Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington

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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington

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chornedsnorkack wrote:How effective is the family discipline in Manticore Lords? Are the titleholding parents free to keep the vote of the heir under tight control by keeping the adult child at short purse strings, or can adult heirs of living parents vote according to their own political opinion because of financial independence (adequate personal earnings, or legally assured allowance out of family fortune beyond family head´s control) or because of secret vote?
Pavel Young once talked up someone's position and then voted against them (for completely trivial reasons). The fact that he thought he could get away with this would seem to imply that the Lords have secret votes. And why not? It's not like they're elected, after all...
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington

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SMJB wrote:
chornedsnorkack wrote:How effective is the family discipline in Manticore Lords? Are the titleholding parents free to keep the vote of the heir under tight control by keeping the adult child at short purse strings, or can adult heirs of living parents vote according to their own political opinion because of financial independence (adequate personal earnings, or legally assured allowance out of family fortune beyond family head´s control) or because of secret vote?
Pavel Young once talked up someone's position and then voted against them (for completely trivial reasons). The fact that he thought he could get away with this would seem to imply that the Lords have secret votes. And why not? It's not like they're elected, after all...
The House of Lords has both secret votes and "roll call votes", which are presumably not secret.
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington

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Ah.
Simon_Jester wrote:"WHERE IS YOUR MISSILEGOD NOW!?"
Starglider wrote:* Simon stared coldly across the table at the student, who had just finnished explaining the link between the certainty of young earth creation and the divinely ordained supremacy of the white race. "I am updating my P values", Simon said through thinned lips, "to a direction and degree you will find... most unfavourable."
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington

Post by chornedsnorkack »

Simon_Jester wrote:
chornedsnorkack wrote:
Simon_Jester wrote:The thing about an unelected electorate is that it's large, subject to continuous demographic shifts, and is by definition not insulated from public opinion.
Only by definition.
It's a pretty important definition- the public cannot fail to vote for what the public wants.

Only because they are defined as "the public". Unelected electorate may be large, but it is legally free to ignore and overrule people who are not entitled to vote. Like "bloody foreigners", "illegal immigrants", "kids", also "niggers", "Indians", "Coloureds", "women" where legally disfranchised...

E. g. the House of Commons, as of 1831, has about 380 000 voters in England and Wales, out of about 8 million adults of both sexes. Did these voters have "public opinion"?
Simon_Jester wrote:
Simon_Jester wrote:The actual structure of the parties probably has a lot to do with social circles and people who've grown up together among the nobility sharing basically the same political views for decades.
Grown up together with others growing up, or grown up together with others already grown up?
Both, mostly the former, since the current generation of Senior People in the Honorverse are pretty much the first generation to get prolong, with a few exceptions.
Yes, but the cadet seats therefore are the second generation to get prolong.
Simon_Jester wrote:
How much are the voteless young nobles (children of lower lords and adult grandchildren of higher lords) involved in politics and public opinion?
Good question. They seem almost invisible- Weber really did take a more or less recognizable turn-of-the-millenium social structure and superimpose a hereditary aristocracy of property-holders on it. It's not like historical societies, where the nobility had virtually all the spending money and their drunken brawls and duels dominated the social scene in the centers of culture.
Yes - if you look back at the English society back when the House of Lords ruled then the Lords did hold appreciable part of wealth. Later, when the Lords were overshadowed and impoverished, it was because they lost their political power with Parliament Act.

But the young nobles did tinker in politics of England - via rotten boroughs mainly. In 1584, out of 460 MP-s, just 24 were sons of lords. By 1802 or so, the number was quoted as 130 out of 658 (counting both heirs and the younger sons).

How big is the Manticore House of Lords? Is the number of Lords ever mentioned, at least in passing?

Westminster House of Lords was over 1000 before B£iar removed the hereditary Lords, but that was powerless house by then. The House that rejected People´s Budget in 1909 cast 425 votes. This was after a long period of growth - Elizabeth I had had under 70 Lords.
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington

Post by Simon_Jester »

chornedsnorkack wrote:Only because they are defined as "the public". Unelected electorate may be large, but it is legally free to ignore and overrule people who are not entitled to vote. Like "bloody foreigners", "illegal immigrants", "kids", also "niggers", "Indians", "Coloureds", "women" where legally disfranchised...

E. g. the House of Commons, as of 1831, has about 380 000 voters in England and Wales, out of about 8 million adults of both sexes. Did these voters have "public opinion"?
I would say yes. Many people who should have had a vote didn't, but even so, the remaining elite that actually had voting power that could be used to, for example, remove a government which systematically mismanaged state accounts, or which was seen as corrupt, or tolerant of civil unrest.

Also, the only group disenfranchised in Manticore are people who do not pay more in taxes than they receive in government aid, because Weber is a Republican. This apparently works out to a minority of the population, though this is actually surprising since much of Manticore's GDP comes from fees extracted from passing ships, so the tax rates would tend to be rather low. Frankly, I'd see Manticore as more likely to have evolved a parasitic welfare caste than Haven, comparing both nations in 1700 PD; Manticore's the one more likely to fall into the petrostate trap.
Simon_Jester wrote:Yes, but the cadet seats therefore are the second generation to get prolong.
Yes, but only a few of the senior ranks of the nobility seem to have those. A solid majority of the Lords seem to be people of roughly the same age demographic as King Roger III: born in the early 19th century PD, raised and went to college in the non-threatening geopolitical climate of pre-1850 PD, and growing slowly more set in their political ways as Haven grows slowly more threatening.

