So many Mirandas/So few Constitution-refits?

Discussion in 'Trek Tech' started by SicOne, Aug 4, 2013.

  1. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    Funny math.

    U-85 missed with her stern torpedo and was eventually sunk. That is case 1 where defense didn't work.

    The O-21 used her stern torpedoes against the following, then pursuing U-95. That is case 1 where defense did work.

    The Tang successfully used her stern tubes against ships that attempted to ram her and also against a destroyer firing on her as she was making her escape. That is case 2 where defense did work.

    The Spadefish missed with her stern torpedoes but forced a destroyer to zig and attempt to depth charge her but she escaped. That is case 3 where defense did work.


    So what was the Norwegian sub going to do to defend themselves? Use harsh words to discourage them?

    Now you're just being silly. That torpedo tube is there for offense and defense. A pursuing ship on the stern of a sub would qualify for a down the throat shot.

    Or no different than the E-D firing her aft torpedoes to slow down or blind a pursuing enemy ship to affect an escape.

    You're oversimplifying it. For daytime and nighttime periscope attacks that would be true but not for daytime and nighttime surface attacks. Depending on visibility conditions the WW2 submarine could choose to fight on the surface and utilize her faster surface speed.

    I was speaking in reference to the sub conducting combat on the surface. This occurred during mostly nighttime when conditions in WW2 allowed for surface attacks.

    According to "Naval Weapons of WW2", p264 by John Campbell the T5 torpedo was in use in Sept 1943 and used 640 times with 58 hits (9% hit rate) against typically "difficult" targets. This is compared to the aggregate hit rate of over 20% for other German torpedoes. That doesn't sound experimental or used only a handful of times.

    You should read "US Submarine Operations in WW2" by Theodore Roscoe. It's a fascinating account of combat operations in WW2 and it's not all "daytime periscope" combat as you'd like to make it out as.
     
  2. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I must be misreading something, because my understanding is that the tang MISSED; the civilian ships ended up colliding with each other and the destroyer simply failed to sink it.

    If they were DEFENDING themselves they would have gone deep and hidden. But they weren't defending themselves, they were attacking what they suddenly realized was an enemy ship. If their stern tubes had been empty, they would have simply turned round and fired with the forward tubes.

    Torpedoes are not defensive weapons. Except to the extent that the best defense is a good offense, which is one of the reasons submarines sometimes try to sink the escorts first.

    Photon torpedoes, doubly so. These things are supposed to have yields equivalent to hundreds of megatons. If you hit anything that isn't heavily shielded or extremely well put together, you SHOULD blow it to smithereens. The only real defense for starships is a deflector shield; phasers can be used as point defense against enemy torpedoes (if the FX team has been doing their homework) and are sometimes used to "Discourage pursuers" as such. But you don't fire photon torpedoes unless you're trying to kill someone or are otherwise completely out of options.

    Something they did only once, as a desperation tactic against an enemy they could not conceivably fight. And like your sub examples, it did little to "discourage" Q's pursuit in the end.

    The canonical use of aft torpedo tubes on starships is more or less the same as it is on submarines. Reliant uses them twice, both times to ATTACK the Enterprise, not to keep it from chasing. Enterprise-D uses its aft tubes as a distraction against Q while separating the saucer at warp (which makes two desperation tactics in one move) and later uses them against the Borg. The last time they use them, it's to destroy Lursa and B'etor's bird of prey after first [tech]ing their shields down.

    The best use of aft torpedoes is in Nemesis, where Enterprise fires salvoes of them while maneuvering aggressively against the Scimitar. Here, as before, they are being used by a starship that is attempting to destroy a superior enemy and needs to be able to still maneuver while doing so. As with submarines and starships: the aft tubes give you effectively omnidirectional firepower and let you shoot at the enemy no matter what direction you're facing.

    Photon torpedoes, like their sub counterparts, are OFFENSIVE weapons. Having aft torpedoes simply gives you the capacity to (counter)attack an enemy who has positioned himself behind you. Defensive torpedoes are still on the drawing board right now and it's doubtful they'll ever be installed on submarines.

    Or so they thought, until German commanders discovered -- much to the dismay and incredulity of their intelligence services -- that the Allies had installed surface search radars on just about everything.

