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Close Escorts

PVernon

SOC-13
Peer of the Realm
Knight
To all who have Traveller opinions. (Thats all of us right?) I have a question about close escorts in general.
Since the Gazelle's first flight date is 1086 according to the Gazelle article in JTAS #3, and that the article states that "Thousands of close escorts have been built in the past several centuries, ....", just what do they tend to look like? Do they all have drop tanks? (I was always of the unfounded opinion that drop tanks were a new thing with the Gazelles.) Are they always 3 or 4 hundred tons? Always have a particle barbett? The Gazelle only has lasers and particle accelerators do any other classes have missles?
What do people think? Since the Gazelle post dates T20 but the close escort as a common ship does not, just what do they look like?
As a side question the Fiery class is a modifyed Gazelle, are there any gunned escorts before the Fiery?
Peter V.
 
I consider the Gazelle class just one of many types of Close Escort. I'm sure they have a variety of tonnage ranges similar to SDB's.
 
Well, the specs for the type of ship might give some indication of what it would tend be like.

I would assume that close escorts have the primary mission of commerce protection, and a secondary (or wartime) mission of commerce raiding. Based on these criteria, the ship would have to be:

* fast enough to be able to engage pirates or other escorts (preferably at a distance from the convoy). Less than 4g's is probably too slow. Jump should probably also be on the order of 3+ to enable escorts to react to missions over interstellar distances.
* inexpensive enough to be used in fair numbers, and to be affordable for the small governments and corporations using them.
* armed well enough to be able to take on pirates, possibly while outnumbered.
* armored well enough to have some staying power in the fight.
* flexible enough for multi-mission roles.
* require only enough cargo space for expendables and replacement missiles.

Also based on the same criteria, the close escort does not necessarily need to be able to stand up against proper warships. Its helpful if they can, but probably not realistic given the cost constraints.

Now, how you address those points depends largely on how you view pirates. If IYTU pirates operate mostly from 200-400 ton converted merchants, then a close escort of 400 tons is probably about right. If your pirates have stolen frigates and destroyers, or can field anything on the order of 1000+ tons... your CE's need to be bigger as well.

There are economic concerns as well. Unless I'm mistaken, CE's will be as inexpensive as possible in order to field as many of them as possible for the given budget. Why? Because space is very big. More ships on patrol means fewer safe targets for pirates.

There's also the question of manpower. Smaller ships mean smaller crews.

As for armament... that also depends on your mission. If you want to smash the target to small glowing embers and aren't big enough to mount spinal guns, missiles are your best bet. If you want to be able to take targets (or prisoners) relatively intact, particle beams are a good choice. Lasers are just plain useful all around. A solid design will probably have a mix of weapons. YMMV.
 
Indeed, just as there are countless airplane or car designs, so would there be for starships.

For example this is my version of the CE. Pretty much the same in performance and weaponry as the Gazelle class, but a bit different in it's configuration

BuccaneerCE.jpg
 
Originally posted by PVernon:
To all who have Traveller opinions. (Thats all of us right?) I have a question about close escorts in general.
Since the Gazelle's first flight date is 1086 according to the Gazelle article in JTAS #3, and that the article states that "Thousands of close escorts have been built in the past several centuries, ....", just what do they tend to look like? Do they all have drop tanks? (I was always of the unfounded opinion that drop tanks were a new thing with the Gazelles.) Are they always 3 or 4 hundred tons? Always have a particle barbett? The Gazelle only has lasers and particle accelerators do any other classes have missles?
What do people think? Since the Gazelle post dates T20 but the close escort as a common ship does not, just what do they look like?
As a side question the Fiery class is a modifyed Gazelle, are there any gunned escorts before the Fiery?
I'd say that most CE's are in the 300-500 ton range, for cost reasons as much as anything else. Weaponry varies from class to class, and even within a class, the Gazelle may well be unusual in it's choice of particle beams. Drop tanks are perhaps unusual, but the Gazelle was probably not the first to use them.

