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GiledPallaeon

Belay That Order: Ship Types and Star Wars Exceptions

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1 hour ago, Maturin said:

Anyways, to get back to GP's original post, I think Armada has room for more Cruisers.  As the most flexible type of ship we should be seeing them more often!  They could play MSU-leader, or Support for a Battleship/Dreadnought....it would be nice to have more ships in the ~70-80 point range to choose from.  Right now the VSD and AF seem squadron-focused in their roles; how about a beefier ship with a 0 or 1 squadron value?

Bothan Cruiser for Rebs and Carrack for Impis?

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4 hours ago, Maturin said:

I believe that's the intent of Relay - extend a ship's command range via a forward controller.  I can't really think of a mechanism by which a squadron would itself have a squadron command value.....though i suppose it could be included as a special rule.

The other question is would it still count as a large based squadron or as a flotilla? A E-2 Sentry has a max take off weight of 347,000lbs, compared to what is a large fighter the F-15 Eagle's 68,000lbs. Now I know that values of a plane today really has nothing to do with what they want to do but just looking at some ships that I am guessing would be flotilla's the WWII PT Boat comes in at 112,000lbs (or 235,000lbs less), a more modern version the PHM Pegasus comes in at 510,000lbs (or 163,000lbs more). So I cold see it as a large base fighter with no weapons (I do not know of a single AWACS that has any weapons) but the special ability, or a Flotilla again with no weapons (or maybe some if modeled as one AWACS with escort?) but a decent squadron value.

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On 7/11/2019 at 8:44 PM, GiledPallaeon said:

Compare ships using criteria related to what they are and what they do, not their role.

This phrase doesn't make sense without prior understanding. What did you mean? isn't role and "do" the same?

 

On 7/11/2019 at 8:44 PM, GiledPallaeon said:

(If someone wants an explanation of how a torpedo really attacks its target, please post and I will make a separate addendum on the subject.)

Me too, if you haven't gotten to it already

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4 hours ago, Blail Blerg said:

How do you classify the armada flotillas?

The nearest WWII equivalent I think would be the cargo ships converted to Merchant Auxilluiarry Carriers (MAC) for convoy escort.

 

A few pom-pom guns and 6 Swordfish or Martlets/Wildcat fighters. Just enough to scout around the convoy and keep the U-Boat's heads underwater, report their positions to escort destroyers and maybe make an attack with 50cals, rockets and depth charges. 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merchant_aircraft_carrier

 

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20 hours ago, Blail Blerg said:

This phrase doesn't make sense without prior understanding. What did you mean? isn't role and "do" the same?

 

Me too, if you haven't gotten to it already

A better way of phrasing that might have been "what they do, not what they're named". Example: the Arquitens is clearly a cruiser; its command functionality is used with a fair amount of frequency in both TCW and Rebels. Compare this to the MC30 "frigate", which much more closely resembles the original idea of a "frigate-rigged" ship, which in more modern parlance is a heavy destroyer (verging on cruiser by raw firepower), despite heavily outmassing the Imperial cruiser.

 

So the way torpedoes are commonly depicted as working is hitting the side of the ship more or less square, detonating, and blasting a hole in the hull. That idea was used up into World War II (and beyond in some navies that couldn't afford more advanced weapons systems). However that doesn't work on an armored warship, so contact warheads were mostly limited to use on known "soft" targets (merchantmen and lighter warships that couldn't afford the tonnage.) More or less immediately after the invention of the self-propelled torpedo, naval architects went to work developing countermeasures (almost all until very recently have been passive systems that essentially functioned as armor.) These systems are very obvious when a ship is out the water, as the otherwise sleek form bulges out (thus "torpedo bulge"). The principle was effectively spaced armor, where the torpedo warhead would be detonated by the outer layer of the system, with the shock absorbed by specially designed filler material (often at least partially if not completely fluid-filled). This meant that not only did the weapon not pierce the inner buoyant hull but the shock damage was (mostly) isolated from the ship.

Torpedo bulges kind of worked. The best example of their effectiveness was at the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. Air-dropped torpedoes were obviously designed to kill any kind of warship (I promise I'm getting there) and thus were actually aimed under the keel. Pearl Harbor is too shallow for this attack, so the Japanese spent several months developing and testing a modified version of the Type 91 air-dropped torpedo (formally the Type 91 Mod. 2 IIRC) that wouldn't dive straight into the bottom of the harbor. Most of these modifications worked (we fished more than one torpedo out of the mud after the attack), and the torpedoes slammed into the sides of the American battleships on Battleship Row (and a couple cruisers, the Raleigh and the Helena). Because it was a surprise attack, the Americans did not have the watertight doors on the ships shut (as would be the case in combat), but the Navy discovered something interesting. Of the battleships hit by torpedoes (Oklahoma took 5, West Virginia 7, California 2, and Nevada 1), the bulk of the damage suffered was not the actual holes caused by the blasts. Instead, the bulk of the flooding was caused by the torpedo warheads knocking the frames of the ships out of alignment and causing tears in the ship that way.

It's ok if you're not totally sure what a frame is, it builds into the actual preferred method of torpedo use. Basically the way most monohull ships are built is with a keel and frames. Think of the keel as your spine, and the frames as your ribs, if your ribs went from the top of your head all the way to your toes. The keel is the fundamental structural component of the ship, while the frames give the ship shape. Here's the thing: all of that structural engineering is done with the idea that the water will be supporting the bottom of the ship. When a ship is out of the water, i.e. in drydock, a careful eye will notice that the ship is very carefully placed on many support structures all holding the keel and the lower parts of the frames. Think of this like the jack points on your car, except we're holding up the whole car.

