Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington III

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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington III

Postby Ahriman238 » 2014-12-09 10:28am

He paused, reflecting on just how disastrous it could be if the message he was recording fell into someone else's hands. The odds of that happening were literally too minute even to be calculated, or he would never have recorded it in the first place, of course. Only eleven copies of it would be made—one for each of the "Renaissance Factor's" heads of state, on high-security, DNA-coded chips—and each of them would be transported by streak boat in locked, dead-man's switch-controlled, self-destruct-equipped cases for hand-delivery by the Alignment's most trusted couriers. Every precaution for transporting secure information which had been developed during six centuries of successful conspiracy and covert operations had been integrated into the conduits connecting his office to the message's recipients. If anyone had managed to compromise one of those conduits, the entire strategy was doomed anyway, so there really wasn't much point resorting to circumlocution to keep any unauthorized souls who might hypothetically see it from figuring out what he was saying.


The most secure messages can be in the honorverse. Including DNA-coded computer chips. The rest we've had for decades, barring the FTL transport, obviously.


"Frankly, it seems most likely to us from our sources in Old Chicago that if, in fact, Filareta gets himself as thoroughly smashed as Crandall did, the follow-up wave Rajampet is currently planning will get put on indefinite hold. There has to be a limit to how many superdreadnoughts even the SLN is willing to pour down a rat hole, after all.

"Even if that happens, however, we have . . . arrangements in place to see to it that at least a dozen members of of the Assembly will demand explanations. There's even a possibility—which, to be honest, I find particularly delicious—that Beowulf will be leading the pack. At the same time, we'll be sending the execute order to our first wave of 'spontaneous uprisings' against Frontier Security and its tyrannical ways. When that happens, it will be time for the Factor to come out into the open."


The Alignment's plan, still on track. With a decent chance of Rjampet's second wave getting frozen, the plan is to start the witch-hunts in the assembly and the spontaneous popular uprisings right after Second Manticore.


"The groundwork is all in place, and, so far, things have gone very much as planned. There's always room for that to change, though, and it's critical the next stage be properly handled. With only one or two exceptions, all of your first wave 'annexations' should be programmed to welcome the Faction's protection, but those exceptions—if they arise—are going to have to be very carefully approached. I know we've talked about this, but let me re-emphasize that even though we've picked all of these systems because of their potential industrial and economic contributions, it's absolutely essential that the Faction be seen as a beneficial, voluntary association. So, if it turns out any of your targets are unwilling to voluntarily join, accept that. There'll be time to add them later, and for the immediate future, it's much more important that all of you are self-evidently acting solely in self-defense in the face of the chaos and anarchy spreading steadily through the Shell and Verge."


They've already planned the first stage expansion, neighboring systems with strong economies who will join the Renaissance Factor. But for now, if anybody says no, they'll accept that in the name of image.


"But, while I'm nagging, let's go over a couple of my concerns about our potential problem children. Clinton, I know you and Prince Felix have been friends for years, but our latest analysis is that the Siegfried Parliament is likely to balk, at least initially, when you invite Felix to join the Factor. It looks to us like an alliance—for now, at least—is likely to emerge between the most conservative of his nobles, because they're afraid of losing the power they already have, and of the growing Siegfried industrial class, which is afraid of seeing the rules change just when it's on the brink of acquiring significant political clout. The thing that worries me about it is that you and Felix are so close. I think he's likely to try to force the issue, and our analysts' opinion is that there's about a forty percent chance he'd fail. On the other hand, the very nature of the alliance we're afraid of means it's ultimately going to come apart as the nobility's and the industrialists' interests diverge or even come into direct conflict. The steady worsening of the situation around them is going to have an effect, as well, so according to those same analysts' projections, the chance that Siegfried will ultimately request annexation by the Factor rises to well above ninety percent if we indicate we're prepared to accept their decision against joining—for now—gracefully. So, I think you're going to have to handle your impulsive old fencing partner rather delicately. The invitation has to be extended, but you need to stress to him that—"


And an example as to the extent of their research into their first-pick candidates and their internal politics.


It wasn't as if anyone was going to fail to recognize her, even though as a general rule the Queen of Manticore seldom addressed all her subjects at the same time. In fact, these days she couldn't. She couldn't even simultaneously address all of the subjects of the "Old Star Kingdom," far less the entire Star Empire, since no one could drive a signal through a wormhole junction to Trevor's Star or the Lynx Terminus. Normally, when she spoke publicly at all, it was to relatively small gatherings—at "town hall meetings," civic organizations, charitable associations, and similar events. Clips of her remarks from those occasions, and sometimes even entire speeches, were frequently rebroadcast, but the tradition was that the reigning monarch did not engage in partisan politics. Everyone knew she (or he) really did, given that the monarch was acting head of government as well as head of state, but not in the rough-and-tumble of political strife. Which meant the prime minister was the usual face of Her Majesty's Government, except on particularly critical occasions.


The rarity of general addresses from the monarch, apparently a part of their political tradition.


"We believe the attack was made possible through the development of a radically new starship drive technology. We believe we have, after a painstaking analysis of Perimeter Security's records, identified the hyper footprint of the attackers' arrival, although it wasn't recognized as such at the time. We also believe it would be extraordinarily difficult, if not outright impossible, for a similar operation to be repeated without the attackers being detected and engaged far short of their targets.


We bloody well hope so, at any rate.


"In the meantime, however," she continued, "those in the League whose stupidity and arrogance made them so amenable to our enemies' manipulation have not suddenly become wise. As some in the media have been reporting, the Solarian League Navy, having failed to learn its lesson at Spindle, has decided to move directly against the Manticore System. We anticipate the arrival of several hundred Solarian superdreadnoughts in our space within the next two to three T-weeks."

If the silence of her audience had been profound before, it became absolute as she made that admission.

"When those ships arrive, they will not be here on a peaceful diplomatic mission. All of us have known for our entire lives how corrupt the Solarian League has truly become. We know who truly runs the Solarian bureaucracy. We know about the 'sweetheart deals' between Solarian transstellars and the venal, utterly dishonest Frontier Security commissioners who pimp for them. We know about the vast gulf between the League's soaring professions of belief in human dignity and human worth and OFS' support of debt peonage throughout the Verge. Between the League's solemn condemnation of the interstellar genetic slave trade and the reality of high League officials and bureaucrats on the payrolls of criminal enterprises like Manpower, Incorporated."


All the things "everyone knows" are wrong with the League publicly aired. And public announcement of Filareta's attack three weeks before it arrives.


"Knowing what we know, none of us can be surprised by the fact that the Solarian League Navy intends to demand the Star Empire of Manticore's unconditional surrender. The intention is to turn us into yet another OFS-administered satellite of the League. We've all seen, only too often, what happens to local government, local administration of justice, local economies, and the right of self-determination when the 'enlightened' supervision of the Office of Frontier Security engulfs an independent star nation. Make no mistake about it—that is precisely what the League intends to do to us.

"It intends to do so out of a desire for vengeance for the defeats it's suffered at our Navy's hands. It intends to do so because it cannot tolerate the example of a 'neobarb' out-system star nation which refuses to slavishly comply with the League's whims. It intends to do so because it resents the size and power of our merchant marine. And it intends to do so out of the basest motives of greed as it contemplates the potential revenue source of the Manticoran Wormhole Junction."


Reasons for the coming war.


"There is no hope of dissuading the Solarians from their chosen course," she said slowly and distinctly. "The Solarian League, for all its past glories and high achievements, has become an appetite, a voracious hunger, and trillions of its citizens, living safe, satisfied, self-centered, and secure lives on its core worlds, have no concept of what routinely happens to the weak and the helpless along its frontiers.

"It's time they found out."


Because this speech will be so popular for rebroadcast in the League?


"Despite the damage we've suffered, Home Fleet remains intact. Despite the damage to our production lines, Home Fleet's magazines are fully loaded. Our system-defense missiles are untouched. If the Solarian League wants a war, the Solarian League will have one. If that is the choice the League makes, then the war which began at New Tuscany and continued at Spindle will resume right here. Whatever they may think, the fleet they've dispatched against us is no match for our remaining combat power. If they choose to send a second, equally large, fleet after this one, the Admiralty is confident we have sufficient strength to defeat it, as well. No doubt the League believes we'll refuse to fight because of the vast difference between our ultimate capabilities. The League is wrong.


That much is certainly true.


"Within six T-months, we will have reestablished our missile production capability. It won't be as great as it was prior to the recent attack, but it will be sufficient to guarantee the security of our own star systems against any ships or weapons currently in the Solarian League Navy's inventory. That is the bottom-line analysis of the Admiralty, and you have my word—and the word of the House of Winton—that I am telling you the absolute truth when I say that."


Time frame to get MDM/Apollo production started again.


"There is, of course, a vast difference between being able to guarantee our own security in the near term and being able to defeat a behemoth like the Solarian League in the long term. I don't pretend to have a magic bullet to guarantee our ultimate victory. But I do have this. I have the courage of the Manticoran people. I have my own refusal to fail the trust those people have placed in the House of Winton. I have the determination of all Manticorans—those of the Old Star Kingdom and those of the Star Empire who have newly and freely joined us—to live in freedom. I have the skill and the high professionalism and the dauntless determination of the men and women of the Manticoran armed forces. And I have the absolute certainty that those things will never fail me . . . or you.

"I don't bring you any 'magic bullet,' because there is none. I make no promises of easy triumphs, because there will be no easy triumphs. I promise you only the truth, and the truth is that the price we will ultimately pay will be even higher than the one we've already paid. That the cost of the battle which waits for us will be sacrifice, loss, backbreaking toil, blood, and grief. But I also promise you this one more thing. I promise you victory. For seventy-plus T-years, the Star Empire has lived under sentence of death, yet we're still here. And we will still be here when the smoke finally clears. However long it takes, whatever sacrifice it entails, wherever the battle takes us, and no matter what foe we may face, we will triumph, and those who have wrought such destruction and suffering upon us, who have butchered our civilians, who have attacked us from the shadows like assassins, will discover to their infinite regret that in the defense of our homes, our families, and our children, we can be just as merciless as them."


And just a cool speech at the end there.


"What is it, Rafe?" she asked sharply.

"Your Grace, we've just picked up a hyper footprint. It's a single ship, about four light-minutes outside the system limit. It's quite near one of the FTL platforms, and it's squawking its transponder code."

"And?" she prompted a bit sharply when he paused.

"And it's a Havenite ship, Ma'am. In fact, according to its transponder, it's Haven One."


Haven stuck with the US convention for the president's ride.


"Honor?" The queen shook her head. "What are you doing on this channel? Or even here, instead of at Trevor's Star, for that matter? I thought you weren't due back until the middle of next week!"

"There's been a slight . . . change in plans," Honor said. "Something came up rather unexpectedly. I decided I'd better come home to discuss it with you personally, and I got Hamish to tap me in through Admiralty House's secure channels. That's why his identifier showed on your com."

Elizabeth frowned. Something about Honor's expression perplexed her, and she wondered why the other woman had gone to such obvious lengths to wake her up in the middle of the night to sit down in front of a secure com.

"What 'came up rather unexpectedly'?" she asked.

"It seems we have an unanticipated visitor," Honor said simply, and expanded her own com's field of view.

For a moment, it failed to register. But then Elizabeth Winton's jaw dropped as she recognized the platinum-haired, topaz-eyed woman standing at Honor's side.

"I apologize for waking you up in the middle of the night, Your Majesty," President Elizabeth Pritchart said calmly, "but I think we need to talk."


And Prichart brings the book full-circle with a midnight visit, though she came by way of Trevor's Star. Oh, and this bit takes place two weeks after the speech, one week before Filareta is due.


But if he'd been warned what to expect, it quickly became evident that the boat bay officer of the deck (who, at this extremely late hour of Invictus' shipboard day, was an extremely junior ensign with red hair, fair skin, and blue eyes, rejoicing in the name of Hieronymus Thistlewaite) hadn't been. That young man had spotted the duchess' arrival and mustered the proper side party for an admiral of her towering seniority. He looked just a bit nervous, since there were no older and wiser heads looking over his shoulder this time, but Ensign Thistlewaite seemed reasonably confident he had the situation under control.

Until, that was, Elizabeth Adrienne Samantha Annette Winton, Grand Commander of the Order of King Roger, Grand Commander of the Order of Queen Elizabeth I, Grand Commander of the Order of the Golden Lion, Baroness of Crystal Pine, Baroness of White Sand, Countess of Tannerman, Countess of High Garnet, Grand Duchess of Basilisk, Princess Protector of the Realm, and, by God's grace and the will of Parliament, Queen Elizabeth III of the Star Kingdom of Manticore, and Empress Elizabeth I of the Star Empire of Manticore, swung lithely out of the boarding tube at Duchess Harrington's heels.

None of the side party had expected their monarch's sudden arrival, and not even naval discipline was enough to hide their astonishment.

"Eighth Fleet, arri—" a voice began over the boat bay speakers, then chopped off abruptly as the petty officer behind it realized who else had just appeared aboard his ship.

The smooth efficiency of the side party's formalities slithered to a halt, and Ensign Thistlewaite's jaw dropped. Then it closed with an almost audible snap, his face turned a considerably darker red than his hair, and he stared appealingly at the duchess.

