Combat Training Toolbox

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  • #17503
    Xavier
    Keymaster

    I have been thinking on how to put ideas into the combat training module to add to the toolbox. Obviously, subroutines and programs aren’t appropriate for this area. Instead, I was thinking along the lines of martial arts kind of moves, or outlines of weapon types.

    One idea was to come up with a standard set of combat equipment when undertaking offensive actions, like boarding a station. This might include some gadgets to detect/ track life signatures, close quarter weapons, and maybe some way of interfacing with technology so you can run certain programs (like the translation matrix). I was thinking of a form of datapad for the interface, isolated from main systems, but with everything you need to run quick sub-routines and such. Smaller and more compact than the ones used on station, perhaps the size of a mobile phone?

    The real fancy and ‘big’ combat equipment like advanced body armour, demolition equipment or stuff like that would in my mind be used by the marines attached, and wouldn’t see much use by us (maybe in very rare circumstances – I don’t want to say a flat no so perhaps on occasion you could come across bits like that.)

    Any more ideas for some standard combat equipment to use, as well as other potential gadgets and tools you might carry can be added here.

    #17505
    Blaze Strife
    Participant

    All of that sounds good to me. Perhaps a part of the Toolbox can be the weapons themselves, and the other part the gadgets and the programs. Communication equipment, for example in the helmets, is something we should consider as well. Maybe even info screens in the helmets, like in the books from Vorkosigan Saga.

    #17509
    Xavier
    Keymaster

    Straight away, there is another thing to discuss – do we wear headgear with systems attached at all? Perhaps something akin a bluetooth headset that simply hooks around the ear, or loops round the back of the head. It could have enough small technology packed in to give immediate communications between officers, a visual uplink (i.e. a mini camera), maybe even a small “Google Glass” like prism or screen in front of the eye. Or would we want the eyeline clear and have the information on a handheld device (the mobile phone style data pad).

    I think in terms of weapons, we go for small, handheld weapons that can be carried and fired with one hand. I like the phaser weapons in the remake Star Trek (the films) but don’t think we should go for a carbon copy of them. These designs look pretty awesome:

    Concept Art – Weapons Designs

    #17511
    Blaze Strife
    Participant

    Wearing protective headgear is a must, I think.
    “If you can only choose one piece of armor, choose headgear.” – Matt Easton, HEMA instructor

    If we can integrate info in that headgear with our space-age tech, all the better I think. Having to look down or take your hands of a weapon to check your handheld device to see some basic info is counter-productive, I think.

    The weapon designs indeed do look awesome. I like all of them, and would love to use all of them. The main question is if we’re shooting beams or projectiles? Since we have both in space combat, we might have both or just the beams in the close-quarters combat. When talking about close-quarters combat in a spaceship or a spacestation, one must think about breaching the hull from the inside. Therefore, projectile weapons increase the risk of damaging the hull. So, if we only have a beam weapon, does the size matter? Will a beam emitted from a small weapon be equal or close enough to the one emitted from a bigger weapon? Is a beam emitted from a small weapon enough to maim or kill a person? Do we need rifle-sized weapons to fight Torgoths?

    What about hand-to-hand weapons, either blunt or sharp? Do we have some vibro-blades or something like that, or do we rely on cold, hard metal or plastic? Do we wear small swords or long knives?

    #17513
    Xavier
    Keymaster

    Lots of great questions there!

    I am thinking we should have energy weapons. They could fire a bolt of energy at a target. When that bolt hits, it disperses to cause an area of impact. Depending on the size of the target and how well it can disperse the energy will depend on the intensity of the hit. So, hitting hull plating would cause little to no damage as the area of hull that the energy is dispersed into is comparatively large. Hitting a body (e.g. kralien, human, arvonian), the energy doesn’t have as far to spread out or isn’t conducted as easily to spread, so the hit is more intense. Body armour goes some way to reducing the intensity by spreading the impact over a wider area. Larger creatures such as Torgoths wouldn’t be immune, but due to their size a more intense energy setting, or repeated hits to the same spot would be required.

