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Author Topic: Fighter of the Week, Issue #069 (repost) - Lyonesse gunboat  (Read 2549 times)

Trace Coburn

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Lyonesse gunboat - 175t, TRO3026R
Originally posted 26 Jul. 2006.

  All proposed fan-variants should be posted in the corresponding “FotW Workshop” thread.

AFAICT: Lyonesse and (closer to camera) Aquarius.

  Apparently, the Lyonesse is an example of a fairly typical pre-to-early-Star League concept of a surface-to-space (or vice versa) escort craft for DropShips heading to or from orbital facilites and/or WarShips.  This makes a certain degree of logical sense - there are few points on a DropShip transit where systems-failure or battle damage carry more potential for disaster than during the atmospheric transition - but as to how it might play out in practice?  YMMV.  For my own part, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if some Star League or House WarShips with good small-craft capacity and little in the way of point-defence ordnance used craft similar to the Lyonesse (or its cousin the Aquarius) as picquet ships or very light escorts/screening elements, providing the last-ditch fighter-scale firepower that they themselves lack.
* Trace Coburn gives significant looks to the Aegis CA, Black Lion BC, Texas BB, and McKenna DN.

  At a hundred and seventy-five tons and 4/6 thrust, the Lyonesse isn’t exactly a speed-freak, but considering that most of its ‘principals’ are DropShips or WarShips - few of which can match that same thrust profile, and even fewer exceed it - it’s probably close enough for a government contract.  Five tons of fuel is enough for the better part of three days’ strategic burn: more than sufficient for a simple STS escort run.  (Indeed, it’s probably more than enough for ‘strategic escort’ missions for ’Ships transiting to/from orbit from/to a jump-point, too: assuming a one-week transit time from the time the ’Ship jumps in, the gunboat can launch immediately and remain out in space to cover the ’Ship for the first two days or so outbound, recover to replenish consumables and rest the crew for the next three or four days, then launch and cover the ’Ship for the last couple of days of their transit to their destination.  These are the points of maximum vulnerability on a transit burn, when the ’Ship’s base velocity is lowest and intercept solutions for extended engagements are most easily generated; attacking at any other point on the transit involves vectors which allow only one or two turns of firing, which are hardly an optimum method for ensuring the destruction of the target.  This is part of the reason why most combat occurs around jump-points or planets - the termini of transits.)

  The Lyonesse’s armour is staggering by starfighter standards, and pretty solid even by SC measures: an SI of 7 lets one use max-thrust for a goodly while plus stand up to a bit of punishment, and 31.5 tons of standard plating, 165/133/101, renders the ship immune to TACs even from PPCs from all angles, which is probably good enough for the job at hand.  This is a ship meant to form a wall-of-steel around their principal and hold off enemy fighters until the principal gets away or the hostiles’ fuel expires; it is by no means meant to run-and-gun with capital ships.

  Of course, if gunboats like the Lyonesse want to have a go at DropShips, they can dish out a fair bit of hurt under the right circumstances.  The Lyonesse mounts some forty single heat-sinks and a daunting array of ordnance: a nose-mounted LRM-20 with twenty-four salvoes, paired with an SRM-6 with two tons in its own right; each wing mounts five medium lasers, four forward(!) and one wing-aft; and the aft sector houses more lasers, three mediums and a small.  Run the numbers and you get a very interesting factoid, folks: as it stands, the Lyonesse can fire all of its wing-mounted lasers and either all of its tail-guns or all of its nose-guns without running into heat problems, allowing it to either stand off its’ ‘parent’s’ flank and keep blazing away or simply wade into a formation of hostile fighters and start dishing good news.  Unfortunately, that’s mostly Short-range firepower, so you have to climb into the other guy’s hip pocket to do real damage, but with a little luck and the right deployment doctrine, a picquet- or screen-line of Lyonesses can create a ‘line of death’ for hostile fighter squads worthy of respect.

