TL8 Drop Troops

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Foxtaur

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Nov 30, 2000, 3:00:00 AM11/30/00
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First, some background:

I'm working up a nifty little TL8 setting, where the PCs will be aboard
the HMSS Sir Isaac Brock. This ship usually just quietly orbits the Earth;
but whenever the higher-ups decide to intervene in a military hotspot, the
Brock is quite the useful tool. It has around sixty nukes it can drop if
the mission is just to utterly destroy a given target (tactical nuclear
warheads have lost some of their social stigma after being used so
liberally by both sides in the decade-long European/Islamic war); but when
the object is to do a /controlled/ amount of damage, the Brock sends in
its dropships.

The Brock carries one company of drop troopers - about 160 men - split
into four platoons. Four dropships - the "Detroit", "Queenston Heights",
"Stony Creek", and "Beaver Dam" take the soldiers from whatever orbit the
Brock happens to be in to the target zone. Depending on the specific
mission, either the dropships will land, or the troopers will either
parachute out (letting the dropships leave the area in a hurry). If one
dropship is knocked out, the remaining three can carry the entire company.


Now, my questions:

You're probably familiar with Heinlein's "Starship Troopers" (which the
movie bears little resemblance to), and you might have read the "Alien
Legion" series of comic books. Within 'standard' TL8 limits, and taking
into account that this company is yet-another assembly of the 'best of the
best' (or, like Nomad, 'worst of the worst' <grin>), these are the closest
examples I can think of of the type of military group I'm trying to write
up. I have some ideas which I'd like your opinions on, and I'd also like
to see what ideas you can come up with. :)

Given how common CBRN weapons (chemical, biological, radiological,
nuclear) are, and that the occasional mission will be on the moon or at an
orbital colony, armoured vacuum suits are an absolute minimum. And given
how heavy those are in addition to a standard combat load, exoskeletons
also sound like a good idea. When I add up all the available options for
such a suit (plus an emergency medkit) the total comes to 532.2 lbs and
$294,755 per suit - and that's without any weaponry or extras. Given that
the Brock herself cost about $2.5 billion, I suppose that's not completely
unreasonable... is it?
(Also, given CBRN warfare, the Brock carries a P4-secure Full Genetics
Lab to deal with any nasties the troopers might discover.)

For TL8-level weapons, the only sourcebooks I have are Basic, Space, and
Cyberpunk. I've also declared that batteries have 1/10th the energy of
standard powercells, which means that man-portable lasers aren't
especially useful.
My latest ideas for arming these fellows is to split them into 4-man
"Fire Teams", carrying four vibro-blades, three Assault Chainguns, an EM
Mortar or automatic EM Grenade Launcher, various grenades, and ammunition.
I also want at least a one-shot anti-vehicle weapon, but the Mortar is the
closest I can find. Given how much money has already been sunk into the
Brock, the guns might as well be "very fine" and the vibroblades "super
fine".
Visible cybernetics have about the same social stigma as current
prosthetics ("You mean you cut off your arm?"), but are still better than
not having a given limb at all. The military would probably be willing to
pay for certain biomods, though, should the soldier volunteer. (Bio-Tech,
page 63; Jointwork, Muscle Graft, Eye Upgrade, and Bone Stimulation seem
appropriate.)
One thing I haven't quite worked out is what sort of parachuting gear the
troopers might use. Heinlein's troops had the advantage of a TL10-level
Personal Reentry Kit; the only other thing my books list is the Backpack
Parawing from Cyberpunk.

Should I try to come up with one or two drop-attack-aircraft, for when
a nuke's too big but fragmentation-mortar-shells are too small? What sort
of craft would you design?


Here's what I've come up with so far for the Brock herself and her
dropships. How do they look to you? What changes do you suggest?

-----8<-----

Space Submarine: "HMSS Sir Isaac Brock"

Spaces Mass Cost Notes
Hull, 2M cf, SL (3160) 200 12 Area: 100 ksf.
Total Compartment. - 40 .4
Turrets, large, 2 <200> 40 2.4 Area: 20 ksf.
cDR: 1 - 900 36 "Advanced" armor.
Radical Stealth - 120 180
Radical Cloaking - 240 360
Large Bridge 4 9 3.2
Enhanced Sensors 1 12 23 Scan: 34/33. Power: 1.
Astronomical - .1 .5
Planetary - .12 .25
Life Support, total 66 165 3.3 Capacity: 330. Power: 1.5.
Cabins 330 330 .99
Crew, 150 - 15 -
Missile bays, 2 2 2 .006
16 Hvy Nukes - 22.4 2.112
40 Lt Nukes - 12 3.44
Entries, lrg, 3 3 9 .033
Halls, 3 30 .6 .09
Surgeries, 3 1.5 .42 .15
Ursaline - - .858 330-man, 2-year supply.
Fission Core 1 4 .61
Fission Power 200 800 160 400 MW.
Fissionables - - 320 2 year supply.
Solar Panels 2 24 2.88 Area 96 ksf. 3.8 MW at 1 AU.
Batteries 10 250 50 450,000 MWs.
Light Sails 2 100 100 Thrust: 20. 30 sq. mi.
Nuclear Pulse Drive 300 1200 240
Fuel Tank 1000 25 170
N Pellets - 12000 300
Genetics Lab, P4 20 100 10 G:Bio-Tech, page 21.
Dropship bays, 3 315 1.5 0.009
Dropships, 3 - 3561.69 300.459 Includes mass of marines.
Cargo Space 872.5 0 0
Cargo - 0 0
Heavy Laser <100> 500 90 Power: 10,000.
Heavy P-Beam <100> 500 90 Power: 29,000.

SM: +11
cSM: +1
ASig: -7
When using light sails: -1
PSig: -7
cHP: Hull: 1500
Turrets: 300 each

Total Mass: 21,183.83 tons.
Total Cost: $2,459,817,000.00
sAccel: 1.416 Gs
Burn Endurance: 1h 8m 34.2s.
Delta Vee: 57,100.2 m/s
Top Air Speed: 4,330.1 mph.

-----

Dropships: "Detroit", "Queenston Heights", "Stony Creek", "Beaver Dam"

Spaces Mass Cost Notes
Hull, 50k cf, SL (80) 200 12 Area: 10 ksf.
cDR: 1 - 75 3 "Advanced" armor.
Radical Stealth - 10 15
Radical Cloaking - 20 30
Cockpit 0.5 2.5 1.1
Basic Sensors 1 12 4.6 Scan: 32/31. Power: 0.5.
Passenger Seats 4 5.6 0.036 60 men. Power: 0.03.
Entry Module, small 0.5 2 0.007
Crew, 60+pilot - 6.1 -
Surgeries, 2 1 0.28 0.1
Fission Core 1 4 0.61
Fission Power 1 4 0.8 2 MW.
Fissionables - - 0.16 2-year supply.
Nuclear Pulse Drive 1 4 0.8 Thrust: 100.
Fuel Tank 70 1.75 11.9
N pellets - 840 21

SM: +8
cSM: -2
ASig: -10
PSig: -10
cHP: 150

Total Mass: 1,187.23 tons.
Total Cost: $100,153,000.
sAccel: 0.084 Gs.
Burn Endurance: 24 hours.
Delta Vee: 71,319.0 m/s.
Top Air Speed: 866.0 mph.
Time to reach Earth Orbit: 4 hours, 49 minutes, 42.6 seconds.
Time to escape Earth Orbit: 6 hours, 49 minutes, 42.6 seconds.

----->8-----


(And if you're wondering: The Brock was originally American, but during
some political shenanigans involving arms limits, was transferred to
Canada, who then lent it to NATO. Canada is a country caught in the middle
between the US/Islamic and Europe/China power blocs; Canadians try to be
as un-American as they can be, given how close they are. (For example,
after Fidel died (at as ripe an old age as TL8 medicine can buy), in order
to avoid becoming Yet Another American Territory, Cuba declared itself
part of Canada... <grin>)


After establishing the setting with the players, I intend for the main
plot to involve the Brock swinging around to Mars after the Phobos and
Deimos colonies are lasered into oblivion by undeclared attackers... I'll
probably have the ship swing around Venus, both because it can be a
shorter route, and for any Venusian intrigue I can come up with - perhaps
having to acquire fuel for the Nuke-Pulse drives from uncooperative folk,
within a time limit that can't be changed as the Brock swings around on
its Hohmann orbit...

Do you have any other plotworthy ideas?


Any other comments at all? :)


Thank you for your time,
--
Foxtaur
The Rrangoon species is available at http://www.phantomcross.org/

John Ringo

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Nov 30, 2000, 3:00:00 AM11/30/00
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You need to consider what sort of "artillery" they can call on. Use Thors,
they may not be in the "tech inventory" but they're a natural for the
situation you describe.

