37 Responses

  1. Shaun

    I imagine the things that look like little quad lasers with radar dishes behind them [and nostrils if we’re getting anthropomorphic] are, in fact, weaponized ghetto blasters…?

    But actually, I’ve been spending a lot of time wading through all these posts and thought it’d be great to see a ‘kit of parts’ post that itemized and walked-through standard weapons, ship components, and the like. You have a post that showed a range of standard components when you where describing some of your rationale on power/mass/size requirements and what-not, and it’d be nice to have that reference… Also, might result in less nerd-splaining all the time when we can’t figure out if something is a light turbo or a heavy laser…!

  2. Anonymous

    So the tops guns that is mostly going to be use for attacking very heavily fortified bases are the basic 6 megatons light turbolasers or most likely a cut-down sub megaton version?

    • StellarMagic

      I think they’re derived from the old AT-TE’s main gun, in which case it’s not an energy weapon but a mass driver.

  3. StellarMagic

    Hmm… ironically this thing looks to be about the same size as the new ‘Gorilla’ walker the First Order uses (I will not say it’s name because everything new that got named for the sequel trilogy seems to have been named by a comic book author or something, so many dumb names). Except that thing is just a giant artillery piece.

    This thing is a Star Wars siege tower. XD

    • gorkmalork

      Sensible choice to make this brute somewhat no-neck (that’s what all the turrets & sensors are for), though from the side my fool eyes take a second to distinguish ‘tween fore & aft. Those upper & lower-midsection hatches imply at least some light-vehicle/troop capacity and/or missile magazines, so staying below its horizon may not help quite enough. Speaking of which, fiendish idea: training remote/interrogator droid-scale target designators.

      • gorkmalork

        Whoops, didn’t intend this as a reply. Decent analogy on Stellar’s part, though.

  4. PhantomFury

    Interesting design, reminded me of that vehicle being described as a link between an AT-TE and an AT-AT. That said, the tall, lanky looking leg is a little odd for me and I think it would be more fitting if the legs are angled outwards more.

  5. Anonymous

    Ah yes this behemoth I bet it would destroy the so called First order’s Mega caliber 6 walker no problem.

  6. Chris Bradshaw

    If you need that much ground firepower, at what point does it become more feasible for a Victory class Star Destroyer to drag an extendable spike from its ventral hangar to maintain ground contact in order to breach a theater shield? These superheavy walkers are cool, but is there really a tactical niche for a walking fortress of this size?

    • Arvenski

      This thing seems to me to be like a ground-based Death Star. Massive, but impractical.

      • Fractalsponge

        All mecha are impractical. But see my other comment for a possible rationale (with the understanding that all mecha are basically crazy).

        • gorkmalork

          Eh, at least this thing can theoretically cover its own flanks & aft (unlike most of its AT-series brethren), and mines capable of wrecking its day might be most prohibitive to deploy.

          • Fractalsponge

            Even if it gets wrecked, so what? Ground equipment must be ridiculously cheap compared to spacecraft, by power generation and propulsion if nothing else. Use vehicles so you don’t risk a something huge and (relatively) expensive like a frigate in atmosphere. A tank would be better, but this looks cooler 🙂

          • gorkmalork

            I’m still partial to Juggernaut variants or that ground-support repulsor platform you were tinkering with a while back, though doubtful the former would want to engage this thing piecemeal. As for coolness: point in full, though I’m curious what its locomotion cycle usually looks like.

          • Steve Bannon

            The CIS might operate under that kind of pragmatic, numbers-driven philosophy, but the Empire is run by men, and men are loss-averse. These big walkers probably have hundreds of crew if you scale up from Juggernaut/AT-TE crew densities, and even if a corps level formation of walkers is still cheaper than a frigate, most field commanders would probably rather put two thousand men at risk than fifty thousand. After all, the budget isn’t their problem.

          • Fractalsponge

            AT-ATs have 4 pilots. AT-TEs have what, 8? I doubt an AT-SP would have more than 20, mostly gunners. And they may not even carry troops.

