Forums / Community / Halo Universe

Why didn't the UNSC just spam nuke

OP CeramicHades303

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Why didn't the UNSC spam nukes instead of just using Mac guns take out covenant shields because the Mac guns are very low yield as in 60 kiloton of for their frigates in comparison to their nukes which have 30 megaton yield in case of their HAVOK tactical nuclear weapon ?
Someone didn't read the books. If you did, you would already know that the UNSC DID employ nukes very frequently, especially in naval combat. By 2552, the situation was so bad they had to resort to scrounging obsolete stockpiles or using a method that was a million times more expensive (RIP Jorge).

Besides, a direct hit from a nuke doesn't even bring down the shields of most Covenant warships thanks to energy lost in vacuum, so you would need 2 or more for each ship. Which is extremely cost ineffective when MAC guns can do the same thing in almost the same timeframe.

Lastly, don't bring up the explosive yield of a MAC round, it triggers a whole bunch of unnecessary debates.
Someone didn't read the books. If you did, you would already know that the UNSC DID employ nukes very frequently, especially in naval combat. By 2552, the situation was so bad they had to resort to scrounging obsolete stockpiles or using a method that was a million times more expensive (RIP Jorge).

Besides, a direct hit from a nuke doesn't even bring down the shields of most Covenant warships thanks to energy lost in vacuum, so you would need 2 or more for each ship. Which is extremely cost ineffective when MAC guns can do the same thing in almost the same timeframe.
Yeah OP, check out Ghosts of Onyx. There's a section where a handful of Spartans are dealing with Covenant forces at the space elevator in Havana. Part of what was so important about that space tether were centuries old nukes. The UNSC was running so low on nukes that they were conducting the equivalent of raiding the Smithsonian museum for muskets to fight off the Russians "Red Dawn"-style.
Lastly, don't bring up the explosive yield of a MAC round, it triggers a whole bunch of unnecessary debates.
Lol ain't that the truth...
You cant spam nukes if you dont have any. At the end of the war they were running out of nukes.
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My thoughts on the topic are best summarized, here:
https://www.halowaypoint.com/en-us/forums/db05ce78845f4120b062c50816008e5d/topics/were-the-covenant-ever-scary---rant/95417a4f-f680-4087-8889-69b644687c98/posts
which page ?
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My thoughts on the topic are best summarized, here:
https://www.halowaypoint.com/en-us/forums/db05ce78845f4120b062c50816008e5d/topics/were-the-covenant-ever-scary---rant/95417a4f-f680-4087-8889-69b644687c98/posts
which page ?
All of them. I wrote the O.P
Others have summarized more succinctly. But, don't Covenant shields have a particular weakness for kinetic munitions? For example, at close to mid range, the UNSC MA-5(Variants) weapons system is highly effective at reducing enemy shields, as is the M6(Variants). As effective as PLasme - no. But capable of dropping shields effectively.
They did basically spam nukes. Unfortunatly, Covenant tech doesnt really have many weakness's to direct nuclear impacts...and nukes in space arent really that impressive. No thermonuclear shockwave, no heat blast.
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To know the Lore is to know Halo
"Dont be spoiled, dont start a fight. Always be careful, here at night. Because the Spartans might come, in suits that weigh half a ton. And they'll steal from you all you gots, just like they did from Colonel Watts."
Another reason nukes weren't used is the E.M.P (or emp for those rvb fans out there) caused by the nukes. Surprisingly nobody's mentioned the E.M.P part.
I mean, if you're in combat with an advanced alien race, you don't wanna be shutting down your entire fleet with a nuke's E.M.P, making them all sitting ducks for those nasty plasma torpedoes. Talk about impractical.
Also in the books, mac rounds have caused the shields to ripple so badly that the kinetic energies sorta transferred to the hull. Although I can't exactly remember how much damage was caused when it happened.
Regarding a weakness to kinetic munitions - I suspect that's just physics. A nuclear explosion releases a lot of energy, but it's omnidirectional. A magnetically-accelerated slug also carries an incredible amount of energy, but since it's kinetic it's all going in one direction. That means a nuke would disperse half of its energy across the entire side of the shield, focused at the centre of the blast, and half of it off into space. A MAC round would direct it all into an area of the shield the size of the round itself, and can potentially then overpenetrate into the ship itself.
xeosax wrote:
Another reason nukes weren't used is the E.M.P (or emp for those rvb fans out there) caused by the nukes. Surprisingly nobody's mentioned the E.M.P part.
I mean, if you're in combat with an advanced alien race, you don't wanna be shutting down your entire fleet with a nuke's E.M.P, making them all sitting ducks for those nasty plasma torpedoes. Talk about impractical.
Also in the books, mac rounds have caused the shields to ripple so badly that the kinetic energies sorta transferred to the hull. Although I can't exactly remember how much damage was caused when it happened.
While you make an excellent point about EMP concerns, I would imagine that wouldn't be a problem for the UNSC. Even today we have the capability to harden electronics against EMP bursts. At work we use Toughbook laptops. It ain't cheap (like 10,000 USD), but depending on the features Toughbooks come with, you can get one that will survive an EMP. It's not outside the realm of possibility that the UNSC can harden entire warships against such an issue.

