Torpedo Boats in Traveller

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ottarrus
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Torpedo Boats in Traveller

Postby ottarrus » Wed Oct 06, 2021 9:38 pm

I'm a lifelong military historian, not just a hobbyist, but a reenactor with a couple of published articles. To put another way, I'm long past the 'cool looking airplane /boat /rifle /uniform' stage of the game and am interested in the real depths of the subject. I'm interested in the serious trivia and ephemera of history... not the battles, but the people who fought the battles; not battleships but the destroyer escorts and 'small boats' that shouldered most of the naval load...

I was just reading an article from Great Britain about the Restoration of the S-130 that I found both very interesting and might be applicable to Traveller.
Some background:
S-130 is the last surviving German Kriegsmarine schnellboot, or fast attack boat. These vessels are the organizational equivalent to the USN PT Boat and the RN MTB -- fast, incredibly fragile torpedo boats. However, this is a bit of a misnomer in the case of S-class boats. S-boats came in at almost three times the tonnage and twice the physical size of the USN and RN boats. In many respects they were more like small corvettes or destroyers. They could withstand much more punishment, had longer at-sea endurance, were just about as fast, and could operate in the same shallow waters as their allied equivalents. If an Elco PT Boat was a Mustang, and S-Boat was a Jaguar.

So now that we've got MgT2's High Guard and a significant body of ships as exemplars, I'm rather wondering if a torpedo boat type SDB wouldn't be a solid addition in Traveller.
While I haven't done the design work on it, the procurement design request might look something like this:
-- Hull Size 500 to 1000 tons
-- TL 13-15, technologies should be easy to maintain
-- Advanced detection and targeting electronics
-- Radical Stealth systems equipped
-- Sufficient crew accommodations for extended duty tours w/o undue fatigue or loss of efficiency
-- Minimum Speed 6G Maneuver
-- Armored Hull and Screens to survive engagement with two combatants larger than itself
-- Armament: 2 x Torpedo Bay, Dedicated Point Defense turrets, Fusion turrets /barbettes

Ships meeting these criteria will be expensive, almost prohibitively so. What's more, they're probably be useless unless they attack in squadron strength. These facts tend to militate towards high-tech, high-pop, systems under a viable threat of attack and probably already having a Naval Base present. Because of the expense and the need for squadrons of these vessels, I imagine that such systems have a certain militant attitude and probably spend more than is merely adequate for their at-home defense. Example systems would include Efate /Regina, Jewell /Jewell, Rhylenor /Rhylenor, and Tobia /Tobia.
Last edited by ottarrus on Wed Oct 06, 2021 11:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Torpedo Boats in Traveller

Postby Condottiere » Wed Oct 06, 2021 10:37 pm

The modern versions would be fast missile armed corvettes.

They're pretty much littoral combat boats, that would have gotten chewed up if faced by the ship type specifically designed to combat them, the torpedo boat destroyer.

In Traveller terms, maximum acceleration, half the armament likely torpedo based, since they're obviously going after big fish, the other half to ward off smaller fish.

Probably smaller than destroyer escorts, also accounting for their increased range, let's say fifty percent jump drives and fuel tanks, so let's say between four to six hundred tonnes.
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Re: Torpedo Boats in Traveller

Postby ottarrus » Wed Oct 06, 2021 11:00 pm

Condottiere wrote:
Wed Oct 06, 2021 10:37 pm
The modern versions would be fast missile armed corvettes.\
Probably smaller than destroyer escorts, also accounting for their increased range, let's say fifty percent jump drives and fuel tanks, so let's say between four to six hundred tonnes.
My original concept was a heavy system defense boat.... Something that acts as a hammer to a system monitor's anvil and harassment squadron that can, if fought correctly, actually cost the bad guys a cruiser.
My thinking is that very few invading forces are going to park a capital ship [dreadnought or battleship] over a gas giant or ice world [a refueling source] and guard it while the rest of the BatRon is doing BatRon things. That job will be taken up by light cruisers or destroyers. Vessels of those tonnages can be seriously damaged by a torpedo squadron and very few fleet commanders are going to be very happy if their supporting and screen units get chopped up.
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Re: Torpedo Boats in Traveller

Postby Condottiere » Wed Oct 06, 2021 11:21 pm

High Guarding depends pretty much on what's available, and in how much of a hurry you are in.

