On Naval Warfare

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On Naval Warfare

Post by Magister Militum » Mon Aug 31, 2009 11:23 pm

(Note: The following was originally part of a post for TEG's blog, but has instead morphed into part one of a treatise on naval warfare. Expect it to be updated as time goes by)


On Naval Warfare

For a polity to be a great pan-galactic empire, it must have many things. It must have vast territories in the Home Galaxy and many colonies in the satellite galaxies ready to the exploited. It must have the ability to coerce or entice smaller, independent polities, be they colonial or native in nature, into providing access into their markets or act as vassals. And it must have the ability to protect its interests and expand the empire if her political masters see fit to do so. In all cases, said polity cannot accomplish any of these tasks without having a strong navy. Indeed, throughout recorded history, the greatest empires the Milky Way has ever known built and maintained their hegemonies through the power of their awesome starfleets. It is no different for the galactic powers of today, either, as they constantly work to gain whatever advantage they can acquire, be it through merit or deceit, in the realms of naval warfare so that their empire may stand above the rest. The following treatise covers the nature of naval warfare in all its forms, be it the starships, weapons, technologies, or doctrines used by the various powers of the day. Ground warfare will be covered in its own separate treatise.


Warship Classes

With the exception of a few unique designs, virtually all warships are grouped together in classes based on size, power, and relative economic cost, which are listed below. Starfighters and other strikecraft, such as gunboats, and their impact on naval warfare will be discussed in their own separate section.

Ships of the Wall

Superdreadnought (SD): Massive, incredibly heavily armed and armored, and having more in common with a star fortress than a battleship, superdreadnoughts are some of the largest and most powerful conventional warships that can be fielded by any power with enough wealth. These titans among giants are designed for very long-range, high-endurance campaigns, where combat can take place over a span of days. To that end, superdreadnoughts often feature the facilities needed to command and support whole formations of lesser ships, which include dedicated C4ISR facilities, considerable space for ammo, supply, and fuel bunkerage, and even small-scale manufactories for limited resupply and repair purposes. Battlecarrier versions will add in the ability to transport and deploy significant numbers of strikecraft and soldiers to aid dedicated carriers and troopships. And, of course, there the SD’s massive amounts of firepower, armor, and battlescreens that allow the ship to shred whole formations of lesser ships. Supredreadnought subtypes include general purpose (pure combatant with no troop or parasite carrying capabilities), escort, and battlecarrier.

Dreadnought (DN): The smaller sibling to the superdreadnought, dreadnoughts are high endurance warships meant to act as a stepping stone between the fortress with engines that is the superdreadnought and the lighter battleship. Not as ponderous as its larger sibling, the dreadnought is capable of greater accelerations and maneuverability, though it lacks a part of the firepower and defenses of and SD. Like the superdreadnought, a DN can be expected to fight on for a considerable amount of time, as well as patrolling space for extended periods of time before having to be resupplied. Dreadnought subtypes include guided missile, fast, general purpose, and battlecarrier.

Battleship (BB): The standard ship of the wall and the most common and prolific member of the family, the battleship is a heavily armed and armored warship meant for front-line combat, escorting larger, more vulnerable warships, such as carriers, from attack, and leading wolfpacks of high speed raiders. Unlike the other ships of the wall, battleships lack the sheer endurance and firepower of their more ponderous siblings, but make up for it via the large numbers of BBs than can built in relation to DNs and SDs and its deadly combination of speed (compared to the others) and firepower. When properly used and deployed alongside its escorts, a flotilla of battleships can pummel even the largest SD into scrap. Notable subtypes include the fast battleship, used almost exclusively for scouting and leading wolfpack raiders, and the escort battleship, which coordinates the defenses of a carrier battle group.

Battlecruiser (CC): While not technically a ship of the wall, battlecruisers are often lumped into the category due to their similarities with battleships. Fast and very well armed, if very thin skinned, battlecruisers serve as excellent raiders and can even engage capital ships at missile range (but not at gun range!) thanks to its ability to carry very heavy missile armaments, such as anti-capital ship missiles. Battlecruisers tend to have an unusually large starfighter wing for further power projection and exceptionally powerful battlescreens to compensate for their lack of almost any armor. Their speed and powerful punch has resulted in certain polities, such as the Imperial Commonwealth, to make use of the battlecruiser as their principal rapid-response warship.

Carriers

Large Carrier (CVB): Essentially a mobile naval base, large carriers (referred to often as supercarriers) are the largest pure carrier in use with any polity. Built on dreadnought hulls, large carriers play host to a truly massive carrier space wing. A truly huge number of drone starfighters, bombers, gunboats, and sublight warships operate out of its cavernous hangars, capable of mauling even the largest ship and rendering it blind and crippled for dedicated warships to finish off. Smaller escorts can be outright annihilated by the ordnance a wave of heavy drones can deliver. Unlike lighter carriers, large carriers can also mount considerable support weapons, allowing them to participate in major fleet actions. Naturally, their large size makes them also suitable for transport troops and their heaviest equipment, as well as acting as flagships for naval formations.

Fleet Carrier (CVF): The most common type of carrier in use, fleet carriers are a general purpose type of warship that can handle planetary invasions, fleet support, base strikes, etc. via its vast parasite fleet. While they still maintain the extensive EW and C&C facilities of the large carrier, they lack much of the heavy anti-starship weaponry found on their larger siblings, and, as such, must stay out of the main fight and rely on its escorts for protection. This isn't so much of a problem considering the fact that much of a fleet carrier's CSW is FTL capable, and thus can be deployed to the battle space from afar. The defenses of a fleet carrier, however, are excellent, and said ships are surprisingly fast for their tonnage.

