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BB(P/C) for rear area security

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BB(P/C) for rear area security
Post by Positroll   » Fri Feb 14, 2014 8:28 am

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(I am rather sure a similar idea has been discussed here before - just couldn't find it ... so if there is a preexisting thread, any mod should feel free to transfer this post over there ...)

1) Why a BB(P/C)?

With Talbott and Silesia becoming part of the SEM, rear area security becomes an important topic. So far, missile pods and LACs seem to be the answer that the Manticoran admiralty has settled on.

I'd argue that this is only half the answer: first, because many systems also have serious assets outside the hyperlimit that need protection against Solly BC raiding forces, second because it's always nicer if you can trap the ennemies raiding forcs Sidemore style, and third because you might not want to set up a stationary sysdefpod-system in newly liberated verge systems where the reliability of your new "allies" might not be 100% which might give the SN access to your secrets ...

I think the way to go for that job is a modernized verson of the BB. The peeps used their BBs for rear area security for quite a while - they might be more willing than the Manties to go ahead with the concept first, also because the proposed ships can be built faster than SD, which means they could have real modern ships earlier that way.

BTW, when I say "rear area", this also includes verge systes that need to be liberated ot just were liberated by the GA.

2) What does the BB(P/C) look like?

a)Size: Close to 4 mio tons

b) Stern: similar to Agammemnon, but bigger and with Mk 23 Apollo missile pods - to fight raiding BCs at a large distance if needed (e.g. jump in behind a raiding force that is making its way towards Montana from the hyperlimit - Sollies will be cought between the missiles from orbiting sysdefpods and those from the BB).

c) Front: Similar to Nike, with the new and improved Mk 16s to fight BCs that made it through the Mk 23s and smaller raiding Forces (where you can afford to conserve the more expensive Mk 23s). This gives the BB the sustained firepower that the current BC(P) lack.

d) In the middle: a small carrier element.
- a oversized boat bay, lenghtwise at the underside of the BB, lenght: >2 LAC / 1 frigate (re-designed Nat Turner or a new design?), with docking/rearming space for 4 LACs or 2 LACS and one FF).
- docking hardpoints at the exterior of the BB to carry another 8 LACs (or 6 LACS and 1 NT or 4/2). This allows the LAC crews to travel inside the BB during Transit / while on station and reduces their need for bunkerage, esp since the LACs will get their energy from the BB while docked.
- at least 4 of the LACs are Katanas to improve missile defense and normally stay with the BB
- the other LACs can be sent around the system for various purposes on a rotating basis
- any FFs caried (normally 1, but that depends on the specific Mission) along can be used to scout neighbouring systems, for jobs in the outer system where hyper drive is useful, as pickets that can jump away to alert the fleet if the BB gets overwhelmed by enemy forces, or just as messenger ships.

Thoughts?
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Re: BB(P/C) for rear area security
Post by Duckk   » Fri Feb 14, 2014 8:34 am

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Re: BB(P/C) for rear area security
Post by The E   » Fri Feb 14, 2014 8:45 am

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Positroll wrote:Thoughts?


Yeah.

Given what we know of the tactical and strategic thinking in the Honorverse, these ships have no use case.
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Re: BB(P/C) for rear area security
Post by Jonathan_S   » Fri Feb 14, 2014 9:20 am

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Positroll wrote:With Talbott and Silesia becoming part of the SEM, rear area security becomes an important topic. So far, missile pods and LACs seem to be the answer that the Manticoran admiralty has settled on.

I'd argue that this is only half the answer: first, because many systems also have serious assets outside the hyperlimit that need protection against Solly BC raiding forces, second because it's always nicer if you can trap the ennemies raiding forcs Sidemore style, and third because you might not want to set up a stationary sysdefpod-system in newly liberated verge systems where the reliability of your new "allies" might not be 100% which might give the SN access to your secrets ...
Seems awfully expensive way to beat up on BCs; while not being tough enough to stand up to tech-equivalent SD(P)s.

If you've got significant assets out beyond the hyperlimit the solution appears to be to base LACs, and deploy additional pods, out where they can cover those specific assets.

After all, beyond the hyper limit attackers can drop almost on top of their target; within, or nearly within, weapons range. So you can't count on any remote reaction force to get there in time, even if that force was already somewhere else outside the limit (and if they were inside the hyper limit...). The raiders can do one firing pass and be ready to jump out when additional defenders show up.

