Ship Profiles: Feedback and Discussion

Escorts in 40k are a bit of an odd duck. For Orks and Eldar, you're more likely to encounter hordes of escorts than larger vessels. For the Necrons escorts are more frequently seen in smaller role rather than an actual escorting role. The Tau are one of the few who use escorts in a 'true' escorting role, mostly by dint of having to carry many of them on capital ships.

Chaos and the Imperium are highly unusual in that escorts are actually relatively infrequently shown and demonstrated, and when present, may actually be present in lower numbers than Capital ships, and their duties are not actually to perform as escorts, but as roving gunboat squadrons instead. A while back I attempted to run the numbers on the total size of the Imperial Navy (a year or two ago elsewhere). A curious oddity was, when factoring in percentage of escorts to percentage of cruisers, if you took fleets we had hard numbers for, frequently, you'd end up with a 1-1 ratio of escorts to cruisers, or less.

Of course, these were highly subject to error due to author mistakes etc. For example, the Navarre (The Gaunt's Ghosts main ride before it got blown up at Herodor I think it was) had been described as a Cruiser, Light Cruiser and Frigate all at different points.(However, I am inclined to think the Navarre was a Frigate as when it was destroyed, it was destroyed by a single sustained Lance Shot from a proper cruiser.)

@kadaeux There's a reason Necron escorts are called raiders after all. I honestly wonder if Harvest ships aren't what Necrons consider heavy escorts as that seems to be the extent of their role outside C.S goto novels (but ignoring lore is a specialty of his...). In BFG magazine 3 (i think) they mentioned it wouldn't be uncommon to see entire fleets of escorts, and pre m41 Dirge's were the only ship anyone saw and often came alone. When you see capitol ships they tend to be alone too (aside from amarah) which somewhat reminds me of how the star wars GE forgot that frigates were a thing and spammed battleships (star destroyers). The navy bit seems odd to me though, are there really that few escorts? You'd think they would make a few hundred (million) so they didn't have to keep putting cruisers on patrol duty (or make an entire class for said purpose)

@nemesor-xanxas said in Ship Profiles: Feedback and Discussion:

@kadaeux There's a reason Necron escorts are called raiders after all. I honestly wonder if Harvest ships aren't what Necrons consider heavy escorts as that seems to be the extent of their role outside C.S goto novels (but ignoring lore is a specialty of his...). In BFG magazine 3 (i think) they mentioned it wouldn't be uncommon to see entire fleets of escorts, and pre m41 Dirge's were the only ship anyone saw and often came alone. When you see capitol ships they tend to be alone too (aside from amarah) which somewhat reminds me of how the star wars GE forgot that frigates were a thing and spammed battleships (star destroyers). The navy bit seems odd to me though, are there really that few escorts? You'd think they would make a few hundred (million) so they didn't have to keep putting cruisers on patrol duty (or make an entire class for said purpose)

According to the numbers I ran, and the novels i've read yeah. Mind you it sort of makes sense.

Cruisers run about 5km+ (3.5-4 for Light Cruisers) and, in game terms, have eight times the resistance, and mount heavier armour mostly.

To the Imperium, it may literally not be cost-effective to build escorts en-masse when you have a fleet of ships only a couple times the size, but eight times the resilience (and usually centuries to millennia of history)

Even Chaos uses relatively few of them outside of using them as shipping raiders. (Though it does use more, Chaos fleets are more carrier-heavy.)

@Kadaeux The reason why some Imperial fleets have such low ratios of escorts is due to their expendability, Imperial fleet tactics and the extremely poor state of Imperial logistics and bureaucracy.

Escort life spans can be measured in a few months, years, or decades at very most while the Capital ships go on for centuries or millennia. This is partly because Imperial Capital ships are extremely tough and deadly vessels, but also because Escorts are expected to literally throw themselves at enemies so that capital ships are not ever in any real danger. Standard Imperial Tactics also dictate that escorts should form protective screens around more important vessels, and provide a 'sanctuary' for capital ships to retreat into and perform anti-ordnance duties... meaning they literally act as meat shields.
On top of all that, Imperial book-keeping and supply lines struggle to keep up with this rate of attrition and the incoming escort replacements are rarely enough to replace those lost in battle, with the exception of some very large and well organised battlefleets like Gothic, Tempestus or Solar.