Also, you may be more interested in Unterseeboote, which are more likely to surprise the intruders, rather than Schnellboote, who come roaring over the horizon.
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Re: Torpedo Boats in Traveller

Postby adzling » Thu Oct 07, 2021 10:53 pm

tbh im not sure why in mgt2 anyone would choose torpedoes over missiles, what's your rational?
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Re: Torpedo Boats in Traveller

Postby Condottiere » Thu Oct 07, 2021 11:01 pm

Bigger bang; greater armour penetration, longer practical range.
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Re: Torpedo Boats in Traveller

Postby ottarrus » Thu Oct 07, 2021 11:48 pm

adzling wrote:
Thu Oct 07, 2021 10:53 pm
tbh im not sure why in mgt2 anyone would choose torpedoes over missiles, what's your rational?
Martin Dougherty has written High Guard torpedoes as larger, more accurate, more versatile, and more effective missiles. They can't be launched from standard sized turrets and are most often mounted in barbettes. However, the most effective use of them is in weapon bays. A 50 or 100 ton torpedo bay does damned near the same damage as fusion bay with less power point cost. The trade-off, because there always is a trade off, is that torpedoes are susceptible to point defense fire and ECM. OTOH, fusion gun bays are effected by nuclear dampers, which can reduce their damage by half.

So, as Condo put it, bigger, badder, longer.
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Re: Torpedo Boats in Traveller

Postby adzling » Fri Oct 08, 2021 12:32 am

right thats the idea but what happens mechanically?

i was looking at this the other day...

missile 4d damage
torpedo 6d damage

torpedo -2 to hit ships smaller than 2000 tons + halves point defense effects against torpedo salvos

barbette can fit:
5 missile launchers + 25 ammo
1 torpedo launcher + 3 ammo

medium bay can fit:
24 missile launchers + 288 ammo
6 torpedo launchers + 72 ammo

given the above mechanics it seems missile launchers would deliver more damage via larger salvos (even factoring torpedo's enhanced point defense resistance)

yes/ no?
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Re: Torpedo Boats in Traveller

Postby ottarrus » Fri Oct 08, 2021 4:35 am

All fair points, but torpedoes can have variable payloads, which makes them more versatile.
Now, I grant you that torpedoes aren't for going after 400 ton corsairs. They're your 'big dog gun'. But you fire two bays of torpedoes in succession, the first one loaded with EMP loads [which eff's up point defenses and ECM] and the second loaded with HEAP [High Explosive Armor Piercing] and you do this in a squadron of 4 all at the same target, and that is gonna make somebody's Chief Engineer VERY unhappy...
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Re: Torpedo Boats in Traveller

Postby Condottiere » Fri Oct 08, 2021 11:17 am

1. And uncut.

2. Heavy missiles were introduced in Chartered Aliens Too.

3. In terms of knock out blows, it's basically spinal mounts.

4. I read barbettes as having three torpedo launchers, and no magazine.

5. As for usage, long range, against space stations, large freighters, destroyers or cruisers, arguably fleet carriers.
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Re: Torpedo Boats in Traveller

Postby Annatar Giftbringer » Fri Oct 08, 2021 12:12 pm

Condottiere wrote:
Fri Oct 08, 2021 11:17 am
4. I read barbettes as having three torpedo launchers, and no magazine.
Hang on… Huh, I’ve never thought of that, but it seems you’re right! Does that mean it can fire all of them simultaneously as well..? That would make them much more interesting! It doesn’t mention fire-rate, unlike the bay version, but it does sound like three separate launchers…
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Re: Torpedo Boats in Traveller

Postby Condottiere » 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.
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Re: Torpedo Boats in Traveller

Postby Annatar Giftbringer » 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.
Sounds reasonable. The ‘missing’ volume could be due to launch and hold mechanisms.

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.

This would also make torpedo-armed smallcraft more threatening, if they can launch both firmpoint-torpedoes at once.

I’m starting to like torpedo barbettes more and more, and once again careful reading is good, so thanks for this find!
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Re: Torpedo Boats in Traveller

Postby Condottiere » Fri Oct 08, 2021 1:04 pm

Dual firmpointed barbette is two torpedo launchers.

Hardpointed barbette is three torpedo launchers.

Small bay is three torpedo launchers, plus twelve salvo magazine.

Difference would be that the bay can switch torpedoes without needing time to reload the tubes.
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Re: Torpedo Boats in Traveller

Postby Reynard » Fri Oct 08, 2021 1:20 pm

Referencing info on modern real world torpedo boats, we see a vessel that is fast, agile, spartan, and subsequently cheap carrying a big bang to be a threat to capital ships. They are 'coast huggers', a type of System Defense Boat that patrols and guards important location specifically against large ships or accompanying fighting groups in system. The idea is they can be built economically to attack en masse to deliver a singular weapon type, in this case, the space torpedo.

