Topic Actions

Topic Search

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 10 guests

Silk Town-Thesmar Canal

This fascinating series is a combination of historical seafaring, swashbuckling adventure, and high technological science-fiction. Join us in a discussion!
Silk Town-Thesmar Canal
Post by JeffEngel   » Sat Aug 15, 2015 7:44 am

JeffEngel
Admiral

Posts: 2074
Joined: Mon Aug 11, 2014 5:06 pm

It connects Silk Town with the Somyr River, which empties out into Lake Somyr. The far side of Lake Somyr is near Thesmar. Lake Somyr is separated from Thesmar Bay and saltwater by Swamp Neck - which I guess is a low, soggy isthmus.

I'm wondering what the point of this canal is. Silk Town and Thesmar can communicate by sea. The trip is somewhat roundabout, especially if you want to avoid the trickier passages near shore in the Gulf of Mathyas, and you'd be going through two narrow channels (but plenty deep enough for ICN ships) at either end of Sandfish Bay.

My best guess is that it's mostly for local traffic, providing Silkiah's interior a useful water highway - particularly one that can empty out into Silkiahan Silk Town instead of Siddarmarkan Lake Somyr. But given the sparsity of population in Silkiah back when, and the political element of the second consideration, it'd mean the canal was built far ahead of need, or that it was recently built. I could swallow that one: Silkiah probably needed all it could get to attach the hinterland to Silk Town, and if it wasn't allowed to spend on a military, and had no small amount of trade income through Silk Town, building such a canal could be more affordable than for a lot of other realms. (Poor envious Sodar.)

It may also be for the use of much cheaper, more easily crewed vessels. Barges are cheap and simple. The waters just east of Silk Town will take a serious ocean-going vessel and good charts - they do not look friendly to small coasters - and the ships good for the Gulf of Mathyas may be less than ideal for Sandfish Bay and Thesmar Bay.

A last consideration could be military. Silkiah and Siddarmark have and have had no navies to speak of. Desnair hasn't had much, but more than nothing, and really ambitious raiders from Trellheim could operate in the Gulf of Mathyas. For that matter, if either state worried about Charis or other Out Islands (which really ought to include Tarot too), canals inland would be a useful alternative.

Still, none of those look compelling in the face of the capital costs of canal building - not unless one of those reasons is stronger or more relevant than I know of. Anyone got ideas?

(And yes, this is tremendously nit-picky. Blame it on snippet-withdrawal.)
Top
Re: Silk Town-Thesmar Canal
Post by Easternmystic   » Sat Aug 15, 2015 9:29 am

Easternmystic
Lieutenant (Senior Grade)

Posts: 73
Joined: Sat Jul 17, 2010 3:39 am

First of all, The sea route is roughly four times as long as the canal route. the sea route also has to skirt some extensive shoals which makes inclement weather during transit more likely to result in lost shipments.

Second, The largest cost item in shipping is the number of times a shipment has to be transshipped, i.e. moved from one vessel to a different vessel. It is possible that some items can be shipped with less transshipment via the canal route.

Third, The canal route is actually a more effective route into southern Siddarmark and northern Dohlar than either sea route. It also avoids the custom duties that Dohlar was levying on ships sailing through what they considered their territorial waters.

Fourth, there may be valuable resources in the interior, such as lumber, ores and rare botanical or medicinal items.

Fifth, an important point in international law is usage of a territory. I see no reason why the same principal would not be considered important on Safehold. Basically if a territory is claimed but not used by a nation or effectively policed, a different nation may come in and claim it as an abandoned territory. Generally speaking that claim will be taken seriously by other nations. The canal is something that Silkiah can point to show that the territory is being used and that it gives them the ability to enforce their national law in the interior.


JeffEngel wrote:It connects Silk Town with the Somyr River, which empties out into Lake Somyr. The far side of Lake Somyr is near Thesmar. Lake Somyr is separated from Thesmar Bay and saltwater by Swamp Neck - which I guess is a low, soggy isthmus.

I'm wondering what the point of this canal is. Silk Town and Thesmar can communicate by sea. The trip is somewhat roundabout, especially if you want to avoid the trickier passages near shore in the Gulf of Mathyas, and you'd be going through two narrow channels (but plenty deep enough for ICN ships) at either end of Sandfish Bay.

