not engage probable misses).  Let Y be the number of point defense mounts.

If X>Y, then obviously Y mounts engage Y missiles, killing half of them, and leaving the target struck by (X-.5Y) missiles.

If Y>X, then each missile may have more than one mount engaging it.  For Y=2X, then you have 2 mounts firing on each missile.  Each has a 50% chance of a kill.  Two mounts would collectively have a 75% chance of a kill.  Therefore, 1 in 4 missiles survive the run through the point defense.  At something extreme, like '8 MG in arc for each missile), that number drops precipitously, to 1/256, or less than half of a percent.  Yeah.. looks like 50% for a MG is way too high.

One advantage for this paradigm... once youve got PDS mounts in arc equal to the incoming probable hits, each further one is worth less.  If you have to pre-spot all your fire, then some PDS mounts are going to be wasted shooting at dead missiles - and you hit diminishing returns/negative feedback.  This way you dont overkill small salvos as hard, and have less impetus to go crazy on mounts entirely.

Finally, given that maaaasssive weight is paid for fire control on ship mounted massive-PDS belts, and NOT paid by fighters or small craft, suggest that fighters and small craft be at massively reduced effectiveness when pretending to be PDS belts.  Not ineffective, but the warship is getting something for those thousands of tons of fire control.

Further note:  current examples are allowing all PDS on all defenders to fire.  It seems likely that ship A will recieve little to no protection against missiles targeting it from PDS mounts on ship B.  Even carried small craft will be off-bore to an incoming missile, which would seem to greatly increase the difficulty of an intercept (this condition obtains less if the goalkeepers can place themselves at rest relative to an unmanuvering target and along the incoming attack bearing - but shutting off ones manuver drives to maximize point defense would at the same time seem to have bad implications in terms of number of missiles that would be on target to hit you.)

Final Note:  We are really only having this conversation because of the potential of massive salvo model missile fire, made possible by either fighter carriage or by large numbers of launchers with limited ammo.  Outside of such conditions, missiles are a poor weapon system best defeated by the same armor that also works against NACs.
« Last Edit: 22 August 2018, 14:17:44 by marcussmythe »

Easy

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Re: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race
« Reply #733 on: 22 August 2018, 14:04:42 »
cleanup
« Last Edit: 29 May 2019, 19:44:35 by Easy »

marcussmythe

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Re: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race
« Reply #734 on: 22 August 2018, 14:06:36 »
Wow!

Source? Where is this published?

Its just fluff I wrote for this turn in this game - its not 'from' anything, or a part of anything larger.

If Im reading the tone right, thank you very kindly.

Kiviar

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Re: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race
« Reply #735 on: 22 August 2018, 14:08:32 »
and...well, let's just say the butterflies are hard at work, because the dice had some extremely interesting things to say here. I'm kind of stunned, tbh, but I'll roll with it.

Time-traveling Hanse Davion. Calling it!

All he left was a cryptic note on the president's desk saying "In 677 years someone slap my son.... It doesn't matter which, they all deserve it."

Easy

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Re: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race
« Reply #736 on: 22 August 2018, 14:15:07 »
cleanup
« Last Edit: 29 May 2019, 19:21:32 by Easy »