Attack Carrier (CVA): A more specialized carrier, attack carriers are designed for two closely related missions: moving deep into enemy space and hitting military and industrial targets (thus freeing up fleet carriers for more important duties) and delivering strategic-level ordnance to enemy targets. Because of its mission parameters, the CSW's of attack carriers are devoted primarily to heavy bombers and occasionally gunboats, with limited fighter escort available. Standard strategic ordnance includes implosion and black hole munitions (Tannhäuser weapons being far too large for bombers to deliver), with more conventional, albeit high-yield, ordnance occasionally being used depending on the target. CVA's also have extensive EW suites, as well as a top-of-the-line cloaking device.

Light Carrier (CVL): A scaled down version of the fleet carrier, light fleet carriers act as a multipurpose carrier that can carry out a wide assortment of duties, ranging from fleet support via its CSW to commanding smaller task groups and formations. While their smaller size means that they can only carry half to two-thirds of the starfighter compliment of a fleet carrier, their speed and more prodigious nature allows them to act as rapid response carriers in far-flung sectors or to provide additional starfighter support for fleets and convoys. Like fleet carriers, light carriers have very little in the way of anti-ship weapons and are dependent on its escorts and starfighter wings for defense. Their hull and battlescreens, however, are surprisingly durable, with the largest light carriers having battlecruiser level defenses.

Escort Carrier (CVE): Dirt cheap and easy to build in huge numbers, escort carriers, like its name suggests, are devoted primarily to escorting convoys through dangerous space and providing additional starfighter support for escort ships that have little to no starfighter escort. During times of total war, escort carriers are often constructed from re-appropriated freighters or cruise liners, or the hulls of scrapped ships. In addition to the already mentioned duties, CVE's are also often used for hunter-killer missions against raiders or Q-ships.

Cruisers

Large Cruiser (CB): Often referred to as an intermediary between battlecruisers and heavy cruisers, large cruisers (technically large heavy cruisers) are the kings of cruisers. Designed to hunt down and destroy heavy cruisers and other lighter warships, large cruisers maintain powerful heavy gun and missile armaments, as well as an oversized reactor plant to boot. Like fast battleships, their engines are also uncommonly large and powerful, allowing them to chase down faster warships and act as heavy raiders. Large cruisers do not carry any on-board parasite craft other than shuttles, and can often be found acting as cruiser leaders in addition to their regular cruiser killer duties. Despite their robustness, a large cruiser would be hard pressed to fight a battlecruiser, let alone a ship of the wall.

Heavy Cruiser (CA): The jack-of-all-trades of many navies, heavy cruisers are long-ranged vessels that balance the robustness of a large cruiser with the speed of a light cruiser. Because of this, heavy cruisers undertake a myriad array of missions, including 'showing the flag', screening for larger warships, and, most famously, long-range, independent patrols. As such, heavy cruisers have high endurance and have the supplies and facilities necessary to operate away from their bases for very long periods of time. Heavy carriers, in addition to their support craft, also carry a small force of starfighters for tactical support. Many subtypes of heavy cruisers exist, such as gun cruisers, guided missile cruisers (CG), scout cruisers, and command cruisers. Due to the 'lone wolf' nature of some of the ship's missions, heavy cruisers are often one of the most sought after commands for captains.

Light Cruiser (CL): The light cruiser is a fast screening ship designed to hunt down and destroy destroyers, attack ships, and starfighters via its versatile array of anti-starship and anti-starfighter weapons. Against other cruisers, a light cruiser can perform admirably by using its agility, weapon power, and defenses. Light cruisers lack the diversity of their heavier siblings, but still include several subtypes that are important for a fleet. Escort cruisers (which tend to have heavy missile armaments) provide area defense and a stable platform against light craft, while torpedo cruisers sacrifice most of their armament for massive batteries of torpedo tubes that can threaten even dreadnoughts at close range, for example. Like their heavier siblings, light cruisers can also carry a small starfighter compliment.

Escorts

Destroyer Leader (DL): A larger and more potent version of the common destroyer, destroyer leaders (sometimes referred to as fleet destroyers) are the principal ship used in commanding destroyer formations or other formations of escort ships. While it does have more firepower and stronger armor/battlescreens, the main feature of a destroyer leader is its massively expanded command and control and datalink systems. Said systems allow for destroyer and escort divisions to act as one networked warship, synchronizing their movements and fire control systems to devastating effect.

Destroyer (DD): The most common medium-weight warship seen in the galaxy, destroyers serve as the principal main screening unit and convoy protection craft in many navies. Capable of chasing down lighter warships yet heavy enough to lead independent missions, destroyers may be insignificant when compared to other naval titans, but can still reduce worlds to molten slag given enough time, as well as deliver both starfighter and troop formations and their vehicles to hot spots throughout the galaxy. Destroyer subtypes include torpedo destroyers, guided missile destroyers, and destroyer-carriers. Destroyers are typically the smallest warship to have class names and individual ship names. DD's are often lovingly referred to by their crew as 'tin cans'.

Destroyer Escort (DE): A smaller, slower version of the destroyer, destroyer escorts are designed primarily to escort convoys and provide anti-starfighter and anti-attack ship defense. Destroyer escorts maintain the gun armaments of a destroyer, but lack its torpedo and missile armaments and have reduced starfighter and troop transport capabilities. While slow, they do enjoy surprising range when compared to lesser escorts, and have much greater durability than a frigate or corvette.

