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Situation at the Front (SPOILERS FOR RTH)

"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: Situation at the Front (SPOILERS FOR RTH)
Post by brnicholas   » Tue Apr 26, 2016 9:02 am

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n7axw wrote:
My impression is that Thermyn would be less than ideal. It would be the hub for large concentrations if Sharonians of troops pouring in along the rails from the other chain, which would mean you'd be putting yourself right where your opponents would have their best shot at getting at you.

Don

-


Thermyn's function as a hub for Sharonan troops and supplies is why it is the ideal place for Harshu to pursue an army in being strategy as a means of preventing the Sharonans from focusing on taking the war to Arcana.

If he stays in Karys the Sharonans can put one division at the Traisum Cut, two divisions at the Karys/Failcham portal and send their supplies down the Kelsayr chain. That is a nuisance for them but not a major problem.

On the other hand, Harshu is still faster then the Sharonans are so they will have great difficulty running down his dispersed forces when they have a whole continent to flee into. As long as his forces are loose they might raid any Sharonan facility in Thermyn. With almost 3000 miles of rail line connecting the three portals, all the supply dumps involved in it being a hub, repair facilities, and everything else involved in supporting the Sharonan advance there Sharonan will find it all but impossible to defend it all against quickly concentrating and dispersing Arcanan forces.

Thermyn is ideal because while Harshu can be isolated in Karys by 3 divisions and then ignored I don't think 30 divisions would be adequate to prevent him from doing serious damage in Therymn.

Nicholas
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Re: Situation at the Front (SPOILERS FOR RTH)
Post by Howard T. Map-addict   » Wed Apr 27, 2016 2:31 pm

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That chan Ersam is QM of a *brigade,*
chan Bykahlar's Third Brigade of chan Jassian's 21st I. D.,
so he doesn't know everything, such as changes to plans.

Since supplying three divisions over 17K miles is indeed hard,
that is reason to send one of those divisions the short way,
through Salby Portal and then Karys.

We are told at the end of Chapter 41 that 3rd/21st is coming
into Thermyn, and that chan Gorsad's 2nd Brigade of the 21st
is five days behind it.

Two Notes here: 1 we were told on page 16 that Ternath Infantry
Divisions have only two brigades, but the 21st seems to have
*three* of them. The other's C/O is Estavan chan Ursan. It
was last seen (chapter 31) deploying to Fort Salby.
2- chan Bykahlar is in the Cast list under "D"
for Desval chan Bykahlar.
Brigade-Captain Shordan chan Khartan, 2nd/3rd Dragoon Div,
is not in the Cast List at all. But several of chan Bykahlar's
staff officers are, though they are not mentioned in that
chapter 33 entry where others of his officers are discussed.

HTM

brnicholas wrote:I agree about everything you list at Salby except the 9th Infantry Division. The only reason I can see it being at Salby is if the Sharonans have been unable to bring up anything else of sufficient size to hold Salby. That is possible but unlikely.

There is little text evidence either way, however. When I went looking the best I could find was in Chapter 33 where chan Ersam, chan Bykahlar's staff quartermaster, says "When I first heard about this brainstorm of the division-captian's, I thought he was crazy. I was much to respectful to say so, of course, but any experienced quartermaster could've told him the whole idea was insane. Push an entire corps down a seventeen-thousand mile corridor though six different universes in only four months?" It isn't definitive, he might be exaggerating but if only the 3rd and 21st divisions were following the Kelsayr chain I would have expected him to say "two divisions."

Nicholas
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Re: Situation at the Front (SPOILERS FOR RTH)
Post by n7axw   » Wed Apr 27, 2016 10:14 pm

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brnicholas wrote:
n7axw wrote:
My impression is that Thermyn would be less than ideal. It would be the hub for large concentrations if Sharonians of troops pouring in along the rails from the other chain, which would mean you'd be putting yourself right where your opponents would have their best shot at getting at you.

Don

-


Thermyn's function as a hub for Sharonan troops and supplies is why it is the ideal place for Harshu to pursue an army in being strategy as a means of preventing the Sharonans from focusing on taking the war to Arcana.

