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Stopping the Sharonan advance

"Hell's Gate" and "Hell Hath No Fury", by David, Linda Evans, and Joelle Presby, take the clash of science and magic to a whole new dimension...join us in a friendly discussion of this engrossing series!
Stopping the Sharonan advance
Post by Astelon   » Wed May 27, 2015 8:00 pm

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It appears that the Arcanas will be hard pressed to stop the Sharonan mechanized forces as they advance. The arcanas have superior mobility with which to harass those forces, and attack supply lines, but that only slows the advance down. Unless dragon lightning or fire can seriously damage the bison or mules of chan Geraith's dragoons then the advance will continue.

Here are two ways I can see Arcana stopping the Sharonan armies.
The first is with favorable terrain. Terrain through which the bisons have trouble maneuvering and fighting, which would allow the Arcanan forces to attack and retreat at will. The Traisum cut would be the perfect example of such a location (except for the fact that the portal can probably be sealed from all dragon traffic). The narrow confines of the cut force the advance down a particular path, and the Arcanans need not even bring their dragons within range to fire at the Sharonans. They'll just use Demolition spells to collapse the walls on the trains below.

The second method is to find a small enough portal. One which Arcana artillery (field dragons can reach half-way across. Then you build two forts one at each end of the portal, with half of each fort covering each aspect of the portal. Construct the fortifications as heavily as you can, with any walls angling away from the portal. Build powerful bunkers to resist Sharonan artillery, and place the field and infantry dragons within them. Then fill the area in front of the portal with tank traps, trap spells, sharpened stakes, and covered pits.

The forts location at the ends of the portal forces artillery to fire on them at an angle, increasing survivability, and forces Sharona to go through the portal to best bring their weapons into play. Then the tank traps and pits will take a toll on the bisons, and the artillery can sweep any manned advance off of the field.

The small portal where this would work could likely be completely interdicted by Sharonan fire. If the Arcanans build a fort in front of the small portal, then Sharonan Artillery will be able to fire on the fort without any effective counter attack. Eventually wearing down and destroying the installation, no matter how heavily it is built.
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Re: Stopping the Sharonan advance
Post by SCC   » Thu May 28, 2015 1:18 am

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"The arcanas have superior mobility with which to harass those forces, and attack supply lines"

No they don't. Those same dragons that can carry the troops around are also how the troops are being supplied ATM. The troops could live off the land, but that's probably not a good idea of besieged troops.

And dragons aren't that fast, they can move 1,000 miles a day, but that seems to be a TOP speed.
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Re: Stopping the Sharonan advance
Post by Mil-tech bard   » Thu May 28, 2015 10:45 am

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The armor on Bisons can stop a fireball.

Lightning is electricity. Steel conducts electricity.

Arcania's counter may be as simple as developing the lightning thrower equivalent of a light anti-tank weapon.

NB: A spell accumulator powered single shot disposable lightning bolt thrower with a 50-yard or so range that any slightly gifted Arcanian can activate.

Add to that a pressure activated demo-spell as a mine equivalent, or failing that something that could be activated by a mage-wire remote, and you have a useful portal defense weapon system.


Astelon wrote:It appears that the Arcanas will be hard pressed to stop the Sharonan mechanized forces as they advance. The arcanas have superior mobility with which to harass those forces, and attack supply lines, but that only slows the advance down. Unless dragon lightning or fire can seriously damage the bison or mules of chan Geraith's dragoons then the advance will continue.

Here are two ways I can see Arcana stopping the Sharonan armies.
The first is with favorable terrain. Terrain through which the bisons have trouble maneuvering and fighting, which would allow the Arcanan forces to attack and retreat at will. The Traisum cut would be the perfect example of such a location (except for the fact that the portal can probably be sealed from all dragon traffic). The narrow confines of the cut force the advance down a particular path, and the Arcanans need not even bring their dragons within range to fire at the Sharonans. They'll just use Demolition spells to collapse the walls on the trains below.

