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Re: Subscatterscenarioharpoongunpointsdefencevalues and stuff

From: Mikko Kurki-Suonio <maxxon@s...>
Date: Thu, 24 Apr 1997 04:39:43 -0400
Subject: Re: Subscatterscenarioharpoongunpointsdefencevalues and stuff

On Thu, 24 Apr 1997, David Brewer wrote:

> Fair point. The PSB is that used in FT though.

But FT never specifies anything in real units. Or does the Official 
Background(tm)? I never really bothered to read it.

> All sound good. Each has a context, something to recon, a border
> outpost, a thing to attack. Delay is tricky in space, tho. How do
> you delay a space fleet?

Depends on how close to target you can FTL in. If you have, say, two
points in a system, well away from planets and other worthwhile targets,
you place your fleet(s) between those points and the likely target. The
enemy must either engage you, or waste time trying to run around you
you still might intercept him). 

> Has it? I'm not a 20th century historian, but in earlier times
> fleet combat almost always took place in sight of land. Given vast 
> areas and limited target aquisition purely oceanic battles just 
> don't happen. If you are looking for the enemy fleet to crush the 
> best place to look is a port or off a coast. Trafalger, Nile,
> Copenhagen, Salamis, etc. Is this a WW2 thing? 

No. Let me clarify: Even though most battles took place close to land,
that was mostly because it was easier to find an enemy there, not
an empty stretch of beach in the middle of nowhere was particularly

Take Jutland. The two fleets went out with the sole purpose of hammering
each other. Even though the Brits forced the Hochseeflotte to withdraw
(scoring a strategic victory and a tactical loss), it was not followed
an invasion or even bombardment of German harbors. 

Even if one side had completely obliterated the other, most likely they 
would have just gone home very happy -- the followup comes later.
Jutland is exactly the kind of battle some people seem to find so
unrealistic -- two fleets meet, try to hammer each other as long as
look good, then try to disengage. And I could cite other examples. 

Likewise, I find it completely justified in FT.

>Seems like beams are the abnormal case in some ways.

True, but beams are also an abstracted superclass. They *could* have 
separated lasers, particle beams, phasers, masers, grasers, blasters, 
macrobeams etc. etc. ad nauseum. 
> It's a difficult thing to do using only simple arithmetic. Do you 
> have any particular inspiration? 

I don't think it's necessarily desirable. It just has certain effects
one must consider.

> JMT says that he will abolish the escort-cruiser-capital 
> distinctions for MT3 and with a mass-only system where two fast 
> escorts can be combined in a fast cruiser. Big ships will rule
> without a non-linear points system on top.

IMHO, this is generally an improvement. It's more realistic.
But something needs to be done to keep small ships usable, even in 
one-off battles. I'd say a short-range, heavy damage, one-shot weapon 
could duplicate the effects of torpedoes in naval warfare.

> Not quite the only reason to my mind. Taking an escort-sized lump 
> out of a big ship rarely loses an escort's-worth of weaponry in 
> threshold tests. 

Balanced by the difficulty of targeting several ships and the "wasted" 
damage in overkills.
> I don't think this will work.


True... the differences in batteries are not big enough. A real ship 
would mount the biggest guns it could, and then fill the remaining space

with secondaries and tertiaries.

Or... drop beam classes altogether! Just buy beam factors, with a
to calculate their effectiveness at different ranges. E.g. assume one 
factor is the same as one C. At close range, works normal. At 12-24"
halve the power, so 1 factor does nothing. At 24"-36" halve again.
and at 36-48" halve again... always rounding down.

A Mass 14 DD could mount a maximum of 7 factors stretching it,
getting 1 die at 24"-36", 3 at 12"-24" and the 7 at close.

A Mass 100 dreddie could theoretically mount 50 factors, projecting 1
all the way to 72". What was the max sensor range again?

This is just an example. We could tweak the numbers more if this seems 

> I would prefer to drop PDAF's altogether and give a C-batt an AF
> mode equal to a PDAF, although this probably wouldn't work outside 
> of a whole set of other amendments. Rear-arc fire for one. I like 
> rule additions that give new abilities to old systems and ships, 
> rather then being associated with new systems.

Why not? Sounds good. Maybe an extra +2 points to fit a C with a 
dedicated, all-round, AF firecon. It would retain the normal arcs for AS

duty (PSB justification optional).

> Consider Scott Field's idea of a "needle firecon" that can direct 
> a beam to make a needle-gun-like attack. I would restrict this to 
> B's and C's only, and give all ships one as it's first FC. Now
> I've given a new ability to non-A-battery ships. Any B-battery
> carrying escort from the basic rules can pass muster as a commerce 
> raider or customs vessel, because it can make needle attacks to 
> disable ships. This seems preferable to creating a specialised 
> needle beam IMHO.

Sounds good, though specialized needles still have a place in special 
ships, if the needle FC can only direct a limited amount of needle

> > It's called "materialgeschlag".
> Ah, well, it would have a German name...

Well, it's only fair they get to pick the nickname since it was used 
against them.
> Are thinking of any war in particular? I'd like to consider this
> in some sort of context.

Well, before the World Wars weapons technology wasn't really advanced 
enough to support this strategy, but you could consider sieges a special

form of "materialgeschlag" -- the attacker sits back flinging material
the defenders rather than risking manpower in direct assault. In this 
mini-cosmos, the attacker holds the "industrial" edge since he can go 
get/build new stuff and the defender can't. 

-- (Mikko Kurki-Suonio) 	  | A pig who doesn't
+358 50 5596411 GSM +358 9 80926 78/FAX 81/Voice  | is just an ordinary
Maininkitie 8A8 02320 ESPOO FINLAND | Hate me?	  |	     - Porco
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