Your opinions on collision attack between spaceships

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Re: Your opinions on collision attack between spaceships

Post by NecronLord » 2019-08-26 04:57pm

I'm far from saying either that 40k ramming incidents are generally relativistic (they're really not) or any of that stuff, but for what it's worth, when the writers actually do want to depict impacts happening at the upper limits of speed, they certainly take this into account. The setting's most famous ramming incident from Know No Fear shows that much of the matter involved is released as light.
Know no fear wrote:The Campanile accelerates. It lights its main realspace drives, delivering main extending thrust in a position where it should be almost coasting at correction burst only. It raises its void shielding to make itself as unstoppable as possible. It fires itself like a bullet at the planet Calth.

The screams of its crew can still be heard, but no one is listening.

Main extending thrust is a drive condition used for principal acceleration, the maximum output that takes a starship to the brink of realspace velocity as it makes the translation to the empyrean. It is a condition that is used as a starship moves away from a planet towards the nearest viable Mandeville Point, a distance that is roughly half the radius of an average star system.

There is no such long run-up here. The Campanile is already inside the orbit of Calth’s satellite. There is not enough range for it to reach anything like maximum output or velocity. Even so, it is travelling at something close to the order of forty per cent of the realspace limit as it reaches the edge of the atmosphere. It is travelling too fast for anything physical, such as an eye or a pict-corder or a visual monitor, to see it. It is only visible to scanning systems and sensors, to detectors and auspex. They shriek at its sudden, savage, shockwave approach.

Their shrieks are as futile as the unheard screams of its lost crew.

It does not hit Calth.

There is something in the way.

[mark: -0.18.32]

The Campanile streaks like a missile into Calth’s orbital shipping belt. It punches through the formations of ships in parking orbit, the rows of freighters, barges and troop vessels at high anchor, the precisely spaced lines of vast cruisers and frigates, the glittering clouds of small craft, loaders, lifters and boats attending the parent ships.
It is like a bolter round fired into a crowd.

It misses the Mlatus, the Cavascor, the Lutine and the Samothrace by less than a ship’s length. It passes under the beam of the battleship Ultimus Mundi and skims the back of the gargantuan carrier ship Testament of Andromeda. Its shields graze the hull of the strike craft Mlekrus, vaporising the masts and arrays of its starboard detectors. It slices between the battle-barges Gauntlet of Victory and Gauntlet of Glory. By the time it crosses the bow of the grand cruiser Suspiria Majestrix, shredding the mooring and fuelling lines that secure the famous vessel to its bulk tenders, the Campanile has begun to swat aside small craft, annihilating them against the front of its shields. The small ships disintegrate, fierce blue sparks fizzle against the shield shimmer: cargo boats, lighters, ferries, maintenance riggers. The Campanile’s shield displacement hurls others out of the way like a tidal bore, swirling into each other, compressing them with gravimetric thrust, crashing them against the hulls of larger ships or the support cradles of the outer orbital yards.

Then the Campanile reaches the main shipyard.

The Calth Yards are orbiting islands, the fledgling beginnings of the planet’s first proper superorbital plate. There are a dozen of them orbiting Calth. This is Calth Veridian Anchor, the largest and oldest of them. It is a massive edifice of jetties and slips, ship cradles and docks, suspension manufactories, habitats, depots and docking platforms. It is a little over three hundred kilometres across, a raft of metal and activity and life.
The Campanile hits it, creating light. Void shields moving at high sub-light velocities strike physical matter, and mutually annihilate. The tender simply vaporises the Ultramar Azimuth Graving Dock, shredding the superstructure of the giant berth cradle, and the cruiser Antipathy docked inside it. Cut in half, the nine kilometre-long Antipathy vanishes in a ripple of rapidly expanding heat and light as its drives detonate, and six thousand lives disappear with it. The blast incinerates the two manufactory modules adjoining the graving dock, instantly killing another thirty thousand artificers and engineers, and shears the superstructure away from arrestor silos A112 and A114, both of which collapse sideways, spilling the escort Burnabus into the fast escort Jeriko Rex. Both vessels suffer catastrophic hull damage. The Burnabus crushes and deforms like a spent shell case.
The Campanile is still moving. As the Ultramar Azimuth Graving Dock disintegrates behind it, it punches on through Assembly 919, a hollow spheroid currently housing the Menace of Fortis, the Deliverance of Terra and the Mechanicum fabrication ship Phobos Encoder. All three ships are obliterated. The assembly spheroid ruptures like a glass ball. Propelled debris rips into attached habitat modules, voiding them to space. Part of the Phobos Encoder is flung out of the explosion and spins into the yard’s principal cargo facility, which buckles laterally. This secondary impact destroys forty-nine lift ships and one hundred and sixty-eight small lighters and ferries. Cargo pods and transportation containers spew out like beads from a snapped necklace, like grains of rice from a ripped sack. They spill, tumbling. Some start to glow blowtorch blue as they plunge into the high atmosphere.

