Author Topic: The Forever War - Part 11  (Read 298 times)

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Offline Haji (OP)

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The Forever War - Part 11
« on: February 12, 2023, 12:32:28 AM »

   Poland launches eight new warships and as soon as they begin work on eight more they retool their yards towards construction of a new vessel massing four hundred and sixteen thousand tonnes, four times as much as their current mainstream warships. This isn’t the only case of a significant size inflation. The Republic has been using forty eight thousand tonne destroyers for patrol which were supposed to be replaced by seventy two thousand tonne warships, but ultimately the gallicite income was large enough that the government has decided to increase the size further all the way to ninety seven thousand and six hundred tonnes. Vessels like those are currently classified as light cruisers.
   The other two nations have also abandoned smaller warships. Korea had three yards that were refitting old frigates massing around thirty six thousand tonnes, but they saw no reason to build new ones. They still did, because they had the yards and the need, but they are enlarging their infrastructure so that they will be building only cruisers, with no smaller warships whatsoever. And once they solve their gallicite issues they intend to go larger still.
   Brazil went even further. Some of their yards have been retooled to build four hundred thousand tonne vessels, although none have been launched as those shipyards are finishing their previous projects. The Federation also had six small yards that were building destroyers but those have been expanded to build one hundred and ninety thousand tonne cruisers. In short humanity is no longer building anything smaller than a light cruiser.
   Because of this the Polish military have decided to once again redefine class sizes. Their new patrol ships will be considered frigates. More over they have decided to base their definition of a battlecruiser on maximum jump engine size. It is believed that the larger kinhalan warships were massing six hundred thousand tonnes because that was the largest mass that could be moved through a jump point in a squadron transit but the technology have progressed and now it should be possible for them, like it is for humans, to move seven hundred and fifty thousand tonne vessels in a formation. The next generation of jump engines will further rise this cap to nine hundred thousand tonnes. It is possible that warships too large for jump engines either already exist or will in the future. Such vessels will be classified as battleships or, if they are even larger than that, dreadnoughts.
   Overall the new size brackets are given below:

<40kT: Patrol vessels
40kT-80kT: Corvettes
80kT-120kT: Frigates
120kT-200kT: Destroyers
200kT-350kT: Light cruisers
350kT-550kT: Cruisers
550kT-720kT: Heavy cruisers
720kT-900kT: Battlecruisers
900kT and above: Battleships

   In addition the Polish military have decided to accept JTIMR analysis that missile launchers are suboptimal in deep space combat. As such vessels armed exclusively with railguns, lasers, plasma carronade and gauss cannons will be considered the standard. Warships with missile armament will have specific designations. For example the Projekt 046, 053 and 063 class light cruisers will now be classified as missile frigates.
   As for the new warship, it is designated as a Projekt 068 class cruiser. As the decision to expand the yards was made decades ago, those were intended to build Projekt 067 class missile cruisers, originally designated as battlecruisers, which were armed with three hundred and twenty missile launchers in addition to other weaponry. However the Republic has more than enough vessels for jump point defense so they moved towards pure railgun and gauss cannon combatants.
   The Projekt 068 is armed with one hundred and twenty railguns, each of caliber of four hundred and fifty millimeters which are supported by forty quad gauss cannon turrets, capable of firing nine hundred and sixty rounds in rapid succession. The turrets have enough tracking speed to give them around fifty percent accuracy against modern munitions.
   The closest analogue to the class is an alien vessel massing nearly three hundred and fifty thousand tonnes, almost seventy thousand tonnes less than Projekt 068. She is armed with six hundred launchers but only forty lasers of three hundred millimeters caliber and gauss cannons, configuration of which is unknown but they seem to be able to fire between one hundred and fifty and two hundred rounds.
   In a one on one battle, the new Polish vessel would not be able to completely stop the alien missile salvos however each alien volley should score around a hundred hits and in theory the armor of the 068 could absorb nearly ten thousand hits and of course the Republican vessel would have crushing advantage in energy weapon combat.
   The one disadvantage of the new vessels is construction time. The shipyards will need sixteen years to complete the current missile frigates and then twenty years to launch the first cruisers. Once those are deployed however they will significantly increase the Polish military power.
   Eight shipyards will be dedicated towards construction of those ships and three more will be building jump cruisers of similar size. Those will also incorporate the newest engines giving them speed of eight thousand and eight hundred kilometers per second.


   After the Fifth Invasion Neutronowo was tasked with replacing Marzanna as the new commercial shipbuilding center for the nation due to its distance from the front lines, high population, habitability and mineral deposits. Now sixteen yards have been expanded to fifty thousand tonnes of capacity and the first ten freighters and six fuel harvesters have been laid dawn.
   While impressive, this is a pale shadow of what the Republic was once building. For example they were using one million tonne cargo vessels with twenty times the capacity, and that was barely enough to cover their needs. Nonetheless it is a start and an important milestone of the rebuilding process.


