Ship Sizes

Discuss the Traveller RPG and its many settings
coldwar
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Re: Ship Sizes

Postby coldwar » Tue Oct 15, 2013 9:12 am

Thing with the Sheffield, their radar and communications were down for repairs at the time. So even the nearest ship, which they first thought they was the target, could not warn them.

In the Falklands again, there was another sinking.
Target was a Ship escorting a supply ship. The ship fired up its defenses in to the air. Missile missed the ship, but found a new target. The new target was the supply ship.
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Re: Ship Sizes

Postby simonh » Tue Oct 15, 2013 9:22 am

phavoc wrote:This will remain a subject that will never be settled, unless somebody wants to go out and design a moderately-sized surface combatant armed and armored to survive in today's environment. :)
That's all fair comment. Warships aren't going away because there are some things you flat out cannot do if you don't have them, and we want to be able to do those things.

The question then is how to do so in a cost effective way, but the days when only huge warships could carry the huge guns required to destroy other huge warships are long gone.

Will those days ever come back? In a setting where using nuclear weapons is acceptable, that seems unlikely. A single nuke could take out an entire naval battle group, but the political climate is such that actually using nukes in such a way is practically unthinkable. Naval doctrine may pay lip service to the threat nukes pose, but in practice we just hope they'll never be used that way and act accordingly.

In fact if we actually assumed that a major nuclear conflict was likely and followed the logic that entails, we'd pretty much have to rebuild out society from the ground up on that basis. Even during the cold war nobody actually did that because the economic and social costs would be almost as horrific as the threat. But now I'm drifting into a completely different topic.

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Reynard
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Re: Ship Sizes

Postby Reynard » Tue Oct 15, 2013 12:26 pm

And this is why the game can't be based on real world weapon systems because it would be SO UNFAIR a single missile launched from way over there could take out one of your tricked out cruisers.
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Re: Ship Sizes

Postby Condottiere » Tue Oct 15, 2013 1:30 pm

I thought they toned down kinetic kill missiles because they had the potential to cause catastrophic damage.

Anyway, war games only work if you can balance out mobility, firepower and protection, and in RPGs, some outside force that regulates it, like fireball wands being rather scarce or gun control legislation that restricts ballistic armour and FGMPs.
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Re: Ship Sizes

Postby F33D » Tue Oct 15, 2013 2:16 pm

Reynard wrote:And this is why the game can't be based on real world weapon systems because it would be SO UNFAIR a single missile launched from way over there could take out one of your tricked out cruisers.

Only is it wasn't armoured. Which would be incredibly stupid anyway.
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Re: Ship Sizes

Postby phavoc » Tue Oct 15, 2013 7:11 pm

In my mind Traveller ship combat is a mix of modern tech and 1930's(ish) naval warfare. There you saw the beginnings of the carrier and concepts of the fighter, but they weren't the dominant aspect. Torpedo boats were deadly, but fragile. Destroyers could and did kill capital ships if they could get close enough. Cruisers were the workhorses as far as combat went. Battlecruisers actually had a place (outside of the line of battle). And the big-gunned and heavily armed and armored ships were the rulers of the seas so long as they could keep the pesky DD's and below away.
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Re: Ship Sizes

Postby simonh » Tue Oct 15, 2013 9:13 pm

F33D wrote:
Reynard wrote:And this is why the game can't be based on real world weapon systems because it would be SO UNFAIR a single missile launched from way over there could take out one of your tricked out cruisers.

Only is it wasn't armoured. Which would be incredibly stupid anyway.
What kind of armour can protect against a 3 ton missile, with a 250kg warhead with it's own ramjet travelling at Mach 3? They don't call them Carrier Killers for nothing.

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Re: Ship Sizes

Postby F33D » Tue Oct 15, 2013 9:34 pm

simonh wrote: What kind of armour can protect against a 3 ton missile, with a 250kg warhead with it's own ramjet travelling at Mach 3? They don't call them Carrier Killers for nothing.

