Michelle nodded. The Charleston Center was recognized as one of the galaxy's premier authorities on interstellar admiralty law. Its original reason for being when it was initially established a hundred and sixty T-years ago, had been to deal specifically with the military implications of the customary legal practices which had grown up over the centuries of the Diaspora. But despite the fact that it remained a Navy command, the sheer size of the Star Kingdom's merchant marine gave its decisions enormous impact where civilian interstellar traffic was concerned, as well.

            "Like any good lawyer, I went looking for the precedents most favorable to my client's case — the stronger and more specific the better — and I found what I was looking for in a decision from the old Greenbriar-Chanticleer War. In 1843, they agreed to submit a dispute over officers' paroles for Solarian League binding arbitration. The decision of the arbitrator was that any legally paroled officer could be utilized for any duty in which he or she was not personally and directly engaged against the enemy who had paroled him or her. Staff, logistic, and medical services assignments for any unit directly committed against the enemy who had paroled him or her were held to be unlawful, but service in another astrographic area, or against another opponent, was specifically held to be a lawful employment of paroled officer. In other words, Milady, as long as you aren't actively shooting at the Peeps or helping someone else do the same thing, the Admiralty can send you any where it wants."

            "Which is exactly what he told us, in considerable more detail, when he wrote the final decision that we can legally and honorably employ you in either Silesia or the Talbott Cluster, even if that does let us send some other rear admiral to go beat on Haven in your place," Cortez said. "And, frankly, it's a damned good thing we can, too, under the circumstances."

            "I understand, My Lord," Michelle said when he paused, and she did.

            It didn't seem possible that she'd been back in the Star Kingdom for the better part of two T-months. News of Captain Aivars Terekhov's stunning — and costly — victory at the Battle of Monica had arrived only nine days after she had, and the entire Star Kingdom had experienced a spasm of almost unendurable relief. The price his scratch-built squadron had paid might have been agonizing, but no one had any illusions about what would have happened if he'd failed to demolish the battlecruisers which had been supplied to the Union of Monica. Nor did anyone doubt that those ships had been supplied by someone who clearly did not have the Star Kingdom's best interests at heart, although just what the full ramifications of that "someone's" plans might have been was still being unraveled. Frankly, Michelle was one of those who doubted that even Patricia Givens would ever manage to dig all the bits and pieces of the plot out from under their concealing rocks. But the intelligence people reporting to Rear Admiral Khumalo, Vice Admiral O'Malley, and Special Minister Amandine Corivsart had already dug out enough to validate all of Terekhov's suspicions . . . and actions.

            Unfortunately, anyone who thought the Star Kingdom was out of the woods probably enjoyed only intermittent contact with reality, she thought grimly. True, the Monican Navy had been completely removed from the board, but Monica had never been the true threat, anyway. It had always been Monica's status as a client state of the Solarian League which posed the real danger, and it was still far too early to predict how the League was going to react. The government of Baron Grantville and the Navy's officer corps had always realized that, and over the last month, that same awareness had begun sinking in for the average woman-in-the-street, as well.

            It's a hell of a galaxy when Frontier Security can use a bunch of criminals like Manpower and come this damned close to getting us into war with the most powerful star nation in existence, she thought. And it's even more of a pain in the ass when we can't be certain they won't succeed in the end anyway, even after we've started turning over the rocks and exposing the slime underneath them. No wonder everyone's so relieved by the thought that we're at least going to be talking to Haven again!

            "I know you've been briefed by Admiral Givens and her people," Cortez continued. "Since they've brought you up to date on the basic political and deployment aspects of the overall situation, I'm going to concentrate on the nuts and bolts of our manning requirements and the problems directly related to them.

            "You may not be aware that the first wave of our emergency superdreadnought construction programs will be commissioning over the next several months," he said, and Michelle's eyes narrowed. He saw it, and snorted. "I see you weren't. Good. They've worked some not so minor miracles in the shipyards — and, to be frank, cut some corners in ways we would never have accepted in peacetime — to telescope construction times, and we're substantially ahead of schedule on most of the ships. We've done our best to conceal the extent to which that's true, and we sincerely hope Haven hasn't picked up on it yet, either. But, to be perfectly honest, that's one reason everyone here at Admiralty House heaved such a huge sigh of relief when Her Majesty agreed to meet with Pritchart and Theisman. Obviously, we'll all be delighted if some sort of peace settlement emerges from this summit. But, frankly, even if nothing at all comes of it in that regard, we should be able to string the talks out for at least a couple of months, even after Her Majesty and Pritchart reach Torch. And that doesn't even consider all the messages which are going to have to be sent back and forth to set something like this up in the first place. Just all of the physical coming and going involved is going to buy us time. Time enough for us to get a lot of those new wallers into service. And that, Admiral Gold Peak, coupled with the new weapons and control systems which are also coming into service, means the Republic's numerical advantage is going to be a lot less crushing than anyone in Nouveau Paris thinks it is."

