The Close Escort: not viable?

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AnotherDilbert
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Re: The Close Escort: not viable?

Postby AnotherDilbert » Sat Jun 17, 2017 11:45 pm

Sigtrygg wrote:
Sat Jun 17, 2017 10:51 am
The problem is the Gazelle was designed to be effective under a LBB2/HG79 combat paradigm.

It was not very good once you switch to HG80.
I can't judge how effective it would be in HG'79 combat, but it is worth noting that the original JTAS4 version had heavy armour (max for TL15).

The later HG'80 version dispensed with the armour and shrunk it to 300 Dt.
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Re: The Close Escort: not viable?

Postby h1ro » Sun Jun 18, 2017 4:05 am

With new design sequences, ship combat rules and 40 years of tweaking, it seems a little unfair to pit the venerable ships of the 3I against newer models optimized with the current rule set. I don't think that 25G ships were even thought of back when the Gazelle first appeared, things were firmly limited to 6G if I recall correctly.

It hardly seems a fair fight.

Perhaps the Gazelle should also be optimized with the current 2e High Guard and not simply rehashed from a previous incarnation?

Looking at the ship combat rules, they've obviously been carefully structured not to create a simulation but to enable certain kinds of battle. For example, given the mechanics of how ships might actually move in deep space it seems unlikely that dogfighting in a manner similar to current aircraft (or X-wings and Tie fighters!) would happen but the decision was made from a gaming point of view that that's what was wanted. Fair enough. I quite like addressing it from the other direction, where the kind of ships we can make and how they might move along with the battle space determine the tactics employed but that's a whole other wormhole!

We will all maximize our ship designs to get the most from each ship in the context of the rules. In real life we are limited by other (more complicated) aspects but everything has limits and pushing the designs to the edge of the limits to get the game we want is good.

Personally, I'd like to see a book published that detailed a sector, or perhaps more reasonably a sub sector, navy. Starting with the resources available - a budget derived from the (sub) sectors collective GWPs, the number of A class ports where ships could be built and the naval bases to support them. Detail how the ships are organized, how they're intended to fight and what opposition they're designed to counter.

Just how many war ships can a sector afford? What kind/size are they and where/how frequently do they patrol?
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Re: The Close Escort: not viable?

Postby paltrysum » Sun Jun 18, 2017 4:43 am

That is a good point. I could be wrong, but I don't seem to remember CT's Rampart fighter being able to go toe to toe with the Gazelle, yet today a typical fighter would mop the floor with it. The Gazelle may have been set up for failure but adhering too closely with its past incarnations.
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AnotherDilbert
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Re: The Close Escort: not viable?

Postby AnotherDilbert » Sun Jun 18, 2017 10:36 am

A 20 dT Rampart V, even with only a m/2bis computer, is difficult to hit.

The HG'80 Gazelle's Particle barbettes would hit on 15+ (0.0%) and the lasers would hit on 13+ (0.0%).

The Rampart's missiles can actually hit on 7+ (58,3%) and penetrates the Gazelle's lasers on 6+ (72,2%).

Conclusion: A HG'80 Gazelle is defenceless against a single light fighter.


Not that I would call the Rampart a very effective fighter, without either armour or a reasonable computer. Against a real warship the Ramparts would also be chance-less.

The 50 Dt Heavy Fighter from S9 is much tougher, but still ineffective against a proper warship.
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Re: The Close Escort: not viable?

Postby AnotherDilbert » Sun Jun 18, 2017 11:13 am

h1ro wrote: With new design sequences, ship combat rules and 40 years of tweaking, it seems a little unfair to pit the venerable ships of the 3I against newer models optimized with the current rule set. I don't think that 25G ships were even thought of back when the Gazelle first appeared, things were firmly limited to 6G if I recall correctly.

It hardly seems a fair fight.
Indeed, most standard designs are not well thought through and are essentially not fit for purpose. Serendipitously that means that we can all design better ships ourselves.

h1ro wrote: Just how many war ships can a sector afford? What kind/size are they and where/how frequently do they patrol?
TCS (or Pocket Empires) gives us a hint, and the answer is a lot of them.

The Imperial part of the Spinward Marches has a population of about 255 billion. If we estimate a GDP of kCr 5 / capita that is a total GDP of TCr~1275. It the worlds, subsectors, and Imperials together spend 1% of that on ships we get an annual budget of TCr 12.75 or a total fleet of about TCr 127.5. That is enough for about 1 000 battleships, 5 000 cruisers, 100 000 frigates, or any combination thereof.

The more populous and wealthier(?) core sectors would have perhaps 5 - 10 times that.

To allow some piracy and other shenanigans we have to tone that down significantly...
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Re: The Close Escort: not viable?

