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How to fight a space war when one side has cloaks?

brian334brian334 Member Posts: 2,180 Arc User
I do not believe the Cloaking Device is all that great of an advantage, even though it has been stated to be many times. The reason is simple: when you cannot directly deal with your enemy's ships, you attack his bases. Without bases from which to rearm and resupply, the advantage of a cloaking ship is nullified. (This is what happened to the German U-boat fleet, which was operational and launching new vessels right to the end of the war.)

On the other hand, it allows your fleet to pick and choose its battles if the enemy doesn't force you to fight them to keep them away from your bases. (This is why the German U-boats were so successful early in the war.)

Given that almost all of the Federation ships are long-range vessels built to sustain their crews for five years or more, there is nothing to stop them from doing end-runs around Klingon defenses and striking deep into Klingon territory even without cloaks. On the other hand, Klingon ships are cramped, crowded, and built for much shorter missions.

If the Federation dispersed its ships into raider groups and these groups coordinated in the field to mass for large-scale attacks while dispersing when encountering enemy concentrations, the cloak would be useless as an offensive weapon because the bases which enabled the cloaked ships to operate in enemy territory would be under constant threat of destruction. The cloaked ships would have to be using active sensors to search for the Federation ships, which would nullify the cloaking device.

The only way the cloak remains a powerful offensive weapon is if the enemy ignores it, does nothing to prepare for it, and does nothing to stop it once it's fielded. (Great Britain, and later the United States did this in regard to the U-boat early in WW2, but once they got their act together the U-boat threat was vastly reduced.)

TLDR: Cloaking device is a tactical, not a strategic, advantage, and one which is easily nullified by aggressive action.

Obviously my thesis conflicts with the story the writers of Discovery presented. In my defense, I will assert, those guys are morons who couldn't win a game of Magic: The Gathering with a stacked deck.

Now, your opinion may differ, and I would like to hear exactly how.
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Comments

  • khan5000khan5000 Member Posts: 2,590 Arc User
    I think one of the issues we'll have with this discussion is we've never seen the Romulans or Klingons make full use of their cloaks. Cloaking technology seemed to stop at cloaking a ship. When they overcome the disadvantages of the cloak...like they can't fire while cloaked as in Undiscovered Country or Star Trek: Nemesis...the leap in technology is promptly forgotten. Questions I have are why can't they cloak their bases? Why wouldn't Klingon or Romulan space be littered with weapons platforms like we saw at Chin'toka but cloaked? Or with self replicating cloaked mines?

    The cloak is very much strategic advantage. Let's say that the Romulans decide to go all out war with the Federation. Let's all strip away the plot armor that protects the Federation. The Romulans decide to alpha strike as a start to hostilities but instead of attacking Earth they do a coordinated attack on every star base and shipyard between Romulus and Earth. It doesn't matter if a Galaxy Class can sustain itself for 10-50 years if it can't be repaired.
    or
    The federation fleet matches up against the romulan fleet. 100 ships each. Evenly matched. But then other 50-100 Romulan ships uncloak.

    In my opinion the cloak is a big advantage but the klingons and romulans were written too poorly to the advantage of it.
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  • jonsillsjonsills Member Posts: 8,215 Arc User
    I seem to recall an entire episode, plus follow-ups in later eps (part of the reason they were so anxious to get home quickly from the MU, for instance), dealing with the question of detecting cloaked ships. Their solution was supposed to have removed all advantage from the Klingon cloaking device, which is (in-universe) why we never saw it in TOS.

    The real idiocy observed is one shared with every version of Trek since TMP. Approach to Earth should be hampered not merely by whatever starships happen to be handy, but also by a picket of mobile defensive stations packed around Earth, and another (smaller and more scattered, but there's no help for that) around about the inner edge of the Oort Cloud. I mean, Jupiter Defense Station is nice, but what do you do when Jupiter's on the far side of the Sun from Earth? Even if you can warp there (which TMP established as inadvisable) there's going to be a delay in arrival.

    And every other major world should have something similar. One of the things that yanked me right out of Into Dorkness was when the Enterprise was approaching Qo'noS, causing me to snarl at my TV, "Where in the name of Gre'thor are the orbital defenses?!?"
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  • khan5000khan5000 Member Posts: 2,590 Arc User
    edited January 6
    yeah a TRIBBLE cloud was able to move from Klingon space to Earth almost unhindered.
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  • starkaosstarkaos Member Posts: 10,617 Arc User
    It is far easier to attack an enemy's base and destroy their supply lines with cloaking technology than without. With cloaking technology, they can attack when they want and where they want. Send a few cloaked ships to 'attack' one base and destroy a different base when the enemy has fallen for the bait. Without any form of cloaking detection, cloaking technology is a great way in destroying the enemy's morale.

    Having Starfleet ships deep in Klingon space is just foolish since Klingon ships aren't blind to the extremely energetic Starfleet ships when cloaked. There is no point in trying to look for a Starfleet ship when Starfleet ships are broadcasting their location to half the quadrant.

    The Klingons almost destroyed the Federation even with their lousy tactics. If they had someone competent, then the Federation would have been destroyed for months before Discovery got back to their reality.
  • somtaawkharsomtaawkhar Member Posts: 5,316 Arc User
    edited January 6
    jonsills wrote: »
    but also by a picket of mobile defensive stations packed around Earth, "
    A "Earth Defense Network" was mentioned in TMP, but V'Ger used data obtained from the Enterprise's computer systems to shut it down.

    TNG shows us that there is also a "Mars Defense Perimeter" consisting of small, unmanned, defensive pod ships that attack anything hostile coming toward Earth.

