Possible justifications for Point Defenseless

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Jub
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Re: Possible justifications for Point Defenseless

Post by Jub » 2018-05-06 10:18pm

PoisonSymic wrote:
2018-05-06 09:03pm
It is clearly indicated in TLJ that the siege dreadnought's defensive guns work exactly this way: Poe is able to destroy them even though it's explicitly stated that his X-Wing's weapons are too light to penetrate the dreadnought's hull armor belt.

It is also stated that those defensive guns would lethally no-sell the rebel bomber attack if even one or two survived, thus the need for Poe's Act Of Plot Ace.
Plot armor aside, any PD weapon that can't track a fighter isn't worthy of the name. Something close in size to the Falcon's quad guns would have been more useful than those lumbering things.

This, too, is largely Act of Plot. The Empire initially underestimated the threat of high end multirole starfighters, and subsequently chose to focus point defense on dedicated platforms -- Lancer class frigates -- which are conveniently absent anytime Rebel Fighter Heroes do their thing.
EU and now non-cannon. In the movie universe, I don't know that we have that level of acknowledgment of the problem fighters pose.

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Q99 wrote:
2018-05-04 04:05am
Unless doing so results in you actively being blinded permanently, and once you're in close the information situation degrades period and that's just part of how things work, once the slugfest begins data degrades and part of the tactics is knowing when to go close for blinding and when done- and if you can do a brief pass when your opponent has their sensors out and you are then you permanently blind them more and then you can kite them to death thanks to your superior sensors since they can't pop them back out.

Remember, we're talking hypothetical tech bases for a space opera. There is no 'it has to work this way,' if writers want to make it so that fighting involves making that kind of choices that's how it works. A paradigm of mutual sensor blindness when battle is engaged would make for some interesting tactics and choices and figuring out how to gain info edges by engaging with some units to blind opponents while keeping others away or what have you could be a very interesting one.
Even in that case why not keep a backup array behind your armor for deployment if/when you get blinded?

I also can't think of many realistic ways that all sensors would be blinded on a close high-speed pass. The closer and faster you get the less effective laser blinding would be at targeting your visual sensors so even as your radar style sensors go deeper into your ECM your visual sensors would keep you from being totally blind for your attack run. I guess perhaps you could try to retract your other sensors for such a pass but I can't see such a complex design being deployed.

The fact is that any realistic sci-fi setting can't have total sensor blindness one a close pass unless it's as a result of previous sensor damage earlier in the battle. Even then, you'd still keep your main array up for a close pass because any sensor data on approach is better than none so it's hard to imagine a doctrine that values saving sensors for a second pass over one that instead values making the most of your single pass so you don't need to make another one.
Or heck, maybe you can just weave the sensors into the armor, your whole hull works as a big sensor array, and there's nothing vulnerable at all, unlike PDs, and what blinds you is total armor degradation, if you don't want to do it but still have PD be less good, but I think it's fun.
Unless we're talking something like the nonsense that is Battletech armor I don't see this working. I mean you could try to work something into Whipple shield style armor but your sensors would still likely be more vulnerable than the armor itself. Even so, I can't see why you wouldn't have that kind of sensor alongside more traditional sensors.
That really assumes you have a choice in the matter. If you have a choice between a thick visor that mostly-blinds you and being blinded in an eye for a much longer period/permanently, you tolerate the visor... until/unless you can take away their blinder. And note that 'blinding laser weapons' is something that has seen RL research, it's not like blinding opponent ships isn't a line of research weapons designers wouldn't leap at, for pretty much these reasons.

Not quite sure what you mean by 'the other way around.' Of course you use your main sensor when it's an opinion, but the local weapons setup making it not be an option is why you need to have a way to hide them in the first place.
If such lasers became commonplace I'd imagine there would be countermeasures that don't involve blinding yourself near completely. You'd be better off running multiple sensors and opening new ones as your old ones get burned away. You could probably get favorable results by having several sensors taking very quick peaks past armored shutters and having your computer weave those images into a single snapshot of the battlefield. They're not open long enough or predictably enough to be vulnerable to any but the most concerted blinding effort and you still get a workable picture of the battlefield.
That'd be the part of the game, wouldn't it be? You need to send out buoys when you have a chance, you can't let them get too far or the opponent will shoot them down or cut you off from them, while meanwhile you try and take our theirs, and they tell you when your opponent is far enough to pop open main ship sensors- but your opponent will try and fool you and aim to make it so you pop at the wrong time and then they can blind you for real, and meanwhile you're trying to do the same to them, and buoys are a limited resources so you're trying to win before running out and they're trying to run you out....
If the reason you're dropping sensor bouys is that your main sensors are so vulnerable to enemy weapons what's stopping the enemy from blinding your bouys as you drop them? In space, distance isn't going to matter for laser blinding. Distance also isn't going to make them any better at slicing through thick ECM, in fact, multiple smaller bouys will be worse at defeating many kinds of ECM than a single more powerful array will be.

In any realistic scenario, you'd want to drop bouys as a backup to your main sensors. They make the most sense as pickets to cover sensor blind spots and to keep covered up when you're not running manned patrols through an area.

Look at how sensor bouys are used in IRL naval combat and you'll understand that you have a solution looking for a problem.

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Re: Possible justifications for Point Defenseless

Post by PoisonSymic » 2018-05-06 11:26pm

Jub wrote:
2018-05-06 10:18pm
PoisonSymic wrote:
2018-05-06 09:03pm
It is clearly indicated in TLJ that the siege dreadnought's defensive guns work exactly this way: Poe is able to destroy them even though it's explicitly stated that his X-Wing's weapons are too light to penetrate the dreadnought's hull armor belt.

It is also stated that those defensive guns would lethally no-sell the rebel bomber attack if even one or two survived, thus the need for Poe's Act Of Plot Ace.
Plot armor aside, any PD weapon that can't track a fighter isn't worthy of the name. Something close in size to the Falcon's quad guns would have been more useful than those lumbering things.
They're only "not tracking" a plot-shielded ace of aces flying a suicidally aggressive attack in a fighter fitted with a strap on booster. I would therefore put that down more to Act Of Plot than incapability, and moreover that is doubling down on top of the preceding Act of Plot that General Hux created an opening in their defenses by refusing to authorize preemptive deployment of a fighter screen.

This, too, is largely Act of Plot. The Empire initially underestimated the threat of high end multirole starfighters, and subsequently chose to focus point defense on dedicated platforms -- Lancer class frigates -- which are conveniently absent anytime Rebel Fighter Heroes do their thing.
EU and now non-cannon. In the movie universe, I don't know that we have that level of acknowledgment of the problem fighters pose.
Actually, the Lancer frigate has been recanonized in the new-canon book "Before the Awakening". It's not described in detail, but it canonically exists again, and is at minimum established as an Imperial-era antifighter frigate.

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Re: Possible justifications for Point Defenseless

Post by Jub » 2018-05-06 11:48pm

PoisonSymic wrote:
2018-05-06 11:26pm
They're only "not tracking" a plot-shielded ace of aces flying a suicidally aggressive attack in a fighter fitted with a strap on booster. I would therefore put that down more to Act Of Plot than incapability, and moreover that is doubling down on top of the preceding Act of Plot that General Hux created an opening in their defenses by refusing to authorize preemptive deployment of a fighter screen.
Isn't defending against suicidally aggressive attacks and/or fighters that approach through your fighter screen exactly what PD is for? As for the boosters, I seriously doubt they got Poe's X-Wing going faster than dedicated speedy fighters like an A-Wing. So, given that we cannot factor in plot shielding (outside of a Jedi doing Jedi stuff) we have to determine that the point defense was woefully inadequate as designed/implemented in spite of it being common knowledge that fighters are massive threats to capital ships...

Just more proof that TLJ was a shit show in so many easily fixed ways.
Actually, the Lancer frigate has been recanonized in the new-canon book "Before the Awakening". It's not described in detail, but it canonically exists again, and is at minimum established as an Imperial-era antifighter frigate.
That's good to know. Too bad everybody seems to have forgotten the idea of running a proper fleet composition in order to make the nonsense that was TLJ happen. You'd think that you'd want to have proper escorts for your super weapons/flag ships as the standard operating procedure, like we have with modern carrier fleets, but I guess having WWII in space without looking at how actual WWII fleets were constructed is just a step too far.

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Re: Possible justifications for Point Defenseless

Post by Patroklos » 2018-05-07 01:31am

This idea that you would blind yourself to a potentially crippling or outright destroying star fighter pass so you can have your sensors later is daft. There is no point in having your sensors survive if the likely result of retracting them is exposing yourself to a one-shotting star fighter attack.

