How are the various torpedoes scaled?

Discussion in 'Trek Tech' started by SicOne, May 9, 2014.

  1. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2012
    Location:
    USS Berlin
    ^^ Sorry, sounds to me like like another retcon maneuver.

    It's inconclusive whether the "blast damage" in "Errand of Mercy" was inflicted by photon torpedos. The Klingon Battlecruiser weaponry TOS featured were disruptors, torpedos didn't show up until TAS and/or TMP.

    If you actually compare the size of the torpedo launchers in TMP, it looks like the opening in the TOS Battlecruiser's bow originally contained a sensor-deflector.

    I'm pretty sure that was the original intention.

    Bob
     
  2. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2003
    I'd argue that "shields not a concern" means "shields not effective" - half a dozen Klingon torps slamming into the saucer caused hull buckling because the shields didn't stop them from doing so. "Errand of Mercy" thus should count as evidence for strong Klingon torpedoes (or whatever those unspecified balls of light were, but I see no good reason to assume anything but photon torpedoes).

    In retrospect, it would make the best sense to assume that this attack was by a vessel comparable to the Bird of Prey or the Raptor. That is, a very small ship with heavy torpedo armament and a cloaking device - explaining how she can surprise our heroes, inflict damage, and be immediately destroyed by return fire. The classic WWI or WWII torpedo-boat-against-cruiser(-at-night) battle there... With overtones of the Cold War, where a Soviet sub would invisibly shadow a western ship in peacetime and try to sink her the very moment war is declared.

    Or then they just stole the name, and slapped that onto their own antimatter torpedoes because they don't want to sound like hicks when discussing hardware with other starfaring cultures.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  3. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2010
    How would they be "strong" torpedoes when the shields were never brought down? The amount of damage was "minor" and when you compare it to other attacks of significant power where systems were knocked out those 6 or 7 Klingon torpedoes were very weak.
    KIRK: All hands, maintain general alert. Hold battle stations. Damage report, Mister Spock.
    SPOCK: Minor, Captain. We were most fortunate. Blast damage in decks ten and eleven, minor buckling in the antimatter pods, casualties very light.
    Compare that to the S3 Enterprise torpedoes where 5 or 6 took down a battlecruiser's shields and caused damage:
    SULU: Direct hit amidships by photon torpedo.
    SPOCK: Damage to Klingon number three shield. Number four shield obliterated. Loss of manoeuvre power.
    CHEKOV: He's badly damaged, Captain. Continuing away at reduced speed.
    As far as the Klingon torpedoes in "Errand of Mercy", they were never identified as "photon torpedoes". Kirk blurts out "magnetic pulses" or something like that but that's it. Still, those could be "photon torpedoes" but we'll never know for sure. And we're never told of what kind of Klingon ship this was. Given how easily a Klingon Battlecruiser was damaged by photon torpedoes in "Elaan of Troyius" the more powerful phasers would've been more lethal in this situation so the "Errand of Mercy" ship could've been anything from a small scout or destroyer to a cruiser. Cloak need not apply if the ship opened fired as soon as it warped into sensor and firing range.
     
  4. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2008
    Location:
    #istandwithcbs
    Photon torpedoes themselves are a retcon. Originally they were "proximity blast" mode on phasers, remember?
     
  5. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2010
    Nah. We see in "The Adversary" phasers set to fire "expanding energy pulses" that look like "proximity blast" phaser fire.
     
  6. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2003
    But shields were brought down: they failed to protect the ship. That they bounced back up, pretending that nothing had happened, is what shields usually do.

    I'd rather say that Spock's emotional rambling about "fortune" is evidence enough that the heroes avoided death by the narrowest of margins: had the antimatter pods buckled more than that, there'd be no starship left to do a damage assessment on. :devil:

    Right. But the VFX was that of photon torpedoes, so I say it's fairly logical to go with that, and a bit convoluted to go with something else.

    Although "magnetic pulses" (as a name of a weapon, or as an observed effect thereof) would also go nicely with Kruge's green torpedoes, which caused minor charring (perhaps "buckling", too) but major "systems effects" including sparkles and loss of control over various weapons and other systems.

    But a cloak is compatible with overall continuity, and makes our heroes look less incompetent. The ship supposedly was prepared for battle, as full-scale war was imminent, and in the general case the heroes were capable of observing the approach of an enemy vessel from afar.

    Agreed that this could have been almost any sort of an adversary. But the smaller, the better - not merely in tactical terms, but in dramatic ones, as Kirk then kills fewer people in the episode. Plus, it's better for the Klingons to remain a threat overall: defeat of a small ship would not mean Kirk can walk over all Klingon opponents with ease. Etc.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  7. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2010
    That requires a bit of creative license since that wasn't depicted in the episode, don't you think? At no point were the shields said to be strained or that they went down.

    Of course that simply might have been that the Klingon torpedoes struck near the warp nacelles or the torpedo bays or that the shields fortunately came on before the first hit landed.