So, many fleets end up with an escort shortage. Imperial fleets are meant to have a much higher ratio of escorts to cruisers, and in the case of fresh Imperial fleets or Armadas they do, but battle-worn fleets or fleets away from major ports for extended periods of time will rapidly lose the majority of their escorts.
The Chaos fleet is mostly the same, in mirror of Imperial tactics, but in such fleets they serve the further purpose of being sacrifices to the gods. So their escorts are normally crewed by pirates, cultists and mercenaries.

last edited by CALiGeR_Reborn

So the reason is attrition equalizes higher production rates vs the cruiser? Interesting, I hadn’t thought of that, but looking back it seems obvious. I imagine escort crews must fear battle more than any other crew duty to this treatment similar to conscripts. Perhaps in earlier centuries they could have increased escort ratios to compensate for this, but with the current era and the formation of the great rift I imagine this issue of intent vs reality will only be exacerbated. I wonder how other fleets deal with this issue. We don’t really know enough about the Necrontyr Navy to say, but the Tau tend to get massacred in space. I don’t know how it is with the Druhkari/Aeldari/Corsairs/Ynnair/Harlequins But the orks start with escorts and tend to just keep upgrading until they get cruisers. Nids swarm as I understand it.

@caliger_reborn said in Ship Profiles: Feedback and Discussion:

@Kadaeux The reason why some Imperial fleets have such low ratios of escorts is due to their expendability, Imperial fleet tactics and the extremely poor state of Imperial logistics and bureaucracy.

Escort life spans can be measured in a few months, years, or decades at very most while the Capital ships go on for centuries or millennia. This is partly because Imperial Capital ships are extremely tough and deadly vessels, but also because Escorts are expected to literally throw themselves at enemies so that capital ships are not ever in any real danger. Standard Imperial Tactics also dictate that escorts should form protective screens around more important vessels, and provide a 'sanctuary' for capital ships to retreat into and perform anti-ordnance duties... meaning they literally act as meat shields.
On top of all that, Imperial book-keeping and supply lines struggle to keep up with this rate of attrition and the incoming escort replacements are rarely enough to replace those lost in battle, with the exception of some very large and well organised battlefleets like Gothic, Tempestus or Solar.

So, many fleets end up with an escort shortage. Imperial fleets are meant to have a much higher ratio of escorts to cruisers, and in the case of fresh Imperial fleets or Armadas they do, but battle-worn fleets or fleets away from major ports for extended periods of time will rapidly lose the majority of their escorts.
The Chaos fleet is mostly the same, in mirror of Imperial tactics, but in such fleets they serve the further purpose of being sacrifices to the gods. So their escorts are normally crewed by pirates, cultists and mercenaries.

Nominally that would be the case. But like I said, I ran the numbers, compared novels, White Dwarf magazine contents and so on at the time. Being more fragile isn't enough to explain it. There is a concerted lack of even attempts to produce escorts in sufficient numbers. Hell, just look at the Lord Daros, a feral world managed to mine enough material to produce a Lunar Class Cruiser in 11 years. (Suggesting a proper Forge World, pressed for speed, could do it in months at the longest) instead of producing a cluster of escorts in less time.

In virtually all the novels, when you see escorts they are frequently in smaller numbers than the capitals or their role is not escorting, but forward scout or escorting transport convoys. (Though that ALSO may explain why we see so few Escorts as part of fleets. It may be possible that their primary purpose isn't fleet action. But escorting the vast number of transports needed to make the Imperium function.)

@kadaeux This is another explanation I suppose. Someone has to do escort duty and especially now they can't waste cruisers on it. They don't really fit with the Imperium's brawler tactics in space either, being so fragile and all. Still, escorts are 1.5ish KM and much less dakka filled than a cruiser, so you could make 10 of them for the (materials) cost of 3 cruisers (yes I know it isn't that simple but I really don't want to hard math this). That's a fairly good trade in my eyes, so the IoM should have a lot more than they are shown to. Which I suppose could fit into that "losing a million ships is no biggy" quote from...the book of the astronomicon I believe?

