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Arcana attacking

"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!
Re: Arcana attacking
Post by SCC   » Tue May 19, 2015 7:09 pm

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Arcana's not going to be making any attack like this anytime soon. The attack force basically lacks any attack dragons, which would be what would be needed in an attack. It's got a lot of transport and tactical transport dragons, but those are all tied up trying to keep the force in supply.
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Re: Arcana attacking
Post by brnicholas   » Wed May 20, 2015 8:51 am

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But how long do you think it will be before the Sharonans can cover all those hundreds of miles of railroad with a company? If the Arcanans can't attack a dug in Sharonan company then all the Sharonans have to do to protect the railroad is dominate it by fire. At a company being 250 men, if we figure a company can cover 5 miles with its artillery, it only takes 50,000 men to put every inch of 1000 miles of track under the guns of two companies.

Sharona has a population of 10 billion and appears to me to have the per capita industrial capacity of France shortly before World War I. They can support that many troops.

I think they will have enough troops up to let them move forward as fast as they can build railroads within six to nine months.

Nicholas

Howard T. Map-addict wrote:No, the Arcanans will *not* choose targets based on
how difficult they are to repair.
They will avoid targets that are *defended* and will
choose targets that are *not* defended.
Over three or four *hundred* miles of railroad,
there must be many such targets!

The presence of a Sharonan company ... or platoon ...
or five men waving flags (well, maybe not that) ...
will cause the Arcanans to reject that bridge as a
target. There are plenty of other bridges, after all,
in four hundred miles. Then there are all of those
miles of rails laid on level ground, which can be
pulled up, flown away, and deposited a hundred miles
to the side of the road, in a place that requires
more than a cursory search to find.
In short, "Hit them where they ain't!"

Those "more frequent trains" could run every fifteen
minutes, and still not be frequent enough to cover
the entire railroad, all of the time. The Arcanans
need only watch from a distance till a train passes,
dash in and grab three or four rails (or even one!),
and then the next train will be delayed an extra five
or ten minutes to replace them.
That will give the Arcanans 20 or 25 minutes to make
the next raid, and steal six or eight rails.
Nuff said?

HTM

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Re: Arcana attacking
Post by brnicholas   » Wed May 20, 2015 9:06 am

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I haven't been able to read all the data you provided but from what I have seen the primary difference in our views appears to be the scale we expect the Sharonans to be working on in the future.

From the Sharonan side I don't expect this to be a "low force density conflict" in six to nine months. They have nothing they need to defend but the portals and the railroad and they will be bringing lots and lots of troops up.

Unless the Arcanans can find a way to successfully attack a fortified Sharonan position (and successful means not just take the position but do it without taking 2 or 3 or more times the losses the Sharonans suffer) then I don't think a strategy of raiding supply lines can work because the Sharonans can supply, via railroad, enough men to be everywhere.

Nicholas

Mil-tech bard wrote:Peter Z.

Mobility is a weapon all its own in a low force density conflict.

Unicorns, heavy horse and even griffins are a great deal more expendable than dragons and all were air-lifted tens of thousands of miles to Ft Salby.

Air-landed and air-resupplied Unicorn cavalry puts paid to most of your countermeasures.

Arcanian forces can live off the land far better than those of Sharona for the simple reason of dragon speed, range and mobility from food sources.

Consider what the bison herds of the North American great plains, the herds of the African savanna or Eurasian step, or whale spawning grounds off of several continents means for Dragon resupply.

They all represent dragon resupply based that can be 100 miles from the nearest rail line in a near virgin universe to drop off raiding forces to ravage railway lines.

No Sharonan horse cavalry force can catch a unicorn cavalry force, nor can any number of railway covering .50 caliber sniper rifles deal with night time raiders.

Arcania will have to pay a great deal to learn these lessons, but they will and Sharona's offensive's will slow down over time reflecting that.


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Re: Arcana attacking
Post by PeterZ   » Wed May 20, 2015 9:51 am

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It will take time and resources to bring up 50,000 men and the equipment to guard those 1,000 miles of track.

Would it be better to have ranger types armed with .50 caliber scoped riles all along those 1,000 miles of track? 2-3 such snipers every mile would impose a severe risk to Arcana's dragons. Wouldn't that be enough to deter dragon assisted raids on the RR tracks?
brnicholas wrote:But how long do you think it will be before the Sharonans can cover all those hundreds of miles of railroad with a company? If the Arcanans can't attack a dug in Sharonan company then all the Sharonans have to do to protect the railroad is dominate it by fire. At a company being 250 men, if we figure a company can cover 5 miles with its artillery, it only takes 50,000 men to put every inch of 1000 miles of track under the guns of two companies.

