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The Battle of Veridian III

I may be crucified for saying this, but after thinking about it, I believe Riker made a grievous tactical error at the Battle of Veridian III, which, had he played it differently, could have saved the Enterprise-D.

Riker’s strategy was to perform evasive maneuvers and essentially take pot-shots at the bird-of-prey.  This proved largely ineffective, as we saw by the massive damage to the Enterprise ultimately resulting in her destruction.

What he forgot was that the bird-of-prey is not a particularly tough ship.  They’re designed to be nimble and stealthy for quick hit-and-run attacks.  A Galaxy class starship will never out-run or out-maneuver a bird-of-prey at sublight speeds.  The Galaxy class, however, is a fairly durable design, often used as a staple in large fleet actions.

All things considered, when the first volley hit, MY orders would have been: forget the shields, divert all shield power and anything else we can spare to weapons and close to point-blank range, maintaining continuous fire.  The shields were worthless at this point, so why did Riker waste the energy to maintain them?  Diverting the shield power to weapons would’ve given the Enterprise a massive punch and would’ve collapsed the relatively weak bird-of-prey’s shielding quickly, and once that’s done, we’ve seen repeatedly how quickly a bird-of-prey can be torn to shreds by even a single photon torpedo.  Even if the bird-of-prey had opted  to out-maneuver the Enterprise with this strategy, they would have been giving the Enterprise a lot more room to breathe and (as the bird-of-prey’s weaponry only has forward firing arcs) wouldn’t have been able to maintain the near continuous fire on the Enterprise that they had during the battle.

Why did Riker, a trained, decorated and seasoned Starfleet officer not think of this, and I, while grocery shopping, did?  :(

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  1. May 3rd, 2011 at 19:42 | #1

    I have to say, I disagree totally.

    You’re forgetting an extremely important detail here: the Bird-of-Prey exploited the Enterprise’s shield frequency modulation to do a lot more damage than they would have done normally. The Bird-of-Prey fired and did significant damage with the leading hit, while the Enterprise’s retaliation did nothing.

    Also, you’re wrong about the Bird-of-Prey only having forward firing arcs. There are definitely aft torpedo launchers. If you recall (or rewatch) the torpedos were what were doing the most damage to the Enterprise.

    As for the shields, you have to remember that the Enterprise D was never designed to be a warship, and thus does not have any armor to supplement the shields. Without the shields, the Bird-of-Prey would have most certainly won.

    And although the Enterprise definitely outguns a Bird-of-Prey, they have tended to be rather tenacious ships who are often underestimated. For instance, at the outbreak of the Klingon Civil War, two Birds-of-Prey nearly defeated a Vor’cha cruiser, which should easily outgun two Birds-of-Prey. They were also very successful against the Jem’Hadar. During one such conflict, a Bird-of-Prey was ambushed by three Jem’Hadar craft and managed to escape in one piece. During that same battle, a single Bird-of-Prey overwhelmed the Cardassian outpost on Korma, disabling the planetary defenses and destroying every building.

    In contrast to the Enterprise’s lack of hull shielding, the Bird-of-Prey has a rather tough hull for its size. Even the most vulnerable spot, the underside of the hull, was able to withstand sustained fire from a Cardassian freighter with the shields down, and a system-5 disruptor took two shots to breach the hull.

    The reason you thought of it is because you’re not a seasoned Starfleet officer. Underestimating a Bird-of-Prey is a poor idea, especially when they initiate with such an advantage.

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