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Issues with the Wayfarer's Armament

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Issues with the Wayfarer's Armament
Post by Theemile   » Tue Apr 18, 2017 3:36 pm

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OK, we all know (or should) the armament of the HMS Wayfarer Armed Merchant Cruiser and it's sisters.

In each broadside:
8 SD class Grasers
10 Capital Missile Launchers (firing mk27/28 Capital missiles)
1 LAC Bay (6 LACS)

Stern:
1 Pod bay - 6 Pods/12 sec.

When rereading the passage copied in another forum where the Wayfarer launched her broadside, the size of the missile salvo bothered me. Just 10 missiles per salvo is quite small for a capital ship, it's actually the average size for a pre-war CA. More importantly, a pre-war CA is designed with defenses to intercept CA sized salvos. and while Capital missiles have better ECM and penaids than CA/BC missiles - are they really that much better (in 1910) to overpower CA's defenses?

Something tells me that advantage is just not enough to be a qualitative game changer compared to a CA's offenses. Yes, more capital hits will strike through a CA's defenses, and yes they will do considerably more damage if they hit. and don't forget, the Wayfarer class is not intended to go head to head against BC or wallers - it's intended to fight Pirates and Privateers, who rarely use something as large as a CA, or convoy escorts, who also are rarely larger than CAs.

So, what if a smallish BC sized salvo was used in each broadside instead of the SD class launchers? In other words, replace the 10 monster launchers with 15-16 middling BC class launchers. Would the ability to saturate a target's defense with targets more than make up the difference the advantage SD quality missiles gives in ECM and hitting power. Something tells me it would.

So would a Wayfarer with otherwise identical armament but with 15-16 BC launchers in each broadside be a better ship? What do you think? What other advantages (in 1910 tech) should have been used on the Wayfarer class to make it a better ship design?
******
RFC said "refitting a Beowulfan SD to Manticoran standards would be just about 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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Re: Issues with the Wayfarer's Armament
Post by Silverwall   » Tue Apr 18, 2017 4:01 pm

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Yes it is undergunned on the broadside as being a freighter there is nowhere to mount the other launchers.

However for long range actions the pod launcher is considered the primary weapon and most tactics against pirates are based around point blank graser fire. The fact of the matter is that against the low quility pirate light vessels (most in the FF and DD range) this is more than enough armament to do the job.

These ships are litterally the equivalent of Armed Merchant Cruisers in the two world wars. As such they are auxillary ships designed to provide basic escort against small raiders not fight major surface threats. I suggest you look at the example of the Jervis Bay or Rwalpundi (sp) for what will usually happen if a real cruiser of BC shows up.
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Re: Issues with the Wayfarer's Armament
Post by Jonathan_S   » Tue Apr 18, 2017 4:11 pm

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Theemile wrote:OK, we all know (or should) the armament of the HMS Wayfarer Armed Merchant Cruiser and it's sisters.

In each broadside:
8 SD class Grasers
10 Capital Missile Launchers (firing mk27/28 Capital missiles)
1 LAC Bay (6 LACS)

Stern:
1 Pod bay - 6 Pods/12 sec.

When rereading the passage copied in another forum where the Wayfarer launched her broadside, the size of the missile salvo bothered me. Just 10 missiles per salvo is quite small for a capital ship, it's actually the average size for a pre-war CA. More importantly, a pre-war CA is designed with defenses to intercept CA sized salvos. and while Capital missiles have better ECM and penaids than CA/BC missiles - are they really that much better (in 1910) to overpower CA's defenses?

Something tells me that advantage is just not enough to be a qualitative game changer compared to a CA's offenses. Yes, more capital hits will strike through a CA's defenses, and yes they will do considerably more damage if they hit. and don't forget, the Wayfarer class is not intended to go head to head against BC or wallers - it's intended to fight Pirates and Privateers, who rarely use something as large as a CA, or convoy escorts, who also are rarely larger than CAs.

