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McPerth November 20th, 2015 08:06 AM

Destroyers and other escorts
Historically, main Destroyers1 mission has been the defense of the "more valuable" targets (Capital Ships or transports, be them troop transports, freighters or tankers) against smaller targets taht can threaten them (mostly torpedo boats, subamrines and, latter, aircrafts and missiles). As a secondary mission, they used their superior speed and agility and its smaller size to perform torpedo attack runs by themselves.

In CT:HG things are quite different, as there is no equivalent for torpedoes/submarines, nor plane equivalent threat (at least at higher TLs, where fighter's threat falls under heavier screens/armor on Capital Ships). Likewise, Destroyers lose the speed and agility advantage when all ships have the same speed limits and may be equally agile.

So, they are too small (and lightly armed) to even dent a capital ship, while they are an overkill for anti-piracy fighting (assuming most piracy will be small ships, on the 200-800 dton range).

Then, what's Destroyers niche in this environ?

Some notes:
  1. Along this thread, I will refer to all HG built (over let's say 1000 dtons) and under cruiser category as Destroyers, be them Destroyers, Frigates, etc...
  2. I ignore the hamsters told about in TCS contests, as I find them quite useless in more strategical picture, as useful as they can be in those single engagement artificial contests

Condottiere November 20th, 2015 08:26 AM

Depends on the design rules.

Most designs are compromises to begin with, and it's a question of what role(s) you need them for.

In real life, you may have noticed size inflation, to the point some are like battlecruisers from a prior age.

McPerth November 20th, 2015 08:39 AM


Originally Posted by Condottiere (Post 522771)
Depends on the design rules.

That's why I specified this thread as CT only. Design rules are CT:HG (and could be extended to MT).

As you hint, in MgT all this reasoning would be void, as threats exist and Destroyers can damage capital ships, and I don't know enough about other versions to even mention them here.


Originally Posted by Condottiere (Post 522771)
Most designs are compromises to begin with, and it's a question of what role(s) you need them for.

In real life, you may have noticed size inflation, to the point some are like battlecruisers from a prior age.

That's again why I specified them as over 1000-2000 dton and smaller than a cruiser (in fact, IIRC, a cruiser is defined in CT as "the smallest ship to have spinal mount", so the true upper limit in this definition would be "without spinal mount).

Condottiere November 20th, 2015 09:02 AM

Even one's interpretation of the Classics can evolve.

Three to five kay tonnes seems about the usual range for destroyers, which has enough volume to be a more general purpose vessel, as compared to a frigate, which you'd think would be specialized to a single role.

While you might want to limit frigates to one to two kays, I think that if you do hold to the specialization doctrine, they can be larger.

Corvettes would be more robust patrol ships.

That's the modern perspective imposed on Traveller.

The Great Patriotic War one would have destroyer escorts being purpose built commerce protectors, or converted obsolete Great War destroyers; I wouldn't really consider them frigates.

Corvettes should be enough to scare off the run of the mill pirate, as they should be in the five hundred to the thousand tonne range.

If you look at it in three dimensions, you'd also have to account for destroyers built to previous tech level standards, which most navies would deploy in less intensive environments.

McPerth November 20th, 2015 09:11 AM

Yes, but it's the role of those Destroyers what I would like to discuss here.
  • They are to small and lightly armed to confront even a Cruiser, even in some numerical advantage...
  • They are no quicker, nor more agile tan larger ships...
  • Capital ships have seccondaries enough to deal with fighters (that, after all, represent little danger for them, at least at higher TLs)...
  • They are too big (and expensive) to be simply used against pirates (assumed, as said in the OP, most pirates are in 200-800 dton ships). Smaller ships can do this more efficiently...
  • There are no submarines to hunt or defended against (the main role of the WWII escort destoryers)...

So, what's the true role of Destroyers (as described in note 1 in OP) in this space combat field?

mike wightman November 20th, 2015 09:17 AM

High Guard models TL 7-15 space warfare, it does this using ship type names from history, unfortunately, and people get hung up on using ironclads to 21 century naval warfare terms so much so they think that TL 7 to 15 space warfare should follow this model.

It doesn't.

In HG destroyer/escort class ships are effectively any ship that can carry bay missiles or repulsors but doesn't have a spinal mount.
They should have the best armour and screens you can pack in for their TL.

Their job in HG2 combat simply put is to hold the line while capital ships appraise the opposition, or hold the line while the capital ships retreat.

And note - the nature of the 'destroyer' class ship will change from TL to TL.

Condottiere November 20th, 2015 09:30 AM

This would be the point that size inflation comes in, and the destroyers upgrade to bay weapons.

They'd also attack in packs.

Of course, I'm speaking in generalities; if you really want to game the system, you'd min/max the design.

Destroyers represent in terms of commerce protection, a deterrence from anything the same size or smaller having a go at the convoy.

As a group, they might be willing and able to take out a light cruiser; individually, it would be a distraction to gain time for the other vessels to escape.

McPerth November 20th, 2015 09:36 AM

That's the role depicted to them in the description of the 154th BatDron in SMC, to hold the line while the BRs are deployed, and I can understand it, but see that they are just a handful, not the numbers talked about in other threads.

And never forget that:
  • it can well be that the BT exits jump before them, so making their use nullified
  • the BT is unlikely to exit jump in the middle of enemy ships to need for them
  • as no warning will be received by the defenders that a ship is going to exit jump, they are unlikely to be ready for combat before the BRs (that are assumed to know they will exit jump) are detached (a single combat turn, if the BT is config 7, as they should always be)

As an aside, I believe another important advantage of the BT/BR combo is that the whole squadron reaches the destination together, not being affected by the jump time variations

Redcap November 20th, 2015 10:41 AM

I think we have to go back to basics in defining the roles for various combatant ships;

Corvette: A fast-moving small warship, intended to defend against and destroy small attack craft.
Destroyer: A ship designed to escort other ships, and defend against and destroy smaller ships.
Frigate: Smallest of the capital ships, designed to deliver a punch against large ships, but capable against smaller ship and craft.
Cruiser: Mid sized capital warship. Intended as a stand-alone ship capable against a wide range of threats.
Battleship. The largest of the capital ships, and very capable in destroying pretty-much anything it sets its sight upon.
Carrier: Larger than capital ships, it's strength lies in it's offensive small craft, such as fighters, which can deliver a much-needed stand-off punch at longer ranges.
Dreadnought: A combination of a Battleship and carrier, rolled into one. Quite probably the most deadly of all warships.

How do those definitions stand?

McPerth November 20th, 2015 11:07 AM


Originally Posted by Condottiere (Post 522783)
As a group, they might be willing and able to take out a light cruiser; individually, it would be a distraction to gain time for the other vessels to escape.

Are you sure about that?

If the cruiser is agile and armored and has good nuclear damper, most missile bays will either miss or be inefective (aside from that the cruiser is likely to have repulsors and other active defenses), while the spinal of the cruiser means one hit/one kill (while any offensive secondary might also wear the destroyers out)

In a fight among 6 5 kdton destroyers and a 30 kdton cruiser I would not be so sure about their capability to destroy it...

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