            He smiled thinly at her, but then the smile vanished, and he shook his head.

            "That's all well and good where Haven is concerned, of course. But if we find ourselves at war with the Solarian League, it's going to be a very different story. As my mother always used to warn me, every silver lining has a cloud, and that's certainly true in this case. Given the situation vis-a-vis the League, we have no choice but to continue to tweak our recruiting, training, and building programs whenever and wherever we can, despite the summit and any respite it might offer on the Haven front. And despite all of the advances in automation and reductions in manpower requirements, crewing that much new construction is stretching our personnel strength right to the breaking point. For example, most of the new superdreadnoughts are close enough to completion at this point that we're already assembling cadre and assigning them to their new ships. Fortunately, we've been able to decommission many of the old-style ships of the wall we were forced to put back into service after Grendelsbane, and that's freed up a lot of trained manpower. And we've recovered from Janacek and High Ridge's build-down. But we're still short of all the people we need, and the situation is even worse for our lighter units. Like –" he gave her a sharp, level look "– the new battlecruisers."

About Eric Flint

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20 Responses to STORM FROM THE SHADOWS — snippet 32

  1. jamesx says:

    looks like mike won’t have any SD(p)s if any when she goes to Talbott
    If her flagship will be one of the new battle cruisers
    Maybe just battle cruisers and CLACs

  2. Virgil says:

    okay I have never been in the nuts and bolts counting business so I don’t know, That up front.
    would a squadron of battlecrusier be commanded by an Admiral and how many is that , 5,8,10… and do the sail along.
    I mean in most cases a big ship has some little ship to flank them. In space to help with point defense. on the flanks to help stop incoming missle. So would like two light cruiser sq and a battlecruiser sq make sense. then you could send a battlecrusier with 2 light cruiser on patrol
    If I remember correctly the new battlecruiser can roll a limited number of pods. if so that upping the firepower in the cluster tremendously.

  3. Noah says:

    Well, that seems clear enough.

    An experienced BC commander and squadron commander, and a bunch of new and more powerful BCs.

    Coupled with the fact that the new BC types (pod and non-pod) can likely take on anyone else’s modern BCs, and that the pod BCs can probably deal with a reasonable number of Solarian League “old-style ships of the wall” …

  4. Karsten says:

    In Book 3, the screening elements of a battlecruiser squadron consists of a heavy cruiser squadron and one or two flotillas of light cruisers and destroyers (all in all about 24-32 vessels).
    After the High-Ridge/Janacek-“reforms”, a squadron consists of only 6 (instead of 8) vessels.

    And you’re right, there are BC(P)s – Henkes Flagship at Solon was one of them – but there is the new NIKE-Class, too, which isn’t a pod-design. So, I think a mix of … say two or three NIKE’s and three or four BC(P)’s could be the core of the permanent powermix stationed in Talbott. Additional a mix of Saganami-B and -C-type HC and a flotilla of Roland-DDs and Avalon-CLs (maybe a half flotilla of the one and a half flotilla of the other)

  5. af says:

    The Nike is a one-off, and the Nike class is a reformatted BB in all but name (and that seems to be a political matter due to the RMN’s aversion to BBs… like a certain cruiser design that’s heavier than a cruiser is… due to political considerations)

    If they build Nikes, then Manticore will have a BB force.

  6. John Roth says:

    What’s got me interested is that Michelle may have to do the same thing that’s happened twice before on the other side of the pulsar: scare up and train crews locally.

    John Roth

  7. LambdaDriver says:

    the Nike class cant be compared to a BB. BBs were scaled down wallers, waller missles and waller energy weapons. And very little of the latter, Thats why Honor rocked 2nd Yeltsin(sp?) BBs are mostly missile ships with few energy weapons, not the best weapons mix for close action with SDs. The Nike class is much more balanced, also its missiles are BC grade, not BB, but even that is only part of the issue, the real issue is acceleration. The Nike class, despite the size increase is as fast or faster than pre-war BCs. I’d say the BC(P)s are closer in spirit to BB that the Nike BCs.

