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HMLAC 113

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Re: HMLAC 113
Post by Theemile   » Tue Jun 21, 2022 4:06 pm

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cthia wrote:Question

It is a bad thing to take a missile in the open throat of a wedge. It always reminded me of the one sensitive spot or weakness of a ship, akin to the one-in-a-million shot Luke made against the Death Star in Star Wars.

Would this not be just as fatal a shot even if the wedge is down? I always thought that any shot taken up the wedge would be fatal for any ship because of its location, which I imagined starts all kinds of chain reactions, cascade effects, power surges ...


.


The hammerheads of a ship are the most armored portions of the ship - they are designed to attempt to absorb such hits and shrug them off. Which is not to say such hits do not do damage, especially on smaller ships, but these vulnerable areas are the most protected against such strikes.

Luke's shot wasn't up the throat, or up the Kilt - it was... up the anus - into a small thermal exhaust port, and exploding a way down the exhaust tubing - which lead to the main station reactor, the chain reaction cause by the missiles followed down the tube causing it to catastrophically overheat and explode.

An analogous Honorverse example would be a missile going up the kilt, flying into an open missile tube, crashing through the missile handling hardware, and into the magazine where it exploded, taking out a nearby reactor's controls, causing the reactor to explode.
******
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: HMLAC 113
Post by Jonathan_S   » Tue Jun 21, 2022 4:57 pm

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Theemile wrote:The hammerheads of a ship are the most armored portions of the ship - they are designed to attempt to absorb such hits and shrug them off. Which is not to say such hits do not do damage, especially on smaller ships, but these vulnerable areas are the most protected against such strikes.

Luke's shot wasn't up the throat, or up the Kilt - it was... up the anus - into a small thermal exhaust port, and exploding a way down the exhaust tubing - which lead to the main station reactor, the chain reaction cause by the missiles followed down the tube causing it to catastrophically overheat and explode.

An analogous Honorverse example would be a missile going up the kilt, flying into an open missile tube, crashing through the missile handling hardware, and into the magazine where it exploded, taking out a nearby reactor's controls, causing the reactor to explode.
The 1st gen SD(P)s had an analogous vulnerability.
A hit to the aft hammerhead had a chance that it'd come in while the pod bay was open which would let it smash straight through all the missile pods and into the ship's vitals. Though proportional to the ship's size any of the 6 pod bay doors is far larger than the Death Star's thermal exhaust port. (OTOH you're not guaranteed that a shot into the pod bay will cause a chain reaction and blow a reactor). And of course Manticore's 2nd gen SD(P), the Invictus-class, added another internal armored cylinder this one wrapping tightly around the pod bay; protecting the ship's vitals from hits coming in via that path as well.


But back to the original question - yep hammerheads are the most heavily armored part of the ship. And that's part of why a down the throat shot isn't guaranteed to kill the ship. That armors there to help offset the fact that (ignoring recent inventions of bow/stern and buckler walls) the hammerheads don't have sidewall protection fore or aft.

Though it's still, despite the passive armor, going to be more damaging that an equivalent shot that has to go through a sidewall.


In fact we've seen several ships survive down the throat shots, starting with HMS Fearless at Basilisk where a laser-head managed to go off "less than a thousand kilometers from Fearless's prow". And then "a sliver of a second later" had a glancing collision with the plasma left behind by the warhead and missile body.
It did a lot of damage, despite the hammerhead's passive protections -- but it obviously didn't kill the ship and Fearless went on to win that fight.


And yes; a 'down the throat' shot would do the same level of damage whether or not a ship had its wedge up.

But with the wedge down the 'down the throat' shot isn't necessarily the most dangerous one.


---
As we said, the hammerheads are the most heavily armored part of a ship (and for destroyers maybe the only armored part of the ship). And because they're a relatively small part of the ship it's not too expensive, nor does it take up too much mass or volume, to provide significant armor facing fore and aft.

Broadsides, which are normally somewhat protected by sidewalls, carry somewhat less armor than hammerheads, despite being the most likely portion of the ship to be hit. They're just too large to be practical to armor quite as thickly as the smaller hammerheads.