So, what if a smallish BC sized salvo was used in each broadside instead of the SD class launchers? In other words, replace the 10 monster launchers with 15-16 middling BC class launchers. Would the ability to saturate a target's defense with targets more than make up the difference the advantage SD quality missiles gives in ECM and hitting power. Something tells me it would.

So would a Wayfarer with otherwise identical armament but with 15-16 BC launchers in each broadside be a better ship? What do you think? What other advantages (in 1910 tech) should have been used on the Wayfarer class to make it a better ship design?

You've got a bit of a point, but there are still a couple possible reasons they went with the capital launchers.

1) We know the grasers were available because SD weapon production had gotten ahead of ship construction. It wouldn't be unreasonable to assume the same was true of launchers. But there may not have been a surplus of BC grade launchers.

2) We know the ships carried relatively few pods for their intended cruise lengths - so after combat they would recover and reload all they could find. They could do that because they could pull capital missile rounds from their magazines to refill each pod with.
At the time Manticore wasn't building pods for BC sized missiles. If a BC got a pod it was the same cap missile pod an SD would tow. So if you go with smaller broadside tubes you need to:
a. Give up on reloading pods (potentially building deeper pod bay to give them more endurance w/o pod reloading)
b. Carry BC missiles in the main magazines and have other magazines / storage areas for capital missiles for reloading.
c. Design and build one-off pods to carry BC grade missiles

Since they expected to be able to use pods to swamp enemies in a single salvo, regardless of mounting barely more than a quarter of the broadside missiles of a Gryphon-class SD (10 vs 37), they probably didn't spend too much time worrying about packing heavier broadsides.


If anything I'd say the design was far too offensively oriented and would go for additional point defense, more decoys, and heavy sidewall generators before adding offensive firepower.
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Re: Issues with the Wayfarer's Armament
Post by noblehunter   » Tue Apr 18, 2017 4:16 pm

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Jonathan_S wrote:You've got a bit of a point, but there are still a couple possible reasons they went with the capital launchers.

1) We know the grasers were available because SD weapon production had gotten ahead of ship construction. It wouldn't be unreasonable to assume the same was true of launchers. But there may not have been a surplus of BC grade launchers.

2) We know the ships carried relatively few pods for their intended cruise lengths - so after combat they would recover and reload all they could find. They could do that because they could pull capital missile rounds from their magazines to refill each pod with.
At the time Manticore wasn't building pods for BC sized missiles. If a BC got a pod it was the same cap missile pod an SD would tow. So if you go with smaller broadside tubes you need to:
a. Give up on reloading pods (potentially building deeper pod bay to give them more endurance w/o pod reloading)
b. Carry BC missiles in the main magazines and have other magazines / storage areas for capital missiles for reloading.
c. Design and build one-off pods to carry BC grade missiles

Since they expected to be able to use pods to swamp enemies in a single salvo, regardless of mounting barely more than a quarter of the broadside missiles of a Gryphon-class SD (10 vs 37), they probably didn't spend too much time worrying about packing heavier broadsides.


If anything I'd say the design was far too offensively oriented and would go for additional point defense, more decoys, and heavy sidewall generators before adding offensive firepower.
Considering how the book ended, Honor would probably agree with you.
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Re: Issues with the Wayfarer's Armament
Post by robert132   » Tue Apr 18, 2017 4:26 pm

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Theemile wrote:OK, we all know (or should) the armament of the HMS Wayfarer Armed Merchant Cruiser and it's sisters.

In each broadside:
8 SD class Grasers
10 Capital Missile Launchers (firing mk27/28 Capital missiles)
1 LAC Bay (6 LACS)

Stern:
1 Pod bay - 6 Pods/12 sec.
*SNIP*


So, what if a smallish BC sized salvo was used in each broadside instead of the SD class launchers? In other words, replace the 10 monster launchers with 15-16 middling BC class launchers. Would the ability to saturate a target's defense with targets more than make up the difference the advantage SD quality missiles gives in ECM and hitting power. Something tells me it would.

