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Old August 11 2013, 01:36 AM   #110
Crazy Eddie
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Re: So many Mirandas/So few Constitution-refits?

J.T.B. wrote: View Post
Which means guided missile cruisers of the early/mid 1960s operated the same way as starships: guns at close range, missiles at longer range. This is very much UNLIKE the WW-II analogy, where guns are used at medium range and torpedoes ... are used at suicidally close range
In TOS, phaser guns were used from as close as 50m to 75,000km and beyond - which also was about the same as their photon torpedoes. Their "specific constraints" that gave them variable power output and equal ability to destroy gives them a flexibility not present in any 1960 (or WW2) comparison. (Well, the torpedoes in TOS and presumably TMP were weaker than the phasers, but I digress.)
These comparisons break down because they aren't good parallels. A torpedo was a ship killer, or at least had a good chance at knocking one out of the game with one hit. Unlike photon torpedoes.

The primary ship-board guided missiles in the '60s were SAMs because enemy aircraft, booming along at 10 or 15 times a surface vessel's speed, were a greater danger to surface warships (and especially the carriers that DLGs, CLGs, DDGs escorted) than other surface warships. Not really good Trek parallels there.

Photon torpedoes were originally supposed to be more like torpedoes, depth charges or mines as the plot required. But as it developed, for real-world comparisons, it's more like the age of sail and phasers are guns, and photon torpedoes are a guns with a few tricks.
The reason I used the guided missile comparison is that even in the 1960s they were finding ways to direct those SAMs at surface targets, primarily because their guns were puny and weak and both naval officers and casual observers were wondering what the hell a missile cruiser was supposed to do if another warship started attacking it (this was before the Harpoon and the Exocet, of course).

The navy advertised the fact that the missiles COULD be used against surface targets (and they still do) but stopped short of admitting that they are not at all reliable in that role (and, again, still do).

My thinking at this point is that phasers and torpedoes overlap way too much in terms of what they're used for and some effort should be made to separate their uses. In STXI in particular, we see phasers as a kind of "dual purpose" type weapon whose main advantage is their high accuracy and their ability to hit moving targets like enemy missiles or fighter craft; photon torpedoes would be exclusively offensive/antiship weapons, which means they should be the first (possibly only) choice for engaging another starship.
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