Shadow Of Freedom – Snippet 43

Shadow Of Freedom – Snippet 43

There was, however, a minor weakness in that logic: it presupposed a reasonable Solarian commander. There’d been precious few of those in evidence since Josef Byng had come upon the scene. Worse, if the commander on the other side refused to take the hint, Zavala would have wasted one of his salvos for no return, and a Roland’s limited magazine space was its Achilles’ heel. With only twenty rounds for each of his tubes, he couldn’t afford to “waste” ammunition. And, still worse, even a Solly who wasn’t totally unreasonable might decide he could survive whatever DesRon 301 could throw at him for fifteen minutes and still get to grips with the destroyers. Zavala didn’t think Dubroskaya could, but his analysis of the only engagement between a Mark 16-armed force and Solarian-designed battlecruisers suggested that they might. Of course, Aivars Terekhov had been equipped with the first-generation Mark 16 at the Battle of Monica, whereas DesRon 301’s birds mounted the latest Mod G laser heads. That probably changed the equation considerably, but there was no way for Zavala to know that.

Either way, given their closing velocity, the Sollies were going to overfly his own ships before they could decelerate, and any of the battlecruisers which survived the crossing might well escape into hyper after all. Zavala doubted any of them would survive, and even if they did get into their own missile range of DesRon 301 before they were knocked out, a Roland-class destroyer’s missile defenses were actually considerably tougher than an Indefatigable’s, given the superiority of Manticore’s counter missiles, decoys, and ECM.

But his destroyers were no better armored than any other destroyer or light cruiser. If Zavala was wrong about his defenses’ ability to fend off incoming missiles, and if the Sollies got lucky, it wouldn’t take very many Javelin hits to ruin a Roland’s entire day.

Besides, he thought grimly, we don’t owe these bastards a frigging thing, and I’m damned if I’m going to put my people at risk trying to keep the arrogant pricks from getting themselves killed!

It was possible, he conceded, that he wasn’t cut from the right material for a successful diplomat. On the other hand, Countess Gold Peak had known that when she sent him out.

“I’ve thought about it, George,” he said. “I really have. But no, we’re not going with Zephyr.”

“Yes, Sir.” Commander Auerbach gazed into the display or a second or two, then shrugged.

“Actually, Sir, I’m fine with that,” he said.

* * *

“Com request from the Manties, Ma’am,” Commander Gervasio Urbanowicz said. Vice Admiral Dubroskaya glanced at him, and the communications officer shrugged. “It’s that Captain Zavala, Ma’am, and I think his signal’s being relayed by whatever he used to speak to the Governor FTL. It’s a standard com laser coming from some kind of platform just ahead of us, at any rate.”

Dubroskaya glanced at Captain Kiernan.

“Interesting timing, Ma’am,” Kiernan said. “Maybe McGillicuddy was onto something after all.”

“I suppose we’re about to find out,” Dubroskaya said, and nodded to Urbanowicz. “Put it on the main display, Gervasio.”

“Yes, Ma’am.”

The same officer whose image Governor Dueñas had relayed to Dubroskaya appeared on the master communications display. He looked out of it for a moment, then his eyes narrowed as he saw her image. It had taken less than two seconds for him to react, even though they were still better than two light minutes apart, but at least she’d had enough forewarning to keep her unhappiness at that proof of his FTL capabilities from reaching her eyes or her expression.

“I am Vice Admiral Oxana Dubroskaya, Solarian League Navy,” she said coldly. “What can I do for you, Captain Zavala?”

“You might consider standing down and abandoning ship in the next two minutes or so, Admiral Dubroskaya,” he replied, and an icy centipede seemed to sidle along her spine as his unflinching eyes and level tone registered. If this was a man who’d just discovered his bluff had failed, he was one hell of a poker player.

“And what makes you think I might be interested in doing that, Captain?” she asked. “I believe Governor Dueñas has made the Solarian League’s position abundantly clear. If, however, you’d care to surrender your vessels before I turn them into a drifting debris field, feel free.”

“You know,” Zavala said coldly, “I’m perpetually astonished by Solarian arrogance. My recon platforms picked up your battlecruisers less than forty-five minutes after my alpha translation, Admiral. That’s how long they’ve been all over you. And I knew not just where you were but what you were better than a half hour before I made turnover, and I’ve got over two hundred gravities of accel in reserve. Think about that. If I’d been worried about what you might do to me, I could’ve been all the way back across the hyper limit and headed home before I even spoke to Governor Dueñas.”

