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HFQ Official Snippet #8

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HFQ Official Snippet #8
Post by runsforcelery   » Wed Oct 08, 2014 2:29 pm

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“Ahlvyn’s not the most diplomatic fellow in the world, My Lord,” Baiket said, “but he does have a point. Admiral Rohsail knows his duty, and he’ll do his best, but if the batteries couldn’t stop those bastards . . . .”

“I know. I know!” Thirsk shrugged irritably. Not because he was angry at Baiket, but because the flag captain had such an excellent point. Still . . . .

“I agree with everything both of you’ve said. On the other hand, all the witnesses we have agree there were only two of those armored galleons in the attack. It’s possible they’re wrong, but I don’t think so.” The earl smiled tightly. “We’ve had a bit of experience of our own with how much iron it takes to armor even a relatively small galley. I realize the Charisians appear to be able to conjure iron and steel magically out of thin air, but it has to take even them a little time to produce enough armor for ships that size. From the description of their armament, they’re a lot bigger than any ironclad small enough for river or canal use could possibly be, and not even Charisians could build and armor something like that with a snap of their fingers. They’re galleons, too, not . . . whatever those damned smokepots are! What does that suggest?”

“That the inland ironclads are either too unseaworthy or too short-legged to make the trip from Corisande, My Lord,” Lieutenant Bahrdailahn said slowly. “Or maybe both.” He nodded slowly. “However those riverboats of their move, they’re burning something to produce all that smoke, and there has to be a limit on how much coal or wood they can load into something that size, especially if they’re also going to armor it and put guns into it.”

“I think that’s probably true.” Thirsk nodded. “It’s not something I plan to count on, but one thing we have to avoid is overestimating Charis’ capabilities. I know it’s better to be pessimistic than to be overly optimistic, but we can’t paralyze ourselves with ‘what-ifs.’ Unless they have a hell of a lot more regular galleons based at Claw Island than reports suggest, we can meet their fleet on more than equal terms, and even an armored galleon needs spars to move. Between our own galleons and Lieutenant Zhwaigair’s screw-galleys — and that other project of his — I think we’d have a pretty good chance of handing them a serious defeat if they were foolish enough to come out where we can get at them. And the fact that they seem to be staying close to home at Claw Island now that they’ve retaken it suggests they may feel the same way about it.”

“For now, at least, My Lord,” Baiket said, diffidently but stubbornly, and Thirsk nodded again.

“For now,” he acknowledged. “That’s always subject to change. But it does suggest we have a little time in hand to continue to push Zhwaigair’s projects. And in answer to the point Ahlvyn raised, I assure you the Army is aware of what’ll happen to its supplies if the Imperial Charisian Navy comes east of The Narrows. Especially if they get as a deep as the Gulf of Tanshar or Hankey Sound. Or, if it doesn’t, at least, it’s not because Pawal Hahlynd and I haven’t talked ourselves blue in the face explaining it to Salthar and the rest of them! So even though that slash lizard at the front door seems to have an awful lot of sharp teeth, they’re still going to have to pay at least some attention to the great dragon in the pasture, and they know it.”

He grimaced, his eyes bleak.

“We’re not going to have the kind of priority we really need, but they can’t cut us off completely, and they know it,” he told his subordinates, and prayed he was telling them the truth.

* * * * * * * * * *

No, they probably can’t, My Lord, Sir Domnyk Staynair thought. I wish they would, but they won’t . . . damn it.

The high admiral sat back from his desk in his day cabin, listening to the nightime sounds of his flagship, and busied his hands filling the bowl of his favorite pipe with tobacco while he contemplated the imagery he’d just watched. Nahrmahn might be dead, he reflected, but that hadn’t affected his ability to recognize information other members of the inner circle needed to see.

The notion that Thirsk almost certainly would be able to make the case against cutting the Dohlaran Navy to the bone was less than palatable for several reasons. The earl was unquestionably Charis’ most formidable naval opponent, and the time he’d had to train his fleet was rubbing off on his subordinates. Subordinates like Sir Dahrand Rohsail, for just one example. Rohsail, commanding the RDN’s Western Squadron, had demonstrated a depressing level of competence, despite the loss of his base at Claw Island. Pawal Hahlynd, the man Thirsk had chosen to command Dynnys Zhwaigair’s screw-galleys, was another case in point. And however outclassed those screw-galleys might be compared to the new steam powered ironclads or even one of the sail powered Thunderers, they were more than a match for any of the wooden galleons which still composed ninety-five percent of the Imperial Charisian Navy’s total line of battle.

