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Reserve Fleet

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Re: Reserve Fleet
Post by Brigade XO   » Mon Apr 01, 2019 5:11 pm

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Back a lot of years ago (1960) we had a WW II DE based in New Haven Harbor (CT) as part of the Naval Reserve program. It was there till struck from the list in 1970 and sunk as a target ship the next year. Most of the time while it was based in New Haven it was tied up at the Long Wharf pier but at least once a year it went out for a 2 week cruse. There were people assigned to the ship full time but most of the crew were reservists who were usualy only there during monthy Reserve commitments. It was maintained. Much later (mid '80) I worked with a guy who handled the personel paperwork for the ship. Instead of heading off with the DE for two weeks each year to someplace like the Caribbean our out into the Atlantic, he spent his two weeks of full-time on the ship the weeks before deployment getting all the paperwork fully up to date for the deployment, dealing with pay and banking requirements and making sure all certificates and qualification paperwork, was current and in-file ON THE SHIP.
I just looked her up again. Commissioned in 1944, put in inactive reserve 1946, recommissioned 1951 and spent the rest of her commission serving as a training ship for varioius schools (Sonar) and general training cruses all over the North and South Atlantic.

This was a WW II DE, set up with 2 @ 5'/38cal guns, 20 and 40mm guns torpedo tubes and depth charges. Anti-submarine and anti-aircraft.
It spent the last 20 years of it's life training people and crusing on varioius patrol and training duties.
It's a light escort, wartime construction, the kind of thing you could send out -in the Honorverse- to do anti-piracy patrols and cycle people though to keep up or improve their skills. It is a commerce protection and fleet screening ship. You can base it almost anywhere you could dock it. It was getting old but it could do the job it was originaly designed for even if not upgraded with all the latest tech. Active reserve fleet to maintain capacity and provide for training and coverage.
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Re: Reserve Fleet
Post by Relax   » Mon Apr 01, 2019 5:27 pm

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Only true way a reserve fleet would work in a Prolong society is 1) if Tech never changes :roll: and 2) Most do a medium stint where they stay in long enough to get very profficient, but not TOO long to get too senior.

As for the fleet itself: Drone ships. Under peace time, you operate a single ship/squadron. When war happens, no reason you could not operate SD's in parasite drone configuration where one ship operates more than one. True, the drone ships damage control would stink, but then again, how short battles are due to pod warfare, there is no damage control to "do".
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Re: Reserve Fleet
Post by Silverwall   » Mon Apr 01, 2019 5:55 pm

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I think it is informative to the honorverse that in the real world the practice of maintining reserve fleets has dropped of radically since WW2 due to the proliferation of electronic componets that don't age well either physically or in terms of capability. Honorverse ships being stuffed full on molecular circuitry and complex electronics would suffer the same problems and RFC admits as much when he says the thousands of Solarian league reserve wallers are useless.

According to wikipedia there are no combatants in the small remaining USN reserve and only a couple of coast guard cutters. Likewise the RN gave up on the idea of a reserve in the 1970's well before the post cold war retrenchments.
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Re: Reserve Fleet
Post by Jonathan_S   » Mon Apr 01, 2019 6:38 pm

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I think the trick is how to do maintain it over time. Keeping every ship in the reserve fully upgraded costs a lot - a fair fraction of keeping them in active service. But let them sit 5 - 10 years without upgrades (during what still seems to be a period of rapid technological change) and they'll be significantly inferior to the active fleet when you bring them out of reserve.

You need to figure out how to balance cost and upgrade cycles to ensure that you don't have to put the entire reserve through a 8-10 month modernization program when an emergency comes up -- but also make sure that you aren't spending so much money on the reserve fleet that it keeps you from having a large and modern enough active fleet to cover your responsibilities.

