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  1. - Top - End - #271
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIV

    Quote Originally Posted by snowblizz View Post
    Been thinking a bit on battleships, the dreadnaught era (and just before) to be precise, due to reading a book which is fairly thick on the technical data but not always so good as contextualising it. So I got some questions and musings.

    The definition of a battleship is kinda vague isn't it? The difference between the ships launched around the turn of the century and the WW2 German and Japanese behemoths is quite marked, under 20k tons vs 70k and more (esp for unplanned super battleships). To me it seems one might as well be comparing cruisers to early battleships.
    The definition of most ship types is somewhat vague, and often changes over time. I believe a similar thing happened with cruisers and destroyers as well; a destroyer built in 1945 would generally be a lot larger than one built in 1900. Role and gun caliber played a large part. For example, in WWII, the difference between "heavy" and "light" cruisers was almost entirely that the heavy cruisers carried 8" guns and the light cruisers had 6". So the earlier ships were battleships because they had battleship-caliber guns (around 10"-11" and bigger)

    At various points the difficulty of aiming (over distance I assume) was mentioned with one ship with only 4 main gun(barrel)s was claimed to be neigh impossible to score hits with, 6 barrels minimum was the message I got. Is this to be understood so that the salvo is "small" enough and the targeting uncertain enough that it becomes impossible to "box in" the enemy? And what's the benefit in doing that? Because secondary and tertiary guns seemed to mess with this, and was one reason they moved to a main caliber and lighter support guns. But also, don't your pals' fire make it hard to tell, so they seem kinda screwed either way. This sort of jars with the pre-dreadnaughts too, where 4 main guns were considered plenty becked up by a plethora of secondary armaments.
    Naval gunnery was an exercise in shooting at a target, seeing where your shots land, and adjusting your aim accordingly, which is why initial salvoes fired almost never hit. More guns means more shells, so a better chance to hit and more to see a centerpoint for your aim. I'm not sure about the 4 vs 6 gun thing, I haven't seen that number cited anywhere. Secondary guns did mess with main gun targeting, which was one reason among many nations switched to the all big gun battleships. The idea behind having a lot of secondaries was to inundate the target with gunfire and knock out their light gun positions, which were often lightly armored or open. Dreadnought battleships, obviously, were not vulnerable to that.

    Multiple ships firing on the same target also caused problems. The Royal Navy experimented with putting dye in their shells; that way the column of water from a miss would be a different color depending on which ship fired. I can't remember how successful that idea was.

    Incidentally, was reading before this a book on artillery ww1 to modern and the huge number of barrels repurposed from dreadnaught construction to heavy siege artillery on land was quite surprising, though logical. Also made me chuckle when weak and underpowered secondary or tertiary gunds on ships would have counted amongst the heaviest field and siege artillery on land. Though it leads me to the question why did ship guns need to be so massive. Later on in the dreadnaught race ofc you made a bigger gun than the Ger... I mean likely opponents and made your armour thick enough to withstand that (if you were american at least it seems). But where does it get started? Range? "kill power" ie weight of shells? Because as I understand it, fighting at range wasn't in the original plan e.g. where they put armour and the gunlayouts. It seems they were still thinking a lot like Trafalgar. That actually makes a tremendous sense for why the Russian fleet sailing to Tsutsuma straight got it's ass handed to it. (Not that they didn't have a lot of issues, just the idea of firing on British fishing ships because they may be Japanese torpedo boats, in the North Sea.) Because as I recall they had incredibly poor accuracy as they found out while practicing on the way. So they would have been expecting to fire almost flat trajectories over opensights mostly?
    You don't see the really big guns until after the dreadnought battleships, when range became a very important factor. You're firing at basically a floating fortress at extreme range. Even with pre-dreadnoughts, getting the first shot off can be useful even if you intend to make a fight of it at close range. Someone else can probably address this point better.

    Which brings me to the armouring which was terribly confusing to follow in the text (finally figured out horinzontal and vertical, but then some of the "armoured decks" started throwing me off, isn't that what you get if you have the previous?). But the thickest armour was placed in the sides and turrets (the only one makes sense to me) usually. So clearly they were not expecting to stand at distance and actually drop shells on target (a limited portee in many cases that was later retrofitted). But if range wasn't that important, why the big guns? At least, before the measuring contest started. Chicken/hen problem again it seems?
    In this day and age where you don't so much drop bombs as shoot missiles would thick sidearmour make sense again? If we disregard how unsuited a BB really is, because come on, everyone knows you're not a real global power if you don't own a battleship (someone needs to twitter Trump about this).
    Again, someone else can probably explain this better, but a lot of ships had an armored "citadel" in the middle where the machinery, ammunition, etc. was housed. The citadel armor was in addition to the belt armor and the deck armor. That might be what the book it talking about.

    Heavily armored ships today probably wouldn't be as effective. It's too easy to attack a weakly-armored aspect, and too difficult to armor everywhere on the ship. Better to use countermeasures to not get shot at in the first place/fool the missile, or active defenses to negate it.

    Torpedo tubes on battleships?!?! Where'd they place those? Not at aft and fore surely? And, seriously? That's ironically about the one thing I almost felt was a definition of a weapon a battleship was not having. Yet the majority had them.
    Some were mounted internally. HMS Rodney is (as far as I'm aware) the only battleship to successfully torpedo an enemy battleship (Bismarck after she had been immobilized and her guns had been almost completely knocked out); I was trying to find something that showed how she mounted her torpedoes but I couldn't past a general reference to them being internal. Some had them mounted in deck launchers, as shown in the spoiler below (A German pocket battleship, not a proper battleship, but still). I believe they were meant as a deterrent to other battleships and cruisers getting in too close, which apparently worked

    Spoiler: Torpedo tubes on the Graf Spee
    Show


    At one point the author said something about static coastal fortifications always having an edge over moving ships (I may have to skim through and find it again). That seemed off. I was starting to tihnk it was a translation error. Because fortifications elsewhere tended to fail because they could not be moved and would be ground down by artillery.
    Fortifications could be better armored and had a much more stable firing platform. They could land hits more accurately and resist hits more effectively. In the age of sail ships struggled to knock out coastal fortifications, I wouldn't be surprised if the same was true for many of the same reasons with gun battleships.

    Someone else can probably elaborate on and/or correct these points, but that's what I've got for you.
    Last edited by rs2excelsior; 2017-08-29 at 11:24 AM.
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  2. - Top - End - #272
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIV

    Quote Originally Posted by snowblizz View Post
    Been thinking a bit on battleships, the dreadnaught era (and just before) to be precise, due to reading a book which is fairly thick on the technical data but not always so good as contextualising it. So I got some questions and musings.

    The definition of a battleship is kinda vague isn't it? The difference between the ships launched around the turn of the century and the WW2 German and Japanese behemoths is quite marked, under 20k tons vs 70k and more (esp for unplanned super battleships). To me it seems one might as well be comparing cruisers to early battleships.
    The modern term 'battleship' is a shortening of 'line-of-battle ship', i.e. one that isn't intended to do anything other than blast away at the enemy. Other ships evolved around either supporting or targeting the enemy's battleships. Torpedo boats and later submarines were designed to shoot them at their weakest and be ridiculously cost-efficient, which led to destroyers entering the fleet to destroy enemy torpedo boats. Cruisers were initially designed to be heavy commerce raiders/patrol vessels, later moving into battle fleets as a way to chase down enemy destroyers.