Frigate (FF): Usually used for anti-piracy and light combat duties, frigates are general purpose warships used for patrolling the space lanes and providing 'presence' for their patron nations in remote sectors. Unlike destroyer escorts, which can operate independently, frigates are normally short-ranged craft that are dependent on tenders for support. Longer-ranged and more heavily armed versions, known as fleet frigates, lack those restrictions, however, and are often attached to larger ships as escorts and secondary screens.

Corvette (K): Corvettes are small, fast warships that are dirt cheat and used for a staggering multitude of tasks. Often seen patrolling calmer areas or acting as a picket, corvettes are also extremely suitable for interdiction and raiding campaigns against merchant convoys and logistic trains behind enemy lines. To this end, raider corvettes are fitted with high grade ECM gear and extremely efficient cloaking devices, as well as FTL-capable anti-starship torpedoes (not to be confused with their much larger capital-grade brethren) to take out thin skinned starships with one or two hits. Their surprising punch has resulting in raider corvettes being a common sight on many carriers and larger warships, which carry at least a few of them to compliment their longer range craft, such as gunboats and heavy starfighters.

Others

Planetary Assault Lander(LPA): A hybrid troop transport/carrier/mobile fortress, planetary assault landers are the main type of starship used in planetary invasions. The ship's starfighter compliment and heavy weapons (biased toward the planetary bombardment role, but still capable of engaging warships) are used to break through battlescreens and clear landing zones of all hostiles before a LPA lands and unleashes its cargo. The sheer size of a planetary lander allows it to not only deploy vast quantities of troops and their heaviest weapons, such as planetary assault vehicles, but also to act as its garrison (at least until a proper base can be built) and stronghold. In the case of the latter, a LPA can deliver strategic-level ordnance across vast distances and, if necessary, use its propulsion systems (typically its counter-gravity generators) to transport itself to the front lines and provide direct fire support. Referred to by its crew as battle barges, planetary assault landers have become one of the most treasured assets of any army or marine force in operation in the galaxy.

Monitor (BM): Built on battleship-scale hulls, monitors are that are loaded to the brim with massive amounts of weapons, defenses, and reactors, but at the cost of almost no interstellar travel capability. As such, monitors are strictly system defense craft that guard homesapce and supply lines from enemy raiders. Compared to other ships of the wall, monitors are much cheaper to construct, resulting in an economy of force in their use as garrison units. Because of their semi-modular construction process, monitors can swap in and out a wide variety of weapon systems to suit their needs. Variations of the design, known as fleet monitors, convert the typical monitor into a interstellar-grade siege ship, whose massive weapon banks are designed to crack open even the strongest defenses.

Fleet Tender (FT): Having more in common with a naval station than anything else, fleet tenders are massive starships that are designed to provide virtually every service imaginable to whole fleets. Not only do said ships maintain the neutronium generators necessary to provide fuel for the fleet and the massive hydroponic farms to feed its spacemen, but they can also repair (and given enough time, build) warships and undertake their own construction projects via their hyperfabricating nanolathes. Left to its own devices and with access to sufficient raw materials, a fleet tender or group of fleet tenders can create a self-sustaining fortress in what was once a barren star system. Fleet tenders tend to vary in size, with fleet and armada-level formations typically receiving more comprehensive versions. Those naval formations that operate far from nearby bases for extended periods of time, such as those belonging to the Imperial Commonwealth's Royal Extragalactic Forces or the United States S.T.R.I.K.E. Command, in contrast, make use of some of the largest and most comprehensive fleet tenders available.

Pocket Battleship (BL): In reality a heavy cruiser in terms of tonnage, pocket battleships are heavy cruisers equipped with battleship-grade weaponry that could, in theory, destroy anything smaller than it and outrun anything larger than it. While in theory the pocket battleship had some potential and could certainly devastate lighter ships, in reality they proved to be unable to cope with the speed and firepower of large cruisers or battlecruisers, which could chase them down and rip them to shreds. Despite that, the design occasionally reappears every so often within the navies of certain powers. Unfortunately, the design has also occasionally shown up in the arsenals of certain pirate kingdoms.

Combat Planetoid (CP): Combat Planetoids (also known as battlemoons or warmoons) are the single largest class of starship that have been used within the Milky Way. Starting at 500 kilometers in diameter and going up to 1000+, combat planetoids are mobile fortress worlds, capable destroying whole worlds and armadas singlehandedly and pacifying entire sectors with its on-board fleet of warships, clouds of starfighters, and vast armies. Capable of immense power projection and seemingly unlimited range, combat planetoids are also very expensive and time consuming to make (at least in comparison to conventional starships). In addition, there is also the concern of the 'all your eggs in one basket' phenomena. Used occasionally, combat planetoids, as of right now, are not being fielding by any polity in the Milky Way. Rumors, however, are circulating that the Imperial Commonwealth may be considering reviving the terrible monster...
Last edited by Magister Militum on Mon Sep 21, 2009 4:12 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: On Naval Warfare

Post by Booted Vulture » Tue Sep 01, 2009 12:51 am

A comprehensive list. Are we going to see a typical fleet make up? And tactics and so worth? Is the term ship of the wall, simply a fun references to old ships of the line, with an added dimension? Or do TEG fleets actually form up in massive wall when fighting?
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Re: On Naval Warfare

