Torpedo Boats in Traveller

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Condottiere
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Re: Torpedo Boats in Traveller

Postby Condottiere » Fri Oct 08, 2021 6:49 pm

1. Logic is not the strong point of Traveller.

2. If it were, you can stuff in the same number of missiles and torpedoes in a five tonne volume, whether it's pointedly firm or hard.

3. Going by Harrier, you can embed two torpedo launch cradles in a one tonne fixated mount.

4. Therefore, it seems a logical extension that you can stuff three launch cradles in five tonnes.

5. Time is not on a missile's side.
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Re: Torpedo Boats in Traveller

Postby adzling » Fri Oct 08, 2021 6:58 pm

Condottiere wrote:
Fri Oct 08, 2021 6:49 pm
1. Logic is not the strong point of Traveller.

2. If it were, you can stuff in the same number of missiles and torpedoes in a five tonne volume, whether it's pointedly firm or hard.

3. Going by Harrier, you can embed two torpedo launch cradles in a one tonne fixated mount.

4. Therefore, it seems a logical extension that you can stuff three launch cradles in five tonnes.

5. Time is not on a missile's side.
thanks for your input Condotteire however I think you're missing the point.

1. Sure, but that's not relevant to "which is better, missiles or torpedoes".
2. Sure, but again that's not relevant to "which is better, missiles or torpedoes".
3. Ok let's take that at face value.
4. It does indeed seem logical but the rules as written specifically note 1 launcher per barbette.
Moreover even IF you could fit 3 torpedo launchers into a barbette that would just bring Torpedo Barbettes to parity with Missile Barbettes and does nothing to address small, medium and large bays where clearly missiles have a large advantage over torpedoes.
I agree that Torpedo Barbettes as written seem busted.
As a home rule fix for Torpedo Barbettes I would use something like this: 2 launchers + 6 torpedoes per barbette.
This would bring it closer to a Missile Barbette in terms of tons of ammo (25 missiles = @2 tons, 6 torpedoes =@2 tons).
5. I'm not sure what you mean by this final comment, care to elaborate?

thanks!
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Re: Torpedo Boats in Traveller

Postby Condottiere » Fri Oct 08, 2021 7:07 pm

Torpedoes aren't just more resistant to damage from point defence, they also don't wander off after five turns.

Which happens to half the missiles in a salvo, as they lose target lock and can't reestablish it.

Hence, my advice to launch missiles at optimum range, and torpedoes at long.
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Re: Torpedo Boats in Traveller

Postby adzling » Fri Oct 08, 2021 7:20 pm

Condottiere wrote:
Fri Oct 08, 2021 7:07 pm
Torpedoes aren't just more resistant to damage from point defence, they also don't wander off after five turns.

Which happens to half the missiles in a salvo, as they lose target lock and can't reestablish it.

Hence, my advice to launch missiles at optimum range, and torpedoes at long.
Ok thanks for this.
I already discussed Point Defense in prior posts above and showed why (most often) it offers no advantage for Torpedoes vs. Missiles due to respective salvo sizes.

I was unaware that Torpedoes do not lose half their salvo strength every 5 rounds.

This means that Torpedoes have one advantage over Missiles, range.
Which alone can be quite a significant advantage.
However is it enough to overcome the many other advantages of Missiles?
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Re: Torpedo Boats in Traveller

Postby Condottiere » Fri Oct 08, 2021 7:28 pm

I think it's going to come down to doctrine.

Missiles are going to be more of a distraction during a full scale battle, and as far as I can tell, a finite resource.

And I'm going to guess that for navies, they're going nuclear right from the start, which is six and eight dice for missiles and torpedoes, respectively; also, someone posted a while back that missile and torpedo damages are going to be revised, either in the next edition or printing of High Guard.
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Re: Torpedo Boats in Traveller

Postby adzling » Fri Oct 08, 2021 7:43 pm

Not sure how your second comment re: finite resource is relevant as torpedoes as just as or more finite than missiles.

Going nuclear only helps missiles become MORE effective compared to torpedoes as they will then BOTH bypass armor much more reliably.

Increasing damage of Torpedoes from 6 to 7 would make a lot of sense and change the entire equation, especially if you factor in their longer range and fix the clearly borked Torpedo Barbette.
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Re: Torpedo Boats in Traveller

Postby Condottiere » Fri Oct 08, 2021 8:07 pm

I don't think there's been a real attempt to make doctrine under the current rule set.

The way I see it, is that you use torpedoes at long range, and scram, likely to somewhere where you have stashed reloads.

Once you're committed to a general engagement, your missile magazines are likely to run dry before the battle ends; torpedoes as well, but again, my take on this is that you use the torpedoes at long range, as it's basically hit and run, while the missiles are used en masse to see if they can find some weakness.

At battle range, you can do that with other weapon systems as well, but if you have a lot of missiles, you're looking for a fast result, before you run out, and figuring out how to achieve that is what the doctrine is for.
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Re: Torpedo Boats in Traveller

Postby adzling » Fri Oct 08, 2021 10:08 pm

I certainly like the way you think Condo!
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Re: Torpedo Boats in Traveller

Postby Condottiere » Sat Oct 09, 2021 8:19 am

Every time the design and combat rules changes, you have to assess how your weapon platforms and systems can be optimized to operate in the new environment.