So would a Wayfarer with otherwise identical armament but with 15-16 BC launchers in each broadside be a better ship? What do you think? What other advantages (in 1910 tech) should have been used on the Wayfarer class to make it a better ship design?


Let me answer with a question - how many crew does an SD class launcher need vs a "old style" BC (ie Reliant or earlier) grade launcher?

My guess would be a similar number of personnel regardless of the class of the launcher or not many more for the larger launcher vs the smaller. Multi-ton masses like missiles or "training rounds" would be handled by automated equipment to transfer and load the round for launch. You would need "X" plus or minus 1 or 2 number of techs per launcher.

Twice as many missile launchers to be manned during General Quarters means around twice as many personnel that the ship would have to support all day, every day whether or not she actually sees action. That equates to twice as many skilled / trained techs that BuPers has to find and divert to that ship. That also equates to that many more bodies that have to be fed and berthed and provided oxygen.

IIRC, the RMN "Bureau of Personnel" was at wits end to find sufficient personnel to meet demand as it was, bringing Wayfarer and her squadron mates on line early made for long days and lots of antacid for the people working the assignment desks there at BuPers. To have to find and Shanghai additional numbers for each ship ... errrrr. :mrgreen: :?

For ships intended to combat pirates and privateers the SD grade missiles and grazers are indeed overkill but if the weapons are already available and waiting for ships that may be delayed or cancelled for some reason it makes sense to use them rather than delay the merchantman conversions and spend additional money by building new ones.
****

Just my opinion of course and probably not worth the paper it's not written on.
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Re: Issues with the Wayfarer's Armament
Post by saber964   » Tue Apr 18, 2017 4:47 pm

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You have to remember that the Trojan class AMC used capital grade lasers grasers and missiles was that the production of them was running way ahead of production of SD's and DN's. The weapons were sitting around in warehouses and were available for immediate use. If you read the entry for them you'll see that it states that the armaments varied from ship to ship. Wayfarer had the above armaments but HMAMS Flying Enterprise might have a broadside of 4 grasers and 4 lasers and 12 missile tubes or it could have lasers instead of grasers. A RW example was during WWII the RN armed several of its AMC's with guns that had been taken off of the Queen Elizabeth and R class battleships when they were modernized in the mid and late thirties.
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Re: Issues with the Wayfarer's Armament
Post by robert132   » Wed Apr 19, 2017 1:55 pm

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saber964 wrote:You have to remember that the Trojan class AMC used capital grade lasers grasers and missiles was that the production of them was running way ahead of production of SD's and DN's. The weapons were sitting around in warehouses and were available for immediate use. If you read the entry for them you'll see that it states that the armaments varied from ship to ship. Wayfarer had the above armaments but HMAMS Flying Enterprise might have a broadside of 4 grasers and 4 lasers and 12 missile tubes or it could have lasers instead of grasers. A RW example was during WWII the RN armed several of its AMC's with guns that had been taken off of the Queen Elizabeth and R class battleships when they were modernized in the mid and late thirties.


Excellent point. That adds the complication of making the manning of each ship different from her "sisters."

Gads, I'd hate having to figure out the manning documents for each and give the bad news to the personnel detailers; "Hey Suzy, you need to subtract 5 MK-19 Grazer techs and add 7 MK-55 Laser techs to Flying Dutchman. Hey! Don't throw that coffee cup! OW!!!"
****

Just my opinion of course and probably not worth the paper it's not written on.
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Re: Issues with the Wayfarer's Armament
Post by Theemile   » Wed Apr 19, 2017 2:32 pm

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robert132 wrote:
saber964 wrote:You have to remember that the Trojan class AMC used capital grade lasers grasers and missiles was that the production of them was running way ahead of production of SD's and DN's. The weapons were sitting around in warehouses and were available for immediate use. If you read the entry for them you'll see that it states that the armaments varied from ship to ship. Wayfarer had the above armaments but HMAMS Flying Enterprise might have a broadside of 4 grasers and 4 lasers and 12 missile tubes or it could have lasers instead of grasers. A RW example was during WWII the RN armed several of its AMC's with guns that had been taken off of the Queen Elizabeth and R class battleships when they were modernized in the mid and late thirties.


