What would a "completed" Behemoth look like?

Never noticed the holes in the plating in-game, and I actually flew my arrow into the gunbarrel on the second playthrough just to get an idea of the size of it.

Yeah, they're "painted on" in the game... so they just seem like big red hull sections. You're supposed to be seeing 'in' to the ship. (Similarly, you can see on that large render that the spots and dots on the Behemoth are actually places where armor plates haven't been installed yet...)

I think the reduced power capacity of the Concordia in SO2 and the general decommissioning of the Confederation line because of the PTC are separate issues. I can't recall the reference for the decommissioning - I thought it was in Star*Soldier, but it's not. Perhaps LOAF can share some insight on this, please?

Yes, I'm sorry, there is a lot of confusion about this issue.

These are, indeed, two separate things. The scene in Special Operations 2 is Tolwyn ordering Angel to fire the gun before it has been properly charged--that's the danger.

The thing about ships being decomissioned and so on is very overblown. What people are referring to is a line added in the Kilrathi Saga manual to the description of the cannon itself: "Continual problems with the phase-transit cannon led to its retirement in late 2665." This is NOT saying that the Confederation-class was retired or decomissioned or anything of that sort... just that the gun itself was "retired." It's up in the air exactly what 'retired' means, since we see the Concordia using her gun in 2667... but by the same token we know that all Confederation-class ships didn't suddenly go to the scrapyards.

(The line was added to explain why phase transit cannons aren't around after WC2; a simple retcon to quiet everyone wondering why all capital ships aren't built with them now.)
Here's the quote: "Continual problems with the phase-transit cannon led to its retirement in late 2665."

That comes from the Kilrathi Saga manual, years after the scene in Special Operations. They're not necessarily related whatsoever, and nobody connected the two items until late 1996. The PTC is used constantly in WC2 capship battles with the Concordia, and the Confederation class ships stay in service for years after 2665. It's making kind of a leap that firing the PTC as it was designed to do inherently causes a risk to the shooting ship. :)
Ah, I see. They stopped using the gun... and since the gun itself formed the keel of the Confederation class, there was no point in building more of the dreadnoughts. So while they wouldn't have retired the Confederations in service, they certainly wouldn't have bothered making new ones.
It's hard to say for sure. End Run mentions that it takes years to tool up to build a new carrier... so it's possible they would have kept constructing Concordia-class ships because they couldn't afford to stop. Or just modified later examples so they didn't have the gun. There's not really much we can extrapolate (we don't even know what was wrong with the gun in the first place...)
Just A thought what the TCS-GARGATUAN might look like.


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I like how you've reimagined the idea of the bridge being physically separated from the gun barrel.

And, is that a hangar deck on the ventral side?
Having a small hangar deck for maybe 2 squadrons of scout/interceptor craft (e.g. a Tigershark squadron and a Wasp squadron) would be good for defense, even though a Behemoth-class would probably have a destroyer squadron with it for its normal escort as well.
Yeah I always thought of a bridge design as not a part of original project - it seems logical that the constructors focused on the gun first, and crew quaters were to be added later - and when the decision was made to rush Behemoth out of dock they just installed it last minute with wonderglu and ductape
From a game design perspective, the purpose of a Confed capital ship is to get into trouble so the player and their fighter have to save the day. (Or, in the case of the Behemoth, the failure to save the day is part of the story.) Capital ships - both friend and foe - can never have enough turrets, shields or fighter cover, or the game would be pointless. We'll never fly a mission where the fighter jockeys mess up and the capship gunners save the day. Well, that's exactly what we see in that SO2 cutscene. Anyway, because of what we do in the games, it always feels like Confed could solve all its problems just by welding a flight deck and fighter squadron onto everything down to and including transports.

The military history of the 20th century shows that any jack of all trades is most definitely a master of none. Atlantic convoys during the Second World War consisted of transports, destroyers and (if you were lucky) an escort carrier. They didn't contain 20 identical ships carrying some cargo, a moderate sized gun, a few depth charges and one plane each.

Meanwhile, those aircraft needed vast quantities of fuel and parts. This is clearer than ever in the 21st century, where fighters require many hours of maintenance per hour of flight time, and bombers often receive multiple mid-air refuelings to avoid storing the bombers and bombs in harm's way. Even if an airplane saves some lives on the front, how many lives were lost transporting its fuel and parts?

In the 27th century, with technobabble weapons against technobabble shields, you can of course ignore inconvenient aspects of ancient history if they make the game more fun. However, I submit that Wing Commander remains more fun if:
  1. Capital ships remain specialized.
  2. Capital ships continue to suffer annoying malfunctions, forcing the player's fighter wing to save the day.
  3. It's logistically impossible to keep enough fighters in action on the front.
This doesn't excuse escort missions that go past 'fun' and into 'annoying and unfair' territory. I also wouldn't complain if once - just once - it was a Kilrathi carrier that suffered a catastrophic flight deck malfunction, so the player is sent to break through its escorts and destroy it before the damage can be repaired.

Meanwhile, considering that the Confederation class is built around the PTC, it's a little odd that the player never escorts to Concordia forward to destroy a major installation with it. Possibly the real flaw in the design is not the PTC but the flight deck. Remove the fighters, add still more engines, and send it to hit and run with fighter support from a separate carrier. Yes, it would eventually be overwhelmed and destroyed, but it would cause a lot of trouble in the meantime. This goes double for the Behemoth. Give it enough armor and shields, yes - but it should not be weighed down with a flight deck and fighters that could just as easily be carried by its escorts.