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Offline El Pip (OP)

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Unbuilt Warships of the Royal Navy
by
Dr Morgan Walsh, Lecturer of Imperial History at the University of Merlin

Introduction
It is said that for every ship of the Royal Navy there is a book, indeed for some parts of the fleet there are more books than ships; there are at least a dozen times as many books about the Royal Navy's Dreadnoughts than there are actual Dreadnoughts and the (mis)adventures of the Weapon-class have been covered in exhaustive, some might suggest excessive, detail in seemingly countless volumes.

This book is not about any of those ships, it is instead about the might-have-been and never-were designs that emerged from shipwrights, designers and optimistic serving officers across the Empire. For every design that was approved for construction or refit there were several other options that were considered by the Admiralty Board and a far larger number that never even made it onto the final shortlist. The unbuilt ships that are featured in this book are the more critical and hopefully more interesting designs that have been careful selected from amongst that vast multitude. All the designs mark inflection points in the history of the Fleet, some point towards a different path that wasn't taken, others are the opposite and are the conventional option that was rejected when the Admiralty decided, or had imposed upon it, a major change.

Being unbuilt ships there are no list of actions and battles, no reports on performance in service and hidden feature or vices that emerged during service. In general these are bare-bone designs and often not even that, many of the designs presented were never even finalised. A select handful were holo-simed and assessed by the Admiralty Tactical Office, but most of the designs presented were not and so any discussion on how they might have behaved will be speculative and qualitative. While such speculation is indeed presented, one of the lures of might-have-been designs is always the 'What If' questions around them, the fact is is speculation should always be acknowledged.

Overall it is hoped that this book will provide a better understanding of the options available and the designs not selected, in the hope that this knowledge will help to better explain the choices that were made.
 
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Offline El Pip (OP)

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Re: Books of the Imperial Library: Unbuilt Warships of the Royal Navy
« Reply #1 on: November 21, 2021, 12:06:45 PM »
Chapter 1 The First Kill of the Tribals
To break with convention we will not begin at the beginning, to be blunt there is little to be gained by looking at the early unbuilt aether designs of the Royal Navy. A wide range of primitive attack skiffs and crude fighters were designed 'in case of emergency' and more practically to give naval architects experience in military designs. Small, slow and lacking effective weaponry they are not particularly distinctive and none of the ideas or features of those craft translated to the vessels that were eventually constructed, the first actual warships of the fleet, the Tribal-class destroyers.
Much has been written on the Tribal-class and rest assured we will not be diving into the many subtle variants and marginally different options that were considered for the first batch. Instead we will be looking at it's main rival and the original preferred design, the A-class, sometimes recorded as the Active-class

Code: [Select]
Active-class Destroyer      10,000 tons       319 Crew       1,517.9 BP       TCS 200    TH 600    EM 0
3000 km/s      Armour 5-41       Shields 0-0       HTK 63      Sensors 0/110/0/0      DCR 6      PPV 55
Maint Life 3.13 Years     MSP 569    AFR 133%    IFR 1.9%    1YR 87    5YR 1,307    Max Repair 126 MSP
Commander    Control Rating 2   BRG   AUX   
Intended Deployment Time: 12 months    Morale Check Required   

Rolls Royce Falcon Mk.I ID-300x (2)    Power 600    Fuel Use 19.83%    Signature 300    Explosion 8%
Fuel Capacity 262,000 Gallons    Range 23.8 billion km (91 days at full power)

Beardmore Mk.I 6" NUV Laser (11)    Range 128,000km     TS: 5,000 km/s     Power 6-3     RM 30,000 km    ROF 10       
GEC Type 500 BFC 128-4000 (2)     Max Range: 128,000 km   TS: 4,000 km/s     92 84 77 69 61 53 45 38 30 22
Brown-Curtis Hydra Mk.I GFCR (2)     Total Power Output 40 kBTU/s    Exp 5%

Barr & Stroud Type 200MWS 1.5m/R1 (1)     GPS 84     Range 17.1m km    MCR 1.5m km    Resolution 1
Ferranti Type 600SR 46m/R20 (1)     GPS 1680     Range 46.6m km    Resolution 20
GEC Type 1000LR 114m/R160 (1)     GPS 20160     Range 114m km    Resolution 160
Racal Type 400 ESM10-110 (1)     Sensitivity 110     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  82.9m km

The basic hull form should be recognisable along with the main components and the design shares the same strengths and weaknesses of the first batch of Tribal-class; strong armour, generous engineering space, solid sensor fit and far too slow. The main difference should also be obvious - the laser main armament in place of the familiar Vickers 8" rail guns. Developed by Beardmore, Lithgow and Company from an industrial cutting device the Mk.I 6" NUV Laser was seriously considered as the main weapon of the first destroyers. Indeed it was initially the preferred option, hence this design receiving the 'A' designation as there was an intent to have a formal naming system for the aether fleet and it was planned for the destroyers would get sequential letters of the alphabet for their class names.

The 6" Lasers did not need turrets or ammunition feeds in the same manner as a rail gun so the design lacked recognisable turrets, instead having a number of almost barbette like emplacements along the spine and flanks. These barbettes contained the laser aperture unit, the large capacitors that fed it and direct power couplings down to the Hydra reactors in the heart of the hull. With a shorter wavelength than industrial lasers (being near ultraviolet it was ~0.3micron compared to the ~1 micron in a typical laser cutter) and the resulting higher energy per photon the weapons could not maintain the constant output of an industrial unit. Or more precisely the laser aperture could, but the capacitors, reactors and cooling systems could not maintain constant output without catastrophic failure, so the units were limited to a single high energy shot every 10 seconds. The operational concept was intense and constant sniping, alternating fire from the barbettes to maintain a constant weight of fire and using accurate targeting to focus shots on exposed or vulnerable areas on the enemy vessel. The inexperience of the Admiralty in aether warfare should be apparent here, they had still yet to grasp that the combat ranges and speeds of aether combat made such a plan a pipe dream, to say nothing of the minor detail that the design would prove far too slow to even keep up with the enemy's the Empire would encounter, let alone dictate the engagement range.

