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What is next at the Front

"Hell's Gate" and "Hell Hath No Fury", by David, Linda Evans, and Joelle Presby, take the clash of science and magic to a whole new dimension...join us in a friendly discussion of this engrossing series!
What is next at the Front
Post by brnicholas   » Sat Dec 13, 2014 9:53 am

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A while back we had a discussion about what would happen next militarily. That triggered a lot of thought on my part and I wanted to share where that thought has gone since that discussion ended. So here is what I think will happen next on the current front line.

First, nothing at all. Arcana lacks the resources to launch a successful attack, especially now that the first of the Sharonan reinforcements have arrived and Sharona lacks the confidence (and reachable targets) to try any significant offensive operations. So they stare at each other and maybe do small raids until winter comes. Winter will stop both sides from supplying significant offensive operations (the lines would run across Siberia).

So the next significant combat will wait 6 to 9 months until spring comes. So what resources will each side have then? We haven't been given much information but I will speculate.

Sharona has a rail line to the front and has been expanding that on a war footing for about two months and is now starting to expand it on a total war footing. By the time spring comes I think there supply line will be wide enough to support major offensive operations. I expect they will have the full Terenthian mechanized corps that we saw starting to move in the books and will probably have one more corps moved to the front and another coming up. Call it a minimum of 3 and a maximum of 9 divisions.

We know less about Arcana’s supply lines but the following points seem clear. They have 14,000 miles of undeveloped wilderness between their slider head and the front. That is 14 days flight by dragon. Almost all available dragons are at the front so more dragons will have to be moved in before supplies can be moved in significant numbers. Their communication systems are not capable of letting the government on Arcana exert control over provincial administrators quickly. It takes about 8 weeks to get a message from the front to Arcana, which means unless there is someone closer to the front who can order people on other chains to divert almost all their dragons to supply the front it will be 4 months before Arcana starts expanding its supply lines on a war footing and I doubt reinforcements from Arcana can get up in large numbers before spring comes on the front. In conclusion when spring arrives Arcana will have the forces it currently have plus whatever local officials send in response to mul Gurthik’s requests for help (he lacks the authority to order them to send help, everyone he can order is already at the front). Arcana started the offensive with a small division, they may have two divisions by spring, I doubt they will have more.

My conclusion, come spring the Sharonans will probably have a 3 to 1 advantage in troops (six divisions against two). With that numerical advantage combined with their range and firepower advantages and a large supply line the Sharonans will be able to advance despite the Arcanan mobility advantages and have a shot at reaching Hells Gate by the time winter returns to Fort Shalby.

The last statement is based on the idea that the Sharonans can build rail line at an average of 20 miles a day and that they need to go 4000 miles so it will take them 200 days to put a line from Fort Salby to Hell’s Gate.
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Re: What is next at the Front
Post by Aegis99   » Sun Dec 14, 2014 2:50 am

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brnicholas wrote:First, nothing at all. Arcana lacks the resources to launch a successful attack, especially now that the first of the Sharonan reinforcements have arrived and Sharona lacks the confidence (and reachable targets) to try any significant offensive operations. So they stare at each other and maybe do small raids until winter comes. Winter will stop both sides from supplying significant offensive operations (the lines would run across Siberia).

So the next significant combat will wait 6 to 9 months until spring comes. So what resources will each side have then? We haven't been given much information but I will speculate.


I think you're forgetting that Fort Salby sits in Saudi Arabia, winter is not going to be a negative factor there. Meanwhile in Karys we know the link between portals is in the Caspian Depression, but not where in the Depression. That is important because you could be talking about the warmer southern regions, or the more Siberian north, but if I had to guess Weber was thinking more the southern reaches of the Depression which would experience that hotter climate as described in the books.

Though your other points are well taken about the nature of the logistics problem both sides face and the huge obstacle Arcana is going to face in reinforcing the frontier.
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Re: What is next at the Front
Post by brnicholas   » Sun Dec 14, 2014 2:09 pm

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Aegis99 wrote:I think you're forgetting that Fort Salby sits in Saudi Arabia, winter is not going to be a negative factor there. Meanwhile in Karys we know the link between portals is in the Caspian Depression, but not where in the Depression. That is important because you could be talking about the warmer southern regions, or the more Siberian north, but if I had to guess Weber was thinking more the southern reaches of the Depression which would experience that hotter climate as described in the books.

