Thursday, May 22, 2008

What? More?

Okay: setting aside the Book 5 issue for now, it seems to me that:

A)The fleet with the faster ships can choose whether or not to fight.
B) Battles are won by bringing the most guns to the fight.
C)That being said, after winning the fight, you have to be able to defend what you've taken.
D)Also, unless you're set on fighting entirely defensive battles, you have to be able to get to where you want to fight without being stopped midway.
E)Also, you need to be able to locate the enemy and deliver that knowledge to your main fleet.

Fighters are fast, and are one of the cheapest ways to bring the most guns to the fight, with the disadvantages that 1) they require retrieval, which is time consuming and 2) they lack resilience, and 3) they lack endurance. They are also limited in computer power: they're easier to hit than one might like, and they're pretty much limited to missiles in order to be effective. They're good at A, and B but of limited use for C, and no help at all for D or E.

So big carriers, alone, don't win the day. Or, they might win the day, but I don't think they can win a war.

The biggest warships are rather sluggish: if both sides are set on fighting, they can go at it hammer & tongs, but if the other side decides to withdraw in-system and fight a nuisance war, they can. 4-5000 ton ships are good at B, but they're slow (no A.) Also, they suffer almost as badly from drive hits as do merchant craft: they're fragile. Their jump range is short, too; so they're not so good for reconnaissance, and UNLESS they carry enough fuel for multiple jumps, they can be harassed on the way to their targets.

Smaller warships, of 1-3000 tons, with long ranges and high speeds, are more versatile. They can engage or disengage more readily than bigger vessels; if they carry extra fuel they have greater jump freedom. They are more resilient, in some ways, than their larger sisters (they can maintain better performance after receiving drive hits.) A ship with more than one jump's worth of fuel can hop in-system, make contact and jump out if need be. Less effective, then, at B, but A, C, D, and E speak well for task forces of mid-range frigates.

There's the additional issue of ships designed to take advantage of the Double-Fire program: ships with a power plant one number more effective than the maneuver drive: with a bigger warship, this makes for a pretty slow vessel, but puts a lot more lasers in play. The fastest of these would be 5g; Laser frigates of this kind might be even slower- meant to accompany carriers.

THAT SAID, a single ship engaging a combined fleet will be obliterated no matter what it is. So while individual cruisers might succeed at reconnaissance missions, any engagements will be done with battle fleets, and they'll move in concert. "The Fleet That Preys Together, Stays Together"

(Which means I might want to convert the "Statistical Method" of combat resolution from TCS over to Book 2 combat rules. I don't want carpal tunnel from dice rolling.)

Here's a guideline for what I want to put together for a TL 15 book 2 fleet:
Fleet jump capability of 6 parsecs, either at once or in two Jump-3s without refueling
Significant elements of the fleet should have an in-system speed of 6gs.

2 Comments:

Blogger Omer Golan said...

Fighters are extremely effective in LBB2, so effective that they could bring about almost ten times the guns of a warship of their equivalent tonnage. You are correct about their weakness in interstellar intelligence gathering, but for holding systems you'd probably want smaller carriers, less expensive than the main attack carriers (and thus able to be mass-produced to control more systems at once).

You'll also need smaller (and high-jump) scouting craft for locating enemy fleets and reporting back to the carrier battlegroup; fast couriers for communications between the fleets and HQ; smaller destroyers/escorts with as many lasers as possible used to defend the carrier against enemy fighters (and against missiles if you allow IYTU for ships to shoot down missiles destined to other ships); supply-ships (probably quite big themselves); fuel-tankers; troop-carriers to capture ground targets; and small, cheap, fast and versatile light cruisers for independent frontier patrol.

Also, I won't suggest warships to be capable of Jump-6 if only for the fact that 60% of their tonnage goes to fuel rather than fighters, which means that they'll be greatly outgunned by lower-jump carriers, especially non-starship carriers used for homeworld defense. The main fleets should probably be Jump-3 or so; reserve the higher fuel tank percentages for couriers or raider-craft.

9:41 AM  
Blogger Festeria said...

The one thing I did find with fighters is that even in LBB2, if you've got the computers maxed out as military craft would, they're at a significant disadvantage in a laser fight - so they're pretty well limited as missile-carriers. They're effective at that, but their endurance is low in a long fight, and if they're forced on the defensive against incoming missiles, they're dead unless they've a computer swapped in big enough to load up ECM.

I cobbled up a 1000-ish ton fleet scout capable of J-6; it mounted a couple missile turrets for sensor drones, a couple sandcasters and a complement of lasers. No room for troops or anything, but it could handle the fleet recon end of things pretty well. In practice, it would probably be operating at J-3, but having the option of a long jump seemed smart. It'd also serve well in the courier role, and would make a decent raider in a pinch.

Book 2 ships tend to have so much free space after drives and weapons
that I think it pays to have ships be able to carry their own supplies. My rule of thumb (which I pulled off ctstarships, I think)is that a ship can carry supply (not counting fuel) for 1 month's operations in cargo space = to 1% of the ship's tonnage; a warship might well carry fuel for multiple jumps and have as much as 5% of its tonnage given over to "logistic space." This all would vary from navy to navy: different worlds might have different strategic philosophies. As I envision the Festrian Empire, it's philosophy is less invasion based and more siege based: so fewer troop carriers perhaps.

Ships of the line, generally, will have to be limited to j3 ships in the 3-4k range unless they're dedicated to the home defense role, in which case they can be as big as all getout since what they're defending isn't going anywhere that fast.

10:31 AM  

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