   The enemy is back, invading Resiliencia.
   The humans have stuck to their plans and the bulk of their forces are in Wrota, which is considered critical. The Korean force, numbering sixteen missile destroyers and twelve patrol vessels was in Cerrado. The system was also protected by eighty one Brazilian bases with a combined mass of over four million and six hundred thousand tonnes which was why the Republic and DPKR wanted to strip the system of mobile elements, but the Federation refused and flatly stated they will send their own force there if need be.
   Because of this Resicliencia was defended rather lightly. The force comprised sixteen of the newest Polish missile frigates and six bases massing nearly two hundred thousand tonnes each. The Brazilian component was made of fourteen destroyers, two jump destroyers, twelve frigates and nineteen missile corvettes. Overall humanity had over eight million tonnes of military hardware at the jump point.
   The alien fleet arrived in three groups. One comprised a jump cruiser and six heavy cruisers, each massing nearly six hundred thousand tonnes. Those were previously classified as battlecruisers and had heavy missile armament. The second group comprised a jump cruiser and six heavy cruisers optimized towards short range combat with heavy laser armament but no missiles. Warships of this type comprised the first kinhalan wave during the Fourth Invasion. Those two groups arrived through squadron transit and were beyond energy weapon range.
   The problem was the third and main group which arrived right on top of the defenders through standard transit and comprised ten battleships, each massing nearly one million and three hundred thousand tonnes. Overall the aliens have thrown around twenty one million tonnes of warships at the system.
   The biggest problem for the defenders was ammunition, as Poland didn’t have enough of it. Their missile frigates had enough shipkillers for only three volleys with the rest of their magazines filled with interceptors. The six bases were fully armed, but a quarter of their ammunition was from older generations. Brazil didn’t have those problems, but most of their ships were armed purely with lasers and gauss cannons. Overall there was no way the humans could do significant damage with missiles against active opponents, so they aimed all their weapons at the battleships.
   The battleships were incredibly resilient to damage but they were also in point blank range of the entire Brazilian navy and even though the defenders spread their fire between five targets those begun quickly taking shock damage that slowed them dawn, allowing humans to keep battering them.
   The main group begun moving towards one of the heavy cruiser squadrons, those equipped exclusively with lasers and gauss cannons. The group in question was also moving, straight towards the humans. The squadron equipped predominantly with missiles was on the other side of the jump point, so in order to join the rest of the force it would have to either take an oblique course or go straight through the defending warships. It chose neither, staying back, likely intending to use their missiles.
   To make matters worse the Brazilian missile corvettes were slower than the alien warships so the distance begun to open and while they were small there were nineteen of them. As the difference in speed wasn’t that great, only six hundred and twenty five kilometers per second, the human commander decided to keep them with the fleet. The bases had of course stayed at the jump point.
   The defenders managed to destroy four battleships and damage a couple of others by the time the heavy cruiser group entered their energy weapon range. With a missile heavy force behind them and unknown but possibly missile focused armament of the retreating battleships, the commander of the force decided to go straight in for a short, brutal exchange rather then keeping his distance, hoping to resume pummeling the larger warships before they can shake off transit effects. The one blessing was the the aliens were focusing their missiles on the bases and while there were too few of those for an effective point defense, they were also very resilient to damage.
   Ultimately the bases died but they absorbed a total of seven volleys from the more distant heavy cruiser force, but that still left thousands of missiles. By the time the alien cruiser group was spent, the defenders have lost twelve frigates and destroyers while fifteen warships, mostly Polish missile frigates, were so heavily damaged they couldn’t keep up and had to coalesce into their own, smaller group. On the other hand all the kinhalan beam heavy cruisers were gone, leaving only their jump vessel. Still they have done their job and the battleships begun coming online. The intact Brazilian-Polish force was still trying to keep up with the undamaged vessels so they could attack them when possible, while three battleships were behind them. One of those soon died, but the others begun pouring laser and missile fire into the defenders.
   The end came soon after. The entire defending force was gone, but the aliens have lost seven of their battleships and an entire heavy cruiser squadron. Moreover one of the three remaining battleships was heavily damaged, slowed to less than two thousand kilometers per second and another one received some hits, but nothing serious. The seven ship heavy cruiser squadron was mostly intact with only one ship having light armor and internal damage.
   The aliens went back to the jump point and destroyed Polish support bases there which were responsible for keeping the fleet in working condition. Then they stopped. They were out of offensive munitions and damaged so they either waited for reinforcments, which seemed unlikely as those should have been ready, or they wanted to see when humanity will respond and with what. The entire remaining Polish force, staying at the jump point to Bialomost, have been sent to deal with the enemy and comprised seventy eight missile and jump frigates and seventeen patrol vessels. In tonnage terms it was a force equal to that of the opponent, but they were equipped with anti-missiles due to ammunition shortage. On the other hand the aliens were missile heavy and without ammunition they weren’t that great of a danger.
   As the enemy was simply waiting, humans have decided to take some risks and feed the aliens false information. Because of that the speed of the relief force was limited to five thousand kilometers per second and will remain so until they enter the Resiliencia system.


   The Polish force approached the jump point. Fearing there may be another force ready to jump in and being low on shipkillers – there were enough of them for three volleys – the Republican warships fired several waves of interceptors. The aliens jumped out.
   The force waited a little longer in case the enemy tried to time their entry blind, but the incursion appeared to be over. The frigates took vigil on the jump point while Koreans begun towing spare space stations to the area. Without those the picket couldn’t be supported and neither Poland nor Brazil had any bases they could deploy, nor were they building any as they were still enlarging their new yards.
   Those stations will be able to support warships up to two hundred thousand tonnes which was enough for current Polish needs, but the Republic was already retooling their yards for four hundred thousand tonne bases and warships. Those won’t be coming anytime soon, giving the three nations time to figure out a solution.


