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Ilya
2007-Apr-30, 03:23 AM
Probably the most creative space tactic I ever read was in the (otherwise undistinguished, IMO) book "Europa Strike". It goes like that:

Evidence of extraterrestrial intelligence is found on Jupiter's moon Europa while, for unrelated reasons, tensions mount between US and China. An armed American spaceship is dispatched to Europa, while another is orbiting Mars. A Chinese ship launches, seemingly toward nowhere in particular. Few days after launch it detonates a fusion device, in a 100 megaton range, in empty space. No one in US can figure out the purpose of that, except possibly as a "message" -- demonstration of power. ("What happened to sending messages by e-mail?" grumbles one US Marine.)

What the Chinese spaceship actually did was fire an enormously powerful railgun, twice. The fusion bomb was a smokescreen -- the sleet of charged particles completely masked the EM pulse from firing the gun. Inert railgun projectiles are easy to get out of the way -- if you know they are coming. But no one does.*

One swarm of projectiles is aimed at Jupiter -- or rather where Jupiter will be some months later, when first American spaceship arrives. Needless to say, it is timed to arrive simultaneously with the said spaceship... and the projectiles have enough self-guidance to hit it. The other swarm is slower, and is aimed to where Mars -- and the second American ship, -- would be at that same time. Chancy, of course -- if that ship leaves Mars orbit in the intervening two months, it is safe, but the Chinese take this gamble. And the beauty of this is that if for whatever reason Chinese Politbureau decides to call off the attack -- no one will ever know it was underway! Just send a very short radio code to the projectiles, ordering them to miss their targets. And if they are needed, the attack is undetectable and unstoppable. Europa-bound swarm moves at over 100 km/sec, the Mars-bound one at about 25 km/sec. The course correction occurs within seconds from impact, and until then they are black, cold and silent.

*This was one of the things Heinlein got wrong in "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" -- short of a nuclear detonation, there is no way to hide the EM pulse from a railgun. Manny and company could never keep their second catapult a secret.

Delvo
2007-Apr-30, 03:37 AM
That reminds me of something from one of my "novels" (actually stories I came up with but which will never really be written, nevermind published). A population secretly developed surface-to-space missiles, knowing that they could and would be shot down on launch by orbiting weapon satellites. But they built a bunch and launched them together, in swarms. Each cluster's outermost missiles were indeed shot down, but having them go first protected the ones in the middle of the group because they'd just have to be hit later in the order, and it took long enough for the inner ones to reach escape velocity & altitude, drop their engines, and coast away past the satellite network on inertia alone, thus creating no emissions to alert the satellite network to their existence. Drifting cold on the trajectory they'd been given before dropping their engines, they then completed a slingshot maneuver around the moon and came back in to strike the satellites from above/behind a few days later, using only minor little lateral thrusts for final guidance.

Romanus
2007-Apr-30, 04:41 AM
I was always impressed with the idea of the "stasis field" put forth in The Forever War, which not only set an absolute speed limit of so-many meters per second, but which neutralized all electromagnetic activity. In the novel, this protects the soldiers inside from laser fire, bombs, and missiles, but forces hand-to-hand combat.

novaderrik
2007-Apr-30, 05:28 AM
my favorite tactic is when they sit nose to nose with the enemy ship, and the captain orders the deflector dish to be energized..

HenrikOlsen
2007-Apr-30, 11:03 AM
My favorite is from one of Brin's Uplift books, where the dolphin ship dumps most of its water in the path of the pursuing ships,

Ilya
2007-Apr-30, 12:36 PM
My favorite is from one of Brin's Uplift books, where the dolphin ship dumps most of its water in the path of the pursuing ships,

Hardly unique, although it was a complete surprise to Uplifted cultures. Heck in Benford's "Tides of Light" Killeen does exactly same thing with sewage rather than water. (Which has added benefit in creating spectral signatures of heated organic matter. Enemy ships interpret it as the evidence of ruptured hull, and give up pursuit.)

Novaderrik's and Romanus' examples break known physics.

publiusr
2007-Apr-30, 07:39 PM
The megahuge inflatable 'bluff' ship from AC Clarke.

Ilya
2007-Apr-30, 08:10 PM
The megahuge inflatable 'bluff' ship from AC Clarke.

I think you are confusing Clarke and Cordwainer Smith: "Golden The Ship Was -- Oh! Oh! Oh!"

Ilya
2007-Apr-30, 08:22 PM
To make it clear, I want to stick to known physics. Otherwise, the most creative tactic is "hypometric weapons" from Reynold's Absolution Gap -- your enemies (or parts of your enemies, if you are feeling "creative") simply disappear. Indistinguishable from magic. And when Inhibitors adapted, hypometric weapons "simply stopped working against them". Bigger magic.

Although Absolution Gap had some creative tactics within realm of possible. Such as what happens when two relativistic starships are travelling from one star to another at same speed, one few light-hours ahead of the other? Keep in mind that "throw ball bearings in the path of pursuer" is not particularly effective because ball bearings will retain velocity and just keep on alongside the lead ship. Anything you care to throw from either ship to the other must be accelerated, and thus can not be completely invisible.

korjik
2007-Apr-30, 08:43 PM
Probably the most creative space tactic I ever read was in the (otherwise undistinguished, IMO) book "Europa Strike". It goes like that:

Evidence of extraterrestrial intelligence is found on Jupiter's moon Europa while, for unrelated reasons, tensions mount between US and China. An armed American spaceship is dispatched to Europa, while another is orbiting Mars. A Chinese ship launches, seemingly toward nowhere in particular. Few days after launch it detonates a fusion device, in a 100 megaton range, in empty space. No one in US can figure out the purpose of that, except possibly as a "message" -- demonstration of power. ("What happened to sending messages by e-mail?" grumbles one US Marine.)

What the Chinese spaceship actually did was fire an enormously powerful railgun, twice. The fusion bomb was a smokescreen -- the sleet of charged particles completely masked the EM pulse from firing the gun. Inert railgun projectiles are easy to get out of the way -- if you know they are coming. But no one does.*

One swarm of projectiles is aimed at Jupiter -- or rather where Jupiter will be some months later, when first American spaceship arrives. Needless to say, it is timed to arrive simultaneously with the said spaceship... and the projectiles have enough self-guidance to hit it. The other swarm is slower, and is aimed to where Mars -- and the second American ship, -- would be at that same time. Chancy, of course -- if that ship leaves Mars orbit in the intervening two months, it is safe, but the Chinese take this gamble. And the beauty of this is that if for whatever reason Chinese Politbureau decides to call off the attack -- no one will ever know it was underway! Just send a very short radio code to the projectiles, ordering them to miss their targets. And if they are needed, the attack is undetectable and unstoppable. Europa-bound swarm moves at over 100 km/sec, the Mars-bound one at about 25 km/sec. The course correction occurs within seconds from impact, and until then they are black, cold and silent.

*This was one of the things Heinlein got wrong in "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" -- short of a nuclear detonation, there is no way to hide the EM pulse from a railgun. Manny and company could never keep their second catapult a secret.

I have a couple questions:
How big are these ships?
You have a ship that is big enough to have a railgun powerful enough to accelerate to 100kps, is that standard?
How did they hide the reaction of the firing? (the chinese ship would change course)

publiusr
2007-Apr-30, 08:52 PM
I think you are confusing Clarke and Cordwainer Smith: "Golden The Ship Was -- Oh! Oh! Oh!"