Post by Magister Militum » Tue Sep 01, 2009 2:45 am

Booted Vulture wrote:A comprehensive list. Are we going to see a typical fleet make up? And tactics and so worth?
Yes and yes. I've already mentioned things like armadas, superiority fleets, interdiction battle groups and such, and I plan to actually go into what they are, what types of ships are a part of said formations, and mention many of the other formations that exist. The same goes for naval weapons, starfighters, installations/fortifications, and the various doctrines in use in the galaxy.
Is the term ship of the wall, simply a fun references to old ships of the line, with an added dimension? Or do TEG fleets actually form up in massive wall when fighting?
The term ship of the wall is merely the space going equivalent of ship of the line, ie, a term that describes the heaviest and most powerful warships in a fleet. As a rule of thumb, no one in TEG actually forms their fleets up into a literal wall in combat. Fleets configure themselves in formations when traveling, but said formations tend to break up once the battle begins. While tactical maneuvers still have some use, the age when formations like the wall of battle were crucial to victory died a very long time ago.
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Re: On Naval Warfare

Post by Acatalepsy » Thu Jan 21, 2010 12:02 am

One thing I haven't figured out from any of this is how fast a "relatively fast" ship is, and what the relationship between tonnage, acceleration, delta-v, etc is. Could one make a dreadnought sized super-fast ship? And how fast is it to get from, say, one side of a solar system to the other (let's say a straight line distance of about 20 AUs) in a medium speed ship, like a cruiser?

I note that there are no "really big long range missile" classes - while I understand that this is the 19th century in space, one would think that building a missile the size of a cruiser and throwing it at an opponent's fleet would make one hell of an first strike sort of weapon...not something seen in common use, but a sort of roving "don't fuck with me" card that has exactly two modes: kill it with fire, and totally useless. The great powers keep things like that around to make it clear that they mean business - it doesn't get deployed unless someone is a hair's width from getting blown to bits.
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Re: On Naval Warfare

Post by Magister Militum » Thu Jan 21, 2010 10:59 pm

Acatalepsy wrote:One thing I haven't figured out from any of this is how fast a "relatively fast" ship is, and what the relationship between tonnage, acceleration, delta-v, etc is. Could one make a dreadnought sized super-fast ship? And how fast is it to get from, say, one side of a solar system to the other (let's say a straight line distance of about 20 AUs) in a medium speed ship, like a cruiser?
Virtually all ships, be they civilian freighters to battleships, make use of a reactionless space distortion engine, which consists of a series of blocks of very exotic matter spread throughout multiple internal engine rooms. As its name suggests, the engine basically distorts/alters the fabric the universe around the ship in order to propel itself at enormous speeds with very high accelerations. Besides its other useful properties, such as providing a form of defense through its drive field and the science behind it allowing for the development of powerful cloaking devices (too bad its so effective that it also leaves you as blind as a bat), it also removes the inertia of a ship, which means that you aren't limited to the speed of light. Depending on the medium you're traveling through (in-system vs. interstellar space) and the amount of engine mass you devote to your ship (more on that later), you could reach speeds of up to 90 parsecs per hour, with higher speeds possible if you redline the engines, are traveling through intergalactic space, or something else to that effect. Naturally, this technology has also expanded to things such as infantry, armor, aerospace craft, and basically anything else were speed and mobility are paramount.

As an aside, in case you're wondering, my space distortion engines are based on a hodgepodge of influences, including the inertialess engines of Lensmen fame, the drive engines from the Starfire series, and the warp engines from the Culture (hence the reference to engine mass).

With that out of the way, you can start to see the relation between mass and acceleration. The more engine mass is devoted to a ship, the faster it can go. Naturally, larger ships like dreadnoughts trade engine mass for weapons and armor, while ships such as cruisers may strive for a balance or focus on large amounts of engine mass. If you wanted to, you could make a dreadnought as fast as a light cruiser, but it would pay for it in firepower and durability (essentially, that is what a fast dreadnought, for example, does, except that its speeds are comparable to a battleship or such).

As to how long it would take a cruiser to go from one end of a system to another, I'm afraid I can't give you a concrete answer because I haven't figured out the precise accelerations of the various ship types. However, you should have a pretty good idea as to how fast ships in TEG can go.
I note that there are no "really big long range missile" classes - while I understand that this is the 19th century in space, one would think that building a missile the size of a cruiser and throwing it at an opponent's fleet would make one hell of an first strike sort of weapon...not something seen in common use, but a sort of roving "don't fuck with me" card that has exactly two modes: kill it with fire, and totally useless. The great powers keep things like that around to make it clear that they mean business - it doesn't get deployed unless someone is a hair's width from getting blown to bits.
Oh, there are big missiles alright. Anti-capital ship missiles are generally hundreds of meters long and have light-day ranges, while hypermissiles, the ACSM's big brother, travel through hyperspace to deliver obscene damage at light-year ranges (though they can range in size and range). It should be noted, however, that even monsters like heavy hypermissiles won't reach cruiser sizes, which are generally in the 30+ kilometer range (still working on size, though, as you can see by the fact that I don't have their sizes listed). While it would be amusing to have a missile of that size, it would probably be considered overkill and a waste. You're better of using a salvo of heavy hypermisslies loaded with black hole munitions or possibly a strategic bombardment missile modified for tactical usage for tactical strikes. Once I get a break with college work and put out the next chapters of Gotterdammerung, you'll start to see what I mean.