   The various intelligence agencies have been working hard on incorporating the newest data into their models and projections. One thing is becoming glaringly obvious – the aliens can’t keep up their ammunition production.
   The alien force, while significantly reduced, was nonetheless still formidable and had nearly as much tonnage as the Polish fleet coming in. If the enemy reloaded they could have caused significant damage for the defenders. For that matter kinhalans had at least ten more battlecruisers, as observed during the Parana campaign, and depending on their construction times and shipbuilding capability they could have had as many as twenty. They could have retreated their damaged force and bring in a fresh one, but they didn’t do it.
   Last but not least there were two different classes of battleships. Eight of them had two thousand missile launchers but the other two had only a thousand of them. All of this implies the enemy is struggling with missile production and their reserve forces likely weren’t fully armed. They may have even been empty.
   The existence of the two newer battleships also brings up another problem. Those vessels were almost certainly developed because of the missile issues. However that would mean those were, at the very latest, developed after the Parana campaign, which would imply the other eight have existed before. So why weren’t those used?
   The JTIMR believes this was due to the enemy being cautious. As they point out shipbuilding times are extremely long, exceeding a decade for each vessel which means that a loss of ones entire force will mean complete defeat as there will be no time to rebuild before the enemy spreads out throughout ones space. Humans couldn’t do anything about it, they never had the resources to have a strategic reserve, but the aliens were apparently a different matter. The Intelligence believes those battleships were guarding Escudo from a human counter-attack. They also believe there were other reserve forces. For example when the enemy begun to advance from Parana to Bialomost they left their cruiser sized jump ships behind, probably to take care of a secondary force of smaller ships. And of course they left ten warships behind during their assault on Wrota for a similar reason.
   Of course this raises the question of why the aliens haven’t used those warships then but waited until now. Part of the answer was likely the lack of ammunition, but there were probably other factors as well. It may have been political pressure, change in strategic thinking, but one aspect that almost certainly played a part was the human need to reposition after Parana. The aliens knew that Wrota had no static defenses and they knew at least some of the fleet had to be stationed there, which meant they knew humanity will have to get those forces from somewhere. The most recent invasion was, in all likelihood, primarily a probing attack designed to see how humans are doing. If the attack has been defeated the enemy would have likely concluded that the defenders were stronger than they seemed to be after Parana in which case they would have likely spent another century building up the largest invasion force they could. Unfortunately now they know the defenders are scraping the bottom of the barrel to keep up their pickets which means kinhalans may decide to increase the tempo of their operations.
   It really comes dawn to how the enemy is judging their own and humanity’s shipbuilding capabilities. The attackers have lost fifty percent more tonnage than the defenders, but if the kinhalan industry is large enough, that may have been to their advantage in which case constant attacks will grind dawn humanity eventually. If however they believe the two sides are more or less equal, than this was ultimately a strategic defeat for the Unity.
   Overall there isn’t much that JTIMR can recommend for the human alliance as a whole but the Republican and Federal forces had their own opinions about the recent fight.
   Historically Brazil have been focusing on payload at the cost of speed. While Poles, Koreans and kinhalans have been dedicating twenty five percent of their warships size to engines, the Federation was utilizing only twenty percent, giving them an edge on a per tone basis. As an example of what this meant that, at the onset of the war, a Federal warship massing eleven and a half thousand tonnes carried four thousand tonnes of weapons while a Korean warship massing nineteen thousand and two hundred tonnes carried four and a half thousand tonnes while also having a lighter armor.
   The culmination of those building practices was the Battle of Escudo/Fourth Invasion when a force of Brazilian battlecruisers (currently classified by Poland as missile corvettes) have annihilated an invading force twice then tonnage and then caused enormous damage to the second wave.
   However due to limited economy and their inability to produce enough missiles, the nation have switched to energy armed combatants and made them faster in order to dictate the range. This had drastic consequences for their combat power however. Their one hundred and ninety thousand tonne destroyer carried sixty thousand tonnes of weapons while a Korean one hundred and thirty four thousand tonne missile destroyer carried fifty three thousand tonnes although she admittedly also had a thinner armor.
   The bottom line was that Brazil was building the most expensive ships on per weapon basis while being the smallest and weakest power and with their loss of research data following the loss of Parana they will be unable to keep up technologically which means they either need to dedicate even more tonnage to engines and fuel to overcome the impending difference in engine technology or they could give up on speed and go back towards focusing on heaving the most powerful warships possible while giving up the initiative.
   This battle showed the second option wasn’t as bad as it seemed. The Brazilian force was slowed to only five thousand kilometers per second, slowed by their old corvettes, but they were still able to keep up the enemy within energy weapon range for the entire engagement. This was seen as a proof that speed was not as essential for those types of ships as previously thought.
   The Federal military have designed a new ship using existing components based on their current destroyers, but they removed some engines and fuel and replaced them with more weapons. The resulting vessel was two thousand tonnes larger with slightly worse range and endurance, had speed of five thousand kilometers per second and had twenty five percent thicker armor, twenty percent more lasers and twenty five percent more gauss cannons. The government embraced the idea and directed their military to develop new version of their other warships as well.
   Poland have also been considering this as they have faster warship then their competitors as well. For them however the tactical speed was only half the story and they wanted to maintain their strategic speed. As they pointed out if their warships were moving at only five thousand kilometers per second, they would have never been able to establish a jump point picket during the Fifth Invasion which means the enemy would have entered Wrota unopposed and a fight against an enemy twice their size in open space would have been a certain defeat for the Republic. In essence lower speed would have meant the end of the war. As such no changes to speed were made.
   What the Polish military focused on were the bases. The purpose of those bases was to establish something of a safe zone against enemy missile attacks while using their own ordnance to pummel entering forces. There were six such bases in Resiliencia with a combined tonnage equal to that of two enemy heavy cruisers. However as bases didn’t need engines and fuel, their total combat power should have been equal to four enemy heavy cruisers. Despite that the bases were intercepting only one missile in seven. Worse they died so quickly that over half of their ammunition was still in their magazines when the bases were destroyed and to top it off their railguns didn’t really do much. Of course it was known the enemy could just stay away so the idea was to make mobile units come in of their own volition, but that didn’t happen.
   Some proposed using single shot box launchers on the bases to make sure ammunition wasn’t wasted but by the same token a base that wasn’t firing wasn’t being a danger and thus couldn't draw enemy fire. Ultimately it was decided that the general idea was fine, but the armament mix was wrong and as such a new version of their four hundred thousand tonne base was designed that had slightly thinner armor, less launchers and less railguns, but twice as many gauss cannons giving the base an ability to fire nearly two thousand slugs at incoming missile waves, although only between a quarter and a third will hit. Still that should mean each base will be able to effectively nullify a missile power of one of the alien heavy cruisers.


