4,196 COMMENTS :

  1. By Paul Smith on

    I don’t remember a width for the El Paso del Fuego, but was wondering if it was narrow enough to build something like the Thames barrier, with locks in it for shipping. Cofferdam the pass in sections & build the barriers & locks, leaving them open during tides until completed. Build it across both ends to remove the racing current. When complete, close all sections & locks at slack tide. It then would have to only withstand the pressure of changing height of the sea, and storm surges.

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    1. By Justin on

      It’s on the border between Nicaragua and Costa Rica; eyeballing the “map” and cross-referencing with Google gives you a channel about 20-30km (12-20 miles) wide, or ten times longer than the Three Gorges.

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      1. By Paul Smith on

        not real possible then, also forgot about dept of the pass. If you could do it, that would be one hell of an engineering marvel, especially with their current level of earth moving technology!

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        1. By Justin on

          The problem doesn’t seem to be the size, so much as how one of two oceans is rushing through the strait at any given time. I wouldn’t say “impossible” (there was a plan to dam Gibraltar and drain the Mediterranean, after all), just not very practical in any of the present cast’s lifetimes.

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    2. By Alexey Shiro on

      With modern technology – heavy reinforced concrete, large dragging equipment, ground-moving industrial nuclear charges – yes, something like that would be possible. Still costly & not easy, but possible.

      On Destroyermen’s technological level? Absolutely impossible.

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  2. By Steve Moore on

    Sitting here on a rainy Sunday morning and putting new batteries in the camera, it struck me. The Imperials have an optics industry and watchmakers; why not give them one of the numerous cameras the Destroyermen brought over with them to reverse-engineer? That could bring them some needed phot-recon capabilities, useful not only in the war effort but in Saint Francis and the colonies to start exploring inland, not to mention West Africa. And that leads me to…

    A dedicated utility airframe, fitted with landing gear, sort of like the ‘Night Witch’ biplanes Alexey mentioned. Stretch a P-1C airframe, add a second cockpit and an upper wing, and you’d get a plane that can do a lot of things, especially in theaters where there’s no enemy air threat. Maybe even light ground attack. Export them to the RRP, the Imperial colonies; heck maybe even to the troops shadowing Halik. Put one of Halik’s officers in the back seat and do recon for Halik.

    Lou, you’re the airframe expert, would it be possible to make a bi-plane version of the P-1?

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    1. By Lou Schirmer on

      It’s possible, but personally I’d take some elements of the P-1 & design a new airframe. You’d need to figure out how & where you want to add it. Whether to make it a cantilever wing attached to the fuselage like the one it already has, or strut supported. Figure out the weight & balance of it & the lengthened fuselage, with observer, camera’s & presumably more fuel. Whether the engine will get it into the air in a reasonable distance. With every thing that it would entail, it’d be easier doing a design from scratch, for the recon/light attack mission. I might go with a single high wing design, like a Piper Cub.

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    2. By Alexey Shiro on

      // ‘Night Witch’ biplanes //

      It is Po-2 biplanes. Actually, it’s U-2 (Uchebny-2, i.e. Trainer-2) biplanes, but the U-2 tended to create some mismash with “some other” well-known plane… 😉

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        1. By Steve Moore on

          Well, other guys managed to have the same number of landings as takeoffs…

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        2. By Alexey Shiro on

          Yep) Both U-2 wrote important pages into the USSR history (the second as a first aircraft, shot down by SAM in actual engagement).

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    3. By Steve Moore on

      Well, just woolgathering while waiting out the rain. Just thinking that it’d be nice to have a rough-strip capable plane to see what’s up inland, and . Suppose you could take a Nancy or Buzzard inland and land at Lake Tahoe. I just figured that using existing parts/designs might make it happen sooner.

      Wonder if the colonies’ ‘mountain men’ have gone that far inland?

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    4. By Justin on

      Cantets should do the job well enough for an Imperial air force.

      Better give one to Mallory too – he might be able to give it a 200-lb payload like the Albatros C3.

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    5. By Paul Smith on

      I’d have them reverse engineer the large format camera that was damaged in the recon flight over Sofesshk. Or if they can develop it, something like the Fairchild K-1, 5″x7″, or an even larger format camera like the K-17,9″x9″. A whole new industy will have to come into being to make negative film, and maybe enlargers because contact prints won’t be all that useful. For aircraft, could they repurpose one or more of the torpedo planes captured on Zanzibar?

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      1. By Steve Moore on

        Well, it’s all part of my postwar plan to map Western North America, the Trans-Africa Railroad built by Grik coolies, and introducing tractors to Austraal…. Taylor, we could keep you busy until you’re 90. Don’t forget, you also have to write “The Worlds I’ve Wondered” come 1956. 12 years, that’s about… what, 24 books?

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    1. By Justin on

      And for what purpose? Are we stopping just 12-pounders, or does the hypothetical armour need to block heavier shot too?

      It also depends on what type of wood you use. For example, Constitution got her nickname “Old Ironsides” from the fact that 32-pound balls regularly bounced off her live oak hull.

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      1. By Generalstarwars333 on

        It’d be blocking 12 pounders at a minimum, but preferably heavier shot since it would be protecting the magazine and guns of a ship. Like a wooden version of a central battery ironclad.

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        1. By Justin on

          So timberclads? You’ll want at least a 5″ bulwark to block small arms fire.

          Honestly, I’d just go for an ironclad. Allied industry can handle it.

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        2. By Steve Moore on

          Something tells me the Grik are going to come up with rifled shells soon. They had enough time to study Souffle.

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    2. By Steve Moore on

      Those Grik galleys won’t have anything near that; gunboats with M2’s or 25mm would do them in, probably even P-1C’s with .30 BMGs. Maybe lash a few Grik Indiamen to the sides of the Santy Cat for more protection and to use as ‘camels’ to get her further upstream over sandbars, etc.

      Wonder if the Zambezi has flasher crocs? The AquaGriks didn’t seem to have any problems in tidal waters.

      AquaGriks… now there would be some allies for the invasion.

      Amazing what a good cup of joe or two will do for the morning thought processes. Unfortunately, no good donut shops in town… hey, that’s what the Lemurians are missing, donuts! Sorry, Matthieu, I think Earl’s talents probably don’t extend to making a good croissant. Maybe one of the left-behind LOT’s can open up a nice boulangerie in Grik City.

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      1. By Alexey Shiro on

        //AquaGriks… now there would be some allies for the invasion.//

        They are NOT Griks. Not even close. They are amphibians (described as soft-skinned and capable of skin-breathing); Griks are reptiles.

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          1. By Alexey Shiro on

            No. This is completely impossible. The amphibians are less, well, advanced taxon then reptiles. And the evolution did not go backward; more progressive traits did not de-volve to less advanced (for example, while dolphins became fish-shaped due to hydrodynamic requirements, they did not revert to gill-breathing).

            The “common ansestor” must be very, very far away in past. We aren’t talking about species – we are talking about classes. And class-level divergence required MUCH longer. Literally dozens of millions of years.

            So no, I don’t think there are any actual relations between Griks and Swamp Lizards.

          2. By Generalstarwars333 on

            Alexey, dolphins didn’t revert to gill breathing because they didn’t need to. They found a way to thrive as aquatic mammals. If they couldn’t thrive as aquatic mammals, they’d have evolved gills. Evolution isn’t some linear path going from single celled organisms to people. It’s whatever works. In the case of fish, it’s gills. In the case of dolphins, it’s popping up for air every so often. In the case of grik stuck in swamps for generations, it might well be becoming amphibians.

          3. By Generalstarwars333 on

            And of course you have the striking similarities in their society. Both the whatever the frog-griks are called and the actual grik have a single matriarchal ruler. In the case of the actual grik, it’s their celestial mother. In the case of the frog-thingies, it’s their big mother or whatever they called it. Been a while since I read that book.

          4. By Alexey Shiro on

            //Alexey, dolphins didn’t revert to gill breathing because they didn’t need to. //

            Nah. Because it’s impossible. Dollo’s law of irreversibility clearly states, that “an organism never returns exactly to a former state, even if it finds itself placed in conditions of existence identical to those in which it has previously lived”.