Rock Point’s — and Cayleb Ahrmahk’s — respect for Thirsk and the navy he’d built was the real reason Earl Sharpfield had been dispatched to retake Claw Island and establish a forward base — and coaling station — there. They’d sent him months earlier than they’d originally planned, and they hadn’t been able to assign him all the firepower they would have preferred, but he’d done them proud. Claw Island would be a critical part of their end game strategy for the Gulf of Dohlar once the King Harahld VI I-class ships commissioned, but they’d hoped it might also serve as a support base for a squadron of the new City-class coastal ironclads. The Cities were too big to operate along the mainland canals the way the River and River II-class ships were intended to, and they were over four knots slower, but that extra displacement gave them marginally thicker armor and almost twice the endurance. More to the point — and despite Halcom Bahrns’ near miraculous feat of seamanship in the Tarot Channel — they were far better seaboats.

Unfortunately, they wouldn’t be sending any of them to Sharpfield for quite a while after all, because while Thirsk might be their most capable opponent, he wasn’t currently the most dangerous. That honor, difficult though any Charisian found it to believe, belonged to Sir Slokym Dahrnail, Duke of Shairn and navy minister of the Empire of Desnair, the least nautically inclined great power of Safehold.

Most Desnarians got seasick in a bathtub, but unlike the rest of Desnair, Shairn boasted an extensive fishing fleet which had dared the fish-rich waters off Samson’s Land and The Weeping Sisters for generations, despite their proximity to Armageddon Reef. Their catch had provided the duchy with a valuable export, and the House of Dharnail had been smart enough to recognize its importance. The last four dukes had adopted policies which favored both the fisheries and the coastal trade, and when Duke Kohlman, Desnair’s previous naval minister, sought asylum in Charis following the destruction of Ithryia, Sir Slokym had struck Mahrys as his logical successor. The fact that Shairn was a passionate Temple Loyalist, who hated Charis with all his heart, had made him an ideal successor in the eyes of the Church, as well, and the effective anihilation of the Dohlaran battle fleet at Ithryia had allowed him to pursue a commerce raiding strategy with all his resources.

Kohlman had wanted to do the same thing for years, and he’d begun laying down light, fast cruisers as soon as the Battle of the Markovian Sea demonstrated (to anyone who could see) that fighting the ICN at sea had become nothing short of suicidal. The Church had resisted that policy strongly, however, so Kohlman had turned to issuing letters of marque to private shipowners. Even that had been more than the Church wanted, on the theory that it diverted resources from building up the navy, but, ironically, Desnair’s devastating defeat at Ithryia had forced both Church and Crown to adopt the “traitor” duke’s proposals, and Shairn — who was no fool, despite his religious bigotry — had driven them hard ever since.

Which was why well over half of Sir Domnyk Staynair’s warships were now tied down in commerce protection and convoy duties. There was a very good reason he’d sent Payter Shain to wipe out Gulf of Jahras’ privateer bases — hopefully for good, although Rock Point was far from confident they wouldn’t rebuild quickly if the pressure was ever taken off again — but that left thousands upon thousands of miles of additional coastline, especially along the stretch between Traykhos and Shairn. Scores of fleet, weatherly schooners were swarming out to sea, and the situation was growing steadily more serious. Just six days ago, although Rock Point hadn’t yet received official word, over a dozen of those cruisers — half of them navy ships, not just privateers, and acting with far better coordination than he cared to think about — had swamped a convoy from Tellesberg to Siddar City. The outnumbered escort had managed to prevent any of the half dozen troopships under its care from being seriously damaged and had actually sunk two of the raiders, but no less than six cargo ships had been cut out despite all they could accomplish. One of the escorting schooners had been destroyed, as well, and two others — and one of the three defending galleons — had been damaged.


"Oh, bother!" said Pooh, as Piglet came back from the dead.
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Re: HFQ Official Snippet #8
Post by n7axw   » Wed Oct 08, 2014 2:46 pm

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I remember David telling us a few months ago that logistics was going to be the key.

Now we see it with the shoe on the other foot. Desnairian commerce raiders forcing the EOC to defend its own logistics. It's almost battle of the Atlantic, uboat style.

Don

Ps. Thanks for the snippet, RFC.
Last edited by n7axw on Wed Oct 08, 2014 2:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
When any group seeks political power in God's name, both religion and politics are instantly corrupted.
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Re: HFQ Official Snippet #8
Post by Chief-CWH   » Wed Oct 08, 2014 2:47 pm

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Thank you RFC/MWW Hope you and you family are well. Thank you for the snippet
-------------------------------------

Commission Officer Vs Warrant Officer
When you Commission someone you hope that they will work.
When you Warrant someone you know that they will work.