A modern torpedo (IIRC this attack was invented between the World Wars, and perfected in the era since) attacks the keel. Remember, explosives work by exerting force on the things around them over very short periods of time. This is always the rapid (we're talking dozens of microseconds up into dozens of milliseconds here) expansion of a lot of gas. When the warhead goes off, all of that force is now pushing up on the keel, straining it in a way that it is not designed to deal with. Very shortly thereafter (still working in fractions of a second here) the gas will have expanded enough the weight of the water will start pushing back. But the water doesn't have the chemical energy that pushed the gas out, so it will rush back into the space (comparatively) slowly. What this means is the ship will also "fall" into that space, before being pushed back out by the water. (It also gets slammed by the weight of the water, but the damage is usually done.) This violent up-down cycle will usually snap the keel, and tear a hole through the ship at the point of the detonation. Sometimes (varies depending on state of target and how big a warhead you hit it with) the ship will snap cleanly in half. If you look very closely towards the end of the second video in the original post, you a gash running up the side of the ship roughly where the fount of water was. That's the hole torn when the keel snapped. On almost any ship, a hit that central is very fatal. (And that's without accounting for the shock damage that probably left the ship without power dead in the water.) All that make sense?

See below for one of the better images of torpedo bulges I've ever seen. This is HMS Royal Oak I believe.

66687394_768752093540070_888640379346223

Edited by GiledPallaeon

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20 hours ago, Mad Cat said:

The nearest WWII equivalent I think would be the cargo ships converted to Merchant Auxilluiarry Carriers (MAC) for convoy escort.

 

A few pom-pom guns and 6 Swordfish or Martlets/Wildcat fighters. Just enough to scout around the convoy and keep the U-Boat's heads underwater, report their positions to escort destroyers and maybe make an attack with 50cals, rockets and depth charges. 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merchant_aircraft_carrier

 

I think that’s true for the Rebel Transport, but I think the Gozanti is better described by a true fighting ship.

 

Maybe a corvette, but since it can scatter I think a fast attack craft of some sort is closest.  E-boats, MGB’s, PT boats, etc.  The Goz lacks the black dice that would signify torpedo equivalent firepower, so British MGB’s would be the closest parallel.  

 

Armed Merchant Cruisers could be another possibility, since they were lightly armed (and lacked gun directors for the most part)...and if caught in a real fight didn’t last long.

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I was motivated by this topic to finish a section of a story I've been writing a while. I post it here for interest and thanks to the OP for great thoughts.

This section is an in-universe response to the question "What is a Frigate?"

 

https://daveswargames.blogspot.com/2019/07/what-is-frigate-excerpt.html

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On ‎7‎/‎13‎/‎2019 at 12:41 AM, xanderf said:

Nah, the only real way to look at the series is picking out what references Lucas was attempting to emphasize.  Famously, the dogfighting over the Death Star in ANH was intended to be evocative of the Battle of Britain (not just aircraft dogfights, or even WW2 dogfights, but specifically the Battle of Britain).  And I think the ship-to-ship combat - although not as clearly stated in interviews (that I'm aware of), but certainly VISUALLY clearly indicated 

Nah, I think he was focused on WW2 bomber missions, specifically the movie Dam Busters. Someone did a nice side by side comparison of ANH, and there are some similarities.

 

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1 hour ago, Ling27 said:

@GiledPallaeon Today I learned about Amphibious Assault Ships (thanks USS Boxer). Would stuff like the Acclamator fall into that catagory/role?

Roughly yes. Boxer is a Landing Helicopter Dock, so you’re looking at the troop landing and aircraft (LAAT/i gunships mostly) element of the Acclamator class. The other good comparison is a merge with the San Antonio class Landing Platform, Docks, which include the heavy armor lift the Acclamator carries but is not standard on Tarawa class (of which Boxer is one) or the follow-on America class LHA (also sometimes called amphibious assault ships, but that is a nebulous term. The big change in the early America class units is the lack of the well deck for landing craft.) Neither real ship type carries the offensive firepower that the Star Wars vessel does, only self-defense systems, but the San Antonios were designed to accept standard Mark 41 Vertical Launch Systems that could carry heavier air defense missiles and surface to surface weapons that mimic the shore fire capabilities of the Republic turbolasers and torpedoes.

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1 hour ago, Ling27 said:

So, its basically a get in there and land to deploy troops while also acting as a localized C&C for supporting aircraft?

More or less. It’s not all the way up on the beach, but it’s not supposed to be all that far offshore either. It’s using landing craft (the LCAC specifically) to get troops on the beach initially, and it has a full flight deck and hangar deck to run any helicopter you can think of and S/VTOL aircraft if you have any (the Harrier, which we retired, and now the F-35B). By contrast the San Antonio’s are more optimized to move heavy equipment (artillery, tanks, etc.) so they have less aviation facilities but what they do have is optimized for heavy lift helos like the -53 series. Both types do Command and control, but the Assault ships are more closely intertwined with the air element while the LPDs unify the group and liase with surface combatants and other assets in theater.

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On 7/13/2019 at 1:41 AM, xanderf said:

And I think the ship-to-ship combat - although not as clearly stated in interviews (that I'm aware of), but certainly VISUALLY clearly indicated - was meant to be Age of Sail.

