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ATST Snippet #4

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ATST Snippet #4
Post by runsforcelery   » Sat Aug 27, 2016 11:59 am

runsforcelery
First Space Lord

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And one that is a out of sequence! :lol:

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“Yes, My Lord!” the lord of foot at his shoulder bowed and touched his chest in salute, then snapped his fingers sharply. An aide bowed in turn and lifted the signal flag which had lain ready at his feet. He raised it and swept it in a vigorous circle high overhead, sharply enough that the swallow-tailed banner popped loudly in the wind of its passage.

For a few moments, nothing happened. And then, from well behind Wind Song’s vantage point, thunder rumbled like Chihiro’s kettle drums. Forty heavy angle-guns, the product of the Church of God Awaiting’s steadily growing steel foundries, hurled their shells overhead. They came wailing down the heavens, shrieking their anger, and impacted on the fortifications in a hurricane eruption of fire, smoke, flying snow, and pulverized dirt. For five minutes that torrent of devastation crashed down, stunning the ear. Then ten. Fifteen. Twenty.

The awesome, terrifying display of sheer destruction lasted for a full thirty minutes. Then it ended, if not with quite knife-like sharpness, sharply enough, and Wind Song reached up and plucked the cotton-silk earplugs out of his ears.

“Impressive, Shygau,” he said to the lord of foot, and Shygau Zhyngbau permitted himself a somewhat broader smile, bordering perilously closely upon a grin, than Harchongese etiquette would have approved in a properly behaved noble.

Of course, Zhyngbau’s connection to the aristocracy was . . . tenuous, at best. Technically, he was some sort of distant relation of Lord Admiral of Navies Mountain Shadow, although he and the duke had never met. The relationship was sufficient, barely, to make him at least marginally tolerable as the senior artillerist of the Mighty Host of God and the Archangels. Personally, Wind Song wouldn’t have cared if the man had been a serf, given his sheer capability. Then again, Wind Song’s own horizons had been somewhat . . . broadened since his uncle had assumed command of the Mighty Host and he’d come face-to-face with the realities of the Jihad.

“From here, it looks pretty bad,” Wind Song continued, turning to the considerably shorter officer standing to his left.

Unlike Shygau, Captain of Horse Syang Rungwyn had no aristocratic connection whatsoever, and he was — sad to say — totally deficient in the graces, deportment, and exquisite rhetoric of the Harchong Empire’s great houses. He wasn’t even connected to the bureaucrats who ran that empire. In fact, his sole qualification for his position as the Mighty Host of God and the Archangels’ senior engineer was that he was even better at his job than Zhyngbau was at his.

“It does,” Rungwyn acknowledged. “May I, My Lord?”

He indicated the spyglass, and Wind Song moved aside to allow him to peer through it. There was still enough drifting smoke — and flailed snow — to make detailed observation difficult, but it was beginning to settle. Rungwyn’s gloved fingers adjusted the glass carefully, then swung it in minute increments as he studied the churned, cratered wilderness the artillery storm had created. His expression was impassive, and when he straightened, his eyes were merely thoughtful.

“Actually, My Lord, I believe first impressions may have been misleading.” He twitched his right hand in a brushing-away gesture. “The trencheshave caved in in many instances, and the obstacle belt’s been severely damaged, but I think we’ll find the majority of the deep bunkers fared much better than that.”

“Truly?” Wind Song arched one eyebrow, then bent over the spyglass to examine the battered fortifications. It was possible, he conceded, that Rungwyn had a point.

And perhaps you should have looked first yourself before you began spouting opinions, Medyng. How often has Uncle Taychau suggested that to you? It doesn’t always follow that something which looks irresistible truly is.

“I believe you may have a point, Lord of Foot,” he said as he straightened his back. “I propose we go and take a closer look.”

“But not too precipitously, My Lord,” Zhyngbau put in. Wind Song looked at him, and the captain of horse shrugged. “I regret to point out that our fuses are still less reliable than the heretics’, and I would truly prefer not to be blown up by — or, even more, not to blow you up with — an unexploded shell’s delayed detonation. I suspect Earl Rainbow Waters would be mildly perturbed with me for allowing anything like that. May I suggest you wait another twenty minutes, perhaps . . . and that my gunners and I precede you?”