The second method is to find a small enough portal. One which Arcana artillery (field dragons can reach half-way across. Then you build two forts one at each end of the portal, with half of each fort covering each aspect of the portal. Construct the fortifications as heavily as you can, with any walls angling away from the portal. Build powerful bunkers to resist Sharonan artillery, and place the field and infantry dragons within them. Then fill the area in front of the portal with tank traps, trap spells, sharpened stakes, and covered pits.

The forts location at the ends of the portal forces artillery to fire on them at an angle, increasing survivability, and forces Sharona to go through the portal to best bring their weapons into play. Then the tank traps and pits will take a toll on the bisons, and the artillery can sweep any manned advance off of the field.

The small portal where this would work could likely be completely interdicted by Sharonan fire. If the Arcanans build a fort in front of the small portal, then Sharonan Artillery will be able to fire on the fort without any effective counter attack. Eventually wearing down and destroying the installation, no matter how heavily it is built.
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Re: Stopping the Sharonan advance
Post by Astelon   » Thu May 28, 2015 4:17 pm

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Except it appears a gifted engineer is required to activate a demolition spell. Considering that "no one could control where the wreckage from a demo spell was going to fall" the Arcanans would have motivation to figure out another way to trigger them.

"Electrically speaking, at lightning's higher frequencies, currents are carried mostly on the outside of conducting objects. A thick copper wire or a hollow-wall metal pipe will carry most of the lightning on outer surfaces. This phenomenon is called "skin effect." The same holds true for lightning when it strikes metal vehicles: the outer surface carries most of the electricity. The persons inside this steel box can be likened to protected by a partial Faraday cage."

http://www.lightningsafety.com/nlsi_pls/vehicle_strike.html

It may be that Arcana's magically induced lightning works differently, but we don't have any proof of that yet.

As for developing new weapons, that will happen; but it takes time. And Arcana (where the development and research is likely to take place) is five or six months travel time away. Can they actually develop and deploy a new weapon system rapidly enough to do any good, say within the year?

Trap spells may show promise, but I suspect that they are all designed as anti personal weapons, Arcanans have probably never seen an armored vehicle.

Mil-tech bard wrote:The armor on Bisons can stop a fireball.

Lightning is electricity. Steel conducts electricity.

Arcania's counter may be as simple as developing the lightning thrower equivalent of a light anti-tank weapon.

NB: A spell accumulator powered single shot disposable lightning bolt thrower with a 50-yard or so range that any slightly gifted Arcanian can activate.

Add to that a pressure activated demo-spell as a mine equivalent, or failing that something that could be activated by a mage-wire remote, and you have a useful portal defense weapon system.
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Re: Stopping the Sharonan advance
Post by brnicholas   » Fri May 29, 2015 8:09 am

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I'm going to limit this post to how the Arcanans can stop chan Geraith's advance. But before I do that there are three things we need to keep in mind.

First, the time factor. As I understand Snippet 3 chan Geraith's main force won't be at the railhead in Resym to start its advance for two months and won't arrive in position to threaten Arcanan supplies for nine weeks after that. I expect delays given how new and complicated this move is for the Sharonans so figure four months minimum six maximum before the Arcanans need to stop the Sharonan advance.

Second, we don't have a clue how many forces Arcana will have available at that point. I can come up with scenarios to justify everything from the Arcanans getting only a few thousand reinforcements in the next six months to sixty thousand.

Third, we don't know when the Arcanans will find out about chan Geraith's attack. Given that the Sharonans will be taking out the first picket months before the Arcanans need to stop chan Geraith and the fact that his main force is going to leave a trail a blind dragon couldn't miss the Arcanans ought to have plenty of time to prepare for him. But a series of lucky breaks, like the ones that kept Sharona ignorant of dragons until Janaki had his glimpse, could give chan Geraith the advantage of surprise.

Still I see three ways Arcana could stop chan Geraith.

