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Old 09-06-2009, 04:37 PM   #1
machievelli
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Ship nomenclature, or; It's not a door, it's a hatch blast it!

Shipboard definition

The team entered through the door into the cargo bay, running to the door into the ship. They split, one heading left, another right in the hallway...

What is wrong with that paragraph? If you change the word ship to skyscraper or building not a thing. But on a ship, normal things change and are renamed. As many a writer has joked, sailors came up with new names for normal things just so landlubbers won't feel at home. So let's look at the ship before boarding...

A ship has dimensions as does anything else, but while a building is measured by length breadth and height, a ship is measured by length (Sometimes measured at the keel, sometimes from bow to stern) beam, the widest point of the vessel, and both freeboard and draft. On a seagoing vessel these are the section of the hull above the waterline, and the section below it respectively. These are sometimes combined by keel to truck; the base of the keel to the uppermost portion of the ship. A Star Destroyer for example is 1600 meters long, 1015 meters wide with no Keel to truck mentioned, though this could be figured if you merely look at the side (Plane) view, and measure it working mathematical magic. A Super Star Destroyer in comparison has a length (19,000 meters long) but no beam or keel to truck given.

(Just Added 7 September: As one of the premier writer of modern Naval Science Fiction, David Weber uses draught alone. )

A ship has a bow and stern, the front and rear, and directions aboard are determined by port and starboard, the terms for left of the ship and right facing the bow. They came from old oar driven ships where the steering oar was over the right hand side of the stern, so you had to tie up at a dock on the opposite side, or where the ship met the port as it were. On board a ship it is important to know these terms. the Three Stooges did a constant bit where two men are facing each other after arguing about which left is meant. As each points, they are obviously pointing in the opposite direction. A funny bit if working rapidly is not needed. In a battle, you don't have time to wonder which left or right someone might be talking about.

So let us board, and look a little deeper.

We board at the quarter deck, what used to be an actual partial desk on sailing ships, but now merely is a term meaning where the gangway (The ramp that leads aboard) is. If you land on a Star Destroyer it's actually on one of the lowest decks. Now let's go forward.

When giving directions aboard ship they are fore and aft, port and starboard, above deck and below deck, inboard (Toward the center of the ship) and outboard. Some terms would have fallen out of use. As example, abaft (behind the beam) would mean nothing on a Star Destroyer, because the only thing behind the beam is the engine venturi. A specific place on the ship would be defined by these, and sometimes include a frame number as well. A frame is the rib of the ship and they are numbered from the bow to the stern. So starboard frame 90 say would be an exact location. These are vital especially when sending troops or damage control parties.

Decks are also numbered. When steam ships came into vogue, they could build higher, so you have decks labeled 1 which would be the deck below where you boarded, and counting down, so the next lower is deck 2 etc. On that ship the decks above the hull are number with the addition of 0 before the number, and counting up. So you board at the 01 deck, and if you go to the bridge it would be the 03 or 04 on a smaller ship. On spacecraft they would more likely draw a line down the center of the ship from bow to stern, and mark them as in the above description. This is what was done when aircraft carriers were built, the flight deck is 0 and the decks inside the island are the 0+ decks.

A ship doesn't have rooms, they are called compartments. Like frames, they are numbered fore to aft. You also have passagways rather than halls because they are a way to make a passage from one place to another. A bathroom is called the head, and this came from the fact that when you used such a facility on an old sailing ship, it was a small space at the forward or 'head' of the ship past the hull hanging over the ocean.

You sleep in a berthing compartment because a bed is a berth. The eating area is the mess deck, the windows are called ports, and used to be round. They still are on most ships. If you go from deck 1 to deck 2, you are going below down the ladder rather than the stairs. If you're going up you are going topside. You do not have floors, you have decks, and the deck above you is the overhead.

Some terms are used long after they were worth keeping. The term belay used to mean hold a line tight or tie it off. Now it means stop as in belay that talk, a fancy way to say shut up.

Any questions? Class dismissed.


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Last edited by machievelli; 09-07-2009 at 07:55 PM.
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Old 09-07-2009, 04:24 PM   #2
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*raises hand*

yes sir, I was wondering, on a military vessel, in this case an Acclamator II warship, where would the secondary command bridge be located?

