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Old August 25 2013, 02:52 AM   #184
Crazy Eddie
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Re: So many Mirandas/So few Constitution-refits?

J.T.B. wrote: View Post
Offensive vs. defensive isn't a very useful distinction for a lot of naval combat.
You'd be surprised. The Mk-41 VLS system, for example, comes in three varieties: the "defensive" package, the "tactical" package and "strike" package. IIRC, the only difference between them is the length of the tubes: the "defensive" packs are short enough that they can only carry Standards and Sea Sparrows while the "strike" packages can carry Tomahawks and Harpoons. "Tactical," I believe, is the same as the defensive package except that it can carry extended range Standards and ASROCs.

Crazy Eddie wrote: View Post
Because the nature of torpedo attacks -- particularly in World War-II -- means this is necessarily a counter-attack, which is a type of offensive action. This is such, because firing a torpedo at the enemy immediately forces HIM to go on a defensive footing and take measures to avoid getting killed by your torpedo, either by firing deck guns in an attempt to detonate that torpedo or (if it's too deep or doesn't leave a trail) by taking evasive action to avoid it.
Here we can see the murkiness. For instance the High Seas Fleet at Jutland had its T crossed, abandoned action and basically ran for its life. That would seem to put it on the defensive according to the standard above, trying to prevent its own elimination. But its destroyer screen covers its escape with a torpedo attack, and the Grand Fleet is forced to evade. The defensive force taking offensive action and vice versa.
As I said, in a real battle a military unit will, in part or in whole, switch stances from offensive to defensive and back again multiple times depending on what's going on. As in the example I mentioned upthread: hapless A-4 pilot had to jump from offensive to defensive and wound up flying a toilet bowl where he was basically doing both at the same time.

Every time a starship raises its shields, takes evasive action, shoots down an enemy torpedo or tries to conceal itself, it is taking defensive action and/or assuming a defensive posture. When the same starship arms its weapons, locks weapons on target, fires them or moves to a firing position, it is taking offensive action and/or assuming an offensive posture. Sometimes you can sort of do both at the same time (pivot at warp two, give him all forward tubes as he passes) but in most cases you're considered to be on the offensive if your action is intended to directly neutralize the enemy.
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