Pocket Battleship and Dreadnought

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Epicenter
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Re: Pocket Battleship and Dreadnought

Postby Epicenter » Fri Oct 20, 2017 9:44 am

AnotherDilbert wrote:
Thu Oct 12, 2017 11:03 am
Morale is a tricky matter. Did Pearl Harbor hurt US morale? Did Leyte Gulf with the loss of 3 carriers and 3000 casualties hurt US morale? Did Stalingrad (with ~1M casualties) hurt Russian morale? Did Operation Barbarossa in 1941 (~30%, >1M casualties) hurt German morale?

I would vaguely say that when it matters, casualties are martyrs, but when it does not matter, casualties are considered wasted, hurting morale.

Hence the Normandy campaign with ~200 000 Allied casualties did not hurt morale, but the Vietnam War with ~200 000 US casualties for no perceived possible gain seriously hurt morale.
We can actually get into psychology here. The Imperium isn't a democracy. It doesn't need to justify its wars to its subjects for the most part. This means that subjects of the Imperium likely feel much more distant from the wars than the mass mobilizations that were portrayed as wars for national survival (European nations during WW2) or righteous crusades against evil (the US propaganda view of WW2). Wars would be more likely be seen like how the British public saw the Boer War or the endless sputtering conflicts in Crown India. As a result, I think the Imperial public (and perhaps more importantly, the nobility) would feel its wars are more like Vietnam than World War II.

I think a question of screens is like the stink in the US about military body armor in some the latest engagements (Iraq). Because the Imperium isn't a democracy it would seem to support the no-screens thing. However, there are a smaller group of "in" people - the nobility - which provide a lot of the high officers on ships. I don't think it's much a stretch after the Nth Frontier War ends, the Imperial Moot is examining what went right and what went wrong, and how the Imperium could have traded in X, Y, and Z world to the Zhodani and examining losses:

"Yes, the Battleship Sarkedon didn't have screens on it and it suffered a catastrophic Meson hit from a Zhodani battleship destroying it instantly, along with three other of the same class. In return, the Imperial battleship return fire was much more numerous and crippled thirteen Zhodani battleships to the loss of our three."

"That's 3,000 naval personnel lost. Why didn't it have screens on it? Wouldn't naval screens have protected against such fire?"

"Screens cost 38.7 Megacredits and examination of data from the Solomani Rim War shows that it would only increase the survivalability of a starship by about 7%, the cost is not worth installation."

"You're telling me that you were willing to sacrifice 3000 naval personnel because screens cost too much?"

"My Lord, this is a regrettable but acceptable sacrifice of martyrs for the Imper--"

"My daughter was aboard the Sarkedon."
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Re: Pocket Battleship and Dreadnought

Postby AnotherDilbert » Fri Oct 20, 2017 9:18 pm

Epicenter wrote: We can actually get into psychology here. The Imperium isn't a democracy. It doesn't need to justify its wars to its subjects for the most part. This means that subjects of the Imperium likely feel much more distant from the wars than the mass mobilizations that were portrayed as wars for national survival (European nations during WW2) or righteous crusades against evil (the US propaganda view of WW2). Wars would be more likely be seen like how the British public saw the Boer War or the endless sputtering conflicts in Crown India. As a result, I think the Imperial public (and perhaps more importantly, the nobility) would feel its wars are more like Vietnam than World War II.
Depends on what your vision of the Imperium is. The nobility and people of Regina will likely take a war with the Zho rather personally, but Capital will not. In a decentralised Imperium the people who handle a war will be local and personally invested.

A short war like the FFW will barely let Capital react, much less be involved.

Epicenter wrote: I think a question of screens is like the stink in the US about military body armor in some the latest engagements (Iraq).
Iraq isn't a war, it's a colonial police action at most.

The closest comparison I can make is unending low level unrest at some unimportant system in, say, Foreven sector. If that costs us a steady stream of ships against a rag-tag enemy with religious delusions, the Emperor should probably invest in effective defences and not leave thermal exhaust ports unprotected.

Epicenter wrote: Because the Imperium isn't a democracy it would seem to support the no-screens thing. However, there are a smaller group of "in" people - the nobility - which provide a lot of the high officers on ships. I don't think it's much a stretch after the Nth Frontier War ends, the Imperial Moot is examining what went right and what went wrong, and how the Imperium could have traded in X, Y, and Z world to the Zhodani and examining losses:

"Yes, the Battleship Sarkedon didn't have screens on it and it suffered a catastrophic Meson hit from a Zhodani battleship destroying it instantly, along with three other of the same class. In return, the Imperial battleship return fire was much more numerous and crippled thirteen Zhodani battleships to the loss of our three."

"That's 3,000 naval personnel lost. Why didn't it have screens on it? Wouldn't naval screens have protected against such fire?"

"Screens cost 38.7 Megacredits and examination of data from the Solomani Rim War shows that it would only increase the survivalability of a starship by about 7%, the cost is not worth installation."

"You're telling me that you were willing to sacrifice 3000 naval personnel because screens cost too much?"

"My Lord, this is a regrettable but acceptable sacrifice of martyrs for the Imper--"

"My daughter was aboard the Sarkedon."
That is much better than the alternative:

"Your Grace, it is my sad duty to report that the INS Sarkedon was destroyed together with its entire squadron because the enemy had vastly superior firepower."

"That's 30,000 personnel lost. Didn't the ships have screens? "

"Yes, Your Grace, that is why our ships had inferior firepower and inferior numbers. The screen machinery is so large that our ships only had a third of the firepower of the enemy ships. The screens stopped some enemy shots, but their superior firepower easily swamped the screens."