Though your other points are well taken about the nature of the logistics problem both sides face and the huge obstacle Arcana is going to face in reinforcing the frontier.


Thank you for questioning that, you drove me to look it up. It was the trip across Karys I was thinking of. The intro to HHNF gives us cities at the approximate location of each portal and the index at the end of the book gives us Earth equivalents for those cities. The route across Karys runs from Ashgabat, Turkmenistan to Astana, Kazakhstan. According to Wikipedia, Ashgabat doesn't fall below freezing much but Astana has an "extreme continental climate" and is the second coldest capital city in the world and famous for high winds. It sounds like Kansas. So you are right Sharona can start advancing whenever they feel they have the resources to do so but I doubt they can build the second half of that railroad until winter passes.

Nicholas
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Re: What is next at the Front
Post by Aegis99   » Sun Dec 14, 2014 3:15 pm

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brnicholas wrote:Thank you for questioning that, you drove me to look it up. It was the trip across Karys I was thinking of. The intro to HHNF gives us cities at the approximate location of each portal and the index at the end of the book gives us Earth equivalents for those cities. The route across Karys runs from Ashgabat, Turkmenistan to Astana, Kazakhstan. According to Wikipedia, Ashgabat doesn't fall below freezing much but Astana has an "extreme continental climate" and is the second coldest capital city in the world and famous for high winds. It sounds like Kansas. So you are right Sharona can start advancing whenever they feel they have the resources to do so but I doubt they can build the second half of that railroad until winter passes.

Nicholas


Thanks for the specific look up, I didn't have my book in front of me and couldn't remember exactly where the route was. So the Astana end might be tricky. However, even though Astana is cold it doesn't actually get that much snow (according to wikipedia about 4 inches of rain equivalent in November-April, so maybe 30-50 inches of snow). High winds will also have a tendency to clear any snow that does fall away. But the two universes that are really going to feel winter's bite are Thermyn and the Hells' Gate universe. The route from Lake Tahoe to Lincoln, NE is going to be a brutal slog through mountains and nigh plains that have intense weather. And the U.P. of Michigan is no picnic in winter either.
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Re: What is next at the Front
Post by Howard T. Map-addict   » Mon Dec 15, 2014 4:31 pm

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Please don't forget: there are two (known) Fronts.
The Traisum-Karys Portal is actually the Second Exit
that the Sharonans found from Traisum.

This means that the First Exit Portal, to Kelsayr,

(I find my Lists so useful! Won't you use them too?)
viewtopic.php?f=6&t=1673

is easier to find & to get to, got the first railroad,
which was extended into Kelsayr before the Traisum Cut
had even been begun, and so might be very long indeed!
Sharona might be able to support a division moving
through Lashai, Resyn, and Nairsom into Thermyn,
and might trap the Arcanans between the two forces.
Depending, of course, on how far that RR has been made.

Ternath's Fifth Corps has only the one Mechanized
(Dragoon) division, plus two Infantry divisions. Plans
are to mechanize those two as they are sent out, to
the extent possible. (Weber & Presby will adjust this
to the needs of their plotline.)

HTM

brnicholas wrote:
[snip - htm]
Sharona has a rail line to the front and has been expanding that on a war footing for about two months and is now starting to expand it on a total war footing. By the time spring comes I think their supply line will be wide enough to support major offensive operations. I expect they will have the full Terenthian mechanized corps that we saw starting to move in the books
[snip - htm]
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Re: What is next at the Front
Post by brnicholas   » Mon Dec 15, 2014 7:39 pm

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Joined: Thu Oct 17, 2013 6:40 pm

