Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington

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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington

Post by Batman »

Um-the Alliance they built so they wouldn't have to fight Haven all by their lonesome? When you tell somebody 'If you throw in with us, we'll protect you' and then don't that rather tends to predispose said party to seek alternative solutions, like opting out of the Alliance?
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington

Post by PKRudeBoy »

But the Alliance doesn't actually do much of anything. On one hand we have Grayson, a backwards shithole that with Manticoran help is able to start churning out modern ships by the squadron. Why don't any of the other allies make similar leaps? Sure, Erewhon gets some mention, but all the other members are basically described as piddling little rocks with no real navies to speak of that just suck up more resources then they're worth.
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington

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PKRudeBoy wrote:But the Alliance doesn't actually do much of anything. On one hand we have Grayson, a backwards shithole that with Manticoran help is able to start churning out modern ships by the squadron. Why don't any of the other allies make similar leaps? Sure, Erewhon gets some mention, but all the other members are basically described as piddling little rocks with no real navies to speak of that just suck up more resources then they're worth.
They provide inhabited star systems in which to set bases up for repair and maintenance, at least. At the time the Alliance was made, they were more concerned with territory and a deep frontier, preventing lightning strikes and encirclement, than they were with material contributions. They were going to have to, by their logic, station fleets out on the frontier somewhere. Having somewhere that could provide material and logistics support themselves, instead of having to supply it from Manticore, was a net win even if they didn't ever build a ship of their own. Most of the Alliance builds light ships: cruisers and such, leaving the more valuable and efficient slips at the home yards free to build ships of the wall.
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington

Post by Simon_Jester »

Also, if the Manticorans don't make an effort to secure those systems, the Havenites can muscle in on them at will and set up another wave of fleet bases very close to Manticore. This will make it much harder to prevent Havenite forces from attacking the Manticoran home system directly. Havenite ships have shorter operational endurance because of their maintenance requirements, so they're a good deal more dangerous when fighting closer to a base.

So fighting the war on these terms runs you into two problems:

One, the Havenites have practically their entire fleet parked near your homeworld and periodically send raids in force against any exposed targets (like the planet Sphinx, or the Junction). This is bad for your economy.

Two, you have no realistic means of ever taking the war into Havenite space, which means that they can keep it up indefinitely, gradually building up military strength. Defensively you are strong, but offensively you are powerless.

Contrast this with the situation in the later books, with Manticore holding Trevor's Star during the second round of the war, which they can use as a 'sally port' to launch raids deep into Havenite space. But to get to Trevor's Star the RMN had to fight its way through many light-years of Havenite space, and that would not have been possible if they'd just parked the whole Manticoran fleet in their home system.
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington

Post by Ahriman238 »

Just finishing up the Parks/Sarnow full-contact debate about Honor. Not quoting his providing needed context to the incidents Parks listed, just look upthread to see that. But I will include this about the incident with the Weapons Development Board.

”As for her appearance before the WDB, she addressed herself solely to the issues the Board had invited her there to discuss, and did so in a rational, respectful fashion. If the conclusion of the board embarrassed its chairwoman, that certainly wasn't her fault.”
Like I said, there seem to be conflicting reports about Honor's report to the WDB about the grav-lance and energy torpedo mix. Parks thinks she said what she had to say, but publicly humiliated Hemphill and should have bee more respectful, Sarnow thinks she was perfectly respectful and reasonable throughout.

Countess!” Parks snorted. “That was no more than a political gesture to please the Graysons by acknowledging all the awards they piled on her!”

“With respect, Sir, it was much more than a ‘political gesture,’ though I don’t deny it pleased the Graysons. Of course, if she’d been given the precedence actually due a Steadholder under Grayson law- or for that matter, commensurate with the size of her estates on Grayson or their probably eventual income- she wouldn't have been made a countess. She’d be Duchess Harrington.”
Saving an allied system has to come with some perks, so yes I believe the knighting and comte were more than just sops to appease Grayson. Also, the first mention I can find of just how extensive and productive her holding oh Grayson really is, or will be.

”Finally, Sir, there is no record, anywhere, of her ever acting with less than total professionalism and courtesy to any individual who had not offered nearly intolerable provocation to her. Nor is there any record of her ever having done one millimeter less than her duty.”

“As for your judgment that you don’t want her under your command, I can only say that I am delighted to have her under mine. And if she remains as my flag captain, then both her position and her record require that she be accorded the respect they deserve.”

Silence stretched out between them, and Parks felt his anger like slow, churning lava as he recognized the ultimatum in Sarnow’s eyes. The only way to get rid of Harrington was to get rid of Sarnow, and he couldn't. He’s known that from the start, given the Admiralty’s decision to assign both of them here- and, for that matter, to give Harrington Nike. Worse, Sarnow was just likely to lodge a formal complaint if he tried to sack Harrington, and except for her obvious inability or unwillingness to restrain her temper, he had no overt justification for doing so- especially with Sarnow so obviously poised to write an outstanding fitness report on her for any board of inquiry.

He wanted to snarl at the rear admiral, to relieve him for insubordination and send them both packing, but he couldn't. And deep inside he knew part of it was his own temper, his own anger and frustration. Not just at having to put up with Harrington, but for having put himself in a position which allowed this arrogant sprig to lecture him on military propriety… and be right, damn him!
Jeez, guy. She hasn't been in the same room with, or spoken to, you once. You arranged it that way. What has she done to possibly deserve a sacking, even with your scrambling for any excuse to justify it? Done a couple of things in the past that make you uncomfortable? And yeah, I'd be pretty disappointed if your immediate subordinates didn't file a complaint when you summarily relieved an officer whose gone above and beyond, because of personal reasons when you've never even interacted with her, because of personal reasons. It's sort of the least they can do if you're going to start playing tin god with your station.

Also slightly amused that Sarnow, who was pretty concerned himself when Honor was first assigned to him, is now her staunch defender. Then again, by now he's been working night and day with her for over a month, so he's actually had the occasion to get to know her.

Parks, I don't know. I said before I think his actions reflected someone who didn't want to deal with or even think about this problem person, but who clearly hadn't given the matter even a minute of conscious thought. Otherwise he would have realized he was breaking protocol for a nonsensical vendetta, with a predictable deleterious effect on his command. Here he's acting like a toddler throwing a tantrum, wanting Honor gone and damn all reason, thinking for justification, regretting that Sarnow is never going to play along. It's like he's offended that he has to share a Navy, much less a posting with someone of Honor's character flaws. But that makes no more sense, a vice admiral will have encountered many officers far more loathsome than Honor, and learned long ago to work with them anyway. Maybe Sarnow is forcing him to confront his own feelings and failings here, I don't know. The one thing stranger than this personal/professional-relations subplot is it's ultimate resolution.