My best guess is that it's mostly for local traffic, providing Silkiah's interior a useful water highway - particularly one that can empty out into Silkiahan Silk Town instead of Siddarmarkan Lake Somyr. But given the sparsity of population in Silkiah back when, and the political element of the second consideration, it'd mean the canal was built far ahead of need, or that it was recently built. I could swallow that one: Silkiah probably needed all it could get to attach the hinterland to Silk Town, and if it wasn't allowed to spend on a military, and had no small amount of trade income through Silk Town, building such a canal could be more affordable than for a lot of other realms. (Poor envious Sodar.)

It may also be for the use of much cheaper, more easily crewed vessels. Barges are cheap and simple. The waters just east of Silk Town will take a serious ocean-going vessel and good charts - they do not look friendly to small coasters - and the ships good for the Gulf of Mathyas may be less than ideal for Sandfish Bay and Thesmar Bay.

A last consideration could be military. Silkiah and Siddarmark have and have had no navies to speak of. Desnair hasn't had much, but more than nothing, and really ambitious raiders from Trellheim could operate in the Gulf of Mathyas. For that matter, if either state worried about Charis or other Out Islands (which really ought to include Tarot too), canals inland would be a useful alternative.

Still, none of those look compelling in the face of the capital costs of canal building - not unless one of those reasons is stronger or more relevant than I know of. Anyone got ideas?

(And yes, this is tremendously nit-picky. Blame it on snippet-withdrawal.)
Top
Re: Silk Town-Thesmar Canal
Post by McGuiness   » Sat Aug 15, 2015 10:58 am

McGuiness
Rear Admiral

Posts: 1203
Joined: Sun Feb 07, 2010 5:35 pm
Location: Rocky Mountains, USA

One obvious observation that hasn't been made about the canal yet it that it was most likely built by Shan-Wei.

Look at the facts: It's located in East Haven, where most of the canals were laid out and built by the Archangels, and the Salthar canal, which intersects it, most certainly was.

Also, RFC needed it to exist for the logistics of LaMA, which is the reason for its existence. QED, end of debate, there's your answer. I suspect that RFC would admit that yeah, it's there because he needed it to be, since the ICN has total control of the seas - although he'll have pages and pages of historical data showing how it was created and its primary uses. ;)

The Salthar and the Silk Town - Thesmar canal are linked, which we know because the ICN blocked that link in LaMA, forcing the AoS to have to unload all the barges, carry all the supplies sixty miles by wagon, then reload them onto barges to reach Thesmar. The mere act of blocking the connection between the two was a major reason Hankey ran out of food - barges piled up to be unloaded west of Silk Town, then had to wait for available wagon transport, and finally their contents were unloaded, hauled by wagon on a road of possibly questionable quality, since it isn't shown on the map, but the link where the two canals intersect isn't shown either, and we know that exists.

Hopefully the new maps will show a bit more detail here, and it's quite possible that both canals simply empty into Silkiah bay, so the barges that pass between them are simply dragged between the two using some sort of sail-powered or even oared tugboat. (Which would explain why it was so easy for the ICN to block traffic between the two canals.) Silkiah is going to wet itself with excitement when Charis offers to provide steam-powered tug boas as part of the treaty I expect it to sign with Silkiah giving it full access (and possible control) of the Salthar canal.

As for the traffic on the Silk Town - Thesmar Canal, I suppose there was quite a bit of food shipped from the South March Lands, and a bit more sophisticated cargoes going north - farm equipment, etc. I doubt it was a heavily used canal - certainly not in the league of the Salthar or the Great Langhorne, but RFC needed it to exist for Desnair to invade Siddarmark, so it certainly came in handy for that - unless your quartermasters happen to be Desnairan! :lol:

"Oh bother", said Pooh as he glanced through the airlock window at the helmet he'd forgotten to wear.
Top
Re: Silk Town-Thesmar Canal
Post by PeterZ   » Sat Aug 15, 2015 11:12 am

PeterZ
Fleet Admiral

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

Simple. The canal was needed to facilitate a Desnarii invasion route into Siddermark. Desnar has been trying to make an invasion stuck for centuries. I wouldn't be surprised if the Treaty of Silktown wasn't written to prevent Siddernark from gaining control over a newly completed canal after another failed Desnarii invasion attempt.
Top
Re: Silk Town-Thesmar Canal
Post by McGuiness   » Sat Aug 15, 2015 11:30 am

