The Battle of Britain

Re:  "The Truth About Warp Maneuvering and Warp Strafing"


[Editor's note: this page claims that warp maneuvering and warp strafing are both standard practice and would give the Federation an insurmountable advantage over the Empire ... because Imperial ships will presumably throw away their enormous speed advantage to sit still for it :)]

No surprises here . . . Wong jumps to a conclusion without evidence.   He falsely claims that I say warp strafing is a standard practice.  I do not say that at all.  The page is designed to rebuke Warsie claims that warp maneuvering and warp strafing is impossible . . . hence the last line before the objections section, in which I refer to having pointed out "the nail in the coffin of the idea that it can't be done."  By demonstrating that it is possible, and that both have been done, I am not claiming that it is something which always occurs.   But, naturally, Wong chose to misrepresent that.  

Further, Wong's boast of an "enormous speed advantage" is untrue.  There is absolutely no suggestion in the canon for higher-than-warp hyperdrive speeds, and indeed there is evidence against such notions.  Wong conveniently ignores these facts, however, in favor of whatever the EU BS du jour is.   These claims will be dealt with in more detail on the Overview page.

It is reasonable to conclude that warp maneuvering is possible . . .  

That's an astonishing admission, given the sort of mortal combat required to get most Rabid Warsies to even bend to the notion.  (The most amazing arguments occurred on the topic occurred at ASVS, when some Warsies would finally admit (after exhaustive effort) that ships could turn at warp, and yet simultaneously claim that they could not maneuver!)

[Editor's note: I wouldn't let him off the hook so easily. The dialogue he wants to discard is not necessarily irreconcilable with observed warp maneuvering; it merely indicates that the safety factor is poor. The original cite from the Voyager episode "Fury" is:

JANEWAY: Tom, what's the first thing they teach you about maneuvering at warp?
TOM: "Faster than light, no left or right." When possible, maintain a linear trajectory. Course corrections could fracture the hull.
JANEWAY: Exactly. We'd have to drop to impulse every time we made a course change.

RSA uses some example of warp maneuvering to prove that this particular piece of evidence should be ignored. 

"Some example"?  I give multiple examples from thirteen episodes, including one from Voyager, that demonstrate that warp maneuvering is possible.   Within that list, we have a 180-degree "hard about" turn, a warp pivot, an incident of circling at TOS warp 10, and a ridiculously tight starboard 180.

And yet, we're supposed to believe that mere course corrections (say, such as the minor one engaged in by the Bozeman due to the destruction of a star in Generations) could fracture the hull, and thus they ought not turn at all?   

Note also that I already address this concept on my page, offering it as a possible rationalization but then deflating it by pointing out the flaws in the idea.  Naturally, Wong conveniently ignores the problems with such a notion, launching into the following:

Leaving aside the obvious fact that he would never allow "Warsies" to get away with something like this, I would point out that the dialogue from "Fury" merely says that it puts great stress on the hull, not that it's impossible. A slower ship, one which hasn't been battered as much as Voyager, one which can afford microfractures in its hull which will be repaired at starbase, or one which is simply more structurally sound by design would obviously have greater warp maneuvering ability than Voyager in this situation. 

Note Wong's "gentle manipulations" of the evidence.   Instead of mere course corrections fracturing the hull, as Tom states, Wong claims that warp maneuvering might stress the hull, or cause microfractures, and so on.  Further, he suggests in the last sentence above that the problem is probably Voyager-specific, when in fact the quote makes it clear that they are taught not to turn in the Academy, as the first thing one learns.   This is contrary to the turning examples provided, and contrary to Scotty's expression of dismay in "Elaan of Troyius" that they would not be able to engage in warp maneuvers.  

There is no need to throw the dialogue out the window, despite RSA's obvious desire to do so. It would appear that warp maneuvering places great stress on the ship, and like it or not, this is now canon evidence]

Both the quote, and Wong's manipulation of it to make it sound more tender, are contrary to the evidence and are to be ignored on that basis.  There is simply no way to justify the level of danger claimed (or, indeed, anything above a negligible level of danger), when you compare the quote to the rest of Star Trek. 

The Elaan of Troyus reference to warp-strafing is flimsy at best. The warp-strafe was never observed, and the Klingon ship was frequently reported to be at warp when in actuality the relative velocity between the two ships eliminates the possibility that the Klingon ship is actually at warp, during the pass. 