I keep doing that. Thanks for the correction.
http://www.cordwainer-smith.com/rediscovery.htm

tofu
2007-Apr-30, 09:25 PM
I'm still waiting to hear of something cooler than Han Solo clamping onto the backside of a star destroyer. ;)

In the real physics category, Europa Strike is pretty cool, but I'm going to have to go with pretty much the entire last chapter of Footfall - especially the gamma ray lasers

SkepticJ
2007-Apr-30, 11:40 PM
*This was one of the things Heinlein got wrong in "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" -- short of a nuclear detonation, there is no way to hide the EM pulse from a railgun. Manny and company could never keep their second catapult a secret.

Wouldn't wrapping them in superconducting materials and a Faraday cage do the trick? Superconductors exclude magnetic fields , they can't pass through.

mike alexander
2007-Apr-30, 11:46 PM
The rifle bullets in Niven's "Protector".

The computer program in "A for Andromeda".

HenrikOlsen
2007-Apr-30, 11:53 PM
In the real physics category, Europa Strike is pretty cool, but I'm going to have to go with pretty much the entire last chapter of Footfall - especially the gamma ray lasers
We've taking the main guns from the Iowa, added autoloaders and wrapped a one man spaceship around each, then attached them to Michael for launch and individual fighting once we get up there.
Who is going to man them?
We have volunteers.


My favorite from that battle is definitely the stovepipes.

mr obvious
2007-May-01, 03:31 AM
I'm still waiting to hear of something cooler than Han Solo clamping onto the backside of a star destroyer. ;)

In the real physics category, Europa Strike is pretty cool, but I'm going to have to go with pretty much the entire last chapter of Footfall - especially the gamma ray lasers

It might not be cooler looking but there's an AC Clarke short story about an space-faring spy who lands on one of Mars' moons (sorry for lack of details, book not anywhere near me). He's pursued by this fully armed and operational battle..err, ship. But, because of the size of the moon, and the problems the battleship encountered in trying to turn and maintain any sort of orbit around the tiny moon, the spy was able to avoid capture simply by walking in pace with the ship, staying just at or below the horizon. Apparently, the commander of the ship was demoted or discharged and the final line of the story was (paraphrased): "They just couldn't see how the fastest ship in the fleet couldn't catch a man in a space-suit."

Smashing Young Man
2007-May-01, 04:17 AM
Only going into what I seen and read—and not in too much detail at that—I'd have to say the atmosphere jump in Battlestar Galactica and the ending of Ender's Game.

Wow...my post looks so lame compared to the ones above. :p

Captain Kidd
2007-May-01, 04:24 AM
I've always enjoyed the way the troopers landed in Heinlein's Starship Troopers. (the book! not the movie!)

One of the Firefly episodes is pretty funny where Walsh is piloting the Serenity though a winding canyon to escape, and the pursuers are casually cruising above it.

novaderrik
2007-May-01, 06:14 AM
Novaderrik's and Romanus' examples break known physics.

tell that to Captain Picard..

Ilya
2007-May-01, 12:43 PM
I have a couple questions:
How big are these ships?

I don't think measurements were explicitely given, but my impression was on the order of modern naval shis. 100-200 meters, and fusion-powered.


You have a ship that is big enough to have a railgun powerful enough to accelerate to 100kps, is that standard?

Not at all, in fact unique. Moreover, the power drain of the second firing (the one toward Jupiter) slagged the ship's fusion plant -- and that was planned. High cost of the tactic was part of what made is so surprising.


How did they hide the reaction of the firing? (the chinese ship would change course)
Initial hydrogen bomb explosion. For a few minutes it masked both radar, and the ships was too far from any American eyes to resolve visually (or in infrared). By the time it could be seen again there was no indication of how quickly the course change happened.

Ilya
2007-May-01, 12:55 PM
It might not be cooler looking but there's an AC Clarke short story about an space-faring spy who lands on one of Mars' moons (sorry for lack of details, book not anywhere near me). He's pursued by this fully armed and operational battle..err, ship. But, because of the size of the moon, and the problems the battleship encountered in trying to turn and maintain any sort of orbit around the tiny moon, the spy was able to avoid capture simply by walking in pace with the ship, staying just at or below the horizon. Apparently, the commander of the ship was demoted or discharged and the final line of the story was (paraphrased): "They just couldn't see how the fastest ship in the fleet couldn't catch a man in a space-suit."
“Hide and Seek”. I always hated that story because it relies on what I consider the completely unforgivable plot device: “everyone is a moron.” The spy is heavily armed; the ship carries no personal weapons AT ALL, nor any portable detection equipment. IOW, the idea of hostile landing never occurred to anyone. Since armed individual spies are known to exist at all, the above is an absurd lack of foresight.

Redtail
2007-May-01, 02:18 PM
Only going into what I seen and read—and not in too much detail at that—I'd have to say the atmosphere jump in Battlestar Galactica and the ending of Ender's Game.

Wow...my post looks so lame compared to the ones above. :p

Heh. The atmosphere jump was was the first thing I thought of. I loved that!

Roy Batty
2007-May-01, 03:16 PM
Ok, this isn't real physics but I just remembered one I liked. An ep. of B5 whereby Sheridan opens up a jump point within a jump gate to take out a pursuing foe. He then justifies the destruction of the gate as stopping everyone plundering ancient artefacts on dead planets around there. :)

Delvo
2007-May-01, 03:29 PM
Heh. The atmosphere jump was was the first thing I thought of. I loved that!It was cool for special effects, but not really any more creative than any other case of Jumping in close to a target, launching Vipers, and Jumping away again. My favorite move from that series was in the pilot mini-series, when the Galactica led the civilian fleet up from their hiding place in the gas giant's upper atmosphere, rolled out to show its back (with lots of armor and guns) to the waiting Cylon fleet, and parked there to act as a shield so the civilians could come up behind the battlestar and Jump right out from under its belly one or a few at a time until the last was gone and the battlestar finally Jumped away to join them.

Grand Admiral Thrawn
2007-May-01, 07:06 PM
I'm still waiting to hear of something cooler than Han Solo clamping onto the backside of a star destroyer. ;)

In the real physics category, Europa Strike is pretty cool, but I'm going to have to go with pretty much the entire last chapter of Footfall - especially the gamma ray lasers

Before A New Hope, Han Solo used many military tactics (he learned while he was an Imp.) to save Jabba's Sail Barge from pirates. He also used some tactics to beat Imperial Star Destroyers from destroying Nar Shaddaa by projecting holo ships to trick the Imp. Commander, then he went up behind the Imps and blew their back flanks to kingdom come!!!!!!!!! (read the Han Solo Trilogy)

My favorite tactics were the ones Grand Admiral Thrawn used against the New Republic by observing his opponent's culture before attacking them. Thrawn almost beat the New Republic with a fleet with only 5 Star Destroyers and many smaller ships. He probably would have defeated the Rebels if it wasn't for Thrawn's own bodygaurd that stabbed Thrawn in the heart.(see the Thrawn Trilogy by Timothy Zahn).

Grand Admiral Thrawn is the best fictional strategist I ever read about (my user is named after him)!!!!

mr obvious
2007-May-01, 10:51 PM
“Hide and Seek”. I always hated that story because it relies on what I consider the completely unforgivable plot device: “everyone is a moron.” The spy is heavily armed; the ship carries no personal weapons AT ALL, nor any portable detection equipment. IOW, the idea of hostile landing never occurred to anyone. Since armed individual spies are known to exist at all, the above is an absurd lack of foresight.