            And I guarantee you a corps of walkers is far cheaper than a frigate. Walker guns are at most megaton scale and mostly sub-megaton, and MTL are hundreds of gigatons per shot. The power systems alone would indicate that a few hundred walkers would not remotely compare to the cost of a ship with numerous MTL, and this ship also has shields against same, and heavy electronics, and a hyperdrive, and enough hypermatter fuel to power it all at long endurance.

    • Fractalsponge

      My thinking is that this is a beach-head walker. The thing about how shields seem to work is that the breach happens in a fairly predictably way. Under the shield the defenders can have great mobility with repulsorlift vehicles; they don’t need to cross the shield barrier, just prevent the attacker from setting up underneath the edge and preparing a major attack on the generators. So, first assault troops under the shield edge can get hammered by mobile defenders. This would be one of the first attacker vehicles in – dropped very close to the edge of a theater shield or just out of line of sight of a major defended area, then it waddles under the shield and engages everything it can see (a long distance because of its height) with direct fire. Fight off the initial attempt to throw the assault back across the shield line, and allow for artillery and such to cross the shield and destroy the generator. It’s much less risk than a capital ship – it’s much much cheaper for one, and if it falls, it doesn’t destroy the battlefield and leave a huge obstacle for any future attempts.

      • Steve Bannon

        My question is how often does a theater shield assault require something of this kind of tonnage? When the defenders have the budget to repel lighter walker assaults of AT-AT type units, surely they would be able to put up a total planetary shield that would preclude this kind of massive assault in the first place, and the critical siege units would be torpedo spheres (love to see a fractal redesign) instead of walkers.
        If you’re attacking that kind of fortress world, manage to bring part of the planetary shield grid, and have to assault another shielded hemisphere of the planet, I think using a capital ship at low altitude might be more efficient than a superheavy walker. You wouldn’t necessarily need a Victory-Class vessel, but something like a Dreadnaught with a ground-contact mast would be orders of magnitude more survivable and lethal against repulsorlift threats than an AT-SP, and Rogue One has shown that even destroyers can operate extremely close to the ground in order to avoid fire from something like a W-165 or V-150. Using an obsolete heavy frigate would also leverage existing fleet assets instead of having to deploy heavy transports like your Consolidator.

        • gorkmalork

          Not sure how I swing on the ‘superheavy walkers or capital craft on repulsors?’ question yet, but fortress worlds probably mount their share of destroyer-to-battlecruiser-grade surface guns in addition to the superheavies. Destroyer/frigate-scale units might have to wait for said defenses to get locally denuded before risking low-altude antics inside a planetary shield breach, which could be where walker dropships come in. Plus, as Fractal hinted at with the ‘crashing frigate’ factor there is the question of how far attackers *or* defenders are willing to take BDZ-borderline procedures.

          • Chris Bradshaw

            Thanks Steve for backing me up. When you’re up against destroyer grade HTL ground batteries, a walker is going to be destroyed in a single hit while a capital ship on repulsors can tank a volley or two with shields and have enough time to get to a safer position.

            Besides, if the defenders are using 70+ teraton HTL batteries to fire at targets maneuvering between skyscrapers, the entire landscape is going to get wrecked for dozens of miles around by the heat released from a single hit. Nothing is survivable in that kind of hellscape except for something with capital grade shielding.

          • gorkmalork

            Just gotta note that having mentioned destroyer-caliber ground batteries, most walker dropships would have a much easier time ducking those at close quarters (or mid-descent) than your average light capital, besides their innate expendability by comparison. ‘Sides, they’d also have plenty of fighter/gunboat-scale fire support to contend with lighter defenses unless the siege itself gets abruptly broken up/called off.