StrikerFan
 
Originally posted by PVernon:
To all who have Traveller opinions. (Thats all of us right?) I have a question about close escorts in general.
Since the Gazelle's first flight date is 1086 according to the Gazelle article in JTAS #3, and that the article states that "Thousands of close escorts have been built in the past several centuries, ....", just what do they tend to look like? Do they all have drop tanks? (I was always of the unfounded opinion that drop tanks were a new thing with the Gazelles.) Are they always 3 or 4 hundred tons? Always have a particle barbett? The Gazelle only has lasers and particle accelerators do any other classes have missles?
What do people think? Since the Gazelle post dates T20 but the close escort as a common ship does not, just what do they look like?
As a side question the Fiery class is a modifyed Gazelle, are there any gunned escorts before the Fiery?
Peter V.
------------------------------------------
SHip's of the Black War/ MT, offered us a 600dtn CE, the Shambalator class CE.
200dtns bigger than the old Gazelle/Fiery (TL-14 designs). Two extra turrets, decent legs, a TNE write up can be found at:
http://www.downport.com/bard/bard/sara/sara5029.html

Now admittedly, this is a TNE write up. But the Challenge#60 had this with two N-PAW weapons barbettes. 600 had been built for the FFW, so it was in service at Rebellion time, and is TL-15.
Now Lewis Roberts has it with fuel for 3 J-2's. One could easily say 2x J-3's and be done with it.
He has it classifed as a DE (though she's 400dtns under standard for that classification (probably a typo).

heretically yours,
 
Peter,

The Gazelle became the standard version of the close escort in later versions of Traveller. There is another CE that appeared in Traders and Gunboats but disappeared in later versions. The Unicorn is basically a Gazelle with a different weapons load, it has 2 laser batteries and 2 Missile batteries. This has the advantage of freeing up some EP's to provide agility.

The Unicorn is just a Gazelle with different weapons, theres no reason why you couldn't swap the weapons for something else, fusion guns, 'casters or even build a TL15 CE with PA turrets. It is worth bearing in mind that the Gazelle actually breaks the HG design rules by fitting 4 turrets/barbettes on a 300t hull.

The Fiery CE is just a Gazelle with streamlining and a 400t hull instead of 300t+100t tanks. But does look a lot meaner and it doesn't break the rules.

I've always seen droptanks as a new thing, T20 sort of confirms this by adding a TL restriction on ships using drop tanks. This would mean older CE designs (TL 13) would be 400t (no tanks) and would probably have 2 laser and 2 missile turrets, PA barbettes aren't available until TL14.

J.
 
Originally posted by Liam Devlin:
PS, NICE LABS, great graphics!
5x :cool: 's!

as ever was,
Thanks for thinking so. One good thing about my group...they encourage me to use visuals which sometimes turn out halfway decent
 
I was asking what people think because with the Gazelle not being avalable for T20 obvously I will need to design a few for T20 and do deck-plans of them. I am thinking 300 - 400 DTons (since 500+ realy seem to be more of a Patrol Cruiser) with one class with a PA & laser turrets, one all lasers and one a mix of missles and lasers. That 3 designs and sets of plans. Any other combos that I should consider?
Peter V.
 
Hey Nice,

What program did you use and is there any inexpensive versions of it? I use Simply 3d right now (only one I could afford a year ago) and it comes nowhere near that...

RV
 
Originally posted by RabidVargr:
Hey Nice,

What program did you use and is there any inexpensive versions of it? I use Simply 3d right now (only one I could afford a year ago) and it comes nowhere near that...

RV
That, believe it or not was done in Bryce 4
I've been amazed by experimenting and discovering what all you can do with that. I even have some slick flyby animations of that ship...all done in Bryce
I'm not sure if you can find a cheap version....perhaps on ebay?
 