Certainly everyone with much in the way of political leverage and connections is.
But the young nobles did tinker in politics of England - via rotten boroughs mainly. In 1584, out of 460 MP-s, just 24 were sons of lords. By 1802 or so, the number was quoted as 130 out of 658 (counting both heirs and the younger sons).

How big is the Manticore House of Lords? Is the number of Lords ever mentioned, at least in passing?
Not to my knowledge. Also, there do not seem to be any rotten boroughs or anything like them in Manticore. The constitution genuinely was written to make the House of Commons a functional parliament-style legislature; it's just that it also hardcoded the power of the Lords as being preeminent over that of the Commons.
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington

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Still chugging along.
Much of it stemmed from the simple joy of stretching their legs. Once they'd handed off the freighters who'd lumbered them for so long, Honor's ships had made the run back from Casca well up into the eta band, and the sense of release had been even greater because they hadn't realized quite how heavy-footed they'd really felt on the outward leg.
Again, military FTL is far faster than civilian freighters.
She'd been livid when Venizelos brought Ensign Wolcott into her cabin. Wolcott's experience had crystallized her determination in a way all the insults to her hadn't managed, and she'd launched a full-scale investigation aboard all three ships to see what else someone hadn't reported to her.

The response had been sobering. Few of her other female personnel had experienced anything quite so blatant, yet once she started asking questions dozens came forward, and she suspected, not without a sense of shame, that they'd been silent before for the same reasons as Wolcott. She hadn't had the heart to pin the ensign down, but her red-faced circumlocutions as she described what the Grayson had said about Honor had told their own tale. Honor hoped the ensign hadn't hesitated to speak up for fear her captain would blame the bearer of the news for its content, but whether Wolcott had been afraid of her or not, it was clear her own failure to fight back was at least partly to blame for the general silence. What she'd put up with had inhibited Wolcott (and others) from coming forward, either because they felt she'd proven she could endure worse than they had experienced (and expected them to do the same), or because they figured that if she wouldn't stand up for herself, she wouldn't for them.

Honor knew her own sense of failure was what had made her fury burn so bright, but she'd done an excellent—and deliberate—job of redirecting her anger since. However much of it was her fault, none of it would have happened if Graysons weren't bigoted, chauvinistic, xenophobic cretins. Intellectually, she knew there had to be at least a few Grayson officers who hadn't allowed their cultural biases free rein; emotionally, she no longer cared. Her people had put up with enough. She'd put up with enough. It was time to sort Grayson out, and she felt the fierce support of her crews behind her.
Several Manticoran officers got the cold shoulder, or worse, but swallowed it because Honor was working so hard not to react to any slight.
"Now that's peculiar," Lieutenant Carstairs murmured. "I'm picking up three impeller signatures ahead of us, Captain, range about two-point-five light-seconds. Our vectors are convergent, and they look like LACs, but they don't match anything in my Grayson data profile."
2.5 light seconds allows casual identification of LACs.
"This is ridiculous," McKeon muttered. The LACs were less than a light-second away and still not saying a word! Unless he wanted to assume Grayson had suffered some sort of fleet-wide communications failure, these turkeys had to be up to something. But what? If this was some sort of oddball exercise, he was less than amused by it.

"All right, Tactical," he said finally. "If they want to play games, let's play back. Get me a hull map off their lead unit."

"Aye, aye, Sir!" There was a grin in Carstairs' normally cold voice, and McKeon's lips twitched as he heard it. The radar pulse it would take to map a ship's hull at this range would practically melt the LACs' receivers, and most navies would understand the message he was about to send as well as Carstairs did—it was a galaxy-wide way of shouting "Hey, stupid!" at someone. Of course, these people had been isolated for so long they might not realize how rude Troubadour was being . . . but he could hope.
Apparently light-second approaches without communication are finally cause for some concern, but they're still not suspicious. Short-range radar mapping of hull is a semi-universal slap to the back of the head in the Honorverse.
HMS Troubadour had no warning at all. Lasers are light-speed weapons; by the time your sensors realize someone has fired them at you, they've already hit you.

Each of the Masadan LACs mounted a single laser, and if Troubadour's sidewalls had been up, the crude, relatively low-powered weapons would have been harmless. But her sidewalls weren't up, and Commander McKeon's face went whiter than bone as energy fire smashed into his ship's starboard bow. Plating shattered, damage and collision alarms shrieked, and Troubadour lurched as the kinetic energy bled into her hull.
One laser to each Masadan LAC. Sidewalls can laugh off energy weapons that can casually shred armor.
The helmsman was as startled as anyone else, but twenty years of trained reflex took charge. He snapped the ship up on her port side, simultaneously slewing her bow around to jerk the throat of her impeller wedge away from the enemy, even before he acknowledged the order. It was well he did, for the next salvo of lasers struck harmlessly against the belly of Troubadour's wedge just as her general quarters alarm began to scream.
Snap-roll done in time this time.
"Skipper! Those LACs have fired on Troubadour!" Lieutenant Cardones blurted. And then—"Missiles incoming! Impact in four-five seconds—mark!"
45 seconds to bring up their point-defense and sound GQ from a cold-start. Let's see how Fearless does.
Killian sounded almost detached, not with professional calm, but as if the real shock hadn't hit him yet, yet his response was almost as quick as Cardones'. Fearless squirmed into evasive action—not that she had the base velocity to make it very effective—and Honor heard the pop of pierced upholstery as Nimitz's claws sank into the back of her chair.

