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How Can the Churches lines be destroyed so fast in AST

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Re: How Can the Churches lines be destroyed so fast in AST
Post by runsforcelery   » Tue Jan 29, 2019 2:33 am

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GloriousRuse wrote:So, a technical niggle before we begin: 11 inch guns are frickin railway cannons and naval weapons. 280mm shells are huge, their recoil is huge, the guns are huge. I think Krupp produced one battery of "light" 11 inchers that only weighed 20 tons in travel configuration. The brits I believe managed to produce a very short ranged ground variant of their naval gun that was "only" 11 tons, but was considered a direct fire weapon. I'll give it that dragons are worth four horses.

As a base measure, the classic deuce and a half has about 130hp to move 2.5 tons offroad, or 32 dragon power. You can see where this math is going...even reduced to 3 mph in fields, we're looking at 34 dragons in trace to move the Krupp gun. Moving these things is not, in any way, easy.

Anyhow....


-------------------

The East Front Comparison.

I'll absoultely agree the operational and tactical picture, minus RW, is far more East than West. Besides the comparatively larger area stretching Charis's limited and inherently less mobile baloon recon, this still doesn't explain the collapses.

The Romanian campaign actually comes to mind, with Ludendorff perfecting there what would become the artillery innovations later in the west. Or as someone pointed out Brusilov with the proto-sturmtroop ideas. Those campaigns saw the Central Powers trading casualties at about 1:2, and a roughly equivalent exchange rate for Brusilov during the heady early days.

It exhausted the attacker in both cases, and secured land the size of a few large provinces. Casualties were measured in in the 500k+ range for the victorious Central Armies in Romania, and the literally each side lost over a million men in the Brusilov Offensive.


Charis has to take, much, much, more land. And it most certainly does not have the manpower reserves of a WWI great power since it ha literally in a generation lept from early renassaince to early 1900s. If Charis is pre-colonial England, it has a population of less than 5M, double up for the Empire (if any one has a known number, please chime in). At WWI mobilization levels, it can put 1M men (or 11%ish of the known population) under arms across two generations committed.

If it kills churchmen at 10:1, and only needs to knock them below 80% before they outmaneveur them or break them in morale, doing five times as well as the Central Powers in the East...

About 20% of the ICA is lost. In one campaign season.

The poppies are growing in many, many fields.

Lets forget "how could they smash the lines", and lets ask " how is Charis not falling to an October Revolution?", and "How is the nation of Charis going to deal with having a nation and society shattering loss rate in the future?" When people talk about Europe losing a generation of young men and the fall of the world order, they aren't even beginning to touch what just happened to Charis's demographics.


I think it's evident that you and I are not going to agree on this, however —

First, I misspoke slightly, it's not a "10"-11"-inch" weapon; the Charisian "superheavy" is a 10" weapon which weighs about seven and a half tons and fires the same round as the naval weapon, a 500-pound HE shell. Traction is not that huge a problem, since you are substantially underestimating draft dragon, who can tow 30 tons in good going and 10 in semi-decent going and about 5 in rotten going, so two of them could tow a single gun without too much difficulty, and they were harnessed in quadruple teams. Please note that none of these guns are being towed across a shell-churned no man's land, either. (They do have to cross the area of their bombardment when the front advances, but there hasn't been the sort of prolonged artillery duel that shatters the water table and produces the bottomless mud of Flanders.)
The majority of the Charisian heavy artillery are 8" and 6" guns which were actually highly mobile as long as they stayed out of the muck and the mud of the Western Front (which they never encountered). Oh, and the Charisians didn't deploy "two or three" observation balloons; they deployed scores of them before the fighting was over; I just didn't see any reason to put you aboard all of them, so you only saw a few of them, whereas the Church and the Mighty Host saw a whole big bunch of them.