    Actually, I'd read the T5 was essentially a wake-homing torpedo that was incorrectly considered "acoustic" because it homed in on turbulence/cavitation patterns caused by a vessel's movement through the water. Hence the launch depth: at 60 meters, a submarine won't leave any kind of wake the torpedo could detect, while a surface-launched submarine is likely to get hit by its own torpedo even after a 400 meter run. The nature of the guidance system wasn't known to the allies until after the capture of U-505 and nobody bothered to set the record straight because the U-boat fleet was basically in ruins by then.

    The T4s were purely acoustical, though, tracking the actual propeller noise and acoustic profile of the target vessel, but german technology wasn't sophisticaed enough at the time to make this work so they simply redesigned the seeker to steer itself towards the next noisiest thing in the ocean; moreover, some of the T5's hydrophones pointed "up" so that the torpedo would cross the wake of the target, hear it recede, then know it was time to turn back the other way where it crossed the wake again.

    U.S. Submarine operators had the advantage that Japanese ships didn't have radar and American submarines DID. That, plus surface attacks make ALOT more sense when you're in a honking-big Gato class with a bunch of sucky torpedoes that run way too deep and have a 40% dud rate.:p

    Though even then, IF the Japanese got a fix on one of them, it was "dive and hide" time. For most of the war, the Mk-14 just wasn't a good enough weapon for any commander to sanely expect one to save his ass if an enemy escort ship started gunning for him.
     
  3. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    The Tang avoided a ram from a transport, then fired her stern tubes at same transport (which also collided with a tanker that got in the way.) Then she escaped at full speed from the escorts.
    ..until 23 October, when she contacted a large convoy consisting of three tankers, a transport, a freighter, and numerous escorts. Commander O'Kane planned a night surface attack. Tang broke into the middle of the formation, firing torpedoes as she closed on the tankers (later identified as freighters). ... As the submarine prepared to fire at the tanker which was crossing her stern, she sighted the transport bearing down on her in an attempt to ram. Tang had no room to dive so she crossed the transport's bow and with full left rudder saved her stern and got inside the transport's turning circle. The transport was forced to continue her swing to avoid the tanker which had also been coming in to ram. The tanker struck the transport's starboard quarter shortly after the submarine fired four stern torpedoes along their double length at a range of 400 yd (370 m). The tanker sank bow first and the transport had a 30° up-angle. With escorts approaching on the port bow and beam and a destroyer closing on the port quarter, Tang rang up full speed and headed for open water. When the submarine was 6,000 yd (5,500 m) from the transport, another explosion was observed, and its bow disappeared.
    If a defending ship fires on an attacking ship that is pursuing her then it's still defending i.e. "taking action against challenge or attack". A submarine's defensive options are not exclusively dive and hide but also includes run fast on surface and firing on attacking ship. In this case from the Norweigan sub's perspective they had a U-boat pursuing her and they defended by firing their stern tubes before the U-boat could get a shot off with her bow tubes.


    Or sink the escorts afterwards on the way out.

    And the same photon torpedoes can be adjusted in power making them useful for disabling or warning fire.

    Phasers and photon torpedoes are useful in discouraging pursuers, especially if the weapon is in the aft of the fleeing ship which is most likely what will be pointed at the pursuers.

    The Defiant fired a torpedo into the Lakota and they were only trying to "disable" them. The Reliant fired a torpedo (or two) into the Enterprise while trying to "disable" them. Photon torpedoes are not exclusively "kill" or "completely out of options" weapons.

    You say "desperation tactic" I say "defensive tactic". They used their aft torpedoes at least twice to attempt to slow a pursuer down. Once against "Q" in "Encounter at Farpoint" and another against the Borg in "Q Who".

    The second time, in the nebula, was against the Enterprise that was chasing the Reliant. If the Enterprise had not veered away before Khan responded they would've been hit.

    Which again points canonically to the aft torpedoes being used to fire on pursuers to discourage or destroy them.

    Oh yeah, another defensive fire instance.

    Like phasers. Which you pointed to above that can be used as defensive weapons.

