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A question about shipping companies in Honorverse

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Re: A question about shipping companies in Honorverse
Post by Brigade XO   » Fri Aug 11, 2017 11:11 am

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The Golden Butterfly was not exactly sailing around with weapons exposed. They were covered and presumably the interior areas needed for them and their operation (ammo, power and control runs) requirements would have been camouflaged. The ship was also not exactly plying the regular shipping lanes of the Core.
They were doing a lot of covert work in delivery and maintaining a cover operation for Mesa/Manpower etc. Pick their nominal ownership from a container full of intersting names. Not all that hard to bury the ownership in a tangle of shell companies and yet leave just enough of a hint that it leads back to, if not Manpower directly, to a company formed as a partnership of a couple of Manpower and Technodyne subcontractors.

You see the intent there...."Oh, this is a Manpower operations to get around laws and permit access to cargos and ports they would have been excluded from" says the ONI analyst after 6 months of digging through corporate and LLC paperwork from seven or eight systems.

Make them work to find the misdirection you expect will make them think they know what is going on and they now understand what they are seeing.
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Re: A question about shipping companies in Honorverse
Post by robert132   » Fri Aug 11, 2017 2:49 pm

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Gunny wrote:During WW II there were a number of merchant ships fitted with an artillery piece operated by a small Navy detachment. I';ve never heard of such ships being denied port admission because of the gun. Nor have I ever heard of the gun doing anything useful.

During WWII those ships with the deck guns and naval detachments were primarily sailing between ports belonging to allied nations and rarely to neutral ports. Armed merchantmen entering a neutral port would have done so only in dire emergency or with prior diplomatic clearance.

Shortly after the US entered the war "neutrals" tended to become very scarce at sea and the few neutrals remaining tended to guard that neutrality closely (Graf Spee, Montevideo and the 24 hour rule come to mind) even before then.

There was also the Hurrycat, a Hurricane fighter on a catapult that could be launched if needed. I've only heard of them being used once when a German patrol plane was investigating a Russia bound convoy. They started the engine on the fighter and the patrol plane saw the engine running and left the scene.

There well may have been other incidents where the gun or plane did some good.


Actually there were some cases where out on the Atlantic the Navy gun crews would occasionally get a chance to lob a round or two at a surfaced U-Boat, not often though because the U-boats learned very quickly that the night was their friend when attacking on the surface ... until radar equipped escorts (DD, DE and shore based aircraft)stripped away much of that protection.

More than once CAM ships would launch their fighter in an attempt to drive off or destroy the long range reconnaissance aircraft the Luftwaffe would send out to spot and pinpoint convoys for wolf packs. Sometimes they even succeeded and usually (though not always) the fighter pilot survived ditching near one of the convoy escorts and be picked up so he could try again on the next convoy.

In the Honorverse there may have been the possibility of carrying a LAC or two externally on a merchie so as to not take up space used for cargo.


Quite likely though until improved LACs first became available around the same time that the HMS Wayfarer type Q-ships entered service most LACs weren't worth the bother or the lost revenue generating space.

Remember, until the Thunder of God incident where LACs belonging to The Faithful were hauled to the Grayson system, locked to the hull by tractors, no one seems to have given that method of transport serious thought IIRC.

The conventional thinking probably was that they would have to be transported through hyper inside the skin of the ship, not locked to the exterior hull. I don't recall reading about CLACs transporting LACs externally though I suppose they could augment their "wing" by doing so or pick up LACs orphaned by their home CLAC being damaged seriously or destroyed.
****

Just my opinion of course and probably not worth the paper it's not written on.
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Re: A question about shipping companies in Honorverse
Post by ldwechsler   » Fri Aug 11, 2017 3:25 pm

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In the Honorverse there may have been the possibility of carrying a LAC or two externally on a merchie so as to not take up space used for cargo.


Quite likely though until improved LACs first became available around the same time that the HMS Wayfarer type Q-ships entered service most LACs weren't worth the bother or the lost revenue generating space.

Remember, until the Thunder of God incident where LACs belonging to The Faithful were hauled to the Grayson system, locked to the hull by tractors, no one seems to have given that method of transport serious thought IIRC.

The conventional thinking probably was that they would have to be transported through hyper inside the skin of the ship, not locked to the exterior hull. I don't recall reading about CLACs transporting LACs externally though I suppose they could augment their "wing" by doing so or pick up LACs orphaned by their home CLAC being damaged seriously or destroyed.



When the first CLAC was created, few even in Manticore realized how valuable they would be (sort of like the American navy before WWII). Alice Truman told Jackie Harmon that the guy testing the ship was putting demands and restrictions on them so impossible, that they had to fail but that he would look like an idiot.

Of course what they did in that first battle to the Peep fleet settled the question.

The LACs were the really big jump in tech. They used fission. And someone with brains designed the CLACs to improve efficiency. The number of crew members, ASIDE FROM THOSE WHO WORKED ON THE LACS, was small considering the size and power of the vessels.

