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Landmines and Siddarmark

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Landmines and Siddarmark
Post by Erls   » Wed Feb 26, 2020 12:53 pm

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A brief search didn't turn up this topic (may have missed it), but anyway..

The biggest problem with landmines, one we are still dealing with on Earth, is what happens with all of the ones that were planted but not triggered. A (luckily not too common) tragedy is when, after a conflict, a civilian is out farming or gardening and triggers an old mine. Assuming that Charis (and the Temple, of course) didn't implant electronic GPS finders to detonators to allow for the easy destruction of mines once the front moved, a few questions come to mind:

First, did either side have the foresight to thoroughly map the location of all mines? Second, was their an extensive effort to clear all mines once the front had moved and peace was achieved? Third, what impact may any yet to be detonated mines have on the situation in Siddarmark?

Mapping: I have to believe that Charis at least had the foresight to require its commanders to create a detailed map of every minefield placed. While they could not be accurate to the foot, much less a yard/meter, Charis could map the location of the minefield along with the rough location within the field of the mines. Additionally, Charis could track the number and type of each mine placed. This would at least allow for a mine-clearing operation which thoroughly thrashed the field. Think of a machine that was pushed by a dragon and consisted of a iron (1 inch plate) shield protecting the dragon and, in front of the shield, chain-thrasher that rotated with the wheels. The Temple was unlikely to track every field, meaning more intensive work would be needed to find and dispose of them.

Effort: See above. How did Charis, Siddarmark, and the Temple actually work to clear the fields. I offered the above as an example of something that would be well within the tech of Safehold and effective, but there are likely other options.

Siddarmark: What happens if in the next book we see a number of Siddarmarkians killed by mines as they rebuild old farms/clear old forests. Is this used to increase the distrust of Charis and stir passions? "Charis planted all of these damn mines on OUR soil, when they clearly didn't need to based on how badly they beat the Temple, and now we are dying."

I would be really interested if any of this comes back in the next book. Especially because I could see an incident of a prominent Siddarmarkian losing a relative to an old landmine and that being the impetuous for a further deterioration of Charisian-Siddarmarkian relations (as well as a place for another RFC data-dump, going into detail as a character ruminates about all the steps taken to try and prevent this incidents from occurring).

Thoughts?
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Re: Landmines and Siddarmark
Post by Dilandu   » Wed Feb 26, 2020 2:10 pm

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With all respect, but Safehold mines are very-very primitive devices. They probably would degrade rather quickly.
------------------------------

Oh well, if shortening the front is what the Germans crave,
Let's shorten it to very end - the length of Fuhrer's grave.

(Red Army lyrics from 1945)
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Re: Landmines and Siddarmark
Post by WeberFan   » Wed Feb 26, 2020 3:48 pm

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I recall textev explicitly talking about degradation of the SEA bombs, and I also recall textev discussing the Church's mines having wooden cases.

Land mines of the kind used by both sides in Siddarmark had black powder as their explosive. Black powder is a mixture, not a chemical compound, so it doesn't inherently degrade over time. If it gets wet, you can just dry it out and press on (in fact, the black powder used by Charis from the earliest days was made by wetting the ingredients, combining them thoroughly, then - when dry - carefully grinding the mix to the desired consistency).

BUT... if the case decomposes over time - as it would in the scenario of a mine that has been placed "shallowly" (to create my own word), then natural weathering would begin to distribute the powder in and among the surrounding soil.

Remember too that the powder required a primer to deflagrate. A primer made (in the case of Charis, with the Church likely similar) from "a drop of fulminated mercury with a cap of varnish." This will certainly degrade over time until the primer will no longer work. IIRC, it'll get more sensitive initially, then it'll degrade. But high-school chemistry was SUCH a long time ago, and those brain cells are mostly gone now.
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Re: Landmines and Siddarmark
Post by PlaysWithBees   » Wed Feb 26, 2020 6:50 pm

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Just one other consideration would be that thi Inner Circle would not want that sort of bad publicity..

I could easily see a quiet removal / neutralization program run by Owl and Nahrman.
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Re: Landmines and Siddarmark
Post by Castenea   » Fri Feb 28, 2020 12:49 pm

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WeberFan wrote:I recall textev explicitly talking about degradation of the SEA bombs, and I also recall textev discussing the Church's mines having wooden cases.