            I.e. it is virtually impossible for dolphins to revert to gills, because organs, that served as gills for their ancestors long ago transformed into other organs, which now have completely different functions. Let’s not forget; evolution is NOT sentient. It is NOT a deliberate process; it is a number of random variations, thrown against the wall of natural selection.

            In short: this is absolutely impossible.

          5. By Alexey Shiro on

            //And of course you have the striking similarities in their society. Both the whatever the frog-griks are called and the actual grik have a single matriarchal ruler. In the case of the actual grik, it’s their celestial mother. In the case of the frog-thingies, it’s their big mother or whatever they called it. Been a while since I read that book.//

            Corellation does not imply casuation. There are a lot of differences between swamp lizard’s social structure & Grik social structure. It is more likely a cause of parallel evolution, than actual relations.

          6. By Justin on

            Alexey’s right. The cause is more likely convergent evolution, like how cetaceans and sharks have the same body shape. You don’t simply evolve something just because you want or need it.

        1. Taylor AndersonsBy Taylor Andersons on

          I’m sorry guys, but I absolutely love this–that you are speculating so strongly and intelligently about something so (relatively) long ago in the series–that I just made up. Granted, the “swamp lizards” didn’t just get thrown in there; a lot of thought went into them and that whole episode was one of my favorite passages in all the books. But I love that they STILL inspire thought in others. The one and only thing I will add to the debate is that they were described as “amphibious” and not as “amphibians,” at least by anyone who would pedantically debate the difference at the time. I leave the rest to you. ARE they true amphibians or not? Looks like the whole argument revolves around that.
          Anyway, this reminds me of the great Gentaa debate. :) You all thought I was a loon, or that I had inexplicably changed the laws of nature, which would’ve been somewhat inconsistent for me, even the most violent critics agreed. Then, of course, it was revealed that the “hybrid” nature of the Gentaa was a sociological myth all along. I admit that I fed speculation about a physiological possibility for the purposes of amusing speculation about Silva and Risa, but it was still fun to watch the debates. I think by now you are all convinced that there will be no impossible hybrids (no Mr. Spock) in the story. Sure, there’s a touch of fantasy, but just as I swore there’d be no REAL space aliens causing everything or saving the day, there won’t be any (real) magic spells or (functioning) magical swords, etc. Hmm. I guess it remains possible that the crossover event itself is paranormal or supernatural (Adar thought so) but our heroes will always have to earn things the hard way, and with the exception of Tony Scott, no “resurrections.” And you’ll admit I had to have baked that in at the time. But I promise, if you SEE ’em dead, they’re dead. Hmm (again). Obviously, “resurrecting” sunken ships doesn’t count. :) But that wasn’t magic, just hard work.

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          1. By Lou Schirmer on

            I still contend the Gentaa could be the remains of the old civilization of “vanished gods” that built Sofesshk, driven out when the Grik showed up. Kind of like The Goths taking Rome, but never leaving & eating the Romans.

          2. By Steve Moore on

            Well, whatever they are, they’d make great salvage crews. Or UDT guys.

          3. By Justin on

            Let’s hope not – it’s a good theory, but a Gentaa “diaspora” creates very unfortunate implications, especially given the time period.

  3. By Paul Smith on

    by 1942, the battle of north africa had been waging for a year and a half. the Union, or at least the Destroyermen, should have had at least an idea of the italian/ german armor capabilites & specs. they should figure at least close to parity of the LoT’s vehicles. I would think they are trying to figure what sort of armor they would need to defeat the probable canons they would be facing. the Grik won’t have much beyond what we’ve already seen. Tanks would probably perform best in Africa, coming up out of the Republic. At least more open savanna type spaces. Also should try to develop more dedicate close air support craft like the B-25J, maybe a clipper with .30’s mounted like the J model. Extremely useful in all theaters, at least with present linear tactics.

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      1. By Paul Smith on

        Yes, the designs associated with our timeline would be later, of course. that means, hopefully, we would have an idea of the specifications of the tanks that would be similar or identical to what the LoT would field. Also wondering if, same as the aircraft, Daimler-Benz or Krupp would have been taken over by Italian/French/Spanish companies.

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        1. By Justin on

          Messerschmitt wasn’t exactly “taken over” so much as “butterflied into a completely separate company.” It could be that we’ll see some ATL manufacturers and tanks, but if I were an author having to research all of this, it’s probable that League tanks are familiar tanks from pre/mid-1939 at best.

          Though who knows, the Allies might have to face “SOMUA S38s” or something.

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    1. By Charles Simpson on

      10,000 years ago north Africa was lush Savana rivers lakes plenty of water. The Sahara Desert moved north and south. this might indicate the climate and rain fall patterns of the mini-Ice Age.

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      1. By donald j johnson on

        actually I think if you really check you will find it was 12,000 years ago that it was Lush and wet period by 10,000 years ago it was already drying out, although it didn’t reach the full dryness for another 5000 years

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    2. By Steve Moore on

      Lotta jungle between Libya and South Africa; it is equatorial Africa. Better to let the Lots come to you. If they come, it’ll be through Somaliland, I think. They need the Grik as slaves to dig the canal.

      Clippers as ground attack a/c?
      Build a long-barrelled AA gn like the Flak 88 and use it in a dual-purpose role.
      Union needs to defend RRP as one of the crown jewels in their perimeter defense. Other is Pasa de Fuego, before the Chinese buy it.

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      1. By Generalstarwars333 on

        I’d say make more DP 4″50’s, but maybe on a dedicated AA mount. A 102mm AA gun. or maybe start making 3″23’s for AA again, but I figure a 4 inch shell is better against airplanes than a 3 inch shell, especially since they’re already tooled up to make 4″ flak rounds.

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      2. By Justin on

        Flying boats with a top speed of 90 mph… against Flak 36s and Mochas? Better start writing the obis now.

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        1. By Generalstarwars333 on

          I think clippers have a higher top-speed than 90mph. 90 is the top speed of a nancy, while clippers have a top speed of 110 mph. And if you pack a ton of .30’s or .50’s in the nose, they could do a number on the grik.

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          1. By Alexey Shiro on

            Against Grik – sure, but against LoT forces – they have basically zero chances.

          2. By Justin on

            Other way around; PB-1B’s got 110 mph, PB-5’s got 90. Gotta bring both planes up to at least 250 mph if we want any of them to come home.

          3. By donald j johnson on

            are you sure that the PB one and other flying boats are that slow. the pby-5 which is what they are based on flu at 196 miles an hour flat out and cruised at 125 with maximum efficiency at a hundred and nine

          4. By Justin on

            – I’m going off the specs at the back of the book; feel free to argue the point with our author.

            – Note that the Union boats are based off the Catalina, but they don’t have the exact same lines and dimensions and machinery. The Fleashooter also underperforms compared to the P-26 or P-29.

          5. By Lou Schirmer on

            They’re very draggy airframes. The drawings of the Nancy’s show a conglomeration of struts holding the wing in place & the engine sticks out of the top of the wing without any sort of fairing. The Clippers all have their engines mounted above the wing with struts also. This combined with low power engines & a fixed geometry propeller will make for a pretty slow plane. I think the top speed of the P-1D might be a bit optimistic, but the rest are all in the correct neighborhood.

        2. By Matt on

          Yeah flying boats are also more limited in the ground attack role than a more conventional design would be. Keep them doing what they are good at, maritime patrol & recon and light bombing of naval targets and coastal areas. A conflict with the League would likely be both a major naval and ground war. Up to this point the Union has focused mostly on the naval aspect. That makes sense, most of their territory consists of islands separated by hundreds and even thousands of miles. But Africa is a big mound of dirt and naval aviation can only penetrate so far into the interior before having to turn around. Proper land based fighters, bombers and attackers on proper air strips will need to be built at some point.

