Tuesday, 13 March 2018

5150 Campaign – S3 - Tactical Analysis

Jackie pushes back in his seat and peruses the data slate. 
One of his Tactical Analysts has prepared a briefing for him of the key lessons from the last engagement.
He reviews the small ship data first. “Six enemy splashed to our one,” he thinks to himself, “but that’s not all of it is it? If the enemy small ships hadn’t been re-occupied in the attempt to destroy our capital ships then it could have been worse. Much worse.”
Jackie reviews the data slate. The Viper is an aged but still very capable space superiority fighter. The X Wing, by comparison, a more modern multi-roll fighter. The X Wing has slightly superior performance in top speed and has a slightly longer range and punch with her guns but the lacks the rate of fire from her weapons. It’s essentially even. Perhaps the biggest difference between the two craft is their missile load out. The Viper is focused on achieving space dominance and carries three Fire and Forget missiles where as the X Wing carries a deadly capital ship killer, the torpedo. 

-      Speed = maximum cycles
-      Acc = acceleration in cycles per cycle
-      Turn = capability to dog fight and perform special manoeuvres
-      L/M/H/T = the chance to punch through light/medium/heavy or turret shields
-      * = ability to punch through light capital ship shields on a 1
The first engagement of the campaign also revealed a lot about the rebels heavier attack craft, the Y Wing. “Hmmm,” Jackie thinks to himself, “their Y Wing packs some serious performance and punch. But the Raptor is no slouch.” He reviews the key heavy craft stats. The Y Wing is slightly quicker but neither will be able to out run the oppositions fighters. Probably the biggest difference is in their missile load outs. Both fighters possess heavy shields, giving them extra endurance in combat, but the Raptor has a broader range of offensive options. Carrying two fire and forget missiles together with a HARM and two torpedoes it has the opportunity to engage fighters as well as capital ships with these weapons. The Y Wing is a capital ship killer, carrying three torpedoes.

Jackie concludes, “In the end it’ll come down to the quality of the pilots and the tactics employed. We were lucky last time. If the enemy fighters had’ve focused on attacking our fighters first we probably would have lost more. But still,” Jackie thinks to himself, “I would have preferred to have lost more fighters than Achilles.”
Reviewing the performance of his pilots he notes that Apollo and Old Sarge lead the way in terms of rail gun rounds and fire and forget missiles deployed. This resulted in resulted in two X Wings splashed each. Jackie contemplates, “They say that the real heroes are often the first to go in a war and Hinton’s sacrifice is no different. His assault on the enemy fighter formation broke it apart and set the foundation for the rest of the team to defeat the enemy. His sacrifice won’t be forgotten. The repair teams have been working hard and it looks like all fighters will be available for the next op.”

“Achilles was a real loss,” the Admiral reflects. “Not only was she a quarter of our capital ships but she was the best of the support vessels and she was carrying two replacement Vipers and one replacement Raptor. The anti aircraft batteries were scant protection with only one torpedo of the entire mission being destroyed by defensive fire. This will represent a serious issue in the forth coming missions. The capital ships are very vulnerable to torpedoes and perhaps the CAP needs to be increased to four fighters, even through it’ll likely result in additional maintenance on these vital craft”.
“The ability of the capital ships to provide supporting anti aircraft fire against the enemy’s torpedoes is limited. It’s still worthwhile however to keep them in formation to protect each other against fighter strafing runs should our fighters not be able to keep them at bay.”
A knock at the door interrupts the Admirals thoughts.
A young signal man enters the room, “We’ve just received a coded message from one of our contacts on Abydos sir. It reads that they’ve intercepted signals between the rebels and the Hishen’s. There is a convoy bringing heavy equipment and munitions to reinforce defensive enemy positions on Abydos. They are rendezvousing at Elysia to form a convoy before making a run for Abydos.”


  1. Interesting analysis, it looks as if the enemy should have avoided dogfighting and concentrated on the big ships. Once the big ships are gone our fighters have no base and are effectively eliminated.

    1. It'll be interesting to see how the next engagement goes given we should be on the offensive and how we go at taking down their big ships. Hopefully we do a bit better than they did.

  2. From the stst's it looks finely balanced and Jackie really needs to make the right decisions on strategic AND tactical levels against this opposition.
    He'll certainly be salary if he gets us 'rookie' pilots through this!

    1. Fingers crossed we haven't lost too many yet have we but you'd probably imagine we will as the campaign wears on.

  3. Well, up to a point, the fighters are expendable - but the capital ships are certainly not! I'd say that a heavier CAP might be a good idea, though perhaps more important is their doctrine: CAP exists to disrupt an enemy attack until reinforcements arrive.

    I note that the enemy fighters don't carry any dogfight missiles. Perhaps outnumbered vipers need to stand off (out of the range of those nasty pulse cannons!) and bombard torpedo bombers with FF missiles?

    1. Yeah I agree. Standing off and using the fire and forget missiles sounds attractive doesn't it. Of course eventually you run out of them but none the less using them all to soften up the enemy will be absolutely valuable.

      Yes the CAP was rather in effective last time. I think they overshot the mark in the first instance. Perhaps going straight at the enemy might have been a better tactic but still that would have resulted in two Vipers against four enemy ships. Not sure if they would have survived that but perhaps if they did then Achilles would still have been around.

      Nasty choices really.

  4. Yes if they do sound evenly balanced against one another position and timing sounds like it is the key.

    1. Also I found out during the game why it's so important to keep in formation. It's because you can activate more than one ship at a time and when you then get In Sight against the opposition you've got more opportunity to act first.

      I didn't pick up on this at first but when you get In Sight you go to the In Sight Reaction Test which is pretty much a roll off to see who goes first. The more of your team you've got in there the greater the chance that you'll get to go first, which, as we saw from the battle report, can be the difference between life and death.

  5. I can only agree with the comments made above. It's all a balancing act, isn't it?

    1. Yes it is. I'm finding both the strategic and the tactical challenges quite a lot of fun to try to balance. We'll see in the next battle report if I get the balance right. I think I'll have to be very aggressive to pull off the next mission and that might result in additional casualties but it might shorten the war. Yikes.