Author Topic: What did even Calder try to do? (Spoilers for WiH below)  (Read 989 times)

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Offline MC_Kejml

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What did even Calder try to do? (Spoilers for WiH below)
In act 3 in Her Finest Hour, Laporte assumes command of two Narayanas, one torn up Karuna (between 6 beam-attackers) and is informed that 4 cruisers had been just taken down.
It is said Calder tried to assault the Carthage by himself.

But I keep asking myself - what the hell did he try to do? No fighter escort for the larger ships, cruisers down, one corvette almost lost, two artilery ships besieged by 2 Corvettes and 2 Mjolnirs. There are no reports of Tev ships being taken down, and he didn't lose any fighter escort for the ships in the meantime (he keeps all the fighters with Toutatis). What would happen if the Fedayeen didn't intervene?

What the hell was he thinking?
« Last Edit: May 14, 2018, 03:46:24 am by MC_Kejml »

 

Offline Damage

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Re: What did even Calder try to do? (Spoilers for WiH below)
The frigates Vikrant and Toreador, as well as the Serenity, presumably had their own fighters at some point, though we never see them in-game.  Presumably they were destroyed before Falcata wing shows up, or weren't available in the first place.

The Fedayeen want this operation to go down, and they convinced Calder to go along with it.  (It's not impossible they mislead him a little, either.)  Calder has probably reviewed as much information as possible regarding the battle at Saturn.  Remember that four frigates, two cruisers, and a couple wings of fighters came within a hair's breadth of wiping out that entire battlegroup in a pitched battle--with NO strike or fleet bomber support.  He wants this to be a repeat of Saturn, but without the twist ending this time.

Calder's initial attack has one light and two heavy frigates and four cruisers, with whatever fighters they might have (unknown) plus AWACS support.  On paper, it's almost equal to the Wargods' battle group in terms of firepower, and he's holding the Toutatis and its fighters and bombers in reserve to make the actual attack on the Carthage itself.  He probably also expects the Fedayeen will support him somehow militarily, if he asks.  At the same time, Lopez has fewer capital ships and fighters for the Carthage' defense, and those ships are hampered because they must also defend Neptune HQ and the evacuating transports--and thus can't move too far away.

Calder's choice is this:  either attack the Carthage and capture/kill it and regain control of Neptune HQ, or do nothing then lose the HQ and the Carthage battle group remains active anyway.

The correlation of forces seems favorable, and on paper, this is not a terrible plan.  Calder's biggest problem is that he has almost nothing else left to throw into a battle.
I didn't feel like putting anything here.  Then I did it anyway just to be contrary.

 

Offline MC_Kejml

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Re: What did even Calder try to do? (Spoilers for WiH below)
The frigates Vikrant and Toreador, as well as the Serenity, presumably had their own fighters at some point, though we never see them in-game.  Presumably they were destroyed before Falcata wing shows up, or weren't available in the first place.

The Fedayeen want this operation to go down, and they convinced Calder to go along with it.  (It's not impossible they mislead him a little, either.)  Calder has probably reviewed as much information as possible regarding the battle at Saturn.  Remember that four frigates, two cruisers, and a couple wings of fighters came within a hair's breadth of wiping out that entire battlegroup in a pitched battle--with NO strike or fleet bomber support.  He wants this to be a repeat of Saturn, but without the twist ending this time.

Calder's initial attack has one light and two heavy frigates and four cruisers, with whatever fighters they might have (unknown) plus AWACS support.  On paper, it's almost equal to the Wargods' battle group in terms of firepower, and he's holding the Toutatis and its fighters and bombers in reserve to make the actual attack on the Carthage itself.  He probably also expects the Fedayeen will support him somehow militarily, if he asks.  At the same time, Lopez has fewer capital ships and fighters for the Carthage' defense, and those ships are hampered because they must also defend Neptune HQ and the evacuating transports--and thus can't move too far away.

Calder's choice is this:  either attack the Carthage and capture/kill it and regain control of Neptune HQ, or do nothing then lose the HQ and the Carthage battle group remains active anyway.

The correlation of forces seems favorable, and on paper, this is not a terrible plan.  Calder's biggest problem is that he has almost nothing else left to throw into a battle.

The comparison with the Wargods crew is fair, they had the same manpower without Toutatis backing them up (now how would that end?). Then I don't see what tactic did Calder use, it seems only like "throwing stuff at a wall of beams". Or do you think Calder deliberately put up a losing battle...?