"So you are saying an entire battle squadron was wiped out because we built battleships basically without guns and massive defences that failed to protected the ships?"

"Yes, Dread Lord?"

"My daughter was aboard the Sarkedon, and my son was aboard the Kashugga. Report to the executioner, but send for the naval architect and prepare my personal torture chamber first!"

"Ave imperator, morituri te salutant!"
Condottiere
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Re: Pocket Battleship and Dreadnought

Postby Condottiere » Fri Oct 20, 2017 11:09 pm

I rather suspect the percentage of the Imperium population enlisted in the Navy is far below that of say the current United States.

Ground forces are unlikely to be deployed far beyond their originating subsectors, and there's more than enough cannon fodder available.
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Re: Pocket Battleship and Dreadnought

Postby phavoc » Fri Oct 20, 2017 11:11 pm

Well, the last major war that was fought (WW2), where the sides were more or less equally armed, saw massive changes in defenses. When aircraft proved to be far deadlier than first assumed, navies began cramming AA defenses on-board ships wherever they could find a spot.

Accountants and gamers design ships using spreadsheets. Naval designers do the opposite and start adding in defenses as much as possible. The same actions where done by aircrews and boat crews in WW2 and later wars - any time they could find a place to stick a weapon on that provided them more firepower they did.

Granted defenses like screens don't translate on a 1 to 1 basis, but military personnel tend to get the best defenses they can in order to stay alive. They really don't care what the statistician says. In order for this scenario to work in reality a navy will have to willingly send it's personnel to war with minimal (or without) defenses. If the other side provides standard defenses (and I would say screens would be a standard defense), the battle cry of "Well, some of you are going to die horrible deaths in the opening salvo, but buck up men - those of you who survive will be alive to weep for your fallen brethren. We of the <insert name here> Naval Bureau salute you and your willingness to die because we are cheap" rings rather hollow - even for the ones who survive.

And, as an aside, the FFW was the FIFTH frontier war.
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Re: Pocket Battleship and Dreadnought

Postby AnotherDilbert » Sat Oct 21, 2017 10:47 am

phavoc wrote: Well, the last major war that was fought (WW2), where the sides were more or less equally armed, saw massive changes in defenses. When aircraft proved to be far deadlier than first assumed, navies began cramming AA defenses on-board ships wherever they could find a spot.
The 20th century saw rapid technological development, with combat revolutionised by new weapons several times. The Imperium uses stable tech that has been in continuous use for millennia. The closest wet analogy I can come up with is the Mediterranean galley, that didn't change much from ~500 B.C. to ~1500 A.D.

~50 000 dT of screens (25% of the size of the ship) isn't comparable to adding a few small AA mounts or CIWS's. How many battleships replaced most of their main guns with AA guns?

phavoc wrote: Accountants and gamers design ships using spreadsheets. Naval designers do the opposite ...
Many engineers and accountants have spent years min/max-ing before a modern warship is laid down. Ships, like everything else, are designed down to a price.

We could theoretically currently design a carrier with heavy enough armour to be more or less immune to current ship-killer missiles. Yet, somehow, the market for 500000 ton, G$50 carriers is limited.

phavoc wrote: Granted defenses like screens don't translate on a 1 to 1 basis, but military personnel tend to get the best defenses they can in order to stay alive. They really don't care what the statistician says. In order for this scenario to work in reality a navy will have to willingly send it's personnel to war with minimal (or without) defenses.
Isn't that what the US Navy does since WW2? Current ships have very little passive defences, like armour, instead relying on finding and killing treats before they can get into range? And that might very well be overly optimistic [ http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-bu ... k-us-18383 ]?


A year ago we had a similar discussion, but then you maintained that ships should be cheap and not have expensive defences:
phavoc wrote:
Tue Sep 06, 2016 4:25 pm
Though a small warship like that shouldn't mount that sort of armor or defenses. It's a pretty costly little ship, ...
Then you didn't mind sending people out to fight in unprotected tin-cans.
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Re: Pocket Battleship and Dreadnought

Postby Sigtrygg » Sat Oct 21, 2017 11:22 am

Aside - why are MgT HG2e screens so horribly broken when compared with CT HG'80 upon which they were surely based?
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Re: Pocket Battleship and Dreadnought

Postby phavoc » Sun Oct 22, 2017 1:30 am

AnotherDilbert wrote:
Sat Oct 21, 2017 10:47 am
The 20th century saw rapid technological development, with combat revolutionised by new weapons several times. The Imperium uses stable tech that has been in continuous use for millennia. The closest wet analogy I can come up with is the Mediterranean galley, that didn't change much from ~500 B.C. to ~1500 A.D.

~50 000 dT of screens (25% of the size of the ship) isn't comparable to adding a few small AA mounts or CIWS's. How many battleships replaced most of their main guns with AA guns?
The stable tech is a gaming mechanism and not reflected in reality. The Imperium has to maintain it's technological edge, as it's main adversaries are primarily kept at bay by the advantage of being 1 TL higher. Romans used rams for a long time until someone figured out that in order to safely cross oceans you needed a different ship design. Rowers and rams gave way to cannons and sails, which gave way to shells and turbines.

Why would you bring up such a silly comparison? The purpose of a battleship is to bring larger guns to a battle. And in order to survive the battle long enough for those weapons to be useful you need defenses. Their is no current analagous system to screens other than ECM.

AnotherDilbert wrote:
Sat Oct 21, 2017 10:47 am
Many engineers and accountants have spent years min/max-ing before a modern warship is laid down. Ships, like everything else, are designed down to a price.

