Great White Fleets... in spaaaayyyccceeee!

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phavoc
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Great White Fleets... in spaaaayyyccceeee!

Postby phavoc » Wed Jan 09, 2019 2:39 pm

There is a discussion going on the Facebook Traveller RPG group about what the optimal capital ship size is, and in the comments it was tossed out about what size ship makes for a good showing of the flag. Which is a valid point since if you have a mighty 500,000dton warship vs the local 10k dton ship, the implied size makes a psychological impression. The 'wow' factor if you will.

However, that's the surface part of things. Naval strategists, or the professionals, will understand at the military level how fleets work and how ships fight and whether or not that really big ship is just a really big target or a really big threat. Of course that's when the particular racial/governmental/sophontal prejudices can get involved. K'Kree think in big terms because they are big to begin with and that's their racial mentality. They might realize that big ships are just bigger targets, but they may also gloss over that concept because of their prejudices. It's not like history isn't replete with examples of this.

So the discussion question here is how do you think a navy should make a 52nd century equivalent to the Great White Fleet dispatched by Roosevelt to tour the world in the the early 1900s? For those who don't know what this is, here is the Wiki link (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_White_Fleet). Do you think that navies would build the massive dreadnoughts to show the peacetime flag and awe potential enemies into submission? Do you think that they would rather deploy instead (with or without escorts) ships that potential enemies would fight in wartime? Is it reasonable to assume that the assumption is your (potential) enemies know how naval warfare works and would see through bluster?
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Re: Great White Fleets... in spaaaayyyccceeee!

Postby Condottiere » Wed Jan 09, 2019 3:35 pm

Always has to be seen in the context of, let's say, that particular time period.

Roosevelt was a big fan of the Mahan and his theory of big battle fleets, as well as an imperialist. The American were also starting to eye the Japanese as their major competitor in the Pacific, and they were reconciling with the major power in the Atlantic, the British, who were getting really cosy with the Japanese.

It gave the United States Navy an appreciation of out of theatre operations, so ignited the need for a fleet baggage train since I think they had to rely on a great deal of assistance from the British to pull it off, and the United States Marine Corps started thinking of amphibious operations (or was that in the Twenties?).

If there's some risk involved, what kind of reward are you looking for? We know why the NorKies are building atomic bombs, because it gets them attention and ransom, since no one thinks it's worth the cost and risk to take them out, yet.

The right size of warship is always dependent on the min maxing of capabilities and costs, given the current combat ruleset.

My take on the Confederation Navy says that once they've gotten hold of the Prometheus class, they've discovered the almost perfect instrument of war for the line of battle, with my theory that they always had that design in mind, and just waited for the technology to catch up with their aspirations, despite it obviously costing more than the default battleship.

They've since balanced it with a similarly sized but a lot cheaper Uranus class battleship, which will be built more modularly.

The Imperium can afford to build smaller or at whatever is accepted as the default, because they have a technological edge; canon says that's two hundred kay tonnes. The Prometheus and Planet classes will fall between a quarter of a million tonnes and three hundred kay, depending on whether I decide it's worth tinkering with the jump drives.

We lnow that the Confederation decided to forego mostly cruiser construction, meaning that if they plan to show the flag they'll use existing legacy cruisers, whatever remains of their battlecruisers, or something cobbled up from the lower end. Or whatever I decide is the Constitution class.

I assume that whatever is in the new Element Cruiser supplement is about what the Imperium is inclined to use.

Generally speaking, what the Americans did at the beginning of the last century, and what Russians tried and the Chinese are doing now is building up their numbers, and gaining operational experience. The Chinese have tales of huge fleets projecting power far from their shores during the early Ming dynasty, which they may have given up as an unsustainable expense, and threats closer to home.

In the end, it becomes a question of risk management and power projection, with available resources and perceived threats.
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Re: Great White Fleets... in spaaaayyyccceeee!

Postby ShawnDriscoll » Wed Jan 09, 2019 5:47 pm

phavoc wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 2:39 pm
There is a discussion going on the Facebook Traveller RPG group about what the optimal capital ship size is, and in the comments it was tossed out about what size ship makes for a good showing of the flag. Which is a valid point since if you have a mighty 500,000dton warship vs the local 10k dton ship, the implied size makes a psychological impression. The 'wow' factor if you will.

However, that's the surface part of things. Naval strategists, or the professionals, will understand at the military level how fleets work and how ships fight and whether or not that really big ship is just a really big target or a really big threat. Of course that's when the particular racial/governmental/sophontal prejudices can get involved. K'Kree think in big terms because they are big to begin with and that's their racial mentality. They might realize that big ships are just bigger targets, but they may also gloss over that concept because of their prejudices. It's not like history isn't replete with examples of this.