If he stays in Karys the Sharonans can put one division at the Traisum Cut, two divisions at the Karys/Failcham portal and send their supplies down the Kelsayr chain. That is a nuisance for them but not a major problem.

On the other hand, Harshu is still faster then the Sharonans are so they will have great difficulty running down his dispersed forces when they have a whole continent to flee into. As long as his forces are loose they might raid any Sharonan facility in Thermyn. With almost 3000 miles of rail line connecting the three portals, all the supply dumps involved in it being a hub, repair facilities, and everything else involved in supporting the Sharonan advance there Sharonan will find it all but impossible to defend it all against quickly concentrating and dispersing Arcanan forces.

Thermyn is ideal because while Harshu can be isolated in Karys by 3 divisions and then ignored I don't think 30 divisions would be adequate to prevent him from doing serious damage in Therymn.

Nicholas


The only thing that makes Harshu more mobile is his dragons. In Thermyn he would be heavily outnumbered. He loses his agility bit by bit as he loses his dragons to combat. He can't even depend on keeping his dragons out of combat range sinse he has to retreat on them when pressured by Sharonian numbers.

Even worse, he has to fight past two portals to get into Thermyn from where he is in Karys. He is going to lose heavily both in terms of men and dragons just getting into Thermyn. If he is going to pay the price for doing that, he should be doing so as an attempt to break past the Hell's Gate into Arcanan held territory.

Don

-
When any group seeks political power in God's name, both religion and politics are instantly corrupted.
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Re: Situation at the Front (SPOILERS FOR RTH)
Post by Jonathan_S   » Wed Apr 27, 2016 10:51 pm

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n7axw wrote:
brnicholas wrote:
Thermyn's function as a hub for Sharonan troops and supplies is why it is the ideal place for Harshu to pursue an army in being strategy as a means of preventing the Sharonans from focusing on taking the war to Arcana.

If he stays in Karys the Sharonans can put one division at the Traisum Cut, two divisions at the Karys/Failcham portal and send their supplies down the Kelsayr chain. That is a nuisance for them but not a major problem.

On the other hand, Harshu is still faster then the Sharonans are so they will have great difficulty running down his dispersed forces when they have a whole continent to flee into. As long as his forces are loose they might raid any Sharonan facility in Thermyn. With almost 3000 miles of rail line connecting the three portals, all the supply dumps involved in it being a hub, repair facilities, and everything else involved in supporting the Sharonan advance there Sharonan will find it all but impossible to defend it all against quickly concentrating and dispersing Arcanan forces.

Thermyn is ideal because while Harshu can be isolated in Karys by 3 divisions and then ignored I don't think 30 divisions would be adequate to prevent him from doing serious damage in Therymn.

Nicholas


The only thing that makes Harshu more mobile is his dragons. In Thermyn he would be heavily outnumbered. He loses his agility bit by bit as he loses his dragons to combat. He can't even depend on keeping his dragons out of combat range sinse he has to retreat on them when pressured by Sharonian numbers.

Even worse, he has to fight past two portals to get into Thermyn from where he is in Karys. He is going to lose heavily both in terms of men and dragons just getting into Thermyn. If he is going to pay the price for doing that, he should be doing so as an attempt to break past the Hell's Gate into Arcanan held territory.

Don

-
Cross country it's not just his dragons that are faster. His enhanced horses and unicorns are faster and higher endurance than the Sharonan cavalry.

And across most ground either should be faster than the Sharonan mechanized units across most (but not necessarily all) unimproved terrain.

And if you're hauling supplies his anti-grav "wagons" should be a lot faster cross county than wheeled wagons - though now sure how they'd stack up against mechanized units in many terrain types. Now those anti-grav "wagons" probably aren't faster than Sharonan cavalry; and his infantry troops certainly aren't over short distances (very long distances good infantry can out marched cavalry if the cav doesn't have access to fresh remounts).

So basically a heavy column of Arcana infantry should be faster than it's Sharonan counterpart; because of the better wagons. A light column of infantry (packs only) is probably about the same. Depending on terrain mechanized infantry can be faster than Arcanan infantry.

But if you disperse your infantry (except for a few squads ferried around by transport dragons) to gather food and raid with cavalry and dragons it should take a long time to run them all down. And dragons can be used to move the dispersed infantry around away from any Sharonan sweeps.