For now, Parks agrees to invite Honor to staff conferences (she'll probably regret that before too long) and treat her like any other flag captain, with just a tiny veiled threat that she'd better live up to Sarnow's confidence in her, or else. Well, actually it was "for both your sakes."
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington

Post by Simon_Jester »

Ahriman238 wrote:Jeez, guy. She hasn't been in the same room with, or spoken to, you once. You arranged it that way. What has she done to possibly deserve a sacking, even with your scrambling for any excuse to justify it? Done a couple of things in the past that make you uncomfortable? And yeah, I'd be pretty disappointed if your immediate subordinates didn't file a complaint when you summarily relieved an officer whose gone above and beyond, because of personal reasons when you've never even interacted with her, because of personal reasons. It's sort of the least they can do if you're going to start playing tin god with your station.
Agreed. This is perhaps the first example of "villain stupidity" in the series, true stupidity. Coglin, Simonds, and the other antagonists of the first two books had logical reasons for their antagonism, even if that reason was "I am a petty jackass unworthy of my command."

Parks, on the other hand, is being presented as seriously meriting his command, as a respected and respectable naval officer, who nevertheless takes a totally random dislike to Honor for reasons that are transparently arbitrary. While such things do happen in military service, they don't make for good fiction.
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington

Post by Ahriman238 »

See, I can buy that'd he have problems with Honor based on her reputation. Like I said, without context some of the things she's done sound pretty terrible, and for those first few books she did have a legitimate temper problem, though never to the extent of being a loose cannon like Parks seems to think she is.

I can buy that a big believer in propriety would be uncomfortable with a woman who backhanded a diplomat, whatever the circumstances.

I can sort of buy the snub of not inviting her to meetings. I still think it's a half-assed way of dealing with any sort of problem, there's just zero potential for any sort of resolution the way even inviting her for a courtesy call and quietly explaining the things that will not be accepted at this station would.

Half-ranting at Sarnow? Saying he wants her gone, resenting Sarnow for not giving in on that point? Where did this escalation come from? It's as though he suddenly hates for no real reason.
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington

Post by Simon_Jester »

Yes, that's what I'm getting at. It's not that his motives are illogical, it's that the way he goes about his role as an antagonist is utterly loony.
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington

Post by Terralthra »

I'm going to presume here that neither of you guys are married? This phenomenon - where one makes a stupid stand over a largely-pointless issue, but now that one has taken a stand, one must defend that stand, and it makes one paradoxically angrier and more defensive because one knows the initial decision one made and the stand one has taken were stupid to begin with - is well-known in interpersonal relationships. It happens all the time, and I'd be shocked if it didn't happen in the military, too.
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington

Post by Simon_Jester »

I can honestly say I've never done this, or at least I really really don't think I have.

Also, I get married in ten days, so technically yeah. :)
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington

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When they occur in economic decision-making contexts, these situations are referred to either as falling prey to a sunk-cost fallacy or to "irrational escalation of commitment." The two terms describe somewhat different scenarios. I could give you dozens of instances you'd easily recognize on a political or economic level. For example:
Memo from George Ball to President Lyndon Johnson, July, 1965; source: The Pentagon Papers, 1971. wrote:Once large numbers of U.S. troops are committed to direct combat, they will begin to take heavy casualties in a war they are ill-equipped to fight in a non-cooperative if not downright hostile countryside. Once we suffer large casualties, we will have started a well-nigh irreversible process. Our involvement will be so great that we cannot--without national humiliation--stop short of achieving our complete objectives. Of the two possibilities, I think humilitation [sic] would be more likely than the achievement of our objectives--even after we have paid terrible costs.
Another example would be the Dollar Auction:
In his 1971 paper, Shubik describes the dollar auction as an "extremely simple, highly amusing and instructive parlor game." A dollar bill is auctioned with these two rules:

1. (As in any auction) the dollar bill goes to the highest bidder, who pays whatever the high bid was. Each new bid has to be higher than the current high bid, and the game ends when there is no new bid within a specified time limit.

2. (Unlike at Sotheby's!) the second-highest bidder also has to pay the amount of his last bid – and gets nothing in return. You really don't want to be the second-highest bidder.

Shubik wrote, "A large crowd is desirable. Furthermore, experience has indicated that the best time is during a party when spirits are high and the propensity to calculate does not settle in until at least two bids have been made."

Shubik's two rules swiftly lead to madness. "Do I hear 10 cents?" asks the auctioneer – "5 cents?"

Well, it's a dollar bill, and anyone can have it for a penny. So someone says 1 cent. The auctioneer accepts the bid. Now anyone can have the dollar bill for 2 cents. That's still better than the rate Chase Manhattan gives you, so someone says 2 cents. It would be crazy not to.

The second bid puts the first bidder in the uncomfortable position of being the second-highest bidder. Should the bidding stop now, he would be charged 1 cent for nothing. So this person has particular reason to make a new bid – "3 cents." And so on

Maybe you're way ahead of me. You might think that the bill will finally go for the full price of $1.00 – a sad comment on greed, that no one got a bargain. If so, you'd be way too optimistic.

Eventually someone does bid $1.00. That leaves someone else with a second-highest bid of 99 cents or less. If the bidding stops at $1.00, the underbidder is in the hole for as much as 99 cents. So this person has incentive to bid $1.01 for the dollar bill. Provided he wins, he would be out only a penny (for paying $1.01 for a dollar bill). That's better than losing 99 cents.

That leads the $1.00 bidder to top that bid. Shubik wrote, "There is a pause and hesitation in the group as the bid goes through the one dollar barrier. From then on, there is a duel with bursts of speed until tension builds, bidding then slows and finally peters out."

No matter what the stage of the bidding, the second-highest bidder can improve his position by almost a dollar by barely topping the current high bid. Yet the predicament of the second-highest bidder gets worse and worse! This peculiar game leads to a bad case of buyer's remorse. The highest bidder pays far more than a dollar for a dollar, and the second-highest bidder pays far more than a dollar for nothing.

Computer scientist Marvin Minsky learned of the game and popularized it at MIT. Shubik reported: "Experience with the game has shown that it is possible to 'sell' a dollar bill for considerably more than a dollar. A total of payments between three and five dollars is not uncommon." Possibly W. C. Fields said it best: "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Then quit. No use being a damn fool about it."
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington

Post by Simon_Jester »

Hm. That might explain why I don't do that. I also give weirdly stubborn results in the Asch experiment, so it's confirmed that I'm a weirdo. ;)

Anyway, I'm familiar with the concept, it's just weird to me because I derive a perverse pleasure from admitting that I am wrong.
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington

Post by Jedipilot24 »

Twilight Zone moment.
The People's Republic of Haven isn't a parody anymore.
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington

Post by phongn »

Jedipilot24 wrote:Twilight Zone moment.
The People's Republic of Haven isn't a parody anymore.
http://lmgtfy.com/?q=msnbc+krystal+ball+poverty
One, you could've posted the direct link to MSNBC. Two, guaranteed minimum income proposals have been floating around for years. Three, what do you meant "isn't a parody"?
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington

Post by Simon_Jester »

Well, there is a feeling that a guaranteed minimum wage would lead to mass indolence.

Personally I think it's worth the risk given that unlike the way Weber portrays things, the trend in advanced automated economies seems to be toward permanent unemployment no matter what. This makes it imperative to make sure the citizens have the basic means of existence and are not allowed to rot in ghettoes, because if you allow that then you won't have a large enough population base to produce enough highly capable people to run everything.