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          1. By donald j johnson on

            But flying boat is an excellent ground attack craft when painted black and used at night. It’s slower speed does not affect its accuracy and it’s harder to see so therefore harder to hit from the ground. The US used pby’s and the Japanese also use their see planes as ground attack during World War II. see the earlier comment about the second Pearl Harbor attack that failed but only due to poor planning

          2. By Justin on

            Keep in mind that the Black Cats were targeting lightly-armed merchant ships like Mizuki Maru… and were 100 mph faster. Send a PB-5 at 90 mph up against a League hard target that’s got spotlights, AA and night fighters, all you’re doing is giving them free firewood.

          3. By Alexey Shiro on

            Donald, with all respect – large, slow, lumbering plane on low altitude is a “good ground-attack craft” only for those, who would be unfortunate to be hit by its debrees. The League have late-1930s anti-air defenses; which means tgat they have acoustic search stations, searchlights and anti-air machineguns in numbers.

            The USSR tried to use the old TB-3 bombers in ground attack role early in the war; it didn’t worj well at all. And TB-3 was all-metal bomber, made by well-established industry; MUCH more capable bird than current Alliance flying boats.

          4. By Charles Simpson on

            Alexy IIRC the Russians used obsolete small biplanes as bombers effectively early in the war that the Germans called night witches. Effective night fighters need radar and late 1930s radar was not that good. The American Black Cats got Japanese naval vessels as well as freighters. The Japanese used a night bomber called Washing Machine Charlie against American bases at night in the Solomon’s too.

          5. By donald j johnson on

            // The League have late-1930s anti-air defenses; which means tgat they have acoustic search stations, searchlights and anti-air machineguns in numbers.//

            searchlights make good targets for the machine guns on first pass. low and slow with engines at idle or off also is a good way to sneak in. Of course this depends on having a reliable engine that can restart quickly otherwise you don’t go home.

          6. By Justin on

            Seems like a good time to point out that Clippers are neither as nimble as Po-2s, nor as small – and it’s going to be real hard to nail a spotlight from high above even if all the MGs weren’t facing backwards.
            The only role they’ve had so far is level bombing like B-17s, and that’s not going to work very well against the League.

            Matt and Alexey are right – keep the flying boats for soft targets and recon/patrol. Let’s wait for real bombers before we start talking Sturmoviks and Mitchells.

          7. By Generalstarwars333 on

            Honestly, if they put a .50 cal in a flea-shooter they could use that for ground attack. It wouldn’t be durable, but it could probably rip up most targets.

          8. By donald johnson on

            // it’s going to be real hard to nail a spotlight from high above even if all the MGs weren’t facing backwards.//

            I was not referring to high level attacks. I was referring to low level attacks. When attacking at night your noise is muffled by the surrounding trees and buildings. At sea there would not be this effect but I do not suspect that there will be many night attacks at sea. On land however with a sitting target and low level attacks should they get a light turned on in time then An MG facing front would be good. This is assuming that the enemy is prepaired with spotters in outlying areas that can radio/telephone ahead in sufficient time to warn any spotlight handlers. You must realize that the spotlights are carbon arc lamps and not incadesant lamps. Carbon arcs are not quick starting devices and usually take between 1 and 3 minutes to start up and get put to work.
            A low level attack at even 90mph would have to be detected and have sent in their warning from 5 miles out to do any good in this time frame otherwise the enemy will have to replace the carbons in the arc lamp much too often. it takes at least 1/2 hour to replace the carbons as they need to cool and they only last about 4 to 6 hours if their life is at all similar to the old carbon arc movie theaters.

          9. By Justin on

            Of course the League’s going to have forward positions and scouts. They’re villainous, not incompetent.

            As it is, the Buzzards have problems with trees in broad daylight; over a jungle, the slower, bulkier Clipper will need to fly at 100m or more above deck just to avoid collisions.
            Not much better over savannah or desert terrain, because then you can go lower, but you’ve also got AA shooting at you. Rifles too; remember how Fred and Kari keep getting downed by Dommie muskets?

            It’s an alright idea, so long as the focus is on demoralizing the League and preventing them from getting any rest, rather than a serious attack run. An accurate CAS at night in WWII mini water bombers – much less strafing a spotlight – is probably not going to happen.

          10. By Charles Simpson on

            Remember the League has not fought with a power with aircraft since 1939 and may be rusty in antiaircraft defense after five years.

          11. By Justin on

            “Out of practice” doesn’t necessarily mean “Imperial stormtrooper;” remember that the equally-rusty Macchischmitt pilots managed to down Saansa and Conrad’s considerably faster P-40s.

          12. By Alexey Shiro on

            Considering Po-2 as night bombers – our pilots used interesting tactics of “flak baiting” on them. The idea was, that the group of Po-2 attacked something, driving attention of anti-aircraft units – and as soon as german AA’s opened fire, the second group if Po-2 (which slovly circled on the lowest possible altitude, masking their engines under the noises of first group) swiftly attacked the AA defenses, strafed them with MG’s and dropped small bombs on them. Considering how quiet and stealthy could be Po-2 in the night, this tactics led to significant losses in German AA gunners & weaponry.

          13. By donald johnson on

            //remember that the equally-rusty Macchischmitt pilots managed to down Saansa and Conrad’s considerably faster P-40s.//

            At least one of them were taken by surprise as he was was taking notes and that evens the odds greatly.

          14. Taylor AndersonsBy Taylor Andersons on

            Saansa never had a chance. Not only was she preoccupied and unsuspecting that the Macchi-Messers even existed, she wasn’t a dogfighter–and her P-40 “something” was a slug with the floats. And the 3rd Pursuiter’s fight with the other LoT planes wasn’t a good yardstick for the comparable virtues of either plane or their pilots. With the exception of Diebel, absolutely none of them were really experienced at air to air combat and it showed. Ben did pretty well against Kurokawa’s fighters at Mahe–but his plane was basically shot down by them in the melee over Lizard Ass Bay. If you think about it, the ONLY pilot the Allies have now who has successfully tangled with planes and pilots with SOME known superior characteristics is Orrin Reddy. Well, Ben did it in his PBY vs Dave incident, but that hardly counts because it was more a matter of desperate cunning than skill. I’d say Orrin and probably Shirley are the “top guns” of the Alliance. And who knows, maybe Orrin will finally get back in the cockpit of a P-40 again, before they’re all gone.

          15. By Steve Moore on

            Didn’t Diebel knock down some Japanese planes with a Buffalo?

          16. By Lou Schirmer on

            Yes, but I think Diebel is deadish. Didn’t he get shot down over water?

          17. By Justin on

            The original point being that rustiness isn’t stopping the League from scoring kills. A Clipper’s top speed is a Macchi’s takeoff speed – even if it’s their first day on the job, League flak and small arms present a significant threat to a big, clumsy target flying low.

    3. By Charles Simpson on

      It is not in the interest of the Alliance or Grik to go to war with the League as they have thrashed themselves in their current war.

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      1. By Paul Smith on

        Isn’t the standing order in the Union to sink on sight any ship flying the LoT flag? I say that probably indicates a state of war already exists.

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        1. By Alexey Shiro on

          Not exactly. This cover only the Indian Ocean (i.e. internal Union communications).

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          1. By Justin on

            It covers every ocean – remember Antunez?

            So they’re technically at war, but they’re not in any position to prosecute it. “Phoney war” would be the best definition.

          2. By Charles Simpson on

            The League will not know about Antúnez until the League prisoners are released. They will know she has missed her communications schedule and is presumed lost. As the League is using very limited means of causing it’s potential foes harm with little loss of modern weapons, and the allusion of internal problems of it’s own. this is why I think the League and Alliance will be in a cold war not a hot one.

          3. Taylor AndersonsBy Taylor Andersons on

            Alexey’s right. Matt was actually pretty specific about the Indian and Pacific Oceans. He had no idea the LoT would know Donaghey’s destination, would specifically look for her, and would actually find her. And Garrett wasn’t enforcing the “sink on sight” order, he was enforcing his own “they’re not screwing with us again” mindset–and a good thing for him and his crew, too, as it turned out. Oriani wouldn’t have spared anybody.
            But things are starting to move pretty fast, with people on the spot forced to make quick decisions. “Phony War” is a good analogy, to a degree. Whether or not either side is ready for any serious operations against the other, you can bet they’ll approach any isolated encounter anywhere as potentially hostile and the relative strength of those making the encounter will probably trigger a binary decision making process: Run or fight.

