High Guard - You only get one pass

Discuss the Traveller RPG and its many settings
Moppy
Lesser Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 684
Joined: Sun Oct 04, 2015 12:42 pm

High Guard - You only get one pass

Postby Moppy » Thu Jun 27, 2019 8:52 pm

Here we are minding our own business and the diabolical forces of the Evil Empire jump in. They're heading towards an innocent defenseless inner planet. We'd better intercept them. Comparing the vectors it looks like we'll one get one pass before we blow straight past them. Oops.

Traveller (Mongoose and basic High Guard, no idea about Mayday hex maps or whatever) space combat was not designed with this situation in mind. The mechanics imply that it's more akin to a dogfight, two lines abreast of each other, or perhaps a stern chase.

It does validate the spinal mount, and having missile armament, adding missiles each turn as you close until you get a huge salvo up (if you only get one pass, make it a good one), but what's actually happening or going on with the maneuvering? The stern chase to a jump point is probably the only situation that seems right.
Old School
Lesser Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 691
Joined: Mon Jul 16, 2018 1:41 pm
Location: Florida

Re: High Guard - You only get one pass

Postby Old School » Thu Jun 27, 2019 9:37 pm

The combat system is intentionally designed to be simple. M-Drive acceleration is turned into an absolute movement factor per turn. there's no system for considering three ships moving at different angles to each other, much less three dimensions. It's intended for relatively simple encounters, and works best if you consider the ships all to be points on a straight line.

There are other systems that use vector based movement that can handle more realistic complexities of multiple ship combat. But the combat system included with traveller does not. Substitute in a different system (there are threads related to different wargaming systems people have used in traveller campaigns) if the combat rules aren't your cup of tea.
AnotherDilbert
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 3722
Joined: Wed Dec 23, 2015 2:49 pm
Location: Sweden

Re: High Guard - You only get one pass

Postby AnotherDilbert » Fri Jun 28, 2019 12:02 am

You can use the 2D vector system from LBB2 with MgT as described in MgT1 HG, p83: Alternative Movement.


A major battle can take hours, so basically require the fleets to approx. match vectors.

Building up a large difference in speed, and hence sweeping past the enemy at speed and only get a short engagement window is rarely effective. The superior force will not have time to crush the inferior force, and the inferior force will pay dearly for the small losses they will inflict on the superior force.

Generally you will either decline engagement or basically match vectors to accept engagement, if you have any choice. Generally only the force with superior acceleration will have a choice.
phavoc
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 4716
Joined: Tue Nov 04, 2008 6:13 pm

Re: High Guard - You only get one pass

Postby phavoc » Fri Jun 28, 2019 3:13 am

There isn't a one tactic fits all engagements. Each engagement will depend on a variety of factors. And Traveller combat postulates one set of rules for movement while there is another for combat. It's always been that way.
Moppy
Lesser Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 684
Joined: Sun Oct 04, 2015 12:42 pm

Re: High Guard - You only get one pass

Postby Moppy » Fri Jun 28, 2019 11:58 am

AnotherDilbert wrote:
Fri Jun 28, 2019 12:02 am
You can use the 2D vector system from LBB2 with MgT as described in MgT1 HG, p83: Alternative Movement.

A major battle can take hours, so basically require the fleets to approx. match vectors.

Building up a large difference in speed, and hence sweeping past the enemy at speed and only get a short engagement window is rarely effective. The superior force will not have time to crush the inferior force, and the inferior force will pay dearly for the small losses they will inflict on the superior force.

Generally you will either decline engagement or basically match vectors to accept engagement, if you have any choice. Generally only the force with superior acceleration will have a choice.
I assume you're telling me that without the alternative movement system, both fleets will co-operate to generate matched velocities because that's the assumption of the core rules.

I disagree that this will happen. They want to drive-by our planet and drop their bombs on our factories. They don't really want to fight anything they don't have to. We don't want to let bombers near our planet. I can't see us co-operating. (A landing might be different, of course; they may want to stick around to make sure nothing happens to their marines).

