Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington

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Simon_Jester
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington

Post by Simon_Jester »

Terralthra wrote:I really don't agree that the series needs "A-list villains". I liked War of Honor, where two sets of mostly-competent officers and mostly-competent politicians go to a war none of them want, but all of them prosecute competently, because of the machinations of a few incompetent or malicious politicians. It seems more believable that way, and I also feel more pathos for the victors and losers of a battle, no matter who is on the winning side, because they aren't cartoonish villains (or unbeatable heroes).
War of Honor's only real faults were:

1) The idiot politicals Weber set up on the Manticoran side (incompetent/malicious politicians of that stripe are as annoying to me as incompetent/malicious military men).

2) Preoccupation with Honor's home life, which while a significant part of the character is not really Weber's strong suit. He would not make a good soap opera writer.

That said, the overall artistic direction of the series has gone very, very flat. And I do think part of the problem is the lack of persistent, compelling antagonists, characters whose hostility to the protagonists drives the action. People like Caslet and Theisman aren't really antagonists; they're protagonists who happen to be on the 'wrong' side.

I think Esther McQueen had the most potential in this regard. It's interesting to imagine how Weber might have played things out if, instead of having Theisman stage a coup and impose democracy, he'd gone whole hog with the French Revolution metaphor and made McQueen into Haven's Napoleon.
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andrewgpaul
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington

Post by andrewgpaul »

The problem with the Mesan Alignment for me is that while Leonard Detweiler would have been an interesting antagonist (because he perhaps wasn't actually a villain), by the time of the novels we're 500 years down the road and the colony he founded has descended into moustache-twirling villainy. Again, that might have been an interesting story to chart, but it's only spelled out in Author's Notes and forum posts.

edit: while Googling "Detweiler" because I couldn't remember any of the characters' first names, I found Detweiler Family Medicine; I'd keep an eye on them ... :)
"So you want to live on a planet?"
"No. I think I'd find it a bit small and wierd."
"Aren't they dangerous? Don't they get hit by stuff?"
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Ahriman238
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington

Post by Ahriman238 »

Admiral Yuri Rollins paced slowly up and down his flag bridge as PNS Barnett moved ponderously in-system. His hands were back in his tunic pockets in his favorite thinking posture, and he clamped an unlit pipe between his teeth. That pipe was one of his few real affectations—smoking had only recently become fashionable once more among Haven's Legislaturalists—but he found it comforting at the moment.


Smoking goes in and out of fashion on Haven, it seems. Except with Tourville, who simply doesn't care.

So far, things had gone exactly as planned. They'd been shadowed, as expected, from the moment they pulled out of Seaford, but the three light cruisers watching over his force had gotten just a bit too confident. Commander Ogilve and five of his squadron mates had left ten hours before the rest of the fleet, and, unlike the Manties, they'd already known what course Rollins intended to follow. The Manties had known they were safely outside Rollins' range until Napoleon and her consorts suddenly appeared behind them, pinning them against the task force. It had been a massacre; in fact, the first of them had been destroyed without getting off a single answering broadside.

Their destruction had been a satisfying start to the operation, though Rollins didn't deceive himself about what the other Manticoran pickets had been doing. They'd hypered out in all directions almost the instant his own ships crossed the alpha wall. By now, they must be arriving wherever Parks had taken his ships, and that meant the Manty admiral would be in motion shortly. Parks might not have exact intelligence on his enemies' course, but an attack on his main forward base had to be high on his threat list. Under the circumstances, Rollins had to assume Parks was already en route, with a probable ETA of no more than seventy-two to eighty-four hours.


How Rollins caught the pickets before they could warn Hancock, and his estimated window before Parks hears from the survivors and comes to rescue his station.

Which should still be more than adequate, for one thing was certain: the delay to query the Argus net's latest data had confirmed that Parks wasn't here now. The platforms didn't have the reach to see anything within ten light-minutes or so of the primary, but they would certainly have noted anything that came in far enough out to clear Hancock's hyper limit, and nothing heavier than a cruiser had.

He paused in his pacing to gaze into the master display. As planned, his own force lagged well astern of Admiral Chin. In fact, he intended to halt his ships eleven light-minutes from Hancock, right on the hyper limit, for he had no intention of miring his sluggish superdreadnoughts any deeper than he had to. Chin's task group would more than suffice to eliminate any Manty battlecruisers—and their base—and if it turned out after all that this was some sort of subtle trap, he refused to let it close upon the core of his task force's true fighting power.


That caution Simon noted, mostly I just wanted to point out they also kept a slow approach so they could query the Argus satellites.

Nike and her squadron mates accelerated at a steady .986 gees, screened by Van Slyke's heavy cruisers and the ten light cruisers Cartwright and Ernie Corell had exempted from their picket deployments. The task group seemed to crawl at such a low accel, yet there were limits to even the best electronic warfare capabilities. While the RMN's stealth systems were highly efficient against active sensors like radar, the only effective way to limit detection range against an impeller wedge was to reduce its power.


Impeller drive under max stealth can pull just under one G. In a later book where a similar maneuver is required it turns out Peep ships have chemical thrusters that can pull more than 5.

She would have preferred, in a way, to have Mike on the bridge with her, but unlike any of her earlier ships, Nike was big enough for a duplicate command deck at the far end of her core hull. Known informally as Coventry, Auxiliary Control was manned by a complete backup of her own bridge crew under Henke's supervision. It was a chilling thought in some ways, but knowing someone she trusted was waiting to look after her ship for her eased her mind more than she'd once expected it could.


BCs and larger have a secondary bridge, besides the flag bridge which may or may not be present, to take over if the main bridge is hit. Presumably they also get the same data and keep abreast of what the A crew is doing. The Fourth Imperium in Mutineer's Moon had a similar system, but the two bridge crews saw and interacted with each other as holograms.

Just as an aside, I'd feel a touch uncomfortable sitting through a major battle in the one room of the ship called "Coventry."

She settled herself more comfortably in her own chair and checked the plot. The minelayers had already completed their part of the initial operation and started back for the base, and she wished with all her heart that Paul were among the people they were about to pick up. But he wasn't, and at least the base wasn't totally helpless. It mounted no offensive weapons, but it was fitted with generators for a spherical sidewall "bubble" almost as strong as Nike's own, and its active antimissile defenses were excellent. They'd been unable to adapt its defensive fire control to handle parasite pods, so it still had no offensive punch, but it could protect itself quite well— until, at least, some Peep capital ship got into beam range.


Base defenses include a BC-grade bubble-generator and an awful lot of counter-missiles and laser clusters.

Edward Saganami had set the RMN's standards in his final engagement when he died defending a convoy against five-to-one odds. His inheritors had proven themselves worthy of their founder over the centuries, and that sort of tradition wasn't built in a moment; somehow she couldn't picture any Manticoran admiral letting it be torn down without a fight.


The RMN's tradition of self-sacrifice in the face of impossible odds. Which is the reason Admiral Chin can't buy the defenders running and leaving the base to fend for itself.

She looked back at her plot and let her thoughts turn to the missile pods. Nike's redesigned inertial compensator and more powerful impellers let her tow a total of seven of them; Achilles, Agamemnon, and Cassandra could manage six each, but the older, Redoubtable-class ships could tow only five. "Only" five. The right corner of her mouth twitched at the thought.


For those keeping score, Nike has a 20 missile broadside and can tow enough pods to fire another 70. Three of her fellows are carrying 60 more missiles for the opening round, the other 4 BCs 50. And every cruiser gets a BC broadside, at least for that opener. All of this being delivered with surprise at relatively close range. Sarnow and Honor designated this plan "Sucker Punch."

"Engage!" she snapped, and Task Group Hancock 001 belched fire.

Nike and Agamemnon alone spat a hundred and seventy-eight missiles at the Peeps, almost five times the broadside of a Sphinx-class superdreadnought. The other divisions of her squadron had fewer birds, but even Van Slyke's cruiser divisions had twice a Bellerophon-class dreadnought's broadside. Nine hundred missiles erupted into Admiral Chin's teeth, and every ship's drive came on line in the same instant. They swerved back onto their original heading, redlining their acceleration, and deployed decoys and jammers to cover themselves as they raced ahead down the Havenites' base course at 4.93 KPS2.

* * *

For one terrible moment, Genevieve Chin's mind froze.

Two superdreadnought squadrons couldn't have spawned that massive salvo, and the Manties only had battlecruisers! It was impossible!

But it was also happening, and forty years of training wrenched her brain back to life.

"Starboard ninety! All units roll ship!" she snapped, and her fist pounded the arm of her command chair as her ships began to turn. It was going to be close, for dreadnoughts were slow on the helm, and she cursed the precious seconds her own stunned surprise had lost her.

A hurricane of missiles tore down on Havenite ships whose startled missile defense officers had been slow to start their plots. There'd been no one on their sensors to run plots on, and they weren't clairvoyant.

Countermissiles began to fire, sporadically at first, then in greater and greater numbers. Dreadnoughts were lavishly equipped with active defenses, but the Manties had targeted the full fury of their fire on just four dreadnoughts and the same number of battlecruisers . . . and almost a third of the incoming missiles carried neither laser heads nor nukes. They were fitted instead with the best ECM emitters and electronic penaids Manticore could build, and they played hell with Havenite tracking systems. Missile impeller signatures split apart and recombined with insane abandon, jammers scrambled defensive radar, and sheer, howling electronic noise attacked squadron tactical nets that hadn't had the least idea they were about to be assailed. Half of them went down—only for seconds, perhaps, before they recovered, but for those seconds Admiral Chin's ships found themselves suddenly alone in the path of the storm. They were forced back into local control, and without centralized direction, two and even three ships attacked some missiles . . . while no one at all engaged others.

Countermissiles and laser clusters tore dozens—scores—of them apart, but nothing could have stopped them all, and Chin clung to her command chair as her massive flagship heaved in agony. Laser heads stabbed at New Boston with x-ray stilettos, people and alloy blew apart and vaporized under their deadly impact, and those were the light hits, the ones that had to get through sidewalls and radiation shielding first.

Nouveau Paris, Chin's lead dreadnought, was slow getting around, and over a dozen missiles detonated almost dead ahead of her. Lethal clusters of lasers ripped straight down the wide-open throat of her wedge, and Chin stared at the visual display in sick horror as she blew apart. One instant she was six megatons of capital ship; the next she was an expanding ball of fire.

The battlecruisers Walid and Sulieman died with her, and other ships took hit after hit. The dreadnought Waldensville staggered as her forward impeller ring was blown apart, and the battlecruiser Malik careened out of formation as her wedge went down completely. A heavy cruiser division tried to cover her against Manticoran sensors with their own wedges, but with neither wedge nor sidewalls, Malik was doomed. Even as Chin watched, her crew took to their escape pods, fleeing their helpless ship before the Manties localized her despite her screen and blew her apart. Waldensville's impeller damage had cut her maximum acceleration in half, the dreadnought Kaplan had lost a quarter of her port broadside, her sister ship Havensport was almost as badly damaged, and the battlecruiser Alp Arslan trailed atmosphere and debris.


How's that for a suckerpunch? First appearance of holyshithuge! missile clouds, not the last by any means. Manticoran ECM as seen from the other side, white noise, communications disruptions and missile signatures splitting and recombining and dancing around most inconveniently. Also note that just "over a dozen" laser heads getting a throat-shot were enough to blow a dreadnought to smithereens.

A fresh salvo of Manticoran missiles scorched in on Malik. There were only a few dozen of them this time, yet the battlecruiser was a sitting target. Her cruiser screen did its best to stop them, but at least ten got through, and they weren't even laser heads. Megaton-range fireballs enveloped Malik in a star-bright boil; when it cleared, another eight hundred and fifty thousand tons of warship had been wiped away, and Chin swore with silent, bitter venom.

A dreadnought and three battlecruisers—all of them Sultans—gone just like that. The enemy's targeting had been as deadly as the sheer weight of his fire, and she'd walked straight into it. She made herself accept that, then looked back at the plot, and her teeth showed as she digested the data. She didn't know how battlecruisers had pumped so many missiles at her, but they'd exposed themselves to do it. Despite their higher accelerations, she had more than enough overtake advantage to bring them into beam range, and no battlecruiser could stand up to a dreadnought's energy armament.


Haven casualties, and determination to pay back Task Force Hancock 001 in kind.

"Fresh contact, Admiral. Correction—multiple contacts, bearing one-seven-niner by oh-oh-eight, range one-oh-six-point-niner million klicks!"

New light codes appeared in her command chair's tactical repeater, and her jaw clenched. Superdreadnoughts. Sixteen of them—two full battle squadrons—coming at her from the "helpless" repair base at 4.3 KPS2.