 

Offline Damage

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Re: What did even Calder try to do? (Spoilers for WiH below)
Or do you think Calder deliberately put up a losing battle...?

Not at all--Calder can't afford that.  I merely submit that he made a choice, and bit off more than he could chew that day.  It's only the assistance of the Fedayeen, their stealth fighters, and their Vasudan-originated viruses that turns the tide of the battle--and it's still a near thing.

However, I don't put it past the Fedayeen to have pushed Calder into it, possibly with a little misinformation on their part.  (Like leaving out a few details about the defenses, for instance.)  They see losing the Carthage as a chink in Steele's armor, but probably don't have the Fleet-level resources needed to just do it themselves--and certainly not in the time-frame required.


That begs the question, exactly how many fleet assets does the Fedayeen control?  A few squadrons of stealth fighters, at least one frigate, a few smaller combatant ships and AWACS at least, but probably not much more.
I didn't feel like putting anything here.  Then I did it anyway just to be contrary.

 

Offline crizza

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Re: What did even Calder try to do? (Spoilers for WiH below)
Calder did nothing wrong. It was all about exploiting a weak point. The Tevs overextended and were in the process of giving up Neptune, relocating their force to Jupiter AFAIK.
If Calder would have faced Steele at Neptune, the Tevs would have lost the Station and tens of thousands of GTVA personnel, as well as medical ships and fleet tankers, although I think he would've left only the personell behind, enacting  General Order Seventeen: destroying the Neptune base and everyone aboard in order to prevent its capture.
The weak point was Lopez, because she showed compassion and after the mauling of her battlegroup, she was unwilling to sacrifice more.
Calder went all in with Vikrant, Toreador, Serenity, Segura, Tripoli, Wolfach and Glaurus engaging the Carthage and its screen. The Wolfach withdrew and the Glaurus went down with all hands. If memory serves right, the Segura and Tripoli were gone and the Serenety disengaging. Calder actually depended on the Fedayeen for winning this for him.
Netreba pinned down the offbalanced Tev forces and Steele could and would not send help, unwilling to engage in a decisive fleet battle.
While Calder hoped a victory would hurt the Tevs, quite the opposite happened...
But he was not decieved, he was rather willing to go for it, but was informed at the same time. He did not trust the Fedayeen, but Laporte, hence she was in command.

Edit as for fleet assets: If we assume that the Masyaf, which is on first fleet deterrence assignment, this would leave the Shiraz, a Karuna which is deterence also, so there is a possibility that she is Fedayeen too.
« Last Edit: May 14, 2018, 04:49:19 pm by crizza »
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Offline General Battuta

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Re: What did even Calder try to do? (Spoilers for WiH below)
Calder's like "we aren't gonna win this war by sitting back and playing it safe."

 
Re: What did even Calder try to do? (Spoilers for WiH below)
It's not that you can blame Calder for aggressive warfare. I seriously think that if the UEF military wasn't as idle (First Fleet) in the opening parts of the conflict leaving Third Fleet to its fate, they would have been able to effectively push Tevs out of Sol and take over the entry point to the system. The whole node bottleneck and stuff.
I also wonder why Byrne was playing idle/defence, even with his special project or something. I say it's certainly easier to build a big thing when you actually control your own space and resources (and the enemy has been practically stopped) as opposed to the situation UEF is in currently. I get that there was this notion of the conflict being a result of a huge miscommunication, but should a military officer be so naive?
Unless the project is something that requires GTVA to be confident of their victory. Yea, a cornered prey will go to certain extreme lengths, but it coming out with a superweapon in its sleeve should be quite surprising.
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Offline Aesaar

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Re: What did even Calder try to do? (Spoilers for WiH below)
Yes, if the UEF had seized the initiative on Bei's defection and secured the node, they might have forced a diplomatic settlement right then and there, but it's too late for that.

Byrne believes that the UEF can't win the war militarily, because the GTVA's military is overwhelmingly more powerful, both because it's bigger and more experienced, but also because their military doctrine is far better developed.