Calth Veridian Anchor shudders. Internal explosions propagate through it, driven along by the devastating trajectory of the Campanile. Habitats and depots blow out. Jetties collapse. Manipulator cranes buckle and fold like wading birds struck by a hunter’s buckshot. The Aegis of Occluda catches fire, all seven kilometres of it, in its ship cradle. The Triumph of Iax, secured in an arrestor slip, is crippled as a storm of debris penetrates it. Its secondary drives implode, ripping the massive ship through ninety degrees like a man being swung by his ankles. The bow, still encased in its slip housing framework, encounters the Tarmus Usurper, which is being fitted out in the adjacent slip. The collision mangles them, tears them, lacerates their hulls. Atmospherics void explosively from rent hull plates, aerosol jets filled with particles that are tiny, tumbling bodies.

Light blossoms. The annihilation of matter is vast, and light is the only form in which it can escape. The battleship Spirit of Konor, seventeen kilometres long and one of the most powerful warships in the fleet of the Five Hundred Worlds, ignites, and then vanishes as critical damage compromises its power plants and vast munitions stockpiles. Huge, burning sections of the yard structure are ejected upwards, whirling, into space, or are spat down at the world beneath. The Ultramar Zenith Graving Dock suffers integral gravimetric failure and drops out, breaking and twisting towards the planet below. The grand cruiser Antrodamicus, supported by that dock, rips free of its moorings and begins to slide backwards out of the collapsing cradle, in some ghastly parody of a ship launch. Its drives are off-line. It has no power to prevent its slide or stabilise its position, at least nothing that can be lit or brought to bear fast enough. It is a huge ship, twelve kilometres long. It simply slips away backwards, like a vast promontory of ice calving from a glacier into the sea.

The Campanile is still moving. Its shields finally fail and it is just a solid projectile, a mass of metal. It annihilates two more slipways, and the ships within them, cripples the anchored carrier Johanipus Artemisia, and then rams through the data-engine hub in the centre of the yard structure. All the data-engines are destroyed instantly. The automatics fail. The noosphere experiences a critical and fatal interrupt. Another thirty-five thousand individuals perish as the yard’s core is obliterated.

Impact has virtually erased the unshielded mass of the Campanile. Its structure is atomised, except for the largest chunks of it, which punch onwards as the ship breaks up, still travelling at immensely high realspace velocities, communicating billions of tonnes of force. The largest surviving piece, a part of the Campanile’s solid-core drive section, spins out like a ricochet and kills the battleship Remonstrance of Narthan Dume like a slingshot pellet to the brainpan.

The final pieces of the Campanile clear the far side of Calth Veridian Anchor and spray on out across the planet, scattering, dipping and burning like meteorites.

This entire catastrophe has taken less than a second to occur. It has been entirely silent, a light-blink in the soundless void.
All that any observers – either on nearby vessels or the surface of the planet – would have seen was a blinding flash, like a star going nova, that was instantly replaced by a propagating series of overlapping, expanding fireballs that consume the entire sky.
I've underlined some parts directly referencing the impact describing vapoursation and underlined and bolded the bit about energy conversion, though of course it says light rather than 'electromagnetic radiation' but I think the intention is clear.

