Shadow Of Freedom – Snippet 44

Shadow Of Freedom – Snippet 44

“Captain Diadoro.” She never took her eyes from Zavala’s face and raised her voice enough to be sure the Manticoran could hear her.

“Yes, Ma’am?”

“We will maintain this course and acceleration. Prepare to engage the enemy,” Vice Admiral Oxana Dubroskaya said, and cut the com connection.

* * *

“Well, so much for that,” Jacob Zavala said, turning away as Dubroskaya’s image disappeared from his own com.

“Hard to blame her in some ways, I suppose, Sir,” Auerbach said. Zavala arched an eyebrow at him, and the chief of staff smiled crookedly. “All she can have at this point about Spindle are rumors, if that. And it’d take somebody with a lot more imagination than we’ve seen out of any of the Sollies yet to really believe five tincans could take out four battlecruisers on the basis of rumors. For that matter, most of our officers would refuse to believe it if we were looking at it from the Sollies’ perspective. I mean, on the face of it, it’s ridiculous.”

“I’ll grant you it would take at least a soupçon of imagination,” Zavala acknowledged. “On the other hand, Dubroskaya sure as hell knows about New Tuscany, and she ought to be asking herself just how it was we came out on top there. And she damned sure ought to be asking herself why I’d have kept right on coming if I had any doubt of my ability to take her out.”

“Can’t argue with that, Sir. I’ll bet you it’s going to take all the Sollies a while to figure it out, though.”

“Well, this bunch of Sollies had better start figuring it out in a hurry,” Zavala said grimly.

* * *

“Point Alpha in fifteen seconds, Ma’am,” Abigail Hearns said quietly, looking into her plot and remembering another force of Solarian battlecruisers and the massacre of Tristram’s division mates in New Tuscany. The range had dropped to thirty-eight million kilometers, and the closing velocity was down to 23,819 KPS.

Vengeance belongs to Me; I will repay, a voice said quietly in the back of her mind. In time their foot will slip, for their day of disaster is near and their doom is coming quickly.

Abigail Hearns had always preferred the love and gentleness of the New Testament, but this was an Old Testament moment, and her eyes were intent and her hands steady on her tactical console.

“Stand by to engage,” Naomi Kaplan replied.

* * *

The Roland was the first destroyer class ever built to fire the Mark 16 dual-drive missile. That was the reason it was bigger than many navies’ light cruisers. And it was also the reason for some of the peculiarities of its design. Like the reason it had “only” twelve missile tubes, and all of them were arranged as chase armament, mounted in the hammerheads of its hull. And the reason it had so much more fire control than any other destroyer in space. It was designed to fire “off bore,” spitting missiles out of its “chase armament” to permit all its tubes to engage targets in both of a traditional ship’s broadside arcs. And its fire control redundancy was designed to let it “stack” salvos with staggered drive activations, the same way the much larger and more powerful Saganami-C-class heavy cruisers did. The Roland couldn’t control as many missiles as the Saganami-C; it was less than half the heavy cruiser’s size, and there were limits in everything. But it could stack a double salvo of twenty-four missiles, which was better than twice Captain Kelvin Diadoro’s worst-case estimate…and each of those missiles was just as deadly as anything a Saganami-C could have fired.

* * *

“Missile launch!” one of Diadoro’s tactical techs announced suddenly. “Multiple missile launches at three-six-point-seven million kilometers! CIC confirms one hundred and twenty — repeat, one two zero — missiles inbound. Acceleration forty-six thousand gravities! Time of flight at constant acceleration five-point-niner minutes!”

Oxana Dubroskaya stiffened in disbelief at CIC’s shocking acceleration numbers. That was sixteen hundred gravities lower than a Javelin, but a Javelin’s maximum powered endurance at that rate was only three minutes, with a terminal velocity of 84,000 KPS from rest and a powered envelope of only 7,575,930 kilometers. If the Manties could maintain that accel for six minutes, they really could engage her ships at this preposterous range!

That was her first thought, but an instant later the number of missiles registered, and she paled. A hundred and twenty?! That was ridiculous! No light cruiser could fire that many missiles in a single broadside! There wasn’t enough hull length to mount the damned tubes!

“Check those numbers!” she heard Diadoro snap.

“CIC confirms, Sir.” The tech’s voice was hoarse but steady. “Tracking’s confidence is high.”

“My God,” someone murmured very quietly.

“Missile Defense Bravo!” Diadoro ordered.

“Missile Defense Bravo, aye, Sir!”

BatCruRon 491’s ships altered course, turning their broadsides to face the incoming missiles to clear their missile defense systems’ fields of fire.

* * *

Oxana Dubroskaya’s and Kelvin Diadoro’s calculations had been based on six erroneous estimates. They’d gotten one thing right when they assumed, correctly, that the missiles the Royal Manticoran Navy had used at New Tuscany had been fired from pods, but they’d been wrong when they assumed that only pod-launched missiles could have such extended range. And to compound that initial error, they’d assumed their counter missiles, point defense, and electronic warfare systems were as capable as those of Manticore. Just as they’d assumed Manticore’s penetration aids would be no more capable than their own, a Manticoran launch cycle of thirty seconds, and that Rolands could fire broadsides of no more than ten missiles per ship. And, finally, they’d assumed their laser heads were heavier than anything a “light cruiser” could launch.

It wasn’t really their fault, given the inevitable slowness of interstellar communication. They had no official reports about the Battle of Spindle. They hadn’t heard anything from the scattered Solarian forces which had already encountered Manticoran war-fighting technology during the course of the Star Empire’s Operation Lacoön. It might not have mattered if they had. The almost inevitable reaction of the Solarian League Navy in general to the sudden revelation that it was technologically inferior to any opponent had been a state of denial, and after so many centuries of unquestioned supremacy, it was going to take time for even the most flexible of its officers to realize just how inferior their hardware truly was. Yet without those reports, without word of what was happening in places like Nolan and Zunker, BatCruRon 491’s errors had been almost unavoidable.

Which didn’t make them one bit less deadly.

In fact, their launch cycle estimates had been six seconds low, but that was only because Zavala’s destroyers were launching stacked broadsides. The cycle time on his launchers was only eighteen seconds, but sequencing doubled broadsides put thirty-six seconds between each incoming flight of missiles. Unfortunately for BatCruRon 491, it also meant each of those salvos was better than twice as large as Kelvin Diadoro’s worst-case estimate.

The Mark 16s streaked through space, accelerating by over four hundred and fifty kilometers per second every second, building on their motherships’ base velocity as they roared towards Vice Admiral Dubroskaya’s battlecruisers. At that range, with that much time to build velocity, they would be closing at better than 180,500 KPS — just over sixty percent of the speed of light — when they entered the Solarians’ missile defense envelope, and the Indefatigable class’ software had never been intended to deal with incoming, evading targets closing at such ridiculous velocities.

Of course, that was only part of Battlecruiser Squadron 491’s problems.

* * *

“Their Halo systems are active, Ma’am,” Abigail Hearns announced, monitoring her displays closely. “CIC doesn’t see any upgrades from what we observed at Spindle. The software tweaks seem to be handling it.”

“Good,” Naomi Kaplan replied, watching her own plot as a second wave of missile icons followed the first, thirty-six seconds and thirty thousand kilometers behind it, and a third followed. Then a fourth. In one minute and forty-eight seconds, DesRon 301 launched four hundred and eighty Mark 16s.

Given the differential in powered envelope, Zavalla’s DDs could have fired twenty-six stacked broadsides (assuming they’d had anywhere near that much ammunition) before the Solarians had the range to engage it in turn, but he’d decided four — one for each of Dubroskaya’s ships — should be enough to show her the error of her ways. And if it wasn’t, there’d be plenty of time for additional launches to convince the surviving Solarians to see reason.