  I made an issue of the Mark.VII’s crew-space allocations, which were rather lavish - partly as a consequence of its being a ‘legacy’ design.  Not suffering from such a handicap, the Lyonesse goes almost to the other extreme: built solely for escort operations no longer than two or three days at the outside, the crew appointments and gear-space are almost savagely sparse.  The pilot’s space-allocation is a mere two tons, with 1.75 tons allocated to each of the two crew-members and three gunners the design is built for, a full ton of space for food and water (33 days’ worth - still too much, but maaayyybe excusable), and only 630kg (0.63 tons) set aside for spare parts, tools, and sundry onboard repair kits.  All of these are far more reasonable to my eyes: most repairs and maintenance on a small-craft are done in the flight-bay (usually aboard their parent ’Ship), so the half-ton spares allocation is no great failing, and the crew spaces have just enough space for a shared toilet, maybe a low-water shower, and nice soft command-chairs and a sleeping bag for each man - which is all you’ll need on a Lyonesse before you get to/have to RTB for more fuel and get to spend three or four days sleeping in real bunks.  ;)

  Does the Lyonesse have failings?  Given her design-role and fluff, about the only one I can see is her lack of hitting power in the Medium-and-longer range brackets - which is partly a function of the OOC (and IC?) desire to distinguish her from the Aquarius

  You can’t get a full read-out on the Lyonesse’s stats on-line - the above Chaosmarch link offers only the combat-stats - so I’ll post the HM:A version below and put my ‘revised’ version into the first reply, like I did with the Mark.VII.  The typos and such are part of the HM:A files, incidentally.  (The attached picture came from the Heavy Metal Pro forums, incidentally - the armament layout suggests that that’s the Lyonesse in the back, and the craft in the foreground is the Aquarius.)


  [VARIANT PROPOSAL(S) REDACTED] All proposed fan-variants - including my own - belong in the corresponding “FotW Workshop” thread: http://www.classicbattletech.com/forums/index.php/topic,6206.0.html


  Be advised: the attached .txt transcript of the previous run of this thread may contain numerous reader-proposals for variants.  I’ll try to change it out for a ‘sanitised’ version of that thread when I can, but I can’t promise it’ll be soon - that’s a lot of ground to cover.  ;)

Trace Coburn

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Lyonesse gunboat – TRO3075
Originally posted 24 May 2011.

  The first reward in ‘upgrading’ the Lyonesse from the ‘obscurity’ of 3026R to the ‘mainstream’ of TRO3075 is the improved and expanded fluff-text, including a hard date for its introduction.  While I originally found the chosen date of 2513 a little curious, the intro-dates of the other ‘generic’/historical ASFs in TRO3075 soon led me to the realisation that my former impression, that these gunboats pre-dated ‘proper’ heavy ASFs, was somewhat erroneous; some gunboats might (especially judging by the CNT-1D Centurion’s fluff), but not the Lyonesse or Aquarius, which were intended (according to ’75) more explicitly for escorting DropShips and playing intra-system patrol-cutter than for being a WarShip’s ‘point-defence parasite’.

  While a lot of the data on the Lyonesse in TRO3075 is essentially reprinted from the now-OOP TRO3026R, rules updates in the intervening years meant that some changes had to be made.  Tech Manual has set a hard minimum for the mass-allocation for crew-quarters on small-craft to prevent discourage min-maxing, with the floor being Steerage-class (5 tons/man), and this means that the net accommodations on the Lyonesse have ballooned from their former 10.75 tons to a full 30 tons.  That’s a pretty big bite out of the ship’s 175t overall mass-budget, and the only realistic place the difference could be made up from was the engine, meaning that the now-legal Lyonesse can only develop a 3/5 thrust-curve (and, incidentally, lost five SHS as well).  :(  (At least, I presume that’s the explanation; absent the Aerospace portion of RS:75 Unabridged, there’s no way of knowing for sure.  ::) )
  Not that this change leaves the Lyonesse out in the cold regarding its former role as an escort; it just reduces its client-base.  Hell, most transport DropShips (and a depressing number of BT WarShips) have thrust-curves of 3/5 or less themselves, meaning that the Lyonesse can still pace them through the first and last days of a transit, when they’re most vulnerable to a sustained attack.  It’s only ships with less anemic higher mobility, like the Lola family of destroyers and the Lion DropShip, which might find themselves outpacing their escorts.  :-\

