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Computers on Safehold

This fascinating series is a combination of historical seafaring, swashbuckling adventure, and high technological science-fiction. Join us in a discussion!
Re: Computers on Safehold
Post by EdThomas   » Fri Apr 06, 2018 12:57 pm

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USMA74 wrote:The early US M-60 series of tanks used a mechanical computer with a range finder. E-Bay has FM 17-12-2, Tank Gunnery, M60, M60A1, M60A1(AOS), and M48A5 Tanks (1977 edition) for sale for US $12.00 if anyone is interested in learning more about how the US Army found a solution without the use of electricity. Admit that the readouts were lighted so you could read them. I could hit a stationary tank size target reliably from a short halt at 4,400 meters if the 105mm M-68 cannon was zeroed properly. Freely admit that having both the target and shooting platforms moving on their X, Y, and Z axis complicates the gunnery problem significantly over what I accomplished.

I've ordered the FM. Questions. How the hell do you SEE a tank at 4,400 meters!? Do tank rounds come with variable powder charges? My guess is not, cuz you wouldn't want little baggies of powder sliding around the floor/deck/whaddayacallit.
Sounds like pretty good shooting!
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Re: Computers on Safehold
Post by n7axw   » Fri Apr 06, 2018 3:07 pm

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EdThomas wrote:
USMA74 wrote:The early US M-60 series of tanks used a mechanical computer with a range finder. E-Bay has FM 17-12-2, Tank Gunnery, M60, M60A1, M60A1(AOS), and M48A5 Tanks (1977 edition) for sale for US $12.00 if anyone is interested in learning more about how the US Army found a solution without the use of electricity. Admit that the readouts were lighted so you could read them. I could hit a stationary tank size target reliably from a short halt at 4,400 meters if the 105mm M-68 cannon was zeroed properly. Freely admit that having both the target and shooting platforms moving on their X, Y, and Z axis complicates the gunnery problem significantly over what I accomplished.

I've ordered the FM. Questions. How the hell do you SEE a tank at 4,400 meters!? Do tank rounds come with variable powder charges? My guess is not, cuz you wouldn't want little baggies of powder sliding around the floor/deck/whaddayacallit.
Sounds like pretty good shooting!


Bionic eyes??!!! :lol:

Don

-
When any group seeks political power in God's name, both religion and politics are instantly corrupted.
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Re: Computers on Safehold
Post by USMA74   » Tue Apr 10, 2018 8:54 am

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That is why tank have rangefinders (mechanically linked into the fire control computer) that are fairly powerful. Also tank ranges tend to be fairly open areas of land. My memory of the Tank Table 8 range at Fort Hood, Tx in the 1970s was that the starting point was somewhat elevated over the course and the long range engagement was one of the first shots a tank crew made. It was a line-of-sight engagement. I welcome anyone in these forums to confirm or refute my almost 45 year old memory.
Hitting a stationary 10 foot by 30 foot target at 4400 meters in daylight from a short halt with a properly zeroed cannon wasn't difficult. The M68 105 cannon designed by our British friends is an accurate gun.
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Re: Computers on Safehold
Post by AirTech   » Sun May 13, 2018 9:22 am

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I don't see the problem, mechanical systems can be very strong indeed if properly designed. Remember that mechanical time fuses were used in shells from before the first world war so a mechanical system can survive being fired from a cannon, then the impact of hitting a target before exploding. As for miniaturization it is possible to make a mechanical computer on a silicon chip (it just isn't as small as current silicon equivalent) and you can even include digital displays by using retro reflective mirror elements (these were being used for projection displays in the 90's). The issue with all these is that the development requires sub optical wave length imaging (electron /atomic force microscopes) to get to the really small sizes while the manufacturing is essentially a mechanical process. Making anything much smaller than a woman's wrist watch is a serious technical challenge without electrical something better than an optical microscope. That said, building a perfectly capable ICBM or satellite launcher with mechanical controls (like an DC-3 or V-1/V-2 autopilot) is perfectly possible, just difficult to correct trajectory after launch without a crew.
As for programmablity, punch cards and punched tape work in mechanical systems like the prewar IBM census machines and tabulators (and these date back to 1798 when they were used to control weaving looms - yes Numerically Controlled machines date back to when Napoleon was rattling around (and he may have even seen one given that they are a French invention).
Silverwall wrote:I really don't see a device like this being viable once you start taking hits from enemy shells.

Given how often pneumatic and electrical circuits were blown out in WW1 and WW2 I can't see somthing this fragile surviving concussion or shell hits on the hull. Also I am not sure how quick programable they would be.

Image

All the historical analogue computers from WW1 onwards relied on electricity to power them however and you don't get the same level of control with pneumatics (or the same level of miniaturisation).
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