    The insistence on placing secondary armament in casemates low to the waterline continued to baffle me. Because the same note always followed, couldn't be used in rough seas. Yet the next ships did exactly the same thing despite some lessons that one would thought had been learned.
    Essentially, this was a case of 'it's tradition'. Sailors were often trained on normal vessels, and thus would be familiar with ships of such layout, furthermore, there were no naval conflicts of not between battleships until the Russo-Japanese war, after which the Dreadnought was quickly adopted. The smaller guns, it turned out, worked much better in theory then practice.

    At various points the difficulty of aiming (over distance I assume) was mentioned with one ship with only 4 main gun(barrel)s was claimed to be neigh impossible to score hits with, 6 barrels minimum was the message I got. Is this to be understood so that the salvo is "small" enough and the targeting uncertain enough that it becomes impossible to "box in" the enemy? And what's the benefit in doing that? Because secondary and tertiary guns seemed to mess with this, and was one reason they moved to a main caliber and lighter support guns. But also, don't your pals' fire make it hard to tell, so they seem kinda screwed either way. This sort of jars with the pre-dreadnaughts too, where 4 main guns were considered plenty becked up by a plethora of secondary armaments.
    'Boxing in' lets you narrow down your range of fire so you can get around to actually sinking the enemy, something that cannot easily be done otherwise. On period battleships, there was simply no way to account for all factors influencing trajectories, so it was judged better to simply try to hit the general area. Ships had gunnery officers specially trained to quickly analyze whose shots were falling where and thus to narrow down the range.

    As I understand it, fighting at range wasn't in the original plan e.g. where they put armour and the gunlayouts. It seems they were still thinking a lot like Trafalgar. That actually makes a tremendous sense for why the Russian fleet sailing to Tsutsuma straight got it's ass handed to it. (Not that they didn't have a lot of issues, just the idea of firing on British fishing ships because they may be Japanese torpedo boats, in the North Sea.) Because as I recall they had incredibly poor accuracy as they found out while practicing on the way. So they would have been expecting to fire almost flat trajectories over opensights mostly?
    Again, conservatism. Before and during WWI, it was incredibly hard to accurately 'box in' with arcing trajectories, as the delay was simply too great. So they trained on flat trajectories, which everyone was used to, reinforcing said conservatism. As far as I'm aware, though, they never really figured out the problem of accuracy beyond the 'boxing in' method.

    . So clearly they were not expecting to stand at distance and actually drop shells on target (a limited portee in many cases that was later retrofitted). But if range wasn't that important, why the big guns? At least, before the measuring contest started. Chicken/hen problem again it seems?
    Not really, no. Until the interwar period naval doctrine relied on flat trajectories, during WWII arcing ones were introduced and decks became more heavily armored (this was, many believe, the decisive advantage of the Bismark over the Hood. The big guns were used as a counter to armor, which originated in the 1850s and '60s. Larger shells were better at blasting/punching through armor plate, so the real arms race was just as much between armor and weapons as weapons and weapons.


    In this day and age where you don't so much drop bombs as shoot missiles would thick sidearmour make sense again?
    I'm no expert, but I'd guess modern tracking missiles, etc, have reached the point where either a) you have too much armor to move or b) you just decide to go without. In any case, ship designers today have to take into account power projection and such as much or more than inter-ship combat.

    The ultimate disappearance of the battleship made a lot of sense when looking at a photo of a WW2 refurbished USS Texas (IIRC) it was absolutely bristling with AA guns (it looked like a teenage boy's drawing of ship-with-helluva-lotsofguns) and you just know it was still probably quite vulnerable to planes anyway
    Yeah, WWII basically proved that battleships are basically floating targets for airplanes. Major projects on building battleships (Bismark, Yamato, etc.) ate up resources but ultimately had little tactical value. The aircraft carrier quickly took over in prestige/power projection, while lighter destroyers were much more cost-efficient escorts and support vessels.

    At one point the author said something about static coastal fortifications always having an edge over moving ships (I may have to skim through and find it again). That seemed off. I was starting to tihnk it was a translation error. Because fortifications elsewhere tended to fail because they could not be moved and would be ground down by artillery.
    That's true on land, where if you need a fort obliterated, you can always bring in enough heavy artillery to blast it back to the stone age. But at sea, the number and size of guns you can bring in is limited, as ships are only so large and can only handle so much recoil while maintaining any semblance of accuracy. Furthermore, they can't be as armored as ground fortifications and bunkers. Dedicated fortifications designed to control critical sections of water can always be more heavily armed and armored than any battleship. If it's weak from the air carriers can hypothetically knock it out, but not battleships, who can never outrange, outgun, or outlast a fort.

  3. - Top - End - #273
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIV

    Quote Originally Posted by snowblizz View Post
    Been thinking a bit on battleships, the dreadnaught era (and just before) to be precise, due to reading a book which is fairly thick on the technical data but not always so good as contextualising it. So I got some questions and musings.
    *cracks fingers*

    ok, this is going to be a wall of text. just so your warned.


    The definition of a battleship is kinda vague isn't it? The difference between the ships launched around the turn of the century and the WW2 German and Japanese behemoths is quite marked, under 20k tons vs 70k and more (esp for unplanned super battleships). To me it seems one might as well be comparing cruisers to early battleships.
    "battleship" is a job title. its a ship for battles. as the requirements for battles change, so too do the ships in them. Its like how one man can be in charge of a company of (say) 500 people, and another can be in charge of a company of 5000, but both are called "CEO".





    The insistence on placing secondary armament in casemates low to the waterline continued to baffle me. Because the same note always followed, couldn't be used in rough seas. Yet the next ships did exactly the same thing despite some lessons that one would thought had been learned.
    it was a case of trying to work out how to pack as much armament into a hull, while keeping the centre of balance (the metacentric height) down low enough that the ship is not too unstable. Plus, it was one thing for the sailors to say "Yhea, those gun mounts are a bit wet", but another for the designers to understand that what they meant was "unusable in anything other than a dead clam".

    also, remember that the secondary armaments were intended to dive off torpedo boats and such, which couldn't attack in rough weather either


    At various points the difficulty of aiming (over distance I assume) was mentioned with one ship with only 4 main gun(barrel)s was claimed to be neigh impossible to score hits with, 6 barrels minimum was the message I got. Is this to be understood so that the salvo is "small" enough and the targeting uncertain enough that it becomes impossible to "box in" the enemy? And what's the benefit in doing that? Because secondary and tertiary guns seemed to mess with this, and was one reason they moved to a main caliber and lighter support guns. But also, don't your pals' fire make it hard to tell, so they seem kinda screwed either way. This sort of jars with the pre-dreadnaughts too, where 4 main guns were considered plenty becked up by a plethora of secondary armaments.
    this is to do with range, range-finding, and the limits of what could be done, as well as a change in the paradigm of combat.

    on every warship before radar, the targeting cycle went like this:

    estimate range (this is always changing, as your on a moving platform, firing at a moving target, which is moving independently of you)
    fire at target (often with several shots aimed further and shorter than the estimated range, in a "ladder" to help narrow it down quicker)
    observe the fall of shot (ie, look where the shell splashes are)
    revise range estimation
    repeat


    In the 1890s (when most pre-Dreadnought battleships were build), the best range finders were only accurate out to a few thousand yards. they could make guns than could fire much, much further than that, but they could not actually aim them.