          4. By Alexey Shiro on

            So, I assume, it works like that: if League/Alliance ship clarified the intention of moving somewhere (and follow the supposed course) the other side would probably observe, maybe shadow, but would not act hostile. But if non-announced League/Alliance ship appeared in opposite-controlled areas… well, all blades are out. Something like that?

          5. By Justin on

            ^ Sounds about right. I could see the Caribbean becoming a DMZ, with Union/League pickets on either side of it. And of course, it provides a convenient way for an “SS Kobayashi” to start the next war…

      2. By Steve Moore on

        I think the next time the Union goes up against the LOT, it’s going to be the New World. The LOT will go for Venezuela & oil, then wipe out the Nussies AND the Dom leadership. Instant New World Empire, since the Union forces are even weaker there.

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        1. By donald j johnson on

          I do not think the league will attempt to interfere in South America. They have too much to lose on their own base of operations if they removed too much man power. they only interfered in the war against the grik to help prevent us from being too successful too soon. and at this they failed because it forced us to attack sooner due to the capture of Ready’s wife. It is my opinion but they will not be ready to have active warfare in South America for at least 10 years and have reliable new troops to use from their slave population.

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  4. By Alexey Shiro on

    Just a note about old ships durability:

    https://c.radikal.ru/c04/1801/ec/3fa46fe6682d.jpg

    This is submarine salvage & rescue vessel “Komunna” steaming on new excercises in a Black Sea. She was launched in 1913, so by now, she is more than a century old (105 years to be precise).

    And yes, she is on active service and not as museum or training ship. She is a bit too little to raise modern subs, unfortunately, but she is a perfect base for search & rescue miget underwater vessels.

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      1. By Alexey Shiro on

        Yeah, she is probably one of the oldest – if not the oldest – military ships in actual service.

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          1. By Generalstarwars333 on

            Of course, she’s been rebuilt on numerous occasions. It puts me in mind of a quote from a book concerning an ax. “My father replaced the handle, and I replaced the head, but other than that it’s all original”. If none of the original materials are left over, is it really still the same ship?

          2. By Lou Schirmer on

            As far as wooden ships go, none of them stay “original” for long. Worms, dry rot, seaweed & wear & tear have them being virtually rebuilt every 10-15 years or so, especially the military ones.

          3. By Alexey Shiro on

            //the USS Constitution still goes out occasionally and she was built in 1805 or thereabouts//

            She go out, yes, but she does not preform any actual military service. While “Kommuna” is the serving mobile base for salvage midget-subs & underwater unmanned vessels.

          4. By Generalstarwars333 on

            She’s still commissioned in the navy and is the official flagship of the United States Navy. She just doesn’t shoot at stuff anymore.

          5. By Taylor Anderson on

            All good points. She is the “same” ship figuratively and offically regardless of how many times she has been rebuilt. She does NOT serve in the same role she was designed for—a first line warship in the US Navy, a role she filled very well in her prime. She IS the oldest commissioned warship afloat in the world, however.

          6. By Matt on

            I don’t remember who but one of the South American countries has a little steam powered river gunboat that was built before the turn of the century and is still in active service.

          7. By Generalstarwars333 on

            Matt, I think the country you mean might be paraguay. They’ve got at least one of their old river gunboats still in service as their flagship. Interestingly, despite paraguay being poor as heck and smaller than my social life, they had the best riverine gunboats in the world in the 30’s.

    1. By Matt on

      Nice design. I question the casemate guns. Real world experience showed them to be wet and generally useless outside of calm seas. Can anything be done to mitigate that? On paper its an impressive broadside.

      Reply
      1. By Lou Schirmer on

        Thanks.
        True, if mounted below the main deck, but these are above that & after all, it will only be their second blue water design, influenced by the crew of the Amerika. Actually, I think Scharnhorst’s 8″ casemates were high enough to fight in most weather. It was her 5.9″ casemates below that, that would be wet. With more experience, they would probably go with an all turret design for more space/armor savings. Still, with their protection, they would probably give a modern cruiser a run for it’s money.

        Reply
        1. By Matt on

          What I really like about it is that the caliber choice allows for a very concentrated “all big gun” dreadnought style design. Usually the casemates would be secondaries, and that would reduce their usefulness even more. For a ship this size the secondaries would be 4 or 5 inch guns which would mean they would be more dedicated to fighting smaller craft and aircraft. The casemate is a bad choice for that. However with them being 8″ guns they can focus on longer range gunnery.

          The inclusion of an AA suite from the start is also nice. Hopefully the Republic ship builders will listen to Union experience on that front.

          Reply
    2. By Steve Moore on

      What do you think of this idea? While building the Imperator class (which won’t be ready for a few years) build a squadron of DE’s to give RRP Navy more blue-water experience in their home waters, as well as providing a scouting force for the Cape. DE’s will be ready much sooner (with help from Balk’paan) and Jenks could salt a few Imperials in with them (common language and some heritage, plus no conflict as with Nussies) to gain iron ship experience. Lou already has the design on the drawing boards, and they’dd have the benefits of air cover from all the air bases the RRP will need to build. DE’s and improved Walkers are what’s needed to secure the east African coast. When this cruiser class is ready, they’ll have an experienced navy.

      Taylor, maybe Muriname’s men could defect to the RRP, since no hard feelings there as there would be coming over to the Americans. Imagine what 3 squadrons of modern planes could do for the RRP. Not to mention that Zanzibar’s a lot closer, if there’s any machinery left.

      Oh, yeah, I’m going to bring up the blue-water iron hulled cargo ships again. They might be useful as well. With a few guns, they’d be a good merchant patrol along the east African coast, and could outrun any Grik ship left. Plus they’d function as a cadet academy to prepare sailor for warship duty, with a catapult and 2 nancys.

      Reply
    3. By Steve Moore on

      Are the torpedoes going to be an effective weapon, if they have to close to within 3000 yards? Awful expensive targets. At that point, you’re almost in 25mm range to sweep their decks

      Wouldn’t mind seeing a cargo hold full of these in the next transfer… now that they can do fancy machining.
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dodge_WC_series

      Reply
      1. By Matt on

        Torpedoes as they are now are pretty useless, however the beauty of building them to use standard 21inch tubes is that everything built today with torpedo tubes can effectively use them when they get better. Having good torpedoes isn’t that far off. The union is getting better at it every day and has good designs to model. In a few years they will have some very lethal designs so putting tubes on ships now isn’t a bad idea. I do question putting them on heavy cruisers, the seem better suited to DDs and smaller. But the point remains. Even WW1 era fish are battleship killers. Soon enough they will have them.

        Reply
      2. By Justin on

        There’s a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it line in Chapter 11 that Baalkpan Ordnance’s new torps can reach 6k yards (rounding down from the claimed 10k yards). If an Allied battlewagon ends up in a South DakotaKirishima duel, or just gets the opportunity to ambush, well, better to have them… so long as they’re not oxygen torps, of course.

        As for transfers, I’m guessing a Liberty ship en route to either Iwo Jima or Okinawa… or on the way home after the surrender. This may be relevant: http://www.usmm.org/capacity.html
        Either way, a few hundred free jeeps/tanks/trucks/halftracks would be very useful later on.

        Reply
        1. By donald j johnson on

          A 25mm at 3000 yards is Point Blank Range you would have to be at least 10,000 yards out to be safe from a 25 mm weapon and they could probably hit you with that range just not accurately and you must realize that due to the Firepower of a 25 mm they’re going to sweep your decks even at that range in a sailboat. yes there will be a lot of wasted ammunition

          Reply
        2. By Lou Schirmer on

          //There’s a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it line in Chapter 11 that Baalkpan Ordnance’s new torps can reach 6k yards (rounding down from the claimed 10k yards).//

          Page 210, at the bottom. Baalkap Nav-Ord says they’ll do 30 knots & up to 10K yards, but Bernie says 6K yards is more realistic.

