Topic Actions

Topic Search

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests

Dirigibles as gunships?

This fascinating series is a combination of historical seafaring, swashbuckling adventure, and high technological science-fiction. Join us in a discussion!
Dirigibles as gunships?
Post by SilverbladeTE   » Fri Jul 12, 2019 3:39 am

SilverbladeTE
Commander

Posts: 162
Joined: Sat Jan 12, 2019 8:14 am

In Through Fiery Trials, Charis begins testing "zeppelin bombing".
Now, here's a thought:

1) Rigid airships can carry very large cargoes indeed.

2) They are relatively slow but stable platforms.

3) When they drop bombs, they violently rise from loss of mass and have to vent a lot of gas which is thus, dangerous.
Effectively they rise up through a plume of their own gas and stress the hull, note hydrogen isn't just flammable, it chemically damages metal in the hull it encounters.

So, why not use some of them as gunships like a lower tech AC-130 Spectre?

I dont know issues of recoil and strength etc of airship hull, whether it could cope with larger guns?
But, 20mm and up to.maybe 40mm Bofors might be practical?

At low speeds of airships and them being able to almost hover, they avoid the windage drifting gunfire way off target that airplanes suffer.
Because of this they may actually be able to use 40mm grenade launchers effectively, note the H&K GMG is comparatively very light (for what it is) and the stubby not so aerodynamic shells wouldn't be as badly affected by low airspeeds of a zeppelin than they would a conventional airplane.

The Russians have a rotating barrel cannon that uses gas bleed not electricity
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gryazev ... v_GSh-6-23
And other types use compressed gas...why not a Praigyr powered Vulcan Cannon?

If the weapons had flash hiders or maybe flashless propellants, the ability to avoid lighting the dirigble up during night attacks would reduce enemy antiaircraft fire effectiveness.

The advantages should allow reasonably accurate fire just using the Mark 1 eyeball for smaller calibre and shorter range fire.

So, you could have maybe a dozen or more 40mm grenade launchers blasting enemy columns and supply convoys!
Top
Re: Dirigibles as gunships?
Post by dobriennm   » Fri Jul 12, 2019 9:48 am

dobriennm
Commander

Posts: 166
Joined: Fri Sep 03, 2010 5:44 pm

SilverbladeTE wrote:In Through Fiery Trials, Charis begins testing "zeppelin bombing".
Now, here's a thought:

1) Rigid airships can carry very large cargoes indeed.

2) They are relatively slow but stable platforms.

3) When they drop bombs, they violently rise from loss of mass and have to vent a lot of gas which is thus, dangerous.
Effectively they rise up through a plume of their own gas and stress the hull, note hydrogen isn't just flammable, it chemically damages metal in the hull it encounters.

So, why not use some of them as gunships like a lower tech AC-130 Spectre?

Ummm.... if a convoy on the ground is in range of your guns, then your dirigible is in range of their guns. And your dirigible is full of flammable hydrogen and is a slow moving target.

Yes, your guns may have slightly longer range because you're firing down and the convoy is firing up. But gunships on strafing runs depend on their higher airspeed and maneuverability for protection. On bombing runs dirigibles depend on being high enough they can't be targeted (alluded to in the scene where they are practice bombing the towed target about how low they were and if it hadn't been for the low cloud cover doctrine would have them much higher)

Plus, Sidmark toward the end of the Jihad had invented crew served rocket propelled bunker busters and were trying to develop man portable rocket propelled bunker busters. Not a huge leap until you have essentially Stinger missiles. NOT an environment I would want to take a slow moving dirigible filled with flammable hydrogen. :o :o :o
Top
Re: Dirigibles as gunships?
Post by Quarthinos   » Fri Jul 12, 2019 10:32 am

Quarthinos
Midshipman

Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Jul 07, 2015 1:44 pm

I wouldn't call your theoretical bunker-buster pointed at a dirigible a Stinger.. It's not guided, and you're not going to be able to guide it without waking the rakurai.