It would be one thing if the movies gave us star fighters and capital ships engaging in extended engagements of attrition, dozens of attack runs wearing down capital ship armor with the fighters being picked off slowly. That's not what we get. What we get is acute, devastating attacks by single fighters destroying capital ships outright in a single pass if they make it (ANH, RotJ, TPM, TFA, TLJ, R1). They have even gotten away from the unknown to the enemy exploitable flaw (ANH) or some reasonably clever if not entirely satisfying hook (RotJ, TPM) and gone to this just being the bog standard reality of starfighter vs capital ship fights (TFA, TLJ, R1) where you can just waltz up to them and have flaws readily available or just unload randomly into the hull and achieve an instakill (TLJ, R1). You can't turtle up and ride it out when this is the likely result. You go balls to the wall all and worry about the next bridge when you get to it, because if you don't you probably won't get to the next bridge anyway.

This is of course how modern naval AAW warfare works currently. There is no point it reserving sensors and missiles for the next engagement if you get hulled by an exocet NOW. Its as stupid as keeping your star QB fresh for the firth quarter.

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Re: Possible justifications for Point Defenseless

Post by Q99 » 2018-06-07 07:51pm

Patroklos wrote:
2018-05-07 01:31am
This idea that you would blind yourself to a potentially crippling or outright destroying star fighter pass so you can have your sensors later is daft. There is no point in having your sensors survive if the likely result of retracting them is exposing yourself to a one-shotting star fighter attack.
That assumes that a single pass is crippling when you're turtled up, that you don't have other ways of looking (i.e. deployed sensor buoys, feeds from your own fighters, or such), and so on.


It would be one thing if the movies gave us star fighters and capital ships engaging in extended engagements of attrition, dozens of attack runs wearing down capital ship armor with the fighters being picked off slowly. That's not what we get. What we get is acute, devastating attacks by single fighters destroying capital ships outright in a single pass if they make it (ANH, RotJ, TPM, TFA, TLJ, R1). They have even gotten away from the unknown to the enemy exploitable flaw (ANH) or some reasonably clever if not entirely satisfying hook (RotJ, TPM) and gone to this just being the bog standard reality of starfighter vs capital ship fights (TFA, TLJ, R1) where you can just waltz up to them and have flaws readily available or just unload randomly into the hull and achieve an instakill (TLJ, R1). You can't turtle up and ride it out when this is the likely result. You go balls to the wall all and worry about the next bridge when you get to it, because if you don't you probably won't get to the next bridge anyway.
We are talking general possible reasons for Point Defenselessness and not just SW specific, right?


Jub wrote:Even in that case why not keep a backup array behind your armor for deployment if/when you get blinded?

I also can't think of many realistic ways that all sensors would be blinded on a close high-speed pass. The closer and faster you get the less effective laser blinding would be at targeting your visual sensors so even as your radar style sensors go deeper into your ECM your visual sensors would keep you from being totally blind for your attack run. I guess perhaps you could try to retract your other sensors for such a pass but I can't see such a complex design being deployed.

The fact is that any realistic sci-fi setting can't have total sensor blindness one a close pass unless it's as a result of previous sensor damage earlier in the battle. Even then, you'd still keep your main array up for a close pass because any sensor data on approach is better than none so it's hard to imagine a doctrine that values saving sensors for a second pass over one that instead values making the most of your single pass so you don't need to make another one.
But we aren't talking realistic, are we? I mean, SW is being used as the main example, and that's a not-remotely-realistic one. Realistic space combat doesn't remotely have this kind of stuff and doesn't involve fighters to begin with. We seem to be going back between 'SW' and 'realistic,' so I'm going, "We're talking about a space opera, we can just entirely make up how ships, sensors, armor, and weapons work." And brainstorming a paradigm that *would* justify point defenselessness.


So, Z-ray bomblets are great for blinding sensors because they disrupt ether waves, or what have you.
If such lasers became commonplace I'd imagine there would be countermeasures that don't involve blinding yourself near completely. You'd be better off running multiple sensors and opening new ones as your old ones get burned away. You could probably get favorable results by having several sensors taking very quick peaks past armored shutters and having your computer weave those images into a single snapshot of the battlefield. They're not open long enough or predictably enough to be vulnerable to any but the most concerted blinding effort and you still get a workable picture of the battlefield.
Note the other problem of "opening sensors opens holes in your armor," in this hypothetical paradigm. It's not just that you're blinded, it's that when the enemy is close enough, if you are looking through your own main non-remote sensors, that's where they'll fire their piercing beams with precision and inflict internal damage under your armor.

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Re: Possible justifications for Point Defenseless

Post by Jub » 2018-06-07 09:08pm

Q99 wrote:
2018-06-07 07:51pm
That assumes that a single pass is crippling when you're turtled up, that you don't have other ways of looking (i.e. deployed sensor buoys, feeds from your own fighters, or such), and so on.
How do fighters and sensor buoys get their information to the capital ship when any antenna for comms is by definition a sensor?
But we aren't talking realistic, are we? I mean, SW is being used as the main example, and that's a not-remotely-realistic one. Realistic space combat doesn't remotely have this kind of stuff and doesn't involve fighters to begin with. We seem to be going back between 'SW' and 'realistic,' so I'm going, "We're talking about a space opera, we can just entirely make up how ships, sensors, armor, and weapons work." And brainstorming a paradigm that *would* justify point defenselessness.

So, Z-ray bomblets are great for blinding sensors because they disrupt ether waves, or what have you.
So you're just going to ignore the idea of backup sensors as a means to mitigate the loss of your main sensors then? I get that it's difficult for your blind yourself for... reasons idea to work so you keep ignoring anything that makes it even harder but that's just bad form.

Your entire idea is bad, it relies on perfect blinding at close range yet also seems to think that close range passes are needed to do any damage to the enemy. So now you have to explain your magical blinding rays, weapons which can only deal damage at ranges where delivering them via close high-speed pass makes sense, how the enemy can target your sensors while both sides are blind, how these passes do such little damage that you assume you'll survive any given pass, all while still being able to see well enough at long ranges to set-up such high-speed attacks. Except that these magical blind rays that block the entire EM spectrum are always double-blind so if you do drop z-ray buoys to blind an area you're now unable to see what you're shooting at. If they move they aren't blind (as they leave the effective area of your blinder) and you've just made it harder to see where they went to set up the next attack run.

Please, explain how is any of this making sense in your head because nobody in this thread aside from you is seeing it.
Note the other problem of "opening sensors opens holes in your armor," in this hypothetical paradigm. It's not just that you're blinded, it's that when the enemy is close enough, if you are looking through your own main non-remote sensors, that's where they'll fire their piercing beams with precision and inflict internal damage under your armor.
As has been discussed you can put holes in armor that don't offer a straight path through and thus aren't really weak points. You don't have to drill a straight hole through your armor to get a fragile bit of wire through it. Plus, if you have an armored casing over your backup sensors, then they're armored until they're active and thus still not a weak point.

Also, if you have these precise piercing beams, why are you making close attack runs in the first place?

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TLDR; Your idea is pretty much as stupid as the idea of a flat earth and every time you rush to cover one flaw in your idea another opens and that solution to that breaks some other key part of your idea. It's something that just doesn't work because the stupidity of the basic premise is insurmountable.

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Re: Possible justifications for Point Defenseless

Post by Simon_Jester » 2018-06-08 10:35am

Okay, let's clarify.

Consider a generic, abstract 'setting' in which heavily armored starships can easily 'hang on' and weather the weapons fire of small, 'strafing' attackers. Where surface features such as sensors, engine nozzles, and the like are vulnerable, but the core hull of the ship is inside an armor belt that can reliably withstand the attack.

In such a setting, it might well be most efficient to simply retract sensitive components into armored 'gunports' in the ship's hull, presenting a less vulnerable exterior to enemy strafing runs, and relying on lighter escort craft to chase off or destroy the attacking small craft.

Clearly, Star Wars is not such a setting if we accept that the dramatic events of the movies are typical and indicate that random attacks by lone fighters are in fact consistently a credible threat to capital ships in Star Wars.

However, the conclusion is itself valid IF the stated assumptions are true, even if in Star Wars said assumptions are not true.

Fair enough?
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Re: Possible justifications for Point Defenseless

Post by Jub » 2018-06-08 03:07pm

Simon_Jester wrote:
2018-06-08 10:35am
Okay, let's clarify.

