Describe if you will, a "real" Star Trek battle...

Discussion in 'Trek Tech' started by Angry Fanboy, Nov 20, 2012.

  1. Angry Fanboy

    Angry Fanboy Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Putting aside for a moment the way combat is depicted on screen, due to the necessity of having both ships in shot and so on, what would a "real" Star Trek battle play out like given the supposed 300,000+ kilometre ranges of starship phasers and photon torpedoes, and the ability of combatants to change position at faster-than-light speeds.

    A short exchange involving massive amounts of phaser and photon torpedo fire across a wide gulf in the hopes of overwhelming an enemy's shields before they overwhelm your own perhaps?

    What do you think?
     
  2. Forbin

    Forbin Admiral Admiral

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    TACTICAL: "Klingon battlecruiser detected at extreme range... they've fired. Six torpedoes inbound. Four minutes to impact."

    VIEWSCREEN SHOWS ANIMATED PLOT OF TORPEDO TRACKS.

    CAPTAIN: "Countermeasures."

    DECOY DRONES LAUNCH, EACH LOCKING ONTO A TORPEDO AND EITHER DISTRACTING IT OR CAUSING IT TO DETONATE. MEANWHILE THE SHIP BEGINS EMITTING SIGNALS TO CONFOUND THE TORPEDOS' GUIDANCE SYSTEMS.

    CAPTAIN: "Maximum shields and Evasive maneuvers. Let's get out of those torpedoes' way just in case. Weapons officer. Can we get a lock on the Klingon?"

    WEPS: "Negative, they've cloaked."

    CAPTAIN: "Okay. Torpedo spread, maximum dispersal based on his position when he fired."

    A DOZEN TORPS LAUNCH. MINUTES LATER, THOUSAND OF CUBIC MILES OF SPACE IS BATHED IN ANTIMATTER EXPLOSIONS.

    TACTICAL: "No joy, sir. He's not there any more."

    CAPTAIN: "Continue evasive pattern. Let's not give him an easy lock. Stand by torpedoes and phasers. Weps, you fire the second he pops up, don't wait for my order."

    WEPS: "Aye, sir."

    TACTICAL: "Klingon decloaking at-"

    WEPS: "Torpedoes away."

    SIX TORPS REACH OUT

    TAC: "He's launching too. Phasers auto-engaging enemy torps."

    THE ANIMATED TACTICAL PLOT ON THE SCREEN SHOWS THE ENEMY TORPS EXPLODING FROM PHASERS AS OUR TORPS PASS THEM GOING THE OTHER WAY. THE KLINGON SHIP TURNS INTO A FORMLESS BLOB AS OUR TORPS HIT. BUT ONE ENEMY TORP...

    TAC: "Missed one, sir!"

    THE SHIP ROCKS.

    CAP: "Damage?"

    TAC: "Forward shield... down by 10 %. No damage. Sorry about that, sir."

    CAP: "No worries. Coffee, yoeman?"

    YOEMAN: "yes it is, sir."
     
  3. SchwEnt

    SchwEnt Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I'd think a "real" ST battle would employ much of what is used in today's combat (and I'm no professional warfighter).

    The actual visual firing of weapons would only be a small part of the combat. Combat would be at thousands of kilometers range, all beyond visual range. There would be extensive sensor tracking, sensor jamming, re-acquiring.

    There'd be C3 interference, electronic attacks on the enemy to prevent his ability to launch an attack or pose a threat. A variation of the prefix code ruse Kirk used in TWOK.

    When weapons were fired, there'd be countermeasures and other means of defense other than taking the hit and falling down on the bridge.

    Of course, much of this isn't visually exciting for the screen, weapons fire and hit FX make the kewl factor.

    But then again, the non-visual component of combat can be dramatically tense and exciting if well written.
     
  4. sojourner

    sojourner Admiral Admiral

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    From what I understand the real Star Trek battles involved getting Gene to approve the story ideas the writers came up with.
     
  5. Saturn0660

    Saturn0660 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I would say you are just about right on the money with that.
     
  6. GreenBlood

    GreenBlood Captain Captain

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    Setting aside ships, phasers and torpedos. Some of the realest battles occur on the bridge of the Enterprise. For instance, in TMP when Decker competes with Kirk for command of the bridge..Decker: "...This how I define unwarranted...!!!!"
     