Originally posted by PVernon:
To all who have Traveller opinions. (Thats all of us right?) I have a question about close escorts in general.
Since the Gazelle's first flight date is 1086 according to the Gazelle article in JTAS #3, and that the article states that "Thousands of close escorts have been built in the past several centuries, ....", just what do they tend to look like? Do they all have drop tanks? (I was always of the unfounded opinion that drop tanks were a new thing with the Gazelles.) Are they always 3 or 4 hundred tons? Always have a particle barbett? The Gazelle only has lasers and particle accelerators do any other classes have missles?
What do people think? Since the Gazelle post dates T20 but the close escort as a common ship does not, just what do they look like?
As a side question the Fiery class is a modifyed Gazelle, are there any gunned escorts before the Fiery?
Peter V.
I worked out some designs (with commentary) in CT for a pre-Gazelle Close Escort which are archived on the Freelance Traveller site.

http://www.freelancetraveller.com/features/shipyard/classic/cobra.html


I also did a one unit prototype escort that was later incorporated into an ongoing serial fiction project.
file_22.gif


http://www.freelancetraveller.com/features/shipyard/classic/chauchat.html
 
My comments from the Yahoo Group reprinted here. Let me say again that I liked the ship, rereading the comments I sound quite scathing - but I noticed that it is one of the few designs up here. It's much easier to critique than put your own work up - So here's a critique

First up - I like it. It's larger than anything I would class as a
Close Escort, but that is a personal preference. If I think of it as
a light cruiser, then it makes sense to me.

Quick comments:

in t20, the Astro makes strategic Maneuvers, so having them double as
a gunner is probably going to cause problems in actual usage.

I don;t like the idea of having the medic with an assigned battle
station, if anyone get's hurt, an additional turret will stop firing
as the medic abandon's their "battle" post to do their duty.

For short occupancy, sharing a small cabin is possible, but if I
wanted the ship to do anything more than single jumps, I would give
every crewman their own stateroom. If it is only a short duration
ship, you don;t need Fuel Purifiers.

It's cheaper to use Dual occupancy Full staterooms than use half size
small ones and pay for extra freshers.

The Sensors are limited by the level of computer (so it can only
support level 4 sensors)

I'm not sure why you paid space for both missile Magazines and the
Missiles independantly. I would also tend to reduce the number of
carried missiles.

PA Turrets are TL15 - make them Barbettes at TL 14 if you are going
the "import" path.

I wouldn't bother making the computer FIB - but that is a personal
preference thing.

Another Personal preference, I would tend to replace one of the Pulse
turrets with Beams - the improved USP makes them more useful for a
generalist ship like this. I wouldn;t swap both over because you are
so close to EP limits.

Speaking of EP. I tend not to "max" agility. I would rather the ship
is only "most" agile if you don;t fire all the weapons - It gives
more of a sense of "Hard design choices" and forces the PC's to make
more descisions in combat. So I would probably have Agility 4 when
all weapons firing or 6 otherwise.

Again with weapon choice, I would tend to replace the PA with dual
fusions - The EP load is about the same, and if you are up against a
heavily armoured ship, only fusion guns really cut the mustard. Yes
the range sucks, but the thing already has decent long range weapons.
It looks as if you didn't notice that PA's can only be single mounted
(table notes page 272) otherwise PA is the "right" choice and fusion
guns are clearly second rate.

I don't understand why you added a docking umbilical, it doesn't have
any small craft. If it is for station docking, stations carry them
themselves.

With the Airlocks - None of the "standard" ships bother with them - I
wouldn;t either. The rules seem contradictory, I would allow one as
part of the "bridge" tonnage and only pay if you want extra (ie for
an assault Shuttle). I'll post something to CotI asking the question.

Summary - I like it.

I tend not to try and squeeze quite as much as you into a hull (ie my
TL15 600dT cruiser would probably be J3M6 or J4M4). If I do try
and "really" squeeze the limits then I make the craft a "short
duration" one.

Given that TL15 is "cutting edge" I like the way that you've pointed
out which items need which technology - IMTU I don't allow ship
building like that - I may allow it for small items - but not
something like the armour which effectively means that the entire
hull needs to be built at TL14. The weapons I do allow, and possibly
even the power plant.

