A battleship on present terms and indeed since the age of sail is a large armored warship with a main battery consisting mainly of heavy caliber guns. The term battleship was coined at the beginning of the nineteenth century and it is a combination of the phrase line-of-battle ship, the then dominant wooden build warship.
Description and designEdit
Battleships were and are a symbol of naval dominance and national might, and for centuries the battleship was a major factor in both diplomacy and military strategy. The space arms race in battleship construction began at Terra, when a long forgotten, nearly 150 years old military research paper got leaked out to the wide public.
This paper speculated on the impact of a large battleship fleet on interstellar diplomacy if two power are present in opposition and how the situation would evolve if one side got an arms race advantage over the other. The implications of this projection reached far and created public wide worry and hysteria, which prompted the opposing governments to counter the rising unrest and so both sides, the Empire and the Colonies started to build battleships in large number. The race eventually ended when both sides recognized the relatively low value of the battleships: in spite of the immense resources spent on building battleships, even with their enormous firepower and protection, battleships were increasingly vulnerable to much smaller, cheaper weapons like torpedo gunships and corvettes, stealth space mines and later on to carriers groups. The other factor ending the battleship arms race was the appearance of the dreadnoughts.
The Empire - in full possession of every blueprint and research study ever made on naval warfare - was able to analyse and compare of the two most successful WWII battleships; the Yamato and the USS Missouri. Using the results the engineers concluded that only a little modification was needed for a successful design. Indeed the first ever built space faring battleship Dominion resembled the two said ships in major design and construction technique.
The Dominion gave its name to the class and the Colonies started to copy the design. Since then the Empire stopped to build battleships and these days only major corporations and factions - greatly altering and improving on the Dominion class - commission them; the navies are focusing on the more capable dreadnought class.
Doctrine and TacticsEdit
Until the latest times battleships were the embodiment of space power. An old theory got to the rise again /Alfred Thayer Mahan's theory, proposed in The Influence of Sea Power Upon History, 1660–1783 of 1890/ which said that the role of the battleship was to sweep the enemy from the seas - and was adopted to interplanetary space warfare. Lesser ships may be able to do raid, blockade, escort work, but the factual existence of battleships means a potential threat to any convoy not protected by capital ships. This concept is called "fleet in being" and Mahan's work eventually became highly influential in space naval and political circles, calling for a large fleet of the most powerful battleships possible.
The "fleet in being" suggested battleships could simply by their existence tie down superior enemy resources. This in turn was believed to be able to tip the balance of a conflict even without a battle. This suggested even for inferior naval powers a battleship fleet could have important strategic impact.
While the Mahanian doctrine is reflected in the role of the battleship, deploying such forces is a lot more complex. Present day battleships are relatively highly vulnerable to small, agile torpedo gunships and fighter crafts launched by carriers, so they must operate in battle groups and aided by ample escorts. Indeed, battleship formations are usually concentrated battlegroups and rarely deployed without a protective screen of destroyers.
In order for this concentrated force to be able to bring its power to bear on a reluctant opponent (or to avoid an encounter with a stronger enemy fleet), battlefleets need some means of avoiding enemy radar screens and to locate enemy ships beyond effective radar range. For these reasons battlegroups are usually formed by cloak-capable capital ships and cloak-capable escorts, complemented by long-range scout vessels.
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