Ship to ship combat in various ST movies

Discussion in 'Star Trek Movies I-X' started by warpusher, Aug 15, 2014.

  1. warpusher

    warpusher Ensign Newbie

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    Greetings!

    I've been reading this site for a while and have finally joined to be part of the conversations.

    For a long time I've wondered many things about ship-to-ship combat that has occurred in the various ST films. To begin:

    In TWOK, both Enterprise and Reliant are sensor blind when they enter the Mutara Nebula. However, the film shows that the ships are indeed visible when in close proximity to one another. Both ships have what appear to be portholes (which are lit) along the exteriors of the saucer sections, along with other portholes in various locations. external sensors were down, but internal ship communications were still functioning, so why not post personnel to serve as lookouts at those open viewports with the Mk-1 eyeball to call in what they see. Enterprise could have done this much more easier as she had a full compliment of crew, with possibly more crew than normal as training ships often embark more trainees than required (so they could get experience).

    The lookout concept could have also served the Kirk and the Enterprise well in ST6. Lookouts could have also observed when they saw a torpedo blossom and the approximate location, which could be relayed to weapons.

    Speaking of weapons, is there no way to optically or manually aim the phaser ball turrets that enterprise has? if there is a gunner at a console, he should be able to have some sort of manual control should other systems go down. in the ST6 scenario, they could have been scanning various sectors optically as Enterprise approached, and firing when the opportunity arose.

    The same weapon/lookout concept could have been used by the Enterprise-E in both Insurrection and Nemesis. At least in Nemesis the response to receiving fire from a cloaked ship was to fire a phaser spread, then target when something was hit. However, they shouldn't have had to fire as blind as they did. They could have observed fire and targeted a specific area rather than shotgunning fire everywhere. The Enterprise-E was a much bigger ship than a Refit Constitution, so they had a much greater crew compliment. Some yeoman could have been assigned the task of looking out a viewport.

    In ST6 was Enterprise alive only due to the fact that Federation torpedoes were being fired at her by Chang? The Enterprise-A took a hell of a beating to be sure, but if they had been Klingon torpedoes (the sort of type that one-shot-killed Grissom) would Enterprise have lasted until Excelsior arrived? Also, either Klingon Bird of Preys are either armored heavily (shrugged off two federation torpedoes in ST3 and took ~5 in ST6) or Federation torpedoes are weak. In Generations ~80 years later one Federation torpedo was able to take out a Bird of Prey, but only after using technobabble to disable their shields.

    Finally, I'm sure that it's been discussed several times, but the Enterprise-D even with no shields carried enough firepower to reduce a Bird of Prey to slag in short order. In the final climatic fight they fired one torpedo, while in the series several times the "spreader" multi torpedo was used. The D could also have rained down phaser fire on the Klingons, but the D had to be sacrificed on the altar so the new E could appease Berman and Braga.
     
  2. starburst

    starburst Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    When it comes to both TUC and NEM lookouts wouldn't have helped much as by the time orders were relayed the enemy ship would have moved. TWOK would have made sense as the visibility issues with the view screen would have been lessened with visual lookouts.

    Its worth remembering during NEM they were firing full phaser spreads and then targeting shield impacts with torpedo barrages.

    When it came to GEN I agree there is no way an unshielded Enterprise couldn't have inflicted damage on the enemy BoP, they should have at least thrown in a reference from Worf or Data about upgraded shields which were more powerful than they would expect from a BoP.

    Why do you say the BoP in TUC was firing Starfleet torpedoes? Even if they used them during the attack on Kronos One to ensure there was little doubt Enterprise fired but theres no much of a reason to use them to later attack the Enterprise.
     
  3. Marsden

    Marsden Commodore Commodore

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    Chang's Bird fired red torpedoes, just like Enterprises and Reliant's. Klaa's and Kruge's Birds fired white torpedoes that looked more like a plasma torpedo rather than a photon torpedo. But then in TMP, the Enterprises torpedo was white and the Klingons were red. I wonder if the color is just the whim of the sfx people or is there a reason, in TMP the saucer was a tannish (including stock footage in TWoK) and TWoK on (new footage) it was blue.
     
  4. Franklin

    Franklin Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The proximity of the two ships in TWOK was tremendous dramatic license. So was trying to find each other visually.

    Fly in an airliner at night. Even with the cabin dark, it is impossible to see much outside. Now, imagine trying to find an enemy that doesn't want to be seen visually in deep space (has all running lights off) and may be cruising at 1/20 to 1/2 the speed of light. Cloaking to become actually invisible is a bit of a joke. "Real" cloaking would mean making the ship invisible to all scanners, weapons, and sensors. Having to be truly invisible is problematic at best, but is also too cool and dramatic to pass up from a storytelling perspective.

    All that visual stuff in the movies is pure drama and not at all realistic. Suspension of disbelief at its purist. One could say that firing "manually" is really telling a computer to give its best guess firing based on your best guess of the enemy's coordinates when the full computer system is not operating properly or sensors are unreliable in some way.
     
  5. starburst

    starburst Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    The effects can't be taken for granted though, as you say the Enterprise was shown to have white then red for 2 films then green and finally back to red.

    Plus when Kronos One was preparing to fire the torpedo launcher glowed red, if it had fired the likely hood is they would have been red.

    The TOS films were great but they weren't exactly consitant especially with the (at the time) current series not to mention the future one.
     
  6. Ithekro

    Ithekro Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    My impression of the Mutara Nebula battle is that the radiation of the nebula itself would warrant all window like structured covered in some way. Doubly so with the shields down.

    Sure, we can see the ships clearly, but we don't have to worry (much) about the radiation.
     
  7. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Do you mean the deflector dish? If so, in TMP it shifted from gold when at sublight speeds to bright blue at warp.
     