In short, I suspect an economy in the Honorverse would really function by having one highly intelligent programmer (indirectly) and one dimwitted clerk doing a job that previously could only be done by several dimwitted clerks. The problem is that population genetics aren't going to give you an entire population of highly intelligent programmers; 50% of the population will be below average intelligence.

So inevitably this society becomes increasingly dependent on a talented minority, because they are literally the only people whose labor can supply the necessary force-multipliers to keep the machine running. But if you just let the underclass rot, fewer and fewer children are born and raised with the necessary talents to become members of the talented minority, and more and more children are born to poverty and ignorance, until the system becomes unsustainable whether you fund welfare or not.

Alternatively the majority don't reproduce en masse because they're actively starving to death, but if you head that way they will predictably riot and overthrow the social order before you reach that point.

So basically, to make the system work you must produce sufficient technically literate, intelligent, well-adjusted people to run all the necessary automation. This requires families to raise children to be literate and self-disciplined, and rather pricey school systems. The school systems grow exponentially more pricey and ineffective as the families become poorer and less effective, too.

At some point, a minimum guaranteed income becomes appealing simply because it hopefully reduces the number of hapless overworked parents raising ignorant undersocialized kids.


Now, in the case of Haven the failure mode is, contra to the standard '90s reading of Weber, NOT in the existence of the welfare system. The failure mode came when the Havenite legislature essentially welded itself into office as an oligarchy by manipulating the government to artificially inflate the welfare class, and simultaneously made deals with the welfare class to get a lock on their votes.

Any system corruptible enough to allow this to happen can just as easily be bought out by megacorporations, so I don't perceive a serious problem.
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington

Post by Ahriman238 »

To be born a Legislaturist- and especially a Harris- meant one was surrounded by security since birth.
So it seems even relatively low-status legislaturists need to surround themselves with security.

The Presidential Security Force’s personnel were mercenaries, hired from the planet of New Geneva in regimental strength. New Geneva’s soldiers and security personnel were professional, highly trained, and noted for their loyalty to their employers. That loyalty was their true stock in trade, the real reason governments paid their high fees rather than rely on their own citizenries- and the fact that they were regarded as outsiders, both by themselves and by the citizens of the PRH, neatly eliminated the possibility that any countervailing source of loyalty might turn the PSF against the president they had sworn to guard with their lives.

Unfortunately, it also meant the PSF wasn’t especially popular with the PRH’s homegrown military who believed (correctly) that the New Genevan’s presence meant they weren’t quite trusted by their own government.
Presidential Security Force, off-world mercenaries renowned for their loyalty to their employer. And some of the politics around the President feeling the need for off-world security forces.

Haven was almost three hundred light-years from Manticore- and over a hundred and fifty from its own western border, for that matter. Even for courier boats, who routinely rode the risky upper-edge of hyperspace’s theta band, it would take something like sixteen days to get a message one-way between Haven and the Barnett fleet base across the hundred and twenty-seven light-years between them.
Stellar distances, so Haven is about 4 months by freighter, straight-line course from Manticore, 2 months by dispatch boat/warship.
”Ron, double-check everything from your end. Once the shooting starts, our relations with neutral powers, especially the Solarian League, may be critical. We can’t risk giving the show away, but do all the pump-priming you can- and once things actually break, use our ambassadors and attaches to make sure our version of what’s going on reaches the neutral media before any of their damned correspondents get into the area for ‘independent’ reports. I’ll bring Jessup into the picture next week so his people at Information can start putting together the initial releases for your embassy people to hand out.”
Getting the story straight in advance. Which should be kind of suspicious in it's own right, news from Manticore takes a week to reach Earth via the Junction, but Haven is already talking about the war of Manticoran aggression though they shouldn't have word for some months.

People, even prominent people, had been known to vanish in the People’s Republic, and relatives started sweating they heard the word “security.” Naval Security had a better reputation than most of the PRH’s security organs (the Mental Hygiene Police had far and away the worst) but they were still security.
The problems of sending people out and holding their mail for operational security, in a society where security is code for a windowless cell far, far away from lawyers or any help.

Harris nodded without surprise. Legislaturists might use influence to promote their children’s careers, but they were jealous of that prerogative. The president was too much a part of the system to condemn it- after all, look what family had done for him- but he considered it a pity that it worked against even the most competent outsiders.
So you feel bad, but not enough to want to change anything? Boo hoo. Change is coming for you, Harris, vive la revolution! But seriously, this is a recurring theme wherever family influence matters over actual skill, brains, and experience.

Manty intelligence was positive the Peeps still hadn’t realized had finally found a way for remotely deployed tactical sensors to transmit messages at FTL speeds. Their range remained limited to less than twelve light-hours, but the specially designed generators aboard the latest Manticoran sensor platforms and recon drones could produce directional grav pulses. And since grav waves were faster than light, so were their transmission speeds across their range.
FTL comm range <12 light-hours.

He’d heard for years how good the Manticorans were- how they had a tradition of victory, how hard they trained, how good their tactics were, how their analysts and planners were up to every trick- and it had always irritated him immensely. He hadn’t seen any of their graveyards, and if they were so damned good, why was the People’s Republic of Haven gobbling up every choice bit of interstellar real estate in sight, not them? And why were they so damned scared to pull the trigger themselves, if their superiority was so great?
Well, that's certainly a fresh take on the differences between Haven and Manticore. And I'm definitely starting to see Simon's point about people who swear in their inner monologues. But I think this speaks to how damaging an autocratic, militaristic society is, where it doesn't even occur to Pierre that Manticore could have power and choose not to use it to expand or dominate it's neighbors.

There was an invisible wall in the People’s Navy. If you wanted rank above a rear admiral’s, then you had to be born a Legislaturist. That alone would have made Pierre hate most of his superiors- not that he didn’t have other reasons. The Legislaturist admirals, safe from competition behind their wall of privilege, had gotten fat and lazy. They’d had it too good for too long, and the guts had gone out of them, until they were afraid to risk their power and wealth and comfort even against a two-for-a-credit single-system threat like Manticore.
Pierre is the very definition of an unreliable narrator, but he may have the point of a hereditary class of admirals leading to complacency.

”Put us back into hyper!”

“We can’t translate for another eight minutes, Sir” Selim’s white-faced captain said. “The generators are still cycling.”
And this scene, Pierre and two divisions (pairs) of battlecruisers try and pounce a patrolling Manticore heavy cruiser on a system edge. Only a dreadnought was making an unscheduled departure and they pop out in spitting distance of it. Apparently ships can't just pop in and out of hyper they (or, at least, Haven BCs) need about 8 minutes before they can jump back out.

Admiral Pierre swallowed a groan as the dreadnought snapped around and her sidewall swatted his broadsides contemptuously aside. He’d never seen a ship that size maneuver so rapidly and confidently. She’d taken barely ten seconds to bring her sidewalls up and get around- her captain must have the instincts and reactions of a cat!

