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Old September 3 2008, 11:40 AM   #16
USS KG5
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Re: A Starfleet?

Deks wrote: View Post
DS9 on the other hand would have you think that SF has about 1500 ships at it's disposal.
Well TNG certainly gave that impression BUT we saw a very confident Federation at peace in TNG, their fleet would be widely spread out over thousands of light years - under these circumstances the fact that when we see fleets assembled we see 40 and 23 starships assembled in a few days suggests a big fleet to me. In Redemption Pt 2 it is actually 23 ships available within one sector!

DS9 suggests a heck of a lot more than 1500 ships. There are fleet sizes mentioned from 112 to over 300 ships at various points, one can argue that the ninth fleet headquarted at DS9 was even bigger (it seems to take on large operations by itself). We know there are at least nine fleets, each with say an average of 200 ships, so at least 1800 just in mobile offensive fleets.

When you take into account the fact Starfleet was willing to commit over 900 ships to a single operation in Favor The Bold, we can assume that this is not 50% of Starfleet, but more like 25% at most IMHO, and we know they still have significant forces on the front lines.

So maybe there are 3000-4000 ships employed directly fighting on the front lines. They still need to do their normal patrols, keep garrisons around to stop other potential enemies and send ships (like the Ent-E) around doing diplomacy and recruiting allies. There must be another 1000 odd ships doing that.

In addition to these 5000 ships there would be all the support vessels, science ships, couriers etc - maybe another 5000 easily (Novas and Oberths would likely be vaguely useless for fighting, and Mirandas like the Lantree would likely be out as well).

Add in the fact that at any one time 20-25% of the fleet would be under repair or refit (even during a war) and would therefore need to be covered in terms of absolute numbers on the front lines.

This makes me think we are talking a peak figure for Starfleet size of about 13-15000 ships as of the Dominion War.
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Old September 3 2008, 12:12 PM   #17
Timo
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Re: A Starfleet?

A couple of details:

We hear of seven fleets only: 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 6th, 7th, 9th and 10th. There are two main possibilities here: either all fleets from 1st to 10th exist, or then only the seven mentioned here do.

Of course, either option can accommodate a couple of additional fleets. Statistically it's possible that we missed mention of the 12th Fleet. But it's less likely that we'd have missed mention of all the fifteen fleets from 11th to 25th.

The average fleet size is probably larger than 200, because the 2nd and 5th Fleets were between themselves able to contribute some 600 ships to retaking DS9, without apparently being present in their entirety (the 2nd had been recently weakened, and in any case Sisko spoke of taking "elements" of the two fleets into action). The 9th was supposed to contribute another 300, apparently, but didn't make it in time.

Possibly all the fleets started out understrength, waiting for the arrival of dispersed assets (vessels on exploration missions) - thus, the 7th would feature barely over a hundred even when going in, and would come out gutted to a tenth of that. Ultimate fighting strength might have been at about half a thousand ships per fleet.

We might also speculate that the fleets were dissimilar in makeup. The 9th that we most often observed might have had more than its share of antiquated vessels (considering that it was deployed in an area of little activity after the wormhole lost its strategic significance, yet close to the enemy so the most modern warp engines wouldn't be essential). All the cool modern designs like the Galaxy-kitbash types from "BoBW" could have been in other fleets that operated elsewhere across greater distances.

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Old September 3 2008, 01:03 PM   #18
USS KG5
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Re: A Starfleet?

Timo wrote: View Post
We hear of seven fleets only: 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 6th, 7th, 9th and 10th. There are two main possibilities here: either all fleets from 1st to 10th exist, or then only the seven mentioned here do.
While your point is valid I would imagine these are specific fleets created for the war, numbered sequentially from 1-10, or as you say maybe as high as 12.

Of course, either option can accommodate a couple of additional fleets. Statistically it's possible that we missed mention of the 12th Fleet. But it's less likely that we'd have missed mention of all the fifteen fleets from 11th to 25th.
Unless these are deployed on far-distant fronts or protecting planets that saw little action, if the 3rd fleet protected Earth other planets (Andor, Vulcan for example) might also justify a numbered fleet protecting them, the 7th was later assigned to Betazed for example at one point. Even accepting that it is unlikely the starships protecting every Federation homeworld justified their own fleets, there is room for a few fleets floating around.

That said I tend to agree the fighting, mobile offensive force of Starfleet consisted of around a dozen fleets.

The average fleet size is probably larger than 200, because the 2nd and 5th Fleets were between themselves able to contribute some 600 ships to retaking DS9, without apparently being present in their entirety (the 2nd had been recently weakened, and in any case Sisko spoke of taking "elements" of the two fleets into action). The 9th was supposed to contribute another 300, apparently, but didn't make it in time.
Agreed - there is a great deal of room for interpretation here, at 500 ships per fleet at their peak, this could easily be 6,000 combat ready ships.

