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Reserve Fleet

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Re: Reserve Fleet
Post by cthia   » Sun May 19, 2019 8:36 pm

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I don't think the SL had a choice whether or not to create a reserve. I can see their reserve as being a symptom of having so many ships that were being retired from a lack of need. I can imagine a time when OFS had its hands full with a fairly young galaxy of untamed belligerents, and the build-down diet was the furthest thing from the gorilla's mind, and was a luxury they didn't have. Once upon a time, Battle Fleet and OFS needed plenty of ships for browbeating, pirating while incognito, showing the flag, taming general uppity aggression, and supplying their drug of choice, expansion. When the League's equivalent of the "West" was won, what was the SLN to do with so many decades of investment. Just like a certain nation I know. Art imitates life.

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 Armed Neo-Bob   » Sun May 19, 2019 10:26 pm

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cthia wrote:I don't think the SL had a choice whether or not to create a reserve. I can see their reserve as being a symptom of having so many ships that were being retired from a lack of need. I can imagine a time when OFS had its hands full with a fairly young galaxy of untamed belligerents, and the build-down diet was the furthest thing from the gorilla's mind, and was a luxury they didn't have. Once upon a time, Battle Fleet and OFS needed plenty of ships for browbeating, pirating while incognito, showing the flag, taming general uppity aggression, and supplying their drug of choice, expansion. When the League's equivalent of the "West" was won, what was the SLN to do with so many decades of investment. Just like a certain nation I know. Art imitates life.



I might not be remembering this, but wasn't the SLN's last battle the something Crossing, FF units against someone insignificant, oh, about 3 centuries ago? ISTR also, that Battle Fleet claims a large majority of all Naval expenditures on the basis of bureaucratic empire building, tradition, inertia--and because they are actively skimming billions into their personal accounts.

They got the enormous reserve primarily because it puts money in the contractors pockets (and they're all related, remember) and because it intimidates every other star nation--and their own members-- into shutting the hell up and going along with whatever the bureauocracy wants.

feel free to disagree; but the money would have been better spent on almost anything else. Especially an independent auditor to keep them honest. Oh, wait.....

Rob
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Re: Reserve Fleet
Post by Weird Harold   » Sun May 19, 2019 11:56 pm

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Armed Neo-Bob wrote:They got the enormous reserve primarily because it puts money in the contractors pockets (and they're all related, remember) and because it intimidates every other star nation--and their own members-- into shutting the hell up and going along with whatever the bureauocracy wants.


The Reserve got enormous because the were unwilling to scrap older ships. The graft and peculation didn't happen for a generation or two.
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Answers! I got lots of answers!

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Re: Reserve Fleet
Post by runsforcelery   » Mon May 20, 2019 7:40 am

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Weird Harold wrote:
Armed Neo-Bob wrote:They got the enormous reserve primarily because it puts money in the contractors pockets (and they're all related, remember) and because it intimidates every other star nation--and their own members-- into shutting the hell up and going along with whatever the bureauocracy wants.


The Reserve got enormous because the were unwilling to scrap older ships. The graft and peculation didn't happen for a generation or two.



Initially, the reserve was seen as a way to maintain a large "quick deployment" reinforcement to the SLN's wall of battle at a time when the SLN, for lack of a peer competitor, was building down its manpower. If you look at the actual personnel strength of the SLN at the beginning of the confrontation with Manticore, it's a ridiculously small number for a military force charged with responsibility for such a stupendous volume of space. Moreover, a goodly chunk of the active duty manpower is locked up in places like Naval Station Ganymede — nodal bases with enormous building/repair capability.

In many ways, the SLN was a victim of its own success. It had soundly trounced everyone who had posed a military threat to the League or its citizens. It had established the "Pax Solaris" throughout most of human-colonized space. It had no military competitor on the radar horizon. And fleets are expensive when there were so many other things money could be spent upon. So, it made sense to build down and revert to a peacekeeping stance.

When people started looking at what would be needed for that, a wall of battle wasn't high on the list, and the most manpower-intensive units in the SLN's inventory were its superdreadnoughts. That made it inevitable that the Navy's inventory of superdreadnoughts was going to be reduced, yet no one felt confident about predicting that no significant threat would ever reemerge.

So, the idea was hit upon of maintaining a relatively small active-duty Battle Fleet component to back up an enormous Frontier Fleet presence. Because Battle Fleet would be the primary war-fighting force in the event that a serious competitor appeared, a sizable chunk of the existing wall of battle was placed in reserve rather than sent to the ship breakers. The idea was that it would be maintained in a condition allowing it to be returned quickly to duty if it was required, and the lengthy plateau in basic war-fighting capability made that seem even more attractive.