@nemesor-xanxas said in Ship Profiles: Feedback and Discussion:

@kadaeux This is another explanation I suppose. Someone has to do escort duty and especially now they can't waste cruisers on it. They don't really fit with the Imperium's brawler tactics in space either, being so fragile and all. Still, escorts are 1.5ish KM and much less dakka filled than a cruiser, so you could make 10 of them for the (materials) cost of 3 cruisers (yes I know it isn't that simple but I really don't want to hard math this). That's a fairly good trade in my eyes, so the IoM should have a lot more than they are shown to. Which I suppose could fit into that "losing a million ships is no biggy" quote from...the book of the astronomicon I believe?

Going with a Lunar Class Cruiser, you can get 4.5 Firestorms, 5.1 Swords or 6 Cobras. So you can get a bit more than 10 for 3 Cruisers :p

@kadaeux The reason I don't buy that explanation, and I have heard it before, is because Imperial Industry seems so capable of spitting out ships. Using the very same scenario of a feral world turning out a Lunar Line Cruiser in 11 years as an example of how efficient Imperial ship-building can be, and the fact that Forge Worlds can churn out a capital ship every hour if the new codex is to be believed as a true representation of a forge worlds production capabilities.

Escorts are used for pretty much everything, true, but the Imperium produces hundreds (possibly thousands) of them every second. I blame the lack of fleet numbers in particular due to the particularly high rates of attrition compared to Scout, Skirmish and convoy actions. A problem only made worse by the appearance of ever-more ships that makes mince-meat out of Imperial escorts. And the fact Imperial logistics is likely to struggle to keep up with its own production quotas and either send reinforcements very late or to the wrong place.

last edited by CALiGeR_Reborn

@caliger_reborn the new codex has Forgeworld making a Capitol Ship in a single hour? That’s very impressive, it seems the imperium got a much needed buff for the gathering storm. I assume this was the mechanicus codex?

yes every day something bad happens to the imperium
every day their logistics get even more crippled
every day the imperium gets stronger
... somehow
how does this work?

i love the imperium that is a guy that is too fat to fall over
it doesnt need buffs for fsake it has enough planets to make a billion ships every day even if it takes years to make a escort
😞 i dont like the new lore

@caliger_reborn said in Ship Profiles: Feedback and Discussion:

@kadaeux The reason I don't buy that explanation, and I have heard it before, is because Imperial Industry seems so capable of spitting out ships. Using the very same scenario of a feral world turning out a Lunar Line Cruiser in 11 years as an example of how efficient Imperial ship-building can be, and the fact that Forge Worlds can churn out a capital ship every hour if the new codex is to be believed as a true representation of a forge worlds production capabilities.

Escorts are used for pretty much everything, true, but the Imperium produces hundreds (possibly thousands) of them every second. I blame the lack of fleet numbers in particular due to the particularly high rates of attrition compared to Scout, Skirmish and convoy actions. A problem only made worse by the appearance of ever-more ships that makes mince-meat out of Imperial escorts. And the fact Imperial logistics is likely to struggle to keep up with its own production quotas and either send reinforcements very late or to the wrong place.

What they can do is not necessarily what they actually do. There is no evidence of particularly high rates of attrition for escorts. You read the majority of material which covers fleet actions (and there is precious little of it) and escort class ships simply aren't present in large numbers, nor are they destroyed in particularly imbalanced numbers compared to cruisers. (Of special note however is that Cruisers and above seem to have spectacular lifespans, until they're written about.)

But back to what I was saying with the first sentence. Mechanicus Production facilities aren't necessarily operating at capacity until they need to be. The age of Cruisers, Battleships and even some escorts (The Navarre was described as being centuries old, but Abnett couldn't seem to decide whether it was a Cruiser, Light Cruiser, Frigate or Destroyer.) suggests that most actions are not decisives ones, as such if the Mechanicus sustained production, then there should be VASTLY more ships than are ever demonstrated.