John

--
"Why does treason never prosper? Why if it prospers, none dare call it
treason!"

www.johnringo.com


"Foxtaur" <spam.fox...@spam.warren.kill.com> wrote in message
news:eRpV5.160806$UO.6...@news22.bellglobal.com...
: First, some background:


:
: I'm working up a nifty little TL8 setting, where the PCs will be aboard
: the HMSS Sir Isaac Brock.


snip

Foxtaur

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Nov 30, 2000, 3:00:00 AM11/30/00
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John Ringo <john...@cuthis.mindspring.exthisout.com.invalid> wrote:

> You need to consider what sort of "artillery" they can call on. Use Thors,
> they may not be in the "tech inventory" but they're a natural for the
> situation you describe.

What sort of 'Thor' are you referring to? After some quick searches on
Deja and Google, all I can find is a "Self-Propelled Heavy Artillery" for
Battletech / Mechwarrior, and the McDonnell Thor IRBM from circa-1960.

cra...@hotmail.com

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Nov 30, 2000, 3:00:00 AM11/30/00
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In article <VcvV5.161192$UO.6...@news22.bellglobal.com>,

Foxtaur <spam.fox...@spam.warren.kill.com> wrote:
> John Ringo <john...@cuthis.mindspring.exthisout.com.invalid> wrote:
>
> > You need to consider what sort of "artillery" they can call on. Use
Thors,
> > they may not be in the "tech inventory" but they're a natural for
the
> > situation you describe.
>
> What sort of 'Thor' are you referring to? After some quick
> searches on Deja and Google, all I can find is a "Self-Propelled
> Heavy Artillery" for Battletech / Mechwarrior, and the
> McDonnell Thor IRBM from circa-1960.

Thor? You haven't heard of Thor?

My boy, you simply MUST read "Footfall" by Larry Niven and
Jerry Pournelle. Talk about using near-future technology to stomp
the heck out of a planet...

Anyway, Thors are (probably metallic) projectiles dropped from
orbit ranging in size (depending on who you talk to) from
crowbars to telephone poles.

If you figure your typical, quite aerodynamic Thor will retain
a few miles per second from its orbital velocity of ~5mps
after re-entry, you've got a projectile moving 2-3 times as
fast as a current tank cannon's APFSDS shell. Guidance is
quite likely used.

Imagine a steel telephone pole dropped from orbit and landing
on top of a tank. Or aircraft carrier. Or just nearby.

Now, to try orbital drops:

http://www.rocketry.com/mwade/craftfam/rescue.htm

Those are a bunch of escape systems for spacecraft. Look
for the GE Liferaft, the Paracone, Moose [1], 1-crew
re-entry capsule...btw, those are all in bottom-to-top
order on the previous link.

[1] http://www.rocketry.com/mwade/craft/moose.htm

Note some of those designs like the Paracone got down
to 80kg.

Using GURPS rules, I suppose you could model a one-man
re-entry capsule using re-entry rules in GURPS Vehicles,
pg160-ish. That gives you a DR value for the fireproof
ablative (or metal) armor you'd need to survive the damage
from re-entry. A short-burning rocket, like a 30-second
chemical rocket with .1-1G of thrust would be plenty to
drop the capsule below orbital velocity. Make it a disk
8ft-10ft in diameter, slap on a crew station (G-seat,
of course), bolt on a parachute that deploys when the
object hits terminal velocity (pretty low unless its a
lifting body design), and you should be good to go.

--
Mike Miller, Materials Engineer
"I told [Clinton] I'd be happy to take the first year and then he
could have the second year while they're working this out. But
this sucks..." --Bob Dole


Sent via Deja.com http://www.deja.com/
Before you buy.

overw...@my-deja.com

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Nov 30, 2000, 3:00:00 AM11/30/00
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In article <VcvV5.161192$UO.6...@news22.bellglobal.com>,
Foxtaur <spam.fox...@spam.warren.kill.com> wrote:
> John Ringo <john...@cuthis.mindspring.exthisout.com.invalid> wrote:
>
> > You need to consider what sort of "artillery" they can call on. Use
Thors,
> > they may not be in the "tech inventory" but they're a natural for
the
> > situation you describe.
>
> What sort of 'Thor' are you referring to? After some quick searches
on
> Deja and Google, all I can find is a "Self-Propelled Heavy Artillery"
for
> Battletech / Mechwarrior, and the McDonnell Thor IRBM from circa-1960.
>
> Thank you for your time,
> --
> Foxtaur
> The Rrangoon species is available at http://www.phantomcross.org/
>

Imagine a guided crowbar dropped from orbit.... essentially a chunk of
iron and a guidance package that will survive re-entry and do damage
based on the kinetic energy of the impact.

SF book reference in Niven and Pournelle's "Footfall".

- Kurt
--
"I don't pay attention to what men say, I just watch what they do."
- Andrew Carnegie
"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana."
- Groucho Marx

Florian Berner

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Nov 30, 2000, 3:00:00 AM11/30/00
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> Imagine a steel telephone pole dropped from orbit and landing
> on top of a tank. Or aircraft carrier. Or just nearby.
>
Considering the "easy" attitude to nuclear stuff they would propably use
spent uranium (the same thing some tanks use as ammo) or something like
it instead of steel. Just a detail.

cu
Flo

Foxtaur

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Nov 30, 2000, 3:00:00 AM11/30/00
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cra...@hotmail.com wrote:
> Foxtaur <spam.fox...@spam.warren.kill.com> wrote:
>> John Ringo <john...@cuthis.mindspring.exthisout.com.invalid> wrote:

>>> You need to consider what sort of "artillery" they can call on. Use
>>> Thors, they may not be in the "tech inventory" but they're a natural
>>> for the situation you describe.

>> What sort of 'Thor' are you referring to?

> My boy, you simply MUST read "Footfall" by Larry Niven and


> Jerry Pournelle. Talk about using near-future technology to stomp
> the heck out of a planet...

Must... not... spout... off... <ahem>
I actually happen to have a copy of 'Footfall' on my desk right now,
though I read it quite a while ago and have forgotten quite a few details
(which I've been telling myself is a Good Thing :) ). I've also been
telling myself that I'm using it as an example of how /not/ to wage an
interplanetary-scale war - but that might just be because of the
seemingly-forced stupidity of the fithp...


> Anyway, Thors are (probably metallic) projectiles dropped from
> orbit ranging in size (depending on who you talk to) from
> crowbars to telephone poles.
>
> If you figure your typical, quite aerodynamic Thor will retain
> a few miles per second from its orbital velocity of ~5mps
> after re-entry, you've got a projectile moving 2-3 times as
> fast as a current tank cannon's APFSDS shell. Guidance is
> quite likely used.
>

> Imagine a steel telephone pole dropped from orbit and landing
> on top of a tank. Or aircraft carrier. Or just nearby.

As the saying goes, "Cool". :)

Now, all I have to do is come up with some official-sounding GURPS
numbers for such a beastie... I'll probably end up basing the launcher on
the railgun listed in G:Space, but have to come up with new damage
numbers.
Unless, of course, some kind soul here happens to have already worked out
some details...? :)


> Now, to try orbital drops:

> Using GURPS rules, I suppose you could model a one-man


> re-entry capsule using re-entry rules in GURPS Vehicles,
> pg160-ish. That gives you a DR value for the fireproof
> ablative (or metal) armor you'd need to survive the damage
> from re-entry. A short-burning rocket, like a 30-second
> chemical rocket with .1-1G of thrust would be plenty to
> drop the capsule below orbital velocity. Make it a disk
> 8ft-10ft in diameter, slap on a crew station (G-seat,
> of course), bolt on a parachute that deploys when the
> object hits terminal velocity (pretty low unless its a
> lifting body design), and you should be good to go.

Hm; I hadn't thought about taking this approach. One of the reasons I
decided to use dropboats is that not only can they drop off the troopers,
but when the mission is complete (or aborted, or ignored when a bigger
situation crops up), they can come back and pick them back up again. (Even
Heinlein's cap-troopers needed 'retrieval boats' to get back up to orbit.)
However, your re-entry capsules do sound as though they could be tweaked
to solve one of the problems I've been having - when the drop zone is too
nasty to land the dropships, how to get the droptroops from, say, a couple
dozen kilometres up to the ground. The dropships would make the rocket
unnecessary, but that space could be more usefully used for such useful
things as chaff, flares, decoys, and similar toys.
Does anybody else care to take their hand to writing up such a critter,
or shall I see what I can come up with without G:Vehicles? (And yes, it
/is/ on my Christmas list... <g>)

Foxtaur

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Nov 30, 2000, 3:00:00 AM11/30/00
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Florian Berner <fbe...@gmx.net> wrote:

>> Imagine a steel telephone pole dropped from orbit and landing
>> on top of a tank. Or aircraft carrier. Or just nearby.

> Considering the "easy" attitude to nuclear stuff they would propably use


> spent uranium (the same thing some tanks use as ammo) or something like
> it instead of steel. Just a detail.

A good thought. I'm thinking of basing the system on the Railguns in
G:Space, page 126, where it mentions that "railgun ammunition consists of
dense tungsten or depleted-uranium projectiles".

