After a massive space battle that took place over a planet, the invading forces won, but with heavy losses on both sides. The space around the planet was littered with the bodies of the lost ships that took part in the battle. The invasion on the planet was underway. However another battle was being fought, the battle to save the many crew members left alive inside the ships before their air runs out. The commander of the operation had a difficult task ahead of him, not only was he trying to save the lives of his own men but the enemy's men as well. The ships were all in different conditions. Some with just a few holes shot in them, others with just the power lost, however some ships had been torn asunder with only a few pockets left for survivors. The rescue work was underway with many crews saved on both sides, but then a grim discovery was made. The bulkhead doors on some of the ships were cut open, the crew inside sucked out into the void or left to suffocate. Some of the dead crew had suits on but were also killed; this can only be the work of raiders. It seems that the raiders are just outside of our scanners range, circling like hungry sharks. They wait till the target ship is in the shadow of the planet, and then they turn off the power on their ship and glide it over towards their prey. Undetectable with all the debris floating around, the raiders are ready to loot and ready to kill.
The Commanders Forces:
1 Heavy Destroyer: HQ for the rescue effort. 2 Light Cruiser: mainly used for patrols but holds two fighter wings. 7 Light fighter wings: each wing has ten fighters each. 10 Corvettes: used for patrols and protecting the recuse ships. 12 Rescue ships: unarmed but do have a few soldiers on board.
Reinforcements can arrive from the main fleet if the commander gets attacked (will take a few hours to arrive) but will only be a temporary aid, a war is on after all.
The ship graveyard is currently two hundred cubic kilometers in volume and growing by the day. The number of damaged ships is close to eight thousand, the vessels sizes vary but most are Cruisers, Corvettes, and Destroyers. So patrolling all of it with ships is too much for the commander to handle with so many hiding spots and the risk of ambushes.
The objective is to minimize loss of life, the ships themselves are expendable. But not letting blood crazed raiders getting their hands on military hardware is high on the to-do list
The Raiders Forces
Mostly just rag-tag groups working together, they are not unified. They have nothing bigger than a Corvette and only a few of them (not even close to as much firepower as a military one) they mostly have a few hundred Light fighter size ships (again not on par with our fighters). They will most likely run when spotted but will attack a fighter, Corvette or rescue ship if it’s on its own and or they have the numbers. The raiders have also installed radar inhibitors across the graveyard making the rescue effort hard and detecting them even harder. The only way to find them, other than line-of-sight, is either by their heat signature or their ships energy readings, both are masked well and a lot of background noise doesn’t help much.
The raiders are just after military hardware and good old loot. The reason they are killing people is just that they were in their way or that signs of life indicate that is where the most intact loot is. The reasons change depending on the group, some kill while others just loot empty ships.
Question: What can the Commander do to protect the Damaged Ships from being raided
I'm having a hard time trying to come up with a good plan to protect the ships from the raiders. I was thinking of using flares to light up the areas they were patrolling but I don't know if space flares can happen (lack of air and all that) I'm more interested in plans and tactics but I'm open to any ideas you guys can come up with.