    So, the expected range of combat was a well within naked eye range. each gun was aimed and fired by its gun captain, and was adjusted individually. at this range, it was bloody obivious what each gun was doing, so small, high rate of fire guns could "smother" a target enemys decks and "Upperworks" (like the bridge and light guns) with lighter shells, while the heavy guns could punch into the "vitals". its worth mentioning that these Victorian heavy guns had rates of fire measured in minutes per round, rather than rounds per minute, so a heavy secondary and tertiary battery was considered necessary.

    however, advances in optics meant that it was possible to start ranging at longer ranges, where it was no longer possible to tell a 6 inch, 8 inch or 12 inch shell splash apart. The only way to range was to salvo fire every gun at the same time, which natraully limited the rate of fire to that of the slower, bigger guns. at the same time, newer, faster firing heavy guns cut loading times down form 120-180 seconds to less than 30. these two factors combined removed the primary advantage of the lighter secondary's, their higher rate of fire.

    at about the same time, the only major naval combats of the pre-dreadnought era happened, in the Ruso-Japanese war, and one of the take-away lessons was that while light guns could do some damage, the battles were decided by heavy guns and heavy gun hits.

    thus, the logical switch to the "all big gun" dreadnought design.

    as for other ships fire, unless your all firing at the exact same time, it should be easy enough to sort out the fire (as you know roughly when your shots are going to get their, so its just a matter of discounting the splashes that are happening when your not shooting(


    Incidentally, was reading before this a book on artillery ww1 to modern and the huge number of barrels repurposed from dreadnaught construction to heavy siege artillery on land was quite surprising, though logical. Also made me chuckle when weak and underpowered secondary or tertiary gunds on ships would have counted amongst the heaviest field and siege artillery on land. Though it leads me to the question why did ship guns need to be so massive. Later on in the dreadnaught race ofc you made a bigger gun than the Ger... I mean likely opponents and made your armour thick enough to withstand that (if you were american at least it seems). But where does it get started? Range? "kill power" ie weight of shells?
    the short answer is nothing on land needed a thousand pound shell to travel 12 miles to deal with it in one hit. the heavy mortars used to break the big forts in WW1 only needed a range of a mile or two, and they could be pounded and pounded for weeks until they crumbled.


    Because as I understand it, fighting at range wasn't in the original plan e.g. where they put armour and the gunlayouts. It seems they were still thinking a lot like Trafalgar. That actually makes a tremendous sense for why the Russian fleet sailing to Tsutsuma straight got it's ass handed to it. (Not that they didn't have a lot of issues, just the idea of firing on British fishing ships because they may be Japanese torpedo boats, in the North Sea.) Because as I recall they had incredibly poor accuracy as they found out while practicing on the way. So they would have been expecting to fire almost flat trajectories over opensights mostly?

    basically, yes, because of the aforemented issues with aiming and ranging. because the guns were very high velocity guns over a comparatively short range (so they can pierce armour), they were coming in a nearly flat trajectory.



    Which brings me to the armouring which was terribly confusing to follow in the text (finally figured out horinzontal and vertical, but then some of the "armoured decks" started throwing me off, isn't that what you get if you have the previous?). But the thickest armour was placed in the sides and turrets (the only one makes sense to me) usually. So clearly they were not expecting to stand at distance and actually drop shells on target (a limited portee in many cases that was later retrofitted). But if range wasn't that important, why the big guns? At least, before the measuring contest started. Chicken/hen problem again it seems?

    armouring is complex and nuanced topic that changed over time, but the short answer Is different armours were to protect against difference threats.

    the "deck" armour was to protect against long range "plunging" shell fire, coming in at a steep angle, but having a lot of its energy, so it could be thinner. the "belt" armour was for shorter range fire, which was almost flat and going really fast, so it needed much thicker armour to deal with it.



    In this day and age where you don't so much drop bombs as shoot missiles would thick sidearmour make sense again? If we disregard how unsuited a BB really is, because come on, everyone knows you're not a real global power if you don't own a battleship (someone needs to twitter Trump about this).
    not really, the weight would be better spent on more CWIS, missles and other active defences.




    Torpedo tubes on battleships?!?! Where'd they place those? Not at aft and fore surely? And, seriously? That's ironically about the one thing I almost felt was a definition of a weapon a battleship was not having. Yet the majority had them.
    yhea, that were a bit of a dead end.


    The ultimate disappearance of the battleship made a lot of sense when looking at a photo of a WW2 refurbished USS Texas (IIRC) it was absolutely bristling with AA guns (it looked like a teenage boy's drawing of ship-with-helluva-lotsofguns) and you just know it was still probably quite vulnerable to planes anyway.
    its worth pointing out that it wasn't until December 1941 that a battleship under steam was sunk solely by air power. before that, it was strictly speaking a theoretical capability Even then, it took some seriously bad management by the brits to let it happen in the first place.

    Also, it took 300+ aircraft to sink the Yamato. their wasn't a navy in the world that could put 300 planes into a carrier strike before mid 1944. before that point, it could have been used effectively, if only the japs were not so wedded to their decisive battle doctrine.


    At one point the author said something about static coastal fortifications always having an edge over moving ships (I may have to skim through and find it again). That seemed off. I was starting to tihnk it was a translation error. Because fortifications elsewhere tended to fail because they could not be moved and would be ground down by artillery.

    Random musing of the day. Be interesting to get some thoughts.

    short answer is that, in a race to get a working firing solution, the fort has the advantage as it doesn't have to compensate for its guns waving all over the place like a ship would and can keep a better track of the target, so it will usually get shots on target faster and more consistently than a ship.
    Last edited by Storm Bringer; 2017-08-29 at 05:01 PM.
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  4. - Top - End - #274
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIV

    It is important to remember that HMS Dreadnought was the early-20th-century equivalent of the B-2 stealth bomber. As soon as she hit the water, she made every older battleship instantly obsolete - which is why we have the "pre-dreadnought, dreadnought, and super-dreadnought" categories in the first place.

    Pre-dreads were built with the assumption that the big 12" rifles would be used for skirmishing as the fleets closed, since their glacial rate of fire and accuracy issues (due to poor fire control and rangefinding methods) made getting hits a matter of luck. For this reason, most ships carried a forward and an aft twin turret, anagalous to the bow and stern "chasers" mounted by Age of Sail warships.

    The ship's real weapons were the massive batteries of the then newly developed Quick Firing guns - so named because their unitary ammunition allowed them to fire extremely quickly. Most navies found 6" guns to be the ideal for this, the US used 5" weapons instead. It was expected that the big guns would fire as the fleets maneuvered, until the range closed enough that a torrent of shells from the smaller guns would shatter the ship's mobility and allow them to be finished off with torpedoes. As technology improved, most navies experimented with an intermediate battery of 8"-10" guns, sometimes

    The Russo-Japanese War proved that the big guns could hit at longer ranges (at least, as long as they weren't distracted by the fire of the ship's intermediate guns), and that the 6" weapons didn't do much against another battleship. Further, the rate of fire for the big guns had gone from 4 minutes a shot to 2 shots a minute, making the latest versions into very useful weapons indeed.

    Naval architects all saw the way forward at about the same time, with Britain's project being the first by a few months. Dreadnought went from her immediate predecessor Lord Nelson-class ships (themselves an experimental design) 4 12", 9 9", 24 3" armament to one consisting of 10 12" guns and 27 3" - a massive increase in useful firepower. Not only were the guns more powerful, fire control of 10 identical guns without smaller big guns firing was vastly improved.