He isn't wrong, and pretty much all of Acts 1 and 2 are spent showing this.  The Wargods was the UEF's attempt at playing the game on GTVA terms, and it led to one of the biggest defeats of the war.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2018, 11:07:03 pm by Aesaar »

 

Offline QuakeIV

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Re: What did even Calder try to do? (Spoilers for WiH below)
I'm not personally convinced they could have held the node if the GTVA made a serious effort to push through.  My general understanding is UEF crews weren't especially well trained, and logistically speaking large portions of their fleet weren't ready to go.  Furthermore, a lot of the weapon, armor, and electronic warfare capabilities that make their ships actually somewhat decent weren't installed on any of their ships (or even fully conceived of for the most part, so far as I know).  The narayana being a devastatingly powerful artillery frigate was a relatively new development, for instance.

I think they could have made the GTVA way more reluctant to instigate the war, but if they were really determined (which I understand them to be) then they would presumably just surge a variety of their hordes of warships through without their logistics tails in the hopes of breaking the UEF fleet then and there.

I do think the Fedayeen instantly going through with stealth bombers and blowing up the portal on the other side could have worked, that seems relatively plausible to me.  (unless the cheap knockoff subspace portal was actually comparably durable to a Knossos device, in which case I kindof doubt they could have scratched the paint.  i dont see how it could be though)

 

Offline crizza

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Re: What did even Calder try to do? (Spoilers for WiH below)
AFAIK it was Calder, who wanted to get the UEF fleets up to combat readyness as soon as the first probes came though from Delta-Serpentis, but the Elders refused.
If we take in the sheer speed with which ships emerge from subspace, the Apocalypse mssiles would have difficulties to hit targets, if not head on.
Gauss and Massdrivers would hit TEV ships, but commiting ships to blockade a node against beam euqipped ships would hurt.
« Last Edit: May 18, 2018, 05:41:09 am by crizza »
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Offline The E

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Re: What did even Calder try to do? (Spoilers for WiH below)
Remember that a large part of the UEF's punch is in its fighters and bombers. In a traditional blockade situation (see also: FS2's "King's Gambit"), UEF capital ships don't really have anything that matches the burst damage potential of beam cannons; They are going to be used more as forward-deployed fighter bases and support for the ships doing the actual blockading (with the understanding that any ship that manages to run the blockade will be tracked via the subspace sensor net and then engaged by other forces).
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Offline Snarks

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Re: What did even Calder try to do? (Spoilers for WiH below)
I'm not personally convinced they could have held the node if the GTVA made a serious effort to push through.  My general understanding is UEF crews weren't especially well trained, and logistically speaking large portions of their fleet weren't ready to go.  Furthermore, a lot of the weapon, armor, and electronic warfare capabilities that make their ships actually somewhat decent weren't installed on any of their ships (or even fully conceived of for the most part, so far as I know).  The narayana being a devastatingly powerful artillery frigate was a relatively new development, for instance.

This is a good point. The UEF has been trying to catch up or bridge the gap between capital ship technology over the course of the war. By the time Laporte (or the player) joins the fray, the frigates have undergone several retrofits. Of course, the GTVA has also been closing the gap on fighter and bomber performance as well. If Shambhala wasn't a thing, I think the right call would have been to make an all out attempt to take and hold the Sol node.

 

Offline Hjolnai

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Re: What did even Calder try to do? (Spoilers for WiH below)
To answer the original question: I think Calder sacrificed the cruisers to buy time. If he didn't send anything when the opportunity arose, the Fedayeen operation couldn't happen - the Carthage would jump out. If he sent the frigates alone, they would have been lost. Thus the cruisers were sent to screen the frigates while Laporte was en route. It was a big stake to risk, but the rewards seemed worth it since he felt defensive war could never lead to victory.

The other question which seems to have arisen is whether an offensive or defensive strategy was best from the beginning. I'll make the claim that a defensive strategy was necessary, and only now is offensive action viable.

The Federation can afford to commit much more resources to the conflict. Their economy is comparable to the GTVA as a whole (or possibly only the human side), but they don't have to defend any other space from the Shivans. However, they don't have the standing navy or military-industrial complex that the Alliance has, and they need time to build it up. On top of that, it's pretty unlikely that they started with the capacity to jam beam guidance, or indeed with the high-powered mass drivers and torpedos that characterise their late-war frigates. That technological parity only arose through months of wartime research. The same is true for fleet doctrine and crew experience, and they still don't have a counter for the superior subspace mobility of the Tevs.

