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NEED TO KNOW

Join us in talking discussing all things Honor, including (but not limited to) tactics, favorite characters, and book discussions.
Re: NEED TO KNOW
Post by cthia   » Sun May 29, 2022 10:17 pm

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ThinksMarkedly wrote:Anyway, indeed there are grey areas. As you say, in the military one has to follow orders, but also know which orders are unlawful and NOT follow those. That does indeed open up for a lot of subjectivity. A well-squared military must be flexible enough that the people on-site can adapt to circumstances and not be required to follow orders that have gone OBE, but not so flexible that no orders get followed and the strategists can't get anything done.

I'm not saying this is easy. That's also why there are officers and enlisted (in theory): the enlisted crew is taught to follow the officers practically blindly after a few months in Boot Camp, but officers are required to have higher education and are taught to think during the years they spend at Saganami Island. That's of course a remnant from societies of a couple of centuries ago where education was much less available to the population, and enlisted crew may not even know how to read and write, while officers usually came from the aristocracy and had well-rounded education. In an advanced society like Manticore is supposed to be, that's not the case, and yet the distinction remains.


ThinksMarkedly wrote:Indeed, but as I said above, such brass is usually intelligent enough to know when they should ask for information. And besides, how would they know that the information was there to be asked in the first place? Doesn't that imply that they already knew about it?


In both of these posts you have touched on a very important aspect of the RMN's success. Its education. I think one reason commandeering works might be that each command is kept abreast of what is going on quadrant by quadrant by the Admiralty. Need to know should be very critical when it comes to preparedness. The Admiralty dispenses reports to each command to give that command a small snapshot of the current strategic position. That might make it easier for a command to judge the importance of the resources or ships that he is commandeering.

Need to know isn't necessarily limited to classified information, but pertinent up to date ship movements and attritional data.

Also factor in the fact that the RMN gives its officers lots of leeway to "think for themselves." Their superior education and training makes that possible.

A good education begets independence.

But, stupidity and bad luck can bite you on the ass. Weak links like Santino and Pavel Young.

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: NEED TO KNOW
Post by tlb   » Mon Jun 06, 2022 5:55 pm

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Fox2! wrote:Remember that the Jeune Ecole accepted attritional warfare. They'd be more than happy to trade a CL, or even a CA, for a BB, DN, or SD.

The crews of the attrited ships wouldn't be too happy, but such is war.

Jonathan_S wrote:And if this was used en-mass with entire squadrons of GL equipped cruisers throwing themselves at an enemy's wall then, to ensure they don't reach GL range (which IIRC is around half of normal energy range), their wallers might need to divert missile fire from your own wall onto the charging cruisers. That alone might allow your wall to win the missile duel and thus have the upper hand come the decisive energy range engagement. (Of course the obvious counter is to use their own cruisers, or battlecruisers, to charge forward and engage the incoming GL cruisers before they can reach the wallers).

This is the part that I do not understand. I can accept that this is something that the Weapons Bureau might attempt if the gravlance was a new weapon, but I have been assured by others that its uses and limitations were well known. Therefore everyone already knows that making this the main armament of ANY size ship will leave it at a disadvantage to an enemy ship with a working graser. So a LAC with a spinal graser would be more useful than this configuration in attritional warfare.
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Re: NEED TO KNOW
Post by Jonathan_S   » Mon Jun 06, 2022 7:50 pm

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tlb wrote:
Jonathan_S wrote:And if this was used en-mass with entire squadrons of GL equipped cruisers throwing themselves at an enemy's wall then, to ensure they don't reach GL range (which IIRC is around half of normal energy range), their wallers might need to divert missile fire from your own wall onto the charging cruisers. That alone might allow your wall to win the missile duel and thus have the upper hand come the decisive energy range engagement. (Of course the obvious counter is to use their own cruisers, or battlecruisers, to charge forward and engage the incoming GL cruisers before they can reach the wallers).

This is the part that I do not understand. I can accept that this is something that the Weapons Bureau might attempt if the gravlance was a new weapon, but I have been assured by others that its uses and limitations were well known. Therefore everyone already knows that making this the main armament of ANY size ship will leave it at a disadvantage to an enemy ship with a working graser. So a LAC with a spinal graser would be more useful than this configuration in attritional warfare.

I'm definitely not saying it was a good idea to build into a cruiser.

But remember that this was developed in an era where missile combat was rarely decisive - so most fights where one side didn't bug out early were expected to continue into energy range. At within energy range ships would alternately roll behind their wedges to block all fire -- timing their roll down to try to catch the enemy and then roll back up.