Unlike any of the armies which went to war in 1914, their enemies (1) know nothing about modern artillery or its effects; (2) are equipped with single shot caplock rifles (not a machine gun in the bunch); (3) have no mortars in support (I know, I know; the mortar came after 1914, but the church has only just begun to develop and deploy mortars of its own); and (4) are badly off balance strategically due to the deception measures Nahrmahn proposed (which, in effect, created a gap on the most critical portion of the entire Church front). Then we crank in the fact that the Charisians have aerial observation; have magazine rifles with centerfire cartridges; have scads of mortars in support; have adopted highly sophisticated infantry tactics; have flamethrowers and effective hand grenades; have the advantage of the initiative; and are operating in an environment where neither side can maintain anything like sufficient operational density over such vast distances. This means that they (1) have the strategic, operational, and tactical initiative throughout; (2) have vastly superior logistics (not only compared to their opponents but in many ways, superior to those of World War I); (3) can concentrate overwhelming power on chosen strategic points and achieve massive numerical superiority, as well as superior firepower; (4) have total "aerial superiority" (which means that the Church is going to achieve tactical surprise only if it can make its entire approach march in the dark, in the fog, or under cover of rain); and (5) they have sejins (and SNARCs), which means they have detailed and highly accurate intelligence on their opponents' strength, disposition, supply state, morale, and even their battle plans, although the inner circle can't share all of that information with all of their field commanders or their allies.

I might also point out that Charis does not, in fact, have to take "much, much more land." Charis's objective is the destruction of the Army of God and the Mighty Host, but they don't have to defeat it man-to-man on the battlefield to secure that objective. They aren't trying to conquer territory; they are trying to threaten and, if possible, sever the logistical lifeline of an enormous army which cannot survive if cut off from its base of supplies. And that lifeline is, for all intents and purposes, a single, thousand-mile long canal. The critical factor isn't the total density of manpower divided by the thousands of miles of frontage, nor does the area of Charis's conquest matter in the least. What matters is the density of manpower concentrated at the critical points and whose logistics are being threatened by whom. And, unlike the armies on the Western Front — or even on the Eastern Front, in many ways — there is no redundancy in the Church's logistics. Nobody is going to be laying track around a damaged junction or throwing up a trestle bridge to replace one that was burned out. If the canal is dynamited, or if the locks are destroyed, there is no routing around it.

I think that part of the problem is that you're talking about what happened in 1914-1918 when all of the armies involved were at least in shouting range of one another in terms of technology and technique. But we aren't talking about two World War I armies here. We're talking about an army which might be as good as those deployed in the Crimean War up against an army whose doctrine has been formulated by someone with all the lessons of World War I and World War II at his fingertips and which is equipped with magazine bolt action rifles and 1918-level artillery trains and logistics which are probably inferior to World War I's on the strategic level (see my comment about canals above) but are very arguably superior to World War I's on the operational and tactical levels.

As for the October Revolution scenario, Russia had a total population of 166,000,000 in 1914, suffered somewhere around 5,000,000 battlefield casualties, and lost roughly 4,000,000 POWs. Combining all of the above, you get a total loss rate of call it 9,000,000, of which under 2,000,000 were KIA on the field (I have no idea what percentage of the WIA later died in hospital . . . assuming they made it that far). So, that's roughly 5.4% of the total prewar Russian population, obviously concentrated in men of military age. If you assume that all 4,000,000 POWs eventually made it home (I rather doubt they did), then the casualty rate drops to roughly 3%. (The best estimate of actual Russian dead that I could find was about 1.9%, but that's only a small percentage of the total casualty rate, which is what I'm using here.)

The Charisian Empire has a population of approximately 75,000,000 at the time of At the Sign of Triumph (1.9 times that of France in 1914), of which roughly 3,500,000 (4.6% of the total population) is in uniform between the ICN and the ICA, and less than 500,000 are in-theater for the campaign against Rainbow Waters and the Army of God. Assuming that every single one of them had been killed, that would've represented 0.06% of the total Charisian population. Or, proportionately, 1% of the Russian casualty rate (counting POWs; or all the way up to 2% of the Russian casualty rate, not counting the POWs). Of course, in absolute terms, the total destruction of Charis's field army would have amounted to about 10% of Russia's total casualties, not counting POWs. But, no, no matter how you slice it, Charis did not bleed itself white in the fighting.

For that matter, French war dead were about 1,400,000, with another 4,266,000 WIA, for a total of 5,666,000 out of a population of only 39,600,000, or roughly 14% of the total population. It's little wonder that France wasn't eager to go back to war again twenty years later, especially when one recalls that the Western Front's casualties were shared between several nations and total Allied casualties were in the vicinity of 7,500,000.

Charis's loss rate was grievous, but it was also only a small percentage of the one you seem to be postulating. And with all due respect, I think that given the actual tactical environment, the knowledge possessed by both sides (tactically, strategically, operationally, and technologically), the difference in infantry tactics; the density — and the brevity — of the majority of the Charisian artillery preparations, the orders of magnitude of difference between the effectiveness of the artillery of the two sides (one of them, after all, was using TNT and achieving artillery densities comparable to those of 1916 while the other one was using black powder in smaller, cast-iron projectiles and had far fewer guns), and the enormous difference in the density of the small arms fire the two sides could lay down, there aren't that many poppies growing in Charis.


