Versus Series: Ship Combat in Star Wars (Revived)

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Versus Series: Ship Combat in Star Wars (Revived)

Post by Rhadamantus » 2017-04-23 09:52am

This is a revival of the old versus thread, and has the same rules as the new one.

Hello folks! Since I couldn't find anything with this type of name or title in the forums, and because I was curious to start this conversation up with others besides my local gaming group, I figured I'd start here. This is a versus thread. I'll periodically list two ships to be in opposition to each other and we'll hash out in debate which would come out on top. These ships may or may not have encountered each other in the movies, books, or comics, or they might have, but we're going to debate them anyway. Deadliest Warriors meets Star Wars.

There are some base-line rules to consider:

(1) The ships in question are at peak performance, having no damage or system failures before their "encounter".
(2) The ship has the full complement of starfighters, assault shuttles, etc, as listed in their EU/Cannon pages on Wookiepedia.
(3) The crews of each respective ship would be, in general, all competent and motivated at their jobs.
So,
ROUND SEVEN
One Executor Class battleships (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Executor/Legends), versus
Six Bellator Class battlecruisers (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Bellator ... readnought)
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Re: Versus Series: Ship Combat in Star Wars (Revived)

Post by Esquire » 2017-04-23 12:07pm

Right, let's think about this. One Executor is per Wookie (I never could follow this particular dispute fully) a 19-kilometer warship apparently designed specifically to be large and inimidating, out of proportion to previous dreadnoughts. It generates 7.73 × 10^26 W at peak capacity, and for some bizarre reason only carries two wings generally.

The Bellator squadron is made up of 7.2km warships, apparently designed much earlier (if they're supposed to be 'divergent designs in the Mandator family,' anyway; those are positively ancient. Assuming power scales directly with length - I'm not doing volume calculations, so this may be way off-base, but as alluded to above I think Executor may be larger than it ought to be for its capabilities - the squadron has at least 2.27 times more energy available to it than Executor does. I think it's probably more than that, because Bellators have two main reactors each large enough to need an ISD-style bulge, where Executor has one main and some number of secondary reactors, all of which are fully enclosed in the hull. Furthermore, though we don't have any complement numbers, if each Bellator carries only one wing (and it should be vastly more than that by any reasonable estimate), the squadron fighter force outnumbers Executor's by at least three-to-one.

I give it to the squadron, on the theory that dreadnought-scale wolfpack tactics, especially combined with the opportunities given by total fighter superiority, ought to be effective against a ship which, while individually-superior, is probably much less so than its sheer size suggests.
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Re: Versus Series: Ship Combat in Star Wars (Revived)

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2017-04-23 07:10pm

One the one hand, the Executor ought to be able to take a pounding, while, if it concentrates fire on individual ships, it can probably thin the opposing numbers fast.

We've also got to consider the fact that, while tech. in Star Wars is mostly relatively static for centuries/millennia, their will be doctrinal changes over time, so older ships might be designed with a different sort of opponent in mind (of course, this could cut both ways, but I think it'll probably hurt the older ships more).

Also, if power scales roughly to volume, it ought to give the Executor a much bigger edge, yes?

Even if not, I think a skilled commander could probably pull it off with the Executor, unless glass jaw Executor from RotJ was more than a fluke. ;)

Edit: Also, how do the fighter compliments compare?

Since we're dealing with just capital ships, no escorts, if one side has a decisive edge in fighter/bomber numbers or quality, that could easily be significant.
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Re: Versus Series: Ship Combat in Star Wars (Revived)

Post by Rhadamantus » 2017-04-23 07:37pm

The Romulan Republic wrote:One the one hand, the Executor ought to be able to take a pounding, while, if it concentrates fire on individual ships, it can probably thin the opposing numbers fast.

We've also got to consider the fact that, while tech. in Star Wars is mostly relatively static for centuries/millennia, their will be doctrinal changes over time, so older ships might be designed with a different sort of opponent in mind (of course, this could cut both ways, but I think it'll probably hurt the older ships more).

Also, if power scales roughly to volume, it ought to give the Executor a much bigger edge, yes?

Even if not, I think a skilled commander could probably pull it off with the Executor, unless glass jaw Executor from RotJ was more than a fluke. ;)

Edit: Also, how do the fighter compliments compare?