And of course in a bigger ship you wouldn't need to sacrifice anywhere near as much armorment to squeeze one in -- so adding one to a BC, DN, or SD doesn't cost you much. And those ships were expected to get into energy range of their counter-parts.


And against their counterparts a single graser broadside wouldn't be debilitating or an instant win. However if you could keep your wedge between you and all enemies until you'd closed to GL range then, with a little luck, you could roll down spike their sidewall, and destroy them with a single energy torpedo salvo while taking only modest to moderate damage from their grasers.

And a GL was the only tech that had that might have let a smaller ship kill an SD -- so it was worth spending some money and effort looking into. Though a single ship in a single set of wargames doesn't seem like a great way to test it. Sure, you probably need a ship to undergo the conversion just to confirm your engineering models of how it'll work in a smaller ship's system and find any weird interactions with other systems. But for testing the tactic you can simply have unmodified cruisers simulating being new GL cruisers so you can test out squadron or multi-squadron attacks in various scenarios.

(Okay, maybe for the bragging rights and plot purposes let Fearless punch out D'Orville in the first game. But no later than that you should be pulling a bunch of cruiser captains aside and telling them "poof - the magic referee wand says your ships now have the following weapons fit and we suggest you try out the following squadron tactics in the next several scenarios". Maybe they still fail (heck, likely they still fail) but at least you'd learn more than "a single known CL can't successfully attack an alert wall of battle".


But yeah, a single cruiser trying the same roll down to strike tactic against even a single SD is likely to achieve no better than a mutual kill as the SD's energy weapons shred it as its energy torps vaporize the SD. And for that matter the missile imbalance between cruiser and SD is so severe that it'd probably die to missiles even behind it's wedge. Though it is possible that had BuShip sketched out a plan for a GL Cruiser that we'd have started to see massive improvements in missile defense even before pod based combat forced it. But even so, as my earlier post hypothesized, you'd probably need your attritional GL cruisers to significantly outnumber the SDs they were hunting.
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Re: NEED TO KNOW
Post by cthia   » Tue Jun 07, 2022 11:25 am

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tlb wrote:
Jonathan_S wrote:And if this was used en-mass with entire squadrons of GL equipped cruisers throwing themselves at an enemy's wall then, to ensure they don't reach GL range (which IIRC is around half of normal energy range), their wallers might need to divert missile fire from your own wall onto the charging cruisers. That alone might allow your wall to win the missile duel and thus have the upper hand come the decisive energy range engagement. (Of course the obvious counter is to use their own cruisers, or battlecruisers, to charge forward and engage the incoming GL cruisers before they can reach the wallers).

This is the part that I do not understand. I can accept that this is something that the Weapons Bureau might attempt if the gravlance was a new weapon, but I have been assured by others that its uses and limitations were well known. Therefore everyone already knows that making this the main armament of ANY size ship will leave it at a disadvantage to an enemy ship with a working graser. So a LAC with a spinal graser would be more useful than this configuration in attritional warfare.

Jonathan_S wrote:I'm definitely not saying it was a good idea to build into a cruiser.

But remember that this was developed in an era where missile combat was rarely decisive - so most fights where one side didn't bug out early were expected to continue into energy range. At within energy range ships would alternately roll behind their wedges to block all fire -- timing their roll down to try to catch the enemy and then roll back up.

And of course in a bigger ship you wouldn't need to sacrifice anywhere near as much armorment to squeeze one in -- so adding one to a BC, DN, or SD doesn't cost you much. And those ships were expected to get into energy range of their counter-parts.


And against their counterparts a single graser broadside wouldn't be debilitating or an instant win. However if you could keep your wedge between you and all enemies until you'd closed to GL range then, with a little luck, you could roll down spike their sidewall, and destroy them with a single energy torpedo salvo while taking only modest to moderate damage from their grasers.

And a GL was the only tech that had that might have let a smaller ship kill an SD -- so it was worth spending some money and effort looking into. Though a single ship in a single set of wargames doesn't seem like a great way to test it. Sure, you probably need a ship to undergo the conversion just to confirm your engineering models of how it'll work in a smaller ship's system and find any weird interactions with other systems. But for testing the tactic you can simply have unmodified cruisers simulating being new GL cruisers so you can test out squadron or multi-squadron attacks in various scenarios.

(Okay, maybe for the bragging rights and plot purposes let Fearless punch out D'Orville in the first game. But no later than that you should be pulling a bunch of cruiser captains aside and telling them "poof - the magic referee wand says your ships now have the following weapons fit and we suggest you try out the following squadron tactics in the next several scenarios". Maybe they still fail (heck, likely they still fail) but at least you'd learn more than "a single known CL can't successfully attack an alert wall of battle".