So the discussion question here is how do you think a navy should make a 52nd century equivalent to the Great White Fleet dispatched by Roosevelt to tour the world in the the early 1900s? For those who don't know what this is, here is the Wiki link (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_White_Fleet). Do you think that navies would build the massive dreadnoughts to show the peacetime flag and awe potential enemies into submission? Do you think that they would rather deploy instead (with or without escorts) ships that potential enemies would fight in wartime? Is it reasonable to assume that the assumption is your (potential) enemies know how naval warfare works and would see through bluster?
Just depends on the world's race/culture, and how it is role-played.
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Re: Great White Fleets... in spaaaayyyccceeee!

Postby AndrewW » Wed Jan 09, 2019 6:01 pm

phavoc wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 2:39 pm
There is a discussion going on the Facebook Traveller RPG group about what the optimal capital ship size is, and in the comments it was tossed out about what size ship makes for a good showing of the flag. Which is a valid point since if you have a mighty 500,000dton warship vs the local 10k dton ship, the implied size makes a psychological impression. The 'wow' factor if you will.
The upcoming Naval Adventure 2 is a Showing the Sunburst mission.
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Re: Great White Fleets... in spaaaayyyccceeee!

Postby Sigtrygg » Wed Jan 09, 2019 6:05 pm

In the 57th century an Imperial BatRon of Tigresses will certainly strike fear in its neighbours, but there is a reason the Imperium holds its rider BatRons in reserve to annihilate the opposition.
ShawnDriscoll
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Re: Great White Fleets... in spaaaayyyccceeee!

Postby ShawnDriscoll » Wed Jan 09, 2019 6:20 pm

Sigtrygg wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 6:05 pm
In the 57th century an Imperial BatRon of Tigresses will certainly strike fear in its neighbours, but there is a reason the Imperium holds its rider BatRons in reserve to annihilate the opposition.
Three of those in orbit will die-back a world, as written in a certain novel.
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Re: Great White Fleets... in spaaaayyyccceeee!

Postby AnotherDilbert » Wed Jan 09, 2019 6:26 pm

It's not size that is impressive, it's concentrated combat power that is impressive.

A few small, out-dated (pre-dreadnought) battleships wasn't all that impressive, but the numbers and ability to deploy them on the other side of the globe was impressive (to anyone but the Royal Navy).

Today a tour of 16 battleships, however big, would be a display of folly and waste...


In Traveller a reasonable size of warships is given by the design and combat systems, and hence has changed with each edition. E.g. in CT there was no good reason to build larger than 20 kDt, and in MgT there was no good reason to build larger than 40 Dt fighters (I believe).

In MgT2 there is not much reason to build much larger than 100 kDt or so to get the maximum hull point rate.

If you show up with a BatRon of Tigresses, people will not be impressed, but rather snigger and talk about overcompensation...
Condottiere
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Re: Great White Fleets... in spaaaayyyccceeee!

Postby Condottiere » Wed Jan 09, 2019 6:43 pm

That they've got big balls showing up here.

Oh yeah, I believe three Star Destroyers are supposed to be able to tarmac a world.
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Re: Great White Fleets... in spaaaayyyccceeee!

Postby Reynard » Wed Jan 09, 2019 9:58 pm

Wasn't the Azhanti the show off ship for some time? It displays a diversity of offensive firepower in a small package saying "You think this impressive? Don't make us call the bigger guys.". Most systems aren't being intimidated but inspired with Your Navy is there for You. Full battleships and dreadnoughts should be too busy prowling borders not prancing around.
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Re: Great White Fleets... in spaaaayyyccceeee!

Postby AnotherDilbert » Wed Jan 09, 2019 11:12 pm

Reynard wrote: Wasn't the Azhanti the show off ship for some time? It displays a diversity of offensive firepower in a small package saying "You think this impressive?
I fail to see anything impressive about the AHL, it's near complete lack of defences makes it not a combat unit, but a scouting unit (just like the light fighters it carries). It didn't even have a decent computer.
Condottiere
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Re: Great White Fleets... in spaaaayyyccceeee!

Postby Condottiere » Thu Jan 10, 2019 12:51 pm

The Azhanti was the largest ship with it's own set of complete deckplans, as well as a series of rather nifty backstories and adventure hooks.

For a flag waving function and rapid response, not a bad option, but against a prepared opposition, rather fragile. I suspect the computer aspect will get retconned.
phavoc
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Re: Great White Fleets... in spaaaayyyccceeee!

