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Wormhole Assault: MA Style

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Re: Wormhole Assault: MA Style
Post by Jonathan_S   » Fri Jan 15, 2021 1:29 am

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ThinksMarkedly wrote:True, but my thinking is that the big endpoints are also the ones where you defences can be erected. Ghost Rider recon drones and (very!) active scanning. That should increase the chances of detection considerably, so much so that an LD would never come close. That's the scenario I keep discussing with cthia about whether an LD could come into orbit of Manticore: I think it couldn't. It would be detected before it reached orbit and, not having a sidewall, it's toast.

Torpedoes / Silver Bullets are another story. For one, being much smaller, the chance of detection is also smaller. For another, if it's detected, the loss is not that big to the MAN.

I hadn't considered patrol, though. Does a warship patrolling the Unicorn Belt need to come within 1 million km of any particular rock?

Depends on the rock probably. The random ones getting broken up for raw material; probably not. But the mining stations out there (like the ones the Masadan's were raiding in Grayson during HotQ, to lure the GSN into a trap set by their loaned Havenite units... Those a warship might actual make close passes to.

And to be clear all the things I was talking about I was thinking of using graser torps. I don't see a good reason for an LD to get itself in close to a target. Yeah it can do more damage, but if things don't go perfects from what little we know they seem like they'd be a glass cannon and very vulnerable to a lucky hit or two. Hang way back and use RDs and torps to slowly snipe at your targets. Maybe roll some Cataphract pods and leave them behind as a minefield.

Still seems a waste for something bigger than an SD. And you've got a good point that many targets of oportunity are too puny to really justify sending a monster ship after.

This is more strategy of the possible - because I don't see a good way to use LDs to exchange blows with a modern enemy battlefleet. (Sure with their cataphract pods and stealth they could probably safely beat up Scientist and Vega class SDs - even ones towing Cataphract pods of their own. But against modern wallers?)

They can be a pain in the ass - but they don't seem to be war winning weapons.
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Re: Wormhole Assault: MA Style
Post by kzt   » Fri Jan 15, 2021 2:20 am

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Yeah, it's not very obvious how you can use this as your primary strike force.

Now if the MA delayed revealing themselves until they could have a squadron appear in orbit around Manticore - that would have been a war winning weapon.

On the other side, the cataphract is clearly an expedient weapon, the obvious expectation is that the real plan is a true MDM. This may not happen, basing your new ship on the theory that 'well, we'll have solved that problem by then' hasn't worked out well for the US Navy and Army over the last few decades.

But it's likely to work out for the MAN. Too many people in too many places are involved in construction/maintenace of the missiles and the odds that nobody will sell it for personal profit are not very good.

Still, it's hard to see this as the primary fleet for the MAN in a large-scale conflict. There is obviously something going on that isn't obvious to us, either in terms of capabilities, strategy or concept of operations.
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Re: Wormhole Assault: MA Style
Post by Joat42   » Fri Jan 15, 2021 6:55 am

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Jonathan_S wrote:I can't recall anything in the books that says whether or not the (now) 7 links to remote termini are colocated together in a giant blob (just with slightly different approach vectors) or if they might be thousands of km apart just all loosely grouped within the general area called the junction.

This is something that has bugged me for a very long time. How are the termini situated?

If they are relatively close and considering the amount of traffic passing through the junction, I find it amazing that a ship didn't pass through the 7th termini by accident before it was discovered. Unless of course, the traffic patterns decided by the other termini's lanes steered ships past the 7th termini.

Considering the textev from when they where hunting for the 7th termini, it seems that the termini are quite far apart.

---
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Re: Wormhole Assault: MA Style
Post by ThinksMarkedly   » Fri Jan 15, 2021 11:39 am

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Joat42 wrote:This is something that has bugged me for a very long time. How are the termini situated?

If they are relatively close and considering the amount of traffic passing through the junction, I find it amazing that a ship didn't pass through the 7th termini by accident before it was discovered. Unless of course, the traffic patterns decided by the other termini's lanes steered ships past the 7th termini.

Considering the textev from when they where hunting for the 7th termini, it seems that the termini are quite far apart.


Speculation: there are more gravity shear zones in the Junction volume that are not termini. Those are well mapped and the ships follow routes around them. They don't have to be precise for this, just "avoid this sphere of 50,000 km radius."

Any ship that ignores those warnings gets Darwin Awards, so they're not likely to either.