And frankly if you don't have a policy of occasionally rotating active ships into the reserve and rotating reserve ships out it's way too easy to temporarily cut corners on the reserve modernization program -- and nothing lasts as long as a temporary budget econimization measure.
Though how often you need to do that is driven by the rate of tech change and how expensive it is to upgrade existing ships to take advantage. Sometimes you'll get "breaking changes" where you may need to just scrap a reserve ship with virtually no time in service because it simply isn't cost effective to upgrade it. Better to scrap it and replace it with a new ship off the ways. (See upgrades from SDM to MDM tubes or from tubes to podlaying)


Now you could have an intermediate step - something closer to a national guard fleet. Those would be modern ships that usually only get taken out for training cruises because their whole crew is naval reserve personnel who normally work other jobs in the system where their ship is based. That type of ship could be mobilized in days to weeks to augment the active force.
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Re: Reserve Fleet
Post by kzt   » Mon Apr 01, 2019 6:54 pm

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The USN can't afford it because the USN has 'invested' $22 billion dollar on three (3) destroyers without any ammo or volume air search radars, and $29 billion in little crappy ships that have NEVER completed a deployment in 10 years, has only marginal self-defense capability, no offensive capability, no demonstrated ability to perform any useful mission, and has failed to accomplish every single program objective, other then supporting several incompetent prime contractors.

That's the cost of 28 Burke's invested in mobile targets. And the target's manning means that 7th fleet is undermanned and under-trained so you can assign two crews to each LCS.
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Re: Reserve Fleet
Post by Relax   » Tue Apr 02, 2019 9:01 am

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kzt wrote:The USN can't afford it because the USN has 'invested' $22 billion dollar on three (3) destroyers without any ammo or volume air search radars, and $29 billion in little crappy ships that have NEVER completed a deployment in 10 years, has only marginal self-defense capability, no offensive capability, no demonstrated ability to perform any useful mission, and has failed to accomplish every single program objective, other then supporting several incompetent prime contractors.

That's the cost of 28 Burke's invested in mobile targets. And the target's manning means that 7th fleet is undermanned and under-trained so you can assign two crews to each LCS.

Well, that is what happens when you have ZERO civilian merchant marine industry as you shipped it all overseas via horrific "free trade" deals where they can dump in your country but you cannot export to their country.

Your naval industry becomes utterly incompetent as they
1) do not have enough work, so they lose experience in basic design and experience in manufacturing and
2) do not have any incentive to get it right anyways as they know 100% the contracts will still go to them and
3) No one has fought a naval engagement in 70 years and no one has any incentive to do real testing as that could/would
4) Obsolescent your fleet and
5) destroy the ego <<cough>> careers of all the eggs and braid who climbed the ladder in peace time where they do not give a Shit about performance other than paperwork and looking pretty doing drills which have zero relevance in a modern context other than discipline and structure building.

Why #1 resource to fight a war is a COMPLETE top to bottom competent civilian industry which is NOT monopolized or
#2 force yourself into lots of wars to validate/invalidate your designs, strategy, tactics, logistics(Europe's approach for several hundred years)

PS: There are many reasons ROME fell. One of the reasons is they lost their war fighting tech edge and competence on testing it as they had been at peace for way too long and the skirmishes they did fight were one sided barbarian stomps. Sound Familiar?

PPS: Want to know tech that would have obsolescent the entire DD force and reserve in the USN? Hydrofoils. Had them in the 60's. They claimed maintenance.... they had that completely solved. Then they claimed seamanship... Uh, if it is so ROUGH hydrofoils do not work, you just revert to a normal boat bobbing around... Then they claimed weight.... What is #1 weight on a ship? Armor/fuel. Hydrofoils saved 50% on fuel, and same on weight as hydrofoils are the perfect mine/torpedo defense, which means no double hulls required. Since you did not need your ship to have such a Long Length, the breadth of the ship could be massively increased which saved even MORE weight and conversely made the ship LESS susceptible to missile attack, ah but the "wisdom" of the eggs and braid stepped in and quickly canceled that program... Claimed it was due to Vietnam war(partially true) and also why USA went off gold standard...

