What tools exist at TL 15 to perform this contemporary hostage rescue mission?

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Moppy
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What tools exist at TL 15 to perform this contemporary hostage rescue mission?

Postby Moppy » Sun Dec 02, 2018 12:08 pm

My traveller knowledge is classic (black books) and I'm not 100% familiar with the differences in mongoose so apologies.

You're TL 15.

There are some people that you want rescued (alive) and they're captured by some TL 8 guys (assume present-day Earth so we know their abilities).

Your people are in an underground bunker some hundreds of meters "below" the surface, and assume this is a secure facility designed by a defense contractor. To reduce ambiguity in the question, it's similar to the US military base inside Cheyenne Mountain which Wikipedia says has 600 meters/2000 feet of rock around it.

Let's assume that the prisoners are guarded, but won't be instantly murdered as soon as anything weird happens. Maybe the captors figure they will be nuked from orbit now that there's nothing to save, or maybe they assign some value to the prisoners that they don't want to lose and won't do it until they are sure they can't win?

The space president has said you can't "nuke the primitives from orbit until they agree to your demands".

While the diplomats are trying to negotiate this, you have to plan a military action so it's ready to go if needed.

What are the TL 15 military solutions to this?

No psionics.

I'm assuming you can't jump a ship into the base?

How long does it take for a space combat laser to laze through rock, and do you need to prop up the tunnel after it?

What do imperial civil engineering (tunnelling) lasers look like?

What do imperial tunnelling vehicles look like? Do they have military ones?

Do they have a "make humans go unconscious field" that can penetrate 600 meters of rock? Am I right that no "radio" signal can FTL, which means they have no FTL radio/CPU, etc, that could jump a signal into the base?

Can robots do this job?

How accurately can you aim a meson weapon into the mountain?

Many other questions that will no doubt turn up as this progresses.
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Re: What tools exist at TL 15 to perform this contemporary hostage rescue mission?

Postby Linwood » Sun Dec 02, 2018 12:28 pm

No teleportation technology. And you can’t jump into a planet. Well, you could - but you’d only be able to do it once and no one in the immediate vicinity (including you) will survive.

Your best bet is a soft approach. TL 15 gives you an enormous advantage in information technology. Combine that with highly advanced sensors and you’d have a good chance of identifying weaknesses vulnerable to an infiltration attack. You could mine the world’s own networks for detailed information on the bad guys which could be used to identify psychological weaknesses to exploit.

And hey, you could always hack the base’s electronic systems. The classic solution!
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Re: What tools exist at TL 15 to perform this contemporary hostage rescue mission?

Postby Reynard » Sun Dec 02, 2018 1:07 pm

Traveller has no magic beyond psionics and even psionic in this case is extremely disadvantaged. Either go diplomatic (HORRORS!!!) or start nuking major cities from orbit one at a time until the hostages are free. If this is a Kobayashi Maru scenario then pray Kirk is on your crew to change the parameters to win.
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Re: What tools exist at TL 15 to perform this contemporary hostage rescue mission?

Postby AnotherDilbert » Sun Dec 02, 2018 2:33 pm

Moppy wrote: I'm assuming you can't jump a ship into the base?
No.

Moppy wrote: How long does it take for a space combat laser to laze through rock, and do you need to prop up the tunnel after it?
I guess it would take a while. You would need to prop up the shaft of the material is soft, but perhaps not if you drill through solid hard rock.

Moppy wrote: What do imperial civil engineering (tunnelling) lasers look like?

What do imperial tunnelling vehicles look like? Do they have military ones?
No idea?

Moppy wrote: Do they have a "make humans go unconscious field" that can penetrate 600 meters of rock?
No.

Moppy wrote: Am I right that no "radio" signal can FTL, which means they have no FTL radio/CPU, etc, that could jump a signal into the base?
No FTL comms.

Moppy wrote: Can robots do this job?
Yes, TL15 robots can do anything humans can.

Imperial doctrine would not be to use robots alone, but I guess you are not running an Imperial campaign?

Moppy wrote: How accurately can you aim a meson weapon into the mountain?
Accurate enough, and you could easily map the facility with deep scanner or gravity sensors. But the meson explosion would go off like a nuke and likely destroy the entire facility.