A distant corner of her mind remembered a hesitant puppy of a junior-grade lieutenant, but there was no sign of that uncertain young officer today. Rafael Cardones had his priorities exactly right, and the green standby light of the point defense lasers blinked to crimson even before he brought the sidewalls up. There was no time for counter missiles—only the lasers had the response time, and even they had it only under computer command.

The sidewall generators began spinning up just as the lasers opened fire. An incoming missile vanished, then another and another as the computers worked their way methodically through their assigned threat values. More missiles ripped apart as Apollo's point defense opened up on the ones speeding towards her, and Honor gripped the arms of her command chair while Nimitz's tail curled protectively about her throat.

She'd screwed up. She couldn't conceive of any reason for Grayson to be doing this, but she'd let them do it. Dear God, if they'd held their fire only another twenty seconds, not even Rafe Cardones' reactions could have saved her ship! Three wretched little LACs from a planet so primitive it didn't even have molycircs would have annihilated her entire squadron!
Evasive manuvers, point-defense laser clusters and sidewalls can all be made ready inside 45 seconds, at least on a cruiser. With a skilled crew. Counter-missiles are a no-go at this short range, but apparently an attack with a 25 second flight time would have gotten through.
Commander Danville bit off a savage curse. He hadn't been present for Jericho, and he hadn't really believed the reports of how a single Manticoran ship had killed two light cruisers and a pair of destroyers before the rest of the Fleet took him down.
Madrigal's final kill-count.
The one ship he should have been guaranteed to nail had escaped him, but even the speed of Troubadour's response paled beside that of the cruisers' point defense. Bancroft and his brothers massed barely nine thousand tons each. That was far too small to mount worthwhile internal magazines, so they carried their missiles in single-shot box launchers. It reduced the total number they could stow only slightly and let them throw extremely heavy broadsides for their size. Only once per launcher, perhaps, but LACs were eggshells armed with sledgehammers. LAC-versus-LAC engagements tended to end in orgies of mutual destruction; against regular warships, the best a LAC could realistically hope for was to get his missiles off before he was wiped from the universe.

But Danville's squadron had been given every possible edge. They'd sent thirty-nine missiles streaking towards Fearless and Apollo with the advantage of total surprise against defenses that weren't even active—surely one of them should have gotten through!

But it hadn't.

He watched the last missile of his first salvo die a thousand kilometers short of the light cruiser, and threat signals warbled afresh as targeting systems locked onto his tiny ships.
39 missiles stopped on almost zero notice. Then again, it's stressed many times how inferior Masadan missiles are, and at least a few got into what would have been a great range if they'd had laser heads.
Rafe Cardones' point defense was fully on line now. He didn't bother with ECM—the range was too short, and according to his data base, Grayson missiles were almost too stupid to fool, anyway. His counter missiles went out almost as the enemy launched, but he left them to Ensign Wolcott. He had other things on his mind.

His heavy launchers were still coming on line as their crews closed up, but his energy weapons were ready. Dancing fingers locked in the targeting schedule, and a single, big key at the center of his panel flashed, accepting the commands.

He drove it flat.

Nothing at all happened for one endless moment. Then Chief Killian's maneuvers swung Fearless's starboard side towards the LACs. It was only for an instant . . . but an instant was all the waiting computers needed.

A deadly flicker sparkled down the cruiser's armored flank, heavy energy mounts firing like the breath of God, and the range was little more than a quarter million kilometers. No Grayson-built sidewalls could resist that fury at such short range. They did their best, but the beams stabbed through them as if they were paper, and each of those LACs was the target of two lasers and a graser, each vastly more powerful than they themselves mounted.
ECM of limited use against primitive Grayson/Masadan missiles. Fearless either has enough CM launchers or a high enough rate of fire to match the LACs bird for bird. Then again, I'd thought the LACs had box launchers so they could get out all their missiles at once, yet they'refiring additional volleys. Then again, if they'd had just 13 missiles apiece it would hardly be worth sending them out. Bit funny to look back on the days when 39 birds were considered saturation missile-spam.