But yeah, a single cruiser trying the same roll down to strike tactic against even a single SD is likely to achieve no better than a mutual kill as the SD's energy weapons shred it as its energy torps vaporize the SD. And for that matter the missile imbalance between cruiser and SD is so severe that it'd probably die to missiles even behind it's wedge. Though it is possible that had BuShip sketched out a plan for a GL Cruiser that we'd have started to see massive improvements in missile defense even before pod based combat forced it. But even so, as my earlier post hypothesized, you'd probably need your attritional GL cruisers to significantly outnumber the SDs they were hunting.

A GL indeed makes a lot of sense if it costs nothing to mount it. In an energy duel it could mean the difference between life and death, especially for someone like Honor who knows how to knife-fight. Some of that Top Gun maneuvering. :D

You need every edge you can get in every tactical situation. It would be a pity to be ahead of the enemy in missile combat but lag sorely behind in energy battles.

As a matter of fact, now I realize why the SLN's energy weapons surprised the RMN. The SLN's thinking was that since it led the Galaxy in order of battle, it is likely that they would always be able to at least force an energy battle. And win.

Why does forcing an energy battle remind me of chess?

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: NEED TO KNOW
Post by sonex   » Tue Jun 07, 2022 1:52 pm

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Daryl wrote:Need to know can be a double edged sword, and I was at times involved in deciding who needed to know what.
An analogy I can give domestically, is that I have a hidden safe at home. The only people who know where it is are my wife (naturally), and one of my adult children. As I tell the others, what they don't know, they can't accidentally let slip. There was a case in this country, where in the exact same situation the family backup had a few drinks and told a "friend", she then told her criminal boyfriend. The result was a home invasion and torture of the elderly couple.


The last project I worked on did not allow any stuff on the project to leave the building. That was back in the '90s. The system went into production, but is still classified as far as I can tell.
Honor Harrington and Safehold nut.
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Re: NEED TO KNOW
Post by tlb   » Tue Jun 07, 2022 2:07 pm

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cthia wrote:A GL indeed makes a lot of sense if it costs nothing to mount it. In an energy duel it could mean the difference between life and death, especially for someone like Honor who knows how to knife-fight. Some of that Top Gun maneuvering. :D

You need every edge you can get in every tactical situation. It would be a pity to be ahead of the enemy in missile combat but lag sorely behind in energy battles.

As a matter of fact, now I realize why the SLN's energy weapons surprised the RMN. The SLN's thinking was that since it led the Galaxy in order of battle, it is likely that they would always be able to at least force an energy battle. And win.

Why does forcing an energy battle remind me of chess?

However the gravlance costs quite a bit to mount it and its reach is less than a graser. The way that you avoid lagging in an energy battle is to improve those weapons, NOT diminish them. Mounting more grasers is a better solution, which is what the RMN and GSN did later in the war.

The SLN grasers did not surprise the RMN; it was the mounts that were better than expected.

The gravlance was an obvious dead-end, which is why RFC was so embarrassed that he had ever introduced it as a plot point.
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Re: NEED TO KNOW
Post by cthia   » Tue Jun 07, 2022 2:25 pm

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tlb wrote:
cthia wrote:A GL indeed makes a lot of sense if it costs nothing to mount it. In an energy duel it could mean the difference between life and death, especially for someone like Honor who knows how to knife-fight. Some of that Top Gun maneuvering. :D

You need every edge you can get in every tactical situation. It would be a pity to be ahead of the enemy in missile combat but lag sorely behind in energy battles.

As a matter of fact, now I realize why the SLN's energy weapons surprised the RMN. The SLN's thinking was that since it led the Galaxy in order of battle, it is likely that they would always be able to at least force an energy battle. And win.

Why does forcing an energy battle remind me of chess?

However the gravlance costs quite a bit to mount it and its reach is less than a graser. The way that you avoid lagging in an energy battle is to improve those weapons, NOT diminish them. Mounting more grasers is a better solution, which is what the RMN and GSN did later in the war.

The SLN grasers did not surprise the RMN; it was the mounts that were better than expected.

The gravlance was an obvious dead-end, which is why RFC was so embarrassed that he had ever introduced it as a plot point.

By cost, I mean at the expense of graser mounts, etc.

By mount, you mean more robust? The RMN was impressed that the SLN's graser mounts were more robust; that they could possibly soak up more damage and survive?

I seem to recall they were impressed by their output as well. I suppose their mounts are what made it possible to use them in a Forakian project.

At any rate, in the hands of a tactical genius like Honor, covering the difference between the range of energy weapons to GL range should be child's play in the heat of battle.