The centipede seemed to have invited its entire family to keep it company, Dubroskaya reflected.

“That’s a bold statement, Captain,” she heard her own voice say. “You’ll forgive me if I point out that I have only your word for your remarkable acceleration rate and the amazing capabilities and supernatural stealthiness of those recon drones of yours. Personally, I find things like the Tooth Fairy a bit difficult to believe in.”

“So should I assume from your skepticism that you think you’ve managed to track my actual recon platforms? You know exactly where each of them is?”

“Probably not all of them,” Dubroskaya admitted. In fact, they’d managed to localize no more than a dozen of them, and all of those had remained beyond effective engagement range from her battlecruisers. She’d used up twenty or thirty missiles before she’d accepted that, but they were devilishly elusive targets and they kept disappearing back into stealth and zipping away from their plotted positions before her missiles could get there. She felt confident the Manties would have deployed more than that, and her sensor sections had been picking up backscatter from grav pulses which might represent additional platforms or have something to do with the Manties’ obvious ability to transmit broadband data at faster-than-light speeds. Still, there couldn’t be a lot more of them without her people having picked them up.

“Your stealth systems obviously are better than we’d expected, but I imagine we’ve located the majority of them at least approximately,” she continued, her tone only slightly more confident than she actually felt.

“Then watch your plot, Admiral,” Zavala invited in that same, cold voice, and Dubroskaya heard Diadoro inhale sharply. Her eyes darted to the main plot as CIC updated it…and an entire globe of icons — thirty of them, at least — appeared around her battlecruisers, keeping pace with them effortlessly at ranges as low as a light-second and a half, as they dropped their stealth. They glittered there, taunting her with their proximity, for at least ten seconds. Then, before her startled fire control officers could lock them up, they vanished mockingly once more. She had no doubt they were all busily streaking away to completely different positions from which to keep her under observation from within their protective cloak of invisibility.

“Admiral Dubroskaya, I can read the names on your ships’ hulls from here,” Zavala told her as the dusting of icons disappeared from her plot once again, “and I still haven’t shown you all of my platforms. I warn you once again that I knew exactly what your battlecruisers were before I contacted Dueñas and I have real-time data on every move you make. You can abandon ship now and save a lot of lives, or what’s left of your people can abandon what’s left of your ships when I’m done with them. And if you think for one moment that I’ll hesitate to pull the trigger, Admiral, you just reflect that the ships Josef Byng slaughtered at New Tuscany came from this destroyer squadron. I’m giving you a chance to save your people’s lives, which is a hell of a lot more than he gave Commodore Chatterjee or any of our other shipmates. But that’s as far as the ship goes, Admiral, and you now have seventy-five seconds to tell me you’re going to abandon.”

They locked eyes, and despite her best effort, Dubroskaya couldn’t convince herself he was bluffing. He might be wrong — in fact, he probably was — but he wasn’t bluffing. If she didn’t accept his terms, he would open fire as soon as he was in range.

But she couldn’t. She simply couldn’t surrender four battlecruisers to only five light cruisers. She couldn’t…and not just because of Dueñas’ orders. Maybe the stories about New Tuscany, even the wild rumors coming out of Spindle, were true after all. But if they were, that only made it even more imperative that the Navy draw a line somewhere, stop the chain of humiliations and reclaim its honor.

And I will be damned before I let this arrogant little prick of a captain dictate terms to me, by God, she thought harshly. No. Not this time, Captain Zavala!

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60 Responses to Shadow Of Freedom – Snippet 43

  1. John Roth says:

    If Zavala increases his acceleration as soon as he’s in range, he’s going to increase the time before the Solarian force is in its own missile range. I wonder if it would be enough to make sure the Solarians couldn’t get into range at all?

    • Greg Noel says:

      My point from the last snippet (although I hadn’t realized that they’d already started decelerating).

    • RichardK says:

      If he is running at 80% of max (de)acceleration, and is plotted to stop in/at orbit, then if he goes to max (de)accleration he will stop short of the planet. The BC’s would overtake the DD’s before they could leave the system.

      I believe the BC’s would have to diverge or spread formation to engage with energy weapons, or the DD’s would just roll wedge on them.