MA Lloyd

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Nov 30, 2000, 3:00:00 AM11/30/00
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Foxtaur <spam.fox...@spam.warren.kill.com> writes:

>> Considering the "easy" attitude to nuclear stuff they would propably use
>> spent uranium (the same thing some tanks use as ammo) or something like
>> it instead of steel. Just a detail.

> A good thought. I'm thinking of basing the system on the Railguns in
>G:Space, page 126, where it mentions that "railgun ammunition consists of
>dense tungsten or depleted-uranium projectiles".

Uranium burns easily, even steel will burn, and it melts at pretty low
temperatures. Things that hit the atmosphere at re-entry velocities
need to be made of, or at least coated with something less temperature
sensitive. You could have a dense penetrator in a ceramic or mineral
fiber sheath, but it's not clear to me it would be any more effective
than solid artificial rock.

--
-- MA Lloyd (mall...@io.com)

Gregory L. Hansen

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Nov 30, 2000, 8:19:33 PM11/30/00
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In article <s1BV5.70125$DG3.1...@news2.giganews.com>,

Uranium oxide?

--
"Jugo de naranja, loco con pulpa!"

David Crowe

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Nov 30, 2000, 10:56:47 PM11/30/00
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Foxtaur <spam.fox...@spam.warren.kill.com> wrote:
: First, some background:

: I'm working up a nifty little TL8 setting, where the PCs will be aboard
: the HMSS Sir Isaac Brock. This ship usually just quietly orbits the Earth;
: but whenever the higher-ups decide to intervene in a military hotspot, the
: Brock is quite the useful tool. It has around sixty nukes it can drop if
: the mission is just to utterly destroy a given target (tactical nuclear
: warheads have lost some of their social stigma after being used so
: liberally by both sides in the decade-long European/Islamic war); but when
: the object is to do a /controlled/ amount of damage, the Brock sends in
: its dropships.

If it is a peacekeeping tool, why does it need to be a spacecraft? ICBMs
could deliver the nukes just as well, perhaps even satillite launched
ones. Suborbital shuttles hops could deliver troops anywhere on Earth in
just a little more time, but for a lot less money. And it would be more
efficient to keep troops on the Earth rather than cooped up in a ship for
months at a time, losing muscle mass due to low gravity, to say nothing of
the difficulties in training.

You mentioned interplanetary colonies, but I don't think they'd be
advanced enough to require being nuked if there is trouble.

Are there other combat spacecraft around? Why is it needed?


--
David "No Nickname" Crowe http://www.primenet.com/~jetman

<Moan> "This episode of 'Buffy' is filled with continuity errors!
But I can't reach my internet newsgroup to *complain*!
Worst punishment ever!"
-Comic store guy in Hell, Simpsons Treehouse of Horror #6.

woef...@my-deja.com

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Dec 1, 2000, 1:09:05 AM12/1/00
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In article <juAV5.161547$UO.6...@news22.bellglobal.com>,

Foxtaur <spam.fox...@spam.warren.kill.com> wrote:
> Unless, of course, some kind soul here happens to have already
worked out
> some details...? :)

Some Stats I worked out a while back...
Assuming a 20mm dia projectile with a 10:1 l:w ratio we get these stats
for steel and DPU projectiles
volume for both = 3141.6cc = 3.1416 liters
mass 22.0 kg 34.6 kg
kinetic energy at escape velocity (11.18 km/s)
MJ 1.37e+9 2e+9
potential energy at an orbital height of 90 miles
MJ 31 49

In comparison, here are the stats I worked out for a 20 mm extremely
long barreled railgun stats for the reloadable one first, the one shot
stats follow
Damage 96d 144d (this converts to 6d*16 and 6d*24)
1/2D 8000 (yards for both)
Max 19,000 (yards for both)
Acc 19
Wt 720 360 (pounds)
SS 25 20
Rof 1/3 1NR (can't reload the one shot)
WPS 48.5
VPS .3
CPS 388
Power 290900 kWs (or 290.9 MJ)
Cost 368000 184000

I may be off on the WPS (I don't have my copy of G:Vehicles here, but
the GURPS Vehicles Designer program disagrees on the WPS by almost two
orders of magnitude. This wouldn't change the damage calculations, but
would affect the the cost and volume per shot numbers.)

Using APC (tungsten carbide) give a Damage of 6d*24 (2) and triples
the CPS.
Using DPU gives 6d*32 (3) and multiplies the CPS by six.

The conclusion I came to after working up these numbers was that the
damage from a 20mm Thor type system could range from 6d*16 up to just
about anything I felt like assigning (The max kinetic energy of the
projectiles detailed at the beginning of the post are a million times
greater than the max given by the railgun. If Damage scales with energy
that means upto 6d*16,000,000. If it scales with momentum, Dam would
max at ~6d*16,000 (!)

YMMV, and my calcs may be off. I was satisfied with deciding that an
effective Thor could kill just about anything.

On another note. The BEST TL8 weapons I have seen were the ones posted
in this newsgroup 4-6 weeks ago.

Search for "TSG-115", "Ares-12A", "P-15 -- the SMG from hell",
"Disposable Cluster Munition", or "Grenade launcher for the ARES-12"
on deja, or whatever newsreader you use. Very effective weapons.

Paul

Elmar

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Dec 1, 2000, 3:00:00 AM12/1/00
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In article <9066l2$fks$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>,
overw...@my-deja.com wrote:
> In article <VcvV5.161192$UO.6...@news22.bellglobal.com>,

> Foxtaur <spam.fox...@spam.warren.kill.com> wrote:
> > John Ringo <john...@cuthis.mindspring.exthisout.com.invalid>
wrote:
> >
> > > You need to consider what sort of "artillery" they can call on.
Use
> Thors,
> > > they may not be in the "tech inventory" but they're a natural for
> the
> > > situation you describe.
> >
> > What sort of 'Thor' are you referring to? After some quick searches
> on
> > Deja and Google, all I can find is a "Self-Propelled Heavy
Artillery"
> for
> > Battletech / Mechwarrior, and the McDonnell Thor IRBM from circa-
1960.
> >
> > Thank you for your time,
> > --
> > Foxtaur
> > The Rrangoon species is available at http://www.phantomcross.org/
> >
>
> Imagine a guided crowbar dropped from orbit.... essentially a chunk of
> iron and a guidance package that will survive re-entry and do damage
> based on the kinetic energy of the impact.

There is a maximum speed you would reach in the atmosphere, a sky diver
will not get infinetely faster. So your crowbar will reach a very high
speed, but I guess it would be better to dump it from a high flying
aeroplane.

Elmar

--
"President, n. The leading figure in a small group of men
of whom - and of whom only - it is positively
known that immense numbers of their countrymen
did not want any of them for President."
Ambrose Bierce

Please contact me with kn...@888.nu
(I hate spam)

Mirko Armelyan

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Dec 1, 2000, 3:00:00 AM12/1/00
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Hello.
First of all, if the main base of your troops is on a planet, and the
likely target areas are on that same planet, I don't know why you should
have a stop in orbit. Remember the starship troopers attacked _other_
planets. A huge airbase in some secure area and a few good old strategic
cargo planes should be enough. You'll also need a fleet of tanker, attack,
air-superiority aircraft.
Why, once you are there, you can also have them based on a few carriers...
and you'll need escorts for the carriers, AEW and ASW aircraft... and
subs... and... ehm, this reminds me...

Assuming you need to keep an eye on the colonies, too, say on Mars or the
Moon, then you need the orbit-to-planet capability.
For that, the individual re-entry vehicles are a nice idea, but costly,
since they are used once and then thrown away. If your drop troopers'
battlesuit includes the ever-popular backpack rocket or jet, I'd suggest a
free-fall drop from about 30kms of altitude.
At that height, the dropships won't be very vulnerable unless the
opposition has either anti-orbital weapons or state-of-the-art fighters
carrying dedicated missiles.
The troopers will drop freely, like bombs. Their acceleration will end when
they reach terminal velocity. The first main difficulty of such a HALO
drop, the environmental conditions, is already solved thanks to their vacc
suits. Inside, they could wear a G-suit too. Outside the suit, they will
wear a parachute harness with a deceleration parachute or two. These will
be automatically opened by an altimeter switch. Redundancy is recommended
for chutes and altimeter. The opening altitude and the deceleration time
can be custom-designed on the basis of tactical considerations.
The parachute is not designed to make the troopers land as paratroopers.
Instead, once they have reached a "reasonable" drop speed, they will ignite
their backpack rockets. This automatically detaches the parachute harness.
Now it's time to solve the other problem of such a launch; the troopers may
stray tens of kms from the intended DZ. This isn't entirely a bad thing,
because if they are detected, the enemy still won't have a clear idea of
their intended target. Once detached from the parachutes, with a GPS and
their backpack rockets they can correct that.
There is little the opposition can do. As I said, the dropships themselves
aren't easy to reach. The individual troopers will present a very small
radar signature, which can be further reduced by radar-stealth measures for
the suit surface. I suppose IR cloaking is already a feature. And they
aren't an easy target anyway as long as they drop as bombs.
The decelaration phase makes the trooper more vulnerable. However, using
the backpack jets to decelerate would consume a lot of fuel. In the face of
serious opposition, the parachute harness can be additionally fitted with a
radar warning receiver and a chaff dispenser, automatically fired by the
receiver itself.
If the enemy can concentrate a massive AA barrage, then decoys must be
launched before and together with the troopers, and pre-emptive strikes
carried out.