I don't completely remember the story and won't be defending it passionately, but I thought that the story described that while the moon was small enough to pose navigational problems for the hunter ship, it was too large to cover by personnel. Remember, the hunter ship didn't know how soon the spy pickup ship (which apparently outgunned the hunter ship quite readily) would arrive, and likely didn't want to risk having to abandon multiple landing parties if they needed to run. The hunter ship did send those two probes with cameras but the spy was able to stay relatively hidden.

Your point is taken though, the commander might've been more creative.

Ilya
2007-May-02, 12:11 AM
It's not the commander, but the entire military doctrine should have been more creative. Such as making personal weapons and other infantry equipment a standard part of any warship inventory. Even if no landing is planned, it may still happen.

Given these limitations, the commander really had no good options.

Captain Kidd
2007-May-02, 01:09 AM
I see Ilya's point. They should have had something like a Marine detachment aboard, even if it's a small squad. But then that'd ruin the point of the story that one person could conceivably best the height of technology.

mr obvious
2007-May-02, 01:20 AM
I'm interested in knowing what you (any of you) think of Clarke's "Superiority," if you've read that.

For those who are not familiar with this story, you might say it's "The tortoise and the hare," only set in space and with explosions. There are spoilers in the next paragraph, but since there are spoilers a-plenty in this thread, I'm not too terribly concerned with it (and it's not exactly a recent work).

The story is told in retrospect from the perspective of the losing commander immediately after the war was finished. The winning side relied simply on continuing to build their space fleet as usual, but the losing side decided to take some chances with more advanced technology, based on theoretical and laboratory work. The reason the 'advanced' side lost is because getting the technology to work in the field was something that required time (to debug), but because they wanted to use the rather seductive new gadgets, they ended up wasting time and resources that would've been better spent on more marginal improvements. You might say there were plenty of creative tactics, but they didn't work as intended.

Ilya
2007-May-03, 11:51 PM
I thought "Superiority" is a good cautionary tale, but the prose and the storyline are nothing to write home about. Like all of early Clarke, for that matter.

Serenitude
2007-May-04, 08:46 AM
"Wash! I'm gonna need a Crazy Ivan!" :D

Dr Nigel
2007-May-04, 09:37 AM
For unreal physics: pretty much every space battle in David Weber's "Honor Harrington" series. The tactics used are often pretty creative (or certainly seemed so on a first reading).

For slightly-closer-to-reality: the space battle in Niven's Protector. Although, I must confess this is nowhere near as creative as some of what has been described in this thread.

Ilya
2007-May-04, 01:13 PM
For unreal physics: pretty much every space battle in David Weber's "Honor Harrington" series. The tactics used are often pretty creative (or certainly seemed so on a first reading).

I never read any Harrington novels -- "Armageddon Inheritance" and "Apocalypse Troll" convinced me I never want to read anything by Weber again. One blooper I found amusing was relativistic missiles with fusion warheads. That's like taking a 5-inch cannonball and sticking a firecracker on it.


For slightly-closer-to-reality: the space battle in Niven's Protector. Although, I must confess this is nowhere near as creative as some of what has been described in this thread.

Creative, yes, but just like Heinlein's tactic in "The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress", packs less punch than advertised. The bullet would have hit the neutron star at about 0.5 C. M-16 bullet weighs about 8 grams. Say, it was a high-caliber rifle with a 40 gram bullet. Impacting neutron star it would produce a 200-250 kiloton explosion. I doubt that would harm a spacecraft tough enough and/or far enough away to survive neutron star's usual effects.

Dr Nigel
2007-May-04, 04:13 PM
I never read any Harrington novels -- "Armageddon Inheritance" and "Apocalypse Troll" convinced me I never want to read anything by Weber again. One blooper I found amusing was relativistic missiles with fusion warheads. That's like taking a 5-inch cannonball and sticking a firecracker on it.


....

Well, in his HH novels, he does point out (several times) that, if you can't maneouvre, all your enemy has to do is launch his missiles from a long way away (so that he can dodge anything you fire back) and give them plenty of time to reach very very high velocities relative to you. Then, the warhead is totally irrelevant (he calls this "kinetic strikes").

But, if memory serves, there was an even more OTT "unreal physics" tactic in E.E. "Doc" Smith's Lensman series: essentially, they neutralised the inertia of a whole planet, dragged it halfway across the galaxy, then switched off the machine that neutralised its inertia, so it resumed its original velocity (which was, of course, very large and in the opposite direction from the target planet).

Alasdhair
2007-May-04, 05:44 PM
Well, in his HH novels, he does point out (several times) that, if you can't maneouvre, all your enemy has to do is launch his missiles from a long way away (so that he can dodge anything you fire back) and give them plenty of time to reach very very high velocities relative to you. Then, the warhead is totally irrelevant (he calls this "kinetic strikes").

But, if memory serves, there was an even more OTT "unreal physics" tactic in E.E. "Doc" Smith's Lensman series: essentially, they neutralised the inertia of a whole planet, dragged it halfway across the galaxy, then switched off the machine that neutralised its inertia, so it resumed its original velocity (which was, of course, very large and in the opposite direction from the target planet).

IIRC, the Lensmen, having a whole galaxy's planets to pick from, used them in matched pairs: the intrinsic velocity of the target then didn't matter as it was crushed between two incoming worlds...

Fazor
2007-May-04, 05:57 PM
Am I the only one who prefers the tactic of firing daffy duck through a cannon only to leave a duck-shaped dent in the enemy craft? it's better than a guided missle because he always manages to make it inside and finds the big red "do not push" self-destruct button. It never fails. And I've never read of an anti-mallard defense system.

mike alexander
2007-May-04, 08:27 PM
Ilya wrote:


Creative, yes, but just like Heinlein's tactic in "The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress", packs less punch than advertised. The bullet would have hit the neutron star at about 0.5 C. M-16 bullet weighs about 8 grams. Say, it was a high-caliber rifle with a 40 gram bullet. Impacting neutron star it would produce a 200-250 kiloton explosion. I doubt that would harm a spacecraft tough enough and/or far enough away to survive neutron star's usual effects.

Yup, that's what I meant about the bullets in Protector. However, I'm sure that the Brennan-monster with his amazing intelligence added in the effects of the impact destabilizing the star's crust, causing a fault with consequent isostatic readustment resulting in a synergistic effect. The narrator did mention that a significant portion of the star's surface began to glow, suggesting a more widespread effect.

Never underestimate the Brennan-monster.

Dr Nigel
2007-May-05, 04:29 PM
IIRC, the Lensmen, having a whole galaxy's planets to pick from, used them in matched pairs: the intrinsic velocity of the target then didn't matter as it was crushed between two incoming worlds...

Oh, yeah, I think they did that later.