A lot tends to be in the end just an allocation of resources, and placing the final product to be in the right place, at the right time, with sufficient margin to compensate when things don't go as anticipated.
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Re: Torpedo Boats in Traveller

Postby Bill Sheil » Sat Oct 09, 2021 1:46 pm

However when you look at the actual mechanics against ships in high guard you find out this assumption is still incorrect, even against the most heavily armored ships.

Missiles average (14 damage - armor) x number in a salvo
Torpedos average (21 damage - armor) x number in a salvo

With a Medium Bay against a ship with 10 armor missiles are still more effective:
14-10=4x24=96 damage on average for a missile salvo from a Medium Bay.
21-10=11x6=66 damage on average for a torpedo salvo from a Medium Bay.

The vast majority of ships have far less armor than 10, you have to go up to a freaking dreadnought to get armor 12!
Except no. Dedicated fighting ships will generally have armour values in a range limited by the TLs and as the torpedo is apparently dedicated military system then it has to be effective against armours 12-15, calculating it against armour 10 is precisely missing their range of effectiveness. It is specifically the solution for ship armours in that range.

Part of the problem you are seeing is that many of the "standard" traveller ship designs still date back to the original (1977) LBB Book 2 design sequences and just don't have armour for that reason. When Book 5 High Guard came out and TCS became a thing maximising armour became a cost-effective strategy. Therefore we saw in Supplement 9 and the 5th frontier war cycle the notion of (rarely seen in peacetime) dedicated fighting ships with heavy armour, not just on dreadnaughts but all the way up from heavy fighters, versus the classic paradigm ships (Gazelle, Kinunir) which were now paramilitary assets relegated to patrol, policing, customs etc. which are more commonly seen but not frontline assets.

While you argument is that missiles are more effective than torpedoes against any but the most heavily armoured ships they exist precisely because they are more effective against the most heavily armoured ships. On the flip as they are dedicated military weapons that don't have any benefit in normal peacetime traveller campaigns when most of the enemies encountered would be at worst paramilitary LBB2 designs
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Re: Torpedo Boats in Traveller

Postby Condottiere » Sat Oct 09, 2021 2:35 pm

The theory being that ordnance has stored a larger amount of damage than an energy weapon, and doesn't require the larger power plant that an energy weapon system would need.

The Sworld Worlders appear have developed a doctrine around using missiles as their almost primary weapon, constructing their ships around a missile distribution system, that can supply all launchers from all magazines.

When I tried calculating if it works, I came to the conclusion only if you're all in.
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Re: Torpedo Boats in Traveller

Postby adzling » Sat Oct 09, 2021 3:59 pm

Bill Sheil wrote:
Sat Oct 09, 2021 1:46 pm
Part of the problem you are seeing is that many of the "standard" traveller ship designs still date back to the original (1977) LBB Book 2 design sequences and just don't have armour for that reason.
When theory-crafting you use the published material at hand rather than imaginary "what ifs".

Hence the ships referenced and my note on when Torpedoes become more effective.

There are *very* few published ships in MG2e that have that much armor.

Trawling through all the books I have (PoD, Mercenary Kickstarter, High Guard, Aslan High Guard, Glorious Empire, Aliens of Charted Space 1 & 2 I found precisely one ship with heavy enough armor to require Torpedo attack-

Ships of the Trojan reach has the the Planet Class Heavy Cruiser with armor of 15.
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Re: Torpedo Boats in Traveller

Postby Geir » Sat Oct 09, 2021 6:34 pm

adzling wrote:
Sat Oct 09, 2021 3:59 pm
Bill Sheil wrote:
Sat Oct 09, 2021 1:46 pm
Part of the problem you are seeing is that many of the "standard" traveller ship designs still date back to the original (1977) LBB Book 2 design sequences and just don't have armour for that reason.
When theory-crafting you use the published material at hand rather than imaginary "what ifs".

Hence the ships referenced and my note on when Torpedoes become more effective.

There are *very* few published ships in MG2e that have that much armor.

Trawling through all the books I have (PoD, Mercenary Kickstarter, High Guard, Aslan High Guard, Glorious Empire, Aliens of Charted Space 1 & 2 I found precisely one ship with heavy enough armor to require Torpedo attack-

Ships of the Trojan reach has the the Planet Class Heavy Cruiser with armor of 15.
Tigress and Ghalalk are also armor 15.
Which is weird, because one is a dreadnaught – pretty much by doctrine used for two things: battles and impressing or scaring the heck out of potential troublemakers.
The cruiser, on the other hand is designed for more of a ‘multi-task’ role: Patrols, showing the flag, commerce raiding, etc. (or being converted into a lower armored deep exploration cruiser, but that’s another story line).
The ship designs in Highguard and in Traveller in general are a mix of trying to be ‘true’ to ships designed under different rules in c. 1980 and … I don’t know … randomness.

