The Garfish-class Cruisers were the among the second new generation capital ships developed during the Expeditionary Mission, and was used primarily by the Robotech Expeditionary Force (REF). It was featured in Robotech: The New Generation.
The Garfish-class cruisers were developed shortly after the Robotech Expeditionary Force (REF) had received the Robotech Factory Satellite for their logistical needs. Far smaller than the preceding Nelson-class Light Cruiser and its ilk, the Garfish class embodied a new design philosophy, where the mass was minimised, but part of the displacement was invested in a large hold which could be used for supplies, troop quarters, sensor equipment, or as cargo space. In this manner, the same ship could with minimal effort change missions without growing too large or expensive. The class was mostly envisioned to perform long-duration, long-distance scouting missions, for which they could carry an advanced sensor suite. Endurance in this form was about a year and a half. The Garfish could, with less than a week in dock, be converted into a fast troop transport, a tender or into a fast armed transport vessel. This multiple-purpose character was very suited for the diverse REF missions.
As a result of the smaller size, though, the armament suite was less than that of the Nelson-class Light Cruiser. However, the REF design team partially offset this by giving the Garfish class a single, but extremely powerful particle cannon turret with a large field of fire. Indeed, this turret was used nowhere else except on the large Izum-class Large Cruiser. The result was a cruiser that packed an enormous punch for its size. The disadvantage of this setup was of course the non-existant redundancy for the main armament, and the large but still limited field of fire. In addition, the Garfish could carry very few fighters, and its missile systems were limited in number and reloads as well.
Technology and Combat CharacteristicsEdit
The Garfish cruisers, named for their main hull shape, were designed by the Robotech Expeditionary Force during the Expeditionary Mission as multi-purpose vessels, with either additional sensors and long duration for long-range reconnaissance missions, a small troop contingent for commando assaults, with additional supplies to function as a tender for their sisters, or as fleet cruisers. Consequently, a Garfish's weaponry is heavy for its size, but, by compromise of design, concentrated for the most part in its heavy underbelly gun turret. Because in the first years of the class these ships were used almost exclusively for scouting missions, the first flight was designated as a Scout Cruiser.
The Garfish has a fish-like main hull with a six sided section in the middle that houses the internal mission-specific holds. The three large engines are mounted side by side in the back. A large, two-level hangar with three bay doors and the smaller thrusters is suspended from the section that houses the internal cargo holds. The main particle cannon is suspended from the main hull keel, fore of the hangar. Garfish class cruisers were built in three flights. Flights 1 and 2 were general-purpose cruisess, with flight 2 slightly larger, the additional volume and mass going into improved habitability and slightly increased armor. There were also many smaller changes to make the design more suited for mass production and fleet actions. Consequently, the Flight 2 vessels were no longer designated as Scout Cruisers, but as Light Cruisers, although the hull numbering simply went on without interruption. The infantry assault version (flight 3) of this class had a single-purpose hold with room for two full battalions of Cyclone infantry troops. Since they could no longer be reconfigured, the final flight were designated as assault transports.
After the war, the surviving members of the 2nd flight were refit with greatly enhanced anti-mecha batteries, and most of the hangar and troop space was replaced with increased anti-warship missile stores and vertical launcher banks, as well as a more robust generator for the primary turret, which, with the additional available power, was upgraded into an even more formidable weapon. The surviving 3rd flight vessels went into reserve. There were no surviving 1st flight Garfishes.
Like the Ikazuchi-class Large Cruiser, the Garfish-class cruiser was underpowered in the area of AAA (anti-aircraft artillery). Though the missiles and turret were more than enough to destroy any single attacking mecha, there were just not enough point defense weapons to repel a deluge by suicide runners. Again, to correct this problem after the Third Robotech War, the survivors of the Garfish-class incorporated extensive suits of dedicated point defense systems.
A few vessels of the first flight were destroyed during the earth relief missions before 2031, but in that year the wars over Earth began to claim more and more cruisers of this class. The Robotech Relief Expedition, sent in against the Robotech Masters, lost numerous Garfish vessels against the enemy fleet and later during the Invid Invasion. More were lost with the first waves of the Earth Reclamation Force, with a small number stranded on Earth in safe areas, where they were not destroyed by the Invid until 2043-2044. Only their heavy use on long-distance scouting missions and subsequent long mustering period prevented most of the Garfish cruisers from sharing this early fate. Three more fell to various causes during the REF built-up, mostly in probing attacks against Invid out of the Terran System. The last two years of the Third Robotech War saw the destruction of every 1st flight Garfish during the heavy fighting.
As part of the REF build-up from 2032 onwards, flight 2 Garfish class cruisers were built in large numbers. These vessels were slightly larger and marginally more habitable than the 1st flight, and more suited for mass production. Though officially known as the Shillelagh class, this sub-class is commonly referred to as a flight 2 Garfish. Eighty cruisers were build before 2045. Of these, seven are missing with the REF flagship, thirty-four are still in service with the Terran Navy, and the remainder were all destroyed in the 3rd Robotech War or declared constructional total losses and scrapped immediately post-war.
In a pitched fleet battle, the Garfish-class cruisers' main duty devolved to seeking-out and destroy the Invid troop-carriers before they could release their mecha into the battle, a task which, owing to the agility and speed of this vessel, they were uniquely adapted. Unfortunately, the sheer numbers of Invid on Earth exceeded the expectations of all the military planners, and, through little fault of their own (except perhaps insufficient AAA), these vessels were unable to carry the day for the Mars Base attack on Invid-occupied Earth, and were hard-pressed during the subsequent Main Fleet attacks even when equipped with shadow devices. Many of these cruisers were destroyed by the Invid life-energy as it fled Earth, in an attempt to prevent the Neutron-S Missiles bombardment. Other cruisers were largely lost during diversionary strikes against secondary hives, in an attempt to keep those hives from reinforcing Reflex Point.