Jump to content
News Ticker
  • IPB version 4.2 installed!
    Chatbox

    Load More
    You don't have permission to chat.
  • Announcements

    • paul

      ATTN: BLACKFOOT   08/20/2017

      Please register a new account. Tyralak will explain once you do. Thank you for shopping at Walmart.
    • Commander RayCav

      Hey   11/06/2017

      Guess what? Come here. A little closer. Yeah, now lean in. Ok, I have something to tell you: I HAVE GODDAMN ADMIN POWERS! CLAUS FUCKING KELLERMAN! GO WATCH OR GET BANNED (NO JOKE)   Also FUCK YOU!

Recommended Posts

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Curiously, I find myself in general agreement. I'll be checking myself into the ER after this post. ;-)

 

I made a point not to read the thread before watching the video. The Mustang bit really threw me, as well. In a world of less-finite resources (including payroll) an armed Mustang wing of the Civil Air Patrol might be a nifty idea, but then so would air defense cannons around every town and an EMP-hardened grid and yadda-yadda-yadda. For that matter, why not build a thousand Constitution Class ships (here referring to copies of the wooden one) as a coast guard in addition to what we have now, so you have the same rationale.

 

Put simply, I am not completely clear on what exactly he was trying to argue, other than the general notion of applying modern combined (naval) arms to Trek so as to be able to claim deficiencies. The flipside would be to note that we hardly have any fighters anymore, opting instead for multi-role aircraft (e.g. the conversion of F-14s to bombers back in the day). By his apparent logic, I don't think he would accept multi-role starships as a viable 'strategery'.

 

I presume he was also trying to make excuses for some franchise's weak smaller vessels, but I'm not clear on whether he thought he was defending B5 (his favorite storyline) or Star Wars (his favorite military & tech). It was just sorta pointless.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

 

I'm with you on 1: if all you can do by showing up is to just become an additional loss, you might as well not show up at all. Brian did argue, however, that a government that makes no effort to protect it's citizens, even if it's unlikely to succeed, is going to quickly lose favor with the populace.

 

2 deals with effective use of resources. In WW2, Germany kept trying to design and build newer and better tanks and planes, while the Allies concentrated on cranking out more of the tanks and planes they already had (making occasional tweaks where they could, such as figuring out how to up-gun the Sherman). It worked out for the Allies, obviously.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

2 deals with effective use of resources. In WW2, Germany kept trying to design and build newer and better tanks and planes, while the Allies concentrated on cranking out more of the tanks and planes they already had (making occasional tweaks where they could, such as figuring out how to up-gun the Sherman). It worked out for the Allies, obviously.

 

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

 

I think his point was more that having the best (and most expensive) equipment is not always in your favor situationally. On 9/11, having a dozen or more P-51s in the air would have been more useful than a few F-16s on the ground, because on that day, the P-51s could have intercepted the hijacked planes and shot them down.

 

It goes without saying that modern jets would obliterate P-51s in a fight.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think his point was more that having the best (and most expensive) equipment is not always in your favor situationally. On 9/11, having a dozen or more P-51s in the air would have been more useful than a few F-16s on the ground, because on that day, the P-51s could have intercepted the hijacked planes and shot them down.

 

It goes without saying that modern jets would obliterate P-51s in a fight.

 

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

 

Fair enough, but is it really all that unusual to see an extreme example used to illustrate a point?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Howdy Captain, I stumbled in looking for a quote, and saw that you had some questions.

The example is not that complicated. I never said that using 70 year old planes was a good thing for NORAD to do in countering modern fighter jets. That's crazy. I said it would have been better on 9/11.

The point is effective for these reasons:

*It is an effective demonstration of how numbers and location are even more important than technology. It wouldn't matter if those 2 armed planes were X-Wings instead of F-15s, if they were too far away to help *in any way whatsoever*. An old plane that can accomplish the task (somehow you missed this), in greater numbers would be better in such a situation.

*P-51s are about 70 years old, which is very much like Excelsior Class ships or Miranda Class ships in the TNG era. Defending the use of those older ships in the Dominion War was part of the point in the video.

*As I said, in this situation, the plane could get the job done. You seem to have grown the argument a third arm to make it seem as if I was promoting the use of numbers of *anything*, over *anything*, and in *any* scenario. I said at least twice that the plane could accomplish the task, and of course that is key. I've ALSO said in the past that even the Red Barron couldn't defeat Maverick and Goose in an F-14, because the plane is too far outclassed.

*As Ted said, it is *meant* to be an extreme example, in hopes of making a point.

*It also sets the proper mindset to discuss TIE fighters, which immediately follows.

 

So, I'm sorry if the point was confusing. All the people who previewed it seemed to understand and approve.