    I think the resulting injury should be a severe burn to the skin, most intense at the point of impact, with an area around it the size of an average hand-span being burnt too when on a standard setting. Perhaps high energy shots (thinking big defensive turrets here) could pass completely though a target causing massive damage, but we wouldn’t really encounter that kind of thing on a ship.

    Energy weapons should potentially be recoil-less too. The last thing you want is being slammed against the bulkhead in Zero-G combat. And higher levels of energy shots would need bigger weapon systems in order to hold enough charge. The higher energy level would cause more damage at the point of impact. So a high level might punch through hull plating, whereas a lower level would just fry some equipment or leave a small burn mark. The standard sidearm we carry could have a setting to increase the level, or we could burn out the power cell for one high impact shot at close range. A rifle size weapon would give similar results, it might just have a scope, setting for longer range etc etc. The energy bolt would also decrease in energy as the range increases. Point blank it would be at its most intense, whereas over a few hundred metres it would fade out.

    As for close quarter weapons like knives, I have always loved Sulu’s sword from the new Star trek films, and who can ever deny wanting a lightsaber?! Perhaps we could have a version of those weapons? I think a bog standard steel combat knife should be in there… the ubiquitous knife that you can always rely on. Sometimes high-tech gadgets just don’t compare!

    What do you think?

    #17517
    Blaze Strife
    Participant

    Body armor should help in other ways, not just area wise, otherwise it’s borderline useless. Perhaps they have a shield of sorts? Maybe it’s not an eggshell around the person, but it’s sort of built into the armor itself. I’m envisioning something along the lines of the armor having a mesh all over, visible or not.

    The burn marks from the energy weapons could look like injuries sustained from lightning bolts, smaller or larger depending on the power of the weapon.

    “Energy weapons should potentially be recoil-less too.” I think they must be recoil-less. Take a look at these two videos: The SCIENCE! Behind Laser Rifles in Fallout 4 and The SCIENCE! Behind Plasma Rifles in Fallout 4.
    They do need heat-sinks, though. Very efficient ones, at that.

    The sword looks a lot katana-like, which means it’s used a certain way. There is no perfect sword (no, katana is one, either), and they all depend on context: why are they used, how are they used, what are they used for, and who is using them. So, close-quarters combat in narrow corridors would benefit from spears held infront of one or short swords like a Gladius, like this beauty. Anything longer than that and you might have trouble swinging it or even unsheating it in a small corridor, especially if you’re not alone. At least that’s what I think, but I’m not a trained martial artist.

    #17521
    Xavier
    Keymaster

    HAHA, that guys is nuts…

    In terms of the energy weapons, we can make them recoil-less. I wonder if we need to explain in depth how it all works, or just accept that something powers the weapon, it fires a bolt and that bolt causes damage that we’ve described. We could have some bits that we know and can be detailed e.g. a weapon has a heat capacitor, there is a power cell etc.

    Close Quarter weapons – look at Sulu’s weapon – he activates it into a longer sword. Could that be a solution rather than having it sheathed? You carry a smaller weapon that when activated gives a longer blade? With the size of the handheld weapon, you’d probably use that over anything that is a sword I would think. It is just to give people the chance to use it for coolness sake 😉

    As for body armour, it could be a kind of jacket with a mesh inside to dissipate the energy. Maybe it also helps against attacks such as stabbing or slashing with a blade, almost like a modern day stab vest.

    #17529
    Blaze Strife
    Participant

    Let’s not go in depth, we’re not qualified to do so. We’re flying in spaceship powered on something, as well, aren’t we? Specifying some obvious bits like what you wrote would work, though, yeah.

    I see that it’s kind of retractible. That would work, yes, as far as storing it and unsheating goes. If the tech is good enough to support the weight of a cut, and we can easily say that it is, it could even be good. We now just need special training on how to use a weapon like that in narrow corridors, since one cannot swing it like a historical iron sword is swung. And there is no spinning, that’s just Hollywood nonsense. Close Quarters Combat training could be it.