Of course, if you're referring to strategic warfare and the elimination of industrial, military, communication, and other valuable targets, then I totally agree with you. After all, that's what strategic bombers (massed, of course) and SBM's are for. And don't even get me started on Tannhauser warheads.

I should note, though, that while the aura of TEG has a certain '19th Century in space!' vibe to it, especially when I first created the concept, it's evolved into its own creature that draws upon many points of history. Warfare, however, isn't based on the 19th Century; you won't see fleets dueling at a few kilometers or other similar oddities, if that's what you are implying.
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Re: On Naval Warfare

Post by Kingmaker » Sat Feb 06, 2010 12:58 am

Hey, this looks pretty cool.

Question about tactics: what role does maneuver play in battle compared to speed, numbers, individual unit superiority and/or firepower? Also, how are battles fought? Do the fleets take a pass at each other at full speed and then spend a long time decelerating and reversing direction? Do they close to a certain range and start decelerating to increase the time they get to shoot at the other guys?

Weapons: you mention gun range. Is this a holdover term that's applied to DEWs, or do they use actual projectile weapons? And what are the various weapon ranges?
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Re: On Naval Warfare

Post by Magister Militum » Sun Feb 07, 2010 1:55 am

Kingmaker wrote:Question about tactics: what role does maneuver play in battle compared to speed, numbers, individual unit superiority and/or firepower? Also, how are battles fought? Do the fleets take a pass at each other at full speed and then spend a long time decelerating and reversing direction? Do they close to a certain range and start decelerating to increase the time they get to shoot at the other guys?
Maneuvers can play a significant role in naval battles, at least at long to medium ranges. Formations and maneuvers are used when the fleet is on move and the battle begins, but they tend to come apart and break into their smaller subdivisions once they close into melee range due to practical reasons (too large of a formation can be cumbersome at that range). All ships in a specific formation and fleet are interconnected with datalinks, which allows for synchronized movements, fire support, and close-in point defense work (it also allows them to pool their AI's processing power). Because of that, you'll tend to see ships grouped together even when the fleet breaks apart into a general melee because of their ability to coordinate their actions and essentially act as a networked battleship if they so choose (better that than going it alone and running into one hell of a mismatch). Naturally, such abilities can be amplified to devastating effect when tactical maneuvers are used.

Generally speaking, a fleet will first engage its target several light-years out with its hypermissiles and other extremely long-ranged ordnance, as well as FTL-capable starfighters and gunboats if appropriate. As a fleet closes into the light-hour and light-day range, you'll start to see the fleets guns and other missile armaments come into play. Eventually, if the battle lasts long enough, the fleets will break formation and close into knife fight range with their heaviest guns (which tend to be short ranged). If a fleet tries to make a run for it, you'll see them regroup and try to force their way out, with the opposing force maneuvering themselves to block their escape and deal the final blow if possible. Of course, this formula can vary; carrier-centric formations will stay outside of engagement range while their CSW's move in, while stealthed wolfpacks focus on hit-and-run tactics.
Weapons: you mention gun range. Is this a holdover term that's applied to DEWs, or do they use actual projectile weapons? And what are the various weapon ranges?
Both. DEW's, be they grasers, powerguns, plasma accelerators, zero-point energy guns, and other conventional and more exotic types, are used alongside kinetic energy weapons (mainly gauss-weapons). Ranges can vary depending on the weapon. Naval gauss rifles and graser batteries have light-day ranges, as do, to a lesser extent, powerguns and other weapon systems. More powerful weapons, such as atomic disintegrators, have much more limited ranges, but can be absolutely lethal.

The continuation to this article is a section on naval weapons, but it was delayed due to college work and other projects, such as working on the next chapter to Gotterdammerung. I'll get the weapon list out in the next few days so that you can get an idea as to what is being used.
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Re: On Naval Warfare

Post by Mobius 1 » Mon Feb 15, 2010 2:53 am

I'm pretty interested in Combat Planetoids, if only by all the inspired questions stuff like the Death Star and Weber's Empire from the Ashes brought up. To what degree would the battleships have civilains on them? You get past a certain size and ships have their own cultures develop within, nevermind the positively massive logistics supply the ship would demand. While fleet tenders obviously exist to quash the issue somewhat, to what degree are ship's self-sufficient?

And, because I'm a needless starfighter fanboy, how small do ships get? It's expectable that, o nthe civilain side of things, ships can be pretty small, but how small is small? Moreover, what sort of intergalactic travel capability does the average citizen have? Are they limited to giant intersystem liners, or do they own vessels like we own cars today? To an overall degree, how easy is it for an average citizen to traverse the galaxy (I guess a monetary issue comes into this).
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Re: On Naval Warfare

Post by Magister Militum » Tue Feb 16, 2010 2:29 am

Man, all this traffic for a single article makes me feel like we're back in the glory days of OZ. :)
I'm pretty interested in Combat Planetoids, if only by all the inspired questions stuff like the Death Star and Weber's Empire from the Ashes brought up.
Combat Planetoids, which I must admit I have an intense love for, are pretty much rare right now during the current era of TEG. Despite that, a battlemoon may or may not show up at some point during Gotterdammerung (nudge, nudge, wink, wink :D ), so stay tuned.
To what degree would the battleships have civilains on them? You get past a certain size and ships have their own cultures develop within, nevermind the positively massive logistics supply the ship would demand. While fleet tenders obviously exist to quash the issue somewhat, to what degree are ship's self-sufficient?
None whatsoever, unless they're serving in the capacity of engineers, scientists, or other professionals under naval contract. There are just too many Bad ThingsTM that can happen in space to warrant the idea. Long-ranged explorers, which tend to be absolutely massive even for The Eternal Game, would probably break this rule, as could combat planetoids in theory. Ships, at least the larger ones, would definitely have developed their own culture over the years due to the long-term nature of certain ships (heavy cruisers, in particular, are pretty much built for lone wolf-type excursions) and the fact that they are living and working together for extended periods.