"Manticore, arriving!" the speakers said suddenly as the petty officer recovered abruptly, and the bosun's pipes began to twitter again while three additional side boys came dashing up from somewhere.

"Permission to come aboard, Sir?" Elizabeth said gravely, managing not to smile, as the twitter of pipes came to an end. The first two bodyguards who'd emerged from the tube behind her, wearing the uniform of the Queen's Own, appeared rather less amused than she obviously was, but Thistlewaite's blue eyes looked back at her with desperate gratitude.

"Permission granted, Ma'am—I mean, Your Majesty!"


Protocol for a royal boarding a starship, I suppose.


"Your Majesty," Honor said quietly into what could have become an awkward silence, "allow me to present President Eloise Pritchart, Secretary of State Leslie Montrose, Secretary of War Thomas Theisman, Attorney General Denis LePic, Director Kevin Usher of the Federal Investigation Agency, Special Officer Victor Cachat, and Dr.Herlander Simões." She smiled crookedly. "I believe you already know everyone else."


Who all came to this meeting.


"Your Majesty, we know who tampered with our prewar diplomatic correspondence. We did not know at the time the Republic resumed hostilities." She looked squarely at Elizabeth, facing the sudden resurgence of the queen's tension. "You have my word—my personal word, as well as that of the Republic of Haven—that it was only well after Operation Thunderbolt that we discovered, essentially by a fluke, that in fact the Star Empire was telling the truth about the High Ridge Government's correspondence. That the version which I saw in Nouveau Paris, and which my cabinet colleagues saw with me, had been altered before it ever reached us . . . and, despite the fact that it carried your own Foreign Office's valid authentication codes, not by any Manticoran. The two men responsible for it were Yves Grosclaude, our special envoy to you, and Secretary of State Arnold Giancola."


Admitting to the correspondence upfront, the sticky issue they hadn't really gotten around to during Honor's mission to Haven.


"So," she said, sitting back from the table she shared with only Honor, Pritchart, and Theisman, "is Simões telling the truth or not, Honor?"

The two Havenites looked at Honor with slightly surprised expressions, and Honor smiled. Nimitz was sound asleep on his perch, and after the night which had just passed, she saw no point in waking him up.

"There's a reason Her Majesty's asking me, instead of Nimitz or Ariel," she told her guests. "As it happens, I've been hanging around with treecats long enough to have caught to at least some of their abilities. I can't read minds, but I can read emotions, and I know when someone's lying."


Well there's another secret out, at least to the high muckety-mucks of both Haven and Manticore. Also Anton, Victor and Herlander.


Pritchart blinked at her, then those topaz eyes narrowed in thought, and the president began nodding—slowly, at first, then more rapidly.

"So that's why you make such a fiendishly effective diplomat!" she said with something very like an air of triumph. "I couldn't believe how well a total novice was reading us. Now I know—you were cheating!"


Somebody finally calls Honor on her social hacks and it gets laughed off.


Elizabeth nodded slowly, then looked at Pritchart.

"So I guess what it comes down to," she said slowly, "is where we go from here. Whatever happens, I want you to know I'm enormously grateful for the information you've provided us. And I think we can both agree that the war between Haven and Manticore is over."

She shook her head, as if, even now, she couldn't quite believe what she'd just said. Not because she didn't want to, but because it seemed impossible, like something which couldn't possibly be true because of how badly everyone wanted it to be true.


Well that was easy.


"Well," Elizabeth smiled with very little humor at all, "at least I can feel confident now that you'll keep the Republican Navy off our backs long enough for us to deal with this Admiral Filareta."

"Actually," Pritchard said, "I had something else in mind."

-snip-

"Well, it just happens that Thomas here has a modest little fleet—two or three hundred of the wall, I believe—waiting approximately eight hours from Trevor's Star in hyper. If you're willing to trust us in Manticoran space, perhaps we could help you encourage Filareta to see reason. And while I'm well aware our hardware isn't as good as yours, every indication I've seen is that it's one hell of a lot better than anything the Sollies have."


It's a good thing we're all such good friends now, because someone less close and dear to the Republic could take such a massive fleet turning up unexpected on their metaphorical doorstep as a downright hostile gesture, rather than the reinforcements they're meant as.


"Are you offering me a military alliance against the Solarian League?" Elizabeth asked very carefully.

"If McBryde was right, there isn't going to be much of a Solarian League very much longer," Pritchart replied grimly. "And given the fact that the same bunch of murderous bastards who shot up your home system are also directly responsible for you and I having killed a couple of million of our own people, I think we could say we have a certain commonality of interest where they're concerned. And it's not a case of selfless altruism on my part, you know. We're both on the Alignment's list. Don't you think it would be sort of stupid of either of us to let the other one go down and leave us all alone?"


In short, yes. Yes she is.


"We're still going to have those problems, you know," Elizabeth said almost conversationally after a moment. "All those people on both sides who don't like each other. All that legacy of suspicion."

"Of course." Pritchart nodded.

"And then there's the little matter of figuring out where this Alignment's real headquarters is, and who else is fronting for it, and what other weapons it has, and where else it has programmed assassins tucked away, and exactly what it's got in mind for the Republic once the Star Empire's been polished off."

"True."

"And, now that I think about it, there's the question of how we're going to rebuild our capabilities here, and how much technology sharing—and how quickly—we can convince our separate navies and our allies to put up with. You know there's going to be heel-dragging and tantrum-throwing the minute I start suggesting anything like that!"

"I'm sure there will."

The two women looked at one another, and then, slowly, both of them began to smile.

"What the hell," Elizabeth Winton said. "I've always liked a good challenge."

She extended her hand across the table.

Pritchart took it.


So ends the Second Haven War, and here begins the Grand Alliance. With a quick mention most, but hardly all, of the issues the new alliance will face with just one week to learn to coordinate before the Sollies arrive.

Here also ends the book, Mission of Honor.


That's the end of my digital cache, I will probably resume the analysis later but right now? I'm taking the rest of December as a break from the Honorverse.
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington III

Postby Mr Bean » 2014-12-09 10:52am

Ahriman238 wrote:


"The groundwork is all in place, and, so far, things have gone very much as planned. There's always room for that to change, though, and it's critical the next stage be properly handled. With only one or two exceptions, all of your first wave 'annexations' should be programmed to welcome the Faction's protection, but those exceptions—if they arise—are going to have to be very carefully approached. I know we've talked about this, but let me re-emphasize that even though we've picked all of these systems because of their potential industrial and economic contributions, it's absolutely essential that the Faction be seen as a beneficial, voluntary association. So, if it turns out any of your targets are unwilling to voluntarily join, accept that. There'll be time to add them later, and for the immediate future, it's much more important that all of you are self-evidently acting solely in self-defense in the face of the chaos and anarchy spreading steadily through the Shell and Verge."


They've already planned the first stage expansion, neighboring systems with strong economies who will join the Renaissance Factor. But for now, if anybody says no, they'll accept that in the name of image.


"But, while I'm nagging, let's go over a couple of my concerns about our potential problem children. Clinton, I know you and Prince Felix have been friends for years, but our latest analysis is that the Siegfried Parliament is likely to balk, at least initially, when you invite Felix to join the Factor. It looks to us like an alliance—for now, at least—is likely to emerge between the most conservative of his nobles, because they're afraid of losing the power they already have, and of the growing Siegfried industrial class, which is afraid of seeing the rules change just when it's on the brink of acquiring significant political clout. The thing that worries me about it is that you and Felix are so close. I think he's likely to try to force the issue, and our analysts' opinion is that there's about a forty percent chance he'd fail. On the other hand, the very nature of the alliance we're afraid of means it's ultimately going to come apart as the nobility's and the industrialists' interests diverge or even come into direct conflict. The steady worsening of the situation around them is going to have an effect, as well, so according to those same analysts' projections, the chance that Siegfried will ultimately request annexation by the Factor rises to well above ninety percent if we indicate we're prepared to accept their decision against joining—for now—gracefully. So, I think you're going to have to handle your impulsive old fencing partner rather delicately. The invitation has to be extended, but you need to stress to him that—"


And an example as to the extent of their research into their first-pick candidates and their internal politics.

I really liked this section reading the book because despite the incredibility of multi generation sleeper agents and several hundred years old conspiracy across multiple star systems... this section of the book brings to light that IF such a vast conspiracy existed and had been planning for this long that this is exactly the kind of thing they would do.

This is no third Reich dictator changing designs on a whim with changing strategic goals from day to day. Instead we have a group of people who were running case studies on the planet Siegfried's culture for years now. They likely have a dozen people dedicated to this planet alone doing nothing more than thinking what if's like if this Prince Felix dies tomorrow they are ready to go with six psych profiles and contingency plans depending on who replaces him. Likewise this brings across that there's an electronic file with every Siegfried nobles vices and virtues buried away somewhere.

At least Weber to date when talking about the Alignment brings across strongly that this is a competent force that will succeed if not perhaps for the fact that space Dubai and friends might be throwing a spanner in the works.

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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington III

Postby Simon_Jester » 2014-12-09 09:11pm

Ahriman238 wrote:The most secure messages can be in the honorverse. Including DNA-coded computer chips. The rest we've had for decades, barring the FTL transport, obviously.
To be fair, the oldies are sometimes the goodies, and there really aren't that many possibilities inherently 'better' than a dead man's switch of some kind (or the other items listed).


Because this speech will be so popular for rebroadcast in the League?
Well, a significant minority of politically aware Leaguers (perhaps even a majority) already know it's true. Most of the Shell and Verge know it very well and will take this as a rallying cry to resist Solarian power, which is a desirable goal for Elizabeth in its own right. And ultimately, making sure Manticoran public opinion remains steadfast in the face of a potentially long-term war with the League is a HUGE deal. Because the biggest medium-term risk isn't that Manticore will actually lose its technical advantages, or even its military edge. It's that Manticore will get tired of fighting the League while simultaneously dealing with the huge economic losses of Oyster Bay, and press for, if not total surrender, at least a surrender that amounts to a defeat for Manticore.

"So that's why you make such a fiendishly effective diplomat!" she said with something very like an air of triumph. "I couldn't believe how well a total novice was reading us. Now I know—you were cheating!"
Somebody finally calls Honor on her social hacks and it gets laughed off.
Given the sheer relief of "the war that's consumed our entire (prolonged) adult lives is probably finally over," I'm not surprised. ;)

It's a good thing we're all such good friends now, because someone less close and dear to the Republic could take such a massive fleet turning up unexpected on their metaphorical doorstep as a downright hostile gesture, rather than the reinforcements they're meant as.
Pritchart would probably have not mentioned this had things not been going so well, yeah.

That's the end of my digital cache, I will probably resume the analysis later but right now? I'm taking the rest of December as a break from the Honorverse.
I may pick it up a bit.
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington III

Postby White Haven » 2014-12-09 11:10pm

So that leaves... what, Cauldron of Ghosts, Rising Thunder, and Shadow of Freedom, if my count is correct?
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington III

Postby Simon_Jester » 2014-12-09 11:28pm

A Rising Thunder and Shadow of Freedom would logically go one after another in the main Honorverse thread, although there's enough overlap that some whole chapters of Shadow of Freedom can be outright ignored.

Cauldron of Ghosts would go in the 'Crown of Slaves' subthread; it's a Victor/Anton story with minimal naval action... and frankly the best look yet we've had at the internal dynamics of the Alignment on Mesa.
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington III

Postby Ahriman238 » 2014-12-10 12:05am

Yeah, three more books, two in the main and one in the Crown of Slaves.

Simon_Jester wrote:
Ahriman238 wrote:The most secure messages can be in the honorverse. Including DNA-coded computer chips. The rest we've had for decades, barring the FTL transport, obviously.
To be fair, the oldies are sometimes the goodies, and there really aren't that many possibilities inherently 'better' than a dead man's switch of some kind (or the other items listed).


This is so, it's just one of those odd things that tickles my sense of humor to have space-age Cold War spy novel stuff. Granted, there were one or two infamous real spies who had booby-trapped information caches to self-destruct if not opened properly, weren't there?


Because this speech will be so popular for rebroadcast in the League?
Well, a significant minority of politically aware Leaguers (perhaps even a majority) already know it's true. Most of the Shell and Verge know it very well and will take this as a rallying cry to resist Solarian power, which is a desirable goal for Elizabeth in its own right. And ultimately, making sure Manticoran public opinion remains steadfast in the face of a potentially long-term war with the League is a HUGE deal. Because the biggest medium-term risk isn't that Manticore will actually lose its technical advantages, or even its military edge. It's that Manticore will get tired of fighting the League while simultaneously dealing with the huge economic losses of Oyster Bay, and press for, if not total surrender, at least a surrender that amounts to a defeat for Manticore.


There is that. Presumably the man on the street isn't overly informed on the details of military technologies, doctrine or hull-counts (though today you can easily look up that last, so who knows?) but there's a big "oh shit" factor in realizing that you're at war with 2/3 of humanity.

Still, that bit is more rhetoric, because of those trillions of oblivious citizens (and they've been clear that one thing the ruling elite have been careful to avoid is any sort of popular grassroots movement for real reform) very few will be inclined to hear this objectively, and the speech probably won't even be spread that far, having little interest for Solly newsies or propagandists, and with Laocoon in effect the Manty merchant marine isn't spreading around the tape either.