Good thought exercise, an optimized, relatively inexpensive, 'expendable' weapon delivery system.
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Re: Torpedo Boats in Traveller

Postby Condottiere » Fri Oct 08, 2021 1:38 pm

Seen in historical terms, what you have is a type of reversal.

Torpedo boats would normally have to close in to fire off their payloads, while missile ships can target vessels over the horizon.

The smart thing in Traveller is to use torpedoes at long range, and to move into optimal range for missiles.
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Re: Torpedo Boats in Traveller

Postby adzling » Fri Oct 08, 2021 3:23 pm

its kind of odd how everyone advocating the effectiveness of torpedoes is avoiding evaluating the actual mechanics....

do the math, in every scenario i can see missiles mount more launchers (so larger salvos more resistant to ecm) and do more damage...

missile have just as much payload variance as torpedoes...

so i'll ask again, why torpedoes instead of missiles?
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Re: Torpedo Boats in Traveller

Postby adzling » Fri Oct 08, 2021 3:32 pm

Annatar Giftbringer wrote:
Fri Oct 08, 2021 12:12 pm
Condottiere wrote:
Fri Oct 08, 2021 11:17 am
4. I read barbettes as having three torpedo launchers, and no magazine.
Hang on… Huh, I’ve never thought of that, but it seems you’re right! Does that mean it can fire all of them simultaneously as well..? That would make them much more interesting! It doesn’t mention fire-rate, unlike the bay version, but it does sound like three separate launchers…
is he right though?

Torpedo: A torpedo is a heavy anti–ship missiles capable of carrying tremendous destructive force. Torpedoes are treated in every way like missiles, though they tend to be a lot more powerful. Each torpedo barbette holds 3 torpedoes (those on Firmpoints hold two torpedoes). The torpedo here is equipped with a standard warhead.

the text clearly states "holds 3 torpedoes" not "has 3 launchers".

When you compare it to the text for missile launcher barbettes its clear you are wrong:

"Missile Barbette: Equipped with multilaunchers, a missile barbette can unleash a flurry of warheads at a target. A missile barbette fires 5 missiles at a time, and holds enough missiles for 5 full salvos (a total of 25 missiles). Missile barbettes on Firmpoints hold eight missiles."

Moreover IF your interpretation was correct then a firmpoint mounted torpedo launcher could fire two torpedoes at once, which is clearly nutso.

"(those on Firmpoints hold two torpedoes)"

So with a barbette holding 3 missiles and firing one per salvo it's clear there's no rational for using a torpedo barbette in place of a missile barbette.

You have a stronger argument with bays but even then unless your going against a target with massive point defence missiles are going to be better in every way.

If you think im wrong show me the math ;-)
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Re: Torpedo Boats in Traveller

Postby Bill Sheil » Fri Oct 08, 2021 4:29 pm

But armour is also a thing and for capital ships which are the intended target for torpedoes. In HG it varies between 10 and 15 which makes missiles with 4D damage (avg 14) possibly very ineffective but torpedoes at 6D (avg 21) a good bit better.

Also, although the prebuilt Highguard ship designs are somewhat limited if you were to get into serious ship designs there is no reason why smaller dedicated military vessels wouldn't have armour values limited only by the TLs (typically 12-15).
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Re: Torpedo Boats in Traveller

Postby adzling » Fri Oct 08, 2021 4:57 pm

Bill Sheil wrote:
Fri Oct 08, 2021 4:29 pm
But armour is also a thing...
Agreed re: more damage = better against armor.

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!

With a Medium Bay against a ship with 12 armor, missiles are still more effective:
14-12=2x24=48 damage on average for a missile salvo from a Medium Bay.
21-12=9x6=45 damage on average for a torpedo salvo from a Medium Bay.

The only time torpedoes become more effective than missiles is if the target's armor is 13 or greater.
The only ship I can find in high guard with an armor of 13 or higher is the Tigress Class Dreadnought at 500,000 tons.

Really the only benefit I can see from torpedoes is when your target has massive Point Defence capabilities, and even then i'm not sure that is true as there are far more missiles in a salvo than torpedos (more than the two to one advantage torpedos get against point defense).

When you factor in ECM missiles come out even better as there are always more than double the number of missiles in a salvo compared to torpedoes, rendering their resistance to point defense mostly moot.

The only scenario I can see where torpedoes > missiles is when the target vessel has 13+ armor and no ECM.
Which probably never happens...

Please fix my math if it's wrong.

thanks
Last edited by adzling on Fri Oct 08, 2021 5:24 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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