    • ET1swaw aka Rob says:

      I believe Zavala is trying to tell the SLN commander to “get a clue” as in “I have sufficient reserve acceleration to escape you at any time and yet I am refraining from doing so”.


  2. Stewart says:

    I still think it will be 60 missles on the now known flag ship; repeat as necessary.

    — Stewart

    • ET1swaw aka Rob says:

      Or it might be a maximum salvo of 180 missiles against all 4-BCs laced with Dragonsteeth/Dazzlers and controlled by Apollo-Lite.


  3. Scott says:

    One massacre coming up. Have the Manti’s actually seen the effects of their heavier warheads? 40 megatons per laserhead instead of the original 15.
    Intilectually knowing that your weaponry is heavier is one thing actually seeing battlecruiser armour shatter like glass is another.

    • ET1swaw aka Rob says:

      Even the Manties might be a little curious of the Mk16G effectiveness.

      IIRC Mk16Gs have yet to be combat-fired, so the level of destructiveness upgrade over the Gen-1s at Monica is (at this point ) more in the way of design specs/test-fires than real world empirical knowledge.

      And since they got complete hardware and software downloads from Byng’s taskgroup (including those of the same class BCs they are now facing), the Manties might be further intrigued by how much more they can f*** with SLN ECM/ESM/ECCM.


      • Knucklrdraggingwino says:

        If anyone here has seen a Mythbusters episode where they go to the Terminal Effects Research Area to get really serious about blowing stuff up, then you have an idea how thoroughly the US tests the actual destructiveness of weapons against real targets. That sight is littered with tanks, aircraft and other military vehicles that look like Swiss cheese. The testing protocols go far beyond merely verifying that an antitank weapon can penetrate a certain thickness of armor or counting the impacts from a fragmenting AA warhead on a fighter. Their testing verifies the probability that the weapon will inflict enough damage to mission kill a target.

        I imagine that the RMN has similar testing procedures to verify the destructiveness of a Mk-16G laser head. From various conversations and simulations in previous books, we know thatnthe Mk-16G is a big improvement but it still isn’t equal to a Mk-23. Even the Mk-23 is unlikely to be a one shot, one kill weapon against a BC. A laser head delivers a relatively narrow X-Ray laser beam that will punch deep into an SD hull and probably straight through a BC hull. (sort of like what happened when an American 8″ gun treaty cruiser got hit with a 12″ AP projectile from a Japanese Knongo class BC that traversed the mess deck but did little damage except killing the half dozen guys it hit.

        The bottom line is that the RMN-DDs probably don’t need to have the 200 hits on target that Adm Henke used to kill Adm Bing’s BC, butnthey still have to achieve multiple hits. I’d guess that 100 hits are needed. Given FTL assisted fire control, the Rollands need to presume 100 hits out of 180 missiles are needed to achieve a mission kill on an SLN BC. In a classic broadside engagement, I would assume that triple stacked salvos from five Rollans for a toral of 180 missiles will be adequate. However; the Tollands have enough ammo to fire only 6 triple stacked salvos plus 1 double stacked salvo before their ammo is

        The SLN Adm in this battle has so far demonstrated the competence to tie his shoes. He attempted to mousetrap the RMN by hiding under stealth tonget them within range f his weapons. Now he is charging the RMN ships to reduce the time needed to bring them intomhis weapons range. The critical question is: does the SLN Adm have the brains to employ the standard tactic of turning erpendicular to his closing vector and
        rolling ship to interpose his impeller wedges which given the existing tactical paradigm will dramatically reduce hit probabilities? Remember; the Mk-16s will be doing about 1/2 Cee when they pass the SLN BCs. Their on board sensors will not have acquired their targets through their impeller wedges. They will have less than 1/10 second as they pass to localize their targets, slew their lasing rods to target the BCs, then detonate. The BCs will be able to engage the SKMs with the CM’s & PDLCs in both broadsides and both sets of chase mounts. With the normal fire control paradigm where the missiles rely on their own sensors and computers and their hit rates will be <10%. The recon drones will be able to enhance the hit rates signifucantly, but we do not know how significantly. If the hit rates are 50%, then one triple stacked salvo from 5 Rollands will mission kill 1 SLN BC. If hit rates are 25%, then one triple stacked salvo from five Rollands will maim one SLN BC but still leave it partially combat effective. The consequences of engaging each SLN BC in such a manner would
        be 5 Rollands that have empty magazines having to engage 4 wounded but still operational, SLN BCs that have full magazines and some fraction of their missile tubes still operational when they get into their own missile range of the Rollands. The outcome will be 5 dead Rollands.

