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Most Realistic space battleships in fiction?


Rakaydos
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http://leadpeople.blogspot.com/2009/09/albedo-anthropomorphics-spacecraft.html

An old comic that spawned a passable RPG, Albedo is as hard a scifi as the author could make it with the exception of an FTL jump drive.

Weapons primarally consist of ACVs, basically expendable drones that can either mount weapons and submunitions or simply be kinetic kill vehicals.

 

Thoughts?

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Can't really think of any I would consider realistic. A real-world space battle would see some tactics that have not been in any sci-fi stories that I know of. Por ejemplo, when on the attack, your fleet could spend half an hour accelerating towards the target at four G's, so that by the time you reach firing range you're travelling at (here it comes!) ridiculous speed (lol). Human-crewed starships can travel at a significant fraction of the speed of light--it's the acceleration that has to be controlled so the crew doesn't find themselves a little shorter at the end of the trip.

None of the sci-fi books I've read (which is a lot) have this kind of tactics in them. And cartoons, TV shows, and movies will certainly never show these tactics because then the audience can't see what the hell is going on. Any show that uses autonomous drones or remote-controlled ships comes close to being realistic, except that drones and remotes are never flown at their full capabilities (again, because that would be too fast for the viewer to keep up with).

Edit: I've written a couple of sci-fi stories of my own where the human race used artificial gravity to propel their ships--which allowed them to accelerate at thousands of G's without the crews even spilling their coffee. So they did use relativistic attacks now and then. But in writing those, I violated all kinds of sci-fi tropes, mainly the one where the humans aren't allowed to be the Big Badasses. :)

Edited by WedgeAntilles
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Probably Michael from Footfall:

michael_by_william_black-d8eudqd.jpg

I rather doubt you can mount 16" and 5" battleship turrets like that, but the rest of the ship is pretty believable.

Hey I think those RCS engines on the top are actually F1 engines from Saturn V. Now that's a real man's RCS block.

Edited by Temstar
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Agree with Footfall.  The pivotal scene is when the thing is inbound, and the alien mothership doesn't have enough thrust left to escape.  (the alien ship took catastrophic damage when someone kamikazed a space shuttle into it)

The aliens realize that when the ship gets closer, they have enough beam power to fry the Michael - but if they do that, the 'fragments' - pieces of a ship that must mass thousands of tons and would be incoming at kilometers/second - will still kill them.  

Those alien n00bs.  (which is part of the plot of the book)

Edited by SomeGuy123
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I like the fact that Michael didn't really have any exotic wave motion gun or anything like that. Basically every weapon on it: the battleship guns, the gunships, the spurt bombs etc all either shoot nuclear bombs or are powered by nuclear bombs.

In the face of almost certain alien conquest mankind didn't try to mess about with death rays or wunderwaffes, they stuck to what they knew worked and built a ship that literally embodies the statement "how I learnt to stop worrying and love the bomb".

 

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A manned battleship makes zero sense however you look at it. Space is an extreme environment where pretty you can lose everything to simple malfunction. Why would you risk something as expensive and fragile as a manned spacecraft in a battle? You would need to carry such heavy armor that it would be totally impractical.

If there is ever a space war, it will be using swarms of kamikaze drones. 

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11 hours ago, Nibb31 said:

A manned battleship makes zero sense however you look at it. Space is an extreme environment where pretty you can lose everything to simple malfunction.

So's the ocean. Particularly if your ship is a submarine.

Humans conquered the oceans, and humans will conquer the stars.

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13 hours ago, SomeGuy123 said:

Agree with Footfall.  The pivotal scene is when the thing is inbound, and the alien mothership doesn't have enough thrust left to escape.  (the alien ship took catastrophic damage when someone kamikazed a space shuttle into it)

The aliens realize that when the ship gets closer, they have enough beam power to fry the Michael - but if they do that, the 'fragments' - pieces of a ship that must mass thousands of tons and would be incoming at kilometers/second - will still kill them.  