Consider a generic, abstract 'setting' in which heavily armored starships can easily 'hang on' and weather the weapons fire of small, 'strafing' attackers. Where surface features such as sensors, engine nozzles, and the like are vulnerable, but the core hull of the ship is inside an armor belt that can reliably withstand the attack.

In such a setting, it might well be most efficient to simply retract sensitive components into armored 'gunports' in the ship's hull, presenting a less vulnerable exterior to enemy strafing runs, and relying on lighter escort craft to chase off or destroy the attacking small craft.

Clearly, Star Wars is not such a setting if we accept that the dramatic events of the movies are typical and indicate that random attacks by lone fighters are in fact consistently a credible threat to capital ships in Star Wars.

However, the conclusion is itself valid IF the stated assumptions are true, even if in Star Wars said assumptions are not true.

Fair enough?
So in this scenario, fighters are no threat to anything aside from exposed and vulnerable equipment, yet both sides have chosen not to run PD and instead shield/armor their sensor gear in a way which leaves them blind to the attacks that can actually kill their ship? In this case, doesn't it make more sense to run as much PD as possible to buy you more sensor time so you can just kill the enemy capital ship that sent the fighters? This gets even more idiotic if you also try to armor your thrusters in response because not only do you blind yourself you also mobility kill yourself in response to something that would otherwise only have a chance to do so if left unchecked.

This would be like an MBT stopping, covering its tracks and vision ports with armor, and deploying drones because the enemy had the bright idea to strafe your tanks with 5.56 armed drones of their own. Now the enemy knows that all they need to do to get an easy kill on your tanks is to send in a few drones and then open fire with their previously hidden weapons while you're turtling from something that can't actually kill you.

In your scenario, if you fail to deal with the enemy fighters what do you do? How do you see turtling as helping one side to either win a battle or escape from a superior force? Why doesn't the enemy capital ship kill you while the fighters have you blinding, deafening, and immobilizing yourself? Your one idea raises a ton more questions which all need good answers to keep your audience's SoD afloat.

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Re: Possible justifications for Point Defenseless

Post by Simon_Jester » 2018-06-09 08:36pm

Jub wrote:
2018-06-08 03:07pm
So in this scenario, fighters are no threat to anything aside from exposed and vulnerable equipment, yet both sides have chosen not to run PD and instead shield/armor their sensor gear in a way which leaves them blind to the attacks that can actually kill their ship? In this case, doesn't it make more sense to run as much PD as possible to buy you more sensor time so you can just kill the enemy capital ship that sent the fighters? This gets even more idiotic if you also try to armor your thrusters in response because not only do you blind yourself you also mobility kill yourself in response to something that would otherwise only have a chance to do so if left unchecked.

This would be like an MBT stopping, covering its tracks and vision ports with armor, and deploying drones because the enemy had the bright idea to strafe your tanks with 5.56 armed drones of their own. Now the enemy knows that all they need to do to get an easy kill on your tanks is to send in a few drones and then open fire with their previously hidden weapons while you're turtling from something that can't actually kill you.
This sounds brilliant assuming you can in fact hide effective anti-capital weaponry in deep space. To put it mildly, this assumption is not widely accepted among science fiction fans; indeed the opposite assumption ("there is no stealth in space") often holds.

Furthermore, it would hardly be unprecedented for it to be harder for a unit to defend itself against combined-arms attacks by multiple threat categories than by either threat category alone. In real life, tanks and infantry coordinate for exactly this reason; tanks ARE "buttoned-up" and lacking in situational awareness compared to infantrymen, but are correspondingly much more resistant to enemy fire and carry more powerful weapons. The infantry screen the tanks from, say, sneaky bastards with sacks of dynamite, while the tanks pound enemy machine gun nests and bunkers into submission while fending off enemy tanks.

In real life, tank drivers often sit with their heads outside of hatches to increase situational awareness and environmental comfort, but this is obviously not viable during combat. If it were a common threat for flocks of quadcopters with machine guns to swoop in and strafe tanks, you can bet that the tank commanders would button up whenever they thought a drone attack likely, even if their tanks were armed with, say, a "point defense" minigun. And a solution like "escort the tanks with specialist AA vehicles" would also be a likely solution in real life.
In your scenario, if you fail to deal with the enemy fighters what do you do? How do you see turtling as helping one side to either win a battle or escape from a superior force? Why doesn't the enemy capital ship kill you while the fighters have you blinding, deafening, and immobilizing yourself? Your one idea raises a ton more questions which all need good answers to keep your audience's SoD afloat.
Smaller ships remain mobile, aware, and alert, and may be able to relay targeting information.

Secondary sensor arrays of lesser resolution and sensitivity may remain exposed.

It may be relatively difficult to time and organize a battle so that the enemy's capital ships are having to deal with BOTH your capital ships in their optimum engagement range AND your small craft attacks at the same time, and getting the timing wrong opens you to defeat in detail.

The enemy may have an arsenal of light weaponry aboard other, specialized combatants that can lay waste to your small craft, making it irrelevant that their 'juggernaut' anti-capital platforms have no direct defense in and of themselves.
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Re: Possible justifications for Point Defenseless

Post by Q99 » 2018-06-10 04:42pm

Jub wrote: TLDR; Your idea is pretty much as stupid as the idea of a flat earth and every time you rush to cover one flaw in your idea another opens and that solution to that breaks some other key part of your idea. It's something that just doesn't work because the stupidity of the basic premise is insurmountable.
The thing you aren't really getting is in a hypothetical story, you get to make up the flaws, advantages, disadvantages, and tradeoffs.

These 'other flaws' your opening are ones you're assuming based on other setting's paradigms. "But that'll make you blind yourself"- well yea, and the Monitor had to turn it's turret away from it's opponent to protect itself even though that took eyes off target in it's famous duel. Battles have tradeoffs. Not wanting to have a disadvantage is really great, but that doesn't mean it doesn't work as a combat paradigm, it means that in that combat paradigm people have to deal with tradeoffs.

"Ah, but what if someone doesn't have those disadvantages?" Well then they're not from this combat paradigm/technology base and they don't have it's advantages either and aren't fighting with this tech base.
Simon_Jester wrote:
2018-06-08 10:35am
Okay, let's clarify.

Consider a generic, abstract 'setting' in which heavily armored starships can easily 'hang on' and weather the weapons fire of small, 'strafing' attackers. Where surface features such as sensors, engine nozzles, and the like are vulnerable, but the core hull of the ship is inside an armor belt that can reliably withstand the attack.

In such a setting, it might well be most efficient to simply retract sensitive components into armored 'gunports' in the ship's hull, presenting a less vulnerable exterior to enemy strafing runs, and relying on lighter escort craft to chase off or destroy the attacking small craft.

Clearly, Star Wars is not such a setting if we accept that the dramatic events of the movies are typical and indicate that random attacks by lone fighters are in fact consistently a credible threat to capital ships in Star Wars.

However, the conclusion is itself valid IF the stated assumptions are true, even if in Star Wars said assumptions are not true.

Fair enough?

Exactly. SW needs point defense hard, either Legends or Disney.

Something we make up? Not so much.


Jub wrote:
2018-06-08 03:07pm

So in this scenario, fighters are no threat to anything aside from exposed and vulnerable equipment, yet both sides have chosen not to run PD and instead shield/armor their sensor gear in a way which leaves them blind to the attacks that can actually kill their ship? In this case, doesn't it make more sense to run as much PD as possible to buy you more sensor time so you can just kill the enemy capital ship that sent the fighters? This gets even more idiotic if you also try to armor your thrusters in response because not only do you blind yourself you also mobility kill yourself in response to something that would otherwise only have a chance to do so if left unchecked.
In this hypothetical,
The point of the fighters in this setting is to make your opponent hide their sensitive stuff so you have the edge in the big gun battle-

If one side has fighters and the other side doesn't, then one gains an information edge which gives them the edge in a gun battle.

If one side gears up on hull-based point defenses, then the armor is more vulnerable/the PD is easily scrapped away by big guns even at range where they can't penetrate thick armor well, and they're at a disadvantage in the gun battle and lose even if they have good fighters because not having weak points in your armor (or explodey outside-the-armor reactors) is more vital to survive the gunbattle than even sensors, or rather, you'll die fast enough that you won't get to care your sensors are protected from fighters.

