Grav Tanks

Discuss the Traveller RPG and its many settings
wbnc
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Grav Tanks

Postby wbnc » Mon Jan 09, 2017 12:47 am

And here we have the big dogs...These two represent two types of tank.
Image
the tank unit is a fast moving Main Battle tank designed solely for hunting and destroying other tanks and armored vehicles. Wel armored and highly mobile.

The Green one is an assault tank designed for spearhead attacks, and supporting landing operations etc... even more heavily armored. Although it's slower it packs a wider variety of weapons and isn't as well suited to rapidly engaging faster tanks. Although it can take a hit that would wreck a lighter tank.

teh tan tank has a rail gun and twin light autocannons, while the green one is armed with a fusion gun and missiles for bot anti-vehicle and fire support use against enemy strong points.

both vehicles use optics and other sensors in turret mounts for the crew to observe the battlefield identify threats and designate targets for artillery or missile attack. small fixed cameras around the vehicle would give a wider view and fill in blind spots for the crew.

Each vehicle has a driver, Gunner, and commander, who ride in a compartment behind the turret. which puts everything between the crew and the most likely direction of attack.The general rule being if someone is shooting at you from behind you done messed up real bad.

I didnt add things like grenade launchers antenna and anti-RPG screens to keep the illustration fairly clean but its safe to assume they would be installed. as well as the crews baggage, supplies, etc.
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Re: Grav Tanks

Postby AnotherDilbert » Mon Jan 09, 2017 1:55 am

I would question the "track housings"-sponsoons on the sides, they look out of place on a grav tank?

They are fliers, but no weapon mount can fire downwards? The light weapons should perhaps be top and bottom, or on the left and right side, for a 360° × 360° firing arc?
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Re: Grav Tanks

Postby Infojunky » Mon Jan 09, 2017 2:44 am

Grav tanks are ok, what I really am interested in is Grav Gunships that replace them.
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Re: Grav Tanks

Postby steve98052 » Mon Jan 09, 2017 3:24 am

Grav tanks are an artistic challenge. To look like a tank, it should be a huge boxy thing with a great big gun on a turret. But because it can fly in any direction, hover, spin, etc., it probably shouldn't look much like a gun on a turret with treads. Instead, it should probably look more like a heavily armored aircraft with a great big gun.

Since a grav vehicle can spin in place faster than it could rotate a large turret, the main gun should be something between the spinal cannon of a real world A-10 and the spinal mount weapon of a Traveller capital ship. The armor would be most effective if it presents strongly sloped faces to the direction of the most likely attack.

The camouflage would look like sky from below (possibly even to the point of having a surface that can be illuminated to match the sky's color and brightness), and looks like the planetary surface from above.

It might have secondary weapons on small turrets, with anti-infantry weapons on the bottom and anti-aircraft and point-defense weapons top and bottom.

So although these tank images are artistically cool, I'm not sure they're ideal as grav tanks. On the other hand, they might work well as a starting point for a hover-tank for a world where a grav tank is not technologically practical.
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Re: Grav Tanks

Postby wbnc » Mon Jan 09, 2017 4:15 am

My rationale was fairly straight forward. A grav tank will be operating close to the ground most of te time. Taking full advantage of cover and concealment. Using gullies, ravines, low hills to mask itself from hostile fire as much as possible. They will use their mobility to cross obstacles ford rivers and take short fast dashes while maneuvering. Their role is to provide deliberate and persistent firepower, and engage other heavily armed vehicles. he will be moving with vehicle mounted or ground based infantry most of the time so they have to before more deliberate and take greater advantage of terrain and cover.

if they do pop up to shoot over hills or buildings they don't hang around in the middle of the air with their tails swinging in the breeze..that's a job for gunships.

Grav tanks would have their armor optimized forward and overhead to protect fro enemy heavy guns and missiles launched from gunships. Also since you expect the to get shot at, hit, and damaged more often you build them to give repair crews access to the parts that would be breaking down or damaged most often..which is why I put the grav units and power systems in the "track housings".