Captain Kidd
2007-May-08, 06:03 PM
Well, in his HH novels, he does point out (several times) that, if you can't maneouvre, all your enemy has to do is launch his missiles from a long way away (so that he can dodge anything you fire back) and give them plenty of time to reach very very high velocities relative to you. Then, the warhead is totally irrelevant (he calls this "kinetic strikes").
I believe many of his missiles have no warheads, their engine's fields are the weapons. In that universe to move in space the ships create a pair of electromagnetic fields, one above the ship an one below. They're slightly curved, kilometers in size thus dwarfing the ship, and slightly wedge shape thus somehow pushing the ship. They're also completely impenetrable so that nothing gets through, not even light. Thus causing the upper and lower parts of the ship to be completely protected, but they also cause big blind spots if sensors aren't used right. Any physical object the fields touch are obliterated. I also think that if two fields touch, "bad things happen" thus the no warhead missiles.

His battles try to recreate sailing ship warfare in space, with some 3 dimensional aspects added. Thus with the top and bottom protected, there's the sides and ends only open, making combat, especially single ship actions, more 2 dimensional. Shields can close the sides (but can be beaten down like Star Trek shields), however the ends are open (for most of the series). Thus the enemy commander always tries to maneuver to get the "up the skirt shop" through the unprotected stern gap. Akin to "crossing the t" of naval warfare where one side could rake an enemy ship, or line of ships, while the enemy couldn't do anything as their canons wouldn't transverse that far, and only the stern chasers of the aftermost ship could fire.

The battles get interesting at times, although the constant need to one-up the previous book started raising the bar quick and got into some rather far-fetched battles.

He co-authored the books based on the Starfire games, I can only remember The Shiva Option at the moment. It was a good series, but The Shiva Option went over the top on one-upping.

korjik
2007-May-08, 09:56 PM
I believe many of his missiles have no warheads, their engine's fields are the weapons. In that universe to move in space the ships create a pair of electromagnetic fields, one above the ship an one below. They're slightly curved, kilometers in size thus dwarfing the ship, and slightly wedge shape thus somehow pushing the ship. They're also completely impenetrable so that nothing gets through, not even light. Thus causing the upper and lower parts of the ship to be completely protected, but they also cause big blind spots if sensors aren't used right. Any physical object the fields touch are obliterated. I also think that if two fields touch, "bad things happen" thus the no warhead missiles.

His battles try to recreate sailing ship warfare in space, with some 3 dimensional aspects added. Thus with the top and bottom protected, there's the sides and ends only open, making combat, especially single ship actions, more 2 dimensional. Shields can close the sides (but can be beaten down like Star Trek shields), however the ends are open (for most of the series). Thus the enemy commander always tries to maneuver to get the "up the skirt shop" through the unprotected stern gap. Akin to "crossing the t" of naval warfare where one side could rake an enemy ship, or line of ships, while the enemy couldn't do anything as their canons wouldn't transverse that far, and only the stern chasers of the aftermost ship could fire.

The battles get interesting at times, although the constant need to one-up the previous book started raising the bar quick and got into some rather far-fetched battles.

He co-authored the books based on the Starfire games, I can only remember The Shiva Option at the moment. It was a good series, but The Shiva Option went over the top on one-upping.

The impellers are gravitic not Em. Shaped like two planes above and below the ship and angled such that they are farther apart in front of the ship than behind. Supposedly the angle was what allowed movement.

Generic missile has a multiple bomb-pumped x-ray laser emitter as a warhead. The lasers were the damaging system, on the assumption that an impact on a ship was unlikely. The missiles are capable of pretty ludicrous accelerations (tens of thousands of g) and if the target was immoble, they would be used as kinetic weapons.

He co-authored Crusade, In Death Ground, The Shiva Option, and Insurecction.

agoetz
2007-May-08, 11:05 PM
Re: Weber's Honor series.

Yes the physics is a bit ... off, at times.
Yes some of the later books get too far into politics and info dumps and the like.
I still like them.

The grav drive system used has already been covered further up this thread. Missiles basically come in 3 warhead flavours - no warhead when you can generate an actual hit (apart from hitting a planet or as a stealth attack on a sleeping foe, not much use), nuke (out of date, getting a missile close enough to a combat ship for a nuke to be useful is extremely rare, mostly used in for cleaning up after a battle) and the x-ray laser (the missile only has to get to within 20000 km of so of the target).
Even with munitions that pull 90000 g acceleration, 6 light minute engagements give plenty of preparation time ...

Ilya
2007-May-08, 11:50 PM
One blooper I found amusing was relativistic missiles with fusion warheads. That's like taking a 5-inch cannonball and sticking a firecracker on it.

That was not in HH novels -- it was in "Armageddon Inheritance" (and possibly in "Apocalypse Troll"). But what you people are saying about HH does not change my opinion of Weber. If I want to read about Age of Sail naval battles... I will read about Age of Sail naval battles.

MarkBB
2007-May-08, 11:54 PM
The other thing about the tactics in Webbers HH is that the ships are protected by both active and passive defenses - any missile boring straight in for a KE kill would not reach the target. In fact at the start of the series the technology was such that even with stand-off warheads the probability of scoring a hit against a similar warship was practically zero, and the main tactic was to try & swamp the enemies defenses.

I'm not that much of a physicist so I can accept the propulsion system and inertial dumps as handwaviums without two much problems, but I do have problems with the massive crews his ships seem to carry - 6 people to each secondary weapons system in case of control run failure does seem a bit excessive. His ships also seem to have few of the compromises seen in real life - massivly armored plus massive defences plus massive attack power in one ship would probably make his navies unfordable even fo0r multi-planetary bodies.

Mark

Dr Nigel
2007-May-09, 07:38 AM
The other thing about the tactics in Webbers HH is that the ships are protected by both active and passive defenses - any missile boring straight in for a KE kill would not reach the target. In fact at the start of the series the technology was such that even with stand-off warheads the probability of scoring a hit against a similar warship was practically zero, and the main tactic was to try & swamp the enemies defenses.

I'm not that much of a physicist so I can accept the propulsion system and inertial dumps as handwaviums without two much problems, but I do have problems with the massive crews his ships seem to carry - 6 people to each secondary weapons system in case of control run failure does seem a bit excessive. His ships also seem to have few of the compromises seen in real life - massivly armored plus massive defences plus massive attack power in one ship would probably make his navies unfordable even fo0r multi-planetary bodies.

Mark

Hmm, yes, but if the kinetic strike is launched from far enough away, it can shut down its drives before your target picks up its gravity signature, and coast in ballistically, but with enough speed that the target has no time to respond when it picks up the missile on radar.

And, 90,000 xg does not sound so extraordinary to me. I have used a centrifuge that is capable of generating a relative centrifugal force of 400,000 xg.

I think the best thing about Weber's HH series is: it's like Age of Sail naval warfare, but with bigger guns! You just have to accept lots of arm-waving not-compatable-with-laws-of-physics stuff to enjoy them.

The nature of compromise in ship construction is touched on here and there in the novels. Heavy arms and armament versus manoeuverability versus cost. Anyway, I've already mentioned that I think some of it is quite creative, so let's see if the thread can get back on-topic...

Captain Kidd
2007-May-09, 04:38 PM
Ah, thanks korjik, I was having a brain freeze moment and couldn't remember what he used for the drive fields.

Noclevername
2007-May-18, 10:21 PM
The "stern chase" scene from "The Gripping Hand" is a fairly good space battle scenario, discounting the shields. A lot of waiting, while everything gets to where it's going, and trying not to be too predictable but still end up where you want to.