If one side doesn't have a 'hide their main sensors,' system, they lose their sensors- not just to fighters but to guns and them lose the gun battle hard due to being blinded. The choices are not "hide your sensors," and "have them out, but completely safe." Everyone would love to have sensors as great as the armor, but they plum don't exist, at least not as good as a full proper sensor array can be, this isn't one of those SF where you can color a section of hull a different color and call it a sensor.

The point is everyone is trying to balance armor vs intelligence. Sensors are vulnerable, armor isn't, but if you kill the sensors then you can deal with the armor.

In a hypothetical setting, we can play with the armor, shields, weaknesses, etc. to make that be the case. If it doesn't work unless we make the guns do this or armor do that or so on, that's not a flaw in the hypothetical, that's entirely an option and it just says the hypothetical should do that.

This would be like an MBT stopping, covering its tracks and vision ports with armor, and deploying drones because the enemy had the bright idea to strafe your tanks with 5.56 armed drones of their own. Now the enemy knows that all they need to do to get an easy kill on your tanks is to send in a few drones and then open fire with their previously hidden weapons while you're turtling from something that can't actually kill you.

In your scenario, if you fail to deal with the enemy fighters what do you do? How do you see turtling as helping one side to either win a battle or escape from a superior force? Why doesn't the enemy capital ship kill you while the fighters have you blinding, deafening, and immobilizing yourself? Your one idea raises a ton more questions which all need good answers to keep your audience's SoD afloat.
If a small drone could permanently blind a MBT easily, how is not-turtling helping? Now the enemy can just kill you at leasure and you don't have the option of unturtling and going, "Surprise, he's a blast from the main gun!".

If you fail to deal with the enemy fighters and they deal with your fighters and shoot out sensors, then you're at a disadvantage to guns, but if you turtle for a bit (during which you can still launch sensor buoys for occasional clear views), your fighters clear them, and then you unturtle, then you have perfectly sensor capability again that their fighters couldn't deal with. Your opponent doesn't turtle during that phase of the battle, they lose some sensors, now they don't have perfect sensor capability, you have the sensor edge, you kill them with more accurate fire. That's part of the whole point. Those questions raised are the tactics of the paradigm and the challenges commanders face.

The enemy has the exact same vulnerabilities because their sensors are not more robust or safer from being shot out, one side can't just... decide not to have vulnerable sensors, everyone is running the same armor and sensor technology because having ships that tanky that sensors are the most vulnerable part beats the heck out of not being that tanky and sensors are just vulnerable by nature. So sometimes what happens is the fighters cancel out, everyone knows exactly where everyone else is, and it's a high-intel gun fight with accurate long-range fire- gradually degraded by sensors being lose to gun fire but there most of the fight. Sometimes both sides shoot out each others sensors and you both fight in the dark so to speak in a low intel gun duel.

"Won't this leave you vulnerable?" Yea, the point is a combat paradigm where everyone needs to chose between two vulnerabilities at any one time and the one who chooses better has the advantage. Someone who turtles too soon loses. Someone who turtles to late loses. Fighters exist to try and make your opponent spend as much time turtled as possible. Something causing a vulnerability or not is not something that makes a paradigm not make sense, because it's a side-effect of the technology.

A commander who can avoid any of the circumstances that makes you turtle is a master of ambush, but "Why don't you just not have your sensors get shot at?" is akin to "Why don't you just have the British not fire arrows at our horses?", "Tell those flak guns to not shoot at our recon planes," and "Can't you tell the enemy to not kill our scouts?". It's always best to see more but the commanders have to actually struggle and maneuver to get that advantage because enemies doing things to mess up your desires is part of combat.

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Re: Possible justifications for Point Defenseless

Post by Q99 » 2018-06-10 04:59pm

Oh yea, and that's also largely talking 1v1. Fleet vs fleet? Then the sensor vulnerabilites impact even less. If you have friends, then you can turtle, have a live link so still have perfectly good intel/live datafeeds, then the drones/fighters leave to go after your friend who's supplying you with info, now they turtle and you unturtle and supply them with info. If you have a fleet battle, you try and force as many enemies to turtle as possible while trying to keep enough of yours unturtled as possible to provide the rest with sensors. If you don't turtle at all, you still lose sensors, just more permanently, because turtling/unturtling is pretty quick and there's no such thing as a non-vulnerable sensor near as good as a vulnerable one, and now the enemy can focus on trying to blind other ships. Ships can fake being sensor-crippled while they're just turtling and then pop up data links late in the fight to catch the enemy offguard, or what have you.

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Re: Possible justifications for Point Defenseless

Post by Simon_Jester » 2018-06-11 08:08am

I mean, to be fair, even in a scenario where turtling makes sense, it's almost certainly a good idea to have close-in defensive weapons capable of counterattacking small craft threats, or capable of destroying a very weak small craft attack. That way you don't run into situations where all I have to do to keep your ship's combat capability "pinned down" is send in a trickle of relatively cheap drone craft that keep harassing you at a low level.

This is sort of like how you want to make sure no one sniper can pin down an entire infantry regiment; it lends itself to so much asymmetric warfare that it's an unacceptable weakness, of a type that would impose changes in how wars are fought by making infantry regiments not worth the cost of keeping them in the field.

But it's very much historically precedented for different kinds of ships or other fighting platforms to be differently armed, and for some kinds to be ineffective at defending themselves against other kinds, and to rely on escorts to chase off certain kinds of threats while concentrating themselves purely on defensively surviving the attack. This is pretty much the relationship between infantry and artillery on a land battlefield, for instance. Within the artillery's effective range, infantry can't do anything other than dig foxholes and pray their artillery is able to silence the enemy. Conversely, within the infantry's effective range, artillery is pretty much neutralized and can't do more than have the crew cower in dugouts and hope friendly infantry chase the enemy away.
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Re: Possible justifications for Point Defenseless

Post by Q99 » 2018-06-11 12:28pm

Simon_Jester wrote:
2018-06-11 08:08am
I mean, to be fair, even in a scenario where turtling makes sense, it's almost certainly a good idea to have close-in defensive weapons capable of counterattacking small craft threats, or capable of destroying a very weak small craft attack. That way you don't run into situations where all I have to do to keep your ship's combat capability "pinned down" is send in a trickle of relatively cheap drone craft that keep harassing you at a low level.

This is sort of like how you want to make sure no one sniper can pin down an entire infantry regiment; it lends itself to so much asymmetric warfare that it's an unacceptable weakness, of a type that would impose changes in how wars are fought by making infantry regiments not worth the cost of keeping them in the field.

But it's very much historically precedented for different kinds of ships or other fighting platforms to be differently armed, and for some kinds to be ineffective at defending themselves against other kinds, and to rely on escorts to chase off certain kinds of threats while concentrating themselves purely on defensively surviving the attack. This is pretty much the relationship between infantry and artillery on a land battlefield, for instance. Within the artillery's effective range, infantry can't do anything other than dig foxholes and pray their artillery is able to silence the enemy. Conversely, within the infantry's effective range, artillery is pretty much neutralized and can't do more than have the crew cower in dugouts and hope friendly infantry chase the enemy away.
I’m thinking that ships would normally have fighters or missiles rather than PD guns to fit with the ‘you want stuff you can close up behind armor plates’ thing I’m positing.

Most big ships would have at least some fighters specced purely for anti-fighter work so they can’t be pinned down that easy, even if they’re otherwise really blind. And, hm, missile ships could fire explosions to kill groups of fighters not just near them but around other ships or at a distance- but pack less punch than guns. The scenario is ‘not point defense,’ rather than ‘no way to deal with fighters at any range,’ after all. And lesse, missiles are probably best used at longer range rather than fired near your own hull where they have little time to accelerate, so two missile ships could clear each other faster than they could themselves, and if fighters really have gotten close in good number they could hug the missile ports and shoot them when they try and fire- you don’t want fighters close to you regardless of class, some are just better at stopping that from happening, sometimes very good indeed, but anything with a few missiles should stop the slow trickle from trickling in.

So missile loadouts beat fighter loads. Fighter loadouts blind gun loads. And gun loadouts outshoot missile loadouts. Both missile and guns can blow up a hypothetical PD design’s exposed small guns with proxy blasts so they’re not in fashion.

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Re: Possible justifications for Point Defenseless

Post by Simon_Jester » 2018-06-11 02:59pm

Q99 wrote:
2018-06-11 12:28pm
I’m thinking that ships would normally have fighters or missiles rather than PD guns to fit with the ‘you want stuff you can close up behind armor plates’ thing I’m positing.
Well, if it was me I'd expect something like the Phalanx gun turret: some kind of weapons pod that can be essentially bolted onto the outside of the ship, entirely outside the main armor belt, that independently has at least limited ability to engage incoming small craft, missiles, drones, or other threats.

