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Frankly, if the authors of fighting-related posts gave as much consideration for such trivia as "interest" and "depth", many AARs would be vastly improved for it.
It is odd that so few exploit the incredible role play and depth potential of the game.

Thinking and writing is hard, I don't keep notes for school much less a game! If I do RP as I play I tend to just keep it between the ears.
Fortunately the British Imperial Space Inch is much larger than it's terrestrial counterpart, the reformation of the unit system was quite radical and perhaps not entirely thought through. But it is traditional now so the Empire sticks with it.
Clearly the empire maintains an aEther Inch (EIn) and a Terrestrial Inch (TIn), after all space is big so the measurements used for it should be big as well! Alas this leads to some confusion as torpedos, as primarily space based weapons, use EIn while railguns, which are really just regular old cannons that some bofin got frisky with when you think about it, and other such weapons use TIn to reflect their ancient and honored past of use in warfare on Earths surface.
Chapter 6 To Cruise or Not To Cruise Part II

The Challenger project emerged from the Daedalus design office in the Laconia system which had a complex relationship with the rest of the Empire. As an example of the issues in the system even the name of the office had been controversial. The Admiralty had vetoed a dozen suggestions as 'insufficiently British', 'ridiculously pretentious' or in one caustic case 'named after a pathetic failure their Lordships have absolutely no desire to be associated with'. With the name Daedalus having a long tradition in the Navy, particularly for 'stone frigates' (the baffling archaic way the Admiralty persisted in classifying anything that was a ship or space station), this was finally agreed as acceptable. Along with the usual selection of paper projects, none of which are interesting enough to detain us here, the Daedalus office had produced the Bellerophon battle-cruiser design (though that was more of a modification than an actual design) and more relevantly the Leander-class frigates. The Challenger fell somewhere between the two, being in part a redesign for local preferences but in part a radical fresh approach. It is also worth noting the name, the contest was held at the end of Laconia's Spartan phase and the Ancient Greek obsession of that system was subsiding, hence why the ship did not have a name from classic antiquity but was named after a survey cruiser that had been lost in Epsilon Indi, the home of the ancestral foe - the Automaton Menace. This was not just another affectation as we will see.

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Challenger Mk.I Prototype Cruiser      30,000 tons       825 Crew       5,662.5 BP       TCS 600    TH 3,600    EM 7,140
6000 km/s      Armour 5-86       Shields 238-476       HTK 157      Sensors 0/0/0/0      DCR 21      PPV 217.85
Maint Life 1.10 Years     MSP 2,297    AFR 655%    IFR 9.1%    1YR 1,914    5YR 28,709    Max Repair 900 MSP
Magazine 375   
Captain    Control Rating 4   BRG   AUX   ENG   CIC   
Intended Deployment Time: 12 months    Morale Check Required 

Rolls Royce Griffon Mk.III MPD-1800 (2)    Power 3600    Fuel Use 50.31%    Signature 1800    Explosion 15%
Fuel Capacity 2,087,000 Gallons    Range 24.7 billion km (47 days at full power)
GKN Rampart Mk.II Epsilon Band/119 Farad Shield Generator  (2)     Recharge Time 476 seconds (0.5 per second)

Vickers 10" Mk.I Railgun V50/C4 (10x4)    Range 250,000km     TS: 6,000 km/s     Power 15-4     RM 50,000 km    ROF 20       
Sterling Mk.II Twin Coil Turret (20k) (5x8)    Range 30,000km     TS: 20000 km/s     Power 0-0     RM 30,000 km    ROF 5       
Marconi Type 903 TFC 160-20000 (1)     Max Range: 160,000 km   TS: 20,000 km/s     94 88 81 75 69 62 56 50 44 38
Racal Type 502 BFC 320-6000 (1)     Max Range: 320,000 km   TS: 6,000 km/s     97 94 91 88 84 81 78 75 72 69
Brown Curtis Gorgon Mk.I SFR-B (2)     Total Power Output 50 kBTU/s    Exp 10%

Hawker Mk.I 5' External Torpedo Tube (75)     Missile Size: 5'    Hangar Reload 111 minutes    MF Reload 18 hours
Shorts Type 901 MFC 72m/R160 (3)     Range 72.1m km    Resolution 160
Brimstone Mk.I (75)    Speed: 28,560 km/s    End: 23.4m     Range: 40m km    WH: 7    Size: 5    TH: 209/125/62

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
GEC Type 1000LR 114m/R160 (1)     GPS 20160     Range 114m km    Resolution 160