But at some point I think the Arcanans start running out of spell accumulators for their wagons and camp tools (if not their weapons) and their mobility and survability take a sharp drop. I don't think they have enough people with the cut-off forces to recharge those accumulators at anything like the rate they're consumed. But at least the dragons, unicorns, and augmented horses don't need fresh spell crystals; just water and their respective foods.
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Re: Situation at the Front (SPOILERS FOR RTH)
Post by Keith_w   » Thu Apr 28, 2016 6:52 am

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Jonathan_S wrote:
But at some point I think the Arcanans start running out of spell accumulators for their wagons and camp tools (if not their weapons) and their mobility and survability take a sharp drop. I don't think they have enough people with the cut-off forces to recharge those accumulators at anything like the rate they're consumed. But at least the dragons, unicorns, and augmented horses don't need fresh spell crystals; just water and their respective foods.


I don't think they can recharge them at all without sending them back to the more "civilized" Arcanan universes where the power grid is available.
--
A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.
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Re: Situation at the Front (SPOILERS FOR RTH)
Post by Mil-tech bard   » Thu Apr 28, 2016 11:30 am

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I don't see more than 50% of the AEF transport dragons and 1/3 of the ground forces getting out.

The Arcanian heavy horse has already been shot to pieces at Ft. Salby. The Transport Dragons have taken about 10% casualties and the Batle Dragons are at 25% strength.

Arcanian Unicorns have not been casualties, save for those lost to the mutineers.

Unicorns have demonstrated an absolute mobility advantage over Sharonan Bison over unimproved terrain while pulling levitation spell assisted wagons at a rate of 40 miles a day vice 25 miles a day for Bison.

I doubt Arcanian Heavy horse can do anything like that over a long haul, but most are a couple of universes closer to Hell's gate.

Sending as much as can be moved by Unicorn and leveltation wagon on the ground and leap frogging the rest by Dragon back makes it doubtful Sharonan pursuit can catch anything Arcaninan prior to Harshu's planned gate assaults.

An Arcanian combined arms movement to contact with intensive aerial scouting -- being aware of Bison and other Sharonan motor transport -- is a different kettle of fish than what we have seen in Return to Hell.

The way to beat Sharonan artillery is to be fast, deceptive, and get right on top of Sharonans with fireball weapons.

This is doable without a Calirath Prince having a death glimpse sitting in the Sharonan command tent.

Harshu is going to razzle dazzle as hard as he can to get through the gates with as low a number of casualties as he can, but he does know he will take them.

How badly Unicorns are going to get shot up doing the "Close on the gates with fireball weapon Razzle Dazzle" is a different matter.

Aerial recon before the engagement and night assaults/movements during them are Harshu's best and only options.

Harshu may be no Rommel, but I suspect he will play some of Rommel's North African fake retreat games with heavy horse/infantry pulling pursuing Bisons onto hidden/camouflaged Arcanian field pieces before it is over.

The Sharonan points balancing those Arcanian issues are the density of anti-aircraft weapons at the portals from Ft. Salby to Hell's Gate that the AEF has to penetrate and particularly their supply.

Remember, Harshu is not fighting to win. He is fighting to by-pass.

Low dragon flight at night shrinks the engagement range of the heavy AA guns with predictive distance viewers to almost nothing and Sharonan machine gunners are too numerous for very many to be predictive distance viewers.

Note as well that the Sharonan life sign plotters can't see very far close to the ground like they can in the air.

Plus, Harshu likely has ground forces set up in any "Armed by-pass" to keep them busy.

Flying low, diagonally, at the both edges of the portal simultaneously, is going to seriously complicate predictive distance talent and plotting talent directed AA fire at dragons in that neither talent can see through a portal aspect.

The issue for Harshu is that he can surprise with this trick once, but he has three portals to move through.

That's why he is going to have to war game this out and aerial recce each portal to the far the well to have a chance of pulling this off.

This is where the Arcanian PC crystals will come in handy.

The long stand off at the Ft Salby gate likely has resulted in the development of very detailed Arcanian threat probability assessments for the various Sharonan anti-aircraft positions by weapon type.

