Imagine you could take an Aircraft Carrier back to Roman times?

OK, I openly admit that this is a fantasy question, but one which my fellow historians and engineers might find enjoyable to play with.

The premise: You’re allowed to take one ship, and only one ship, back in time to say 300AD. Before you leave, you’re allowed to spend as much time as you want putting together the perfect crew - a perfect mix of knowledge, talents, and genders - because you won’t be coming back. You’re allowed to take a maximum of say, 5,000 people - so be sure to pick a very wide and broad genetic spectrum OK? You’re allowed to stock your ship with absolutely any machining tools you want. You can take any amount of different backhoes, and planes, and heavy graders - any sort of industrial lathes - you name it, you can take it, just so long as it will all fit into one ship.

The goal: You’re not going to wipe out the Romans, OK? We’re gonna plonk you down in the Rhine somewhere. Your goal is to establish contact with the Roman Empire via peaceful envoys and let THEM come to you over the alps and all that stuff. Sure, they’ll be blown out when they get there, but eh? It’s a fantasy.

OK, now that we’ve got the premise and the goal out of the way, my dearest friend who is a fantastic mechanical engineer, well we got to playing with this fantasy and here’s our rudimentary thought processes, but we’d love your input now too. Buddy and I kinda played this theory out… we’d take an Aircraft Carrier - say, the USS Carl Vinson or any Nimitz class ship. We’d stock it full of every conceivable piece of machine shop equipment necessary to become a mini industrial revolution. we’d moor in a known spot on the Rhine where we have access to iron ore, and bauxite, and hopefully uranium. We’d establish contact with the Saxons, and explain to 'em politely and sensitively that life as they know it had ended and that the Winter Solstice was no longer the primary big gig on the calendar, but now, it was Superbowl Sunday.

We’d lay out an industrial base and build an instant township with sewerage and every known bit of modern hygiene and medicine - and then we’d get to work building a shit hot little city.

Then we’d start flying automated drones to fly over the alps and get them to buzz Rome each day, get the locals to look up and say “Oh fuck!” and then send the drones back north. The Romans would soon realise that something amazing was coming out of the north.

Anyways, that’s the fantasy aspects of it as far as my Buddy and I played with the idea.

So, over to you, my fellow dopers. What would you take? And what could you do with it? In say 35 years, and a 100 years? Assuming that we’re creating a parallel universe by doing this, how would life unfold over the next 1700 years?

P.S. We decided on the aircraft carrier because we liked the idea of being able to fly when needed. You probably wouldn’t need 75 F18’s though - maybe just 6 tops. And a few Blackhawks.

Make sure you take some kind of heavy lifting equipment… to pick up this whole thread and drop it into the correct forum.

Oooh my apologies. I normally don’t make that kind of mistake.

Mods, if this needs to be moved, please do so. I’m sorry if I goofed up here. It’s a question of sorts, but with hindsight I recognise it’s probably not a true GQ effort.

You’re wasting space and money to bring any aircraft at all save maybe some helicopters (capable of landing somewhere without benefit of an airstrip.) Airplanes will just frighten people unless they see other people getting out of them.

Furthermore, even with unlimited choice of equipment and technical expertise you’re going to have to make some sacrifices in terms of what means you bring with you. A supersonic jet aircraft like an F-18 is SO expensive to maintain, and so specialized in its components and construction, and frankly so useless if you’re fighting the armies of that age - let’s bear in mind the F-18 was designed to sink big military ships, not root out ground troops hiding in a forest - that I think you’re wasting your effort taking them with you. If you want weaponry with which to slaughter the denizens of Roman times, your more economical choice is to ensure you have ample supplies of land-based weaponry. If you want to be able to field a good sized force you’ll need more than bang sticks and machine guns. You need artillery, radios, trucks, jeeps, field kit of all sorts, barbed wire, and mounds of ammunition to keep you in bullets until you get your mining operations in full swing. And you still need to maintain your helicopters, and don’t just bring two. Building an aircraft is years away once you get in place. Bring a dozen.

A Nimitz-class aircraft carrier stripped of its aircraft and aviation fuel could certainly carry enough people and stuff to be self-sustaining at a basic level of industrialization. I’m concerned you won’t have enough people - 3000 people or so is not THAT many people given the number of specialists you’ll need - but I suspect you’re going to get a lot of local recruits who will be eager to learn your ways. Just your supply of medical miracles - penicillin, for instance - will convince the locals you’re the side to join.

Don’t forget that you need to bring implements of agricultural production and animal husbandry with you. All that nifty mechanical stuff will do you little good if you starve. Bring extra rations if it takes awhile to get that in full swing. Remember that you need people who know how to farm.

However, having said that, you may have picked the wrong ship. I’m not sure, but I am pretty certain that the really gigantic transports and oil tankers can carry more crap than a CVN. Since you can launch helicopters from the deck of a transport, I’d take one of them giganto-freight carriers to ensure I could carry more shit and more people.

Talk about overkill. One single tank could probably wipe out all of Rome. It would take a while, because you’d have to keep returning to your supply station, but you could do it. What are they gonna do, set up a trebouchet?

Figure a hundred military personnel, half from the ACoE, a hundred medics, and a hundred farmers, and you’re probably good to go. Bring a dozen tanks to be sure, and a dozen hummers to get around in when not sacking the parthanon, and the world is your oyster.