From the opening scene of ANH, which could have as easily been a 3rd or 4th-rate Ship of the Line chasing down an enemy Sloop or Schooner (or, heck, a Frigate)...to the battles in RotJ where the Rebel and Imperial ships saddled up alongside each other and exchanged broadsides meters apart, as the classic sailing vessels of old...throughout the series, the ship-to-ship interactions were always the more glacial and COMPREHENSIVELY multi-role nature of the sailing era ships.

Posted a few days back, I know, but I think this is the best explanation for why Star Wars ships are as multipurpose as they are, not to mention the seemingly bizarre broadside tactics we see on screen.

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On ‎7‎/‎18‎/‎2019 at 4:00 PM, GiledPallaeon said:

More or less. It’s not all the way up on the beach, but it’s not supposed to be all that far offshore either. It’s using landing craft (the LCAC specifically) to get troops on the beach initially, and it has a full flight deck and hangar deck to run any helicopter you can think of and S/VTOL aircraft if you have any (the Harrier, which we retired, and now the F-35B). By contrast the San Antonio’s are more optimized to move heavy equipment (artillery, tanks, etc.) so they have less aviation facilities but what they do have is optimized for heavy lift helos like the -53 series. Both types do Command and control, but the Assault ships are more closely intertwined with the air element while the LPDs unify the group and liase with surface combatants and other assets in theater.

Somewhat adjacently, and maybe drifting off the topic of the thread (or back onto it, depending on your point of view)...

...what makes these ships good shore-assault combatants also makes them almost better disaster-relief ships.  In the case of major hurricanes, tsunamis, etc, which hit coastal areas and knock out civilian infrastructure, one of these ships nearby can save a lot of lives.  Both from the direct capabilities of moving heavy equipment around (hovercraft landing on beaches and heavy airlift helicopters are neither very badly deterred by ruined highways) or the rather significant hospital capabilities, but also their focus on communications, command and control for co-ordinating surviving emergency responders and services on shore.

(Especially in a game context, everyone likes to focus mostly on the direct combat capability of ships - but in any era, that's almost never what the ship spends the VAST majority of its time doing, and indeed direct humanitarian missions using secondary capabilities of a ship are incredibly common.  In the end still serving the primary reason the nation bought the ship, of course - supporting and increasing the influence of the nation in question.)

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On 7/13/2019 at 11:42 AM, xanderf said:

 

EDIT: And actually to bring that around to the current topic - there had been a theory advanced in an EU work somewhere, not currently backed by any canon source I'm aware of, that did indeed suggest that is where Star Destroyers got their nomenclature from.  Given the start of the program would have been under the Imperial Senate, a reasonable argument could be that the Emperor (and Imperial Navy generally) got approval for development of these warships through the Senate by calling them only 'destroyers'.  *shrugs*  Not really an explanation I like, as 'Star Destroyer' seems its own type easily enough, and rule of cool says that if something is named for destroying stars...it's extra cool.

I have another theory as to the name that I thought of reading the op. So Destroyer is a shortening of either Torpedo Boat Destroyer (like the raider) or Fleet Destroyer (like the gladiator) with the first half of the name being related to it's intended target.

What if we consider a Star Destroyer to be a shortened version of Star System Destroyer. A ship designed to single handedly conquer a lightly armed star system typical of the SW galaxy. That explains its loadout of troops and vehicles better. For conquering a system boots on the ground are more valuable than torpedos. Clicks well with the empire's hubris, considering a entire system to be a combatant to be defeated.

This is of course wrong, star destroyer is a rule of cool name, but a fun idea. 

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On 7/17/2019 at 10:32 PM, mhd said:

Nah, I think he was focused on WW2 bomber missions, specifically the movie Dam Busters. Someone did a nice side by side comparison of ANH, and there are some similarities.

 

This was awesome! Thanks for sharing

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So I get bored from time to time... here's a version of the original post, slightly expanded and rewritten in the style of canon as a document circulated in the resistance and the New Republic Fleet shortly before the events of The Force Awakens. Enjoy

 

 

MEMORANDUM: Classification of Starship Combatant Types

Author: [Redacted]

Authorization: Admiral Gial Ackbar

Code: 0428 Delta Charlie - Charlie Whiskey Sierra November

Date: [Redacted]

Classification Authority: [Redacted]

Declassify On: [Redacted]

 

It has come to the attention of Resistance Command that the drawdown in Republic forces has left analysts without significant opportunity to practice ship classification and identification. The increasing hostilities with the First Order (FO) and the increasing scale of the military equipment deployed by their commanders requires intelligence assessment and identification. For the purposes of unifying Resistance identification and assessment nomenclature, this paper is authorized as the primary reference sheet for all such analysis. For any further inquiries, please either contact [redacted] or the local Sector Commander (see Memo 45-1138).

 

Background

 

The following are assumptions and stylistic patterns that this document will use and should be a model for all Resistance intelligence assessments going forward. First, only use acronyms after they have been appropriately defined. Second, use historical precedent to guide all analysis. However, use history and historical references only as a guide. Starship combat doctrine has evolved massively, even since the Clone Wars, let alone any further previous period. Not everything will neatly fit these guidelines. Use judgement and the judgement of your peers and colleagues, and identify reasoning and assumptions in reports. Ensure all documents are intended to be a succinct explanation of the subject matter; however, some of this history is so old the original meanings don’t apply anymore, and context is required for the necessary understanding to see how we got where we are today. Third, any comparative adjective (big, small, slow, fast) is a relative term. Something is fast relative to something else, smaller than something else in the same time and space. Comparing the Imperial class Star Destroyer to the new Resurgent is only informative up to the point the differences and similarities are educational.