Simon Hibbs
BB armour with compartmentalization. That armour protected against projectiles weighing 2,700 pounds travelling at a speed of 2,700 feet per second (820 m/s), mach 2.4...

If you have any other Q's, let me know. :wink:
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Re: Ship Sizes

Postby simonh » Wed Oct 16, 2013 8:38 am

F33D wrote: BB armour with compartmentalization. That armour protected against projectiles weighing 2,700 pounds travelling at a speed of 2,700 feet per second (820 m/s), mach 2.4...

If you have any other Q's, let me know. :wink:
Sure. If their armour was so great, how come they were so easy to mission kill or sink?

Back in WW2 is became very clear that BBs are just too vulnerable to aircraft. Nowadays you don't even necessarily need the aircraft. A handful of guys in a truck can launch a couple of horizon+ range missiles and take a pop at anything afloat. This is one reason nobody is rushing to take on the Syrians the way the US and the French did the Libyans. It's got nothing to do with their air defences, which the Israelis have already perfected the art of penetrating. It's that nobody wants to watch US warships sinking on CNN.

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Re: Ship Sizes

Postby locarno24 » Wed Oct 16, 2013 12:37 pm

True. However, many (most?) of the crucial hits delivered by aircraft, disregarding ridiculously big bombs (as in Barnes-Wallis specials) were air-dropped torpedoes. They also (or heavier versions thereof) account for most destroyer kills of heavier warships. In both cases, they rely on an effect (sinking/underwater detonation physics) which doesn't apply to a spaceship.

Equally, a naval has a fundamental limitation - it has to float. Nothing prevents any traveller starship being fundamentally a solid block of bonded superdense with some small holes milled out of the middle - even the awkwardness of inertia, as the gravetic M-Drive (which apparently doesn't care how heavy you are as long as you're small enough) supports armouring warships up into ironclad mobile bunkers.


Modern warships, I will admit, are pretty much made of tinfoil. Largely because no amount of armour really helps you against the current regent of the seas - the hunter/killer attack submarine (see above). Which, in turn, is why missiles are so much more deadly than they could be if you had an Iowa/King George/Yamato/H-43 (which would loose secondary weapons, antennae, radars, etc, to missile hits, but probably not much more).
That armour protected against projectiles weighing 2,700 pounds travelling at a speed of 2,700 feet per second (820 m/s), mach 2.4...
In fairness, 'protected' is a relative term - that'd mostly be the compartmentalization stopping a shell wreaking damage much outside the impact area, but I doubt even the main belt stopped dead shells that heavy very often - that must be...what? a 16" shell? 18"?

Completely agree that it took one hell of a pounding, even with guns that big to meaningfully disable a ship, though.
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: Ship Sizes

Postby F33D » Wed Oct 16, 2013 2:19 pm

simonh wrote:
Sure. If their armour was so great, how come they were so easy to mission kill or sink?
They weren't. All 4 of the type of BB's I am talking about served on and off for over 40 years in war time without a loss. So, AFTER you do your homework, feel free to ask me any Q's. ;)
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Re: Ship Sizes

Postby phavoc » Wed Oct 16, 2013 2:56 pm

locarno24 wrote:Equally, a naval has a fundamental limitation - it has to float. Nothing prevents any traveller starship being fundamentally a solid block of bonded superdense with some small holes milled out of the middle - even the awkwardness of inertia, as the gravetic M-Drive (which apparently doesn't care how heavy you are as long as you're small enough) supports armouring warships up into ironclad mobile bunkers.
Like any ship today or previously, the 'eyes' and 'ears' of the ship are far more vulnerable than their heavily armored main weapons. Sure, you may have a fully capable warship with intact armor, but if you lose your sensors you now have an armored worthless piece of junk floating around. Though the Traveller combat system doesn't take this into account because it's not designed too (nor is the ship combat system).