You're right that logistics would be nightmare for larger ships and installations. Because of this, larger ships tend to be as self-sufficient as possible to avoid massive supply trains or bottlenecks. All ships have limited self-repair capabilities, while larger ships can have things such as on-board mini-manufactories and small-scale hydroponic farms. Combat planetoids and explorers, naturally, would have to be completely self-sufficient. Coupled with supply trains, the average fleet can easily handle its logistical needs. It's also worth noting that automation has dramatically brought down crew levels; a 120 kilometer long ship which would logically have a crew in the tens of millions can be operated by a few tens of thousands clustered around its heavily armored core.
And, because I'm a needless starfighter fanboy, how small do ships get? It's expectable that, on the civilain side of things, ships can be pretty small, but how small is small?
The smallest military ships are going to be things such as drone interceptors and other similar parasite craft, which are hardly bigger than the average gravcar (about 8 or 9 meters), but are meant to be either carried by drone bombers for defense or launched in massive swarms by ships. The less common but elite manned starfighters, on the other hand, are large by sci-fi standards; a heavy space superiority fighter will clock in at around 50 or so meters in length. Their size, however, lets them carry large amounts of very powerful weapons, exceptionally strong defenses and EW suites, a high-performance space compression engine, conversion furnace, and hyperdrive, and the ability to slave the drone starfighters to their AI. Add in the fact that pilots are connected to their starfighters through a neural interface, letting them control the fighter as an extension of their own body, and these overfighters can take on some absurd odds.

I'm going to cover starfighters and gunboats in another article soon enough, once I finish the article on naval weapons and finally finish the next chapter to Gotterdammerung. Midterms are over, so I should have some more time this week.
Moreover, what sort of intergalactic travel capability does the average citizen have? Are they limited to giant intersystem liners, or do they own vessels like we own cars today? To an overall degree, how easy is it for an average citizen to traverse the galaxy (I guess a monetary issue comes into this).
Depends on how far they're going to travel. If its within the same system, then they can take a displacement booth, which is fast and dirt cheap, but has enough of a limited range that they're useful only for planetary use or for going from a planet to an orbital habitat or moon. Alternatively, they can use a intersystem shuttle or transport, or they can use there own personal ship if they own one. If you are talking about interstellar and trans-galactic travel, then the average civilian will book passage on massive interstellar liners (a habitat with engines, basically), or use a personal ship and travel through a Galactic Gate if their destination is close enough to one. Intergalactic travel would be stricly the realm of massive transport liners, which would use either their FTL engines (though there "sublight" space compression engines can potentially beat out any other true form of FTL if its potent enough in the intergalactic void) or a Galactic Gate.
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Re: On Naval Warfare

Post by Siege » Tue Feb 16, 2010 2:49 am

Fixed your superscript for you. Oh, and I have to wonder; are there such things as RORO ferries, except with personal starships instead of cars aboard? It makes sense to me; you travel the long distance on a ferry, and when in the galaxy you need to be in detach and jump where you want to go. No need for a vast intergalactic hyperdrive on your personal ship, and yet you can still get your own ride to another galaxy if you wanted to.
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Re: On Naval Warfare

Post by Magister Militum » Tue Feb 16, 2010 3:14 am

I would have thought that it would be unnecessary to abbreviate superscript in order for the damn thing to work, but whatever.

Yeah, suppose that the space equivalent of a RORO, or FOFO in this case, would exist for those whose ship isn't robust enough to make the journey or are too cheap to pay for a ticket on a massive intergalactic liner. It wouldn't exactly be the most pleasurable cruise, but it will get you there without a hassle, especially in the more rugged satellite galaxies where colonization/exploration is in its beginning stages. Personally, I'd prefer traveling to the Large Magellanic Cloud in a ship that can let me do anything from ski on artificially-made (as in created by the ship from matter and not a hologram) snow-covered mountains to carouse about in a multi-level casino, but to each his own.
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Re: On Naval Warfare

Post by Magister Militum » Thu Jun 03, 2010 12:13 am

Naval Weaponry


The weapons in use by warships have evolved tremendously throughout the ages. The first primitive warships carried with them nothing more than missile buses, low-yield lasers, and simple mass drivers, while defenses consisted of not getting hit in the first place. Thousands of years later, ships make use of exotic energies and the fundamental forces of the universe to battle each other, with black holes and the raging energies of stars being hurled back and forth. Here is but a sampling of the many weapons systems in use in the Southern Cluster.

Directed Energy and Kinetic Energy Weapons


Powergun: The staple of naval artillery for millennia, powerguns make use of the same technology used in hyperspatial taps, albeit for destructive purposes. Accessing hyperspace, a powergun taps into the raw hyperspatial energies that permeate that realm and contains it before delivering it out of its barrel at lightspeed. With a range measured in the dozens of light-minutes and capable of providing a wide assortment of blast intensities, powerguns have come to replace lasers as the primary anti-ship beam weapon in use by most navies. The highly scalable nature of the technology also means that powerguns routinely fit various niches in a warship’s weapon batteries, from capital guns to rapid-fire secondary mounts.

