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Would Dispersing Shipyards Blunt or Stop a Second Oyster Bay

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Re: Would Dispersing Shipyards Blunt or Stop a Second Oyster
Post by ThinksMarkedly   » Fri Sep 13, 2019 6:12 pm

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kzt wrote:
ThinksMarkedly wrote:A successful attack depends on how imbalanced the forces are. 100 modern SD(P)s might suffice against a medium-sized Talbott or Silesia system, but won't against regional capitals like Spindle or Marsh. And definitely not against the MBS, New Berlin, Nouveau Paris or Grayson.

8th fleet was significantly smaller that that, and was perfectly capable of taking Haven.

So I have my doubts.


Haven wasn't yet defended by Mycroft-controlled Apollo missiles at the time.
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Re: Would Dispersing Shipyards Blunt or Stop a Second Oyster
Post by noblehunter   » Fri Sep 13, 2019 7:35 pm

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Galactic Sapper wrote:If your notional attacker is willing to just fling missiles in-system without being overly concerned about accidentally sterilizing the planet, sure. And if they're willing to do that, even standard SDs with single drive missiles could do that. Space stations and such don't move much, missiles in ballistic flight are extremely hard to stop, and in either case you're committing Eridani Edict violations for destroying civilian infrastructure without giving time to evacuate. So even if you do luck out and not punch a c-frational missile into the planet's mantle, you're still an interstellar war criminal.

The battle cruiser fleet sent to Beowulf could have taken out most of the infrastructure in the system that wasn't covered by block ships and there would have been absolutely nothing the Alliance could have done to stop them once the missiles launched. There's a reason that style of warfare is forbidden in this universe and only the worst of the worst do anything that even comes close to what you suggested.


You missed the parts of the book when what I suggested happened several times? Without taking out any civilian infrastructure let alone hitting a planet. I'm not talking fractional c strikes but missile under more or less active control all the way to the target.

Admittedly on the scale of star systems, or even hyper limits, these are small numbers. Less than 1 AU. But we already know Manticore has used perimeter LAC base + pod emplacements in system defense - so there's a risk than an unlucky attacking force that stays outside the hyper limit might take fire before they can evade into hyper.


That's certainly a complicating factor, along with defenses intended to stop an SD(P) sized missile swarm. We've seen so few exchanges that reflect what we might expect once the tech is properly adapted to by both sides. I think the tonnage the defender would need to devote to missile defense would be extremely disproportionate to the size of the attacking force, though the attackers would risk reinforcement showing up before they could shoot their way into the inner system.
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Re: Would Dispersing Shipyards Blunt or Stop a Second Oyster
Post by tlb   » Fri Sep 13, 2019 8:42 pm

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Galactic Sapper wrote:If your notional attacker is willing to just fling missiles in-system without being overly concerned about accidentally sterilizing the planet, sure. And if they're willing to do that, even standard SDs with single drive missiles could do that. Space stations and such don't move much, missiles in ballistic flight are extremely hard to stop, and in either case you're committing Eridani Edict violations for destroying civilian infrastructure without giving time to evacuate. So even if you do luck out and not punch a c-frational missile into the planet's mantle, you're still an interstellar war criminal.

The battle cruiser fleet sent to Beowulf could have taken out most of the infrastructure in the system that wasn't covered by block ships and there would have been absolutely nothing the Alliance could have done to stop them once the missiles launched. There's a reason that style of warfare is forbidden in this universe and only the worst of the worst do anything that even comes close to what you suggested.

I am not sure that is correct. I remember raids by Havenite forces where they held off firing missiles at orbital structures until the last possible moment to allow some evacuation; but that was not for fear of an EE violation, but because they preferred to minimize civilian casualties. Note that the civilians were given aas much time as could be spared, not as much as was needed. The only fear of an EE infraction was over the possibility of a missile directly hitting a planet. Many civilians died during the destruction of the orbital structures at Basilisk, without anyone suggesting that the Eridani Edict had been violated or even that a war crime had been committed.

I do not believe that the Yawata Strike is considered an EE violation; because the planetary deaths were not a direct result of any weapon, but instead the result of debris.

