Fleet Battles: Where?

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dragoner
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Re: Fleet Battles: Where?

Postby dragoner » Wed Apr 29, 2015 9:39 pm

phavoc wrote:
dragoner wrote:
Condottiere wrote:Solution is a pre-emptive strike to cripple the opposing (interstellar) mobile forces.

The objective wouldn't actually be the planet, but any warship capable of interstellar travel.
There will be intelligence as to where the fleets are, and to which where they are going. Systems will have strategic points, similar to regular battlefields, where the fighting will most likely occur. Surprise is always good, but it is not something one should count on, maskirovka is better.
Yes, fleet anchorages, and static stations and such will always be known. But where the fleet, or portions of it, are going to be will always iffy for the most part. The Japanese had expected to take out the US carriers at Pearl Harbor and had to make do with sinking battleships. Their intelligence had thought they were going to be in port, or at least 1-2. Fog of war is always a bitch.

Though making a series of strikes on an opposing system to cut down their forces does make for some potential good tactics. The only problem is that the attacking ships would need to be coming from a very close position and have enough fuel to jump in, attack, then jump out. They might get away with doing a refueling run one time, but probably not twice - assuming the defenders had the ships to properly defend refueling sources in the system. By the books it's not supposed to take a fleet of SDB's to run someone's day when refueling. How exactly all that works has never been made clear.
Had the Japanese attacked the fueling facilities at Pearl, it would have had a greater effect than even taking out the carriers, which were neutralized at Coral Sea and Midway anyways; but greater production would carry the day.

Harry the enemy, yes.

Ultimately, it will be logistics, it always is.

An organized program of deception is easier to control than hoping for surprise, which may or may not come.

Planets and gas giants, those will be the objectives, where ever a fleet jumps in. A defending fleet also might jump away if it finds itself outmatched, before the battle. Planets might hold out if they can.
Reynard
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Re: Fleet Battles: Where?

Postby Reynard » Wed Apr 29, 2015 10:11 pm

Just looked at the Fifth Frontier rules and there is a sequence for system space combat which seems to represent Traveller combat. When an invasion force enters the system (and is detected), combat between capital squadrons and fleets occurs first. When that is resolved, there is a subsequence between the invading fleets and SBDs. If the invading fleet destroys or causes disengagement of the SDB squadrons then Surface bombing and troop transfer begins. This all occurs over a week's time.

This says SDBs are held in reserve close to defendable targets to act as a final line against, hopefully, damaged targets and will include attacks on fleet refueling operations.
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Re: Fleet Battles: Where?

Postby F33D » Wed Apr 29, 2015 10:42 pm

Reynard wrote:Just looked at the Fifth Frontier rules and there is a sequence for system space combat which seems to represent Traveller combat. When an invasion force enters the system (and is detected), combat between capital squadrons and fleets occurs first. When that is resolved, there is a subsequence between the invading fleets and SBDs.
Chuck it out the window. Who says that the order of battle has to be thus?
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Re: Fleet Battles: Where?

Postby Reynard » Wed Apr 29, 2015 11:09 pm

It was a bit of actual Traveller information describing how the authors of Traveller assumed combat works. There has also been information I've found in several sources, such as JTAS magazine, articles over the decades describing the strategic and tactical use of the SDB but this particular source pinpointed SDB use and general spaceship warfare. It was one answer, based on Traveller canon to a previous inquiry. At least I made an attempt rather than just dismissing such research offhand for no reason.
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Re: Fleet Battles: Where?

Postby dragoner » Wed Apr 29, 2015 11:39 pm

IIRC, Invasion Earth had similar rules for SDB usage, such as a close support or planetary defense.
Reynard
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Re: Fleet Battles: Where?

Postby Reynard » Wed Apr 29, 2015 11:56 pm

This is why fleets on either side employ scout squadrons with the best sensors taxpayer money can buy. They patrol the most likely tactical points and routes for enemy vessels then report back at light speed. This would be similar to pre-satellite aircraft coastal and ocean reconnaissance.
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Re: Fleet Battles: Where?

Postby Condottiere » Thu Apr 30, 2015 12:12 am

The SDBs may concentrate on the harassing the flanks.

