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Re: ?
Post by kzt   » Sat Oct 02, 2021 1:35 am

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ThinksMarkedly wrote:Hanging around the system does not mean staying put in a single place. There's a lot of room inside the hyperlimit beyond the 2-light-minite range of Cataphracts fired by the planet and the hyperlimit itself. Just keep moving, changing your vector once or twice an hour.

Sure. But play it out. How fast are you moving at the end of that hour? At 5km/sec2 you are moving at 18,000km/sec and have moved 32 million KM, and by the time you stop you've gone 64 million km.

Anyhow, the problem is that the MAN spiders are effectively undetectable at any reasonable range and have likely payloads of several thousand missile pods each. Boy, it might be kind of sucky if you were busy trying to slow down at the end of the run and someone launched 20,000 very bright but SD missiles at say 2-3 million km along your path, wouldn't it?

Or say a graser torp just happened to be positioned to do an up the kilt shot? That's the great thing about weapons with an operational cycle of months, they can find good places to wait as their keepers analyze patterns.

Or are you only accelerating slowly? Like say 100g? Hmm.

If I was them I'd have lots of not very stealthy 'spider' drones out there so the RMN can run up their score like USAF did against the Serbian tanks in Kosovo, where they destroyed 150 of the 300 tanks. Well, 150 plus or minus 140.
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Re: ?
Post by ThinksMarkedly   » Sat Oct 02, 2021 3:01 am

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kzt wrote:Sure. But play it out. How fast are you moving at the end of that hour? At 5km/sec2 you are moving at 18,000km/sec and have moved 32 million KM, and by the time you stop you've gone 64 million km.


Why would you stop? Just keep adding to your vector (vector addition, so the direction changes, not just amplitude). There's a lot of space in 3D even if you keep away from the red zones of 2 light-minutes from the hyperlimit and the inner planets. What matters is not your speed relative to anything, it's where you are. Or, more to the point, where you're not. If the other side can't predict where you'll be, they can't generate an intercept.

(BTW, if you change vector once or twice an hour, that's a change an average of every 45 minutes)

Anyhow, the problem is that the MAN spiders are effectively undetectable at any reasonable range and have likely payloads of several thousand missile pods each. Boy, it might be kind of sucky if you were busy trying to slow down at the end of the run and someone launched 20,000 very bright but SD missiles at say 2-3 million km along your path, wouldn't it?


Interesting. You're thinking of spider pods, not spider torpedoes. So they are moving the Cataphracts out and then launch them at optimum range. Indeed, that can generate possible intercepts, because the Cataphracts have ~2-light-minute range and can accelerate much, much faster than their targets.

But 20k Cataphract missiles is something any decent fleet that the GA would care to send to this system would shrug off. At Solon, Honor with 2 SD(P) and the LAC wings of 6 CLACs stopped 11,000 Havenite missiles, though with some cost. And at Manticore, the GF stopped the full payload of Filareta's (uncoordinated) launch with loss only of LACs.

You're going to have to do better. And with that many pods moving, the chance of detection increases. Plus, the MAN would have to have multiple shoals moving in case the fleet veers of at an inconvenient time to the wrong direction, so it's splitting its assets.

The way I see it, the only time they could be surprised with still-powered missiles is when they decide to leave. When they start moving towards the hyperlimit and breaking the pattern, a ship anywhere outside the hyperlimit can translate up, let an ambush force know where they're headed, then that one drops in with a massive alpha launch.

Do note that's a suicide mission for that ambush force.

Or say a graser torp just happened to be positioned to do an up the kilt shot? That's the great thing about weapons with an operational cycle of months, they can find good places to wait as their keepers analyze patterns.


That's luck (or bad luck, depending on the point of view). Strategists and tacticians don't count on it and can't make plans based on it. If it happens, it happens.

And a single torpedo will at most get one vessel. You'd need to roll the dice and get lucky dozens of times before the fleet decided it had had enough.

If I was them I'd have lots of not very stealthy 'spider' drones out there so the RMN can run up their score like USAF did against the Serbian tanks in Kosovo, where they destroyed 150 of the 300 tanks. Well, 150 plus or minus 140.


If I were the GA here, I wouldn't do a siege immediately. Instead, having discovered Darius, I'd do something cthia recommended on the other direction: keep sending ships, translating up and down the hyperwall. Pop in the system, deploy a bunch of Ghost Riders, make sure they see you, then after a while leave. Then keep doing that.

