Traveller Store CotI Features New Posts Mark Forums Read Register


Go Back TravellerRPG.com > Citizens of the Imperium > General Traveller Discussions > The Fleet

The Fleet Ship designs, strategies, and tactics.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old November 25th, 2006, 04:28 PM
SGavorsky SGavorsky is offline
Citizen: SOC-8
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Lawrenceville, Georgia, USA
Posts: 33
Gallery : 0
SGavorsky Citizen
Post

I've got a little side project going of designing a ship construction/space combat system from the ground-up (more as a mental exercise than anything else).

I've recently been thinking about the role of fighters (and other small attack craft) in fleet actions. Using the naval model from good 'ol Earth here, I'm thinking there are basically three reasons fighters are significant against main fleet elements:
</font>
  • Speed: Aircraft are significantly faster than ocean-bound ships, thereby adding a crucial advantage to any engagement.</font>
  • Strong Weaponry Compared to Size: With the availability of torpedos and the current generation of ASMs, aircraft can carry a weapon capable of delivering a fatal blow to main fleet elements.</font>
  • Manueverability: Currently, I think this is a distant third in importance, but it does seem to matter that aircraft present a threat in a 540-degree area (360 horizontal + 180 vertical) compared to just a 360-degree area for surface engagements.</font>
In CT, these factors do not work out the same. Speed is less important because the differential is not as great (the relative difference between 1G and 6G, for example, is less than the difference between 30 knots and 287 knots for an example WWII battle). Manueverability is more complicated; all space vessels are operating in a 720-degree environment, but the ability of fighters to turn tighter might actually still help.

The real change, however, seems to be in weapons: CT small craft do not appear capable of delivering a significant "killer blow" to heavy warships because they lack items comparable to torpedoes and Exocet-type missiles. Certainly, later architecture books (FF&S, T20, etc.) made it possible to change this, but it appears the paradigm is fairly heavily set in Traveller circles: fighters are not of much use in major fleet engagements (despite their role in some of the sci-fi literature that inspired CT).

I'm looking for some different thoughts on this matter. Are fighters important against warships in YTU, or are they relegated to recon and small vessel (read: PC-ships) interdiction duties? Why do you choose to cast small craft in these roles?
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old November 25th, 2006, 05:24 PM
mike wightman's Avatar
mike wightman mike wightman is offline
Noble
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Newcastle
Posts: 16,618
Gallery : 0
mike wightman Respected Citizenmike wightman Respected Citizenmike wightman Respected Citizenmike wightman Respected Citizenmike wightman Respected Citizenmike wightman Respected Citizenmike wightman Respected Citizenmike wightman Respected Citizen
Post

Traveller fighters aren't aircraft analogues, they are more akin to torpedo boats.

They do, however, have a killer weapon, or at least in CT they do

The missile, built using the missiles special supplement, can be a ship killer.
__________________
The beauty of CT LBB1-3 is that the ref is free to make such decisions for themselves.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old November 25th, 2006, 06:18 PM
mike wightman's Avatar
mike wightman mike wightman is offline
Noble
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Newcastle
Posts: 16,618
Gallery : 0
mike wightman Respected Citizenmike wightman Respected Citizenmike wightman Respected Citizenmike wightman Respected Citizenmike wightman Respected Citizenmike wightman Respected Citizenmike wightman Respected Citizenmike wightman Respected Citizen
Post

So, how do I use fighters IMTU?

As long range interceptors - get to the enemy's missiles and fighters before they get too close.

As civilian ship shepherds - a 6G laser and missile armed fighter is a threat to most merchants.

As sensor pickets - the fighter is the eyes and ears of the fleet.

As forward observers - mothership launches the missile strike, fighters direct the missiles at range.
__________________
The beauty of CT LBB1-3 is that the ref is free to make such decisions for themselves.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old November 25th, 2006, 06:43 PM
SGavorsky SGavorsky is offline
Citizen: SOC-8
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Lawrenceville, Georgia, USA
Posts: 33
Gallery : 0
SGavorsky Citizen
Post

Sigg:

The Missile Special Supplements is one of the "later" architecture books I had in mind (never seen it--it's one of the reasons I'm waiting on the lamentably delayed CT CDROM )

The difference between "aircraft" and "torpedo boats" is one of the items I'm trying to work through. At the surface, it seems pretty clear--except that torpedo boats were originally intended to take out at least destroyers, if not capital ships (laying aside their questionable historical efficiency in such roles for the moment...).

