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Tanks on Safehold

This fascinating series is a combination of historical seafaring, swashbuckling adventure, and high technological science-fiction. Join us in a discussion!
Re: Tanks on Safehold
Post by Talkregh   » Thu May 20, 2021 6:13 pm

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1) Tanks moved on strategic distances mostly by ships, railroads or road trailers. Tanks do not move for long distances on their own. The tracks are quickly worn-out on paved roads (and the roads didn't like it too).


I stand corrected, I should have specified that I was thinking once deployed. Strategic movement is done by other means, yes I was not thinking of this or thought it was in question.
Once deployed though, tank units have moved, on their own, incredible distances. If they are not pulled back from the front, and for the duration of the campaign, they keep going. There´s plenty of evidence of this, from the German campaign in France in 1940, to Barbarossa, with some incredible examples. Patton´s drive to the Rhine, or the soviet offensive of 1944, are examples of tank units moving thousands of miles by their own.

In 1920-1930s, there was a problem of moving tanks from railroad station to the frontlines - because tracks of this time were of low durability, and any prolonged road trip could worn them out. That's why many nations became interested in the concept of tanks, capable of moving both on tracks and wheels (Christie tank and its Soviet BT-series descendants). But by the end of 1930s, progress in metallurgy allowed to make durable tracks, so the problem was solved.


I´m unsure about what do you mean here. That the tracks were more resistant and therefore they can use roads or cross country indifferently? If that´s the case, we will have to agree to disagree and all I can do is respectfully point out to you the historical cases in which the absence of paved or minimum quality roads hindered mechanized operations. Particularly in Autumn 1941 for example, the advance towards Moscow is halted JUST because the mud. It even has a name in Russia.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rasputitsa

I didn´t mean just the tanks. I meant for mechanized warfare and all necessary services that go with it. Includying all the logistics that an armored force needs. By necessity, tank units are followed by supply convoys that are simply not capable of stepping away from the road net. You can find an analysis here by the actual german Chief of Transportation during the war, dated 1953.

https://www.allworldwars.com/Comments-on-Russian-Roads-and-Higways-by-Max-Bork.html

I would direct your attention to this bit of the conclussions.

The capacity of the Russian rail and road net under went considerable seasonal variations. During the muddy season in the spring and fall, which usually lasted for eight weeks, a very heavy burden was placed on the railroad because most of the roads became impassable. Consequently, the capacity of the rail net had to be checked and improved in advance of these seasons, and the railheads had to be moved as close as possible to the front line.



2) You are trying to view tanks as WW2-era weapons. Try to think instead in WW1 categories: tanks as infantry support weapon, armored "machinegun suppressors"
.

Yes, I specifically said so didn´t I? Mechanized warfare, which does not include WW1. But even at that, I don´t think it´s a good example or a good way for Charis to introduce the tank. They were only successfull when employed en masse, and without a developed doctrine or communications they never could exploit the breaches they got into the front. It has been argued that the most important achievement of the tank in WW1 weren´t the breaches in the German front, but the impact those breaches had, psicologically, in the German High Command, specifically Ludendorff, since they couldn´t stop it and couldn´t avoid the Allies doing it anytime, anywhere they could gather the strenght. Death by a thousand cuts.

If Charis were to employ the same approach and go for a Mark IV, the F17 or a combination of both, they would be introducing a weapon without the doctrine they know it enables, and running the risk someone else does it for them. Not only that, it wouldn´t be the force multiplier Charis needs. It would be a door knocker for pitched fights like what we saw in the last year of fighting in Siddarmark, but nothing else.

3) Again, radio is not needed as long as you use tanks for direct infantry support. Infantry platoons were not equipped by radios till WW2 (and even then, only US could afford it). Tank designed to operate with infantry does not need radio - better it have signal button on its rear, so infantry could attract attention of the tank commander (Japanese tanks have such arrangement from 1930s)


The british experimented with this in the 20s, with Liddell Hart and Fuller as thinkers. The British Army established the Experimental Mechanized Force in 1927, and by 1934 decided to create a Mobile Division... and in typically british fashion the establishment fought back so hard it only became a reality in 1937. The point is that the Salisbury exercises, and similar exercises showed that for unit coordination, for mechanized warfare, you needed radios in the tanks. The UK, USA and GER did use them, and other countries were starting to.
There is the same difference here. You don´t need radio for an infantry tank in a WW1 capacity. You do need it for mechanized warfare.

