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Re: SV: FTL Mines

From: campbelr@d...
Date: Mon, 24 Nov 1997 18:26:56 +0000
Subject: Re: SV: FTL Mines

 John Leary <> wrote:
>snip< previous comments:
> Oerjan,
>      I will try to address some of the points you have brought up,
> but the bottom line from a personal point of view is 'MINES IN SPACE
> ARE SILLY...	 Now back to a somewhat more rational discussion.
>      Presumptions on the construction of a mine:
> 1) The mine has an active power source.
> 2) The mine has one mass or close to it.
> 3) The mine by its very nature does not have standard sensors or 
>    IFF, some type of passive sensor (Mass detector) is the sensor
>    of choice for the mine.

Glad this is a "personal view", otherwise this could get dicey...  :)

> POINT 1)
> The mine must have an active power source or it would freeze in 
> space.   This means the stealth aspect becomes meaningless, even
> if the mine were totally (normal active) sensor invisable the mine
> would light up like a candle in the dark on a IR sensor.

Very false assumption. What type of "active power" source are you 
talking about? And what do you mean freeze in space?
There are satillites in long orbits right now that are powerd down 
and emit no radiation. They are back up Command/Control/Communication 
satillites. You can insulate against the cold/heat, (depends on 
whether your in the sunlight or shadow part of the orbit) and just a 
trickle of power, (Solar cells, or Radio-stope generated) would be 
more than enough to keep the systems on standbye, and preform self 
checks. If it is Radar/Sensor stealthed, you won't see it till your 
"on-top" of it, by which point it is too late.

> POINT 2) 
> You might be able to make an argument against this but I like it.
According to FT, the entire system, including 3 mines is Mass 3, so 
it is more like the mines are .75 mass or less, but round up. So your 
size is, i'd think, relative to a fighter, (6 mass for 6 ea. plus 
bay) Still, a mine is less, "seeable", No active Drive, No active 
Sensors. A hole in space. Real tough to sort out, unless you're activly 
looking for it, probaly with a dedicated sensor, ie: Mine Sweeper 

> Point 3)
> Standard or advanced sensors and IFF will not be found on a mine
> because they are active devices which would pinpoint the location
> of the mine instantly.   

On this I have no argument. But, I'd assume, (military doctrine would 
call for it in this type of mine warfare anyway) you'd have a 
dedicated set of "Master" mines. These would mass the same, but 
would have no "attack" capability. Theyre job would be to be sensor 
platforms. Sense a target? Interrogate IFF, (burst transmission), No 
IFF reply? Arm nearby mines, Go to Active sensor and scan target, Get 
blasted? Your datalink just fell off-line, mines auto engage. Scan 
matches "enemy" profile? See above.
Any mine patterns around a planet would probably rely on the 
Planetary defense sattilites, or a mine layer in orbit for additional 
sensor support.

> Oerjan Ohlson wrote:<
> > But you miss the main point with mines: they're there not as much to
> > the enemy as to make him go somewhere else - ie, either where your
heavy> guns are waiting for him, or where your vulnerable units aren't
>      Your theory on the use of mines is from a different text than
> mine.   My rules state that the minefield is placed to prevent or 
> slow the closure of the enemy to some stratigic objective that cannot
> be bypassed.	(If I have done my job as a commander, the enemy will
> be forced to cross the minefield under fire of my fleet.)  JTL
Both are actual "proper" mine doctrine. They are used to deny the 
Enemy access to some areas, or to steer him into your guns. Either 

I'd agree with the FTL mine being not possible accoding to the books 
rules, it looks that way to me too. But again, it depends on "your" 
background. The cost would be prohibitive in my opinion, plus the 
spectere of FTL fighter would rear it's head. (Hmmm, X-Wings and TIE 
fighters anyone? :)
Most "Sci-Fi" type mines fall into 2 catigories:
Energy mines, or dormant missles.
Energy projecting mines are usually represented by the idea of a self 
consuming reaction that gives you a "burst" similar to an energy 
projector. Ususaly, because these kind destroy themselves you get to 
put a heavier "punch" beam weapon on them than they could normaly 
carry. (Such as, instead of a "C" battery, FT mines act as "B" 
Dormant missle mines, are missles, which when the target is engaged, 
sprint towards the target seeking to hit it and detonate before the 
target can evade.
FT rules for mines actually seem to use both methods.

>      If the enemy jumped into the system, they have jumped into
> a gravity well and will suffer accordingly.  

Jumping in to a "system" is a lot diffrent than jumping too close to 
a planet. Jumping Into the system is how you travel, unless I missed 
somthing and we are talking having to have real weak gravity 
gradiant. In which case we have fleets dropping out of Jump outside 
the Helio-pause, and taking months to years to get near enough to a 
planet to fight

>snip about number of mines required<

You are of cousre very right,  if we want a solid shell of mines 
around the entire planet. We don't. We just want to ensure the enemy 
can't slide up behind the planet while his diversionary attack is 
holding our attention. Or maybe we just want a little more fire power 
on our flank. The military use of mines is realy an art, not a 

>      Minefields in space simply have to many holes in both theory 
> and practice (Yes the pun was intended.) for them to be of any 
> value. (Other than as a game device to play navy.)

See above, they can be both tacticaly, and stratigicaly useful if 
placed and played right.

> This may come across more harshly than intended, if so, I am sorry.

I'll aplogize too, as I tend to lecture on weapons. My only defense 
is it comes with the job.  :)

> Bye for now,
> John L.

"Creative Financing is the key to any venture. Right John?"
R. Hood (Ret.)

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