Postby Reynard » Sun Jun 18, 2017 12:20 pm

When using Pocket Empire factors to determine economies, there are a LOT of worlds with little to contribute toward their own defense let alone hand money over to subsector or Imperial organizations. Some places may be lucky enough to have a ton of money for a fleet while surrounded by worlds that can't scape together patrol ships. That means military forces are stretched all over the place, the Imperium as an big example. This is why the Imperium doesn't automatically win wars or get stuck with draws. Same for the opposition. This is also why higher military organizations often find themselves grabbing units of all sorts from lower levels including local patrol craft.
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Re: The Close Escort: not viable?

Postby Condottiere » Sun Jun 18, 2017 12:23 pm

Close escort implies the ship sticks close to the vessel(s) it's escorting.

A more defensive set up would be a point defence and sandcasters to obscure the target.
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Re: The Close Escort: not viable?

Postby h1ro » Sun Jun 18, 2017 2:06 pm

AnotherDilbert wrote:
Sun Jun 18, 2017 11:13 am
Indeed, most standard designs are not well thought through and are essentially not fit for purpose. Serendipitously that means that we can all design better ships ourselves.
Makes me wonder why the old ships are clung onto. New game, new ships, evolve the setting...
Last edited by h1ro on Sun Jun 18, 2017 2:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Close Escort: not viable?

Postby h1ro » Sun Jun 18, 2017 2:17 pm

AnotherDilbert wrote:
Sun Jun 18, 2017 11:13 am
TCS (or Pocket Empires) gives us a hint, and the answer is a lot of them.

The Imperial part of the Spinward Marches has a population of about 255 billion. If we estimate a GDP of kCr 5 / capita that is a total GDP of TCr~1275. It the worlds, subsectors, and Imperials together spend 1% of that on ships we get an annual budget of TCr 12.75 or a total fleet of about TCr 127.5. That is enough for about 1 000 battleships, 5 000 cruisers, 100 000 frigates, or any combination thereof.

The more populous and wealthier(?) core sectors would have perhaps 5 - 10 times that.

To allow some piracy and other shenanigans we have to tone that down significantly...
Thanks for throwing some numbers out there.

What's the average life span of a warship? 50 years? 100 years? How often do you need to replace them as they wear versus becoming obsolete?

Say it's 100 years (the obsolescence argument is harder as the 3I has been stuck at TL15 for a long time!). Don't know if my math is right but to me that would mean that the actual budget for ships would be a percentage of gross sector product times 100 (years). The complete line of ships would be replaced over this time period. The cost of new ships would be but a small part of it, running costs for the ships and infrastructure to support them would need to be figured. I can see this being a major headache to work out and still being a gross oversimplification. Certainly doing it for an organization the size of the IN it might get a little out of hand.
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Re: The Close Escort: not viable?

Postby Reynard » Sun Jun 18, 2017 7:39 pm

The Gazelle may have been set up for failure but adhering too closely with its past incarnations."

Considering all the escorts and destroyers are too weak to stand up to fusion barbette strike fighters, I'd say most cruisers and up are fairly helpless against an enemy's fighters. As with any war, better offense calls for better and costlier offense. Maxed out Pronghorn CEs built solely to take on strike fighters and survive against them.
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Re: The Close Escort: not viable?

Postby AnotherDilbert » Sun Jun 18, 2017 8:42 pm

You need the usual suspects to make a survivable warship: armour, a big computer, and possibly nuclear dampers. It's not rocket science...

Both patrol vessels and warships have their role to play just as currently. We just have to accept that the old LBB2-type designs just adding a few turrets to an unarmoured hull are not warships, but lightly armed civilians, e.g. Gazelle, Patrol Corvette, and Mercenary Cruiser.
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Re: The Close Escort: not viable?

Postby h1ro » Sun Jun 18, 2017 9:36 pm

For shits and giggles I started the smallest ship that will hold the largest meson spinal this morning. I quickly realized it was going to be a battle rider. Will finish it up at some point (120,000 ton ships take a lot of work) along with a battle tender to carry it. Will see how many I can clamp to one tender.

Would ships like this form the backbone of a sector navy?
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Re: The Close Escort: not viable?

Postby Condottiere » Sun Jun 18, 2017 10:28 pm

Dogfighting could explain how Luke Skywalker had all the time in the world to drop a torpedo down a thermal exhaust shaft.

As for sector fleets, shepherding around a bunch of non jump capable warships is a lot easier, since the area you have to defend is a lot smaller, and though large enough that the enemy's objectives become clear.

I\m going to guess this is the operational scale of the regional Imperium Navy commands.
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Re: The Close Escort: not viable?

Postby phavoc » Sun Jun 18, 2017 10:34 pm

h1ro wrote:
Sun Jun 18, 2017 2:06 pm
AnotherDilbert wrote:
Sun Jun 18, 2017 11:13 am
Indeed, most standard designs are not well thought through and are essentially not fit for purpose. Serendipitously that means that we can all design better ships ourselves.
Makes me wonder why the old ships are clung onto. New game, new ships, evolve the setting...
This has to do more with tradition. The problem here is that AnotherDilbert's fighter was built using a rule set that didn't exist in 1970, from which the Gazelle origininates. It would only be a fair comparison if you took the hull of the Gazelle and totally re-designed it to operate in a universe of 25G fighters.

