Title Posted
Hyper transits Apr 2009
Hyper translation Apr 2009
The Fourth Empire's missing ships Apr 2009
Status of the Grand Alliance as of the start of <em>In Death Ground</em> Apr 2009
How do you pronounce 'Dahak'? Apr 2009
Why does towing pods decrease ship acceleration? Apr 2009
Firing through a drive band Apr 2009
Naval blockades Apr 2009
The rationale for the Theisman Buildup Apr 2009
Aftermath of the Terran Civil War Apr 2009


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Pearls of Weber

A collection of posts by David Weber containing background information for his stories, collected and generously made available Joe Buckley.

Q-ships as convoy escorts/raiders

  • Series: Honorverse
  • Date: October 22, 2002

What about Wayfarer-style Q-ships for commerce protection? Or for commerce raiding?

I think you can take it for granted that there will be some use of "armed merchant cruisers" for commerce protection, and in many ways the ships so used will, indeed, have several points in common with the Trojans like Wayfarer. It's unlikely that the RMN will be building a great many purpose-built ships for this particular role, but it is certainly not beyond the realm of possibility that they will introduce somewhat similar weapons fits -- or, at least, the ability to do some pod-laying -- into military auxiliaries and freighters. The problem is that for most purposes, a Q-ship is simply not as cost effective over the long-haul as, say, a Roland-class destroyer would be. The ships are not going to be able to handle as much automation, unless they are purpose-built as Q-ships from the keel out, and building a "military hull" Q-ship is going to be about as expensive as building a light or heavy cruiser of comparable tonnage [in all probability, David meant 'comparable combat capability' - Ed]. Quite probably more expensive. So it's extremely unlikely that any navy as strapped for warships as the Manty Navy is at this particular time is going to invest any large amounts of money, yard capacity, or crew personnel, in Q-ships. As a commerce raider, an armed merchant cruiser on the Wayfarer model, or with a somewhat more austere weapons fit, would probably be quite effective, at least until word that Q-ships were being used got out. They would be more likely to be able to get into effective range of individual merchantmen or convoys and their escorts before opening fire, and they ought to have a lot of endurance. Still and all, though, it would probably make more sense in terms of both the expense and the resources committed for most navies to go ahead and use regular warships for the same purpose.