Opposition to the design came from the nascent tactics division which had grave doubts about the operational concept. They highlighted the many uncertainties and instead support the rail guns on the basis of rate of fire, while the Vickers 8" Mk.I took longer to complete a firing cycle (15 seconds vs 10 for the laser) in that time it would fire four times not once. This great volume of shot allowed a degree of spread and scatter, while each shot may be less likely to hit there were a great deal more of them. Two factions formed, Team Laser under Rear-Admiral Kai Taylor and Team Rail led by Rear-Admiral Harry Hanes, the rivalry as much driven by the two men's desire to be the first 'aether' Vice-Admiral in the Fleet as their belief in the designs. Given the complete lack of hard data, or indeed any data, on possible opponents there was a great deal of holo-simming and a great deal of proving the golden rule of holo-simming "You can prove anything if you setup the scenario just right". Neither side was making any progress on convincing the other so Rear-Admiral Hanes took the fight 'up-stairs' and suggested the two groups make a presentation to the Minister and Cabinet on the rival proposals. Where Taylor focused on the technical details, the advantages of a relativistic weapon in allowing the target no time to doge, the lack of ammunition requirements and so on, Hanes took a different path. He instead appealed to one of the key tenets of Anglo-Futurism - Semper Ipsum, Numquam Obrutus (Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned). His entire pitch was the rail guns on the Tribals put out a superior weight of fire and had a higher theoretical damage per second (if they hit) and so were obviously better.

The Imperial Cabinet was convinced by this argument, cynically it was suggested this was because it was the only one of the two that they could understand, and this broke the deadlock, they came down in favour of the Tribal class, a success which also marked Hanes out as a future star. His promotion to Vice-Admiral followed shortly making him undisputed head of the aether branch and within a few short years he would be the inaugural First Space Lord and oversee the final decommissioning of the few legacy 'wet navy' ships left in active service. The preference for weight of fire over accuracy in warship design has remained a constant in Admiralty thinking, though not always a decisive one as we shall see in later chapters. The decision also broke the naming system before it has even begun, to the distress of the Ship Naming Committee who's efforts to impose a logical system on the naming of Royal Navy vessels remain unrewarded to this day.

Had Taylor and the A-class been successful the changes would have been fundamental and far reaching. The entire doctrine of the Royal Navy would have changed, particularly given the advances in sensor and tracking technology that were coming. At the time of the decision both the rail gun and laser were limited by the range of the GEC Type 500 fire control, so both had the same effective maximum range, a few short years later that would not have been the case. The longer range GEC Type 501, and the far superior Ferranti Type 502X, would have allowed the full range of the 6" Mk.I Laser to be used. Even if the 'sniping' doctrine had proved impractical, a long range shooting doctrine may have been feasible, particularly for the later Mark.III Tribal destroyers which had the speed to at least attempt to control the range. It is interesting to speculate what a fleet designed for long range shooting would look like, certainly substantially different to the one the Navy has today. As it was the Tribals won out and ambitious officers in the fleet learnt that while they could ignore politics, that didn't mean politics would ignore them.
« Last Edit: November 22, 2021, 06:24:07 AM by El Pip »
 
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Offline nuclearslurpee

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Re: Books of the Imperial Library: Unbuilt Warships of the Royal Navy
« Reply #2 on: November 21, 2021, 01:31:38 PM »
Excellent! Finally a Pip work to distract people from my own updating tardiness read and enjoy.  ;D

I was going to sit down and work through my backlog today anyways but this is certainly the right way to start my day.

It is said that for every ship of the Royal Navy there is a book, indeed for some parts of the fleet there are more books than ships; there are at least a dozen times as many books about the Royal Navy's Dreadnoughts than there are actual Dreadnoughts and the (mis)adventures of the Weapon-class have been covered in exhaustive, some might suggest excessive, detail in seemingly countless volumes.

I eagerly await links to where I may purchase these exhaustively detailed books so that I might assess their excessiveness as a neutral arbiter.

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While such speculation is indeed presented, one of the lures of might-have-been designs is always the 'What If' questions around them, the fact is is speculation should always be acknowledged.

And celebrated, for there are few things more enjoyable in life than reckless speculation.

Active-class Destroyer
10,000 tons
3000 km/s
Fuel Capacity 262,000 Gallons
Total Power Output 40 kBTU/s

Truly the Space Imperial system is a thing of beauty. I may even have shed a manly space tear.

The design is also quite characteristic and even without the exposition tells the story of naval architects desperately scrabbling about to figure out what a space warship is supposed to do. In addition to the points raised in the text, I also would draw attention to the quite curious sensor suite - sensors covering several resolutions, each rather larger than is needed for beam targeting purposes yet rather smaller than one would want for long-range target detection as might be found on a dedicated fleet scout or C&C vessel. Still, such things are not necessarily damning as sensor doctrine in fleet design can be quite extensively variable. More curious is the decision to mount a 500-ton EM detection sensor, in itself a perfectly capable type of sensor, yet reflective of a clear identity crisis (I suspect typifying Admiralty thinking during this period) as it would be better-suited on a fleet scout type of design, and curiously is not matched by any thermal sensor at all.

Overall this is a ship quite confused as to its intended role and doctrine, really just the sort of thing that one expects from an Admiralty suffering from the same conditions.

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the units were limited to a single high energy shot every 10 seconds. The operational concept was intense and constant sniping, alternating fire from the barbettes to maintain a constant weight of fire and using accurate targeting to focus shots on exposed or vulnerable areas on the enemy vessel.

This is an interesting idea, but as mentioned following not an effective one in practice at least as the Admiralty conceived at this time. Primarily, in practice this strategy proves ineffective when all weapons fired are of the same class, simply put there ends up being no real benefit. However the Admiralty cannot be faulted for failing to foresee the advent of energy shields which would later motivate a resurgence of this doctrine applied to a naval combined arms context.

(Also I am now going to try and see if this idea is feasible in any other useful ways in Aurora, because similar mechanics are central in other wargames and it is in my opinion a fun tactical mechanic.)

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Given the complete lack of hard data, or indeed any data, on possible opponents there was a great deal of holo-simming and a great deal of proving the golden rule of holo-simming "You can prove anything if you setup the scenario just right".

A rule I am sure both sides of the debate have cited selectively.

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As it was the Tribals won out and ambitious officers in the fleet learnt that while they could ignore politics, that didn't mean politics would ignore them.

