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The Fleet Ship designs, strategies, and tactics.

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  #1  
Old October 25th, 2003, 03:52 PM
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Now, from what I understand, a Cruiser was originally a sail-using vessel (as were most all ships at one point...) that was expected to "cruise" independently for long periods of time. Then the age of steel and steam (later petrol) came and turned them into ships of the air defense formation.

So, how do cruisers work in the OTU or in YTU? And what are the various kinds of cruiser, besides "light," "heavy," "strike," and "battle?"

Also, would a light cruiser normally carry Marines?
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Old October 25th, 2003, 04:44 PM
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You forgot (shame on you) "Colonial" (AHL!).

To my mind, a cruiser is a mid-mass military ship whose job is probably to protect larger battlegroups (they can counter other cruisers, beat the crap out of smaller ships, and at least slow up the actions of larger vessels). Also, they allow dispersion of force (important in peacetime where supporting bushfire wars is more the issue than taking on the Wall of Battle).

Do they carry Marines? Yes. I'm of the opinion that the demarcation point for Marines is somewhere around destroyer level. At that point, you can argue for a small marine contingent or you can imagine your own navy line guys doing the boarding party ops and ship security.

On larger ship's, IMTU, Marines provide internal security, boarding troops (mostly for inspections, but sometimes for more hostile boardings), and also do maintenance and crew/maintain 'tertiary' defenses (AAA installations, PDS, etc).

They also give larger ships, who likely have a platoon or more, the ability to project some force into the local ports or downwell target areas. This can be important, given the OOTW (Operations Other Than War) nature of peacetime cruiser deployments.
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Old October 25th, 2003, 05:17 PM
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I take no shame for that omission.

Points all well taken, thanks!
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Old October 25th, 2003, 05:44 PM
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IMTU (nonOTU) cruisers are the ships where specialization comes into play. Smaller ships tend to be generalists, able to do several things with more or less capability, but the cruisers will be designed for their role, from the 10,000 + dton Frontier Patrol Cruisers, which make up the backbone of the frontier fleets, to the Escort Cruisers which are the main line of defense for the battle fleet, to the Scout Cruisers which do the majority of the exploration and surveying, to the Battlecruisers which make up a good portion of the line of battle. This is due to the fact that, in general, specialized ships will do much better at their assigned roles that generalist ships will.

As always, YMMV
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Old October 25th, 2003, 07:11 PM
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IMTU, a cruiser is the smallest ship that carries a spinal mount and is expected to use it in the line of battle. Cruisers have firepower little short of a capital ship but lesser protection.

Outside of pitched battle, cruisers provide the heavy patrolling and raiding forces. I expect that one or two cruisers are attached to all scout squadrons, for instance, just to give them a little serious firepower if it should be needed. Commerce raiding groups would also have a cruiser or two along, to deal with any heavier-than-expected convoy escorts.

In full-scale battle, cruisers fight each other, pick off the small escorts, and take potshots at the battleships when they aren't looking.
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Old October 25th, 2003, 09:16 PM
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Quote:
So, how do cruisers work in the OTU or in YTU? And what are the various kinds of cruiser, besides "light," "heavy," "strike," and "battle?"
historically a line-of-battle ship was maximally armored. this made them heavy and slow, and expensive to operate.

a cruiser had guns as big as a battleship, but was lightly armored so it would be faster, more responsive, and much cheaper to operate. thus cruisers were sent out on show-the-flag and fast response missions.

these vessel-design dynamics do not necessarily exist in traveller. other dynamics, however, remain. some that spring readily to mind are piracy suppression, rebellion suppression, and excessive conflict suppression. cruisers, defined as responsive to these situations, would be appropriate.
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Also, would a light cruiser normally carry Marines?
depends on its normal mission profile.
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Old October 25th, 2003, 10:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by jwdh71:
IMTU (nonOTU) cruisers are the ships where specialization comes into play. Smaller ships tend to be generalists, able to do several things with more or less capability, but the cruisers will be designed for their role, from the 10,000 + dton Frontier Patrol Cruisers, which make up the backbone of the frontier fleets, to the Escort Cruisers which are the main line of defense for the battle fleet, to the Scout Cruisers which do the majority of the exploration and surveying, to the Battlecruisers which make up a good portion of the line of battle. This is due to the fact that, in general, specialized ships will do much better at their assigned roles that generalist ships will.
One of the difficulties in Traveller is, IMHO, the overly broad application of the term "cruiser". Generally speaking, Traveller views a cruiser as any ship reasonably capable of independant operations. Therefore, a cruiser can be a 400 ton patrol "cruiser" or a 50,000 ton heavy cruiser. I like the comparison to the German cruisers of WWII - Graf Spee, Scharnhorst, etc. Although versatile enough to serve as supporting ships for a battle fleet, they were also a resource-efficient way to project force in regions not actively patrolled by a "fleet".

In the Traveller context, a Sector Fleet will probably have Crurons (Cruiser Squadrons) full of 50,000 ton Heavy Cruisers to supplement its Batrons (Battle Squadrons), and 10,000 to 20,000 ton Light and Frontier Cruisers to show the flag and act as tripwires in regions where a major fleet is not justified. At the other extreme, a planetary fleet, like Starfall's, will have a few 400 to 1000 ton ships designed to do the same thing: show the flag and economically project force. They won't be able to stand up to any Heavies or Lights mentioned above, but they will be able to chase a raider, or avenge the actions of an aggressive neighbour.