He could see his intended prey’s impeller signature in his display now, millions of kilometers astern of the dreadnought, and realized intuitively what must have happened. His intelligence had been perfect, but he’d blundered into an unscheduled departure. A stupid routine transit there’d been no way to predict. And now there was no way to evade the consequences.

-snip-

HMS Bellerophon’s broadside opened fire, and enough energy to shatter a small moon flashed through the “gunports” in her starboard sidewall.

A quarter-second later, Battlecruiser Divisions 141 and 142 of the People’s Navy ceased to exist.
There's that "shatter a small moon" line I mentioned earlier. The joke is that the comm officer is on watch and freaking out, but he still gets the ship turned and the sidewalls up before Pierre can hit him for effect. At which point, without the element of surprise, a single dreadnought easily wins against 4 battlecruisers.

Auxiliary thrusters carried the pinnace’s impeller safety perimeter clear of the ship, the pilot lit off his main drive, and Sarnow gave a tiny sigh of relief as the small craft went instantly to over two hundred gravities of acceleration.
Pinnace accel 200 Gs. First mention of pinnace leaving a ship by thrusters before turning on the impellers, later we'll see why that's very important.
No warship ever truly shuts down, but even spacers tend to retain a sense of “day” and “night” as dictated by their clocks. It may not make much difference to the people who actually have the watch at any given moment, but it is too easy for the human animal to lose its temporal place without some sort of agreed upon referent. And as a general rule, a flagship’s “day” is defined as “the Admiral is up.”
Individual ships on a station and in a task force run on different day/night cycles. Interesting, I'd think they'd all synchronize with the repair station or, in a system with planets, pick a point on the surface and go with that time.

Heh, and on a flagship, morning starts when the Admiral very well says it does. Well, it goes on to say that the Admiral's staff hits the sack when he does, and that changes the whole tempo of operations on the ship, which is probably true but less funny.

His eyes narrowed as he straightened. The distance was too great for anyone without the advantage of Honor’s enhanced vision to notice, but those cold, blue eyes clung to her for just a moment, and the lips below them tightened. Then Parks moved his gaze to Sarnow, and his mouth tightened still further before he made it relax.

Honor snapped her eye back into normal vision and schooled her own face into careful nonexpression, but mental warning signals buzzed, and Nimitz shifted uneasily.
Honor and Parks meeting for the very first time. Also, Honor doesn't just have Nimitz relaying emotions to her, she uses a subtle zoom function in her eye to get a very good look at people's expressions, even before she'd normally be able to see them. How many other little advantages and cheat codes do you need to get through a social situation, Honor?

Alpha Two was only one step short of open hostilities, and ROE Baker authorized any squadron commander to open fire, even preemptively, if he believed his command was under threat. By repeating those orders to every station commander, Admiral Caparelli had just formally put the trigger to the war every RMN officer had feared for decades in the hands of some junior-grade captain commanding a light cruiser flotilla picketing some nameless star system in the back of beyond, and an icy chill danced up and down Honor’s spine.
Alpha Two and the Rules of Engagement 'B.' Caparelli's war warning authorizes every squadron commander to fire first if he feels suitably threatened.

”Along with the message Commodore Capra just read, we’ve received a dispatch detailing additional forces which Admiral Caparelli is dispatching to Hancock. In addition to sufficient light and heavy cruisers to bring all of our screening squadrons and flotillas up to full strength, the Admiralty is sending us the Eighteenth Battle Squadron under Admiral Danislav.” One or two faces showed a tinge of relief, and Parks smiled thinly.

“Unfortunately, it will take time to concentrate Admiral Danislav’s dreadnoughts. Admiral Caparelli estimates that we cannot expect their arrival here for at least three weeks.”
Reinforcements, a further 8 dreadnoughts in 3 weeks, plus some more screening elements.


Not gonna quote the whole meeting. Sarnow brings up forward deployment again as the only way to guarantee they can be concentrated and intercept any sortie from Seaford Nine, and Parks shoots him down again for the risk of antagonizing Haven. Parks’ plan is to send all his dreadnoughts and half his dreadnoughts to Yorik, the one system they absolutely wouldn’t be able to intercept the Peeps if they went, and the other half of his dreadnoughts to Zanzibar, where the enemy has already probably been engaging. He’ll leave Sarnow to cover both Hancock and Alizon with his dinky little BC squadron, and leave orders for Danislav to stay put when he gets there. Ballsy, to empty wour cruicial station on the eve of war, but there’s no evidence Haven has pickets watching them the way they have pickets keeping an eye on Seaford Nine, and Parks doesn’t stop to ask why Haven isn’t keeping an eye on their opposite number.

A parasite pod was nothing more than a drone slaved to the fire control of the ship towing it astern on a tractor. Each pod mounted several, usually a half-dozen or so, single-shot missile launchers similar to those LACs used. The idea was simple- to link the pod with the ship’s internal tubes and launch a greater number of birds in a single salvo in order to saturate an opponent’s defenses- but they hadn’t been used in a fleet engagement for eighty T-years because advances in antimissile defenses had rendered them ineffective.

The old pod’s launchers had lacked the powerful mass-drivers which gave warship missiles their initial impetus. That, in turn, gave them a lower initial velocity, and since their missiles had exactly the same drives as any other missile, they couldn’t make up the velocity differential unless the ship-launched birds were stepped down to less than optimal power settings. If you didn’t step your shipboard missiles down, you lost much of the saturation effect because the velocity discrepancy effectively split your launch into two separate salvos. Yet if you did step them down, the slower speed of your entire launch not only gave the enemy more time to evade and adjust his ECM, but also gave his active defenses extra tracking and engagement time.

It was the tracking time that was the real killer, for point defense had improved enormously over the last century. Neither LAC launchers nor the old-style pods had been able to overcome the advantage it now held (which was one reason the Admiralty had stopped all new LAC construction twenty Manticoran years ago). Moreover, the RMN’s data on the People’s Navy’s point defense, available in no small part thanks to Captain Dame Honor Harrington, indicated that the Peep’s missile defenses, while poorer than Manticore’s, were still more than sufficient to eat old-style pod salvos for breakfast.
First explanation of parasite pods, some history of how they were used and why they aren't used these days.

But the Weapons Development Board, not without opposition from its then head, Lady Sonja Hemphill, had resurrected the pods and given them a new and heavier punch. Hemphill rejected the entire concept as “retrograde,” but her successor at the WDB had pushed the project energetically, and Honor couldn’t quite see the logic behind Hemphill’s objections. Given her vocal advocacy of material-based tactics, Honor would have expected her to embrace the pods with enthusiasm… unless it was simply that something inside the admiral equated “old” weapons systems with “inherently inferior” ones.
We'll see later that she really does feel this way sometimes, even as White Haven reflexively rejects Hemphill's latest attempt to build a better mousetrap. But for everyone who listed the pods among Hemphill's contributions to the war effort, it was both unintentional and entirely against her will.