ToSeek
2008-May-09, 05:14 PM
The Greatest Space Strategists In Military History (http://io9.com/377131/the-greatest-space-strategists-in-military-history)


Everybody always gives props to space captains: they're the ones sitting in the chair and commanding a spaceship going head-to-head with their bumpy-headed counterpart on the enemy ship. But one starship doesn't always win a space battle. Sometimes it's the general (or the admiral) sitting in an even bigger chair, who figures out where to send all the dozens, or thousands, of starships into battle like chess pieces. They're the tacticians and the master strategists, and we celebrate them below.

There's a really cool surprise at the very end.

stutefish
2008-May-09, 08:29 PM
Somebody--Niven, I think--has a story from the Man-Kzin Wars period where Earth wishes to land an agent on a Kzin-controlled human colony world.

So they accelerate their warship to some impressive fraction of c, and jump it to the edge of the target system. It hurtles through the system in a matter of hours on a cometary trajectory, whipping around the star and back out again, where it finally jumps to safety.

Along the way, it throws off a number of nukes and particle clouds, to deal with scrambling interceptors, shoot out sensor arrays scattered throughout the system, and cause general upheval and confusion in the defense organization. In the midst of all the hustle and bustle, they deliver a stealthy shuttlecraft to the colony planet's surface.

Ilya
2008-May-09, 09:01 PM
Somebody--Niven, I think--has a story from the Man-Kzin Wars period where Earth wishes to land an agent on a Kzin-controlled human colony world.

So they accelerate their warship to some impressive fraction of c, and jump it to the edge of the target system. It hurtles through the system in a matter of hours on a cometary trajectory, whipping around the star and back out again, where it finally jumps to safety.

If you can call a practically straight line a "cometary trajectory". At that speed, star's gravity deflects it very very little.


Along the way, it throws off a number of nukes and particle clouds, to deal with scrambling interceptors, shoot out sensor arrays scattered throughout the system, and cause general upheval and confusion in the defense organization. In the midst of all the hustle and bustle, they deliver a stealthy shuttlecraft to the colony planet's surface.

Of course, the way shuttlecraft decelerated from relativistic speed is very much a "tooth fairy physics"*.

* "In a hard SF story you are allowed one tooth fairy, but only one" -- Larry Niven

novaderrik
2008-May-10, 01:54 AM
i like the line about how the Empire fell "in a rain of Ewok claws"..
i always kind of assumed that the Ewoks were taken out in a "rain of half completed (yet fully operational) death star debris" after the movie ended.

SpecialEd
2008-May-10, 04:39 AM
There was a short story I liked from the Man-Kzin War series dealing with the first contact between a Kzin & human ship. Humans had become so pacifistic they did a bit of mental editing on the the majority of the population & the history of man's warlike beginnings was taught to only a carefully chosen few. So when the Kzin ship attacked (of course) it took the humans an long time to figure out something as simple as "Wow! They're trying to kill us. What's up with that?" Luckily one of the crew was one of the mentioned chosen few, who swung the whole ship around so their laser main drive sliced the Kzin ship in half. Examination of the wrecked ship gave them an idea of who & what they were dealing with, & they had time to rework their society into a more warlike footing before the first Kzin attack on Earth arrived.

Solfe
2008-May-10, 04:57 AM
I liked the Firefly episode where Wash tells an angry mob he will "blast em". The guys see the ship and just assume some of the pointy things must be guns and back off.

Another nice tactic from BSG is when Starbuck plans an attack on the Cylon base by hiding fighters on a small ship. The Cylons jump at the small ship first, then Galactica jumps in and the Cylons turn around leaving the base unprotected to the first ship. They sort of glossed over the fact that Galactic may have had to clean up all of the fighters after the base was taken out. The episode ended with the Cylon fighters inbound... odd ending.

My personal favorite is The Warriors by Larry Niven. The Kzin telepathically scan a ship to check on combat capabilities and don't find any because the humans don't believe in violence. When the Kzin attack, one of the humans uses the communications laser to cut the Kzin in half. Tools are weapons sometimes. :)

mike alexander
2008-May-10, 06:17 AM
John Amalfi was a good tactician in that he usually got others to do his fighting for him. Nick van Rijn was similar.

Maksutov
2008-May-10, 09:48 AM
The best MAD one was when the Tralfamadorian test pilot, during experiments with a new fuel, pushes a button and the entire universe disappears.

Ilya
2008-May-11, 07:18 PM
There was a short story I liked from the Man-Kzin War series dealing with the first contact between a Kzin & human ship. Humans had become so pacifistic they did a bit of mental editing on the the majority of the population & the history of man's warlike beginnings was taught to only a carefully chosen few. So when the Kzin ship attacked (of course) it took the humans an long time to figure out something as simple as "Wow! They're trying to kill us. What's up with that?" Luckily one of the crew was one of the mentioned chosen few, who swung the whole ship around so their laser main drive sliced the Kzin ship in half. Examination of the wrecked ship gave them an idea of who & what they were dealing with, & they had time to rework their society into a more warlike footing before the first Kzin attack on Earth arrived.



My personal favorite is The Warriors by Larry Niven. The Kzin telepathically scan a ship to check on combat capabilities and don't find any because the humans don't believe in violence. When the Kzin attack, one of the humans uses the communications laser to cut the Kzin in half. Tools are weapons sometimes. :)

You are both talking about the same story -- "The Warriors". It is also the first story Larry Niven sold, and is rather rough around the edges.

jokergirl
2008-May-12, 01:14 PM
I've always loved all of Niven's space war tactics; the use of the communications laser as a weapon and the incredibly slow, time-delayed fight between the two Pak spaceships especially. Amazingly smart and creative!

;)

mike alexander
2008-May-12, 07:18 PM
Haldeman's use of a collapsar to whip the projectiles into the bad guys at 0.99c, so they arrived almost coincident with their own light, no time to dodge.

John Amalfi flying the planet Hern VI into the Vegan Orbital Fort.

Drunk Vegan
2008-May-12, 08:09 PM
The conclusion to the Farscape saga was pretty inspiring. He opens a wormhole that's connected to thousands of points in spacetime, one of which happens to be a black hole. Starts out as a tiny anomaly in the middle of a space battle, but because of the enormous amount of matter it's consuming it begins doubling exponentially in size, swallowing dozens of ships and an entire planet.

Trantor
2008-May-12, 08:40 PM
I've always liked Emperor Palpatine's plan to crush the Rebels in "Return of the Jedi". It may be true that it didn't work, but in my opinion, it should have worked. The only thing that saved the Rebels was the Ewoks taking down the shield, but those primative Ewoks and the small Rebel force, should never have been a match for the Imperial forces defending the shield generator. Slingshots and bows and arrows are no match against blasters and other advanced Imperial technology. I think that even with the shield down, the Rebel fleet was no match for the Imperial fleet.

I guess we just had to have a nice happy ending.

Delvo
2008-May-12, 08:56 PM
I keep seeing people complain about the Ewoks beating up the Stormtroopers, but I've seen one person say that that was not actually shown happening; what was shown instead was lots of scenes of Ewoks fighting the Stormtroopers but losing, not really making any progress against them, and people just recall it as if it had been different from what it really was.

I don't know myself which is more accurate. I've only seen it years and years ago.

Weird Dave
2008-May-12, 10:27 PM
I liked the early episode (the first?) of Deep Space 9 when Cardassians are threatening the station. They fire all their photon torpedoes as a warning shot, to make the Cardassians think the station is heavily armed when it isn't.