    DS9 also mentions that there were surface based defense stations, but the sabotage of Earth's power grid disabled those.

    The Kelvin Timeline Earth also had some sort of defensive network, and Nero tortured Pike to get the codes to bypass it.
  • rattler2rattler2 Member Posts: 46,621 Arc User
    jonsills wrote: »
    And every other major world should have something similar. One of the things that yanked me right out of Into Dorkness was when the Enterprise was approaching Qo'noS, causing me to snarl at my TV, "Where in the name of Gre'thor are the orbital defenses?!?"

    Also a full on fight between the Enterprise and the Vengeance right in Earth Orbit. Dramatic yes... but were they literally the ONLY ships in the sector?

    As to the tech behind Chang's BoP and the Scimitar...

    Not only was Chang's BoP basically a Black Ops project... the tactical advantage of being able to shoot Torpedos while cloaked is rather limited based on several factors.
    • Number of Torpedos available
    • element of surprise
    • skill of opposing Captain
    • A jury rigged torpedo killed it

    Now what the Enterprise SHOULD have done in the battle with Chang was fire phasers immediately in the direction the torpedo came from, firing blind in the general area in an effort to hit the BoP. Which in turn would keep Chang moving and potentially make a mistake or take a hit with shields down. Instead... Enterprise just took the hits and floundered. Even Excelsior just tanked the hits rather than actively tried to hunt her by blindfiring in vectors the torpedo came from.

    The reason the Klingons didn't develop the tech further? The advantage was nullified by a jury rigged Torpedo with enhanced sensors meant to track gaseous anomalies. Short version: They targeted the tailpipe.

    In a way its like painting everything black to blend in with the darkness, but then discover the opponent is using Thermal rather than visual. You can't hide heat with a layer of black paint.

    The Scimitar, on the other hand, was NOT a Romulan project at all. She was built by the Remans, apparently right under the nose of the Romulans. So the Romulans wouldn't have any technical data on her. Even two Mogai Warbirds, which at the time I believe were top of the line starships in the Star Empire, got wrecked by the Scimitar.

    Now... to address the use of cloaked bases and defenses...
    Its been established that a Cloak uses A LOT of power, hence the typical limitations of not being able to use weapons or shields while cloaked. The problem with a cloaked base is that you'd have to decloak to allow ships to dock, thus essentially negating the advantage of a cloaked base.

    And to address the hypothetical war between the Federation and Romulans... the Federation has become quite skilled at anti-cloak tactics by the late 24th Century. According to Star Trek Nemesis, the Enterprise-E was capable of using various methods to detect traditional cloaks, which... was useless against the OP Scimitar.

    Economically... its not really viable to put a cloak on bases and defense platforms. Just one more system that can break on top of a logistical nightmare to track and maintain. And the Romulans and Klingons aren't economic powerhouses like the Federation.
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  • brian334brian334 Member Posts: 2,180 Arc User
    I agree with khan5000 that we never see intelligent use of the cloaking technology. In TOS the Romulans use it defensively with some effect, but as an offensive, strategic weapon? Nope.

    I disagree that having Fed ships loose in Kingon space wouldn't work. For one thing, all those cloaked ships would have to be chasing the Fed ships around rather than attacking Fed Space targets. It doesn't change the nature of the battle, but it does change the location of the battlefield.

    I agree with jonsills about orbital and system defenses. Vastly cheaper than starships, and they don't even require crews. Cloaked ships attacking Federation worlds should have to deal with swarms of mobile phaser banks and torpedo launchers, along with a plethora of Hobart's Funnies. (Kamikaze Asteroids and Gravitic Linear Accelerators for example.)

    I agree with starkaos that having a cloak is good for a raider. I disagree that having uncloaked Federation ships loose in Klingon space is a bad idea. It forces the enemy to divert assets to hunt them down, and that's ships which are not in Federation Space causing mayhem. I also disagree with the ease of finding Federation ships. Star Fleet ships have demonstrated time and time again their ability to remain undetected when they chose to do so, whether borrowing cloaking fields from polar magnetic vortices or hiding in debris fields, or by simply masking their energy signature.

    somtaawkhar is correct to point out that orbital defenses have been mentioned, but only when they didn't work! What did the Klingorks do to bypass or disable them? Oh, I know, they scattered some ignoreithuim on the battlefield and then applied the fuggetaboudit wave generator...

    I cannot imagine a world which has been subjected to the attack we saw in Enterprise... (why did that beam cross the Caribbean rather than draw a line, say, from Connecticut to South Carolina?) Anyway, why would a world which had been subjected to such an attack not have a many-layered orbital defense system? It would also be a high priority for any colony worlds, especially one near the borders of hostile alien empires with a known penchant for conquest and enslavement of global populations.

    rattler2 forgot to mention Proximity Blast Phasers, which were a thing from like, episode 14 of TOS. Constitution class vessels were capable of doing this, and I would conjecture that any ship equipped with phaser banks could as well. Enterprise 1701 got two confirmed kills on cloaked ships that way, but forgot all about that when Chang was doing his thing. In Kirk's defense, by TUC he was getting a bit old.


    Thanks for the replies, and keep them coming. Also, as a side issue, I have noted we all appear to have an aversion to capital letters.
  • rattler2rattler2 Member Posts: 46,621 Arc User
    brian334 wrote: »
    I cannot imagine a world which has been subjected to the attack we saw in Enterprise... (why did that beam cross the Caribbean rather than draw a line, say, from Connecticut to South Carolina?) Anyway, why would a world which had been subjected to such an attack not have a many-layered orbital defense system? It would also be a high priority for any colony worlds, especially one near the borders of hostile alien empires with a known penchant for conquest and enslavement of global populations.