Against inferior local sidewalls, energy weapons can penetrate at a quarter million klicks, almost triple their normal effective range.
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington

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Box launchers, but in broadsides. Presumably the LACs salvoed one side, then rolled ship to present the other side and salvo that as well.
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington

Post by Simon_Jester »

Ahriman238 wrote:Again, military FTL is far faster than civilian freighters.
Access to higher bands is good for about a 50% speed increase, and military ships can run at about 20-30% faster within any given band on top of that.
"Now that's peculiar," Lieutenant Carstairs murmured. "I'm picking up three impeller signatures ahead of us, Captain, range about two-point-five light-seconds. Our vectors are convergent, and they look like LACs, but they don't match anything in my Grayson data profile."
2.5 light seconds allows casual identification of LACs.
It's probably possible from a lot farther away than that- but that's close enough to make it easy.
Apparently light-second approaches without communication are finally cause for some concern, but they're still not suspicious. Short-range radar mapping of hull is a semi-universal slap to the back of the head in the Honorverse.
They're suspicious, but they're not sure what to be suspicious of, and Honor assumes that these are Grayson LACs instead of Masadan LACs in the absence of any evidence that Masada was planning an attack.
One laser to each Masadan LAC. Sidewalls can laugh off energy weapons that can casually shred armor.
Or, more likely in my estimation, can bend and attenuate a laser beam so that it lacks the intensity to penetrate armor. A laser that would go right through your hull if concentrated on a single square meter of surface might be relatively harmless if it's being spread evenly across a thousand square meters of surface, plus several thousand square meters of vacuum 'above' and 'below' you.
Snap-roll done in time this time.
And faster than the Masadan lasers can recharge for another shot, too. Not bad- though we don't know what the cycle time on the lasers is, and it is probably not short.
"Skipper! Those LACs have fired on Troubadour!" Lieutenant Cardones blurted. And then—"Missiles incoming! Impact in four-five seconds—mark!"
45 seconds to bring up their point-defense and sound GQ from a cold-start. Let's see how Fearless does.
Killian sounded almost detached, not with professional calm, but as if the real shock hadn't hit him yet, yet his response was almost as quick as Cardones'. Fearless squirmed into evasive action—not that she had the base velocity to make it very effective—and Honor heard the pop of pierced upholstery as Nimitz's claws sank into the back of her chair.

...

She'd screwed up. She couldn't conceive of any reason for Grayson to be doing this, but she'd let them do it. Dear God, if they'd held their fire only another twenty seconds, not even Rafe Cardones' reactions could have saved her ship! Three wretched little LACs from a planet so primitive it didn't even have molycircs would have annihilated her entire squadron!
Evasive manuvers, point-defense laser clusters and sidewalls can all be made ready inside 45 seconds, at least on a cruiser. With a skilled crew. Counter-missiles are a no-go at this short range, but apparently an attack with a 25 second flight time would have gotten through.
I'm guessing most of that is just time to switch on and boot up the systems.
39 missiles stopped on almost zero notice. Then again, it's stressed many times how inferior Masadan missiles are, and at least a few got into what would have been a great range if they'd had laser heads.
Probably more than that. 45 seconds to cover... I'm not sure what the range is, but I'm going to try guesstimating 1.5 light seconds, would give a fifty thousand gravity acceleration. With modern missile drives they'd have covered a comparable distance in about two thirds the time, and they'd shave a few more seconds with their superior standoff range, while also avoiding the period when the Manticoran lasers have the best chance of scoring actual hits. That would probably have allowed them to get multiple hits on both cruisers and decide the whole campaign in Masada's favor.
ECM of limited use against primitive Grayson/Masadan missiles. Fearless either has enough CM launchers or a high enough rate of fire to match the LACs bird for bird. Then again, I'd thought the LACs had box launchers so they could get out all their missiles at once, yet they'refiring additional volleys. Then again, if they'd had just 13 missiles apiece it would hardly be worth sending them out. Bit funny to look back on the days when 39 birds were considered saturation missile-spam.
Well, a combined salvo of forty missiles from thirty to forty thousand tons of ship is actually still pretty good. Sure, something like a Saganami-C can turn out a salvo like that every... what, 15 seconds? But on the other hand, it also outmasses the entire LAC formation by about a factor of three.
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington

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Simon_Jester wrote:
Apparently light-second approaches without communication are finally cause for some concern, but they're still not suspicious. Short-range radar mapping of hull is a semi-universal slap to the back of the head in the Honorverse.
They're suspicious, but they're not sure what to be suspicious of, and Honor assumes that these are Grayson LACs instead of Masadan LACs in the absence of any evidence that Masada was planning an attack.
Also, even if they were planning an attack, LACs (at this point) by definition wouldn't be in hostile space. Unidentified cruiser or destroyer? Problem. LAC in friendly system? Must be friendly.
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington

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Simon_Jester wrote:
One laser to each Masadan LAC. Sidewalls can laugh off energy weapons that can casually shred armor.
Or, more likely in my estimation, can bend and attenuate a laser beam so that it lacks the intensity to penetrate armor. A laser that would go right through your hull if concentrated on a single square meter of surface might be relatively harmless if it's being spread evenly across a thousand square meters of surface, plus several thousand square meters of vacuum 'above' and 'below' you.
Snap-roll done in time this time.
And faster than the Masadan lasers can recharge for another shot, too. Not bad- though we don't know what the cycle time on the lasers is, and it is probably not short.
Depends on your definition of 'short', but given the PDLs on a Saganami C have a cycle time of 2 seconds and are, well, PDLs, I think assuming the (presumably more powerful even on a LAC even for prewar Masadan tech, especially figuring in the inferiority of Masadan tech) LAC lasers have a considerably longer cycle time is reasonable.
Well, a combined salvo of forty missiles from thirty to forty thousand tons of ship is actually still pretty good. Sure, something like a Saganami-C can turn out a salvo like that every... what, 15 seconds? But on the other hand, it also outmasses the entire LAC formation by about a factor of three.
Make that 12 to 16. A Saganami C weighs in at some 483,000 tons :D
Of course, not all missiles are created equal, so just comparing numbers per salvo is not all there is to it.