Too the best of my knowledge, capitol ships of sufficient size had a secondary command bridge buried in the vessel in case the primary bridge was destroyed.


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Old 09-07-2009, 07:40 PM   #3
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The primary design consideration in placing a secondary bridge is seperation; you don't want a hit that will smash the bridge destroying the secondary as well. This would include every ship from Heavy cruiser in ocean warfare up to battle ship. Considering the size I think the vessels in Star Wars would use the same meter.

Such ships as the Acclamator, especially considering the size of such vessels in Star Wars, they would also have both secondary and Flag Bridge where admirals would command from. On An Acclamator I would suggest that because of their dual purpose, both troop and transport and warship, that one, more likely the Flag bridge would be directly below the bridge on a deck about five above the keel. The other would be forward of the troop landing bay.

But it is a design consideration made by the designer himself. If you look at a cruiser of the Prinz Eugen of WWII, you have the normal bridge, with the secondary bridge below the aft gunnery station.


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Old 09-07-2009, 07:41 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by machievelli View Post
Shipboard definition

The team entered through the door into the cargo bay, running to the door into the ship. They split, one heading left, another right in the hallway...

What is wrong with that paragraph?
If you must ask ( ), the word "door" is repeated, it doesn't read particularly pleasantly and it's devoid of spark. I blame this post entirely on you, mach, and on you alone.

Oh, the passage also has two consecutive entrances both constructed in the same way, and mismatched description with those going left having no clear explanation as to what is left.



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Old 09-07-2009, 07:51 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Darth InSidious View Post
If you must ask ( ), the word "door" is repeated, it doesn't read particularly pleasantly and it's devoid of spark. I blame this post entirely on you, mach, and on you alone.

Oh, the passage also has two consecutive entrances both constructed in the same way, and mismatched description with those going left having no clear explanation as to what is left.
Exactly my point. When entering a building, left and right is subjective, whereas aboard ship it would be heading inboard and turning either fore or aft. Anyone visualizing the ship's deck plan would immediately place the location of the intruders as to which side of the ship they boarded. Oh, BTW, I do not waste effort on a throwaway paragraph to prove a point.


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Old 09-07-2009, 08:34 PM   #6
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[/saved] Thanks for the info, Mach. I'll be sure to refer back to it in future scribblings.
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Old 09-07-2009, 08:45 PM   #7
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[/saved] Thanks for the info, Mach. I'll be sure to refer back to it in future scribblings.

That's why I post them, Lit


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Old 09-07-2009, 08:46 PM   #8
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That's why I post them, Lit
Is that a partial release of information pertaining to your previous poll?
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Old 09-07-2009, 08:50 PM   #9
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Is that a partial release of information pertaining to your previous poll?
There are no freebies in that regard, Lit. I just think if you're going to create a scene, whether it is a fleet action, fighter combat, ground action or boarding, I would rather the scenes be written correctly.


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Old 09-08-2009, 12:47 AM   #10
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Thanks for clearing that up Mach. Currently writing a little tidbit aboard ship and I was looking for placement on the Flag Bridge. Many thanks!


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Old 09-08-2009, 01:52 AM   #11
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I hope I've been getting my terms right in my current story... Aren't fore and aft the same as bow and stern?


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Old 09-08-2009, 01:59 AM   #12
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Im not positive, but I know fore means front and aft means back, but Im not sure those are strict nautical terms, or terms that were intended to mean behind and in front of a certain object.


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Old 09-08-2009, 02:39 AM   #13
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I hope I've been getting my terms right in my current story... Aren't fore and aft the same as bow and stern?
Fore means forward on the ship, aft means toward the stern. It's actually simple once you guys get into it. If you're not sure, just ask.


'To argue with those who have renounced the use and authority of reason is as futile as to administer medicine to the dead.' Now who said that?

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Old 01-02-2010, 11:21 PM   #14
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On the Battle Bridge or Secondary Bridge, usually well armoured in a protective location, such as coincidentally where the radio shack is often located, amidship. The radio shack will often be built overhead the Secondary Bridge, which will be at deck level with no windows and thick plating. It is often used as a war room and in heavy combat it is not unusual for it to be the last area standing on the vessel with few if any direct enemy hits.
There will be similar structures on the fore and aft decks serving as gunnery commands, but these are often priority targets and much easier to hit.