As often happens, however, the plan went off the rails. Battle Fleet was viewed as — and came to view itself as — the League's "mailed fist," the true guarantor of the Pax Solaris. Frontier Fleet was simply the screening force which would identify and slow down any true threat to the League until Battle Fleet could mobilize and, in its majesty, smite the offender.

While the budgetary constraints had initially favored Frontier Fleet in building up the light units required for its mission description, that began to tilt as FF's initial needs were met. At that point, it was suggested that it would probably be a good idea to adjust Battle Fleet's share of the budget upward in order to add a trickle of new construction to the currently operational force. Older ships would be refitted to modern standards, and then placed in reserve, thus ensuring a prudent but modest increase in new-build SDs against future need.

As Frontier Fleet got steadily more involved in OFS' operations, it began to lose some of its luster in the eyes of what was then a still largely independent press. At the same time, the consolidation of power in the hands of the unelected bureaucracy was in its final stages. The rise of cronyism and corruption (already a significant problem in the League) trended upward in lockstep with the emergence of the Mandarins' predecessors, and there was frankly more money to be skimmed from the construction of a superdreadnought than from the construction of a division of heavy cruisers. So the SLN's publicity flaks began to emphasize Battle Fleet's role in their press releases rather than talk about all the unpleasant things Frontier Fleet got called upon to do. And, somewhere in the middle of all this, the notion took hold that a simply stupendous Reserve Fleet was, in itself, the definitive strategic resource of the Solarian League. If the SLN had more superdreadnoughts in commission than any two or three — or four — potential adversaries, and was in a position to swiftly multiply its wall of battle to gargantuan proportions, no one would ever dare to test its actual readiness.

It wasn't sold to the proto-Mandarins in exactly those terms, but that was the underlying logic, and the fact that it would create a situation that allowed torrents of money to flow into the hands of the proto-Mandarins' allies among the transstellars was an unstated but powerful argument in its favor. (And, of course, so was the tacit understanding that those transstellars' lobbyists would be pouring a few torrents of money into the appropriate bureaucrats' hands, as well.)

In essence, by Honor's time, Battle Fleet had become the Solarian League's equivalent of the Emperor's new clothes. Anyone who looked realistically at the projected time tables for restoring its units to actual readiness would have realized that they were grossly optimistic, to say the very least. And a big part of that was because of all the incremental refitting that would be required despite the plateau in basic naval doctrine.

Nonetheless, it should be noted that until the enormous shift in war-fighting technology and doctrine that came out of the Havenite Wars, the League's formula worked quite well. It was corrupt, enormously more expensive than it had to be, governed by bureaucratic advantage-seeking rather than real strategic thought, but it worked because of the League's sheer size and the fact that its currently deployed wall of battle really was as combat effective as that of anyone else in the galaxy. The notion that the Reserve SDs could have been spun up and restored to effectiveness in the time window the SLN had projected for its civilian masters was nonsense, of course. Assuming that the combat environment hadn't changed as radically as it had, the Reserve could have been refitted into effective, if not cutting edge, combat platforms, but it would have taken far longer than the Navy's planners had allowed for/admitted and would have cost a heck of a lot more that had been budgeted.

Fortunately, perhaps, for the planners who had confidently assured their superiors that the Reserve could be reactivated quickly, Kingsford recognized that activating it in the combat environment that actually existed would have been sheer lunacy and never once seriously contemplated doing anything of the sort.
Last edited by runsforcelery on Mon May 20, 2019 10:20 am, edited 1 time in total.


"Oh, bother!" said Pooh, as Piglet came back from the dead.
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Re: Reserve Fleet
Post by kzt   » Mon May 20, 2019 9:28 am

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It makes sense and all.

They probably also didn’t plan on the SLN high command being controlled by a cabal of the SL’s enemies too.
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Re: Reserve Fleet
Post by runsforcelery   » Mon May 20, 2019 10:16 am

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kzt wrote:It makes sense and all.

They probably also didn’t plan on the SLN high command being controlled by a cabal of the SL’s enemies too.



No, I think you can take that as a given. :lol:


"Oh, bother!" said Pooh, as Piglet came back from the dead.
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Re: Reserve Fleet
Post by cthia   » Tue May 21, 2019 2:32 am

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Brigade XO wrote:At the moment, podlayers give you the best path to be able to deploy new- larger sized missiles and/or other improvements without massive ship refits. You might have to shrink the number of missiles per pod but you mostly face the constraints of: size of the pod bay doors, reconfiguring the pod magazines/holds and their pod handling equipment: your equipment for energizing the pods before deployment.
To some extent, improvements on number of missle tactical channels shouldn't take up that much more space but perhaps the adding enough computing power to manage it will have to deal with some creative growth.