Assuming Mars produced 1 Cruiser every hour using your number above that's 8'760 Cruisers a year. Giving us a total of 87 Million, 600 thousand Cruisers over 10'000 years. Now we'll just assume they're all Lunar class and have 65'000 Crew. That gives us a crew requirement of 5'694'000'000'000.

So one Forgeworld, only producing 1 cruiser per hour for 10'000 years, would by the time of 40k, need 5.7 TRILLION in crew. Now, there is an explicit figure saying the Imperium has 32 thousand Forge Worlds in it. So, there's a crew requirement of 182'208'000'000'000'000. So, 182.2 QUADRILLION in crew. So yes, a Forgeworld may very well be capable of producing a cruiser an hour. But it's not a sustainable production rate. With 32 thousand forgeworlds, each producing 1 cruiser an hour for 10'000 years thats 2.8 Trillion Lunar class cruisers.

Factor in that the Imperial Guard itself is estimated to have only tens of trillions to low quadrillions of men, and that is where most of the manpower goes, then you can see that it's far from sustainable. (Ignoring the fact each cruiser requires 28 million tonnes of material to produce, (78 Trillion tonnes of material for 2.8 Trillion cruisers). Earth itself is just under 6 Sextillion Tonnes, (6'000 Trillion) so all those cruisers would weigh 1/77th of the Earth's mass. (Of course, also note, the 28 megatonnes figure is for Rogue Traders super-light mathematics...)

The Imperium's industry is certainly capable of these massive feats of engineering. But when you look at the numbers, it's perfectly clear that the resource, ironically, the Imperium would fall shortest on first, is manpower. Of course, don't assume i'm trying to lowball things. I am quite firm in my thought that the Imperium has no fewer than 5 million Capital Ships and twice as many escorts. (and no higher than 20 million capital ships and twice as many escorts) Including Astartes and Mechanicus warships

And probably 1000x that in escorts since a single blink of the astronomicon lost millions of ships without causing the Imperium to collapse.

(Also. My numbers above the last two paragraphs do not account for the fact many Hive Worlds also produce ships)

So while the Imperium may full well have the capacity to produce a cruiser every hour. It isn't feasible or sustainable, and much of that shipbuilding capacity is likely utilised in a maintenance role or in producing transports to maintain the galaxies logistic network. (For example, note that while almost every character jokes about the bureaucracy and logistical inefficiencies, you almost never actually see any sort of logistical issues unless they've been cut off from orbital support.

Eg: The Ghosts were issued the wrong mark of Lasgun pack for their weapons in one of the books. They had it sorted and corrected before making drop.

@kadaeux
using gaunts ghosts as lore info is sketchy at best
its the series where an inquisitor tries to find out if a guardsman is a psycher by asking nicely
and then misses the psycher right next to him
they are great WW2 in spaaaaace books, but barely fit in 40k

a better example of imperial logistics would be desert raiders where a guard regiment is sent a bunch of containers full of canoes instead of food and water and by the time they can send a message about the error the ship has already left
its a desert world by the way, no rivers to canoe
or the book 15 hours where its described in great detail how a guard regiments makes do after not getting supplies in atleast 5 years
i know atleast one other book where a regiment is forgotten for more then a decade and just has to make do but those two are the two of who i can remember the title
also one were catachans die on a iceworld because nobody brought a jacket

also one of the main benefits of lazguns is how easy they are to supply
most dedicated imperial troop transports have some kind of lazpack production facility on board
changing the ammo type could be as easy as just turning a switch (after 3 hours of prayer)
so in this case the gaunt book might be correct but its a bad representation of imperial logistics as a whole

last edited by Ashardalon

@ashardalon said in Ship Profiles: Feedback and Discussion:

@kadaeux
using gaunts ghosts as lore info is sketchy at best
its the series where an inquisitor tries to find out if a guardsman is a psycher by asking nicely
and then misses the psycher right next to him
they are great WW2 in spaaaaace books, but barely fit in 40k