Lagrange

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Re: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race
« Reply #737 on: 22 August 2018, 14:38:30 »
And the same small craft easily mount more proper firepower than an ASF, and more armor.  Sure, its less mobile.. but its only trying to be as mobile as the ship it is
We should be a little bit careful here.  If you want a 3/5 smallcraft, it really can't mount much more weapons/armor than a 3/5 heavy ASF in a forward-facing arc and in the conventional rules the smallcraft always loses initiative vs. the ASF (In the advanced rules, it's merely an initiative bonus) which, even with good positioning of multiple elements, implies halving firepower in a dogfight and taking shots aft.   ASFs seem to have a strong roll in a dogfight.
Proposition:
We may have erred in treating '720 missiles launch, 120 hit' as being a case of '600 are shot down'.  It could easily be the case that '720 missiles launch, 160 make a successful to-hit roll, 40 are shot down, 120 hit'.  This allows some value to even a small amount of PDS, makes missiles somewhat less of a 'overwhelming numbers
An average pilot should hit 1/6th of the time with a KW from extreme range (to-hit 10=4(base)+6(extreme)).  It's the same to-hit at long range if the target uses evasive maneuvers.   This would suggest only 120 hit.
If we treat it as 'look-shoot-look-shoot-look-shoot' ad infinitium (as is suggested by a X MGs always kill between 1/2 X and 1.5X missiles), then its strictly linear, with the defender having infinite reaction time and perspicacity.
I was assuming that independent fire control means independent damage, which I think is what you are suggesting.  Hence, if 720 missiles are fired at extreme range and 120 of them are on-target, then if fire-system i eliminates an f_i fraction, the number of surviving missiles will be something like 720 / 6 * (product_i (1-f_i)).  For example, if f_i=0.25 (i.e. 1/4 the missiles are eliminated) and there are 12 systems active then the number of missiles hitting is something like 720/6*0.75^12  = 3.8 missiles get through in expectation.

W.r.t. fire control tonnage, it seems the amount of fire control tonnage only scales w.r.t. the number of weapons, and so it's only consistent with coordinating the fire of a unit or the overhead of cramming additional weapons onto the hull without damaging hull integrity.  For example, a warship mounting only 20 MGs in an arc should not suffer a penalty due to the lack of fire control tonnage.

W.r.t. on-bore vs. off-bore it seems like you are imagining missiles coming in on a straight path.  This seems unrealistic--some amount of evasive maneuvers when closing makes sense, so I would not expect a close array of small craft to be at a significant disadvantage in targeting missiles as they are only marginally more 'off-bore' than the hull itself against an evasive missile.

marcussmythe

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Re: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race
« Reply #738 on: 22 August 2018, 15:00:49 »
W.r.t. on-bore vs. off-bore it seems like you are imagining missiles coming in on a straight path.  This seems unrealistic--some amount of evasive maneuvers when closing makes sense, so I would not expect a close array of small craft to be at a significant disadvantage in targeting missiles as they are only marginally more 'off-bore' than the hull itself against an evasive missile.

My intent here is some degree of simplification.  If we prefer, instead, to allow small craft to fire their 12-to-50 machine guns at full effect for any defender in range, we simply change the pk of each machine gun shot such that missiles are still a viable choice, one not negated by a relatively small investment in defense.

Despite the above, I'd prefer there to be some reason to mount point defense on actual ship hulls.  Otherwise, the punishment of the fire control limitations, coupled with the fact that the majority will be out of arc as against any given attack, indicates that all PDS duties are offloaded to small craft escort turrets to leave fire control channels free for capital weapons.  I have in fact already done that with my future designs.

Were mostly on the same page as to defensive systems, but you are assuming that defensive fire system 'i' engages the entire incoming salvo.  I'm more suggesting we model it as 'each system engages a discreet on-target missile, and all the defensive systems may be allocated however the defender wishes, most likely evenly.'  Thus in your 12 system example, the 12 systems would be 'Machine guns equal to 12 x the number of incoming, on-target missiles'.  As your example illustrates, 1440 Machine Guns in arc, a significant, but hardly ridiculous number, reduces the extreme range strike of 120 missiles on target to impotence.

If fired instead at point blank range, from right on top of the target (sufficiently close to avoid ECM - 'my viewscreen is full of target') and from the trailing aspect (easy enough to do, as fighters move after warships), about 600 missiles will be tracking.  360 of those missiles will be engaged by 2 machine guns, and the remaining 240 by 3, assuming perfect allocation.  Roughly 300 will survive to hit.  300 missiles is 1200 damage, which means in warship terms about 600 to each side (from a side aspect) or about 800 to the nose/tail and 200 to each matching side (for a nose or tail strike).  This is a hard kill on anything we have in service, and would convince even a Levi 3 that it would rather be somewhere else.