   Between the Second and Fourth Invasions Brazil managed to create a truly monstrous fleet by manufacturing components on their planets and then inserting them into warships being constructed. At the height of their shipbuilding spree they managed to cut construction times in half. Poland has been looking at a similar option but it doesn’t look promising. Their coming cruisers are so large and expensive that manufacturing railguns for even one of them would require a five year commitment of a fully industrialized planet and that does not include engines or gauss cannons. As there are eight shipyards in operation that will be building those ships, this option was ultimately considered unworkable.


   Poland had eighty six missile and jump frigates deployed at the Escudo jump point which was their entire battle fleet with a combined mass of nearly nine million tonnes. Now they have finally launched their eight cruisers, each massing four hundred and sixteen thousand tonnes, enlarging their main fleet by over a third in a single swoop.
   Unfortunately those ships can not be deployed right on top of the jump point as there aren’t enough space stations to support warships this large. Brazil isn’t building any and they will need those for themselves, Korea have launched a couple of them in the recent decades but not enough and Poland have only recently begun manufacturing new ones but those are very small and won’t really help all that much until the shipyards can expand and start building larger ones.
   Because of this the new cruisers will be their own formation, stationed above Palisada, over three billion kilometers from the enemy entry point. While definitely suboptimal, the only alternative would be to split those ships in half and rotate them which is considered an even worse option. For the time being those warships will serve as a clean up crew, used to deal with any enemy that manages to survive jump point assault and then a massive missile salvo from Szpica, a moon that is continuously building new missile bases and is already more heavily armed than Baszta was.