“Since I have no greater desire to be blown up than you have to see that sad fate overtake me, suppose we make it a full hour, instead? Or, for that matter, two. I see it’s almost time for luncheon, anyway. I invite both of you to share the meal with me.” The baron smiled with an edge of genuine warmth. “It will give your gunners an opportunity to check for those unexploded shells . . . without you, since I fear my uncle would be only marginally less delighted to lose you than to lose me. It will also give us an opportunity to share our pre-inspection impressions and perhaps hit upon some additional thoughts for the test of the new bombardment rockets when they arrive.”

* * * * * * * * * *

Well, that’s . . . irritating, Kynt Clareyk, Baron Green Valley and the commanding officer of the Army of Midhold, thought as he crossed to the his office stove. In fact, that’s intensely irritating.

At the moment, his army — which was due to be rechristened the Army of Tarikah next month — lay encamped along the Lakeside-Gray Hill High Road. “Encamped” was probably the wrong word, given its implication of impermanence, when applied to the solidly built barracks the always-efficient Imperial Charisian Army Corps of Engineers, was busily constructing. Those engineers had been encouraged to even greater efficiency in this case by the current weather, and by the time they were done, Camp Mahrtyn Taisyn would sprawl over several square miles of New Northland Province and provide snug, weather-tight housing for upwards of eighty thousand men. That was still very much a work in progress at the moment, but some buildings — like the one housing the commanding general — had been assigned a greater priority than others, and Green Valley listened to the icy midnight wind whining around the eaves as he used a pair of tongs to settle two new lumps of Glacierheart coal into the stove. He pushed the door shut with the tongs, then returned to his desk and tipped back in his chair to consider the implications of the latest SNARC report.

It shouldn’t really be that much of a surprise, he told himself. You already knew Rainbow Waters had a brain he wasn’t afraid to use, and then you went and gave him plenty of time to do the using. What did you think would happen?

That wasn’t entirely fair, and he knew it, but he wasn’t in the mood for “fair.”

There was no doubt in his mind that the delay imposed by liberation of the Inquisition’s concentration camps had been both a moral and a strategic imperative. Charis and her allies had to save as many of the Inquisition’s victims as possible. Their own souls, their own ability to look into the mirror, demanded it. And even if that hadn’t been the case, they had to demonstrate to friend and foe alike that they cared what happened to Zhaspahr Clyntahn’s victims. So, yes, the Army of Midhold had had no alternative but to stop short of the Hildermoss River while its logistic capability was diverted to rescuing and then caring for, feeding, and transporting thousands upon thousands of sick, half-starved, brutalized prisoners to safety. In the end, they’d rescued considerably more than the three hundred thousand he’d estimated they might get out . . . despite losing every single inmate from three of those camps.

The inmates of Camp Raichel had been successfully marched deeper into captivity by the Inqusition and their AOG guards. Twenty percent of them had died along the way, but the deathtoll would have been far higher is Dialydd Mab hadn’t . . . arranged a change of command for the guard force. The inmates of Camp Urtha and Camp Zhakleen, unfortunately, had not been marched to the rear. They’d simply been massacred . . . all hundred and twenty thousand of them. In Camp Zhakleen’s case, they’d been joined by over a third of the camp’s AOG guard force, who’d mutineed against Zhaspahr Clyntahn’s orders and attempted to protect the prisoners, and Kynt Clareyk prayed regularly for the souls of the men who’d made that choice. Just as he’d seen to it that the guards of Camp Hainree, who’d mutineed successfully and marched eighty-seven thousand Siddarmarkian civilians to safety, had been treated as honorably and humanely as humanly possible when they reached the Allies’ lines barely five hours ahead of the pursing AOG cavalry.

That kind of humanity — and courage — was far too precious to waste.

