Naval Combat Evolution & Shipgirl Tactics of the Pre-Abyssal Era

adjusts glasses

Were you expecting a stereotypical Russian greeting? Well, where I come from, we get right into the matter of business. No need for pleasantries.

I am Sverdlov. I answer to Sverdlova, Svera, Ochki, and a number of others. Today I am helping Tautog with website since I have been hard at work cleaning STEC servers from infestation of dubious online dating software involving young maidens from back home in Soviet Union.

Tiny revolver? Yes, it is weapon. Of course we shipgirls typically do not get to choose what personal weapons we appear with. These weapons are unique in that they are essentially available on demand. I will never not have this Nagant revolver in the same way as Enterprise will never be in a situation without her bow.

Now. Of course. I am not here to talk about personal weapon. I am here to offer some clarification on matters pertaining to shipgirl combat.

Battle is primarily determined by distance and depth. Ever since humanity decided to throw rocks at each other, the concept of combat distance has been imprinted in our minds. What happened over the next thousands of years is that weapons evolved. We are able to hit our enemies from further and further away and our weapons become more accurate.

I should correct myself. Relatively more accurate.

Even by World War II, most ordnance simply missed their targets. The average circular error probable (the radius where your fired ordnance is likely to fall) from air units was about 3,300 feet. That’s a radius that’s forty times as tall as the Bolshoi Theater. Even visual range fighting was not much better. Taken to its logical extreme, the kamikaze – a human guided missile – had only a hit rate of 14%. That’s with a guy literally steering it to the targets.

So, what we learned was that at this time, you needed to generate a high volume of fire and concentrate it to a small area. This means that ideally you wanted to fire as fast as possible, and throw a lot of rounds at an opponent. Naturally this became very expensive (not to mention it was not particularly practical).

What happened then was technology evolved to compensate for this. Given the above concept of warfare, we – Soviets, Americans, and so on – realized at the same time that it did not matter how many shells you sent out. What matters is that the shells hit. In the same way, we soon realized that we only needed to send out so many shells or missiles to saturate the area “enough” so it hits.

Thus, the modern era of naval battles are fought using guided missiles. They are by and large very accurate. As missile defenses evolved to counter these missiles, the overall principle of battle holds. Fire enough missiles to overwhelm the opponent’s defenses. Anymore and it would just be a waste.

Hey, glasses! I’d like to point out that none of the surface warfarers took us seriously at first! 

Tautog? Hello! Um, aren’t you supposed to be –

Man, you Ruskies keep all the good stuff to yourself! This stuff is like beer! I love it!

Um, is that uh…


Anyways! So, to explain. I dunno much about the Russian side, but the US took guided munitions with some serious misgivings! They didn’t think much about its offensive potential. Naval aviation generally ignored air to ground guided weapons, and surface warfare decided that in the face of Russians with jets armed with missiles and guided torpedoes that they were going to build interceptors instead!

Meanwhile, you know, we had guided torpedoes by 1944! That’s before the war ended!

Um, Tautog. I thought you were taking a rest today?


…Anyways please continue.

Okay. So, in our current style of modern naval warfare, we no longer really depend on barrage-style attacks with unguided ordnance. We now have munitions that have a much better chance to actually hit their targets. Thus, if you can hit the opponent before they can hit you, you will win the fight.

How do you hit an opponent first? Simple. You detect them before they detect you, which means you fire first. Or, you have longer ranged weapons than they do, so you can hit them before they can hit you.

This is all sensible and we’ve discussed this before, but, against the Abyssal fleet, our current conventional naval forces are simply outmatched. Offensively, our vessels are at a significant disadvantage.

  • The Abyssals are far more mobile than even the fastest naval vessels in the modern era. Abyssal “burst” speeds have been documented to reach up to 75 knots as they “charge” towards the target in question. This makes it harder for even modern ordnance to hit their targets.
  • Prior to MERLIN, Abyssals are “invisible” to conventional radar and other electronic detection methods.
  • The Abyssals possess innately a “barrier” like field that negates or nullifies conventional ordnance fired at it.
  • The Abyssals possess extraordinary durability. Direct strikes on their “hardened” shells yield relatively poor effects. We have witnessed an Abyssal eating a full component of 3M45 with seemingly no effect. Our colleagues and comrades here in the US report similar observed effects.
    • While it is possible in theory to begin development of conventional ordnance carrying greater payloads, doing so would forcefully reveal the presence of the Abyssals to the general public and causing undesirable consequences such as global panic. As such, R&D efforts are primarily limited to the various shipgirl special operation groups at the moment. Furthermore, as you will see below, shipgirls currently fulfill the tactical requirements on the battlefield.
  • Some more advanced Abyssal units possess all sorts of abilities to disrupt and/or deny conventional weaponry. Our limited encounters have already shown Abyssals with decoy launchers and what appears to be active defenses (implicitly meant to counter shipgirl ordnance).
  • Finally, unlike conventional naval ships, all Abyssals can simply retreat below water. An Abyssal being targeted by a strong alpha strike may simply elect to go under for a period of time, which significantly reduces our capacity for follow-up strikes using conventional forces.

Conventional forces are also at a strong disadvantage defensively. Namely:

  • Abyssals wreck havoc on the physical and mental capabilities of any humans within the radius of engagement. Without additional fairy-derived protection, combat capabilities deteriorate within hours of initial encounter.
  • Abyssal munitions possess the same sort of “shielding” native to the Abyssals, rendering conventional anti-missile countermeasures and close-in weapon systems largely ineffective.
  • It does not take a significant number of shots scored from an Abyssal to disable or outright sink our conventional ships.
  • The ability for the Abyssals to strike from underwater adds an additional dimension to which we need to consider.
  • The significant size and strength of the Abyssals enable highly effective physical attacks. Even given our limited scope of engagement, it has observed where the Abyssal simply rammed the vessel in question or tore the ship apart physically.

