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Ship Classifications

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Re: Ship Classifications
Post by Jonathan_S   » Tue Feb 13, 2018 12:53 am

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Rincewind wrote:Actually you are not quite right. In the Royal Navy the classification is on the basis of role and NOT by size. Destroyers are Air Defence warships and frigates are either Anti-submarine or general purpose. Also, unlike the United States Navy where all ship capabilities are built around the Carrier Battle Group, Royal Navy frigates are intended for autonomous operations.

Some of our frigates have been quite large ships, larger than destroyers

Though as recently as the 50s the RN used frigates for different specialized roles, having the:
Type 41 or Leopard class anti-aircraft defence frigates
Type 61 Salisbury class aircraft direction (AD) (or radar picket) frigates
Type 12 or Whitby-class anti-submarine frigates

It's just that they found all but the specialized anti-submarine designs to be unsatisfactory - partly because of lack of commonality of parts and equipment, multiplying maintenance and supply issues. Anti-submarine effectiveness justifies some unique hardware for quieting, while also being expensive to include on all ships, where as the other uses really don't so a split between ASW and general purpose ships was determined to still make sense.

And I do wonder how much of the decision to make RN destroyers the air defense specialists had to do with the size ship you needed to carry a useful number of the big missiles needed for useful SAM range in the 60s and 70s. Kind of forced into it by default - though IMO it's stretching things to call a 6,200 ton ship a destroyer in 1962; the County-class air defense destroyer having almost twice the displacement of the contemporary USN Charles F. Adams-class guided missile destroyers. It was almost 15 years before the USN built an anti-air destroyer that large.
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Re: Ship Classifications
Post by Walks Alone   » Thu Feb 15, 2018 8:22 pm

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Again, a lot of that went over my head. But I would like to ask about something that I don't think has been mentioned yet.

One of the first things that tends to happen when a new contact is detected is that CIC classifies it. Now, I don't see them phoning up the new contact and asking "hey, what do you call yourself?" So they must have some kind of standard for doing so? And sometimes that goes wrong, and ships get misidentified.

For example, going entirely from memory, wasn't Terekhov a little concerned when Admiral Khumalo's relief force arrived in Monica, because CIC initially identified two repair ships as wallers, bringing the total number of wallers higher than the Maticorans had in the Talbot Quadrant, which would mean that the incoming ships had to be OFS?

Similarly speaking, also going from memory, wasn't there a Solarian ship that was a little spooked when "Fourteen cruisers and a superdreadnaught" showed up? And it was actually DDs and a CLAC?

My point being, that when it comes to classifying an enemy, I think some weight has to be given to what can be detected... I know wedge strength and accel can be detected FTL, and IIRC, whether the impellers are military grade? So from that, a reasonable guess can be made as to the tonnage? But how much more can be detected? It sounds a lot like judgements as to a ship's class are being made on the basis of tonnage and whether or not it has military impellers?
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Re: Ship Classifications
Post by Weird Harold   » Thu Feb 15, 2018 9:44 pm

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Walks Alone wrote:My point being, that when it comes to classifying an enemy, I think some weight has to be given to what can be detected... I know wedge strength and accel can be detected FTL, and IIRC, whether the impellers are military grade? So from that, a reasonable guess can be made as to the tonnage? But how much more can be detected?


Any characteristic of the Wedge can be detected FTL; positive ID from other emissions -- or visual inspection if you can get a drone close enough -- has to wait on light-speed transmissions. A Drone or LAC with FTL comm will significantly reduce that light-speed lag.

Initial identification based on Wedge strength and characteristics gives basically just a size range. From that a guess can be made by cross-referencing with the tonnage of ship types known to be in the vicinity or that could be in the vicinity. Depending on how good your ship-list is, an exact tonnage match can give you everything down to the ship's cook's grandmother's maiden name. A close approximation can at least give you a list of what the bogey's probable owners classify the bogey as.
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Answers! I got lots of answers!

(Now if I could just find the right questions.)
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Re: Ship Classifications
Post by Brigade XO   » Thu Feb 15, 2018 9:55 pm

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CIC makes determination based on the best information available and modifies as new/better data comes in.
Repair ships are large and at distance (they were outside the hyper limit) it's a toss-up. SD-bad, Freighter- large but essentialy harmless, your own repair ships......not expecting that so if you are going to call it "possible SD", that works.