Postby phavoc » Thu Jan 10, 2019 7:50 pm

The early warships were, well, built using some interesting standards. Then again the standards were pretty damned irregular. Battleships with almost no armor, carriers with spinal mounts just to name a few things.
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Re: Great White Fleets... in spaaaayyyccceeee!

Postby Moppy » Sun Jan 27, 2019 8:33 pm

phavoc wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 2:39 pm
There is a discussion going on the Facebook Traveller RPG group about what the optimal capital ship size is, and in the comments it was tossed out about what size ship makes for a good showing of the flag. So the discussion question here is how do you think a navy should make a 52nd century equivalent to the Great White Fleet dispatched by Roosevelt to tour the world in the the early 1900s?
That's one way of thinking about it.

The British used "gunboat diplomacy" but took that literally, often sending just one gunboat. If it did the job, fine. If it didn't return home successful, the entire navy would go out and whack whoever sunk it, and the next people who saw a gunboat flying the White Ensign would consider their actions very carefully. They ended up ruling 1/2 the world.
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Re: Great White Fleets... in spaaaayyyccceeee!

Postby phavoc » Sun Jan 27, 2019 9:32 pm

Moppy wrote:
Sun Jan 27, 2019 8:33 pm
phavoc wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 2:39 pm
There is a discussion going on the Facebook Traveller RPG group about what the optimal capital ship size is, and in the comments it was tossed out about what size ship makes for a good showing of the flag. So the discussion question here is how do you think a navy should make a 52nd century equivalent to the Great White Fleet dispatched by Roosevelt to tour the world in the the early 1900s?
That's one way of thinking about it.

The British used "gunboat diplomacy" but took that literally, often sending just one gunboat. If it did the job, fine. If it didn't return home successful, the entire navy would go out and whack whoever sunk it, and the next people who saw a gunboat flying the White Ensign would consider their actions very carefully. They ended up ruling 1/2 the world.
Well, they ended up ruling the world for more than that reason (the Royal Navy was a BIG reason, that's for sure). I don't disagree they used the threat of their navy, but like every powerful nation before and after them, they realized there was a limit to their capabilities - no nation has ever had the military might to conquer the world on it's own. Lay waste to it with modern tech - yes. Conquer it not so much.

Which is the same with the Imperium. It has it's limits as well. The Solomani war exhausted the Imperiums will to fight even though it was larger and more advanced than the Solomani, losses are losses, and the cost of the war was tremendous to both sides. Hence the cost-effectiveness of showing the flag vs firing a missile.
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Re: Great White Fleets... in spaaaayyyccceeee!

Postby Condottiere » Sun Jan 27, 2019 10:14 pm

Depends to who.

The Royal Navy followed the trade routes and protected the mercantile interests of the Empire. The fastest war in history is attributed to them.

The implication of gunboat diplomacy implies more a small monitor in riverine warfare.

Taking Terra was a trap, but possibly a classical dilemma of attacking the one thing guaranteed that would be defended at all costs, and then discovering it was a Pyrrhic victory, giving the Confederation time to recall the border fleets for a Kaiserschlacht.
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Re: Great White Fleets... in spaaaayyyccceeee!

Postby phavoc » Mon Jan 28, 2019 2:42 am

Condottiere wrote:
Sun Jan 27, 2019 10:14 pm
Depends to who.

The Royal Navy followed the trade routes and protected the mercantile interests of the Empire. The fastest war in history is attributed to them.

The implication of gunboat diplomacy implies more a small monitor in riverine warfare.

Taking Terra was a trap, but possibly a classical dilemma of attacking the one thing guaranteed that would be defended at all costs, and then discovering it was a Pyrrhic victory, giving the Confederation time to recall the border fleets for a Kaiserschlacht.
"Fastest war in history"? What do you mean by that?

Gunboat diplomacy is a concept implying there is more force where this minor force came from. Many empires have used this idea, and not just using naval vessels.

I would not agree with your statement that the Solomani with letting the Imperium take Terra being a trap. Terra was the soul of the Solomani sphere. Both sides were exhausted by the battle. Solomani didn't have more fleets they could throw at the Imperium to take back all the star systems they lost, let alone Terra. And it would allow BOTH sides to gain a breather and bring more fleets to bear. The Solomani need far more than time to reposition fleets to take on the Imperium.
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Re: Great White Fleets... in spaaaayyyccceeee!

