Starport defences

Discuss the Traveller RPG and its many settings
Milodiah
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Re: Starport defences

Postby Milodiah » Thu Oct 05, 2017 5:59 pm

To bring up Drinax again, it does make a point that while the biggest and best defense for true Imperial starports is the deterrent of "attacking a starport is a declaration of war against the Imperium", non-Imperial (especially Aslan) ports don't have that luxury. Generally Imperial starports seem to be armed enough to deal with any single ship or small flotilla, but assuming a true assault force they would rely on the Navy. It's specifically mentioned that on the other hand, Aslan starports are only considered to belong to whichever clan or corp built them, and therefore are armed based on that clan's level of paranoia/legitimate concerns, sometimes able to fend off a full invasion fleet.

I dunno how well that actually answers the question. In gameplay terms, I'd definitely say any A, and most Bs, would have little trouble protecting itself from a single non-capital-scale ship unless said ship were specifically built as a super-pricey death machine. The best option would really be to attack the shipping bound for it until the starport either gives in and negotiates or summons enough support to drive you off.
ochd
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Re: Starport defences

Postby ochd » Thu Oct 05, 2017 6:52 pm

Would GeDeCo not provide some kind of protection agreement for systems it has provided starports for?

Dan.
Reynard
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Re: Starport defences

Postby Reynard » Thu Oct 05, 2017 10:08 pm

Only if profitable and they decide what's profitable. With most businesses, what keeps currency flowing at the LEAST cost is the right way. Sometimes sacrifices must be made.
Pyromancer
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Re: Starport defences

Postby Pyromancer » Fri Oct 06, 2017 10:54 am

In my campaign, Inurin just recently upgraded from "nothing" to two 300dt SDBs and a couple of missile launchers installed on the ground. They also got a few dozen Imperial "technical advisers".
Condottiere
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Re: Starport defences

Postby Condottiere » Fri Oct 06, 2017 11:10 am

In the grand scheme of things, lasers don't cost that much.
Reynard
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Re: Starport defences

Postby Reynard » Fri Oct 06, 2017 7:49 pm

Thing that bothers me, everyone seems to think the universe is in pre-war status and every system is a potential target similar to how many Americans feel they need arsenals to defend their homes from imminent invasion. How many nations around the world have their seaports defended with gun emplacements, aerial flyovers and regular warship patrols? They don't even when at war with any other nation. There will be routine coastal patrolling and warships make stopovers but no one is anchored with guns pointing at the horizon... just in case. Can you imagine the military budgets to give even lip service to all those ports?

Problem is gamers are, oh let's say PARANOID! They arm and armor themselves when stepping off their ship at class A starports. At a galactic level, they simply KNOW every commercial starport is about to have a fleet or two, whether Aslan or pirates, screaming in with massive firepower. And if you're the kind of referee to do something like that, shame on you.
phavoc
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Re: Starport defences

Postby phavoc » Fri Oct 06, 2017 7:53 pm

Reynard wrote:
Fri Oct 06, 2017 7:49 pm
Thing that bothers me, everyone seems to think the universe is in pre-war status and every system is a potential target similar to how many Americans feel they need arsenals to defend their homes from imminent invasion. How many nations around the world have their seaports defended with gun emplacements, aerial flyovers and regular warship patrols? They don't even when at war with any other nation. There will be routine coastal patrolling and warships make stopovers but no one is anchored with guns pointing at the horizon... just in case. Can you imagine the military budgets to give even lip service to all those ports?

Problem is gamers are, oh let's say PARANOID! They arm and armor themselves when stepping off their ship at class A starports. At a galactic level, they simply KNOW every commercial starport is about to have a fleet or two, whether Aslan or pirates, screaming in with massive firepower. And if you're the kind of referee to do something like that, shame on you.
Very true. Unless there is an immediate threat, or one that is a few jumps away, very few starports are going to have defenses. Balkanized worlds might if they are actively fighting or have tension, and some planets may if they have tensions with other planets or groups. Since Imperial law really doesn't allow for systems to own other systems (i.e. mini-empires), the threat of invasion or large-scale conflict is pretty small.