    I see no differentiation between firing defensively with your stern torpedo and labeling same torpedo as "offensive"-only weapons. If you're under attack and you fire your torpedo in defense then you've used your torpedo as a defense against their attack.


    Night surface attacks were used with great success by the US subs of WW2 in the Pacific. From p171-172 of US Submarine Operations of WW2:
    Thus the SJ's [search radar] installation resulted in a marked increase on night attacks. Concurrently the night-surface approach came into its own as the favored night tactic...
    ..the percentage of night attacks made in 1942-30% of the year's attack total-provides a basis for comparison [only a few subs were equipped with search radar that year]. In 1944, with the SJ then installed, the number of night attacks had increased to 57%... the advantages to be gained from a night attack, with a high-speed surface approach guided by radar's "electronic eye," inclined many submarine captains to employ the tactic. Before the war's end, opportunities for day-periscope attack were being deliberately passed up by commanding officers who preferred to defer their attack until they were protected by darkness.
    That doesn't change that the torpedo was used more times than you had thought and in a non-experimental way.

    They dived to hide mostly when they knew they could get overrun or caught by the escort. If they were on the surface and were faster than the escort then they were just as likely to make a run on the surface.
     
  4. Saturn0660

    Saturn0660 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Heck, i'd even point to Enterprise: "In A Mirror Darkly Part2" The Defiant used "aft torpedoes" to destroy the Tholiaon space dock.
     
  5. 137th Gebirg

    137th Gebirg Vice Admiral Premium Member

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    There are any number of reasons that Enterprise and Defiant had different load-outs:

    • Most simply, Defiant is a different ship, and for no other reason, straight-up. All throughout history up to modern-day, ships within the same class often had different offensive and defensive capabilities and a myriad of smaller disparities. Some Connies had the little "balls" on the matter/antimatter exchange unit in main engineering; some Captain's chairs had the higher backing, etc. Not all ships were made the same by any stretch. Has there ever been an identically-dressed bridge between similar-classed ships in TNG?
    • Defiant may have been a newer vessel than Enterprise (NCC-1764 vs 1701 implies that it is newer) and fitted with different armaments based on a wholly different mission package, built during a time with heightened on-screen tensions between the Federation and her neighbors, the Klingons and Romulans, than when Enterprise was commissioned.
    • Defiant was lost near Tholian space - a known semi-hostile species on a Cold War-like footing - she may have conceivably been assigned to permanent border patrol in that sector, vs Enterprise's 5-year peaceful exploratory mission, necessitating greater ordinance capabilities on the Defiant.
    • While it is logically impossible to prove a negative, we have never seen the Enterprise shoot from the rear, either original or refit, nor has there been any dialog on-screen that I am aware of that implied that it ever did. While not much attention was paid to such things in TOS, the TMP refit was meticulously detailed and every piece rationalized with a purpose, and the refit never had aft torpedoes either (but she did have more phaser banks than in TOS).
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2013
  6. Praetor

    Praetor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Since ENT's weapons placements, I've always kind of enjoyed the notion that the TOS Enterprise had tubes and phasers in comparable locations - aft torpedo tubes could be spaced on the rear of the lower saucer in such a way to have an (admittedly limited) aft firing arc. Surely, though, torpedoes are the more long range weapon, and the further away you are, the easier it is to line up your firing path.
     
  7. Saturn0660

    Saturn0660 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Maybe, or the more simple answer.. Kirk almost never ran from a fight. So he had no reason to ever use them. :devil:
     
  8. 137th Gebirg

    137th Gebirg Vice Admiral Premium Member

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    Heh...there is that, yes... :)

    Then again, he did like going in "reverse warp" a lot (the mechanics of which still mystify me to this day, based on accepted starship design conventions), always keeping his forward tubes bearing towards the target. We seemed to have deviated from seeing ships going backwards for the most part as a viable tactic since TOS ended, which is likely why later generations of vessels started getting aft torps (Excelsior-on-up).
     