We could theoretically currently design a carrier with heavy enough armour to be more or less immune to current ship-killer missiles. Yet, somehow, the market for 500000 ton, G$50 carriers is limited.
Yes, that's true. Cost is always relevant. I'm sure Jellicoe thought using ships ilke the Hood in his line of battle was smart... till the Invincible blew up from a single critical hit. Later the Hood would also die from a single critical hit. The Hood's armor accounted for 33% of it's displacement. So if allocating 1/3 of the displacement, or cost, of a vessel to defenses is not unknown.

As to your assertion we could theoretically make a carrier immune to ship killer missiles, that's true. We call those land bases. :) Beyond that, you are incorrect. Why? Because current carrier defenses are designed around intercepting the missiles at range, by either destroying their launchers or intercepting them while they are in-flight. Thus the displacement is set aside for more aircraft and stores. A carrier is not the same as a battleship. It is also very hard to kill a USN carrier battle group, and it's never been done in reality. Then again, nobody has every tried, so it, like this discussion, is based on theory.

AnotherDilbert wrote:
Sat Oct 21, 2017 10:47 am
Isn't that what the US Navy does since WW2? Current ships have very little passive defences, like armour, instead relying on finding and killing treats before they can get into range? And that might very well be overly optimistic [ http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-bu ... k-us-18383 ]?
Yes, that's true. The USN and most other navies have abandoned the idea of passive defenses like armor on their vessels. Which we've seen to be a problem. Current hull armor is no different than what WW2 destroyers carried. It's very light. The Russian Kirov class, a modern battlecruiser, has very light armor plating. It, too, relies on a layered set of defenses to eliminate threats at range. As the USN has discovered, very light armor means your ships are vulnerable to speedboats with bombs in them.

Modern diesel subs are very effective at coastal defense. This has been known for a long time. The German Type 212 is even more effective than the Gotland class. It is an apparent blind spot that all navies seemed to be engaged in for the past few decades. It may take another war with ship losses, like Jutland did, to force another change on designers to fix the issues.

AnotherDilbert wrote:
Sat Oct 21, 2017 10:47 am
A year ago we had a similar discussion, but then you maintained that ships should be cheap and not have expensive defences:
phavoc wrote:
Tue Sep 06, 2016 4:25 pm
Though a small warship like that shouldn't mount that sort of armor or defenses. It's a pretty costly little ship, ...
Then you didn't mind sending people out to fight in unprotected tin-cans.
True. I'm flattered you would look up something I wrote a year ago. :) However we were also talking about a 600 ton escort class ship. You had said you didn't believe Type-T vessels were very survivable.

But, to parrot your own words back at you:
AnotherDilbert wrote:
Tue Sep 06, 2016 5:26 pm
phavoc wrote:Interesting design. Though a small warship like that shouldn't mount that sort of armor or defenses.
As far as I can see warships comes in two varieties: heavily armoured or target-practice. Without decent missile defences even armoured warships are target practice for missile armed ships. So of course all warships should have armour and defences.
phavoc wrote:It's a pretty costly little ship,
Yes, very expensive, but that is roughly where you end up, at MCr 1 / dT. It would rather easily defeat a bunch of Type T's or Gazelles.
So are you changing your opinion now? Tiny ships should have max defenses and larger ships should not? Pretty much throughout history all navies have been far more willing to sacrifice smaller hulls than the largest of hulls. The BC issue was one more of doctrine than anything else. Navies who had them thought they could fight in the line of battle, and reality said nyet. However when they were properly used (like the RN using them at the Falklands in WW1) they proved to fulfill their original mission design superbly.
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Re: Pocket Battleship and Dreadnought

Postby phavoc » Sun Oct 22, 2017 1:43 am

To follow up on sinking a carrier battle group - http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-bu ... rier-22831

Pretty much only the Chinese and Russians have the forces necessary to assault a carrier battle group and hope to get more than lucky. And the Chinese are still working on developing the ability to project power beyond the China sea. The Russians have the weapons and ability, but USN battle groups were originally designed to take on, and survive, multiple threat vector attacks by the best the Russians could field.

The question of whether or not the offense can beat the defense remains unknown.

But if you want to compare the price of USN battle group to the cost of what the Russians would spend to destroy one, the USN group is far away more expensive. A carrier group (1 Nimitz CVN - $8 billion, 2 Tico-class CG - $2 billion, 1 Virginia-class SSN - $1 billion, 1 carrier air wing - $1 billion, 2-3 Arleigh Burke DDG - $2 - 3 billion .. total of approximately $15 billion. Excludes the weapon loadouts). The USN is very willing to expend a great deal of money to protect it's carriers and it's sailors with layered defenses.
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Re: Pocket Battleship and Dreadnought

Postby Condottiere » Sun Oct 22, 2017 2:19 am

Security through obscurity.

You have to pinpoint the carrier first.
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Re: Pocket Battleship and Dreadnought

Postby Sigtrygg » Sun Oct 22, 2017 7:22 am

Easily done with spy satellites tracking them from when they leave port...
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Re: Pocket Battleship and Dreadnought

Postby baithammer » Sun Oct 22, 2017 7:51 am

Sigtrygg wrote:
Sat Oct 21, 2017 11:22 am
Aside - why are MgT HG2e screens so horribly broken when compared with CT HG'80 upon which they were surely based?
MGT 1st Edition HG screens were in effect regardless to the number of meson attacks made against it and had a binary action versus the attack itself ( Either its does damage or is completely blocked.) as well as the automatic penetration results for lesser screens.

