"Give Me Ramming Speed!"- Kamikaze Attacks in Sci-Fi Film & TV (spoilers for all)

Discussion in 'Archive: SF&F: Films and Television' started by The2ndQuest, Jan 11, 2008.

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  1. The2ndQuest Tri-Mod With a Mouth

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    If you are approaching a target at speed X, you still have a chance to
    peel away at the last moment. If you are approaching a target at the top
    speed your engines can provide, such that you cannot turn away or be
    deflected, that's speed Y. Speed Y is ramming speed.
    -JMS


    A tactic seen a few times fairly recently, and multiple times over the decades, is still one of my favorites to watch- afterall, who doesn't like seeing big stuff crash into other big stuff? (ok, not counting 9/11, but you know what I meant!)

    So, in addition to cataloging instances where this tactic is used (restricted to film & TV and maybe video games), feel free to discuss what you think about it's use- is it overused, underused, just right? What've been your favorites?

    (and, as a final warning, there will be SPOILERS involved here, of varying severity, for many franchises, including BSG, B5, SG-1, SGA, ST & more, so proceed at your own risk)


    For starters, I'll name a few off the top of my head and get some of the more obvious ones out of the way:

    -Arvel Crynyd's A-Wing collides with the Super Star Destroyer Executor, Return of the Jedi (though it's hard to say how much of it was intentional ;) )
    -Earthforce Destroyer rams a Minbari Sharlin cruiser, Babylon 5: In the Beginning
    -The Churchill rams another Omega-class destroyer, Babylon 5
    -The Victory rams a Shadow Planet Killer, Babylon 5 : A Call to Arms
    -A Dominion ship rams into the Galaxy-class Odyssey, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
    -The Enterprise-E rams the Nemesis, Star Trek: Nemesis
    -Goa'uld Ha'tak-class Mothership rams an Ori Mothership, Stargate SG-1
    -Original Raiders kamakazi Battlestar Pegasus, Battlestar Galactica: Razor
    -Battlestar Pegasus rams a Basestar (or two ;)), (new) Battlestar Galactica
    -Wraith Hive Ship crashed into Wraith cloning facility (Stargate Atlantis)

    I know there's gotta be quite a few I'm forgetting, so let's have 'em!
  2. Rogue_Ten Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 18, 2002
    star 7
    lol Somebody watched the new Atlantis tonight. :p

    Here's my contribution:

    SG-1: Cronus' captured Ha'tak rams Apophis' planet, (Delmak), with Apophis and a bunch of replicators on board.
  3. timmoishere Force Ghost

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    Jun 2, 2007
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    And who could forget Independence Day?
    [image=http://www.saumilpatel.com/wp-content/files/Independence_Day.png]
    Hello, boys! I'm baaaaaack!
  4. Darth_Omega Force Ghost

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    May 19, 2002
    star 6
  5. The2ndQuest Tri-Mod With a Mouth

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    Whoops! Fixed.

    :D
  6. Jedi_Master_Conor Manager Emeritus

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    Best one ever! :cool:
  7. Darth_Maul_Sith_Lord Jedi Master

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    Mar 11, 2004
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    Titanic into the Iceberg...

    D_M_S_L
  8. The2ndQuest Tri-Mod With a Mouth

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    That wasn't intentional :p
  9. Radical-Edward Jedi Knight

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    Dec 22, 2002
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    My only real gripe with the kamikaze attack is when the captain yells "Ramming Speed!" to initiate said ramming.

    Ramming Speed?

    WTFrak?

    Since when do ships have "Ramming Speed"? Is there a Ramming Speed setting? If they were to check the ship's instruction manual, would they find a chapter on Ramming Speed? Is the pilot trained in attaining Ramming Speed at the academy? Do ships practice reaching Ramming Speed while performing war games? Did the bridge crew sit down together when planning their suicide attack and hash out exactly what velocity would need to be attained to reach Ramming Speed?

    Please. The whole thing sounds like some sort of painful sex maneuver. Ramming is a perfectly acceptable tactic when properly applied, but for the love of jeebus, they've got to stop with this Ramming Speed nonsense. So many other perfectly acceptable, LOGICAL things to say...
  10. Obey Wann Former RMFF CR & SW Region RSA

    Member Since:
    Jan 14, 2000
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    LOL, yeah, it's not quite a speed set on the ship's helm. In reality, I'm sure it means to "make best possible speed within the distance we have available", but "ramming speed" is a little shorter to say, especially when your ship is about to go "boom" anyway.

    It's been a while since I've seen a movie that gives the order, but do they give separate speed and course orders? or just speed orders and the course is assumed from the speed order?
  11. RK_Striker_JK_5 Force Ghost

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    Jul 2, 2003
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    Rhinox ramming the Autobot shuttle into the Nemesis' bridge in Beast Wars' season finale.

    "For everything that ever was..."
  12. The2ndQuest Tri-Mod With a Mouth

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    JMS addressed this a few times, the opening post's quote is only one instance, here are some others that elaborate further:

    Since this debate began, I've heard from any number of people...and any number
    of military types who actually would be in a position to either hear this, or
    say this.