    To be fair... the Prototype Weapon that hit Earth initially popped out of a vortex right on top of the planet and fired instantly. Also it was unmanned so it was really just point and fire. Not actually trying to cause maximum damage. Just see if such a weapon was actually viable.
    Also at that time Earth wasn't exactly bordering a hostile power per se. The Vulcans basically acted as an unintended Buffer between them and the Klingons. And we saw how effective the Vulcans AND the Andorians can be in battle. The Humans were really not a major consideration for the Klingons in that region of space. Hell... I think Sol System was actually considered a BACKWATER hole in space considering even by the time the NX-01 was active not many have really heard of Sol. Maybe some traders but overall Humans had not really made much of an impact on the quadrant to be well known.

    Pretty sure after the Xindi Conflict, and with tensions rising with the Romulans, Starfleet put some effort into planetary defenses.
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  • patrickngopatrickngo Member Posts: 9,757 Arc User
    Counter-cloaking has three or four different methods that should work, depending on how said ship is cloaking.

    yeah, I said "How". There's 'cloaking by bending light with gravity' or 'visual/optical invisibility'.. this is pretty much only useful for surface installations (the "Duck Blind" systems first seen in TNG, and then in that awful movie with the So'na.)

    there's bending subspace to create a sort of 'variant warp bubble' which sensors will slide over (since to the sensors, they're still goin' in a straight line). (this one presents a problem firing out of the cloaked shell).

    There's simple camouflage and an emissions emcon system (think : 24th century version of how the B-2, F-117 etc. do it), which works pretty good at longer ranges (cooling the exhaust, masking energy signatures, you know, all that stuff Federation ships are supposed to be able to do anyway).

    and finally, there's "Magical technology!" cloaking, where the principles don't get explained because the theory work wasn't done before the script was finalized. (this is the one that Trek uses most often, hence the various conflicting descriptions of how cloaking allegedly work).

    Brian's right about cloaking ground installations, btw; the traffic will pretty much end the usefulness of doing this, even if the ships are cloaked they still emit exhaust and thermal bloom, and that's gonna accumulate around a base-even if you can KEEP it cloaked.

    The power requirements for a minefield would likely be significant as well, since you're not concealing a single object, but lots of little ones that still need sensors to know when to go 'bang' (or fire their reaction jets, THEN go bang.)

    Cloak is a single element of a general tactical or strategic plan, and the biggest weaknesses are;

    1. Personnel.
    2. Supply lines.

    Because you can't cloak all your cargo frieghters and underway replenishment ships without the tech getting out of your military's control (and subsequently into the analysis hands of your enemies.) This is the first part of the 'people' problem, the second is, people aren't flawless, and anything designed, built, repaired or operated by people (any one of those things) will have weaknesses an enemy can discover and exploit.

    your first line of defense against a cloaked attacker is pre-war information gathering. analyze his ships, his tactics, his personnel whenever they're encountered. (considering that Burnham is either over 100 years old, or, Klingons have been raiding before this rather more recently than the 100 years cited in episode one...the presence of 'black boxes' in colony installations is probably a given for first to second gen colonies, after all, finding out what NOT to do next time is kind of important, along with sensor logs, etc.)

    Your next line of defense is, as Brian laid out. Go on the Offense. Cloaking is about initiative, choosing when, where, and who to fight. By taking the initiative away from the other side, you negate its chief benefit-they have to devote resources to defending and protecting, instead of being on the offensive. Defense is classically stronger, but rarely wins decisions, because Offense is where the initiative is. This does not mean launching big, mass, formation-style offensives. Cloaking ships will cut those to pieces in seconds (as will any competent NON cloaking enemy at the same tech level.)

    Ten, fifteen ship groups (small, preferably fast ships) spread out, maybe in wing pairs. Targets are infrastructure-supply convoys, bases, ports, cities. Yes, Cities.

    Random ones, lightning raids, hit, and run, don't stick around for BDA (blast damage assessment).

    This is NOT to put strain on the civilian population (though it will) since that's a proven way to harden their resolve. it's about attacking the means of production and the means of distribution.

    see, new tech has a problem; it needs lots of upkeep, the more complex it is, the more upkeep it needs. Hitting manufacturing and distribution centers forces the enemy to either defend, or relocate those facilities. Hitting one with the workers 'at work' forces the enemy to replace skilled personnel to prop up his war effort. (the best time to drop bombs on General Motors? Shift Change.)

    additional targets:

    Food storage, clean water, and power generation, roadways, airports, and train hubs.

    With that portion of your fleet raiding and raising hell and causing damage, the rest of your fleet need to be banging away with active sensors near any reasonable target, or engaging the enemy's line forces. reason being, because while some of your fleet is busy behind the lines, the rest needs to be pinning down the enemy's offensive forces and forcing them to use up ammunition, fuel, and food, spare parts, etc etc.

    IOW if the enemy has stealth, it's only good for a first strike. which is why the Soviets called the "Stealth bomber" a first-strike weapon...because it is.

    Here then, we see the flaw in Klingork and Romulan tactics. "they stopped to smell the roses."

    a much more effective use of the tech, would have been to hit the Federation capital directly, on the first day (or as close to that day as is practical and possible).

    They didn't do this, they 'stopped to smell the roses' at every outpost, base, colony, and starship along the way, effectively negating their tactical advantage.



  • rattler2rattler2 Member Posts: 46,621 Arc User
    patrickngo wrote: »
    yeah, I said "How". There's 'cloaking by bending light with gravity' or 'visual/optical invisibility'.. this is pretty much only useful for surface installations (the "Duck Blind" systems first seen in TNG, and then in that awful movie with the So'na.)

