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PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2019 9:36 pm 
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I'm curious on the group's thoughts on armed civilian ships in BSG; these would be individually privately owned ships, or those owned by a small company, nothing on the scale of the auxiliary navies that Avedon, CGM, Far Horizons and their subsidiaries. What I'm looking at are ships like Adriatic that we know are armed.

Also, what is the group's thoughts on pirates and piracy in BSG? Is it something akin to the Golden Age of the Spanish Main, is it like Somalia today, or is it something closer to hijacking or theft after a cargo has reached port?

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2019 11:13 pm 
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I suspect there are quite a few civilian cargo vessels that were armed with anti ship and or anti fighter craft weapons. As far as piracy, I think it would be a combination of all the things you mentioned.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2019 11:25 pm 
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What surprised me with the series was the lack of any defensive weapons at all.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2019 6:42 am 
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Weapons seemed incredibly rare on the surviving ships, but then they were be difinition all FTL capable and had the option of jumping over/past hotspots in their normal careers, it'd be more likely to find weapons on ships that had no FTL drives and HAD TO fly through areas that contained dangers.

Piracy isn't easy in space, a pirate would need to do enough damage to a target to stop it or slow it enough for rendezvous without damaging the cargo, then they would have to transfer cargo off cause the target ship itself isn't going anywhere, so hours of transferring cargo perhaps so your pirate ship needs cargo room and there's the threat of the Colonial Navy jumping you in response to a distress call while you're docked, and then Pirates have to sell cargo for it to be worthwhile in the first place, where would that happen?


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2019 7:57 am 
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I think piracy would be entirely non viable.

It only happens in the real world because of how incredibly cheap boats are and due to hugely deprived and unstable regions existing by major shipping routes.

This simply doesn't map to BSG. The Colonies are vastly over militarised compared to the majority of earth, and hugely more stable as well. A spaceship is also a much more difficult asset to own, operate, and maintain than a boat whilst simultaneously being much easier to track.

As 50Stone mentioned, the logistics of actually carrying out a raid on a ship would be very difficult and time consuming (not exactly something that can be afforded with FTL as a thing) leaving hostage taking as essentialy the only even slightly viable option.

The risk vs. reward calculation simply doesn't work out. Even if someone was desperate enough to see piracy as attractive yet somehow was able to own and operate a spaceship, how exactly could they expect to get away with it? In a world of transponders, crowded shipping lanes, long range sensors, ubiquitous authorities which can literally appear instantaneously, with aerospace traffic control, and functional police with modern equipment? Why not just sell the ship?

Spacecraft in BSG are closer to Aircraft or the bigger ships on earth in operation and likely cost than to small fishing vessels and other things you might find in a towns harbour.

In summary, might the occasional hijacking, extortion, or low level theft happen; sure. Is it a threat common enough to be worth thinking about beyond passive measures; doubtful.

I think the reason for some ships, like the Adriatic, having weapons is a hold over from either the unstable times before unification, or the Cylon War and a fear of them returning. Even then, I imagine its a highly regulated area. The amount of damage an armed ship could do by, for example, destroying a large cargo ship in low orbit would encroach on WMD levels. Having said that, an unarmed ship could be similarly dangerous (a propulsion systems utility is directly proportion to its use as a weapon). The evidence form the show suggests that armed civilian ships are uncommon but not unheard of. It also suggests that they're not very potent weapons, as otherwise your expect the Adriatic and any other armed ships to be an intrigal part of defending the fleet.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2019 9:08 am 
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Piracy after a ship is landed and the cargo off loaded would be infinitely easier btw.

There is the potential for economic piracy to be a thing, so instead of trying to capture a ship's cargo, their routes are harrassed to make ships turn back, spike insurance fees and disrupt delivery cycles to drive prices up, or make transport companies look elsewhere, but you'd expect naval patrol and even escorts to pick up very quickly as a result and unless pirates are FTLing away from attacks, tracking them down isn't hard.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2019 8:01 pm 
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Thanks for the replies! I'm in general agreement with the consensus that actual, "Heave to and prepare to be boarded, Arrrrr!" type piracy is exceedingly rare and difficult. Also, that the most likely form of "piracy" would be either hijacking or more likely, theft at a terminal or port.

I agree with the comment that some ships might be armed from before the war or due to the fear of the Cylons returning, though I'd also like to offer that it could be that certain cargoes must/should be carried in an armed ship (fissionables, certain controlled substances, high value items, etc.).

This brings me to another topic which I'll put in a separate thread...

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2019 1:47 am 
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I honestly doubt any civilian ships were armed prior to the fall.

I'm of the opinion that the Adriatic is the Defender-type vessel seen with the Exodus fleet, and was the same type of vessel that was seen in the Ghost fleet in Blood and Chrome. This would make the Adriatic a demilitarized vessel sold off from the fleet.

It's difficult to refit a vessel with weapons that wasn't originally designed for them. Reinforcing the hull for firing/launching stresses, working in a reloading mechanism that can protect the magazine while still feeding the weapon mounts, and coordinating the combat systems from a fire control area are among the biggest challenges. But, if the Adriatic was a prior military ship, its likely most of the hard stuff was still a part of the ship after the sale. So, reinstalling a fire control panel, detection and tracking dradis, fire control directors, and wiring it all together would be well within the Exodus fleet's capabilities. Then, it would just be a matter of refurbishing the mounts and reloading systems and loading some missiles (which were probably taken from Viper missile stocks since we don't see them used after the Refinery attack).

It is even possible the Adriatic was a fleet auxiliary cruiser, or part of the terms of her sale would be to keep her available for use as a fleet auxiliary cruiser. This is similar to how many merchant ships were fitted out in the early 1900's. Their governments would help finance the construction, but hard points had to be included to mount shipboard weapons and they could be requisitioned by the government for military use at anytime.

Regular civilian vessels though? No, I can't see that being the case in the Colonies. At least not legally, and not with vessels that went near the core worlds. Certainly nothing that could challenge a vessel of the fleet, and likely just a couple of missiles or fighter weight weapons at most.

I agree with most of the others here that there isn't really any pirates of the Caribbean style piracy. However, thefts and hijackings are certainly something that could very well happen. And, there could definitely be some quasi-legal privateering happening if you have worlds outside the core worlds. For example, in the Lady H storyline, some corporation vs corporation operations wouldn't be out of place near some sensitive research areas outside Cyrannus. Not necessarily piracy, but spying or corporate espionage type stuff, or economic piracy like 50Stone mentioned.


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