An unfortunate truth of the world of military affairs. Or perhaps fortunate, depending who is asked about such matters.

On the whole this is quite the quality and tone I would expect from an El Pip work, and I look forward to the next entry in the series sometime next Spring.  :P
 
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Offline El Pip (OP)

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Re: Books of the Imperial Library: Unbuilt Warships of the Royal Navy
« Reply #3 on: November 24, 2021, 02:29:43 AM »
I eagerly await links to where I may purchase these exhaustively detailed books so that I might assess their excessiveness as a neutral arbiter.
I briefly considered doing this as an anthology, each update from a different book and covering all sorts of other subjects. Then I realised that was ridiculously ambitious and scaled back to something (hopefully) more manageable.

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Truly the Space Imperial system is a thing of beauty. I may even have shed a manly space tear.
It is indeed a thing of wonder. First draft even had weapon and FC ranges in yards (with some order of magnitude prefix) but that seemed a step too far

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The design is also quite characteristic and even without the exposition tells the story of naval architects desperately scrabbling about to figure out what a space warship is supposed to do. In addition to the points raised in the text, I also would draw attention to the quite curious sensor suite - sensors covering several resolutions, each rather larger than is needed for beam targeting purposes yet rather smaller than one would want for long-range target detection as might be found on a dedicated fleet scout or C&C vessel. Still, such things are not necessarily damning as sensor doctrine in fleet design can be quite extensively variable. More curious is the decision to mount a 500-ton EM detection sensor, in itself a perfectly capable type of sensor, yet reflective of a clear identity crisis (I suspect typifying Admiralty thinking during this period) as it would be better-suited on a fleet scout type of design, and curiously is not matched by any thermal sensor at all.

Overall this is a ship quite confused as to its intended role and doctrine, really just the sort of thing that one expects from an Admiralty suffering from the same conditions.
It is a mix of mistakes for plot/RP purposes and entirely genuine mistakes because I was still adapting from VB to C# Aurora. The change in 'normal' fleet speed and the sensor changes in particular were a surprise.

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(Also I am now going to try and see if this idea is feasible in any other useful ways in Aurora, because similar mechanics are central in other wargames and it is in my opinion a fun tactical mechanic.)
Do keep us informed about the results of your researches.

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An unfortunate truth of the world of military affairs. Or perhaps fortunate, depending who is asked about such matters.
I have noticed Aurora AARs tend to gloss over military/political differences, often entirely justifiably because a race is a military dictatorship or whatever. And of course even debates within a military can provide more than enough plot points to fill many an update, as your own work effortlessly demonstrates. The Royal Navy however has to deal with not only those arguments, but also their political masters who may be ill-informed but also hold the purse strings and have voters to worry about.

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On the whole this is quite the quality and tone I would expect from an El Pip work, and I look forward to the next entry in the series sometime next Spring.  :P
I'm afraid I must be the bearer of shocking news - it will probably be significantly earlier than that. I was amazed at how quickly that came together without the need to worry about research, the web of reaction and counter-reaction, and all the other things that slow down Butterfly. I can probably bash these out at quite the terrifying pace (relatively speaking).
 
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Offline nuclearslurpee

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Re: Books of the Imperial Library: Unbuilt Warships of the Royal Navy
« Reply #4 on: November 24, 2021, 08:30:10 AM »
I briefly considered doing this as an anthology, each update from a different book and covering all sorts of other subjects. Then I realised that was ridiculously ambitious and scaled back to something (hopefully) more manageable.

Quite reasonable, this isn't the Vicky2 board after all.

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It is indeed a thing of wonder. First draft even had weapon and FC ranges in yards (with some order of magnitude prefix) but that seemed a step too far

What could have been...

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It is a mix of mistakes for plot/RP purposes and entirely genuine mistakes because I was still adapting from VB to C# Aurora. The change in 'normal' fleet speed and the sensor changes in particular were a surprise.

The change in fleet speed is still surprising to me, not so much that the faster fleet speeds seem extreme but rather in wondering how the player base went through the entire VB6 era and never figured out that faster ships are good and fun. I suspect it may have something to do with the very different engine, fuel, and sensor mechanics (and the AI, thinking about it...) that made missiles in VB6 much stronger relative to their C# versions, since higher fleet speeds seem to be driven by beam weapon viability.

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I'm afraid I must be the bearer of shocking news - it will probably be significantly earlier than that. I was amazed at how quickly that came together without the need to worry about research, the web of reaction and counter-reaction, and all the other things that slow down Butterfly. I can probably bash these out at quite the terrifying pace (relatively speaking).

The world may not be ready for this terrifying pace.  :o
 
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Offline El Pip (OP)

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Re: Books of the Imperial Library: Unbuilt Warships of the Royal Navy
« Reply #5 on: December 18, 2021, 10:51:50 AM »
Chapter 2 - Industrial Tactics
There is an irony at the heart of the Tribal design, originally intended as do-it-all vessel that could cover a host of roles it ended up as the basis of a large family of variants and related specialist designs. While weapons, sensors and even engines have been changed the basic hull and layout has remained the same allowing a impressive degree of commonality between the seemingly very different ships. Indeed almost every destroyer in Royal Navy service is a Tribal variant, buildable in the same yards and sharing countless common components. Almost, but not all. The only exceptions are the D-class escort destroyers, the Defiant's four point defence turrets have a voracious appetite for ammunition and need clear arcs of fire to ensure rapid reaction times. These requirements means their internal layout is radically different to accommodate the gauss shot feed systems and the hull itself has to be reshaped to create better turret mounting positions, changes enough to make it no longer inter-buildable with a basic Tribal. It did not have to be this way though, at the birth of the escort destroyer project there was a rival design; the C-class.

