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The logistics of SLN commerce raiding

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Re: The logistics of SLN commerce raiding
Post by cthia   » Tue Sep 12, 2017 6:11 pm

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Nyssa wrote:We remember Drake because he was exceptional. It didn't hurt that he had the superior vessel. Plans that depend on finding several exceptional individuals, right now, go beyond risky into suicidal.

Absolutely. Drake had the superior vessel. Akin to my post upstream that if you are going to go a-mugging that far away from home in somebody else's back yard, you had better be able to pack for the trip and be bigger and badder than the occupants who will surely come outside to see what the hell is going on in their back yard -- territory that they know better than you.

IINM, the SLN went commerce raiding in Silesia, but they had the better ships. They weren't always likely to be needing Band-Aids, body bags or a new radiator.

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: The logistics of SLN commerce raiding
Post by Loren Pechtel   » Tue Sep 12, 2017 7:37 pm

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Randomiser wrote:Those were Battle Fleet officers rubbing their hands. Battle Fleet is chronically short of lighter units. On the other hand they have hundreds and hundreds of SDs they can't use in a formal battle setting. I'm guessing they can still outrun merchies (?) Does it change the game and force evaluations somewhat if the SLN start using SDs for commerce and system raiding? One or two DDs or CAs are not going to be sufficient to stand up to them I think. And they carry enough supplies and have enough resiliency to keep going for a good while. Normally it would be a silly strategy, but these are not normal times.


After what we saw at Saltash I think the only question is if the SDs can soak up the damage long enough for the DDs to empty their magazines. And note that damage that will keep them out of hyper amounts to a kill.
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Re: The logistics of SLN commerce raiding
Post by cthia   » Wed Sep 13, 2017 3:22 am

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Very interesting and timely article. However, it seems that this does not apply in the Honorverse...

There are two extant strategies for depriving an enemy of supplies and trade: the blockade and guerre de course. Traditional warfare simply accepted the capture of enemy merchants for profit and to apply strategic pressure. Eventually, the centuries-long struggle between the British and the French resulted in the codification of these methods. The fundamental difference between guerre de course and blockading an opponent is the totality with which these strategies can isolate a state from the sea. Warships are excellent platforms for the establishment of naval dominance but they are ill suited for blockade enforcement or campaigns of guerre de course; their limited endurance, small crews, and expense make coverage by a professional naval force difficult to maintain. Historically, the best platform for capturing an opponent’s commerce is the naval auxiliary or privateer. Naval auxiliaries and privateers provide rapid, flexible responses to major threats and have historically allowed states to quickly generate forces sufficient to conduct the critical elements of maritime warfare.

snip

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: The logistics of SLN commerce raiding
Post by cthia   » Wed Sep 13, 2017 3:23 am

cthia
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W A N T E D
__Manticoran Shipping__
Dead or Alive


What are the commerce raiding rules in the Honorverse? Is it lawful to outright destroy freighters instead of capturing? Is that considered a war crime in the Honorverse?

It seems that that strategy may work better for the League, if only marginally so, if they were to adopt a strategy of destruction instead of capture.

However, tit for tat. What is stopping the RMN from raiding League shipping in retaliation? Although the RMN would simply capture.

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: The logistics of SLN commerce raiding
Post by cthia   » Wed Sep 13, 2017 4:14 am

cthia
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Email from my niece...

"Uncle, I don't think the League is really equipped for commerce raiding. Their foray into Manticoran space will be more like swashbuckling."


That is just way too funny! :lol:

.
Last edited by cthia on Wed Sep 13, 2017 1:29 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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: The logistics of SLN commerce raiding
Post by Maldorian   » Wed Sep 13, 2017 4:20 am

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W A N T E D
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What are the commerce raiding rules in the Honorverse? Is it lawful to outright destroy freighters instead of capturing? Is that considered a war crime in the Honorverse?

It seems that that strategy may work better for the League, if only marginally so, if they were to adopt a strategy of destruction instead of capture.