Harvest Joy's job was to wander into those areas very cautiously to figure out if the shear was a terminus and, if so, what the correct vector for transiting was.

Also, given that an outbound transit told it how to return, it stands to reason the outbound and arrival lanes are highly correlated, even if not back-to-back.
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Re: Wormhole Assault: MA Style
Post by Theemile   » Fri Jan 15, 2021 11:54 am

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ThinksMarkedly wrote:
Joat42 wrote:This is something that has bugged me for a very long time. How are the termini situated?

If they are relatively close and considering the amount of traffic passing through the junction, I find it amazing that a ship didn't pass through the 7th termini by accident before it was discovered. Unless of course, the traffic patterns decided by the other termini's lanes steered ships past the 7th termini.

Considering the textev from when they where hunting for the 7th termini, it seems that the termini are quite far apart.


Speculation: there are more gravity shear zones in the Junction volume that are not termini. Those are well mapped and the ships follow routes around them. They don't have to be precise for this, just "avoid this sphere of 50,000 km radius."

Any ship that ignores those warnings gets Darwin Awards, so they're not likely to either.

Harvest Joy's job was to wander into those areas very cautiously to figure out if the shear was a terminus and, if so, what the correct vector for transiting was.

Also, given that an outbound transit told it how to return, it stands to reason the outbound and arrival lanes are highly correlated, even if not back-to-back.


It could also be that the emergence lanes are more "active" after a ship has emerged - The wormhole has to dump all that energy somewhere - it could be that part of the disturbance locking down the junction is an increase in the gravity turbulence for a period of time corresponding with the mass transited. Not necessarily that the wormhole cannot be used (ie cannot make a connection to the far side) - but the turbulence makes it unusable.

If this is a case, under fallow conditions, the lanes are no more than a speed bump of turbulance - there, but not ship killing shoals. However, once the wormhole has been activated, the gravity in those becomes a roaring monster until the wormhole has settled back down to it's resting energy level.

Add this to the random grav spikes that surround the area, this would make actually finding the lanes of a sleeping giant like finding the pattern in the potholes of a badly maintained parking lot.
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Re: Wormhole Assault: MA Style
Post by ThinksMarkedly   » Fri Jan 15, 2021 12:02 pm

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kzt wrote:It’s the flaming datum problem. When one of your ships suddenly explodes you know there is a sub out there. In a fairly small piece of ocean. You don’t know where exactly. And without the exactly part knowing it’s somewhere in that 60km wide and 2km deep cylinder isn’t really all that useful in terms of deploying weapons.

You can fire every weapon you have and not damage it.


Good point. Especially if the attacking ship itself isn't there, but just a flight of torpedoes or even missile pods. No one cares what happens to the pods themselves after they've expended their payload.

Missile pods aren't likely to be used, though, because they can't move. You'd have to expect the attacking ship to get really close to it before launching, because missiles move much slower than light and they do show up faster than light on sensors. A spider-driven missile pod is another story and that would need to self-destruct after firing.

In the same way, knowing that somewhere within a sphere of radius of 3 light seconds of where that battle squadron just blew up at 30 light seconds away is of limited utility. How big is a 3 light second sphere? MDMs have notably stupid and low resolution sensors, which is why they blunder into planets. How close do you think the have to get to detect something that the best MAN sensors can only pick up at a light second? It’s going to be a lot less than a light second. Quite possibly under10,000 km.


It's not exactly as you describe, since you do get a direction from the graser beam itself. It will ionise the solar wind and therefore be detectable as a straight line to the launch point. It will also glow for some time after the beam has passed through. So your search isn't a sphere 3 light-seconds in radius (113 cubic light-seconds in volume), but a sphere a few thousand km in radius at most and up to 3 light-seconds distant. It's possible to get some velocity vector from this too, if the graser beam deflected during the shot (and 3 second shots will have a large deflection).

DDMs and MDMs can cover 3 light-seconds in under 45 seconds of flight on full power. That means they can arrive there and shut down the first stage, then "loiter" until one of them finds the target, even with myopic sensors ("loiter" because they'll be moving at better than 0.1c). Or they can perform a zero-zero with the target with 63 seconds of flight, which means they can use one stage with a mid-point turn-over for 60 seconds to achieve near zero relative velocity.

