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Destroyers come in late on the combat scene and are designed for the ‘ships of the line’ role that was so woefully filled by Frigates previously. They are built along the ethos of a gun for every quadrant[1] and so are on the few ships that simply don’t get flanked; while admittedly they are weaker from the rear, this is offset by the sheer number of guns and the fact they tend to travel in packs. Their manoeuvrability has suffered for this though, with a lower turning thrust to mass ratio than the smaller classes but they have a significantly higher tonnage for weaponry[2] and this makes them difficult to get near too, let alone outmanoeuvre.

This makes Destroyers ideal line breakers; they use their considerable straight line acceleration[3] to charge the enemy formation, firing at as many targets as possible and generally causing chaos, and then get in amongst them where they can get the a ship in every gun sight. Their sturdy frame gives them the staying power to withstand the fire fight, and generally if your Destroyers start going down in droves it’s a good sign that it may be time to pull out. They do have a slight weakness against Frigates that have managed to get behind them as their guns are not tuned to dealing with ships at extreme ranges, on the other hand they will tear though a wing of frigates if they can get in close so they battle is won or lost by the commanders, not the captains.

Destroyers do have this nasty habit of being exactly where you don’t want them, the aforementioned engines give them a lot of tactical speed, but the large turn times tend to hobble them. This means that as a commander your destroyers are always pointed in the wrong direction[4]. On the other hand while fighting them they always out perform your expectations and end up right in the thick of your formations and tearing though your support vessels.

This gives them a little bit of a wild card attitude, but in reality it is a sign of a commander’s skill. They are pretty simple in concept[5], but actually using them effectively is a rare talent, and more than a few battles have been lost because the commander didn’t deploy the Destroyers properly. One of my personal favourite tricks with Destroyers is using a snap jump, where you engage the target, Jump out a corvette with coordinates to a waiting destroyer squadron and have them Jump into the thick of things. Admittedly this trick fails more often than it succeeds, but as it’s essentially a sneak attack in space you have to give it credit.

Authors Note: Just a quick bit on scale. You may notice that I’ve been increasingly referring to tactics with the later classes. This is due to relative importance of a vessel. When there are nearly five hundred Fighters in a standard fleet each one’s importance to the commander is pretty much negligible, but there will only be something like twenty Destroyers and so each one is much more valuable.

[1] The ratio is generally for every three forward guns there are two pointing either side and one pointing backwards.

[2] It’s an old captain’s trick but if you fire the guns on the side away from your target you can effectively boost your turning speed. Please remember to check your arcs are clear before you do so though.

[3] This isn’t quite what the corvettes and frigates can achieve, but it’s significantly better than any of the larger vessels.

[4] Though this may be because no one in their right mind attacks them from the front.

[5] Charge into the thick of things and don’t stop shooting until they’re dead.


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