locarno24 wrote:In fairness, 'protected' is a relative term - that'd mostly be the compartmentalization stopping a shell wreaking damage much outside the impact area, but I doubt even the main belt stopped dead shells that heavy very often - that must be...what? a 16" shell? 18"?
The rule of thumb for armored combatants was to have armor capable of resisting the same caliber shell they carried. Though this rule wasn't always followed, as the Iowa class ships were armored to resist 14" shells (which was the original caliber they were to be fitted with) and they had 16" main armament. The follow-on Montana class were to be all-gun 16" armed battleships armored to withstand the same caliber shells. The Navy was aware of the 18" of the Japanese BB's, but instead of developing an entire new class of gun, they simply plonked on a 4th turret, giving the Montana a 12x16" set of main guns to the Yamato 9x18" main battery.

The other thing about armor is you have to factor in construction techniques, not just thickness. I found this excellent article (http://www.combinedfleet.com/okun_biz.htm) on armor design of battleships that goes into a lot of detail in regards to how the various navies built and implemented their armor schemes. Properly manufactured and built, an armored warship can take a massive pounding before it starts to lose it's combat capabilities.

And, as it's been pointed out many times, it's not a fair comparison of water naval ship design to spacecraft design due to the differences between fighting in a vacuum vs. fighting using a surface fleet. Water makes a helluva difference in what and why you do things.

Today's unarmored warships aren't really a good comparison to yesteryear's armored ones.
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Re: Ship Sizes

Postby dragoner » Wed Oct 16, 2013 5:05 pm

None of this has any import or analog to trav spacecraft. Modern ships collapse on themselves from the cavitation of a torp's explosion under them, trav spacecraft dive into gas giants to refuel. Might as well be comparing an old sailing ship to a supertanker.
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Re: Ship Sizes

Postby phavoc » Wed Oct 16, 2013 8:58 pm

dragoner wrote:None of this has any import or analog to trav spacecraft. Modern ships collapse on themselves from the cavitation of a torp's explosion under them, trav spacecraft dive into gas giants to refuel. Might as well be comparing an old sailing ship to a supertanker.
Hrm. Well, in the first case, naval architecture is real, whereas Traveller is fiction. And not all Traveller spacecraft are capable of diving into gas giants, or floating on an ocean.

So I would say comparing naval vessels of the real world to naval vessels of the fictional world is a good argumentative analog that can be used for discussion purposes.

Unless you've got a copy of Janes that covers TL-9 to TL-15 Imperial warships that you're willing to share, the points I made are germane to the discussion at hand.
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Re: Ship Sizes

Postby dragoner » Wed Oct 16, 2013 9:46 pm

phavoc wrote:So I would say comparing naval vessels of the real world to naval vessels of the fictional world is a good argumentative analog that can be used for discussion purposes.
Engineering-wise, spacecraft are more akin to aircraft, not naval vessels. But rules-wise, there isn't an analog, esp since considering that the theater dominating vehicles in modern ASW/ASUW are like the SH-60, or rotary aircraft. Battle is completely different between Traveller spacecraft rules and modern naval warfare. For ship sizes in Traveller, one could as just as likely use structures, such as comparing a single-family residence to a skyscraper, it is just that different.
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Re: Ship Sizes

Postby phavoc » Thu Oct 17, 2013 3:36 pm

dragoner wrote:
phavoc wrote:So I would say comparing naval vessels of the real world to naval vessels of the fictional world is a good argumentative analog that can be used for discussion purposes.
Engineering-wise, spacecraft are more akin to aircraft, not naval vessels. But rules-wise, there isn't an analog, esp since considering that the theater dominating vehicles in modern ASW/ASUW are like the SH-60, or rotary aircraft. Battle is completely different between Traveller spacecraft rules and modern naval warfare. For ship sizes in Traveller, one could as just as likely use structures, such as comparing a single-family residence to a skyscraper, it is just that different.
Aircraft require thrust and lift to fly, while naval vessels require buoyancy... with the proper engineering you can make your ship "fly" above and below the water, imitating the maneuvers of an aircraft. Though they are different because their mediums are different - but they are more alike than they are dissimilar.