The Command Bridge is of course the main Bridge with which we are all familiar, whilst armoured (including bulletproof glass) it is vulnerable for its good field of view. It is not a high priority target simply because its destruction doesn't not necessarily affect the running of the ship.

In SWRPG Imperial Sourcebook expansion (WEG) the Imperial-class Star Destroyer floor plans show five major bridges, each one of them capable of running the entire combat/command functions of the vessel independently. Any boarding assault must take out all five bridges to have any impact on the running of the vessel.

There is the Command Deck or Main Bridge, then a Battle Bridge is to the rear of the structure, within the heavily armoured spine that runs up the back of the Star Destroyer. In the event of catastrophic pressure loss to the Command Deck personnel may retreat quickly to the sealed and armoured Battle Bridge within minutes, without skipping a beat.

On a deck below the Battle Bridge is a War Room, which is one of few places with unrestricted access to the ship's mainframe and to the sides of this are luxurious Ready Rooms for the Admiralty (since all Star Destroyers may serve as Flagships of a Fleet detachment). Troop quarters and security stations naturally line all access paths to the rest of the ship.

The entire bridge structure is built upon a Secondary Bridge, which is for all intents and purposes the main Engineering Station. The Secondary Bridge normally functions as the administrative centre of the Engineering Decks, and any instructions from the Command Decks are prioritised signals assuming security ident is satisfied. Should the Command Decks take catastrophic combat damage the Secondary Bridge will immediately take over running of the ship.

There is also a Forward Bridge, ahead of the two main hangar decks in a heavy armoured section of the foredeck (just short of the bow). This normally functions as the main Gunnery Command station but again, assuming the Bridge Command Decks have been taken out and the Secondary Bridge occupied by enemy troops, it can take up all the normal bridge functions of the Star Destroyer without so much as skipping a beat.

The way the Star Destroyer is designed is specifically so that even if an entire army successfully boarded, it would continue to perform space combat against the enemy fleet for the days or weeks it would normally take to occupy and subjugate a small city. It is impossible to remove a Star Destroyer from combat simply by taking down vital systems particularly with boarding action, they aren't centralised. Whilst the Empire did disregard the potential of individual small craft to damage large and powerful vessels, it did make sure that in capital class ship-ship combat and boarding action the Star Destroyer was the final word and virtually invulnerable. They succeeded.

Finally is the Commanders Bridge, an automated station of closed mainframe access which is capable of running all the normal functions of the bridge, manned by one person, deep within the centre of the hull and contained in heavy durasteel armoured casing. It is from this that Lord Vader is seen emerging during ESB. In wartime the heavy armour capsule is sealed, and you could virtually destroy about 70% of the entire hull and superstructure and the Star Destroyer would still be fighting you with whatever weapons batteries were left, commanded from this station.

In EU it took something like two months for New Republic forces to finally clear out two Star Destroyer hulks of resistance. They had to keep fleet forces a safe distance until this was done, because weeks after the Imperials had lost the initial space battle those Star Destroyers, filled with battalions of Republic boarding troops in continuous urban combat were still taking pot shots at anything that got close enough.

The safest thing to do with warships the scale of a Star Destroyer is to destroy it outright in ship-ship combat. A very, very, very, very, very (x1000) difficult thing to do.
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Old 01-03-2010, 01:15 PM   #15
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Can you specify which books you're referring to? I have yet to see a mention of taking such a long time in clearing a vessel.

As for destroying it, you don't need to destroy it, merely make it incapable of retaliation. In the case of the Battleship Bismarck, they first crippled her ability to run, then pounded her into scrap, unable to return fire. Only then did they sink her.

All you would really have to do is use an ion cannon to keep it from being able to fire, then pour the troops in. Yes it would take the equivalent of urban warfare to subdue the crew, but weeks? Unlikely. One team grabbing the fusion plant would force their surrender because without power, the ship is dead in all purposes, or could be destroyed by setting it to overload.