Assuming there are any surviving Solarians, of course, Kaplan thought with grim, vengeful satisfaction.

* * *

BatCruRon 491’s missile defense officers watched those impossible salvos stream towards them. Deep inside, every one of them hoped — prayed — the Manticoran missiles would go ballistic at any moment. That they’d been launched from so far out because the Manties had panicked, or because the enemy still thought he could bluff them. But even deeper inside, they knew that hadn’t happened.

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115 Responses to Shadow Of Freedom – Snippet 44

  1. John Roth says:

    Well, that’s the start.

  2. Stewart says:

    And a double-broadside for each BC.
    If they are not destroyed outright, they should be mission-neutralized.

    Hope the Govenor is watching.

    • Robert H. Woodman says:

      Since the BCs rolled ship to interpose wedges, the Mark 16Gs will need to execute some fancy terminal maneuvers to go around the wedges and detonate fore, aft, or through the sidewalls. Given the acceleration of the missiles, Zavala would have to have anticipated such a maneuver and programmed it in, since he doesn’t have real time control over the flights, though he could buy himself some time to make course changes closer to missile termination using FTL relays to the missiles, as several have already mentioned in previous posts to earlier snippets.

      I figure Zavala will win, but it shouldn’t be by a landslide.

      • Knucklrdraggingwino says:

        Your comment motivated me to reread the snippet. The BCs turned to present their broadsides to the incoming missiles and maximize the effectiveness of their CMs and PDLCs. They haven’t rolled ship to interpose their impeller wedges, yet.

        the SLN Adm has accepted the factbthat the RMN DDs can fire far larger salvos than she assumed.
        The SLN Adm seems to be in the process of accepting the fact that the RMN missiles have the powered range ton reach her.
        The SLN Adm realizes that if the RMN missiles do have the powered range to reach her, they will have a closing velocity of 60% Cee. Her antimissile systems aren’t designed to cope with such high closing velocities.

        Rolling ship to interpose their impeller wedges requires only a few seconds. The SLN Adm has about a minute left to make the decision and give the order.

        • Robert H. Woodman says:

          You’re right. I mis-read the snippet.

          I wonder if the ships will roll to present their impeller wedges. If so, and if Zavala doesn’t anticipate that tactic, then he will have wasted at least one round of missile fire.

          • Knucklrdraggingwino says:

            If the SLN BCs roll shipnand if the tactic is successful, Zavola will have wasted far more than “one round” of missile fire. He will have wasted 40% of his ammo which he had estimated was needed for an Alpha strike to destroy the BCs. He will have only 60% of his ammo to either attempt another Alpha strike at long range, wait to attempt an Alpha strike atbshort range, or engage in a “protracted” battle of only 12 broadsides.

            My guess is that even if the SLN BCs roll ship and this allows them to survive this opening clash, the RMN will still win the battle. However; it will be a hard fought battle with the most of the Rolands being crippled or destroyed.

      • Knucklrdraggingwino says:

        The range at launch was 38 million kilometers or over 120 light seconds. The Recon drones can provide the RMN ships with FTL comm tactical updates that take barely second to arrive. However; any tactical commands that the RMN ships transmit in response to FTL info will be transmitted at lightspeed. If the SLN ships roll ship, there will not be time for any commands to reach the missiles. The missiles’ on board computers will be on their own to respond to any maneuvers.

        Even if the missile computers respond effectively to the SLN BCs rolling ship to interpose their impeller wedges, their options are limited. Closing velocity is 60% Cee. Even if the second stage drive accelerates them at 100,000 gees, their Delta Vee during 10 second terminal maneuver will be only 10,000 km/sec

        The missiles Delta Position will be

        1/2 x 1eex6m/s^2 x (10seconds)^2 = 50eex6 meters
        or 50,000 km.

        Depending on how the SLN BCs are positioned and how the incoming missiles are positioned, they might not have the ability to maneuver into an attack position to engage the BCs sidewalls, or their unprotected bow or stern aspects.

        If we reasonably assume that only 25% of the missiles successfully maneuver to attack the BCs, then each BC will have only 30 missiles that need to be engaged with PDLC and may be Grasers and Lasers as the PRH does. If intercept rates are 50% and the hit rates of surviving missiles are 50%, then each BC is going to suffer about 7 to 8 hits. This will maim them but it will not cripple much less kill them.

        • Robert H. Woodman says:

          “If we reasonably assume ….”

          Oh, there you go again, inserting that pesky word “reason” again.


          It’s a very good point, but I would expect a bit higher number of hits (say 10-12), because the RMN missiles are much better than the SLN defenses, RMN missile doctrine is much better than the SLN, and because Admiral Dubroskaya and her subordinates really haven’t got a clue as to what’s coming their way. Sure, they know there are missiles coming at them, but they really don’t know how vastly outclassed they are by those missiles. That means that not only is the SLN force laboring under an inferior missile doctrine and inferior missile defenses, but this particular group is also laboring under their ignorance of the RMN’s firepower and their own well-ingrained biases and prejudices about such firepower. Because of all of that, the SLN’s defense tactics have a high probability of being a combination of “too little, too late” and flat-out wrong moves.

          You have a good, valid point, but I suspect that more than just 7 or 8 hits per BC will occur.

          Even if each BC takes only 7 or 8 hits, though, the facts that each hit causes much more damage than the SLN believes can occur, and comes from missiles that the SLN believes are “impossible” to fire (distance, striking power, etc.) will be highly demoralizing. Even if the SLN wins the battle (which I don’t for a moment believe), the effects of these missiles on the SLN would be scary and demoralizing.

          • Knucklrdraggingwino says:

            I am actually not depending on SLN defenses to limit the hit rates. The Mk-16s will be screaming by at .6 Cee. They will have only 1/10 of a second to detect, localize and target ships that had been concealed as well as protected by their impeller wedges. Assuming a 10% hit rate for missiles that don’t splatter themselves against impeller wedges is generous.

            • kenny says:

              they do not detect, localize and target ships in a tenth of a second.

              They need to preform a terminal maneuver which evolves a firing window of less then a tenth of a second. The ships have already been detected localized and targeted, without using the missile own sensors.

  3. Bewildered says:

    I’m kind of hoping Dubroskaya survives. She’s only doing her duty but is getting a first hand look at the difficulty involved in pinning back the Manty upstarts ears :-). Tincans firing impossible numbers at impossible ranges with impossible speeds. Just think what that means for capital ship clashes :-D. Oh and then there’s the FTL, high end stealthed recon drones and that’s just what the basic ships are showing – who knows what toys the heavier ones have or are in development. SLN Intelligence clearly isn’t! :-P. Assuming she survives, and assuming she can be repatriated, it might cause a political furore, assuming she’s not silenced to avoid the truth getting out. Not going to do morale much good if it’s revealed the SLN is at best a 4th rate navy, or is it 5th?

    • ET1swaw aka Rob says:

      Let’s see (IMO anyway):

      First Rate: Manticore, Grayson, Andermanni, and Haven

      Second Rate: MAlign, Erewhon / Maya Sector, and Beowulf

      Third Tate: SLN

      or alternatively:
      first: Manticore Alliance (including Grayson)
      second: Haven
      third: Andermanni
      fourth: MAlign (including RF SDFs)
      fifth: Erewhon /Maya Sector
      sizth: Beowulf
      seventh: SLN


    • Matthew says:

      They aren’t 4th or 5th. There are two first rate navies in space at this time, Haven and Manticore. Mesa has superweapons but no real navy. The Frontier guys near Torch have better stuff, but it’s hard to count them as their own navies as much as people who were gifted a bunch if stuff from Manticore.
      Much like we don’t count Australia as a world naval leader even though they use American ships and subs. The second rate guys would be the Andermannis.