AC-130s generally only fly at night to avoid ground fire and there's no reason that dirigible gunships couldn't do the same. There's already an established protocol for calling in artillery fire missions at night, and there's no reason a dirigible couldn't accept the order rather than the big guns back in the gun line.

If you go look at doctrine for an AC-130, it's generally used for SpecOps support, rather than being used to support regulars, as it's just way too vulnerable to SAMs.


So you're both right?
Top
Re: Dirigibles as gunships?
Post by Dilandu   » Fri Jul 12, 2019 1:26 pm

Dilandu
Vice Admiral

Posts: 1932
Joined: Sat May 07, 2011 12:44 pm
Location: Russia

Well, there were gun-armed airships. For example, many of French Navy patrol airships in World War 1 carried a 47-mm gun, and some Astra-Torres airships were even equipped with 3-inch mountain guns.

The general reason for gun on airships, however, was not to shell land positions. It would... not be very advisable to put airship into the range of intensive ground fire. Yes SOME situations of airship's gunnery attacks took places, but they were rare and generally against light-armed troops like cavalry.

Mostly, the gunnery armament on airships were to attack submarines. They have unfortunate tendency to dive, as soon as they noticed the airship, and it was assumed that putting a few shells into a sub may stop her from diving. As far as I knew, this theory was never proofed.
------------------------------

- Who would won in battle between strawman Liberal-Democrat and strawman Conservative-Republican?
- Scarecrow from Oz; he was strawman before it became political.

P.S. - And he have Russian twin, to watch his back)
Top
Re: Dirigibles as gunships?
Post by Dilandu   » Fri Jul 12, 2019 1:33 pm

Dilandu
Vice Admiral

Posts: 1932
Joined: Sat May 07, 2011 12:44 pm
Location: Russia

dobriennm wrote: On bombing runs dirigibles depend on being high enough they can't be targeted (alluded to in the scene where they are practice bombing the towed target about how low they were and if it hadn't been for the low cloud cover doctrine would have them much higher)


To be exact, they relied on stealthy approach, fast attack and immediate jump to high altitude to avoid being targeted. Basically, like submarines - albeit of air.
------------------------------

- Who would won in battle between strawman Liberal-Democrat and strawman Conservative-Republican?
- Scarecrow from Oz; he was strawman before it became political.

P.S. - And he have Russian twin, to watch his back)
Top
Re: Dirigibles as gunships?
Post by dobriennm   » Fri Jul 12, 2019 3:08 pm

dobriennm
Commander

Posts: 166
Joined: Fri Sep 03, 2010 5:44 pm

Quarthinos wrote:I wouldn't call your theoretical bunker-buster pointed at a dirigible a Stinger.. It's not guided, and you're not going to be able to guide it without waking the rakurai.

AC-130s generally only fly at night to avoid ground fire and there's no reason that dirigible gunships couldn't do the same. There's already an established protocol for calling in artillery fire missions at night, and there's no reason a dirigible couldn't accept the order rather than the big guns back in the gun line.

If you go look at doctrine for an AC-130, it's generally used for SpecOps support, rather than being used to support regulars, as it's just way too vulnerable to SAMs.


So you're both right?


Agreed, the rockets they have now (and probably in the future) aren't guided/accurate over long distances. So one MANPAD probably wouldn't work. But, quantity has a quality too. Make the MANPAD cheap enough and fire a 100 of them at the dirigible and you up the odds of one hitting considerably. And it may only take one and you may not need any explosive charge, just the exhaust to light off the hydrogen.

Might even set up decoy convoys to attract a dirigible. Hard on the decoys but, hey, they're just serfs, right? ;)

As for night ops, firing FROM a fixed position TO a fixed position (grid position on a map) is a lot easier then firing from a moving platform(with a high positional error) TO a grid target in the dark. It would probably prove the statement "Friendly Fire Isn't". And if you do what was done in Vietnam and use flares to illuminate the area, you're probably illuminating the dirigible, too. A big, slow moving target.