Of course, the Calth incident is not typical, and is a rare example of a ramming that the author intends to be relativistic, as usually ships seem to be moving at far less speed than that when they engage one another; most rammings don't destroy several ships and vapourise the ramming ship once its shields drop, after all. Though honestly, outside of memes I have a hard time thinking of a ramming actually happening in the novels.
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Re: Your opinions on collision attack between spaceships

Post by WhiteLion » 2019-08-27 12:26am

If a ramming is not done at relativistic speed it certainly does not do these damages. This quote actually goes well beyond what I imagined, in practice the ship, if traveling at relativistic speed, vaporizes what it encounters on its trajectory, and how much I understand it takes many bumps against large targets even to exhaust the shields of the void, and several others to shatter the armor once the shields have given way. Is this quote from Calth canon? What novel is it?

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Re: Your opinions on collision attack between spaceships

Post by NecronLord » 2019-08-27 06:18am

That is from the Horus Heresy novel Know No Fear and is as canonical as it gets.
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Re: Your opinions on collision attack between spaceships

Post by WhiteLion » 2019-08-27 12:05pm

NecronLord wrote:
2019-08-27 06:18am
That is from the Horus Heresy novel Know No Fear and is as canonical as it gets.
excuse me but my english is not very well, you would tell that is canon or not?

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Re: Your opinions on collision attack between spaceships

Post by Eternal_Freedom » 2019-08-27 12:25pm

It is highest-level canon, equivalent to something that is clearly shown in a SW film or ST episode.
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Re: Your opinions on collision attack between spaceships

Post by Elheru Aran » 2019-08-27 12:39pm

Eternal_Freedom wrote:
2019-08-27 12:25pm
It is highest-level canon, equivalent to something that is clearly shown in a SW film or ST episode.
Yup. Games Workshop canon is basically "if you see it on the page and it's not a lie from daemons or some such, it's canon." This gives them an out on stuff like the Word Bearers' vision of the Primarchs being scattered (that's obviously Chaos screwing with them, and may not actually have happened the way it's depicted) but allows them to keep neat stuff like the Campanile.
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Re: Your opinions on collision attack between spaceships

Post by Sky Captain » 2019-08-27 04:20pm

NecronLord wrote:
2019-08-26 04:57pm
I'm far from saying either that 40k ramming incidents are generally relativistic (they're really not) or any of that stuff, but for what it's worth, when the writers actually do want to depict impacts happening at the upper limits of speed, they certainly take this into account. The setting's most famous ramming incident from Know No Fear shows that much of the matter involved is released as light.
Know no fear wrote:The Campanile accelerates. It lights its main realspace drives, delivering main extending thrust in a position where it should be almost coasting at correction burst only. It raises its void shielding to make itself as unstoppable as possible. It fires itself like a bullet at the planet Calth.

The screams of its crew can still be heard, but no one is listening.

Main extending thrust is a drive condition used for principal acceleration, the maximum output that takes a starship to the brink of realspace velocity as it makes the translation to the empyrean. It is a condition that is used as a starship moves away from a planet towards the nearest viable Mandeville Point, a distance that is roughly half the radius of an average star system.

There is no such long run-up here. The Campanile is already inside the orbit of Calth’s satellite. There is not enough range for it to reach anything like maximum output or velocity. Even so, it is travelling at something close to the order of forty per cent of the realspace limit as it reaches the edge of the atmosphere. It is travelling too fast for anything physical, such as an eye or a pict-corder or a visual monitor, to see it. It is only visible to scanning systems and sensors, to detectors and auspex. They shriek at its sudden, savage, shockwave approach.

Their shrieks are as futile as the unheard screams of its lost crew.

It does not hit Calth.

There is something in the way.

[mark: -0.18.32]

The Campanile streaks like a missile into Calth’s orbital shipping belt. It punches through the formations of ships in parking orbit, the rows of freighters, barges and troop vessels at high anchor, the precisely spaced lines of vast cruisers and frigates, the glittering clouds of small craft, loaders, lifters and boats attending the parent ships.
It is like a bolter round fired into a crowd.

It misses the Mlatus, the Cavascor, the Lutine and the Samothrace by less than a ship’s length. It passes under the beam of the battleship Ultimus Mundi and skims the back of the gargantuan carrier ship Testament of Andromeda. Its shields graze the hull of the strike craft Mlekrus, vaporising the masts and arrays of its starboard detectors. It slices between the battle-barges Gauntlet of Victory and Gauntlet of Glory. By the time it crosses the bow of the grand cruiser Suspiria Majestrix, shredding the mooring and fuelling lines that secure the famous vessel to its bulk tenders, the Campanile has begun to swat aside small craft, annihilating them against the front of its shields. The small ships disintegrate, fierce blue sparks fizzle against the shield shimmer: cargo boats, lighters, ferries, maintenance riggers. The Campanile’s shield displacement hurls others out of the way like a tidal bore, swirling into each other, compressing them with gravimetric thrust, crashing them against the hulls of larger ships or the support cradles of the outer orbital yards.