Jason Thompson
2008-May-13, 10:51 AM
I keep seeing people complain about the Ewoks beating up the Stormtroopers, but I've seen one person say that that was not actually shown happening; what was shown instead was lots of scenes of Ewoks fighting the Stormtroopers but losing, not really making any progress against them, and people just recall it as if it had been different from what it really was.

I don't know myself which is more accurate. I've only seen it years and years ago.

The Ewoks didn't do too badly really. It was a fair mix of success and failure on both sides. On the one hand there were Ewoks on gliders being shot out of the sky (and it is heavily implied he was then stepped on by an AT-ST walker), blasted by Imperial AT-STs (one definitely was killed on screen) and having some of their attacks fail entirely (like trying to bring down an AT-ST by using a trip rope: it just pulled them all along behind it). On the other hand, it was the Ewoks who destroyed two of the AT-STs (releasing a pile of logs to trip one over, and using two logs swinging from trees to crush the cabin of another), and they did catch a few Stormtroopers using slings, trip wires, and sticks. It is arguable, however, that the tide of battle turned when Chewbacca successfully captured one of the AT-STs and used it to blow up another then blast the stormtroopers into retreat.

Jason Thompson
2008-May-13, 11:06 AM
Two tactics I quite liked (though nowhere near as imaginative as some others here) came from a couple of Star Trek novels. One was The Return by Wiliam Shatner, in which a Defiant class starship does a suicide run at a Romulan Warbird, only to cloak at the last second. The Romulans are confused, until it drops its cloak and reveals itself in between the double hulled main body of the Warbird, where it can't be shot at. It then puts extra power to its shields and does a roll, effectively gutting the Warbird.

The other was Invasion: First Strike. A Klingon ship and the Enterprise are both attacking a huge Fury vessel, which has no shields but has armour plated segments. In the final battle the Enterprise never fired a shot, instead using its tractor beam to wrench the armour up so the Klingons could shoot at the exposed body of the ship itself.

DukePaul
2008-May-13, 11:39 AM
A favorite of mine came from Steve Perry's novel The Man Who Never Missed. One man takes on a repressive government not by killing its soldiers but shooting them with a shocktox agent. The gov't is forced to take care of its paralyzed soldiers till the effect wears off.

ineluki
2008-May-13, 12:29 PM
The Greatest Space Strategists In Military History (http://io9.com/377131/the-greatest-space-strategists-in-military-history)


Thrawn was too much of a "Know-it-all" for my taste.

Now for ST II:
--------------------
quote:
That's another reason why The Wrath of Khan is the greatest Star Trek has to offer. It's the *ONLY* time they ever acknowledge that space has three dimensions. The scene where the Enterprise ascends behind the Reliant is one of the most awesome moments in theatrical space combat.
--------------------

At the same time, they still ascend nicely aligned. Using three dimensions would allow them to fire from below or above, keeping the Enterprise perpendicular to the Reliant. But well, "greatest Star Trek" ...

There is a ST novel (Doctor's Orders) though where they use a simple probe, moving at .50c to hit an enemy ship

Trantor
2008-May-13, 02:23 PM
The Ewoks didn't do too badly really. It was a fair mix of success and failure on both sides. On the one hand there were Ewoks on gliders being shot out of the sky (and it is heavily implied he was then stepped on by an AT-ST walker), blasted by Imperial AT-STs (one definitely was killed on screen) and having some of their attacks fail entirely (like trying to bring down an AT-ST by using a trip rope: it just pulled them all along behind it). On the other hand, it was the Ewoks who destroyed two of the AT-STs (releasing a pile of logs to trip one over, and using two logs swinging from trees to crush the cabin of another), and they did catch a few Stormtroopers using slings, trip wires, and sticks. It is arguable, however, that the tide of battle turned when Chewbacca successfully captured one of the AT-STs and used it to blow up another then blast the stormtroopers into retreat.

I agree with this general overview of the battle for the shield generator, it's just that the battle as depicted, was totally rediculous. First of all, the Emperor's Elite Stormtroopers(he called them, a Legion of his "finest troops") were totally incompetent. Weren't these the same guys who fought so well in the Clone Wars? They couldn't aim very well and their protective armor seemed to be vulnurable to arrows and rocks. In the first Ewok attack, arrows and rocks brought down many Stormtroopers. Then they broke ranks and chased the Ewoks into the forest instead of massing their troops around the shield generator. They also had at least one big AT-AT walker(it was shown in the scene when Luke turned himself in to Vader) and several At-St's at their disposal. The AT-AT was never shown as taking part in the battle and it's incredible that the "Elite" troopers would send their AT-ST's into a heavily wooded area, instead of forming a perimeter around the generator.

The easy way that Chewbacca managed to capture that AT-ST was also pretty amazing - the "Elite" troopers saw an Ewok making fun of them thru the window, then decided to open the hatch and go out and get him!

I would rather have seen a nice battle for the shield generator; involving a decent sized Rebel force, who at least had similar advanced weapons, to take the shield generator from the Imperials. The fleets fighting above Endor were also mismatched, as the Imperials had more powerful ships and outnumbered the Rebel fleet ten to one. The Rebel fleet was caught between the active Deathstar(which did destroy at least two Rebel capital ships) and the fleet of stardestroyers, but it didn't matter as victory for the Rebels was assured.

Jason Thompson
2008-May-13, 02:53 PM
The fleets fighting above Endor were also mismatched, as the Imperials had more powerful ships and outnumbered the Rebel fleet ten to one. The Rebel fleet was caught between the active Deathstar(which did destroy at least two Rebel capital ships) and the fleet of stardestroyers, but it didn't matter as victory for the Rebels was assured.

The most awful military space battle tactic ever was running away from the Death Star when they realised it was operational. It has one big weapon, and it's fixed, so it must have a very narrow firing window. Why not scatter the fleet around the Death Star and keep out of the way of its weapon? Surely the rebel ships can move faster than the Death Star can rotate? At the same time, they could then use the bulk of the Death Star to shield them from the Star Destroyers for a time.

jokergirl
2008-May-13, 02:57 PM
The death star was as far as I understood also a troop carrier; it had a lot of smaller craft that could cause quite a lot of trouble even if the star destroyers and the death star itself couldn't.

But hey, it's a space opera. Galaxy Quest had cleverer tactics than all the grand moffs together, and they were actors.

;)

Jason Thompson
2008-May-13, 02:58 PM
Thrawn was too much of a "Know-it-all" for my taste.

Now for ST II:
--------------------
quote:
That's another reason why The Wrath of Khan is the greatest Star Trek has to offer. It's the *ONLY* time they ever acknowledge that space has three dimensions. The scene where the Enterprise ascends behind the Reliant is one of the most awesome moments in theatrical space combat.
--------------------

At the same time, they still ascend nicely aligned. Using three dimensions would allow them to fire from below or above, keeping the Enterprise perpendicular to the Reliant. But well, "greatest Star Trek" ...

There is a ST novel (Doctor's Orders) though where they use a simple probe, moving at .50c to hit an enemy ship

Yeah, the three dimensional space bit is still daftly ignored, most notably when the viewscreen clears just long enough for Kirk and crew to realise they are heading straight for the Reliant. Kirk orders an evasive move that turns the Enterprise broadside on, presenting almost the largest possible target for the Reliant's phasers, which do indeed hit it.