So it seems, to me, that you can only defend an out-system target with assets already deployed directly to cover it. But if that's true then those assets don't need hyper capability because they're predeployed.
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Re: BB(P/C) for rear area security
Post by Positroll   » Fri Feb 14, 2014 9:34 am

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Duckk wrote:http://infodump.thefifthimperium.com/entry/Harrington/290/1


Thanks, good read. A few remarks:

1) Of course, one needs to keep in mind that this was written at a time when the RMN and the RHN where beating each other up with SD(P)s of roughly similar ability, concentrating on a few key systems at a time.

2) Now we have a situation where enemy no1 (SL) is technologically behind for the next few years, during which time it needs to be cut down to size asap by splitting of as many Verge (and Shell?) Systems as possible, while defending a big number of GA Systems against raids by numerous but inferior SLN BCs.

3) The other ennemy (MA) is using a comletely different set of invisible ships, where dispersal of assets might be a big plus wrt survivability: Against Detweiler sneak atacks, I'd rather have 2 BB(P)s on different sides of a planet than one SD(P).

4) the big difference between the US Navy discussed and the GA navy is that BB(P)s can accelerate faster than SD(P)s; like BCs they can run away from anybody that can kill then while killing everybody they can cach (which, with or without Apollo includes all current and near-term Solly BCs. Whih means for the probable duration of the conflict with the SLN they are well suited for rear area security.

5) So why not just use an inproved Nike as discussed by Weber at the end of the linked post? Because while the Nike is fine for attacking the ennemy, in the defensive role a BB(P/C) with Mk 23 Appollos can protect a much wider area, for a longer time. Oh, and they can carry more Marines to help out in the verge, and the can carry LACs for improved antimissile defense ...

All in all, given the ennemies the GA will have to fight these next years, I still think a BB makes sense ...
And no, if the SLN ever gets SD(p)s, I don't expect the BBs to stand up to them - but that's not what they are for, anyway ...
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Re: BB(P/C) for rear area security
Post by The E   » Fri Feb 14, 2014 9:47 am

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Positroll wrote:All in all, given the ennemies the GA will have to fight these next years, I still think a BB makes sense ...
And no, if the SLN ever gets SD(p)s, I don't expect the BBs to stand up to them - but that's what they are for, anyway ...


But, as that post points out, the build time requirements for a BB are similar to those of a real Waller. You are proposing a design with a useful lifetime of a few short years, after which it becomes obsolete again due to a changed threat environment.

In the current situation, it makes little sense for anyone to start building units that aren't going to last very long, both in a strategic and tactical sense. Doing so requires design work that can be better spent designing the next generation Destroyer/Cruiser classes, and yard space that can be better uilized building repeat Rolands, Saganami-Cs, Nikes, 4th-generation SD(P)s and 2nd gen CLACs, which are all tried and tested designs and which fit into the existing doctrine just fine.

Hybrid designs like yours, or the Q-ships a certain Skimper is always on about, have to make too many compromises to be as effective on deployment as an equivalent tonnage of existing designs would be. For example, two Nike BC(L)s have all the tactical flexibility of this proposed contraption of yours, while at the same time offering greater firepower, greater redundancy, fewer running costs, and higher maneuverability.

System defense is a role that can be filled quite well with well-placed LAC bases backed by system-defense Apollo pods and the Moriarty/Mycroft control platforms. You don't really need to tie down hypercapable combatants unless there's a good chance someone might drop by with a BatRon or two.
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Re: BB(P/C) for rear area security
Post by drothgery   » Fri Feb 14, 2014 9:54 am

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It seems pretty clear at this point that if you can't leave a squadron of the wall or more in a system, LACs + forts + system defense missile pods is both a very effective defense (nothing short of a squadron of podlaying wallers is getting through it). You don't need crazy hodgepodges for that; you can operate LACs and control missile pod fire out of forts/stations without difficulty.
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Re: BB(P/C) for rear area security
Post by Duckk   » Fri Feb 14, 2014 9:58 am

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Positroll wrote:1) Of course, one needs to keep in mind that this was written at a time when the RMN and the RHN where beating each other up with SD(P)s of roughly similar ability, concentrating on a few key systems at a time.