Also confirms "trillions" of Sollies just in the Core. Not super surprising, since we lowballed Haven's population as half a trillion a while back and the League covers 17 times the systems of Haven.
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Simon_Jester
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington III ANALYSIS CHAPTER 1

Postby Simon_Jester » 2014-12-10 08:24pm

Weber, A Rising Thunder, p. 1 wrote:"Get your goddamned ships the hell out of my space!"
Such lovely language they teach in the SLN. In this scene, six Rampart-class destroyers (Commodore Jeremy 'Pottymouth'* Chalker of the SLN commanding) from the SLN's Frontier Fleet picket confront two Manticoran cruisers and two destroyers (Commander Pang Yau-pau, RMN, commanding). This happens in the Nolan system, where Yau-pau has just seized control of the Astro Control facilities, and evicted the Solarian traffic controllers. We later learn that this was in response to the Solarian controllers refusing to allow Manticoran ships' passage through the wormhole.

This is part of Operation Laocoön, Phase One.** Basically Manticore is calling home their whole merchant marine, or at least the parts of it in Solarian space. This lets Weber start the book with a few short, relatively active scenes.

Yau-pau has two Saganami-Cs, his own Onyx and Smilodon. He also has Tornado, which is a Roland, and the older pre-MDM destroyer Othello with which to make his actions stick.

He is being yelled at from a range of about 2.4 million kilometers- which means that the Solarian destroyers could actually engage him with missiles, but said missiles would almost certainly get shot down, being as how the Solarians' Ramparts probably only have, oh, about three or four tubes apiece.
____________

*That was a joke.
**Weber spells it "Lacoön," but since "Lacoön" means nothing as far as I can tell, and Laocoön was the Trojan priest who looked at the Trojan Horse and said "beware Greeks bearing gifts," I'm going to go with the classical spelling.

Weber, p. 5 wrote:At the moment, [the ships of Yau-pau's command] were over six hundred and fifty light-years from the Manticore Binary System and barely two hundred light-years from the Sol system. It was not a particularly huge force to have wandering around so deep in increasingly hostile territory, as Pang was only too well aware...

The system's proximity to the Nolan terminus of the Nolan-Katharina Hyper Bridge was what had brought it to the Office of Frontier Security's attention a hundred-odd T-years ago, and the local OFS and Frontier Fleet officers had been raking off a comfortable percentage of the terminus user fees ever since.... Precious little of that revenue had ended up in Nolan itself, at any rate.
Laocoön involves some really deep operations for Manticoran light ship formations, and probably a considerable element of risk. A command like Yau-pau's might actually lose if it got jumped by a couple of squadrons of SLN battlecruisers, even in a fair fight. And then there's the possibility of a beam engagement...

Weber, p. 6 wrote:"Exactly." Pang [Yau-pau] smiled thinly. "Do you have Chalker's flagship IDed?"

"Yes, Sir." Frazier nodded with an answering smile. "I do. By the strangest coincidence, I've just this minute discovered that I've got her IDed, dialed in, and locked up, as a matter of fact..."
We probably already knew this, but just to put it on the record:

Manticoran signals intelligence is good enough (or Solarian communications security bad enough) that Manticoran ships can easily identify the flagship of a Solarian formation, even if all the ships in that task force are of the same class. This makes a decapitation strike (as against Byng) or the threat thereof (all it takes to get Chalker to back off) very much a possibility.

There's a few more pages of random bluster, then...

Weber, p. 10 wrote:[The SLN ships] were far outside the effective range of their own pathetic energy armament, and the situation was almost worse when it came to missiles. The Sollies were within their missiles' powered engagement range of Pang's command, but [Chalker's flagship] Lancelot was barely twenty percent Onyx's size, with proportionately weaker sidewalls and a broadside of only five lasers and a matching number of missile tubes. If Chalker was foolish enough to carry out his threat, he could undoubtedly kill any merchant ship he fired upon. Lancelot's chance of getting a laser head through Onyx's antimissile defenses, on the other hand, much less burning through the cruiser's sidewalls, ranged from precious little to nonexistent.

Good thing Chalker wasn't on station when we arrived, though, I suppose Pang thought. God knows what he'd've done if he'd been inside energy range when we transited the terminus! And... it's a good thing he's such a loudmouthed idiot, too. It was only a matter of time until one of the incoming Solly merchies diverted to Nolan to let someone know what was going on out here. If the jackass had been willing to keep his mouth shut until he managed to get into energy range, this siutation could've turned even stickier...
Yau-pau reflects that given the rules of engagement he's under, shooting first would have been very hard to justify, and that a trigger-happy Solarian could easily have gotten into range of his command for an energy duel.

Also, hm. Five lasers and five tubes on each of Chalker's ship broadsides. Not the three or four I expected. The [i]War Harvests
are actually pretty big for pre-war destroyers, at least if House of Steel is to be believed. A Saganami-C tips the scale at somewhere upward of four hundred thousand tons, so the War Harvests have to be in the 90-100 thousand ton range, with armament on the same scale as, say, a Culverin-class destroyer like the RMN was building in 1900 PD.

Remember the original Fearless from On Basilisk Station? Based on this, I wouldn't be entirely surprised if a War Harvest from the time she was laid down could have handled her, if we go back to the 1850s or 1860s PD. That is, in the pre-laserhead environment both ship classes were designed for.

Of course, even the War Harvests' beam weapons aren't competitive compared to something like a Saganami-C, which is so much bigger that it can mount vastly tougher passive defenses, and individually far heavier beam weapons. So even a beam engagement would probably go badly for the Solarians in this case... except that the SLN ships might do enough damage to the heavier RMN cruisers to leave them vulnerable.

In a missile engagement, meanwhile, there's no contest. Honestly, if the Manticoran freighters were to crowd behind the antimissile protection of the RMN ships, I doubt that Chalker could even hit them, it'd be that hard to get single-stage Solarian missiles past a pair of Saganami-C's attempts to play goalie.

Anyway, Chalker backs down.

Weber, p. 11 wrote:They were a mere three wormhole transits away from the Manticore Binary System, but it certainly didn't feel that way. The Dionigi System was only ninety-six light-years from Manticore, but it was connected to the Katharina System, over seven hundred and thirty light-years away... and the Nolan-Katharina Bridge, in turn, was one of the longest ever surveyed, at nine hundred and fifteen light-years... he could be home in less than two weeks, instead of the eighty days or so it would have taken his warships to get there on a direct voyage.
More fun with wormhole networks- and more evidence that while Manticore may have the biggest wormhole junction in the galaxy it doesn't have the only one, or the longest. And, indeed, that it's the overall network of wormholes that helps make the individual wormholes so useful.

On the other hand, Manticore is a major junction in its own right. And it has other junctions having termini near to its termini. Like this 'Dionigi,' and Erewhon, and the 'Idaho' one mentioned later in this book, and the one under Andermani control. So that the cumulative effect, Weber seems to be aiming for, is that for most trips of more than about 100-200 light years, it's faster to say "fuckit, let's take some combination of wormholes to get there." Since Honorverse merchant traffic is typically limited to about 1000-2000c (three to six light-years a day), it's no surprise that this might happen.

Weber, p.12 wrote:They don't begin to have the hulls to take up the slack even if all the termini stayed open; with the termini closed, with every ton of cargo having to spend four or five times as long in transit, to boot...
Yau-pau's assessment of how badly the withdrawal of Manticoran commerce and the Manticoran closure of as many wormholes as possible to Solarian traffic under Laocoön's phase two will hit the League. We get some actual numbers for this later, one thing the Solarian Council of Bad Guys is good for, but even this guy can see it's pretty intense. So much so that I have to assume many League systems are unnecessarily dependent on goods shipped by interstellar transport.

Probably because the operating costs of an interstellar freighter aren't that big on the scale of the cargos it moves, so that it can make actual economic sense to ship bulk goods from one planet to the next, at least under some circumstances.

Manticore has basically set themselves up as the Space Dutch by not only ensuring (like Panama) that it's convenient to register your freighter with Manticore to avoid Junction duties... but also (unlike Panama) that your nation becomes a center of shipbuilding and crews as many of the ships bearing its flag as possible.

Yau-pau also reflects that holding as many of the wormhole systems as possible will give the RMN the flexibility to raid more or less at will throughout Solarian space. The obvious problem I see with that is that holding those wormhole mouths will force the RMN to place lots of relatively small pickets in places where an SLN battlegroup could jump right out of hyperspace on top of them, well within single-drive missile range if not beam range, and engage them. At which point "WHERE IS YOUR MISSILEGOD NOW!?" becomes the order of the day.

There is, basically, no reason a squadron of Battle Fleet dreadnoughts couldn't just appear right now to ruin Yau-pau's whole day... except that they don't know he's here. So I perceive this as a serious limitation of the Laocoön strategy; it dangles out RMN light units where they can potentially be picked off by the League under conditions that partially neutralize the League's massive disadvantages of missile range and antimissile performance.
_______________________________________________________

And now for something completely different actually related...

Weber, p. 21 wrote:"You can't be serious!" Sharon Selkirk, Shadwell Corporation's senior shipping executive for the Mendelschon System, stared at her com display...

"I'm afraid I am," Captain Lev Wallenstein of the improbably named Manticoran freighter Yellow Rose the Third said. "I just got the dispatch."

"But... but... We've got a contract, Lev!"

"I understand that... and I'm sorry as hell. It wasn't my idea, Sharon! And don't think for one minute that the front office is going to be happy when I get home, either! Running empty all the way back to the Star Kingdom?" He shook his head. "I don't know whose brainstorm this was, but it's going to play merry hell, and that's the truth!"

"Lev, I've got one point six million tons of cargo that've been sitting in orbital warehouses for over two T-months waiting for your arrival. One point six million tons- you understand that number? That's the next best thing to a billion and a half credits of inventory, and it's supposed to be in Josephine in less than four weeks. If you leave it sitting here, there's no way I can possibly get it there..."
There's some more back and forth. Basically, Captain Wallenstein thinks Sharon is a nice woman, although kind of condescending toward non-Solarians. She can't quite understand why all this is an issue and wishes people would just be reasonable; Wallenstein is a bit cranky about the implication that 'reasonable' is 'do what the League thinks you should do...

Weber, p. 23 wrote:Despite his very real affection for her, Wallenstein found it difficult not to roll his eyes. Unlike the majority of people who found their way to her seniority in a Solarian multi-stellar, Sharon Selkirk had always been friendly and courteous in her dealings with the merchant-service officers who transported the Shadwell Corporation's goods between the stars. She'd never held the fact that Wallenstein wasn't a Solarian against him, either. In fact... she didn't even realize she was being condescending by not holding the fact that he wasn't a Solarian against him. Why, she was treating him just like a real person!

He was confident she'd never actually analyzed her own attitude... because she was, frankly, too nice a person to treat someone that way if she'd ever realized she was doing it. But that was part of the problem. Solarian arrogance, that bone-deep assumption of superiority, was so deeply engraved into the Solarian League's DNA that Sollies never even thought about it.
Hm. Touchy much, Manticorans? You can see how the actual behavior of some of the Solarians we've seen might give rise to this. On the other hand, I get the feeling Wallenstein's not being fair. Still, I wanted to put it up because we don't have a lot of street-level (or semi-street level) viewpoints on the issue.

Weber, p. 27 wrote:"I don't care what your damned orders say," Captain Freida Malachai said flatly. "I've got three and a half million tons of cargo aboard, and I'm supposed to deliver it in Klondike one T-month from today. Do you have any idea what the nondelivery penalty on that's going to be? Not to mention the question of piracy if I just sail off with it into the sunset?"

"I realize this is highly... inconvenient, Captain Malachai," Commander Jared Wu replied as reasonably as he could. "And it wasn't my idea in the first place. Nonetheless, I'm afraid the recall's nondiscretionary."

"The hell it is! ... I'm a free subject of the Crown, not a damned slave!"

"No one's trying to enslave anyone, Captain." Wu's voice was tighter and harder than it had been. "Under the Wartime Commerce Security Act, the Admiralty has the responsib-"

"Don't you go quoting the WSCA to me!" Malachai's blue eyes glittered with rage, and her short-cut blond hair seemed to bristle. "That thing's never been applied in the history of the Star Kingdom! And even if it had, we're not at war!"

...Voortrekker [the freighter in question] didn't belong to one of the big shipping houses... Malachai was owner-aboard of her ship. She owned, in fact, a fifty percent share of the ship, which meant... fifty percent of the expenses... and any penalties Voortrekker was forced to pay for breach of contract. The mere thought of how much the nondelivery penalty... could run to was enough to make anyone wince. And that was assuming the admiralty court didn't decide to tack on additional fees or fines for damages.
So, Wu tries to persuade Malachai a while longer. Then it comes out that if Malachai doesn't make this next delivery, she won't be able to pay the loans on her ship and she'll lose the ship. So she tries to persuade him:

Weber, p. 30 wrote:"But Klondike isn't even a Solly system," Malachai pointed out, and there was a note of pleading in her voice- a note that obviously came hard for her. "We'd be in hyper the entire way there, and nobody could even find us there, much less touch us. I drop into Klondike, I off-load my cargo, and that's all there is. Then I'll come straight home, I promise!"
Then some more reflection on how the WSCA doesn't make any provision for compensating merchant sailors for damages they suffer due to suddenly being called home... and how badly this is going to bodyslam much of the Manticoran merchant marine. A big firm like, say, the Hauptman Cartel might have some insulation against the financial impact because they have insurance, bonds, and large reserves of capital. A relatively small fish like Malachai and her line with four ships... not so much.

