STORM FROM THE SHADOWS – snippet 49:
The display blanked, and Michelle looked back up at the tactical plot.
While she'd been talking to Blaine, Achilles' division mates in BCS 106's first division — Penelope, Romulus, and Horatius — had followed her through the terminus. As she watched, Filipa Alcoforado's Theseus, the flagship of Commodore Shulamit Onasis, who commanded the squadron's second division, erupted from the invisible flaw in space, radiating the blue glory of transit energy from her sails.
Not much longer, she thought, and glanced at Commander Sterling Casterlin. As she'd told Cortez, she'd met Casterlin before, although they'd never served together until now. They'd almost served on the old Bryan Knight together, but she'd just been leaving the ship when he came on board. She actually knew his cousin, Commodore Jake Casterlin, better, and from what she'd seen of Sterling already, she was willing to bet that Jake's Liberal Party sympathies drove the far more conservative Sterling bananas.
She might be wrong, though, since it looked to her as if it would probably take quite a bit to shake Commander Casterlin's equanimity. He'd been late arriving aboard, through no fault of his own, but he hadn't even turned a hair at the prospect of having less than forty hours to "settle in" with an entirely new department, aboard an entirely new ship, under an entirely new vice admiral, before departing for a possible combat deployment. Under the circumstances, he'd shown remarkable aplomb, she thought.
"It seems we'll be leaving soon," she observed.
"Yes, Ma'am," he replied without turning a hair. "I've just passed our heading and course to Commander Bouchard."
"Good," she said.
He looked over his shoulder at her, and she smiled. She'd known she wasn't going to catch him out without a course already figured, but he'd quietly one-upped her by going ahead and passing the course to Jerod Bouchard, Achilles' astrogator, before she asked.
"I believe he'd already worked out approximately the same course, Ma'am," Casterlin observed.
"No, really?" Michelle rounded her eyes in innocent astonishment, then chuckled as Casterlin shook his head.
Daedalus and Jason had followed Theseus through the Junction, now. All they still needed was Captain Esmerelda Dunne's Perseus, and they could be on their way, and Michelle was looking forward to the voyage. It was sixteen days from the Lynx Terminus to the Spindle System, and just as Spindle had been the site of the Constitutional Convention, it had been chosen — at least provisionally — as the Talbott Quadrant's capital system. Which meant that was where she was going to find Baroness Medusa and Vice Admiral Khumalo. When she did, she'd finally be able to begin forming a realistic idea of what she was going to have to do and what she was going to do it with. Under normal circumstances, her desire to hit the ground running would have left her feeling impatient and antsy, but not this time. The sixteen days' passage would undoubtedly be welcome to her captains, even thought it would be only ten days for them, given the relativistic effect, since it would give them additional time to complete bringing their ships' hardware to full readiness. And, of course, getting their ships' companies trained up to something approaching the standard expected out of a Queen's ship.
“Remind me to invite Captain Conner and Commodore Onasis to dine with me tonight, Gwen,” she said.
“Yes, Ma’am,” Archer replied. “Should we invite Commander Houseman and Commander McIver, as well?”
“An excellent thought, Gwen,” Michelle approved with a smile. “For that matter let’s get Captain Armstrong, Cindy, Dominica, and Commander Dallas and Commander Diego on the guest list, as well. And you can drop them a little hint – unofficially, of course – that we’ll be talking about training schedules.”
“Yes, Ma’am.” Archer made a note to himself, and Michelle smiled at him. The youngster was working out even better than she’d hoped he would, and it looked as if at least some of the ghosts of Solon were fading out of the backs of his eyes. She hoped so, anyway. It was obvious that nature had intended him to be a cheerful extrovert, and she was pleased to see him shedding the . . . somberness which had been so much a part of him at their first meeting.
He was quick, too. His suggestion that Conner and Onasis bring along their chiefs of staff was an excellent one, and exactly the sort of anticipation and thinking ahead a good flag lieutenant was supposed to provide to her admiral. And it probably represented his own experience aboard Necromancer, as well. Obviously, Gervais was aware of the squadron’s rough edges and recognized the need to start filing them down.
Her nostrils flared at that thought. Those rough edges weren’t her captains' fault, anymore than they were hers. In fact, they weren’t anyone's fault. Despite which, Michelle was uncomfortably aware of just how unprepared for battle her command truly was, and that was precisely why she, too, was looking forward to those ten days of exercises. Hard exercises, she thought — as demanding as she and her captains could make them. Given the situation she might well find herself facing in the very near future, it was time she and her officers started finding the problems, figuring out what to do about them, and doing it.
And the sooner the better, she reflected grimly. The sooner the better.
So… if the build up the fleet at Talbot station…
1. pseudo-wall BCs
2. pseudo-wall BC(P)s (if they get some)
3. pseudo-cruiser DDs
4. pseudo-BC CAs
The report to OFS will be saying they don’t deploy destroyers… only cruisers and above…
Perhaps change “, even thought it would be only ten days for them,” to “even though it would be only ten days for them”. Just a small nit, so far it looks like it’ll be a fun book.
That’s a good point. The Battle Cruisers are the size of pre Haven war battleships, but a whole lot faster. The screening elements will be similarly larger, and the weight of missle fire is consistent with a heavy formation. I can see DW pointing toward a fleet action where they take on a Solarian Wall of Battle, on more or less even terms.
Even terms??? They should be able to outrun and outrange any Solarian wall of battle, no matter what size. In order to make it close to interesting, DW would have to force them to protect something of vital strategic importance.
