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What is next at the Front

"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!
Re: What is next at the Front
Post by Bewildered   » Sun May 31, 2015 6:23 am

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They wouldn't need anything particularly fancy. Simple physics should work - if heavy\hot weight passes over then create\exert massive upwards force, and let the train's momentum send it crashing off the tracks. If they figure out how to do an explosion so much the better. That might take a while though. Ideally they'd create a cocoon of sorts around the entire train and then cause an eruption of steel melting heat, but that might be beyond Arcana's arcane abilities. :cry:

Astelon wrote:I don't believe there are any switchbacks in the Traisum cut. It is just one straight cut down to the level of the next universe. Collapsing the walls (demolition spells) would seal the cut at least temporally, once the Arcanas are forced out of the area, it would be dug back out.

Not sure how Arcanan land mines (trap spells) work. They may not be able to effect locomotives and armored vehicles in their current form. I am sure Arcana can develop some that will, but R&D takes time; especially when your researchers are two months communication time from the front.
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Re: What is next at the Front
Post by Jonathan_S   » Sun May 31, 2015 9:54 am

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Castenea wrote:The rail will require a stock pile of burnables, a warehouse of spareparts, and housing for the skilled personell who do repairs. Maintaining those will cause the creation of a small city. As you form the city farmland to feed the city will be developed (most years with at least a small surplus to that cities needs). Those closer to the front may be stockpiling cordwood, but coal is a better fuel and I believe it stores better, so more developed universes would have one or more coal mines supplying the fuel.
Actually one surprising fact I learned (from a thesis paper on the Royal Navy's Fuel supplies and the transition from coal to oil) is that coal doesn't store that well. (IIRC the RN found that in warm climates Welsh coal lost 30% of it's calorific value per year) The RN actually had a practice, in their overseas bases, of reselling coal to merchant ships to make sure the stockpiles were getting turned over; with older coal getting burn and replaced with fresh coal.

When they pulled back many of their ships under Fisher it reduced the number stationed at foreign bases; but war plans still required those bases to retain large stockpiles to support rushing the fleet there for operations. The Admiralty switched much of their foreign base coal stockpiles to more expensive patent fuel (lasts without deterioration for 5 years) to mitigate this reduced turnover.

OTOH, coal doesn't need the 1 year seasoning time that you want for cut wood; so you need a much bigger wood stockpile if you including the stuff that's still drying.
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Re: What is next at the Front
Post by Howard T. Map-addict   » Mon Jun 01, 2015 9:24 am

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Yes, the Traisum Cut runs through (one of the aspects
of) the Portal itself, so Harshuforce can use it and
the land between the Portal and Ft. Selby, up to the
limits of the fort's outer defenses (that machinegun post).

Whether Harshuforce has garrisoned the cut, or built
fixed defenses near it, we've not been told.
They might be keeping their units in camps a few miles
away, perhaps near freshwater sources, and flying the
units to the portal as needed.

HTM (has Snippet 4 been posted yet?

SCC wrote:I'll have to double check things (And I don't know which chapters to check) but from the way the geography is described I think that Fort Shalby is before the cut, so the Arcanians currently hold it
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Re: What is next at the Front
Post by Dathi   » Mon Jun 01, 2015 12:19 pm

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BUILDING rail in winter conditions is very, very difficult. Is that what you're talking about?

But OPERATING rail isn't. Even massive snow fall in mountains only blocks rail lines briefly in the Rockies of North America, and -40weather barely impedes operation of trains across the Canadian prairies (not that we get that much cold often).

I'm wondering where people are getting the 20mile/day figure. In our world, the best numbers ever achieved was 10 miles in one day, by a specially prepared Union Pacific team, with stockpiled supplies, etc.

20 miles a day, every day, building Breitspurbahn? I can't imagine it.

Heck, if I were the Sharonans, I'd build 'narrow gauge' (probably about what we'd consider standard gauge) rail on cheap roadbed to build a quick and dirty supply line to support the massive machinery, etc., needed to build a GOOD bed for the heavy track.