While the initial invasion did suffer from terrible disorganization, the Federation wasn't organized either. The invasion caught them by surprise, and most of their capital ships were probably still mothballed (you don't need a heavy frigate to hunt pirates). The GTVA recovered more quickly than the Federation could possibly reorganize for an effective strike. Once that initial weakness was covered, the Federation couldn't move offensively without being slaughtered - either they could deploy a small-to-medium force and lose it, or a large force and leave their infrastructure open to counterattack even as Allied ships jumped out instead of being lost.

The Federation now has the capacity to go on the offensive because its warships are substantially upgraded (mass drivers, torpedoes, point defenses, self-repairing armour), its crews are war-hardened, and it has a jamming advantage. Perhaps more importantly, Steele's offensive doctrine leaves vulnerabilities in the GTVA fleet which previously weren't present, although he compensates for that by making many openings into traps. I think that Byrne's strategy (largely fleet-in-being) was essential until recently. Before the technological, production and experience gains of the last eighteen months, the Federation didn't have a hope of winning offensive battles.

 
Re: What did even Calder try to do? (Spoilers for WiH below)
One thing people should recognize though about node blockades is that the opportunity for a beam alpha strike or shock jump is basically non-existent. The ships transiting the node are highly constrained in the space that is available for them to jump into, and that space is relatively well characterized. The node is the one place where you can't play subspace speed chess. There are no other targets that an attacker can reach as they are uncovered because you don't have good intelligence on what has been uncovered (and you would have to engage your secondary jump drive, leaving you without a way to retreat if you pick wrong). A well designed defensive setup likely cannot be flanked without taking severe losses in the opening attempts to force the blockade. Certainly UEF ships fare poorly in general within the beam envelope of TEV ships, even more so before various upgrades and the deployment of Oculus ECM. But similarly, the TEV fighters and bombers were at that point outclassed by their UEF counterparts. The one node blockade run that we've seen from the TEV side shows the expected tactics and that is to flood the node with bombers and stand-off weapons like Mjolnirs, resulting in an almost total sweep with barely any capital ship support. The node that the Vishnans forced over the Shivans shows the quick loss of several unprepared Shivan cruisers and a corvette to the Vishnan gunships and fighter escort. But even then, it almost failed with the late appearance of a Lilith. The lesson I take from that is to keep your capital ships out of initial range of the node you are trying to defend, and the point defense should be your fighter wings. Clearly, if the defense is prepared, they have a massive advantage.

Could the UEF have followed Calder's advice and blockade the node? He was certainly willing, and far be it from me to ignore his strategic and tactical expertise. I think that the UEF probably wasn't as prepared as they could have been, but 3rd Fleet Jovian probably would have been able to throw back the initial incursion if Calder had been allowed to. Especially when you consider the condition of the 14th Battlegroup. That would have provided time for the other fleets to mobilize. Strategically, a node blockade was absolutely the right move. But before the war actually started, it was politically infeasible for the UEF.

 
Re: What did even Calder try to do? (Spoilers for WiH below)
Do note that this node has a certain problem: its throughput is severly limited. I recall that being mentioned a couple times.
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Offline crizza

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Re: What did even Calder try to do? (Spoilers for WiH below)
Could, and this is a theory... could the TEVs use a jump node kill ship?
Emerge from subspace, draw strikecraft to it and when the ship gets destroyed, a large portion of strikecraft would be gone?
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Offline General Battuta

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Re: What did even Calder try to do? (Spoilers for WiH below)
Meson fireships are in the cards.

 

Offline QuakeIV

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Re: What did even Calder try to do? (Spoilers for WiH below)
Would be kinda cool if they had some kind of super-precise jump capable ship that just shock jumps into the perfect position, punts a meson bomb out the back, then fires up a small sprint drive to get out of the blast radius.

 

Offline JSRNerdo

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Re: What did even Calder try to do? (Spoilers for WiH below)
Meson fireships are in the cards.

Would be kinda cool if they had some kind of super-precise jump capable ship that just shock jumps into the perfect position, punts a meson bomb out the back, then fires up a small sprint drive to get out of the blast radius.

Huh, I thought mesons were supposed to be super expensive next gen tech, plus the tevs seem to prefer ships that can last as war assets on a strategic level. How would THOSE ****IN BOMBS work with existing GTVA fleet doctrine?
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Re: What did even Calder try to do? (Spoilers for WiH below)
Team Meson Firework instead of Sekr? A bomb blowing everything up in a 3km radius is a fine thing.