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The logistics of SLN commerce raiding

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Re: The logistics of SLN commerce raiding
Post by robert132   » Wed Sep 13, 2017 4:00 pm

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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.


I don't see the GA (Manticore especially) granting Letters of Marque given the fairly recent experience they have had with so-called "Privateers" in Silesia.

I believe Himself has recognized the somewhat sullied history of privateers who turn pirate when their Letter just doesn't seem to cover and authorize seizing that big, fat, juicy RICH target that just hove into view flying a neutral Flag.

Some privateers in Silesia showed exactly that same level of honor as their older age-of-sail brethren did with some of them suffering the same fate when caught, a "crick in the neck" caused by a long drop and sudden stop. Why would Manticore or any other power with a large and professional Navy sanction such?
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Just my opinion of course and probably not worth the paper it's not written on.
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Re: The logistics of SLN commerce raiding
Post by kzt   » Wed Sep 13, 2017 4:04 pm

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Manticore had been the leading voice in the movement to ban privateering, unsuccessfully. So I doubt they will be enabling them.
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Re: The logistics of SLN commerce raiding
Post by robert132   » Wed Sep 13, 2017 4:18 pm

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kzt wrote:Manticore had been the leading voice in the movement to ban privateering, unsuccessfully. So I doubt they will be enabling them.


Precisely.
****

Just my opinion of course and probably not worth the paper it's not written on.
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Re: The logistics of SLN commerce raiding
Post by Brigade XO   » Thu Sep 14, 2017 7:48 am

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The SLN commerce raiders have a real problem of what to do when they go hunting, similar to pirates but not quite.
Pirates want to capture ships to either sell both the cargos & ships or sell the cargos (after skimming any supplies and etc) and using the ships themselves to expand activities. Usually pirates have some expectation of where they can take a captured ship and/or the cargo and fence it if not feed it into a system as described as operating in Silesia where a local government was partnering with them and so provied a more secure source of supply and something like being able to inject stolen goods into an economy a well more then the price a fence would pay.

Pirates also don't want any information about them being revieled by the crews of captured ships so they either kill survivors (if they have to actual damge the ship to take it) or perhaps sell them as slaves somewhere if they don't keep them onboard one of their own ship(s) as slaves to help in operations.

The commerce raiders really can't afford to let crew of any ship they take/destroy get away or be dumped in a local system for exactly the same reason a pirate can't---it will release all sorts of information to people they don't want to know it. Like the raider/pirate is operating in the area- solid confirmation not just ships that don't turn up (or question comes back by another freighter asking if X did set off for Y as scheduled or did it go somewhere else) when expected. Survivors may be able to give a lot of detail about what attacked them.
"It sure looked like a Solly BC on our sensors, it wasn't any of classes of local SDFs or anything I have seen in 30 years in the Haven Quadrant", or
"There were three of them, all the same size and the one we were held on had a lot of built in equipment marked as manufactured by Technodyne. The ones we delt with had civilian clothing but several times we caugh glimpses of people in SLN/FF uniforms"
That kind of stuff.

There is also that big problem of being able to sell off the merchant ships if you don't just hang onto one as a supply source (which you still have to crew to operate) and even if you put a minimal operating crew on board and send it off in hyperspace to someplace firmly in SLN hands, its going to take a long time and you are loosing crew you can't replace.

The need for merchant hulls within the SL and in the OFS operations area aside, it is more important for Kingsfords commerce raiders to disrupt and reduce the GA's economy and damage their reputation of being able to provide security. The raiders also have to maintain their own security which cycles back to not having any operational information (other than that ships have gone missing) get out.

So it's the same thing as submarines just sinking a freighter and then machinegunning any survivors. The loss will be noticed but nobody else will know when or where or exactly what happened. Same thing if the interception happens just outside the hyper limit of a "neutral" system. Somebody may get a distant read on the ships involved but unless you leave a survivor, all anybody knows is approximatly what size an attacker was and that the attack happend.

Once this starts happening and word gets back to either RMN or RHN or simpathetic systems, it will be spread through the GA etc and there are going to be GA warships hunting PIRATES even after the point where one is identified as an SLN commercer raider.

