Why are jump points never heavily defended?

dacis2

Spaceman
I've been reading David Weber's Starfire-verse, and I was wondering. Wing Commander Jump points are rather small areas of space, no? So why not fort up the whole place, shove mines, turrets, stations everything around them?
 

Confed

Commodore
Good point! It was done on DS9 to keep the dominion out of the alpha quadrant

Huh? Sorry about the double post, I don't know how that happened
 

Primate

Spaceman
Good idea but I remember that in one or more of the books (Action Stations, False Colors?) it says that the actual points keep shifting around some. I don't know if it is over a large enough area to matter, though.
Also, turrets and stations could get a bit impractical because there are a lot of jump points (in DS9 there was just the one) you might not be able to have enough defenses at any number of important points to matter. Mines might be good though (like McAullife, but different ;)).
 

LeHah

212 Squadron - "The Old Man's Eyes And Ears"
dacis2 said:
I've been reading David Weber's Starfire-verse, and I was wondering. Wing Commander Jump points are rather small areas of space, no? So why not fort up the whole place, shove mines, turrets, stations everything around them?

Many jump points are defended in such ways - but the problem remains that while the jump node may be there, the "entrance" and "exit" point from the point may move, making defense a somewhat iffy subject.
 

ChrisReid

Super Soaker Collector / Administrator
Right, as people pointed out, the jump points are a product of gravitic phenomenon, so they shift as the different bodies in the system orbit. In some places they will be more stable than others, and we do ocassionally see very well defended points. The Confed Superbase that defends the Ella -> Talos tunnel in WC4 is a good example of this. Another aspect to consider is that jump points are not necessarily the most stragetic location to place your base. If every point had a pile of mines/turrets/stations around it, then the enemy would just float a few gigantic bombs through the node to clear the way in advance of its fleet.
 

dacis2

Spaceman
ChrisReid said:
Right, as people pointed out, the jump points are a product of gravitic phenomenon, so they shift as the different bodies in the system orbit. In some places they will be more stable than others, and we do ocassionally see very well defended points. The Confed Superbase that defends the Ella -> Talos tunnel in WC4 is a good example of this. Another aspect to consider is that jump points are not necessarily the most stragetic location to place your base. If every point had a pile of mines/turrets/stations around it, then the enemy would just float a few gigantic bombs through the node to clear the way in advance of its fleet.

Of course, you could deploy your defences slightly further away from the jump point...

But the main problem is them shifting. Got it.
 

Haesslich

Spaceman
dacis2 said:
Of course, you could deploy your defences slightly further away from the jump point...

But the main problem is them shifting. Got it.

There's also the fact that static defenses are relatively useless after a time - the Kilrathi had ships that acted as minesweepers going through jump points during fleet actions - that and the practice of having destroyers and corvettes jumping ahead would mean that the defenses would be relatively useless; they could be bypassed if they were far enough from the jump point since the targets were the planets where valuable industries were, and so this would mean that it'd be easier to concentrate defenses at these locations.
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
I'm loathe to admit that I know such things, but Mr. Weber deals with the exact same issue in his Honor Harrington books -- stationary forts are a huge expenditure of men and material who could be fighting the war elsewhere. They're great if you know exactly how the enemy is going to attack... but they're a resource-eater when you don't.

In Wing Commander there are tens of thousands of jump points. In the game's Pacific War analogy, they're beaches -- and you can't build a major fort at every beach in the world.

Certainly, we see protected jump points... look at Pegasus in the Wing Commander movie or Ella in Wing Commander IV -- although in these cases the forts seem to be deployed to cover the entire *system*, blocking traffic from point to point. Systems are islands in our analogy, and you can't launch your Space B-29s against the next one until you've captured the orbitals.

There are lesser methods for protecting jump points... heck, a vast majority of Wing Commander is patroling jump points in fighters. We see minefields deployed, we see special buoys with armaments, we see manned turret mines... but in all of these cases there's an immediate response that negates doing it in the first place -- your minefield may slow the enemy advance down a bit, but it won't hurt them... they can push a minesweeper through.