We might also speculate that the fleets were dissimilar in makeup. The 9th that we most often observed might have had more than its share of antiquated vessels (considering that it was deployed in an area of little activity after the wormhole lost its strategic significance, yet close to the enemy so the most modern warp engines wouldn't be essential). All the cool modern designs like the Galaxy-kitbash types from "BoBW" could have been in other fleets that operated elsewhere across greater distances.
Agreed- it is also possible that some designs leant themselves to other work, the Sovereigns to long-range lone diplomacy, the Intrepids to high speed courier and espionage work, and so on.
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Old September 4 2008, 02:18 AM   #19
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Re: A Starfleet?

USS KG5 wrote: View Post
JNG wrote: View Post
There are probably between five and eight thousand ships of the line in Starfleet in TNG era. Before the Dominion War, it is probably around the higher figure, and afterwards it's probably the lower figure.
See I don't get this idea that the Federation had fewer ships in commission at the end of the war.

Historically wartime fleets are always massively larger than their peacetime equivalents. Even Starfleet has some limitations on resources, and cannot have fleets of 500 ships each sitting around in peacetime.

I would expect Starfleet probably doubled in size during the Dominion War, probably lost overall around 3000 odd ships of all sizes by the end, but would likely have built as many if not more.
You are probably right that serious ship-building efforts were underway, and I was trying to account for the fact that they appeared to be getting really pasted. However, Starfleet doubling during the war seems incredibly unlikely when you factor in said pasting with the fact that it typically appears to take a lot more than two years to build a starship. In Best of Both Worlds, Shelby appears to be suggesting that it will optimistically take less than a year to repair or replace the thirty-nine ships lost at Wolf 359. I can't reconcile this with building many thousands of ships per year, especially measured against losses of ships and shipyards.

As for the 5000-8000 figure, that came from conversation with Ron Moore, and he claimed it sprung from some DS9 writers' room discussions on the topic. While his contribution on tech issues is usually nil, I think it's a solid figure
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Old September 4 2008, 04:37 AM   #20
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Re: A Starfleet?

I think it's kept vague precisely because of nit-pickers like us with a thousand different opinions on how large the Federation Starfleet's forces are. I'd guess by the TNG era, there are thousands of ships, and TOS, maybe less than a hundred. -- RR
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Old September 5 2008, 09:24 PM   #21
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Re: A Starfleet?

If you think about the vastness of space and how the Federation covered or explored roughly a fourth of the galaxy, they should have at least 8,000 ships to defend themselves. But my guess is that before Wolf 359, they weren't serious about ship building.
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Old September 6 2008, 01:32 PM   #22
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Re: A Starfleet?

JNG wrote: View Post
As for the 5000-8000 figure, that came from conversation with Ron Moore, and he claimed it sprung from some DS9 writers' room discussions on the topic. While his contribution on tech issues is usually nil, I think it's a solid figure
I've read that Moore also considered that Starfleet could be up to 30,000 starships.

Augustus wrote: View Post
If you think about the vastness of space and how the Federation covered or explored roughly a fourth of the galaxy, they should have at least 8,000 ships to defend themselves. But my guess is that before Wolf 359, they weren't serious about ship building.
In TNG didn't they say the Federation only had explored a tenth of the galaxy? Maybe it was in a book or something.
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Old September 6 2008, 09:32 PM   #23
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Re: A Starfleet?

^Rofeta, you're correct, in "Encounter At Farpoint" Picard said 10 percent of the galaxy had been explored.

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Old September 7 2008, 02:29 PM   #24
Timo
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Re: A Starfleet?

...And in "The Dauphin", Wesley spoke of 19 %. Although the definition of "explored" is no doubt rather flexible, and in all probability only about 1% of the volume has actually been visited by crewed starships or scanned directly by their rather short-ranged sensors.

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Old September 7 2008, 03:26 PM   #25
BigC
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Re: A Starfleet?

Remember. It's not just ships, but crews as well. How many Ensigns does Star Fleet Academy graduate each year?
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Old September 7 2008, 05:57 PM   #26
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Re: A Starfleet?

I think DS-9 is an exception that should be ignored. In all the rest of Trek it's implied that ships are in short supply and each one is precious. In ST1 the Enterprise is rushed out of construction to meet the Vgr threat solo. In TNG only 39 ships are available to intercept the Borg cube with Picard aboard.

It's only in DS-9’s Dominion War we start hearing about hundreds and perhaps thousands of ships. My thought is the writers got carried away with hyperbole and wanted to make the battles sound epic. They didn't sit back and realize how they screwed up Trek canon and how it doesn’t fit in with the rest of the Trek universe.
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Old September 7 2008, 06:23 PM   #27
USS KG5
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Re: A Starfleet?

JNG wrote: View Post
You are probably right that serious ship-building efforts were underway, and I was trying to account for the fact that they appeared to be getting really pasted.
The Dominion had both a tactical and strategic initiative in the early days of the war. When they lost this they seemed to be significantly outnumbered by the alpha powers and started to lose the war.