2) Now we have a situation where enemy no1 (SL) is technologically behind for the next few years, during which time it needs to be cut down to size asap by splitting of as many Verge (and Shell?) Systems as possible, while defending a big number of GA Systems against raids by numerous but inferior SLN BCs.


As David said, "If you're thinking about designing ships to go out and beat on people who don't have MDMs, then you don't really have to worry about your survivability. If you're thinking about designing ships to go out and mix it up with people whose technology is comparable to your own, and if both of you have been working on ways to intercept/defeat the MDM missile storm, then individual unit survivability becomes a front burner issue. If you're thinking about designing ships to go up against people who have MDM technology far superior to your own, then survivability is beyond your reach, and all the redundancy of platforms and the galaxy isn't going to save you in the long term." As was so ably demonstrated at places like Spindle, Saltash, and Zunker, RMN cruisers and destroyers have nothing to fear from SLN battlecruisers, so there's no need to build battleships in response to SLN raiders.

More to the point, any BB design has to be designed, troubleshot, and then built. That's at least a 3 year job at even at crash priority. If the situation is so critical that it requires the construction of a radically new class (and I am far from convinced that it is), then by the same token it is critical enough that you cannot wait those 3+ years. The Alliance has lots of institutional experience in maximizing hulls while still providing a suitable defense. Both Manticore and Haven have gone to nodal defense forces covering critical systems, while LACs and missile pods local defense. All of those are available now, with the added bonus that it doesn't involve constructing a new class from a dead ship type, and spreading them around in penny packets.

3) The other ennemy (MA) is using a comletely different set of invisible ships, where dispersal of assets might be a big plus wrt survivability: Against Detweiler sneak atacks, I'd rather have 2 BB(P)s on different sides of a planet than one SD(P).


The mere dispersal of ships is not a defense against spider drive vessels. You either know they're there or you don't. If you do, the chances of being caught napping are slim, and having your forces concentrated to provide mutual support would be a huge benefit. If you don't, no amount of distance is going to matter, as was demonstrated during Oyster Bay.

4) the big difference between the US Navy discussed and the GA navy is that BB(P)s can accelerate faster than SD(P)s; like BCs they can run away from anybody that can kill then while killing everybody they can cach (which, with or without Apollo includes all current and near-term Solly BCs. Whih means for the probable duration of the conflict with the SLN they are well suited for rear area security.


This isn't pre-war missiles. MDMs make staying out of range very difficult. While acceleration still remains important, once you've committed to a missile engagement, you're likely going to be there long enough to decide the battle.

5) So why not just use an inproved Nike as discussed by Weber at the end of the linked post? Because while the Nike is fine for attacking the ennemy, in the defensive role a BB(P/C) with Mk 23 Appollos can protect a much wider area, for a longer time. Oh, and they can carry more Marines to help out in the verge, and the can carry LACs for improved antimissile defense ...


You do not need to build an entirely new class of ship to just sit around on the defense. You cannot be strong everywhere. This is a point David has made repeatedly. Building hundreds of BBs to picket every rear area system is a massive waste of resources. If you're concerned enough to make a serious defense of a system, then you're going to invest the weight of material in ships and/or fortresses to make sure no likely attack will take the system. If you aren't willing to make that investment (or can't), then you put what you think will be a sufficient deterrent against run of the mill raiders and pirates, but economize your heavy forces such that they can react to local threats while still having enough for your offensive fleets.

All in all, given the ennemies the GA will have to fight these next years, I still think a BB makes sense ...
And no, if the SLN ever gets SD(p)s, I don't expect the BBs to stand up to them - but that's not what they are for, anyway ...


Then you run into the exact same problem the Peeps had in the first war. A slew of capital ships which were massively disadvantaged in fighting other capital ships. The Alliance would be far better served building wallers which can maintain their utility even when the Sollies catch up.
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Re: BB(P/C) for rear area security
Post by Positroll   » Fri Feb 14, 2014 10:15 am

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But, as that post points out, the build time requirements for a BB are similar to those of a real Waller. You are proposing a design with a useful lifetime of a few short years, after which it becomes obsolete again due to a changed threat environment.