Then the Campanile reaches the main shipyard.

The Calth Yards are orbiting islands, the fledgling beginnings of the planet’s first proper superorbital plate. There are a dozen of them orbiting Calth. This is Calth Veridian Anchor, the largest and oldest of them. It is a massive edifice of jetties and slips, ship cradles and docks, suspension manufactories, habitats, depots and docking platforms. It is a little over three hundred kilometres across, a raft of metal and activity and life.
The Campanile hits it, creating light. Void shields moving at high sub-light velocities strike physical matter, and mutually annihilate. The tender simply vaporises the Ultramar Azimuth Graving Dock, shredding the superstructure of the giant berth cradle, and the cruiser Antipathy docked inside it. Cut in half, the nine kilometre-long Antipathy vanishes in a ripple of rapidly expanding heat and light as its drives detonate, and six thousand lives disappear with it. The blast incinerates the two manufactory modules adjoining the graving dock, instantly killing another thirty thousand artificers and engineers, and shears the superstructure away from arrestor silos A112 and A114, both of which collapse sideways, spilling the escort Burnabus into the fast escort Jeriko Rex. Both vessels suffer catastrophic hull damage. The Burnabus crushes and deforms like a spent shell case.
The Campanile is still moving. As the Ultramar Azimuth Graving Dock disintegrates behind it, it punches on through Assembly 919, a hollow spheroid currently housing the Menace of Fortis, the Deliverance of Terra and the Mechanicum fabrication ship Phobos Encoder. All three ships are obliterated. The assembly spheroid ruptures like a glass ball. Propelled debris rips into attached habitat modules, voiding them to space. Part of the Phobos Encoder is flung out of the explosion and spins into the yard’s principal cargo facility, which buckles laterally. This secondary impact destroys forty-nine lift ships and one hundred and sixty-eight small lighters and ferries. Cargo pods and transportation containers spew out like beads from a snapped necklace, like grains of rice from a ripped sack. They spill, tumbling. Some start to glow blowtorch blue as they plunge into the high atmosphere.

Calth Veridian Anchor shudders. Internal explosions propagate through it, driven along by the devastating trajectory of the Campanile. Habitats and depots blow out. Jetties collapse. Manipulator cranes buckle and fold like wading birds struck by a hunter’s buckshot. The Aegis of Occluda catches fire, all seven kilometres of it, in its ship cradle. The Triumph of Iax, secured in an arrestor slip, is crippled as a storm of debris penetrates it. Its secondary drives implode, ripping the massive ship through ninety degrees like a man being swung by his ankles. The bow, still encased in its slip housing framework, encounters the Tarmus Usurper, which is being fitted out in the adjacent slip. The collision mangles them, tears them, lacerates their hulls. Atmospherics void explosively from rent hull plates, aerosol jets filled with particles that are tiny, tumbling bodies.

Light blossoms. The annihilation of matter is vast, and light is the only form in which it can escape. The battleship Spirit of Konor, seventeen kilometres long and one of the most powerful warships in the fleet of the Five Hundred Worlds, ignites, and then vanishes as critical damage compromises its power plants and vast munitions stockpiles. Huge, burning sections of the yard structure are ejected upwards, whirling, into space, or are spat down at the world beneath. The Ultramar Zenith Graving Dock suffers integral gravimetric failure and drops out, breaking and twisting towards the planet below. The grand cruiser Antrodamicus, supported by that dock, rips free of its moorings and begins to slide backwards out of the collapsing cradle, in some ghastly parody of a ship launch. Its drives are off-line. It has no power to prevent its slide or stabilise its position, at least nothing that can be lit or brought to bear fast enough. It is a huge ship, twelve kilometres long. It simply slips away backwards, like a vast promontory of ice calving from a glacier into the sea.