Since we're dealing with just capital ships, no escorts, if one side has a decisive edge in fighter/bomber numbers or quality, that could easily be significant.
If the executor has three times the firepower of a bellator, and it fights six of them, it should be able to take four in theory. In practice, there are a lot more variables.
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Re: Versus Series: Ship Combat in Star Wars (Revived)

Post by Esquire » 2017-04-23 09:38pm

The Romulan Republic wrote:One the one hand, the Executor ought to be able to take a pounding, while, if it concentrates fire on individual ships, it can probably thin the opposing numbers fast.
As I said, I didn't do volume calculations - and I still think Executor may have more volume than it really deserves, but that's not really provable and I freely admit it.

The battlecruiser squadron will absolutely take a pounding, I just think they'll win out in the end. Has anybody got a useful idea of how to interpret Lanchester equations for three-dimensional combat at such low absolute numbers? There might actually be a mathematical answer to this one, or at least a range of probable outcomes from starting assumptions of power-varies-with-volume to power-varies-with-length. Although, assuming average salvos from the Bellators can achieve useful shield penetration - which I think is fair, given the historical definition of 'battlecruiser' - we might want the 'N' in 'N^2 Law' to be battery groups and not ships.
Even if not, I think a skilled commander could probably pull it off with the Executor, unless glass jaw Executor from RotJ was more than a fluke. ;)
Come to think of it, I haven't read any of the new EU; are there any other canon depictions of Executors fighting fleets or other capital ships? That might be useful.
Edit: Also, how do the fighter compliments compare?

Since we're dealing with just capital ships, no escorts, if one side has a decisive edge in fighter/bomber numbers or quality, that could easily be significant.
Oddly. As I mentioned, as per Wookie Executor only carries two wings; 144 fighters in 12 squadrons. Volumetrically, this is insane; the same page cites a maximum fighter capacity of thousands, but if a) that's true for God knows what stupid reason and b) a Bellator carries at least one wing (which, considering ISDs carry one wing and are about 5.5 times shorter, is if anything a low estimate), then they've definitely got a significant advantage. Note, non-TIE (i.e. armed shuttles, etc.) are not counted here and might plausibly affect the ratio, but I have no really useful data for either side on composition or competence.

EDIT: Formatting.
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Re: Versus Series: Ship Combat in Star Wars (Revived)

Post by Rhadamantus » 2017-04-23 09:57pm

Here are the stats for the Bellator (http://bbs.stardestroyer.net/viewtopic. ... &start=200)
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Re: Versus Series: Ship Combat in Star Wars (Revived)

Post by Esquire » 2017-04-23 10:56pm

Oh, neat, I didn't know that was there.

Anyway: at maximum reactor output of (6)(79 petatons/second) = 474 pt/s = 474 trillion kilotons/s = ~5.5e23 watt-hours = ~19,800e23 watts = ~1.98e27 W. Executor, therefore, at 7.73e26 W, has rather significantly less energy available than it's opponents. Moreover, fractalsponge specifies that the Bellator alpha-arc fires with 92% reactor power (~1.77e27 W total), while Executor's peak shield strength* is ~3.8e26 W; the squadron can theoretically put more than 4.5 times as much fire into Executor as it can handle without significant damage, unless I've miscarried something - which is certainly possible, of course.

I figure that the massive fighter superiority the squadron enjoys, with the lack of shield focus that implies, will more-or-less cancel out Executor's individually-superior armament and shielding - 1/6 of 1.77e27 is, I should think, even better compared to 1/6 of 3.8e26 than the whole ratios, for the purpose of shield penetration, as a) it's actually 1/6 incoming vs. 1/7** shielding thanks to the aforementioned fighter superiority, and b) the Bellators can afford to divert power unequally; for example, three can fire at 1/6 of Executor, but competent shiphandling won't let the reverse be true for shield focus.

NB - fractalsponge estimates before the post from which I draw reactor numbers that he estimated a Bellator at 0.2-0.25 of an Executor's power; this is a more favorable ratio (about 0.75:1 :: B:E, if I'm doing this right). I may have missed something, he may have changed his mind, or the numbers may simply have not worked as intended.

To conclude: per the above analysis, six Bellators are a lot more powerful than one Executor as well as more numerous and better-supplied with parasites; I conclude that they will usually be victorious even if one or two are destroyed or crippled, though that's provisional pending a) more rigorous mathematical investigation or non-empirical factors. This seems (just) winnable for Executor, but I wouldn't bet on it.