McGuiness
Rear Admiral

Posts: 1203
Joined: Sun Feb 07, 2010 5:35 pm
Location: Rocky Mountains, USA

PeterZ wrote:Simple. The canal was needed to facilitate a Desnarii invasion route into Siddermark. Desnar has been trying to make an invasion stuck for centuries. I wouldn't be surprised if the Treaty of Silktown wasn't written to prevent Siddernark from gaining control over a newly completed canal after another failed Desnarii invasion attempt.
Well, sure, if you want to omit the pages and pages of background data that RFC probably has on the subject. ;)

Of course the outpost at Thesmar would probably have been much larger if Siddarmark thought that a Desnairan invasion was imminent, and designed to hold a lot more troops. Plus there's the niggling little fact that sea transportation is about 4x faster, but nobody could have predicted that the EoC would have complete control of the oceans when Desnair decided to invade. Throw out that annoying fact, and there actually isn't much of a reason for the canal to exist at all.

I highly doubt that Silkiah built it. The treaty that created Silkiah was designed to prevent Desnair and Siddarmark from going to war again, so unless Desnair built it before Silkiah was created, which Siddarmark would not have permitted, it's been there since the Day of Creation.

"Oh bother", said Pooh as he glanced through the airlock window at the helmet he'd forgotten to wear.
Top
Re: Silk Town-Thesmar Canal
Post by PeterZ   » Sat Aug 15, 2015 12:15 pm

PeterZ
Fleet Admiral

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

Desnar built the canal. Silkiah was created to prevent Siddermark from kicking the snotty out of Desnar. The Treaty specifically created a Grand Duchy and not anything resembling a Republic.

That my guess anyway.
McGuiness wrote:
PeterZ wrote:Simple. The canal was needed to facilitate a Desnarii invasion route into Siddermark. Desnar has been trying to make an invasion stuck for centuries. I wouldn't be surprised if the Treaty of Silktown wasn't written to prevent Siddernark from gaining control over a newly completed canal after another failed Desnarii invasion attempt.
Well, sure, if you want to omit the pages and pages of background data that RFC probably has on the subject. ;)

Of course the outpost at Thesmar would probably have been much larger if Siddarmark thought that a Desnairan invasion was imminent, and designed to hold a lot more troops. Plus there's the niggling little fact that sea transportation is about 4x faster, but nobody could have predicted that the EoC would have complete control of the oceans when Desnair decided to invade. Throw out that annoying fact, and there actually isn't much of a reason for the canal to exist at all.

I highly doubt that Silkiah built it. The treaty that created Silkiah was designed to prevent Desnair and Siddarmark from going to war again, so unless Desnair built it before Silkiah was created, which Siddarmark would not have permitted, it's been there since the Day of Creation.
Top
Re: Silk Town-Thesmar Canal
Post by McGuiness   » Sat Aug 15, 2015 5:50 pm

McGuiness
Rear Admiral

Posts: 1203
Joined: Sun Feb 07, 2010 5:35 pm
Location: Rocky Mountains, USA

PeterZ wrote:Desnar built the canal. Silkiah was created to prevent Siddermark from kicking the snotty out of Desnar. The Treaty specifically created a Grand Duchy and not anything resembling a Republic.

That my guess anyway.
I have no problem with your guess - either Desnair built it, Silkiah built it, or Shan-Wei built it. (Although to be truthful, RFC actually built it because he needed it, but we can be sure he has some historical reason for its existence.) After all, despite being surrounded by water, Desnair never became a maritime power or developed much of a merchant marine. (Good enough excuse?) ;)

The only way that Desnair could possibly have built the canal is if they did it before Siddarmark captured Thesmar and threatened the territory that became the Duchy of Silkiah. Since we don't know exactly how far those really ticked off Siddarmarkans invaded what was then northern Desnair after Thesmar fell, your theory works if the canal already existed, and it would have been built by either Desnair or Shan-wei. If Desnair built it, (depending on when) they either thought it would help them fight off Siddarmark before South March fell, (oops!) or at the time, they may not have been at war with Siddarmark, and they used it to move supplies into northern Desnair, which is now Silkiah. At the time they'd also have used it to ship supplies to Thesmar, which is now in the of the South March Lands and belongs to Siddarmark, which was just proven once more in a most satisfying fashion, thanks to a bunch of Charisian sailors and Harless' stupidity. So the scenario that Desnair built it a long time ago makes sense.