"Reverse course. Maximum deceleration!"

* * *

Honor's eyes blazed as the "superdreadnoughts" headed toward the Peeps. The repair base might not be armed, but its gravitic sensors had watched the savagery of the initial exchange, and its traffic control systems had sufficed to activate the preprogrammed electronic warfare drones Sarnow had left in orbit with it. Now the drones raced outward, and the Peeps had no choice but to go to maximum power in the other direction in the faint hope of escaping the "capital ships" lunging to complete their destruction.


And the next trick in this little show, the surprise appearance of two superdreadnought squadrons, actually EW drones, racing to the Task Force's rescue.

The admiral made an ugly sound deep in her throat. She folded her hands tightly behind her, and her staff sat silent in the face of her anger as she rocked up and down on her toes. The master plot confirmed the ops officer's report, but now that her instant, instinctive reaction had passed, her own tactical sense warred with the data. It didn't make sense. If battlecruisers could pump that many missiles at her—and she was beginning to suspect how they'd done it—surely ships of the wall could have laid down even more fire! Two squadrons of superdreadnoughts could have annihilated her entire force and come close to evening the odds against Rollins' total task force in a single blow, and if the Manties could get battlecruisers into range undetected, there was no reason they couldn't have done the same thing with SDs.

And if those were superdreadnoughts, why were the battlecruisers still running? They were accelerating away from her at almost five KPS2; combined with her own deceleration, that produced a cumulative vector change of 9.45 KPS2. Of course, no battlecruiser wanted to get any closer to a dreadnought than it had to, but their heading also meant they could reply to her ships' after chase armament only with their stern chasers. True, their fire was hammering Waldensville with ever mounting damage, but they could have turned to open their broadsides and quadrupled the weight of their fire, and with SDs coming to their assistance, Chin couldn't possibly have risked slowing her escape efforts by turning to reply in kind.

Her furious rocking motion slowed and her eyes narrowed as another thought chased itself through her mind. If those were SDs, why hadn't the Argus net detected their return to the system?


Genevieve Chin, ladies and gents, bit of a temper problem but no dummy. Once she has a minute to think she sees through the ruse with the drones, but they did make her hit the brakes enough that she won't be able to get them in energy range, a big plus.

She glanced back over her shoulder, and Honor raised one hand in the ancient thumbs-up gesture. Identification friend or foe circuits could always screw up, especially when ships had taken battle damage that could knock out their onboard transponders or change their emission signatures radically. But the minefield had recognized them; it wouldn't kill their own wounded ships, and, almost more important still, would not reveal its position to the enemy in the process.


Would have been awkward to get blown to heck by their own minefield, but apparently they can be programmed to let friendly ships through.

Commander DeSoto stiffened as a faint radar return flickered in his display. Adrenaline flared as he remembered the last time his radar had picked something up, and he stabbed a key, interrogating his data base threat files. The computers considered dispassionately, then blinked an obedient reply.

"Minefield dead ahead!" he shouted.

"Roll starboard!" Admiral Chin barked instantly, and her task group swerved once more in the face of a fresh threat.


Nothing like an ambush to create a properly paranoid tac officer. Funny that he has to ask the computer to compare readings to the library, instead of telling the computer to spit out a "mines ahead, dummy!" alert when it encounters that particular profile.

The Havenite task group slid into range of the clustered mines like an out-of-control ground car or a ground-looping air car. Chin's lightning-fast response had blunted the threat, yet her velocity was far too high to sidestep it completely. Her ships were up on their sides relative to the field, presenting the bellies of their wedges as they came in, but the people who'd laid that field had known their business. They'd also known the exact vector on which Admiral Sarnow intended to suck her into it, and the mines were a disk perpendicular to her line of approach, stacked as "high" as they were "deep."

Space erupted in a wall of light as the bomb-pumped laser platforms spewed concentrated fury at Chin's ships. Thousands of laser beams, each more powerful than any missile laser head could generate, stabbed and tore at their prey. The vast majority wasted themselves harmlessly against her interposed impeller bands, but there were too many of them and they had too much spread for the wedges to intercept them all.

New Boston shuddered as fresh wounds cratered her massive armor and wiped away weapons and their crews. Three beta nodes and an alpha node went with them, and her flag bridge displays flickered as Fusion Four went into emergency shutdown, but her other power plants took the load and damage control and medical parties charged into her wrecked compartments. New Boston was hurt, but she was still a fighting force as she cleared the attack zone.

Other ships weren't. Alp Arslan broke in half and vomited flame as her number two fusion plant's containment bottle failed, and the heavy cruisers Scimitar, Drusus, and Khopesh vanished in matching fireballs, their weaker sidewalls and radiation shielding no match for the fury that could rip straight through a dreadnought's defenses. Half a dozen destroyers joined them, and Waldensville, already lamed and crippled, reeled out of the holocaust as a dying hulk.

Genevieve Chin listened to the torrent of loss and damage reports, and her face was hard, hating stone. Again. They'd suckered her again! But how, damn it?! There was no way a minefield should be sitting way the hell out here, and she was the one who'd picked her approach vector! The Manties had matched her course, not lured her onto one of their choosing, so how in hell could they have known exactly where to put their field?

The last of her battered ships—the ones that survived—streamed out of the attack and rolled back down to engage the enemy once more, and her mouth was a knife-thin line as she absorbed her losses. She was down to only two battlecruisers, both old Tiger-class ships and both damaged, and five dreadnoughts, all damaged to greater or lesser degree. Kaplan's armament had been almost completely gutted, and Merston had lost half her energy weapons and a third of her starboard sidewall. New Boston, Havensport, and Macrea's Tor were hurt less badly, but the lighter ships of her screen had been devastated. Barely half of them remained combat effective, and God only knew what else the goddamned Manties had waiting for her!

She opened her mouth to order the pursuit broken off, then froze as the data on her plot changed once more.


The minefield really did a number on them, and Chin would have withdrawn if she hadn't finally gotten 2 BC kills. Still, that is a damn favorable exchange rate for Manticore. Mines are bigger and more powerful than missiles, though still working on the Excaliber-laser principle.

A fierce, harsh sound of exultation filled Nike's bridge, and Honor's eyes glittered. They were hopelessly outgunned by the ships behind them, but they'd already destroyed more than twice their own total tonnage! If Parks had left even a single battle squadron to support them, they could have annihilated the Peeps' lead element, maybe even saved the entire system, but the task group had nothing to reproach itself for. And maybe, just maybe, their fresh losses would finally convince the Peeps to break off after all.

Then the dreadnoughts rolled back down. Only four of them remained combat effective, but their course change had brought their full broadsides to bear, the range had fallen to little more than five million kilometers, they'd had time to absorb and adjust to the task group's defensive EW patterns, and their furious, humiliated gunners had blood in their eyes.

Two hundred and fifty-eight missiles erupted from the battered dreadnoughts and their surviving escorts, and twenty-two of them broke through everything the task group could throw at them.

HMS Defiant staggered sideways under the stunning body blow. Her port sidewall vanished, and half her after impeller ring vaporized. Two of her three fusion plants went into emergency shutdown, and she rolled over on her back, trailing air and shattered plating. There was no one left alive on her bridge, but her executive officer took one look at his displays in Auxiliary Control and knew she was done. The heel of his hand slammed down on a red button, and abandon ship alarms screamed over every speaker and suit com aboard her.

Barely a sixth of Defiant's crew escaped before the followup salvo killed her, but she was luckier than Achilles, and Honor's face went white as Commodore Isabella Banton's flagship blew up with all hands.


Retaliation, even a short dreadnought squadron can loose 260 missiles, though Manticoran point-defense kills over 90% of the inbound.

They'd planned to alter course at Point Delta all along, for the mines had been their last trump card. With no more tricks to play, their sole chance to buy the base—and Admiral Danislav—a few more hours lay in convincing the Peeps to alter their own vector away from it to pursue the task group. But fifteen degrees was the sharpest alteration they'd discussed. It would let the enemy cut inside them, hold them in missile range longer.

She knew what Sarnow was thinking, for the same thought had occurred to her. Coupled with what had just happened, that big a course change would make the temptation to pursue them almost irresistible. His decision was a cold, calculated bid to offer the chance to destroy his entire squadron as bait to win the base time that probably wouldn't matter anyway.


But they'll still do it.

"I see." Admiral Chin's smile was a hungry wolf's. Those "SDs" had to be drones; if they'd been real ships of the wall, the battlecruisers would never have stopped running to meet them. And the course change itself, with its obvious invitation to pursuit, meant only one thing. The Manties had just run out of tricks. They wanted her to chase them in order to keep her out of energy range of their base because they damned well couldn't stop her any other way.

She knew what they were up to. They'd suck her well clear of the base, then scatter. They'd lose the advantage of their massed point defense when they did, but the range would be opening again by then. Only her dreadnoughts would have the weight of fire to get through their individual defenses, and she could only fire at a few of them.

She was tempted to ignore them, but the base wasn't going anywhere, and she might just get lucky. The Manties had lost a quarter of their battlecruisers and one heavy cruiser, and other ships were hurting. If they were willing to let her chase them, she was willing to accept the invitation in hopes of killing a few more of them before they scattered.


Chin knows exactly what they're doing and why, but she's game because she's not actually in a terrible rush, expecting 3-4 days to take out the repair base at her leisure.

"It is Admiral Danislav, Sir!" Joseph Cartwright's confirmation of Webster's report was jubilant, and Sarnow fought his own elation. The enormous hyper footprint was well beyond Nike's onboard sensor range, but there was no question of who it was. The ten dreadnoughts at the formation's core burned sharp and clear, and Danislav must already be querying the sensor net.

The admiral made himself sit still and silent, watching the plot Webster was feeding from the sensor platforms' FTL transmissions. Danislav's ships held their arrival vector for ten seconds, then twenty, coasting without acceleration at the bare 8,000 KPS of their translation into normal space, and then the plot blinked. Danislav's heading changed, his ships went to an acceleration of four hundred and thirty gravities, and a new vector curled out across the display.

Numbers flashed with CIC's analysis. Twenty-six minutes. That was how much longer the Peeps had to keep chasing Sarnow to reach the point of no return. Just twenty-six minutes and they couldn't possibly escape Danislav's oncoming dreadnoughts.

He turned back to his com to give Captain Harrington the news.

* * *

Twenty-four missiles sped toward the task group. Five of them lost lock over a million kilometers out as jammers blinded their sensors. Another three locked onto decoys. Two of them couldn't see their primary target and shifted to the secondary, arcing away to strike at the heavy cruiser Warrior, and countermissiles smashed six more of them to bits.

Eight of them broke through the outer defense zone and bore in, weaving and bobbing while their own ECM parried and thrust with the systems trying to kill them. They were outclassed . . . but they were also closing at fifty-five thousand KPS. Laser clusters killed one of them, then two more. A fourth. The surviving quartet made their final course correction, two more of them blew apart, and then the last pair of missiles detonated.

* * *

HMS Nike heaved and twisted as x-ray daggers sank deep into her armored flank. Laser Seven and Graser Five exploded into wreckage. Radar Five went with them, along with Communications Two, Missile Thirteen and Fourteen, Damage Control Three, Boat Bay Two, and ninety-three men and women.

-snip-

And a fourth deadly splinter ripped into the back of Admiral Mark Sarnow's command chair.

It sheared through the chair, spinning end-for-end like a white-hot buzz-saw. The impact snapped the admiral's shock frame and hurled him forward, but the splinter caught him in midair. It severed his right leg just above the knee and mangled his left calf, chunks of the chair itself blasted into his back, and his ribcage shattered like a wicker basket as he impacted on the master plot and bounced back like a broken doll.

Samuel Webster flung himself toward his admiral while slamming blast doors chopped off the cyclone of escaping air. Sarnow's skin suit had already inflated emergency tourniquets on either thigh, and his scream was a faint, thready exhalation as Webster moved him gently to check his life-sign monitors.

The admiral stared up at his com officer, fighting the searing agony. "Don't scatter!" he gasped with all his failing strength, and his hand plucked at Webster's arm like a fevered child's. "Tell them not to scatter!"

Webster's face was white as Sarnow's terrible injuries registered, and his fingers darted across the skin suit's med panel. Blessed relief spread through the admiral, deadening the pain. Unconsciousness beckoned, but he fought it as he had the pain, clinging to awareness, as Ernestine Corell appeared beside him.

"Don't scatter!" he gasped again, and Corell looked at Webster.

"What did he say?" she demanded, and Webster shrugged helplessly.

"I don't know, Ma'am." Grief clogged his voice, and he touched Sarnow's shoulder gently. "I can't make it out."


