Friday, January 18, 2013

Terran Fleet Academy Lecture

Commodore Starke "Raving Mad" Murphy

"Good evening, gentle persons. Before we let you graduate from this academy you will need to know a few things. I'm sure the recruiters promised you the tours of duty in the cushiest places if you study well, show initiative, hone your skills, and play your cards right. Well, folks, sorry to rain on your parade, but if you pathetic little middies actually show the promise the Navy is looking for, it's the front lines for you. If you're good, and lucky, you just might fry up some poultry.   If not, you're chicken feed, pure and simple. The birdies are out to get us, and you miserable runts are our last defense against the Avarian aggressor, and we want you to roast this turkey.

"Remember the first rule of war: know yourself and know your enemy and you will win every battle. If your instructors did their job, then you already know our forces, as well as you can learn in these walls anyway. Now it is time to study the enemy. We have compiled what little information we have about these aliens. Tonight we discuss their arsenal."

The Buzzard Class Star Bomber
First Encountered: 2292
Length: 240 meters
Estimated Mass: 80,000 metric tons
Estimated Crew Complement: 5-15
Murphy's Notes: Twenty of these nasty little buggers came at us in '92, right here in our Solar System. Parliament bowed to the birdies out of fear. The cowards had good reason, too, since each Buzzard class ship carries both torpedoes and a railgun.  And these were plasma torpedoes, not the wimpy bottle rockets we had at the time. Buzzard star bombers are vulnerable to missile and fighter attacks, if the Avarians are obliging enough not to have fighters flying C.AP around them. And they're even more agile than our star bombers.

The Sparrow Class Armored Pursuit Ship
First Encountered: 2299
Length: 240 meters
Estimated Mass: 100,000 metric tons
Estimated Crew Complement: 8-30
Murphy's Notes: We don't know much about these ships. We've only seen them a few times. The first encounter was in 2299, when they used them for their own networked point defense. As per Avarian doctrine, even their APSs carry railguns. 

The Hawk Class Destroyer
First Encountered: 2289

Length:  276 meters

Estimated Mass: 130,000 metric tons

Estimated Crew Complement 15-30

Murphy's Notes: Commodore Morgan destroyed three of these light-weight ships in humanity's first encounter with sentient aliens. How that jackass Morgan ever managed to escape unscathed is beyond me. Ever since then our losses to Hawks have been pretty high.  Can you imagine one of our Swiftsures going toe to talon with a ship like this? It carries a two salvos of Avarian missiles along with its railgun. Luckily its a little more fragile than our destroyers, but with more than four times the firepower of  a Swiftsure, the Hawk's weaknesses hardly matter.

The Screech Owl Class Destroyer Leader
First Encountered: 2299
Length: 300 meters
Estimated Mass: 200,000 metric tons
Estimated Crew Complement: 40-60
Murphy's Notes: Just one of these ships was available in the first Battle of Boomerang and that almost was enough for Morgan. Remember people, this was before the birdies stole our shield tech. In a lot of ways, the Screech Owl is just and upgunned, less fragile version of the Hawk. But that is saying quite a lot. And this ship carries a far superior sensor suite, as well. Now that it has shields, the Screech Owl is one tough bird. Even  when they can match firepower, our Samurai can rarely absorb blows as well as its Avarian counterpart.

The Falcon Class Destroyer
First Encountered: 2305
Length: 372 meters
Estimated Mass: 350,000 metric tons
Estimated Crew Complement: 60-80
Murphy's Notes: The Falcon first made its appearance in human space when the backstabbers hit us in Beta Sector. I can talk a bit about what it's like to face two railguns shoving heavy metal up your stern, but you folks won't understand that 'til you face them yourselves. So let me make this clear, and very clear, these ships carry six fighters. And let's remember Folks, I'm talking Avarian fighters here. Yes, I know these ships are small, but you have no idea how well the Tweets can fit fighters in until you've been out in the field.

The Eagle Class Battlecruiser
First Encountered: 2289
Length: 432 meters
Estimated Mass: 650,000 metric tons
Estimated Crew Complement: 120
Murphy's Notes: When the Avarian strike force came to the solar system in 2289, it brought 30 Eagle class battlecruisers.  They flew straight to Earth orbit, broke up into squadrons of six, and closed to within a few hundred klicks of all five of our L5 space cities. Had they opened up, five million people would have died instantly. Nothing within a million kilometers could have faced such a force. Just one of these ships carries twelve fighters, two railguns, and two heavy beam batteries.

The Condor Class Dreadnought
First Encountered: 2308
Length: 600 meters
Estimated Mass: 750,000 metric tons
Estimated Crew Complement: 150
Murphy's Notes: We really have no idea how old these ships really are.  Either they were held back as a secret weapon, or were under development for the early years of the war. If you ask me, I'd be just as happy had they never shown up. The key to victory in battle is to exploit the enemy's weakness. Well, what is it?  They carry fighters, missiles, HPBs, and three railguns apiece. Their shields are strong, the engines very powerful; and the armor is pretty damn good, for Avarians.

The Vulture Class Attack Carrier
First Encountered : 2289
Length: 624 meters
Estimated Mass: 950,000 metric tons
Estimated Crew Complement: 250
Murphy's Notes: In the humiliating fiasco of 2289 the Avarians sent in 30 Vulture class carriers. Without shields and ECM, we probably could have taken them out. Now, it 's not so easy. Add a healthy amount of armor for a carrier, nine MPBs, and a railgun, and the ship doesn't even need fighters to be dangerous. Standard Avarian tactics allow these ships to close with ours, allowing them to rearm and re-launch in half the time we take.

The Nest Class Attack Carrier
First Encountered: 2317
Length: 612 meters
Estimated Mass: 900,000 metric tons
Estimated Crew Complement: 300
Murphy's Notes: This is a much newer ship design, copied in part on our designs. This ship can carry a full complement of thirty fighters. It's a little less armored, and lightly armed compared to the Vulture. But believe me, those nine extra fighters make the difference. Fighter pilot morale sunk to the lowest in Navy history once the Nests joined the fight.

The Gryphon Class Super Galactic Dreadnought
First Encountered: 2289
Length: 846 meters
Estimated Mass: 2.7 million metric tons
Estimated Crew Complement: 500
Murphy's Notes: Sixteen Gryphon SGDNs came to orbit Earth in 2289.  Each one carried three railguns, eight heavy beam batteries, four missile launchers, and 18 fighters. That kind of firepower was unstoppable then, and nearly so now. The only good news is that Avarians have yet to mount plasma laser batteries on their ships. To make up for this, they have shields comparable to our Victory class, nearly as much armor, and 50% greater thrust. If their fighters do not overwhelm defenses, our SGDNs  can beat these giants. But it's really a close call.

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