A squadron of RMN Battlecrusiers and a CLAC........to the SLN, a RMN BC is a dam big ship, but can be a "cruiser" -they are not big enough to be SD's. A RMN CLAC - which nobody in that SL group has been in a position have seen before nor knew existed, is the size of an SD (but think freighter on steroids (with 110_ LACS- which the SLN really had no idea what a modern RMN LAC is or can do or is being carried in a "carrier") and does carry a fair amount of defensive capability and it is popping in with a squadon "cruisers" so they are it's screen.

The CIC is making the best guess they can based on what they know or have had information on.
I'ts already actualy WAY under how bad as it actualy is for the SLN seeing the 15 ships show up. Those 14 "screen" can defeat multiple SLN SDs and the "SD" with it's wing of LACs can play holy hell with all sorts of SLN warships without the CLAC getting anywhere close.

You look, make your estimate (your Captain KNOWS it's an estimate") and work forward. And those estimates are based on all of the things you cited. Thats all part of the "fog of war". You don't really know till you get into it.
But you have to react even if you decide to just watch a bit longer. you decide what you should or need to do based on what you have and make a dispostion of your forces to engage or not. That is way to black & white but essentilay you go in one direction or another. How you engage- if you are going to engage-is a combination of what you know the capabilities of your shops and weapons are AND what you think you know about what the other side's capabilities and ranges are.
You can be agressive or (not passive) not very agressive. You may not have the option of sucessfuly retireing (at full speed) depending on what the situation is.

You guess based on avaiable information and go with it. Somebody will second guess you later:)
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Re: Ship Classifications
Post by pappilon   » Fri Feb 16, 2018 7:00 am

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Brigade XO wrote:CIC makes determination based on the best information available and modifies as new/better data comes in.
Repair ships are large and at distance (they were outside the hyper limit) it's a toss-up. SD-bad, Freighter- large but essentialy harmless, your own repair ships......not expecting that so if you are going to call it "possible SD", that works.

A squadron of RMN Battlecrusiers and a CLAC........to the SLN, a RMN BC is a dam big ship, but can be a "cruiser" -they are not big enough to be SD's. A RMN CLAC - which nobody in that SL group has been in a position have seen before nor knew existed, is the size of an SD (but think freighter on steroids (with 110_ LACS- which the SLN really had no idea what a modern RMN LAC is or can do or is being carried in a "carrier") and does carry a fair amount of defensive capability and it is popping in with a squadon "cruisers" so they are it's screen.

The CIC is making the best guess they can based on what they know or have had information on.
I'ts already actualy WAY under how bad as it actualy is for the SLN seeing the 15 ships show up. Those 14 "screen" can defeat multiple SLN SDs and the "SD" with it's wing of LACs can play holy hell with all sorts of SLN warships without the CLAC getting anywhere close.

You look, make your estimate (your Captain KNOWS it's an estimate") and work forward. And those estimates are based on all of the things you cited. Thats all part of the "fog of war". You don't really know till you get into it.
But you have to react even if you decide to just watch a bit longer. you decide what you should or need to do based on what you have and make a dispostion of your forces to engage or not. That is way to black & white but essentilay you go in one direction or another. How you engage- if you are going to engage-is a combination of what you know the capabilities of your shops and weapons are AND what you think you know about what the other side's capabilities and ranges are.
You can be agressive or (not passive) not very agressive. You may not have the option of sucessfuly retireing (at full speed) depending on what the situation is.

You guess based on avaiable information and go with it. Somebody will second guess you later:)


Tonnage ranges. Thats why the SLN calls the Rolands CLs, because they read the tonnage range of a SLN Cruiser. Also the repair ship, fast freighter and CLAC all fall into the tonnage range of a SD(p).

Better to lump them all into SD when their wedges are detected and refine the data later. Also Watch officer notifies the captain immediately. Probably starts warming up the engines and the wedge.

As light speed info catches up all the info is updated. And the TO &ATO have access to raw data from the CIC and can make their own educated guesses.
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The imagination has to be trained into foresight and empathy.
Ursula K. LeGuinn

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Re: Ship Classifications
Post by cthia   » Fri Feb 16, 2018 8:48 am

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Walks Alone wrote:Again, a lot of that went over my head. But I would like to ask about something that I don't think has been mentioned yet.

One of the first things that tends to happen when a new contact is detected is that CIC classifies it. Now, I don't see them phoning up the new contact and asking "hey, what do you call yourself?" So they must have some kind of standard for doing so? And sometimes that goes wrong, and ships get misidentified.