        If the Manty CO has been cautious enough to put only one, triple or perhaps double, stacked salvo in flight at a time (which is likely because his ships don't gave Keyhole) then he has the opportunity to observe the effects of his first salvo before committing his limited ammo supply to launching a second. If the hit rates achieved in the first or second salvo are low enough, then the Manty CO might decide to hold his fire until the SLN BCs present their broadsides to him to engage.

        Keep in mind that unlike Battle Fleet officers, Frontier Fleet officer do have some battle experience. Adm Bing was Battle Fleet.

        • ET1swaw aka Rob says:

          OTOH Abigail Hearns came up with Apollo-Lite well beyond the testing stage for that configuration.

          • Knucklrdraggingwino says:

            I’m not certain what you are commenting on. Abby came upnwith Apollo Lite at about the time Horrible Hemphil was developing the Mk-16G upgrade. However; the terminal warhead effectiveness is a separate issue from Cammand and Control. My sense is that “Apollo Lite” uses recon drones to observe and send data tonthe ships via FTL comm but control cammands still have to be sent via lightspeed links. Remember; classic missile design is to have antennae facing aft and no signals can be transmitted through the impeller wedges of the missiles or recon drones. Unless the Mk-16 has been redesigned to be controlled by recon drones, they have to wait for light speed cammands.

            Keep in mnd the recon drones are close to the SLN BCs but not that close. The BCs tried to take them out with missiles rather than energy weapons. This suggests that they are several lightseconds away from the BCs, so not even recon drones can provide real time, terminal guidance with that transmission lag.

            I can accept Weber decreeing that the BCs will not roll ship or that it will not make enough difference to matter. However; I see this as an opportunity for Weber to have a significant battle between the RMN and SLN that is exciting. It also could advance Abby Hearnes’ career and reputation.

        • pokermind says:

          Hi Knucklrdraggingwino:

          David Weber’s web site Forum Free Range sub forum Politics Thread Namelessfly suggest you may be my recently ban hammered friend namelessfly. That you fly?


  4. ET1swaw aka Rob says:

    Funny how they just went over what we were discussing in the threads for the last two snippets.

    Maybe: great minds…. (or more likely: birds of a feather…).


    • Randomiser says:

      No one here has actually read the book, of course ….

      • ET1swaw aka Rob says:

        I do read the sample chapters but then sit firmly on my impatience (as painful as that might be) and wait for the dead tree version.

        I don’t know how people “in the know” handle their snerk collars. I have a hard enough time just with the sample chapters!!


        • iranuke says:

          I handle it by not making comments about the book.

        • John Roth says:

          I do it by treating it as a reading group. The topic on the floor is the current snippet. If I can suspend belief in a dozen or so things in the Honorverse that are contrary to physics, biology or common sense, then I can darn well keep what people know at this point separate from what they don’t know yet.

  5. Mike says:

    The thing is, she’s actually right. If the SLN is going to surrender battlecruisers to Mantie destroyers without a shot being fired, then either the SLN needs to just surrender entirely or they need to pull all their ships out of any possible encounter. They can’t be an effective navy if they are that afraid of the Manties.

    We know that they should actually sue for peace, but that’s a political decision more than it is a military one.

    • Bewildered says:

      Regrettably I have to agree. We know Manty DDs will flog SLN BCs but nobody Earthside will believe it. And the disparity in combat effectiveness is so extreme that it’s not unreasonable that nobody realises it, yet. One advantage, if the Manties have FTL control that means when Dubroskaya surrenders, if her ship survives, the followup flights can probably be aborted mid attack.

      • jimhacker says:

        … aarg … erk … snerk collar … its choking me

        • Richard H says:

          At least it’ll let up next snippet, if there is one… I think. I’d forgotten how long this discussion went on before they actually launched some missiles.

          • John Roth says:

            There ought to be one, possibly two, more snippets. The book isn’t officially on sale until the 6th, IIRC.

            I think DW forgot to mention that missiles actually need officer-level hot air to work properly. It’s the repulsion principle.

          • JeffM says:

            Thanks for spoiling that missiles are actually launched. Appreciate it.

            • How can we dodge a real missile launch?

              1) RMN realizes that they are facing the invincible omnipotent Solarian League Navy, and flees without firing a shot.