At the same time, they're going to slow *you* down if you want to use your own jump point... so you don't deploy minefields everywhere and hope you won't need that point and the enemy will. (That is to say, you don't mine the streets of San Francisco because you're worried the Japanese might invade someday. You wait until it happens.)
 

Primate

Spaceman
Bandit LOAF said:
...your minefield may slow the enemy advance down a bit, but it won't hurt them... they can push a minesweeper through.

Just curious, any idea how the minesweepers in wing commander work?
 

Haesslich

Spaceman
Primate said:
Just curious, any idea how the minesweepers in wing commander work?

Given that shield technology exists, I suspect they could use heavily shielded ships, or ships that can project shields ahead of them to detonate mines before carriers and cruisers come through the point... among other things. As it's been noted here, static defenses don't tend to work too well due to the variables involved (jump exit point, direction of travel to planetary targets constantly changing). It's usually easier to put bases or defenses on the targets in question (such as planetary defense centers) or on moons or locations close to the target (such as the moon base at Vukar Tag in End Run being in a good position to intercept ships headed to and from the jump point).
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
We don't know, but we do know that both sides use transports as minesweepers -- we see Clydesdale and Dorkathi-class minesweepers during the course of WC2.

You can speculate based on that -- do they scoop up all the mines, perhaps? Or do they use all the space in the transport hulls for special equipment? It's anybody's ball game.
 

overmortal

Bearded Person
I always assumed that they'd send in a cheap, expendable ship to simply shoot the mines. If a Clydesdale with little/no cargo gets lost in a minesweeping accident, that's an 'acceptable loss' in the face of a potentially much larger goal, right?
 

Delance

Victory, you say?
Well, I agree with the idea that having a "space fortress" to defend jump points would be a bad idea. Wing Commander is all about mobible warfare. It's far too easy to "outmaneuver" a statationary target.

The Ella example is great. The only reason the Intrepid has to try to go past it it's because there's absolutely no other way. It's an exception, not the rule.

When Confed fleet has to race to get to Sol before the Kilrathi on the movie, then there'a a reason to protect a jump point. Not with a station, but by parking the whole fleet around it. The reason they do that is because they know when and how the Kilrathi are jumping. Another exception.

Now, something comes to mind. When one say lay mines, can its own ships navigate the minefield safely? Does the mines have an FF device, or target anything that comes near?
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
Nope, large scale fields of simple mines will cut up Kilrathi fighters when you engage in them.

There are more specialized mines, like the individual missile-armed missile buoys in Academy, that are more complex... but the vast fields in WC1 and WC2 hurt everybody.

Both sides seem to have special minelayers for the task -- Coventry-type destroyers for the Confederation, Dorkathi for the Kilrathi.

(And a correction to the above, we *don't* see Dorkathi minesweepers -- just minelayers.)
 

Delance

Victory, you say?
One that that I wonder is why are some areas outside jump points (that we know) mined, anyway? And why do Halcyon order us there on WC1 so often?
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
Same reason Ella exists, I imagine -- it's the middle point in an important spaceway. A mine field is never going to kill an enemy ship of the line (except in extraordinary circumstances) -- they'll always exist only to delay movement.

If there's a minefield between jump point A and jump point B, it means all the ships moving between those points have to go in a triangle instead of a straight line... and you've only spent half as many mines as it would take to cover both points on their own.
 

Ijuin

Admiral
Fenris Ulven said:
Are the jumps point some kind of wormhole?


Pretty much. Jump Points are a kind of naturally occuring wormhole that form in the neighborhood of massive objects like planets, stars, black holes, etc., and join them together. Because they are tied to the gravitational fields of these bodies, they tend to move around as the planets and stars move in their orbits. A cataclysm such as a star or planet exploding can destroy the jump points linking to it (or else they might reconnect to a different location, perhaps in another nearby system).
 
Top