Excellent point. That adds the complication of making the manning of each ship different from her "sisters."

Gads, I'd hate having to figure out the manning documents for each and give the bad news to the personnel detailers; "Hey Suzy, you need to subtract 5 MK-19 Grazer techs and add 7 MK-55 Laser techs to Flying Dutchman. Hey! Don't throw that coffee cup! OW!!!"


I believe it was said that later, they brought all the armament of the ships up to one standard after the war. But that slap dash construction and manning might have been one of the reasons they retired them early. Everything was custom and modified for installation in each individual ship, so parts planning might have been a nightmare. If each ship was built with what was available across the board, one ship might have mk 12 reactors, another a mk 11s, someone else might have 3 BC reactors, and one had a mk 11 and a mk 12, and so on for every part type.

The manning requirement for every ship would have been just as varied as the parts.
******
RFC said "refitting a Beowulfan SD to Manticoran standards would be just about 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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Re: Issues with the Wayfarer's Armament
Post by Vince   » Wed Apr 19, 2017 9:09 pm

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Posts: 1388
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Theemile wrote:I believe it was said that later, they brought all the armament of the ships up to one standard after the war. But that slap dash construction and manning might have been one of the reasons they retired them early. Everything was custom and modified for installation in each individual ship, so parts planning might have been a nightmare. If each ship was built with what was available across the board, one ship might have mk 12 reactors, another a mk 11s, someone else might have 3 BC reactors, and one had a mk 11 and a mk 12, and so on for every part type.

The manning requirement for every ship would have been just as varied as the parts.

I don't think the basic structure and equipment was that diverse, since the Trojans were derived from a standard RMN freighter design:
Honor Among Enemies, Chapter 1 wrote:In essence, Hemphill proposed turning some of the RMN's standard Caravan-class freighters into armed merchant cruisers. The Caravans were big ships, over seven million tons, but they were slow and unarmored, with civilian-grade drives. Under normal circumstances, they'd be helpless against any proper warship, but Hemphill wanted to outfit them with the heaviest possible firepower and seed them into the Fleet Train convoys laboring to keep Sixth Fleet supplied. The idea was for them to look just like any other freighter until some unwary raider got close, at which point they were supposed to blow him out of space.
Italics are the author's.
-------------------------------------------------------------
History does not repeat itself so much as it echoes.
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Re: Issues with the Wayfarer's Armament
Post by Theemile   » Thu Apr 20, 2017 12:33 am

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Vince wrote:
Theemile wrote:I believe it was said that later, they brought all the armament of the ships up to one standard after the war. But that slap dash construction and manning might have been one of the reasons they retired them early. Everything was custom and modified for installation in each individual ship, so parts planning might have been a nightmare. If each ship was built with what was available across the board, one ship might have mk 12 reactors, another a mk 11s, someone else might have 3 BC reactors, and one had a mk 11 and a mk 12, and so on for every part type.

The manning requirement for every ship would have been just as varied as the parts.

I don't think the basic structure and equipment was that diverse, since the Trojans were derived from a standard RMN freighter design:
Honor Among Enemies, Chapter 1 wrote:In essence, Hemphill proposed turning some of the RMN's standard Caravan-class freighters into armed merchant cruisers. The Caravans were big ships, over seven million tons, but they were slow and unarmored, with civilian-grade drives. Under normal circumstances, they'd be helpless against any proper warship, but Hemphill wanted to outfit them with the heaviest possible firepower and seed them into the Fleet Train convoys laboring to keep Sixth Fleet supplied. The idea was for them to look just like any other freighter until some unwary raider got close, at which point they were supposed to blow him out of space.
Italics are the author's.
the basic freighter was the same, but a 2nd fusion reactor was added, as we're the weapons, defenses, sensors, firecontrol, and housing for 1000. That is alot added into the hull of a basic freighter.
******
RFC said "refitting a Beowulfan SD to Manticoran standards would be just about 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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