Of course, Hemphill hadn’t intended them to be used in something as ancient as pods. She’d been looking for a way to make LACs effective once more as part of the tactical approach her critics called the “Sonja Swarm.” The new launchers were far more expensive than traditional LAC launchers, which was the official core of Hemphill’s objections to “wasting” them in pods, but expense hadn’t bothered her where the LACs were concerned. Building one with the new launchers put its price tag up to about a quarter of a destroyer’s, especially with the fire control upgrades to take full advantage of the launcher’s capabilities, yet Hemphill had lobbied hard for the resumption of LAC construction, and she’d succeeded.

Like most of her juene ecole fellows, she still regarded LACs as expendable, single-salvo assets (which didn’t endear her to their crews) but at least she’d seen the value in increasing their effectiveness while they lasted. The fact that it also gave them a better chance of survival was probably immaterial to her way of thinking, but that was alright with Honor. She didn’t care why Horrible Hemphill did something, on the rare occasions it was the right something. And however loudly the cost-effectiveness analysts might complain, Honor had a pretty shrewd notion how LAC skippers felt about the notion of living through an engagement.
The mind reels. Hemphill doesn't want to revive an 80 year-old tactical concept, but is campaigns hard to restore something they ended twenty years ago, that was also rather ineffective for those same 80 years.

Again, the historical juene ecole wanted to protect French harbors from blockade with vast fleets of cheap, disposable torpedo boats. Each could seriously damage or kill a traditional warship, and they wanted swarms to large to destroy in time. There's a very clear parallel here.

And yeah, in total war for your survival, cost-effectiveness sort of counts. A lot.

But the point at hand was that the same improvements could be applied to pods and, despite Hemphill’s objections, they had been. Of course, the new pods- with ten tubes each, not six- were intended for ships of the wall, which had plenty of redundant fire control to manage them, not battlecruisers. But it sounded like Turner was finding an answer to that, and their missiles were actually heavier than the standard ship-to-ship birds. With the new lightweight mass-drivers BuShips had perfected, their performance could equal or even exceed that of normal, ship-launched missiles, and their warheads were more destructive to boot. The pods were clumsy, of course, and towing them did unfortunate things to a warship’s inertial compensator field, which held down maximum accelerations by twenty-five percent or so. They were also vulnerable to proximity soft-kills, since they carrier neither sidewalls nor radiation shielding of their own, but if they got their shots off before they were killed, that hardly mattered.
The downsides to pods, they're vulnerable "use them or lose them" that thicken your first salvo and are then forgotten, and until the Andermani get in on the action, towing them means restricting a ship to 75% their normal max accel/decel/ Plus it's just a pain to manage such massive missile swarms from a fire-control perspective, and missiles apparently benefit a lot from some careful personal attention. Be a very long time until they get anywhere with that one.

Nike was one of the first ships built with the new grav pulse technology from the keel out, but Achilles had received the same system in her refit, and their pulse transmitters gave both battlecruisers the ability to send FTL messages to any ship with gravitic sensors. They had to shut down their own wedges long enough to complete any transmission, since no sensor could pick message pulses out of the background “noise” of a warship’s drive signature, but they would give Sarnow a command and control “reach” the Peeps couldn’t hope to match.
A number of ships have gravitic sensors. That number is approximately all of them. So far ships with transmitting capability are rare, though platforms have been doing it for over a year now. Might be safety concerns or engineering difficulties, other teething problems or simply seeing how they do before making them standard. I certainly can't remember hearing of ships needing to kill their wedge to transmit after this book.

The objection made sense, since the mines were simply old-fashioned bomb-pumped lasers. They were cheap, but only good for a single shot each, and their accuracy was less than outstanding, which made them most effective when employed en masse against ships moving at slow velocities. That meant they were usually emplaced for area coverage of relatively immobile targets like wormhole junctions, planets, or orbital bases… where, as Banton had just pointed out, the Peeps would expect to see them. But putting them where the Peeps expected wasn’t what Honor had in mind.

“Actually, Ma’am, I’ve been looking at the drive specs on the layers, and we might be able to use them more advantageously than that.”

“Oh?” Banton cocked her head- consideringly, not in challenge- and Honor nodded.

“Yes, Ma’am, the Erebus-class ships are fast- almost as fast as a battlecruiser- and they’re configured for rapid, mass mine emplacement. If we could make the Peeps think they are battlecruisers and operate them with the rest of our force, then kick the mines out in the Peeps’ path…”
Limitations of Honorverse mines, but the minelayers are apparently pretty awesome, able to keep pace with battlecruisers and flush their mines practically all at once. It's also nice to see the person people keep mentioning was great at tactics in the academy actually doing something devious.

”And if they spot the mines?” Prentis was thinking aloud, not arguing, and Honor allowed herself a small shrug.

”Their fire control’s a hundred percent passive, Sir. They don’t have active emissions signatures, and they’re mighty small radar targets. I doubt the Peeps could spot them at much more than a million kilometers, especially if they’re busy chasing us.[/]”


OK, my first though on reading this is that it's terrible exposition. You should never have people explaining things to people who ought to already know them for the audience's benefit, it comes off really fake, like now when Honor is explaining to an older, more experienced, officer that mines are hard to see. You think?


The ongoing expansion of Hancock’s facilities had swelled the station’s workforce enormously, and the ungainly repair base was home to almost eleven thousand men and women. The squadron and it’s screening units might be able to squeeze sixty or seventy percent of them aboard- assuming none of the ships were lost or badly damaged in action along the way- but only at the expense of ruinously overloading their environmental services.


Yeah, not like Star Trek where the Enterprise can apparently house a small city's worth of refugees (or the thirty extras that are actually in the budget) I mean, they should have upwards thirty ships with the screening elements but they're looking at just getting out a bit more than 6-7 thousand people? And that at great risk of overtaxing and killing life support, which is bad for everyone onboard.
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington

Post by Simon_Jester »