This is mostly just so that if something weird happens to the escorts, the heavy unit isn't completely screwed and hopelessly vulnerable. If nothing else to avoid farcical scenarios where a single kiddie tin-can-plinker of a mini-corvette causes severe problems for a battleship that just didn't have the means to defend itself.

Another issue is the distinction between point defense and area defense weaponry. My ship's main antiship weapons may be dual role and highly effective against swarming small craft threats at long range, breaking up attacks against the fleet as a whole, while being ineffective against individual threats to the ship at short range.
Most big ships would have at least some fighters specced purely for anti-fighter work so they can’t be pinned down that easy, even if they’re otherwise really blind.
Said fighters would almost certainly be based on dedicated platforms, because fighter launch/recovery facilities are very specialized, very bulky, and hard to armor.
So missile loadouts beat fighter loads. Fighter loadouts blind gun loads. And gun loadouts outshoot missile loadouts. Both missile and guns can blow up a hypothetical PD design’s exposed small guns with proxy blasts so they’re not in fashion.
I'm ambiguous about any simplistic rock-paper-scissors arrangement personally, among other things because missile and 'gun' designs are apt to have very different combat range and evasion profiles.
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Re: Possible justifications for Point Defenseless

Post by Q99 » 2018-06-12 10:09pm

Simon_Jester wrote:
2018-06-11 02:59pm
Well, if it was me I'd expect something like the Phalanx gun turret: some kind of weapons pod that can be essentially bolted onto the outside of the ship, entirely outside the main armor belt, that independently has at least limited ability to engage incoming small craft, missiles, drones, or other threats.

This is mostly just so that if something weird happens to the escorts, the heavy unit isn't completely screwed and hopelessly vulnerable. If nothing else to avoid farcical scenarios where a single kiddie tin-can-plinker of a mini-corvette causes severe problems for a battleship that just didn't have the means to defend itself.

Another issue is the distinction between point defense and area defense weaponry. My ship's main antiship weapons may be dual role and highly effective against swarming small craft threats at long range, breaking up attacks against the fleet as a whole, while being ineffective against individual threats to the ship at short range.
I'm thinking that for emergency close-in defense,I imagine even fighters aren't super-fragile, and one hit that doesn't penetrate armor can still clear away all your phalanxes and such- the common would be to shoot out warheads and detonate them near you to scatter and damage small craft.

Phalanx-type stuff implies that even super-light things can be effective against fighters (with the emphasis on armor, it might take something a bit bigger to guarantee kills. And, hm, now I'm picturing dogfights being pretty brutal affairs where a fighter is slowly taken down by it's rivals), and that the cost is worth it and it's not all just blasted away by the shockwaves of even a minor hit on the armor. With no energy shields but big armor and big guns/missiles (and big enough missiles that they'll have some degree of armoring), light defenses could be swept away way too soon in each battle to be viewed as cost effective.
Said fighters would almost certainly be based on dedicated platforms, because fighter launch/recovery facilities are very specialized, very bulky, and hard to armor.
Due to armor having to be thick, and thus engines and guns having to be big, I'm picturing a fairly large size-class of ship. Enough that having something like an armored bay would be a good idea for shuttles and such.

Hm, maybe combat launch vs non-combat launch stuff, where carriers are set up to shoot out fighters at high speed through tubes and set up to pick them up fast, while non-dedicated ones have to push out gently then accelerate on their own and don't expect to re-dock when the battle's on...

I'm ambiguous about any simplistic rock-paper-scissors arrangement personally, among other things because missile and 'gun' designs are apt to have very different combat range and evasion profiles.
Unless we're really going to go into detail, just sketching out generalities is enough I think, positioning can of course throw things off and so on. My image as having gunships the dominant ship type, with missile ships and carriers each in supporting fleet roles. Carriers merely lock down sensors, they can't win on their own (i.e. they'll still get blown apart if they're on their own vs a gunship), and missile ships are a counter to a secondary threat/make sure your own asset can work as best.


Could do a crest of the stars thing and have the 'gun' ammo still have it's own thrust too.... high speed railgun + thrust for maximum impact.

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Re: Possible justifications for Point Defenseless

Post by Jub » 2018-06-13 08:03am

Simon_Jester wrote:
2018-06-09 08:36pm
This sounds brilliant assuming you can in fact hide effective anti-capital weaponry in deep space. To put it mildly, this assumption is not widely accepted among science fiction fans; indeed the opposite assumption ("there is no stealth in space") often holds.
If there's no stealth in space, that just makes things worse. Now you're trying to turtle in front of a big gun that you know is there. Killing your own mobility and ability to see when you know the enemy has a gun capable of cutting through your armor is always going to be a bad idea.
Furthermore, it would hardly be unprecedented for it to be harder for a unit to defend itself against combined-arms attacks by multiple threat categories than by either threat category alone. In real life, tanks and infantry coordinate for exactly this reason; tanks ARE "buttoned-up" and lacking in situational awareness compared to infantrymen, but are correspondingly much more resistant to enemy fire and carry more powerful weapons. The infantry screen the tanks from, say, sneaky bastards with sacks of dynamite, while the tanks pound enemy machine gun nests and bunkers into submission while fending off enemy tanks.

In real life, tank drivers often sit with their heads outside of hatches to increase situational awareness and environmental comfort, but this is obviously not viable during combat. If it were a common threat for flocks of quadcopters with machine guns to swoop in and strafe tanks, you can bet that the tank commanders would button up whenever they thought a drone attack likely, even if their tanks were armed with, say, a "point defense" minigun. And a solution like "escort the tanks with specialist AA vehicles" would also be a likely solution in real life.
You're taking the tank analogy a little too far here, plus, if the infantry can't sneak/hide/take cover, due to there not being stealth in space, that just means that infantry get machine gunned down before they get close. You can't talk up combined arms in one breath and argue that the biggest enabler of it doesn't exist with the next.

Not that there are combined arms in space. Unlike a modern navy, a 'space fighter' traverses the same medium as the capital ships and escorts. This makes a fighter more like a torpedo boat than anything and we haven't seen those attempted since World War II because destroyers and light cruisers were just so efficient at killing them. You can argue that a fighter would have more engine mass than a torpedo boat would and thus could evade incoming fire but if that holds you've created a scenario where missiles lobbed at a distance are the order of the day until PD can ramp up to match it.
Smaller ships remain mobile, aware, and alert, and may be able to relay targeting information.

Secondary sensor arrays of lesser resolution and sensitivity may remain exposed.
Why wouldn't you operate the other way around, run your primary sensors until they get shot off and then rely on secondary systems to get you out of the fight?
It may be relatively difficult to time and organize a battle so that the enemy's capital ships are having to deal with BOTH your capital ships in their optimum engagement range AND your small craft attacks at the same time, and getting the timing wrong opens you to defeat in detail.
If there's no stealth in space why did you blunder into the enemy's optimal range? Plus, if you're within fighter range, you've been well within missile range for a while now as a missile with similar mass to a fighter will have at least double the range because a fighter has to have enough fuel to get to combat and get back home, likely the missile will have even more range than that because a fighter needs to use fuel to fight once it reaches its engagement. If the missiles would get shot down on the way in so to would the fighters if they aren't being shot down, why bother with fighters at all?
The enemy may have an arsenal of light weaponry aboard other, specialized combatants that can lay waste to your small craft, making it irrelevant that their 'juggernaut' anti-capital platforms have no direct defense in and of themselves.


If you have good defense screens you don't need to turtle, if you don't have good screens every ship in your fleet needs active defenses. Look at WWII where defenses weren't so good as they are now, even a carrier bristled with AA guns. Now, they carry a far lighter defensive armament because nothing is expected to get through. If something does get through the fleet is either sunk or more of the same defenses wouldn't have changed the outcome.

-----
Q99 wrote:
2018-06-10 04:42pm
The thing you aren't really getting is in a hypothetical story, you get to make up the flaws, advantages, disadvantages, and tradeoffs.

These 'other flaws' your opening are ones you're assuming based on other setting's paradigms. "But that'll make you blind yourself"- well yea, and the Monitor had to turn it's turret away from it's opponent to protect itself even though that took eyes off target in it's famous duel. Battles have tradeoffs. Not wanting to have a disadvantage is really great, but that doesn't mean it doesn't work as a combat paradigm, it means that in that combat paradigm people have to deal with tradeoffs.