    And it's totally a reasonable line. Some, including former commanders on
    shipboard and ordinary sailer-types noted that there are two Really Worrisome
    Orders: the first is "Emergency speed," which means "kill warning bells,
    disable safety systems, give her everything she's got and let me know just
    beore the engines burn out."

    The other is...ramming speed. Which means "kill warning bells, disable safety
    systems, full emergency speed, today is a good day to die."

    The basic delineation is that when you're in battle, you use the bare miminum
    of words to express what you're trying to say, because seconds can mean the
    difference between life and death and success and failure.

    One could, indeed, make the longer, more involved statements others have said
    they'd've preferred...but by that time, there would be no surviving ship to
    give the order to. Further, you want to give the crew the minimum possible
    time to think about what these orders *mean*...so you keep it short and sharp
    and rely on their training to get them to do what the order implies.

    Yes, it's an old-fashioned term...but there's such a thing as tradition in
    military language, where ships have decks even though they're not wooden decks
    anymore...and there isn't a naval officer anywhere who on leaving port doesn't
    say "set sail," even though he could be commanding a nuclear vessel without a
    sail in sight.


    and another:


    Actually, ramming speed *is* a legitimate term, because it encompasses several
    sub-sets of instructions, to wit:

    1) Turn off or over-ride all safety mechanisms designed to protect a collision

    2) Use full speed, without concern about fuel or other aspects (such as turning
    away at the last minute).

    Most big ships have safeguards designed to help prevent collisions; ramming
    speed as an order over-rides those safety precautions (this per a Navy captain
    who explained it to me a while back).
  13. Darth_Maul_Sith_Lord Jedi Master

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    Mar 11, 2004
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    "Since when do ships have "Ramming Speed"? Is there a Ramming Speed setting? If they were to check the ship's instruction manual, would they find a chapter on Ramming Speed? Is the pilot trained in attaining Ramming Speed at the academy? Do ships practice reaching Ramming Speed while performing war games? Did the bridge crew sit down together when planning their suicide attack and hash out exactly what velocity would need to be attained to reach Ramming Speed?"

    This goes back to when ships were powered by slave rowers. During attacks sometimes would have to take the ship into another as a killing blow. Of course when you rammed an enemy ship, you didn't do much damage to your own vessel, as they usually boasted some sort of ramming apparatus. So that, I believe is where it came from.

    D_M_S_L
  14. Obey Wann Former RMFF CR & SW Region RSA

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    Jan 14, 2000
    star 6
    "Since when do ships have "Ramming Speed"? Is there a Ramming Speed setting?

    I would seriously doubt that there is a speed setting on any ship's helm called "ramming speed". It is more of an order that identifies course, speed and intent --all in two simple words. In combat, simple is better.

    I'll try to explain a bit...

    Many moons ago, I used to operate the throttles on 688 class fast attack submarines. IIRC, the forward settings on the throttle control panel were:

    Ahead 1/2
    Ahead 2/3
    Ahead Full
    Ahead Flank

    The emergency order given by the Officer of the Deck was "All ahead Flank -_Cavitate", which meant that I could answer the flank bell as fast as possible, without causing a reactor scream. It was all kinds of fun. [face_devil] It was also only used when there was a torpedo in the water, or we were training for torpedo evasion). All other bells were answered relatively slowly, so we wouldn't cavitate, or cause noise. Noise = death typically, but if there is a torp inbound, you need to boogie. Frak the noise.

    In submarine terms, ordering "All Ahead Flank - Cavitate" would be the equivalent of ordering ramming speed. But in science fiction, they usually have a lot of different terms for maximum speed. So in order to make an order make sense for the viewing public, the writers choose the order "ramming speed", which still basically means "make best possible speed within the distance we have available."

    It is also a course order. If ordered "ramming speed", the helmsman knows to point the bow of the ship at the bad guy ship, and go to max speed available. Two words convey a whole lot of meaning.


    Plus it also gives everyone in the bridge the knowledge of what is about to happen. They are about to meet their dear and fluffy Lord very soon. ;)
  15. The2ndQuest Tri-Mod With a Mouth

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  16. General_Kor Jedi Knight

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    That would be Voyager ramming the Krenim timeship, a superweapon that had the ability to erase things from history. The ship erased itself when it was rammed resulting in the reset button being hit, and the whole episode never happened.
  17. The2ndQuest Tri-Mod With a Mouth

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    Atlantis added another to the list last night- the Phoenix ramming a Wraith Hive Ship (and taking out two others with the explosion).
  18. darthdrago Force Ghost

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    Dec 31, 2003
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    Hmm. Nobody's yet mentioned the Original BSG episode "Fire in Space" where the Cylons had some of their Raiders pull kamikaze blows on the Galactica, leaving a big portion of the ship ablaze and the bridge crippled. Of course, being an expensive show, the bridge-kamikaze attack was filmed using lots of stock footage, but it was an interesting idea to have the Galactica crippled in that manner: the rest of the episode was nothing but damage control with stranded groups trying to be rescued while Starbuck, Apollo & Apollo's then-girlfriend Sheba struggling to put out the fires in one of the Viper landing bays.

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