Thus in such a paradigm, massive PDS belts can help (A LOT!), but missile defense against massive strikes probably wants some stand off component as well.  Said paradigm involves a .25 pk for Machine Guns.  Once AMS comes into play (fall, 2019, at a guess), if it is in fact twice as effective as PDS (with a 50% PK), I think the era of missile heavy combat would be largely over.  That said, given its IRL in-service date of fall 2019, I'm not worrying much about AMS this week.  :)
« Last Edit: 22 August 2018, 15:29:33 by marcussmythe »

Maingunnery

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Re: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race
« Reply #739 on: 22 August 2018, 15:45:37 »

We are talking a lot about machine guns, but what about the effectiveness of small lasers?
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marcussmythe

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Re: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race
« Reply #740 on: 22 August 2018, 15:48:01 »
We are talking a lot about machine guns, but what about the effectiveness of small lasers?

They've never been discussed, but given the similar range and damage, I cannot imagine there to be a large difference.

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Re: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race
« Reply #741 on: 22 August 2018, 15:57:08 »
Reading your various excessively nerdy commentary on missile math(which is awesome, keep it coming), I'm starting to think that the real error was killing the Black Lions so easily. 500 missiles that get past point defence should probably not be able to kill four heavy ships instantly. We can say that the Terrans didn't prioritize the fire control very well, or that the Feddies shot extremely well, but it's an outlier. In future I'll try to make missiles that hit a bit less effective than that. They'd probably still have scored a similar number of kills, but it wouldn't have been gross overkill - all 800 would probably have been needed. And given that Hasek didn't do great on his command roll, I intended "gross overkill" to be his error as the most plausible one, so maybe if I were to write that again they'd only kill 2-3 Black Lions with the first salvo. IDK.

Small craft and fighters can do useful point defence, but they'll be less capable than a WarShip per gun mounted. Otherwise, on-ship defences just stop being useful for much of anything - it's too easy to mount thousands of MG on your support craft.

Lagrange: Your math is oversimplified, because it ignores the difference between shoot-look-shoot and shoot-shoot-look approaches. As a quick example, say you have four missiles, four point defence guns, and each one can fire twice before the missile hits with a 50% chance of killing each time. With shoot-shoot-look, each turret engages its own target twice, so each missile has a 50%*50% = 25% chance of survival. 25%*4 missiles = one hit on average. With shoot-look-shoot, you can move the two guns that killed their first target on to one of the survivors. So the first shot has a 50% chance of killing, but he second shot has two 50% chances of killing, because there's two guns per target. That's a 50%^3 = 12.5% chance of surviving, so 12.5%*4 = half a missile hitting. Simple re-targeting doubled your kill probability. (And even then I'm still oversimplifying, because I only took the median case. If you do the math, the average is actually 0.64 hits, because if you miss all of them or kill all of them the first time, SLS does nothing for you.)

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We are talking a lot about machine guns, but what about the effectiveness of small lasers?

Good question. I hadn't thought about them, because of course they haven't been invented yet. I'm fine with making them the equal of MGs, because I'm not sure they'll have much of a role otherwise. A SL+SHS weighs the same as a MG+200 ammo, and damage against fighters is comparable, so they're not overpowered or anything. Does anyone have any objections?

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Re: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race
« Reply #742 on: 22 August 2018, 16:25:49 »
I think one thing we are sort of neglecting here is that, even a battlespace as large as space has a finite volume, and you can't just keep throwing ordinance into it. Eventually you will over-saturate the area with missiles and they will start interfering with each other. So there should be diminishing returns to not only hit probability but evasion chance as the size of a volley increases.

Or his daughters. Don't forget slapping his daughters.

Though maybe I'm being unkind. I'm fairly sure that his children have a combined IQ slightly higher than his.

No his daughters can have some nice flowers.

But really, Victor is the perfect example of how not to fix a marry sue.

marcussmythe

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Re: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race
« Reply #743 on: 22 August 2018, 16:27:42 »
500 missiles that get past point defence should probably not be able to kill four heavy ships instantly.

Depends on missile and ship.  I don't have Black Lion I in front of me, so I'll cheat and use Tyr, cause it is.

Tyr has 105 armor on her fore and aft sides, and 87 armor fore and aft, covering 90 SI.  We will cheat and say she has 100 armor on each face, for simplicity.