*That is, dissipation and/or charge rate; see SI unit.'

**Or something; less than 1/6, anyway.
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Re: Versus Series: Ship Combat in Star Wars (Revived)

Post by Esquire » 2017-04-24 12:00am

Or, re: my footnote ** just above, 1.x/6; it depends on tactical decisions aboard Executor.
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Re: Versus Series: Ship Combat in Star Wars (Revived)

Post by Patroklos » 2017-04-24 01:17am

Esquire wrote: Oddly. As I mentioned, as per Wookie Executor only carries two wings; 144 fighters in 12 squadrons. Volumetrically, this is insane; the same page cites a maximum fighter capacity of thousands, but if a) that's true for God knows what stupid reason and b) a Bellator carries at least one wing (which, considering ISDs carry one wing and are about 5.5 times shorter, is if anything a low estimate), then they've definitely got a significant advantage. Note, non-TIE (i.e. armed shuttles, etc.) are not counted here and might plausibly affect the ratio, but I have no really useful data for either side on composition or competence.
When you are talking about ships of this size adding empty volume areas for hangers is a negligible expense. Especially since SW ships, and Imperial ships especially, appear to like simplified hull shapes that don't directly follow the lines of major interior components which means lots of nooks and crannies to fit stuff in. There is little reason not to overbuild hanger capacity even if the doctrinal use cases for those ships doesn't call for a fighter complement that fully uses that space. Also, much of that hanger space could be flex space for other niche missions.

On the doctrinal side the Empire seems to prioritize capital ship production over fighter production. Which doesn't mean they don't produce lots of fighters, but I don't think its a stretch to assume their fighter production lags behind capital ship hulls/hanger spaces. This could mean that when a fleet gets its allocation of fighters it makes sense to put them on the escorting destroyers/cruisers instead of the command ship for tactical reasons if that choice must be made.

Or it might not be a production limitation at all, but rather not wanting to have fighters sitting in hangers where they are not needed representing a dead stock investment, rather they shuffle the fighters to ships on the front lines. This is how real live missile inventories are managed for Navies. Most only have enough missiles to outfit a fraction of their fleet because only a fraction is deployed at one time. Whatever reserve is available is not put onto other ships, but kept at shore facilities so they can be shipped directly to the ships that will need them. If they are already on ships at homeport or in non hostile forward areas you have to first go offload those ships, THEN ship them to where they are needed.

By the way the same applies to Stormtrooper/Army embarked units. Executor could care an entire Corps or more of troops if it wanted to. That doesn't necessarily mean it makes sense for it to have one tied down in its hull when its not expected to be doing things that requires them. But when it is doing those things...

Also something to think about is whether ship to ship combat is just power vs power, or rather is there some mechanism that makes peak power delivery more important that overall power delivery. As a comparison, I can have an Iowa hull with is nine sixteen inch guns or I can have the same hull with thirty-six six inch guns and have them fight each other. The second option will deliver more ordinance faster, but it won't matter because it won't penetrate any armor. I don't think we know much about the difference in individual weapon yields between the two, but something to think about.

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Re: Versus Series: Ship Combat in Star Wars (Revived)

Post by Adam Reynolds » 2017-04-24 02:31am

I would bet on whichever side has more fighters and especially bombers. Their weakness against starfighters appear to be the fatal flaw of dreadnoughts, as we see with both Executor and Malvolence. While Imperial fighters are less focused as bombers than their Republic or Alliance counterparts, they are enough of a threat that Lando was worried about them, albeit against frigates rather than capital ship.

Though as noted, Executor could easily have as many or more fighters than the Bellator, so which side that is is somewhat debatable.
Patroklos wrote: On the doctrinal side the Empire seems to prioritize capital ship production over fighter production. Which doesn't mean they don't produce lots of fighters, but I don't think its a stretch to assume their fighter production lags behind capital ship hulls/hanger spaces. This could mean that when a fleet gets its allocation of fighters it makes sense to put them on the escorting destroyers/cruisers instead of the command ship for tactical reasons if that choice must be made.
I also wonder if Executor has much of its hanger space devoted to support facilities for its escorts, allowing them greater endurance than a fleet with nothing but star destroyers, which is useful when scouring the outer rim during their hunt for the Rebel base. It would also allow Vader to avoid dealing with the Imperial Navy's chain of command.

