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Re: DS2/SG2 artillery

From: "Oerjan Ohlson" <oerjan.ohlson@t...>
Date: Mon, 29 Nov 1999 20:30:46 +0100
Subject: Re: DS2/SG2 artillery

Thomas and Adrian wrote, in a kinda mixed-up way (ie, I'm not entirely
certain who wrote what):

[Adrian's - I think - description of the all-powerful Grav Tank

> ** This reminds me very much of the Traveller universe. 

It is also a very close description of warfare in the Renegade Legion

> I don't see too much place for "conventioal" artillery at anything
> larger than the platoon mortar size when you can do it from orbit.
> ** Assuming you have dedicated fleet elements. I think you may still
> want company and battalion assets. But regimental artillery
> falls under the ortillery tab I think.

Doubtful. A ship in low orbit is pretty difficult to hide even when it
doesn't fire at anything.

> If you don't have some forces in orbit, then you're toast anyway
> he ortilleries you into the stone age whenever you concentrate....
> ** Except, of course, on outposts where neither side can afford to
> station a ship. Though I wouldn't be surprised if they dropped some
> Javelin satellites before leaving - giving a limited ortillery
> On these kind of backwaters, you'd see lower tech troops, with
> tracklayers or wheeled vehicles, and with towed guns, etc.

Also assuming the ground forces don't have any ability to reach out
into space (sneaking high-stealth assault landers down is rather
different from hanging in a low orbit screaming "HERE I AM!!" everytime
your ortillery batteries open up at something, unless you're absolutely
certain there are no surface-to-space weapons available), and that you
have enough ortillery batteries in orbit to have one available whenever
you need it :-/

> >Additionally, you'll get an AC tank moving faster than a track
> >And probably better for the ground its running over - more
> >surface pressure. Works in swamps!

Can *move through* swamps. GEV-mounted MRLS might work (ie, fire) in a
swamp; GEV tube artillery won't, unless you have an extremely good
recoil absorbing system or a vehicle which is extremely large compared
to the gun - eg, a 25-meter corvette with a single 40-mm cannon.
Drowning your vehicles is considered a Bad Thing, like :-/

> Forces nowadays are getting smaller but more highly lethal, and I
> think that trend will continue.  Artillery will get smarter, so
> need less of it and equipment not as BIG to do the same job - which 
> means easier logistic support, manoeverability, etc.
> ** Or the same you can do the same job better which is sometimes
> preferable.

To clarify Adrian's comment here: when artillery gets smarter, you'll
need vastly less of it to do the same job much better. There is no real
contradiction between the two. I'm not sure if that's what he actually
meant, but that's the trend in today's artillery world.

>  If the arty shells are all guided by an AI, you won't need to shoot
> bazillions of them to get the  other
> guy - and that brings in the whole ew/counter-ew thing 'cause each
> will try to spoof the others' arty shells, etc etc.
> ** Though that leads to spoofing as you pointed out. Unguided shells
> hard to spoof.

Trajectory-corrected munitions (ideal against stationary targets but
not too effective against mobile ones, unless the TCMs carry
target-seeking sub-munitions) can be spoofed, but you'd pretty much
need to shut down enemy communications in the area completely to do it.

Target-seeking shells can be spoofed by the target's ECM. However, I
doubt if you'd need as many target-seeking munitions even against
heavy-ECM targets... you'd need to spoof something like 97% of all
incoming rounds in order to get a higher hit ratio with unguided shells
than with seeking ones - depends a bit on how good your point defence
is, but it would cut quite deeply into an unguided missile barrage as
> ** Though I didn't address it by quoting, Oerjan raised a good point
> about armouring the skirts on hover vehicles.... obviously you'd have
> be able to to make them viable military vehicles. He raised a point
> about low dust, noise and heat sigs. Well, dust sig would be partly a
> product of environment, so might or might not be avoidable though
> sort of electrostatic effects might help. 

Electrostatic effects would need to be fairly strong to be effective,
and they'd also need to cover the area around the vehicle rather than
the spot just below it	- ie, you can't easily screen it off from enemy
sensors... and as a mine designer, the thought of that EM field is
very, *very* attractive <G> I'd rather take the dust as it is than try
to contain it by electrostatic means.

> Noise... AC might be noisy - depends on plenum design. I've seen
silent > fans moving LOTS of air before. 

Sure. However, when you have a volume of air under relatively high
pressure and present it with leaks, it tends not to be that silent :-/
Wheels are often less noisy than an air cushion. Of course, the biggest
source of noise are the engines (more of them, or bigger, than on a
conventional vehicle) - unless you use some really fancy stuff, of

> Heat.... same problem as conventional vehicles.

At least as bad as on conventional vehicles. GE requires more power
than wheels or tracks (so more/bigger radiators to screen off) and
you'd need to make sure that the air in the cushion doesn't get heated
as well (or at least that it cools down to the ambient temperature
before it leaks from the air cushion.

> Assume to do AC we need some big ass power - Fusion or A-Matter. 

Today's armed GEVs don't have fusion or anti-matter drives AFAIK. Sure,
they're not as heavily armoured or armed as tanks, but I wouldn't be
surprised at all if you could build GEV SPs and APCs with today's
hovercraft technology. Not particularly economic, of course, but
probably possible.

> To do grav, doubly so.

Grav would need rather extreme power sources, yes.

> ** The reason I said in my post tanks = arty = planes = helicopters
> you get grav is this - though their are in fact variants (APC vs Tank
> Grav Arty), the use of conventional arty goes out the window to some
> extent [snip]

You're confusing the armament with the drive line here. Grav engines
make all the other modes of propulsion obsolete, but it does not make
the *weapons* (tube and rocket artillery, in this case) obsolete... and
making your SP guns fly doens't turn them into tanks.


Oerjan Ohlson

"Life is like a sewer.
  What you get out of it, depends on what you put into it."
- Hen3ry

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