And Honor believing her squadron could be shot to shit by mere LACs (active defenses down or no) kinda collides with the pounding Fearless took later in the book. Her active defenses were largely blown to smithereens then too yet she held together and kept on fighting. A ship that can do that against a contemporary battlecruiser should be able to blithely ignore a triplet of way behind the times LACs even with her defenses down. Armour doesn't go offline, afterall (well except in Trek).
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington

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Batman wrote:And Honor believing her squadron could be shot to shit by mere LACs (active defenses down or no) kinda collides with the pounding Fearless took later in the book. Her active defenses were largely blown to smithereens then too yet she held together and kept on fighting. A ship that can do that against a contemporary battlecruiser should be able to blithely ignore a triplet of way behind the times LACs even with her defenses down. Armour doesn't go offline, afterall (well except in Trek).

Not really. Considering they'd be taking the nukes as contact detonations rather than a few laser beams of much less energy content.

Compare and contrast what a couple of contact nukes do a battlecruiser later in the book. Then multiple that a dozen fold, considering the extra missiles the LACs throw.
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington

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Contact nukes from a Manticoran heavy cruiser. Something tells me those are going to be the tiniest bit heavier than something Masadan LACs can throw.
And those contact nukes didn't exactly cripple 'Thunder of God' now did they?
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington

Post by Simon_Jester »

They kind of did cripple her with those nukes. In a battle against a roughly comparable opponent she'd be dead meat.

As to warhead size- not necessarily. Honorverse missiles are the size of an ICBM, even a LAC is roughly the size of a ballistic missile submarine, so at a bare minimum they should be able to manage a nuclear warhead with yield comparable to a real ICBM warhead. Tens of megatons at close range is a very real threat to an Honorverse warship below the wall.

EDIT: By the way, Ahriman, you forgot the scene where they brought the LACs into Grayson space in the first place, which was actually rather interesting and illustrates an unusual capability Honorverse ships have- the ability to tow other objects through hyperspace.
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington

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Simon_Jester wrote: By the way, Ahriman, you forgot the scene where they brought the LACs into Grayson space in the first place, which was actually rather interesting and illustrates an unusual capability Honorverse ships have- the ability to tow other objects through hyperspace.
No I haven't, I'm just sticking to the book's order, and the scene where Yu rants about the whole crazy situation isn't for two more chapters.

In point of fact, this is where the reader for the first time discovers that there are Masadan LACs at Yeltsin, where the later bit explains how this paradoxical situation came to be.
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington

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tim31 wrote:On a related side note, I hadn't read this before and thought it'd do well to be shared. In Ovens Baked, by David Weber(but not really)
Bit late, but I admit that was funny.
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington

Post by Vehrec »

So....why in that box-launcher ambush didn't the Havenites provide their allies with at least marginally upgraded missiles? I'm thinking not even first-gen laserheads, but an off-the-shelf guidance component and some of last decade's pen-aids from their own scrapped stockpiles? Something like Argentina's Exorcets, or something like that.
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington

Post by Batman »

Simon_Jester wrote:They kind of did cripple her with those nukes. In a battle against a roughly comparable opponent she'd be dead meat.
I think we're working with different definitions of 'crippled'. 'Thunder of God' was hurt, and badly, but she was still at least partially (I'm inclined to say mostly, in the strict 'better than 50 percent' sense) combat effective afterwards. Well would have been if she hadn't been crewed by people who were still in week 1 of 'how to properly operate a warship'.
As to warhead size- not necessarily. Honorverse missiles are the size of an ICBM, even a LAC is roughly the size of a ballistic missile submarine, so at a bare minimum they should be able to manage a nuclear warhead with yield comparable to a real ICBM warhead. Tens of megatons at close range is a very real threat to an Honorverse warship below the wall.
Unless Shrikes and their CLAC-based brethren are considerably smaller (and especially shorter) than conventional LACs while they considerably outmass modern SSBNs, they are not the same size/volume. Which doesn't in any way invalidate your point-in single shot/revolver launchers yes, even modern day technology could give them low MT warheads (unless we want to assume that Masadan/Grayson drive systems are so bulky as to seriously intrude on the space available for the warhead).
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington

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Vehrec wrote:So....why in that box-launcher ambush didn't the Havenites provide their allies with at least marginally upgraded missiles? I'm thinking not even first-gen laserheads, but an off-the-shelf guidance component and some of last decade's pen-aids from their own scrapped stockpiles? Something like Argentina's Exorcets, or something like that.
My first thought would be a PC/Mac-style computer thing. It can sometimes be hard just to keep one application working between different generations of the same operating system, and we don't have any clue what kind of differences there are between Masadan and Peep computer systems. Plus, the Peeps don't trust the Masadans any more than the Manticorans.
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington

Post by Vehrec »