      The Sollies are 3rd rate at worst. They still have numbers and the capacity to rebuild. As bad as their hardware is, they have enough numbers that they can offset it. Think of the land war between China and Japan during WW2: China lost nearly every engagement and the Japanese were able to move about China practically at will. But the sheer territory needing conquering meant that Japan would be stymied by breadth.

      Back to the book, the Sollies will keep losing in the short term, but those are losses they can afford. It’s already been established that they have the technology and capacity to catch up with Manticore if pushed and even without it they can use their vast numerical superiority to be almost everywhere at once. (He hinted that this was the new strategy after the failed attack on Manticore)

      • ronzo says:

        Vast numerical superiority might be able to gain them some Pyrrhic victories initially but that strategy is going to fall apart pretty quickly if their battle cruisers and thus all of their lighter combatants can’t even stand up one to one against a Manty destroyer. The exchange rates aren’t going to be any more favorable and any where worth attacking at this point in both the star empire and the republic are well covered with four stage system defense missiles with modern fire control, modern LACs, as well as hyper capable combatants as of the moment they formulated that plan as a consequence of the strategies used by both sides since the fighting resumed between manticore and haven. It may take awhile for victory fever from propaganda reports to subside but when hundreds of thousands of Sollie spacer’s families start getting the news there love ones are vaporized in some manty or havenite third tier system in the back of beyond it will fall apart.

  4. Greg Noel says:

    OK, 120 missiles, four targets. Put maybe fifteen or twenty birds each on three targets to keep them busy (which is a good match for their defensive ability) and you have between sixty and seventy-five birds left for the last target. When you subtract out pentaids, there’s probably fifty to sixty attack birds focused on one ship. Even with a coordinated defense, there will be lots of leakers.

    No matter how you slice it, that’s gonna hurt. If not complete destruction or mission-kill, that ship is not going to be contributing much to defense during the next salvo, making it even worse for the next ship to be targeted. After four salvos, there’s not going to be much left.

    Oh, the time is incorrect. A full salvo takes two half-salvos at eighteen seconds each, so DesRon 301 fired eight half-salvos. That takes two minutes and six seconds. A nitpick, but maybe it can be fixed for the next edition.

    Bottom line, after the first salvo arrives, Dubroskaya has about ninety seconds to show some rationality and save at least some of her force.

    • Knucklrdraggingwino says:

      The DDs don’t have enough ammo to launch more than two such double stack salvos. If this salvo gets only 1 BC and the next such salvo gets only only 1 BC and wounds another. The surviving BCs are going to ream the Rollands when they get in range.

      • Greg Noel says:

        I’m sorry, but I’ve read your reply at least a dozen times and I cannot perceive what point you are trying to make. Four salvos have ALREADY been launched. Each salvo is focused on a different target. My analysis of the first salvo to arrive suggests that it will do very bad things to the first target. When the second salvo arrives, the first target will not be much help, so the second target will have even worst damage. It will get successively worse for the third and forth targets. At the end of the four salvos, all four of BatCruRon 491’s ships will be severely battered. If they’re not completely out of the fight (destroyed or mission-killed), they won’t have enough resistance for subsequent (probably smaller) salvos. If BatCruRon 491 gets through the gauntlet with any offensive power left, they MIGHT get in a hit or two (not likely against a Manty defense), but they’ll all be dead when it happens.

        Of course, there are a lot of unknowns in in the possible interactions. Moreover, DW is not that consistent about physical results, and he can choose to write whatever he sees fit for the story. But if the result isn’t an overwhelming defeat of BatCruRon 491, it’ll take some pretty fancy writing to justify it.

        For what it’s worth, Amazon just notified me that my copy is in the mail with delivery expected Thursday or Friday. It’ll be torture to wait that long, but I hope I’ll survive it.

    • Randomiser says:

      Well, from a Manty perspective you are right about the missile timing. But the Sollies see the 4th group of missiles light up their drives 1 minute & 48 seconds after they see the first group, which is no doubt what DW had in mind.

      • Greg Noel says:

        Then he should have written it from the Sollie perspective. The exact quote is “In one minute and forty-eight seconds, DesRon 301 launched four hundred and eighty Mark 16s.” That’s using the omniscient narrator voice, which is not ever supposed to lie to the reader. You’d be better off arguing that the clock started at the “launch of the salvo,” but that was still eighteen seconds after someone pushed the button starting the sequence and putting the first missiles in space. I think DW just blew it.

        • iranuke says:

          T=0 first launch
          T= 36 sec. second launch
          T= 72 sec. third launch
          T= 108 sec. fourth launch

          108 sec. = 1 min. 48 sec. and have launched 4 double broadsides.

          • Greg Noel says:

            You are incorrect. Please read what I wrote.

            T = 0, first half of first salvo enters space
            T = 18, second half of first salvo, salvo launches

            T = 126, second half of forth salvo, salvo launches

            It’s two minutes and six seconds from the time the launch button is pressed until the last salvo is underway.

  5. ET1swaw aka Rob says:

    Only double-stacks instead of the triple-stacks of the Sag-Cs.

    Installed ECM and pen-aid tweaks from Monica and New Carthage technology downloads above and beyond the Dragonsteeth/Dazzlers and Apollo-Lite fire-control that the SLN has not yet seen.


    • jimhacker says:

      This isn’t apollo-lite if you’re referring to using the control missiles with only light-speed telemetry; only the mk23s fired with 23es have that capability. If you’re just referring to the DDs having ftl sensor data that they can they relay at light speed to the missiles, you are correct.

    • iranuke says:

      Sag-Cs can only stack 2 missles/launcher see Mission of Honor chapter 25.

  6. ronzo says:

    Lets see whats next the Sollie crews breath a momentary sigh of relief, as the mark 16’s stop accelerating on their first stage drives, and go ballistic. Then fresh terror as the second stage drives come online for terminal maneuvering and then resigned courage as the sparklers and and dragons teeth in the volleys come online. If five destroyers can mission kill five BC’s the Sollie’s power elite’s raiding plans are going to be very very expensive. Granted they will make damage of there own but it going to be disproportionately higher than they expect and it will burn through there political capital alot faster at home (sending spacers out to get massacred again and again for minimal to modest results) and at with the grand alliance (unrestricted economic warfare is never looked upon in a friendly light).

    • Bruce says:

      “If five destroyers can mission kill five BC’s the Sollie’s power elite’s raiding plans are going to be very very expensive”

      – not to mention they haven’t seen the new LACs and their C/LACs yet. If the Sollies raid a Talbott system and see NO hypercapable warships, they’ll think they can pound them and get some revenge. When the LACs take them out, they will learn another lesson – don’t assume small isn’t dangerous.

  7. Knucklrdraggingwino says:

    Well, I have gotten some things rightanda few things wrong.

    I am right that this SLN Adm is smart enough to present her broadsides to the incoming missiles.

    I am wrong so far that she hasn’t rolled ship to interpose her impeller wedges. She can correct this mistake quite rapidly. It is a classic tactic to wait until an incoming salvo has crossed the CM engagement envelope to get off as many CM launches as possible then rolling ship to interpose impeller wedges. Even SDs employ this tactic. The smaller, far more maneuverable BCs can execute the maneuver far more rapidly.

    I am wrong about the Rollands being able to have only one salvo in flight at a time. I forgot that with launchers fore and aft firing off bore, the can maneuver to maintain a clear line of sight to the first wave so that the DDs fire control links can maintain contact.