   The enemy is back, once again attacking Resiliencia.
   The Polish picket remains unchanged, comprising only the frigates. Two space forts have been constructed but considering the previous battle those were left in Solidarnosc and will be deployed only once sufficient numbers are achieved.
   Behind the frigates is the moon Szpica with missile bases and another task force of eight cruisers and three jump cruisers. Unfortunately those still couldn’t be deployed at the jump point so they were orbiting the world of Palisada.
   The aliens arrived in five squadrons. Three of them comprised one jump cruiser and six heavy missile cruisers, but the remaining two squadrons were larger. The first comprised one jump battlecruiser and six battlecruisers all massing seven hundred and fifty thousand tonnes. The second group was similar but had one more battlecruiser. The armament of those ships was unknown.
   None of the groups appeared within energy weapon range. If the jump point was the center of a clock, one of the heavy cruiser groups appeared around one o’clock and was isolated from the other groups. The other four were scattered between five and seven o’clock but the distances varied from four hundred and thirty thousand to one million two hundred and fifty thousand kilometers.
   The Polish fleet decided to charge the isolated heavy missile cruiser group but use their missiles on another squadron. Fortunately all ships were fully armed with the newest Wlocznias D. Unfortunately the aliens have thrown nearly twenty four million tonnes of warships at humanity, while the defenders had less than nine million tonnes. If the enemy concentrates their forces, they will likely be able to use their gauss cannons to completely nullify Wlocznias.
   While the four “southern” groups begun assembling, the detached one begun moving away. Republican warships were faster, but only by twelve hundred kilometers per second.
   The defenders got several salvos away before the enemy shook off transit effects, allowing them to heavily damage all seven of their targets. Unfortunately the aliens begun firing and their first volley, fired by the damaged group, resulted in over four thousand hits, slowing dawn three of the frigates. The rest of the force could not afford to slow dawn as the warships they were chasing were still over seven hundred thousand kilometers away, so the damaged warships begun assembling into their own formation.
   The enemy fire was intensifying quickly and the first Polish warship died less than a minute after kinhalan entry. By the time the first alien heavy cruiser has been destroyed, seven defending frigates were gone. Fortunately the other six targets died shortly after in rapid succession allowing the frigates to start targeting new warships. The remaining three “southern” groups have not assembled yet.
   In the end the Polish frigates never got into energy weapon range. By the time the fight was over eight alien heavy cruisers have been destroyed and six more were damaged to varying degrees, but all the Republican warships were gone.
   The aliens were being observed by a Polish stealth spotter ship and they begun picking up survivors while reorganizing. Six more heavy cruisers and seven battleships have entered the system and joined the undamaged warships while the damaged ones and jump ships retreated. The new alien force comprised seven battleships, thirteen battlecruisers and twelve heavy cruisers for a total of nearly twenty six million tonnes of warships, only ten million less than invaded Parana.
   That however wasn’t as dangerous as it seemed, even though victory was far from certain. The aliens weren’t reloading meaning they likely were still short on missiles and their warships won’t be able to fire full offensive salvos. It was also possible they weren’t properly loaded with anti-missiles. Even if they were their new battleships had half as many launchers as older ones and it was very likely their battlecruisers also had less. Coupled with lesser tonnage, their anti-missile defenses simply couldn’t be as effective as they were in Parana.
   On the Polish side the government have taken fortification of the system seriously. As Szpica was still expanding its industry during the last two invasions, several other worlds were prefabricating missile bases so they could be quickly assembled. As a result there were twenty six bases available, capable of firing two hundred and sixty thousand submunitions using current generation interplanetary missiles. That was sixty percent more than what Baszta could accomplish. Better yet they can fire one full volley and two partial ones, one made of the newest munitions and one slightly larger made of the previous generation ones. And last but not least those missiles use newest generation engines making them faster, meaning the enemy will have less time to fire anti-missiles and those he does fire will be less accurate.
   However those missiles won’t be used yet. The aliens are nearly four billion kilometers away and the Republic wants to wipe them out. As such they will wait until kinhanals get closer. Meanwhile both Brazilians and Korean have ordered their forces to move. The eleven Polish cruisers will stay put for now as their combined tonnage is equal to less than four enemy battleships.


   The first Polish volley arrived and to the Republican shock scored no hits. As the flight times were long – the enemy was over fifteen hundred million kilometers away and the missiles were capable of only twelve thousand kilometers per second – the second volley was almost loaded and will be launched soon.


   The previous launch was targeted at the smaller warships, primarily the heavy missile cruisers as they had the most launchers. However as it was obvious the enemy defenses were too heavy, the only thing Poland could do was to hope to run the aliens out of ammunition. As such they also changed their targeting to the battleships as they still had anti-ship missiles.
   The second volley was smaller, comprising only one hundred and ninety thousand submunitions, but halfway through the enemy run out of interceptors and as a result the Republic scored over a hundred thousand hits destroying two battleships and two heavy missile cruisers while damaging three more battleships. The enemy force quickly reorganized itself and continued towards Palisada at almost four thousand kilometers per second, slowed quite significantly due to damage.


   The final volley consisted of only eighty thousand submunitions which were targeted at six heavy missile cruisers that arrived as reinforcements and had likely their full shipkiller load out and four of the battleships, three of which were previously damaged.
   The results were disappointing. Over seventy thousand missiles hit but only one battleship and one heavy cruiser have been destroyed.
   The aliens begun reorganizing themselves and within an hour five of the targeted heavy missile cruisers were abandoned. The remaining alien fleet comprised four battleships, thirteen battlecruisers and four heavy cruisers but only the largest warships had any ammunition remaining and they had a total of five thousand launchers. Moreover three of the battleships were damaged and the entire formation was slightly slowed, moving at a little less than five thousand kilometers per second. Interestingly they’ve chosen to head back towards their entry point.
   For now the Republican cruisers were ordered to shadow the retreating force. Brazilian fleet is a couple of days away from entering the system, but they are capable of only five thousand kilometers per second. Korea is much further out, their entry point will be on the opposite side of the system and six billion kilometers from the star and they don’t have enough speed to compensate for that. For all instances and purposes it will be impossible to catch the retreating force with anything other than the Republican warships and the aliens still have three to one advantage in tonnage, even if they are almost out of ammunition.


   The Brazilian fleet enters the Resiliencia system and sets course for the Escudo jump point. However they will need eleven days to arrive there while the aliens are less than five days away.
   The Federal force comprises all they could spare – seven cruisers, two jump cruisers, six destroyers and six missile corvettes.


