Author Topic: (7) The scheming, the planning and the preparation: 1905 - 1906  (Read 2656 times)

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Offline Garfunkel (OP)

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The scheming, the planning and the preparation: 1905 - 1906

1905

The Berlin Space Conference of 1905 saw representatives of all the powers of the Grand Alliance meet in preparation for what was already dubbed the "second contact". The argument was the same old: whether the Alliance should proceed with what ships they had at hand or whether they should wait until all members had corvettes ready. Unsurprisingly, the countries without ships advocated waiting while countries with ships were keen to get a move on. Both factions feared the same thing: the collapse of the Grand Alliance, which would lead to the return of human conflict, and thus another chance for the Martian Menace to prevail. The haste faction believed that the longer the humans waited, the higher the chance of a fracture, whereas the slow faction believed that acting unilaterally would cause such a fracture for certain. The problem wasn't helped that several powers were still (or again) in debt.

Wealth situation in January 1905:
  • 5,928 British Empire
  • 2,923 Austro-Hungarian Monarchy
  • 2,512 République francaise
  • 1,559 United States of America
  • 1,426 The Rim Pact
  • -55 Deutsches Kaiserreich
  • -72 Iberian Union
  • -89 Dai Nippon Teikoku
  • -228 Regno d'Italia
  • -541 Rossiyskaya Imperiya

The conference ended inconclusive, with a statement that the powers would meet again in July in London. Soon after, La Royale welcomed their first corvette Dunkerque. With four gauss cannons with unparalleled rate of fire, it's firepower was tremendous albeit extremely short-ranged.

Late in the month, British scientists made a new active sensor that increased the sight range from 17.5 mkm to 31.4 mkm with a resolution of 100. This would catch all known Martian classes. Royal Navy wasn't going to accept the current three classes to be expanded into six, so instead a new class was created - Vanguard - that was quite a bit larger than the previous ones:

Code: [Select]
Vanguard class Corvette      1,999 tons       54 Crew       107.2 BP       TCS 40    TH 21    EM 0
520 km/s      Armour 1-14       Shields 0-0       HTK 14      Sensors 0/0/0/0      DCR 0      PPV 8
Maint Life 1.03 Years     MSP 8    AFR 128%    IFR 1.8%    1YR 8    5YR 113    Max Repair 24 MSP
Commander    Control Rating 1   BRG   
Intended Deployment Time: 9 days    Morale Check Required   

Whitehouse-Lambert Conventional Engine  EP5.20 (4)    Power 20.8    Fuel Use 124.81%    Signature 5.2    Explosion 10%
Fuel Capacity 10,000 Litres    Range 0.7 billion km (16 days at full power)

Foster-Burton 15 cm C2 Plasma Carronade (2)    Range 60,000km     TS: 2,000 km/s     Power 6-2     RM 10,000 km    ROF 15       
Tyler-Hussain Beam Fire Control R60-TS625 (1)     Max Range: 60,000 km   TS: 625 km/s     13 10 8 5 3 0 0 0 0 0
Bryant-Green Pressurised Water Reactor R2-PB10 (2)     Total Power Output 4    Exp 7%

Fletcher Electronics Active Search Sensor AS31-R100 (1)     GPS 2400     Range 31.4m km    Resolution 100

This design is classed as a Military Vessel for maintenance purposes

Carrying two 15 cm Carronades, the improved active sensor, and four engines, Vanguard-class could outsee, outrun and outshoot any of the Tribal variants. However, to be able to fix all of that inside a hull of 2,000 tons, crew amenities were at a minimum as was maintenance and fuel storage. Carpenter & Brother started immediate re-tooling.

Due to this change in shipbuilding, Royal Navy re-organized itself. A new admin command was created to manage the corvettes, named Corvette Command. Under it, the corvettes were organized in four squadrons: First for Tribal 25s, Second for Tribal 20s, Third for Tribal 15s, and Fourth for Vanguards.

In February, three more Azov-class corvettes joined the CMF.

As May saw the completion of two more Kaiserin Augusta "12"-class corvettes, Kaiserliche Raummarine saw it prudent to organize better for the coming battles. The Germans saw no need for another layer of administrative command at this point. Instead, they grouped all their corvettes together into the Hochraumflotte, though as there were now three different speeds among the classes in use, the Flotte was sub-divided into four squadrons. I and II Geschwader would each have six Kaiserin August "12"-classes while III Geschwader had six Kaiserin August "10"-class ships and the IV Geschwader had the five older Blucher-class ships.

May also saw the opening of Kirby Shipyard Incorporated, a commercial yard that was owned by the Kirby conglomerate but was operating solely on government contracts, though it was tacitly assumed that when it wasn't building commercial designs for the Crown, it would build civilian ships for private use, even if such ideas seemed far fetched with the Martian Menace right next door. Hankel was expanded to 3,000 tons and the Germans interrupted the construction of new corvettes. They already struggled to maintain the ship they had and with the new capability, engineers and shipwrights were eager to experiment with frigate sized hulls. To save money, the shipyard was ordered to stay idle for now.