But whereas he’d estimated they might recover as many as three hundred thousand, they’d actually saved well over half a million, and that had held them up even longer than he’d feared. In fact, it had cost the entire remaining campaign season in North Haven.

Actually, I suppose we could have resumed the advance after we cleared our supply lines . . . if we’d wanted to end up like Hitler’s army in 1941. There are a lot better Old Earth generals to emulate, though. Carl Gustav Mannerheim comes to mind, for example.

He grimaced at the thought, which was especially apropos, in a less than amusing fashion, given what Owl had just projected across his contact lenses. Green Valley’s troops would probably have fared better than the Wehrmacht had fared in Russia, given the ICA’s specialized winter equipment and training. But they might not have, too, in which case the end result would have been to leave the Charis-Siddarmark alliance at the end of tattered, overextended supply lines, fighting to haul desperately needed food and fuel forward through the wasteland the retreating Army of God had left in its wake.

The consequences of that could have been . . . unfortunate, and the Alliance had experienced entirely too many of those sorts of consequences when the Sword of Schueler spread blood and destruction across more than a third of the Republic. In the opinion of its leaders — and of Kynt Clareyk — it was time to visit some of that blood and destruction on someone else for a change, and even with the early halt the camps’ liberation had imposed, they’d made a decent down payment over the preceding northern summer’s short campaign season. Far better to get their troops into winter quarters before the full savagery of the long (and bitterly harsh) northern winter caught up with them.

The eight-plus inches of snow currently burying the ground outside his office lent that logic a certain point, especially to the tender sensibilities of a native Old Charisian, and more of it was swirling down on the teeth of that cold, wailing wind. According to Owl’s meteorological projections, the eight inches which would have accumulated by sunset would be closer to ten by morning. Until his first winter in Chisholm, Green Valley had never even seen snow, except for an occasional, innocuous white mountaintop admired from far, far away. Chisholm had been a sobering experience . . . and not a patch on a northern East Haven winter! It amused him that a Charisian boy had become the most successful practitioner of winter warfare in Safeholdian history, but he was never going to be fond of winter sports.

Stop distracting yourself, he thought sternly. You know this is going to make things a lot tougher when it’s finally time to start advancing again. So what kind of brilliant brainstorm are you going to come up with this time?

Unfortunately, nothing suggested itself to him.

Lord of Horse Taychau Daiyang, the Earl of Rainbow Waters, commanded well over a million men. Last summer, before the halt imposed by the camps’ liberation, only about eight hundred thousand of them had been at the front, and a third or more of those had been deployed as far south as the Tymkyn Gap in the Snake Mountains, over seventeen hundred air-miles south of Rainbow Waters HQ at Lake City on West Wing Lake. But by spring, the Mighty Host of God and the Archangels would have been reinforced to close to two million men. The Army of God would have several hundred thousand new troops in the field, as well, and Allayn Maigwair was already reinforcing the Army of Tanshar, which had moved up to take over the extreme southern end of Rainbow Waters’ enormous front. That relieved Earl Silken Hills, the Southern Mighty Host’s commander of his responsibilities in that area, and that allowed Rainbow Waters to pull his right flank in closer, building an even deeper and better defended defensive zone between the Allies and the Holy Langhorne Cabal, the lynchpin of the Church’s northern logistics . By the time the weather permitted the Allies to resume offensive operations, they might well be facing as many as three million well-dug in troops along a front that extended all the way from Hsing-wu’s Passage to Hankey Sound. Worse, many of those troops would be equipped with far better weapons than the armies the Allies had shattered over the previous summer. And there’d be even more — far more — of those weapons than the Allies had previously estimated, as well.

I’d really love to be able to blame Ehdwyrd for that, but the real culprits are Duchairn and Brother Lynkyn. Well, I suppose we shouldn’t forget Master Bryairs or Brother Sylvestrai, either. And Duchairn and Maigwair’s willingness to pull skilled artisans out of the AOG’s manpower pool came as a bit of a surprise, too. But still . . . .