Weber, p. 32 wrote:HMS Cometary was a mere light cruiser. Admittedly, she was an older ship, which meant she carried a larger Marine detachment than most current battlecruisers did, but he couldn't go peeling off details of his Navy personnel to take over the engine rooms and bridges of freighters and passenger liners. In theory, he could order his Marines to take control of Voortrekker and force Captain Malachai and her own crew to sail directly to Manticore, yet he shied away from the possibility...
Observation on the difficulties of executing something like Laocoön. There are thousands of Manticoran freighters out there, in all probability, many of them in positions similar to Malachai's. While the Solarian League has the sheer numbers of ships it'd take to grab all those freighters, load Marines aboard, and take them as prizes... the RMN doesn't.

Ultimately, Commander Wu decides to screw his orders and let Malachai take the chance. I'm not sure if we ever find out how that turns out...
______________________________________

In Chapter Three we get an actual engagement that tells us a few things.

Weber, p. 35 wrote:"Oh, crap."

The words were spoken quietly, almost prayerfully. For a moment or two, Lieutenant Aaron Tilborch, commanding officer of the Zunker Space Navy's light attack craft Kipling, didn't even realize he'd spoken them aloud, and they were hardly the considered, detached observation one might have expected from a trained professional. On the whole, however, they summed up the situation quite nicely.

"What do we do now, Sir?"... not that there was much Kipling's small ship's company could do about the events preparing to unfold before them.

The ZSN wasn't much as navies went. There were several reasons for that and one was that the Zunker System's nominal sovereignty had depended for the last T-decade and a half or so upon a delicate balancing act between the Star Kingdom of Manticore and the Solarian League. The Office of Frontier Security's local commissioners had cast greedy eyes upon the Zunker System ever since the wormhole terminus associated with it had been discovered, but the terminus was the next best thing to six and a half light-hours from the system primary. That put it well outside Zunker territorial space, which meant simply grabbing the star system wouldn't necessarily have given them control of the terminus... especially since its other end lay in the Idaho System...

...And Idaho, unlike Zucker, lay only seventy-two light-years from the Manticore Binary System- three weeks' hyper flight for a merchant ship... Prior to the discovery of the Idaho Hyper Bridge, Idaho had been a relative backwater...

For Zunker, whose existence had always been even more hand-to-mouth than that of many other Verge star systems, the consequences had been profound. The hyper bridge... was over four hundred light-years long, and the system lay roughly a hundred and ninety light-years from the Sol System and just over a hundred and fifty light-years from Beowulf... closing the gap between the Beowulf Terminus of the Manticore Wormhole Junction and the Andermani Empire's Asgerd-Durandel Hyper Bridge...

The sudden influx of so much traffic, and the kind of cash flow that went with it, dwarfed anything Zunker had ever imagined... and it had turned out to be a mixed blessing... it had fueld an economic boom such as no Zunkeran had had ever dreamed was possible... Yet that same abundance of cash had inevitably attracted the avarice of the Office of Frontier Security and its transstellar "friends."
Basically, Idaho has Manticoran backing to claim extraterritoriality over the Junction, and OFS is kept from swallowing Zunker by Manticore threatening to raise Junction duties if they do- this despite the fact that the Idaho-Zunker wormhole was discovered more or less at the same time the first round of the Manticore-Haven War broke out. Zunker is Solarian-influenced but not actually Solarian-governed, but on the other hand they're basically a hapless spectator in their own star system, while...

Weber, p. 38 wrote:...never looking away from the display where a single Solarian merchant ship headed directly towards the terminus escorted by six Solarian League Navy battlecruisers. "What we do is get the hell out of the way and comm home to Effingham."

"But what about-" van Calcar began.

"The Manties are the ones who announced they were closing the terminus to Solarian traffic, and Idaho backed them," Tilborch replied, cutting her off. "You know where my sympathies lie, but we've got no official business poking our noses in. Besides-" he smiled humorlessly- "it's not like Kipling was going to make any difference, is it?"
The Zunker LAC squadron quite sensibly decides that it's not getting paid enough to tangle with the SLN on Manticore's behalf (or, presumably vice versa) and scuttles out of the way.

Weber, p. 39-40 wrote:Captain Hiram Ivanov watched his tactical display and frowned as he considered the odds and how they must look from the other side. His division of Saganami-C-class heavy cruisers was one ship understrength, leaving him only three to confront the oncoming Solarian battlecruisers. He also had four Roland-class destroyers... all of his ships had Mark 23-stuffed missile pods tractored to their hulls, which put rather a different complexion on traditional calculations of combat power. Unfortunately, it appeared these particular Sollies still hadn't worked through the implications of the Battle of Spindle...

[looking at what the Solarians are doing]

"Blatant isn't precisely the word I'd choose, Claudine." Ivanov replied in a judicious tone. "In fact, on reflection, I believe 'stupid' comes a lot closer to capturing the essence of my feelings at this moment. 'Arrogant' and 'pigheaded' probably belong somewhere in the mix too, now that I think about it."

"Do you think it's the local Frontier Fleet CO's idea? Or that it represents government orders from their admiralty?

"I'm inclined to think it's the locals," Ivanov said. "Especially given Commissioner Floyd's attitude towards the Star Empire's 'interference' in his personal arrangements," he added, eyes drifting back to his own display.
Strength of the picket force Manticore sent to cover the far end of a wormhole junction. Also, slow information movement means that while Laocoön is going on, there are a still a lot of people who haven't gotten word about Spindle, or at least don't have any unconflicted, unambiguous information on it. In an institution the size of the League, this means that a local governor or admiral can totally commit a major provocation on their own initiative without the faintest idea what's going on elsewhere.

Weber, p. 41-42 wrote:Although there was no way for Captain Ivanov to know it, Rear Admiral Liam Pyun, the commanding officer of Battlecruiser Division 3065.2 of the Solarian League Navy, rather agreed with the Manticoran officer's assessment of the orders he'd been given. Unfortunately, they were orders, legally issued by Hirokichi Floyd, the Office of Frontier Security's commissioner for the Genovese Sector.

Floyd was one of the people who'd most resented OFS' failure to add Zunker (and the terminus associated with it) to its long list of unofficially annexed star systems. It affronted his sense of the way the universe was supposed to run... and deprived him of his custom-hallowed rake-off from the terminus' lucrative use fees...

[snip stuff about how Floyd feels personally offended and insulted by Manticore's hard stance on control of Zunker and how it stymied OFS in this case]

...Hirokichi Floyd was scarcely unique among Solarian bureaucrats in having personal reasons to loathe the Star Empire of Manticore and its intolerable insolence. Rear Admiral Pyun was only too well aware of that. Most of those bureaucrats, however, were far, far away from Liam Pyun, and he wished Floyd were equally far away.
See, there are Solarian officers with common sense and personal decency after all! Zunker Astro Control warns off the Solarians:

Weber, p.43-44 wrote:"You are hereby advised that, by order of the Royal Manticoran Navy, this terminus is closed to all Solarian warships and Solarian-registered merchant traffic." Arredondo continued. "Be aware that the Royal Manticoran Navy has issued instructions to Astro Control to inform all incoming shipping that vessels approaching this terminus are required to activate their transponders immediately upon receipt of this transmission. In addition, all Solarian vessels are prohibited from approaching within one light-minute of the terminus. The Star Empire of Manticore has declared this volume of space a prohibited zone and will act inaccordance with international laws governing such zones. Arredondo, clear."
So basically, the Idahoans who nominally control the terminus say "look what those nasty Manties made us do" while delivering the off-limits message. One light minute is eighteen million kilometers, a quite respectable buffer zone against any Solarian weapon or sudden attack by Solarian ships.

Pyun eyes the Manticoran picket (to his eyes, four 'destroyers' the size of really big light cruisers and three really big heavy cruisers and tries to gauge the odds.

Weber, p. 45 wrote:...By any traditional measure, his force advantage ought to be overwhelming.

One of the nagging little problems with traditions, however, was that they were subject to change.

I wonder how many missile pods they have? he thought. Whatever Floyd thinks, they have to have some. I mean, Idaho's barely seventy light-years from their home system! No matter how much damage they've taken, they've got to have scraped up at least some additional firepower if they're going to count on only seven ships to cover the entire terminus.
Now Pyun, here's a guy who is using his head for something other than holding up his magnificent bicorn hat.

[I picture all Solarian admirals with elaborate hats]

See, he's figured out that the Manticorans do in fact, no fooling, have some kind of nasty weapon system. He's still thinking in terms of towed pods and assuming that the multi-drive missiles are too bulky to be fired from light ships... but that's essentially exactly what happened at Spindle anyway, so in a real sense he's right, at least in terms of understanding and analyzing the known threats.

Weber, p. 45-46 wrote:He would have been a lot happier if he'd had better informatio non what had happened in the Spindle System last month. He was sure the official version was on its way to Genovese from Old Terra, but Genovese was the better part of twenty light-years farther from Sol than Zunker. It took the better part of a T-month for anything from Old Terra to reach Genovese, as opposed to the one week of hyper travel between Zunker and Genovese, so at the moment all he- and Commissioner Floyd- had to go on were the reports which had come through from Idaho. Which meant all they really knew was what the Manties had told them...

Assuming, of course, that they'd actually done anything to Admiral Crandall at Spindle.

Commissioner Floyd was inclined to think they hadn't.

Rear Admiral Pyun was inclined to think Commissioner Floyd was an idiot.
:D

Unfortunately, one of the big things screwing up the League is that local military decisions are being made by people relatively ignorant of military affairs. This isn't the worst thing screwing up the League's response to this crisis (that would be Mesa maneuvering Solarian task forces to get their asses kicked at key moments). But it sure doesn't help.

So anyway, the Solarians continue accelerating for just about ten minutes, covering a million kilometers and get up to a leisurely 2200 kilometers per second or so, which translates to taking about two and a quarter hours to cover one light-minute... obviously they're a long way from "there yet."

[Quick calculation using kinematic equations... starting with distance traveled and time elapsed, we get a system of two linear equations for initial velocity and acceleration. Solving, we get an initial velocity of about 1100 to 1150 km/s coming out of hyperspace, and an acceleration of about 1.7 to 1.8 kilometers per second squared, or about 180 gravities, plus or minus about five. Reasonably merchant acceleration, in other words]

Then they get a phone call. Not from Astro control.

Weber, p.47-48 wrote:"I am Captain Hiram Ivanov, Royal Manticoran Navy... I'm aware that you've been instructed by Astro Control to activate your identification transponders and that no Solarian warships or Solarian-registry merchant vessels are allowed to approach within eighteen million kilometers of this terminus. Be informed that while my Empress continues to desire a peaceful resolution to the current tensions between the Star Empire and the Solarian League, I have orders to enforce my government's directives concerning this terminus by force. Moreover, I also hereby inform you that I have no choice but to construe the presence of so many 'unidentified' battlecruisers in company with a single merchant ship as a deliberate effort on your part to defy those directives. Should you continue to approach this terminus without active transponders and close to a distance of less than thirty million kilometers, I will engage you. I would prefer to avoid that, but the choice is in your hands. Ivanov, clear."
Pyun thinks that one over, along with his staffer Gilmore. Like Pyun, Gilmore is not stupid and is in fact concerned that Manticore really might be able to engage from thirty million kilometers, rather than just dismissing the whole thing as disinformation.

Weber, p. 49 wrote:Pyun considered his orders once again. They were as clear as they were nondiscretionary, yet he hadn't earned flag rank in the Solarian Navy without discovering how much easier it was for people who were going to be far, far away at the critical moment to issue such unflinching directives.

Maybe it is, but he's still the commissioner, and you're still a Frontier Fleet officer assigned to his sector.

"Copy Captain Ivanov's message to Captain Zyndram [of Pyun's flagship], Ephram. Inform the Captain that I see no reason to alter our intentions at this time."
Poor Pyun.

The Manticorans grumble about typical arrogant Sollies, of course...

Weber, p. 52 wrote:"Closing velocity when they get to thirty million klicks?" Ivanov asked after a moment...

"Just a shade under nine thousand KPS when they cross the line, Sir." He looked back up at his CO "That'll add about another three-point-two million klicks to the powered envelope."
Ivanov reflects that he has probably exceeded his orders, but in his judgment the next phase of Laocoön soon anyway and openly grabbing and holding all the wormhole termini it can regardless of the legalities, so whatever. He thinks over his possible responses and authorizes a plan called "Volley Alpha."

Note here that even a 'relatively' modest additional closing velocity between two fleets (say, about 0.03c) can drastically increase the powered range from rest of an impeller drive missile. The reason for this is that the extra 9000 km/s of flight time is being applied over the entire burn time of the missile's drive. For a 'slow burn' missile engine running for long durations, that does count for quite a bit.

[Although I think Weber goofed here; when I calculated the figure it was more like 1.6 million kilometers, not 3.2...]

Anyway, Pyun's ships keep trucking along; given their acceleration and how much their velocity is supposed to increase over the intervening time, it takes them about an hour or a little more to get to the thirty-million kilometer "line in the sand" Ivanov drew.