StarSword wrote:
Vehrec wrote:So....why in that box-launcher ambush didn't the Havenites provide their allies with at least marginally upgraded missiles? I'm thinking not even first-gen laserheads, but an off-the-shelf guidance component and some of last decade's pen-aids from their own scrapped stockpiles? Something like Argentina's Exorcets, or something like that.
My first thought would be a PC/Mac-style computer thing. It can sometimes be hard just to keep one application working between different generations of the same operating system, and we don't have any clue what kind of differences there are between Masadan and Peep computer systems. Plus, the Peeps don't trust the Masadans any more than the Manticorans.
The first point is a fair one I guess-but the Peeps gave them a ship. That seems a bigger commitment than a few moderately modern missiles.
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington

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Vehrec wrote:So....why in that box-launcher ambush didn't the Havenites provide their allies with at least marginally upgraded missiles? I'm thinking not even first-gen laserheads, but an off-the-shelf guidance component and some of last decade's pen-aids from their own scrapped stockpiles? Something like Argentina's Exorcets, or something like that.
Haven does not appear to have provided any meaningful upgrades to the Masadan ships and weapons, allowing them to remain very primitive. I can think of a number of possible reasons for this.

One, Haven is trying to keep up some kind of deniability about its involvement until such time as Masada has already won. A large stream of upgraded hardware in Masadan hands endangers that more than a couple of modern ships held in reserve.

Two, the Masadans themselves may be hesitant to accept systems upgrades that might leave them too dependent on Havenite technical support. They already have this problem on their new modern warships, where they are essentially unable to operate the ships without Havenites looking over their shoulders.

Three, the Masadan hardware is so crude and different that updating it might be effectively impossible- to modify the Masadan missiles the Havenites would have to lengthen the chassis until they don't fit in the box launchers, or they'd need to modify the Masadan ships to feed the right kind of data into the Havenite missile seekers, or something of that nature.

Remember that most military weapons are actually weapon systems, complicated arrangements of different pieces of technology that all have to interface and coordinate to work properly. Changing one part of the system may have little or no effect.
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington

Post by Ahriman238 »

Largely the separation, I believe. In theory, Haven simply sold Masada those ships, while some crew took a great deal of overdue leave time to moonlight as technical consultants. Of course, Haven eventually intends to dominate Masada, and may not be happy about arming them. But really, all the explanation we need is that Haven has already given them everything they could possibly need to get the job done. The idea that this farcical battle would go on this long would not have occurred to the planners of this operation. I promise they wouldn't have considered the idea that the Masadans would use a state-of-the art battlecruiser with more firepower than the entire Grayson Navy as a tugboat to bring a score of outdated LACs.
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington

Post by Ahriman238 »

"We've lost Missile Two and Radar Three. That leaves point defense wide open on the starboard beam. The same hit carried through into the forward impellers—Alpha Four's gone, and so is Beta Eight. The second hit came in right on Frame Twenty and carried clear back through sickbay. It took out the master control runs to Laser Three and Missile Four and breached Magazine Two. The magazine's a total write-off; Laser Three and Missile Four are on line in local control, and we're repressurizing and rigging new runs to them now, but we lost thirty-one people, including Dr. McFee and two sick berth attendants, and we've got wounded."

His voice was harsh with pain, and Honor's eyes were dark as she nodded, but for all that, they both knew Troubadour had been incredibly lucky. The loss of one of her forward missile tubes and an entire magazine had hurt her offensive capability, and Radar Three's destruction left a dangerous chink in her anti-missile defenses. But her combat power was far less impaired than it might have been, and the casualties could have been much, much worse. She'd been lamed, and until the alpha node was replaced she couldn't generate a forward Warshawski sail, but she could still maneuver and fight.
Damage to Troubador by Masadan LACs. Also casualties. But it seems even ancient LACs are a danger, to an enemy that's not expecting trouble.

"It seems crazy to me, too," she went on after a moment, her voice grim, "but as of right now, this squadron is on a war footing. I intend to enter attack range of Grayson and demand an explanation and the stand-down of their fleet. I also intend to demand to speak to our people planet-side. If any of my demands is refused, or if our delegation has been harmed in any way, we will engage and destroy the Grayson Navy. Is that understood?"
I just like this. There's no logical reason for the Masadans to have LACs in the system, it's more-or-less impossible that they could be in the system. So Honor assumes that they're Grayson, even if the Manticoran delegation on the ground talks her down quickly enough.
"I will continue to Grayson at my best speed. Expect my arrival in Grayson orbit in—" she checked her astrogation readout "—approximately four hours twenty-eight minutes from now."
Approximate time from hyper-limit to Grayson.

No one, Captain Yu included, had been prepared for just how good Manticoran anti-missile systems had turned out to be. They'd known the RMN's electronic warfare capability was better than theirs, and they'd assumed a certain margin of superiority for their other systems as well, but the speed and accuracy of Madrigal's point defense had shocked all of them. It had turned what should have been a complete kill into something far less, and if the destroyer's defenses hadn't been overextended by her efforts to protect her consorts, she probably would have gotten out completely undamaged.

