Battle Riders

Discuss the Traveller RPG and its many settings
tytalan
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Re: Battle Riders

Postby tytalan » Wed Aug 02, 2017 9:31 pm

Well they are right and I ma wrong the 3I does have one similar independent multi system goverment the Vegan autonomous district which was created by the navy to act as a buffer against the Solomani Confederation after the last Solomani war. The other independent looking areas we don't know what they are because it's not in the library yet. Except Sylean worlds this area is the area directly controlled by capital which is on of these worlds
Condottiere
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Re: Battle Riders

Postby Condottiere » Sun Oct 01, 2017 10:20 pm

There is canonical Imperium Navy doctrine that states battle rider squadrons are kept in reserve, with battleships forming the backbone of a flexible frontier defence; until the CinCSpin figures out the enemy's axis of advance and objectives.

Jump capable warships are meant to allow manoeuvring on an interstellar scale, whereas rider squadrons would seem ideal for an attritional campaign in important systems, I'm thinking Kursk.
baithammer
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Re: Battle Riders

Postby baithammer » Mon Oct 02, 2017 4:20 am

Riders would be better served if used as a reactive defense force as that would eliminate the need for tenders to remain in system and allow the riders to resupply.
AnotherDilbert
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Re: Battle Riders

Postby AnotherDilbert » Mon Oct 02, 2017 6:29 am

baithammer wrote: Riders would be better served if used as a reactive defense force as that would eliminate the need for tenders to remain in system and allow the riders to resupply.
Riders without Tenders confronted with a superior force cannot retreat. Hence you have to count on losing entire squadrons regularly if you leave them untended.
phavoc
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Re: Battle Riders

Postby phavoc » Mon Oct 02, 2017 1:36 pm

AnotherDilbert wrote:
Mon Oct 02, 2017 6:29 am
baithammer wrote: Riders would be better served if used as a reactive defense force as that would eliminate the need for tenders to remain in system and allow the riders to resupply.
Riders without Tenders confronted with a superior force cannot retreat. Hence you have to count on losing entire squadrons regularly if you leave them untended.
That assumes the enemy has the firepower to destroy the battleriders. Just because their tender is disabled or destroyed doesn't mean the battleriders are done. Which is why having a battlerider design with longer legs (i.e. more supplies) to allow the force to disperse and await reinforcements or a new tender.

A battlerider of any size being present in your system is a huge threat. Since these are designed to take on ships much heaver in displacement until you are able to destroy the stranded riders you must keep a force in the system to protect your planet. And, much like the Germans did to the British, having a few raiders loose ties down a disproportionately larger tonnage of defenders. Traveller has never done a very good job of modelling system infrastructure - everything has always focused on a single planet with the single lettered starport for the system. In reality a system that has any strategic value is going to have a great deal of system-wide infrastructure - all of which would be vulnerable and need to be patrolled and protected. Stranded battleriders could hide in gas giants and deny fleets the ability to refuel. They could travel around the star system and make lightning attacks on orbitals and bases.

There is a great many things battleriders could do if their ride home is destroyed. Until they are destroyed they remain a powerful threat.
tytalan
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Re: Battle Riders

Postby tytalan » Tue Oct 03, 2017 2:58 am

Has anyone considered that the name Battle Raider might be a clue to their use. Your battleships are the frount line just as theirs are but a tender is jump 6 and is capable of refueling itself. So you jump once or twice behind you enemies lines then you drop off 3 or 4 raiders at an important world that currently does not have a fleet presence you refuel jump again and do it again than with another jump you go to an uninhabited System refuel again you make sure your last tender jump is say only jump 3 away from your first force once fueled you go pick them up if they are still alive jump out refuel repeat to pick up the other force than jump deeper into enemy space. This will force the enemy to pull ships off the frount line. And since it’s battle raiders they’re going to be stronger than the normal system defense force
phavoc
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Re: Battle Riders