Sharona has a population of 10 billion and appears to me to have the per capita industrial capacity of France shortly before World War I. They can support that many troops.

I think they will have enough troops up to let them move forward as fast as they can build railroads within six to nine months.

Nicholas
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Re: Arcana attacking
Post by tonyz   » Wed May 20, 2015 12:00 pm

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One may, perhaps, keep in mind that domination with fire is unlikely to be as effective at night or in bad weather, and the Arcanans have handy things like night-vision spellware, map location stuff, and well-trained special operations troops. They don't need to use dragons to attack vulnerable spots on the rail line. Land a force 10 miles to the side of the railroad, send troops in it at night to sabotage rails, lather, rinse, repeat. Or concentrate a brigade-sized strike force to go in at night against a company spread out along several miles of track. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Also note: deployments to defend the rail line aren't free. Troops on regular watch duty need to be fed and supplied; every train supplying garrison troops is a train taken away from the guys at the spearhead. The Sharonans only have a corps (nine brigades or so) at the railhead. They will eventually have more forces down the chain, but even with railroads force projection across that distance is a big deal.

1000 miles is piddly. The Sharonans have, on average, a good deal more than that distance between portals on any one world, and very little local settlement on some of these worlds to provide supplies to soldiers. (Some stuff can be supplied by local hunting and foraging, particularly foodstuffs, but troops out foraging are vulnerable to Arcanan assaults in ways that troops in bunkers are not.)

As the guys retreating down the third portal line told each other, Arcanan raids on extended supply lines are going to make pressing the campaign forward a pain. Which is why I have some trouble seeing how this current series is going to come to a conclusion -- the strategic setup looks rather like North Africa or the Russian Civil War, where anyone can make huge progress against lightly defended forces, but neither side can press forward into the other's core areas, because the force ratio changes geometrically with the length of advance.
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Re: Arcana attacking
Post by Howard T. Map-addict   » Wed May 20, 2015 12:17 pm

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IfIRecallCorrectly,
in the battles of HG & FtS,
it took many bullets, or a big shell from a cannon,
to kill a dragon. It took several bullets even to
force it down. I would not expect a single bullet to
suffice to kill, cripple, or seriously incommode a
dragon, unless it were a Golden BB.

Snipers use single bullets, reaimed before each shot.
I cannot consider them the best answer to dragons.

As for how many: ***LOTS***!!!
All spread along the railroad, each scores of miles
from the next. Expensive to place; expensive to feed
and supply; hardly able to support each other.
And then the BORING wait for an attack that might
never come, because the Arcanans are attacking
somewhere else along the 400-mile-line.
And then they might attack with cavalry, or infantry,
or with field dragons or spells.

Anyway, armies seldom have "hordes" of snipers.
They have "very few" snipers.

I deem snipers "not the best answer to dragons."

HTM

PeterZ wrote:Quite right, Howard. I do wonder how many snipers armed with a .50 caliber 8-10x scoped rifle would it take to generate 50% odds of having one within effective range of a visiting dragon? If every other attack on the unguarded railroad risks one dead dragon, how long will the Arcanans continue to risk this?

If the amount of resources is small enough, what will it take to increase the odds to 75% or 100%? Will it be worth it to risk the snipers in order to get a shot at the dragons? At one point getting a shot at dragons will be more important than protecting the railroad.

In other words shooting dragons is a twofer. It harms the Arcanan transport ability as well as protects the railroad. Sending hoards of snipers to patrol the railroads to shoot dragons would be a good thing even if the dragons still tear up the railroad. So long as enough dragons are killed tearing up the tracks.

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Re: Arcana attacking
Post by PeterZ   » Wed May 20, 2015 2:13 pm

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I seem to have recall the wounds differently. As I recall the wounded black dragon described was hit with a few rounds, not MANY rounds. I doubt the machinegun registered that many hits on a flying dragon with an operator that did not have practice shooting at flying targets. The slower moving gas breathers were very likely hit with many rounds and died quickly.

Those shots on the black dragon were not well placed. I suspect that snipers/hunters shooting at dragons on the ground will be able to place their shots much more precisely. As to the armed forces relatively few snipers, how many crack shots on the exploration teams? Quite a few I'll wager.