  9. Tribble puncher

    Tribble puncher Captain Captain

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    IMHO, I don't think the Miranda was meant to compete against the constitution, other then sharing common parts. The ship was built as as a workhorse, not a front line explorer. I don't believe there were many Connies built. Supposedly, there were 12 Connies in the Fleet at the time of the O.S. I believe Enterprise was the only one that was given the "Refit" treatment. (It would literally make no sense to replace 90% of a ship unless you were doing it as a propaganda move.) and "refit" Connies after this were built from scratch. The old Connies were retired. I would guess Less than 10 Refit Connies were built in Total because The Excelsior came right on the Refits Heels. Meanwhile, the Miranda as a General workhorse ship, and a master of no trades, solders on and continues to get built. The miranda is the c-130 of starfleet.
     
  10. 137th Gebirg

    137th Gebirg Vice Admiral Premium Member

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    ^^^ I like the C-130 analogy for the Miranda. That definitely fits.

    I also agree with the refit statement above, although I wouldn't attribute it to "propaganda", per se, but as others have postulated, a test-bed for new components that would eventually be used to build fresh new ships from scratch. I agree that the original 12 (many of which were lost in the line of duty by TMP anyway) mostly retained their original TOS-like configuration and Enterprise was chosen for refit and may have been the only one. All future ships we refer to as a "refit Connie" (like the Yorktown/Enterprise-A/WhateverTheHellItWasCalled) were likely built new and never from refits as, yes, I would agree that would require an impractical level of effort. Thus, fully explaining a completely different interior layout, like the bridge module, crew quarters, torpedo room, main engineering and shuttlebay.
     
  11. Praetor

    Praetor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    The C-130 comparison does seem quite apt.

    Regarding the refit - an interesting point, suggesting the Enterprise was the only ship really refit. Once she proves herself, newtech for everyone! I'm envisioning mass retirements of whole blocks of ships of several different tiers; cruisers, frigates, destroyers, etc.

    Extending that, we might posit that all refit-style ships we saw, of any class, were newbuilds to replace older ships while the Excelsior was proving herself, along with her new wave of tech. So the pre-refit "Miranda" might have had registries in the 1600s, the 1800s being the new replacements. Unless of course, one ship per class was chosen for the refit program. The odds of it being Reliant are, of course, not good.

    The notion of Starfleet actually avoiding refits in favor of new builds is interesting and somewhat appealing.
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2013
  12. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    In TOS, I don't that was the case. When they were chasing the Gorn in "Arena", phasers were the only weapon considered and they were out-of-range at 0.04 LY distance from each other. (And they did use photon torpedoes earlier against the Gorn in orbit.)

    The other thing about torpedoes in TOS was that compared to phasers, they were kinda weak. If the Enterprise's shields could take the equivalent of 450 torpedoes before going down ("The Changeling") and the "starship equivalent" phaser attacks from the Orions only needed 4-5 hits ("Journey to Babel") that would say that phasers at full power are much more powerful in TOS.

    DS9 seems to carry this forward somewhat. In "Tears of the Prophets", one of the few times we see a bunch of different class of ships firing on the same types of targets we see that 2 phaser hits from an Excelsior did the same work as 3 photon torpedo hits from a Galaxy-class. TNG I think flipped it around though and made photon torpedoes more powerful...IIRC.

    Heh yeah. Although in "The Changeling" they fire their forward tube at a target on their back quarter, bearing 123 degrees.

    If I were to put a rear tube on the Enterprise it'd have to be on the back of the engineering hull, probably between the rear phasers.

    The Reliants though just seem more roomy and modular/flexible. They might not be fast, but flexibility goes a long way for longevity, IMHO.
     
  13. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    That bothers me, actually. A ship the size of a prime Constitution might only have 20 to 30 photon torpedoes on the entire ship, any one of which could destroy an entire enemy vessel; over the course of a month you shoot 15 of them in low-yield disabling setting or as warning shots, then at the end of the month you get bounced by a Klingon battlecruiser. Half your ammo is gone, and now you're in a bind.

    I feel like if any type of "variable yield" weapon should exist, it would be phasers. We already know they can be set to stun and can be set with variable fields and exposures. There should be some kind of EMP setting (stun setting for starships?) that will knock out computers or electronics so phasers can be used in that capacity too. Firing off a whole photon torpedo for that purpose seems like a waste to me.