Postby AnotherDilbert » Mon Jan 28, 2019 4:28 am

phavoc wrote: "Fastest war in history"? What do you mean by that?
Presumably this:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anglo-Zanzibar_War
"The Anglo-Zanzibar War was a military conflict fought between the United Kingdom and the Zanzibar Sultanate on 27 August 1896. The conflict lasted between 38 and 45 minutes, marking it as the shortest recorded war in history."

Gunboat diplomacy taken to its logical conclusion.
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Re: Great White Fleets... in spaaaayyyccceeee!

Postby Condottiere » Mon Jan 28, 2019 4:36 am

The Anglo-Zanzibar War was a military conflict fought between the United Kingdom and the Zanzibar Sultanate on 27 August 1896. The conflict lasted between 38 and 45 minutes, marking it as the shortest recorded war in history.[3] The immediate cause of the war was the death of the pro-British Sultan Hamad bin Thuwaini on 25 August 1896 and the subsequent succession of Sultan Khalid bin Barghash. The British authorities preferred Hamud bin Muhammed, who was more favourable to British interests, as sultan. In accordance with a treaty signed in 1886, a condition for accession to the sultanate was that the candidate obtain the permission of the British consul, and Khalid had not fulfilled this requirement. The British considered this a casus belli and sent an ultimatum to Khalid demanding that he order his forces to stand down and leave the palace. In response, Khalid called up his palace guard and barricaded himself inside the palace.
The ultimatum expired at 09:00 East Africa Time (EAT) on 27 August, by which time the British had gathered three cruisers, two gunboats, 150 marines and sailors, and 900 Zanzibaris in the harbour area. The Royal Navy contingent were under the command of Rear-Admiral Harry Rawson while their Zanzibaris were commanded by Brigadier-General Lloyd Mathews of the Zanzibar army (who was also the First Minister of Zanzibar). Around 2,800 Zanzibaris defended the palace; most were recruited from the civilian population, but they also included the sultan's palace guard and several hundred of his servants and slaves. The defenders had several artillery pieces and machine guns, which were set in front of the palace sighted at the British ships. A bombardment, opened at 09:02, set the palace on fire and disabled the defending artillery. A small naval action took place, with the British sinking the Zanzibari royal yacht HHS Glasgow and two smaller vessels, and some shots were fired ineffectually at the pro-British Zanzibari troops as they approached the palace. The flag at the palace was shot down and fire ceased at 09:40.
The sultan's forces sustained roughly 500 casualties, while only one British sailor was injured. Sultan Khalid received asylum in the German consulate before escaping to German East Africa (in the mainland part of present Tanzania). The British quickly placed Sultan Hamud in power at the head of a puppet government. The war marked the end of the Zanzibar Sultanate as a sovereign state and the start of a period of heavy British influence.


Pretty fast.


Kidashi falls with massive civilian casualties. Solomani commanders consolidate a Grand Fleet under Ivan Wolfe. Despite early victories the Grand Fleet are defeated but not destroyed at the Battle of Dingir. The Imperium captures Terra but suffers heavy losses. An armistice is signed ending the war.

The Imperium Navy should have pursued the remnants of the Grand Fleet, before Wolfe gets the chance to reorganize it and reinforce with the recalled border fleets.

As for the capture of Terra, imagine if the Japanese got lucky in Leyte Gulf, not that they won't lose a large part of their navy and still won't prevent the invasion of the Philippines, but rather that the Americans lost a large part of their supporting ships and amphibious forces.

Gunboat diplomacy relies on superior technology on a small weapons platform being able to defeat local military forces; of course, the best example is Perry sailing into Tokyo Bay, but I always saw it more a monitor motoring up the Yangtze or Congo rivers.
phavoc
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Re: Great White Fleets... in spaaaayyyccceeee!

Postby phavoc » Mon Jan 28, 2019 5:08 pm

Interesting. Certainly a fast war.

3 cruisers, 2 gunboats vs. the royal yacht and a couple of boats. The Brits don't fight fair!
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Re: Great White Fleets... in spaaaayyyccceeee!

Postby Moppy » Mon Jan 28, 2019 6:02 pm

phavoc wrote:
Mon Jan 28, 2019 5:08 pm
Interesting. Certainly a fast war.

3 cruisers, 2 gunboats vs. the royal yacht and a couple of boats. The Brits don't fight fair!
Can't trust Imperial-age Britain to do things properly. When they got really mad they kept the crusiers at home, and used 4 gunboats to beat China and steal Hong Kong island.

It's almost like their admirals had a stupid bidding game to use as few units as possible. A situation that continues to this day as they try to operate a carrier with no planes that's about to be locked out of the EU defense network s. :-)

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