There are a lot of implications in that thought.
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Re: Situation at the Front (SPOILERS FOR RTH)
Post by Louis R   » Thu Apr 28, 2016 2:32 pm

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Two points:

The Sharonans are not using Bisons or anything else as fighting vehicles, and I see no reason to think that the commanders at the front intend to start trying any time soon. Mind you, it wouldn't surprise me if they didn't soon start to urge the development of recognisable AFVs, but at the moment they're too aware of the limitations of what they have to send them charging off across the horizon.

If the Arcanans have done detailed threat assessments of Sharonan artillery - and so far there's no indication that the sort of thing you have in mind has even occurred to them - they clearly haven't been briefing their dragon pilots on the results. That, or their assessments are wildly inaccurate. They'd not be down another red otherwise.

[quote="Mil-tech bard"
< snip >

Harshu may be no Rommel, but I suspect he will play some of Rommel's North African fake retreat games with heavy horse/infantry pulling pursuing Bisons onto hidden/camouflaged Arcanian field pieces before it is over.

< snip >


The long stand off at the Ft Salby gate likely has resulted in the development of very detailed Arcanian threat probability assessments for the various Sharonan anti-aircraft positions by weapon type.

There are a lot of implications in that thought.[/quote]
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Re: Situation at the Front (SPOILERS FOR RTH)
Post by Howard T. Map-addict   » Thu Apr 28, 2016 4:54 pm

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Louis, that was one wild, arrogant, and silly pilot
refusing to believe anything he hadn't seen for himself,
four or five months after the last time dragons had been
shot down. Also he did not believe that artillery in motion
could be as dangerous as emplaced artillery.
Many fighter pilots are like that.
But his teammate was wiser, as was the pilot in command.
I doubt that any pilot in the AEF will make that mistake again.
Of course, pilots coming from closer to the homeworld will
have to learn that lesson all over again!

HTM

Louis R wrote:
{snip - htm}
If the Arcanans have done detailed threat assessments of Sharonan artillery - and so far there's no indication that the sort of thing you have in mind has even occurred to them - they clearly haven't been briefing their dragon pilots on the results. That, or their assessments are wildly inaccurate. They'd not be down another red otherwise.
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Re: Situation at the Front (SPOILERS FOR RTH)
Post by Louis R   » Thu Apr 28, 2016 5:03 pm

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While I agree with your characterisation of the idiot in question, that isn't quite what happened: he decided to strafe the side of the formation that was defended by 37s because he recognised from his briefings just how dangerous the pedestal guns he could clearly see on the far side were - and didn't see any way the 37s could hurt him. He actually seems to have done the best he could with the info he had available to him. If, of course, you discount the fact that he was disobeying orders in making the attack in the first place.

Howard T. Map-addict wrote:Louis, that was one wild, arrogant, and silly pilot
refusing to believe anything he hadn't seen for himself,
four or five months after the last time dragons had been
shot down. Also he did not believe that artillery in motion
could be as dangerous as emplaced artillery.
Many fighter pilots are like that.
But his teammate was wiser, as was the pilot in command.
I doubt that any pilot in the AEF will make that mistake again.
Of course, pilots coming from closer to the homeworld will
have to learn that lesson all over again!

HTM

Louis R wrote:
{snip - htm}
If the Arcanans have done detailed threat assessments of Sharonan artillery - and so far there's no indication that the sort of thing you have in mind has even occurred to them - they clearly haven't been briefing their dragon pilots on the results. That, or their assessments are wildly inaccurate. They'd not be down another red otherwise.
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Re: Situation at the Front (SPOILERS FOR RTH)
Post by Trevor   » Thu Apr 28, 2016 10:46 pm

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Mil-tech bard wrote:I don't see more than 50% of the AEF transport dragons and 1/3 of the ground forces getting out.



I think even that might be optimistic.

In the text Harshu was figuring on (3) sorties by all his transports to move his command through the Karys/Failcham portal. Getting his entire force through the portal will require the dragons to cross the portals 3 times going and twice coming back for the next load, so 5 crossings of the Failcham/Karys portal. That's a lot of trips through hostile air space.
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