Space Mines

Discuss the Traveller RPG and its many settings
Reynard
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Re: Space Mines

Postby Reynard » Tue Oct 10, 2017 2:10 am

Mines with EAG are harder to find and harder to lock on to. Each mine needs to be detected separately. You need to get close to look IF you suspect there may be a field which probably already puts you in thier optimal range as well as the range of the guns behind. If they're running on solar panels and/or batteries, they have little EM emission and you need visual range.

Good reason to let it leak your side *might* have such fields.
phavoc
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Re: Space Mines

Postby phavoc » Tue Oct 10, 2017 2:26 am

Reynard wrote:
Tue Oct 10, 2017 2:10 am
Mines with EAG are harder to find and harder to lock on to. Each mine needs to be detected separately. You need to get close to look IF you suspect there may be a field which probably already puts you in thier optimal range as well as the range of the guns behind. If they're running on solar panels and/or batteries, they have little EM emission and you need visual range.

Good reason to let it leak your side *might* have such fields.
Easily done with cheap recon drones. The Honor Harrington novels made a good use of recon drones scouting out in front of the fleets, or sweeping wide swathes of a system. You could use a standard missile body and just flood an area looking for such a thing. For a little more money you could put ECM emitters on there to give them a more tasty electronic signature to see how many you could lure into attacking you.

Electronic warfare can get pretty sophisticated with options (few of which are in the game).
baithammer
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Re: Space Mines

Postby baithammer » Tue Oct 10, 2017 3:11 am

Missiles aren't a good fit for a static defense as a.) too damn slow to take effect b.) vulnerable to Point Defense / Ewar. ( Missiles are great for dealing with mines though.)
50,000 Ghalak class cruiser
Single point of failure, only can stay on target for 8 weeks, requires personnel and due to systems being used more often - more maintenance.
Mines in space have some limited use.
Mines themselves have a limited use and as outlined the design accomplishes this with the constraints of the system.
Or you could deploy 1,284 advanced missiles as temporary mines
Too slow, vulnerable to Ewar and Point Defense.

Missiles are very poor defensive weapons, they are more for offensive action.

Missiles also don't have the processing power to initiate attacks, they require a launching platform.
Mines, to be effective anywhere, have to be cheap enough to be literally thrown away because they are only effective in massive numbers.
Also need to be effective across a variety of targets, missiles don't fair well in this regard.
you have other defenses that can protect them
They don't, as you place them in places that are likely going to be jumped into.

And when deployed as part of kettling, there is already a defensive force in place.

Mine fields don't have a primary mission to kill targets, the field is to force the opposing forces to either expend resources removing the field or avoiding the location which has strategic value.
phavoc
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Re: Space Mines

Postby phavoc » Tue Oct 10, 2017 3:52 am

baithammer wrote:
Tue Oct 10, 2017 3:11 am
Missiles aren't a good fit for a static defense as a.) too damn slow to take effect b.) vulnerable to Point Defense / Ewar. ( Missiles are great for dealing with mines though.)
Umm, mines of any sort are a static defense. And it's been mentioned previously, EVERYTHING is subject to electronic warfare. Missiles have a longer range than energy weapons (they can coast, energy beams cannot).
baithammer wrote:
Tue Oct 10, 2017 3:11 am
Single point of failure, only can stay on target for 8 weeks, requires personnel and due to systems being used more often - more maintenance.
You forgot to mention you can project power with a cruiser and you can't with a weapons platform. And go between star systems. And do LOTS of things that you can't with static 100 Dton satellites.
baithammer wrote:
Tue Oct 10, 2017 3:11 am
Mines themselves have a limited use and as outlined the design accomplishes this with the constraints of the system.
What does that even mean??? That logic is universally applicable to a pen and and a starship.
baithammer wrote:
Tue Oct 10, 2017 3:11 am
Too slow, vulnerable to Ewar and Point Defense.
Missiles are very poor defensive weapons, they are more for offensive action.