The Campanile is still moving. Its shields finally fail and it is just a solid projectile, a mass of metal. It annihilates two more slipways, and the ships within them, cripples the anchored carrier Johanipus Artemisia, and then rams through the data-engine hub in the centre of the yard structure. All the data-engines are destroyed instantly. The automatics fail. The noosphere experiences a critical and fatal interrupt. Another thirty-five thousand individuals perish as the yard’s core is obliterated.

Impact has virtually erased the unshielded mass of the Campanile. Its structure is atomised, except for the largest chunks of it, which punch onwards as the ship breaks up, still travelling at immensely high realspace velocities, communicating billions of tonnes of force. The largest surviving piece, a part of the Campanile’s solid-core drive section, spins out like a ricochet and kills the battleship Remonstrance of Narthan Dume like a slingshot pellet to the brainpan.

The final pieces of the Campanile clear the far side of Calth Veridian Anchor and spray on out across the planet, scattering, dipping and burning like meteorites.

This entire catastrophe has taken less than a second to occur. It has been entirely silent, a light-blink in the soundless void.
All that any observers – either on nearby vessels or the surface of the planet – would have seen was a blinding flash, like a star going nova, that was instantly replaced by a propagating series of overlapping, expanding fireballs that consume the entire sky.
I've underlined some parts directly referencing the impact describing vapoursation and underlined and bolded the bit about energy conversion, though of course it says light rather than 'electromagnetic radiation' but I think the intention is clear.

Of course, the Calth incident is not typical, and is a rare example of a ramming that the author intends to be relativistic, as usually ships seem to be moving at far less speed than that when they engage one another; most rammings don't destroy several ships and vapourise the ramming ship once its shields drop, after all. Though honestly, outside of memes I have a hard time thinking of a ramming actually happening in the novels.
I think the described impact effects are severely underestimated, Mass of the impacting ship is not given, but even at few thousand tons (and 40k ships tend to be much more massive) the impact energy would be in multi teraton range. Anyone on the planet within line of sight would die instantly from thermal pulse. Anything flammable would catch fire resulting in firestorms covering large part of the planet. Atmosphere below the stricken shipyard would get super-heated probably resulting in severe atmospheric shockwaves too.

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Re: Your opinions on collision attack between spaceships

Post by NecronLord » 2019-08-27 05:24pm

More that you're underestimating how much Games Workshop will drill down into lasting effects of a battle than that there's no environmental impacts.

Calth was heavily shielded (do you think they don't put shields on their planets, this is also explicitly why the entire population isn't killed at once) and everyone on the surface is still killed even with that within hours unless they immediately suceeded in finding deep shelter.

There is an entire boxed game about the terrible fighting in the tunnels underneath the surface which comes with tiles representing the tunnels because the surface is rendered uninhabitable, while there is an entire anthology of stories named after the characteristic radiation scarring of Calthans and an audio play that takes its name from another of the names for Calthan survivors. The unfortunate survivors of the planet were also frequently mutated in subsequent generations. Most of those left on Cath do not see the sky again for seven years until the Heresy is concluded and they can be rescued.

Ten thousand years later Calth is still classified as a Death World due to the lasting environmental effects of the Campanile ramming and the deorbiting of a hundred miles wide orbital plate plus various other shipyard assets on its surface, as the overall effect of this event and the subsequent battle blasts the planet's atmosphere from its surface and only enclosed arcologies built underground can sustain life.
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Re: Your opinions on collision attack between spaceships

Post by WhiteLion » 2019-08-28 01:42am

there is also to consider that the ship in question was a cruiser, so it will have been at most 5 km in length for 29-30 million tons. If it had been an 8-12 km long battleship that according to the canonical sources of wikia is credited with a mass of billions of tons then the speech would have been different in terms of damage.
Anyway thanks a lot for the quote from horus heresy, in fact I expected the target of the collision to be destroyed, instead from what we read it is vaporized, and not just a target but a large number of multiple targets consecutively.
From this we can also conclude that the 40k ships are able not only to vaporize the targets of the collisions but also to survive without problems to more than one in a row.

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Re: Your opinions on collision attack between spaceships

Post by NecronLord » 2019-08-28 02:57am

In actual fact it's a fuel tender, A smaller civilian transport but one with a nicely massive cargo.
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Re: Your opinions on collision attack between spaceships

Post by WhiteLion » 2019-08-28 05:41pm

ok, I read badly then.
So the gap is even greater, even if it had been a common cruiser the damage would have been even more significant.