I had not forgotten that there were two portals into Traisum but I am following Harshu in thinking that if they can the Sharon's will push forward from Fort Salby in Karys which is the more settled and developed universe. I think there is either a continuity error over which chain was discovered first or you are misreading Chapter 21 of Hells Gate. The presentation of Orem Limana in Chapter 21 of Hells Gate implies, although it does not say explicitly, that the five portals Shyler's team had claimed were Karys/Failcham, Failcham/Thermyn, Thermyn/Nairsom, Thermyn/New Uromath and New Uromath/Hell's Gate although I think Lashai/Resym, Resym/Nairsom, Nairsom/Thermyn, Thermyn/New Uromath and New Uromath/Hell's Gate are also possible based on what is said in that chapter. However, in chapter 16 of HHNF has 2000 Harshu says quite clearly that the secondary chain running from Kelsayr to Nairsom is the more recently discovered one, which is why he can send light forces down it confident they will encounter little resistance. The rest of HHNF reinforces the statement that the Kelsayr to Nairsom chain is the one Shyler's team explored. I think the correct read is that Limana calls it the Karys chain because Karys to Hell's Gate is the shorter route rather then because Shyler's team was exploring outward from Karys. I don't think the railroad has even reached the Traisum/Kelsayr portal. I certainly remember no evidence that it had and a work crew driving it up that chain would have been large enough it ought to have come up if it was behind the Arcanan lines. I can't see the Arcanans not noticing a rail line, can you?

As for the Fifth Corps, you are correct, only the first division is fully mechanized and DW and Presby will adjust how much of it ends up mechanized for story reasons but I don't think that effects my speculation.

Nicholas

Howard T. Map-addict wrote:Please don't forget: there are two (known) Fronts.
The Traisum-Karys Portal is actually the Second Exit
that the Sharonans found from Traisum.

This means that the First Exit Portal, to Kelsayr,

(I find my Lists so useful! Won't you use them too?)
viewtopic.php?f=6&t=1673

is easier to find & to get to, got the first railroad,
which was extended into Kelsayr before the Traisum Cut
had even been begun, and so might be very long indeed!
Sharona might be able to support a division moving
through Lashai, Resyn, and Nairsom into Thermyn,
and might trap the Arcanans between the two forces.
Depending, of course, on how far that RR has been made.

Ternath's Fifth Corps has only the one Mechanized
(Dragoon) division, plus two Infantry divisions. Plans
are to mechanize those two as they are sent out, to
the extent possible. (Weber & Presby will adjust this
to the needs of their plotline.)

HTM

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Re: What is next at the Front
Post by tonyz   » Tue Dec 16, 2014 1:00 pm

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One thing to keep in mind here: worlds are very big places. The Sharonians have the advantage in portal combat (artillery can go through portals, spells cannot) and at other chokepoints due to their superior firepower.

Arcanans have the advantage of mobility and airpower, which is HUGE. Ironically, they'd be better off picking one world to fight in and just raiding Sharonian supply lines throughout it. Sharona can't begin to support enough troops to completely hold a supply line against Arcanan raiders (it'd be like Sherman against Nathan Forrest, only with Sherman having a lot fewer troops and Forrest being able to fly, and not much in the way of handy-dandy local plantations to seize supplies from.
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Re: What is next at the Front
Post by Howard T. Map-addict   » Tue Dec 16, 2014 1:34 pm

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Posts: 1392
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 10:47 am
Location: Philadelphia, PA

Worlds are indeed big, Tony.
The direct routes between Portals are much more important
than the other parts of any Outworld.

The Arcanans ignored your good advice when they attacked
Fort Selby. They threw away much of their combat airpower
there, and learned that they *must* keep their Transport
Dragons far away from Sharonan artillery.
Had Harshu been more imaginative, he would have realized
that the Karys Plain was easier for dragons to defend
than any Portal. Toralk tried to tell him.
We should remember that both were very junior for their
mission: Harshu a colonel-equivalent, Toralk an O-5.

HTM

tonyz wrote:One thing to keep in mind here: worlds are very big places. The Sharonians have the advantage in portal combat (artillery can go through portals, spells cannot) and at other chokepoints due to their superior firepower.

Arcanans have the advantage of mobility and airpower, which is HUGE. Ironically, they'd be better off picking one world to fight in and just raiding Sharonian supply lines throughout it. Sharona can't begin to support enough troops to completely hold a supply line against Arcanan raiders (it'd be like Sherman against Nathan Forrest, only with Sherman having a lot fewer troops and Forrest being able to fly, and not much in the way of handy-dandy local plantations to seize supplies from.
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Re: What is next at the Front
Post by Howard T. Map-addict   » Tue Dec 16, 2014 1:43 pm

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Posts: 1392
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 10:47 am
Location: Philadelphia, PA

I am sure that the books say, somewhere,
that Karys was discovered after Kelsar.