Chief Warrant Officer 3 Ret US Army - Ordnance/Signal
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Re: HFQ Official Snippet #8
Post by DrakBibliophile   » Wed Oct 08, 2014 2:49 pm

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Agree!!!! :D :D


Chief-CWH wrote:Thank you RFC/MWW Hope you and you family are well. Thank you for the snippet
*
Paul Howard (Alias Drak Bibliophile)
*
Sometimes The Dragon Wins! [Polite Dragon Smile]
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Re: HFQ Official Snippet #8
Post by SHV   » Wed Oct 08, 2014 2:59 pm

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FWIW, a "Cities" class ironclad, the Cairo, sunk Dec. 1862 on the Yazoo River by a electrically detonated mine.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Cairo# ... h61568.jpg

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Cairo# ... ro2010.JPG

Steve
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Re: HFQ Official Snippet #8
Post by Joat42   » Wed Oct 08, 2014 3:07 pm

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The plot thickens... :)

It's going to be interesting reading about how they will protect their logistics chain.

Thank you for the snippet, RFC!

---
Jack of all trades and destructive tinkerer.


Anyone who have simple solutions for complex problems is a fool.
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Re: HFQ Official Snippet #8
Post by packhunter   » Wed Oct 08, 2014 3:18 pm

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Towed Hot air observation ballons on convoys might help with avoiding contact with raiders.

And would lay the ground work for an Airship fleet....

I really want to see an Airship fleet. I always felt Corisande would be the perfect pioneers for such a project.
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Re: HFQ Official Snippet #8
Post by Randomiser   » Wed Oct 08, 2014 3:24 pm

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Oh Dear!

"Between our own galleons and Lieutenant Zhwaigair’s screw-galleys — and that other project of his — I think we’d have a pretty good chance of handing them a serious defeat if they were foolish enough to come out where we can get at them."

What other project would that be, I wonder? Mines aren't going to help in a battle and spar torpedoes would be an adjunct to the screw-galleys probably.

A bit surprising Staynair thinks the screw galleys would be a match for his galleons. I would have thought that a broadside into them would have knocked them for six and I would have thought their speed and endurance would be pretty poor. I had really envisaged them for harbour defence rather than part of an open sea battle. Will be interesting to see their performance in battle.

The Desnairian threat is a a bit sudden and unadvertised to be so serious. Could Shairn actually have a brain and have held his schooners back until he had enough to make a difference with his first wave? Clyntahn doesn't usually let people do anything that sensible.
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Re: HFQ Official Snippet #8
Post by pokermind   » Wed Oct 08, 2014 3:41 pm

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Hmm did they make a mistake making a few resource hog monster ships but not many more capable escort craft? I think we may find out. Some steam powered destroyers with those 4"45 guns would come in real handy bout now ;)

RFC wrote:Which was why well over half of Sir Domnyk Staynair’s warships were now tied down in commerce protection and convoy duties. There was a very good reason he’d sent Payter Shain to wipe out Gulf of Jahras’ privateer bases — hopefully for good, although Rock Point was far from confident they wouldn’t rebuild quickly if the pressure was ever taken off again — but that left thousands upon thousands of miles of additional coastline, especially along the stretch between Traykhos and Shairn. Scores of fleet, weatherly schooners were swarming out to sea, and the situation was growing steadily more serious. Just six days ago, although Rock Point hadn’t yet received official word, over a dozen of those cruisers — half of them navy ships, not just privateers, and acting with far better coordination than he cared to think about — had swamped a convoy from Tellesberg to Siddar City. The outnumbered escort had managed to prevent any of the half dozen troopships under its care from being seriously damaged and had actually sunk two of the raiders, but no less than six cargo ships had been cut out despite all they could accomplish. One of the escorting schooners had been destroyed, as well, and two others — and one of the three defending galleons — had been damaged.


Poker
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Re: HFQ Official Snippet #8
Post by AncientMariner   » Wed Oct 08, 2014 4:11 pm

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Thanks RFC for the surprise snippet!

Randomiser wrote:Oh Dear!

"Between our own galleons and Lieutenant Zhwaigair’s screw-galleys — and that other project of his — I think we’d have a pretty good chance of handing them a serious defeat if they were foolish enough to come out where we can get at them."

What other project would that be, I wonder? Mines aren't going to help in a battle and spar torpedoes would be an adjunct to the screw-galleys probably.


Yeah, I was going to ask the exact same question. That really caught my eye.

Does anyone remember a reference to this before or is this the first we hear of this other project of his!
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