Nautilus Escort

Shadow Reaper

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I was thinking recently about how to best deploy and maintain minefields. Seems to me you'd want several Nautilus in formation laying down a grid, and even though they're pretty well armed I think you'd want some escort. Mine-laying missions are nice in that they can be planned well in advance, so you want to consider early what is the optimal mine-laying fleet.

I used to think a handful of Nautilus flying around a single Idris would do the trick nicely, but I am reconsidering that notion. Many large ships like the Nautilus have much smaller signatures than the Idris, and if you're laying a minefield, the last thing you want is to draw attention. So your escorts really should have signatures as low or lower than the Nautilus. I'm guessing with shields off, like other large ships; the Nautilus has an EM lower than its IR, which is up around 20k, and so can be detected by a cap class sensor at 30 km. The Idris is likely much easier to see, so invisibility past 30 km is a pretty good goal, and that fleet will want some small, stealthy ships to fly perimeter and look for other fleets and vessels (Terrapins, Ghost Tracker).

I'm starting to think this is a place finally to put the Perseus. It can engage at the same S7 range as the Nautilus, and adds S5 torps (34km range) to defense. The Perseus could become the optimal choice here. Unless a Cap ship jumps on top of a mine-laying fleet, they only need to worry about smaller ships, and the S7 guns on the Nautilus and Perseus seem a good way to cope with minor threats.

For flying perimeter, I'm guessing even with the wings on, you could fit six Razor EX in an A2. For places where the range removes Terrapin and Tracker from service, the little EX may be a good choice.
 
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Thalstan

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This would depend on your goal.

Are you defending an area such as an active mining field or salvage operation, or are you trying to lure pirates/bounty hunters into a trap?

If using it to defend a location, maybe the Percy would be a better fit if you were trying to keep the location secret, but for withstanding an assault, a Percy will be mincemeat from a real capital ship. I would much rather have the idris off to the side of the main group in that instance. Close enough to dash in and provide support for the nautilus group if that's where the attack group is headed, but far enough away to draw them off and maybe allow the Nautilus group to escape detection.

If you are trying to lure your attackers through a field, again, having something like an Idris out "alone" would mean the Idris might be trying to run away. This would allow the Nautilus to lay their mines and then let the attacks run right through the minefield.
 
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FZD

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I'm not really sure what the situation would be, but I think that for minelaying operations you don't want escorts, you want lookouts.
You're not going to continue laying that minefield under fire anyhow, that seems like a quick ticket to blowingyourselfup-land.
So maybe like 2-3 Mantises 15km away from the minefield (around it or forming a shield in front of it, depends), dropping anything that's approaching out of quantum at such distance that the Nautilus can quantum out of there before the enemy arrives. And then you might want to alert some reinforcements to that location or something to prevent the enemy from dismantling the minefield. It'd kinda be like, you can have several minefields going up at once around a planet, just need that one reinforcing combat group ready to jump to the one that comes under attack.
 
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Bambooza

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I'm not really sure what the situation would be, but I think that for minelaying operations you don't want escorts, you want lookouts.
You're not going to continue laying that minefield under fire anyhow, that seems like a quick ticket to blowingyourselfup-land.
So maybe like 2-3 Mantises 15km away from the minefield (around it or forming a shield in front of it, depends), dropping anything that's approaching out of quantum at such distance that the Nautilus can quantum out of there before the enemy arrives. And then you might want to alert some reinforcements to that location or something to prevent the enemy from dismantling the minefield. It'd kinda be like, you can have several minefields going up at once around a planet, just need that one reinforcing combat group ready to jump to the one that comes under attack.
Not sure about the Mantises while laying down the minefield but they would be beneficial after the minefield is put in place for pirate activities. But I do like the idea of a lookout as it would be far more beneficial to know if something hostile is coming and simply dip out than to try and stay and fight.

I am still attempting to figure out what advantage the Nautilus is over other large ships. Like would it be better to replace the Nautilus with another Polaris/Perseus/Hammerhead or would the placement of a small minefield (24 mines) be that big of advantage outside of a pirate trap? I know in real-world tactics that minefields can be helpful in limiting flanking or slowing down advancing troops but these minefields are massive and on a 2d grid vs what the Nautilus can place in a 3d grid doesn't seem to offer that much coverage.
 

FZD

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Not sure about the Mantises while laying down the minefield but they would be beneficial after the minefield is put in place for pirate activities. But I do like the idea of a lookout as it would be far more beneficial to know if something hostile is coming and simply dip out than to try and stay and fight.
Yeah, I don't really know what you'd want to use as lookouts either, I figured that quantum interdiction might work since, well, that way you ensure they got like 20-30km to fly, giving you around half a minute of advance warning. But maybe something like Endeavor with huge satellite dish scanning the approach corridor would work better. No idea tbh, but the main point is, some sort of lookouts.

I am still attempting to figure out what advantage the Nautilus is over other large ships. Like would it be better to replace the Nautilus with another Polaris/Perseus/Hammerhead or would the placement of a small minefield (24 mines) be that big of advantage outside of a pirate trap? I know in real-world tactics that minefields can be helpful in limiting flanking or slowing down advancing troops but these minefields are massive and on a 2d grid vs what the Nautilus can place in a 3d grid doesn't seem to offer that much coverage.
Yeah, that kinda puzzles me as well. Unless the mines have like some ridiculously large activation range, like 5km or something, where they'll basically turn into OP missiles and come blow themselves up right next to your ship. Even then you'd basically have to mine right at an Orbital Marker or something, some fairly narrow place people pass through. But then the question is, what are you protecting with that minefield? Some spot on the ground? But they can use some other OM. You put mines on every OM? That's basically claiming the entire planet. I seriously can't figure out what the gameplay is gonna be here.
 

BUTUZ

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A terrapin keeping an eye out in front, a perseus and a hammerhead as the main defence, few smaller ships if a few of your mates are at a loose end?
 

Shadow Reaper

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But maybe something like Endeavor with huge satellite dish scanning the approach corridor would work better.
I would not take a civilian ship of any type into a military op. If the main thing is big sensors, take an Idris. My point was thinking more toward mining Vanduul areas, where you want to get in and out unseen, and use the minefield as a trap during a later engagement. Large ships like the Nautilus, Perseus and Herc can go where an Idris can't without being seen. Shields off on a large ship makes them quite quiet. not so of cap class vessels.

You put mines on every OM? That's basically claiming the entire planet. I seriously can't figure out what the gameplay is gonna be here.
CIG has been pretty clear that mines cover an extended area because they're mobile and will track toward a target, but they can't be used to cover huge swaths of area because they all require regular servicing. I think they said they only last on the order of a week or so. So a fleet of mine-layers become a fleet of mine-tenders after deployment and have to go back again and again until use. CIG is very concerned that it needs to be impractical to mine all over or players would have nothing but nuisance play, trolls being what they are.

IMHO, given how huge space is, best use is to trick an opponent into entering a minefield they would not normally enter, by baiting them into pursuit, etc. So if you have a huge asteroid field and plan to engage an enemy there, you could mine part of the field and retreat through it during combat, luring enemies to their destruction or worse, take them whole with distortion mines and bring home big bucks.
 
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