Anderwave ILIC Mk.I ECCM (3)         
TRE Asprin Mk.I 10kMx ECM Projector

This design is classed as a Military Vessel for maintenance purposes

The heritage of the Leander-class design is clear in the Challenger, the removal of half the main turrets to make space for the twenty five pentuple 5' Torpedo Tubes is hard to miss. The choice of where to place the tubes is interesting, despite in theory being able to launch from any aspect the tubes are all forward facing and concentrated on the front third of the hull, an aggressive choice to prioritise a very slight missile advantage (not having to course correct post-launch) over the effective coverage of the main guns. The standard County-class boasted an all round 3-2-2-3 turret arrangement (3 fore, 2 amidship on both flanks, 3 rear), the removal of the B, C, P, Q and W turrets left the Challenger with 1 fore, 2 amidship and 2 rear. As you might expect this was not a choice which endeared the design to the more traditional Admirals, particularly as despite the entry of the Leander-class into service at this point the Brimstone Mk.I was still unproven in actual combat. With the class solely deployed on patrol and internal security duties there had been an unfortunate lack of anything to shoot at. It would not be until the belated introduction of the jump and command capable Captain-class Frigate Leaders that the class and their torpedoes would see combat.

The changes to the defence side of the triad are less obvious but in their own way just as major. The design also used the EDEN ceramic composite armour from the Centurion project, but thinned it out even further down to only 5yd HDAE (Hi-density Duranium Armour Equivalent) versus 6yd on Centurion and 8yd on a County Mk.IVB. The space instead was used for two GKN Rampart shield generators, while this is sometimes described as a redundancy choice to have a way to generate shielding even if one generator was battle damaged, in truth it was a technical limitation - at this time the Empire was unable to build a larger shield generator without burning out the flux coils. The preference for shields reflects the way the Automaton loomed large in Laconian thinking, against spaced out waves of torpedoes a defence system that could regenerate was more valuable than a simple defence/ton analysis would indicate. This thinking can also be seen in the additional Sterling twin CG turret that has been squeezed onto the design, further improving the organic anti-torpedo capability of the design and therefore making it a better match against a torpedo heavy foe, such as the Automaton.

Ultimately the Challenger committed one too many heresies; it relied too heavily on an unproven main weapons system, heavily compromised the remaining tried and true Vickers 10" railgun turrets and optimised it's defences for one foe at the cost of poorer performance against everything else. While never officially assessed by the Admiralty Tactical Office the design was holo-simed and became a regular feature in Academy exercises both on Sparta and back at Britannia, though admittedly for somewhat different reasons. Many an officer cadet would come to curse the class, either as an unexpectedly dangerous simulated foe or as an unwieldy challenge to try and command. What emerges from those exercises is a class that in some respects met it's intentions, against a missile opponent it was indeed more durable and better able to weather the storm, but as an offensive platform was somewhat lacking. Taking the classic check of balance - two of the same class attacking each other - the 75 missile Brimstone salvo was indecisive. While there is always a degree of uncertainty around the precise performance of a PD system, on average enough of the salvo survived the gauss gauntlet to batter down the shields and punch one or two penetrating holes in the underlying armour. This left the target damaged, but not especially weakened, meaning the matter would come down to a gunnery duel of the type the design had compromised on. Other matchups had similar outcomes as the missile 'punch' was potent but rarely decisive, defenders of the design are often keen to point out that the County Mk.IVB fared quite badly against the Brimstone salvo but that is to somewhat miss the point. The whole point of the design contest had been to produce a replacement for that design, being 'better' than the Mk.IVB was the absolute bare minimum requirement not a noteworthy achievement. In fairness it should be noted there were certain scenarios were it shined, the multiple fire controls allowed salvos to be split across targets so gunboat/FAC swarms could be dealt with effectively at standoff range, but this was a fairly niche capability. A relevant comparison would be that the 8kt-aether Leanders had mounted 50 tubes, scaling that up Challenger should have had 200 or more. Overall the conclusion must be that the designers lacked the courage of the convictions, in trying to appease the gun lobby by leaving half the turrets on they merely ensured the resulting hybrid was compromised in both roles.

Some unbuilt designs can be seen as missed opportunities or at least visions of an alternate path the Navy could have taken. Challenger is neither of those things because of it's confused hybrid nature, even if the Admiralty had decided to embrace torpedo warfare it is hard to imagine the First Space Lord of the time, Admiral Haynes, doing so in such a half hearted manner. A lack of self belief and conviction is not a problem the designers of the final submission suffered from, as will be discussed in Part III.

OOC Notes: Look a summertime update. It's even the same summer. And for the low, low price of stretching this out to a 3 part update.
Interesting read. I admit I usually pick names either from a list or based on some characteristics of the system and then never bother renaming anything even if there was a solid reason to do so.
I normally do similar, but this was an unusual game in many ways. Glad you found it interesting. :)

You're early. And brief.
Those two observations are connected.