  7. Mister_Atoz

    Mister_Atoz Commander Red Shirt

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    I actually think the Honor Harrington novels, though not Star Trek actually get quite close to what you are describing. Just replace sidewalls and impeller wedges with Deflector Shields, laserhead missiles with photon torpedoes and their graser weapons as phasers.
     
  8. Forbin

    Forbin Admiral Admiral

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    Agreed. Weber does the battle very convincingly.
    If only he wouldn't babble on about fictional politics for chapters on end... :)
     
  9. sojourner

    sojourner Admiral Admiral

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    ^Or turned the main character into such a Mary Sue.
     
  10. Relayer1

    Relayer1 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I can shorten the previous example (and the whole show).

    Teaser :

    Klingon Cruiser detected at extreme range Captain. It's turning to an intercept course, weapons hot...

    Opening Credits

    The Klingon has opened fire Captain !

    'Increase speed by, oh, 10%. And fetch me a sandwich...'

    End Credits
     
  11. publiusr

    publiusr Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Well if you have good intel--good spies--all you need are shield frequencies, your transporter, and a bomb.

    There goes a whole fleet
     
  12. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    When it is between two evenly matched ships:
    Both detect each other, raise shields and arm weapons. They close to firing range, exchange fire and realize that they're evenly matched. They call it a tie and withdraw unless one ship makes a mistake that the other one can capitalize on.
    When one ship outmatches the other:
    Refer to the opening battle of "The Errand of Mercy" or the USS Phoenix vs Cardassian warship in "The Wounded". :)
     
  13. Saturn0660

    Saturn0660 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    There used to be a really cool SFB website with SSD's and shit like that.. But what I really liked was the story page that had some short "battle" stories.
     
  14. AmbassadorKosh

    AmbassadorKosh Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Forbin, that is a fantastic description of a battle. It has tension and excitement in spades. Cudos.
     
  15. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Mostly agreed with Forbin, except I've been toying with the idea about how to use warp and impulse engines at this speed, in addition to shields and deflectors. I doubt the engagement would really be as simple as "hit him before he hits you." Your Klingon attacker might take several hits and chose to disengage, but if he's really pissed off you're going to still be fighting him for another ten minutes before one of you can claim victory.

    I figure out it's like swords and arrows. (Bear with me on this one) at long range, you can shoot torpedoes at the other guy (arrows) or close to short range and hammer him with phasers (swords). Sword duels are only quick and brutal when they don't involve armor or some protection; if you have a short sword in one hand and a shield in the other, it might take you a minute to get past that shield and get some good happy stabbing done. So, exactly what tactic you use depends on what the other guy is equipped with. Someone with, say, deflector screens tied into his warp drive is going to be able to repel your torpedoes almost indefinitely, so you're going to have to get in close with phasers and either knock out his deflectors or force him to transfer that power to his engines just to get away from you. At that point, you either finish him off with the phasers, or you let him get some distance and hit him with torpedoes (or both). If he's got a lot of heavy armor, you don't have a choice: a phaser or torpedo strike will have to hit him in a sensitive spot to do any damage.

    Starship combat would probably degenerate into knife fight ranges more often than you'd expect, as ships get closer and closer in an attempt to thwart each other's defenses and make more of their own shots hit. Jumping back out to a distance -- if the other guy gives you time -- can give you a chance to catch your breath and regroup before pressing the attack again, but the nature of heavy shielding and deflectors means it's still more likely to be a sword fight than a sniper duel.
     
  16. KamenRiderBlade

    KamenRiderBlade Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    One of the reasons I figure why nobody ties their deflector dish directly to the power line of their warp core is if there is any feedback due to overloading the shield, that feedback might take out the warp core and the ship itself. That's probably why all shields are on it's own large capacitor. Should the shield go down, or get overloaded, it won't take out the ship.

    I do agree with your analogy in the general sense, the details and reasoning of why you do the things you do is where I would differ.