Once you get into energy range, tactical greats can make up the difference easily, or simply proceed to GL range with wedge rolled from the onset. This is a tactic that is unavailable against a GL equipped ship.

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: NEED TO KNOW
Post by Jonathan_S   » Tue Jun 07, 2022 3:06 pm

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Mind you, rolling behind your wedge works best in 1-on-1 ship combat; or when two rigid formations attack each other.

If the enemy feels free to maneuver its difficult to impossible to keep your wedge between you and more than one enemy ship -- so in a fleet battle ships might well force you into a graser fight before you can close to GL range.

For that matter if their fleet's screening BCs or CAs have some energy torps they can threaten to curl around your exposed throat or kilt, where no sidewalls shield you (assuming this predates the bow wall), and tear you apart without any need for a GL to first remove your pesky protection. You can of course maneuver to try and avoid this, or use your own screen to try to drive them back, but that can expose you or your screen to their energy batteries.

And of course rolling behind your wedge offers mixed protection from laserheads (they've got to make a snap-shot the instant they see you, making their job harder, but you can't use CMs to protected yourself and also can't see them clearly until they clear the rim of your wedge -- when it becomes a race between your PDLCs and their ability to ID and target you. But of the other hand you can usually see their approximate approach vector through your wedge; so your PDLCs get a bit of a head start). So the enemy fleet might well be able to disable or kill you with missiles even when you're protected from their energy batteries.


Basically its easy to say "roll behind your wedge". Everything is very simple in war, but the simplest thing is difficult -- Clausewitz. [drink]
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Re: NEED TO KNOW
Post by cthia   » Tue Jun 07, 2022 3:26 pm

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Jonathan_S wrote:Mind you, rolling behind your wedge works best in 1-on-1 ship combat; or when two rigid formations attack each other.

If the enemy feels free to maneuver its difficult to impossible to keep your wedge between you and more than one enemy ship -- so in a fleet battle ships might well force you into a graser fight before you can close to GL range.

For that matter if their fleet's screening BCs or CAs have some energy torps they can threaten to curl around your exposed throat or kilt, where no sidewalls shield you (assuming this predates the bow wall), and tear you apart without any need for a GL to first remove your pesky protection. You can of course maneuver to try and avoid this, or use your own screen to try to drive them back, but that can expose you or your screen to their energy batteries.

And of course rolling behind your wedge offers mixed protection from laserheads (they've got to make a snap-shot the instant they see you, making their job harder, but you can't use CMs to protected yourself and also can't see them clearly until they clear the rim of your wedge -- when it becomes a race between your PDLCs and their ability to ID and target you. But of the other hand you can usually see their approximate approach vector through your wedge; so your PDLCs get a bit of a head start). So the enemy fleet might well be able to disable or kill you with missiles even when you're protected from their energy batteries.


Basically its easy to say "roll behind your wedge". Everything is very simple in war, but the simplest thing is difficult -- Clausewitz. [drink]

Interesting post. I always wondered why missiles would not be a part of energy battles. It seems that an enemy should find it difficult to maneuver against energy fire while maneuvering against incoming missiles. I don't think we have ever seen missiles used in energy duels, but I see no reason they can't be used even in a single ship-to-ship duel.

Missiles were not used in Fearless' energy duel with the SD. I can't remember why.

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: NEED TO KNOW
Post by ThinksMarkedly   » Tue Jun 07, 2022 4:26 pm

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cthia wrote:Interesting post. I always wondered why missiles would not be a part of energy battles. It seems that an enemy should find it difficult to maneuver against energy fire while maneuvering against incoming missiles. I don't think we have ever seen missiles used in energy duels, but I see no reason they can't be used even in a single ship-to-ship duel.


Ships mount more CM tubes than anti-ship missile tubes and can cycle them faster, so the defender can spit out more counter-missiles than the attacker can anti-ship ones. And while that's true for any range, at short ranges, the biggest difference is that the anti-ship missiles are still moving much, much slower, while the CMs are still in their regular range. Additionally, the ship is tracking those slow-moving missiles and is ready for them with PDLCs as soon as they cross the lip of the wedge.

As a result, I expect that at short range, the effectiveness of the defence is disproportionately higher, making the attack with missiles useless.

Of course, if you can tow pods of missiles and fire them at that time, then you could overwhelm the defence. But two problems with this: first, if you're this close, the enemy can likely see your pods and you can't hold on to them for too long due to proximity kills. The enemy could force you to expend them (use-or-lose case).

And second, by the time pod tactics came about, the battles were decided with missile duels. No one reached energy range any more.
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