Technology has evolved, and in some cases even gone a revolution, in the last forty years, which changes our perspective as how it would be employed.

The prevailing construction and combat rules drive tactics and operations.
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Re: Fleet Battles: Where?

Postby dragoner » Thu Apr 30, 2015 2:41 am

Condottiere wrote:The SDBs may concentrate on the harassing the flanks.

Technology has evolved, and in some cases even gone a revolution, in the last forty years, which changes our perspective as how it would be employed.

The prevailing construction and combat rules drive tactics and operations.
Technology evolves, but tactics often don't, the Egyptian chariots probably harassed the Canaanite flanks at Megiddo, 3500 years ago.

Another thing to consider is RoE, depending on who is fighting who, it could be different.
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Re: Fleet Battles: Where?

Postby phavoc » Thu Apr 30, 2015 3:05 am

Reynard wrote:It was a bit of actual Traveller information describing how the authors of Traveller assumed combat works. There has also been information I've found in several sources, such as JTAS magazine, articles over the decades describing the strategic and tactical use of the SDB but this particular source pinpointed SDB use and general spaceship warfare. It was one answer, based on Traveller canon to a previous inquiry. At least I made an attempt rather than just dismissing such research offhand for no reason.
Thank you for the information. That's what I was looking for. There's always been the inference that a handful of SDB's stationed at a gas giant can be potentially devastating to a fleet attempting to refuel, with the SDB's conducting hit and run raids and then disappearing into the clouds. Which suggests ships are quite vulnerable, and also which is where the term 'high guard' was supposedly coined. But even with what you've dug up it's not saying much as to how or why, just that it is.

As far as the sequence of events, the literature talks about SDB's being held to engage vulnerable supply ships, or conducting hit and run raids. Even armored 400 ton ships would be meat to the grinder attacking fully-fledged multi-thousand ton cruisers and up. A LOT of them could cause a lot of damage, but they'd not be useful in engaging capital ships. Of course spinal mounts would be kind of useless in return. Then again, taking on ships like this is what escorts are supposed to do.

I've got the entire JTAS series that GDW put out in print, guess I could pull them out and see what I can find. Though I think someone put together a summary over all the issues at one time didn't that? I need to look for that.
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Re: Fleet Battles: Where?

Postby F33D » Thu Apr 30, 2015 3:27 am

Reynard wrote:It was a bit of actual Traveller information describing how the

No, it was a tactic turned into a game rule. Done by someone who didn't know the difference. Chuck it as a RULE.
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Re: Fleet Battles: Where?

Postby F33D » Thu Apr 30, 2015 3:30 am

Reynard wrote:This is why fleets on either side employ scout squadrons with the best sensors taxpayer money can buy. They patrol the most likely tactical points and routes for enemy vessels then report back at light speed.
No need. You can spot a fleet all the way across the star system. You might need a couple remote sensors at long distance polar North South of the system disk to cover gas giant blind spots...
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Re: Fleet Battles: Where?

Postby Reynard » Thu Apr 30, 2015 11:46 am

"I've got the entire JTAS series that GDW put out in print, guess I could pull them out and see what I can find."

JTAS No. 9, page 32. System defense boats.
I thought I saw another article somewhere else. Might have been Challenge or one of the other Traveller magazine collections I have.
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Re: Fleet Battles: Where?

Postby Somebody » Thu Apr 30, 2015 4:18 pm

Depending on where your system is and how important it is aside from a refueling station "stay behind" SDBs may stay behind/hidden quite some time. So the "big invasion fleet" has left the low pop system that happens to be an important / useful refueling stop, maybe pulling a "black war" strike on the population center(1). Meanwhile your SDBs hide out in/around the gas giant(s) or oceans.

Than, after the main fleet has left they start to reappear. Attacking whatever little security you left behind or the supply train that came in to refuel. This either forces the attacker to use more/heavier escorts or risk loosing vulnerable supply ships. Have not checked MgT but in Mega you can build SDBs that are "turret proof" and carry a punch. Nukes and/or det lasers can be safely assumed for the SDBs and a passiv sensor network hidden in/on moons and/or rings might exist as well, using com lasers to give the SDB information.