Once Siddarmark began to capture South March, they would never have allowed Desnair to finish the canal. A couple of pike formations could easily have slaughtered the slaves used to dig a modern canal, and since Siddarmark was already kicking Desnair's butt at the time, which threatened an actual invasion of Desnair's current borders in Howard and an inter-continental war, the CoGA stepped in and created the Duchy of Silkiah as a buffer zone. I'm sure that some vicar was protecting his ability to skim off a percentage of all the lovely transit fees from the Salthar canal as well!

Based on that desperate move, which must have really ticked off Desnair, who lost all those lovely transit fees from the Salthar canal, we can infer that Siddarmark was about to conquer Silkiah en route to seizing North Watch. That would have completely cut off the land route from Haven to Howard as well as putting control of the Salthar canal into the hands of a Republic, which given the CoGA's distrust of Siddarmark could not be allowed to happen. :?

Siddarmark was probably just as ticked off, because they'd been about to capture the Salthar canal, with all those lovely transit fees plus the international control that adding 20,000 miles to the trip to/from the Gulf of Dohlar to the west and the Sea of Justice to the east would have given them.

Let's not forget the semaphore of course, which the CoGA was probably quite paranoid about falling into Siddarmarkan hands, even though Siddarmark was always a dutiful son to Mother Church. Unfortunately Siddarmark being a Republic always made the vicarate suspicious. That was pretty stupid because it's more of a rotating aristocracy, since a set of wealthy families basically take turns as the Grand Poobah of Siddarmark after each election, and it seems that Stohnar has just as much authority as Cayleb does - who is an absolute monarch, although he has a legislature to which he doesn't seem to pay much attention. Theoretically Stohnar has an even more powerful legislature to whom he is subject, but perhaps the war has silenced the opposition.

If the canal already existed when Siddarmark came knocking at Thesmar, then we have two possibilities. Either Desnair built it to facilitate moving military goods into the South March before Siddarmark kicked their sorry butts out of it, or else Shan-wei built the canal as part of the international set of waterways she built across Haven. (Sorry Sodar!) :lol:

Desnair got a couple of long canals from her as well. In fact, the Hankey - Mahrosa canal actually provides a 2nd route to ship goods from the Gulf of Dohlar to the Sea of Justice (The Dairnyth - Alyksberg canal in South March is the third.)

The only real excuse for having a canal available to ship cargo to and from Thesmar and Silk Town is that RFC needed it because the ICN could cut off all the supplies moving by sea to supply Harless, and even with that dweeb's awful logistics, Desnair needed some way to ship thousands of tons of supplies to his army. Unfortunately, his quartermaster staff wasn't up to the task... :twisted:

"Oh bother", said Pooh as he glanced through the airlock window at the helmet he'd forgotten to wear.
Top
Re: Silk Town-Thesmar Canal
Post by McGuiness   » Sun Aug 16, 2015 4:14 am

McGuiness
Rear Admiral

Posts: 1203
Joined: Sun Feb 07, 2010 5:35 pm
Location: Rocky Mountains, USA

I'm sure RFC will have an explanation for this, but in OAR the Dohlaran navy didn't use the Salthar canal to shorten its journey by 20,000 miles because IIRC, according to RFC, the Knights of the Temple Lands couldn't pretend that they weren't acting in their capacity as vicars of Mother Church if they forced Silkiah to allow a military force through the Salthar canal, since Silkiah is an independent country.

However, the only possible reasons that the Go4 couldn't have forced Desnair to allow the Dohlaran navy to use the Hankey - Mahrosa canals to save 19,000 miles or so of sailing time is that Dohlar and Desnair hate each other's guts, and since Shan-Wei built those canals, a modern galley might not have fit into its locks. (Note how cleverly I gave RFC two explanations as to why Dohlar had to go the long way around?) ;)

However, since Shan-Wei clearly built the Salthar canal, and RFC has admitted that the Dohlaran galleys could have fit through its locks, they would also have been able to pass through the Desnairan canals. So it came down to politics, which was the same reason RFC cited for Dohlar not using the Salthar canal.

In researching this, I realized for the first time that Desnair was not included in the attack on Charis in OAR. It should have had a sizable navy based on the fact that it was well-off due to its gold mines, plus it has thousands of miles of shoreline to patrol to control smugglers, etc. So why didn't Desnair have a fleet that the Knights of the Temple Lands could order to join the others? (Yes, I realize that at the end of OAR Charis has the only fleet still afloat, with the exception of Chisholm.) So Desnair must not have had a fleet at all, which is hard to believe since it's one of the most powerful mainland realms.