Sarnow is wounded just after detecting the arrival of Admiral Danislav's DN squadron, before he could order Honor to hold their course and not scatter as planned, to sucker Chin into running into Danislav.

She knew what Sarnow had been about to say. She'd been his tactical alter ego too long not to know . . . but he hadn't said it.

Command passed with the admiral. She knew that, too, yet there were no flag officers left. Captain Rubenstein was senior officer now, but Onslaught's gravitics were gone, her com section heavily damaged; she could neither receive the sensor platforms' transmissions nor pass orders effectively . . . and Rubenstein didn't know Danislav had arrived or what the admiral had intended.

She felt George Monet watching her, knew he was waiting for her order to inform Rubenstein he was in command, and said nothing.


And here's another point where Honor does something debatable. Technically she's usurping a senior officer by not transferring command promptly, but Rubenstein will testify under oath he would have been unable to exercise tactical control anyways, and a whole heap of officers endorse her actions here. Still.

Captain Pavel Young sat white-faced and sweating in his command chair. Warlock was untouched, one of the few ships which could say that, and her gravitics had picked up the same information as Nike's. He knew the relief force had arrived, and terror gnawed at his vitals as he waited for his ship's unnatural exemption to end.

He stared at the flagship's cursor, tasting blood from a bitten lip as direct hits and near misses lashed at her, their savagery made somehow more terrible by the quiet of Warlock's bridge. But even through his near-panic a corner of his brain exulted, for Van Slyke's death had given him squadron command at last, and command experience in a battle like this, however it had come his way, would wash away the Basilisk fiasco's stigma at last!

They reached the prearranged scatter point, and he tensed to order a radical course change at the flagship's command. But no command came. They passed the invisible dot in space, still charging forward, still on course . . . still writhing under the enemy's fire, and his eyes widened in disbelief.

He stared at Nike's data code desperately, almost beseechingly. What the hell was wrong with Sarnow? There was no more need for this! The Peeps would spot Danislav's dreadnoughts within twenty minutes—thirty-five at the most! Surely he knew they'd break off the action then anyway. Why wasn't he letting them save themselves?!

And then Warlock's immunity ended. The missile wasn't even meant for her, but her port decoy sucked it away from Invincible. It detonated at twenty-four thousand kilometers, blasting through her sidewall to blot away Laser Four and rip Magazine Two open to space, and panic roared through Pavel Young's soul on the wail of damage alarms.

"Squadron orders!" His tenor's shrill, raw edges turned every head on his bridge in shock. "All ships scatter! Repeat, all ships scatter!"


Young being an idiot and a contemptible coward again. We spend waaay to much of the next book inside his none-to-healthy head, and it's all like this. Sick enjoyment at the death of a superior giving him command, sweating, not thinking things through, etc. But his squadron obediently scatters, seriously compromising the Task Force's point defense.

"Give me a direct link to Captain Young!"

"Aye, aye, Ma'am." Monet jabbed keys, and the blank screen at Honor's knee filled with Pavel Young's face. Sweat streaked his cheeks and ran into his beard, and his eyes were a hunted animal's.

"Get back into formation, Captain!" Young only stared at her, his mouth working soundlessly. "Get back into formation, damn you!"

The screen went dead as Young killed the circuit. For one stunned second, she couldn't believe it, and in that second a fresh salvo of laser heads slammed at Nike's defenses. Her ship heaved and shuddered, frantic damage control reports crackled all around her, and she wrenched her eyes from the com screen to George Monet.

"General signal to all heavy cruisers. Return to formation at once. Repeat, return to formation at once!"


Young ignores a direct order from the flagship to return to formation, his squadron eventually obeys but he keeps on running. At his trial, it will be argued that Honor had no authority to be issuing him orders.

The battered Havenite dreadnoughts slowed abruptly, and Honor bared her teeth. They'd figured it out at last. She didn't know how, but they knew . . . only they didn't know it was already too late.

The dreadnoughts completed their turn, decelerating as hard as they could, and she pictured the scene on their flagship's bridge. Their CO couldn't know what bearing the threat was coming from. Until her own sensors picked up Danislav's ships she could only decelerate back the way she'd come, and every second of deceleration increased Nike's relative velocity by nine KPS. Which made it time to make the Peeps' targeting problems a little worse.

"Execute Shell Game," she said.

Eve Chandler punched commands into her panel, and eight EW drones erupted away from the two battlecruisers. They scattered in four different directions, each pair tucked in tight, mimicking the signatures of their mother ships, and Nike and Cassandra altered course sharply to charge off on yet a fifth vector.

The sudden multiplication of targets did exactly what Honor had intended. Unable to be certain which were the real ships, the Peep commander chose not to waste her ammunition on might-have-beens . . . especially when she must have figured out she was going to need every missile she had very shortly.

All fire ceased, and the brutally wounded flagship of TG-H001 and her crippled consort raced for safety.


Battle ends, Admiral Rollins sees Danislav's reinforcements. He could take them, but reasons this means the whole abandoning of Hancock in the first place was a trap He even sort of signals Chin the only way he can FTL, by letting her see him pull out.

Hereditary President Harris looked around the magnificently decorated dining room and tried not to show his worry. It was his birthday, and the glittering horde of well-wishers had gathered as it always did, but this time there was a difference. The soft clink and clatter of tableware sounded completely natural; the near total absence of conversation did not.

His mouth quirked mirthlessly, and he reached for his wineglass. Of course there was no conversation; no one wanted to talk about what all of them knew was true.

He drank deep of his wine, hardly noticing its exquisite bouquet, and let his eye run over the tables. As it did on every President's Day, the Republic's government had virtually shut down for the celebration, since anyone in government who mattered simply had to be here. Only Ron Bergren and Oscar Saint-Just were absent. The foreign secretary had departed for the Erewhon Wormhole Junction, en route to the Solarian League and a desperate (and probably futile) effort to convince the League that Manticore had started the war. Saint-Just, on the other hand, had been working eighteen-hour days ever since Constance's assassination—without getting any closer to her killers. But every other cabinet member was here, as were the heads of all of Haven's most prominent Legislaturalist clans and their immediate families.


President's Day on Haven means the Hereditary President-for-Life's birthday. Shortly after the assassinations of two separate Cabinet-level officials, the entire body of high government gathers in one place, what could go wrong?

They'd been mouse-trapped. Harris made himself admit that. They'd set their plans in motion, confident the game was theirs to direct as it always had been, only to discover that, after fifty years of conquest, they had finally met a foe even more cunning than they were.

He'd read the dispatches. Given what Admiral Rollins had known, Harris had to agree he'd had no choice but to move against the Hancock System, yet hindsight proved only too clearly that the Manties had known all about the "secret" Argus net. They'd used it to offer Rollins an irresistible bait by "withdrawing" their ships, and the result had been devastating. The arrival of the dreadnoughts which had compelled Admiral Chin to surrender would have been bad enough, but it hadn't been the end. Oh, no. Not the end.

Harris shuddered. The second jaw of the Manty trap had failed by the thinnest margin when the rest of Admiral Parks' "dispersed" task force dropped out of hyper barely thirty minutes too late to intercept Rollins before he hypered out, yet his escape hadn't saved him in the end. Reinforced to almost a third again of his prewar strength, Parks had moved instantly against Seaford Nine and Rollins' weakened task force. Seaford's defenders had destroyed a couple of ships of the wall and damaged others, but only three of their own capital ships had survived, and Rollins' flagship hadn't been one of them. PNS Barnett had blown up early in the action, killing Rollins and his entire staff, and the command confusion that followed had finished Seaford off.

And then Parks had left one battle squadron to hold Seaford and returned to Hancock . . . just in time to meet Admiral Coatsworth as he moved in, expecting to find Rollins in possession. At least Coatsworth had gotten most of his ships out, yet his lead squadrons had taken a terrible pounding, and without Seaford's repair facilities, he'd been driven clear back to Barnett with his damaged units while his courier boats reported the disaster to Haven.


For once something inexplicable happens, and the villains assume this was Manticore's plan all along. The surprise opening shots of the war led to light Mantie casualties, and massive ones on the Haven side, plus the loss of their Seaford Nine base. :slow clap:

Oh well, Parks has pretty much redeemed himself with off-screen acts of badassery, taking Seaford then racing home just in time to meet the other Haven fleet. At least I can buy now that he is a competent and capable officer when not getting into petty vendettas with junior officers he's never met.


"Those shuttles just altered course, Mr. President! They're headed straight in our direction, and—"

The PSF man never finished his sentence, for seven assault shuttles of the People's Navy screamed over the People's Palace. Four five-thousand-kilo precision guided warheads scored direct hits on the Presidential Dining Room, and Sidney Harris, his wife, his three children, and his entire cabinet and all of his senior advisors, ceased to exist in a fireball of chemical explosives.

Five seconds later, the Palace itself was little more than flaming rubble strewn across the cratered horror of its once immaculate grounds.


Huh, something happened. And these high society parties are normally so dull. Seriously, though, how the hell did that happen? Even in the 21st Century, violating DC's airspace without authorization would result in a pair of fighters on your tail, the ready five at the nearest airbase suiting up, and the White House surface-to-airs tracking you very carefully.

"I mean that we face the gravest crisis in our history," Pierre said softly. "This attack was launched by Navy personnel on the heels of the worst defeat our fleet has ever suffered. We must ask ourselves who had the authority to order those shuttles out on their 'exercise.' We must ask ourselves who had reason to fear the government's reaction to their failure against the Hancock System and the loss of Seaford Nine."

"Surely you're not suggesting that senior Navy officers were responsible?!"

"I am suggesting only that until we know who was responsible, we must consider every possibility, however terrible," Pierre replied in a level voice. "I hope with all my heart that I am doing our military personnel a grave injustice by even suggesting such a thing, but until we can be certain of that, we owe it to the Republic to guard against the chance that I'm not."
Neatly justifying the political officers.


"The government has been destroyed, ladies and gentlemen. Secretary Saint-Just and Secretary Bergren are the cabinet's sole survivors, and only Secretary Saint-Just is currently on Haven. He's already informed me that, as no more than Secretary Palmer-Levy's acting successor, he feels neither qualified to nor capable of assuming the burden of government. Which means that we, the people's representatives, have no option but to assume emergency powers until such time as formal government can he reestablished."

"Us?" someone yelped, and Pierre nodded once more.

"I realize our experience is limited, but who else is there?" He looked at his fellows appealingly. "We are at war with the Star Kingdom of' Manticore and its lackeys. In a time of such peril, the Republic must not drift uncontrolled, and until we can know positively that the military is reliable, we dare not place ourselves at its mercy. In the face of those inescapable and overriding concerns, we have no choice but to face our responsibility to provide the stability we so desperately need by organizing ourselves as a committee of public safety to assume direction of the state."

The People's Quorum stared at its speaker in shock. After so many decades of rubber-stamp approval of someone else's policies, barely a fraction of them had the least idea how to wield effective power. The very thought of it terrified them, yet none of them could deny the force of Pierre's logic. Someone had to assume control, and if there was the chance of a full-scale military coup . . .

Pierre let the silence linger for long, endless moments, then cleared his throat.

"I have, on my own authority, discussed our critical situation with Secretary Saint-Just. He has already moved to secure control of the essential administrative centers here on Haven and assures me of the loyalty of his own InSec personnel, but he has no desire to impose any sort of one-man rule on the Republic. In fact, he's practically begged me to explain the realities of our plight to you so that we can move quickly to establish the broad-based committee required to reassure our own people and the galaxy at large that no coup will be permitted to overthrow the Republic." Pierre shrugged helplessly.

"I see no option but to honor his request, ladies and gentlemen, and organize ourselves as a caretaker government until public safety can be restored."


The Glorious Revolution. Well, at this point they won't call it that or own up to axing the old regime, but just like that the old government is destroyed and the new one is taking over. Later we'll see it wasn't quite all this easy.

He'd gone into Yeltsin believing he had a three-to-one advantage, only to find himself facing a force even stronger than his own, and somehow the Manties and their allies had been able to preposition their powered-down wall of battle perfectly. It was as if they'd been clairvoyant, as if they'd been able to see every move he made in real time.

Their opening broadsides had taken him totally by surprise. A quarter of his fleet had been crippled or destroyed almost before he knew the enemy was there, and he had no idea how he'd extricated anything from the deadly trap. He couldn't remember. No doubt he could replay the com records and flag bridge recorders and reconstruct his orders, but he had absolutely no coherent memory of giving them. It was all a hideous nightmare of lightning-fast decisions and desperate improvisation that had somehow fought clear of Yeltsin with barely half the ships he'd taken into it, and half of them had been so battered their return to Barnett had taken more than twice as long as the passage out.

And now this. The President was dead. The entire government was dead, as were his own father, his younger sister, his brother, three of his cousins, and virtually their entire families, and Navy personnel had done it.