However the thought of tensions and skullduggery make the installation of star port defenses a must have!
Reynard
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Re: Starport defences

Postby Reynard » Fri Oct 06, 2017 8:16 pm

Actually: Captive Government. Ruling functions are performed by an imposed leadership answerable to an outside group. A colony or conquered area.

The Imperium does allow acts of aggression within certain limits and that can result in a conquered world or two. Not so much a mini-empire but controlled/occupied territory.

Big problem is, I mean BIG problem, 3I starports are usually Imperial territory either or both high and down ports. Attacking a world and shooting at a starport are two things. If you attack the starport, you better have meant you declared war on the Imperium (or Consulate or Hierate). I'm sure most aggressive action not directed specifically at the Empire must respect the extra-territoriality of starports and those ports remain neutral during conflicts. This is one reason Travellers can go to worlds with high government and law level types or worlds in any turmoil.

By that nature, the vast majority of starports don't need special defenses beyond normal commercial patrol functions and regular military maneuvers. They should not be starfortresses.
Linwood
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Re: Starport defences

Postby Linwood » Sat Oct 07, 2017 2:49 am

I agree w/ Reynard for the most part. I could picture exceptions in systems outside the Imperium where raids by rogue ships or small pirate bands might be an ongoing risk. Level of defense would depend on the threat and available budget. It might make more financial sense to bargain w/ a pirate squadron rather than fight.

Which might be a great adventure seed....
GarethL
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Re: Starport defences

Postby GarethL » Sat Oct 07, 2017 9:42 am

Linwood wrote:
Sat Oct 07, 2017 2:49 am
I agree w/ Reynard for the most part. I could picture exceptions in systems outside the Imperium where raids by rogue ships or small pirate bands might be an ongoing risk. Level of defense would depend on the threat and available budget. It might make more financial sense to bargain w/ a pirate squadron rather than fight.

Which might be a great adventure seed....
Drinax is full of potential for this, as captive governments aside, numerous systems are supposed to have signed up with GeDeCo, and you can easily imagine GeDeCo supplying spaceport defences along with maintenance contracts and training courses for system operators...
Pyromancer
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Re: Starport defences

Postby Pyromancer » Sat Oct 07, 2017 6:02 pm

Reynard wrote:
Fri Oct 06, 2017 7:49 pm
Thing that bothers me, everyone seems to think the universe is in pre-war status and every system is a potential target similar to how many Americans feel they need arsenals to defend their homes from imminent invasion. How many nations around the world have their seaports defended with gun emplacements, aerial flyovers and regular warship patrols? They don't even when at war with any other nation. There will be routine coastal patrolling and warships make stopovers but no one is anchored with guns pointing at the horizon... just in case. Can you imagine the military budgets to give even lip service to all those ports?
On earth, you don't have to park your warships in front of the harbor, because a naval attack by a foreign nation has an advance warning time of weeks. That's time enough to move your own warships into position, and planes with anti-ship missiles are always only hours away, in the worst case.

The situation in the 3I is quite different. But even there, when someone says "starport defence", I think "system defence".
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Re: Starport defences

Postby Condottiere » Sun Oct 08, 2017 9:46 am

Even when you rule the waves, having harbour defences, and bringing up railway guns isn`t a bad idea.
phavoc
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Re: Starport defences

Postby phavoc » Sun Oct 08, 2017 4:21 pm

Condottiere wrote:
Sun Oct 08, 2017 9:46 am
Even when you rule the waves, having harbour defences, and bringing up railway guns isn`t a bad idea.
It's an idea that ended in 1945. Coastal artillery were removed nearly everywhere by 1950. Aircraft became the newer hazard so some nations built rings of anti-aircraft missile sites around important industrial and population centers. The first line of defense was your interceptors, and the missiles your last line. Today you see it in Europe still (with the threat of the Ruskies), and vice versa. And Israel has them, as do those nations opposed to it. The trend now is to deploy ABM defenses, as they have taken over as the primary threat.