How about going in with marines in battledress supported by hackers to disable computerised defences? Battle dress should be nearly immune to local small arms, and TL15 breaching charges should handle even massive low TL vault doors.
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Re: What tools exist at TL 15 to perform this contemporary hostage rescue mission?

Postby Reynard » Sun Dec 02, 2018 3:08 pm

If those low tech vault doors are meant to stop nearby nuclear blasts and still be functional I doubt breaching charges or pocket nukes even at TL 15 are going to scorch much paint before a battalion arrives.
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Re: What tools exist at TL 15 to perform this contemporary hostage rescue mission?

Postby AnotherDilbert » Sun Dec 02, 2018 3:19 pm

The vault doors are still only a metre of steel. A plasma gun would cut it like butter...
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Re: What tools exist at TL 15 to perform this contemporary hostage rescue mission?

Postby Moppy » Sun Dec 02, 2018 4:25 pm

AnotherDilbert wrote:
Sun Dec 02, 2018 2:33 pm
Yes, TL15 robots can do anything humans can. Imperial doctrine would not be to use robots alone, but I guess you are not running an Imperial campaign?
I was thinking whether they had specialised ones, like something that can do soldier jobs after being fired through solid rock?

Given that humans can't survive more than a few G of deceleration, they must probably be able to build something that can go from space to ground at ludicrous speed then float around shooting things. (Or go through a spacecraft hull and attack the crew).

(It'll probably be a person if it really can do everything human can do. I guess this whole "robots are people, or you get a robot revolution" thing is why the imperium doesn't use much robotics?)
Reynard wrote:
Sun Dec 02, 2018 3:08 pm
If those low tech vault doors are meant to stop nearby nuclear blasts and still be functional I doubt breaching charges or pocket nukes even at TL 15 are going to scorch much paint before a battalion arrives.
In the case of Cheyenne, I think the door is in a tunnel, so the mountain itself shields it from the direct effect of the blast. The doors are said to be steel, and from photos they look like they're about a meter thick. Maybe they need multiple charges due to thickness, but whatever they use ought to penetrate. I personally think a fusion gun would just go right through.
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Re: What tools exist at TL 15 to perform this contemporary hostage rescue mission?

Postby AnotherDilbert » Sun Dec 02, 2018 4:52 pm

Moppy wrote: I was thinking whether they had specialised ones, like something that can do soldier jobs after being fired through solid rock?
Not that I know of. Robots or small vehicles are not that robust.

They could deorbit if designed to do that, but it would be slow. Typically they would be delivered by small craft.

Moppy wrote: (It'll probably be a person if it really can do everything human can do. I guess this whole "robots are people, or you get a robot revolution" thing is why the imperium doesn't use much robotics?)
The Imperium is solidly in the 'Robots are machinery, property' camp as far as I know. They do not like property that talk, or shoot, back.

Moppy wrote: In the case of Cheyenne, I think the door is in a tunnel, so the mountain itself shields it from the direct effect of the blast. The doors are said to be steel, and from photos they look like they're about a meter thick.
The doors are obviously not designed to withstand direct hits, but protect from peripheral blast.

By CT Striker a FGMP can penetrate about 0.5 m of hard steel. Some kind of support weapon is called for. A 2DD MgT2 FGMP shouldn't have a problem penetrating.
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Re: What tools exist at TL 15 to perform this contemporary hostage rescue mission?

Postby Moppy » Sun Dec 02, 2018 5:03 pm

AnotherDilbert wrote:
Sun Dec 02, 2018 4:52 pm
Moppy wrote: In the case of Cheyenne, I think the door is in a tunnel, so the mountain itself shields it from the direct effect of the blast. The doors are said to be steel, and from photos they look like they're about a meter thick.
The doors are obviously not designed to withstand direct hits, but protect from peripheral blast.

By CT Striker a FGMP can penetrate about 0.5 m of hard steel. Some kind of support weapon is called for. A 2DD MgT2 FGMP shouldn't have a problem penetrating.
That does surprise me. It's less than some modern RPGs but this highly depends on what the "equivalent" in "RHA equivalent" means.
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Re: What tools exist at TL 15 to perform this contemporary hostage rescue mission?