    I am wrong about the DDs firing double broadsides rather than triple broadsides. Even so, with four, double broadsides fired the DDs have committed 40% of their very limited ammo supply on an Alpha strike. If the SLN BCs survive the incoming fecal storm of missiles, the DDs are going to have very limited ammo with which to continue the engagement at close range. The five, RMN DDs fired four, double broadside salvos of 120 missiles, based on the presumption that they will need 120 missiles to ensure that they kill a BC. IF the SLN BCs roll ship to interpose their impeller wedges to the incoming fire and IF this tactic allows them to survive, the RMN DDs will have only about 150% of the ammo that they estimated they would need to kill the SLN BCs when they get to closer range.

    The missile flight times are nearly six minutes. It has taken barely 40 seconds to launch each salvo or 240 seconds or 4 minutes total. The SLN Admiral has almost two minutes to decide ton execute a classic maneuver to maximize her chances of surviving the incoming missiles.

    • Stanley Leghorn says:

      My guess would be that all this was considered in the number of missiles.

    • John Roth says:

      You made a fencepost error. While it’s four salvos 36 seconds apart, the time from first to fourth salvo is only 36 * 3 = 108 sec or 12 seconds less than two minutes. She’s got over four minutes from detecting the last salvo to action.

      If she turtles up she has no countermissile fire or PDLC fire, and she has highly degraded light-speed sensor coverage. She would be betting that the missiles can’t do a horizontal shot through her sidewalls or up or down the main axis. Far from that being a classic maneuver against missiles, I haven’t seen it in any recent battle. Unless by classic you mean obsolete and only works against obsolete missiles.

      With the missiles coming in at .6 c, from the time the missiles cross her outer defense perimeter to contact is only a few seconds. At best she can launch a wave of countermissiles before she turtles up and loses contact with them. If she was going to turtle up she shouldn’t even think of trying to use her countermissiles.

      • Knucklrdraggingwino says:

        Yep. I made a math boo boo. 4 salvos x 40sec/salvo is 160 seconds, not 240 seconds. Of course the cycle times are 36 seconds so you are right about firing the 4 salvos taking slightly less than two minutes to fire. This leaves the SLN Adm with Healy four minutes to evaluate the situation and reconsider her options.

        The SLN Adm knows that she is facing salvos of 120 missiles arriving in rapid succession. If each of the salvos are concentrated on only one of her ships, it will overwhelm their sensors.

        The SLN Adm knows that the closing velocity will be vastly in excess of what her missile defenses are designed to cope with.

        The SLN Adm can deduce that her CMs are going to be useless against such large, high velocity salvos.

        If rolling ship to interpose the impeller wedge is such an archaic tactic, why did the RMN develop Keyhole platforms to enable their SDs and BCs to maintain fire control over their missiles and counter missiles while rolling ship to interpose their wedges?

  8. Knucklrdraggingwino says:

    Assuming the BCs survive this missile strike, their response could be interesting. Their powered missile envelope is nominal for a nominal drive setting. IIRC, missile drive endurance is inversely proportional tom the acceleration setting. Cutting the acceleration by 50% increases duration by 100%. This doubles their effective, powered range.

    TheSLN BCs can engage sooner than we assume. Their effectiveness will be minimal against the Rolands’ defenses until the DDs expend their 600 counter missiles.

  9. Oliver says:

    I think there are a few misconceptions around:

    1st in most battles so far the Manticore Navy was intelligent enough to concentrate fire on only one or two targets. I would think each of the four 120 missile salvoes goes after one specific battlecruiser. If that is so each BC would be targeted by 120 missiles at a time. Even if only 25% get through, the BC will be hit by 30 missiles.

    2nd rolling the ship to present the wedge is a standard tactic, so to surmise that so expirienced people as are doing the missile control in the Manticoran ships would not take that into account is crazy.

    3rd the Manti missiles have a lot of inboard intelligence for last ditch adjustments in order to avoid the wedges and get broadside- or up the kilt hits. It takes not much time to adjust trajectory just enough to pass over-, under-, in front or in back of an enemy ship. Some missiles will waste against the wedges and some will miss the right moment to fire, but most should hit.

    4th the Manti laserheads are much more powerfull and have a longer standoff range than the Sollies will take into account. I would not be astonished if the damage such a warhead does is at least equivalent if not bigger than a Solli BC’s missiles would do.

    5th the Solli defense will be greatly diminished by the highclass penetration aids and jammers that certainly are included in the salvoes the Manties fire.

    My conlusion is that at the end of the 4 salvos we will at best (for the Sollies) see 4 broken hulks drifting in Space or at worst a rather large field of debries with just a few lifepods and beacons in between.

    • DKCWong says:

      I loved the discussion Robert and Knuck have offered (and others) the past few snippets, but Oliver nicely sums up what I was thinking. It won’t matter if the SLN BC’s roll to present their wedges to the incoming missiles. From other battles we’ve seen/read about, Manti missile volleys targeted on a ship maneuver to make their final approach from a number of different aspects to ensure that not all of them will detonate unlessly against a wedge.

      Plus, don’t forget after the rest of Crandal’s fleet surrendered the Manti’s got real great intel on the Halo system and the capabilities of the SLN counter-missiles and laser defense clusters. I don’t think the SLN BCs are going to be able to stop more than a handful of Mk16s.

      My guess would be that at least fifty percent of the Mk16s will detonate with effect. With 5 or 6 laser rods per Mk16 that would potentially be some 250 to 300 hits per BC. I’m favoring four drifting hulls with no need to fire any further volleys. But as Dave O has commented, we’ll get the book before the Weds snippet is out and find out the results. I’m wondering if the three destroyers will instantly bug-out. Even for Sollies, I don’t think they will have any illusions of their chances against the Rolands.

    • Randomiser says:

      Yep, the Manty hardware and doctrine are designed to score hits and kill ships. They did NOT increase the range and hence closing speeds of missiles in order to score fewer hits, however ‘reasonable’ various arguments sound in the abstract. Seems to me we don’t have enough detailed info on the specs of the hardware and especially the software to make those calls.

  10. dave o says:

    Interesting arguments. I think I’ll wait for the next snippet. Or better yet. the whole book. Out on Tuesday.

  11. Terranovan says:

    I wonder if the MAlign has left any … interesting nanotech in Adm. Dubroskaya’s head?

    • Nikas says:

      I doubt it, a Frontier Fleet Admiral is probably low on the list. Not every Charlie Foxtrot is the MAlign pulling strings from the shadows. Sometimes it is stupidity and blind ambition.

      • Richard H says:

        Or in this case following orders from stupidity and blind ambition.

        I forget… did we pass the part where the governor’s motivations are explained from his POV, or is that still to come?

  12. Knucklrdraggingwino says:

    I invite everyone claiming that the SLN BCs rolling ship to interpose their impeller wedges will not significantly degrade hit rates to cite a battle in which this tactic was used without significant effect.

    Keep in mind that at a range of 40 million kilometers, this is an extremely LNG range engagement even for the RMN which expects hit rates to be low at such extreme range. Even full up Apollo has a maximum effective range of less than 1 AU or 150 million kilometers. Read previous snippet where Admiral Henke contemplates the limitations of Mk-16s for long range engagements.

    My impression is that the RMN DDs launched at such extreme range expecting to have perhaps 25% hit rates yielding 30 hits that would mission kill the DDs. If rolling ship reduces the expected hit rate by 75% then the number of hits will be about 7-8. This is heavy damage on a BC but not a mission kill.

    • Randomiser says:

      Re-reading the 2nd and 3rd last paragraphs of the snippet, Zavalla’s impression seems to be that his first strike is going to do a pretty bang up job on the Solclies! I guess he might know what he is talking about, given that Gold Peak does not send incompetent officers off on independent command missions.

      Rolling ship was a wonderful defence against missiles at the start of the war with Haven. Even then it was best to be in an SD in a Wall of Battle if you wanted it to work really well. Given all that’s happened since … it’s not what it was.