    They used Holograms on the Duckblind in Insurrection. Also... like you said, ground facilities only.
    there's bending subspace to create a sort of 'variant warp bubble' which sensors will slide over (since to the sensors, they're still goin' in a straight line). (this one presents a problem firing out of the cloaked shell).

    I think that's how must of the cloaks work, seeing as how 99% of examples cannot fire while cloaked.
    http://memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/Cloaking_device
    Although instead of subspace it just works with the ship's Deflector. But the description is still pretty much dead on.
    There's simple camouflage and an emissions emcon system (think : 24th century version of how the B-2, F-117 etc. do it), which works pretty good at longer ranges (cooling the exhaust, masking energy signatures, you know, all that stuff Federation ships are supposed to be able to do anyway).

    Sounds a bit like the SSV Normandy.
    and finally, there's "Magical technology!" cloaking, where the principles don't get explained because the theory work wasn't done before the script was finalized. (this is the one that Trek uses most often, hence the various conflicting descriptions of how cloaking allegedly work).

    I think the only Cloaks that really fall under this category is the Scimitar's Perfect Cloak and the Pegasus Phase Cloak.
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  • starkaosstarkaos Member Posts: 10,617 Arc User
    There is also a huge difference between the first season of Discovery and almost every other series of Star Trek. Cloaking technology has been a technological concern for most of Star Trek. So it was a matter of developing a better cloaking device and developing a better cloaking scanner and only Discovery had the issue of building a cloaking scanner. So part of the poor use of cloaking technology could be blamed on using outdated tactics with new technology. This seemed to be part of the problem of World War 1 where they were using 19th Century tactics with early 20th Century technology.

    The only time that cloaking technology was used in a war in previous Star Trek series is with the Dominion War since the Romulan Star Empire and Klingon Empire were never at war with the Federation during a Star Trek series. There was Yesterday's Enterprise, but that was an alternate timeline.

    On an unrelated note, why does the Terran Empire in STO not have cloaking technology? They don't have to worry about the Treaty of Algernon. The only reasonable explanation is that they steal all their ship technology from the Federation which seems incredibly shortsighted.
  • rattler2rattler2 Member Posts: 46,621 Arc User
    It could be that they felt that using the Suliban Cloak Tech back in the 22nd Century was actually a detriment, and focused more on making stronger ships rather than stealthier ships.

    Although how the ISS Charon was able to sneak up on the ISS Shenzhou... I don't know.
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  • somtaawkharsomtaawkhar Member Posts: 5,316 Arc User
    edited January 6
    starkaos wrote: »
    There is also a huge difference between the first season of Discovery and almost every other series of Star Trek. Cloaking technology has been a technological concern for most of Star Trek. So it was a matter of developing a better cloaking device and developing a better cloaking scanner and only Discovery had the issue of building a cloaking scanner. So part of the poor use of cloaking technology could be blamed on using outdated tactics with new technology. This seemed to be part of the problem of World War 1 where they were using 19th Century tactics with early 20th Century technology.
    This. Romulans had some primitive cloaking tech all the way back in the ENT era, but they never got it to mass produced starship scale until the TOS era. Besides them, the only other race with cloaking tech was the Suliban, and the Federation already had a means to defeat it, but the Suliban Cabal stopped being a thing post ENT era, so its been over 100 years since that was ever an issue.

    The Discovery era Fed/Klingon war is the first time they have ever been used in a large scale conflict.
    starkaos wrote: »
    On an unrelated note, why does the Terran Empire in STO not have cloaking technology? They don't have to worry about the Treaty of Algernon. The only reasonable explanation is that they steal all their ship technology from the Federation which seems incredibly shortsighted.
    They had cloaking tech during the ENT and Disco eras. Presumably it was lost during the fall of the Terran Empire between TOS and DS9 because, by the time of "The Emperor's New Cloak"(which the furthest set episode in the Mirror Universe), they didn't have them.
  • brian334brian334 Member Posts: 2,180 Arc User
    On the question of morality in warfare:

    There is a modern idea that, somehow, morality should play a part in war. History shows it in fact does not. The side which wins is the side which uses the most ruthless tactics and has the best organizational and support system.

    But the Federation doesn't do certain things because there is a moral high ground...

    TRIBBLE!

    There is nothing moral about war, and inserting morality into it is an exercise for morons. Once war has begun, the only moral decision is to get it done and over with in as complete and as decisive a fashion as possible. When the enemy is defeated he should look back and say, "Let's never try that again."

    This also goes for starting a war. There is no moral claim, land, or religion, or culture, or any other pretext, which justifies an attempt to conquer anything. This is as immoral as the schoolyard bully who takes the little kids' lunch money, and should be responded to in the same way: a swift punch to the nose.

    So, when war is forced upon you, the question of morality shouldn't be brought up. That bridge was already burned. At that point the only moral decision is the one which ends the war as quickly and as decisively and as permanently as is possible. If that means dropping Praxis Moon on Qo'nos, then it's the moral thing to do because it saves lives!

    "Whoa, there, brian," you say. "That's ridiculous to say that killing billions saves lives!"

    Back about 2200 years ago there was a political entity known as Carthage, and another known as Rome. Both were expanding military empires, and both wanted to steal the same stuff the other guys were stealing from yet other groups. So, naturally, they fought. For three hundred years they skirmished, and had wars, and skirmished again. But then Rome became the dominant power by literally dismantling Carthage and sowing their fields with salt. Thus was established the Pax Romana, which dominated the Mediterranean for the next five hundred years. Sure, it sucked to be the tribes and cultures on Rome's borders, but within the Empire there was an unprecedented period of peach which only came about when the Carthaginians stopped sending armies and fleets to attack Rome.