Did you notice the TL bonuses to USP - a triple pulse laser at TL13+
is USP 3 so you get +3 to hit and do 3d10. Your sand is +4AC (unless
used in point defence)
 
Originally posted by The Mink:
My comments from the Yahoo Group reprinted here. Let me say again that I liked the ship, rereading the comments I sound quite scathing - but I noticed that it is one of the few designs up here. It's much easier to critique than put your own work up - So here's a critique
Thanks, I figured I wouldn't get it 100% right, that's the point of posting it up here.

in t20, the Astro makes strategic Maneuvers, so having them double as a gunner is probably going to cause problems in actual usage.
Yeah, I re-read the combat areas and I'm starting to realise the importance of having the Astrogator making sensor rolls. I was looking for ways to cut corners. ;)

I don;t like the idea of having the medic with an assigned battle station, if anyone get's hurt, an additional turret will stop firing as the medic abandon's their "battle" post to do their duty.
Same reason as above. I just couldn't see a ship as small as this (note: my next ship design is 50,000-tons) having a dedicated medic. Sure, he's not as available in combat, but if you get hit and take crew casualties you're probably not going to last much longer anyway.

For short occupancy, sharing a small cabin is possible, but if I wanted the ship to do anything more than single jumps, I would give
every crewman their own stateroom. If it is only a short duration ship, you don;t need Fuel Purifiers.
In the Star Legion privacy is seen as quite important (mixing Vargr and Human crews can be tricky), so it is only the lowest ratings that put up with shared occupancy. In a small ship like this one, the quarters are considered quite reasonable. At least nobody is 'hot-bunking'. The talk on the TML about naval vessels is that cramped quarters are de riguer - one guy got to sleep directly in a tiny bunk directly under the catapault on an aircraft carrier.

It's cheaper to use Dual occupancy Full staterooms than use half size small ones and pay for extra freshers.
Sure, but then you lose privacy. Also, the small cabins + freshers is a LOT cheaper in Cr. BTW, one of those freshers is next to the bridge for general crew use.

The Sensors are limited by the level of computer (so it can only support level 4 sensors)
That may be correct, but the way I read the rules it wasn't. Otherwise if you have a Model/6 computer, you already have Model/6 sensors and comms, no choice necessary. :rolleyes: But, I could be wrong.

I'm not sure why you paid space for both missile Magazines and the Missiles independantly. I would also tend to reduce the number of carried missiles.
I got confused thinking about tons as volume instead of weight. I also missed the example in the SDB design. The Menderes Corporation design team shall rejoice and promptly make better use of that space! :D

PA Turrets are TL15 - make them Barbettes at TL 14 if you are going the "import" path.
Oops, that min TL does say 15 <handwave> of course they are one of the few high-TL items ...

Another Personal preference, I would tend to replace one of the Pulse turrets with Beams - the improved USP makes them more useful for a generalist ship like this. I wouldn;t swap both over because you are so close to EP limits.
I made the choice due to range primarily. The USP difference is a nice bonus though. I'll have to consider it.

Speaking of EP. I tend not to "max" agility. I would rather the ship is only "most" agile if you don;t fire all the weapons - It gives more of a sense of "Hard design choices" and forces the PC's to make more descisions in combat. So I would probably have Agility 4 when
all weapons firing or 6 otherwise.
Star Legion doctrine calls for maximum maneuverability at all times. Dropping your AC just to shoot the enemy is seen as a really bad idea. Hard design choices were giving a ship only 4 weeks of power plant fuel (is fusion really that fuel hungry?).

Again with weapon choice, I would tend to replace the PA with dual fusions - The EP load is about the same, and if you are up against a heavily armoured ship, only fusion guns really cut the mustard. Yes the range sucks, but the thing already has decent long range weapons. It looks as if you didn't notice that PA's can only be single mounted (table notes page 272) otherwise PA is the "right" choice and fusion guns are clearly second rate.
Hmmm ... drat those tiny notes. Can you dual mount in a barbette? If so, then maybe that turret changes to a barbette. Long-range weapons suits the main use of these CEs, as commerce raiders (don't want to get too close to the convoy defenders).

