Topic Actions

Topic Search

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot], munroburton, nambjorn and 8 guests

Ship Classifications

Join us in talking discussing all things Honor, including (but not limited to) tactics, favorite characters, and book discussions.
Ship Classifications
Post by Walks Alone   » Mon Feb 05, 2018 6:47 pm

Walks Alone
Lieutenant (Junior Grade)

Posts: 39
Joined: Thu Feb 01, 2018 11:01 pm
Location: Wagga Wagga, NSW, Australia

This question applies as much to our world as it does to the Honorverse...

I'm wondering, how are ships classified? Is it purely arbitrary due to tonnage, or is to do with their function?

Some of them would obviously be due to their function (CLACs, LACs, Dispatch Boats and Freighters), while others (DDs right through SDs) seem to have somewhat arbitrary differences between them. IIRC, weren't the Roland DDs often mistaken for CLs?

Now, in the real world, the Royal Navy is largely made up by the following (I think):-

Frigates
Destroyers
Missile Submarines
Attack Submarines
Carriers
Patrol Boats
Minesweepers
Survey Ships

I notice that most of those ships are very small, barring the carriers. If you exclude patrol boats and minesweepers (which I suspect might be analogous to LACs) frigates seem to make up the backbone of the Royal Navy. Which is interesting, given I understand there is somewhat of a moratorium on the use of frigates in the Honorverse

It seems to me that Royal Navy doctrine is to do things with swarms of frigates, rather than capital ships, in the same way that the Honorverse uses swarms of LACs. I'm guessing the mathematics comes out better somehow than with using capital ships?

Which of course raises the question of how the Honorverse mathematics are different?

But I'm going down a different topic. Back to classification.

Now, as I understood it, the purpose of destroyers was originally to take out patrol boats, and later, submarines. I'm guessing the Honorverse correlation would be LACs and Spider Drive Ships. I think they're also used to prevent things from getting near capital ships? Not exactly sure why though... And perhaps used as scouts?

Again, IIRC, which I may not, was not the original function of a cruiser to operate by itself and to go after merchant ships?

And a ship of the line was to fight other warships?

So, assuming that to be the case... how did we get split up into having DE, DD, CL, CA, BC, BB, DN, SD...? Why were these splits made?

Okay, perhaps that's not as clear as it might be, but I hope I've at least given you the general idea of what I'm trying to ask lol!
Top
Re: Ship Classifications
Post by Walks Alone   » Mon Feb 05, 2018 6:59 pm

Walks Alone
Lieutenant (Junior Grade)

Posts: 39
Joined: Thu Feb 01, 2018 11:01 pm
Location: Wagga Wagga, NSW, Australia

Transports... I forgot transports.

One other thing to consider... in the real world, the Air Force may have taken over some of the functions that previously belonged to the Navy. Given this is not the case in the Honoroverse, that may also account for some of the differences.
Top
Re: Ship Classifications
Post by Theemile   » Mon Feb 05, 2018 7:56 pm

Theemile
Fleet Admiral

Posts: 3098
Joined: Sat Feb 27, 2010 5:50 pm
Location: Toledo, Ohio USA

Walks Alone wrote:This question applies as much to our world as it does to the Honorverse...

I'm wondering, how are ships classified? Is it purely arbitrary due to tonnage, or is to do with their function?

Some of them would obviously be due to their function (CLACs, LACs, Dispatch Boats and Freighters), while others (DDs right through SDs) seem to have somewhat arbitrary differences between them. IIRC, weren't the Roland DDs often mistaken for CLs?

Now, in the real world, the Royal Navy is largely made up by the following (I think):-

Frigates
Destroyers
Missile Submarines
Attack Submarines
Carriers
Patrol Boats
Minesweepers
Survey Ships

I notice that most of those ships are very small, barring the carriers. If you exclude patrol boats and minesweepers (which I suspect might be analogous to LACs) frigates seem to make up the backbone of the Royal Navy. Which is interesting, given I understand there is somewhat of a moratorium on the use of frigates in the Honorverse

It seems to me that Royal Navy doctrine is to do things with swarms of frigates, rather than capital ships, in the same way that the Honorverse uses swarms of LACs. I'm guessing the mathematics comes out better somehow than with using capital ships?

Which of course raises the question of how the Honorverse mathematics are different?

But I'm going down a different topic. Back to classification.

Now, as I understood it, the purpose of destroyers was originally to take out patrol boats, and later, submarines. I'm guessing the Honorverse correlation would be LACs and Spider Drive Ships. I think they're also used to prevent things from getting near capital ships? Not exactly sure why though... And perhaps used as scouts?

