SDB's vs. Warships

Discuss the Traveller RPG and its many settings
Reynard
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Re: SDB's vs. Warships

Postby Reynard » Sun Nov 10, 2013 9:19 pm

"For example, the Azanti High Lightning costs 31,469MCr. For the same outlay a system could build 234 SBDs of the type above, more than enough to trash the Azhanti. (Perhaps a bad example, the armour on the Azahani, 4pt, is so ridiculously thin, that it will be an easy target)."

That's exactly the type of target SDBs would go after. They want soft and vulnerable targets either from design or circumstance of terrain. The mentality of a fair fight is for gamers. SDBs are not kamikaze looking for the ship most likely to survive. Most SDBs aren't built for stealth so they need to use superiority of numbers and their surroundings to have a high chance succeeding in their mission. No military wants to throw away expensive equipment and personnel unless they that inept. This is why we often hear these craft camping at locations they are designed to defend. Even then they will either fight to the death if they must inflict as much casualties as possible or run if they don't have a chance.
phavoc
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Re: SDB's vs. Warships

Postby phavoc » Mon Nov 11, 2013 12:53 am

Thanks for the great contributions everyone. It appears there's a couple of theme's here:

1) SDB's, even small ones, equipped with heavy armor and weapons like particle beam bays have an outsized influence (or course, anything armed with a bay has an outsized influence over a ship armed with turret weapons only! The SDB's listed in Supplement 9 and in other sources of materials, are armed with lasers and missiles. The more powerful weapons certainly make a huge difference.

2) Smaller ships, like the 1,000 ton DE in the example given by Egil don't usually have the defenses required to stand up to up-gunned smaller ships. It would take a larger ship, say in the 5k range, to more handily beat off an attack. And to defeat stronger escorts, defenders would need to band together. Of course, a fleet of 50-60 SDB's might not be terribly stealthy and draw the unwanted attention of even larger combatants.

3) Some of the example ships don't seem to be terribly powerful against all-up warships. The example of the AHL shows a relatively large ship that would be a threat to small system navies, but if you matched it up with a 60k ton cruiser with heavier armor and less utility it would have a difficult time surviving. The AHL is not, at least in my mind, what I would consider an "assault" class cruiser. Ships that are meant to be first in to a system (and fight against stronger opponents) should have heavier armor and faster drives at the expense of the utility of having fighters and ground troops.

I think whoever mentioned up-thread about SDB's being a supplement has a good idea. They are potentially interesting.
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Re: SDB's vs. Warships

Postby Somebody » Mon Nov 11, 2013 6:09 pm

The AHL "frontier cruiser" was a long legged intruder. It would use J5 to bypass defences / outrun hunters etc. and then strike at the soft underbelly. Going for lightly protected convois and installations. A bit like the german "pocket battleships" and "battlecruisers"(1) in mission - disrupt enemy trade, force him to use heavy units away from the "front lines" and generally cause panik(2)

Using powerful and non-jump system defences against such a "Lone Wolf"(3) can be quite effective. Even more so with the AHL that, according to "Arrival Vengeance" (GDW) had a "weak neck" before here post 5thFF refit and relied on her fuel shuttles with self refueling an "emergency only" option. Taking out fuel shuttle would be worth loosing SDB in a "Back to Bataan" style attack (Duke commanding optional)



(1) Within limits since the "Deutschland" and "Scharnhorst" class ships where actually well armored as it was common for german ships (armor over guns and speed) and Scharnhorst class was not all that long-legged
(2) IRL extrem example: PQ17 and it's reaction to Op: Rösselsprung
(3) Proper Wolf hunting is baiting him with a US "Tincan" and killing with a German "Panzerklumpchen"
phavoc
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Re: SDB's vs. Warships

Postby phavoc » Mon Nov 11, 2013 8:56 pm

The AHL suffered some of the same problems that some of the other capital ships did/do - their acceleration sucks. Most of the larger cruisers and battleships have much higher G ratings, though not all.
Condottiere
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Re: SDB's vs. Warships

Postby Condottiere » Mon Nov 11, 2013 9:06 pm

The equivalent to fisheries protection would be patrolling the asteroid belts, comets and uninhabited planets to see if any unlicensed mining was going on. This would be a more general purpose class than the vessels designated as frontline defense.