I think what the problem is can be described as amateurs looking at situation, and going from there bythely ignorant of the size of the problem. I noticed it when they went to war with only 2.1 million clones. Using them as shock troops makes sense, but that is the type of combat that chews up formations and reduces them to uselessness. As John Ringo in Von Neuman's War pointed out, you pour them onto the beach, and plan for some or hopefully most to survive long enough to succeed in their mission but not to come home. Planning the D Day, Eisenhower anticipated 20K casualties before it would become difficult to continue (Entire ground force commited, 175K). The 10,000 they did lose was small change in comparison.


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Old 01-08-2010, 09:46 AM   #16
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Admitedly I'm referring to one particular line of EU in RPG sourcebooks, the Imperial Sourcebook (detailed info on the Imperial Fleet during the Rebellion era), the Death Star companion (generic blueprints of bridges and fleet technology systems) and Dark Empire sourcebook (specific mention of the New Republic efforts taken to successfully capture two Imperial class Star Destroyers and refit them, mostly testifying to the immense scale of every aspect of the project).

Our gaming group spent quite a bit of time on the Star Destroyers, basing many missions around them on both sides and scrounged our entire collection of RPG sourcebooks for every tidbit we could find (we had the entire collection between us, some 20 books or so), many of these were adaptations of published EU (Dark Empire, Tales of the Jedi, etc.) or just combined info from general LucasArts publications like the Star Wars Technology series, converted to gaming stats (Imperial Sourcebook, etc.).

One thing was clear, whilst Fleet strategies and some themes could be roughly associated with traditional seaborn fleet combat IRL, the engineering is nothing like sea going battleships. A Star Destroyer, or a Corellian Gunship for that matter are nothing respectively like a Bismarck or an Emden. They're not a New Jersey or an Oliver Hazard Perry either.
They're quite purpose built, using the Star Wars theme of epic and fantastic, but with elements of backstory and depth.

In spacefleet combat terms a Star Destroyer is very much like a battleship. But in boarding terms it is quite another kettle of fish, it is much more like a mobile space station, a full military base as impregnable as any major Imperial planetary/moonbased stronghold. Picture venturing with an assault force to "shut down the reactor core" of an Imperial moonbased stronghold with a population just shy of 50,000 military personnel, some 10,000 of these are hardened troops and at least 2000 of these are extremely well equipped Stormtroopers.
Every Imperial-1 class Star Destroyer carries all the equipment and manpower for the deployment of a prefabricated garrison in addition to its standard space going complement. Its vehicle shops and engineering facilities are capable of limited mass production of equipment up to and including small vessels (TIE starfighters and various landcraft). It is capable of functioning as a completely self contained starbase for 50,000 personnel for up to 6 years, without any intake of materials or supply although can be skeleton crewed by around 5000 personnel with full combat capability (at an efficiency penalty however).

Star Destroyers and most large Imperial vessels are compartmentalised rather than centralised, there are so many capacitor batteries (which turbolasers and computer banks for example require to provide steady power output), that even if by some unbelievably heroic effort an assault team of epic description managed to make their way to the very centre and most protected/impregnable part of the entire vessel and its intentional design, past every possible safeguard and security measure (including no direct paths to ship access points) to the main reactor, and switch it off like a light bulb, there are dozens of smaller reactors spread all around the ship. This is like a base, not a battleship.

In terms of boarding action it is not at all like the Yamato. It is like Guadalcanal.

In RPG terms the system used is damage scales on dice/damage. There are character scale, speeder scale, walker scale, starfighter scale, capital scale and planetary scale damage ratios. Each works exponentially to increase or reduce damage caused by other scales.
For example, let's say you have a character shooting at a speeder with his blaster pistol. The blaster does 4d6 dmg, the speeder has a 2d6 hull. Speeder is going to go boom, right? No, because of damage scales, it takes more like 10d6 (combined fire from an entire company) to start doing speeder-scale damage. Thermal detonators help with this (10d6 base damage), but armoured combat speeders have 4 or 5d6 hulls so you wind up with the same problem (you'll need a whole company all throwing thermal detonators at one).

Now imagine you're trying to sabotage the integral facilities of a capital class vessel with boarding action, like sabotaging the reactor core as you put it. It's not just going to take a grenade on a string, or even shaped charges placed on the main casing (which is part of the capital scale superstructure). You'll have to find some heat exchangers or some other vital system, which is going to be in a well defended, armoured engineering section, you'll require specific training and equipment for the job, and you'll be fighting urban warfare style against hardened military defences to get to it.