Over the course of a month doing this, the system has been thoroughly scanned by Ghost Riders. There's not a bolt on a shipyard that hasn't been catalogued. There's a good chance a Ghost Rider has got a good reading on a spider ship laid up for some reason (construction, refit, resupply, whatever). They'll have captured the spider start spike too and will probably have a good idea of just how many LDs there are.
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Re: ?
Post by kzt   » Sat Oct 02, 2021 3:31 am

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20,000 missile salvos popped an average of 2 SD(P) in 3rd fleet.

So how many ships do you plan to have in each group and how many groups?

The problem is that if you build up a big vector you are effectively no longer involved. For example at 90 minutes you have moved maybe 73 million km (4 LM) and are receding at a good clip, so if a fight starts you might as well have stayed home.

There are trajectories you can use to avoid this, but if you have a constraint of not going closer than x and not further then y that is going to result in patterns. Probably you are going to have the skim along the x sphere. And if I had a really stealthy autonomous weapon that ideally wants to attack either bow-on or stern-on I think I know where I'd scatter a bunch of them to wait for a customer.
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Re: ?
Post by ThinksMarkedly   » Sun Oct 03, 2021 12:58 pm

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kzt wrote:20,000 missile salvos popped an average of 2 SD(P) in 3rd fleet.


Those were Havenite MDM missiles against Kuzak's mostly older ships, with out-of-position LACs.

So how many ships do you plan to have in each group and how many groups?


I was thinking of no less than 6 battle squadrons.

The problem is that if you build up a big vector you are effectively no longer involved. For example at 90 minutes you have moved maybe 73 million km (4 LM) and are receding at a good clip, so if a fight starts you might as well have stayed home.

There are trajectories you can use to avoid this, but if you have a constraint of not going closer than x and not further then y that is going to result in patterns. Probably you are going to have the skim along the x sphere. And if I had a really stealthy autonomous weapon that ideally wants to attack either bow-on or stern-on I think I know where I'd scatter a bunch of them to wait for a customer.


Indeed. The problem is that this volume is still huge. Even at the thinnest part, which would be on the ecliptic directly on the least-time course to the hyper limit, we still have about 4 light-minutes of wiggle room (assuming a 10 LM orbit and a 22 LM hyperlimit). Anywhere else it's going to be much wider.

The problem for the defenders trying to catch this fleet with slow-a$$ torpedoes is that they don't know when the fleet will go there. The range of a torpedo is at best 1 million km in radius, which means it can reach 1/36th of the width of this narrow pass, if stopped. They can't accelerate fast enough to reach the incoming fleet when the opportunity arises, unless the fleet just happens to be unlucky and choose a course that brings it too close to this cluster.

And how many torpedoes are in the cluster? How many can be seeded throughout this volume? As I said, at best each torpedo can kill one ship and I don't see the "best" case happening reliably. The chance that the fleet is not only coming into range, but also that it is bow-on so an up-the-kilt shot is possible is very low. Tangential courses will only result in shots on the wedge. And then there's a good chance that the outer screen of escorts and LACs can intercept the weapons.
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Re: ?
Post by ThinksMarkedly   » Sun Oct 03, 2021 1:10 pm

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Hmm... There's a constraint in the siegeing fleet: it's meant to implement a siege. That means it must prevent supplies from coming in, which means it must be in position to intercept any ships coming in to resupply and relieve the planet. Hopefully prevent breakouts too.

The advantage this fleet has is that its weapons have an 11-minute range of 4.5 light-minutes (85 million km) and a 15-minute range of 6.9 (125 million km), and this is assuming they didn't bring 4-stage MDMs and a few Mycroft. No freighter ever constructed can escape destruction if it decided to make the run to the planet, wherever this fleet may be in the system.

But of course if anyone wanted to make a run for it, they'd come with a military escort. But again, even beyond the normal maximum range of Apollo (say, 100 million km), it wouldn't suffice. An escort is usually no bigger than a cruiser and that is not going to put out enough defence to stop an attack meant to destroy SDs. It also can't be sure to defend its charges.

In any event, the fact that the purpose of the fleet is to enforce the siege means it must remain within a certain range of any hyperlimit approach, not just the least-time course.
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Re: ?
Post by kzt   » Sun Oct 03, 2021 2:54 pm

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Basically, you can't detect downward translations much beyond about 2 billion KM per the text. (Like the orbit of Uranus) You can't detect impeller drives until much closer.

It appears that translation signatures are based on some minimal value (possibly mass based) + ship mass X velocity. Velocity might be linear, but probably squared.