Added the bold line in my remarks.
Last edited by tlb on Fri Sep 13, 2019 9:49 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Would Dispersing Shipyards Blunt or Stop a Second Oyster
Post by ThinksMarkedly   » Fri Sep 13, 2019 8:49 pm

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noblehunter wrote:
Galactic Sapper wrote:If your notional attacker is willing to just fling missiles in-system without being overly concerned about accidentally sterilizing the planet, sure. And if they're willing to do that, even standard SDs with single drive missiles could do that. Space stations and such don't move much, missiles in ballistic flight are extremely hard to stop, and in either case you're committing Eridani Edict violations for destroying civilian infrastructure without giving time to evacuate. So even if you do luck out and not punch a c-frational missile into the planet's mantle, you're still an interstellar war criminal.

The battle cruiser fleet sent to Beowulf could have taken out most of the infrastructure in the system that wasn't covered by block ships and there would have been absolutely nothing the Alliance could have done to stop them once the missiles launched. There's a reason that style of warfare is forbidden in this universe and only the worst of the worst do anything that even comes close to what you suggested.


You missed the parts of the book when what I suggested happened several times? Without taking out any civilian infrastructure let alone hitting a planet. I'm not talking fractional c strikes but missile under more or less active control all the way to the target.


In none of the battles in UH are there missiles being fired long range at targets and then allowed to run unmonitored. The Parthian Shot was exactly what you're describing, but it was never used. It was attempted at Hypatia, but the RMN intervened in time.

Even during Fabius at Beowulf, the missiles were controlled (as much as the SLN could control a missile 40 million km downrange) up until the moment the attacking fleet had to transition to hyper to escape the missiles coming at them.

That's certainly a complicating factor, along with defenses intended to stop an SD(P) sized missile swarm. We've seen so few exchanges that reflect what we might expect once the tech is properly adapted to by both sides. I think the tonnage the defender would need to devote to missile defense would be extremely disproportionate to the size of the attacking force, though the attackers would risk reinforcement showing up before they could shoot their way into the inner system.


Uh... slightly ambiguous phrasing there. Do you mean that it's disproportionate in favour of the defenders or the attaackers? That is, that a much smaller defending force can reasonably defend against a bigger weight of metal attacking? If so, I agree with you.

Maybe you meant that such defences aren't likely, so massing an attack that can succeed is possible, in which case the attackers would have massive advantage. In that case, I also agree with you, but only if we limit this in time or to non-Alliance systems.
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Re: Would Dispersing Shipyards Blunt or Stop a Second Oyster
Post by tlb   » Fri Sep 13, 2019 9:42 pm

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Galactic Sapper wrote:If your notional attacker is willing to just fling missiles in-system without being overly concerned about accidentally sterilizing the planet, sure. And if they're willing to do that, even standard SDs with single drive missiles could do that. Space stations and such don't move much, missiles in ballistic flight are extremely hard to stop, and in either case you're committing Eridani Edict violations for destroying civilian infrastructure without giving time to evacuate. So even if you do luck out and not punch a c-frational missile into the planet's mantle, you're still an interstellar war criminal.

The battle cruiser fleet sent to Beowulf could have taken out most of the infrastructure in the system that wasn't covered by block ships and there would have been absolutely nothing the Alliance could have done to stop them once the missiles launched. There's a reason that style of warfare is forbidden in this universe and only the worst of the worst do anything that even comes close to what you suggested.

noblehunter wrote:You missed the parts of the book when what I suggested happened several times? Without taking out any civilian infrastructure let alone hitting a planet. I'm not talking fractional c strikes but missile under more or less active control all the way to the target.

ThinksMarkedly wrote:In none of the battles in UH are there missiles being fired long range at targets and then allowed to run unmonitored. The Parthian Shot was exactly what you're describing, but it was never used. It was attempted at Hypatia, but the RMN intervened in time.

Even during Fabius at Beowulf, the missiles were controlled (as much as the SLN could control a missile 40 million km downrange) up until the moment the attacking fleet had to transition to hyper to escape the missiles coming at them.

There were other systems attacked by the SLN, at about the same time as Hypatia, where we presume that the Parthian Shot was used as the RMN ships were not present. Since they were not described in the book and only the damage totals were reported, we do not know exactly how controlled the missiles were at those locations.
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Re: Would Dispersing Shipyards Blunt or Stop a Second Oyster
Post by ThinksMarkedly   » Fri Sep 13, 2019 10:02 pm

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tlb wrote:
ThinksMarkedly wrote:In none of the battles in UH are there missiles being fired long range at targets and then allowed to run unmonitored. The Parthian Shot was exactly what you're describing, but it was never used. It was attempted at Hypatia, but the RMN intervened in time.