I disagree completely. Abnetts works tend to be a better representation as there is a greater degree of consistency. Abnett brings a degree of plausibility rather than idiotic levels of grimdark for grimdarks sake.

a better example of imperial logistics would be desert raiders where a guard regiment is sent a bunch of containers full of canoes instead of food and water and by the time they can send a message about the error the ship has already left
its a desert world by the way, no rivers to canoe

Which is inconsistent given that a standard issue Guard vox set can transmit to orbit.

or the book 15 hours where its described in great detail how a guard regiments makes do after not getting supplies in atleast 5 years

The same book which claims the average lifespan of a Guardsman is 15 hours. Again obsessive grimdark.

i know atleast one other book where a regiment is forgotten for more then a decade and just has to make do but those two are the two of who i can remember the title
also one were catachans die on a iceworld because nobody brought a jacket

As to the first, worlds have been forgotten before. That isn't logistics, thats administratum. To the second, again administratum. The "Imperial Guard" novels, 15 Hours, Desert Raiders, Cadian Blood etc are terrifically inconsistent in their depictions, a problem caused by the many different authors syndrome. (Which is why in my experience, the thirty HH novels I have are more miss than hit) ones like the Ghosts present a more consistent depiction of the universe and one that avoids the excessive grimdark idiocy.

also one of the main benefits of lazguns is how easy they are to supply
most dedicated imperial troop transports have some kind of lazpack production facility on board
changing the ammo type could be as easy as just turning a switch (after 3 hours of prayer)
so in this case the gaunt book might be correct but its a bad representation of imperial logistics as a whole

No it really isn't. Abnetts works (except for stuff he's written for Marines) is about the most consistent vision there is for 40k that isn't drowning in stupid levels of grimdark.

inquisitor investigates psychers by asking nicely
they have guard using alien rifles without repurcussions
they have high ranking people go onto a deamon world and come back after known corruption and just entered back into the regiment still having their rank and without getting a mindwipe

his lore might be consistent but its not 40k
he has his own ww2 in space lore that barely has anything to do with 40k
i can re read his books and name 100 more things that are just factually incorrect and usually stupid if you consider the 40k universe they are supposed to happen in

again, good books and consistent in their lore
the problem is its ww2 in space lore

also when does imperial vox actually work like its supposed to
a slight fog reduces it to a few k range
and there was a sandstorm

last edited by Ashardalon

@ashardalon said in Ship Profiles: Feedback and Discussion:

inquisitor investigates psychers by asking nicely

Happens all the time.

they have guard using alien rifles without repurcussions

Usually isn't repercussions if deemed necessary in the situation.

they have high ranking people go onto a deamon world and come back after known corruption and just entered back into the regiment still having their rank and without getting a mindwipe

It wasn't a daemon world. It was a world held by Chaos. MASSIVE difference.

his lore might be consistent but its not 40k
he has his own ww2 in space lore that barely has anything to do with 40k
i can re read his books and name 100 more things that are just factually incorrect and usually stupid if you consider the 40k universe they are supposed to happen in

And I can counter them with. There they are. Thus are 40k.

again, good books and consistent in their lore
the problem is its ww2 in space lore

Except no problem exists. When you have a consistent depiction, and then many authors with different ideas, then the consistent one is the more reliable one.

There is a reason Abnett is one of their more prolific writers, along with Ben Counter. And that reason is those authors write more consistently with the universe than others do.

also when does imperial vox actually work like its supposed to
a slight fog reduces it to a few k range
and there was a sandstorm

Voxes typically work like they're supposed to. Usually only failing when undergoing active jamming. Given that the Ghosts were able to vox the Navarre for bombardment during an active chaos generated storm.

last edited by Kadaeux

@kadaeux said in Ship Profiles: Feedback and Discussion:

Happens all the time.

thats why spire had such a easy time delivering info on the chaos invasion that was incoming, inquisitors always just ask nicely

they have guard using alien rifles without repurcussions

using xeno tech is heresy and abandoning lazguns to use them is grounds for execution
if they didnt have any weapons that excuse might work but they abandoned imperial and sanctioned tech for xeno tech
its in the lectitio divinatus