Again, IIRC, which I may not, was not the original function of a cruiser to operate by itself and to go after merchant ships?

And a ship of the line was to fight other warships?

So, assuming that to be the case... how did we get split up into having DE, DD, CL, CA, BC, BB, DN, SD...? Why were these splits made?

Okay, perhaps that's not as clear as it might be, but I hope I've at least given you the general idea of what I'm trying to ask lol!


Some of it comes from the late 1800s, early 1900s classifications. Let me lay them out.

LAC, Light system patrol craft with no hyper capability, usually less then 25,000 tons.

Corvette, medium system patrol craft, traditionally having the firepower of a destroyer or lt cruiser, on a smaller, cheaper hull. No hyper capability. Rarely built in 1900 navies as there is no cost benefit and lots of disadvantages. > 25,000 tons. In 1900 ad, this was a costal patrol ship with medium endurance.

Frigate, the smallest hyper warship possible, usually focusing on endurance over firepower. Usually 40-70 ktons. Main job, a cheap presence unit built in volume at low cost. Think WWII US Destroyer Escorts.

Destroyer, the lightest fighting hyper combatant possible. Traditionally 65-100 ktons. The cheapest, well rounded combatant possible. Jobs include convoy protection, pirate hunting, show the flag, pickets, and scouting.


Light Cruiser, 90-200 ktons, a long range deployable unit that can do all the jobs of a destroyer, just better and for longer. Also has flag facilities to lead Destroyers.

Heavy Cruiser, 225-450 ktons. Originally Cruiser(armored). A moderately armored ship, swift ship with ability to handle all lighter ships easily, and be a serious presence to 3rd parties, and still be built in quantity.

BC, 500-2000 ktons. The largest independant command. Able to outgun most navies, with heavy armor and firepower, but still fleet enough to run down some units. Most navies cannot afford these(95%)

Battle ship 2-5 million tons. The original armored System defense/ system attacker. Slow, but heavily armed and armored. No longer built.

Dreadnaughts, 5-7 mtons. Taking advantage of a new armoring scheme, a equal to age of DNs will kill an equal to age of BBs any day. same job as BBs and SDs

SD, 7+ mtons. Slow and ponderous, Built to the same armored scheme as DNs, just bigger. Their only job is protecting to taking systems.
******
RFC said "refitting a Beowulfan SD to Manticoran standards would be just as difficult as refitting a standard SLN SD to those standards. In other words, it would be cheaper and faster to build new ships."
Top
Re: Ship Classifications
Post by Walks Alone   » Mon Feb 05, 2018 8:07 pm

Walks Alone
Lieutenant (Junior Grade)

Posts: 39
Joined: Thu Feb 01, 2018 11:01 pm
Location: Wagga Wagga, NSW, Australia

I guess I'm still not following why the distinctions exist...

For example, LACs don't appear to have sub-classifications, even though they may be used for different purposes.

Why is there a difference between a frigate, a destroyer and a light cruiser? They all seem to serve the same purpose...

CAs and BCs seems to be somewhere in the middle... Are they there to chase away lighter units, or something?

BBs, DNs and SDs all have the same job... so again, why is there a distinction?
Top
Re: Ship Classifications
Post by Weird Harold   » Mon Feb 05, 2018 8:39 pm

Weird Harold
Fleet Admiral

Posts: 4158
Joined: Thu Apr 24, 2014 10:25 pm
Location: "Lost Wages", NV

Walks Alone wrote:IIRC, weren't the Roland DDs often mistaken for CLs?


Part of your confusion comes from Manticore (and RHN, IAN, and others) assigning designations based on designed purpose, while the SLN assigns designations by displacement.

What further complicates designations is the variance in combat capability of a given class in different navies; A Roland is a destroyer the size of a light cruiser that has as much combat capability as pre-war heavy cruisers or battle cruisers.

In large part, ship class is determined by armor and weapons installation. Designed mission is another huge factor. Speed and maneuverability is another factor. Intended opponents probably figures into things too.

In short, a Ship is whatever class the owners say it is -- within reason. I doubt anyone is going to take the claim that, "a Nat Turner is an SD," seriously. :mrgreen:
.
.
.
Answers! I got lots of answers!

(Now if I could just find the right questions.)
Top
Re: Ship Classifications
Post by Theemile   » Mon Feb 05, 2018 10:51 pm

Theemile
Fleet Admiral

Posts: 3098
Joined: Sat Feb 27, 2010 5:50 pm
Location: Toledo, Ohio USA

Walks Alone wrote:I guess I'm still not following why the distinctions exist...