Remember that the GA doesn't really have a use for any of these SLN ships other than as scrap for materials recovery so if one doesn't just surrender when encountered, there may not be a lot of it's crew left to rescue. Kill it and move on.
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Re: The logistics of SLN commerce raiding
Post by Randomiser   » Thu Sep 14, 2017 10:40 am

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Brigade XO wrote:The need for merchant hulls within the SL and in the OFS operations area aside, it is more important for Kingsfords commerce raiders to disrupt and reduce the GA's economy and damage their reputation of being able to provide security.


I don't think you really appreciate the point of commerce raiding, despite the snipped quote above which sums up part of it.

Yes, the SLN would like to take prizes, but it is just icing on the cake for them. Given the unfeasibility of getting them home they will happily just blow merchies up. Unlike pirates they are not doing this for profit but 'to disrupt and reduce the GA's economy', as you say. (Hopefully, they will let the crews get off first.)

They can't 'reduce the GA's reputation of being able to provide security' if people don't realise ships are being lost. In that sense they don't want to hide their activities; they want all Merchant ships to know they are likely to be attacked, in order to keep them in port. The more they scare into not travelling the better they are doing their job. Besides the SLN need to hand out some revenge/payback to publicise at home.

The Merchies of course will then scream for navy protection. This is good. It ties up all sorts of RMN hulls in convoy protection duties. Waiting for convoys slows down and restricts commerce. The more the RMN are convinced the raiders are the SLN rather than pirates, the more and bigger hulls they will have to send. This is also good. By the time serious force turns up and convoys get arranged the SLN can be off raiding elsewhere.

If the RMN are stupid enough to send light force to begin with the Sollies mousetrap them and bag a destroyer or two as well. Unlikely given the RMN's experience, but perhaps the only decent reason for pretending to be pirates at first.
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Re: The logistics of SLN commerce raiding
Post by PeterZ   » Thu Sep 14, 2017 11:00 am

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Randomiser wrote:
Brigade XO wrote:The need for merchant hulls within the SL and in the OFS operations area aside, it is more important for Kingsfords commerce raiders to disrupt and reduce the GA's economy and damage their reputation of being able to provide security.


I don't think you really appreciate the point of commerce raiding, despite the snipped quote above which sums up part of it.

Yes, the SLN would like to take prizes, but it is just icing on the cake for them. Given the unfeasibility of getting them home they will happily just blow merchies up. Unlike pirates they are not doing this for profit but 'to disrupt and reduce the GA's economy', as you say. (Hopefully, they will let the crews get off first.)

They can't 'reduce the GA's reputation of being able to provide security' if people don't realise ships are being lost. In that sense they don't want to hide their activities; they want all Merchant ships to know they are likely to be attacked, in order to keep them in port. The more they scare into not travelling the better they are doing their job. Besides the SLN need to hand out some revenge/payback to publicise at home.

The Merchies of course will then scream for navy protection. This is good. It ties up all sorts of RMN hulls in convoy protection duties. Waiting for convoys slows down and restricts commerce. The more the RMN are convinced the raiders are the SLN rather than pirates, the more and bigger hulls they will have to send. This is also good. By the time serious force turns up and convoys get arranged the SLN can be off raiding elsewhere.

If the RMN are stupid enough to send light force to begin with the Sollies mousetrap them and bag a destroyer or two as well. Unlikely given the RMN's experience, but perhaps the only decent reason for pretending to be pirates at first.

Agreed, Randomiser.

The response can take one of two forms. Destroy the ability of the SLN to engage in commerce raiding by destroying their warships.

Destroy their will to engage in commerce raiding by assessing an exorbitant cost either politically or economically upon the Solarian League as a whole.

The discussion on the logistics of commerce raiding has covered the former idea nicely.

