Battlestar Galactica vs. USS Enterprise

Science fiction fans often pit their favorite hero/ship/weapons against each other in to see who would win and it invariably comes down to who talks loudest.  I attempt to match two fairly common vessels against one another.  In point of fact, I dislike both series slightly so I’m not nearly as biased as most.

The Contenders

In one corner of the solar system, we have the USS Enterprise, a Constitution class Heavy Cruiser of the United Federation of Planets.  For the purposes of this post, I will be using the Constitution class ship from Star Fleet Battles with the + refit.  For those that aren’t familiar with Star Fleet Battles (shame on you), the Constitution CA+, has 4 forward firing photon torpedoes.  These torps fire in a 60 degree arc centered on the centerline of the ship.  It also has eight phaser-1s.  These are the large, heavy phasers that you generally see in the various series.  At least two phasers can hit any target around the ship.  Directly forward, six phasers can be brought to bear.  Finally, as far as weapons are concerned are a pair of phaser-3s.  These are light phasers primarily for missile and fighter defense.  Defenses include some quite heavy energy shields that are effective against energy and particles.  Maneuvering is provided by both impulse and warp engines.  In Star Fleet Battles, all combat is conducted at low FTL speeds.

Constitution with + refit

In the other corner, the Battlestar Galactica, a Galactica class battlestar.  For the purposes of this post, I will be using the re-imaged battlestar.  The ship is nearly a mile long and contains a minimum of 80 active fighters.  Weapons include 24 twin mount anti-ship gun turrets, some 514 twin mount point defense guns, and at least 12 launch tubes for nuclear and (presumably) non-nuclear weapons.  Defense is mainly heavy, dense armor, capable of withstanding a strike from a medium range nuclear weapon with the ship remaining functional.  Maneuvering is provided by large, powerful engines and a separate FTL jump drive.

Galactica class battlestar

The Battle

If these two belligerents happened upon each other in deep space, the battle would very likely be a total draw with the more damaged ship escaping at FTL speeds.  Since the two ships have completely different styles of FTL travel, there is almost no way for one ship to chase the other, provided it can go FTL.

The battlestar will have the maneuverability edge in non-FTL combat.  That’s what it’s designed for after all.  However, it is much easier for the Enterprise to make very short FTL hops to gain position.  Edge to the CA+ here.

The Enterprise should be able to shrug off most of the battlestar’s weapons.  Photon torps are matter/anti-matter and a CA+ can take 3 torpedo hits on the rear shield (the weakest) before damage can be transmitted to the ship.  However, the battlestar has LOTS of weapons.  If the battlestar can hit the CA+, then it should be able to do a lot of damage, pretty quickly.  Even if the 48 heavy cannons do 1/20th of the damage of a single torp, then a alpha strike hit on the CA+ will cause some significant shield degradation.  A hit is by no means guaranteed though and the estimate of the battlestar’s main cannons is probably very optimistic.  Nuclear weapons are another story and could cause serious damage t the CA+.  However, there are only 12 launchers and they are not FTL.

On the other hand, the CA+ doesn’t have nearly the weapons that the battlestar does.  Since photon torps are physical objects, then the sheer amount of point defense fire from the battlestar would make it very difficult for the CA+ to hit with missile weapons.  The phasers are relatively short ranged and weak.  A photon hit would cause significant damage to the battlestar, but the phaser hits might wipe out a weapon mount.  Since the main weapons of the Galactica did survive a direct hit from a nuke, phasers might not be nearly as effective here.  There are also very few weapons on the CA+.  For every phaser-1 that the CA has, there are 6 heavy cannons and there are 128 point defense guns for each photon torpedo launcher.

Edge:  This is a tie

Now we haven’t mentioned the battlestar’s primary weapon system here.  The 80+ fighters and raptor multi-role small craft.  In a strict space battle, these will be almost useless as the CA+ can just FTL beyond the range of the fighters.

No effect on outcome.