Code: [Select]
C-Class Escort Destroyer      10,000 tons       287 Crew       1,596.7 BP       TCS 200    TH 600    EM 0
3000 km/s      Armour 5-41       Shields 0-0       HTK 63      Sensors 11/0/0/0      DCR 5      PPV 67.64
Maint Life 2.55 Years     MSP 548    AFR 145%    IFR 2.0%    1YR 118    5YR 1,769    Max Repair 153.6 MSP
Commander    Control Rating 2   BRG   AUX   
Intended Deployment Time: 12 months    Morale Check Required   

Rolls Royce Falcon Mk.I ID-300x (2)    Power 600    Fuel Use 19.83%    Signature 300    Explosion 8%
Fuel Capacity 330,000 Gallons    Range 30 billion km (115 days at full power)

Vickers 8" Mk.I Railgun V40/C4 (5x4)    Range 160,000km     TS: 5,000 km/s     Power 12-4     RM 40,000 km    ROF 15       
Sterling Mk.I Twin 0.303' Coil Turret (16k) (2x6)    Range 30,000km     TS: 16000 km/s     Power 0-0     RM 30,000 km    ROF 5       
Marconi Type 901 TFC 192-16000 (1)     Max Range: 192,000 km   TS: 16,000 km/s     95 90 84 79 74 69 64 58 53 48
GEC Type 500 BFC 128-4000 (1)     Max Range: 128,000 km   TS: 4,000 km/s     92 84 77 69 61 53 45 38 30 22
Brown-Curtis Hydra Mk.I GFCR (2)     Total Power Output 32 kBTU/s    Exp 5%

Barr & Stroud Type 200MWS 1.5m/R1 (1)     GPS 84     Range 17.1m km    MCR 1.5m km    Resolution 1
Ferranti Type 600SR 46m/R20 (1)     GPS 1680     Range 46.6m km    Resolution 20
Racal Type 250EMWS 700k/R1 (1)     GPS 21     Range 8.6m km    MCR 771.7k km    Resolution 1
Thorn Type 3000C IR-11 (1)     Sensitivity 11     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  26.2m km

This design is classed as a Military Vessel for maintenance purposes
This design is classed as a c for auto-assignment purposes

Despite very different aims the C-class was partly inspired by the Weapon-class torpedo destroyers, a design which proved it was possible to significantly change the main armament on the ship but have it still be compatible with the original design. The Weapon-class also indicated the best way to make such radical changes while having a minimal impact on inter-buildability; focus on the amidships area. For this reason thee front and rear thirds of the C-class are mostly unchanged with the 8" rail guns in A, B and X turrets being retained along with the forward mounted bridge and sensor arrays and the auxiliary control and engineering section in the stern. In the mid section where the Tribals had C turret and the Weapon class mounted their two triple 15" torpedo tubes, the C-class fitted it's two point defence turrets in the P and Q positions. The Enfield 0.303' magnetically accelerated solidshot coil was well proven at this point and the twin mount developed by Sterling was considered the best compromise between the inevitable inefficiencies of the single mount of the Vickers 'K' turret and the shear size of the quad mounting proposed by Armstrong. Fitted in slightly offset bulges above and below the main hull the turrets had overlapping better-than-hemispherical fields of fire, ensuring at least one would always line of sight on an incoming missile even if the ship was unable to manoeuvre. These locations also kept them close to the main magazine, simplifying ammunition supply, and meant they able to tap directly into the main communications and power trunk routes through the ship, providing resilience and faster reaction times.

As a brief aside it's worth noting the proposed name, despite neither of the first two destroyer classes following their schema the Ship Naming Committee was persevering. This was not just bureaucratic inertia or pettiness, while seen as merely administrators they were Royal Navy trained administrators and as such did not consider a few defeats in opening skirmishes as reason enough for surrender to the forces of anarchy. Getting both the preferred and alternative option a compliant name ensured that whichever design won it would have a logical name. The name choice also indicates that the C-class was initially the preferred option with the D-class the backup, raising the question of how the Admiralty reached that conclusion and why they changed their minds.

It is something of a trite point to state that professionals study logistics, but that does not mean it is irrelevant. As discussed the C-class was inter-buildable with the then standard Tribal Mk.II design, meaning the same yard could in theory produce Tribal, Weapon and C-class destroyers with minimal re-tooling or re-training in between. Once in service this shared heritage translated to easier logistics (more common parts meant fewer needed to be carried) and easier crew rotations and transfers for most roles, as well as simplifying the training pipeline as there would be less ship specific training required. Operationally the lure of this approach should be obvious, the industrial and logistical reasoning behind it was sound. Ultimately however the escort destroyer was a reaction to the discovery of the Automoton Menace and their fearsomely prodigious use of exceptionally fast light torpedoes. Consequently the Admiralty were looking for a dedicated escort with as much anti-torpedo firepower as they could fit on it, in terms of this purely tactical requirement the D-class design mounted twice the number of Sterling twin turrets so was clearly superior, hence it was selected and the Directorate of Naval Construction was given the task of re-allocating shipyards accordingly.

For many the long and celebrate service of the D-class across many conflicts and against a wide range of enemies of the Empire is proof enough that this was the correct decision and on a tactical level the case is a strong one; it would require two C-class ships to produce the same dedicated firepower as a single Defiant and for many years the constant cry from the Fleet Admirals was for more anti-torpedo firepower to allow them to stand a chance against the Automoton threat. However there is a counter-point, in the twenty years since the decision was made it has never been repeated. There have been three new destroyer classes introduced since the Defiant's entered service; the Battle, Marksman and Eclipse and all have been Tribal variant, fully inter-buildable with whatever the current Mark of Tribal design was. As with all their backroom colleagues the logistics division staff are above all else Royal Navy officers and did not let a mere defeat deter them from continuing to fight their corner and in the long term they did indeed prevail.

A final interesting point is the proposed operational tactics for the C-class, while technically escorts their proponents did not see them as escorting Tribal class ships so much as replacing them. A hypothetical destroyer flotilla of the early 2010s had two Weapon class for anti-ship punch, two Defiant class to provide point defence fire and two Tribal class for general duties. Had the C-class entered service their supporters would switch that to two Weapon class and four C-class, providing the same weight of PD fire in the same number of hulls, but more tactical flexibility and greater resilience. Of course in reality no flotilla ever deployed in this hypothetical manner as 'flexible deployment' was the mantra for the 2010s, it was not until the 2220s that standardised flotillas came into fashion. Nevertheless it highlights that the C-class was a much better fit for the Admiralty's thinking at that time around not just logistics but also tactical operations and the lingering attraction of flexibility and multi-role ships. It is a testament to how deeply the first encounter with the Automoton and their massed torpedoes had affected the Admiralty that all of that was ignored in favour of the D-class and it's narrow focus on doing a single thing as efficiently as possible,
 
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Offline nuclearslurpee

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Re: Books of the Imperial Library: Unbuilt Warships of the Royal Navy
« Reply #6 on: December 18, 2021, 11:35:58 AM »
I must immediately complain of this rapid pacing, it has not even been a month since the last posting and such recklessness can only end badly.

