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Weaponizing Balloons

This fascinating series is a combination of historical seafaring, swashbuckling adventure, and high technological science-fiction. Join us in a discussion!
Re: Weaponizing Balloons
Post by n7axw   » Mon Mar 19, 2018 10:00 am

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In the 1632 series, bombing by balloon is very low tech. Simply fly over your target, drop jars filled with napalm or explosives, light the fuses, and heave the jars over the side. Not precisely precision bombing, but it does give the enemy something to worry about.

Some of the balloons are even powered by steam engines. :mrgreen:

Don

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When any group seeks political power in God's name, both religion and politics are instantly corrupted.
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Re: Weaponizing Balloons
Post by Silverwall   » Mon Mar 19, 2018 2:14 pm

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n7axw wrote:In the 1632 series, bombing by balloon is very low tech. Simply fly over your target, drop jars filled with napalm or explosives, light the fuses, and heave the jars over the side. Not precisely precision bombing, but it does give the enemy something to worry about.

Some of the balloons are even powered by steam engines. :mrgreen:

Don

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That must be fairly late on in the series as I havn't read it. Also to be blunt the later books are fairly soft on the science side so I am not sure I would take anything they do too seriously when comparing to safehold.
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Re: Weaponizing Balloons
Post by n7axw   » Mon Mar 19, 2018 11:06 pm

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Silverwall wrote:
n7axw wrote:In the 1632 series, bombing by balloon is very low tech. Simply fly over your target, drop jars filled with napalm or explosives, light the fuses, and heave the jars over the side. Not precisely precision bombing, but it does give the enemy something to worry about.

Some of the balloons are even powered by steam engines. :mrgreen:

Don

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That must be fairly late on in the series as I havn't read it. Also to be blunt the later books are fairly soft on the science side so I am not sure I would take anything they do too seriously when comparing to safehold.


"Four Bays on the Danube" in Ring of Fire III. "The Ottoman Onslaught", "The Volga Rules" although there is no mention of bombing in the latter.

No, compared to Safehold, there really isn't a lot of science. Mostly what they are doing is imitating what Grantville brought from the future or cribbing from uptime encyclopedias, etc. No Edmund Howsmyn or Baron Seamount there.

But most of what is there for science is not fantastic or incredible either. Nothing incredible about balloons, either Hydrogen or hot air. And certainly nothing incredible about throwing hand fashioned bombs over the side of the gondola. It is sort of on the level of bath tub chemistry if we can extend that analogy across the board to the other areas of scientific endeavor.

Fun stories to boot.

Don

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When any group seeks political power in God's name, both religion and politics are instantly corrupted.
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Re: Weaponizing Balloons
Post by Dilandu   » Tue Mar 20, 2018 2:31 am

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n7axw wrote:In the 1632 series, bombing by balloon is very low tech. Simply fly over your target, drop jars filled with napalm or explosives, light the fuses, and heave the jars over the side. Not precisely precision bombing, but it does give the enemy something to worry about.

Some of the balloons are even powered by steam engines. :mrgreen:

Don

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With all respect to Eric Flint, he is a bit... clueless about airship warfare. Especially about airship-to-airship actions. Granted, there were no historical examples of lighter-than-air aircrafts duel, but there were a lot of theoretical research in World War I and later.
------------------------------

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P.S. - And he have Russian twin, to watch his back)
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Re: Weaponizing Balloons
Post by Weird Harold   » Tue Mar 20, 2018 8:19 am

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Dilandu wrote:With all respect to Eric Flint, he is a bit... clueless about airship warfare.


That would be a fair point if Eric Flint wrote the airship adventures (and non-fiction articles about airship construction and use possibilities.)

I don't recall the author/co-author for those adventures, but it wasn't Eric.
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Answers! I got lots of answers!

(Now if I could just find the right questions.)
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Re: Weaponizing Balloons
Post by Dilandu   » Tue Mar 20, 2018 3:47 pm

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Silverwall wrote:
Short version they are "JUST" doable in a non electric environemnt using steam refomring of Hydrogen and laminated wood construction along with deisel engines.


To be exact, they would not be a zeppelins; they would be Schutte-Lanz airships.
The biggest issue is that Safehold is BIG and the range of zeppelins is not that great ~2000 miles return, and with no electrics navigation over long distances is "Interesting" especially at night.


On the other hands - there are no centralized air defense either. So, there is a lot more possibility for daylight raids.

They will also rot like nobodies business in clouds as the structure absorbs water and takes constant maintinance.


Just plainly wrong; SL airships quite often cruised over sea, and weren't particulary susseptible to humid conditions.

You also will be restricted to dumb bombs so apart from terror weapons what is the tactical goal of these things? WW1 shows that bombing even large industrial parks is beyind the accuracy of the bombing of the day. (Hell it proved beyond the accuracy of WW2 strategic bombing most of the time.)