He ground his teeth in agony at the thought. The Manties' Hancock trap had succeeded even more completely against Admiral Rollins than the Yeltsin ambush had against him. Sixteen percent—the best sixteen percent—of the Fleet's wall of battle had been wiped out, and even as the Navy bled and died on the frontiers, another faction of its personnel had committed mass murder against its own people.


16% of the Haven wall of battle is gone for no real benefit. Great start to the war, guys! Seriously, though, props to Parnell. He was badly outnumbered, the enemy had sent one of their best commanders, with the advantage of the FTL comms, and he still managed to get a lot of his people out. Shame about what comes next.

"Admiral Parnell, I am Special Undersecretary for Security Cordelia Ransom, and it is my duty to inform you that you are under arrest."

"Arrest?" Parnell stared at her, feeling anesthetized and numb, as she drew a crackling sheaf of paper from her pocket. "On what charges?"

"On charges of treason against the people," Ransom said in that same, hard voice. She tossed the sheaf of paper onto his desk, and the admiral stared down at it dazedly, then picked it up in trembling hands.

From its date, the standard InSec detention order must have been written within hours of his Yeltsin dispatch's arrival on Haven, and like all InSec DOs, its wording was vague. The charges were listed in bald, terse sentences, but no amplification or specifics were offered.

He read the charges slowly, unable to believe this was happening, and then he came to the last page. It wasn't a standard detention order after all, for the signature block had been changed. The space which should have contained the Secretary of Internal Security's authorization of Parnell's arrest bore another name and title, and he stared at it numbly.

"By order of Rob S. Pierre, Chairman, Committee of Public Safety," it said.


The first time I read this book, this is where it finally clicked. Rob S. Pierre, Robespierre, and the Committee, and I understood that some bad things were going to go down, and the new regime really wouldn't be a marked improvement over the old one. Sometimes I can be slow.

Vice Admiral Sir Yancey Parks returned her gaze levelly. She felt his emotions through her link to the treecat, and there was still no liking for her in them. She wasn't surprised. She might not know what had prejudiced Parks against her to start with, but she'd come to the conclusion that it didn't much matter, anyway. They were simply the wrong personalities to like one another.

Yet they were also professionals. They didn't have to like each other, and just as she felt Parks' dislike, she felt his stubborn determination to do his duty. It was a pity, she thought, that he couldn't feel her emotions. Perhaps that sort of understanding might have overcome their mutual dislike.


And just like that, the subplot of 'Parks doesn't like Honor and Sarnow' ends. Just now, they realize they can be professionals, or hell, freaking grown-ups and work together without necessarily liking each other.

"I've also read your report on the . . . incidents of the engagement," Parks went on in a flat tone, "and taken statements from all surviving captains. In light of those statements and the com records from Warlock's data base, there is no question in my mind that Lord Young first ordered his squadron to scatter without authorization and subsequently withdrew his ship and its support against your specific orders. The situation is complicated by the fact that he was, in fact, senior to you, but he had no way of knowing Admiral Sarnow had been incapacitated. At the moment he made his decision, he did so against what he believed to be Admiral Sarnow's orders and hence in defiance of his lawful superior while in the presence of the enemy. As such, I have had no choice but to remove him from command and assemble a captains' board to consider his actions."

He paused, and Honor watched him in silence. She'd known all about the board of inquiry. She might not like Parks, but she had to admit he'd acted both promptly and generously where the task group was concerned. Of course, she thought bitterly, there weren't very many people left to be generous to. Sarnow's force had suffered over twelve thousand fatal casualties, and none of them had been necessary.

-snip-

But Parks knew how much he owed the task group. He'd been more than generous in his praise, and she'd already seen the honors list he'd proposed to the Queen. She was on it, as were Sarnow, Banton, Van Slyke, and at least a dozen other officers and twice as many ratings and noncoms. Too many of them were mentioned only posthumously, yet Parks had done what he could, and his report on his own actions pulled no punches. He'd fully admitted his mistakes—and been equally explicit in his praise for Admiral Mark Sarnow and the officers and enlisted personnel under his command.


Again with Parks being all competent and professional, and owning up to his tactical mistakes if not necessarily the reasons. Well, even Parks wondered if a part of him didn't scatter the fleet and leave Sarnow home because he just didn't want to deal with the guy any more.

"You depart for Manticore within the next twelve hours," Parks said, "and I'm sending Lord Young home in your ship under quarters arrest."

Honor stiffened and started to open her mouth, but Parks' gaze pinned her to her chair.

"Yours is the next departing ship. Considering the serious charges against him, he is entitled to the promptest return—and trial—possible, and I will expect you to treat him with proper military courtesy. Until and unless he is tried and convicted, he remains a Queen's officer and your senior. I realize the uncomfortable position in which this places you, but I expect you to do your duty—as you always have."

His eyes softened, somehow, with the final words, and she was puzzled by the surge of genuine apology she sensed through her link to Nimitz. It muted her own angry distaste for sharing the same air as Pavel Young, and she bit her lip for just a moment, then nodded.

-snip-

"It seems Captain Tankersley was promoted from captain junior grade to captain of the list just before the Peep attack. As such, he's too senior to stay on as exec aboard the base here, and since he, um, did such a fine job of dealing with Nike's original engineering difficulties, I thought it only fitting to return him to Manticore for reassignment aboard her."

Honor stared at him, trapped between amazement and sudden joy, and Parks gave her the first completely natural smile she'd ever seen from him.

"I trust the two of you will find something to talk about during the voyage, Captain Harrington."
Honor is taking Nike back to Manticore for several months of repair work, and taking both Tankersley and Young back with her. And now Parks is respecting her devotion to duty and gently ribbing her about Tankersley. Seriously, this is the weirdest sub-plot, resolved in the last pages like it was never any thing.
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington

Post by Crazedwraith »

Chin knows exactly what they're doing and why, but she's game because she's not actually in a terrible rush, expecting 3-4 days to take out the repair base at her leisure.
At this point I wondered if there was any particular reason she didn't dispatch part of her force to take the base. She didn't need everyone to take the BCs and it didn't seem like a very strong force was needed to take on the base. They just needed to stroll into energy range and demand surrender.

But I guess she didn't want the possibility of being taken apart peicemeal in case she was wrong about the last of the tricks thing.

Young ignores a direct order from the flagship to return to formation, his squadron eventually obeys but he keeps on running. At his trial, it will be argued that Honor had no authority to be issuing him orders.
Does that even matter? The initial scattering was clear cut cowardice in the face of the enemy. If this really was Hornblower in spaaaace that alone would be enough to have him shot but the charges mentioned are only the disobedience of orders in the last quote with Parks.
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington

Post by Ahriman238 »

Young's court-martial consumes the first half or so of the next book and is highly politicized, to say the least. I don't want to give too much away when I'm about to do it, but both desertion and cowardice in the face of the enemy are among the charges.
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington

Post by Simon_Jester »

Ahriman238 wrote:
Nike and her squadron mates accelerated at a steady .986 gees, screened by Van Slyke's heavy cruisers and the ten light cruisers Cartwright and Ernie Corell had exempted from their picket deployments. The task group seemed to crawl at such a low accel, yet there were limits to even the best electronic warfare capabilities. While the RMN's stealth systems were highly efficient against active sensors like radar, the only effective way to limit detection range against an impeller wedge was to reduce its power.
Impeller drive under max stealth can pull just under one G. In a later book where a similar maneuver is required it turns out Peep ships have chemical thrusters that can pull more than 5.
Quite a lot more, actually. Basically, an impeller drive doesn't need to accelerate a ship at all; a ship can have its impellers up and be coasting entirely. The problem is that the impeller wedge is still very visible, and switching it off makes you vulnerable until you bring up the wedge, which takes time.

So rather than shut off their wedges entirely, the Manticorans keep them at a very feeble power setting (which their stealth systems can mask), and accept the minimal acceleration this allows them under impeller drive.
Base defenses include a BC-grade bubble-generator and an awful lot of counter-missiles and laser clusters.
If nothing else, this helps protect the base from random attackers who lob missiles on ballistic trajectories from extreme range, which is the obvious way to destroy a fixed installation in the Honorverse. It also makes it more likely that the base will be safe if an enemy cruiser or something sneaks past the main body of the fleet on station and gets into firing range, because the base can't be killed by the first missile salvo.
The RMN's tradition of self-sacrifice in the face of impossible odds. Which is the reason Admiral Chin can't buy the defenders running and leaving the base to fend for itself.
There are a lot of reasons why this is a desirable tradition. Stuart (who may not be the most popular guy here nowadays but at least knew his stuff when it came to the military) explains it here, in the context of a British armed merchant cruiser which went up against a pair of German battlecruisers during the Second World War.
How's that for a suckerpunch? First appearance of holyshithuge! missile clouds, not the last by any means. Manticoran ECM as seen from the other side, white noise, communications disruptions and missile signatures splitting and recombining and dancing around most inconveniently. Also note that just "over a dozen" laser heads getting a throat-shot were enough to blow a dreadnought to smithereens.
They got lucky, based on what I've seen from later in the series. The key thing to understand is that Honorverse ships cannot be modeled as having 'hit points' which are gradually eroded by repeated missile hits until the ship blows up entirely. Shipboard beam and missile weapons are powerful enough that if something hits, and if it penetrates the ship's passive defenses at all (and it usually will), then the first hit has about as much chance of destroying your ship as the 100th hit. The only difference is that if the enemy lands 100 hits, the law of averages will probably have caught up to you and something critical will be destroyed; if they land 1 hit, probably not.

So 12-15 missile hits may be enough to kill this dreadnought, but that says nothing about how many hits it would take to kill an identical dreadnought on another day.

That said, yes, this is the first Manticore Missile Massacre, there will be many more.
Genevieve Chin, ladies and gents, bit of a temper problem but no dummy. Once she has a minute to think she sees through the ruse with the drones, but they did make her hit the brakes enough that she won't be able to get them in energy range, a big plus.
Yes. In a broadside missile duel she'd beat the RMN battlecruiser squadron eventually, but in beam combat Sarnow's ships would go "splat" in short order; it'd be utterly lopsided.
Nothing like an ambush to create a properly paranoid tac officer. Funny that he has to ask the computer to compare readings to the library, instead of telling the computer to spit out a "mines ahead, dummy!" alert when it encounters that particular profile.
Because it may be like DNA matching, where you don't actually get 100% matches often? Maybe the computer profile and the anomalous crap in space don't actually look exactly alike, and it's a matter of taking some serious processor time to go "hm, it's probably one of THESE," not just the computer automatically knowing what it's looking at?
Retaliation, even a short dreadnought squadron can loose 260 missiles, though Manticoran point-defense kills over 90% of the inbound.
I should go back over some of the figures I've got for missile tube count on the RMN dreadnoughts, and defense weapon counts on the RMN ships, to get an estimate for just how effective these systems are. Knowing how many antimissile mounts eight battlecruisers and eight heavy cruisers are supposed to have would be nice, and conveniently I have all that information somewhere in this thread... ;)

However, 260 missiles sounds like too many for four, or for that matter five or six, dreadnoughts. I don't have all the materials I'd want to cover this properly, not immediately to hand, but I'll see what I can drum up.

Looks like another screwup by the tech bible people, either that or Weber's idea of just how many broadside launchers a ship of the wall carries evolved over the years.
Twenty-four missiles sped toward the task group. Five of them lost lock over a million kilometers out as jammers blinded their sensors. Another three locked onto decoys. Two of them couldn't see their primary target and shifted to the secondary, arcing away to strike at the heavy cruiser Warrior, and countermissiles smashed six more of them to bits.
According to the tech bible, Warrior must be ancient, but there it is I guess.
Young being an idiot and a contemptible coward again. We spend waaay to much of the next book inside his none-to-healthy head, and it's all like this. Sick enjoyment at the death of a superior giving him command, sweating, not thinking things through, etc. But his squadron obediently scatters, seriously compromising the Task Force's point defense.
Yes, he's sort of... cartoonishly slimy and foul. It's a pity; a really good aristocratic-prick antagonist would have been more fun, and could have hung around to dog Honor's tracks for longer. Someone with actual courage and competence who could at least keep up a good career in the fleet and be a credible adversary for Honor within her own country's political structure for the long haul, rather than being an entitled cretin with a big reservoir of political capital and power that he cannot possibly replenish on account of being such a shit.
Young ignores a direct order from the flagship to return to formation, his squadron eventually obeys but he keeps on running. At his trial, it will be argued that Honor had no authority to be issuing him orders.
Which is true, to be fair.
President's Day on Haven means the Hereditary President-for-Life's birthday. Shortly after the assassinations of two separate Cabinet-level officials, the entire body of high government gathers in one place, what could go wrong?
Yes; it's really kind of hard to imagine this happening in a 'modern' country, where 'modern' is defined as anyone who's ever heard of the atomic bomb.