For example, LACs don't appear to have sub-classifications, even though they may be used for different purposes.

Why is there a difference between a frigate, a destroyer and a light cruiser? They all seem to serve the same purpose...

CAs and BCs seems to be somewhere in the middle... Are they there to chase away lighter units, or something?

BBs, DNs and SDs all have the same job... so again, why is there a distinction?


As mentioned by another poster, purpose is not to be confused with classification.

For example, currently LACs could be grouped into anti-shipping designs, space superiority designs, general purpose designs, or Strike designs. But they are all LACs.

The difference in FGs, DDs, and CLs is one of cost. Frigates have long legs, but small crews and few weapons. They don't have the weapons scare off a real warship, but are good against pirates who ashew any damage. They can be built and operated cheaply in large numbers, so they are considered a presence ship, the beat cop of space who can call in larger ships when necessary.

DDs and CLs have full suites of weapons, defenses, even, and sensors. They normally have crews sized to deal with a variety of patrol issues. They have the sensors necessary to scout for the fleet, as well as defend a convoy. While the two are the same, the larger CL can do the same job better, longer than a DD. But, when you can buy 3 or more DDs for 2 CLs, cost drives the mix you buy.

CAs and BCs carry a heavier class of energy weapons and missiles than the smaller class, as well as deeper magazines, and layers of armor over their vitals. A CA usually can take on 2-3 DD-CLS with the same tech sucessfully, and a BC can take on 3-4 CAs. Both classes are also jumps in cost and complexity over the light classes and each other, so only 15-20% of navies field CAs, and ~5% field 1 or more BCs.

An alternate job for CAs and BCs is as missile escorts for capital ships. They fit in formation and add to the throw weight of both the offenses and defenses, as well as use their wedges to block the open aspects of the larger ships in formation.

BB's have a heavier armoring scheme than a BC, but over time, an armoring "sweetspot" was found when ships reached DN sized, allowing DNs to take on BBs at a ratio of 2 - 3 to 1 or better. A SD is just as well armed and armored pound for pound as a DN, but a bigger ship can just take and dish out more damage. All 3 ships have the role of system control, just the bigger designs can do it so much better.

So Classification is a combination of size and capability, certain classes fit certain roles better than others. But at the end, it is all about cost. Manticore only built DNs in 1900 pd because they could only finance so many ships, so they built a combination of SDs and DNs. At the same time, they needed as many convoy escorts and fleet scouts as possible, so the mix of DDs and CLs, while they realized that FGs couldn't survive in any combat with a laserhead, so they retired them all.
******
RFC said "refitting a Beowulfan SD to Manticoran standards would be just as difficult as refitting a standard SLN SD to those standards. In other words, it would be cheaper and faster to build new ships."
Top
Re: Ship Classifications
Post by ldwechsler   » Tue Feb 06, 2018 12:03 am

ldwechsler
Commodore

Posts: 897
Joined: Sun May 28, 2017 12:15 pm

Theemile wrote:
Walks Alone wrote:I guess I'm still not following why the distinctions exist...

For example, LACs don't appear to have sub-classifications, even though they may be used for different purposes.

Why is there a difference between a frigate, a destroyer and a light cruiser? They all seem to serve the same purpose...

CAs and BCs seems to be somewhere in the middle... Are they there to chase away lighter units, or something?

BBs, DNs and SDs all have the same job... so again, why is there a distinction?


As mentioned by another poster, purpose is not to be confused with classification.

For example, currently LACs could be grouped into anti-shipping designs, space superiority designs, general purpose designs, or Strike designs. But they are all LACs.

The difference in FGs, DDs, and CLs is one of cost. Frigates have long legs, but small crews and few weapons. They don't have the weapons scare off a real warship, but are good against pirates who ashew any damage. They can be built and operated cheaply in large numbers, so they are considered a presence ship, the beat cop of space who can call in larger ships when necessary.

DDs and CLs have full suites of weapons, defenses, even, and sensors. They normally have crews sized to deal with a variety of patrol issues. They have the sensors necessary to scout for the fleet, as well as defend a convoy. While the two are the same, the larger CL can do the same job better, longer than a DD. But, when you can buy 3 or more DDs for 2 CLs, cost drives the mix you buy.

CAs and BCs carry a heavier class of energy weapons and missiles than the smaller class, as well as deeper magazines, and layers of armor over their vitals. A CA usually can take on 2-3 DD-CLS with the same tech sucessfully, and a BC can take on 3-4 CAs. Both classes are also jumps in cost and complexity over the light classes and each other, so only 15-20% of navies field CAs, and ~5% field 1 or more BCs.