Even during Fabius at Beowulf, the missiles were controlled (as much as the SLN could control a missile 40 million km downrange) up until the moment the attacking fleet had to transition to hyper to escape the missiles coming at them.

There were other systems attacked by the SLN, at about the same time as Hypatia, where we presume that the Parthian Shot was used as the RMN ships were not present. Since they were not described in the book and only the damage totals were reported, we do not know exactly how controlled the missiles were at those locations.


I disagree, I think we should presume it wasn't used. In her surrender demands, Honor did mention the Parthian Shot and if there had been systems where the option had been employed, she would have brought them up. The RMN would have known, since the Parthian Option was specifically to be used to avoid confrontation with the RMN. No RMN, no Parthian. Also, Buccaneer had only a handful of targets in the first list, one of them bumped so that Hajdu's force could divert to Hypatia.

(And merging the two discussions...)

Honor did mention that the Parthian Shot was effectively an Eridani Edict Violation. If not in the letter of the Edict, then in the spirit. Belligerents are supposed to do their damned best to avoid civilian casualties, so firing without controlling your missiles is a violation of the spirit. Deliberately attacking civilian infrastructure must be even in the letter.

The Yawata Strike was a side-effect of the attack. But the MA simply paid no mind to the effect of attacking 100-km long structures orbiting inhabited planets. So it might be a violation of the spirit too. This will all depend on who wins in the end, since history is written by the victors. If the Alliance catches the perpetrators, they will be tried for EEV.

I only see them escaping that punishment if they pull an Albrecht, whether with nukes or with nanobots, or get killed in action.
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Re: Would Dispersing Shipyards Blunt or Stop a Second Oyster
Post by kzt   » Fri Sep 13, 2019 10:14 pm

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Considering that at one point Haven was attacking orbital infrastructure from fairly close to the Hyperlimit...
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Re: Would Dispersing Shipyards Blunt or Stop a Second Oyster
Post by Jonathan_S   » Fri Sep 13, 2019 10:18 pm

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ThinksMarkedly wrote:
I disagree, I think we should presume it wasn't used. In her surrender demands, Honor did mention the Parthian Shot and if there had been systems where the option had been employed, she would have brought them up. The RMN would have known, since the Parthian Option was specifically to be used to avoid confrontation with the RMN. No RMN, no Parthian. Also, Buccaneer had only a handful of targets in the first list, one of them bumped so that Hajdu's force could divert to Hypatia.

(And merging the two discussions...)

Honor did mention that the Parthian Shot was effectively an Eridani Edict Violation. If not in the letter of the Edict, then in the spirit. Belligerents are supposed to do their damned best to avoid civilian casualties, so firing without controlling your missiles is a violation of the spirit. Deliberately attacking civilian infrastructure must be even in the letter.

The Yawata Strike was a side-effect of the attack. But the MA simply paid no mind to the effect of attacking 100-km long structures orbiting inhabited planets. So it might be a violation of the spirit too. This will all depend on who wins in the end, since history is written by the victors. If the Alliance catches the perpetrators, they will be tried for EEV.

I only see them escaping that punishment if they pull an Albrecht, whether with nukes or with nanobots, or get killed in action.

I also don't think Parthian Shot was used- it was a tactic to wreck a system's orbital infrastructure if there were defenses, especially Manticoran ships, present that the SLN BCs didn't feel they could decisively win. At that point the run away and fire all the missiles they can back over their shoulder are the system infrastructure.

They didn't need Parthian Shot if there were no (effective) defenses. They could wreck the infrastructure far more efficiently with energy weapons, wedges, or even carefully targeted contact nukes. Not by wasting tons of missile on extremely long range, low probability, shots.


IIRC it's orbitals that are primarily civilian residences that are protected by Edict. The facilities around Basilisk were mostly orbital warehouses, some support manufacturing, that kind of light industrial thing. I'm sure there was some on orbit housing for workers or transients; but there was no significant system population living there. That apparently made them fair game, despite not having any direct military uses.