    • DKCWong says:

      Thanks for the two references in your other posts. However, the dates of the entries are seven to ten years ago and I’m not quite sure how many Harrington Universe years that represents. Since then Manty missile sensor-head tech has improved vastly. While Zavala doesn’t have Apollo, his DD’s sensor suite and Mk16s are far better than anything previously carried by non-Apollo equipped warships. In the last few books the tactic of ‘rolling ship’ to present the wedge has hardly been used, especially in combat between Havenite and Manty naval units. I don’t recall Sollies like Admiral Crandall trying it although they would have no reason not to believe it was still effective (over-sight on Weber’s part?).
      Sorry, I can’t match your ability to pull up specific supporting references, the curse of a full-time job and other pressing demands from spouse and extended family. I actually envy the time you and others have to do so…sigh. But, just from recalling the overall course of recent naval battles, I still feel the interposing wedge tactic is no longer effective (or as effective considering how much larger missile volleys are now even without pods and how much shorter the launch time). Hence, poor Vice-Admiral Dubroskaya, is shortly going to be in command of a much less imposing force.

    • John Roth says:

      I got some good feedback on the Weber forum, so now I agree with you; rolling wedges is a standard tactic. Whether it will have a significant effect depends on the tactical situation. It certainly wasn’t all that effective at the Battle of Monica – Terehkov lost four ships to the Technodyne system defense pods.

    • Spectre says:

      Shadow of Saganami, Chapter 57.

      “It was a phenomenal performance. Ninety percent of that lethal tide was stopped short of attack range. Ninety percent, by only ten warships, none heavier than a heavy cruiser.

      But ninety-seven got through.

      The Squadron twisted and danced, each captain maneuvering individually, desperately seeking to interpose the shield of his impeller wedge between his crew and the incoming laser heads. But their base velocity was low, and the missiles had plenty of time on their drives. Less than a third of them could be evaded that way. Last-ditch decoys sucked a few of the rest off, and four more strayed too close together and destroyed one other in fratricidal bursts of impeller interference. Two more simply failed to detonate; the rest of them did not.”

      97 missiles make it through the CM zone and less than a third of them fail when presented with a wedge belly or roof. Not real effective.

      • Knucklrdraggingwino says:

        I’m glad some of you did some reading.

        A few points.

        The Monica engagement was at a relatively short range of about ten million kilometers rather than near forty million kilometers. Closing velocity was 1/3 Cee rather than 2/3 Cee. The lower closing velocity made them easier to intercept but made it easier for the missiles to achieve tagged lock in a passing engagement on a rolled ship.
        The missiles from system defense pods dwarfed all up capital ship missiles. They weren’t MDMs, so the extra mass probably went into bigger warheads with yields measuring in hundreds of
        megatons with lots of lasing rods. The odds of a single missile scoring a hit a equal to the hit rise with the number of lasing rods. The monster missiles at Monica were far more likely to score hits than a Mk-16 and did far more damage with each hit than even a Mk,-16G
        Terakov’s squadron waited until the last possible moment befor maneuvering to interpose their wedges both to utilize their point defenses and to maintain control over the pod launched salvo that they had fired on Erocia station. The four, SLN BCs that the Rollands are facing aren’t trying to maintain control over their missiles and the CO seems to understand that her CMs aren’t going to be effective.

        I just checked out the Weber sight. This “Namelessfly” must be one scary dude if the mere mention of his name causes everyone over there to soil themselves.

        • Spectre says:

          If you roll early, all you do is deprive yourself of sensors and countermeasures, and the incoming Haven/Manticore missiles figure out exactly what you’re doing and maneuver accordingly. Which is what happens on Honor’s final run in with Nike against Saladin in The Honor Of The Queen – she has to keep her wedge between herself and the battlecruiser to interdict energy fire, so the missiles ‘split’ and go for the now ‘vertical’ sidewall openings.

        • Daryl says:

          He can’t spell either, likes shower scenes, likes a good argument and knows Honorverse tech much better than most.

  13. Knucklrdraggingwino says:

    I though that I would give everyone clue by posting this link to Pearls of Weber himself.

    The geometry of the impeller wedge and sidewalls makes it damn difficult for a missile that is making a fast flyby to even find much less target a shipnthatbhad been effectively cloaked by it’s impeller wedge.

    • ronzo says:

      Yes your right about this but the BC’s are inside of a shell of ghost rider platforms that when it’s time for terminal attack runs part of that shell (enough to triangulate each BC) could start banging away with full strength active sensors which would screw up the sollie fire control even further and help to lock up the BC’s so that the mark 16’s that are more than likely going to have plenty of drive time left for terminal maneuvers such as popping up above or down or breaking left or right of the already localized BC’s it would have the double benefit of potentially cooking off the Sollies sensors and getting good firing solutions at the cost of a few Ghost rider platforms.

  14. Knucklrdraggingwino says:

    One more link, this one on Keyhole platforms.

    Note that a tactic used by Keyhole platforms when they are targeted is to roll over to interpose their wedges. This breaks the missile lock while presenting a verybsmall target for a passing engagement.

  15. hank says:

    RE: rolling ship.
    May I point out to everybody that once the 1st wave hits (I’m assuming discipline & shock will hold them until then) Captains may elect to do so on their own authority, even if the Flag is not the 1st hit.
    Also, rolling ship is most effective with a well-drilled fleet that can keep minimum distance in formation.
    And finally it’s been used most often to avoid energy weapons, IIRC.
    so I would not be surprised if surviving Sollies roll ship, change course and attempt to bug out.

    I am surprised not to see a bunch of “I got the book already so see ya next time” posts here tho :)

    • Bruce says:

      Cuz people who have the book don’t come to see the last few snippets. :)

    • DKCWong says:

      My local Barnes & Noble has a history of releasing Weber books (Safehold and Harrington series in particular) a day or two before the official release date. I was going to try my luck tonight, but my daughter called in the last hour and said I shouldn’t bother as she ordered a SIGNED copy for me a couple of weeks ago on Looks like David Weber signed 1,000 copies of Shadow of Freedom. I don’t recall any discussion of such a thing, but somehow my daughter found out (sad thing is she doesn’t read Weber books, but knows I do).

      The illustrated slip cover is the same as for the normal version, but has a little tag that denotes it’s a signed copy. I don’t know if there are any left for sale (certainly not at as I just checked).

      My sneaky daughter has had the book since LAST WEDNESDAY!!!! when it shipped to my house. I’m going to read the rest of this snippet’s chapter then restart at the beginning to catch any changes between the book and posted snippets.

      Thanks to everyone for entertaining posts and to Drak for the snippets. Will be watching for the snippets to begin on Like a Mighty Army, which should begin (only Drak knows) June or July?

      Oh, yes, just for you hank, “I got the book already (or will tonight) so see ya next time” ;)

      • Drak Bibliophile says:

        I asked David Weber if he had a release date for _Like A Mighty Army_ and he just said September. So June or July sounds about right for snippets.

        • DKCWong says:

          Thanks Drak. Even June feels like such a long time. I’ll be finished with SOF by Weds night. Been putting it off, but I guess I might as well fill the time with Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” series.

          • jimhacker says:

            Well I’m pretty sure the last one was a september release – but the snippets for that still started up in mid-April. So perhaps it would be similar time-frame this time. But Drak is obviously more familiar with this than me so I wouldn’t put money on it being that early. Perhaps we got more snippets than usual last time?

  16. Knucklrdraggingwino says:

    Here is a link to a snippet from Storm From The Shadows.

    Notice that Keyhole 1 enhances the survivability not just by allowing the ships to control double broadsides of CMs but by allowing them to interpose their wedges.

