Author Topic: Air force or Navy  (Read 14501 times)

Offline Gryphos

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Re: Air force or Navy
« Reply #15 on: August 09, 2013, 01:56:33 pm »
I think the original point of the thread was to decide on whether airships are an airforce or a navy. And I think we can all agree that, between those, navy is more appropriate.

In regards to the second issue of what people would physically refer to their airship forces as, it can vary. As a whole, a faction's total force of airships is probably their navy based off the fact that they must have had sea boats at one point and probably kept the terminology. However, a specific group of ships would probably be referred to as various things, ranging likely from things like fleet or armada.

Offline Arktic

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Re: Air force or Navy
« Reply #16 on: August 09, 2013, 02:40:43 pm »
Just because we're using Naval terminology doesn't mean that it's part of the Navy. If you go by definitions:

Navy - The branch of a nation's armed services that conducts military operations at sea.
Air Force - The airborne branch of a country's armed forces.

Then Airships are airborne, therefore they are part of the Air Force.

Offline Sgt. Spoon

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Re: Air force or Navy
« Reply #17 on: August 09, 2013, 06:16:05 pm »
Well I've just always thought of the airships as ships, and just like in sci-fi, related everything in naval terms. I wouldn't really worry too much about our present description of the term, cause with the established setting it fits pretty well to just transfer the whole thing to an "aero navy".

Offline Pickle

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Re: Air force or Navy
« Reply #18 on: August 09, 2013, 06:31:27 pm »
Just because we're using Naval terminology doesn't mean that it's part of the Navy. If you go by definitions:

Navy - The branch of a nation's armed services that conducts military operations at sea.
Air Force - The airborne branch of a country's armed forces.

Then Airships are airborne, therefore they are part of the Air Force.

Your definition is overly simplistic, and doesn't work for any nations military forces I can think of (it doesn't work for UK, France, Germany, US, Russia, etc.).

Dedicated air forces are a relatively young concept (starting 1918 with the RAF).  Navy and Army forces have had their own air units for almost as long as there has been flight, and continue to do so.


I go with Navy.  It works better with the style of the game.  Two airships are based on nautical vessels (Galleon, Junker) and most of the armament is closer to naval or army examples.

Offline Captain Smollett

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Re: Air force or Navy
« Reply #19 on: August 09, 2013, 06:41:02 pm »
Guys you're all wrong.

It's quite obvious since we fly airships that it's administered by a nations naval air force armed unit division.

Offline Charon

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Re: Air force or Navy
« Reply #20 on: August 09, 2013, 07:09:26 pm »
Just because we're using Naval terminology doesn't mean that it's part of the Navy. If you go by definitions:

Navy - The branch of a nation's armed services that conducts military operations at sea.
Air Force - The airborne branch of a country's armed forces.

Then Airships are airborne, therefore they are part of the Air Force.

The Navy's got a pretty formidable airborne force in real life, man. These definitions are a bit flawed.

Each nation would call this something different, I'm pretty sure. Some would, I'm certain, refer to their fleets as a Navy. Others would likely call it something along the lines of an Air Corps. The less civilized of them might have some native word for Sky-Raider, or something equally metal. If there's a large and well known force, maybe even a common enemy amongst nations, the name of that large force might spread to several neighboring areas (including hostile ones) and replace their own word for the force.

Offline Wazulu

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Re: Air force or Navy
« Reply #21 on: August 10, 2013, 02:50:20 pm »
Even more interestingly, why would they have a Sea-based Navy at all? If you have a limited pool of resources to make an army with, why would you limit some of your force to naval engagements? Considering most of the factions will be waging ground wars, and will have to deal with difficult terrain (thinking The Wastes, here) it would make sense to put your resources into airships, and be able to attack any threat anywhere.

Also, we have to take into account that where we are in the timeline is at least a hundred years after Gabriel, meaning airships have been around for a while now. This leaves enough time for true Navies to be phased out, and simple fishing and immigrant convoys being all that remain. That, and we know the environment got messed up to high heaven- how the heck is there a warship in the middle of Duel at Dawn and in Dunes? It's clear the sea level must've dropped considerably, leaving many ships hung and dry. Factoring in all the environmental difficulties airships are the most sensible and easiest method of transport.

So, in terms of lore, humanity was at a WW1 stage- we had dreadnoughts, tanks and guns, verging on aerial combat. However, a catastrophic event caused a massacre of the human population. As this technology was ground breaking (and induced by an arms race) it was confined to a group of individuals, be that scientists and manufacturers. Due to the event, however, they were killed and the knowledge died with them. The reason why they held on to some technology is some people survived- say for example we had a similar event happen now. We'd retain knowledge we were taught, say if your profession was a doctor, but you wouldn't have a clue how to rebuild a car, let alone how to salvage parts from it. This is how they have partial knowledge and a disparity in technology. Some groups would've had completely different skill sets, we're still pre-Gabriel here. 

Anyway, ignoring my massive tangent, there probably wasn't a proper fighting navy, simply a couple city-states defending themselves. Once air travel was perfected Empires became an option.

Offline Gryphos

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Re: Air force or Navy
« Reply #22 on: August 10, 2013, 04:22:49 pm »
Actually, that's a very good point that the terrain makes airships a necessity, which, in turn, makes seaships completely obsolete. And I don't think any of the factions would have needed a sea navy before the age of air, with the possible exceptions of Anglea and Chaladon, which I'd imagine probably had some form of sea navy before the age of air.

Offline HamsterIV

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Re: Air force or Navy
« Reply #23 on: August 11, 2013, 03:25:48 am »
To expand upon Wazulu's point about the obsolescence of a seaborn navy. I think it is incredibly likely that the traditionalists in charge of the navy would prefer to evolve their technology than acknowledge that their institution was obsolete and hand over power and prestige to a different organization.