  8. David says:

    With the line “even if that does let us send some other rear admiral to go beat on Haven in your place,” it looks like she’ll stay a rear admiral. So if she is made the senior officer in the cluster it looks like Khumalo will have to be relieved and sent elsewhere (I’m pretty sure that he is senior in grade to her given that she wasn’t promoted until very close to the planning in beginning of cutworm at the reactivation of the 8th fleet).

    @af: While the Nike class BC is the size of a prewar BB it is not a BB for more that just political reasons. BBs were the first wallers, in their day the most powerful ships in existence, the first to stand and endure in the wall of battle, and as heavily armed and armored as that entails. That the Nike fits into the battleship size range of earlier in the war this is a result of class creep, where the sizes of classes have increased due to new developments and other reasons.

    Also the RMN really has no other type of battle cruiser it can build other than the Nike. If I am remembering right only two types of battle cruisers were being built at the time of the transition from the Janacek to Whitehaven admiralties, the Agamemnon pod layer and the one ship Nike test bed. The pod layer design has become obsolete with the development of the Apollo system as BCs are not large enough to use it, so the Nike, while obscenely large compared to past BCs, is the more traditional design and not affected in its operational parameters like the Aggies are. Pod laying BCs built to supplement the MDM launchers of the wall aren’t useful if you can fire their missiles when you can the ones of the SDs.


  9. Mike says:

    Who says she’ll be senior officer in the cluster? Why are people assuming that?

  10. Brom says:

    Probably because she seems to be the focus of the book and is shown on the cover as a VADM. IMHO, that is a possibility, but there is also a good possibility that another senior VADM or ADM will be sent out as commander of all RMN forces on the TC side of the Lynx wormhole terminus. I will a bit surprised if Khumalo retains his current position.

  11. Bit says:

    I havn’t seen anyone mention yet… this snippet implied that after AAC, Manty have another batch of new SD (just about) ready to be deploy. Good thing! although the lost in trained manpower from the BoM is a heavy blow to the RMN

  12. af says:

    The Saganami-Cs are described as BCs politically classed as CAs. BC(P)s are scaled down podnaught, so calling the BBs a “waller” when I said it’s a _reformating_ of the class is just following the RMN political line, and not anything else.

    The US Navy called everything a destroyer, and left a “cruiser gap” with the Soviet navy. It suddenly disappeared when a bunch of destroyers were renamed “cruiser”, since they were the size of cruisers in other navies.

    In navies around the world, there are things called “frigates”. The US Navy called these things “destroyer escorts”.

    Currently the USN is doing a LCS competition, in navies around the world, this size and capability of ship is a “corvette”.

    The DDX and next gen cruiser for the USN are the same size, just different armament, and the size of a destroyer.

    The Nike is the new form of a BB, it’s classed as a BC is political decision.

  13. Mark L says:

    It could also be that Henke gets a promotion to VADM near the end of the novel, and is a RADM for the bulk of it.

  14. I seem to recall Honor Harrington saying that Admiral Gold Peak had been underpromoted for some time, and should have been higher on the totem pole than she was. At this point, she might be emphasizing that Admiral Gold peak needed to be promoted in the immediate future.

  15. Robert Krawitz says:

    Presumably this book overlaps with the end of AAC and perhaps continues on past it. Manticore lost a lot of people then and may need to refill its ranks…

  16. Mike says:

    The previous book was about Terekhov and his crew (especially Zilwicki), but he wasn’t the ranking officer in the cluster either. There is no reason so far to assume Khumalo will not retain his position. It’s not like he did anything wrong.

  17. david says:

    @af, the political classification of the Saganami-Cs wasn’t that they are really BCs classified as CAs, they are a new class of heavy cruiser that BuShips instead of calling it the new class that it is named it the “C” flight of the Saganami class to get funding for it as the Janacek admiralty was not funding any new classes of anything.