Grav Gunships would be far more mobile spend more of their time at higher altitudes and take full advantage of vertical engagements. The would use their much higher mobility to make very fast attack runs, and get the heck out of dodge before the enemy can respond. Their role is to bring precise high volume heavy weight fire on targets detected by scouts, recon, or ground forces. They wont linger and trade shots wit the enemy they'll be ut f there as soon as possible. Slugging it out toe to toe is a job for a grav tank.

can see a wider variety of "tanks"and "gunships" being developed for various distinct roles. One gunship might be more like an Apache/Hind, while another will be built like an A-10.....While some tanks would be fast and agile designed as hunter killers while yu get few tanks that are built as mobile guns and fire support platforms. They would share common parts and munitions as much as possible but they would have different specializations.
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Re: Grav Tanks

Postby Condottiere » Mon Jan 09, 2017 7:21 am

A turret allows targetting at a different angle from the direction of the flight path.
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Re: Grav Tanks

Postby Infojunky » Mon Jan 09, 2017 8:13 am

wbnc wrote:My rationale was fairly straight forward. A grav tank will be operating close to the ground most of te time. Taking full advantage of cover and concealment. Using gullies, ravines, low hills to mask itself from hostile fire as much as possible. They will use their mobility to cross obstacles ford rivers and take short fast dashes while maneuvering. Their role is to provide deliberate and persistent firepower, and engage other heavily armed vehicles. he will be moving with vehicle mounted or ground based infantry most of the time so they have to before more deliberate and take greater advantage of terrain and cover.
Hey, all I am going for is what the books traditionally say, and that is Grav tanks exist up to TL11, after that they are Gunships.

As for flight characteristics they are going to identical. They both have the same limits in Nape of the Earth and terrain following characteristics.

I must also point out that Most fusion powered Grav Tanks /Gunships are have very little in the way of stealth, in that they have that neutrino hotspot that they are lugging around with them, thus are all sorts of indirect munitions, especially grav powered Tac Missiles. Tac Missile by their very nature make trying to hide in close terrain a bad idea, and it shrinks the horizon where your onboard point defense has to engage them.

On of the key things to remember is that Traveller is a Navel centric in terms of planetary combat.
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wbnc
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Re: Grav Tanks

Postby wbnc » Mon Jan 09, 2017 8:28 am

Infojunky wrote:
wbnc wrote:My rationale was fairly straight forward. A grav tank will be operating close to the ground most of te time. Taking full advantage of cover and concealment. Using gullies, ravines, low hills to mask itself from hostile fire as much as possible. They will use their mobility to cross obstacles ford rivers and take short fast dashes while maneuvering. Their role is to provide deliberate and persistent firepower, and engage other heavily armed vehicles. he will be moving with vehicle mounted or ground based infantry most of the time so they have to before more deliberate and take greater advantage of terrain and cover.
Hey, all I am going for is what the books traditionally say, and that is Grav tanks exist up to TL11, after that they are Gunships.

As for flight characteristics they are going to identical. They both have the same limits in Nape of the Earth and terrain following characteristics.

I must also point out that Most fusion powered Grav Tanks /Gunships are have very little in the way of stealth, in that they have that neutrino hotspot that they are lugging around with them, thus are all sorts of indirect munitions, especially grav powered Tac Missiles. Tac Missile by their very nature make trying to hide in close terrain a bad idea, and it shrinks the horizon where your onboard point defense has to engage them.

On of the key things to remember is that Traveller is a Navel centric in terms of planetary combat.
Fair enough :D seems just a slight difference in the terms being used :D

EM/Radiation emissions are going to be an issue for any Grav based system..it stands to reason if you generate an EM field it's going to have a distinct signature that can be tracked and used for detection and warhead guidance.It also stands to reason the thermal signature of a Fusion reactor is going to be hard to hide as well. Which leads to vehicle based ECM/Spoofing gear being something that would be sorely needed.

While Tac Missiles may be a serious problem for point defense Such things as fusion guns, lasers and plasma weapons still need line of sight. Railguns can be used in indirect mode but accuracy is questionable against a maneuvering target. Since laser PD/AA ystems are fairly fast reacting, being able to negate an entire series of threats while only slightly complicating Missile defense seems a decent return for risk involved.

which reminds me, I need to work up a model for a vehicle mounted CIWS-L system.
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Re: Grav Tanks

Postby collins355 » Mon Jan 09, 2017 8:45 am

Which is why the gunship concept always seemed rather poorly thought out (note: I'm not denying that it appears in CT/LBB4). Line-of-sight speed-of-light weapons make high flying grav craft appear foolhardy. Cruising around at high altitude in your gunship is asking for everyone in line-of-sight to be targeting you.

