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HoratioNelson
17 Jun 07,, 07:31
Science-fiction is a big interest of mine. In fact, the future in general is a huge interest of mine. Military sci-fi, like Starship Troopers, is also a big interest. As such, i'm writing a military SF. It's been an ongoing project of mine for quite some time, and since this board is primarily geared around military and political matters, I think this would be a good place to ask if this political situation is plausible. Ahem:

The great empires of Europe have survived the World War. The planet has been divided between Britain, France, Russia, Germany, AustroHungary and Japan. The United States no longer exists, after being invaded during the Great War (in this reality, lasting from 1914 to 1945) by Germany, and then retaken and recolonized by the British Empire. After the War, scientists from Britain discovered how to construct a special chemical which, when used to coat an object, made that object lighter than air. They used the chemical to build vast flying dreadnoughts and carriers, which eventually took them into space. These Stellar Dreadnoughts, powered by the energy of the sun, traveled far in the solar system, soon reached a new planet in another solar system. All major powers soon established colonies on the planet. Soon, a system of alliances (Britain-France-Russia vs Germany-AustroHungary-Japan) was set up that would be the prelude to another set of wars, this time colonial conflicts over the lands and resources of a new planet.

So, ummm, even though it requires some suspension of disbelief, is this a good start for a good, realistic Military SF story? Also, since the Space Navies in this story are primarily based on real-world navies of the WWI-WWII era, i'd like to see some suggestions for ships, tactics and strategic operations in a space theatre, operating ships of a dreadnought design. Any help is appreciated.

Wraith601
17 Jun 07,, 07:55
This link (http://www.projectrho.com/rocket/index.html) has tons of info on writing "hard" sci-fi with realistic physics.

I'll gladly give you some thoughts on my take on space warfare when i have more time to write out a post.

Stan187
17 Jun 07,, 11:09
Ever seen Space: Above and Beyond? If not, you might find it very relevant.

Parihaka
17 Jun 07,, 13:06
Science-fiction is a big interest of mine. In fact, the future in general is a huge interest of mine. Military sci-fi, like Starship Troopers, is also a big interest. As such, i'm writing a military SF. It's been an ongoing project of mine for quite some time, and since this board is primarily geared around military and political matters, I think this would be a good place to ask if this political situation is plausible. Ahem:

The great empires of Europe have survived the World War. The planet has been divided between Britain, France, Russia, Germany, AustroHungary and Japan. The United States no longer exists, after being invaded during the Great War (in this reality, lasting from 1914 to 1945) by Germany, and then retaken and recolonized by the British Empire. After the War, scientists from Britain discovered how to construct a special chemical which, when used to coat an object, made that object lighter than air. They used the chemical to build vast flying dreadnoughts and carriers, which eventually took them into space. These Stellar Dreadnoughts, powered by the energy of the sun, traveled far in the solar system, soon reached a new planet in another solar system. All major powers soon established colonies on the planet. Soon, a system of alliances (Britain-France-Russia vs Germany-AustroHungary-Japan) was set up that would be the prelude to another set of wars, this time colonial conflicts over the lands and resources of a new planet.

So, ummm, even though it requires some suspension of disbelief, is this a good start for a good, realistic Military SF story? Also, since the Space Navies in this story are primarily based on real-world navies of the WWI-WWII era, i'd like to see some suggestions for ships, tactics and strategic operations in a space theatre, operating ships of a dreadnought design. Any help is appreciated.

Speaking from an historical SF background, some of the same scenario is postulated in the original Flash Gordon book. There is of course also abundant racism within that book but the basic premise of the US overcome and the lighter than air materials is the same.
The E E Doc Smith "Subspace Explorers" deals with the theme of conflict around interplanetary resources, this one based on capitalism versus socialism rather than empire vs empire.
Personally I like your direction, has a sort of twenties nouveau feel to it.

Parihaka
17 Jun 07,, 13:09
Also while I remember, don't know if you've read it but Neal Stephensons "the Diamond Age" should give you some good directions.