First, make the terrain stop him. A journey this long has to cross a number of major rivers. I can't imagine the Bisons are amphibious so they will need to either bridge them or use fords. Given the fact that this column is going to be only about six thousand men and will need to be self supporting I can't imagine they will have an unlimited bridging ability. If the Arcanans destroy fords and possible bridge sites they could force chan Geraith thousands of miles out of his way which effectively stops him.

Second, put a blocking force in front of him. Despite Sharonas advantages in general chan Geraith will only have six thousand men and the ammunition he is carrying with him. If he finds himself facing ten thousand decently dug in Arcanans (and the Arcanans ought to have gotten enough information from studying chan Tesh's fortifications and testing captured weapons to decently dig themselves in) who he can't flank or go around he will lack both the ammunition and the manpower to go through.

Third, ambush him. If they can catch him moving and get a large force (18,000+) close to him before he can get shifted into a defensive formation they can destroy him. Caught spread out, badly outnumbered and with their vehicles not designed for battle but for transport (note the description as Dragoons men who ride into battle but fight on foot) chan Geraith's force would be doomed.

Nicholas
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Re: Stopping the Sharonan advance
Post by tonyz   » Fri May 29, 2015 12:34 pm

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brnicholas wrote:First, the time factor. As I understand Snippet 3 chan Geraith's main force won't be at the railhead in Resym to start its advance for two months and won't arrive in position to threaten Arcanan supplies for nine weeks after that. I expect delays given how new and complicated this move is for the Sharonans so figure four months minimum six maximum before the Arcanans need to stop the Sharonan advance.


Agreed. Let's not forget the impact of winter on the attempts to advance. No doubt the Sharonans will be aware of how to deal with it, but sometimes either snow or rain will make it very difficult for even tracked vehicles to move cross-country -- and let's not forget just how horrible totally unimproved country can be. (Even the really bad areas in Russia in WW II had villages, and wagon ruts, and the knowledge of locals over centuries as to what routes were good going and what weren't -- compare Patton reading the campaigns of William the Conqueror to figure out where his troops could go most easily off-road.) The Bisons may, from time to time, have to go many miles out of their way to avoid forests, swamps, and the like.

brnicholas wrote:Second, we don't have a clue how many forces Arcana will have available at that point. I can come up with scenarios to justify everything from the Arcanans getting only a few thousand reinforcements in the next six months to sixty thousand.


The general impression I got from Arcanan musings in HHNF is that there is not very much combat power in this chain, and it will take a long long time for anyone to get an army out here. So I'm inclined towards the lower end of your estimates. What will happen in a 2-3 year timeframe -- that's a different matter, and goes back to our thread on how large the two inter-universal civilizations are.

brnicholas wrote:Third, we don't know when the Arcanans will find out about chan Geraith's attack. Given that the Sharonans will be taking out the first picket months before the Arcanans need to stop chan Geraith and the fact that his main force is going to leave a trail a blind dragon couldn't miss the Arcanans ought to have plenty of time to prepare for him. But a series of lucky breaks, like the ones that kept Sharona ignorant of dragons until Janaki had his glimpse, could give chan Geraith the advantage of surprise.


I'm guessing that the Arcanans will find out relatively quickly. They almost certainly have at least semi-regular reports, and at some point well before the Bisons cross all the universes separating them, someone will notice that the regular reports aren't coming in the way they used to be. Silence is itself a signal.

brnicholas wrote:Still I see three ways Arcana could stop chan Geraith.

First, make the terrain stop him. A journey this long has to cross a number of major rivers. I can't imagine the Bisons are amphibious so they will need to either bridge them or use fords.