So why no Desnairan fleet in OAR? :?

Clearly Desnair knew how to build a navy, based on the fleet it built for the NoG at Iythria, which was initially composed of galleys due to Magwair's stupidity. Desnair is the only country that was giving the ICN trouble in protecting its merchant convoys in LaMA, due to the schooners it was building in the Gulf of Jahras until Merlin's "spies" reported the location of the ports where the schooners were being built, which enabled the the ICN to locate and destroy those ports along with the schooners they were constructing and the supplies required to do so.

Admiral Shain, who commanded the ICN fleet in the Gulf of Jahras outlined a plan to blockade the Bay of Mahrosa. He also proposed to capture the city of Handryl that doesn't exist on the map, but is probably in the northwest of the Gulf of Jahras.

If his plan was successful and he captured Handryl, it would have cut off the land route to Siddarmark completely, and the ICN also cut it in six places in North Watch. He'd also have cut the semaphore to Howard, so I don't believe that his fleet actually captured Handryl, although they did block the Bay of Mahrosa and destroyed the locks to the Mahrosa canal, which forced all the Desnairan supplies being shipped to the AoS to be carried by wagon from west of Mahrosa to the Salthar Canal in Silkiah on a "high road" that was mostly wishes rather than reality. (I begin to understand why Harless' forces were starving!) :lol:

"Oh bother", said Pooh as he glanced through the airlock window at the helmet he'd forgotten to wear.
Top
Re: Silk Town-Thesmar Canal
Post by JeffEngel   » Sun Aug 16, 2015 6:07 am

JeffEngel
Admiral

Posts: 2074
Joined: Mon Aug 11, 2014 5:06 pm

McGuiness wrote:In researching this, I realized for the first time that Desnair was not included in the attack on Charis in OAR. It should have had a sizable navy based on the fact that it was well-off due to its gold mines, plus it has thousands of miles of shoreline to patrol to control smugglers, etc. So why didn't Desnair have a fleet that the Knights of the Temple Lands could order to join the others? (Yes, I realize that at the end of OAR Charis has the only fleet still afloat, with the exception of Chisholm.) So Desnair must not have had a fleet at all, which is hard to believe since it's one of the most powerful mainland realms.

So why no Desnairan fleet in OAR? :?


The no fleet at all possibility is genuine, but it's hard to swallow with that much coastline, reasonable militancy, and Desnair's later naval activity.

Other ways to account for no Desnairian naval participation in OAR could include:
1 - No good navy. Maybe the Desnairian navy tended to be galleys in poor condition, possibly laid up without active crews. That sort of navy would be worthless to try to use, especially if they wanted speed or operational security. (And they did want operational security, however much the plan made that dubious.)
2 - No ocean-going navy. That's hard for galleys, and it was arguably a mistake to try to bring Dohlar's that far. Desnair would also have had to make moves that may have been further out to sea than its ships and crews would be prepared to do, despite being (for all we know) a decently sized, available, and capable navy for traditional coastal work.
3 - No single navy. Part of what makes the no navy at all theory hard to take is that even Ferayd had galleys to guard it, but those may have been less Delferahk's than those of Ferayd or the duchy or other component of Delferahk in which Ferayd lay. Similarly, duchies, earldoms, and free cities in Desnair may have kept their own galleys in addition to or instead of a central Desnairian one in the OAR time period. That would have been a mess for the Temple to have mobilized for the attack on Charis.
4 - No large navy. Maybe the Desnairian navy was just not large enough to be worth the added complication and exposure of a plan that was suffering much too much of that already.

Similar questions and theories come up for Harchong's navy in the OAR time period, though I think we've got a bit more evidence there that Harchong's problem was all or mostly a variation on no good navy.
Top
Re: Silk Town-Thesmar Canal
Post by Isilith   » Sun Aug 16, 2015 6:27 am

Isilith
Captain (Junior Grade)

Posts: 297
Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2015 10:58 am

The two of you keep bringing up Desnairs shipbuilding capability as proof that Desnair SHOULD have had a navy. Totally ignoring the textev that states that shipbuilding capability was built up by the church AFTER the Armageddon Reef disaster, so that they could build a new NoG to fight Charis.
Top

Return to Safehold