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Fleet strength

Written: 2000.06.13

The Federation dedicated a significant portion of its forces (two complete fleets) to an attack on DS9 in an attempt to regain control of the wormhole during the Dominion war. This task force consisted of roughly 600 ships, including fighters. Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that the Federation possessed no more than a few thousand ships at the time. This is also consistent with dialogue from Way of the Warrior which established that a Klingon attack force comprised over a third of the Klingon military, and that the very first wave of the attack would consist of over a hundred ships. If we assume that there are several waves (three or four) it logically follows that the Klingon fleet is from 1000-2000 ships.

(E1701 here) Few problems with this. Fighters do not make up as significant a portion of Fed fleets as TIE's do in Empire fleets. Applying an Empire fleet basis to Fed fleets shows faulty logic, since all visual refrences in thos episodes shows very few fighters, and mainly capital ships.

I was waiting for them to use this one. Of course, it's a strawman attack. Nowhere do I claim that the Federation uses as many fighters as the Empire. I merely note that the 600-ship count does include fighters. They don't need to have dozens of fighters for every capship; even if they only have one fighter for every two capships, that's still 200 out of 600 "ships" which are actually fighters. The real point is that the Federation counts fighters as "ships" while the Empire does not. He cannot answer that point, so he evades with straw.

Assuming that 600 ships are a significant part of the entire Fed fleet is also a mistake. DS9 was not a particularly important place in the Federation until the Dominion War began in earnest. At the time of that episode, DS9 was still a footnote in the Federation, notable only for its position near the only stable wormhole known. Logically, the Federation would not send fully half of their fleet to recapture the station as MW proposes.

This one made me laugh because it was so transparent. Yes, it was inevitable: an outright lie. I can't believe he actually thinks he can convince us that DS9 was just a "footnote" to the Dominion War! At the time, DS9 was absolutely critical to the war efforts of both sides! The war actually began over the minefield laid at the mouth of the wormhole, and that minefield kept the Dominion from receiving Gamma Quadrant reinforcements that would have easily turned the tide of the entire campaign! He just doesn't want to admit that 600 ships is a significant portion of the Federation fleet, so he must desperately fight to pretend that the battles at DS9 weren't that important. Anyone who believes that obviously never watched DS9.

Perhaps he missed the episode immediately before "Sacrifice of Angels", in which Weyoun angrily asked "Two large enemy fleets break off from the front lines and rendezvous at a starbase and you have no idea why?" Pretty strange way to react when a small and insignificant group of ships moves about, isn't it? How about "A Time to Stand", in which Doctor Bashir reports news of the seventh fleet? What was it he said? Oh yes, he said: "out of 112 ships, only 14 made it back." In other words, the Seventh fleet originally numbered 112 ships. This fleet was used to attack the Dominion at one point, so what makes our friend think that 600 ships is a puny fleet in Star Trek?

The Klingon fleet problems apply as well. Who is to say there weren't dozens of waves of attack, or that the Klingons were using one third of the local fleet, not their entire fleet. If Starfleet is subdivided into various fleets, it stands to reason that so are the Klingons. However, this is all a matter of semantics.

This one is a particularly cheap tactic: semantic nit-picking. "One third of their entire military" is a fairly simple statement, and not easily re-interpreted. At least he seems to realize how weak this argument is, since he acknowledges that he's just playing games with semantics. Even if we have no explicit dialogue, we do have simple logic: does anyone seriously believe that the Klingons would declare war on a major enemy without dedicating a significant proportion of their military forces to the task?

(Alyeska here) Again, he is not paying attention. In the begining of "Way of the Warrior" the first fleet scene at DS9 was infact 1/3 of the entire Klingon fleet. How ever when the Klingon forces had attacked DS9 this was AFTER they had declared war on Cardassia. I scincerly doubt that the Klingons would abandon their entire attack upon Cardassia and pursue the Defiant to DS9. Further evidence shows that the fleet attacking DS9 could not have been 1/3 of the fleet. If the Klingons had trully lost an entire 1/6 of their fleet attacking ONE space station, then what good is that fleet? If any space station could be so heavily armed then attacking planets would be suicide. Further more such heavy losses would have allowed the federation to fight off the Klingons better in ensuing days and the dominion war would have gone differently.

Naturally, it's another strawman attack. According to this "Alyeska" person, I claimed that the Klingons dedicated a third of their military to the attack on DS9. However, if you go back and read my quoted text, you will find that I made no such claim. I was describing the Klingon attack on the Cardassian Empire. I never even remotely hinted that the Klingons pulled the entire fleet back from Cardassia in order to attack DS9.

E1701 already pointed out the errors with the fighters. Another item to take into account that both fleets in this engagement had seen prior service in the war and were down on strength from normal numbers. Given the losses taken in the battle for DS9 (about 1/2 the fed ships were lost) I would assume that similar numbers of ships were lost prior to attacking DS9.