It would have been different in a sustained engagement, when their own computers could have gotten a read on Madrigal's responses and they could have shifted their firing patterns and penaid settings until they found a way through them. But they'd only had one shot each, and the destroyer had knocked down entirely too many of their missiles.
To try and resolve an old argument, it seems that Honorverse tactical computers DO keep a running record and pattern analysis looking for weaknesses in the enemy missile defense. Of course, just throwing enough missiles will get you a hit eventually, even Coglin got that far. Still, we're in that brief sunny period when Haven officers know that Manticoran tech outclasses them, but consistently underestimate how much better it is.

It had been like a mob armed with clubs charging a man with a pulser. Madrigal's missiles had blown the cruisers Samson and Noah and the destroyer Throne right out of space as they closed, and then the Masadans entered her energy range and it only got worse. The cruiser David had survived, but she was little more than a hulk, and the destroyers Cherubim and Seraphim had been crippled before they ever got into their energy range.

Of course, the clubs had had their own turn after that. Crude as Masadan energy weapons were, there'd simply been too many of them for her, and they'd battered her to bits. But even after she'd been mortally wounded, Madrigal had set her teeth in the destroyers Archangel and Angel. She'd pounded them until she didn't have a single weapon left, and she'd taken Archangel with her. Of the entire squadron which had closed with her, only the cruiser Solomon and the destroyer Dominion remained combat effective . . . and, of course, Franks' decision to slow for the suicidal engagement meant the surviving Graysons had escaped.
Madrigal's last stand, from the Haven/Masadan side. Also accounting for how the Masadan's have lost half their navy too.

That was when Commander Valentine made his suggestion, and Yu didn't know whether to strangle his engineer or kiss him. It had wasted three days already, and Tractor Five's breakdown was going to stretch that still further, but it had gotten Simonds to agree, if only hesitantly, to press forward.

Valentine had pointed out that both Thunder and Principality had far more powerful hyper generators than any Masadan starship. In fact, their generators were powerful enough to extend their translation fields over six kilometers beyond their own hulls if he redlined them. That meant that if they translated from rest, they could take anything within six kilometers with them when they did. And that meant that if Masadan LACs clustered closely enough around them, they could boost the lighter vessels into hyper space.

Normally, that would have been little more than an interesting parlor trick, but Valentine had taken the entire idea one stage further. No LAC crew could survive the sort of acceleration ships routinely pulled in hyper for the simple reason that their inertial compensator would pack up the instant they tried it. But if they took the entire crew off and removed or secured all loose gear, Valentine suggested, there was no reason the ships themselves couldn't take the acceleration on the end of a tractor beam.

Yu had thought he was out of his mind, but the engineer had pulled up the numbers on his terminal and demonstrated the theoretical possibility. Simonds had jumped at it, and to Yu's considerable surprise, it had worked.

So far, they'd lost only two of the tiny ships. The LACs were just big enough it took three tractors to zone each of them, and one tractor had lost lock during acceleration. That LAC had simply snapped in half; the second had survived the journey only to have its crew find a ragged, three-meter hole torn half the length of their ship where a twelve-ton pressure tank had come adrift and crashed aft like an ungainly cannonball.

Of course, the towing ships had been crowded almost beyond endurance by packing in the crews who couldn't survive aboard their own ships and, as Manning had said, the strain on their tractors had been enormous. But it had worked—and Yu had found Thunder and Principality playing tugboat back and forth between Endicott and Yeltsin's Star.

It was a short hop, barely twelve hours either way for a modern warship, even towing LACs behind her, but there were only two vessels capable of pulling it off, and they could tow only three LACs at a time: two behind Thunder and one behind Principality. They simply didn't have enough tractors to move more than that. In three days, they'd transferred eighteen of Masada's twenty LACs to Yeltsin—well, sixteen, discounting the two they'd lost. This final trip by Thunder would move the last of them, and if he couldn't see that their firepower afforded any particular tactical advantage, it seemed to have bolstered the Masadans' confidence, so perhaps it hadn't been an entire waste.
Like Yu's XO says at some point, any ship that can tow an LAC through hyperspace is probably worth half a dozen LACs, so those who have the capability don't really have any use for it. I suspect the crowding problems would be a lot worse if Yeltsin and Endicott weren't pretty much side-by-side already.

Cloth rustled, and he turned his head to see his brother's junior wife. He couldn't recall her name, and she wore the traditional form-shrouding dress of a Masadan woman, but her face was unveiled, and the Sword suppressed a grin as he suddenly realized that at least a portion of Huggins' obvious anger was directed at that shocking breach of propriety. Thomas had always been vain about his virility, and it had pandered to his amour propre to take a wife barely eighteen T-years of age. He already had six others, and Matthew doubted he still had the endurance to mount any of them, but Thomas had taken to flaunting his new prize's beauty whenever his associates met in his home.

The practice drove Huggins berserk—which was one reason Thomas did it. Had the wench belonged to anyone else, the fire-and-brimstone elder would have sent her to the post for a public flogging prefaced by a few pointed words on the laxity of the man who allowed his wife to behave in such ungodly fashion. If the man in question had been unimportant enough, he might even have called for his stoning. As it was, he had to pretend he hadn't noticed.
The Chief Elder waving his wife's bare face in a Senior Elder's. Ah politics, where HUggins has to swallow the insult and showboating, truly it's the same all over. That said, these guys can't even get being backwards misogynist fanatics right. You're not supposed to punish the husband, certainly not worse than the wife.