Yes, but there are a lot of possible spaces to find fords or bridges or whatever. Competent engineers can use local materials to construct bridges if necessary, and there are a lot of trees in undeveloped worlds. The Arcanans can probably harass crossings, sneak in night attacks on them, etc., but they don't have the forces in this chain to defend river lines against forces that can go upstream or downstream a dozen miles and cover their crossing site with artillery fire. This can slow the Sharonans but not stop them.

brnicholas wrote:Second, put a blocking force in front of him. Despite Sharonas advantages in general chan Geraith will only have six thousand men and the ammunition he is carrying with him. If he finds himself facing ten thousand decently dug in Arcanans (and the Arcanans ought to have gotten enough information from studying chan Tesh's fortifications and testing captured weapons to decently dig themselves in) who he can't flank or go around he will lack both the ammunition and the manpower to go through.


Portals are probably the only places narrow enough that this can be tried -- remember, the Bisons have an entire world to make flanking moves in! And they know the rough aspects of the terrain, and can plan their route so as not to have to go through too many mountain ranges or across too many major rivers. And defending a portal actually plays to the Sharonon strengths of close-range firepower.

Ten thousand men would be pretty much Harshu's entire force, most of which is deployed near Fort Selby, not in this chain. Big blocking forces aren't yet available.

brnicholas wrote:Third, ambush him. If they can catch him moving and get a large force (18,000+) close to him before he can get shifted into a defensive formation they can destroy him. Caught spread out, badly outnumbered and with their vehicles not designed for battle but for transport (note the description as Dragoons men who ride into battle but fight on foot) chan Geraith's force would be doomed.


Yes, but they don't have large forces available yet. Night attacks with dragons on a camp would probably be very annoying, but there will be very few dragons available in this chain until some time after the Arcanans figure out a counterattack is under way. (Remember, Harshu recalled most of them.) By the time the Arcanans have this size of force in the chain, the rail line being built behind the Bisons will be delivering more brigades to the attack.
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Re: Stopping the Sharonan advance
Post by Mil-tech bard   » Fri May 29, 2015 4:08 pm

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This Arcanian Dragon mobility/surprise trick won't work now that Sharona is aware of them.

brnicholas wrote:I'm going to limit this post to how the Arcanans can stop chan Geraith's advance. But before I do that there are three things we need to keep in mind.

First, the time factor. As I understand Snippet 3 chan Geraith's main force won't be at the railhead in Resym to start its advance for two months and won't arrive in position to threaten Arcanan supplies for nine weeks after that. I expect delays given how new and complicated this move is for the Sharonans so figure four months minimum six maximum before the Arcanans need to stop the Sharonan advance.

Second, we don't have a clue how many forces Arcana will have available at that point. I can come up with scenarios to justify everything from the Arcanans getting only a few thousand reinforcements in the next six months to sixty thousand.

Third, we don't know when the Arcanans will find out about chan Geraith's attack. Given that the Sharonans will be taking out the first picket months before the Arcanans need to stop chan Geraith and the fact that his main force is going to leave a trail a blind dragon couldn't miss the Arcanans ought to have plenty of time to prepare for him. But a series of lucky breaks, like the ones that kept Sharona ignorant of dragons until Janaki had his glimpse, could give chan Geraith the advantage of surprise.

Still I see three ways Arcana could stop chan Geraith.

First, make the terrain stop him. A journey this long has to cross a number of major rivers. I can't imagine the Bisons are amphibious so they will need to either bridge them or use fords. Given the fact that this column is going to be only about six thousand men and will need to be self supporting I can't imagine they will have an unlimited bridging ability. If the Arcanans destroy fords and possible bridge sites they could force chan Geraith thousands of miles out of his way which effectively stops him.

Second, put a blocking force in front of him. Despite Sharonas advantages in general chan Geraith will only have six thousand men and the ammunition he is carrying with him. If he finds himself facing ten thousand decently dug in Arcanans (and the Arcanans ought to have gotten enough information from studying chan Tesh's fortifications and testing captured weapons to decently dig themselves in) who he can't flank or go around he will lack both the ammunition and the manpower to go through.