 

Finally, starship classification is a mess. It is flagrantly disorganized, and designers absolutely do not care about the designations used here or elsewhere, only regarding the mission specifications and parameters that ship was intended to fulfill. To that end, this document will provide a broad overview of all ship types currently considered relevant by ONI and Resistance Command. This system is designed to be used in place of the old Anaxes War College System (AWCS), so as to provide a more meaningful and helpful classification system for operational planners.

 

There are eight major types of ship included in this document: corvette, frigate, destroyer, cruiser, battleship/battlecruiser, Star Destroyer, starfighter carrier, and dreadnought (sometimes written Star Dreadnought). For the purposes of this discussion, the term “Star Cruiser” is considered analogous to battleship/battlecruiser, and “Star Destroyer” and “Starfighter Carrier” represent design styles that can be overlapping with another ship designation. Both will be discussed in further detail below.

 

Given the current ad-hoc nature of Resistance and FLEETFORCOM combatant assets, not all types will be given a modern example. Analysts are expected to use best judgement to draw parallels. Further, all qualitative assessments about the appropriate uses of different combatants are made solely in the context of campaign operations. The chaos of actual military operations and the individual requirements of a mission may lead commanders to deploy combatants in manners and strategies that run counter to the generalizations made here. It is therefore incumbent on analysts and tactical officers in the field to acknowledge and handle this uncertainty.

 

ONCE A DESIGNATION IS MADE BY FLEETFORCOM OR ONI ON A NEW SHIP CLASS, IT IS CONSIDERED FINAL UNTIL SIGNIFICANT NEW INTELLIGENCE DETAILS PREVIOUSLY UNKNOWN CAPABILITIES NOT INCLUDED IN INITIAL ANALYSIS.

 

SHIP CLASSIFICATIONS

 

Corvette (VT)

 

Corvettes are the small expendable ships that are the outermost pickets of a fleet, the least dangerous, but also the least expensive and the easiest to produce en masse. These are typically the smallest starships given the historical term “capital ship”, so in excess of 100-150 meters length overall (LOA). The emphasis on low cost also tends to mean these are the slowest by a fair margin, but one typical role is that of escort, particularly for cargo ships and other civilian ships in a war zone, where speed is not at a premium. Many corvettes also actively contradict this pattern by using the low mass of their small size to achieve extremely high sustained accelerations and comparable maneuverability. When developing the capabilities of a squadron, corvettes and frigates tend to represent the anti-starfighter elements of a starship squadron and the long-range skirmishing capabilities, but a major consideration in the difference is the generalist nature of the corvette, which a frigate does not possess.

 

Three starships from the Galactic Civil War called corvettes are all roughly in that zone, but they all can also fit in other categories, which we will discuss when we get there. These are the Imperial Raider class, the Hammerhead, and the CEC CR90. These are all the cheap picket ships of choice for their users, though none are particularly slow or unmaneuverable. Of the three, it is the assessment of [Redacted] the only true corvette is the Hammerhead. Its role is to be cheap, expendable up to the point that the crew are not expendable, and nibble at larger targets until a real damage threat comes along. It is possible to mitigate this to a degree with solutions like external ordnance mounts, but the point stands.

 

Vital Characteristics:

Small, expendable pickets

Anti-fighter, swarming, and skirmishing roles

~100-200m LOA

Light combatant, minimal protection scheme

 

Frigate (FF)

 

The next size type is frigate. By self-classification, this is the ship type in most common use across the galaxy today. The origin of the term has nothing to do with the mission and everything to do with the design. In the ancient past before starships in the era of water navies, a frigate was a ship that was “frigate-rigged”. Frigates were designed as intermediary vessels between the plethora of smaller ships, which could be warships, and true ships of the line. They retained enough armament to typically outgun most other ships cost-effectively, which left them overmatched by heavy warships. The critical component was a combination of propulsion systems and hull form (in space the spaceframe) that allowed the frigate to be extremely fast. Frigates could outrun most anything when the when the circumstances favored them, and still pummel into submission anything smaller than they were that they ran down.

 

Over time, this type has radically evolved. Ships called frigates run the gamut of size, from the GCW Nebulon-B (~300m LOA) to the much larger and more powerful Nebulon-C of the current FLEETFORCOM, or even the ~850m Munificent class of the Clone Wars. For this reason, it was determined a specific definition of “frigate” was needed.

 

For all future Resistance and FLEETFORCOM assessments, frigates are ships designed to focus on defense, both of self and area defense of other ships. They are the archetypal escort units. They’re bigger and more capable than corvettes, but not as aggressive as a destroyer (see following section), nor as capable of leading a squadron as a cruiser. Ironically, the other two Rebellion era ships given this term, the Assault Frigate and the MC30 Scout/Torpedo Frigate are very much not frigates, even with the emphasis of the latter on speed. A good example of an Imperial frigate would be the Lancer class and its emphasis on anti-starfighter space denial.

 

Public documentation is almost as flippant about the term frigate as “cruiser” and “Star Destroyer”. Things of all sizes, types, and varieties are referred to as frigates in different media. In short, it’s a term to ignore when used by a non-military writer in an unclassified context. Compare ships using criteria related to what they are and what they do, not their naming convention. Frigates tend to be still quite numerous compared to heavier vessels, but not as expendable as a corvette. More emphasis on ship self-defense and survivability tends to pop up here. Frigates tend to be the smallest ships where laser cannons and turbolasers are grouped by fire control systems into batteries, as opposed to individual control of single mounts.