Ahriman238 wrote:
To be born a Legislaturist- and especially a Harris- meant one was surrounded by security since birth.
So it seems even relatively low-status legislaturists need to surround themselves with security.
So are a lot of movie stars, and medieval nobility with their guardsmen. Labor is relatively cheap in Haven too, so it's not hard to find people willing to serve as goons.
Haven was almost three hundred light-years from Manticore- and over a hundred and fifty from its own western border, for that matter. Even for courier boats, who routinely rode the risky upper-edge of hyperspace’s theta band, it would take something like sixteen days to get a message one-way between Haven and the Barnett fleet base across the hundred and twenty-seven light-years between them.
Stellar distances, so Haven is about 4 months by freighter, straight-line course from Manticore, 2 months by dispatch boat/warship.
Uh, that doesn't quite add up. Sixteen days for 127 light years translates into roughly 40 days for 300. Maybe you're thinking round trip distances?
Getting the story straight in advance. Which should be kind of suspicious in it's own right, news from Manticore takes a week to reach Earth via the Junction, but Haven is already talking about the war of Manticoran aggression though they shouldn't have word for some months.
This is probably why Harris tells his man to be careful not to tip Haven's hand. Also, Haven can reasonably think through the timing of this and backdate reports, or can point to things that actually happened a long time ago and/or were released directly from the frontier.
People, even prominent people, had been known to vanish in the People’s Republic, and relatives started sweating they heard the word “security.” Naval Security had a better reputation than most of the PRH’s security organs (the Mental Hygiene Police had far and away the worst) but they were still security.
The problems of sending people out and holding their mail for operational security, in a society where security is code for a windowless cell far, far away from lawyers or any help.
On the other hand, in a Soviet-style society having entire categories of mail subject to military censorship would hardly be unprecedented. You'd think they'd be used to it.
There's that "shatter a small moon" line I mentioned earlier. The joke is that the comm officer is on watch and freaking out, but he still gets the ship turned and the sidewalls up before Pierre can hit him for effect. At which point, without the element of surprise, a single dreadnought easily wins against 4 battlecruisers.
Also, that ten-second turn we heard about earlier. Note that the turn in question wasn't necessarily very large in terms of number of degrees. Can we get a full quote on what happens?
Honor and Parks meeting for the very first time. Also, Honor doesn't just have Nimitz relaying emotions to her, she uses a subtle zoom function in her eye to get a very good look at people's expressions, even before she'd normally be able to see them. How many other little advantages and cheat codes do you need to get through a social situation, Honor?
Interesting point, and she may have been using this 'all along' for many episodes. It certainly helps to explain how a woman who was still 'awkward' in her forties could blossom into a successful political figure and mover and shaker in the circles of the military-political complex in her fifties and sixties.
A parasite pod was nothing more than a drone slaved to the fire control of the ship towing it astern on a tractor. Each pod mounted several, usually a half-dozen or so, single-shot missile launchers similar to those LACs used. The idea was simple- to link the pod with the ship’s internal tubes and launch a greater number of birds in a single salvo in order to saturate an opponent’s defenses- but they hadn’t been used in a fleet engagement for eighty T-years because advances in antimissile defenses had rendered them ineffective.

The old pod’s launchers had lacked the powerful mass-drivers which gave warship missiles their initial impetus. That, in turn, gave them a lower initial velocity, and since their missiles had exactly the same drives as any other missile, they couldn’t make up the velocity differential unless the ship-launched birds were stepped down to less than optimal power settings. If you didn’t step your shipboard missiles down, you lost much of the saturation effect because the velocity discrepancy effectively split your launch into two separate salvos. Yet if you did step them down, the slower speed of your entire launch not only gave the enemy more time to evade and adjust his ECM, but also gave his active defenses extra tracking and engagement time.

It was the tracking time that was the real killer, for point defense had improved enormously over the last century. Neither LAC launchers nor the old-style pods had been able to overcome the advantage it now held (which was one reason the Admiralty had stopped all new LAC construction twenty Manticoran years ago). Moreover, the RMN’s data on the People’s Navy’s point defense, available in no small part thanks to Captain Dame Honor Harrington, indicated that the Peep’s missile defenses, while poorer than Manticore’s, were still more than sufficient to eat old-style pod salvos for breakfast.
First explanation of parasite pods, some history of how they were used and why they aren't used these days.
I find it a bit hard to believe that the velocity advantage is that substantial. Can you give me a set of powered-range-from-rest and exact acceleration/burn time figures for a missile? Any missile will do.

[Actually I may not be able to act on the information for a week because honeymoon, but I can work with it anyway]
We'll see later that she really does feel this way sometimes, even as White Haven reflexively rejects Hemphill's latest attempt to build a better mousetrap. But for everyone who listed the pods among Hemphill's contributions to the war effort, it was both unintentional and entirely against her will.
And the system would nevertheless have NOT been developed without her contributions- even if it was largely serendipity that she made those contributions.

Also, I think what Hemphill really gets credit for is the entire new doctrine that lets missile pods come into their own, including the SD(P), Ghost Rider and the MDM. Just having missile pods gave Manticore an edge but far from a decisive one against Havenite numbers.
Of course, Hemphill hadn’t intended them to be used in something as ancient as pods. She’d been looking for a way to make LACs effective once more as part of the tactical approach her critics called the “Sonja Swarm.” The new launchers were far more expensive than traditional LAC launchers, which was the official core of Hemphill’s objections to “wasting” them in pods, but expense hadn’t bothered her where the LACs were concerned. Building one with the new launchers put its price tag up to about a quarter of a destroyer’s, especially with the fire control upgrades to take full advantage of the launcher’s capabilities, yet Hemphill had lobbied hard for the resumption of LAC construction, and she’d succeeded.
Sadly we have no performance stats for the roughly 1900 PD-vintage LACs, which is a pity because comparing them to the Shrikes would be fun.
Limitations of Honorverse mines, but the minelayers are apparently pretty awesome, able to keep pace with battlecruisers and flush their mines practically all at once. It's also nice to see the person people keep mentioning was great at tactics in the academy actually doing something devious.
The minelayers are arguably the direct ancestor of the SD(P), and I strongly suspect that at roughly this same time, someone in BuWeaps is thinking "what if we make a minelayer that craps missile pods," seeing as how missile pods were probably used as mines a lot back in the day when they were popular before. That would tend to lead logically to the Wayfarers and the SD(P) concept.
OK, my first though on reading this is that it's terrible exposition. You should never have people explaining things to people who ought to already know them for the audience's benefit, it comes off really fake, like now when Honor is explaining to an older, more experienced, officer that mines are hard to see. You think?
Well, "what if they spot the mines" is still a reasonable question. Mentioning the passive fire control was excessive, but Honor saying "Havenite sensors aren't good enough to spot them beyond X range" is reasonable, since information on the quality of Havenite sensors is going to be continuously evolving over time. Plus, Honor has more recent experience of what Havenite systems can and can't do than most RMN officers.
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington

Post by Terralthra »

Ahriman238 wrote:
Admiral Pierre swallowed a groan as the dreadnought snapped around and her sidewall swatted his broadsides contemptuously aside. He’d never seen a ship that size maneuver so rapidly and confidently. She’d taken barely ten seconds to bring her sidewalls up and get around- her captain must have the instincts and reactions of a cat!

He could see his intended prey’s impeller signature in his display now, millions of kilometers astern of the dreadnought, and realized intuitively what must have happened. His intelligence had been perfect, but he’d blundered into an unscheduled departure. A stupid routine transit there’d been no way to predict. And now there was no way to evade the consequences.

-snip-

HMS Bellerophon’s broadside opened fire, and enough energy to shatter a small moon flashed through the “gunports” in her starboard sidewall.