An alternate job for CAs and BCs is as missile escorts for capital ships. They fit in formation and add to the throw weight of both the offenses and defenses, as well as use their wedges to block the open aspects of the larger ships in formation.

BB's have a heavier armoring scheme than a BC, but over time, an armoring "sweetspot" was found when ships reached DN sized, allowing DNs to take on BBs at a ratio of 2 - 3 to 1 or better. A SD is just as well armed and armored pound for pound as a DN, but a bigger ship can just take and dish out more damage. All 3 ships have the role of system control, just the bigger designs can do it so much better.

So Classification is a combination of size and capability, certain classes fit certain roles better than others. But at the end, it is all about cost. Manticore only built DNs in 1900 pd because they could only finance so many ships, so they built a combination of SDs and DNs. At the same time, they needed as many convoy escorts and fleet scouts as possible, so the mix of DDs and CLs, while they realized that FGs couldn't survive in any combat with a laserhead, so they retired them all.


Keep in mind that we are not talking about a wet navy here? We use these designations because it helps us understand something about the ships. But today's ships are very different from those of World War II. The key elements then were the big ships.

Now the big ships are targets. There are a lot smaller ones. But that would not work for the Honorverse. There are huge battles, actually ones larger than we had in World War II. So we have the navies we see.

And there are different ship classes and they have different tasks. And it keeps changing. Chances are, fifty years after the current situation in Honor's galaxy, the weapons and ships will be different from what we see on the pages now.
Top
Re: Ship Classifications
Post by HungryKing   » Tue Feb 06, 2018 12:31 am

HungryKing
Captain (Junior Grade)

Posts: 368
Joined: Sat May 26, 2012 9:43 pm

Warning, long post. I am posting this because I am tired, and have spent far too much time on it. I may or may not continue it.

Ok, there are subtypes, it is just that they are rarely seen. Such as Marine Support Cruisers, their 'type' is LCA, but Manticore does not maintain a different numbering series for its LCAs, so they are hull numbered as CAs.
As for LACs, their sub-types are a very new thing, when the existence of new LAC types is closely guarded even creating a distinguishing system, save for the class, does not make sense.
From here on I am going from memory:
Now for some Honorverse history: the various type classifications arouse out of the fact that a military vessel's intended usage, that is, its role, primarily in the form of cruising range and level of armament, mapped to a mass range, and said mass range, in turn, gave construction methodology parameters. These mass range giving type was still in the process of shaking out during the Manticore Ascendant series timeframe (LACs, in fact, don't yet exist as impeller ring spacing does not allow them), as the difference between frigates and light cruisers, as mass driver missile tubes are a new thing, and the sidewall gunport will cause swinging launcher equipped vessels to have new life, is not yet fully hashed out, though it is established that light cruisers are larger, it is where that line is drawn that is the issue. This is probably more or less resolved around 1600 pd. By Honor's time it is a well established custom and the ranges are adjusted by the League, though only destroyers and drednaughts seem to be types which will press the line.
Frigates are minimal armed vessels which, properly speaking, by the time of the main series are not actual men of war, they are escorts, and they possess extended cruising capacity. Construction details are foggy, but weapon systems (outside spinal energy weapons, perhaps) generally do not go deep in the hull. When missiles started being different sizes frigates frequently mounted an even smaller missile than same era destroyers and light cruisers (though some *cough*RMN*cough* destroyers and light cruisers also used that size appearently); but even then in the form of missile cells (single shot launchers that require external servicing), missile bays (single shot launchers that permit internal servicing), and rotary launchers (probably permitting internal servicing).
Destroyers are minimal true warships, but can see deployments as escorts, so they are classified as both escorts and light warships. Traditionally speaking, they do not possess extended cruising ability, though size creep mean that some classes do. In order to fit a proper warship's weaponry in a small hull they are 'tin cans' and frequently mount only token armor, internal armoring schemes are for individual compartments and, maybe, critical runs. Historically destroyers and frigates shared a mass bracket but as 'proper weaponry' required deeper magazines, mass driver tubes and more mounts, they started massing more, a process which, by Honor's time, meant that new destroyers might mass more than older light cruisers, and in some cases the only way to determine which was which was the one that mounted broadside grasers is the light cruiser. (Though, generally, in the same navy if a destroyer and light cruiser are close design consorts the light cruiser will mass more, even if it does not mount broadside grasers.)
Light cruisers as a type are the minimal generalist warship, and all possess extended cruising capability, and as noted above are traditionally the smallest vessel which are able to mount broadside grasers (before sidewall gunports this seems to have been any dedicated broadside weaponry). Weaponry wise, they use much the same weapons as destroyers. Construction wise, they were cruisers, which meant they had a true 'core hull' critical systems are congregated well away from the exposed sides of the vessel and the core hull is isolated during battle. As for the amount of armor it varied, some had minimal besides the hammerheads, others actually had some and still others went so far as to use token secondary belts over the most critical portions of the core hull. Traditionally, they have at most two tubes per chaser and a single weapons deck (once sidewall gunports were invented). There was a comfortable gap between the largest light cruiser and the smallest heavy cruiser in the same navy, even with a century of age difference.