Whatever these “sharks” are will probably come in to play too. I envision something like year four in Babylon 5, when the B5 White Star fleet was crushing the Earth forces until suddenly Earth deploys a bunch of Shadow-hybrid ships. My guess is the Solarians will be in the process of being rejected when these Mesan “sharks” will show up — creating the cliffhanger ending that this book is reported to have.
As I understand it, Tenth Fleet won’t have either podlayers or Apollo until after the Manticore – Haven war ends. That means it should be able to cut through individual Solly battleships and below like a hot knife through melted butter, but take on a formal Wall of Battle? I think whether they’ve got the firepower to punch through the overlapping wedges in that formation is kind of iffy.
Yeah, those “sharks” are going to be interesting. However, when they join the battle it’s going to mean that Mesa has come out from behind the curtains, which is going to change a lot of things, including Queen Elizabeth III’s view of what’s going on.
I think they need BC(P)s to take on Sollie SDs (IIRC, the Sollies don’t do DNs)… to saturate Sollie fire control, so that someone can go and shoot down the throat / up the kilt shots (Shrikes presumably)
Hmm… I wonder if Weber’s going to introduce merchant carriers… merchantmen converted into CLACs… that stand-off far from battle. The Cluster should be able to build those.
Manticore has two security concerns in the cluster right now, pirate activity, and Sollie interference. A merchant class CLAC could secure the cluster against pirate activity, and light raiding by the Sollies.
A Merchant class CLAC could be build in the systems of the cluster that could build them (perhaps not all systems could even build these ships), and then depoyed to neighbouring systems as the primary defensive platform for each system. A heavy squadron of LACS (150) could fit in a hull of 2M, and leave room for some pod deployment capability, as well as the command and control hub of the system.
Such a program could provide the necessary hulls without diverting critical construction in home shipyards, as well as be an economic boom for the cluster.
I would not equip the ships will Apollo capabilities though, for several reasons. a) Non Apollo pods are abundant, b) the secrecy of Apollo is important and should not be risked in systems that cannot be defended against a major fleet action (unlike Manticore), c) Some citizens in the cluster could gain access to Apollo and sell it to the highest bidder, and d) integration of Apollo into the CLAC’s would delay their construction.
It is important to get the Merchant class CLAC’s completed ASAP, as, by their very nature, they are temporary units that will be replaced as new, purpose built fortresses are constructed in each system.
The major weakness of the merchant CLAC’s is of course, their armour, or lack of armour. The CLAC’s will be deployed like the moriarty platforms were, and are relatively soft targets. Nonetheless, the are necessary short term ships for the cluster.
Additionally, consideration should be given to building/deploying such ships the the confederacy.
If the cluster was able to crew a bunch of figher wings (with abnormal-tech fission piles & a whack of advanced technology), they’d have been able to crew the fleet Honor captured at the end of AoV.
Question when did the Sollies last fight an opponent with the experience of Manticore.Answer NEVER.That should give Manticore a huge edge,irrespective of the Fleets makeup.
Actually, I’m slightly surprised that Manticore isn’t using some of the local marines (trained up to Manticore standards) as either filler for the Tenth Fleet or training units assigned to the fleet to help them gain experience. Along with helping reduce the number of people they need to deploy away from home. It would also help the process of uniting the Cluster, having a couple small units from various planets, with the Manticore marines deployed as a solid core for them to form around. Say a 20/20/60 force spread, with Manticore providing 60%, to be decreased during successive years.
But the Sollies have a HUGE advantage in terms of numbers; and quantity takes on a quality by itself.
Yeah but with the end of the Haven Manticore War. Both Haven and Manticore will team up to destroy Mesa. I mean look at it, already zilwilkie is looking for evidance that Haven was not behind any of the killings. When he brings proof to Elizabeth the Haven Maticore will end in an instant and they can team up to stop whatever is coming from the solarian leauge.
I have a late entry on the “numerology” front. Presuming that MWW means the unit number to be significant. I would nominate the 106 infantry division. Both formations are green. A month off the troop transports and in the line for the Battle of the Bulge. Largest mass surrender of US troops other than Bataan (I think) when two regiments were cut off. Part of the back story for Slaughterhouse-Five so there’s a literary connection too.
If we were playing laser tag and I could run faster than you, and had a gun that could shoot much farther than yours, it wouldn’t matter if you could kill me with one shot and I needed a thousand to kill you, because I could stay far enough away from you so that I could shoot at you while your shots couldn’t reach me.
Therefore no Solly wall of battle, no matter what size, could have a chance against these Manty battlecruisers. Like I said, they can outrun them and outrange them.
Scary thought. What if the Manticoran Merchant Service started keeping a LAC or two aboard every Merchant Ship to protect it from commerce raiders. I would have to think that even a old style Shrike would be more than capalbe of trashing any Pirate in space. Especially in Silesia.
Not to spoil it for you, but our good friend Honor Harrington does a really good job of laying out a potential strategy the Star Kingdom should employ in defeating the Solarian League. I will say no more ;)
The only way the Sollies could win is by drowning the Manties in SD’s until the missile magazines run dry.
Gaurav, I must disagree. As was pointed out, a Manticore force will shred anything of similar weight, but the point of a Wall of Battle is that the weight is NOT similar. It is an old strategy to force a faster opponent to attack a slower one, and several situations might require a Manticoran force to seek engagement with a heavier Solarian force, even absent traps.
In a slugging match, the RMN would demand a steep price, but a Wall of Battle could pay it, and keep coming. If it ever gets to graser range, then the Manticorans are skewered.