Offline Pickle

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Re: Air force or Navy
« Reply #24 on: August 11, 2013, 04:41:44 am »
Assuming that the Handwavium physics that allows GOIO airships to fly at all hasn't completely buggered up the AM economy and moved it too far from reality..

Airships are fine for hauling high value, low volume commodities (high tech finished goods, people, ideas, etc.).  But for the low value, high volume commodities (grain, coal, etc.) surface shipping is cheaper (unless there's some Handwavium thrown in to significantly up the cost of surface travel).  I would assume that there is still a seagoing trade between coastal ports, and land caravans between inland cities.  Where there is seagoing shipping, there will be navel forces to protect trade routes and enforce tariffs.  It's cheaper to mount the armament of a Galleon into a seagoing equivalent, and the surface ship will be better able to cope with bad weather and storms.  Surface ships are also effective at moving men and materiel in large numbers.

I'm interested to hear Muse's ideas for the AM economy.  But I'd be disappointed if it uses airships for hauling all goods between every city.

Offline Gryphos

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Re: Air force or Navy
« Reply #25 on: August 11, 2013, 04:49:44 am »
I do agree that there would almost definitely still be shipping and fishing through sea vessels, but I would say that they would still use airships to protect trade routes because the great thing about airships is their adaptability to different situations. For instance...
"We need to protect this sea trade route."
"Okay, lets send in a few airships."
Later...
"Well that sea trade route doesn't need protection anymore, but this land route does."
"Okay, we'll just use those same airships again to protect this trade route."
"Well, what about this air trade route?"
"After we're done with the land route, we can send the ships to patrol that route too."
etc. etc.

So you see the point, airships would make the sea navy and likely any kind of land navy (???) obsolete by being able to be used in any situation.

Offline Pickle

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Re: Air force or Navy
« Reply #26 on: August 11, 2013, 05:14:28 am »
Not really.  Airships are a bit like aerial tanks.  They can strike, but they can't take ground without assistance with mopping up, and they can't hold ground without assistance.  Over the sea, they're fair-weather sailors at best.  Their armour and fire power will always be limited compared to surface based alternatives - no matter how much Handwavium is thrown at them.  They'll be blown by the wind, and eventually grounded by adverse conditions long before their surface equivalent need to head for home or port.

Look at the modern day.  Tanks haven't replaced infantry, helicopters haven't replaced tanks.  Maritime aircraft haven't replaced naval shipping.  If you look at recent convoys in hostile territory - say Iraq or Afghanistan.  Has the presence of helicopters removed the requirement for ground-based escorts?  If not, why not?  And is this any different to what's being postulated for GOIO AM?   And look at modern seagoing shipping - has the availability of long-range aircraft and satellite surveillance reduced the need to physically station warships off the coast of  Sudan to protect against piracy?

What is the context difference in GOIO AM that would cause things to be different? - Handwavium has made the physics of airship flight easier and cheaper, but has it affected the overall limitations of LTA transport or the balance of the roles of air/sea/land forces?

Offline Gryphos

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Re: Air force or Navy
« Reply #27 on: August 11, 2013, 06:55:29 am »
Well, you could argue that airships would become the dominant force because of the difficult terrain you have to travel through, such as deserts wastes, mountains etc.

It's this that makes airships a huge necessity for land travel, being able to move seamlessly over rocky terrain at high speeds. And the difficulty of the terrain would probably lead to every faction adopting airships as their primary military force, needing airships themselves to counter airships. However, I don't think land forces have been completely abolished and, as you said, they would most certainly be needed to conquer settlements, but I still think they would, at least a lot of the time, be transported by airships.

You could also argue that a lack of plentiful resources makes airships the go-to option over sea ships. Say, for instance, an airship costed 100 metal and a sea ship costed 80 metal. You have 800 metal to spend and both land and sea borders to protect. You could go for 10 seaships and have an impenetrable sea border, but no land forces,  you could go for 4 airships and 5 sea ships and have to split your total military force, or go for 10 airships and have a highly versatile force that can be used anywhere.

Offline Pickle

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Re: Air force or Navy
« Reply #28 on: August 11, 2013, 07:07:19 am »
go for 10 airships and have a highly versatile force that can be used anywhere.
.. to do very little.

You're directly equating the value of one airship with one of anything else.  Airships are weak, poorly armed and fragile compared to surface vehicles.

What if your surface ship has a weapon loadout ten times more powerful with one hundred times the payload capacity?  For less cost because you can make it from iron and steel with no need for expensive Handwavium?

Offline Gryphos

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Re: Air force or Navy
« Reply #29 on: August 11, 2013, 07:39:51 am »
Okay, I'll admit my explanation could have been better.
But while I can admit that airships are fragile, I do not think they are poorly armed. If airships were your primary military force and you had a really powerful gun, you would find a way to put it on an airship, using all the handwavium you could find. I mean, obviously you won't be putting any fjords super cannons on there but you'd be able to put on it whatever you could on a land tank.

But, if a tank has the same, if not better firepower as an airship, and has heavier armour, and is cheaper, why would they ever go obsolete?
Because they're just too immobile for the GoI world. With all the difficult terrain and vast open deserts, you would either not be able to get to your destination, or get there a week later than you should have. Say you have an emergency on the other side of the country. With an airship you're there in a few days and ready for action. With a tank or foot army you're there in a few weeks and are too late to help.

So, while more expensive and, in battle, airships may not be as useful as land forces, the difference is not enough to sacrifice the versatility of an airship. And this, along with things like resource scarcity and their use as a counter to other airships, is what likely made the factions shift their militaries entirely in the direction of airships.

(Btw, I'm really enjoying the debate)