He grimaced and shook his head. In retrospect, he should have seen it coming, he thought, reflecting on certain research he’d done in Owl’s databanks once the discrepancy between estimates and actuality became evident. Oh, perhaps he might be excused for doubting Duchairn could find a way to pay for all those rifles and artillery pieces, but given the frenetic rate at which the Church had expanded the number of its foundries and manufactories ever since the battle of Darcos Sound, the output he was achieving actually made sense.

During the American Civil War back on Old Terra, the Union’s population had been roughly 18,500,000. In the course of the four terrestrial years — almost four and a half Safeholdian years — that war had lasted, the Union had put almost 2,700,000 men into its army and another 85,000 into its navy. It had also equipped all of those men with uniforms, saddles, food, rifles, cavalry sabers, cutlasses, pistols, knapsacks, canteens, and ammunition out of its industrial base. That industry had, admittedly, had the advantage of railroads and steam power — for some of its manufactories and ironworks, at least — but Safehold’s dragons and canals actually gave it better freight-hauling capacity than the Union had boasted, and water had remained the primary source of power for the United States until the 1870s. The need to expand the Union’s industrial capacity during the Civil War had given a significant impetus to the changeover to steam, but the widespread availability of fast-moving streams and the abundance of waterfalls in the Northeast had made water far cheaper. In many other respects, however, that industrial base had been inferior to pre-Merlin Safeholdian manufactories . . . and the Union had still produced over eighteen hundred bronze and cast-iron field guns — and another thousand three-inch Ordnance Rifles out of far more expensive, far more manpower-intensive wrought iron — while simultaneously producing the artillery, machinery, and — ultimately — armor to expand its fleet more than fifteen fold.

The Church had just a few more hands — and a few more foundries — to put to work than the Union had ever boasted. In fact, in just the Border States, the Temple Lands, and the Harchong Empire, the Temple still controlled over 267,000,000 human beings, more than fourteen times the Union’s wartime population. Worse, Safeholdian agriculture — outside North Harchong, at least — was more efficient than mid-nineteenth century North America’s had been. That meant more of that manpower could be taken from the farm and put into uniform — or reallocated to those newly built foundries — by a “central government” with the sort of ruthless reach and compulsory authority Abraham Lincoln and Edwin Stanton could have imagined only in an opium dream. And the massive increase in the Church’s steel output over the last year or so hadn’t done anything to reduce its productivity.

At the moment, those foundries were producing almost seven hundred pieces of artillery — split between field guns, all of them rifled now, and angle-guns — every single month. And while they were doing that, they and the manufactories they served were also simultaneously producing Brother Lynkyn’s infernal rocket launchers in indecent numbers. Not to mention around eighty of the new, heavy coast defense guns each month.

The Army of Glacierheart and the Army of the Seridahn had lost their entire artillery parks in the previous year’s fighting, but the Mighty Host of God and the Archangels’ artillery hadn’t even been touched yet, and the majority of its existing smoothbore field guns had been sent back to foundries in the Border States to be banded with wrought iron and rifled. Those were almost all back at the front already, and the last of them would have returned to Lord of Foot Zhyngbau long before spring. They were inferior to the cast steel guns emerging from the new and upgraded Church foundries. For that matter, they were inferior to the Fultyn Rifles already in service, but there were a lot of them, and Zhyngbau and Rainbow Waters had given careful thought to how they could be best used when they were withdrawn from frontline service in favor of the newer weapons.

The one bright spot on that front was that Allayn Maigwair seemed to have dropped a stitch — unusually, for him — in the relatively low priority he’d assigned to putting the new Church-designed mortars into production. That was a mixed blessing, since most of the capacity which might have gone into them had been diverted into the rocket program, instead, but at least it meant the Mighty Host and the newly raised Army of God divisions would have far fewer of them, proportionately, than Charis or Siddarmark. That would hurt them badly once the fighting turned mobile again, since even the best field gun was less portable than a mortar. On the other hand, perhaps it hadn’t been as much of an oversight as Green Valley might like to think, since Rainbow Waters had also spent so much of the time he’d been given rethinking his entire strategy. He’d gone right on stockpiling supplies at Lake City — and, even more so in some ways, in strategically dispersed depots at other points behind his front line — but he’d clearly decided not to take the offensive during the coming summer after all. He’d been careful to avoid explaining his new thinking to Zhaspahr Clyntahn, but even a cursory look at his fortifications and deployment indicated that he intended to fight from fortified positions and allow the Allies to pay the attacker’s price whenever possible. In that sort of fighting, rocket launchers — especially massed rocket launchers — would probably be much more valuable to the defenders than mortars might have been.