And SDB are not limited to 400dt. That is just what MgT has shown us so far. Other editions have SDB that can take on light cruisers and that could be build by MgT rules IIRC



(1) From the descriptions until the civil war in the 1120s the "big powers" did not go after population centers and even attacked/destroyed industrie as little as possible. After all some could directly use it (Sollies) and some could adapt it (Zhos). Battles seemed to be mostly "military against military" and "if in doubt give it up, recapture it later"
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Re: Fleet Battles: Where?

Postby Somebody » Thu Apr 30, 2015 4:27 pm

Reynard wrote:This is why fleets on either side employ scout squadrons with the best sensors taxpayer money can buy. They patrol the most likely tactical points and routes for enemy vessels then report back at light speed. This would be similar to pre-satellite aircraft coastal and ocean reconnaissance.
Actually I see this even more complex. Given the limits of Traveller strategic mobility I expect the main "fleet anchorage" aka Depots to be a few J4s behind the lines and the systems leading to it to be well patrolled by light units. If the enemy jums in one of those "Limes" systems, the patrols run and alert the Depots. Even if the enemy can refuel immediatly AND the depot is the next system over this should give a day of warning. If more systems are there to act as a buffer the patrols will "pull a pony express" and add more time (IMHO it takes at least a day to refuel a fleet big enough to attack a major target and than the tankers as well and that assumes a secure system)

To counter this things as "deep space calibration points" (using Brown Dwarfs etc) and ships like the Nemesis (basically a high jump meson gun) and Azhanti where developed by the Imperials (and likely the Zhos as well)

If one follows T20 than the Solomanie had a basic strategy to avoid fleet on fleet if possible and go for the rear areas (Deep Strike). This includes (for the time) long legged capital ships.
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Re: Fleet Battles: Where?

Postby Somebody » Thu Apr 30, 2015 4:36 pm

phavoc wrote:An incoming fleet will jump into a system with one of two options - first jump near (a few hours) enough a refueling source to replenish their tanks and then maneuver to engage the enemy. Or if they have enough firepower they can jump within a few hours of the target and engage the enemy.

The fleet jumping rules have always been kind of hazy. I believe the rule in the republished TCS says you can get fleet jumping down to 1-2 hours for everyone to arrive. Which means the commander needs to plan for the worst (i.e. his heaviest or most important units will be the delayed ones, or even his own ship). Depending on conditions you could move out immediately, or you'd need to wait.

As for refueling, well, assuming they were full when you jumped and you jumped your max distance, you have about two and a half weeks of fuel, give or take. That may or may not be enough to get the mission done, and if you don't have a clear overwhelming advantage you need the ability to jump out.

Having the ability to retreat is another reason why attackers may choose to engage the enemy outside the 100D limit. A defender doesn't have to jump out, but the attacker does if the battle turns against them. I don't know if it makes much sense for a defender to, for example, leave Earth's orbit to engage a fleet in orbit around Jupiter. However if you can get some units there to harass them while they are refueling you can potentially delay or cripple their refueling efforts and thus leave them vulnerable for future engagements.
Endurance varies by system and in TNE/MT with the detailed power systems it can be considerably longer than that running the ships on "low power" settings (Weapons of, Thrusters at 1G)

From the little documentation the Imperial censors allow to pass on the invasion of Terranian Home System by the Imperial Fleet of Occupation during the War of Terran Indepence in the 5400s the Occupation Force first took the refueling points at the gas giants before advancing on the inner system. Granted, it was a lot stronger than the defenders

But basically jumping in closer to the gas giant(s) and securing a refueling place first would have a lot of benefits. Even more if the battle "philosophy" is "Soldier against Soldier" and not "Flatten the planet". The attacker can refuel and get a chance to jump out if needed and the defender has to make choices instead of staying back and using it's planetary defence systems as a force multiplier and dictating the place of engagement
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Re: Fleet Battles: Where?