An absurd claim, based solely on the assumption that the Enterprise crew is composed of idiot incapable of telling the difference between warp and sublight . . . such ridiculous assumptions are a common haven of Warsies. 

Ossus evidently missed the previously-existing rebuttal to this notion, reprinted below:

2."Elaan of Troyius"[TOS]

Some Warsies have tried to claim that the Enterprise was not, in fact, warp-strafed by the Klingons in "Elaan of Troyius"[TOS]. Their reasoning involves the fact that at times, Sulu called out ranges in kilometers, and a starship at lightspeed could not have been at the slow speeds indicated by those ranges.

It is true that the Klingon ship wasn't always at warp, but there is clear evidence that at other times, it was. Take a look at the breakdown of the attack runs on the Enterprise:

First Pass:
Not a warp strafe
The Klingon ship approached at warp six, then apparently slowed down, allowing Sulu to make small incremental range callouts of about 10,000 kilometers per second. The Klingons did not fire, hoping the Enterprise would go to warp and blow herself to bits with the engines rigged.

(Elaan goes to sickbay. Changes clothes. Returns wearing dilithium necklace.)

Second Pass:
Not a warp strafe
The Klingon ship approached at sublight from 500,000 kilometers. Ten seconds later, they were at 300,000 kilometers, suggesting a speed of roughly 20,000 kilometers per second. Within a second of Sulu saying 100,000 kilometers, they fired, hitting the ship.

(Kirk orders Sulu to keep the forward shields to the Klingons.)

Third Pass:
Warp Strafe
The Klingon ship approached at a speed which Spock read as "greater than warp seven". Sulu did not call out ranges this time out. Kirk ordered Sulu to turn hard over as the Klingons approached, saying "he's going for our flank." The external shot showed the ship slowly drifting and turning to port. They were hit, apparently shot in the butt. The ship shakes.

(Possible extra pass here, since Spock says, a few seconds after the 3rd pass, "he passed us again, damage to our number four shield". But, no shaking happens. I can't imagine why Spock would say they'd been passed again, though, if everybody knew that. Another pass at this point would suggest a second warp strafing run, or else some impressive impulse maneuvering.)

(Dilithium found in Elaan's necklace.)

Fourth Pass:
Warp Strafe Likely
This attack run was given neither a range nor a speed, but it was clear that the Klingons were gunning for the number four shield, and the last time they were aiming for what Kirk was protecting, they warp strafed. Also, there is no indication that they slowed from the last run. Kirk orders Sulu hard to port, and the Enterprise turns very quickly, but they are still hit. Shields hold.

Note:  Sulu apologizes to Kirk for being unable to make the turn rapidly enough, saying that the Enterprise was simply too sluggish because she was at impulse.  This would certainly suggest that this was a second warp strafe event.

(Number four shield collapses. Impulse power at 31 percent. (Because of another shake-free strafe?) Kirk tries to stall for time while Scotty and Spock try to get the engines back online.

Fifth Pass:
Not a warp strafe
The Enterprise gets warp maneuvering power back online, Kirk plans to pivot at warp two and fire torpedoes. Sulu calls out the ranges, starting at 100,000 kilometers. Kirk orders Chekov to hold fire until minimum range. The Klingons pass, shooting just as shields are brought to full power. The Enterprise jumps to warp two and pivots (using the drifting-left shot from earlier, but much faster) and fires torpedoes, hitting the forward port areas of the Klingon ship. The Klingons withdraw.

As you can see, there was at least one, almost certainly two, and possibly three or four Klingon warp strafes in this episode. Further, if the Klingons did not accelerate to warp after what I call the 5th pass, then the Enterprise was at warp and warp-strafed them back.

[Editor's note: this is RSA's only observation of phaser warp-strafing (the rest is flimsy conjecture),

 . . . since, of course, Earth and Starfleet ships do not require warp engines to get to warp speeds (see the Woden example of a nacelle-free ship which Wong evidently believes can reach warp), et cetera . . . 

 but Sulu calls out the ship's range in kilometres as it approaches on strafing runs, and he has time to call out "ninety thousand, seventy thousand," etc. This would obviously be impossible if the ship is approaching at more than 300,000 km/s. Moreover, the fact that the Klingon ship was said to be maneuvering at warp despite the very low speeds reported by Sulu indicates that warp strafing must involve a brief drop to sublight for the actual engagement, and warp is only used for maneuvering between shots; keep this in mind when examining his other "examples" and flimsy rationalizations thereof]

This is a dishonest claim by Wong.  First, he presents the occurrences of range callouts as if they were always occurring, and pretends that these occurred when the Klingon ship was simultaneously stated to be at warp speed.  Next, he claims that the Klingons were always dropping from warp, despite absolutely no evidence for that view.  