Weber, p.53 wrote:"Coming up on the thirty-million kilometer mark in one minute, Admiral." Lieutenant Estelle Marker, Rear Admiral Pyun's staff astrogator, announced.

"Thank you, Estelle," Pyun acknowledged, and cocked his head at Josette Steinberg. "Status?" he asked.

"We're as ready as we're going to be, Sir." It wasn't the most formal readiness report Pyun had ever received, but Steinberg had been with him for almost three T-years. Unlike Battle Fleet, they'd actually accomplished something during that time, too.

"Halo is deployed and prepared for full activation," the ops officer announced. "Captain Zyndram reports all missile-defense systems are manned and ready. The rest of the division is green-board as well. I don't know what these people think they can hit us with at this range, sir, but we're ready for it..."

Whatever else happens, at least the Solarian League Navy knows how to maintain a brave face, he thought.

The thought amused him, in a black-humor sort of way, yet he'd discovered he vastly preferred Steinberg's attitude to the panicky response he suspected the Manticoran reports had engendered elsewhere. Not that a little panic wouldn't do certain Battle Fleet officers he could think of a world of good. At the moment, though-

"Missile launch!" one of Steinberg's ratings suddenly announced. "CIC has multiple missile launches, at three-zero million kilometers!"
Don't you hate being interrupted? Anyway, I feel like here, at least, Weber actually portrays some respectable Sollies.

Poor Pyun. Poor Sollies.

Weber, p.54-55 wrote:HMS Sloan Tompkins, like her sisters... was a Saganami-C-class heavy cruiser, and each of them mounted twenty launchers in each broadside. With the RMN's ability to fire off-bore missiles, that gave them the ability to fire forty-missile-strong double broadsides in a single launch, and they were armed with the internally launched Mark 16 dual-drive missile. Because of that, their tubes (and just as importantly, their fire control) had been designed to take advantage of the Mark 16's drive flexibility and fire what were actually quadruple broadsides... in order to "stack" their fire and saturate an opponent's missile defenses.
Older ships could delay drive activation of one broadside to roll around and fire off the other broadside in the same direction, a classic 'double broadside.' The Saganami-C, and presumably the larger Nike and smaller Roland that fire the same missile, can do the delayed-activation trick too. When this is combined with the off-bore engagement capability that provides still more flexibility and yet another subtype of the genus Manticoremissilemassacrensis.

Note that Hexapuma didn't do this at Monica. Either it's an update based on modifications made in the year or two since Hexapuma went to Talbott, or there was some other reason, or Weber only just thought of it. :D

So anyway. Ivanov does NOT fire any of the three-stage Mark 23 missiles, with the longer engagement ranges and bigger, hairier warheads, that are loaded in his attached missile pods. Nor does he have the Rolands fire; as I recall reflection on earlier, the Rolands have about 25% as many missiles in storage, twenty rounds per tube instead of thirty. He figures it's better to conserve their ammunition and commit it at the decisive moment. Three cruisers times eighty missiles per is...

Weber, p.55-56 wrote:"Two hundred-plus inbound," Josette Steinberg reported tersely. "Acceleration approximately four-five-one KPS-squared. Activate all Halo platforms now!"

"Activating Halo, aye, Ma'am!"

"Damn," Steven Gilmore said, so quietly only Pyun could possibly have heard him. "That's got to be a warning shot, Sir!"

"You think so?" Pyun's eyes were on the tac display now, watching the scarlet icons of the Manticoran missiles streak toward his command.

"Has to be, Sir." Gilmore shook his head. "Even assuming they've got the legs to reach us without going ballistic, their targeting solutions have to suck at this range...
Snip Pyun's reply and two pages of inane babble about how dual drive missiles close too fast to be shot down as easily as single drive missiles, because this next quote REALLY ought to have come next...

Weber, p.58-59 wrote:"Admiral, CIC's picking up something... It's coming up on the master plot now, Sir."

"What the hell are those?" he demanded as the absurdly low ranges registered. Those things were less than ten thousand kilometers clear of his flagship!

"We don't know, sir," Steinberg admitted. "All we do know is that they seem to've been there all along. They just popped up a second ago when they cut their stealth."

"Cut their stealth?" Captain Gilmore repeated. "You mean the Manties got recon platforms that close to us without our ever even seeing them?"

"That's what it looks like," Steinberg grated harshly. "And I doubt they just dropped their stealth for no reason at all. They want us to know they're there."

"Ma'am... we're picking up grav pulses all over the place. Dozens of point sources."

"Are those-" Pyun used a light pointer to jab at the new icons in the master plot- "some of those point sources, Chief Elliott?"

"Uh, yes, Sir, I think they are..."

"Oh, shit," Gilmore muttered.

We are so going to get hammered, a quiet little voice said in the back of Pyun's mind.

"How the hell did they fit FTL emitters into something that small?" Steinberg asked almost plaintively.
Poor Pyun. Poor Gilmore.

Poor Sollies.


___________________________________________



So, we last saw Our Gallant Solarian Heroes with a skeet's-eye-view of a 240-missile Manticoran salvo. Are stealthy Manticoran drones observing his flagship from spitting distance and relaying fire control information back to the Manticoran ships?

Previously, on The Adventures of Battlecruiser Division 3065.2 wrote:"Uh, yes, Sir, I think they are..."

"Oh, shit," Gilmore muttered.

We are so going to get hammered...

"How the hell did they fit FTL emitters into something that small?"
Pyun realizes suddenly that the stealthy Manticoran reconnaissance platforms are feeding spotting and targeting data back to the Manticoran cruisers, and for all he knows back to the incoming missiles. Which, despite how long this conversation took, is probably still a few minutes out.

Still, this particular corner of the SLN doesn't quit trying just because they're screwed. You gotta love them.

Weber, A Rising Thunder, p. 59-61 wrote:Belle Poule vibrated as counter-missiles began to launch, but it was already evident to Pyun that his ships mounted far too few counter-missile tubes and point defense clusters to deal with this salvo.
___________________

"Coming up on Point Alpha," Brockhurst announced.

"Execute as specified," Ivanov said formally.

"Aye, aye, Sir. Executing... now."
___________________

There was little panic aboard SLNS Belle Poule, but only because her crew was too busy for that. There was no time for those who could actually see the displays, recognize what the readouts meant, to really consider what was happening, the stunning realization that they truly were as outclassed as the "preposterous" reports from Spindle had indicated.

And they were outclassed.

The Manticoran missiles came flashing in... and just before they entered the counter-missile zone, the electronic warfare platforms seeded among the attack birds spun up. Of the two hundred and forty missiles... fifty carried nothing but penetration aids... Now "Dazzler" platforms blinded Solarian sensors even as their accompanying "Dragon's Teeth" suddenly proliferated, producing scores of false targets to confuse and saturate their targets' defenses. The Solarian battlecruiser crews had never seen, enver imagined, anything like it. Ignorant of the energy budgets the RMN's mini-fusion plants allowed, they simply couldn't conceive of how such powerful jammers could be crammed into such tiny platforms. The threat totally surpassed the parameters their doctrine and their systems had been designed to cope with.

Pyun's battlecruisers managed to stop exactly seventeen of the incoming shipkillers in the outer zone. The other hundred and seventy-three streaked past every counter-missile the Solarians could throw with almost contemptuous ease.
Side note, Weber describes the Manticoran missiles' acceleration as 'inconceivable,' and I do not think that word means what he thinks it means. There's nothing abnormal about the acceleration of the missiles, only how fast they're coming in, which may be what Weber meant, being charitable.

Anyway, analysis. Standard Manticoran doctrine seems to be to have about 20-25% of a missile launch be EW platforms intended to help the rest of the salvo get through the defenses intact. They were doing this before Ghost Rider too, just with less capable ECM missiles... And yet, twice Rafe Cardones used those weaker jammers to blind prewar Havenite sensors, and score a direct hit with a short-ranged nuclear warhead against battlecruiser-grade defenses. I suspect a Solarian ship would be less vulnerable to that kind of trick from pre-1912 Manticoran hardware, but they're not equipped to deal with the high-intensity ECM used by Ghost Rider missiles.

Havenite ships equipped with upgraded missile defenses (courtesy of Solarian tech reps) had about the same kind of problem dealing with the Manticore Missile Massacre back during Buttercup. On the other hand, it only took them a few years to develop countermeasures, and I suspect the League could in principle do the same- now that they know just how powerful an ECCM* system they're shopping for.

And now back to the program...
_________________________

*Electronic counter-counter-measures. You can basically just keep tacking on C's as long as you want...

Weber, p. 61-62 wrote:Liam Pyun watched his command's destruction ripping through his defenses. He'd always been more willing than most of his fellow officers to consider the possible accuracy of the outlandish reports coming back from the endless Manticore-Haven war. He'd had to be careful about admitting he was, given the contempt with which virtually all of those other officers greeted such "alarmist" rumors, but now he knew even the most bizarre of those reports had understated the true magnitude of the threat. No wonder the Manties had managed to punch out Byng's flagship so cleanly at New Tuscany!

His people were doing their best, fighting with frantic professionalism to overcome the fatal shortcomings of their doctrine and training in the fleeting minutes they had. They weren't going to succeed, and he knew it, but they weren't going to simply sit there, paralyzed by terror, either, and he felt bittersweet pride in them even as he cursed himself for having walked straight into this disaster.

But how could I have known? How could I really have known? And even if I had-

And then the Manticoran missles burst past the inner edge of the counter-missile zone. They came driving in through the desperate, last-ditch, last-minute fire of the battlecruisers' point defense clusters, and the laser clusters were almost as useless in the face of the Manty EW as the counter-missiles had been. They managed to pick off another twelve missiles, but that still left a hundred and sixty-three shipkillers, and Pyun felt his belly knotting solid as his ships' executioners came boring in on the throats of their wedges. They were going to-

One hundred and sixty-three Mark 16 missiles, each with the better part of thirty seconds' time left on its drive, swerved suddenly, in a perfectly synchronized maneuver, and detonated as one.
Poor Pyun. Poor Sollies. :(

Weber, p. 62-63 wrote:"Nicely done, BB," Hiram Ivanov said approvingly as the FTL reports came in from the Ghost Rider drones and the Sloan Tompkins' CIC updated the master tactical plot. "Very nicely. In fact, I think that rates a 'well done' for your entire department."
__________________________

"They hit our wedges!" Steinberg blurted. "My God, they hit our wedges!"

Her tone was so disbelieving- and so affronted- that despite himself Pyun actually felt his mouth twitch on the edge of a smile. The ops officer was staring incredulously at her displays as CIC's dispassionate computers updated them.

It was true. It had happened so quickly, the X-ray lasers had cascaded in such a massive tide, that it had taken Steinberg (and Pyun, for that matter) several endless seconds to grasp what had actually happened- to realize they were still alive- yet it was true.

The rear admiral would dearly have loved to believe Halo had succeeded in its decoy function. That the Manty missiles had been lured astray by the battlecruisers' sophisticated electronic warfare systems. But much as he would have preferred that, he knew differently. No defensive system in the galaxy could have caused every single missile in an attacking salvo to waste its fury on the roofs and floors of his ships' impeller wedges. No. The only way that could have happened was for the people who'd fired those missiles to have arranged for it to happen...
I guess Gilmore was right all along. It was a warning shot. :D

Poor Pyun. Poor Sollies.

Anyway. Two of the SLN battlecruisers took hits, two and one each, with no casualties. Presumably accidental 'misses.' Ivanov calls Pyun again, noting that he did that on purpose; he didn't have to miss. Pyun, sensibly, backs off.

So, when the smoke clears, six (older) Solarian battlecruisers engaged 240 Mark 16s and managed to shoot down about 10% of them. It is reasonable to infer that one such battlecruiser would have made a similarly poor showing against a single forty-missile salvo from one of Ivanov's cruisers.

Thunder of God, with technology probably quite a bit inferior to that of the Solarian ships, and with a drastically inferior crew, was able to shoot down the great majority of Honor's missiles back in 1903 PD. Even with the crews frantically referring to the online help manuals on "how do I shoot down enemy missiles?"

Again. A crappy (by 1900 PD standards) battlecruiser's missile defense could handily stop 90% or more of the missiles from a modern (by 1900 PD standards) heavy cruiser and destroyer. Two ships with combined tonnage roughly half its size.

A modern (by 1900 PD standards) battlecruiser's missile defense fails to stop 90% or more of the missiles from a modern (by 1920 PD standards) heavy cruiser. With tonnage roughly half its size.
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington III ANALYSIS CHAPTER 4

Postby Simon_Jester » 2014-12-11 02:57pm

Chapter Four of A Rising Thunder basically recaps stuff we already knew had happened. In April 1922 PD, Zilwicki and Cachat finally nurse their battered freighter back to Parmaley Station, otherwise known as the aging amusement park from Torch of Freedom. They spent six months limping back. After some discussion, they decide to go to Haven with Herlander Simões, rather than to Manticore- mainly because Cachat has picked up information forwarded to the station by his subordinates, to the effect that Honor Harrington is on Haven. They figure she's more likely to believe them, plus Nimitz can read Simões' mind and know he's telling the truth. Meanwhile, they also forward a copy of everything Simões told them to date on the next Beowulf Survey Corps courier, presumably to make sure it gets to Erewhon and Beowulf if anything happens to them.

About the only interesting thing in the chapter that isn't just a recap or exposition of why future events happen is...