    Dreadnought was also considerably faster (albeit with very slightly thinner armor, which wasn't so important at the longer ranges she was intended to fight at), rendering the difference in combat power to be almost exponential instead of merely multiplicative. In theory, one Dreadnought-type battleship could outfight any three pre-dreads, although the older ships were disposed of with such alacrity that the only combat between the types involved second-rate navies.

    Dreadnought herself was obsoleted fairly quickly, due not only to a sudden rapid increase in gun caliber (needed for smashing ever-thicker armor at ever-longer ranges), fire control, and armor thickness (needed to stop ever-bigger shells), but to the innovations of All Or Nothing Armor (architects evaluated what parts of the ship were crucial to combat (engine rooms, magazines, command stations, turrets, etc) and armored those areas heavily, leaving things like crew quarters and mess halls (which will be empty in a battle anyway) completely unarmored - allowing much better protection for the same weight) and superfiring turrets (where one turret is elevated to allow firing over another - this not only allowed more guns to fire forward and/or aft, but allowed for a shorter ship with any given firepower). Ships of this generation are called "superdreadnoughts".

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIV

    About the ships and forts thing, some months ago I read an article reporting the notation of how a weak navy could be as well a non-existent navy, because it could not leave the areas protected by coastal fortifications (I think it referred to some episodes in the Russo-Japanese war and contemporary commentators, but I'm not sure). The article then expanded to wonder if today we were again at it, this time with anti-ship missiles projecting extremely long-range protection on a fleet. I wish I could remember which article it was, or where I read it.

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIV

    That sounds very Mahanian, and only works in the concept of a power-projection navy (such as the modern US Navy or the Royal Navy). For coast-defense or control-denying navies not being powerful enough for a stand-up fight away from your coastal defenses isn't that big of an issue.

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIV

    Quote Originally Posted by rs2excelsior View Post
    If I recall correctly, it's kind of the opposite in ACW manuals. The guard position has the rifle turned slightly, about 45 degrees from "normal" orientation, with the lockplate (right side of the rifle) upward and the point around shoulder level. When you thrust you rotate back to it's normal orientation, and the process of extending the arms moves the point down to the abdomen. The twist then turns 90 degrees to the right, so lockplate down, then recover to guard. Again, it's been a while since I last went through the manuals, but if I recall correctly this is how it was done (or at least taught).
    I'm not sure I'm following what you've said here. I have instructed some in the basics of McClellan's bayonet drill (which was derived from the French drill of the time). The guard position sounds right, and when thrusting the rifle is brought to the "normal" position. But I don't remember reading anything about twisting it a further 90 degrees. Or that twisting was done as part of the wound per say:

    NOTE.- It is a general rule, which will not be repeated, that in all the thrusts and lunges, (except the shortened thrust, Nos. 44 to 49), at the same time that the blow is made, a rotary motion is given to the piece so as to bring the guard directly towards the ground and the lock plate square to the right. This rotary motion is of great importance, giving additional force and accuracy to the blow; and it is to obtain it that the lock plate is half turned up in the position of guard.
    Also, the thrust was to the chest -- "the point of the bayonet at the height of the breast". Perhaps a triangular bayonet was less likely to be get stuck on the ribs? The French had demonstrated the usefulness of the system during the Crimean War, so there must have been something going for it.

    There were other bayonet manuals used during the Civil War and they may have had different instructions.

    McClellan's manual can be found online here:
    http://www.drillnet.net/Bayonet.htm

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIV

    Quote Originally Posted by snowblizz View Post
    Torpedo tubes on battleships?!?! Where'd they place those? Not at aft and fore surely? And, seriously? That's ironically about the one thing I almost felt was a definition of a weapon a battleship was not having. Yet the majority had them.
    Here's some pictures of the pre-dreadnought USS Indiana, which shows the hull mounted torpedo tube in the bow.

    http://www.maritimequest.com/warship...ndiana_bb1.htm

    I've seen pictures of other battleships with them in basically the same position, but couldn't find any quickly. They were often removed during rebuilds.

    Torpedos were seen as having a lot of promise in the late 1800s and early 1900s, once some practice was built up with them it became clear that they weren't as easy to use as first thought.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Storm Bringer View Post
    short answer is that, in a race to get a working firing solution, the fort has the advantage as it doesn't have to compensate for its guns waving all over the place like a ship would and can keep a better track of the target, so it will usually get shots on target faster and more consistently than a ship.
    Land based fortifications also tended to have way bigger range finders. Unlike on ships, their optics didn't have to be on a single rotating platform. They could be hundreds of yards apart which made them much more accurate as ranges increased. They also weren't limited to just two lines op position which further added to their accuracy. And perhaps the biggest advantage of all, any fort with respect for itself would have range tables worked up based on the best survey methods available. This made judging the fall of shot much easier.

    It's also worth noting just how little combat there was between armoured vessels before WWI. There was a few clashes in the 1860ies and then there's a 45 year gap until the Russo-Japanese war.
    This means that the Pre-Dread battleship evolves almost entirely in a vacuum. Everything is based on theories and trials and not actual combat experience.
    A good example is the whole idea of ramming. It evolved out of one extraordinary event at the Battle of Lissa.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIV

    Quote Originally Posted by fusilier View Post
    I'm not sure I'm following what you've said here. I have instructed some in the basics of McClellan's bayonet drill (which was derived from the French drill of the time). The guard position sounds right, and when thrusting the rifle is brought to the "normal" position. But I don't remember reading anything about twisting it a further 90 degrees. Or that twisting was done as part of the wound per say:



    Also, the thrust was to the chest -- "the point of the bayonet at the height of the breast". Perhaps a triangular bayonet was less likely to be get stuck on the ribs? The French had demonstrated the usefulness of the system during the Crimean War, so there must have been something going for it.

    There were other bayonet manuals used during the Civil War and they may have had different instructions.

    McClellan's manual can be found online here:
    http://www.drillnet.net/Bayonet.htm
    Again, it's been a while since I've gone through the manual. I've seen the twist after the thrust advocated, just apparently not there.

    Thanks for the link--the thrust to the chest is not something I remember (and I'm fairly certain not something I did when I was training with the manual). Lowering the point to the abdomen is fairly natural from the guard position, and I've definitely read that thrusts to the chest were discouraged on account of the ribcage. There are also the "Four Directions of Attack," which describe an identical thrust just to the left loin, right loin, left shoulder, or right shoulder--so different angles of attack were built in to the manual as well. I'll see if I can dig anything more solid up.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIV

    Random question that might be tangentially related! How easy is it to steal a warhorse? My experiences of horses is pretty limited, but none of them cared to take orders from random people. I would imagine that war horses are both more difficult to bond with and have extensive training. So how does one get into a camp and steal the horses without them objecting?
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    Quote Originally Posted by rs2excelsior View Post
    Again, it's been a while since I've gone through the manual. I've seen the twist after the thrust advocated, just apparently not there.