Postby phavoc » Tue Oct 03, 2017 3:32 am

tytalan wrote:
Tue Oct 03, 2017 2:58 am
Has anyone considered that the name Battle Raider might be a clue to their use. Your battleships are the frount line just as theirs are but a tender is jump 6 and is capable of refueling itself. So you jump once or twice behind you enemies lines then you drop off 3 or 4 raiders at an important world that currently does not have a fleet presence you refuel jump again and do it again than with another jump you go to an uninhabited System refuel again you make sure your last tender jump is say only jump 3 away from your first force once fueled you go pick them up if they are still alive jump out refuel repeat to pick up the other force than jump deeper into enemy space. This will force the enemy to pull ships off the frount line. And since it’s battle raiders they’re going to be stronger than the normal system defense force
You'd be better off deploying a cruiser squadron, maybe with tanker support, to do this sort of raiding. You don't want to tie up capital ships on commerce raiding unless your plan is to tie up enemy capital ships chasing you down. Pretty much in history that's always turned out bad for the raiding force...

For what you are wanting to do you want the maximum number of hulls you could deploy across the widest range of an area. Say your 4 heavy cruisers split up and were raiding commerce and bases in four separate systems. To stop them the enemy would need to provide defensive ships capable of taking on a cruiser. Commerce would slow to a crawl while you had to organize convoys, and you'd have to provide enough escort firepower to take on a cruiser. Multiply that times the number of systems that the cruisers were spotted or raided in, and you'd tie up a lot of ships that would be better off on the front lines.

The problem for the raider is two-fold. First a J-6 ship wouldn't be as heavily armed as a J-4 ship, nor probably as fast since you would need to dedicate so much tonnage to fuel. Even under the new rules it's not an insignificant amount of fuel to have to carry. Secondly being that far behind the enemy lines means you would be cut off from resupply unless you also could stash a resupply fleet somewhere in deep space where they'd never be found. That would help the raiders, but odds are they'd be caught if they were too successful.
baithammer
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Re: Battle Riders

Postby baithammer » Tue Oct 03, 2017 6:11 am

Raiders don't require the same amount of firepower as line ships as the targets are soft merchant, supply ships and escort vessels.

However, the rider concept doesn't work well for either offensive operations or for raiding as the tender and resupply issues severely limit riders operationally.

On the other hand, using riders as border reinforcement plays well to the design as supply issues are limited due to being on home territory.
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Re: Battle Riders

Postby phavoc » Tue Oct 03, 2017 4:17 pm

baithammer wrote:
Tue Oct 03, 2017 6:11 am
Raiders don't require the same amount of firepower as line ships as the targets are soft merchant, supply ships and escort vessels.
That depends on the convoy escorts. Yes, merchants themselves won't be much of an issue, just like fleet train ships won't be. But escorts are assigned based on threat levels and deployment patterns. The first time you deploy raiders in CA-class ships the enemy will alter their deployment pattern and add CA-class escorts. This assumes that both sides have the hulls available for such deployments, but that is the norm with anything.
baithammer wrote:
Tue Oct 03, 2017 6:11 am
However, the rider concept doesn't work well for either offensive operations or for raiding as the tender and resupply issues severely limit riders operationally.
Riders are optimized for assault or defense, less so for raiding. If your intent is to tie down enemy ships in a system the would work well, but eventually with no way of leaving they would be caught or run out of supplies.
baithammer wrote:
Tue Oct 03, 2017 6:11 am
On the other hand, using riders as border reinforcement plays well to the design as supply issues are limited due to being on home territory.
Supply is irrelevant in this case. You could have a resupply ship meet a rider in the outer system in enemy-controlled space if you wanted. A rider's issue has always been that it's dependent upon another vessel to move it between systems.
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Re: Battle Riders

Postby PsiTraveller » Tue Oct 03, 2017 7:56 pm

Just to throw a wrench into the discussion. How much resupply do they actually need, depending on their weaponry?
Ships reliant on missile tech need resupply of missiles, that is a given.
Repairs to hull and other systems will eventually need replacement parts, but a lot of those could be brought with you. Cold watch can replace casualties, and autodocs and fast heal can repair people pretty quickly.