Fixed Defense

The previous describes a strict space battle… an encounter if you will.  Which would never happen between these two ships anyway because of the nature of their FTL systems.  Much more likely would be one or the other defending a fixed point (planet, space station, convey).

Battlestar as Defender

This is much more interesting battle as the FTL capable Enterprise can come from any direction and the battlestar will be forced to remain very close to the target.  If this is a space station, no problem, but a planet will cause a huge blind spot for the battlestar.  On the other hand, here’s where the Vipers and Raptors come into play.  The battlestar can create a sphere of small sensor posts (the small craft) at long distances from the target.  With the Raptor’s jump drive, they could actually beat the warp drive CA+ back to the target and the battlestar can jump or maneuver into position.

Basically, no matter what the warp drive ship does (theoretically), the battlestar can always preempt it, and with a little luck do some damage during each run in.  However, the battlestar must be lucky and stay lucky.  One mistake and it’s all over for the battlestar’s defendee.

CA+ as Defender

Again, the battlestar’s jump drive will play a huge role here as it can be in position and firing before the CA+ is aware that it is present.  This will give the battlestar an edge in any attack scenario like this.  If the CA+’s shields are down, a few lucky hits could cripple it.  The fighters provide a huge edge here.  They could be dropped and come in on a completely different vector from the battlestar, forcing the CA to accept one attack while dealing with the other (the smart CA+ will go for the battlestar here) or the fighters could lure the CA+ away from the target whlie the battlestar pops in to destroy it.  Again, the defender must be very lucky or the target will be crushed from many directions at once.

Other Considerations

The main factor outlining a duel between these two ships are the engines.  It is much more likely for the Enterprise to get a lucky hit on the engines, crippling the battlestar.  No matter what, the battlestar must work it’s way through the shields to get to the CA+’s engines.  In spite of the sheer volume of fire coming from the battlestar, this will be difficult at best because of the Enterprise’s warp drive system.

The battlestar’s fighters are almost useless against the CA+.  They just don’t have the speed and the CA+ can disengage at will.  If the Enterprise has damaged engines, then even with full shields, the battlestar will destroy it in seconds.

In a chase situation, I have to give the edge to the battlestar.  The jump drive is much faster than warp drive and can be used for many days at least 33 minutes apart.


Without a doubt, a fight between these ships would be interesting.  It really would depend on who makes the first mistake.  I must give a slight edge to the USS Enterprise though.  The always on FTL drive and shields give it a much needed maneuverability and survival time against the battlestar.  Please keep in mind that this is a very slight edge.  A combat between these ships will either end in a draw or be over in minutes at best.


~ by OgreMkV on October 21, 2009.

21 Responses to “Battlestar Galactica vs. USS Enterprise”

  1. Fun even when imagining. good thoughts

  2. A very interesting, detailed analysis, made better by your knowledge of SFB, which gives some numeric values to use for a comparison.

    Here are my thoughts. While photon torpedoes are portrayed in the movies and later TV shows as an actual object with a warhead and drive system, I can’t recall anything in the original series (and therefore Starfleet Battles) that stated this as such. In SFB, it isn’t possible to intercept them in the manner of a tangible seeking weapon like a missle. Since even plasma torpedoes were tracked on the board in the game, I assumed this difference was because photons moved at warp speeds, and thus were treated as direct-fire energy weapons. As a result, I think the Galactica’s point defense would be useless.

    The flip side of this however, is that you undoubtedly remember from SFB that photons were highly vulnerable to electronic warfare, which could prevent a successful lock-on. And the Galactica, and its Raptors, could easily generate enough ECM to send many of the photons off-target.

    Nuclear Missles (drones) fired by the Galactica would be similarly ineffective against the Federation ship, which in SFB terms has experience dealing with drone-armed races like the Klingons. The phaser-array on a Fed CA+ gives good coverage for point defense in all arcs, and of course theres always defensive use of tractor beams or the Wild Weasel! Also, as you pointed out, the Galactica’s nuclear missles would be sublight, so easily avoided.