4) Why don't concentrate on something much more adequate, like Char B1? Slow, well-armored, compact infantry support tank, armed with hull-mounted gun and turret-mounted machinegun would be an order of magnitude simpler and more valuable.


There are a myriad of reasons why the Char B1 was a flawed design even being a good tank for 1940. First, the commander was the only person in the turret, and had to be commander, spotter, gunner and loader at the same time. The 75mm was a howitzer and needed to traverse the whole body to aim. More importantly, it was slow and had limited range having to refuel frequently.

Again, if you want WW1 this was a good doorknocker, but in actual not just mechanized, but movement warfare, it was outclassed. Deployed with the infantry in what was called Divisions Cuirassées, and needing to refuel so frequently, when they retreated they were left behind. We are talking most of around 190 tanks in 3 divisions if I remember correctly, out of action (1940 german offensive) because they were in the wrong place, for the wrong reason, with the wrong characteristics, and simply were left behind. Again, doctrine.

It could have been different. When employed in hastily organized tank divisions in combination with the Somua S35 it was very effective, and very resistant to german guns (Guderian comments on this, having tried even to use a captured french 47mm anti tank gun to no avail).

Also, Panther was not "best" in any way. Look on their post-war service; while captured Pz-IV served for quite a long, Panthers were quite soon removed from arsenals.


Each thing in their context. The Panzer V was a complex machine and more expensive by far than the IV. It was also, from 1944 onwards, the best medium tank avalabile to the Wehrmacht and one of the best tanks of the war. It had better armor, more speed, fired faster, and a better high velocity gun that was superior to most of allied guns, including soviet ones. To illustrate this, I leave you the copy of a soviet report testing guns between it and the T34/85.

A Wa Pruef 1 report dated 5 October 1944 estimated that when set at a 30-degree angle the T-34-85's upper glacis could be penetrated by the Panther's 7.5 cm KwK 42 from 300 m (330 yd), the mantlet from 1,200 m (1,300 yd) and the turret front from 2,000 m (2,200 yd) while the T-34-85's 85 mm ZiS-S-53 could penetrate the Panther's frontal turret from 500 m (550 yd).


That´s 4 times the range.

Nevertheless, if I were to choose a design I would also choose the IV. Reliable, so well thought it was upgraded constantly from 1939 to 1945. Cheaper, and less complex. There were better tanks, like the T34, but not as easily modified (for the 85mm gun the turret had to be totally redesigned in the T34 for example).

5) The main concept of tanks, is to break the enemy frontline defenses fast.


I don´t know what the relation to what I said is. I would say that, in combination with other arms, they do break the front fast but the key is that they EXPLOIT the breach fast, turning static warfare into movement warfare. They do save lives compared to trench warfare, by the buckload.

Invigorating conversation thank you. I would summarize that you obviously favour a WW1 approach as Charis best option. I disagree with you in that sense, IF they are going to go the tank route and IF they CAN technically go there they should go all the way, specially in what regards to military thinking.
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Re: Tanks on Safehold
Post by mhicks   » Thu May 20, 2021 11:15 pm

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So what i am taking away from your discussion is that Safehold is still not to WWI status yet. That for tanks to be useful for anything other than busting through barbed wire and trenches, they need radios. The only way we will see tanks on the battle field is once the platform is neutralized and electricity can be used to make radio waves.

As for the road conditions i was under the impression that the Angles had mad the first roads and canals. that they had set up a standard to follow and the standard was close to what the Romans did in their realm. If so a good roman coble stone road, well maintained mind you, should be able to take on the demands of most WWII era tanks. Heck they can take the beating from the draft dragons and the loads they pull in the carts.

It seams that the love affair with steam and steampunk are going to fizzle without electricity. Even steampunk has limited electricity.

The next book is going to focus on the chess game between what is under the temple and the platform. Makes me think of Monty Python and the Holy Grail when the knights are fighting the rabbit.
GALAHAD: Let us taunt it! It may become so cross that it will make a mistake.
ARTHUR: Like what?
GALAHAD: Well... ooh.
LANCELOT: Have we got bows?
ARTHUR: No.
LANCELOT: We have the Holy Hand Grenade.
ARTHUR: Yes, of course! The Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch! 'Tis one of the sacred relics Brother Maynard carries with him! Brother Maynard! Bring up the Holy Hand Grenade!
:lol: great movie
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Re: Tanks on Safehold
Post by Talkregh   » Fri May 21, 2021 6:30 am

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So what i am taking away from your discussion is that Safehold is still not to WWI status yet.


