Battlegrinder wrote:The cannons can have both vertical and horizontal rotation. The ship only needs to roll by a few degrees to bring an opponent underneath it into it's line of fire.
What's to stop the other ship from moving a few degrees?
Better yet, what if it's a fighter or bomber on a strafing or bombing run on the bottom of your ship?
The first question you need to answer when planning out an attack targeting a Frangerian ship’s ventral hull is “how do you get there?” As it turns out, the usual answer is “in pieces.” Consider the scenarios my two demo ships, Purple (playing the attacker) and Black (playing the defender).
For most approaches (fig 1), it’s basically impossible to maneuver below an enemy ship. As you can see in figure 2, the purple has to move a significant distance in order to get out of the Black ship’s cone of fire, while the black ship needs to only tilt slightly to bring purple back into its sights. This same principle applies if purple is already under black. Purple will almost always end up spending more energy maneuvering to get clear of black’s cone of fire then black will spend rolling or tilting to retarget purple.
The once exception to the above rule would be at point blank range, where the maneuvering distance-to-rotational distance ratio evens out a little (though the ratio does still favor black slightly, since rotating costs less energy then moving the whole ship), as illustrated in figures 3 and 4. Even so, purple still has a problem, since even if the ship it’s under is having a harder time hitting it, purple can still be targeted by one of black’s sister ships (fig 5). Good fleet tactics make it much harder to exploit the weakness of any one ship, since it will be supported and protected by the rest of the fleet. I’d also point out that if purple does get into point blank range (big if), it’ll already have taken a fair amount of damage on the run in, and will much more vulnerable to incoming attacks from black compared to how vulnerable black will be to any strikes from purple.
A final point would be that many ships can’t elevate their main guns high enough to fire on a ship directly above them, forcing them to engage from a certain minimum distance. In all probability, that distance will be within the range where the maneuver-to-rotation ratio favors the defender.
And this only discussing naval gunnery. If we bring missiles into it, things get even worse for purple, since black can easily launch missiles targeting purple without even having to maneuver (in the case of Frangerian cruisers, purple is extra screwed, since on those ships the launch bays for Fenris and Ragnorak missiles are built into the ventral hull. Bye-bye purple).
Regarding fighters/bombers, I’d suggest we discuss that at a later date, since a discussion of point defense and fighter screens and how they interact with fleetwide ship-to-ship action could take up an entire thread on its own. For my ships, most of them have sufficient point defense weapons to keep smaller ships at bay, and coupled with a fighter screen from friendly carriers, can block all but the most determined fighter assaults (and for those, we have missiles. Lots and lots of missiles)Figure 1Figure 2Figure 3Figure 4Figure 5