          Thanks Justin, I missed that. Six thousand yards is about 3.5 miles & a decent engagement range. If they could actually do 10k yards at 30 knots, they would be getting close to the USN Mk 14 torpedo.

          http://www.navweaps.com/Weapons/WTUS_WWII.php

          Reply
          1. By Steve Moore on

            When Hardee went in at Zanzibar, didn’t he close to 2500 to 3000 yds? 30 knot torps will hit from 6k yds when your target is slow (12 knots or less) and cumbersome but against LOT, they’re going to need either something like the long lance or LOTs of fish (wasn’t the German WW2 homing torpedo a LoT?)
            Good reference article from Lou.

          2. By Lou Schirmer on

            Right, they still need improvement. They seem to be about at the early Mark 8 stage or about 1915 of torpedo development. The later marks had higher speeds &/or range & heavier warheads. That said, a reliable 6K yards at 30 knots with possible 7-8K yards, is not to be sneezed at. In night actions, fog, rain or smokey conditions, those are very achievable ranges. If they can make an air dropped version & an attack bomber to carry it, that’s all the range & speed they need.

          3. By Justin on

            Note that Japanese crews were able to torp American DDs and cruisers from 20km away. It’s pretty much all about how much of the element of surprise you have.

          4. By Justin on

            The main problem I see with a torp ambush is that at 25kn, the cruisers won’t be able to keep up with the destroyers; either they’ll have to form a separate division, or the DDs’ll have to slow down considerably.

          5. By Alexey Shiro on

            //Note that Japanese crews were able to torp American DDs and cruisers from 20km away. It’s pretty much all about how much of the element of surprise you have.//

            Exactly. The Japanese long-range torpedoes weren’t very effective as long-range weapon, actually; most of hits with them were achieved on average torpedo distances. The few long-range hits really achieved were usually against targets on predictable course, which did not suspect the presence of enemy destroyers or their ability to reach that far.

          6. By Steve Moore on

            Stand off at night using your other advantage, night fighting, break up the formation, then close with guns. Makes a lot more sense than charging the enemy in daylight and getting the crap shot out of you. The Brit MTBs learned that in the Channel really quick.

          7. By Justin on

            Of course, all bets are off if the Union can’t figure out/acquire radar in time. Not going to be able to spot anything in low-vis without it.

          8. By donald j johnson on

            At 20,000 yards Destroyer that is 400 feet long is approximately one tenth of a degree long which means your accuracy has to be extremely good assuming you can even see it remembering that the Horizon is only 6000 yards away due to the curvature of the Earth for a 6-foot man yes it is greater from the deck or The Forecastle of a destroyer but my mental calculater isn’t working that well right now

          9. By Steve Moore on

            Thinking more about this: Mi-Anaakaa have excellent night vision, maybe even better with Imperial optics? Union torps have longer range, so maybe crib some tactics from the IJN and use the longer range they have now to stand off and sink slow or moored ships. MTBs up the Zambezi to leave a few wrecks in the channel? Or maybe leave a few mines behind, if they cant figure a way to drop them from Nancys.

          10. By Charles Simpson on

            OK the Grik Swarm is about 1,000,000 Figure 100-200 per Galley that’s 10,000 to 5,000 galleys They got what at most 30 TBs, 10 steam frigates, two Walker clones, two carriers, and Santi Cat between 50 to 100 to one. Even if they get the new cruiser and two Walker clones to the front it will still be a fight against long odds, and a hundred pounder in the bow will give a galley a chance to sink a steel hulled ship.

            Actually a chain in the river between two forts might be the way to go. Incendiary sub munitions fire bomb the galleys and try for a firestorm to increase the carnage. Ammunition will be short. A .30 Browning MG given enough time and Ammunition will sink a galley but again there are only so many MGs and rounds. They probably have less than a hundred torpedoes.

            Just saying this one might not be a pushover 😉

          11. By Matt on

            That’s why the plan is to plug the river with Santy Cat. I think the captain realizes that if they get out into the strait he simply doesn’t have enough ships and guns to finish them all. But if they can keep them on the Zambezi then it doesn’t really matter.

          12. By Alexey Shiro on

            Hm… what about the old British “fire barrage” idea? I.e. spread the oil on water surface & ignite it? Against wooden galleys it might actually work well; lets not forget, that such mass of ships could not react on the new threat fast…

          13. By Alexey Shiro on

            And lets not forget, there would be not only numerous galleys, but also Grik “Arata Amagi Kai” battleships, coming against the Union blockade. And they are more problematic, because they are durable.

  5. By Justin on

    Right. If anything, a full 102mm L50 is (at best) going to be mounted on a flatcar.

    Reply
    1. By Justin on

      That’s a reply to the tank destroyer thread below; seriously, you’d need a Maus-sized AFV in order to carry a DD gun.

      Reply
      1. By Lou Schirmer on

        From what I can find a 4″/50 weighs about 3 tons, not 25.

        Reply
        1. By Justin on

          Right, but the damn thing’s WAY too cumbersome to fit in a StuG or Sherman without circumcising it. Might work as a towed piece like a Flak 36.

          Reply
          1. By Generalstarwars333 on

            What about something like a marder. I don’t mean a vehicle the size of a marder, of course, but something visually similar. i.e. an open topped vehicle with a 4″50 on top. A kind of tracked flatcar in a way. Yeah, it’d be vulnerable to small arms fire, but it could swat any league tank like a fly. Plus it could be used for a self propelled gun of sorts.

          2. By Justin on

            That’d be good – much easier to advance or withdraw an SPG than a limbered gun. Bit of a high profile though, being mounted on a flatbed and all.

          3. By Matt on

            Ummm, the Model T Ford had 20HP. I don’t think it can pull a 4″/50. And even if it could I’d hate to see how it would handle the recoil. I imagine the whole thing would flip. Remember, the 4″/50 is roughly comparable to a modern Tank cannon, except its even heavier and more built up.

            Given the engine and brake technology they have it is almost guaranteed that the lightest they could come up with for a gun like that is a half track, more likely a full on tracked Tank Destroyer. I can’t find numbers for the weight of a German 88 right now but I’m sure the 4″/50 weighs more. Naval guns are generally more over built thank land based mobile artillery and direct fire weapons. I’d question whether you would even fit one in the turret of a T-54 of M60, both of which carried guns of comparable caliber.

            What we really need is a proper AT cannon. Since we are building new 4″/50s today and even making upscaled versions, AT guns aren’t outside the realm of technical feasibility. The development work just needs to be done.

            I think as a start production on copies of Walker’s old 3″/23 should begin. Then we can make Male and Female versions of the new tanks very much like the British did. That will help in the short term and devastate any Grik or Dom forces that meet them. It’s small, light and carries a useful explosive charge. Great for taking out emplacements and fortifications. In fact im surprised Letts hasn’t gotten Balkpan Arsenal making them as artillery. They are perfect as Field Guns. In the long term a high velocity 3inch (75-76mm) gun should be developed. Not unlike the Sherman’s main gun. It will be more than up to the task of taking on 1939 era European tanks that the League can field and can also double as a good artillery piece. Or at least the basis for one.

  6. By Paul Smith on

    I havn’t seen anything about a comparison of the quality of the torpedos created by the Union vs kurokawa’s group. how would they stack up as far as range, explosive power, speed & reliability. Are they based on the “long lance”? I know there isn’t much said about them, but I assume there were a few of them captured at Zanzibar. Also the twin engined torpedo bombers, will any be taken back to copy? Any knowledge gained is an asset for the union.

    Reply
    1. By David DuBois on

      The Japanese Type 93 torpedo, better known as the “Long Lance” torpedo, carried almost twice the explosive charge as the Mark XIV, ran faster and more accurately. The Mark XIV had a maximum range of 8,000 yards while the Type 93 had an effective range of up to 40,000 yards, almost 25 miles (although it was never launched at such extreme range) and worst of all for the Americans, the Type 93 carried self-contained oxygen, meaning that the torpedo left no telltale torpedo track. This usually meant that the target ship had little or no time to make last minute alterations in course to avoid the oncoming torpedo. The Long Lance torpedo was 24″ in diameter and 29.5 feet long, and the launching tubes were designed accordingly. The infamous Mark XIV, on top of all the technical problems that rendered this torpedo the worst torpedo ever designed, was smaller at 21″ in diameter and 20.5 feet long. The warhead in the Long Lance was also much larger,1080 pounds versus 643 pounds. The Type 91 was the aerial version of the Type 93, at 18 feet long and 17.25 feet long with a warhead of 713 pounds and an effective range of 2200 yards. The Americans used the Mark XIIV aerial torpedo beginning in 1935, 13.5 feet long, 22.5 inches in diameter with a warhead of 600 pounds and a range of about 4,400 yards and subject to as many technical issues as the Mark XIV and disliked by the pilots that had to fly with them.