    Fighting at Super long Range (> 100 km)
    PROs:
    - Harder for enemy to hit you in general
    - A small amount of movement in any direction that is perpendicular to your enemy can cause them to miss energy weapon shots.
    - Gives you more time to shoot down Torpedoes or other slow moving projectiles
    - More time to recover from damage and solve any crisis due to damage
    - Easy to protect the weak side of your shields just by rotating yourself so the enemy doesn't have a clear shot at the gap in your shields.
    - Easy for the side with a worse situation to run away or prolong the fight.
    CONs:
    - Incredibly hard to target a specific subsystem if the enemy just chooses to rotate their vessel so that the weak side of the shields isn't exposed.
    - Incredibly easy to miss if the enemy pilot knows how to dodge.
    - The fight becomes a war of attrition, any side with not enough resources will lose.
    - Both sides are vulnerable to torpedoes with large explosive area should they choose to employ such weapons. Modern nukes have huge area of effect, if any side chooses to field such weapon, both sides may be screwed.

    So the advantages of fighting at close range (<= 10 km):
    PROs:
    - Easy to hit subsystems or weak side of shields.
    - Easy to position yourself around the opponent, especially if you killed the weapon banks on one side, all you have to do is stay in their blind spot.
    - Gives the weaker side less time to recover
    - Harder to miss in general
    - Discourages both sides from using wide area of effect explosives without fear of taking damage themselves.
    - You can tractor the weakened foe to make it harder to escape.
    - Once you knock down their shields on one side, you can easily beam over assault parties to capture their ship.
    CONs:
    - Easy to be hit in your own subsystems or weak side of shields.
    - Easy to for the enemy to position themselves around you, especially if your weapon banks on one side are dead, all they have to do is stay in your blind spot.
    - Harder to hide the weak sides of any shields since travel distance to face a weak side of any shields is significantly shorter.
    - If the enemy looks weakened but is still strong enough that they can cripple your FTL engines and STL engines, they can commit double suicide by overloading their power source and take you out with them should they be desperate enough.


    Alot of times I doubt any fight in the Star Trek Universe would stay at long ranges. There are just too many good reasons to get close and take risks.
     
  17. Angry Fanboy

    Angry Fanboy Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Angry Fanboy

    Thanks for the input everyone! :)

    Personally I can't help thinking that the sort of combat between starships we're discussing would take place so rapidly that people playing out the whole 'shields up', 'lock on', 'fire phasers' scenario would be extremely unlikely.

    Starships able to travel at faster-than and near light-speed velocities, firing phaser beams and so forth would doubtless be handled better by computers than by people?

    Put the immense processing power of these computers to use analysing the opponent and calculating the best strategy in a fraction of a second and so on?
     
  18. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    I think to some extent computers are always leveraged during combat. They automatically put up shields and buys the crew time to react to the emergency.

    From "Errand of Mercy":
    SULU: Captain, the automatic deflector screen just popped on. Body approaching.
    KIRK: Configuration, Mister Sulu.
    (Enterprise struck almost immediately by torpedo like objects)
    KIRK: Phaser banks, lock on. Return fire. Maintain firing rate. One hundred percent dispersal pattern.
    (Enterprise trades fire with Klingon ship)
    SPOCK: We've hit him, Captain. He's hurt.
    KIRK: Damage control, report to the first officer.
    SULU: Captain, the other ship doesn't register. Only drifting debris. We got him.
    From "Arena"
    KIRK: Then we've got them. Go to Red Alert. Prepare to fire phaser banks. Sensors, lock on. Mister Sulu, continue closing.
    Mister Spock, lock phasers into computer. Computers will control attack.
    SPOCK: Computer lock ready, Captain. All systems standing by.​
     
  19. Forbin

    Forbin Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Angry Fanboy

    Good point! So a space battle might play out more like this:

    TACTICAL: "Captain, there's..."
    WHAM! BANG! SHUDDER!
    CAPTAIN: "What just happened?"
    TACTICAL: "Um. Errrr...."

    :)
     
  20. Nero's Shadow

    Nero's Shadow Captain Captain

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    I'm assuming they would use naval tactics I know space would be different but, ship engagments would be and could be at different distances close or long I'm assuming more damage could be done at close range IMO.

    We have to look at modern naval engagments I'm assuming these would be at long distances nowadays with the range of missiles and warheads and torpedoes !!!
     

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