Mass Accelerator: A catch-all term referring to naval railguns, naval gauss rifles, etc, mass accelerators make use of either electromagnetic or electrostatic forces to propel guided ordnance at a considerable fraction of c. Like their smaller kin, the shells fired out by the mass accelerators are composed of programmable matter, allowing the naval rifle to tailor the ordnance to the situation. Common subtypes employed include screenbreakers (bypass battlescreens; pinpoint weapon), ultra-high explosive armor piercing (standard brute force ordnance), and sublight grapeshot. Like all kinetic weapons, mass accelerator shells are vulnerable to point defense, which can limit their overall capabilities when confronted with full-fledged escort vessels.

Fusion Cannon: Fusion cannons, also known as sunguns, dragon cannons, and hellbores, are an outgrowth of plasma-based weapons used several millennia back, which itself was based on the weaponization of fusion drives. By containing the plasma in the ignition chamber for a greater period of time, the fusion cannon cause the plasma to undergo fusion before allowing it to hurtle out of the barrel at relativistic velocities. The tens of millions of degree starfire traveling at considerable fractions of c can deliver immense thermal and kinetic damage to whatever is unfortunate enough to get in its way, making it highly popular among spacies. The main limiting factor for fusion cannons is the buildup of heat, which limits its rate of fire. To compensate, some trade off the fusion cannon’s raw damage and range for a sustained rate of fire, though such mounts are almost always regulated point defense or tertiary weapons.

Laser: The laser has becoming an increasingly rare sight on the modern battlefield. While modern mounts are capable of switching wavelengths on the fly and have decent range, they are simply incapable of competing with modern weapons. The development of highly efficient electromagnetic absorption fields, and later the omnipurpose battlescreen, gave defenses an obscene advantage over laser-based weapons, as the high energy radiation was simply absorbed like nothing. With lasers incapable of catching up, the weapon system has fallen to the wayside in lieu of others. In modern engagements, lasers are effectively useless until enemy screens are brought down, and even then they tend to have trouble piercing modern armor. While useless for offensive purposes, lasers are still highly effective for point defense.

Superforce Lance: The bane of warships and fortresses everywhere, the superforce lance is currently one of the most powerful naval artillery pieces in use. Like the gravity gun and fusion cannon, the superforce lance’s origins are based on the weaponization of then-emerging theories and applications, in this case that of the Grand Unified Theory. A superforce lance essentially taps in the same energy that powered the expansion of the universe and channels it into one hideously powerful beam. Ships can survive multiple lance hits, and even the largest warships will know when they’ve been hit. Against planetoids, the damage that can be done is catastrophic. Only ships of the wall can mount multiple hell lances, while smaller ships can only mount one or two (or none, unless they are built around a lance).

Gravity Gun: Gravity guns are a relatively simple weapon. Utilizing its control over the forces of the universe, a gravity gun fires a lance of pure force rated at millions of Gs. Battlescreens buckle under the sheer gravitational stress, while armor and whole decks are warped and smashed into unrecognizable pieces of shrapnel. The damage output of a gravity gun is considerably high, but the stress put on the equipment that generates the lance of gravity limits its use to close up engagements. Visually, a gravity guns produces what appears to be a lance of distorted space-time.

Anti-Proton Beamer: An old weapon, but one which is still effective, an anti-proton beamer is essentially a particle beam weapon that accelerates a beam of anti-protons to relativistic velocities. In addition to causing considerable damage via kinetic energy, the antimatter being hurled out also reacts with the ship (assuming battlescreens are down), causing even more damage. The weapon's effectiveness is hampered by its comparatively short range, but clusters of anti-proton beamers can be devastating close up, especially against wounded starships.

DEW Strips: Not so much a unique weapon system as a collection of weapon batteries, DEW strips are meant to support the main gun batteries of a warship and engage lighter combatants. While their composition varies wildly depending on the navy or even ship in question, the most common weapon types in use include light fusion guns, light powerguns, grasers, particle cannons, and anti-proton beamers.

Missiles


Hypermissile: Hypermissiles are a catch-all term that refers to any type of missile that is equipped with a miniature hyperdrive. While original hypermissiles were extremely bulky, current-generation h-missiles can range the gamut from pinpoint gunboat launched ordnance to huge multi-hundred meter monsters launched from battleships. Typically speaking, warships fire their hypermissiles several light-years out from their intended target as a first strike, exploiting their sudden emergence and penetration aides to the fullest. Warhead types are many, but the largest hypermissiles can accommodate all those shown below.

Anti-Capital Ship Missile (ACSM): ACSMs are the prototypical missile used by capital ships and some cruisers during major naval engagements. More of a small robotic starship than a missile, an ACSM is a multi-hundred meter long delivery vehicle loaded with a number of sub-munitions. Launched from missile tube batteries – missile pods being too small to handle them – an ACSM will propel itself to a high fraction of c, using both its speed and extensive penetration aids to evade point defense and interceptor drones before reaching its optimum range. Once in range, the missile will release its many brilliant sub-munitions, which accelerate to terminal velocity before detonating. As with all sub-munitions, the each warhead can be of a unique type, allowing for a certain level of flexibility.

Standard Missile: The standard missile is the most common type of missile in use for naval engagements. The missile lacks the ability to carry as many warheads as the ACSM, but makes up for it in its sprint mode capability, which gives the missile an obscene velocity in exchange for limited range. Beyond that, a warship can carry much greater numbers of standard missiles and fire them out in a much faster rate. Given enough missiles, even the largest ship will succumb to a well-placed standard missile volley. Unlike ACSMs, standard missiles can be carried by any type of warship.