 

Vital Characteristics:

Defensive area escort

Weapons grouped into batteries

Light-intermediate combatant, light-moderate protection

~200-550m LOA

 

Destroyer (DD)

 

As previously discussed, the term “Star Destroyer” has no apparent connection to the idea of a destroyer, and will be discussed later as such. Further, as this classification does not appear in the AWCS, please read carefully to ensure full understanding.

 

To this point, the two types of combatant discussed have not had a particular focus on offensive capabilities. Certainly weapons were included and represent a critical part of the design of any combatant, but there remains a fundamental difference in philosophy between the previously mentioned Raider class and units such as the MC30, as opposed to other units such as the Assault Frigate and the Victory class Star Destroyer. For this reason, the additional classification of “destroyer” (DD) was created. These are moderately-sized, high performance vessels, in some cases arguably usurping the role of the cruiser, designed to aggressively seek out and destroy the enemy. They are heavily armed, primarily with weapons intended to be effective against ships their size and larger. Armor-piercing weapons, smaller numbers of large and powerful turbolasers, and heavy ordnance fits such as multiple concussion missile or proton torpedo launchers are the characteristics of a DD design. Many will retain significant capability for area defense, especially starfighter defense, but they are a fundamentally offensive ship whose defense often comes down to the weapons the ship left port with and how quickly they can be used to destroy the enemy.

 

Various fleets have several destroyers in current or recent past service: Raiders, Gladiator class Star Destroyers, and MC30s all seek out and destroy the enemy, often at close range. All retain an element of DD (destroyer) philosophy in their hit-and-run tactics, and use a combination of heavy weapons and ordnance to cripple or destroy starships otherwise more imposing than they are. To complement this weapons performance, all of these ships possess exceptional speed and maneuverability, at the cost of defenses that another ship of their tonnage could include, including shield generators and armor plating.

 

Another Clone Wars example would include the Techno Union Recusant class “light” destroyer. At nearly 1200 meters LOA, the Recusant is nearly an order of magnitude larger than the Raider, and over twice the length of either the Gladiator or the MC30 type. However, its tonnage notwithstanding, it is an example of what a destroyer without a tonnage limitation might look like. It possesses none of the starfighter carrying capacity or command facilities that define cruisers, relying solely on speed and a handful of almost-comically large turbolaser mounts as its primary offensive systems. If this design style was to see a resurgence in popularity, a separate designation of fleet destroyer or destroyer-cruiser might become necessary; however, for now, the relative similarity of most destroyers at <700m LOA is a useful measuring unit between a destroyer and some other types.

 

To pre-emptively address a concern that will be raised in our next discussion, MC30s and Gladiators are perfectly capable of serving as flagships for squadrons exclusively composed of smaller vessels, which starts pushing the line into cruiser territory. From a certain point of view, they both probably are cruisers, and are operating in that role to a degree when they are flagships. However, the decision was made to retain the classification of destroyer here due to the aggressive mission they are clearly designed for.

 

Vital Characteristics:

High performance attacker

Heavy weapons designed to cripple or pierce heavier defenses

Medium combatant, light-medium protection

~150-650m LOA

 

Cruisers (CA, CL)

 

While corvettes and frigates will make up the bulk of hulls in a fleet, cruisers are the medium-heavy ships which provide the bulk of cost-effective firepower and time on station. In other words, cruisers are the middleweight go-anywhere do-anything units in a starship force. They can punish smaller ships and groups of cruisers can harass or even destroy a capital ship (a battleship or battlecruiser). A cruiser is fully capable of operating on its own, and would be allowed in standard rules of engagement (ROEs) to engage a peer opponent without waiting for backup if the situation required it. This is the first ship class other than destroyers capable of engaging a ship of similar defensive fit and being able consistently to cripple or destroy their opponent over the course of a combat action. The other characteristic of cruisers is the ability to lead a group of ships their size or smaller. For this reason, cruisers are often equipped with separate facilities for a flag officer to lead his squadron and fight the overall battle, as well as quarters and support equipment to maintain his staff and those operations.

 

There are a large variety of cruiser types to choose from for examples, including the Assault Frigate Mark I and Mark II, the Pelta, the Arquitens, the Victory, and the Interdictor. By comparison, while the Quasar Fire is of similar tonnage and possesses a significant command and control (C2) suite by virtue of its role as a starfighter carrier in Imperial service and in Rebel service as PHOENIX NEST, the lack of significant defensive or offensive systems disqualifies it from cruiser classification to starfighter carrier (see Starfighter Carrier section).

 

These can be further broken up into light cruisers (CL) and heavy cruisers (CA). Light cruisers and heavy cruisers are distinguished by their weight of armor/shields and the size of their weapons. As a rule of thumb, a light cruiser will mount rapid tracking weapons with lower yield designed to engaging smaller maneuvering targets (such as frigates and destroyers) and engage other cruisers with weight of fire rather than individually heavy hits. Heavy cruisers will mount larger weapons, sometimes of yield sufficient for a battleship or battlecruiser, in smaller batteries designed for precision use against other heavy cruisers and massed use against capital ships. Each as a rule of thumb will mount shielding and armor sufficient to defeat their own weapons systems; light cruisers will frequently use the weight savings to increase acceleration and maneuver parameters instead. If there is a conflict in those criteria, default to the defensive systems. Heavy cruisers in particular are often fitted to operate as flagships for large squadrons including other cruisers, and will operate as such in squadrons and detachments not led by a capital ship.