Postby AnotherDilbert » Sun Dec 02, 2018 5:35 pm

Moppy wrote:
Sun Dec 02, 2018 5:03 pm
That does surprise me. It's less than some modern RPGs but this highly depends on what the "equivalent" in "RHA equivalent" means.
If we only look at MgT2 a FGMP does 2DD damage (basically the same as a ship's laser), that is enough to penetrate all but the heaviest hitech MBT armour occasionally so shouldn't have much trouble with some low-tech common steel.


A battledress with a triple Integrated Weapon Mount of FGMP doing, i believe, (2D+4)×10 damage would be able to penetrate the best MBT or battleship armour available at TL15. A steel door would barely register...
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Re: What tools exist at TL 15 to perform this contemporary hostage rescue mission?

Postby Galadrion » Sun Dec 02, 2018 10:32 pm

Let's see, what would I use to put together a rescue operation...

Battle dress probably isn't on the cards for the initial rescue scenario - it's a trifle unsubtle. Since the rescuers are working with TL15 equipment and the opposition has TL8, the hostages' best chances would appear to rest with a surprise, stealth operation. Highly stealthed assault shuttles for the approach, probably armed with something incredibly nasty and well beyond local means, but intended only as a backup at this stage - if the transports have to use weapons at this stage, the op is blown. A hacker subteam for information reconnaissance, security countermeasures, and counterintelligence (gotta love being able to edit any potential stealth goofs out of the opposition's surveillance feeds, as well as popping any electronically controlled locks), and a commando team kitted out with chameleon suits (antiballistic but not battle-dress grade), top-security coms & tactical electronics suites, probably gauss weaponry with multiple ammunition types (standard for stealth actions, HE/HEAP for when stealth is blown and the extraction team has come up against something armored, maybe something a bit more specialized if there are known special conditions). The idea is to be inside any defensive measures before the opposition is even aware the rescuers are present, and that isn't the strength of an assault approach.

Once the stealth approach has failed is the time for battle dress and heavy weapons. Just be aware that, by this point, the rescue mission is almost certainly hopelessly blown - unless there is something extremely unusual going on, the hostages are either dead or removed from the operations theater, and the objective has shifted to the elimination and/or neutralization of the opposition forces. At this point, you can declare "HANG the subtlety!" and bring in whatever heavy gear you want and can justify - battle dress, FGMPs, grav tanks... all the spectacular military might a high-tech force can bring to bear. Should be a short, if not particularly quite, fight.

Something to be considered before planning the op: are the opposition aware of just how much of a tech disparity they are facing, and do they have any way of appreciating - before they encounter them - what sort of capabilities that tech advantage gives the rescuers? If so, while the lower-tech group may not be able to match the capabilities they face, they can plan to counter them somewhat. For example, if they are aware of the electronic imbalance of power, internal security is probably going to de-emphasize electronic means, or at least increase security by, for example, shifting to hardline-only access. Given an awareness of the abilities of a seven-level tech difference, the defenders will probably mount a visual watch in addition to the default radar - chameleon tech might not allow that to help a great deal, but it's something to consider. Other considerations will no doubt occur to any suitably nasty-minded game master....
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Re: What tools exist at TL 15 to perform this contemporary hostage rescue mission?

Postby AnotherDilbert » Mon Dec 03, 2018 12:03 am

I mostly agree, but...

Firing hyper-velocity gauss weapons in atmosphere is hardly quiet or subtle.

Getting through a metre thick steel vault door is hardly quiet or subtle.

I would guess the whole quiet and subtle thing is over once you reach the bunker, after than you have to rely more on shock and awe.
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Re: What tools exist at TL 15 to perform this contemporary hostage rescue mission?

Postby Linwood » Mon Dec 03, 2018 12:30 am

If TL 15runs to nanites you could unleash a swarm and let them quietly nibble a tunnel through a wall. Assuming you have the time - i’m thinking hours to days.
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Re: What tools exist at TL 15 to perform this contemporary hostage rescue mission?

Postby Reynard » Mon Dec 03, 2018 2:59 am

Looking over the options, I'd say why did a backward, low tech planet even consider taking hostages? If they had to take them to a super fortress, they knew what they were possibly facing.

You don't need an assault. Have the negotiator let the ship in orbit come in low and demonstrate what a Fusion Barbette can do preferably to a nearby tank and the ground around it and incinerate a bit of forest to show what happens to unarmored objects. If that's not enough, have your G/carrier come down with it's Fusion-X to show there's little defense a battalion of the planet's best combine arms can muster to defend that base before it carves a hole in that useless door. Finally unload the G/carriers squad compliment in battledress and FGMP 15s to lay a little wasted reminding that's how much of an obstacle security in the base will be while they will be incinerated.