A quarter-second later, Battlecruiser Divisions 141 and 142 of the People’s Navy ceased to exist.
There's that "shatter a small moon" line I mentioned earlier. The joke is that the comm officer is on watch and freaking out, but he still gets the ship turned and the sidewalls up before Pierre can hit him for effect. At which point, without the element of surprise, a single dreadnought easily wins against 4 battlecruisers.
A dreadnought wins against 4 battlecruisers in energy range. If they had been downrange a bit more - or not bow-on, even - the BCs would've had a better than even shot (barring tech advantage) of taking out Bellerophon or escaping. Peeps don't idolize the battlecruiser the way Manties do, but they're still built to outgun things that are smaller and outrun things that are bigger.
Ahriman238 wrote:Ballsy, to empty wour cruicial station on the eve of war, but there’s no evidence Haven has pickets watching them the way they have pickets keeping an eye on Seaford Nine, and Parks doesn’t stop to ask why Haven isn’t keeping an eye on their opposite number.
Reasonable, in my opinion, to an extent. The Manties are expecting the Peeps to attack at some point, plus they've had numerous border provocations. Of course they'd have the main base in the area scouted and picketed. The Peeps, on the other hand, don't think the Manties are going to invade or do much commerce raiding, so sure, why bother scouting? Dumb in retrospect, especially given the "lucky" pounces on various solo patrol ships, but I can see why Parks wouldn't think about it.
Ahriman238 wrote:
But the point at hand was that the same improvements could be applied to pods and, despite Hemphill’s objections, they had been. Of course, the new pods- with ten tubes each, not six- were intended for ships of the wall, which had plenty of redundant fire control to manage them, not battlecruisers. But it sounded like Turner was finding an answer to that, and their missiles were actually heavier than the standard ship-to-ship birds. With the new lightweight mass-drivers BuShips had perfected, their performance could equal or even exceed that of normal, ship-launched missiles, and their warheads were more destructive to boot. The pods were clumsy, of course, and towing them did unfortunate things to a warship’s inertial compensator field, which held down maximum accelerations by twenty-five percent or so. They were also vulnerable to proximity soft-kills, since they carrier neither sidewalls nor radiation shielding of their own, but if they got their shots off before they were killed, that hardly mattered.
The downsides to pods, they're vulnerable "use them or lose them" that thicken your first salvo and are then forgotten, and until the Andermani get in on the action, towing them means restricting a ship to 75% their normal max accel/decel/ Plus it's just a pain to manage such massive missile swarms from a fire-control perspective, and missiles apparently benefit a lot from some careful personal attention. Be a very long time until they get anywhere with that one.
Pretty sure the Manties have SD(P)s on the drawing board by the time the Andies are developing their limpet pods. I mean, Wayfarer was already on patrol in order to spot the limpet pods in the first place.
Ahriman238 wrote:
Nike was one of the first ships built with the new grav pulse technology from the keel out, but Achilles had received the same system in her refit, and their pulse transmitters gave both battlecruisers the ability to send FTL messages to any ship with gravitic sensors. They had to shut down their own wedges long enough to complete any transmission, since no sensor could pick message pulses out of the background “noise” of a warship’s drive signature, but they would give Sarnow a command and control “reach” the Peeps couldn’t hope to match.
A number of ships have gravitic sensors. That number is approximately all of them. So far ships with transmitting capability are rare, though platforms have been doing it for over a year now. Might be safety concerns or engineering difficulties, other teething problems or simply seeing how they do before making them standard. I certainly can't remember hearing of ships needing to kill their wedge to transmit after this book.
Part of making the FTL comm systems more effective and useful was making it so a pulse could be sent using just one beta node at a time, instead of the whole ring. That makes it 24 times faster of a pulse rate, and so one doesn't need to take down the wedge to send, either.
Simon_Jester wrote:I find it a bit hard to believe that the velocity advantage is that substantial. Can you give me a set of powered-range-from-rest and exact acceleration/burn time figures for a missile? Any missile will do.
It seems reasonable enough to me. It doesn't have to be a huge margin for it to drastically impact overall engagement envelope.
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington

Post by Crazedwraith »

Okay, Pods, a couple things I'm not getting. The miniaturised launchers, in pods they throw full sized missiles as fast as the full sized launchers right? That's the justification or why pods work now and not before. And, I've read enough here and on the wiki to know they're later used to revitalise the LAC concept so they must be reloadable.

So do they start using them as broadside ship armament as well? Surely rather than dropping pods all over the place it'd be better to use it dramatically increase the side of your broadside?

Or using the miniturisation techniques, wouldn't that then allow you to build full size launchers that would much stronger than the ones they had. And thus end up with the same pod/broadside disparity in velocities? (or course that depends how they did it.)
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington

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The amount of launchers one can fit inside a broadside is fixed based just as much on wedge fratricide by the missiles once their drives start up. Surely they use the miniaturized grav drivers inside the broadside tubes, but that just makes room for other things (ammunition, other new systems like Apollo), not additional missile tubes.

Missile pods are not generally reloadable in-combat. I'm guessing it has to do with a limited power supply to spin up the missiles' capacitors more than anything else. By the time they have enough power capacity (miniature fusion plants) to spin up more than one, they can just dump another podside much faster than the tubes could reload anyway.
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington

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Terralthra wrote:The amount of launchers one can fit inside a broadside is fixed based just as much on wedge fratricide by the missiles once their drives start up. Surely they use the miniaturized grav drivers inside the broadside tubes, but that just makes room for other things (ammunition, other new systems like Apollo), not additional missile tubes.
Can't you just angle the tubes to spread them out as they come out of the broadside and engage their wedges? Like, the frontmost tubes are angled 10 degrees towards the bow, then nine, eight seven, until you get to the rear tubes, angled ten degrees sternwards? Or you could salvo fire them, just enough at once to not pile up. Surely it takes longer to reload the tubes than it does for the first set of missiles to be away and clear?
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington

Post by Ahriman238 »

I find it a bit hard to believe that the velocity advantage is that substantial. Can you give me a set of powered-range-from-rest and exact acceleration/burn time figures for a missile? Any missile will do.

[Actually I may not be able to act on the information for a week because honeymoon, but I can work with it anyway]
The default setting for Manticoran missiles at this time (even single drive-missiles get an upgrade between Haven Wars.) is 42,500 Gs of accel for 3 minutes. They can be dialed up to 85,000 Gs but will burnout in just one minute. Likewise the speed can be lowered for a longer burn.

Of course, the whole point of that is that ship-launched missiles are effectively fired out of a high-speed cannon (the mass-driver) presumably until they cross the sidewall before lighting up their drives, and until very recently pods and LACs didn't have that capability. Two missiles with the same acceleration, but one starts off going 20x (asspull number for example) faster, that one will win the race every time.
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington

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Screw the power capacity of the pod. For reloading the pods in mid-combat to be useful they'd have be able to do that faster than simply deploying another set of pods, and given that 'Wayfarer' way back when could deploy pods at a rate of one salvo every 12 seconds they'd practically have to teleport new missiles into the pods to make this worthwhile. They can and do reuse the pods out of combat as early as 'Honor Among Enemies' (Ginger Lewis has her little spacewalking 'accident' while they're in the process of retrieving pods).

The wedge fratricide issue though should remain a problem with pods which means either pods are pretty damned huge with all the related consequences for pod storage (especially after the Great Resizing) or they found a way to get around that for pods that doesn't work with shipboard launchers.

Given the shape of the pods one possibility is that instead of being fired parallel to each other, the missiles spread out in a cone so that by the time their drives come up the missiles are far enough apart for this to no longer be a problem. While to some degree this should also be possible with shipboard launchers, it's a hell of a lot easier to do when you have small groups of missiles launched several kilometres (if not more) apart rather than all of them being crammed into the length of the ship.

