The Great White Dreadnought is a recent ship design which looks very much like a shark. Open decks are visible on the head and back, while most of the ships tonnage in enclosed. The fins function as sails, with the large dorsal fin as a very large mainmast. The "mouth" of the craft acts as a grappling ram. It "bites" an enemy ship on a successful grapple attack, and has a 50% chance of sheering its target by tearing apart the sails and masts in the process. If the helmsman chooses not to grapple, the reinforced prow can also function as a blunt ram.
Although used by several human navies, the Great White has not enjoyed any great popularity, since it is fairly clumsy, and requires a large crew compared to most medium warships; and its weaponry and armour are not as heavy as those of most heavy warships. This makes it difficult for military forces to decide how to classify the Great White, although when used by a capable commander with appropriate support, it can be quite deadly. The fearsome appearance of the Great White has also sometimes led to the surrender of an enemy without combat, however most commanders prefer not to have to rely on appearances to win battles.
The total fighting crew of a Great White usually numbers about 60-70 men, although more are often carried if boarding actions are expected. While the exact organization of this crew varies depending on who is using the craft, most Great Whites are organized along military lines, with a relatively strict chain of command.
Ship Uses Edit
Battle Cruiser: Designed to battle the neogi Deathspiders which were increasingly becoming a threat in the known spheres, the Great White was introduced just in time to be put into action against the scro when the second unhuman war broke out. In some actions the Great Whites performed well, however most have been deployed singly, and this has frequently led to the ships being outmaneuvered by more maneuverable scro vessels using astute tactics. Relatively few Great Whites have been built, and yet a surprisingly large number have been lost to the scro. While this unenviable record is really due to the ships being used in situations to which they are not suited, it has resulted in a poor reputation for the Great White as a combat ship.
Scro Battleship: Ironically, the scro, who have been the primary target of attack by Great Whites, have taken a liking to the vessel. Many Great Whites have been lost to the scro in boarding actions, and these ships have been repaired and put to good use by their new goblinkin owners. In a typical deployment, a scro Great White will operate in tandem with a pair of more maneuverable medium-heavy warships (the scro Mantis is the most popular vessel for this role, but others are equally possible). The more maneuverable ships will attempt to herd an enemy vessel towards the Great White, which will then latch on with its grappling ram, allowing scro marines to pour forth onto the enemy ship. The success of these tactics has led some human commanders to reconsider the worth of the Great White.
Other Configurations Edit
Man-Eater: Some of the scro-operated Great Whites have been modified into this configuration, making them much more akin to most heavy warships. The Man-Eater upgrades its medium ballistas to heavy varieties, and replaces the medium catapults with heavy jettisons. In addition, the hull is thickened for increased protection. The resulting ship is AR 5, but has only 20 tons of cargo space. The Man-Eater is ideally suited to attacking the largest of enemy ships. As the name suggests, the Man-Eater has so far been used primarily against human enemies rather than against the elves. It is believed that this is due to the fact that the Man-Eater can be out-maneuvered by even the largest of elven vessels, making it less suitable for use against the primary foe of the scro.