   Poland decided to risk an engagement and they have been closing on the aliens when the enemy fired four volleys, most likely a test of the Republican defenses. The first two were larger, showing that some of the smaller ships still had ammo, and those managed a total of five and a half thousand hits. However the third and fourth volley got only around thirty hits each, with gauss cannons intercepting over three and a half thousand missiles each time.
   Three Polish cruisers had lost some armor and the shock damage knocked out some systems. As the armor wasn’t breached, field repairs were possible so the human warships continued to pace the aliens without closing while sorting out their damage.
   Half a day later they begun closing on the aliens again. The plan was to keep firing and as soon as damage was considered too great, to retreat any vessel the enemy was targeting. The hope was that the aliens, using significant tonnage on missiles that were now irrelevant, will be weak enough in energy combat for the much smaller and slightly more technologically advanced Polish force to do at least some damage in order to give humans as long a rebuilding period as they could.
   That hoped was quickly dashed. The aliens were doing about fifty percent more damage than Poland while having much larger vessels that could take more punishment. The Republican warships targeted one of the battlecruisers but one of the human warships was dead before they could slow their target dawn. Another one died before she could disengage.
   With two cruisers lost for absolutely no return the two forces begun to open the range, with Poland heading towards Palisada and Brazil changing course to join them. It was unknown whether the enemy intends to go all the way back to their territory or if they intend to once again wait at the jump point to see what humanity will bring.


   The Polish, Brazilian and Korean fleets gathered and begun advancing against the aliens who once again stayed on the jump point. They jumped after seeing what was coming, confirming they only wanted information, not a fight.
   The battle was a disaster for Poland and many believed it to be an even greater humiliation then the loss of Parana. During the battle at the jump point the defending force managed to destroy only a little over half its own tonnage and at the very end the Republic have lost two cruisers for nothing. The missile strikes were even more disappointing. They were larger than those of Baszta and the ammunition was much more plentiful, but in the end that didn’t amount to much. For all instances and purposes the enemy was driven by their own logistical limitations and if they had enough ammunition to re-arm they may have very well won.
   The one piece of good news was that kinhalans were so focused on not losing that fleet they retreated before they could destroy the missile bases on Szpica which will make rebuilding much easier. Even so Wrota will not be stripped of ammunition, which means new one will have to be produced. Palisada has three thousand ordnance factories dedicated to this task which translates to three thousand Osas per year. The enemy will likely not attack again for at least twenty years, but that would add up to only sixty thousand missiles, barely enough to equip the existing bases and not enough to equip the ones that will be built during this period. Other worlds will have to help.
   Kleczanow is the most immediate answer. While Poland is still producing new jump point bases, they no longer have a missile armed fleet, so most of the industrial strength of the capital will go towards more Osas. Niedzica has to fortify itself so it cannot help but recently a supporting missile production was established on Szczecin. It will be expanded. In the future Szczecin and Palisada will be arming Szpica together while Kleczanow will be producing small anti-ship missiles and interceptors for the bases. Another world will likely be chosen for missile production to support Niedzica as well, but that’s for the future.
   For now the fleets will move back towards their own posts.


   JTIMR was analyzing the information and while they didn’t have much to say about tactical side od things they had some observations about the alien strategy. In essence they believe the twenty five years between the two most recent invasions is equivalent to about two of their construction cycles. This also means the enemy is capable of building two battleships and seven or eight battlecruisers at any given time, not counting any smaller ships. This adds up to nearly eight million tonnes of naval shipbuilding. For comparison Poland is dedicating four and a half million tonnes towards their cruiser production, but their construction times are much greater as missile warships are cheaper and quicker to make.
   More over the alien sensitivity to loses implies they left no mobile force behind on that front, or at best a token one. In addition they have likely just used all their missile stockpiles but it also seems like their ability to supply their warships is improving, as this attack was much larger than the previous one.
   The Polish own military however had much more to say about what have happened. First it is obvious the aliens have sorted out their shortage of jump ships and they have also preserved most of those used in the recent invasion. As such it is very likely the enemy will no longer use mass transits through the jump points, instead using squadrons all the time. The results were devastating for the defenders and it will be even worse in the future as the current cruisers don’t have missiles, which have done all the damage in the recent fight. Some wanted to go so far as to abandon the idea of jump point defense entirely, but it is also true that space forts usually have twice the firepower for given tonnage, so they still make sense – if enough of them can be deployed.
   The recommendation of the military was very simple. Until there is a significant amount of Polish forts, the navy should not picket the jump point. For that matter it may be needed to either significantly increase production of such constructs or for all three nations to concentrate them on only one front. Talks will need to be held with Republican allies, but in the near future it is unlikely anything will change.
   The other issue is the Polish abandonment of missiles. The idea has a lot of merits, but this also means that the fleet needs to be strong enough to actually close on its target and it simply wasn’t. Jump point defense using the existing cruisers is simply pointless and they will need to either work together with other nations or be used to mop up a properly sized missile strike from the existing bases, which severely lowers their usability and versatility. Another problem are the Guardians – the current fleet may be insufficient to clear any of their systems and any action against them will result in loses.
   The Republic cannot afford missile armed ships at this time but once enough ordnance factories have been built to supply Szpica it may be necessary to bring those back.