I think a disclaimer is in order here. In discussions like above I try not to give an opinion, but the data I have. Said that, in my opinion with what I can see, no, Safehold as a whole, or even Charis, are not WW1 status in this regard yet. As a token just consider that Western Europe, and powers like USA and Japan, had been furiously building railroads since the 1820s to 1914. Safehold has had them for what, 10 years?

I could see Charis being able to design and build the vehicle with some constraints, after all they already have the precision tooling and experience with armor and guns. But without everything else surrounding it.

That for tanks to be useful for anything other than busting through barbed wire and trenches, they need radios. The only way we will see tanks on the battle field is once the platform is neutralized and electricity can be used to make radio waves.


I´m not RFC. And this is a scifi setting in which the IC actively cheats. But yes, without radio OR an equivalent capacity, yes that´s the historical evidence.

As for the road conditions i was under the impression that the Angles had mad the first roads and canals. that they had set up a standard to follow and the standard was close to what the Romans did in their realm. If so a good roman coble stone road, well maintained mind you, should be able to take on the demands of most WWII era tanks. Heck they can take the beating from the draft dragons and the loads they pull in the carts.


I can´t talk about Safehold roads since I don´t remember enough about them, just that Alhverez had to use secondary roads that greatly handicapped his retreat, meaning only the main roads would count. Main Safehold roads would serve the capacity of highways.

But I can talk about Roman roads, and literally like them would be... feasible but not ideal. They were paved, and the top layer made of blocks of stone or lava. But it wasn´t level, the top was elliptical over a concrete base to redirect water to the sides. An armored division would crush the top blocks into the concrete layer and break the stones levelling it all. Not a short term problem, but not ideal for any prolongued traffic.

On the limitations by it for example, in the Encyclopedia Britannica

https://www.britannica.com/topic/tactics/Limitations-of-the-tank

Later, though, it became increasingly clear that there were certain limits to the armoured offensive. Since railways were too inflexible for the purpose, armoured divisions depended on motor convoys for the bulk of their supplies. These convoys themselves made extraordinary demands for fuel, maintenance, and spare parts, with the result that even the most carefully planned, brilliantly led armoured thrusts tended to lose momentum once their spearheads had reached 200 to 250 miles from base. Such an operational reach sufficed to bring down medium-size countries such as Poland and France but not a continent-size country such as the Soviet Union, which was also distinguished by a terrible road system.


It seams that the love affair with steam and steampunk are going to fizzle without electricity. Even steampunk has limited electricity.


Oh steam can still be incredibly usefull and I love what RFC has done with it. And we don´t know what the platform parameters are. But yes, it does look like it would need a way to circumvent it, after all theres no way to hide a radio emitting. And it´s not just tanks, if they go combustion engine or any other similar capacity I would love to see an Imperial Charisian Air Force and Merlin and Co cheating and copying the Spitfire, or the Corsair, etc, but without electricity and radio (or similar) I jsut don´t see it happening.

The next book is going to focus on the chess game between what is under the temple and the platform. Makes me think of Monty Python and the Holy Grail when the knights are fighting the rabbit.
GALAHAD: Let us taunt it! It may become so cross that it will make a mistake.
ARTHUR: Like what?
GALAHAD: Well... ooh.
LANCELOT: Have we got bows?
ARTHUR: No.
LANCELOT: We have the Holy Hand Grenade.
ARTHUR: Yes, of course! The Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch! 'Tis one of the sacred relics Brother Maynard carries with him! Brother Maynard! Bring up the Holy Hand Grenade!
:lol: great movie


Hahaha that´s an excellent example! I really hope we get some light over what is under the Temple, Merlin´s inability to access it (necessary I know, plotwise) and the limits it imposes on their development are by far the more frustrating things in the series by now.

I, for myself, admit to being a greedy selfish reader. I want it all, books and books from more Safehold fighting against Langhornes plan to fighting the Gbaba.
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Re: Tanks on Safehold
Post by Dilandu   » Fri May 21, 2021 10:41 am

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Sigh. Guys, fancy words like "force multiplier" do not somehow cancel the main function of the tank, which was - since it first appeared on the battlefield - exactly the same.