    Was it moral? Hell no. But leaving the remnants of Carthage with no hope of restoring their empire ended the constant state of war that crippled Italy. And there was no solution which left both Carthage and Rome intact, in power, and not at war.

    The immoral thing to do is to fight half-a-war, and to leave your enemy with hope that if they just continue the fight they can win. Because that leads to a state in which the war is never going to end. People will continue to die until the thousands, (or hundreds of thousands, or millions, or billions, depending on your scale,) who would have died in a decisive victory are vastly outnumbered by the many more who died in the 'containment effort.'

    The worst thing is that they will raise a whole new generation for whom the unending war is a source of pride. For them, the idea that there ever can or will be peace is a strange concept, and if a peace is ever achieved, it will be simply to allow them time to build up enough force to resume the war, in their favor this time.
  • starkaosstarkaos Member Posts: 10,617 Arc User
    rattler2 wrote: »
    Although how the ISS Charon was able to sneak up on the ISS Shenzhou... I don't know.

    Maybe due to the fact that the ISS Charon was Empress Georgiou's Flagship. If Empress Georgiou wants to keep her ship hidden and make surprise entrances, then she can just make the ISS Shenzhou not inform the crew that the ISS Charon is nearby until necessary.
  • rattler2rattler2 Member Posts: 46,621 Arc User
    brian334 wrote: »
    On the question of morality in warfare:

    There is a modern idea that, somehow, morality should play a part in war. History shows it in fact does not. The side which wins is the side which uses the most ruthless tactics and has the best organizational and support system.

    But the Federation doesn't do certain things because there is a moral high ground...

    Which is in line with most modern rules of warfare, as well as the Geneva Convention. Otherwise why weren't we using Chemical Weapons during World War II? Why weren't we using Biological Weapons in Vietnam? Or how about the big toys... why didn't we use NUKES in Iraq? It would have been the most ruthless, most efficient tactics to kill the enemy after all, since that is all that matters.

    The fact of the matter is that modern warfare is much different, with an emphesis on doing everything possible to limit civilian casualties because they are NOT COMBAT PERSONNEL.
    Biological and Chemical weapons were banned because they cannot be controlled. Once they're deployed... they kill anyone, be it enemy, ally, or civilian.
    Nuclear weapons aren't used because there is no need to use the biggest stick of dynamite to smash a whole city when a precision strike would be more effective. Basically the same reason Carpet Bombing isn't really practiced anymore. You don't need to wipe out a city to take out a strategic asset in said city.

    There was a LOT of outrage from many nations when word of Chemical attacks in Syria got out. Assad claimed it was the Rebels who did it... to themselves. Yea... like anyone would drop poison gas on themselves to attack their opponent. And who were the ones who suffered? Not the Rebels, but the Civilians trapped there.

    Most Ruthless Tactics involves using EVERY tool in your arsenal. Something the majority of the civilized world abhors because of the collateral damage it causes. Biological and Chemical weapons were banned for a reason. And Nukes haven't been used in war since Hiroshima and Nagasaki for a good reason too. And our current warheads make those two look like firecrackers.

    So... what reason is there to justify the use of these weapons in warfare? According to your logic... we should have just dropped nukes on Vietnam, Korea, and Iraq. Hell... maybe even Afghanistan.
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  • brian334brian334 Member Posts: 2,180 Arc User
    rattler2 wrote: »
    brian334 wrote: »
    On the question of morality in warfare:

    There is a modern idea that, somehow, morality should play a part in war. History shows it in fact does not. The side which wins is the side which uses the most ruthless tactics and has the best organizational and support system.

    But the Federation doesn't do certain things because there is a moral high ground...

    Which is in line with most modern rules of warfare, as well as the Geneva Convention. Otherwise why weren't we using Chemical Weapons during World War II? Why weren't we using Biological Weapons in Vietnam? Or how about the big toys... why didn't we use NUKES in Iraq? It would have been the most ruthless, most efficient tactics to kill the enemy after all, since that is all that matters.

    The fact of the matter is that modern warfare is much different, with an emphesis on doing everything possible to limit civilian casualties because they are NOT COMBAT PERSONNEL.
    Biological and Chemical weapons were banned because they cannot be controlled. Once they're deployed... they kill anyone, be it enemy, ally, or civilian.
    Nuclear weapons aren't used because there is no need to use the biggest stick of dynamite to smash a whole city when a precision strike would be more effective. Basically the same reason Carpet Bombing isn't really practiced anymore. You don't need to wipe out a city to take out a strategic asset in said city.

    There was a LOT of outrage from many nations when word of Chemical attacks in Syria got out. Assad claimed it was the Rebels who did it... to themselves. Yea... like anyone would drop poison gas on themselves to attack their opponent. And who were the ones who suffered? Not the Rebels, but the Civilians trapped there.

    Most Ruthless Tactics involves using EVERY tool in your arsenal. Something the majority of the civilized world abhors because of the collateral damage it causes. Biological and Chemical weapons were banned for a reason. And Nukes haven't been used in war since Hiroshima and Nagasaki for a good reason too. And our current warheads make those two look like firecrackers.

    So... what reason is there to justify the use of these weapons in warfare? According to your logic... we should have just dropped nukes on Vietnam, Korea, and Iraq. Hell... maybe even Afghanistan.

    By introducing contemporary examples you make it difficult to respond without violation of the forum rules. I shall respond to you in private, but I will try to respond here as well in a more limited fashion.