Cruising around nap-of-the-earth suddenly makes life far harder for the defender. They can only possibly see you out to the horizon, and probably rather less if you're taking advantage of terrain masking.

So while they might be called gunships, they're likely to be operating more like tanks against any peer adversary.

(the above assumes, as every edition of Traveller does, that weapons capable of penetrating armour protection exist at those TLs).
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Re: Grav Tanks

Postby Condottiere » Mon Jan 09, 2017 11:43 am

One assumes tanks have enough armour to shrug off most attacks.
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Re: Grav Tanks

Postby AnotherDilbert » Mon Jan 09, 2017 12:24 pm

Condottiere wrote:One assumes tanks have enough armour to shrug off most attacks.
They will shrug off attacks from light weapons, at least from the front. There will likely be plenty of real threats. Image
Iraq 2003. Even the Iraqi army could kill modern tanks occasionally.

It's worse if you do not have a TL advantage
Image
Iraq 1991
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Re: Grav Tanks

Postby phavoc » Mon Jan 09, 2017 3:32 pm

Generally speaking a tank is going to be designed to stand up to other tanks equipped with similar weapons. So if it's a MBT it's armor should be proof to resist at least 1-2 direct hits and survive. That's assuming that the designers have deployed a tank with up to date armor and defensive systems. But there are going to be all kinds of issues related to that statement - types of tanks, deployment age, existing weapons tech, etc. It's always a constant battle between offensive and defensive things.

As far as tac missiles go, they can be shot down with point defense, plus a tank that is moving or hiding has the ability to dodge. Just like space combat shooting a missile is not a guarantee of a hit.

There will always be a place for tanks. In a battlefield with light speed weaponry NOE flight allows you to have impenetrable armor (i.e. hills, gullies - lots of dirt) against direct fire weapons. Indirect fire has to get through active defenses and then your passive (armor) before it can cause damage.

A tank will have a turret because you can engage a target in 360 direction while still maneuvering - a VERY helpful aspect if you expect to survive on a battlefield.

I would think that the tanks would be more aerodynamic than they appear, since they are designed for high-speed maneuvers in-atmo. Regardless of your power/weight ratio, any craft designed to operate in an atmosphere is still subject to the laws of aerodynamics. Without the need for control surfaces it's still subject to the physics of flight - and designers are going to make it so that the least amount of power is needed to maneuver and fly - the rest of the power will be channeled into defenses and armaments. While grav tanks have never really been discussed in much detail, their fusion plants aren't unlimited in their power output. The old DGP 101 Vehicles talks of how long it takes for the tanks to recharge their main guns. Which, to me at least, means your powerplant isn't brimming with excess power once you enter full-up combat.
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Re: Grav Tanks

Postby steve98052 » Mon Jan 09, 2017 8:34 pm

Condottiere wrote:A turret allows targetting at a different angle from the direction of the flight path.
Grav vehicles can fly in any direction; the front is just the direction of best streamlining. Having to spin and fly sideways to shoot at a target is better than a turret. A major weapon turret aimed off-axis also degrades streamlining, so it doesn't improve flight characteristics, and a turret adds vulnerable spots in the armor and probably increases radar profile.
Infojunky wrote:Hey, all I am going for is what the books traditionally say, and that is Grav tanks exist up to TL11, after that they are Gunships.
Exactly. That might not be quite true if thrusters are unable to vector thrust well, but once vectored thrust is available grav tanks and gunships merge.
I must also point out that Most fusion powered Grav Tanks /Gunships are have very little in the way of stealth, in that they have that neutrino hotspot that they are lugging around with them, thus are all sorts of indirect munitions, especially grav powered Tac Missiles. Tac Missile by their very nature make trying to hide in close terrain a bad idea, and it shrinks the horizon where your onboard point defense has to engage them.
Although the neutrino hot spot may be visible to a vehicle sized sensor, it might not fit into a missile, or might be so large that it detracts from missile performance, reduces the warhead, or raises the cost too much.
collins355 wrote:Which is why the gunship concept always seemed rather poorly thought out (note: I'm not denying that it appears in CT/LBB4). Line-of-sight speed-of-light weapons make high flying grav craft appear foolhardy. Cruising around at high altitude in your gunship is asking for everyone in line-of-sight to be targeting you.

