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      ATTN: BLACKFOOT   08/20/2017

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Captain Seafort

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Captain Seafort last won the day on September 22

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  1. I think "objective" would be an explicit statement that this is an outlier to be ignored. It's not just the fact that small arms/ground artillery have demonstrated equal or superior firepower (a list to which I'd add Han's shot against the docking bay wall in ANH, Veers' shot against the shield generator in ESB and the clone heavy artillery shooting down the TF battleship in AotC), its that starship guns have demonstrated vastly better firepower: ANH: Devastator's partially deflected shot vaporised a significant volume of T4's fin (greater than that of the speeder bike blown apart here) ANH: X-wings vaporised several cubic metres of the Death Star, again greater than the volume of the bike ESB: multiple asteroid vaporisations, all volumes significantly greater than the craters left here RotJ: TL shot either a) vaporised an ISD on it's own or punched through tens of metres metal, probably including armour, to hit the main reactor. Again, a far greater volume than the bike TPM: TF battleship guns blowing apart starfighters far bigger than the bike AotC: Slave 1 blows apart multiple asteroids of greater volume that the craters seen here RotS: Numerous shots from capital ships blowing holes in their opposite numbers far of greater volume than the bike RO: Again, capship guns blowing holes of far greater volume than the bike. Conclusion: When we see multiple cases of warship guns vaporising asteroids tens of metres across, and numerous examples of warships blowing holes in starships that likewise represent tens of cubic metres of vaporised metal, then a single example of them producing craters 1-2 metres across, or blowing apart a two metre long accumulation of chicken wire is not convincing.
  2. Fair enough, although to be fair to the GG, it was one of the first, if not the first of that seemingly-endless string of increasingly-silly plot devices, and one of the more plausible and interesting. It certainly wasn't as bad as the Sun Crusher.
  3. You're too late for the Galaxy Gun, unless you don't count the functionally identical Starkiller Base. I'd like to see two things: 1) The awe and terror-inspiring majesty of a Base Delta Zero on the big screen 2) The even more awe and terror-inspiring majesty of the Errant Venture. In the appropriate colour.
  4. Which universes can Star Wars beat?

    So we have an outlier or two. I assume you're talking about this, which seems to make HTLs about as powerful as the famous blaster rifle grate shot. That doesn't change the overall conclusions any more that ST5 gives Trek hyperdrive-scale strategic mobility or MJ-scale torpedoes. The "new cannon" still show ISD light guns vaporising asteroids in milliseconds, big chunks of the Tantive IV in seconds, and knocking the Falcon off its axis. It still shows AT-AT guns likewise vaporising big chunks of the Hoth shield generator. It still shows the Death Star blowing Alderaan apart at close to lightspeed. Well? Don't keep us in suspense.
  5. Which universes can Star Wars beat?

    Doesn't really help when the Empire can deploy similar numbers (as at the Battle of Coruscant) and Imperial light guns are about as powerful as the best the Feds have (low Mt LTLs shown against the Falcon in ESB vs maybe-Mt PTs in The Pegasus and Rise, and the low-Mt deflector dish weapon derivable from BoBW and Deja Q.) 1) Do you have any evidence that the online game is cannon, given how consistent Trek has been that only live-action TV series and movies count? 2) Assuming the existence of such evidence, I fail to see how the fact that Trek capital ships are starting to approach the size of Imperial escorts helps them. The problem with the scene is that it directly contradicts everything we've seen concerning capital ship beam weapons against rock. In A Matter of Time, Legacy and Inheritance, phasers were drilling phaser-width tunnels through rock at about 100m/s, and suffering worrying feedback from ore concentrations in the latter. In The Pegasus, Riker didn't even consider using phasers against the asteroid, instead advising using hundreds of PTs even through TDiC-scale phaser firepower would have destroyed it in a fraction of a second. Likewise, Voyager used one of her "irreplaceable" PTs to destroy the Rise asteroid, even though it was a fraction of the size of even the Pegasus asteroid. Where have we ever seen anything close to that sort of firepower in the TNG era? The only thing I can think of is the planet-cracker from Obsession and The Immunity Syndrome, and frankly, given that TOS repeatedly demonstrated the sort of speeds that would have had Voyager home in months, I'm not convinced its capabilities can be reconciled with the TNG-era.