SI is 2 for 1.. IE it takes 2 Capital Damage to remove 1 SI.  180 internal capital damage will destroy her SI and hard kill the ship.

If Tyr takes damage from the fore or aft aspect, 60% of incoming fire falls on the nose (or tail), and 20% each on each flank.  By the time the nose armor collapses (100 damage) her flanks have each absorbed ~30.  By the time a further 180 damage comes in through her nose to collapse the SI, the flanks will each have taken a further 60.  So Tyr will die after a total of 280 damage to her nose and 90 damage to each flank, for a total of 460 damage.  115 Killer Whales, on target, unintercepted, will kill her, from the nose or tail aspect.

On the flanks, the armor on both sides will collapse before the ship is destroyed.  200 damage removes the armor from each side, and then 180 more damage internal.  380 damage, and 95 Killer Whales.

Interestingly, Tyr is tougher to hard kill on the nose than she is on the flanks.  Though I'd probably still in a general condition prefer to show flanks... front and back aspect have worse crit charts, and are of more tactical value (being necessary to close or disengage), while if one broadside is wrecked, simple enough to roll and present the other.  Also, the nose/tail aspects show SI quicker in a balanced armor scenario, further leading to more criticals.

In any event (as I said, no Black Lion to draw from) it takes about 100 Capital Missile hits to kill a Max-Standard-Armor 90 SI 750KT ship.  A hypothetical 150 SI version would take ~166 Capital Missiles.  So unless Black Lion I is tougher than I expect from Terran Hegemony Hulls, you likely -over- estimated the number of hits it would take to kill. 

*********************************************************************************************************
Since I'm amused by the the 'tougher on the nose' bit, lets look at a larger ship.  I think the effect of spreading out shots onto more facings will be more valuable while SI is high compared to total armor thickness - better armored ships will die from focused damage to a single facing more quickly.  This also may inform armor placement, if we know where attacks are going to come from and what fraction are going to land where

As a test case, if we assume a ship twice Tyr's size (so double armor weight), and with IFA armor (so 50% more armor than Tyr's standard plating) she has 90 SI, and 300 armor on each flank.

So the front armor collapses after 300 damage, 100 on each flank.  180 more on the nose and 60 on each flank finish off the IS, leaving SuperTyr! dead from 700 damage, or 175 missiles.  Interestingly, doubling size, and improving armor by 50%, did not double lifespan.. in fact, it only increased it by about 50%.  Such is the power of SI.

On the side aspect, it will take 600 damage to strip both flanks of armor, and another 180 to finish her off - 780 damage, or 195 missiles.  More than doubling the flank aspect survivability.

So a Class 6 Capship, max IFA, 90 SI, is 175 KW on the nose, or 195 on the flanks.  For a maximum balanced resilience, 3/5, 150 SI version, the numbers are going to increase to around 290 missiles on the nose, or 324 on the flank.  For a supertough, 180 SI ship (which we likely will not see unless you decouple thrust from SI) it climbes again to 350 on the nose, or just shy of 400 KW coming in on the port or starboard.

Warship resilience is about to climb dramatically over the next few turns.

My gut feeling is that missiles/fighters are having a day in the sun, but between increased PDS fits, better technology coming down the pipeline, and increasing armor quality and ship size, the sun on that day may already be past noon.
« Last Edit: 22 August 2018, 16:52:16 by marcussmythe »

marcussmythe

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Re: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race
« Reply #744 on: 22 August 2018, 16:53:47 »
I think one thing we are sort of neglecting here is that, even a battlespace as large as space has a finite volume, and you can't just keep throwing ordinance into it. Eventually you will over-saturate the area with missiles and they will start interfering with each other. So there should be diminishing returns to not only hit probability but evasion chance as the size of a volley increases.

I agree that at some point mutual interference and fratricide become an issue.

At the same time, if there are so many 50 ton hostiles inbound that they start running into each other on their way to hit a kilometer long ship in space, the fact that some of them will run into one another gives cold comfort.
« Last Edit: 22 August 2018, 16:57:31 by marcussmythe »

Smegish

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Re: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race
« Reply #745 on: 22 August 2018, 17:36:40 »
Personally I agree that ASF/SC based PD should be less effective than Warship based, both for game balance and because 'Ships sensors and targeting systems are so much better.