    The use of gas in WW1 was not repeated in WW2 because it didn't work. Oh, it killed soldiers and rendered many more hors de combat, but it made exploitation of the battlefield impossible. When the gas cleared the trenches were in the same place, filled by guys shooting at your guys. All the rest of the propaganda is just that: an attempt to create a moral high-ground out of a military necessity. Not fielding a weapon which is as dangerous to your own troops as it is to the enemy is not a morality-based decision. It is just sound military planning.

    Non-combat personnel don't seem to be an issue for our enemies. In fact, they are the most commonly targeted group.

    The nuke idea is a good one, but it's also not based upon morality. It is a pragmatic reflection that, if your intent is to conquer something, destroying it prevents your ever achieving the intended goal. If you start a war to gain the wheat-fields of Kansas, dropping a nuke in Wichita pretty much means you'll never get to use those wheat fields. That's why nukes are strategic 'deterrents' and not tactical weapons. They say, "You may defeat me, but you will starve to death before you benefit from it."

    Most ruthless doen't mean using every tool. It means using the most effective one for the intended purpose, and using it without compunction. An enemy who can guilt you into not using an effective weapon is an enemy who can use that same weapon on you. You don't have to use nukes or poison as or every border incursion, but when a border incursion happens, it should result in retaliation on a scale that makes it obvious that the future use of border incursions a bad idea.
  • starswordcstarswordc Member Posts: 10,623 Arc User
    Something that comes up a lot in the stories I've been writing with Patrick is that cloaking devices are far from foolproof. Yeah, they can be a pain tactically and strategically if you're unfamiliar with them, but Star Trek basically just treats them like stealth aircraft: they can be overcome with sufficiently sensitive sensors.

    So how do you deal with cloaks? Well, let's look at a couple examples.
    • DS9: "The Search" brings up the fact that a cloaked ship still produces a warp signature. It masks it somewhat, but there's still detectable eddies in subspace that you can pick up.
    • DS9: "Visionary" has a D'Deridex-class warbird be detected because it uses a freaking micro-black hole as its power source. It seems no invisibility cloak in the universe can hide the fact that you're an object with mass (something Star Wars Legends also cottoned onto with the CGT array).

    I suspect that the Klingons and Romulans in fact place too much faith in their cloaking devices, rather like the Federation places too much faith in the ubertech of the week (force fields instead of metal jail doors, for example). What are some solutions? Well, you could take a leaf out of the submarine playbook and make less noise: the higher you rev an engine, the louder it gets. One might suppose that the same holds true of warp drives, in which case flying slower means you're less detectable. A couple times, I've even written Eleya stealthing her way into a system in a Starfleet cruiser with no cloaking device at all, simply by using a lower warp factor to approach a system, and then dropping out of warp at c-fractional and coasting the rest of the way.
    "Two ways to view the world, so similar at times / Two ways to rule the world, to justify their crimes / By Kings and Queens young men are sent to die in war / Their propaganda speaks those words been heard before"
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  • brian334brian334 Member Posts: 2,180 Arc User
    starswordc wrote: »
    Something that comes up a lot in the stories I've been writing with Patrick is that cloaking devices are far from foolproof. Yeah, they can be a pain tactically and strategically if you're unfamiliar with them, but Star Trek basically just treats them like stealth aircraft: they can be overcome with sufficiently sensitive sensors.

    So how do you deal with cloaks? Well, let's look at a couple examples.
    • DS9: "The Search" brings up the fact that a cloaked ship still produces a warp signature. It masks it somewhat, but there's still detectable eddies in subspace that you can pick up.
    • DS9: "Visionary" has a D'Deridex-class warbird be detected because it uses a freaking micro-black hole as its power source. It seems no invisibility cloak in the universe can hide the fact that you're an object with mass (something Star Wars Legends also cottoned onto with the CGT array).

    I suspect that the Klingons and Romulans in fact place too much faith in their cloaking devices, rather like the Federation places too much faith in the ubertech of the week (force fields instead of metal jail doors, for example). What are some solutions? Well, you could take a leaf out of the submarine playbook and make less noise: the higher you rev an engine, the louder it gets. One might suppose that the same holds true of warp drives, in which case flying slower means you're less detectable. A couple times, I've even written Eleya stealthing her way into a system in a Starfleet cruiser with no cloaking device at all, simply by using a lower warp factor to approach a system, and then dropping out of warp at c-fractional and coasting the rest of the way.

    Masking your energy signature to appear as something else is also an effective tactic. Who's going to glance twice at the radiation field of a gas giant if they have no reason to suspect my ship is hiding there?

    There is a proper use of cloaking devices.

    Spy and picket ships: keeping the enemy fleet under surveillance is always a good idea. You know where to avoid making raids that way.

    Raiders: getting into the enemy's backfield undetected allows you to choose soft targets, forcing the enemy to spread his defenses thin.

    First Strike: decloak to attack the enemy's flanks at the start of battle.

    Blockade Runner: Get vital supplies and personnel where they are needed.

    In all of these cases, parking your fleet in the hopes of deterring the attacker is just going to leave you vulnerable elsewhere. If you want to stop raiders, take out his bases.
  • starkaosstarkaos Member Posts: 10,617 Arc User
    rattler2 wrote: »
    brian334 wrote: »
    On the question of morality in warfare:

    There is a modern idea that, somehow, morality should play a part in war. History shows it in fact does not. The side which wins is the side which uses the most ruthless tactics and has the best organizational and support system.

    But the Federation doesn't do certain things because there is a moral high ground...

    Which is in line with most modern rules of warfare, as well as the Geneva Convention. Otherwise why weren't we using Chemical Weapons during World War II? Why weren't we using Biological Weapons in Vietnam? Or how about the big toys... why didn't we use NUKES in Iraq? It would have been the most ruthless, most efficient tactics to kill the enemy after all, since that is all that matters.