   One issue democracies struggle with during war is public opinion. Moves that would be smart are often unpopular with Marzanna being the best example. It was a front line planet, but also the most heavily inhabited one, making it impossible to move too much away from it. As a result the vast majority of Polish R&D was located there and it was the central stockpile for TN elements, allowing kinhalans to capture millions of tonnes of those resources. Brazil had the same problem and some believe that the minerals allowed the enemy the greater operational tempo that resulted in two invasions in the past forty years.
   The Republic has been doing well in terms of resources, so well in fact that they begun considering enlargement of their yards so they could build their first true capital ships. Unfortunately Kleczanow was out of manpower and while it was only the third most heavily inhabited planet in the nation, any movement of industry away from it would be seen by other worlds as weakness as well. The other planet in the system, Gdansk, could be chosen but its industry was fully committed towards rebuilding of the R&D sector meaning any supporting installations, like maintenance facilities or ammunition would have to be transported from somewhere else, further straining logistics.
   Before the latest attack the government gave up and constructed eight new shipyards above Neutronowo which were supposed to be expanded to at least six hundred thousand tonnes, but the process have begun only recently and was going to take a long time. Considering the losses suffered by Poland in recent years, that was unacceptable.
   The shipyards above Kleczanow have just delivered a new flight of cruisers and are now being transported to Neutronowo, despite the protests of the population. The decision is extremely unpopular and may very well result in the fall of the government but an agreement was reached between all the major parties that the decision will not be rescinded. As soon as the yards are delivered they will start expanding.
   Neturonowo is slowly becoming the shipbuilding heart of the nation. The sixteen civilian yards are working around the clock and the first six have reached the capacity of one million tonnes. They are now retooling to build larger fuel harvesters. Now it will have sixteen naval yards as well.
   The planet has population of four billion people, but it is a very Earth-like world, large and fully habitable. It can in theory house over thirteen billion people. It also has significant native resources that are being extracted by four thousand mines and an ordnance manufacturing sector is being created as well. In short it is a near perfect place for shipbuilding.


   Szpica finally has enough ammunition to fire two full salvos. Moreover the number of bases have increased to thirty seven meaning that the moon will be able to fire volleys of three hundred and seventy thousand submunitions. And of course the expansion is ongoing.
   This was possible thanks to enormous industrial effort of the nation. Bledow, Kleczanow, Szczecin, Neutronowo and Wieliczka are all building ordnance factories and in the future both Niedzica and Szpica will be serviced by ten thousand manufacturing complexes each, with the rest producing ammunition for space forts and warships.
   However there is a downside to all of this – the nation have stopped growing. Those worlds would normally build orbital habitats and mines but the expansion of their industry is a process taking decades. At the same time even if they were dedicated towards supporting other colonies it wouldn’t have mattered as the Republic has other problems. One of those is fuel as while they had enough for day to day operations, moving habitats over interstellar distances was not possible. At one point there was enough living space for over four hundred million people that wasn’t deployed anywhere. The issue is slowly being resolved thanks to Neutronowo dedicating six shipyards towards construction of fuel harvesters, each having capacity of one million tonnes, but it will be some time before large numbers of habitats can be moved.
   Another problem was logistics, mainly the insufficient number of freighters and colony ships. In particular the transfer of some of the yards from Kleczanow to Neutronowo have resulted in significant manpower shortages on the latter, despite it having population of over five and a half billion. Almost all available colony ships are dedicated towards the problem, but it isn’t enough. A couple of worlds have been colonized but they struggle with infrastructure and manpower. Fortunately five yards have just completed retooling and will now be building one million tonne colony ships and freighters, but it will take time to build up the numbers.
   The last problem is neutronium. After the most recent invasion Poland have begun massively expanding its shipbuilding which ultimately turned out to be too much. Several yards have ceased expansion but fortunately the most important ones are still upgrading. The situation is of course further compounded by lack of commercial shipping and available industry making it very difficult to develop new mining sites. In fact the government have sent some of the habitats and an additional thousand mines to Niedzica despite it being a frontline world. Still the problems are mostly temporary and once the yards have finished upgrading the situation will stabilize.
   This isn’t to say that Poland is in a bad shape. Mineral reserves are well into millions of tonnes with the exception of neutronium and tritanium and venusian mining colonies, like Siarkowice, Wenus, Krolewiec or Metanowo, have been steadily expanding although those are focused primarily on gallicite. The Republic absolutely has the economic potential to build a significant force, although whether or not they have the time to solve their issues remains to be seen.

Offline Haji (OP)