AHL acceleration was a compromise, since it's obvious that it's purpose was as a commerce raider. Whether you got your money's worth is another matter.

The Deutschlands were really aimed at disconcerting the French, since the RN would have been able to intercept them with their fast battleships and battlecruisers.
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Re: SDB's vs. Warships

Postby Somebody » Mon Nov 11, 2013 9:42 pm

Ja, the French where the main target. But the Royal Navy was a nice extra since basically only HMS Repair, HMS Refit and HMS Hood could run her down with the KG5s being barely similar in speed (Depending on how long each had been at sea etc). The QEs didn't come close nor did the R-class or Nelsons

If we could look at the Solomanie Rim War (where the AHL made it's debut) my guess is we'll see a similar pattern in Solomanie Ship with a few high maintenance / low production run heavy cruisers or light battleships being able to keep up with the AHL on a strategic movement. Going by TA009 from T20 basically the brand new and rare TL14 Beijing, their Solomanie counterpart, is the only one to keep up but is not a match in a 1:1 and will need her equally bleeding edge escorts, the Dingir Destroyers to take an AHL with a chance of winning. The other ships, being mostly a TL behind at 13 have lower jump and often a not much better (M3) accelleration. So basically the Solomanie need a 250.000dt Dreadnaught (J4/M4) to deal with a 60.000dt heavy cruiser.

Oh, while I am looking at the T20 manuals:

Imperial "heavy" SDB aka Monitors

Seydlitz class Strike Monitor: TL13, 5000dt, M5, Meson Screen/Nuclear Damper, Spinal Meson gun, some armor, high agility

Vishe class Light Monitor: TL12, 1400dt, M6, Particel bay, no screens, heavy armor, high agility
Reynard
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Re: SDB's vs. Warships

Postby Reynard » Mon Nov 11, 2013 10:56 pm

I'd say SDBs also patrol their gas giants from poachers. Why let moochers just help themselves to free hydrogen? I'd be very skeptical any system with enough population, port facilities and the commerce to afford those cutters would allow ships free fuel. The system should be crawling with dozens or hundreds of interplanetary constables.
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Re: SDB's vs. Warships

Postby phavoc » Tue Nov 12, 2013 12:01 am

Reynard wrote:I'd say SDBs also patrol their gas giants from poachers. Why let moochers just help themselves to free hydrogen? I'd be very skeptical any system with enough population, port facilities and the commerce to afford those cutters would allow ships free fuel. The system should be crawling with dozens or hundreds of interplanetary constables.
That's an interesting point. In Traveller planets typically only control their own specific real estate, plus their orbiting bodies. You can have multiple planetary governments within the system however.

And.... there's the little problem of the Imperium, which already claims space between worlds. I'm not sure if anyone can own a gas giant, since you can't colonize the surface. If you can't plant a flag, you can't claim it for yourself or your polity.
We stole countries with the cunning use of flags. Just sail around the world and stick a flag in. "I claim India for Britain!" They're going "You can't claim us, we live here! Five hundred million of us!" "Do you have a flag …? "What? We don't need a flag, this is our home, you bastards" "No flag, No Country, You can't have one! Those are the rules... that I just made up!...and I'm backing it up with this gun, that was lent to me from the National Rifle Association."
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Re: SDB's vs. Warships

Postby F33D » Tue Nov 12, 2013 12:10 am

Reynard wrote:I'd say SDBs also patrol their gas giants from poachers. Why let moochers just help themselves to free hydrogen? I'd be very skeptical any system with enough population, port facilities and the commerce to afford those cutters would allow ships free fuel. The system should be crawling with dozens or hundreds of interplanetary constables.
The cost would be more than what they made in fuel sales.
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Re: SDB's vs. Warships