    Thanks for the link--the thrust to the chest is not something I remember (and I'm fairly certain not something I did when I was training with the manual). Lowering the point to the abdomen is fairly natural from the guard position, and I've definitely read that thrusts to the chest were discouraged on account of the ribcage. There are also the "Four Directions of Attack," which describe an identical thrust just to the left loin, right loin, left shoulder, or right shoulder--so different angles of attack were built in to the manual as well. I'll see if I can dig anything more solid up.
    Concerning the thrust to the chest -- I did quote the manual. In addition to there being different manuals, I've found that reenactors often make mistakes, which then get passed on and become "standard". There were many things that were wrong when I was taught bayonet training, that I didn't discover until years later when I had to lead bayonet drill and noted some discrepancies.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Honest Tiefling View Post
    Random question that might be tangentially related! How easy is it to steal a warhorse? My experiences of horses is pretty limited, but none of them cared to take orders from random people. I would imagine that war horses are both more difficult to bond with and have extensive training. So how does one get into a camp and steal the horses without them objecting?
    Well, this has no easy answer. Primary problem is that we don't have a lot of period sources about horses prior to Napoleonic era, and most of what we have either talks about training their riders (Xenophon) or about taking care of them when they get sick (various Rosarienbuchs/Rosarienbucher, depending on how you like your plurals). To my knowledge, there is no renaissance or earlier manual on how to train the horses.

    That said, we have some references to trained horses, be it insanely aggressive man-eating horses from Illiad or well-trained horses of nomads that will lie down on command.

    From what we know, it seems you can train a horse to about the same ballpark you can train a dog, with some behaviours being easier to teach and some harder.

    With that established, we have another factor - how exactly do you want to train your horses? If a noble is training his warhorse for personal use from foal to adulthood, there is no issue with changing ownership at face value, but what if you want to give it to someone as a gift? That was a common practice, to say nothing of horse markets being big and popular, and yes, you could buy warhorses there, if you had the money.

    In the end, you could steal all but the most well-trained warhorses by giving them food to munch on and leading them away, IF no one noticed you, which is unlikely at best.

    Bigger problem is what happens to you after that - if someone has a proper warhorse (destrier) in the first place, he is pretty wealthy by necessity. Horse theft carried death penalty as it is, let alone if you managed to snag a knight's favourite warhorse. If the word gets out, you can expect a massive headhunt to go after you, and when they catch you, death will be the least of your worries.

    If you need a horse, steal less valuable one. If you want a revenge on the noble, just poison the horse, less risk of getting caught that way.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIV

    Quote Originally Posted by Gnoman View Post
    Pre-dreads were built with the assumption that the big 12" rifles would be used for skirmishing as the fleets closed, since their glacial rate of fire and accuracy issues (due to poor fire control and rangefinding methods) made getting hits a matter of luck. For this reason, most ships carried a forward and an aft twin turret, anagalous to the bow and stern "chasers" mounted by Age of Sail warships.

    The ship's real weapons were the massive batteries of the then newly developed Quick Firing guns - so named because their unitary ammunition allowed them to fire extremely quickly. Most navies found 6" guns to be the ideal for this, the US used 5" weapons instead. It was expected that the big guns would fire as the fleets maneuvered, until the range closed enough that a torrent of shells from the smaller guns would shatter the ship's mobility and allow them to be finished off with torpedoes.
    Right. That makes a lot of sense. There was a disconnect there for me between needing lots of heavy guns and the few they had earlier that was never really addressed in the text. That book could really have done with more introductionary chapter.

    Quote Originally Posted by KarlMarx View Post
    Yeah, WWII basically proved that battleships are basically floating targets for airplanes. Major projects on building battleships (Bismark, Yamato, etc.) ate up resources but ultimately had little tactical value. The aircraft carrier quickly took over in prestige/power projection, while lighter destroyers were much more cost-efficient escorts and support vessels.
    Interestingly enough after I posted the other day I got a brief section of US battleship use as AA platforms to protect the carrier groups. And it was rather successful too. Since you could put silly amounts of guns on a stable platform and they wouldn't be the primary target, and if they drew fire away from the carrier, so much the better really. I found that to be rather hilarious actually.


    Quote Originally Posted by rs2excelsior View Post
    Naval gunnery was an exercise in shooting at a target, seeing where your shots land, and adjusting your aim accordingly, which is why initial salvoes fired almost never hit. More guns means more shells, so a better chance to hit and more to see a centerpoint for your aim. I'm not sure about the 4 vs 6 gun thing, I haven't seen that number cited anywhere.
    Had to go back to check what the book said, and to be more precise the text said that 4 guns was barely enough to hit a moving target, and contrasted it with one one of HMS Courageous' sisterships who had only two 46cm guns. These ships were intended primarily as shorebombardment, partly in the Baltic it seems.
    Needing 6 guns was more my extrapolation of it, since that's the next logical step up, an extra turret. And most battleships went for at least 6 barrels in a broadside 8-10 being more common, some like HMS Agincourt going for a rather interesting 7 double turrets to get enough broadside weight (it was suppsoed to use heavier guns that weren't available and was rushed into war). That does remind me about the guns/turrets thing.

    I am a bit curious about the combinations and layouts of guns and turrets too. I assume going from 2 to 3 or even 4 barrels per turret will rather sharply increase weight and engineering issues for turrets, because otherwise I can't quite see double-turrets persisted so long. 4 was very unusual and AFAICT only the WW2 vintage BBs have the tripple towers, late stage developments. Duno if that's the ideal compromise? It follows the American pattern of the all-or-nothing armouring concentrating firepower into as few turrets as possible.

    It's kinda fascinating how schizophrenic the BB building was though, you get an arms race of technological innovation, frenzied warproduction, followed by naval treaties largely styming development and the another frenzy of building that's not really complete until the next war breaks out which essentially obsoletes the whole concept. Curious where the development had gone without the naval treaties. The traditionalist were not keen on airpower.

    Quote Originally Posted by rs2excelsior View Post
    Fortifications could be better armored and had a much more stable firing platform. They could land hits more accurately and resist hits more effectively. In the age of sail ships struggled to knock out coastal fortifications, I wouldn't be surprised if the same was true for many of the same reasons with gun battleships.
    Quote Originally Posted by KarlMarx View Post
    That's true on land, where if you need a fort obliterated, you can always bring in enough heavy artillery to blast it back to the stone age. But at sea, the number and size of guns you can bring in is limited, as ships are only so large and can only handle so much recoil while maintaining any semblance of accuracy. Furthermore, they can't be as armored as ground fortifications and bunkers. Dedicated fortifications designed to control critical sections of water can always be more heavily armed and armored than any battleship. If it's weak from the air carriers can hypothetically knock it out, but not battleships, who can never outrange, outgun, or outlast a fort.
    What you all say (more than just the quoted) say about land fortifications does make a lot of sense. I guess it's airpower and missiles that make naval fortifications somewhat useless? Because I know in the Baltic region the weaker nations relied a lot on naval fortifications to deny enemy navies, but that sort of died out and to a degree mobile naval artillery was preferred. In our region ofc there's plenty of scope for fortification, the coast is rugged, you need shallow drafts to even get anywhere meaningful and there's loads of chokepoints.
    Despite this the performace of coastal forts in the reigon hasn't exactly impressed. I seem to recall in many conflicts from the 1800s and on coastal forts seem to have been rather lackluster all over the world. Although in a number of cases I'm thinking of the forts were kinda outdated. The slow build time of such forts often made them decades out of date it seems. Most attempts at a Gibraltar of the Baltic has sort of failed.
    The only really successful application I can recall is the Finnish coastal guns keeping the Soviet navy away from supporting their troops stationed at Hanko at the beginning of the Continuation War. The Norwegians only had limited success during the German invasion in WW2.
    Though Gibraltar and Malta might qualify, both were bases for the Royal Navy though. Similarly Kronstadt seems to have kept the enemy at bay but was also a naval base with a fleet in it.
    Is there any good example of navla forts actually denying access somewhere?