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Re: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race
« Reply #746 on: 22 August 2018, 17:42:47 »
My intent here is some degree of simplification.  If we prefer, instead, to allow small craft to fire their 12-to-50 machine guns at full effect for any defender in range, we simply change the pk of each machine gun shot such that missiles are still a viable choice, one not negated by a relatively small investment in defense.
The divergence from standard Battletech combat is in the chance of a kill.  The in-game rules handle this by requiring 20 MGs to kill a Barracuda and 40 MGs to take out a Killer Whale.  Furthermore it makes sense that Capital missiles should carry some armor given their unit weight.  If we wanted to make this probabilistic, then the chance of a kill would be 1/20th or 1/40th per MG.  In standard Battletech, you can't mount capital missiles on an ASF for mass attacks, so it's not unreasonable to make point defense more effective in compensation, but maybe not a factor of 10+ more effective.
Despite the above, I'd prefer there to be some reason to mount point defense on actual ship hulls.  Otherwise, the punishment of the fire control limitations, coupled with the fact that the majority will be out of arc as against any given attack, indicates that all PDS duties are offloaded to small craft escort turrets to leave fire control channels free for capital weapons.  I have in fact already done that with my future designs.
There is a strong reason to mount MGs on the hull in my current understanding---they are essentially invulnerable to ASF weapons fire.  Anyone mounting point defense in smallcraft is vulnerable to sequential tactics where the smallcraft are destroyed followed by capital missile bombardment.  This is a more intricate form of naval combat, but that seems reasonable to me.
Were mostly on the same page as to defensive systems, but you are assuming that defensive fire system 'i' engages the entire incoming salvo.  I'm more suggesting we model it as 'each system engages a discreet on-target missile, and all the defensive systems may be allocated however the defender wishes, most likely evenly.' 
Right.  'As the defender wishes' seems a little bit implausible in a real-life setting to me.  Suppose a missile can be fired from 50 space hexes(=900 km at 18km/hex) away and hit within 60 seconds.   Basic math implies the missile is putting out at least 50 gravities with a closing velocity of about 1.67 space hexes / second, implying about a 1 second engagement window.   The engagement window increases to about 12s if the missile is fired from 2 hexes away at 50g and then decreases to zero as the missile is fired within the point defense window.  If the missiles are vaguely intelligent, their terminal attack will happen with 50g evasive maneuvers, and how well do we think people (yes, gunners, not computers according to the rules in use) can apportion this?   The best cast scenario is perhaps that on a single ship the fire control can manage to coordinate to spread attacks evenly. 
If fired instead at point blank range, from right on top of the target (sufficiently close to avoid ECM - 'my viewscreen is full of target') and from the trailing aspect (easy enough to do, as fighters move after warships),
There is an important tactical point here: When an ASF makes a close flyby of a slower target (i.e. not ASF or anything losing initiative), it can essentially choose the angle of attack randomly.  Against this ability, all a defender can do is spread out point defense into all arcs.  This essentially cuts down the effectiveness of smallcraft by a factor of 3 since an individual arc covers 120 degrees.  Applied to the Taurus I, this means "only" ~275 MGs would be in-arc for targeting purposes.
Small craft and fighters can do useful point defence, but they'll be less capable than a WarShip per gun mounted. Otherwise, on-ship defences just stop being useful for much of anything - it's too easy to mount thousands of MG on your support craft.
There are two reasons to mount MGs on the Warship: the cost is lower and they cannot be attacked with ASF weapons. 
Lagrange: Your math is oversimplified, because it ignores the difference between shoot-look-shoot and shoot-shoot-look approaches. As a quick example, say you have four
I'm ignoring this deliberately because (apparently) people are still in the loop and engagement times are very short per analysis above.

marcussmythe

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Re: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race
« Reply #747 on: 22 August 2018, 18:21:37 »
Amusingly, we have become so focused on fighter launched missile waves that we have ignored the Missile ship.  Though it will have perhaps half the salvo weight, it is capable of around 5 full salvos in as many turns, whereas the Carrier will take 'out of combat' amounts of time to turn around 720 fighters.  The big advantage of carriers is reach, and having fighters in the air.  If your only concern is missiles on target, and your willing to cut salvo weight in half, you can fire 2.5 times as many missiles over 5 turns than the carrier.