> My latest ideas for arming these fellows is to split them into 4-man
> "Fire Teams", carrying four vibro-blades, three Assault Chainguns, an EM
> Mortar or automatic EM Grenade Launcher, various grenades, and
ammunition.
> I also want at least a one-shot anti-vehicle weapon,

Why? If you have a grenade launcher, you may have RPG-like rounds with
shaped-charge warheads.

> Should I try to come up with one or two drop-attack-aircraft, for when
> a nuke's too big but fragmentation-mortar-shells are too small? What sort

> of craft would you design?
>

There are many other things a big missile can carry apart from a nuclear
warhead. It depends on the target.
A single non-moving hardened target, such as an underground complex or
heavily armored bunker: use some kind of penetration+explosive warhead
(several types are available).
Several smaller hardened but non airtight bunkers/buildings: FAE.
Several hardened airtight targets, either moving or not (tanks/bunkers): a
bus missile carrying several warheads each with its own guidance system,
SICM or smart bombs.
Non-armored troops in the open: ICM, SICM or a giant proximity-fused
beehive round.
A SAM battalion: a bus missile carrying a few anti-radiation missiles and
ICM.
A carrier group: a bus missile carrying a few SS-N-12...
A mixture of targets: a bus missile carrying a mixture of warheads!

Hope this helps,

Mirko

Foxtaur

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Dec 1, 2000, 3:00:00 AM12/1/00
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David Crowe <jet...@primenet.com> wrote:
> Foxtaur <spam.fox...@spam.warren.kill.com> wrote:

>> First, some background:

>> I'm working up a nifty little TL8 setting, where the PCs will be
>> aboard the HMSS Sir Isaac Brock. This ship usually just quietly
>> orbits the Earth; but whenever the higher-ups decide to intervene in
>> a military hotspot, the Brock is quite the useful tool. It has around
>> sixty nukes it can drop if the mission is just to utterly destroy a
>> given target (tactical nuclear warheads have lost some of their
>> social stigma after being used so liberally by both sides in the
>> decade-long European/Islamic war); but when the object is to do a
>> /controlled/ amount of damage, the Brock sends in its dropships.


Now here's the sort of reply I was really hoping for - forcing me to
think hard about making sure the setting I'm inventing is self-
consistent.


> If it is a peacekeeping tool, why does it need to be a spacecraft?

> ICBMs could deliver the nukes just as well, perhaps even satellite
> launched ones.

Nukes aren't always the appropriate military response - if your
neighbour's dog messes on your lawn, would you use a grenade? (Well,
assuming that you want to keep living in the same community afterwards.
<grin>) Heinlein mentioned in "Starship Troopers" that 'war is
/controlled/ violence'.
In another part of this thread, we're discussing using railguns for
bombardment from orbit (project Thor), which is one stage less
destructive than nukes - but still isn't necessarily the right solution.


> Suborbital shuttles hops could deliver troops anywhere on Earth in
> just a little more time, but for a lot less money.

The dropships themselves seem to be reasonable facsimiles of such
shuttles - in fact, they're single-stage-to-orbit and -back-to-Earth
shuttles, as well. So, I assume that your main question is why they
should be based in a mobile orbiting weapons platform rather than
somewhere on Earth (ignoring, for the moment, any possible military
activity in orbit, on the Moon, or further out).
One possible answer is that 'just a little more time' might be just a
little too much - for example, if somebody starts cooking up a new
bioplague and is about to install it in some missile warheads, then time
is of the essence. (And in good action movie format, seconds could
easily make the difference. <g>)


> And it would be more efficient to keep troops on the Earth
> rather than cooped up in a ship for months at a time, losing muscle
> mass due to low gravity, to say nothing of the difficulties in
> training.

With the TL8 drug "Ursaline", the negative biological effects of
microgravity are prevented - and I made sure to add the cost of a 2-year
supply to the Brock. :)
As for training, the only additional training for troopers stationed in
freefall would be a minimum of 100 hours to give them "Freefall/TL8
(P/A)" of DX-1. (More training wouldn't hurt, of course. :) ) And given
that the troopers' mission destinations are going to include the
occasional orbiting workshack, they're going to need such training
regardless.


> You mentioned interplanetary colonies, but I don't think they'd be
> advanced enough to require being nuked if there is trouble.

That would depend on the specific colony - who sponsors it; whether
it's in orbit, on the surface, or buried; how big it is; and so forth.
Also, given that a 10-kiloton nuclear missile costs only $464,000, and a
launcher $3,000, well, that's less than the smallest power plant (solar
panel or fission reactor) a colony would need to power its life support.

Here's a sheet for a basic orbital habitat that could be stuffed nearly
anywhere in orbit or dropped onto (or buried inside) Luna, Mars, or
anywhere else. The only thing I'm leaving out is the armor to protect
the inhabitants from radiation (such as from solar flares). cDR 1, which
gives a PF 10, would add 25 tons and $300,000; to increase the PF by 10,
double the cDR, mass, and cost.
Spaces Mass Cost Notes
Hull, 5k cf, USL (10) 4 0.1 Area: 2 ksf.
Small Bridge 1 2.9 1 Power: neg.
Total Life Support 0.5 1.25 0.0025 Power: 0.025. 2 people.
Bunk Room 1 0.5 0.0005 Power: neg.
Crew, 1 - 0.1 -


Fission Core 1 4 0.61

Fission Power 0.5 2 0.4 1 MW.
Fissionables - - 0.04 1-year supply.
Cargo Space 6 - 0
Total Mass: 14.75 tons
Total Cost: $2,153,000, + $40,000/year
SM: +6
cSM, ASig, PSig: -4
cHP: 200

If the mini-habitat is in less than 0.1 G, the fission power plant
could be replaced by Solar Panels - though a battery should be added in
case of shadow.
Solar Panel 1 12 1.44 1.9 MW.
Battery 0.5 12.5 2.5 22,500 MW-seconds
Total Mass: 32.75 tons
Total Cost: $5,043,000
(The battery can power Life Support for 250 hours.)


These things aren't exactly cheap, but I've seen the occasional house
that sells for more. The perfect home for the eccentric millionaire, who
might fill the empty space of his residence with a half-space ion drive
and half-space fuel tank to keep it in a given orbit; add luxury cabin
or two and a bit more life support for the family; toss in a weapon or
three to defend the homestead; and/or install a lab or workshop to
putter around in and try to invent the next greatest thing since sliced
bread.


And that's just /tiny/ habitats, owned by individuals.


> Are there other combat spacecraft around?

Indeed there are - the Brock is one of the largest, able to sustain
itself independently for two years without refueling.


> Why is it needed?

Well, let's say a member of the Islamic Axis sponsors a hostile
takeover of one of the uranium mines in the lunar highlands. Or an
American-sponsored group tries to steal some of Canada's clean
freshwater reserves. Or China asks for a little help when American
pioneers in the New West (Siberia) ignore the border. Or yet another
bioagent is released in the Balkans... Or anything else I can come up
with (or you can suggest <g>).


I'd like to hear any other thoughts you have.

Foxtaur

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Dec 1, 2000, 3:00:00 AM12/1/00
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Page 138 of G:Space mentions that railguns are one of the best suited
weapons for orbital bombardment; and after reviewing them, using them
that way seems rather similar to Thor. So, here are some numbers for TL8
railguns.
All three have an SS of 30, Acc of 19, and Malf of ver. Given that in
combat, a railgun can fire once every ten seconds, including taking
three seconds for the Acc bonus, they have an RoF of 1/7. Railguns have
a density of 13.2 pounds per cubic foot, while ammunition has a density
of 64 pounds per cubic foot. They're fired using the skill Gunner
(Railgun).

A Light Railgun weighs 3.3 tons (6,600 lbs), has a volume of 500 cubic
feet, costs $2.5 million, has a 1/2D range in atmosphere of 12,000 and a
Max range of 24,000, and causes (4d+1)x100 damage with an armor divisor
of 3. Each shot requires 20 MW.
Ammunition for a light railgun costs $10,222.22 per shot, weighs 71 1/9
lbs, and has a volume of 1 1/9 cubic feet (1,920 cubic inches).

A Medium Railgun weighs 33 tons (66,000 lbs), has a volume of 5,000
cubic feet, costs $25 million, has a 1/2D range in atmosphere of 36,000
and a Max range of 72,000, and causes (6d+2)x100(3) damage. Each shot
requires 660 MW.
Ammo for a medium railgun costs $102,222.22 per shot, weighs 711 1/9
lbs, and has a volume of 11 1/9 cubic feet (19,200 cubic inches).