"Oh, bother!" said Pooh, as Piglet came back from the dead.
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Re: How Can the Churches lines be destroyed so fast in AST
Post by isaac_newton   » Tue Jan 29, 2019 5:01 am

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runsforcelery wrote:[SNIP
achieving artillery densities comparable to those of 1916 while the other one was using black powder in smaller, cast-iron projectiles and had far fewer guns), and the enormous difference in the density of the small arms fire the two sides could lay down, there aren't that many poppies growing in Charis.


great to have you back in the forums, for a while anyway :-)
it really does make them so much more interesting and illuminating.

Since you are here, I guess that means that you are currently a 'gentleman of leisure' - at least by your defn of that term!

PS -
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Re: How Can the Churches lines be destroyed so fast in AST
Post by Daryl   » Tue Jan 29, 2019 5:22 am

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Not really fair. All on here know that RFC is an extremely gifted story teller, many know that he is also an acknowledged expert on OTL naval history, but he also appears to have land warfare well sorted as well. Unlike many story tellers he actually knows the nuts and bolts of logistics along with the difference between tactical and strategic.
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Re: How Can the Churches lines be destroyed so fast in AST
Post by GloriousRuse   » Wed Jan 30, 2019 12:59 am

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Charis has 75M people? To be clear, that is the entire population of Europe on the eve of the 30 years war. Charis and Chisholm, a decade ago from AST, were renaissance era agricultural societies.

So what do the Harchongese have? All of a sudden, putting 1.3M men in the Mighty Host seems pretty paltry if we’re just giving away later industrial population numbers.

If those are the true numbers, I rescind my comments on population loss and only wonder how it is that no one else can throw more bodies...
———-—

Concerning taking territory: yes, smashing the Churches field armies is the goal. I think we agree here. However, the Longhorn is essentially the Brest-Minsk-Orsha-Moscow rail line. There aren’t any real alternative to it and as you indicated, the infrastructure around it can’t support an army in a re-repute. But a large army of conscripts with minimal motorization can fall back for a long time along that rail line. In the face of Panzergruppes 2 and 3. If the church is willing to trade space, there’s no reason they can’t bleed the ICA for a long time.

————-

Perhaps I’m off target here: but hasn’t the church commissioned their version of the Martini-Henri by AST? Also, while there some iron gun stuff going on, there are also battalions of proto-Katyushas. I’m not sure the Crimea is accurate? Perhaps an 1890s tech base?

————-

Tactically, it’s clear that the ICA has advanced, at least in theory, to the level of having the best traits of all the WWI sides. Don’t disagree here.

Operationally, they have substantial advantages. And one big disadvantage. Their logistics are way down tech though. If an animal is moving thirty tons, it needs to eat an appropriate calorie load to generate that muscle energy. The ICA is still hostage to the same equations as Frederick or Napoleon. You can only haul a supply cart so far with an animal before it’s consumption of fodder tips the balance negative. If you want to move beyond that, the force has to scale down to what can be locally foraged. No one really solves this until railroads and combustion engines. The ICA could at home now that they’re doing their thing. Hard to see the wide flanking movements and stolen marches to mass at a decisive point they so love hiven the supply situation they’re tied to.

Strategically...well, this ties into economies and shipping rates, manpower reserves, force cohesion, political leanings... and as one poster said of another RFC protagonist economy: “It’ll be as big as David weber needs it to be”. Discussing the strategic level is a bit hard under those terms.circumstances
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Re: How Can the Churches lines be destroyed so fast in AST
Post by Weird Harold   » Wed Jan 30, 2019 1:37 am

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GloriousRuse wrote:...If the church is willing to trade space, there’s no reason they can’t bleed the ICA for a long time....


That's a very big IF.

In fact, much was said and done to highlight Clyntahn's absolute refusal to allow any retreat at all. The Church -- as personified by Clyntahn -- was NOT "willing to trade space..."
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Re: How Can the Churches lines be destroyed so fast in AST
Post by Daryl   » Wed Jan 30, 2019 5:26 am

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You can only haul a supply cart so far with an animal before it’s consumption of fodder tips the balance negative. If you want to move beyond that, the force has to scale down to what can be locally foraged. No one really solves this until railroads and combustion engines.


