Created By: alethiophile on September 22, 2011 Last Edited By: alethiophile on October 8, 2011

Point Offense

Usually defensive weapons used for decidedly non-defensive purposes.

Name Space:
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Page Type:
Trope
There's Point Defenseless, which is where point defense weapons don't ever do anything, and then there's this. This is where a ship, plane, whatever has weapons usually designed to shoot down incoming threats, but uses them offensively instead. Makes a whole lot of sense, because a weapon that can reliably shoot down a missile coming at you at Mach 2 can sure as Hell take out a bunch of unarmored targets at close range. Usually used when the context is somehow unusual; in actual ship-to-ship combat, the point defense weapons are usually too puny to make a difference.


Examples:

Film
  • Under Siege. The Phalanx CIWS aboard the U.S.S. Missouri is normally used to destroy incoming missiles. In the movie it was used to shoot down a U.S. Navy jet that was flying near the ship.

Literature
  • In Snow Crash, the carrier that forms the heart of the Raft still has mounted point-defense Gatling guns, and they're used by the controllers to keep order.
  • Tragically in Honor Harrington; even though the pirate ship is under the guns of a warship at point-blank range, their point defense cannons still more than suffice to take out boarding craft, if the crew was feeling suicidal enough to piss off the warship. Pity one of the pirates was an idiot.

Live-Action TV
  • In the Babylon 5 episode, "Shattered Dreams", Sheridan uses the station's point defense systems to destroy attacking fighters and later to attack the Earthforce destroyer Roanoke (as seen here).

Tabletop RPG
  • Classic Traveller. Lasers and plasma/fusion guns can defend against incoming missiles, but they can also attack enemy ships.

Video Games
  • The point defense lasers on the Earthling Cruiser and the Chmmr Avatar in Star Control II will attack whatever is hostile within their range. They only do one point of damage per shot, but that's still sometimes enough to win, especially with the automatic firing.

Web Comics
  • In Schlock Mercenary, the point defense weapons aboard a suborned gunship are used to shoot the restraints off a friendly droid so as to allow him to free the rest of the crew; it uses crowd-control glue cannons to restrain the armored guards, and the guards comment that they're very glad that they didn't use the point defense cannons.
Community Feedback Replies: 14
  • September 22, 2011
    FrodoGoofballCoTV
    Live Action TV:
    • In the Babylon Five episode, "Shattered Dreams", Sheridan uses the station's point defense systems to destroy attacking fighters and later to attack the Earthforce destroyer Roanoke (as seen here).
  • September 23, 2011
    Arivne
    Film
    • Under Siege. The Phalanx CIWS aboard the U.S.S. Missouri is normally used to destroy incoming missiles. In the movie it was used to shoot down a U.S. Navy jet that was flying near the ship.

    Tabletop RPG
    • Classic Traveller. Lasers and plasma/fusion guns can defend against incoming missiles, but they can also attack enemy ships.
  • September 23, 2011
    Chabal2
    In many Real Time Strategy games, it is possible to use towers like this.
  • September 23, 2011
    FrodoGoofballCoTV
    Video Games:
    • The Homeworld II, the Strategy Guide suggests ordering a defense platform to deploy to a resource site being mined by the enemy to create a diversion.
  • September 23, 2011
    AFP
    Not sure if the Under Siege or Babylon 5 examples count. Shooting down aircraft is pretty much a standard feature of an anti-air gun like the Phalanx (though, granted, it'd be pretty unusual for it to ever be used for that, versus launching a missile instead). In the case of Babylon 5's defense grid, it is expressly stated midway through the second season that B5's upgraded defense grid would be able to defend the station from an attacking warship.
  • September 25, 2011
    TyeDyeWildebeest
    Played for laughs in this episode of Dorkly Bits, in which Link confronts Ganon with only a shield and no sword. Link insists that his shield is a "smashing board", and proceeds to pummel Ganon into the ground with it.
  • September 25, 2011
    Mozgwsloiku
    In Kingdom Hearts Goofy comes eqipped with a shield only and spends the entire game bashing enemies with it.
  • September 25, 2011
    alethiophile
    Not sure using a shield as an offensive weapon in melee combat really counts here--this entry is written around point defense in a technological sense. Maybe should rewrite as 'Offensive Defense' or something like that?
  • September 25, 2011
    TBeholder
    Yeah, Truth In Television.

    • When in World War II Reich invaded USSR, Germans resorted to using 88-mm Anti Air cannons against KV tanks -- at the time it was the only gun available to them that could get a heavy tank.
    • ZSU-23-4 "Shilka" (self-propelled Anti Air 4x autocannon) while intended as anti-air, was said to be sometimes used against land targets in Afghanistan. There are other stories about it. Such as: during maneuvers on Far East, an APC appears on top of a hill from the other side, Shilka's radar in automatic mode notices it, turns the turret and shoots at this "aerial" target. APC survived the assault by 23-mm cannons with near-empty magazine, but on its affected side everything above the armor was instantly scrubbed off -- optics, lights, spares/tools packs, paint, wheels...
  • September 25, 2011
    Mozgwsloiku
    Heavently spin jutsu in Naruto - the spinning energy is a defensive technique pushing off attackers. But Neji's uncle generates one large enough to fling them with lethal force.
  • September 26, 2011
    Arivne
    ^^^^^^ @AFP: According to The Other Wiki page I potholed in my post the Phalanx CIWS is not an "anti-air gun". It was specifically designed to destroy incoming missiles, not shoot down aircraft. From that page:

    • "The Phalanx CIWS is an anti-ship missile defense system."
    • "The CIWS is designed to be the last line of defense against anti-ship missiles."
  • September 26, 2011
    cocoy0
    Howitzers found in Half-Life were intended by the HECU to be used against Freeman and other threats. You can use them to blast open gates and surprise newly teleported aliens.
  • September 26, 2011
    Ekuran
  • October 8, 2011
    TBeholder
    ^^^ ...the difference being that one is an airframe made of light alloys with bright jet engine in the butt, mostly moving fast in the upper hemisphere but sometimes trying to become less visible while approaching, by sticking close to the surface and another is... well.. uh... er... damn. Sadly, can't give you a link to pediawiki, though - i don't go there. :]
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=v7php9qs0dpfqsxsx5pcolgb