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    I think it's worth wondering whether we would know about them. A fort doing adequate deterrence would likely not be assaulted. So e.g. the Ligurian Wall was never attacked as far as I know, but then it was essentially useless, since the Allies opted for landing in Sicily and Southern France. Would they have landed in Northern Italy if it hadn't been for the Ligurian Wall? Unlikely (Liguria looks like the perfect place to mess everything up during a landing), but not impossible.

    I think that forts were a bit like a strongbox in a bank: they aren't meant to resist against all that may come, and they can be forced open with enough preparation and effort, but they also are good enough to raise the bar of preparation and effort to a point where an attack becomes much less likely.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vinyadan View Post
    I think it's worth wondering whether we would know about them. A fort doing adequate deterrence would likely not be assaulted. So e.g. the Ligurian Wall was never attacked as far as I know, but then it was essentially useless, since the Allies opted for landing in Sicily and Southern France. Would they have landed in Northern Italy if it hadn't been for the Ligurian Wall? Unlikely (Liguria looks like the perfect place to mess everything up during a landing), but not impossible.
    If by Southern France, you're referring to Operation Dragoon, that was partially to get the Mediterrean ports (Marseille and Toulon) to increase the flow of supplies to the Allied forces (as at that point they're basically using one Mulberry harbour due to bad weather damaging the other and what could be landed via things like DUKW's - Cherbourg's not even starting to be active as a port until the following month and Antwerp's later still), and partly political to keep people like de Gaulle on side, and worked primarily because the troops in Southern France were very low quality.

    For Northern Italy, it's probably a combination of the landing at Salerno going badly (although not disasterously), the distance for supplies and troops to be sent and the risk of them being intercepted from Southern France or the eastern Med and the landing craft that would have been required going to Overlord and then Dragoon.

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    Quote Originally Posted by snowblizz View Post
    I am a bit curious about the combinations and layouts of guns and turrets too. I assume going from 2 to 3 or even 4 barrels per turret will rather sharply increase weight and engineering issues for turrets, because otherwise I can't quite see double-turrets persisted so long. 4 was very unusual and AFAICT only the WW2 vintage BBs have the tripple towers, late stage developments. Duno if that's the ideal compromise? It follows the American pattern of the all-or-nothing armouring concentrating firepower into as few turrets as possible.
    Triple or quadruple turrets greatly decrease overall weight. This is because you need fewer turrets to carry a similar number of guns (The Bismark needed 4 turrets to get 8 guns, where the Iowas needed three to get 9, and the Delaware needed 5 turrets to get 10). Not only does this to allow you to armor the guns more efficiently, but you also can build a shorter ship.

    The downside of more barrels in a turret is that you need a bigger turret, particularly if each gun can be elevated independently (which is very useful). This can force you to make the ship wider (or the guns smaller, which is undesirable for obvious reasons), which can cause performance issues, negate some of the weight advantages, or prevent the ship from using canals. Ammunition handling is also much more complicated, and you run the risk of a greater portion of the ship's armament being knocked out with a single hit.

    It's kinda fascinating how schizophrenic the BB building was though, you get an arms race of technological innovation, frenzied warproduction, followed by naval treaties largely styming development and the another frenzy of building that's not really complete until the next war breaks out which essentially obsoletes the whole concept. Curious where the development had gone without the naval treaties. The traditionalist were not keen on airpower.
    It is important to keep in mind that dreadnought battleships were the nuclear weapons of their day. Their very existence changed the balance of power dramatically, they divided the nations of the world into Powers (that had the ships) and Nobodies (that didn't have them), and there was a panic at somebody else having more. The naval treaties of the day were essentially the same as the SALT treaties of the modern era.

    Also, you're quite wrong on one point. While the traditionalists of most navies were slow to adopt the notion that the carrier would eclipse the battleship in importance (although there is a reasonable argument that this didn't actually happen as soon as most people assume it did), all blue-water navies adopted carriers pretty much as soon as the things became possible, and built them fairly extensively. The only major nations that didn't build a lot of carriers were the brown-water navies that fully expected any naval combat to happen within the range of their land-based aircraft.

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    I've got a couple questions, related to modern-day type stuff. With the disclaimer of "but assume no nukes, large or small".

    The first is: How big of an impact would surface-to-surface missiles have in a conventional war between countries with a fully modernized military?

    The second: Could one make a fortified position incredibly difficult / costly to effectively attack? Assuming lots of resources, built with plenty of time. The idea I've been fiddling with is a central location with plenty of anti-air, anti-missile defenses, with its own air wing, surrounded by rings of ground fortifications to slow/break a land attack, all probably clustered around local centers of anti-air.

    The third: Could one combine the two, to make a fortress that would force an attacker to either disable it or risk it inflicting large losses on them / making advance effectively impossible? Related to this: what capability would make a fortress a "must hit" target? I was thinking that functionality as some sort of communications/jamming/logistics center could make it an important target.

    Semi-related: Is there any benefit to building absurdly massive (non-missile) artillery? I'm thinking of something like the Schwerer Gustav that proved to be basically obsolete for maneuver warfare from what I know. Would including that somewhere you know the enemy needs to go (whether because it's the only way through a mountain range, or you can force them to go there, or similar) make it relevant, or worth building? Or would it just always be better to make X smaller guns instead?
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIV

    Without a nuke on it, surface-to-surface missiles tend to turn into civilian terror weapons (not that nukes really are anything else...). You can have an example in the Iraq-Iran war, when Teheran was hit by 118 Al-Hussein missiles, or the Chechen wars, when Grozny was attacked with what possibly were Scud missiles. During the Russia-Georgia war, missiles were instead used to take out a tank formation.

    I don't think they can have a very large impact on their own. They are very costly, and you need intelligence to use them against military targets. After all, they were born as a way to cause terror beyond the English Channel. They can be useful as retaliatory weapons, which I think is the way the US have sometimes used them (in Iraq in 1993 after the Bush senior assassination attempt, and recently in Syria), although those were always ship-borne.

    However, they can have enormous impact if used in a strategic fashion. One example: if the enemy came from "far away", by ship, and you destroyed the infrastructure of a port your enemy needs. You can take out airport infrastructure, destroy bridges, etc. This may not win you the war, but it will give you time, and rise the cost for your enemy. You can safely attack supplies, although those are best hit if they are on ship.

    There also are some high-value targets, like command and control centres, or satellite ground bases. Aircraft on the ground make for a bad target for missiles, simply because they move around often.

    In general, you can read this paper, from which I took most of the stuff in the last two paragraphs: http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/cst/csat13.pdf

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    Quote Originally Posted by PersonMan View Post
    I've got a couple questions, related to modern-day type stuff. With the disclaimer of "but assume no nukes, large or small".

    The first is: How big of an impact would surface-to-surface missiles have in a conventional war between countries with a fully modernized military?

    The second: Could one make a fortified position incredibly difficult / costly to effectively attack? Assuming lots of resources, built with plenty of time. The idea I've been fiddling with is a central location with plenty of anti-air, anti-missile defenses, with its own air wing, surrounded by rings of ground fortifications to slow/break a land attack, all probably clustered around local centers of anti-air.

    The third: Could one combine the two, to make a fortress that would force an attacker to either disable it or risk it inflicting large losses on them / making advance effectively impossible? Related to this: what capability would make a fortress a "must hit" target? I was thinking that functionality as some sort of communications/jamming/logistics center could make it an important target.