Rambling:
As for doctrine, for some reason someone (MJD) keeps mentioning torpedoes as up-close weapons, when I see them as stand-off. I suppose if you assume ‘immediate’ means no ECM and only point- defense, then both missiles and torpedoes become more effective at medium and shorter range, but I would think doctrine would dictate this:

Stay at Very Long range (outside of spinal reach – depending on whether you allow Primitive and Advanced rules to apply to spinals – not clear) and launch massive volleys to overwhelm defenses… it’s the Vilani way.

But in that instance, for fighting a battle fleet – and ships designed only for battle should have max armor (and ~25% of hull dedicated to spinal) – torpedoes have to be the way to go because of the extra damage. And plasma torpedoes seem to be the obvious choice for both damage and penetration. Nukes don’t buy you much against dampers and advanced (if you have the TL) only buy you less (relatively) cost and less rounds of ECM defense to withstand.

Bill has a very good point of distinguishing the difference between battle fleets and general-purpose vessels. I wonder how budgets would actually be allocated. The Big War might not come within the design life of a battleship, meaning that many might rot or reach their century refit before use, but not having them would be disastrous. Meanwhile, you have other less-than-war duties to perform for the other 99 years…

If fighters really can fire torpedoes from firmpoints to any range, then a wing of plasma-torpedo-firing armored 35-ton gunboats firing plasma torpedoes at Very Long or even Distant range might be the way to go. Especially for a lesser power (Sword Worlders) fighting a technologically superior foe. Suicide runs to ‘immediate’ torpedo range might be effective with enough gunboats (the circada strategy – you can’t kill all of us, so here we come!).

You’d have to play it out and see. That’s where something like TCS comes in. Design and try out scenarios. Then build fleets based on winning designs for various scenarios. And then a rules change shifts the balance, and the designs no longer work – except with Traveller we’re doing a bit of Ground Hogs Day and redoing the old designs whether they still make sense or not. And we wake up and it’s still 1105 forty-plus years later. Okay, need my meds this morning….
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Re: Torpedo Boats in Traveller

Postby Arkathan » Sat Oct 09, 2021 7:15 pm

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Re: Torpedo Boats in Traveller

Postby NOLATrav » Sat Oct 09, 2021 7:23 pm

Nice! Let’s see someone who knows High Guard better than I do run some battles!
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Re: Torpedo Boats in Traveller

Postby Condottiere » Sat Oct 09, 2021 7:58 pm

Battle fleets consist of your primary combat units.

Peacetime operations tend to revolve around units with economic operating costs.

They are not necessarily exclusive, but during peacetime, the primary combat units may spend more time refitting, while during wartime, the units that are more economically designed are consigned to secondary duties.

In theory, during the interwar years, battlecruisers are meant to scare the crap out of most (other) navies, as they can race around the world, implying that nothing is safe, and unlike the Deutschlands, actually outrun anything that could sink them.

The real workhouses would have to be the heavy cruisers.
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Re: Torpedo Boats in Traveller

Postby ottarrus » Wed Oct 13, 2021 8:58 pm

So, I had to be gone a few days and I'm VERY surprised that one of my oddball threads has generated this much interest!

Thanks to all the contributors. This'll make some interesting reading while I formulate a reply of some sort.
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Re: Torpedo Boats in Traveller

Postby Adept_the_Finn » Fri Oct 15, 2021 8:53 pm

Annatar Giftbringer wrote:
Fri Oct 08, 2021 12:52 pm
Condottiere wrote:
Fri Oct 08, 2021 12:29 pm
Presumably.

In theory, there should be enough volume for one set of reloads, but the distinctiveness of mentioning that for missiles, and not for torpedoes, would mean that was deliberately excluded.
One salvo, no reloads for barbettes, and the benefit of going bay would be the ability to launch several salvoes without needing a turn to reload.
A missile barbette launches swarms of five, and holds 25 missiles, so they can fire five times before needing to reload.

A torpedo barbette launches swarms of three, but seems to hold no reloads.

I'm sad to say that the firepower of torpedoes doesn't seem to come even close to equalling that of missiles here. A single missile barbette is something even 400t corvettes have to take seriously, where as the torpedo version just... isn't. Even worse, they are meant to menace ships in the frigate class and up (1000t+), which I just don't really see under the current rules.
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Re: Torpedo Boats in Traveller

Postby adzling » Fri Oct 15, 2021 9:08 pm

Yup those are my key points Adept, RAW missiles are far superior to Torpedoes excepting when fired at long range+ OR the target has 13+ armor (which only 2-3 published ships have).
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Re: Torpedo Boats in Traveller

Postby Condottiere » Fri Oct 15, 2021 9:19 pm

For torpedoes, it's range, not the size of the salvoes.

Three standard torpedoes one hundred fifty kilostarbux and three times six dice; five standard missiles 104'166.67 starbux and five times four dice.

8'333.34 starbux per dice versus 5'208.33 starbux per dice, 10,416.67 starbux after five rounds.

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