Heavy Cruisers are medium combatants, which is too say they bigger than light cruisers, mount heavier weapons, missiles are shared with battle cruisers, but their energy weapons are merely larger than those of a light cruiser. Or, in other words, frigates die, destroyers and light cruisers count their lucky stars to be able to merely run away, and heavy cruisers can attempt to dissuade isolated BCs in missile duels. Heavy cruisers are the largest vessels (post ~1581 pd probably) which can be equipped with a reactor ejection system by anyone with any sense, though even then it was only the smaller ones that did so, and by Honor's birth new heavy cruisers were always too large. Heavy cruisers were traditionally restricted to a single full weapons deck, though some had additional broadside weapons as partial decks. Chasers seem to be always two tubes in terms of missiles. Heavy cruisers always mounted armor (CA stands for Cruiser, Armored), and had at least some secondary belts over critical portions of the core hull, some of them had even more, though full secondary belts were generally not done at more than token level.
Battle cruisers are traditionally classified as both heavy combatants and light capital ships. Which means they have a good chance of running down and killing anything smaller, can use the wall of battle formation, but frequently don't, and can fight those bigger, isolated superdrednaughts can be killed by them given approximately equal masses. Construction-wise they have full double layered armor schemes, and frequently some tertiary protection (damage redirection and internal ablation), two weapon decks, the hammerheads can have more than two tubes, and frequently do to significant extent. They also seem to be able to mount flank batteries on their hammerheads. Historically they seem to have evolved two mass ranges, light and heavy, of which the light went extinct. That or the heavy mass range evolved in the 18th century pd and then replaced the light range. We do not know much about the light mass range, only that heavy cruisers were apparently not completely incapable of truly fending them off during missile duels, and may have had energy batteries whose mounts were not much stronger than those of heavy cruisers.
Top
Re: Ship Classifications
Post by Daryl   » Tue Feb 06, 2018 1:46 am

Daryl
Admiral

Posts: 2365
Joined: Sat Apr 24, 2010 1:57 am
Location: Queensland Australia

Lots of good accurate information there. I'd add just a couple of points. Light cruisers in the Honorverse and here tended to have longer ranges and more endurance than destroyers, and could carry a few marines.
Mind you we got confused in WW2 as HMS Belfast (restored and moored in the Thames), is classified as a light cruiser because it is only 6 inch, but has 12 of them and is 11,500 tons. Bit of a shock for any destroyer that took it on.
Technology moves on and the newest trend is to pod laying SDs, which greatly increases their throw weight, and with Apollo they can control more missiles at greater ranges. Plus lighter warships with pre placed pods can take on many times their tonnage.
Top
Re: Ship Classifications
Post by WLBjork   » Tue Feb 06, 2018 1:33 pm

WLBjork
Commander

Posts: 169
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2012 5:45 am

Daryl wrote:Lots of good accurate information there. I'd add just a couple of points. Light cruisers in the Honorverse and here tended to have longer ranges and more endurance than destroyers, and could carry a few marines.
Mind you we got confused in WW2 as HMS Belfast (restored and moored in the Thames), is classified as a light cruiser because it is only 6 inch, but has 12 of them and is 11,500 tons. Bit of a shock for any destroyer that took it on.
Technology moves on and the newest trend is to pod laying SDs, which greatly increases their throw weight, and with Apollo they can control more missiles at greater ranges. Plus lighter warships with pre placed pods can take on many times their tonnage.


It's worth considering that the RN distinguished Cruisers by main armament calibre (i.e. 6" or 8") rather than by "Light" or "Heavy", especially due to the mess-up with tonnage limits from the Washington Naval Treaty.

As for modern RN ships, the Frigates are primarily ASW platforms, whereas the Destroyers are primarily AA platforms. IMO, we really need a 50% increase in deployable ships, but got to keep costs down....
Top

Return to Honorverse