Even with all the CGI battles in later series of Star Trek, it still seems mostly 2D. The only scene that really springs to mind as being a truly 3D approach to a battle is when the future Enterprise decloaks in All Good Things... and blasts the two Klingon cruisers from directly underneath, passing through at 90 degrees to the plane of the Klingon vessels.

Jason Thompson
2008-May-13, 02:59 PM
But hey, it's a space opera. Galaxy Quest had cleverer tactics than all the grand moffs together, and they were actors.

;)

Oh yes, I meant to mention the ship dragging the magnetic mines in that movie.... :)

jamesabrown
2008-May-13, 03:03 PM
I agree with this general overview of the battle for the shield generator, it's just that the battle as depicted, was totally rediculous. First of all, the Emperor's Elite Stormtroopers(he called them, a Legion of his "finest troops") were totally incompetent. Weren't these the same guys who fought so well in the Clone Wars? They couldn't aim very well and their protective armor seemed to be vulnurable to arrows and rocks. In the first Ewok attack, arrows and rocks brought down many Stormtroopers. Then they broke ranks and chased the Ewoks into the forest instead of massing their troops around the shield generator. They also had at least one big AT-AT walker(it was shown in the scene when Luke turned himself in to Vader) and several At-St's at their disposal. The AT-AT was never shown as taking part in the battle and it's incredible that the "Elite" troopers would send their AT-ST's into a heavily wooded area, instead of forming a perimeter around the generator.

The easy way that Chewbacca managed to capture that AT-ST was also pretty amazing - the "Elite" troopers saw an Ewok making fun of them thru the window, then decided to open the hatch and go out and get him!

I would rather have seen a nice battle for the shield generator; involving a decent sized Rebel force, who at least had similar advanced weapons, to take the shield generator from the Imperials. The fleets fighting above Endor were also mismatched, as the Imperials had more powerful ships and outnumbered the Rebel fleet ten to one. The Rebel fleet was caught between the active Deathstar(which did destroy at least two Rebel capital ships) and the fleet of stardestroyers, but it didn't matter as victory for the Rebels was assured.

I've read, but I can't confirm, that the Mighty Victory of the Ewoks was originally conceived by Lucas to be the Mighty Victory of the Wookies. Lucas had a grand idea of exploring the theme of Stone-Age Primitives Defeats Modern Technology (a romantic notion albeit rarely occurring in our world). However, when plotting out Ep. 4, Lucas had no idea that the franchise would be as successful as it was, so he couldn't count on the bank roll to make Ep 6.

So with the prospect of not being able to introduce Wookies at all, Lucas decided to move Chewie as a main character up into Ep 4, give him some technical skills (since it wouldn't make sense for Han Solo to adopt a primitive animal to be a co-pilot of a temperamental ship) and hope for the best. Had Lucas known that SW would be a success (again, this may be just scuttlebutt) then the copilot would have been some other character altogether, and the last Death Star would have been assembled over the forest moon of Kashyyyk, only to be defeated by the locals. It would have resembled what we saw during Ep. 3. At least then you have the superior size and strength of the Wookies to enhance their primitive technology.

Instead, we got Attack of the Teddy Bears to appeal to the Sesame Street demographic.

Again, it's just what I heard.

Trantor
2008-May-13, 03:37 PM
The most awful military space battle tactic ever was running away from the Death Star when they realised it was operational. It has one big weapon, and it's fixed, so it must have a very narrow firing window. Why not scatter the fleet around the Death Star and keep out of the way of its weapon? Surely the rebel ships can move faster than the Death Star can rotate? At the same time, they could then use the bulk of the Death Star to shield them from the Star Destroyers for a time.

Yeah, hiding behind the other side of Deathstar would have at least bought the Rebels more time. The tactic of taking on the fleet of stardestroyers at point blanc range was not very good, considering that they would be severely outgunned and outnumbered. Even Admiral Akbar commented that they would not last long against the stardestroyers. Also, there was no guarentee that the shield would ever be deactivated. The shield should have remained operational, the Rebel fleet destroyed, and Luke Skywalker should have joined his father - to rule the galaxy, father and son!!;)

Trantor
2008-May-13, 03:42 PM
I've read, but I can't confirm, that the Mighty Victory of the Ewoks was originally conceived by Lucas to be the Mighty Victory of the Wookies. Lucas had a grand idea of exploring the theme of Stone-Age Primitives Defeats Modern Technology (a romantic notion albeit rarely occurring in our world). However, when plotting out Ep. 4, Lucas had no idea that the franchise would be as successful as it was, so he couldn't count on the bank roll to make Ep 6.

So with the prospect of not being able to introduce Wookies at all, Lucas decided to move Chewie as a main character up into Ep 4, give him some technical skills (since it wouldn't make sense for Han Solo to adopt a primitive animal to be a co-pilot of a temperamental ship) and hope for the best. Had Lucas known that SW would be a success (again, this may be just scuttlebutt) then the copilot would have been some other character altogether, and the last Death Star would have been assembled over the forest moon of Kashyyyk, only to be defeated by the locals. It would have resembled what we saw during Ep. 3. At least then you have the superior size and strength of the Wookies to counter their primitive technology.

Instead, we got Attack of the Teddy Bears to appeal to the Sesame Street demographic.

Again, it's just what I heard.

Interesting. Yep, something like the battle in Ep. 3 would have been much better. The Wookies were much more advanced than the Ewoks.

Jason
2008-May-13, 04:09 PM
Actually, the big question about the space battle in Return of the Jedi is why the Rebels brought along their bigger ships at all? Fighters were used to destroy the second Death Star just like the first, and the fighters have their own hyperdrives, so why did Ackbar and his buddies bother to come along in their bigger ships?

And when did the Ewoks get the time to build log falls and swinging log traps and catapults to take on the Imperial AT-STs? Didn't they just barely decide to fight them the night before? And wasn't the use of the back door a spur-of-the moment idea, and didn't Wicket run off to get the Ewok army only after they saw that their Rebel friends were about to be captured?

SeanF
2008-May-13, 04:44 PM
First of all, the Emperor's Elite Stormtroopers(he called them, a Legion of his "finest troops") were totally incompetent. Weren't these the same guys who fought so well in the Clone Wars?
Replicative fading, if I may be permitted to cross franchises. :)

Ilya
2008-May-13, 05:53 PM
Yeah, the three dimensional space bit is still daftly ignored, most notably when the viewscreen clears just long enough for Kirk and crew to realise they are heading straight for the Reliant. Kirk orders an evasive move that turns the Enterprise broadside on, presenting almost the largest possible target for the Reliant's phasers, which do indeed hit it.


In Asimov's "Foundation" humans had flown and fought in space for one hundred thousand years, and they STILL use two-dimensional tactics! And it's not an oversight on Asimov's part -- when Bel Riose wins a major battle by utilizing third dimension, the losing side accuses him of cheating. IOW, Asimov clearly thought of the matter, just his conclusion is flatly incredible.

I think Asimov always regarded vast majority of human beings as collectivist, tradition-bound, and unwilling to experiment. (Socially experiment, that is.) Which is not surprising for a Russian Jew who grew up in Brooklyn during Great Depression. There are few rugged individualists in immigrant tenements, and even fewer during Depression.

mike alexander
2008-May-13, 08:03 PM
In Asimov's "Foundation" humans had flown and fought in space for one hundred thousand years, and they STILL use two-dimensional tactics! And it's not an oversight on Asimov's part -- when Bel Riose wins a major battle by utilizing third dimension, the losing side accuses him of cheating. IOW, Asimov clearly thought of the matter, just his conclusion is flatly incredible.