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with the 8" rail guns in A, B and X turrets

I am glad to see that the proliferation across these forums of railguns being considered as turrets, in bald-faced defiance of the game mechanics, continues apace.

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This was not just bureaucratic inertia or pettiness, while seen as merely administrators they were Royal Navy trained administrators and as such did not consider a few defeats in opening skirmishes as reason enough for surrender to the forces of anarchy.

A wonderful sentence that conveys quite a lot in the subtext as to just how the Royal Navy typically experiences space naval warfare, particularly the promise of some opening defeats promises a thrilling narrative even if unlikely to ever be told in any way besides half-hints and allusions.

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Ultimately however the escort destroyer was a reaction to the discovery of the Automoton Menace and their fearsomely prodigious use of exceptionally fast light torpedoes.

Yes, like that.  :P

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Consequently the Admiralty were looking for a dedicated escort with as much anti-torpedo firepower as they could fit on it, in terms of this purely tactical requirement the D-class design mounted twice the number of Sterling twin turrets so was clearly superior, hence it was selected and the Directorate of Naval Construction was given the task of re-allocating shipyards accordingly.

This is really about what I expected, there always inevitably seems to be an urgent need for pure-PD ships in the face of the Automoton Menace, yet there is an equally inevitable desire among players The Admiralty to somehow prove that such things are unnecessary at the beginning of every new campaign.

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However there is a counter-point, in the twenty years since the decision was made it has never been repeated. There have been three new destroyer classes introduced since the Defiant's entered service; the Battle, Marksman and Eclipse and all have been Tribal variant, fully inter-buildable with whatever the current Mark of Tribal design was.

TASK FAILED SUCCESSFULLY

- RN archivist assessment of the C-class, c.2300

Overall an interesting look at the continued development and history of the RN. It is still clearly a design of the same early generation as the previous A-class, but with a more refined doctrinal focus and understanding even if perhaps saddled with some of the less efficient decisions made for the parent Tribal class.

If I must file a second complaint, it would be regarding the lack of civilian political meddling, frankly the lack of a spurious 15" spinal laser added purely to make it easier for certain MPs to sell the concept to their constituencies is an egregious oversight, an assessment based in pure logic and in no way borne out of my position as head of the Aurora Space Society for Humongous Oversized Laser Emitters.
 
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Offline El Pip (OP)

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Re: Books of the Imperial Library: Unbuilt Warships of the Royal Navy
« Reply #7 on: December 19, 2021, 04:13:12 AM »
I must immediately complain of this rapid pacing, it has not even been a month since the last posting and such recklessness can only end badly.
That is a risk we must take I'm afraid.

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I am glad to see that the proliferation across these forums of railguns being considered as turrets, in bald-faced defiance of the game mechanics, continues apace.
Railguns belong in turrets so quite clearly it is the game mechanics that are wrong in this instance.

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A wonderful sentence that conveys quite a lot in the subtext as to just how the Royal Navy typically experiences space naval warfare, particularly the promise of some opening defeats promises a thrilling narrative even if unlikely to ever be told in any way besides half-hints and allusions.
I was pleased with it. I can reassure you that defeats and explosions will be described in more than hints and allusions, though perhaps not in the detail one would find in a conventional AAR I admit.

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This is really about what I expected, there always inevitably seems to be an urgent need for pure-PD ships in the face of the Automoton Menace, yet there is an equally inevitable desire among players The Admiralty to somehow prove that such things are unnecessary at the beginning of every new campaign.
It is something of RP cliche at this point I admit. That said Steve needs to implement a no-missile option for the game as there is clear demand for it.

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TASK FAILED SUCCESSFULLY

- RN archivist assessment of the C-class, c.2300
A reasonable conclusion. :)

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Overall an interesting look at the continued development and history of the RN. It is still clearly a design of the same early generation as the previous A-class, but with a more refined doctrinal focus and understanding even if perhaps saddled with some of the less efficient decisions made for the parent Tribal class.

If I must file a second complaint, it would be regarding the lack of civilian political meddling, frankly the lack of a spurious 15" spinal laser added purely to make it easier for certain MPs to sell the concept to their constituencies is an egregious oversight, an assessment based in pure logic and in no way borne out of my position as head of the Aurora Space Society for Humongous Oversized Laser Emitters.
There will be much more egregious and ill-advised civilian and political meddling in the next chapter, though I must warn you that spinal lasers of any size will not be making an appearance. I hope you can reconcile yourself to this news and will continue to read despite the obvious disappointment.
 
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Offline nuclearslurpee

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Re: Books of the Imperial Library: Unbuilt Warships of the Royal Navy
« Reply #8 on: December 19, 2021, 10:00:21 AM »
Railguns belong in turrets so quite clearly it is the game mechanics that are wrong in this instance.



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It is something of RP cliche at this point I admit. That said Steve needs to implement a no-missile option for the game as there is clear demand for it.

Demand, perhaps, but I do feel that a no-missile game would lack much of the interest found in Aurora's combat. Without missiles, the victor in a beam fight is assuredly the one with the fastest ships, coupled with either the biggest laser or particle lance they can build depending on tech level. Missiles do force interesting design requirements (balancing PD and offensive weapons) and allow slower fleets to be competitive allowing for greater diversity of engines.

Nevertheless, from a RP perspective no-missile games have some interest and certainly the, ah, Automoton Menace could use some variety particularly as their, ahem, literary inspiration is somewhat known for not using missiles anyways.

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There will be much more egregious and ill-advised civilian and political meddling in the next chapter, though I must warn you that spinal lasers of any size will not be making an appearance. I hope you can reconcile yourself to this news and will continue to read despite the obvious disappointment.

I shall endeavor thusly but cannot promise any success.
 