    The problem with Biological and Chemical Weapons is that they don't discriminate between targets. Anyone in the area gets attacked not just the enemy. Nuclear weapons damage the land and make it unusable due to the radiation. Biological problems also have the problem of causing unforeseen damage like creating a epidemic. These weapons are great for causing terror, but not for conquest.
    There was a LOT of outrage from many nations when word of Chemical attacks in Syria got out. Assad claimed it was the Rebels who did it... to themselves. Yea... like anyone would drop poison gas on themselves to attack their opponent. And who were the ones who suffered? Not the Rebels, but the Civilians trapped there.

    If the Syrian rebels did drop poison gas on themselves or more likely on nearby civilians, then it would be due to the negative PR against Assad that would be created. According to such evil people that would do something this disgusting, sacrificing some civilians is a small price to pay to overthrow the government. They might have even got foreign governments to overthrow the government for them and someone has to pick up the pieces. So there is a reason why some unscrupulous people would drop poison gas on themselves or innocent civilians to attack their opponents.

  • theraven2378theraven2378 Member Posts: 5,336 Arc User
    "War is hell"
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  • markhawkmanmarkhawkman Member Posts: 33,320 Arc User
    Cloaking is a form of stealth technology, and IRL we've been using variants of stealth tech for MILLENNIA.

    Anti-stealth is an old problem and has been solved many times over the millennia by people who needed to protect against it. For example: various forms of camouflage, different/better sensors; radar absorbing paint and aircraft shaped to scatter radar instead of bouncing it, use doppler radar to track the wake the aircraft makes as it moves through the air.

    Actually.... now that I think about it, in Disco they mentioned that the Feds had a long range detection method that could track the ships, though it couldn't pinpoint their locations.

    Heck, the first use in TOS seemed to imply that model of cloak was basically useless at warp speeds. So the idea that most cloaks can't fully hide a warp field has a lot of merit.

    At any rate, no cloak is perfect in Star Trek, it's simply a matter of figuring out when and how to detect it.
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  • rattler2rattler2 Member Posts: 46,621 Arc User
    At any rate, no cloak is perfect in Star Trek, it's simply a matter of figuring out when and how to detect it.

    The closest we got to a Perfect Cloak was the Scimitar cloak. However... while it could hide the ship and allow for full functionality of all systems... it couldn't hide the MINDS within said ship. Hence Deanna being able to guide the targeting. Also I think she was pretty angry at one particular Reman.
    66998372863950ee98cf7da9786e2ea9-db80k0m.png
    I can't take it anymore! Could everyone just chill out for two seconds before something CRAZY happens again?!
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  • starkaosstarkaos Member Posts: 10,617 Arc User
    rattler2 wrote: »
    At any rate, no cloak is perfect in Star Trek, it's simply a matter of figuring out when and how to detect it.

    The closest we got to a Perfect Cloak was the Scimitar cloak. However... while it could hide the ship and allow for full functionality of all systems... it couldn't hide the MINDS within said ship. Hence Deanna being able to guide the targeting. Also I think she was pretty angry at one particular Reman.

    No effective cloak would ever be perfect since there has to be a way for the people in the cloaked ship to see outside. A cloaked self-sufficient base or planet could be perfect as long as they are completely isolated from the rest of the universe. It might be possible to get an almost perfect cloak by having the cloaked ship completely blind. So it would only be usable against stationary targets.
  • rattler2rattler2 Member Posts: 46,621 Arc User
    Your definition of a Perfect Cloak would be a rather useless Cloak, because in order to do ANYTHING you have to decloak, and that includes moving. Otherwise you run the risk of flying into a rock, a star, a planet, a black hole...
    Hell... you run the risk of having someone else run into YOU if you can't see them coming and move out of the way.

    Also... did you miss where I said that the "CLOSEST" we have is the Scimitar Cloak? For all intents and purposes the Scimitar Cloak is perfect because it renders the user COMPLETELY undetectable, and allows for use of 99% of ship systems. Only one I don't think could be used was the Thaleron Weapon. Other than that she had full use of her weapons, shields, SECONDARY shields...

    Traditional cloaks in Star Trek use up so much power that a cloaked ship cannot use her shields or weapons, and do not hide all emissions. Those emissions can be tracked if you know what to look for.

    There was literally only two ways to fight the Scimitar.
    • Blind fire and focus on detected shield impacts until they move and start over
    • Telepathic Detection of the Crew
    66998372863950ee98cf7da9786e2ea9-db80k0m.png
    I can't take it anymore! Could everyone just chill out for two seconds before something CRAZY happens again?!
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  • brian334brian334 Member Posts: 2,180 Arc User
    rattler2 wrote: »
    Your definition of a Perfect Cloak would be a rather useless Cloak, because in order to do ANYTHING you have to decloak, and that includes moving. Otherwise you run the risk of flying into a rock, a star, a planet, a black hole...
    Hell... you run the risk of having someone else run into YOU if you can't see them coming and move out of the way.

    Also... did you miss where I said that the "CLOSEST" we have is the Scimitar Cloak? For all intents and purposes the Scimitar Cloak is perfect because it renders the user COMPLETELY undetectable, and allows for use of 99% of ship systems. Only one I don't think could be used was the Thaleron Weapon. Other than that she had full use of her weapons, shields, SECONDARY shields...

    Traditional cloaks in Star Trek use up so much power that a cloaked ship cannot use her shields or weapons, and do not hide all emissions. Those emissions can be tracked if you know what to look for.