Tank is a breaker of field fortifications.

Not much more, not much less. The first and uppermost function of the tank is to break through the field fortifications, protected by rapid-firing weapon. Infantry could not solve this problem without suffering impractical losses, artillery could not solve this problem without spending impractical time. Tanks could break through the trenches, protected with machineguns and rapid-firing rifles fast and with reasonable losses.

How exactly tanks are used, to support infantry on the static frontline, or to maneuver in the enemy rear, is irrelevant. In both cases, tanks solve the same function: they break through field fortifications. All those fancy "blitzkrieg" (which, by the way, become outdated by the end of WW2, being superseded with Soviet more advanced "deep operation"), essentially boil down to the "tanks are advancing in fast tempo, breaking field fortifications and thus allowing to maintain high speed of offensive".

So please, let's not move into "iff zey could nott make ze fancy German Panzer zey shud nott try". As soon as fast-firing rifles and artillery became the standard - which is already took place on Safehold - defeating the field fortification would require infantry support tank.
------------------------------

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: Tanks on Safehold
Post by Silverwall   » Sat May 29, 2021 5:09 am

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Dilandu wrote:Sigh. Guys, fancy words like "force multiplier" do not somehow cancel the main function of the tank, which was - since it first appeared on the battlefield - exactly the same.

Tank is a breaker of field fortifications.

Not much more, not much less. The first and uppermost function of the tank is to break through the field fortifications, protected by rapid-firing weapon. Infantry could not solve this problem without suffering impractical losses, artillery could not solve this problem without spending impractical time. Tanks could break through the trenches, protected with machineguns and rapid-firing rifles fast and with reasonable losses.

How exactly tanks are used, to support infantry on the static frontline, or to maneuver in the enemy rear, is irrelevant. In both cases, tanks solve the same function: they break through field fortifications. All those fancy "blitzkrieg" (which, by the way, become outdated by the end of WW2, being superseded with Soviet more advanced "deep operation"), essentially boil down to the "tanks are advancing in fast tempo, breaking field fortifications and thus allowing to maintain high speed of offensive".

So please, let's not move into "iff zey could nott make ze fancy German Panzer zey shud nott try". As soon as fast-firing rifles and artillery became the standard - which is already took place on Safehold - defeating the field fortification would require infantry support tank.


I would like to add the caveat that this is only an issue if you don't have maneuver room. WW1 on both the eastern front and in theaters like the middle east showed you didn't need tanks as you could just bypass strong points and either surround them or get artillery into unassailable positions. Tanks were only invented BECAUSE there was no maneuver room on the western front.

Nothing about the scale of armies to land area in the novels suggests that there is any difficulty in outmaneuvering the enemy. Reviewing the listed troop concentrations shows that in most cases we are talking about American Civil War period troop to space ratios so outside of seiges there are few strong points that can't be neutralized by infantry/artillery.
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Re: Tanks on Safehold
Post by Dilandu   » Sat May 29, 2021 7:21 am

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Silverwall wrote:
Dilandu wrote:Sigh. Guys, fancy words like "force multiplier" do not somehow cancel the main function of the tank, which was - since it first appeared on the battlefield - exactly the same.

Tank is a breaker of field fortifications.

Not much more, not much less. The first and uppermost function of the tank is to break through the field fortifications, protected by rapid-firing weapon. Infantry could not solve this problem without suffering impractical losses, artillery could not solve this problem without spending impractical time. Tanks could break through the trenches, protected with machineguns and rapid-firing rifles fast and with reasonable losses.

How exactly tanks are used, to support infantry on the static frontline, or to maneuver in the enemy rear, is irrelevant. In both cases, tanks solve the same function: they break through field fortifications. All those fancy "blitzkrieg" (which, by the way, become outdated by the end of WW2, being superseded with Soviet more advanced "deep operation"), essentially boil down to the "tanks are advancing in fast tempo, breaking field fortifications and thus allowing to maintain high speed of offensive".

So please, let's not move into "iff zey could nott make ze fancy German Panzer zey shud nott try". As soon as fast-firing rifles and artillery became the standard - which is already took place on Safehold - defeating the field fortification would require infantry support tank.