    I'm thinking phasers, mostly. As I said, I feel like photon torpedoes are a terrible waste in that capacity.

    I'm not sure Defiant was actually trying to disable the Lakota, considering their dipsarity in firepower; Worf didn't really have room to pull punches.

    I'm even less convinced about Khan's torpedoes. Timo and a few others argue that neither ship ever used their weapons at full power; this works as an after-the-fact rationalization, but at this point in Trek's history the relative power of those weapons had not been "uprated" as high as it had in TNG; this was, after all, before we had even established that torpedoes used antimatter warheads at all. Considering that photon torpedoes CLEARLY don't use antimatter in TOS (as in "Immunity Syndrome" and "Obsession") then it may still be the case in TWOK.

    Score another point for TOS/TNG divorce lawyers: could be weapons in the earlier incarnations of Trek simply weren't that powerful after all?

    I never saw Enterprise veer away. Khan simply missed.

    AFAIK, I've never seen torpedoes used to "discourage" attackers, except for a single instance in "The Emissary" where Kira tries to do this against the Cardassians by firing all six of DS9's torpedoes in a warning shot.:rolleyes:

    Implying that "defensive fire" is "the guy who shoots second.":vulcan:

    This is just the way the terms have been related to me over the years. I could be wrong, of course, but my understanding is that "defensive attacks" include warning shots, suppressive fire, interception attacks (in the case of point defense for naval vessels or air-to-air engagements against cruise missiles) and any sort of attack meant to prevent the enemy from advancing on your position (e.g. blowing up a bridge before an enemy column can use it).

    Contrast with offensive fire which includes "fire for effect," precision strikes, crossfire (usually) and most types of fire-and-forget type weapons. The Shrike missiles used in Vietnam is sort of a fence sitter because they could only hit the Vietnamese search radars while they were still active and the radar operators usually shut down the radar when they realized a missile had been fired at them (so is a form of suppression fire, unless they fail to shut down the radar, in which case the Shrike blows them to bits). Later missiles like the Sidearm didn't have this problem and were, I thought, considered to be more direct offensive weapons; it's the "find them and kill them" weapon vs. the "make them stop shooting at us for 15 minutes" weapon, with the former being hugely preferred.

    I know that, I was mainly referring to the war in the Atlantic. In a lot of ways the war in the Pacific was a completely different war with completely different tactics and, in a lot of ways, completely different objectives.

    The wake-homing version, no. The all-acoustic was only used on three different ships and was removed from service when it failed to work properly.

    Even the Gatos were rarely faster than the escorts, though. That's kinda the whole reason why they INVENTED destroyer escorts.
     
  14. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    But that would leave us missing an explanation for why the Enterprise-A was decommissioned only a handful of years after TFF. If it's a brand new ship, that means it's only been part of the fleet for five or six years total before being pulled from service altogether. If the point was simply to retire the existing Enterprise crew, they would have simply done that and put Captain Harriman on the Enterprise-A instead of building a totally new starship (to a new configuration, no less) to replace the OTHER totally new starship they just built.

    I think, on the other hand, the Enterprise-A was another technology guinea pig, possibly an early testbed for the technologies that later went into the Excelsior class (hence the different bridge design and an engine room that looks remarkably similar to the galaxy class :p). It could very well be that all of the Constitutions left in service by Wrath of Khan are rearline ships that never do any real exploring anymore; 1701 was an academy training vessel and 1701-A was a host for brand new technologies that Starfleet hadn't quite figured out how to make work correctly (hence in TFF, half their systems don't work and they have less than a skeleton crew aboard). In TUC, Enterprise is being sent purely because of Kirk's reputation (the Klingons think he's a complete badass) and they don't want some callow youth to think he can get lucky.

    It's more likely that the heyday of the Constitutions was around the time of the Cage and the entire class was already in the process of being replaced by the time TOS came around; arguably, the M5 test could be interpreted as the beginning of the end, since it means Starfleet was already trying to come up with a replacement of the Constitution's duotronic circuitry (which they very probably DID; again, the new computers from TFF might actually be a thoroughly reprogrammed M5 unit).
     
  15. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Admiral Admiral

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    That's not more really likely at all. A case could be made that the Constitution-class was in the process of being replaced by the time of Star Trek III, but its heyday was during TOS.
     