A Heavy Railgun weighs 330 tons (660,000 lbs), has a volume of 50,000
cubic feet, costs $250 million, has a 1/2D range in atmosphere of
120,000 and a Max range of 240,000, and inflicts a respectable 9dx300(3)
on its targets. Each shot requires 2,000 MW.
Ammunition for a heavy railgun costs $920,000 per shot, weighs 3.2
tons (6,400 lbs), and has a volume of 100 cubic feet.


The smallest ship-scale battery has a volume of 250 cubic feet (say, 5
x 5 x 10 feet), weighs 12.5 tons (25,000 lb), and costs $2.5 million. It
stores 22,500 MW-seconds, enough to fire a light railgun 1,125 times, a
medium one 34 times, or a heavy one 11 times.


A slight strangeness creeps in when looking at how much surface area on
a ship railguns require. A light railgun needs 200 square feet - but
with a volume of 500 cubic feet, that seems to imply that it's only 2.5
feet thick. Similarly, a medium railgun needs 500 square feet, implying
that it's 10 feet thick, and a heavy railgun 1,500 square feet, implying
a depth of 33 feet, 4 inches.

Foxtaur

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Dec 1, 2000, 3:00:00 AM12/1/00
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woef...@my-deja.com wrote:

> On another note. The BEST TL8 weapons I have seen were the ones posted
> in this newsgroup 4-6 weeks ago.
>
> Search for "TSG-115", "Ares-12A", "P-15 -- the SMG from hell",
> "Disposable Cluster Munition", or "Grenade launcher for the ARES-12"
> on deja, or whatever newsreader you use. Very effective weapons.

Strangely enough, when I searched Deja, I was able to find some of the
threads, but whoever posted the initial messages and any statistics about
those weapons doesn't have their messages archived there.

cra...@hotmail.com

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Dec 1, 2000, 3:00:00 AM12/1/00
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In article <3A26C2E9...@gmx.net>,

Florian Berner <fbe...@gmx.net> wrote:
> > Imagine a steel telephone pole dropped from orbit and landing
> > on top of a tank. Or aircraft carrier. Or just nearby.
> >
> Considering the "easy" attitude to nuclear stuff they would propably
use
> spent uranium (the same thing some tanks use as ammo) or something
like
> it instead of steel. Just a detail.

I meant steel as descriptive rather than factual, though
for telephone pole-sized projectiles, it would be much
cheaper.

I would recommend tungsten (or a tungsten glass) over uranium.
Uranium has a lower melting point than iron, about 1/3 of
tungsten's melting point. Tungsten probably wouldn't ablate
to speak of during re-entry. Tungsten is also slightly denser
than uranium (19.3 grams per cubic centimeter vs 19.1g/cc,
according to the Metals Handbook).

Tungsten would be a comparative pain in the ass to work,
though, due to its obscene melting point and stiffness.
Fortunately, it's TL8. It might be feasible to cast tungsten
with TL8 technology.

--
Mike Miller, Materials Engineer
"I told [Clinton] I'd be happy to take the first year and then he
could have the second year while they're working this out. But
this sucks..." --Bob Dole

cra...@hotmail.com

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Dec 1, 2000, 3:00:00 AM12/1/00
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In article <juAV5.161547$UO.6...@news22.bellglobal.com>,
Foxtaur <spam.fox...@spam.warren.kill.com> wrote:

> Must... not... spout... off... <ahem>
> I actually happen to have a copy of 'Footfall' on my desk
> right now, though I read it quite a while ago and have forgotten
> quite a few details (which I've been telling myself is a Good
> Thing :) ). I've also been telling myself that I'm using it as
> an example of how /not/ to wage an interplanetary-scale war -
> but that might just be because of the
> seemingly-forced stupidity of the fithp...

Oh, yeah, the aliens were idiots. I don't recommend their
tactics at all. But their technology is a great start for
TL8 space-land warfare.


>
> > Anyway, Thors are (probably metallic) projectiles dropped from
> > orbit ranging in size (depending on who you talk to) from
> > crowbars to telephone poles.
> >
> > If you figure your typical, quite aerodynamic Thor will retain
> > a few miles per second from its orbital velocity of ~5mps
> > after re-entry, you've got a projectile moving 2-3 times as
> > fast as a current tank cannon's APFSDS shell. Guidance is
> > quite likely used.
> >

> > Imagine a steel telephone pole dropped from orbit and landing
> > on top of a tank. Or aircraft carrier. Or just nearby.
>

> As the saying goes, "Cool". :)
>
> Now, all I have to do is come up with some official-sounding GURPS
> numbers for such a beastie... I'll probably end up basing the
launcher on
> the railgun listed in G:Space, but have to come up with new damage
> numbers.

> Unless, of course, some kind soul here happens to have already
worked out
> some details...? :)
>

A couple dozen kilometers might not be safe. If there are
space-to-ground weapons, ground-to-space weapons should exist.
A garage-built rocket could toss a cloud of gravel into the
path of a shuttle dipping into the atmosphere to drop troops.

After all, you don't need outstanding technology to get
*altitude* - you need fairly advanced technology to get into
*orbit*. The V-2's could reach, what, 100km? when fired
straight up.

But, there's a solution. If you look at the link I gave you
in the last post, note some of those drop capsules covered
over 11,000km between de-orbit burn and landing.

The shuttles change orbit from the warship to line up the
deployment of the capsules (which may amount to no trivial
effort - IIRC, changing from an equatorial to a polar orbit
requires more fuel than getting from ground to orbit). The
capsules are released and the shuttles begin to dodge or
head back to the warship.

The capsules, presenting a multitude of small targets, are
not so easily flattened by ground-to-space weaponry. The
shuttles can later make supply and recovery drops. And capsules
don't represent hundred million dollar investments (or however
much the shuttles cost) to put in harm's way until local SSPAM
(Surface-to-SPace-and-Air Missiles) sites are cleared out.

Thus, even with capsules, shuttles sound like a reasonable thing
to keep on the warship, given the limits of TL8 technology.

Shawn Wilson

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Dec 1, 2000, 3:00:00 AM12/1/00
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"Foxtaur" <spam.fox...@spam.warren.kill.com> wrote in message
news:W5MV5.162261$UO.6...@news22.bellglobal.com...

> Nukes aren't always the appropriate military response - if your
> neighbour's dog messes on your lawn, would you use a grenade? (Well,
> assuming that you want to keep living in the same community afterwards.
> <grin>) Heinlein mentioned in "Starship Troopers" that 'war is
> /controlled/ violence'.


Of course that didn't stop the good guys from stocking 'planetbuster' bombs.

cra...@hotmail.com

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Dec 1, 2000, 3:00:00 AM12/1/00
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In article <907ru5$qju$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>,
Elmar <elma...@my-deja.com> wrote:

> There is a maximum speed you would reach in the atmosphere,
> a sky diver will not get infinetely faster. So your crowbar
> will reach a very high speed, but I guess it would be better
> to dump it from a high flying aeroplane.

Yes, terminal velocity, the upper speed limit for a given object
in a given atmosphere.

Saying the "crowbar will reach a very high speed" is perhaps
not the best way to phrase it. The crowbar is already at a
very, very high speed while it's in orbit: 17,500mph. This is
probably WAY above it's terminal velocity.

The crowbar, the Thor shot, won't be gaining anymore velocity
from gravity on its fall, it will only be slowing down.

The "de-orbit burn" that drops the crowbar from orbit does not
have to change that 17,500mph much, just alters its direction to
intersect the atmosphere. So it's reasonable to assume the Thor
shot is traveling at 17,500mph when it's "fired" at a target.

Given a long enough time, the Thor shot WOULD slow to its
terminal velocity.

However, the time from de-orbit burn to impact is *shorter* than
the time it takes an aerodynamic object like a Thor shot to
reach terminal velocity. In other words, the Thor shot won't
have enough time to slow down to terminal velocity.

Very much like a meteorite.

A real world example of an object in space hitting the ground
faster than its terminal velocity can be found in the bottom
of Meteor Crater in Arizona. A boxcar-sized meteorite hit the
ground at several miles per second, blowing out a crater a
mile across. Had the meteorite been traveling at its terminal
velocity (probably a few hundred miles per hour for a
non-aerodynamic lump of rock), you would've gotten a much,
much smaller crater.

Thus I don't think dropping Thors from airplanes would be
as effective as dropping them from space, unless the airplanes
can also travel 17,500mph.

cra...@hotmail.com

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Dec 1, 2000, 3:00:00 AM12/1/00
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In article <9077hv$ndt$1...@nnrp2.phx.gblx.net>,

David Crowe <jet...@primenet.com> wrote:
>
> If it is a peacekeeping tool, why does it need to be a
> spacecraft? ICBMs could deliver the nukes just as well,
> perhaps even satillite launched ones.

Not necessarily. Nukes from orbit take a few minutes,
compared to 15-45 minutes for ICBMs.

The reduced response time can be important in the face
of TL8 anti-space weaponry.

A warship also presents the option of non-nuclear ground
bombardment. The munitions a warship drops from orbit are
probably cheaper than those launched by ICBMs or massdrivers
or HELL systems or Gerald Bull superguns, etc. No need
to survive launch or travel as far.