Shamus
17 Jun 07,, 17:43
Speaking from an historical SF background, some of the same scenario is postulated in the original Flash Gordon book. There is of course also abundant racism within that book but the basic premise of the US overcome and the lighter than air materials is the same.
The E E Doc Smith "Subspace Explorers" deals with the theme of conflict around interplanetary resources, this one based on capitalism versus socialism rather than empire vs empire.
Personally I like your direction, has a sort of twenties nouveau feel to it.
I like your direction on this also HN.You seem to have your overall political outline fleshed out nicely.I am a big fan of David Drake's "Hammer's Slammers"series for SF strategic and tatical ground combat(And some good political intrigue thrown in;) ).I f you haven't read them I would recommend these books highly:) .

HoratioNelson
17 Jun 07,, 20:27
Now, umm, about the actual space combat. I was thinking of basing operations aboard the... Space Dreadnoughts on a bastard mix of USN carrier operations and WWI-WWII battleship operations. So, capital ships both deploy fighter-bombers and attack the enemy with heavy, naval gunfire. If anyone could give me information on carrier and battleship operations, i'd really appreciate it.

smalltexan
17 Jun 07,, 23:10
Science-fiction is a big interest of mine. In fact, the future in general is a huge interest of mine. Military sci-fi, like Starship Troopers, is also a big interest. As such, i'm writing a military SF. It's been an ongoing project of mine for quite some time, and since this board is primarily geared around military and political matters, I think this would be a good place to ask if this political situation is plausible. Ahem:

The great empires of Europe have survived the World War. The planet has been divided between Britain, France, Russia, Germany, AustroHungary and Japan. The United States no longer exists, after being invaded during the Great War (in this reality, lasting from 1914 to 1945) by Germany, and then retaken and recolonized by the British Empire. After the War, scientists from Britain discovered how to construct a special chemical which, when used to coat an object, made that object lighter than air. They used the chemical to build vast flying dreadnoughts and carriers, which eventually took them into space. These Stellar Dreadnoughts, powered by the energy of the sun, traveled far in the solar system, soon reached a new planet in another solar system. All major powers soon established colonies on the planet. Soon, a system of alliances (Britain-France-Russia vs Germany-AustroHungary-Japan) was set up that would be the prelude to another set of wars, this time colonial conflicts over the lands and resources of a new planet.

So, ummm, even though it requires some suspension of disbelief, is this a good start for a good, realistic Military SF story? Also, since the Space Navies in this story are primarily based on real-world navies of the WWI-WWII era, i'd like to see some suggestions for ships, tactics and strategic operations in a space theatre, operating ships of a dreadnought design. Any help is appreciated.

Some points to ponder--what is the overall terrain, type of climate, flora and fauna on the new planet to which the colonists have adapted?
I'm assuming the substance that facilitates weight reduction for flight is on this new planet. Is it mined and refined? Or extracted from a gas or liquid?
Which colonial alliance is dominant on the new planet?
Interstellar fleets would include patrol ships, destroyers, drones, carriers, flagships,etc.
Convoys would be necessary for equipment transport, VIPS, troop ships.
Have you considered communications arrays onboard ships and the stations on the planet? Do they have satellite communications or some new sort of energy beam that carries info much faster than now?
Is there an organization like Star Fleet Command in Star Trek? or the United Nations?
Since my field in the military was communications, I can say that you would need a building that was impenetrable from the outside, well guarded, and strict guidelines for procedures in day-to-day intelligence gathering. Signal jamming, misinformation, electronic data gathering devices are required on the ships and on the planet. Is information to be shared in the alliance, or like the modern world, do all get their own and mistrust the others?
You would also need to look at the Air Force techniques and apply them to your Space Navies, as much of the tactical manuevers in Star Wars were derived from Air Force film footage. Dogfights, air groups, wave attack--just google those and I'd purchase old WWII movies with real flight footage in them.
Hope this helps! Keep me informed on your progress--I'm an avid reader.

