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Star Trek - Original Series The one that started it all...

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Old October 5 2012, 10:04 PM   #1
Captain Shatner
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Maneuvering in the Z-Axis...

It has pained me so much when I watch old Star Trek episodes that, not once, does Kirk ever try and go over or under something! Does Starfleet not teach 3-dimensional warfare?

It's actually not just Kirk. Klingons, Romulans, and the like only seem to feel the need to maneuver on the x- and y-axis, neglecting the fact that they can go up and down. If there are any Asimov diehards out there, we know that one of Bel Riose's greatest victories was literally attacking from under a planet!

Yes, yes, I've watched The Wrath of Khan too, don't worry. But, my question is, is there any point in TOS where Kirk (or anybody else) does a combat maneuver on the Z-axis?



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Old October 5 2012, 10:10 PM   #2
EmperorTiberius
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Re: Maneuvering in the Z-Axis...

How do you know they don't? You wouldn't be able to tell which way they are going unless one of the ships is not manuevering. As soon as you try to attack an enemy from below, the enemy would either point its bow towards you, or escape. Their methods of propulsion allow them to go forward/backward, so that's where the torpedo lauchers are, and you would only face an enemy with your front or back. In All Good Things Enterprise does attack from below, but that was because she was cloaked and was able to achieve surprise before Klingons could turn towards her.
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Old October 5 2012, 10:19 PM   #3
Captain Shatner
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Re: Maneuvering in the Z-Axis...

The question is, how fast can the Enterprise execute a dive or point its bow up? Why couldn't Kirk dodge a long-range torpedo by dropping instead of trying maneuver left or right? Consider, also, the advantage in coming in on an attack from an above angle, with your bow pointed straight at the enemy. He would have to point his bow up to fire at you, or try and go directly underneath you!

I guess the question is, why doesn't Kirk pull a Wrath of Khan more often?
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Old October 5 2012, 10:24 PM   #4
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Re: Maneuvering in the Z-Axis...

Captain Shatner wrote: View Post
The question is, how fast can the Enterprise execute a dive or point its bow up? Why couldn't Kirk dodge a long-range torpedo by dropping instead of trying maneuver left or right? Consider, also, the advantage in coming in on an attack from an above angle, with your bow pointed straight at the enemy. He would have to point his bow up to fire at you, or try and go directly underneath you!

I guess the question is, why doesn't Kirk pull a Wrath of Khan more often?
That's what I was trying to say. Klingons could see Enterprise coming at them from millions of km away and would have plenty of time to turn up or down towards Enterprise. This could take place off screen.

I do agree with your torpedo point, though. Wasn't it in Balance of Terror that they tried to go reverse instead of just down? I can only imagine that the ball of plasma was somehow guided so they needed to get away as far as possible.
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Old October 5 2012, 10:52 PM   #5
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Re: Maneuvering in the Z-Axis...

Captain Shatner wrote: View Post
...my question is, is there any point in TOS where Kirk (or anybody else) does a combat maneuver on the Z-axis?
Sure. Off the top of my head, in Balance of Terror, Kirk says of the Romulan ship "They'll try to slip under us." I'll bet there are others.
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Old October 5 2012, 11:25 PM   #6
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Re: Maneuvering in the Z-Axis...

There's another thing to remember, it was apparently different in TOS.

From TWOK onwards into TNG and beyond, we've seen ship battles in unusually close (and probably unrealistic) quarters. In these situations, Z Axis maneuvering would be a factor.

But in TOS, we rarely saw fighting ships in the same frame. This would accurately reflect the ranges, which were often given in tens of thousands of kilometers. This would be well beyond visual range (excluding sensor magnification).

So what I'm supposing is, if the enemy range is 15,000 kilometers, would it make a difference if the enemy vessel is +Z or -Z axis? At those distances, the enemy would have to be thousands and thousands of kilometers above or below.