Fuel is available if a gas giant is around. Yes a gas giant is a spot to defend and lay traps. Other fuel sources are water asteroids, moons, other ships. If a ship is not looking to Jump out it needs only a few tons to keep it running for weeks.
Oxygen and ice cubes are available from the same sources, the Harrier book explains that.

Food can be brought with the ship, enough to last for months if there is cargo space.
Other options for food is a biosphere or production facility on-board the ship. This reduces life support costs as well in some cases.

All in all a spaceship could be stocked and manned to sneak about for months behind enemy lines if you packed creatively.

How often are you thinking they needed resupply, and what did you think needed to be supplied?
phavoc
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Re: Battle Riders

Postby phavoc » Tue Oct 03, 2017 8:50 pm

PsiTraveller wrote:
Tue Oct 03, 2017 7:56 pm
Just to throw a wrench into the discussion. How much resupply do they actually need, depending on their weaponry?
Ships reliant on missile tech need resupply of missiles, that is a given.
Repairs to hull and other systems will eventually need replacement parts, but a lot of those could be brought with you. Cold watch can replace casualties, and autodocs and fast heal can repair people pretty quickly.

Fuel is available if a gas giant is around. Yes a gas giant is a spot to defend and lay traps. Other fuel sources are water asteroids, moons, other ships. If a ship is not looking to Jump out it needs only a few tons to keep it running for weeks.
Oxygen and ice cubes are available from the same sources, the Harrier book explains that.

Food can be brought with the ship, enough to last for months if there is cargo space.
Other options for food is a biosphere or production facility on-board the ship. This reduces life support costs as well in some cases.

All in all a spaceship could be stocked and manned to sneak about for months behind enemy lines if you packed creatively.

How often are you thinking they needed resupply, and what did you think needed to be supplied?
All good questions. And to add further murkiness, assuming a raider was behind enemy lines and was raiding stations, ships and planets, they could conceivably take spares, foodstuffs, fuel, etc, from their raiding targets. Wet navy raiders used to do it, some were able to extend their range a great deal. But the move to coal/oil made it somewhat harder to obtain fuel from their targets. LHyd would be readily available in most systems. Gas giants being the easiest for spacecraft to use, other ships may require fuel lighters that are deployed to planetary water bodies. The Azhanti High Lightning had them (I think the MT Long Way Home module covers some of this).

Food and fuel are probably easily obtained, if not from raiding then from elsewhere, like you mentioned some on-board growing of food is possible. Munitions I wouldn't expect would be interchangeable if you are raiding an enemy, so you'd be on your own for that. Regular spare parts would be another question that is harder to answer. The assumption is that ships would have some limited capability with like 3D printers to construct parts on demand locally. So obtaining raw materials might extend that, but some materials will always be limited and in short supplies, and some parts will always be poor candidates for local manufacture. To what extent battle damage could be repaired from local or even scavenged materials would need to have some sort of ideas behind it.

I think it was the old gaming system Starfire that had rules related to spares consumption. A ship not docked would expend X number of supplies per turn. Each time a ship engaged in a battle with the enemy it would expend X + Y amount of supplies. When the ship ran out of supplies it would lose life support and the crew would die. Which actually brings up a good point. According to the rules ships spend thousands of credits in life support costs each month for their living quarters. A ship that is behind enemy lines for weeks or months would need to carry the proper spares for this entire time. Since they cost money they must be consumables rather than recyclables. Without knowing more it's hard to say if they are as big as a breadbox or big as a person.
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Re: Battle Riders

Postby Condottiere » Tue Oct 03, 2017 9:23 pm

Commerce raiding is going to be a lot more prevalent at the beginning and ending of a war, first by the side that has the initiative (and prepositioned ships and supplies), and later by the side that's winning and can afford to divert more naval assets to wreck the enemy's hinterland and communications.

