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Stopping the Sharonan advance

"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: Stopping the Sharonan advance
Post by phillies   » Thu Sep 17, 2015 10:11 am

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brnicholas wrote:I agree with Mil-tech Bard that there are significant problems in the Arcanan military. I'm pretty sure that they aren't as bad as what the ARVN had, but as Mil-tech Bard made clear that is faint praise.

The key strength of the Arcanan army would appear to be that the upper ranks are still mostly faithful to their honor code. This means corruption is not a major problem (it is a minor problem in all human societies) and incompetence is a block to promotion.

Its weaknesses appear to me to be the result of two centuries of peace. I suspect one major disaster and the rust will get cleaned off pretty quick.

Nicholas

"...honor code..." This does not appear to be a strength, though it depends how the illustrious author plays it.
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Re: Stopping the Sharonan advance
Post by Howard T. Map-addict   » Thu Sep 17, 2015 11:02 am

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I agree with all of Mil-tech points here.

Note that Thalmayar was willing - *eager* - to put
Jathmar, and Shaylar too, into handcuffs, despite
Shaylar being a woman with burns on her skull.
He also refused to hear a verbal report from Jasek,
and ignored all of J's advice.
All this *before* he was wounded.
He showed bad temper whenever we saw him!

Then there was 500 Grantyl's refusal to send recon
gryphons to Klian at the Front.

I have one little quibble: Garlath's presence in Jasek's
company might be a part of mul Gurthak's attempt to
use vos Hoven as a spy on Jasek. The two were transferred
into that company and platoon at the same time, and
that seems to have been mul G.'s doing ... somehow. Of
course, that reflects on mul G.'s choice of agents, as
well as the level of agents available for him to choose.

Mul G. is not nearly as good as he thinks he is.
Were he a genius, he would have realized that the Very
Best Way to embarrass all Andara would have been to
make the Peace that Andarans had been ruining!
Had he ordered Jathmar & Shaylar returned to their
people, and Jasek kept at the Front for a Formal Trial
by both Arcanans and Sharonans, and especially had he
gone to the Front to take personal command,
Then Andara would have been embarrassed indeed,
especially the Olderhams,
And he would have won many Brownie Points for Mylatha!

Instead ...

HTM

Mil-tech bard wrote:

Garlath's incompetence and Thalmayar predilection to torture were not the result of Gurthak's corruption efforts.

The Second Andaran Scout Brigade whose platoon and company got chewed up at HellsGate was the hereditary command of the Dukes of Garth.

Garlath was the younger cousin of a Andaran Baron holding his position in the Andaran Military -- despite manifest incompetence -- via shear nepotism.

Likely said Baron was one under the current Duke of Garth.

Thalmayar's torture of his Sharonan healers has very little to do with Gurthak's corruption efforts and everything to do with his unhinged mind being given the opportunity to vent.

That both men were able to maintain their positions in the elite Second Andaran Scout Brigade says a great deal about the issue of nepotism and connections being more important for promotion than demonstrated skill in the Arcanian Military.

And I will add one more thing.

The key tell of the story about Arcanian military dysfunction is the way the Transport Dragon pilot Salmeer described his systematic poor treatment by Andaran junior officers in the Arcanian military (Page 201 Hells Gate).

"I've answered the call of more than a few commanders of 100 sir, and I'll tell you plain -- You're the first who's given a good godsdamn about the opinions of a Transport pilot."

Junior officers in a military where Dragons are both the primary weapon and transportation treating any dragon pilot with disdain for their knowledge is just mind blowing.

That plain Transport Dragon pilots don't seem to need a gift to pilot their beasts seems to play a part in this.
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Re: Stopping the Sharonan advance
Post by PeterZ   » Thu Sep 17, 2015 11:19 am

PeterZ
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Posts: 6351
Joined: Fri Apr 01, 2011 12:11 pm
Location: Colorado

Allow me a quibble, Howard.

Negotiating a peace would earn Mythal brownie points but no lever to shift Arcanan politics firmly in Mythal's favor.

