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Could 8th Fleet Have Attacked the Haven System?

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Could 8th Fleet Have Attacked the Haven System?
Post by cstar   » Tue Mar 30, 2021 3:11 pm

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Relatively simple question, if the Alliance had known the actual combat effectiveness of Apollo, could 8th Fleet have, instead of attacking Solon, successfully attacked the Haven System and destroyed Capital Fleet? Would Giscard's forces have been able to participate? Would it have mattered if they did?

My own thoughts are that they probably could have executed a variant of Tourville's attack on Zanzibar. Come in, blow away either Capital Fleet or Giscard with Apollo, retreat out-system to reload, and go back in to kill whatever was left.
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Re: Could 8th Fleet Have Attacked the Haven System?
Post by Jonathan_S   » Tue Mar 30, 2021 5:05 pm

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cstar wrote:Relatively simple question, if the Alliance had known the actual combat effectiveness of Apollo, could 8th Fleet have, instead of attacking Solon, successfully attacked the Haven System and destroyed Capital Fleet? Would Giscard's forces have been able to participate? Would it have mattered if they did?

My own thoughts are that they probably could have executed a variant of Tourville's attack on Zanzibar. Come in, blow away either Capital Fleet or Giscard with Apollo, retreat out-system to reload, and go back in to kill whatever was left.

[Edit - and as noted by others in later posts Apollo wasn't available until Lovat. It's first mentioned in AAC Ch44; well after Solon]

Hmm. Solon was part of Cutworm III. 8th fleet split, hitting "only two star systems"; with
Admiral Truman attacking Lorn and Honor attacking Solon [AAC:Ch33]. "We'll be assigning one carrier squadron to each attack, and splitting the heavy cruisers and battlecruisers just about down the middle.""

Later we're told [AAC:Ch 35] that was adjusted a bit. Honor "swapped Alice Truman two of Alistair McKeon's superdreadnought divisions and Matsuzawa Hirotaka's older battlecruisers in return for Michelle Henke's more modern but understrength squadron. She'd also given Alice Winston Bradshaw's Seventh Cruiser Squadron, with its four Edward Saganami-C-class cruisers, while she took Charise Fanaafi's CruRon 12, with its older Saganami and Star Knight-class cruisers."

Honor had, as best I can reconstruct it,
6 CLACs (one carrier squadron) and
2 SD(P)s, Intolerant and Imperator (Invictus-class SD(P)s)
Apparently just 1 squadron of BCs, Henke's understrength squadron of Agamemnon-class BC(P)s
Various smaller units)

Alice Truman's order of battle is vaguer, but before the reshuffling would presumably have been roughly even, with 1 SD(P) division [6 ships], and then picked up 4 more with the addition of McKeon's 2 divisions [2 ships each; 3 divisions to a post-Janacek squadron], and older BCs instead of the BC(P)s; but more modern escorts.


Still that implies that at that time 8th fleet had a total of 12 CLACs and 12 (Apollo-capable) SD(P)s. That's a far less powerful 8th fleet than it was by the time the Battle of Manticore rolled around.



And we saw at Solon that tough as the RMN's new defenses were, and deadly as Apollo could be, they weren't invulnerable to even 3 to 1 odds. Imperator had lost her keyholes and her whole pod bay at the point where only the first 6 Havenite SD(P)s were engaging Honor's 2 SD(P)s. And there were 12 more Havenite SD(P)s commited to that trap (3 full squadrons [18 ships] mousetrapping Honor's single division [2 ships])

And you've got to figure that Haven's home fleet had a lot more than 36 SD(P)s attached to it - plus fixed MDM defenses a lot nastier than the those used at Solon. So 8th fleet would have been far more outnumbered at Haven than Honor's division was at Solon.


Now if Haven didn't have a giant ambush force waiting in hyper then 8th fleet wouldn't have gotten pinned; and that would have let them dance around and maintain the range. But I don't think the RMN had enough Apollo missiles at that point to have killed Haven's home fleet from beyond Haven's effective MDM range.

But, if nothing when wrong, and 8th fleet somehow did have all the reloads it needed, it could probably use its acceleration advantage to slowly snipe its way through Haven's home fleet. But that's some big ifs. And the first time they had to fall back to rearm, if not sooner, Haven can probably get a bunch of its Home Fleet into Hyper to try to mousetrap the returning 8th Fleet. And if they get pinned within Haven's effective MDM range Keyhole isn't enough to save 8th fleet's SD(P)s if they're at a significant numerical disadvantage.