  6. Here I intend to tackle any differences I have in two posts – initially, here, with the introductory overview, and later with anything that relates specifically to individual ships/universes once Brian releases part three of the series. Although the series is named “Capital Warships”, the introductory video makes clear that this is a misnomer and it’s actually talking about all aspects of naval warfare, as made clear by the description of the primary role of a starship as a transport and the inclusion of the Liberty ship, with a focus on ship to ship combat. I disagree with this generalisation, as while the fundamental role of the combined navies of a nation (merchant and combat) is indeed the transport of resources (in its widest sense), no ship can or should be a jack of all trades. Indeed, I disagree with Brian’s prioritisation of naval operations, and specifically ship-to-ship combat, so lowly in his list of priorities – my view is that the top three categories should be as follows: Industrial capacity – the ability to generate and sustain sufficient forces to match or overmatch one’s opponent. This includes warships, armoured vehicles, aircraft, personnel, and sufficient sealift (starlift?) capacity to transport them to the theatre of operations. Strategic mobility – the ability to concentrate sufficient forces at the decisive point (in both time and space) to match or overmatch one’s opponent. Ship-to-ship combat – the ability to seize and maintain control of space lines of communication. This is not limited to combat between capital ships, but also the defeat of commerce raiders, be they analogous to armed merchant cruisers, submarines, or aircraft. The first two factors are effectively Brian’s “logistics” category, separated for clarity. The third, in a way, is also a logistics consideration, as there is no point in having lots of troops and fast transports if you can’t stop the enemy destroying it short of the objective. In 1588, 1805 and 1940, England, and Britain, were faced with armies that, had they been able to march across the English Channel, would have almost certainly defeated the ground forces opposing them and occupied the country. On the first two occasions, said armies had sea transport with the capacity and speed to land sufficiently large forces within a sufficiently short space of time to do so. On none of these occasions was an invasion successful, because of the superiority of the Royal Navy in ship-to-ship combat. As Mahan put it, "those far distant, storm-beaten ships upon which the Grand Army never looked, stood between it and the dominion of the world." In discussing the importance of the presence of a given vessel over its tactical qualities, Brian veers into the issue of strategic mobility. While I entirely agree that this category is more important than ship-to-ship combat, it’s something that I feel should be dealt with in its own category, and leave this one to deal with how effectively a given ship or force can do its job once it gets to its objective. This leads on to Brian’s view that a Fabian strategy of avoiding the enemy main force and striking at his weakness is superior to one of direct confrontation. In this I feel he’s making a grave error, confusing the ultimate objective of a total war – to either take and hold resources or deny the same to the enemy – with the manner by which this is achieved. His analogy with a chained dog is flawed, best replaced by a slow one or one with a pair of broken hind legs, as even a force with limited mobility relative to one’s own is not pinned to a certain volume of space. At the outset of a campaign, the primary objective of any commander must be the destruction of the enemy main force, because as long as that force exists it will pose a threat to the commander’s operations. Once it has been destroyed, then the territory will fall as a matter of course. While the manner in which this is accomplished might change, with the ideal indeed being to do so without fighting, as Sun Tzu says, and as happened at Ulm, this does not mean that it can be dismissed as irrelevant. To answer Brian’s question of how to deal with an enemy with inferior strategic mobility, I would use that mobility to defeat the enemy in detail, bringing the full strength of my own fleet to bear against single enemy ships or small squadrons, in order to remove the threat before my own forces are spread so thinly that they are unable to defend all my conquests. In his description of the concentric pattern of fleet deployment, Brian is clearly being influenced by modern naval combat which is heavily influenced by the existence of small, highly manoeuvrable or concealable vehicles such as aircraft, torpedo boats and submarines, capable of carrying weapons heavy enough to cripple or destroy capital ships. In this he fails to address the alternative, that in one or more universes a ship’s ability to inflict and absorb damage is proportional to its size, as was the case for most of naval history. In such circumstances it makes more sense to put one’s heaviest ships – the ones capable of resisting the most punishment – right at the front of the formation, and use them both to shield the smaller and weaker ships, and as a battering ram to smash through the enemy formation. In such a scenario the role of smaller, faster, ships ceases to be a close screen for the capital ships, but as scouts for them, with mid-sized vessels operating independently to provide a naval presence in areas to important to be left undefended, but not important enough to warrant a battle fleet.