"Ah, but what if someone doesn't have those disadvantages?" Well then they're not from this combat paradigm/technology base and they don't have it's advantages either and aren't fighting with this tech base.
Your story and technology still have to make sense though and they don't.

Even your one example shows that a single ship of questionable at best design may have done a thing. Though based on everything I've read she never purposefully turned her turret away to avoid incoming fire. She did suffer damage that made stopping her turret accurately difficult so the crew made the choice to keep the turret rotating and fire as the CSS Virginia came into view rather than trying to lay the turret on target normally with a faulty drive. Even had she turned her turret away to protect her guns while they reloaded, she didn't blind herself by doing so as her pilot's house could still sight the enemy. The ships involved in the battle you cited were also an untested prototype up against a hastily rebuild vessel, neither side was a naval power, and during the battle Monitor's inexperienced crew were loading too light a powder charge and only firing solid shot.

For a one-off battle, shit like this can happen, maybe even for an entire war if both sides have next to no space-faring war capability and yet chose to fight anyway. Such as a civil war between two sides in a nation that at full strength would not be a naval power. However, this paradigm is unlikely to span the entire setting and a major power would almost certainly stomp either side.




In this hypothetical,
The point of the fighters in this setting is to make your opponent hide their sensitive stuff so you have the edge in the big gun battle-

If one side has fighters and the other side doesn't, then one gains an information edge which gives them the edge in a gun battle.
If you don't have fighters, in a setting where fighters are effective, you need to have a means of dealing with fighters. You might still be at a disadvantage in spite of your fixed AA/PD but you'll still have as much as you can afford to have. See WWII and the growth of AA emplacements as the war went on for how this would go.
the PD is easily scrapped away by big guns even at range where they can't penetrate thick armor well
So close range then? Kinetic weapons won't lose energy in space be they missiles (post-burnout), railgun rounds, etc. Lasers might lose focus over extreme distances but at those ranges you're firing and just hoping to hit the ship. You're not picking off PD at any distance where laser focus will be an issue.

[quote[(or explodey outside-the-armor reactors)[/quote]

Why are you assuming that PD mounts are powered by exploding reactors...? PD could be a SW style 'laser' turret, but they could also be a proper laser where the only target is a small lens/mirror setup and the only hole in your armor is near exactly your beam width. Your PD could be missiles covered by heavy armor until they fire. It doesn't have to be a small dome with a small caliber minigun that only scores hit due to a high rate of fire; modern systems are decidedly moving away from this model of PD.

If a small drone could permanently blind a MBT easily, how is not-turtling helping? Now the enemy can just kill you at leasure and you don't have the option of unturtling and going, "Surprise, he's a blast from the main gun!".
If you're turtled you won't know when the enemy is under your gun so your 'Surprise!' never happens. What happens is you see drones coming, you turtle, and you hope that the enemy doesn't core you before something deals with the drones for you. You won't even know the enemy drones are dead because either you've hidden your comms mast or these drones have shot it off and you have no communications with the rest of your unit or local command.
during which you can still launch sensor buoys for occasional clear views
How are you getting data from these buoys? Your comms gear are literally sensors tuned to a specific frequency and are either hidden under armor or killed by these magical sniper fighters. Either way you're blind or opening your armor.
<snip>
In the setting you've devised losing the fighter battle means losing the battle period. Turtling to avoid fighter damage would only happen after your fighter screen has failed to repel the enemy fighters or you were surprised and didn't have time to launch your own screen. In either case, you're already losing and thus, unless you know help is coming, your turtling just means you don't get to watch as the enemy slowly pounds your ship to death.
"Won't this leave you vulnerable?" Yea, the point is a combat paradigm where everyone needs to chose between two vulnerabilities at any one time and the one who chooses better has the advantage. Someone who turtles too soon loses. Someone who turtles to late loses. Fighters exist to try and make your opponent spend as much time turtled as possible. Something causing a vulnerability or not is not something that makes a paradigm not make sense, because it's a side-effect of the technology.

A commander who can avoid any of the circumstances that makes you turtle is a master of ambush, but "Why don't you just not have your sensors get shot at?" is akin to "Why don't you just have the British not fire arrows at our horses?", "Tell those flak guns to not shoot at our recon planes," and "Can't you tell the enemy to not kill our scouts?". It's always best to see more but the commanders have to actually struggle and maneuver to get that advantage because enemies doing things to mess up your desires is part of combat.
This is all ignorant nonsense written by somebody who doesn't understand anything even close to modern warfare. Unlike Star Wars, which is obviously WWII in space, this idea of turtling and not running PD has never been done anywhere in history. Due to this your setting will be picked apart for its combat because the context under which said combat makes sense doesn't exist.
Oh yea, and that's also largely talking 1v1. Fleet vs fleet? Then the sensor vulnerabilites impact even less. If you have friends, then you can turtle, have a live link so still have perfectly good intel/live datafeeds, then the drones/fighters leave to go after your friend who's supplying you with info, now they turtle and you unturtle and supply them with info. If you have a fleet battle, you try and force as many enemies to turtle as possible while trying to keep enough of yours unturtled as possible to provide the rest with sensors. If you don't turtle at all, you still lose sensors, just more permanently, because turtling/unturtling is pretty quick and there's no such thing as a non-vulnerable sensor near as good as a vulnerable one, and now the enemy can focus on trying to blind other ships. Ships can fake being sensor-crippled while they're just turtling and then pop up data links late in the fight to catch the enemy offguard, or what have you.
You have no link while you turtle because comms are just as soft as sensors. Get this through your thick skull.
one hit that doesn't penetrate armor can still clear away all your phalanxes
How? There aren't blast effects in space and you've specifically envisioned your ships using mass drivers, so are you picturing hull vibrations being enough to slag PD modules from a hit that doesn't defeat your main armor?
with the emphasis on armor, it might take something a bit bigger to guarantee kills. And, hm, now I'm picturing dogfights being pretty brutal affairs where a fighter is slowly taken down by it's rivals)
Make PD that blinds enemy fighters then, they can't armor their sensors any more than anybody else can. A blind fighter isn't a threat and we've established that a weapon that can't get past armor is able to kill sensors in your setting.
Hm, maybe combat launch vs non-combat launch stuff, where carriers are set up to shoot out fighters at high speed through tubes and set up to pick them up fast, while non-dedicated ones have to push out gently then accelerate on their own and don't expect to re-dock when the battle's on...
If fighters are important every ship is either a carrier or a screen. See WWII through to modern times for examples of this idea shaping naval design. Screens don't need fighters so why waste mass/volume on including a launch system that can't be used in combat? You could maybe make a case for something like a helipad, but without submarines, and there are either no subs in space or every ship in space is a sub, you delete the helipad and helicopter in favor of more AA/AS missiles and larger radar mounts.
My image as having gunships the dominant ship type, with missile ships and carriers each in supporting fleet roles. Carriers merely lock down sensors, they can't win on their own (i.e. they'll still get blown apart if they're on their own vs a gunship), and missile ships are a counter to a secondary threat/make sure your own asset can work as best.
Your setting already fails then. If fighters can be armored enough that PD is worthless then missiles will dominate as they can be just as armored while having a higher range and a better payload. Any jamming that can shut down a missiles sensors will also apply to a fighter so you can't have one without the other.

Just lack with flat Earth theory every answer you have invalidates some other answer you've already given.

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Re: Possible justifications for Point Defenseless

Post by Q99 » 2018-06-14 03:33pm

Jub wrote: Make PD that blinds enemy fighters then, they can't armor their sensors any more than anybody else can. A blind fighter isn't a threat and we've established that a weapon that can't get past armor is able to kill sensors in your setting.
But then there's still nothing from firing one long distance hit and scrapping away all these PD, leaving the fighters available to play. That just means "always fire one gun or missile before launching fighters," that's all.

And even a blind fighter can still attack if it has a data uplink from something that's not blind, another noted aspect in the prior posts.

You need to think through the consequences of your suggestions more, Jub, you can't keep stopping half-way like that.

Your setting already fails then. If fighters can be armored enough that PD is worthless then missiles will dominate as they can be just as armored while having a higher range and a better payload. Any jamming that can shut down a missiles sensors will also apply to a fighter so you can't have one without the other.

Just lack with flat Earth theory every answer you have invalidates some other answer you've already given.
... unless guns are better than missiles. But also, there's nothing wrong with missiles being viable and effective either and I mentioned the possibility that the 'big guns' fire projectiles with propulsion at high speed, so even going that way, that's.... actually no problem around and doesn't contradict the premise whatsoever.