As for simply disabling Star Destroyers willy nilly with ion cannon, it's not quite that easy. Again it takes a capital scale weapon to make any impact, like the gigantic ion cannon based on Hoth. For a start the only vessels in the Republic fleet carrying that kind of weaponry around are the MonCal cruisers. Secondly ion cannon have much shorter range than turbolasers, so there's not a lot of chance of getting that close. Thirdly the secondary weapon banks of an Imperial-1 Star Destroyer are capital scale ion cannon, and where a MonCal cruiser can bring something like 15 banks to bear on any facing, a Star Destroyer can bring all 60 to bear anywhere in the upper hemisphere (it has reduced armament directly behind or in the lower hemisphere, but the entire lower hull is virtually impregnable from ship to ship damage, designed to repel things like asteroid collisions and space debris at speed).

The ion battery at hoth relied upon complacency and suprise, it counted on the arrogance of individual Star Destroyer commanders and the subsequent stupidity of sitting in close orbit unprepared for traditional fleet combat. The one disabled in ESB was a sitting duck, it's not a standard military practise particularly during fleet combat.

Had they sat at distant orbit prepared for a desperate and possibly dangerous defensive action, like Vader's flagship they would've been out of range, although ground targets would still be in range of their turbolasers when the planetary shielding became disabled by the surface assault (TIE/fc mixed in with regular TIE/In flights are used for sighting purposes although TIE bombers and scouts can do this too).

Essentially, when using full core rules and all the sourcebook material, our gaming group found existentially that one Star Destroyer virtually commanded an entire system, and required the entire Rebel fleet present at Endor to deal with in a one-on-one straight up fight. They are quite simply that powerful, and it hardly mattered varying tactics. In the end we only began gaining notable successes after getting Jedi characters high enough level to board like the Battle of Coruscant in Prequel Ep3, lightsabre our way to the bridge and take over using dialogue and roleplay.
There was no way in hell to do it using game statistics and technical mechanics, they're just too overpowered. We lost entire fleets of Corellian gunships and light cruisers until this happened, without so much as making a dent in a Star Destroyers hull, let alone recovering any boarding attempts we tried, even sending in entire battalions of powerarmoured assault troops.
They've got their own (Space Assault Stormtroopers, deadly stuff).
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Old 01-09-2010, 12:29 PM   #17
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Again this is due to people not understanding the concept and size of warships. The average heavy warship has a percentage of only 2% of it's volume in armor and hull, for that matter the average ship of any kind has only 1-1.5%. The Nimitz class ship if completely compressed into a block would be only about 30 meters to a side, including all the aircraft and personnel. By heavy warship, I mean battleships with 10+ inches of armor belt.

This is due to power restrictions more than anything else. To armour a ship to the specs your books specify would mean they'd need engines powerful enough to move a small moon out of orbit. You also need room for that massive crew.

The same thing happened in reverse when David Weber created his Honor Harrington series. About the time of book eight someone mentioned to the author that his ships were as solid as smoke in comparison to their size and mass. He was working with the largest ship being only 9.5 megatons.

As for weapons, you are correct that a hand weapon will not affect a warship, but saying a hand weapon will not affect a speeder is spurious. The golden BB theory was created by the Russian Army during WWII to deal with strafing attacks. It didn't work well, but it did work. As for smaller warships, you have to remember that the torpedo boat and destroyer were designed with the idea of getting close enough to use torpedoes.


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Old 01-10-2010, 09:16 PM   #18
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Well I wasn't relating so much an impossibility of doing damage with character scale weapons to either speeder scale or even walker scale structures, but the important consideration is damage scales are dealing with structure. The golden-bb would be considered a plot point, where an amazingly lucky shot penetrated a relatively weak grille to cause catastrophic damage to a heat exchanger...in mundane combat it still relates to the general guideline it would take (according to damage scales in RPG) around 30 troops concentrating fire with hand blasters to guarantee that one lucky shot within a 6-second combat round of choice.