When Van Horne was building the CPR across the Canadian Prairies, he'd have horse scrapers turning over prairie sod, and build the rail on that - leaving the proper ballasting with rock and gravel to happen once the quick and dirty track was in. Doing that allowed the track builders to move about as fast as the surveyors surveying the track.


How the heck would surveyors manage to move fast enough to properly survey track with a hypothetical building rate of 20 miles a day!!!???
brnicholas wrote:
Aegis99 wrote:I think you're forgetting that Fort Salby sits in Saudi Arabia, winter is not going to be a negative factor there. Meanwhile in Karys we know the link between portals is in the Caspian Depression, but not where in the Depression. That is important because you could be talking about the warmer southern regions, or the more Siberian north, but if I had to guess Weber was thinking more the southern reaches of the Depression which would experience that hotter climate as described in the books.

Though your other points are well taken about the nature of the logistics problem both sides face and the huge obstacle Arcana is going to face in reinforcing the frontier.


Thank you for questioning that, you drove me to look it up. It was the trip across Karys I was thinking of. The intro to HHNF gives us cities at the approximate location of each portal and the index at the end of the book gives us Earth equivalents for those cities. The route across Karys runs from Ashgabat, Turkmenistan to Astana, Kazakhstan. According to Wikipedia, Ashgabat doesn't fall below freezing much but Astana has an "extreme continental climate" and is the second coldest capital city in the world and famous for high winds. It sounds like Kansas. So you are right Sharona can start advancing whenever they feel they have the resources to do so but I doubt they can build the second half of that railroad until winter passes.

Nicholas
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Re: What is next at the Front
Post by Dathi   » Mon Jun 01, 2015 12:30 pm

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Water, yes. But that's relatively easy to get with minimal infrastructure.

Coal. Indeed. Hauling coal through several universes to support the next move would be crazy. It would probably be worth it to build several hundred miles of track to get to a decent coal source (if available) in most of the universes you travel through. Some track and some miners are a horrible expense or resource allocation. If you want to start building coking plants and ironworks, that's going to get more expensive in terms of upfront costs (both money, and more importantly, logistics capacity getting the machinery and support structure up to where it's needed.) The latter may still be worth it.

Food.
Instigating a Homestead Act in appropriate bits of land well forward is NECESSARY.

Food is heavy, and the fight is surely going to last years.

Moving a few (tens of) thousand(s of) farmers, their horses and minimal farm tools out to the Universe next to the front (or one back from that), will be a HUGE advantage in a couple of years, saving unbelievable amounts of supply in the intervening worlds. Food in this case is not just rations for soldiers, but fodder for livestock - which is VERY bulky and heavy.



Castenea wrote:
Astelon wrote:At some point the front will stabilize somewhere (one of the smaller gates most likely) while both sides try to build the forces to punch out the other. I suspsect that the longer it goes the more the balance tips in the favor of Sharonan Machinery, until the Arcanans get desperate enough to use WMD spells.
Two major issues to under stand if this drags on, is how large of a force can each side sustain at the front. This will be a factor of both supply line capacity and how far back on the supply lines the supplies come. A help for both sides on supplies is that the maintenance of the supply lines will have brought forward some of the food production toward the front, the downside is that those support nodes are unlikely to produce or store significant surpluses, and require goods from farther back on the supply lines.

A rail road will require periodic water and sanding stations, those tasked with maintaining this will likely have brought their family to live with them, and produce at a min. surplus vegetables in season. I would believe that sliders would require something similar. Food produced near the front requires much less transport than food produced all the way back at the homeworld.
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Re: What is next at the Front
Post by Howard T. Map-addict   » Mon Jun 01, 2015 12:54 pm

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Dathi,

the 20 miles/day figure is gotten by comparing the UP's
technology in 1867 (when they did the 10) to the tech
of 1902. The additional 35 years led to much more
steam-powered equipment, which a couple posters (not
myself) estimated would double construction rates.

It might not be a perfect estimate, but it seems to be
"good enough for novelist's work."