Some of the original designs made no sense - who makes a cruiser with zero armor levels? In combat between navies you are going to expect nukes flying around like crazy, and you build ships without dampners and rad protection?? I suppose they were only using today's naval ships as a comparison - nobody builds armored ships anymore. They are, literally, tin cans.
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Re: The Close Escort: not viable?

Postby Condottiere » Sun Jun 18, 2017 10:39 pm

There are a lot of barely armoured military vehicles, experience either evolves a version where speed is emphasized, or you add more armour and go more slowly.
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Re: The Close Escort: not viable?

Postby AnotherDilbert » Sun Jun 18, 2017 11:27 pm

phavoc wrote: This has to do more with tradition.
Yes, it is still Traveller and we expect to recognise the iconic ships such as the Scout, Free Trader, ..., and Gazelle.

phavoc wrote: The problem here is that AnotherDilbert's fighter was built using a rule set that didn't exist in 1970, from which the Gazelle origininates. It would only be a fair comparison if you took the hull of the Gazelle and totally re-designed it to operate in a universe of 25G fighters.
The Gazelle had exactly the same problem in HG'80 (but perhaps not in HG'79):
AnotherDilbert wrote:
Sun Jun 18, 2017 10:36 am
The HG'80 Gazelle's Particle barbettes would hit on 15+ (0.0%) and the lasers would hit on 13+ (0.0%).
...
Conclusion: A HG'80 Gazelle is defenceless against a single light fighter.
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Re: The Close Escort: not viable?

Postby AnotherDilbert » Sun Jun 18, 2017 11:34 pm

Reynard wrote: When using Pocket Empire factors to determine economies, there are a LOT of worlds with little to contribute toward their own defense let alone hand money over to subsector or Imperial organizations.
Yes, the majority of the Imperium's population, and hence economy, lives in ~300 pop A systems, and the vast majority (80-90%) lives in ~1000 pop 9+ systems. The other 10000 systems are just noise to the Emperor, produce very little and are worth very little.
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Re: The Close Escort: not viable?

Postby AnotherDilbert » Sun Jun 18, 2017 11:55 pm

h1ro wrote: What's the average life span of a warship? 50 years? 100 years? How often do you need to replace them as they wear versus becoming obsolete?
I'm not aware of any canon on this, but I have always assumed that since the average mortgage is 40 years, the economic life-length of a ship is about 40 years. Since technology advances so slowly, they rarely become completely obsolete.

After 40 years it is simply cheaper to buy a new ship than to continue to operate an old, worn-out relic kept together by duct tape and hope.

For a military ship it might mean it serves 40 years, perhaps 20 years in a first rate fleet, and after a mid-life refit another 20 years in a reserve fleet. Then the Imperial fleet scraps them or sells them to some cash strapped subsector fleet or client state that can accept more break-downs and keeping the ship in the yard a month or three every year.


For a comparison modern large freighters seems to be replaced after about 20 years, but I guess that has a lot to do with fuel economy.
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Re: The Close Escort: not viable?

Postby AnotherDilbert » Mon Jun 19, 2017 12:02 am

h1ro wrote:
Sun Jun 18, 2017 9:36 pm
Would ships like this form the backbone of a sector navy?
I don't think Battle Riders are a good idea in MgT2. A Battleship will have a lot more Hull points, and hence be a lot harder to kill. But I have only worked through a few simple examples.

The Battle Rider was a tactical response to the LBB5 principle that when a spinal meson hit the target was destroyed, no matter how large or well protected.

Since MgT2 combat is entirely attritional, the Battleship is now the better choice.
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Re: The Close Escort: not viable?

Postby Reynard » Mon Jun 19, 2017 12:05 am

Problem is everyone is asserting Gazelles in fleet organizations are tasked with engaging the most powerful fighters (a strike fighter with a fusion barbette is a ship killer with no business bothering with escort size craft), gunboats and cruisers in single combat rather than part of a defense array that takes advantage of each asset. If anything smaller than a fleet escort cruiser is useless then the majority of fleets should be all carrier with the best and most expensive ship killing fighters. Let the escorts remain as system defense until the enemy carrier force comes.

I believe the ships such as the Gazelles and the two destroyer escorts never got a make over because they and most other adventure lever ships don't ever expect to encounter and engage warships period. A warship (squadron, task force or fleet) in any Traveller game is a plot device. Even a destroyer escort is more a threat than an unstoppable disaster to player characters. Adventure class ships are also built economically and reasonably rather than an admiral's unlimited budget wet dream. Best way to put it for Gazelles (and other small warships), if they are called into service for the subsector of Imperial navy, they are no longer part of anyone's campaign. If you see Gazelles as part of a fleet in your system, be awed by how many there are and move on or run because this might be the next battle.

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