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Confusion on battles

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Confusion on battles
Post by Fireflair   » Mon Sep 09, 2019 2:49 am

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I understand about the variable geometry of the two stressed bands of space created on either side of a ship to propel it along. I get the sidewall concept and how it protects the ship, along with why there's an open throat and kilt. I also understand how the larger ships are worth so much more in battle due to armor, weapons, defenses, etc. That a battlecruiser can eat up an equal tonnage of destroyers.

What I don't get is why those same destroyers can't attack from enough angles to get those up the kilt or down the throat shots? Say 4 destroyers and 1 battlecruiser. Why couldn't the destroyers come at the battlecruiser from enough directions that it can't block every shot, thus letting the destroyers get that down the throat shot that is far more damaging?

What stops the swarm method from being an effective way for smaller ships destroying larger ones?
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Re: Confusion on battles
Post by kzt   » Mon Sep 09, 2019 3:43 am

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David answered this in regards to a swarm of SDM BCs attacking an old school SDM SD, like a SLN SD. IIRC it was my hobby horse about handing out SLN SDs to systems. Basically he said that yes, a squardon of BCs could probably take down a single SD. Leaving one or two damaged but operational surviving BCs and six or seven BCs that range from crippled to expanding vapor clouds. He felt this plan would be unpopular with the BC crews.

DDs have the problem that very few of their weapons can penetrate the armor of a BC even if they get an ideal firing position.
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Re: Confusion on battles
Post by Maldorian   » Mon Sep 09, 2019 7:14 am

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DDs have the problem that very few of their weapons can penetrate the armor of a BC even if they get an ideal firing position.


With the exeption of the manty Rolands. Remember that Zavala accidently destroyed 4 solarian BC´s because he missed the Briefing about the last Warhead upgrade.
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Re: Confusion on battles
Post by Galactic Sapper   » Mon Sep 09, 2019 10:20 am

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Fireflair wrote:I understand about the variable geometry of the two stressed bands of space created on either side of a ship to propel it along. I get the sidewall concept and how it protects the ship, along with why there's an open throat and kilt. I also understand how the larger ships are worth so much more in battle due to armor, weapons, defenses, etc. That a battlecruiser can eat up an equal tonnage of destroyers.

What I don't get is why those same destroyers can't attack from enough angles to get those up the kilt or down the throat shots? Say 4 destroyers and 1 battlecruiser. Why couldn't the destroyers come at the battlecruiser from enough directions that it can't block every shot, thus letting the destroyers get that down the throat shot that is far more damaging?

What stops the swarm method from being an effective way for smaller ships destroying larger ones?

"Far more damaging" does not necessarily translate to "crippling", and even on the hammerheads a BC is a near match for a destroyer in terms of number of weapons.

Just to throw numbers at it from actual ship classes from HoS: assume four Culverin class destroyers vs. one Reliant class BC (in both cases the last pre-war design). A Culverin has 5 missiles, 4 lasers, 5 counter missiles, and 4 point defense clusters in each broadside. The Reliant has 4 missiles, one laser, 2 grasers, 6 counter missiles, and 6 point defense clusters on each hammerhead (and way more for the two poor bastards who have to engage its broadsides).

A destroyer sitting off the bow of the BC is not going to have much luck getting broadsides of only 5 missiles through that much missile defense. Likewise, the Reliant isn't likely to get many missiles through the broadside defenses of the Culverin, but when they do each of their missiles is going to have a far greater impact than the return hits they get. Destroyer-grade missiles (pre-war) are sized to defeat destroyer and light cruiser grade armor; midscale missiles carried by BCs are sized to defeat BC grade armor. A destroyer can't hope to survive more than one or two hits from BC grade missiles before it blows up or simply breaks in half like Troubador did fighting Saladin in HotQ. Destroyer hits on a BC are going to do relatively superficial damage.

Energy range would almost be worse. Sure, the destroyer has a 4-3 advantage in terms of guns, but each of the BC's guns are a lot bigger and it has a larger, less armored target to hit. The first graser hit is almost certain to end the destroyer, while laser hits on the hardest armored part of the BC aren't going to be fatal.

In any case, such a 4 vs 1 is very unlikely to have a happy result for the destroyers and isn't even likely to mission-kill the BC.

BCs vs SDs would have a better chance simply because the BCs broadsides do have a significant advantage over the SD's chase armaments. They'd still suffer from having lighter missiles and beams than the SD but the gap isn't as wide. Even then the BCs would be better off staying as a squadron to defend cripples and pool missile defenses. A Reliant squadron can throw well over 100 missiles per broadside and even if they're only BC level laser heads that many of them is going to start hurting an SD pretty quickly. It would take thousands of hits to break through to the core hull and hit something vital, but attrition would wipe out a lot of the SD's weapon and defense emplacements before that happened, meaning the longer the battle goes on the more hits will get through (and the less return fire they'd face). Ideally the BCs would try to aim for the two impeller rings, since if they can take down the SD's wedge it's a one hit kill with a missile wedge.
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Re: Confusion on battles
Post by Jonathan_S   » Mon Sep 09, 2019 11:55 am

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kzt wrote:David answered this in regards to a swarm of SDM BCs attacking an old school SDM SD, like a SLN SD. IIRC it was my hobby horse about handing out SLN SDs to systems. Basically he said that yes, a squardon of BCs could probably take down a single SD. Leaving one or two damaged but operational surviving BCs and six or seven BCs that range from crippled to expanding vapor clouds. He felt this plan would be unpopular with the BC crews.
He's also said that that's why major ships rarely operate as singletons.