However, tit for tat. What is stopping the RMN from raiding League shipping in retaliation? Although the RMN would simply capture.


The point is: Manticore and the Solarian League are offical NOT at war!

That will make any commerce raider a pirate.

Another problem is, what happend if they send so much ships into the Heaven sector? These ships had duties. It could be that the League gets problems with pirates because the guards are away.
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Re: The logistics of SLN commerce raiding
Post by Eagleeye   » Wed Sep 13, 2017 7:22 am

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Maldorian wrote:
W A N T E D
__Manticoran Shipping__
Dead or Alive


What are the commerce raiding rules in the Honorverse? Is it lawful to outright destroy freighters instead of capturing? Is that considered a war crime in the Honorverse?

It seems that that strategy may work better for the League, if only marginally so, if they were to adopt a strategy of destruction instead of capture.

However, tit for tat. What is stopping the RMN from raiding League shipping in retaliation? Although the RMN would simply capture.


The point is: Manticore and the Solarian League are offical NOT at war!

That will make any commerce raider a pirate.

Another problem is, what happend if they send so much ships into the Heaven sector? These ships had duties. It could be that the League gets problems with pirates because the guards are away.


Wrong. The Star Empire of Manticore has officially declared war against the Solarian League in the aftermath of Filaretas attack. There's textev in SoV (Chapter 63) in that regard.

Your 2nd point - I think, they will put BF-units on guarding duty, while FF will try to harass the Manties. Ok, that's like swatting a fly with s sledgehammer, but even Kingsford has realized that BF-SDs are deathtraps in any confrontation with the Grand Alliance. But they should still be able to keep planets in line.
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Re: The logistics of SLN commerce raiding
Post by Brigade XO   » Wed Sep 13, 2017 8:03 am

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Manticore and Haven have been at war with the League since Fillerta crossed the hyper limit into Manticore and the League has been notified. Wether or not the League has formally declared war though a vote of the Assembly is a different question.

At this point, any League flagged merchant ship is a ligitimate target for GA warships. It is not clear if the GA has any privateers or will authorize them though armed merchant shipping could certainly act that way if the opportunity presented itself.

Couple of things mitigating against that. One is that Lacoon I took the vast majority of MMM out of League territory and Leagued flagged ships have been denied access to any Manticore controlled wormhole so whatever League flagged ships were in Manticore (or GA) space, they have had to find a new way back out. Manticor hasn't been seizing SL flagged ships though that could change. It is possible that the GA might issue internmente orders and hold SL flagged ships at any GA allied system. Not really hard to do since even an ancient (and armed) Customs LAC can force an unarmed merchant to surrender. The the ship and crew are placed in custody and held pending resolution of the war but the short to medium effect ends up taking both ship and crew out of service just as if the ship were destroyed or seized as a prize. The owners may eventualy get the ship back and dispose of the cargo- and the crew go free- but there will be losses and legal problems.
So far we have only been told that SL flagged ships are being turned away from any Manticore controlled wormhole. Manticore and other GA partners could opt for internment of SL ships but more than 6 months after Lacoon II very little in the way of SL shipping is comming in via hyperspace to at least Manticorian territory.

GA warships will treat SLN ships as enemy combatants though they may not get as many prisoners after engaging Kingsford's raiders since warships are going to take more fighting than normal pirates.
To say that the Aldermani will take a dim view of SLN warships commerce raiding in Silesia -either the Aldermani portion or the Manticorian portion- would be a great understatement. IAE flagged and non-aligned merchants are going to be in both areas and the IAE will protect both. Any MMM ship in IAE territory is going to get the same level of protection since the IAE doesn't like pirates any better than RMN and, at this point, any SLN warship in IAE space hunting or attacking merchants is going to be treated as a pirate. The IAE is NOT at war with SL so under normal usage, any SLN ship raiding in IAE space is a pirate.