Creating a brutal war would shift Ransar into the Mythal camp to justly prosecute a war the Andarans created. Ransarans are unsuited to fight any sort of war that does not threaten them directly. That naturally would leave the Mythalans in greater control over more of the armed forces.

Mul Guthyk needs a short victorious war.....well, a not so short victorious war that started as an Andaran glustergrope.

Howard T. Map-addict wrote:I agree with all of Mil-tech points here.

Note that Thalmayar was willing - *eager* - to put
Jathmar, and Shaylar too, into handcuffs, despite
Shaylar being a woman with burns on her skull.
He also refused to hear a verbal report from Jasek,
and ignored all of J's advice.
All this *before* he was wounded.
He showed bad temper whenever we saw him!

Then there was 500 Grantyl's refusal to send recon
gryphons to Klian at the Front.

I have one little quibble: Garlath's presence in Jasek's
company might be a part of mul Gurthak's attempt to
use vos Hoven as a spy on Jasek. The two were transferred
into that company and platoon at the same time, and
that seems to have been mul G.'s doing ... somehow. Of
course, that reflects on mul G.'s choice of agents, as
well as the level of agents available for him to choose.

Mul G. is not nearly as good as he thinks he is.
Were he a genius, he would have realized that the Very
Best Way to embarrass all Andara would have been to
make the Peace that Andarans had been ruining!
Had he ordered Jathmar & Shaylar returned to their
people, and Jasek kept at the Front for a Formal Trial
by both Arcanans and Sharonans, and especially had he
gone to the Front to take personal command,
Then Andara would have been embarrassed indeed,
especially the Olderhams,
And he would have won many Brownie Points for Mylatha!

Instead ...

HTM
Top
Re: Stopping the Sharonan advance
Post by Mil-tech bard   » Thu Sep 17, 2015 11:43 am

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Posts: 256
Joined: Tue May 28, 2013 1:25 pm

Regards this --

brnicholas wrote:I agree with Mil-tech Bard that there are significant problems in the Arcanan military. I'm pretty sure that they aren't as bad as what the ARVN had, but as Mil-tech Bard made clear that is faint praise.

The key strength of the Arcanan army would appear to be that the upper ranks are still mostly faithful to their honor code. This means corruption is not a major problem (it is a minor problem in all human societies) and incompetence is a block to promotion.

Its weaknesses appear to me to be the result of two centuries of peace. I suspect one major disaster and the rust will get cleaned off pretty quick.

Nicholas


The closer I look at RFC's set up, the more I see parallel's in this passage from the ARVN description I used earlier --

...The RVN military wasn't simply a fighting force, it was a source of political power & a place for patronage. Under Diem, Thieu & the ones in between Generals were appointed for political loyalty, not ability. The same was often true of officers down to colonel level. Even the distribution of units throughout the country was sometimes based on the need to shore up political power in one place or another.

This didn't mean that men of ability didn't rise to the top, but they were unevenly distributed & could not always rely on ability to get ahead. Worse, the gulf between good & bad was VAST...


Point in fact, we are seeing officers down to Lieutenant and senior NCO level placed for reasons of nepotism and ethnic power conspiracy reasons respectively.

And as for the saving graces of senior Arcanian officer honor codes, please see Two Thousand Harshu on the issue of torturing and murdering Sharonan prisoners, and how atrocity prone it has made Arcanian forces in contact.

ARVN Airborne Division at the 1974 Battle of Thuong Duc seems to cover the situation of the Arcanians in Kayrs quite nicely.
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Re: Stopping the Sharonan advance
Post by Howard T. Map-addict   » Thu Sep 17, 2015 12:05 pm

Howard T. Map-addict
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Posts: 1392
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 10:47 am
Location: Philadelphia, PA

further note: That platoon C/O spot filled by Garlath,
was open because his predecessor, Com-50 Thaylar,
went "on Medical Leave."
It occurs to me to wonder whether mul Gurthak had
caused that need for Medical Leave, just so that spots
would be open for vos Hoven and Garlath.