Missiles also don't have the processing power to initiate attacks, they require a launching platform.[/quote]

Your weapon platforms have a speed of zero, are vulnerable to electronic warfare, cannot hit 10 ton fighters and cannot protect themselves from the aforementioned fighters. A flight of missiles targeting your enemy makes for a great defense (for the defender). Missiles can be deployed via IFF, or command-controlled. They require no launching platform, they just need to use a gyroscope to orient their launch trajectory and activate their engine. All of this is easily done today with current tech. It's far within the realm of a TL14 missile (or TL9 for that matter).
baithammer wrote:
Tue Oct 10, 2017 3:11 am
Also need to be effective across a variety of targets, missiles don't fair well in this regard.
What can you target with an energy weapon you can't target with a missile?
baithammer wrote:
Tue Oct 10, 2017 3:11 am
Too slow, vulnerable to Ewar and Point Defense.
They don't, as you place them in places that are likely going to be jumped into.

And when deployed as part of kettling, there is already a defensive force in place.

Mine fields don't have a primary mission to kill targets, the field is to force the opposing forces to either expend resources removing the field or avoiding the location which has strategic value.
[/quote]

Space is vast. It is impractical, and nearly fiscally impossible, to place mines or weapon platforms at the 100D limit of a planet with any sort of realistic density to make the useful. You do realize that there are no jump points in Traveller, right? An enemy can jump in at 100D, 101D, 101.25D, etc and all outside the range of any minefield. And unless you mined in a sphere around whatever it is you are defending, ships can maneuver and your mines become expensive testaments to the futility of their deployment.

Same idea goes towards your corralling (i.e kettling - had to look that one up). You can't corral in space, it's too vast. That's why battles are almost never fought in deep space. There's no point unless you are intercepting a force that you cannot allow to hit a target in your system.

If you know minefield exists you can clear it. If you don't stop the vessels doing the clearing then your minefield is a useless deterrent. Usually the amount of resources expended to clear a path (you need not clear the entire field) are far less than the resources expended to create the field. Mines have a dual purpose - deterrence AND killing the enemy. Without the combination of the two they aren't really much use.

Space mines aren't a 1-1 equivalent of naval mines (or even landmines). Once the surprise is lost they become a nuisance unless you can actively defend the field. This holds true in today's landmines and for space ones. The real risk usually is for civilians who have neither the tech nor the experience to know how what to do or how to react to a minefield. Though in this case your weapon platforms are at least easier to keep track of once deployed, and therefore a much lower risk for post-conflict danger.

The basic point is that any defense worth a damn is one of layers. Intercepting or harrying the invader at a distance is preferable to letting them close with that which you must defend. If you have a mobile force and strong defenses you have more options than just a strong defense. Mines or weapon platforms or any form of static defense will suffer without mobile forces. Static defenses are typically vulnerable to fast-moving forces that can avoid them. Energy platforms can't fire through a planet, but missiles can attack targets because they move. Ask the French how their Maginot forts did in the last war. They were so strong the Germans went around their flanks and ignored them. You are probably better off investing in underground meson sites instead of mines or orbital weapon platforms. Any enemy ship in orbit is vulnerable and can't return fire. They are only vulnerable to the destruction of their targeting arrays (hard, but not impossible), or their power sources (same). Or spies who can provide the location of the sites so you can at least return fire with your own meson weaponry, or dig them out using ortillery strikes.
baithammer
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Re: Space Mines

Postby baithammer » Tue Oct 10, 2017 4:53 am

Umm, mines of any sort are a static defense.
Point?
And it's been mentioned previously, EVERYTHING is subject to electronic warfare.
Ewar doesn't effect gunnery rolls unlike ewar versus missile / salvo which directly reduce the number of missiles / torpedoes in the salvo.
Missiles have a longer range than energy weapons
Small Particle Bay hits out to very long range on turn 1, advanced missiles take 2 turns.
You forgot to mention you can project power with a cruiser and you can't with a weapons platform. And go between star systems. And do LOTS of things that you can't with static 100 Dton satellites.
baithammer wrote: ↑
Your comparing a ship ( dynamic 8 weeks duration) with a mine (static 44 week duration.), two totally different situations.
What does that even mean??? That logic is universally applicable to a pen and and a starship.
Don't use hammer where a screw driver is required.
Your weapon platforms have a speed of zero, are vulnerable to electronic warfare, cannot hit 10 ton fighters and cannot protect themselves from the aforementioned fighters.
You haven't looked at the mechanics than.

1.) Static systems don't move so use less power and stay on station almost 5 times longer and cover a wider area than a single ship.
2.) The gunnery roll at very long range with all modifiers = 2d6 -2 vs target of 8 - so a roll 10+ at very long range, 8+ at long range, 6+ at medium range, 4+ at short range, with close range starting dog fighting rolls which gives +2 defense if the fighters win so 6+ from then on.
Space is vast. It is impractical, and nearly fiscally impossible, to place mines or weapon platforms at the 100D limit of a planet
False conclusion as your comparing open space to a fixed location with far less space required.

