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The Expanse: 5 Reasons Why The Donnager Should’ve Had Escorts

3. Splitting the Enemy’s Fire

You are free to call this either selfish or pragmatic. The fact remains that if you give the enemy more targets to choose from, the odds will be that not all of them will be shooting at you. That was part of the Donnager‘s problem. There was no one else for the mystery ships to shoot at, so they all ganged up on her.

Stylized depiction of Donnager surrounded.
Donnager kitty vs. mystery dinos.

If she had had escorts, it’s possible that the mystery ships would’ve shifted some of their fire to the escort. Heck, it might’ve been possible that the mystery ships would’ve concentrated all their fire on one escort at a time to take them out of the fight. Depending on how many escorts are there, the mystery ships would’ve expended so much ammo and lost so many ships that they would’ve been forced to retreat. Regardless of how many kills they bag.

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4. Counter-Boarding

The mystery ships really wanted to capture the Donnager. The fact that there were only 2 of them left, and they still boarded her only reinforces this. It makes sense for multiple reasons. The Donnager is one of the newest Martian warships. Her technology would been state-of-the-art, and she would’ve been a fountain of information on Martian affairs. Boarding her would’ve been entirely sensible.

Of course, this is also why repelling the boarders is just as important to the Donnager‘s crew.

The unseen action of Donnager's boarder repelling operation.
Dramatized scene of Donnager‘s defenders repelling boarders. Very dramatized.

Escorts would be able to help fight back against any boarders trying to board the Donnager. The obvious solution here is to blow up the ships carrying the boarders. In the event that the boarders still make it aboard, the escorts can launch their own counter-boarders into the Donnager to help out the crew. With the mystery boarders being pressed on both sides, it’d be very unlikely that they’d have gotten to the CIC. Thus, the scuttling would’ve never occurred.

5. Donnager on the Run

Of course, if all else fails, there is the time-old strategy of getting the hell out of there. It’s better to live to fight another day, than to die today in a hopeless fight. Or even if the fight is entirely winnable, but you don’t feel like it today. Or unless, your name is Sir Robin.

Brave Lady Donnager should’ve run away, indeed.

Escorts would’ve allowed the Donnager‘s fleet to flee in multiple directions. Since one of the mystery ships’ goals is to keep anyone from finding out what happened to the Donnager, having to chase down multiple ships would’ve been problematic. The mystery ships’ only choice would’ve been to split up as well. This would make it much more in favor of the Martians. A series of 1 vs. 1 fights is always preferable to a 6 vs. 1 fight. Of course, splitting up would allow the mystery ships to gang up on the poor Donnager yet again, so the fleet had better be sure about this plan before giving it the go-ahead.


Escorts are great, and no capital ship should go without them. This is why it baffles me that the Donnager only had that 1 corvette in her hangar, and that she didn’t launch her when the attack started. It would’ve been much better to launch that corvette at the start of the battle, rather than waiting until the enemy were boarding before finally launching her.

Of course, if the Martians had done that, it would’ve been much more difficult for the main characters to escape from the Donnager before she was scuttled. So, plot reasons, I guess?

By B.K. Lok

I'm a new author exploring the world of writing, and now seeing about getting something published for once. I've also been posting fanfiction on under the pen name BbK2442 for several years now, if any of you are interested.

2 replies on “The Expanse: 5 Reasons Why The Donnager Should’ve Had Escorts”

I think it is stated in the book that Donnager has an escort or it is part of the bigger fleet. I expect the same for the show only they did not said it. They split from group only to take in the Knight survivals. They did not expected to get into space battle and their super advanced sensors did not pick up any ships in closed vicinity at the time. They did not expect anyone else to have a stealth technology of this degree. When the ships finally came all they could see was a ship slowing toward them. As for they did not run away they considered arriving ship (not knowing to be more ships) to be belters and so to be vastly inferior to them. Martians are said to be arrogant many times both in the books or in the show. When the stealth ships torpedoed the Donnager it was to late by then. Also with accuracy of PDC there is no need to have too many escorts in my opinion. The target is one, yes, but so is the targeting area of the torpedoes, and when you know where the torps are heading how many super accurate PDC you need? Donnager has dozens of them with no area of the ship left unprotected. Escorts are not useless I concur but in this kind of mission they seemed not to be needed. If they engaged in combat I expect them to bring more support ships. And for lack of accuracy from martian torpedoes all the Amun-Ra ships has their own PDC so most of the torpedoes were shoot down the same as the Donny has taken down the most of enemy torpedoes.

1. The Donnager carries its escorts inside its hangar. Up to two frigates (AKA gunboats) or four destroyers (AKA patrol boats).
2. Space combat does not work like naval combat. There is no real combat advantage to escorts in the Expanse. You don’t really need to scout because you can see in every direction for hundreds of thousands of kilometers. And a larger ship has more quantity and quality of weapons. In combat, battleships work to protect the more vulnerable escorts while they contribute to the weight of fire. The only purpose of escorts is operational; a battleship cannot be in every place at once, and detaching escorts is useful.
3. You got Honor Harrington wrong as well, albeit through omission. Cruisers do screen for wallers, but the key difference is the existence of impeller wedges, which create an impenetrable barrier at the top and bottom of a ship. You can shoot point defenses and missiles through the sidewalls (shields that protect the sides of the ship), but not the wedge, which can be rotated to face the enemy. That is where the screen comes in. They put screening ships in the “blind spots” to improve coverage.

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