MGT 2nd Edition HG changes it to a pool of points with a angle screens (Gunner) roll to see if the screens are even applied with effect acting as a multiplier ( Capital fleet rules simply assume crew skill as a multiplier.), further each point removes radiation hit trait as well as 2d of damage and every 5 points removes the radiation trait while removing 1dd of damage.

The dd used is hinted at by the capital rules where each screen reduces damage from the applicable weapon by 5 damage, with a multiplier equal to the crew skill.

Spinal weapons are listed as dice x 10,000 damage but all damage is divided by 10 when applied, so x1,000 as usual.

In order to grant an average defense against the average damage of a spinal weapon you need 500 screens ( Assuming an effect 2 or crew skill 2 in capital scale.) to removed 1dd of spinal weapon damage.

This results in needing 1,000 screens per 2dd to be defended against, which at TL 13 results in 10,000dt / 20,000 Mcr / 30,000 pow where as the spinal weapon side is 7,500dt / 2,000 Mcr / 1,000 pow.

Assuming a battle squadron of 4 ships versus an equal number of ships results in needing ( Each ship needs to be able to defend against 4 meson spinals.) 160,000dt / 320,000 Mcr / 480,000 per 2dd versus 30,000dt / 8,000 Mcr / 4,000 pow per 2dd.
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Re: Pocket Battleship and Dreadnought

Postby Sigtrygg » Sun Oct 22, 2017 9:27 am

MgT 1e and 2e appear to have tried to make the most cumbersome rules for meson screens you could imagine, and the way you build screens into ships in MgT HG2e is something I just can not get my (gear)head around.

In HG '80 a screen prevents a meson gun from achieving a hit - so why not either:

have a meson screen rating that reduces the chance to hit
or
reduce the number of damage dice by the screen rating...
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Re: Pocket Battleship and Dreadnought

Postby AnotherDilbert » Sun Oct 22, 2017 11:01 am

phavoc wrote: The stable tech is a gaming mechanism and not reflected in reality.
The meson spinal battleship (or -rider) has been the mainstay of battle fleets in Imperial space since the Terrans revolutionised space combat by starting to use them in the Interstellar Wars some thousands of years ago.

How they work and how to use them has been well known for a long time...

phavoc wrote:
AnotherDilbert wrote: ~50 000 dT of screens (25% of the size of the ship) isn't comparable to adding a few small AA mounts or CIWS's. How many battleships replaced most of their main guns with AA guns?
Why would you bring up such a silly comparison? The purpose of a battleship is to bring larger guns to a battle. And in order to survive the battle long enough for those weapons to be useful you need defenses.
This discussion was specifically about baithammer's use of massive screens. You brought up the added AA mounts of WW2 as an argument for them.


phavoc wrote: Yes, that's true. Cost is always relevant. I'm sure Jellicoe thought using ships ilke the Hood in his line of battle was smart... till the Invincible blew up from a single critical hit. Later the Hood would also die from a single critical hit. The Hood's armor accounted for 33% of it's displacement. So if allocating 1/3 of the displacement, or cost, of a vessel to defenses is not unknown.
IIRC, the British BCs had a design flaw, which led to the crews ignoring safety protocols to increase the rate of fire. German BCs did not spontaneously combust at the sight of enemy BBs.

The cost of the screens in the screened BB is roughly GCR 130 of a total ship cost of GCR 244, so over 50%, yet it only works against a single attack vector and not very effectively at that. This is in addition to the normal defences such as armour and tertiary armament.

If the screens made the ship immune to all meson attacks it might be worth it, but as the system is they are not effective enough.


phavoc wrote: Yes, that's true. The USN and most other navies have abandoned the idea of passive defenses like armor on their vessels. Which we've seen to be a problem. ...
My point is that current navies strives for cost-effective defences, not just tacking on every defence known to man in massive amounts.

You argued that seamen/spacehands wouldn't want to sail on ships without massive defences. Reality seems to disagree.


phavoc wrote: Modern diesel subs are very effective at coastal defense. This has been known for a long time. The German Type 212 is even more effective than the Gotland class. It is an apparent blind spot that all navies seemed to be engaged in for the past few decades. It may take another war with ship losses, like Jutland did, to force another change on designers to fix the issues.
If I remember correctly it was quite a kerfuffle when a Chinese sub appeared in a US carrier group undetected (which led to the training with HMS Gotland [HMS = Hans Majestäts Skepp]). This vulnerability was not well known, at least to civilians.

Diesel subs were ignored for a long time by the US Navy specifically, not really by anyone else.

That a sub basically designed to sink Soviet troop transports last century could penetrate the defences of a US carrier group does not speak highly of US sub defences or the invincibility of carrier groups. I assume sub detection has been improved since.


phavoc wrote: True. I'm flattered you would look up something I wrote a year ago. :) However we were also talking about a 600 ton escort class ship. You had said you didn't believe Type-T vessels were very survivable.
And the "Patrol Corvette" still isn't survivable.

phavoc wrote: So are you changing your opinion now? Tiny ships should have max defenses and larger ships should not?
No, of course not. I have never argued for max defences, but cost-effective defences. From the old tread:
AnotherDilbert wrote:
Tue Sep 06, 2016 7:13 pm
I'm trying to build a ship that is useful in both war and peace. With reasonable defences it can stand in the line of battle, it can screen a fleet, it can patrol a system, and it can escort civilians.
or from this tread:
AnotherDilbert wrote: My argument is not that defences are bad, my argument is that screens are not cost effective in the battle line.
I have e.g. never argued against the armour on the screened BBs.

I have even suggested more cost-effective defences:
AnotherDilbert wrote: From what I can see screens are simply too expensive and ineffective to be very useful in the battle line.