I don't remember that (just my bad memory). Which battle?

I remember Riose talking to Ducem Barr (or was it Lathan Devers?) about the Previous Inclosure maneuver, which from context was obviously an englobement of the Terminus system.

Ilya
2008-May-13, 08:53 PM
I don't remember that (just my bad memory). Which battle?


It was not a battle against Foundation -- it happened earlier.

mike alexander
2008-May-13, 11:29 PM
I will check this evening.

Of course, calling the big ones 'ships of the line' is in itself a bit of a Nelsonish anachronism.

speedfreek
2008-May-13, 11:48 PM
Has anyone here read "The Man Who Used The Universe" by Alan Dean Foster? Its hard not to spoil the whole book if I give away the ending...

Ilya
2008-May-14, 12:38 AM
As I will never read anything by Foster again, go ahead.

Delvo
2008-May-14, 02:21 AM
A favorite of mine came from Steve Perry's novel The Man Who Never Missed. One man takes on a repressive government not by killing its soldiers but shooting them with a shocktox agent. The gov't is forced to take care of its paralyzed soldiers till the effect wears off.Something similar is established tactical doctrine in some military and paramilitary groups already... not with a specialized drug for the task but with a practice of sometimes using normal, lethal weapons non-lethally or even not-immediately-lethally, such as shooting the legs. The idea is not only that "non-vital" parts are less protected, but also that the whole group's combat effectiveness is then compromised by the burden of helping even just a few wounded, whereas if those few had been killed then the rest could still operate freely. There's also the sniper trick of shooting one member of a group non-fatally, repeatedly if necessary, to draw the other members of his group out from cover to be shot (as shown in Saving Private Ryan and Full Metal Jacket).

Van Rijn
2008-May-14, 03:36 AM
As I will never read anything by Foster again, go ahead.

Somewhat OT, but I'm curious about your reasons. Is it his writing style? I often roll my eyes at his writing, but he hasn't quite annoyed me to the point I would actively avoid it (on the other hand, Harry Turtledove and James P. Hogan are on my permanent "avoid" list, for different reasons).

Ilya
2008-May-14, 12:11 PM
I suppose it is style. I find Alan Dean Foster's books very juvenile.

speedfreek
2008-May-16, 12:00 AM
I prefer his earlier work to his more recent stuff. In fact, the first Sci-Fi book I ever read was by ADF ("Midworld") and it ignited my interest in both Sci-Fi and astronomy! They can be juvenile, it's not hard SF, but his work from the 70's and early 80's is good for an enjoyable read. I prefer Alistair Reynolds or Stephen Baxter nowadays!

Anyway, The Man Who Used the Universe is one of his better works in my opinion.

"His true motives remain a mystery. A criminal mastermind who gave up his place at the head of his society's dark underworld to become a legitimate member of Evenwaith’s cities, Loo-Macklin begins reaching out to to powerful enemies - the aliens called the Nuel. While Loo-Macklin negotiates an illusory peace agreement and gains precious alien secrets in the process, questions remain: Is he after peace, power or pure evil? Time runs out for the answers, as enemy starships begin to amass...."

SPOILER
V
V
V
V





I'm beginning to wish I hadn't mentioned this book now, as it isn't a military tactic at all, rather it is a giant political strategy. You see, Loo-Macklin does deep space exploration and discovers there is a strong warlike race that will likely discover either his people or the Nuel soon, and separately neither will be able to defeat them. So he engineers a giant scheme to bring us together with our current enemies in order that we will be able to cooperate against a foe that would destroy both of us. :whistle:

ravens_cry
2008-May-16, 12:27 AM
One of my favorite novels is Dread Empires Fall: The Praxis.
If I remember correctly, an enemy fleet is forced to go through some bone crushing g-forces, (no inertial dampers) after the worm hole to another star system is tugged out from underneath their feet. I am sorry, its being years since I read the book, though I would LOVE to own it. One thing I really like is how the aliens, are people.

stutefish
2008-May-16, 01:32 AM
Here's a creative space military tactic for you, from the brilliant mind of Larry Niven:

Imperial scientists explain to the Emperor their theory that the universe is "hard-wired" to prevent time travel, on account of time travel leading to paradoxes, and paradoxes leading to the destruction of the universe, and the universe's existence being assumed, axiomatically, to negate any possibility of its non-existence. Or something like that.

As evidence in support of their theory, the imperial scientists point to the historical record of thousands of civilizations, all of which have met with some apocalyptic disaster while on the verge of perfecting time travel.

Then they propose a strategy: They have found an artifact, left over from an alien civilization, that is definitely a working time-travel device. If they were to leak the location and nature of the artifact to the enemies of the empire, those enemies would seize it, attempt to use it, and be utterly destroyed in the ensuing apocalypse.

Definitely a creative strategy.

stutefish
2008-May-16, 01:37 AM
And what about "creative" in the sense of "artistic"?

The Culture's desctruction of an orbital by means of a carefully-considered pattern of exotic weapon strikes in Consider Phlebas certainly qualifies.

And while we're on the subject of Banks, what about Grey Area's cleverly hidden spoiler that affords it a sudden tactical advantage over its competitors, in Excession?

Drunk Vegan
2008-May-16, 04:14 AM
And what about "creative" in the sense of "artistic"?

The Culture's desctruction of an orbital by means of a carefully-considered pattern of exotic weapon strikes in Consider Phlebas certainly qualifies.

And while we're on the subject of Banks, what about Grey Area's cleverly hidden spoiler that affords it a sudden tactical advantage over its competitors, in Excession?

Reminds me of Stranger in a Strange Land, in which the Old Ones lament about the artistic masterpiece of blowing up the fifth planet and its inhabitants (the asteroid belt).

jokergirl
2008-May-16, 07:47 AM
If we're talking artistic, The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress.
Nothing more fun than telling your enemies where not to go and watch them flock to the place...

;)

Ilya
2008-May-16, 12:26 PM
If we're talking artistic, The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress.
Nothing more fun than telling your enemies where not to go and watch them flock to the place...

;)

That's culture-dependent. It only works with enemies who had not been seriously hurt in a long time. Also, it was not Manny and Co.'s intent -- they really wanted to minimize civilian casualties.

stutefish
2008-May-16, 05:00 PM
I'm going to go in a slightly different direction here, and consider some more mundane space military tactics that are nevertheless quite creative (IMHO):

How about, for example, launching a missile from an aircraft to strike a satellite (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ASM-135_ASAT)?

Or how about a network of communication satellites that can provide accurate and precise position information to military forces (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GPS), including ships at sea, planes in the air, tank targeting systems, and missile guidance systems?

These both seem pretty creative to me ;)

publiusr
2008-Jun-30, 09:19 PM
I like thunder rods better--or space-based lasers.

slang
2008-Jul-01, 08:53 AM
John Amalfi was a good tactician in that he usually got others to do his fighting for him.

Having just seen this thread for the first time, those books were the first thing I thought of. Glad that I'm not the only one to have read them. Not known physics of course, but still.. kudos for using cities and planets as weapons :)

mike alexander
2008-Jul-01, 10:15 PM
Now that I think about it, Bliss Waggoner in They Shall Have Stars was also a great tactician, as well as a great strategist.