    There was literally only two ways to fight the Scimitar.
    • Blind fire and focus on detected shield impacts until they move and start over
    • Telepathic Detection of the Crew

    I can think of a third way, and it will TRIBBLE with them while revealing them:

    Chaff.

    Doesn't matter what it's made of, really. It can be chalk dust and any movement of the vessel relative to the chaff cloud will reveal the vessel. It's the old, "find the invisible guy by tossing powder in the air" trick. But let's just for fun load our chaff with particulate materials which are reflective on the bands the enemy uses for sensors. Now any incoming signals he detects passively will be scattered, and if he uses active sensors, not only will they be scattered both on the way out and on the way back, they will pinpoint his location for everyone not cloaked.

    And now I have an image of a starship flying around shooting grapeshot from cannons. Of course, he's flying the Jolly Roger

    I have often wondered if sweeping an area with a tractor beam would reveal a cloaked ship, but I assume they are too short range to really sweep a location. It was my thought on how to deal with Rom's minefield in DS9: go in with a ship that, instead of phasers, has tractors set to repel, and just shove the mines. They go boom far away from the minesweeper, and since you're sweeping an area, the fact that they are cloaked doesn't matter.
  • rattler2rattler2 Member Posts: 46,621 Arc User
    I think Tractor Beams actually need something to lock on to. We've never seen one fire off blindly.

    And the Chaff idea is interesting. Could explain why cloaks weren't used in a nebula. But then comes the issue of does the Bassen Rift have enough particulates in it? Considering there were some gas clouds present.
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    I can't take it anymore! Could everyone just chill out for two seconds before something CRAZY happens again?!
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  • starkaosstarkaos Member Posts: 10,617 Arc User
    rattler2 wrote: »
    Your definition of a Perfect Cloak would be a rather useless Cloak, because in order to do ANYTHING you have to decloak, and that includes moving. Otherwise you run the risk of flying into a rock, a star, a planet, a black hole...
    Hell... you run the risk of having someone else run into YOU if you can't see them coming and move out of the way.

    Also... did you miss where I said that the "CLOSEST" we have is the Scimitar Cloak? For all intents and purposes the Scimitar Cloak is perfect because it renders the user COMPLETELY undetectable, and allows for use of 99% of ship systems. Only one I don't think could be used was the Thaleron Weapon. Other than that she had full use of her weapons, shields, SECONDARY shields...

    Traditional cloaks in Star Trek use up so much power that a cloaked ship cannot use her shields or weapons, and do not hide all emissions. Those emissions can be tracked if you know what to look for.

    There was literally only two ways to fight the Scimitar.
    • Blind fire and focus on detected shield impacts until they move and start over
    • Telepathic Detection of the Crew

    Which is why I said that no effective cloak would ever be perfect since in order to see reality, reality can see you even if it is extremely limited. There is only one way to be COMPLETELY undetectable and that is being completely isolated from reality which is great if someone wants to hide from everything, but not if someone wants to use it against other people.

    The Scimitar cloak doesn't render the user COMPLETELY undetectable, it just renders the user undetectable to current technology. The Klingons and Romulans develop a better cloaking technology that is undetectable to Federation technology until the Federation develops cloaking detection technology that can detect previously undetectable ships. The only advantage it has over other cloaks is that it is an improvement over the cloaking technology in Star Trek 6.

    A perfect cloaking technology would be completely undetectable no matter what technology the Federation creates and is able to use scanners, shields and weapons which is impossible.
  • starswordcstarswordc Member Posts: 10,623 Arc User
    edited January 8
    > @rattler2 said:
    > Your definition of a Perfect Cloak would be a rather useless Cloak, because in order to do ANYTHING you have to decloak, and that includes moving. Otherwise you run the risk of flying into a rock, a star, a planet, a black hole...
    > Hell... you run the risk of having someone else run into YOU if you can't see them coming and move out of the way.

    Point of order, that's infinitesimally unlikely. Natural space objects tend to move in paths that are predictable with math that any civilization with FTL capabilities probably discovered centuries if not millennia earlier, and there is a frak-ton of space between them. Recent case in point: after passing Pluto, New Horizons had to make a significant course correction years ahead of time in order to intercept Ultima Thule a couple weeks ago. Even then they only came within 2200 (miles?) of it. And 99% of ships are going to stick close to the planets or travel in predictable parabolas between them. So stay away from major inhabited bodies and you'll be fine.

    Always remember: space is very very big. You and everything else in it are very very very small.
    "Two ways to view the world, so similar at times / Two ways to rule the world, to justify their crimes / By Kings and Queens young men are sent to die in war / Their propaganda speaks those words been heard before"
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  • jonsillsjonsills Member Posts: 8,215 Arc User
    rattler2 wrote: »
    And the Chaff idea is interesting. Could explain why cloaks weren't used in a nebula. But then comes the issue of does the Bassen Rift have enough particulates in it? Considering there were some gas clouds present.
    A typical nebula isn't going to have particulates of any great density - even such beautiful sights as the Orion Nebula are fair approximations of vacuum. (There's one Klingon mission, or at least there was - I haven't started a Klink for a while - where you had to try to sneak up on a certain facility through an energetic micronebula. As long as you could avoid any of the static discharges in the cloud, you could stay cloaked. That was actually fairly realistic, given Trek technology.)

    A chaff cloud would be quite a lot denser; the only issue then is trying to make sure you deploy the chaff in the path of the cloaked ship. In TOS:"Balance of Terror", the Enterprise managed to lure the Romulan craft through a cometary tail, and spotted the disturbances in the particle stream, but you can't count on simultaneously finding a comet close enough to a star to still have a tail, and having an opponent ignorant enough to fly through it...
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