Matthew was aware that Huggins no longer trusted Yu—or anyone who agreed with him, for that matter—a millimeter. Yet what he'd just said was self-evidently true . . . and he'd avoided mentioning what those same people of his in Yu's tactical section had had to say about his own decision to support Franks' tactics in Yeltsin. He hadn't been too happy to hear it himself, but if he punished them for it, they would almost certainly start telling him what he wanted to hear, not what they truly thought.
Huh, Simonds using his head for something other than holding his hat.

"Very well, Brothers, I think we have reached our moment of decision. Maccabeus remains our best hope. If he can secure control of Grayson by domestic means, we'll be in a far better position to stave off further Manticoran intervention. No doubt they'll demand steep reparations, and I am prepared even to bend my neck to publicly apologize for our 'accidental' attack on a ship we didn't realize wasn't Apostate-built, but the destruction of any local regime to support their aims in the region should cause them to cut their losses. And, given their traditional foreign policy, it's unlikely they'll have the will and courage to conquer us to gain the base they desire. Most importantly, if Maccabeus succeeds, we can gain gradual control of Grayson without further overt military action, which means we will no longer need Haven, either, so I think we must delay Thunder's return to Yeltsin for at least one more day to give him time."
And the shoe drops.

The Masadans aren't scared because of Madrigal's mauling of their fleet, they're stalling for time. They have their own agent in place to enact a coup and give them Grayson. Originally, it was supposed to happen at the same time Jericho destroyed the Grayson Navy, but had issues coordinating things on the ground without tipping off Yu. Now they're hoping to pull it off on their own and owe Haven nothing.

"Bearing all of this in mind, Sword Simonds, I hereby direct you to begin military operations to reduce the Apostate navy, followed, if necessary, by demonstration nuclear strikes on their less important cities, to create the conditions for Maccabeus' success. You will begin those operations within twelve hours of your return to Yeltsin with the last of our LACs."
Again, the justification for the coup is supposed to be that Protector Mayhew has led Grayson to ruin.
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington

Post by Simon_Jester »

Ahriman238 wrote:Damage to Troubador by Masadan LACs. Also casualties. But it seems even ancient LACs are a danger, to an enemy that's not expecting trouble.
The main problem is that the destroyer is effectively unarmored. The Chansons (which I'm pretty sure Troubador is) are supposed to be products of an "Enhanced Survivability Program," but you can only do so much with a few thousand extra tons of armor distributed over something like ten thousand square meters of hull.

Also, shipboard energy weapons are insanely destructive against rival ships.
That said, these guys can't even get being backwards misogynist fanatics right. You're not supposed to punish the husband, certainly not worse than the wife.
They're pretty hardcore about denying women agency. So on the one hand, any woman who ever does anything without male permission is horribly brutalized- on the other hand, the males are kept in a state of constant terror of the theocratic police state and its rules, so as to ensure that they keep the women in line.
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington

Post by Vehrec »

I can think of a few uses for towing a couple of LAC-sized hulls around-not as attack boats necessarily, but if you strip out all the offensive weapons, and fit some decent sensors, they might make good forward deployed anti-missile nodes. A box-launcher or two of countermissiles, a couple of point defense lasers, and some ECM emitters, and you might have something worth while. It's also worth looking into for survey or anti-piracy work, and if you plan for it, you won't run into silly 'oh noes, we've overloaded our delicate life support system' as the 'crowded almost beyond endurance' line implies. One gets the impression that these ships were built without much of a useful margin.

And if you want a historical example, look at the voyage of the Beagle, where the 235 ton ship carried no less than five boats of various sizes, one about a quarter the length of the entire ship. In that case, the Beagle was reduced to carrying only six guns instead of ten-but the addition of a mizzenmast also plays a role in that reduction.
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington

Post by Black Admiral »

Vehrec wrote:
StarSword wrote:
Vehrec wrote:So....why in that box-launcher ambush didn't the Havenites provide their allies with at least marginally upgraded missiles? I'm thinking not even first-gen laserheads, but an off-the-shelf guidance component and some of last decade's pen-aids from their own scrapped stockpiles? Something like Argentina's Exorcets, or something like that.
My first thought would be a PC/Mac-style computer thing. It can sometimes be hard just to keep one application working between different generations of the same operating system, and we don't have any clue what kind of differences there are between Masadan and Peep computer systems. Plus, the Peeps don't trust the Masadans any more than the Manticorans.
The first point is a fair one I guess-but the Peeps gave them a ship. That seems a bigger commitment than a few moderately modern missiles.
Aside of the points mentioned by others, Thunder of God/Saladin and Principality/Breslau are, from Haven's perspective, easier to control than general tech transfers (since the majority of both ships' critical personnel, and their COs (plus Saladin's Marines) are regular Havenite personnel "on shooting leave" (to borrow an old euphemism)) and provide a couple of options if everything goes Pete Tong on them for diplomatic footwork as far as forestalling an angry Manticoran response goes. Providing the Masadans with modern weaponry - assuming for the moment that they could integrate it into their existing ships (which as discussed is unlikely) - is something that's a lot harder to keep some control over if the Masadans decide to do something ill-advised with them.
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