I would much rather fill out empty hardpoints with laser turrets. They are rather cheap and somewhat useful against most foes, ships, missiles, and fighters alike, and can punish anyone that skimped on armour.


You argued then that (some) ships should not have any defences, and now that ships must have all defences known to man, disregarding cost. That seems to be a contradiction.
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Re: Pocket Battleship and Dreadnought

Postby Epicenter » Sun Oct 22, 2017 12:03 pm

AnotherDilbert wrote:
Fri Oct 20, 2017 9:18 pm

Iraq isn't a war, it's a colonial police action at most.

The closest comparison I can make is unending low level unrest at some unimportant system in, say, Foreven sector. If that costs us a steady stream of ships against a rag-tag enemy with religious delusions, the Emperor should probably invest in effective defences and not leave thermal exhaust ports unprotected.
That's most of the Imperium's wars. Even the Frontier Wars against the Zhodani are over so quickly that it's pretty much an affair handled in the Domain of Deneb.

The last war of any size the Imperium was truly involved in was the Solomani Rim War, which apparently DID involve an enormous mobilization of fleet elements with Capital actually getting involved.
AnotherDilbert wrote:
Fri Oct 20, 2017 9:18 pm
That is much better than the alternative:

...

"Ave imperator, morituri te salutant!"
If this was an attempt at a response, instead of just a trollpost, even if it does cost that much, they'd still do it. The Imperium's response I think would simply be to have a larger naval budget with more, newer, and better ships with the latest equipment - a thalassocracy like the 3I couldn't do anything less. I am pretty sure this philosophy has been stated in a few supplements. Meson screens (especially under the Mongoose Traveller rules) are particularly expensive and not very effective, but they're better than nothing -- even if they do cost a lot. But having such protection, even expensive, would be a point of pride for the Imperium's largest and best ships. The debate in the Imperium would be what ships are considered important enough to carry such expensive equipment, not if it should be carried.



As an aside, I see some posters on this board are under the impression that armor on ships was ill-abandoned. I don't feel it was -- within the framework of the conflicts the USN (and NATO allies) expected to fight: A war against the Soviet Union (and allies). The USN, like many navies, gave up on armor after experience in WW2 and then the Cold War. Against the multi-spectrum threats of air attack (air-dropped torpedoes, then dive bombers, and finally guided bombs like the German Fritz and US Azon or Bat bombs), the old belt armor simply wasn't useful. Having your own screens of fighters and AA guns was better. Then the anti-ship missile came out. A lot of pro-armor people discuss how Anti-Ship missiles should successfully be stopped by armor -- the western missiles, which are smaller and have lighter warheads probably could be somewhat protected by armor. The missiles used as examples for this are missiles like the Exocet (364lb / 185kg), Kormoran missile (485 lb / 220 kg warhead) or the Harpoon (488lb / 221kg). Particularly the spaced deck protection of the WW2 era Battleships is often cited as being able to defeat a 500 pound explosive warhead. They may be right, but I have my doubts. The missiles even of the 1970s had much superior explosives compared to WW2 stuff, warhead design was also far superior to WW2 stuff. Simply put a 500-pound warhead on a 1970s AS missile would get much more "bang for the buck" than a WW2 era 500-pound capped "deck penetrator" bomb.

I don't think even that discussion takes into account Soviet thinking, the actual expected opponents.

The Soviet response I think should be fairly obvious: Just build a bigger, more capable missile. This isn't theory. They actually did, though not to kill WW2 era battleships but instead to kill large US fleet carriers. Naval Aviation attack craft like the venerable Bear and the Backfire carried enormous missiles. The Cold War era AS-4 "Kingfish" or AS-5 "Kelt" missiles carried 1,000 pound (~450kg) warheads in comparison. I'd have grave reservations about the effectiveness of the Iowa's belt armor against a 1,000 pound warhead on a 12,000 pound missile traveling at Mach 4. It's not even playing the same game as a WW2-era 16" inch gun or even a IJN 18" gun. The big discussion in naval circles at the time in fact was if even the CIWS system was pointless against such a missile - could such comparitively light rounds even stop such a behemoth? And if it did, the detonation of the warhead within the effective range of the 20mm CIWS would still result in crippling damage that would render an Iowa (or a Nimitz) mission killed, simply from the blast. (Which just accelerated development of anti-missile missiles.)

Now, against the lower technology / lower budget foes that many Western navies face today, who are using lighter or even improvised weaponry (motorboats filled with explosives), I think armor could certainly be effective. But given the mindset of militaries back then and their expect theater and foes? I think it's quite reasonable that they gave up armor.
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Re: Pocket Battleship and Dreadnought

Postby baithammer » Sun Oct 22, 2017 12:30 pm

The deathnell in armour was more due to strategic missiles and nuclear weapons.

As to the blind spot in US Navy for diesel powered subs was the assumption that peer to peer war would be against nuclear powered subsurface and surface ships which all have a problem with acoustic signatures.

With the Yemen incidents there are murmurs about upgrading armour.

Screens either need to be relatively fixed values for persistent screens or find a better cost across the board per screen, otherwise screens only positive is the removal of non-spinal weapon radiation trait.
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Re: Pocket Battleship and Dreadnought

Postby phavoc » Sun Oct 22, 2017 7:20 pm

AnotherDilbert wrote:
Sun Oct 22, 2017 11:01 am
The meson spinal battleship (or -rider) has been the mainstay of battle fleets in Imperial space since the Terrans revolutionised space combat by starting to use them in the Interstellar Wars some thousands of years ago.