There is a solution but it's expensive. Same system as moon rockets. Multi stage. Get 4,000 dragons hauling fodder to a staging point (return and repeat), then 2,000 hauling food and goods from there to the next (return and repeat), from there 1,000 dragons take what's left on. Then you eat the 1,000 dragons.
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Re: How Can the Churches lines be destroyed so fast in AST
Post by runsforcelery   » Wed Jan 30, 2019 6:00 am

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Weird Harold wrote:
GloriousRuse wrote:...If the church is willing to trade space, there’s no reason they can’t bleed the ICA for a long time....


That's a very big IF.

In fact, much was said and done to highlight Clyntahn's absolute refusal to allow any retreat at all. The Church -- as personified by Clyntahn -- was NOT "willing to trade space..."



True, but Rainbow Waters was doing it anyway.


"Oh, bother!" said Pooh, as Piglet came back from the dead.
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Re: How Can the Churches lines be destroyed so fast in AST
Post by runsforcelery   » Wed Jan 30, 2019 6:18 am

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GloriousRuse wrote:Charis has 75M people? To be clear, that is the entire population of Europe on the eve of the 30 years war. Charis and Chisholm, a decade ago from AST, were renaissance era agricultural societies.

So what do the Harchongese have? All of a sudden, putting 1.3M men in the Mighty Host seems pretty paltry if we’re just giving away later industrial population numbers.

If those are the true numbers, I rescind my comments on population loss and only wonder how it is that no one else can throw more bodies...


No, they were not "Renaissance-era agricultural societies." I have repeatedly pointed out to people that they are making erroneous assumptions about the general capabilities of Safehold's societies because they are not allowing for the techniques and the capabilities which were implanted in the Holy Writ by the "Archangels." Harchongian agriculture had, indeed, devolved quite a bit from the agronomy and animal husbandry included in the Writ, but that was because the entire Harchongian Church had "backslid" in complicity with the generally regressive society which evolved there. The Writ includes instructions on crop rotation, fertilizers, and basically all of the agricultural techniques of at least the twentieth century. What Safehold lacked was the powered agricultural equipment to take full advantage of those techniques, but its general agricultural level was at least at the level of, say, 1860 — i.e., pre-Cyrus McCormick's first reaper — but with far better fertilizers and (for that matter) genetically-engineered food crops with a far higher yield per acre than any pre-technological agriculture on Earth. And I might point out that the total area of the Charisian Empire (which is what that 75,000,000 figure was for; not just the Kingdom of Charis) is rather larger than all of Europe combined. These "islands" are really small continents, for all intents and purposes, and with the exception of Chisholm, the Empire enjoys basically a tropical climate with all that implies for multiple crops per year. So that number is not really at all remarkable.

GloriousRuse wrote:Concerning taking territory: yes, smashing the Churches field armies is the goal. I think we agree here. However, the Longhorn is essentially the Brest-Minsk-Orsha-Moscow rail line. There aren’t any real alternative to it and as you indicated, the infrastructure around it can’t support an army in a re-repute. But a large army of conscripts with minimal motorization can fall back for a long time along that rail line. In the face of Panzergruppes 2 and 3. If the church is willing to trade space, there’s no reason they can’t bleed the ICA for a long time.


They can "bleed the ICA for a long time" as long as the ICA allows them to, and again, you are conflating technologies and making false analogies. The infantry retreating in the face of the German Panzergruppes in World War II had at least equivalent infantry weapons and towed artillery, and the Mighty Host doesn't. Yes, they have a black-powder Katyusha equivalent, and there are a couple of occasions in the books where they actually caught Charisian or Siddarmarkian formations with massed rocket fire. The casualties in those instances were severe. In a set piece battle, however, the ICA, courtesy of its observation balloons, is going to know where the rocket launchers are, and that's what artillery is for. Black powder-fueled rockets are basically explosions waiting to happen, and they usually aren't real well dug in with overhead cover. Searching fire with shrapnel and balloon correction — I'm not talking about giving them map coordinates or magically giving them the exact positions of the target; I'm talking about correcting fire onto the target with direct observation — is pretty much going to take them out, because they are so incredibly out-ranged. Yes, some of them will survive long enough to fire; not enough of them to make any difference to the ultimate outcome, and not enough to "bleed the ICA" in any sort of consistent fashion.