        • Fractalsponge

          AT-ATs should be killable by fighter-grade weapons, and theater shielding proliferates. Both are going to be relatively common systems, to the extent that terrorists have them. Obviously there are certain bands of enemy threat that limits the use of certain assets. If there’s teraton firepower being freely used in atmosphere, taking something intact is probably not all that important, and ground forces would not be deployed at all. Very heavy ground forces only exist because you can’t (or at least wouldn’t want to) slag everything.

          A frigate has hundreds, maybe thousands of crew and troops aboard – if something goes wrong then that is a major loss. A walker or tank going down costs only a few crew, and is going to be inherently much cheaper because there aren’t hyperdrives and such to deal with. A frigate can be in one place, the cost equivalent in walkers can siege down many places. Would a warship be better? Yes. Would a warship be always preferable? I’d argue no.

          Also, walkers suck. They exist to look cool – don’t overextend this argument, since ultimately making it make sense requires a lot of things to be just so.

          • gorkmalork

            I’m more/less sold on the expendability angle for mass armor. Plus, it’s an open question as to how many passive/active defensive layers most worlds have the means (or political leeway/inclination) to stack up in the first place.

          • Fractalsponge

            Total war fortress worlds/systems in SW would be insane – dreadnought-scale mobile defense platforms/monitors, huge stockpiles of missile/minefields, multiple layers of planetary shielding, secondary theater shielding for shield generators and for ground batteries of v-150 and w-165. Kilometer-wide and deep bedrock-cut anti-armor trenches, deep crust vacuum subways for protected strategic mobility, mass use of self-replicating droid defenders, HTL point defenses on kilometer-high armored towers for high-depression-angle fire. Basically imagine the cost of a fleet, sunk into a planet. That type of world is probably super rare, but would be ridiculously hard to take without strategic weapons like superlasers and such.

          • Chris Bradshaw

            The whole point of deploying a capital ship in atmosphere is to bring an overkill level of survivability, firepower, and mobility that no land unit can match, even if the capital ship is absurdly expensive compared to walkers.

            Since Star Wars has always been heavily inspired by the 2nd World War, let us postulate what would have happened if someone had invented the repulsorlift in 1939, and you could fly the HMS Warspite over Normandy in support of the Guards Armored Division at Operation Goodwood. Sure, you wouldn’t want to risk it by flying it into range of something like a superheavy railway gun, but against common flak guns, the shells would bounce right off the main armor belt once the German capital ships were swept from the skies. The Warspite would be far more expensive and costly a loss than a company of Cromwell tanks, but if nothing the defenders had could even dent it, deploying such an asset would be a no-brainer.

            Similarly, substituting a dreadnaught with a ground-contact mast at Hoth for Blizzard Force means the power generator would have gone down far faster, and with zero Imperial personnel loss. Against fortress world defenders with emplaced HTL batteries behind their theater shields, an attack by AT-SPs would be equally pointless. Rogue One showed us that ISD-I HTL batteries can have autocannon levels of rate-of-fire allowing them to mow down entire divisions of heavy walkers, unless you think an AT-SP can take 175 teratons of pain and keep on fighting.

          • Fractalsponge

            I agree that a warship should guarantee superiority over a field army, but the fact that we don’t see frigates slagging armies outright on the field all the time suggests that there are reasons why. The original fantasy aspect of it all is a given. We know it’s because that it would be limiting in a narrative sense to a movie, but we need to be deducing more logical reasons for why we see what we see otherwise why bother having a technical discussion at all?

            That said, you can nuke a foxhole with an SLBM salvo instead of storming it with infantry, but why would you? Let me expand a little: ground forces offer graduated escalation of force. A capital ship like an ISD is literally billions of times more powerful than any serious walker or tank, so they are not operating in anything approaching the same range of threat. If a warship like that is being brought in, I’d say that it’s an indication that the situation has gotten quite out of hand, and ground forces would not even be considered. You’re right that an AT-SP would not be sent against a fortress world – an attacking fleet would have to have seriously degraded the planet’s defenses first – if nothing else a breach in the main planetary shield(s) would have to be made.