HTM

Howard T. Map-addict wrote:
I have one little quibble: Garlath's presence in Jasek's
company might be a part of mul Gurthak's attempt to
use vos Hoven as a spy on Jasek. The two were transferred
into that company and platoon at the same time, and
that seems to have been mul G.'s doing ... somehow. Of
course, that reflects on mul G.'s choice of agents, as
well as the level of agents available for him to choose.

HTM
Top
Re: Stopping the Sharonan advance
Post by Howard T. Map-addict   » Thu Sep 17, 2015 12:27 pm

Howard T. Map-addict
Rear Admiral

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

Peter,
Seems to me that we are quibbling over,
both what *would* happen,
and what Mythalans would *expect* to happen.

My opinion is that Mythalans would expect your second
point, and likely your first point too. Therefore
mul Gurthak's choices follow from his expectations.

My own expectations, based on my judgement of Ransar,
is very different.
1 - I expect that Ransarans love peace, want peace,
and would support any group that brought about Interworld
Peace over any group that provoked a war.
Even if the Peacemaking Group were Mythalans!

2 Andarans creating a brutal war would shift Ransaran
opinion away from Andara, but not necessarily to Mythal.
Ransarans have such a very great distrust of Mythal!
There do seem to be other nations on Arcana,
besides the three major ones. All of them
mistrust Mythal, and work together against it.

2 continued: Of course, if a senior Mythalan were
implicated in causing the war, Ransarans would be quick
to blame all Mythalans, and to look to re-interpret
the actions of the Andarans.

In my vain and arrogant opinion.

HTM

PeterZ wrote:Allow me a quibble, Howard.

1 Negotiating a peace would earn Mythal brownie points
but no lever to shift Arcanan politics firmly in
Mythal's favor.

2 Creating a brutal war would shift Ransar into the Mythal camp to justly prosecute a war the Andarans created. Ransarans are unsuited to fight any sort of war that does not threaten them directly. That naturally would leave the Mythalans in greater control over more of the armed forces.

Mul Guthyk needs a short victorious war.....well, a not so short victorious war that started as an Andaran glustergrope.

Howard T. Map-addict wrote:{snip - htm}
Mul G. is not nearly as good as he thinks he is.
Were he a genius, he would have realized that the Very
Best Way to embarrass all Andara would have been to
make the Peace that Andarans had been ruining!
Had he ordered Jathmar & Shaylar returned to their
people, and Jasek kept at the Front for a Formal Trial
by both Arcanans and Sharonans, and especially had he
gone to the Front to take personal command,
Then Andara would have been embarrassed indeed,
especially the Olderhams,
And he would have won many Brownie Points for Mylatha!

Instead ...

HTM
Top
Re: Stopping the Sharonan advance
Post by Louis R   » Thu Sep 17, 2015 3:49 pm

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Posts: 1183
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2015 8:25 pm

I'm really surprised to see that you missed the killer assumption: that it's even possible to get 70-150 men onto a dragon's back and leave it able to fly, never mind add cargo.

People are not - common opinion to the contrary notwithstanding - particularly dense. Worse, you don't generally get particularly good results stacking them 4 deep and running a set of standard tie-downs across the pile. The ones on the bottom often don't seem to work very well when you get to destination. That's always been a problem with people-movers: even on the Middle Passage, they maxed out volume long before they maxed the load capacity.

Most of Harshu's troop lift capacity is going to be in the form of floaters that, from the sound of things, are mostly grounded. Dragon-back carriers would be limited in capacity and number; I don't think we have enough info to say whether standard cargo pods can do double duty as troop carriers the way a 2 1/2T truck can, but you'd be very hard-pressed to get 2 1/2T of squaddies into a deuce-and-a-half even if you weren't concerned about one popping loose and going out the back at 5000'. It's a pretty safe bet that the number of men a dragon can haul without levitation support will be a lot closer to 40 than 180. [I'm guessing, since I haven't found the description yet, but no more than 1 platoon and probably fewer.] Even fully equipped for it, the available dragons can't pull more than half the AEF out in one trip, and they won't be fully equipped.