      Based on the the fact that the new torpedoes were designed to replace the Type 91, Kurokawa’s torpedoes would carry a heavier punch. The Japanese would also have the advantage that they knew the workings of the Type 91 and Type 93 intimately, while the American’s are not only trying to build a torpedo, theirs would be smaller and they are trying to design a torpedo that did not have the faults that the original Mark XIV torpedo had. It is doubtful that the Walker crew or Ben Mallory ever saw a Mark XIIV torpedo let alone worked on one. The Walker crew would be making a new torpedo from scratch while the Japanese would be using their intimate knowledge of their better torpedoes to make a new torpedo. I’d have to think that the Japanese had the initial advantage.

      Reply
      1. By Charles Simpson on

        It is possible that Japanese torpedo men from IJN Hidoiame and examples of the type 93 torpedoes were captured after the ship was trumped over. The Japanese did not go back to Japan due to the burning of the Lemurian village of Ani-aaki. These men and torpedoes may be reverse engineered. Hopefully some examples of Kurokawa’s areal torpedoes are heading to be made.

        Reply
    2. By donald j johnson on

      I would have to doubt that the union torpedoes are based on the long-lance. The lack of the ability to separate and store the oxygen as well as the dangers involved would make all involved take a long look at other drive methods.

      Reply
      1. By Lou Schirmer on

        I agree on the danger of using O2, but they could still incorporate some of the engineering features of the Long-Lance to increase the speed & range of their current models.

        Reply
        1. By Justin on

          Unfortunately, said speed/range was the direct result of using oxygen (rather than compressed air) as the oxidizer, rather than any kind of machinery.

          Increased speed and range, but a chance that one unlucky bomb/shell can sink the ship. Decisions, decisions…

          Reply
          1. By Generalstarwars333 on

            An unlucky bomb or shell can sink the ship no matter what. Do the increased range and speed outweigh however likely the torpedoes are to explode?

          2. By Justin on

            Ever heard of the Chokai? During the Battle of Samar, she earned the dubious honour of being the only ship ever sunk by a carrier’s guns… not because the 5″/38 is that deadly to a heavy cruiser, but because one shell hit Chokai‘s Long Lance tubes, and the blast crippled her as if the Americans torpedoed her themselves.
            The Mikuma, Suzuya and countless other IJN ships were lost the same way – some not even in combat.

            See, compressed oxygen is volatile; any nearby incendiary like fires, bombs, shells, or even a grenade can set an oxygen torp off. IMO, the only explosions the Allies should be worrying about are the enemy’s.

          3. By donald j johnson on

            my friend has an oxygen concentrator. last week the hose from it somehow got bumped into his wall furnace. the aftermath was that he had extremely bad burn lines in his carpet and was fortunate that he was able to extinguish the ensuing fire with a full glass of coke that he was carying. things could have been much worse and if he were using a bottle it would have been. pure oxygen is just too dangerous when fuel and ignition is nearby.

          4. By William Curry on

            You don’t need a source of ignition. The friction of the O2 and grease or oil is enough to set it off. We had to use specially cleaned pipe, valves and fittings when we were installing O2 systems. I know of one case where a mechanic was cracking an O2 bottle to clear its opening before installing the bottle and had oil on his pants and set his pants on fire.

          5. By Matt on

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rUKcHe0-m_I

            Yeah I think there’s a reason oxygen torpedoes fell out of favor. How about Otto fuel? modern torpedoes are powered by it and the main component is propylene glycol which, if I understand things right, shouldn’t be too hard to make. Would have to ask Courtney about that, he’s the closest thing they have to a chemist.

          6. By Alexey Shiro on

            Again, I suggest sodium superoxede. Its much safer and easy to store than pure oxygen, and its very simple to release oxygen from it just by heating.

          7. By Justin on

            How much chemistry would you need to know in order to figure out either one? Just remember, all they’ve got are 40s-era machinists and an armchair professor.

          8. By Matt on

            Alexei may be on to something there, Sodium superoxide seems easy enough to make, you oxygenate a solution of sodium in ammonia.

    3. By Steve Moore on

      Kurokawa had air-dropped torps. Don’t think he had a plane capable of carrying a Type 93, even if he had made them. Only mention has been on Hidioame against the Myiaki Maru; if there were two left in their quad mount then the Union’s got them. I believe there was a comment about picking up one of Kurokawa’s torps after the battle (it was a floater) and remarking that it was half the size of the Union torpedoes (maybe DD or BITW?)

      Reply
  7. By Matt on

    So driving home from work on Friday I was thinking about engines and how they could be improved. And it occurred to me that fuel quality and octane has been an issue for the Union for awhile. Polta paste has proven to be incredibly useful but one more use could be in making ethanol/gasoline blend fuel not unlike E85. E85 has a higher octane rating than “premium” pump gas ~93 AKI, 95-98 RON for Mathieu and Alexei. Which is around the rating that WW2 Avgas was at. Higher octane means higher compression, or when we get superchargers more boost and will give higher horsepower for the same displacement. Ethanol is, well ethanol and is what alcohol is made of. Polta is already fermented into a type of wine so why not distill the wine into a pure spirit and blend with gas?

    Reply
    1. By David DuBois on

      Alcohol is not used to raise the octane of fuel, you use Tetraethyllead “lead.” High octane (leaded) gas from back in the day (starting in the 1920s) was used to allow high compression engines to develop more horsepower without the knocking in the engine which was the tell tale sign of preignition in the engine. Alcohol is not used today to replace the lead and raise the octane for cars, but Tetraethyllead is still used in some aviation gasoline. Alcohol was introduced into gasoline in the 1970s to help reduce oil imports with a home grown (pardon the pun) product.

      Reply
      1. By William Curry on

        As a general rule Ethanol does raise the anti-knock rating of the gasoline, but doesn’t do it as well as TEL. Blending Ethanol in also reduces the energy content of the fuel so a gallon doesn’t go as far as a gallon of straight gasoline. That’s why your mileage is poorer using E85 or any other blend.

        Reply
        1. By Lou Schirmer on

          Also you have to modify the fuel system to handle the alcohol, as it tends to damage regular fuel pumps, lines & carbs. If I remember right, Mallory was thinking about using a methanol injection system for the P-40s because the gas they had too low an octane rating. A 50/50 methanol & water mix would be even better. Initially, in WW2, water injection was used to increase power for combat, but since it had a tendency to freeze at altitude, they added methanol to keep it liquid & discovered it increased power even more. Injecting it separately behind the carb would be a way to increase power for take offs, climbing & in combat without having to modify the regular fuel system.

          Reply
          1. By William Curry on

            If I remember correctly the Germans used water/methanol injection to allow them to increase the boost to get some of their recon aircraft to (for then) what were extreme altitude. My Uncle Bud (old A&P Line Chief) told me he and some other built and installed water/Methanol injection systems on Ford flat head V-8’s right after WW2 to allow them to install blowers on them to increase the power with out burning out the engines. He also said water injection was used on the B-52 engines to keep the exhaust gas temperature within limits during take off. He also said on a B-52 with a max take off weight on a hot day you prayed that the engines wouldn’t run out of water before the aircraft reached the end of the runway. Apparently a fully loaded B-52 on a hot day with low air density really was reluctant to leave the ground. I think that’s why they would take off with less than a full load of fuel and tank up in the sky.

          2. By Lou Schirmer on

            In war time situations they tended to load planes well over max weight, which they could do, IF they had a long enough runway & it wasn’t too hot. To a point, a longer runway would work. The point where it didn’t work was if there was not enough climb ability to clear obstacles after lift off. More than likely those B-52s were carrying more than they were supposed to, but with aerial refueling, they could get away with it.