Gets back to economics
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Re: Reserve Fleet
Post by cthia   » Wed Apr 03, 2019 4:45 am

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Changing tech shouldn't be too much of a hindrance of the notion of a reserve fleet. Unless the tech that is changing is your enemies, and even then, their tech change has to be substantial. Like a significant increase in MDM ranges. Changing your own tech shouldn't affect the reserve fleet, as all of the older ships you have in the reserve is still superior to anything anyone else has. The F-15E is still a formidable weapon about the globe.

A reserve fleet consisting of podlayers is worth consideration. IMO. If feasible.

Son, your mother says I have to hang you. Personally I don't think this is a capital offense. But if I don't hang you, she's gonna hang me and frankly, I'm not the one in trouble. —cthia's father. Incident in ? Axiom of Common Sense
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Re: Reserve Fleet
Post by munroburton   » Wed Apr 03, 2019 5:23 am

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There should be minimal or no reserves at all, the sunk cost fallacy traps too many people into thinking "surely, all this stuff is still useful, somehow." Bite the bullet and run a 50 or 25 year complete replacement cycle.

The era when a waller could serve 200 years with minimal refits is over. This may seem expensive in peacetime terms, but consider that any Gryphon-class SD, first commissioned 1900, which was still in service for the 1921 Battle of Manticore, was annihilated for relatively little gain.

If they don't do this, they are exposed to any enemy which is accustomed to working on multi-century timeframes. A total rebuild every few decades will constantly frustrate the Alignment...
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Re: Reserve Fleet
Post by cthia   » Wed Apr 03, 2019 5:42 am

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munroburton wrote:There should be minimal or no reserves at all, the sunk cost fallacy traps too many people into thinking "surely, all this stuff is still useful, somehow." Bite the bullet and run a 50 or 25 year complete replacement cycle.

The era when a waller could serve 200 years with minimal refits is over. This may seem expensive in peacetime terms, but consider that any Gryphon-class SD, first commissioned 1900, which was still in service for the 1921 Battle of Manticore, was annihilated for relatively little gain.

If they don't do this, they are exposed to any enemy which is accustomed to working on multi-century timeframes. A total rebuild every few decades will constantly frustrate the Alignment...

I certainly understand the notion of keeping the MA off-balance, but doesn't "replace" suggest units that can be relegated to the reserve?

My qualms with the notion of a reserve fleet would include the fact that your responsibility to your allies are never met. If you have "time and resources" available to build a reserve fleet then you have time and resources to place more of a deterrence in their sector. Therefore, units replaced by newly minted warships should be sent to cover your responsibility to your allies instead of being earmarked for the reserve.

Son, your mother says I have to hang you. Personally I don't think this is a capital offense. But if I don't hang you, she's gonna hang me and frankly, I'm not the one in trouble. —cthia's father. Incident in ? Axiom of Common Sense
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Re: Reserve Fleet
Post by munroburton   » Wed Apr 03, 2019 7:00 am

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cthia wrote:I certainly understand the notion of keeping the MA off-balance, but doesn't "replace" suggest units that can be relegated to the reserve?

My qualms with the notion of a reserve fleet would include the fact that your responsibility to your allies are never met. If you have "time and resources" available to build a reserve fleet then you have time and resources to place more of a deterrence in their sector. Therefore, units replaced by newly minted warships should be sent to cover your responsibility to your allies instead of being earmarked for the reserve.


No reason they can't sell 'old' ships to second and third-tier allies, if they are interested.

But my view is that allowing a standing reserve to grow will inevitably result in resistance to naval evolution. This shouldn't be allowed, or what happened to the SLN will eventually happen to the RMN. "This new design is really good, but it instantly turns our entire reserve into scrap. Should we really do that?"

It may be impossible to ultimately avoid hitting some kind of plateau, but that doesn't mean it can't be delayed for a long time by trying to firmly set the 25-year mindset now, when recent experiences are still raw.

Relying on any reserve is also a bad idea given the Alignment's demonstrated stealth drive and weapons. As KZT points out occasionally, there's nothing really stopping the Alignment from sending freighters through Manticore dumping graser torpedoes. Active ships at rest are still vulnerable to those, but not as badly as a completely inert reserve in a predictable long-term orbit would be.
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