David Weber, A Rising Thunder, p. 75 wrote:"I don't see why the entire universe insists on thinking of me as some sort of crazed killer," Cachat said mildly. "It's not like I kill anyone who doesn't need killing."

____________________

Chapter Five is a meeting between Kolokoltsov, the de facto guy running League foreign policy, and the Manticoran ambassador, Sir Lyman Carmichael.

Weber, p.79 wrote:Kolokoltsov inclined his head again, this time indicating the chair on the far side of his desk, and Carmichael's lips tightened ever so slightly. There was a much more comfortably and intimately arranged conversational nook in the angle of the palatial office's picture windows, looking out over the towers and canyons of Old Chicago. That was where Kolokoltsov met with visitors when he was prepared to pretend other star nations were truly the Solarian League's peers. It was particularly important to make the point that the Star Kingdom of Manticore was not the League's peer, however, and so he seated himself again behind his desk and folded his hands on the antique blotter.
Even after all that's happened, even after RMN light units shattered a major Solarian battlegroup at Spindle, the League's leadership are STILL totally locked into this pattern of establishing dominance, maintaining social 'control' of their meetings, and otherwise acting like a pack of petty bureaucrats with delusions of grandeur. To the extent that their de facto foreign minister is offering deliberate snubs to the ambassador of a foreign power. A foreign power armed with weapons that could kick their fleet's teeth in during the space of an afternoon. Because, of course, it is of the utmost importance that he be "put in his place" so that Kolokoltsov can reassert his control of the situation. :banghead:

Carmichael is there with a note that is supposedly being delivered to the de jure foreign minister of the League, but in fact everyone involved knows that Kolokoltsov is the one making the real decision. Carmichael conducts himself in a very curt and frosty manner. His note informs the League's senior officialdom that Manticore is recalling its merchant shipping from League space.

Weber, p. 80-81 wrote:Kolokoltsov stiffened. He'd only just begun receiving reports about disappearing Manticoran merchant vessels. Not enough of them had come in yet for any sort of pattern to reveal itself, but according to at least some of them, the merchant vessels in question had canceled charters and contractual commitments without explanation. He'd been inclined to discount those particular reports, given the hefty penalties the captains and shipowners in question would face, but if the Star Empire's government had issued a non-discretionary recall...
Still stuck in the very, very peacetime mindset of a nation with conservative social institutions, too. Under normal circumstances, dropping a contract without explanation would be bad, so normally captains won't do it... so if someone reports that it did happen, they must be lying.

Everything that's happened so far just hasn't been a big enough hammer to get these people thinking outside the box.

Carmichael observes more or less the same thing. He states that the withdrawal order was given to prevent any unprovoked... incidents in which SLN vessels might fire on unarmed Manticoran ships. He didn't expect any, but he didn't expect SLN battlecruisers to blow up nonthreatening RMN warships either, and remarks that 'accidents can happen.'

Weber, p. 81-82 wrote:"...There is, however, another reason for the recall."

"And that reason would be exactly what, Mr. Ambassador?" Kolokoltsov's tone was level, its neutrality a deliberate emphasis of his decision to ignore the Manticoran's latest barb.

"You might think of it as an attempt to get the League's attention, Mr. Permanent Senior Undersecretary. We appear to have been singularly unsuccessful in our efforts to accomplish that so far, so my government has decided to resort to rather more direct measures."

"Are you implying that the recall of your merchant shipping should be viewed as an unfriendly act directed against the Solarian League?" Kolokoltsov asked in a voice he'd suddenly allowed to become frigid.
Aaaand again with the attempts to badger and bully Carmichael like a wayward child rather than an accredited, senior representative of a nation with concrete economic and military leverage over the League.

Carmichael is positively amused to then add to Kolokoltsov that Manticore is also closing its own Junction to Solarian ships...

Weber, p. 82-83 wrote:"Yes. It's unfortunately true that public opinion in the Star Empire at this particular moment is very... exercised where the Solarian League is concerned. I'm sure you've had reports from your own ambassadors and attachés in the Star Empire about demonstrations, even some minor vandalism, I'm afraid. It's all very sad, but understandable, I suppose."

His tone [was very dry]. His own embassy had been besieged literally for weeks by "spontaneous demonstrations" of Solarian citizens outraged by "Manticoran high-handedness" and demanding justice for Admiral Joseph Byng and Fleet Admiral Sandra Crandall. Some of those demonstrations had turned even uglier than their organizers in the Ministry of Education and Information had intended.

"At any rate, as the authorities here in Old Chicago have pointed out to my staff, it's not always possible to constrain private citizens from acting on their anger and outrage, however inappropriately placed those emotions may be and however hard the authorities try...

[snip]

"...our only alternative is to close all Manticoran warp termini to Solarian traffic, beginning immediately. Courier vessels and news-service dispatch vessels will be allowed passage regardless of registry, but all Solarian-registered freight carriers and passenger ships will, unfortunately, be denied passage until the current disputes are resolved."
Kolokoltsov freaks out with disbelief (despite earlier in that very chapter having reflected on how important composure is to a diplomat). He says "You can't be serious. That would be illegal. It would constitute an act of war!" As justification he cites the "Shingaine Convention," a treaty which asserts that all warp termini be open to all traffic... and to which Manticore is not a signatory.

Carmichael also points out that the Convention has been violated repeatedly by Frontier Fleet, despite having been sponsored by the League itself in an attempt to pressure Manticore into opening its wormhole junction to duty-free traffic, around 1850 PD.

Two months pass before the next chapter.

So basically, as a diplomat Kolokoltsov is a flaming incompetent; I don't really know how else to say it.
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington III ANALYSIS CHAPTER 4

Postby Mr Bean » 2014-12-11 04:05pm

Simon_Jester wrote:
So basically, as a diplomat Kolokoltsov is a flaming incompetent; I don't really know how else to say it.

There is a particular set of skills to get to where Kolokoltsov is. Those skills require the ability to read people, kowtow to those higher than you. Kissing the best ass and always getting the most credit while making blame go elsewhere. He also needs to know how to make numbers dance and handle subordinates and engineer loyalty of a sort for those who follow after him.

No where in that list does it require gauging military realities or dealing with someone who you perceive to be weaker than you yet ignores your orders. I suspect the Kolokoltsov who took power however many years ago could have handled this far better. But the Mandarin who's held his job for years now being able to remake reality as he wishes is much less suited for the job.

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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington III ANALYSIS CHAPTER 4

Postby Darth Nostril » 2014-12-11 06:36pm

Simon_Jester wrote:So basically, as a diplomat Kolokoltsov is a flaming incompetent; I don't really know how else to say it.


That's because he's not a diplomat, he's a bureaucrat used to telling people how things are going to be.
Someone completely refusing to play by the Mandarins rules is anathema, they simply cannot comprehend anyone facing up to the 8000 pound gorilla of the League.
So I stare wistfully at the Lightning for a couple of minutes. Two missiles, sharply raked razor-thin wings, a huge, pregnant belly full of fuel, and the two screamingly powerful engines that once rammed it from a cold start to a thousand miles per hour in under a minute. Life would be so much easier if our adverseries could be dealt with by supersonic death on wings - but alas, Human resources aren't so easily defeated.

Imperial Battleship, halt the flow of time!

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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington III

Postby Batman » 2014-12-11 07:08pm

I think Simon is perfectly aware of why Kolokoltsov is a shitty diplomat, he's just pointing out that a) he is and b) the immense extent to which he sucks at it.
'Next time I let Superman take charge, just hit me. Real hard.'
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'Tactically we have multiple objectives. So we need to split into teams.'-'Dibs on the Amazon!'
'Hey, we both have a Martian's phone number on our speed dial. I think I deserve the benefit of the doubt.'
'You know, for a guy with like 50 different kinds of vision, you sure are blind.'

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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington III

Postby Simon_Jester » 2014-12-11 08:04pm

Well, what's staggering is that he's talked about how the situation is 'getting out of control' and how the Manticorans have clearly got some rather nasty weapons and show now sign of toeing the party line. And yet when the chips are down he just can't... y'know... act like a diplomat. At all.

In a versus scenario this has interesting implications; if the Grand Crossover Wormhole materializes in Honorverse space at various times in its timeline, there's a good chance of the League becoming involved somehow. And now we know just how flamingly incompetent the League would be at, say, dealing with a bunch of random aliens.
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington III

Postby Batman » 2014-12-11 08:53pm

Depends on the crossover. Given how royally screwed the Solarians already are in universe and how terribly out-everything'ed they are by, say, Wars, the Solarian incompetence may not make much in the way of difference.
'Next time I let Superman take charge, just hit me. Real hard.'
'You're a princess from a society of immortal warriors. I'm a rich kid with issues. Lots of issues.'
'No. No dating for the Batman. It might cut into your brooding time.'
'Tactically we have multiple objectives. So we need to split into teams.'-'Dibs on the Amazon!'
'Hey, we both have a Martian's phone number on our speed dial. I think I deserve the benefit of the doubt.'
'You know, for a guy with like 50 different kinds of vision, you sure are blind.'

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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington III

Postby Simon_Jester » 2014-12-11 09:13pm

Well, say, Legend of Galactic Heroes is an interesting example. LoGH has vast fleets, but not by orders of magnitude, and single-drive Honorverse missiles don't have a range disadvantage against (quite inaccurate, on the whole) extreme range beam weapon fire from a LoGH fleet.

There's also the point that a versus doesn't always appear at the 'end' of the story; if Emperor Reinhard comes charging through the Crossover Wormhole in 1900 PD, the situation is quite different than in 1922 PD.

So it's worth noting that League diplomacy is in fact handled by a flaming incompetent who could manage to screw up a situation that even the League Navy would otherwise (with some difficulty) be able to handle.
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington III ANALYSIS CHAPTER 1

Postby Ahriman238 » 2014-12-11 09:26pm

Simon_Jester wrote:Yau-pau has two Saganami-Cs, his own Onyx and Smilodon. He also has Tornado, which is a Roland, and the older pre-MDM destroyer Othello with which to make his actions stick.


Hmm. The first flight Saganami-Cs were named for predators, so I guess these two were part of that, before they returned to the Manty naval heroes theme.


Weber, p. 5 wrote:At the moment, [the ships of Yau-pau's command] were over six hundred and fifty light-years from the Manticore Binary System and barely two hundred light-years from the Sol system. It was not a particularly huge force to have wandering around so deep in increasingly hostile territory, as Pang was only too well aware...

The system's proximity to the Nolan terminus of the Nolan-Katharina Hyper Bridge was what had brought it to the Office of Frontier Security's attention a hundred-odd T-years ago, and the local OFS and Frontier Fleet officers had been raking off a comfortable percentage of the terminus user fees ever since.... Precious little of that revenue had ended up in Nolan itself, at any rate.
Laocoön involves some really deep operations for Manticoran light ship formations, and probably a considerable element of risk. A command like Yau-pau's might actually lose if it got jumped by a couple of squadrons of SLN battlecruisers, even in a fair fight. And then there's the possibility of a beam engagement...


Well, Laocoon One is all about evacuating their widely dispersed merchant marine before some genius gets the idea of seizing it. Since there are so many ships spread out over so much of the League, do remember that in the last two years since the discovery of the Lynx Terminus almost 75% of internal Solly flights can shorten their routes by going through Manticore. The Solly government may take forever to react to things, but I promise the businessmen haven't, so Manty freighters are all over the place.


We probably already knew this, but just to put it on the record:

Manticoran signals intelligence is good enough (or Solarian communications security bad enough) that Manticoran ships can easily identify the flagship of a Solarian formation, even if all the ships in that task force are of the same class. This makes a decapitation strike (as against Byng) or the threat thereof (all it takes to get Chalker to back off) very much a possibility.


In the first few years of the first war, the Manties could often identify Peep flagships as the ones in the dead center of the formation, where they benefit from the most missile defense, while in Manty formations it's one of the several ships near the middle. This lead to a bunch of Peep flagships getting IDed and eating the first missiles until they learned better. I mention this because Weber has been explicit that pre-war Peep strategy and doctrine essentially was Solarian doctrine plus actual experience, so it may not have been signal traffic that gave Chalker away. Then again, maybe it was.


Weber, p. 10 wrote:[The SLN ships] were far outside the effective range of their own pathetic energy armament, and the situation was almost worse when it came to missiles. The Sollies were within their missiles' powered engagement range of Pang's command, but [Chalker's flagship] Lancelot was barely twenty percent Onyx's size, with proportionately weaker sidewalls and a broadside of only five lasers and a matching number of missile tubes. If Chalker was foolish enough to carry out his threat, he could undoubtedly kill any merchant ship he fired upon. Lancelot's chance of getting a laser head through Onyx's antimissile defenses, on the other hand, much less burning through the cruiser's sidewalls, ranged from precious little to nonexistent.
Yau-pau reflects that given the rules of engagement he's under, shooting first would have been very hard to justify, and that a trigger-happy Solarian could easily have gotten into range of his command for an energy duel.

Also, hm. Five lasers and five tubes on each of Chalker's ship broadsides. Not the three or four I expected. The War Harvests are actually pretty big for pre-war destroyers, at least if House of Steel is to be believed. A Saganami-C tips the scale at somewhere upward of four hundred thousand tons, so the War Harvests have to be in the 90-100 thousand ton range, with armament on the same scale as, say, a Culverin-class destroyer like the RMN was building in 1900 PD.