Then give the hostage takers a counter ultimatum.

Of course something could change this.
"They were undone, destroyed,
after all of man's weapons and devices had failed,
by the tiniest creatures that God in his wisdom put upon this Earth.
By the toll of a billion deaths, man had earned his immunity,
his right to survive among this planet's infinite organisms."
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Re: What tools exist at TL 15 to perform this contemporary hostage rescue mission?

Postby Galadrion » Mon Dec 03, 2018 3:33 am

Gauss weapons aren't going to be significantly worse than conventional firearms, really, and per canon the power on them can be stepped down to subsonic, rendering them at least as stealthed as silenced, flash-suppressed conventional weapons. (You're not planning on sending your rescue team in unarmed, are you? Watch out for grenades in your bedroll, if you are...)

As far as dealing with doors and such, I was thinking that would be a job for the hackers and other specialists on the team - how you approach matters is going to depend on how the defenders have set things up, really. Perhaps a high-tech knockout cocktail dropped into the ventilation intakes, one designed to get past local filtration methods? Maybe even use those ventilation conduits as an infiltration route, assuming they're large enough - seven tech levels' worth of difference may well be able to overcome local monitoring ability, and the defenders are hardly likely to have stationed watcher actually within those ducts.

Shock and awe tactics should be reserved, ideally, until the rescuers are in a position to intervene in any attempt at executing the hostages; otherwise, there is just too much risk that the defenders will do just that. Truly ideally, such tactics should not be involved in this sort of mission at all, as it's really not difficult to set up some form of execution method on a dead-man's trigger, and a S&A approach is too likely to be set off, or even be accidentally triggered by either side.

Personally, I agree with the "negotiator/demonstration of overwhelming firepower" approach, but it could be risky, and depending on the opposition mindset, might be counterproductive. How expendable are your hostages? If the defenders think you're under a "rescue them alive at all costs" restriction (whether you are or not), they may well set up multiple dead-man's switches on execution methods, making it even more difficult to carry out a successful rescue. Remember, the game master knows (infallibly) what all the problem parameters are; the opposition may well not - the key factor of most conflicts throughout history is the lack of perfect information on one side or another of a dispute. That uncertainty is what makes this an adventure, rather than a recipe.
You don't need an assault.
That depends on the restrictions which have been handed to the rescue team - they aren't necessarily the primary decision-makers, depending on the set-up. If they're the operations personnel of a military operation, it's rather likely that someone considerably senior to the team has come up with the orders and handed them down to be carried out - coming up with an argument to get that someone to change their mind may be somewhat less simple than carrying out the mission as ordered. (Or it may not. It's up to you how your group plays things out.) If they're a mercenary team of specialists, they may have a bit more leeway... or maybe not. ("Do it my way. If you don't, and our people get hurt or killed, there's not a hole deep enough or far enough away for you to get away...")
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Re: What tools exist at TL 15 to perform this contemporary hostage rescue mission?

Postby baithammer » Mon Dec 03, 2018 3:52 am

Take out the air filtration system and pump the facility with a aerosol version of the Fast drug.
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Re: What tools exist at TL 15 to perform this contemporary hostage rescue mission?

Postby Reynard » Mon Dec 03, 2018 11:27 am

This is a fortress base meant to be isolated from attack. If a team has access to the air systems, they are deep inside the base and might as well make a left and demand the base personnel surrender.
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Re: What tools exist at TL 15 to perform this contemporary hostage rescue mission?

Postby AnotherDilbert » Mon Dec 03, 2018 12:52 pm

I will agree that my proposed solution, a frontal assault on a prepared fortified position, is the worst possible solution, but it was the only one I could think of.

The original parameters are:
Moppy wrote: While the diplomats are trying to negotiate this, you have to plan a military action so it's ready to go if needed.

What are the TL 15 military solutions to this?

The space president has said you can't "nuke the primitives from orbit until they agree to your demands".
So negotiations are underway, but that is someone else's problem. We are drawing up the military contingency plan.

Our orders preclude bombing the natives back to the stone age.


We need to get to the hostages inside a fortress inside a mountain, presumably with only two or three entrances.