Failcham-Thermyn was surveyed by Fairnos Consortium.

I agree that Chalgyn might have surveyed the route
from Kelsar to Nairsom, Thermyn, New U, & HG,
BUT note that we are also told that Darcel passed
through the Traisum-Karys Cut on his way to the Frontier.
They might have gone through Thermyn & discovered
*both* exits, & then gone further thru Nairsom.
We know that they split the Team.

When the book began, Sharonans did not yet know that
the routes to Nairsom were a loop. They found out in time
for 500 Neshok to extort the data from them.

I would give much to read the Background Book!

HTM

brnicholas wrote:I had not forgotten that there were two portals into Traisum but I am following Harshu in thinking that if they can the Sharon's will push forward from Fort Salby in Karys which is the more settled and developed universe. I think there is either a continuity error over which chain was discovered first or you are misreading Chapter 21 of Hells Gate. The presentation of Orem Limana in Chapter 21 of Hells Gate implies, although it does not say explicitly, that the five portals Shyler's team had claimed were Karys/Failcham, Failcham/Thermyn, Thermyn/Nairsom, Thermyn/New Uromath and New Uromath/Hell's Gate although I think Lashai/Resym, Resym/Nairsom, Nairsom/Thermyn, Thermyn/New Uromath and New Uromath/Hell's Gate are also possible based on what is said in that chapter. However, in chapter 16 of HHNF has 2000 Harshu says quite clearly that the secondary chain running from Kelsayr to Nairsom is the more recently discovered one, which is why he can send light forces down it confident they will encounter little resistance. The rest of HHNF reinforces the statement that the Kelsayr to Nairsom chain is the one Shyler's team explored. I think the correct read is that Limana calls it the Karys chain because Karys to Hell's Gate is the shorter route rather then because Shyler's team was exploring outward from Karys. I don't think the railroad has even reached the Traisum/Kelsayr portal. I certainly remember no evidence that it had and a work crew driving it up that chain would have been large enough it ought to have come up if it was behind the Arcanan lines. I can't see the Arcanans not noticing a rail line, can you?

As for the Fifth Corps, you are correct, only the first division is fully mechanized and DW and Presby will adjust how much of it ends up mechanized for story reasons but I don't think that effects my speculation.

Nicholas

Howard T. Map-addict wrote:Please don't forget: there are two (known) Fronts.
The Traisum-Karys Portal is actually the Second Exit
that the Sharonans found from Traisum.

This means that the First Exit Portal, to Kelsayr,

(I find my Lists so useful! Won't you use them too?)
viewtopic.php?f=6&t=1673

is easier to find & to get to, got the first railroad,
which was extended into Kelsayr before the Traisum Cut
had even been begun, and so might be very long indeed!
Sharona might be able to support a division moving
through Lashai, Resyn, and Nairsom into Thermyn,
and might trap the Arcanans between the two forces.
Depending, of course, on how far that RR has been made.

Ternath's Fifth Corps has only the one Mechanized
(Dragoon) division, plus two Infantry divisions. Plans
are to mechanize those two as they are sent out, to
the extent possible. (Weber & Presby will adjust this
to the needs of their plotline.)

HTM

Last edited by Howard T. Map-addict on Fri May 29, 2015 2:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What is next at the Front
Post by Frankjg   » Tue Dec 16, 2014 5:20 pm

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Arcana's sucked all available troops they had into the surprise offensive. Given they are at the end of a very long chain, that still does not have all the transportation goodies of other chains. This will make it harder to resupply them. While the Sharona's chain is shorter but has a good supply route that was aready being improved on when they discovered new chain that lead them to the Arcana's. Once the shooting started even more resources have been poored into improveing the supply route.

I suspect the Sharona's will be able to launch a counter-attack of some sort and regain some territory. Regaining Hell's Gate will be another story.

It will be interesting to see what our authors have come up with. Would be nice to see a snippett to wet our appetites.
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