Postby phavoc » Thu Apr 30, 2015 8:18 pm

Reynard wrote:JTAS No. 9, page 32. System defense boats.
I thought I saw another article somewhere else. Might have been Challenge or one of the other Traveller magazine collections I have.
Nothing in the article that hasn't already been touched on over the years (though it probably all originated in the article). The highlights:

1) ton-for-ton ships without the need for jump drives or fuel can take on a ship twice their size

2) defense of a system is in layers. First layer is basically engage the enemy as soon as they arrive and before they get to refuel. The underlying premise here is that attacking fleets are weak and piecemeal when they arrive (using the philosphy of ships having random arrival times from jump space). This tactic is not possible with the fleet jump tactics, or, failing that, a fleet that arrived far enough from a gas giant to allow for it to regroup before any defenders could arrive.

3) stage two is continue to harass auxillary vessels while ignoring major combatants. Other SDB's would defend planetary targets and assist with defense forces. It makes mention of ships stationed in gas giants to attack refueling enemies. To quote the article, "The boats station deep with the gas giant lie in ambush waiting for ships to refuel; they are most vulnerable then, and a large percentage of casualties are inflicted on the enemy during fueling operations." Again, much is alluded to here, but never an explanation of why, or how a 10,000 ton ship needs to fear a 400 ton SDB (even a half dozen of them) while refueling. The ship should have more than enough firepower to swat them from the sky.

4) As part of stage two the SDB is also capable of providing fire support for ground troops while defending a planet. Except the SDB is vulnerable to orbital fire from capital ships, so it's lifespan may be quite short.

5) stage three is a bit more amorphous. It's basically "when the cavalry arrives" hidden SDB's and remaining forces rise up/join the reinforcements to pound the enemy.

So all in all it's nothing that hasn't been mentioned before. The "ships are vulnerable when refueling" idea with nothing to back it up.

On a more positive note, this JTAS issue was the first one to have the 4518 Lift Regiment detailed out. :)
Somebody wrote:Actually I see this even more complex. Given the limits of Traveller strategic mobility I expect the main "fleet anchorage" aka Depots to be a few J4s behind the lines and the systems leading to it to be well patrolled by light units.
Depots are always deep behind lines, often weeks to get there from supposed enemies (the one located on the way to the Marches is an exception, only because of how thin the corridor is. The depots would not be the only fleet anchorages. For example Jewell has a very strong naval presence as well as very heavy orbital and planetary defense bases.
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Re: Fleet Battles: Where?

Postby Condottiere » Thu Apr 30, 2015 8:27 pm

Basically, you could screen the refueling ships with fighters in Low Guard, feeding targetting data to the capital ships in High Guard.
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Re: Fleet Battles: Where?

Postby Reynard » Thu Apr 30, 2015 9:45 pm

As to fighting in a gas giant, the concept was large ships would have to suffer from the gravity and turbulence both fighting and trying to climb out if attacked. In Mongoose terms, SDBs will often have superior maneuver drives able to deal with the conditions giving advantage. Remember most capital ships are standard or displaced hull with automatic negative DMs to pilot check in an atmospheres. Maybe it's would only be fluff but fighter should be at great hazard in such atmospheric conditions. I would also say there should be penalties to ships in high guard orbit firing into a gas giant's atmosphere whereas SDBs suffer less due to close proximity to targets.

SDBs also travel in packs chasing the most vulnerable and important, tankers and auxiliaries. Not the most defensive of military vessels. The only reason to attack something actually dangerous would be they are at a tactical advantage.
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Re: Fleet Battles: Where?

Postby Infojunky » Fri May 01, 2015 12:47 am

I have been watching this conversation to and fro, for a whiles now. And not one of y'all has mentioned ore considered the Engagement Envelope. Looking at the breath of Traveller for examples I find that Fleet rules tend to have a Envelope that is multiple Light Seconds across, while smaller ships tend to have a envelope of a around a light second.
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Re: Fleet Battles: Where?

Postby F33D » Fri May 01, 2015 1:05 am

Infojunky wrote:I have been watching this conversation to and fro, for a whiles now. And not one of y'all has mentioned ore considered the Engagement Envelope. Looking at the breath of Traveller for examples I find that Fleet rules tend to have a Envelope that is multiple Light Seconds across, while smaller ships tend to have a envelope of a around a light second.
That is a possible tactical deployment model. What are its strengths and weaknesses vs. many other possible deployment models?

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