Wraith601
19 Jun 07,, 07:01
Now, umm, about the actual space combat. I was thinking of basing operations aboard the... Space Dreadnoughts on a bastard mix of USN carrier operations and WWI-WWII battleship operations. So, capital ships both deploy fighter-bombers and attack the enemy with heavy, naval gunfire. If anyone could give me information on carrier and battleship operations, i'd really appreciate it.

Depending on how advanced your technology is you may or not need fighters. Realistically space fighters make no sense at all for a multitude of reasons. However, if you Star Wars levels of technology then they are plausiable I suppose.

As far as capital ship combat, in realistic combat it'd mainly be very long range missile duels with energy weapons only employed as a last resort for close in fighting or if you run out of missiles. Also, remember there is NO stealth in outer space, your enemies will see you from the other side of the solar system (with a time lag due to the finite speed of light of course).

The link I posted earlier expounds on these issues in much greater detail.

VarSity
20 Jun 07,, 16:54
The new battlestar galactica is a great series. Might be worth a look for ideas.

As far as fighters being useless in space, I disagree. If you have shield technology then fine, they are a bit lame. But if you keep to something closer to BS:G then fighters are the main offensive weapon, along with long range missiles.

If you are writing fiction, a good idea is to have some very different 'teams'.
maybe one favors big battleships that get close and broadside (Getting within a ships shield? Or 2 close that anti-missile defenses cant work) and another side that favors much small, long range missile craft and 'Stealth' ships (these can be you ww2 subs, but in space)

HoratioNelson
20 Jun 07,, 19:29
I was thinking that the main engagements in space in my SF story would be between large, battleship-esque ships. Fighters are used in a diversionary role, and to target specific points on enemy ships, like fire control systems, scanners or engines. Missiles are used for long-ranged dueling in the opening stages of an engagement, hopefully to disable key systems on enemy ships, and then the ships close to make the decisive clash in close quarters with Kinetic Energy Weapons (railguns and coilguns). Does that sound suitably exciting?

Wraith601
23 Jun 07,, 06:51
The only way fighters are plausible is if you have a reactionless drive or some kind of inertial dampers. Otherwise they can't do anything a missile can't do better and cheaper.

For example to strike a target a fighter has to accelerate towards the target, launch its weapons, then decelerate to eliminate its velocity (pesky physics), turn around and accelerate back towards its base and it has to do all this while under fire. Bear in mind that fighters would be nowhere near as agile as shown on TV and movies, they'd be easy targets for missiels or lasers.

Contrast that to a missile. Missiles are smaller and faster and they only have to carry enough a fuel to go one way. A fighter has to have enough to get back which seriously limits your range. Also missiles don't have pilots prone to passing out at extreme G forces nor do they require large, power intensive life support systems.

Fighters are cool to watch but make no sence in any realistic sci fi (wel realistic as sci-fi goes:biggrin:)

ArmchairGeneral
23 Jun 07,, 07:03
The only way fighters are plausible is if you have a reactionless drive or some kind of inertial dampers. Otherwise they can't do anything a missile can't do better and cheaper.

For example to strike a target a fighter has to accelerate towards the target, launch its weapons, then decelerate to eliminate its velocity (pesky physics), turn around and accelerate back towards its base and it has to do all this while under fire. Bear in mind that fighters would be nowhere near as agile as shown on TV and movies, they'd be easy targets for missiels or lasers.

Contrast that to a missile. Missiles are smaller and faster and they only have to carry enough a fuel to go one way. A fighter has to have enough to get back which seriously limits your range. Also missiles don't have pilots prone to passing out at extreme G forces nor do they require large, power intensive life support systems.

Fighters are cool to watch but make no sence in any realistic sci fi (wel realistic as sci-fi goes:biggrin:)

Only assuming a future with advanced AI and/or long range unjammeable comlinks. Fighters have one big advantage over missiles: a human brain at the controls. Also you don't have to destroy such an extremely expensive piece of equipment in order to deliver your warhead. Most of your arguments against fighters also apply in the present day, but manned warplanes still dominate. Of course, inertial is definitely a problem, one I hadn't thought much about. I guess that would about quadruple the fuel load. I don't know though. I'm sure missiles would have much larger role in space combat, but I'm not sure about the inevitable demise of manned fighters and bombers.