In the middle of it, you might not want to divert major warships to dilute your frontline, and considering that everyone would be moving units back and forth, get caught out like the British at Arnhem when the remnants of the Second SS Panzer Korps were picnicking nearby.

In the Great War and it's Patriotic follow up, non descript merchant vessels tended to be the best raiders, since they didn't stand out; essentially, amongst their chief weaponry are such diverse elements as fear, surprise, ruthless efficiency and an almost fanatical devotion to the Fuhrer.
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Re: Battle Riders

Postby PsiTraveller » Tue Oct 03, 2017 11:43 pm

Spaceships are very self reliant in terms of fuel, oxygen etc, they can crack it from water or recycle their own air. (There is plenty of power avilable to crack the CO2 back into O2).

The monthly costs in parts could be stored in cargo bays. A ship may need 10 000 Credits a month of maintenance. Storing spare parts at 100 000 Credits a ton allows for long periods of behind the lines activity. Bigger ships needs millions in maintenance costs. They need a ship along just to carry the spare parts.

Having the cargo space for the material is another issue. Do the math for how many engagements you want to operate for and build enough cargo space for the job. Missile ships will have the tougher time. Energy weapons are "free"in terms of ammo needed.

Long duration ships may be another area of fun design time. Biospheres and food production units. How long can a ship go stealth mode?
baithammer
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Re: Battle Riders

Postby baithammer » Wed Oct 04, 2017 2:01 am

The maintenance mentioned in the main book is about stopping in place and going over all the systems to identify parts that need replacing and to make sure systems are running correctly, also once a year the ship needs to go through a more significant maintenance check at an appropriate start port.

Combat repairs are both temporary and less effective than a full repair, as any critical to the same location is either at original crit +1 severity or the higher critical. This can lead to destruction of the critted system which can't be repaired in the field.
Biospheres and food production units.
Both of which require a lot of space and power to function of which a warship wouldn't be appropriate.
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Re: Battle Riders

Postby phavoc » Wed Oct 04, 2017 3:09 am

PsiTraveller wrote:
Tue Oct 03, 2017 11:43 pm
Spaceships are very self reliant in terms of fuel, oxygen etc, they can crack it from water or recycle their own air. (There is plenty of power avilable to crack the CO2 back into O2).

The monthly costs in parts could be stored in cargo bays. A ship may need 10 000 Credits a month of maintenance. Storing spare parts at 100 000 Credits a ton allows for long periods of behind the lines activity. Bigger ships needs millions in maintenance costs. They need a ship along just to carry the spare parts.

Having the cargo space for the material is another issue. Do the math for how many engagements you want to operate for and build enough cargo space for the job. Missile ships will have the tougher time. Energy weapons are "free"in terms of ammo needed.

Long duration ships may be another area of fun design time. Biospheres and food production units. How long can a ship go stealth mode?
Interesting point about cargo space. Very few designs, especially player ones, have cargo bays listed (actual cargo ships notwithstanding). Ships meant to spend weeks or months on station need cargo storage for spares, food, consumables, etc. While sure, a ship will be able to recycle a lot, every time a lock is opened or a shuttle bay opened there is going to be atmosphere loss. All these little things add up to the need to accommodate cargo. And this is excluding missile/sand reloads, as they should be stored in magazines.

It's possible to grow food on your ship, but it's probably just easier to store the food in the same space. Civilian ships might be more likely to devote hull tonnage to foodstuffs than military ones. With all the diverse needs of a military ship, space will always remain a premium on all but the largest. Which is the same as it is today.
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Re: Battle Riders

Postby Condottiere » Wed Oct 04, 2017 9:23 pm

Commerce raiders can always requisition all military usable goods and equipment from captured prizes, and siphon off their gas.

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