Of course, none of this helps if the ship wasn't there in the first place, only pods and torpedoes.
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Re: Wormhole Assault: MA Style
Post by Jonathan_S   » Fri Jan 15, 2021 12:34 pm

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Theemile wrote:

It could also be that the emergence lanes are more "active" after a ship has emerged - The wormhole has to dump all that energy somewhere - it could be that part of the disturbance locking down the junction is an increase in the gravity turbulence for a period of time corresponding with the mass transited. Not necessarily that the wormhole cannot be used (ie cannot make a connection to the far side) - but the turbulence makes it unusable.

If this is a case, under fallow conditions, the lanes are no more than a speed bump of turbulance - there, but not ship killing shoals. However, once the wormhole has been activated, the gravity in those becomes a roaring monster until the wormhole has settled back down to it's resting energy level.

Add this to the random grav spikes that surround the area, this would make actually finding the lanes of a sleeping giant like finding the pattern in the potholes of a badly maintained parking lot.

Plus RFC has indicated that the power of an RZ varies with the power of the wormhole and that the Junction, being the largest and most powerful known also has the most powerful RZ.
That likely also means that the Junction area is the noisiest known terminus or junction for grav sensors, which would make it even harder to pick the Lynx terminus out from the "interference" thrown off by the other 6.

I do like your idea that the freshly transited terminus would temporarily be more energetic and thus easier to see. But also at the remote Lynx terminus Harvest Joy didn't have to try to pick out the terminus from the background of all the other termini. It's got a nice clean isolated terminus - and that single terminus should be producing a lot less mess (and a far weaker RZ) than what they faced at the Junction.

So knowing where to look, it likely being more visible due to a recent transit, and not having to pick it out from others would all make finding the terminus back far quicker and easier than finding the Manticore side.
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Re: Wormhole Assault: MA Style
Post by kzt   » Fri Jan 15, 2021 8:17 pm

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Joat42 wrote:If they are relatively close and considering the amount of traffic passing through the junction, I find it amazing that a ship didn't pass through the 7th termini by accident before it was discovered. Unless of course, the traffic patterns decided by the other termini's lanes steered ships past the 7th termini.

Considering the textev from when they where hunting for the 7th termini, it seems that the termini are quite far apart.

You have to be in exactly the right place when you activate the hyperdrive.

Plus I suspect the entire area of the WH is highly dangerous as it is essentially a grav storm in real space, and getting to a particular point of the WH requires you run a course that ensures the strength of the encountered grav shear is safe for a ship with sails deployed to survive. Which is what the terminus is. It's the safest fastest path out of the WH grav storm.

I also suspect that the terminus path isn't static, it changes over time. Not usually a big deal, as you'd get handed both ingress and egress path by the traffic control folks before you entered the ingress side.
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Re: Wormhole Assault: MA Style
Post by cthia   » Sat Jan 16, 2021 12:00 am

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cthia wrote:
ThinksMarkedly wrote:We don't know what happens to vectors not leading to transit. My guess is that nothing happens.

We do know what happens. All the Harvest Joys that didn't wait for the final results told us. They are destroyed if their descent into the "maelstrom" is on the wrong bearing.
Jonathan_S wrote:If that vector happens to take you through one of the Junctions seven termini entrance/exits; or across one of the grav shear departure/arrival lanes - yes you'd be destroyed.

(And yes, kzt had a point that we don't know for sure that the entirety of the test of the junction area is safe to transit through - but there is plenty of space that is (see entire battlefleets forming up after clearing the arrival lane but before leaving the general terminus area)

Though no description of wormhole exploration mentions any significant number of lost survey ships; not even for the earliest explorations. So all those "Harvest Joys that didn't wait for the final results" seem more notional than historical fact. (In contrast we are told a few times of the significant losses to ships in the early days of hyper travel - so if a lot of early wormhole survey ships had been lost you'd expect that to have come up)

Correct me if I am wrong, but as I understand it, even if you are in the transit lane, you still must proceed on the correct bearing. It is akin to your car being properly situated on a country road at night without any headlights trying to remain on the correct path or traveling the right vector. This is the info that must be obtained from ACS. If you are a ship you can't take on a wave at the wrong angle. A sailing vessel must tack to remain in agreement with the wind, and the waves directed by the wind.