Land mines of the kind used by both sides in Siddarmark had black powder as their explosive. Black powder is a mixture, not a chemical compound, so it doesn't inherently degrade over time. If it gets wet, you can just dry it out and press on (in fact, the black powder used by Charis from the earliest days was made by wetting the ingredients, combining them thoroughly, then - when dry - carefully grinding the mix to the desired consistency).

BUT... if the case decomposes over time - as it would in the scenario of a mine that has been placed "shallowly" (to create my own word), then natural weathering would begin to distribute the powder in and among the surrounding soil.

Remember too that the powder required a primer to deflagrate. A primer made (in the case of Charis, with the Church likely similar) from "a drop of fulminated mercury with a cap of varnish." This will certainly degrade over time until the primer will no longer work. IIRC, it'll get more sensitive initially, then it'll degrade. But high-school chemistry was SUCH a long time ago, and those brain cells are mostly gone now.
Only problem with your degradation theory is that in the US Explosive Ordnance Disposal is still called upon at least once a year to dispose of explosive shells dating to the war from 1861-1865. These shells are very similar to those used by Charis. Then there are the EOD teams in France and Belgium called on to dispose of scarier ordnance dating to the unpleasantness of 1914-1918.

I could also easily see Owl/Nahrman directing SNARCs to disarm/remove unused mines.
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Re: Landmines and Siddarmark
Post by Dilandu   » Fri Feb 28, 2020 3:01 pm

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Castenea wrote:
I could also easily see Owl/Nahrman directing SNARCs to disarm/remove unused mines.


Their resources are hardly unlimited, I must point out. And as far as I could recall, they did not volunteer into Safeholdian Rescue Rangers (anyway they do not have a mouse).

The understanding that wars have a long-lasting consequences is important for developement of modern industrial civilization. Landmines are the perfect demonstration, that would haunt for years.
------------------------------

Oh well, if shortening the front is what the Germans crave,
Let's shorten it to very end - the length of Fuhrer's grave.

(Red Army lyrics from 1945)
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Re: Landmines and Siddarmark
Post by SilverbladeTE   » Fri Feb 28, 2020 4:06 pm

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Black powder DOES tend to degrade over time because it's not perfect. (modern black powder substitutes are much better, of course and even pure blackpowder is enormously more standardised than you'd see in say, 1860)
Every lot differs, and some makers suck, or had bad ingredients etc

Then you add in tendency to absorb moisture,
and
most of the cases won't be made to the incredible precision of 21st century manufacture (especially in the Church's side)
so leaks occur.

and so on.

So over time MOST, not all but he great majority of black powder mines would degrade significantly.
they may just burn, they may only partially explode or be total duds.

yeah unexploded munitions are an enormous peril and should never EVER be taken lightly or *touched at all* if discovered :(
better to feel foolish by calling the bomb squad, than lose a limb

next war cycle, the EMperors forces will probably use dynamite based mines and Charis might have perhaps until they had TNT

Dynamite has a major problem in that nitroglycerine freezes at +13C note that, PLUS 13C
when nitro freezes it gets unstable, when it thaws then it gets EXTREMELY unstable
if it wasn't manufactured to high quality it often WILL spontaneously explode on thawing and good chance on freezing
and, over time, it degrades regardless of how good it was made
this is why even nowadays dynamite is always to be used within 1 year of manufacture
that's why safe crackers kept nitro in a thickly padded bottle on their own bodies, to keep it warm!

Gelignite, which is usually nitroglycerin based is more stable but still has such issues due to nitro base (and also requires nitrocellulose or such as mixing agents).

note these issues are why a sea mine, likely to a LOT of movement and cold, it's not a good idea to use dynamite!
shock sensitive explosives can be VERY touchy when enclosed by a solid steel casing

the development of TNT hugely reduced risk...but again over time in the ground it degrades and some byproducts are extremely sensitive
usually it's the FUSES that are the most sensitive and deadly of all
note TNT is toxic and so are its residues when it explodes, TNT pollution is a major problem in our world

the development of RDX explosive resulted in much safer military munitions but that's kind of advanced and expensive hence even mow most weapons use a mix of TNT and RDX
RDX is insensitive to fire and shock, hit it with a sledgehammer, or toss it on a fire it won't go off (it will burn though)
Last edited by SilverbladeTE on Fri Feb 28, 2020 4:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Landmines and Siddarmark
Post by SilverbladeTE   » Fri Feb 28, 2020 4:17 pm

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Castenea wrote:
WeberFan wrote:I recall textev explicitly talking about degradation of the SEA bombs, and I also recall textev discussing the Church's mines having wooden cases.