              2) ISLN officer realizes that she should not commit suicide, and strikes her wedges.

              3) Depending on the outcome of the engagement, Abigail either wakes up from a happy dream of smiting her opponents or a nightmare of managing to lose a battle.

              4) Dispatch boat arrives with orders to ISLN to flee rather than engaging the foe.
              I’m sure the creative readers will find another alternative.

            • Mike says:

              Oh come on. Of course missiles were about to be launched. Be reasonable.

            • jimhacker says:

              First off, as George Phillies has pointed out, things are going a certain way anyway.

              Second, if there is to be a missile launch is clearly to something imminent and raher small, hardly a major point or the conclusion of the book.

              Thirdly, my comment could have just as equally been directed at bewildered’s assertion that no-one on earth could would believe it. Or the FTL control. Or simply his assumption of the disparity in combat effectiveness. You only really know what i was referring to if you’ve read the rest of the book. In which case, i’m not spoiling it.

              • JeffM says:

                Is it really that hard to admit that you should have just not said anything, that you have to rationalize it?

              • jimhacker says:

                I’ll avoid doing it again, but I genuinely don’t see how it could have spoiled anything. I won’t ask what you think it spoiled as that would inevitably lead to a spoiler-laden discussion of what actually does happen.

                Oh wait a moment. John Roth’s reply actually does mention a missile launch about to happen. Is that the comment you were originally referring to? If so, I still don’t think its a bad one, but yes it is a spoiler.

              • John Roth says:

                I did? I can’t find it. I certainly snarked about the amount of hot air they’re spouting, but that doesn’t mean they’re absolutely going to launch missiles. I can’t see why they wouldn’t, but hey, with Webber almost anything can happen. The space chipmunks from Andromeda that have been mentioned a few times might show up.

              • jimhacker says:

                oops, that wasn’t you John Roth I meant Richard H

  6. Stanley Leghorn says:

    From the very term “Sledgehammer” is suspect we will see 4 dead BCs.

  7. The historical record is closer to overkill relative to what was needed to destroy a target, so perhaps they will do all the neat things mentioned above, plus the creative things the author has found, all on one or two BCs.

  8. Naughty Moose says:

    Three whole snippets of Approach Thoughts,
    and still no battle. I am *SO* disapointed! Boo hoo hoo.

    As Naughty Moose, I must allege that the salvos will have the effect that DW wants.
    If he wants one salvo to kill all 4 BCs, then it will kill them.
    If this disagrees with previous data, then the data dies with the BCs.

    I see it is now Time For Quarterly Reminder:
    DW cares little for numerical accuracy in Honorverse.
    To the extent that he does care, he seems to be against it.

    Howard Naughty Moose

  9. Scott says:

    Each warhead carries 5/6 lasing rods. This means that if 100 missiles get through 5/600 x-ray bomb pump lasers hit each BC. More than enough to cause a mission kill.

    • Knucklrdraggingwino says:

      As a general rule, each of the “N” lasing rods are independently targeted and has “x” probability of scoring a hit. The probability of scoring one hit is then (1-x)^N. As a general rule, each missile that hits the target hits with one lassoing rod and possibly more. Increasing the number of lasing rods usually increases the probability of scoring a hit but usually doesn’t result in scoring more hits per missile.

      If I was designing Weber’s laser heads they would have a unitary bundle of lasing rods that remain attached to the warhead to harness a much greater fraction of the warhead energy without “Grav lensing” to pump the lasing medium, exploit the hydrodynamic shock of the explosion to initiate lasing, and generate a single, laser pulse that delivers a much greater fraction of the
      warhead energy on target than is possible from multiple, dispersed lasing rods. However; Weber writes Sci Fi rather than science which I don’t have a problem with.

      • Knucklrdraggingwino says:

        Excuse me. Typing boo boo. The above equation is the probability of Not scoring at least one hit.

  10. ET1swaw aka Rob says:

    And as was pointed out on another site (I am passing on another’s insight, I missed it completely):

    Zavala called his ships a destroyer squadron, but the SLN commander still thinks of them as (and calls them) a CL squadron.


    • Mike says:

      And I still say he could have called them a rowboat squadron or a super-super-dreadnaught squadron and it wouldn’t have made any difference. Yes, we know why the Manties call them destroyers, because they serve the role that destroyers have previously served. But from the point of view of someone on the receiving end of the missiles, it doesn’t matter what the Manties call their own ships.