But like it was mentioned up-thread, system defense (i.e. intercepting them in space) is your first line of defense. Ground-based defenses are a bad idea if you expect them to be your primary defense. At best they keep raiders and an enemy honest until they are eliminated. A few batteries of lasers and missiles means you aren't a push-over, but any large-scale military strike would not see them as a threat.
baithammer
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Re: Starport defences

Postby baithammer » Mon Oct 09, 2017 1:38 am

Considering you can grab an asteroid of varying size and accelerated it toward your target, it pays to have defenses that can deal with that at longer than orbital range.
phavoc
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Re: Starport defences

Postby phavoc » Mon Oct 09, 2017 3:22 am

Why does everyone assume that people are going to slinging asteroids at planets? It's a zero sum game. Every star nation in the sector is going to hunt you down and kill you. No entity will give you quarter because they will suffer the same fate - death.
baithammer
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Re: Starport defences

Postby baithammer » Mon Oct 09, 2017 3:48 am

If your at the point where a ground campaign is occurring the odds of using an asteroid increase significantly. ( Make sure not to hit civilian centers.)

It can also end the conflict faster and get the planet back into the trade scene which the Imps are really touchy about.
Linwood
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Re: Starport defences

Postby Linwood » Mon Oct 09, 2017 10:15 am

Asteroid bombardment might be more powerful as a threat than in use. If the attacker wants the system for economic gain the devastation from prolonged asteroid bombardment might render the world an economic liability rather than an asset. Asteroid attacks are likely to be indiscriminate rather than precisely targeted strikes given that asteroids themselves are irregular and may not be homogeneous. Which could be an advantage if the goal was terror rather than conquest.

They may also be inconvenient. Not all systems have planetoid belts, so you’d either have to b bring your own or go out to a Kuiper belt. Although one could simply crash a derelict starship instead....

Has anyone run the numbers on this? How large would an asteroid need to be to do significant damage to a ground target? (Dependent on atmosphere of course.) How much thrust/time would be required to shift one out of the local belt and toward the target world? And in defense would it make more sense to re-direct the incoming asteroid or destroy it?
baithammer
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Re: Starport defences

Postby baithammer » Mon Oct 09, 2017 11:02 am

Considering pretty much any habitable system will have debris fields and the intent is a singular strike as opposed to a bombardment ( Have your engineers size the projectile with the intended scale of the target.) , also the objective is removing the ground side defensive bulwark not rendering the entire surface uninhabitable.
phavoc
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Re: Starport defences

Postby phavoc » Mon Oct 09, 2017 12:15 pm

baithammer wrote:
Mon Oct 09, 2017 3:48 am
If your at the point where a ground campaign is occurring the odds of using an asteroid increase significantly. ( Make sure not to hit civilian centers.)

It can also end the conflict faster and get the planet back into the trade scene which the Imps are really touchy about.
No, not at all. If you want pinpoint accuracy orbital bombardment you can do that. Any asteroid attack on a planet would (a) not be terribly accurate because asteroids can break up and do things you cannot predict, (b) but more importantly if you, as an attacker, normalize orbital strikes using asteroids, then you open yourself up to them as well.

Aaannnddd, there's the little problem that asteroid bombardment violates the Imperial Rules of War. Any use of them will trigger Imperial intervention and your planet just lost.

MAD doctrine worked here on Earth in the 50s and continues to work. I don't see that changing in the far future.
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Re: Starport defences

Postby Reynard » Mon Oct 09, 2017 12:34 pm

I have a feeling asteroid bombardments are never heard of (except in these threads) because they're considered worst than a nuke attack. The mechanics and logistics needed to accurately push a big rock somehow under the noses of a system's defenses should be fantasy. If the system has any decent sensor operations they WILL know it's coming. You're also not making easy course corrections with something that huge towed from a distant belt so it won't be pinpointed on a small area. If the system is not that sophisticated why the hell do you need to drop a rock?!

Asteroid attacks are scorched earth operations with the great potential to be devastating beyond any 'reasonable' plan. It would be an extremely expensive terror weapon and as such everybody would treat the offenders as the worst enemy and no holds barred.

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