Not to mention lasers for instant ground support. A warship
would be great for that. I'd take a mobile warship's lasers
over a low-agility battlesat anyday.

> Suborbital shuttles hops could deliver troops anywhere
> on Earth in just a little more time, but for a lot less money.

Why do you think they'd be cheaper? A suborbital hop takes
about as much fuel as getting to orbit, a few tens of dollars
per pound to orbit for oxygen and hydrogen rockets.

And the thing is, a shuttle on a suborbital hop will probably
spend most of its fuel on the flight there. The gas gauge
will be on 'E' when it arrives. OTOH, A shuttle dropping from an
orbiting warship can have full tanks when it lands, and is thus
able to return home under its own power.

> And it would be more efficient to keep troops on the Earth
> rather than cooped up in a ship for months at a time, losing
> muscle mass due to low gravity, to say nothing of
> the difficulties in training.

Foxtaur, was there a spin-section on your ship?

The warship might separate into habitat and counterweight
sections to spin end over end while on a long patrol. That'd
be fine for training and maintaining muscle mass.


>
> You mentioned interplanetary colonies, but I don't think they'd be
> advanced enough to require being nuked if there is trouble.

A 10km long, 2km diameter O'Niell habitat with a 5m-thick lunar
slag hull would probably ignore conventional weapons, and its
militia could overwhelm a typical Marine contingent of a warship.
You might need nukes for that.

Nukes also make great anti-missiles weapons in space.

Xiphias Gladius

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Dec 1, 2000, 3:00:00 AM12/1/00
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Shawn Wilson <shawn....@worldnet.att.net> wrote:

> "Foxtaur" <spam.fox...@spam.warren.kill.com> wrote in message
> news:W5MV5.162261$UO.6...@news22.bellglobal.com...

>> Nukes aren't always the appropriate military response - if your


>> neighbour's dog messes on your lawn, would you use a grenade? (Well,
>> assuming that you want to keep living in the same community afterwards.
>> <grin>) Heinlein mentioned in "Starship Troopers" that 'war is
>> /controlled/ violence'.

> Of course that didn't stop the good guys from stocking 'planetbuster' bombs.

'Course not. But you don't use 'em if you're planning on using the
planet afterwards.

- Ian

--
Marriage, n: The state or condition of a community consisting of a master,
a mistress, and two slaves, making, in all, two. -- Ambrose Bierce
SSBB Diplomatic Corps; Boston, Massachusetts

Gregory L. Hansen

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Dec 1, 2000, 3:00:00 AM12/1/00
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In article <9077hv$ndt$1...@nnrp2.phx.gblx.net>,
David Crowe <jet...@primenet.com> wrote:
>Foxtaur <spam.fox...@spam.warren.kill.com> wrote:
>: First, some background:
>
>: I'm working up a nifty little TL8 setting, where the PCs will be aboard
>: the HMSS Sir Isaac Brock. This ship usually just quietly orbits the Earth;
>: but whenever the higher-ups decide to intervene in a military hotspot, the
>: Brock is quite the useful tool. It has around sixty nukes it can drop if
>: the mission is just to utterly destroy a given target (tactical nuclear
>: warheads have lost some of their social stigma after being used so
>: liberally by both sides in the decade-long European/Islamic war); but when
>: the object is to do a /controlled/ amount of damage, the Brock sends in
>: its dropships.
>
>If it is a peacekeeping tool, why does it need to be a spacecraft? ICBMs
>could deliver the nukes just as well, perhaps even satillite launched
>ones. Suborbital shuttles hops could deliver troops anywhere on Earth in
>just a little more time, but for a lot less money. And it would be more
>efficient to keep troops on the Earth rather than cooped up in a ship for
>months at a time, losing muscle mass due to low gravity, to say nothing of
>the difficulties in training.

For that matter, why drop troops instead of airborne rangers or air
cavalry? And is 160 troops really enough to do anything? The entire 82nd
Airborne Division would be toast if they tried to stop a large mechanized
assault on their own. A peacekeeping mission usually involves
semi-permanently stationed troops policing a wide area; think in terms of
tens of thousands. That's partly because of the large distances involved,
partly because of the large number of bad guys involved, and partly
because you usually can't just carpet-bomb a limited region and declare
success. Any peacekeeping that can be done with 160 drop troops is a
minor affair.

>You mentioned interplanetary colonies, but I don't think they'd be
>advanced enough to require being nuked if there is trouble.

And if so, it would probably be sensible to have another police ship.

woef...@my-deja.com

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Dec 1, 2000, 3:00:00 AM12/1/00
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My understanding of "Depleted Uranium" is that because Uranium is so
reactive, it is a Uranium based ceramic, rather than the metal. I
also understood that the fuel pellets were Uranium Oxide, rather than
metallic U

Paul

cra...@hotmail.com

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Dec 1, 2000, 3:00:00 AM12/1/00
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In article <908p8p$iah$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>,

woef...@my-deja.com wrote:
> My understanding of "Depleted Uranium" is that because Uranium is so
> reactive, it is a Uranium based ceramic, rather than the metal. I
> also understood that the fuel pellets were Uranium Oxide, rather than
> metallic U

"Depleted" uranium is just uranium with less of the U-235
isotope than naturally occuring uranium. It's not a special
ceramic - it's a description of uranium with a different
isotope mix than natural uranium. It's the counterpart to
"enriched" uranium.

Uranium is not a particularly chemically reactive. Or, for
that matter, very radioactive. It's a heavy metal and, to
that end, can be poisonous like lead. I think. Uranium
hexafluoride probably sucks, but not metallic uranium.

In fact, I'm pretty sure it's used in raw metallic form in
ammunition. I don't think uranium oxide is nearly as dense
as uranium. Density is why uranium is even in consideration
as anti-armor ammo.

Uranium is put into an oxide form when used as reactor fuel for
temperature resistance - metallic uranium has much too low of
a melting point. And chemical resistance, come to think of it.
I bet the metallic form would corrode in a water-cooled reactor,
while it's usually hard to corrode ANY oxide.

--
Mike Miller, Materials Engineer
"I told [Clinton] I'd be happy to take the first year and then he
could have the second year while they're working this out. But
this sucks..." --Bob Dole

Florian Berner

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Dec 1, 2000, 3:00:00 AM12/1/00
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>
> I meant steel as descriptive rather than factual, though
> for telephone pole-sized projectiles, it would be much
> cheaper.
Ok, point taken. On the other hand they would be bigger for the same
mass and probably easier to dedect. And Armyes usally don't care how
much they spend for new weapons. ;-)


> I would recommend tungsten (or a tungsten glass) over uranium.
> Uranium has a lower melting point than iron, about 1/3 of
> tungsten's melting point. Tungsten probably wouldn't ablate
> to speak of during re-entry. Tungsten is also slightly denser
> than uranium (19.3 grams per cubic centimeter vs 19.1g/cc,
> according to the Metals Handbook).

A propos melting: How about a projectile that is suppesed to be
(partially) melted when it reaches the ground? Some kind of HEAT-Effect
or as an Anti-Infantiy warhead. Just imagine when a dozen (or so)
balls/sticks/drops projectiles splatters down on an infantry unit
hitting the ground and covering the area with superheated metal.
Possible? Effective?



> Tungsten would be a comparative pain in the ass to work,
> though, due to its obscene melting point and stiffness.
> Fortunately, it's TL8. It might be feasible to cast tungsten
> with TL8 technology.
>

How difficult is it to produce/get? I think Uranium is realtivly easy
aviable, but I'm not an expert.

cu
Flo

Gregory L. Hansen

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Dec 1, 2000, 3:00:00 AM12/1/00
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In article <908p8p$iah$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>, <woef...@my-deja.com> wrote:
>My understanding of "Depleted Uranium" is that because Uranium is so
>reactive, it is a Uranium based ceramic, rather than the metal. I
>also understood that the fuel pellets were Uranium Oxide, rather than
>metallic U

Depleted uranium is largely U-238, natural uranium with most of the U-235
removed. It's cheap and abundant, about a dollar per pound in
sufficiently large quantities, because of the nuclear power and nuclear
weapons industries, which extract the U-235 and have a bunch of scrap
metal left over. You can have peices made of depleted uranium, there are
a few companies listed in the Thomas Register ( www.thomasregister.com )
that will do it for you. They ask $7000 to $10,000 for the mold, then the
cost of the metal. Depleted uranium is used as ballast and counterweights
because it's so heavy. It's also used in shielding when, for instance, an
oil company does activation analysis of a well. They bring a source into
the hole, open the shield, and measure the radiation induced in the
surrounding materials. And, of course, it's used in tank armor and
anti-tank munitions.

Uranium oxide is a ceramic. It's the most common form of fuel in a
reactor. They put uranium oxide pellets into tubes of stainless steel or
zirconium, with the inside diameter slightly larger than the pellets, and
fill it with helium gas. It's durable and heat-resistant. It also has
poor thermal conductivity, so the middle of a pellet gets much hotter than
the outside of the tube.

ra...@westnet.poe.com

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Dec 1, 2000, 3:00:00 AM12/1/00
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woef...@my-deja.com wrote:
> My understanding of "Depleted Uranium" is that because Uranium is so
> reactive, it is a Uranium based ceramic, rather than the metal. I
> also understood that the fuel pellets were Uranium Oxide, rather than
> metallic U

No, it's Uranium Carbide becuase that is harder than metallic uranium.
Hardness is paramount when designing an armor penetrator.