RustyBattleship
23 Jun 07,, 08:22
Remember, a book cannot go into excruciating detail on personality backgrounds, scenery, etc. (called "Padding"). Most Sci-Fi affectionaros (like me) want brief descriptions, action and a mystery to be solved ("O'Brien. Why are the main induction coils giving birth to flying fish?"). or, ("Chewie. This SOS beacon seems to be in a language between your people and the Ewoks. Can you translate it? And is interbreeding possible between Wookies and fur balls?").

Remember, Star Trek was first turned down after it's pilot episode because producers and station directors thought it was too "mental". Not enough action or space monsters. But in a one hour time slot you can get by with a deep mystery without Gorns. A book is intended for several evenings of entertaining reading.

Space 1999 was very good for its first season but the British producers were under the mistaken idea that American viewers wanted monsters. That second season killed the show.

Also, make sure the first chapter grabs the publisher's reviewer within 3 pages. Not necessarily the opening scene of the first Star Wars movie, but with enough description of how the rest of the book will be.

Good luck and may the Force be with you as you live long and prosper.

smalltexan
23 Jun 07,, 16:37
I was thinking that the main engagements in space in my SF story would be between large, battleship-esque ships. Fighters are used in a diversionary role, and to target specific points on enemy ships, like fire control systems, scanners or engines. Missiles are used for long-ranged dueling in the opening stages of an engagement, hopefully to disable key systems on enemy ships, and then the ships close to make the decisive clash in close quarters with Kinetic Energy Weapons (railguns and coilguns). Does that sound suitably exciting?
Do all your battles take place in space? Wouldn't some take place on the planet itself? Are all the militaries stationed in space? And then, mercenaries and spies are necessary. Traitorous turncoats who were previously thought to be loyal and heroic. (I love plot twists) :)

Wraith601
24 Jun 07,, 08:24
Only assuming a future with advanced AI and/or long range unjammeable comlinks. Fighters have one big advantage over missiles: a human brain at the controls. Also you don't have to destroy such an extremely expensive piece of equipment in order to deliver your warhead. Most of your arguments against fighters also apply in the present day, but manned warplanes still dominate. Of course, inertial is definitely a problem, one I hadn't thought much about. I guess that would about quadruple the fuel load. I don't know though. I'm sure missiles would have much larger role in space combat, but I'm not sure about the inevitable demise of manned fighters and bombers.

Except that on earth aircraft operate in a differ mediu mthan ships and ground vehicles, one with much different levels of performance. That's not true in space. In fact capital ships with much larger engines and FAR more fuel mass will likely be able to outrun fighters.

Increasing the fuel load doesn't solve the problem either. Now you have even more mass to accelerate (and consequently decelerate) than before.

It doesn't matter if a human is at the controls or not, you can't dodge a laser beam. Missiles are a better choice because they are faster, more agile, smaller, cheaper, you can carry mroe of them, and best of all when they blow up nobody dies.

HoratioNelson
28 Jun 07,, 08:05
Well, in my SF story, the main weapons are railgun turrets flinging large slugs of tungsten and steel at enemy battleships. Missiles and fighters are used in a diversionary role to mission kill enemy capital ships by targeting engines, radar, fire control systems, etc. But the main weapons are railguns.

Wraith601
29 Jun 07,, 05:28
Well, in my SF story, the main weapons are railgun turrets flinging large slugs of tungsten and steel at enemy battleships. Missiles and fighters are used in a diversionary role to mission kill enemy capital ships by targeting engines, radar, fire control systems, etc. But the main weapons are railguns.

Fighters aren't very good platforms for railguns, they're better suited to carrying missiles.

Of course simply outfitting your capaital ships with larges numbers of long ranged missiles eliminates any need for fighters except for dramatic purposes, which is the only real thing they're good for.

Officer of Engineers
29 Jun 07,, 05:36
Newton's 2nd Law when you have that many rail guns.

Ray
29 Jun 07,, 07:24
Watch BBC Entertainment's RED DWARF for SF jokes that may inspire you for some humour relief in your narrative!