A recent development, the Doombat has emerged from lessons learned during the second Unhuman War. While depowered Flitters have long served the Imperial Elven Navy well as fighters, they lack large weapons to damage enemy vessels, and instead rely on carried archers and wizards to kill enemy crews. This tactic did not work as well against the scro attackers as it has against most enemies of the elves, since scro ships tend to have few exposed decks, thus providing few targets. Against other enemies with enclosed vessels (like the illithids and the neogi), the elves typically pounded their ships at range with the medium weapons of their larger vessels. Unfortunately for the elves, the scro Mantis was specifically designed to fight elven vessels, and is usually capable of closing with an opposing elven craft, and then doing horrific damage at close range with its grapples and razors. The elves needed a small fighter craft capable of damaging an enemy ship without crashing into it in a suicide attack.
The result of this need is the Doombat. Designed as a heavy fighter, the Doombat is able to out-maneuver scro ships (and, with its boat helm, it can usually out-run them as well), and also cause significant damage on close passes with its greek fire projector. Importantly, the design of the Doombat's integrated weapon pods allows them to be rotated quickly and easily to face any enemy, which can often spell the difference between victory and defeat.
Doombats are much larger than Flitters, and therefore take significantly longer to grow, although they can still be grown much more quickly than any other elven ships. Since they are so new, and since elven shipyards have already been pushed beyond capacity, Doombats are rare ships, and are currently exclusively used by the Imperial Elven Navy. Not even friendly elven organizations such as the Sindiath Line, or regional elven kingdoms are allowed to purchase Doombats.
A Doombat typically carries a full 5 elves: one pilot and four weaponeers. If possible at least one of the weaponeers will also be a mage or priest who can serve as a backup helmsman or magical support in combat as needed. The pilot of a Doombat is also its captain, and will typically be a young, brave, and ambitious elven fighter/mage who burns to strike back at the scro and their allies. The rest of the crew will typically have similar attitudes, and will often be amongst the most elite warriors available. Doombat crews are often considered to be too wild and unpredictable by their superiors, however these very traits make them useful in the role for which the ship was designed.
Ship Uses Edit
Heavy Fighter: The primary purpose of the Doombat is to serve as a heavy fighter, attacking enemy ships with or without the support of Flitters and larger elven ships. In this role, Doombats are usually carried by larger elven ships, either Men-o-War or Armadas, and do not tend to operate inependantly. Doctrine calls for Doombats to be deployed in pairs, and it is believed that this doctrine has gone a ong way towards keeping losses very low. If a Man-o-War carries Doombats, it will not carry more than two of the rare craft (typically the Doombats will be lashed underneath the base of the Man-o-War's wings), while an Armada equipped with the ships will not carry more than four (each Doombat carried will replace five Flitters).
Blockade Runner: In some cases, Doombats have been used in enemy-controlled space for quick insertions and extractions of key personnel or equipment. The small ship can easily slip past virtually all enemy patrols, and is fast, agile, and well-armed, giving it an excellent chance of succeeding in its mission even if a patrol does catch it. The success of the Doombat in these military missions has piqued the interest of many smugglers, who would dearly love to get their hands on one for themselves.
Other Configurations Edit
Boombat: One experimental version of the Doombat mounts a pair of bombards in its weapons pods (reducing cargo capacity to a single ton). Field tests have shown the so-called Boombat to be a deadly and demoralizing attack craft, however it is unlikely that the IEN will produce any further Boombats. This is because fully half of the prototypes have been lost after their powder magazines exploded in battle. Nevertheless, the giff have expressed interest in these ships.