For example, going entirely from memory, wasn't Terekhov a little concerned when Admiral Khumalo's relief force arrived in Monica, because CIC initially identified two repair ships as wallers, bringing the total number of wallers higher than the Maticorans had in the Talbot Quadrant, which would mean that the incoming ships had to be OFS?

Similarly speaking, also going from memory, wasn't there a Solarian ship that was a little spooked when "Fourteen cruisers and a superdreadnaught" showed up? And it was actually DDs and a CLAC?

My point being, that when it comes to classifying an enemy, I think some weight has to be given to what can be detected... I know wedge strength and accel can be detected FTL, and IIRC, whether the impellers are military grade? So from that, a reasonable guess can be made as to the tonnage? But how much more can be detected? It sounds a lot like judgements as to a ship's class are being made on the basis of tonnage and whether or not it has military impellers?


Really interesting post.

I think it is intuitive that the software's initial look at an enemy ship is by size of object and strength of wedge. Then of course, the MO is to send probes toward object to get a better look at it, better resolution. Hence, confirmation.

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: Ship Classifications
Post by cthia   » Fri Feb 16, 2018 9:10 am

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I wonder if there are any legal considerations in naming a ship. After all, we'd want to know if some idiot battlecruiser Captain took on a pinnace. Or if indeed eight battlecruisers really did take on three destroyers.

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: Ship Classifications
Post by The E   » Fri Feb 16, 2018 9:37 am

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Legal? I wouldn't think so.

Politically, however? Definitely. I'm not sure if anything like this has happened in the honorverse, but out here in reality, we had the russians operating "Aviation Cruisers" in the Black Sea (since aircraft carriers are barred from transiting the Bosporus, Kiev and her sister ships had to carry substantial antiship armaments themselves), or the JMSDF operating "Helicopter Destroyers" (because saying that they have ships that are almost but not quite LHDs and calling them carriers doesn't fit in with the "Self-defence force" thing).

I think what a nation does with its capital ships is more important, legally, than what that nation decides to call their ships and classes; it doesn't matter if you're being attacked by a Battlecruiser or Heavy Assault WOMBAT or Bannermoth or Rapid Offensive Unit.
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Re: Ship Classifications
Post by cthia   » Fri Feb 16, 2018 9:49 am

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The E wrote:Legal? I wouldn't think so.

Politically, however? Definitely. I'm not sure if anything like this has happened in the honorverse, but out here in reality, we had the russians operating "Aviation Cruisers" in the Black Sea (since aircraft carriers are barred from transiting the Bosporus, Kiev and her sister ships had to carry substantial antiship armaments themselves), or the JMSDF operating "Helicopter Destroyers" (because saying that they have ships that are almost but not quite LHDs and calling them carriers doesn't fit in with the "Self-defence force" thing).

I think what a nation does with its capital ships is more important, legally, than what that nation decides to call their ships and classes; it doesn't matter if you're being attacked by a Battlecruiser or Heavy Assault WOMBAT or Bannermoth or Rapid Offensive Unit.


The Russians would never do such a thing! LOL

I agree. But of course though, political entanglements are legal entanglements as well. In a nutshell.

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: Ship Classifications
Post by Jonathan_S   » Fri Feb 16, 2018 10:25 am

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Walks Alone wrote:My point being, that when it comes to classifying an enemy, I think some weight has to be given to what can be detected... I know wedge strength and accel can be detected FTL, and IIRC, whether the impellers are military grade? So from that, a reasonable guess can be made as to the tonnage? But how much more can be detected? It sounds a lot like judgements as to a ship's class are being made on the basis of tonnage and whether or not it has military impellers?
Thoigh I’d note that misidentifing ships is nothing new on earth. In WWII there were lots o instances, looking directly at a ship, of lookouts or pilots badly misidentifying it. On occasion everything down to destroyers were, iirc, identified as a battleship, and you had freighters misidentified as carriers. Not to mention at Leyte Gulf where Japanese battleships misidentified US CVEs (7800 tons, 500 feet long, 19 knots) as Essex class fleet carriers (27100 tons, 820 feet long, 33 knots) and their DD and DE escorts as cruisers and destroyers - to the point they thought those slower USN ships were outrunning them, even as the range actually dropped.

And radar gives even less information about ship size, much less classification. So making educated guesses based on limited information is just a normal part of naval combat - that doesn’t change in the Honorverse.
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