Also a very rare comment on sidewall strength, which surprised me. It doesn't get talked about much, I presume because it a.) varies less than you'd think, and b.) sidewalls are not shields! They weaken energy beams, sometimes the point where they don't punch clear through a heavily armed ship but they almost always still penetrate armor and sidewalls usually deflect beams a little, maybe enough to miss the ship. The strongest sidewalls we've seen couldn't stop the measliest beam of the weakest laser head, which is orders of magnitude less potent than the least ship-mounted beam weapon.

As for why I say it probably varies less than you'd think, about the only time this topic was raised before was with the testing of the first Shrike LACs. Because the bow wall had to cover so much less area, Hemphill was able to work a fivefold increase in wall strength over the more conventional sidewwalls, making an LAC bow wall equal to an SD's sidewall. So an LAC has 20% the sidewall strength of a superdreadnought despite being, what, 0.5% the size? That's about when I figured that there probably isn't that much difference across larger ship classes, once you hit the point where the wall generators aren't shoehorned in. Which is why I'm shocked to learn that a Solly destroyer has only a fifth the sidewall strength of a Saganami-C. Unless this is somehow another area in which the League is ridiculously far behind.


Remember the original Fearless from On Basilisk Station? Based on this, I wouldn't be entirely surprised if a War Harvest from the time she was laid down could have handled her, if we go back to the 1850s or 1860s PD. That is, in the pre-laserhead environment both ship classes were designed for.


At that, it might just have been able to.


Of course, even the War Harvests' beam weapons aren't competitive compared to something like a Saganami-C, which is so much bigger that it can mount vastly tougher passive defenses, and individually far heavier beam weapons. So even a beam engagement would probably go badly for the Solarians in this case... except that the SLN ships might do enough damage to the heavier RMN cruisers to leave them vulnerable.


Unless you're actually the Zerg, or equivalent alien horde, Zerg Rush is generally not a winning tactic. Particularly if there's no follow-up wave to exploit the weaknesses you gave your life to create.

More fun with wormhole networks- and more evidence that while Manticore may have the biggest wormhole junction in the galaxy it doesn't have the only one, or the longest. And, indeed, that it's the overall network of wormholes that helps make the individual wormholes so useful.


Oh, it would be tremendously valuable even without the rest of the network making just about everything accessible within three weeks' flight, even if Manticore were the only junction in existence they could charge tremendous usage fees for providing quick and easy access to so many seperate states over such a wide area.


On the other hand, Manticore is a major junction in its own right. And it has other junctions having termini near to its termini. Like this 'Dionigi,' and Erewhon, and the 'Idaho' one mentioned later in this book, and the one under Andermani control. So that the cumulative effect, Weber seems to be aiming for, is that for most trips of more than about 100-200 light years, it's faster to say "fuckit, let's take some combination of wormholes to get there." Since Honorverse merchant traffic is typically limited to about 1000-2000c (three to six light-years a day), it's no surprise that this might happen.


Also Phoenix, Asgard and Torch, even if the Torch wormhole isn't exactly seeing a lot of traffic. And Phoenix is sort of part of the Manticore-Erewhon route anyway.


Manticore has basically set themselves up as the Space Dutch by not only ensuring (like Panama) that it's convenient to register your freighter with Manticore to avoid Junction duties... but also (unlike Panama) that your nation becomes a center of shipbuilding and crews as many of the ships bearing its flag as possible.


Which let them make tons more money off the junction than they could have gotten by collecting fees alone. Along with providing a vast intelligence network, even if it's less trained operatives and more an awful lot of spacers everywhere who will pass on anything interesting they see, and a vast pool of trained spacers.


Yau-pau also reflects that holding as many of the wormhole systems as possible will give the RMN the flexibility to raid more or less at will throughout Solarian space. The obvious problem I see with that is that holding those wormhole mouths will force the RMN to place lots of relatively small pickets in places where an SLN battlegroup could jump right out of hyperspace on top of them, well within single-drive missile range if not beam range, and engage them. At which point "WHERE IS YOUR MISSILEGOD NOW!?" becomes the order of the day.

There is, basically, no reason a squadron of Battle Fleet dreadnoughts couldn't just appear right now to ruin Yau-pau's whole day... except that they don't know he's here. So I perceive this as a serious limitation of the Laocoön strategy; it dangles out RMN light units where they can potentially be picked off by the League under conditions that partially neutralize the League's massive disadvantages of missile range and antimissile performance.


Obviously depends on what they're willing to parcel out to hold each junction. Actually, this is one area where a nodal defense could really pay off. Put a small picket on the sharp end with enough dispatch boats to be pretty sure of getting a warning off, and a larger force nearby ready to hold their end or rush through to reinforce the far side of the wormhole. The Sollies are a lot less likely to attack if they have no idea what might come out the wormhole, maybe a BC squadron, maybe worse.


Weber, p. 23 wrote:Despite his very real affection for her, Wallenstein found it difficult not to roll his eyes. Unlike the majority of people who found their way to her seniority in a Solarian multi-stellar, Sharon Selkirk had always been friendly and courteous in her dealings with the merchant-service officers who transported the Shadwell Corporation's goods between the stars. She'd never held the fact that Wallenstein wasn't a Solarian against him, either. In fact... she didn't even realize she was being condescending by not holding the fact that he wasn't a Solarian against him. Why, she was treating him just like a real person!

He was confident she'd never actually analyzed her own attitude... because she was, frankly, too nice a person to treat someone that way if she'd ever realized she was doing it. But that was part of the problem. Solarian arrogance, that bone-deep assumption of superiority, was so deeply engraved into the Solarian League's DNA that Sollies never even thought about it.
Hm. Touchy much, Manticorans? You can see how the actual behavior of some of the Solarians we've seen might give rise to this. On the other hand, I get the feeling Wallenstein's not being fair. Still, I wanted to put it up because we don't have a lot of street-level (or semi-street level) viewpoints on the issue.


Lots of Sollies say the same thing about Manticore, and in fairness, they can be arrogant sons of bitches.


Ultimately, Commander Wu decides to screw his orders and let Malachai take the chance. I'm not sure if we ever find out how that turns out...


Eh, I'm pretty sure Honor or Ham would give Wu a pat on the head for this either way. The RMN tradition is still that you trust the man who made the call in the field in the absence of a good reason not to.


Strength of the picket force Manticore sent to cover the far end of a wormhole junction. Also, slow information movement means that while Laocoön is going on, there are a still a lot of people who haven't gotten word about Spindle, or at least don't have any unconflicted, unambiguous information on it. In an institution the size of the League, this means that a local governor or admiral can totally commit a major provocation on their own initiative without the faintest idea what's going on elsewhere.


Hence why the Mandarins were earlier skeptical that anyone could truly govern something the size of the League, even if their society was set up to allow it. This could be a good thing for Manticore, because a lot of these remote corners are going to hear Manticore's version of events weeks before Abruzzi's spin-doctoring, but as we see here, that doesn't mean the self-serving stories of foreign neobarbs are going to be considered more credible.


See, there are Solarian officers with common sense and personal decency after all!


Yeah, you can generally spot them by how doomed they are. Either for speaking truth to power, or following the orders of an idiot.

So basically, the Idahoans who nominally control the terminus say "look what those nasty Manties made us do" while delivering the off-limits message. One light minute is eighteen million kilometers, a quite respectable buffer zone against any Solarian weapon or sudden attack by Solarian ships.


Not that they let them get even that close, to two or three times single-drive missile range. Then again, they did call on the Sollies to identify themselves and stay the hell away.


Now Pyun, here's a guy who is using his head for something other than holding up his magnificent bicorn hat.

[I picture all Solarian admirals with elaborate hats]


I think they still stick with white berets, but it's an entertaining image. God knows Solly flag officers are cartoonish enough to be Jaegermonsters.


See, he's figured out that the Manticorans do in fact, no fooling, have some kind of nasty weapon system. He's still thinking in terms of towed pods and assuming that the multi-drive missiles are too bulky to be fired from light ships... but that's essentially exactly what happened at Spindle anyway, so in a real sense he's right, at least in terms of understanding and analyzing the known threats.


Mostly right. And let's face it, six or seven years ago he'd have been 100% correct, and that's the closest any Solly commander on the sharp end has gotten in a threat appraisal ever.


Unfortunately, one of the big things screwing up the League is that local military decisions are being made by people relatively ignorant of military affairs. This isn't the worst thing screwing up the League's response to this crisis (that would be Mesa maneuvering Solarian task forces to get their asses kicked at key moments). But it sure doesn't help.


Agreed.


[Quick calculation using kinematic equations... starting with distance traveled and time elapsed, we get a system of two linear equations for initial velocity and acceleration. Solving, we get an initial velocity of about 1100 to 1150 km/s coming out of hyperspace, and an acceleration of about 1.7 to 1.8 kilometers per second squared, or about 180 gravities, plus or minus about five. Reasonably merchant acceleration, in other words]


Given my own frequently demonstrated math skills, I'll take your word on it.


Pyun thinks that one over, along with his staffer Gilmore. Like Pyun, Gilmore is not stupid and is in fact concerned that Manticore really might be able to engage from thirty million kilometers, rather than just dismissing the whole thing as disinformation.


And while the exclusion zone has been almost doubled to powered MDM range, I'll say that's more than fair for warships that fly no flag, and refuse to identify or even speak with you, to assume that they're hostile.


Weber, p. 52 wrote:"Closing velocity when they get to thirty million klicks?" Ivanov asked after a moment...

"Just a shade under nine thousand KPS when they cross the line, Sir." He looked back up at his CO "That'll add about another three-point-two million klicks to the powered envelope."
Ivanov reflects that he has probably exceeded his orders, but in his judgment the next phase of Laocoön soon anyway and openly grabbing and holding all the wormhole termini it can regardless of the legalities, so whatever. He thinks over his possible responses and authorizes a plan called "Volley Alpha."


Ah, plan "demonstrate that we can annihilate you all from far beyond any range your could retaliate from. Ask if they're sure they want to go through with this.


Weber, p.54-55 wrote:HMS Sloan Tompkins, like her sisters... was a Saganami-C-class heavy cruiser, and each of them mounted twenty launchers in each broadside. With the RMN's ability to fire off-bore missiles, that gave them the ability to fire forty-missile-strong double broadsides in a single launch, and they were armed with the internally launched Mark 16 dual-drive missile. Because of that, their tubes (and just as importantly, their fire control) had been designed to take advantage of the Mark 16's drive flexibility and fire what were actually quadruple broadsides... in order to "stack" their fire and saturate an opponent's missile defenses.
Older ships could delay drive activation of one broadside to roll around and fire off the other broadside in the same direction, a classic 'double broadside.' The Saganami-C, and presumably the larger Nike and smaller Roland that fire the same missile, can do the delayed-activation trick too. When this is combined with the off-bore engagement capability that provides still more flexibility and yet another subtype of the genus Manticoremissilemassacrensis.

Note that Hexapuma didn't do this at Monica. Either it's an update based on modifications made in the year or two since Hexapuma went to Talbott, or there was some other reason, or Weber only just thought of it. :D


Well, fire-control links have really been multiplying out of control ever since Ghost Rider.


So anyway. Ivanov does NOT fire any of the three-stage Mark 23 missiles, with the longer engagement ranges and bigger, hairier warheads, that are loaded in his attached missile pods. Nor does he have the Rolands fire; as I recall reflection on earlier, the Rolands have about 25% as many missiles in storage, twenty rounds per tube instead of thirty. He figures it's better to conserve their ammunition and commit it at the decisive moment. Three cruisers times eighty missiles per is...


I think they're still trying to hide capabilities as much as they reasonably can. Everything the Sollies don't know about is one thing it'll be harder for them to duplicate.


Weber, p.55-56 wrote:"Two hundred-plus inbound," Josette Steinberg reported tersely. "Acceleration approximately four-five-one KPS-squared. Activate all Halo platforms now!"

"Activating Halo, aye, Ma'am!"

"Damn," Steven Gilmore said, so quietly only Pyun could possibly have heard him. "That's got to be a warning shot, Sir!"

"You think so?" Pyun's eyes were on the tac display now, watching the scarlet icons of the Manticoran missiles streak toward his command.

"Has to be, Sir." Gilmore shook his head. "Even assuming they've got the legs to reach us without going ballistic, their targeting solutions have to suck at this range...
Snip Pyun's reply and two pages of inane babble about how dual drive missiles close too fast to be shot down as easily as single drive missiles, because this next quote REALLY ought to have come next...


I'm kind of surprised how unsurprised they are at this small group firing a division of SD's worth of missiles. Clearly they're at least thinking of the possibilities of pods.


Weber, p.58-59 wrote:"Admiral, CIC's picking up something... It's coming up on the master plot now, Sir."

"What the hell are those?" he demanded as the absurdly low ranges registered. Those things were less than ten thousand kilometers clear of his flagship!

"We don't know, sir," Steinberg admitted. "All we do know is that they seem to've been there all along. They just popped up a second ago when they cut their stealth."

"Cut their stealth?" Captain Gilmore repeated. "You mean the Manties got recon platforms that close to us without our ever even seeing them?"

"That's what it looks like," Steinberg grated harshly. "And I doubt they just dropped their stealth for no reason at all. They want us to know they're there."