 

From the previous example list, the light cruisers are the Arquitens, the Assault Frigate Mark 1 and the Pelta, while the Assault Frigate Mark II and the Victory are firmly heavy cruisers. The INTERDICTOR prototype developed by the Tarkin Initiative possesses extreme survivability due to its experimental technologies; for this reason it is classed as a heavy cruiser despite being primarily armed to hunt ships smaller and less powerful than itself.

 

NOTE: Tonnage does not necessarily indicate a class’s designation as a light or heavy cruiser. The technology and resources available to a shipyard will greatly affect the ability to fit and mount the energy generation systems required for powerful shield and armaments. Consider the size of both the Munificent and Recusant class units from the CIS in the Clone Wars. Both ships are significantly larger than the Victory or the AF MK II, but would likely be classed today as light cruisers, even accounting for the power of the main guns of each class. Conversely, the Arquitens and Pelta classes are smaller than most destroyers and some frigates, but are still capable combatants and equipped with significant C2 facilities not found on those ship types that dominates the deployment of that class.

 

Vital Characteristics:

Significant flag and independent operations capabilities

Weapons systems suitable for peer combat

Significant combatant, medium to heavy protection scheme

~300-1000m LOA

 

Battleships (BB) and Battlecruisers (BC)

 

Battleships and battlecruisers represent the bulk of a navy’s capital ships, here defined to mean those core elements of a fleet’s combatant capability. Absent the presence of a dreadnought class unit in theater, these are the critical components of a fleet without which it cannot conduct campaign operations against equivalent enemy forces. If the capital ships are defeated, the ability of a fleet to control spacelanes against other capital ships is lost. For this reason, these vessels are the most prized units and are rarely seen operating at extended ranges alone lest they be overwhelmed by more numerous inferior forces and destroyed. These ships will represent both a qualitative and quantitative leap in the firepower and durability present when deployed over even heavy cruisers, and should be treated with utmost caution when engaging one of these units.

 

It should be understood that the primary enemy of a capital ship is the enemy capital ship. Battleships (BB) are the specific embodiment of that assessment, and more generally are the heavy hitters of a fleet, capable of smashing anything smaller than they are (that they can hit) and withstanding and returning copious amounts of damage from their counterparts in other navies. They are the pride and joy of fleet admirals, and the expensive weights on navy pocketbooks that drive budgets into oblivion. Most are fitted with flagship facilities to coordinate a squadron, and only seldom ever left port without heavy escort of all sizes.

 

The contrasting unit is the battlecruiser (BC). These are ships of roughly battleship tonnage and weapons fit, but not intended to stand in a line of battle with other battleships but to operate as its fast wing destroying anything else the enemy fleet might have maneuvering or in reserve. In order to achieve these improved speeds over a battleship of equivalent power generation and armament, the battlecruiser will possess relatively less armor and shielding overall, though individual protection schemes may be equivalent or locally superior to a battleship’s defensive systems. This is the design philosophy to be assumed when a ship class is assessed to be a battlecruiser.

 

Infrequently, ship classes will be designated as battlecruisers where the design sacrificed weapons power (though still hilariously outgunning any cruiser) to keep battleship grade protection at cruiser speeds. These ships are designed to fight in the line of battle when necessary, and have done so from time to time. An example of this philosophy is the Imperial Procusator class Star Destroyer. Rarely navies will commission battlecruisers that sacrifice no expense (and less armor reductions than traditional battlecruisers) to bring exceptional performance. These designs are frequently outclassed, both in terms of performance and cost effectiveness within a design generation or two by full battleships adopting the technologies enabling these “balanced battlecruisers.”

 

As a general guideline, no ship of less than 1000m LOA should ever be considered for designation as a BB or BC without exceptional reason. Generally speaking, even as capabilities (reactor efficiency, size required for turbolaser coils) improve, ship designs continue to grow larger due to the continuing inclination of naval architects to add additional capabilities and facilities to each follow-on class of starship. While this pattern is true for all ship types, battleships and battlecruisers are most defined in relation to each other; it is the current opinion of FLEETFORCOM and the Construction Bureaus it would be almost impossible to fit the firepower and protection systems sufficient to match even the now-outdated Imperial class in a spaceframe significantly under 1000m LOA without unjustifiable expense and engineering sophistication.

 

As a practical example, battleships generally form a navy’s “wall of battle”, and as such are often protected as a fleet in being to generate a threat against enemy control of spacelanes. This forces the adversary to deploy more forces in an effort to both defend their own space dominance and seek out the enemy fleet, allowing a lesser force to exert disproportionate operational and economic pressures on the enemy. This is the strategy employed by the Alliance to Restore the Republic with its Mon Calamari “Star Cruisers” during the early phases of the GCW, waiting until local superiority was confirmed before committing the capital units to the attack. Operations planners should bear in mind it was this pattern that the Emperor correctly predicted and assumed when developing the Imperial plan for the Battle of Endor.

 

In theory the majority of capital units were disbanded and scrapped after the Military Disarmament Act and the Galactic Concordance, the bulk of known capital ship examples in the galaxy are historical. During the Clone Wars, the Venator class Star Destroyer was the Republic answer to the Separatist Providence and Lucrehulk class units. Similarly, the Imperial class (example units AVENGER, DEVASTATOR, RELENTLESS, SOVEREIGN, CHIMAERA) and the previously mentioned Procursator make up the bulk of Imperial battleships and battlecruisers deployed during the GCW, while the Rebel fleet included a variety of Mon Calamari and Sullustan vessels, such as the MC75 (example unit PROFUNDITY), and the MC80s (example units LIBERTY, DEFIANCE, REPUBLIC, HOME ONE).