            I agree that a warship should be overwhelming in atmosphere against ground forces, but: it’s not shown – even Acclamators weren’t sent against the Lucrehulk hangars in AOTC, and they most definitely were already in atmosphere and within range – this suggests that there are in fact some limitations on capital ship use. I don’t think it’s capability, because they sure have the power to do so freely. Maybe it’s a desire for prisoners instead of a lake of slag. Maybe they don’t want to risk an extinction event if a ship’s reactor blows up in atmo. Maybe it’s ground to orbit artillery that would be prohibitively dangerous for a frigate to approach but can’t target a walker without also slagging the defenders. Maybe a warship needs a lot more ground contact to fly through a theater shield or just can’t do it well, but a slow walker or tank can push through. But it does seem that it’s not as simple as dragging a grounding cable along, otherwise they’d have done it and won easily by overwhelming qualitative superiority rather than a costly frontal armor/infantry assault. If total freedom of action were available to the attacker (i.e. ships can go where they want in atmosphere/low orbit without risk of something bad happening), then the battle logically is over, unless the defenders are suicidal and want to FORCE the attacker to wreck the world.

            Let’s say you have a world with some v-150s/w-165s and a planetary shield, and the shield generators are protected by theater shields and ground forces (I’d argue that this is basically the standard flavor of defended world in the SW universe). An attacking fleet with a few destroyers and an assault element comes along with the mission of taking the planet intact (no BDZ, no geological damage) – this I imagine is also the standard flavor of assault in the SW universe. The fleet punches a temporary hole in the planetary shield and takes damage/losses from the surface artillery to do so, so it doesn’t want to/can’t duel against the surface guns indefinitely – it’s not like they have a dozen Mandators that can laugh off v-150 hits long enough to batter down all the shields permanently, and their rules of engagement don’t allow them to melt the continent underneath the theater shields to permanently kill the main generators. But they do open a local gap in the shields before ground fire forces them to open range. You can fly an Acclamator through and risk it going splat or splat-then-giant-boom when a v-150 ionizes it, or you can swarm the breach with dropships and fighters that the v-150s can’t target. They establish a foothold under the shield that’s now back up, and push on to capture or kill a theater-shielded shield generator to allow a second echelon through to actually take the planet. Can a horde of heavy warships deal with this world much more easily? Of course. Will you always have that fleet available? Of course not.

            Now this doesn’t preclude warships working with ground forces, if the threat range and available airspace is appropriate.

          • Anonymous

            In season 1 of SW: The Clone Wars, Separatist proton cannons (which seem to be the Invisible Hand’s mass driver cannons mounted on legs) easily shoot down an Acclamator with a few hits.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q-gaCrrz-9M (the shoot-down scene starts at around 1:23)

            Then in AotC a Trade Fed Core Ship with about an order of magnitude more shielding than an Acclamator is shot down by five SPHA-T walkers. I’d say frigates have a lot to fear from ground armies with mobile artillery, never mind dedicated fixed defenses.

          • valoren

            I don’t really understand the “ground contact mast” part. Freely passing through theatre shields can’t be as simple as having whatever appendage touching the planet surface, otherwise it would be true of any repulsorlift vehicle. That type of shields should logically be way superior to the ones of frigates, if they have to be effective at repelling capship fire for extended periods of time, so said frigate would just fry itself trying to hammer through, and then be trapped under the shield canopy, damaged or seriously weakened and unable to retreat, if it can go under it at all.

          • Fractalsponge

            It’s not my idea, I’m responding to it. I also think it can’t be as simple as that, otherwise we’d see capital ships used against shielded targets often.

          • valoren

            @Fractalsponge
            Sorry for the confusion. I was responding to Steve who was, at least I think the first to evoke the idea.
            My guess on how it works is that the shield become more matter-tolerant as it approach the surface, since it needs to account for the ground and the particular geography of the environment it is deployed in. Since walkers make ground-contact and have a relatively low profile (at least compared to a 30 km-wide shield “bubble”), the shield might just not make the difference between them and the local terrain.

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