And let us consider the historical role of the golden-bb (an American term), during the fighting for Stalingrad General Chuikov said that ordering troops to use infantry weaponry, even support weaponry like anti-tank rifles being mounted to makeshift tripods for use as light-AAA, was wholly a device for morale. Stuka are virtually immune to ground fire in the dive, prior to the dive they are several kilometres away (at 2-3km altitude) and following the dive execute a zoom recovery which is equally hard to track/lead, the best opportunity is a small window as stuka level out and return home slowly, at low altitude of 500-1000m about a kilometre from the target. It's not a big window for infantry weapons (but they are extremely vulnerable at this time for 25mm and larger AAA).

Consider that dedicated fighter-bombers were routinely armoured against rifle calibre groundfire from 1940, and by late 1940 many of these features were incorporated into standard fighter models. A P-40 could be taken down by massed rifle fire much easier than a P-40B for example (or a BF-109E-3 compared to an BF-109E-4). The notable exception would be Japanese fighters and attack models.

By midwar the preferred, dedicated fighter-bombers not only included heavy armouring, particularly around the oil cooler but tended towards radial engines (Fw-190A/F/G, La-5), which increased survivability against even medium calibre ground fire. It is a very lucky shot indeed which can bring down an Fw-190F with a rifle calibre, there are very few places for it to hit which are going to do any appreciable damage or threaten the pilot (the floor, seat, walls and cockpit glass being all armoured, as well as engine cowling, reduction gear, hydraulic/oil piping, ammunition cases, aircraft underside and the controls are electrical w/backups, and there is no water-radiator to hit).

Here's where we get the pilot folklore of the golden-bb. During 1944-45 Allied strafing missions were more common than air superiority ones, and many regular fighters were adapted as fighter-bombers. Aircraft with vulnerable radiators and relatively little specialised armouring, like the Spit FB variants and P-51's. They did their job well, but gained a reputation for being downed by lucky rifle calibre groundfire. According to USAAF testament the Mustang "could be taken down by a single rifle round in the right place" (the reason the P-47 was the preferred fighter-bomber even though its low altitude performance without ADI water-injection was sluggish at best). The Spitfire FB variants also had this reputation.

To properly armour a water-cooled attack a/c from groundfire you wind up with something like an IL-2 Sturmovik (nicknamed the flying tank), which has a basic single seat fighter layout but is virtually immune to small and medium calibre groundfire (designed to shrug off anything smaller than a pom-pom). Gunther Rall said the only way to take one down using his 1x 20mm and 2x 7.92mm in an Me-109F/G was to sit on its tail at close range for extended periods and slowly break away its control surfaces. The Sturmovik (its cockpit/engine area encased in a thick, stainless steel armoured bathtub not unlike the titanium ones of the modern A-10 and Su-25), was so heavy that even with an engine roughly as powerful as an early Griffon it is a slow and sluggish beast to fly. Nevertheless you simply couldn't take one down without extreme patience and once they redesigned it with an armoured rear-gunner armed with two 12.7mm machine guns the IL-2 actually started accounting for many air-air victories defensively.

Things changed dramatically in the jet age and the golden-bb gained its most fearsome reputation in Vietnam, where more than 50% of all F-105 Thunderchief fighter-bombers were shot down by groundfire, and a notable proportion of these, plus a few Phantoms were taken by massed rifle fire from overflown encampments at hilltops and the like.

Jets are however a different matter and aren't armoured anything like the fighters of WW2. An F/A-18 Hornet can most definitely be taken down with a good rifle, but the problem is you never see one even when being attacked by it. By use of effective tactics such as wild weasel operations, AWACS and triservice/international mission support regimes, the first you'll hear of a Hornet is the sonic boom as it flies somewhere out of range and out of sight, then a few moments later the entire area will be laid to waste by its independently targeting ordnance.
If the blighter would just fly past nice and close at a comfy 400km/h level speed yeah you could take it down with a .30/30 (a .50 BMG would be better).
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Old 01-10-2010, 11:19 PM   #19
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In the X-wing series of books several Star Destroyers were either destroyed or disabled by Proton torpedoes and concussion missiles fired by fighters; something only slightly better armed than the speeders you're talking about. The primary reason the Acclamator in the Clone Wars turned her lower hull to the enemy was it had no hatches that could be blown open, something the Imperial 1 Star Destroyer can boast. Regardless of how well armored a ship is, any place where there is a seam is a danger. For that matter, armor itself can be a problem. The Air Craft Carrier Shinano, built on a battleship hull, was struck and sunk by only four torpedoes fired by Archerfish. The primary cause according to their own court of inquiry was that the shockwave from the torpedoes drove beams that seperated the inner and outer armed hulls, causing ruptures in the inner hull.