We could probably go through the rock to make our own entrance, but anything that can quickly get through half a km of solid rock is likely to have unfortunate effects on the squishy meatbags inside.

A nuclear survival bunker is likely to have full NBC filtration on the air supply and internal power. On the other hand it does have to take in air somewhere and that might be a breach-able entrance, depending on whether this is a survival shelter or a fortress. There might also be a water supply, probably also protected?

If we can't go through the rock, and can't find a hidden entrance, we don't have much choice but to go in through the front door?
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Re: What tools exist at TL 15 to perform this contemporary hostage rescue mission?

Postby locarno24 » Mon Dec 03, 2018 1:36 pm

At TL15, you can smash your way in, but not fast enoughto save hostages with a gun to their head.

Stunners are basically line-of-sight handguns and vulnerable to the same defences as bullets (body armour, cover, etc).

Psionics could work, but as noted, (a) they're not allowed and (b) jumping 'down' 600m is likely fatal to the psion.

Your best plan is stealth & deception.

~ If this is a military base, it's probably got what is seen from a TL8 perspective as a secure computer and communications network. TL15 intrusion software makes TL8 security software lk bt s ffctv s f yd trd t ncrypt th mssg by dltng ll th vwls.
~ That means that with the EW & Intel sections of a major TL15 warship or embassy, the people inside this secure base trying to contact anyone outside this secure base see only and exactly what you want them to see, whether that's ''you giving in to their demands' or 'their mate Barry turning up with beer and pizza'. Exactly how you can use this is scenario-specific, but surely it's useful unless it's in total external lockdown and all potential decision makers and any information they may need to access are also inside.
~ IR and Vislight camo are options which can be added to armour, and comparatively non-destructive cutting tools can also be used to cut open access points (provided you can disable alarm and security systems). EMP grenades aren't useful on 'shielded' electronics but the definition of 'shielded' for TL8 probably means 'a nuke going off outside the 600m of solid rock protecting the base' not 'high TL EMP device going off 50cm away'.
Understand that I'm not advocating violence.
I'm just saying that it's highly effective and I strongly recommend using it.
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Re: What tools exist at TL 15 to perform this contemporary hostage rescue mission?

Postby phavoc » Mon Dec 03, 2018 2:28 pm

Moppy wrote:
Sun Dec 02, 2018 12:08 pm
I'm assuming you can't jump a ship into the base?
Nope, won't work. You can't jump into a gravity well.
Moppy wrote:
Sun Dec 02, 2018 12:08 pm
How long does it take for a space combat laser to laze through rock, and do you need to prop up the tunnel after it?
Lasers make lousy drilling. TL15 drilling would be more efficient (materials science makes better drills), but drilling still takes time. And you have to shore up the tunnel, but much depends on what you are digging. For temporary tunnels the requirements are much more minimal, if at all. If it was rock you'd need nothing. If it was soft earth you'd have to line the shaft or it would collapse. And you may need to worry about water, minor or otherwise.
Moppy wrote:
Sun Dec 02, 2018 12:08 pm
What do imperial civil engineering (tunnelling) lasers look like?
google boring machines. That's pretty much what they would look like. The ones they use for things like the Chunnel, just on a smaller scale. Or look at the one Musk was proposing to use for his Boring company.
Moppy wrote:
Sun Dec 02, 2018 12:08 pm
What do imperial tunnelling vehicles look like? Do they have military ones?
Doubt there are any military boring machines in existence. Even in the 52nd century.
Moppy wrote:
Sun Dec 02, 2018 12:08 pm
Do they have a "make humans go unconscious field" that can penetrate 600 meters of rock? Am I right that no "radio" signal can FTL, which means they have no FTL radio/CPU, etc, that could jump a signal into the base?
Maybe some sort of field that would confuse or disrupt neural connections, but I doubt there is anything like that, especially through 600m of rock. Otherwise it would be a weapon.
Moppy wrote:
Sun Dec 02, 2018 12:08 pm
Can robots do this job?
Tunneling? Sure. Rescue hostages? Umm, you might not want to, but possible.
Moppy wrote:
Sun Dec 02, 2018 12:08 pm
How accurately can you aim a meson weapon into the mountain?
They are area of effect weapons. No sniping allowed. But you COULD... but you'd be killing your hostages too.

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