Given what we know of politicians, this is a bold claim.
It was only a little something, so the bar was set reassuringly low.

A rather choice assessment of needs, here.
A necessary sacrifice in order to achieve brief and thus early.

It is perhaps a telling sign of the British scientific establishment of the period, that so much attention was devoted to the abdominal sections of the Automotons and, apparently, so little attention devoted to the other components of their anatomy. Do we yet know, for instance, whether the nervous or the locomotive systems are also necro-mechanical, or is this merely an assumption borne from the coupling of scientific laziness and, per the topic, nominative determinism? Either way, the possibility that these Automotons are not actually that, but rather are composed of disembodied heads welded to necro-mechanical abdomens which are mounted on giant spider legs merits further study at great government expense, and I am submitting a proposal this week to that effect.
These are the sort of questions the B/G scientists should be researching, alas they are too busy doing normative determinism.

And here, of course, our glamorous author is to be commended for his excellent grasp on matters of historical fact, particularly where said fact stands in opposition to popular perception.
There is quite a gap between the perception and reality of the Spartans, well as much as the reality as we're ever likely to know given the time gap.

Please tell me this was a gift from the RNG.
It was indeed, though I think it gets even better.

He was a living argument against Normative Determinism as he had/has the traits 'Pessimistic', 'Nervous', 'Inconsiderate' and 'Cowardly', none of which are particularly Max Power-esque. However they did seem perfect for the sort of leader who would cosplay as a mythical Spartan warrior to hide his own insecurities.

I might have to do one of the Dreadnought tomes as the next Book in the Library.

Clearly we have missed out on some important events, surely an oversight and not intentional due to the poor light these events might shed on Imperial British history.
The 5th Battle of Epsilon Indi was a bit of a damp squib. Both the Renowns and some supporting cruisers once again couldn't overcome the massed AAM spam from the orbital missile bases.

Probably. Maybe if they'd persevered and taken heavy damage/losses they could have forced the issue. But I decided the prize wasn't worth the candle and pulled them back.

Because clearly, not enough attention has already been given to this critical and badly understudied phenomenon.
We all look forward to the future version where there actually is something useful for the B/G scientist to do, apart from the one that does the terraforming research.

Frankly, if the authors of fighting-related posts gave as much consideration for such trivia as "interest" and "depth", many AARs would be vastly improved for it.
It is odd that so few exploit the incredible role play and depth potential of the game.

At any rate, another thrilling and exciting update, at least for the academics in the audience of which I note two present; in fact, as these form the entire commenting audience to date we may safely dispense with the qualifier.
What the academic audience lacks in quantity, it makes up for in quality.

Given the current frightening pace, far exceeding even the most liberal expectations, I look forward to the next in the series at this time next week.  ;)
Though sadly that quality does not extend to realistic time estimations. ;)
Gothic II / Re: Gothic II Comments Thread
« Last post by Zed 6 on August 03, 2023, 10:31:47 AM »
Any unexpected surprises?
Gothic II / Re: Gothic II Comments Thread
« Last post by Steve Walmsley on August 02, 2023, 05:21:30 PM »
In terms of recent changes in 2.2 ; what would you say have changed for designs in Gothic II compared to the first?

Not too much, as I initially went for similar ships. The most significant change was larger torpedo launchers - size 12 on the Lunar. The designs for the NPRs have changed a lot more, as you will see when I start posting updates :)

EDIT: BTW I should have mentioned that one of the reasons I went for almost a copy of a previous campaign was to see how differently everything played out with the new rules. That is already happening.
Gothic II / Re: Gothic II Comments Thread
« Last post by doodle_sm on August 02, 2023, 01:34:44 PM »
In terms of recent changes in 2.2 ; what would you say have changed for designs in Gothic II compared to the first?
Gothic II / Re: Gothic II Comments Thread
« Last post by nuclearslurpee on August 02, 2023, 10:20:42 AM »
Interesting choice to return to the 10cm railguns for point defense instead of defense turrets. I presume the RP that would have gone to Gauss cannons has been put into missile techs instead?

Not a lot of missiles in the OOB, but I recall from the bits and pieces you've posted that even these small quantities of missiles have been effective in some cases, so looking forward to seeing more results of the new mechanics!
Gothic II / Re: Gothic II Comments Thread
« Last post by Steve Walmsley on August 02, 2023, 10:18:48 AM »
Thank you Steve, for this new insight in the game and in your strategies!
Please, which version of the game are you using?

v2.2 (unreleased).
Gothic II / Re: Gothic II Comments Thread
« Last post by paolot on August 02, 2023, 09:19:02 AM »
Thank you Steve, for this new insight in the game and in your strategies!
Please, which version of the game are you using?
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