 

Great to see you guys are still on here and still conversing. I'm terribly busy, and I don't know when I'd be able to participate regularly. I do miss you guys. I'm working 10-12 hours a day, and have even supplemented on weekends some. As I've mentioned before, I only get a few hours a week to myself, when the babies aren't here, and have to use it to the greatest effect.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/10/2015 at 3:25 PM, Captain Seafort said:

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.

I'm way too super lazy to go back and actually read the original passage or the video or whatever the hell, but this does highly imply that Brian has a massive failure to understand and appreciate some serious fundamentals here. Now that's understandable given how he's an astrophysicist, not a military historian, except that this also represents a fundamental failure to appreciate certain basic aspects of, you know, physics.

But the physics aspect concerns very specific flight performance, and the direprency of flight performance between two dramatically different platforms, but an even more fundamental concept that needs to be explored is limits on diminishing returns, both regarding quality and quantity. As two opposing aircraft designs/pilots/whatever start to merge in terms of quality (mathematically/statistically merge, not merge in the actual air combat terminology) quantity will become a larger deciding factor. That is, if two designs/pilots/whatever start to have similar quality, the side with the larger quantity will start to have an advantage (N^2 law and all). If two opposing sides start to merge (again, mathematically on a chart/matrix, not in the air combat terminology sense) in quantity, quality will start to have a greater deciding factor and the side with the better quality will have an advantage. If both quality and quantity start to become too similar, a stalemate will be reached.

If both quality and quantity diverge greatly, it means two things: either one side is terriffically overmatched by an obviously superior opponent, in the same way you're in World of Tanks and you have a super-crappy "freemium" T-25 Pilot and you're a pathetic useless super-stupid on a team of muppets, and the enemy has a bunch of Objekt 252 Defenders and Chrysler K GirlFriend tanks and all of their shots pen right through you, or you're gonna need a fucking graph and chart to mathematically determine how the two sides match up.

Or you can take a third option and just make blanket dumb statements, which to Brian's credit is what most people do, because again most people are pathetic useless morons.

The thing about the TIE Fighter vs. the X-Wing is that when it comes to raw flight performance (going by a bunch of sources that's now considered apocrphal) both aircraft are actually very similar. Raw speed is similar, and various differences in other performance parameters more or less even out. We saw this play out in real life with the Japanese Zero vs. the American fighters (several types, I'm not going to name them all, you can do a Google search or go to Wikipedia on your own). The deciding factor ultimately became how the Japanese were overmatched in quantity as the Japanese actually ended up running out of high-quality pilots because of what turned out to be a super-stupid doctrine of training them, but the Americans also way overmatched them in raw production of fighters. Since the Empire can overmatch the Rebels in production of fighters, they should win, and mostly the Rebels win because movie.

Again, during WWII Mustangs either near-matched or even overmatched opposing fighters in raw performance (remember it is considered one of the most high-performance piston fighter designs for a reason). Although some Axis fighters did overmatch it in terms of production, in actual battlefield conditions Mustangs started to overmatch actual numbers of encountered enemies by the time it entered full US service. It performance was good enough it was able to compete against first-generation jet fighters, but even there it was becoming clear that the performance gap was starting to widen enough to be extremely problematic (most Me-262 kills were made by ambushing them upon landing - well after those Me-262s had been combat effective for that particular sortie - and most MiG-15 kills - if there were indeed any - were made against extremely poorly trained pilots; most of the high-scoring aces on the Communist side ended up being highly trained Russian or Chinese pilots flying North Korean-flagged aircraft). The specific example Brian made is, well, fucking stupid because most aircraft by the 60s, especially the ones that NORAD are concerned with, are fast enough that interception by a Mustang isn't even physically possible. That's why we spent so much money developing missiles there.

Or better yet, try intercepting an actual ICBM. We've spent the vast majority of the Cold War and since trying to figure this one out and we have exactly one or maybe two systems that aren't complete wastes of money to show for it, AEGIS and THAAD.

A better example would've been if, I dunno, waves of MiG-21s or MiG-23s against F-22s or F-35s. Even there there are nuances that can negate raw mathematical advantages, such as if there was a means for non-stealthy aircraft to strike objectives without ever meeting their stealthy opponents.

In the Star Wars world, ignoring the overexaggerated crappiness of the TIE Fighter, it makes sense for the Rebels to build lots and lots of X-Wings, Y-Wings and B-Wings because they have qualities that allow them to exploit weaknesses in large Imperial starships. That's...an entirely different issue that the raw economics of trying to quantitatively overmatch an opponent. That's like saying you're going to quantitatively overmatch an enemy's tank force by building more submarines.

I'm...honestly shocked this level of not-understanding is coming from Brian.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


×