The latter concept is much more flexible. One way to exact that very high price is to expand attacks on the Solarian League to include civilian industrial infrastructure. If GA merchant shipping can be targeted, then SL civilian infrastructure is also a legitimate target. SLN bases are easy enough to destroy and obvious targets. Expanding the target list to include orbital infrastructure of members systems that are most pro the SLN commerce raiding of GA shipping would ratchet up the pressure nicely.

How much damage would commerce raiding do to the economies of the GA relative to the GA destroying immensely valuable capital assets like orbital infrastructure of Core SL member worlds? We saw the impact such an attack had on the SEM. Whether the GA applies this logic mercilessly or gives some slack for saving human life will be an interesting point to discuss.

Bottom line is that there are lots and lots of responses the GA can take to punish the SL as long as they do not have the ability to effectively defend against that punishment.
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Re: The logistics of SLN commerce raiding
Post by Jonathan_S   » Thu Sep 14, 2017 12:03 pm

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Brigade XO wrote:The commerce raiders really can't afford to let crew of any ship they take/destroy get away or be dumped in a local system for exactly the same reason a pirate can't---it will release all sorts of information to people they don't want to know it. Like the raider/pirate is operating in the area- solid confirmation not just ships that don't turn up (or question comes back by another freighter asking if X did set off for Y as scheduled or did it go somewhere else) when expected. Survivors may be able to give a lot of detail about what attacked them.
Actually whether commerce raiders can let (delayed) reports of their presence get out depends on what their operational goals are.

Sometimes raiders are tasked with destroying the maximum tonnage of enemy cargo. In that case, yes, any info that they're in the area is highly counterproductive to their efforts.

But other times, at least hear on Earth, they're used to force an numerically superior enemy to disperse his forces to chase raisers all over the oceans. In that case, while you still don't want real-time info (radio) announcing you've just stopped or attacked a freighter having survivors turn up to report your attacks is helpful. (As long as you move out of the area first). Survivors add political pressure to stop the raiders, pushing the navy to divert and disperse more units for that task. And again by delayed reports of your actives, spread over as wide an area as possible, it again pushed up the number of units and resources needed to chase you.
Yes having to constantly move to new hunting grounds cuts down on the number of freighters you can attack, but it prolongs your mission and achieves the dispersal of units you're looking for.


We just don't know which of these 2 tasks the SLN is ordered to prioritize. But given the transit and message times its way less risky for them to dump crewman on a neutral planet than it would be for a raiding ship to drop them at a neutral port after the advent of underseas telegraph cables (much less radio)
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Re: The logistics of SLN commerce raiding
Post by kzt   » Thu Sep 14, 2017 12:06 pm

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No, the SLN will want the locals to know it's the SLN blowing ships up. They just want the freighter to blow up, with or without the crew doesn't matter. So logically they will go for a wedge direct strike and, since freighters have no sidewalks and are very slow to maneuver, the freighter will pretty much just blow up. If the crew is bright enough to bail out then they live.

They are not going to do S&R, anywhere a freighter is traveling to or from the crew can reach a planet or base in hours.
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Re: The logistics of SLN commerce raiding
Post by Weird Harold   » Thu Sep 14, 2017 12:17 pm

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PeterZ wrote:The latter concept is much more flexible. One way to exact that very high price is to expand attacks on the Solarian League to include civilian industrial infrastructure. If GA merchant shipping can be targeted, then SL civilian infrastructure is also a legitimate target.


I can't think of anything that would assure the destruction of the GA more -- in the long term. The GA can't occupy and subjugate enough League worlds to prevent revanchism and if they do something to incline the League members to set aside internecine squabbles and present a united front, they are doomed. The GA may win every battle and even win the "first war" but they can't prevent a unified League from rebounding for a second war with peer (or superior) equipment.

That's why the Harrington Doctrine advocates a primarily diplomatic strategy that will destroy the league by breaking it into smaller polities.

"I destroy my enemies when I make them my friends." -- You don't make friends by destroying their economy first.
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Answers! I got lots of answers!

(Now if I could just find the right questions.)
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Re: The logistics of SLN commerce raiding
Post by Nyssa   » Thu Sep 14, 2017 1:35 pm

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Plus, the member world's have NO control over the Navy.
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