But the dorsal and ventral surfaces are normally almost immune from weapons fire because they're directly under the wedge planes. (It's possible for a particularly lucky shot or laser head from ahead or astern to bypass the hammerheads and slice a shallow impact angle into those surfaces; but that's heading into golden BB territory; though wedge geometry makes that relatively easier from ahead). Because of their vast size (as much surface area as the broadsides) and normally protected position, those often carry little to no armor (though DNs and SDs do usually carry some armor there. And they, as well as some navy's BCs, have a full internal secondary armored cylinder wrapped around their vitals so even a shot that pierces the top or bottom of the ship would have to get through that to get to anything critical). Also, there's no point defense mounted up there because normally it'd be unable to engage without hitting the wedge.
---

So with the wedge down it is that top and bottom surface that would be most vulnerable, followed by the broadsides with their armor, and then a down the throat shot on the hammerhead would be the least vulnerable because it still has the ships thickest passive armor. (Plus, as mentioned, a shot against the dorsal or ventral surface would be harder for the ship's point defense to bear on and engage)
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Re: HMLAC 113
Post by munroburton   » Tue Jun 21, 2022 8:06 pm

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Theemile wrote:
cthia wrote:Question

It is a bad thing to take a missile in the open throat of a wedge. It always reminded me of the one sensitive spot or weakness of a ship, akin to the one-in-a-million shot Luke made against the Death Star in Star Wars.

Would this not be just as fatal a shot even if the wedge is down? I always thought that any shot taken up the wedge would be fatal for any ship because of its location, which I imagined starts all kinds of chain reactions, cascade effects, power surges ...


.


The hammerheads of a ship are the most armored portions of the ship - they are designed to attempt to absorb such hits and shrug them off. Which is not to say such hits do not do damage, especially on smaller ships, but these vulnerable areas are the most protected against such strikes.

Luke's shot wasn't up the throat, or up the Kilt - it was... up the anus - into a small thermal exhaust port, and exploding a way down the exhaust tubing - which lead to the main station reactor, the chain reaction cause by the missiles followed down the tube causing it to catastrophically overheat and explode.

An analogous Honorverse example would be a missile going up the kilt, flying into an open missile tube, crashing through the missile handling hardware, and into the magazine where it exploded, taking out a nearby reactor's controls, causing the reactor to explode.


It's a bit of a retcon, but that Death Star's fatal flaw was deliberately placed there as an act of sabotage by its chief designer. Less of an anus and more like a cannulated cow.

Even first-gen SD(P)s with those massive... :roll: pod chutes have mitigated the threat by putting heavy hatches over them. Old-style SDs are more likely to be so over-armoured that they can't replace certain components anymore because the cutting and reassembly to do so costs as much as building a new ship.
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Re: HMLAC 113
Post by ThinksMarkedly   » Tue Jun 21, 2022 11:34 pm

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cthia wrote:Question

It is a bad thing to take a missile in the open throat of a wedge. It always reminded me of the one sensitive spot or weakness of a ship, akin to the one-in-a-million shot Luke made against the Death Star in Star Wars.

.


That was not a one-in-a-million shot and it's not comparable to shots on the hammerhead. We've seen quite a few of those land, with much less than one million missiles fired.

But Luke's shot wasn't one-in-a-million because the darned thing made a 90° turn to go down the exhaust port. That's because the SW universe admits magic. Don't blame the engineers who made the 40-km wide station (smaller than HMSS Hephaestus) with a single exhaust port for its reactor. Blame the universe for allowing magic to exist! See the Wookiepedia.
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Re: HMLAC 113
Post by cthia   » Wed Jun 22, 2022 8:59 am

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cthia wrote:
Jonathan_S wrote:.
The wedge does provide a fair bit of its own power -- but unlike a Warshaski sail in a grav wave it does NOT produce surplus power that could be fed back into the ship's power systems.

Indeed. That has always been one of my gripes about wedges. They are the source of an enormous amount of power, but there is no surplus of energy to feed to other systems. We have discussed this before and I pointed out that capacitors have a tendency to discharge over time. And a wedge needs an enormous amount of energy to start. I always maintained that there should be some way to draw or shunt energy from other systems to kick-start a wedge in an emergency. And an unsuccessful start would have drawn down energy reserves even further. Not to mention what a specific emergency may have done to energy reserves in the form of bleed/leakage about the entire ship.

Jonathan_S wrote:Why would you have a gripe that an engine isn't a net power producer? It's a massive anomaly that a sail can produce surplus power in addition to producing acceleration. (But you could kind of think of it as a sailing ship with a windmill so its sails can produce thrust without fuel, and because they can't push it as fast as the wing, the residual wind across deck can spin the windmill and produce some power for the ship.