However, Starfleet doubling during the war seems incredibly unlikely when you factor in said pasting with the fact that it typically appears to take a lot more than two years to build a starship.
Two points: -

1. I don't remember any on-screen references indicating it takes two years to build a ship. The only evidence is the Galaxy class, or more accurately the first few, which were prototypes and also rather large, so bound to take longer.
2. In wartime they would chuck out ships poorly finished, with no labs fitted and packing extra phasers and torpedoes in order to get them to the front lines. I doubt many war-build ships did not require heavy refitting when it finished.

Also - in WW2 the Royal Navy built many quick-and-dirty corvettes in the early years of the war, supplemented at the end by full-spec frigates that served long after the war. Starfleet might have done the same, at the start of the war we see many Steamrunners and at the end a lot more Akiras and Nebulas.

In Best of Both Worlds, Shelby appears to be suggesting that it will optimistically take less than a year to repair or replace the thirty-nine ships lost at Wolf 359.
Actually - she says "We'll have the fleet back up in LESS than a year" (emphasis mine) - that to me reads a year, at most, in peacetime when it would not have the same emphasis as it does at war to replace the lost 39 ships, presumably without affecting other shipbuilding efforts.

As for the 5000-8000 figure, that came from conversation with Ron Moore, and he claimed it sprung from some DS9 writers' room discussions on the topic. While his contribution on tech issues is usually nil, I think it's a solid figure
It is a perfectly solid figure, at the higher end at least. But that does not have much to do with shipbuilding in wartime.
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Old September 7 2008, 06:33 PM   #28
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Re: A Starfleet?

Brolan wrote: View Post
I think DS-9 is an exception that should be ignored.
Errr... No - it is the only series where we see the wartime Starfleet, you can't just ignore it because it doesn't fit!

In all the rest of Trek it's implied that ships are in short supply and each one is precious. In ST1 the Enterprise is rushed out of construction to meet the Vgr threat solo.
Well in any one sector of space at any one time sure, you forget how big space is. It is not comparable in real terms to the oceans of the 19th century, even with warp speed taken into account. If one even one axis it is 8,000 light years across Federation space is massive, and that does not take account of the presumably dozens of ships (usually the best ones) off exploring.

In TNG only 39 ships are available to intercept the Borg cube with Picard aboard.
Considering they were assembled in less than a week - thats a heck of a lot.

It's only in DS-9’s Dominion War we start hearing about hundreds and perhaps thousands of ships. My thought is the writers got carried away with hyperbole and wanted to make the battles sound epic. They didn't sit back and realize how they screwed up Trek canon and how it doesn’t fit in with the rest of the Trek universe.
Not at all - Starfleet was just brought together in that war, not spread over thousands of light years - how does that not fit with canon?
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Old September 7 2008, 07:07 PM   #29
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Re: A Starfleet?

I think DS9 fits in with the rest of the TNG era depictions of starfleet's strength pretty well; in Emissary, the only ships capable of responding is the Enterprise (which just left), and a few Oberths that show up in the end FX shot. When Sisko goes missing, the Odyessy (which happened to be on it's way there anyway) is the only ship to respond. Even up to Way of the Warrior, when DS9 needed reinforcements, Starfleet could only send 6 ships that also showed up after most of the party was finished with. You don't start seeing large groups of Starfleet ships until the 'cold war' simmers for a while, and really kicks off in Call to Arms, even during the skirmishes with the Klingons.

You have to remember, that even with thousands of starships, the galaxy (or even just the part the Federation is operating in) is still a pretty big place, so even those thousands of ships are spread out to the point that when there's a big crisis without much warning, it's hard to get too many to the point of crisis in time to matter. But in the 6 months to a year the Federation had to gear up for the Dominion War, it's very likely that a great deal of the Starfleet that was off in the sticks got recalled and concentrated in the lead up to the fall of DS9, in addition to stepping up wartime construction of ships that could be ready and useful for the war to come, with other less useful projects being cancelled or put on hold (Lot of precedent for that; several battleship and large carrier projects got cancelled in the lead up to and the start of WWII by all powers involved, and likewise saw a lot of 'kitbash' conversions like the Independence CVLs, CVEs, and mass produced escorts).
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Old September 7 2008, 07:13 PM   #30
Timo
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Re: A Starfleet?

Also, the DS9 kind of thinking was already there in TNG. The VFX people could not afford to show more than four ships at once, but the writers always described fleets consisting of dozens of vessels, while making the point that such fleets were still pitifully small compared with what was expected of a true warfleet ("BoBW" and "Redemption"). A combat formation in TNG was supposed to be hundreds of starships strong - it was just that the writers created situations that prevented the heroes from assembling a combat formation, so that the VFX people wouldn't need to show it.

In DS9, this was actually reversed to a degree. The writers remained conservative about how many ships they could expect on screen, but the VFX people could afford to show basically an unlimited number. Thus, the kill tally verbally given in "Way of the Warrior" is rather conservative vis-á-vis what we actually see, and the dialogue that describes Sisko leading combat formations from aboard the Defiant often refers to smaller-scale, slower-paced action than what is shown.

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