    Hold up there. The original VFX showed a energy ball hitting the saucer. Has there been any TOS episode that named those as "photon torpedoes"?

    Speaking of other torpedoes, 8 other Klingon ships (Kor's task force) attacked the Enterprise in orbit and the hits we see on the Enterprise caused none of the shaking as the earlier attack.

    If you're bringing up overall continuity then a cloaked attack isn't compatible at all since a cloaked ship decloaks and attacks at point-blank range. This didn't happen because the deflectors came on as it detected the Klingon ship approaching (not said to be decloaking). That's usually for ships far away.

    A ship barreling in at warp speed in TOS might give a stopped defending ship only seconds to raise shields upon detection before being fired upon. Hardly any reason to claim incompetency.

    That would be true except that later in the same episode the Enterprise isn't shaken by torpedo fire from Kor's eight ships. As far as Enterprise superiority over Klingon opponents, it does appear that way in TOS that no single Battlecruiser was a match for her. IMHO.
     
  8. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2003
    Absolutely not. If the ship is hurt, then the shields have failed - protecting the ship is the sole job of the shields. It takes creative license to think of ways in which the shields could take a coffee break while the ship is being destroyed.

    Indeed. But where you hit is significant in every battle, apparently, because similar levels of firepower create dissimilar effects. It's "fortunate" that the heroes sometimes manage to disable enemy weapons or engines or perhaps their shield generators, and "fortunate" if the enemy doesn't manage to do the same - but fortune enters the picture because half a dozen hits from torps, or a good one from phasers, is plenty enough to bring down the shields.

    It might be like boxing with an opponent hiding behind a rubber sheet. You can pound at the sheet until your hits connect with the opponent and start causing damage, but when you stop, the sheet returns to default position, and you again have to do a series of punches to reach the opponent. Or then you can manage to hit the buckle in your opponent's harness that causes the sheet to collapse, if you are fortunate or accurate enough. (Or then you can rip the sheet itself with enough pounding, but that takes more doing than what happens in most battles.)

    This could also explain our one major outlier, "The Changeling": it takes six standard photon torpedoes to punch through the shields of the hero ship and cause damage, but more than 300 to rip the shields themselves - and NOMAD aimed at the shields for some reason, rather than at the ship. Remember how much (phaser) effort it takes to collapse the shields of various superhuman opponents, whenever our heroes hope not to harm the opponents themselves but merely to make them cease and desist or possibly release their victims...

    Not quite, admittedly. It's got the looks of what the Romulans use in "The Deadly Years", but the weapons aren't identified there, either. (Sulu does say "Sir, they have fired another..", as if the firing of a single weapon were a threat - as it was in "Balance of Terror". But these balls of fire don't quite pack the punch of that original plasma weapon.)

    Then again, the Klingons previously killed 200 Organians, with nary an impact. Perhaps their massacring techniques haven't improved in the meantime? :devil:

    Fair enough. Then again, shows explicitly involving "routinely" decloaking opponents no longer involve automatically raised shields, so it's a bit difficult to tell. And shields have snapped up for opponents our heroes don't recognize previously, so they might be "smarter" than the heroes, and reacting to a decloaking opponent already, after which Sulu witnesses and comments on a routine "Klingon BoP charges weapons after decloaking and then fires" grace period during which the enemy also approaches a bit.

    If that sort of thing is possible, how can Starfleet win any wars? Or are all its other enemies incompetent, including other Klingons?

    Strongly agreed; single ships either fled, or only challenged our heroes if thinking the Enterprise was disadvantaged somehow. But it might be that two of the ships would be a match, and three would be the sort of overkill that results in hands-down victories for the Klingons, which is why they and their Romulan pals favor that latter formation.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  9. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2012
    Location:
    USS Berlin
    Well, the VFX shot from "Errand of Mercy" was reused in both "The Deadly Years" (Romulan BoP plasma energy weapon?) and in "Journey to Babel" for the Orion vessel.

    In comparison most Enterprise photon torpedo visualizations were long and with or without a trail, so the above mentioned footage doesn't necessarily feature photon torpedos.

    Actually, the sudden and unexpected impact in "Errand of Mercy" without forewarning, add the strange (and rather slow!) trajectory of these energy projectiles almost made these look like remote activated and magnetic mines. YMMV.

    Bob
     
  10. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Location:
    I'm in your ___, ___ing your ___
    The Duras Sisters would like a word with you.:klingon:

    Anyway, with any given description of how shields really work there's the possibility of "bleedthrough." 23rd century shields use diburnium-osmium forcefields that basically act as another layer of armor; a strong enough weapon could push some of its weapon energy through that armor to be stopped by the hull plating itself. In the 24th century they've switched to graviton bubbles, but even then, a strong enough weapon could punch some of its energy through and damage the ship even if the shields barely falter at all. They woudn't have failed in that case, they have done their job as they were designed to do. The weapon that hit them also did ITS job, which is to get some of its energy past the shields.

    The same way the Enterprise won all of its battles in those exact circumstances: by being quick, lucky, and really damn good.