  7. My initial thoughts on Brian's latest piece of analysis. Aliens Gorman describes the ammunition used as “10mm explosive tipped caseless” and then explains their purpose “standard light armour-piercing round”. Brian interprets this to mean the rounds penetrate any armour and then explode, but the manner of the description leads me to believe that the explosive is their armour-piercing mechanism rather than additional to it, otherwise the tip of the round would be a very strange place to put it. Regarding the alleged lack of a non-lethal capability, I would class this as not directly demonstrated but plausible, rather than absent. The weapon has a couple of grenade launchers, which appear to be an integral part of the weapon, rather than an optional extra as modern UGLs are. While their design makes them unsuitable for baton rounds due to their loading mechanism, they could be used to fire CS grenades or beanbag rounds. Obviously, since the marines were going into a combat situation on LV-426, they only carried HE. B5 Regarding the weapon Brian describes as “heavy rifle”, the pump action and the rounds visible through the frame of the magazine indicates that it’s a projectile weapon, and the effects indicate that the rounds are explosive. I therefore think it’s highly unlikely that this is anything but a grenade launcher. BSG Regarding the warriors’ use of pistols in all situations, I don’t have much of an issue with it as Brian – they’re officers and fighter pilots, two groups who have historically used pistols as their primary weapon. Those who have ground combat as their primary role do, as noted, carry weapons appropriate for that role. These pistols definitely have some AP capability, given their effectiveness against the armoured Cylons. How tough this armour is isn’t clear, but in The Lost Warrior, Redeye had clearly been hit repeatedly by small arms fire, probably handguns, although rifle fire is a possibility, with no more damage than a few dents. Centurions (including Redeye himself) are routinely dropped by single shots from Colonial pistols. Stargate Regarding the rate of fire of a staff weapon, while the clip Brian shows certainly appears to indicate full auto, it also involves Bra’tac. This, added to the fact that staff weapons are almost universally depicted as semi-auto, leads me to suspect that what we’re seeing the example chosen merely demonstrates what the most skilful and experienced of its users can achieve. It is not typical of the weapon any more than 35-40 rounds/min is typical of bolt-action rifles. Star Trek Given its explicit anti-vehicle primary role, I would consider the CRM114 to fit into the support weapons category rather than small arms – it’s clearly equivalent to a Javelin or Stinger missile, intended to provide man-portable firepower close to field artillery or light/medium AAA. It’s far beyond the BAR/Light Fifty scale of relative firepower that I would consider a heavy rifle.
  8. It's been a while since anything happened here, so I'll add my two-penneth and see what happens. Brian's latest two videos, on the frontal attacks that comprised the best-known aspects of the battles of Fredericksburg and Gettysburg, make key claims - that frontal attacks are inherently stupid and doomed to failure, and that the frequent success of frontal attacks in science fiction, with Brian exemplifies with the Siege of AR-558, the Battle of Babylon 5, and the capture of the Tantive IV, was due to the absence of artillery. He also has a few cracks at Lee vis a vis a certain obnoxious little corporal. I disagree on all three points. First, the general issue of frontal attacks. Yes, they are frequently extremely bloody, but they have the advantage of having the most straightforward route to the objective, and thereby allow the maximum possible force to be applied in the minimum amount of time. For this reason, they are both common, and frequently successful. The key is to ensure proper coordination of all arms and, if possible, making the final push is against a weak sector of the enemy position. By applying these principles, frontal attacks have achieved some of the most famous victories in history - Blenheim, Ramillies, Austerlitz, the Alma, Amiens and Second Alamein. Indeed, the successful Anglo-French attack at the Battle of the Alma bore striking similarities to the failed US attack at Fredericksburg less than a decade later - across a river, up a hill, and into enemy forces behind a solid earthwork. The failures Brian uses as examples were largely caused by inadequate artillery support, and in the case of Pickett's charge the unavoidable delay between Lee's attacks on the union flanks on the second day, and the final assault on the second day had given ample time for reserves to be moved to meet the charge. The grand tactical scheme was sound in principle, but it would have had to have been applied far quicker than was possible for it to have worked. Second, the issue of why the frontal assaults shown in sci-fi have worked. First of all, if the Jem'Hadar attack on 558 was a success then so was Pickett's Charge - both attacks reached the enemy position before being driven back in hand-to-hand combat. More generally I feel that the key difference was one of range - in all three sci-fi actions, the defenders, while having the advantage of a choke point, had their first chance to engage the enemy at very close range. This meant that, even with semi-automatic weaponry, they could only get off two or three shots before the enemy was on them, and could therefore be overwhelmed by superior numbers. An artillery piece, in the unlikely event that it could be fired without causing as many friendly casualties as enemy, would probably only get off a single shot. At both Gettysburg and Fredericksburg, on the other hand, the attackers were advancing over a wide open field. This allowed the defenders to fire on them for a considerable period of time before the enemy reached them. Pickett's Charge would have been under artillery fire for over fifteen minutes, allowing some 20-30 rounds per gun, and rifle fire for 2-3 minutes, allowing for approximately 10 rounds per man. Finally, the minor issue of Lee vs Napoleon. It's true that, where possible, Napoleon would launch attacks around his opponents flanks, to get in behind the main enemy line. This was not, however, intended as his main attack - that was Frederick the Great's style. The ideal Napoleonic battle would consist of three main phases: frontal assaults to fix the enemy and force him to commit his reserves, with enough strength to break through if he didn't, a flanking attack to get behind the enemy and force him to strip troops from his main line to counter it, and a final frontal assault to break through the weakened sector. Two of the three key phases of this ideal battle therefore consisted of frontal assaults. Moreover, in practice Napoleon repeatedly relied purely on such attacks, successfully, for example, at Wagram and Borodino (at the cost of extremely high causalities - approximately 75000 combining those of both sides in each case), and famously unsuccessfully at Waterloo. At least Lee didn't try sending Longstreet's Corps forward in massed columns as Napoleon did - it's unlikely they would have got anywhere near the union line.