Unless the SLN commerce raiders are carrying signifcant numbers of extra crew to be put aboard prizes, most merchant ships they go after are going to be destroyed. The major question is what happens to the merchant crews. If the ships are taken near an inhabited system (comming or going or in orbit) they could be allowed the crews abandon and head for the planet. The SLN ships won't have much space and little inclination to hold merchant spacers aboard. The SLN officers and crews are probably going to want to at least give the merchant crews-even if they had run or resisted- the ability to abandon and get to a system or be picked up from a local system.
Butchering merchant crews or leaving any survivors drifting in the middle of nowhere is (or should be) something any professional naval officer is going to be not wanting to do. If it acts like a pirate........

The ships themselves won't be usable for the raiders except as possible source of consumables (water, air, food, generic materials) since if this is happening in GA controlled or patrolled space it is unlikely that the taken ship or cargo is going to get sold as part of a prize. While the ships be valuable and needed back in the League, the difficulty is going to be getting them there since they are will have to go back entirely through hyperspace to then be disposed of or pressed into service for SLN logistics
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Re: The logistics of SLN commerce raiding
Post by Jonathan_S   » Wed Sep 13, 2017 8:43 am

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cthia wrote:What are the commerce raiding rules in the Honorverse? Is it lawful to outright destroy freighters instead of capturing? Is that considered a war crime in the Honorverse?
They seem to follow along the approximate lines of the old 'cruiser' rules that were in effect from at least the Napoleonic times through the start of WWI.

The equivalent of unrestricted submarine warfare isn't done (and is presumably a war crime, though I can't recall a specific quote stating that outright).

Warships have such a superiority of speed and weaponry that there's no need to allow them to randomly shoot unarmed freighters without warning.

Though freighters traveling in convoy or under escort, or known to be armed, seem to give up their legal protected state - a raider isn't required to defeat a convoy's escort before firing of the escorted ships.

You don't seem to be required to actually board ships flying your enemy's 'flag' (transponder codes) you can order them abandoned and blow them up after suitible time for lifeboats to get away. If you managed to intercept the ship somewhere there's not a habitable planet nearby you presumably have to take the surrendered crew somewhere safe (which presumably doesn't have to be all the way back to your territory, Taking them and their lifeboat pods/shuttle to a neutral system and kicking them out within range of the habitable planet probably counts)

Of course you can board and seize the ship under prize rules, but then you have to spare the crew to sail it.


The rules didn't change (or get too badly ignored) on Earth until the technology of the submarine (and radio) made the 'cruiser' rules extremely unsafe for the raider. Only the MAlign's spider drive ships might have that same issue. And right now they're not being used by a known declared combatant so while they might choose to randomly blow up ships in pursuit of their own aims that's not likely to change the accepted rules.
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Re: The logistics of SLN commerce raiding
Post by Jonathan_S   » Wed Sep 13, 2017 8:50 am

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Also even if other people eventually get spider ships they only share some vulnerabilities with subs, so it's not inevitable that they'd adopt unrestricted warfare to mitigate those risks.

A submarine can be mission killed (and stuck on the surface extremely vulnerable) from hits to the pressure null from every very small cheap weapons (maybe not a 50 cal machine gun, but a 20mm or 40mm automatic cannon could easily puncture the hull of a surfaced sub). So almost any freighter, even if not visibly armed, had a reasonable chance of concealing a weapon capable of crippling a surfaced sub.

Also the close range necessary to fire warning shots and order the ship to stop and either prepare for boarding or abandon ship made the sub vulnerable to being rammed.

Spider drive ships aren't vulnerable to the equivalent of a 20mm AA gun, so a freighter would have to be a fully up heavily armed Q-ship to have a hope of crippling one. So it's far less risky to reveal yourself and demand surrender.

And while getting rammed by a wedge would be catastrophic, and the spider ship's accel is low enough to be unable to outrun many freighters (similar to a WWI sub) ramming is far less of a concern because of the standoff range of weapons and ability to use radio (rather than megaphones, lamp flashing, etc) to demand surrender. You've got way more time to see the freighter is being aggressive, destroy it, and evade the debris.

So even spider ships seem capable of following, without undue risk, the established 'cruiser' rules for commerce raiding.
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