    • Spectre says:

      I already have the book, so I’m refraining from commenting here for the most part. No spoiler here, but your idea of ‘rolling ship will make most of the missiles go astray’ has some rather large holes.

      1. The RMN has gotten their hands on a rather large number of front line Solarian systems. They know what the electronic countermeasure emitters look like, what they emit, what they can do, what doctrine says their employment should be. They know enough about their electronic countermeasures to use them as (essentially) homing beacons.
      2. Nobody seems to mount EM stations on sacrificial pods outside their wedges – except the RMN and friends. So the EM emitters will be on the hulls.
      3. – Home-on-jam is a useful concept that certainly wouldn’t be lost in the Diaspora.
      4. From ‘The Honor Of The Queen’ = “He had less than a single second to realize that somehow these missiles had been programmed to use his EW systems, as if his decoys were homing beacons, not defenses, and then they rammed headlong into their target.”

      Rolling ship hasn’t happened much in the last few books except when up against arguably inferior missiles (or those thought to be). The last few Haven-Manticore actions prior to the Solarian war had very few ships rolling to impose their wedges because it’s gotten more and more pointless against the kinds and numbers of missiles being employed.

      • Knucklrdraggingwino says:

        If rolling ship is so ineffective, why is it that the Invictus SD(P), Nike BC(L) and Agememnon BC(P) are all equipped with Keyhole fire control platforms that enable them to control their offensive missiles and Counter Missiles while rolling ship to interpose their impeller wedge?

        • Spectre says:

          Rolling ship doesn’t help with the Macross Missile Massacre style battles we’ve been seeing in-universe lately *unless* you have the Keyhole system to allow you to retain your sensor watch and continue to fire countermeasures. And even then it doesn’t help terribly much against Haven/Manticore missiles – if it did, Alastair McKeon would still be alive. He’s not. Chapter 67, At All Costs.

          The Solarians don’t even have off-axis launching capability, let alone Keyhole.

        • jimhacker says:

          its a tactic which is still effective but is no longer the solution to missile fire. Whil previously rolling ship might have thwarted every single missile of a 10 missile salvo, with the new conditions it will stop only say 20 of a hundred missile salvo. Thus it is still worth doing (although you should only do it a the last minute so you can get your missile defence in) but it is no longer ‘i’ve rolled ship so i’m safe now’.

      • Stan Leghorn says:

        Rolling ship is still more effective than not doing so, but I expect DW is not so interested in word count that he has to constantly mention it. Rather like not mentioning all the actions a pilot takes in combat unless it is vital to the situation.

        • Spectre says:

          There are a couple of points in the last few books where he mentions ships desperately rolling to interpose their wedges – and it not making one practical whit of difference to the super-jumbo-mega-economy-pack-sized missile swarms screaming in on them.

          • jimhacker says:

            It does make a difference. Its seems to defeat about 10% of them. But given the size of modern missile salvos, the end result is still the same (the ship is blown to hell).

            • Spectre says:

              Which is pretty much what I’m getting at. It doesn’t really matter with the number of missiles coming in – so you get hit by 900 laser heads instead of 1000. Not really going to matter much.

              • jimhacker says:

                sure – in the 1000 missile scenario.

                The thing here is that the total salvo 120 missiles. If these were battlecruisers had better missile defences than i suspect they actually have (say, on par with the Havenites) then I bet they’d stop 3/4 of the incoming salvo. Rolling ship might take out another 5 of the incoming 30. If another 5 were penaids (which would about right for RMN dctrine) then only 20 ship killers would get through. And your average BC would be able to survive that – pre Mod-G of course.

              • Knucklrdraggingwino says:

                This is the critical factor for me. It doesn’t matter if an SLN BC gets hit by 1,000 Mk-16Gs or 900. However; we are not talking about salvos of 1,000 missiles, we are talking about salvos of 120 missiles of which perhaps 20 are penetration aids.
                We aren’t talking about a relatively close range engagement or an engagement with full blown Apollo where hit rates should be 90%.
                I guess I perceive a need to have a few battles with the SLN that aren’t a one-sided massacre. The Battle of Monica where Terekov’s squadron won a victory in a hell fought battle against three SLN BCs offers a template for a credible battle.
                This isn’t a battle between savages with spears verses a platoon with a Gatling gun. When you look at missile magazine counts, this is a battle
                between a company of men armed with muzzle loaders verses may be a squad of guys armed with Barrett .50 cals with only a few magazines each. The guys with theBarretts should be able to win, but it shouldn’t be easy and they might loose.

          • Richard H says:

            Having finished the e-book version, I get the impression that, in this particular book, Weber decided that he didn’t really feel like bothering with tactics. Later on, there are several cases of what I can only describe as “engagement opens; fade to black; you can imagine what happens” events. Honestly, I wonder if he got bored with describing the stuff that wasn’t new halfway through the book. (Less charitably, he might have started expending a different level of effort after splitting it from ART…)

  17. Mike says:

    From the very start of the series, it has been clear that simply “rolling ship” does not make a “wall of battle” invulnerable. It is even less effective against small numbers of ships that can’t mutually protect their sidewalls.

    When done at short ranges, against direct-fire energy weapons, it works well. But missiles attack from all sides of the ship. And as someone else said, Manticore will hardly have done all this work to make long-range, fast missiles if that means they get fewer hits. If the “roll ship” idea were a cure-all, then the SLN admiral would be rejoicing that the missiles are coming in so fast. But clearly she is not rejoicing.

    And of course, on another level, the missiles will be as deadly (or not) as the plot requires them to be. Everything about the technology of these ships is made up to (originally, anyway) replicate the battles of the Napoleonic era navies. Many things have changed in the course of more than a dozen books, but the one thing that hasn’t is that the effectiveness of the weapons will serve the plot, rather than the other way around.

    • Knucklrdraggingwino says:


      The effectiveness of the weapons serves the plot.

      If the plot for this book is for an inferior RMN force to effortlessly slaughter a superior SLN force, then the plot is pointless stupidity.

      • ronzo says:

        I think that it serves the purpose of the over all plot very effectively. The MALign is looking to degrade everyoness capabilities at the same time and by having the sollies feed the Manticoran furnace small combatants in ever increasing numbers does that nicely if the Sollies are willing or can be subverted in some way in to trading there vast numbers of ships BC size and under at ten or twenty or greater killed to one. This plays into the Malign hand well, they can let it go on like this for a few years and then as the new improved sollie navy is about to start to rolling out of ship yards they will have enough of there spider drive ships to pull of yatawa style strikes on Sollie fleet yards.

        • Spectre says:

          While I disagree with some of what you believe the Mesans are up to, I would also point out that this is not unrealistic, either. This has happened before when one side continues progress and the other one sits there fat dumb and happy, ‘secure’ in the ‘knowledge’ that they are ‘superior.’ Note what happened when the ‘overwhelmingly powerful’ Federal fleet tried to stop CSS Virginia from going where she wanted to. The Virginia slaughtered the wooden blockade fleet without let – until the Union brought up their own ironclad to fend it off.

          Or the first people to run up against armor-piercing shells fired out of breechloaders.

          Or the Spanish during the Spanish-American War. They hadn’t paid much attention to ‘those silly Anglo colonists’ in ‘their little Civil War’ so they had no idea of the effectiveness of American military technology. So when the Gatling guns showed up at San Juan Hill, the Spanish laughed at the little toys. After all, they had the latest in bolt action rifles and rapid fire breech-loading cannon. They weren’t laughing for long after ‘those little toys’ swept the hill clean by slaughtering the defending troops, then started engaging artillery at ranges over 1.8km.

        • Mike says:

          Ronzo, exactly. The SLN are cannon fodder sent to distract, tie down, and use up Mantie weapons and personnel. It’s just like all these insurrections that “Firebrand” is starting. The real war isn’t actually being fought against the Solarians at all.