I don't understand why you added a docking umbilical, it doesn't have any small craft. If it is for station docking, stations carry them themselves.
It's a carryover from my FF&S designs. I also include it in case the CE has to do customs duty. Because it does not have a ship's boat, it needs some nice easy way to dock with other starships in space. Hence the umbilical.

With the Airlocks - None of the "standard" ships bother with them - I wouldn;t either. The rules seem contradictory, I would allow one as part of the "bridge" tonnage and only pay if you want extra (ie for an assault Shuttle). I'll post something to CotI asking the question.
I figured one airlock around separating engineering from the rest of the workspace, and another to the outside. Really, 2 is a very low number for a ship this big. I'd want lots more if I had to really use them.

Summary - I like it.

I tend not to try and squeeze quite as much as you into a hull (ie my TL15 600dT cruiser would probably be J3M6 or J4M4). If I do try and "really" squeeze the limits then I make the craft a "short duration" one.
Thanks!

Given that TL15 is "cutting edge" I like the way that you've pointed out which items need which technology - IMTU I don't allow ship building like that - I may allow it for small items - but not something like the armour which effectively means that the entire hull needs to be built at TL14. The weapons I do allow, and possibly even the power plant.
I imagine the armour comes stacked on shipping pallets, ready for lo-tech assembly on the shipframe. The reality is that I used high-tech were it had the most impact (ie. in reducing tons used).

Did you notice the TL bonuses to USP - a triple pulse laser at TL13+ is USP 3 so you get +3 to hit and do 3d10. Your sand is +4AC (unless used in point defence)
No, I didn't! I think that affects every one of the weapons!
file_21.gif


I also missed the fact that a 'standard' Navy gunner has Gunnery +11 (!) and the Heavy Metal feat, see stats on pg. 423.

I'll re-work the design based on this feedback. Thanks again.
 
A considered an thoughtful response to a critique - I had been really concerned that I was insulting your "baby" and must be a nasty person.

Instead you are using the feedback in an iterative design process -

One lovely thing I remember from design was that the number of iterations to make the vessel perfect is always one more than the current number!

Thank you for responding so well to criticism of your ship. The ship is just going to get nastier.
 
I've updated the design. Primarily taking into account the reduced tonnage of the missiles, the change from illegal double PA turret to triple beam laser turret, I have been able to add in a ship's boat (externally docked) and space for another crewmember (a gunner, allowing the Astro to do sensors).
 
Originally posted by PVernon:
Since the Gazelle's first flight date is 1086 according to the Gazelle article in JTAS #3, and that the article states that "Thousands of close escorts have been built in the past several centuries, ....", just what do they tend to look like? Do they all have drop tanks? (I was always of the unfounded opinion that drop tanks were a new thing with the Gazelles.)
Not at all unfounded. According to a canonical TNS newsbrief from 1105, drop tanks (or rather, the special capacitors that makes them possible) are invented in the late 11th Century. The T20 rules claim that drop tanks are a TL 15 technology, but that isn't borne out by High Guard. They're just not invented until 1070 or 1080, but once invented, they can be built at any TL capable of making jump drives. The exact date is not mentioned, but with a first in 1186 the Gazelle could very well be the first or at least one of the first mass-produced designs featuring drop tanks.

So no drop tanks on any Milieu 1000 designs.

Hans

PS. T20 also claims, in the same paragraph on p. 267, yet, that drop tanks are never used by commercial ships and that in the OTU drop tanks are not used comercially until the 1100s. The first part is self-evidently wrong, and although the first mention of commercial drop tank use is in an 1105 newsbrief, it seems pretty evident to me that they've been in use further in towards the core some time before they reach the Spinward Marches.
 
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