It's already crazy enough that a wedge has some energy siphon, it seems greedy to wish it was also more than a 100% siphon so it could power itself and the ship.
"Darn, it's not good enough that I only have to burn fuel to provide a small fraction of the power needed to accelerate my ship." :lol: :lol:

It simply seems so self-serving, pardon the pun, that the siphon just so happens to supply just enough energy for the wedge. No less. No more. Really? Sounds kind of odd. Too perfect of a power delivery.

Jonathan'S wrote:So yeah, a wedge needs a steady input of power from the ship, normally it's reactors. And a larger surge to bring it up.
But you use the ship's reactor(s) to charge up the power you need to bring it up and then discharge to activate. You're not going to need a jumpstart because your capacitors discharged -- you'd just need to charge them back up from the reactor(s).

But that is my point. A point I have argued in other threads. What about the perfect storm, like this emergency situation where the reactors had to be shut down, for whatever reason. A cascade failure caused all reactors to shut down. Perhaps a design flaw or a particular component failure. Shit happens. Losing all reactors to a failure is a perfect storm.

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: HMLAC 113
Post by cthia   » Wed Jun 22, 2022 9:19 am

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Theemile wrote:
cthia wrote:Since the laser head, I was under the impression that the nuke was only a trigger; a bomb used to trigger the laser head. As in "bomb-pumped" laser. No?


It's still a 10 Mton nuke bomb in a Mk 13 CA missile to "pump" the laserheads, with contact Nuke and Grav focused Plasma Burn modes.

And older missile like the Mk 26 would only have the Contact nuke and focused Plasma Burn modes.

The are all grav pinched hydrogen Nuclear warheads. Contact is the old fashioned Boom. Focused Plasma uses Grav fields to focus the explosion plasma into a thin jet thousands of kilometers long too burn out sidewalls. Laserhead is the nuke with a handful of detachable lasing rod assemblies, each separates from the main body, and aligns it with the target, and when the nuke goes off, grav feild focus the plasma onto the rod assemblies, which absorb the plasma energy, then explode, releasing a good portion of the absorbed energy as a powerful laser pulse directed at the target.

The older missiles, without laserheads, had larger nuke warheads (more warhead volume - bigger bomb), while newer grav technology allow a smaller unit to produce a larger explosion and more focused plasma jets.

But at their core - they are all nuclear weapons.

Theemile, this is a very nice explanation. I think I am beginning to see a little light.

What threw me off is when Scotty snuck in an old fashioned nuke against the Peeps. ISTR that Honor was surprised that he was able to do so, since point defense would assign a much higher threat index to the nuke. The nuke could be readily identified because it was so much larger which made it stand out like a sore thumb.

Because it was so much larger, I thought the warhead of an old-fashioned nuke had a much higher yield than a regular missile in boom mode.

Your post enlightened me to an even higher yield from a smaller warhead because of the "grav pinch" design.

But I didn't think the nuclear explosion that pumps the laser heads was as large as an explosion in boom mode. I assumed that the laser heads didn't need or could even use such a large nuclear explosion. Which implies that even a boom mode nuke has a smaller yield than possible.

Does this imply that a pure nuclear missile could be made to yield an even larger explosion? As in a very fat "Fat Man." Of course, that would put tactical back at trying to sneak a much larger missile in.

.
Last edited by cthia on Wed Jun 22, 2022 9:23 am, edited 2 times in total.

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: HMLAC 113
Post by Jonathan_S   » Wed Jun 22, 2022 9:21 am

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cthia wrote:
Jonathan'S wrote:So yeah, a wedge needs a steady input of power from the ship, normally it's reactors. And a larger surge to bring it up.
But you use the ship's reactor(s) to charge up the power you need to bring it up and then discharge to activate. You're not going to need a jumpstart because your capacitors discharged -- you'd just need to charge them back up from the reactor(s).

But that is my point. A point I have argued in other threads. What about the perfect storm, like this emergency situation where the reactors had to be shut down, for whatever reason. A cascade failure caused all reactors to shut down. Perhaps a design flaw or a particular component failure. Shit happens. Losing all reactors to a failure is a perfect storm.