If warp-strafing were possible in Star Trek, it would change the manner in which combat takes place from what we see. The oft-touted Picard Maneuver would be worthless, because it would be possible to avoid stopping within an opponent's frontal firing arc to attack the ship from behind.

This is not so much a dishonest claim as it is an ignorant one.   As seen in "The Battle"[TNG], the entire point of the Picard Maneuver is that, in sublight combat, you suddenly leap to warp and as rapidly drop out of it, presenting your opponent with the image of two starships.   Thus, it achieves surprise and confusion on the enemy ship, during which time you're blowing them away.  Dropping out of warp behind the enemy ship would defeat this purpose, and the act of circling around the ship (so as to present your forward weapons to the enemy's stern) would require additional time.   

This would be particularly invaluable to Star Fleet vessels, as they have considerably more rear-weapons than their opponents typically have,

... The hell?  The Constitution Class (i.e. the Enterprise and Enterprise-A) didn't even have rear torpedoes, unlike its Klingon counterpart.  Though the Miranda Class (i.e. the Reliant) of the same period does have aft torpedo coverage, we don't know what the Constellation Class (such as the Stargazer), also apparently designed in the same basic period, would've had in the way of aft weapons.  But, there's certainly no indication that the class had any in the scene below, from "Redemption"[TNG] (note the closed off rear sections of what appears to be the torpedo launchers, at the triple-connection point on the pylons):

Moreover, warp-strafing would make the armed space stations we see throughout the series completely worthless. If warp-strafing were possible, the Klingons and Dominion, during their attacks on Deep Space Nine in "Way of the Warrior" [DS9] and "Call to Arms" [DS9], the attacking forces should have used such tactics in order to render the station's defenses ineffective. 

An incorrect claim, wrong in at least two ways.   

First, as I state on the page in question, warp strafing has to be compatible with one's goals.  Ossus conveniently ignores that, and/or the events from the episodes he points out (and he's heard the extended version before . . . I guess he conveniently forgot that).  Obviously, if your goal is to capture a space station ("A Call to Arms", possibly also "Way of the Warrior") or retrieve something from it ("Way of the Warrior"), it would hardly be a good idea to go flitting about the thing at warp speeds, and risk a flawed transport when you try to board it.  

Second, Ossus presumes that starships engaged in warp strafing cannot, themselves, be hit by the weapons of Federation technology.  This is not my claim at all . . . I say it warp strafing is merely an advantage.  As seen in "Journey to Babel"[TOS], a starship can target an object moving at an extremely high relative speed (possibly as high as warp 8, depending on who was going which way), though there was not great success by the Enterprise in that episode (the Orion ship, however, seemed to have little difficulty).   In "Elaan of Troyius"[TOS], the Enterprise had no power to her weapons anyway due to the sabotage, and that is the reason she was unable to fire.  Kirk specifically asked for at least partial phaser power, but none was available.   Obviously, he expected to be able to mount some sort of counterattack.

This is the primary objection to warp-strafing, and is conveniently not answered or even addressed by Anderson's site.

Incorrect.   Had Ossus bothered to read or think, he'd have noticed that his examples used for the primary objection were already countered on my site.   Had he bothered to remember prior debates on the matter, he'd have known in advance that his objections were meaningless.  And finally, had he bothered to check the canon, he'd have noted that warp strafing does not equal invincibility for the attacker . . . at least, not against ships of a Federation technology level.  

Imperial ships, on the other hand, are not known to be able to track faster-than-light vessels in realspace (heaven forbid that the strafer drop on them vertically, too!), nor would their slow bolt weapons be able to travel the required distances in the required time to do anything of value against a warp strafing starship. 

I would also like to note that Ossus utterly ignores the various other points demonstrating warp strafing capability made on the page.  What's so "definitive" about this rebuttal again?


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