    But the Galactica’s primary weapon is its fighters. Even if we assume that a Viper’s weapons would do a small amount of damage, there are a simply huge number of them. I think the cruiser would be nibbled to death. After all, SFB fighters can be quite deadly, even when they only have Phaser-3s. One of the keys to their use is to use their superior manueverability to strike weakened shields. But of course fighters in SFB likely are capable of much higher speeds than Galactica fighters.

    I think if I was the Federation commander, I would keep the enemy at range, avoiding his comparatively short-ranged direct-fire weapons and slow seeking weapons and fighters. There I could make the most of the shield advantage, while pumping power into ECCM so that my proximity-warhead photons could hit over and over.
    Interesting discussion, though!

  3. Joseph, you are correct. I always hated playing ECM/ECCM rules with SFB so I forgot about it. The Galactica would definitely own the Enterprise with electronic warfare.

    Again the biggest problem with the Galactica’s fighter wing is the lack of FTL speeds. Either the fighters spread out so much that they get picked off with phasers and defeated in detail or they group up and the Enterprise dodges them.

  4. Just use the enterprise’s superior sensors to establish vital areas of the Galactica and beam some red shirts over and take over. In fact I think they could probably lock on and beam the crew of the battlestar right off the ship and let them die in space, leaving a completely empty and unharmed ship to be boarded and captured.

  5. One of the other things you have to consider is that a Constitution Class Fed Heavy only carries less than 500 people total ship’s compliment. The Battlestar, and I am presuming you are using the old series Battlestar since we are using the Old Series Fed Heavy? The battlestar carries how many SWAT trained Colonial Warriors? Any Prime Team away mission on the Battlestar would be met with heavy resistance. The battlestar operates in a high ECM/ ECCM environment and can generate and maintain/sustain the high ECM/ECCM profile. Truth is that both the Federation Council and the Council of 12 would never allow it as such a battle would be better served by not beating them, but joining them. Upgrade the battlestar to Starfleet tech and you just might have one heck of a ship.

  6. The Enterprise would just use its tranporter to plant a bomb in the power plant of the Galactica. The battle would be over very quickly.

  7. By time a BattleStar Commander like Adama deals with the consittution class Enterprise and others unless the Federation developes the Defiant class ships early the BattleStar Commanders like Adama will beat the Federation ships and use their Raptors and aux ships to distract their attention in another direction or be cannon fodder to destory them.Adama BattleStar would have a few different capabilities if they had to deal with Federation class Star Ships and i believe Adama is a more patient devilish Capt. to play Capt. Kirk for a fool,which he is any way when he gets in a jam.

  8. First contact the colnials lose,However once they get their Battle Star up to speed, then the Federation must adapt or get cream by these warship designed to be that way from the begining.