No matter how much security you have, it literally takes ONE hit from ONE munition to utterly destroy any single place in the world, and that has always been true since 1945. No matter how secure you think you are, there's always something big enough to kill you if you can't shoot it down before it reaches you.
Huh, something happened. And these high society parties are normally so dull. Seriously, though, how the hell did that happen? Even in the 21st Century, violating DC's airspace without authorization would result in a pair of fighters on your tail, the ready five at the nearest airbase suiting up, and the White House surface-to-airs tracking you very carefully.
For one, the shuttles that dropped the bombs may well have had legitimate access codes supplied to them, either by Saint-Just or by some other rebel within the Legislaturalist regime. For another, they may have been very fast-moving craft- i.e. hypersonic, in which case they could cover such a large distance so quickly that their maneuvers might well 'outreact' Nouveau Paris air defenses.

There might be other explanations too; that's just what comes up from the top of my head.
16% of the Haven wall of battle is gone for no real benefit. Great start to the war, guys! Seriously, though, props to Parnell. He was badly outnumbered, the enemy had sent one of their best commanders, with the advantage of the FTL comms, and he still managed to get a lot of his people out. Shame about what comes next.
Agreed. Also, note that this is pretty much what would have happened to Chin if the RMN had had a capital ship squadron at Hancock- an SD squadron's worth of pods wouldn't have left much of her command in any shape to continue the battle.
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington

Post by Simon_Jester »

Crazedwraith wrote:At this point I wondered if there was any particular reason she didn't dispatch part of her force to take the base. She didn't need everyone to take the BCs and it didn't seem like a very strong force was needed to take on the base. They just needed to stroll into energy range and demand surrender.

But I guess she didn't want the possibility of being taken apart peicemeal in case she was wrong about the last of the tricks thing.
Like, say, yet another minefield in the vicinity of the base.

Also, actually boarding and securing the repair station would probably require large numbers of marines, acting quickly to keep the RMN personnel from sabotaging the facilities. A fraction of her command might not be up for that part. And I'm pretty sure Haven would at least like to try and capture Hancock Station intact-ish.
Does that even matter? The initial scattering was clear cut cowardice in the face of the enemy. If this really was Hornblower in spaaaace that alone would be enough to have him shot but the charges mentioned are only the disobedience of orders in the last quote with Parks.
The issue seriously arises; the death penalty will be on the table at his court-martial.
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington

Post by Terralthra »

Simon_Jester wrote:
Ahriman238 wrote:
Nike and her squadron mates accelerated at a steady .986 gees, screened by Van Slyke's heavy cruisers and the ten light cruisers Cartwright and Ernie Corell had exempted from their picket deployments. The task group seemed to crawl at such a low accel, yet there were limits to even the best electronic warfare capabilities. While the RMN's stealth systems were highly efficient against active sensors like radar, the only effective way to limit detection range against an impeller wedge was to reduce its power.
Impeller drive under max stealth can pull just under one G. In a later book where a similar maneuver is required it turns out Peep ships have chemical thrusters that can pull more than 5.
Quite a lot more, actually. Basically, an impeller drive doesn't need to accelerate a ship at all; a ship can have its impellers up and be coasting entirely. The problem is that the impeller wedge is still very visible, and switching it off makes you vulnerable until you bring up the wedge, which takes time.

So rather than shut off their wedges entirely, the Manticorans keep them at a very feeble power setting (which their stealth systems can mask), and accept the minimal acceleration this allows them under impeller drive.
I think this is likely a kps^2/gees screwup. Less than 1g under stealth makes *zero* sense in comparison to the rest of the series. 0.986 kps^2 is about 100 gees, and is more in line with general stealth capabilities under impeller drive.

Simon_Jester wrote:
Ahriman238 wrote:Nothing like an ambush to create a properly paranoid tac officer. Funny that he has to ask the computer to compare readings to the library, instead of telling the computer to spit out a "mines ahead, dummy!" alert when it encounters that particular profile.
Because it may be like DNA matching, where you don't actually get 100% matches often? Maybe the computer profile and the anomalous crap in space don't actually look exactly alike, and it's a matter of taking some serious processor time to go "hm, it's probably one of THESE," not just the computer automatically knowing what it's looking at?
Given computing power necessary and available in this time, compared to requirements, it seems likely they only have alerts put in there for threats they're likely to face. They may figure given their choice of hyper entry point, attack vector, and so on, that the chances of a wall of mines exactly in their path is vanishingly unlikely, and not be actively filtering sensor returns for them.
Simon_Jester wrote:
Ahriman238 wrote:Retaliation, even a short dreadnought squadron can loose 260 missiles, though Manticoran point-defense kills over 90% of the inbound.
I should go back over some of the figures I've got for missile tube count on the RMN dreadnoughts, and defense weapon counts on the RMN ships, to get an estimate for just how effective these systems are. Knowing how many antimissile mounts eight battlecruisers and eight heavy cruisers are supposed to have would be nice, and conveniently I have all that information somewhere in this thread... ;)

However, 260 missiles sounds like too many for four, or for that matter five or six, dreadnoughts. I don't have all the materials I'd want to cover this properly, not immediately to hand, but I'll see what I can drum up.

Looks like another screwup by the tech bible people, either that or Weber's idea of just how many broadside launchers a ship of the wall carries evolved over the years.
No info that I can find on Nouveau Paris-class dreadnought armaments, but comparable RMN dreadnoughts (Bellerophon-class, in fact) have 35 missiles per broadside. Chin's force starts as 7 dreadnoughts, 6 BCs, and some indeterminate number of heavy cruisers (3+) and destroyers (5+). By this time, it's short, in order, 1 DN (Nouveau Paris herself), 2 BCs (Walid, Sulieman), a 3rd BC (Malik). They lose another BC to missile fire, then the mines take out another DN (Waldensville), another BC (Alp Arslan), and more of the screen, so they're down to 5 DNs (all damaged), 2 BCs, down some amount of heavy cruisers (lost at least 3 in the minefield), and down a half-dozen destroyers. 1 DN is badly hurt, so the broadside that follows the minefield is from 4 DNs, plus the screen.

Say the CA and DD screens start at 8 ships, that leaves them no more than a firing squadron of 4 DN, 2 BC, 5 CA, and 2 DD. 4x35 = 140, the BCs will have roughly a 20-missile broadside, 2 of them adds 40 more, so we're up to 180. The cruisers will put somewhere on the order of a dozen missiles apiece into the broadside, so (assuming 5) puts 5*12 = 60 missiles. We're up to 240 now. 2 destroyers would have to put out 18 missiles, 9 apiece, to equal 258, but that assumes that there were only 8 of each smaller screening unit to start with.

We know from the epilogue that Adm. Chin surrendered to Danislav some 43 ships. Five were dreadnoughts, two were battlecruisers. That leaves an awful lot of "light ships" left to be surrendered. Even if you take big dents out of the broadside loads of the task group, that much screen putting out a ~260 missile broadside seems reasonable once you start adding things up.
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington

Post by Simon_Jester »

Hm. The massive disparity in losses between the dreadnoughts (2.5 lost out of seven) and battlecruisers (4 lost out of 6) also suggests that it is really not appropriate to call a battlecruiser a "capital ship;" put them into the same combat situation alongside capital ships and they tend to die in very large numbers.

Also, I MIGHT be able to get some Havenite ship stats...
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington

Post by Simon_Jester »

OK, for starters, I'm putting the post-1900 pre-MDM/LAC designs: ship classes which were fully new as of On Basilisk Station (and in some cases not yet built, or even on the drawing boards), but which are nevertheless dated by the standards of the current series.

By 1900, Elizabeth's buildup was hitting the limits of the possible for peacetime conditions- and further acceleration kicked in after the war broke out in 1905.
________________________

Valiant-class Light Cruiser
Mass: 154750 tons
Dimensions: 469 x 49 x 38 m
Acceleration: 516.4 g
80% Accel: 413.2 g
Broadside: 8 missile tubes, 6 lasers, 5 countermissile tubes, 4 point defense mounts
Chase: 3 missile tubes, 2 grasers, 3 countermissile tubes, 3 point defense mounts
Number Built: 83
Service Life: 1902-present

With half again the missile broadside of an Apollo, the Valiant-class marks a departure in typical RMN light cruiser design. It is fourteen percent heavier than the Illustrious-class and takes much of its design philosophy from the old Courageous class. The Valiants remain effective units even by today's radically changed standards, boasting a heavier missile broadside than any previous RMN light cruiser, energy weapons equal to those of an Apollo, and a respectable defensive suite. Another notable design feature is its heavy chase armament, although fitting in the three missile tubes and two grasers (plus the defensive mounts) requierd a substantial reworking of the internal hammerhead design.

Like the much smaller Courageous-class, this capability comes at a price. Solid, reliable, and effective, the Valiants are shorter-legged and more cramped than most of their contemporaries, despite their larger size. Enough Valiants have been built to completely replace the Courageous-class hulls as they are decommissioned, with many Valiants inheriting their names directly from the older ships.

Comments

Interesting to compare this to the more or less contemporary Culverins- at 50% greater tonnage, 15% greater length, 30% greater height... and identical width. Maybe the ship just stacks its decks higher, to make more room for things.

Heavier main armament, but roughly proportionate to the Culverin's given the tonnage ratio. I get the sense that the Valiant is not better protected- it doesn't have much extra width to pack armor into, and it's clear that weapons and other systems were scaled up proportionately.

Not a bad ship overall- but not good for the doctrinal role RMN CLs are supposed to be able to fill, because of the poor endurance. Also note that bad crew accomodations are a serious handicap on long trips. Not just because the crew complains, but because their discomfort tends to actually reduce performance if they don't get a chance to stretch their legs.


Edward Saganami-class Heavy Cruiser
Mass: 393000 tons
Dimensions: 5269 x 69 x 57 m
Acceleration: 592.2 g
80% Accel: 473.8 g
Broadside: 14 missile tubes, 5 grasers, 10 countermissile tubes, 10 point defense mounts
Chase: 3 missile tubes, 2 grasers, 6 countermissile tubes, 6 point defense mounts
Number Built: 46
Service Life: 1908-present

The Edward Saganami-class heavy cruiser was designed to improve upon the Star Knight. As the war progressed, the design underwent several major revisions, and construction was delayed by almost three years as the Manticoran designers studied innovations the Graysons developed for their Alvarez-class and other small combatants. When the design was finally completed, the Saganami-class became the RMN's first "all graser" ship since the Warrior. It mounted two additional missile launchers and fewer but more powerful grasers than originally planned, as well as major changes in crew structure using the new automation. Other improvements included significant electronics and systems upgrades, which greatly improved its passive defenses.

The lead ship, HMS Edward Saganami, bears little resemblance to the original design proposed in 1903 PD, and there are significant differences between all of the first flight ships. Indeed, in some ways, the Flight I ships may be considered a series of prototypes, as they were not all laid down simultaneously and the basic platform's design remained under development and refinement throughout their construction period. Later flights settled down into a more stable pattern. The Flight II Saganamis all carried first-generation bow walls, making them the first RMN warships larger than a LAC to use the new technology.

Comments:

Quite noticeably bigger and nastier than the Star Knights. Armament is actually not increased proportionate to the ship's greater tonnage, not quite anyway.

Note that the Saganami-class has vastly higher acceleration than the Star Knight despite being much bigger and heavier. This suggests that the "new compensator" technology is being used for the baseline statistics of the class, because by 1908 they were available on all ships whereas in 1900 they did not exist. The older ships can, in most cases, match this kind of acceleration once compensator upgrades are installed.

As I mentioned last time, it's curious that the RMN goes to all-graser energy armament for heavy cruisers when their existing CA-weight beam weapons are (apparently) perfectly capable of ripping apart a Peep battlecruiser at Second Yeltsin. Personally I think this is a doctrinal mistake.
___________________________

No new battlecruisers were designed during this period; the RMN basically just kept churning out Reliants. Some minor updates on the Reliant design, but nothing that appears to have seen production until 1915, which places it outside the scope of this post.