Third, ambush him. If they can catch him moving and get a large force (18,000+) close to him before he can get shifted into a defensive formation they can destroy him. Caught spread out, badly outnumbered and with their vehicles not designed for battle but for transport (note the description as Dragoons men who ride into battle but fight on foot) chan Geraith's force would be doomed.

Nicholas


The ability of the Sharonan's to put together ground observer networks like General Claire Lee Chennault did 1938-46 in China bears greatly on the Arcanian ability to mass forces, whether in surprise or not.

Voices and flickers serve as telecommunications for such a network -- which used telephones for Chennault -- and the Arcanians have very little idea what a flicker network organized around around a voice can do in terms of early warning of mass Dragon movements.

Once a moving Sharonan force is aware of mass dragon movements. It can assume a defensive posture that will preclude getting ambushed while strung out.

Forewarned is forearmed with Talent surveillance.
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Re: Stopping the Sharonan advance
Post by Mil-tech bard   » Fri May 29, 2015 5:13 pm

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Having seen the results of a M-60A3 antenna hit a overhead German light rail high tension electrical wire, I will disagree with the insurance industry analysis.

Mixing Electricity and either high explosives or gun propellent is...violent...in a way that lightning striking an automobile is not.

Put another way...REMEMBER THE USS MAINE.

Astelon wrote:Except it appears a gifted engineer is required to activate a demolition spell. Considering that "no one could control where the wreckage from a demo spell was going to fall" the Arcanans would have motivation to figure out another way to trigger them.

"Electrically speaking, at lightning's higher frequencies, currents are carried mostly on the outside of conducting objects. A thick copper wire or a hollow-wall metal pipe will carry most of the lightning on outer surfaces. This phenomenon is called "skin effect." The same holds true for lightning when it strikes metal vehicles: the outer surface carries most of the electricity. The persons inside this steel box can be likened to protected by a partial Faraday cage."

http://www.lightningsafety.com/nlsi_pls/vehicle_strike.html

It may be that Arcana's magically induced lightning works differently, but we don't have any proof of that yet.

As for developing new weapons, that will happen; but it takes time. And Arcana (where the development and research is likely to take place) is five or six months travel time away. Can they actually develop and deploy a new weapon system rapidly enough to do any good, say within the year?

Trap spells may show promise, but I suspect that they are all designed as anti personal weapons, Arcanans have probably never seen an armored vehicle.

Mil-tech bard wrote:The armor on Bisons can stop a fireball.

Lightning is electricity. Steel conducts electricity.

Arcania's counter may be as simple as developing the lightning thrower equivalent of a light anti-tank weapon.

NB: A spell accumulator powered single shot disposable lightning bolt thrower with a 50-yard or so range that any slightly gifted Arcanian can activate.

Add to that a pressure activated demo-spell as a mine equivalent, or failing that something that could be activated by a mage-wire remote, and you have a useful portal defense weapon system.
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Re: Stopping the Sharonan advance
Post by SCC   » Fri May 29, 2015 7:06 pm

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tonyz wrote:Ten thousand men would be pretty much Harshu's entire force, most of which is deployed near Fort Selby, not in this chain. Big blocking forces aren't yet available.

Pity that he only has 4,000 and change then
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Re: Stopping the Sharonan advance
Post by Astelon   » Fri May 29, 2015 7:25 pm

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Posts: 203
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Mil-tech bard wrote:Having seen the results of a M-60A3 antenna hit a overhead German light rail high tension electrical wire, I will disagree with the insurance industry analysis.

Mixing Electricity and either high explosives or gun propellent is...violent...in a way that lightning striking an automobile is not.

Put another way...REMEMBER THE USS MAINE.


Do you mean the USS Maine (ACR-1)? Best guess says she was destroyed when a coal bunker fire ignited the magazines.
A magazine explosion will do the job, I just question whether lightning will even get to the magazines. I can find no information on any such occurrence to an armored vehicle or ship. if you have any such information, please share.

By the way what exactly happened to the M-60? Electronics failure, or total and catastrophic destruction?
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