So a squadron of frigates can produce a fairly small signature translating at zero velocity or can translate at significant fractions of the speed of light and produce a much bigger signature. A freighter or an SD can do the same, though the floors and ceiling are different.

But at some point you should be able to produce a signature that looks a whole lot like a bunch of large ships translating in at typical speed using a bunch of very much smaller ships moving fast. Or a very large ship translating in at slow speed that looks like a much smaller ship moving at typical speed.

Or you can translate in at a distance of light hours and accelerate towards the system. Then stop accelerating at a fairly low (honorvers) velocity and go dark outside the range at which you can detect an impeller drive and only start deceleration at the end. You can actually cross this distance in a matter of a week or two and be able to stop in a few minutes in very close to the planet.

So this gets complex, and deciding what to do about is even more so.
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Re: ?
Post by Jonathan_S   » Sun Oct 03, 2021 3:38 pm

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ThinksMarkedly wrote:Hmm... There's a constraint in the siegeing fleet: it's meant to implement a siege. That means it must prevent supplies from coming in, which means it must be in position to intercept any ships coming in to resupply and relieve the planet. Hopefully prevent breakouts too.

The advantage this fleet has is that its weapons have an 11-minute range of 4.5 light-minutes (85 million km) and a 15-minute range of 6.9 (125 million km), and this is assuming they didn't bring 4-stage MDMs and a few Mycroft. No freighter ever constructed can escape destruction if it decided to make the run to the planet, wherever this fleet may be in the system.

But of course if anyone wanted to make a run for it, they'd come with a military escort. But again, even beyond the normal maximum range of Apollo (say, 100 million km), it wouldn't suffice. An escort is usually no bigger than a cruiser and that is not going to put out enough defence to stop an attack meant to destroy SDs. It also can't be sure to defend its charges.

In any event, the fact that the purpose of the fleet is to enforce the siege means it must remain within a certain range of any hyperlimit approach, not just the least-time course.
Hmm. Seems more a naval blockade than a siege; but either way if your initial goal is killing anything you see moving towards or away from the hyper limit that might actually be a good time to load up your Agamemnon and Courvoisier II BC(P)s with Apollo pods.

Keep your SD(P)s battle squadrons more concentrated where then can move to intervein when vastly more combat power is needed, but minimize the risk of them getting picked off piecemeal operating in small detachments. That's a risk you can far better run with your battlecruisers. And even though they don't have FTL control of Apollo those pods would give scattered BC(P)s an ability to punch out nearly any ship they can see unless it is operating in a major task force (at which point it's a target worth sending the concentrated SD(P)s in to wipe out)

And the BC(P)s shouldn't need to fight sustain actions, so going with Mk16s to maximize the total number of missiles carried seems unnecessary. But if you got for Apollo pods the individual missiles do more damage, but the most important thing is probably the vastly increased effective missile range. Apollo in its autonomous mode - after running beyond the range of fire control links - is still more accurate than a Mk16 is at the edge of its continuously powered range. So probably having 5 times the effective weapons range would help you cover the volume you're trying to blockade. (Even if it does mean you need to cycle back for ammo more frequently)



If you look at how the distant blockage of Germany in WWI was performed it was something like that. The Grand Fleet wasn't risked in a close blockade where the High Seas Fleet's stealth ships (uboats) and high speed attack craft (torpedo boats) would be effective against them. Nor was it's battle line dispersed to try to stop everything. Instead cruiser or destroyer groups were deployed to intercept and stop freighters with the Grand Fleet held ready to sail out should the High Seas fleet come out in force to try to drive off or destroy those lighter blockading units. (Now it's far from a perfect analogy; as the High Seas Fleet's main battle line wasn't 8 knot invisible super dreadnaughts :D But its probably the latest in a long line of examples showing that in a naval blockage you keep your heavies back and concentrated to respond if the enemy comes out in force but the day to day work is performed by more dispersed lighter units -- giving you the coverage you need and which you can better afford to lose should they get unlucky and be caught by a superior force)
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Re: ?
Post by ThinksMarkedly   » Mon Oct 04, 2021 4:54 pm

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Jonathan_S wrote:If you look at how the distant blockage of Germany in WWI was performed it was something like that. The Grand Fleet wasn't risked in a close blockade where the High Seas Fleet's stealth ships (uboats) and high speed attack craft (torpedo boats) would be effective against them. Nor was it's battle line dispersed to try to stop everything. Instead cruiser or destroyer groups were deployed to intercept and stop freighters with the Grand Fleet held ready to sail out should the High Seas fleet come out in force to try to drive off or destroy those lighter blockading units. (Now it's far from a perfect analogy; as the High Seas Fleet's main battle line wasn't 8 knot invisible super dreadnaughts :D But its probably the latest in a long line of examples showing that in a naval blockage you keep your heavies back and concentrated to respond if the enemy comes out in force but the day to day work is performed by more dispersed lighter units -- giving you the coverage you need and which you can better afford to lose should they get unlucky and be caught by a superior force)


Thank you, Jonathan. That's a much better strategy.