So although my earlier statement about one shot one to kill or cripple a dragon was an exaggeration, one shooter can get enough hits in to do some good. I suspect a solid head shot should kill a dragon. Perhaps scattering frontiersmen armed with heavy scoped rifles all along the track routes is not a silver bullet solution. It will likely be worth it.

Howard T. Map-addict wrote:IfIRecallCorrectly,
in the battles of HG & FtS,
it took many bullets, or a big shell from a cannon,
to kill a dragon. It took several bullets even to
force it down. I would not expect a single bullet to
suffice to kill, cripple, or seriously incommode a
dragon, unless it were a Golden BB.

Snipers use single bullets, reaimed before each shot.
I cannot consider them the best answer to dragons.

As for how many: ***LOTS***!!!
All spread along the railroad, each scores of miles
from the next. Expensive to place; expensive to feed
and supply; hardly able to support each other.
And then the BORING wait for an attack that might
never come, because the Arcanans are attacking
somewhere else along the 400-mile-line.
And then they might attack with cavalry, or infantry,
or with field dragons or spells.

Anyway, armies seldom have "hordes" of snipers.
They have "very few" snipers.

I deem snipers "not the best answer to dragons."

HTM
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Re: Arcana attacking
Post by brnicholas   » Wed May 20, 2015 6:54 pm

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I quite agree that "deployments to defend the rail line aren't free" but we need to remember just how big these civilizations are.

Chapter 5 of Hell's Gate tells us "Nearly a fifth of the population had been blessed with some kind of psionic Talent. Given the best current estimate, that worked out to around two billion Talented people." A little math says that the total Sharonan population is about 10 billion. For comparison, according to Wikipedia, in 1900 Germany had a population of 56 million and France and the UK each had 38 million for a total among the three of about 130 million, 1.3% of Sharona's population. That 130 million people provided practically the entire military force used for three years on the Western Front. The Sharonans appear to be just as motivated and just as technologically advanced and just as industrialized as those three countries were in 1914-1917. Sharona has the resources to guard these rail lines cost is not a problem.

Nicholas

tonyz wrote:...snipped...

Also note: deployments to defend the rail line aren't free. Troops on regular watch duty need to be fed and supplied; every train supplying garrison troops is a train taken away from the guys at the spearhead. The Sharonans only have a corps (nine brigades or so) at the railhead. They will eventually have more forces down the chain, but even with railroads force projection across that distance is a big deal.

...snipped...
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Re: Arcana attacking
Post by tonyz   » Thu May 21, 2015 11:50 am

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Location: Riverside, CA

Sharona has the people, yes, and the weapons, yes. It's the part about getting them deployed 30,000 miles from home, keeping them there, and still having the force at the sharp end to press an advance towards Arcana that presents the difficulty.

You can only support so much down one double-tracked rail line. It's admittedly probably a fairly high limit (probably on the level of somewhere between an army and an army group, so they can put in more troops above the corps they presently have) -- but it IS a limit, and everyone guarding the rail line has to be supported within that limit, which directly takes away from how much can be devoted towards pressing forward.

Logistics sets the limits of the possible. Operations and tactics are only possible within the limits of logistics. It's no good having fourteen army groups if you can only supply one army group in contact with the enemy.


SPOILER BELOW...








I am very glad to see that snippet 3 addresses the Ternathian perspective on some of these issues.










SPOILER ABOVE
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Re: Arcana attacking
Post by brnicholas   » Thu May 21, 2015 12:44 pm

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But why assume the line has to stay double tracked? When they start approaching the supply limit of the line they can put in another double tracked line, or two, or three, or twenty!

The limit is time, they can only bring up troops and expand the supply line so fast. And Arcana is building up too. But if Arcana is going to stop Sharona at some point it has to face and hold Sharona not look for undefended targets, if Arcana can't it loses.

Nicholas

tonyz wrote:Sharona has the people, yes, and the weapons, yes. It's the part about getting them deployed 30,000 miles from home, keeping them there, and still having the force at the sharp end to press an advance towards Arcana that presents the difficulty.

You can only support so much down one double-tracked rail line. It's admittedly probably a fairly high limit (probably on the level of somewhere between an army and an army group, so they can put in more troops above the corps they presently have) -- but it IS a limit, and everyone guarding the rail line has to be supported within that limit, which directly takes away from how much can be devoted towards pressing forward.

Logistics sets the limits of the possible. Operations and tactics are only possible within the limits of logistics. It's no good having fourteen army groups if you can only supply one army group in contact with the enemy.

... spoiler snipped ...
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