(the above assumes, as every edition of Traveller does, that weapons capable of penetrating armour protection exist at those TLs).
Beam weapons lose a lot with range in atmosphere, so with stout armor, flying well away from an enemy with beam weapons isn't as bad as it seems. Best attack is probably to fly down to nap-of-the-planet at a distance where defenders' beams are degraded by range, then using the terrain.

(I moved your parenthetical to place it with your first paragraph, since I'm replying them together.)
Cruising around nap-of-the-earth suddenly makes life far harder for the defender. They can only possibly see you out to the horizon, and probably rather less if you're taking advantage of terrain masking.

So while they might be called gunships, they're likely to be operating more like tanks against any peer adversary.
A vehicle flying nap-of-the-planet is still a flying vehicle. It's an armored attack aircraft like an A-10 more than tank, even if it's armored like a tank.
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Re: Grav Tanks

Postby Sigtrygg » Mon Jan 09, 2017 8:50 pm

Back to the source:
Tech level 11: All combat vehicles are now grav powered. The grav tank generally utilizes
the more compact plasma A gun and/or tac missile racks. Very heavy grav tanks mount the
plasma B gun. Light grav sleds are used for scouting, generally mounting tac missiles and autocannons.
Close support sleds mount VRF gauss guns and tac missiles. All vehicles have pronounced
free-flight capability.

Tech level 12: All vehicles have sufficient free-flight performance that ground combat
vehicles effectively no longer exist, having merged with aircraft.
The primary weapon of the
heavy gunships include plasma B guns, VRF gauss guns, and tac missiles. VRF gauss guns are
also widely mounted on personnel carriers, as are plasma A guns.
Tech level 15: Gunships mounting rapid pulse X guns and heavier Z guns are virtually indistinguishable
from orbital craft.
Lower performance personnel carriers mount rapid pulse X
and Y guns and missile systems.
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Re: Grav Tanks

Postby Condottiere » Mon Jan 09, 2017 9:38 pm

I'm going to say a grav tank faces the same problems as our current MBTs.

That means a driver concentrates on using the terrain to the best advantage, while a gunner aims the gun independently and fires on the move.
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Re: Grav Tanks

Postby Infojunky » Mon Jan 09, 2017 11:04 pm

wbnc wrote:
Fair enough :D seems just a slight difference in the terms being used :D
Yes, and no, the problem is we are going from a ground based 2d paradigm to a free flight 3d paradigm. Couple that with other advances, such a vastly reduced need for size in turret for the main weapon as the bulk of machinery and it's operator can be moved into the main hull. (Note I am not discounting a turreted weapon) then there is the gross need for streamlining for high speed operations. Functionally gunships are really smallcraft equipped with arms and sensors for "close air support". [Sidenote; I tend to use the the Airboat paradigm instead of the tank paradigm in terms armored grav vehicles, drawing heavily on the works of H. Beam Piper, and using Brownwater Navy vessels and my core vehicle models]

But the real issue is that there is no middle ground in Traveller, unlike say Star Wars, in that there isn't a ground limited version of grav vehicles, aka Landspeeders. without serious hacking on the Background. Which is a bloody shame, I like Landspeeders. And your tanks are a great in a landspeeder universe.