Bellerophon-class Dreadnought

Mass: 6985250 tons
Dimensions: 1293 x 187 x 175 m
Acceleration: 420.1 g
80% Accel: 336.1 g
Broadside: 33 missile tubes, 15 lasers, 18 grasers, 24 countermissile tubes, 24 point defense mounts
Chase: 7 missile tubes, 2 lasers, 3 grasers, 8 countermissile tubes, 8 point defense mounts
Number Built: 38
Service Life: 1800-1921

The Bellerophon-class dreadnought represents the pinnacle of Manticoran dreadnought design, incorporating lessons learned from all of the previous classes and the final prewar generation of RMN simulation data and doctrine. The Bellerophons were originally intended as inexpensive contemporaries of the Gryphon-class superdreadnoughts, to be built in larger numbers than the heavier ships and to support the SDs in battle. The originally projected building ratio for the two classes was reversed almost literally overnight once war began and the emergency construction programs reached their full potential, however. The class continued in construction at a slow rate for the first five years of the war, until the Navy's funding and infrastructure allowed it to begin building exclusively SDs for its line of battle, at which time the Bellerophons were honorably retired and phased out of service.

Massing just under seven million tons, the Bellerophons were in every way equal superior to any of the early Manticoran superdreadnought classes and could give even the Anduril-class a run for its money, especially given the predominance of missile-only combat in the later phases of the war.

However, no matter how advanced it was, there is no question that the Bellerophon, like every other conventional capital ship in the Manticoran Navy, was designed to fight the last war. When even the most advanced prewar superdreadnought was rendered hopelessly obsolete by modern standards, the cost and manpower were clearly better spent on building larger, more powerful, and more survivable ships to replace them. The majority of this class lies in mothballs and could potentially be reactivated, but the possibility that any of them will see service again is remote.

Comments

OK, this is a screwy one. Weight increase by two hundred thousand tons, sharp increase in missile broadside over the Majestic-class, even though the Majestics are listed in the guide as having a "heavy missile broadside... at the cost of close combat capability," and "increased missile magazine size."

Also, the Majestics are described as having a "far more fragile hull than the Gladiator." Which suggests that at least SOME of that extra two hundred thousand tons of bulking up should have gone to increasing the design's armor scheme, which makes it even harder to figure out how they fit in the extra missile tubes.

To be fair, the guide writers do follow a fairly persistent rule that to gain one missile tube a design gives up roughly one beam weapon mount; and the Bellerophon does in fact sacrifice three lasers and two grasers from the broadside to pick up the extra five missile tubes. On the other hand, they just plain have less firepower in all categories on the hammerheads.

On a side note, the idea that they're in mothballs is interesting because while these ships are no match for an MDM-capable ship, they are probably a match for Solarian capital ships- most likely lighter than a Solarian SD but better designed for the realities of missile combat. It might actually be worthwhile to find some opponent of the League with money and a need for naval buildup in a hurry (say, Beowulf) and sell the dreadnoughts to them.

Unlike Manticoran SD(P)s in the post-Oyster Bay environment, these ships can be maintained rather easily. Alternatively they can be rearmed with something like the two-stage cruiserweight MDM the Manticorans now use, if anyone (say, Haven?) still has factories to make them in. Either way, it at least gets 30-40 of the wall into service and shooting at the enemy, albeit 30-40 of the wall that are probably not an overwhelming overmatch for what the enemy already has.
________________________

Gryphon-class Superdreadnought

Mass: 8339000 tons
Dimensions: 1371 x 199 x 185 m
Acceleration: 402.1 g
80% Accel: 321.7 g
Broadside: 37 missile tubes, 19 lasers, 22 grasers, 8 energy torpedo launchers, 28 countermissile tubes, 30 point defense mounts
Chase: 9 missile tubes, 4 lasers, 5 grasers, 10 countermissile tubes, 10 point defense mounts
Number Built: 163 (!)
Service Life: 1900-present

In many ways the Gryphon-class was simply an evolution and continuation of the successful Sphinx-class, as new construction began to incorporate lessons learned from the Victory-class testing and evaluation programs. The differences in weapons fit and evolutionary changes in design were great enough that BuShips redesignated them later as an entirely new class, despite the fact that several of the later Sphinxes were all but indistinguishable from the earlier Gryphon-class ships.

Still under construction at the outbreak of the First Haven War, these represent the pinnacle of conventional superdreadnought design, and the demands of the war kept the class in series production with a minimum of changes for the next decade. They would have continued at that pace were it not for the fruits of Project Ghost Rider, and in fact, a number of the Medusa-class units were carried on the books as Flight III Gryphons to maintain secrecy on that project.

Most of the Gryphon-class ships were spared from the Janacek cutbacks, though many were placed in the reserve in line with the policy of leaving system defense to LAC wings and concentrating the Navy's striking power in the squadrons of pod superdreadnoughts already in commission.

During this period, a handful of Gryphons had been gutted and refitted with launchers capable of firing the new Mk23 Multi-Drive Missile from internal tubes. While plans had existed initially to refit all of the class with MDMs, the program proved prohibitively expensive and was vedeviled by technical and safety problems with the fusion-powered missiles, and only a small portion had actually been completed before the war resumed. Given the current strategic situation, the White Haven Admiralty has not been willing or able to pull the existing units off the front lines to continue the refits.

Comments:

So we can estimate that roughly 60 or so of these were built before the war (given the 'more than one per month' benchmark reached with the Sphinxes)... and therefore about another hundred were built during it. Which is all the capital ships Manticore managed to come up with during the first several years of the war.

Also, comments here tie back to my speculation about the Bellerophons; obviously, refitting a Bellerophon to fire MDMs would be no easier than refitting a Sphinx, and either would be prohibitively difficult in the middle of a shooting war.





Aaaanyway. That basically wraps up every ship class the RMN had prior to Ghost Rider, the MDM and the SD(P). In the next post, I'm going to list every Havenite class I can find- unfortunately, the only information on this we have comes from the captured ships in the GSN and RMN lists. Because someone decided writing the Graysons into the tech bible was more interesting and important than writing Haven in. :banghead:
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington

Post by Simon_Jester »

Here goes... bear in mind that any of these numbers may have been tweaked because they reflect Manticoran/Grayson modifications to the ships. However, the raw tonnage and armament numbers should at least be broadly reflective.

Frigate-class Light Cruiser
Mass: 145000 tons
Dimensions: 459 x 48 x 37 m
Acceleration: 516.9* g
80% Accel: 413.5* g
Broadside: 8 missile tubes, 5 lasers, 6 countermissile tubes, 4 point defense mounts
Chase: 2 missile tubes, 1 laser, 3 countermissile tubes, 2 point defense mounts
Number Built: ???**
Service Life: 1913***-1916

* Probably reflects Grayson installing better inertial compensators. On the other hand, given what Manticoran acceleration figures look like before the war, it seems likely that the PN could get them up to a cruising acceleration of 413 g or better by running the compensator at 90% capacity, which was their standard practice by the time the Mars-class entered service.
** We know Grayson captured two- but the PN must have built many more.
*** This is when the Graysons first got ahold of them; Haven had them in service for at least a couple of years previous to this date.

[snip stuff about how these Frigates were captured by Grayson]

"...relegated to training service... decommissioned...used as target vessels."

Comments:

Poor Havenite ships. :(

Anyway, if we cross-compare this to the Valiants we see considerable similarity. The Frigates have roughly the same balance of weapons, although on a slightly smaller, lighter hull. This is apparently a 'new' Havenite design, possibly post-1905 and reflecting their new experiences dealing with the threat of RMN light units and missile attacks.

Also note that all the broadside energy weapons are lasers. This is pretty normal for the destroyer and CL designs we've seen, but it's remarkable that the much heavier Mars-class does the same thing. Weber's made mutters about Haven being into using their broadside beam mounts as missile defense weapons, and maybe that's part of this: the lasers are lighter, quicker-firing weapons better suited to shooting down missiles. If so, this is an interesting alternative to the vaunted 'all-graser' stuff that Weber likes to tout the Graysons doing and the RMN following suit.



Mars-class Heavy Cruiser
Mass: 477250 tons
Dimensions: 607 x 73 x 61 m
Acceleration: 501.1* g
80% Accel: 400.9* g
Broadside: 11 missile tubes, 12 lasers, 12 countermissile tubes, 12 point defense mounts
Chase: 3 missile tubes, 3 grasers, 4 countermissile tubes, 6 point defense mounts
Number Built: ???**
Service Life: 1913***-present

* Probably reflects Grayson installing better inertial compensators. On the other hand, given what Manticoran acceleration figures look like before the war, it seems likely that the PN could get them up to a cruising acceleration of 400 g or better by running the compensator at 90% capacity, which was their standard practice by the time the Mars-class entered service.
** We know Grayson captured four- but the PN must have built dozens if not hundreds of the things; I couldn't even begin to tell you how many have died 'on-screen' alone.
*** This is when the Graysons first got ahold of them; Haven had them in service for at least a couple of years previous to this date.

[snip stuff about how these Marses were captured by Grayson]

"Larger and more modern than any of the early captured specimens of Havenite hardware... the fusion plants are reportedly known as "the Bombs" by their crews."

Comments:

This represents one of the few types of PN ship that's talked about extensively in-setting in the series. It's a post-1905 Havenite design, intended to compensate for the perceived inadequacy of their light units against things like pesky Honor Harringtons in Star Knights. Note a few key points:

1) It is really big for an alleged 'heavy cruiser.' Vastly bigger than any prewar Manticoran design. 50% heavier than the Star Knight, twice as heavy as the older RMN heavy cruisers.

2) It mounts a lot of antimissile weapons. Like, about as many as a prewar RMN battlecruiser. This is, again, a logical Havenite response to the Manticore Missile Massacre. If you want your ships not to get totally slaughtered by the opening pod salvo of a Manticoran attack, then they need to mount very heavy antimissile defense, probably two or more times as much as you'd need to deal with the same ships' broadside fire.

3) The size and antimissile firepower suggest that the Mars is also intended as a modernized screen element for the PN's battleline. It's so big and tough that it can probably survive at least a few hits from capital-class missiles without getting blown out of space, and it mounts so many countermissiles that it's going to be pretty effective at shooting down said missiles before they hit the capital ships.

4) The fusion plants used on the first generation of Marses were violently unstable and occasionally blew up at random. Later they were replaced, but that didn't happen until like 1914-15 at least. This becomes a plot point in Shadow of Saganami.

Some other things we learn from reading the later novels: the Marses were designed 'for but not with' some of the advanced hardware Manticore developed during 1905-10. Basically, Haven figured they'd figure out how to duplicate the Manticoran compensator and missile pod technologies sooner or later, so they designed their ships to be compatible with that technology. Thus, the Marses have unusually powerful impeller wedges, designed to be mated with advanced Manticoran compensators (which Haven didn't actually obtain until much later). At the same time, the big size, powerful wedge, and numerous tractor mounts allow them to tow lots of missile pods... and Haven did develop its own missile pods some time around 1910 PD, so lucky day.



Warlord-class Battlecruiser
Mass: 918750 tons
Dimensions: 782 x 92 x 82 m
Acceleration: 487.4* g
80% Accel: 389.9* g
Broadside: 26 missile tubes, 6 lasers, 6 grasers, 16 countermissile tubes, 12 point defense mounts
Chase: 6 missile tubes, 2 grasers, 6 countermissile tubes, 6 point defense mounts
Number Built: ???**
Service Life: 1913***-present

* Probably reflects Grayson installing better inertial compensators. On the other hand, given what Manticoran acceleration figures look like before the war, it seems likely that the PN could get them up to a cruising acceleration of 390 g or better by running the compensator at 90% capacity, which was their standard practice by the time the Mars-class entered service.
** We know Grayson captured five- but the PN must have built dozens if not hundreds of the things; I couldn't even begin to tell you how many have died 'on-screen' alone.
*** This is when the Graysons first got ahold of them; Haven had them in service for at least a few years previous to this date.

[snip stuff about how these Warlords were captured by Grayson]

"...all older first-generation Warlords..."

Comments:

OK, I can't remember which is the latest class of PN battlecruiser when war breaks out. I think it's the Sultans, based on the quotes Ahriman has from Short Victorious War. If so, the Warlords are a post-1905 design, which means they should reflect the same lessons and advances as the Mars-class. That fits with the heavy antimissile defenses and ruthlessly lightened beam armament.

Unfortunately, we get nothing on prewar PN light ship designs, or at least nothing that is definitively about them. :(

We DO, however, get some useful capital ship information! :D

Nouveau Paris-class Dreadnought
Mass: 6331500 tons
Dimensions: 1251 x 181 x 169 m
Acceleration: 426.7 g
80% Accel: 341.3 g
Broadside: 32 missile tubes, 10 lasers, 10 grasers, 18 countermissile tubes, 20 point defense mounts
Chase: 8 missile tubes, 4 lasers, 4 grasers, 10 countermissile tubes, 10 point defense mounts
Number Built: ??*
Service Life: 1905**-1917

* We know the RMN captured at least five- but the PN must have built dozens of the things.
** This is when the RMN first got ahold of them; Haven had them in service for at least a few years previous to this date.