As you can see, our conventional forces are at a significant disadvantage against these things. However, we are taking processes to address each of the issues at hand.

  • Coordination with STEC facilities and MERLIN significantly reduces the Abyssal intelligence advantage, reducing the chances where our forces are caught by surprise.
  • Active countermeasures are being developed. Though none have progressed significantly, many options are on the table.
  • Significant work has already been completed against Abyssal mental interference. We estimate that by the time the main invasion arrives this would no longer be an advantage.
  • We are actively improving the range and the power of our current weapon systems.

However, it must be said that the shipgirl force already provide many direct answers to these concerns raised. In particular, from an offensive perspective:

  • All shipgirls possess a significant array of weapons designed to fight at any range. Each individual is in essence a force on her own.
    • Carrier girls possess large fairy-based aviation squadrons which can engage multiple targets at any given moment. Many carrier girls possess an extraordinary array of close-in weapon equivalents which can be turned against incoming Abyssals at very close combat ranges.
    • Battleship girls possess large caliber weapons which annihilates most Abyssals encountered in a single salvo. They’re essentially walking strong-points of firepower.
    • Cruiser girls possess large arrays of specialist equipment, ranging from advanced detection measurements to markerlight equivalents to ASW arrays. Each cruiser girl is also armed with rapid fire caliber guns which allows for a tremendous amount of firepower at the cost of range.
    • Destroyer girls are nearly impossible to hit due to their very high effective combat speeds and can also be specialized for a number of tasks. Torpedoes are also a strong equalizer weapon shared with some cruiser girls and the subgirls.
    • Subgirls … well, Tautog, do you want to take this one?

Let’s see. We’re stealthy and basically impossible to detect. We can carry a decent combat load and snipe away at an Abyssal way before they even realize we’re there. We specialize in underwater combat, obviously. We’re pretty good as a group in actual melee tangles. If we aren’t actively fighting we can tail the Abyssals and provide up to date intel. Want me to say more?

Haha, well, thanks. Yeah. See. We’ve all got our roles to play. Additionally, however, I’d like to point out that shipgirls possess the following advantages in battle.

  • All shipgirl ordnance and weaponry render the Abyssal “barrier” useless, which strips away the Abyssal’s primary passive defense.
  • Shipgirl ordnance are specifically designed to counter Abyssals in question and possess excellent penetration capabilities. This is before taking into account specialist munition types.
  • Shipgirls themselves are protected by a sort of defensive “field” and can shrug off significant Abyssal attacks from range or melee.
  • Shipgirls possess superhuman agility, perception, and strength, rendering the Abyssal size and strength advantages much less significant. Their agility means that they can engage in “shoot and scoot” tactics and further hamper the Abyssal’s ability to target them.
  • Shipgirls are literally the size of human girls, and despite the Abyssal’s natural inclination to “sense” fairies, are harder for the Abyssals to detect. This advantage disappears if shipgirls are deployed in large numbers, but is otherwise maintained by specialized mechanisms on Avalon Naval base.
  • Shipgirls can deploy much faster than any conventional naval asset. They can be air-dropped or teleported onto the battlefield directly.
  • STEC is working on a recovery system which should be completed well before the Abyssal invasion, which reduces combat casualties and attrition significantly.

As you can see, the deck is significantly less “stacked,” to borrow an American expression. It is why we are currently experimenting with shipgirl combat doctrine.

Naturally! It’s why Mike says we can technically win the war with just subgirls! Not that we don’t need the rest of you or anything, teehee.

Haha, well, Tautog, you aren’t exactly incorrect. The very fact that the Abyssals can go underwater is a bit of a problem. Someone like me can obviously swim and take a knife to them underwater, but that would mean I’m not using most of my guns.

Right. But, you know, if I just fought on the surface, I’d rather have some of your guns, heh. 

Doesn’t Narwhal have a pretty good gun as part of her gear?

Yeah, but it’s still just one gun. When it comes to a straight-up shoot-out I’d want to have as many as I can, not less! Anyways sorry for interrupting!

Right. So, currently, one tactic we are developing is to address this question of the Abyssal attempting to delay engagements by hiding under water. Currently, the strategy is being pioneered by Cmdr. Yin, who advises that:

  • Shipgirls are not to be sent out on a combat mission unless all three dimensions of engagement are covered. Some aspect of air cover or MERLIN-based oversight is required, along with surface and below-surface support.
  • Each combat mission possess multiple ways of “flushing” the Abyssals from beneath the waves. These generally involve subgirls and some degree of surface or air-based ASW measures.
  • Shipgirls are instructed to be mindful of optimal combat distances and are encouraged to experiment in the field. In a slight deviation from STEC’s own tradition of engaging at maximum distances, optimal engagement distance is to be determined by command for each and every mission.

Under these current parameters, STEC’s mission remain successful, with all Abyssals encountered to date destroyed and the population at large unaware of the Abyssal threat. However, mission efficiency has improved tremendously. Shipgirls spend approximately half as much time in combat. More than half of all engaged Abyssals are destroyed on initial contact, a significant fourfold increase over the results from the previous decade. Injuries have been reduced to a minimum –

Yeah, Pam’s actually complaining that she spends more time in the lab as opposed to treating patients these days. Heh.

Of course. I imagine she must get a little bored performing routine health duties right?

We should get her to talk about the next part. She’s the medical specialist, after all.

Da. Let’s go find the cute blonde doctor. We’ll be back!