    Semi-related: Is there any benefit to building absurdly massive (non-missile) artillery? I'm thinking of something like the Schwerer Gustav that proved to be basically obsolete for maneuver warfare from what I know. Would including that somewhere you know the enemy needs to go (whether because it's the only way through a mountain range, or you can force them to go there, or similar) make it relevant, or worth building? Or would it just always be better to make X smaller guns instead?
    1) Essentially you're looking at the same situation as with V1s and V2 rockets - civilian casualties, maybe military if you can get accurate enough to attack enemy facilities like naval yards, oil production facilities etc, or if you've got them set to hit areas in your own territory that you expect the enemy to attack and occupy, while your enemy is trying to destroy your launch sites and manufacturing facilities, or maybe set up some kind of interception counter measure (Operation Crossbow, or Patriot missiles vs Scuds in Desert Storm).

    It also depends on what's in the warhead - a solid penetrator on an ICBM would likely be the Grandslam bomb on steroids, for example (although a combination penetrator/explosive probably wouldn't give you any extra damage), a MIRV would spread the impacts (and you might have some detonating on impact and others soft landing on timers to explode later, or have a cruise missile equivalent spraying submuntions on it's way to the target)), and even if nuclear's off the table, chemical or biological warheads are still possible.

    2) Monte-Cassino's probably not a bad starting point for what you're thinking of.

    3) Monte-Cassino pretty much had to be taken to allow the allied advance to continue through Italy. If there's some kind of time pressure (maybe the fortress is researching some war-winning technology and you can't afford the time to beseige it and starve the defenders out), then it would have to be attacked.

    4) Potentially - it's kind of what was planned with the Pz 1500 "Monster" (which makes the super-heavy tanks in 40k look small). But there's all sorts of reasons why you wouldn't - the cost/material expenditure, the lack of mobility, it becoming the enemies primary target...

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIV

    If you can't have nukes, but you do have missile technology, you might consider using fuel air explosions as a sort of mini-nuke. The MOAB is 11 tons TNT equivalent and the FOAB was 44 tons equivalent. Pathetic by nuke standards but they could still make a nasty mess.

    Another thing you might try to do is deliver a kinetic weapon from orbit. This would be very expensive to emplace but once there it can sit around for years. It depends why nukes are off the table.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Honest Tiefling View Post
    Random question that might be tangentially related! How easy is it to steal a warhorse? My experiences of horses is pretty limited, but none of them cared to take orders from random people. I would imagine that war horses are both more difficult to bond with and have extensive training. So how does one get into a camp and steal the horses without them objecting?
    1. Not sure how related this is to what you want to know, but I believe/would guess that the standard goal of such operations in a military context would be to scare away the enemy's horses rather than capture them. Less-trained horses could easily be panicked, spreading through the herd to cause a stampede.[/QUOTE]

    The second: Could one make a fortified position incredibly difficult / costly to effectively attack? Assuming lots of resources, built with plenty of time. The idea I've been fiddling with is a central location with plenty of anti-air, anti-missile defenses, with its own air wing, surrounded by rings of ground fortifications to slow/break a land attack, all probably clustered around local centers of anti-air.

    The third: Could one combine the two, to make a fortress that would force an attacker to either disable it or risk it inflicting large losses on them / making advance effectively impossible? Related to this: what capability would make a fortress a "must hit" target? I was thinking that functionality as some sort of communications/jamming/logistics center could make it an important target.
    2. Logically, yes. I'm certainly no expert on modern warfare, but it seems simple enough that there is a direct proportion between resources expended on digging in to difficulty of taking position. My only concern with such a strategy is that a) its certainly not optimal because b) the more stuff there is in a fort, the easier it is to hit something important with a mass bombing/missile campaign. Ideal strategy is probably several forts close together, any two of which are mutually supporting.

    3. In a conventional war, position it either a) in a place the enemy must move through (mountain passes are probably the only such positions in modern warfare though) or (more likely) b) in places that the enemy cannot safely afford to move past. Keep a group of fast troops stationed inside to harass/cut supply lines if the fort is ignored, threaten any retreat by the enemy, etc. This is much more reliable than the route of keeping a top-secret research project of macguffin inside, as a) this is dependent on the enemy knowing what's inside which b) is not necessarily given and C) if does occur is incredibly risky and furthermore d) transfers initiative to the enemy.

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIV

    Quote Originally Posted by PersonMan View Post
    I've got a couple questions, related to modern-day type stuff. With the disclaimer of "but assume no nukes, large or small".

    The first is: How big of an impact would surface-to-surface missiles have in a conventional war between countries with a fully modernized military?

    The second: Could one make a fortified position incredibly difficult / costly to effectively attack? Assuming lots of resources, built with plenty of time. The idea I've been fiddling with is a central location with plenty of anti-air, anti-missile defenses, with its own air wing, surrounded by rings of ground fortifications to slow/break a land attack, all probably clustered around local centers of anti-air.

    The third: Could one combine the two, to make a fortress that would force an attacker to either disable it or risk it inflicting large losses on them / making advance effectively impossible? Related to this: what capability would make a fortress a "must hit" target? I was thinking that functionality as some sort of communications/jamming/logistics center could make it an important target.

    Semi-related: Is there any benefit to building absurdly massive (non-missile) artillery? I'm thinking of something like the Schwerer Gustav that proved to be basically obsolete for maneuver warfare from what I know. Would including that somewhere you know the enemy needs to go (whether because it's the only way through a mountain range, or you can force them to go there, or similar) make it relevant, or worth building? Or would it just always be better to make X smaller guns instead?
    1.) Extremely. Tactically, surface-to-surface missiles have made large-caliber tube artillery entirely obsolete, and constitute a huge part of an army's punching power. Strategically, conventional long-range missiles are heavily restricted by nuclear disarmament treaties, but such a weapon is entirely feasible, and equipping one with modern guidance systems would mean that any enemy infrastructure or fortifications would easily be shattered by missile fire from extreme range.

    2.) No. Fixed targets are dead targets in a modern battlefield. PGMs from stealth aircraft, strike fighters escorted by drone swarms, or the extreme-range surface to surface missiles postulated in 1.) would render it impossible to keep any such fortress from being plastered so heavily as to eliminate it. Mobile forces in tough terrain can utilize effective field fortifications, and something like a city can be reinforced to a degree to make it very nasty to take (take being the key point - smashing a city into effective useless is pretty easy), but a dedicated fortress will be rendered combat-ineffective in a very short period of time.

    3.) No. As mentioned in 2.), the age of the fixed fortification exerting control is over.

    As for artillery, guns larger than 155mm (6") have all but universally been retired due to being more trouble than they are worth. When heavier firepower is needed, rocket artillery is much more effective than big artillery tubes. A massive super-gun is nothing but an easy target.

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIV

    Quote Originally Posted by Vinyadan View Post
    In general, you can read this paper, from which I took most of the stuff in the last two paragraphs: http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/cst/csat13.pdf
    Thanks! I'll be sure to take a look at that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Storm_Of_Snow View Post
    2) Monte-Cassino's probably not a bad starting point for what you're thinking of.
    I'll look into it, but I was worried that looking at WWII era fortresses wouldn't be ideal because of how air power and such have developed since.

