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? 🙁