Offline El Pip (OP)

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Re: Books of the Imperial Library: Unbuilt Warships of the Royal Navy
« Reply #9 on: December 20, 2021, 09:22:10 AM »
Demand, perhaps, but I do feel that a no-missile game would lack much of the interest found in Aurora's combat. Without missiles, the victor in a beam fight is assuredly the one with the fastest ships, coupled with either the biggest laser or particle lance they can build depending on tech level. Missiles do force interesting design requirements (balancing PD and offensive weapons) and allow slower fleets to be competitive allowing for greater diversity of engines.
A non-missile game would be different certainly and may require a tad more tweaking than just removing a couple of missile techs. My starting point was making beam fighters more of a practical choice and some sort of Jeune École vs Dreadnought option. As in only large ships can carry the very biggest long range guns, but they can never be fast, while the ships that can be fast cannot carry the biggest guns.

Honestly I know the realistic answer is just to do a multi-faction game of my own so I can impose some house rules on the tech. I have a half sketched out plan for;
  • French Navy with Jeune École - fast FACS with lasers and maybe very short (0.5m km max) torpedoes
  • German Navy doing Dreadnoughts - Large, slow, heavily armoured and carrying particle lances
  • Royal Navy with carriers - Attack fighters, some with rail guns and some with HPM. Possibly a Swordfish analogue if I do go with very short range torpedoes

With a plan for France to work on cloaks, ECM and maybe fighter only escort carriers, German to add destroyer screens and maybe regress towards mixed armament pre-Dreadnoughts, and the RN to probably go full Fisher and add Battlecruisers that are supposed to just hunt down French escort carriers and German destroyers, because if they try and tangle with a proper Battleship they get shredded and are also vulnerable to being swamped by FACs.
 
Where I would find the time to do this is a very different question.
 

Offline Garfunkel

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Re: Books of the Imperial Library: Unbuilt Warships of the Royal Navy
« Reply #10 on: December 20, 2021, 09:23:31 AM »
Good stuff, keep it coming.
 
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Offline El Pip (OP)

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Re: Books of the Imperial Library: Unbuilt Warships of the Royal Navy
« Reply #11 on: December 27, 2021, 06:20:17 AM »
Chapter 3 War(ships) by Other Means
The Palmerston class diplomatic ships did not lead happy lives, every single one was destroyed by the various new species they were attempting to communicate with. Indeed in the majority of cases it was the attack on the Palmerston that confirmed the alien in question was indeed hostile, the remainder being destroyed fleeing systems after a survey ship became the first victim. That said, the Palmerston class were not considered the most cursed ships in the Fleet. This was partly because the Navy resisted the idea of any ship being 'cursed' as being unduly superstitious and counter to the principles of Anglo-Futurism, but mostly it was because the ships were not technically in the Fleet. Instead they had a strange hybrid status; directed and paid for by the Foreign Office, but under the operational command of the Admiralty and they reported through the naval chain of command. Any blame for failure ended up with the the Foreign Office as would the credit for any success, though the later was something of a theoretical possibility.

The Admiralty were not actually xenophobic as the Ajax Affair demonstrates, but they had a very robust approach to first contact. In the early years of exploration there were hopes the galaxy might friendly or at least neutral, however the loss of many survey ships soon disabused them of this attitude. By the time of the Crusading Years the Admiralty had evolved the belief that there was no point bothering to talk to any new species until some Dreadnoughts had been about the Queen's business and dished out the good news to the species' homeworld. One this had been done, and both sides had a proper appreciation of the situation, then there could be time for productive talks. Naturally the Foreign Office fundamentally disagreed with this and had allies across the Imperial Parliament, their attitude was that just because every single alien species the Empire had met thus far had been initially hostile, it did not mean the galaxy was intrinsically hostile. As it was surely better to jaw-jaw than war-war then repeated efforts should be made to better communicate with future contacts, hence the Palmerston class of diplomatic ships.

This did not quite work out as intended and, after the destruction of the 3rd ship, the imaginatively named Palmerston III (the class were destroyed faster than they could be built, so additional names were not required), there was talk of revising the design. Just as the Admiralty had insisted on involvement in the class, as part of the general policy of trying to stop any other department operating aether vessels, so the main Britannia design office submitted a proposal.

Code: [Select]
Curzon class Diplomatic Ship      30,000 tons       774 Crew       5,255.5 BP       TCS 600    TH 3,600    EM 0
6000 km/s    JR 3-50      Armour 8-86       Shields 0-0       HTK 151      Sensors 0/0/0/0      DCR 37      PPV 81.6
Maint Life 3.06 Years     MSP 6,456    AFR 267%    IFR 3.7%    1YR 1,032    5YR 15,483    Max Repair 900 MSP
Captain    Control Rating 3   BRG   AUX   ENG   DIP   
Intended Deployment Time: 36 months    Morale Check Required   

Bristol Sabre Mk.II 30kt (3-50) MJD     Max Ship Size 30000 tons    Distance 50k km     Squadron Size 3

Rolls Royce Griffon Mk.III MPD-1800 (2)    Power 3600    Fuel Use 50.31%    Signature 1800    Explosion 15%
Fuel Capacity 3,209,000 Gallons    Range 38.3 billion km (73 days at full power)

Sterling Mk.I Twin Coil Turret (16k) (5x6)    Range 30,000km     TS: 16000 km/s     Power 0-0     RM 30,000 km    ROF 5       
Marconi Type 901 TFC 192-16000 (2)     Max Range: 192,000 km   TS: 16,000 km/s     95 90 84 79 74 69 64 58 53 48

Barr & Stroud Type 200MWS 1.5m/R1 (1)     GPS 84     Range 17.1m km    MCR 1.5m km    Resolution 1
Racal Type 250EMWS 700k/R1 (1)     GPS 21     Range 8.6m km    MCR 771.7k km    Resolution 1

TRE Asprin Mk.I 10kMx ECM Projector

As the 'C' name implies the ship was based on the 30kt Cruiser hull, in this case a modified City class jump cruiser. At this point two of the Palmerstons had been lost to massed missile strikes, the other to heavy energy fire of a type which had not previously been encountered, with the benefit of hindsight we know this was from Sourmagh Combine particle beams. The design therefore focused on heavy armour to cover the energy weapon fire and massed Sterling twin coil turrets to protect against missiles. Records indicate there was talk of swapping the Sterling turrets out for Goalkeeper Mk.I CIWS systems, a more cost- and mass-efficient solution, but there was hope to keep the Curzon inter-buildable with a standard cruiser hull and the internal rearrangements required by the swap would have been a change too far. A moderately long range, considerable endurance, the latest TRE counter-measure system and a sensor suite focused on missile detection rounded out the design.