The London Space Conference of 1905 took place in the last days of July. Nine participants were ready to butt heads over the same issue as before but one had a novel proposition that changed the strategic picture. The Rim Pact scientists had figured out a way to emplace a void weapon on Earth and make it work. RIM called it the "Baldr Kanon" or the Baldur Cannon. Utilizing a Particle Beam, it could hit ships up to 60,000 kilometres from Earth. Best of all, all countries could design and build their own versions. With this new avenue of attack, a general plan was agreed upon:

1. Grand Alliance members would build such Surface-To-Orbit weapons as they could manage in as high numbers as possible until the end of 1906.
2. Grand Alliance members would continue to build up their fleets until the end of 1906.
3. Operation Bait would commence in January 1907.

Operation Bait itself was simple: the human ships would advance towards Mars until they provoked a reaction from the Menace Void Ships. They would then turn around and flee to Earth, luring the Martian vessels into the range of human ground artillery. Then the surviving corvettes would counter-attack. Between the hammer and the anvil, the Menace would be destroyed and the invasion of Mars could begin.


The moment the conference ended, design work began in nine capitals. The Germans came up with the "12 cm leichte Raumkanone 05 C2", the British with the "9in Star Cannon Mk.1", the A-H with the "10 cm Erdenkanone R-10", the French with the "Petit Paris Cracheuse", the Russians with the "120mm Kosmischeskaya pushka R-15", the Americans with the "M100 Space Howitzer", the Italians with the "L10/1 Kanone il Vuoto", the Japanese with the "Type 1 Ame-no-Murakumo", and the Iberians hadn't researched any naval weapons yet, leaving them to scramble to catch up with the others.

In September the Americans got their first ship as USS Abercrombie floated off its slipway.

By December, the German commercial yard, Mayo Manufacturing, was completed.

1906

January saw the British refocus their research. Royal Society had determined that there was plenty of improvement possible across the British industrial sector. New techniques and technologies across the board would result in noticeable gains in shipbuilding, shipyard operations, construction, mining, refining, supplies, maintaining, research, and even wealth. This was made possible thanks to the Royal Navy being content that their future frigate would basically just be a larger version of the Vanguard-class. The Agincourt-class, clocking in at exactly 3,000 tons, had more of everything compared to the Vanguard but brought no new technologies to the battlefield.

Code: [Select]
Agincourt class Frigate      3,000 tons       87 Crew       149.7 BP       TCS 60    TH 21    EM 0
346 km/s      Armour 1-18       Shields 0-0       HTK 26      Sensors 0/0/0/0      DCR 0      PPV 24
Maint Life 1.20 Years     MSP 15    AFR 144%    IFR 2.0%    1YR 11    5YR 160    Max Repair 24 MSP
Commander    Control Rating 1   BRG   
Intended Deployment Time: 1 months    Morale Check Required   

Whitehouse-Lambert Conventional Engine  EP5.20 (4)    Power 20.8    Fuel Use 124.81%    Signature 5.2    Explosion 10%
Fuel Capacity 51,000 Litres    Range 2.4 billion km (81 days at full power)

Foster-Burton 25 cm C2 Plasma Carronade (3)    Range 60,000km     TS: 2,000 km/s     Power 16-2     RM 10,000 km    ROF 40       
Tyler-Hussain Beam Fire Control R60-TS625 (1)     Max Range: 60,000 km   TS: 625 km/s     13 10 8 5 3 0 0 0 0 0
Bryant-Green Pressurised Water Reactor R6-PB10 (1)     Total Power Output 6    Exp 7%

Fletcher Electronics Active Search Sensor AS31-R100 (1)     GPS 2400     Range 31.4m km    Resolution 100

This design is classed as a Military Vessel for maintenance purposes

In February, the last 3 Azov-class corvettes joined the CMF, which now had 4 squadrons ready for battle, three made up of six Azovs each, and a reserve squadron with the older Krivak-class. Since the Russian budget was still heavily in debt, the Tsar had to pause shipbuilding at least temporarily. Italy had to follow suit after Alabarda and Alcione were completed near the end of the month. Americans happily kept building more corvettes after USS Ahrens was done, as did French once Actée floated off.

April brought a puzzle to those human powers with DSTS capability. One of the Martian Menace frigates, Dergholoth 005, that had been tracked based on its active sensor output, vanished off the scopes. Later, astronomers confirmed that one of the smaller objects in Martian orbit was no longer keeping station with the other vessels but was almost appearing to be a derelict or a wreck. It took weeks of detective work but eventually, the scientists figured it out: ever since the First Contact, the Menace vessels had communicated with Martian surface and humans had been able to intercept some of those messages. Whatever stasis mode had kept them preserved for untold millennia was no longer possible due to human presence. Martian surface had only occasionally communicated to the ships. Some sort of deterioration process was ongoing and might, given enough time, to completely destroy the Martian space capability. The generals and admirals refused to cancel Operation Bait. There was no evidence that the Menace could not, again given enough time, to halt or even reverse this decay. It might even be able to deploy new vessels. So humans had to push ahead while this weakness was present.