I think in special circumstances, it might be worthwhile (Timed night assault, etc). But the AC-130 was more a reaction force and between being slow moving (compared to aircraft) and lack of quick communications, I'm not sure it would be worth the expense.

Maybe doing parachute drops behind enemy lines and providing some limited fire support? That was sort of done to provide supplies and some cadre to the Valley in TFT.
Top
Re: Dirigibles as gunships?
Post by Dilandu   » Fri Jul 12, 2019 3:14 pm

Dilandu
Vice Admiral

Posts: 1932
Joined: Sat May 07, 2011 12:44 pm
Location: Russia

dobriennm wrote:
Agreed, the rockets they have now (and probably in the future) aren't guided/accurate over long distances. So one MANPAD probably wouldn't work. But, quantity has a quality too. Make the MANPAD cheap enough and fire a 100 of them at the dirigible and you up the odds of one hitting considerably. And it may only take one and you may not need any explosive charge, just the exhaust to light off the hydrogen.


Nah, it wouldn't work like that except for a VERY low-flying target. Rockets are rather inaccurate weapon, and in Safehold conditions it is hard to coordinate a salvo (since there are no electric firing system).
------------------------------

- Who would won in battle between strawman Liberal-Democrat and strawman Conservative-Republican?
- Scarecrow from Oz; he was strawman before it became political.

P.S. - And he have Russian twin, to watch his back)
Top
Re: Dirigibles as gunships?
Post by Dilandu   » Fri Jul 12, 2019 3:19 pm

Dilandu
Vice Admiral

Posts: 1932
Joined: Sat May 07, 2011 12:44 pm
Location: Russia

dobriennm wrote:
Maybe doing parachute drops behind enemy lines and providing some limited fire support? That was sort of done to provide supplies and some cadre to the Valley in TFT.


Yeah, nobody ever thought about much more useful idea of just bombing the bad guy capital till his own peoples chase him off. Seriously, terror bombing were quite effective in the situations of instability, where the other side was not very determined to fight. Britain & France successfully used aviation to suppress colonial rebellions in 1920s just by psychological effect.

The airship could carry only a limited amount of supplies, and landing is NOT what airships do best. It's much simpler to bomb, than to land supplies.
------------------------------

- Who would won in battle between strawman Liberal-Democrat and strawman Conservative-Republican?
- Scarecrow from Oz; he was strawman before it became political.

P.S. - And he have Russian twin, to watch his back)
Top
Re: Dirigibles as gunships?
Post by Weird Harold   » Fri Jul 12, 2019 6:50 pm

Weird Harold
Fleet Admiral

Posts: 4464
Joined: Thu Apr 24, 2014 9:25 pm
Location: "Lost Wages", NV

Dilandu wrote:The airship could carry only a limited amount of supplies, and landing is NOT what airships do best. It's much simpler to bomb, than to land supplies.


Flechete and caltrops are cheaper and more effective at destroying soft targets and area denial
.
.
.
Answers! I got lots of answers!

(Now if I could just find the right questions.)
Top
Re: Dirigibles as gunships?
Post by SilverbladeTE   » Fri Jul 12, 2019 7:55 pm

SilverbladeTE
Commander

Posts: 162
Joined: Sat Jan 12, 2019 8:14 am

Note that only Charis has smokeless powder thus making antiaircraft guns for anyone else a very difficult proposition!

Yes, very large batteries of thousands of rockets might be potential AA weapons, but what goes up must come down...accuracy would suck...preparing such batteries is no small issue...and they'd be perfect targets for such a gunship!


Flechettes are far more effective and efficient than most realize, spread from a dirigible capable of carrying tons of them, "Lazy Dogs" would be terrifying area weapons
As would simple cluster bombs (grenade in a tin can with a drogue etc)

Adding small, rotatable thrusters to airships would make them more manoeuverable which would help a great deal.
Top

Return to Safehold