And considering you want at least 1,000 km between mines so they can't be swatted by fragmentation missiles.
Linwood
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Re: Space Mines

Postby Linwood » Tue Oct 10, 2017 10:29 am

The real risk usually is for civilians who have neither the tech nor the experience to know how what to do or how to react to a minefield..
This could be useful in an economic war. Say an enemy stealthily inserts a few mines into space near a busy star port. As soon as the first civilian vessel is attacked the local merchants start screaming for naval assistance to clear those hazards to navigation. (Or maybe a small crew of Travellers with a scout ship?) That might tie up a few light units for weeks on meticulous sensor sweeps until confidence is high the mines have been found and destroyed.

Meanwhile local commerce takes a hit. Megacorps hire escorts, driving up their shipping costs - or maybe temporarily suspend service if the route is marginally profitable. Free traders start to avoid the system since repairs from a single hit could put them on the edge of bankruptcy (or right over it). Insystem travel would likely decrease as well since shuttles are likely more vulnerable to mines than starships. If it continues long enough (or repeats) that could put a serious crimp in the system economy.

Do this to a half-dozen or so worlds on a major trade route and you might be able to paralyze local trade for weeks, even months. Sure, it’s a sideshow - but if it ties up your enemy’s resources, slows his communications and messes with his logistics. If a given world’s economy was already shaky it could be a tipping point that sparks civil unrest or rebellion, turning an asset into a liability.

It’s a nasty way to fight a war. But if the war is about commerce and not conquest....
Condottiere
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Re: Space Mines

Postby Condottiere » Tue Oct 10, 2017 1:40 pm

I think you need to distinguish between a caltrop, a booby trap, and a hidden machine gun nest.
baithammer
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Re: Space Mines

Postby baithammer » Tue Oct 10, 2017 7:05 pm

The mine fields are for objectives of military value and not general traffic areas.
steve98052
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Re: Space Mines

Postby steve98052 » Thu Oct 26, 2017 5:59 pm

Missile bays are essentially a combination of components: bulk missile launchers, magazines, and the sensors and guidance communications that control the missiles until they're in range of their own terminal guidance. So to do the mission of a minefield, you could tow a bunch of similar asteroids to the main world's L4 and L5 points, build a handful of planetoid non-starships, and park them among the Lagrange Point asteroids, and set lots of missiles in orbit around the main world (plus lots of cheap training missiles). The planetoid non-starships would consist of station-keeping maneuver drives, long-term life support, the sensor and communication components of missile bays, power plants, and fuel for long-term deployment. The staff would be a lot of gunners, a pilot, a life support engineer (who also watches the power plants), and a good chef.

In peacetime, most of the planetoid non-starships are empty, except for regular visits by an engineer and pilot to check out the systems and adjust the station keeping. One planetoid non-starship at each Lagrange Point would be staffed, doing lots of training. Maybe they'd rotate between the idle ships periodically to make sure that the gunnery equipment was well maintained. Naval trainees would have the task of putting the missiles in their orbits and retrieving old missiles for periodic inspection, and recycling of failed missiles.

In times of threat, most or all of the planetoid non-starships would be staffed, possibly doing more readiness drills than equipment maintenance.

In the event of an hostile force's arrival, they'd wait for the command, and then take command of a large salvo of the orbiting missiles and command them to attack the threats in overwhelming numbers (or distracting numbers, if other naval assets are in action too).

That would be the closest thing to a system analogous to surface mines, and a lower technology substitute for deep meson sites.
baithammer
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Re: Space Mines

Postby baithammer » Thu Oct 26, 2017 10:41 pm

Missile Bays do not include there own sensors that is covered by ships sensors and the missiles onboard ones. ( The missiles sensors are active once launched which is the point of the smart trait.)
Condottiere
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Re: Space Mines

Postby Condottiere » Fri Oct 27, 2017 5:57 am

During wartime or when a certain DEFCON is declared, mine fields could be sown to act as tripwires and area denial, because this is not stuff you want commercial traffic blundering into.

You can mix in command detonated mines, as booby prizes for the mine sweeping teams.

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