      • ET1swaw aka Rob says:

        What’s even funnier to me though about that is that the Rolands are about the same size as the Avalons (a nearly-new Manty CL class).

        So if the SLN classifies by size and the RMN classifies by mission profile, they are BOTH correct by their own lights.


        • Mike says:

          True enough.

        • Stewart says:

          As in our universe, there is a bluring of classifications and missions.
          There was little difference in size between the 1980’s DDG’s and CG’s (CG-47’s were an extended Spruance hull). The new Zumwalt DDG is the same approx hull length as California CGN-36 and Virginia CGN-38 class.
          In another thread, it is noted that the Rolands will not be further developed. It appears they will be functionally replaced by the Avalons.

          — Stewart

      • akira.taylor says:

        And it has already come up that the SLN uses mass-defined categories – they are the mass of (big) light cruisers, so light cruisers they are.

      • Daryl says:

        Actually Mike it does matter in propaganda terms. Something along the lines of “we suspected BCs so we sent DDs, if it had been BBs we would have sent our CLs”.

        • ronzo says:

          Even knowing that Manty ships are classified as DD’s, The intellectual blind alley they will probably turn down is, to justify the size by saying that in order to shoe horn in the FTL com and the compensator that allows for the reserve acceleration Zavala just told them he has, of course they have to be that big. They might actually even cut the estimates on the volley and magazine size. They have to fight for all the reasons mentioned above this might actually put some more “fight’ into make them determined to push through and punch them out because any victory at this point is definitely better than another loss in a string of crushing defeats.

          • ET1swaw aka Rob says:

            And like “Zunker” the results will be rapidly swept under the carpet to perpetuate the (now extremely threadbare) illusion of SLN superiority.


  11. Knucklrdraggingwino says:

    Everyone here is predicting an easy reaming of the SLN BCs. Just to remind people of whatnthe characters’ estimation of their long range accuracy is, I thought I’d post this snippet of a previous snippet.

    “In partial exchange, she’d gotten twenty Keyhole-One SD(P)s, and in terms of combat power, that was a pretty impressive consolation prize. No, they couldn’t use Apollo, but they could handle more missiles than any Solarian superdreadnought could even dream of firing, their own missile defenses were incomparably better than anything the other side might have, and while they weren’t equipped with the Mark 23-E control missiles, the standard Mark 23s in their magazines enormously out-ranged any Solarian weapon. Accuracy at extreme ranges was going to be much poorer than it would have been using Apollo, yet the missile storm they could bring down on any opponent would be devastating. And, fortunately, six T-months had passed between Haven’s Operation Beatrice and the Yawata Strike. The tempo of combat had dropped virtually to nothing during that time period, as well, which meant there’d been no real ammunition expenditures to cut into those six months worth of wartime-rate missile production. And that meant the Royal Manticoran Navy had a lot of those standard Mark 23s already produced and distributed to the fleet.”

    This is Adm Henke pondering the disadvantages of loosing not only her Keyhole 2 equipped, Apollo capable SD(P)s, but the use of Mk-23 pods by her light combatants. She is regretting the reduced, long range accuracy of the Mk-16s relative to Mk-23s much less Apollo. Presumably, Adm Henke is concerned in spite of a full awareness of using Recon Drones for Apollo Light. I can’t assign an arbitrary percentage to how many Mk-16s will score hits at the probable opening range of this engagement. I can speculate that it is far short of 100%. I can also speculate thatbthe hit rates are reduced even more if the SLN BCs roll ship to interpose their wedges. What are the probable hit rates? Is it 50% for ships presenting their broadsides and 25% when rolled to interpose wedges? How many of the Mk-16s in each triple stack, Five Rolland salvo are attack missiles verse penetration aids? If it is one out of six then each salvo of 180 missiles has only 150 attack missiles. If hit rates are reduced to 25% by distance and interposed impeller wedges, then each salvo a scores thirty-some hits. Will this destroy, mission kill, cripple or merely wound a SLN BC?

    Weber is at liberty to massage all of the numbers. However; it is plausible for this to become an interesting battle. If not, then it is time to stop reading his books.