  16. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I really don't think so. When you consider that only ten years after TMP, the Enterprise was a training vessel and the lead ship of the class that (arguably) replaced it was "ready for trail runs" with a brand new drive system. The extensive refit of the Enterprise, also, is not indicative of a starship class that is still in its prime; quite the contrary, it's indicative of a design that is growing increasingly obsolete and has to be upgraded to remain in service at all (and even then, only for another ten or twelve years).

    We know Enterprise wasn't a brand new ship under Kirk's command and depending on your interpretation of the Robert April background it wasn't even new under Pike. USS Defiant -- a Constitution of possibly similar age -- has a registry in the high 1700s. Starships in the 1800 range (Reliant and Saratoga, for example) should already have been in service for several years by the time Gary Mitchel's eyes started glowing. If Reliant is really 15 or 20 years old by the time we see it in Wrath of Khan -- and it very well could be -- it's quite likely that the ship was built and launched in that configuration and represented the state of the art for the 2060s; the TOS years, and the movie era immediately after, would be the heyday of the Mirandas, not the Constitutions.

    Not saying Enterprise was an obsolete rustbucket or anything. But the ship goes into retirement WAY too soon for it to still be in its prime in TOS. It's enough to know, at least, that the original Enterprise is at least somewhat older than Kirk, and is ready for retirement WAY before he is.
     
  17. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Admiral Admiral

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    Well, actually, I don't think so at all.

    I think the Constitution-class was first introduced around 2240 or so--the design wasn't even 15 years old at the time of the Talos IV incident and was actually still in the first phase of its design life back then. By the time of Kirk's 5-year mission in the mid 2260s, the Constitution-class was in its prime.
     
  18. Tribble puncher

    Tribble puncher Captain Captain

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    [/QUOTE]
    But that would leave us missing an explanation for why the Enterprise-A was decommissioned only a handful of years after TFF.[/QUOTE]


    Uhura was talking about the crew being Decommissioned (Retired from active "space" duty I guess?) when she got the Hail from Starfleet ordering them to return to Spacedock. Kirk said in his Log the ship itself would soon be under the care of another crew. So it's possible the Ship went out on another mission as the Enterprise, and was Renamed when the Frame of the Enterprise-B was laid down, finishing out her service life as the U.S.S. Whatever. then when the ship was retired, she was rechristened the Enterprise-A, restored to tne State she was in when she launched at the End of STIV, and parked at the Federation Museum. Thats my Theory.
     
  19. 137th Gebirg

    137th Gebirg Vice Admiral Premium Member

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    I like this theory but now that I look at the actual dialog, it sounds a bit contradictory (the dialog, not the theory).

    Uhura says:
    Then Kirk's final log entry says this:
    Uhura's statement makes it sound like the ship is being decommissioned (being put back into Spacedock), along with the senior staff. I don't know how the US Navy does it, but I've never heard of people being "decommissioned" from service. "Retired", "mustered out", "DD-214'd", yes, but not "decommissioned". I thought that term was reserved only for equipment.

    But then Kirk says "This is the final cruise of the Starship Enterprise under my command. This ship and her history will shortly become the care of another crew.", what you were referring to, Tribble Puncher.

    I guess it could be legitimately argued that the E-A went on without Kirk & company, which would add to the impact of Spock's "go to hell" line. It's kind of a shitty thing to send out a broadcast message saying "guys, you're too old, get off our ship after you almost died saving the Federation from intergalactic war once again!" Then again, I guess this is what we can expect from an institution that openly advocated the highly unprofessional and uniquely demeaning concept of "Captain Dunsel".
     
  20. Praetor

    Praetor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Eh, I could go either way on this one. I don't think the Enterprise was considered "old" in the 2260s, but surely Starfleet was at least beginning to plan her replacement. I'm not so sure I agree with Reliant being as old as you suggest, Crazy Eddie.

    At the very least, in "The Cage" the Enterprise was considered one of "our new ships" per Mr. Tyler. Granted, this was in comparison to a ship that crashed in 2236, but he still said it with a certain sense of pride in his own ship, rather than disdain of the old.