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Re: Your opinions on collision attack between spaceships

Post by JI_Joe84 » 2019-09-13 04:47pm

This guy on YouTube (he goes by the name Isaac Arthur) goes into great detail discussing possible weapons that a real alien civilization could use to attack us and basically comes to the conclusion that no space craft is unarmed.
Why you might ask, well if they have the speed to break orbit then they have the speed to make one heck of a bang just by accidentally running into stuff.
I.E. Kinetic Impactor's are interchangeable with general purpose "space craft" also see adm. Holdo's last maneuver in the last Star Wars film. The sheer speed those ships are able to do, in very short distances mind you, makes raming attacks a very good way of inflicting nuclear lvl damage on another ship without having to resort to "exotic" materials at all.
All you need is a hyperdrive and some mass and you have a missile.

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Re: Your opinions on collision attack between spaceships

Post by Solauren » 2019-09-13 05:55pm

Hell, all you need is a bunch of rocks you and release at speed. Slow down, and let the rocks hit.
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Re: Your opinions on collision attack between spaceships

Post by Batman » 2019-09-13 08:36pm

I'm leery of involving hyperdrive because our understanding pf physics breaks down past lightspeed but basically JIJoe84 is basically correct-if you can move around in space with those kinds of accelerations with ships that massive it's as Solauren says...just drag a few rocks along and lob them at the target
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Re: Your opinions on collision attack between spaceships

Post by Batman » 2019-09-13 09:16pm

Yes, double basically in the same sentence. It's not like anybody but me cares
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Re: Your opinions on collision attack between spaceships

Post by KraytKing » 2019-09-14 07:31pm

Batman wrote:
2019-09-13 09:16pm
Yes, double basically in the same sentence. It's not like anybody but me cares
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Re: Your opinions on collision attack between spaceships

Post by NecronLord » 2019-09-17 06:46am

I would say that within the 40k context the writers notably do understand RKVs reasonably well. Most races in 40k use warp travel, which normally requires transition at 'Mandeville Points' at the 'gravipause' of a system; usually far out in the system. For plot flexibility it *is* possible to transit into or out of the warp closer to a system's star but carries unacceptable risks for most purpouses.

Most depictions, though again there is some variance, of warp travel, particularly in tie in media like computer games, show that the transition itself is not particularly kinetic and it seems unlikely that it is possible to transit

Warp drives (mostly) must be manned, requiring a navigator to travel any significant distance, who use their monopoly on trade to make themselves rich and are accorded a noble status, to be present aboard the ship. (They also require gellar fields to hold enslaved/cyberneticised psykers who are also a limited resource).

The cost of everything involved with star travel is extreme to the Imperium, and they're not in a position to be throwing ships away as a rule.

So there's a lot of factors that prevent RKVs being a viable weapon for the Imperium of Man, especially for interstellar warfare. As in the Macharius quote above, they're quite willing to engineer them within a given star system to respond to a specific challenge though.

On the flip side, my android death buddies the necrons are absolutely willing to use pure RKVs when they care to.
Imperial Armour 12: Fall of Orpheus wrote:With frightening speed the Necron fleet had closed the empty void between them and was entering extreme weapons range before any more orders could be given or carried out. The Imperial armada though was first to speak its wrath. Hundreds of torpedoes spat from the launch tubes of the massed destroyers, frigates and cruisers of the Imperial force blazing straight and true on pillars of fire towards the black fleet that awaited them. The Necrons came on undeterred, and as the torpedo swarm drew closer they made no attempt to alter course or evade, and as hundreds of thousands of kilometers of distance was eaten away to tens of thousands, no avoidance maneuvers nor counter-fire issued from the ominous xenos warships.

On the flag bridge of the Arica Domina, all looked on in breathless silence as the torpedoes entered terminal range. Suddenly, where hundreds of blue icons had flickered on the holo-sphere tracking the projectiles' flight, red alarm glyphs now flashed frantically and simply disappeared. Scores of torpedoes simply ceased to function, rendered inert and powerless by some agency the Imperial battle auspexes could not even detect, while others self-destructed or spun widely off course as if blinded. The few that flew true were simply avoided with contemptuous ease by the Necron vessels, which sped past them at unguessable velocities, or vented their atomic spite uselessly against the impassive black hulls of the great tomb ships, too few to have any real effect. Still the Necron ships, blacker yet against the darkness of the cold void, came on.