The Foreign Office was concerned that, despite the lack of offensive weaponry, the ship was still very clearly a warship. The Admiralty felt it wise to avoid mentioning that anyone who had been on the receiving end of a barrage of 0.303' solidshot would probably disagree about the lack of offensive weaponry point, but accepted that it was indeed very much a warship. The Imperial Parliament in contrast was aghast at the cost, the ship was over ten times more expensive to build and the annual operation and maintenance cost was estimated at almost 85x more than a Palmerston, while no MP would ever publicly agree that talk was cheap they had expected the ships to be so. The Admiralty conceded the cost point as well because their position on the matter was clear, they argued that by the time you put enough point defence and armour on a ship to protect it against a plausible strike the ship had become heavy cruiser sized (and priced) vessel. The naval architects could thin the armour and provide fewer turrets, but that would be worse than useless as such a vessel would still be expensive, still be a warship but would be destroyed by strikes of the size that had struck the first Palmerstons.

It was ultimately therefore cost that killed the Curzons, Parliament was unwilling to put up the extra money and the Foreign Office refusing to countenance cuts elsewhere to pay for them. The Palmerston class would therefore solider on, the Admiralty making an official objection and issuing warnings, but still taking on operational responsibility for them. This was not just Naval devotion to duty and respect for political control, there was a harsh and dark logic at play. An often overlooked fact is that it was not Royal Navy sailors being sent out in ships the Admirals thought were death traps, because diplomatic ships were manned by Foreign Office recruited crew and officers. If the mandarins of King Charles Arcology cared so little for those in their charge, and could somehow find a ready supply of volunteers to replace those lost, then the Admiralty were not going to waste valuable political capital fighting the issue and certainly not concede the point that anyone other than themselves were allowed aether ships.

This leaves us with the question of how the Curzons would have performed, certainly the missile barrage from the Vistonida cruisers that destroyed the Palmerston IV would easily have been resisted and the ships would have had the speed advantage to escape any attempt at an energy beam engagement. Equally the class would not have suffered the fate of the Palmerston V during it's disastrous first contact with the inhabitants of Hartha III, a more comprehensive sensor suite would hopefully mean the Surface To Orbit weapon emplacements would have been detected and, even if they had not, the heavy armour would have allowed a Curzon to survive at least the first barrages and so have time to flee. There is of course the question of how effective they would have performed as diplomatic ships, that being the actual reason for their construction. On the positive side their increased suitability would give them more opportunity to engage in diplomacy or at least bring home their crew alive so lessons could be learnt. But on the negative side the Foreign Office is likely correct that they would be viewed as warships and this would perhaps count against any diplomatic efforts. The example of the diplomatic module equipped Dreadnought Ajax is instructive, though of course in that case it is perhaps less surprising given the size of a Dreadnought. Bluntly however the Palmerston class never actually achieved any diplomatic successes, and as noted were all destroyed by enemy action, so it is hard to see how the Curzon class could have done any worse.
 
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Offline nuclearslurpee

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Re: Books of the Imperial Library: Unbuilt Warships of the Royal Navy
« Reply #12 on: December 27, 2021, 09:41:47 AM »
yet another post

Confused Butterfly noises

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That said, the Palmerston class were not considered the most cursed ships in the Fleet. This was partly because the Navy resisted the idea of any ship being 'cursed' as being unduly superstitious and counter to the principles of Anglo-Futurism,

"It is not cursed as long as we say it is not cursed, but if we say it is cursed then it will be cursed" seems like a questionable understanding of how magic works.

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Any blame for failure ended up with the the Foreign Office as would the credit for any success, though the later was something of a theoretical possibility.

Then again, it is the British way to pretend that reality is what they say it is, rather than what it is.

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the Crusading Years


An extremely enticing teaser, suggesting yet another worked-out proof of the famous theorem that all Aurora AARS, given sufficient time, become Warhammer 40K.

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This did not quite work out as intended and, after the destruction of the 3rd ship, the imaginatively named Palmerston III (the class were destroyed faster than they could be built, so additional names were not required),

A brilliant quip.

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Curzon class Diplomatic Ship
[...]
Rolls Royce Griffon Mk.III MPD-1800 (2)    Power 3600    Fuel Use 50.31%    Signature 1800    Explosion 15%

I cannot be sure, since I haven't seen the Palmerston class, but if this design is an evolution thereof I may have some inkling as to why the galaxy appears more hostile than it may otherwise have been. With military engines an NPR will see the ship as a military ship which carries a steeper penalty, per ton, for being present in a claimed system. With commercial engines the benefit from a diplomatic module is able to outweigh the penalty from having a ship present in a claimed system, with the most benefit from ships under 11,000 tons as someone has worked out elsewhere. I do regret polluting this thread with discussion of actual game mechanics but it did seem relevant.

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Records indicate there was talk of swapping the Sterling turrets out for Goalkeeper Mk.I CIWS systems, a more cost- and mass-efficient solution, but there was hope to keep the Curzon inter-buildable with a standard cruiser hull and the internal rearrangements required by the swap would have been a change too far.

I keep meaning to check this, but I am not actually sure if a CIWS is still superior to a Gauss turret + BFC combo since we have the single-weapon fire controls as of 1.13.

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The Foreign Office was concerned that, despite the lack of offensive weaponry, the ship was still very clearly a warship. The Admiralty felt it wise to avoid mentioning that anyone who had been on the receiving end of a barrage of 0.303' solidshot would probably disagree about the lack of offensive weaponry point, but accepted that it was indeed very much a warship.

Here we have a classic example of missing the point entirely.

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The Imperial Parliament in contrast was aghast at the cost, the ship was over ten times more expensive to build and the annual operation and maintenance cost was estimated at almost 85x more than a Palmerston, while no MP would ever publicly agree that talk was cheap they had expected the ships to be so.

Another good line, though I wonder if a MP has ever had a realistic expectation in the history of MPs?

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certainly the missile barrage from the Vistonida cruisers that destroyed the Palmerston IV
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Equally the class would not have suffered the fate of the Palmerston V

I see that the situation does not improve.