  18. Margo says:

    Thank you all, interesting arguments. Remember that the SLN crews are only just realising they’re on a war footing – they haven’t practical experience; and that most of their training simulations were abysmal as Mike and Co discovered after Byng’s demise. It was pointed out at Spindle that though they tried, their CM etc just couldn’t cope. Of course that was SDs against Apollo-Lite, but given the Solly mindset as voiced by Diadoro etc, they just aren’t prepared so the ratio will be much the same IMO. And if their CM acts like a homing beacon? Rolling ship is not going to be all that effective.

  19. Margo says:

    And I’m in Tuesday. You will probably enjoy the next few chapters

  20. ET1swaw aka Rob says:

    I am assuming they are concentrating each of the four salvos on individual BCs.

    Zavalo hax up-to-date downloads (software and hardware) of the BC’s ECM/ECCM and Dragonsteeth/Dazzlers which IMO increase their hit percentage greatly despite them rolling wedges,

    And don’t forget (AFAIK) that when the BCs roll wedges they lose a great deal of direct control over their CMs and ECCM (IIRC their ECM is a partially-tethered system so its capability won’t be as compromised).

    The BCs can launch their own salvos with a terminal ballistic phase, if for no other reason than to not give the Manties a free ride.

    The BCs are about to discover that the MK16s are DDMs, not just longer range missiles.

    The BCs will also have the ability to tweak their ECM/ECCM between salvos, but the downloads Zavala has will decrease that improvement IMO.

    As I count it each of the Rolands has fired 98 of their 250 missiles leaving a capability of 6 double-stack salvos (12 non-stacked broadsides; with eight missiles remaining). (40% as previouly stated) They have a REALLY small margin to work with here.

    BCs are tough so even a good number of hits may needed for even a mission-kill.

    IMO the BCs will be hurt enough to surrender, but if they decide to tough it out in anticipation that even CL sized hull can’t have an unending missile capacity; I believe they will hurt (and maybe even mission-kill/force-scuttling on the Rolands.


    • ET1swaw aka Rob says:

      correction: (and maybe even mission-kill/force-scuttling on some of the Rolands).

      IOW Zavala ain’t getting no free lunch.

      And as for SKM DDs being a match for SLN BCs; remember:
      Rolands have limited magazines and a DD’s vulnerability;
      AFAIK are a limited offshoot (IIRC Avalon CLs are somewhat replacing their function);
      and any DD other than a Roland is even more restricted AFAIK (many can not even inhull fire Mk16s and even Rolands AFAIK can’t inhull fire Mk23s).


  21. dave o says:

    All the talk about magazine capacity is BS. Combat experience in the last decade shows that the original salvos almost always decide battles. Very well protected ships, which means only SD’s may continue to fight afterward. BC’s by their nature are by design much more lightly armored. Don’t forget that Manticore has captured Solly CD’s and has a very good idea of their capabilities. I expect that Admiral Dubroskaya’ s almost last words will be: “Something is wrong with our ships today.”

    • jimhacker says:

      Like the first couple of salvos decided the battle of Monica? Well, maybe they did but those 3 battlecruisers still survived long enough to close with Terekhov’s squadron.

  22. Daryl says:

    I’m feeling lazy so a question for the tech experts here. If the laser heads emit X rays, what effect will a frequency shift arising from the missile being at 60% C have? Will it enhance the power of the strike with the packets of photons arriving with more inherent energy?

    • Knucklrdraggingwino says:

      Here is some info on Dopler shift:

      The energy of a photon is directly proportional to its frequency.

      At .6 Cee approach velocity, the energy of the incoming laser heads in ahead on engagement is amplified by 60%.

      However; if the SLN BCs roll ship to interpose their wedges, then there will be no energy gain from Doppler shift as the missiles fireatbthesidewalls, down the throat or up the kilt.

      • Mike says:

        Energy is conserved. Something has to happen to all the energy that put into accelerating the missile for six minutes.

        • Mike says:

          (ps.) Not necessarily something *useful*, though. It could go into a could of radioactive particles that mostly just continue moving in the same direction of the missile as they disperse.

          I always thought Drake’s missiles in his RCN series were more realistic. They almost all miss, but any that do hit are pretty much terminal simply because of their kinetic energy. Adding a warhead would be pointless.

          But his ships don’t use magical shields of artificial gravity.

        • Knucklrdraggingwino says:

          The question is where does the energy come from? Even with fusion power a missile would need to burn nearly it’s own mass in fuel to accelerate up to only one-tenth Cee. I was willing to be credulous back when Weber wrote good battle scenes.

  23. Knucklrdraggingwino says:

    I can’t help thinking that as large as the SLN is, there must be some variability in the competence of it’s officers. This is particularly true of FF which is more professional and less dominated by politics and heredity. Perhaps Adm Oxana Dubroskaya is the SLN equivalent of Honor Harrington?

  24. Knucklrdraggingwino says:

    No wonder they arebsoiling themselves over at Just talking about this “Namelessfly” has caused their website to crash, LOL.

  25. Scott says:

    This series is no longer RMN and friends against the SLN.
    It’s between RMN and friends and the MAN. The poor Sollies are just the meat in the sandwich or if you prefer everyone’s punching bag.
    The MA already control large segments of the league and are just using the RMN to help break up the League. The SL won’t be given time to develop new tech or build up to date ships.
    This series is going to be dealing more with politics, deal making and revolutions. Combat will stil occur but will take a back seat.
    My 50 cents worth anyway.

  26. Knucklrdraggingwino says:

    I understand that the Malign has maneuvered the EM into a confrontation with the SL to break up the SL and destroy the combat power of the SLN. The malign actually maneuvered the SKM into war with the Republic of Haven both to eliminate the Haven sector as a threat to their plans and with the original expectation that Haven rather than Manticore would become powerful enough to threaten the SL for them, triggering it’s disintegration. This plan had to be modified when the SKM won the war. The plan had to be modified yet again when the SKM developed Apollo and found the Lynxx terminus. Oyster Bay was launched to degrade the military power of the RMN so that the war with Haven would continue (didn’t turn out that way) and that the RMN couldn’t defeat the SL so easily and rapidly that the SEM would simply become the new nucleus of a reformed and revitalized, no longer corrupt, all powerful, interstellar polity that could prevent the chaos that the Malign needed to assume power.

    All of this about the main plot arc being understood and acknowledged, there is no reason why the SL can’t be allowed to either win a few, small battles or at least give a good account of itself. The SL has enormous strategic depth. One would expect that a few SL commanders could competently employ their ships within the classic paradigm or perhaps even be innovative. They can’t all reside on the left side of the IQ bell curve. Thanks to the evolving alliance between the SEM and RoH which will soon bring missile production back on line, not to mention the “neutrality” of the Andermandi Empire, the demise of the SL can remain inevitable even as a few, exemplary SL officers demonstrate competent heroism. This would actually humanize them. A defeat of an understrength RMN DD squadron at Saltash or at least a pyyric victory will not undermine the plot arc. The ongoing reconstitution of missile production capacity can enable the Rollands to be packing Mk-23 pods or even Apollo pods at the next engagement so that they can go hunting for squadrons of SLN SDs. If Weber feels the need to make every battle with the SL a route, then he can at least do me the courtesy of not squandering my time and money peddling books that describe one inevitable SL defeat after another in such prolonged, word wasting detail. If he is this intent on peddling war porn to line his pockets, then he could piqué my interest by having a few dozen shower scenes with Lt Abigail Hearnes and Adm Henke.