"Oh, bother!" said Pooh, as Piglet came back from the dead.
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Re: ATST Snippet #4
Post by Braudel26   » Sat Aug 27, 2016 12:22 pm

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runsforcelery wrote:And one that is a out of sequence! :lol:

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Well out of out of sequence, no ?

So many snippets in a week, I think we've never seen
So good
Thanks
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Re: ATST Snippet #4
Post by NervousEnergy   » Sat Aug 27, 2016 12:26 pm

NervousEnergy
Captain (Junior Grade)

Posts: 275
Joined: Thu Apr 01, 2010 2:50 pm

Thanks for yet another snippet so soon! I'm hoping this accelerated pace of fat, juicy snippets means Tor is hopeful about keeping that November 8th release date.

It looks like the allies are going to need more range and heavier, bunker-busing shells. That's the one drawback to the Harchongese strategy of making the Charisians come to them... the pace of innovation in the Church is making things painful, but it's still nowhere near the pace of the Empire, and nitrocellulose based HE is going to make those fortifications a deathtrap if they can get that kind of ordinance on target.
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Re: ATST Snippet #4
Post by Dilandu   » Sat Aug 27, 2016 12:36 pm

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That industry had, admittedly, had the advantage of railroads and steam power — for some of its manufactories and ironworks, at least


This industry have another advantage: it have the access to the external markets, including the most powerfull industrial nations of this time. Everything that Union industry may need and not be able to produce in given time, they could just buy.
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- 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)
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Re: ATST Snippet #4
Post by runsforcelery   » Sat Aug 27, 2016 12:38 pm

runsforcelery
First Space Lord

Posts: 2215
Joined: Sun Aug 09, 2009 11:39 am
Location: South Carolina

Type alert! Typo alert! That was supposed to be "And one that isn't out of sequence!"

I was so busy checking the snippet for formatting that I didn't proof that one sentence intro.


quote="Braudel26"]
runsforcelery wrote:And one that is a out of sequence! :lol:

__________________________________________________
.

Well out of out of sequence, no ?

So many snippets in a week, I think we've never seen
So good
Thanks[/quote]


"Oh, bother!" said Pooh, as Piglet came back from the dead.
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Re: ATST Snippet #4
Post by runsforcelery   » Sat Aug 27, 2016 12:46 pm

runsforcelery
First Space Lord

Posts: 2215
Joined: Sun Aug 09, 2009 11:39 am
Location: South Carolina

Dilandu wrote:
That industry had, admittedly, had the advantage of railroads and steam power — for some of its manufactories and ironworks, at least


This industry have another advantage: it have the access to the external markets, including the most powerfull industrial nations of this time. Everything that Union industry may need and not be able to produce in given time, they could just buy.



True, but after 1862 they bought very little in the way of weapons — whether small arms or heavy weapons — unlike the South, which bought everything it could from overseas. For that matter, the North's textile industry was able to provide uniforms, blankets, and tentage for its armies while the Confederacy was hard-pressed to manage even that.

In the first six months to a year of the war, the Union was buying weapons from Europe wherever it could, and European armies were cheerfully unloading hordes of obsolescent weapons on them. Even then, however, the Union wasn't buying artillery overseas, and quite a bit of the small arms they were buying were being bought to prevent the Confederacy from acquiring them. (Which only added to the glee of the Europeans, who could actually get Federal and Confederate purchasing agents to engage in bidding wars for small arms which were due to be scrapped as soon as they could be replaced anyway.)