I was thinking of dispersing the SD(P)s in squadron-strength level to implement the blockade, but your idea is much better. The SD(P)s may still need to be split into multiple squadron groupings to avoid presenting too tempting a target should the circumstances arise, but that's a different problem than implementing the blockade.
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Re: ?
Post by cthia   » Sat Oct 09, 2021 8:10 am

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ThinksMarkedly wrote:
kzt wrote:Sure. But play it out. How fast are you moving at the end of that hour? At 5km/sec2 you are moving at 18,000km/sec and have moved 32 million KM, and by the time you stop you've gone 64 million km.


Why would you stop? Just keep adding to your vector (vector addition, so the direction changes, not just amplitude). There's a lot of space in 3D even if you keep away from the red zones of 2 light-minutes from the hyperlimit and the inner planets. What matters is not your speed relative to anything, it's where you are. Or, more to the point, where you're not. If the other side can't predict where you'll be, they can't generate an intercept.

(BTW, if you change vector once or twice an hour, that's a change an average of every 45 minutes)

Zig zagging in a minefield always works.

kzt wrote:Anyhow, the problem is that the MAN spiders are effectively undetectable at any reasonable range and have likely payloads of several thousand missile pods each. Boy, it might be kind of sucky if you were busy trying to slow down at the end of the run and someone launched 20,000 very bright but SD missiles at say 2-3 million km along your path, wouldn't it?


ThinksMarkedly wrote:Interesting. You're thinking of spider pods, not spider torpedoes. So they are moving the Cataphracts out and then launch them at optimum range. Indeed, that can generate possible intercepts, because the Cataphracts have ~2-light-minute range and can accelerate much, much faster than their targets.

But 20k Cataphract missiles is something any decent fleet that the GA would care to send to this system would shrug off. At Solon, Honor with 2 SD(P) and the LAC wings of 6 CLACs stopped 11,000 Havenite missiles, though with some cost. And at Manticore, the GF stopped the full payload of Filareta's (uncoordinated) launch with loss only of LACs.

You're going to have to do better. And with that many pods moving, the chance of detection increases. Plus, the MAN would have to have multiple shoals moving in case the fleet veers of at an inconvenient time to the wrong direction, so it's splitting its assets.

Do better? I don't imagine that will be a problem for a navy that is fighting in their own backyard. They can launch far more massive volleys I'm sure. But 20,000 at a pop will do just fine. Remember, the GA's Fleet train has been sent to the bottom of the sea. It is now a war of attrition. The GA can only withstand 20k missile salvos until their payload of CMs hold out. Which won't be long.


BTW, if Darius happens to be heavily seeded with invisible platforms capable of massive graser torp launches they can do so at will. A GA squadron could be headed right smack dab into a graser swarm. Of course they are preoccupied by the 20,000 incoming wedges that they can see.

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: ?
Post by ThinksMarkedly   » Sat Oct 09, 2021 11:52 am

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cthia wrote:Do better? I don't imagine that will be a problem for a navy that is fighting in their own backyard. They can launch far more massive volleys I'm sure. But 20,000 at a pop will do just fine. Remember, the GA's Fleet train has been sent to the bottom of the sea. It is now a war of attrition. The GA can only withstand 20k missile salvos until their payload of CMs hold out. Which won't be long.


BTW, if Darius happens to be heavily seeded with invisible platforms capable of massive graser torp launches they can do so at will. A GA squadron could be headed right smack dab into a graser swarm. Of course they are preoccupied by the 20,000 incoming wedges that they can see.


I'm sure they have orders of magnitude more than 20,000 Cataphracts on stock. The problem is not how many they have, it's how many can get into optimum range. If the blockading fleet is moving in unpredictable directions, you can't get sufficient pods in close proximity except by chance. That means diluting them through space. And this applies to torpedoes too, but it's much more difficult for torpedoes because those can't cover the last 2-light-minutes at will.

Which may be a viable strategy. Presumably, the hosts have far bigger magazines than what the blockaders have on-board. So you can simply wear them out if they have to stay inside the hyperlimit.
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