How they work and how to use them has been well known for a long time...
Doctrine and tech are two disparate, but related, things. I was speaking specifically to tech. If Meson mounts are so deadly a response will be created. That is a maxim that has been proven in every era of human history. Plus your point does not address the issue of the TL advantage the Imperium enjoys, and it's surrounding system states looking to continually offset that advantage. That, too, is a maxim that has proven to be a truism throughout human history. The alien species that oppose the Imperium would do the same. It's not a human thing, it's an intelligence thing.

AnotherDilbert wrote:
Sun Oct 22, 2017 11:01 am
This discussion was specifically about baithammer's use of massive screens. You brought up the added AA mounts of WW2 as an argument for them.
No, my analogy was meant to be in response to the concept that once a weapon becomes deadly a response to it will be deployed.


AnotherDilbert wrote:
Sun Oct 22, 2017 11:01 am
IIRC, the British BCs had a design flaw, which led to the crews ignoring safety protocols to increase the rate of fire. German BCs did not spontaneously combust at the sight of enemy BBs.

The cost of the screens in the screened BB is roughly GCR 130 of a total ship cost of GCR 244, so over 50%, yet it only works against a single attack vector and not very effectively at that. This is in addition to the normal defences such as armour and tertiary armament.

If the screens made the ship immune to all meson attacks it might be worth it, but as the system is they are not effective enough.
Well, one could argue the doctrinal flaw exposed the design flaw. Had the ships only been fighting cruisers one could reasonably argue cruiser shells would not have been able to penetrate like a battleship shell could.

Your point about the screens is well taken. They are horrendously expensive (perhaps far too expensive, but that's for another discussion). Defenses must be appropriate to the ship's role and it's projected opponents. Small patrol craft are going to take on pirate ships, so the Type-T is suited for such a role. Taking on more powerful naval vessels it would indeed be quickly destroyed. Battleships and battle-riders primary targets are other battleships and major fleet combatants. As such they should be equipped with defenses that are meant to stand up against such craft. Escorts will take care of the smaller ships. Pre-dreadnought ships also had many multiple secondary armaments to take on destroyers and torpedo boats, but as the navies learned, too many secondary armaments led to other problems. It's not that secondary armaments are useless, but care needs to be taken with their implementation to balance out with the ship's mission. Traveller doesn't reflect this very well because armament sizes are relatively standardized - 3,000 ton warship, with the exception of a spinal mount, can carry the same size weaponry as a 500,000 ton dreadnought.

Another difference is that of the advantages of sensors and the fusion of intelligence not able to be offered to naval vessels of old. Now secondary armaments can engage with the full command of the vessel's commander and staff. But the idea of having a vessel fighting at multiple zones remains something that is for the books. We have very few examples of big-gunned ships engaging other big-gunned ships while also fighting off aircraft and escort vessels simultaneously.

AnotherDilbert wrote:
Sun Oct 22, 2017 11:01 am
My point is that current navies strives for cost-effective defences, not just tacking on every defence known to man in massive amounts.

You argued that seamen/spacehands wouldn't want to sail on ships without massive defences. Reality seems to disagree.
I agree that cost effective defenses need to be deployed. I never said massive defenses. I argued that crews would become disillusioned if they were put to space in glass shells. Sure, they are bringing more and bigger spinals to bear, but they have no defenses against them while their opponents do. The idea that your side sees your death as being cost effective is rather dis-illusioning. As to reality, well, ships today do have heavy defenses - but again we have nothing that is equivalent to screens. Defense has gone away from pure armor to one of a defense in depth. And I would say that having an AEGIS system (which are quite expensive) as your first line of defense is pretty reassuring. It's nice to know that once tied into AEGIS the entire fleet's defensive weaponry can engage any target that comes within detection range. I would say that classifies as a massive defense.

We, in this conversation, are missing a few things as well. First there hasn't been any real naval combat since WW2, with the exception of the Falkland Island campaign by the UK and Argentinian governments. Therefore we have nothing but theory to discuss. Which is not out of the realm considering we are debating 52nd century tech and naval strategy. However we only need to look at the most recent Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts to settle this point. In the beginning (and no, I'm not speaking of B5.. :) of the war the US deployed patrols in HUMVEE's, as was it's standard. They proved woefully ineffective. So they developed ones with tougher armor and able to mount .50 cal and other weapons. These proved ok against small arms fire, but not the every-present RPG. As tactics changed to even more irregular warfare, mines became the weapons of choice, and no armored HUMVEE could withstand the explosive equivalent of a 155mm shell detonating underneath. So rather than deploy MORE HUMVEE's, the US Army fielded the MRAP. An MRAP is designed for mine warfare and was far more successful than a HUMVEE in protecting it's occupants. There are multiple models of MRAP's and they each cost upwards of $500,000 - more than twice the cost of the up-armored HUMVEE they replaced.

Using your argument, it would have been cheaper to continue to use HUMVEE's as patrol vehicles. But, to be fair, fighting an irregular enemy is not the same as fleets fighting fleets, so it's fair to argue that's not the same. Which it isn't. But since we have nothing to compare against we are only left with arguments with similar situations.

AnotherDilbert wrote:
Sun Oct 22, 2017 11:01 am
If I remember correctly it was quite a kerfuffle when a Chinese sub appeared in a US carrier group undetected (which led to the training with HMS Gotland [HMS = Hans Majestäts Skepp]). This vulnerability was not well known, at least to civilians.

Diesel subs were ignored for a long time by the US Navy specifically, not really by anyone else.