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Old 01-15-2010, 10:02 PM   #20
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Mind you looking again at the (structural) damage scales of character/speeder/walker/starfighter/capital/planetary, starfighters armed with proton torpedos are much more heavily armed than speeders, being two scales higher to start with. Starfighter scale blasters normally 5d6 to other starfighters will likely do 7d6+2 to walkers, 15d6 to speeders and 25d6 to characters (don't stand in front of an X-wing while the pilot tests the guns, body armour and a medpack won't help you).
By the same token starfighter scale weapons have a reduction factor of 4 to capital scale structures, so those 5d6 blasters do only 0-10 damage points instead of the 5-30 they would normally do, anything but the weakest frigates are going to shrug it off even with little armour and thin hull plate.
But proton torpedos (and concussion missiles or other assault weapons) are designed specifically so that starfighters can damage capital scale structures (initially they were designed to combat capital scale planetary defences and damage things like buildings/large structures during raids). Base damage on a proton torpedo is 12d6, which means even with the scale reduction, against capital scale structures it still does 0-24 damage points and considering basic capital structures are 2d6 hull and warships start at 4d6 this is pretty equivalent and more than capable of doing them damage.

Having a starfighter equipped with proton torpedos is the equivalent of a fighter-bomber, attack aircraft or torpedo-bomber. A TIE fighter by comparison is hardly going to damage a Nebulon-B frigate with any surety, but a snubnose X-Wing will...if it can get past the shields.

Then you have capital scale torpedo-boats and destroyers like the Corellian Gunship, which is fitted with two concussion missile launchers on the front arc that mount projectiles the size of an ICBM. They can fire these out to 30km and do 10d6 capital scale damage with them, which is enough to cut an Imperial I Star Destroyer in half...if you can get them past the shields.
Our gaming group lost an entire fleet of CEC Gunships to a Star Destroyer once though, when we couldn't.

See the trick is, you use an X-Wing assault to try to bring down the shields. Then you jump in CEC Gunships and ruin them with capital scale concussion warheads. Problem is the two attack groups cannot be in realtime communication with each other, and it's a real mess when the X-Wings fail.


I mean that scene at the end of Saving Private Ryan where Tom Hanks is shooting at the Tiger tank with his service pistol is emotional and everything, but I laughed partly because it was so childish, despite endearing. Oh yes the .45" bullet could've gone in through the viewport and ricochet'd inside...in bizarro world, and I'm equally sure faced with imminent death any of us would be hoping for this. Remember the moment Hanks looked at his pistol oddly when the Tiger exploded, then realised it was destroyed by a P-51 that flew over.
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Old 01-20-2010, 03:38 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by vanir View Post
Mind you looking again at the (structural) damage scales of character/speeder/walker/starfighter/capital/planetary, starfighters armed with proton torpedos are much more heavily armed than speeders, being two scales higher to start with. Starfighter scale blasters normally 5d6 to other starfighters will likely do 7d6+2 to walkers, 15d6 to speeders and 25d6 to characters (don't stand in front of an X-wing while the pilot tests the guns, body armour and a medpack won't help you).
By the same token starfighter scale weapons have a reduction factor of 4 to capital scale structures, so those 5d6 blasters do only 0-10 damage points instead of the 5-30 they would normally do, anything but the weakest frigates are going to shrug it off even with little armour and thin hull plate.
But proton torpedos (and concussion missiles or other assault weapons) are designed specifically so that starfighters can damage capital scale structures (initially they were designed to combat capital scale planetary defences and damage things like buildings/large structures during raids). Base damage on a proton torpedo is 12d6, which means even with the scale reduction, against capital scale structures it still does 0-24 damage points and considering basic capital structures are 2d6 hull and warships start at 4d6 this is pretty equivalent and more than capable of doing them damage.