PS, it's "Depleted" because it's had the more radioactive isotopes removed
from it. DU rounds are actually *less* radioactive than naturally
occouring Uranium.


John
--
Remove the dead poet to e-mail, tho CC'd posts are unwelcome.
Ask me about joining the NRA.

Foxtaur

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Dec 1, 2000, 3:00:00 AM12/1/00
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>> Hm; I hadn't thought about taking this approach. One of the reasons I
>> decided to use dropboats is that not only can they drop off the
>> troopers, but when the mission is complete (or aborted, or ignored
>> when a bigger situation crops up), they can come back and pick them
>> back up again. (Even Heinlein's cap-troopers needed 'retrieval boats'
>> to get back up to orbit.)
>> However, your re-entry capsules do sound as though they could be
>> tweaked to solve one of the problems I've been having - when the drop
>> zone is too nasty to land the dropships, how to get the droptroops
>> from, say, a couple dozen kilometres up to the ground.

> A couple dozen kilometers might not be safe. If there are
> space-to-ground weapons, ground-to-space weapons should exist.
> A garage-built rocket could toss a cloud of gravel into the
> path of a shuttle dipping into the atmosphere to drop troops.
>
> After all, you don't need outstanding technology to get

> altitude - you need fairly advanced technology to get into
> orbit . The V-2's could reach, what, 100km? when fired
> straight up.

A good point - I'm going to have to remember to make sure the PCs'
shuttles don't always have a smooth ride down. <evil grin>

Foxtaur

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Dec 1, 2000, 3:00:00 AM12/1/00
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cra...@hotmail.com wrote:
> David Crowe <jet...@primenet.com> wrote:

>> And it would be more efficient to keep troops on the Earth
>> rather than cooped up in a ship for months at a time, losing
>> muscle mass due to low gravity, to say nothing of
>> the difficulties in training.

> Foxtaur, was there a spin-section on your ship?

No - but there was a supply of Ursaline, the TL8 drug that prevents
muscle and bone degeneration from living in microgravity/freefall for
extended periods.

Foxtaur

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Dec 1, 2000, 3:00:00 AM12/1/00
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Gregory L. Hansen <glha...@steel.ucs.indiana.edu> wrote:
> David Crowe <jet...@primenet.com> wrote:
>> Foxtaur <spam.fox...@spam.warren.kill.com> wrote:

>>> I'm working up a nifty little TL8 setting, where the PCs will be
>>> aboard the HMSS Sir Isaac Brock. This ship usually just quietly
>>> orbits the Earth; but whenever the higher-ups decide to intervene in
>>> a military hotspot, the Brock is quite the useful tool. It has
>>> around sixty nukes it can drop if the mission is just to utterly
>>> destroy a given target (tactical nuclear warheads have lost some of
>>> their social stigma after being used so liberally by both sides in
>>> the decade-long European/Islamic war); but when the object is to do
>>> a /controlled/ amount of damage, the Brock sends in its dropships.

>> If it is a peacekeeping tool, why does it need to be a spacecraft?
>> ICBMs could deliver the nukes just as well, perhaps even satillite
>> launched ones. Suborbital shuttles hops could deliver troops
>> anywhere on Earth in just a little more time, but for a lot less
>> money. And it would be more efficient to keep troops on the Earth
>> rather than cooped up in a ship for months at a time, losing muscle
>> mass due to low gravity, to say nothing of the difficulties in
>> training.

> For that matter, why drop troops instead of airborne rangers or air


> cavalry? And is 160 troops really enough to do anything? The
> entire 82nd Airborne Division would be toast if they tried to stop
> a large mechanized assault on their own.

'Large mechanized assaults' are currently out of military fashion, what
with 70-pound tungsten crowbars able to be tossed from orbit by anybody
willing to have the launching craft targetted. Also, the PC's company of
drop troopers isn't necessarily going to be the /only/ troops sent to
any given target zone - but they're the ones who are going to be sent
(and arrive) first, and get to blow up any artillery that would knock
out ground-based troops' carrier-craft. Plus, just because the drop
troopers have suits designed to survive doesn't mean every E4 does -
such suits are expensive, meaning the drop troopers get sent to some of
the ugliest drop zones.


> A peacekeeping mission usually involves semi-permanently stationed
> troops policing a wide area; think in terms of tens of thousands.
> That's partly because of the large distances involved, partly because
> of the large number of bad guys involved, and partly because you
> usually can't just carpet-bomb a limited region and declare success.
> Any peacekeeping that can be done with 160 drop troops is a minor
> affair.

My uncle served as a blue helmet in Cyprus, so I've done some reading
on peacekeeping - which isn't the Brock's primary mission, by the way.

>> You mentioned interplanetary colonies, but I don't think they'd be
>> advanced enough to require being nuked if there is trouble.

> And if so, it would probably be sensible to have another police
> ship.

And here's we get into the political situation, which I'm hoping is
going to provide as many plot-hooks and role-playing possibilities as
possible.
The Brock (with a different name at the time) was originally part of
the American space-fleet. However, not that long before the game starts,
the US and China have been negotiating with each other about their
respective mass destructive capabilities; ever since Russia sold Siberia
to the US, the two Powers have been eyeing each other warily. (The
Islamic Axis and Europe, the other Big Powers, are a bit worn out after
a decade of ground warfare.) One point that the Chinese suggested, and
the US agreed to, was to transfer some of its military spacecraft to
other nations in the Americas (which are pretty much under USA control -
eg, members of NATO [which no longer includes Europe], using the US
dollar for currency - even if they're still technically independant).
The biggest warship was transferred to the US's largest trading partner,
Canada.
Canada is a country 'caught in the middle'. Ever since the southern
bits of Quebec seperated and joined the European Union, the rest of the
country has had even more of an identity crisis than it does at the
present. One of the few absolutely certain definitive points of its
culture is that it isn't American. (For example, Russia sold its veto
and permanent seat in the UN to Canada - but that body has become less
relevant every year, and when the USA acquired Siberia, becoming the
largest country, parts of the Canadian psyche had nervous breakdowns.)
Canada is pretty good friends with Europe, part of the non-US power bloc;
when Fidel died, Canada welcomed Cuba with open arms; and whenever
Canada can advance its own interests at the expense of the US - or
simply tweak the Americans noses - they do so.
The Brock is captained by a Canadian, and many of the drop troopers are
Canucks... but most of the naval crew is still American (until Canada
can field sufficiently trained replacements), and the ship is on "semi-
permanent loan" to NATO (which means effectively under American
control).

Luke Campbell

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Dec 1, 2000, 3:00:00 AM12/1/00
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Florian Berner wrote:

>
> A propos melting: How about a projectile that is suppesed to be
> (partially) melted when it reaches the ground? Some kind of HEAT-Effect
> or as an Anti-Infantiy warhead. Just imagine when a dozen (or so)
> balls/sticks/drops projectiles splatters down on an infantry unit
> hitting the ground and covering the area with superheated metal.
> Possible? Effective?

At the impact speeds we're talking about, it will probably hit the ground
and explode, not splatter. At these velocities, just about any material
will be vaporized by the shock of impact, including tungsten and uranium.

Luke

Foxtaur

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Dec 1, 2000, 3:00:00 AM12/1/00
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Foxtaur <spam.fox...@spam.warren.kill.com> wrote:

> 'Large mechanized assaults' are currently out of military fashion, what
> with 70-pound tungsten crowbars able to be tossed from orbit by anybody
> willing to have the launching craft targetted. Also, the PC's company of
> drop troopers isn't necessarily going to be the /only/ troops sent to
> any given target zone - but they're the ones who are going to be sent
> (and arrive) first, and get to blow up any artillery that would knock
> out ground-based troops' carrier-craft. Plus, just because the drop
> troopers have suits designed to survive doesn't mean every E4 does -
> such suits are expensive, meaning the drop troopers get sent to some of
> the ugliest drop zones.

Er, I meant to write '...just because the drop troopers have suits
designed to survive CBRN (chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear)
warfare sites doesn't mean...'

Foxtaur

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Dec 1, 2000, 3:00:00 AM12/1/00
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Mirko Armelyan <miarmel...@tin.it> wrote:

> Foxtaur wrote:
>> My latest ideas for arming these fellows is to split them into 4-man
>> "Fire Teams", carrying four vibro-blades, three Assault Chainguns, an
>> EM Mortar or automatic EM Grenade Launcher, various grenades, and
>> ammunition. I also want at least a one-shot anti-vehicle weapon,

> Why? If you have a grenade launcher, you may have RPG-like rounds
> with shaped-charge warheads.

I would love to outfit my troopers with such a toy - but don't have any
GURPS stats for it.