  8. arch101

    arch101 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    One of the few redeeming qualities about Nemesis is the battle at the end of the film. I actually find it to be the best ship-to-ship battle of all the films. One of the best things about it is that the Scimitar actually seems to take on some real damage of it's own, as opposed to the typical "good guys" getting beaten up while the "bad guys" seem all-invincible. Throw in the unexpected ploy to ram the Scimitar with the Enterprise and it's pretty golden to me. I just wish the editor had made Picard attempt to blow the ship up while it was STILL CONNECTED to the Scimitar. That makes about 300% more sense.
     
  9. Smellmet

    Smellmet Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Totally agree, I love that battle, best one in the franchise for me, closely followed by TWOK
     
  10. PCz911

    PCz911 Commander Red Shirt

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    In one of the threads someone once said that ST starship battle was like Jutland (WWI) whereas star wars was more like Midway (WWII) with small fighters and bombers attacking the big capital ships.
    It was a brilliant analogy that really works for me.
     
  11. Richard Baker

    Richard Baker Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Good analogy!
     
  12. Marsden

    Marsden Commodore Commodore

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    Yes, I said "saucer" and should have said "dish" :lol:
    Much apologizing.


    I didn't realize the change was speed based, it didn't do that in subsequent movies, staying always blue, except in stock footage of TMP in TWOK.
     
  13. Ithekro

    Ithekro Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    They more or less forgot it was suppose to do that. Or the model's light system didn't work properly anymore. Or they just switched it to full on all the time instead of low power mode.
     
  14. Cyke101

    Cyke101 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    To add to that, the Mutara Nebula itself is dramatic licence -- in reality, the gasses that make up a nebula would be so far apart that they'd be essentially invisible when up close or within, only being visible at far distances because of light. So the two ships would still be fighting in pitch black darkness, just like flying an airliner at night. All the light sources in the battle came from the nebula -- either the gasses or the flashes of lightning, but still very much fiction.

    I honestly don't remember any damage being done to the Scimitar during the battle itself, only when it was rammed. Even with the cloak partially or fully dropped, it still seemed like the Scimitar was just absorbing the impact, though I might need a higher resolution screen.

    However, I did like how the E-E was being chipped away, especially when the dorsal shields went down and the Scimitar's shots started cutting up the saucer, complete with bits of hull debris flying into space. And the Romulan warbird's wing coming off and impacting the Enterprise was a good shot, even if it was a bit farfetched (the Enterprise could have, i dunno, dodged it? Or the fact that the wing just happened to fly in that specific direction, and that specific speed, to land at that particular moment, despite the sheer size and 3-dimensionality of space?).
     
  15. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    [yt]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=utbZkesp81M[/yt]
     
  16. Smellmet

    Smellmet Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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  17. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Using people as lookouts should not be superior to using cameras: there is no plausible reason for the cameras not to work.

    The exotic nebula (and it is exotic, as it exists only a short hop away from a fair-sized star - perhaps it is a recent, very dense burp of gases from said star, or something being sucked into that star?) can prevent signals from one ship to reaching another, or wreak havoc with shields projected outside the ship, but it is difficult to see how the nebula could have any effect on what goes on inside the starship. And the "cameras" would be inside, as would be their "wiring" (insert technobabble for what replaces these technologies and terms in the 23rd century). If the interior of the ship is that vulnerable to the nebula effects, why isn't the crew dying? Most technologies are more robust than human bodies!

    However, cameras are short-range devices, both because one would need extreme magnification to see things in even a "short-range" space fight, and because light only moves so fast... The ships might therefore rely on some sort of a FTL signal to get the light to hurry up on its way to the camera lens (or whatever), and it's this technology that would fail inside the nebula. This need not even assume that the fight actually takes place at longer ranges than shown: it might be that the heroes believe the fight would involve those long ranges, and therefore keep their cameras switched to FTL, resulting in the fuzzy imagery.

    Actually, the green Klingon torps often seen being fired from the small BoPs appear to be really weak: they barely dent totally unshielded ships, such as in ST3 and ST:GEN. These might even be deliberate "soft" weapons to allow these vessels, the Trek analogy to WWII submarines, to capture enemy shipping intact...

    Chang might be at a disadvantage for a different reason. He needed Starfleet torpedoes or very good replicas in order to perform the strike against Gorkon, but the torps he needed had to be "set on stun", so that only the gravity systems would be knocked out and the target ship could then host the assassination party and supposedly also recover to blast Kirk to pieces. Where does a conspiring Klingon get Starfleet torpedoes? From a fellow conspirator in the ranks of Starfleet, probably. And Admiral Cartwright would have made damn sure to only sell him torpedoes that could do no more than "stun". Hence the prolonged fight at the end of the movie: the bad guy only had an assassin's Derringer, and had to dodge and weave and posture to stay alive while chipping away at an opponent packing a Kalashnikov.

    It should be remembered that the BoP was the tool of an El-Aurian who was quite a tech wizard. Soran knew how to blow up stars, how to turn the VISOR into a spying device without the handicaps witnessed in "The Mind's Eye", and how to camouflage a surface installation (and a secret room aboard a Federation installation!) against the best sensors in Starfleet. It would make sense for him to also boost the shields of the BoP. And indeed our Klingon duo appears genuinely surprised that the shields are holding against the E-D phasers, as if this were a novel and untested addition to their own vessel.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  18. Shat Happens

    Shat Happens Captain Captain

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    ^ Don't call the Mutara Nebula a burp.
     
  19. Cyke101

    Cyke101 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Well, it's a burp that can drop shields and render a starship blind. That's some powerful gas!
     
  20. BK613

    BK613 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Reflection nebulae are not a burp (or rare) and depend of the presence of nearby stars for their visibility.