Wrong again; airships could - and often do - bomb with great precision. Simply because they could slow their forward motion to near zero over targets (and because the attack altitued in WWI were much smaller than in WW2), they could hit precisely railroad nodes, dockyards, warehouses and factories.
------------------------------

- 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: Weaponizing Balloons
Post by n7axw   » Tue Mar 20, 2018 5:12 pm

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Dilandu wrote:
n7axw wrote:In the 1632 series, bombing by balloon is very low tech. Simply fly over your target, drop jars filled with napalm or explosives, light the fuses, and heave the jars over the side. Not precisely precision bombing, but it does give the enemy something to worry about.

Some of the balloons are even powered by steam engines. :mrgreen:

Don

-


With all respect to Eric Flint, he is a bit... clueless about airship warfare. Especially about airship-to-airship actions. Granted, there were no historical examples of lighter-than-air aircrafts duel, but there were a lot of theoretical research in World War I and later.


Given the fact that we don't have historical examples of lighter than air aircraft duels, it is hard to see how anyone would have much of a clue!

Don

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When any group seeks political power in God's name, both religion and politics are instantly corrupted.
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Re: Weaponizing Balloons
Post by Silverwall   » Thu Mar 22, 2018 5:21 am

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Dilandu wrote:
Silverwall wrote:
Short version they are "JUST" doable in a non electric environemnt using steam refomring of Hydrogen and laminated wood construction along with deisel engines.


To be exact, they would not be a zeppelins; they would be Schutte-Lanz airships.
The biggest issue is that Safehold is BIG and the range of zeppelins is not that great ~2000 miles return, and with no electrics navigation over long distances is "Interesting" especially at night.


On the other hands - there are no centralized air defense either. So, there is a lot more possibility for daylight raids.

They will also rot like nobodies business in clouds as the structure absorbs water and takes constant maintinance.


Just plainly wrong; SL airships quite often cruised over sea, and weren't particulary susseptible to humid conditions.

You also will be restricted to dumb bombs so apart from terror weapons what is the tactical goal of these things? WW1 shows that bombing even large industrial parks is beyind the accuracy of the bombing of the day. (Hell it proved beyond the accuracy of WW2 strategic bombing most of the time.)


Wrong again; airships could - and often do - bomb with great precision. Simply because they could slow their forward motion to near zero over targets (and because the attack altitued in WWI were much smaller than in WW2), they could hit precisely railroad nodes, dockyards, warehouses and factories.


Actually the rotting is well established. From Wikipedia...

"Wood composites had a theoretical superiority as the structural material in airships up to a certain size. After that, the superiority of aluminum (and later duralumin) in tension was more important than the superiority of wood in compression. Schütte-Lanz airships until 1918 were composed of wood and plywood glued together. Moisture tended to degrade the integrity of the glued joints. Schütte-Lanz airships became structurally unstable when water entered the airship's imperfectly waterproofed envelope. This tended to happen during wet weather operations, but also, more insidiously, in defective or damaged hangars.[citation needed] In the words of Führer der Luftschiffe Peter Strasser:

Most of the Schütte-Lanz ships are not usable under combat conditions, especially those operated by the Navy, because their wooden construction cannot cope with the damp conditions inseparable from maritime service...[3]
"
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_S ... z_airships

And again on the accuracy issue...
"Weather conditions and night flying conditions made airship navigation and maintaining bombing accuracy difficult. Bombs were often dropped miles off target (one raid on London actually bombed Hull) and accurate targeting of military installations was impossible"
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_st ... orld_War_I
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Re: Weaponizing Balloons
Post by Dilandu   » Thu Mar 22, 2018 12:15 pm

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Just do not rely on wiki too much, ok? :) Look at the actual SL ships career. A lot of them have quite long service life, even in naval service.
------------------------------

- 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: Weaponizing Balloons
Post by Silverwall   » Thu Mar 22, 2018 3:16 pm

Silverwall
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Posts: 340
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Dilandu wrote:Just do not rely on wiki too much, ok? :) Look at the actual SL ships career. A lot of them have quite long service life, even in naval service.


Sorry a lifetime of 20 missions at the good end is not impressive to me, when they are retired due to old age after 2-3 years this suggests that the technology is not really viable.

Also given that RFC has given the opposite forces Katyshua style rocket launchers I doubt the ability of the airships to fly low as they can mount batteries to fire vertically and just shotgun them and even if they have to fire 500 barrages of thier rockets to kill one zep it's a resource win to the defenders.

Finally strategic bombing is well established to be a failed doctrine. It flat out DOES NOT WORK unless your are pulling Dresden, Hamburg, Tokyo style city annialation which is clearly not a direction Merlin would want to go.

The best use of zeps/baloons is always going to be in recon which requires no armament at all.

Weaponising Zeps and baloons has never proved to be a good value for money investment despite a long history of trying in the real world. This wired post sums it up nicely even if not a particularly scholarly source.

WWI Zeppelins: Not Too Deadly, But Scary as Hell
https://www.wired.com/2014/10/world-war-i-zeppelins/

AKA terror weapons
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