Author Topic: Need help with plausibility in story background  (Read 960 times)

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Offline Gyrfalcon

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Need help with plausibility in story background
« on: December 05, 2011, 03:16:56 PM »
I've been slowly working myself up to writing an Aurora fanfiction, one that begins in the near future with nations that are roughly similar to the current nations of the world.  One of the things I've been looking into is military capacity, however Aurora does not simulate two things - blue-water navies and air forces.  While I can write naval battles 'off-screen', I don't think I can handwave away air forces as easily. 

I've looked into a petroleum crash leading to a lack of military-grade jet fuel, but even quick research on Wikipedia points to efforts already towards using synthetic mixes, pure synthetic fuel or biofuel are already underway, which means that logically speaking, these efforts should result in at least some air power capacity twenty years from now, depending on each nation's success in setting up the necessary infrastructure.

Does anyone have any good ideas that would lead to a general lack of airpower (outside Space to Surface capabilities from Trans-Newtonian spaceships), but still leave tanks, APCs and other petroleum-using vehicles in a usable state?
 

Offline Panopticon

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Re: Need help with plausibility in story background
« Reply #1 on: December 05, 2011, 03:24:13 PM »
You could view the current ground forces as more combined arms units rather than simply foot soldiers and vehicles, combat is fairly abstract already and it is easy enough to think of some damage caused during attacks being by bombing runs or what have you.

Alternatively you could posit that in the next decade or so conventional advances in either ground to air defense or orbital satellites have made combat aircraft essentially unusable. Perhaps someone develops a really good SAM and it gets widespread deployment, or guns from space of some variety.

You could even roll that into your fiction, the sciences behind those advances were the precursors to general TN technology in some fashion.
 

Offline TheDeadlyShoe

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Re: Need help with plausibility in story background
« Reply #2 on: December 05, 2011, 03:30:37 PM »
You could start each faction with Airfield PDCs and conventional-drive fighters. Heh.

Water navies are obsolete when you can hop to the other side of the world in seconds. Submarines might still work but would be slooooooow on a TN combat scale.

 

Offline Gyrfalcon

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Re: Need help with plausibility in story background
« Reply #3 on: December 05, 2011, 03:51:37 PM »
The problem with rolling them into the unit is that outside the division level, they aren't handled in combined arms style.   If you take a look at the structure of one of the United States' divisions*, the air component is its own separate brigade within the division.   Once the rest of the division is translated to Trans-Newtonian terms, the air units would probably fall into the Assault Infantry category, but that's not really elegant.   Many other nations don't integrate their air forces at all with their ground troops.   (Also on the elegance side of things, including the attached aerial brigade brings every American division to five brigades, and Aurora only supports four.   Stripping off the air units was a handy way of dealing with that.  )

The second problem is handling Air Forces, since these really can't be rolled into an Army's divisional strength in any sort of accurate fashion. 

I hadn't thought about having some form of leap in anti-air technology that no one has managed to beat by building a better aircraft yet, but that is a possibility to think about. 

Quote from: TheDeadlyShoe
You could start each faction with Airfield PDCs and conventional-drive fighters.  Heh.

Water navies are obsolete when you can hop to the other side of the world in seconds.  Submarines might still work but would be slooooooow on a TN combat scale.

I had considered that option as well, TheDeadlyShoe, but while I'm crazy enough to research and write fairly accurate counts and names for the military of every nation in the world (Working on #12, The Philippines), the idea of trying to fight a massive air war between hundreds of fighters at once makes me cringe a little.

At least initially, no one will have the ability to hop from one side of the world to the other - my idea is a fairly slow conventional start, and moving a division across the world will take a bit longer then seconds, though that will be represented in the story rather then Aurora.   

As an aside, if anyone knows of a good free site dealing with military strengths, organization and unit names that doesn't want to charge large amounts of money to be accessed, please let me know.   I figure Wikipedia is good enough for a semi-realistic game, but sometimes finding information is like pulling teeth, especially for more secretive nations like North Korea or China. 

* An example is below.
hxxp: en. wikipedia. org/wiki/3rd_Infantry_Division_%28United_States%29#Current_structure
« Last Edit: December 05, 2011, 03:55:33 PM by Gyrfalcon »
 

Offline Panopticon

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Re: Need help with plausibility in story background
« Reply #4 on: December 05, 2011, 04:04:57 PM »
Well I am aware that combined arms like that are not how current armed forces work, my point was you can just assume that some of the damage done in any attack is from air strikes operating in support or on their own missions, it is admittedly rough and requires more suspension of disbelief
 

Offline Elouda

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Re: Need help with plausibility in story background
« Reply #5 on: December 05, 2011, 04:16:09 PM »
I can understand where you're coming from regarding air and naval forces.

My own approach would be to rig up some sort of spreadsheet as a 'sidegame' to keep track of all that, and to simulate combat using some sort of simple attrition mechanics.