Paul Nemeth
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Old October 26th, 2003, 11:21 AM
BMonnery BMonnery is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Jame:
Now, from what I understand, a Cruiser was originally a sail-using vessel (as were most all ships at one point...) that was expected to "cruise" independently for long periods of time. Then the age of steel and steam (later petrol) came and turned them into ships of the air defense formation.

So, how do cruisers work in the OTU or in YTU? And what are the various kinds of cruiser, besides "light," "heavy," "strike," and "battle?"

Also, would a light cruiser normally carry Marines?
Why does a Battleship require escorts? Historically, Battlefleets were simply collections of Battleships. Given Travellers setup, this is almost certainly the case again.

The role of cruisers in a task force is probably that of the Light Cruisers at Jutland, to scout.

Heavy cruisers are probably much like Armoured Cruisers of WW1, good for colonial service, but a bad thing to include in the battlefleet.

Bryn
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Old October 26th, 2003, 02:31 PM
kaladorn kaladorn is offline
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While not suggesting a Cruiser as the *choice* of escort, keep in mind that Battleships DO generally get an escort. In modern day, they usually have a bunch of other ships travelling with them, though perhaps not so large a group as a carrier would have.

If I'm not mistaken, carriers sometimes have Aegis Cruisers deployed in their defence. The CV doesn't have enough firepower to deter *serious* foes (not counting the air group, which sometimes has ops restricted) and needs the extra air def.

I'm sure that a Traveller BB force wants Aegis or equivalent airdef (spacedef) capabilities against fighter strikes and SDBs, etc.

Plus smaller vessels act as advanced warning, scouting, and screening forces for the Wall of Battle or for the heavy carriers.
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Old October 26th, 2003, 04:55 PM
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Ship-type designations are not as simple a matter as they should be. There is a long and complicated history of what things like "cruiser" and "frigate" and "destroyer" mean, and the terms change based not on anything logical, like mission, but on political needs. For instance, a treaty to limit the number of cruisers will perhaps result in a class of ships that SHOULD be called cruisers being labels as destroyers instead. The treaty says you can have only so many cruiser, but nothing about destroyers, so destroyers may wind up being more powerful. Indeed, an AEGIS destroyer is almost identicle to an AEGIS cruiser!

In the modern US navy, frigates are taking on roles that were the realm of destroyers, which are taking on cruiser roles, which are taking on battleship roles (that is, they are going away).

The "modern traditional" role (if anything can be called such) for ships is as follows:

Frigates are the smallest ship which can operate independently, and it is generally used as a screen against enemy ships. Frigates are NOT very fast or capable, but they are generalist ships; they can do anything, just not very well.

Destroyers are specialist ships. They are focused for a particular mission, at the cost of being able to do anything else. An anti-sub DD can't defend well against air attacks, but it's excellent against subs. An anti-air sub sucks when enemy ships come close for a gunnery duel, but they are good at shooting down aircraft and missiles. A DD loaded to the hilt with SSMs will annihilate an enemy surface group, but is a sitting duck against subs and air threats.

Crusiers are intended to be local command ships. (CC means "Command Crusier".) They are generalist ships, so that they can do anything, and since they are bigger than destroyers, they can do that multitude of things almost as well as the destroyer does its one thing. (Destroyers are specialized to give them SOME way to outperform a cruiser.) Crusiers head up small SAGs (Surface Action Groups), or can operate independently. A group of cruisers is good at cheaply denying an area to the enemy. A cruiser should be able to outfight any enemy ship, other than its battlewagons.

Battleships are designed for one primary purpose: to destroy enemy battleships. They are not supposed to go after enemy shipping. They are not supposed to help land troops. They are not supposed to patrol. (But they do these missions pretty well, eh?) When the enemy has warships where you don't want them, you send your battleships to clear them out. The enemy responds by sending his own battleships to stop them.

On the water, things can get really blurry. For instance, in WW2, we were worried about the ability of enemy destroyers to rush the guns and sink battleships. A group of DDs as few as 3 ships COULD have survived long enough against the 5-inchers that they could have caused some serious harm to the BBs. DDs were also good at torpedoing enemy ships, and even BBs feared torpedoes.

Submarines are DD-sized, and capable of sneak attacks. A small group is quite capable of destroying a fleet that is not leary of them.

In space (in the Imperium), you have the opportunity to do what Earth has never done: define things.

Define a cruiser as a ship in the range of 10,000-50,000 Dtons, multi-purpose (has a big gun and lots of little ones), 4G (meaning it's faster than most battleships of 2-3G), and whatever else.

Define a destroyer as being 1000-5000 Dtons, specialized for a single mission.

Define a battleship as 100,000-500,000 Dtons, devoting the majority of its freespace as a single weapon (like a giant PAWS or Meson gun), few secondary weapons, heavy armor, and usually no more than 2G.

This doesn't stop you from making variations either, like you could define a battlecruiser as a ship 50,000-100,000 Dtons, 4G, a heavy gun, moderate armor, and several secondary weapons. There will be plenty of sub-classes of DD, too.

This is along the lines of what I did in my game, and it makes it so much easier to see what's what. I take the "patrol cruiser" as simply being a class name rather than a type-name. (I type it as a frigate.)
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