Those alien n00bs.  (which is part of the plot of the book)

They were also getting fried by gamma lasers courtesy of the spurt bombs. Now I want to get that book again. 

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1 hour ago, WedgeAntilles said:

So's the ocean. Particularly if your ship is a submarine.

Humans conquered the oceans, and humans will conquer the stars.

Yes, we'll conquer the stars. We'll just be smart enough to send robotic craft to go do the fighting while we stay well away from the front with our delicate manned craft.

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14 hours ago, Nibb31 said:

A manned battleship makes zero sense however you look at it. Space is an extreme environment where pretty you can lose everything to simple malfunction. Why would you risk something as expensive and fragile as a manned spacecraft in a battle? You would need to carry such heavy armor that it would be totally impractical.

If there is ever a space war, it will be using swarms of kamikaze drones. 

Maybe.  One of the things I have gone over in my thread is that "torch" drives - orion, fusion, antimatter pion - that have even the potential of giving high thrust and high ISP at the same time - probably have to be gigantic due to scaling laws.  Orion has to be huge because small nukes are inefficient, fusion has to be huge because you pay for the magnets that press on the surface of the fusion plasma cloud and not the volume, antimatter pion requires big honking magnets to redirect those pions away and magnetic fields are also partially a volumetric phenomenon.  

So, if hypothetically, you get to have torch drives, but only if the ships are gigantic, where small ships (aka small drones that could go in a swarm) have to either have terrible ISP and high thrust or high ISP and terrible thrust, then it would make sense to put a crew onboard your high end "torch" battleship that masses thousands of tons.  Such a large and complex machine would need to be repaired, and humans close by could best maintain it, and when you send it into battle - a trillion dollar asset - if crew onboard locally can make it fight just 20% better than an AI script, it's probably worth the expense of the crew. 

I say if we have fully sentient AI that's equal to "crewing" the ship, fully sentient AI is just a more efficient way to accomplish this, the ship is still "manned", just by an AI.  (and the AI can beam it's own internal memory changes as it experiences the space battle, up to the moment of it's "death", so a mirror copy of the AI elsewhere gets to live on.

 

 

Edited by SomeGuy123
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42 minutes ago, Bill Phil said:

Idk. Most battleships aren't realistic at all.... 

While seagoing battleships didn't make much sense post great-war (pretty much conclusively proven by Mitchel and Pearl Harbor), if you happen to have one of the old girls around (such as the US did during the cold war) it takes an entirely different weapon system to attack one.  One captain said that if he was hit by the missile that took out the Scheffield he "would have to repaint were it hit".  On the other hand, you really don't want a direct hit "down the hatch" that took out the Arizona.

The Almez series apparently doesn't count as (at least according to wiki) Salyut-3 and Salyut-5 were manned, and Salyut-3 at least test fired its guns.

A quick glance says Micheal wins (unless somebody copied Micheal and fixed the gun placement issue).  Anything more isn't possible with our tech.  Anything less likely isn't worth sending into space (and isn't as powerful as a Peacekeeper or SS-20).

I had a (wargame?  board & counter based) expansion to traveler that was more realistic than you would expect a boardgame style combat system to be called Mayday!  The main claim to fame was an inertial system that used counters for where you had been, where you were, and where you would be: thus you could move "where you would be" a number of spaces depending on your acceleration.  This solved the usual difficulty of making a system work without any friction.

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I'm rather fond to the remake of the Battlestar Galactica.  Not so much the design, but the acting.  It felt in many ways like a large aircraft carrier in space, and I wondered when it came out if some the writers were prior military, or at least spent some time on a real war ship.  One of the few really realistic fictional warship crews, IMO. 

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5 minutes ago, Just Jim said:

I'm rather fond to the remake of the Battlestar Galactica.  Not so much the design, but the acting.  It felt in many ways like a large aircraft carrier in space, and I wondered when it came out if some the writers were prior military, or at least spent some time on a real war ship.  One of the few really realistic fictional warship crews, IMO. 