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Re: The Forever War - Part 11
« Reply #1 on: February 12, 2023, 12:32:57 AM »
  Hello and sorry for double posting, but I need to talk about what is happening behind the scenes in the game and I didn't want to interrupt the narrative, hence another post.
   I have a lot of house rules in this particular campaign but I haven't given them much exposure, mostly because they are simple limitations, don't do that, you can only build this much of that, that kind of thing. However I'm at a point where I have to outright subvert the mechanics of the game in order for it to make sense.
   Also please note that those changes did not happen immediately nor at the same time. In game terms, they were being implemented over a period of about a hundred years. In terms of posts I begun during this update and some were implemented during what will become part 12 of the campaign.
   Let's start with secondary explosions. You see the Sixth Invasion (the first battle in this update) is actually a fake. When the battleships entered the system, the entire Brazilian fleet fired at one of them and killed it within five seconds. However something was bothering me and this is when I remember that Quasar has a quirk (bug?) that secondary explosions are shown on a tactical map only if the armor was breached. And there were no secondary explosions shown. Sure enough I calculated the damage and there was enough of it to vaporize only a quarter of the armor. I though 'oh well, smeg happens, it's annoying but those are the moments for which I'm playing the game, now wiring a book'. But then the smeg happened again. And again. And again. Four battleships were destroyed without having their armor breached. The ships have grown to such size that death through shock damage and secondary explosions was guaranteed.
   I'd love to disable shock damage. Considering the number of components (thousands of launchers for example) the field repairs are almost impossible so it just adds unnecessary micromanagement. Unfortunately there is no way to do that as far as I'm aware, so I just modified components in the database so that their explosion chance is 0. After I've done that I've replayed the battle and the result is what you have read in this update. Needless to say this very likely means that the previous fights also had similar problems and I just didn't notice. What that means is that defenders will no longer have such massive advantage in jump point combat. We have seen this here where the loses were much less lopsided. It is in fact possible that if this rule was in effect earlier, the campaign would have ended when Parana fell as humans would have lost most of their fleet in Wrota. Oh well, at least that little issue allowed me to continue.
   Grade points. I like the idea of ships getting experience, but Aurora (and consequently Quasar) is weird about it as the only way to gain grade points is being shot at. More over there is no limit. Warships can have grade bonuses into thousands of percent. This is what I think happened during the second combat in this update. The kinhalan fleet had half as many missile launchers as their fleet had in Parana but they stopped an even larger salvo. I haven't replayed that particular fight as I haven't realized immediately what was happening. In fact I'm still not sure this is the problem. Nonetheless I will be modifying database to set grade points to 0 from now on. I've also disabled inexperienced crew penalties, the ones connected to task force training. The reason is that in Aurora any ships with task force training of 100% would immediately respond to orders, but in Quasar there can still be 10-15 sec delay.
   Those two changes happened over the course of this update. The changes to technologies were slowly implemented over the course of update twelve (not yet written).
   As I mentioned in another comment, I'm not really happy with the strategic scale of this campaign so far as the Guardians have proven to be too good roadblocks. I'm confident I'll get where I want to be but it's been four hundred years already and I don't want to get there while all nations have maxed technology with no differences between them and I'm already entering anti-matter era. Moreover the time needed for development of new techs is around one or two centuries now. Last but not least while slowing dawn warship production had many advantages, it turned out to have one ginormous, campaign killing disadvantage - it makes me far too sensitive to loses and unwilling to take any risks. Also it may result in the campaign ending with a single battle.
   I decided to see if I can modify technologies in the database and to what extent and I've been surprisingly successful. What I did was to modify several technologies to be cheaper and provide much smaller bonuses, but also to give them a lot more levels. Railguns for example were limited to caliber of 50cm, now I will keep adding them ad infinitum until the game ends. I've also modified industrial technologies. Construction rate for example will increase by 0.1 so it will be 10.1, 10.2, 10.3 and so on. The first level will cost 10 000 research points and each subsequent level will be 10% more expensive. I've done that for construction, mining and ordnance production. I've made similar changes to some other technologies, but not in the exact same way. Shipbuilding will be increasing by 10 BP so starting from 200 all nations had it will be 210, 220, 230 and so on. I will be adding a lot more engine technologies, but they will provide only 10% bonus over the previous one while being 20% more expensive and will start at 300k research points. I will be providing a full list shortly, but there are two (well, four) technologies I've added to the game.
   The first one is tracking bonus multiplier for beam fire controls. Currently it is capped at 4x speed and 4x size. I will be expanding this to 5x speed and 5x size with 0.1 increments so 4.1, 4.2 and so on. It is much more expensive other technologies here starting at 100k research points with each level being 40% more expensive then the previous one. I do not yet know if I'll go beyond 5x.
   I'll also allow further miniaturization of missile launchers. There will be three parallel technologies. The first one will start from x0.99 size and 1.04 reload and go from there. Will start at 10k research points. By itself won't do much, but combining it with reload rate will allow creation of ever smaller launchers that still fit the five second reload requirement. So you can combine 0.96 with reload tech 7 and then 0.92 with reload tech 8 and so on. An admittedly small advantage, but an advantage nonetheless.
   The second line of those techs will allow further miniaturization of box launchers. I was quite surprised to find out that 0.15 launcher is still three times as large as the missile it services. So I will allow technologies dawn to 0.06 size. Those will be very, very expensive.
   Between those I will also allow miniaturization of the smallest repeatable launchers. The game allows creation of launchers 0.25 and I have created technologies for 0.24 all the way to 0.16. Those are moderately expensive. I may add additional ones.
   The reason why I have chose three parallel technologies is that right now ships/bases are designed around one of three concepts - maximum rate of five, maximum salvo size and largest size without the need for return to base. Thus three technologies servicing those needs.
   Anyway here is the list of what was changed so far. I may change more technologies, but it seems unlikely at this point.
   larger caliber lasers
   larger caliber railguns
   more powerful particle beams
   new power plants
   new engines
   capacitor recharge rates
   missile warheads
   jump drive efficiency
   construction rate
   fire control speed rating
   ordnance production
   fuel production rate
   colonization cost reduction
   fuel consumption
   expand civilian economy
   shipyard operations
   missile agility
   reduced launcher size (three types)
   tracking speed multiplier
   mining rate
   terraforming rate

  Thank you for reading and I hope you continue to enjoy the series!