A squadron of CLs might be able to take down a BC. But 4 squadrons of them would have much less change of taking out four BCs operating together - the BCs can cover each other from ships trying to maneuver into down the throat shots.




Also I did some number cruching a while back, and given that sidewalls apparently strength over a hundred km fore and aft of the ship (all the way to the end of the wedge) the vulnerable angle's are fairly small; the BC doesn't need to change heading much to interpose its sidewalls (and of course modern BCs also have buckler walls - though they cover a tiny angle and there's a big holes in coverage between the sidewalls and the buckler). For an SD, based on the numbers in the Pearls post on Wedge geometry the angles where the sidewall doesn't interpose is only 7.7 degrees wide. You've got a larger vertical vulnerability because of the way the wedge angles. Up the 64.9 degrees down the throat or 15.3 degrees up the kilt - but across any of that vertical vulnerability changing heading laterally by 4 degrees is more than enough to interpose the leading edge of the sidewall.
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Re: Confusion on battles
Post by saber964   » Mon Sep 09, 2019 5:55 pm

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Remember the Dreadnaught Bellerophon versus RADM Pierre BatCruDiv? 1 v 4 and the 4 got splattered.
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Re: Confusion on battles
Post by Daryl   » Mon Sep 09, 2019 7:38 pm

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In OTL an immediate comparison is The Battle of The River Plate where three cruisers took on a pocket battleship.
The end result was that the battleship (Graf Spee) scuttled itself. However many naval people believe it may have won if the battle continued, but the captain wanted to preserve the lives of his crew.
Mind you as RFC pointed out it is all to easy for armchair warriors to talk about a swarm of smaller ships eventually defeating a big opponent, but not so easy to be one of the crews in the vulnerable small ships that will be destroyed.
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Re: Confusion on battles
Post by tlb   » Mon Sep 09, 2019 8:49 pm

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A better example may be the battle of Samar in WW2; from Wikipedia;
The Battle off Samar was the centermost action of the Battle of Leyte Gulf, one of the largest naval battles in history, which took place in the Philippine Sea off Samar Island, on October 25, 1944. It was the only major action in the larger battle where the Americans were largely unprepared against the opposing forces. The Battle off Samar has been cited by historians as one of the greatest defensive stands in the face of overwhelming odds in naval history.

After subtracting Halsey's entire force the only remaining American forces in the area were three escort carrier groups of the 7th Fleet. The escort carriers and destroyer escorts which had been designed to protect slow convoys from submarine attack had been repurposed to attack ground targets, and had few torpedoes as they could normally rely on Halsey's fleet to protect them from any threats from armored warships. A Japanese surface force of battleships and cruisers, battered earlier in the larger battle and thought to have been in retreat, instead turned around unobserved and encountered the northernmost of the three groups, Task Unit 77.4.3 ("Taffy 3"), commanded by Rear Admiral Clifton Sprague.

Sprague's task unit lost two escort carriers, two destroyers, a destroyer escort and several aircraft. Over a thousand Americans died, comparable to the combined losses of American men and ships at the better-known Battles of the Coral Sea and Midway. But in exchange for the heavy losses for such a small force, they sank three Japanese cruisers, disabled another three, and caused enough confusion to persuade the Japanese commander, Vice Admiral Takeo Kurita, to regroup and ultimately withdraw, rather than advancing to sink troop and supply ships at Leyte Gulf.
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Re: Confusion on battles
Post by Fireflair   » Mon Sep 09, 2019 10:02 pm

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Thanks for the replies everyone!

So basically what I'm getting out of this is that:

1. Smaller ships weapons just aren't massive enough to penetrate the hammerheads or do serious enough damage even if they do.

2. The chase weapons of the larger ships, and their defenses, are strong enough to discourage lesser ships from spreading out to try and get the angle on larger ships. If they do their success rate isn't very high.
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Re: Confusion on battles
Post by Theemile   » Mon Sep 09, 2019 10:41 pm

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Fireflair wrote:Thanks for the replies everyone!

So basically what I'm getting out of this is that:

1. Smaller ships weapons just aren't massive enough to penetrate the hammerheads or do serious enough damage even if they do.

2. The chase weapons of the larger ships, and their defenses, are strong enough to discourage lesser ships from spreading out to try and get the angle on larger ships. If they do their success rate isn't very high.


and 3) large, expensive ships tend to move in protective formations and/or have escorts to protect vulnerable aspects from swarming attacks.
******
RFC said "refitting a Beowulfan SD to Manticoran standards would be just as difficult as refitting a standard SLN SD to those standards. In other words, it would be cheaper and faster to build new ships."
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