As a general note on losses, in large scale battle like this, losses will be proportional to the square of the ratios between the combat strength. (300 ships vs 100 ships means the larger side loses X% of their total, and the smaller side loses 9X%; with X at 15% which is reasonable low estimate for "one round KO chance" for CT capital with spinals, you'd get 15/300 losses or 5% losses, vs 45/100 loses or 45% losses).
phavoc
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 4716
Joined: Tue Nov 04, 2008 6:13 pm

Re: High Guard - You only get one pass

Postby phavoc » Fri Jun 28, 2019 1:52 pm

Mathematical modeling is something that modern people have continually fallen back on to predict success in warfare. However there have been numerous engagements where luck, skill, and leadership have proven victory over the mathematical models. The Greek fleet defeating Xerxes fleet at Salamis, Nelson defeating the combined French/Spanish at Trafalgar, Nimitz defeating Yamamoto at Midway.

Dice rolls do their best to simulate these things, but reality is going to be quite different. The history books are littered with strategies that seemed good on paper but fell apart when they encountered an enemy who refuses to follow what is laid out in the books. The Isreali's have a good method of teaching commanders how to be more humble when it comes to planning battles (or so I read a few years back). Officers are required to come up with a plan for a battle, and they are given sufficient time to make the plan and documentation. Then they are told things have radically changed, the old plan is tossed out and they have to create a new one from scratch. They go through a few iterations of this until the point that the officer has to make up the plan on the fly.

Real battles are like that, and real enemies don't always do what you expect them to do.

Still, this is all a game, and modelling such reality is nigh impossible at the best of times.
Moppy
Lesser Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 684
Joined: Sun Oct 04, 2015 12:42 pm

Re: High Guard - You only get one pass

Postby Moppy » Fri Jun 28, 2019 2:54 pm

Alll models are wrong, but some models are useful.

The model I referenced is known to various armies as The Lanchester Square law. It's still taught in some form at military schools (the Salvo Combat Model is the modern missile navy's version).

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lanches ... Square_Law

Equations for aiming artillery are also just a model. Did the wind sudddenly change? Is this shell machined right?
AnotherDilbert
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 3722
Joined: Wed Dec 23, 2015 2:49 pm
Location: Sweden

Re: High Guard - You only get one pass

Postby AnotherDilbert » Fri Jun 28, 2019 4:03 pm

Moppy wrote: I assume you're telling me that without the alternative movement system, both fleets will co-operate to generate matched velocities because that's the assumption of the core rules.
Otherwise we can't have a stand-up battle.

Moppy wrote: I disagree that this will happen. They want to drive-by our planet and drop their bombs on our factories. They don't really want to fight anything they don't have to. We don't want to let bombers near our planet. I can't see us co-operating.
Apart from the Black War (Rebellion), terror-bombing of civilian targets does not seems to be part of Imperial warfare.

But nothing stops you from setting up tailored scenarios, such as a drive-by with only a few combat rounds.

Or just use a vector-based movement system.
Sigtrygg
Greater Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 1279
Joined: Sat Aug 12, 2006 9:23 am

Re: High Guard - You only get one pass

Postby Sigtrygg » Fri Jun 28, 2019 4:39 pm

Battles between fleets, squadrons, divisions or even individual ships will only occur by either:
mutual consent
or
one side is bottlenecked somehow - in defense of a planet or station for example

One pass engagements are very dangerous for both sides considering a can of ball bearings thrown out of an airlock travelling at 100km/s is going to spoil more than your paintwork.
So you vector towards a target at ridiculous v, you launch missiles and fire beams during the one turn you are within range (once you have passed your missile weapons are unlikely to have the fuel to cancel the launching ship's velocity and then vector towards the target). Your target meanwhile fires missiles, sand cannisters, washers and meson beams at you.