Rules wise I would argue that naval is more akin to Traveller space combat than aerial. Aerial vehicles are extremely fragile, much more than naval vessels. Aircraft aren't armored worth a damn compared to a naval vessel.

I don't agree with your analogy that battle is "completely different". It's not. Traveller doesn't account for turret facings or bearing when it comes to weapons fire, so that's not germane to the discussion. You have beam weapons and missiles in space, you have ballistic projectile weapons and missiles in naval combat. You have armor in space, you have armor with naval. The only real difference is that in naval combat you have hydrostatic shock that you don't get in space.

There are, of course, other differences, yet most if not all of them have naval analogues to compare to.
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Re: Ship Sizes

Postby dragoner » Thu Oct 17, 2013 5:06 pm

I am sorry, I don't mean to pillory anyone, it was just my exasperation at opening a ship thread and then seeing it had derailed into naval warfare arguments for the umpteenth time prompted my response. Probably just a bit of my OCD as I have a tendency to read every thread in the Traveller forum here.
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Re: Ship Sizes

Postby Condottiere » Thu Oct 17, 2013 6:50 pm

Sailors don't don scuba gear, and fill up the ships with water, so that when the hull is breached, the environment doesn't rush in or out.

The new danger is radiation. However, armour can be layered/coated to deal with various effects, or am I mixing up systems?

It's a mixture of maritime/aircraft/vehicle designs: vacuum allows boxy/dispersed configurations, the larger sized ships would have to take into account structural supports, and warships that are stealthed would have to optimize the surface facing to reflect away (if not absorb) sensors.
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Re: Ship Sizes

Postby Reynard » Thu Oct 17, 2013 9:28 pm

dragoner wrote:I am sorry, I don't mean to pillory anyone, it was just my exasperation at opening a ship thread and then seeing it had derailed into naval warfare arguments for the umpteenth time prompted my response. ...
It did go that way, didn't it? It was going nicely when we were using comparisons why various vessels, mostly space borne, were the size they are purported and why including comparisons to naval architecture. The discussion just got too deep.

We need to get back to the general architecture of the famous ships that initiated this thread and their comparisons with Traveller. The other threads can head over to Victory at Sea. :)
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Re: Ship Sizes

Postby dragoner » Fri Oct 18, 2013 4:20 am

Reynard wrote:
We need to get back to the general architecture of the famous ships that initiated this thread and their comparisons with Traveller. The other threads can head over to Victory at Sea. :)
There was some interesting info, for that fact I didn't know a SW Star Destroyer was so big and carried 9000 troops. But I think that is putting too many eggs in one basket, you bring in troop transports after you have established some sort of control over the space in the system. Traveller definitely does not do it that way, even though there aren't troop transports of an enormous size, somehow they bring in troops.
Condottiere wrote:Sailors don't don scuba gear, and fill up the ships with water, so that when the hull is breached, the environment doesn't rush in or out.

The new danger is radiation. However, armour can be layered/coated to deal with various effects, or am I mixing up systems?

It's a mixture of maritime/aircraft/vehicle designs: vacuum allows boxy/dispersed configurations, the larger sized ships would have to take into account structural supports, and warships that are stealthed would have to optimize the surface facing to reflect away (if not absorb) sensors.
While naval architecture might bear some similarity, at least to try to attach meaning, but we also have our orbiters and space-stations to draw inferences from. A lot is different, esp the mission of the Imperial navy, but also the economics, the Imperium has to do something with all the RU's it generates in tax revenue. The there is commercial traffic, which imo would be big, as big as it could be built, I always make it Nostromo size imtu; but I have never sat down and drawn up a million ton freighter or so.

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