Oyster Bay hit stations that did have much, much, larger civilian residential presence. But they were also the system's naval shipyards, with plenty of in service warships docked; again making them fair play.

Hypatia (in addition to being a member of the League; not at war with them) has no apparent military presence at her stations; and while they undoubtedly had some light industrial capabilities they also (unlike Basilisk) had a significant orbital population. I'm not sure exactly what combination of items pushed that over the line into Edict violation - it might have been less egregious if a declared state of war existed - on the other hand it might not have; since it still had no appreciable military significance.
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Re: Would Dispersing Shipyards Blunt or Stop a Second Oyster
Post by tlb   » Fri Sep 13, 2019 10:40 pm

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tlb wrote:There were other systems attacked by the SLN, at about the same time as Hypatia, where we presume that the Parthian Shot was used as the RMN ships were not present. Since they were not described in the book and only the damage totals were reported, we do not know exactly how controlled the missiles were at those locations.

ThinksMarkedly wrote:I disagree, I think we should presume it wasn't used. In her surrender demands, Honor did mention the Parthian Shot and if there had been systems where the option had been employed, she would have brought them up. The RMN would have known, since the Parthian Option was specifically to be used to avoid confrontation with the RMN. No RMN, no Parthian. Also, Buccaneer had only a handful of targets in the first list, one of them bumped so that Hajdu's force could divert to Hypatia.

(And merging the two discussions...)

Honor did mention that the Parthian Shot was effectively an Eridani Edict Violation. If not in the letter of the Edict, then in the spirit. Belligerents are supposed to do their damned best to avoid civilian casualties, so firing without controlling your missiles is a violation of the spirit. Deliberately attacking civilian infrastructure must be even in the letter.

The Yawata Strike was a side-effect of the attack. But the MA simply paid no mind to the effect of attacking 100-km long structures orbiting inhabited planets. So it might be a violation of the spirit too. This will all depend on who wins in the end, since history is written by the victors. If the Alliance catches the perpetrators, they will be tried for EEV.

I only see them escaping that punishment if they pull an Albrecht, whether with nukes or with nanobots, or get killed in action.

You might be right about the Parthian Shot, but we have no real description of what went on in the other attacks. I expect the biggest problem with the attacks is that they were on systems that had declared their neutrality, so were not legitimate targets.

Again I point to all the civilian orbital structures that were destroyed by Haven at Basilisk with attendant loss of civilian life. That was not an EE violation nor a war crime. Manticore can try people for war crimes (which EE violations certainly are), but not directly for violating the Eridani Edict - since that is a foreign policy statement by the Solarian League.
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Re: Would Dispersing Shipyards Blunt or Stop a Second Oyster
Post by Galactic Sapper   » Sat Sep 14, 2019 8:56 am

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tlb wrote:You might be right about the Parthian Shot, but we have no real description of what went on in the other attacks. I expect the biggest problem with the attacks is that they were on systems that had declared their neutrality, so were not legitimate targets.

Again I point to all the civilian orbital structures that were destroyed by Haven at Basilisk with attendant loss of civilian life. That was not an EE violation nor a war crime. Manticore can try people for war crimes (which EE violations certainly are), but not directly for violating the Eridani Edict - since that is a foreign policy statement by the Solarian League.

We don't know exactly how extensive the loss of life was at Basilisk. Assuming the stations were designed with the same considerations the major stations in Manticore were, it should have been fairly low. Even the major stations were designed for relatively rapid evacuation, given the Star Kingdom was in a state of cold or hot war for nearly a century. Note nearly the entire population of Weyland being evacuated in short order - minutes, not hours - rather than the days needed to evacuate the stations in Hypatia and Beowulf.

As for other "scorched earth" type strikes in both phases of the war, in every other case the attacking force at least temporarily took control of the system to give time for infrastructure to be evacuated before it was destroyed. No doubt a few people were on board but most were not. Harrington specifically left purely civilian structures alone; while the Havenites did not, the systems they hit had much less civilian infrastructure to begin with. The Solarians most certainly destroyed everything in reach, regardless of military value.

And last, the Solarian actions - Parthian Shot in particular - was seen as an Eridani Edict violation even in the minds of the officers tasked with doing it. It's not even questionable; attacks on occupied civilian structures are a violation of both the letter and the spirit of the Edict.
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