I was humorously pointing out the hard lesson learned if they blindly charged on before the survey was complete. Textev cataloged a time consuming and exacting process of "surveying." At any rate, I was facetiously trying to convey that only one of kzt's flaming datum points will be needed to figure out the gravity of the situation. :D

A bit-o-tid, or tidbit if you prefer. It has to be one or the other as far as the orientation of the positive hemisphere of the junction. One of the reasons why I thought that the orientation is towards the planet is giving storyline the benefit of the doubt. In an emergency maneuver - like when Honor was charging to the termini at Trevor's Star - it would eat up a lot of time if Eighth Fleet had to first kill the velocity of that hard charge to the junction, in addition to the lanes being inconveniently located in the negative hemisphere. Imagine hauling ass and driving hard to the safety of a government complex or your garage. But instead of being able to drive right in, you have to maneuver around behind the house, then enter. Then you must either enter by swinging wide to make the turns, or choose a maneuver that involves killing accel completely, then reversing course. You've got to kill that accel.

A plea to ThinksMarkedly
Why exactly do you subscribe to the belief that the LDs stealth has a limitation of one light second? Manticoran drones don't have that same limitation, and MA stealth is a cut above. Sure, the LDs are huge. But so is the jungle they're hiding in.

Forts
Are forts completely invulnerable to 3 second graser torps? Or to any kind of massed attack that an enemy ship like the stealth of an LD may be able to deliver, up close and personal?

Energy Platforms about junction
I'm not too concerned about those energy platforms. They are immobile. Sitting ducks. All of those platforms will go bye-bye simultaneously, inspired by Kzt's flaming datums.


The Lethality of the Lenny Dets
One very serious caution I feel I must issue regarding the LDs. We must not take their lethality for granted, as it appears most of you are doing. Sure, LDs may be eggshells in general. But we don't know what kind of ECM she has either. Like AF One shitting out flares at a phenomenal rate. But more than that, I must stress again that I don't think you can afford to let something that big set up housekeeping on your front lawn. It is a fair trade of metal if the MA loses an LD which manages to take out a third or more of the forts, warships waiting to transit, and energy platforms. Let alone what several of these LDs can do operating as part of a Wolfpack.

Do consider that of any foe that has ever fought in the HV, the MA must take "short victorious war" to a whole new level. Sure, the MA will not want to lose a single LD, but if an LD's sacrifice is worth it. Game on. When the MA attacks, they will be looking to be decisive. There is no tomorrow for the enemy. Losing two or even three LDs for the price of the MWJ and hopefully an unsuspecting GA fleet, is acceptable.

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: Wormhole Assault: MA Style
Post by Jonathan_S   » Sat Jan 16, 2021 9:30 am

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cthia wrote:A bit-o-tid, or tidbit if you prefer. It has to be one or the other as far as the orientation of the positive hemisphere of the junction. One of the reasons why I thought that the orientation is towards the planet is giving storyline the benefit of the doubt. In an emergency maneuver - like when Honor was charging to the termini at Trevor's Star - it would eat up a lot of time if Eighth Fleet had to first kill the velocity of that hard charge to the junction, in addition to the lanes being inconveniently located in the negative hemisphere. Imagine hauling ass and driving hard to the safety of a government complex or your garage. But instead of being able to drive right in, you have to maneuver around behind the house, then enter. Then you must either enter by swinging wide to make the turns, or choose a maneuver that involves killing accel completely, then reversing course. You've got to kill that accel.

Ah - I see why you're getting confused. You've overlooked a key bit of information from the books.

Even for an emergency transit we are explicitly told when White Haven ran to relieve Basilisk that 8th fleet had "to decelerate to zero relative to the terminus before making transit, however urgent the crisis." [EoH]

The book also emphasizes that point by giving the extra time that they must take
Echoes of Honor wrote:his destroyer screen could reach the local terminus on a least-time course in approximately thirty-five minutes while his SDs would need closer to forty-one. But a least-time course allowed no room for turnover and deceleration [...]
no choice but to decelerate to zero relative to the terminus before making transit, however urgent the crisis. And that meant those same destroyers would take fifty minutes while the SDs took just over fifty-seven. And once they'd gotten there, they still had to make transit—not once, but twice—just to get to the Basilisk terminus.


Now Honor's emergency transit in AAC isn't described in that same detail - but the same limitations would apply to her more powerful fleet. So she'd also have to making a zero/zero rendezvous with the terminus before transiting; no matter how urgent the crisis.



So, like a couple earlier posts said, the ships are not carrying any significant velocity through - and in the 4.5 minutes we're told it takes a warship to clear emergence zone they simply don't build up all that much new velocity. So there'd be no significant delay even if an emergence zone pointed directly away from rest of the system.
Last edited by Jonathan_S on Sat Jan 16, 2021 9:42 am, edited 1 time in total.
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