>> Should I try to come up with one or two drop-attack-aircraft, for
>> when a nuke's too big but fragmentation-mortar-shells are too small?
>> What sort of craft would you design?

> There are many other things a big missile can carry apart from a
> nuclear warhead. It depends on the target.
> A single non-moving hardened target, such as an underground complex
> or heavily armored bunker: use some kind of penetration+explosive
> warhead (several types are available).
> Several smaller hardened but non airtight bunkers/buildings: FAE.
> Several hardened airtight targets, either moving or not
> (tanks/bunkers): a bus missile carrying several warheads each with
> its own guidance system, SICM or smart bombs.
> Non-armored troops in the open: ICM, SICM or a giant
> proximity-fused beehive round.
> A SAM battalion: a bus missile carrying a few anti-radiation
> missiles and ICM.
> A carrier group: a bus missile carrying a few SS-N-12...
> A mixture of targets: a bus missile carrying a mixture of warheads!

Again, these all sound like useful toys, but there doesn't seem to be
any data on them in the relevant GURPS books I own (Cyberpunk, Space).

<hint, hopeful grin>


> Hope this helps,

Immensely - I've saved your message to use as a reference. Thank you
kindly. :)


Thank you for your time,

Joseph Michael Bay

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Dec 1, 2000, 3:00:00 AM12/1/00
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Florian Berner <fbe...@gmx.net> writes:

>A propos melting: How about a projectile that is suppesed to be
>(partially) melted when it reaches the ground? Some kind of HEAT-Effect
>or as an Anti-Infantiy warhead.

I think orbital bombardment of infants would be considered a war atrocity.

--
o Joe Bay o Cancer Biology o Stanford University o Califr0nia o
Get out of my way, all of you! This is no ASOMA POWAAA!!!
place for loafers. Join me or die. For lucky best wash
Can you do any less? use Mr. Sprakle!

Joseph Michael Bay

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Dec 1, 2000, 3:00:00 AM12/1/00
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Foxtaur <spam.fox...@spam.warren.kill.com> writes:

>Mirko Armelyan <miarmel...@tin.it> wrote:
>> Foxtaur wrote:
>>> My latest ideas for arming these fellows is to split them into 4-man
>>> "Fire Teams", carrying four vibro-blades, three Assault Chainguns, an
>>> EM Mortar or automatic EM Grenade Launcher, various grenades, and
>>> ammunition. I also want at least a one-shot anti-vehicle weapon,

>> Why? If you have a grenade launcher, you may have RPG-like rounds
>> with shaped-charge warheads.

> I would love to outfit my troopers with such a toy - but don't have any
>GURPS stats for it.

They're like regular grenades with an armor divisor of five, I think.
It's in Ultra-Tech.

Joseph Michael Bay

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Dec 1, 2000, 3:00:00 AM12/1/00
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peste...@river-valley.net writes:

><snip very interesting ideas>
>> Do you have any other plotworthy ideas?

>Cloning should be advanced by now. What about Brock carries a clone of
>each member of the crew, for braintaping purposes?

Cloning is something that we can pretty much assume will be feasible
within the next decade or two (okay, so it happens now, but not for
people and not reliably). Braintaping, on the other hand, who the
heck knows how long it will take to get to that, if it's even possible?

Timothy Little

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Dec 1, 2000, 5:23:46 PM12/1/00
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cra...@hotmail.com <cra...@hotmail.com> wrote:
>Saying the "crowbar will reach a very high speed" is perhaps
>not the best way to phrase it. The crowbar is already at a
>very, very high speed while it's in orbit: 17,500mph. This is
>probably WAY above it's terminal velocity.

How much above terminal velocity? Ten times? Then it is decelerating
at about 100G, enough to cut its speed in half within 4 seconds.

>However, the time from de-orbit burn to impact is *shorter* than
>the time it takes an aerodynamic object like a Thor shot to
>reach terminal velocity. In other words, the Thor shot won't
>have enough time to slow down to terminal velocity.

I'm not so sure of that. A large crowbar-sized streamlined projectile
(say 2 m long by 5 cm thick, about 40 kg) would be decelerating at
about 100G in the lower atmosphere. At about the steepest feasible
de-orbit angle, it needs to pass through the equivalent of about 60 km
of such air, taking at least 8 seconds to do so. It would slow down
to about 2.5-3 km/s due to the decresing forces as it slows, assuming
it survived the heating.


- Tim

cra...@hotmail.com

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Dec 1, 2000, 9:03:35 PM12/1/00
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In article <3A27F1D5...@gmx.net>,
Florian Berner <fbe...@gmx.net> wrote:

> A propos melting: How about a projectile that is suppesed to be
> (partially) melted when it reaches the ground? Some kind of HEAT-
Effect

> or as an Anti-Infantiy warhead. Just imagine when a dozen (or so)
> balls/sticks/drops projectiles splatters down on an infantry unit
> hitting the ground and covering the area with superheated metal.
> Possible? Effective?


The HEAT effect is an alternate means of punching a projectile
through armor with a cutting edge moving at several miles per
second.

In other words, a kinetic penetrator like a Thor munition or
APFSDS tank shell is moving at 1 mile per second or faster when
it hits the target because it was launched at that speed. The
HEAT effect allows a slow shell to be fired and, when it
touches the target, thrust forward with a multi-mile per second
dense gas jet.

Combining the two seems redundant (IMO), especially considering
a Thor munition or APFSDS shell turns to liquid/gas when it
hits an object.


>
> > Tungsten would be a comparative pain in the ass to work,
> > though, due to its obscene melting point and stiffness.
> > Fortunately, it's TL8. It might be feasible to cast tungsten
> > with TL8 technology.
> >
> How difficult is it to produce/get? I think Uranium is
> realtivly easy aviable, but I'm not an expert.

Gee, I'd actually have to look around to find that out. I've
been working with qualitative values I've picked up over the
years, not quantitative.

As a rule of thumb, the cost of materials usually isn't a
big deal when it comes to the cost of a product until you
start talking about really exotic materials or materials
with a lot of processing, like composites.

cra...@hotmail.com

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Dec 1, 2000, 9:11:01 PM12/1/00
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In article <slrn92g97...@freeman.little-possums.net>,

t...@freeman.little-possums.net (Timothy Little) wrote:
> cra...@hotmail.com <cra...@hotmail.com> wrote:
> >Saying the "crowbar will reach a very high speed" is perhaps
> >not the best way to phrase it. The crowbar is already at a
> >very, very high speed while it's in orbit: 17,500mph. This is
> >probably WAY above it's terminal velocity.
>
> How much above terminal velocity? Ten times? Then it is decelerating
> at about 100G, enough to cut its speed in half within 4 seconds.

I'm not sure I follow how you got 100G. Very blunt objects
like re-entry capsules only endure 3-10G on re-entry. A Thor
shot would be designed for minimal deceleration, i.e.
maximum aerodynamics. You want the highest possible impact
speed for them.


>
> >However, the time from de-orbit burn to impact is *shorter* than
> >the time it takes an aerodynamic object like a Thor shot to
> >reach terminal velocity. In other words, the Thor shot won't
> >have enough time to slow down to terminal velocity.
>
> I'm not so sure of that. A large crowbar-sized streamlined projectile
> (say 2 m long by 5 cm thick, about 40 kg) would be decelerating at
> about 100G in the lower atmosphere.

Again, why?

> At about the steepest feasible
> de-orbit angle, it needs to pass through the equivalent of about 60 km
> of such air, taking at least 8 seconds to do so. It would slow down
> to about 2.5-3 km/s due to the decresing forces as it slows, assuming
> it survived the heating.

What's the impact speed of a typical meteor? I haven't
heard of one of those hitting at their terminal velocities
yet, and they aren't as dense or aerodynamic as a Thor
munition. Seriously - why do you think the Thor shot would
slow so much?

Surviving the heating is easy. Ablate or depend on temperature
resistant construction, like tungsten.

peste...@river-valley.net

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Dec 1, 2000, 10:25:41 PM12/1/00
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<snip very interesting ideas>
> Do you have any other plotworthy ideas?

Cloning should be advanced by now. What about Brock carries a clone of

each member of the crew, for braintaping purposes? to keep them from
pumping out clones say it takes two years to mature one. This will
essentially give the PC's a free life, and perhaps lead to some good
roleplaying when one of the PCs has to be transferred but something
happened to their clone, so they have to be transferred to someone
elses clone. Can be interesting if the person is another sex, race,
rank, or some combination of those. Another way it can be intersting is
if the two were rivals for some reason, would being in a copy of the
others body increase or decrease a rivalry?

You can make the game interstellar and keep TL8 drives, say spacial
anomolies allow travel between stars. Warp points like the David
Weber/Steve White books could work well. Of course this doesn't mean
you have to have aliens in fact some of the best conflict in those
books was between humans. Those books are 'Death's Ground', 'Crusade',
and 'Insurrection'.

> Any other comments at all? :)

Would you consider making this a play by email game?

David Crowe

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Dec 1, 2000, 11:35:38 PM12/1/00