A friggin walkie-talkie would probably get you worshiped as a god.

I really wonder how the Romans would interpret something like an Aircraft Carrier…I guess they would think of it as some strange man-made island that can magically move without sail/oar, and carries giant metal birds. I would figure that would be incredibly intimidating to a person who thinks a pointy piece of metal is the final word in warfare.

They might be too scared to do anything short of running away. Remember, much of the technology that will be brought is beyond the comprehension of a person at the time. How would you explain things like electricity or nuclear reactors to them?

Have you yet read S. M. Stirling’s Nantucket trilogy?

The island of Nantucket is sent back into the Bronze Age, along with the Coast Guard training ship Eagle. They have to deal with establishing trade relations with proto-Celts, having one of their number introduce industry to Myceanean Greece, and other complicating factors.

There is also a lot of lesbian interaction, and a reasonably good (albeit overlong) recreation of the Battle of Rouke’s Drift.

The biggest problem with taking all that modern technology back to the past is going to be fuel. Unless you can secure an oil field and build a refinery, your tanks are going to end up as dug in defences and your airplanes are going to be utterly useless.

Uranium, assuming the ability to build a reactor, is good for supplying electricity. However, without oil, your forces are going to need to take the Arabian peninsula or they are going to be going nowhere fast.

Didn’t they do something like this on the original SNL years ago with Kirk Douglas? What if Spartacus had a Piper Cub? :smiley:

Sure, but a nuclear-powered CVN would keep chugging a lot longer than a conventionally-fueled supertanker. Plus, I’d have to imagine it’s built a lot tougher than a tanker (although why this would be needed against Roman technology I cannot say). Finally, it’s oh-so-much cooler.

I’m lost on the goal. Is the goal to get the Romans to come to you, or to wipe them out when they do? You only said what the goal wasn’t.

If it’s the former, bring some modern electronics and other doodads. Modern made jewlery. A bicycle. A Walkie Talkie. Send an envoy to Rome, arouse their curiousity with these amazing items, they’ll come over to see what’s going on. Or bring 500 miles of cable and a truck capable of laying it, and just head to Rome laying out the cable. How could anyone resist following this amazing material to the end?

If it’s the latter, bring an A-Bomb, end of story.

A pair would be even more impressive! :smiley:

I’d take a converted Supertanker full of Cheetos, Beer and Strippers. Screw Europe! I’d head right for the natural harbor now known as San Francisco and set up shop up the river in the central valley. Grow me some tomatos, garlic and raise up some piggys to be used as sausage. Would have plenty of spagetti feasts, I would. Spend my summers at Lake Gatopescado (some of you know it today as “Tahoe”) and winters in the winerys I’ll build on the coast near Gatopescado Bay (“Bodega”). I’ll be sure to brings lots of premuim grade gasoline and fuel stabilizer for my fleet of Humvees and Suzuki DRZ400s and Honda 4-wheelers.

Did I mention the Strippers?

How is Rap like Porn? Both are better with the sound turned off.

How About a Fun Fantasy?

Pick up an individual from the Roman world, say soneone like Ben Hur (Charlton Heston), drop him at RCA center, endowed with the communications skills to talk with the passing crowd, dress him and perhaps alady companion to blend in the crowd and watch them as they try to cope with the sights and sounds of the Big Apple.

Take them out to JFK and put them on a plane to Newark.

Pick up a rental car to return to NY via The Tunnel.

I’ve had an interest in Rourke’s Drift ever since I was…Oh, who the hell am I kidding? Can you elaborate on the lesbian interaction?

Though I’ve seen pictures, I’ve never actually been to Europe, but… will a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier fit into the Rhine?

As for the rest of your fantasy… I think it’s been done already… in Afghanistan… last year.

I think the knowledge of certain professions would be more valuable than any piece of technology.

What good is it to have a nuclear reactor if no one is around to purify the ore you will need to mine.

A fair number of craftsmen, builders, explorers, scientists, engineers, doctors, etc… would be a force to deal with.
Keeping them all safe in the USS Ronald Reagan wouldn’t be a bad idea, tho. For a while, anyways. Then, send the explorers out to make contact with The Far East and The New World.
Can you tell I’ve been reading Pastwatch - The Redemption of Christopher Columbus ?

Off to MPSIMS.

moderator GQ

You’ll be out of jet fuel in a week.
The crew will be irked that supplies of candy bars are gone in a week. And Lordy, you can’t even get pizza or pasta in Roman Times.
Nobody in the crew will really speak any meaningful Latin.
Interaction with the locals will end up with half the crew dead from typhus, bubonic plague and smallpox – against which they have no resistance.

I’ve read 1632 and 1633, in which a whole town in present day West Virginia is plunked down in the middle of Germany during the 30 Years War.

The books deal in detail with some of the points raised here. Sure, you have motor vehicles, but what happens when the fuel runs out? The dentist has his office, with all the modern equipment, but what’s it like getting a cavity filled once the novocaine is gone? Plus, there is a very nasty and brutal war going on out there. What do you do about it?

But to address the OP. I would stock up on basic tools and technical manuals. Medicines, medical books, a fully equipped operation rooms, and many basic first aid and doctor’s bag items.

Maps, lots of maps, the surveying and geological kind, so you could know where ore deposits and such are.

I’ll think of more later.