"Ma'am... we're picking up grav pulses all over the place. Dozens of point sources."

"Are those-" Pyun used a light pointer to jab at the new icons in the master plot- "some of those point sources, Chief Elliott?"

"Uh, yes, Sir, I think they are..."

"Oh, shit," Gilmore muttered.

We are so going to get hammered, a quiet little voice said in the back of Pyun's mind.

"How the hell did they fit FTL emitters into something that small?" Steinberg asked almost plaintively.


Easy acceptance of FTL comm, just not miniaturization.


Havenite ships equipped with upgraded missile defenses (courtesy of Solarian tech reps) had about the same kind of problem dealing with the Manticore Missile Massacre back during Buttercup. On the other hand, it only took them a few years to develop countermeasures, and I suspect the League could in principle do the same- now that they know just how powerful an ECCM* system they're shopping for.


Lot of exposure to the systems they're looking to counter help too. I bet Halo would be lots more effective (if still woefully inadequate) if the RMN hadn't gotten to dissect the system at their leisure after Second New Tuscany. Likewise Haven had tons of data on Ghost Rider, and were still playing catch up in AAC.

I guess Gilmore was right all along. It was a warning shot. :D

Poor Pyun. Poor Sollies.


Well, yeah. Killing Sollies at this point is sort of like bringing a full mechanized infantry battalion's firepower to bear on an elementary school. It doesn't matter how big the kids talk or how tough they are, what follows is a cruel, senseless massacre. It's not even like pushing baby chicks into a pond, like Ham said of Buttercup, because the chicks aren't convinced they're lords of all creation and happily marching to their doom no matter how many of their fellows have gone down.


Thunder of God, with technology probably quite a bit inferior to that of the Solarian ships, and with a drastically inferior crew, was able to shoot down the great majority of Honor's missiles back in 1903 PD. Even with the crews frantically referring to the online help manuals on "how do I shoot down enemy missiles?"

Again. A crappy (by 1900 PD standards) battlecruiser's missile defense could handily stop 90% or more of the missiles from a modern (by 1900 PD standards) heavy cruiser and destroyer. Two ships with combined tonnage roughly half its size.

A modern (by 1900 PD standards) battlecruiser's missile defense fails to stop 90% or more of the missiles from a modern (by 1920 PD standards) heavy cruiser. With tonnage roughly half its size.


There's a disconnect. I don't think the Sollies' training and doctrine is quite so bad as to be worse than the Masadans. Perhaps because back then Fearless was throwing 9-12 bird salvos instead of 80, somewhere absolute numbers have to count for something.
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington III

Postby White Haven » 2014-12-11 09:54pm

The League leadership is hyperspecialized at dealing with the prevailing conditions that the League both A) thrives in and B) attempts to propagate. Inside that specific environment, they're formidably adept. Outside it, they're... children, in the sense that a child is basically an adult with no relevant life experience. So yes, given that almost any crossover worth discussing is interesting because it disrupts both universes' status quo at the same time, the League is going to be profoundly unhappy in one. How unhappy that makes everyone else largely depends on the balance of power of the relevant crossover. Heh.
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington III ANALYSIS CHAPTER 1

Postby Simon_Jester » 2014-12-11 11:03pm

Ahriman238 wrote:Also a very rare comment on sidewall strength, which surprised me. It doesn't get talked about much, I presume because it a.) varies less than you'd think, and b.) sidewalls are not shields! They weaken energy beams, sometimes the point where they don't punch clear through a heavily armed ship but they almost always still penetrate armor and sidewalls usually deflect beams a little, maybe enough to miss the ship. The strongest sidewalls we've seen couldn't stop the measliest beam of the weakest laser head, which is orders of magnitude less potent than the least ship-mounted beam weapon.
Uh, I'm pretty sure there are exceptions to that- 'light' attacks being entirely deflected or "shrugged off" by the sidewalls. "...Much less burning through the cruiser's sidewalls..." suggests that Yau-pau honestly doubts that an SLN destroyerweight missile's warhead is powerful/intense enough to penetrate the sidewall at all. At least, not without an excellent firing solution and firing position.

...Which is why I'm shocked to learn that a Solly destroyer has only a fifth the sidewall strength of a Saganami-C. Unless this is somehow another area in which the League is ridiculously far behind...
May be benefiting from the same basic technological advances as the improved drive technology, plus R&D into high-density sidewalls for LACs because on a LAC that's the only layer of passive defense that matters.

Unless you're actually the Zerg, or equivalent alien horde, Zerg Rush is generally not a winning tactic. Particularly if there's no follow-up wave to exploit the weaknesses you gave your life to create.
Well, it's a valid concern for the RMN squadron; they do not and cannot know whether there just happens to be a bunch of Solly battlecruisers lurking three star systems away.

Basically, when ships get damaged a long way from home the results can suck. One of the reasons long-range naval commerce raiding wasn't very effective after the Age of Sail ended, because it was no longer possible for a damaged raider to literally land on some random island and chop down trees for spare parts.

Oh, it would be tremendously valuable even without the rest of the network making just about everything accessible within three weeks' flight, even if Manticore were the only junction in existence they could charge tremendous usage fees for providing quick and easy access to so many seperate states over such a wide area.
Right, but there's a multiplier effect. It's like how a telephone network gets more valuable with each new person who gets a phone. A network that only connected 10% of the population would be valuable, make no mistake- but it's nowhere near as valuable as a network that connects 90% of people.

Obviously depends on what they're willing to parcel out to hold each junction. Actually, this is one area where a nodal defense could really pay off. Put a small picket on the sharp end with enough dispatch boats to be pretty sure of getting a warning off, and a larger force nearby ready to hold their end or rush through to reinforce the far side of the wormhole. The Sollies are a lot less likely to attack if they have no idea what might come out the wormhole, maybe a BC squadron, maybe worse.
Except that you can only defend nodally to a limited degree because the reinforcement force has to be sitting right on the wormhole mouth, or close to it. They are themselves exposed, and not available to do anything OTHER than jump through the wormhole on short notice... in which case you might as well park them at the other end to reinforce the little picket force and be done with it.

Well, fire-control links have really been multiplying out of control ever since Ghost Rider.
Yes, but if the first flight of Saganami-Cs COULD realistically have been designed with enough control links to fire quadruple broadsides, why wouldn't they have been, given what 1917-ish Manticoran designers already knew?

There's a disconnect. I don't think the Sollies' training and doctrine is quite so bad as to be worse than the Masadans. Perhaps because back then Fearless was throwing 9-12 bird salvos instead of 80, somewhere absolute numbers have to count for something.
That's my point. An Indefatigable (or early Nevada) of the same vintage as Saladin would have laughed at Fearless and Troubadour's fire, it'd barely have even stung them.

Today, one such 'heavy cruiser' that is really only about 60% bigger and heavier can put enough missiles into space that the situation has been reversed. Even within single drive missile range, a Saganami-C would still pound the snot out of one of these SLN battlecruisers.
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington III ANALYSIS CHAPTER 1

Postby Terralthra » 2014-12-12 11:11am

Simon_Jester wrote:
Well, fire-control links have really been multiplying out of control ever since Ghost Rider.
Yes, but if the first flight of Saganami-Cs COULD realistically have been designed with enough control links to fire quadruple broadsides, why wouldn't they have been, given what 1917-ish Manticoran designers already knew?
Sure, but all the fights we see Terekhov engage in are either ambushes or he doesn't fire first, and fires under fire himself. When you need missiles on target right now, you don't fire stacked missiles, especially since individual missiles with their drives down are very vulnerable targets for the 20 seconds or though that they are just sitting there while all of your launchers cycle.

Simon_Jester wrote:
There's a disconnect. I don't think the Sollies' training and doctrine is quite so bad as to be worse than the Masadans. Perhaps because back then Fearless was throwing 9-12 bird salvos instead of 80, somewhere absolute numbers have to count for something.
That's my point. An Indefatigable (or early Nevada) of the same vintage as Saladin would have laughed at Fearless and Troubadour's fire, it'd barely have even stung them.

Today, one such 'heavy cruiser' that is really only about 60% bigger and heavier can put enough missiles into space that the situation has been reversed. Even within single drive missile range, a Saganami-C would still pound the snot out of one of these SLN battlecruisers.
Saladin should've laughed at Fearless and Troubadour. They say that at the time. Honor says it. McKeon says it. Truman says it. Yu says it. Simonds says it. An Indefatigable or Nevada should wipe the floor with your average cruiser and destroyer because, generally speaking, anyone's battlecruiser should. MDMs have changed that.

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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington III ANALYSIS CHAPTER 1

Postby Simon_Jester » 2014-12-12 11:58am

Terralthra wrote:
Simon_Jester wrote:
Well, fire-control links have really been multiplying out of control ever since Ghost Rider.
Yes, but if the first flight of Saganami-Cs COULD realistically have been designed with enough control links to fire quadruple broadsides, why wouldn't they have been, given what 1917-ish Manticoran designers already knew?
Sure, but all the fights we see Terekhov engage in are either ambushes or he doesn't fire first, and fires under fire himself. When you need missiles on target right now, you don't fire stacked missiles, especially since individual missiles with their drives down are very vulnerable targets for the 20 seconds or though that they are just sitting there while all of your launchers cycle.
The exception is the second phase of the Battle of Monica where he's pelting the three Monican battlecruisers with Mark 16s from extreme range. Under those conditions, if it were possible to fire eighty-missile salvoes it would really have been a good idea to do so, since the combined defense of the Monican battlecruisers actually did seem to be shooting down a respectable fraction of his missiles.

Today, one such 'heavy cruiser' that is really only about 60% bigger and heavier can put enough missiles into space that the situation has been reversed. Even within single drive missile range, a Saganami-C would still pound the snot out of one of these SLN battlecruisers.
Saladin should've laughed at Fearless and Troubadour. They say that at the time. Honor says it. McKeon says it. Truman says it. Yu says it. Simonds says it. An Indefatigable or Nevada should wipe the floor with your average cruiser and destroyer because, generally speaking, anyone's battlecruiser should. MDMs have changed that.
Uh, yes. I agree with you. This is not news to me.

What I'm trying to communicate is the scope of the revolution in military affairs- a battlecruiser that would, with little effort, have demolished 400000 tons or so of RMN warship twenty years ago is now helplessly overmatched against 500000 tons or so of RMN warship.
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington III

Postby Batman » 2014-12-12 03:36pm

By the time Phase II of Monica came around, Hexapuma was already heavily damaged so she might simply no longer have had the capacity to handle quadruple broadsides.
Alternatively, it was an upgrade that came along later and was retrofitted to Saganami-Cs (we know the Manticorans love upgrading their ships). Need not be anything more complicated than a fire control software update, afterall.
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington III

Postby Simon_Jester » 2014-12-12 08:37pm

Granted that Hexapuma had taken damage, but we're explicitly told (in the narration at Spindle) that the Saganami-Cs have redundant fire control for just such an emergency, by a large enough margin that you'd have to shoot out something like a third of the telemetry available on the ship to even scratch their actual launch capability. And while Hexapuma was badly damaged in the battle she wasn't that badly damaged. Depending on which system you look at, she'd lost about 10-25% of full functionality.

For one of the Saganami-Cs at Spindle, that wouldn't have even made a dent in their ability to fire double broadsides; they'd just be firing from 90 or so telemetry channels instead of 128.

It is at least less implausible that this is a retrofit with extra fire control telemetry over and above the already copious amounts the Saganami-Cs were designed with.
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington III

Postby Batman » 2014-12-12 09:16pm

Again, you're ignoring that maybe it wasn't so much them having massively more physical telemetry links as them improving on how many missiles a single link can handle.
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington III

Postby Simon_Jester » 2014-12-13 08:44am

Uh, Apollo leads to such an improvement (which was used at Spindle), because the control missile can take a telemetry channel and interpret it to control the other eight missiles in a cluster.

But here the cruisers are firing only their own internal Mk 16 missiles as far as I can tell. Those don't have any such capability as far as I am aware. Nor can I remember Weber referring to any software or hardware updates being done in the time between Monica and Zuckerman that would explain a doubling or trebling of the Saganami-Cs' missile control capability... which you'd think would show up in an infodump given how OCD he is.

Now, if you want to infer such a thing fine, that's actually quite reasonable- it's just that this is not explicitly stated in the text, which is unusual for today's Weber (and, now that I think about it, should probably be LESS unusual than it is...)
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington III

Postby SpottedKitty » 2014-12-13 09:49am

Simon_Jester wrote:But here the cruisers are firing only their own internal Mk 16 missiles as far as I can tell. Those don't have any such capability as far as I am aware.

I thought they were using Ghost Rider to at least get a partial FTL link into the control loop — not as good as the full Apollo package, but a big improvement in reaction time and an effective stopgap until the complete system's available.
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington III

Postby Simon_Jester » 2014-12-13 12:59pm

At Spindle, Terekhov's command used the Apollo control missiles' FTL transmitters to shorten the control loop.

Here, Yau-Pau is using his recon drones' FTL transmitters to get up-to-the-instant targeting data... but that doesn't enable him to control more missiles than he otherwise could. At least, there's no evidence for that and it's never been mentioned throughout the series or any errata by Weber I've yet found, despite the fact that he talks compulsively about such things.
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