 

As the difference between an extremely advanced battlecruiser and battleship is in large part driven by doctrine and capabilities, the new FO Star Destroyer spotted in recent engagements in the Outer Rim (tentatively designated Resurgent class, known units FINALIZER, HARBINGER, CONQUEROR) is an unknown quantity. However, observed size, acceleration, and ELINT acquisition of sensor systems and fire control tracks indicate an optimization as a battlecruiser. (Designation subject to additional change as intelligence about the class is compiled.)

 

Vital Characteristics (BB):

Core combatant of enemy force

Heavy weapons fit and protection scheme against the same

Flag facilities to lead fleet

Optimized for capital vs capital combat

>1000m LOA

 

Vital Characteristics (BC):

Core combatant of enemy force

Either weapons fit or protection equivalent to battleship; other system lesser but still superior to cruisers

Optimized for recon-in-force and force destruction missions

Flag facilities to lead fleet

>1000m LOA

 

Starfighter Carrier

 

Like Star Destroyer, starfighter carrier is less a type than a designation of design role and compromises taken to achieve that role. Starfighter carrier specifically is reserved for use with designs whose entire purpose in combat is the deployment, control, and support of starfighter wings. The vast majority of cruiser designs and larger include at least some provision for the carriage and support of starfighter support. Both Imperial class units and Alliance MC80 battleships typically carried multiple squadrons of starfighters and their support assets. However, they did not compromise significant portions of their offensive or defensive systems to support these small craft. Starfighter carriers by contrast are designs with significant, role-altering provisions that make starfighter support and control a central part of that design’s use in combat. In practice, these alterations tend to significantly affect the ability of ship designers to protect such vessels, making them highly unpopular for their light defenses. The Quasar Fire class previously mentioned is an excellent example of the limits of such compromises. By contrast, the Clone Wars era Venator represents a more balanced design intended to be equally at home in pure ship to ship combat and deploying its vast fighter wing. The famous armored “flight deck” of the Venator and the expenses and power allotted to its shield generators to protect the ship while the armored deck is open for flight operations represent the challenges ship designers must overcome for this emphasis in a ship’s designed role.

 

Star Destroyer (SD)

 

It was decided after lengthy discussion within FLEETFORCOM and [Redacted] to redefine “Star Destroyer” not as a type but like “Starfighter Carrier” as a design descriptor. Previous works, including the AWCS, have been the subject of controversy for using a term so closely associated with Kuat Drive Yards (KDY). It is the proposed view of this document to acknowledge the critical role of KDY designers in shaping the starship combatants of the present day and into the future, but to also be cognizant of the fact that the idea driving KDY Star Destroyer designs has proliferated outside of KDY work and now is a more broadly applicable concept.

 

Previous type entries have made note of the appropriate deployment of a particular type, with special regard to campaign operations. Star Destroyer as defined here overrides those generalized parameters. It is the assessment of [Redacted] to append the designation “Star Destroyer” to any vessel in excess of 500m LOA capable of fully independent power projection missions. These combatants possess the on-board capabilities required for ship and personnel sustainment, ship to ship combat, and the pacification of hostile star systems while engaged on long range, minimally supported missions. These ships will, by necessity and by design, possess characteristics of the aforementioned ship types, but will be “balanced” designs capable both of the missions assigned to their type but also do so without fleet support. Key examples of this type include the Gladiator, Venator, and Imperial class units. Analysts ID’ing new types as “Star Destroyers” are required to append documentation supporting the assessment.

 

Of educational value would be the retroactive designation under this system of the Acclamator class assault ship as a Star Destroyer. This ship meets all parameters defined above, but to date was not given the classification due to its nature as a second-line support ship. It is the opinion of FLEETFORCOM and [Redacted] that the ship-to-ship combat capabilities of the class, including in particular the later Flight II and Flight III variants represent the sort of balanced power projection design included under the designation “Star Destroyer”.

 

Dreadnought (DN)

 

Dreadnoughts represent the rarest type included in this analysis, and for good reason. These are the superheavy capital ships which dwarf even battleships and cow entire squadrons of starships into surrender without firing a shot. Where battleships fight for space supremacy, dreadnoughts are capable of asserting local space supremacy by the mere existence of a ship with the dimensions, protection scheme, and weapons loadout of such a vessel. For the purposes of current and predicted assessments, no ship should be considered for classification as dreadnought with a LOA <4000m. The classic example of this type is the so-called “Super Star Destroyer”, the Executor class dreadnought used during the GCW (known units EXECUTOR, RAVAGER, ANNIHILATOR, ARBITRATOR, ECLIPSE). Six units of that class were destroyed, three more captured, but at least one unit remains unaccounted for.