Side note: there's an episode of Terra Nova where an EMP knocks out power to the entire colony, and it irks me every time I watch that episode because a futuristic society shouldn't have issues like that.

Regarding the MAC cannons, those things were quite possibly the only reason the UNSC was able to survive a 30 year war. Heck I was almost convinced Reach was gonna survive The Fall of Reach (lol) due to how effective the orbital platforms were. Idk how much damage was caused either, but even the shields couldn't completely prevent the transfer of kinetic energy.
I don't know why people are talking as if yields were the determining factors.

The simple matter is that it's easy to stop a missile with a nuclear warhead using point-defence, but good luck stopping a kinetic round, which is a far smaller target travelling at faster speeds with some cannons.

In the end, >99% of MAC rounds will reach a target, whereas, at best, <50% nuclear missiles will (of course this may be a range of 0-50% depending on the size of the volley and the ability to overwhelm point-defence systems).
xeosax wrote:
Another reason nukes weren't used is the E.M.P (or emp for those rvb fans out there) caused by the nukes. Surprisingly nobody's mentioned the E.M.P part.
I mean, if you're in combat with an advanced alien race, you don't wanna be shutting down your entire fleet with a nuke's E.M.P, making them all sitting ducks for those nasty plasma torpedoes. Talk about impractical.
Also in the books, mac rounds have caused the shields to ripple so badly that the kinetic energies sorta transferred to the hull. Although I can't exactly remember how much damage was caused when it happened.
It hasn't been mentioned because the effect is minimal. Starships would be protected from far worse effects from radiation- the countermeasures to such would easily mitigate the effects of an EMP. Even if you want to suggest that they may not, there is a good argument to be made that most systems critical to ships would be hardened against such efforts, as we have this technology even today.

The only thing I could recall even remotely related is the after-effects of a detonation/improper activation of a Slipspace drive on a communications/spy satellite over Reach in the game.
xeosax wrote:
Another reason nukes weren't used is the E.M.P (or emp for those rvb fans out there) caused by the nukes. Surprisingly nobody's mentioned the E.M.P part.
I mean, if you're in combat with an advanced alien race, you don't wanna be shutting down your entire fleet with a nuke's E.M.P, making them all sitting ducks for those nasty plasma torpedoes. Talk about impractical.
Also in the books, mac rounds have caused the shields to ripple so badly that the kinetic energies sorta transferred to the hull. Although I can't exactly remember how much damage was caused when it happened.
While you make an excellent point about EMP concerns, I would imagine that wouldn't be a problem for the UNSC. Even today we have the capability to harden electronics against EMP bursts. At work we use Toughbook laptops. It ain't cheap (like 10,000 USD), but depending on the features Toughbooks come with, you can get one that will survive an EMP. It's not outside the realm of possibility that the UNSC can harden entire warships against such an issue.

Side note: there's an episode of Terra Nova where an EMP knocks out power to the entire colony, and it irks me every time I watch that episode because a futuristic society shouldn't have issues like that.

