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HFQ Official Snippet #9

This fascinating series is a combination of historical seafaring, swashbuckling adventure, and high technological science-fiction. Join us in a discussion!
HFQ Official Snippet #9
Post by runsforcelery   » Fri Oct 17, 2014 10:41 pm

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There’d been no survivors from any of the merchantmen or from HMS Thistle. The only “good” news from that perspective was that all of the wounded had been slaughtered out of hand rather than returned to Desnair for the Punishment. The captured cargoes, however, had provided Desinair with five thousand precious M96 rifles, almost a hundred three-inch mortars, and two entire batteries of four-inch rifled field guns . . . among other things. Charis was only lucky the damage hadn’t been still worse — and that the overwhelmed escorts had been able to protect the troopships. But Rock Point couldn’t count on that happening the next time around, and what had been a constant, niggling trickle of losses in other privateer attacks was growing steadily more serious.

Rock Point grimaced around his pipe stem, then struck a Shan-wei’s candle and lit it. He took time to be sure it was drawing properly, savoring the sweet taste of the smoke, before he waved out the candle and dropped it into an ashtray. Then he sighed heavily and admitted the disagreeable truth.

Even with the Navy straining every sinew, he simply didn’t have the escorts to put every merchantman into a convoy. Over a third of all Charisian merchantmen were still forced to sail independently, and while almost all of them were now armed, they were scarcely regular men-of-war. Nor did Rock Point have the ship strength to blockade such an enormous coastline in order to prevent the raiders from getting to sea to attack them. That was the reason Shain was in the Gulf of Jahras . . . and also the reason the high admiral wouldn’t be sending the first new Cities off to Claw Island, after all. No, he was going to have a better use — or a more pressing one, at least — for those ships considerably closer to home. Sharpfield was just going to have to make do until more of the Cities were available, and it was entirely likely the King Haraahlds would be ready by then, as well.

Sir Domnyk Staynair didn’t like it, but that was just the way it was. And however much he respected Thirsk’s capabilities, at least when Sharpfield did receive his reinforcements, there wasn’t going to be one damned thing Dohlar could do about it. And in the meantime . . . .

Zhaztro’s not going to like it, either, he reflected, drawing on his pipe. I imagine he’s going to squawk about it — respectfully, of course! — when I break the news to him, too. But he’ll get over it, especially when he considers the consolation prize. And — the high admiral smiled grimly — he’ll do one hell of a good job once he does.





.IV.
West of Allyntyn,
Northland Province,
Republic of Siddarmark


The cold was bone-numbing.

At least there wasn’t any wind, but even without the extra chill factor, the midday temperature had climbed no higher than twelve degrees on the Fahrenheit scale, and it was already falling steeply once more. After sunset it would drop to twenty degrees below zero — or lower — on the same scale, and the wind would be picking up once more as another arctic front began making its way through sometime after Langhorne’s Watch. Snow lay horse knee-high and powdery on level ground; where any obstacle had offered the opportunity, drifts with sharply sculpted edges rose as high as a man’s head or higher. The breath of the Raven’s Land caribou hauling the heavy sleds rose like smoke in the frigid air, and the sturdy High Hallows under the mounted men jetted white vapor like the fumes of an Old Earth dragon. The sky was a polished blue bowl, harder and colder than steel, without a hint of cloud. It was only a few hours past midday, but the sun was already well to the west, dipping towards the peaks of the Meirstrom Mointains and promising that the brief northern evening — and much longer winter night — were not far away.

It was one of the coldest, bleakest vistas imaginable, Kynt Clareyk, the Baron of Green Valley, thought approvingly. He had no doubt the men of 1st Corps sorely missed the snug barracks they’d enjoyed at Allyntyn, but that was fine with him. And with them, too, if the truth be known. They were as impatient to be about their assigned task as he was.