 

By virtue of their size and expense, dreadnoughts are rarely deployed and often represent the ultimate in force from their respective fleets. Engagement of a dreadnought is recommended to be avoided whenever possible. Upon detection, all combatant commanders are advised to deploy all available sensor systems to characterize the ship while also making best speed out of the system to avoid contact. Reconnaissance operations intended to identify the capabilities of a dreadnought should, whenever at all possible, be conducted with maximum caution and discretion. Further, it should be noted that dreadnoughts are frequently equipped with experimental technology or systems not found on conventional ships, even other capital ships. For historical precedent, the Subjugator class unit MALEVOLENCE deployed a prototype ion cannon system (unconfirmed allegations that this system contained prototype engineering later included in the DEATH STAR project) capable of disabling state of the art enemy capital ships with direct hits. Unconfirmed reports of the Mandator IV class (known units FULMINATRIX) include allegations that the ship includes some sort of oversized energy weapons system capable of both planetary bombardment and ship to ship combat. All Resistance and FLEETFORCOM forces are advised to avoid contact with suspected Mandator IV units and any unknown FO vessel of similar tonnage. However, all sensor contacts are to be logged immediately (Classification Level 4) and cross-checked with all known contacts of similar tonnage. Dreadnoughts are rare enough it is the priority of ONI to ensure ongoing and complete tracks of individual vessels where at all possible.

 

Analysts are advised to remain skeptical of rumors of a FO “superdreadnought” lurking in the Unknown Regions. Uncorroborated reports include estimates of up to 60km length across the beam as the long axis of the ship. It remains the opinion of FLEETFORCOM and [Redacted] that such a ship is prohibitively large to construct, let alone maintain, given known resources available to FO and the issues encountered by FLEETFORCOM attempting to maintain the three dreadnoughts it captured. However, all intelligence should be gathered about current FO capital ship construction projects whenever possible.

 

End Memo

Encryption Code: 46562766 - Lima Foxtrot Sierra Golf

Edited by GiledPallaeon

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Very nice! If I may, however, make a few typographical and stylistic comments:

7 hours ago, GiledPallaeon said:

150-650m LOA

I didn't get what this meant for a while, but as I finished reading the post I read 'long axis' and assumed that this is what LOA refers to. Given your specification of listing acronyms and abreviations only after you have defined the words, Could you please define this earlier on?

Quote

They’re bigger and more capable than corvettes, but not as aggressive as a destroyer (we’re getting there)

Given your change of style, this is out of place. Perhaps "(below)" would be better?

Quote

The technology and resources available to a shipyard will greatly affect the ability to fit and mount the energy generation systems required for powerful shield and armaments. Consider the size of both the Munificent and Recusant class units from the CIS in the Clone Wars. Both ships are significantly larger than the Victory or the AF MK II, but would likely be classed today as light cruisers today, even accounting for the power of the main guns of each class.

One too many 'todays'.

Quote

 

Dreadnought (DN)

 

Dreadnoughts represent the rarest type included in this analysis, and for good reason. These are the vessels to which battleships are as battleships are to cruisers.

Shouldn't this be: "These are the vessels to which battleships are as cruisers are to battleships."? I.e., cruisers are to battleships what battleships are to dreadnoughts? If not, then could you please explain how?

Edited by GhostofNobodyInParticular

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2 hours ago, GhostofNobodyInParticular said:

Very nice! If I may, however, make a few typographical and stylistic comments:

I didn't get what this meant for a while, but as I finished reading the post I read 'long axis' and assumed that this is what LOA refers to. Given your specification of listing acronyms and abreviations only after you have defined the words, Could you please define this earlier on?

Given your change of style, this is out of place. Perhaps "(below)" would be better?

One too many 'todays'.

Shouldn't this be: "These are the vessels to which battleships are as cruisers are to battleships."? I.e., cruisers are to battleships what battleships are to dreadnoughts? If not, then could you please explain how?

I do define it the first time I use it, but as it’s not a true initialism like the others I can see how it got missed. It means “Length OverAll”.

Fixed, thank you. 

Also corrected, thank you. You can tell this is the rare sentence I paused writing partway through.

I rewrote that line, see if you think it’s better now. Basically dreadnoughts so outclass battleships the comparison between the two is often worthless.

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8 minutes ago, GiledPallaeon said:

I do define it the first time I use it, but as it’s not a true initialism like the others I can see how it got missed. It means “Length OverAll”.

Ah, I missed it, sorry.

8 minutes ago, GiledPallaeon said:

I rewrote that line, see if you think it’s better now. Basically dreadnoughts so outclass battleships the comparison between the two is often worthless.

It's clearer, but now the second part "even as a cruiser might seem next to a battleship" is redundant, as cruisers will always seem as cruisers to battleships.

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5 minutes ago, GhostofNobodyInParticular said:

Ah, I missed it, sorry.

It's clearer, but now the second part "even as a cruiser might seem next to a battleship" is redundant, as cruisers will always seem as cruisers to battleships.

You’re fine, I had to check to make sure I did that.

Yeah I give up on that sentence. Rewrote it again.

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4 minutes ago, GiledPallaeon said:

Yeah I give up on that sentence. Rewrote it again.

:D At this point I'm nitpicking, and I hope you'll forgive me, but as you have shown yourself interested in correct structure, may I recommend you remove the 'next to' in the sentence in question? 'Dwarf' seems to have a definition implying action upon a body, so while battleships can be dwarfed next to the dreadnought, they cannot dwarf next to a dreadnought. . . I could be wrong, though.

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1 minute ago, GhostofNobodyInParticular said:

:D At this point I'm nitpicking, and I hope you'll forgive me, but as you have shown yourself interested in correct structure, may I recommend you remove the 'next to' in the sentence in question? 'Dwarf' seems to have a definition implying action upon a body, so while battleships can be dwarfed next to the dreadnought, they cannot dwarf next to a dreadnought. . . I could be wrong, though.

I mean, I’m obviously considering all your suggestions, so keep firing away. 

This is what I get for editing on mobile. 

Did you spot any of the Easter eggs I hid?

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