The crew may be realistic, yes. But aircraft carriers have little use in space. One ship that carries many others makes some sense in some cases. But an aircraft carrier in space? Aircraft carriers are great because they're seacraft that hold aircraft, which has a bunch of uses and implications. But in space, it's a spacecraft carrying other spacecraft. That can be useful, but in combat, it's more of a weakness. It'd be best to have the small craft be carried on a logistic vehicle that deploys them beforehand. 

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4 minutes ago, Bill Phil said:

It'd be best to have the small craft be carried on a logistic vehicle that deploys them beforehand. 

But with all due respect, isn't that still an aircraft (or spacecraft) carrier? Or perhaps mothership is a better term?

My point is the crews would act very similar... IMO

Edited by Just Jim
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4 minutes ago, Just Jim said:

But with all due respect, isn't that still an aircraft (or spacecraft) carrier? Or perhaps mothership is a better term?

My point is the crews would act very similar... IMO

The BSG was a battlecarrier. What I suggest is a transport. Even IRL aircraft carriers are much more than that.

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4 minutes ago, Bill Phil said:

The BSG was a battlecarrier. What I suggest is a transport. Even IRL aircraft carriers are much more than that.

Oh, OK,  yeah, a transport is definitely different than a carrier.  But if the fighters get taken out, then how can a transport defend itself? 
To me, the most realistic, and most defendable, would be to have a battlegroup centered around a large mothership, similar to a carrier group. Which is what I find wrong with most fictional battleships.  Realistic warfare demands some form of support structure, in the way of cargo and refueling ship and/or space stations.  The idea of one ship being able to do everything is... well... just science fiction... IMO

 

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6 minutes ago, Just Jim said:

Oh, OK,  yeah, a transport is definitely different than a carrier.  But if the fighters get taken out, then how can a transport defend itself? 
To me, the most realistic, and most defendable, would be to have a battlegroup centered around a large mothership, similar to a carrier group. Which is what I find wrong with most fictional battleships.  Realistic warfare demands some form of support structure, in the way of cargo and refueling ship and/or space stations.  The idea of one ship being able to do everything is... well... just science fiction... IMO

 

The idea is that the transport isn't involved in combat. 

Battleships wouldn't make much sense, honestly. Things more like modern navy ships are more practical. Instead of thick armor and huge guns, they're equipped with guided missiles and self defense weapons.

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4 minutes ago, Bill Phil said:

The idea is that the transport isn't involved in combat. 

Battleships wouldn't make much sense, honestly. Things more like modern navy ships are more practical. Instead of thick armor and huge guns, they're equipped with guided missiles and self defense weapons.

I agree with both your points.  But if whatever the transport is carrying gets destroyed, the transport is vulnerable, unless it has light speed capabilities and can jump somewhere safe.  If we're talking light speed capable ships, then I agree a large battlegroup becomes a moot point.  If I can make hyperspace jumps, then I want a small, fast attack ship or group.

Edited by Just Jim
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3 hours ago, sojourner said:

Yes, we'll conquer the stars. We'll just be smart enough to send robotic craft to go do the fighting while we stay well away from the front with our delicate manned craft.

This hasn't happened in modern warfare. We do use robots here and there, but manned fighters, manned tanks, and plain old basic boots on the ground are still used even my the most advanced military forces currently in operation.

Sure, when we head out into space and start conquering stuff, there will be remote drones and autonomous ships and the like, but manned military ships will still be a thing. In theory it's a great idea to go full remote/autonomous, but since a large percentage of past human predictions about the nature of future warfare have failed to pan out, I see no reason to assume it will pan out this time.

The best reason not to go full remote/AI: because if something does go wrong, and there's a human being aboard who can pull the plug, you're not going to have an Iron Helix incident......

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3 minutes ago, WedgeAntilles said:

The best reason not to go full remote/AI: because if something does go wrong, and there's a human being aboard who can pull the plug, you're not going to have an Iron Helix incident......

I think another big reason is robots can't lie, or bluff, which is a big part of warfare.  A human may be able to spot a feint.  But if a machine doesn't understand the concept of deception, then the battle is already lost.

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