          3. By donald johnson on

            Does anyone have any idea what is done to winterize gasoline. My gasoline mileage on that date jumped 2.5 MPG and has stayed up that way since then. This is for over 3600 miles. The previous 3600 miles was 31.9 MPG and jumped to 34.6 MPG. I got the car in 2015 and it always averaged 31.5 to 32.5 MPG per tank until November I did not notice this last winter. true that this only gives me 16 miles per tank but what is the cause.
            the only time the mileage ever changed previously was during a road trip to Taylor’s last august where on the freeway i was getting 44 MPG. It changed back to 32 MPG for the next 3500 miles.

          4. By William Curry on

            The vapor pressure of winter run gasoline is usually higher than summer run gasoline. Less heat to vaporize the gasoline in the winter. Winter run gasoline used in warm weather has a tendency to vapor lock the fuel system by vaporizing in the line. I had a Ford Taurus was was very prone to this. There are probably other adjustments they make between winter and summer, but I don’t know what those are. The petroleum industry expects fuel to be used up within 90 days of leaving the refinery. I had problems with this with fuel used for backup generator or backup fuel for boilers for when the natural gas supply is curtailed. We had to add stuff to the fuel to keep it from going bad in the tanks.

          5. By Matt on

            Will the Germans didn’t just use methanol injection for high altitude work, they used it in just about everything. 109s had MW50 injection for war emergency power settings. It would help get extra horses for when you needed it. I think they carried enough for a few minutes. IIRC many other fighters of the time had similar systems such as the spitfire and mustang.

            Going off of memory the way it was done is that there was a small metal wire placed at the top of the throttle which would limit you to 100% military power. The pilot could easily break this wire by forcing the throttle and that would activate the MW injection as well as on some models raise the rpm a few hundred revs. Pilots were instructed on the strict usage of it because if you kept the engine on that setting after the MW ran out you could damage and potentially seize the motor. Ground crews had to log when and for how long WEP was used because it was a major factor in engine life.

            There’s even a good chance the macchi-messers that fought at zanzibar had it installed if they used Daimler engines.

      2. By Matt on

        > you use Tetraethyllead “lead.” High octane (leaded) gas from back in the day

        That’s what they are doing now but it isn’t working out well. The P-40s have to run super rich with little ignition advance. They are easily loosing a few hundred horses there.

        >Alcohol is not used to raise the octane of fuel,

        You’re right, it isn’t however E85 has an effectively higher octane rating than premium pump gas. In the US premium is 93 octane which is comparable to high octane avgas from WW2. E85 is effectively 96 AKI although I’ve known people to tune their engines to run closer to a race gas 100 octane fuel map. It really depends on the ratio.

        >Blending Ethanol in also reduces the energy content of the fuel so a gallon doesn’t go as far as a gallon of straight gasoline.

        This is ethanol’s biggest weakness I think but depending on the aircraft and the kinds of roles it needs to fill that may not be so bad.

        Reply
        1. By Lou Schirmer on

          I don’t remember them using TEL in their fuel. I know they’re running rich as you said & definitely way down on power, but reduced range wouldn’t be their worst issue with adding ethanol to their fuel. Ethanol is corrosive (it eats many plastics, rubber, & even aluminum leaving a black sludge), attracts water & degrades quickly, leaving brown sludge. It also acts as a cleanser, which while sounding good, will actually clog carburetors, injector, fuel filters & lines with the cleaning residue. Methanol blends are currently banned in aircraft engines for those reasons. Modern auto engines are specifically designed to handle these problems & older cars need to be adapted to run ethanol blends. A separate water/methanol injection system built to handle these issues would be best for temporary power increases. Some of the sites I looked at:

          https://www.bing.com/search?q=fuel+system+problems+with+ethanol+in+gas&form=EDGEAR&qs=PF&cvid=3870f463f9ee494b99d5dc3271de1b78&cc=US&setlang=en-US

          Reply
          1. By Matt on

            Those can be worked around with redesigning fuel pumps and lines. Not really a big deal, just a change in materials. The bigger question is whether any suitable materials are available.

            I do agree that water/methanol injection is a good idea. Only catch there is that it’s only truly beneficial with forced induction so we are back at the old discussion of how to invent the supercharger. I still think a fairly low pressure positive displacement compressor is easily within their grasp. Especially considering that similar type compressors would have been used in various other functions on Walker and her sisters compressors are used for more than just boosting engines after all and conceptually you only have a handful of designs so in the big picture a compressor is a compressor.

          2. By Matt on

            Hondas didn’t, until recently when they more or less had to in order to stay competitive. modern turbocharged engines are very efficient and can give the power of larger NA engines with better fuel economy and emissions. That’s why little turbo 4 bangers are so common now. Ford even put one in the Mustang.

      3. By Jeff on

        There are those who will tell you that cows won’t give milk and toads will rain from the skies if you use fuel with ethanol in it. A good friend goes over to the next county with jerry cans for his bike and lawn equipment. It’s a topic that has a lot of opinions. What I’ve discovered is that as long as I maintain my small engines there are no issues whatsoever. There are those who disagree and have horror stories to go along with their opinion, I’m just relating my own experience.

        Years ago I had a very high compression big block ’69 Chevelle and added lead to the fuel. You have to have hardened valve seats to run unleaded fuel and I think the lead was a lubricant not an octane boost. I’m no chemist. I used to have to jerry can 100 octane fuel home from the airport for that thing. I also put a methanol injector on it – and methyl is an octane boost right in the seat of your pants.Hoo boy! It also eats us rubber seals and gaskets quickly and unless you have a monster like that to inject it into, don’t. Special case and not all that safe really.

        Right now I run a ’69 vette with a high compression 350 in it. It’s been rebuilt and unleaded fuel is not a problem. In this area I only have access to fuel which is 10% ethanol. I run strictly 93 octane and agree that the E10 makes the actual octane rating less. I just rebuilt the old Holley carb and the kit comes with upgraded gasket material to handle the ethanol. I just advanced the timing a bit and she runs like a scalded …. Griklet …. I guess.

        Ethanol does reduce fuel economy, and in a service truck I had running E85 made the fuel economy truly poor.

        I think Courtney would be aware of the lead content and methyl alcohol. Silva would probably be more interested in the ethyl ….

        Reply
        1. By Jeff on

          Oh, and the same old mechanical fuel pump is still doing it’s thing.

          Reply
        2. By donald johnson on

          TEL lowers the octane and causes the fuel to burn at a lower temp. The higher temp caused by the unleaded fuel is what causes the valves to burn. Alcohol also causes a lower temp burn and water injection also cools the flame as well as boiling the water to increase the thrust/pressure.

          Reply
          1. By Jeff on

            Agreed. It was a water injector for an RV that I was using, except I bought 2 gal cans of methyl alcohol at a local supply house and filled a small reservoir under the hood with it.The intent was to raise octane and reduce temp. It was only necessary because of the extremely high compression ratio in use. Not stock. In hindsight probably dangerous but it worked.

          2. By Lou Schirmer on

            Actually TEL raises the octane rating, allowing use of higher compression in an engine. Lower octane fuel ignites at lower temperatures &/or pressures, which is where you get “pinging” sounds when using lower than recommended octane gas, or the engine needs tuning. The air fuel charge is spontaneously igniting (exploding) when the temps & pressures get high enough, but before the spark plug fires. With ignition happening before the compression stroke finishes, you’re losing power & damaging the engine. Your lawn mower will run better with regular gas than it will with premium because of this, since it’s a low compression engine the higher octane fuel is harder to ignite & may not burn completely.
            The lead in TEL does act as sort of a lubricant, mostly for the exhaust valves. With unleaded fuel there is no coating on the valves & they tend to develop micro fractures from the high temp exhaust & begin to erode. That’s why older engines had to have hardened valve seats installed to run unleaded.
            Alcohol does act to raise the effective octane level as well as cool the intake charge. When using alcohol, you can advance the ignition timing, which will raise your HP levels a little on normally aspirated engine & considerably with forced induction. Adding water to the mix increases the chamber pressure on the ignition stroke. When the fuel burns, the water turns to steam & with restricted volume, the pressure goes up & it also tends to reduce overall combustion temps, helping to keep the engine from overheating.