Just like every excuse you make on why it fails, you're making up setting elements that are not a given and assuming it's the only 'obvious' ways to do things. Sorry, you can't make up a setting element of someone else's setting idea and say that's why the setting fails. I don't think you're really paying much attention to what you're saying either, because you're coming up with your own new setting rules, and your own rules often don't even poke holes in the setting like you claim.

You do know most SF combat paradigms are not based on anything remotely akin to realism, right? SW and ST aren't. And your own inserted ideas are just as made up as what you're criticizing. You're jumping on 'flat earth' while basically claiming, "No, a fictional earth must be hollow!". It's kinda half-baked and not always thought through or pointing to things that you say sinks the setting which are... just fine in the mentioned parameters of the setting. It's fine if the lack of effective PD leaves missiles powerful.

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Re: Possible justifications for Point Defenseless

Post by Jub » 2018-06-14 04:29pm

Q99 wrote:
2018-06-14 03:33pm
But then there's still nothing from firing one long distance hit and scrapping away all these PD, leaving the fighters available to play. That just means "always fire one gun or missile before launching fighters," that's all.
There. Are. No. Blast. Effects. In. Space.

Your one hit can't take out every surface gun because there is nothing aside from the hull of the ship you're hitting to propagate the shockwave. The only exception would be a missile the tries to bathe a side of the ship in some form of particle/wave but you'd only ever do that if you lack the ability to focus your burst, and if you lack that ability you're going to want your missiles to detonate at point blank to dump more energy into the enemy's hull.
And even a blind fighter can still attack if it has a data uplink from something that's not blind, another noted aspect in the prior posts.
Any communications array is going to be just as vulnerable as your sensors and thus just as likely to be taken out. So either you armor that too, which you've stated is impossible in your setting, or you turtle up and deafen yourself to avoid losing it.
You need to think through the consequences of your suggestions more, Jub, you can't keep stopping half-way like that.
Are you trolling at this point? You're trying to make points that I addressed in my last post...

... unless guns are better than missiles. But also, there's nothing wrong with missiles being viable and effective either and I mentioned the possibility that the 'big guns' fire projectiles with propulsion at high speed, so even going that way, that's.... actually no problem around and doesn't contradict the premise whatsoever.
Gun launched missiles will have some cap on how hard you can fling them before the guidance or engine can take it any more, so you're always making some trade-off for guided/semi-guided shells. If you can get around this, with say inertial compensators or some such, then guns and missiles merge to the point where there is no line between them. At this stage, the guns on your fighters are just weaker versions of the guns on your capital ships and you're risking pilots lives for no reason.

Also, the issue with the idea that guns are better is that they almost never can be. If they're low velocity even a crudely shaped nuke will hit harder, let alone a bomb-pumped beam weapon or some more exotic charge. If they're high fractions of C fast, then they're pretty much a particle weapon and at that stage, a particle weapon will likely be easier and more energy efficient to build while traveling just as fast or faster than your gun.
Just like every excuse you make on why it fails, you're making up setting elements that are not a given and assuming it's the only 'obvious' ways to do things. Sorry, you can't make up a setting element of someone else's setting idea and say that's why the setting fails. I don't think you're really paying much attention to what you're saying either, because you're coming up with your own new setting rules, and your own rules often don't even poke holes in the setting like you claim.
You'll only find holes because you're ignoring most of my posts...
You do know most SF combat paradigms are not based on anything remotely akin to realism, right? SW and ST aren't. And your own inserted ideas are just as made up as what you're criticizing. You're jumping on 'flat earth' while basically claiming, "No, a fictional earth must be hollow!". It's kinda half-baked and not always thought through or pointing to things that you say sinks the setting which are... just fine in the mentioned parameters of the setting. It's fine if the lack of effective PD leaves missiles powerful.
I literally addressed this last post... Please go back and read everything I wrote, even the stuff aimed towards Simon, and try again.

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Re: Possible justifications for Point Defenseless

Post by Simon_Jester » 2018-06-14 04:53pm

Jub wrote:
2018-06-14 04:29pm
Q99 wrote:
2018-06-14 03:33pm
But then there's still nothing from firing one long distance hit and scrapping away all these PD, leaving the fighters available to play. That just means "always fire one gun or missile before launching fighters," that's all.
There. Are. No. Blast. Effects. In. Space.

Your one hit can't take out every surface gun because there is nothing aside from the hull of the ship you're hitting to propagate the shockwave. The only exception would be a missile the tries to bathe a side of the ship in some form of particle/wave but you'd only ever do that if you lack the ability to focus your burst, and if you lack that ability you're going to want your missiles to detonate at point blank to dump more energy into the enemy's hull.
Or if you're trying to do widespread but shallow damage over a big swath of the hull. I mean, the easy way to do this is to have a missile going fast enough that its main damage vector is sheer kinetic energy of the impact, then trigger a chemical explosive charge to blow the missile into fragments shortly before impact. If it's going fast enough, the fragments will still be going fast enough to mangle whatever they hit even if they can't penetrate into the core hull, and there'll be a lot of them, expanding outwards in a conical pattern from the burst point like shrapnel from a shrapnel shell.

In fact, exactly like the original purl=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shrapnel_shell]Shrapnel shells[/url].
Also, the issue with the idea that guns are better is that they almost never can be. If they're low velocity even a crudely shaped nuke will hit harder, let alone a bomb-pumped beam weapon or some more exotic charge. If they're high fractions of C fast, then they're pretty much a particle weapon and at that stage, a particle weapon will likely be easier and more energy efficient to build while traveling just as fast or faster than your gun.
Nuclear shaped charges are very likely to have 'blast front' effects. They're not drills of energy like a laser beam. They just take the fireball of a nuclear detonation and compress it into a cone with an angle of, oh, five or ten or twenty or sixty (!) degrees facing forwards. That gives them better standoff attack range, but it doesn't mean they will punch a tightly defined hole through an armored hull the way a shaped charge of chemical explosives would.
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Re: Possible justifications for Point Defenseless

Post by Jub » 2018-06-14 05:09pm

Simon_Jester wrote:
2018-06-14 04:53pm
Or if you're trying to do widespread but shallow damage over a big swath of the hull. I mean, the easy way to do this is to have a missile going fast enough that its main damage vector is sheer kinetic energy of the impact, then trigger a chemical explosive charge to blow the missile into fragments shortly before impact. If it's going fast enough, the fragments will still be going fast enough to mangle whatever they hit even if they can't penetrate into the core hull, and there'll be a lot of them, expanding outwards in a conical pattern from the burst point like shrapnel from a shrapnel shell.

In fact, exactly like the original purl=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shrapnel_shell]Shrapnel shells[/url].
In which case it becomes a race between missiles and PD, with sensors being key to get your PD on target. Your aim is to knock the missiles off course so its cone misses you or hit them early enough that the cone is so dispersed as to not be a major threat. Not to mention that the missile is a larger threat to your main sensors than a fighter would be and any blast damage from these large missiles will already strip away the very things that your fighters would otherwise be targeting.

None of this leads to the scenario that Q99 wants to happen.
]Nuclear shaped charges are very likely to have 'blast front' effects. They're not drills of energy like a laser beam. They just take the fireball of a nuclear detonation and compress it into a cone with an angle of, oh, five or ten or twenty or sixty (!) degrees facing forwards. That gives them better standoff attack range, but it doesn't mean they will punch a tightly defined hole through an armored hull the way a shaped charge of chemical explosives would.
They also don't just instantly blast away a wide area of the targets hull instantly sweeping away all exposed gear in a single attack. Or, if they can, your setting's ships are relatively small and lack the volume to carry fighters and likely the length to carry large rail/coilguns. At best a small ship will carry something akin to the helicopter or two that modern cruisers and destroyers carry and certainly not the large armored gunships that Q99 suggests would rule the battlefield.