Well ship reactors (unlike a missile's) are capable of self-starting from stored power -- they don't need a hot plasma feed to kick-start them.
So your perfect storm requires the ship to:
a) lose all reactors
b) lose all stored power to restart the reactors
c) lose whatever chemical power emergency backup processes exist to generate power to restart the reactors
d) lose all onboard stored power & backup power sources on every pinnace and/or shuttle for starting their reactors
e) lose all significant stores of other stored power that could be jury rigged to restart reactors (say, the capacitors on all the ship's counter missiles)

The odds of all that aren't (quite) impossible. Though they seem far less likely than various ways of managing to simply run out of fuel for the reactors. For that matter they also seem far less likely that many other types of unlikely fatal disasters -- say, a perfectly maintained inertial compensator simply deciding to quit, and thus turning the crew into paste.



This seems kind of like worrying about dying in a plane crash caused by it being struck by a meteorite. Is it possible for that to cause a fatal crash? Yes. Is that the most likely way for a fatal plane crash to happen? Not by a long, long, shot. Is a fatal plane crash the most likely way to die? Nope.
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Re: HMLAC 113
Post by tlb   » Wed Jun 22, 2022 9:22 am

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Jonathan_S wrote:So yeah, a wedge needs a steady input of power from the ship, normally it's reactors. And a larger surge to bring it up.
But you use the ship's reactor(s) to charge up the power you need to bring it up and then discharge to activate. You're not going to need a jumpstart because your capacitors discharged -- you'd just need to charge them back up from the reactor(s).

cthia wrote:It simply seems so self-serving, pardon the pun, that the siphon just so happens to supply just enough energy for the wedge. No less. No more. Really? Sounds kind of odd. Too perfect of a power delivery.

But that is my point. A point I have argued in other threads. What about the perfect storm, like this emergency situation where the reactors had to be shut down, for whatever reason. A cascade failure caused all reactors to shut down. Perhaps a design flaw or a particular component failure. Shit happens. Losing all reactors to a failure is a perfect storm.

I do not believe he stated that the wedge receives enough power to be self-sustaining; because that is not true, additional power still has to be supplied during flight. The only time a ship gets a free ride is in a gravity wave under sails (or briefly through a wormhole).

We have discussed before the case where a ship needs to start up with cold reactors. There are plasma ducts that go to the skin of the ship, so someone needs to supply outside plasma to the proper input.

Unlike Jonathan_S, I doubt that there are chemical backup processes that can supply power.
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Re: HMLAC 113
Post by Theemile   » Wed Jun 22, 2022 9:36 am

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munroburton wrote:
It's a bit of a retcon, but that Death Star's fatal flaw was deliberately placed there as an act of sabotage by its chief designer. Less of an anus and more like a cannulated cow.

Even first-gen SD(P)s with those massive... :roll: pod chutes have mitigated the threat by putting heavy hatches over them. Old-style SDs are more likely to be so over-armoured that they can't replace certain components anymore because the cutting and reassembly to do so costs as much as building a new ship.


The port on the Death Star was still shielded - it had a missile and ray shield (The ray shield was known in advance and told to the pilots in the pre-assault briefing) - Red leader took the shielding out when his earlier (but failed) missile attack exploded on the surface.
******
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: HMLAC 113
Post by Theemile   » Wed Jun 22, 2022 9:41 am

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cthia wrote:
But at their core - they are all nuclear weapons.

Theemile, this is a very nice explanation. I think I am beginning to see a little light.

What threw me off is when Scotty snuck in an old fashioned nuke against the Peeps. ISTR that Honor was surprised that he was able to do so, since point defense would assign a much higher threat index to the nuke. The nuke could be readily identified because it was so much larger which made it stand out like a sore thumb.

Because it was so much larger, I thought the warhead of an old-fashioned nuke had a much higher yield than a regular missile in boom mode.

Your post enlightened me to an even higher yield from a smaller warhead because of the "grav pinch" design.

But I didn't think the nuclear explosion that pumps the laser heads was as large as an explosion in boom mode. I assumed that the laser heads didn't need or could even use such a large nuclear explosion. Which implies that even a boom mode nuke has a smaller yield than possible.

Does this imply that a pure nuclear missile could be made to yield an even larger explosion? As in a very fat "Fat Man." Of course, that would put tactical back at trying to sneak a much larger missile in.

.[/quote]

The bodies of all the missiles are the same - a "Boom/Burn" nuke missile would have larger warhead, because it's nuke would have the void of both the "small" laserhead nuke and the laserheads to fill with just 1 large nuke.

To an outside observer, the 2 would be identical until the point where the laserheads separate from the attack missile body, or just 2-3 seconds before the missile explodes. A Boom/burn would simply continue towards you for another 1/2 sec or so until it explodes.
******
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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