    Quote Originally Posted by KarlMarx View Post
    2. Logically, yes. I'm certainly no expert on modern warfare, but it seems simple enough that there is a direct proportion between resources expended on digging in to difficulty of taking position. My only concern with such a strategy is that a) its certainly not optimal because b) the more stuff there is in a fort, the easier it is to hit something important with a mass bombing/missile campaign. Ideal strategy is probably several forts close together, any two of which are mutually supporting.
    The idea would be to have a fort defended by enough air power / anti-air of its own that it would effectively require its own large-scale offensive type operation to be dealt with - i.e. rather than advancing through X region, everything is focused on the "uberfort".

    Quote Originally Posted by Gnoman View Post
    1.) Extremely. Tactically, surface-to-surface missiles have made large-caliber tube artillery entirely obsolete, and constitute a huge part of an army's punching power. Strategically, conventional long-range missiles are heavily restricted by nuclear disarmament treaties, but such a weapon is entirely feasible, and equipping one with modern guidance systems would mean that any enemy infrastructure or fortifications would easily be shattered by missile fire from extreme range.
    Are there any anti-missile systems that would be capable of protecting a target against this sort of attack? From what I've gathered, missile attacks seem to be something that can be somewhat defended against with interception missiles and so forth, but these systems can't handle a heavily concentrated missile attack, is that right?

    2.) No. Fixed targets are dead targets in a modern battlefield. PGMs from stealth aircraft, strike fighters escorted by drone swarms, or the extreme-range surface to surface missiles postulated in 1.) would render it impossible to keep any such fortress from being plastered so heavily as to eliminate it. Mobile forces in tough terrain can utilize effective field fortifications, and something like a city can be reinforced to a degree to make it very nasty to take (take being the key point - smashing a city into effective useless is pretty easy), but a dedicated fortress will be rendered combat-ineffective in a very short period of time.
    The reason I considered this (after asking somewhat similar fort-y questions in the past) was because of the kind of anti-missile systems I've heard about large ships having. Missile-intercepting-missiles, air units devoted to anti-missile duty and so on seem like they could do a fairly good job of defending against anything but a very large offensive of this type which could be acted against by moving additional resources in to bolster the defenses?

    I've been operating under the assumption that, for the most part, hitting something with 900 missiles or something similar would requrie some preparation and maneuvering that could be potentially detected and reacted to.

    3.) No. As mentioned in 2.), the age of the fixed fortification exerting control is over.
    But if long-range missile/rocket fire can be so devastating, wouldn't a fortified launch site effectively exert that kind of "must kill this" pressure? Or are the majority best delivered by air power?

    As for artillery, guns larger than 155mm (6") have all but universally been retired due to being more trouble than they are worth. When heavier firepower is needed, rocket artillery is much more effective than big artillery tubes. A massive super-gun is nothing but an easy target.
    Gotcha.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Beer View Post
    Another thing you might try to do is deliver a kinetic weapon from orbit. This would be very expensive to emplace but once there it can sit around for years. It depends why nukes are off the table.
    Well, in-world it's because they just don't exist. The meta reason is because they cause a paradigm shift I'd rather not have. So anything similarly "destroy cities instantly, threaten apocalypse, create MAD politics" would be similarly vetoed.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIV

    The thing about anti-missile missiles is that they have to have considerably higher performance than the missiles they are trying to stop. This means that it is easier to build more attack missiles - which is one of the big reasons for the ABM treaties at the end of the Cold War, because both parties feared a missile defense system would restart the arms race.

    More importantly, you're trying to defend a fixed point, whereas the forces attacking you are by definition mobile. If I were fighting you, all I would have to do is mass my strike force, wait for you to build up enough defenses to protect your fortress, and then go blow up everywhere that isn't fortress. Even in WWII, where (as you correctly state) fortresses were still tactically viable, they were rather less effective strategically than pouring the same amount of resources into mobile forces would have been.


    But if long-range missile/rocket fire can be so devastating, wouldn't a fortified launch site effectively exert that kind of "must kill this" pressure? Or are the majority best delivered by air power?
    Any weapon of that power level is going to be target #1 in the event war breaks out. That is one of the primary reasons that our RW fortified launch sites are backed up with bombers and missile-carrying submarines, and both major powers were working heavily on mobile missile systems. If the balloon ever went up, both US and Soviet missile fields would be craters within twenty minutes.

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIV

    While I'm not disagreeing with the poinst others have made, you can harden a position to where it's difficult to take out before it does its job.

    Look at Cheyenne Mountain. Or even the artillery hidden in caves in the mou8ntains of North Korea. Sure, a sustained attack could take them out, but not before they reduced Seoul to glowing rubble. So a well fortified position a\can serve as a deterrent.

    There are still geographic chokepoints, like ports, mountain passes, good LZs and so on where you can have forces near enough to deny them to the enemy, and well fortified or concealed enough to take a long time to defeat.

    Lastly, don't overlook the concealment advantage of infrastructure, Underground bunkers and tunnels may not be invulnerable but theyt make it hard to find your forces, and hard to spot them on the move, away from cover.

    The tactical value of the big, strong, obvious fortress is largely rendered obsolete, but that doesn't mean digging bunkers in mountains doesn't still have its uses.
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    Tsc... Someone has to invent force fields so that fortresses and castles become a thing again.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIV

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike_G View Post
    While I'm not disagreeing with the poinst others have made, you can harden a position to where it's difficult to take out before it does its job.

    Look at Cheyenne Mountain. Or even the artillery hidden in caves in the mou8ntains of North Korea. Sure, a sustained attack could take them out, but not before they reduced Seoul to glowing rubble. So a well fortified position a\can serve as a deterrent.

    There are still geographic chokepoints, like ports, mountain passes, good LZs and so on where you can have forces near enough to deny them to the enemy, and well fortified or concealed enough to take a long time to defeat.

    Lastly, don't overlook the concealment advantage of infrastructure, Underground bunkers and tunnels may not be invulnerable but theyt make it hard to find your forces, and hard to spot them on the move, away from cover.

    The tactical value of the big, strong, obvious fortress is largely rendered obsolete, but that doesn't mean digging bunkers in mountains doesn't still have its uses.

    The distance from Seoul to the border is given as 35 miles, and the artillery has to be some distance back from there yet.

    Despite the press repeating that refrain, I'm not sure Seoul itself is actually in conventional tube artillery range.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIV

    Quote Originally Posted by Lemmy View Post
    Tsc... Someone has to invent force fields so that fortresses and castles become a thing again.
    There's Israel's anti-missile system. It haz lazerz. I mean, it will have it, probably, for short-range interception of missiles and artillery.

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIV

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    The distance from Seoul to the border is given as 35 miles, and the artillery has to be some distance back from there yet.

    Despite the press repeating that refrain, I'm not sure Seoul itself is actually in conventional tube artillery range.
    True, but the North Koreans do have rocket artillery (the KN-09) which have that range and can reach various ROK and US bases in Korean as far south as Daejeon, 60 miles south of Seoul. It's probably the press failing to distinguishing between the two different types - all they hear is the word 'artillery'.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vinyadan View Post
    There's Israel's anti-missile system. It haz lazerz. I mean, it will have it, probably, for short-range interception of missiles and artillery.
    I know CIWS have been successfully used to protect bases from mortar fire in Iraq and Afghanistan - are they capable of intercepting incoming artillery shells?

    Obviously they can do missiles (it's what they're designed for) but there are more issues with protecting a land based target compared to a ship (ie more land to cover, terrain may preclude some firing arcs, etc).
    Last edited by Brother Oni; 2017-09-03 at 01:46 AM.

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