  9. I must state that I absolutely disagree with the contention that a battle between the Enterprise and BSG would more than likely come to a draw. I shall refute some of the arguments made by the first commentator.
    1. “The Battlestar will have the maneuverability edge in non-FTL combat.” This statement is absurd to say the least. The Enterprise impulse engines give the ship greater maneuverability and speeds just below the light speed threshold. The writer draws the mistaken conclusion that the larger, bulkier BSG can somehow out-maneuver the more nimble Enterprise?
    2.”The Enterprise should be able to shrug off most of the battlestars weapons. What does he me “should be able to shrug off.? Here is where his lengthy commentary begins to fall apart. Most of the weapons on BSG are known as CIWS, Closed In Weapons Systems. Many supporters of BSG beating the Enterprise claim their ship has a many more weapons with a more powerful punch if an “Alpha-Strike is utilized. Did anyone consider the RANGE of BSG’s weapons versus the RANGE of the Enterprise’s weapons? BSG would literally have to park next to the Enterprise to fire on her. BSG’s weapons are VASTLY out-classed, and OUT-RANGED by the Enterprise. Yes, BSG has a punch, but she has NO REACH! Oh, and of course BSG fans forget that the Enterprise can literally fly circles around BSG while staying tens of thousands of kilometers out of range of BSG’s weapons.
    3. “If the BSG can hit the Enterprise then it should be able to do a lot of damage. Well, I am glad he used the world “IF”. Once again the effective range of the Enterprise phasers are 300,000 kilometers! His statement that the Enterprise phasers are relatively short-ranged and weak come from playing non-canon Star Trek games and not mentioning specific movies or television episodes. Those so-called “relatively weak” phasers were mentioned to have the capibility to LAY WASTE to an entire surface of a planet in various episodes. See Mr. Scotts Guide To The Enterprise book. This is all canon and not made up information. Which of BSG’s vaunted railguns, blaster canons, nuclear missiles has anywhere near that kind of effective range? BSG’s nukes for Pete’s sake are CHEMICALLY FUELED and God-Awefully slow! Enterprise phaser sensors would be able to target EVERY weapon BSG has and eliminate them. The nukes would either be destroyed in their launch tubes or shortly after being launched. Once again you have a Constitution Class Starship standing off at tens of thousands of kilometers picking off SLOOOOOOOW chemically fueled nukes. Here is another glaring problem. IF BSG’s weapons are so powerful why does it need squadrons of Raptors to carry the fight long distance? The answer is, of course, BSG lacks a long distance punch!
    4. The writer speaks out of both sides of his mouth, so to speak. No pun intended. He mentions the Enterprise’s photon torpedoes would be ineffective against BSG because of the “sheer amount of close-in weapons.” This statement is problematic because Photon Torpedoes travel at WARP SPEED! The Enterprise can fire her torpedoes at several hundred thousand kilometers away and BSG’s antiquated DRADIS (radar) system would never see them coming! How would it even be possible for the BSG to target and hit incoming WARP powered weapons?

    His arguments get even more ridiculous. He mentions how BSG would be able to use it’s jump drive to position itself and fire it’s weapons BEFORE THE ENTERPRISE IS AWARE IT IS There??…Enterprise sensor package would be able to detect BSG at well over 100,000 kilometers! Are we to believe that BSG’s DRADIS or whatever they use for sensors would be able to detect the Enterprise and allow BSG to “jump” almost on top of her and fire it’s weapons? This is wishful thinking at it’s greatest!

    One thing I notice about BSG fans is how they often change the rules of the engagement. They will down-size the Enterprise Technology will favoring the more recent BSG version. Why not pit Enterprise E against their newest version of BSG? it would still be a very uneven battles.

    Here is how the Enterprise defeats BSG rather quickly.
    1. Sensor not only detect the engine emissions of the BSG and other ships, but are able to determine the exact type of power out of every ship in the “rag tag” fleet. Her sensors would know the specific effective range and yield of BSG’s weapons.
    2. Enterprise targets BSG’s huge engine exhausts which are unshielded, all her weapons systems and lays down a phaser barrage from a distance that
    BSG cannot hope to match.
    3. Enterprise sensors have detected the squadrons of Raptors in her hanger area and simply target both launch pylons. The Cylons used an attack craft packed with high explosives on a Kamikaze run that nearly destroyed the ENTIRE SHIP!
    4. BSG fans brag about high impenetrable BSG’s armored hull is. Another glaring over sight is the same episode where BSG was almost destroyed by the Cylon Kamikaze attack. My favorite line is by Baltar…..”Burn, Galactica, Burn!” When Captain Apollo reports that they cannot put the fires out severely wounded Adama instructs him to use explosives on the hull. Isn’t it ironic BSG’s super armored hull that can withstand Enterprise’s phasers can have holes punched through it by several kilos of high explosives?
    5. BSG is an unshielded vessel. All the captain of the Enterprise has to do is take over BSG’s communications and demonstrate their technological prowess by beaming an object onto BSG’s bridge. The captain tells Adama that if he does not surrender he will beam anti-matter onto the bridge and collapse the magnetic shielding……….”POOF!” No more Galactica!