That a sub basically designed to sink Soviet troop transports last century could penetrate the defences of a US carrier group does not speak highly of US sub defences or the invincibility of carrier groups. I assume sub detection has been improved since.
The Russians thought the same when they learned that LA-class nuclear submarines had routinely penetrated the very heavily defended waters off Archangelsk. Sneakiness abounds in all militaries. I don't think any carrier group is invincible, and such actions are good as they reveal problems related to monitoring a naval groups actions. On the plus side, no diesel sub can sneak up on a carrier battle group at full speed since they lack the speed, and they lose their sneakiness.

AnotherDilbert wrote:
Sun Oct 22, 2017 11:01 am
And the "Patrol Corvette" still isn't survivable.
No, it is not. But no vessel with the label corvette has ever been very survivable against DD or larger class vessels. Their job isn't to take on fleets, it's to take on pirates and their ilk. In that role it's more powerful than a 200 ton corsair or free trader - which are it's intended prey.
AnotherDilbert wrote:
Sun Oct 22, 2017 11:01 am
No, of course not. I have never argued for max defences, but cost-effective defences. From the old tread:

I'm trying to build a ship that is useful in both war and peace. With reasonable defences it can stand in the line of battle, it can screen a fleet, it can patrol a system, and it can escort civilians.

or from this tread:

My argument is not that defences are bad, my argument is that screens are not cost effective in the battle line.

I have e.g. never argued against the armour on the screened BBs.

I have even suggested more cost-effective defences:

From what I can see screens are simply too expensive and ineffective to be very useful in the battle line.

I would much rather fill out empty hardpoints with laser turrets. They are rather cheap and somewhat useful against most foes, ships, missiles, and fighters alike, and can punish anyone that skimped on armour.
Armor factor 15 600 ton patrol vessels equipped with maxed-out weaponry is not cost effective for patrolling a system or, for the most part, escorting civilian ships. That level of equipment belongs on very specialized small craft, or much larger naval vessels whose task is to take on naval vessels. If you need that kind of firepower you assign a real DD or CA as escort. Much like the convoys used to supply Russia the allies used real battleships and cruisers to oppose potential german capital ship raiders. Lowly corvettes and a handful of destroyers were used to protect against U-boats. Once the threat of surface raiders was eliminated the capital vessels were withdrawn and used elsewhere.

I agree with your argument that any defense must be cost effective to the ship it's on. What I disagree with is saying that screens are TOO expensive and thus you don't even use them.

While it's not germane to this specific argument, I also disagree with the current mindset behind screens. A meson screen, in my opinion, should degrade ANY attack used against it until it is destroyed. The 'angle the screen' idea is mostly silly - lightspeed attacks occur far too fast for any human to angle screens against them. So either they are spherical, or you can alter their projection areas. The old SW X-Wing game took from the movie the idea that you had a finite amount of energy for your screens, and you could double them in front or in back, to the expense of exposing your back or front. Traveller screens used to be much more logical and useful - not to mention affordable. Either the screens need to be brought back in line with how they used to work or meson weaponry should be moved to the alternate technology section. But their current iteration makes for horrible gaming.

AnotherDilbert wrote:
Sun Oct 22, 2017 11:01 am
You argued then that (some) ships should not have any defences, and now that ships must have all defences known to man, disregarding cost. That seems to be a contradiction.
No, that is incorrect. I have always argued that defenses need to be appropriate, but also present. NOT deploying them is not realistic. OVERDEPLOYING them is also unrealistic. You always must balance cost with offensive with defense (as well as magazine space, crew living conditions, electronics, etc). It IS a never-ending battle to find the most effective balance. Generally speaking, if you build a ship that is really, really good at something, at best it can be only average at everything else - and even then such a vessel isn't going to be cheap.

I think we can agree to disagree here and leave it at that. I don't want to clog the board with our back-and-forth, so if you'd like to continue this I'd be happy to do so in email. Also, thank you for not letting it degenerate. Those types of threads get rather tiring quickly.
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Re: Pocket Battleship and Dreadnought

Postby phavoc » Sun Oct 22, 2017 7:27 pm

Epicenter wrote:
Sun Oct 22, 2017 12:03 pm
As an aside, I see some posters on this board are under the impression that armor on ships was ill-abandoned. I don't feel it was -- within the framework of the conflicts the USN (and NATO allies) expected to fight: A war against the Soviet Union (and allies). The USN, like many navies, gave up on armor after experience in WW2 and then the Cold War. Against the multi-spectrum threats of air attack (air-dropped torpedoes, then dive bombers, and finally guided bombs like the German Fritz and US Azon or Bat bombs), the old belt armor simply wasn't useful. Having your own screens of fighters and AA guns was better. Then the anti-ship missile came out. A lot of pro-armor people discuss how Anti-Ship missiles should successfully be stopped by armor -- the western missiles, which are smaller and have lighter warheads probably could be somewhat protected by armor. The missiles used as examples for this are missiles like the Exocet (364lb / 185kg), Kormoran missile (485 lb / 220 kg warhead) or the Harpoon (488lb / 221kg). Particularly the spaced deck protection of the WW2 era Battleships is often cited as being able to defeat a 500 pound explosive warhead. They may be right, but I have my doubts. The missiles even of the 1970s had much superior explosives compared to WW2 stuff, warhead design was also far superior to WW2 stuff. Simply put a 500-pound warhead on a 1970s AS missile would get much more "bang for the buck" than a WW2 era 500-pound capped "deck penetrator" bomb.

I don't think even that discussion takes into account Soviet thinking, the actual expected opponents.