Even so, I think there is a tendency to assume that craft in the 10-20dT range are incapable of taking out major fleet elements. This seems to be the case for your own list (which mirrors my experience with a number of campaigns over the years).

I'm wondering if this is something that might have worked its way into Traveller thinking because of a lack of a "off-the-shelf" large-ship-killer weapon for this tonnage range in Book 2 or Book 5, more than anything else.

Another reason that just struck me is resources. Fighters/torpedo boats work on the expendable principle; they are "efficient" because a commander can balance occasional success with the cost-per-success. Perhaps this is an advantage that only becomes apparent over a longer military campaign.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old November 25th, 2006, 06:59 PM
flykiller's Avatar
flykiller flykiller is offline
Citizen: SOC-14
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: desert
Posts: 6,887
Gallery : 114
flykiller Citizen++flykiller Citizen++flykiller Citizen++flykiller Citizen++
Post

Quote:
I'm looking for some different thoughts on this matter. Are fighters important against warships in YTU, or are they relegated to recon and small vessel (read: PC-ships) interdiction duties?
don't even have them. anything they can do, an SDB or rider can do better.

do have them as picket boats, however, because their smaller size makes them harder to detect. but they are also tremendously more vulnerable, being stuck out there away from the fleet, and thus see only limited use.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old November 25th, 2006, 07:22 PM
Whipsnade's Avatar
Whipsnade Whipsnade is offline
Citizen: SOC-14
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Dover, New Hampshire, USA
Posts: 5,916
Gallery : 5
Visit Whipsnade's Blog
Whipsnade Citizen+Whipsnade Citizen+Whipsnade Citizen+
Post

Quote:
Originally posted by Sulpicius:
Using the naval model from good 'ol Earth here...
Sulpicius,

That is your first mistake. 'Fighters' in space do not equate 'fighters' in an atmosphere.

There is no specific working analogy to be found in examining the operation of small craft moving through a medium and small craft moving through a vacuum. As you noted, but then failed to comprehend, the differences in speed, maneuverability, and weapons in each situation mean only the broadest of analogies can be drawn.

Now that the "Traveller fighters equate F/A-18 Hornet" idea has been dismissed, we can get down to talking about just how fighters can be used in Traveller.

First question you need to ask yourself is what tech level are you dealing with. At TLs below (roughly) 12 or 13, fighters are deadly in Traveller space combat. Even without the specialized missiles designed with S:3, fighters can mission kill all but the most skewed HG2 designs. In a series of 'smoke test' battles done at 'ct starships' over 6 years ago, a warship could be mission killed by as little as 65-70% of it's construction cost in simple fighters in a single combat round.

In HG2, fleet design choices and the combat resolutions that result resemble 'rock, paper, scissors'. Each broad design choice trumps a second and is trumped in turn by a third. Tech levels add another wrinkle to this merry-go-round with the choices and results changing as certain TL 'breaks' are reached.

At lower TLs, with their lack of nuclear dampers, smaller computers, costly armor, and low energy dense power plants, nuclear missiles rule. Small, high agility, fighters armed with nucs can easily inflict ten fuel-1 hits on all but the most heavily armored vessels. Vessels either need fighter protection; remaining in the reserve until the enemy's number of fighters is low enough to face, or must carry so much armor and so many anti-missile tasked laser batteries as to compromise their offensive 'punch'.

As TL increases, nuclear dampers appear and slowly draw the fangs of the nuc missile. Larger computers; which only large +100dTon vessels can both carry and power, continue to add negative DMs to a fighter's 'to-hit' rolls. Armor costs less in both money and space limiting damage from the fighter's &lt;9 factor batteries. Further along, power planet energy density increases enough to allow large, heavily armed and armored vessels to sport high agilities.

Around TL 12 or 13, depending on the opposing fleet's design choices, fighters begin to fail to damage opposing capital ships. They still can hurt smaller warships. More importantly, they can still badly hurt civilian ships.

Depending on the TL you want to discuss, fighters are either a fleet's 'arm of decision', nuisances as escort killers, or merely a threat to civilian shipping.

One high-TL role explored for fighters in TNE was as 'sensor extenders'. Fighters in this role act as additional eyes for capital ships helping develop and refine sensor and/or target locks. Think manned sensor drone.