Land mines of the kind used by both sides in Siddarmark had black powder as their explosive. Black powder is a mixture, not a chemical compound, so it doesn't inherently degrade over time. If it gets wet, you can just dry it out and press on (in fact, the black powder used by Charis from the earliest days was made by wetting the ingredients, combining them thoroughly, then - when dry - carefully grinding the mix to the desired consistency).

BUT... if the case decomposes over time - as it would in the scenario of a mine that has been placed "shallowly" (to create my own word), then natural weathering would begin to distribute the powder in and among the surrounding soil.

Remember too that the powder required a primer to deflagrate. A primer made (in the case of Charis, with the Church likely similar) from "a drop of fulminated mercury with a cap of varnish." This will certainly degrade over time until the primer will no longer work. IIRC, it'll get more sensitive initially, then it'll degrade. But high-school chemistry was SUCH a long time ago, and those brain cells are mostly gone now.
Only problem with your degradation theory is that in the US Explosive Ordnance Disposal is still called upon at least once a year to dispose of explosive shells dating to the war from 1861-1865. These shells are very similar to those used by Charis. Then there are the EOD teams in France and Belgium called on to dispose of scarier ordnance dating to the unpleasantness of 1914-1918.

I could also easily see Owl/Nahrman directing SNARCs to disarm/remove unused mines.


you can never ever tell, whether such a device, used on the battlefield, is rendered inert or not.
some will be, some won't
foolish to take a risk that could kill or maim....

Freaks me out seeing videos of metal detectorists etc digging up WW2 grenades and the like, ugh!!!

here in Scotland, the scumbag British government dumped over a million tons of explosives, bullets and chemical weapons into Beaufort's Dyke, a sea trench, between Scotland and Ireland, every week there are several large underwater explosions there as the rusting bombs etc trigger off randomly :(
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beaufort%27s_Dyke

In WW1 especially early on, blackpowder was still used as the main bursting charge in many country's field artillery
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Re: Landmines and Siddarmark
Post by SilverbladeTE   » Fri Feb 28, 2020 4:51 pm

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Erls
considering how very large the mines used in the conflict were, compared to our world and time, the risk of them harming someone nearby is quite severe
though they don't have the explosive force of TNT, they are extremely large for antipersonnel weapons, and filled with a lot of musketballs
that means their lethal ranges and % of hitting someone is quite serious

I think RFC made some mistakes in his mine descriptions though (been ages since read those passages though)
a claymore with 500 .60 calibre musket balls would weigh 25lbs, or 14lbs if .50 cal, just for the lead balls!
modern claymore mine weighs just 3.5lbs (oddly not far off real weight of the sword, contrary to some fiction combat swords are NOT heavy)



anyway, having such things as a source of fear, harm to innocent civilian and social problems is quite good idea
such weapons have no conscience and maim all, regardless, suddenly with no warning, thus cause severe harm not just to victims but to society as a whole.

landmine/cluster bomb ban was a very worthwhile idea in our world
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Re: Landmines and Siddarmark
Post by isaac_newton   » Mon Mar 02, 2020 6:08 am

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SilverbladeTE wrote: SNIP

Freaks me out seeing videos of metal detectorists etc digging up WW2 grenades and the like, ugh!!!

here in Scotland, the scumbag British government dumped over a million tons of explosives, bullets and chemical weapons into Beaufort's Dyke, a sea trench, between Scotland and Ireland, every week there are several large underwater explosions there as the rusting bombs etc trigger off randomly :(
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beaufort%27s_Dyke



We had a neighbour in our town center street - just over the road who was a bit 'odd'. It was a town house, so the building was right next to the pavement, with a little set of Victorian railings [metal] outside

IIRC he electrified the railings to 'keep away' people who were annoying him. :-)

As you can imagine, the police were called in, and on inspection found a working pistol and a live WW2 grenade!!

As you can also imagine, the street was blocked off and a bomb disposal team called in.



On the Beaufort dyke... this is the very area that mega brain Bozo Johnson was thinking of building a bridge between N Ireland and Scotland
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