    • Robert H. Woodman says:

      I have no idea how DW will write this battle, assuming the next two snippets are actual battle and not pontification about the impending battle, but I do think it will be a closer battle than previous ones, because the missiles the RMN has are Mark-16G’s, not Mark-23s, and because DD’s are lightly armored. If any SLN BC escapes mission kill and closes to range with the DDs, it’s going to get ugly for 1 or 2 of the DDs. Having said that, I will also remind you that the “Magic BB” is not just the stuff of science fiction; it actually occurs in RL combat and in training (my father experienced a freakish occurrence during live ammo training during the Korean War that should have killed or wounded several soldiers and yet did not hurt anyone; one of my grandfathers walked away only slightly wounded from a plane crash in WW2 that everyone thought should have killed him and everyone on board). It’s not a frequent occurrence, but it does happen, and it can be a game changer. Thoughts?

      • Knucklrdraggingwino says:

        This is the point I have been trying to make.

        This SLN Adm has demonstrated some intelligence, first by hiding then by coming out to meet the RMN.

        It is cannon for the Honorverse that rolling ship to interpose the impenetrable impeller wedge is the standard tactic to deny the enemy an opportunity to destroy your ships and avoid combat. This tactic was absolutely effective for energy weapons and the early, pre laser head missiles. It remained a partially effective tactic even against laser head equipped missiles as Honor Harrington demonstrated at First Yelstin in The Honor of the Queen. The RMN developed both Keyhole 1 and Keyhole 2 fire control platforms because rolling ship to interpose the impeller
        wedge remained an effective tactic to limit damage from massed salvos of Multidrive Missiles (MDMs), especially at extreme range.

        The one disadvantage of rolling ship to block enemy fire with the impeller wedge is that it precluded returning fire. The RMN solved this problem by developing off bore targeting ability (a natural consequence of missile pods) and Keyhole fire control platforms. It was this advantage along with better CMs and LAC support that allowed Adm Harrington’s Eigth Fleet ships to survive enormous salvos of missiles during the Cutworm raids in
        At All Costs.

        The Rollands are DDs rather than SD(P)s or BC(P)s with Keyhole platforms. They can’t fire on the SLN BCs or control missile salvos in transit if they roll ship to interpose their impeller wedges. This means that they have to remain vulnerable to fight just like the SLN ships.

        As I calculated earlier, the Rollands have only enough ammo to launch 6, triple stack salvos of 36 missiles per DD or 180 missiles total. Since they don’t gave Keyhole, they can control only one salvo at a time. Assuming that the SLN Adm s smart enough to execute a classic tactic of rollng her BCs to interpose her impeller wedges while the range decreases to within her
        own missile ranges, the effectiveness of the Mk-16s will be reduced by whatever amount Weber sees fit. If Captain Zolva fails to achieve a mission kill with his first salvo, he will not have the ammo reserves to continue launching salvos while the effectiveness of his missiles are so degraded. He will have no choice but wait until the range closes enough that the SLN BCs will be within their own missile range of him then choose to present their broadsides tom engage him.

        If the above scenario develops, the Rollands should be killing one RMN BC with each of their triple stacked salvos. However; the SLN BCs will be returning fire with approximately three salvos of some 120 missiles for each of the RMN salvos. Even if the SLN achieves only a few hits per salvo, they will be destroying RMN DDs at about the same rate that RMN DDs can cripple SLN BCs. This could become a death ride that Weber could use to have Abby Hearnes distinguish herself again.

        • John Roth says:

          It doesn’t matter how dense a salvo the Solarian BCs can lay down if they’re out of range when the Manticoran DDs kill them.

          • Knucklrdraggingwino says:

            Were you not paying attention while reading the above post? The Rolands had just made turnover to make orbit at Saltash. IIRC, they have a base velocity towards the planet of about 15,000 km/sec. The SLN SDs have accelerated to a velocity of IIRC 5,000 km/s. Closing velocity is then about 20,000 Km/sec or about 1/10 Cee. If the Rollands go to max accelleration of about 600 gees (not quite max but simplifies the math) it will take them about 2,500 seconds to reduce the closing velocity to zero. The range will then drop to about 15 million km. This is presuming thatnthe SLN BCs do not continue to accelerate or increase their acceleration to close with the Rollands.

            Weber has set this scenario up so that it simply is not possible for the Rollands to avoid coming into the range of the SLN BCs. If the SLN BCs can deny the RMN DDs mission kills by rolling ship to interpose their wedges to incoming missile fire, they will survive to get within their own missile range of the Rollands.