Original High Guard really does model the situation where two fleets close to just outside weapon range while matching vectors and then go at it.
phavoc
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 4716
Joined: Tue Nov 04, 2008 6:13 pm

Re: High Guard - You only get one pass

Postby phavoc » Fri Jun 28, 2019 5:01 pm

Moppy wrote:
Fri Jun 28, 2019 2:54 pm
Alll models are wrong, but some models are useful.

The model I referenced is known to various armies as The Lanchester Square law. It's still taught in some form at military schools (the Salvo Combat Model is the modern missile navy's version).

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lanches ... Square_Law

Equations for aiming artillery are also just a model. Did the wind sudddenly change? Is this shell machined right?
There are some rather large holes in Lanchester's laws. His linear equations (for factoring in ancient style fighting like phalanx vs phalanx) works at only the absolute simplest level - it does not include archers, chariots, cavalry, terrain, weather, leadership, etc. Yes, it's a model, but with severe limitations. His square law takes into account massed fire (to a degree), but not technology. And it's only attempting to model attrition. So somewhat useful in things like artillery bombardments, though as a former redleg (artillerist) I can tell you there are a host of things to blunt or remove the effects of shelling.

It's like the baseball movie Moneyball - which was about mathematically modeling a baseball team. It works, to an extent... and it doesn't. Much like the myriad of people who have tried - and failed - to model the stock market.

Gaming none of this can be modeled very well, and shouldn't as it really slows things down and, in my opinion, makes it far less fun. Understanding the underlying aspects (and limitations) of things helps shape theories. But the first thing to be remembered is that modeling things like this is not necessarily a good reflection on how it will go in reality - especially when it's people who are being modeled.
Moppy
Lesser Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 684
Joined: Sun Oct 04, 2015 12:42 pm

Re: High Guard - You only get one pass

Postby Moppy » Fri Jun 28, 2019 5:09 pm

AnotherDilbert wrote:
Fri Jun 28, 2019 4:03 pm
Moppy wrote: I assume you're telling me that without the alternative movement system, both fleets will co-operate to generate matched velocities because that's the assumption of the core rules.
Otherwise we can't have a stand-up battle.
Should we be having stand up battles? Apart from a meeting of patrols, one side usually has some objective beyond hosting death matches.
AnotherDilbert wrote:
Fri Jun 28, 2019 4:03 pm
Moppy wrote: I disagree that this will happen. They want to drive-by our planet and drop their bombs on our factories. They don't really want to fight anything they don't have to. We don't want to let bombers near our planet. I can't see us co-operating.
Apart from the Black War (Rebellion), terror-bombing of civilian targets does not seems to be part of Imperial warfare.
The naval installation and repair yard in orbit is certainly a military target.

I see no reason why a tank factory isn't a military target though that might be off-topic. But certainly there will be at least something on a planet or in orbit with soldiers in.

I like your idea of setting up an engagement with limited duration, say a few turns.
Moppy
Lesser Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 684
Joined: Sun Oct 04, 2015 12:42 pm

Re: High Guard - You only get one pass

Postby Moppy » Fri Jun 28, 2019 6:35 pm

Sigtrygg wrote:
Fri Jun 28, 2019 4:39 pm

One pass engagements are very dangerous for both sides considering a can of ball bearings thrown out of an airlock travelling at 100km/s is going to spoil more than your paintwork.
So you vector towards a target at ridiculous v, you launch missiles and fire beams during the one turn you are within range (once you have passed your missile weapons are unlikely to have the fuel to cancel the launching ship's velocity and then vector towards the target). Your target meanwhile fires missiles, sand cannisters, washers and meson beams at you.

Original High Guard really does model the situation where two fleets close to just outside weapon range while matching vectors and then go at it.
The acceleration doesn't need to be so long or high; momentum makes it hard to reverse direction of travel at any speed - equal time in opposite direction to stop.

Earth's 100D limit is 19 hours out at 1-G (including turnaround and deceleration). Earth to Jupiter is about 134 hours.

The 100 kms-1 used in the example is about 28 hours of constant acceleratation (no turn around) at 1-G. Slower than you'd be if you made the gas giant run.