    BSG fans love to mention how their ship can use light speed to “Jump” to a destination. How quaint! Light speed is all she has. Enterprise uses WARP FACTORIZATION. Warp one is the speed of light. Warp two is not double the speed of light, but approximately EIGHT TIMES light speed. Warp 8 is more the TWO HUNDRED TIMES light speed!

    Comparing the BSG to the Enterprise using BSG fandom rational is like comparing a WW2 battleship to modern day nuclear powered cruiser. Oh, sure the battleship is larger, has more weapons, more crew, and is armored, but the cruiser is MORE TECHNOLOGICALLY ADVANCED, faster, and it’s weapons have vastly greater effective range AND destructive power!

  10. Oh, I almost forgot. Because a lot (not all) of BSG fans do not know as much about Star Trek federation technology as they mistakenly think. They overlook one thing the Enterprise can do that they hardly if EVER mention. She can SEPARATE into two sections. The saucer (primary hull) and engineering hull both have weapons systems. Another thing BSG fans love to do is dismiss Star Treks fictional technology as absurd and cheesy while proclaiming BSG’s technology is more scientificly accurate. Once again they change the rules of the engagement. Knowing they cannot defeat the Enterprise outright they dismiss her technology outright. Interestingly BSG is an anachronism at best! She possesses FTL drive, but still “burns” reaction mass fuel. On that note how in the world does she do the “jumps” that accelerate her to light speed WITHOUT INERTIAL DAMPENERS?? Her entire crew should be turned into red paste against bulkheads because of the inertia! She also has artificial gravity, but her crew uses telephone to communicate ship wide. The only “shields” she has is the metal slabs that cover the bridge view port. BSG’s technology as it stands is probably only 100 years more advanced than we are now. Federation technology is over 300 years more advanced. Lastly, those much vaunted Raptors. BSG fans somehow believe swarms of Raptors will be able to, as the writer stated, “nibble” away at the Enterprise’s shields. Give me a break! If they are not destroyed in their launch bays Enterprise weapons can pick them off at leisure from a distance further than they can travel!

  11. Battle star’s technology is not even capable to scratch the. Sheld of the enterprise.

    First, captain Picard will be notified by data that a ship is approaching at a speed. She orders a detailed scan of the ship. Already, at this point, without any shielding, the enterprise stripped the BSG. Picard orders to leave them as they even don’t posses any threat to the ship.

    When BSG has the enterprise in range, it fires its nuclear missiles. Enterprise quickly detects the missile and destroys it. As they figured out that they are hostile, Picard plans to scare them into surrendering.

    Picard orders to do the Picard monuver. In few seconds, BSG finds it self right beside the enterprise. The enterprise fires a weak phaser beam and disable their weaponry system.

    Soon Picard hails the BSG and orders to surrender. I would presume that BSG would not surrender. Pikard beams Maco troops onto the bridge and seazie it. The ship is now under control of Pikard.

    The end

  12. Okay so this discussion is definitely not even fair. This is like comparing a musket (bsg) to a modern battle rifle (enterprise). The enterprise is probably centuries beyond the bsg universe in terms of technology. Thus I would say if both ships had equivalent technologies. I.e. Same armor type, no shields, and projectile weapons a battle star is a superior design in every way. The enterprise has Windows designed into the armored pressure vessel which compromises the overall integrity of the armor. Also a battle stars armor is way thicker. Another bad design call is having the enterprises engines mounted on flimsy pylons that could easily be targeted and destroyed in seconds. This is also true of the engineering section as it is pylon mounted to the main disk and could also be targeted and easily taken out. From a realistic military standpoint mounting all vital sections of a ship within the armored pressure vessel would yield a greater survivability for the battle star than the enterprise.