Mil-tech bard wrote:This --


Astelon wrote:If sixty percent of the dragons (102) are available (assuming twenty percent at hunting grounds and a further twenty percent assigned to other duties) you can still get all the men out, supplies to feed those men would be limited though. You might be able to do it if only forty percent (68) are available, but you only have 170 pounds per person. This would require loading more weight onto some dragons, and limiting their range. But they don't have to fly very far (300 miles or so) to outrun ground forces that are limited to fifteen miles an hour.

Further I would expect the transport command to keep a supply of accumulators for emergencies, like combat operations or retreating.


Assumes the following:

1. An evacuation plan in the event of Sharonan flanking, by-pass, or breakthrough.
2. The dragon evacuation rally point is not under Sharonan talent directed artillery fire
3. Regardless of #1 & #2, the ability to communicate rapidly to the various elements to be evacuated.

These don't seem to be there.

Further, from a recent 40 year anniversary, the Fall of Saigon is remembered mostly for media photos and film of helicopters leaving the American embassy and arriving on American aircraft carriers to be dumped over the side.

What is not remembered were the Vietnamese Rangers, properly known in Vietnamese as the Biệt Động Quân, who held the air evacuation perimeter and were mostly destroyed by PAVN armored columns in and around Saigon.

Any Arcanian evacuation is going to have a rear guard who will not be getting away from Sharonan Bisons.

In a lot of ways the Arcanian military reminds me a lot of the following description of South Vietnam's ARVN military forces right down to the corruption, lack of officer professionalism, and the ethnic fragmentation:

/quote]

edited for absent grammar
Last edited by Louis R on Thu Sep 17, 2015 4:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Stopping the Sharonan advance
Post by PeterZ   » Thu Sep 17, 2015 4:01 pm

PeterZ
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Posts: 6351
Joined: Fri Apr 01, 2011 12:11 pm
Location: Colorado

Suppose that there is no nation that is up to managing the war and Ransar retains their deep seated mistrust of Mythal. Under that scenario Ransar might be forced to manage the army's prosecution of this war much more directly. This suggests one of two things; Ransarans passionate reverence of individual civil rights and talent for organizing make them a serious adversary for Sharona or their emotional attachment peace and reverence for individual lives make them totally unsuited for managing war. The latter make their reactions incredibly unpredictable in not always beneficial ways for Arcana.

I long to see where our beloved authors will take this story.

Howard T. Map-addict wrote:Peter,
Seems to me that we are quibbling over,
both what *would* happen,
and what Mythalans would *expect* to happen.

My opinion is that Mythalans would expect your second
point, and likely your first point too. Therefore
mul Gurthak's choices follow from his expectations.

My own expectations, based on my judgement of Ransar,
is very different.
1 - I expect that Ransarans love peace, want peace,
and would support any group that brought about Interworld
Peace over any group that provoked a war.
Even if the Peacemaking Group were Mythalans!

2 Andarans creating a brutal war would shift Ransaran
opinion away from Andara, but not necessarily to Mythal.
Ransarans have such a very great distrust of Mythal!
There do seem to be other nations on Arcana,
besides the three major ones. All of them
mistrust Mythal, and work together against it.

2 continued: Of course, if a senior Mythalan were
implicated in causing the war, Ransarans would be quick
to blame all Mythalans, and to look to re-interpret
the actions of the Andarans.

In my vain and arrogant opinion.

HTM
Top
Re: Stopping the Sharonan advance
Post by Louis R   » Thu Sep 17, 2015 4:27 pm

Louis R
Rear Admiral

Posts: 1183
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2015 8:25 pm

The relevant quote is this:

"But second, and far more important, was the patronage system which permeated the Arcanan Army, because patronage was the only thing that kept Garlath in uniform. Not even that had been enough to get him promoted, but it was more than enough to ensure that his sponsors would ask pointed questions if Jasak went that far out of his way to invite another fifty to replace him on what promised to be quite possibly the most important portal exploration on record. If Magister Halathyn's estimates were remotely near correct, this was the sort of operation that got an officer noticed."