Having a starfighter equipped with proton torpedos is the equivalent of a fighter-bomber, attack aircraft or torpedo-bomber. A TIE fighter by comparison is hardly going to damage a Nebulon-B frigate with any surety, but a snubnose X-Wing will...if it can get past the shields.

Then you have capital scale torpedo-boats and destroyers like the Corellian Gunship, which is fitted with two concussion missile launchers on the front arc that mount projectiles the size of an ICBM. They can fire these out to 30km and do 10d6 capital scale damage with them, which is enough to cut an Imperial I Star Destroyer in half...if you can get them past the shields.
Our gaming group lost an entire fleet of CEC Gunships to a Star Destroyer once though, when we couldn't.

See the trick is, you use an X-Wing assault to try to bring down the shields. Then you jump in CEC Gunships and ruin them with capital scale concussion warheads. Problem is the two attack groups cannot be in realtime communication with each other, and it's a real mess when the X-Wings fail.


I mean that scene at the end of Saving Private Ryan where Tom Hanks is shooting at the Tiger tank with his service pistol is emotional and everything, but I laughed partly because it was so childish, despite endearing. Oh yes the .45" bullet could've gone in through the viewport and ricochet'd inside...in bizarro world, and I'm equally sure faced with imminent death any of us would be hoping for this. Remember the moment Hanks looked at his pistol oddly when the Tiger exploded, then realised it was destroyed by a P-51 that flew over.
As I said before, a lot of game designers don't look at real life weapons systems when they design things. Let's use your own example;

Except for the modern gatling and chain guns used by the Air Force the primary difference between a ground based system (Anti-aircraft gun) and one carried by the aircraft itself is the fact that a ground system can have a longer barrel. If we go back 60 years, the difference between what an infantry man would use was even smaller. The .303 machine guns used by the British as secondary guns on the Hurrican or Spitfire and the Lewis Bren or Maxim gun used by the infantry was only total ammunition carried into combat as a matter of course. On the American side of the lake the Original Tomahawk had two .30 calliber machine guns and four .50 caliber little different from the machine guns carried by the ground pounders. In Saving Private Ryan it wasn't the .50 caliber wing guns that killed the tank, it was one of the 5" HVAR rockets in use. In point of fact, the Russians refused deliver of the P399 (Export version of the P39 Aircorbra) because the 37mm central mounted cannon didn't have the pentration needed to punch through the upper armor of a German MKIII and IV tank.

An F4 Phantom with a 20mm gatling carries only 286 rounds for her main gun. 16 seconds at the lower rate of fire (1086 rounds per minute) Less than 5 seconds at full rate of 4,000rpm. Oddly enough, damage wise a modern plane actually has less capability that it's WWII counterpart. The Average American torpedo has a 500 lb warhead, as much as a 1,000 pound bomb. The difference is a torpedo will crack a ship's spine and kill her, whereas a 1000 pound skip bomb (Used by the Argentinians during the Falkland Islands was barely enough to kill even Atlantic Conveyor, the merchant ship sunk during that conflict.Assigning as much difference between a snowspeeder and a fighter is patently ridiculous. The weaponry of both depends on a way to recharge the energy released, either capacitor or energy throughput. The size is not enough to explain the energy difference.

Also 'Capital' ship has a specific meaning to a military man. If you're speaking in WWII terms, a Heavy cruiser or battleship is a capital ship. The others are escort or screening vessels. They are not ships of the line. In a normal battle the smaller ships engage each other unless they are released for torpedo runs. That doesn't mean they can't do good service, the destroyer flotilla under Commodore Vian in the search for the Bismarck were able to keep the crew of that ship at battle stations all of the night before the heavier ships arrive to finally kill her. During several battles off Guadalcanal destroyers and cruisers were able to lurk up on larger warships. In fact one Japanese Battleship (Kirishima I think) was badly damaged when a light and heavy cruiser got close enough for flat trajectory 6 and 8" shells to penetrate her armor.

Could you mount a capital ship launsher on such a small vessel? Yes. That is how the Osa missile boats were originally designed, and the Nanuchka missile boat carries four missiles designed for destroyers of the the Russian navy. But they don't have the magazine capacity to put more aboard. Those ships by definition are called Corvettes.


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