    Your comment of the Cruiser gap is well taken but I do not see the situation analogous. Class creep is going on for all classes not just cruisers. SDs are larger than they were just as all other sizes currently still being designed and built, (BC,CA,CL,DD). Most of these have managed to creep up large to fit into the bracket next up due to their size if you use the at the start of the war, which are by this point fully 16 years old (It was 1904-1905PD in Short Victorious War and At All Costs ended in 1921PD). If that convention is used with respect to mass then yes the Nike BC is in fact a BB, but why use a static chart to describe something that has been continuously changing since this war began, ship design. If you were to use the average sizes of the various classes of combatants shortly after the end of world war one, say in 1920 and compared that to the average sizes of the classes after world war two, say in 1945, so we have a nice 25 year period you would find much of the same: destroyers of WWII for example might be as large or larger than WWI light cruisers. While if you go just by size those destroyers are LCs yet those destroyers were used in the fashion as destroyers not LCs and thus are operationally DDs. The labels DD, CL, etc are not just size brackets, they are design philosophies (i.e. destroyers are unarmored tin can; Cruisers of all types do not have the armoring scheme of wallers) and indications of the operational use of a certain type.

    Here is an example of the Roland class destroyer which while larger than many pre-war LCs built like and will have the operational use of a destroyer, and thus is a destroyer.

    The classification of ships is relative not to the past, but to what other powers are building and using. Hence if one nation is build a destroyer that is the size of, is designed to combat cruisers in the same generation as it, is in fact a cruiser. Which is the conclusion the Navy came to in renaming several missile destroyers as missile cruisers instead of leaving the name cruiser solely for the 6(I think I’m remembering that number right) gun cruisers built shortly after WWII.

    While the Nike is in the size range for BBs as of 1905PD and using those terms may be considered such, it should be considered as the next step in generalist cruiser/battlecruiser evolution as of 1921PD. Also technologically it probably has the ability to defeat any battleship in existence as it has multidrive missiles and other features, plus the fact that no first rate nation is building battleships since their waller role was superseded by the DN and SD many years (I think a couple of centuries) ago and the niche Haven built them for (rear area defense from cruisers of all types including the BCs) and suppression of descent is, I assume, rare. But I believe that a purpose built BB designed as a scaled down waller build with the same tech as the Nike even if it was held to the 1905PD size conventions would handily beat the Nike as the Nike is built to a cruiser not a waller design. With size creep a battleship would be as much larger than its past itineration as the Nike is compared to c1905PD BCs or the Ivictuses are to 1905PD SDs.

    I understand your reformatting comment that I think I missed when I read through your first post, but why bother to reformat a defunct class at all when the Nike is a logical progression for the BC to keep pace with the increase in size of the other classes. If the 1905PD scale is solely used then what is class is the new SD when they cross the upper limit of the SD range? What if in two hundred years or so in the future compensator efficiency and other technologies increase to the point of heavy cruisers wind up in the battleship range of 1905PD does that make them battleships?

    Your point about politicized nomenclature is well taken. To use another USN example of strange classification the Iowa fast battleships in many ways could be considered as the last iteration of the battlecruiser instead of battleships; the Yamoto and Montana were better examples of WW@ era BBs.

    Sorry for rambling so much.


  18. Robert Krawitz says:

    Other than officers are periodically rotated among commands where possible.

    I don’t get the sense that Khumalo’s abilities as an *administrator* are under question by anyone, and neither does anyone (himself included) think that his combat abilities are anything special. Integrating four new systems into the kingdom unquestionably requires top notch administrative skills, which plays to his strength. Relieving him from this post and sending him off to the Haven front would be a complete misuse of his abilities, not the kind of mistake Cortez is in the habit of making.

    I could very well see Khumalo being promoted to vice admiral — that’s a really big job he has under that scenario, arguably it’s a job for a full admiral, and maybe he’ll even get that — with Henke, er, Gold Peak being his strong right arm, which is *her* strength.

    But, of course, we’ll eventually find out what David Weber has in store for everyone…

  19. af says:

    While I see the displacement creep in classes, the “new compensators” also allowed slimming down (ie. capable LACs), as does the advanced automation of the Saganami-C’s.

    With the practice of Haven of using BBs as rear area defense and control ships (until they got desperate), the Nike seems to be of the same thinking. So while a BB might have been a small waller in design in the pre pod days, in practice BBs were use for other things that you wouldn’t use a naught for. The Nike design seems to match the BB use practice. The BC(P)s are not of so much use doing what the BBs Haven used in rear areas were doing.

    As an MDM BC, the BC(P)s also have enough space to have similar displacement design as 3MDM non P BCs, from what I see of the designs.

    If the Roland is the new MDM DD, and the other possible design is an uprated traditional DD, would you then have a heavy destroyer and light destroyer types? And is it that light cruisers no longer make sense, and will now disappear, making the new CAs “cruisers” and not ‘heavy cruiser’

    Ofcourse it could be said that BCs no longer make sense and that Nike’s design heralds the replacement of BCs by BBs.

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