As for information of armed forces, http://www.globalsecurity.org/ has data on units, equipment and budgets for major countries, and in some cases this includes a look at things in the past or projections for the future. I'm not sure they do division level TOE/ORBAT's, but they're still worth checking out.
« Last Edit: December 05, 2011, 04:17:53 PM by Elouda »
 

Offline Arwyn

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Re: Need help with plausibility in story background
« Reply #6 on: December 05, 2011, 05:03:42 PM »
One thing you could consider is that there ARE no manned aircraft up at that point. From a speed perspective, anything moving at conventional speeds is going to be in a world of hurt when you consider the speed granted by trans-newtonian tech.

For example, an F-22 is running at roughly 40 km/s in atmosphere at afterburner. Even your starting missile technology with Aurora is showing missiles running in the 20,000 km/s rates.

So, from that perspective, running an airbreathing combat jet with missiles that can run hypervelocity rings around you is a really really bad idea. Effectively this means your running in a look and shoot down situation. At hyperveloicity speeds, a missile can intercept you before you can really move out of the way.
 

Offline Gyrfalcon

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Re: Need help with plausibility in story background
« Reply #7 on: December 05, 2011, 05:17:27 PM »
Elouda - Thanks for the link.  I recall looking at them before, and after three or four articles being told I had to pay to continue receiving access.  It doesn't look like that's currently the case, so I'll give them more of a look tomorrow.

Arwyn - Well, since the game starts from a near-future point where no nation yet has the Trans-Newtonian advantage, every country would continue to field an Air Force until it is proven ineffective.  One extension of technology may be the use of drone fighters and bombers in place of manned, but there would still be plenty of moving aerial hardware.
 

Offline Arwyn

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Re: Need help with plausibility in story background
« Reply #8 on: December 05, 2011, 08:58:49 PM »
Gotcha. Ok, then probably the easiest way is to consider them force multipliers. From an RP perspective, your morale/training factor on the divisions in question could also be considered additional external asset support.

From a purely ground perspective, air support is considered "artillery". So, from a practical perspective, it really doesnt matter if the support is internal divisional artillery assets, air support, or naval launched cruise missiles.

In fact, it may be a real easy way to explain the amount of destruction inflicted on industry and population in game. By and large, artillery is still king of the battlefield, and inflicts a disproportionate amount of casualties and property destruction.

So, from that perspective, a unit at 100% would be fully staffed, and had proper C3i and attached support elements. You could simply RP in the air and naval assets as the combat went on, so instead of a couple of divisions attacking and inflicting 33% losses on an opposing infantry formation and 12% losses on an armor division, you could interpret that as artillery and close air support targeting the infantry formations while the tank formations came out fairly lightly. If the losses ran the other way, 12% infantry division, and 33% armor, then that could be interpreted as dedicated anti-armor support going after the tanks via attack helicopter or close air missions via an A-10/F-35/Su-25.
 

Offline Panopticon

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Re: Need help with plausibility in story background
« Reply #9 on: December 05, 2011, 09:16:49 PM »
Arwyn said what I was trying to say, but infinitely more eloquently.
 

Offline Gyrfalcon

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Re: Need help with plausibility in story background
« Reply #10 on: December 30, 2011, 09:16:09 AM »
As an update, I'm currently favoring the 'leap in anti-air' technology. As I've gone through the military forces of various countries, I occasionally dive into the technology side of things. One of the more modern anti-air radar systems I read about claims it can defeat the stealth properties of modern stealth aircraft. Now if that was packaged in a simple, easy to build format, along with the design specs for an agile, long range missile with superior target recognition, and then released 'open source' on the internet, every country in the world would probably test it, figure out it works, and phase it into their armed forces.

Now add a few incidents of extreme overconfidence leading to unacceptable air losses, and enough man-portable and vehicle-mounted versions, and aircraft would be reduced to stand-off attacks, and helicopters usage would also be curtailed as any force they engage could potentially offer some very deadly return fire.

This would persist until one of three things happened :
1 - A leap in stealth technology that spoofs the radar system
2 - A leap in countermeasures technology that spoofs or destroys the missile
3 - A quantum leap in battle technology that renders previous technology obsolete. (Hi Trans-Newtonian units!)
 

Offline MWadwell

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Re: Need help with plausibility in story background
« Reply #11 on: December 30, 2011, 05:59:51 PM »
Arwyn - Well, since the game starts from a near-future point where no nation yet has the Trans-Newtonian advantage, every country would continue to field an Air Force until it is proven ineffective.  One extension of technology may be the use of drone fighters and bombers in place of manned, but there would still be plenty of moving aerial hardware.

To be honest, even after some nations have a 100% effective anti-aircraft defense, a lot of other nations will continue to pour money into an airforce - as until all nations fields the new anti-aircraft defense, the airforce will be useful against some nations....

(An example is stealth aircraft - against the F-22, most fighters are going to be simply targets. An yet, nations still fields fighters, just in case they go up against nations that don't have F-22's.)
Later,
Matt
 

Offline Gyrfalcon

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Re: Need help with plausibility in story background
« Reply #12 on: December 31, 2011, 04:04:09 AM »
This being the reason the plans technological details were released on the internet - suddenly every government, paramilitary or terrorist group has access to the schematics for an effective anti-air weapon. Timeline wise, this also won't be a recent thing, but something that occurred about a decade before the story begins, so there has also been time for the information to proliferate.
 

 

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