From the story line, the RMN had a fair handle on what they currently have, and the capability/mission capacity in the present theaters and threat situations they know about. There is references to new designs in the pipeline. There is also the indiction that new building will be done with an eye to what is projected to be needed now and spread over those classes now in service to provide replacements on some schedule.
There has been a lot of conversation here about the ability to use both older ships with less capable weapons than the MDM's and the need to add more of the current "war fighting" rather than push more than some lower level number of upgraded designes (to MDM) of what would be Commerce Protection or Patrol mission with longer range and deeper magazines. What they are going to ultimatly will have to be decided on the perception of need for RMN to maintain a much expanded role in commerce protection and peacekeeping.
Peacekeeping, I have come to hate that term. It is better than gunboat diplomacy but only a bit. RMN is going to have to back up the terms and conditons of the Treaty signed with the League and having a substantial number of ships caplable of long duration patrol missions with MDM and related systems.
In the short run, they can use many of the older or less than MDM ships in places like Silesia and Talbot for enforcing things like the Silesia addition to the Empire. That level should handle garden variety pirates and even DD level commerce raiders. How fast that situation changes is going to depend on how fast others develope the more capable missiles or aquire them from places like Technodyne (which still exists and has it's Yelden systems yards/manufacturing) or the RF begins to push outward and eventualy displays levels of tech they can be provided by the Alignment.
Do pardon my bold to call attention.

Agreed, I'm fairly certain their kill ratio is rather fascinating as well.

Yet, it seems intuitive that a certain increase in warhead yield would have a more disastrous effect on an essentially hollowed out design, opposed to the innards of a wrecking ball. Since their inception, I recall thinking the podlayers' Achilles heel would turn out to be their inability to take a hit on the chin, compared to their non podlaying brethren. Granted, I don't think that storyline has particularly supported that claim, but then, the enemy hasn't been able to get back to me with the appropriate data, (LOL), but still.

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 Jonathan_S   » Thu May 23, 2019 10:15 am

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cthia wrote:It must be stated that even though a reserve fleet can become obsolete, it can never become totally useless if you have enough of them and can man them. Pair them with the advantages of the MWJ and superior tactical and strategic thinkers.

Quantity is its own quality, especially if you have the mindset of a gorilla with a huge vocabulary, who's more than willing to throw around big words and notions like Parthian Shot. Like it or no, the SL could have hotwired all of those obsolete ships in the reserve and headed directly to Manticore and chucked thousands of missiles at the planet. I thought that was one of the main reasons Honor trashed them. They weren't without a possible use.
Guess that depends on what you mean by totally useless. After all against unarmed civilians a Phalanx of Greek Hoplites is darned effective. But you'd need unimaginable numbers of them to threaten a modern military and logistically unsupportable numbers to have a good chance of running down and eliminating even a African militia. (And then there are paradigm shifts; how many of them would you need to threaten an aircraft carrier?)

How many USS Monitors, or HMS Victories would it take to run down and stop a modern oil tanker? Or could even a thousands of HMS Warrior (1860) successfully slug it out with Bismark or Tirpitz?

Okay, they may not be totally ineffective because you can still use them to beat up civilians - but they're effectively ineffective against any military.


However what I think your general point was, which is armed military vehicles / ships can have a very long tail of usefulness in secondary roles; especially if used en mass is true. Just not IMHO to the extreme you stated :D
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Re: Reserve Fleet
Post by tlb   » Thu May 23, 2019 11:26 am

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Jonathan_S wrote:How many USS Monitors, or HMS Victories would it take to run down and stop a modern oil tanker?

This may not be a great example, it is true that they could not run down a tanker that got past them (a modern tanker can do about 12 knots); but if they got into position in front, then the tanker would have to surrender.

Also the tanker's wake would probably swamp the Monitor.
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Re: Reserve Fleet
Post by Jonathan_S   » Thu May 23, 2019 5:13 pm

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tlb wrote:
Jonathan_S wrote:How many USS Monitors, or HMS Victories would it take to run down and stop a modern oil tanker?

This may not be a great example, it is true that they could not run down a tanker that got past them (a modern tanker can do about 12 knots); but if they got into position in front, then the tanker would have to surrender.

Also the tanker's wake would probably swamp the Monitor.

Eh, it's hardly armor plate, but IIRC tankers outer hull is over 1" thick steel and they're fully double hulled (and thanks to all it's liquid tight compartments tankers are notoriously difficult to sink by gunfire).

If it ran at speed into a cul de sack of ironclads it might sink itself by being unable to avoid ramming lots of them - but if it was able to stop and back away I don't think even 11" Dahlgren are going to be immediately fatal to it.

(Not sure how well the armored cheesebox would show up on navigation radar - but the tanker might be able to spot ironclads well enough to avoid them at sea. Though enough of them could blockade a harbor just be sheer mass of iron to wade through; almost regardless of their weapons.
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