It wasn't a daemon world. It was a world held by Chaos. MASSIVE difference.

except that it was fully conquered and in the process of going full deamon world
deamons where walking around casually without needing summons
storm of iron where the word bearers made a Gehemehnet was less corrupted
a mind whipe is a minimum according to imperial protocol

And I can counter them with. There they are. Thus are 40k.

and i can thus say that terminator armor has lots of multilazers because there is also a writer that is consistent in that
where is the codex entry for multilazer terminators?
no, one writer that writes stories that are completely inconsistent with all others might indicate that that writer is wrong instead of all the others
just because you like 40k light: WW2 in spaaaaaaace doesnt make that the lore

Except no problem exists. When you have a consistent depiction, and then many authors with different ideas, then the consistent one is the more reliable one.

if you have one writer whose lore is massively different from all others its more likely that all writers are right instead of the one
sure all writers make mistakes but most dont deliberatly ignore whole parts of imperial history or have imperial serving chaos spawn
or improbabilities like someone who was taken by the black ships meeting someone he knows again
what is the chanse of that
especially as a fucking tentacle monster because the lore is not inconsistent about what happens to psychers that start growing tentacles

There is a reason Abnett is one of their more prolific writers, along with Ben Counter. And that reason is those authors write more consistently with the universe than others do.

they writ more consistent to their own lore but not 40k lore
again terminators with multilazers, he is very consistent, still not true

Voxes typically work like they're supposed to. Usually only failing when undergoing active jamming. Given that the Ghosts were able to vox the Navarre for bombardment during an active chaos generated storm.

using incorrect lore to justify incorrect lore
for example desert raiders, the search for the fortress of arrogance, many books of terminators inside space hulks, several cain books where enter a cave or sewer and many many many more
imperial tech is reliably and consistently unreliable and its not just one author and his personal lore that has them being unreliable
its just one author that has them as reliable
that makes them being reliable not consistent, just some persons fanfic about WW2 in spaaaaace
that person is just very consistent in being wrong

@kadaeux I mean most 40k writers have their issues, and Annette is no exception. That being said he is one of the better ones, and his bias’s are Simple and Obvious (like ABD’s chaos obsession) Counter is not a good example, as while he has good ideas he does not do his research (the amount of things he got wrong about the Necrons in the world engine can be described as merely everything). But he’s definitely above explicitly bad writers like C.S goto or those who often make terrible things like Phil Kellyand his hatecrime against lore that is Warzone:Damnos

I really like Guy Haley's Super-Heavy novels the most for a consistent lore experience. I feel those are some of the better portraits of the guard, since anything that isn't armour gets minced in seconds (which is why the story follows a Super-Heavy regiment), and nothing outright lore breaking occurs in either of those novels.

But really its down to perceptive, 40K is a bit a Sandbox for lore, but that's ok (as long as you don't go completely insane with your weapon fetishes like CS Goto, where everything has multi-lasers...). You can justify inconsistency if your writing about some factions, since the factions themselves are inconsistent (like the Orks, anything involving the Imperium, Chaos to an extent and Rouge Traders... although, again, within reason. Wouldn't have Imperial Guard fielding Eldar Grav Tanks, but details change).

last edited by CALiGeR_Reborn

Abnet has a lot of good books
most of them honestly, and he does stick to the lore quite well in most occasions (a lot better then multilazer toothbrush Goto)
but the gaunts ghosts books are the exception to that, for some reason he trows a lot of the lore out of the window to glorify gaunt in those making them read more like fanfic
or more precicely WW2 in spaaaace, and while i enjoy them still, its interesting WW2 in spaaaaace
using those as a sourse just never sits well with me
love the author and he does a good job usually, but just not in that series

but even then using lazpacks as a representation of imperial logistics is still a bad idea, those things are made precisely for the reason that the logistics are easy
a truer test of logistics would have been someone not having any autocannon bullets, those actually take some effort
or a command chimera (a tank made to enhance the crappy vox the guard usually has) needing a replacement vox mast

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