Countermissile: Countermissiles are area defense missiles meant to engage incoming ordnance and strikecraft. Unlike their larger siblings, countermissiles do not feature a shaped warhead, instead opting for an omnidirectional blast that can engulf as many incoming hostiles as possible. Countermissiles act as the first line of defense for a warship’s point defense screens, and, as such, have some of the highest rates of fire for any type of missile in service.

Warhead Types


Fusion: The oldest type of warhead in use in the galaxy. Mostly used in countermissiles due to infeasibility for use against warships

Antimatter: Utilizes a cache of antimatter to generate a considerable shaped blast. Antimatter warheads are relatively common throughout the galaxy, though some prefer the safer to store and more versatile conversion warhead.

Conversion: Makes use of the matter to energy conversion process to annihilate a store of programmable matter and direct the raw energy toward a target. Unlike many other warheads, the yield on a conversion warhead can be set to a desired level, allowing for a degree of tactical flexibility. Most major navies use conversion warheads as the standard munition for inter-ship combat.

Sensor/EW: A suite of sensors or an electronic warfare package mounted in a missile. Sensor/EW warheads are often sprinkled alongside conventional missiles in order to provide updated targeting information or to act as decoys.

Implosion: Implosion warheads essentially cause anything within its range to implode on itself, compressing itself at neutronium densities before violently exploding in a shower of radiation. No material is strong enough to resist the pull of an implosion device, and, while its radius is small, it can cause massive damage if properly used. Heavy drones, such as fleet bombers and gunboats, are capable of using small-scale implosion devices, though they must bring down a ship’s screens before they can be used.

Black Hole: Reserved for enemy heavies, black hole warheads, as their name suggests, utilizes a series of high-powered grasers to compress a kernel of ultradense quark matter into a singularity. Capable of pumping out a tremendous amount of tidal stress and radiation, the black hole can devastate groups of warships before explosively evaporating. Black hole warheads can be scaled up all the way to strategic level ordnance, allowing them to destroy planetoids with relative ease.

Tannhauser: Tannhauser warheads are a special type of ordnance not commonly seen in the battlespace. Based on the esoteric science of psionics, Tannhauser warheads tap into the raw psionic energies that permeate the universe before dumping it on its selected target. What said energies will do is anybody’s guess; close to the point of detonation, anything surrounding it is simply vaporized, but those who are far away enough to not be vaporized instantly but close enough to be affected can have very unpleasant things happen to them. Tannhauser weapons are rated using a unit called the thaum, with most applications of the weapon being below the gigathaum range. Anything above that is considered to be a war crime due to its potential destabilization of that local area of space-time. Only the Galactic Commonwealth can authorize the use of gigathaum level ordnance.

WIP?

(NOTE: I also made some edits to the warship type section of On Naval Warfare, in case you're interested).
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Re: On Naval Warfare

Post by Siege » Sun Jun 06, 2010 11:21 pm

I like the sheer variety of killyness, although it seems there are a few things left in there that I wonder what they're about. For example the Superforce Lance article mentions 'ships can survive multiple lance hits, and even the largest warships will know when they’ve been hit' which is a bit of an odd sentence. There is also mention of a 'powerfun' in the DEW strip section which remains unexplained. I like the implosion warheads a lot... But the Tannhauser warheads, not so much. They just struck me in a 'wait, what?' sort of way. A warhead that can do anything? Measured in thaums, as in thaumaturgy? Hrrm...
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Re: On Naval Warfare

Post by Booted Vulture » Mon Jun 07, 2010 12:10 am

So do all ships mount all of those? (I mean other than small ships not having the super big guns and gigabombs) Because isn't that a little.. overly complex? I men no matter what horrendous force you use to kill something its just as dead.
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Re: On Naval Warfare

Post by Magister Militum » Mon Jun 07, 2010 4:48 am

Siege wrote: For example the Superforce Lance article mentions 'ships can survive multiple lance hits, and even the largest warships will know when they’ve been hit' which is a bit of an odd sentence. There is also mention of a 'powerfun' in the DEW strip section which remains unexplained.
:oops:

I fail at proofreading. Yeah, that sentence on the superforce lance is horrific, to say the least. What I meant to say is that few warships can survive multiple lance hits, and even the most powerful will notice a lance strike. Powerfun is supposed to be powergun. Blame it on the F key being right next to the G key.
I like the implosion warheads a lot... But the Tannhauser warheads, not so much. They just struck me in a 'wait, what?' sort of way. A warhead that can do anything? Measured in thaums, as in thaumaturgy? Hrrm...
Perhaps I didn't explain it right, but they were originally meant to be a type of weapon that makes you say "holy shit, space-time is coming apart locally!" The thaums, Diskworld refernces aside, is based on a concept I've been toying with. Suffice to say, the concept may or may not survive depending on my mood.
So do all ships mount all of those? (I mean other than small ships not having the super big guns and gigabombs)
Obviously not; that would be rather silly and inefficient, wouldn't you say? At most, they might mount a handful of different types, but everyone's got their preferences. It just depends on the priorities of the spacy in question.

I should note that this article is going to get another update soon. I'm not particularly satisfied with the superforce lance, or with the nature of the powergun (the hyperspatial energy thing has got to do) and the fate of my good old friend, the graser. I'll probably end up simplifying things somewhat before adding one or two things I forgot about.
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