The rules Hack I use for Landspeeders in Vehicles 5-6 terms is take the basic Grav vehicles block use the speed from the Hovercraft speed block and the range from the Grav vehicle speed block and drop the price by 1/3rd.
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Re: Grav Tanks

Postby wbnc » Mon Jan 09, 2017 11:05 pm

steve98052 wrote:
Condottiere wrote:A turret allows targetting at a different angle from the direction of the flight path.
Grav vehicles can fly in any direction; the front is just the direction of best streamlining. Having to spin and fly sideways to shoot at a target is better than a turret. A major weapon turret aimed off-axis also degrades streamlining, so it doesn't improve flight characteristics, and a turret adds vulnerable spots in the armor and probably increases radar profile.
Streamlining helps if you are going several hundred Kilometers an hour. But a Tank, or vehicle taking over its role has to stay with the guys on the ground. They also have t ake deliberate attacks rather tan slash and fade strkes. Te entire purpose of a heavy armored fighting vehicle is PERSISTENT fire. they bring big guns on target and stay there until the target is destroyed or the tank is destroyed. Airborne vehicles have one massive drawback..they can take out enemy targets but they can't hold ground, or enter built up areas. for that you need infantry, and for infantry to be fully effective they need vehicles to destroy enemy armor, and reduce enemy strong points. No matter ow fast the Tank/gunship is it will spend a good bit of time at ground level moving no faster than the advancing infantry.

Turrets give an advantage in that role. The driver has a much more simplified role and the gunner can fire independent of the vehicle while the driver can concentrate fully on maneuver and postioning the vehicle.
steve98052 wrote:
Infojunky wrote:Hey, all I am going for is what the books traditionally say, and that is Grav tanks exist up to TL11, after that they are Gunships.
Exactly. That might not be quite true if thrusters are unable to vector thrust well, but once vectored thrust is available grav tanks and gunships merge.
I must also point out that Most fusion powered Grav Tanks /Gunships are have very little in the way of stealth, in that they have that neutrino hotspot that they are lugging around with them, thus are all sorts of indirect munitions, especially grav powered Tac Missiles. Tac Missile by their very nature make trying to hide in close terrain a bad idea, and it shrinks the horizon where your onboard point defense has to engage them.
Although the neutrino hot spot may be visible to a vehicle sized sensor, it might not fit into a missile, or might be so large that it detracts from missile performance, reduces the warhead, or raises the cost too much..
that's one of the big problems with any guided munition getting the seeker down in size and cost. However, if you spend 200,000credits to destroy a 20Mcr tank...its a huge cost vs return win.currrently a Hellfire missile costs around 70,000 per unit. But they can reliably and effectively destroy multi-milion dollar tanks a fully loaded reaper drone costs around 320-350 thousand dollars. even if you loose two of them in an attack that destroys an enemy tank yous till come out way ahead.
steve98052 wrote:
collins355 wrote:Which is why the gunship concept always seemed rather poorly thought out (note: I'm not denying that it appears in CT/LBB4). Line-of-sight speed-of-light weapons make high flying grav craft appear foolhardy. Cruising around at high altitude in your gunship is asking for everyone in line-of-sight to be targeting you.

(the above assumes, as every edition of Traveller does, that weapons capable of penetrating armour protection exist at those TLs).
Beam weapons lose a lot with range in atmosphere, so with stout armor, flying well away from an enemy with beam weapons isn't as bad as it seems. Best attack is probably to fly down to nap-of-the-planet at a distance where defenders' beams are degraded by range, then using the terrain.

(I moved your parenthetical to place it with your first paragraph, since I'm replying them together.)
Cruising around nap-of-the-earth suddenly makes life far harder for the defender. They can only possibly see you out to the horizon, and probably rather less if you're taking advantage of terrain masking.

So while they might be called gunships, they're likely to be operating more like tanks against any peer adversary.
A vehicle flying nap-of-the-planet is still a flying vehicle. It's an armored attack aircraft like an A-10 more than tank, even if it's armored like a tank.
there's "nap of the earth" then there's "fifth and Main" Nap of the earth provides an advantage that is for sure. But hunkering down behind a building, or going hull down behind natrual terrain offers free armor to a vehicle.
Sigtrygg wrote:Back to the source:
Tech level 11: All combat vehicles are now grav powered. The grav tank generally utilizes
the more compact plasma A gun and/or tac missile racks. Very heavy grav tanks mount the
plasma B gun. Light grav sleds are used for scouting, generally mounting tac missiles and autocannons.
Close support sleds mount VRF gauss guns and tac missiles. All vehicles have pronounced
free-flight capability.