Ah, the leap in logic. Preferred weapon of mentally deficient debaters everywhere. He claims that half of the combined fleet was destroyed during the attack on DS9, although I've seen "Sacrifice of Angels" and there are no more than 10-20 confirmed kills, so he's arbitrarily multiplying the observed kills by an order of magnitude.

In any case, let us ignore his obvious lies and continue: he concludes that therefore, the fleet must have taken identical losses before attacking DS9. But why? What twisted rule of logic demands that every wartime fleet suffers equal losses before and during each major battle? If we use his bizarre reasoning, Admiral Yamamoto's fleet must have lost at least four carriers before the Battle of Midway because they lost four carriers during the Battle of Midway. Yes, some engagements resulted in heavy losses for the Federation (although not as heavy as he seems to think). But some of them must have gone the other way as well, or the Federation would have lost the war in months.

Now given that 178 were partial rebuilds (not only from older scrapped ships but also ones with sever damage so my count is actually going to be low) that leaves you with 422 ships. two fleets so that means 211 ships per fleet. Now assume 1/2 losses as in the battle for DS9 (the episode that section 31 came in on had a quote that some battles had fed forces taking 80% losses, so 50% losses is being generous) that means each fleet had originally started at 422 ships. That means of the ships attacking DS9, before that engagement there had been an additional 422 ships, or in other words those two fleets had been 1000 ships in strength when added together before the battle. But this is all assuming only ONE battle for these fleets before retaking DS9.

More leaps in logic. Not only does he assume with zero evidence that 300 ships were destroyed in "Sacrifice of Angels", but he goes on to assume that all of the all of the 178 ships mentioned in the DS9 TM were part of that particular task force. Reasoning? None. Evidence? None. He then assumes that since 50% losses were supposedly sustained in "Sacrifice of Angels", then 50% losses must have therefore occurred in every battle, therefore the two fleets in the task force originally numbered 1000. Why, oh please tell us why every battle should be assumed to result in 50% losses!

As an aside, those of you with the latest version Star Trek Encylopedia might wish to look up "Dominion". In that entry, it explains that "perhaps the greatest Starfleet losses occurred at the Tyra system, where Jem'Hadar forces destroyed some 98 Federation vessels". Quite a large drop from the large numbers being bandied about by Star Trek fans, isn't it?

If you recall as the war progressed the numbers of ships involved in each battle quickly dropped in numbers. The largest battles of the war were in the very begining and the very end. If you recall the attack on chintoka had only 1/3 the number of that that attacked to retake DS9. And whats better is that the forces taking chintokka were of 3 races, not two.

I'm not even sure what to call this one. He argues that since the fleet at one particular battle was smaller than the fleet at a much more pivotal (but earlier) battle, then we have canon proof that the fleets were suffering incredibly rapid depletion. The funny thing is that he admits the fleets at the end were just as large as the fleets at the beginning, which completely contradicts the point he's trying to (weakly) make.

Therefore, it takes 13 years for the Utopia Planitia shipyards to build 3 Galaxy Class starships, or slightly over 4 years per ship. It is sometimes assumed that these ships were constructed so slowly because they were prototypes, but the 13 year timeframe starts after the design is frozen, so it does not include all of the design time that would have greatly lengthened the project duration. Even if we assume that construction rates are doubled for subsequent starships of the same line, it would still take them at leasty 2 years to build a single GCS at a typical shipyard. There are 2 shipyards in the Sol system- the Utopia Planitia shipyards orbiting around Mars, and the Earth Spacedock shipyards orbiting around Earth.

(E1701 here) More problems here. There are most definitely more than two shipyards in the Sol system. In fact, there is Utopia Planetia (which can build more than one ship at a time), Spacedock (which can probably support construction of dozens at a time, based on the sheer size of spacedock). There are also McKinley Station, and San Fransisco Fleet Yards.

What does this look like to you? Well, I don't know about the nit-picking regarding the other shipyards, but where does he get off stating that Spacedock is a shipyard just because it's big? That sounds like a leap in logic to me. I don't see why size must denote shipbuilding capability. We've never seen ships being built in Spacedock, the Encyclopedia doesn't describe any shipbuilding capabilities for Spacedock, and I've never heard even the most vague reference to Spacedock being a shipyard anywhere on the show. It has repair facilities, but we've never seen a ship being built in there.