Several Havenite ships of the wall were taken into service during the early war, including five dreadnoughts during the First Battle of Hancock. None of these ships saw frontline service, but four of them spent some time as rear area security operating with captured Havenite superdreadnoughts. All of these units were scrapped by the Janacek Admiralty during the interwar period.

Comments:

So now we know what happens to New Boston, Havensport, Macrea's Tor, Kaplan, and Hurston after the battle.

This is nice because it gives us exact figures for what those ships are supposed to be capable of. Comparing them to Bellerophons, they are about six hundred thousand tons lighter, but weaker in beam and antimissile armament. Interesting that they have just as heavy an offensive missile punch as their RMN contemporaries. Actually superior if the Nouveau Paris-class is one of the older PN ship designs from the 1880s or 1890s. On the other hand, they're paying for that somewhere. Perhaps in defensive strength, which may help to explain why Sarnow is able to hammer them so badly with his own weapons.




DuQuesne-class Superdreadnought
Mass: 7187250 tons
Dimensions: 1305 x 189 x 176 m
Acceleration: 417.5 g
80% Accel: 334 g
Broadside: 36 missile tubes, 12 lasers, 12 grasers, 28 countermissile tubes, 24 point defense mounts
Chase: 10 missile tubes, 4 lasers, 6 grasers, 12 countermissile tubes, 12 point defense mounts
Number Built: ??*
Service Life: 1906**-1917

* We know the RMN captured at least 18- but the PN must have built dozens of the things.
** This is when the RMN first got ahold of them; Haven had them in service for at least a few years if not decades previous to this date.

Exclusive of the original eleven donated to Grayson by Admiral White Haven, a number of Havenite superdreadnoughts were captured in the opening stages of the war, and the capture of several forward bases almost intact [like Seaford? -SJ] provided the RMN with enough ammunition and spares to bring them into service.

Along with the handful of captured dreadnoughts and smaller classes, these ships provided rear area security for a number of Alliance systems during the early stages of the war, but were relegated to mothballs as their crews were needed to man the new construction, while the ships in best condition were all sold at scrap value to Grayson in early 1917.

[The Graysons already had several of these, ones captured at Third Yeltsin. -SJ]

Comments:

Hugely increased antimissile firepower compared to the Nouveau Paris-class, on a platform only eight hundred thousand tons larger. Given equal weapon performance, this would pretty often beat down a Bellerophon, having a 12% edge in missile and countermissile tubes, even though it's only 3% heavier.

The 'modern' (as of 1905) RMN designs generally have much heavier beam armament and significantly higher tonnage. So much for Manticore being the only ones smart enough to optimize a ship for missile combat... :D






Haven-class Superdreadnought
Mass: 7816250 tons
Dimensions: 1342 x 195 x 181 m
Acceleration: 409.1 g
80% Accel: 327.3 g
Broadside: 36 missile tubes, 15 lasers, 23 grasers, 26 countermissile tubes, 32 point defense mounts
Chase: 8 missile tubes, 4 lasers, 10 grasers, 10 countermissile tubes, 10 point defense mounts
Number Built: ??*
Service Life: 1907**-1917

* We know the RMN captured at least 3- but the PN must have built dozens of the things.
** This is when the RMN first got ahold of them; Haven had them in service for at least a few years previous to this date.

Similar to the DuQuesnes, the few more modern Haven-class superdreadnoughts captured in the early days of the war served for several years as rear area security, freeing up hulls for the front. None of them saw battle against their sisters still in Havenite service, however, and the last were sold to Grayson along with the DuQuesnes.

Comments:

Arguably a step backward for a 'more modern' design, as the extra bulk seems to have gone almost entirely into bulking up the ship's beam armament, with a double dose of graser mounts and virtually no improved missile performance. Bleh.
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington

Post by Terralthra »

Correct. The Tiger-class was the dated design, with the Sultan-class (like Saladin and most of the ships destroyed at First Hancock) being the most modern pre-war design. Warlords were the BC big sisters to the Mars-class, designed big and overpowered in the impellers in hopes of capturing the new Manty/Grayson compensator for fitting onto them. This didn't work out, but did let them tow a shit-ton of pods without degrading impeller strength, relative to their size.

The quote about the RMN capturing 43 ships at Hancock comes from Field of Dishonor, btw, and that much screen seems...excessive, compared to other task forces we see. 7 DNs, 6 BCs, adding up the losses from the screen we see in the book means that there were somewhere in the neighborhood of 50+ ships in Chin's task group, or roughly 5.5 cruisers/destroyers per DN (4+ per "capital ship" if we count BCs in that category). Much more screen than we typically see in Manty formations. Doctrinal difference?

For the sake of comparison, the task force dispatched for Operation Dagger (Task Force 14) had 4 squadrons of BBs, with seemingly 3 squadrons of BCs (one in Task Group 14.1, one screening 14.2, and one escorting the transports in 14.3), and one squadron of CAs per BB squadron, and some indeterminate number of CLs (because Vaubon was there, in formation with other CLs) and DDs. There'd have to be multiple squadrons of each for it to be about as many ships in the screening elements present at First Hancock in Chin's task group...but screening 4+ times as many "capital ships". There's something fishy about the breakdown of capital ships and screening elements, either in Fourth Yeltsin, or in First Hancock. Second Hancock, for example, the PN formation has 33 BB, 10-12 CA, and 6 DD. This is even less screen, proportionally, than TF 14 at Fourth Yeltsin, and makes Chin's task group seem even more overscreened. Can't find any other well-enumerated fleets to compare, unfortunately.

In fairness, the recap of First Hancock portrayed in the opening of Field of Dishonor gets several things wrong about the battle, including the number of DNs - which it wrongly refers to as SDs - and the number of BCs. It's possible that the "43 ships" number is wrong as well, but that screen is necessary for the broadside fire described to add up to the number of missiles fired. Thoughts?
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington

Post by Simon_Jester »

Terralthra wrote:The quote about the RMN capturing 43 ships at Hancock comes from Field of Dishonor, btw, and that much screen seems...excessive, compared to other task forces we see. 7 DNs, 6 BCs, adding up the losses from the screen we see in the book means that there were somewhere in the neighborhood of 50+ ships in Chin's task group, or roughly 5.5 cruisers/destroyers per DN (4+ per "capital ship" if we count BCs in that category). Much more screen than we typically see in Manty formations. Doctrinal difference?
It's a bit more credible if some of those ships were captured at Seaford Nine (possibly including a few ships immobilized in dockyard) or in Parks' second clash with the PN force that came in expecting Rollins to have already taken the system.
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington

Post by Ahriman238 »

There's a part in the next book where Honor sees Jason Alvarez for the first time and notes that it has half as many energy mounts as the Manticoran equivalent, but they're very big energy weapons for a cruiser. She figures this makes sense as destructive as modern energy weapons are, the cruiser is now a serious menace to anything that gets into beam, even much heavier ships though it runs into the original Fearless' problem of being an egg with a massive hammer. This inspires her to wonder how many other design and doctrinal decisions are based on outdated assumptions from previous wars.


The Saganami's are the immortal class. When the navy froze the budget for new designs, they still made new cruisers by "tweaking" the existing cruiser, gibing us Saganami-Bs and Saganami-Cs which would otherwise have been their own class. Cs in particular are nasty surprises to anyone expecting pre-War capabilities, though they're about the size of pre-War BC.
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington

Post by Vehrec »

Really? Damn, I feel sorry for the Naval designers who had to make those modifications while keeping the things the same 'class'. How on earth did they do that without loosing five chief designers to self-inflicted wounds and suicides?
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington

Post by Ahriman238 »

Vehrec wrote:Really? Damn, I feel sorry for the Naval designers who had to make those modifications while keeping the things the same 'class'. How on earth did they do that without loosing five chief designers to self-inflicted wounds and suicides?
For all we see of the design process, the death toll could have easily been triple that.

Or maybe they had enough people onboard for BuPlan willing to say with a straight face "Of course the Edward Saganami-C is a Saganami cruiser. It's just 90,000 tons larger, with the latest compensators, 6 more (off-bore) launchers to a side, and naturally we fitted them to launch the new Mk. 16 MDMs for cruisers. Oh, and now it has a two-stage bow wall and considering that and the off-bore capability we decided to remove the chase launchers and go with a heavy all-energy load for chasers."

EDIT: also, the Saganami-As were delayed for some time during the war as new innovations were tacked on, so anyone who had already worked on the project was probably resigned to this sort of thing.
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington

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Simon_Jester wrote:
Terralthra wrote:The quote about the RMN capturing 43 ships at Hancock comes from Field of Dishonor, btw, and that much screen seems...excessive, compared to other task forces we see. 7 DNs, 6 BCs, adding up the losses from the screen we see in the book means that there were somewhere in the neighborhood of 50+ ships in Chin's task group, or roughly 5.5 cruisers/destroyers per DN (4+ per "capital ship" if we count BCs in that category). Much more screen than we typically see in Manty formations. Doctrinal difference?
It's a bit more credible if some of those ships were captured at Seaford Nine (possibly including a few ships immobilized in dockyard) or in Parks' second clash with the PN force that came in expecting Rollins to have already taken the system.
Nope. This is from the conversation during the court-martial deliberations. Admiral Kuzak is explicit that 43 ships surrendered to Adm. Danislav.
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington

Post by Terralthra »

I suppose it's possible Rollins sent his SDs' screen ahead with Chin. That would pump up the screen numbers for her force to be rather high. That seems like an odd choice, though.
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington

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Ahriman238 wrote:There's a part in the next book where Honor sees Jason Alvarez for the first time and notes that it has half as many energy mounts as the Manticoran equivalent, but they're very big energy weapons for a cruiser. She figures this makes sense as destructive as modern energy weapons are, the cruiser is now a serious menace to anything that gets into beam, even much heavier ships though it runs into the original Fearless' problem of being an egg with a massive hammer. This inspires her to wonder how many other design and doctrinal decisions are based on outdated assumptions from previous wars.
Actually, I get the feeling that she's going the wrong way because she's still fixated on the idea that "energy combat" is a thing which happens often enough to matter. My feeling is that the logical design evolution is in the exact opposite direction, with the grasers being deleted as too heavy and replaced by a mass of faster-firing lasers. That way, broadside energy weapons can be incorporated into the ship's missile defenses, and should beam combat actually occur (unlikely), massed fire from the ship's lasers would rapidly devastate an opponent's outer hull and nullify their own energy firepower. It might take multiple shots or sustained fire to penetrate the core hull of an enemy ship, but at least they're not shooting back effectively from their own energy mounts.
The Saganami's are the immortal class. When the navy froze the budget for new designs, they still made new cruisers by "tweaking" the existing cruiser, gibing us Saganami-Bs and Saganami-Cs which would otherwise have been their own class. Cs in particular are nasty surprises to anyone expecting pre-War capabilities, though they're about the size of pre-War BC.
Actually, they're only about the size of a Mars-class: very big for a heavy cruiser but very small for a prewar battlecruiser. Sort of like the new superheavy 'battlecruisers' the RMN is building, which are ludicrously large compared to prewar battlecruisers but still tiny compared to a prewar capital ship.
Ahriman238 wrote:
Vehrec wrote:Really? Damn, I feel sorry for the Naval designers who had to make those modifications while keeping the things the same 'class'. How on earth did they do that without loosing five chief designers to self-inflicted wounds and suicides?
For all we see of the design process, the death toll could have easily been triple that.

Or maybe they had enough people onboard for BuPlan willing to say with a straight face "Of course the Edward Saganami-C is a Saganami cruiser. It's just 90,000 tons larger, with the latest compensators, 6 more (off-bore) launchers to a side, and naturally we fitted them to launch the new Mk. 16 MDMs for cruisers. Oh, and now it has a two-stage bow wall and considering that and the off-bore capability we decided to remove the chase launchers and go with a heavy all-energy load for chasers."

EDIT: also, the Saganami-As were delayed for some time during the war as new innovations were tacked on, so anyone who had already worked on the project was probably resigned to this sort of thing.
Pretty much. What really happened here is that the entire RMN heavy cruiser design program got forcibly compressed down into the "Edward Saganami-class design team." I don't know what they were planning to call the Saganami-B before the cease-fire broke out in 1914-15, but renaming it the "Saganami-B" instead so that the Janacek Admiralty would authorize construction was a reasonable gimmick which has been tried before.

The "Saganami-C" really is a fairly logical evolution of the Saganami-B in turn, if you designed the Saganami-B with the latest systems. It may well be that the -C version was actually what the designers wanted the -B version to be, and just couldn't get funding for that year so they submitted their econo-version instead.