Tech level 12: All vehicles have sufficient free-flight performance that ground combat
vehicles effectively no longer exist, having merged with aircraft.
The primary weapon of the
heavy gunships include plasma B guns, VRF gauss guns, and tac missiles. VRF gauss guns are
also widely mounted on personnel carriers, as are plasma A guns.
Tech level 15: Gunships mounting rapid pulse X guns and heavier Z guns are virtually indistinguishable
from orbital craft.
Lower performance personnel carriers mount rapid pulse X
and Y guns and missile systems.
That's a good breakdown of the capabilities of a vehicle. I wouldn't say it's unreasonable. But a lot of those capabilities are wasted on a vehicle designed to operate in conjunction with ground forces. Being able to self insert from orbit would be a huge plus but ten miles up is a poor position to support infantry in close combat, and derping around in low orbit where enemy fighters and starships can get a nice clear shot at you is suicide for a vehicle class fighting machine. Since a single starship grade pulse laser can wreck a tank/gunship...why hang around in an area that allows a vessel hundreds of kilometers away to take a shot at you...best to get down low and saty there where you have lots of cover and concealment.
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Re: Grav Tanks

Postby steve98052 » Tue Jan 10, 2017 12:48 am

wbnc wrote:. . . No matter ow fast the Tank/gunship is it will spend a good bit of time at ground level moving no faster than the advancing infantry.

Turrets give an advantage in that role. The driver has a much more simplified role and the gunner can fire independent of the vehicle while the driver can concentrate fully on maneuver and postioning the vehicle.
One way to combine the goals of a driver who faces in the direction of travel and a gun that faces in the direction of the target is to put the driver in an internal, motorized swivel chair that's designed to face travel-forward, surrounded by video screens that show the view from each external camera, and put the gunner in a fixed seat that faces gun-forward. Streamline the grav tank so that it travels just as well in any direction, and the entire thing becomes the turret, with no body-turret joint to make a soft spot in the armor and a hot spot in the radar profile.
steve98052 wrote:Although the neutrino hot spot may be visible to a vehicle sized sensor, it might not fit into a missile, or might be so large that it detracts from missile performance, reduces the warhead, or raises the cost too much..
that's one of the big problems with any guided munition getting the seeker down in size and cost. However, if you spend 200,000credits to destroy a 20Mcr tank...its a huge cost vs return win.currrently a Hellfire missile costs around 70,000 per unit. But they can reliably and effectively destroy multi-milion dollar tanks a fully loaded reaper drone costs around 320-350 thousand dollars. even if you loose two of them in an attack that destroys an enemy tank yous till come out way ahead.
Indeed. So as soon as the homing sensors can fit into the missiles, point defense -- and possibly stealth or sensor spoofing -- become critical.
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Re: Grav Tanks

Postby Epicenter » Tue Jan 10, 2017 2:25 am

I'm getting some Renegade Legion vibes from those tank designs. For me, that's not a bad thing, I loved that game.

As far as appearance goes, I think the tan one seems more "real" than the green one.

Tanks of that period are going to spend a lot of time engaging things higher-up than them - I'd imagine they'd all have what we call high-angle or "anti-aircraft" mounts. The tan one's main gun looks like it could at least elevate high enough to engage air threats. This isn't the 21st century, where the trade-offs of mass to our current poor mass-to-thrust engines mean that aircraft are thin-skinned and can have effective hits scored on them by lighter weaponry. At the same time our targeting devices and gun stabilization are poor enough that if we want to use shells to shoot things down we need to spam them.

By this time, the gunship or even other grav tanks are going to be able to take the air, so light cannon aren't going to cut it to shoot down air threats - unless you're "skinny popping" (eg; bullying opponents who are lower TL than you), so I think the age of "anti-aircraft autocannon engagement" is over - people are going to be shooting their tank's biggest guns at the enemy in the air and vice versa. "Aircraft" are going to be as heavily armored as tanks, if not moreso (here we go with the issues with the "big ship" universe of Traveller).
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Re: Grav Tanks

Postby Condottiere » Tue Jan 10, 2017 7:41 am

I don't really think that warfare in Five Kay has been really thought out.

The attackers are going to have to bring everything they need across interstellar distances, and once they achieve orbital command, it's basically over; starfighters are likely to dispute near orbit control.

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