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Re: Versus Series: Ship Combat in Star Wars (Revived)

Post by Esquire » 2017-04-24 04:43am

That said, I'm required to note that Executor spent an indefinite amount of time under the focused fire of an entire fleet, including at least one peer-competitor Mon Calamari battleship, before losing (apparently only, and by all indications temporarily at that) bridge shielding, after which she was destroyed by collision with a massively-shielded moon-sized battlestation. Star Wars capital ships are therefore not especially vulnerable to anything (or set of things), let alone otherwise-minor impacts from fighters, etc.

That said, as per an ongoing PM conversation with fractalsponge*, the Bellator design team** (who really ought to know) seems persuaded that Executor, thanks to, effectively, those qualities which inform Patroklos' argument above, will actually out-number the squadron in fighters. As indicated above, this makes massively more sense and I fully approve; however, fractalsponge1 and I agree that a six-ship squadron will still beat an Executor on the strength of their main batteries and tactical dexterity. (That's my interpretation, anyway; of my three pro-Bellator factors, those are the two remaining and the conclusion is agreed upon.)

*By which I've just realized I should have always meant 'fractalsponge1,' and not just in this post. My bad!

**That's to say 'fractalsponge1,' full-stop, unless I've missed something.
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Re: Versus Series: Ship Combat in Star Wars (Revived)

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2017-04-24 06:47am

I am not at all confident that you could describe Home One as a "peer-competitor" of the Executor. Certainly not on size, and considering that only the latter is even supposed to be a dedicated, purpose-built warship, I gather (now that they've reintroduced the utter idiocy of Mon Calimari cruisers being converted passenger ships)...

Edit: Actually, the only ship that I've seen on-screen that I might call a peer competitor is the Subjugator class (aka Grievous's Malevolence from the Clone Wars). Not on size either, but considering it was able to casually swat squadron-level SD forces, possibly in performance. Though those were Venators, not the later and larger Imperators.
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Re: Versus Series: Ship Combat in Star Wars (Revived)

Post by Galvatron » 2017-04-24 03:20pm

I'm starting to wonder if Mon Cal cruisers just utterly outclass their Imperial counterparts in some crucial way (e.g. shield strength) that allows them to regularly survive battles in which they're outnumbered and would otherwise be completely screwed.

Hell, the same could be said of the other capital ships of the rebel fleet since they all seem to be capable of withstanding terrible punishment. Perhaps that's why they use GR-75 transports in battle: they're heavily shielded but lightly armed and can (usually) draw fire away from the other rebel ships without sustaining catastrophic damage.

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Re: Versus Series: Ship Combat in Star Wars (Revived)

Post by Shroom Man 777 » 2017-04-24 03:26pm

Perhaps instead of space for stormtroopers, all those extra cavities are instead filled with jerry rigged shield support systems - like imagine jeeps that haul huge telephone post-sized vacuum tubes and fuse tubes to overtaxed subsystems, or Wookie resistance members and IG-droids and MERCENARY JAWA shoveling fresh vacuum tubes to gatling gun-style vacuum tube systems... and cooling systems! Super space coolants... molten hypersalts. Olympic swimming pools full of em! Neutroniums! All that internal volume, instead of hauling AT-ATs or whatever. And wires, cables, endless pythons of 'em just snaking everywhere through bulkheads that have random access holes blasted through 'em through careful thermal detonations...

That's why Rebel capships are seldom seen and only fight every once in a while!
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Re: Versus Series: Ship Combat in Star Wars (Revived)

Post by Galvatron » 2017-04-24 04:36pm

Indeed!

It makes sense that the rebels would place more emphasis on defense and durability over other considerations. From their starfighters to their bases, it seems as though protecting and preserving their assets is a top priority. No doubt that's because Alliance manpower and materiel is so limited compared to their Imperial counterparts.

It's no stretch for me to imagine that the same may be true for their warships as well. In that case, Home One (like the Profundity) may be incredibly tough for a ship of its size.

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Re: Versus Series: Ship Combat in Star Wars (Revived)

Post by Adam Reynolds » 2017-04-24 05:37pm

I suspect a major factor is that Rebel ships put their focus on shields rather than armor, so heavily used by the Empire and Republic to supplement shields, which makes their shields weaker overall and much less of a defense against fighters in particular. It might even be the case that Rebel ships are much less vulnerable to fighter attacks, hence the largely ineffectual Imperial fighter attacks at Endor.

