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Dreadnaughts, sometimes jokingly referred to as deadnaughts are the ultimate in force projection. They use a series of spinal cannons[1] to create corridors of withering fire across the battlefield and even the Battleships struggle to withstand that kind of punishment. Their engines are unusually weaker than expected, but they make up for this by having an impressive turning speed and, given where most of their guns are mounted, this allows them to lay down death on any ship foolish enough not to get out of the way.

Like Battleships they struggle to bring their guns to bear at close range[2], but unlike Battleships their flanks are given over the intermediate and short range guns and this makes them damn near impossible to attack with anything short of your own Dreadnaught. Speaking of which, Dreadnaughts attacking Dreadnaughts is kind of like Cruisers on steroids, and is pretty much the only human event ever to illuminate the dark side of a planet. What they do is turn and face each other as rapidly as possible, fire as many shots as they can while the guns are lined up, then swing round to take the returning battery on the flanks and rinse and repeat. Whoever takes a direct hit to the main guns first almost invariably loses. Well, they always have lost historically but it technically isn’t a certainty. Theoretically you could still win, but as there were only two dozen Dreadnaughts built in human history no ones yet pulled that particular trick off.

In battle… no wait, what am I talking about? They are the battle, fully capable of taking down scores of enemy ships before succumbing and are in no way vulnerable to a fighter shooting them up the exhaust port. Their biggest flaw is actually inefficiency, as comparatively little of their tonnage is given over to direct weapon systems as it is so far away from this surface. Instead this area will usually house fleet support systems, full salvage yards and maybe even construction facilities. Without a doubt they will hold hundreds of Corvettes and the landing bays are actually large enough that Fighter duels have taken place inside them. These ancillaries are fairly useless in a battle so really it would be more cost effective to have a larger number of smaller vessels with more guns per tonne, but the tactical and physiological impact of Dreadnaughts can not be underestimated.

The record number of Dreadnaughts in a single system was actually five, only two of which were on the same side, and none of them actually survived the engagement. Nor anything else really for that matter.

[1] These are guns mounted on the ships backbone, i.e. are not turreted and always point in the same direction the ship does.

[2] Given that the cannons themselves are actually bigger than a lot of ships this is not actually that surprising.


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