    • hank says:

      Note: Oyster Bay, as originally concieved, was meant to be an attack on the production facilitys of Manticore, Grayson *and* Haven using the Leonard Detwieller(sp?) class ships, not the training versions. When it was brought forward the lower number of ships and their smaller size required dropping Haven from the plans. For now at least…

    • Spectre says:

      “All of this about the main plot arc being understood and acknowledged, there is no reason why the SL can’t be allowed to either win a few, small battles or at least give a good account of itself. The SL has enormous strategic depth. One would expect that a few SL commanders could competently employ their ships within the classic paradigm or perhaps even be innovative. ”

      Not going to happen unless the RMN forces find themselves ludicrously outnumbered *and* are stupid or unlucky enough to allow the SLN ships into their own range. And if it did, people would find it even less believable because the equipment difference (as written and per canon) is just so great.

      It would be like a contemporary female soldier on an ATV armed with an M40 sniper rifle going up against some huge medieval knight dismounted with a battleax. If the knight can get her in range, she’s basically screwed. The problem is, at anything beyond arm’s reach and a few dozen yards beyond that, he can’t do anything to her. She, on the other hand, can run away from him at a speed he can’t match, slam him with devastating shots from dozens of times his own range that will penetrate his armor easily, etc., etc. It would take a whole ton of extremely unlikely circumstances for this to end up any other way than the lady with the rifle winning easily.

      Or, if you want, it’s the Indiana Jones vs. the Swordsman problem. You do remember how that ended, right?

      • Knucklrdraggingwino says:

        Interesting analogy but not accurate.

        The SLN BCs are like mid evil, English Knughts. (Monty Python). However; given the velocity vectors and positions of the DDsand BCs, disengagement does not appear to be possible. The knight is mounted and bearing down on the dismounted modern soldier at a full gallop.

        We also know from the Battle of Monica that it took dozens of hits from Mk-16s to cripple a downgraded SLN BC and a golden Bee Bee to finish it off. Nearly 1,000 missiles were required to take out the other two BCs. The Mk-16G has a more powerful warhead, but the increment in lethality is not as severe as most presume. A doubling perhaps, but not an order of magnitude.
        The RMN DDs should expect to need at least a dozen hits to take out a BC. They are also at long range so they expect to have low hit rates even in a nominal engagement.

        I’ll be visiting a bookstore today. I will peruse this chapter. If it is merely an unopposed massacre I will not bother to buy it.

        • Spectre says:

          The archers couldn’t run away at Agincourt either. You might want to look at what happened there.

        • Spectre says:

          Also, the downgrades on those Solarian BC’s weren’t in the area of armor, wedge or sidewall strength. It was armament and what today we’d call ‘avionics’ as I recall.

    • Spectre says:

      Also, sometimes the enemy just *is* that terrible. See the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879 – despite an initial victory at Isandlwana, the Zulus basically lost almost all battles after that and the war. Badly.

      More recently, the Six Days’ War of 1967 – Israel steamrollered the Egyptians, Syrians and Jordanians.

      Another battle that I forgot to put in upthread – Agincourt, 1415. ‘Superior’ French knights get mowed down by ‘squishy’ English bowmen at range.

      • Knucklrdraggingwino says:

        The Six Day War was an overwhelming victory for the Israelis, but many of the battles were no cake walk.

        The Brits certainly won all of the major battles of the Zulu war, butnthe battle of roarkes crossing waa an epic defeat and many of the other battles were difficult.

        Of course I enjoyed the Shaka Zulu miniseries for obvious reasons.

        • Spectre says:

          Rorke’s Drift was a win for the British, not an epic defeat. The Zulu tried to run the British out of the mission station and despite hard fighting, failed utterly. When the smoke cleared the next morning and the relief force arrived the next morning, the British were still there and the Zulu (except for the dead and wounded) *weren’t*.

          The Six Day War wasn’t a cakewalk early on, but then neither were some of the early battles of the Solarian War. The Solarians are going to get progressively weaker and worse and they’re just going to get steamrollered unless something else changes to upset the balance of power. Just like towards the end of the Six Day War when the Israelis just kept rolling up everyone else.

          • jimhacker says:

            actually i think it’ll be the reverse – battles will get progressively more difficult as SLN finds better leadership and then much more when it techs up.

            • Spectre says:

              It’s going to take a long time to get better leadership, they’re so far behind in the tech race that they’re not even funny – and more importantly their own internal economy is juddering to a halt because most of the merchant hulls were Manticoran.

              Think about what would have happened to Britain, despite her massive empire, if America hadn’t poured ships, men and other resources into keeping Britain’s supply lines open. Well, the interstellar economy of the Solarian League appears to be much like that – heavily dependent on shipping that in this case is no longer available. They have to retool to make merchant hulls to get their economy going at the same time they’ll need more warship hulls. And at the current rate of attrition, they’re likely to be out of ships in the not terribly distant future.

              Militarily, the SLN is in the position of the French military during the Fall of France in WW2. They aren’t even vaguely competitive as a whole even though they grossly outnumber their opponents and they’re just throwing their people and gear away for nothing.

          • Knucklrdraggingwino says:

            I had a minor brain cramp on that battle, but it proves my point. The British defeated the Zulu, but it was an epic battle because the Zulu gave good account of themselves and it wasn’t easy for the British.

            • Spectre says:

              No, but then the opening battles of the Solarian War weren’t the easiest either.

              But as the Zulu War went on, after the debacles of Intombe and Hlobane, it kept getting easier and easier for the British. Kambula, Gingindlovu and Eshowe were all hands-down British victories. Those lead to Ulundi, where the desperate Zulu just kept charging the Gatlings and dying by the numbers before they could get close enough to do anything.

  27. dave o says:

    I was five minutes early at my bookstore’s front door. When it opened I bought the book and read the next chapter. The battle turned out just about the way that I expected, and which a lot of posters to this website doubted. But everyone will find that out for themselves soon enough. I hope Weber discusses Zavala’s after action report somewhere in this book.

  28. Roth wrote “Far from that being a classic maneuver against missiles, I haven’t seen it in any recent battle. ”

    However, the SLN commander knows that the tactic is totally effective against the galaxy’s most advanced war-fighting technology, this being the technology of the Invincible Solarian League Navy. Therefore, there is no need for concern. Inconvenient contrary facts, like the range at which the Manticore Space Barbarians opened fire, are to be shunted aside. After all, she knows her ships are infinitely superior, and her navy is better, too.

    She may, however, wonder why Zavala is not wearing fur and chain mail, and his female crew members are not wearing strategically placed leather straps.

  29. Margo says:

    If KDW is so keen for shower scenes he should swap to John Ringo or Bernard Cornwell – Cornwell is the more misogynistic!

    • Knucklrdraggingwino says:

      If I was as lecherous as I portray myself, I would be a John Norman fan. I read one of the “Gor” books just to find out why they had so much shelf space. Rather pointless. The store owner told me that most of the buyers were women and most of them were “babes.”.

      John Ringo I like (The Last Centurion).
      I also enjoy S&M Sterling (Draka Saga) although I refer to him as “S&M Sterling” because certain scenes are gratuitously disturbing.
      I confess that I was disappointed that Weber chickened out when he wrote “In Enemy Hands.”. If you are going to go there, go there. Otherwise don’t go there.
      Mac Reynolds “Commune 2020” was hilariously gratuitous.

      I enjoy making references to the shower scene in “In the Service of the Sword” but it really wasn’t provocative. The shower scene with Honor Harrington and Pavel Young was disturbing and I guess necessary for that polot element, but it wasn’t a necessary plot element.

      All in all I would rather have some good battle scenes rather than SLN slaughters.

  30. Knucklrdraggingwino says:

    I stopped at The book store today. I got to peruse Shadow of Freedom. I didn’t buy it. This whole battle should have been distilled down to a single paragraph.

  31. ET1swaw aka Rob says:

    Triple digit comments!!!!

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