He glanced to the northeast, where a party of Siddarmarkian engineers swarmed about the fire-charred skeleton of a semaphore station. There was no way to tell whether it had been fired by Temple Loyalists during the Sword of Schueler’s initial onslaught or by Siddarmarkians loyal to their lord protector as they were driven from Northland by the rebellion, but whoever had set the blaze had done a less than thorough job of actually wrecking the station. Cables, pulleys, and the roof of the station crew’s barracks had been destroyed, yet the towering masts and the barracks’ stone walls remained, and the engineers would have it back in service by tomorrow afternoon. The stations were closer together across the bleak, rolling tableland of the Midhold Plateau because of how bad visibility became in the winter. Even with them restored to service, Green Valley’s communications with Allyntyn were likely to be sporadic, given that same limited visibility, but they ought to be good enough. His communications with the rest of the inner circle couldn’t care less about weather conditions, but since he’d left close to two thirds of the Army of Midhold behind at Allyntyn under General Dymytryoh Brohkamp, who commanded his 2nd Corps, it behooved him to maintain the closest contact with Brohkamp that he could.

There was a reason he’d stripped Brigadier Wylsynn Traigair’s 3rd Brigade, out of 1st Corps, transferred it temporarily to 2nd Corps, and left Brohkamp behind. Without Traigair, General Ahntahn Makrohry’s 1st Corps consisted only of two battalions of the 1st Scout Sniper Regiment, 3rd Mounted Brigade, and General Eystavyo Gardynyr’s 4th Division (Mountain). On the other hand, Makrohry himself had been raised amid the beautiful, bitter peaks of northern Chisholm’s Snow Crest Mountains, and all of his units had been exhaustively trained in winter warfare at Raylzberg, perched high in the westernmost spur of the Lonely Mountains above High Hallow’s Stonewater Lake. The Royal Chisholmian Army had made a point of acclimating all of its units to winter marches, but only about a third of the entire army had been trained in actual winter war fighting, which was a much more demanding regimen.


"Oh, bother!" said Pooh, as Piglet came back from the dead.
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Re: HFQ Official Snippet #9
Post by InvisibleBison   » Fri Oct 17, 2014 10:56 pm

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Thanks for the snippet!

runsforcelery wrote:The captured cargoes, however, had provided Desinair with five thousand precious M96 rifles, almost a hundred three-inch mortars, and two entire batteries of four-inch rifled field guns . . . among other things.


I really hope those "other things" are just various uninteresting supplies, not something super-useful to the Church.

runsforcelery wrote:The Royal Chisholmian Army had made a point of acclimating all of its units to winter marches, but only about a third of the entire army had been trained in actual winter war fighting, which was a much more demanding regimen.


Man, the Army of the Sylmahn is so doomed! I can't wait to see how things go, and how Clyntahn reacts.
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Re: HFQ Official Snippet #9
Post by Down Under   » Fri Oct 17, 2014 11:01 pm

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Thanks RFC
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Re: HFQ Official Snippet #9
Post by cdieter20   » Sat Oct 18, 2014 12:17 am

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Thanks for the snippet RFC!!! Hopefully nothing too important was in that ship above and beyond the guns, like oh say a steam engine or somthing. Will be interesting to see what the Churches budding inovators make of the M96 rifles. I'm hopeing for abject terror when they realize that even with the saint whatever guns they are trying to get to their army they still are gonna be out gunned. Rate of fire is a harsh mistress who does not forgive those who lag behind
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Re: HFQ Official Snippet #9
Post by ksandgren   » Sat Oct 18, 2014 12:27 am

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Thanks for the snippet, RFC. Its about a day earlier than the last couple and so it really makes my day.

I'm also looking forward to the remaining snippets about BGVs actions.
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Re: HFQ Official Snippet #9
Post by Alistair   » Sat Oct 18, 2014 1:53 am

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Rear Admiral

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EoC Mountain troops vs Army of God regulars

Result:

Mountain troops 1 Army of God 0
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Re: HFQ Official Snippet #9
Post by Bruno Behrends   » Sat Oct 18, 2014 2:54 am

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Thank you very much!