Have fun,
Bill

P.S. IMTU, which is of the TL 15, Golden Era, CT variety, fighters are used in much the same way Sigg and Flykiller have already mentioned.
__________________
"The beauty of CT LBB1-3 is that the ref is free to make such decisions for themselves." - Mike Wightman
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old November 25th, 2006, 11:42 PM
BetterThanLife's Avatar
BetterThanLife BetterThanLife is offline
Citizen: SOC-14
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: South Bend, IN
Posts: 3,134
Gallery : 0
BetterThanLife Citizen
Post

Much depends on the version of Traveller you are playing and the target you are intending to shoot. If your target has the equivalent of 10+ points of HG armor and a Nuclear Damper, for example, then regardless of the size of the target fighters are virtually useless.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old November 25th, 2006, 11:44 PM
BetterThanLife's Avatar
BetterThanLife BetterThanLife is offline
Citizen: SOC-14
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: South Bend, IN
Posts: 3,134
Gallery : 0
BetterThanLife Citizen
Post

Quote:
Originally posted by flykiller:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />I'm looking for some different thoughts on this matter. Are fighters important against warships in YTU, or are they relegated to recon and small vessel (read: PC-ships) interdiction duties?
don't even have them. anything they can do, an SDB or rider can do better.

do have them as picket boats, however, because their smaller size makes them harder to detect. but they are also tremendously more vulnerable, being stuck out there away from the fleet, and thus see only limited use.
</font>[/QUOTE]Depends largely on the rule set. Sensor platforms may or may not be useful. They are quite a bit cheaper than SDBs for that role. (T20 they can't carry enough sensors to be useful in this role.)

One place they excell is Close Air support of ground troops.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old November 26th, 2006, 02:28 AM
flykiller's Avatar
flykiller flykiller is offline
Citizen: SOC-14
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: desert
Posts: 6,887
Gallery : 114
flykiller Citizen++flykiller Citizen++flykiller Citizen++flykiller Citizen++
Post

Quote:
Depends largely on the rule set.
always.
Quote:
They are quite a bit cheaper than SDBs for that role.
not if the SDB's come home and the fighters don't. it's lonely out there in front, and you never know what you're gonna find yourself vectoring through ....
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old November 26th, 2006, 02:34 AM
aramis's Avatar
aramis aramis is offline
Administrator
 
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Anchorage, AK, USofA
Posts: 29,416
Gallery : 56
Visit aramis's Blog
aramis has disabled reputation
Send a message via ICQ to aramis Send a message via AIM to aramis Send a message via Yahoo to aramis
Post

IMTU, they serve several roles:

1) fleet recon
2) ground attack
3) Merchant escort to jump
4) anti-missile screening
5) COACC intercept
6) dropped attack (Ship jumps in, deposits fighters, retreats out system while fighters engage; if fighters losing, ship jumps out.)
__________________
~ Aramis
aramis.hostman.us /trav
Smith & Wesson: The Original Point and Click interface!

Archduke of Sylea (CORE 2118)
Duke of the Third Imperium (SPIN 0534)
Count Terra (SOLO 1827)
Count Gorod (REFT 1302)
Count of the Third Imperium (SPIN 2232)
Viscount of Adabicci (SPIN 1824)
Marquis of the Solomani Rim (SOLO 0606)
Marquis of the Third Imperium (SPIN 2410)
Baron of the Third Imperium (SPIN 2231)
Knight of the Iridium Throne (CORE 1434)
Sir William Hostman (OLDE 0512)
Sir William Hostman (DAGU 0622)
Knight of Deneb (REFT 2239)
Knight of Deneb (Spin 2532)
SEH w/Diamonds for Extreme Heroism - Battle of Boughene
MCG - Battle of Boughene
TAS: William Hostman (CORR 2506)
TAS: Bearer (DAIB 1326)
IMTU ct+ tm++ tne tg-- tt+ tmo+ t4- t20+ to ru+ ge+ 3i+ c+ jt au ls pi+ ta he+ st+
Wil Hostman 0602 C539857-9 S A724
OTU: 95% 3i an+ au+ br- cpu± dt± f+ fs++ ge± ih- inf± j± jf+ jm+ jt+ ls- n= nc+ pi+ pp-- tp+ tr+ tv- vi-- xb+-
Unless there is bold red text, presume my posts to be my personal material only.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

This website and its contents are copyright ©2010- Far Future Enterprises. All rights reserved. Traveller is a registered trademark of Far Future Enterprises .
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright (c) 2010-2013, Far Future Enterprises. All Rights Reserved.