As for his other "problems", you may notice that he "corrects" my statements, but he doesn't explain where he got his information. Does he mention which episode he saw it in? What line of dialogue led him to this conclusion? Did he mention seeing it in the TM? In the Encyclopedia? None of the above. He simply declares that his information is more reliable than mine without even hinting as to why. So what do we have? Yup, you guessed it- unsupported claims. As for the reason I didn't count San Francisco Yards and Earth Station McKinley as two separate shipyards, you may notice that San Francisco Yards is referenced in the TOS era but never in the TNG era. Earth Station McKinley is referenced in the TNG era but never in the TOS era. Therefore, I had concluded that San Francisco Yards was eventually renamed into Earth Station McKinley. If anyone has more information about this, please let me know. But be sure to state your source, unlike our friend here.

Note: Alyeska eventually produced an actual source for part of this claim, since the DS9 TM says that some of the smallest ship classes are assembled at Earth Spacedock. It would be nice if they did this in the first place, but in any case, when you see the source, you can understand why they didn't mention it before. It says that entire ship classes are built at certain shipyards, so that all the Galaxy class ships come from Utopia Planitia, all the Defiant-class ships come from Antares shipyards, etc. This obviously puts a big hole in their argument that there are dozens or hundreds of shipyards around the Federation, building fleets of ships.

As for construction on the Galaxy class ships, there were four to start with, not three, and obviously, four prototype ship designs built simultaneously will push the yards to its limits.

Here we go with those unsupported claims again. I produce excerpts from the TM to support my conclusions, but what does he produce as evidence? Nothing. He doesn't even mention the name of his source.

By the time of the Dominion War, the are dozens or more Galaxy Class ships in the fleet, and if construction really took a full two years per ship, there would not be so many of them a mere 7 years after the Enterprise was commisioned. And that is not counting the yards taken up with newer starship designs like Defiant, Akira, and Prometheus.

He's got numbers, but if you take a good look, you may notice that there's no math. So let's examine our mathematically challenged friend's assumptions, shall we? He claims that the Federation could not have possibly built dozens of GCS's after 7 years if it takes two full years to build each one. Well now, if the Federation has, say, four shipyards with fifteen construction bays apiece, and they go full-bore on GCS production at 2 years per ship, my math shows that they could make 180 GCS's after 6 years, and they'd have 60 more GCS's about half-built. Obviously, there's no problem making "dozens" of GCS's after 7 years with a 2 year build schedule, even if we account for shipbuilding capacity diverted to other projects.

(Alyeska here) This is NOT true. The federation has Intrepid, Norway, Constitution varriants, Steamrunner, Miranda, Constellation, Sabre, and Oberth class ships. 4 of those ships listed are still in production and ALL are smaller then Nebula-class ships. There is Utopia Planitia Mars, McKinely Orbital spacedock, and Spacedock 1. Now in order for Spacedock 1 to be a ship yards it would have to be bigger then the one seen in ST3, ST4, ST5, and ST6. As to the size and number of ships that can be built at ship yards I refer you to a voyager episode (don't rember the name). It starts back several years and shows Janeway at Utopia Planitia. There were a dozen dock facilities with various ships inside them Further more you could tell from the angle that there were docking facilities still to the side of the screen. Further more on the building capacity of federation ships. There is a fleet ship yards at Antares IV, and a ship yards at starbase 134. Now in order for starbases to be ship yards they must be offly big to accomodate those ships.

This starts with a pointless nitpick with respect to the baseline size of Federation ships (I used Nebula, he listed a bunch of ships which are slightly smaller, although that doesn't really have any effect on the debate). The only interesting thing he has to say is that we get a good view of the Utopia Planitia facility in a Voyager episode and it appears to be capable of building many ships simultaneously. I didn't see the episode in question (I don't watch Voyager if I can help it), but if he is describing it accurately, that particular shipyard is large enough to build a dozen ships or more simultaneously.

However, it should be noted that Utopia Planitia is most likely the Federation's largest and most important shipyard. It is situated in the Sol system which is the seat of Federation government and Starfleet Command. It is referenced repeatedly throughout the Encylopedia while other shipyards are mentioned rarely if at all. It is the home of Starfleet's theoretical propulsion group. The Defiant was designed there. The Galaxy-class ships were designed there. The Enterprise-D was built there. In one of the alternate realities shown in "Parallels", we even discovered that the Cardassians had hijacked the Argus Array for the express purpose of spying on the Utopia Planitia ship yards from a distance; rather curious if shipyards orbit around every planet in the Federation, and even more curious if Utopia Planitia is not unusually large.

He also points out that there are four confirmed shipyard locations: Earth, Mars, Antares IV, and Starbase 134. But again, I'm mystified as to how this is supposed to disprove any of my estimates of Federation shipbuilding capacity, since a mere four shipyards doth not an Empire-busting fleet make, even if each one can build a dozen or more ships at a time. As an aside, it may interest readers to note that a search of the Encyclopedia also lists the Copernicus Ship Yards on Luna, for a total of five confirmed shipyards in the Federation. Still not too impressive in comparison to an Empire that can build a moon-sized battle station in less than a year.

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