But in terms of shipping companies, they might have trouble getting LACs like the military ones to prevent the enemy from getting their hands on one.
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Re: A question about shipping companies in Honorverse
Post by Nyssa   » Fri Aug 11, 2017 4:39 pm

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Actually, the Golden Butterfly was. When checked by customs the power of the weapons was understated, and one was usually "down for maintenance". The point defense clusters were hidden. There was a statement that a significant percentage of ships working the verge were armed.
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Re: A question about shipping companies in Honorverse
Post by Weird Harold   » Fri Aug 11, 2017 5:40 pm

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Gunny wrote:In the Honorverse there may have been the possibility of carrying a LAC or two externally on a merchie so as to not take up space used for cargo.


Nat Turner-class frigates are a bit bigger than LACs of any vintage, but...

Cauldron of Ghosts wrote:But now, unfortunately, a hitch had developed. The Hali Sowle, it turned out, did not have an internal topology that leant itself to carrying the frigates inside its hull. Furthermore, being a merchant ship—and an old one, at that—it did not have the capability to operate the long-range drone sensor platforms that were critical to its mission. The compromise that had been decided upon was that the Hali Sowle would carry a support and communications module in its cargo hold that did have that capability. Both of the frigates would be tractored to the hull of the Hali Sowle, riding the racks which had been built to transport external cargo canisters back when the freighter’s designers had thought they were building an honest merchantman.
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Answers! I got lots of answers!

(Now if I could just find the right questions.)
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Re: A question about shipping companies in Honorverse
Post by kzt   » Fri Aug 11, 2017 7:54 pm

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You could tractor a CL to an average size freighter without a big deal. I think larger than a BC(P) would be kind of hard.
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Re: A question about shipping companies in Honorverse
Post by Jonathan_S   » Fri Aug 11, 2017 10:17 pm

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Gunny wrote:During WW II there were a number of merchant ships fitted with an artillery piece operated by a small Navy detachment. I';ve never heard of such ships being denied port admission because of the gun. Nor have I ever heard of the gun doing anything useful.

Then I suggest reading up on the SS Stephen Hopkins - a liberty ship whose biggest gun was a single 4" but fought the German raider Stier to their mutual sinking.
Or the SS Lawton B. Evans credited with downing multiple german planes at the Anzio landings.
The SS Beverford fought an ultimately fatal delaying action against the Admiral Scheer delaying her long enough the rest of the convoy escaped.

I seem to recall the armed merchants also gave good service on the Murmansk runs - disrupting the formation torpedo plane attacks the Luftwaffe attempted.

It provided some benefit; if only psychological on the Malta runs.

There are probably other examples, but given the minimal cost the program probably paid for itself in reduced losses.
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Re: A question about shipping companies in Honorverse
Post by saber964   » Fri Aug 11, 2017 10:35 pm

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Jonathan_S wrote:
Gunny wrote:During WW II there were a number of merchant ships fitted with an artillery piece operated by a small Navy detachment. I';ve never heard of such ships being denied port admission because of the gun. Nor have I ever heard of the gun doing anything useful.

Then I suggest reading up on the SS Stephen Hopkins - a liberty ship whose biggest gun was a single 4" but fought the German raider Stier to their mutual sinking.
Or the SS Lawton B. Evans credited with downing multiple german planes at the Anzio landings.
The SS Beverford fought an ultimately fatal delaying action against the Admiral Scheer delaying her long enough the rest of the convoy escaped.

I seem to recall the armed merchants also gave good service on the Murmansk runs - disrupting the formation torpedo plane attacks the Luftwaffe attempted.

It provided some benefit; if only psychological on the Malta runs.

There are probably other examples, but given the minimal cost the program probably paid for itself in reduced losses.



All US Liberty and Victory ships were armed during WWII. Armament was a mix of weapons. Typical weapons load was 1 5in or 4in gun aft and 1 3in gun forward with a mix of 50cal and 20mm depending on war zone or year was anywhere from 4 50cal to as many as 20 in twin mounts. Because of the Kamikaze threat in the last year of the war some Victory and Liberty ships revived single and twin mount 40mm.
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Re: A question about shipping companies in Honorverse
Post by Fox2!   » Fri Aug 11, 2017 11:09 pm

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Weird Harold wrote:
Cauldron of Ghosts wrote: Both of the frigates would be tractored to the hull of the Hali Sowle, riding the racks which had been built to transport external cargo canisters back when the freighter’s designers had thought they were building an honest merchantman.


Objection! Fact not in evidence! There is no suggestion in textev that Hali Sowle was ever an honest merchie.
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Re: A question about shipping companies in Honorverse
Post by Lord Skimper   » Sat Aug 12, 2017 1:08 am

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noblehunter wrote:
Nyssa wrote:I wonder how the money would work out. There are statements in the stories about warships having much higher service costs, including shorter lives on twice as many nodes. Also, they need much larger crews. Unless you are running convoys, and I can not see any Verge company shipping that much to one system at one time, you would need a warships to accompany each freighter. If your warships met a governmental warships, how would they prove they are not pirates? For that matter, how would you keep the crews from taking the ships and doing a little freelance pirating?

I think the potential pirate issue is the strongest reason why the armaments would be illegal. If for no other reason than to keep merchies from temptation.

The real question is how much of a threat is piracy in the wider galaxy? Silesia was a perfect storm of government effective enough to inspire substantial trade, incompetent enough that it can't keep pirates out, and corrupt enough to actively encourage piracy.


Plus being able to make the competition disappear while you are able to deliver cargo is another consideration against this. If one company can be armed, they all will end up armed...
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