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Re: Possible justifications for Point Defenseless

Post by Simon_Jester » 2018-06-15 07:10am

Jub wrote:
2018-06-14 05:09pm
Nuclear shaped charges are very likely to have 'blast front' effects. They're not drills of energy like a laser beam. They just take the fireball of a nuclear detonation and compress it into a cone with an angle of, oh, five or ten or twenty or sixty (!) degrees facing forwards. That gives them better standoff attack range, but it doesn't mean they will punch a tightly defined hole through an armored hull the way a shaped charge of chemical explosives would.
They also don't just instantly blast away a wide area of the targets hull instantly sweeping away all exposed gear in a single attack. Or, if they can, your setting's ships are relatively small and lack the volume to carry fighters and likely the length to carry large rail/coilguns. At best a small ship will carry something akin to the helicopter or two that modern cruisers and destroyers carry and certainly not the large armored gunships that Q99 suggests would rule the battlefield.
Thaaaat depends pretty heavily on the standoff distance at which the nuclear device initiates. Also the jet angle on a nuclear shaped charge, which is something I'm not sure we actually have the non-classified information to know although maybe we do.
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Re: Possible justifications for Point Defenseless

Post by Jub » 2018-06-15 08:09am

Simon_Jester wrote:
2018-06-15 07:10am
Thaaaat depends pretty heavily on the standoff distance at which the nuclear device initiates. Also the jet angle on a nuclear shaped charge, which is something I'm not sure we actually have the non-classified information to know although maybe we do.
Unless your shaped charge is capable of an OHK with the entire side of an enemy vessel within the cone, you're going to want to get within range to where one hit kill is possible. This obviously means less of the hull is covered and thus some PD is going to survive. If no OHK weapon exists you're going to want to get your weapons close or even touching the hull to deal as much damage as possible. In either case, there will be some form of PD even if that PD is just throwing your own nukes into the path of the enemies nukes, akin to how early missile defense systems were IRL. In this scenario every gun is PD, or you throw out special PD weapons at the same time you emptied your magazines.

I suppose there could be a scenario where no reasonably fieldable weapon is able to score a kill through armor, let alone an OHK. IRL, this has never actually happened to mobile units outside of one civil war battle. However, if such a state were to exist and war were to occur in that time, I'd expect a single Jutland like battle where a few lesser armored ships are sunk before both sides go home to lick their wounds. This battle would very likely be followed by both sides trying to maneuver and neither side wanting to take a fight where the enemy has their largest ship classes present.

The other likely outcome is that you simply don't have a large scale battle, much like how there was never a clash of battleships in WWII. When a battle is expensive in terms of ammo and surface level repairs but neither side expects to win a straight up fight you simply don't have fights. You find another way to conduct a war or sign a truce until you think you have the upper hand again.

None of these sound like the kind of stories/battles that Q99 wants for his setting. His setting might work in spite of the battle system not making any sense if the characters are great and the overall plot and setting are interesting or if it's a movie property, then its style could carry the day a la Pacific Rim. None of this means that the overall combat situation makes sense though.

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Re: Possible justifications for Point Defenseless

Post by Simon_Jester » 2018-06-17 11:17pm

Jub wrote:
2018-06-15 08:09am
Simon_Jester wrote:
2018-06-15 07:10am
Thaaaat depends pretty heavily on the standoff distance at which the nuclear device initiates. Also the jet angle on a nuclear shaped charge, which is something I'm not sure we actually have the non-classified information to know although maybe we do.
Unless your shaped charge is capable of an OHK with the entire side of an enemy vessel within the cone, you're going to want to get within range to where one hit kill is possible.
This may mean detonating your weapon within a few hundred meters; if the target has point defense weapons that is nigh-impossible.

The point being that what you CAN do with such a weapon from more plausible standoff ranges is sear and damage the surface features of the enemy ship, without which it is a disabled, helpless hulk. At which point you can start closing in for the kill with whatever weapons suit you.
I suppose there could be a scenario where no reasonably fieldable weapon is able to score a kill through armor, let alone an OHK. IRL, this has never actually happened to mobile units outside of one civil war battle. However, if such a state were to exist and war were to occur in that time, I'd expect a single Jutland like battle where a few lesser armored ships are sunk before both sides go home to lick their wounds. This battle would very likely be followed by both sides trying to maneuver and neither side wanting to take a fight where the enemy has their largest ship classes present.
The scenario described is that both sides are trying to blind and disarm the opposition's heavily armored ships, after which point they become relatively easier prey. This may not actually be that hard to do, though if that proves to be the case you may see fundamental redesigns focused on something more like the "modern warship missile combat" paradigm in which ships are optimized to deploy expendable platforms for combat and defend themselves very vigorously against small numbers of highly capable incoming threats, relying on active defense rather than passive.

On the other hand, if ships CAN defend themselves effectively against blinding/searing attacks with passive defenses, then that remains an option.
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Re: Possible justifications for Point Defenseless

Post by Jub » 2018-06-18 04:21pm

Does any of this lead to Q99's suggestion, the point of contention that started this tangent, that you would want to hide your sensors or that neither side would run PD because they're too vulnerable? Nope, instead, we've come back around to modern style warships, the best sensors you can run, loads of active defenses, and lobbing missiles back and forth over long engagement ranges. The bits of your PD vulnerable to high energy bursts gets buried in the hull with only the dumb bits, like hydraulic actuators and gun barrels close to the surface.

Fleet organization and communication will be key to a coordinated defense, ECM and ECCM will be of high importance, and ship classes probably break down into those carrying heavy armor and PD and those devoting more mass to carrying the offensive load, possible third classes include dedicated sensor platforms lacking in armor but heavy in active defenses and integrated fleet repair ships to aid in replacing burnt out electronics, defeated armor panels, etc.

Smaller torpedo boat/heavy fighter sized vessels, if they're found to be optimal, would be unmanned and defensive in nature deployed as another layer of PD or as a decoy to hopefully draw a stray missile or two. A smaller vessel would find itself blinded, disabled, or destroyed by the high energy bursts periodically sweeping entire sections of the battlefield and unable to punch through armor if they did get through.

Battles can run long or short depending on how effective PD is, how many missiles each side can carry, how many 'hits' it takes to kill or disable an enemy vessel. Regardless, they likely end on a rather sharp note as one side's defenses fail, leading to a cascade effect throughout the fleet either as defenses get spread more thinly or a gap is created. This is pretty much modern naval combat but missiles replace fighters as the main threat to enemy fleets.

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Re: Possible justifications for Point Defenseless

Post by Q99 » 2018-06-18 04:32pm

*Puts on No Fun Allowed hat*

In a roundball earth realistic setting, there's no need for phalanx-esque point defense/small point defense guns, because fighters in space are inherently a bad idea. They have limited room for reaction mass, limiting the amount of speed they can build up, acceleration times, and maneuvering time. They also have limited space for heat sinks, meaning they'll have to deploy large radiators if they want to do much, so they aren't even small targets, andlack of deployment of said radiators either stops them from acting in ways that produces high heat or possibly cooks them outright. No stealth means they aren't particularly harder to hit than big ships either. Basically carrying fighters is carrying a lot of dead weight that's pretty darn bad at combat compared to KKVs, missiles, and lasers and anyone who uses them is effectively handicapping themselves against a more realistic setup.

The 'point defense gun' idea is based on space fighters acting vaguely like atmospheric fighters and being able to knifefight in close, which is such a completely different environment things don't really apply.


*Takes off No Fun Allowed hat*

You can't really call unrealism on putting in a tactical puzzle when the paradigm you're advocating is completely fictitious and not really based on space combat physics at all. Or you can, but you look kinda silly and I have trouble taking it seriously.

Space Opera, on the flip side, can have all kinds of cool fighters, with or without point defense.

Like, oh, another I just made up- fighters with Inverse Space Disruption Guns. They build up power the further they are from the emitter to they hit peak space disruption harmonic effects, so you don't need close-in point defense because a fighter at point blank is no threat, but fighters at a distance are hitting you with dangerous negative space wedgies. 'Cause we can do that.


Going back to the Armor Paradigm one, Jub, none of your complaints about it really respond to the "What if it's really easy to kill all a ship's sensors with weapons that sear the hull even without enough power to penetrate armor? Then wouldn't it be better to temporarily hide some so, y'know, you can take hits and still see? Yes, you don't want to spend time blind but the whole point is to make "how can I spend as little time blind as possible without getting permanently blinded" a tactical puzzle, and Jub? The paradigm you're talking about of 'modern-esque fighting with fighters involved' is super unrealistic.

"Why would you want to spend time blinded?" Well, why would you want to have armor that can be pierced? Why would you want to be shot at at all? Wouldn't you want weapons good at blinding your opponents for the exact same reasons you don't want to be blinded?

If there was a gun that can be fired at my ship and kill my sensors from 50km away in a wide energy beam, would you not want that gun on every one of your ships? Or would you not use such a weapon on the ground that maybe your opponents will be nice and also not mount that?

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