This looks far more like the 18th-century British Army than the ARVN to me, although there's no mention of purchase of commissions. And the British Army was, and remains, a generally competent organisation despite it's regular spectacular gaffes [and patronage still matters]. I suspect the Arcanans are similarly competent - and Garlath's situation is a case in point.

Mil-tech bard wrote:Regards this --

brnicholas wrote:I agree with Mil-tech Bard that there are significant problems in the Arcanan military. I'm pretty sure that they aren't as bad as what the ARVN had, but as Mil-tech Bard made clear that is faint praise.

The key strength of the Arcanan army would appear to be that the upper ranks are still mostly faithful to their honor code. This means corruption is not a major problem (it is a minor problem in all human societies) and incompetence is a block to promotion.

Its weaknesses appear to me to be the result of two centuries of peace. I suspect one major disaster and the rust will get cleaned off pretty quick.

Nicholas


The closer I look at RFC's set up, the more I see parallel's in this passage from the ARVN description I used earlier --

...The RVN military wasn't simply a fighting force, it was a source of political power & a place for patronage. Under Diem, Thieu & the ones in between Generals were appointed for political loyalty, not ability. The same was often true of officers down to colonel level. Even the distribution of units throughout the country was sometimes based on the need to shore up political power in one place or another.

This didn't mean that men of ability didn't rise to the top, but they were unevenly distributed & could not always rely on ability to get ahead. Worse, the gulf between good & bad was VAST...


Point in fact, we are seeing officers down to Lieutenant and senior NCO level placed for reasons of nepotism and ethnic power conspiracy reasons respectively.

And as for the saving graces of senior Arcanian officer honor codes, please see Two Thousand Harshu on the issue of torturing and murdering Sharonan prisoners, and how atrocity prone it has made Arcanian forces in contact.

ARVN Airborne Division at the 1974 Battle of Thuong Duc seems to cover the situation of the Arcanians in Kayrs quite nicely.
Top
Re: Stopping the Sharonan advance
Post by Mil-tech bard   » Thu Sep 17, 2015 4:38 pm

Mil-tech bard
Captain (Junior Grade)

Posts: 256
Joined: Tue May 28, 2013 1:25 pm

Regards this --


I'm really surprised to see that you missed the killer assumption: that it's even possible to get 70-150 men onto a dragon's back and leave it able to fly, never mind add cargo.

People are not - common opinion to the contrary notwithstanding - particularly dense. Worse, you don't generally get particularly good results stacking them 4 deep and running a set of standard tie-downs across the pile. The ones on the bottom often don't seem to work very well when you get to destination. That's always been a problem with people-movers: even on the Middle Passage, they maxed out volume long before they maxed the load capacity.

Most of Harshu's troop lift capacity is going to be in the form of floaters that, from the sound of things, are mostly grounded. Dragon-back carriers would be limited in capacity and number; I don't think we have enough info to say whether standard cargo pods can do double duty as troop carriers the way a 2 1/2T truck can, but you'd be very hard-pressed to get 2 1/2T of squaddies into a deuce-and-a-half even if you weren't concerned about one popping loose and going out the back at 5000'. It's a pretty safe bet that the number of men a dragon can haul without levitation support will be a lot closer to 40 than 180. [I'm guessing, since I haven't found the description yet, but no more than 1 platoon and probably fewer.] Even fully equipped for it, the available dragons can't pull more than half the AEF out in one trip, and they won't be fully equipped.


The Ambulance pod on the back of transport dragon Windclaw carried about a dozen critically wounded.

See pages 205-208 of Hell's Gate.

The rule of thumb is you can get three combat loaded troopers in and seated for every stretcher case on a military aircraft.

I had assumed something like the CH-54 Skycrane's personnel transport pod to get high density seating for long distance Dragon-borne strategic movements.

Without enough charged levitation spell accumulators for transport pods, that is no longer a given.
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