And you also save 3.5 Billion in Aerospace Fighters.  Of course, then you dont have the ASFs (which can do things other than launch missiles) and you probably cut that throw weight to buy the armor that will let you live to fire those 5 salvos...

Lagrange

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Re: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race
« Reply #748 on: 22 August 2018, 22:07:32 »
The value of reach seems quite high here.

A few other things.
  • I wanted to mention that 'adding a zero' to capital scale armor makes a good bit of sense to me.  It deals with the 'why do capitol scale weapons inflict so little damage?' issue.  It deals with the extreme dominance of ASF issue.  It deals with the 'why can you mount such limited armor?' issue if you add a zero to the amount of armor, and decrease it's capital scale armor points by a factor of 10 (as makes sense).  It also makes the 'always armor to maximum' heuristic less straightforward since the cost of armor goes up by a factor of 10.  Sub-capital weapons are probably(?) fine to leave at capital scale and the antiship missile at 30 standard damage is the high end of what an ASF can directly inflict
  • Related to this, having a damage threshold at 10% for criticals and ignoring damage sources <1% of armor seems reasonable.  This would mean that an AC/2 (or MG) can damage things with up to 200 points of armor (= moderately armored dropship).  Similarly an improved heavy gauss could damage things with up to 2200 points of armor (= pocket warship or light warship).  Inflicting capital scale damage with mech scale weapons would require a weapons bay where 10 ERLL(c) can inflict 1 capital damage against light warships and 100 ERLL(c) can inflict 10 capital damage against heavy warships.  Notably, a heavy warship may become immune to subcap and even light capital weapons like naval lasers not in a bay.
  • I worked out the timing for invasions with the Rube Goldberg Warship.  Jumping to a random location 22AU away from the target planet and the zenith/nadir jump point basically guarantees never being detected, even by a ship with a Large NCSS.   (Although a large NCSS triples the maximum detection limit, the practical detection limit is only increased modestly via the -2 modifier.  22AU is not detectable by an elite (base roll 2) crew with a large NCSS)  At this distance from Sol, the recharge time for a jumpship is about 37 days although a Tick could spend 15 days achieving a 0/0 at the 10AU jump limit of Sol followed by ~7.6 days to recharge from the sail or you could do a safe recharge off a fusion power plant in 7.3 days.
  • There are 3 simple accel profiles for an inbound Taurus I starting at 22AU.
         
    • A high speed pass takes 12 days (+0.5 days to extract from naval repair bay and the Tick from Cargo) to reach the inner system and builds up a speed of about 17.28K hexes/minute.  This is on the order of .017c so minor relativistic effects should be evident.
    • A minimum time 0/0 intercept in the inner system requires ~17 days (+.5 days for extraction).
    • A stealth approach takes ~37 days (+0.5 days to extract) consisting of 16.8 days to a 3.6M hexes/120 hexes/minute closing velocity, drifting for 20.9 days, and then decelerating to a 0/0 intercept for 2 hours.  Only the last 2 hours should be visible to a target planet as long as emmission control standards are active.  Notably, the 2 hour detection window is similar to a warship jumping into the Earth/Sol L1 point and accelerating for Earth at 1G.

marcussmythe

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Re: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race
« Reply #749 on: 22 August 2018, 23:02:02 »
Amusing random scale note.

NL/55 - 700 tons.  We assume this is the entire assembly, including training mechanisms.

Schwer Gustav - 1400 tons.

So 2xNL/55 would be the size of that german monster.  Of course, given how very mich faster the NLs swing to target, which cannot all be tech advance, relatively more of that would be mount and less gun.

The 3x16” Naval Rifle mount on a WW2 US BB was around 2100 tons (though this is with armor).  Still, it gives us a mental picture of about how big a 3xNL/55 mount would be.

 

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