HTM

Dathi wrote:
{snip - htm}

I'm wondering where people are getting the 20-mile/day figure. In our world, the best numbers ever achieved was 10 miles in one day, by a specially prepared Union Pacific team, with stockpiled supplies, etc.

20 miles a day, every day, building Breitspurbahn?
I can't imagine it.

{snip}

How the heck would surveyors manage to move fast enough to properly survey track with a hypothetical building rate of 20 miles a day!!!???

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Re: What is next at the Front
Post by Castenea   » Mon Jun 01, 2015 4:01 pm

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Dathi wrote:Water, yes. But that's relatively easy to get with minimal infrastructure.

Coal. Indeed. Hauling coal through several universes to support the next move would be crazy. It would probably be worth it to build several hundred miles of track to get to a decent coal source (if available) in most of the universes you travel through. Some track and some miners are a horrible expense or resource allocation. If you want to start building coking plants and ironworks, that's going to get more expensive in terms of upfront costs (both money, and more importantly, logistics capacity getting the machinery and support structure up to where it's needed.) The latter may still be worth it.

Food.
Instigating a Homestead Act in appropriate bits of land well forward is NECESSARY.

Food is heavy, and the fight is surely going to last years.

Moving a few (tens of) thousand(s of) farmers, their horses and minimal farm tools out to the Universe next to the front (or one back from that), will be a HUGE advantage in a couple of years, saving unbelievable amounts of supply in the intervening worlds. Food in this case is not just rations for soldiers, but fodder for livestock - which is VERY bulky and heavy.
Water and Sanding stations do not require a lot of infrastructure, but what infrastructure they do require will quickly become a whistlestop as it requires maintenance at fairly short intervals. How do you get the water into the water tower? Wind or water powered pump, especially windmills if they are to operate efficiently need to have their bearings greased frequently.

As for the Farmers being located near the front, I very much agree with you. The farms may take 2-5 years to reach full production, but if you have any fear the war will last that long those farms are invaluable.
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Re: What is next at the Front
Post by Howard T. Map-addict   » Mon Jun 01, 2015 5:07 pm

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On page 125, HHNF, after The Fiery Escape,
chan Baskey & Arthag discuss what Skirvon confessed to.

Arcana plans to advance till they find "a good place
to defend." However, failing that, they plan to use
their dragons & cavalry to attack Sharona's supply lines.

Those of us who have been harping on this idea,
probably have some memory of that discussion.

HTM
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Re: What is next at the Front
Post by Astelon   » Tue Jun 02, 2015 12:58 am

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Bewildered wrote:They wouldn't need anything particularly fancy. Simple physics should work - if heavy\hot weight passes over then create\exert massive upwards force, and let the train's momentum send it crashing off the tracks. If they figure out how to do an explosion so much the better. That might take a while though. Ideally they'd create a cocoon of sorts around the entire train and then cause an eruption of steel melting heat, but that might be beyond Arcana's arcane abilities.


That goes back to questions of how trap spells are designed and what they can do. Can you put enough power into one to make it lift a locomotive? Levitating a dragon took a spell controlled by a gifted engineer, Sharonan locomotives probably weigh close to what a dragon does and the biggest likely weigh much more.

As for the cocoon of heat, I would instead try for a straight lance of extremely hot fire. Cut a hole through the boiler, and the train will stop moving shortly.

Now I am wondering if Arcana has developed any weapons for attacking slider cars. If they have that is an ideal place to start developing weapons to attack trains and armored vehicles (Bisons). It may even be worth transporting some of those weapons to the front to see how well they do without modification.
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Re: What is next at the Front
Post by SCC   » Tue Jun 02, 2015 4:37 am

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Astelon wrote:Now I am wondering if Arcana has developed any weapons for attacking slider cars. If they have that is an ideal place to start developing weapons to attack trains and armored vehicles (Bisons). It may even be worth transporting some of those weapons to the front to see how well they do without modification.

Um, what? Slider cars flimsy, probably the only reason they don't use Japanese-style paper walls and doors is that no culture they know of uses them. Well that and some minor environmental concerns in certain universe
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