Regarding the MAC cannons, those things were quite possibly the only reason the UNSC was able to survive a 30 year war. Heck I was almost convinced Reach was gonna survive The Fall of Reach (lol) due to how effective the orbital platforms were. Idk how much damage was caused either, but even the shields couldn't completely prevent the transfer of kinetic energy.
The reason the war was so long is because the unsc was trying there best to hide worlds MACs were no where near enough to hold the vastly superior covenant at bay in open battle for 30 years it’s because the covenant didn’t know the locations of human planets
Even nuclear weapons have a limited effect on covenant ships. Also the cost of making nuclear missiles is probably expensive. And some covenant ships have anti middle weapons that destroys most pursuing missiles.
Someone didn't read the books. If you did, you would already know that the UNSC DID employ nukes very frequently, especially in naval combat. By 2552, the situation was so bad they had to resort to scrounging obsolete stockpiles or using a method that was a million times more expensive (RIP Jorge).
Besides, a direct hit from a nuke doesn't even bring down the shields of most Covenant warships thanks to energy lost in vacuum, so you would need 2 or more for each ship. Which is extremely cost ineffective when MAC guns can do the same thing in almost the same timeframe.
Lastly, don't bring up the explosive yield of a MAC round, it triggers a whole bunch of unnecessary debates.
I am one of those people that almost got triggered.. Do your research BEFORE you ask a community a question you could easily find on your own :)
The UNSC did that at the start if the war, with varied levels of success. This greatly depleted the standing arsenal and it takes time to make a nuke. More so to make nukes suitable for killing multiple ships. That with the constant strategic losses the UNSC suffered and the ease in using a MAC over a nuke explains that.
Conventional bombs aside, their most effective nuclear armament, the NOVA bomb, was extremely scarce. I think it was only ever used successfully twice in the field and the second one was a desperation ploy made to haemorrhage lives and homes from the Covenant as retribution for attacking humanity.

Imagine if the NOVA had been available in decent supply from the very beginning. I still don't think it would have been enough for the UNSC to achieve a surprise underdog-like victory but I think it would have definitely bled the Covenant white if used in the most efficient, strategic manner possible. It might have turned the Covenant's conquests into Pyrrhic victories.
qtocool wrote:
xeosax wrote:
Another reason nukes weren't used is the E.M.P (or emp for those rvb fans out there) caused by the nukes. Surprisingly nobody's mentioned the E.M.P part.
I mean, if you're in combat with an advanced alien race, you don't wanna be shutting down your entire fleet with a nuke's E.M.P, making them all sitting ducks for those nasty plasma torpedoes. Talk about impractical.
Also in the books, mac rounds have caused the shields to ripple so badly that the kinetic energies sorta transferred to the hull. Although I can't exactly remember how much damage was caused when it happened.
While you make an excellent point about EMP concerns, I would imagine that wouldn't be a problem for the UNSC. Even today we have the capability to harden electronics against EMP bursts. At work we use Toughbook laptops. It ain't cheap (like 10,000 USD), but depending on the features Toughbooks come with, you can get one that will survive an EMP. It's not outside the realm of possibility that the UNSC can harden entire warships against such an issue.

Side note: there's an episode of Terra Nova where an EMP knocks out power to the entire colony, and it irks me every time I watch that episode because a futuristic society shouldn't have issues like that.

Regarding the MAC cannons, those things were quite possibly the only reason the UNSC was able to survive a 30 year war. Heck I was almost convinced Reach was gonna survive The Fall of Reach (lol) due to how effective the orbital platforms were. Idk how much damage was caused either, but even the shields couldn't completely prevent the transfer of kinetic energy.
The reason the war was so long is because the unsc was trying there best to hide worlds MACs were no where near enough to hold the vastly superior covenant at bay in open battle for 30 years it’s because the covenant didn’t know the locations of human planets
Oh absolutely, that contributed to the extension of the war into almost three decades. I was just pointing out that without MAC cannons, the UNSC would have no defense to the Covenant, no matter how long it took the Covies to find the rest of humanity. Nukes were only going to work for so long before they ran out. The incredible kinetic energy of the MAC rounds are what largely held the Covenant at bay, rather than them glassing a planet in a day and moving on to search for the next one in short order.
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