  13. I respectfully disagree with your assumption. Once again you change the dynamics of the battle to give BSG a fair chance. This is what BSG fans do that makes their argument sort of ridiculous. We are attempting to compare two vastly different sci-fi universes and bring their capitol ships to battle. I find it humorous that BSG fans will ALWAYS “dumb” down ST technology to HELP BSG win. At the same time I often wonder why BSG fans never UPGRADE their technology to match ST. Your lack of knowledge of ST technology and cannon is evident in ALL due respect. You mention the Enterprise has windows designed into an armored pressure vessel which compromises the integrity of the armor. If you know ST technology you would know that quaint “armor” is not used in Starship construction. The hull of Starships is constructed of composites of near impenetrable layers of materials that are molecular bonded. As for the “flimsy” pylons do you have any idea why that structural form was utilized in ST lore? It is to configure the Static Warp Bubble that the ship travels in. Now to dismantle your argument further. IF, as you mentioned both ships had equivalent technologies the Enterprise WOULD NOT be constructed in the manner it is. The technology of the BSG universe DOES NOT utilize warp speeds so your argument will fall apart. There would be no ship constructed with warp nacelles mounted on pylons. Another glaring misrepresentation many BSG fans make is the so-called strength of BSG’s armor. I once again refer you to the episode where the ship was nearly destroyed by a
    Cylon fighter loaded with high-explosives crashing into a launch bay! If BSG’s armor is so TOUGH that it cannot be penetrated by Cylon blasters then please explain to this ST geek HOW only a few kilos of high explosives were able to penetrate the BSG’s hull to put the fires out? In conclusion with ALL respect I reject your premise to dismiss ST technology and “dumb” down the Enterprise just so BSG can win. With that rational ANYONE or ANYTHING can always win. So in your response it would not be BSG versus the Enterprise. It would become BSG versus just another alien ship. It’s like the pilot of a WW2 Mitsubishi Zero saying I can defeat a F-14 Tomcat, but….Take away the advanced technology engines, Weapons, Configuration, and make it just like my Mitsubishi Zero.

  14. Matter/antimatter annhialation is the most powerful drive force in the universe. I would put it way more powerful and efficient than zero point energy.

  15. Richard, Richard, Richard.

    You’re an intelligent man, clearly. But you really need to improve your people skills.

    Just an observation.

    Oh. And you’re long-winded too.

  16. Not you, Richard Gordon. I meant the other Dick. Avery.

    This is cool. I’m having a conversation with echoes from the past. It’s like that one Deep Space Nine episode, “The Sound of Her Voice.” TRIPPY! 😜

  17. …This ….no …while you were trying to be logical about it, you weren’t being fair and downgraded enterprise’s abilities. In a fully fair one on one fight, which the colonials believe in for fights and wars, the enterprise would mop the floor with them and use the debris of their hull as toothpicks. The only distinct advantage BSG has is the type of wormhole FTL they use, but even then it takes time to recharge them, and in that time the enterprise would either just shoot them with phasers, that could destroy the surface of a planet, at a safe distance while the fleet and their chemically propelled weapons can’t even come close to reaching the enterprise before it’s moved to another area.

    And finally, it seems that everyone forgets the enterprise has TRANSPORTERS! Seriously, they could just beam a photon torpedo near their reactor (and a photon torpedo is a antimatter warhead mind you) and detonate it before they even knew it was there.

    • Hoxe en día estamos rodeados de selección artificial sen darnos apenas conta,os cabalos de carreiras,as vacas,as galiñas,a fruta, os cans… Pero o que me chama máis a atención son os repolos, dunha mesma especie obtivéronse diversas variedades como repolos, coliflor, brc&³oliÃ#8230;

  18. Why thank you Mr. Spine for your inept attempt to attack me personally. Yes, I was long-winded, but tell me how does that equate with not having “people skills?” I used no profanity and I was respectful. Oh my, could it be my responses were so well stated that making a comment about my lack of people skills was your only come back? Oh, and I NEVER go by the name, Dick!

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