Postby Condottiere » Tue Nov 12, 2013 4:39 am

A company could be granted a concession on harvesting hydrogen from a gas giant. In any case, it's a means of surveillance and control on system traffic.
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Re: SDB's vs. Warships

Postby Condottiere » Tue Nov 12, 2013 6:56 am

While replying on other forum, I made a realization; regardless of what you might term a class or type, warships expect to be fighting other warships, and try to equip themselves appropriately, or make arrangements that such capabilities can be added later.

If the organization operating such boats is a policing force, their armament would be more proportionate to the capabilities demonstrated by the local criminal elements. Of course, some police forces tend to take a more paramilitary tack and an aggressive stance when they believe they face a non-compliant and/or uncooperative person of interest.
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Re: SDB's vs. Warships

Postby Egil Skallagrimsson » Tue Nov 12, 2013 8:05 pm

Somebody wrote:The other ships, being mostly a TL behind at 13 have lower jump and often a not much better (M3) accelleration. So basically the Solomanie need a 250.000dt Dreadnaught (J4/M4) to deal with a 60.000dt heavy cruiser.
I don't really follow this, there will be no need for defending ships to chase around after the AHL, because it is impossible to chase and engage a ship in jump in the traveller rules. What the Solomani need is just strong system defences on important worlds, the SBDs I was talking about earlier are TL12 designs, and relatively inexpensive, so can be built in great numbers. Throw in some large system monitors, planetoid or otherwise, and the AHL has got real problems, if it has kept enough fuel in reserve, it can jump out, but probably hasn't achieved much. Otherwise it becomes a thinly armoured target for the system defences, most of which, even at TL12, should be of M5 or M6, tactically much quicker than the ridiculous M2 of the AHL in "Fighting Ships". I don't know how different the AHL design was in earlier versions of Trav, but the MgT version is an expensive death trap.

Egil
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Re: SDB's vs. Warships

Postby Egil Skallagrimsson » Tue Nov 12, 2013 8:13 pm

Reynard wrote:I'd say SDBs also patrol their gas giants from poachers. Why let moochers just help themselves to free hydrogen? I'd be very skeptical any system with enough population, port facilities and the commerce to afford those cutters would allow ships free fuel. The system should be crawling with dozens or hundreds of interplanetary constables.
Somewhat surprisingly, the economics of refuelling like this don't really add up, for a merchant ship at least. GGs are usually some distance from the main world, which is where you want to go, and what you save in fuel costs are lost in the transit time to the destination where you intend to off-load.

Of course, if you are not trading, and have plenty of time to wander around the out-system, then fine, I doubt if the Imperial authorities will be bothered if you scoop a little hydrogen.

Egil
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Re: SDB's vs. Warships

Postby F33D » Tue Nov 12, 2013 8:19 pm

Probably about 1/4 of systems will have the GG's in the inner/torrid orbits (inside the stars 100D limit). Those would be the ones that become heavily fortified. An invading force is SOL for refueling until they have defeated the enemy.
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Re: SDB's vs. Warships

Postby Reynard » Tue Nov 12, 2013 9:22 pm

I have Traders and Gunboats which has the classic SDB. I need to pick up Fighting Ships soon which contains the Mongoose version of the Lightning Class so I can test how many SDBs it takes to screw up a cruiser.