    2. By donald j johnson on

      //Polta is already fermented into a type of wine so why not distill the wine into a pure spirit and blend with gas?//
      why waste the polta when so many other fermentable sources are available?

      Reply
    1. By Lou Schirmer on

      Looks like a sawed off 4″ gun & a 225 HP straight six would fit the bill nicely.

      Reply
      1. By Paul Smith on

        what would losing a couple of feet off the barrel do to the ballistics? how much muzzle velocity would the gun lose? Accuracy? wouldn’t you need a new compact recoil system? One with a reduced range of motion. I know I wouldn’t want that much steel flying back in an enclosed casemate! 4in/50cal is about 16 ft of barrel(4in X 50)/12=16.67 feet right? 4in/30cal is about 10 feet or 4in/25cal = 8.33 ft wich is much more manageable in a tank. less mass for recoil, but a lot less MV for the “big scary bullets.”

        Reply
          1. By Paul Smith on

            https://panzerworld.com/anti-tank-ammunition

            Yes, but HEAT rounds are less accurate at long ranges, because of the velocity, and AP rounds become less effective at longer ranges. Now, another thought, LOT came in 1936, I believe, and (assuming similar development timelines,) the best tanks the Union would face are, possibly, the French Char B1 or the German Panzer III or Panzer IV. I could find no reference to interwar Spanish tanks. Italy had only tankettes of the L3 series.

        1. By Lou Schirmer on

          Standard recoil should be between 3′-4′ for a 4″ gun. In a regular tank, that would be too much & they would have to redesign it. For what we’re thinking of, an essentially mobile artillery piece without a turret, there should be enough room for the recoil. The loader & gunner would be on either side of the piece & the driver forward of one of them. They could put a muzzle break on it to help compensate for the loss of barrel mass.
          Personally, I’d go with about a 30 cal barrel & yes that would effect the ballistics. Muzzle velocity would be down & the range would be shorter, but at tank engagement ranges (usually less than 1,500 yards, usually between 200-700 yards), it would be almost unnoticeable & still be very effective. Basically, point & shoot at under 1,000 yards.

          Reply
          1. By Paul Smith on

            I’d probably try to recreate a Hetzer. small & hard to hit, using a modified version of the 3″/23 caliber maybe stretch it to 30 caliber to boost mv. It seems like the tanks the union has would be best for something like this. For the humans, the original Hetzer was a bitch to move in, small, cramped. For the Lemurians, not so bad. although they need to make good mufflers for their engines, so they can hear themselves think!

          2. By Lou Schirmer on

            The Hetzer would be a good starter tank killer. I don’t know if they’ve gotten the 3″/23 in production, though I’m with you on going to 30 cal. Even with the tanks they have, they really need a muffler. The crews & engines would both operate better.

          3. By Justin on

            An E-10 sounds feasible, given a bit of R&D.

            Still, it seems like a bad idea to come up with yet another calibre to manufacture and train on when they’ve got one that works; with a 4-incher, the factory Cats can just pull a few naval guns off the line and rework them as tank guns.

          4. By donald j johnson on

            do you have any idea what would be involved in mounting a full length one on land. it would take at least 8 brontasauries in the team to move it. remember the ship mount weights in at 25 tonnes

          5. By Steve Moore on

            Methinks before you crawl, you need to roll. Shouldn’t trucks and prime movers for artillery & AT guns come first? And maybe some earthmoving equipment? After all, the Union isn’t going to the offensive against the LOT, only the Griks and Doms. And after the war, Austraal will be a good market for mechanized farming equipment.

          6. By Lou Schirmer on

            //remember the ship mount weights in at 25 tonnes//

            Where did you see that? All my sources say between 2.7 & 3.1 tons.

          7. By Justin on

            They’re already crawling – two “tanks” with more coming soon, but no trucks or jeeps in sight.

            Besides, tracks (usually) do better than wheels in bad terrain. If anything, they’ll be working on Bren carriers.

          8. By Generalstarwars333 on

            bren carriers would actually be great since you could put a 4″ mortar in one for a self propelled mortar, and put a type 96 in one for something like that french tank destroyer with the 25mm AT gun in it. And of course you’d have the versions with a machine gun in them to be APCs.

          9. By Steve Moore on

            Where will they be engaged in mechanized warfare? African plains. Not a lot of rain.
            Who would they be fighting? An enemy with at least a two generation advantage in tank development, and a fleet of supply trucks.
            How fast would they go? As fast as brontosarries pulling the ammo and fuel limbers. unless they’re defending the rail lines. Recall what happened to French ‘infantry’ tanks in May 1940.
            At least develop something lke a Dodge 3/4 weapons carrier. Easy to load/off load, can go down narrow roads or paths, would be useful at St Francis, and could be exported to the NUS who probably already have a road system. That could pull a mounted Type 96, a pair of M2’s or a Derby with a short load of ammo.
            As has been suggested before, complexity is not always the best thing. Don’t fight the enemy on his strengths. At least the LOT doesn’t have Rommel’s experiences to reflect on.

          10. By Justin on

            Hetzer top speed: 42kph
            Universal Carrier top speed: 48kph
            Apatosaurus top speed: 30 kph
            Char B1 top speed: 21/28 kph (off/on-road)

            Keep in mind that the Grik Zambezi is likely rainforest, not savannah. Even if it isn’t, Central America is, and the Allies may take the fight to the Sahara later on; at last check, WWII trucks did not do well in sand, jungle, or anything rougher than grassland. Can’t use them in amphibious attacks (Zanzibar, etc) either.

            Nobody’s suggesting a rush for Tigers and Jagdpanthers just yet, merely a steady evolution of the “turtleshells” into proper all-terrain tank killers and light transports. Seems best for the Union to start anticipating the next surprise instead of just reacting once it slaps them in the face.

          11. By Paul Smith on

            I would recommend a 3″/30 but with a stretched cartridge to give more than 503mps MV. I know now is not the time to think of developmental work, but the Union now knows there’s bad guys out there better armed as they are. Now I believe the LoT spent some time “pacifying” the med. How much time/effort have they spent building the industries necessary to supporting a large scale war effort? not an awful lot, by some of the statements in DD. The main advantage the LoT has is it’s isolation from the grik/union war zone. Now with the grik & dom wars entering new phases, their isolation “shield” will start to fall apart. Especially if the Union heads north to the arabian peninsula.

          12. By Generalstarwars333 on

            The problem with the 3″30 and a stretched cartridge is that’ll play hell with the ballistics and the stretched cartridge will probably require a redesign of the breech and other stuff.

          13. By Lou Schirmer on

            Actually, the 3/”23 would be just fine as a starter tank cannon. They weigh between 600-750 lbs., depending on the model, which wouldn’t be hard to build a suitable chassis for with their current tech level. If you’re building a tank killer, you don’t even have to develop a turret. Ballistics, at standard tank ranges for it would be essentially, point & shoot. It would probably be good enough to handle the type of tank the LOT would likely have brought. For true ant-armor work, they would have to develop an armor piercing shell for it though, Walker probably only carried HE & AA rounds.

          14. By Generalstarwars333 on

            I have no problem with the 3″23, it’s just that I think extending the barrel to a 3″30 and lengthening the cartridge would play all kinds of hell with the ballistics and need a redesign of the breech and stuff.

          15. By Justin on

            If the gun nuts say it’s fine, then it probably is.

            Only problem I can see is that eventually the Union has to take the offensive… and a casemate TD is more apt for infantry support and tank busting than actual mobile warfare.
            Perhaps they could design a “light” chassis for an interim breakthrough tank (also scouts and transports), and a “heavy” chassis for the SPGs and the eventual Sherman analogue.

            Speaking of which, do the Americans know about their old world’s tank naming conventions? M1 Alden, M2 Rolak, M3 Tamatsu, M4 Queen Safir… got a nice ring to it.

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