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Re: [FT] SMLs, Type 3 & Tactics

From: "John M. Atkinson" <john.m.atkinson@e...>
Date: Sat, 09 Jan 1999 18:19:33 -0500
Subject: Re: [FT] SMLs, Type 3 & Tactics

Bob Mackenzie wrote:
> I've personally come to the conclusion that SML's are either..... pack
> the fleet to the gills with them and wipe out the enemy fast or flee
> trying.  My mixed fleets usually didn't have the sml fire power to

I use either mostly SMLs or None At All.  You'll notice if you hop over
to my FTFB design page (Gratuitous Home Page Ad: and click on the Navy
link.  Hopefully to be updated later this evening/later tonight) that I
have two 'styles' of fleet set up.  You've got the sector, or 'frontier'
fleets designed for independant operations, with no SMLs.  And you got
the High Space Fleet, which is packed to the gills with SMLs.  I played
a battle recently where it was 6K vs 6K, and I provided one half of one
side.  I had 14(?) SMLs in my half of the fleet, and my younger brother
brought another 3.  Plus we had a total of 12 fighter groups out there,
10 of them in my brother's alotment of points.	Sick, ain't it?  Anyway,
one of our two opponents had a Mass 300 Thrust 2 ship with a strong hull
and lots of armor.  Two turns to sink that puppy, and the beams finished
off two of his other ships.  Of course, this was also because the other
opponents jacked up his speed waaaaay too much and was rapidly floating
off-board at this point... 

Also note that we generally call scenarios on time or when one side is
rapidly moving off-board (we do use floating boards, but there are
limits) and declares he is breaking off.  We then judge victory based on
number and size of ships killed, number of ships requiring time in a
fleet yard (2+ system checks) and ships 'damaged' (1 system check). 
Holding the field is not generally important in space, and we never
fight to the death--it looks a lot better to loose a few ships, get your
capital beat up, and break off rather than get your entire fleet wiped

> come the enemy's defenses enough to compensate for the loss of
> sustainable fire power.  Unfortunately if I raise the sml weapon
> beyond about 30-40% of the fleet firepower mix... I start to manage to

Don't piss on him.  If you use SMLs, every ship should have 1 SML, and
the larger ones should have 2 SMLs.  

> tactics then pick on the slow movers/big targets who's enemy
> don't create ships with 12 pds on them?

The obvious force multiplier here is Fighters.	Fighters and SMLs are a
major complement to eachother.	Send in interceptors to clear out his
fighters, and then smacking the same ship with, for instance, 2 Attack
fighter groups, a torpedo group, and 15 Missle salvos tends to ruin it's
day.  Mass your attacks--1 Salvo will just annoy most ships larger than
corvettes.  Especially with thrust 2 ships--you WILL hit them every
time.  Drop those SMLs en masse.  

> John - my opponent likes the SMLs, however the ships in the FB just
> didn't do them justice - I wopped his ass every time. So he
> the ships, dropped the the speeds so they were all 4. The SML

Bad idea, at least from a campaign point of view (the only POV, IMHO.  I
always think one level bigger than the tabletop shows).  The beauty of
SMLs is that you resolve your combat in 2 rounds, and then either mop
up, or GET THE HELL OUT OF DODGE!  You loose your speed, and you can't
break off.  That gets real embarassing if you engage inside the FTL
limit (which most of my scenarios are--I assume the FTL limit is pretty
far out of the system).

> stayed the same, but all the beams became type 3s. Suddenly thigs were
> lot more even. Players can not afford to prat around and evade at the
> 24" mark (no fake "end runs") as they will get hammered by the Type 3
> beams, there is no option but to charge through. (OK you could design
> fleet with no SMLs and just type 3's to counter it but it would be at
> disadvantage against other fleet types)

Eh?  Type 3s are a perfectly good 'main guns'.	For me, I think of PDSs
and Type 1s as essentially 'defensive weapons', class 2s as 'secondary
weapons' and 'main guns' are Type 3s, Pulse Torps, or SML/SMRs.  I've
had very good results with fleets primarily armed with beams and
pulses.  Of course, against an SML-heavy fleet, you want to have at
least 4 thrust (reason I can't play NSL designs) so that you can at
least try to evade missle salvos (assuming you play with 3" radius).  I
also have several escort ships sticking close to the big guns.	
> My response embodied in my Peoples Republic of Mars fleet was to build
> Thrust 6 ships so as to be at the mercy of his long range fire power
> the shortest time. The big ships all have 6+ PDS with an area fire
> control so they can cover each other, and there only beams are type 1.
> They have a big battery of Torps for crunching the enemy ships.A type
> screen mitigates his type 3 beams

Don't like having a fleet you can only use at knife-fighting range.  A
lot depends on the size of battles you're fighting.  In a 6K battle,
I've got enough firepower on the board with my fighters, class 3s, and
either Torps or SMLs to slag a ship or two (and not necessarily a little
one--first turn after we got to weapon range in battle above, I slagged
a book-standard Richtofen and a DD) at each range band.  
> close. Pass through the enemy fleet. This is a delicate manouver and
> may find your torps don't bare but probably neither will his type 3 or
> SML and you have the class 1 batteries. On the other side you will

Eh?  I generally just rotate 180 degrees as I dive straight through his
gunline.  He looks real damn stupid if he's pointed in the wrong
direction.  I have never, ever, ever had difficulty keeping my
forward-facing armament facing the enemy.

> to slow down which means you are still thrusting towards the enemy so
> your torps face him. However as the SMLs are placed before movement,
> turn after the pass through the enemies SML are facing the opposite
> direction to you ships so can't fire!

He must be blind.  And idiot should be able to tell you're about to dive
through his gunline.  If he's not sure, he can just accelerate a little
bit to make sure.

John M. Atkinson

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