And in that case, the Enterprise would have to not only Z axis maneuver but likely change course heading (e.g. heading 122 mark 12), and this is just what Kirk did in combat.
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Old October 6 2012, 12:13 AM   #7
A beaker full of death
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Re: Maneuvering in the Z-Axis...

SchwEnt wrote: View Post
we've seen ship battles in unusually close (and probably unrealistic) quarters.
Made me crazy in modern Trek. One can excuse it in TWOK as Khan was aiming to get as close to Kirk as possible, and then they had to be damn close in the nebula to see each other at all.

But in modern Trek, ships are right on top of each other.

TOS was much more realistic in that regard. When ships are firing at each other from kilometers away from each other, they can't see each other with the naked eye.
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Old October 6 2012, 12:57 AM   #8
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Re: Maneuvering in the Z-Axis...

May be countermeasures have advanced so much that they have to be within visual range.
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Old October 6 2012, 02:50 AM   #9
C.E. Evans
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Re: Maneuvering in the Z-Axis...

A beaker full of death wrote: View Post
SchwEnt wrote: View Post
we've seen ship battles in unusually close (and probably unrealistic) quarters.
Made me crazy in modern Trek. One can excuse it in TWOK as Khan was aiming to get as close to Kirk as possible, and then they had to be damn close in the nebula to see each other at all.

But in modern Trek, ships are right on top of each other.

TOS was much more realistic in that regard. When ships are firing at each other from kilometers away from each other, they can't see each other with the naked eye.
I've heard younger Trekkies criticize TOS for that, calling it boring.
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Old October 6 2012, 03:58 AM   #10
Vanyel
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Re: Maneuvering in the Z-Axis...

Hambone wrote: View Post
Captain Shatner wrote: View Post
...my question is, is there any point in TOS where Kirk (or anybody else) does a combat maneuver on the Z-axis?
Sure. Off the top of my head, in Balance of Terror, Kirk says of the Romulan ship "They'll try to slip under us." I'll bet there are others.
And weren't the Tholians building their web around the Enterprise?
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Old October 6 2012, 11:32 AM   #11
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Re: Maneuvering in the Z-Axis...

Captain Shatner wrote: View Post
I guess the question is, why doesn't Kirk pull a Wrath of Khan more often?
Special FX deficiencies, and budget constraints. No other reason.
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Old October 6 2012, 11:26 PM   #12
Captain Shatner
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Re: Maneuvering in the Z-Axis...

Hambone wrote: View Post
Captain Shatner wrote: View Post
...my question is, is there any point in TOS where Kirk (or anybody else) does a combat maneuver on the Z-axis?
Sure. Off the top of my head, in Balance of Terror, Kirk says of the Romulan ship "They'll try to slip under us." I'll bet there are others.
But they don't, do they?
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Old October 6 2012, 11:29 PM   #13
Captain Shatner
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Re: Maneuvering in the Z-Axis...

Perhaps, at the long-range space battles are fought in, vertical maneuvering might be less useful. But, assuming that the Enterprise can move on the Z-Axis even half as quickly as it can move forward or back, that would still mean that it should be able to dodge long-range torpedos or whatnot.

As for countermeasures, did those exist? I've never heard Kirk order Chekhov to activate a countermeasure...
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Old October 6 2012, 11:30 PM   #14
Captain Shatner
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Re: Maneuvering in the Z-Axis...

Vanyel wrote: View Post
Hambone wrote: View Post
Captain Shatner wrote: View Post
...my question is, is there any point in TOS where Kirk (or anybody else) does a combat maneuver on the Z-axis?
Sure. Off the top of my head, in Balance of Terror, Kirk says of the Romulan ship "They'll try to slip under us." I'll bet there are others.
And weren't the Tholians building their web around the Enterprise?
Very true. Out of curiosity, what was that web supposed to do anyways?
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Old October 7 2012, 03:44 AM   #15
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Re: Maneuvering in the Z-Axis...

You people don't really know what the Z axis is, do you? X is left-right, Y is up-down. Z is a corkscrew motion.
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