So nice to find a Safehold snippet on a foggy and cold morning and after having read through the bleak RL news.
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Re: HFQ Official Snippet #9
Post by McGuiness   » Sat Oct 18, 2014 2:58 am

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Ouch! The CoGA gets examples of the M96, presumably with its ammunition and clips before it's even used in battle. There goes a rather nasty surprise, depending on how long it takes for the word to spread, but 5,000 samples to share around will let far too many enemies see what's coming and change tactics accordingly.

Getting effective mortars will even the playing field with the ICA great deal and do even more damage to the Allied cause in the near term.

On the bright side, the M96 is a gun the church is physically incapable of duplicating. They can't duplicate the bullets either, but just seeing the M96 is going to suggest all too many possibilities to their tame wizards, especially the one in Zion. He'll undoubtedly come up with a simpler version of a clip-serviced rifle that doesn't require brass bullets.

I SO could have used not hearing this bit of bad news, along with the "other things" that were lost. Plus the CoGA may now have genuine Charisian mortars and working shells, as well as the 4 inch rifled field artillery with their shells. Those they can duplicate. (So let's pray there wasn't any ammunition on the captured ship!)

The capture of that single ship will probably cost more ICA and RSA casualties than anything the CoGA has managed to come up with on its own, including its breech-loaded rifle. (Ok, the CoGA didn't really come up with it on their own, but they did adapt the Mahndrayn, and they apparently have an even more efficient design.) Handing them breech-loading artillery (which I sincerely hope the 4" guns are not!) would enable them to skip years if not decades of research.

Fortunately no bullets or shells with smokeless powder or advanced explosives were available for capture... :twisted:

"Oh bother", said Pooh as he glanced through the airlock window at the helmet he'd forgotten to wear.
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Re: HFQ Official Snippet #9
Post by JRM   » Sat Oct 18, 2014 3:05 am

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runsforcelery wrote:
That was the reason Shain was in the Gulf of Jahras . . . and also the reason the high admiral wouldn’t be sending the first new Cities off to Claw Island, after all. No, he was going to have a better use — or a more pressing one, at least — for those ships considerably closer to home. Sharpfield was just going to have to make do until more of the Cities were available, and it was entirely likely the King Haraahlds would be ready by then, as well.

Sir Domnyk Staynair didn’t like it, but that was just the way it was. And however much he respected Thirsk’s capabilities, at least when Sharpfield did receive his reinforcements, there wasn’t going to be one damned thing Dohlar could do about it. And in the meantime . . . .

Zhaztro’s not going to like it, either, he reflected, drawing on his pipe. I imagine he’s going to squawk about it — respectfully, of course! — when I break the news to him, too. But he’ll get over it, especially when he considers the consolation prize. And — the high admiral smiled grimly — he’ll do one hell of a good job once he does.



“Zhaztro” is Commodore Hainz Zhaztro formerly of the Royal Emeraldian navy. Could it be command of the first squadron of Cities, assigned to their better or more pressing use?

Before we get too carried away in speculation, we should remember what has and hasn’t been revealed. We don’t know the current size of the EOC merchant marine. We don’t know the ship type make up. We don’t know the level of traffic between various ports. We don’t know the effective range of the Desnairian raiders. We don’t know the production rates on steam engines. We don’t know whether steam engine production has been converted to pneumatic, and/or uses an assembly line. We don’t know the production rates on artillery pieces. We don’t know when the first Cities were laid down, and how many, if any are completed.

What we do know is that in September 896 that the first half of the Rivers had their hulls completed, and they were expected to be completed by the end of the month. We know that the first King Haraahlds would be complete by July or maybe a little earlier. We know that Sir Domnyk Stynair expects to be able to send Cities to Sharpsfield about the time he sends the King Haraahlds. Therefore, he expects to be able to contain and/or deal with the Desnairian raiders within four months.
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Re: HFQ Official Snippet #9
Post by grimble   » Sat Oct 18, 2014 3:08 am

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If 5000 M96's were captured and it's only Rock Port showing anxiety, does this mean that the production lines are in full swing? Is this just a way for RFC to make the main land powers have to innovate again to keep up with Charis?

(First time post, looooong time lurker)
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