I would like to add the caveat that this is only an issue if you don't have maneuver room. WW1 on both the eastern front and in theaters like the middle east showed you didn't need tanks as you could just bypass strong points and either surround them or get artillery into unassailable positions. Tanks were only invented BECAUSE there was no maneuver room on the western front.

Nothing about the scale of armies to land area in the novels suggests that there is any difficulty in outmaneuvering the enemy. Reviewing the listed troop concentrations shows that in most cases we are talking about American Civil War period troop to space ratios so outside of seiges there are few strong points that can't be neutralized by infantry/artillery.


I should point out, that situation on Eastern Front was not so different as it seems. Major German advances of 1914-1915 were conducted in the situation of Russian army extremely dire material conditions. Cannons, rifles, even shells for field artillery were in short supply due to limitations of industry. And despite German successes, they were unable to achieve strategic goals. They simply run out of assigned reserves.

The other cases on East - like Russian operations against Austro-Hungarians or German advance against Provisional Government Russia - were all conducted against the enemy low on morale and battle spirit, who was unwilling to committ.

The idea that "maneuver solves the problem" is false. Unless your operation have no goals, you could not maneuver endlessly. Army linked to railroads is not exactly very maneuverable. At some point you would need to break defenses, and as soon as you fail to do it fast, you would lose tempo very 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: Tanks on Safehold
Post by n7axw   » Sat Jun 05, 2021 11:39 pm

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I could see steam tanks used in close support of infantry at this stage of their development, not much more. The current state of engineeri my along with the prohibition on electricity.

Blitzkrieg was a combined arms approach featuring tanks, aircraft, and infantry. This worked pretty well in Poland the low countries and France, given the geographical size of those countries allowed for a high intensity, short duration conflict.

However, shortcomings in how this worked out started becoming apparent almost immediately. Nobody could keep up with the tanks. The infantry were mostly on foot. To say nothing of logistics which was mostly on horsedrawn wagons. Think Romnel's dash to the channel in 1940. The Germans made this work for a while in the early stages of Barbarossa. But eventually the bottleneck in logistics along with the depth of Russian resistance throttled Blitzkrieg, leaving the Germans with an attritional war it could not win.

The Soviets had a similar doctrine of combined warfare that wasn't ready for prime time when the war started, but which they used successfully as the war progressed. The key? Better logistics and they were able to load infantry aboard trucks to keep up with the tanks. Lots of Dodges and Studebakers, iirc.

Applying this to Safehold, they are not there yet. Perhaps ww1 style tanks to create holes for infantry...not more.

Don

-
When any group seeks political power in God's name, both religion and politics are instantly corrupted.
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Re: Tanks on Safehold
Post by Silverwall   » Sun Jun 06, 2021 4:14 am

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Even more important than the infantry keeping up was the Artillery keeping up. Especially heavy artillery that can conduct indirect fire.

Even with Luftwaffe support acting as flying artillery integral artillery was a must have. It is notable that by 1942 all the major players were building various Self Propelled Guns to address this major flaw.
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Re: Tanks on Safehold
Post by Loren Pechtel   » Wed Jun 09, 2021 12:46 am

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Would tanks have a role as raiders?
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Re: Tanks on Safehold
Post by Silverwall   » Wed Jun 09, 2021 4:08 am

Silverwall
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Posts: 387
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Loren Pechtel wrote:Would tanks have a role as raiders?


Hell No!

They are too slow, too unreliable, too complex and too logistically intensive. Tanks have a range before something major breaks or a colossal refuel/service stop is required that tops out at about 200km and keeping them in fuel and spare parts is a bitch of a job requiring LOTS of trucks.

It is fairly typical for an armored unit to have approx 6-7 trucks for every tank. E.g. a 1944 UK armored division had 290 tanks but is also had: the division had 100 armored cars, 261 armored tracked vehicles, and 2098 trucks. https://ccnmtl.columbia.edu/services/dr ... an_99.html

Even today raids are carried out by light forces not tanks. Even traditional horse cav has still has some value raiding in rough terrain today.

Tanks are, and always have been heavy assault weapons, so are best deployed in heavy combat formations not tossed away on raids and recon roles.

The best raid vehicle in the desert war in WW2 was a jeep with a MG on it. IF you must take armor on a raid take a lighter, faster armoured car.
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