The Soviet response I think should be fairly obvious: Just build a bigger, more capable missile. This isn't theory. They actually did, though not to kill WW2 era battleships but instead to kill large US fleet carriers. Naval Aviation attack craft like the venerable Bear and the Backfire carried enormous missiles. The Cold War era AS-4 "Kingfish" or AS-5 "Kelt" missiles carried 1,000 pound (~450kg) warheads in comparison. I'd have grave reservations about the effectiveness of the Iowa's belt armor against a 1,000 pound warhead on a 12,000 pound missile traveling at Mach 4. It's not even playing the same game as a WW2-era 16" inch gun or even a IJN 18" gun. The big discussion in naval circles at the time in fact was if even the CIWS system was pointless against such a missile - could such comparitively light rounds even stop such a behemoth? And if it did, the detonation of the warhead within the effective range of the 20mm CIWS would still result in crippling damage that would render an Iowa (or a Nimitz) mission killed, simply from the blast. (Which just accelerated development of anti-missile missiles.)

Now, against the lower technology / lower budget foes that many Western navies face today, who are using lighter or even improvised weaponry (motorboats filled with explosives), I think armor could certainly be effective. But given the mindset of militaries back then and their expect theater and foes? I think it's quite reasonable that they gave up armor.
Yes, armor was deemed less relevant with the advent of nuclear weapons, torpedoes and the like. No ship built could survive a direct or near-direct hit from a nuclear weapon or torpedo. So armor was deemed unnecessary and an emphasis on electronic warfare and keeping the enemy from reaching your ships was deemed more important. The old F-14 and it's Phoenix missile are prime examples of such - by killing the bombers and cruise ship missile the carrier did not need heavy armor or defenses. It's escorts, S3's and LAMPS were supposed to eliminate any lurking submarine.

And, as you stated, they built faster bombers to get in and drop their missiles sooner, and bigger missiles to fly further and have bigger warheads in the anticipation that a 50-60 missiles launched mighty only get 1 or 2 hits. But sinking a ship is pretty good use of your missiles as you can build more missiles faster than you can a ship.
baithammer wrote:
Sun Oct 22, 2017 12:30 pm
The deathnell in armour was more due to strategic missiles and nuclear weapons.

As to the blind spot in US Navy for diesel powered subs was the assumption that peer to peer war would be against nuclear powered subsurface and surface ships which all have a problem with acoustic signatures.

With the Yemen incidents there are murmurs about upgrading armour.

Screens either need to be relatively fixed values for persistent screens or find a better cost across the board per screen, otherwise screens only positive is the removal of non-spinal weapon radiation trait.
Yes, I agree. The easily damaged DD's of the USN by irregular warfare is showing an inherent weakness in not adding even basic hull armor to a vessel.
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Re: Pocket Battleship and Dreadnought

Postby Condottiere » Sun Oct 22, 2017 9:12 pm

Armour is only effective if you can place it between the vitals of the warship and inbound ordnance.

Works out well when short ranged guns made trajectory flat; less so, when increased range cause the guns to have a more curved trajectory, bypassing the armoured belts and slamming into the deck.

Torpedoes by their nature could also bypass the armoured belts, that's why warships initially deployed nets to catch them, and later added anti torpedo bulges.

Tsushima confirmed the British in their view that their next classes of warships had to be all big guns, as the issue wasn't just the need to punch through armour, but that the engagement range had increased and fire control couldn't distinguish between, say ten and twelve inch shell splashes, which was required to correct accuracy.

Battlecruisers are glass hammers, you have to apply them correctly, and preferably, have the stress points reinforced; the British and the Germans drew different lessons from Dogger Bank, which made the British ships more vulnerable to catastrophic damage, and minimized the Germans'.
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Re: Pocket Battleship and Dreadnought

Postby AnotherDilbert » Mon Oct 23, 2017 8:58 am

phavoc wrote: I think we can agree to disagree here and leave it at that.
Agreed, we can agree to disagree, but I'm sure what we actually disagree about.

The only thing I have tried to argue in this thread is that meson screens are not cost-effective in major battles.
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Re: Pocket Battleship and Dreadnought

Postby AnotherDilbert » Mon Oct 23, 2017 10:42 am

Epicenter wrote: That's most of the Imperium's wars. Even the Frontier Wars against the Zhodani are over so quickly that it's pretty much an affair handled in the Domain of Deneb.
Chasing a few insurgents is not comparable to fighting a major power like the Zho Consulate.

The Zho are apparently happy to end the war and go back to status quo ante bellum if they fail to break the initial fleets of the domains Deneb and Vland, instead of making it a total war. That is probably good for both the Zho and the Imperium.

The Rim War was longer and harder because the Impies were determined to conquer all of the Solomani Sphere, and they were equally determined to win independence.



Epicenter wrote: ... even if it does cost that much, they'd still do it. The Imperium's response I think would simply be to have a larger naval budget with more, newer, and better ships with the latest equipment - a thalassocracy like the 3I couldn't do anything less.
You are presuming infinite, or at least a vast superiority in naval budgets, which I think is unlikely.

The Imperium is the biggest bully in known space, but they are not bigger than the other powers together. A simultaneous war with the Zho and Sollies (with opportunistic major raiding by Aslan and Vargr factions) would be a severe problem for the Imperium. If the K'kree wanted to have a go at the same time the Impies would clearly be outnumbered.

And that existential threat is what the IN has to prepare for.

Note that the Imperium is surrounded by potentially hostile powers, while those powers have few other neighbours (that we know about), so their navies will be mostly concentrated against the Imperium.


So, the Imperium has to maintain a strong fleets against in several directions, that are to far apart to support each other, and an even stronger fleet in the Core lest an Admiral or Duke gets ideas of Imperial grandeur (it's happened before after all). I believe naval budgets would be too strained too allow paying double or triple for battleships.

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