The presence of the Martian wreck - if it indeed was a derelict - combined with the human wrecks between Earth and Mars orbits, gave the idea of salvage operations to several of Earth's powers that added such capabilities to their research plans.

In October, Japan became a space power as its naval shipyard opened.

The situation of Earth at the end of the year:


 
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Offline Garfunkel (OP)

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Re: (7) The scheming, the planning and the preparation: 1905 - 1906
« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2020, 07:06:15 PM »
A question to readers:

I hadn't realized that there were nowhere near enough maintenance facilities on Mars. After the FF blew up, I checked and the Martian ships are in a sorry state - most of them are out of MSP and with multiple damaged components, including engines and weapons/sensors.

On one hand, this would pretty much guarantee that humans win the next battle. On the other, I'm worried that there might not be much of a challenge in that battle. On the third appendage, the Menace is meant to be the introductory enemy, not the ultimate "bad guys" of the campaign.

I guess I could back up the DB, run the battle and if it's a boring curb-stomp battle, then use SM mode to give Martians more ships that are still in 100% condition. But that's also quite a bit of work so I'd like to know how invested people are in the upcoming Operation Bait being dramatic and epic. There is, of course, the ground battle still ahead in any case.
 
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Offline Migi

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Re: (7) The scheming, the planning and the preparation: 1905 - 1906
« Reply #2 on: May 05, 2020, 07:18:13 PM »
I am fully in favour of operation bait and switch being a great success... for the Martians that is.
I understand if you want to continue as is though, you have given a logical explanation for the loss of the Martian space forces.
 

Offline Ehndras

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Re: (7) The scheming, the planning and the preparation: 1905 - 1906
« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2020, 08:01:06 PM »
One expects Operation BS to result in heavy human losses.

However...

If we're lucky, Humans can bait at least one ship into near-Earth orbit, bombard it, and then salvage parts for a tech breakthrough. The more ships we successfully bait and tackle, the more available to dismantle. If the test-run is too easy for us, leave the damaged ships and throw in some backup :) Also, wouldn't the aliens have commercial craft, too? Maybe have some overly-vigilant astronomer spot them burning away from Mars to perhaps set up an outpost on a jovian moon or escape the system through a previously-unknown wormhole, while Mankind celebrates or mourns the results of the battle. ;D
"Boop!" goes the thermonuclear missile salvo
 

Offline Ehndras

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Re: (7) The scheming, the planning and the preparation: 1905 - 1906
« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2020, 08:02:59 PM »
PS: Looking forward to first contact, ie, captured alien escape pods.  :o
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Offline Solarlg

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Re: (7) The scheming, the planning and the preparation: 1905 - 1906
« Reply #5 on: May 06, 2020, 12:36:14 AM »
I can't wait for the next episode! Reading this I really thought that the bad shape was made on purpose, so you hid the unexpected very well! Maybe I'm less confident of the alliance's warlike ability, but I vote to continue like this!
 

Offline Gyrfalcon

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Re: (7) The scheming, the planning and the preparation: 1905 - 1906
« Reply #6 on: May 06, 2020, 03:01:37 AM »
I'm with the 'make a backup and see how it plays out' group. The Martians could also pull their own bait and switch - refusing to advance to the Earth forces, forcing them to close and come under attack by previously hidden martian orbital bases.
 

Offline Ehndras

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Re: (7) The scheming, the planning and the preparation: 1905 - 1906
« Reply #7 on: May 06, 2020, 03:08:23 AM »
I'm with the 'make a backup and see how it plays out' group. The Martians could also pull their own bait and switch - refusing to advance to the Earth forces, forcing them to close and come under attack by previously hidden martian orbital bases.

Oof... Bunker/trench surprise party, that's gonna hurt. Perhaps a compromise? They send the most heavily damaged ships to die a glorious death and retain their main fighting force, backed up by 1-2+ orbital defense platforms. Maybe pull out a transport and ACK-ACK-ACK all the way to D.C.
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Offline Father Tim

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Re: (7) The scheming, the planning and the preparation: 1905 - 1906
« Reply #8 on: May 06, 2020, 05:32:37 AM »
I would give the Martians full maintenance support (facilities & MSPs) and let them repair themselves as best and as quickly as able.  Who knows -- the Earthers might manage to jump them before they're fully repaired.
 
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Offline Gyrfalcon

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Re: (7) The scheming, the planning and the preparation: 1905 - 1906
« Reply #9 on: May 06, 2020, 09:23:54 AM »
I'd say Father Tim's advice is maybe the best sanity-retaining option. The MMs reactivate their maintenance drones and starts getting the fleet back in shape.
 
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Offline Vastrat

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Re: (7) The scheming, the planning and the preparation: 1905 - 1906
« Reply #10 on: May 06, 2020, 12:09:00 PM »
I agree with Father Tim.  Any automated defense system would have a self repair protocol, maybe the Martian one is moving a bit slow due to age.  Looking forward to the next installment.
 
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Offline Ehndras

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Re: (7) The scheming, the planning and the preparation: 1905 - 1906
« Reply #11 on: May 06, 2020, 05:23:36 PM »
Solid compromise, Father Tim.
"Boop!" goes the thermonuclear missile salvo