GloriousRuse wrote:Perhaps I’m off target here: but hasn’t the church commissioned their version of the Martini-Henri by AST? Also, while there some iron gun stuff going on, there are also battalions of proto-Katyushas. I’m not sure the Crimea is accurate? Perhaps an 1890s tech base?


No, they don't have the Martini-Henry. The Martini-Henry was a lever action breach loader with a metallic cartridge that loaded as a single round. The St. Kylmahn rifle, the Church's breechloading rifle, loads a bit faster than the original Ferguson breechloading flintlock, but each round still has to be individually capped in a separate operation, which caps its maximum rate of fire at around 10 rounds per minute under ideal conditions; the Martini-Henry's rate of fire was about half again that great. The density of fire is a whole big bunch higher than for a muzzleloader; it sucks wind compared to any metallic cartridge weapon, and certainly compared to what is essentially the Lee-Enfield (with what is probably the best military bolt action ever designed, when it comes to rate of fire), of up to 30 aimed shots per minute, using smokeless powder. (I think the record for the "mad minute" with the Lee-Enfield was somewhere around 35-38 hits on a 24-inch target at 300 yards in one minute. I don't see the Saint Kylmahn matching that, and its ballistics are considerably inferior.)

In addition, my Crimean War comparison was intended to compare the sophistication and capability of their artillery trains and the sophistication of their small unit tactics, not just the rate of fire of their rifles. With the exception of some of the early Armstrong artillery pieces, the Crimean artillery was all muzzle-loading and black powder. Its howitzers and mortars had far less range and immeasurably less destructive ability than the artillery of 1914, much less of 1918.

GloriousRuse wrote:Tactically, it’s clear that the ICA has advanced, at least in theory, to the level of having the best traits of all the WWI sides. Don’t disagree here.

Operationally, they have substantial advantages. And one big disadvantage. Their logistics are way down tech though. If an animal is moving thirty tons, it needs to eat an appropriate calorie load to generate that muscle energy. The ICA is still hostage to the same equations as Frederick or Napoleon. You can only haul a supply cart so far with an animal before it’s consumption of fodder tips the balance negative. If you want to move beyond that, the force has to scale down to what can be locally foraged. No one really solves this until railroads and combustion engines. The ICA could at home now that they’re doing their thing. Hard to see the wide flanking movements and stolen marches to mass at a decisive point they so love hiven the supply situation they’re tied to.

Strategically...well, this ties into economies and shipping rates, manpower reserves, force cohesion, political leanings... and as one poster said of another RFC protagonist economy: “It’ll be as big as David weber needs it to be”. Discussing the strategic level is a bit hard under those terms.circumstances


I gave the actual figures for food consumption for the dragons in the books, and it is substantially lower than, say, an elephant. The big reason that the elephant isn't more efficient for animal draft, is that its digestion is significantly less efficient than, say, an ox's. The dragon's digestion is considerably more efficient than that of an ox. I'm not sure which book I told you about it in, but a draft dragon is more efficient than an ox when it comes to draft (and an ox is pretty damned efficient, if slow) and requires about 580 pounds of grain per day. Horse draft ability is approximately equal to 70% of the horse's body weight; a dragon, which has an extra set of limbs and a center of mass much closer to that of an ox, has a draft ability of about 400% of its own body weight. So, if a single dragon can tow 30 tons on a decent road, or 10 tons cross-country, then a single dragon can move approximately 103 dragon-days of food on a high road and approximately 35 dragon-days of food in typical cross-country travel. That, of course, is exclusive of any available forage. By contrast, a horse requires 30-35 pounds of food per day, depending on body weight. So if you figure that a Percheron averages about 1,800 pounds and that its draft capability is 70% of its body weight, and that it eats 33 pounds per day, then you get that it can move — in good conditions, on the high road — 1,260 pounds (0.63 tons) — for 33 pounds of grain, or 0.019 tons per pound of feed. The dragon, under the same circumstances, can tow 30 tons (60,000 pounds) for 580 pounds of grain, or .05 tons per pound, which is over two and a half times as efficient as a really big draft horse. So, yes, you have to allow a percentage of the total tonnage being towed as feed . . . very much like you have to allow a percentage of the total tonnage being towed for gasoline and lubrication.

Cavalry horses are going to be at the 30 pounds per day level, but they are basically transporting an individual infantryman (remembering that the ICA's cavalry is essentially mounted infantry), and a single dragon on a high road can haul 2,000 horse-days of grain in return for a "fuel expenditure" 19 horse-days of grain. Cross-country, that drops to "only" 666 horse-days of grain, a ratio of 35-to-1 for the dragon's "fuel cost." And, again, for the most part these people are not slogging through hubcap-deep mud. In fact, they aren't doing that at all.