As for the Andie 'limpet' pods I don't think we see those until 'War of Honor'?
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington

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Batman wrote:Screw the power capacity of the pod. For reloading the pods in mid-combat to be useful they'd have be able to do that faster than simply deploying another set of pods, and given that 'Wayfarer' way back when could deploy pods at a rate of one salvo every 12 seconds they'd practically have to teleport new missiles into the pods to make this worthwhile. They can and do reuse the pods out of combat as early as 'Honor Among Enemies' (Ginger Lewis has her little spacewalking 'accident' while they're in the process of retrieving pods).
(Dude, did you read the whole paragraph you're responding to?)

As for reloading pods sucking: not necessarily. The pods are in 12-second podsides on both the HMAMCs and SD(P)s, but the reload of a broadside tube is, for capship missiles at least, in the <20 second range (as I recall). Before they had podnaughts/HMAMCs, their initial salvos of pod-launched missiles are just one-shot salvos, and having the pods thicken two salvos instead of just one isn't a bad idea. A larger pod with a larger power supply could fire two salvos of missiles, rather than one. One might say "oh, well, if they can stuff more missiles into the pod, surely, they could just fire a bigger salvo instead of two smaller ones." That runs into the same fratricide issue as ship broadsides, and also the fact that a missile is significantly smaller than the missile tube that fires it. Multi-shot pods isn't something they do, but that doesn't mean it's something they couldn't do.
Batman wrote:As for the Andie 'limpet' pods I don't think we see those until 'War of Honor'?
I believe you are correct. Honor sees Derfflinger in HAE, but that's just a missile-heavy broadside capital ship, no external ordinance.
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Ahriman238
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington

Post by Ahriman238 »

Uh, that doesn't quite add up. Sixteen days for 127 light years translates into roughly 40 days for 300. Maybe you're thinking round trip distances?
Gah, quick envelope figures assuming a 1200 c velocity, and my math bites me again.

On the other hand, in a Soviet-style society having entire categories of mail subject to military censorship would hardly be unprecedented. You'd think they'd be used to it.
Well, the context is Rob Pierre getting concerned because his son hasn't written in a while. So he makes some inquiries and gets stonewalled by military security, then being a politically powerful figure in his own right he escalates to nagging the president. He probably understands the need for operational security but still wants reassurance that junior wasn't vanished into a small dark cell.

Also, that ten-second turn we heard about earlier. Note that the turn in question wasn't necessarily very large in terms of number of degrees. Can we get a full quote on what happens?
Won't help you any. But alright.
SVW wrote:"Hyper transit! I'm reading an unidentified hyper foot-print!" Athena'stac officer snapped. His surprise showed in his voice, but he was already bent over his panel, working the contact.

"Where?" Commander Gregory demanded sharply.

"Bearing zero-zero-five, zero-one-one. Range one-eight-zero million klicks. Chirst, Skipper! It's right on top of Bellerophon!"

****

"Contact! Enemy vessel bearing oh-five-three, oh-oh-six, range five-seven-four thousand kilometers!"

Pierre jerked in his command chair and twisted toward his ops officer's sudden, unanticipated report. They should be eleven light-minutes from their target! What the hell was the woman talking about?!

"Contact confirmed!" Selim's tactical office called out, and then- "Oh my God! It's a dreadnought!"

Disbelief froze the admiral's mind. It couldn't be- not way the hell out here! But he was already turning back to his own display and his heart lurched as it showed him CIC's confirming identification.

"Put us back into hyper!"

"We can't translate for another eight minutes, Sir." Selim's white-faced captain said. "The generators are still cycling."

Pierre stared at the captain, and his mind whirled like a ground-looping air car. The man's words seemed to take forever to register, while his ships closed with the enemy at over forty thousand kilometers per second, and the admiral swallowed around an icy lump of panic. They were dead. They were all dead, unless, just possibly, that dreadnought's crew was as shocked as he was. He had a clear shot down the front of her wedge if he could get his ships around to clear their broadsides, and they couldn't possibly have been expecting him to appear in their face. If they took long enough reacting, long enough getting to battle stations-

"Hard a port!" he barked "All batteries, fire as you bear!"

****

"Sweet Jesus, they're Peeps! Bellerophon's junior tactical officer whispered. The Book didn't like enemy reports like that, but Lieutenant Commander Avshari felt no inclination to criticize. After all, The Book didn't envision this sort of lunatic situation, either.

The lieutenant commander watched his status boards' green lights turn amber and red and wished to hell the Captain would get here. Or the Exec. Or anybody senior to him, because he didn't have a clue and he knew it. This was supposed to be a milk run, a good opportunity for junior watch keepers to get a little bridge time on their logs, but he was a communications officer, for God's sake- and one whose Academy tactical scores had been a disaster, to boot! What the hell was he supposed to do next?

"Sidewalls active! Starboard energy batteries closed up on computer override, Sir!" the youthful lieutenant at Tactical said, and Avshari nodded in relief. That decided which way to turn, anyway.

"Bring us hard to port, Helm."

"Aye, aye, Sir. Coming hard to port."

The dreadnought began her turn, and fresh alarms whooped even as she swung.

"Incoming fire!" the tactical officer snapped, and lasers and grasers ripped at Bellerophon's suddenly interposed sidewall. Most of them achieved absolutely nothing as the sidewall bent and degraded them, but red lights bloomed on Avshari's damage control display as half a dozen minor hits cratered her massive armor, and this time he knew exactly what to do.

"Mr. Wolversham, you are authorized to return fire!" Bellerophon's com officer barked the order straight from The Book, and Lieutenenat Arlene Wolversham punched the button.

****

Admiral Pierre swallowed a groan as the dreadnought snapped around and her sidewall swatted his broadsides contemptuously aside. He’d never seen a ship that size maneuver so rapidly and confidently. She’d taken barely ten seconds to bring her sidewalls up and get around- her captain must have the instincts and reactions of a cat!

He could see his intended prey’s impeller signature in his display now, millions of kilometers astern of the dreadnought, and realized intuitively what must have happened. His intelligence had been perfect, but he’d blundered into an unscheduled departure. A stupid routine transit there’d been no way to predict. And now there was no way to evade the consequences.

"All units, roll ship!" he barked, but even as he snapped out the order, he knew it was futile this deep into the enemy's missile envelope. Even if his ships rolled up behind their wedges in time to evade the dreadnought's beams, it would only delay the inevitable, require her to kill them with laser heads instead...

Then he realized they weren't going to manage even that much.

****

HMS Bellerophon’s broadside opened fire, and enough energy to shatter a small moon flashed through the “gunports” in her starboard sidewall.

A quarter-second later, Battlecruiser Divisions 141 and 142 of the People’s Navy ceased to exist.
Pretty sure the Manties have SD(P)s on the drawing board by the time the Andies are developing their limpet pods. I mean, Wayfarer was already on patrol in order to spot the limpet pods in the first place.
Oh, the Limpet pods are from War of Honor, where the second war with Haven starts. But before that there was a huge gap between superdreadnoughts that can crap out pods, and everyone else. With the limpet pods, now destroyers and cruisers can carry pods without the drag.
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