  The fluff-text also references two Jihad-era evolutions of the Lyonesse, though again we still haven’t seen enough technical data on them to draw any solid conclusions about either.  Marik’s imaginatively-named Lyonesse-M1 allegedly uses DHS, ER lasers, and even wing-mounted Heavy PPCs(!) to become far more dangerous to anything that blunders within its reach.  The Blakist version, on the other hand, is apparently faster than the baseline model, just as tough (thanks to ferro-aluminium armour), and offloads much of its armament to mount an Arrow-IV artillery-missile launcher(!), letting it ground anywhere it pleases and start delivering indirect-fire wherever it’s needed - effectively acting as an artillery vehicle that can use all three dimensions for its ‘shoot-and-scoot’ tactics.  (Bloody expensive way to create and deploy a mobile MLRS battery, if you ask me, but hey: the Blakers didn’t, did they?  :P)

  (As a final note, the revised specs on the baseline Lyonesse apparently assume that the crew-quarters allocation also includes some discretionary volume for food and spares, since my hasty reconstruction in HM:A suggests that it has precisely no dedicated cargo- or consumables-space.  Zero.  NadaNiente.  If that assumption doesn’t hold, I hope your Mum packed you some sandwiches, mate, ’cause the next stop with a McMarik’s is a good five AUs away....  ;D)

Weirdo

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #069 (repost) - Lyonesse gunboat
« Reply #2 on: 24 May 2011, 18:54:21 »
While I'm more a fan of the Aquarius or Tigress gunboats, the whole concept of combat shuttles intrigues me greatly, especially their range. While incapable of making a full transit from planet to jump point, they could still manage a run from a world to its moon(s) or LaGrange points with no trouble, and depending on the system, might even be able to manage a short planet-to-planet hop. Also, while Battletech's Sol system doesn't have a highly developed Jovian system, many sci-fi universes do, and I imagine our chosen universe has at least a few well-developed gas giant systems like that, with settlements scattered across several moons, not to mention space stations. A good long-range patrol craft would be invaluable in an area like this. I'd also want to use a couple from a station at a jump point, making regular runs outward from the system and back again to increase the station's sensor range in case somebody's trying to avoid detection by jumping in further out.

As for the Lyonesse itself, I think it best suits the close escort role. You stay close to your charge, and any inbound fighters or boarding shuttles must deal with your lasers as well as the guns of your mothership. Their durability means a Lyonesse can brave fire from even a full squadron of fighters(for a very short time), so if they're screening something, you can feasibly dash through their formation and hit their charge, such as an Ares that's providing them with ECM support so they can hit your mothership from further out. Force that thing to turn away, and they have to get dangerously close to their target to fire, or break off entirely to get you off of their own shuttle's back.
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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #069 (repost) - Lyonesse gunboat
« Reply #3 on: 24 May 2011, 19:36:42 »
Great article Trace, i've been admirer of Lyonesse and its sister ship the Aquarius. 

If your correct about the ship lacking any kind of stores for its crew...won't it be reasonable that its charges could replenish the ships with food/etc as their escorting them?
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Trace Coburn

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #069 (repost) - Lyonesse gunboat
« Reply #4 on: 24 May 2011, 21:45:10 »
Great article Trace, i've been admirer of Lyonesse and its sister ship the Aquarius. 

If you're correct about the ship lacking any kind of stores for its crew...won't it be reasonable that its charges could replenish the ships with food/etc as their escorting them?
  Yeah, in real-world terms you could simply stack a couple of days' worth of MREs between the bunks and live off those during the 'first forty-eight' and 'last forty-eight' of a transit, then recover aboard your mother-ship and eat in the mess-halls the rest of the time.  Of course, we all know that BT gameplay abstractions =/= real-world logic and vice versa, so you'd better hope you don't have a Rules Martinet for a GM.  Like I said, she's a long way between McMarik's out there.  :D

 

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