Though I also suspect that Rebel ships have less point defenses, relying on their generally superior pilots to handle the job instead and putting more of their power into heavy weapons to take on star destroyers.

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Re: Versus Series: Ship Combat in Star Wars (Revived)

Post by Shroom Man 777 » 2017-04-24 06:12pm

I don't think the increased armoring means that the shields are weaker...

I think Imperial doctrine just has TIE fighters serve as extensions of the ISD and other capship's combat capabilities, and in fleet combat we see them used defensively, whereas the Rebel doctrine has X-Wings and others used more offensively... THAT is why we see the Rebel fighters take down ISDs whereas we don't see TIEs take down Rebel ships because they're too busy screening ISDs...

And I have no fucking clue what TIE Bombers are supposed to do against ships... their method of attack is fucking stupid. Can't they at least launch torpedoes?

At least we see SF TIEs in TFA capable of damaging capships... perhaps that Star Destroyer hadn't raised its shields.
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Re: Versus Series: Ship Combat in Star Wars (Revived)

Post by Galvatron » 2017-04-24 06:20pm

TIE bombers supposedly have proton bombs and concussion missiles. I always assumed that the aperture on the front of the port-side pod is the launcher.

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Re: Versus Series: Ship Combat in Star Wars (Revived)

Post by Rhadamantus » 2017-04-24 06:30pm

Rhadamantus wrote:

So,
ROUND SEVEN
One Executor Class battleships (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Executor/Legends), versus
Six Bellator Class battlecruisers (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Bellator ... readnought)

Alright, I think this can be safely called for the Bellators.

ROUND EIGHT
Three Venators (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Venator- ... er/Legends)
vs. One Impstar (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Imperial ... er/Legends)
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Re: Versus Series: Ship Combat in Star Wars (Revived)

Post by Q99 » 2017-04-24 07:58pm

Three Venators. While more fragile and outgunned, the amount of fighter superiority they have is massive, and between the three of them they have enough gun to get by. Any openings they can make in Impstar shields are going to be taken advantage of hard.

They should stay relatively close in formation so they can support each other, and have wounded ones fall back behind the others. They should initially try and stay at range, give fighters time to work, and let the Impstar go to the trouble of closing.

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Re: Versus Series: Ship Combat in Star Wars (Revived)

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2017-04-24 08:12pm

Yeah, I'm leaning Venators. But then, I'm biased, because I like that design.
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Re: Versus Series: Ship Combat in Star Wars (Revived)

Post by Esquire » 2017-04-24 08:37pm

I concur. That's an absolutely unmanageable amount of fighters the ISD has to deal with.
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Re: Versus Series: Ship Combat in Star Wars (Revived)

Post by Q99 » 2017-04-24 10:15pm

I guess even 'have the Venators run while letting the fighters handle everything' is even an option, though it'd produce really heavy fighting casualties.

Sidenote, I hope some Legacy era ships show up ^^

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Re: Versus Series: Ship Combat in Star Wars (Revived)

Post by Patroklos » 2017-04-25 12:09am

Have we seen known Venetor era embarked fighter models engage with OT period fighters? Because if the level of tech and power increase between capital ships of that era holds true for fighters none of the Venetors' spacewings are going to amount to much. Even their anti ship weapons might be like Bazookas vs T34s.

The Clone Wars eraish fighters we have seen in the OT era like Headhunters have not fared well.

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Re: Versus Series: Ship Combat in Star Wars (Revived)

Post by RogueIce » 2017-04-25 12:33am

Patroklos wrote:Have we seen known Venetor era embarked fighter models engage with OT period fighters? Because if the level of tech and power increase between capital ships of that era holds true for fighters none of the Venetors' spacewings are going to amount to much. Even their anti ship weapons might be like Bazookas vs T34s.

The Clone Wars eraish fighters we have seen in the OT era like Headhunters have not fared well.
ARC-170s seem to be pretty capable fighters, though they're in the minority. Y-wings also made the transition between PT and OT fairly well, though the stats page doesn't list them as a standard complement; I'm pretty sure I remember Y-wings flying from Venators in The Clone Wars show, though, so they probably were deployed in some instances.
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