This sort of implies that you can't chase down a refuelling free trader for fear of them jetting BBs that wreck any pirate ship chasing them, but I think you can under the game universe's assumptions, and I don't think they're going to co-operate by stopping to be attacked.

Please double check the calculations as I'm known for getting the wrong number of zeros.
AnotherDilbert
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 3722
Joined: Wed Dec 23, 2015 2:49 pm
Location: Sweden

Re: High Guard - You only get one pass

Postby AnotherDilbert » Fri Jun 28, 2019 6:39 pm

Moppy wrote: Should we be having stand up battles? Apart from a meeting of patrols, one side usually has some objective beyond hosting death matches.
Destroying the enemy fleet IS a primary objective. Only destroying the enemy fleet means you have won the war. When multi-sector imperiums like the Impies or the Zhos fight, occupying a few systems or even a few subsectors means very little.

Moppy wrote: The naval installation and repair yard in orbit is certainly a military target.

I see no reason why a tank factory isn't a military target though that might be off-topic. But certainly there will be at least something on a planet or in orbit with soldiers in.
Factories tend to be situated in cities. Once you throw a lot of explosives in built up areas, a lot of civilians tend to die.

Major space stations might very well be something like cities and contain civilian population.

Moppy wrote: I like your idea of setting up an engagement with limited duration, say a few turns.
Only the Referee's imagination limits potential scenarios. Terrain, surprise, and protection or destruction of civilian ships, all the prerogative of the Referee.
AnotherDilbert
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 3722
Joined: Wed Dec 23, 2015 2:49 pm
Location: Sweden

Re: High Guard - You only get one pass

Postby AnotherDilbert » Fri Jun 28, 2019 7:06 pm

Moppy wrote: Earth's 100D limit is 19 hours out at 1-G (including turnaround and deceleration).
Earth's 100D is about 1 275 000 km, or about 6 h @ 1 G (rest-to-rest).
Using the formula on p153, using SI units:
Time in seconds = 2 × √( 1275000000 m / 10 m/s² ) ≈ 22583 s ≈ 376 minutes ≈ 6 h.

Moppy wrote: Earth to Jupiter is about 134 hours.
Depending on time of year the distance is anything from 650 to 950 million km, or about 141 h to 171 h.
Moppy
Lesser Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 684
Joined: Sun Oct 04, 2015 12:42 pm

Re: High Guard - You only get one pass

Postby Moppy » Fri Jun 28, 2019 7:37 pm

AnotherDilbert wrote:
Fri Jun 28, 2019 6:39 pm
Moppy wrote: Should we be having stand up battles? Apart from a meeting of patrols, one side usually has some objective beyond hosting death matches.
Destroying the enemy fleet IS a primary objective. Only destroying the enemy fleet means you have won the war. When multi-sector imperiums like the Impies or the Zhos fight, occupying a few systems or even a few subsectors means very little.
I'd say the primary objective in a Traveller war is the territory or the throne. But we're doing battles in High Guard, not wars. Most military engagements in World War 2 were skirmishes with limited contact between forces. Often one side didn't want to be there because they had some other mission that was more important than fighting these guys here. Equal points deathmatch battle is very common in wargaming for a number of reasons like poor scenario design.
AnotherDilbert wrote:
Fri Jun 28, 2019 6:39 pm
Moppy wrote: The naval installation and repair yard in orbit is certainly a military target. I see no reason why a tank factory isn't a military target though that might be off-topic. But certainly there will be at least something on a planet or in orbit with soldiers in.
Factories tend to be situated in cities. Once you throw a lot of explosives in built up areas, a lot of civilians tend to die. Major space stations might very well be something like cities and contain civilian population.
Traveller likes to pretend civilian casualties don't happen and nothing ever does collateral damage. This is about as realistic as the jump drive.
Moppy
Lesser Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 684
Joined: Sun Oct 04, 2015 12:42 pm

Re: High Guard - You only get one pass

Postby Moppy » Fri Jun 28, 2019 7:42 pm

AnotherDilbert wrote:
Fri Jun 28, 2019 7:06 pm
Moppy wrote: Earth's 100D limit is 19 hours out at 1-G (including turnaround and deceleration).
Earth's 100D is about 1 275 000 km, or about 6 h @ 1 G (rest-to-rest).
Using the formula on p153, using SI units:
Time in seconds = 2 × √( 1275000000 m / 10 m/s² ) ≈ 22583 s ≈ 376 minutes ≈ 6 h.