So while I can't say for sure, I'd rate it as high risk and with only moderate chance of successfully taking out Haven's defense and forcing a surrender. (Now, I'd rate their chances of survival much higher if they just wanted to make a long range hit and run range - kill what they can from out near the hyper limit and nope out once they run low on Apollo missiles. But that won't end the war - and is likely to encourage Haven to unleash their remaining numeric superiority against the Manticore system even earlier than historically happened.
Last edited by Jonathan_S on Wed Mar 31, 2021 11:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Could 8th Fleet Have Attacked the Haven System?
Post by Theemile   » Tue Mar 30, 2021 5:10 pm

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cstar wrote:Relatively simple question, if the Alliance had known the actual combat effectiveness of Apollo, could 8th Fleet have, instead of attacking Solon, successfully attacked the Haven System and destroyed Capital Fleet? Would Giscard's forces have been able to participate? Would it have mattered if they did?

My own thoughts are that they probably could have executed a variant of Tourville's attack on Zanzibar. Come in, blow away either Capital Fleet or Giscard with Apollo, retreat out-system to reload, and go back in to kill whatever was left.


Did you mean Lovat, instead of Solon? Lovat was the first use of Apollo destroying 64 RHN SDs, SD(p)s and CLACs, Solon was a RMN loss because of a well laid trap (that wasn't quite enough to completely stop the RMN Force).
******
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."
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Re: Could 8th Fleet Have Attacked the Haven System?
Post by ThinksMarkedly   » Tue Mar 30, 2021 11:06 pm

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Theemile wrote:
cstar wrote:Relatively simple question, if the Alliance had known the actual combat effectiveness of Apollo, could 8th Fleet have, instead of attacking Solon, successfully attacked the Haven System and destroyed Capital Fleet? Would Giscard's forces have been able to participate? Would it have mattered if they did?

My own thoughts are that they probably could have executed a variant of Tourville's attack on Zanzibar. Come in, blow away either Capital Fleet or Giscard with Apollo, retreat out-system to reload, and go back in to kill whatever was left.


Did you mean Lovat, instead of Solon? Lovat was the first use of Apollo destroying 64 RHN SDs, SD(p)s and CLACs, Solon was a RMN loss because of a well laid trap (that wasn't quite enough to completely stop the RMN Force).


I assume that was the suggestion, only the codenames got swapped.

If so, then yes, Eighth Fleet could have gone for Haven, but I don't think it would have mattered for the launching of Operation Beatrice.

If Eighth Fleet had known of the capabilities of Apollo as it did after Lovat (which it couldn't have because Lovat was, after all, the first real use of Apollo under battle conditions and you can't have the results of the first battle before that first battle), they might have redirected to Haven and trashed the Havenite Capital Fleet. But they couldn't have destroyed it outright and orbital defences, thereby winning the war by forcing the capital planet's surrender, not with the missile totals they had at their disposal, not unless they waited much longer and ceded initiative to the RHN. And even if they had got the capital's surrender, two thirds of the Havenite fleet was outside of that and the GA planners had to think about that fleet not respecting the surrender orders. Emptying all Apollo magazines in one strike that doesn't guarantee total enemy surrender is a bad move.

And as I said, if they couldn't even force the capital's surrender, Theisman and Pritchart were that much more likely to assume it was due to lack of missile production and thus launch Beatrice. In fact, this might have fared worse for Manticore, since Beatrice would be launched without any finesse or delay (which may have happened, see the thread last year discussing the timelines) and those 64 SD(P)s that Honor and Yanakov destroyed at Lovat would have participated. Actually, this might have been a full Hail Mary, with no ship held in reserve that could have reached the rallying point in time, since there was no point in protecting against any further attack. There's only one move left for him, which is to destroy the Apollo production capabilities and force the Queen to negotiate an end to hostilities.

Or, an alternative thinking, is that Theisman is still worried about those Andermani SD(P)s that are MIA and diverts half Giscard's fleet from Beatrice to form a new Capital Fleet. In this scenario, Beatrice is toothless and fails to kill Home and Third Fleets, with Kuzak and D'Orville surviving.
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Re: Could 8th Fleet Have Attacked the Haven System?
Post by munroburton   » Wed Mar 31, 2021 7:23 am

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I wonder if they really had to return to Trevor's Star to resupply. Granted, when White Haven was heading towards Lovat in the first war, they'd clearly established large stockpiles of MDMs and prepared freighters to ferry them forwards - something which might not have been the case yet when Honor left for Lovat, particularly with so much new construction in the pipeline about to load up.

And her force at that time was too small to go directly for Haven but it could have kept punching out Lovat-level targets, whittling down the RHN's available hulls.
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Re: Could 8th Fleet Have Attacked the Haven System?
Post by Theemile   » Wed Mar 31, 2021 8:07 am

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munroburton wrote:I wonder if they really had to return to Trevor's Star to resupply. Granted, when White Haven was heading towards Lovat in the first war, they'd clearly established large stockpiles of MDMs and prepared freighters to ferry them forwards - something which might not have been the case yet when Honor left for Lovat, particularly with so much new construction in the pipeline about to load up.

And her force at that time was too small to go directly for Haven but it could have kept punching out Lovat-level targets, whittling down the RHN's available hulls.


