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Old 01-21-2010, 09:14 PM
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Default Wooden Ships and Iron Men?

Ed the Coastie 05-05-2004, 12:48 AM OK...now that we have discussed the roles and uses of cavalry in a T2K setting...what about sailing vessels? Would MilGov and CivGov (or other coastal powers) actually take the trouble and devote the resources to build such vessels in any quantity? Or would they reserve sailing ships for minor roles (shipping, coastal patrols, etc) and devote the resources instead in an attempt to restore and maintain the handful of "modern" warships that have survived the War?


ReHerakhte 05-05-2004, 06:13 AM I have a few thoughts on this so in no particular order I'll ramble on through them.

I think modern warships would be maintained to the best of the ability of the available personnel but used sparingly, i.e. last resort type of thing. If for no other reason than to be used as harbour guardians, particularly with the amount of POL stores some of the older vessels would require. Their main potential would be as a floating fortress considering the number of weapons systems many of them carry and by staying close to port where prying eyes can't get a good look at them, the authorities can always lie about their potential to go to war, "I got two FFG's, a mine hunter/layer and a DD sitting in my home port, you sure you wanna threaten me?!"

I figure small sail boats of the type used by recreational sailors would probably be commandered to train up military personnel in the use and manouvring of sail vessels. Larger sailing vessels would probably be used for short duration patrolling (as I figure they are unlikely to have much in the way of heavy weapons, they'll stay close to safe ports). Once a unit has sufficient numbers of sail trained personnel they might commit to longer duration patrolling and take the chance of mounting heavier weaponry (no point in putting your remaining mortars onboard if the crew aren't comfortable with manouvring against the wind for example, the vessel might be too easy a prize for the enemy if manned by a 'sail' inexperienced crew).

I think most fuel stores would be allocated to small powerboats and cabin cruiser type vessels that had been suitably modified for the patrol ot fast attack role. Although the accuracy of a 50cal M2 might be pretty poor on such a vessel, a high speed run into the target, brass it up a bit & hope for enough hits, then a high speed run away while a second fast boat does the same from a different quarter (and possibly a third etc.) and the low cost of such boats (take them up from the 'hopefully' vast numbers that would be found at public marinas etc.) would make this a preferred method of attack. Guerrilla hit & run in boats, hmm... potential for a game there methinks.

The other benefit would be that such vessels could be easier to disguise initially, looking like civilian vessels they would possibly be seen as little to no threat... until you mount the guns. Even if all you have is some mortars and 50cals, you can still reach out and touch someone up to 5000m away (and more).

That's about it, not having a big interest in the maritime stuff, the reality factor might be a bit low here but I have images of speed boats mounting lightweight anti-ship missiles racing out of harbour at high speed to bloody the nose of anyone snooping around!




gstitz 05-05-2004, 06:05 PM Given the state of POL supply, sailing vessels WOULD absolutely make a return.

You could even see a return of the whaling ships (since whale blubber was originally used for candles, and whale meat is edible), and the infamous bat guano runs (for fertilizer, since most modern fertilizers are the result of modern petrochemical processes). Especially with poor growing conditions, having fertilizer becames especially important. Not to mention fishing as a source of food.

Of course, with an increase in shipborne commerce, you would see an increase in piracy/privateering, which would require an increase in naval patrols.

You could see anti-ship missiles mounted on small craft, but they would more likely be mounted on trucks IMO (a lot of countries do that now).

Just my quick thoughts.

Greg "Gunner" Stitz


ChalkLine 05-22-2004, 09:54 AM Much of it is how you see your campaign setting, I don't use MilGov/CivGov or New America, I think USA citizens are more likely to pull together than fragment. This allows me to let the eastern seaboard USA states to indulge in limited and primitive shipping production, the coast guard becomes an escort service bringing the ships to Europe via Britain and into the Baltic (shades of the Murmansk Run, my family are merchant seamen), bringing what supplies they can to the troops.

Thus said, the ships become lower tech and smaller, missiles become treasured items and cannonry comes back into fashion, In Australia the old HMAS Vampire (http://www.anmm.gov.au/inwater.htm) is brought back into service!

Fast, small ship actions occur as the Pact forces try and interdict the supply vessels running into the Baltic avoiding French sealanes, land base airpower is pretty much devoted to stopping or supporting these shipping runs. Prop powered strike aircraft running aero biodeisel thunder through a hail of automatic fire to drop deadbombs on struggling merchant ships as the escorts dash to either side trying to throw up a curtain of AAA.

In the Pacific, wooden sailships or woodburning steamers keep the communication lines open to the PacRim allies, but independant or enemy commerce raiders pray on these vessels, tipped off by spies lurking in and around refueling and revictualling stations. Isolated troops make their way home by island hopping and are dragooned into dealing with these nautical menaces, using suprise boarding attacks from seemingly inoffensive merchant ships.

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