All of this is spelled out in the books before the ICA begins its flank marches and approaches, and it doesn't have to be able to keep it up forever; it only has to be able to keep it up long enough to get into the Mighty Host's rear, and then force the Mighty Host to fight its way past it, dug-in, with modern artillery support, and a rate of fire three times that of the attackers.

And I'm pretty sure I gave you the basic numbers I'd calculated for blue-water and canal shipping tonnages, shipping speeds, etc. I didn't do it all in one place (I get enough flak for infodump's as it is), but I'm pretty sure it's all in there. I certainly took it into consideration when I was planning the transport of the ICA to Siddarmark and the movement of its supplies and replacements once it was there.

Part of the problem is comparing apples to oranges and assumptions about the capabilities of the combatants based on flawed comparisons and estimates of population sizes and techniques that are incorrect because people persist in thinking of Safehold as the fifteenth century, rather than thinking of it as the late nineteenth century without electricity or (prior to Merlin's arrival on the scene) steam power. These people already had a working knowledge of hydraulics; they had highly efficient wind powered pumps; they had agriculture that understood scientific farming techniques and simply had to apply them at a lower level of efficiency because they were muscle powered; they had a food preservation industry that "canned goods" — in glass and pottery, not tin; they understood pasteurization, if not the germ theory that under laid it on Earth; they understood sanitation and the consequences of its failure. So, yes, I think that what I have them accomplishing in the final campaign of the war is feasible.

One of the things that I think you are overlooking is that the Mighty Host was still essentially intact when Rainbow Waters realized the game was up. It had suffered extremely heavy losses, but its core strength was still available. (The Army of God on the central front had been badly shattered; the Mighty Host had been battered, bled, and driven back, but was still very much a fighting force.) The problem was that the Allies were about to cut the Holy Langhorne Canal much farther south than the Mighty Host, where they had punched through the center that had been weakened because of Nahrmahn's disinformation. Rainbow Waters was retreating as fast as he possibly could, trying to get past the Charisian forces cutting off his logistics, and he knew that he couldn't do it. Ultimately, Maigwair and Duchairn ordered Rainbow Waters' surrender while his army was still fundamentally in one piece, despite its losses. Had they not ordered his surrender — and if he hadn't had the moral courage to accept their orders — the consequences for his troops would've been catastrophic, but the Host was arguably still undefeated when it surrendered. It had suffered one tactical defeat after another, but it had indeed been retreating in front of the advancing Allies. As I say, however, whatever the successes on the northern front, the breakthrough on the central front had ultimately doomed it.


"Oh, bother!" said Pooh, as Piglet came back from the dead.
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Re: How Can the Churches lines be destroyed so fast in AST
Post by Weird Harold   » Wed Jan 30, 2019 6:57 am

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GloriousRuse wrote:...If the church is willing to trade space, there’s no reason they can’t bleed the ICA for a long time....


Weird Harold wrote:That's a very big IF.

In fact, much was said and done to highlight Clyntahn's absolute refusal to allow any retreat at all. The Church -- as personified by Clyntahn -- was NOT "willing to trade space..."



runsforcelery wrote:True, but Rainbow Waters was doing it anyway.


No he wasn't, he was just advancing in a different direction. :D

We've pretty much established that Rainbow Waters was an exception and much more in touch with reality.
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Re: How Can the Churches lines be destroyed so fast in AST
Post by SilverbladeTE   » Wed Jan 30, 2019 11:01 pm

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Also, iirc the Charisians were using "box barrages", something it took a while to develop into PRACTICAL use in WW1...and effort to get through some higher up's idiocy as well, I'd bet, sigh.

Once a breach is made, drop fire in front and to sides to make it harder for defenders to bring up reinforcements to counter attack with

~~~~~~~~

And there were rather a lot of heavy artillery pieces used, many railway lines etc were built for them
A few.places even had naval.support

UK built monitors with dual 15" inch naval guns and those threw a one ton shell
Guess what those would do to a trench line?

And as said when such large shells go off, the effects of the blast is terrible on poor souls
Hence need for zigzagging trenches, which the Church' forces usually didn't have, and remember later, Germans made lots of deep concrete bunkers, took time to get up out of them but the men weren't so wrecked.
Army of God did NOT have reinforced concrete bunkers 90' or more down in the ground
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