            Rolland class DDs have excellent missile defenses , equivalent to an SLN SD. However; Roland DDs are DDs with no armor, relatively minimal sidewalls and perhaps no bow wall or stern wall. If the SLN BCs get even a few missiles through the Rolands defenses, they will be dead DDs. Even marginal hitswill be crippling. The clustered bow and stern tubes share loaders, so only one hit can take out half their missile armament.

            • John Roth says:

              May I point out that the Solly Admiral said specifically that it would be 15 minutes after Zavala’s deadline before they would be in range. That’s 15 minutes where Zavala can fire at will and the Sollys can’t return any effective fire.

              • Knucklrdraggingwino says:

                I understand this perfectly. Zavola might have the time to fireatbwill before the SLN BCs get within their own missile range, but with only 20 rounds per tube Zavola doesn’t have the ammunition to fire at will. More importantly; as longs the SLN BCs are careful to maneuver to keep their wedges interposed to the incoming fire while the close the range, Zavola will probably not be able to mission kill the SLN BCs before they get into their own range.

                A quick rereading of previous snippets revealed that my recollections of times, distances and velocities were incorrect and Weber seems to have not revealed enough for very accurate calculations. However; Zavola’s own thoughts and conversations reveal that the BCs will get within their own weapon range if he can’t kill them first. He has only enough ammo for 6, triple broadsides, ten double broadsides or 20 salvos of 60 missiles each. IF the SLN BCs maneuver to interpose their wedges and IF this classic maneuver degrades his hit rates to the point that he can’t mission kill the BCs before then, his DDs are going to come under fire. The four SLN BCs launch 29 missiles per broadside for a total of 116 missiles each. If they rapidly roll to fire double broadsides as Thomas Thiesman did in HotQ, then they will be launching salvos of 232 missiles or over 40 missile per Roland. If she is smart enough to concentrate her fire on a single DD, she probably will be able to saturate even a Roland’s defenses. She only needs a few hits to mission kill a DD.

  12. Knucklrdraggingwino says:

    Just to refresh memories, I’ll post this link to the Honorversewikia for the Roland class.

    This ship can dish it out but it can’t take it.

  13. Margo says:

    The SLN missiles are only single stage and a range of only about 7-8 mil (the Cataphracts given to Filareta were better than 12mil but they’re the only multi-stage missiles any SLN ‘official’ groups have used) and will have to go ballistic before they come in range of the Rolands, whose M16s have an effective controlled range something like 30 – 40 Mil, going by the Zunker engagement. So how can the BCs get close enough to do any damage? And Honor may have rolled ship but a couple of missiles did get past the belly band. As they do. It is merely another defence, but the Manty missiles have inbuilt programs which help to negate by repositioning them.

    • Knucklrdraggingwino says:

      The nominal range of any missile is predicated on zero closing or opening velocity between the units. In the case of the DDM Mk-16, the range is theoretically unlimited if the flight profile includes a ballistic phase. However; practical limitations on effective fire control reduces the effective range. An engagement with significant closing velocity as we have here will extend the range of the SLN BC’s missiles.

      The RMN DDs have a huge range advantage which gives them about 15 minutes during which they can fire at the SLN BCs with impunity. However; the Rollands ammunition supply is severely limited. Rolling ship to interpose the wedge can be expected to reduce hit rates dramatically. There is a significant chance that the Rollands will exhaust their ammo supply without mission killing any or all of the SLN BCs before they close to within their
      missile range.

      Rollands have excellent antimissile defenses. However; only a few hits would be needed to mission kill a Rolland. The SLN doesn’t need to have golden BBs to cripple them.

      • jimhacker says:

        Knucklrdraggingwino has some very good points.

        The only way Zavala’s destroyers can avoid coming into the battlecruisers’ range is by destroying them first. Battlecruisers have relatively goodsurvivability – nothing like a SD but they can still withstand lots of hits. Rolands on the other hand are crippled with one or two hits and mission killed with not much more. If those battlecruisers do survive into his range its going to get interesting – battle of monica interesting. The question is whether they do. And they have very limited magazine capacity – they only have enough for 10 double-stacked salvos. And they need to retain enough to deal with the destroyers if necessary, plus a reserve to deal with anything that might come up before they are ably to return to the fleet and resupply. They don’t have the missiles to be throwing them around willy-nilly.

  14. Knucklrdraggingwino says:

    Here is the Honourversewikia on the Indefataguable class.

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