My original 1981 copy of Fighting Ships has both the SDB (TL 15) and the Frontier Cruiser (TL14). We can get a sense of comparison.
FC SDB
60Kt 200t
34,227MCr(In quantity) 255MCr(In quantity)
Crew 395 Crew 5
Agility 0 Agility 6
Jump 5 Jump 0
2 G 6 G
80 Light fighters 1 Triple beam laser turret
Spinal Particle Accelerator 1 Triple missile turret
24 - 50 ton missile bays
190 - Triple laser turrets
40 - Dual fusion turrets
130 - Triple sandcasters
Nuclear damper
Meson screen
Armor factor 5 Armor 13
Construction (quantity) 34 months Construction(quantity) 9 months
Note: Reliant on fuel shuttles. Note: No fuel purification
Reynard
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Re: SDB's vs. Warships

Postby Reynard » Tue Nov 12, 2013 9:24 pm

Sorry. Didn't realize the posting feature doesn't like large spacing.
phavoc
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Re: SDB's vs. Warships

Postby phavoc » Tue Nov 12, 2013 10:41 pm

Condottiere wrote:While replying on other forum, I made a realization; regardless of what you might term a class or type, warships expect to be fighting other warships, and try to equip themselves appropriately, or make arrangements that such capabilities can be added later.

If the organization operating such boats is a policing force, their armament would be more proportionate to the capabilities demonstrated by the local criminal elements. Of course, some police forces tend to take a more paramilitary tack and an aggressive stance when they believe they face a non-compliant and/or uncooperative person of interest.
You bring up some very valid points here.

Also, as players, we tend to min/max our designs. They are bristling with firepower, but we never think about what the added costs/tech mean when it comes to servicing the debt for decades, providing spares, etc, etc. A TL6 planet is going to have to import it's SDB's (and pretty much it's entire military tech) from somewhere else, at a higher expense. It's nothing that hasn't been done before and makes perfect sense. The UK used to build battleships and cruisers for other navies in the day, and today you still see some countries building warships and major weapons systems for others. These countries have to take into account their budget and potential enemies. None of them are equipped or try to fight major powers. Usually it's just their jacked-up local neighbors, insurgents or being able to rattle their sabre and chase down evil fishermen in their waters.
Egil Skallagrimsson wrote:Somewhat surprisingly, the economics of refuelling like this don't really add up, for a merchant ship at least. GGs are usually some distance from the main world, which is where you want to go, and what you save in fuel costs are lost in the transit time to the destination where you intend to off-load.

Of course, if you are not trading, and have plenty of time to wander around the out-system, then fine, I doubt if the Imperial authorities will be bothered if you scoop a little hydrogen.
Yeah, the days you would need to transit to the GG, refuel, then maneuver away from it usually makes no economic sense. The cost in lost potential revenue would generally outweigh the savings.
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Re: SDB's vs. Warships

Postby Reynard » Tue Nov 12, 2013 11:47 pm

That's why, even in our 21st century world, we developed supertankers. I'm sure you may also see incredibly huge freighters coming and going from non-mainworld sources. Economy is bulk.
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Re: SDB's vs. Warships

Postby phavoc » Wed Nov 13, 2013 12:09 am

Reynard wrote:That's why, even in our 21st century world, we developed supertankers. I'm sure you may also see incredibly huge freighters coming and going from non-mainworld sources. Economy is bulk.
A few things that should also be present in the Traveller universe as ours is... large freighters to move cargo between mainworlds, smaller ones to deliver it to secondary places, and everything possible is put in a container for shipment.

I did some research on that when I was doing my containerization for Traveller. The efficiency of containers over break-bulk cargo's is phenomenal. Containers and increased automation killed most of the longshoreman jobs everywhere.
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Re: SDB's vs. Warships

Postby F33D » Wed Nov 13, 2013 12:47 am

phavoc wrote:
Reynard wrote: I did some research on that when I was doing my containerization for Traveller. The efficiency of containers over break-bulk cargo's is phenomenal. Containers and increased automation killed most of the longshoreman jobs everywhere.
The transformation was amazing. IMTU everything is in containers. Vacuum rated. Ships down to Tramps are designed to haul containers. Containers & popcycles is what Tramps move. Rarely any regular passengers due to the VERY high ticket price.

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