[...]


Within mere moments the two fleets neared the edge of lance range and the Necrons fired. On the bridges of the Imperial ships alarm sirens howled as massive gravitational distortions were detected hurtling towards them at speeds barely below that of light, and too late the struggling machine spirits and cogitators of the Imperial ships identified them for what they were- fragments of dead stars. These bolts of oblivion shattered void shields in bright actinic flashes and tore open the ships within with savage ease, and up and down the Imperial line, ships both great and small simply flashed out of existence. Alongside the Arica Dominus the battkecruiser Richtenback, which had served the Imperium since before the Great Crusade, was struck amidships and exploded, bathing the armada's flagship in fire and debris, shaking her to her core. Despite the tumult around him Carew issued the order for the armada to come about to broadside and fire at will, and the closing void between the two fleets became a blinding storm of blazing lance beams and plasma fire, hurtling macro-cannon shells and roaring missiles whilst the Necrons answered with a fury all of their own as blasts of emerald and amber light flickered out to splinter hulls and strip away decks. The two fleets interpenetrated and parted, raking each other mercilessly as they passed and Carew watched in horror as the holo-sphere resolved the chaoric details of the battle into some semblance of order, hte casualty lists flickering on it as strange Mechanicus-cant runes which only a trained and augmented eye had any hope of being able to interpret at such speed.
This example is the largest known naval battle between the Imperium and the necrons, and has a number of Imperial ships hit by degenerate stellar matter (neutronium?) accellerated to speeds barely below C.

It's possible these are RKVs launched alongside the necron ships, or that they were launched from the necron ships, but either is an example of truly relativistic weapons being used to instantly destroy ships. We're not told of any imperial ships surviving these relativistic impactors.

Incidentally, from the same page...
The firepower of the fleet at his disposal was of an unimaginable order of magnitude and more than capable of shattering entire worlds through brute force alone; a fact that he believed his foe was more than aware of. Now, with the Imperial battle auspexes repaired, he could ascertain that the black fleet possessed less than a quarter of his own number of vessels and, by Imperial standards, far less in tonnage, the bulk comprising what would comparably be of the escort class in Imperial terms. The larger vessels, some twenty in number, were, according to the intelligence provided to him by the Ordo Xenos, identified as 'harvest ships', while the foe matched his eleven greatest warships with two monsters of their own. Together, anchoring the centre of the attacking crescent, these 'tomb ships' were gigantic; each being over fifteen kilometres in span and surmounted with strange pyramid-like structures that threw off incomprehensible energy readings which baffled and alarmed his Magos.
For those inclined to "biggatons", the Imperial battlefleet at Amarah was not more than a thousand ships (more like hundreds) which means they must be able to output around 1e29 J in some measurable timeframe each to perform as the admiral imagines here.

BUt yeah, RKVs are possible, true relativistic weapons certainly, but the FTL of the Imperium is designed in such a way as to make interesting stories possible, and even if you built an interstellar RKV you'd need to persuade a navigator to get onto it.

Of course, you could built a hard-sci fi RKV and travel interstellar just below C. But the existence of FTL makes that rather futile.
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Re: Your opinions on collision attack between spaceships

Post by WhiteLion » 2019-09-19 02:47am

@ NecronLord
Beautiful quote, what novel is it? I really liked this short paragraph, I'd like to read the whole novel, the necrons have always fascinated me a lot.

P.S: sorry for my ignorance, what do you mean by RKV?

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Re: Your opinions on collision attack between spaceships

Post by NecronLord » 2019-09-19 03:01am

RKV = Relativistic Kill Vehicle - a hypothetical space weapon consisting of an engine accellerated to relativistic speed and used as a weapon, another way of saying high speed ramming.

The quote, as indicated, is from Imperial Armour 12, Fall of Orpheus, one of Forge World's out of print books, so you're not going to be able to get it lawfully unless it's reprinted or second-hand.
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Re: Your opinions on collision attack between spaceships

Post by WhiteLion » 2019-09-19 03:15am

thank you so much

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