I really don't think they'd become obsolete soon - as a pod design, they can always add the newest missiles just by excachanging the pods.
Timewise, we don't know how long it takes for the SL to self-destoy. If they concentrate on keeping the core together while only doing some raiding in verge and GA, they might last a while - or not.

In the current situation, it makes little sense for anyone to start building units that aren't going to last very long, both in a strategic and tactical sense. Doing so requires design work that can be better spent designing the next generation Destroyer/Cruiser classes, and yard space that can be better uilized building repeat Rolands, Saganami-Cs, Nikes, 4th-generation SD(P)s and 2nd gen CLACs, which are all tried and tested designs and which fit into the existing doctrine just fine.

I can just as well turn your argument around and say it doesn't make sense to build any SD(P)S because its likely we will no be using them against the Sollies and we don't know whether they'll be usefull against the Spider ships ...


Hybrid designs like yours, or the Q-ships a certain Skimper is always on about, have to make too many compromises to be as effective on deployment as an equivalent tonnage of existing designs would be. For example, two Nike BC(L)s have all the tactical flexibility of this proposed contraption of yours, while at the same time offering greater firepower, greater redundancy, fewer running costs, and higher maneuverability.

- None of them have the ability to drop in behind the enemy with a useful amount of Mk23s and Katanas for antimissile defense.
- why should two Nikes have lower running costs than one BB? you'd need twice as many officers - and no, the LACs don't count.

System defense is a role that can be filled quite well with well-placed LAC bases backed by system-defense Apollo pods and the Moriarty/Mycroft control platforms. You don't really need to tie down hypercapable combatants unless there's a good chance someone might drop by with a BatRon or two.

- Again: Hammer and anvil is nice to have
- As I said above, you might not want to install Mycroft etc in a newly liberated verge system whose's political loyalty is questionable. Also, it takes time to set up (cf. Honors fear re Beowulf)
- I think the billions of citizens in the Talbott quadrant might feel a Little different about that (as evidenced in the opposition to Mike Henke's deployment decisions) and request that if Manticore gets protected by hundreds of hypercapable ships, they should get at least a couple of BBs - or SD(P) if BBs don't exist ...
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Re: BB(P/C) for rear area security
Post by Duckk   » Fri Feb 14, 2014 10:25 am

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Positroll wrote:I really don't think they'd become obsolete soon - as a pod design, they can always add the newest missiles just by excachanging the pods.
Timewise, we don't know how long it takes for the SL to self-destoy. If they concentrate on keeping the core together while only doing some raiding in verge and GA, they might last a while - or not.


They'll go obsolete as soon as the Sollies get podlayers and MDMs. When that happens, the battleships will be staring down the same capability disparity they had back during the first war.

I can just as well turn your argument around and say it doesn't make sense to build any SD(P)S because its likely we will no be using them against the Sollies and we don't know whether they'll be usefull against the Spider ships ...


Except that the SD(P)s that are being built are the best designs they have. They're not wasting time with DN(P)s or BB(P)s. Alliance SD(P)s will retain their utility even after the SLN develops matching designs.

- None of them have the ability to drop in behind the enemy with a useful amount of Mk23s and Katanas for antimissile defense.
- why should two Nikes have lower running costs than one BB? you'd need twice as many officers - and no, the LACs don't count.


A point which I've been meaning to bring up but not able to find a good spot for is the idea of putting LACs on the ship at all. You're not going to be putting LAC bays in the design because everything is jam packed already into the forward ~40% of the hull. The pod hold is already a massive consumer of hull volume, so everything which was in the aft half is displaced forward. You're not going to find room to cram in LAC support equipment on top of that.

- Again: Hammer and anvil is nice to have
- As I said above, you might not want to install Mycroft etc in a newly liberated verge system whose's political loyalty is questionable. Also, it takes time to set up (cf. Honors fear re Beowulf)
- I think the billions of citizens in the Talbott quadrant might feel a Little different about that (as evidenced in the opposition to Mike Henke's deployment decisions) and request that if Manticore gets protected by hundreds of hypercapable ships, they should get at least a couple of BBs - or SD(P) if BBs don't exist ...


It would be nice to have an infinite supply of production in order to build said ships. The Alliance doesn't however. If you can build battleships, you can build superdreadnoughts, and it won't cost you a whole lot more in terms of time or money to do so. More to the point, if you did have infinite production, you wouldn't need to produce BBs anyways.
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