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Old April 20 2009, 07:13 PM   #181
Praetor
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Re: Excelsior Technical Manual - Revived!

kitsune wrote: View Post
But we know what really happened
What really happened? This is an official Starfleet publication.

kitsune wrote: View Post
Wouldn't they all be outclassed? Well, except for maybe the Lakota.
Quite right - not sure what I was originally going for there.

kitsune wrote: View Post
Praetor wrote: View Post
and the class's attrition rate peaked at nearly forty percent.
What does that mean? 40% of the ships were lost in a typical engagement?
Not typically - rather it was meant to suggest that the attrition rate fluctuated through the war, and that it was 40% at its highest. I imagined in my own head it averaged around 25%-30%. I shall edit accordingly.

Okay, fixed.

Chapter Ten - War

The Dominion War saw the last (and largest) deployment of Excelsiors in a wide-scale combat role. At the war's onset in 2373, over 300 Excelsiors were in still service, with over 150 more in varying states of repair sitting decommissioned in surplus yards. The Federation and Klingons were initially forced to go on the defensive, although they struck a major victory at the onset by destroying the Dominion shipyards of Torros III. Starfleet took surprisingly heavy casualties, and quickly discovered that it needed more ships than it had. To accomodate, numerous decommissioned ships were reconditioned and recommissioned, including the decommissioned Excelsiors and even including some Constitution class ships that had been mothballed for over forty years. Some 'jigsaw' builds were launched without even being given a proper name, although they were later given informal names by their crews. Excelsior class ships formed the backbone of the cruiser divisions of every fleet in every major battle of the war. Most were pulled from their regular assignments in Federation space, while some were redeployed along the Federation border opposite the front, to ensure other governments would not try to take advantage of the situation. In cases like the U.S.S. Farragut, the Excelsior-class predecessor replaced her Nebula-class successor after she was lost in action.

The Federation and Klingons achieved their first real victory in 2374 by retaking station Deep Space Nine at the mouth of the Bajoran worhmole. Still, they struggled to hold their own. The Dominion managed to occupy Betazed. Not since the Romulan War of two centuries prior had the fighting reached the doorstep of the Federation's founding worlds. The capture of Betazed put many of them in danger, including Earth, Vulcan, Tellar, and Andoria. The Federation was able to convince the Romulans to join their alliance, and with their added firepower began to put the Dominion on the defensive. Sadly, the Excelsior class ships that saw combat with the Dominion were greatly outclassed, and their attrition rate peaked at nearly 40%, averaging between 20% and 30%. Nonetheless, yard engineers kept patching the surviving ships back together and sending them back into the fray, where they served valiantly against their Dominion foes. Even the destroyed Excelsiors proved valuable, as the class's modularity continued to prove an asset; salvaged wrecks provided repair components for their sisters. Some were even combined and rebuilt into 'new' ships. Even the U.S.S. Excelsior herself was not safe from the fighting. Two of the oldest Excelsiors in service continued to beat the odds: the U.S.S. Repulse and the U.S.S. Shras were both part of the original production group from the 2290s and served with distinction on the front. Both ships escaped destruction in battle after battle as newer, more capable ships fell around them.

In 2375, the Breen Confederacy entered the war on the side of the Dominion, and launched a surprise attack on Starfleet Headquarters on Earth. When the Breen fleet reached the Sol System, they achieved almost complete surprise. Only the contingent of the Third Fleet permanently assigned to the sector stood between the Breen and Earth. Among the 45 ships that stood to face the Breen was the 90-year-old Excelsior. Although outnumbered more than two to one, the ships simply could not allow the Breen to reach Earth; the powerful warships in their fleet could devastate the planet and leave it virtually uninhabitable. The battle was fierce. Breen warships stalled the fleet while fighters penetrated the defensive perimeter and made their way to Earth. Earth defenses mounted a worthy opposition, and destroyed many of the fighters before they reached Earth, but some were able to enter the atmosphere and attack San Francisco. Fifteen Starfleet ships were destroyed, and Excelsior, under the command of a relatively inexperienced captain, assumed command of the fleet. By outflanking and dividing the enemy, Starfleet was able to destroy most of the Breen warships, and force the surviving ships to retreat. The remaining Starfleet ships returned to Earth to assist in emergency response efforts as reinforcements arrived to guard against a second attack wave.

The Breen's entry to the war marked another shift in fortune. After the Breen attack on Earth, the Dominion launched a devastating attack to re-take the Chin'toka system where the Breen first deployed energy dampening weapons capable of disabling allied ships. The entire fleet sent to counter the Dominion incursion in Chin'toka was destroyed, including fifty Excelsior class starships. Thus, the Dominion again had the allies on the defensive as scientists struggled to find a way to counteract the Breen weapons, leaving only the Klingons, whose ships could easily be modified to be immune to the Breen weapons, to hold the front. However, the acquisition of a Jem'Hadar vessel provided a means to devise a countermeasure to the energy dampening weapons. All Starfleet ships, including the surviving Excelsiors, had their entire shield systems reconfigured. By this time, approximately 300 Excelsior class ships still remained in operation.

Able to resist the Breen weapon, the allies were able to put the Dominion on the defensive again, forcing the Dominion to withdraw to Cardassian space. The Federation and her allies knew that this would buy the Dominion all the time they needed to rebuild their fleets unless the war ended then and there. At the cost of many lives, the allies penetrated Cardassian space and began the Battle of Cardassia. The tide of battle turned when the Cardassian fleet turned against the Dominion, and ultimately the Founders surrendered. The Treaty of Bajor ended the war, but much work would be needed to pick up the pieces.
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