438 – The Operational Doctrine of the Imperial Space Force
“Anyway, the reorganization and deployment of the fleet’s been completed. The reorganized squadrons have already started moving to blockade the designated hyperlane opening, and the operation’s start time has already been decided.”
“Roger that. So, our role is basically being beaters in the hunt, right?”
I checked out the data that was brought over by Captain Serena and her lady adjutant on the holo-display within the break space. The basic strategy was simple; putting up a net and initiating a thorough search operation. They already conducted a similar operation before, but in the end, it was the most reliable strategy in order to eradicate the pirates who kept moving around and concealing themselves.
A beater was the one with the role of chasing prey around and driving them into the kill zone during hunting sessions, and that’s basically our role in this operation. In other words, we were akin to hunting dogs. Woof.
“Of course, you are not going to be the only one performing that role. We’ve also created a squadron consisting of corvettes, frigates, and destroyers, so please coordinate with them during the operation.”
“Oh. The number of your troops seems to have increased quite a bit, Captain.”
“Indeed. Due to your suggestion from before, I repeatedly requested it from the higher-ups. Fortunately, the Imperial Space Force is currently adopting a system of high firepower fleets centered around cruisers and battleships, so corvettes and destroyers are currently not as in demand. So, even though they are hand-me-downs from other fleets, we were able to secure ourselves quite a large number of destroyers and other smaller ships.”
“High Firepower Doctrine huh……? Isn’t that just the ‘Big Ships, Gigantic Guns Doctrine’ from back then? Well, I suppose it’s not a bad doctrine, all things considered.”
As a matter of fact, if you’re gonna engage in an all-out head-on firefight from long range, there’s no doubt that large ships with big guns, thick armor, and the ability to unleash a ferocious barrage were very strong. Even my Krishna had no chance of winning when fighting a cruiser or battleship head-on in a wide-open area without any asteroids or debris to use as cover.
I mean, I could still destroy a battleship by hitting it with anti-ship reactive warhead torpedoes or firing the shot-cannons at close range into critical areas like the bridge or ship generators, but I’d probably end up getting turned into slag before I could even get close enough to fire. It would be a different story if I was capable of short-range jumps that would allow me to largely ignore distance, but unfortunately, I’m not in possession of such outrageous tech or psionic ability.
Also, optical weapons such as laser cannons were basically quite difficult to evade. And if you couldn’t avoid it, you’d have no choice but to endure hits with your ship’s shield and armor. And since that’s the case, you’d need to equip a tougher shield and thicker armor compared to your opponent, then hit them with as much firepower as you can muster to take them down before they down you. Therefore, it was only natural for the Imperial Space Force to be more biased toward battleships and cruisers.
“Do you have any thoughts regarding that matter?”
“No, there’s nothing in particular. You do believe it’s the correct approach, right? In the end, ships that can shoot at longer ranges and sport high firepower lined up side by side and firing simultaneously is very strong, regardless of the battlefield being two-dimensional or three-dimensional.”
Naturally, positioning was very important when it came to these types of battles. The more dispersed the targets were, the longer it would take for the other party to get a re-lock, so in large-scale space battles involving a considerable number of battleships and cruisers, special formations and ship coordination were important. While aiming to disperse the enemy’s firepower, one side would try to concentrate fire in order to quickly reduce the enemy’s numbers. As overkill would result in an overall loss, it’s important to reliably gauge the appropriate amount of firepower to down the opposing force. It’s said that there would be a huge difference in the ratio of losses in comparison to military gains depending on how well-optimized a force is with regard to making effective use of its firepower.
Unfortunately, I don’t have much experience regarding large-scale PVP battles in the game, so my knowledge regarding the matter was only from what I’ve heard secondhand. Well, I did participate in those types of battles from time to time on diversionary duty.
“The conversation’s gone a bit off track. Anyway, I don’t have any particular opinions about the operation. It’s a solid plan, so there’s nothing in particular to criticize.”
“Is that truly the case? If you are keeping things to yourself because you are worried about something, then there’s no need to hold back you know?”
“No, there really is nothing I’m hiding. Just what kind of guy do you think I am, Captain?”
“Don’t you always try to nitpick about something or other?”
“No, I don’t. I don’t, right?”
I looked at Mimi and Elma for affirmation, but they had strange expressions on their faces. What the heck is with those reactions?
“I’m going to be the one to say it because it seems that Mimi is having a hard time pointing it out to you herself. It’s true that you’re always nitpicking about various matters whenever we meet. Like the time you said the types of ships in our fleet don’t match our intended role. Or when you said it’s better to do this or that when dealing with space pirates. In the first place, you’re the one who suggested we divide our forces this time around because it’s more efficient that way, correct?”
“…….I sincerely apologize.”
I obediently bowed my head toward Captain Serena, who was giving me a critical gaze, and apologized. I’m a guy who honestly apologizes when I’ve done something wrong after all.
“It’s not like I mind all that much. After all, the anti-pirate tactics you suggest are a great stimulus for me whose views have been solidified by the operational doctrine of the Imperial Space Force. We did end up becoming quite adept at dealing with pirates due to your teachings when you instructed our veteran members on anti-pirate tactics back when our fleet was still starting out, so my complaints on the matter are quite minimal. Our newer members do have some dissatisfaction with heading the opinions of a ‘mere’ mercenary though.”
“Sorry. I’m truly serious about the stuff I said though, so please find it in your heart to tolerate me running my mouth.”
“I sure hope so. If this operation results in fatal damage to the fleet instead of military gains, well…… Fufu. I’ll be turned into an absolute laughing stock.”
Black. There’s a black aura behind your smile, Captain. Does she mean to imply that I’ll owe her a big favor if this operation doesn’t turn out successful? Fair enough. But I won’t give in to such threats so easily.
“Well then, if this operation is a great success, it would mean I’ve contributed the most to protecting your honor, Captain.”
“True. I shall tell the Mercenary Guild that you’ve more than earned your keep if things do turn out well.”
Both of us exchanged smiles. Anyway, it felt like she fended off my counterattack gracefully. As I thought, I really couldn’t keep up with a true aristocrat.
“Ok, ok. It’s my loss. Unless we make a big mistake or some sort of irregularity occurs, there’s no way this operation will fail. It’s a safe and stable strategy.”
“I really do hope so. It’s strange though. The more you try to reassure me, the more anxious I get.”
“Oh c’mon. I’m not gonna take all responsibility if something does happen……”
Even though I do tend to attract all sorts of trouble, I couldn’t possibly take responsibility for stuff that happens in places where it’s impossible for me to directly intervene. Don’t blame everything on me. I’m not some sort of misfortune-bringing tengu.