    #17531
    Matthew Vaj
    Participant

    Energy weapons could be calibrated to damage organic matter only, or maybe to not damage certain materials, which would allow the ships to remain unharmed. If they are wide-beam, or have that option, then having just a helmet might not be enough in a firefight. Full body armor might be too restrictive, though. The mesh jacket makes sense.

    I guess I’m thinking of Dune, where energy weapons are basically useless due to shields and such, so they use regular old iron knives and swords, but I don’t think that really fits our universe.

    #17543
    Charles Beaumont
    Participant

    Don’t forget swords can be used to stab and parry 🙂 A lot of the European ones were a compromise between thrusting and cutting till you get to the later stuff.

    For us and marines we generally wouldn’t want to look at firearms larger than carbines due to the confined spaces, and I expect ship officers wouldn’t be issued with more than a pistol sidearm unless they were expecting to take an active part in the fighting, at which point a trip to the armoury would be in order.

    Might I suggest an advanced polymer or ceramic knife/sword, considering the risk of electrocution if you cut through exposed cabling (could also make the knife useful for quick and dirty engineering).

    Didn’t the interaction between lasers and shields in dune cause a nuclear explosion on both ends?

    #17545
    Blaze Strife
    Participant

    All good points.

    Not sure about the Dune thing, though. Been ages since I’ve read it.

    #17550
    Matthew Vaj
    Participant

    @charlesbeaumont Yep. So I guess dangerous is a better word than useless. Also I like the polymer/ceramic knife idea. A bit more multipurpose than just a regular metal knife.

    Back to energy weapons for a moment: @admin mentioned energy pulses fading out over a distance. Depending on what the constitutes the pulse, that may not be realistic. Would it be some form of EM radiation, a bolt of plasma, some form of focused, directed electricity, or something else? EM radiation, as in phasers or lasers, would be the most realistic, and it wouldn’t dissipate too much unless it was over extreme distances, and dissipation would depend on power as well (The equation is I=P/(4πd^2) where I=intensity (W/m^2), P=Power (W), and d=distance (m) in case you’re interested).
    Plasma weapons would require incredible heatsinks and batteries, and a source of molecules such as xenon to ionize, and then a magnetized nozzle to direct the plasma, which would dissipate fairly quickly after leaving the nozzle.
    I don’t think it would be possible to direct lightning towards a specific direction, so that may not be an option.

    #17552
    Matsiyan
    Participant

    I note that no current combat troops carry swords. It is either guns or hand to hand. The Gurkhas kukri is about the closest but it is not intended for parrying. I wonder if the tonfa, side-handled baton is more useful in close quarters?

    #17556
    Charles Beaumont
    Participant

    @matsiyan, I think that’s due, to a degree at least, to firearms being generally more reliable, and grenades being better at clearing entrenched enemies than running in with swords/bayonets. Also, close melee is far more dangerous for both combatants. However, I can see grenades being a bad idea in shipboard combat, between the concussive blast being concentrated by the narrow corridors and either shrapnel ricocheting everywhere (it travels a lot further than most people assume) or plasma style grenades ruining a section of the ship, making the use of close-in weapons a little more likely.

    A tonfa or baton style thing would be nice for most, though I worry they would struggle with combat armour or Torgoth.

    One thing I think should inform the choice is the question of whether the TSN are trained towards incapacitating or killing in combat.

    #17558
    Blaze Strife
    Participant

    One thing I think should inform the choice is the question of whether the TSN are trained towards incapacitating or killing in combat.

    That’s a good question. I think we’d be looking for incapacitation primarily, since we also prefer surrenders over destroyed ships (personal preferences aside).

    Two other ideas I got (from Black Mirror S03 E05) are drones and a holo-map. Sending a drone or a robot to scout the area and then showing the scanned area on a holo-map is something that’s definitely useful.

    Another thing we need to think about is Zero G combat. And I’m immediately reminded of the book Ender’s Game.

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