  9. Star Trek V vs Star Wars Holiday Special

    But STV is still occassionally shown on TV, whereas the Holiday Special has all but vanished off the face of the Earth, so V has more of an effect.
  10. I understand what his point was, and I agree with it to a certain extent. The problem is that the example he used to try and illustrate the point is idiotic, to the extent of being counter-productive. Yes, having thousands of P-51s would be superior to a few F16s in dealing with that precise situation, but to do all the other jobs a modern air force has to do, and either do far more frequently, or for which the consequences of failure make 9/11 look trivial, P-51s are utterly useless.
  11. Indeed, because the Sherman, despite its numerous uncomplimentary nicknames, was good enough to get the job done, especially once the Firefly was available in large enough numbers to provide one per troop. Brian uses the example of P-51s being better that F15/16s because you can produce far more of them, and they're just as effective against hijacked airliners. That's the equivalent of building Bren gun carriers instead of Shermans because you can build far more of them and they're almost as effective against riflemen.
  12. First of all I agree with Brian's fundamental premise that one needs only have the tools available that can do the job that needs to be done. Extras are just nice to have. Nonetheless I do take issue with some of the statements he makes in his efforts to support this fundamentally sound theorem. 1) Having something is always better than nothing. Provided the "something" in question is capable of fulfilling the tasks it is set this is true. If it isn't, then there are circumstances in which it can be worse than useless. The Husnok attack on Rana IV was one such situation - a Miranda close enough to reach the planet while the attack was in progress would have done nothing but get another two hundred people killed, just as the "live bait squadron" should never have been sent to patrol the Broad Fourteens in September 1914. 2) Lots of average ships/planes are better than a few great ones. This depends on the definition of "average". The TIE example works, because TIEs are clearly capable of engaging and defeating X-wings, and indeed have a far superior kill/loss ratio (partially because of the circumstances of the Death Star runs). The Mustang example does not because it looks at one narrow situation, and fails to consider the range of threats the NORAD area has to be concerned about. Yes, a swarm of Mustangs would have been more effective against AQ's method of attack than half a dozen modern fast jets. Against Bears, Backfires, Blackjacks, Flankers and Fulcrums they would be useless, and the damage they are capable of inflicting is vastly greater than that inflicted on New York and Washington. 3) Speed vs manoeuvrability. Brian is correct that speed kills, and is wrong to assert that a defensive mission changes that. Forcing fighters to remain at low speed and within a certain distance of whatever they're defending is stupid, because it robs them of the initiative and leaves them sitting ducks. It's ironic that he uses the US bomber offensive against Germany to support this point, because until early 1944 VIII Bomber Command used precisely the tactics he describes and was getting the shit kicked out of it as a result. It wasn't until Jimmy Doolittle took command, took the fighters off close escort duty and ordered them to go and find the Luftwaffe and destroy it that the air war swung in favour of the 8th Air Force.
  13. Kira said "the skimmer appeared and set down right where Furel said it would. And when that hatch opened and that first Cardassian stepped out, I just started firing. And I didn't stop till I'd discharged the entire power cell." They had to wait until the Cardies got out before opening fire, ergo their weapons are ineffective against the vehicle. The mortars they used are obviously a different matter so either 1) the skimmers destroyed were a different, more lightly armoured model or 2) the mortars represent an upper limit for what their armour can stand while phasers represent a lower limit. If you saw a Bradley destroyed by an artillery shell you would not immediately conclude that their armour can't stop bullets.
  14. There's also independent evidence of Cardie mech inf - Kira described ambushing an APC of some description during the occupation in The Darkness and the Light. Their weapons couldn't penetrate the vehicle, so they had to wait until the occupants emerged before opening fire.
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