At the time, there was only 1 reload available for every Apollo SD(p) due to the missile production woes, so each mission was a one and done. But they could always bring along regular Mk 23 pods and reload with standard munitions - which would only give them a ~30% qualitative advantage per platform.
******
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."
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Re: Could 8th Fleet Have Attacked the Haven System?
Post by Theemile   » Wed Mar 31, 2021 8:13 am

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ThinksMarkedly wrote:
Or, an alternative thinking, is that Theisman is still worried about those Andermani SD(P)s that are MIA and diverts half Giscard's fleet from Beatrice to form a new Capital Fleet. In this scenario, Beatrice is toothless and fails to kill Home and Third Fleets, with Kuzak and D'Orville surviving.


No, that would just be tantamount to throwing away that fleet to the next raid, and Theisman knows it. Once you strike at a capital, the war has moved into a new phase that it is hard to return from, with repeated, hard deep strikes at central targets.

Theisman would know that was a losing game, one that begs time for ... "what"? - There is no saving tech in the wings and the next traunche of new ships is still months out. Moriarity worked. but not as well as expected, and the Manties have a counter. Trading for time slowly bleeds the fleet, which will turn into a hemorrhage as more RMN ships are updated to the new tech and the missing Andermani Fleet finally shows up.

The only "winning" moves are the Hail Mary to punch out the new capability or enemy capital, or to capitulate - a move that saves the lives of your navy and is less costly in the long run, than a slow, losing war of attrition and infrastructure loss.
******
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."
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Re: Could 8th Fleet Have Attacked the Haven System?
Post by munroburton   » Wed Mar 31, 2021 11:41 am

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Theemile wrote:At the time, there was only 1 reload available for every Apollo SD(p) due to the missile production woes, so each mission was a one and done. But they could always bring along regular Mk 23 pods and reload with standard munitions - which would only give them a ~30% qualitative advantage per platform.

I can't remember the time to travel from Trevor's Star to Lovat, but the additional missiles produced during this period could depart Trevor's Star in ammo freighters at the same time Eighth Fleet is scheduled to hit Lovat.

If they then rendezvoused at a midpoint between Trevor's Star and Lovat, Eighth Fleet could reload and attack another Lovat-tier target at roughly the same time it'd be arriving back at Trevor's Star.

This would mean the IAN ships were exercising with Kuzak's Third Fleet, though. And potentially armed with only MK23s due to the Apollos being shipped to Eighth Fleet. Would Beatrice still go ahead if another Lovat or two took place within weeks of Lovat?
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Re: Could 8th Fleet Have Attacked the Haven System?
Post by ThinksMarkedly   » Wed Mar 31, 2021 9:12 pm

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munroburton wrote:I can't remember the time to travel from Trevor's Star to Lovat, but the additional missiles produced during this period could depart Trevor's Star in ammo freighters at the same time Eighth Fleet is scheduled to hit Lovat.

If they then rendezvoused at a midpoint between Trevor's Star and Lovat, Eighth Fleet could reload and attack another Lovat-tier target at roughly the same time it'd be arriving back at Trevor's Star.

This would mean the IAN ships were exercising with Kuzak's Third Fleet, though. And potentially armed with only MK23s due to the Apollos being shipped to Eighth Fleet. Would Beatrice still go ahead if another Lovat or two took place within weeks of Lovat?


I think the travel time was about 4 weeks. But I'm guessing.

I don't know if Honor could or would have done what you're saying. We don't know the missile production rate at this time and we don't know how much of it she was getting and how much was being diverted to arm the home defences (which they ought to have done more of, as discussed in the thread last year). So maybe 4 weeks worth of production isn't enough to fully reload all her ships.

And would she have done that? With the situation heating up in Talbott, it seems every operation was evaluated before the next one was green-lighted, back at the Admiralty, with Honor sitting in those meetings.
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Re: Could 8th Fleet Have Attacked the Haven System?
Post by SharkHunter   » Wed Mar 31, 2021 10:30 pm

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cstar wrote:Relatively simple question, if the Alliance had known the actual combat effectiveness of Apollo, could 8th Fleet have, instead of attacking Solon, successfully attacked the Haven System and destroyed Capital Fleet? Would Giscard's forces have been able to participate? Would it have mattered if they did?

My own thoughts are that they probably could have executed a variant of Tourville's attack on Zanzibar. Come in, blow away either Capital Fleet or Giscard with Apollo, retreat out-system to reload, and go back in to kill whatever was left.


My guess -- based on some other battles -- is that yes, they could have taken Haven... but they would have had to correctly guess on how many missiles per to significantly mission kill enough SD(p)s to make a "non-Apollo" engagementt decisive... and not waste a surfeit of missiles per SD squadron in the mean time. As to Giscard, since they were mousetrapping elsewhere, they'd be badly positioned to intervene.

The problem is... They had insufficient information on the effectiveness of Apollo to make that decision to launch less per SD. So it would have been an equally dangerous throw of the dice as Beatrice Bravo only with no force advantage that any reasonable strategist could plan and exploit.
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