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DSII for the 2020s

From: "Oerjan Ohlson" <oerjan.ohlson@t...>
Date: Mon, 29 Nov 1999 23:18:00 +0100
Subject: DSII for the 2020s

All this talking about DSII artillery made me take a thorough look at
the DSII rules for the first time since I began working for my current

It is almost scary to compare the DSII rules with the developments and
trends I see in the armaments industry today - very much of it is very
close to reality, even though the PSB tries to explain it away as wild
fantasies :-/ However, in some areas the DSII tech blurb is
nonsensical, or has been bypassed by developments made public after its
publishing. I don't have any tried and tested game mechanics for most
of these areas, but the rough points I've noticed so far are:

* HKPs... don't work with the current PSB. The blurb describes them as
"...relatively small-calibre (but VERY long) barrel to develop
hyper-velocities for its superdense long-rod penetrator rounds ...",
and goes on to describe two pressure-driven launch mechanisms (LP and
"plasma reaction"). 
Long barrels are impractical for a number of reasons, among which are
drooping (and whipping, when the round travels up the drooping barrel)
and plain awkwardness when you try to maneuver them through dense
terrain without bumping them into things. Since the accelerating force
in a pressure-driven gun is equal to pressure times barrel cross
section, using a saboted long-rod round in a large calibre gun allows
you to get away with a much shorter barrel for the same muzzle velocity
as well as allowing the use of effective HE rounds (and various other
types too, if you feel like it). IOW, a HVC (large-calibre
pressure-driven gun) firing saboted long-rod penetrators should at
least as effective as a HKP - and more flexible to boot.

* Reactive Armour protects against long-rod penetrators (HVC and MDC)
as well as against IAVR/GMS/SLAM. Current ERA can be optimized against
either SC or KE munitions but will have a certain effect against the
other as well; lots of work is being done on making a single ERA type
decent against both SC and KE.

* Merge PDS with ADFC. Current anti-GMS/IAVR PDS is basically a very
sophisticated (and expensive) sensor suite/fire control system which
detects incoming missiles and fires a small (and simple, and therefore
cheap) fragmentation charge into the missile path (making them *very*
unpopular with supporting infantry, too - just like the DSII APFC).
IOW, if a PDS-equipped tank uses its PDS against an incoming missile
(or IAVR) and there's an infantry stand within 1" in the direction the
missile came from, that infantry stand is hit as if by an APFC. APFCs
can be bought on their own, but lack the sensors required to shoot down
missiles (including IAVRs).

* Allow ADS to intercept incoming artillery rounds - I'm 99% certain
that there will be at least one such system in active service within 5
years. Of course it will pretty soon be countered by carrier shells
filled with decoy submunitions etc; in DSII terms this is an opposed
dieroll between the quality of the ADS and the quality of the incoming

* Allow aerospace-mounted HELs, of any size, to be turret-mounted. The
US are currently developing airborne turreted laser systems for theater
defence against ballistic missiles, and according to the rumour mill -
ie, Jane's Defence Weekly - the tests seem to go fairly well. I don't
think it'd be very difficult to beef the laser up enough to let it harm
armoured ground vehicles.

* Allow infantry elements to buy Smoke "artillery" rounds, and fire
them to a range of 15-20". (We can do 15" today; in 20 years we'll
probably manage 20" as well.)

* Give IAVRs a range of 6", and GMS/H a range of 50" or even 60".
(IAVRs already have this kind of range; many of today's GMS/H have a
range of at least 45" - and it isn't likely to be reduced in the

* Allow infantry GMS/L teams in open-topped vehicles to fire their
missiles "effectively" (ie, able to hit and inflict actual damage), but
at a one die-shift penalty in missile guidance (ie, Basic rolls 1D4,
Enhanced 1D6, Superior 1D8).

* Diversify the artillery options:
  - Flechette rounds: Counts as HEF against Militia and Line infantry,
as MAK against PA, and completely ineffective against armoured vehicles
(armour level 1 or more *in the front*). (Flechettes are very good at
penetrating cloth, kevlar fibres, earth, timber etc, but literally
piss-poor against hard armour). In addition, flechette missions will
NOT set fire to things like woods or buildings. 
 - HEF rounds - roughly equivalent to today's cluster munitions. Nasty
against unprotected infantry or vehicles in open terrain; pretty much
ineffective otherwise. Just make sure they detonate on impact, 'cuz
otherwise Lady Di's ghost will come to haunt you.
 - PGDH rounds (Precision Guided, Direct Hit - not a good name, but
they're quite different from the MAKs so I need a different name for
them...) These are direct descendants of weapons like the US Copperhead
or the Swedish Strix, using a shape-charged warhead big enough to punch
through the front of a 1999 MBT horisontally even through fairly
serious reactive armour... but with a stand-off of a couple of meters
at most. Counts as MAK against both infantry and vehicles, but the
target can use both its ECM *and its PDS* to defend against it (in
addition to any nearby ADS helping out).
- MAK: Future generations of the Bofors/GIAT Bonus, or any of its
numerous cousins and rivals. Fires an EFP with a stand-off of about 200
meters; this nullifies the target's PDS (but not its ECM), but since an
EFP is a lot less lethal than a good shaped charge it draws one chit
less than normal and counts chit validities as a long-rod penetrator
(including vulnerability to ERA).
 - Smoke, DMRs, nukes and bio-chem are unchanged.

- Finally, I'd take a very long and close look at the FASA Centurion
vehicle design system. While I don't agree with most of their figures,
the basic system is sounder than the one used in DSII (I particularly
miss the ability to down-armour a vehicle to make it faster, or
up-armour its roof :-/ )

Thomas Barclay, May You Live in Interesting Times! I don't have time to
get engaged in DSII as well... <G>

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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