Moppy wrote: Earth to Jupiter is about 134 hours.
Depending on time of year the distance is anything from 650 to 950 million km, or about 141 h to 171 h.
I had 12 million not 1.2 million. As I said, it's always the zeroes with me. They're such annoying things. Thanks for checking. I had Earth to Jupiter at 588m closest point (blame Google if wrong).

Anyway the times are still such that if we're going "too dangerously fast" to do fights from one-pass interceptions from the 100D point, we certainly can't chase someone to a gas giant, except that we expect in game that we can.

I didn't calculate 100D from Jupiter yet.
Condottiere
Chief Mongoose
Posts: 7211
Joined: Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:23 pm

Re: High Guard - You only get one pass

Postby Condottiere » Fri Jun 28, 2019 9:58 pm

We tend to reenact Jutland.

Weber postulates it's a matter of fire control and battle management.
NOLATrav
Banded Mongoose
Posts: 274
Joined: Sun Sep 06, 2015 7:42 pm

Re: High Guard - You only get one pass

Postby NOLATrav » Sat Jun 29, 2019 11:49 am

Condottiere wrote:
Fri Jun 28, 2019 9:58 pm
Weber postulates it's a matter of fire control and battle management.
Also see The Lost Fleet series by Jack Campbell. Fleets engage in drive-bys, accelerating towards one another on close but non-converging vectors. At optimal ranges, battle computers take over and a flurry of weapons fire happens, too fast for humans to calculate, followed by human evaluation of the results.
Moppy
Lesser Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 684
Joined: Sun Oct 04, 2015 12:42 pm

Re: High Guard - You only get one pass

Postby Moppy » Sun Jun 30, 2019 11:53 am

phavoc wrote:
Fri Jun 28, 2019 5:01 pm

There are some rather large holes in Lanchester's laws. His linear equations (for factoring in ancient style fighting like phalanx vs phalanx) works at only the absolute simplest level - it does not include archers, chariots, cavalry, terrain, weather, leadership, etc. Yes, it's a model, but with severe limitations. His square law takes into account massed fire (to a degree), but not technology. And it's only attempting to model attrition. So somewhat useful in things like artillery bombardments, though as a former redleg (artillerist) I can tell you there are a host of things to blunt or remove the effects of shelling.

Gaming none of this can be modeled very well, and shouldn't as it really slows things down and, in my opinion, makes it far less fun. Understanding the underlying aspects (and limitations) of things helps shape theories. But the first thing to be remembered is that modeling things like this is not necessarily a good reflection on how it will go in reality - especially when it's people who are being modeled.
There's nothing wrong with models, but problems arise when people mis-use models and get them to do things they're not designed for. These aren't holes or errors in the model.

To use the example of artillery. Predicting where artillery shells will land when fired is a model. Do you trust that model?

Predicting the effect of that shell landing is a whole different model, and is less accurate.

Regarding High Guard, if you line up equal capital units and fire intelligently, Lanchester will work just fine. If you don't, it's a user error.
Moppy
Lesser Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 684
Joined: Sun Oct 04, 2015 12:42 pm

Re: High Guard - You only get one pass

Postby Moppy » Sun Jun 30, 2019 12:00 pm

Condottiere wrote:
Fri Jun 28, 2019 9:58 pm
We tend to reenact Jutland.

Weber postulates it's a matter of fire control and battle management.
I wonder where he got that idea from?

Image

(That's a PAAMS destroyer - probably a British D-class)

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: GypsyComet, M J Dougherty and 21 guests