Throughout the war, there were a few non-US-built small arms coming into the North, but never in any significant quantities, in no small part because the Union recognized the advantages of standardization. The South, with its more limited industrial base, was never able to reach the same level of standardization, which was a nightmare for its quartermaster's corps throughout.

Green Valley's analysis of the Union's capacity to meet its military needs out of its population base and industry is sound. The extent to which the supplies from outside North America impacted the North's ability to prosecute the war was negligible.


"Oh, bother!" said Pooh, as Piglet came back from the dead.
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Re: ATST Snippet #4
Post by ksandgren   » Sat Aug 27, 2016 1:23 pm

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Thanks, rfc. It is a real delight to see so many snippets. I love Clareks take on things.
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Re: ATST Snippet #4
Post by bigrunt   » Sat Aug 27, 2016 1:53 pm

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Aren't blackpowder rockets more susceptible to counter battery fire that morter rounds? Especially if they are firing them like an MRLS system, preparing hundreds of rockets to be fired in mass. A few well timed hits from large angle guns (containing pyrotechnic charges) could make the mass rocket attack too expensive.
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Re: ATST Snippet #4
Post by Dilandu   » Sat Aug 27, 2016 2:11 pm

Dilandu
Rear Admiral

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Joined: Sat May 07, 2011 1:44 pm
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runsforcelery wrote:

True, but after 1862 they bought very little in the way of weapons — whether small arms or heavy weapons — unlike the South, which bought everything it could from overseas. For that matter, the North's textile industry was able to provide uniforms, blankets, and tentage for its armies while the Confederacy was hard-pressed to manage even that.


Hm, if i'm not mistaken, the Union imported during the war quite large quantites of raw materials for industry (like chemicals, medicine & dyes), also machine tools and components. But I'm not completely sure here about the total size of wartime import.
------------------------------

- 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)
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Re: ATST Snippet #4
Post by WeberFan   » Sat Aug 27, 2016 2:14 pm

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Posts: 294
Joined: Fri Mar 27, 2015 10:12 am

BIG, HUGE, Massive snip...

Emphasis (bold and italic) in RFC's post is mine.

runsforcelery wrote:The one bright spot on that front was that Allayn Maigwair seemed to have dropped a stitch — unusually, for him — in the relatively low priority he’d assigned to putting the new Church-designed mortars into production. That was a mixed blessing, since most of the capacity which might have gone into them had been diverted into the rocket program, instead, but at least it meant the Mighty Host and the newly raised Army of God divisions would have far fewer of them, proportionately, than Charis or Siddarmark. That would hurt them badly once the fighting turned mobile again, since even the best field gun was less portable than a mortar. On the other hand, perhaps it hadn’t been as much of an oversight as Green Valley might like to think, since Rainbow Waters had also spent so much of the time he’d been given rethinking his entire strategy. He’d gone right on stockpiling supplies at Lake City — and, even more so in some ways, in strategically dispersed depots at other points behind his front line — but he’d clearly decided not to take the offensive during the coming summer after all. He’d been careful to avoid explaining his new thinking to Zhaspahr Clyntahn, but even a cursory look at his fortifications and deployment indicated that he intended to fight from fortified positions and allow the Allies to pay the attacker’s price whenever possible. In that sort of fighting, rocket launchers — especially massed rocket launchers — would probably be much more valuable to the defenders than mortars might have been.


And as the Germans and French proved at the outset of the Second World War, there are always around fixed fortifications. We've seen Charis pin fortifications and shell them into submission. We've seen Green Valley's previously employed strategy of pinning a strongly-fortified position and moving on to other objectives (although the facility was later captured by the "explosives in the tunnel" trick). We've seen the Church forces assault them time and time again - trusting in sheer numbers to overwhelm the defenses. I just can't see the ICA or the Siddarmarkians engaging in a frontal assault. The phrase "Hit em where they ain't" comes to mind. Even with a 3-million-man field force, you can't be everywhere at the same time in strength. I foresee a period of stagnation on the front, with a new ICA field force pulling an Inchon-like assault... Just like Caleb's work to bypass the Corisandan plug in the Dark Hills Mountains pass between Dairos and Manchyr.
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