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Bluntly however the Palmerston class never actually achieved any diplomatic successes, and as noted were all destroyed by enemy action, so it is hard to see how the Curzon class could have done any worse.

There could have been a Curzon VI, granted only decades later at that price but as we are speaking hypothetically I can be allowed some light financial handwaving for the purposes of reckless speculation.

An excellent entry showing not only the delicate balance between military and political forces but also the true power behind the throne, this being economics. As always my only complaint is the continued reckless speed of updates, however this may be forgiven as given the holiday season the alternative would be to spend time with family which is of course even more reckless and upsetting, thus I reluctantly accept this lesser of evils.
 

Offline El Pip (OP)

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Re: Books of the Imperial Library: Unbuilt Warships of the Royal Navy
« Reply #13 on: December 27, 2021, 12:35:52 PM »
Confused Butterfly noises
The best kind of noises.

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"It is not cursed as long as we say it is not cursed, but if we say it is cursed then it will be cursed" seems like a questionable understanding of how magic works.
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Then again, it is the British way to pretend that reality is what they say it is, rather than what it is.
Anglo-Futurism has strong views on the matter of self fulfilling prophecies and similar matters. The perception of reality can be as important, or more so, than the reality itself.

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the Crusading Years

An extremely enticing teaser, suggesting yet another worked-out proof of the famous theorem that all Aurora AARS, given sufficient time, become Warhammer 40K.
Well given where the game itself draws much of it's inspiration from this is hardly surprising. ;)

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A brilliant quip.
I thank you.

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I cannot be sure, since I haven't seen the Palmerston class, but if this design is an evolution thereof I may have some inkling as to why the galaxy appears more hostile than it may otherwise have been. With military engines an NPR will see the ship as a military ship which carries a steeper penalty, per ton, for being present in a claimed system. With commercial engines the benefit from a diplomatic module is able to outweigh the penalty from having a ship present in a claimed system, with the most benefit from ships under 11,000 tons as someone has worked out elsewhere. I do regret polluting this thread with discussion of actual game mechanics but it did seem relevant.
The Palmerston class were fairly boring 4,000 ton, commercial engined, inoffensive little ships. They just kept getting blown up.

The Curzons were an not entirely serious, dump a diplomatic module on the standard heavy cruiser and see what happens design.

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I keep meaning to check this, but I am not actually sure if a CIWS is still superior to a Gauss turret + BFC combo since we have the single-weapon fire controls as of 1.13.
I must admit I assumed that, another bit of inherited thinking from VB6 I've not challenged.

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Another good line, though I wonder if a MP has ever had a realistic expectation in the history of MPs?
In their specialist field (whatever that may be) then maybe? Though I agree once they leave that narrow lane, MPs do tend to veer into fantasy faster than a control group would.

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I see that the situation does not improve.
Maybe I was unlucky, or using them wrong, but Diplomacy really did not work out for me in that game.

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An excellent entry showing not only the delicate balance between military and political forces but also the true power behind the throne, this being economics. As always my only complaint is the continued reckless speed of updates, however this may be forgiven as given the holiday season the alternative would be to spend time with family which is of course even more reckless and upsetting, thus I reluctantly accept this lesser of evils.
I recognise these concerns and can reassure you that things will doubtless slow down come the New Year. Yet they will never be as slow as Butterfly, because in this work there is no need to research obscure details that everyone will ignore.

I mean there are still obscure details that everyone will ignore in these chapters, like the naming/detail on the ECM unit, but they don't need vast amounts of time consuming research.
 

Offline nuclearslurpee

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Re: Books of the Imperial Library: Unbuilt Warships of the Royal Navy
« Reply #14 on: December 27, 2021, 10:08:28 PM »
The Palmerston class were fairly boring 4,000 ton, commercial engined, inoffensive little ships. They just kept getting blown up.

In that case, a perfectly good design.

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The Curzons were an not entirely serious, dump a diplomatic module on the standard heavy cruiser and see what happens design.

In that case, an excellent design.

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I mean there are still obscure details that everyone will ignore in these chapters, like the naming/detail on the ECM unit, but they don't need vast amounts of time consuming research.

I'd forgotten it was possible to rename ECM components among others. Since they are pre-designed once you develop the technology they only have one entry in the DB and renaming them with a flavorful name renames them in all campaigns, usually this would be considered Bad For Roleplay™. A bit annoying when I have to remember to skip numbers in my JETDS series for ECM/ECCM, ELINT, the survey sensors, etc.

----

E: On the subject of CIWS versus proper turrets + SW fire controls, I've done a quick poke around and it looks like CIWS generally maintains a small tonnage superiority over proper turrets. This is because the CIWS seems to be modeled as firing twin 50%-size Gauss cannons, which are nominally 3 HS each for a total of 6 HS but for the CIWS only 5 HS are required. The other significant savings arise from the crew requirements, which at reasonably balanced tech levels (e.g., turret tracking speed tech equal to BFC tracking speed tech) seems to be just over half of what would otherwise be required from a normal Gauss turret. For a typical 12-month warship deployment time this corresponds to a roughly 14-ton (0.28 HS) reduction due to crew requirement.

There are a few other small interesting bits however, at least interesting to those who enjoy technical minutiae:
  • Despite nominally mounting twin Gauss cannons, CIWS does not benefit from the 10% size reduction in turret gearing from mounting dual weapons. Probably a holdover from VB6.
  • The beam fire control is always set to 4x speed rating, but interestingly the BFC range is fixed at 40,000 km thus the size requirement decreases as BFC range tech improves. The BFC tonnage receives no unique benefit but behaves the same as any other single-weapon fire control (STOs show the same behavior).
  • The actual CIWS firing range is 1,000 km, if I read the in-game info correctly (I have not tested this in pitched combat), so the fixed 40,000 km range gives a fixed range accuracy modifier of 97.5%, which is pretty good compared to the typical 80-90% you see with normal Gauss turrets, which fire at 10,000 km range.
  • The active sensor is curious. It appears to be fixed to always obtain a MCR of 0.2m km, however in calculating this the EM Sensor Sensitivity tech level is not used and that component of the range calculation has a fixed value of 5. Not that the usually ~5-ton difference is notable, but this is a curious omission nevertheless.
« Last Edit: December 27, 2021, 10:47:33 PM by nuclearslurpee »
 
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