This kind of thing does happen in real navies when budgets get screwy.
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington

Post by jollyreaper »

One thing that hasn't been made clear to me is just how much course correction a missile can perform in flight.

As I generally understand it in the real world, your early anti-aircraft missiles carried radar receivers by no emitters. A target had to be illuminated by a radar and the missile head pointed at the return before launch. Aircraft did this naturally by pointing at the target. Old school ship and ground launchers had to be trainable, the missiles pointing in the right direction. On navy ships you can see the large search radar and smaller tracking radars. You can't control more birds than there are tracking radars.

With miniaturized radars, the illuminator and receiver are on the same weapon and we enter the era of fire and forget missiles. This also means missiles can be mounted in vertical launch cells and acquire the target after launch. Systems have gotten so good, I've seen anti-tank missiles now mounted in vertical launch cells on armored vehicles. They pop up, flip over and the main motor ignites quick as you please. Those are smart weapons. So it appears that the only modern need for a launcher turret would be for unguided rockets like the is army's MLRS. We have even seen missile batteries in a box with the new NLOS-LS system. It has been canceled but the technology has been proven to work. You can basically put a box of these on a flatbed truck and have a mobile launcher. Plant it in the woods and the box can fire on command. Deck of a merchant ship, same deal. They can accept remote firing commands from humans or sensor platforms. So an attack drone wouldn't need to carry weapons, it simply calls in the shots. Granted, the enemy has to be in range of the system. But this could also work for a deep raid. Large and expensive drone carries missiles, smaller expendable drones fly ahead and locate targets and possibly get shot down, no big deal.

So, this brings us to the case of how the weber missiles work. It seems like missiles can't be fired much off boresight. The missiles need coddling before launch. That means charging in the tube and then a kick out the side so it clears the warship's wedge and can ignite its own. Trek torpedoes have the added twist of being loaded with antimatter just before launch but all weber weapons to date are either nuke-tipped or expressly use the wedge as a weapon.

Some animes have depicted warships with essentially broadside missile mounts firing off-boresight with the missiles curving around to take their final course. It appears that the weber missiles are more or less committed to a straight flight path. I take it that this is due to the wedge itself and that making it steerable to any great extent would make the missiles more complicated or too expensive?

I don't think I've seen these ships try a time on target attack. Artillery can do this where they fire the first round on a high trajectory, second one flatter, third really flat and all three shells will impact within seconds of each other. It would seem possible that a warship could stack the broadside with the first slavo moving slow, second faster, third full speed, the first two gaining speed until all three are moving at top speed and saturating enemy defenses together. But I don't think I've seen this in the books.

I'm also not sure if the warships provide much support for their missiles after they are fired. Modern anti-ship missiles can receive course corrections from the launch platform but otherwise rely on their own radars for target acquisition and engagement. This is of course because they are being fired over the horizon. Long range aerial missiles might not have a strong enough radar to home all the way and so have to acquire the target in the final seconds of engagement. The Phoenix operated this way. It would be launched and climb a ridiculous amount to thin air and describe a ballistic arc. It would then plunge towards the target based on inertial guidance and illuminate it right before impact.

The funny thing with a long running scifi series is when modern tech has clearly overtaken the futuristic tech. But a distinction has to be drawn between what's an expressed part of the setting and what really does seem obsolete. Wedges and gravitic tech are all part of the setting and are in author fiat territory, same as saying there's no strong AI and not even much evidence of non-sentient expert systems like Trek's ship computer. If we really develop Hollywood computer controls like motion and pupil tracking and not crap voice recognition, then there's a lot of the story that will start feeling dated.
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington

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I can think of maybe one time missiles have been described making major course corrections. There was the trick Rafe pulls in The Honor of the Queen with ECM warheads screening contact nukes, where the Dazzlers peel off at the last moment. But we don't know the range at which they peel off, and at most space distances a few degrees was probably all it took. (Weber may be bad at math on occasion but he usually gets distance-related stuff right.)

The trick with impeller wedges is, while they are technically a reactionless drive, they don't let you ignore inertia, so changing direction is still just as difficult as if you were using chemical thrusters. Honorverse missiles move at a considerable fraction of c and mass tens to hundreds of metric tons, and until MDMs they only have about three minutes' powered flight time (IIRC). They probably don't have sufficient power to make any radical course changes.
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington

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I don't think Honorverse missiles have that kind of drive flexibility. They can go either half strength or max acceleration and not only does that make stacking launches difficult but you also have to give up a lot of range to do that as a full power launch cuts drive endurance down to a third of the 50% setting. You also apparently can't tell the missile's drive to coast or even alter acceleration once it's fired up, heck you can't even tell it to delay ignition after launch so you can stack broadsides for very long for some reason (possibly because the capacitors have very little idle time before they must start discharging, one way or the other).

The off-bore launchers are a massdriver issue more likely than a targeting one (I think Weber explicitly states this in 'Shadows of Saganami' but that's from memory) given the flight times even at the beginning of the series would give the missile plenty of time to alter course and get assigned a target, nevermind the MDMs used later.

And Honorverse missiles pretty much need their hands held all the way to the target to be truly effective (hardly surprising given the distances and ship accelerations involved). This doesn't pop up much at this point in the series, but later it becomes painfully obvious that telemetry links (or lack thereof) are a limiting factor on salvo density, and the longer the communications loop between ship and missile the lower the hit probability because the defender can react to the missile's actions a lot quicker than the launch vessel can compensate for it (stupid lightspeed limit) and the missile by its lonesome is a lot less capable than if remote-controlled.
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington

Post by Simon_Jester »

jollyreaper wrote:One thing that hasn't been made clear to me is just how much course correction a missile can perform in flight.
I think the evidence suggests that the missiles are physically capable of performing fairly radical turns, but their ability to do so has constraints:

1) The missiles probably have onboard sensor suites, but these suites are... somewhat outclassed... by the realities of trying to engage at ranges of tens or hundreds of thousands of kilometers while moving at mildly-relativistic speeds. Thus, if they maneuver too radically they may lose sight of their target and not get it back.

2) The missiles must physically be ejected from the ship, with sufficient spacing to allow a minimum safe distance of a few hundred kilometers between each missile, and between each missile and the ship, before the missiles can fire up their impeller drives. This may make it tricky to have missiles 'loitering' in the neighborhood of the ship.

3) Broadside missile launchers have a fairly long cycle time compare to real life self-propelled howitzers (~20 seconds), and it's not clear that Honorverse missile drives have infinitely variable acceleration settings. Thus, it might not be possible, given the geometry of the engagement, to set up a time on target attack that would actually work under all conditions.
As I generally understand it in the real world, your early anti-aircraft missiles carried radar receivers by no emitters. A target had to be illuminated by a radar and the missile head pointed at the return before launch. Aircraft did this naturally by pointing at the target. Old school ship and ground launchers had to be trainable, the missiles pointing in the right direction. On navy ships you can see the large search radar and smaller tracking radars. You can't control more birds than there are tracking radars.
Honorverse missiles have their own sensors and target acquisition, but the sheer distances involved kind of throws missile combat back onto this old 'trackable' paradigm, because a space search radar powerful enough to reliably track an evading, ECM-heavy target from five million kilometers away is just plain too big to fit onto the missile. The missile has at least a prayer of homing in on the target by itself, but it really helps if someone can illuminate said target for the missile or feed it mid-course updates.
Some animes have depicted warships with essentially broadside missile mounts firing off-boresight with the missiles curving around to take their final course. It appears that the weber missiles are more or less committed to a straight flight path. I take it that this is due to the wedge itself and that making it steerable to any great extent would make the missiles more complicated or too expensive?
The Saganami-C class of heavy cruisers, a 1920 PD vintage design, can do exactly this- it routinely fires both broadsides off-bore and loops them around to engage targets to ventral or dorsal, while shielding itself against return fire with the impenetrable ventral/dorsal impeller wedge bands.
I don't think I've seen these ships try a time on target attack. Artillery can do this where they fire the first round on a high trajectory, second one flatter, third really flat and all three shells will impact within seconds of each other. It would seem possible that a warship could stack the broadside with the first slavo moving slow, second faster, third full speed, the first two gaining speed until all three are moving at top speed and saturating enemy defenses together. But I don't think I've seen this in the books.
Warner Caslet does it in In Enemy Hands; it's a standard tactic for destroyers and light cruisers to fire "double broadsides:" that is, to enter combat rolling about their long axis and fire both broadsides at the same opponent, with a slight delay programmed into the drives of the first broadside launch.

However, ships of over about 150-200 thousand tons don't seem quick enough on the helm for this to be very useful, so larger ships don't do it.
I'm also not sure if the warships provide much support for their missiles after they are fired. Modern anti-ship missiles can receive course corrections from the launch platform but otherwise rely on their own radars for target acquisition and engagement. This is of course because they are being fired over the horizon. Long range aerial missiles might not have a strong enough radar to home all the way and so have to acquire the target in the final seconds of engagement. The Phoenix operated this way. It would be launched and climb a ridiculous amount to thin air and describe a ballistic arc. It would then plunge towards the target based on inertial guidance and illuminate it right before impact.
This is probably a very good model for how Honorverse missiles work, except that their main engine burns continuously throughout the attack profile and there is no 'ballistic' phase of the flight under normal conditions.
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington

Post by jollyreaper »

One big difference between Tom Clancy WWIII missile massacres and honorverse versions is there's a top speed for antiship missiles is a top speed. For a modern missile, running at max speed would affect range but it's perfectly possible to cruise at half speed to reach the target and speed up to supersonic before entering the engagement envelope. There's no max speed in space, just max delta-v. I believe it was established these missiles can choose between hard acceleration or maximum delta-v? So the choice is in travel time and maximum velocity which means when will the weapon reach the target and what are the odds it will survive? It seems like increased speed increases survivability without hampering accuracy. It would suck if higher speed was inversely correlated with accuracy, meaning that the more likely you evade defenses, the less likely you hit the target.

A lot of Weber's world building is about inventing situations and tech to tell the stories he wants. It's all part of the suspension of disbelief. I can buy strong AI in a setting but then wonder why vehicles need drivers and pilots. He's constraining the tech to fit the story while trying to prevent obvious gaps in the application of the tech. But since he's also trying to portray a tactical and strategic revolution, things get complicated. It's like with Star Trek not using transporters in combat. It would haw been hysterical to see the Enterprise confronting an opponent from a lesser power and just transport the warp core out of their ship and park it three kilometers off their bow. "Can we give talking another try?"

I'm still reading through the second novel portion of the discussion and am remembering what I liked. Early Weber was like early Clancy. Late Clancy tended to go a little jingoistic and lacking in nuance. Ok, he went there a lot. I'm going to have to try reading the later Weber books now. The Sollie fight, not sure what I think about it just from the write-ups. My biggest objections are making protagonists too perfect, domestic opponents too much of a Frank Miller characature and villains impossibly evil and competent without any real humanity.

A really difficult trick to pull in a long series like this is to know who your second and third big bads will be when the first is resolved. It's a nice development to eventually fall into alliance with the original enemy when a greater threat appears but if that threat hasn't always been in the background, it feels cheesy as hell. I remember Sollies mentioned from my first read through so conflict with them isn't a reach. I really hate obvious retcons like creating a new villain or faction and making them responsible for things that clearly occurred before they were even invented.

As another general peeve, I hate it when an opponent is presented as impossibly greater and stronger because that means their inevitable defeat will feel less plausible and more like a miracle ass-pull like putting the Borg to sleep. The best real world example of how to do it right would be the Arab-Israeli wars where you can see how the Arabs should win on paper but a deeper analysis shows how Israeli victories could be explained.

I would be curious to know if Weber has an end in line for the Honor storyline. It's perfectly possible to keep the universe going in spinoffs even after he is satisfied her main story has been told and she can retire to honored secondary character.
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington

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The trick with triple (or more) stacked broadsides like you propose, jollyreaper, is that missile defense envelope radically improves against the larger broadside. The missile combat equation is all about saturation of the defense capability with more missiles per time than they have engagement capability for in terms of ECM, countermissiles, and laser clusters. A triple broadside timed for simultaneous engagement time sounds like it would saturate, but in the combat environment, that means the tac officer on the defending ship(s) has to defend against three salvoes' worth of missiles, but has more than three salvoes' worth of engagement time, because you had to slow your missiles down to get the saturation on target. The CM/laser engagement window widening means CMs that got two launches off per missile before now get three, maybe four. Laser clusters that got one shot per missile, now get two. It's an oft-repeated statement in the books that missile engagements come down to probability theory, which plays no favorites. Giving the defenders more time to engage than you have to means they also get more rolls of the dice, and it doesn't matter how many rolls they lose per missile, they only have to roll a six once.
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